Visual Art: Music Videos

Batman: The Animated Series - Things Batman Doesn't Like

 

I posted this for my 37th birthday (i.e. September 2, 2017), because that was the year I discovered my love of Batman. For some notes on the creation of the video, see this and this Productivity Log.

Rurouni Kenshin (2012) - Unbreakable Heart

I made this video in May of 2013. It was the first time I'd worked with live action footage rather than animated, and it was a distinctly different experience. In some ways it was more difficult, but in others it was actually much easier. I'm extremely pleased with the finished product, in any case! I look forward to doing more live action stuff in future, though at the moment I have no particular ideas.

As far as the lyrics go, this song is much less how I think of Kenshin than how I think Kaoru might think of Kenshin. And I'm afraid she'll find, come Jinchuu, that he isn't quite as unbreakable as she believes. But anyway, I think the song fits pretty well.

Gundam Wing - Life Starts Now

Obviously I love Heero and Duo together, so here's me in December of 2010 contriving to erase all other characters from various scenes and shove them together to showcase their deep, forever love :D

Gundam Wing: Friendship Is Magic

People kept making these, the major draw being the assignment of traits (Elements of Harmony) to characters in whatever new series you had in mind. Nobody had done it for Gundam Wing, so in January of 2012 I figured I would. It makes me laugh pretty hard in spots, particularly Heero watching MLP:FiM and then later sending Treize a picture of himself and the other characters in his gundam.

Rurouni Kenshin - My Favorite Guys

Many years ago, when I used to post stuff on fanfiction.net, I made a tradition of putting up a new Rurouni Kenshin-related song "parody" along with every chapter or story. Most of them were very stupid, but there were a couple of diamonds in that rough (if I do say so myself) -- and one such was My Favorite Guys. Years later, in 2010, it occurred to me that it wouldn't be too difficult to dig up those old lyrics and make a music video out of them, so I did. In other words, yes, that is me you hear singing, and I apologize profusely for it.

The instrumentation comes from a karaoke CD called Just Tracks: Sing The Hits Of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It's really a dreadful track; it has all this background noise like whoever made it recorded it off of something else by putting an actual microphone up against the speaker it was playing out of. I would definitely not recommend buying this CD, or probably anything bearing a similar title.

Many thanks go out to my mother (not that she sees this stuff) for her sound-related assistance. She couldn't make me or the awful karaoke track sound any better, but without her I couldn't have recorded this thing at all. She is awesome.

Lastly, the lyrics:

Psychos with glasses and kanji-marked brawlers...
Weapon collectors and gay sickle-haulers...
Deadpans who never show any surprise...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

Paisley bandannas and big crimson collars...
Dark puppet-masters and kenjutsu scholars...
Warriors who fight with their bangs in their eyes...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

Red-haired assassins and wolves that are taller...
Prodigal smilers and cruel girlfriend-maulers...
Masters of moves in just one or two tries...
These are a few of my favorite guys.

When the real world’s jerks and losers start to make me mad,
I simply remember my favorite guys,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

GetBackers - Never Too Late

I made this video in September of 2008. It was difficult not to make it entirely about Akabane.

Rurouni Kenshin - Du Hast (Enishi Remix)

Rammstein is one of my favorite bands, and when it originally crossed my mind in 2004 to make Du Hast into a music video about Enishi, Kenshin, and Tomoe, my first thought was, What a shame Jinchuu was never animated. But despite the obvious lack of animated footage, the idea wouldn't go away and wouldn't go away, until finally I decided to experiment with manga frames just to see what I could come up with. The result is, at the very least, interesting.

As with my previous video, my impatience shows quite a bit here; there are several spots that make me wince because I was just too lazy to go fix whatever the problem was. Also, the quality deteriorated on conversion much more than that of the previous video, probably because of the manga frames. I did hack bits out of the song, BTW. You can only put footage to "Du / Du hast / Du hast mich" so many times before you go completely crazy.

Here's an unnecessarily lengthy explanation of why these lyrics are so fitting:

Du / Du hast / Du hast mich - Until he actually finishes this phrase, it sounds like he's saying "Du hasst mich," which means "You hate me." This seems to me appropriate for both Enishi and Tomoe in relation to Kenshin because Enishi's hatred is based on incomplete knowledge of the situation and of Tomoe's heart, while Tomoe's hatred is changed or eradicated when she gains better knowledge of Kenshin's character -- so their hatred, like one's initial assumption that Till is saying "You hate me," arises from not having all the facts. Yet Enishi assumed for years that Tomoe wanted revenge, Tomoe herself sought revenge at first, and one hears "You hate me" whether or not that's what the line actually says -- so the hatred does exist.

Du hast mich gefragt und ich hab' Nichts gesagt - So the complete phrase actually means, "You asked me and I said nothing." I found this a very fitting expression of Kenshin's inability, for quite some time, to come up with an "answer" for Enishi on the subject of the crimes he'd committed as a hitokiri, specifically killing Tomoe. And during his time in Rakuninmura searching for that answer, several people asked (and told) Kenshin things and he said nothing. Even after Kenshin had found his "answer," Enishi could not accept it -- so it was still as if he'd said nothing in response to what Enishi had "asked."

Willst du bis der Tod euch scheide' treu ihr sein für alle Tage? - This is a typical wedding-vow phrase -- "Will you be true to her for all your days, until death separates you?" -- after which we hear the feminine voice answer faintly in the affirmative and the masculine voice or narrator iterate loudly, "Nein!!" making the song, or at least this particular part of it, a sort of cry out against marriage or an expression of the breaking of wedding vows. And I have to think that killing one's wife is a fairly decent way to break one's wedding vows!

But there's more to it than that. Once again, just listening to the line provides a couple of very different possible meanings -- because it sounds like he says, "Willst du bis der Tod der Scheide treu ihr sein für alle Tage?" which would mean, "Will you be true to her for all your days, until the death of the vagina?" It's a typical Rammstein trick to use a play on words to turn something like getting married, showing charity, or taking turns into something purely sexual -- but in this context it fits surprisingly well: the slang term for vagina used here, "der Scheide," literally means "the sheath." And what was Tomoe supposed to be for the ungovernable rage of her hitokiri husband? I think it was this phrase that first reminded me of the Kenshin/Tomoe/Enishi situation and gave me the initial idea for the music video.

The last thing I wish to note, unrelated to the song lyrics, is that I think Seisou Hen is utter bullshit. There is at least one spot in the video that seems to imply that I agree with some of the nonsense that happened in that OAV, but I really don't. Simply put, I could not resist using some of that footage since an animated Enishi was too good to pass up for this project.

Rurouni Kenshin - I Hate Everything About You

So I heard this song on the radio one day in early 2004 and just flipped out; it reminded me so much of Saitou and Sano that I had to go buy the Three Days Grace CD as soon as possible and try to figure out what to do with the song. The problem with it was that the lyrics weren't coherent enough to make a songfic out of, and I didn't know how to make music videos. Well, as you can see, I figured it out (to a certain extent); the song was just too perfect to leave alone.

The fact that I'm self-taught is painfully evident. There are some choppy moments that I was too impatient to smooth out, and the lip sync at the end of the verse is soOoOo corny (I couldn't resist seeing if I could do it; I really should have). It looks like there's supposed to be lip sync during the first chorus (Sano's mouth flaps a lot), but that was unintentional. It would have been a much better lip sync sequence than the one I did on purpose, though; I should have thought about it more.

The song, in case you're not familiar with it, has been shortened a little; I chopped out the "second verse," which is exactly the same as the first verse, to avoid boring repetition as well as to give myself a lighter workload.

I planned for years, after I became a little better at this hobby, to remake this video... but first someone else, obviously unaware mine existed, made their own Saitou & Sano MV to this same song; and then Watsuki turned out to be evil. So this remains as it is as a relic of a past age.

Recently I was doing vaccines, and the next animal in line was a miniature schnauzer named Puff. So of course, as I’m drawing up the vaccine, I’m singing, “Puff the mini schnauzer came in my room,” and thinking of the owner as Little Jackie Paper. I did at least manage to refrain from using that name when I went to call dog and owner in.

So here comes Puff the mini schnauzer, who is (like every mini schnauzer) one of the cutest dogs that ever lived with his tininess and adorable schnauzer shave and the printed flannel blanket his owner has him wrapped in and his itty bitty wagging tail and pink tongue. And Little Jackie Paper?

Little Jackie Paper is the most gangsta-looking guy I have ever seen. Seriously. I can’t name every aspect of the stereotype in retrospect, but he had them all. There were chains and… yeah, I forget what else.

And he so clearly adored this dog, and had the paperwork and the puppy vaccine booklet and everything; he was the epitome of a caring and conscientious owner. He even listened attentively to everything I had to say about vaccine schedule signs of bad reaction.

I like to think I don’t have a lot of blindly preconceived notions about people of other lifestyles, but the fact that I was enough struck to want to write about this in my journal is evidence that there’s something going on in my head. But at this point, any prejudices I may have had about that type of person must have been thoroughly shaken.

Also at work recently, I was trying to put a cat back into her kennel after surgery. Our cats (understandably) often wake up really crazy, and this was not one of the rare exceptions. She had all her legs splayed out madly, and her whole body was really stiff, so her entire angle was bad for getting her into a square opening.

Then all of a sudden she kicked off the edge of the kennel, did a back-flip over my arm, and caught me right in the mouth with one clawy paw. She cut my cheek, my upper lip in two spots and lower in one, and two gum locations, then fell on the floor. It happened so quickly and unexpectedly that both I and the co-worker in the room (our cat lady) were stunned and disbelieving, and today my lip still hurts.

Watch this video, if you want:

Coheed and Cambria has been one of my favorite bands for several years, and I don’t remember whether I mentioned my great happiness or how excellently they performed when I saw them in concert last summer. I really love them.

And not long ago I watched the above video for the first time, and found another, huge reason to love them.

No matter how society is changing, I still feel, most of the time, as if the bulk of it is ranged against me as a lesbian. I feel as if just being open about who I am — being myself — in public is an act of defiance, which is sometimes a bit wearing for a shy and non-confrontational person. I assume on a subconscious level that homophobia is the default. I especially make this assumption about male-fronted nerd culture.

It is not fair and it is not kind to make such assumptions about people, but it is, sadly, what I have been conditioned to assume. Even while actively enjoying the artistic products of those outside the immediate circle I consider relatively safe, I’m still very wary of the people involved, and that’s a tragic way to have to interact with other human beings.

Which is one of the reasons it means so damn much to me when I find an ally in an unexpected place.

And maybe CoCam has been a group of allies all along and I just never noticed. I’ve mentioned before how bad I am about actually paying attention to the bands I follow; I rarely even know the names of the members… or, to be honest, how many members there are (unless I have a poster of them on my ceiling or a desktop wallpaper on my computer or something. Which is rare, because looking at a musician is hardly the point, is it?)

But this inattention may have been doing CoCam — or at least Claudio Sanchez — dishonor all this time. Because if they’ve had the wonderful attitude all along that envisions a music video about the formation of a gay relationship portrayed in a positive and totally normal light, I have not appreciated them as much or as well as I should have. I’ve always adored their music and their storytelling, but from now on there’s going to be an extra layer to my appreciation that, perhaps, should have been there all along.

So I’ve cleared 3/15 bookshelf compartments by now, and with great joy and exultation I pulled out all my figures and set them up in one newly empty compartment. They really need two or three to spread out across (or at least another shelf inside the one compartment they’re in), and they’re hilariously cramped and in each other’s faces where they are, but it still makes me really happy to look up and see them there.

OK, let’s have some photos.

One time I was waiting on a tire replacement, and there was a Fascinations across the parking lot. As I walked toward Fascinations, I noticed something on a window sill in front of a model display:

When I got close enough to see exactly what it was, I had to take pictures.

Oh, creepy Christians. Bless your bigoted, unsubtle little hearts. Anyway, instead of becoming a praying wife, I went into Fascinations and bought the greatest purse anyone has ever made:

It appears I never managed to get a less blurry picture of it. But seriously, you guys, this was my favorite purse I’ve ever, ever, ever had. I loved it so damn much. It wore out and broke about a year ago, but for a while it was just pure, spidery heaven to carry around.

And the last picture is, of course, of Seet Bean:

And the day will end for some as the night begins for one

In one dream, I was a badass swordsman that successfully defended the colony (which lived in the Jamboree building, of course) from zombies or something. I wore a super cool fantasy outfit and had Sword of Darkness II, which I even made fun of in the dream because it’s the most common fantasy sword that every nerd has on their wall and it’s not even sharp.

There were all these dudes that rallied around this one older guy swordsman that was disdainful of me because I was a ladytype. Despite the fact that I’d singlehandedly saved the colony, they were all sneering and such about women being swordsmen.

This guy challenged me to a duel, and then looked all skeptical and superior when I didn’t know the little duel-specific flourishes one is supposed to make at the beginning. It was a very structured and not very practical sort of duel, and he beat me easily, and I was kinda like, I don’t have time for this. Then he condescendingly asked if I wanted to try again, and I said, “If I lost, I lost.” And walked away. XD

There was another dream I wanted to record, but I’ve completely forgotten it now. Like, I can’t even vaguely remember what it might have been about. I just remember waking up afterward thinking it would be amusing to have written down. Ah, well. On to sadder things.

Zombie Girl is back in town(country) because her mother had a stroke. This, of course, is horrible, but nonetheless I am always glad to see my dearest friend again. Here’s hoping her mother has the fullest recovery she possibly can.

Speaking of hospitals and such, my dad and his siblings have elected to stop the no-longer-effective cancer treatment on their father and take him home. Last I heard, the doctors had no estimate on how much longer he’ll live; dad and uncles speculate a week or two. I have no great attachment to my grandfather, but I am quite attached to my father and will feel extremely bad for him when his dad dies. At least everyone’s known it’s coming.

Interestingly, my grandfather worked at a plant manufacturing nuclear bomb parts when he was younger, and apparently everyone that ever worked for that company and later developed cancer gets all their cancer treatment paid for without question by the company. I guess they knew they’d never win a lawsuit and just decided to be gracious before anyone came at them.

And speaking of cancer and dying, great thanks to David Bowie. 372 songs of my 12,724-song collection are yours, sir, and even though you had a terrible habit of throwing older songs onto the end of new albums over and over and over (so that I think I have about twelve copies of Space Oddity from different places), that doesn’t change the fact that I have more music by you than by any other single artist.

Stardust: The David Bowie Story was the first biography I ever read, and that long before I had any idea that I’m gay or even much of a concept of what ‘gay’ was. I’m grateful for the enlightenment and for the music. We’ll miss you, goblin king.

And now I think I’ve gone on longer about David Bowie’s death than I did about those of a couple of authors in the last few years whose work meant far more to me than his. Or about my own grandpa’s XD

Well, I’ve been quite productive this weekend, and I’m hoping to continue to be productive today. I don’t think I have anything else to say in this entry, so I’ll post some pictures and go away.

Bizarrely, here’s a picture of the mountains looking cool that I took from some parking lot other than Wal-Mart. What is the world coming to??

Northern Spy Apple Crisp is apparently a thing. I want to be a spy and have a special apple crisp just for me.

And here’s Waybee looking startled. She does that a lot more these days with younger, less appropriate animals around.

Last of all, a chinchilla I saw once at a pet store doing the best pose.

White Christmas Soundtrack

There have been a couple of supposed soundtracks to one of the greatest musicals (and one of my favorite movies) of all time, but they lack… well, actual music from the movie, mostly, which is quite disappointing to those of us that adore White Christmas with its proper lineup of Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and (as the singing voice of Judy) Trudy Stevens, as well as some awesome score by Irving Berlin. So here comes another homemade soundtrack recorded directly from the DVD.

Download the White Christmas soundtrack.

As with any homemade soundtrack of this nature, there are sound effects and dialogue in many of the songs. I placed alternate, dialogue-free versions of Sisters and White Christmas (Finale) at the end, so you can choose which versions you prefer, but you’re out of luck if you want a dialogue-free version of The Best Things Happen While You’re Dancing (Reprise) :D Anyway, have fun!

Monaco Royal Baptism

A while back, the Prince of Monaco’s twin children were baptized. One of the songs at the ceremony was written by my mother. It was not performed well — you’d think royalty could get a better choir/director to do justice to my mom’s awesome song, but I suppose Catholics will be Catholics — but it’s still kinda badass that this happened at all. I dug through the TV coverage of the event and cropped it down to the relevant part… starting a bit earlier than the song because I liked hearing the announcer mention my mom, even if I don’t speak French :D

It’s OK to believe that there’s something in nothing now

So much awesome stuff to tell about.

First of all. Back when I didn’t get to sing in the program and was just listening in the audience, a family with three childs sat in front of me. There was a boy of about seven that was playing tic-tac-toe with his sister on a pad of paper until she got tired of it and refused to play any more. At this point I leaned forward to play with him. We played many games, he often cheating (possibly without realizing it), and whenever he thought I was taking too long to take my turn, he would say impatiently, “Go, person!” We did not, you see, know each other.

Eventually he got tired of tic-tac-toe, and wanted to play the connect-the-dots-to-form-squares game. He was incapable of drawing a gameboard for it, though; he would make a row of fairly neat dots and then get tired of that tedium and try to fill in the rest by jabbing the paper at random. So I drew a gameboard for that, and we played. The initial he put in the boxes he made appeared to be a J, but it was difficult to tell with his seven-year-old handwriting. Mine, of course, was an R. And at one point, as had often happened, he thought I was dawdling about my turn, and said, “Go, person!” Only this time added, “I’m guessing your name is Rapunzel.” Probably the only R name he could think of.

The next awesome stuff is the concert brother and I went to. The main group was Sixx A.M., and Apocalyptica was going to be there too, so we knew it would be pretty badass. We only showed up forty minutes before the concert was due to start, though, and got a bad spot whence I couldn’t see almost anything on stage. Brother, significantly taller than I am, was OK.

So the opener band comes on, and I can only see the drummer and occasionally a guitarist and the vocalist when they come to the corner of the stage. And they’re all Japanese guys — this is made even more clear whenever the vocalist talks to the audience with his cute accent. Not only that, but they sound JUST LIKE L’Arc~en~Ciel if L’Arc were a little bit more hard rock. Even the vocalist sounded just like Hyde would sound if he sang in a bit more of a hard rock style.

So I’m enjoying the hell out of this obvious L’Arc clone, very surprised to find such a J-pop-sounding group (harder rock or not) at this metalish concert, and thinking, This soundalike is probably the closest I’ll ever get to seeing the real L’arc~en~Ciel in person. And when they’re done performing and the stage is being set up for the next band, I pop onto Wikipedia to look them up.

You guys. IT WAS ACTUALLY FUCKING HYDE. This band, VAMPS, is a side-project of his that I guess he’s been doing for a couple of years just for fun (demonstrating, yet again, how well I pay attention to what the artists I love are up to). The music sounds like L’arc because he writes it, and he sounds like Hyde when he sings because HE FUCKING IS HYDE.

Hyde — the actual, real Hyde of L’Arc~en~Ciel — was ON STAGE IN FRONT OF ME. IN THE SAME BUILDING. I accidentally saw Hyde — the real, actual Hyde of L’Arc~en~Ciel — without having ANY IDEA I was going to do so.

I was so shaken by surprise and joy at this bizarre and unexpected and wonderful circumstance that I kinda dissolved into tears. I’m still not over this weeks later. How could something this amazing and awesome happen to me?? I mean, I really like Apocalyptica and Sixx A.M. (and the latter’s concert rendition of Accidents Can Happen was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard), but my love for L’Arc is way way way greater, and dates to a much earlier period in my life, than my love for either of them. And HYDE WAS FUCKING THERE. I don’t even. I just can’t.

But enough of that. Moving on. The next item is MY NEW LITTLE FRIEND:

This is my new dog!! Since he is a ten-pound maltipoo unlikely to get any bigger, I thought it appropriate to name him Hiko Seijuurou XIII.


Hiko-chan, who is about a year and a half old, was rescued from a neglectful (and possibly actively abusive) home in Arizona, so he has some sad little personality quirks. Potty training has been a challenge thus far, because he is very reluctant to go in front of humans. But he’s learning other things pretty well — he already knows “out of the kitchen” and “sit” — and he sleeps in his little bed at night quite well.

He has made friends, more or less, with Little Cat, and they chase each other and wrestle and it’s freaking adorable. Waybee sulked behind the couch for several days and wouldn’t even come out to eat, but she’s finally emerged and seems to have forgiven me. She sat on my lap today for the first time in a week. She’ll never be friends with Little Dog, but all she really needs to do is tolerate him.

As far as other things that have happened in my life lately… well, my latest reread of the RK manga has left me with the usual riotous, aching desire for Saitou/Sano stuff… so even though (let’s be perfectly honest here) I’ve been in a bit of a slump all year as far as writing due to a series of circumstances that were mostly my own choice, I’ve managed to get a new story almost to linear completion. It has no title yet, and I don’t know when it will actually be finished, and its focus is not directly on Saitou and Sano (in fact, in that and several other respects it very much resembles In-Law), but some work is better than less work.

That’s all I have to say for now.

Obumbrata et velata michi quoque niteris

Happy Thanksgiving! I sit at work, prevented from accompanying my parents to Utah to see Mostle’s gallery, eager to get through my shift so I can go home and watch movies with Lesta all day.

So busy lately. Current classes are Pharmacology and Surgical Nursing, and they certainly have the most stuff to memorize of any classes thus far. This three-day week, nobody at school was even the least bit invested in school things. It was pretty sad.

Recently brother and parents and I went to see Trans-Siberian Dorkestra. It was very interesting to note that all their original crap was incredibly bad, but all their stuff based on classical or operatic pieces was spectacular; O Fortuna in particular was freaking awesome.

It appears that’s all I have to say.

Fire again

Well, my beloved desert home is on fire again. These last few years of extremely hot weather don’t combine very propitiously with our negative level of moisture. Last year 300 houses burned not two miles from mine; this fire, at least, is not likely to come very close to me. Though if I had to evacuate again, it would, once again, be extremely good timing, since it turns out I have a whole month off before my on-site classes start.

I suppose, because I’m finally typing out a journal entry, I should mention some of the things I’ve been lazily neglecting to mention since my last entry. As hinted above, my online classes are done; they remained idiotic and frustrating until the end. Other stupid stuff related to my stupid school happened, but I won’t get into that right now.

Dad bought mom tickets for them to see Sting at Red Rocks for her birthday, but when the time came they were both too coughy to consider going, so Lesta and I went instead. That was cool. I really have more to say about that too, but don’t feel like it.

Also I had some other things to say that I can’t remember now. I know I’ve had at least two Disneyland dreams… Ah, whatevs. Black Forest is on fire.