28 February 2013

Ballads, Block Dude and Bainting! (and Boetry, too!)

Today's been rather a tumult for me.

I've been rather taciturn the last couple days. First off, I've found a new album, by Natalie Merchant, called Leave Your Sleep. It's pretty epic. Natalie Merchant took 26 children's rhymes or just random poems and turned them into song form.

There's The Blind Men and the Elephant, by John Godfrey Saxe (one of my favorites, in Lemony Snicket), The Adventures of Isabel (which is so Chuck-Norris-boss-like, it's not even funny. Well, actually, it is), Bleezer's Ice Cream, which I remember reading as a kid by the epic Jack Prelutsky. Prelutsky is a genius.

So I've been devoting the latter days listening to this album. It's really rather interesting.

Next is my good friend Cesar's graphing calculator. I consider myself a nerd in that which I compare my graphing calculator to my friends'. Mine is a TI-89 Titanium, one of the best on the market. Most people I know use the piddly TI-83s. *scoff* But some have TI-84s, silver edition, nonetheless. And it is there I discovered Block Dude, by Brandon Sterner.

My friend and I scoffed at it. Block Dude? The very name had implications of a Mario-like-two pixel early '80s game. It sounded pathetic. How wrong we were.

For the past week or so my friend has been attempting to pass Block Dude's various interesting and tititllating levels. I myself only got the hang of the game yesterday, and today we reached Level 5. A neat thing about the game is each level has a password and so if you lose you can punch in the password and get the level you were at. It's brilliant. Which leads us to...

My "Immortal Last Words" quote book which came in the mail yesterday. It's by Terry Breverton, one of my favorite authors, even though including this book, the only other book I have by him is "Immortal Words", which I got at Borders when it was still around.

My only regret with this wonderful book is that many of the quotes and epitaphs can be found in the latter book. For example it has Benjamin Franklin's epitaph, Hilaire Belloc, Thomas Jefferson, etc...However it still has interesting anecdotes and quotes which make Breverton an amazing scholar.

"I hate bainting, and boetry too! Neither one nor the other ever did any good," said George II, responding in fury to a painter.

'George II spoke notoriously poor English and wasn't the most cultured of individuals', says Breverton. I'll say. His father wasn't so bright either. Both were born in Hanover and spoke at least 10 times more German and English. And both these Georges were kings of England. Such is the way the monarchy works. The whole "oh you're a Catholic we have to kill you and we're just Protestant." Oh, Henry VIII...

Well, that's my musings for today. There's plenty more going on, which I may or may not elaborate on tomorrow or sooner.

To the next!

19 February 2013

La Vie Boheme, or La Vita Nuova?

Greetings from a rainy, foggy, afternoon!

If you'll notice I have changed the site from blue to predominantly red and orange. I like this better. Most of my everyday sites are very blue. (And please don't mention Facebook. But I understand they have blue too.) So I decided to be different. I'll be discussing that a bit today, anyway.

Today's post isn't really much. Call it a Triviality if you want. Triviality III. It's Tuesday, after all. Just "some random thoughts in my head." ~Peter Bishop

I've been reading The Divine Comedy, or La Commedia, for Lent. Not sure why. I guess I have the whole suffering-Hell-evil thing going on. Oh, yeah, I'm doing Faustus in theatre class right now, so let's see how that goes.

How does Commedia tie into today? Dante wrote it, along with La Vita Nuova, or The New Life. He was a rather...interesting fellow. He met his wonderful Beatrice when he was nine. Over the course of his life he met her twice more, albeit briefly.

And he fell in love with her. And wrote poems and dedicated them to her.

Now, I could criticize Dante. I could wax lyrical on how creepy that was, more disturbing, actually, and if he didn't bother looking for anyone else. But I won't. Because it's kind of messed up, and the guy's dead, and he wrote pretty cool poems. The Nine Circles of Hell, anyone? (Actually, it's likely that he believed Beatrice was more of a savior. He isn't really concerned with how pretty and wonderful she was as a person - he imagined her more as a force of good, like Jesus, who stopped him from doing evil things.)

So yeah. And then Beatrice never went with him - even if he was respected in his time - until the Pope came along and hated Dante for a bunch of religious stuff. And then he died, and long story short, he's buried next to Beatrice.  (Is he? I read that somewhere...correct me if I'm wrong, please!)


Ah, the Bohemian life! How I love it. It's AMAZING.

Bohemians, if you don't know, are vagabonds. But they're much more than that! They are artists - the unconventional, eccentric people who are genii but aren't respected in their lifetime. They're discovered afterwards.

Oscar Wilde (my favorite author, by the way), Ernest Hemingway, van Gogh, Shelley, Lord Byron...

Bohemians just don't care about other people. They're not typically "mainstream". They're the obscure people who do weird stuff because they like it. Most of them were the real wild, warped ones (smoking hashish, drinking absinthe, etc.) but, hey! They were genii. I'm not defending them but just pointing it out.

Like Christian in Moulin Rouge, the 20th-century image of them were the typewriter-owning people, who lived in Paris in tenements, sat in cafes all day long, and wrote in notebooks.

The term "Bohemians" came from Bohemia, which used to be the archaic term for Czechoslovakia (think Sherlock Holmes). Erroneously, gypsies were called that (and they shouldn't even be called gypsies. Gypsies implies they're Egyptian. The correct term is Romany or Romani. So if you ever meet one, be sure to call them Romani and get some hedgehog goulash.) :D

So, what do you think? Are you gonna call gypsies Romani from now on? What do you think about Dante and his love for Beatrice which wasn't returned? Sound off in the comments!


16 February 2013

Down the Lonely Road

Fitting title, is it not?

I'll be writing my third novel pretty soon. (Actually, third NOVELLA, to be precise.)

I've written technically 4 novellas. 2 in NaNoWriMos, 2011 and 2012, and one in the interval between both of those.

Alas, I was an idiot and didn't back up that last one. And a virus wiped it out. Sic transit gloria novelli, right? I don't have the time, energy, or devotion I once did to rewrite it.

As a result, let's say I've written 3 novels. They are:

A Forgotten Legacy (Nov. 2011) about a group of kids who find an obscure pirate's treasure and unrealistically island-hopping across the Pacific.

The Dead Ascending (Dec. 2011 to Feb. 2012) was about a young laddie in the 1700s who is apprenticed and discovers the cure to reanimation and how it ties in to the local asylum.

The Chronicler (Nov. 2012) is about an immortal group of people who are fighting this battle and whatnot. I technically haven't finished it. It's much too complicated to finish. I went in over my head. Think LOST. I had an ensemble cast of 15 immortal characters telling their life stories and wisdom. Disastrous.

So each novel has been different in its own way. I like looking between the two novels and comparing differences in my writing style. Call me narcissistic.

So this third novel will be based off the Bourne movies and Fringe. It's a dystopia. I'm not quite sure how I'll handle it. The trouble with me is that I have too many ideas and not enough time/interest to use them. In my computer hard drive I have a 20-page document titled, "Ideas". It's where I place ideas that are potential NaNos, short stories, poems, or anything else.

So that's why I quote Charlie Gordon from Flowers for Algernon when I say,

"There are so many doors to open."

Indeed, Charlie, indeed. 

I'll let you readers posted. In fact, I may post large tracts of the novel in here. But don't be surprised if I don't finish it, actually. I don't finish a lot of things anymore. But let's believe Olivia Dunham when she says,

"In the end I have to believe in hope, right?"

Do you agree? Sound off below in the comments.

To the next!

14 February 2013

Love! Love is the Answer! (Unless You Die First)

Oh, Valentine's Day!

A day of love! Happiness! Candy grams! Money-spending! Exotic exuberance in all things romantic! 

Of course, if you're like me, a person who can't seem to muster romantic feelings for people (screw you, Ofesite, I am not a passionate lover) then today might be just horrible. To make my point across, I give you this couple as my example.

[Enter a guy, let's say his name is MATT, and a girl, let's say her name is LISA.]
MATT: I love you. Forever. You're awesome.
LISA: Oh, honey! Me too! 

Then within a year the relationship will either be:

a) dead, gone, and best forgotten
b) continuing steadily with Matt and Lisa hating each other
c) happily? married/dating/engaged
d) ended in a tragic way

I'm quite sure it'll either be a or d. Two thoughts come to mind when I think of Valentine's Day. No, 3, because of my linguistic heart.

I. "Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard!
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word.
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

~Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

MATT: Look, honey, look at this awesome sword of words I got!
LISA: No, darling, it's dangerous! Besides, sword and words make the same letters.
MATT: Look- (swing)
LISA: Ah...(dies)

II. Why do all stories of true love invariably end in despair? Let's take a list, off the top of my head:

a) Romeo and Juliet
b) Dom and Mal (Inception, she went insane)
c) Peter and Olivia (granted, they got together but there were a couple stops in their relationship)
d) Helen and Paris (Trojan War and all)
e) Kate and Jack (Jack died in the finale of LOST)
f) Cleopatra and Marc Anthony (historical romance. then again Cleopatra was quite the seductress)
g) Orpheus and Eurydice (great one. went over it today in Mythology class, of course it was depressing)
h) Tristan and Isolde/Iseult/whatever (I've heard the opera. Tragic.)
i) Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxane (He's just like me. Insecure. She's just...ehh.)
j) Peter Abelard and Heloise 

That last one is quite obscure. I got it from my quotes book while looking for the Oscar Wilde. Heloise was an 18-year old student of Peter Abelard, a medieval scholar in the 1100s. They fell in love even though Abelard was 37. Heloise became pregnant and her father shunned her.

Aberlard was quite respected but unfortunately the scandal (Heloise's father was quite rich) made the church castrate him and kill him. And Heloise lost her baby and was made a nun against her will. The two were buried together but it was still depressing and tragic. And this one was REAL, people. 

Of course, it could go the other way around, where one of the couple feels love towards the other but the other is really just using and abusing. (Think Samson and Delilah.) Anyways, point made...

[Cut to shot of Lisa being buried, Matt killing himself and getting buried next to her]

III. Why is it Valentine's is pronounced "valentime"? This is my attention to detail here, which interests me. I have notebook pages devoted to how people pronounce things. (Yes, call me sad, call me depressing.) And "chocolaty" should NOT be a word. It makes no sense and it sounds ridiculously sad and sadly ridiculous.

The point is made. Just one last thing to point out: it does stimulate the economy! Candy...restaurants being booked...jewelry...there is that to go on. Money for our economy. (I sound so much like a capitalist.) So it's all even-Steven. 

Now, I won't go on, due to lack of time, interest, and happiness. :) So, on a lighter note, I leave you, dear readers, with a "valentime" of my own: music. (I gave up music for Lent yesterday, since it was Ash Wednesday, but I don't see the harm of listening to one song today. :)) So, in true trolling fashion, go to the Weekly Music box and listen to Nights in White Satin. 

To the next! (If you don't die trying to kiss your significant other) Or...

[Scene. Lisa and Matt kiss.]
MATT: Oh, darling...
[Cupid comes out of nowhere.]
LISA: Watch out for that- (impaled by arrow
[Cupid disappears.]


09 February 2013

Symphonic Soundtracks

First off, I've noticed via my sources that there's over 700 pageviews to this blog, not counting me. Of course, that could mean many things, but if you choose to stop by, of course, always say hello, I suppose. That being said...

I was off the Internet most of the week, eating at food trucks at my school, walking briefly in the park, or selling Poetry Grams. Mon Dieu. But I mostly watched Seasons 1-3 of Fringe, which was interesting. I haven't really seen those awesome seasons excepting the odd episode when I'm bored. But seeing everything again and enjoying the ride was amazing. I think the series will end there for me, and I'll consider 4-5 a spinoff. I liked Season 4 but it was mostly filler. And 5 was amazing, a true serial. But I can't help thinking they made too much out of everything. Many things were missed or aborted opportunities.

But I digress. I have 7 soundtrack pieces to share from Fringe OSTs, composed by the brilliant Chris Tilton, who really should get lauded for everything he does. These pieces are amazing, perfectly capture the "love conquers all" and the "scientific" aspects of the show. Truly amazing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbq6ExWIkvM  ~Together Again For the Very First Time, Season 4 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ceHi2smV33I ~Henrietta, Season 4 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM4n29JQ-A0 ~Love in the Time of Crossing Over, Season 2 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPkNgAtxW24 ~Newton's Last Mission/Fauxlivia's Theme, Season 3 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UZAL8_w_uc ~A New Day In The Old Town, Season 2 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-3-WFEOoag ~Brown Betty Suite, Season 2 OST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbpfKwJRVVo ~Slow Motion Sickness, Season 3 OST

Together Again,... is mostly if you're in the mood for something Fringian and also Lostian.
Henrietta is for sad, sentimental moments of love and family.
Love...Over is for a sad prelude, and then an action-packed second half.
Old Town is short and quick, something espionage-like.
Brown Betty is the longest, over nine minutes, but very professional and detective-aura of quality around it.
And Slow Motion Sickness is somewhat classical, but somewhat mysterious.

Music is truly a great gift to society...

To the next!

02 February 2013

Life, the Universe, and Everything

No, I haven't read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

The past three weeks have been sort of a tumult for me, though I haven't really explained it because I've done Fringe Reviews and Trivialities instead. And as for my blog, I've been trying to do some changes, and unfortunately some comments may have been deleted. (I'm sorry.)

So, here's a short recap of my life since returning to school.

Primo, I was accepted for publication in Creative Communication's Spring Anthology for poetry.

Secundo, I was in Hamlet twice, as a wheedling Italian bartender. Oh yeah - it was Hamlet: The Italian Zombie Slayer of New York. I watched the final two hours of Fringe. I studied for a week on hybridization, molecular geometry, light physics, polynomial functions, symbolism, and much else.

Tertio, I spent my Sunday at an all-day church retreat which was interesting. Then I went through finals.

Oh, finals. You've gotta love them. Especially my cynical Chemistry teacher, Mr. Watanuki.

"I'd tell you all good luck, but luck's not gonna help you."

And then my Lit teacher who gave us a 200 question test and less than 2 hours to finish it. I'm proud to say that I finished it first. 'Twas simple.

And so on and so on and then yesterday, I attended a poetry discussion in my school club yesterday. We all discussed interesting poets. I did Stephen Crane, and then we discussed Faustus by Marlowe.

"Was this the face that launch'd a thousand ships?" I love that quote.

As the excellent Jim Loy quips on his website,  "Her hips alone could probably launch a hundred."

But I digress. Now, I'd like to show you a special poem: an octave from The Anubis Gates by the fictional "Colin Lepovre", who is really the fantastic author, Tim Powers. Credit goes to him, as always, and his brilliant pen.

These cold and tangled streets that once were gay
With light and drink, now echo to my tread
As I pass by alone. Night breezes thread
Through dusty rooms their solitary way
And carry out, through broken windowpanes
Into the street, old thoughts and memories.
The lad is far away who cherished these,
And nothing of his spirit now remains.

Amazing, isn't it? And on the subject of poetry, here's one of my own stanzas from one of my own poems.

The haze of the future is ever uncertain
Like seeing your face in a frosted glass
We rarely know our rights and bounds
Our limits to the future - as solid as brass.

To the next.

(Also a quick note to anyone who clicks on the music of the week box: That piece I first heard on Fringe, the very early episodes. At least the first 5. Back when everything was confusing. I was barely 10 at the time. Watching the early Fringe cases scared me to death, but I stuck with it. But that piece represents the unknown to me, the mysterious, the imagination that's out there that may be scary but now, years later, is benign and cool. So there's my music shibboleth.)