Tuesday, February 24, 2015

After All These Years

I'm six years old today! Well, kind of.

On February 24, 2009, a legend was born. And you know, like they say, "some legends are told, some turn to dust or to gold." I'd say this one turned to dust... no one really reads this blog anymore... but I'm still here!

But yeah! Can you believe it? I've been blogging on here for six years! Every once in awhile I reflect on who I am and what has happened since then. I mean, it's crazy, right? I'm sixteen now, and I've had this blog since I was ten years old. I'm in eleventh grade now, and I was in fifth grade when I started. I'm more than double that now.

So, what should I do with this post? I mean, no one's reading it anyway, so I might as well have fun with it.

So, first, I'm going to update y'all on what my NEW favorites are.

Fave band
1. Goose House (2012 answer: Deas Vail)
2. The Fray (2012 answer: Coldplay)
3. Local Natives (2012 answer: Local Natives)
4. Deas Vail
5. Measure
6. Paramore

Fave solo artist
1. Melanie Martinez (2012 answer: Taylor Swift)
2. Jeremy Zuckerman (2012 answer: Katie Costello)
3. Childish Gambino (2012 answer: Yael Naim)
4. Jhene Aiko
5. Sarah McLachlan
6. Heather Headley

Fave cover artist
1. Goose House (2012 answer: Megan & Liz)
2. Boyce Avenue (2012 answer: Boyce Avenue)
3. Fifth Harmony (2012 answer: Cimorelli)
Honestly, I'm not that into music covers anymore, so that's all I can think of...

Fave music genre
1. Broadway/show tunes/Disney
2. Rap/R&B
3. Score
4. Rock
5. Easy listening
6. Pop

Fave indie rock song
1. "Worth It" by Halocene (2012 answer: "Monday" by The Sea and Cake)
2. "Hurricane" by Athlete (2012 answer: "Wide Eyes" by the Local Natives)
3. "Wires" by Athlete (2012 answer: "Life in These Little Boats" by Deas Vail)
4. "It's About Time" by Barcelona
5. "Ride" by Cary Brothers
6. "Anything You Say" by Deas Vail

Fave indie folk song
1. "Stepping Stone" by The Good Mad (2012 answer: "Airplanes" by the Local Natives)
2. "Let it Curl" by Rie Fu (2012 answer: "Go to the River" by Yael Naim)
3. "Go to the River" by Yael Naim (2012 answer: "Come Home" by Yael Naim)
4. "Come Home" by Yael Naim
5. "World News" by the Local Natives
6. "Airplanes" by the Local Natives

Fave indie pop song
1. "Alchemy" by Kyler England (2012 answer: "Anywhere Place" by Katie Costello)
2. "The End of Everything" by Measure (2012 answer: "Oh, Imagine That" by Max & Simon)
3. "Begin Again" by Measure (2012 answer: "Ships in the Night" by Mat Kearney)
4. "I Want to Know You" by Measure
5. "Starbucks Smile" by Maria K.
6. "Sing" by Goose House

Fave alternative song
1. "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy (2012 answer: "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World)
2. "Miss Missing You" by Fall Out Boy (2012 answer: "Over My Head" by The Fray)
3. "We Are Broken" by Paramore (2012 answer: "Dare to Believe" by Boyce Avenue)
4. "Emergency" by Paramore
5. "Munich" by The Fray
6. "Absolute" by The Fray

Fave mainstream pop song
1. "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack (2012 answer: "Liar Liar" by Christina Grimmie)
2. "3005" by Childish Gambino (2012 answer: "Far Away" by Tyga)
3. "Dollhouse" by Melanie Martinez (2012 answer: "Old School Love" by Megan & Liz)
4. "Bittersweet Tragedy" by Melanie Martinez
5. "Bang Bang" by Jessie J
6. "Say" by John Mayer

Fave orchestra song
1. "In a Box" by Jeremy Zuckerman (2012 answer: "Mombasa" by Hans Zimmer)
2. "Chi Blockers" by Jeremy Zuckerman (2012 answer: "Time" by Hans Zimmer)
3. "This Land" by Hans Zimmer (2012 answer: "Doctor Who Opening Credits")
4. "Mombasa" by Hans Zimmer
5. "One Family" by Mark Mancina
6. "Red Lotus Theme" by Jeremy Zuckerman

Role model
1. Janet Varney
2. Heather Headley
3. Seychelle Gabriel
4. Kei Takebuchi
5. Kristen Bell
6. Zelda Williams

Fave television/web series
1. The Legend of Korra (2012 answer: Doctor Who)
2. Avatar: The Last Airbender (2012 answer: Switched at Birth)
3. Pretty Little Liars (2012 answer: The Lying Game)
4. Burning Love
5. Parks and Recreation
6. Young Justice

And yeah. Well, happy birthday, That Animated Otaku, and good day, everyone!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Top 15 Songs for Spring

I know it isn't spring yet, but to be honest, this post has been in my "Drafts" for a really long time, and I wanted to publish it.
  1. "Ain't That Peculiar" by Marvin Gaye. Spring is the season for playing guitar on the front lawn again, and this song is definitely close to the top of my "Must Learn" list. "I know flowers grow from rain, but how can love last through pain?"
  2. "Alchemy (Acoustic String Mix)" by Kyler England. This song is also at the top of my "Must Learn" list, though it seems like something I'd also listen to in autumn. "October turned the leaves to copper and gold. Set my world on fire, left me in the cold. If I were a master of alchemy, I'd change everything, I'd make all the broken things beautiful."
  3. "Go the Distance" from Hercules. This song is kind of perfect, and is pretty motivating. After all, final grades are out in two months! "I know every mile will be worth my while."
  4. "I Want to Know You" by Measure. I have a post that's almost done that will go more in depth about this song, but... this is one of those songs that just automatically changes your mood.
  5. "Shiawase (Happiness)" by Puffy Amiyumi. Yes, this is on my list of songs to learn, too. For some reason, I imagine cherry blossoms. Maybe because "shiawase" means "happiness," I want to attend Northwestern University, and they have a lot of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms = accomplished dream. Or I could be over analyzing.
  6. "Young Friend" by Brooke Waggoner. This is the kind of song that I could just listen to on repeat all day and never get sick of it. It's one of those songs that makes you wanna roll down all the windows and drive with no clear destination.
  7. "Hold On, We're Going Home" by Drake. I kinda want Drake to be my husband. I have no idea what this song has to do with going home, but... it's Drake.
  8. "We Are One" by Angelique Kidjo. Yeah, this song is from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride. But I still love it. I love how Angelique incorporates Zulu into the song at some parts. 
  9. "Daisy" by Stereo Dive Foundation. This song... oh my. Every person on the planet needs to hear it, even if they can't understand/speak Japanese. After all, there's enough English in it to get it. "I've never said goodbye, and I never will."
  10. "Wonderwall" by Oasis. One word: Legendary.
  11. "Happily Ever After" by He Is We. For some reason, this song just seems like a spring/summer song. "Author of the moment, can you tell me... do I end up happy?"
  12. "Femmes" by Brooke Waggoner. I'd be lying if I said I didn't try to learn this on violin. I'd also be lying if I said I succeeded. 
  13. "Dance in Perfect Time" by Deas Vail. Deas Vail may no longer be my perfect band, but this is still a pretty perfect song.
  14. "Colorblind" by Overtone. If you've never seen the movie about Nelson Mandela and the Springboks, Invictus, then let. me. tell. you. You HAVE to see it. I was forced to watch it in my World History class, and that teacher became my favorite because of it. Not only did Morgan Freeman portray Mandela, and the story was just so moving, but the music was the foundation of the film. Overtone and Yollandi Nortjie did a marvelous job on this soundtrack. While my favorite might be "9,000 Days" (which I played when I first heard the news of Mandela's death) or "Osiyeza," this one is definitely moving. The soundtrack really fueled this movie-- whenever a super emotional part occurred, there was Overtone's vocals, messing with my feels. And in the ending credits, after all these feels, came "9,000 Days." Needless to say, I cried. Well, I didn't cry. But if I had normal tear ducts, I would have.
  15. "Endless Night" from The Lion King. This song, because of the actor who originally sang it (Jason Raize, who committed suicide in 2004), makes me think of depression. However, you could also think of it like a long winter finally beginning to end, and knowing that better times are coming.
"I know that the night must end, and that the sun will rise!"
-Simba, The Lion King (on Broadway) 

The Air Inside Our Lungs

Ever since eighth grade, I have been obsessing over the electronic pop group, Measure. They are a beat-driven band based in Brooklyn, NY. You may know their song, "Begin Again," which can be heard on Pretty Little Liars. Otherwise, though, without the help of television, they remain in the dark.

Their first full-length album, The Air Inside Our Lungs, came out nearly three years ago, yet I feel like I haven't properly fangirled about it yet. I was able to purchase the album via Bandcamp, along with a grey shirt that I wear every once in a while. Yeah, it was a pretty darn good deal, and you'll want to buy all of the merchandise, too, once you hear some of the songs.

I was going to make this post about the whole album, but I think I'll just write about the songs that have (this seems like something I'd say during a book discussion) impacted my views on life, or made me think deeply. I mean, all of Measure's music is pretty deep (let's be honest, y'all), but these are the ones that take the cake. And it takes a lot to take the cake. I like cake, after all. And that had nothing to do with anything.

Track 2. "Point of You"

Pull us apart
What are you made of now?
So what is your point of view?
What is the point of you?
What is your point of view?
What is your point?

I can't get over Laura DiStasi's keys on the chorus of the song. I'd use specific numbers, but that'd require actually watching the video, and my sister may or may not be watching American Horror Story right across the room from me. The point is, it just sounds really beautiful, along with the what-sounds-like-a tambourine that comes in right after the first "point of view."

This song has always provoked thought for me since I first heard it when I was thirteen (whoa... I can actually watch PG-13 movies without being a rebel...), especially that line: "Pull us apart. What are you made of now?" I feel like the whole point of this song (no pun intended) is, what is your purpose? What makes you who you are? What do you stand for? What is your point?

Track 4. "Other Plans"

I couldn't find a video for this, so I'll just go on and skip to writing the key lyrics (all the more reason to buy the album).

I found out,
But not from you.
I found out,
And so it's true.
But you play it so cool,
She's just someone you met,
Well, go on pal, put it out there
You know I'm just someone you'll learn to forget.
And love turns into friends
Who always make other plans
And leave me by myself
While you hang out with someone else.
So where are all my friends?
And when were they all making plans
To leave me by myself 
While everyone's with someone else?
So, how'd it come to this?
Disposing of the evidence
And sitting by myself
You gave your heart to someone else.

This song is the perfect example of being lonely. It's kind of like Facebook, when you see everyone's doing something with someone else, and you're just like, "Oh. Well. Was everyone in on some kind of joke to leave me by myself while they're all having a good time? When were they planning this?" It also brings in romantic love, with the line, "Disposing of the evidence." I think of it as her trying to get rid of the love she felt for whoever this is written about, while he gave his heart to someone else.

 I love how this song is just utterly confusing. The song not only focuses on Laura feeling left out because everyone has someone, but it's about being in love with someone who didn't care much at all. She sounds angry, apathetic, and sad all at the same time. Like, goodness, Laura. Goodness.

Track 5. "I Want to Know You"

How 'bout roll down both of the windows,
So I can see you
While you sing at the top of your lungs,
Thinking no one
Can hear nothing at all
Uh-oh, I want to know you
Always come and go, uh-oh
And I just see you
That when you go
Uh-uh-oh, I wanna know
Uh-uh-oh, Where you go
Uh-uh-oh, oh, oh
Yeah, you gotta know, uh-oh
And I'm gonna tell you
That when you go
Uh-uh-oh, I wanna know
Uh-uh-oh, where you go
Uh-uh-oh, yeah come on, come on, you know
And there you go, uh-uh-oh, oh, oh.

Is this not the happiest song Measure has released? If "Begin Again" and "The End of Everything" didn't reach so deep down into my soul (with lyrics like, "You're no calendar, you're no concrete plan" and "The world keeps turning at the end of everything," it's hard to not be moved), this one might, MIGHT, be my favorite.

I can't even tack a meaning onto this one, because it can be taken in so many ways. But first, can we talk about the music?

Just so you know, this song is best experienced with sound-cancelling headphones.

1:42 is the part I wait for every time the song comes on on my iPod. Even if I'm not in the mood for it, I always tell myself to hold on until then, because I know it will lift my spirits every time. The entire song up to this point is just one long build-up until finally, exploding at this point. But is it my favorite part? I wish I could say that. And it's not that there are any flaws, it's just... well, it gets better.

1:59. That guitar. THAT guitar. Man. It goes perfectly with Laura's vocals. I wish I could say that's the best part, but once again, it's not. Surprisingly, it STILL gets better.

And then at 2:33-2:50, Woody Quinn just TURNS UP on that guitar again. Like many before me have said, usually, he and Tommy Harron (bass) fill out the sound, and for most of the song they're in the background, with few yet memorable moments (like the famous guitar in the final chorus of "Begin Again"). However, this is that beautiful place where all of the instruments can be heard. Especially the guitar. I can't really tell you why I like it; it's like trying to describe a color you've never seen.

Now. The lyrics. The amount of fangirl is strong with this one. I just really love how it sounds like being in love. What doe being in love sound like? I don't know, never have been. But, unless I'm wrong, this just sounds like being in love. It has the sound. Like, I just want to meet my soul mate one day, and then this song will play as I am completely smitten, just dreaming of seeing him again. Oh, wait. Now I know why I got Aurora as my result for which Disney princess I am.

Now, a fellow Measure fan reviewed this same album here, saying that the lyrics are "gasp, happy. Ish. And vaguely stalkerish." Yeah. It might sound a little stalker-like, but I really like it. I just think of it as being so in love with someone and you just want to be around them even when they're doing little things ("While you sing at the top of your lungs..."), and you just want to... know them. You don't want to do much, you just want to know everything about them, and you want to tell them. Now, I am that one creepy friend in my group, so maybe my interpretation is kind of stalker-ish, but I don't care.

Track 7. "Make You Love Me" cover

When I've used up the best you
And I'm breaking myself against the next you
I will think of
Your sweet and true love.
Just another inner monologue I've gotta ignore
Still a little too easy, too insecure, but
All I wanna do is make you love me.

This song, though a cover, is brilliant. What I love about Measure is that it doesn't matter whether they wrote it or not (although, I'm pretty sure this is the only song published that they didn't write). It doesn't matter who the lead singer is. Everyone has a large role in making me love their music. They've succeeded in... (*winks*) making me love them.

Can we talk about the percussion? It's perfect throughout the whole song, thanks to Casey Tuck. And that combined with the guitar... mmmmmmm.

But. 2:05. I don't know what instrument that is (I want to say it's a guitar but I don't think so), but... man. That lead.

I also wanted to embed "Fireworks 2.0," but it wasn't uploaded to YouTube or something.

Nevertheless, if you want to discover an indie band this year, Measure is the band to look for.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Hope's Journey Growing Out Pixie: The Planning Stage

So, I have a pixie cut. I have had one since February this past year, and have been dreaming of growing it back out into a bob ever since. Now, I never actually wanted a pixie cut; my hairstylist decided to give me one even after I specifically said "DO NOT CUT MY HAIR INTO A PIXIE." And she did it anyway. Yeah. I didn't really want anything super long, just for it to grow back to the length it was before.

However, almost a year later, my hair is the exact same length. The longest hairs are just barely past my ears, which I am a little thankful for. When I got my first pixie cut a few years back (which is why I really didn't want to get this one), it was cut boy short, and my ears were exposed. Like, excuse you, how am I supposed to make it through the winter? It took me less than a year for my hair to grow back, and then a year after that, my hair could touch the top of my shoulders and even touch my back in the shower. And then hairs started falling out like rain whenever I would wash it, and it just felt disgusting. So then my mom made me cut it again, into a shorter bob. A few months later she complained that my hair was too damaged (it didn't really look that bad, and I explained to her that having a pixie cut really drained my confidence when I was in middle school) and took me to get it "trimmed." My mother respected my wishes of not getting a pixie cut, but my hair stylist didn't really seem to know what a pixie cut was, because even when I said I didn't want one, she cut it into one. My mother told her about my complaints, and she said that I showed her the picture and said, "cut my hair like this, or whatever." Apparently saying 'or whatever' means 'forget that I just said I don't want a pixie cut,' but it doesn't matter because I never even said 'or whatever' the little liar. And so now I am stuck with my second pixie cut.

My hair grows about one inch per month, although it appears to be a half-inch because my roots are curly (I have relaxed hair). But no matter how long it grows in between relaxers, my stylist still cuts my hair to the length it was previously, even when it isn't damaged. I can recall one time when my hair was relaxed and she didn't cut anything off, but that was a very long time ago. So, I have decided two things: 1) I'm growing my hair out on my own. 2) I'm going natural.

So, how am I going to grow out my hair? By first getting to know my hair.

A little bit about my hair

I don't know what the technical term for my hair type is, but it is fairly coarse, very thick, and has curls so tight they could fit through a needle, probably. My hair is currently relaxed, and has been getting relaxed since I was about eight years old. When I was in ninth grade, I had about a six-month stretch between relaxers (I tried using home relaxers during this time, but none of them worked) and noticed that this was when my hair grew the longest. Well, the longest since I started relaxing. Right now, I am getting it relaxed every 6-8 weeks, and it grows about an inch in between. While my roots are very thick, my ends always end up thinning out, especially on my left side (which I sleep on). My goal is to try going 10 weeks between relaxers in the spring/summer time. I also use olive oil products at least twice a week. In the past, Proclaim! olive oil products has made my hair speed up its growth process.

My current length

My hair is a little over eight inches long on the right side, reaches the nape of my neck in the back, and two inches on the far left (when I don't comb over).

How often I touch up

I get touch-ups about every 6-8 weeks, and my hair gets trimmed almost every time.

My regimen

Night regimen: I try to wrap my hair in a silk headscarf every night and spray olive oil hairspray on it shortly beforehand.

Morning regimen: I remove the scarf and turn on my straightener. Then, I use a wide-toothed comb, a slightly thinner-toothed comb, a thinner one after that, and then a thin-tooth comb. I then straighten my hair and brush the back with a horsehair brush, or I comb through with a thin-tooth comb.

Weekly regimen: I wash my hair on the weekends, and I try to make sure the shower water isn't too hot. I skip shampooing altogether, because I lose less hair when I forfeit shampooing. Then, I leave in the olive oil conditioner for at least thirty minutes (while the room is still steamy), reading a chapter of a book or so before hopping back in the shower. Afterwards, I rub olive oil all over my scalp and through to the ends. I then rub a special type of oil at the roots where I part my hair, to promote soft roots (and it makes them smell good). I try to avoid heat styling for a few days to keep my ends from splitting, and I spray olive oil hairspray the next day.

More about my weekly wash routine

I use Proclaim! olive oil conditioner. When I shampoo, which I do once a month, I use Proclaim! olive oil shampoo. My hair probably smells like olives. I will also start leaving in my conditioner for longer on the days I shampoo; I will probably leave it in for a little longer. As for the stuff I put on my roots, it's Perfect Results Super Grow. The stuff works like magic-- my sister who has almost waist-length hair has used this, and it made a BIG difference on how long her hair grew. The olive oil and the olive oil hairspray I use are both by Proclaim. Basically, Proclaim! and Perfect Results work like magic. My hair has never been softer, and my hairstylist barely even trimmed my ends last time!

My styles

I wear my hair down just about 100% of the time, since there isn't much I can do with this length. I can put my hair in very high or very low ponytails, however for a high ponytail it requires bobby pins (and it hurts really bad), and low ponytails I reserve for decorating cakes and painting rooms. I wear it in a classic pixie style during the first three weeks after a touch-up. Then, I wear scarves and other protective styles during the last few weeks.

Using heat

I try not to heat-style, but I do it really often. When I don't need to, I don't do it at all. I allow my hair to air dry after washing, and I never curl my hair. However, I straighten it almost every school day. I need to get my act together; I know.

How I maintain moisture

I use olive oil hairspray almost every time I use heat. As for keeping my back and left side hydrated, I am going to start using hair lotions. I am also planning on using an olive oil/cinnamon hair mask once a month or so, once I figure out if it's safe on chemically-treated hair. But, my weekly routine has been lasting me the whole week without going dry lately. If I can limit my heat usage, my hair will always feel soft.

Internal ways to promote healthy hair

I take hair, skin, and nail vitamin supplements I bought from Wal-Mart. I haven't used it much lately because you have to take them three times a week, which is a difficult routine to keep up, especially during the school year. But during the summer when I was using it correctly, my hair felt very bushy at the roots, and grew pretty quickly. My nails have been very strong, but then again they were already in pretty good shape. I also hear garlic supplements can help to reduce shedding.

Setbacks along the way

I think I already talked about them, but an additional struggle is my issue with hair loss. I am someone who is generally under A LOT of stress during the school year, which unfortunately takes up most of the year. In addition to that, I am prone to bald spots because of my vitamin D deficiency. I currently have a bald spot on the left side of my head above my ear that has been shaved down and covered with a longer piece of hair.


So, now that I have gotten to know my hair, now I know the things I need to work on.

  • I am going to start stretching between relaxers. I'm going to try going 8-10 weeks between relaxers for my first stretch, and then stretch for two extra weeks every time.
  • I am going to try to braid my hair more often, so that I don't need to use heat. I can only braid the right side, but it's something.
  • I am going to use more protective styles (like bandanas and headbands), so that I don't constantly put stress on my hair with heat and pins.
  • I will massage my scalp more often.
  • I will actually take my vitamins, three times a day.
  • I will drink more water.
Wish me luck! I've grown out a pixie before, so I know I can do it again!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sure, Jan

Mark your calendars for February 16, guys. Because it's about to get real up in here.



Wait, what? Who's Janet Varney? Why should you care? Homie, I'm about to answer those questions, and much, much more. 

Remember when we celebrated Grey Griffin's birthday? This is gonna be a little bit like that. So let's get down to business (to defeat... Amon?)!

First things first, look at that baby face. Isn't she adorable? She's not only adorable, but she's a professional nerd. That's right. She gets paid to be a nerd. And an actress, but still. 

Unlike Grey, you really might not have heard her voice or seen her face before. Although, if you're a fan of Avatar, you have definitely heard her voice before. Because she is Korra.

That's right, my friends. This blonde-haired, blue-eyed, light-skinned, 38-going-on-39-year-old woman is in fact the voice of the dark-haired, dark-skinned, deep-voiced (and that's actually her real speaking voice), somewhere-between-17-and-21-at-any-point-in-the-series, Avatar Korra.

Maybe you already knew that about her. But did you know that she runs a podcast on The Nerdist? Did you know that she played Carly on Burning Love? Actually, you might not have heard of that show, but it's SO good! And a little inappropriate, but good. The podcast she runs is called The JV Club, and it's about the awkward teenage years and the times that never changed since then. You might have known she hosted TBS's Dinner and a Movie. Or maybe you didn't. She was also in a relationship with fellow nerd Chris Hardwick, but I feel like I shouldn't mention that since this is a "Happy Birthday" post, and the last time I made one for a voice actress, they actually read it.

Not to mention her teeth are really straight.

But whether you already knew who she was or you really have never seen or heard her, you definitely should pay attention now.

Her voice is beautiful.
She's one of those people that could read the dictionary to me and it would sound interesting. She could talk about quantum physics and I would still listen. In fact, I listened to an hour-long podcast between her and Seychelle Gabriel, with absolutely no video, and zoned out half the time because I was surfing the Internet, but her voice, though. I just love hearing it. And Seychelle's laugh was pretty adorable, too.

She's a legitimate nerd.
There's celebrities who go to Comic-Con simply because they're contractually obligated to, and then there's celebrities like Janet. She is a hardcore Korrasami shipper, guys. I don't really ship them (I thought I shipped Makorra, but I'm not sure I would have been happy if Korra ended up with him, either... maybe I didn't want her to end up with anyone), but still. She's fully invested in her work. She's even cosplayed-ish Korra before, with Naga, bending and all. Like, what's cooler than that. I feel like when I become a voice actress, I will probably have issues separating myself from the character (I even have issues realizing I'm not Eponine... and I only played her for five minutes... at an audition...). She's just all in.

Her characters seem like an extension of herself.
I may or may not be thinking of Carly, but sometimes it's just so hard to realize that she is acting. I tried to find quotes to back this up, but I just couldn't decide which to include. But maybe the video I linked will provide enough evidence.

I could list so many other reasons, but I have a bad habit of writing posts that are way too long for one's enjoyment (I'm still working on my Legend of Korra farewell post). 

But didn't you fall in love with her? Even a little bit? I know I did. Although I've been a fan of her for awhile, anyway.

But seriously. Is she NOT the coolest woman to roam the earth?

Happy birthday, Janet! I hope it's a good one!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of "Nah, Bruh"

I don't even want to talk about this, but I feel that as a Christian blogger (although I identify as a fandom blogger), I should at least subtly mention this movie. Be prepared for a Rated R post.

You know which one I'm talking about. The one that came out today...

Yeah. The first movie for the Fifty Shades trilogy, or whatever the official name for the book series is.

I've tried to avoid it, but after marking up several copies of Fifty Shades of Grey at my library for discharge (people have been damaging them left and right-- someone stole the first like, 20 pages of one of the copies), I felt like I just couldn't escape the madness. And I'll have you know that I literally had to wash my hands after dealing with any of the E.L. James books. I mean, who knows where they've been?

Anyway. Enough about my adventures as a volunteer dealing with books that could quite possibly be stained by some old man's semen.

Aside from the fact that the plot seems like it came straight from some person's wet dream and had no editing after (I didn't read the whole book, but I have friends who have, and the writing is not quality), I feel that as a Christian and as a normal citizen of the world, I should be speaking out against it.

I am not saying that sex should be treated as taboo; I'd rather my future children learn about sex than see people getting blown up. And I am not saying that those who enjoy BDSM should be shamed. However, this entire franchise is just... disgusting. Even members of the BDSM community agree.

Christian Grey and Anastasia's relationship is just flat-out abusive, and it's even mentioned that he has a control problem. Like, why would you want to be with a man like that?

Here are some excerpts:

"'No,' I protest, trying to kick him off. He stops. 'If you struggle, I'll tie your feet, too. If you make a noise, Ana, I will gag you.'"

"Alaska is very cold and no place to run. I can track your cell phone-- remember?" (Creep.)

"You need to learn to manage my expectations. I am not a patient man."

Yeah, sure. It's so romantic.

First of all, I believe that whatever one does in bed is a private matter, and I don't support this series for the same reason I don't have any porn sites in my Internet history. What two partners do is their business and no one else's. Okay?

I also do not support porn (and this), because of consent. You're doing BDSM? Not my thing (I mean, sex isn't really my thing at all at the moment, but...), but okay. It's consensual? High five! It's not consensual? No high fives for you. 

Oh, and disclaimer: I am not speaking for all Christians in this post. I'm sure many would speak out against BDSM, but I just don't have a stance on it, so long as it's consensual.

I feel that these books portray what sex is not. Sex is about mutual consent. It's about love. It's not about whatever this is.

It seems that this movie has already done pretty well at the Box Office, unfortunately. But please, for the love of God, do not give it your money.

"...Whatever other commandments may be are summed up in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to its neighbor..."
-Romans 14: 9-10

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fifteen MORE Songs You Need to Hear in 2015

  1. "Centuries" by Fall Out Boy. You've probably heard it on TV at least twenty times (thank God the football season is over... it was the only song ESPN played for like, two months). This song needs to play at my funeral. "Eh eh eh eh eh, remember me for centuries!" You should also check out the song "Tom's Diner," which is the 80s song that inspired the song's infamous "do do do do do do do do" hook.
  2. "Promises" by Jhene Aiko. You've probably heard "Bed Peace" by her and Childish Gambino (yes, he's the one who got me hooked on her), but this song is FIRE. Even more than "Bed Peace" is. If I had to pick between them. This song is really beautiful; the beginning is solely about her and her daughter, Namiko (Nami). After the first chorus, it switches focus to her brother, Miyagi, who died of cancer recently. "'I am in the stars, and everywhere you are'... wish that you were here now, I'm missing you right here but, I promise I'll be all right... Everything is alright, everything's in your mind, life is what you make it... anything can happen, but you just gotta flow past it... if you fall down, get back up... everything is alright, promise I'll be, promise you'll be, promise we'll be alright."
  3. "Where No One Goes" by Jonsi. If you've seen How to Train Your Dragon 2, you'll recognize this song. I especially love how it mashes with John Powell's score. It's just gorgeous. 
  4. "There's A Fine, Fine Line" from Avenue Q. This is the ultimate breakup song. "I guess if someone doesn't love you back, it isn't such a crime. But there's a fine, fine line between love and a waste of your time! And I don't have the time to waste on you anymore. I don't think that you even know what you're looking for!"
  5. Magdalena Alberto's version of "I Dreamed A Dream." This is one of my absolute favorite versions of the song. It gets me right at 2:05. I don't know why, but the brass section here is just so beautiful.
  6. "Bittersweet Tragedy" by Melanie Martinez. Last time I mentioned her, I was raving about "Dollhouse." Little did I know the entire EP is fire! "Ice cream upon a summer's day, beginning sweetness never stays. Melting through the cracks in my hands, I guess I held on for too long."
  7. "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. 2000s nostalgia, anyone?
  8. "Dead to Me" by Melanie Martinez. Like I said: the whole EP is fire. 
  9. "I'm Alive" from Next to Normal. "I'm alive, I'm alive, I am SO alive!"
  10. "Go Do" by Jonsi. I don't know what he's saying 90% of the time, but it's such a cute song!
  11. "Munich" by The Fray. Yeah, this song is fire, too. The bassline, the guitar, the drums, Isaac's vocals... takes me back to when I first started listening to them (I was six!). My first Fray song was either "Look After You" or "How to Save a Life."
  12. "Red Lotus Theme" by Jeremy Zuckerman. While this is a score from The Legend of Korra, it is still amazing without words. The beginning of the song just has this utter creepiness that lets you know that whoever the bad guys are, they're nothing Korra's faced before. And I love the string section!
  13. "Don't Worry Now" by Britt Nicole. I don't like her current music (specifically "Gold"... blegh), but her debut album was FIRE. And that's not a word I use lightly. But this song, it's just full of honest feelings and emotions. I've been fortunate enough to be living with my father, but even though I can't really relate to this song, it still gets me... you know? If only I could find my copy of this album... I might have given it away. Ugh, that album was so good.
  14. "When She Cries" by Britt Nicole. Wow, I really miss her first album. WHERE DID I PUT IT?!?!?
  15. "Miss Missing You" by Fall Out Boy. "Centuries" got me listening to all their stuff!