Anime

Canova, I want you to participate in a sort of experiment with me, which is to say I need you to watch all of the dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon- and by dubbed, I mean the NEW dub, by Viz, the one that’s uncensored and unedited.

Here’s the breakdown: three seasons have been dubbed (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, and Sailor Moon S ((read as “Sailor Moon Super”)), but only two of them are available on Hulu (Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R).

Let’s just say I’ve marathoned them and am in Sailor Moon R now.

On the other hand, knowing Canova as a thorough-going person, I can see her deciding (wisely) to wait until the full series is dubbed and available and then going through it and watching all 200 episodes, but starting with the first 90 isn’t bad, haha.

The Sailor Moon dub is actually really good, and since I’ve avoided watching dubbed anime for years upon years, I kind of feel like that is no longer an issue so long as it isn’t butchered (see what happened to Sailor Moon in the 90s as well as currently shows like Pretty Cure, hacked, slashed, and made into something called “Glitter Force”).

So another dubbed anime I’ve picked up is Saiyuki, also available on Hulu. I really, really like Saiyuki as it appeals to my more masculine personality streaks- plenty of action and funny, crass dialog along and horsing around in the way so many men do. The Buddhist elements also strongly appeal to me and reminded me how much I fell in love with Buddhism a teenager.

Then there’s Yu Yu Hakusho- the one anime in this list so far I’m watching in Japanese. Given, I can’t understand what people say when they start talking fast but refuse to read the subtitles.

That’s the curious thing about language- obviously, cartoons have a different degree of voice acting going on than live-action series. I can understand a lot of what people say in dramas.

Anyway, I have a whole list of currently available anime to check out, and I may secure a Crunchy Roll account at some point in order to watch some of the anime not on the streaming services.

One-Punch Man has never appealed to me, but I’m going to check it out as it turns out I’m not as averse to action-anime as I thought.

Inuyasha, well, I definitely want to complete that.

Full-Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood was rated by Americans as the best anime ever, while in Japan the favorite anime is Tiger and Bunny as per some Youtube videos that talked about worldwide polls done.

Case Closed/Detective Conan, Mahoutsukai no Yome, Made in Abyss,  and Magical Circle Guruguru are all on the list.

Of course, the Pretty Cure franchise as well as Card Captor Sakura are all goals of mine.

Watching anime makes me infinitely happier than not watching anime, though life is full of me being inherently unsatisfied. So. Yeah.

Oh, and there’s an anime that bombed in Japan but was dubbed over in a kind of humorous way (sort of what happened with Shin-chan): the dub is called Ghost Stories, and it’s available on Crunchy Roll if you’re willing to deal with their ads embedded in the video.

All right. Wrappin’ this up.

Steve

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Five Years Make a Difference

On October 28th, 2012, Christopher asked me to be his boyfriend officially.

Except he didn’t ask. He said, “I’m going to stop telling people you’re my almost-boyfriend. From now, I’m going to tell people you’re my boyfriend.”

We had stayed overnight in a hotel room, and the next morning, Chris went to Waffle House and brought back breakfast- egg sandwiches and orange juice.

Each year, we celebrate with egg sandwiches and orange juice- not always from Waffle House (I prepared them this year), but we still make it a point to keep the tradition alive.

That November, while staying at what would become my new home, I began reading a book Chris had recently purchased, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This novel has inspired a few movies; I think one has this actual name but tells a different story, while another has a different name but tells Jackson’s story.

The book is written in a style that by today’s standards would be considered dated; moreover, in reading an analysis of it later, I discovered  that there’s a distinction between “terror” and “horror” as literary devices; “terror” refers to the experience prior to encountering the scary thing, and “horror” refers to the experience afterwards. Think of it as hearing the monster coming versus seeing the monster and running.

So when my fellow writer and friend Nonnie posted a Time Hop post from 2013 referencing the author Shirley Jackson, I was inspired to write.

Writing is something I’ve begun to slack on over the years, and that’s not a good thing because I love doing it. Most of my “writing” energy is now put into my handwritten journal that I write in Japanese to improve my ability to think and remember Japanese, and even that’s not exactly working out because what I really want to do is draw pictures and write a little Japanese around it to explain what the picture doesn’t, and unfortunately even then I’m way behind in my development as an artist because I don’t consistently draw each day like I need to.

In fact, I went several years without drawing anything, and then I randomly picked up an old notebook and began sketching in it around 2014, just to get a feel for sketching, and I recalled the words of my friend Kali many years ago, words she took from a video of an artist: “Before you can get to your good drawings, you have to get all your bad drawings out.”

And, my friends, this is what has inspired me because somehow, that translated into my brain in a way that other advice has not. Some things in this world feel obvious, but I’ve been perpetually unable to explain them or have them explained to me until someone, somewhere is able to translate.

Anyway, maybe by the time I’m 50 I’ll be able to draw manga and have something published. That’s a life goal of mine. There’s a LOT of things I’ve got to learn and perfect.

Another thing to add is that drawing is hard. Even for professionals, drawing is hard because everything rests on the foundational principles and the so-called “beginner mistakes” that even professionals are susceptible to making.

My biggest hurdle has been that knowledge of realism is necessary to create the cartoony characters, but there’s also a point where too much realism takes away from the fact that we’re illustrating something.

That’s all for now.

Steve

Happiness?

Last week, something startled me. The week went on, and the startling feeling turned out to be that I had several good days in a row, and that overall, I was feeling happy.

The natural reaction I have to consistently being in a good mood is that something must be going wrong because this is not terribly normal for me.

I did later on make a “Happiness List” of all the wonderful things about my life. It’s amazing that 2017 can be so terrible in so many ways, yet, as my friend John says of his own life, “My life is literally going in the opposite direction of the country.”

The cautious part of me says to be aware that declaring that one is happy can seem like bragging. That isn’t what I’m doing. Instead, I’m celebrating-  celebrating all the amazing things about my life.

Few humans in the course of history have had the opportunity to live the kind of life that I do, so I want to make the most of it and give back to the society so others can be happy as well.

What’s causing the happiness, though? That’s up for debate.

One thing may be consciously bringing in the unconscious struggle I’ve faced in self-rejection- by beginning to accept myself and realizing that the people who rejected me as a child aren’t people who have any clue what they’re talking about, I’ve made strides toward liking myself.

I mean, if I really consider that, people who obviously have no common sense and are detached from reality and who are just plain stupid aren’t exactly the sort of people who should dictate whether or not I like myself. So out of the basket the idiots tried to place me, and they can burn in their own self-created hell of wallowing stupidity and arrogance.

The good things in my life: I have an amazing husband and child; cute, generally well-behaved pets; a strong social network of approximate-minded people who accept me and even want to be around me; a creative outlet or two for myself; relatively good health; a specific set of spiritual practices and seemingly a particular end-goal for my spirituality that I now am able to enact and work toward daily; a pen-pal from Japan; good computers and fast internet; and a growing sense of self-like and possibly confidence that puts me as the authority on matters regarding who I am as opposed to other people.

I made my decision early on- my happiness, my mental well-being, my meaningful life…these are not and will never be contingent upon the POTUS. They can’t be. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware of the political threats that exist; that doesn’t mean I’m blind or ignorant, it means that life is lived in the moment and context in which we find ourselves, life is lived from within and not from the outside.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

Steve

Three Hail Mary’s; No Rosary for You

By now, everyone knows I don’t sleep well.

My husband’s schedule has shifted back to a day routine, so now I’m trying to get my Night Owl hours adjusted. Not an easy thing for me. My circadian rhythm doesn’t believe in changes.

This week started out in a particularly horrific way; Monday was the psychic tidal of the year for me, and it’s now Thursday with me finally beginning to recover.

Last night, I deduced an interest thing to do in light of the number of people who annoy me- each time I get annoyed, I’ll pray for them. Each time I begin to have a bad trip down memory lane, I’ll pray.

Initially, I thought of dedicating an entire rosary to each individual, but that would put me squarely in the category of praying without ceasing in a very literal way. So I compromised and decided on saying three Hail Mary‘s instead.

Then I discovered something amazing- three Hail Mary‘s is about the length of time I need to reorient my mind away from the negative feelings! In other words, the prayers serve a distraction that break up the normal psychological process that would happen at that point and keep my mind from spiraling out of control.

Anyway. Just some thoughts.

Steve

Nightmare

I had this nightmare this morning:

In a version of my childhood home that did not look like it, I had been laying down, trying to go to sleep. I was annoyed because my mother was in the kitchen making too much noise. My brother was also trying to sleep.

At some point, things were mostly back to the way the house actually looks. I walked in the master bedroom; my father was asleep in bed. Perhaps I was headed to the restroom; I can’t recall, but when I walked back out to the living room, my father was also in the living room, on the cream-colored chair. Immediately, I walked back into the bedroom and woke my father to tell him he was also there, that someone was in the house.

My father slowly arose in the bed, and he didn’t seem too concerned or thrilled. I walked back to the living room, and…no one was there.

I looked down the hallway that led to my bedroom, and a figure dresssed in a long cloak was there; the figure wasn’t moving, but just stood. Its robe hung over its face, as did the sleeves over its hands; nothing but a robe, and it does seem like there were some belts or something surrounding it.

Knowing at this point it was a dream, and knowing I had to face the fear, I ran toward it. I “inhaled” the figure, which somehow deflated it. (See the movie Paprika for this trick). I carried it back to my father, who didn’t really respond to it as I showed him.

Then…the house was filled with darkness, dark smokiness and an eerie red light. At the doorway where the kitchen meets the den were two huge glowing red spheres for eyes, just staring at me, infinitely.

I tried to inhale this one, but no such luck.

I began attempting to exorcise it; Father, Son, Holy Spirit; Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit.

This *lessened* the darkness but didn’t purge it. The house was still filled with the red light and black smoke.

And then I awoke.

Needless to say, the dream unnerved me. I have some ideas about the psychological significance but will have to test and verify.

Steve

New Plan: “Home” Vegetarian

The new plan for eating a healthy diet is pretty simple: going mostly vegetarian, specifically while I’m at home.

This is fairly easy to explain: no meat (including seafood) if I’m eating at the house with the exception of something like a holiday.

If we go out to eat or eat at someone’s house, I can have meat.

The same rule will apply to things like desserts- no sugary foods at home, but if we’re eating out or if someone serves us dessert, that’s fine.

This seems like a good plan. Let’s see if I can make it happen.

Steve

Of Nazis and Idiocy

The “Unite the Right” gathering has had the usual Nazi-sympathizers trying to defend them.

I’ve seen people say the guy who ran his car into the crowd and killed a woman was a Bernie Sanders supporter and a liberal and that the profile of him being a registered Republican that voted for Donald Trump and had excessive interest in Nazi Germany is false.

Because you see, with such people, facts don’t matter. They’re not playing a game of data and facts and mind-changing; they’re living in a fantasy world where they, despite having the power in society, claim they’re oppressed. They live in a fantasy world where all they have to do is go to some nutjob rightwing conspiracy theory website and swallow the garbage there.

I’ve also seen (predictably) people blame Barack Obama for all this. Not Trump, who was the figuredhead and empowering symbol who hasn’t condemend white supremacy- only vaguely alluded to tragedy and somehow that “all sides were wrong.”

I’ve seen at least one person try to make an allusion to the Jewish notion of being God’s chosen people being synonymous with the white supremacy movement in the USA.

I’ve seen a person say, “I hope the person who got killed by the car was a liberal.”

People naturally say, “Oh, you call everyone you don’t like ‘Nazi’!” even though we’re now dealing with actual Nazis, and it’s not up for debate.

The thing is, I understand the white supremacists/white nationalists; I know where they’re coming from, what they’re really saying. The trouble is fairly simple: either they don’t understand how they sound (plausible possibility), or they understand that what they’re saying is an attempted sugarcoating and justification of something far more sinister than they’ll openly admit (strong likelihood).

I understand where they’re coming from- and it’s because I understand where they’re coming from and that I’m a reasonable person that I understand exactly how wrong they are. That’s the troublesome part- it’s appalling that people can be so very wrong and so very stupid about being so very wrong.

The thing is, they won this past election. Their figurehead won and empowered them. They’re still angry. They can’t be appeased or satisfied.

This is not on Obama. This is not on liberals or progressives. The responsiblity for the fucked up shit going on in the nation is squarely on the shoulders of Neo-Nazis who cry oppression.

S.