:: Kaitani Naomi (Card Captor Sakura movie ED)
:: slow uplifting girl-ballad
:: Won the karaoke contest at sjcon, sez Erin. Pretty, pretty song, reminiscent of Escaflowne inserts - love the lyrics. The translation I linked is a little messed up, but it'll serve until I get around to it myself.
:: moody and minor-key... I suppose this is j-rock?
:: Yet more sjcon fallout. I promised to upload this for the guy sitting by me during Kizuna OAV3 - the one who thought Matsushita Yoko should just draw yaoi-dammit and put us out of our misery. The entire weekend was full of odd but inspiring conversations with utter strangers. ^^;
Monday, August 6, 2001 03:34 a.m.
And note --
Erin: *Tuesday* at noon, in the basement of Burnside. Monday at noon is imouto-chan no tanjoubi no brunch party. ^_^
(I've arrived at the point in summer where I wouldn't mind school starting again. I have a perverse masochistic desire to see what my weblog looks like from the antique version of Netscape they run on the Linux boxes. ^^;)
And I forgot this other reason why Basara is cool (and why it is *not* written by Tanaka Yoshiki): it's the only shoujo manga I've encountered that deals with menstruation and pregnancy properly. You'd think that girls' comic books - but no, apparently.
Monday, August 6, 2001 02:30 a.m.
My mother bought Pocky!
Even strawberry, which I specifically asked for. Mmm, Pocky.
On a different note. You see I am reading new books. My sister and I gave each other a spirited reading of "Arcadia" yesterday as we were shelling peas for dinner, because that's what siblings are for. Or at any rate, that's what siblings *should* be for. Shared genes are no guarantee of shared interests in the real world, which dissuades me effectively from childbearing. XD (My attitude toward children is much the same as my attitude toward pets: wonderful as long as they're moderately quiet, don't smell and drool on me no more than polite bounds. And as long as they belong to other people. In the greater scheme of contributions toward the next generation of Homo sapiens I am an Aunt Sabina, the one who sends postcards from funny foreign locations and brings candy and books on her unexpected whirlwind visits. I don't know if my sister will ever have children, but my friends' will do - especially the ones who tell me I have responsibility and commitment issues. :P)
Back to books... I picked these up on a downtown run, along with the Basara and two Johnnie To movies. ("The Mission" and "Running Out Of Time" - which are most excellently righteous, in passing.) I also bought a pound and a half of cherries in Chinatown, which I ate for lunch after discovering that cherries ferment with most deplorable speed in the hot sun. ^^; Shared them, too, with several pandhandlers who crossed my path; sidewalk charity is to smooth one's own moral feathers, and I like distributing vitamins better than coin for cigarettes. Maybe it was the novelty of the thing, but I got a lot more thanks for the cherries than I ever did for change.
I may not be making any money this summer, but damned if I'm not going to finish the Tale of Genji at least. XD
Sunday, August 5, 2001 11:53 p.m.
Happy birthday, imouto-chan *heart*
In case you're reading this. ;)
D: Black Rose Arc, yes...? That's what I was thinking of. ^_^ Although I'm at the end of vol.16 currently, and the series has gone *way* past flashing-pointer territory. No specific spoilers - let's just say that this is not a happy-bunny shoujo manga. It's burnt a few scenes into my brain with tongs. ;_;
"Close your eyes; block your ears too. Don't take it to heart. This is just the way my life is... I'll protect you. So don't worry."
--If we stand here any longer, we'll become a sand pillar.
--It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter...
--The nights are cold when it storms.
--But I'm not cold.
--It's only that my mouth is full of sand.
And for the sake of completeness, I'll just mention that Basara is full of *very* manly men. :P So many in fact that I often hallucinate I'm reading Tanaka Yoshiki (Legend of Galactic Heroes, Arislan etc.), an illusion abetted by the frequent battles and coups d'état and broken only when Ageha devolves into Kichou mode. Not that, um, Ageha isn't manly - because he is. He's a tall, sword-wielding, ass-kicking *savagely*-intelligent blue-noble desert wanderer. It's just he has this other stage persona that wears a lot of lipstick and drips jewelry and flowers and stars in an immensely-popular travelling dance revue, and if you happen to have that piece of sitar music from the anime drop me a note. I don't have the nerve to make that up, btw, which is one of the reasons I admire Tamura-sensei.
(And an eyepatch. What is it with tall men with pale hair and one eye? ...Because for one thing, there's an awful lot of them.)
Oh, and glad you... enjoyed... the tape. XD I pass on Tan-chan's theory that Hidaka Ken is the result of subconscious trauma Koyasu-san sustained learning Izumi's lines. There *is* sex in the series, it's just the Zetsuai anime runs up to vol.4, and vol.5 is where Kouji does Izumi's ditzy innocent-bystander of a girlfriend and then Izumi a few days later on the linoleum of their homeroom *ick*, because when the dust settled *he* was the one who felt he owed Kouji. >_< And the Bronze anime runs up to vol.3 or so, and it's a couple of tankoubon later that Hirose (the oldest Nanjou boy) decides he's going to play in the little brother's sandbox to teach him a lesson. And all of the *really* explicit PWP interludes were published as doujinshi, because Bronze runs in a magazine that ten-year-olds read. -.- Speaking of which, all three of them have/had little sisters - Izumi, Shibuya *and* Kouji - and out of the three Kouji's is the coolest. She does kendo and goes to school abroad, and is sane and cares about her psychotic brothers. My guess is Papa Nanjou pretends his female descendants don't exist, and so they grow up normal.
I mean, it's a really messed-up series. I don't remember why I read it unless I'm actively reading it, and then I'm too busy laughing. The anime left out all the funny bits. XD
(Prolix again, by gum...)
Saturday, August 4, 2001 10:54 a.m.
I suppose I need coffee
I'm stuck, oddly enough, at school - and at a time of day I'm usually deep in REM sleep too. I'm debating between getting myself a coffee at the Second Cup and finding a sunny ledge outside on which I can discreetly zonk out. I can't believe I spent the entire last semester in this state. Small wonder about my marks; I must have twenty points shaved off my IQ. I should give Erin a call (time to kick the left brain into shape after the three-month hiatus I've given it), but I don't know if she's still abed. No need to spread the misery.
I wonder... would my mother kill me if I rented a Takashi Miike film at Marché Clandestin? ^^;
I've been taking halfhearted notes during my reading of Basara, just in case - and trying not to spoiler myself, although to be honest the series is obscure enough that one would have to go out of one's way. The fact that there is no fanfic annoys me spec-ta-cu-lar-ly. >_< I was *just* confessing to Thea the other day that I'm too chicken to write yaoi for series that don't already have a body of fanwork attached to them, even if the author of said series had suspended large flashing pointing-finger cursors over the heads of certain characters contained therein *cough*Ageha*cough*. And there's Nachi and Hijiri, who about make Tasuki and Kouji look standoff-ish. XD ...And why do I keep making Fushigi Yuugi comparisons? It doesn't feel like FY at all. Only Shuri's in love with Sarasa so far, for one thing, and that's as it should bloody-well be. I *think* Asagi likes her too - in his own twisted way, as the Bran Van song runs - but oddly enough that makes me like him better. Gives him a bit of vulnerability. Remember, this is the boy whose hobby is cooking because it allows him to fantasize about poisoning people.
(They *eat* what he makes too, is the absolutest worst thing. T_T The Tatara Band are nice people, and after the entire debacle with Chigusa-dono and the General it just seemed to slip everyone's mind that Asagi was, y'know, evil.)
At least I still have fifteen or so volumes of canon to go, not to mention they tell me the good bits are in 11-16. It *is* nice to be reading a long series for once.
Friday, August 3, 2001 03:57 a.m.
I have fic
But I want to finish the section before posting it. So it will have to wait for Saturday night. (I'm clubbing tomorrow - hopefully not somewhere they play hi-NRG. New wave I can take; house, d'n'b, Marilyn Manson, even top-40 I can take. Hi-NRG I loathe.) And now I'm going to go get something to eat, because I'm hungry. Yes, I know it's four in the morning. There's also no food in the house except for kimchee, romaine lettuce, and a fragment of Brie. But a girl can dream, can't she?
(Lorraine, how often *do* you read my blog? ^^;)
More on Basara. I woke up this morning and decided that I kind of like Evil Brat Asagi, at that. I mean, I hate him. I wish a rock would fall on him, or that he'd turn out to have picked up a nasty communicable disease at the Blue Court. But it's so rare that I get to work up a good sinus-clearing outrage for a manga character's actions these days. XD I'd build him a shrine, if the manga copy I'm reading weren't so smeary and crumbly as to be unscannable.
I keep forgetting to mention this: there really was a Petronia Sabina. She's buried corner Viae Appia and Latina, near the so-called temple of Deus Rediculus, according to this page. I find this *extremely* cool - but then I'm an ancient Roman groupie.
Need to answer shioulmail. But... hungry...
Thursday, August 2, 2001 05:27 p.m.
(Caulking is what I've been doing for the past two days. Save me... >_<)
'zell dincht video download' and 'yuffie and vincent fanfiction' google to this weblog. Why?
And what are the people searching for 'raymond chandler intp' looking for?
Also, many people seem to think that I can pull off the Marquis de Sade look at that... ^^;
Wednesday, August 1, 2001 04:14 a.m.
D - if you see this, get well fast. *hugs* *positive karma*
Have been reading Basara. Love that series. *Love* it. Kickass, fast-paced, suspenseful adventure fantasy epic, like a shoujo version of Arislan. She's a great plotter is Tamura-sensei; you're always breathless wondering what's going to happen next. It's an old-school sort of series, really, with a... how do I put it?... a *pre-CLAMP* feel, both in storyboarding and in artwork. Tamura-sensei is a much more mature mangaka who started off in the '70s, so perhaps that's it. And just as in YamiEi, I adore all the characters. So happy, to be reading a series in which no one annoys me. (Not exactly true. I *hate* Asagi. But I love hating him - sort of like Rufus or early-AS Rociel - and that kind of villain I find even more rarely than a likeable hero/heroine, which Basara has in spades. Usually if villains are at all cool, they're fangirl-worship cool à la Sephiroth. There *may* just be Asagi fangirls, since he's pretty enough in an unhealthy sort of way, but I doubt there are many. His ethical makeup makes Shuri look like Sir Galahad.)
I am currently at the end of vol.10. Our putative conquerors of Japan have discovered the principles of grass-roots democracy. Sarasa likes, of course; I didn't have much hope that the concept would take with Shuri, but it seems to have given him a taste for... grass-roots tyranny. XD Yappa, he really is a young Alexander.
On another note... why is YamiEi hard to write yaoi for? Because unlike shounen series and most shoujo ones, the shounen-ai is integrated into the storyline - as shounen-ai. The YamiEi universe is set up for maximum tease and minimum consummation, because Matsushita needs ways to handle all the gratuitous fanservice while providing good reasons for why nothing ever *really* happens. It's difficult to undo all that hard work. ^^;
(To get down to specifics, if you will... there's no canonical pairing that *doesn't* contain Tsuzuki, and not much UST beyond those. Tsuzuki-Hisoka reads strongly romantic-platonic to me; I couldn't write sex there if you paid me. The entire point of Tatsumi-Tsuzuki is that they *aren't* together. Muraki-Tsuzuki involves... plot. Lots and lots of plot. The entire farking plot of the manga, in fact, and I'm not willing to deal with that. ^^; And I will have to think very, very hard on whether it's possible for shikigami to do anything to their owners. Oh yeah, and I suppose I could write Muraki-Hisoka - and while I'm at it I'll get myself a funky wig and breeches like Geoffrey Rush in "Quills" too, just to give a proper air to the enterprise. >_<)
Tuesday, July 31, 2001 04:45 a.m.
And about Laputa...
I *was* thinking that I wouldn't need to review "Laputa: Castle in the Sky" for cripe's sake, but then I remembered that what I saw was the dub that Disney's been sitting on. ^^; So... it's quite a spirited dub, actually, better than "Mononoke Hime" (Claire Danes ruined that one for me). Anna Paquin *did* have a different accent from everyone else, and I don't know whose bright idea it was to cast Mark Hamill as Muska because dear lord that did *not* work out, but it was generally well-acted and often a pleasure to listen to. And the music is so, *so* gorgeous... ^_^ I don't see why Disney doesn't release it in theatres. Sigh...
Tuesday, July 31, 2001 03:56 a.m.
For my birthday
I would like a red Stratocaster with a katana hidden in the neck. I'll use it to destroy UFOs just like Guitar Wolf. Yuuki to... ROCK-'N'-ROLL! XD XD XD
(There's this film called "Wild Zero" that I highly recommend. It has blue undead in it, and Japanese punk bands, and lace-up hot pants on a fat man. And UFOs. And motocycles that spit fire. And androgynous bishounen love, which brings up to three the number of films I've seen this year at Fantasia that contain gender flip-flops. That's up from one last year. Tan-chan's convinced someone in the yaoi community has arrived in a position of power. Anyway, if you happen to come across this movie, do watch it late at night with like-minded friends and some beer. I had the friends and late hour, but I was in the theatre and kinda missed the beer. It would have completed the experience if I'd been allowed to chug Heineken every time someone shot the head off a zombie.)
Previous to that they screened the first three episodes of Boogiepop wa Waranai - only three, the wretches, I wanted to see more - and the world premiere of "Millennium Actress", Kon Satoshi's latest. That's the director of "Magnetic Rose" and "Perfect Blue", in case you're wondering. *Why* his films always premiere in Montreal I'm not absolutely certain, but I'm hardly going to complain about seeing a major Madhouse Studios anime release before the Japanese public. *_* It is, as you may expect from the source, a beautifully-animated film with razor-sharp editing. There is much blurring of fact and fiction, but the film itself is quite different from "Perfect Blue": being the history of a woman's quintessential love, told through the movies that make up her life. And that's about as much as I'll tell you now, because you'll watch it of course. ...When it's released on video in a couple of years. :P
[ducks volley of rotten fruit and kitchen utensils]
...Did I mention I got a sketch and an autograph out of Kon-sama? Scan to come?
[runs for the hills]
(Looks at Winamp... Evil's Toy, "Lucifer's Garden"; Delirium, "Heaven and Earth"; Apoptygma Berzerk, "Burning Heretic"; Statemachine, "Music from the End of the World"... ^^;; I *did* think this playlist would be appropriate bgm to read Angel Sanctuary to, but this is kind of ridiculous...)
Monday, July 30, 2001 03:45 a.m.
Current train of thought
Is Yami no Matsuei a ficcing universe?
Finished up to #10 again, in Chinese and Japanese, supplemented by two different English translations. Just to make sure and all that. It leaves a dull itch in my brain that could probably best be translated as "I could really make something out of this". A desire, that is, to tie the loose ends together *myself* into a more coherent whole. I have a nearly-blind faith that CLAMP and Yuki Kaori "know what they're doing" re storyline, but my trust in Matsushita-sensei isn't quite to the same degree... hence the urge to co-opt the mysteries of the Kyoto arc, and protect its potential from likely abuse(?). ^^; I won't do it, of course. I made the surface-simple decision to co-opt Schuldich's backstory eight months ago, and my brain is still not my own.
One aspect I do love about this manga, though - besides the characters, you're all aware that I love the characters ^^; - I'm incredibly fond of the settings. I've rarely encountered a series linked so inextricably with real-life locations, instead of an alternate world or some anonymous Tokyo neighborhood. YamiEi is a meticulously researched sightseeing (and eating) tour of all Japan. And it doesn't stop there. Matsushita's interiors are wonderfully detailed: see the House of Candles, Hisoka's family home, even Tsuzuki's priestly apartments in the Name of the Rose arc... The fantasy aspects of her universe are intriguing as well. It's that sense of 'solidity' to her world-building that holds the series up for me, because lord knows the plot is spotty enough. ^^; The fundamental difference between YamiEi and AS, if you will, is that the AS universe exists for the sole purpose of the plot. The purpose of YamiEi's plot(s) is to explore its universe. Hence the paradox, of AS being the far better storyline, but YamiEi being infinitely more ficcable. The latter just leaves too many tempting gaps to fill.
(There's an entire historical aspect Matsushita hasn't even touched, for instance. Tsuzuki was born in Meiji and died in Taisho. Tatsumi, for all we know, could have lived and died in *Muromachi*. And when exactly was their brief partnership, collecting children's souls in Kyoto? It's not the most plausible interpretation of the timeline, perhaps, but a wartime setting would go far to explain what appears to be horrible psychological strain to both parties. It's "Grave of the Fireflies" situations that shinigami would have had to deal with in that period. And now I have *really* over-analyzed - except I don't do simple over-analysis, I have fic ideas. Dareka tasuketekure... ne... ^^;)
I'd launch into my rant re how one simply *can't* write yaoi for YamiEi, but it's four thirty in the morning. And there's this song off the FFX single that wants to be a YamiEi music video. You've got to laugh sometimes.
Sunday, July 29, 2001 04:32 a.m.
Changed my MP3s
...to requests, oddly enough. ^^; Fantasia redux - first up is Takashi Miike's "Dead or Alive 2". Takashi Miike is, of course, the director of "Fudoh" - and Japan's resident Mr. Mindfuck. I find it difficult to describe his films, because I inevitably end up composing sentences like "Despite the maggots, machetes and giant penii, this movie is a nostalgic vision of idealized childhood." Or, "The Yakuza hitmen sprout fluffy wings as a sentimental metaphor for their amoral purity." There is gang necrophilia. There are assassins named Boo, Hoo and Woo who speak by typing messages on their Nokia phones. There is the all-time scariest use of the phrase "sore wa himitsu". ^^; And that's just "Dead or Alive 2", which is the warmest, fuzziest, and calmest of all his films I've seen. I have yet to meet anyone able to describe the original "Dead or Alive" properly; their eyes open wide and they wave their hands wildly and stutter things like, "his arm! and the bazooka! the ramen spewed all over! kamehameha! the longest line of cocaine in the world!" ...I mean, it's very good. If you don't mind coming out of the theatre feeling like your brain has just inhaled a tube of wasabi. XD
Next, this not-quite-horror-movie called "St. John's Wort" (in Japanese, otogirisou - ototo no oto + uragiri no giri + kusa no sou - a clue to the twisted ending that was entirely lost on non-kanji-readers in the audience). Boy, was the director of that film ever his own worst enemy... if you *must* shoot in nausea-inducing handicam à la Blair Witch, man, could you at least not SOLARIZE the result? >_< When I actually have to close my eyes because I'm getting *carsick* from the cinematography, there's a problem. Boom shanka and all that.
It's a pity, really, because the story wasn't half bad. I found myself wishing that Yuki Kaori had gotten to it first, or whomever her equivalent is in filmmaking (surely someone directs all those visual-kei PMVs?), it was *that* like a short arc in Count Cain or Yami no Matsuei... they had a magnificently creepy old house as setting, full of swirling dark oil paintings and hidden stairwells. I went to see the movie because of *one* image of a bedroom, piled on high with porcelain dolls in their perfect curls and crumbled lace. Some false, as it turns out, and some real; isn't it always thus? ^_^ Supposedly it was a video game first, and one can see how the adaptation was made. Lots of looking for keys and clues, followed by unlocked doors and yet more keys. I'd play the game, myself, and give the movie a miss. Unless you have a strong stomach and don't mind seeing the first twenty minutes in tones of octarine (fluorescent greenish-purple).
The ending theme was the Yellow Monkey's "Girlie", which startled me a little. I didn't know it was for a film.
Sunday, July 29, 2001 03:25 a.m.
In case Lise ever sees this
(That would be this Lise) By far the scariest Trigun/CCS connection is Furusawa Tohru-san, who plays both Knives and... Terada-sensei. O_@;
Run, Rika. Run very, very far away. I mean, you should do that anyways, since you're in fourth grade and dating your teacher. But!
Sunday, July 29, 2001 12:50 a.m.
And belatedly, Saint Sebastian
(Taking it in small chunks manageable in my frazzled state) An icon, yes. ^^; Mishima had himself photographed in Sebastian's pose, not long before his death; and there was a British indie film, some time in the seventies. Rather sensuous, states my book, all Roman soldiers and the sea... I'm fond of depictions of St. Sebastian. He wasn't that important a saint really - not any more than Laurence (bald pate) or Roch (that nasty boil), and much less so than Paul or Catherine - but he cropped up with what I felt at the time was an unwarranted frequency in my childhood browsings. (What *did* those Italians want with so many pictures of half-naked boys tied up to bleed? ^^; I think I didn't get it until I encountered shoujo manga.) It all depended on the artist in the end: copious blood and arrow-induced agonies in some of them, and others were just, well, a cosmetic nod to the story. St. Sebastian and the Piéta are nice Christian reasons to paint underdressed young men without having to do too much foreshortening, and the trépassé state of the protagonists can be taken care of in an aesthetically marble-like manner. XD At least one was an excuse to do figure studies of the *archers* - or archer in the singlar, since the man simply painted the same model six times over from different angles until he had a ring of them around the beleaguered saint. I can't remember a Caravaggio Sebastian - he was more into Bacchuses, as a rule - but if there were it must be interesting.
I've finally found the household copy of "The Erotic Arts", by Peter Webb. My mother stashed it under some Dadaists / Orientalists. It's actually quite an old book - revised edition of '83 - but a fascinating, comprehensive read all the same. It's instructive. I learn something new every time I browse through it (most of which can be summed up by "people never change". Did you know that the Victoria and Albert Museum owns a full set of Utamaro prints? Someone should explain to the Hentai Free people that the Japanese have been exporting images of tentacle rape to the West for a full two hundred years. Sushi sex is part of the national character. XD) A strong recommend if you can find it in a university library near you. The household copy was a gift from the same erotica-collecting Frenchman friend of my father's I mentioned a few entries back; the same man, incidentally, who was responsible for my 'watchthroughs' of the early Final Fantasy games. Part of the reason my character correspondences are so messed up is that he used to change all the names to cute French-from-France monikers such as 'Zazou'. But I digress.
Sunday, July 29, 2001 12:14 a.m.
D! Know how many books I've finished off that Random House list? Eleven. ^_^ (By nine authors - link provided so all acquaintances can prod at the thing fastidiously.) Know how many I intend to read in the near to middle future? At best five or six.
(Know my advice regarding D.H. Lawrence or Theodore Dreiser, soit dit en passant? For god's sake stay away from them. ^^; The very mention of those names causes a tingle of boredom to rise through my flesh from the knees up, in little lapping waves. If there's anyone reading this who *likes* them, could you *please* explain to me what the deal is? In simple language, please. I watched both "Laputa" and "Quills" today, and read several volumes of "Yami no Matsuei" in between the two. The cocktail sits uneasily with my brain cells.)
My point being, past a certain level of syntactic ability there is no such thing as an objectively "good" or "bad" book: there is only taste, and one's own taste is always supreme. Always. ^_^
(I've read seventeen off the readers' choice one. But I wouldn't trust anyone who put Robertson Davies and Laurell K. Hamilton on the same numbered anything - including yrs truly.)
Thursday, July 26, 2001 02:15 a.m.
Beware the Worm, woo-hoo
Thanks to Symantec. (And to Technomancy, who saved me having to wade through Symantec.) I am a bleeding idiot who opens attachments from unknown senders, on the principle that I get random fics from people all the time and the Hotmail virus scan actually works. I should hang my head in shame.
(W32.Sircam.Worm@mm, however, was responsible for *quite* the surreal moment this morning. I was brushing my teeth when the sororial entity came knocking on the bathroom door.
"Neechan," inquires she, "what's Crawford's first name? In Weiss."
"Brad," say I.
"Well, short for Bradley," say I, opening the bathroom door a crack and trying to remember (hayasugita kara atama ga BOUUUTTO shiteita) if that was canon. As my sister gets a weird look on her face, "yeah, it's kind of a dumb name, I know--"
"The parents are getting a lot of weird messages from email@example.com," says she. "Maybe you should come have a look."
How many anime characters have received copies of my unfinished Angel Sanctuary fanfic? I suspect I shall never know. T_T I'm still not sure how the names were decided upon, but I wish people would go increase the GDP with their programming skills instead of pulling this kind of merde - pardon, as they say, my French.)
Kat: *Funny*, isn't it, how Schuldich does that. -.- My theory is that there exists an actual Redhead Bishounen Rentboy Assassin Meme that's been drifting around anime fen since the days of "Patarillo!"'s first broadcast, along with the well-known Redhead Telepath Meme. (You don't believe me? Count up how many redheaded telepathic characters you know, boy and girl. I can get up to four easily, and it's not even one of my fetishes.) At least Joy/Tenshi have taken a stab at Rentboy!Reno, so I don't have to do that. Lucky moi.
(Compound that with the fact that, come to think of it, Schuldich *isn't* actually a rentboy in tBD. It's a semantic distinction - the bulk of his income is from other sources, therefore, etc. I imagine people *are* inspired often enough to give him money, after sex. XD XD XD)
Wednesday, July 25, 2001 05:23 a.m.
(Don't I need to change the MP3s...? ^^;)
I've recovered a bit, I think. ^^ Enough to post my brief reviews of the films I caught last Friday at the FantAsia festival. They're not much of a public service; Asian kids who're liable to watch these movies probably have already, thanks to the Great Chinese VCD Conspiracy, but I like seeing films on the big screen - *and* I like talking about what I've seen. ^-^ So there you are.
Hong Kong triad movies are the most popularistic of entertainments, and I like them because of the populace they were designed for: urban, modern, with the attention span of a gnat on crystal meth. Stars there still have to sing and dance and act in two-three languages before they're taken seriously, and their movies have to pull off the equivalent. Thus, "Jiang Hu: the Triad Zone" (Jiang Hu Gao Ji), which delivers frenetic violence and sex and humour in a singularly clever package. The story's one any aficionado of the genre has heard ad nauseam: mystery assassin after mob boss who utilizes opportunity to clean out his rivals, etc. Ho hum. In reality, though, this "plot" serves as an excuse for a series of underworld set-pieces and character vignettes, complete with "American Beauty"-style voiceover - for the mob boss is having a bit of a midlife crisis himself, insofar as he can afford it in between the murders and the rapine. ^^; One way of viewing the film is as a love story with his petty-punk-turned-yuppie-tigress wife, one of the coolest female characters I've encountered in a genre not known for such. For that matter, there is actual explicitized gay as opposed to the homoeroticism endemic in the triad/yakuza mythos, treated with nuance and sensitivity in a genre not known for those qualities either. It is *very* funny. There are directorial feats of raindrops and bullets. There are supernatural visitations; you have not lived until you've seen Kwan Yu of the "Three Kingdoms" in a cowboy hat. XD Rent the DVD, is all I can say.
The second movie, "A War Named Desire" (Ai Yu Cheng), is the flip side of the triad movie genre - brooding, sweaty, tragic film noir. The story didn't *quite* make sense to me, I have to say, but there were some beautiful and haunting moments - Gigi Leung gliding through the festive streets of Bangkok during the water festival, a cool murderous ghost in violet silk and rain-wet flowers in her hair... it was worth watching just for that scene, and I don't just say that because I'm a fan. :) Francis Ng as anti-hero does it for me too.
One minor but unavoidable note: I'd be damned if I know the name of the actor who plays Chun (the younger-brother protagonist), but he's a dead ringer for Squall Leonheart. ^^; Well - he doesn't *look* like him, exactly, but he had the hair and the build and the stance and the broody folded-arm glare, surly-teenager-dom rising off him in waves. He smoked in the movie, and I couldn't help thinking that Squall would've smoked like that... It was uncanny. He even had a perky girlfriend hanging off his arm, and if she'd had the right hair she would have been a dead ringer for Rinoa as well.
But then, I'm seeing FF8 characters everywhere lately.
It's been hot and humid these couple of days; even late into the night the air is still blood-warm. Weather that I like, because it means the summer trappings of Florida water, sparkling talcum, short shorts, cold sodas... I went to buy tickets this afternoon for "Boogiepop wa Waranai", but it sold out and I have to wait for the Monday screening. So I spent the day traipsing from manga rental to bookstore to library with a French baguette and a can of hawthornberry juice, browsing my way through town. :P Read "Mugen no Juunin" (Blade of the Immortal) #10 - no Rin or Anotsu. O_o Lots of Hyakuren undergoing wincingly graphic torture; sometimes I think Samura-sensei is a little too hung up on the erotic sadism aspect, but it's hard to argue the intent of a man who creates intricate near-Art Nouveau panels out of scenes of dismemberment. Only CLAMP has ever made splashes of blood so decorative. ^^; And there's lots of Manji and Mugatsu - the scene where Sori-the-artiste speculates on the possible evolution of Mugatsu's hair is precious - so that's all right. :) I'm quite looking forward to #11; it seems that @#$% Shira is finally going to get his.
Then I read Martin Amis's "The War Against Cliché". I've decided that I like Amis - at a safe remove. ^^; To be the victim of this man's epigrams in RL would mean never being able to lift one's head again, I suspect, or some similarly dire fate. But on the page he is scathing and witty and knowledgeable and opinionated; he writes lovely prose, and much of the book is an invitation to stick to the same high standard. Though his victims are usually ample targets, he's as generous with his praise when he feels it to be deserved: he likes Nabokov a *lot*, for instance, as well he might. ^-^ I may go dig up a couple of his novels to see if they work as well as his essays.
Then it was "Confessions of a Mask" at McGill Library, until they turned the lights off on me. ^^; The problem I have with Mishima, I find, is that I like his prose but I don't like *him*. His travails and mindset are an unnatural fit for mine; they don't inspire me to empathy. Following the reactions of his protagonists is often a stretch for my understanding. His personality - and it's very much at the forefront of some of his works, this one particularly - strikes me as unpleasant. Obsessive, cold, arrogant, self-deluded, envious, egocentric, fearful of inner weakness. I know it's him too, 'cos I've read Marguerite Yourcenar. XD And for the life of me I can't take his attitude toward death. I can understand why he's fixated on it - hells, *I'm* fixated on it - but he looks to it as an out, and that for me is a *cop*-out. Glory, my left foot; you stay your span on this merry green earth and write some more books if you want to do your country credit. >_< But I've said my piece.
Speaking of "Confessions", the Count in YamiEi owns that book, along with "Lady Chatterley's Lover" and "The Story of O". XD (Now if he had "Under the Hill", I'd be impressed.) Yes, I've worked my way through to Yami no Matsuei #5, and if one could die from surfeit of fanservice I wouldn't be here blogging at you. All through "King of Swords" and the requisite onsen episode I had the distressing suspicion - confirmed eventually in the author's notes - that Matsushita-sensei plans out what her characters will be wearing in the next story arc first and builds the plot around *that*. _o_ Never-a-mind; she strikes the sweetly lingering basenote of angst often enough that it's not just an exercise in fluff and yaoi training wheels. XD (Intuition says she'd like to push it further than that, but training wheels are what one gets out of Hana to Yume, which has plenty of ten-year-olds reading it. The existence of Muraki alone is edgy enough.) #5, too, is All Tatsumi All The Time, and I happen to be fond of the Tatsumi+Tsuzuki dynamic - because it didn't work out, among other salient reasons. ^^; And *lawd*, even if that entire volume were about the hair, you can't say the hair wasn't pretty.
One character that stands out from my reading is Matsushita-sensei herself, who expresses herself with uncommon personality in her 1/4 spaces and atogakis. She's crisp and forthright on a number of subjects, such as fan letters or doujinshi or standards of living in various areas of Japan; in #4 she goes as far as to say that her next story arc may lose her readers, but she'll draw what she wants and too bad if it doesn't please everyone. It then transpires that what she wants to draw is the monastery settei of "The Name of the Rose", transmogrified into a demon-possessed Catholic bishounens' school/den of brutal murder and perverse (but quite pretty) homosexual iniquity. Note, if you will, the total lack of complaint from these quarters. ^^; I did think several times that I was going to go to hell simply for reading the damned thing, but that's just a nervous twitch I acquired from attending convent school - through osmosis, since I'm not even Catholic. Nowadays it adds spice to my reading. Them Japanese come up with the darndest things... If you've never encountered triplet incest schoolyard romance, for instance, it's only because you haven't read Tajima Shou. _o_
Tuesday, July 24, 2001 06:22 a.m.
Not part of tBD. Happens between "Clean and Well-Lighted", which is the second story in the series, and VoT. *as she is glared at* Skipped forward today, sorry. ^^; Had to ground myself by writing a Schuldich who's recognizably Schuldich, instead of the messed-up kid in tBD, or I was going to go nuts tying both ends together. (Not that, you know, this is particularly dead-on characterization either. I was drunk through the writing of the first half and sleepy through the second. A *real* first draft. And Schu's got a mouth on him, so this takes an R-rating just for language. -_-) There's a lot of references I don't think anyone will get - the Institut, Seraphita, the anklet, amnesia - I like playing games with fanon, let's just say - but take it as a sign that I know whereof I'm writing. I only wish I knew the plot of Demi 2 this well. @_@
There's a Crawford POV that goes before this, as he's waiting for the plane, but the bits can be read standalone.
And: this is for all the people who said they understood, and the ones who said they'd read it anyway. You know who you are - thank you. :)
July 24, 1995, 1:35am
I'm not sure what I expected. Not this fucking professionalism, anyway.
The doors here are silent. I don't think he's ever lived here: he would have made certain that the hinges caught a little as they swung, replaced the eggshell carpeting with hardwood – some of those boards would squeak inevitably – had venetians hung over the floor-to-ceiling windows to break the penthouse into blind spots and lines of fire. For a precognitive, he likes his mundane early-warning systems in order. Or at least he did. I don't know.
He should have woken up by now.
I lean back against the doorframe, watching him sleep. He used to keep the curtains drawn, against surveillance or the brightness of the city; I would open them after he left. There are no curtains in this room yet. Tokyo is a smudge of rain-wet neon and firefly halogen beneath us, her skyscrapers hives of light suspended. It's just enough to see by. Dark furniture, dark rumpled sheets, a glimpse of comparatively pale skin. He's one of those people who don't take up the whole of a large bed, just whichever side he happened to fall into. It gives me an odd hollow feeling, as if I – should be – but he'd wake up long before I could get my hands around his windpipe or my mouth around his cock or any other crazy shit I may be tempted to pull, so I stay where I am. He taught me before that I couldn't take him by surprise like that, a lesson that stuck close.
He was pissed at me, this afternoon, because I showed up without having gone over the files first. (I hadn't paid any attention at the briefing either.) I think he's quit smoking, and that or something else of the kind has made him edgier than when I knew him. Of course, back then I wouldn't have given a shit whether he was pissed at me or not, except to know if it translated into rougher sex that night. Back then I was too fucked up to even notice most of the time. Today it got me pissed. We were in the middle of a shouting match in the fucking car before I realized I had no idea how to argue with him. That anything I said was going to slide right off him, because I had no handle for words to latch onto. He was walled off like East Berlin; still is now in fact, though he's asleep. I thought I would have to go up against him mind to mind – and I wasn't even certain that would work. It would mean something, if I couldn't make it work.
Then I realized what I really wanted to do was kiss him.
I know better, of course. As if that's a question. There's only so many times I'll let myself be fucked over the same way, and once is generally enough. Which leaves me standing in his doorway, fidgety and jet-lagged sleepless, wondering what the fuck package he expected to pick up at the airport today. A professional? A subordinate, a team player? Someone who'd read his briefs and follow his orders? A business school grad who'd wear a suit like his? What the fuck were they supposed to have done to me in there?
Whatever it was, it didn't take too well. Or maybe it did, and I just don't realize.
Is he going to wake up?
The anklet is in my breast pocket. I can feel it there, though of course it weighs nothing. Fuck Seraphita, once and for all – she could have given the charms to me without the chain. I can't wear it with the chain. It'd be like shooting myself up all over again. Though I have to do that anyway; they've got me on some sort of treatment that does nothing for me one way or the other, which I gather is the purpose. Seraphita sent me a travel carrier for the syringes. Just the sort of gift she'd come up with, the good frau Doktor.
Going clean is one thing I have to thank the Institut for, at least. If thank is the word. I was happy with the sex and no little voices in my head – Crawford gave me all that just to keep me from leaving the hotel room, let me charge it. The heroin, that is. And all the time we were busting drug rings. You have to laugh.
He's not going to wake up, I don't think. Apparently I'm not a threat tonight. Makes me feel like doing something "unpredictable" just to prove his talent wrong – but I like it where I am. I can watch him sleep; I can almost pretend. It's quiet. Quiet's been a bit of a premium in my life.
It was never that bad awake. I don't remember not having to put up with the voices. (Amnesia, the file says, though it's never bothered me. If you go by the same file, those years weren't much of a loss.) It was only the upstairs in Mara's house that had the right kind of lining in the walls, and I wasn't even aware that was what did the trick. The rest of the time they were loud – nearly to the point where it hurt – but then people learn to work with that shit all the time. Nightclub bouncers, construction workers, heavy machinery operators. About the only difference was that my tinnitus was virtual. It was going to sleep that fucked me over: they get right into your head then, because you've got no way of keeping them out. You can't tell the difference. You're trapped, you're not thinking... I woke up screaming for a few nights, and then I stopped trying for shut-eye altogether. By the time I hooked up with the first guy who was interested in helping me deal with my issues, I hadn't closed my eyes for eleven days and he figured I was in withdrawal. It was a reasonable diagnosis, on the street. I was willing to try anything; he sold me a hit for a three-minute blowjob behind a youth hostel. What the fuck did I care at that point?
It could have been worse, come to think of it. Freebase would have rendered me a vegetable. It still fucks me up big time. For one of the "finals" at the Institut they made me do three lines before the run, to prove that I could hold up under the stress of increased sensitivity. I held; the bulletproof glass in the car didn't, but they had no points assigned to that.
Control took years to learn. It wasn't until eight months ago I could stand to sleep in a bed outside the Institut, without lead in the walls or methadone in my bloodstream. Crawford must have known he couldn't teach me. I'm not sure what that means. He could have been stringing me along; he could have had it planned from the first. Someone must have written the brief in my file, and it was probably him. "A marked desensitization to the primary euphoria analogous to that found in terminal cancer patients, probably accompanied by a similar lack of dependency"— fuck that. I was plenty dependent.
Twenty-three sheets of letterhead, single-spaced and typed. Sex wasn't mentioned once. It must have been him.
Which is the funny thing, really.
Because he never thought anything of the sort. Not as far as I could tell.
Even in his dreams.
We were dreaming together, by the end...
I didn't care this morning, knowing that I was going to him, that I was coming closer to him with every imperceptible kilometer clocked by the Concorde. I haven't really thought about it for years, in fact, and it had occurred to me at some point during the trip that if I could actually come face to face with him and still not care, it would be proof that I'd died back then in my Institut cell and not known it. I could have died from heroin withdrawal; I could have died just as well from the other want. It was all the same at that point.
And in fact I didn't feel anything – nothing at all – and then we had the fight. Stupid-ass fight, the more I think about it.
I'm happy. I think.
It's a dumb side of the fence to come down on. May as well be happy to see a Ziploc bag of white powder on my bedside table. But at least I'm not dead.
I have to put the chain away somewhere, before I forget and send my coat to dry-clean. And go to bed. At this rate he'll be up before me.