Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I Don't Write Like Shakespeare

After the last post, I mustered courage to follow more blogs. Click on my profile to see which. Anyway, Eleanor Roscuro has followed me! I have TWO followers now! Twice as many as before! As many as before plus 1! And minus 0! 1 plus 1 minus 0 plus 1 minus 1! That makes 2! Unlike math, new followers bring me exhilaration. Thank you, Eleanor!

To give this post more of a reason to exist, I present my results from I Write Like. I Write Like has been popular for a while now. It's where you enter a piece of your writing and the site analyzes it and tells you what famous writer you write like. I entered my blog posts, and this is what I got:

Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, H. P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, David Foster Wallace, H. P. Lovecraft, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, David Foster Wallace, H. P. Lovecraft, Cory Doctorow, Stephen King, Isaac Asimov (for that post on swearing), Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Margaret Mitchell (for the first post on the Palins), H. P. Lovecraft, Dan Brown, Vladimir Nabokov, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Cory Doctorow, Mary Shelley, Douglas Adams – (for the second half of the post on computer vs. pencil animation), Stephen King, William Gibson, Cory Doctorow, James Joyce, Cory Doctorow

If you skimmed or skipped that paragraph, I completely understand. (Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands that day.) Mostly, you should notice that I got "Cory Doctorow." A lot. I'd never heard of him before, but the next day, I noticed a book in B&N with a familiar name on the cover: Cory Doctorow. The book was "Little Brother," and it looked interesting. Maybe I'll check it out, see if I really do write like him.

I also entered text from a story I'm writing ("writing" here meaning "neglecting with half a chance of ever finishing"). This is what I got when I entered short excerpts:

Stephen King, Stephen King, Raymond Chandler, Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, Stephen King, Stephen King

I didn't realize my story was that scary...

This is what I got when I entered 3 entire chapters:

J. K. Rowling

I am gonna be an EPIC bestseller! Right? Right?


It's ok. You don't have to break it to me. I realize even if I entered gibberish into IWL, I could garner comparisons with famous, bestselling writers like Dan Brown,
Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, and James Joyce. I know because I actually entered gibberish into IWL and garnered comparisons with those famous, bestselling authors. (Were they actually bestsellers? I don't know.) Don't expect me to remember the precise wording, but I entered text to the effect of, "ahdk a kdhoeiw aj dja id bhehwa d oaiuek,a dhbeal." And that was just ONE line. Brilliant, I know. My insight probably changed your perception of reality. That line alone could inspire more movie scripts than any two current bestsellers put TOGETHER. Yes, TOGETHER. Right? Right?


Just joking. I also created and entered this text: "That our webs would lead to rain and faraway scallops to the downy bed of rose petals. For in that scarlet lethal box what pyres set by must scrawl away abysmal." By now, I bet you're annoyed of my insight changing your perception of reality.

Kidding. I was just trying to write glittery babble structured like Shakespeare's words, "To sleep, perchance to dream. Aye, there's the rub. For in the sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil must give us pause." I was hoping my babble would garner a comparison with Shakespeare, proving that Shakespeare is no better than babble. I don't think highly of Shakespeare. Most people assume that means I'm an uneducated baboon (even if THEY have never read Shakespeare - hypocrites). I'm not. I'm way ahead of my time, is all. It's not that I don't understand Shakespeare. I do. Let me read a Shakespeare passage once, maybe twice. I understand it fast. Well, not that fast, since I'm a slow, careful reader to begin with, but I DO get Shakespeare. I just don't get why it's so great.

People say the language is beautiful. It's alright, sure, but truly beautiful writing is clear and understandable, which, hello! Shakespeare's not. Not to most people. Besides, beauty means nothing without substance. Who cares HOW Shakespeare says anything if the content is repulsive? (Well, apparently, the whole world, but forget that.) Shakespeare filled stories with ridiculous, stupid, cruel, manipulative, evil, or wholly insane characters who are often rewarded for their immorality and sympathized with for their stupidity. Just to mention the character element. The proof is in the pudding, and Shakespeare pudding tastes more like Medieval mud (not that I know what that tastes like). Why? WHY is Shakespeare a classic? I just don't get it.

Ok, so I haven't read that much Shakespeare. I haven't read all his plays. I haven't read a single play all the way through.

Oh, dear. My argument sounds less and less convincing, darn it. But I've read enough excerpts from a wide enough variety of Shakespeare to know that I can understand it very well and it isn't that beautiful. I've seen enough movies and TV shows and read enough summaries to know the stories. The stories are what counts. The stories are awful.

Anyway, IWL didn't give me "Shakespeare" for my aforementioned babble. It gave me "James Joyce," and I don't know who that is. I would have tried again for "Shakespeare," but I lost interest.

Moving on, I present a glorious Rapunzel (Tangled) poster. I love the expressions on their faces. They look like intense, swashbuckling adventurers. With lots of hair and gorgeous colors. =D

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh, a Leaf! Oh, It Might Attack Me! Oh, It's a Scary Blog! I'm Afraid!

When I started this blog, I feared it. Well, not the BLOG, but the consequences of blogging. I was uncomfortable being personal and sensitive on the internet, to strangers, internet weirdos (no offense to anyone who reads my blog). I didn't blog much before, but when I did, I came away worse for wear. People are MEAN on the internet. (And STUPID too. And I mean, STUPID. Did I mention STUPID?) People take advantage of your heartfelt opinions. With those, they know your weak spots. They can be all the crueler if they know what hurts you, annoys you, infuriates you, saddens you, and so on. When I started blogging, I felt it was a definite and likely possibility that someone would try to hurt me. I'd cover topics I cared about, my personal growth, and even just movie and book reviews, which were mainly all I wanted to write before I started this blog. Even reviews revolve around my, sometimes very strong, feelings. People could take those posts, figure out what makes me tick, and tick me off. In a way, I was scared of CARING too much, or at least showing it online. I sometimes get over subjects I cared a lot about before, and then I feel embarrassed for caring so much and letting people hurt me because of it. When I talk about it online, it means other people will know how much I cared and how stupid I looked, how my frustration spilled out online. They could copy and save what I wrote, and even if I deleted this blog, I'd never shake the feeling that my words were still there, haunting me. Unsavory memories linger.

Furthermore, I have pretty conservative beliefs compared to many, and pretty un-conservative beliefs compared to many, and just strange beliefs compared to everyone. Based on my beliefs, I don't fit into any one group. None that I know, anyway. I knew I might attacked by all sides because I'm not on any of them, and I was afraid of that.

I was afraid of being stalked. I was afraid to slip up and give a clue, or several, about where I live, and the scary people, the pervs and murderers, who hate me on the internet might find me in real life. As bad as it would be to be persecuted online, it would be worse to be attacked physically, in real life.

I was afraid my blog would flop, but I was more afraid that people would follow it. See, as long as no one followed, I had the option of deleting this blog any time with no one knowing the difference. No one would be disappointed. If they followed, however, I'd have to keep blogging forever, providing people with more chances to persecute or stalk me. If followers UNfollowed, I'd feel stupid and rejected. That's why I put off following other blogs for so long, even though I knew it might help me gain followers. Well, that's one reason. The other was that I didn't want to have to UNfollow them, as I said a few posts ago. I'm still hesitant to follow blogs. As of now, I'm only following one other blog.

As you can see, I started this blog anyway and maintained it well until a few weeks ago. I WANTED to share my opinions and frustrations and joys, even IF I'd get metaphorically kicked around for it. I guess you could say I'm pretty brave. Yes, friends, I am the picture of shining knighthood. Well, no. Actually I look nothing like a knight, and thank goodness. Those people were awful, what with how they hit people with pointy objects, killed reptiles with extreme prejudice and pointy objects, pillaged the villages, terrorized the serfs, committed adultery with the king's wife and all that. Sheesh. The point is I took a risk, and now, I'm much less afraid of this blog. I don't know why exactly. Maybe I saw nothing bad happened. Maybe I hardened my shell and became less afraid of persecution. Who knows, really? If I don't, only God does.

Did that sound arrogant?

Well, if it did, I can't help it. I'm feeling pretty sick about an upcoming test, so I'm gonna go now, take my mind off stuff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Missing Opportunities

In my last post, I overlooked an opportunity for a better Fact of the Day for that post. So I used it for this one. The tidbit about the humans and kittens up there.

I seem to be missing a lot of opportunities. For instance, today I saw a cousin I don't often see. She's an adult with her own family. I've always liked her. She's pretty, elegant, calm, nice, friendly, accepting, and sweet, in a really stable way that keeps me from fearing that her darkside will surface and try to kill me. She seems very intelligent and real. In general, people are idiots and fakes, and I hate them for it. I sometimes can't believe any intelligent, real people exist, but then I meet people like my cousin. She doesn't seem to be TRYING or putting on a show of being nice, for the sake of being polite. She seems genuinely kind. She doesn't seem secretly depressed (as so many in my family seem to be) or not-so-secretly depressed or hidden-but-pretty-obviously depressed or any degree of depressed. Or any degree of angry. Or any degree of anxious. I know I'm making her sound all perfect, but she's not any degree of judgmental or snobbish or self-righteous either. Not as far as I've seen, but I admit I haven't seen that much of her.

You see, whenever I "visit" my cousin, I just sit there kind of nervously and try both to avoid looking at her and to look at her enough to be polite. I say nothing unless she speaks to me first. I feel intimidated by her. Not because she's intimidating, but because I'm so used to being surrounded by people I can't stand that I don't know how to react when I'm around someone I like. I'm used to people who ignore me or act like snobs or jerks or morons. I'm also used to people who are friendly even though I don't particularly like or trust them and don't want to commit to being friends with them. I'm somehow both used to that situation and terribly uncomfortable in it because I have to hit the magic mark of nice-enough-not-to-hurt-their-feelings-but-not-enough-to-make-them-want-to-be-friends. With my cousin, it's similar but different. (I think my bad social skills are showing. From this, you'd think I can't get along with ANYONE. . .I can! I can!. . .Convinced yet?. . .I can! I can! Fine, I can't.) (1) I feel weird being around someone I don't despise. And (2) I really don't want her think I don't like her, which is liable to happen with the confused, nervous way I act around her these days. It's uncomfortable. I can't cope around people I like, and I'm squandering opportunities to make non-enemies.

By the way, if someone acts fake to you, they're insulting your intelligence and disrespecting you, since they would have to really respect you to act themself around you. If they pretend to be nice to you, they usually hate you. If they pretend to be mean to you, they usually fear you. If they pretend to want to take care of you, they usually look down on you like an insect both slimy and hairy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Comparing and Contrasting Similar Songs, and Showing a Rapunzel Trailer

First off, a brand new trailer for Rapunzel (a.k.a. Tangled)! This makes it look fun in a so-bad-it's-good kinda way (I hope the actual movie isn't that corny), shows off the pretty colors, reveals that Rapunzel also looks like a rubber suit, and gives us so much more to think about, story-wise, than the last trailers. Also, I hate to risk jinxing the production by saying the movie will be good...but here's a fun article that takes the risk for me (and also divulges that the final movie production nixed the corny scene where Flynn gets attacked by Rapunzel's hair - Yay!).

Now, on to the post's main event: comparing similar songs. Contrasting them. Judging them. Deciding which are better. Which will live, which will die. 'Tis a noble endeavor, to be sure. All songs are equal, but some songs are more equal than others. Just kidding. All songs are NOT equal. People are equal. To people. But songs are not equal to songs. Observe.

Paramore's The Only Exception vs. Taylor Swift's Mine.

The songs encompass the same basic concept, but Paramore does it better. Both songs are about - and Swift even said this - Finding the Exception to the fact that most relationships end. I've said before that I don't like Swift's music, but I'm doing this post anyway because it fascinates me how one song can be so alike to another and yet so much deeper.

When I first heard Only Exception, I didn't like it. I wasn't listening to the words, and the music was boring. It played often on the radio, though, and finally, one line caught my ear (I forget which), and I decided to give the song a thorough listen and not be the kind of dork who hates a song without knowing the words. So I listened, and the song struck a nerve. It conveyed how I feel about love. Like Paramore, I think that love doesn't exist. "Love never lasts." But TRUE love WOULD last! It would! So true love doesn't exist. Whatever this temporary feeling people call "love" is, it is not love. Like Paramore, I've felt this way from a young age, from watching my parents, other families, TV, the media, and true crime shows (in which spouses always kill each other). Well, I don't suppose that, as a young child, I specifically thought, "love doesn't exist." However, I never specifically thought "love exists" either, as far as I remember. I didn't have many opinions back then, but I couldn't imagine love, I didn't know what it was, I never saw it, and I didn't care. Now, I'm not talking about the kind of love God has for Creation or parents have for children. I believed in THOSE loves. I didn't believe in romantic love. When I got older, I began developing opinions and really THINKING about things. That's when I decided love doesn't exist. It wasn't that long ago, actually (and I think there was a period in between where I did believe in love). You only hear the stories about broken relationships, and those stories impacted me because I decided early in life that I would learn from other people's mistakes because I hate making my own. Later in life, I realized even the relationships you don't hear about are broken or dying or dead, or at least not crafted by true love. Even if spouses stay together, they rarely love each other.

I stopped believing in the love of friends too. I learned that all friends leave. Even if they're not trying to hurt you, they go off, make new friends, and it's like you didn't exist. That often happened to me when I tried sharing something intimate about myself, some insecurity I was struggling with. That seemed to make them uncomfortable. I think some of them would have helped if they could have, but they couldn't, so they left. I scared off dozens of friends that way. (Which is why the dinner scene from the Only Exception is so brilliant. One guy would sit down with Hayley, immediately get up, and leave. Another guy would take his place and do the same. That, with bizarre accuracy, is how it felt with my "friends." They'd leave. I'd be confused and hurt, but I'd smile and try to be nice to the new ones, hoping that each new friend would be my True Friend. But they all left.) I know, I know, I sound all pathetic and drama queen-ish, but I'm not trying to be all boo-hoo. It's true. No friend sticks around when you're suffering, or even when you're not. At least, I've never found one. From what I can tell, it's the same with romance. Spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends, everybody. They leave. Or they feel obligated to stay but don't love you. They don't find you special enough to help you through your suffering and love you forever. Their love for you dies, your love for them dies, and, usually, you part ways. And that's not true love.

I pride myself on being smart, and it seemed the smart conclusion to make was "love doesn't exist." However, my feelings decided this for me as much as my brain. If love doesn't last, if friendship doesn't last, I don't want it at all. I'd rather believe love and friendship don't exist. This makes me a very reserved person. (Yeah, yeah, yeah, another drama moment from Minnie. Give me a break.) I very consciously understood that friendship doesn't exist, but usually, I more subconsciously understood that romantic love doesn't exist, although it was a deep-rooted belief that went way back.

In their song, Paramore so clearly and poignantly conveyed much of what I wrote in the last few paragraphs: "Maybe I know somewhere deep in my soul that love never lasts, and we've got to find other ways to make it alone and keep a straight face. And I've always lived like this, keeping it comfortable. Distance. And up until now I'd sworn to myself that I'm content with loneliness, because none of it was ever worth the risk." That's a lot of meaning packed into one verse. Multiple insights into Finding the Exception. Then Paramore made the Sad Song uplifting with the mention of "the only exception." The one I wish I could find. The exceptional friend who wouldn't leave, who'd listen, who'd love me forever. I'm not totally convinced such a friend doesn't exist, but I don't think I'll find one. Even if I did, I don't know if I could be a True Friend back. I'm too scared now that I'm convinced everyone leaves.

The song does repeat itself an awful lot, it could be even deeper, and my one major problem with it is this line: "I know you're leaving in the morning when you wake up. Leave me with some kind of proof it's not a dream." That defeats the whole purpose of the song, if the guy is just going to leave. But then maybe he's only going to work and he'll be back afterwards, hmm? Still, it's a fantastic song, a finer work than the following.

I'm sorry, but somehow Taylor takes the same idea as Paramore and makes it shallow. As the greatest factor in this, frivolous phrases make up about 90% of the song. 90% of the song has nothing to do with anything important, the kind of material Paramore gave. 90% of the song is wasted on meaningless how's-the-weather-type observations, like "You were in college, workin' part-time waitin' tables. Left a small-town, never looked back." Who cares? That tells us nothing about your Finding the Exception issue. Taylor continues, "I say can you believe it, as we're lying on the couch? The moment, I can see it. Yes. Yes. I can see it now." None of that tells about Finding the Exception. What does sitting on the couch have to do with ANYTHING? Furthermore, the entire chorus is made up of frivolous statements that have nothing to do with The Exception: "Do you remember we were sittin' there by the water. You put your arm around me for the first time. You made a rebel of a careless man's careful daughter. You are the best thing that's ever been mine." Who CARES if she was sitting by the water or he put his arm around her? The "rebel" line could only vaguely pertain to Finding the Exception. And, ok, he's hers. That also tells us nothing about Finding the Exception, since so many others have been hers and she probably though they were "the best" when they were around. And then there's this line: "Flash foward and we're taking on the world together and there's a drawer of my things at your place." This makes me confused, as I thought Taylor was for abstinence (which is great), and having a drawer at his place implies non-abstinence. This line follows, "You learn my secrets, and you figure out why I'm guarded. You say we'll never make my parents' mistakes." This might actually mean something if she told us WHAT her secrets were or what her parents' mistakes. As it is, it's pretty dull. "But we got bills to pay. We got nothing figured out. When it was hard to take, yes, yes, this is what I though about." Bills tell us nothing about the emotional struggle of Finding the Exception. Emotional struggle is usually worse, and a heck of a lot more meaningful, than bills. Bills happen to everyone. They're boring. Why would you mention them in a love song? "And I remember that fight, two thirty AM, as everything was slipping right out of our hands. I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street. Braced myself for the goodbye, 'cause that's all I've ever known. You took me by surprise. You said I'll never leave you alone." Okay, so we know that she found the Exception, but the impact of this is diluted by all the meaningless foam in there. Who cares if it was 2:30 AM, and she ran out crying, and there was a street out there? Why does she redundantly write that he took her by surprise when it's obvious he did since she expected him to leave and he stayed?

I count only three times in this entire song that she actually mentions the struggle of Finding the Exception. "Why we bother with love if it never lasts," and "You learn my secrets..." and "Brace myself for the goodbye." I don't know much about writing songs, and it might be really hard, but Paramore's song is proof that you can pack a lot more meaning, and a lot less drivel, into a song than Swift has done here.

Also, the video...Yeeeaahh, not so good. Frankly, it's laughable to see Swift acting out all these situations she's obviously never been through, like being a mom. Really? She still looks like she's sixteen. It's ridiculous to see her playing mom when she looks like that. I'm sorry, but it just is. Same goes for the leading man. He looks way too young to be playing the disgruntled, suit-wearing husband and dad. Like they're playing dress-up in clothes too big.

Marina and the Diamond's I Am not a Robot vs. Miley Cyrus's Robot

Again, we have two songs based on the same concept: the performers are not robots. They're human beings. Yes, they are, and let me say that I know this of Miley, Marina, Taylor, and Paramore. They're human beings, and I respect THEM, even if their work is not so good. But Marina still does a better job of this song.

Marina mentions many traits that seem to put people at a disadvantage. True, some of these traits are unseemly, but they ultimately mean we're human, not robots. I sometimes wish I could do everything perfectly, be efficient and secure, and never get shaken up. But if I could be that way, I'd be a complete robot. Marina says, "You're vulnerable. You're vulnerable. You are not a robot." And that's true. If you're vulnerable, if you get shaken up, you're human. She continues encouragingly, "You're lovable, so lovable. But you're just troubled." And that's also true. Human beings, when behaving like human beings, are lovable, even when they mess up. They're flesh and blood. They're warm and adorable, like kittens. When they're being human. I wish I could see that in myself when I mess up: how messing up and experiencing emotions makes me lovable. This song points that out, that and so much more.

Miley, on the other, hand dishes out the classic misunderstood-celebrity song. It's not that this song doesn't contain some truth. It's just that it's somewhat shallow and largely cliche. Typical. It's about Disney, or anyone else who tries to create an image for Miley and force her to sustain it, to sell their product. They tell her where to go, what to feel, what to wear, etc., operating her like she's their puppet or robot. Isn't that the classic celebrity dilemma? This song contains no original or unusual truths or imagery, unlike Marina's song, which has many. I admire the vocalizing at the start, but the rest of the music is mediocre. Robot isn't that bad. It just isn't good.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dreams Do Come True! I Have a Follower!

Man, I've been so busy the past few weeks I didn't check my blog. I never expected anyone to follow me, unless I followed them first, and I didn't want to follow them, for fear that I'd someday need to UNfollow them for their posting of something that ticked me off (everybody ticks me off sooner or later). Even so, I was considering following a few people I can tolerate. But lo and behold, without my ever doing anything for HER (I do assume it is a her), MidnightSun has Followed me! AND left a comment! That, ladies and gentlemen, is called generosity. Generosity, nobility, and literacy! Thank you, MidnightSun! I was beginning to fear I'd have to abandon this blog, but now I have reason to keep going! My posts will continue! My heart will go on! You've given me just cause to rename "Blurbs that Supposedly Bring Joy" as "Blurbs that DO Bring Joy" and "They Call me Leader. Or they would if I had any" as "They call me leader. Well, she does. Maybe." So, thanks again, MidnightSun. =) I'm still thinking I'll follow a few blogs I can tolerate, and I've skimmed yours and found it decidedly tolerable. I shall seek out the Follow button on it.

I have accumulated a million topics to blog about but haven't even noted them down, because I've been so busy. (Well, you know. Not as busy as NORMAL people, but way busier than a lazy like me cares to be.) One tidbit is that I've never actually read the Harry Potter books, having not found the movies very compelling. I only ever watched them when they came on ABC Family, and then I kept switching channels and missing chunks of the movies, so that I most likely have not seen any of them straight through. However, I finally got curious enough to see what all the buzz is about and checked the book out from the library. Hopefully, I'll get it read before it's due back.

Another tidbit is that, at this moment, I'm listening to Whip My Hair by Willow Smith. I was prepared to cringe in embarrassment for the 9-year-old as I listened to her childish vocals set to a lousy song that she only got because her dad's famous. But, you know, she's actually GOOD, and the song is FUN. Go figure.