reileen: (music - piano & smoke)
Summer never lasts long enough for me. Summer never lasts short enough either.

I've been in a very...limbo-y place in my mind lately. (And there aren't even any fucking tiki torches!) I like being alone with my thoughts, but the problem is that my heavy thinking eventually ends up paralyzing me. I need to find more balance in my life, as I learned from Dionysos a while back. I thought I could do it this summer, juggling art stuff (both leisurely and career-related) with some music and writing in-between, and maybe some gaming, reading, or language self-study, and even maintaining (le gasp) a normal-ish sleeping schedule instead of the schedule of a vamp. But all of a sudden it's August and I've been lazing about in my room, despite things that I've gotten done, I feel - as I always seem to do on vacations - like I wasted my break.

I haven't been able to motivate myself that well lately. I think to myself: "what's the point, I'm not good for anything useful anyway". I think to myself: "what the hell is wrong with me, that I can be so fearful when I have a support system to die for". I think to myself: "my dreams are too big for a meek little girl like me". All these questions and thoughts, just little pinpricks...but before I know it, they've pinpricked their way into heavy shackles tattooed on my heart, my mind, my soul.

Balance. I need to find balance. Maybe it rolled under my bed and started a family with the dust bunnies there.

***

Eidolon [.wav, on Sendspace]

Eidolon
by Reileen van Kaile

these are my puppet strings that bind you here
what is it in my eyes you fear?
I'm the faded photo you burned long ago
reborn from the ashes a million scissor lashes
resurrected by the heat of my hate

here we stand at the threshold to black
take my hand, go now to these lands
savor the salvation that came much too late

how far will my chains let me run?
how long can I believe in your grief?
how could you be so naive?
well, try to save this, just try to hide
from these feelings that you thought long died
you'll never escape these tangled threads that Fate has spun

these are the ghosts that have stayed the course
what need have they of remorse?
I see that still I clasp your tongue
mine to twist, so cease to resist
you'll never find your lady in the sky

I'm your demon angel, your seraphic plague
no disguise, you're wise to finally realize
I'll never return the self that you gave

how far will my chains let me run?
how long can I believe in your grief?
how could you be so naive?
well, try to save this, just try to hide
from these feelings that you thought long died
you'll never escape these tangled threads that Fate has spun

(can you hear me out there
the voice of your little toy?
can you feel my memory
bleeding you into the void?)

well, I've torn away your hellish night
ripped through all your silly lies
yet you deny what any fool can see
you no longer have any power over me

how far will your chains let you run?
how long will you wander your grief
searching for what's left of me?
well, I burned it all, but trust that I cried
for these feelings that have long since died
and now I stand, alone and proud...the battle won

The first draft of these lyrics were written about two years ago(?) after a surprise run-in with an unsavory someone from my past that I thought I'd left behind. I had to put this song through the wringer to get reasonably singable lines that still made some sort of weird sense. I especially had real trouble with the bridge, and I'm still not wholly satisfied with it, but it works. I also had the key in mind and the melody for the first three lines in my head for a while, but it wasn't until recently that I pulled together an arrangement that sounded...somewhat close to what I was imagining. As always, the vocals need work, especially for the chorus, but the piano arrangement is probably my best so far. I'm slowly getting closer to making the music I want to make.

However, since these are the kinds of songs I seem to enjoy writing, I have got to start finding more appropriate venues than the cafe at Borders, because these aren't..."safe" songs, in some ways. I'm definitely not claiming that my songs are edgy or offensive or anything like that, but they're darker than mainstream. At the same time, I don't feel that they're dark enough to be called "gothic" or what-have-you, so if I had to find, like, a gothic club to play these at, I fear I would be laughed out of the place. So I feel kind of...stuck. I have "safe" songs that I can play, but it's things like "Eidolon" and "Gospel of the Shadow of Nobody" that I want to perform. But I'm not sure, exactly, where they fit in terms of genre, in terms of a potential audience. I have no idea who the hell would want to listen to the crap I make besides my close friends that I inflict this stuff upon.

Tangentially related: I finally managed to get a reasonably decent recording of myself performing Tatakau Monotachi. I wouldn't ever feel confident enough about my ability to perform this at a (theoretical) concert, but it's good for catharsis. That's part of why I love playing music: it's intimately physical in a way that my art and writing aren't. Since I sit around on my ass most of the time with art and writing, at least with music I can exercise my arms and vocal cords for a while.

-Reileen
you've got my heart beating like an 808
reileen: (TONIGHT WE BLOG IN HELL)
Gonna start off with the Serious Business stuff this time before I babble about fannish things.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hallelujah, It's Rainin' 300 Men!

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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



*Can also be summarized as: "Oh, God, respecting each other's humanity is such a pain in the ass! Do we really have to do this forever? Can't you all just lighten up so that I don't have to respect you any more? Isn't the whole point of coming together as one that I don't have to care what you think?" (Thank you, Jay Smooth.)
reileen: (music - piano & smoke)
I don't usually listen to J-pop star Utada Hikaru - my main exposure to her is though the songs "Hikari"/"Simple and Clean", which are, respectively, the Japanese and English versions of one of the main theme songs for the Kingdom Hearts video game. Also, I had some vague inkling that one of her songs off one of her North American albums had a line that went something like "You're easy breezy and I'm Japanesey", which just kind of made my mind boggle a little when I heard about it. (I eventually went and Googled the lyrics just to confirm my suspicions. Besides that ridonkulous line, the rest of the song is actually fairly standard-ish pop.)

Anyway, I don't listen to Hikki. But my gal pal [livejournal.com profile] vyctori does, and she asked me last night to boggle with her over the vast difference in style and quality between Hikki's recent Japanese releases and her latest North American album, This Is the One.

First, let's take a look at "Heart Station", the title track of her most recent Japanese album, released in March 2008.



A gentle, sweet pop ballad, with lyrics that are just as sentimental (scroll way down to find the English translation).

Were you able to hear my voice as I spoke?
The Heart Station broadcasting at one o’clock in the dead of night
Requires no tuning on the dial as it lies
On a secret frequency.*

Were the radio waves of my heart able to reach you?
It’s broadcasting from the Heart Station of sinners
And only God knows
How much I miss you.

Not my usual thing, but hey, I can see why Hikki's a pop sensation to rival even homegrown diva Ayumi Hamasaki.

Okay, fine. Let's take a look at "Me Muero", the second track off her second North American album This Is The One, released March 2009.



I...I just...what? Vocals: Fail. Production: More Fail. Lyrics: COMPLETE FAIL">:

Everyday my life's in shambles
since you took your love away
I got nothing left to gamble
I've thrown it all away

Now and then I'm suicidal
Flirting with a new temptation
Happiness inside a bottle
is what I need today

Oh my lover's gone away, gone to Istanbul
Light as a feather
I lie in my bed and flip through tv channels
Eating Godiva
I'm smoking my days away reading old emails
In my old pajamas
What a day, me muero, muero, muero

what is this I don't even. And the thing is, this song might actually be tolerable for me if the lyrics were just simple, cliched, and bland, because then this would just be a fun piece of audio junk food.

This Is The One is apparently Hikki's specific attempt to appeal to the American mainstream and to finally have a "breakout" album here in the States, which is why she went for this R&B/hip-hop sound. Y'know, she might be Japanese-American, but the album sounds like something from a native Japanese singer who thinks that all American are "totally gangsta" or something. Seriously, she should've just stuck to her own style. If she really wanted to use R&B/hip-hop elements, she could fuse it with her usual sound and probably get something worthwhile. Because seriously, it's bad when I listen to a song (this song in particular) where I wouldn't have had any audio cues that this was Hikki's work because it sounds more like a generic song from an up-and-coming R&B singer. I'm not even a fan of Hikki and This Is The One makes me feel so embarrassed for her.

***

Need to get back on my school sleeping schedule so I have more time to be productive. I've been waking up at noon or later these past couple of days, and it's refreshing but also annoying. I had something else I wanted to write about but I've been finding lately that my writing abilities have been severely lacking. It's been nine years and I still haven't gotten the hang of this "blogging" thing.

-Reileen
when I'm drivin' in my car and that man comes on the radio
reileen: (music - proofread score)
This piano piece from the Final Fantasy: Advent Children movie soundtrack is my new "will-learn-this-piece-if-it-kills-me-and-then-some":



The music is unfortunately a bit faint comparative to the vocals (not that there's much of one in the clip), but I wanted to show this off in its original context. FF:AC is short on the plot, but it's long on the visual candy, which includes the "Physics? What physics?" fight scenes that I love to death.

I had the sheet music for it before and managed to somewhat learn a bit of it, but then I lost it and then got distracted with other stuff. I had to go search it on the intarwebz again and print it out, and now I am slaving away over this piece like my life depends on it. My wrists and fingers are not happy with me about this, because this song is not very kind to my tiny-ass girlyhands. It is, however, quite fun to play once you get the hang of it. Many people have played and recorded this song on YouTube, so me learning this isn't anything special, but it's a good challenge for me.

***

Speaking of music, check out this Eurotrash song about Kylie Minogue:



I heard when I was at a family friend's place for Thanksgiving. You have to listen to the chorus, it's cracktastic:

Kylie, give me just a chance
Let's go out and dance
We can get into the groove
I can watch you move
Later you can sing to me
Like a shining star
But I rather do you
On the backseat of my car

Reportedly, Miss Minogue was Not Amused by this song. (Which apparently went on to hit #1 for several weeks all across Europe anyway.)

***

One of the things I started working on a few days ago was a [livejournal.com profile] 1sentence themeset revolving around the friendship of Kira and Luke from my NaNoWriMo. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, what you do is you go to the community, and you pick out one of five sets of fifty "themes" to work with. Using those themes and your chosen character(s), you write one sentence involving both.

For example:

#01 – Ring

Luke clings to Kira all throughout watching a horror movie, but it's Kira who wakes up screaming in the middle of the night from a nightmare involving creepy, long-haired girls crawling through TV screens.

Harder than it looks, even when you consider all the fun ways you can push the "one sentence" rule to its limits by using compound sentence structures and abusing the semicolon. But it's good when you want to write something about some characters, but you don't necessarily feel like writing a novel or a short story or whatever. I've hit 13/50 so far, which isn't so bad. Despite being all writer'd out from NaNoWriMo, I think I'm going to work on them some more over the next few days.

-Reileen
I got reasons why I tease 'em
reileen: (Default)
Album of the moment: Indestructible by Disturbed. Yeah, I know, it's totally out-of-character for me. Go ahead and laugh at the little Asian girl jumping around in her room and headbanging to "Inside the Fire."

Speaking of which, here's the music video for that song:


This actually seems to be a "sanitized" version of the video, with the official one (featuring the vocalist walking in on his girlfriend having committed suicide) here. A very depressing but powerful song.

Here's the title track of that album, which was the first song I heard:



-Reileen
take the word of one immortal
reileen: (music - proofread score)
And, of course, it's the song that I put so little effort into and which is completely Just For Fun.



JPN104 mid-term wasn't too bad and yet was still a chore to get through. I finished with twenty minutes left in class though (JPN104 is a one-hour class).

-Reileen
because it matches her eyes when she cries
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
Stuff related to Phoenix Wright, a series that I have yet to play*, but which I still know a fair amount about (without spoiling myself too badly...I think):

The Takarazuka Revue is going to do a musical version of Phoenix Wright. For those of you that don't know (including myself), the Takarazuka Revue is an all-female musical theater group in the city of Takarazuka, Japan, putting on productions on the scale of Broadway epic, with women playing both male and female roles. I...think I want to see a performance of this when I go to Japan. Tickets must be crazy expensive though.

New scans and information for Gyakuten Kenji, the PW spin-off game starring Phoenix Wright's boytoy nemesis-ish-person-thing, Miles Edgeworth. The game will come out in spring 2009 in Japan.

***

General game stuff:

Nintendo creates an ad that breaks YouTube! (Warning: The Flash may also break your browser in the process. But it's a fun time to watch.)

[livejournal.com profile] vyctori pointed me to this amazing remix of the Forest Temple theme from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

***

Generalities:

Randall Munroe of xkcd, the Gods bless his soul, has a rather interesting take on the financial fiasco threatening the You-Nighted Staytes of 'Merica...

Astronomers spot a bizarre "strobe light star", which they call a magnetar, which just makes me think that it's another evolution stage from the Pokemon Magnemite.

Tokyomango brings word of suicide prevention train platforms and instant ramen in a can.

And finally, the man who saved the world and yet almost no one knows about it: On September 1, 1983, an overworked and underpaid lieutenant colonel, Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov, kept a cool head and deduced that the things that the computer report said were missiles coming from the US, destination Moscow, were simply computer errors - and he was right. Seriously, go read this, this is amazing.

-Reileen
never did I want to be here again



*Lydia offered to let me borrow her PW games if I ever felt so inclined to play them. Clearly this "socialization" thing has its perks...
reileen: (music - proofread score)
I bought sunflowers (3 for a dollar) at the farmer's market going on in the plaza near City Hall downtown today. It made me oddly very happy, even though I had to carry those poor things around with me for a couple of hours before going home - I bought them early in the afternoon because Liz had told me that the farmer's market closed fairly early, and since I had a late afternoon class I didn't want to miss a chance at getting some greenery. I gave the flowers to Mommykins, who cut them and put them in a vase on our kitchen table. The thought of them still makes me happy.

The thought of going to Japanese class tomorrow in the rainy morning, however, dampens the sunniness a bit.

***

I did some minor edits to what I had of "Wasted" from a few days before. Save for one line that is bugging the fuck out of me, I'm pretty satisfied with this current incarnation of the lyrics, and will keep them unless musical constraints demand that I do more rewordifying. (I swear, I need to learn to write shorter songs...)

Wasted

The things I pack in the suitcase of my heart
Don't always fit like they should
Ancient locks forced on unfolded dirty laundry
And stubborn mementos eat up space
That should be reserved for necessities
Of a future time and place

I'm just one face of many in your life
But I can't face being incognito in your eyes

Because the words that I've spoken
Would end up broken upon the ground
The tears that I've cried
Would only chide me for my grief
And the bitterness I've tasted
Would just be wasted on you

I'm ready to ditch this dusty hotel
Gonna leave it behind and hit the road running
Thoughts of you cut straight and true
To my heart and leave it bleeding
But that's okay, I can walk it off
I'm still breathing

There's something to be said
For leaving you for dead

But I know, I know
I'd plant the seeds of hope at your grave
And that's how the road to hell would be paved

Because the words that I've spoken
Have been broken upon the ground
The tears that I've cried
Have chided me for my grief
And the bitterness I've tasted
Has been wasted on you

Does he know that she holds what he wants to find?
Does she know how to forgive an innocent crime?
Do they know, do they know
Do they know, do they know
Do they know, do they know
Do we know if it's all been wasted?

The words that I've spoken
Have been broken upon the ground
The tears that I've cried
Have chided me for my grief
And the bitterness I've tasted
Has been wasted on you
On you...
On you...

Okay, cool. My musical conscience is now free to work on minor things, like the homework that's due for Japanese tomorrow. To borrow a sentiment from Emperor Peony IX of Malkuth for my own purposes: "Pfft, kanji! Who needs 'em?"

Dude, [livejournal.com profile] vyctori, Peony has a Facebook account. I just found this out when I googled his name to double-check which number Peony he was in the Malkuthian royal line.

***

EDIT: The PV for Yousei Teikoku's new single, "Weiss Flugel"! I love how, instead of the electric guitar, this song - which is a slower one than the previous single, and a slower one than "Wahrheit", which was the first YT song to have a PV - has Takaha Tachibana rocking out on violin. Badass.

-Reileen
you, in somber resplendence, I hold
reileen: (anime - Neuro)
Shit, I just looked at the links I collected over the past few days and realized how much of them have to do with religion and politics. Oops. Although I suppose it's only fitting, in light of the DNC and the fact that McCain has chosen Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his veep. There's definitely a lot to be talked about there, even from the point-of-view from someone as politically unsavvy and out of it as myself. Debating on how much about this to post later, if anything at all.

***

Here's an article describing what it feels like to die, from a scientific point-of-view.

Death comes in many guises, but one way or another it is usually a lack of oxygen to the brain that delivers the coup de grâce. Whether as a result of a heart attack, drowning or suffocation, for example, people ultimately die because their neurons are deprived of oxygen, leading to cessation of electrical activity in the brain - the modern definition of biological death.

If the flow of freshly oxygenated blood to the brain is stopped, through whatever mechanism, people tend to have about 10 seconds before losing consciousness. They may take many more minutes to die, though, with the exact mode of death affecting the subtleties of the final experience. If you can take the grisly details, read on for a brief guide to the many and varied ways death can suddenly strike.


***

Tales of Vesperia, another installment in Namco-Bandai's immensely successful "Tales" series, was released in North America three days ago. This game is seriously making me consider begging on my hands, knees, and whatever other bodily appendages I have for an XBox360 come Christmastime. I've been waffling on asking for one or saving up for one because of my sporadic gaming habits, which would have resulted in $400+ of plastic and other components that I'd never get around to overheating.

***

A sparkly text generator. With bonus sparklepeen font in honor of Twilight. Seriously.

While we're on the subject of Twilight, Fandom Wank (where I learn everything that there is to know about life) reports on Stephenie Meyer taking her toys and going home after finding out that 12 chapters of Midnight Sun, the re-telling of Twilight from Edward's POV, were leaked.

On the one hand, it was classy of her to actually make the leak officially available. On the other hand, that entire entry on her website (linked in the FW write-up) basically reads to me like a mediocre BNF going: "I AM VERY DEPRESSED NOW AND I WILL NOT WRITE ANOTHER CHAPTER IF I DON'T GET AT LEAST X AMOUNT OF REVIEWS." I'm not saying that she doesn't have a right to be upset at whoever leaked the book, but judging from her entry, she's dealing with it in such an amateur, unprofessional manner - which is why this ended up on Fandom Wank.

What really cheeses me off is the fact that Meyer is apparently directing a music video. What the hell? Why is it that an amateur, hack writer like her has a trilogy/quadrology of best-selling books, a dedicated and zealous fanbase, a movie deal or two, a Twilight guide coming out, and a job directing a music video? If there is any evidence that a higher power hates the world or has a really twisted sense of humor, this is it.

***

Making Light reports on a Firefox extension that filters unsavory YouTube comments. Wow, Internet. Wow.

***

[livejournal.com profile] wyld_dandelyon posts about
preserving the balance between development and wilderness in today's world. In a similar vein,
[livejournal.com profile] ysabetwordsmith compiles a number of links to help keep cities and other urban areas beautiful, livable, and positive.

While I'm an urban girl at heart, I definitely wish there were a lot more greenery and wildlife for public visitation in my area of the Chicago suburbs.

***

"Baby Got Book" is supposedly a Christian version of that song we'd all love to hate, Baby Got Back. No, f'rreal, f'rreal.

***

I got into a conversation with [livejournal.com profile] dantaron recently about our preferred breakfast foods. I mentioned that one of my favorite ("favorite" meaning that this was what I tended to eat while still living on-campus) breakfast meals was a can of Mountain Dew and RAWBERRY strawberry Pop-Tarts, but that lately I've been craving more fruits and other such light things for breakfast. He responded that my sudden thirst for the fruitilicious goods was a good things, since the nutritional value of Pop Tarts was pretty much zip, zilch, and zero.

So when I went to pop open a can of sliced peaches for early morning nom nomming, I checked its nutritional information against the box of Pop Tarts in the pantry.

IN THE BLUE CORNER: Strawberry Pop-Tarts with no sugar frosting

Total Fat: 6g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Sodium: 180mg
Total Carbohydrate: 37g
Protein: 2g

And then there's 10% of daily serving of vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, and other stuff.

IN THE RED CORNER: Kroger's canned peaches

Total Carbs: 22g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 2%

...

...

...yeah. I think I need to have a word with my parents about the kinds of canned fruits that they buy. (Those peaches didn't even taste much like anything - no surprise there.)

***

I also seem to have discovered my long-lost emotional/mental twin. Sure, he's the wrong gender, two years younger than I am, and living on the West Coast, but those are minor details. He even shares the same obsession that I do with Bomberman 64: TSA, which is a miracle in and of itself.

-Reileen
is anybody here I know?
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Oh, I love the sheer idiocy of this one.

Fandom Wank: The Battle of Versailles

So what happens when an obscure American musician finds out that a Japanese indie band that just might be less obscure has the same name as the one you've already picked. Well if the name is Versailles you copyright the name and threaten legal action against the Japanese band for stealing the name from you. Because you know there's no way that they could have been inspired by the French city the name comes from being as they are a visual kei band that uses the glory days of French aristocratic society as their band's theme.

I fear for the remaining threads of my sanity, so I'm avoiding looking at the comments on Versailles(R!!!!!!)'s MySpace. I am sorely tempted, though.

With regards to the chick's music, it's...decent, I suppose. I don't care for her voice, and the songs she's got up remind me of a more generically emo, downbeat Emilie Autumn - which is kind of stretching it a little and giving her more credit than she deserves. Versailles' lyrics aren't much to sneeze at, either.

***

Two things I've been pondering:

1) Gothic folk. Or folk gothic. I imagine these two would probably cancel each other out, but as someone who wanders on both sides of the road, I like trying to think about it until my brain fursplodes. Could gothic lyrics work with a more melancholy folksy sound? Vienna Teng's "My Medea" might qualify, I think, but since she uses piano she's wandering into classical influences that gothic music tends to exhibit anyway. I was thinking more along the lines of "Dar Williams and/or Noe Venable, but gothic." Gothic guitar, what? That would be...interesting.

2) A reversal of the "beauty and the beast" motif in gothic/symphonic rock, where instead of having a beautiful, soaring female voice paired with growling male vocals (which, as much as I do like it, has been done to death already), you have angry, semi-screechy, deep female vocals (maybe something like Emilie Autumn, particularly when she's in her Opheliac mode) with Il Divo-esque male vocals. Suggested name for this arrangement: "the harpy and the hunk."

If anyone out there can point me to actual examples of these in action, that would be appreciated. :D...

***

Hey, I didn't realize Vanessa Carlton had another music video out. Hands on Me is the second single from Heroes and Thieves, and is one of my favorite songs from that album.

This video, however, is not going on my list of favorite Vanessa Carlton music videos, or even on my list of favorite music videos, period. First off, the cuts are just kind of really weird and jerky. Secondly, the execution of the video's theme just doesn't work. Many of Carlton's songs from Heroes and Thieves give off an odd adolescent naivete for someone as old as she is, and "Hands on Me" is probably one of the biggest offenders in that regard. Which I mean in the most affectionate way possible, because like I said it's one of my favorite songs, and although I didn't like the direction of Heroes and Thieves at first, I've come to like it. It's grown on me, and is fuzzy and warm like mold.

But casting Carlton in the role of the lovestruck viewpoint in the music video for "Hands on Me" strikes me as a million kinds of wrong. She might sound like she's still in high school, but she definitely doesn't look like she is. If she had a face like Ayumi Hamasaki, who's about the same age as her (Carlton is 28; Hamasaki is 29), she could probably pull it off, but no, Carlton looks her age, or only a few years younger, which would still place her squarely in the twenties. So there's something disturbing and unnerving about watching a grown Carlton fidgeting on the bed as she's thinking about this love of hers. I think it would have worked better if they'd cast an actress to play a younger Carlton (which would be weird in its own way, because Carlton came into the mainstream as a teenager, and everyone knows what she looked like then) and then have the real Carlton acting as a commentator of some sort, as though she were looking back on her teenage years.

***

I have a Twitter account. Yeah, that's right, bitches, you heard me: I has an account on a glorified version of the Facebook status feature. Whatcha gonna do about it, huh?

Also, anonymous commenting is turned on in this LJ now. If I've got any non-LJ readers out there, give me a holler. Just make sure to sign your name so I know who you are. o_o I reserve the right to screen/bahleet idiocy, though, because this is my LJ and I'll wank cry if I want to.

-Reileen
let's make this our story, let's live in the glory
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: (Default)
Vienna Teng says hi to YouTube viewers!

Vienna Teng talks about being a trendsetter for 5 seconds!

Vienna Teng hypothesizes about a shady tour manager!

Any n00bs who are following this blog and don't already know me from another blog, be prepared to listen to me ramble on and on and on and on about Vienna Teng. To say I adore her (in the way that one musician idolizes another musician for his or her total pwnage) would be the understatement of the millennium. Also, I wish I could be as cute as her. The shoulder-length hair is a good look for her...

-Reileen
freedom is being alone

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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