looking at my resolutions from january, wow, i flubbed all of them! even japanese, which i Am working on, had "keeping at it" as its primary directive. the moral of the story is you need to be more vague if you want any chance of claiming success.
[i dropped it like a lead balloon back in february because i was led to believe that getting your basic vocab was the first and compulsory step. when someone advised to just start reading asap, i felt like a worm seeing sunlight for the first time. here's something i can do, i thought, <100 words under my belt, carve michelangelo's david with a toothpick!!!!!
i have a great fondness of the versions of media that exist in your mind when you only have access to promotional material. if it hasn't been firmly locked into any one thing, it could be exactly what you want, even if you yourself have no means to conceptualize it. (when i was a kid i used to walk past a store with a massive silent hill 4 poster on my way to school every day. the combination of home+danger was so potent that i subsisted on my vague impressions of it for years.) knowing more about production and advertising has taken some of the fun out of this, but as long as one doesn't convert those nuggets of inspiration to expectations, it's all good.
all that is to say, i'm very curious about where suggestion ends and strict definition begins. where do you see the most possibility?
since i'm no longer 1) a child or 2) living through a financial crisis (knock on wood) a lot of the barriers that landed works in these margins have vanished, but language remains firm. we'll see about that, i guess?]
even before the current state of affairs, i couldn't really see a year as a comprehensible unit. regardless, i'm happy i got back into an old hobby, managed to sew something wearable (albeit simple), gained some relatively useful skills (yay for tension awareness!), and with this website (more or less!!!). i'll keep trying to stretch my legs.
may we all have a peaceful new year! ✧
i did the thing this whole endeavor was meant to keep at bay which is become completely unhinged about one artist and refuse to listen to anything else. list provided for posterity.
List of albums (total: 14)
mellow gold - beck
i'll have some platitudes to offer about the coming new year some other time. for now, here are Watcher's Game Awards (existence pending). some of these you'd rather not stick on your fridge, i think.
...oh. well, there you have it.
read the first route of hashihime (18+) and thought "huh well that seems like exactly what it wanted to be, wonder how the others are gonna compete with that". unfortunately not even this masterstroke of intuition brought my expectations back to a reasonable level. the structure makes you feel like every choice you make is knocking things off their natural course (and making them worse by meddling). i liked how even without addressing them directly, the antagonist seemed to challenge the player for their role in influencing the story. tamamori was also a fun protagonist to follow around. i wanted to claw my way out of his mind, iron him into a more respectable guy, and wish for his happiness, warts and all, at the same time.
i've been playing some stuff in jp as practice but nothing has been interesting enough to either praise or complain about. growing a bit numb to purposefully audacious plots. i think it's because ive been restricting my app/site usage pretty severely, so any time i smell hogwash i can sense my life ticking away in real time.
since i forgot to give an update on miska: all of it was gone in two sittings and nobody was poisoned, so i'll count that as a win. i'd like to plant some flowers next year. (or maybe asparagus... apparently they can last up to 30 years?)
i read fatamoru!! and a bunch of side material while i was at it. i have a lot of thoughts but they have been a bit difficult to pin down... i kind of regret going at the pace i did, but that just leaves me more open to a reread in the near future ^_^ despite how dark it can get, it's an immensely compassionate story.
"you were able to bear these tragedies because they weren't yours," the game says, but again and again the characters grasp for kinship. then make it mine, so that you won't ever be cast out on your own again. let us cling together with song, with culture, with suffering. when you see my face, may it be a comfort in a sea of strangers: a familiar slope of the nose, dark twinkling eyes. even when connecting means hurting each other, or seeing themselves reflected too sharply, anything is better than the solitude of being the "other". to give that up is to lose everything, including your own self.
i'm happy that something that bears some pretty obvious indie marks like this can be a full and respected work anyway.
a few days ago i put up and then deleted some fragments i had written. for now i'd rather they be seen (if at all) in the context of these entries. some of it is my own insecurity, but presenting them on their own page seems to give them too much weight. they're more like little exorcisms.
practicing singing a bit. i can never tell when something interests me because i like the process, the results, or the idea of being someone who is good at it. i guess it's all the same in the end.
looking into this stuff really drives home what intricate bags of flesh we are, just heaps of unseen bits of muscle and tissue relying on each other. i love coarse and emotive singers but hearing them, the image of those voices floating from them effortlessly mixes with the actual experience of listening (squeezing myself like a trash compactor). the truth is somewhere in-between, but technique doesn't exactly invite itself in.
not dead yet, which means i'm gonna need some tunes.
List of albums (total: 37)
inside - mother mother
lots of bands i heard one album from and stayed content obsessing over, so i figured i could return to their origins here. nothing in the rilo kiley catalog feels like execution really, but jenny lewis sold me on some of their other ventures, so that's nice.
following along with new releases, i'm getting real sick of the idea of the "quarantine album". i'm sure its comforting to someone, but that someone is not me and i break out in hives every time someone namedrops capitalism or america as a cute gotcha. it makes sense to spin these things into a pop song; it's efficient, simple to spread and fun as you do it. still, don't expect anyone to sacrifice flow for something more than abstractions. it's far easier to dance in a shallow pool.
speaking of which, the origin of symmetry remaster!!! it feels weird including something like this as "new music", especially as a favorite, but it's a completely different experience to the original. as much as i love muse's bombast, their songs can kind of... blend together when everything's operating at maximum capacity. the approach they took with the remix means extra detail and clarity where it was needed, and some nice surprises along the way too.
plans never seem to quite work out, but i'd like to explore the lolita sphere in more detail next quarter. we shall see, and in the meantime, i wish you well.
classes start in a week, so naturally all i've been doing is playing persona 2. i'm really into all of the unique mechanics that were later culled (contacting demons especially) even though the difficulty seems way off. also, without the stat-raising dating sim aspects the pacing is just going full speed ahead all the time with some looney tunes bullshit thrown in to keep you busy. tatsuya's no-good very long bad day. (<- charmed by this)
i'm also trying sourdough again. after seeing a guy feed his starter with bleach to little harm, it seems a lot less daunting. having said that, the kitchen scale broke on me by day two.
i made an apron! for a complete beginner i think it's fine. my dream is to create a copy of the Perfect Shirt i sleepwalked into while thrifting, which should happen sooner than later because everything else i have planned requires actual knowledge of drafting. (this seems like a bad time to have overcome my allergy to fitted garments.)
also, book guy never responded. i'm white-knuckling my loose change until one of us gives.
i finally dipped my toes into the funny little secondhand book marketplace i've been eyeing. all the books i want cost some lint and a smile, so i wonder if they were also dumped off on people by elderly relatives... they're supposed to be icons of hu lit, but god forbid you try to find them on the electronic library, and nobody wants them, except if they do they buy the re-releases that seem more like exercises in graphic design, etc... and of course, very little gets translated, because if the mountains weren't enough of a deterrent, the language will definitely ward off anyone who'd care.
i was struck by a particular tl of the captive lion by petőfi where in order to keep the form they decimated one of my favorite lines. in the 5th stanza, the speaker demands that the lion may tread on the shadows of the trees as consolation for not being able to touch them - it's a cold comfort, and the desire doesn't even originate from the lion. it makes me think of long trunks cutting up the floor of the cage in tandem with the bars themselves. digested by wm. n. loew it becomes: "let him enjoy a little shade." come on, lion that is also a metaphor for the subjugated national consciousness! if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!!!
also, we planted the last of the slips today. they're sort of the runts of the litter on account of some... conflicting... information (basically, don't cut into stuff unless you're gonna be really disciplined about it). summer's been infernal, so i hope they make the most of it.
went to the waterpark today. i hope the thermal pools did something for my pain ^_^ regarding the quarterly music report, i'm a bit short of where i was last time. some of that is because of albums i consider re-listens rather than new experiences [even if i last heard them forever (watching music videos as an eight year old on vuze of all things) ago].
List of albums (total: 26)
brighter wounds - son lux
genre-wise, electropop and indie rock tied for first, something that is NOT VERY HARD WHEN INDIE ROCK BARELY MEANS ANYTHING. the rest are labels that each get one or two albums representing them. i know art pop and dream pop are different things, but it looks awful on a pie chart so i'm not doing that anymore.
[PURGED: SPIEL ABOUT BEING DISAPPOINTED BY WHOLE DAMN BODY] insulting your fans on an anniversary record is a bold move though, i will admit. on the flip side, the new work the mountain goats have been putting out has been really interesting. it's nice to see creators who keep branching out, even with hundreds and hundreds of pieces under their belt.
the other day i considered keeping a score like this for vegetables i've eaten, so i guess don't be surprised if this column retires. cheers!
a lot/nothing much has happened since i last wrote. my exams are over and the plants have reached a very hands off stage (meaning i don't have to take the pots in and out to the balcony every day, or "walk them" as someone put it). i'm still trying hard to find hobbies that play nice with my busted hands, but everything chains me to the computer.
oh, i also started playing mystic messenger. it's a unique game because it kind of sucks. which is fine!! games that kind of suck are my thing!! but the fact it was never ported off of mobile says enough. it's hurt as much as it is served by the real-time chatroom format, and there's always a bit of a cynical air around a game that can potentially move hundreds of dollars for its premium currency. not that i didn't know what i was getting into.
in the event that "lololol" sneaks its way into my regular vocabulary, take this:
in my writing i find too much specificity clunky. i guess that's a matter of skill, because "inconsequential" details are something i really enjoy in other people's work. until very recently i never thought that art could be about closing doors rather than opening them. the authorial voice as controlling and oppressive - i dunno! tell me about the rhythm of a characters movements! about how the light filters in! wouldn't you like to know?
as for me, i'm pretty unmoored. even the stuff i make that isn't directly inspired by dreams has been described as surreal. i guess part of it comes with the territory, since the longest thing i've written was for something where visuals are a given. spend too long talking about them and it seems contradictory, or like a crutch, or a waste of time. on the other hand, writing with the observational fancies of an illustrator:
„The little eyes were glazed with sleep and the candlelight played upon the bald head, moulding the structure of the skull with shifting shade.“
a handful of bad days. this sounds too much like siken, and probably a specific one that i'm only half remembering. i read snow and dirty rain five times in a row when i first found it, so i guess this sort of thing is inevitable. miska is doing well, by the way... i haven't had much to report due to getting swallowed up by various interests. also, i didn't know you could eat sweet potato leaves. they're a little tangy?
a lot of artists are doing baroque pop now (or at least using the same twists) and from what i can gather it's often technically good, but... it doesn't click with me, and i struggled with the why of it.
"baroque" comes loaded with all sorts of connotations: opulence, wastefulness, aesthetics as a tool of manipulation. not that you can pigeonhole everything using those flairs as Variations On The Theme, but if your life experiences involve That being synonymous with high art, well... it's a sticky assumption. even with records where i stubbornly feel that it doesn't work (OK human with its dreadful lyrics comes to mind) it flirts with the same ideas. the day-to-day framed bombastically - you get it?? because we're living through a historical event, but from a worm's eye view???
[asking something like "why does presentation matter so much?" would come off as disingenuous from someone who is invested in a dozen different art forms. when i listen to someone ham it up on a topic that most people can in no way relate to, the pretentiousness suddenly becomes a deliberate barrier. so then where are the bounds of empathy?
is it what we can see? if not, is it what we can feel? are there people who don't deserve it? and if someone doesn't meet any of the criteria, (presentation, underlying cause, moral character) where does that pain go? don't tell me it passes on! that's too depressing!!!]
despite its ubiquity, even the sound of a guitar conjures up a certain image. besides, if something is trying so desperately to draw attention to itself, i want to see that grandeur put to work.
Miska is growing steadily, but i'm seeing some mold as well :( not sure what to do about that. the air in our apartment is very dry, so i read to keep them under a plastic bag with holes punched through; apparently some people just put their damn yams in a basket and they still begin to sprout, which just seems unfair.
i wrote a whole silly preamble to this some time ago that i don't care for anymore, so here it is, nakedly, without justification:
THE QUARTERLY NEW MUSIC REVIEEEEWWWWW!!!!
the stars will never shine bright - binary marionette
wow, thanks for coming everyone. i couldn't have done it without you. i hope the next quarter is just as fruitful. maybe i'll set foot into my blindspot and start listening to country?
dungeon synth is a bit overrepresented here 'cause it makes for a great background for reading. i'd reccommend the snaking path (soothing) or flies the coop (lots of personality!) if you're interested. aside from that, the common thread among my favorites seems to be women screaming, high-energy tunes and a vague sense of bitterness. it's a wonder the new black dresses didn't make the cut, but knowing the circumstances around the record, it just makes me deeply sad.
on a brighter note, Project Sweet Potato is underway. i hope to get them in planting shape by may or so... there's still lots of work to do before then.
from this article. i found this paragraph interesting because it places hope in the possibility of successfully alienating fans who engage with idol culture, despite acknowledging the way unconventional ("loopy") behavior is cannibalized and reintegrated into the appeal.
this is why i can't enjoy those types of vns that make you personally earn the light at the end of the tunnel by subjecting you to what looks and reads like torture p*rn, but people with a sense of shame insist is not. shock value, for me, disrupts the connection between the viewer and the work [this isn't to say that's inherently bad, although there are probably more tasteful ways to invoke it. (it crops up in the strangest of places, too. you ever think about those rpgs where people were appalled that they were expected to play a certain role?)].
but there will always be people who it doesn't work on, or even works in the opposite direction, and... well, what then? once a genre has been around for enough time, the audience starts to self-select. you might be reaching out to one group, and finding the hand of another.
no, i'm never too happy with the layout of this thing. i ended up getting rid of the separate tracker for what i'm thinking/doing since it kinda defeated the point, so here is a plug of "the sound of january".
i dreamt i was at a fancy party and i needed something from my bag so i dumped everything in it (bandaids, cookies, a bottle of grocery store rosé, a calculator, the planner i use in the waking world but with the edges painted gold, and a raw egg) onto the table, so someone promptly made fun of all the "garbage" i had. i shot back that at least they're useful and we slowly descended into a fight with lots of slapping, passive aggression, and breaking stuff.
my egg didn't make it :-(
blackout "poetry", after a fashion:
i remember ██ ███ ████████ █████ ██████ ███ █████████ ████ ██ ██████████ ██████ ████ █████ ██ ██████████ █████ stuff. █████ ████ ███ a photographer with some work i thought was kind of abstract, Very Brown, and not really interesting (to a 13 year old). ███ ████ ████ ███ ███ ███████ ███ ██ █████████, ███ ████ ███ ███ ██████ ███ ███; █ ████ █████ ██████ ██████ ██ ████ █████ ███████ ██████ ██████████. half a year later i'd be gone.
sometimes i wonder ██ █ ████████ █████ ██████ ██ ███████ ██████. a hostile enviroment is just that, though, whether you're painting flowers or blowing glass. good riddance and good night!
♫ redoing this page.. falala... ♪ ran out of stamina before i could make it all nice... la la... ♫
i read all of honeyclo in like 4 days and my brain is soupy but:
kinda odd that despite very clearly writing hagu in such a way where it shows that talent is mostly determination & positing it as anything else will only alienate people who are very passionate about something from their peers, one of the last plotlines is still about morita's weird family feud about who the Talented brother is and how it pays off in basically every way you could possibly want (unless your unfavorite brother betrays you or something)
also even though he and his brother were mirrors of their dad and uncle (the original have/have-not drama machines), kaoru is said to "have imagination" because he... feels guilty about causing someone suffering...
So talent isn't real and thinking it is instead of focusing on your strengths is bad. (But he's not not-talented.) morita isn't an eccentric genius in the way of a stereotype, he's a real person because he mentioned it once and extroverts are just hard to write with pathos OKAY????
not exactly resolutions, but this year i'd like to:
to be honest, part of the reason i made this site was to feel better about all the time i have to spend idle because of my injury. even if i stopped making things right now, i'd still have tried lots of stuff, and i'm proud of what i've managed.
and of course, as is tradition:
quitting my day job to become a 'Moon Flame Envoy', whatever the hell that means
first painting of the year. we found an unopened set of children's tempera in the closet. lucky!
a lot of fuss is made about learning from others' mistakes, but there's a real magnetism to a good story told badly.
the impulse to cut and sew, to thin out indulgences, to tie up loose ends... i think everyone wants to see things they enjoy succeed, but often it's more about looking legitimate to outsiders. (we pass this principle on in teaching, too. if you've looked at one bad tutorial, you've probably seen them all.)
but there's no way to do that without changing the process itself, and by then, it's less fun for everyone, isn't it?