Friday, July 08, 2016

No.

This has annoyed me for years. "Spin" is not spinning. That traditionally involves a wheel or a spindle and distaff. (Alternatively a form of biking exercise, although in my laziness I prefer to think of this option as nonexistent.) "Spin" as it is currently referred to is lying. The products of spinning information are neither weight loss nor textiles. They are lies. I'm utterly disgusted by this in its various forms. Propaganda, press releases, internal emails, social media posts, whatever. If you can't tell the truth about what is going on for fear of its horrible nature coming to light, possibly you should change your actions rather than lying about it.

Spinning something is not the same as holding different points of view, no matter how contentious. In that case, both parties genuinely believe they are telling the truth and are in the right. Deliberately distorting what you know to be true, particularly for political gain that affects millions of people's lives, is despicable. This applies to everyone involved in whatever case, not necessarily political. Some are more perceptively vile with it than others due to social prominence, but all are tarred with the same brush.

This is grotesque. Please stop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Wishing for madness

There are days when I wish I was completely well, days when I like how I am, days when I loathe how I am, and days when I wish I was a bit more mad. Sometimes it's freeing. Like when you're dissociated enough that you no longer really have feelings, and you're just operating your body like a puppet master. Deeper madness brings trouble with it, but this level gives you a sufficient degree of control. The emotions are erased and you view yourself like a stranger would. Staring at your face without recognizing it as self. You are not part of your body. It is a separate thing, and you peer at it, a bit confused as to why you're saddled with it, and annoyed at the imperfections of this creature you're stuck inhabiting.

Sometimes madness can help. It can certainly hurt, but it does have its occasional benefits.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jessica Jones

Patrick has gotten me hooked on Jessica Jones, which is titled after the name of its main character. Tragically only one season of this show exists so far, but it was picked up for another one in January of this year. Now I just have to wait...

I'm not good at waiting.

I'm now re-watching it a second time, and it's even better this time around. Knowing what happened at the end makes me really appreciate the little hints that were dropped in the beginning. I'm probably going to have to watch it multiple times in order to catch everything. I am not sad about this. I LOVE IT. It's dark and confusing and glorious and you're totally rooting for Jessica as she battles the evil Kilgrave, who is reeeeeally hard to fight due to his superpower (which I will get to). I can't wait to see who the Big Bad is in the second season. Hurry up and come out, Season Two! Getting picked up in January of this year means I'll probably have to suck it up and wait for ages before they get the filming done.

Jessica Jones takes place in the same Marvel comics universe as a lot of the superhero movies you've seen coming out, with their corresponding characters such as Iron Man, Captain America, the Hulk, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Ant-man (whose name I totally mocked but is sort of cool after all), and Spider-man (who through some weird deal is present in both the Marvel and DC comics universes). I also really thought Captain America's suit was needlessly stupid until I saw his origin movie, after which I decided I totally appreciated it and it was very appropriate. And Spider-man's origin story is actually GOOD in the latest Captain America movie! I was thoroughly impressed.

This means that her show takes into account the things that have happened in the stories involving these other characters, including the massive mess in NYC caused by the first Avengers movie (JJ is set in NYC). I don't know how many of you have seen that, but it's quite fun. Explosions! Aliens! Weird squabbling gods from some random-ass planet! Get your tickets today!

Anyway, without spoilers, the show's basic premise is that Jessica, a private investigator, has the power of super-strength, which was taken advantage of by another guy with the power of mind control, Kilgrave. She keeps having nightmares and flashbacks after having escaped him, and has to decide whether to run or deal with her past.

Jessica is a strong (hah!) female character, and she's played very well by Krysten Ritter, of whom I'd heard very little until now. Unsurprisingly, I love great female leads in my shows. I don't watch much, and if the show isn't great, I just stop and go back to reading. Reading rocks.

I love her style (such as it is, mostly which means not caring), her get-out-of-my-way attitude, and her mental fortitude to press onward despite overwhelming odds. I also wish I had super-strength, but hey, that's not likely to ever happen. She drinks a lot, but then probably so would I if I'd had her experiences. I don't have the tiny and thin body shape to truly mimic her wardrobe, but I can manage a few things. Here's what the costume designer said: On Jones's costume, Maslansky said she "considers her clothing to be an armor and a shield and something that helps her maintain a distance from other people and privacy. It keeps her from having to deal with the rest of humanity in a certain sort of way."

Behold the anticlimactic, urban-inspired glory that is Jessica:

Thank you for not being a superhero who fights in high heels.
See? Nothing particularly awe-inspiring, which in my opinion is an excellent choice. She just looks normal, and I totally get the whole leather-jacket-as-armor thing. I feel the same way about some of my clothes.

Practical yet nice!
I love how everything goes together, but in a kind of don't-give-a-crap way. It's the sort of thing someone would throw on just to be actually wearing clothes but only owning one or two pairs of them, both of which are identical.

As I said, I don't have the body shape to do the very slim-fit, pants-tucked-into-boots style (trust me, I would look like a water buffalo), but I do have black hiking boots, regular jeans, and I can finagle the scarf, jacket, and bag. Also the plain black tank top she's usually seen wearing when not outside. I found that for $3.49 on Amazon. I found a pretty close scarf for $28. The gloves were super cheap, too, although I can't remember how much they were.

That's the thing about movie clothes: a lot of the time they're specially made, so you can't find the exact thing anywhere unless it's a replica shop, and a lot of those are just cheap versions of the original. I'd rather pay a little more and have a nice article of clothing (the tank top is an anomaly, being just a plain tank top).

The jacket is insane, being designer and an absolutely ridiculous price, but similar versions can be had for much less. Y'know how there are those people who live in crappy houses but own really nice cars because that's the thing they really care about? If Jessica were to actually have bought this jacket herself, I kind of feel like it'd have been the same sort of idea. The bag is just a regular messenger bag, and that's about it. I shan't be tucking my jeans into my boots, but it's the thought that counts.

Damn you, expensive jacket. DAMN YOU.
Just because I can, I'm going to make you look at another outfit of hers that I don't think is as cool, but still really works on her (the scene is very pre-action meditative, and I love it):

Totally works on her, but not nearly as much fun to recreate.
Carrie-Anne Moss (Trinity from The Matrix) and David Tennant (the Doctor from Doctor Who) are in this show as well, which means I keep thinking Moss' character is going to break out some crazy-ass ninja moves, and that when I finally get around to watching Tennant's tenure on Doctor Who I'm always going to suspect he's secretly evil. It's always the first thing you see someone in that sticks in your mind. For me, Tim Curry will always be the butler on Clue. I find it genuinely perplexing when he's in another role, which is stupid since he's an ACTOR, but I am nevertheless chronically surprised. Sigh.

I think the aspect of this show I most enjoy is how real everyone seems. Granted, they have superpowers and stuff, but the characters themselves are very normal. They aren't over the top, and they have real-world problems. Interactions with others make sense, and the stars of the show react appropriately. Given the limited amount of time I've spent in NYC (a couple visits), the familiarity with which even complete strangers speak to each other is absolutely spot-on. Also there isn't a ton of witty repartee. The show's writing is clever, but it's not the constant string of one-liners that you find a lot of the time. I can't stand that crap. Jessica Jones is a smart girl who knows her business, and she's prepared to take on whatever comes her way, including the trouble she creates by herself.

All in all, I am a total fangirl of this show, and while it's most certainly not for everyone (violence and it definitely gets darker as it goes along), it's great. Everyone in it excels at their job, and they've gotten rid of unnecessary bullshit present in the comics timeline (such as JJ having a superhero best friend, which in my opinion is just taking the whole number of People With Powers thing too far).

If you've seen this, what do you think about it?

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Military saying that I love

If you're going to be stupid, you'd better be tough.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Patrick performing and some other stuff

Hey, all. I'm off Facebook again because I just couldn't stand being on it. My hatred of it hasn't changed, and while I was on it for a bit to do some stuff with that class group I am in, I'm done with that and am back to not being on there. I just...UGH. It's not my thing. Mostly I loathe knowing that Zuckerberg is using my information for his own gain and that people I don't even know want to be fake friends with me/talk to me. I just...I deleted the app off my phone and that was a little better, but I still felt repelled knowing that my data remained available to Facebook. It's not completely gone, as in destroyed, but it IS deactivated. I'm leaving its existence in case I need to go back and have dealings with the class group again. If you wish to contact me and don't already have my email or phone number for texting, this blog's comments are the best way to reach me.

Here are some more videos of Patrick performing with his trombone collective. I hope you enjoy!

Tower Music by Vaclav Nelhybel
video

Come Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing arr. by Dennis Klouphaus
video

I also have a static picture of the group:

I really wish the performing space wasn't so dead. If it had been designed with a little more freedom of sound, they would've knocked us all backward with their amazing sound. No one here was less than awesome.

Patrick got me started watching Jessica Jones on Netflix, and it's good! I'm sad there are only 13 episodes, but it's a great show with a nice little creepy factor. When we run out of that, I think maybe we will go back and watch the season of Dr. Who with Rose as his companion, then skip Season 5 (we've already seen it twice-ish) and go straight to Season 6 with the new Doctor. I'm going to try to keep an open mind. Matt Smith will always be the Doctor to me, since he is who I began with, but I hopefully will learn that other Doctors are good as well!

My thumb is healing up. It still hurts to the touch, but it's well enough that I don't have to wrap it any longer, which is a relief. That was SO aggravating. But yay, better!

In other Better News, I think this theory I have is accurate: I'd been slowly having more and more brain shocks, and finally they were almost constant. I then began to feel that my teeth were moving, as it was getting unpleasant to close my mouth. I'd initially thought the shocks were due to some sort of drug withdrawal, which seemed very unfair as I hadn't changed anything.

I tried various things to get them to go away, but they persisted and I got awful headaches. I finally decided to fix my teeth with my retainers, and it dawned on me that perhaps the shocks were from my teeth moving and not the drugs. The last time I wore them, it only took a few hours to move them back. The hours were unpleasant, but definitely worth it. Today I have no shocks, and my teeth are in their proper place. Cross your fingers that it remains this way and I don't start getting them again later on in the day...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Bio from Patrick's last performance, with the Washington Trombone Collective, complete with video

Professional trombonist Patrick Urion has been performing, teaching, and studying music across the country for nearly twenty five years. Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Patrick began his formal music education in Chicago, where he studied with members of the legendary Chicago Symphony brass section including Frank Crisafulli, Arnold Jacobs, Jay Friedman, and Michael Mulcahy. After graduating from Northwestern and before completing graduate studies at Rice University, he performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago under the batons of Robert Spano, Christoph Eschenbach, Zubin Mehta, Pierre Boulez, and Daniel Barenboim.

A prolific and versatile performer, Patrick has played with the Seattle Symphony, Seattle Opera, Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, Seattle Chamber Players, Auburn Symphony, Tacoma Symphony, Cheyenne Symphony, Fort Collins Symphony, Colorado Symphony, Boulder’s Dinner Theatre, Woodlands Symphony, Orchestra X, and the Northwest Sinfonia, one of the top studio recording orchestras in the world. With the Northwest Sinfonia, he has recorded dozens of soundtracks for television (including two seasons of NBC’s Community), movies (including Selma, Let Me In, Drag Me To Hell, Underworld: Awakening, Warm Bodies, Valkyrie, and The Incredible Hulk), movie trailers, video games (including the Halo, World of Warcraft, Diablo 3, Destiny, and DotA franchises), and studio albums by Two Steps From Hell, E.S. Posthumus, and Eliesha Nelson (for her Grammy winning debut album of Quincy Porter viola works).

Other work as a freelance trombonist include live performances with Chicago, Cheap Trick, Kenny Rogers, Pink Martini, and Idina Menzel. Since 2013, Patrick has also had the privilege of coaching the low brass section of the Seattle Youth Symphony, the largest and among the most distinguished youth orchestra programs in the United States.

One of the pieces they performed:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dracula, you minx (and Lenore)

Why will Dracula staunchly refuse to have more character facets every time I read his story? It's aggravating. There's flat-out boring evil, and then there's evil-with-a-sly-twist-of-good that makes you sort of loathe yourself for kind of vaguely rooting for him.
 
COME ON, STOKER.
 
Get up from your grave and rewrite a little more depth into this dude. I wouldn't care so much except I'm so fond of the classic and just wish it were even better. Were it swill, I'd have chucked it at once and not bothered.
 
...clearly I wish Victorian authors were still around so I could nag them into improvements.
 
There's this poem I found which was apparently originally in German, written in 1796, and most of Romantic society went into paroxysms of ecstasy when it was translated into English. It inspired an awful lot of Victorian horror writing and basically all of the vampire genre, despite no one in it actually being a vampire. (I'm putting it after the break because it's gigantic.)
 
For your reading pleasure, I present Lenore by Gottfried B├╝rger: