reileen: (Default)
I've had this link-o-llection lying around for almost a month now. orz

Best. Soda. Display. Ever.

Steampunk duel on YouTube. It's like Victorian-era Gundams duking it out!

[livejournal.com profile] yhlee talks about merely convincing your reader that a complex, multi-layered world exists, as opposed to SHOWING everything to the reader:

If you are trying for a certain kind of mimesis, the trick is in hinting: instead of playing the fool's game of trying to generate everything pixel by pixel, provide instead the key stuff and then a bunch of--best analogy I have here is fractal generators. Something small that generates something complex; and you are offloading a lot of world-generating functions to the reader (or gameplayer, etc.), who will take that fractal generator and produce the pixels for you.

[livejournal.com profile] jimhines offers up a list of Neil Gaiman "facts".

[livejournal.com profile] cleolinda explains that the problem with working for yourself or working freelance is that it's task-based as opposed to time-based, which changes how you perceive yourself to be "done" with work.

Should there be a manga canon?

***

Been getting used to a school schedule again. Finding myself dealing with less and more problems than I thought.

I recently finished a project for my 3-D Foundations class in which we had to create a "chair" using only two pieces of cardboard and hot glue. I put "chair" in quotes because, as the professor put it, it didn't have to look like a conventional chair, but it did need to function like one, supporting one person's weight. My initial idea was something involving a weird 3-D star-like form, but after hearing the professor discuss the architectural concept of a "decorated shed", I decided to be lazy and apply that concept to my project.



In this case, the place where you sit - the top of the main gear - is merely a 6"x6" square column that's 18" high and reinforced by an X-shaped structure on the inside. Everything else is just chewy, papery icing.







I'm pretty happy with how this turned out, actually. The problem is trying to figure out what to do with this thing once it's graded and I have to bring it home. I don't want to just chop it up and throw it away, but it's not like I have any room anywhere for that thing.
reileen: (Default)
Y'know, it can be really hard to tag things appropriately. I'm finding this problem with both LJ and with trying to bookmark stuff on my Delicious account again. How specific should I get? Should I be general, or should I name as many specific details as possible? Do I tag by subject matter? Sub-subject matter? Source website? Do I tag with some witty phrase of my thoughts on the matter (i.e., "stupid things")? Should I do all of 'em? Would that be overkill? Am I overthinking this? (Probably.)

I think there's two generally different approaches to tagging that aren't necessarily exclusive to each other. One is to help yourself find things; one is to help other people find things. The difference is that with the former, you can tag things in a slightly obscurish manner, or in a haphazard manner, and most of the time (when you remember) you know why you tagged it the way you tagged it. When trying to tag things to help other people find those things, though, you have to be a little more objective/factual/whatever about it, and probably stick to the basics. Here on LJ, I waver between the first approach to tagging and the second approach. My Delicious account is private, though, so there's not too much of an issue there.

Still, one area where I'm personally running into tagging issues is when I'm trying to tag things about various kinds of Serious Business, i.e. politics, economics, racism, anti-oppression/anti-prejudice in general. I'll probably be able to work out some sort of personal system as I continue wading through these things and making sense of them, but at the moment it's pretty overwhelming. (I am also going cross-eyed at the thought of trying to tag all of my imported Firefox bookmarks, some of which were left untagged from the last time I substantially used Delicious about a year or so ago. Eep.)

***

"Moe: The Cult of the Child" is an evenhanded analysis of the moe phenomenon in otaku culture, where there is a lot of focus on the cutesy antics of young, adolescent girls who sometimes look like they've got girls' heads pasted onto women's bodies. The author discusses the appeal of the genre and what that appeal means for society as a whole.

This is an informative but depressing interview about the crap-covered state of the U.S. insurance industry by Bill Moyers with Wendell Potter, the former Head of Public Relations of Cigna, one of America's largest health insurers.

An A-to-Z Smorgasbord of Overused Graphic Concepts and Resources.

[livejournal.com profile] cupcake_goth, a.k.a. Jillian Venters, a.k.a. the Lady of the Manners, recently posted about plans for a book-promoting picnic at a large graveyard. She was apparently berated by a fan who thought she was disrespecting the dead in doing so. However, in the comments to the entry, one learns that the big public/non-churchyard cemeteries and graveyards were, to some extent, intended as large public parks, to be freely enjoyed by anyone who wanted to hang out there for whatever reason (whether it was just to sit down and read or to take a walk or even to have weddings). There's an interesting discussion about the intersection of life and death with regards to that particular context. Myself, I remember visiting this one pretty large cemetery up on the North Side (I think it was off the Addison Red Line stop?) back in my freshman year of college, and being both haunted and fascinated by the history in it. I've always wanted to go back and wander around some more, especially in nicer weather (since when I went it was cold and rainy; wouldn't mind the rain so much if it hadn't also been chilly).

Two instances of HELL FUCKING YES for the Reileen! First off, Dead Fantasy III has gone live, focusing on a one-on-one fight between Tifa from FF7 and Hitomi from DoA. I cannot tell you how much I love the Dead Fantasy series for its absolutely ri-cock-ulous Physics Does Not Work That Way fight scenes. It's absurdly beautiful and beautifully absurd. And as impossibly beautiful as all the women are, I'm glad that the creator seems to be focusing more on the amount of ass they can kick instead of the amount of ass they've got exposed. I can't wait for the next few installments, particularly in light of the ending scene for DF3.

Secondly, remember or not how I was blabbering about Jeeja Yanin starring in a new film? Raging Phoenix's trailer has also hopped onto the webz. It's short and with no indication of the plot, but the bits we see of the action scenes seem promising.

AvatarFail continues with four headshots of the four main characters. Leaving aside the obvious racial problems, what the fuck is up with Zuko's "scar"? It looks like the makeup artist smeared clay on the side of his face and then called it a day. And I know that this is only one headshot, but Aang just looks so RAWR and sulky and I'm like WHERE DID MY SEAL-SLEDDING AVATAR GO NOOOOO. As a bit of an antidote to this clusterfuck, here's a survey in three parts about the many ways that A:TLA subverts the status quo (and some of the ways that it doesn't!).

Cool nature thing of the day: watermelon snow, which is snow that is not only pink but also, indeed, smells faintly of watermelons! Look but don't taste.

While soldiering through the archives of The Straight Dope (I actually got through all 57 pages! Though I didn't read all the columns, obviously), I found that they had addressed how the word "gay" came to mean "homosexual". I'm particularly fascinated by the fact that "to gay it" once meant "to copulate", and am now imagining the word "gay" in place of another certain word that also means "to copulate." For example: "Well, gay you to hell and back!", or "GAY THIS GAYING SHIT!" or "That's gaying awesome." Certainly "mothergayer" would have interesting implications. In a situation where things have just gone to shit, I think the mood would be lightened considerably if someone uttered "We're totally gayed." (This totally puts Jade Curtiss' "A Definition of the Word 'Fuck'" in an entirely new light. WHY DON'T YOU PLAY HIDE AND GO GAY YOURSELF???)

Nine reasons the economy is not getting better.

From Lifehacker (that name is epic), how to bake cookies on your dashboard harnessing the heat accumulated inside your car on a steamy summer day. WIN.

Finally, this entry is one that I swear everyone needs to be smacked with at least once in their life: [livejournal.com profile] jimhines discusses why it's even more important to dissect pop culture for problematic themes and attitudes than it is to do the same for more "literary" works. The very accessibility of pop culture is exactly why problems with the culture need to be examined and brought out into the open. It sends a message to people, hey, look, these problems haven't gone away. They're not hiding under the dustbunnies of history and obfuscated academia; they're in the center of the room, flailing their hands and dancing. (IN UR ROOM, FLAILING THEIR HANDZ)

***

Also watched Police Story 4: First Strike recently. This is one of Jackie Chan's American/English films. Long story short, Chan plays an HK police officer who gets whored out by his superior to the CIA in order to track down a suitcase nuke. His job takes him first to Ukraine, then all the way down under to Australia. The version of the movie I was watching was all English-dubbed, but apparently in the original cut, there were instances where some of the characters were speaking either Cantonese, Ukrainian, Russian, etc. Anyway, plot is kind of silly, the fight scenes were slightly disappointing until the end, where not only did you have Jackie fighting for a couple of minutes while on stilts, but then you also had underwater kung-fu in a tank with a man-eating shark. I shit you not. I also liked this scene, set inside what looks like a large warehouse - among other things, Jackie performs some seriously amazing stunts with what looks like a 12-foot-tall ladder or thereabouts.

*looks back over this entry* ...RAWR, how am I going to tag this thing?

-Reileen
or am I just wasting time?
reileen: (TONIGHT WE BLOG IN HELL)
Gonna start off with the Serious Business stuff this time before I babble about fannish things.

I found this interesting article about Michelle Obama's efforts to reach out to the poor and disenfranchised in the DC area.

I also recently discovered the work of Jay Smooth on YouTube, who posts short vlogs about pop culture and sociopolitical issues. He has a direct style that is not too "in-your-face" and is easy to follow and understand. "Asher Roth and the Racial Crossroads" is an excellent rebuttal to the idea "that racist/homophobic/bigoted jokes were a sign of a progressive population and therefore anyone who called him on his racist, homophobic, sexist, bigoted jokes is against an egalitarian society" (quoted from this comment over at JF's UnfunnyBusiness comm, where I found the video link). There's also a transcript of this particular video here at [livejournal.com profile] racism_101.

Also by Jay Smooth is "How To Tell People They Sound Racist", which should be required viewing for anyone interested in anti-oppression work of any sort, not just racism. No transcript that I've seen yet, unfortunately, but as I said before, he's easy to follow.

At Racialicious, Ay-leen the Peacemaker analyzes two potential colonial visions of America in steampunk, the "nostalgic" and the "melancholic". [livejournal.com profile] vyctori, you should probably take a look at this.

It's from that Racialicious linke that I think I stumbled upon Blue Corn Comics, which is a blog focusing on First Nations culture, from history to traditions to modern portrayals and stereotypes, and also branches out into wider implications for anti-racism work and race in America. There's some stuff like Video Games Featuring Indians and Indiana Jones and the Stereotypes of Doom, and then there's also his rebuttal against the notion of "equal opportunity offending".

From that site, I also found "21st-Century Warrior":

In the Sun Dance, I learned what the warrior path was truly about. It had nothing to do with what I had seen in movies, heard in music, or read in books. It wasn't about being destructive, being the toughest person in the neighborhood, or any media-stained image. I realized in my moments of terror, pain, and loneliness that this ceremony wasn't about me but about the people I can serve in my life. The warrior concept is simply taking our own talent and ability and developing it so we can serve and defend others. The warrior's goal was to become an asset to the village they served. The warriors of the past like Pontiac, Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, and Osceola were warriors not only because of their exploits in battle, but because they served their people the best way they knew how and spent their lifetimes becoming assets to their village. Today, your "village" could be your family, community, country, clients, or any other group you serve.

I first stumbled across this piece during RaceFail'09, but it was quoted in one of the Blue Corn Comics pages as well, so I figured now's a good a time as any to point readers here - The Unexamined Propaganda of "Political Correctness".

Underlying every complaint of "PC" is the absurd notion that members of dominant mainstream society have been victimized by an arbitrarily hypersensitive prohibition against linguistic and cultural constructions that are considered historical manifestations of bigotry. It's no coincidence that "PC"-snivelers are for the most part white men who are essentially saying, "Who the hell do these marginalized groups think they are to tell me how I should or shouldn't portray them? I'm not going to say 'mentally challenged' when it's my right to say 'retard', goshdarnit there's only so much abuse I'll take!"*

In this context, the conceit that "political correctness" constitutes a violation of free speech is particularly zany; as though society's marginalized groups wield oppressive power over the dominant mainstream. Actually, as far as I'm concerned you're free to call me "chink" and I'm free to call you "moronic racist loser" (and more if necessary, but I'll leave that aside for now in the interest of false civility). Free speech is the straw man of choice for intellectual bums of all stripes too fragile and vacuous for critical engagement. Calling someone who says or does bigoted things "a bigot" isn't censorious, it's descriptively accurate, like calling a bad movie "a bad movie", even if the bigot didn't intend to come off as bigoted and the movie didn't intend to come off as bad.

Randomly, The Straight Dope discusses Chicago's Anti-Ugliness Ordinance, which thankfully has since been repealed.

So, yeah, I got some serious stuff going on up there in the links. And I didn't even post some of the other ones I found because I need to take time like millennia to think about them. In the meantime, we can take a break and start mixin' us some Avatar: The Last Airbender-themed booze. Drink each of the Four Nations drinks and enter the "Avatar State"! Sporfletini. Relatedly, you can find a recipe for "fire flakes" over at the [livejournal.com profile] fan_foods community. [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill, we should get together and make the butterbeer!

[livejournal.com profile] eyecatching_art had this epic picture of Wolfwood!Hobbes and Vash!Calvin.

Hallelujah, It's Rainin' 300 Men!

Best of the Worst: Twilight Tattoos. Yes, that is as bad as it sounds.

The Angry Asian Man posts about this excellent stop-motion animation piece done by Bang-yao Liu as his senior project at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

File this under "bzuh?": Michael Jackson considered releasing his next album as a video game. H-how was that even going to work? Not that I'm not interested in the results, but the logistics of it are...interesting, to say the least.

***

*glances over link-o-llection* ...rawr. I swear I need to get back to organizing my bookmarks. I've had stuff tagged over at my Delicious account, but I think when I upgraded Firefox I brokinated the extension I had that let me easily add bookmarks to Delicious, and I never bothered to upgrade. So lately I've just been filing stuff under one huge folder in my Firefox bookmarks. But if I'm going to get anywhere in my informal self-education, I need to actually remember where I've been so that I can better map out where I'm going.

Anyway, I deleted my original MySpace account because something got borked with the layout editing feature and apparently MySpace couldn't fix it. I signed up for a new account, then realized from clicking through MySpace Help that, hey, I should've actually signed up specifically for a musician profile from the start, because MySpace can't convert profiles from one to the other! So I clicked on the link in the help page that was supposed to help you "get started", only to get an error message that MySpace had taken the feature down temporarily for some-reason-or-other and that I'd have to wait for an unspecified period of time before I could use it. LE SIGH. So much for trying to pretty up my profile like [livejournal.com profile] mia_noire suggested to me. I guess I should just work on my YouTube profile instead.

In the meantime, I'm also going to continue working on a friend's commission and on a piece of original art featuring the two main characters from my NaNoWriMo2008 novel Daemonsong. I'd originally intended it as a quick painting piece, but as soon as I got to Kira's fur I was like pfffffft that is so not going to work. So I'm taking my time on it.

-Reileen
he promises to you, no more tears to cry



*Can also be summarized as: "Oh, God, respecting each other's humanity is such a pain in the ass! Do we really have to do this forever? Can't you all just lighten up so that I don't have to respect you any more? Isn't the whole point of coming together as one that I don't have to care what you think?" (Thank you, Jay Smooth.)
reileen: (general - strawberry)
Having finished my JPN106 final (likely got a few things wrong on it, especially WRT to the particles and conjugations for passive and causative-passive and blah blah, but I'm working from like a 95-96% in that class, so I'm not worried) and my ART264 project (presenting at the final critique tomorrow afternoon), I have some time to finally post something more substantial than whining and short links. :D?

***

Vienna Teng

Despite having a shitload of music that I still haven't listened to even once, I've been returning rather frequently to Vienna Teng's Inland Territory. It's basically the musical equivalent of comfort food for me at the moment, and healthy comfort food for me, at that. I'm still floored at how rich and full the songs are, and how, despite the title Inland Territory, it's actually the least introspective of Vienna's albums so far. No...that's a misleading description; if you looked up "introspective" in the dictionary you'd find Vienna's picture. What I mean to say is, when you compare the subjects and the handling of those subjects in IT songs versus her earlier songs, there's a stronger tendency in the IT songs to reach out beyond personal, interior experiences. Or rather, the IT songs are remarkable for this fusion of the external world of events that may or may not be beyond our control, with the internal world of emotions and thoughts. It's a skillful, refreshing blending of themes into an audiophiliac frappuccino.

One thing I didn't consciously notice about the album until someone mentioned it on the VT forums: it's framed by two songs that both have what can be referred to as "instrumental choruses". It's especially spine-tingling on St. Stephen's Cross. (Incidentally, both were songs that needed to grow on me for a while before I came to love them, in their own way.)

Vanessa Carlton

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Carlton has debuted two new songs, "Fair-Weather Friends" and "London". Unfortunately, the quality is so bad on these recordings that you can't understand what she's singing, but melodically it sounds like stuff that would fit in with Heroes and Thieves. According to Wiccapedes, she's apparently almost halfway done with the album and will release it later this year, holy shit.

My liking for Vanessa Carlton's music is mildly perplexing to me. She's not necessarily an excellent vocalist - I wouldn't care to hear her a cappella - but it's such a distinctive voice and it fits her songs. Similarly, I get bored real easily playing her piano arrangements because they're so simple, yet I haven't really figured out a good way to transform those arrangements into something more complex (and thus more interesting) for me to perform as a cover. And her lyrics didn't really become compelling to me until Heroes and Thieves, but they've always had a certain je ne sais quoi about them that was uniquely VC.

At any rate, I look forward to VC's new album.

Yousei Teikoku

With their latest release, the single "Gekkou no Chigiri", it seems like YT is moving towards a more pop sound, though they still retain their distinctive gothic, neo-classical, and electronica elements. I was actually underwhelmed by the three songs on "Gekkou no Chigiri", but then again I was also underwhelmed by the songs on "Irodori no Nai Sekai" and now I actually really like the songs for the most part. In particular, I keep on coming back to "Alte Burg" for some reason. I think I'm fascinated by the chord progressions and the melodic structure, the auditory tension pulled tight like a bow in the stanza melodies before being released in a graceful arc into more musically familiar territory for the chorus. They've done this on other songs as well (including other songs on "Irodori no Nai Sekai"), but for some reason the pattern really caught me in "Alte Burg". I'm not entirely sure that it's an effect of this song being necessarily better than their other songs; it may be that I was listening to the song at the right time and in the right mood.

Charice Pempengco

You can sample her music on her MySpace; her Wikipedia page is here.

I first heard about her through the Angry Asian Man. Charice Pempengco is a young Filipina singer who placed third in a Filipino talent show called Little Big Star, loosely patterned after American Idol. However, she only gained worldwide recognition after an avid supporter named "FalseVoice" started posting videos of her performance on YouTube, garnering millions of hits. Through a series of fortunate events, she eventually landed a performance spot on Oprah, which led to her being signed by music producer David Foster. She is supposed to have a US debut album sometime soon, though I'm not entirely sure how soon.

Charice really has an impressive set of pipes, but she seriously needs to learn how to control that voice. She's cited Celine Dion and Mariah Carey as influences, and boy does it show - and not always in a good way. I think it's great that she has such a good range, but I honestly despise it when singers "oversing" their melodies (see also: Christina Aguilera). It seems so unnecessary most of the time. I prefer her softer vocals in "Smile" and "Maalaala Mo Kaya". But hey, what do I know? I think that, with this style of vocals, she may actually have a chance to break into the American mainstream, somewhat. She's already got two albums released in the Philippines, and a single here in the U.S.

Dragonforce

So cheesy! So retro! Yet so gloriously awesome and epic! I wanna write my own Dragonforce-esque song. Not that it would be hard, technically, but still.

***

I have some book discussion I want to do (namely, The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd and Tekgrrl by A.J. Menden - neither of which I was impressed by), but it may take some time for me to formulate coherent reviews about them, so I'll leave y'all with a long-overdue link-o-llection instead.

Jeff Yang: What Does It Mean to be Asian-American?

Four decades later [after the late Ronald Takaki taught the first-ever Black Studies course at UCLA], however, it's worth considering how far the idea of Asian America has come, and how far it can go. Does Asian American identity still have meaning? Have prevailing attitudes towards race evolved to a point where the term "Asian American" limits us rather than lifting us up? Has the moment passed?

Truth be told, the current picture isn't pretty. Many prominent Asian American institutions, particularly those associated with arts, culture and media, have either shut down or are in danger of doing so. Some of this is due to the larger economic crisis, but if pressed, many of the former leaders of these organizations will quietly admit that the core issue they face is simple: Audiences and subscribers for their work have been dwindling, and without collective support from within the community, it's been an uphill battle getting support from outside of it.

On the political front, the vibrant grassroots movement of the '60s and '70s never produced a broad-based pan-Asian American advocacy organization along the lines of the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza. While reinvented old-guard institutions like the Asian American Justice Center (formerly the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium) and exciting new-school entities like Asian Pacific Americans for Progress offer hope, the history of Asian American activism over the past few decades is largely a mosaic of short-term coalitions that were built with a single issue in mind and vanished after that issue no longer seemed pressing.

And those issues are rare these days. It's hard to point to a critical political event that has galvanized pan-Asian communities since 1982, the fight for justice for Vincent Chin, the Chinese American murdered by laid-off Detroit autoworkers for being "Japanese." (Some might suggest the protests against the Broadway musical "Miss Saigon" fit that bill. Even so, those took place in 1991 -- nearly two decades ago.)

All of these factors point to the uncomfortable truth that bringing together Asian Americans has often seemed like herding cats, if those cats were randomly mixed in with, say, dogs, sheep and giraffes -- a metaphor that reflects the staggering diversity of our community, which incorporates dozens of nationalities, each with multiple linguistic, religious and ethnic subsets, and a varying historical record of immigration to the U.S.

Yes, the challenges are enormous. And yet, the stakes are high. Those who seek to suppress racial discourse have gravitated toward Asian Americans as the weakest link in the multicultural chain. They suggest that the successes some Asian Americans have achieved mean we no longer need the protection of a racial category; they point to the difficulties we've faced in organizing as evidence the category never should have existed in the first place.

Ray Fisman @ Slate: Want more women to study science? Hire more female professors.

The researchers also found that the influence of professor gender was even starker for the set of students who were math whizzes when they entered the Academy (those with math SAT scores above 700). For these students, a female instructor eliminated the gender GPA gap entirely—and solely because high-performing women did well in their classes rather than because high-ability men underperformed.

What's more, having a male instructor didn't just affect female cadets' performance in their first-year classes—ramifications could be seen throughout their undergraduate careers. Not surprisingly, students who did well in their introductory science classes were more likely to go on to obtain science degrees (and presumably go on to science-related professions). Among high-math-SAT students—those most likely to be the ones to go on to obtain science degrees—the authors calculate that having a women-only roster of faculty would create gender parity among science majors.

What is it about a woman instructor that is so important for female pupils? It's unlikely to be simply the sense of empowerment of seeing that women can in fact make it in science. If that were the case, then having all female professors should help their female students catch up to the men and having all male professors should cause the male-female performance gap to widen. Yet the authors found that, while female students perform better on average in classes taught by female professors, there are some male professors under whom there's no achievement gap between male and female students (and also some female professors for whom the gender gap is as big as that of some of their male colleagues). So some men are very good at mentoring women, just not nearly enough of them.


John Scalzi: The New York Times: We May Slide into Irrelevancy But At Least We Update Daily

The thing about this Times piece is that it feels almost endearing anachronistic; not to run down blogs, but they’re not exactly the hot new kid on the block these days, are they. These days it seems like the only people starting new blogs are laid-off journalists, which says something both about blogs and these journalists. Everyone else has moved on to Facebook and Twitter. Which is something I personally applaud; I like my blog, but I’m a wordy bastard, by profession and by inclination, and online social networks actually do a far better job of what people wanted blogs to do, which is be a way to act and feel connected online with friends and family. No one gives a crap if your tweet or status update is short and utterly inconsequential (”Hey! I just ate a hot dog!”) — indeed, that’s kind of the point.

[livejournal.com profile] nonfluffypagans has a post discussing the idea of pagan community centers. It touches on a number of issues that PCCs face, including money, interpersonal politics, and the lack of support from the broader community.

I want this corset like burning.

Iraqi teen cracks 300-year-old math puzzle.

Tokyopop recently raised the prices on its individual manga volumes, but it looks like readers are actually getting less for their money.

And then finally, an article from The Onion that is sure to be a classic: Oh, No! It's Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!

-Reileen
fire's getting closer but I've got to stay calm
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
Writing this while taking a break from attempting to make sense of the cacophony of my room (spring cleaning, what), eating a bowl of Apple Jacks with milk. Even though it's 6:30pm. Ye-e-s. And I kind of have a craving for chicharron again, too.

I uploaded a new icon (see this entry) and replaced my music one. Yay? Still haven't figured out my tags - I've only been tagging lately for link-o-llections and not content. I'm also thinking of adding a section for links to various online stores in my profile, since I seem to have accumulated a decent amount of them. (Plus, it also makes it easier for me to get to those links, haha.)

***

Link-o-llection!

I think everyone's familiar with the "make your prom outfits out of duct tape and get a $3000 college scholarship" contest. It sounds silly, but you'd be surprised with the awesome shit that people come up with, such as this steampunk-esque pair. I mean, that would be amazing with justregular fabric! (In fact it looks like PVC at a glance.) Be sure to check out the other outfits through the official site (linked in the entry).

Via [livejournal.com profile] vyctori, my fellow musicslut, I bring you a cover of The Offspring's "Pretty Fly For a White Guy" sung in bad Engrish by what sound like pre-teen Japanese schoolgirls but which are actually anime voice actresses. OW. OW OW OW. I resolve to inflict this on the otaku corner when I get back to classes.

5 Awesome Sci-Fi Inventions That Would Actually Suck.

Dragonshit: De-Evolution Dragonball: Evolution was reviewed in advance over at Anime News Network. Part of me wants to go see it for the lulz and sneak in some Mike's Hard Lemonade, but then I remembered that getting into the movie theater would require money, which could be better used to pay off strippers.

What really sucks about Dragonball: Evolution - I mean, besides some obvious points like the fact that GOKU AND CHICHI ARE WHITE WHAT THE SHIT - is how it turned the original story, which was based loosely off one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature and originally featured an innocent, childlike protagonist, got mutilated into loser fanboy wish fulfillment crack. And it's not even the good crack, it's the kind of crack where the dealers mix in three parts baby powder and two and a half parts Chlorox bleach to make their original crack stock last so that they can con more suckers out of their greenbacks. Lord Almighty on a hellbound moped, after reading this review I think I'd rather watch the Twilight movie multiple times for 24 hours straight than subject myself to five minutes of Dragonball: Evolution.

I have to say, though, that while Dragonball: Evolution sounds bad (HA UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE EON), I'm not sure that I'd pass on it if given a choice between watching it multiple times for 24 hours straight, or either piercing my cervix, piercing my ass crack, or tattooing my eyeball.

Relatedly, here's an interview with the cervix-piercer, who is interested in the dynamics and implications of post-gender existence. It's...an interesting read, to say the least.

***

Talking about school: winter quarter grades, spring quarter musings )

***

Talking about life: 3/20 celebratory dinner at a Korean BBQ place with the folk from Japanese class and their pals, with a hefty appetizer of introspective teal deer ('REAL TEAL DEER') )

***

Aaaand this post took me longer than I thought, so I'll post more stuff about music, reading, and manga in my next entry tomorrow or something.

-Reileen
through the fire and the flames we carry on



*There's a whole spiel I could go into here about why I tend to produce more fanwork for smaller fandoms than I do for larger fandoms, but the basic gist goes that, in larger fandoms, there are more people doing more things, so I have less of an incentive (personally) to do what I want to do.
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
Haha, looking back on my previous entry at the icon and the moodpic, I'm reminded of how Gintama has amazing "WHAT THE EVERLOVING RATFUCKING SHIT" expressions. I really want to collect the English manga, but I have no money and no job yet. And I wish someone would license the anime so I could buy that too with money that I don't have.

Speaking of anime, I really gotta get caught up on Michiko to Hatchin. It's almost ending soon and I want to be able to write a review thingy of it.

And speaking of "ending soon", the Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro will be doing just that. It's currently on chapter 197 or something, and I'm not sure how many more chapters Matsui's got planned. It would be clean and neat if he ended it at 200, but given the events of 197, that would make things seem a little rushed. (Though it's not like no mangaka has ever done a rushed ending before.)

***

Finished reading Naomi. Brief thoughts: I wanted to smack Joji, I felt bad for Hamada, and Naomi was a hell of a piece of work. The entire story is much more palatable if you read it as an extended allegory of Japan's relationship to the West, instead of as two actual, living characters. I think overall, I prefer Lolita. Let me tell you - as creepy as it is (and it is creepy), Humbert Humbert did one thing right in going for them super young, because if you wait too long, then they apparently turn out like Naomi. Lord and Lady on a pair of skiis...

I'm going to tackle Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto next. Er, well, maybe I should start reading some of the library books I have first. Decisions, decisions.

***

In honor of Mario Day on March 10 (because March 10 = Mar10 = Mario, hur hur), someone made SMB-themed cookies.

While we're on the topic on themed food, apparently a restaurant in D.C. is now offering Obama-shaped sushi. Er...phwee?

I present to you the best cosplay photo ever. ("THIS WAS NO ORDINARY CHICKEN CUCCO. THIS WAS EVIL MANIFEST.")

Miley Cyrus and Kanye West got snubbed by Radiohead. I love Miley's claim that she's going to "ruin" Radiohead. Yeah, I'd like to see her try! (For the lulz.)

OMG YES, I WANT THE TWILIGHT DVD JUST FOR THIS: Twilight movie commentary with the director Catherine Hardwicke and stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattison. BRB LOLING TOO HARD.

Gonna end this link-o-llection with a couple of SRS BSNS links...

This article takes a deep look at the status of the female sexual submissive in the BDSM community and in greater society, and how it connects to feminist issues regarding informed choice. (It also happens to be written by a woman who identifies as a feminist and as a female sexual submissive.) [livejournal.com profile] mia_noire, I don't believe you're into BDSM (and if you are, make sure you play safe and sane, aight? :D!), but I believe this article is relevant to your interests anyway with regards to the parts on female images of sexuality in society.

These two articles discuss the issue of being sexy as a Muslim woman.

The Japan Times Online has a rather grim article on the future of the anime industry. Here's a blog commentary on that article.

***

Gospel of the Shadow is up on YouTube now. I also have vids for "Almost" and "Sphinx" recorded, but, uh, I think I might want to re-record them.

-Reileen
I never wanna act my age, what's my age again?
reileen: (angry - Shinpachi)
Today is the last day of my TuTh classes. As some people may remember from this entry, my ART105 participation grade was on the edge of adversely affecting my final grade. So, last night, after helping [livejournal.com profile] vyctori out with a problem of hers, I went to sleep relatively early - before midnight instead of after.

I woke up today to find my mom knocking on my door, demanding to know if I've actually got classes today or not.

I looked at my cell phone, which was supposed to wake me up - as it usually did - at 9:15am on Tuesdays and Thursday.

The display showed the time as 10:45am.

Class would start in an hour.

If I still lived on campus, it would be no big deal. But seeing that I'm stuck down here in the 'burbs, there was no way I was getting to class anywhere on time.

*sigh* It bites that I'm going to end up with a B in my ART105 class just because of my attendance grade. It's not the fact that it's a B that's bothering me (witness me being ecstatic about a week from now if I find out I've got a B for HON301). It's that I'm getting one in a really easy art class about two-dimensional foundations of art. Ridonkulous, y'all. Just ridonkulous.

Consolation prizes: I'm coasting on a 96% for JPN105, which is far higher than I originally thought, but hey, I'll take that A. And despite my worries at the beginning of the quarter, I'm likely getting an A in my ART200 class as well. And assuming I don't completely bomb my final argument for HON301, I'll probably end up with a B in that class. That would put my cumulative GPA at 3.545, which is certainly a step up from my current GPA of 3.486, and which gives me more leeway before I lose my scholarship, which has a GPA cutoff of 3.300.

Speaking of HON301, turns out I'm not doing the 9-12 page final paper after all. My HON301 professor is apparently swamped with work and doesn't feel like reading more things than he absolutely has to, so he sent out an e-mail to those of us who had "turned in all of our assignments in a timely manner" (...I'm not sure how or why he included me in this, since I forgot to write two of my critical responses and posted some other ones late) the chance to, instead, come to his office during finals week and talk/discuss/argue with him for about 20 minutes WRT our response to the topic of our final paper. I was waffling back and forth on it for a while, but ultimately decided in the end that it would save time if I just went to his office and babbled about things, and that as long as I did enough prep work and sounded reasonably coherent, I'd be getting a B. Today, in class, we're supposed to sign up for timeslots, so I'm hoping for a Thursday or a Friday time.

So, prep time schedule for finals:

-Friday I have no class, so I'm thinking that tonight and tomorrow I'll be working on my ART105 final project, to get it out of the way (even though it's not due 'til next Wednesday).
-Saturday and Sunday will be devoted to Japanese. And partially to ART105 if I don't finish what I need to on Thursday and Friday.
-Monday through Wednesday or Thursday (depending on when I get my timeslot) will be devoted to HON301.
-ART200 doesn't really require studying because it's an open book, open note final that requires us to do what we've been doing for, like, the past couple of weeks. A bit involved and somewhat tedious, but doesn't actually require studying.

***

The gals over at Disgrasian posted this special effects video done by a 12-year-old. I demand to see this kid working in Hollywood!

Penny Arcade, meanwhile, takes me back to my brief days of working at Gamestop with this comic.

theta_aquarii on Twitter posted this wicked awesome link of 'shopped movie poster spoofs. I think one of my favorites has to be You Don't Mess with the Lohan. President Evil: Extinction is pretty loltastic, too. Humper shouldn't be that funny to me, but it is.

I have next to no faith in my ability, as a writer, to write decent sex scenes. However, I do have the small consolation that my sex scenes will probably be better than this dreck from a published (not self-published) fantasy novel called Silk & Steel by Ron Miller. I swear, it's like this guy had a case of purple balls while writing this thing! (BONUS: Check out the horrifying fanart a commenter did based on the copious description of the heroine. Yeah, I'd definitely hit that...WITH A MYSTIC ARTE.) And just when you think it can't get worse, it does. I can't decide which gets me the most. The flaming phallus? (Or should that be "phlaming phallus"?) The buzzing pubes? The names "Spikenard" and "Thud Mollockle", both of which sound like names JKR would come up with if she were drunk and stoned out of her mind?

EDIT: o hai u gaiz it wuz intentionally bad LOL.

And LEAVE RON MILLER ALONE! Also, his paintings, while competent, are kind of dated. He did the covers for this particular series of books, too.

-Reileen
'cause you're hot and you're cold, you're yes then you're no
reileen: (TONIGHT WE BLOG IN HELL)
Can I just take some time out to say how much I hate MySpace? The only reason I got an account there was for the sake of putting my music on there, a purpose which is currently mostly fulfilled by my YouTube channel.

I was recently trying to customize the layout for my profile, because the default one is FUGLYFUGLYFUGLYANDFUGLY. (Did I mention it's fugly?) Anyway, the FAQ says we're supposed to be able to find that sort of schnazz in the "Customize Profile" part of the menu bar. No-brainer, right?

Except that for some reason, "Customize Profile" brings me to the same page as "Edit Profile", which is where I fill in all the stuff about shows, the kind of music I play, so on and so forth.

Uh...no.

I e-mailed MySpace Customer Service about it, and they were spectacularly unhelpful. No, you coal-brained gits, I don't need help on CSS or HTML, I just need to get to the fucking customization page.

Also, MySpace isn't showing saved changes to my music genres, either. I initially had my listed genres as acoustic/electronic (...don't ask), and have been currently trying to change it to acoustic/gothic/other. It saves my edits on the Edit Profile page, but it won't show up on my actual profile as having been changed.

Le sigh.

***

A list of 10 endangered languages. As a writer, a lover of language, it makes me sad to think of languages going extinct.

This article from the Washington Post details an interesting experiment where world-class violinist Josh Bell played unfamiliar classical pieces in the middle of a busy D.C. commuting hub in order to see how many people would actually stop and listen to him and/or tip him for his talent. The driving question behind the experiment was whether people could recognize beauty at any time and any place; the results seem to point towards needing optimal conditions in order to fully appreciate something beautiful. (I think this was actually mentioned briefly in Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks.) (Also, I've placed Bell's The Voice of the Violin on my Amazon wishlist.)

***

I forgot how wonderfully addicting Katamari Damacy is. It's such a simple, silly premise, but oh so fun. I spent quite some time trying to break my katamari size records in a couple of stages. If I ever get money, I'll try picking up We ♥ Katamari.

-Reileen
the same rain that draws you near me
reileen: (Default)
Just a quick post before I have to work on my HON301 paper, which, uh, I still have no idea what I'm going to write about.

***

I must express my annoyance at the Jordin Sparks song "No Air". The lyrics are dumb, and it feels like the entire second half of the overblown song consists of Sparks ad-libbing with Chris Brown. I first heard it on 101.9FM The Mix while driving and was thinking to myself: "Dear Gods, does this song ever end?"

(For some reason I find that I'm also annoyed with her song "Tattoo" as well. Not as much as with "No Air", though. For one thing, the lyrics to "Tattoo" are far better than "No Air.")

At the moment, I'm listening to the album Harper's Bizarre by the harpist Sarah Marie Mullen. She was performing at the Bristol Renaissance Faire when I went last year, so I snatched up this album, which she said was the most musically varied of the three she had out. I love this one so much, though, that if I go to RenFaire again this year, I'm totally buying her other two albums. I really love the delicateness of the harp work and the whimsicality of the tunes. (Some songs remind me of tracks from the Game Boy Advance RPG Golden Sun, which is one of my favorite games of all time, so that's another plus right there.)

***

[livejournal.com profile] erl_queen posts about spiritual specialists in the neo-pagan community and why most members of the vast neo-pagan movement can't seem to accept the idea that not everyone can be priests/priestesses, shamans, or seers. There's some interesting points brought up in the comments as well.

Six popular fashion trends that killed people. Holy crap, the picture of the "healthy" lotus foot is insanely wrong.

I was informed by lttlpcfyrsng on Twitter that I was name-dropped in a national Borders press release about the closing of the Borders store on Michigan Ave. (I wonder if that means this store is going to have storewide clearance sales soon...? Heeeeeee, books.)

[livejournal.com profile] wintermoonsnow directed me to Gaijin Smash, a blog featuring the experiences of an American JET Programme participant over three years, as well as his post-JET life in Japan. I spent the entirety of Saturday reading through the archives and felt bad afterwards 'cause I felt like I wasted the day. Then I justified it to myself by saying, well, it's pretty much a definite by now that I'll be applying for JET next year, so maybe I can just count this as "research" for the job. Yeah, that's it, I was researching for this job!

-Reileen
petrify, thoughts are far from me
reileen: (Default)
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I took the Myers-Briggs for a high school leadership conference something-or-other and I was classed as an INTJ. It describes me rather well for the most part, although I think my personality bleeds over into INTP territory as well.

I actually still have the booklet from that leadership conference that summarizes the different personality types, so here's what it says about INTJs and INTPs.

INTJs
Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organize a job and carry it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance - for themselves and others.

INTPs
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Skeptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.


***

I realize I've been slacking on the link-o-llections lately, but I hope this latest edition makes up for it!

Kit Whitfield has two interesting blog posts up about fictional villains: one on how she personally conceives of a villain/antagonist and one on various categories of fictional villainy. Writers on the flist, hop on over!

[livejournal.com profile] vyctori sent me this one a while back - the 10 Most Insane Child-Warping Moments of '80s cartoons.

XKCD exposes the truth of Amazon's Kindle 2!

The blog of a Las Vegas escort girl who actually does not hate her lifestyle! Obviously NSFW.

[livejournal.com profile] wadewilson presents "an instructional discourse on how best to avoid being petty, divisive and annoying to other people when enjoying an online role-playing game of any sort. For I have grown tired and weary of seeing people I like behave like unpleasant high-schoolers, and I am also weary of trying to stop foolish misconceptions from growing into utterly inane enmities".

Got some time to kill? Have some free sci-fi short stories.

This has to be one of the most amazing things from nature I've ever seen lately - a fish with a transparent head with eyes that rotate around inside the head. Holy shit, that is so cooooool!

[livejournal.com profile] eyecatching_art brings us the Stooge Lanterns. I would totally watch this show!

Finally, you don't Twitter about ongoing secret negotiations while they're in progress. You just don't.

***

Talking about music I've been listening to lately: Memoira (gothic symphonic rock), Karl Sanders (ambient rock with heavy Egyptian influences), Versailles (visual kei) )

***

Talking about music I've been working on: Like the Dew on the Leaves, Gospel of the Shadow of Nobody, Regretfully Yours/No Longer Yours Truly (Written Letter #2) )

***

HON301 paper due date got moved to next Tuesday! Rawk.

-Reileen
no creation without destruction, no destruction without creation
reileen: (Default)
Common mistakes made in fiction about guns.

At Fandom Wank, we have an epic wank revolving around an AU Twilight fic in which Edward and Bella are both human and in which the word "orgasm" was massacred by the search-and-replace function, being instead substituted by the word "unicorn". This has to be one of the funniest things I've seen out of Twilight fandom so far! "CHAAAAARLIE! CHAAAARLIE! WE'RE HAVING SEX, CHARLIIIEEEEE!" The mental image of which is made worse considering that Bella's dad is named "Charlie". Man, I love wanks involving BNFs!

Remember this entry, where I asked whether cloaking technology would ever go mainstream? Well, here's my answer - apparently cloaking material can be used to kill static on cell phones and improve the overall quality of cell phone reception. I'm so down with that! Now I want to see invisibility bras and undies, to be used by strippers and poledancers to completely boggle everyone's minds as their clients wonder where their happy parts went.

The Smart Bitches ask their readers whether the Insta-Sex trope in fiction turns them off from a story. I'm going to echo a bunch of the comments over there and say that Insta-Sex (in which two romantic leads meet each other for the first time and then OMG HAVE TEH HAWT SEXXORZ) can be good or bad, depending on the situation. I judge it within the context of the story: if the rest of the story is well-written, I'll forgive the Insta-Sex. Also, is there any significance to the Insta-Sex, besides showing that the romantic leads are Totally Made For Each Other? If there is, that bumps it up a notch in my book.

What bothers me far more is Insta-Love. I'm not saying that Insta-Love doesn't happen in real life, but I'm personally far too cynical to give the trope much credit in my mind, especially if the relationship that spins out of the Insta-Love thing doesn't explore both the good sides and the bad sides of the relationship, or the wonder (...or possibly horror) of discovering something new about this person that you instantly fell in love with.

Check out this Obama action figure from Japan. It's awesome enough that he's got, like, interchangeable hands and all these awesome accesories like a stool, a microphone, and an American flag. But then! You get to the bottom of this web page and you see Obama doing his best James Bond impersonation, wielding dual katanas, napping under a kotatsu...and fighting Darth Vader

Also, apparently all of his clothes are removable, according to [livejournal.com profile] vyctori (who is the one who sent me this thing of beauty, thanks!).

[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: ...You know, all of Obama's clothes come off, apparently.
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: ...THIS CAN ONLY END IN TEARS.
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: OF LAUGHTER.
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: Imagine what someone good at sewing could do!
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: And everyone knows that the best cosplay comes from Japan!
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: *is now imagining Obama in Jade's uniform and is dying of roffles*
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: asldjhsaljdahjl!!
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: Actually, fuck that - OBAMA IS THE NEXT DOCTOR.
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: FUCK YEAH.
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: THAT WOULD MEAN HE COULD GO BACK IN TIME AND FIX ALL OF OUR MISTAKES!
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: SWEET
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: AND, LIKE, USE A SONIC SCREWDRIVER AND STUFF.
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: THAT WOULD BE INSANE.
[livejournal.com profile] vyctori: BRITAIN GETS THE MASTER AS A PRIME MINISTER AND YOU GUYS GET THE DOCTOR.
[livejournal.com profile] reileen: XD!

ilu Vyc.

Here's a post about the idea of creating a universal attribution symbol, to be represented for the moment as (i). I love the idea, but have heard some concerns that the "i" looks too much like a Roman numeral to some people, and thus they expect to see (ii), (iii), and so forth. Still, this is something worth thinking about. (Thanks, Eridanus!)

A list of America's most mysterious places. WE'RE ROADTRIPPING, BABY!

John Scalzi features an article from the NYT on "easily misinterpreted place names in the UK." Gee, with names like "Crotch Crescent", "Titty Ho", and "Spanker Lane", I can't possibly see what the problem is, no, sir!

What wishful thinking - If Movie Posters Were Honest.

***

Finished my ART200 paper, but that wasn't so hard to do in the first place - it's the HON301 paper that'll kill me. Today, I'll probably quickly read through some assigned ART200 articles before watching Gattaca, reading one article for the group presentation on Tuesday, and taking preliminary notes for my HON301 paper.

Also, neither my A&D advisor nor the coordinator for the Japan CDM trip has gotten back to me, so it's time for me to bug the backups!

-Reileen
and I pick myself up like a champion

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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