Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sometimes you need to go where everyone has a gun or my Arsenal review

Don't you need to go where everyone has a gun? ie, the Arsenal!

And so I watched Arsenal (I posted up the movie in parts in a previous session). Weird, stirring, long, meandering, epic, more adjectives stuff, it really is. The movie traces the full course (well most of the full course) of the Russian Civil War in Ukraine (I don't want to imply that Ukraine is part of Russia, but I don't have a good term for the action in Ukraine and in many ways it was an extension of what was going on in Russia, so I'm sticking with that terminology), it starts with the ending period of World War I, when all of Ukraine was devastated (really stark imagery in that), going to the establishment of the Ukrainian People's Republic (it was a short lived government that was German and later US/UK/France/Poland backed), moving on to the raging war between the White Russian Army and Ukrainian forces and finally to engagements between the White Russian Army and the Ukrainian Bolshevik Army. It doesn't quite get to the end where the Bolsheviks are triumphant but instead shows the triumphant Ukrainian Bolshevik spirit (I'm not endorsing here Bolshevism, I actually hate Communism quite immensely, but I'm just trying to give you a sense of the movie).

This movie is quite the mixed bag. It has been called a classic and I can see how people can look at it as one. It has amazing use of montage at times that juxaposes vivid images, creating immense emotional reactions. It also has immense symbolism to its scenes which are sometimes painstakingly crafted. Even some of the long takes which just dwell on scenes of men without legs or mothers who lost their children are heart breaking. In addition, as a historical document it is a fascinating as a document of the Bolsheviks defending their crushing of Ukrainian nationalism. As a piece of film theory it reflects early Russian theories of montage, of agi-film (agitation films), of semi-plotlessness and of semi-herolessness (for another good example of all this film theory stuff (an example I'll be citing), check out Battleship Potemkin). However, I can't say I'm thrilled with movie. It has many brilliant pieces. The best is probably when a soldier is hit by laughing gas (I don't think laughing gas was actually used in World War I (although mustard gas was), but I suppose its symbolic of the insanity of war as the soldier laughs at the corpses of his comrades) and an opposing soldier looks at him, and throws down his gun asking "Where is the enemy?" and then, as montage flashes with other scenes, the questioning soldier's commanding officer comes up behind him, orders him to pick up his gun, and finally shoots the soldier who refused to fight. There are several other moments like this where the film seems brilliant.

And yet, there lacks a force to string it together. The film lacks narrative tension. The plot is often absent, and when present it is stretched out far too long. Unlike Battleship Potemkin, which also stretches out a simple plot, the montage is too slow in many scenes (although there are scenes with quick cutting) and is too focused on exposition to provide visual tension. Perhaps the problem is that the film wants to do too much. It wants to explain the revolutionary cause, it wants to denounce Ukrainian nationalists, I think it even takes a symbolic swipe at Ukrainian anarchists. And it goes across a significant number of events without any developing any character (although there is a sort of main character he is largely blank except for his symbolic credentials as the Ukrainian worker) or even a sense of character in the masses (as Battleship Potemkin in some ways does (especially in the specialized mass of the battleship)) to personalize the events. Maybe I'm just not used to this type of film, maybe it's just because I watched the film in pieces on youTube (I know that sounds bad, but I watched them back to back and I think overall it didn't have too big of an effect), but I couldn't find any driving force between the moments of brilliance this film offered. Without some tension pulling me through the movie, I couldn't fully connect with it on an emotional or intellectual level.

I'm overall glad I watched this movie, and I can see how some people could absolutely love it, but I can't really recommend it. On the other hand, I can't not recommend it. If I had to rate it (and I do because I want to and I AM RAND) I'd give it a 6 out of 10. Maybe I'm being cruel to a classic, but if that's the case, well, sometimes you just got to seize the arsenal.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!


So here's a film I stumbled upon solely because of my film project. I don't know that much about it really, except that it's a film from 1928 about the Russian Civil War (still early enough to have some first person perspective) and according to its Wikipedia article it's somewhat ambivalent about the Soviets, maybe. Apparently the director is famous as well, I can't really say from my own knowledge if this is a true fact since I am not a film expert but only an amateur. But if I do use it I'll watch it and maybe do a review too. But anyways for any who want to watch it here are the links:
Arsenal, Part 1
Arsenal, Part 2
Arsenal, Part 3
Arsenal, Part 4
Arsenal, Part 5
Arsenal, Part 6
Arsenal, Part 7
Arsenal, Part 8

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Battleship Potemkin

I could say a lot about Battleship Potemkin. But a lot has been said, and said better in a lot of different places. Put aside for a second the fact that Communism's a repulsive ideology and just enjoy the technical mastery of this film and its immense emotional effect. It's a landmark in film history especially in regards to montage technique and the career of legendary director Sergei Eisenstein, but it's also damn cool, so here's a link.

Battleship Potemkin: The movie

Aelita, Queen of Mars

A Soviet Sci-Fi Epic. A man goes to Mars, befriends its queen and helps its workers. Its plot has definite propaganda elements, but it still sounds pretty cool. Besides it was made in 1924 and for that early a sci-fi plot like that is pretty damn cool. Aelita's Wikipedia article claims that it inspired a lot of future sci-fi movies, and while I'm skeptical of some of its claims (the article claims it inspired Metropolis, and that's a pretty big claim), it's age probably means it inspired some stuff. If I have enough time I'll watch it, and I might watch it as part of my Russian film project, but I thought I'd like up some places to get the film for all you good people out there in internet land.

(Also of note for any Code Lyoko friends, notice that the name is the same as Code Lyoko's female lead. She too is queen of a foreign world. Coincidence? Probably not, but maybe it is a coincidence, either way=cool)

Aelita, Part 1
Aelita, Part 2
Aelita, Part 3
Aelita, Part 4
Aelita, Part 5
Aelita, Part 6
Aelita, Part 7
Aelita, Part 8
Aelita, Part 9

First 8 parts are about 9 minutes, last part is about 4 minutes, so altogether a 76-84 minute viewing experience. Not that long. But it between being great, being crazy, and doing work, ah, it's hard to find time for the movies.

One hand might wash the other but who washes the arms?

The hands of course. When I thought of that phrase, it had such a faux profound sense to it, but now that I realize it has such a simple answer. Well, I suppose that just emphasizes the faux in the faux profound.

Greetings y'all, and welcome to another session of the Rand Show. Should I open things like that always? I've always been of mixed feelings about a standardized opener. On the one hand, it's cool, it builds the brand, and it gives a feeling of greater consistency. On the other hand, often my thoughts flow directly from the title, or just directly from my head and I don't want to interrupt things for an opener. Oh, choices, choices. Of course I could try the opener and on and off for a while.

Ah experimentation, something, something, something or other.

I got to say I've been a bit lazy with my phrases lazy. But perhaps that's just because I've been feeling a bit unwell.

"I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell, I know right now you can't tell"

(On a stylistic note, I wonder if any of you have noticed my increased use of links. Part of this is simply the fact that more links helps search engines find webpages, but also I think this helps break up the visual monotony of the reading lots of words on the computer and the conceptual monotony of just having words in front of you)

In a recent session I thought I had located the prime source of my feeling unwell (perhaps that's the wrong word for it, I'm at least feeling a little bit off). My analysis was it was because of fear of bad things happening and anxiety over me doing not enough good. I'm not saying that's wrong, but it's not I think the full case. There's still something off inside me and I'm not sure what.

But perhaps that's just something I need to live with. I've often stated that people can never fully understand my mind, and maybe it's time for me to start relaxing a little about that fact. Perhaps it's okay to live in a world where I can't know every little bit of my thoughts. Perhaps, blah, blah, blah.

I think I've hit up that subject well enough.

Moving on to other matters, I'm planning to post up some sessions with linked up versions of Russian films. Why? Because I'm doing some research into old quality Russian films and I think it's pretty cool that they're available on the web and so I'll be posting them up.

In other news, I've got a lot of work to do and so I should be moving on to doing it.

That's about it for now. So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Awesomeness always returns

And so I am back. After several days of weak and sporadic sessions I have returned to give meaning to your bummy lives. All hail the returning Rand!!! And so on.

Well, it has been a nice Thanksgiving break, but now life must resume, or else, well, things aren't good then. But anyways,

Zoonga, zoonga, zoonga.

Bet you weren't expecting that! (Or if you had been paying attention to my previous sessions and had noticed my tendency to break up ponderous, incomplete, overly serious thought with odd-sounding nonsense, you might have been expecting that, and that is why the bet I mad was a gentleman's one, I know you people are probably not gentlemen but I am willing to be merciful.)

Anywho, it's strange (as I've remarked several times over and over again to various people until their heads want to explode), after that break I'm starting to feel the pressures of school and personal work, as well as future prospects and plans begin to impose themselves on me. In my pre-Thanksgiving session I commented on how vacation from school does not equal vacation from my personal work, yet honestly I pretty much did take a vacation from personal work (and I extended my vacation from school work to the extend of semi-falling behind). And so now I'm honestly finding it a bit tricky falling back into the tap of things, like getting back into the posting schedule and such (for a little while I was in a nice posting schedule where I was posting every day at a morningish time (I think (although don't quote me on this) that my views increase when I post early)), but more badishly I find some old feelings rising up (I see a bad moon rising).

I mentioned a while ago that I was done with my most recent crisis but that after a number of highly wah-wah sessions I didn't want to cap it off with even more extra super more wah-wah. But since y'all have had the intervening days of the Thanksgiving break + a little more let me chat a little 'bout it all. And by chat I mean say this:

I think a lot of my problems come from my impending, overwhelming desire to change/save/rule the world and my constant belief I'm not doing enough by that. It's aggravating, every day bad things happen. Whether you believe the world's getting better or worse (I tend to believe neither exactly, try to figure out how history's going is the easy path to madness), bad things will keep on happening, and that includes really bad things and things that are really bad personally. And every time that happens, I feel like I've failed. And then there's every moment I'm still, every moment I haven't accomplished something absolutely fantastic I feel like I've failed because I haven't made things better. That just seems insane, it just seems like an absolute and terrible monstrous mistake. It just seems like I'm fiddling while Rome burns. It just seems like I'm a part of the horror, since I'm not stopping it.

It's so easy to feel that way.

It makes me feel like even a moment spent inactive is my mark of failure. Moreover it places pressure on me to save the world with the next moment.

And yet, to feel that way, even Rand the Grand and Glorious can't do it all, and he can't always be trying even, especially since he too is a part of this messed up world.

One more thing if you think about it. If human beings deserve happiness, than don't those who want to help people have a right for happiness too.

But scrap all that, no screw all that. To tell you the truth, no matter how much I do it's still not going to be enough to stop bad stuff from happening, moreover the further into the future the effects of my accomplishments go the less control I'll have over them. So scrap that too.

How to deal with it all then? I appreciate the beauty of life, the universe, and people, wonderful old people. Life is beautiful, and if things go wrong, it might become less pretty, but even less pretty it is infinitely beautiful. So while life might not be as good as you want, it still is so damn beautiful.

And in the end, God will take care.

And yes, there will be horror.

But God will make the best of this world.

And it will still be so damn, incredibly beautiful.

So that's about that.

And those pressures seem a little bit lighter.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

People, something vague and grandiose

It is a mark of my ambivalence about the subject that I cannot even summon up a specific vague and grandiose statement about it. But I love people. They're good folk. Especially friends and such. But they do fill me up with immense and often agonizing amounts of anxiety. Friends and such less so. Usually I don't find friends as discomfort producing. Ah, but here's the rub, I like being around my friends, but the act of contacting them, creating a contact as opposed to simply being exposed to one, there's a big anxiety creator. But hey, no pain, no gain. And I must gain the glory, for I am Rand the Great and Glorious!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Do I need to say more?

It's been pretty relaxing. On the other hand, it's been pretty busy because spending time with my family and stuff and doing fun activities. In someways it's like every other homecoming except 100x.

Ah, but that makes sense, and that's also why I got to run, but feel free to check out the archives.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vacation's all I ever wanted, actually no, but Thanksgiving Break!!! Wooo!!!

Greetings, y'all. Sorry about missing yesterday's session but you're all bums, so I don't feel so bad, especially since I for once was not being a bum and working hard for the monkey, so hard for it honey, I work hard for the monkey so give me some monkeys and give them some honey (wow, I started out with a song parody, went to a Simpsons reference and then went straight to insane nonsense (am I awesome or what?)). Actually I had a ton of school work to do and my mind almost exploded, just almost. But now that's done and it's time for BREAK!!!! THANKSGIVING WOOOOO!!!!

Actually I still have school work to do and some of it I actually need to do over the break. Thanksgiving break's actually something of a tease when you think about it, since it doesn't last that long (least for me, Rutgers only gives 2 days off (because they're bums), and unlike more lazy and yet generous colleges like Princeton University I don't get a fall break) but moreover fall break doesn't really signal the end of a school unit. I mean certainly a lot of tests and projects ram up to the end right before the break (hence the insane amount of work I had to do up to yesterday), but once the break's over BAM!!! got to prepare for the real finals (which for Rutgers is throughout the month of December (Princeton's got a really weird schedule where they have their break first then their finals, they also have extra time for their break, but I actually prefer to have finals first then break because break time would probably lead my brain knowledge to decay and the decay and such and so that would be bad for finals and such).

And yet for all the teasing, it will be nice to have a good nice breakity break weekend. Especially since it's THANKSGIVING WOOOOOO (seeing as I've got mad Catholic power (Catholics rule! Yeah!!) here's a link for Catholics about Thanksgiving)!!!!!

Plus my bro the bro-man Jay (again shout out to his webpost) is coming over so that'll be the cool and all (he might even give me some tips for upping my webpost quality (I mean it's already awesome, but it could be MEGA-SUPER-AWESOME). It'll be pretty dang cool eh?

So this break will be still pretty awesome. Now I do wish it was longer, especially since I tend to use my breaks to get actual personal work done (now to say what this work is, well, I've got projects, writing (I actually want to try to get into a habit of writing a page of fiction/poetry each day, although I'll probably not be posting it up since it'll be raw in form (and possibly content, but probably not, I'm not an exhibitionist)), renewing old friendships, etc., etc., plus tons of other stuff) (I tend to have mixed feelings about the idea of school as work, but I've talked about that before, and I'll talk about that later), but let's do a little supposing and say I didn't do work (it happens sometimes I end up having my depression or anxiety catch up to me on a break and it takes me right out of all the work stuff), then while I certainly would like more than 4 days break, too long of a break could be a problem.

My brother's like this sometimes, he can't stand being not at work for too long. I mean I can be not at work for long periods of time but then I just feel crappy and guilty and even if I can get over my guilt I still feel unsatisfied, because heck, I like my work (and here I'm talking I'm about my real work like writing).

But still, especially since I'm going to be doing personal work, I'm going to love this break, love this Thanksgiving, and love you my good readers (you know I love you!).

So anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart (take my love people! (I mean that in a writer-reader way, although if any girls want to contact me...)), and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Very Long Night of Londo Mollari

Babylon 5 fans know what I'm talking about. I always loved that episode, and that title is just pretty awesome, even if is highly specific to Babylon 5. Awesome show, and one of the few American shows that truly earns the title of an epic (although the title epic is pretty contestible, some say only poems can be epics, and some say that epics must fulfill a number of conventions, but I'd say an epic is a matter of scope and focus, and given the intergalactic, many years scope and wide ranging focus I think it qualifies).

Ah, the epic, it has been one of my long dreams to write epic stories. Now I've got a long poem that might qualify with a little alteration but I dunno about that, it's kind of more personal in focus than epic. It's humorous too but I'm not sure if that necessarily disqualifies it from epicness. It's still awesome of course. Now probably my focus for an epic would be probably a book or book series or movie or movie series or tv series. Now containing a full epic in a book is kind of difficult. Epics are rambling creatures, containing wide-ranging perspectives and giant events over long periods of time. Space operas often approximate epics, but usually their focus is too narrow or sometimes just plain unfocused, and they lack the heroic sense of an epic. There are exceptions though. And of course there are fantasy epics, but usually though fantasy epics and even sci-fi epics go over several books and movies. TV I think has pretty awesome potential really to create epics, the long period of a tv shows with short pieces and the possibility of mini-arches and side stories I think has a lot of potential that's unexplored really.

So that's one of the reasons I'd like to do some tv writing. And for all you tv producers out there, you can probably give me some money and such, it would be pretty awesome you know and pretty awesome for everyone because you know I'm awesome and such.



So that's all for now, anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It's been a long November

It has been a long month. And I've established that over my sessions throughout the month. As to the why of the why it has been a long month, I could probably put out a good session on that, but I'd rather mix things up a little with a little mixing and a little upping and a little mixity upity up.

So I like gum. It's good stuff really. It preserves the experience of eating for a long time, and that's really nice.

I also like eating, it's also good stuff. I like to think it's a somewhat artistic experience. I mean the crafting of good food is artistic, but appreciating the food I think is also artistic. When you appreciate art you are forced to take an artistic outlook and such. So it's all good stuff.

So with that in mind, let's throw on some awesome artistic appreciation stuff like a couple of shows I'm watching now:

1. How I Met Your Mother

Really nice show, it's a sitcom but it goes beyond the sitcom conventions. The central conceit that it is a guy telling his kids how he met their mother gives the show a little bit of direction although sometimes it leads the show to go rather semi-lame lesson-oriented.

2. House

Nice, nice show really, most of the time. House is a jackass, but he's a miserable jackass. That's the thing about jackasses, if they're always right, the show's an endorsement of jackasstery, but if the jackass gets proven wrong every now and then then it's okay. And House manages to balance that. Plus you got some nice character interplay, and so nice joke cracking. And as a medical procedural show, well, I've heard they get some of the med stuff wrong every now and then, but the show keeps things suspenseful and they play around with the formula every now and then. But in the end it is a formula show though. And after a while, it gets kind of hard to stick with that. House is one of those shows that's great to watch every now and then and often awesome to watch when it's rising up or falling during a storyline arch, but once it hits the long stretch of the season, when the formula really shines out, the episodes become a little interchangable, and not something you want to over-do. So that's about that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I've got another confession to make, I'm your fool

After two days I've still got Foo Fighter's the Best of You stuck in my head. But that's a damn nice line "I've got another confession to make, I'm your fool." I guess I am your guys fool. I've been looking at a lot of other webposts and a whole lot of them had their authors give up after a while (which kind of hurts my efforts to accumulate the best of the web's webposts, since I'd rather not include ones not regularly updated unless they are especially good.) so the fact that I've kept up almost daily sessions for nearly a year (when I hit the year mark I'll probably be in India, so I'm not sure how much of a celebration I'm going to be able to do for it) means either I've got a minor accomplishment or I'm your fool.

I wonder how large an accomplishment this is. I've definitely had at the best mixed success in attracting readers (because most readers are bums, and while you guys are, as I've said often, bums, you are apparently less bummy than the rest of the web, so my hat's off to you guys (if I've had a hat)), in terms of quality I think I've done well. Overall my average quality is good, although I've had some crappy sessions I'll admit, and I've had a couple really great sessions (sometime soon, once I'm done copying over all my old sessions from MySpace I'm planning to create a list of best sessions). But perhaps most importantly my consistency has been pretty good, not excellent maybe, I've missed sessions every now and then and sometimes for as much as a week, but I've kept at it, and that's more than can be said for a lot of my other projects, and maybe, that's something I can be proud of, maybe.

I often wonder what good I've done in this world. I try hard to remind myself of a rule I made that I'm not going to judge myself by my accomplishments but by my effort to do good, but if the impact of my 21 years... if the overall sum of it is a little good or maybe even a decent amount of bad... It's hard sometimes when I think that way. But lately it's been hard for me not to think that way. My brother complimented me on my ability to deal with my mental illness to make it through these years. I've always wondered how well though I've made of things, maybe I have kept my grades up, but that is as much do to the mercy of my professors as it is to my effort, but perhaps that's okay. Maybe we all need a little help now and then.

But I'm not sure my survival, or even my personal success at school is enough for me. I'm reminded of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Anyone who's seen that show is now asking, dude, does he actually understand it? Well, no not all of it, but parts of it. I understand to some degree the feelings of the main character, Shinji who struggles to find the desire to fight, to live, or to exist as an individual being. His low sense of worth negates the idea that he has an inherent right to exist, but I like to think he finds something in the beauty of the emotion of love that carries him through and gives him the worth he needs (this is the interpretation including the movie End of Evangelion). Is that enough for me? But have I valued and cherished love as I should, or have I just dwelled in fear? If I care about love so much why haven't I had a bigger positive impact on the world?

These questions whirl around in my head endlessly. And I worry that I've had a negative impact on someone I love (adding to previous fears of this), so I wonder is my slight positive impact overwhelmed by this? And if it is, then for the sake of my love of others, is it better for me to leave... But this ignores many factors and ideas. First of all, I think I underrate my positive impact on the world. My writings might not be widely read yet, and heck, they might not even be that good (although I still think they really are, after all, how can Rand the mighty and glorious write badly?), but I've tried to be a good friend to my friends, and I think I've done pretty well on that front for the most part. For most of my friends I think I've left a positive mark. I think for most of my family too I've left a good mark. Second, I think I ignore my positive potential, if my writings are good, if they get out there they should do some good, I have the potential to do good for my friends and family and strangers really. Thirdly, I have to consider the impact of my leaving this world, but even if that's a reason to stay that's not a reason to really live this life.

Perhaps, if I want to talk about the good impact of my life actually being happy and well, perhaps I ought to think of God. God loves me, and therefore it makes sense that He would be happy to see me well. And I like to think, even if I haven't made much of an impact, I really do believe in love, and whatever my personal failings that counts for something.

It doesn't stop the questions, just because you have answers. But maybe it allows you to overcome the questions, and still live, and more than that, when you have the answers, it allows you to strive for further answers.

I suppose in the end, I have no choice to keep on pressing on, well, no I have choices, but those choices are simply wrong, and so if I'm honest with myself, I realize I want to press on, and with God's help I'll keep doing that.

Even if the tides of the past keep pulling me backwards, maybe still I can break the current and sail beyond the seas.


Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Maybe it has the best of me

After every music session I do, I get a song stuck in my head. From my last music session I got Best of You stuck in my head. And I feel like maybe someone or something has the best of me, but I suppose I just need to rip away and say "I'll never give in...No, I refuse." I'm half inclined to do a semi-exposition of this song or even a full exposition, but for various reasons that would be a bad idea. Time's one, I do have a paper to write, but also the things I'm thinking about when I'm hearing that song right now aren't stuff I can share, at least not with everyone.

I realize it's a bit of a cheat to hint so heavily at some story I'm not going to share, but if it is a cheat, so be it, I can live with that, but I can't live with telling this story on the web, at least not today. There are some stories I tell and some I don't. Stories about me I tell for the most part, although I'm considering being a bit more guarded about these because people I know might (big might) read this and take things in a bad light (actually I already consider that and hide certain things, but I'm considering expanding that rule); stories about news, culture, science even, the world in general, those I tell; stories about things that never happen or only might happen, those I tell; but stories about other people, well, if it's positive I might share it, but I'm not going to share other people's secrets on the web, it's just not right.

If it seems even more obnoxious to explain myself in a way that hints even more at the story I'm not telling, well, that's really too bad for you. Sometimes you have to live with not knowing. It's just that something bad happened, and it's taken a lot out of me, but I'm pressing on, even if I can't really change the bad stuff that's happening, but at least I can live my life and hopefully help prevent other bad stuff.

But it hurts you know, watching bad stuff happening and being helpless. It does hurt, and sometimes it takes the best of you.

But when that happens you just need to scream "I'll never give in, NO I REFUSE!"

Because if you do give in...

And even with the bad stuff in the world, there's still so much good, it's still not a bad world, it's just not as good as you'd like it to be... and so you learn to live with the bad stuff that's happening, and you learn to press on, and you take back the best of you.

Or at least you try damn hard.

That's really all I have to say about that.

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You can't stop the music, even if you wanted to

And still the beat goes on. I've been putting off doing a music session for a while for a while because of a bunch of reasons really, I guess I was frustrated with YouTube and the often shallow selection of AMV's there (I mean come on people do you really have put every single song to Fullmetal Alchemist, and Naruto, come on people why Naruto? (I think I actually understand why Naruto appeals to people, it combines a fairly straight forward fighting anime with simple comedy and drama elements, nothing especially fancy, nothing especially well integrated, and not up to great standards, but I can see how people could like it, especially if this was the first anime they saw (or simply the first they saw after Pokemon and Yugi-Oh))). I was also just generally avoiding doing a real session because, well, things fall apart.

And things aren't well, now, but still we must press on, even if we'd rather stop.

Anyways, even though I touched on this before I thought I'd start things off with:

1. A Perfect Situation by Weezer - From the album Make Believe - I'm not going to go too deeply into it since like I said I touched on this song before in this previous session. But it is damn good song, so chuck filled with emotion that at the end all you can say is Ooooooh, Ooooh, Oh, Ooooh, except it time and melody with the song, alright fine, Ooooh doesn't work well when written out.


Weezer's video - An awesome video, funny, cool and still it reaches into your heart and gives it a little squeeze

A Perfect Situation AMV - anime - Midori Days - Despite the anime being about a guy with a girl on his hand (no, this is not porn), the anime's filled with that wishfillness for romance just like the song, and this AMV really brings out that emotion, sometimes its a bit too literal it its imagery but it connects the video with the song and comes out better for it so well, well done video maker, well done.

2. Sunday, Bloody Sunday by U2 - From the album The Joshua Tree - This is an immensely stirring song. It is about the Bloody Sunday Massacre, you can check a small primer on the matter on Wikipedia. It was part of the greater Northern Ireland conflict, but ulitimately the song boils down to a roar against violence. And this was before Bono became so goody-two-shoes that it just makes you want to smack him upside the head.


U2's video - a standard concert video, which I suppose in its simplicity underlines the seriousness of the emotion, but I prefer a later fan made video made with clips from a movie depicting the events of Bloody Sunday, U2 video stuff, and some photos from the day itself.

Sunday, Bloody Sunday AMV - anime - Neon Genesis Evangelion - A damn good AMV, I must say. It certainly connects in terms of energy and mood with the song and much of that connection is due to the choice of elements by the AMV-maker. Still it strikes me as interesting choice thematically since Neon Genesis Evangelion is all about Senji's struggle to find a reason to fight and Sunday, Bloody Sunday is well about not fighting. But the great anguish of war, that's the connecting element the AMV picks out well.

3.London Calling by the Clash - From the London Calling - The desperate, insanity. The utter energetic pessimism. The nihilisticly joyous anger. Ahhh, that's the stuff. That's the ROCK!!!!


The Clash's Video - Now like the U2 video for Sunday, Bloody Sunday this is largely just the guys playing their music (although not at a concert), but the setting, the lights and shadows, the angles and the cutting all create a better video. Just a little tip for you aspiring video directors. (Note this is actually an altered version with some video edits and remastered sound, if you want this is the original video)

London Calling AMV - anime - Rurouni Kenshin - Now I don't like to repeat myself with animes I have unsure opinions on (I used to watch this a couple times but I didn't really get into it then, maybe I'll watch it some time in the future), but I really wanted to have a London Calling AMV and this one captured the chaos of emotions that swirl around in this song, and it does it with swords!!!

4. Best of You by the Foo Fighters (keep on fighting that Foo guys!) - From the album In Your Honor (it's in my honor, not in you guys', I'm the special one here) - I always felt this song was about the struggle to maintain hope and passion against tragedy. Least that's my ways of it, but this much I know, and I know this for trues, this song is awesome.


The Foo Fighter's video - insane video, but if this song isn't about insanity, it's about something mighty close to it.

Best of You AMV - anime - various - This AMV belongs to the cutting edge of the genre, where people use really nice video editing software to punch up their videos with fades and live action implants and the like (as well as obnoxious opening bits), but none of that would be enough without the meat and cheese of AMV craftsmanship (by the way my little sister has gone vegan which means she has given up both meats and cheeses), scene selection, tonal matches, energy correlation, etc. And this succeeds, it contains a sense of strength, of yearning, of deep struggle, of passionate emotions, and of mental anguish. Maybe not exactly what I got from the song but plenty close enough to the song to enhance it and let it shine.

5.Eye of the Tiger by Survivor - From the Rocky III Soundtrack - Dude, anyone who listens to this song before a performance or competitive event and does not get pumped up has no soul, or doesn't the song (but then they're just lame).


Survivor's video - alright this isn't actually Survivor's video, but it's close enough since the song was designed for Rocky III (besides you can't tell me what to do! You're not my real mom (unless mom is reading this)!)

Eye of the Tiger AMV - anime - Naruto - After griping about Naruto before, why feature a AMV with Naruto? Because I can! Also I'm willing to give that Naruto is a decent fighting anime (although I'm not crazy about all that jitsu stuff, I mean I know it gives a systematic sense to made up martial arts, but after a while it just sounds lame), and it is occasionally able to throw its characters into some nice combat scenes that can be nicely sliced up, smacked together and turbo-charged with the awesomeness of this song to explode into greatness (although I will smack this AMV a little for incorporating a lot of scenes from a Naruto plotline actually featuring a special eye (you can tell this if you read the subtitles that are left in (little tip for AMV makers, unless you plan on incorporating the subtitles, just use a dubbed version))).

So that's it for the music biz. And that's the biz with music and siz. It's nice to really invest some effort into a session like this. Even if these music sessions aren't as intense as the normal sessions (and that's a real if, since I'm always surprised by how long music sessions actually take to put together), it gives a little sense of accomplishment, even if my readership is small enough that I could beat them up with one hand tied behind my back and the other connected to an electric beating machine.

Little side notes: Congrats to old Piro and his wife Sera on their baby Jack!

Also my sympathy to Ryan Sohmer for his recent loss of his cat, baby (the comic on that is here and he has a blog entry on it here).

Odd how that ended up. I've never met these guys, but I've always admired them (to a degree), and they inspired me in part to get onto this interweb, so well, well that's that.

As to my own stuff, well, it's my own, and I have other feelings and shout outs I'd like to give, but I don't care to be coy or irreverent and so I no longer care to continue this session (although I should be back for another one tommorow, why? Because I'm just that awesome).

So take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I begin to sickify, what!

It's been an uneasy last couple of weeks for me. Breakdown, some other stuff, and I got some sickified. What! Reference to the song Stupify by Disturbed, I have mixed feelings about the band. At times it's got some really nice power to its songs, but then again it sometimes dabbles in incredibly lame mommy lyrics. But yeah, so I got sick. It's not that bad, but it keeps me off balance and a little off overall. Hence I'll be glad when it's over.

It's a little hard to think, it's a little hard to plan, it's a little hard in my skull, but that may because of lack of flan (I've never actually had flan)

But isn't that the sand (worm that is!)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quotes and Boats can only lead to moats

You are a robot sent from the future to win - Marshall, How I met your mother

That is no country for old men- Sailing to Bzyantium- William Butler Yeats

Nothing good happens after 2 AM - Ted, How I met your mother

People don't kill themselves because of a lack of a will to live, but rather because of an abundance of a will to die. - Rand

"But if you smile at my poem,
Ah, that's the sunshine,
And that's enough for me." - Rand

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity." - The Second Coming, William Butler Yeats

"Suit Up." - Barney, How I Met Your Mother

"These are fun facts, guys, let's have fun with them." - Ted, How I Met Your


"Keep those eyes open!" - Asimov, Cowboy Bebop

"JET: Back then, when I got home from work, you always waited for me...

was all I needed... But that day, when I came home, only that watch
was left and a small note with one word, "farewell"... For some
reason, I didn't feel sad. It just lacked reality... And I gradually
felt something inside me go numb... After 6 months, I made a bet with
myself. If you didn't return by the time this clock stopped. I didn't
come here to blame you... I just wanted to know... why you disappeared
back then.

ALISA: You seem to think that time on Ganymede had stopped. That's a story
from long ago... I've... forgotten it. I don't need time that stands
still. Farewell, Jet..." - Cowboy Bebop

"You're gonna carry that weight," - Outro quote, Cowboy Bebop

"A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Never insult anyone by accident." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea." - Robert A. Heinlein

"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once." - Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, November 11, 2007

To the Veterans

I had a lot of trouble earlier this year trying to do a Memorial Day session, and so, well, I had a lot of trouble writing this for Veteran's Day. But I have a great deal of respect for veterans. Risking your life to protect your country is truly noble. I'm not sure exactly what to say more than that really.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Karaoke equals awesome

Now I'm just saying. That's how I disarm all objections to all of my idiotic statements, I'm just saying. But Karaoke equals awesome is true and you know it, I know it, and if you're snickering because I said it, it's because you're lamitude is just so massive it's cutting off oxygen to your brain.

So since Karoke equals awesome and awesome band equals awesome, Live Band Karaoke (if you have an awesome band, which was the case with the Human Karaoke Experience) equals mega awesome, and so I had a good night last night.

I hit up Live Band Karoke, hosted by the Rutgers University Planning Association (RUPA!) (always a fan of their work) and I partied like it was some year that's highly associated with partying. It would have been cooler if more people had been there but...

Well, let me say before I just ramble on and on and on and on and on and on and on...

Ok, well why was this so cool:

First of all the band was pretty sweet.

Second the song list was massive. Not completely massive, but pretty massive.

Third the singers were pretty good. I mean some were a little tone deaf, a little off beat, a little sloppy with the lyrics and didn't know exactly when to start and stop (ie, some of the singers were a little bit like me), but there were a lot of impressive voices on display.

Fourthly, you're always discouraged from singing like a jackass, so why not go somewhere where you're actually encouraged to sing like a jackass.

So that was cool. And it was fun. It was good to have fun. It's been a taxing week, and so it's nice to feel alive like that. I only wished I felt the same off stage as I did on stage. On stage, or at least once I got about half-way into the song, I felt like a king, like I could do anything. But I step off, and I bit by bit I slip into my anxiety shell again. Most of the night I was sitting by this pretty girl and she even seemed to like my performances on stage, but did I say anything to her? No. Sure I didn't know what to say, but screw that, if I had tried at least well I could say I tried, but I didn't.

Well, in honor of karaoke and all those times I should have asked a girl out and didn't (including times when everything was so perfect, but...) (Weezer's Perfect Situation):

What's the deal with my brain,
Why I am so utterly insane, (completely)
In a perfect situation I let love down the drain,
Here's the pitch
Sure and straight
All I need to do swing
And I'm a hero
But I'm a zero (sound familiar)

Lonely nights once again, (Oh yeah)
Now this is getting unbelievable
Because I could not have it better (maybe I could but things are getting pretty good)
But I cannot get no love
From the girls all around (They never give no love to the Rand-man)
As they search the night for someone to hold on to
They just past through (They always do)

Singing Oooooh
Singing Ooooh

Get your hands off the girl
Can't you see that she belongs to me (well that never happened to me really)
And I do not appreciate this excess company
But I can't satisfy all her needs (well, that will probably happen to me later)
And so she starts to wander,
Who can blame her? (I sure can't)

Singing Ooooh
Singing Ooooh

Tell me there's a reason out there
Leading me to be prepared
For that day something really special might come
Tell me there's a moment for me
I don't want to be lonely
For the rest of my days on earth (sing it brother!)

(Guitar Solo! (that's one thing about the Human Karaoke Experience, awesome guitar solos))



So that was not exactly Weezer's lyrics, that was my recollection aided by a lyrics site, you can find probably more close to Weezer's lyrics here. Also I feel obliged to tell you that this is from Weezer's recent album, Make Believe. It also has a sweet video, it's not a 1-1 translation of the lyrics but it captures that same emotion of longing. And here's a cool AMV with Midori Days, (an anime and manga that's awesome), that also captures that terrible loneliness despite all the love you see around you (although it's a more literal video that Weezer's).

Anywho, I need to go and well, go home, but for all you cool cats out there, stay awesome. And take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember, Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

And the return never felt better, except the time it did

So I've been missing some sessions lately. And I'm not going to elaborate why. Deal with it (preferably by giving me lots of money, you know if I had lots of money I wouldn't be missing as many sessions). Anywho, I have a funny story to tell you my good reader people and such, today I went a-speed-dating. Brutal. Yeah, just brutal. 3-min's per girl. Rapid fire questioning, the only way to avoid it: think of as many questions as you can. Blanking out 99% of the time. Constantly moving. Trying hard to scribble down the right name and number on the interest sheet so that she can get your contact info. Yeah, just brutal. And what do you get? A very off chance of actually making an impression on a girl. Now I'm awesome, but sometimes people don't realize that about me at first, they should, but sometimes it just doesn't happen, it's nobody's fault really (except yours Mel).

So that's speed dating. But heck, somebody might call me up and I might be able to get something nice from all this and that, so it's good stuff. Well, it's still brutal. I've got to wonder overall is all dating like this? Probably not. I mean if I know the girl decently before hand, her company will probably be pleasant, but there's a degree of nervousness that's inevitable in dating that just sucks. And there's so many people to go through before you hit one where she likes you and you like her and in that special way that a relationship forms. And it's tiring. Still no pain, no gain. But it would be nice if people just recognized my awesomeness, assessed their compatibility to my awesomeness and just came to me (I suppose this would be similar to saying I wished girls asked guys out more, so yeah, I'll say that, but I'm also saying that more people should call me awesome, for I AM RAND!!!).

Anyways, take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Even in sorrow life remains

I remember a conversation I had in middle school. It was after the Columbine Massacre, I was talking to some friends, and we were talking I guess about the impact that the Massacre would have on our lives. And I remarked how we would probably forget this in a week or two maybe remember it a little a year from now, but eventually forget it completely. It seems a little cynical looking back on it. It also feels immensely sad.

I sometimes feel like the sorrow of a tragedy should be carried with you forever, and to some degree that's true. You can incorporate lessons and memories into your mind and thoughts. But the full morning of the tragedy has to end, and relatively quickly at that. Because we need to live.

It still seems like a crappy way to run things, but what do I know.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Hello folks and stuff (it would be cool if some stuff were reading this webpost, but alas, my audience is mostly made up of folks).

Yesterday I was planning a big statement on the desperate situation I was in and how I was just barely pulling things off by the skin of my ass, but it was All Saint's Day and so I decided to write about that.

As to my situation, I've been having trouble getting my work done, I don't know why, but it's like this. I had on my computer for two-three days all the necessary components to make a project over a week overdue work and I resisted putting it all together. Instead I fiddled with things, tried to make things cleaner, and then I tried to make things more complex. By the end I had about 2 and 1/2 versions of the program that should have worked. Eventually I settled down my brain enough to take the simplest version, sand off the rough edges and send it off.

But why?

I can't say I'm sure. But there has to be a why.

Every action needs a reason and every inaction needs a reason, it's impossible to really and truly be still. That's the problem with nihilism, the enthusiasm for the purposelessness of life is never strong enough to stop the instinct to act or to purposefully be inactive. To commit suicide would take a heck of a reason (usually self-hatred), but to live requires acting, or at the very least responding to the actions that surround us. And whatever our response is that has a reason.

But why did I just screw myself over by leaving my project undone for a week? I don't know, maybe it was biology, maybe nurture, the point is it was something that I had to away from.

Curiosity drives me to investigate my mental state, but also a desire to prevent problems from happening again. But still, worrying too much about my mental problems breed more problems which distracts me from bigger concerns...

What are the bigger concerns? Life, Truth, Love, etc. If I went by my feelings, and especially my feelings last week I would say nothing, nothing mattered, and eventually as the pains in my depression grew I would simply conclude that avoidance of pain mattered only and then flip, I'll be dead. But instead I take what feels to be the core and most beautiful principle of my beliefs, and then use reason and experience to go from there. And that's how I got to here, a follower of God Most High.

But that has nothing to do with the title of this session. I've been rambling, but not unpleasantly, and yet I still feel compelled to stop. So's your face! It always works.

Anyways, so take it to your head, take it to your heart, and remember Rand rocks. Goodnight Folks!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Happy All Saint's Day

I am actually kind of sad that I didn't attend Church today, I actually didn't remember that it was All Saint's Day until a few minutes ago. I said a prayer but I really wished I had celebrated things more properly. But while I like attending Church on All Saint's Day, it never had the same significance to me as say Good Friday or even Ash Wednesday.

Still, let be on your mind that this is a holy day, well all days are holy days really, but this more so than normal, as it is scheduled to concentrate all of our minds on God.

I've never been terribly sure of the significance of All Saint's Day, but in my mind it is a call to our own possibilities with God's help. It is a call to recognize, honor and venerate the saints who have gone before us, but it is also a call to recognize that with God's help even the lowest of us can become saints. I've never been to big on the role of saint's as intermediaries between us and God, I recognize it, and occasionally I'll say saint's prayers (of course I say often the Hail Mary, the prayer of the Queen of Saints, Mary, the Mother of God), but I've never had the degree of personal connection with a saint that made me concentrate on him or her as my special intercessor. Yet I take great significance to the role of saints as role models. Although, we might not be able to replicate exactly the circumstances they lived in (especially given the number of saints living way back in history), but we can imitate their spiritual lessons. I recently gave a speech about this sort of in Church, basically it was St. Francis' day and St. Francis is the patron saint of the MCYM (Malankara Catholic Youth Movement), and basically I said that we should imitate St. Francis' devotion to God and his devotion to doing God's will despite the other plans his father had for him. Another point to remember that St. Francis measured his success by his following God's will and not the money or success he achieved, something else to imitate.

To be honest I can't remember exactly what I said since I didn't write anything down, I was in a bit of a breakdown when I gave the speech and so I just remembered a couple main points in my head and I just let it flow out. That it came out pretty decent and conveying some good points about religion is perhaps a little bit of a miracle (I'll talk more about my personal take on miracles later). But the point is that we can imitate the spiritual lives of saints by taking the lessons of their relationships with God. Now saints weren't always right in their opinions (St. Augustine had some really weird views on plays (although he shared this with Plato)), nor did they necessarily live spotless lives (St. Augustine here is another good example, since he lived as basically a hedonist during his early years (I'm using St. Augustine for both examples since I read the first 9 or 10 books of Confessions by St. Augustine (I left off around the start of the exgenesis of Genesis, but that was sort of because I was busy writing a book report on Confessions)), but what all saints have in common (or at least all true saints), is a deep relationship with God and a deep devotion to pursuing that relationship and pursuing God's will.

This also means that if we want to achieve sainthood or something comparable, we don't need to be personally spotless, nor do we need to be right all the time. We just need to try to always get closer to God and to love God with all of our hearts, minds and souls. And part of loving God is loving his people, which is to say loving all of the world. And it's tough sometimes, but if we keep trying, yes, we can become saints. And if we don't have enough time in this world to achieve that goal, well, Jesus granted us forgiveness of sins, and since sins are what keeps us from God, if we keep trying to follow Jesus' path, then He will take away all that keeps us from it.

And I think even if you don't believe directly in God, it is still possible to achieve this. The Bible says, "He who loves everyone except God, loves everyone" or something to the like (I'd put up a link but my computer's failing right now, I believe the passage is in 1 Corinthians 13 (St. Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 13), and so if we pursue the principle of love (and not say just the happy feeling love gives us, or our desire to possess one thing or relationship), even if we might not be directly setting out to try to follow God, in our hearts we are searching for that path. And I think that in the end, for those souls who are searching for the paths of love, God will show them the way to His kingdom. Least that's my take on it (where does this leave the importance of the Church? In my book, the Church is the best guide in pursuing those paths of love, but I'll elaborate on that in a later session).

So we can all look to the saints, and their relationship with God and the strength of their love for inspiration, and we can all learn from them. And maybe, if we find the right lessons in their ways, we too can be saints one day.