Wild Moon Swings

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Anime I Watch

A long time ago, algelic asked me to do a post about the kind of anime I was watching. Well, this has been a long time coming, but here we go.

My ultimate pick is "Boccano!" This is about immortal gangsters - which is something I definitely want to be a part of. The plot is all over the place. It took me episodes to unravel it, but once it was unraveled - it was awesome.

Right now I'm watching "Bamboo Blade", "Rental Magica", and "Night Wizard". "Bamboo Blade" is my top pick. I love anime and manga about kendo. Yesterday I was even reading about the proper way to hold a shinai. The other two are all right. Not brilliant, but all right. Worth watching.

Hmm - let's make a list of good anime (by order of excellence):

1. Twelve Kingdoms
2. A Vision of Escaflowne
3. Full Metal Alchemist
4. Slayers
5. Boccano!
6. Rurouni Kenshin
7. Neon Genesis Evangelion
8. Full Moon wo Sagashite
9. School Rumble
10. Black Cat
11. Scrapped Princess
12. Fantastic Children (sounds lame, but it's actually kind of creepy)
13. D.N.Angel
14. Crest of the Stars
15. Cowboy Bebop
16. Read or Die
17. Moon Phase
18. Air
19. Mai Hime
20. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne

Friday, January 18, 2008

My sis made these for me and her husband - both January birthdays. They're really pretty. I really like them. I'm the tiger. I love being the tiger. One of my other friends thinks I'm a mammoth. Nice eh?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pants = Love?

It was a strange fascination. I saw half of the movie trailer and saw the books in a book store, but even though I was interested, I was not going to read them. This really isn't my style, but I decided to give it a chance because I was buying kids books at my local Salvation Army and they were selling the first two books for 25 cents each. Who am I to turn down an offer like that? Even if I am mildly ashamed.

Okay, so I enjoyed reading them. That's not to say that I enjoyed everything about them, because I really didn't. But I'd like to throw my two cents in about the books and about the movie (which I watched for the first time yesterday).

Talking about the Books
I really enjoyed the first book. Part way through the second book I was about to blow my top about how bratty all the girls were being and then I clued in - this is about the girls and their relationships with their mothers (I especially enjoyed Bridget's plot line). The third book was also quite good. I really liked it. I read the last book over the Christmas holiday and I was pretty choked about the way a few of the things turned out.

My main complaint is that the author often has the girls get with guys they have pretty much spent no time with. Most of the guys in her books barely have time to put their clothes back on before they're out the door. My biggest complaint would be the plot line with Lena and Kostos. For the amount of time they spent together in the books, I can't believe how much they laboured over it. I was like, "You hardly know him. Plenty of good fish in the sea. Why are you bothering?"

In the end, I really hated the plot line with Lena the most. Don't get the wrong idea about me though - it doesn't have anything to do with the nude painting. I know lots of people who have done that kind of art and I don't think it's at all indecent. To me, it's very similar to being a doctor or a nurse. You're not thinking of the person as a piece of meat - you're thinking of them as work. It's that she let that translate into casual sex that made me feel ill. Would you really take the chance of getting pregnant just because you were curious? I liked Tibby's reaction better because she had a much better idea of what she was doing.

Talking About the Movie
I don't know if a movie is meant to tackle this many plot lines at once. I think the medium is just wrong for this. It jumped around so much without having the four plot lines converge much - which is fine for a book - you can take your time - but I think it makes a confusing watch for a movie. You only get to spend 5 - 10 minutes with each girl before you've got to move onto the next one, and then it's like 30 minutes before you get back to the one you started with.

I also asked one of my friends if they had seen it and she told me it was very much like 'The Baby Sitter's Club'. I was pretty disgusted to discover that she was right, because the books weren't at all like that. I'm not saying they were as deep as the ocean, but they were definitely insightful. The parts that should have been deep - like the part where Bailey dies (totally heart breaking in the book) was essentially skipped over, and Bridget? The whole point of Bridget's plot line was GONE. In the books, Bridget was not healed until the end of book 2 and even after that she has definitely learned her lesson. In the movie, the act like her problems can all be fixed with a slumber party ... u-huh.

Lena's story line was completely different in the first book - and frankly - a lot funnier and a lot more meaningful.

Carmen's story line was good. I can't think of one thing that was wrong with it - perfectly fine.

I think the way to improve this movie would have been to remove Bridget's storyline completely, even though hers is my favourite throughout all four books.

I guess on the whole they weren't all that bad. Just as a side note about book four - I was really glad that not all the girls had romantic problems in the last book. I was pleased that Carmen didn't. Not everyone has romantic problems even when they're young.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What the ...?


So, as I mentioned two posts back, I've been reading Stephenie Meyer's vampire series. I really liked the second book 'New Moon'. I thought it was charming, and I honestly can't think of a way to criticize it. It was lovely.

However, I wasn't a fan of book three 'Eclipse'. Really ... not a fan. For starters, Bella has the scent of a strange vampire in her room when an unknown vamp sneaks into her room and steals some of her clothes. I'm sitting there thinking, 'Okay, so Victoria has figured out that she can't get through the werewolves herself, so now she's made a new vampire to sneak in and get Bella's clothes, so she can attack Bella with multiple new vamps'. It's easy - you're a vamp - make your own army - send them after her - kill them all when you're done.

By the time Bella has figured this out and is telling everyone what's happened - Edward is surprised. WHY? Why is he surprised? Is it possible that Edward knows less about vampire fiction than I do? I didn't care that Bella hadn't figured it out, but I was unhappy that Edward lost so many points so quickly. Isn't he supposed to be smarter than that? Faster than that? I thought he was keeping it from her on purpose.

I'm being a brat. It's just a major disappointment to me that the major plot twist was not much of a twist. I was also not surprised when Jane shows up at the end. I thought she might have been in on it with Victoria because she didn't want Bella to become the sort of vampire who would show her up. I half expected Jane to take a shot at Bella ... and was most disappointed when she did not.

Lastly, what the crap is with that over inflated love triangle? You know what I was expecting? I was expecting Bella to get to be really close friends with Angela (so that she couldn't imagine friendship without her) and then have Jacob imprint on Angela, so that Bella would have to give both of them up if she became a vampire. Much more of a sacrifice, see?

Anyway, I wasn't happy with all the fluff at the end. I mean, I know teenage girls and they like to be torn between two guys and it's even better if the two guys want to fight over her, but ... I really didn't like the way it was played. Especially that conversation of Edward and Jacob's in the tent while Bella is supposed to be asleep. I got so much crap over my scene in 'Mystic Wings' when Van is pacing by the pool and talking to himself. I hate to say this, but I think that would be far more likely than two guys actively confiding in each other - especially when Edward is watching Jacob and Bella cuddle in the sleeping bag (blanket scenario). That really makes Edward seem sick - like he wouldn't mind a three-some or something. It was especially wrong since Edward is supposed to be painted like the real old-school, moral, virtuous -- wanting to wait until they get married -- kind of guy. Which is all stuff I personally agree with. I'm a bag and and half, but I believe that if someone wants you to trust them enough to have sex with them - then they should have no trouble signing on the dotted line (wedding certificate) saying that whatever happens in this life - you'll go through it together. But Edward putting up with it and basically just saying he's jealous and leaving it at that? There had to be a better solution - like a fight scene. Come on ... there could have been another fight scene.

(Side note: I think Stephenie is onto something with Jacob and Edward's conversation. When you write a fic for girls, it's not just about what would actually happen, but it's about all the things girls wish guys would think, but since we're stuck in the first person - she has to have Bella hear it. I just think what she did do was a little over the top.)

I think Edward looked like such a pansy because she's trying to make Jacob and Edward equally appealing so that there is a reasonable conflict. So, in order to make Jacob look better she's got to take Edward down a few pegs. HOWEVER! By the end, I couldn't remember why Bella was going back to Edward. He didn't do anything remotely endearing towards the end.

And ONE MORE THING! Where was the BLOOD? Where was the VICIOUSNESS! Where was the scary, confident, demon like, passionate, blood pumping scene where Edward kills Victoria? Edward was no different during that fight than he was answering a question in bio class back at the school. I was expecting ravishing, brutal, majestic, magical, worth dying over beauty that would make Edward seem like four times better than Jacob and instead ... there was no blood. Bella scratched her arm ... wow ... I am overpowered. Seriously ... I know that I'm always thinking of Louis from 'Interview with the Vampire', but when Claudia dies, he goes to the theater (and in the book he thinks that Lestat is there too, because he helped Armand kill Claudia) with a scythe just before dawn and murders the lot of them - BOOM! He doesn't even expect to live - he doesn't even care. Edward looks like a sissy for his plans in 'New Moon' compared (when he thinks Bella is dead), doesn't he? He was just going to step out in the noon day sun and let everyone see him. I shouldn't complain - I liked 'New Moon', but now I'm not happy with Bella. But there's lovely Louis for all you girls out there.

Okay, I'm done. And a little grouchy still. It wasn't as bad as all that. I'm just mad because I care. I'm not allowed to read Anne Rice anymore because I get too into it. Way too into it!

I went to Stephenie Meyer's official website and saw that they are making a movie. I liked the actors they chose, except that I'm sort hoping that if they make a screenplay for 'eclipse' that the fluff will get sifted out in favour of more violence, but I doubt it. These days explicit sex scenes earn a lower rating than violence and they are going to want EVERYBODY to go see it.

Anyway, I should be mellow in no time now that I've got all that off my chest. I'm listening to 'Building a Mystery' by Sarah McLachlan, so it's chilling me out. You know - no matter what happens in the careful little artistic world I build for myself and no matter what artists step into my favour and out again *sigh* At least there's always Xellos - my ultimate muse - beautiful - flirtatious - cruel - calculating - the perfect trickster. Ah - I love him. There are some characters who don't disappoint ... even at the end of 'Try' (which was perfect crap - except for him). I guess I'm just bummed because I can't like Edward anymore. Maybe it's because I was expecting a vampire and got a teen heart throb instead. I just like to call things by their right names.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Not like Lord of the Rings

For Christmas I got a gigantic stack of books. I love books! Hehehehe. So, one of the ones I got was 'Dragon Sword and Wind Child' by Noriko Ogiwara. It's the English translation, but it was lovely. Now, when I read this book, I felt like there was still a lot for me to learn about writing - this is one gorgeous book.

When I was reading the descriptions and synopsis' for this book, I was sorely disappointed. I thought it sounded polly-wolly boring, but I really liked 'Sea of Shadow' which is the first book in the 'Twelve Kingdoms' series, so I thought I'd give it a chance. I mean, if they bothered to draw a cover like that, I ought to give it a chance, right?

I LOVE Japanese fiction! This was so delightful. Do you know why? Because I can never guess what the heck is going to happen until it does. They don't follow common English plot structures, so I'm not expecting anything that happens. It's like; "the bets are off - friggin' anything could happen" the whole time.

I am so glad I bought it. There wasn't a single thing I did not love about this book - it was thrilling and chilling and boiling and utterly fantastic. And I wouldn't have known it was coming out if I didn't have my subscription to 'Shojo Beat'. So, everyone take my advice and go buy this one right away. It'll fit perfectly beside 'Sea of Shadow' in your book case ... even though they are different shapes.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Dark is the Night for All

Even though I enjoyed writing vampire fics when I was 15-16, I never had any hope of publishing any of it because I knew that they weren't very original. I mean, yeah, I like vamps, but hasn't it all already been done before?

I never would have read this book if one of my readers had not written me and told me that my writing was quite a bit like Stephenie Meyer's. It sort of intrigued me because I was like, "You mean there's an actual published author who knows how to write?" I also saw a lovely little article on a Chapters flier saying how her vampire fic was 'the new Harry Potter'. So, I bought a copy to see how sad 'Dragon's Moon' looked in comparison. Yeah, 'Dragon's Moon' is definitely rough around the edges, but I was expecting to read something that really showed me all the ways that I need to improve - something that showed me that I still have a long way to go. Not so. Actually, I cried.

Don't get me wrong though. I'm not angry with her. In a way, I'm cheering for her. I wish I knew how to market my story to literary agents - if I did, maybe I would have cleaned up 'Dragon's Moon' and sold it five years ago. Not that I could have had her success - that's impossible for me. And I'm not being pessimistic for all you people who come to my blog and don't comment (hehehe). I'm being realistic. By this point, I know what a pack of hounding maniacs teenage girls are for fluff, kissing scenes and skank. Most of the teenage girls I know who like romance stopped reading teenage fluff ages ago and started reading romances for adults (which also explains the writers on ff.net who claim to be 15 and write the sort of books that usually have a scantily clad couple on the front). Though I don't think Stephenie Meyer degraded herself by the scenes she wrote - I could never have done it. Like I wrote on my Ghost Mist blog - I just can't do that sort of thing. I can't write more than two paragraphs in a row about a couple making out without wanting to DIE. It's not just that it makes me uncomfortable, but also that I've read so many such scenes that I feel like they are such old hat as to be ... boring ... predictable and overly sentimental. However, that's exactly what the teenagers want.

Anyway, yesterday I had a published author look at a chapter of 'Whenever You Want' and she said that I was ready to get something published. And you know what? I think she's right. I wish I had something ready to send right now, but I don't. I need to get to work. Even if my trilogy can't be sent and 'Whenever You Want' probably shouldn't - I can come up with something new - work on it and send it out. I feel like I'm ready.

So - final comments on 'Twilight' - I wish Edward's thoughts hadn't been so predictable, but as I've learned talking to several of my friends who have read it, it's not predictable if you're not familiar with vampire fiction.

I wish she hadn't said 'I'm going to give you the choice I never had' in book three. Okay, that's not exactly what she said, but isn't that the most famous line from 'The Vampire Chronicles' by Anne Rice? Clearly, it can't all be 100% original since they are talking about the same subject, but wouldn't that particular line be taboo? And yet, there it was, all by itself in it's own paragraph and everything. Maybe she hasn't read them ... or heard the delightful way Tom Cruise says it as he stokes Brad Pitt's cheek.

Next - if I were writing it - it would be way more slashy slashy than kissy kissy. By the end of the first book, I totally couldn't understand why Edward hadn't slashed his wrist yet. I was sitting there going, "What are we waiting for?"

I may talk about this more later, but I gotta go. All in all, it was a pretty good book.