reileen: (writing - pen and notebook)
A recent conversation with [livejournal.com profile] dantaron reminded me of a song skeleton in my closet. It was written a while back, after I'd attended the funeral of a high school classmate who had died of cancer. At the time I didn't think anything could be salvaged from the mess, so I shoved my work away into the back of a journal.

A year and a half later, after about two hours in the library today with the piece of notebook paper upon which I had scribbled line sketches and details to remember, I managed to produce something passable. Two somethings, in fact. There were some lines that I really liked and wanted to use, but I couldn't fit it into the song, so I made them into a short poem instead.

Last Moment: A Poem For Ixchel

My friends in white, my family torn
When I left on that April morn.
I was one of many,
I was many to one:
A single star hidden
In the shadow of the moon
With a heart like the sun.

In another life, this was not my fate.
Knowing this, I harbor no hate
For the hierophant who declared it so.
Taken now by sleep serene,
My body will return to the earth in time.
But my soul wears death like a crown
While dreaming of gentler things.

I hope to perform the song as an a cappella piece, sort of like (a lot like) Vienna Teng's "Passage." (LOL I R FANGIRL) Not sure how well that'll go, but I might as well try. Since I barely knew this girl, the familial details in the song are fictionalized, artistic hypotheses based on things I had observed at the wake.

Mirror: A Song For Ixchel

all sings silent around that altar
of your body draped in wisteria and white
I knew you once, though but a passing
and I'm an outsider to your trials and fears
but your face is my own someday
and now I know that this shall claim me
for we think little of our own demise
until we see it through the clear eyes

of the mother who cries for her departed child
while the baby only cries to be fed
of the brother old enough to replay the memories
but too young to shoulder their weight
of the friends who flock around your coffin
as your favorite song perches on the lid
and of the lover and father in mutual strife
who share in hellish grief over your ended life

the guestbook bears witness in ink
to the ones touched by the fact of you
the mark upon me is petal-light
but already something blooms from its roots in my heart
and as I leave for the snowy spring day
I wonder if I will understand
the truth imparted by your fate
before I myself pass through the afterlife's gates


-Reileen
running 'round, and seeing only confusion
reileen: (Default)
What Reileen Ate Yesterday
Breakfast: Half a can of Mountain Dew.
Brunch: Two small packs of Welch's fruit snacks. Eaten during JPN104.
Lunch: Two fried breadsticks stuffed with pepperoni and a Mountain Dew from the soda fountain.
Lunchinner: One package of Maruchan pot ramen, chicken-flavored. A small bottle of water, followed by a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade.
Dinner: One hot dog with ketchup. Finishing up the bottle of Mike's Hard.

What Reileen Ate Today
Breakfast: A bag of regular chips (Miss Vickie's brand, yum) and a bottle of Mountain Dew. Consumed during ANT120.
Brunch: Another bag of regular chips; still working on that bottle of Dew.
Lunch: Five pieces of crab rangoon. Finally finishing up the bottle of Dew.
Dinner: Will be pasta, apparently, and another can of Dew.

I'm not sure why I thought this would be interesting to post, but there you go.

***

Despite staying up 'til 11:30pm working on an ANT120 lab report that I'd wanted to finish earlier and waking up at 6:00am grumpy and groggy as hell, I actually found myself less likely to want to nod off today. This may have been in part because 1) I had a lab today in ANT120 that actually required me to do work and to stay for almost the entire scheduled time of lab, and 2) I went to Chinatown today to stock up on incense, which required train travel and ambulatory travel. I bought sandalwood, cinnamon, strawberry, and "fragrant forest", and the total came out for around $11 for all of it. Yay.

Received my "specialty area" for ART233 today: it's Classical Greece, of course. Although I have to admit I was also leaning towards Sumerian or Babylonian art as well despite the fact that I skipped the lecture where the professor actually talked about these areas. I think I'll probably look those up on my own. Also, I'm wondering if there's a book or a few out there that deal specifically with studying temples from all over the world. In class today, we were looking at the temple of the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, and I was "dfkljaldkfjaldkf GLEEEEEE!" I love temples. I can't articulate why, exactly, beyond "OMGCOOLANDPRETTY!", but I love 'em. If I'm in a game and we're exploring temples or temple-like areas, it's likely that I'm going to spend a large part of the game with the character just looking up and around at the exterior and the interior of the place. (The Temple of Time in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess makes me squee. Am also fond of many of the Sephiroth points in Tales of the Abyss and the Spirit Temple in Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.) In short, I am a whore for nearly anything that evokes ancient pagan temples.

(...would that make me a "temple whore"?)

Anyway, I think that's it for interesting things from Reileen's life (which tend to be few and far in-between), so onto the link-o-llection!

***

Kit Whitfield blogs about depression and children's fiction, comparing depictions of depression in Harry Potter, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and in Antonia White's novels. Hefty, but a very interesting read. In particular, I love her interpretation of the Fire Nation royalty in Avatar in the context of depression-running-through-families. She also nails down the strength of Zuko's character in the show - and by strength, I mean not only how Zuko himself would be a strong person if he existed in real life, but also what makes his character from the show so memorable. He struggles; he despairs; he makes mistakes; and ultimately, he grows. I was pleasantly surprised at the care given in drawing this portrait of him throughout three seasons of the show.

Here's a set of candid shots of Barack Obama taken before, during, and after the debate in Oxford, Mississippi last week. My personal favorites are this one, this one, and this one.

And here's Build-O-Bama, where you can cut and fold your very own Obama paper doll for...some...reason!

For every comment made on this blogpost, Tyson Foods will donate 100 lbs. of food to food banks in the Bay Area. Easiest charity since Free Rice. How do these types of things work, though? Technically speaking, this strikes me as a more charitable version of "Give me five reviews and then I'll update with the next chapter!"

Artist builds "temple of science". Let me tell you, I've got at least two characters in my headspace who are going all drooly-mouthed and starry-eyed at this idea. (For background, they're both scientists - or as much of scientists as a scientifically-handicapped person as myself can write - of strong divine heritage.) And now I'm tempted to see if I can build a "religion of science" in a novel. I can already see places where I'd be running into problems, but it would be a fun thing to play with.

[livejournal.com profile] kaigou recounts an interesting anecdote that reveals insight into why a person might seem gluttonous when eating. She also now has a post up of 348 personality quirks that could be worked into a character, which would be an excellent reference for all the NaNoers out there.

Disgrasian wonders about where the hell Asian Barbie is in Mattel's current line of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie Dolls. Meanwhile, Reileen wonders how it's possible that Barbie has gotten skinnier over the years.

At the Temple of Kraden, a Golden Sun forum (that I actually am on under my fandom name), there's a thread going on in which people post funny pictures, and others reading the thread try their best to get as far as they can without laughing. Man, I didn't even try that - I just wanted to see the lulz. Which there is a fair amount of. (Be warned, though - that thread is 38 pages and counting.)

Quoting [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith for Major Fucking Truth from here: "In each faith are found strange and subtle truths. The study of comparative religions is learning the shape of the Divine by groping your way all around the elephant, in the happy company of other blind people."

Also quoted for MFT is this excellent post from [livejournal.com profile] dien about writing fanfiction vs. writing original fiction:

So when you remove fandom from the equation, you're removing exactly what people came to fandom for in the first place: the characters and the worlds. You've got to create your own. And maybe writing in someone else's world has been like training wheels, maybe it's shown you the kind of thing you're going to need to do for yourself. Without having actually written narrative fanfiction, I still look at what JK Rowling's said about her process in terms of planning out a long series. What do you give away, how soon do you give it away--her decision to move Horcrux info from Chamber of Secrets to a later book, that kind of thing. But you're also in danger of having steeped in someone else's world for so long that you write your own thing, and it's like everything everyone's already seen.

Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

Eerily enough, look at [livejournal.com profile] dien's list of things you learn writing fanfiction vs. what you learn writing original fic. Replace "things you learn writing fanfiction" with "strengths as a writer" and "things you learn writing original fic" with "weaknesses as a writer", and those two lists describe me to a big fat T. My strongest points are easily dialogue, characterization, and "the power of well-crafted language" (at least I'd like to think so). My weakest points are plot (which I quickly found out doing NaNoWriMo for the past few years), stories with staying power (again, NaNoWriMo pointed this out to me), and stories that matter.

Also, check this interesting analogy in the original entry from ETA 2: "...we might think of fanfic versus original fic as two different musical instruments-- you can learn how to play music on either a guitar or a piano, but learning how to play one doesn't necessarily mean you will automatically be able to play the other."

-Reileen
your eyes tell of a star's death
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
From Tokyomango: I wanna have sushi like this!

***

Yahoo!News reports on finding the remains of a lost medieval Jewish capital in Russia.

***

[livejournal.com profile] kaigou posts very helpful links to a global speech accent archive and body and weight index guide.

***

A Discworld wedding cake!

***

The Friday videos from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are fucking hysterical. The Whose Line one with Richard Simmons participating in a game of "Living Props" is...well...gay. Really gay. Gaaaay.

***

I'm closing in on finishing translating the second page of Neuro 174.

I've been at it for about an hour or an hour and a half now.

The chapter is nineteen pages.

Yeeaaaah.

-Reileen
all I ever wanted was to get away
reileen: (Default)
Working title for NaNo2008 is "Daemonsong." No, it's not very creative considering what the novel is supposed to be about, but it's a title!

Tetris brownies! I need to make more 1-upcakes soon. Those extra lives are gonna come in handy once school comes around.

Patrick Nielsen-Hayden reports on Pandemic: The Game. Basically, it's a flash game where you can play as a disease (either a parasite, bacterium, or a virus - each class has its pluses and minuses), and your goal is to infect the entire world before people start wising up to what's happening. LOL.

-Reileen
she lost her voice, she had no choice
reileen: (writing - pen and notebook)
Here, has a meme I maded up myself.

Everyone has their favorite genres to listen to, but it's likely that their music collection in general has songs from all over the place. Take your mp3 player, hit shuffle, write down the 20 songs that come up, and try to classify those songs' genres as best as you can.

1. Emilie Autumn - "Gothic Lolita" - gothic/industrial
2. Yumi Matsuzawa - "You Get to Burning" - anime opening theme, j-pop
3. Linkin Park - "In the End" - pop/nu-metal (whatever the hell "nu-metal" is)
4. Yuki Kajiura - "Canta Per Me" - anime BGM
5. Vienna Teng - "Gravity" - piano folk (what Vienna refers to as chamber folk)
6. Shohei Bando - "Bomberman Generation Ending Theme" - video game theme
7. Buckethead - "I Can Only Carry 50 Chickens at a Time" - avant-garde (but I like describing this as "trippy rock guitar techno electronica")
8. Bump of Chicken - "Karma" - video game opening theme, j-rock
9. Artemis - "hypno" - downbeat electronica
10. L'arc en Ciel - "Coming Closer" - j-rock
11. Blink-182 - "There Is" - pop rock
12. Thrice - "Burn the Fleet" - punk rock
13. redballoon - "Utsuro no Ashita" - j-rock
14. Nana Kitade - "Kesenai Tsumi" - anime ending theme, j-pop/j-rock
15. Seira Kagami - "Kodoku no Hikari" - anime ending theme, j-pop
16. Poe - "Control" - folk rock/electronica
17. Sarah Marie Mullen - "The Carousel Waltz" - Celtic harp
18. Avenue Q - "The Internet Is For Porn" - musical OST
19. Susan Fuentes - "Rosas Pandan" etc. medley - Cebuano easy listening
20. Emilie Autumn - "I want my innocence back" - gothic/industrial

Ha, my iPod came around full circle on this one.

***

I think I've fixed the music for "birthday" - I changed the key to C major and partly based its chord patterns off a Filipino folk rock song that I heard playing in the van a few days ago. The result seems to fit better, since the song now sounds mildly melancholy without veering off into some weird quasi Spanish bombastic thing for the chorus. Admittedly, there was a certain charm to how I had the chorus before, but I've already done the whole "taking pride in my angst" thing with "Queen of Denial."

My headache now lies in fixing some of the lyric/melody clashes and finding a suitable riff...

***

There's still two months and a half to go before National Novel Writing Month, but I'm already futzing about with my novel idea. This particular baby is actually a prehistoric fanfic idea of mine stripped to its bare bones and then left out to be bleached senseless by a brutal desert sun.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

Kirali St. Rivers [name likely to change in some form]
A woman in her early 20's. A daemon-hybrid (half-daemon) of some sort, not exactly sure what her lineage is. Is looking for the person who killed her mother years ago.

Lukandis Cantor, a.k.a. Luke
A man in his late 20's or early 30's. A daemon blood (a person whose blood is less than 1/2 or 1/3 daemonic) descended from a line of incubi. Is the person who killed Kirali's mother years ago.


PLOT:

Plot? What plot? I have no idea what kind of story this will be. I've thrown out nearly everything I had of the original "plot" because quite frankly it stank worse than a three-day-old corpse soaked in effluvia and topped with rotten egg. At least with Glass Houses (my NaNo last year), I had the idea that it would be this odd hybrid of a coming-of-age story and espionage/conspiracy stuff. This one? No freakin' clue. I don't even know what kind of personalities Kirali and Luke have. Well, Kirali's a blank slate; Luke is kind of like Thomas Raith (from the Dresden Files) or an older Zelos Wilder (from Tales of Symphonia). It is possible, though, that this may end up being a character-driven story as opposed to event-based, which is the result of the last vestiges of the quasi fanfic idea rearing its head.


OTHER STUFF:

Will have to do some research on demonology and angelology. I'm planning to handle the mythos of demons and angels (daemons and saeraphs as they're called in the novel world) in a really strange way, though if I manage to fuck things up really spectacularly I may as well have to admit that I've just created two entirely new fantasy races.

I have the vague notion that Kirali and Luke's world is futuristic, a scientifically fantastic world. I'm not sure of anything beyond that. One route I might go is to set the story on one of many habitable moons orbiting a gas giant, but that involves science that I don't feel like thinking about at the moment, so I may just reserve it for Scar. Then again, I think the world of Scar may actually be more fantasy steampunk than fantasy sci-fi, but I'll worry about that later.

The other idea I had was to plop Kirali and Luke into an odd, amorphous place that's based on a dream I had a while back. This world was dubbed "jinxspace" by a friend of mine in honor of Jinx from the animated Teen Titans series. Why? Because the sky in jinxspace was this murky but deep pink color, and Jinx had pink hair. Yes, fear the logic. It is the invincible. If we go with the meaning of the word "jinx" as something involving bad luck, though, it probably would be a good (or at least interesting) sort of place for daemons to inhabit.

***

In addition to NaNoWriMo, I've been playing around with the faint threads of an urban fantasy short story involving the aswangs from Filipino folklore. No real plot yet, but I'm slowly but surely starting to pull together pieces for the heroine, who is either human with some faint aswang ancestry or (unknown to her) a full aswang herself, I haven't decided yet:

Anjelina ("Jelly") Gaudiano
Will probably be a teenager for her story, maybe 16 or 17. First-generation Filipino-American. A fairly religious Catholic, but with a healthy and morbid sense of humor about her faith, which makes her parents fear for the fate of her soul. Comes off as tomboyish, and doesn't have much interest in fashion or anything of that sort, being perfectly happy with the T-shirts and sweatpants hand-me-downs that she gets from her older brother. She does, however, harbor a fascination with faerie mythos, and secretly wants to be able to go to a Renaissance Faire with the most outlandish and glittery fairy costume she can find or make.

One of the main worries I had about Jelly was making her too similar to myself. Giving her a strong Catholic foundation was one way of distancing myself from her; another way was adding her tomboyishness in, which is based on a close friend of mine. I'm not sure where her fascination with faeries came from - I guess it's just for the lulz, and it's currently one of those things that I can take or leave. Jelly's last name is actually the real last name of one my cousins in the Philippines, who is two years older than I am but shares the same birthdate as me (August 7). Also, don't laugh too hard at her nickname: Filipinos have really weird logic about how they come up with nicknames. My brother, named Jeremy, is nicknamed Momoy; my sister, named Ashley, is nicknamed Ate Ate (pronounced "aht aht"). "Jelly", by comparison, is relatively normal.

What's my nickname, you ask? I have two, actually. No one uses the first one anymore (lulz), so I'm not telling you what it is. I usually get addressed as "Inday", which is a general term of affection for a female in Cebuano.

-Reileen
I bet you want my goodies
reileen: (Default)
Tired of getting rickroll'd? How about getting Barackroll'd instead?

***

After 400+ pages of absolutely hideous wannabe thriller tripe (to say nothing of questionable theology and the morality that goes along with said questionable theology), Fred Clark conclude's in this week's Left Behind posts that the illogic and paradoxes of Left Behind stem not from unreliable narrators used in the literary sense, but unreliable narrators that stem from unreliable authors.

We readers come to this novel with certain expectations. We expect that it will tell us a story -- a coherent narrative that makes sense. Those expectations are so habitual and fundamental to our experience of reading novels that it can take us a long time to accept that such expectations are really being thoroughly frustrated. That's why it took me a very long time -- hundreds of pages -- before I finally conceded that the constant, flagrant contradictions between our narrators' perceptions and their reality weren't some kind of deliberate, meaningful narrative device.

[. . . ]

This chapter might have been more interesting if Buck had turned out to be only partly immune to Nicolae's enchantment and he had emerged from this room less than certain of what he'd really seen -- as though he really were having to fight to keep his sanity. He is, after all, a brand-new RTC, a mere infant in the faith, so the divine counter-enchantment might not have been fully operational just yet.

But that wouldn't work because that's not how the authors' notion of RTC magic works. It's a binary system. You're either 100-percent saved or you're 100-percent damned to Hell. There is no half-way, no partial, no blurring of categories. Truth is wholly true and lies are wholly lies. Good is wholly good and evil is wholly evil.

And that, ultimately, is why readers don't have to worry about things like unreliable narrators in this book. The authors can't have intended such a device because the authors don't believe in it.


***

From [livejournal.com profile] dark_christian: Focus on the Family prays to God for rain to "drown out Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in two weeks' time. Word to FotF: I think you're better off using this as your guide for making it rain on Obama's parade. (Yes, I am being completely ironic in recommending anything from Spellsandmagic.com.)

***

I recently discovered the blog of author Kit Whitfield, who comments on Slacktivist under the pseudonym "Praline" and always has articulate and thoughtful commentary to add to any Slacktiposting. She has since been mentally added to Reileen's Roster of Awesome and Brilliant Bloggers To Whom She'd Like to Be as Awesome and Brilliant As Someday, which currently includes the Smart Bitches Sarah and Candy, John Scalzi, the blogginating team at Making Light, and, of course, the Slacktivist himself. Also, throw Vienna Teng in there. Because, y'know. Vienna motherfucking Teng. I wish she'd blog more on her site scrapbook, but in all fairness, she's busy recording her new album, so I'm not going to fault her too much, since anything she puts out - music or writing - is something I whoreship.

Anyway, a sampling of Kit Whitfield's blogging:

Writing sex scenes versus writing porn
The thing is, if your story is intended to be a piece of straightforward porn, you can pick a style and go with it. The usual objections to blunt writing are removed; graphic words for body-parts tend to leap off the page in a rather glaring way if your characters spend most of their time dressed. The reader gets to know the characters in, basically, a social context, like you'd get to know a friend, and if your friend suddenly whips out his genitals, it's a bit startling. Overly graphic sex scenes in otherwise fully-clothed books can feel like too much information, like the characters suddenly changing style and going from Regency elegance or lyrical melancholia to porn-speak, which is as disconcerting as if the vicar poured a cup of tea and then started talking dirty. All of which gives a sense of 'whoa!', which is not exactly the mood for sexual bliss. If, on the other hand, the story you're writing actually is porn, there's no reason at all not to use pornographic language. Direct language can be used all over the place without the style taking a lurch.

But if you're not writing porn, you need to match the sex scenes with the rest of the book.


The myth of the Macho Sue
A disagreeable variant of Mary Sue, often found in action films, cop shows and the more battly kind of science fiction. While Mary Sue is a fictional character who bends the universe around herself with her amazing specialness, Macho Sue bends the universe around his manhood. He has a particular ability to get away with behaviour that would be considered bad in a woman - to the point of behaviour that would be considered typically female by a misogynist if displayed by a woman.

Kit Whitfield's lexicon of issues in fiction
Phantonym
The feeling you get when you're searching for the perfect word: that there is a word for this concept that's not in the thesaurus, but you can't quite remember it. Usually this is not the case, and you're forced to go with a word that's slightly wrong, or else rewrite the whole bloody sentence. (Reileen sez: "I get this one all the time.")

[. . .]

Naglet
A concept or action that you have the nagging sense really should have a single word to describe it-the action of a dog putting its head between its paws on the ground to invite you to play is one that always bugs me - but most unfairly, it doesn't. (Reileen sez: "This is often a jumping-off point whenever I'm doing in-novel conlanging for SF/F. What concepts exist in such-and-such culture to the point of ubiquity, and thus would probably require a word or a short phrase describing it?")

[. . .]

Subconscious-Packing
Reading and absorbing as much as you can in the way of good stylists and general information, on the understanding that it'll mesh together in your subconscious and make your writing richer. Not to be confused with procrastination. (Reileen sez: "It's probably the equivalent of eating past being full, but I follow this philosophy for my art, my writing, and my music. Needless to say, it drives me nuts, but it drives me nuts if I don't at least attempt to do it, so I'm pretty fucked either way.")

The tricky business of defining national insults
It strikes me that a key element of English insults is the idea of self-awareness: a great many of the insults denote someone who, were he aware how he was coming across, wouldn't be acting so stupidly.

The kind of insults a nation creates are an unusual insight into its general character: you wouldn't bother to invent an insult for something that nobody does or nobody minds. Whether this means that, say, England has more wankers and America has more jerks, or that England notices wankers more and America notices jerks more, I couldn't really say. (As an interesting side-note, many English people feel that 'arsehole' is a stronger insult than 'asshole', even though the only real difference is in pronunciation. Curious, huh?)

***

From Strange Horizons, an online speculative fiction magazine: Stories We've Seen Too Often and Horror Stories We've Seen Too Often.

***

METALLICA IS PLAYING AT THE ALL-STATE ARENA ON JANUARY 26 NEXT YEAR. WANTS TO GO PLZ. D:!

***

For a while now, I've been looking for a decently plain white blouse that I can pair with different items, such as a sweater vest or a plaid skirt (...probably both in my case), and today, I finally found one.

It was from Avril Lavigne's new Abbey Dawn fashion line.

I'm trying to figure out whether I should be embarrassed by this or not.

-Reileen
fortune, fame, mirror vain
reileen: (general - strawberry)
An absolutely fascinating website on Aztec Reconstructionism, which one doesn't see a lot of amongst the neopagans. Probably because, according to the author of the site, the Aztec deities do demand blood, and Lady knows real pagan deities are all benevolent and whiteness and light and if they demand something from you, especially icky icky blood, that means they're Very Bad! [/sarcasm] No, They're not looking for human sacrifice, at least not in the same way it was practiced in Ye Olden Mesoamerican Tymes (although you should check this guy's essay on how to bring back the concept of healthy sacrifice in today's society - I have to say, it's got some interesting implications), but voluntary drawing of one's own blood is a necessary part of being an Aztec Recon. 'Cause if you don't do it of your own will, the Gods are going to take it from you. Yeah, it sounds harsh, but They're Gods, so They'd have every right to do so.

Of course, being who I am, I'm thinking about this topic not just in terms of how it might apply to my own worship (Artemis, after all, has demanded both human blood and human sacrifice in her mythos), but also in terms of how I can incorporate this into my creative endeavors, particularly for world-building. I'd love to use the idea of "healthy sacrifice" in a sci-fi society.

Related to my own personal worldbuilding: John Scalzi tackles the practical issues surrounding polygamy in modern America. Be sure to check out the comments too; they bring up some really mind-boggling points. Holy shit, the legalities, they are over 9000! (And yet I'm tempted to incorporate some of this into Ryker's society, since I have the impression that, at least in one city he was in, polyamory was alive and well. But I hadn't decided yet whether that acceptance was realized in legal form in that particular city.)

Related to worldbuilding in general, yanked from the awesome [livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith: A Collection of End of World Scenarios. Already I can hear my characters shivering in fear at my amazing authorial powers of doom! Ohohohoho.

***

Perhaps this just shows what an elitist whore I am, but I'm really dismayed at all the American-based "How to Draw Manga" books that have been coming out lately. I'd like to think that it's not so much that I'm not Super Special Awesome anymore in my love of Japanese comics and animation as it is that the art that often accompanies these books looks like the shit I drew in 6th grade - when I first started out in anime style. Seriously, y'all, what the fuck is this? This is a marked improvement, but it still can't compare to this. YMMV, of course.

***

Read through vols. 1-4 of Tokyo Mew Mew after I received them from a trade on [livejournal.com profile] garagesalejapan. I've been finding myself wanting to revisit the magical girl genre lately for some reason, but instead of returning to old-school Sailor Moon on crunchyroll, I decided to branch out a bit (though I still do want to return to Sailor Moon, omgnostalgia).

Well...I got TMM in a trade for some of my other manga, so I don't feel like I wasted money or anything, and I still want to read vols. 5-7, but the series seems lacking to me. I could have overlooked the outlandish premise ("Rich high school kid tries to fight invading aliens by injecting Earth animals with the DNA of endangered species, but he totally misses and hits five middle-school girls instead!"), since that's pretty much requisite for any magical girl series. And I could have overlooked the generically cute art that sometimes hovered at a "just technically competent enough" point (although it made the fight scenes boring as hell).

But I was not willing to overlook the one-dimensionality of the characters. In fact, these characters are so commonplace that I can describe them in terms of other popular anime characters.

Ichigo
Otaku-speak: Sakura Kinomoto, only much less cute and endearing.
Translation: The goodie-goodie middle-school girl who just wants a normal life and to have a boyfriend, and is always unselfish, etc. and so forth.

Mint
Otaku-speak: Tomoyo Daidouji with Rei Hino's personality minus Tomoyo's 'cesty crush on Sakura and her love of dressing Sakura up.
Translation: Snobby rich girl who in reality Just Wants to be Loved.

Lettuce (I kid you not, that's her name)
Otaku-speak: Fuu Hououji crossed with Usagi Tsukino.
Translation: A professional doormat that keeps on slipping out from under people's feet.

Pudding (yes, that is really her name, too)
Otaku-speak: A bite-sized Shampoo with Mokona tendencies.
Translation: A hyperactive Chinese acrobat.

Zakuro
Otaku-speak: Rei Hino (or, if you're going by the live-action Sailor Moon, Makoto Kino works here as well) with the looks of Arashi Kishuu.
Translation: Super-gorgeous girl who is cold and distant for some reason that I haven't yet been able to discern, and is initially antagonistic towards joining the Tokyo Mew Mews.

Let's not even get into the love interests, which include Masaya, the requisite Nice Classmate Who Has No Fucking Clue What's Going On (a.k.a. the Houjou of TMM); Ryou, the Jerk That Needs to Get the Hell Offa Mine Side But Is Really Cute/Hot (Inuyasha crossed with Tamaki, in this particular instance); and Kish, the Conflicted Baddie (Nephrite). I admittedly have a weak inclination for shipping Ichigo with Ryou, but that's because I have a general preference for that sort of dynamic in the romances I read about. Otherwise, I'm scratching my head over what these guys see in Ichigo. Is it her Sakura smile? Her pink hair? What?

The plot is even more confusing and vague. TMM follows a monster-of-the-week formula, which would be fine by me, except that these monsters aren't even remotely amusing or even scary. The aliens who sent/created the monsters in the first place are marginally more intriguing, if only because it's revealed that apparently they used to live on the Earth a long-ass time ago and now they want it back 'cause they're pissed that us stupid humans have fucked it up with pollution and shit. I have to admit that I (or a certain Huntress, at any rate) was amused at the environmental angle that TMM takes in setting up the core conflict of the story.

Overall, I might have liked TMM back when I was still a Sailor Moon Maniac. At the very least, I wouldn't have been bothered by the numerous problems I've just pointed out. But I wouldn't recommend it to other SM fans my age or older; it's best left to those of Ichigo's age bracket.

***

And finally, people think that deviantArt's little icon switcheroo deal for April Fools' this year is akin to rape! Oh, internets, nevar change.

-Reileen
I can't believe that I would keep, keep you from flying
reileen: (writing - pen and notebook)
...Making Light and Dear Author bring you Lanaia Lee! Bonus: the author's e-lawyer sockpuppet lawyer/agent/witchy avenger Cheryl Pillsbury shows up in the Making Light comments! (Hoo-hoo!) But if the threat of black magick retribution weren't enough, you should be ashamed, ashamed I tell you, to even think of causing stress to a woman to a wheelchair-bound stroke victim who lost six children due to her hypertension! But seriously, Ms. Lee, if being on the internets is so dangerous to your health, maybe you shouldn't, you know, be on it?

Number #3 on Dear Author's "Top Ten Tips For Plagiarists" says it all: 3. Don’t advertise as writing “because I feel each person has something unique to share with the world and writing is my gift to share” when, in fact, your uniqueness is actually some other person’s uniqueness.

Ho-lee hell.

EDIT: A slightly different take on the situation can be found here. Apparently Lanaia's ghostwriter is a rather infamous scammer in the world of writing and publishing, so it appears that she may not be completely at fault here.

Still, the fact that she hired a ghostwriter and then can go on to say that writing is her gift to share is rather...special.

-Reileen
guess I'm wishing my life away with these things I'll never say

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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