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  1. AmusedRaccoon
    July 27th, 2010 07:08 PM
    AmusedRaccoon
    Wow. Has it been almost two weeks, really? I have no good excuse; the bad excuse is that I can find a lot to be distracted by when it comes to such demanding things as reading critically and orchestrating my thoughts into words. (That likely doesn't translate well -- it's meant to be wry and lightly self-deprecating. In any case, I am sorry.)

    You asked a difficult question! The long answer comes in two parts (the short answer is boring): first, I don't ever listen to music while I'm doing almost anything else. I can't concentrate on both, so I end up losing focus on what I'm doing or feeling guilty for not paying attention to the music -- the only exceptions are driving and occasionally drawing. By consequence, I know rather less about music than most people do. Second, for whatever reason, I find that I'm capable of enjoying almost anything if I put effort into it, and inversely, I don't like most music until I try to. The degree of effort is generally proportionate to my respect for whoever recommended the music, and my tastes within genres are rather patchy as a result.

    A timeline would probably be more informative than a list:

    Thirteen and under, nothing specific. Fourteen (ninth grade) through fifteen, progressive metal, then progressive rock: Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery, The Flower Kings, Yes. Then, indie: The (early) Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, and a small Texan band called El Gato; at 16, then-new Sunset Rubdown, Panda Bear, The Arcade Fire, Man Man. At seventeen, lo-fi: Woods and old Sunset Rubdown (the link is an mp3! That specific version isn't on video anywhere) -- I also tried to get into electronica, but mostly failed, until chiptune (Bit Shifter, i cactus, Saskrotch, and this), Oval, Emotional Joystick, and, most recently, Clark. It's only very, very recently that I've been able to appreciate the chaotic noise aspect of much of those last two -- I'm pretty proud of myself; it's exciting to try and then succeed in finding meaning to sounds that previously had none.

    Also more spoilers, for fashion.
    Spoiler:
    Everyone who has ever told me anything about 1984 made it seem like the god of all books. For some reason I didn't get around to reading it until I was taught the book in twelfth grade, and even with a teacher around to point out all the nuances it seemed, well, heavy-handed more than anything. The setting became redunant rather quickly, the plot was movie-grade, and the symbolism was sub-par for what I'd come to expect in my school reading. I don't mean that I think it's bad, just, I was led to believe it was the greatest thing ever and it doesn't meet that standard for me.

    On that note, I forgot one: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. It's approximately fifteen times better than Catcher, twenty times more intelligent, and you will love the Glass siblings. Also, I went and reread the first book of Sandman -- it really has nothing on the ones that come after it, so if you haven't read them I think you'll be pleased.


    So you're bilingual! I'm jealous. There's a lot of that around here; mostly it's Spanish, but all the rest of my family happens to be fluent in Portuguese. In any case, you could be anywhere in Europe or Africa, assuming at least that part of my guess was correct. I'm afraid I'll have to give up.

    I just remembered (oh dear, this is definitely the most fragmented reply yet) -- I played jazz trombone back in the day, and I guess also baritone (we were made to march with baritones rather than trombones, so I had to learn the valve fingerings). Also piano, very very badly. Composing music is something I've always wanted to do, but even knowing notation and basic theory, it's something I have no talent for whatsoever. And on that note, there doesn't seem to be room for the arts in any of those three paths: do schools offer them as electives? Are colleges similarly focused, or are they like the ones here that offer dozens of specific majors in various disciplines?

    And now you owe me a list of music and a list of.. well, vidya games if you play them, or movies if you don't. I know even less about movies than I do about music, though, so if you choose the latter I'm afraid I won't be able to respond in kind.

  2. AmusedRaccoon
    July 14th, 2010 09:01 AM
    AmusedRaccoon
    You're going to make an American seriously consider foreign countries? For shame. Well, your posts tend to be from 4 to 7 am and 12 to 2 pm. That more or less rules out the entire western hemisphere and Australia; when you mentioned being awake it was probably sometime in the afternoon or late morning for you. It'd have to be in the vicinity of GMT. I'm going to go ahead and assume English is your first language (because man, it wouldn't be fair otherwise) and, by corollary, that it's an official or at least dominant language of whatever country you're in. As far as I can tell, that leaves Ireland and South Africa (actually, a whole lot of Africa officially speaks the mother tongue, but I don't think you'd make me guess if it's one of those). Two guesses! I've no way to narrow it further, really.

    Anyway, let's see... my school offered two years of physics, I think, plus marine biology, enviro, and forensics -- all of which were optional and worth college credit -- starting at eleventh grade. Chemistry was tenth, then, and ninth was biology -- so at the same age you learned basic physics and sorta-basic chemistry, I was learning Latin suffixes for biological terms.

    In further (totally extraneous) detail...
    Spoiler:
    The science courses followed a different model from the mathematics ones, in that it was possible in math to be up to two years ahead from middle school, but science was mostly the same for everyone until it diverged into several paths. The trend, in general, is that until tenth grade there are regular, honors (for hard workers), and gifted (for fast learners) versions of the same classes in the core disciplines, and starting at eleventh most of these resolve into just a regular version and an advanced one that gives college credit. All the science electives fall into this category, while some of the later advanced courses, such as both levels of calculus and the second level of physics, don't offer pared-down versions at all.

    I hope that was unfamiliar enough not to be boring.


    I have a very small Dostoyevsky anthology that includes all of Notes from Underground and two or three short stories -- all amazing for sure, but that's all I've read of him. Moore, check; Gaiman, sort of check (at $20 a book, I stopped at the fourth one) -- have you read any of Gaiman's novels? They're not classics or anything, but they're quite fun -- 1984 was decent, Animal Farm was disappointing (but I read it for leisure in one sitting, so I wasn't being particularly critical about it), Faust I liked but never finished, the Odyssey was great but the Iliad was boring, and I still need a copy of the damn Silmarillion. The rest, a depressingly large amount, I haven't read or haven't heard of.

    I'll add some: D.H. Lawrence, Cory Doctorow, Narnia, Dune, Heart of Darkness by Conrad (and the rest of his work, I'm sure, although I haven't read it), Watership Down, and The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Watership Down is really the only one I'd slot in the "everyone must read no matter what that means you" category, although Narnia's Voyage of the Dawn Treader is probably still my favorite book ever.

    Also, it's your turn to ask a question. :3

  3. AmusedRaccoon
    July 11th, 2010 11:10 AM
    AmusedRaccoon
    Nope, that's exactly it -- art is visceral, so it feels good even if you have no idea what you're doing, while the process of writing is this cerebral, almost detached thing. Mucking about with words the same instinctual way one does with colors results (well, for me) in muddy word soup.

    Now I'm almost positive you're in the UK; I would've thought of first year as ninth grade if you hadn't clarified. After nearly failing chemistry in tenth (science is a lot more complicated than math, isn't it?), I swore it off and haven't taken a science class since. My major, technically, is computer science, but after some soul-searching I realized it would make more sense to do that after art, rather than before. I'm taking general classes -- geography, music appreciation -- exactly like high school, except easier and with less rules and homework.

    I wish there were a writing tutorial that explained things like how not to sound awkward, rather than, say, "don't use passive voice." I guess it can't really be put into words that easily, though. Of course, art is a different story: everything is technique, everything needs to be booklearned and studied. Anatomy, lighting, color, perspective, proportion, line, volume, composition... I don't know, language is language. The rules of commas kind of come naturally; it's meta-language, the writing process, that's hard work.

    On an unrelated note, what are your favorite books in general (and children's books in specific)? I need this for, uh, research purposes.

  4. AmusedRaccoon
    July 11th, 2010 05:44 AM
    AmusedRaccoon
    Jobs -- I wish I could say the same. This upcoming semester of school is purely remedial: I was forced into my first semester, took more classes than I could handle thanks to scholarship requirements, buckled under the pressure and apathy of it and failed them all -- I fear I'll never be overqualified for anything. There must be a gray area between menial service to the masses and glamorous things like professional art and game design, right?

    (This job's sole purpose is a new computer. I expect it will be terrible, but I only need to last eight weeks... it fell into my lap, really; I submitted an application online a month ago and forgot all about it until yesterday.)

    Anyway, I say art school because of all my interests the visual medium is arguably the strongest -- writing is work, the satisfying kind (usually); art is play even in its tedium. I also desperately need training: attempts at self-education only serve to illustrate how much I have to learn.

    I mean, if long replies work it's one thing, but I'm horrible enough at this that the amount of content in my responses is often inversely proportional to their length. Also, I never know what to ask about. Are you in calculus? I miss calculus.

  5. AmusedRaccoon
    July 10th, 2010 04:43 PM
    AmusedRaccoon
    Conversation starters: how are you? What's your favorite color? What do you, like, do, besides this? (Am I doing it right?) I want answers, Silnaek.

    In August I start my last semester at my current college before (hopefully) moving away to one with a decent art program. Also, I appear to have been hired at McDonald's just yesterday. Smiles all around; it's an easy and pleasant life.

    My mom's dog is wet and halfway on my lap.

    The game -- it's off and on. I've got five or so long-term pursuits I can cycle through at intervals, and that's one. If you're interested at all I could whip up an essay on the mechanics and settings and plot we've established so far, but delving into that here would probably escalate into spam. :x

  6. AmusedRaccoon
    December 16th, 2009 01:18 AM
    AmusedRaccoon
    Well, hey. Remember me? I reviewed your story in.. Christ, I guess it was almost a year ago. I was here for the ROM-hacking forum, really, so when I decided all that hexo-decimal stuff was much too restrictive for such as visionary work as my fangame and went off to learn Javascript (for Sphere, a nice, plain little engine)... well, I know it was a while.

    Anyway, I'd drop you a review right away, but I think I'm going to have to go back and reread it all first. I wanted to say something, though, at least -- it's nice to return here and find new Aftershock waiting.

  7. Sheogorath
    October 2nd, 2009 09:25 AM
    Sheogorath
    Well, yes and no. I'm helping someone out with a Pokemon game by working on the story and making slight changes.

  8. Sheogorath
    October 1st, 2009 12:23 PM
    Sheogorath
    Jeez, why do I never get on when you're on? It's very irritating :\

    So then, how're you doing?

  9. Bay Alexison
    September 18th, 2009 07:15 AM
    Bay Alexison
    Cool, cool. Probably in the meantime I'll reread the story then. Liked I said, it's been since last Christmas since I read it. XD

  10. Bay Alexison
    September 15th, 2009 08:25 AM
    Bay Alexison
    Well you have been very helpful at "the secret place" so why not?

    Can I ask you something? I finished reading Aftershock, but seeing you're posting the last chapters here, you don't mind if I review them here? I admit though I might have to read them again due to me not reading the story since last Christmas. XD;

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