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Bare bones

Bare bones

Above is a link to the latest in my collection of blogs… (not including separationdrip here, I currently try to manage about three, though fortunately they’re not entirely serious endeavours, though posting updates to keep others in the loop is sometimes surprisingly draining).

I’ve never really posted my poetry before (save an early draft here on separationdrip a few months ago), but I figured I’d risk it! I’m only putting the bare bones up for now, the skeletal first drafts. Maybe I’ll flesh them out later when uni isn’t driving me to insomnia, or add some of my poetry portfolio drafts (usually in their fourth or fifth rewrite) once the assignment deadline is gone – because who wants to get in trouble for self-plagiarising?

But yes, there in the link lies the foundation blocks for some of my recent poetic adventures…

EDIT: WordPress didn’t put the link in correctly, so here it is -> click

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Work In Progress . . .

Making my way through a couple of assignments at the moment. Okay, a lot. There’s a lot of research and note-taking involved and I am s w a m p e d.

However! All going well, I should be able to post up a few reviews by the end of the month. With a little bit of luck.

I’m currently reading Haruki Murakami’s Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman and Sputnik Sweetheart; also been reading up on Norse Mythology in a copy of the Prose Edda a friend has lent me. Finished reading Murakami’s After Dark (whilst falling a little bit in love with Takahashi’s character), and Hitomi Kanehara’s Snakes and Earrings. I simply had to buy another copy of the latter seeing as mine’s been AWOL for about 3 years, and it’s one of my favourite novellas. It’s a quick read, so you can manage it in a half hour, up to two hours, depending on how quickly you read. I finished it on the train between uni and home earlier.

Sooo, yes, with any luck, I’ll post up a few reviews in a couple of weeks when the bulk of my work is out of the way. I also need to do my lesson plans for the creative writing workshops I’ll be doing with a class of year 5’s. I’m simultaneously terrified and excited; they’re going to eat me alive.

Edit! Waiting on a copy of Vampire Hunter D to arrive from America. I have to admit, it wasn’t the vampire thing that lured me in to wanting to read it, not at first. It’s mostly the fact that the illustrations to the book have been done by Yoshitaka Amano, one of my favourite illustrators and artists ever. He’s done a lot of work on the Final Fantasy games, and has also worked on Neil Gaiman’s Sandman: The Dream Hunters.

(Click through image for source)

His work is, quite simply, stunning.

Final Fantasy 7: Advent Children musings

It’s ridiculously early and I’m back into the habit of putting off sleep again, for some unknown reason, so I thought I’d share a little of my ramblings.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m pretty into Final Fantasy 7, and being a student whose studies are part of the core of English Literature/Language, it’s natural for me to read into things and analyse them.

But here’s my thought process on a scene or two from the Final Fantasy 7: Advent children movie. Take it all with a pinch of salt, if you’re familiar with it; these are just my opinions. I really enjoy reading into the meaning and purpose behind FF7 and certain other games, just because they’re such a culturally rich and diverse text. It’s a little nerdy to say, but they’ve molded me as a person and helped me define some of my own values.

So, yes, if you’re into Japanese RPG’s, please do take a look.

Somewhere in the world it’s the 1st of August…

Which means it’s been just over two months since I last made a social visit to this sad, neglected page and the poor buggers who are subscribed to my posts. Unless my radio-silence has been a boon to your daily web-life, my apologies! I can’t claim to have been busy working, or even busy playing. Mostly my days are spent trying not to throw myself down the stairs in frustration (one day I’m going to try and trap my demonic little sister in a Devil’s Trap) and reading books long forgotten on the family bookshelf.

So here’s an update on what I’ve been up to. There’s no specific reviews (as of yet) but I’ve been watching a lot of films, reading hefty books and trying to keep up with the Olympic gymnastics, judo and diving.

Seeing as Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novel ‘Guilty Pleasures’ is on my reading list for next year at uni, and I already own most of the books, I thought I’d re-read the collection I’ve already amassed – and flesh out the rest of it. I’m currently waiting on a few more books through the door but then I’ll be up-to-date with the Anite Blake series. It’s the biggest series of books that I’ve ever collected, as usually I stick to short trilogies of books or borrowing the David Edding’s series from old friends. The Anita Blake novels currently span 21 books. I’m now waiting for my mother to start throwing them at me for taking up space on the bookcase…

For the most part, I’m doing my best to power through the majority of the reading material for year 2 of Creative Writing at EHU, though I’m struggling with the sheer bulk of Varney the Vampire and all the non-fiction, craft textbooks. I tend to save tackling them for bath-time or when I’m trying to avoid my sister. Something about the banality of craftbooks is relaxing – although not always.

Film-wise, I’m still hooked on my Asian cinema; Red Cliff was on the other night and it was a spectacular epic. The movie actually spans 4 hours but the released version shown on channel 4 was only two hours long. Still, it’s a credit to John Woo that even halved, the film is still absolutely incredible and exciting to watch.

Back when I was at Manchester Metropolitan University, a friend introduced me to Casshern and the Gantz anime. Goemon is a film by the same people who produced Casshern and it’s completely obvious in the visual aesthetics of the scenes. It’s emotionally gripping although a little less intense than Casshern; there’s something a little more light-hearted about Goemon, but the themes of self-sacrifice are still blatant.

Gantz has taken me aback. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting from it but the anime is pretty graphic and more gory than I considered it could be. I’ve held off from watching for a while (I’m currently only caught up on to episode 8) because I thought I should probably spend some time reading, but I have managed to cram in a viewing or two of the live-action movies ‘Gantz’ and ‘Gantz: Perfect Answer’, and managed to find myself bawling my eyes out as per usual. Obviously, I went into them thinking ‘well, that’s different from the anime’ and ‘THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING? THIS IS NOT TRUE TO THE NARRATIVE’ but honestly? Sometimes a little divergence can still be fun, and now the two films have made it up onto my list of recommendations to watch.

So, yeah, in spite of trying to keep an eye on my sister over the summer holidays and encourage our new dog to get used to me, I’ve managed to cram in a lot. Not as much as I wanted though, if I’m honest. I applied to go to Changsha for three weeks to teach English and learn Mandarin, and experience the whole Chinese culture (something that’s really close to my heart) but I didn’t make it past the interview stage unfortunately. The night I found out I hadn’t made it, my mum was reluctant to even order Chinese food to cheer me up in case it made me cry more (T▽T) That said, I’ve picked myself up since then and there’s always the chance next year to apply again, which I’m definitely going to go for – or the year after, depending on my finances.

Anyway, here’s to cramming more reading into my summer when the rest of my books arrive in the mail. I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer :3

#13 Confessions – Dir. Tetsuya Nakashima


Confessions –
A psychological thriller of a grieving mother turned cold-blooded avenger with a twisty master plan to pay back those who were responsible for her daughter’s death 

“Carmen, you watch some of the sickest, creepiest movies, I swear.” – my mother last night as we were watching this.

Okay, in my defence, I don’t like gore and I’m not big on horror or thrillers… but I do really enjoy films that make you think and, personally, I find that a great deal of foreign cinema makes me do just that. Big budget blockbusters from Hollywood seem generically shallow these days; there’s little there but the retelling of old stories we’re all already familiar with, all made pretty. They’re great for entertainment and preoccupying our minds so we don’t need to dig too deep into our psyche but that’s all they’re really good for.

Based on a novel by Kanae Minato, Confessions is a teensy bit gory. Only a little. But it’s manageable. The real horror doesn’t come from the arterial spray of blood on white walls but from the psychological terror of the potential damage humans can inflict. Humans – not just adults but children too. Confessions showcases how our race manipulates, lies and kills in order to cover our tracks or reveal ourselves to the world. It shows how callous and cruel people can truly be when under duress from circumstance and pressure.

The real horror in today’s world is ourselves – and the majority of it is self-inflicted. Confessions attests to that; the pressure of school (you must do well, you must get the best grades, you must be recognised), pressure from parents and friends, bullying and death. These are just a few of the main themes the film deals with in mirroring reality.

The true message behind the film though is one to be worked out on our own. How precious is life? How can anyone even begin to answer that? Perhaps then, the better question would be, how precious is life to each and every one of us? Do some of us hold it in greater esteem? If we, like the female teacher, Sensei Yuko, lost our young child because of someone else’s ego, would we seek revenge? Would we sit by passively? Could we forgive?

On a final note, the acting in this was particularly impressive. Child actors usually go hand-in-hand with happy-go-lucky films, all gravitating towards a Happy Ending. But the children/young-adults portraying a class of thirteen year olds played their roles amazingly – and every single character brought raw, base emotions to life on screen with incredible honesty.

A Brief Update

Goodness, I haven’t updated this thing in over a month.

I’m considering adding some music reviews to this though, to bulk it out a little. Maybe a few more film reviews. I’ve finally managed to pick up a book again for entertainment purposes (it feels like it’s been too long since I’ve done that and I’ve grabbed a copy of Anne Rice’s The Mummy) so I’ll probably do a quick review on that once I’m done.

As of this moment though, I’m busy studying up on game and narrative theory for a Beyond Books essay and putting off writing more poetry for my portfol— I mean, planning for my portfolio… Yeah…

That and I’ve decided to put in an application to go to China for three weeks with university for some experience in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I really want to get in because the opportunity would just be absolutely fantastic, so… wish me luck?

So the internet rose up to defeat SOPA/PIPA

…And now it needs to do so – yet again – against ACTA.