Wild Moon Swings

Monday, January 22, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

I never make New Year's resolutions. In January when I listen to the radio I hear all kinds of ads about how various companies are trying to help you keep your New Year's resolutions. Some of them talk about redesigning your home, some about your goals to lose weight, or to get fit. I think a few of these ads even encourage people to go back to school to study something ... As for myself, I already understand that I'm not going to do any of these things. I never make New Year's resolutions. If I were going to make one, I would say that I would redesign my webpage, but I know that I'm not going to do that, even though I've already selected the theme I want to go with (please see today's graphic). I know a really good website for free webgraphics. It's too bad that I'm so weak-willed. I guess I would also make a promise to finish 'Ghost Mist', but again - I'm so sick that it's sort of a miracle that I can find the energy to post in here.

All I wanna do is read romance novels and I HAVEN'T GOT ANY! I saw some old ones for sale at the Salvation Army a few weeks ago and I thought about buying them, but I knew they'd rot my brain, so I didn't buy any. Last time I was seriously ill, I read 'Emma' by Jane Austen, and 'Silas Marner' by George Elliot. Now, I just end up sitting around watching Strong Bad emails on my lappy wondering why I didn't buy those flipping romance novels. At least they'd keep my brain moving and distract me from the horror ... or discomfort of my illness. Blah ... I need to let myself digress a little. At least until I'm better.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mononoke Hime

Wow! I didn't realize that anyone would be interested in hearing my theories on Princess Mononoke, but since you seem to be, then I don't have a problem relating them. I just have to point out before I start that I am the only person I know who thinks this - I don't even know anyone who knows enough about this subject to talk about it to in order to get a little perspective. So this is just my brain and my brain isn't necessarily always on the right course.

I believe that this film is about the transition between feudal Japan and modern Japan. In feudal Japan there were four classes: nobility, samuria, peasants, and merchants. I believe nobility is represented by the boars, the samuria are represented by the wolves, the peasants are represented by the people who live in Iron Town and the merchants are represented in part by the monk Jiko Bou. The Great Forest Spirit represents the Emperor. The main character Ashitaka is not an important character involved in the changing world, but instead a third party observer and in many ways so is San.

So, to start the story we have Lady Eboshi who has built Iron Town and is mining the land for iron. I think she represents the press for change and in Japan the biggest press for change was when foreign powers arrived. Japan had its borders closed to foreigners for hundreds of years. The biggest thing that foreigners had that Japan didn't was technology and I think that is marked out by the fact that Lady Eboshi's men have guns and the power to fight the boars on the mountain when normally they'd be slaughtered if it was hand to hand combat. So, the boars lose and become spiteful - transforming into demons filled with hate. That's when he stampedes into Ashitaka's villiage and Asitaka is drawn into the fight, but not before his villiage elders talk about how their way of life is disappearing.

So, Ashitaka goes to Iron Town and learns about the situation there. The rest of the story describes the different problems of the differents races/classes and then the disintegration thereof. The story strives hard not to take sides, but in the end it goes with the force for change and the wolves and the boars are destroyed by the guns of the villiagers.

In Japan it is practically tradition that the Emperor has no real political power. He's the son of heaven and it would dirty his hands to deal with common problems - hence why the Bakufu ruled out of Edo while the Emperor lived in Kyoto. So, I think he's well represented by The Great Forest Spirit. His presence can only bless and improve the lives of the people. By the end of the film, the goal of Lady Eboshi has changed her objective to retrieving the head of The Great Forest Spirit. I think this represents the will of other countries to rule Japan, but in the end - Japan was not ruled or colonized by other nations and instead ruled itself. Even though Japan eventually lost their emperor, they did not lose the power to rule themselves.

Ashitaka and San represent ordinary people (although they have different views) they
love each other and work hard for a common goal. And by the end of the film - all classes have been removed and there is only one class left - the working class.

I went and looked up studio Ghibli's comments on this story and they have it taking place during the Muromachi Era (1392-1573), and I was placing it to describe more around the 1800's, so I don't think I'm entirely right. I need to study more, but I think a lot of what I said still applies even though it's flawed.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sick Girls Talk about Movies

Today I thought I'd talk about Studio Ghibli. Whenever I see a Ghibli film, I always feel like I've seen it before ... a really long time ago when I was a small child. I've forgotten the details of the story, but there's a feel to the film that awakens a part of my memory that is extremely old. There's a few that it wasn't true of, but I feel this way about most of them. We'll see what I can write about each film.

Howl's Moving Castle
I remember one of my friends trying to get me to read this book when I was in seventh grade, but I turned her down because I thought the premise sounded ... unromantic. I mean, Sophie is an old woman for a serious portion of the story and I thought that wouldn't be any fun. Cheers to the immature mind. So, I had nothing more to do with the story until the film came out. It was great! I'm always thinking about what kinds of movies I want my children to grow up with and this movie describes the essence of what I want them to absorb. Just as another thought - I love watching this movie with girls who haven't seen it before. It's hilarious to watch them perk up when Howl shows up and puts his arm around Sophie. They thought they were going to be bored - U-huh.

Spirited Away
Very often, when I happen to have conversations with non-animeniacs about anime - this is the only film they've seen. Consequently, they think anime is cooked. I can't deny that this film is a little out there, but in essence it's sort of like 'Alice in Wonderland' and thus I believe that it's not too difficult to identify with. This is more of a tween thing than a children's movie as I think No Face would scare little ones, but I still enjoy it hugely. I love it when they get guys who know what they're doing to do the voices and the guy who does Haku rocks my word.

Laputa: The Castle in the Sky
This has got to be my least favourite Ghibli film. Seriously, I couldn't get into it at all. The only thing I remember is being interesting was Muska's voice. I was sitting there cracking my brain open trying to figure out who could be doing it and doing such a fantastic job at it too. It turned out to be Mark Hamill. I was so pleased at his performance that I wanted to write him fanmail. He was awesome!

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
I like this film a great deal. It doesn't move very fast and it's a little more mature, but I enjoy the pace of it a great deal and cry my eyes out at the end. I really love this film.

Whisper of the Heart
I ended up reading a massive article in 'Anime Insider Magazine' that listed all the reasons why you should buy 'Whisper of the Heart' when it came on sale and I ended up biting - which is unlike me. I don't buy movies I haven't seen before. This one was based on a piece of shoujo cannon and it was pretty cute, but it's not got a super fast pace either. Actually, I'm the only person I know who's been able to sit through it. Kids could watch it, but they probably wouldn't want to.

Princess Mononoke
I have BIG theories about this movie. I don't think that anyone I know who has seen it has understood it - even a little bit. I went and saw it in theaters four times in two weeks and didn't understand it at all. It wasn't until I started studying Japanese history that I got a theory as to what it's really about. I'll have to write an entire post on it, but I'm a little afraid to do so just in case I'm WAY off base. It's just a little frustrating when I don't have anyone to bounce ideas off of before I post here. Most people I know watch it and are like, "Why do they keep calling her San when the movie is called Princess Mononoke?" Then my eyebrow twitches and I answer calmly (since I was in the same boat as them the first couple times I watched it) that mononoke means vengeful spirit in Japanese. Some day I'll step out on a limb and post my theories - they're BIG.

Okay - I think that's it Kittens. Next time I'll write some more.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sick Girls Rent Movies

I hate movies. I mean that I really hate movies. But I have been sick for the past two weeks and my eyes have been too fuzzy to read subtitles, so I've been stuck watching movies in English ... ick ... English. I also haven't had anything good to read, so I've been on my couch watching crappy movies that were filmed in ... English. So, today I get to rant about all these crappy movies I ended up watching. I went through the video store and almost rented them at random and since you've probably all seen them, I'm only going to post my opinion of them and not a synopsis for them. Oh, and I should probably warn you - they are all girl movies. I've been writing Tesai a lot lately and so I've been feeling kind of manish. This was almost meant to balance me out. Okay, here we go.

This wasn't bad. It was well planned, well cast, with charming dialogue and cute climaxes. It was almost like watching a dating show without all the sleeze and much better photography. I remember reading a review on this in the paper after it came out. They said that sales for this film were only okay in the States, but that it did unbelievably well in Europe - almost explosive. What does that say about the Americans? They didn't like a comedy that wasn't sleezy?

I think this one was a B movie, so you might not have heard of it. The only thing I could think of while watching this movie was a manga I read once where a girl wanted to marry rich and leave her trashy family behind. What she used to say was, 'I want to turn into a pheonix and fly to a higher branch'. The girl in the manga didn't give up on her dream, but Carolina learns that she can't fly to a higher branch because she is still more comfortable in chicken droppings ... great. I wasn't happy with some of the messages in this film, but it could have been worse. However, I believe that people should always strive to be better than they are. It just depends on what you think is 'better'.

The Devine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
I enjoyed this film. It had a lot more meaning, purpose and direction than I expected it to have from the previews. The cast was distracting, because there are sometimes three actors playing the same characters and they didn't necessarily pick very good transition people for everyone. But it wasn't very deep. It was mostly just entertaining, but who am I to complain about that?

Autumn in New York
This was the biggest piece of garbage I've seen in years. It's about a playboy who sort of, maybe, smartens up about his stupidity, but it was so weak compared to other stories on the same subject. I hated the movie 'Alfie' (the old one with Michael Cane), but there was serious growth in that. You can't be a playboy without leaving a few wild oats behind and it takes something 100% horrible to snap a person out of that kind of distructive pattern. Also, there is a manga called 'Bitter Virgin' that is along these same lines as well - reforming playboys - that was also a zillion times stronger. Actually, there wasn't a thing that I can think of to praise in this film. It really made me hate Richard Gere - a lot - and everyone else who was in it, too. It was the most wretched, miserable, pointless, icky, piece of trash that I have ever seen. YUCK!

Against the Ropes
This movie wasn't long enough. It felt like the success in it came too easily because there wasn't much time for development. It felt like 'We're going to do this unbelieveably difficult thing' and then I blinked and they'd done it. There was almost no struggle. I think it was supposed to be a 'feel good' film, but I didn't feel good. It's based on a true story and I felt like I'd rather be watching Biography than the movie.

The Perfect Man
I rented this because the plot reminded me of that one Simpson's episode where Bart starts writing love letters to his school teacher. That was a really good episode and frankly it's an hour shorter than this film, so you might want to watch it instead. However, this was a charming little film that could be enjoyed by girls about 10 years younger than me. I'm just not their demographic.

I watched lots of other stuff too, but these were the ones I'd never seen before. But I've made myself a promise. Next time I'm out on my butt, I'm going to go to the library and rent documentaries instead. I think I'll find it more fulfilling.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Love

I know that I don't usually talk about anything personal in my blog and this is going to be as impersonal as possible. Today I would like to talk about the man I love. You see, he's on my brain a lot. It's going to be akward not referring to him by his name, but please bear with me.

When I first started writing 'Dragon's Moon' when I was 17 years old, the Van character (then named Brock) was hugely based off of this man that I love. I wanted to write a character that had brown eyes in order to pay homage to my new love, because I had never written a hero that had brown eyes before. It wasn't only that, but before I wrote Brock, my writing had been largely based on my reading rather than on actual experience. His influence is strong in 'Dragon's Moon' because Van is at least 65% the man that I love and only about 35% the Van from Escaflowne, which will quickly explain why he's sensible and romantic instead of 100% trigger happy.

You see, he was my first boyfriend who lasted more than two months. I liked him so much that I was positive we'd date for at least three months - at least until the end of the summer. That may make me seem fickle, but I had a lot of boyfriends that didn't last longer than a week - no fooling.

One of the hints I had that we were going to last forever was my eating habits. It seems ridiculous in hind-sight, but I always used to eat like a bird in front of my dates. In actuality, I was a growing teenager who had a stomach as large as an ocean. I probably could have eaten most boys under the table (since we didn't drink), but I never let my dates see that side of me. Well, when I started dating this guy, I had already known him for a couple years. Just after we got together we were sitting at a massive youth conference where they were serving sloppy joes (really messy sloppy joes) and I was holding this sandwich wondering what I was going to do. He was happily wolfing his down and I was almost on the verge of a panic attack. Finally, I decided that I couldn't spend my whole life counting calories in front of him as a pretense (especially since I had never seen the need to do so before) and I bit into that sandwich. It was delicious and I had sauce dribbling down my chin. Might as well go for the gusto, right? It might not seem like much, but it was an incredibly freeing moment. I remembered going on dates with boys that lasted from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. and almost dying of hunger. Trust me - this was important.

Another pivital thing happened that summer (the one we were supposed to break up after). I sprained my ankle. I was out with my cousins and I fell down the stairs at a fast food restaurant. It's a miracle I didn't crack my head open as well. When they brought me home, my mom piggy-backed me into the house. I couldn't walk at all. But I had this problem - you see my brother and his wife were coming to stay with my family for a family reunion and they were going to stay in my room. My room was a mess and now I couldn't clean it because I couldn't move at all. I happened to be on the phone with my boyfriend and I told him what was wrong. You will never believe what he did, girls. He came over to my house and helped me clean my room. I am not the kind of whiny female who would be happy to put my feet up and let him do the work. I was horrified at the idea of him handling my laundry and putting my makeup away. Allowing him to do this for me was like allowing him into my world. Also, not only did he do this wonderful thing for me, but he carried me and lifted me more than his fair share - he was an angel.

The next story is more serious from my point of view. I had to get my wisdom teeth out before I turned 18 or else my mother's insurance wouldn't cover the costs, so I had to go when my wisdom teeth hadn't quite dropped down as far as they should have. So, I asked to be knocked out for the procedure since they were going to have to dig for them. It seemed like the sensible choice at the time and my boyfriend had been nominated as the man to take me to the dentist's that day. No one else was available. When I woke up afterwards, I was a HUGE MESS! I had no idea that the anesthesia was so powerful. I had a killer headache, my mouth hurt, and I basically had no idea where I was, but they were going to discharge me anyway. They wheeled me out to his car and he drove to the pharmacy to get my painkillers, and then out of the city to the town where I lived. He put my head on his knee and he didn't bump me once - his car was a standard. Then he held my head all afternoon while I bled into a bowl. I had never been so frightened, because I had never taken a drug or been in a situation where I was unconscious before - he was so reassuring.

But, all this stuff was years ago. Really, a really long time ago. Today he brought me hot chocolate in bed with both whipping cream and marshmellows in it. Sweet, eh?

He's probably the most patient person I have ever met. If I practiced forever, I don't know if I could be as patient as he is naturally. He's also got an unbelievably cool head. He doesn't fly off the handle over nothing. Actually, it takes a lot to piss him off or to get him excited. Yet, even with this quality, he's remarkably fast when something needs to be fixed. I think they must love him at work because he gets stuff done without being tempramental. And talk about a problem solver! I could sit here and talk about how talented, kind, intelligent and wonderful he is, but that wouldn't touch on how good looking he is, so I'll move onto that.

The first time I went to the movies with this boy, we sat down beside some girls that were close to our age. Partway through the movie, I got this feeling that someone was watching me. I turned to the girl who was sitting beside me, but she wasn't looking at me. She was looking over my head at the guy next to me. She would rather watch my date than the movie! I looked at her, and she sort of pursed her lips and looked the other way, but that didn't stop her from looking like she had her tongue hanging out of her head. No, seriously - this man is extremely lovely (since there are hardly any good words in the English language to describe beautiful men).

I know this has been one long 'gushy girl' moment, but I can't help being in love with him. And wanting to tell everyone about it. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Point of Know Return

Point of Know Return
By Alphaville

01 The gentle taste of orange
02 A garden of fruit and flowers is what I embrace
03 In ocean blue eyes, in each one's an island
04 I'm stranded within your love
05 And as I fall deeper than ever
06 And as we kiss
07 We're each other's guide into the unknown
08 Where men do not return, where men do not forget
09 The sweetest suicide, as if we don't exist but live
10 The presence of angels, the inscense of Indochine
11 The quietness of movements, the slowness of Africa
12 A point of know return,
13 No way out of here
14 Nothing compares to you
15 Anything goes

16 And as I breathe deeper than ever
17 I'm coming home, I'm coming home to the unknown
18 Where men do not return. . .

I have always wanted to write a little something about this song. I have heard arguments that this song is about first love and how you are never the same after having experienced it. I disagree - quite strongly. After I'd heard it about three times I knew it was about the story of Adam and Eve. Of course I'm prepared to back up my theory, so here goes:

When Adam and Eve were place in the Garden of Eden they were married and left to tend the garden. They were commanded that they should not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They were told that if they did, they would surely die. It doesn't say in the bible what fruit that was, or if that was a common tree that we see today. In the first line of this song, I think it is implied that the fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was an orange.

In the second line, I think he's clearly describing the Garden of Eden and what it looks like to him (Adam) after he has eaten the fruit. He opens his eyes and he sees that the garden is beautiful. In the third line he sees Eve and he sees that he's in love with her (in his innocence - he didn't now), and in the fourth he is recognizing how far he would go for that love.

In the fifth line, he starts to talk about the consequences of eating the fruit. They always talk about the Fall of Adam. Adam and Eve lived a life of innocence in the garden until the serpent (Satan) came and told Eve that if she ate the fruit that she would know good from evil. She ate and knew that she would be cast out of the garden if Adam did not eat it as well. I think everything that has been said thus far indicates that Adam because they could not have children if they were not together. He would be cast out with her.

In line seven, they are thrown out of the garden together and left to live their lives as the humans we are now. They were immortal and now - they will definitely die - 'the sweetest suicide'. This is where there is the strong indication that Adam and Eve made the correct choice to eat the fruit and be cast out. Now they could experience happiness and sorrow, as well as all other human emotions.

In line ten, they compare the garden 'the presence of angels' (Adam walked with god, so I think this is indicating that there were angels there too), while 'Indochine' I believe refers to geographical areas around India and China - so the world we live in. The author continues to praise our world when he brings up Africa in the next line.

The line 'the point of know return' is a play off of the seriousness of their transgression (they could never go back to the life they lived in the garden) as well as a pun off of the knowledge they gained.

I think this work compares the trials of life and the protection of a perfect place where there is no sorrow and no joy. Actually, I get pretty emotional over a story like this. This world was made for joy, but it's not baby-proof, so we have to grow up and be adults. Simply put, the pain is worth it because of the joy of existance.