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I wrote a review of Iron Man 3 on Tumblr. You can also read it below, without the need to de-ROT13 it.

Let’s get the non-spoilers out of the way: Iron Man 3 is awesome, Mandarin is nowhere near the awful villain you (I) imagined, and yes, there is an after-credits sequence. The rest is ROT13-encoded for your pleasure. I’m still trying to keep it spoiler-lite though.

Vaguest possible review of Iron Man 3 )

I've also seen eleven other films since my last post, and made a few repeat trips to others. I'll definitely try to review them in the future too.
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Sorry for the lapse in posts -- if anyone is still reading, that is.

Today, I went to a special screening of Oz, The Great and Powerful, had some noodles (Singapore-style yo min) with friends, talked to some schoolgirls from Chiba prefecture, photographed some plum blossom and went to the gym. It was almost like being back in Japan, except the noodle portions were way too big. It's getting better, slowly.

Here are a list of films I've seen recently. All spoiler-free apart from the details you could get from the trailers anyway. I'll write a longer, more vaguely spoilerish review for Oz though, just because it was a preview and I like to be first. :-)

For what it's worth, scores out of ten reflect expectations, both missed and exceeded.

Beautiful Creatures

This is the witch-based paranormal romantic comedy aimed at fans of Twilight, according to the trailer.

First half was atmospheric Southern gothic-style snark, and a much better film for it. The main male character lays out precisely why his small town is claustrophobic and it's darkly amusing. The classmates are hilarious and I didn't expect these genuinely funny moments. The shots of dilapidated American houses surrounded by trees draped with Spanish moss really set the scene too.

The second was closer to the film depicted in the trailer, although it wasn't different on the level seen in Looper. It was a subtle shift.


Broken City

I went for the free cinema ticket which nevertheless got me a nice balcony seat where I sat drinking an excellent wet mocha latte. That wasn't free though.

This one stars Russell Crowe as a mayor and Mark Wahlberg as a disgraced cop. The cop discovers that everyone in politics is corrupt and he's living in a... Broken City.

To be fair, this is exactly the film you expect. There were some reasonable tilts and the city was shown in atmospheric detail. I think the director has some promise.


Cloud Atlas

Loved this. Love love loved it.

I can't even begin to tell you what it's about without going into all the Themes about passing down your life story. There's sci-fi, gentle British comedy, seventies conspiracy thriller, tragic gay love... It fits. It does. Everything is connected.

In some ways, it's almost as difficult to follow as advertised. Almost. I'm happy to say that --like Inception -- I got it all in the first viewing. Unlike Inception, I have no doubt that another viewing would make things even clearer.

A few minutes into the end credits, you'll get a visual cast list. You'll definitely want it.

As an aside, I was talking about this film to a customer, and we got onto the subject of books. He said it was his favourite. Half an hour later, he came back with a copy for me! Couldn't believe it. What a perfect way to get the book, in a passing down of stories from one person to another.

Yes, I'm seeing it again.


Django Unchained

I came out of this fully-charged for a simple reason. It's a story about a man who wants revenge and, after a few obstacles, he gets his revenge.

Quentin Tarantino always makes strong choices when directing, whether it's the music or the onscreen captions, so it's easy to pick out exactly what I didn't like and what I loved. I didn't like the sudden rap music, but it was always exciting and with excellent cinematography. I suspect that Inglourious Basterds was a better-made film, but I preferred this one.


A Good Day To Die Hard

Differing expectations made me like this more than Wreck-It Ralph. While critics have generally panned it, the consensus from people coming out of the cinema (and not necessarily then sharing their views online) was that it "wasn't the best Die Hard and it wasn't the worst" although "the bit with the radiation was a bit silly".

The final set of explosions were quite spectacular. I could even overlook the setting (Chernobyl).



I don't think this film paints Hitchcock in as brilliant a light as critics have claimed. Sure, if you view his paranoia and spying on his stars as acceptable, even with the clear insinuation that it has got more manageable and it's been much worse, then you might come out of it thinking that the film condones this behaviour. Apparently we need creepy music and mood music to show that it's not okay. Not to mention that the film isn't about Hitchcock so much as a dramatisation of the making of Psycho.

The script is snappy and the opening scene was excellent. The bits with Gein were unnecessary though, and I would be curious if that aspect was based on any research. I would also like to know what happened between Psycho and The Birds. He clearly got worse again.


Les Miserables

Beautiful sets and beautiful costumes, yet the director sees fit to focus on lopsided close-ups of his stars throughout? So irritating. I can remember this one shot of Hugh Jackman. His chin extended below the screen and there was a big gap for a grey area above his hair. It's like no one could be bothered to compose any of the shots. Like they just shrugged and said, "Eh, it's Hugh Jackman singing. Good enough." Or maybe they were trying to recreate a slightly obscured view at the theatre?

Despite this, what we do see and hear when not subjected to poorly framed close-ups is mostly excellent. My favourites were the innkeepers.



Such a contrast to Les Mis. Spielberg really knows his lighting and frame composition. Everything feels like a painting with all the lights and darks carefully picked out.

It wasn't just beautiful, but gently charming and witty. It kind of fell apart after the assassination (spoiler?) as it kept going on, but that was one of its few flaws. The bit where the votes are counted is inexplicably tense.


Oz, The Great and Powerful

Oz was fun, but the ideas the film focused on were not the most interesting bits. For me, that was Oz's life as a circus magician before the tornado hit.

One of my favourite characters was the Wicked Witch, Oz, The Great and Powerful Spoilers... )

On a more technical note, the film copies the over-bright, Technicolor-style of the first Wizard of Oz film, probably to avoid the usual 'too dark' 3D problem. And yeah, the 3D version is the essential one. One of the things that the film is in love with is the Oz scenery. Sometimes it's with good reason.


Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies, depending on who you ask, is either an antidote to Twilight or aimed squarely at its audience. A girl falls in love with a zombie after he takes her back to his airplane hangout. He loves her because he ate her ex-boyfriend's brains.

If you couldn't tell, it's definitely not "Twilight with zombies" as some suggest. It's a funny, low-budget comedy-horror that has its feet firmly in the eighties.


Wreck-It Ralph

All these characters are stereotypes. That's the point. The humour isn't character-driven or anything, it's based on seeing Pacman in the background.

You know what? Everyone knows Pacman these days. It's hardly esoteric.

So we have the main plotline for the kids, with adults' content being the older video game characters in the background. Fine. The kids seem to like it. I thought that Rise of the Guardians was much better for both audiences though.

For what it's worth, everyone I know rabidly disagrees with me on this. And AKB48 was a nice surprise(!). Ah, Japan. It's been a while...

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Johannes Cabal Cabal Fanart
Johannes Cabal Cabal with Pokemon Fanart
Johannes Cabal Cabal Fanart
Movies: Star Trek: Into Darkness [Video]
Movies: Cats on Film Reviews of movies with cats in them.
Words: Word of the Year 2012

There seems to be a small but devoted JC fanbase on Tumblr, so I decided to get myself one -- GeistWorks.

In other news, I'm finally up to date on Castle. The recent Halloween episode at the convention was superb.


I decided to actively read the Dresden Files in order to catch up to the very latest book, Cold Days. I'm slowly working my way through Ghost Story right now which is harder to read because my second favourite character hasn't turned up yet, and probably won't.

Anyway, here are my reviews for all the books I've read in the past month and a bit in the order I read them:

Johannes Cabal: The Detective, Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute, M.R. James: The Haunted Dolls' House and Other Ghost Stories, Volume 2, Dexter: Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Dresden Files: Grave Peril #3, Dresden Files: Summer Knight #4, Dresden Files: Blood Rites #6, Dresden Files: Dead Beat #7, Dresden Files: Turn Coat #11, Dresden Files: Changes #12, and Roberts: The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo.


I went to see Skyfall and Argo recently. I imagine that you've already seen Skyfall if you were planning on it. All I have to say is that 1) I liked Q, but I don't ship him with Bond and 2) I felt a little inadequate with Bond going "Omigod, I can only do ten pull-ups and fifty push-ups *sob*."

Argo was really good. Surprising, considering Ben Affleck directed and starred in it. I was already interested in the basic premise, but I was impressed by how taut the final scenes were.

Next: The Hobbit.


I performed impro at a theatre in front of a paying audience a few weeks ago. Felt good to be back. I'm also close to finishing a novel I've been working on and I don't think it's too bad, for once.

I hope everyone's okay and safe, particularly with things like Sandy hitting the US.


Oct. 23rd, 2012 04:05 pm
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The [ghoul] leader made a dismissive gesture with a paw. “We steal bodies. My people, we have stolen three dead popes. The Vatican was very cross. Glass things, chemicals, books, they will be no trouble. Much easier than dead popes.”

“Why on Earth did you steal three dead popes?” asked Cabal.

“First, to make the Vatican very cross. That was funny. Second reason, delicious.”

--Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute.

Johannes Cabal is a misanthropic necromancer dedicated to science. Before the first book (Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer) has even started, he's signed away his soul in return for the secrets of necromancy. To get it back, he marches into Hell and makes a deal with the Devil to deliver one hundred souls within a year. The Devil insists he uses an Evil Carnival, but Johannes doesn't do "fun" and has never even been to a carnival.

If you're British, you can just go into your main library and borrow the first three books in the series. It really is that easy.

Please. Don't let me be alone in this.

Johannes Cabal Series Fanart:

[Fanart] When Evil Walks Abroad (Johannes) by anatidaephobicneuro
[Fanart] Cabal and the Crow by critcrockett
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal Animated Gifs by critcrockett
[Fanart] Some Little Infamy (Johannes & Leonie) by harpymarx
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by herringbones
[Fanart] Johannes & Horst posted by indubitablyjohannescabal
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by keyboardsmashwriters
[Fanart] Cabal Brothers by kingslayin
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by professormorriarty
[Fanart] Horst Cabal by professormorriarty
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by professormorriarty
[Fanart] Johannes The Pony by qualapec
[Fanart] Graveyard Smash (Johannes) by redEight
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by redEight
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal The Necromancer by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Johannes & Horst by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Herr Cabal by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Horst Cabal by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Philosophical Minefield (Johannes & Horst) by shiftdigit
[Fanart] Agents of Evil (Johannes & Horst) by the-infamous-padfoot
[Fanart] Johannes vs Zombies by thesanityclause
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by thesanityclause
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by thesanityclause
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by thesanityclause
[Fanart] Johannes Cabal by wallabri
[Fanart, Crossover] Johannes Cabal/Good Omens by wallabri

Images with Mild Spoilers or are Pointless if you haven't Read the Books Already

[Misc] Johannes Cabal's House in Minecraft by enemyterritori
[Misc, Spoilers: The Fear Institute] Zebras from ladykrampus
[Fanart, Spoilers: The Necromancer] Johannes Cabal by plaidypus
[Fanart, Spoilers: The Necromancer] Horst in the Crypt by the-infamous-padfoot
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Anime: Moonphase Not quite sure why I didn't do this years ago, but I tracked down the new Moonphase. I guess I really haven't been paying much attention to anime lately.
Anime: K [Anime] Another ungoogleable anime, starring Namikawa Daisuke, Ono Daisuke, Tsuda Kenjirou, Sugita Tomokazu, Sakurai Takahiro, Fukuyama Jun and Miyano Mamoru. Just started airing.
Anime: Psycho-Pass [Anime] Homophone for 'psychopath' in Japanese. Stars Seki Tomokazu, Nojima Kenji, Ishida Akira and Sakurai Takahiro. Just started airing.
Anime: Zetsuen no Tempest Stars Toyonaga Toshiyuki, Suwabe Jun'ichi and Yoshino Hiroyuki. Just started airing.
Books: Johannes Cabal: The House of Gears On a massive Johannes Cabal kick lately. Here's a free, legal short story featuring him.
Books: How To Introduce Johannes Cabal Into Your D&D Module
Book Reviews: Flashman, Detroit Metal City #1 and Johannes Cabal: The Necromancer.

In the last three months, aside from Tiger & Bunny: The Beginning, I've seen three films in the cinema and all of them have been dystopian sci-fi. So in order of release/viewing and in reverse order of how well I remember them:

Total Recall

Did I really not review this one here? I know I posted about it on Twitter, Facebook and Absolute Write.

Anyway I loved the aesthetics of this. It's a beautiful, grimy, sci-fi landscape that seemed like it could be an updated version of Blade Runner. I must admit, I spent a lot of time playing 'spot the kanji in the background'. Visually stunning, and probably the best of the three.

Dredd 3D

Based on the trailers, this looked a little like Blade Runner too with beautifully ethereal slow-motion shots. Those were taken from brief moments in the film where people take a drug that's very similar to Brass Eye's Cake, and the rest of the film is massively gory. Massively, massively gory. But pretty good for what it is. If you can stomach it, you'll love this.


I still don't know how I feel about this one. Every time someone says how wonderful it was, I can't help but nod at all the things they point out, but overall I didn't feel it. At its core, it's a thoughtful, intelligent movie about time travel that takes itself seriously, but the whole time travel mechanism is broken. Oops.

(Also, it turns into a new movie about half-way through and every female character is literally a mother or a whore. Most of those praising it consider the first point a plus and don't notice the second.)

Next up: Skyfall.
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It's been a while -- last time I posted, I'd just ordered Tiger and Bunny tickets months in advance. Yesterday I went to see it.

I'd decided to walk to the Southbank BFI building, even though it was raining. This was a mistake. One mile into my journey, I walked around some posh department store where I definitely didn't belong just to dry off. About two miles into my journey, I decided I should buy an umbrella. The first two stalls I passed had them for £3.99, which was too expensive. Then I found a market up a tiny alley that sold them for £2.99. A bargain!

The rain eased off almost immediately, as I suspected it might. Luckily, it resumed about ten minutes later. One crossroad later, and my umbrella flew inside out several times and a passerby had to help me wrangle it into shape.

It was one of those ones where the central pole is split into three parts which collapse into each other. It soon transpired that they couldn't hold up to the force of the wind and they slid into each other permanently. Buckled by crosswinds as I crossed a busy intersection, I found out that the ribs and stretchers were so beaten up, I couldn't fold it up either.

Okay. So I had an umbrella with a very short handle. I crossed over Waterloo Bridge, where the winds were intense and the ribs were drooping. As I got into the home stretch, the wind bent the central pole in half!

I walked into the British Film Institute dripping wet and walking my umbrella as if it were a dog. I'd have looked even stupider if I'd tried to hold it above my head. I was a few hours early, but it wasn't like I was going to leave the building. I had a walk around, saw a group of cosplayers but was too shy to talk to them. I went to the cafe, ordered a black coffee and sat there for a bit working on a story and listening to the people next to me. Mostly the latter -- the guy was an arsehole who was a joy to listen to.

[Review starts here]

Overall, the first section is a retread of the start of the anime series and that episode where they stop the boy manipulating the statues. This has plenty of new interpretations of scenes plus extensive fanservice, even if that's just adding more fried rice to a scene.

The second half features a guy called Robin Baxter, voiced by Yamaguchi Kappei who was also Sena in Weiss Kreuz Gluhen. Quite high-pitched and "insane-sounding". He goes about on rollerblades and Spoilers )

Overall, an awesome feel-good movie, but probably not so useful if you want to get into the show. There are so many more references and more of what we liked before (I think that's what causing the problem with Fire Emblem's characterisation).

As I left London, I saw a woman in the train station clutching the pink Bunny doll and I got a happy all over again.
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Small Demons Collecting and displaying countries, music, brands and anything else mentioned in certain books.
Cats: Cat Tent For Sick Teenager
Concept Art: Neuromancer One of the most awesome things about Neuromancer is that it starts off in Chiba. The only thing they could have done to make it even more awesome is to set it in Saitama.
Concept Art: Total Recall
Concept Art: Hellraiser A little old, perhaps...
Photography: Instagrams As They Happen Around The The World
Tiger & Bunny: Tiger&Bunny UK Screening
Toys: Gender Neutral Look For Harrods' Toy Dept

On Monday, J and I went into London to watch Greco-Roman wrestling and saw Matsumoto Ryutaro, a salaryman from Tokyo, advance to the finals. While we didn't see the finals, since it's a different event, he went on to win bronze in his weight class. Along the way, there was a furious French guy who refused to hold the ref's hand to declare the winner and threw his arms wide open in front of the judges, demanding that they rethink their decision. They didn't. Finally, there was the Russian guy who cut open his head and had to be bandaged-up mid-fight. J said he probably wouldn't win, but I knew that as long as anime hasn't lied to me, that was a sign he would definitely win. He went on to get silver.

I can get one free Greco-Roman wrestling class at my gym...
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I went to the gym the other day and took advantage of a special deal that gets me a free one-off session with a personal trainer. We did various strength-training exercise and he listened to what I wanted to do regarding muscle-building. I won't be able to afford weekly sessions for another three months, but that would be something worth doing in the future, I think.

On the job front, the good news is that I passed a preliminary telephone interview. The bad news is that the job doesn't exist (yet).

I saw both Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises in the cinema the other day. I enjoyed them both, probably equally. Yeah, I know. One thing I was disappointed in with TDKR is that they included two key scenes from the movie in the trailer. I knew what would happen as soon as I saw the football pitch. Why would you do that?

And, of course, there was the Olympics Opening Ceremony. I'd been sceptical about it, and it didn't start off very well, with the camera meandering up the River Thames and disturbing twee little animals. But then it started for real and it was stunning and engaging from start to finish, celebrating things that really are unique and worthwhile about Britain. No, not the rain, that's just what we tell everyone else. :)

Unfortunately, Americans didn't get to see it because the media told them they wouldn't understand it without editing, ads, and a Michael Phelps interview inserted, which meant that indeed many of them didn't get it because it was edited, had ads added, and had a Michael Phelps interview inserted. The quote of the day seems to be: "Our programming is tailored for the U.S. audience. It’s a tribute to [producer] Danny Boyle that it required so little editing."

On Saturday, I got to see The Crüxshadows live in London! They were amazing! They sung one of my favourite songs ever, Winterborn, and I got to talk to Rogue and he said it was his favourite too. Maybe he says that to everyone, regardless of their favourite song, but he signed a photograph of the band and then hugged me. Definitely one of my favourite bands.

We got to hear Sleepless, which will be on their next album (As The Dark Against My Halo), which was awesome too.

Finally, since J and I were in London, we went to London Zoo. There are forty photographs behind the cut, divided into rough groups so you don't have to look at snakes and bugs if you don't want to.

Regent's Park (4) and birds (3). )

Lizards (7) and a tortoise (1). )

A snake (1). )

A giraffe (3) and some monkeys (2). )

Butterflies (4). )

A caterpillar (1) and a locust (1). )

Pelicans (1), servals (2) and a llama (1). )

Underwater worlds, mostly coral and clams (9). )
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I have just returned from a creative retreat in Yorkshire that involved meditation, Qi Gong, crafting sessions and afternoon tea.

Of course, that isn't quite the whole truth, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I hope the name doesn't give away anything.

These are the photographs with no people in them, because everyone's a little shy. I'll try to figure out how to put the rest of the photos under a Squee Fest-only friendslock later

Click on any photo to see a bigger version in a new tab.

Squee Fest 2012 Photographs )
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Money: Rewriting Charlotte Bronte
Japan: Relocating The Capital
Theatre: Adapting Mononoke Hime
Reading: Reviewing 50 Shades of Grey
Writing: Writing Thousands of Words a Day...

I'm only online to check the details for [community profile] squee_fest_uk. Then I'm off to York for Squeefest. Should be arriving around 2:44pm.
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Cat Video Festival
Fashion: Cyborg Fashion Slideshow
Japan: US English Teacher Makes Video About Being Gay For His Japanese Students
Marvel: Logos for Upcoming Marvel Movies
Movies: Deus Ex Movie Planned?
Photography: LJ Photophile Photo of the Week Poll One of my friends (LJ: [personal profile] templeghosts) has a picture entered, so a vote would probably be appreciated. My main thought is not another sunset, please!

(Poll at Livejournal post.)

The Carnival last weekend was fantastic. We even saw a sheep show and duck-herding. The IKEA problem was quickly sorted out by ringing the delivery company -- No, they had no plans to deliver that day, weren't in the area and IKEA could never have instantly promised that they would without checking first. So we went to the carnival and got a our furniture the Friday after. I'll try to post some photos soon, but I've got a busy week coming up. An interview, a phone interview, and then I'm leading a Squeefest workshop.

Two days ago I saw Assemblage 23 at the O2 Academy in London. It reminded me of my favourite goth club on the outskirts of Kabukicho in Tokyo (URGA), so I felt at home. The only real differences were the high drink prices and the ban on smoking. Lose some, win some.

They played Document, Drive, and Last Mistake, which is a relatively new song off their June 2012 album. The final song mentioned was awesome, with rawer vocals than the recorded version. Unfortunately, the live versions online aren't that great.
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How To Approach An Employment Agency If You Don't Really Want A Job I was searching for info on approaching recruitment agencies and found this. Pretty close to home, although I do want a job!
Animals: Lookout Lodge at Whipsnade Zoo I want to do this next year! Has anyone tried it?
The Avengers: The Avengers As Medieval Knights
Earthquakes: 100 Years of Earthquake You can't even see Japan on there under all the neon green indicators of seismic activity. You can't see Britain either, because it's blacked out due to having no indicators.
Game of Thrones: A Man Is Excellent At Disguises Spoilers! :P
Internet: Carreon vs The Oatmeal Comes To An End
Japan: 10,000 or 65,000 or 200,000 People Protest Oi Nuclear Reactor Restart The figure depends on who you ask (the middle figure comes from "local news organisations" in another article).
LGBT: Stats On LGBT Characters In Young Adult Fiction (2011) I'm not sure the data-gathering method is the best, but it's a start.
London: Sh*t Londoners Never Say Involving some of the people I met at improv in London.
Spider-Man: Steampunk Spider-Man
Writing: My Favorite Bit Writers talk about their favourite aspects of their novels.

Today, I'm waiting for the IKEA delivery people to arrive. They were supposed to come two weeks ago, but never showed up. Turns out they tried to deliver it next door, realised no one was in, then just went home despite having our mobile phone number on file. We didn't get an apology or anything.

So today we have to wait all day in the house while the carnival is in town. Stupid, stupid IKEA. I hope they come soon, but we should be able to go eventually since the event goes on until 10pm.

I went to a gym yesterday. It's a pretty good gym, and they have both a boxing ring and an MMA cage. I just had a go on the machines though, for my first time.
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Alan Scott (Pre-Reboot as a Gay Superhero) Goes To A Gay Bar
Comics: Northstar's Gay Wedding
Photography: Reach For The Star
Space: Compilation of the Best Photos of Venus Transiting the Sun Venus Transit would be an awesome name for a band.
Tech: Naming The iMac
Webcomics: SMBC: Stand-off ...Whoa.
Weiss Side B: [personal profile] fishlove is doing an awesome series of comics in MSPaint summarising Weiss Side B. Cover // Summary // Back In Time // End Of Volume Two // Let's Stop This Fight To Talk About My Feelings // Around The World End Of Volume Three

It was only last week that I finished reading "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury, who recently passed away. It was a beautiful poetic book about an evil carnival that had some breath-taking turns of phrase in it. I thought the "solution" at the end was a bit trite, but the rest makes up for it. Thoroughly recommended.

I'm now in Oxfordshire. With the influence of the Jubilee, most towns have gone somewhat Wicker Man and this place is no exception. You'll be walking along and there'll be Morris dancers and three-legged races and the whole street surrounding the church will be strewn with bunting. Street parties are mandatory because we have to be ordered to sit down with our neighbours and have a party. For Queen and Country, you know.

We're now living in a 200 year old listed building with a thatched roof in small village that requires that you pay a toll of 5p (8 cents/6 yen) to cross the bridge in a car to reach it. Buses and trucks cost extra, sometimes as much as 10p.

I went to see Prometheus a few days ago. It really is an epic story, with one of the most horrific scenes I've seen in film. It's rated 15, because they don't swear. Probably one of the biggest questions is how much of a connection there is to the Alien franchise. Answer Behind The Cut. Prometheus Spoilers, obviously. )
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I did not like Dark Shadows. Admittedly, just that morning I finished reading Out of Sight by Elmore Leonard, so my standards for dialogue and plot may have temporarily gone through the roof, but still. This was not a good movie and, when I don't like something, I tend to over-analyse it.

Dark Shadows Spoilers )
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Ten Reasons Your Screenplay Sucks
Fanart: Doctor Who & Sherlock: But It's The Solar System
Fashion: 1951 Men's Fashion Show

I think I have a decent idea for a full-length story. Unfortunately, it's about ghosts. Should try editing all the other short stories I've been working on.
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Corset with a Spine
Musicals: Musical Code Geass Official Site ...I had not been keeping up with this. Last time I checked, the only sites with pictures were fan blogs. Wow.
Stage Shows: Ao no Exorcist Stage Official Site
Stage Shows: Sengoku Basara 2 Stage Official Site (But this report is better.)
Stage Shows: WORKING!! Stage Official Site
Stage Shows: Miracle*Train ~ Welcome To The Oedo Line Stage Official Site (Useless site, but there are probably better sites out there.)
Writing: Odyssey Writing Workshop Podcasts

Anyone go(ing) to the stage shows mentioned above?

I spent the past weekend writing, and managed to produce an entire 3500 word short story! That's good, since I usually struggle to break 500 words in a day. Perhaps this is the start of a new trend.

However, the result wasn't good enough to send to a magazine. When I realised that I was parodying D&D concepts too much, I just finished it up quickly, when the hero needed a few more obstacles for it to be fun. A shame, since the start isn't bad. Maybe I'll post it here instead, unless anyone knows of a market that accepts RPG-style fantasy parodies with murder-mystery elements. Nope, didn't think so.

Either way, I found it inspiring to find out I really can write that much. Maybe I could make money from short stories if I was more focussed on making them marketable?

As for reading, I tore through the Dresden Files novel Small Favors. Now simultaneously reading Out of Sight and Soulless, because I don't really want to be seen reading the former on the train.
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Batman: Police Stop Batmobile
Doctor Who: Photo of The Doctor's New Companion
US Comics: Alleged Poster For The New Wolverine Film ...Set in Japan.
Movies: James Cameron Goes To The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench... And Tweets From It
Movies: Total Recall teaser trailer I've never seen the original movie, but I played the Amiga 500 game. True story.

I need to get back to filling out more applications, but there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Not much more to say there, really, except a character in my new story has started job-hunting too. That's always a bad sign.

Fight Club was on TV the other night, and is still one of my favourites. Even so, I loved the book even more. It's so quotable, with a ton of great lines.

Here are some of my favourites, in roughly alphabetical order:

Akira (Nagi's seiyuu plays and out-of-control telekinete in this. COINCIDENCE??)
Blade Runner: The Director's Cut
A Clockwork Orange
Fight Club
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Mayonaka no Yajisan Kitasan
The Ninth Gate
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Shichinin no Samurai
Speed Racer (Seriously!)
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Tonari no Totoro
The Usual Suspects

For the record, the worst film I have ever seen is Transformers 3. And this is coming from someone who saw North in the cinema.

Sleep now.
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Otters Who Look Like Benedict Cumberbatch (Thanks, [personal profile] golden_bastet)
Fashion: Steampunk Plague Doctor
LGBT: Lambda (LGBT) Literary Award Finalists Announced There's one book in both the trans* category and the SFF category. Well. This is Relevant To My Interests. However, I read the synopsis (here or here) and it sounds bad. Basically: Damon loves his girlfriend Alex. What he doesn't know is that she is actually a shapeshifter capable of changing her physical sex at will. Her parents implant a device that makes her permanently male, the gender which they view her as. Alex is distraught, but she'd better get used to it, as there's going to be a whole lot of angsty buttsex as poor Damon comes to terms with loving... a man! Having said that, due to the whole nature of the awards, I presume at least one trans* person on the committee has read it and felt that it spoke to them in some way.
Movies: In Michael Bay's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Will Be Aliens

I went into London on Wednesday (another interview) and headed to the National Gallery beforehand and the National Portrait Gallery after.

I'll hear back about the job on Monday, which starts the following day. If I get it (unlikely...), that will mean an emergency relocation to London. It'd be brilliant if I did though.

My writing is getting back on track and I've started outlining a new full-length story, although what I'm reading tends to influence the voice a lot. I just finished "Storm Front" by Jim Butcher, and that's more deadpan than what I was going for originally.

Napoleon Dynamite was on TV last night, so J and I stayed up late watching it and eating homemade Black Forest gateau cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I'd never seen the film before, couldn't remember what I'd heard it was about, and the first fifteen minutes didn't help much. Probably I'd filed it in the back of my mind solely due to its status as a cult movie. Anyway, once I got into it, I liked it quite a bit, although it'll never make my top ten. There's a clever bit where they're at the prom watching everyone else dance to "Forever Young" though.
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Card Gaming:
Vanguard Gets Live Action Ahh, this takes me back to playing Friday Night Magic in Kichijouji, surrounded by posters for this CCG.
Film: Benedict Cumberbatch Vs. Zachary Quinto in Star Trek [Spoilers?]
Magic: Teller Reveals His Secrets
Pop: Adam Lambert On Some Magazine Bow ties are cool.
Random: The Simpsons Do Game of Thrones Quick, before Fox takes it down. This looks amazing. (via [personal profile] daegaer)
Random: Five Hundred New Fairy Tales Discovered in Germany ([personal profile] daegaer again)

I'm heading to my first Squeefest this summer, job permitting. I've already put forward the idea of running an improv workshop, so I hope that gets approved.

I watched Inglourious Basterds and The Machinist, both of which were shown on TV the other night. I liked Basterds and it felt like I was watching a well-directed, stylish movie with each frame having been carefully planned. You might say "Oh, but of course -- it's a Quentin Tarantino," but you should be able to say that about ANY director filming a Hollywood movie and you can't. The script was snappy from the start, with nothing stated too directly. Any problems I had with it came down to who I wanted to survive and didn't.

I was eager to see The Machinist as it's one of those films that people often recommend if you like other specific movies (such as Fight Club). Well, this is not Fight Club, although it does screw around by looking at things from the protagonist's perspective. I actually liked the way I could guess what was going on through well-placed clues unlike, say, Mulholland Drive. It needed a Werewolf Break though.

Also on TV was The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff. I'm not sure how many episodes it's supposed to run for -- the official website describes it both as a four part series and says the last episode was third of three. I loved the setting and concept (comedic Dickens pastiche), although the comedy is a little hit and miss.

I was in an advert break when a trailer for a show came on that seemed to be taking the success of Sherlock and trying to tap into it. There was this brilliant-but-abrasive private detective and his long-suffering partner trying to solve a case. I wasn't very sure about it at first -- I want to see more programmes like Sherlock, but only if it's not completely bleeding obvious what they're doing -- then I saw the title. Dirk Gently. That is, the character created by Douglas Adams. Well.... that's more excusable, right?

Based on the first episode (they filmed a pilot over a year ago -- I didn't see it), I am cautiously optimistic. I'd be far more positive if I'd never seen Sherlock. But I do like it very much. Watch it if you can.
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Illustrated Diary of 56 Years of Life in Japan
Music: Cellmod - Radio Sex [YouTube]
Science: The Physics of a Crumpled Piece of Paper

So this is it. I'm finally leaving Japan. My flight leaves at 11am tomorrow and I arrive 2pm British time. Honestly, I don't really have the time to write this.

Had an an amazing time on Wednesday -- P organised a surprise leaving party for me. There were cookies and couscous salad and pizza, plus speeches and a card signed by everyone. I'm going to miss them all so much.

I also read out the first scene of one of my stories, while another of my friends did a rap he was working on. Everyone was really positive about my story, and JM mentioned a friend of his "who was a member of TIP and published a book too". Clearly someone has a lot of faith in me!

That's it for now. I need to keep packing, sadly. Take care everyone, I'll have internet again in no time (at least at my parents...).


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Another World

April 2013

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