quiddity: (Default)
{under construction!!! FIVE-EVER APPARENTLY!}

One of my favorite things about this series as an English major nerd is the power of words and communication in this series. Maybe you'd expect for a shounen series that it would be tons of bad ass fighting with swords and whatnot, and there IS. Peoples' hands get chopped off, faces get cut up, people get bashed and battered with broken bottles and fists in violence both serious and comical. But there is a special love for words thematically in this series that, I think, actually makes them much more powerful than anything a weapon alone can do and that deserves special attention I think. Warnings for spoilers up to chapter 54 as I go through this, by the way!
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quiddity: (playful)

  • Feel free to leave multiple prompts, starters, catchy lines, or anything else you think might help stir my imagination. (Hint: the more you give me to work with, the more likely I will be to finish a prompt.)
  • If you make multiple requests, please don't be upset if not all of them get answered (and of course feel free to tell me if you'd prefer one answered to another.)
  • I'll honor anything from any fandom I've ever been a part of.
  • I'm also willing to do AU fic based off of RP we've done in the past so long as you're willing to let me take artistic liberties. (OR we can have a halloween RP thread based on your prompt, if you want to put in work too.)
  • Kink & gore are a-okay; G-NC17 is also alright.

  • quiddity: (curious)
    Well, I was going to mostly give up journaling, I think, except that today I started using my Plurk like a journal. Which isn't it's purpose. Since I've all but abandoned my LiveJournal journal in the last several months since RP's switch to DW, I guess this is hello. (Again--for the third or fourth time; I do keep trying to make the switch.. perhaps this time it will actually happen).

    I'm pretty physically exhausted. I spent much of the day in Kokura. I actually only meant to go there to look at their Animate and check out Mandarake to see if I could find the missing volumes of Houshin Engi for my collection... turns out they just opened up a brand new building for all that stuff and more; seriously, it was something like four straight floors of anime, manga, character goods, arcades, art books... even a manga museum, so basically, you name it. It was actually a little overwhelming; I hadn't expected it and the crowds were insane because it was opening day. It made it very convenient but lord I spent more than I intended to. I don't really regret it though because I've been so extremely frugal since Christmas time, it actually felt really good to just splurge on myself.

    Especially since right now I'm kind of torturing myself every day. XD; Leslie, Alisha, Jessica, Fred and Roland are all gone for Golden Week so I'm pet-sitting three other pets. Now. This is not the torture part; I actually don't mind the work itself. However. I have to go to Jessica's and Leslie's apartments every day to take care of the animals because they can't stay with me--the apartment's too small, and I'm also allergic to rabbits and cats. It's about 15 minutes to Jessica's, and then other 15 from Jessica's to Leslie's, and about 20 minutes from Leslie's place to my place. Factor in the fact that the animals really should get some time with people every day and a little attention, and you're looking at several hours spent away from the house every day. Not as big a problem on the weekends, but damn if it doesn't really constrain the kinds of errands I can run/places I can go. I am so tired today after Kokura that the thought of getting up to go get my laundry from downstairs is just. Killing me.

    As is my head; I really wasn't kidding about the allergies, and damn if Waffle didn't nearly make me break out into hives after 30 minutes.

    I am very thankful that I have Monday off, and then the four day weekend coming up. I have a lot that I need to do. I need to clean up my apartment, which means picking up trash, putting away my clean clothes, doing dishes... and other shit. I need to finish converting my apartment from winter mode to spring/summer mode, which includes switching out the rest of the sheets, kotatsu cover, and changing out to the spring ward drobe. I also probably need to vacuum/dust, and I'm going to have to clean the hammies' cage by Monday night or let it go till Wednesday. At some point, I have to go grocering shopping for myself, I think, although I might be able to make do on the stuff in the pantry and forgo fresh foods for a little while. Put like this, it all feels a little overwhelming, though I'm sure that in practice, it won't... take very long. It's just hard when there's the animals to take care of, and of course, I want actual down time for RP and whatnot.

    ...That's it for now I suppose. Perhaps tomorrow when I'm going through my treasure trove of shit I bought/won (seriously, I should never be allowed to go into arcades alone, it's frightening) I will take pictures and post lists. Or not. idk. I will say, I do love Japan sometimes; it can be hard on my wallet, but fuck if I can't make any weekend I want like a trip to the dealer's room at a con.
    quiddity: (crazy)
    Okay, so, having read three of this woman's pieces now, I feel confident in saying... she's not awful, but she's not great. I don't understand how she could be a top-seller, though. She's got great ideas, but her execution is sloppy at best.

    For one, there's no clearly established timeline. What freaking year is it, anyway? It's modern, but there's no year given. No months, either--I have no absolutely no sense of season. Might as well be walking around in a vacuum. We're supposed to believe that this world has been suffering from magical/non-magical swinging periods for hundreds of years, but we're never faced with weird historical facts about the world that could drive this home. For example, We're never told that "oh and the President of the US, ___, was one of the People." Or anything like that. And in a lot of ways, it plain just doesn't make sense. Why build metropolises, sky scrapers, etc, knowing the magic will bring it down? We're told that for several hundred years, there was no magic, and then suddenly, boom. But how suddenly/recently? If the magic shifts started recurring in the fifties, then things should be substantially different. So basically, time and history are left extremely vague. I would have liked something much more clear, concrete, and therefor believable like what Kim Harrison employs.

    I find that the protagonists's POV is rather weak. There is too much presented as "statement," saying and not showing. Like, I didn't believe her at all when she said she was devastated by Greg's death, or that she had a crush on him. Why? Because there was no emotional resonance. Even for a character who is as detached and weird as Kate is, we should have seen it, felt it, at least in her recollections of how Greg made her feel. Frankly, there was no given *reason* for her to feel attracted to him, other than the fact that he was apparently good looking. We're simply told that he was her guardian, and not shown or explained to that he really looked after her, or that he had a good sense of humor, or just how deeply he cared for Kate/how it affected him. I felt like I was simply expected to believe it, or else there was stuff that just... wasn't making it onto the page that was in her head. Waiting for your readers to become psychic? Don't hold your breath.

    I absolutely hate Kate's relationship with Curran. I feel like Curran is just like all of the other men in the book--oppressively, overly-masculine. Everything he does is tinged with an air of violence; Kate is frequently afraid of what he'll do to her. That, for me, does not compute into a steamy relationship. I also found it incredibly stupid and sexist that he had to come rescue her in the third book, but I'll get back to that in a bit. His personality is that of a control-freak, over the group he's supposed to be protecting, and everyone else who comes along, and we're told to excuse that because it's his "nature" as a lycanthrope. For once, I would like the encounter a paranormal series that doesn't use that as a carte-blank check for people to act however abusively and violently as they please. He also stalks and plays peeping tom on Kate, even going so far as to break into her house repeatedly, but apparently even though that was initially an issue even for Kate, we're going to overlook it/brush the creepiness of that under the rug. His attraction to Kate is purely, apparently, that he wants to dominate her/have sex with her because she told him no (which is Saiman's thing, too; these guys are real winners). He's a Don Juan who's been around the track so many times he should probably be checked for disease... and sadly, the other options were not much better. Bran was a jerk that didn't get the whole "personal space" thing. Saiman would probably have tried to rape her if she hadn't jumped off that building because he "couldn't control himself/was out of his mind from the magic." And Derek's a mini-Curran in the making. The only male character who didn't behave like a complete, psychotic asshole was Crest in the first book, and he has been resoundly disapproved of by the other men as not being "man" enough (why? because he's not stronger than Kate, and the man should "always" be stronger than the woman), being a "coward." And for what, not wanting to confront the woman who freaking accused him of being a necrophiliac rapist? Sorry, I wouldn't want to have to talk to that person, either, and if I thought my spouse would get her pity easier, I'd send them too. Call it manipulative if you want, but it's just plain sense. Basically, the book is just a gigantic clusterfuck of misogynistic messages lurking underneath a thin veneer of female empowerment.

    Because, make no mistake, while Kate is supposed to be an empowered female heroine she's anything but. She does have some really kick-ass fight scenes, and she (mostly) holds her own against the other supernatural creatures, as long as they're not actually decently powerful. But every time she comes up against the main villain in a book, and sometimes even just the stronger "mini-bosses," she has to be rescued. And by who? Well, of course a man, and usually Curran. Seriously, every book. The only apparent solution, as Andrews sets it up, for Kate to destroy an otherwise unbreakable, unbeatable weapon, is to impale herself on it, with the idea that her blood can shatter the blade. Why not just make a non-mortal wound? Nope, gotta go all out, run herself through, because suicide/ultimate self-sacrifice is apparently the only way a woman can "win." And this is not her first moment of self-sacrifice, and just like the other times... Curran has to save her. She can't save herself, or have another woman save her, or be saved by some magical miracle in a world filled with magic. Nope, gotta be a man with a penis.

    I don't think she even really makes the world itself in its present construction very coherent/believable. Most of the books' narration is spent during times of deep magic, which, granted, is when most of the action of a very action-oriented series of books occurs. But what's the point of saying that the world spends half its time in non-magic/tech, when the only thing we're ever presented is just how much more convenient it is to travel during magic? We're told that normal people might become monsters or whatever during the shift; we never see them when they're normal, or when that shift happens. Like. I would think it would be very intersting to see how average people try to adjust to the swings aside from just being concerned about their cars and phones working. If you knew you were going to turn into a mother freaking harpy when the shift happened, and your family did too, how might that, you know, affect your life and indeed all of society? Basically, Kate has very limited interactions with the world around her, and the narration's so narrowly focused on her cases and with such a dearth of description beyond it that the world might as well exist in a vacuum. I still have no real clue as to what's going on with the world outside of Atlanta.

    Over all, I'd give the writing a C. Not as awful as Hamilton or Myers, but Andrews is definitely no Charlainne Harris or Kim Harrison. At this point, getting through the remaining two books is going to feel like a Herculean feat soaked in blood, sweat, and tears.
    quiddity: (angry)
    I was going to try not to use this journal for mundane things... I meant it to be solely used as a writing journal. But I've complained so much on my LJ lately that I'm afraid to post anymore trivial bitching lest people get truly fed up with me.

    Right now, I just... hate where I live. Not Japan. Japan is great, despite the ups and downs of a foreign country, being illiterate and unfluent, etc. It's my apartment itself.

    It's small.
    It's prone to smelling funny and getting too hot and stuffy.
    It's terribly disorganized, and there's not a lot I can do about it.
    It has damage to walls and doors and the floor that I am not responsible for (and some that I am) but nothing I can do about it.

    It requires constant, daily vigilence to keep it clean. It's like living on an unstable border with MessVille and TrashHeap and PigLand. I don't consider myself a filthy person. I am prone to a kind of organized chaos, and I do leave clothes on the floor sometimes. But I can't in this apartment, I literally can't or I'll end up tripping on things.

    I have almost zero kitchen space. I have no dining room to speak of--I think it's taken up by the trash/recycle heaps and the fridge, if that's in fact what that end was intended for.

    My bedroom, living room, and dining room are all the same place, and not by choice. I have to put my bed away because it takes up a significant portion of the place. I don't want to have people over because it's embarassing that the computer table is also my table for eating at, and that if I don't put away my bed there's... basically no place to walk or sit.

    I have two narrow closets which have been taken over by bedding that I cannot seem to vacuum down in size properly. In an effort to free up space for actual storage, I've removed a ton of crap from the closets, and I have my futons sitting out behind the arm of a couch, blocking off my medicine cabinet/night stand.

    I cannot seem to find a shelving unit more that 29/30 cm deep. For those of you on the American system, that's about 11 inches. Maybe that's ample for most purposes, but I have some oversize needs, like a printer, a gigantic ass tablet, and a scanner. Maybe I could make do if I could just find something tall enough with adjustable shelves.

    I just... I can't stand it. I want to cry sometimes. I'm not what I would consider a pack rat. Yes, I enjoy having things. But I am certain that if I was in a larger apartment, I wouldn't feel so claustrophobic.

    I'm also tired of the portion of the floor that keeps slicing my toe open whenever I go around on my bare feet. I'm pretty sure that's why Kate put the rug in, but it just... doesn't help, because it's not big enough, and it actually kind of makes everything look tackier.

    I can't have a pet. There is literally no space for one. Where could I set up a cage or a tank or a kennel? Where would an animal play? Hell, even if I had something as simple as a turtle, what surface do I have that I could put its tank on? Currently, nowhere like this exists. And, yes, I have been giving thought to some kind of pet. There are really cheap turtles, and an adorable squirrel thing, that I could afford to have/keep... that is, if my apartment would allow it. Chances are five to one that they do not; I have never asked, because I don't have a landlord.

    My neighbors? Seem sketchy. The outside of my apartment forever smells like smoke. I do not know of anyone else in all of Japan who has had both their bike and their apartment keys stolen. I know for a fact that my neighbors are not following the trash rules, which is just sad, and half the time I wonder if they're doing it because they know I'm around and they can blame it on the foreigner. But it's also laziness. They knock over bikes and then don't have the courtesy to pick them up just because no one's watching. They also leave cans and trash around, particularly in the mail/laundry room a mess... it's just disgusting.

    I am paying the equivalent of 500 USD a month for this apartment. Let me repeat: I have no kitchen, no bedroom, and two tiny closets that have no shelves on them and are probably only about 35 centimeters deep or so; not sure on the width there. I'm not sure that I even have room for the oven I want to buy in my kitchen because I have literally no counterspace. All of the cabinet space except for under the sink is stuff that I had to or my predecessor had to supply. All of the other ALTs pay the same or less for more space than I have.

    A part of me wants to selfishly blame this on Kate. If she had chosen to move out of this crappy apartment before I ever got here--and there's lots of reason to want to--then I wouldn't be in this situation. Sure. Hosokawa and the dry cleaner's across the street? Super convenient. But how can you be thrilled about being able to make 10:30 runs to the grocery store when you don't have a place to eat the food?

    Possibly though it's not her fault. I get the feeling that she wasn't all that in-tune with Japanese life? Like. She came to Japan knowing even less Japanese than I do. Even for me, trying to work with an apartment agency is going to be tough. I'm so fortunate to have a native Japanese person willing to help me through it. Also, I don't really feel like I can depend on my coworkers for help too much, so maybe she felt like that too, and moving itself... is going to be hard and not fun, time consuming and expensive. Hell, I don't even know if my supervisor will go for it, even after I've done all the work.

    But I'm going to try to move out. Because I just... I don't feel like I can take this anymore. the mess, the crap, the lack of space. Logistically, thinking about it, it's a nightmare. I would have to hire movers to get the couch; it took going through the window to get it in, no way it's coming out any other way. I will need all of my friends. I will probably have to ask coworkers for assistance. The money for key money, security deposits... trying to find a location so that I don't have to worry about getting a car, being sure that I'm on the second floor for my own safety, then figuring out how to update all of my relevant information like contracts/bills, bank account, etc etc... that is a daunting aspect, really headache-crerating.

    But I'm going to do my best, and I'm going to talk to Jessica and Tomo about it. Probably tomorrow. We're going to meet up so I can give Jessica some music for her students, and I... will be getting information about who they went with to look for apartments, finding out when Tomo would be available to help, figuring out what kind of money I need to have for setting up. What this may mean... well, for one, it may mean 1) no more fun-spending for quite a while. This is difficult for me, apparently; I never mean to spend much in any given month, but somehow, things add up. Still. I might just have to give up trips to Kokura and dinners out for a while. I might also find myself unable to send money home, which was something I had strongly considered doing this month... or perhaps simply cutting back the amount.

    And in the meantime... I'm going to just keep trying and trying to reorganize things. There's got to be a way to make things work out in the meanwhile. The real trouble would be if my contracting organization refuses to let me move. But then again, Dash was able to pick his place when he started. I don't know what the reasons for that were, but it gives me some hope, at least, that if I've done all the work, that Sato-san will work with me. And if he says that I can't, then I will ask why, and I will try to negotiate rent or perhaps find out if the same building offers a bigger apartment layout, perhaps at the same price. There's just no way that 41,000 yen a month for this apartment is reasonable--the location is good, but it's not *that* good.
    quiddity: (playful)
    Well so. I'm trying it out again. My personal journal's not a very good place for anything really "deep." I don't want people think I've wandered into crazy town because I start spouting stuff. But I've said that before.

    Why do I keep falling off the track? Why don't I... idk. Do something amazing with my time? Instead of dicking around? I know I don't have forever; five years (four and a half now) is the max. I've got to get my shit together, somehow or another.

    I've been toying around with ideas and even writing fic again.

    I have a huge outline detailed for a Labyrinth/Sailor Moon cross, one that would replace the original Pawns, Rooks, and Queens. It's detailed pretty much step-by-step from beginning to end, though of course, I have to be flexible. Anyway, I like the ideas, and I completed a draft for the prologue, and chapter one is in progress but I set it aside for a while after I felt like maybe I was going to burn myself out again, in favor of working on a second (what I thought was) shorter piece...

    ...(Which is) a Zelda/SM cross that was supposed to be a relatively short one shot and has spawned into something over 115 pages long. I would say that the writing has lost control, maybe some of it has, but there is advancement, and I feel like all of the scenes are necessary for the buildup, the emotional pay off. I have not gotten lost as to where the story is going; in fact, I already have the ending (well, a potential ending) written. I think there is are something like fifty pages left to be written at this point, maybe 70. I'm stalled at the moment on the fic, though. I've been analyzing some of the things I was writing, and I'm not sure if I'm entirely comfortable with the direction some things were going in. I'm giving it some time to lie fallow and reevaluate it. There's a chance that a good 5-15 pages may change dramatically.

    I really wish that I had someone to talk to about the specifics of the problem/project as it is now, but I'm also uncertain as to whether or not I want to release the fic to anyone for reading at this point. I've had a few people agree to beta for me, but, what does beta really mean? In order to properly beta, don't I need the whole first draft to be ready first? And can I really expect anyone to read and critique that much material? I honestly don't know if they'd still be interested. Well. Anyway. Going to give it a little more time and then try tinkering again.

    As far as original work goes... I have two long, novel-sized (but vague) ideas that are bouncing around in my head. One is kind of... very very loosely based around an idea that occurred to me in one of my college creative writing classes. The idea was what would happen if a part of your body was gone, and what that would mean, if you kept functioning without it. I chose the heart. I think it could make for a really fun YA kind of deal. If only I could get myself to sit out and write up an actual plot line, it could be something, someday. Maybe. Or perhaps it would be very trite and cheesy. I won't know until I've really tried to explore it. The second would be an idea based on something I wrote last night, and just generally explores urban fantasy stuff that I've wanted to work with for a long time, but it would also kind of feed off the mahou shoujo stuff that I've been stewing/steeping in for so so long. Think... Card Captor Sakura meets Kim Harrison's stuff with a protagonist plenty old enough to get involved in blood, guts (and lust). ...Yeah, that's the kind of book I want to write, I think.

    As for short stories. I have two that I would really really like to do something with, if I could just ever figure out what that something is. Or three. Hell, four. *sigh* The roommate that turns into the boyfriend-eating mermaid, the teacher centaur, the transmogrified therapy group, and the demon living in the bachelor pad closet. I just have too many beginning ideas, and then no real idea where I want to take them, or what story it is these beginning thoughts want to tell. Although actually, I'm starting to wonder if the centaur one couldn't be some kind of allegory for the time I've spent in Japan as a JET/foreigner. Oddly, it could work.

    Later, I'll try to post what I've been working on in some kind of mass dump.
    quiddity: (Default)
    There's lots of cliches about practice and learning a craft or developing a skill. It's needless to actually use on, but the fact remains... in order to get good at anything, I need to practice. More; a lot more. So... I'm outlining my goals, especially for this summer.
    1) I want to read one book a week. I think this is a totally doable goal, at least at this point; if I end up getting a part time job, I'll be more reasonable and scale it back to a book every two weeks.
    2) I'm going to compile a list of words during the week that I don't understand as I encounter them, and note where I found them and record the surrounding sentence. At the end of the week, I'll post them, as well the definition. (Diction is extremely important, and broadening my vocabulary is crucial: according to Mark Twain, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.")
    3) Every week, I need to produce 4 pages of writing, at least, not including regular journal entries.
    4) I need to practice drawing something every day (in particular, the human form). If it's on regular paper, I need to scan it in. Preferably, I need to practice using my new tablet.
    5) Watch at least one video tutorial on Painter X a week, preferably two; it just depends on the length.
    My hope is if I'm a stickler about all of this, I will continue to experience some pretty radical growth in my writing and drawing skills.


    May. 5th, 2009 02:25 am
    quiddity: (Default)
    An excerpt from Fairy Tale as Myth, “The Origins of the Fairy Tale”:

    Madame Le Prince de Beaumont’s classic fairy tale enables us to see key features of how the fairy tale was institutionalized for children. The framing conditions of this institutionalization are; (1) the social function of the fairy tale must be didactic and teach a lesson that corroborates the code of civility as it was being developed at the time; (2) it must be short so that children can remember and memorize it and so that both adults and children can repeat it easily; this was the way that many written tales worked their way back into the oral tradition; (3) it must pass the censorship of adults so that it can be easily circulated; (4) it must address social issues such as obligation, sex roles, class differences, power, and decorum so that it will appeal to adults, especially those who publish and publicize the tales; (5) it must be suitable to be used with children in a schooling situation; and (6) it must reinforce a notion of power within the children of the upper classes and suggest ways for them to maintain power.

    Something for me to think on in the future, since at least one of my current works-in-progress is a fairy tail compendium. Seems like an appropriate way to break this journal in.


    quiddity: (Default)

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