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13 May 2014 @ 09:01 am
A Book, a Movie, and Drawing.  
Even Mother's Day evening ended up being a bit of a marathon run for us. Normally there's a gap between lunch and dinner, but that never happened this time. Rather, it stayed more or less steady, and fizzled out toward the end of the night.

I've been rereading Shogun by James Clavell, which is probably one of the greatest historical fiction novels I've ever read. It's a bit of a curse book, because once you pick it up, you don't really put it down; the story is set in the late 16th century, when an English ship lands off the coast of Japan, and the pilot becomes a major player in the political feud between the ruling daimyos, Toranaga and Ishido, and between the daimyos and the Jesuit priests. I will admit that there are paragraphs here and there that I'm just skimming, since it's all background history that I'm already familiar with.

I am on a bit of a Samurai kick at the moment; there's actually a Japanese word (I believe it's "chanbara") which basically translates as "sword porn." That is, pop media created for the sake of giving people their Bushido fix, from the idealized philosophy of samurai and the fading way of life to the fun of swordplay and violence. Which is basically what this book is.

Anyway, Taipan is also on my list, which is part of Clavell's Asian series, and which I haven't read yet. That one is set in China, and my mother says it's just as good. (Although, I wonder whether my prior knowledge of Japanese culture is helping me a bit, since I can picture the setting in my mind's eye.)

Somehow, I seem to be running into cannibals a lot in my pop culture experiences lately. I suppose I could try harder to avoid them, but often it just doesn't work out like that. (Often there's no warning given! So yeah...um, warning: I'm going to talk about a movie where people kill and eat other people. And least the movie wasn't too graphic...)

The point is, I watched a movie on Netflix yesterday called Ravenous, and in complete honesty I can say I only turned it on because Robert Carlyle was listed among the first three actors. I suppose it was supposed to be a horror, but it ended up just being strange. It was set in the 19th century, but they kept sticking electronic music in. They were also apparently trying for that humorous horror that was so popular around 2000, but missed to the point where I was mostly like "wtf?" And it turned out to be more or less like a vampire movie gone one step further, where these guys gained special strength and healing powers through cannibalism, but the protagonist was all like, "No, I can't!" and the antagonist kept saying, "Don't resist it! It's manifest destiny!" The hero ended up trapping them together in a bear trap, which killed them, and yet there was something oddly...gay...about the two of them dying sandwiched together.

But it brought up the question for me of, what makes vampires and the drinking of blood so much more acceptable to society than cannibalism? It must be, first, the neck sucking, but also the idea that you don't need to kill the person. Except that I prefer vampires that aren't bogged down with human morals. So why do we not find vampirism revolting? Some food for thought. (Pun not entirely intended.)

Speaking of Netflix, I turned on QaF on it (what can I say, I was too lazy to put in my DVDs) and...they changed over half the music! At integral parts! At first I was like, "maybe I'm imagining it," so I went to more or less important episodes, and I wasn't. Like in the very beginning of 309, where they're dancing in Babylon again for the first time since getting back together, or in 311 when they're getting all turned on by Justin's posters. It doesn't fit with the scenes, and doesn't fade in and out gracefully, and just seems cheap overall. Changing things like that in people's work, very intentional decisions like what music to use, just makes me feel so annoyed.

I think I'll just end this post with a pretty drawing. The colors and style of dress is in alignment with a civil officer of the Heian Court in medieval Japan. I've been proud of myself lately for learning different face types...