elessa: (rainy day)
Coming out the other side of two weeks of bronchitis. Nice to not be coughing every minute or so.

Part of my resolutions for this year is to be more social, hence my catching bronchitis. I went to a convention in Seattle two weeks ago as there were going to be two bands playing I really wanted to watch. Friends I haven't seen in many years were also going to be there. Bonus!

After giving me a big hug, my friend turned to the side to cough. She mentioned she had been sick for a couple days. I knew I was doomed.

The concerts were fantastic. I really enjoy the sounds of the bands, "Brother" and "Faun". Something about bagpipes, didgeridoo, drums, harps, guitars, and hurdy gurdy to make the soul soar.

It was a last minute decision I made to attend the show. Basically on Thursday I asked for time off on Friday. I am glad I did. It is good to get out and about.

This past Friday I went to a gallery show. Ended up meeting a friend beforehand to have a late lunch, then went for a motorcycle ride to the art museum. Learned that on Fridays admission is $5 after 5:00p. Cool thing is it was only 4:30p and we still got the bargain admission price.

Really dislike modern art. It has no attraction to me whatsoever. Two plates of rusted steel welded to a bar? A canvas painted 5/8s solid blue and 3/8s solid yellow? Stripes on canvas? A bronze turd?

The exhibit of art from Venice was nice. Some wonderful paintings, sculptures, and musical instruments. I was really sad that when illuminated books are on exhibit only two pages can be shown. I would like to see the other 50-100 pages in the books.


Listening to the rain falling from the sky in large drops which are pounding upon the window panes. Drenching type of rain. If I weren't sick I would be inclined to go outside to become soaked. Would be fantastic for the hair.
elessa: (wyveri)
This weekend I picked up Akimitsu Takagi's detective novel The Tattoo Murder Case. It was fascinating to read on many levels. The book was published in 1948 and won the Mystery Writers Club Award of Japan, 1949 (translated to English 1998) and takes place in Edo aka Tokyo. To read a Japanese author describing the city and its populace in the aftermath of the Great War with its effects was eye opening. Some of the characters has served in the war; so their views were made known in such a way that I am going to assume they reflect those of the author, ie it was a bad idea which affected the common man in a negative way.

I was also ignorant as to how much Western Culture had influenced the Japanese. One of the characters is a piano tutor who plays Chopin, Beethoven, and other classical music throughout various scenes.

The clothing worn by the characters vary from traditional kimono to high end suits made of the finest materials. The books read or referred to include Sherlock Holmes, the author John Dickson Carr, master of the locked room mystery genre.

One character speaks Japanese, French, Russian, German and English.

At the time of the story, tattooing was illegal to be worn or given to Japanese. It was considered a symbol of criminal involvement. The yakuza (kinda the mafia) are best known for their tattoos. Tattoos, however, were allowed to be given to foreigners. In this case the occupying army, the Americans.

Then there is the whole culture surrounding tattoos and their meanings. Talk about going down the rabbit hole afterwards looking further into the history of the tattoo. I find that I have subconsciously ascribed to the Japanese aesthetic of a tattoo on the body is meant to be a singular piece of art which is integrated. Unlike the style referred to in the book for American tattoos as "sushi art", ie a smorgasbord of unrelated tattoos with no cohesive flow.

I learned that the tattoo is based on a theme taken from history or folklore, typically warriors or famous scenes. It is not something random. It is has an association to something. Symbols of various sorts are integrated into the artwork such as flowers, reptiles or fish which have significant meanings.

Then, there are taboos which a tattoo artist will not break.

In the story a tattoo artist has broken one taboo and uses the character representations of three sorcerers in tattoos worn by three of the main characters: Kinue Nomura (Orochimaru, the snake), her brother Tsunetaro (Jiraiya, the frog) and sister Tamae (Tsunade, the slug; translated as Tsunade-hime). The sorcerers in legend were enemies. The result is a curse which follows these characters to their deaths.

The story is really well written. Until the final denouement, I had only figured out half of the mystery.

In 2013 I had listened to an interview with a person who had spent a year solely reading books written by authors from countries other than her own. Her goal was to read one a week. She talked about how it opened her mind and expanded her knowledge of the world around her. Essentially, no matter your country we all have similar aspirations; to live, love and laugh. This was certainly true in post-War Japan.
elessa: (trees)
Where the Wild Things Are cupcakes

(from claire_issa's flikrstream) Moishe and Max cupackes made for my roommate as a farewell present.

These are texas-sized snickerdoodle cupcakes. For frosting and decorations I used chocolate ganache (Moishe), canned vanilla frosting (Max), sprinkles, store-bought gumpaste eyes, and fondant tinted by hand.
elessa: (Default)
i have the niggling suspicion i am missing a couple. sadly a short list this year. i hope to increase my reading in 2009.

a few books that caught my interest this year )
elessa: (rainbow)
today i read the news a prolific author whose movies were turned into blockbusters has passed away from cancer.

Michael Crichton dies of cancer

i enjoyed reading jurassic park, the andromeda strain, sphere, timeline and countless other of his books. i enjoyed the movies made from those books as well as others i haven't read such as, the terminal man, westworld, thirteenth warrior and rising sun.

granted his books were formulaic. the bad guys always get their comeuppance. he simply gave you a bit of a science education on the getting to that comeuppance.
elessa: (Default)
over the last couple days i have been reading books. real, printed on paper, books. largely due to not having internet connectivity whilst working.

the author i read is lisa jackson. i had picked up two paperbacks that seemed interesting. she wrote them in succession, hot blooded and cold blooded. she writes what is described as suspense romance. think harlequin romance meets serial killers inc.

i would describe it more as schlock.

having been a copy editor in a former life, i was irked at how inconsistent and improbable some of the situations presented in these two particular books were. by the time i finished the second book i wanted to throw it across the room it had descended so deeply into fantasyland.

copy editing sucked. fyi, site does not mean to see.

heroine meets man and is instantaneously attracted to the dude to the point of they will kiss upon the second meeting. no ifs, ands, or buts regardless of the relationship of the two, cop w/suspect, stalked w/potential stalker. while i know it is possible to meet someone and be very attracted to them that first time, i am rather certain that having sex with someone on the third encounter is not the basis for a long lasting relationship, let alone marriage within a month.

plot holes were huge.

uberserial killer manages to kill and lock someone in trunk of car in addition to corraling and transporting three people in chains, naked into a torture room fifteen miles away from point of capture. coincidence that cop from los angeles who has been living new orleans a couple years discovers his brother is also there, the brother who knocked up his ex-wife and is now a priest to repent for his transgression.

sixteen year old unknowingly gets knocked up by her adopted half brother while also banging her brother who goes on a murderous rampage when the third cousin once removed, who happens to be a cop, starts asking questions nine years after her suicide.

when a person has a vision and has been consistently reporting said visions due to their disturbing nature to the cop who has stolen her heart while taking down the first report, all of a sudden doesn't when she has just witnessed the uberserial killer hunt and capture a victim when cop calls to check on her.

when character works a specific schedule and adamantly rejects any changes to it in one book all of a sudden is working on a night when she said she wouldn't be in the next. i suspect the author didn't expect someone to read both books in succession.

this author is prolific. she has a huge following according to the guy i talked to at the bookstore when i was looking for something interesting to read. unfortunately i don't think i can bring myself to read any more of her books to see if the editing or plotting has improved.

ageless

Aug. 12th, 2007 11:04 am
elessa: (heart)
UKTV in britain commissioned a survey to produce a list of the top 20 romantic books. what is fascinating is that eight of the twenty were written in the 1800's. i have actually read the majority of these books. a few of them more than once.

mmm... jealousy, sex and violence )
elessa: (trees)
Here are the instructions: Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, underline the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of.

the book list )
elessa: (screaming bunny)
"They had Tom and Huck whitewashing the fence … and on the island interacting with the kids, but the kids were clueless," Lutz said. "I guess in the schools now they don't teach the books anymore."

gleaned the above tidbit from an article in the los angeles times with regard to rumour of a conversion of tom sawyer island at disneyland to a pirate themed island.

a classic of american literature which has been banned due to ignorance of public school boards throughout this country. as a result, part of a generation is now lacking knowledge of this piece of americana. now another piece of it shall potentially fade from the american public's awareness.
elessa: (rainbow)
mmmm... books.

rambling )

lazy day. wish it would last a little longer.

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