thistlechaser: (Flames)
NPR has been hitting it out of the park for me lately. So many interesting things were talked about this morning!

First was a story about an English cathedral with a rather unique welcoming message on their door:



You can listen to the full story here: Link.

The second might be news only to me, as he's been on Conan now. Disturbed is a hard rock band, but the lead singer had been raised as a Hazzan (a Jewish person "trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer"). He did a cover of The Sound of Silence, which is beautiful. He makes it sound like a more traditional religious song, his voice is so rich and wonderful:

thistlechaser: (Moon)
Child of Grass (Book 2 of the Sea of Grass Trilogy) by David Gerrold
Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)

In book one of this trilogy (which I loved so much), Kaer and her family were getting ready for life on "another planet" (an alternate Earth), a very low tech world with a young culture. It was a slow story full of wonderful worldbuilding and very little plot. What plot there was I disliked, but there was so little of it, I enjoyed the book overall. Unfortunately book 2 was just the opposite: Nothing but that plot I disliked.

While I'm no fan of organized religion, I really, really hate the "all organized religion is evil and everything bad in the world is caused by it, and every single religious person is bad/evil/stupid/cruel" plot device. It smacks of lazy writing. That was the whole plot of this book.

In the first book, we learned that one of the families that went to the new planet had lied through all their training: They, like other religious families in the training program, never intended to give up their current religion (basically Christianity -- it had a different name, but the main figures in it were named Jesus/Mary/Joseph/etc) and adopt or pretend to adopt the local religion. People from Earth had to believe or pretend to believe the new world's religion, since no one was supposed to find out they were from a different planet.

I lost interest before I got 10% into the book, but forced myself to keep going because I had liked the first one so much. By 20% I found myself skimming more than anything and forced myself to slow down and read... at which point I encountered many pages of two characters talking about what 'empowerment' meant -- just two characters, father and daughter, doing nothing about talking about what that term meant. (Which fed back into the 'all religion is bad' theme, since religion disempowers people.) I gave up on the book at that point.

I loved the first book of this trilogy so much, but I couldn't even come close to finishing the second one. But what really pisses me off is that Child of Grass made me want to defend religion! Arg!

You know, it's almost odd to run into an accurate Amazon review anymore. I checked them after writing this post. One reviewer wrote:

Kaer proves herself to be one of the more deep-thinking and resourceful 12-year-olds you're ever likely to encounter.

Unlike last book, I didn't for a moment believe Kaer was 12. I constantly found myself thinking she was an adult. She was smarter and "deeper-thinking" than any adult I know. Moral issues, planning/tactical issues, everything.

"Child of Earth" ends rather abruptly and continues seamlessly in "Child of Grass."

That amused me. My one complaint about the first book was that the author seemed to have the whole story ("trilogy") finished and just cut it into three chunks to publish -- there was zero attempt to make book one into a complete story at all, it cut off mid-scene to be continued into book two. "Ends rather abruptly" indeed.


---

Game of Thrones: Season 5. No spoilers outside of the cut.

Oh man, this season. What a miserable mess. I heard nothing but bad from everyone about it, so my expectations were low, but the season was even worse.

There were a few enjoyable moments in the season (and I literally mean "moments" -- a good episode meant there was an enjoyable scene somewhere in the hour). But there was so so so much bad. Really bad. Unwatchable bad.

Spoilers/details back here. )

I think by this point in the story I had lost interest in the books as well. I'm not intending to get the next book when it comes out, and it's highly questionable if I'll bother watching season six.

---

[livejournal.com profile] chichiri posted a link to some beautiful, interesting music, perhaps from a video game:

thistlechaser: (Cute flying kitty!)
I came to share a video, only to find LJ looks totally different. Different font (ugh, harder to read), different menus. I wish they'd stop changing things! My eyes suck, never before have I been annoyed at font being too big, but it's just too big. Blah.

Anyway! I've loved this string quartet's version of Coldplay's Yellow forever. Seriously, even if you've never even heard of Coldplay or dislike them, check out that music. It's so beautiful! I did some poking around, and that same quartet has done covers of hundreds of rock songs! This one is the best of the ones I've listened to, and I would feel confident saying the best of them all.

The String Quartet Tribute To Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody:


The violin sounds so much like a voice! It's incredible.

Ugh, I had to go to my user page to find something, and it's changed as well. I can't believe they're using this font, it's awful, what the hell is the purpose of a font with a quarter of the letter faded out? Look at the lowercase a, for example. Now I'm really grumpy.

Anyway. From [livejournal.com profile] isiscolo, a rec for Welcome to Night Vale: Constellations (The Thirteenth Take Remix). It's such a sweet story, I finished reading it a couple hours ago and I'm still smiling over it.
thistlechaser: (Sigh cat)
I was listening to a great episode of This American Life while going to the store today, and in the background of one story was the best music. I'm not much of a music person, but I had heard it before, I just couldn't remember the name of it. Tonight I tracked it down.



Skip to 1:56 if it doesn't start there, the first two minutes are all warm up and credits and stuff. If it's not already on highest quality, I'd suggest clicking the cog and picking the highest one. (Edit: Seems you can't pick a quality when it's embedded. Use the link to go directly to Youtube and you'll get the cog.)

Ravel's Bolero, by the London Symphony Orchestra. The video is great not just for the music, but because it shows all the instruments and people as well.

Watching it depressed me. What an interesting life it would be to have spent your whole life playing an instrument, to practice every day and to now be so good at it, to hold a job where you're playing it every day. What's more depressing is there are countless other lives that would be just as interesting. And we'll never get to live them.

The life we're leading now might be very interesting, but that doesn't change the fact that there are countless other ones out there just as interesting. Things like reading books, LJ, blogs, TV shows help a little, but it's just a glimpse.

Video games are spoiling me. The current one I'm playing allows you to be any job in the game. Today I'll be X, tomorrow Y, the next day maybe I'll want to be Z. I can become an expert in any or all of them.

The older I get, the more aware I am of how... restricted? we are. One life. Even if you live it the best you can every day, you'll still miss out on the vast majority of things in the world.

More and more I understand why the idea of an afterlife is so appealing to people.

Well, this post turned out darker than I had intended. If you want to be cheered up, listen to this week's episode of This American Life, it's really funny. Also, depending on when you read this post, the alternate subject line might not fit. :P
thistlechaser: (Moon)
I'm not big on Christmas. Long story, holidays were bad when I was a child, blah blah blah. As a side effect of that, I really, really dislike most Christmas music. I try not to be grumpy about it, but it still bothers me deep down. There are only two songs I like: Little Drummer Boy and Gloria in Excelsis Deo.

This version of Little Drummer Boy is beautiful! I can't believe their voices.



Related question: Does anyone know how you can tell if something has been autotuned? Their voices are so perfect and beautiful, I wonder how real that is. (Edit: Apparently this group, Pentatonix, won The Sing-Off on NBC, so they're probably real.)

Gloria in excelsis Deo is such a beautiful sounding phrase, it makes me wish I knew Latin.

Added bonus! Tonight only! In Excelsis Deo is the title of an episode of West Wing. Here's a video of President Bartlet from it ranting in Latin. (Latin starts at 1:12, but it's really worth watching the whole thing.)



His character was such an intelligent president. Oh how I wish he were real.
thistlechaser: (FFXI: BRD)
I don't understand most of this song (it's in Spanish, I think), but I can't stop listening to it.



A Target commercial uses it, and after hearing it once, I had to track the whole thing down.

I decided to compromise on the bird/cat issue. I took the feeder down for now, and in its place hung up a big bird bath. Birds should be able to find enough food this season on their own, but water is probably a bigger issue. They're slowly getting used to it. Come winter, I'll likely put the feeder back up -- maybe the cat issue will be cleared up by then, due to my actions or otherwise.

I have tomorrow and the next day off (WOOT!). I keep hitting our PTO cap, and if you don't use the time you lose it, so I'm trying to burn some off before we reach another 'can't take time off for any reason' period at work. I really hate losing vacation time.

I'm reading a great book (Ready Player One). I'm about a third of the way through it, and already writing the review post up in my head.
thistlechaser: (Love button)
Ever think you'd see that title used? It's true! Justin Beiber is amazing... when you slow his music down by 800%.



I could listen to this forever. It really is amazing.
thistlechaser: (Default)
1) I'm not a music person. I rarely listen to it, I have very little interest in it. Now and then I regret that. WoW has new music coming out in this patch, and I wish I knew why it catches my attention so hard, I wish I knew how it makes you feel things.



It feels slightly "off", darker than it should. It's surprising to me that music could make me interested in something, but the first part (the first 44 seconds especially), feels almost like it's telling a story. How does something without words tell a story!

2) It's rare for me to watch an advertisement, let alone rewind so I can watch it again, but I love this Baileys Irish Cream commercial. (No idea why there's no apostrophe in Baileys...) The song is great (I remember roller skating to it as a kid!), but it's the women and the graphics that make it:



I actually like the shorter 30 second TV version better, but either way it's a really nice watch. I love the women, they're so pretty and look like they're having fun, love the dresses, love the coloring, love how they all move.

Edit: There's a too-short Making Of video for the commercial.
thistlechaser: (Chi_Point and laugh)
I can't stop listening to this song. The rhythm? flow? bounce? of it makes it so easy to listen to, and the lyrics are just silly. NWS, but it's not graphic or anything.


Fiiiine booty.

In less booty news, cooking failure again. I did the same recipe as last week for the roasted tomatoes, this time with the right tomatoes, and it was actually worse. I made the same chicken with it, and it was only semi-okay. Blah! Oh well, will try something new!

Booty chicken, booty-roasted tomatoes, booty booty I like da booty. Boooooooooty.
thistlechaser: (rainbow terror alert)
Thank you, Twitter, for having "In the Navy" trend and remind me of something I've been meaning to post about for days.

A few days back, I saw a meme about music in someone's LJ. One of the questions was "What was the first CD you owned?". After having a snicker over that (why do so many memes seem written by kids?), I got to thinking about it. I've never been much of a music fan, but I remember the first album I ever bought.

I think it says something about the person I became.

I have no idea how young I was, but my mother was watching Phil Donahue (old talk show) and The Village People were on. From wiki, on The Village People: "Originally created to target disco's gay audience by featuring popular gay fantasy personas,[1] the band's popularity quickly brought them into mainstream."

I saved my allowance for weeks to buy their album and I played it so much my parents eventually bought me headphones. My mother did ask me some indirect questions about why I liked them (I didn't know at the time, but it was about them being gay and she worried at my interest), but I didn't get it. I do wonder at the foreshadowing though. Was it just coincidence? Or was it some kind of early start for things I'd later believe in? Did it have an effect on me? I knew nothing about gay issues at the time, so I can't say I was drawn to it because of that, but it's still an interesting thing.

And a related subject: When it comes to fandom, I tend strongly towards slash. I have nothing at all against het couples, it just rarely pings for me. There have been two strong exceptions to this:

Bill/Laura in Battlestar Galactica. They make my heart warm. An older couple (yay!), so clearly in love.

Simon/Alisha in Misfits. (And boy do I need to make a post about Misfits soon. Best TV series I've seen in a long time!) Like Bill/Laura, you can see (and feel!) how much Simon loves her. It makes me smile, makes my chest warm, makes me sigh like a teenage girl. You can see the love in his eyes, in the way he looks at her, the way he touches her. (Related: Must see what else this actor has been in.)

I love love. I'm not seeking out a relationship in RL, but seeing well done in a show or RL couples I know? It makes me so happy inside. :)

Edit: And semi-related, [livejournal.com profile] vorrick pointed out that that 55 Gallon tub of lube on Amazon has gone from two available down to one. I hold some small hope that my LJ post is behind that sale. ;) Fes up! Which one of you bought it?
thistlechaser: (WoW: Dandelion by Wil)
* I don't really collect anything, but the closest thing I come to it is magnets. They're generally cheap, usually fun, and they give your fridge, kitchen, and any other metal surface such personality!

I bought a set of Apple iPhone icons, and I love them.

Unfortunately there are so many of them I had to put them on the lower half of the fridge, so they're surrounded by my less favorite other magnets (the watering can is a picture frame). It's fun to rearrange them and tap them as if they really might work.

* It's such a nice thing to have a working computer. When WoW isn't my forwardmost window, it's nearly silent. Unfortunately when WoW is in front I can hear the fan, but it's a lot quieter than my previous machine. Having everything installed and running right is such a wonderful feeling, like having your home all neat and organized just how you want it.

It's really rather nice to be sane again, too... )

* On the rare occasion that I listen to music on the radio, I have to listen to the oldies station. For some reason I don't understand, they moved all the good music there. ;) In addition to the music I grew up with, they also play stuff that was old when I was young (but that's fine, I find myself enjoying that as well nowadays). On the way back to work, I heard this one song. The guy's voice was amazing, and the song was so touching and nice.



I've listened to it a bunch of times today. I love his voice, love the music, and I very much love the lyrics.

RP, WoW, TV

Feb. 4th, 2012 11:20 am
thistlechaser: (Default)
Thank you, LJ's restore post function. I started writing this post last night, then closed the window because I was too depressed. Last night's writing is between the two --- lines.

----
Years and years ago, back when I was still running the MUSH, I scoffed at people wanting a +roll command for RP fights. "Good, mature, adult RPers can talk about it! Decide what happens!". Well know what? Like a sadly high number of other things, I was wrong.

/roll or +roll makes it possible for things to happen that two people would likely never just decide to do if they were talking about it. My paladin and [livejournal.com profile] blightheart's DK were evenly matched, so we used /roll to decide things. The outcomes were so funny. My rolls were 10s and 20s, his were 80s and 90s. Basically, in the second(?) round of combat, the roll was something like 12 to 92 and so my guy basically ran himself through on the DK's sword. While greatly embarrassing IC (my guy lived through a war! He was in a warzone longer than most people! And he was an experienced fighter even before the war started!), it was really, really funny OOCly. "But Thistle! If they were so evenly matched, it shouldn't have happened!" But luck does come into play in RL. You hit a patch of ice, your phone rings and distracts you at just the wrong moment. Tiny little things that you wouldn't otherwise think to add into RP.
----

I know there were lots and lots of good RP times on the MUSH, but it's really embarrassing to remember things like that. It's even worse knowing I'm still making the same sorts of mistakes, that I too often believe there's just One Right Way of doing things.

In TV news, I should have listened to [livejournal.com profile] fealubryne sooner! I LOVE the Misfits! I've only seen two or three eps so far, but I love every minute of it. It's like the Heroes TV show, but set in the UK and a ton darker, more realistic, and way more mature. I wish I had time to watch it more often!

WoW: For the longest time, I bemoaned trying to make money on a RP server. When I was in the gem market, our prices rarely hit triple digits and were slow to sell, while on other servers they were going for 250+ and flying off the AH. And then came transmogging. I've made So Much Money flipping RP item! Greens mostly, but now and then interesting higher items. Like Eye of Flame.

Eye of Flame is a silly little item. You can't hardly even see it on someone. On a belf, it makes the eye look white.

Know how many people RP missing an eye or having an engineering eye?

Lots. *rubs hands together*

I bought the eye for just over 2K, hoping to double my money. I listed it high, thinking I could slowly lower it when it didn't sell, but it sold on the first listing, just over 7K. :D

Most of the items I flip are a lot smaller profit (200-600 gold), but getting a nice one like that feels great. And I always worry that people think I'm saying I always pick right, always make a profit, but that's not the case. Now and then I try to flip a unique-seeming item, but it won't sell at all. I have lost some money, but all in all I'm way ahead of the game.

There are only two reasons I'm looking forward to MoP: More character slots and the fact that everyone will be rolling new alts and the AH will get hot again. I love that I can tell how active the game is by the volume of stuff moving through the AH. (I don't mean just my sales, I mean moving through the AH as a whole.) The game is so very dead right now -- my profits are down, yes, but I mean total postings. MoP will change that, at least for a while. People will be leveling again, alts will be leveling professions, people will return to the game. I may never, ever, ever want to see a panda character, but I'm looking forward to the increased activity that they will bring.
thistlechaser: (Default)
Stupid LJ keeps throwing errors when I try to edit my previous post, so I have to make a second one. Sorry! It did this the other night, too -- it seems to not let me edit my posts anymore. c.c Gives me an "Invalid hour value." error. So here's what I tried to add:

Edit: Listen to these songs! [livejournal.com profile] awhisperofdusk and [livejournal.com profile] jadall did this thing where they picked out songs for all the characters they know. Thistle's are fall-down beautiful. It's magical (I never described music that way before).

Listen to this and tell me you don't feel something!
This one could be from a movie.

I like the first one better, but I think the second one probably fits him more. Somehow I have to stop listening to these so I can check out the other characters'. :D
thistlechaser: (Default)
I had to google to see if it was hodge-podge, hodgepodge, or hodge podge, which ironically relates to this post!



Rock, Paper, Cynic comic strip is a little hit and miss, but when it's a hit, it amuses me greatly.

More of my favorite ones back here! Some of them with stories from my life~ )
PS: In the UK, it's hodgepodge, in the US it's hodge-podge.

MASH is going to be an... interesting... show to watch. It's very, very dated in a not-PC sort of way. I watched the first ep (25 minutes long) and in that time they called a black person a spear-chucker, assaulted an officer/drugged him, and probably 15 of those 25 minutes was one male character kissing, groping, and generally touching some woman who kept saying 'no' every time. (And the laugh track is awful!) I know all this was fine at the time the show was made, so I'm not finger-shaking at them, but it's really, really jarring to see now.

One of the things about Teen Wolf being shown on MTV is that there's tons of music in each ep. I discovered this song through it. So dark and sad and good.
thistlechaser: (Default)
Thank you, Honda, for my latest musical obsession.



I listen to that over and over and over again, especially the first minute. Makes me want to march and dance at the same time!

In other news, RP eeeee! Five hours tonight, which is more than I've gotten in one sitting in ages! And if that wasn't enough, the IC Twitter RP Project lets me get RP at work! *starry eyes*

And in non-RP-but-still-WoW news, We'll be decreasing the experience needed for levels 71-80 in patch 4.3. So I think I'm going to sit tight on Clover for now. He's 70, and my main goal with him is Dalaran rep, so he can do the dailies there and in SW, but I'm going to sit tight and not bother with archaeology. I hate to delay this, but why do it now when it will take so much less time in 4.3? (Hopefully 4.3 won't be forever away.)

And... I was going to write more than that, but...

Super, this is great
Thank you all so much
For the parade is never ending
Bring it all on
I know you will not let it up
Twirling and flipping
All of the music's playing louder
It's all out of tune
Just turn it up, oh yeah, crank it up
thistlechaser: (Default)
I'm not a sports person at all, and if I had to watch a sport football would be at the very bottom of the list. But they're using this song in their current commercial, for which I have to thank them.



So nice and relaxing and pretty!
thistlechaser: (Default)
It's kind of funny, just this morning I told someone I'm not really much of a music person. Few hours later, I'm posting some! But this is so pretty and so cool!



Make sure to watch through the credits, they're quite funny!

My A Song of Ice and Fire 2012 Calendar arrived today. Kudos to Amazon for packing it in a box instead of wrapping it in paper or something. My postal delivery person will bend and fold anything and everything that can be, to fit it in my little mailbox. Box > mailman!

The calendar itself is okay. Unfortunately I won't be able to use it at work (way too many half-dressed women, too much blood, too much "not office norm") and I never use wall calendars at home. The art is... sort of okay, too. I've seen so much fanart that's a whole lot better. I'm really kind of surprised, as popular as the book series is, I would think they could get some top artist to do the art. (Or maybe a top artist did do it, and I'm failing to understand their artistic style or something... but even non-artist me can see when a bare human foot isn't drawn well or a wolf's face is scrunched in an unrealistic way).

*looks closer at pictures*

I mean seriously, the art is just really off. The first month's picture is Bran. The kid's hand is way, way bigger than his head. His foot is nearly as long as his leg from ankle to knee. His head seems really oddly made, like there's too much head and not enough face, yet his face is really big. Oh, but his other hand is normal sized.

Second month is Jon and Ghost. The wolf is just embarrassing, looks kind of like a plush wolf that's been bent out of shape. Jon isn't much better (again, there's some kind of head/face issue. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but it's like his face is too big for his head).

Maybe it's just men he can't draw. March is Daenerys and she looks fine (though rather underdressed, which wouldn't be an issue for many). There's something seriously, majorly wrong with the horse she's sitting on though. I think the poor beast broke its neck and then half melted.

April's Rob Stark is actually pretty good. Just a close up of his face. Poor Arya lost her hand in May, it seems to have experienced the same melting that Daenerys's horse went through. Her poor hand looks like it's made of two or three hotdogs, semi-melted like wax.

So anyway, yeah. If you've not bought it, I would not recommend it at all.

Edit: Have some pictures! I don't have a scanner, but I took pictures of a couple.

Jamie's o-face.

Everyone's favorite dwarf.

Here there be dragons. I can see what the artist was going for with the horse, I think he meant it to be running at the "camera" and turning at the last moment, but it just doesn't work.

Edit2: How about some good (non-fandom) artwork to balance things out? I love this person's style. So simple, but I love the style.
thistlechaser: (Default)
It's kind of funny, just this morning I told someone I'm not really much of a music person. Few hours later, I'm posting some! But this is so pretty and so cool!



Make sure to watch through the credits, they're quite funny!

My A Song of Ice and Fire 2012 Calendar arrived today. Kudos to Amazon for packing it in a box instead of wrapping it in paper or something. My postal delivery person will bend and fold anything and everything that can be, to fit it in my little mailbox. Box > mailman!

The calendar itself is okay. Unfortunately I won't be able to use it at work (way too many half-dressed women, too much blood, too much "not office norm") and I never use wall calendars at home. The art is... sort of okay, too. I've seen so much fanart that's a whole lot better. I'm really kind of surprised, as popular as the book series is, I would think they could get some top artist to do the art. (Or maybe a top artist did do it, and I'm failing to understand their artistic style or something... but even non-artist me can see when a bare human foot isn't drawn well or a wolf's face is scrunched in an unrealistic way).

*looks closer at pictures*

I mean seriously, the art is just really off. The first month's picture is Bran. The kid's hand is way, way bigger than his head. His foot is nearly as long as his leg from ankle to knee. His head seems really oddly made, like there's too much head and not enough face, yet his face is really big. Oh, but his other hand is normal sized.

Second month is Jon and Ghost. The wolf is just embarrassing, looks kind of like a plush wolf that's been bent out of shape. Jon isn't much better (again, there's some kind of head/face issue. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but it's like his face is too big for his head).

Maybe it's just men he can't draw. March is Daenerys and she looks fine (though rather underdressed, which wouldn't be an issue for many). There's something seriously, majorly wrong with the horse she's sitting on though. I think the poor beast broke its neck and then half melted.

April's Rob Stark is actually pretty good. Just a close up of his face. Poor Arya lost her hand in May, it seems to have experienced the same melting that Daenerys's horse went through. Her poor hand looks like it's made of two or three hotdogs, semi-melted like wax.

So anyway, yeah. If you've not bought it, I would not recommend it at all.

Edit: Have some pictures! I don't have a scanner, but I took pictures of a couple.

Jamie's o-face.

Everyone's favorite dwarf.

Here there be dragons. I can see what the artist was going for with the horse, I think he meant it to be running at the "camera" and turning at the last moment, but it just doesn't work.

Edit2: How about some good (non-fandom) artwork to balance things out? I love this person's style. So simple, but I love the style.
thistlechaser: (Default)
Yes, I'm Spammy McSpamson tonight, sorry for all the posts! I really wanted to share this new music I've found.

This epic song was used in an unofficial WoW video, so I tracked it down and loved every second of it.

I traced it back to the guy's main YouTube page (check out that song featured at the top!).

But the guy does all sorts of stuff, I am so very in love with this one, it's so peaceful and happy!

Wiki has so little info on him (only a paragraph!). He does "trailer music", though I don't know if it's for games or movies or what.
thistlechaser: (Default)
Yes, I'm Spammy McSpamson tonight, sorry for all the posts! I really wanted to share this new music I've found.

This epic song was used in an unofficial WoW video, so I tracked it down and loved every second of it.

I traced it back to the guy's main YouTube page (check out that song featured at the top!).

But the guy does all sorts of stuff, I am so very in love with this one, it's so peaceful and happy!

Wiki has so little info on him (only a paragraph!). He does "trailer music", though I don't know if it's for games or movies or what.

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thistlechaser: (Default)
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