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Hallowe'en '08—Steampunk Plague Doctor   
03:23pm 01/11/2008
  I had a lot of fun with my costume this year. It came out pretty badass, and as one guy said after seeing me, "I'm soooo glad I'm not on shrooms right now."

plaguedoctor1

More big pictures and description after the cut!Collapse )

Now comes the hard part: resisting the temptation to dress like this every day.
 
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01:27am 21/10/2008
  Finished the essay. Studying animal physiology. But school is school, what else is going on?

Hm.

...

Yeah, not much more than that. I'm foolishly planning to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I want to be a Steampunk Plague Doctor for Hallowe'en. My hands are cold, I'm clean shaven for the first time in what feels like two months, I'm in a t-shirt and—yeah, I'm cold. Need to gain more weight.

I need to post more regularly so I remember how to not be banal!

I read horror stories before bedtime and there are always scratching noises coming from the attic above my room and tapping noises coming from behind my bookshelf. In order to sleep I usually tune the radio to an in-between station and lull myself with static.


I still find nothing more entertaining than going under my covers and pretending that I'm in the deep, deep sea.


I've been on a kick of reading wikipedia articles explaining the plots of my favourite TV shows and book series as a kid. Not to mention reading the annotated Psypoke Chronicles again, hahaha. What on earth has gotten into me? Is it a human thing where the sight of crunchy leaves on the ground dredges up all kinds of nostalgia for everything, or is it just me?
 
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08:12pm 17/10/2008
  I am currently writing an essay about the function of pica, the consumption of the inedible, in Cinderella and Hansel & Gretel.

...god I love academia.
 
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an interview, and other such   
11:37pm 09/09/2008
  back to school, in full force! I've done my self-required three hours of studying every day so far, so hopefully I can keep that up. I really want the marks this year, as opposed to last year where I mainly wanted to have fun... (but hopefully I can have some of that too).

this year, I'm taking intro to buddhism, japanese, japanese cinema, approaches to east asia, animal physiology and children's literature. it's a nice spread, and I'm really excited about it, but it's 22 hours of class a week and it's a lot of work. but I will persevere!

onto the interview meme, with questions courtesy of monkeyman.
1* Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2* I will respond by asking you 5 questions of a very personal nature.

3* You will update your LJ with the answers to the questions.

4* You will include this and an offer to interview someone else in the post.

5* When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them 5 questions.


1. Do you ever wish you had grown up in a small town instead of a city, and if so why?
God no! Never, never. My more-Canadian friends often make fun of me because I'm so attached to city life in general and Toronto in particular. It's all well and good to live in nature for a week or so, or visit little boroughs, but I'm also perfectly happy in summers like this one where I don't step foot outside of Toronto. The big city is a beautiful thing; endlessly interesting, explorable, non-judgemental, where you can blend in anonymously if you want and stand out if you don't, and you can always find like minds. Not to mention good food. My mother, from India, always exalts how significant community was to her when she was growing up, but I'd find that kind of environment suffocating—yes, there's support and familiarity, but the guilt and constraints and gossip are too much (I get enough of that in school!). Even she, however, couldn't live outside a big city and has said so many times.

2. What writer or musician do you wish you could love, but you really can't stand?
Steve Erikson. His stuff seems quite interesting, and some of my smartest friends adore his work, but I find it as dull as all heck.

3. Why are zombies so damn popular?
I could give the standard academic answer and talk about how they feed into modern-day fears about isolation and consumerism and helplessness etc. etc., but really, I think it's because they offer something for everyone who indulges in horror; kitsch and gore if you want it, pitch-perfect dread if you want it, angst and deep questioning of what it means to be alive if you want it. They're a great tool, and I think no matter how funny people find them, and zombies ARE funny, they never stop being scary—that scary/funny thing is certainly what keeps me coming back.

4. How much would someone have to offer you to stop reading for a year? Writing for a year (yes, including NaNo).
Reading for a year, assuming I could still read what was required for my classes and such, maybe not an obscene amount because it would give me more time to write. Writing for a year, enough money to live on for the next ten years so that I could be a full-time writer in the years thereafter. Could I do it, though?

5. Speaking of NaNo, do you think you're going to burn out on that whole scene early since you started when you were awfully young? What about writing in general?
Yeah, I was young—13 I think?—but those early NaNo experiences taught me more than who I was as a writer, they taught me that writing was something I wanted to do in the first place! I never wrote much before NaNo, and now it's my favourite thing in the world. This is why I'll never burn out on writing in general, fingers crossed, because I find that my skills improve year by year and that excites me, and hopefully I can keep feeding off of that. My only enemy is time; I'm a full-time student, and a very studious one for whatever reason, and there's a constant struggle in me where when I'm writing I feel bad for not studying and vice-versa. Perhaps it'll resolve itself—I, perhaps foolishly, really really want to do NaNo again this year. Just with the timing of when I started NaNo, with University starting, it's difficult—but I can't imagine not doing it at all for the next four years! Or more! That's absurd!
 
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Decorating my room.   
04:46pm 27/08/2008
 
mood: satisfied


As part of coming to terms with the fact that I'm moving back home, I've decided to redecorate my room.

A good place to start, I thought, was to create a Tim Burton/Lovecraftian horror to emerge from the corner of the room above my bed.

As school takes over my mind this upcoming year, so too will the horror grow, thereby infecting more and more of my walls and ceiling.

I think that's fair.

Ingredients: Black vinyl shelf-liner (comes off super-easily, $1.26 at home depot or some similar store), scissors, an hour and a half of free time.

Inspiration: http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Vinyl-Wall-Art/?comments=all

Wider view:

 
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01:25pm 14/08/2008
  enjoying not working so much! I'm writing a story about living soup, and another story about a gear that fell from the sky, and another one about a lake that has a cannon that shoots monsters! thank god for fiction.

also, a "things I've eaten" meme from hysteriachan. 70/100—I think I'm doing pretty well, and I have many years ahead of me.

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

(the post here has wikipedia links to most of the unfamiliar entries.)

food is good, and I will try anything. 30 to go!Collapse )
 
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01:39pm 05/08/2008
  haven't done any art in a while... so I made this!

lantern tree

pretty.
 
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Scattered Thoughts   
10:57am 15/07/2008
  -Hellboy 2 is simply gorgeous. Pan's Labyrinth turned into an action movie with Ron Perlman and a gigantic budget.

-Starbucks has a healthy but kind of gross new drink called the Vivanno that they're hoping will save their company. We'll see.

-I'm reading "Out" by Natsuo Kirino now—a kind of feminist film noir where four women (one in her late 20s, one in her 30s, one in her 40s and one in her 50s) work the overnight shift at a bento-making factory, the youngest woman kills her abusive husband and the four have to work together to cover it up. It's really exciting, quite perverse, and a very different side of contemporary Japanese literature. I cannot, with good conscience, however, recommend her other book "Grotesque"—I read all almost-500 pages of it despite it making me almost physically ill sometimes and its memory is still kind of like a pool of black bile at the pit of my stomach. What a malevolent book.

-I realize now that since I'm moving back home this year I should probably get around to getting a current-gen system—or is my DS enough? Actually, I'm most tempted to just get a PS2. I've only owned Nintendo consoles before and would like to try some of the amazing stuff that the PS2 has got going for it—plus I can borrow the huge game libraries of my friends who are all fiddling with their current-gens now.

-There's a really good new Japanese restaurant at Dundas and McCaul (in the Village by the Grange) called Manpuku that serves Osaka-style udon soups and takoyaki and stuff like that—no sushi! Along with the Tokyo Grill at Yonge & Wellesley, it's the only Japanese restaurant I can think of where all the staff are Japanese and I can practice ordering food, hahaha.

-I just saw my first Extras episode yesterday and it was hilarious (the Kate Winslet one). Time to watch the rest!

-They actually played Joanna Newsom at my Starbucks today. Heck, I can come right out and say it: they tend to play music I really like. Though they have a bad habit of playing that horrendous new Alanis Morissette piano ballad again and again and again. It sucks! It really does! Everything about it grates on my nerves.

-Kerli has been described as a mixture of Björk, Amy Lee and Natasha Bedingfield. I should probably have expected that she wasn't very good.

-Damn it I want to read the House of Leaves. Wish I had more time.

-I'm thinking of writing a short story about three demons called the Coincidentist, Charmglutton and the Gruelocrat (rule by gruel!). I think I'll do that now.
 
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now THAT was a meal.   
09:02pm 13/07/2007
  just emerged from one of the most bizarre and wonderful meals of my life, with my father and two of his friends. it started off standard-like, and then went off the deep end.

1. alla oglio pepperoncino spaghetti (spaghetti with olive oil and black pepper and parmigiano and some sundried tomato and chili flakes)
2. salad — lettuce with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, feta, oregano, green and black olives, cherries, salt and black pepper.
3. two (illegal) unpasteurized french cheeses, including the king of raw-milk french cheese, the "epoisse" (there's a chapter about it in a book I have on forbidden food called "the devil's picnic"—apparently it's against the law to take it on the subway in paris), with fresh baguette and purple walnut bread, along with 1990 chambolle-musigny red wine (almost as old as me!).
4. chilled hungarian sour cherry soup the colour of cherry blossoms, with both black and sour cherries, cream, some sugar (actually splenda, for my father), some cinnamon, sweet whole red pepper (not the vegetable, the spice) from istanbul, and a dash of kirschwasser, with 86-proof hungarian aprictor liquor on the side.
5. durian, the indonesian fruit known for smelling like rotten onions and gasoline, but tastes like ice cream with a subtle flavour entirely unlike any other fruit.

of course, it was all fantastic. I'm so happy right now.
 
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"I'm a very good driver" "NO YOU'RE NOT"*   
04:15pm 05/07/2007
  *As said by Delirium in Sandman: Brief Lives, of course.

Just came back from my very first driving lesson (and first time behind the wheel)! I have a ridiculous teacher but his methods certainly work. Short Indian guy, speaks the same dialect of Bengali as my mother, which means my sister understood him, and I certainly don't. That's okay, he spoke English.

Except he spoke on the cellphone for the entire first half of the lesson. "Turn left here. Indicator," he said quickly, as I turned for the first time and managed to figure out where the indicator was.

And then the rain started! Pooouring. Couldn't see anything. It was really kind of awesome. My stopping quickly got a lot more smooth, and my blind-spot checking a lot more natural. We spent a whole sidestreet practicing my hand-over hand. Left, right, left, right, about 30 times. And it worked, because my turns got much better after that. A bit wide, but I worked on that.

And then he decided I was ready for a main street, so I managed to do a left turn when I got an opening, and drove along Main St. to the subway station in the pouring rain.

It was so frickin' fun! I love driving. And my teacher is great, and he trusted me which made me a lot more confident. If anyone had told me my first lesson would actually be on rain-slicked major street with other cars and traffic lights and not just around a parking lot I'd have been terrified, but right now I'm just exhilirated and awaiting tomorrow's lesson.

Hand over hand! Hand over hand!
 
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Got to get back in the habit...   
01:18pm 04/07/2007
  Last night I saw 1408. Really, really good! One of the most creative and exciting hauntings I've seen in a long, long time. I mean, it's a Stephen King story, which means it's trite in parts, but it also means he mixes together all the ingredients of fear like a master chef and I found it very satisfying to watch.

And one of the important things that happened to me in the last several months: I was in the school musical! I played Miles Gloriosus in our production of A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum and it went smashingly!!

Here's a good picture:


I was basically the self-obsessed villain, overwrought, over emotional, ready to stab anyone. SO MUCH FUN.
 
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11:19pm 02/07/2007
  Several important things happened to me in the last several several months but most importantly I miss you all!

!!!


!!!

Summer is here and I'm going to keep posting.

More details on the "several things" to come.

If I missed anything similarly important (or even unimportant but delightful/interesting/relevant) in your own lives in the last little (long) while please please please tell me now or e-mail me at djehutymes@gmail.com if, due to my stupidity, I have lost touch with you. I would love to hear from you.

P.S. Facebook is the devil.
 
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me and the academy awards (an editorial but really an lj post)   
12:00am 08/02/2007
  I both love and hate the Oscars. No, it goes beyond that—I adore and despise the Academy Awards. There is nothing quite like the event; nothing that inspires such a bizarre mélange of emotion deep inside of me at its very mention.

First and foremost, I love predicting the Oscar winners—of course, I also hate the fact that they are so predictable. (As for the rare exceptions: nothing gets me more excited than a shocker like Crash’s Best Picture win last year; but the shockers also irritate me immensely, upsetting my nigh-perfect list of predictions and reminding me that the only way the Oscars can truly shock anyone anymore is by making their decisions completely arbitrary.) It thrills me that I can say with a great deal of confidence that Helen Mirren, Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy will take this year’s four acting awards—it pains me that it’s an almost unthinkable occurrence that those same awards could be given to anyone else, justified as it may be.

I love it when truly astounding films outside of the mainstream like Pan’s Labyrinth, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon get the nominations they so richly deserve, and I hate it that they invariably get shut out of any big awards after being placated with a Best Art Direction nod here and a Best Original Screenplay nod there. (A tradition since Citizen Kane—nine nominations, one win for the latter of the two aforementioned categories.) I love how the Academy Awards have a kind of conscience to them, where big snubs of the past get rewarded in later years (see Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, James Stewart, and possibly Scorsese this year); I also hate how this same “conscience” reminds me that the Oscar decisions are not in fact made by impartial judges, and that the best achievement may not always get the statue. I love how feature-length animated films have finally gotten the respect they deserve and have been given their own category—I hate how this means that never again will an animated film be nominated for Best Picture, as Beauty and the Beast was in 1992.

I love it when Canadian films like Water get nominated and give me something to root for.

I hated Water.

My point is, for me and plenty of others, the broadcast of the Academy Awards is much more than a mind-numbingly long annual television event. It’s a game. It’s a culture. It’s a cause for celebration, or for despair. It fills up “to watch” lists or serves as an indication of which movies to actively avoid. It’s a time to ooh and aah at $70,000 dresses, to judge celebrities with every step they take on the red carpet, to see how Joan Rivers’ face is holding up. It’s a great homage to the artform that is cinema, or a testament to the deterioration of the quality of contemporary films. Most of all, it is a mind-numbingly long annual television event, and one listened to and talked about like no other—the television audience for it is truly immense (last year drew nearly 40 million viewers in America alone).

That’s the crux of the matter. I love watching and talking about the Oscars, and I hate that they are so watched and talked about. This is not because of elitism on my part—it’s not as if the Oscars are high-brow entertainment, though they may aspire to be as much—but because I’m afraid that they have become the be-all-end-all arbiters of taste for far too many people. The fact is, only certain kinds of films get recognition at the Academy Awards—films by respected (old) directors, films that have made some kind of a “splash,” token “indie” underdog films, and almost exclusively films in the English language. As I have realized again and again, the Oscars are the results of a completely subjective judging process that’s nevertheless treated as an objective mark of quality by the movie-watching public. The Oscars are the most fun when you’re emotionally invested in them, but it’s nigh impossible to be both invested and still take the final results with a grain of salt. Almost every year, the very best films made don’t even get mentioned—they’re foreign, or too local, or (actually) controversial, or animated, or a slew of other factors that don’t make them Academy Award-fodder (like this year’s The Descent, The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Three Times, Blood Tea and Red String, 13 Tzameti, Drawing Restraint 9, and the rereleases of Army of Shadows and The Passenger). These are the films that you have to seek out yourself, which takes work; the Oscars have become just another way to avoid any real effort, a shorthand that determines the four or five films that a given person will rent in the next little while. Sometimes it works out, like when Spirited Away won an award and prompted a wider release in theatres. Mostly, however, it doesn’t, and the stacks of Gladiator, Titanic and A Beautiful Mind DVDs become an impenetrable wall, on the other side of which lie films that may not have won anything but which you may end up liking a whole lot more.
 
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Night Snow at Kambara   
09:40pm 14/01/2007
  First goddamn snow of the season. Bliss! Bliss!
I downloaded the Okami soundtrack. Not that I've ever played the game beyond watching a few boss fights—but the score is absolutely fantastic. Half Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, half Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon (my favourite video game soundtrack ever that may just be dethroned) and half again Secret of Mana (my second favourite video game soundtrack!). It's rather perfect. Ethereal and wispy using traditional Japanese instruments, but when the battles kick in the taiko drums are awesome. What elevates it beyond Asian-esque New Age music is the richness in composition and the use of VERY traditional instruments—I'm talking the court instruments used in gagaku, like the shakuhachi. The use of the sho in particular is astonishing! Sho is one my favourite instruments by far! It sounds like swimming through arctic water.

I wish I had candy?

There's a website called the "Twilight Princess Calculator," where you enter in what you've accomplished in the new Zelda game and they tell you how much you've completed. Apparently I'm at 37%, which is amazing—so much left to do, yay! The last dungeon was spectacular. A Yeti's mansion! With soup! Soup!

Quick meme: Randomize playlist/iPod/whatever; what do the first ten songs remind you of?

1. Mirah—Nobody Has To Stay
This reminds me of the summer before last. It also reminds me of a Moroccan cafe I went to once. And Jorane.

2. Björk—Aurora
This was one of my first Björk songs. It reminds me of being in Europe in 2003—it basically reminds me of me just starting to be a teenager, too. It's uncomfortably emotional.

3. James Newton Howard—The Shed Not To Be Used
Though this is from "The Village," it does NOT remind me of that fucking movie. It reminds me, however, of some amazing Dark Ages: Fae sessions we had—traipsing through the snowy forests, finding the shadows within!!

4. Nobuo Uematsu—The Serpent Trench
Definitely one of the most evocative tracks from FF6—it never fails to give me a sense of excitement, of bizarre adventure—I remember the spring of 2003, staring at the pixellated travelling graphics, the "waterfall." Damn it was a good game.

5. Wang Li—Sing Sing Suo
This reminds me of the beginning of S5 (grade 11), where every other week I would go to the library and take out a random Chinese CD. This is my favourite—he's an awesome Guzheng player. It reminds me of wet winter and fall days, of my failed NaNoWriMo attempt, of a strange sense of independence that came over me that year.

6. Madonna—Revenge
Project Runway, season 2. I listen to it on repeat during the period I was obsessed with that show. Last winter, basically—it was the winter of Runway, hahaha.


7. Norah Jones—The Long Day Is Over
M3. (Grade 9.) Far too much homework, but immaculately happy nevertheless. Though I always imagine her singing it at the end of a show, all covered in sweat. Ummm.

8. The Fiery Furances—Birdie Brain
M4 (Grade 11). Math class. Maria and Gillian. My sister. Jane Austen.

9. We Love Katamari—Houston
Spending time with Asher. Sleepovers at Emil's. Delicious social videogame fun!

10. The Rent Soundtrack—Will I
Oh goddamn. This year, this fall and winter, most definitely. Uhhh my sister who played the soundtrack everyday for three months. Carol, who got it stuck in my head on Thursday. Kate, too. All the musical people. The satisfied smug smirk on every damn character's face, and how this is the only moment where the spotlight is off them for a change and is thus actually affecting.
 
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11:32pm 08/01/2007
  today's return to school was exhausting and required a two-hour nap. my schedule's basically on track again after that though, so I'm okay. I resolve to spend more time playing zelda, because that game isn't going to beat itself. and the heart of darkness is stunningly written and I'm looking forward to reading it. (though I should have read it already. funny how that happens.)

"hey" by the pixies never, ever, EVER gets old. neither does gamelan. perhaps a mash-up is in order? hmmm.

(I've downloaded every exalted rpg book! what an odd thing for me to do, but I'm not willing to spend hundreds of dollars just to get a sense of what the game is about. meh, spirit of the century is probably more worth my while anyway.)
 
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New Year's Resolution #3: get back on LJ!   
10:54pm 07/01/2007
  back to school tomorrow, my last term of my last year of high school. I'm torn between wanting it to be done and over with and wanting everyday to last a week because I'll never find a place like it again.

but, academically, the future looks bright. the combination of some ridiculously good news concerning scholarships and the fact that I've committed myself to doing both east asian studies and biology, fulfilling two of my dreams at once, makes me happy and pre-satisfied. (because I suppose I won't be actually satisfied until after the fact?)

I'm going to enjoy 2007. (resolution #1 of 4.) it's the end of one stage of my life and the beginning of another, and to hell with anything that might make it less than great.
 
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The Series of Unfortunate Events...   
05:14pm 15/10/2006
  has reached The End.

As I read the last page, I had an overwhelming feeling that my childhood was effectively over.

Sigh. "The world is quiet here," indeed.
 
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10:23pm 13/10/2006
  I've made some art!
A comic, two pages, sculpture and photomanipulation, based on Rebecca Borgstrom's lovely fiction blog!

Page One
Page Two
 
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11:33pm 28/09/2006
  School is finally in full swing and I'm happily whirring along. I've only not had an afterschool commitment... once... in the last three weeks. So that's kind of bad (not that I mind much).

I'm thinking of dropping physics. It's sad, 'cause I love physics, but... NO TIME. NOT ENOUGH MINUTES IN THE DAY. Plus: it may just be the right choice for my future education plans. We'll see. I'm talking to many important people.

Top Model is starting, Project Runway is finishing, Lost is starting, Cowboy Bebop is finishing (well, of course it finished ages ago, but I'm rewatching).

Banana Yoshimoto novels make me want to run along the beach at night, eat fried octopus, and talk about the profound things in life while looking at sunbeams and waxy plant leaves.
Actually, I've done many of those things in the past few months. Go me!

Joanna Newsom's new album makes each day just a bit brighter when I play it.

The fashion weeks are in full force. If anyone cares, I may be posting thoughts on my favourite shows and least favourite trends this season.

I kind of miss my sister.

Sometimes, when I'm putting oranges in a circle, I think of my thoughts and they make me laugh.
 
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P.E.I. Photos   
10:31pm 03/09/2006
  Seeing as how I'm returning to school on Tuesday, I thought it might be time to post a few of my favourite photos from P.E.I.!


I found a decaying Lovecraftian god on the beach. Ghatanoa, by the looks of it. Seriously. There it is. WTF?

More under the cut!Collapse )
 
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