Excuse me, while I just begin to get my rambling on. I never intended this blog to become overly personal (yeah, whatever that means, exactly), but I feel like I need to write things off my chest to kind of give myself a virtual kick in the butt. Also, I feel it sort of affects my relationship with this blog. So there.
Now, Christmas is approaching like a train in full motion and I’m in what we could label the final stages of my university studies. Mind you, it took me a while to get there, much longer than anticipated and dragging along longer now towards the end than I hoped, feared, or could bear.
The main factor for this final stage a.k.a. the completion of my Master’s Thesis (which is really the last last step in the whole process) is me being all sorts of procrastinating or simply not writing it. True, I worked for a solid two months over the summer and fall, and therefore didn’t have the time to sit on my butt and pour the knowledge drunken from them books into a coherent text. However, I was planning, besides all the work and stuff, to be done by early September, and now it is almost 2011 and I’m still not done with the thing.
The thing is: I enjoy writing about my topic, I enjoy reading about it, even in Japanese, which is not easy, but still fun. So it’s really not about the thesis itself, it is more about the implications that all of this has. Or to put it another way: I feel lost.
Like, I have no idea where things will go. That doesn’t even only apply to the big “oh-after-uni-time,” but in a more general sense. As I’ve said, I enjoy writing my thesis and think it’s a good topic and I’m up to producing something good, but at the same time I feel like wasting my time. I feel like I’m doing something that I should not be doing, that I should just throw down and start anew with something completely else. Frankly, I have dreams and wishes for that something else, but somehow I end up not pursuing it, and while I’ve read enough self-help crap and alla that over the years enabling me to see how stupid my behavior is, I end up staying on the track anyways. Keep doing what I’m doing cause it feels safe and might not be all that wrong after all. But I feel like I’m eroding, like I am falling apart.
This sounds dramatic I know, and I’ll get to that in a second, but it’s true: I feel like I’m becoming more and more of a shell. And the longer it lasts the more it feels like there is really no one home. That there is no personality in me, and that because there is no personality, there really is no path. What am I good for? How can I get there? Why am I not going there right now? And why do I know that all of this is wrong and still don’t change it?
I kind of feel sometimes like I’ve lost hope in there being something meaningful to do, but that is bullshit, and I know it.
The problem with all of this is, that it is so far into self-pity territory that I start to disgust myself. Like, what the hell? Why can’t you privileged piece of shit just get your act together and stop whining? It is all up to me, that my societal engagement isn’t what it should be. It is all my fault that I am not as close to people as I should be. And it is all up to me to start evaluating me by what I do and achieve rather than by who I dream or fear to be.
Bwah. I warned you, I’m rambling. These thoughts have crossed my mind on a daily basis for months now and I keep getting more lethargic and empty along the way. I really need to stir things up, cause it’s seriously numbing me. Now, I’m not the most temperamental and passionate person to begin with, but I feel so detached from any sort of emotions. And I keep losing interest in things, I only look for diversion without processing it into something productive.
That is what happens with this blog. I was so enthusiastic starting out and I feel how it gets harder and harder for me to find myself interested in writing about something, in digging something up and make something out of it.
So, yeah, I guess, this is kind of my first try to mix things up, to channel all that emo-fuckery into something more meaningful than just whining. Let’s see if it helps.
While browsing my favorite blogs I stumbled upon the awesome gem that is Toby Jones’ “Broken Hearts Club” Jewellery Collection. I find the whole concept to be kind of fresh, even though wearing a key around your neck isn’t the most original thing in the world, and I absolutely love the way the photos for the lookbook were styled and shot.
Copyright for all of the following pics lies with Toby Jones, whose website you can access by clicking this link or go to the collection by clicking on any of the pictures.
Beautiful, right? I love the ring, but it’s really hard to pick a favorite. I guess I just have to get them all….
So, I just finished watching The Walking Dead. And even though my original plan was to post episode to episode recaps, I kinda abandoned that because I went through the whole series in two days and frankly, it’s not like ten thousand things happen in every episode, I guess one post is enough for six of them.
Being a fan of all zombie nonsense (and let’s not fool ourselves, most of that zombie-shit is pretty nonsensical from the get-go) I got curious about the comic adaptation for the US channel AMC (who also brought Breaking Bad and Mad Men to this world) of The Walking Dead. I was travelling with light baggage, cause I haven’t read the comics, so canonical stuff and alla that were no issue for me.
If you haven’t seen season one of The Walking Dead yet, there are MAJOR SPOILERS below, so just be warned.
The opening scene. Now I do not condone violence of any sort against anyone, let alone children. But for a cop to shoot a blond zombie girl, that is kind of good, in that it leaves me with the notion that we are not necessarily going to witness a family friendly zombie slaughter where the main victims are going to be those who are just not white or middle-class enough.
Jacqui. She’s thin as a needle and was working as an engineer or something. She is compassionate and yet tough. Lesbians of the world rejoice, that woman is a dream. Now, mind you, I am not happy at all that she moves out of the picture later on, because honestly, she was the one character that interested me the most.
Zombintelligence. Haha, word mash-up. The zombies learn to use tools and react to sound and smell. They seem to sorta remember things like using doorknobs and stuff. Are we witnessing the first evolutionary steps of zombidom? It is totally ridiculous but could make for fun storytelling along the way.
How good are the zombies anyways? Wandering around, sitting in burnt-out buses waiting for the prey? Let’s see how the whole brain-resurrection thing works out and if we see them starve from the lack of fresh meat.
The Latin thugs caring for the elderly. WTF? was my main and only thought throughout their initial appearance, but how endearingly cute that they take care of those left behind. Okayyyy, I know, it’s totally cheeseballs, but it is cute nevertheless, plus it is not blond women doing the job, but yeah, Latino thugs. And that makes it totally acceptable for me (not that I don’t think that blond women couldn’t take care of people in need. I just don’t want them to be the only ones doing it).
Rick and his kid. Umh, Rick? Well, he is the protagonist. I have my issues with him, but I’ve come to like him somewhat, let’s just leave it at that. But his kid Carl, he seems to be a fun boy, intelligent and all. Kewl. From spoileriffic discussions I gathered that he is going to play a bigger role later on, so let’s just wait and see.
Ok, just how likely is it that among the few (like really few) survivors of this zombie-apocalypse it is exactly Rick’s family that belong to them – completely. Please please let it only be a device to make his wife or son a zombie later on and throw him into some ethical dilemma, but then again, boy, would that suck as a predictable storyline.
Speaking of which: Anyone else über-tired of the I-gotta-save-my-family-no-matter-what-storyline? Like: What? You wake up and realize that basically 99% of the world’s population have become zombies, yet you completely fail to connect your willingness for survival with a compassion for other survivors? Like, if wifey and son aren’t there anymore, who gives a shit? Ermh, let me just say, that when the people weren’t all zombies, you probably were a major moron. How come I think so? Oh, because you still are (and I kinda hoped that all the morons became zombies).
Didn’t we start the survivors group with a pretty diverse cast? The Latino family, a black woman and a black man (and actually another black woman that just vanishes), Glenn, the nerdy Asian guy, and umh, yeah, the rest. Well, by the end of season one we got rid of the Latino family, cause they conveniently want to go visit their relatives. And Jacqui decides she does not want to be in this world no more. Which is a tragedy all by itself, because she was one of the few characters that genuinely interested me. So yeah, we got rid of the misogynist husband and the supposed Nazi-Klan-guy (who’ll probably make a horrible comeback later on), but yeah, blink blink, the rest of the main cast is all kinda very white and often blond, leaving our beloved T-Dog (or is it T-Dawg) as the token black guy, and Glenn as our token Asian nerd. Stereotypes? Where? Meaning we got from semi-diverse to not-at-all-diverse in a matter of six episodes. By the end of season two we’re probably stuck with a completely blond and blue-eyed cast. Urgh.
The whole Shane and Lori thing. I get it, you thought your husband was dead and all the stress for everyone, so to horn it up and shag some is a great relief. But honeys, why not come clean right away? Your husband and best friend can handle it, you’re in the middle of a zombie infested world, y’all. I mean, sheesh, ok, you didn’t throw the jealousy bone in between our feet in episode three, but uh, are we gonna get there, and my guess is it is going to be non-pretty, as in predictable and lame lame lame.
Speaking of lame – and kind of retracing the diversity issue – there are casting choices that should not have been, and Lori is certainly one of them. Sorry, but her one facial expression besides looking motherly down on her son or basically everyone, cause we are supposed to like Mrs. Über-Mom, is wide-eyed-horror, and that look applies to either zombies, husbands, lovers, explosions or any other surprise you could think of from the top of your head. Now she might be an awesome actress, but acting she does certainly not much in this series. And how creative to have every surviving woman be thin and generically pretty, except for grandmas to touch our heart. The only woman with short-cropped hair is the one who is beaten up by her husband, the underlying message being: If you don’t have model-hair that’s long and shiny, there’s gotta be something wrong.
Ah, yes, the gender relations. So the women do the laundry all the time? Once again it’s up to Jacqui to question this division of labor, but besides this half-sentence there isn’t much actual protest. Are you kidding me? Or am I kidding myself? The likelihood of progressive feminists being the main survivors is kinda slim given the prominence of conservative thinking throughout the world. But really? I mean, it’s a series and not our very reality, so please spare me the shit. Cause it’s not going to be the models and policemen to be the main survivors either. Then again, models and policemen are very unlikely to be feminist and progressive anyways, so it all kinda makes sense again. Thank the Lords.
My overall impression is pretty good, though. I’ve enjoyed watching this first season and I hope that the second can build up on that without falling into the love-triangle-evil-scientist-trap (that it’s probably going to fall into anyways). Now that I’m hungry for more like a zombie for brains, I’m gonna have to wait an effin’ amount of months. That sucks, but hey, maybe it increases my workflow.
Some final thoughts I just need to share:
Loving the opening credits, they are really well done.
Couldn’t care less about Edward Jenner and his personal tragedy. For one he is not likeable, and this whole schtick with his wife being TS-19 was so on the radar from 800 miles away. Plus, what a stupid facility.
Looking forward to meeting father and son who saved Rick again. They convinced me in the emotional department.
The two blond sisters got on my nerve from minute one. On practically any level imaginable. I know I’m not supposed to, but I was kind of glad that we got at least rid of Amy.
Merle Dixon is so going to get all vengeance on their asses, plus it’s going to include some brother against brother nonsense. Already at this point I cannot wait for this storyline to be over, and it hasn’t even really started. Boy, is that going to suck. Inevitably.
Excuse me, this is going to be brief.
Cannot. Write. While. Drooling.
What is this nonsense about, you ask? Well, let me put it like this: Cake got in the way.
Behold this picture, and tell me: Do not all things good come to your mind when seeing this?
Heaven. This quince tart (Quitten, dear German readers) looks like it just came down from heaven and proclaimed itself our new savior. Or something like that.
Anyways, by clicking on the picture you get to the recipe over at gourmettraveller.com.au. I soooo have to make this. Too bad, that quince season is over already. Dammit!
Apologeez. Time flies, and thus a week passes without me posting anything. Any. Thing. Oh well, here we go:
Re-listening to Roxette’s album Crash! Boom! Bang! I realized how familiar all of it is to me. I used to be the biggest Roxette fan (yeah, I challenge you on that) in the period from 1995-1997. Which was the time they took a break that actually lasted longer than my obsession. But during these two years I got all the albums and knew all the songs by heart. It hit off with me buying their Greatest Hits album (because I thought I liked one song in particular, without realizing that the song I thought of wasn’t by Roxette really), which started a loving relationship that I hadn’t anticipated.
What makes it even more familiar, is that this was the time when I started to learn English as my second language and so much of the vocabulary in English I was introduced to through Roxette. So any word that pops up in Roxette songs is firmly placed into my synapses, any other word, heck, I don’t know. But funny to realize that. I only knew that china can refer to objects on top of referring to the country (or countries) because of Vulnerable early on. Which is another word, I’ll never ever forget.
Crash! Boom! Bang! was released in 1994 and is Roxette’s fifth studio album. It was less successful than anticipated and the albums preceding it, but what do we care about numbers when we can just love it? So, let’s get to that, a chronological song-by-song-run-down, eager to meet your eye….
Harleys & Indians (Riders in the Sky)
Obviously Per Gessle’s little pet project on this album. He is singing, it’s more the sort of “Rock-Song” that he usually aims for, and it is about meeting Elvis Presley (who obviously is a personal hero of his) when dead. Somehow it is the perfect entry for the album, because neither is it a stellar track, so it doesn’t really matter that I forget about it later on, neither is it horrible by any means, but is actually kinda fun in a slightly more unusual way for Roxette.
Crash! Boom! Bang!
It’s both a curious album and song title, and even more so, because it reads like Sleeping in my Car sounds, while in reality it doesn’t sound anything like it. Does that even make sense to anyone? To me the title always suggests this power-rock extravaganza Roxette-style, especially after Harleys and Indians kicks off the album in such a rock oriented way, but then it hits you: One of Roxette’s finest ballads.
Now if anyone ever wondered why Roxette became famous in the first place, here is one prime example: Power ballad with lots of strings and lots of guitar, haunting lyrics that are so general that basically everyone on this planet can identify with them and Marie Fredriksson with her amazingly awesome voice. If you still don’t get why Roxette became famous, it is entirely your fault.
My Mama told me not to mess with sorrow, but I always did, and Lord, I still do
The first six songs on the album follow a very clear rock/pop followed by ballad rhythm, so naturally this one is the pseudo-rock-y-pop-track of the album. What always strikes me about these first six songs is how obviously each of them has huge single potential, and except for Harleys and Indians, they all have actually been singles.
Fireworks is very reminiscent of Joyride and How do you do?, with Per singing the verses and Marie taking over in the chorus which works fantastically. Here again it becomes obvious that with many of the songs they got very guitar heavy and my guess is that they aimed at a more US-American sounding/Country-associations-evoking album sound (and yeah, before you shoot me, I know that there is variety and this is one broad broad generalization). In this case I don’t mind.
Run to You
The Rhythm demands it: Another ballad. Slightly faster and more pop with its very catchy chorus. Funny, but I’m always kinda undecided about Run to You. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an awesome song, but something about it tires me, and honestly, I suspect that I’m way more interested in the verses (and their lyrics actually) than in the chorus, which is somewhat of a let down. It’s good, but I kinda feel I was promised more. Like in a not so generic kind of chorus-way, which is really just being bitchy about something that actually is really good.
Sleeping in my Car
Yeah, those guitars and drums just punch you in the guts, grab your hand and take you on a ride. This is another reason why Roxette has a claim to fame: Besides power-ballads they get rocky pop-gems right a lot of times. I might be biased, well actually I am, cause I have no idea of how other societies around the globe received this song, but I feel sort of stupid writing anything about it, cause I feel that basically anyone here in Germany just has to hear the first few notes and can sing along right through this thing. Yes, I think it is that iconic, is what I wanna say.
Fun question you can ask yourself: How much do you believe that Marie Fredriksson is capable of seducing (as in not let her morals get in the way) random handsome strangers in her car?
My heart is going boom, there’s a strange taste in my mouth
Ballad time, but, oh boy, with Per! Now this song reminds everyone right from the start, that he will never be considered to be the greatest singer in the world, but to be fair, on his solo album and on other songs his raspy voice manages to carry the tune quite well. I might just be being catty, because I just don’t like this song, although I have to acknowledge its hit potential, especially now after it became a big hit in various countries and introduced the non-English speaking world to the most difficult word there is in the English language, pronunciation wise (admitted, you might succeed in proving me wrong on that theory).
The First Girl on the Moon
Ermh, can we say hidden gem time? I love love love this song. Probably because it is very Eurythmics kind of Savage era reminiscent (and yeah, 7 songs in and this is the first time I make the Eurythmics – Roxette comparison? Shame on me!), only not so Eurythmics-y and more Roxette-y. Love the simplicity of it, love the lyrics. Yeah, actually in my heart I believe that this song and Euryhtmics’ Savage are twin-songs and share one consciousness. Or something.
I told her I could come. That I could come along. But she didn’t let me come along.
Place your Love
This one follows a familiar Roxette pattern, Per in the verses, Marie supports on the chorus, but to me it kinda falls flat. It’s not bad by any means, but with all the other awesomeness on the album it just can’t compete. It’s nice and quite and yet touches, and it’s lucky that it picks up a little towards the end, but as I said: It ain’t no Sleeping my car or anything. Just realized how much the chorus foreshadows the style of Love is All, later on the album.
I Love the Sound of Crashing Guitars
Could easily been the title to Harleys and Indians. They probably did the latter first and then thought, wow, I love the sound of the crashing guitars on that one, and then someone: hey awesome song title, let’s make one! And so they did. It’s really more of a filler to me, I don’t mind it, but I usually skip it. And it just made me realize how present Per is on this album. Seems like I always only remember Marie’s singing….Mmmmh.
What’s She Like?
I love the intimate, somewhat loungey feel of this one. Like she just meets you over your fifth Whisky Sour in the darker corner of the hotel bar and asks you about your new girlfriend. I never consciously made the connection before, but actually we could consider this one to be the non-explicit equivalent to Alanis Morisette’s “You oughta know”. And yeah, less angry. Superb example of how Marie is able to convey desperation with her voice. Which she actually does a lot in Roxette song. Oh my.
Do You Wanna Go the Whole Way?
Hehe, yeah, I asked you before on Sleeping in my Car, but this one, heehee. Roxette and sexuality are two areas that somehow never mingle in my head, yet I know intellectually that this is of course nonsense. Why shouldn’t they? Probably because of the family-friendly image.
Anyhoo, believe it or not: For many years this was my favorite Roxette song. Yeah, gasp. It still ranks among my ultimate Roxette favourites. This whole mix of dark and desperate, drums and guitar, Marie and background vocals, strings and whatnot just gets me any effin’ time. Now, I could do without the interlude, but even as I write: If I could do without it, how could it be my favorite? Right. Perfect song, love it.
Before all secrets are revealed, old scars must heal – or wither
Kind of filler-y in the verses, this song makes up for it in the bridge. No fan of the chorus here, but the bridge sung by Marie is really kind of super-awesome. If only the rest of the song could live up to it.
Love the sound, love the lyrics. Again, as with What’s She Like? this one has this brooding, hotel-lounge, 70s kind of thing going on, and yeah, that is all entirely in my head. A solid album track, IMO.
Love Is All (Shine Your Light on Me)
Yeah, this one. Roxette going experimental on our asses. In a good way. Comes as kind of surprise, but feels like Roxette throughout. Okay, love is all is a phrase that has bee beaten to death and beyond, but then again, love is really all we need, so why not sing about it, right? Love the build up and the trick with the pseudo song-stop, just to have it kick back in. One of those songs I wish I could forget, just like Don’t tell me by Madonna, just to be surprised like hearing it for the first time, when you’re really fooled by the effect. Can’t always be like that, I guess.
Love is there in your laughter
Got to Sleep
Ahem, ‘scuse me, was there ever, in the history of humankind a more perfect album closer than this one? You’re right, no, there wasn’t. Confession time: I love this song to death, also, even though being “only an album track” (yeah, why do I even write that?) it ranks at the top with all other Roxette awesomeness. Although the preceding song was entitled Love is All, I really feel like this is really the song that gets the message across. Listening to it I’m left with a feeling that there can’t really anything go wrong. That people are good, and love will save us and beauty is to be found everywhere. Unfortunately, that is kind of not really the case, but it feels sooooo good to feel like that every once in a while, right?
You have no clue what I was talking about (even though you made it to this line), cause you haven’t heard it? Go and do so ASAP!
Just when I missed the deadline for a contest where I could have won a pretty awesome Star Wars Art book over at tor.com (which is like my new inspiration to reblog short tidbits without having to come up with anything original by my own whatsoever, but I digress), I found a way to light up my day. But yeah, first a closer look at the Art book I missed out on.
And here is what made me smile nevertheless:
heehee. I wish I had the characters to verbalize the sounds that Chewbacca would make when being pleasently surprised, but I really don’t, since my keyboard doesn’t support Wookie. However, even though I am not really a Star Wars fan, this is pretty kewl. And yay for yellow! (btw, it is actually a t-shirt design, you can learn more about the T-Shirt and the artist Sean Kirkpatrick by clicking on the picture)