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Archive for the ‘Randomocity’ Category

Being sick isn’t fun.

I’ve been coughing and hacking and wheezing my way towards the grave, inch by inch. I am also constructing Mucous Mountain, and at the rate I’m going, it will be done in about three days with time to spare.

Since being home, I’ve just been sick, reacquainted myself with all my good friends, enjoyed driving in my own car again, and gotten used to sleeping in my own bed. Oh, and trying to find a job. Did I mention how much of a pain in the ass that is? I’ve sent in over ten applications to different locations, and have yet to hear back from the ones I submitted over a week ago.

With my luck, I’ll be stranded with irregular babysitting jobs rather than a stable income.

But first, I need to regain my health — especially since my writer friends and I are planning to write a novel in the month of July (for the second time!)

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Home.

There is, as always, a bittersweet tang curled in the crannies of the moments of transition. Freshman year of college is done, and so summer comes with the hopes of a job and friends and fun. Yet I leave behind the newest memories and newest friendships to sleep until they may once again bloom in the autumn as the next semester begins. Then, too, shall the tartness of the moment be tasted, for then I leave home – sanctuary — for the other home, that less familiar and less kind.

How I wish there were a way to remedy or combine the two worlds; sometimes I fear I will shatter and become two separate entities to coexist in these two similar but different worlds.

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Top Ten Words You Need to Stop Misspelling

The Oatmeal is an assortment of random truths, absurd humor, and biting sarcasm. There are comics, not only about grammar, but also about cats, food, and technology!

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It’s Sunday?

Not necessarily.

Let us pretend I can teleport to California. Ha-ha! It is now Saturday! Albeit very late…but Saturday nonetheless!

Due to time constraints, frivolity, Finals, and having to pack a roomful of items into a tiny cubicle/trunk, I have had little time to focus on creating a dazzling post for the blog. I do hope my Muse and my time are given more freely and frequently once the summer begins.

These sound like lame and mundane excuses — and they sort of are. They are also very true.

The truth can be mundane and lame.

But isn’t there a pinch of beauty in that?

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It may have been the twelfth or fifteenth time I slipped that tape in the VHS player; I wasn’t keeping track. The lid closed on the grey box with a click, and the gears inside began to groan and whir. The large TV, covered in a thin layer of dust and a train of greeting cards from my Memere’s collection balanced on the top, flashed blue and crackled into life. My stomach twirled with excitement. Sparks of anticipation flew down my legs, tickling my muscles and bones. I danced a little to squash the itching sparks. I dove onto the navy couch – it smelled like warmth and vacuumed carpet. My eyes were latched onto the screen. Advertisements began with the iconic blue Disney screen. My excitement mounted. And, finally, the blue screen I had been waiting for: Studio Ghibli. The film was starting.

            Kiki’s Delivery Service is, to this day, one of my all-time favorite films. Since I was young, curled up on the beaten navy couch in my Memere’s stuffy-hot house, I have watched that film upwards of thirty times. Each time, I pick up on another detail, another nuance. Screenshot from Kiki's Delivery ServiceAs I small child, I wanted nothing more than to emulate the protagonist, Kiki, and soar up into the sky on a broomstick to find myself. I didn’t see the gorgeous artwork of the seascape (with frothy whites for the seafoam painted meticulously) or notice the complex narrative that unraveled a young woman’s coming-of-age story. Now I watch the movie and see these things, which do not subtract, but add, to the experience. The music transcends my physical self, plunging me into the past when my stomach flipped as though I, too, was a high-flying witch-in-training.

            Different now, too, is how I end the movie. I was sad, bitter even, when I was seven and saw the credits begin to roll. I speedily trotted to the VHS player to stop and rewind it. Now, I look at the credits and appreciate them. These are the people who brought me this joy – no, this external piece of me. After the cast list rolls, in order of appearance, I begin to notice one man’s name recurring: Hayao Miyazaki, the writer, director, and animator. What kind of God-like man could almost single-handedly envision and execute an animated film? It seemed preposterous, really.

I discovered, some way or another along my life in the Information Age, that this mysterious Hayao Miyazaki had many other films he had directed, and/or written, and/or animated, and/or produced. It was not until 2002 that I would watch another one of his films, marking a severe obsession with his work.

Princess Mononoke Spirit           Hayao Miyazaki has been in the international film spotlight since around 1997 with the release of his film Princess Mononoke. The film follows a Prince on his journey to try to lift a curse put on him by a demon he killed trying to protect his village, and in traveling discovers a forest inhabited by ancient Gods that are warring with the encroaching industrial civilization of humans. The story is visceral, violent, and yet beautiful while commenting on the deforestation and war between industry and nature. Miyazaki has said, “I often think about the relationship between nature and me, a human. I exist within nature, but also there’s nature in me…that is somehow connected with Mother Nature. We neglect the fact that we are products of nature.”

The movie reached critical acclaim and spread across the globe, quickly stamping a record in Japan’s box office as the highest-grossing domestic film of its time[1]. This man-beast of an animator — no, storyteller – blossomed from a small animator in Tokyo to a world-worshipped artist and cinematic narrator. I am still curious, to this day, whether this man possesses super-powers.

His birth, however, is quite normal. Born to an aeronautics engineer on January 5th, 1941, Miyazaki was quickly infatuated with lighter-than-air-travel and flight in general. His artwork early on in childhood and school focused on planes and other imaginative aircraft. His love was consistently spurred on by his father’s business, Miyazaki Airplanes, which produced fighter planes for the war. Inevitably, World War II left a hefty effect on young Miyazaki which has carried through his adulthood.

Hayao Miyazaki and His Creations

From 1944 to 1947, his family had to leave Japan. Upon their return, his mother contracted spinal tuberculosis, leaving her bedridden for eight years. She had a profound effect on him (as can be evidenced by My Neighbor Totoro, where the two young leads move to the country to be closer to their hospitalized mother). In high school, he showed great promise in art and had already fallen in love with the manga (comic) art style of Japan that was popular at the time. So what does he do? He goes to Gakushuin University to study political science and economics.Miyazaki, the artist, the storyteller, is in fact carrying around a degree in political science and economics.

Luckily for the world, instead of using that degree, he may use it as a paperweight for his desk or a bookend to hold up his Academy Award and Berlin Film Festival Award (and countless other baubles and statues attesting to his phenomenal art and skill). Ever the practical man, though, he had studied in those fields with the intention of helping Japan’s economy back on its feet after been ravaged after the war. Respect is due for the practical thinker, especially when I decide to major in writing and minor in religious studies. He went for the realistic, while I go for the idealistic. Different paths to different individuals, I suppose.


[1] . This record would only be broken by Hayao Miyazaki himself in 2001 with the release of Spirited Away.

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EDIT 4/26: There have now been a few instances of readers having difficulty with the poll. I’m going to attempt to resolve the problem, but if it persists, just mention how you feel in the comments as some other kind readers have done! Thanks!

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Some people are morning people. (I think they must be masochists.) Others are night owls. It seems to me that a grand majority of writers are night owls. Three Owls

Why, I can’t be sure. Is there something about the mystery and enigmatic beauty of the night that arouses our muse? Is our coffee and tea or other caffeinated substance activating a hidden segment of the brain at such godforsaken hours? Or are writers just bred procrastinators who wait until the last minute?

I’m sure there are combinations of these. I personally want a researcher to study the brain of a writer when he or she often gets ‘struck’ by inspiration. I’m sure some magic of biology is going on there.

For me, my muse typically visits me between 10pm and 3am. Occassionally a random idea will tap me on the shoulder while the sun is still up, but this is a rare development.

The night has always kept secrets and mysteries. Maybe there is a connection between its literary and spiritual connotations and the typical undulation of ideas within the writer or artist’s brain.

Or maybe writers just don’t like sleep.

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