September 19, 2006

i am now on a two-week break from uni! i suppose they put this here because they know that we all have exams and essays and all sorts of other assessments coming up in the next few weeks, and we need time to catch up and get ready for the onslaught that is weeks 9-12 at university. ahuh. actually, i do plan to get some work done over the next two weeks. and what better way to do that than to go down to my beach house, without internet, without guitars, without cable television, without xbox…ok maybe not without xbox. we’ll see.

so i was in class on wednesday last week, and we were talking about postcolonialism and identity and all that stuff, and somehow we began talking about race.
“what is race?” my tutor asked.
silence. as usual. i guess we all assumed we knew what race was, but still didn’t want to speak up, in case we got it wrong on some academic technicality.
“well. how many races do you think there are?” tutor then proceeded to ask rhetorically.
another silence, this one more awkward and ironic than the last, until, out of nowhere…
“five,” says a somewhat dopey looking asian guy from the back of the room. this was the first time i had ever seen this guy in class. this comment, it must be said, drew quite a few laughs from the (underpopulated) rest of the class, and what i can only assume was a knowing look between myself and the tutor: is he joking? he must be.
“umm, ok…and what are they?”
“well, white, black, brown, yellow and red.” again, the rest of the class didn’t know which way to turn. “you’ve got your whites and your blacks. then there’s the indians and the south americans – brown – and the easterns or orientials are yellow.”
“what’s red then?” asked an incredulous looking singaporean girl.
expecting him to say the native americans, i was surprised when the guy said something about middle easterns. red? if we’re talking inappriopriate labels based on colour, the middle easterns surely aren’t the reds of this world. anyway.
the singaporean girl continued, “so what would you call someone like me, who is half asian and half indian?”
“well then, you would be kinda a yellowy-brown.”

yes, uni is fun, especially when there are uncomfortable and unexpected racial slurs being bandied about in a class full of overseas students. maybe the guy thought he was allowed because he himself was asian? who knows. that was a weird class.

being on a japanese fiction bender, when i saw this at uni the other day and picked it up to discover that it was about body piercing, tattoos and a good deal of sexualised violence (or violent sex, take your pick) i thought ‘what’s not to like?’ and picked it up immediately. in all seriousness though; snakes and earrings is a graphic and brutal story about three japanese youth desperately grasping at a sense of identity in a community that, essentially, has forgotten about their existence. this is not, by any standards, a happy or uplifting story. however the sadness comes not from the imagery but from the desperation and loneliness of the characters, who will do anything – subject themselves to anything – simply to feel some real pain, or real pleasure, or any emotion at all. despite their atrocities, we feel a deep sense of pity for these three young people. their sense of alienation and futility comes at the same time as the reader’s – about halfway through the book – and from then begins the slow and painful wind-down to what could only ever have been a tragic story.

snakes and earrings is very much in the modern japanese style of storytelling: dense and deliberate; no wasted words or descriptors. plot developments move frantically and suddenly and with a minimum of baggage. there is an immediacy and a sense of fatalism. this is obviously not always completely true of all japanese fiction, but having watched a fair amount of anime recently i definitely have to agree that these are not merely genres; they are art forms in and of themselves. case in point:

without question, beyond the clouds is the most visually stunning animation i have ever seen. i’m not talking about mind-blowing CGI or massive explosions; i’m just talking about beautifully well-composed locations and characters, lush backgrounds and the most out-of-this-world lighting effects to be found in any movie, animated or not.

as far as plot goes, depending on how much you want to read into it, it’s about friendship and loyalty. the background involves civil war and terrorism and something about parallel universes. i was actually setting myself up for the giant emotional frontal attack, but it didn’t quite come. that’s not to say the plot is not greatly touching and moving, i guess i was just expecting something different.

in any case, the animation is just beautiful. this is cinematic expression on a level that i have rarely seen, cut together with some tasteful editing and a great musical score by tenmon. the structure of time can be disorienting at times, and in some places it becomes hard to distinguish between hallucination and dreams and reality, but these are characteristic of many anime. this one is not for just anybody; if you come into it looking for giant robot wars, stick to neon genesis. but if you want something where the convoluted plot takes a backseat to genuine emotions and cinematography, beyond the clouds would be a great place to start.

so yeah, that’s that (mrs. ‘that’s that’!).

i got my hands on the new saosin album, a good two weeks before its official release date, and i have to say i am surprised. i’m not sure what i was expecting from it, but the snippets i had heard earlier it didn’t sound great. anyway, there are some really solid tunes, and the ballad-ish ‘you’re not alone’ is so radio-ready it’s not even funny. i can’t be bothered with a proper review just yet. but the new singer sounds a lot like the guy from name taken. so yeah, the album is a lot catchier than i expected, mammoth production job, and those trademark saosin riffs are all over the place, buried beneath the power chords and harmonies. but they are there! as far as this kind of emo rock goes, this album is right near the top of the pile, and given their already huge fanbase and the crazy anticipation of this album, i doubt it will go away any time soon.

so yeah. on a personal note; my self-confidence is all over the place. i don’t have any reason to be upset or worried at the moment, but i am, and that’s what i’ve been like for the last two-and-a-bit years. this is all completely internal; it’s not triggered by anything or anyone – in fact, it happens most often when i over-analyse any given good situation. the only reason i’m including this here is because i know that this tendency of mine sometimes upsets people i really care about, and i don’t want them to think it’s their fault, or that i’m angry with them. it’s not that at all; it’s just me, being fucked up, not knowing what to do about it. i’m sorry.

five things i hate about itunes

  1. slowest software ever

    have you ever seen any other program that takes so long to load? and when it does eventually appear on screen, have you ever seen any other program that takes so long to, you know, work? also, i know the shuffle is like the gimpish and autistic middle child of the ipod family, but we love all our children equally. come on, itunes, you could at least swallow your pride and acknowledge its existence when i plug it in. show some compassion.

  2. quicktime

    i think quicktime is the main reason itunes itself is so pathetically slow. this is probably the worst media front-end on the market; even windows media player is better (i think) since you can at least get to the controls. who the hell even uses quicktime format movies? streaming has never been slower.

  3. i don’t want to buy your fucking mp3s

    if i decide that i want to purchase some music, i will take myself of to jb hi-fi and fork out some cold, hard cash for a record that i can hold in my hands, thankyou very much. why would i pay $1.69 for a shitty quality mp3 that i could download for free off some other better, faster program? i use itunes (begrudgingly) to transfer music to and from my ipod, not to be assaulted by advertising and promotional offers. don’t carry on about your ‘free’ software and then pack it full of this shit. at least offer a seperate download. keep it in your pants, we’re not all consumer victims.

  4. the library incident

    on the very first night i bought my ipod, the very first thing itunes did was to utterly sodomise my mp3 collection. it did this by moving every single mp3 i have out of its original folder, arranging them into band and album subfolders. this left me with over 200 empty folders on my c: drive, and about the same number of new, incomprehensible folders – one for every band. this is what playlists are for, itunes, but you wouldn’t know about those. anyway, what itunes also didn’t account for were the various mp3s and compilation albums on my computer. so the 4-disc, 100-track ‘no thanks!‘ punk compilation that was meticulously ordered got split up into (you guessed it) 100 individual folders – one for each band – with one track in each. oh, and did i mention that itunes creates these folders based entirely on the ID3 tags of the mp3s it’s working with? so if you are one of the 945394587245234 people with incorrectly tagged mp3s, you are fucked. itunes also has the amazing new feature of a character limit for file names. my one saving grace was media monkey, which saved me having to rename every single one of my 2000+ mp3s individually, to which i owe my sanity.

  5. the great mac vs. pc battle for middle earth

    we are all aware that every mac owner has a huge superiority complex. that’s ok; i trust you will enjoy not being able to ever upgrade your computer. i can live with that – we all can – but please, live and let live. save us all the routine condescension we have to put up with when we take our broken ipods (broken ipods? what?!) into your store and you find out we all use pcs.

however, i still can’t help but want one of these new nanos. you can get a 2gb model for $219; 8gb is $380, the same price as a 30gb video model. wtf?

i’ll wrap up quickly. so yeah since i’m on a two-week break, i have made a tentative list of some of the things i would like to accomplish.

  • watch anime.
  • watch other movies.
  • re-watch carnivale.
  • read plenty books.
  • play golf.
  • play tennis.
  • go to the beach.
  • record an ep.

amibitious? sure. improbable? definitely. a good idea? doubtful. although for the first time this year, i actually have some basic ideas about what to write my essays on this semester, so i’ll definitely be making a start on that sometime soon.

yeah, so i actually spent a full hour adding things to this entry, until (surprise surprise) the apple website crashed my firefox and i lost it all. thanks heaps, apple. as if you haven’t screwed me around enough already today. for that reason, there is no wikipedia article today (damn, cause this entry wasn’t long enough already), but i promise to make up for it next time.

leave lotsa comments! and i’m still looking for more links to put up here, so drop me a line! hope everyone else is enjoying their breaks.

love d.


6 Responses to “deathpod”

  1. ricie said

    stop fucking around with my to do list, where am i on that list of yours? =[

    as for your apple slug….not cool. totally not cool. i potentially have a lot to say on this, but your general incompetence around apple products covers it all.

    am so not coming down to the beach with you after that. because you do realise i’m going to have my macbook with me, don’t you?

    xoxo! *complete with the pink and the giggling and the jumping up and down shrieks when greeting friends*

  2. ricie said

    i’ve been hankering for a post toots

  3. zac said

    you talk too much. racist asian guy sounds awesome. you should have put up your hand and said “i think there’s two races; normal and coloured.” that would have livened things up a bit, who cares you’re not gonna be there in 3 weeks.

  4. ricie said

    totally not fair. notice how you didn’t reply to my comments? or even adhere to them?

  5. tanners17 said

    I liked the bit when you were talking about the hairdresser. See you tomorrow xo

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