First, a moment of reflection on the disaster that befell Japan on March 11th 2011, and the loss of 20,000 souls and cherished family members. I hope that the rehabilitation and rebuilding efforts are fully successful and continue to improve their way of life to be even better than it had been before the calamity. Out of ruin and chaos can rise an improved infrastructure and stronger building considerations, and people will have become better persons in dealing with each other beneficially in a calamity of this scale. I’m certain that Japan will be doing its best! Our thoughts are still with you
Now, for more trivial news:
NEWSFLASH! R.I.P Nyuu, Lucy and Nana:
Man, it’s been cold. Not temperature-wise but reality-wise. They’re really gone. I had the dubious pleasure of walking two miles in constant rain to the Post Office today to ship off my pair of Elfen Lied figures, which I had to sell to cover the rent. Adding insult to injury is that I only got about half of what I was hoping for for them. But I have a roof over my head for another month, so that’s good.
That’s not really much of a consolation though, as the figures were very precious to me, being that Elfen Lied was my proper initiation into anime (i.e. not by way of the commonly-shown juvy shows that most westerners associate with anime). Plus, I had to hassle and hustle to get them since pre-orders weren’t accepted from outside of Japan, and only 1,000 of each were made so they sort of vaporized upon release. I was so happy to get them! It’s among my most-favorite shows, and I really do enjoy having figures displayed to represent characters from significant and beloved series.
They really have cheered up the places they’re in, not to mention me. Just kills me that I had to sell Nyuu and Nana. If you pre-ordered both figures you received a bonus pack as well, with Lucy’s interchangeable face for Nyuu and “papa’s ribbon” for Nana (a necktie which she used to cover her horns). So, Lucy’s gone, too.
But I have to figure that since publishing my novel is my first priority, if we do well enough I’ll be able to replace them in the future. Good to have priorities. At least I still have Kanon‘s Ayu and Makoto, and Fate/Stay Night‘s Saber and Sakura
But it sure sucks seeing all these new figures coming out that I want; I’m doing my best not to look at anything that requires money, since (a) I don’t have any, and (b) why increase my aggravation? It really pisses me off that I can’t buy anything other than necessities for survival, and seeing spendy shit constantly dangled in front of me is uselessly annoying. I’ve found that it’s pretty easy to ignore useless and annoying things, and you save money and sanity by doing so
THE 2012 WINTER ANIME SEASON (Upcoming) REPORT:
I’m working on a report on the 2012 Winter Anime Season shows that I watched, and that’ll be forthcoming shortly (in my timeline LOL). I’ve actually been thankful that there were only five series I felt like tracking (in addition to the remaining four from Fall 2011, Shakugan no Shana Final, Chihayafuru, Last Exile: Fam, and Mirai Nikki. (I kinda put Bakuman 2 on hold until later.)
This season’s pickings include Ano Natsu de Matteru (rom-com, slice of life), Another (horror), Black Rock Shooter (sci-fi action), Kill Me Baby (wacked-out comedy), and Nisemonogatari, (indescribable) which more than makes up for the absence of any others to this list. I’ll put synopsis links up for those shows when I post the article; I included Nisemonogatari‘s for reference because of the very next section…)
Being a huge Bakemonogatari (and its studio, SHAFT) fan, I was already on board when this sequel was announced. And I’m thrilled that my favorite secondary character from Bake has been featured in the sequel! That would be Shinobu Oshino, a 500-year old vampire who… doesn’t look like one:
In season one (Bakemonogatari) she had about 6 appearances, none of which lasted much more than a couple of minutes. Very quiet ones, as she never spoke. She just sat in a corner at Oshino’s place, making you wonder just what the heck is up with her? (That’s one thing I love about Akiyuki Shinbo’s work with SHAFT; no hand-holding: they’re always making you think and wonder!)
A lot of viewers missed Shinobu’s appearance in episode one of Bakemonogatari, so I’ll say no more than that. But seeing Nise has made me really want to re-watch Bake again Another thing I love about SHAFT-works – they always bear re-watching!
Another reason: check out the combined genres and themes from Anime News Network’s description (caution: links will take you to ANN, not that that’s a bad thing):
So Shinobu’s the girl I’m supporting in this year’s International Saimoe League, even though she hasn’t got a chance in hell going against the more-popular girls. But Nisemonogatari has gotten some decent reviews and buzz, so who knows? Can’t depend on the voters, that’s for sure LOL! She is pretty damn moe though, and a bad-ass, unbeknownst to most! I’m sure that her “talents” will be revealed over these last couple of episodes
But in terms of realistic contestants, I’m going to pull for Toradora‘s Taiga and Shakugan no Shana‘s Shana for the win and the Tiara. While I love Angel Beat‘s Kanade (aka Tenshi), everybody else does too, so I tend to leave the popular ones to the masses and stick with my tried-and-trues. Even though Kanade will probably win it all, which won’t make me sad Plus, she plays piano, and that’s a plus:
Ah yes… I fondly recall the first moment I saw Tenshi and loved her right away, caught as she was in the cross-hairs of a sniper rifle :-O She’ll likely take it all this year, unless lame political manouvering conspires to hate-vote against her, which is kinda what I expect to happen. Back-lashing will be forthcoming, I’m sure, since she was so dominant in last year’s ISML (though she didn’t win). Many voters will likely turn on her for that; lots of them favor disrupting a contest to suit their own selfish needs; such is life; Internet, Real, or otherwise. Great, fucking politicking in my moe contest, ugh. So grade-school. Such misfortune!
I just want to see which girl is HONESTLY voted the moe-est, not some simply-attractive character from a series that more people simply watched probably for its fanservice over its substance. But w/e floats their boat *shrug*
Some things about fandom I really don’t get, like the appreciation of “traps”, which to me are just cynical tools and a hopefully-passing fad; it sure figures that more are popping up these days. (Traps = “girls” who are actually boys that some studios create so they can go “hahahamadeyoulookaren’tweclever”, I guess). I wouldn’t really know since I won’t watch a show that needs that sort of gimmick to work (or for crude fanservice either, for that matter).
(Pictured above are chibi-versions of Tsubasa, Nadeko, Sugura, Mayoi, Hitagi, and… Shinobu… sitting by herself in a corner again. *sigh* See? I told you that’s all she did! In season 1, anyway )
No, *I* prefer the fanservice provided by Studio SHAFT. Nisemonogatari features extremely well-done fanservice; even squirmy at times it’s so effective! It never takes over the story. Well… except for a certain lenghty “toothbrush scene” that will no doubt become legendary! Well-done, as expected By the way, the following Promotional Video is only half as long as it says due to a repeat so it’s not quite as well-done, but still. And as with every anime from Studio SHAFT, the Pause key is your friend
ISML AND THE UNFORTUNATE FADING OF THE KEY/KYOANI GIRLS:
In ISML I always vote for my core of Key-cuties (courtesy of Kyoto Animation): Misuzu, Ayu and Nagisa, from AIR-TV, Kanon (2006) and Clannad, respectively. If you are a Visitor to Alastor’s who is unfamiliar with anime, and you want a story that is funny, heartwarming, magical/metaphysical, dramatic, and emotionally powerful, combined with beautiful animation, directing, and sound, then any of these three shows would make great introductions to the medium. I’d recommend them in reverse order; by the last episode of Clannad ~After Story~ you’ll have definitely seen the light. Then watch Kanon 2006 and AIR. You won’t ever view anime in the same light you once did
If you figure you won’t ever be watching it, then check out this wonderful-but-spoilerish synopsis-style AMV that uses the full version of “A Girl’s Fantasy” from the OST, and maybe you will reconsider after watching this moving overview. I’d suggest reading the short synopsis at ANN, then watch the video so that you get half an idea of what’s going on. Hopefully, you won’t figure anything out LOL!
Clannad fans will love it; this is the song that plays when scenes of The Illusionary World are shown (with the Girl and the Junk-Boy). So, MAJOR CLANNAD SPOILERS AHEAD! (And generally speaking, don’t ever randomly watch any YouTube videos of these “KeyAni” shows because they are RIFE with spoilers, as the plot-lines are twisty and surprising; knowing in advance what will happen will ruin the effect! If you’ve any inclination towards watching these shows, rent or buy them and then you won’t be spoiled. Like if you watch this one:
Too bad that the popularity of more recent shows overcasts the fond remembrances some of us have of these characters. Not me though. I’m fiercely loyal to “my girls” no matter how “old” they or their series have seemingly become. I say “seemingly” because the stories (and characters) are STILL great; after all, it’s not their fault that humans’ perceptions and memories are so shallow. So, please enjoy this great AMV featuring the stars of AIR, Kanon (2006) and Clannad; see if you can glimpse what makes these shows (and characters!) so great. It begins with plenty of heart, and a lot of expressing what is in it… you can feel it:
Oh, I said “memories” which reminds me to add Yuuko Amamiya to that “always vote for in ISML” list! She appears in this ”prologue” video for ef-a tale of memories, another fantastic favorite of mine (that I’m always talking about LOL), another fantastic SHAFT show (my favorite work of theirs), and another favorite girl who also happens to play piano (a bit better than Tenshi)! She has a back-story that is quite memorable and her gripping depiction of it, her awful revelation(s) of it, intense. Another “brave girl” who totally won me over:
Some characters are so well-written, so deep, and emote so wonderfully (courtesy of their talented seiyuu) that they become timeless. AIR‘s Misuzu is a good example, voiced by the late Tomoko Kawakami (who also voiced the Girl From the Illusionary World in Clannad). That’s why it irks me to see them forgotten so easily and quickly by anime fans who greedily gobble up shows as quickly as they come out and digest the older series out of their system and consideration too quickly. Sad. Sign o’ the times, I guess, and that’s sad too.
Be happy, and hear something beautiful: from the AIR OST, a version of “Natsukage” as sung by Tomoko Kawakami, who very sadly passed away last year, so very prematurely. This stands as a wonderful testament to her significant contribution to anime not only for Misuzu’s role but for those of many others she has portrayed.
And on that lovely note, I’ll say good night. Please feel free to leave a comment if you feel so moved; all are welcome
But first: today those who advanced in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest were announced, and sad to say UNBOUND was not among them. This is not to infer that UNBOUND is not a breakthrough novel, or that its failure should imply that it is less-than-worthy. NO! With 5,000 total entrants divided into two categories, and going solely by the best 1,000 Pitches in each to advance, the odds aren’t good to begin with. But it’s a contest! When are those odds ever any good? Anyway, congratulations to those who made it to the next round
To be honest, summing up a 386K-word novel in a 300-word Pitch is an exercise in frustration, slightly less-so for the one-fourth that I submitted as Book One: “Earth”. The numerous judges must go through all of these submissions to weed out the obviously poorly-executed and also those Pitches that just don’t “do it” for them. There’s also a chance that your particular genre just doesn’t appeal to that gatekeeper, like a sci-fi pitch to a lover of romance novels. So, they lock you out. It’s going to take an Agent or Publisher who cares enough to look beneath the surface of a simple Pitch to find the buried treasure in Lily’s lake! That seeker is out there searching for this pearl but has plenty of air in their tank, and countless clams in the sea… but they will come to me, and Lily.
We have faith that it will Happen; these things can’t be rushed if the best results are desired. And we want the best results possible, commensurate with the amount of work, dedication, and devotion we’ve given to this Story, so that the Reader might have the best possible experience from it; one that can only come from the company of a good book. If it makes the world a more wondrous place to live in, so much the better
On the occasion of this event I thought it’d be an opportune time to finally address the name of this humble blog, Alastor’s Reflection. Visitors of the anime stripe might assume that it’s named after the pendant that Shana wears in Shakugan no Shanathat houses Alastor, the God of Destruction, to whom she’s contracted. I actually chose the name of this Blog well before I ever saw Shana, so it turns out to be a very happy coincidence, as SnS is one of my faves (I bought season 1) and Shana an awesome character who ranks near the top of my faves list. Note to self: Gotta think of a new word for “faves”, ugh LOL
Since most Visitors likely come here for the anime, here’s an action-packed AMV for Shana, and for those who don’t care or assume “certain things” (i.e. uneducated generalizations) about anime, a pertinent pointing out of Alastor in the first scene and again near the end. Never let it be said that we’re not relevant! Or pertinent, for that matter. Except when we’re not, which is much of the time oh nevermind…
It’s good for all sets of Visitors to be exposed to things unrelated to their interests, you know? And we’re pretty“quadrophenic“ hereabouts. For doll-fanciers, there aren’t many doll-related posts, but plenty of other things to enjoy at Alastor’s, home to Lily-Doll and Soony. I’ll add parenthetically (though without parenthesis but for these) that none of my dolls are used for sex. Hardly felt that was necessary but for some stupid people @ letsnotgothere.com. “When you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME” so don’t do that plskthx and all that.
My sexual habits aren’t a subject I feel worth mentioning but JUST IN CASE… (a) she’s a promotional aid for our novel who has garnered more publicity than anything else; (b) she’s the replicant of the main character who is the exact opposite of ‘loose”, and an ideal; (c) she provided companionship and the illusion of another’s presence in the absence of any during the writing in isolation; (d) she’s been the subject of numerous interviews, included in two books, and has been shown in photographic exhibits around the world; (e) was one of several relationships used as inspiration touched on in the film Lars and the Real Girl (unverified but largely suspected); (e) and I am not ashamed or regretful in the least, nor have I ever been. She’s been an absolute delight, a singular experience, and is such a beautiful doll. Now that that’s settled…
Huh. Just as I thought: no sex in it. See? It’s not everywhere! *collective gasps from the gutter*
This is not to say that she hasn’t posed for some sexy photos though; doll photography is another hobby (when I can manage)! Of course, she’s highly embarrassed by it and won’t do more than PG (nor would I ask her to), but understands that it’s a necessity and expectation of being a life-sized, like-like doll; one of the very first and very few to stand up and be scrutinized. She doesn’t like to disappoint, bless her But those days are long gone, and she’s content to just “hang around”, having done her bit for the cause.
Lily-Doll turned out to be the spitting image of Lily Godwin as I saw her in the story, and sat nearby throughout the latter revisions. And if the Muse happened to take up rest within her, no-one would be the wiser, but for my imagination. Imagination is the Key
Anime visitors can also find storytelling and music-related posts here at Alastor’s, and those fanciers of music and literature who land here from other forums can come to a fuller, deeper understanding of anime as well. Not that I know a lot, but I’ve been studying it avidly since May of 2007, so I do have a lot to share. Opinions, mostly LOL Those who enjoy good stories, well-done character development, and eye-pleasing animation may find some good, atypical recommendations here, such asRozen Maiden, for one…
It can’t be overstated that anime is very poorly represented to the general public in the West, and I’m trying to rectify that here by sharing what I consider to be exceptional shows that might not otherwise be seen. For instance, it’s really a shame that a touching, dramatic and moving story like AnoHana or Wandering Son wasn’t promoted over here. So, while far from being an “expert’s blog” (which there are many, see sidebar for a sampling), I do have an eye and ear and heart for quality storytelling across many genres in anime, and happily ramble on about What I Like. That I can do xD
By the way, here’s Alastor in his true form, visuals and music taken from the Shakugan no Shana movie:
Good Advice: Don’t judge a book by its cover, or a pendant by its size!
Here’s the thing: We’re named after Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s “Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude”. For the whys of the Shelleyan persuasion, see the recent Post explaining about that here. “Alastor” was one of the first of the great Poet’s works I was exposed to during my teenage years. Alastor is not the main character, who’s simply referred to as “the Poet”; nor is the Poet necessarily Shelley. (It is rumored to be William Wordsworth, however.) No, Alastor is rather “the spirit who divinely animates the Poet’s imagination.” Much as my own solitary journey went with the writing of UNBOUND, driven and supported by whom I felt to be my Muse; alone, together. It certainly has been a trip!
I’ve gone on before about how I related (and relate) to Percy Shelley. “Alastor” depicted the quest, environment and other-worldliness that I felt most in-tune with during those adventurous years growing up and into the world, and its themes serve as reminders/signposts along my way in order to stay consistent and true to myself. Those who think they know me might catch glimpses of un-imagined underlying layers exposed for the first time to their eyes here at Alastor’s; that’s what they get for not paying attention!
This, from the Wiki; pertinent NOTES from myself:
In Alastor the speaker ostensibly recounts the life of a Poet who zealously pursues the most obscure part of nature in search of “strange truths in undiscovered lands”, journeying to the Caucasus Mountains (“the ethereal cliffs of Caucasus”) [NOTE:Lily's birthplace; near Odessa!], Persia, “Arabie”, Cashmire, and “the wild Carmanian waste”. The Poet rejects an “Arab maiden” in his search for an idealized embodiment of a woman [NOTE: sound familiar?]. As the Poet wanders one night, he dreams of a “veiled maid”. This veiled vision brings with her an intimation of the supernatural world that lies beyond nature. This dream vision serves as a mediator between the natural and supernatural domains by being both spirit and an element of human love. [NOTE: strangely akin to my first Kate Bush dream!] As the Poet attempts to unite with the spirit, night’s blackness swallows the vision and severs his dreamy link to the supernatural.
Once touched by the maddening hand of the supernatural, the Poet restlessly searches for a reconciliation with his lost vision. [NOTE: successfully reinventing UNBOUND as a novel upon contact with the Creative Muse]. Though his imagination craves a reunion with the infinite, it too is ultimately anchored to the perceptions of the natural world. [NOTE: we saw through the perceptions and reunited, relating a story informed by its time-less vision.]
Ruminating on thoughts of death as the possible next step beyond dream to the supernatural world he tasted, the Poet notices a small boat (“little shallop”) floating down a nearby river. Passively, he sits in the boat furiously being driven down the river by a smooth wave. Deeper and deeper into the very source of the natural world he rushes. Like the water’s surface supports the boat, the supernatural world “cradles” the mutability both of nature and of man [NOTE: Lily and Will's little boat in Chapter 1.1 is an echo of this].
As his senses are literally dulled, his imagination helps him sense the spirit’s supernatural presence. Instead of perceiving the vision through the senses, the Poet imaginatively observes her in the dying images of the passing objects of nature [NOTE: Imagination > the sensual world ]. The boat flows onward to an “immeasurable void” and the Poet finds himself ready to sink into the supernatural world and break through the threshold into death.
When the Poet reaches the “obscurest chasm,” his last sight is of the moon. As that image fades from the Poet’s mind, he has finally attained transcendence to the supernatural world. The journey to the very source of nature led, finally, to an immanence within nature’s very structure and to a world free of decay and change. [NOTE: Plot aside, this is somewhat similar to my finding my "writer's retreat" in the beautiful San Juan Islands where at last I was able to complete my solitary work on UNBOUND, with my Muse as my only company (aside from Pennie and Lily-Doll).]
So it is a sympathetic vision that we share
That’s as general and as true a statement with which to sign off with that I can make, and something you can think on. Or not Again, I thank you for reading, and please leave a Comment if you would like to share a thought or two. We appreciate your Presence
I’m @UnboundAngel. I think. Hm… okay, maybe a little bit of a twit. It’ll all work out in boomland though xD
Anyway, as part-and-parcel of the aforementioned 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, it was recommended to me to open a Twitter account to communicate (and commune!) with fellow writers. Just as with Facebook, I’d long ago decided to not entangle my Internet entanglements any further with social media distractions. But these are indispensable tools for marketing and promoting one’s work these days, so I went onto FB, and now the Tweet Machine. *rubs bleary eyes* WHERE DID MY LIFE GO???
WHY I’m doing all of this at this most low and tenuous point in my life I do not know, as I definitely don’t need any distractions from trying to survive in this country with no income and a “safety net” with more holes than a sieve, and just as effective. Writing, or rather storytelling, elevates me into another beautiful, fanciful World that I love and would gladly stay in, but I must keep my eyes on the ground of this crumbling land, making sure not to slip or mis-step. One slip will send me over the edge, and I get distracted so easily. I’m interested in everything LOL! So I’m very careful, these dark days, with my footsteps. But I wrestled the elements of the contest into shape, began assembling the disparate parts of the Story into MS shape, and now the first breaths of promotion raise the sheet and it falls, and rises… The cocoon is cracking.
The Fool has yet to land off the mountain, and is not sure what awaits him on the plain. That can surely be fodder for adventure, but I can’t even risk that; no time to explore. No money for even bus-fare tends to cause a hunkering-down in one’s den, and I’m safe here for now, in this small cave called “home”, entrenched in this figurative mountainside. “Now” equates to about three days though, since my rent wasn’t paid. I’m trying like hell to create a miracle from behind the scenes by selling stuff to stave off eviction, so creating a peaceful place to compose is out of the question (I moved 900 miles away in order to write my novel free from this poisonous RL BS, if you know what I mean). But here I am, gathering the energy from somewhere to push for publication through whatever means necessary. I have to think that it’s Lily-the-Muse, tending to Lily-the-character’s story. And, of course, I do tend to both of them
(By the way, if any of the ABNA followers have come here looking for the novel’s bits, they scroll off pretty quickly over time, as infrequent as they are. I keep the website specifically for the UNBOUND-related material, and all else goes here at Alastor’s Reflection. The last Blog-post from earlier this month is here. And, thanks for your kind attention I’m a … little unconventional, so please be kind to my mistakes ) I’m unapologetic about pretty much anything else
I’m still learning the Twitter ropes, so taking my time with it, and already have had some delightful contacts with other writers. (I do have a hard time considering myself a “writer” though; rather more of a storyteller, which is fine too.) I was happy to see my favorite writer (yes a *real* writer!), Neil Gaiman, with an account, so naturally I Followed him. (And his Journal has been a Blogroll link for as long as the site’s been up, so do check it out!) Almost on cue, he Tweets about Leonard Cohen, which regular visitors know I equate with the Dalai Lama (who, coincidentally, I found and Followed too!). Neil posted this YouTube video of L.C. reciting from “Democracy”, and it’s delightfully chilling:
He also speaks about battling depression which should be eye-opening to all those real twits who dismiss it with typically-stupid “get over it” statements and the like. This isn’t “oh, I feel sad” moments but real, Marvin-like Major Depression. It’s not something you “get over” with the snap of one’s fingers. I’ve been battling it for years (runs in the family) and the only drug-free way to do it is through creating. That’s what allows me the freedom to write my stories, and I don’t want/need those goddamned pharmaceutical company’s peddled junk, or “those drugs that keep you thin”. Junk is junk, period. Please hear Mr. Cohen address the Issues:
So thanks Neil, I applaud your good taste but already knew you had some! (And this thank-you probably has about as much chance of being seen as it would on Twitter with Neil’s 1,685,339 Followers o.O ) That’s okay; I just like saying “Thanks!” and giving credit where credit is due. Doesn’t have to be seen, read, or answered; just the Sending matters xD
And speaking of credit, The Sandman is the greatest story I ever read. Relevant note: In UNBOUND, Lily wears a ***** T-shirt that says “You get what anyone gets… You get a lifetime.” I like that to death (well, it IS my T-shirt LOL), and Lily likes it too, being a fan herself -Still keeping things close to the vest, heh…
Now he posted a link to a spoken-word/poetry site *sigh* -I’m NEVER gonna untangle myself at this rate! *resists urge to investigate; surreptitiously Bookmarks it, sneaks back in*
Okay Neil, one for you and the Tweets: Here’s Ken Nordine reciting “Flibberty Jib”, probably his most well-known piece. It was used in a Levis commercial in the early ’70s, I think:
Another favorite is Kevin Smith, who totally freaked me out with “Dogma” (one of my fave all-time films). Not because of its freakiness, but little parallels with Lily’s story. Can’t say which though; spoiler territory, dammit. Not that there’s any in this Trailer *cough*…
Loved the appearance of Jay and “the guy with the beard” Apparently the guy stays up all night Tweeting! Yay Today he tweeted or re-tweeted (wtf do I know?) a Teddy Roosevelt quote that really knocked my socks off, regarding critics (critical persons): Of course, President Theodore puts it in much better wording than I:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
The man who really counts in the world is the doer, not the mere critic – the man who actually does the work, even if roughly and imperfectly, not the man who only talks or writes about how it ought to be done.
Criticism is necessary and useful; it is often indispensable;
but it can never take the place of action, or be even a poor substitute for it.
The function of the mere critic is of very subordinate usefulness.
It is the doer of deeds who actually counts in the battle for life, and not the man who looks on and says how the fight ought to be fought, without himself sharing the stress and the danger”
In light of the calamities facing Japan, it’s hard to consider any personal hardships in the same light, or even a similar one. Nevertheless, my lengthy three-year period of tumbling down this hill (or down-mountain, more like) has presented just as dire a threat as to anyone anywhere facing homelessness, starvation, and termination. All of these I face, and am facing in the near-future. Yet I still have a shaky faith that I will be provided for, or that I will provide for myself. Still, I feel a kinship with those suffering so much more dramatically overseas, yet find myself unable to dwell on my own emergencies here. I should just say that if there is a protracted absense on my part from this page, then this is why: I’ve hit rock bottom, and will take some time to dig out, if I am able to. But, enough about that; I’m not there yet. This is intended to be a post for both of us and to all others who might need it: a message of Hope, and Faith that things will work out…
I never thought I’d end up like this. I did know that it was a risky chance I took when I decided to “drop out” (again) to write my novel, separating myself from everyone and everywhere I’d known, losing all contacts and networks in my move to a safe haven a thousand miles away. But I was on a mission; one might even say that it was divinely inspired. I knew that creating it was what I was put here to be doing: telling a wonderful story. When I was writing it, at 10-18 hours a day, it was as if I were truly in heaven; it felt so effortless, I felt so connected with my Muse, whom I named “Lily” for her devotion to me and our story, that it left no doubt as to the correctness of my choice. The lights along my Path were bright, and warm.
In hindsight, I think that my decision to return to my Bay Area roots might have been a mistake, or at least to this crucial point it seems so. Let us just say that, for the sake brevity, that it may have been a fatal one. It is truly hellish. I could elaborate to prove my words, but really… I don’t subscribe to the “pics or it didn’t happen” brigade. To the cynics and disbelievers I say believe me or not; I don’t care: I have no reason to lie or exaggerate. (Do not feed the trolls: Good Advice.) Feels like hell, anyway…
I’ve been following the sad and unsettling news from Japan since the quake hit, and have been profoundly moved by the prayers and support from the genuinely good and unselfish people from around the world. But to see those directly affected by the disasters stepping up to the plate and cheering on their countrymen-and-women is truly touching. Some days ago a gathering of anime voice talent came together to provide a seiendan (“seiyuu cheering party”) for those suffering and in much need of good wishes. The following clip is in Japanese, but you don’t need to know the language in order to understand the message:
(This Anime News Network article contains the clip and a little more in-depth information, here.)
My story, and Lily’s story, has been a Grand Experiment in “keeping the faith” and following your heart. Since the telling of it is so involved, and your time is valuable, I’ll just keep things as general as I can here. When you’re crawling around the deepest burning pits, platitudes and homilies seem hollow and pointless, so it’s hard to remain convinced that those nuggets of wisdom might be true. Nevertheless, they are so because they are true! I’ve seen it, and experienced it, and so it’s been proven to me. One must also keep an eye open for opportunities to help others in need, and consider the consequences of one’s more self-centered actions in order to maintain a healthy balance on the Road. Presently I am falling down after losing my own, but still watching for that signal of support to grasp; a signpost on the path to bring me back… even some words will do:
(Such a lovely song, with vocals courtesy of Jon Anderson of Yes.)
I’ve consistently found the work of Mike Oldfield to be highly uplifting and always wonderful to experience. Maybe it’s because we’re near the same birthdate; I’m one year and five days older than he, both Taurean to the bone! Here’s a sample of the title track from his “Crises” album; somewhat pertinent considering today’s headlines. It’s a four-minute instrumental excerpt over video of… skiing??? Yes… skiiing! If you stick with it, you might even see something you’ve NEVER SEEN BEFORE!
But the most significant discovery in my life to date has been Kate Bush. In her creative work and approach to Life, Being, and Feeling I found a like-minded soul, at least insofar as I could determine. I’ve never come across anyone so similar, I’ll just say that. When I say that anime has been my second-most important discovery, it’s no small feat or mean comparison! Both (in different ways) manage to convey the keenest emotions, the deepest sentiments, and moving sense-of-wonder that is truly rare these days, especially in these pessimistic times.
(And thanks as always to Symphonyofflowers’ great videos!)
I always had a firm idea of how I wanted Lily Godwin to Be in our story; the character really wrote herself and I simply Paid Attention to her whispers and suggestions. When The Sensual World LP came out in 1989, Lily’s character was going by the temporary placeholder name of “Dee”. But at this very early point of her creation, her Being was still coming to vibrant life; when I saw Kate’s video for The Sensual World, I “met” her visually for the first time: the Essence of Lily… and they took my breath away!
By 1993, it had become time to give Lily her name. “Lily” means “devotion” and since (a) Lily Godwin is devoted to Will, her charge, and (b) Lily-Muse was just as devoted to me in keeping our story alive throughout the then-current tribulations, and (c) it’s such a cute and fitting name, that’s what I chose for her. Within DAYS (if not the very same day, which it might’ve been) I bought The Red Shoes which contained, to my utter delight and surprise, the following song:
To borrow a phrase from my fellow Kate-fancies and Lovehounds, I was gobsmacked! An aversion to spoilers prevents me from comparing elements of this song with my novel, but… wow. Truly a Phenomena of Strange proportions (sic, but do your homework)! You can see why her decision to issue her “Director’s Cut” using these two albums is so significant for me! We don’t know which tracks she’s redoing at this point, but that’s kind of secondary to me; I’ll love whatever she puts forth
I’d like to finish with a couple of quieter yet equally-as-powerful ruminations for those in need of a calmer, if melancholic, medicine: the magnificent “Hello Earth” and the sublime “A Coral Room” done up in a Special Presentation of sorts…
A CORAL ROOM (music and lyrics by Kate)
There’s a city, draped in net
And in the half light, in the half light
It looks like every tower
Is covered in webs
Moving and glistening and rocking
Its babies in rhythm
As the spider of time is climbing
Over the ruins
There were hundreds of people living here
Sails at the windows
And the planes came crashing down
And many a pilot drowned
And the speed boats flying above
Put your hand over the side of the boat
What do you feel?
My mother and her little brown jug
It held her milk
And now it holds our memories
I can hear her singing
“Little brown jug don’t I love thee”
“Little brown jug don’t I love thee”
Ho ho ho, hee hee hee
I hear her laughing
She is standing in the kitchen
As we come in the back door
See it fall See it fall
Oh little spider climbing out of a broken jug
And the pieces will lay there a while
In a house draped in net
In a room filled with coral
Sails at the window
Forests of masts
Put your hand over the side of the boat
Put your hand over the side of the boat
What do you feel?
Copyright 2005 Noble & Brite
Piano and Vocals: Kate
Solo Vocal: Michael Wood
For more reliable Kate info and study materials, please see the excellent Gaffaweb!
In parting, let me simply say that we are all Citizens of the World, all in the same Boat despite that damnable Tower of Babble (sic)! Anime has taught me this well: emotions, desires, and aspirations are common to us all, no matter our language or culture; our stories and struggles are similar and familiar. We pull for these animated characters as we pull for our own friends and families; the only differences are so marginal. We pull for and root for those souls suffering on Japan’s shores as equally as for those of our own, on our own. We are all our own, and not as alone as we think. We all linger on the shore of this island Earth, dipping our toes in and shivering the same. We should take the time to build a bonfire on the sand, and sing songs of cheer and positivity, a seiendan for us all. There is Hope: hold on to that tremulous Faith; there is Love… can you feel it? Because:
“Put your hand over the side of the boat; what do you feel?”
In Kate’s own words from the liner notes of her first album: “Please feel it.”
By feeling, by empathising: this is how we live well on (and in) this Sensual World, because we really are Spirits in a Material World. This is how we grow, and continue to do our best, as we Journey back to that one true Source, somewhere away from the Here and Now, above the Earth and beyond, through Time and Space, returning to our Spiritual Place, wherever that may Be
Thank you for reading, and please feel free to leave a comment as all opinions (opposing views included) are welcome, except trollish/hateful garbage which shall be shot on sight. Click on “Comments” beneath the headline to leave one; several Visitors have remarked having difficulty seeing the link!
What a nightmare. I hope that everyone reading this will say a few prayers for the people of Japan. Such awfully heartbreaking news; the video footage is truly horrific. Please send aid through the channels that will grant them relief, and don’t let another news cycle pass this story up without keeping in mind the suffering going on over there. I wanted to write more but am very much occupied with my own survival issues and don’t have the time at present, but there will be more time later, I hope. In the meantime, let us keep them in our thoughts and hearts…
UPDATE: Anime fans in particular may be interested to note that the Anime News Network has news updates, places to send donations, and anime industry personnel check-ins, so please go there to help in any way, and check-in on our favorite creators. And, in light of the nuclear disasters, let us pray… and not forget the victims of the quake as this story develops.
Finally, the move is complete! Not without its hitches, so pretty much a typical relocation, i.e. ugh. Just a brief update before attempting to consider myself as being “settled in”, which’ll involve getting my workhorse desktop hooked up to the Interwebs (and all that that entails). I’m typing this from my laptop, and not enjoying it much. So, this’ll be short LOL
Things are, as you might imagine, still pretty hectic. Once I’ve finished sorting things out, learning the local ropes, and changing all of my addresses I’ll resume posts of the more worth-reading variety. Not that this isn’t, or the other ones are, but, you know… yeah.
And since I hate leaving you without anything to watch or listen to, here’s a little something that I found featuring… well, they say a picture’s worth a thousand! I’ll just say that the video’s song is from the recent anime Shinryaku! Ika Musume (aka the inelegantly westernized ”Squid Girl”) and I *think* performed by the comedy dance troupe (???) OK GO!
Whatever the case, actual or synced, their dance over the show’s Opening Theme is pretty hilarious, especially after having watched the series itself. I’m pretty sure that Ika Musume will be my favorite anime from 2010, it was that consistently entertaining! It was one of the very few titles to break through that mechanical limitation of ratings and reviews to make me feel that I really loved it, which puts it well north of 10 on the ten-scale into the realm of “best-loved” anime. And Ika herself… <3
Here’s a subbed promotional video that offers the premise in just around two minutes:
I’ll write more on Ika Musume soon, but for now there’s more unpacking/sorting/arranging to do!
This entry was just gonna be another “A Quick One While He’s Away” kinda post, but I thought that it would be too… mundane. If you, Dear Visitor, are going to come visit Alastor’sReflection allll the way from -well, wherever it is you’re coming from; I’m sure it’s far- then I at least ought to offer you something to make it worth your while. Hopefully. Because I like you. I really do.
In fact, I was looking around for a present for you on That Infernal Timesink named YouTube when I remembered that I have a Favorites list that I never seem to get around to playing. So, while I was there putting off mulling over what to blog about and whether, I thought of a compromise: I’ll put up a few random Favorite videos, and not have to bore the Visitor with (or type out) details of the depressing Real Life stuff such as unemployment, instability, and…
Oops, I almost did. I can’t imagine why anyone’d be interested in that boring kinda stuff anyway LOL
So: Some time ago when I blogged about the anime ef – a tale of memoriesand posted several related AMVs, I missed this lovely one that follows (if it was out there). As the majority of the ef AMVs seem to do, this one features the pairing of Chihiro and Renji. It’s not the greatest ef AMV, but it’s pretty good. It features the song “Here We Are” by Lene Marlin, which plays very well with the scene selection and progression of the anime’s edited clips:
A major reason why I dig AMVs so much is that they expose me to songs which I’d otherwise not be listening to or hearing (two different things). The most poppiest of pop songs which sounds ugh on the radio can, when matched with a sensitive-and-concisely-edited anime, provoke a highly-pitched emotional reaction in the Viewer. It interests me whenever art-works manage to penetrate and reach so far inside of us… that is an Artistic Success no matter the “genre,” at least in my book
The relationship of Chihiro and Renji is surely high-pitched; how could it not be? Here’s the short synopsis courtesy of the Anime News Network Encyclopedia: “Renji meets a girl named Shindou Chihiro at an abandoned train station. He soon learns that Chihiro suffers from a type of amnesia where her memory span only lasts for 13 hours. He also discovers Chihiro’s dream of writing a novel, but she has never been able to fulfill that dream due to her condition. Renji then decides to help her fulfill that dream.”
Having a vested interest in writing you can well imagine that I might be drawn towards both of these characters
So, IMO, here’s the best ef AMV: “Paper Image,” created by Koopikeva and integrated with the sublime song “Gravity” by Sara Bereilles. I’d never heard of Sara before this, so this AMV not only turned me onto her talent, but also to her great song, which, if I’d heard on the radio might have put me to sleep! But with the beauty of the anime, you want to keep watching and waiting on the lyrics with near-bated breath! This is a perfect composition:
Awesome. Incidentally, the actual music from the ef series is performed by Tenmon, and its OST is probably my favorite anime soundtrack. Poke around the haystack of Alastor’s for the needles of Tenmon’s mentions; there’ve been a few of them. Or just wait. I’m sure it won’t be long before I’ve come up with an excuse to put some up here
(EDIT: Oh look, a space!
(For the ef-uninitiated, Yuuko (playing the piano in the clip) and Yuu (playing the violin) are the central characters of ef - a fairytale of the two, and their lives (and fairytales, as it were) are interwoven with the lives of a handful of other associates’ pairings, love triangles, and fateful encounters, of which Chihiro and Renji are but two.)
… yeah, I do promote this series pretty hard LOL It’s my favorite anime-story, has many favorite characters (Yuuko <3) and a typically dynamic Tenmon soundtrack. Brilliantly done, and you don’t even realize it while you’re going along (but you do suspect…)! The meticulous timing of certain plot elements and the manner of the reveals was breathtaking; the writing was as whole-heartedly dedicated to depicting its story as the direction, animation, and music composition were in their own parts. The whole of ef, you realize after finishing its two seasons, truly is greater than the sum of its parts!
Anyway, I like it. Edit off!)
Moving on… Avril Lavigne is another artist whose music I might have missed (assuming that there is no radio in this imaginary world), but catching this great Kimi ni TodokeAMV reminded me that she really does have some talent! The short clip is simple and sweet, much like this wonderfully romantic anime itself is, and offers up a convincing and touching portrayal of first love. Do you remember yours…?
Okay, and now for something completely different!
What is this I don’t even -
While watching this next one I laughed ’til the tears came outta my eyes. LITERALLY! Courtesy of Loudon Wainwright III’s “I Wish I Was a Lesbian” this AMV utilizes several old-school animes in quite a unique way. The initial narrative porton uses scenes from the ultra-wack FLCLseries (aka Fooly Cooly), and the character’s lip-synching with Loudon’s voice is spot-on, which adds to the hilarity. Enjoy!
Speaking of FLCL… (and yes you should buy this 6-episode series because it is totally unlike anything else. And it’s cool. Mostly that.)…
You don’t see very many good FLCL AMVs. The show’s utterly random nature, unpredictable characters, and very incoherent plots make it difficult to edit together a consistent theme to go along with its chosen song’s lyrics. You’ll see what I mean LOL Hit or miss, to be sure. This following AMVs maker used “It Ends Tonight” by The All-American Rejects to very good effect along with the scattershot explosive animation from Fooly Cooly. Do not try to figure anything out about the story from this short; you’ll break your brain. Trust me on this. Wait until you see the show for yourself! (Caution: spoilerish activities ahead…)
…and that’s certainly a nice point to leave off. I mean, I’m kinda drained. You?
Times are hard; I don’t need to tell you that. If you’re working, have family and friends, and reasonable shelter, then you have most of what you need. If you still feel that you’re lacking, then getting the rest is up to you. But sometimes just getting the basics can be a daunting task, especially in this economy, business climate, and plain spitefulness and maliciousness of the world in general. People can be so hard, just like the times they live in…
Anyway, enough of that despair and pessimism. And we should say “ENOUGH!” but we don’t and continue on our not-so-merry way. At times during my nine-month and ongoing job-hunting (in an 18.9% unemployment rate location), I’ve felt like just giving up. It’s been a constant and growing life-or-death pressure from behind to determinedly keep on going, ever mindful of the chasm that plunges on either side of my crumbling path as I climb that damn mountain over and over again, feeling just like Sisyphus. Aside from my stubborness and desperation though, one song has always kept me going, instilling me with hope and faith and reassurance. For all those reading who are feeling equally desperate, despairing, and hopeless, I’d like to share this wonderful and inspiring song with you.
Written by Peter Gabriel and performed with Kate Bush, it’s called “Don’t Give Up.”
DON’T GIVE UP
In this proud land we grew up strong
We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win
I never thought I could fail
No fight left or so it seems
I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I’ve changed my face, I’ve changed my name
But no one wants you when you lose
Don’t give up
‘cos you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not beaten yet
Don’t give up
I know you can make it good
Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we’d be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn
Drove the night toward my home
The place that I was born, on the lakeside
As daylight broke, I saw the earth
The trees had burned down to the ground
Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up
We don’t need much of anything
Don’t give up
’cause somewhere there’s a place
Where we belong
Rest your head
You worry too much
It’s going to be alright
When times get rough
You can fall back on us
Don’t give up
Please don’t give up
Got to walk out of here
I can’t take anymore
Going to stand on that bridge
Keep my eyes down below
Whatever may come
And whatever may go
That river’s flowing
That river’s flowing
Moved on to another town
Tried hard to settle down
For every job, so many men
So many men no-one needs
Don’t give up
’cause you have friends
Don’t give up
You’re not the only one
Don’t give up
No reason to be ashamed
Don’t give up
You still have us
Don’t give up now
We’re proud of who you are
Don’t give up
You know it’s never been easy
Don’t give up
’cause I believe there’s a place
There’s a place where we belong
Yes, there is. Don’t give up, and keep fighting. There are LOTS of things to fight for these days… survival is just the first. No one said that it would be easy, but if more of us keep fighting for change, then we can make it so, and hopefully life will become easier. Keep hoping and try to think positively, okay?
So a funny thing happened on my way to sell some of my beloved Fillmore posters last week. I blew out the rear tire on my truck halfway between home and the Bay Area where I’d planned to sell them. Clearly not a “haha” funny but a “hmmm…” funny. Or rather, an “ohmy#$%^&#!god, I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere with $1000 worth of posters and no money!” funny kinda thang. So, not funny at all. But we’ll try and make it so
I knew that one of my posters was worth close to $2000, according to the apparently-wishful thinking Wolfgang’s Vault (from where these poster pics are taken), but (a) they don’t buy from “little people” like myself, and (b) I was reluctant to eBay it since eBay is so suckish on posters at the moment. Also, the thought of selling it to a poster-dealer in the City who most likely would have offered only a quarter of its value rankled me. It never fails, that awful feeling of having been raped after selling collectibles for a fraction of their value to somewhat unscrupulous vendors who are trying to make a buck. Bucks. Whatever, be it posters, comic books or baseball cards,I’m well-used to the feeling, and I hate it. Nonetheless, I was stuck with having to raise a certain amount of money for bills, food, and other necessities for survival, and figured that the Jimi Hendrix poster I had, even though a second printing, would bring some money in.
my second-most favorite Jimi Hendrix poster
I called Dennis King, a well-known and longtime poster dealer from Berkeley, from whom I’d bought and sold before and knew to be reliable and honest. When in doubt, go with your people, I figured, and Dennis is “the poster guy”! Happily he was still around, as I wasn’t sure since I’d been gone from the Bay Area for the last nine years. He gave me the go-ahead to bring over some of my posters and he’d have a look. I put around eight of them into a flat cardboard box, loaded it into my truck, and took off, putting $15 of my last twenty into the gas tank.
And halfway there, the tire blew So I called my insurance company, who tried to find a tow service to bring me the 50 miles back home to no avail. A local company agreed to tow me off the freeway, and fortunately to a nearby tire company, where I left my truck with the promise to return the next day with the funds with which to pay them for the replacement tire. Tires, as I would need two of them, at the cost of $250. Ouch. So much for a decent profit…
So there I was, with a large box full of posters with no apparent way to get to Dennis, or for that matter anyplace to spend the night. Fortunately (again), I discovered that a BART station was nearby, and so I began my fifteen-minute walk there. UNfortunately, it began to rain. Trying to keep my cardboard box from getting soaked and ruining the posters inside, and cursing quite a lot, I quickly got to the station, where I spent my last money on the fare to Berkeley. Dennis said that he’d wait for me, and not to worry. Thank God, one major less thing to worry about!
the poster for Pink Floyd at Oakland Coliseum, 1977
At last I got there, and after we spent an hour or so catching up, he looked at what I’d brought and paid me $600 for three posters, which was very fair considering. I ended up parting with a Yardbirds poster (with Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page pictured), a Doors poster from The Matrix nightclub, and a Pink Floyd poster from somewhere in Utah (of all places). He even gave me a beat up second printing of that Yardbirds poster to keep as consolation for losing the original! And as another definite plus, he advised that I keep the Hendrix poster, since he already had several and they were hard to move, as people ended up buying recent (and cheaper) reprintings. He could only have offered me a couple of hundred for it, and he felt (KNEW lol) that for that little I’d rather have kept it. It’s an awesome poster, and probably one of the most famous rock posters in history, so I’m happy to have been able to keep it. See, that’s what separates honest dealers from unscrupulous ones, who’d have “gladly” relieved me of it for chump change, and then massively profit from it. Fuck those parasites :-(
And a big YAY for Dennis
A Doors poster from Chet Helms & the Family Dog's Avalon Ballroom
Knowing that I was out of cash, he wrote the check less $30 and gave that to me for BART and food, and said to stop in the next day so that he could okay the bank to cash the check; otherwise if I’d had deposited it into my bank, they’d have placed a hold on it, so I wouldn’t have had the money to pay for the tires. THAT would have been a mess, not that it wasn’t already. But things were sorting out, as they will many times if you just keep the faith, and hope that all will turn out for the best
Now I needed a place to stay the night. So I called my brother, who offered to let me sleep overnight in his studio apartment, in San Francisco. So I hopped on BART into S.F., transferred to a streetcar, and managed to meet up with him at a coffee shop where he and about 5 friends were playing Magic: the Gathering. By this time (around 9PM) it was pouring! Finally, after much coffee and a big-ass bagel (and observing much card-playing) we left, taking a streetcar and a bus to his place. Man, that’s the most public transportation I’ve taken in twenty years probably!
Octopoid Country Joe & the Fish Fillmore poster
Now, my brother is a notorious snorer. I mean… LOUD. You might even say “earthshaking,” or at least futon-shaking, as the one on which I was sleeping was practically vibrating. But I was so very grateful to at least have shelter for the night that I paid it no mind. Make that littlemind. On the whole though, despite the lack of any really restful sleep, we had a great time; it had been so long since I’d been in the City for an overnight that really it was just a big, happy, and “funny” (see above) adventure! But mannnn… I was groggy as hell the next morning o.O
one of three posters for Pink Floyd's (and Procol Harum's) first shows at the Fillmore
After a breakfast (of sorts) at yet another coffee shop in the Inner Sunset, we parted ways, and I took the streetcar back downtown to BART back to Berkeley (yes, “to BART” is a verb LOL). But… the streetcar travelled close enough to my old neighborhood that I got a little homesick, so figuring that (a) I might not get the chance again, and (b) IT WAS AN ADVENTURE!!!, I got off and walked down Dolores Street, the street on which I was born, and lived most of my life. It was bittersweet though, as I passed the flat where I lived for my first 7 years (and weirdly and funnily enough, where Jimi Hendrix had visited after we’d moved, but that’s another long story), and down the block a little further, the beautiful Victorian where I’d spent the large part of the remainder. In fact, I so loved this area that when I wrote my novel Unbound, I planted Lily’s mother in this house, and wrote several scenes around this neighborhood at 16th and Dolores Streets. They say that “you can’t go home again” and that’s certainly true enough, but you definitely won’t if you don’t try! So, Unbound will help to keep the place alive in my memory, and I believe that most San Franciscans will enjoy this and all of the other neighborhoods of the City portrayed in it. It’s sort of a love story for the San Francisco of my memories :-)
the poster from my very first Fillmore/Winterland show, featuring Cream!
So, after hitting the bank in Berkeley and touching base with Dennis, I was able to finally pick up my truck, pay the man, and GO HOME! I would have kissed the ground, but, you know, it’s dirty. Definitely slept the sleep of the just that night! Anyway, check out Dennis King’s website if you want to browse for posters or learn about that wonderfully-weird era (the most favorite time of my life), and if in Berkeley or environs, and close to the University, drop in and prepare to be mind-blown at all the posters and artwork!
Okay… maybe that was more “haha” funny than “hmmm…” funny.
… my cat was a GRUMP! Gone four days and I thought she’d be happy to see me, but NOO-oo! Pennie just sulked in “her” chair and didn’t even get up when I came through the door. Some cat :-/
But as soon as I mentioned “kitty toy” and “mousie”, that did the trick, and she trotted over to see what I’d brought for her. Obviously, a kitty toy that is a mouse. A catnip-filled mouse, yet! THREE OF THEM. In about fifteen seconds all was forgiven.
So, I’ve returned, and what a great trip I had! A few months ago a vacation was the last thing I was expecting to take, but thanks to selling my Hulk #1 comic book for $1500, my trip was enabled just in time for a very wonderful and warm reunion Otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to go, given my shaky financial state. THEN I would have been really depressed! Funny how some things come along at JUST the right time, huh? Now I’m broke again, but (a) I would’ve been anyway sooner or later, and (b) a wish that I’d wished for for years was granted, so the money was totally a secondary concern because it enabled everything
Dee met me at the airport and proceeded to show me a great time; we had so much fun that it was as if the twenty years between being in touch were as but a moment. Another return to each other’s embrace; it was so sweet She’s still the same awesome girl that I remembered from what were among the happiest days of my life. True, much water has flowed under The Bridge, but the taste was as sweet as it always was. So… thank you Dee
Dee's smile is as bright as the Sun
That’s my most favorite picture
After spending the first day reconnecting, on the second day we drove to where I used to live on the Puget Sound. I got the chance to go to my old house, look around, and go through the things that I’d left with one more chance to remove the smaller items that otherwise I’d have left. The house is almost sold so this was probably my final opportunity. Then we visited my former place of employment where I said hello (and goodbye) to my co-workers, some of whom I’d missed giving my parting sentiments. Finally we toured the island and stopped at a large park that is on the point, covering the whole northwest corner.
No beach today; VERY high tide!
On the way out a few deer decided that we weren’t worth running from. They kind of look like statues, no doubt due in large part because I forgot to turn off the flash!
Sightseeing deer pause for refreshments
That night Dee fixed me a great meal with salmon as the main course. Believe it or not, this was the first real home-cooked meal I’d had in eight years :-O And it was so fitting and sweet that she was the one to provide it for me. Very much contented, we called it a night.
The next day we visited her sister, whom I hadn’t seen since the ’70′s, and who since has raised a wonderful family and landed in a very nice part of the state, and on a large spread that is nicely isolated from neighbors and such commotion. Lovely farmland near river-country, with grass-covered fields and a rushing creek that ran through a corner of it. I met her husband ( who was great fun to talk to), and her two children, a very brave and bright boy of around 8, and a daughter who, at age 12, already shows great promise as a writer (among about a dozen other things)! (Names are withheld to protect the innocent ) They make for an excellent case for Home Schooling, let me tell you!
AND ANOTHER HOME-COOKED MEAL, W00T! Her sister prepared a delicious pot roast, yum! It was a lot of fun getting together, and it truly was a happy house. Which is very nice to see, and to feel, especially in these considerably shaky times. And seeing Dee interacting with her niece and nephew was heartwarming for me; it was so good to see her genuinely happy
On my last day we had a fair amount of time before the flight back, so she took me to tour the surrounding area, which was a lot larger than I expected. One of the places we drove to was the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, but we didn’t cross it, just approached it where I took this pic, because the angle was intriguing to me:
Looking at the seemingly-intertwined twin bridges of the Tacoma Narrows
And then, finally, it was time to go…
All went well with the flight except that the jars of Jalapeno jam that she made didn’t make it through security. DAMMIT!!! I was so looking forward to my delicious jams
And so to Home… where THIS awaited me:
"Oh... you're back." *snif*
She’ll want me when it counts :-/
Anyway, I’d like to send a big Thank You to Dee for taking care of me, entertaining me, and making it more than worth my while to make the visit at this shaky time. I’m so glad that I did
Looking forward to our next reunion… and return ;-)
"When early youth had passed, he left his cold fireside and alienated home to seek strange truths in undiscovered lands. Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought with his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men, his rest and food." (from 'Alastor, or, The Spirit of Solitude', by Percy Bysshe Shelley,1815)
For info on our novel UNBOUND, please see our website in the Blogroll!