reileen: (art - paint jars)
I Need to Get Out More, the picture I finally came up with for DePaul's winter thematic show.

You can also see a progress sheet of the picture here.

Ohmy gods why am I so tiiiirrreeeddd. This is bad, because I have two projects that need full-sized mockups by Monday and Tuesday and I haven't even started any computer work for any of them. I thought I was going to start one of them today, but then I was lying in bed finishing Blood Lines: From Ethnic Pride to Ethnic Terrorism by Vamik Volkan and I ended up taking a nap after it. (Not because the book was boring, I assure you. It actually was quite interesting, explaining the possible psychology driving ethnic clashes such as that of the Greeks and the Turks on Cyprus, or the Russians and the Estonians, and other similar conflicts.) I'm only up right now because Daddykins needed me to wash the dishes. This probably means I should start working on my projects, but my brain, she is dead for some reason.

Maybe I'll go paint Kirby pumpkins instead.
reileen: (angry - Shinpachi)
Yes, there is a reason I re-used the title from this entry. And it's because, once again, one little thing after another kept popping up as I was trying to be productive and bit by bit it katamari'd my rage to levels over 9000 and I really wanted to maul someone.

Today, I woke up, intending to finish off my ART260 project. I...

1) Became increasingly dissatisfied with the quality of the last few pictures I had to draw and outline. "Well, whatever, this is just for school and it'll be at a smaller size anyway, and it fits the style a bit too, so it's not that big a deal."

2) Scanned the pictures in, played around with Illustrator's Live Trace function, only to find that it wasn't producing the kinds of lines I wanted - it looked more as though I'd just run all the sketches through a Levels or Curves adjustment on Photoshop. "Grr, whatever. Smaller size, fits the style, and I'm running out of time."

3) Took way longer than I thought to color in all the sketches. "Blah! No way am I going to get this done in time to head to campus and print out at the lab. I'm going to go to Kinko's and pay for a print so that I don't show up tomorrow without a project."

4) Went to the nearby Kinko's and got told that my 13"x19" color print was going to have a 24-hour turnaround. "OH FUCK NO!"

5) Went back home, proceeded to try and save my original .psd file as a .jpeg so I can resize it, only to find that Photoshop won't save my .psd as a .jpeg because of a program error. "WHAT IS THIS I DON'T FUCKING EVEN"

6) Saved the file as a .png, resized it, brought it to Kinko's, got it printed, found out that the skin tones on the people were wonky looking. "...I GIVE UP, MAN. I GIVE THE FUCK UP."

For what it's worth, here's the final project, although because it's on Photobucket as a resized JPEG, the quality is incredibly blurry, but you should still be able to read the text. I'm planning on revisiting this at some point to get smoother lines and better coloring, but that point is definitely not now. GRAR.

(Also, I found out later that I could, actually, have just saved my .png file as a .jpeg if I needed/wanted to. I think there must be something wrong with the .psd file itself, though fuck me with scissors if I know what it is.)
reileen: (waaah - Garet and Isaac)
Damn, if it isn't one thing going wrong, it's another.

Last night, as I settled down to work on my ART224 final project due Monday...

1) I realized that the pictures that I took with the digital SLR camera that I thought were .RAWs were actually .JPEGs, resulting in an incredible loss of information and a generally crappy quality that blurred a lot of the details. (Though to be fair, I suspect part of the problem also comes from my own lack of skill with the focus function on the SLR.) Still serviceable, just nowhere near as nice.

2) Which is just as well, since apparently my version of Photoshop CS2 wouldn't open the one .RAW file that I had anyway.

3) I realized that I'd left one of the pictures I needed back in the storage section of my Mac lab computer.

Today...

1) I realized that I only had ten sheets of glossy photo paper left. And that I had exactly ten photos to print.

2) And the lab didn't have any glossy paper for me.

3) One of my photos (incidentally, one of the ones that ended up .JPEG) got fucked a bit - the size was off. I have no idea what the issue was - scaling? Printer layout? Whatever the case, I ended up having to chop down the other nine photo prints so that they'd be consistent with that one.

4) Wow, the print quality is even worse than I thought, and I can see some mistakes that I made when I was doing the B&W masking against the original color photo which were nigh invisible while working on the computer!

Blah, doesn't matter. The project's done and I can start worrying about ART260 and HAA237 now.

***

Today marks the first time that I've ever been able to ride the El from Midway Airport to Fullerton station without having to make a transfer. Usually, this is impossible because of the way the Brown and Orange Lines are routed: they circle around the Loop before returning back to their home stations (north in the case of the Brown Line, and south in the case of the Orange Line). So the only way I can get north from the Orange Line or south from the Brown Line is if I make a transfer at some point in the Loop.

However, today there was some construction going on along the Wells and Van Buren side of the Loop, so any Loop-bound Orange Line trains ~*~magickally transformed~*~ into northbound Brown Line trains at the Roosevelt station. What a glorious, glorious day, being able to ride the train to school without having to worry about transfers! I wish every day were like today. (...minus the school project irritations.)
reileen: (art - paint jars)
My ART260 professor submitted my second project to the student curator, to be put up for display in the hallway of the third floor of the art building. The objective was to tell or suggest a narrative of some sort primarily through manipulation of type. That sort of thing is one of my (many) weak points as an artist, and overall I'm not really impressed with what I churned out. But then again, I'm not overly disappointed by it, either. It fulfilled the assignment requirements, and my professor thought it was good enough to put up, so I guess that's that.

Apologies for the bad lighting quality plus the flash; I was using my point-and-shoot (instead of the department's sexah digital DLR camera).







There's also a current call for student works to be submitted to the winter quarter thematic show.

Hide, Hyde, Hide and Seek: Winter Quarter Thematic Show
Submission deadline: January 15, 2010
Exhibition: Jan. 27 - Mar. 1
Opening reception: Jan. 27, 4:30pm - 6:00pm


This thematic exhibition will explore the notion of word play in three different ways: Hide, Hyde, and Hide and Seek. The interpretation can be literal; people or things, lost, missing, leaving or metaphorical; seeking, searching in spiritual, psychological and philosophical ways, as in The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The artwork can adopt one of the three words or all three. Work selected for this exhibit may or may not initially appear to conform to this theme. However, consider what is hidden and what is revealed in both the work you see and the work you create.

I'd love to be able to do something for this. However, I am currently running into a big honkin' white brick wall of non-ideas at the moment.
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
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Established in 1977 or so, Branko's is a family-owned sandwich stop just off of Fullerton, near DePaul University. It's run by a Macedonian couple who are super-nice and super-courteous. The food is standard American sandwich shop fare, affordably priced, but they make it nice and hot and serve it to you with a smile. It's excellent comfort food, and in fact I'm sitting here typing this entry while eating some fried cheese sticks that I got from there.

I started going there in my sophomore year because I kept on passing by it on my way to the art building. Its proximity made it ideal for me to pop in during a studio class break, get some minor eats, and pop back out to get back to class. Recently, I've begun stopping by the place after classes to get food to-go that I then eat at the school cafeteria while sitting with friends. Mr. and Mrs. Branko both know me by face now and have learned what my usual orders are (either cheese sticks or a regular hot dog with ketchup only and a side of fries, plus Mountain Dew), and so I sometimes get minor discounts for being a regular customer.

All in all, the food is good, but it's the service and comfortable intimacy of the small sandwich shop that makes Branko's a regular stop for me.

***

I'd wanted to finish up an ART224 project that's due tomorrow before going to ART113 later tonight, but the lab times are from 6-10pm. Which kind of fails considering that I have ART113 from 6-8:40pm. But since ART113 is a studio day today, I may possibly get away with leaving early to do stuff for ART224, since I don't foresee that the main part of my ART113 project is going to take too long. On the other hand, I could just do it during ART260 tomorrow (since I think that's another studio day). Decisions, decisions.

Two book reviews to go up soon. There are also some thinky thoughts that have been swimming around in my head about the consumption of music/film/books vs. the consumption of visual art and what that means for an artist trying to expand her horizons, and about my place as a second-generation Filipino-American and exploring the boundaries of where I'm Filipino and where I'm American, but I need to (attempt to) study for my ART237 midterm on Thursday as well as pull together something more coherent, so those will have to wait until I find more brain cells.

Also, Borders performance on Friday! Old friends may possibly accompany me again so I'm not so alone, though I do have a friend from college who wants a looksee. I think I had a working setlist floating around somewhere but hell if I can find it in my room (which, not surprisingly, is kind of a mess again!).
reileen: (art - paint jars)
Looks like I won't be getting my usual nap today. In addition to having to work on the final version of my poster for ART264 (which shouldn't really take that long, but just in case), I need to:

1) Continue doing the necessary research and sketches with regards to getting saleable goods for ACEN. (Which I just started during ART227 class this morning, lol.) MAN! It's even more expensive to get 500 custom Post-It books printed (that's the minimum number of pieces I have to order) at that one site I was looking at than it is to order 144 multi-color screened T-shirts (again, min. number of pieces). Le WTF?! Back to the drawing board again.
1a) I have to design my business card, some sign stuff (commission information + product pricing), and then a banner for our entire table. Will have to talk with Lauren about this. I still need to work on Selasphoria's logo. lkjelkranldkfmlakdmfadf WHY DID I PUT THIS OFF SO LOOOONNNG.

2) Attend a Visual Art and Design career workshop in the student center from 4pm-6pm. Well, okay, so I don't need to do this, but it would help. A lot. And I want to get there early so that I can get as much information as possible before I have to leave for Typography I at 5:45pm.
2a) Melissa forwarded me an e-mail she got from Tokyopop. They're apparently looking for design interns?! OMGYESPLZ. Alas, Tokyopop is located in L.A., which is decidedly far from me. However, I'm checking with them now through e-mail about when their winter and spring sessions are - I'm just wondering if I can just move to L.A. for my winter vacation next year and do the internship during that time. If I can (...which seems unlikely), then I have to check with my advisor to see if it'll actually count for credit (junior year experiential learning, hopefully), and with my family to make sure that they're actually willing to let me fly out to L.A.to do this internship. It seems unlikely, but it's for school, so maybe they'll relent. I wonder if Tokyopop also has available summer sessions...?

Am debating on whether it's possible for me to do most of my schoolwork in advance so that I'll have more time to cram (if needed...which is probably is) when it comes closer to ACEN time. I think it's feasible for JPN106 if I just sit my ass down for a couple of hours with my workbook pages, textbook, and a heavy dose of Japanese music blaring in the background. I'll definitely need to do research for HAA115 early on and turn that research paper in early (not that I have any idea what the fuck is going on in that class). I'm a little less certain on getting ahead for ART227 and ART264, but I should be able to stay current with those classes, at least.

***

Slowly rediscovering Metallica's Load album. I liked a lot of songs from this album already ("Hero of the Day", "The Outlaw Torn", "Until It Sleeps"), but there were other songs that didn't grab my attention from the outset, so I'm giving them a closer listen on my commutes on the train (well, when I can hear them over the roar of the El) and seeing what I make of them now. I really prefer the musical styles on Load, Reload, and the Black Album over Metallica's other work, such as from Death Magnetic, which is too thrashy for my tastes. I can't listen to the Black Album anymore, though - I think it wore out its welcome for me a couple of years back. (That album was, incidentally, my gateway drug into Metallica.) I still like the songs on it, and I still think it's a pretty solid album, it's just...I don't know, the thought of listening to the album now is like taking stale gum from the bottom of a chair and trying to chew it.

I have a similar problem with Evanescence's Fallen, which was my gateway drug into Evanescence's music and into gothic/symphonic rock in general. But at least with Fallen I can sometimes load it up for the sake of nostalgia. Despite discovering Metallica around the same time as Evanescence, I don't have that same sense of nostalgia for the Black Album.

(But I guess I should actually listen to the album now and see what it feels like, instead of just thinking about what it might feel like listening to it.)

I was also able to listen to Karl Sanders' latest solo installment, Saurian Exorcisms. Initial impressions were positive, but since I had it on as background music for something else I wasn't able to give it my full attention, so I'll try to give it a closer listen later and write up moar thotz.

Unfortunately, I was less thrilled with Lacuna Coil's Shallow Life, which should be out in the U.S. today but which I was able to listen to earlier. With Karmacode, Lacuna Coil's been moving away from the gothic stylings of Comalies, Unleashed Memories, and In a Reverie, which is disappointing to me. But Karmacode still felt lush and full to me when I listened to it years ago.

Shallow Life, on the other hand, feels...well...shallow. Again, I had this playing in the background while I was doing something, so maybe I'm just missing something, but I honestly wasn't very impressed with it. Then I went on Wikipedia and found out that it was produced by a Don Gilmore, who is well-known for producing Linkin Park's first two albums, Hybrid Theory and Meteora, along with some other work for Avril Lavigne, Good Charlotte, and others. Take that as you will.

On the other hand, I love the album cover for Shallow Life.

***

Am I the only person who can tell the difference in taste between bottled soda and canned soda, and prefers canned soda?

-Reileen
the higher you are, the farther you fall
reileen: (general - strawberry)
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I actually have a number of LJs. My oldest one is almost 10 years old by this point - I got it when LJ was still invite-only, in 2001. IIRC, my first LJ entry in that particular LJ was about school and grades. I discovered while re-reading both my old digital journals and my old dead-tree journals that I bitched about school and grades a lot. What can I say, I had a boring life. I might've rambled on a bit about anime, too.

My first entry in [livejournal.com profile] reileen was basically a faux-contemplative thing about why I chose the name "Reileen" and about where I was at that point in my life, which was...not really in a very good place. Better than some, worse than I would've liked.

***

Skipped ART227 today in favor of taking an early nap (about 8:30am to 10:15am) before working on my poster mockups for ART264 later tonight. I'm slowly getting used to Illustrator, and am beginning to see why people would like using it, especially for layout and logo design. Because it's vector-based as opposed to pixel-based like Photoshop, it's easier not only to get smoother lines, but also easier to resize things if you decide that you fucked up on something. And it just feels...more organized, somehow. I can't imagine using Illustrator solely for - lulz - illustrating, though. I might try experimenting with doing outlines in Illustrator and then importing those over into Photoshop, especially because Illustrator has that miter thingamabobber thingy that lets you get points on all your sharp corners, which I've always had to add by hand when doing outlines in Photoshop. I think I need to get my hands on an Adobe Illustrator CS3 bible or someshit, to get more familiar with all the doodads and thingamajigs in this program. I've become quite competent with the Pen tool and its crazy Paths over the past few years, so I think I should do fine in picking up Illustrator over my time as an A&D major and then applying it to other stuff (work, play, in-between).

I still have no idea what the fuck is going on in HAA115, but I'm going to have to do some early research on the three-eyed hairerection-sporting deity statue. The professor hasn't handed out, like, an official outline sheet for this paper or anything, but the paper is due May 8th, which is, uh, the day of ACEN! Yeah. So I might as well get familiar with some general stuff. In the meantime, I suppose none of y'all out there would be able to help me out on making sense of the history of ancient Indian art, would you?

I'm going to need to start going to bed earlier on Mondays and Wednesdays; taking a nap in the library is good for a decent recharging of the biological battery, but it's not exactly the most comfortable thing in the world, and I could be using that time to work on homework, or at least to get my urge to dick around on the Internet out of my system before I start being productive.

***

I've suddenly been trampled by a bunch of hangout plans. First up is the Vienna Teng performance at Schuba's Tavern this Friday, which I'll be attending with [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill, Lauren, and Melissa. Before that, we'll be eating out (probably at Clarke's Diner), and then after that we'll be crashing at [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill's apartment overnight. I might have to bail out early, though, because I need to get homework done and then do Artist Alley stuff which I still have not started WTF. D:

Then there's ACEN from May 8 to May 10. The crew this time 'round consists of myself, Lauren, Melissa, [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill, Melissa's friend Susan, and Susan's friend, all crammed into a four-person bedroom at the Crowne Plaza. All of us are flailing around a bit as we're ironing the wrinkles out of plans for things to bring, when we'll be checking in, et cetera and so forth. This has the distinction of being [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill's first ever anime convention, so I imagine that the vets in the group will all have fun playing "horrify the anime convention n00b" with her. :D! (Also, Liz, if you want, I'll lend you the first five volumes of a manga called Death Note. You may like it - it's got serial killers, the FBI, and other such things, but with a supernatural twist. Also, the art is purtyful.)

And then finally, it seems that there are plans in the air amongst Lauren, Melissa, and others to go on a weekend Las Vegas trip over the summer, since the prices there have dropped to ridonkulously low levels and airfare is also dirt-cheap. Now this should be interesting if we can get this off the ground!

***

Random: I freakin' want Beyond Heaving Bosoms: The Smart Bitches' Guide to Romance Novels.

-Reileen
it seems that the whole experience is terrible and crippling
reileen: (spirituality - temple/Artemis)
Although I've been more spiritual lately (meaning, in the past couple of months) than I usually am, I still feel like I am falling woefully short of the mark. Am I Doing It Wrong? What am I missing? Is it okay that I can only do pitiful, tiny offerings every month to Artemis and Hermes and can't do a lot of research (yet) into ancient Greek religion? Why do I not seem to be as "in tune" to the Divine and to spirits as other people? Am I meant to be this spiritually dense? What do the Gods want from me? Do the Gods even want anything from me? Is this the right path for me? Ad nauseam.

With my brain drowning in this skepticism, I sat down on the train Wednesday morning and began to read through Dancing in Moonlight's entry about the Artemisian festival of Mounukhia, set on the night of the full moon in April (which is tonight, if my Googling skills haven't failed me). I put on my iPod, which had been paused in the middle of playing "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne, and let it finish through that song because there was only a few more seconds left of it.

The next song that came up?

"only begun" by Artemis.

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun

you drifted to me like a wisp of a cloud
soft lips parting utter not a sound
I felt so warm cradled in your arms
but now I see you were only floating freely

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun
only begun

my heart was written in an ebony stone
you cracked it open, kisses like rays of sun
I thought I'd go crazy when you were gone
but now I see you surround me, laughing in dreams

I close my eyes, the night glitters
and you beckon to me
I tiptoe softly, so not to waken
from angelic slumber
I read your letters, the ground trembles
and the stars come down to whisper

when I thought it was over, only begun
love I thought I could handle, grow so strong
when I thought it was over, only begun
only begun...

Only coincidence? Maybe. But an intriguing one.

The goal of the modern Mounukhia festival is to help people understand the ways in which Artemis can strengthen ourselves and the world around us. Women should get a chance to revel in the camaraderie of sisterhood and feel that their femininity is embraced, honored, and supported by the community.

-Thista Minai, Dancing in Moonlight: Understanding Artemis Through Celebration, p.51

I thought about putting off my personal observance of this festival until later, because it's Thursday and y'all know how I feel on and about Thursdays this quarter. But then I realized, well, it's not like I have class tomorrow, and anyway this is a festival well-suited to be celebrated at night. (Even though it's so cloudy that you can't really see the moon out tonight, le sigh. It was really nice yesterday, though.)

***

Yesterday, I caved and bought the latest installment of the Dresden Files, Turn Coat, at nearly full price at Barnes and Noble.* I was blown away - this is easily one of the most epic books of the series. I'm always fascinated at how Butcher neatly ties up threads from previous plots while also introducing new ones. I also love how he balances the dark, serious business with cynical light-heartedness that (usually) doesn't take away from the gravity of certain situations, but instead reads more as...I'm not sure how to phrase it. A celebration of life, I suppose, if I wanted to be cliche and cheesy. Or - and this would be more in line with Harry Dresden's personality - it's kind of a "fuck you" to the bad shit that happens in the Dresden Files (and some pretty bad shit happens, let me tell you). Even when the plots hit the readers with darker and more depressing curveballs, there's always something that softens the blow a bit.

One thing that had me confused was that the cover features Harry with a sword instead of his usual staff. The staff is still on the cover, true, but it's no longer the main focus of Harry's image (it's hidden behind the book title). So I originally thought that the story was going to involve the whole subplot with the Knights of the Cross and the sword Amoracchius (of which Harry is currently the caretaker). But after reading the book, it then occurred to me that the Wardens of the White Council carry swords as well, and that's probably what the sword on the cover is referring to, because the entire plot of Turn Coat is about White Council intrigue.

I realize I'm not being very eloquent, articulate, or thorough about this book, but I'm hungry and I have a ritual to do. Long story short, Turn Coat is pretty damn amazing, although I wouldn't recommend picking it up if you haven't ever read the Dresden Files before, since it relies heavily on acquired information from previous books.

***

I am not looking forward to my first major ART227 project. We have to go out in a neighborhood and take pictures of an actual place that we're going to design a virtual mural for. By next Thursday, I need thirty photos plus a "research" paper describing 1) the atmosphere of the neighborhood and 2) how our favorite mural artist will inspire and guide our design.

Okay, first off, who the hell - even in arts majors - just casually has a "favorite mural artist"? I barely have favorite artists, period, and that number drops if we're not counting people on deviantArt (yes, I realize how failtastic this sounds). Secondly, the stuff is due Thursday, but really, I'll only have time to do this on the weekend. So it's either Friday or Saturday that I gotta drive out around Burbank (yeah, I'm taking the easy way out and staying close to home...although Burbank is so dreary that pretty much any building in this area could use some color).

Oh! But then I also have to have a paper subject for Monday for my HAA115, which is going to require going out to the Art Institute and wandering around until I find something that I like enough that I'll be able and willing to do the legwork to write a 5-6 page paper on it (due May 8th, on ACEN, ha). Granted, this isn't technically hard, but it's the principle of the thing - I just don't want to go out right now. I want to stay home and be a vegetable. What kind of vegetable should I be? A carrot? A tomato? A cauliflower? Baby corn?

And then I also have some poster mockups plus a quiz (where I'll actually have to write stuff instead of just doing fill-in-the-blank like the previous quiz) for ART264. Thank the Gods I was able to get Illustrator to work on my laptop, because otherwise I'd be nearly screwed for this assignment: the labs will all be closed from Friday to Sunday for Easter weekend. I feel bad for the girls in my class who don't have Illustrator and don't readily have access to it.

Okay, I should probably stop this entry here and go tidy up my room a bit before I do Mounukhia stuff.

Speaking of Artemisian festivals, it amuses me that Thargelia - the joint festival for the birthdays of Artemis and Apollo - falls on the sixth and seventh of May, which is right before ACEN this year. Yeah, that's real convenient, right there!

-Reileen
snowy peaks lost in the clouds



*I have it up on sale for Amazon right now for about $14. Yeah, it sucks I'm only getting half my money back, but if someone bought it, at least it'd be something and I could use the money to get the paperback versions of Proven Guilty and White Night. When the hell is Small Favor gonna come out in paperback, srsly?
reileen: (waaah - Garet and Isaac)
It's only the first week of classes and I'm skipping already, whoops. At least it's not like spring quarter two years ago, where I actually skipped the entire first week of classes. That shit was kind of bananas.

Mostly I'm still dkajdflajdlfkja over my current schedule and trying to get used to it.* Taking naps in-between my classes on Tuesdays and Thursday seems to help with preventing me from falling into a stupor during my second class at 5:45pm (which isn't helped by the fact that the professor turns down the lights in the complab so that everyone can see the projection screen where he does Powerpoint slides and program demos), but it also kind of prevents me from going to sleep on time, too. I don't know, I'm still working out the logistics of this "normal sleeping schedule" thing. Also, my laptop is a BRICKBRICKBRICK and it sucks to carry it around, but it's nice to use my own computer to get on the interwebs and stuff.

Speaking of my TuTh classes, my professor for those classes kinda looks like a male version of Vienna Teng. I am endlessly amused by this. Alas, I have no pictures to prove this to you, so you'll have to take my word for it. Resemblance to music goddesses aside, he's a cool, laid-back guy, and as far as I can tell he seems to be a pretty good teacher.

I am much less thrilled with my HAA115 class. It's a bad sign when, instead of listening to the professor, I end up writing lyric sketches for the first time in forever in my notebook. Le sigh. At least this class is only an hour long, but it's three times a week. falkdflakjfkad. Today I was supposed to hand in a hand-drawn map of Asia for that class, and I actually started it Thursday afternoon and got about halfway through it, but then I realized the paper I was using was too small and that I needed two sheets to be able to fit in all the ridiculous details my professor wants on the map. I intended to dash off a redrawn map today at the lunch table afer Japanese class, but, uh, yeah, I decided I didn't feel like going to class at all today. LULZ. Mommykins was kind of "uhhhh isn't this going to affect your grades?" and I was like "yeah sure but I skipped classes last quarter and still got all A's" and then she was like "oh okay that's fine I'mma sleep now".

I still need to write up my thoughts on Michiko to Hatchin, but I guess it would be more prudent to work on that map first, huh?

-Reileen
just blackened houses, a voice without says



*FUCK YOU, 8:30AM CLASSES, FUCK YOU. And I heard that DePaul is apparently going to start offering 8:00am classes next year? FUCK YOU IN THE ASS WITH A SPIKED DILDO, DEPAUL. If I have to take an 8:00am class next year I am going to massacre cheagles with an AK-47.
reileen: (Default)
JPN106 - Kuso ga onaji, hi ga chigaimasu. Heya mo chigaimasu...demo dake desu.*

HAA115 - Okay, the professor's name is "Curt Hansman", but it's...a woman? I got very confused when I walked into the classroom. Also, I fear greatly that this will be a deathly boring class, but maybe she's more interesting when she's talking about the class material instead of the class syllabus.

ART227 - Professor seems nice and helpful. I'll be having him again for Typography I later in the afternoon. Downsides of this class include 1) being at 8:30am in the morning 2) having to use a Mac and 3) having to learn Adobe Illustrator.

Whoops! Class time again.

-Reileen
and I pick myself up like a champion



*I have no idea if that's the correct Japanese. lulz.
reileen: (glee - Bomberman)
HOLY CRAP I GOT STRAIGHT A'S FOR WINTER QUARTER!

Borders last night was probably my best night so far. I scored about $30 or so in tips, although a bunch of that came from my friends, my brother, and my dad. Still, even subtracting the money they put in, I earned $14 playing two short sets, which I think is my best haul so far. I even had some guy come up to me who said he would've put in more than $2 if he had more to give and when would I be performing again? My friends joked that I got more cash because I was showing more skin - I was wearing a boatneck-style top where one side routinely kept sliding down my shoulder, which subsequently amused me and then creeped me out. (It's not like my shoulders are particularly sexy...)

Also, I am never playing covers again. Well, okay, that's an exaggeration, I'm sure I'll play covers again once I get more talent, but seriously, why is it that I can never manage playing VT's "Gravity" in public? I totally forgot the song halfway through when I played it back in December, and I botched the final iteration of the chorus extremely badly. I managed to get through to the end because I remembered, vaguely, the base chords of the section, but it's really galling because I know this song I've played it a million times from memory during practice and nailed it most of the time. Le sigh. Just another reminder that I need to get more original pieces done.

Speaking of original pieces, against my better judgment, I also debuted "Wasted" during my second set, which is still only maybe 70% finished but technically performable. I got through it well enough, but it's not one of my more interesting songs. It is one of my more personal songs, and I am proud of the lyrics, but musically, especially for the vocal lines, I feel like something is lacking. Is it intrinsic in the composition, or do I - once again - simply lack the vocal ability to pull it off? I don't know. I have to work on this song more and see what I can do. I also played "This Song Sucks", which I've been trying to avoid for a while because that song seriously sucks, but I was getting lethargic audience reaction during my second set, so pulling the comedy card out was partly to (attempt to) amuse them and partly to amuse myself.

But enough of my music for now - I must work on my art. Somehow. Somewhere.

***

The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie is one of the best high fantasy trilogies I've read. Admittedly, that's not saying much since I don't think I've read that many fantasy trilogies. I think the last one I read was Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Legacy trilogy a couple of years ago, which I liked. Both The First Law and Kushiel's Legacy are set in something like an alternate Earth world, with extra magick and supernatural shenanigans, but that's where the similarities end. The First Law, really, is more akin to George R.R. Martin's massively epic A Song of Ice and Fire series, in its dark, gritty tone; in its narrative structure of multiple interlocking viewpoints; and in its world-scale story. I've only read the first two books of ASoIaF (and I'm not entirely sure if I want to read the rest), but if I had to compare that series with Abercrombie's series, I think Abercrombie's series is, in some ways, easier to get through. There's still a massive cast of viewpoint characters, but it's limited and none of them die while the shit is still hitting the fan. (After it is a different story, but alas.) Also, this series is actually finished within three books, so at least you're not left hanging like you are with ASoIaF at the moment. If you enjoy GRRM's work for ASoIaF, you'll want to take a look at The First Law trilogy (the first book is The Blade Itself, followed by Before They are Hanged and The Last Argument of Kings). And if you're just looking for something different in fantasy and you're willing to wade through some pessimistic, gloomy material, then this might be for you as well.

One of the things I admire about this trilogy is how tightly plotted it is. Not so much in terms of the individual books - I frequently felt as though this story was broken up into books only because to put them together into one huge honkin' volume would just not be practical. It would make an awesome weapon though. But in terms of how plot points were laid out and then woven into the tapestry of the plot and tied up, The First Law feels very compact (...maybe that's not the word I'm looking for, since there is a lot of stuff going on in these books). The ending is open...and yet it also feels claustrophobically closed, as a result of the development of the characters in the book (another thing I admired about this series) and how Abercrombie has turned common fantasy tropes on their head and then drowned them in a barrel of sewer water.

I should warn that, although The First Law technically ends with the "good guys" winning, it's not a happy ending. I know that seems like a huge spoiler, but trust me: what will interest you the most is the journey, not the destination. If you trace the character development and story trajectories throughout the series independent of broader context and details, it would seem like a happy ending: one characters accomplishes zir overall goal, another one gets to return home, another one gets a promotion, and so forth. And yet, within the story, all of it only seems sad, futile, and meaningless. One of the themes repeated throughout The First Law (mostly, I think, from Bayaz, a wizard known in the world as The First of the Magi, who's a helluva piece of work in this series) is that history invariably repeats itself as a result of the folly and short-sightedness of mortals. The overall story arc of The First Law is cyclical: although many of the viewpoint characters have changed considerably through the series, they nevertheless end up returning, physically or otherwise, to where they came from. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

The other theme that runs naked and screaming throughout The First Law trilogy is that life ain't fair, and boy howdy, is that ever bludgeoned home in the story. Although every viewpoint character has their moments of Fuck My Life, it's probably most prominent in the character stories of Superior Sand dan Glokta (a former distinguished upper-class gentleman and military man, now turned crippled torturer in the employ of a monarchy) and Ferro Maljinn (a woman who was sold into slavery as a young child, then later escaped). Both of them eventually get vindicated, but the schadenfreude is tempered with the knowledge of the events that brought about those chances for vindication. The victory is a hollow victory, like a large loaf of bread you buy at the marketplace that's actually mostly filled with cobwebs. This further contributes to the "claustrophobic" feeling with regards to the ending that I mentioned earlier, and the reader ends up pitying the characters. You know that they "won", and yet you can't really feel "happy" for them, knowing what you know. In fact, I don't think even the characters feel "happy" about their victory, just relieved that they're still alive. As Logen Ninefingers (the most feared man of the North) would say, you have to be realistic about these things.

I have some minor quibbles with this series, mainly concerning Abercrombie's writing style, which is noticeably clunky in parts of The Blade Itself but gets better in the next two books (but which I still found, oddly enough, kind of hard to get through - it's not even flowery or anything like that). The characters are also immensely flawed in many ways, which is certainly a refreshing change from bland stereotypes or blatant Mary Sues/Gary Stus, but the degree to the flaws manifest in the narratives may be off-putting to some people. Certainly there have been many times where I wanted to strangle Glokta and Maljinn, who are intensely single-minded in many ways, defined almost solely by their past tragedies. It's understandable but irritating at times. Logen Ninefingers and his friend the Dogman are probably the most likable characters in the book, in terms of being a comforting personality lens to read through. There's also some spoilery plot threads that I wish were tied up. )

But The First Law is, overall, well executed. I'm interested in picking up his next book, Best Served Cold, which is set in the same universe as The First Law but with a different kind of story, a different cast of characters (though I've heard that many of the other characters from the previous books will return in some measure), and a different setting (another country in the TFL universe).

Randomly - I'm also fond of the name "Tolomei" from the book. Wish I could use that as an alias for something.

***

Lauren brought over her DVD for Pan's Labyrinth, which I'd been meaning to watch for some time but never could park my ass down to watch it. I don't watch movies very often, and I rarely watch them when they first come out in theatres. What usually happens is that I'll see an interesting trailer or hear about something, make a mental Post-It of it, and then promptly forget about it. I seriously can't sit down and watch things for some reason - it makes me feel like I'm being idle. Because there's clearly nothing idle about obsessively refreshing my usual pages on the interwebs. /goes off on tangent

Anyway, Pan's Labyrinth is a dark fantasy story set against the background of rural Spain in 1944, under the dictator Francisco Franco. (Who has a real name that you could run a marathon across. This factoid has no relevance at all to the story, but I thought it was amusing.) Young Ofelia and her pregnant mother Carmen are heading to the countryside to move in with the heartless Captain Vidal, the father of Carmen's unborn child. Vidal is, at best, apathetic to Ofelia and Carmen, and at worst he's actively violent (physically and verbally) towards them. As Carmen's health unravels, relegating her to bed rest, and as Vidal continues his campaign to flush out guerilla fighters in the forest, Ofelia is left to her own devices to do what she wants, including investigating the mysterious labyrinth nearby.

I really wish I could write a longer review for this movie, but there's so many layers to peel through and I lost half my life getting distracted by the Fuck My Life website that I linked earlier and I have classes again tomorrow that I'll just say that it's an excellent movie, but heartbreaking. It starts out slightly whimsical but quickly descends into darker depths. Like Abercrombie's series, this is another narrative that takes common fantasy elements (in this case, the young protagonist with a less-than-desirable real life, the non-human mentor, the quest for mystical objects for the realization of some lofty goal) and then takes a potato knife and completely mutilates them. I'm seeing two different readings of the movie's overall message - it's either that great things come at great sacrifice, or that living in a fantasy world for too long will destroy your real world. I'm not entirely sure which message we're supposed to take away. I've heard it argued that the fantasy element of Pan's Labyrinth is superficial and trivial to what is a perfectly good story examining the casualties of the Franco regime, and while I'm not sure I entirely agree with this argument, I don't think it should be completely dismissed, either. The entire premise revolves around the existence of that fantasy world, and it's Ofelia's hope - and the audience's - for something happier. But things occur that call into question whether that fantasy world truly exists. There's some parallels between what happens in the real world and the fantasy world, but instead of cementing a solid connection between the two worlds, it suggests the possibility that Ofelia - who is an active bookworm - simply has an overactive imagination that she's using to escape from her disastrous home situation.

Randomly - we watched this movie in the original Spanish with English subtitles, but as I was reading the English subtitles I was hearing the Japanese equivalent in my head. It manifested as a string of Japanese syllables for some of the longer sentences, and for the basic stuff ("thank you", "welcome", "yes, sir", "where are you?") I "heard" the actual Japanese translation. I'm told this is a phenomenon called retroactive interference. My friends wonder how I didn't go insane. I wonder too.

***

Holy crap, I just found out that DePaul's CDM school is holding auditions for animation and game design majors with senior standing to audition 100 professional voice actors who've agreed to work for free for their capstone animation and game projects. That's amazing. It kind of makes me wish I'd stayed with animation. But then again, I have no talent with animation, so I'd just be intimidated and then depressed at the idea.

Hopefully in the next few entries I can talk about the ending of Michiko to Hatchin.

-Reileen
you might say that I'm the last man standing now
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: (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: (general - strawberry)
GOOD NEWS: Apparently my HON301 professor decided that our poor brains needed a break from the SRS FSCKIN BSNS of multiculturalism and the ethics of identity, so while we're supposed to see a movie on Thursday, he's just going to let us DL an .avi of it from his computer tomorrow in class and we can watch it at home on Thursday. Meaning, class is canceled for this Thursday. Huzzah!

BAD NEWS: Our 6-9 page paper on the different frameworks of racial identity we learned about over the past month is still due on Thursday! Boo.

WORSE NEWS: I have absolutely no fucking idea what I'm going to write about for this paper! Angst. I'm going to attempt brainstorming some stuff tonight, though. Once I finish ka-plunking around. Making decent progress on "Gospel of the Shadow of Nobody", don'tcha know.

Also, for some reason I got the idea today to write a song in the key of G-minor in 9/8 time. Huh.


***

I just realized I haven't done a link-o-llection in a while. Whoops.

-Reileen
I believe in miracles
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Being that it was a cold, wintry Saturday night two months after the holiday season, there weren't that many people in the cafe. In addition, I was just told when I arrived that Borders had cut its operation hours - they now close at 10pm instead of 11pm, which meant that I had to spontaneously cut down my planned three sets to one-and-a-half-sets. As such, I didn't make too much in tips - $7.25 this time around. Still, that's some good money for lunch.

In terms of how I felt during the performance, it was better than my December appearance - I was a lot more relaxed, perhaps primarily due to having hung around with Lauren and Melissa earlier today, and having them - along with [livejournal.com profile] mia_noire - come see me perform. And I didn't have to strain my voice to have it carry to the mike because I had a shiny new boom mic stand that my dad bought for me two weeks ago. I still fumbled a lot of notes in my songs, but my hands weren't as frozen by the window draft as I expected them to be. This is probably because Melissa lent me her own black fingerless gloves, which were a lot thicker than mine. The problem with those gloves, though, was that they were fitted at the wider end, so that even when I scrunched them down close to my wrists, they were still fairly snug on me. This probably explains why, in the middle of playing "Almost", my left hand started spontaneously going numb and tingly. That was definitely a minor panic moment.

Setlist #1

1. Bacchanalia
2. Triskaidekaphobia
3. Whatever You Want (Vienna Teng cover)
4. Cold
5. Cynthia's Lullaby
6. Sphinx (played using a layered electronic piano tone)
7. Between the Lines
8. Almost

Setlist #2

1. Bacchanalia
2. Triskaidekaphobia
3. Cold
4. Sphinx (again, played with a layered tone)
5. Cynthia's Lullaby
6. Daughter Mine

...okay, so maybe this isn't "one-and-a-half" sets so much as "one-and-three-fourths" sets, I think. Haha.

Also, in the middle of talking about the backstory from "Almost", I heard some lady near me go: "Aww, she's so cute!"

***

Earlier in the day, I headed out to see Coraline with Lauren and Melissa. I personally found it a well-done film - the story has a definite classic fairytale feel that's enhanced by the visceral materiality (...a redundant phrase?) of the brilliant stop-motion animation. (How the hell did they manage to animate Coraline's hair blowing in the wind?!) It's a film that is geared towards a younger audience, but it doesn't condescend to them, so anyone of any age can enjoy it.

***

Am ridonkulously tired. Have not yet re-setup my keyboard and stand after coming back home because I am too tired. It is probably for the best that I leave things un-setup, though, because I'm going to have a bunch of schoolwork to do tomorrow and I don't need the (faux) ivories to distract me.

THINGS THAT THE REILEEN MUST NEEDS DO TOMORROW/TODAY

ART200
*Art historical family tree write-up
*Catching up on journal entries for the readings
*Reading an essay

JPN105
*Study for the grammar quiz on Monday somehow

HON300
*Start BSing possible shit to BS about in the 6-9 page paper due this Thursday

OTHER STUFF
*FAFSA
*Shower
*Reorganize the music on my iPod
*Clean up this damn room!

-Reileen
makin' love in the afternoon with Cecilia
reileen: (spirituality - temple/Artemis)
TUESDAY: I found out that my attendance grade for ART105 is currently teetering on the brink of an abyss. The way it goes is that, once you accumulate enough absences and tardies, the professor will dock a letter off your final grade for the class, e.g. if you have an A, she'll lower it to a B. Technically, I'd already hit that limit, with two absences and three tardies. However, one of my tardies was from the first day of class, and the professor said she gives students a pass on tardies and absences for the first day, so now I've got one more tardy left before my final grade gets affected. And it would be pretty fucking pathetic if the only reason I didn't score an A in my ART105 class was because I happened to be running on Filipino time.

WEDNESDAY: I've gotten into the habit lately of talking to Artemis and Hermes more often, usually before I go to bed. At the very least, I tell Them "good night and thank you". Sometimes I rant about things that are bothering me, and sometimes, as I did Wednesday night, I remind Them (not that they need it, it's more just me being neurotic, I suppose) that if They want to tell me something, They need to be obvious about it and hit me over the head with it because I'm so spiritually dense.

THURSDAY: I was woken up at about 8:00am by a poster falling off my wall and onto my head. WTF.

...buuuuut because my cell phone alarm wasn't set to go off until 9:15am because my ART105 class doesn't start until 11:45am, and I can get there on time if I leave my house by 10:15-10:20 or so, I fell back asleep!

Alarm went off, I slept in some more, I woke up, ate some breakfast, mucked around on the interwebz, got ready, left the house at 10:20. Okay, I thought to myself, it's cutting it a bit close, but it takes 15 minutes to get from my house to the Midway Airport CTA station, so I should still be able to make it to class on time.

Except that once we got on Cicero Avenue (the main street to take from my house to Midway), traffic was backed up for blocks.

Why? Because there were construction workers working on a pothole north from where I was, and they set up a barricade so that the three-lane street was reduced to a single lane. Add in a couple of semis that were trying to elbow their way through, and traffic was pretty much fucked. The fifteen minutes I thought it was going to take to get to the station turned into, like, a half hour. FAIL.

Miraculously enough, I still managed to get on campus at 11:43! Even more miraculously, although I stumbled into the classroom at 11:47, the professor didn't mark me as late! "Close fucking call" doesn't even begin to cut it.

LESSON LEARNED: When you tell your Gods that, if They want to tell you something, They need to be obvious and hit you over the head with it, and then They literally do it...you really should listen!

Although in terms of "things falling on one's head as a message from a deity", I got off easy compared to the one pagan I once knew on the AOL Teen Wicca boards...she'd been ignoring/not noticing signs of Ares wanting her attention, and then one day while she was at a museum, a statue of Ares nearly fell on her.

-Reileen
for now I walk beside you, for now I walk beside you
reileen: (reading - books)
I'm currently reading Empress by Karen Miller, and am a little under halfway through the 700+ page book. The story revolves around a village girl named Hekat, who is initially sold into slavery but soon proves to be a lot more special than that. While I like the world-building (non-Euro-flavored fantasy world FTW - I think this particular world, Mijak, has very faint echoes of Egypt in it?), I'm far less sold on Hekat herself, who is easily one of the most unsympathetic main characters I've ever run across in fiction. Yes, she was a slave and she had a hard life, so I understand why she's so bitter, hateful, and aloof, but there's almost no humanity in her - she has very few moments of doubt and weakness. Maybe it's a result of being godtouched in her world: Hekat's life revolves around serving the nameless god of her world. We do see that there is a palpable divine influence in Mijak, and so Hekat serving as "a slave to the god", as she herself put it, isn't so farfetched.

At the same time, because of this, Hekat's character rings shallow to me. She's only a vessel for the god; she has no wants or real needs outside of serving the god. Because of the one-dimensionality of her personality, we as readers have to turn to the overall external plot for a reason to read on, which is actually why I'm continuing to read the book. This book doesn't feel like it's about Hekat herself at all; it feels like it's about how Hekat ended up as this slave to the god. Essentially, it reads like a fanficcer trying to explain how a canonical Big Baddie became that way. Not in terms of quality or anything like that, but in terms of Hekat's character development, or lack thereof. And judging from the summaries to the other two books in the Godspeaker trilogy, which indicates that there's a change in the main character POV from Hekat to someone else, I half-wonder if Empress wouldn't have done better as a prequel apart from those other two books.

***

As a result to getting to campus late, I'm skipping ART105 at the moment, which I think either pushes me one absence closer to having the instructor drop my final class grade by one letter, or has already done so. (So even if I get an A in terms of classwork, my absences will drop that grade to a B.) It's already more than halfway through the quarter and I still end up being wildly inconsistent with what time I end up getting to LPC on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Oh, well - I think I'll actually be able to score an A in ART200, and I'm almost certain I can get an A- for JPN105 and a B(-?) for HON301, so it shouldn't affect my GPA to the point where I'd lose my scholarship (cutoff is a 3.3; my GPA as it stands from last quarter is 3.486). At any rate, I should be able to make up for it with spring quarter. Here's hoping, anyway.

I finally got to meet with an A&D advisor this past Tuesday. It turns out that, yes, I will be able to feasibly graduate with a BA in art & design by spring 2010, so now I can write a request to my scholarship director to extend my scholarship and refer her to my A&D advisor for proof that I only need one more year at DePaul!

My schedule for next quarter looks like this -

MONDAY
JPN106 Intermediate Japanese III 10:50am - 11:50am
HAA115 Principles of Asian Art 2:20pm - 3:20pm

TUESDAY
ART227 Digital Imaging 8:30am - 11:15am
ART264 Typography I 5:45pm - 8:30pm

WEDNESDAY
JPN106 Intermediate Japanese III 10:50am - 11:50am
HAA115 Principles of Asian Art 2:20pm - 3:20pm

THURSDAY
ART227 Digital Imaging 8:30am - 11:15am
ART264 Typography I 5:45pm - 8:30pm

FRIDAY
JPN106 Intermediate Japanese III 10:50am - 11:50am
HAA115 Principles of Asian Art 2:20pm - 3:20pm

Pah, so much for never taking another 8:30am class after finishing with ANT120. But my advisor really stressed the importance of this course, since it's a foundation course in design theory, so I figured that I just gotta put up with it if I want to graduate. I'm also not exactly thrilled with having another huge gap of time between classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I think I can figure out how to deal with that. (Hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill?) I decided against taking my Honors Senior Seminar next quarter and thus finishing up my liberal arts requirements, because I still have to work on stuff for Artist Alley and I really do not need the stress of an Honors class on top of everything.

***

Working setlist for 2/21:

1. Bacchanalia (instrumental)
2. Triskaidekaphobia
3. Gravity (Vienna Teng cover)
4. Cold
5. Cynthia's Lullaby
6. Sphinx
7. Between the Lines
8. Almost

I'm not entirely sure of the total running time for this setlist, but I imagine that it's similar or even less than the setlist I drafted out in this entry. I might try to time it when I get home today instead of studying for a kanji quiz tomorrow. I actually had Vienna Teng's "Augustine" as the final song for a little bit, until I realized that 1) I needed to find a way to capture the bass part without killing my wrist and 2) I had to get a better set of pipes to sing the damn chorus. Then I switched to VT's "Harbor", but then realized that I might not have the stamina at the end to sing that particular song (again, especially for the chorus). So finally I decided that I'd just take the happiest-sounding original song I had and stick it at the end ("Almost" was initially #3). The Gods know the audience would probably need it after the emotastic, six-minute ballad that is "Between the Lines."

Dear Gods, I hope it's not freezing on the 21st. That would be horrible for playing "Gravity", "Sphinx", and "Almost." I think I might have to bring, like, a hot water bottle or something.

-Reileen
well, I know it's wrong, why do I do it?
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Vienna Teng's music video for Gravity is - much like the song itself - beautiful, haunting, and not the same love song we've seen before. (I'm not even sure it would actually qualify as a "love" song, but it can be argued either way.) Gorgeous atmosphere, and Vienna herself looks mighty fine in that burgundy ballgown. I'm not entirely sure what to make of the video's seemingly straightforward-but-not storyline. My pet theory is that Vienna is just so damn good at what she does that *POSSIBLE SPOILER?* even the dead sit up and listen when she plays. (Vienna Teng: Necromancer! There's a music video idea. Everyone knows that everything is better with zombies!) *END POSSIBLE SPOILER?*

Meanwhile, the German Amazon page features a promo video of Miss Vienna for her Inland Territory album, which features short little samples of the songs from that album. I don't even know what to say - this new material is simply breathtaking. You thought Vienna Teng was amazing before? If you didn't, don't tell me, so I don't have to put you to death for blasphemy, 'cause I like y'all. This is where the really good shit is at. One of my main nitpicks with Vienna's albums (if you can call it a nitpick) is that the album recordings never seem to capture the energy of her live performances. From what I've heard of Inland Territory so far, however, it doesn't appear that I'll have a problem with that. (Though I don't doubt that, as amazing as these sample clips sound, seeing her perform these songs live will be even better, as it usually is.) If you have RealPlayer, you can also download 30-second samples of all the songs here.

Inland Territory will be seeing a February 6 release over in Germany. If I can spare some money, I'll probably try to get the downloadable album from the German Amazon website while I wait to buy the real deal on April 7, when it comes out in the US. I'm really, really excited to finally hear Vienna's new songs. I suspect I will end up crying upon the first full listen, both at how incredible the album is and how much farther I have to go before I can even hope to match that in my own music.

***

I've also been enjoying Yousei Teikoku's Iro no Nai Sekai mini-album, released on January 14. It includes five new tracks plus an off-vocal version of the title track. I hadn't been impressed with the song "Iro no Nai Sekai" when I first heard the TV-size version of it (it's an ending to an anime called Kurokami), but it comes off better in its full-sized version. Still, when it comes to the quiet tracks, I prefer "Tooi Maboroshi". "Destrudo" and "Alte Burg" are more along the lines of the previous singles "Schwarzer Sarg" and "Hades: The bloody rage", while "Valtica" sounds like a descendant of the techno/electro sensibilities of "Chinmoku no Mayu" and "Kikai Shoujo Gensou". Although I do happen to like "Valtica", it unfortunately also sounds almost a little too much like any generic electropop anime song - the gothic edge that's very much honed and sharp on most of their songs is a bit dull here. Still, overall, I'm pleased with this latest installment from Yousei Teikoku.

***

2009 is looking to be a good year for my music library. In addition to Vienna Teng's Inland Territory and Yousei Teikoku's Iro no Nai Sekai, I can look forward to:

-Alestorm's Black Sails at Midnight: Scottish pirate metal. Scottish pirate metal. That should be all I need to say about this. I mean, c'mon.

-Ghost Orgy's currently titleless album: This is such an epic band. They're like if you mixed together the best of Disturbed, Rasputina, and Evanescence. Their songs are perfect for rocking out to during Halloween, but if you're looking for a twist on gothic rock, check out Ghost Orgy. I really love Dina Concina's alternately sweet and screechy(...?) vocals; maybe someday I'll get that vocal versatility as well. (It also helps that she's Filipina(-American?) and smokin' hot.)

-Kanon Wakeshima's Shinshoku Dolce: Wakeshima's music, based on what I've heard from her two singles, is a little like Yousei Teikoku's, except that, musically, it comes off more neoclassical, probably because Wakeshima is also a cellist and the cello lines figure prominently in the songs. Wakeshima's vocals are also lower on the vocal register, which is quite well-suited to her cello work. She's produced by Mana, the guitarist for the visual kei band Malice Mizer, so I expect to see some interesting stuff from her.

-Lacuna Coil's Shallow Life: I wasn't really wowed by their most current album, Karmacode, but I still like this group enough that I want to hear what they've got lined up for Shallow Life. I admire Cristina Scabbia's vocals (even if sometimes I can't understand half of what she's saying - although the Wikipedia page for the upcoming album states that the band is working on making the English lyrics more intelligible this time around), and enjoy the dark, gothic sensibilities of their songs that doesn't rely on orchestral elements.

***

I've accepted, mostly, that I do not have the time or the money to be able to study abroad in Japan, like I'd dreamed for years. The Japan CTI winter trip doesn't look like it's happening, and it's really not feasible for me to do a summer study abroad trip. I cried for a good while when I realized this, but being able to complete my bachelor's degree by spring 2010 is top priority right now. I can travel to Japan (and to other places around the world!) later. Now probably isn't a good time to do any heavy traveling anyway, the economy considered. I can only hope it'll be better by the time I decide that I want to embark on a transcontinental trek.

I have had luck with contacting a second A&D advisor about my major requirements - I'm scheduled to meet her at the art building at 9:15am on Tuesday. Hoo boy.

-Reileen
it's just the radio, darlin'
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
reileen: (waaah - Garet and Isaac)
I'm waiting to hear back from the A&D advisor I talked with in fall quarter about getting some of my animation credits counted towards my A&D major. I e-mailed him on Sunday but haven't heard back from him, which is making me antsy. He's teaching at least one class this quarter (a senior seminar class), so he should be checking his school e-mail, hopefully. I'll wait for another week or two before I stomp over to the art department in a righteous fury and demand the right to a major advisor, either to see him or another one.

See, I'm a little antsy at the moment because, although I can - numerically speaking - fit in my needed classes, both for my liberal arts requirements and my major concentration requirements, within the last academic year-and-a-half or so that I've got left, I've just realized that it would probably help to know when certain classes are offered during the year. It'll suck hardcore if I need, say, a certain 300-level art class, and then realize during spring quarter of my senior year that that class isn't being offered then. DO NOT FUCKING WANT. I only need three more foundation courses, which would be pre-reqs to higher-level art classes, and I'm almost sure I can nail those courses either next quarter or in fall quarter 2009-2010.

The other problem I'm having is that the art department is like a fucking chameleon: every year it changes the colors of its program requirements. I've got two lists of program requirements, one from last year and one from this year (both of which I ended up getting from my Honors advisor, wtf?), and I'm like, which one do I go with, this year's or last year's? INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW! I'm assuming it'd be last year's, since that's technically when I entered the major, but I'd rather get official confirmation instead of stumbling around in the dark. In terms of the number of courses I'd need to take, there's not too much of a difference between the two years - last year's has 11 courses for the A&D concentration and this year's has 12. But this year's course list requires more 300-level art classes than last year's, and it doesn't seem to offer Beginning Painting as a credited course anymore. (I'm miffed that Figure Drawing won't count towards A&D credit either - I was really looking forward to finally taking a formal course for that shit, with live models and everything!)

At any rate, my spring quarter this year will probably have JPN106, HON350/351, and two ART courses that I haven't figured out yet. I'm leaning towards ART113 (3-D Foundations) and one of the two art history groupings (one of them has classes in either Asian, Latin American, or African art, and the other one is geared towards art from Dead White Males). JPN106 is the last class in my language sequence for this year, and HON350/351 is the Honors senior seminar course. Both of these will officially complete my liberal arts requirements, and all that's left for me to do is my "experiential learning" requirement by studying abroad! Which is where I'm running into another problem.

It's no surprise to anyone here that I'd like to hop over to Nihonland. In fact, one of the things I was looking forward to most in college was being able to study there for one quarter, or hell, maybe even one year. But as a result of taking a year off, changing my major, and realizing that I'm still sort of precariously balanced on an emotional branch, I can't do the traditional "study-at-some-country-for-a-quarter" deal. Instead, I have to go during break. Summer break is the most obvious one, but my family is planning a trip to the Netherlands this summer to visit my mom's sister, and I don't know yet when or for how long (or hell, even if) we're going. Spring break is ridiculously short, and DePaul doesn't seem to offer any Japan programs for spring break anyway. That leaves winter break.

This year, DePaul CTI (well, it's "CDM", now) hosted the first winter break trip to Japan, a two-week deal that brought students to various places dealing with computer gaming and animation. The coordinator of the program said that they were tentatively planning another trip like this for next year, more centered around Japanese pop culture. I've e-mailed her asking if those plans have become definite. I'm hoping they have, because otherwise...I will be a very sad Reileen, to understate things just a tad. The other alternative is just to do one of the DePaul community service things, whatever those happen to be (haven't looked into them), but I'd rather not do that unless I have no alternative. Right now I'm looking at the other winter break destinations, and other possibilities include Amsterdam/Brussels/Paris, China, and...Morocco. (Camel ride through the Sahara! Yeah, that'll definitely let Mommykins sleep well at night.) The thing that worries me slightly, though, is that the Japan CDM trip is the only one that requires you to take just one associated course prior to going on the trip - all the other ones have two (one in fall quarter, one in winter quarter). I don't mind taking one quarter with an extra class, but taking two, especially when I'm in my senior year, is causing me to twitch just a tad. ([livejournal.com profile] lysis_to_kill, I can't figure out how you managed to routinely take 5 or 6 classes - in science of all things! - a quarter. You're either super strong or super crazy. Four classes is enough to make me want to kill kittens and fry their skin into kitty chicharron.)

I'll just have to check up on the study abroad pages regularly. The deadline for applying to winter term SA programs is May 15th, so finalized plans should be materializing at some point prior to that date. Right now, my more pressing concerns are the two papers (one for ART200, one for HON300) that I have to write this weekend. Also, wtf, why is my tuition overdue? Did my student loans not get distributed or something? Gotta check that shit out soon, and renew my FAFSA stuff too. Also also, I need to formally extend my DePaul Presidential Scholarship. Apparently when they say "four-year scholarship", they mean "four-year scholarship". As in, four calendar years, not academic years. I was told by a financial aid advisor that even though I wasn't in class last year, it still counted as one of the years on the four-year scholarship. So now I have to write to another financial aid advisor asking for a formal extension, and I'd have to "prove" (not my words) that 1) I had a legit excuse for taking the year off ("not just because you wanted to") and 2) that I'd be able to graduate by next spring. The first piece of evidence is easy enough - I can list the name and contact info for the counselor I went to for a few months, although since she moved her office I'm not sure how much of the info stayed the same. The second piece of evidence, well...I could just tell her that, given what I know about the number of courses I need to finish off my credits, it's likely that I'll graduate by next year. But it'd be SUPAR SUPAR nice to have an advisor's official word that yes, despite her crazy antics, Ms. Reileen van Kaile will, indeed, get the fuck out of DePaul by spring 2010!

Which brings us full circle to the beginning of this post. ANSWER MY FUCKING E-MAIL, DAMN A&D ADVISOR!

-Reileen
we're so young, dumb, and ugly

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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