Wild Moon Swings

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What's the Symbol for Negative?

So, it's a minus sign. I know.

I was just reading my last post and I guess it was pretty harsh. Of course I have no idea whether people actually come to my blog to read, so I may or may not be safe saying whatever fool thing comes into my skull. However, I did make that comment about snoopopathic literature in that obscure place on my website, and someone actually called me on it, so I guess you never can tell who you'll offend with your off-beat ramblings. Or in my case, who I'll offend with my off-beat ramblings. However, I'd like to point out that nothing that person said indicated that they actually knew what snoopopathic literature was.

Therefore, in order to make up for my negitivity, I am now preparing to do a stunt for you. I will now list 20 things that I think are wonderful. It'll be sorta like warding off a mazoku. Ready?

  1. Bubble baths
  2. Sugar cookies
  3. The lamp by your bed on cold nights
  4. The love of my family
  5. Pens that work
  6. Cute pens
  7. Cute stickers
  8. Little blank books
  9. Driving a stick shift
  10. Listening to angry music
  11. Releasing a good chapter
  12. An excellent desktop picture
  13. A new Strongbad email
  14. A shirt that doesn't show your backside when you bend over
  15. Big boots
  16. The inside of a Scor bar
  17. Cold water
  18. A flattering review
  19. Throwing things away
  20. A dead sexy man
I hope that was enlightening for all of you and I pumped you up properly with all sorts of good feelings to make up for my angsty post. Good night to all of you.

What Should I Write?

Okay, I think this is about the lamest question an author can ask. It's just that lately I have come across a lot of requests from writers on my online archives asking for advice as to what they should write or where they should take their story. HOW LAME! I'm sorry, but in the last year I've also developed a policy about story boards - an author should have a complete one before they even start writing.

When I was a teenager, and still writing novels in cardboard folders with blue Bic ballpoint pens, I never had a story board. I would start writing, and I would progressively lose steam, but I would try my best to finish the stupid thing because it's not my style to leave things undone. I want everything wrapped up in a neat little package. So, my story would begin with all kinds of sparkle and freshness and slowly lose it, because I had no ideas past the opening. Now in my adulthood, I see that sort of behaviour as extremely bad planning. My brain has been honed by hours of office work and I know the golden rule for any sort of work:


See? Wasn't that easy? Four little words to help you with everything that you do. I just find that if I have a rough outline of what I want, I can whip my way through a story without anything holding me back. I'm precise, accurate, my readers appreciate how quickly I work, I don't forget my inital ideas for the story, forget what I'm doing half way through, or take over two years to write just over 8000 words. That was actually something I saw on fanfiction.net a week or so ago. Not that that's so bad, but they were begging for ideas at the ends of their chapters. Granted, it might all be B.S. and they're just trying to squirrel some extra reviews, which isn't necessarily a cheap tactic. I just wish I knew what their motives were.

Anyway, one of my heros, Bill Waterson, says that he seldom writes a story with the ending in mind. He wants the story to develop a mind of it's own and go where the characters take it. So, not everyone's style is the same, but I think his tactic takes strong characters and a writer who's willing to go there with them. Neither of these things are necessarily the case with ameteurs, but great ideas are what separates the men from the walnuts, in my opinion. Anyway, the point is - I acknowledge that not everyone is the same. Someone might work great by not going with my tactic.

One of the great complaints on my archives is that people don't finish their stories. Yeah, I find this frustrating. I compelled one of my favourite online writers to get on with their story. It was a pity it didn't maintain the same quality as the parts they wrote when I wasn't pestering them. So, now I'll keep my thoughts to myself, and let people write on their own clock.

I just hear so many writers complain that they're muses are dying and there's nothing lighting them up again, so they're giving up on their projects (I know I haven't finished 'The Dance of the Twelfth Moon' or 'Shadow Magic: Pictures of You", but in all fairness - hardly anyone was reading them to begin with, so I don't feel guilty). I just don't get it. Yeah, creativity comes in waves, but like everything else in life - you need to practice. You need to practice generating ideas. Yeah, some people are naturally gifted and some people aren't, but everyone can improve with practice.

I guess it all boils down to laziness. They want someone to spoon feed creativity and progression to them instead of working their can off for it. Instead of begging - why don't you bounce? Bounce an idea off your readership instead of begging for ideas?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Five Greatest Part II

Okay, here we go for the girls. Once again: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU DON'T WANT ME TO WRECK EVERYTHING FOR YOU! Okay, now with that said, once again the colours are the hair colours of the characters.

Yamaguchi Kumiko from Gokusen

I already did a post on Gokusen so I'm tempted just to refer you to that. Actually, yeah, that's what I'm going to do. Anyway, Kumiko is a mafia princess who decides to get a job teaching at a local high school. She's so hardcore - IT'S AWESOME! Seriously, she inspires me.

Takeshi Aya from Ultra Maniac

Ultra Maniac was not a fabulous series. It had a few good episodes, but for the most part it was pretty mediocre (I know I'm not spelling something right, and I am WAY too lazy to look anything up right now, so I'll probably spell all kinds of things wrong - NO COMPLAINING - NONE). She's the main character's best friend, and she's cute as a button. I don't think I can explain exactly why I like her so much, except that she's cute, and her reactions to the weird situations that arise are funny. She's got a pretty intense crush on a boy in her class and that's one of her defining characteristics - like me. Always had a crush on somebody ...

Yoko from The Twelve Kingdoms

Sorry, I don't know her last name, and like I explained earlier - way too lazy. Twelve Kingdoms is a long series. I think it's 46 episodes, and she's the main character, so that's a long way to travel with one person. Of course, you go on stints with other characters, but the time you spend with her is well spent. She's not a samurai, so she suffers from a lot of indecision that most anime characters don't suffer with.

I also talk about this anime in one of my other posts, so I thought I'd keep my comments to a minimum. But that post doesn't have the disclaimer on it, so now I can say whatever I want. So, she's a high school girl who gets zapped off into another world, where it turns out she's originally from and she's the empress of a kingdom. But needless to say, no one wants her as their empress and a huge portion of her government officals are out to get her. I love politics and the politics in Twelve Kingdoms are complicated enough to pacify me. So, she leaves court and goes to find out what the country is really like and ends up joining the rebels in their fight against the government. It's so hot.

Misato Katsuragi from Neon Genesis Evangelion

Misato seems so frivilous when you first meet her. It's a total shock to find out that she's a) not really a whore and b) in charge of commanding the battles the Evangelions fight. She a woman with a purpose and with an ugly past, but she manages to live fairly happily in her own way. I love the quote from the English dubbed version when Shinji first comes to live with her and is going through her refrigerator: "... snacks, and fifty gallons of beer! What kind of life does she lead?" Misato seems totally unresponsible and unreliable until there's a problem and then she comes through in a pinch. All the female characters from Evangelion were good though. Gainex (the company that made it) has the ability to rock me to my very core when it comes to their characters though. They go so indepth and create very real characters. I'm not sure who it is who works over there who comes up with all their stuff, but whoever it is, they really know their stuff. And I suspect they have several degrees in psychology.

Madlax from Madlax

She doesn't have a last name. She lives in a war zone and works as an assassin. Her personality is confusing though and it's hard to remember that she's a teenager, because she lives so much in an adult world. During the series she's basically being compared to a teenager named Maragret who lives in another country, and there could never be anything more different than these two characters. Yet, they're very much alike. It's difficult to explain without seeing the series. In the first episode, Madlax is driving away from the area where she just had a terrific battle and she's got this guy in the seat beside her. He's been shot and is seriously wounded, but he is with it enough to ask her for a date. You'd think that she's be such a hardened broad that she wouldn't answer him or she'd say 'yes' just to pacify him, but she does say 'yes' and she really means it. When he dies by her side she seem truly disappointed. It was very interesting - I thought - and it goes on being interesting for the rest of the series.

Okay, so now we've done the girls and the boys. I also would like to point out that among the male characters: NOT ONE OF THEM IS HUMAN. And among the girl characters: ALL OF THEM ARE HUMAN. Of course there is something special about each one of them though. I was trying to figure out why it worked out this way. I think the answer is boring though. I think I probably just find it easier to identify with the human female characters than the magical ones. See, isn't that boring?

Five Greatest

Here I thought I'd go over who I thought were the five best male characters from video games and anime. Next time I'll do the females, so don't think I only think about guys. The colour of the post is the colour of the character's hair. And just as a warning: MANY SPOILERS LIE AHEAD.

Xellos from Slayers

He's got to be the number one. There's no question. He's the Mysterious Priest, the Trickster Priest, the Lesser Beast and the Priest/General for the dark lord Zelas Metalium. He's a mazoku, which directly translated from Japanese means 'evil clansman'. It's sort of like a demon. He's an incredibly well crafted character. I've never seen anything like it.

He's the most powerful of the lesser mazoku, so the only mazoku able to slay him would be one of the five dark lords (the only people who outrank him). He appears to be genki (energetic), and basically freaking irritating, so it's hard to remember that everything (besides split second outbursts) point to the fact that he's very powerful and very dangerous. He's also a bit of a flirt, but everything he does is just to obtain his objectives. He's got an unlimited amount of confidence and he has a habit for leading everyone down the wrong path just for his amusement.

The way he's drawn is also extremely interesting. He looks completely serene and harmless until he opens his eyes wide and then he manages to look like the very devil. I personally think I did a great job of describing him in my fanfic Shadow Magic: Zelgadis and Lina. His part was such a blast in that fic. He's also my main character in my most popular one shot on ff.net Do What you Have to do, although he's in most of my Slayers fanfics.

Takuto Kira from Full Moon wo Sagashite

Takuto is a shinigami. The best translation I can think up for that word is 'death god', so he's sort of like the Grim Reaper, but for kids, so he dresses up like a cat. He has a tail, and little angel wings that come out of a backpack on his back. He was a singer when he was alive, but though a series of unpleasant events he was in a motorcycle accident that happened to be his fault, so he died, and as punishment (because he didn't value his life) he became a shinigami. However, he's pretty mouthy (which is of course why I liked him so much), and he uses bad langauge and yells at everyone. He also gets into the occasional fist fight, which is also fun. Anyway, he's not as deep as Xellos, but because he's mouthy, he's very entertaining to watch.

Zelgadis Greywers from Slayers

Even though I think Xellos is better crafted than Zelgadis, I still like Zelgadis a great deal, especially in the first season before he goes soft. Don't get me wrong, Zel could never go soft, but he does get a lot less angsty and I preferred him when he was all hardcore. Anyway, Zelgadis is the grandson of a very powerful mage who was rotten to the core. In Zel's pursuit of power he made a deal with the mage and received power far beyond most humans, but at a terrible price. He is now one third demon, one third stone golem and one third human. So, he's oober pissed at the mage and vows his utter destruction - then searches everywhere in search of a way to regain his humanity. I seriously love Zel so I have an entire essay on him on my web site if you want to check it out.

Also, an important characterist for Zel is his voice - his Japanese voice. That guy who does his voice is superb. His voice is like butter off a duck's back - seriously. And it makes a big difference to how I perceived him as a character. Really good voice.

Van Fanel from A Vision of Escaflowne

Van is an interesting character for me. The first time I saw Escaflowne, I seriously didn't like him until close to episode 20, or maybe more. I wanted Hitomi to get with Allen, and was so cheesed I can hardly explain it when she ended up with Van and they never even got to kiss once. I went around stomping for days after I finished watching the series. But then, I thought about it. I thought about it for a long time and then I asked my husband to get me Escaflowne for a Christmas present, which he faithfully did. And then when I watched the first episode, something amazing happened - Hitomi turned over the Ace of Serpents and I went totally tingly - goosebumps head to foot. That second time I watched Escaflowne was the most fun I have EVER had watching anime. I knew where it was going and because of that, I understood everything that happened so much better, and watching it was like a miracle. And Van became a very interesting character. He still seems like a brat for the first five episodes though, and I don't think anything is going to change that.

Orha from Magna Carta: Tears of Blood

This guy is the whole reason I allowed for video games in my opening - the whole reason, but I really like Magna Carta. I usually pawn my video games when I finish playing them so that I don't feel so guilty about buying new ones, but there is no way I'm giving this one up. It's becoming part of my perminent collection (I only have three games as part of my perminent collection, so how do you like that?).

He's a Yason (part of the bad guys), and he's the head of the Four Warriors. He's not one of the main characters, and you hardly see his face (compared with the other two main), but he's important so he's one of the three guys that they actually took up to the highest level of graphical excellence. So, he's in the cut scenes. This is important because Calintz and Agrian are the other two guys they take up to that level and they both look way better than Orha, but I don't care. I'm totally one for eye candy when I play video games too - otherwise I never would have made it through
Final Fantasy X (was I the only one who thought Tidus was a complete wanker?). Anyway, I'm digressing. The thing is - this guy is soooo THE MAN. And I love guys who are THE MAN. I just know he's going to spark so many little teen hearts abeating, and become like Vincent from Final Fantasy VII who was an optional character but was so beloved by little girls on the internet (so many shrines) that not only did he get a major speaking role in Final Fantasy: Advent Children, but his very own game Dirge of Cerbius is coming out soon. Don't get me wrong, I plan to buy it. But I'm talking about Squarenix again.

I gotta cut myself off somewhere. Anyway, next time I'll talk about the girls.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Cold Shower

Hiya! Today my post is going to be a frank and extremely critical tirade about skanky writing. So, if anyone isn't interested in hearing it - you'd better split.

When I write I have a couple goals. One of them is that I want to make things emotional without being sappy or skanky. I feel like this is a fairly narrow avenue to hit and that I probably only hit it with about a 40% margin of accuracy when I write the romantic parts in my stories. It's just that recently, I had a couple get married in one of my stories, and I was amazed at how much complaining I got over how I just kinda "forgot" to write about the wedding night. I don't want to write about that kind of crap. I just don't. I feel like it would do a disservice to all involved.

However, the more I get involved in my little writing world, the more I understand that skank sells. No wonder there is a whole room devoted to crappy romances in my local used book store. So, there are the old romance novels that are clean, and when I say clean I mean devoid of described love scenes. But the men are all arrogent, power hungry, ego maniacs, who seem to want nothing more from life than to control the life of our Lethy (or some other equally unlikely name for a female). So, these books are about as likely to give an accurage depiction of male behaviour as suddenly sprout wings and fly to the next woman's balcony. And then there are the ones that were published in say the last ten years that the male behaviour is closer to reality. Yet, they can't keep it clean, and I don't need to have that sort of thing described. So, either way - you're hooped.

Don't get me wrong - I love romance. It was at that very threshold that I developed my love for reading, for learning, and for so many things in life. I can hardly count. I was a pitiful little girl once who had no passions whatever, no interest in anything, and no desire to become or be anything or anyone. I'm not saying that the person I am now has fulfilled all my childhood goals, but I am saying that I needed a source for inspiration and I found that source in romance.

But why do we need to taint good feelings with rubbish? Of course I can't convince anyone that reading a graphic sex scene will corrupt their soul and make them a slave to verbal pornography, causing no man alive to live up to their expectations.

It was just that when I released my last chapter, I felt like the time had come for me to make my stand - that I had my chance to stand up for what I believed in. I thought the choice would be easy, but in the end, it actually wasn't an easy choice. I thought about describing something. To my shame, I really considered it. I knew the chapter would be more successful if I did. I knew I'd get a wider readership. The most popular fanfic I ever saw was a bodice ripper. But, I just kept thinking to myself about the people who knew me who might read it. There are a few people I know reading that story, some out loud to their friends in their office lunchroom, and I knew I couldn't do that. I couldn't cause my dear friends embarrassment when they read my story. I couldn't. And that kept me in check. I wonder if people who write erotica let their mothers read it or let their children read it?

I guess I understand why writers compromise themselves and write such things. The pressure can get intense, and I'm not even published. I can't imagine what it would be like for someone who had hundreds of fans. How much would you go through to insure that you wouldn't let them down?

This reminds me that I also have a major beef about newspaper tabloids. That stuff is PURE CRAP. I wonder sometimes if movie stars resent their faces being on every other paper/magazine. Well, I certainly resent having to see their friggen face anytime I want to buy groceries. It makes me want to run out into the country and grow a garden and keep chickens.

But, anyway back on topic. Everyone - go take a cold shower or go soak your head. Whatever, will snap you out of the spell you're under. Look at reality, and see that sex is SO not the point or purpose of existance. Romance is great, but there are other kinds of love that are equally as fulfilling. It's a double edged sword so don't think you're slashing your opponent with the flat edge.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Yeah, it was a corpse

Now, ya see, I really don't watch very many North American/ Westernized movies (movies that were orignally made in the English language). I watch so few actually that when I watch a new one I get to talk about it in detail because it's such a rare occurance.

So, there were only two movies from 2005 that I wanted to see - Harry Potter, and Corpse Bride. Harry Potter was good, but I was totally apalled at the lack of creativity thrown into Corpse Bride. It's good that it was only 75 minutes, because if it had been about five minutes longer, I probably would have had to turn it off.

The score was difficult to listen to as well, and as a matter of fact, I think it was probably the worst thing about the film (which explains why I chose to use the cover of the soundtrack for my blog).

But I don't believe in mindlessly flaming things so besides to say that I thought the story ran predictably true to form, even though they did all they could to derail it, it still turned out exactly how I expected, and that it was painful to listen to, I have to say some good things about it. I liked how they acted like dead people weren't scary, but rather just people we've known and loved who happen to have died. And as my darling friend pointed out, the five seconds they mock Gone with the Wind were good. Other than that I thought it had a lot of potential, but was pretty much a lifeless outing.

Anyway, it didn't have a lot of dark humour in it, and since that was the only possibility for comedy in it, I felt that it came off as a drama instead - that wasn't dramatic.

But, I'm probabl
y not the crowd they're trying to cater to. When I saw Nightmare Before Christmas, I thought it was pretty polly-wolly-crappy, but since then, somehow it's sort of turned into a classic of sorts - which is a thing I totally don't understand. When when I saw that I was the demented pre-teen, so I don't know what audience they're pulling in with this stuff.

I feel like a jerk for flaming this since generally I like Tim Burton, Danny Elfman, and Johnny Depp a great deal more than everyone else in Hollywood, but I really felt like I could have spent my time better like painting a picture of a guy with a big knife (note: that's a Strong Bad quote).