reileen: (reading - books)
Not the list of books I read over 2009 (that'll come once I update my running list on my computer and figure out something meaningful to say), but the books I just ordered from Borders using a $50 gift card.

I'm so excited! I don't know where to start first. D: Maybe with Soulless, since I have a friend who just ordered it from her library to read based on being interested from the Amazon description.

Half-assed New Year's Resolution: Re-read older favorites with a more critical, analytical eye, so I can learn how to do this shit myself. Especially with plotting and pacing. *sigh*
reileen: (general - strawberry)
On Reading
There are many books I've enjoyed, and others that I've admired for various reasons. These days, I've mostly been reading half as a reader and half as a writer, and the writer half of me...well, let's put it this way. My comedy screenwriting professor liked to tell my class that, with all the work he's done in comedy, he never actually laughs at anything anymore. Instead, if there was something he found funny, he'd just go: "That's funny. That's really funny. That's sort of how I am with my reading-as-a-writer right now. I'll read something and go, "Hey, wow, that was really cool. I'mma try to keep that in mind for later.

Brent Weeks' The Way of Shadows was one of the rare books that made my eyes go "O_O!" and my mouth go "NO FSCKIN WAI!". I can't remember the last time I was this impressed by anything I've read. In fact, I think the last thing I read that elicited that sort of HOLY FUCKING SHIT ON A SANDWICH reaction was an epic Teen Titans fanfic of 2.5 million words and 270 chapters written by an old online friend of mine. That was about three years ago or thereabouts.

And the thing is, The Way of Shadows isn't necessarily "original" in many areas. Young street rat is frustrated with his weak status and trains to become an assassin, and becomes one of the bestest best best assassins evar; the world is standard-ish medieval fantasy fare with cobbled inspiration from various Earth cultures (I actually found the cultural worldbuilding kind of meh and a bit inconsistent); the writing isn't necessarily poetic or striking, though it's clear and clean, which is fine by me (and anyway pretty prose wouldn't work with most of the character POVs anyway). But just...the way the author handles his characters and the plot points and the progression of revealing those plot points makes me want to nail this book to the wall next to my desk with a large neon sign pointing to it that says "THIS IS HOW YOU PLOT A BOOK".

I want to buy my own copy of this book, sit down with it, and start analyzing its struture. I've got a library copy of the third book on hand and I'm waiting patiently (sort of) for the second book to arrive at my library. I am prayingprayingpraying that this trilogy doesn't pull a Matrix on me, where the first installment is practically godly while the second and third seem like the were defecated from hell.


On Politicians
From [ profile] yeloson: Dear Mr. President - Your daughter is a ninja.


On School
Good news! I just saved money on car insurance textbooks by switching to Geico! According to the site, not only did I save $180 by renting my textbooks this quarter, but I also got to plant four trees in Cameroon!


On Pretty Pictures
I have Las Vegas pictures uploaded onto Photobucket, and am working (...sort of) on the write-up.

Thanks to [ profile] pinkpolarity, I have discovered the wonder that is [ profile] eyeshadowsluts! Hee. I've spent some time there going through the backposts and looking at all the pictures and advice. They have some interesting looks on there. Like this one, which is freaky as fuck but also fucking awesome.

I also poked through YouTube for makeup how-to videos, and found this one, which I promptly proceeded to emulate using the tools available. I obviously didn't do a perfect job, but I think that with some practice I could get used to doing it, since this is going closer to the kind of look I've been coveting for like ages. XD I'm not sure how well you can see it in these pictures, though.

In which Reileen also plays around with Post-It flash filters, what )

slippery with forgetting
reileen: (music - piano & smoke)
I was psyched when I found out via Twitter and LJ that Emilie Autumn was going to be holding an impromptu, informal meet-up/book-reading somewhere near the Lincoln Park Conservatory & Zoo on July 25. She's been mostly performing in Europe for the past couple of years, and any US shows she might've had were either out of my way or I just couldn't go. So something like this was a real treat. Plus, it was free, so like hell I was going to miss out on this! There were some issues and annoyances, but otherwise I'm glad I made it out there.

I dragged Liz ([ profile] lysis_to_kill), Lauren ([ profile] bluemaiden88), and Melissa along with me. We met up at the Fullerton station and then made Liz lead us to the conservatory/zoo (she'd been to the zoo a million and one times for bio classes, so I figured that her knowledge of where to go was better than mine, which was only informed by two solo jaunts in the years I've been at DePaul). Along the way, we got stopped by two people who asked us if we were going to the EA meet-up, which I guess meant that we were clearly dressed for the part. (Me, my plans for finding the meet-up location once we arrived at the general area was to follow all the gothic people, so there you go.)

Once we got settled at the final location, we had to wait a bit for EA to show up. I think her friend fLee explained what the issue was, but from where we got stuck sitting we couldn't hear much (though once EA arrived she bade us to scoot closer so that we could hear better). Anyway, EA showed up fashionably late, in her steampunk-ish floofy dress and corset and wild pink hair, toting what looked like a nicely handmade big-ass storybook. She spent the next two hours and a half (or somewhere around there) dramatically reading excerpts from her upcoming book The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls, which seems to be half-autobiography, half-fiction. EA's a joy to watch; she's very theatrical, with enough stage presence and charisma to fill the Sears Tower. It made me miss my theatre days, even though in those days I mostly did crew work, not actual acting. (Kinda wish I'd done more acting, though.) The only bad thing about this was sitting on the bumpy ground with barely nothing but my black knit sweater between my ass and the grass.

After reading, EA performed "Fairweather Friend" and "The Art of Suicide", with her producer(?) accompanying her on guitar. And then after that came the Meet N' Greet, at which point me and my friends proceeded to be stuck in a near-dead line for nearly a half hour or more. The problem was that, once EA announced that she'd be doing autographs on your tits - no, for serious, she announced this, "LET ME SIGN YOUR BREASTS BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME", there was this blob of fans surrounding her that she had to attend to first, and then from that blob was this line (where we were at) that spun out from the blob like the tail of a sperm cell. But we got there eventually, so all was well. I had her sign a print of the picture used on her Opheliac cover (which I'd printed out on photo paper earlier in the day). I saw two people who'd brought their violins to be signed by EA, and wished that an 88-key weighted keyboard could be so portable as to easily tote to a VT show to be signed by Miss Teng herself. Oh, well, signed sheet music and a CD aren't bad, but I digress.

and here there be pictures! )

In conclusion, Emilie Autumn is made of frilly, insane, plague-ridden* win! She said that she was planning to do an official show in Chicago in November, so I hope to the Gods I can go see it. She is truly amazing.

pull me up, 'cause I am waiting

*I mean this in a very complimentary way. Anyone who's been following Emilie's recent posts on either LJ orthe main site will know why.
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
I didn't make a lot from Artist Alley this year, but that was about what I expected. I did, however, learn a lot, and will be better armed to take over the Alley next year. (Beware an invasion of Kirby pumpkins!) I think, based on this initial experience, that I actually prefer being in the Artist Alley as opposed to being a regular patron of the con, because at least that way, if I don't want to go to any panels, I won't be stuck in my hotel room feeling like I should be doing something. (It also prevents me from wandering the dealer's room for too long and dropping my cash on stuff. As my friend Lauren said: "Earn, not burn!")

Major highlights for me include seeing my two pet fandoms - Bomberman and Golden Sun - in meatspace, holy crap. I ran into this Bomberman cosplay and this Isaac cosplay, both of which surprised the hell out of me. I also found Gintoki and Neuro and Yako! There was also a bunch of Abyss and Symphonia cosplayers. And I discovered two other Bomberfanatics in the Artist Alley. We are out there, yay!

Here's the booty I scored from the con this year, which isn't much but which I am very satisfied with. Am trying to figure out where I want to put the Gintoki and Bomberman pins. Missing from the picture is a $2.00 Okami fanart bookmark that I got from Lydia's friend, who had a table in Artist Alley. The clips were made by another artist in the Alley who graciously let us hang out by her when we were in table limbo early Friday morning (long story short: there was a database error that assigned two studios to one table, and the other studio had claimed the table first, so we got shuttled to a free table that was in a dinky corner of the Alley).

-Sora G. Silverwind
I want to be awakened right now
reileen: (reading - books)
In some ways I really don't feel like writing anymore. The ease with which writing used to come to me is stilted now, the flow dammed by piles of insecurities, of weaknesses, of other sorts of dark, messy things that one usually finds in a sewer or in three-week-old boursin cheese. It will come again, in time, I suppose. But words are not my strength at this moment. I'm not sure what is.

Nevertheless, I keep trying here in my nigh-invisible corner of the internet, because I feel as though it will be important somehow, someday. I don't expect to do anything world-changing, as much as it would be nice; I merely want the confidence that I can express what I want to express. And writing things down makes them real, in a way. (Which is why I stopped doing a lot of reflective journaling during the darker phases of my life a year or so ago, I think.) It forces me to make clear the haze that clouds my vision, so that I can move forward with more certainty of where I am going next.

I headed out to the Art Institute today to pick out my topic for an HAA115 research paper. The paper's not due 'til May 8, but we need to have our topic chosen by Monday. It wasn't that hard - I'd been through the Asian Art galleries of the Art Institute before with a fellow classmate in ART200, so I had an idea of what to find there. I quickly settled on a piece that had caught my eye previously: a statue of the Japanese Buddhist deity Shukongo-jin, who I would conjecture is a record of the earliest known instance of a hairerection in Japan. (Close-up here.) Seriously, though, check out the physique, too - this guy is like a proto-Dragonball Z character, and more terrifyingly badass than one.

Since it didn't take me long to choose my paper topic and get the required information, I decided to wander around the Art Institute a bit and get the most out of my $7.00 admission. I explored the Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes exhibit, and was pleasantly surprised by it. Karsh was an Armenian-Canadian portrait photographer with a long, esteemed career, spanning over 60 years and many famous subjects, including Pablo Picasso, Indira Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Audrey Hepburn, and Winston Churchill. I was very impressed with how the lighting rendered the various details in the portraits, especially the facial details. The posing and settings were impeccable, as well - they full capture a sense of the power of the subject's personality. Whether the power and the personality depicted are actually true to the subject is, of course, up for debate, but seeing as Karsh was an optimist, it may be better to temporarily put aside those misgivings and to simply enjoy the portraits for their craftsmanship. Portraits, either photographic or rendered by hand, are harder to do well than one might think; I wonder if it's the case that one should be genuinely interested in people to be a good portrait artist.

I also stopped by the Thorne Miniature Rooms, featuring a collection of intricately constructed miniature models of various European and American interiors from the late 13th century up until the 1930s. Pure eye candy, I tell you. I could've spent the entire day in there, if it weren't for the fact that I was starving and the tiny viewing area smelled like humid people and...'twas not very pleasant. I want to get my hands on the Art Institute book about these rooms, though - they're simply amazing. There was something like this at The House on the Rock when I visited it a long while back, too, which was equally enthralling for me. I appreciate it primarily for the scenery porn (the upholstery! the floor plans! the different furniture styles! the stuff and thingies on the walls!), but I think it's also valuable as a historical record, as well.

Tangentially related, but just outside the Art Institute, there was this group of...I don't even know what they were, so I'm just calling them the urban taiko drummers, 'cause that's what their performance reminded me of:

I wonder if I should eventually invest in a membership to the Art Institute. That would depend entirely, of course, on how long I end up staying in Chicago. And it's hard enough for me to get my ass up and out of the house; me and [ profile] lysis_to_kill keep on making plans to visit the Field Museum or the other hotspots on the museum campus, but then we get distracted by shiny things on the Internet. Or cheeses at Baker's Square. Le sigh.


I finished reading Cast in Shadow by Michelle Sagara today. I liked the book well enough, but am not sure if I'm intrigued enough to keep reading. If I get some free time and can get the books from a library, maybe I will (I bought Cast in Shadow when I ordered my spring quarter books off Amazon). I do like the five different races featured in the world of the book, and the characters are well-portrayed. Unfortunately, there were frequently times where I'd be reading along, and then I'd have to double back and re-read, because I had stumbled across something that made no sense to me, and I'd be like, "What? How did that logically follow from the thing prior to it?" I can't tell if this is an actual flaw with the writing style of the book or if it's just my poor reading habits, though. And while I like the main character, Kaylin, decently enough, it's more of a "well, I don't hate her and she hasn't shown any irredeemable traits for me" kind of like.

Also, the book cover is kind of fugly. (Bitches, I am an art & design major in addition to being a bookworm, I have every right to whine about ugly book covers! Not that a fugly cover has any bearing on the quality of a book; it's just something I like pointing out.)

all you people look at me like I'm a little girl


reileen: (Default)
Reileen van Kaile

April 2010



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