Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Video game music

I'm a big fan of movie and video game soundtracks. Here are of some of my favorite (and underappreciated) tracks:

"If You Still Believe" (Legend of Dragoon) Composed by Dennis Martin, Vocals by Elsa Raven.
One of my long-time favorites. Legend of Dragoon was a mediocre game, but it had beautiful cutscenes and lovely music.

"Greater Lights" (Advent Rising) Composed by Tommy Tallarico and Charlotte Martin, Vocals by Charlotte Martin.
I haven't played this game, but I heard the song "Muse" from this soundtrack and had to get the whole thing. Lots of choral parts on this soundtrack, which is my favorite thing right now.

Waiting for You (Silent Hill 4: The Room) Composed by Akira Yamaoka, Vocals by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn.
This game has a lot of creepy techno. Kinda gothic in parts. This song is a live version, which I guess wasn't used in the game. I recommend the whole soundtrack.

"Like Lovers (Holding On)" (Titan A.E.) Composed/performed by Texas.
I just really like this song.

"Endless Love" (The Myth) Performed by Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-Seon.
I didn't know Jackie Chan could sing, but he does. This is a nice duet in Mandarin.

Music from The 7th Guest Composed/performed by The Fatman and Team Fat.
I played The 7th Guest before I was a gamer- this game came out in the very early nineties. And though I never finished the game (I was young and it freaked me out. Though if I played it now I would still be freaked out, 'cuz I'm such a wuss.), I used to put the disc in my CD player and listen to this long track (over 20 minutes and several songs) quite frequently. Since then, I'd occassionally get "Skeletons in my Closet" or "The Game" running through my head. When I found this track for download this morning I was so happy! It's really great music, quite creepy, and has some parts with dialogue from the game that's kinda funny.

Just for the hell of it, I'm gonna list some of my favorite game and movie music composers:
Nobou Uematsu (Final Fantasy series)
Inon Zur (Syberia 2, Prince of Persia Warrior Within + Two Thrones)
Tan Dun (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Hero)

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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Been a long time since I last wrote

Yeah, I know it's kinda stupid to post a new blog entry right after writing one, but I'm doing so anyway.

Had my Lit final today. My Contemp Soc Theory final is on Tuesday morning.

Some random links:

Been reading some Gundam Wing fanfiction though I've never seen a single episode. Sunhawk's Ion Arc is amazing, though each section takes hours to read (each "chapter" is practically a full story in itself- every one 100+ pages). Abrasions reminded me a lot of Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles Vorkosigan series; the details of the space missions are so detailed and believable.

This person actually makes juggling goslings- something that Wash mentioned in the series Firefly. I love the little Jayne hats!

I found CheeseOnTour.com a long time ago, but I don't think I ever mentioned it or posted the link.

Another old link I filed in my "Weird Sites" bookmark folder: a manual for micro dwellings. Look cramped and strange, but admittedly very futuristic. That "combined table and bed" pictured looks pretty uncomfortable; I wonder if you'd throw a foam camping mat on it, or just accustom yourself to the hardness?

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Black.White.- My thoughts on episode 2

Just watched the second ep of "Black.White." I think that the two women are simply blaming their differences on race- it's clear to me that a good portion of their conflict simply lies in clashing personalities. Of course, I still acknowledge the faux pas that the people have pulled (mostly the white family, but that opinion may be influenced by the fact that I'm white). Regarding the "bitch" issue... I just think that was a stupid thing for her to do. Sometimes it seems to me that the white family "learned" about black culture by watching the WB or something. I would never call a female aquiantance a "bitch" regardless of race; I'd have to be really mad or she'd have to be a really good friend for me to call someone a bitch.

The only people I really like on that show are the Brian, Rose, and Nick- though they sure haven't shown much about him. Except for that stupid charm school thing. (Yeah, like that is a average white-person hangout. I don't think I've known anyone who's been to one of those things.)

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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Black.White.- A unique look at racism

The new FX show of two families trading races premiered last night. I was telling Curtis about it this morning at breakfast, and this black guy I had talked to once, Chris, was sitting at the table. He had seen it, too, so we talked about it for a bit. We both agreed that the white man was an ass.

Something that Chris said that kinda surprised me was that people who think they're all understanding and open-minded (like the white man and woman) are the worst. I had had vague thoughts along that line before; the people who think that they understand what my life is like (shrinks, especially, in my experience) piss me off. I guess it's because they tend to give off self-righteous vibes like they're always congratulating themselves about their open-mindedness. This type of person, I think, feels more entitled to criticize how you live your life and perceive things (like Bruno in the show). But these people, at least, are more willing to change their opinions and beliefs than close-minded dogmatists.

FX: Black.White.
Black.White. @ MySpace

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Monday, March 06, 2006

Media

A few weeks ago, I wrote a short paper for my contemp soc theory class called "Horkheimer, Adorno, and the Art of Podcasting". Horkheimer and Adorno, in the mid-1900s, argued that mass entertainment and culture is an industry with the purpose of profit (this, of course, is pretty obvious now), that the big business absorb all new forms of media and originality, and that entertainment has become homogenized- e.g. plots are similar, characters are the same, novels are written with the author consciously thinking about making it adaptable for the big screen, etc.

The issues of copyright vs creative common licenses and mass media and the culture industry vs indie entertainment are also pretty interesting.

Some links to check out:

Creative Commons
Downhill Battle
DB's Reasons to get rid of the major record labels
Free Culture
Media Revolution: Podcasting

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Sunday, March 05, 2006

My Life, Medicated

Today I've started taking a new medication- Adderall. I'm hoping it will help me focus in class and get my statistical methods (which I am in danger of failing) grade up.

I've been medicated practically my whole life. I've been on Zoloft for God knows how long, and have taken various other psych drugs for various amounts of time.

It does raise some frightening philosophical questions when I think about it. Like, do I really know who I am? Can I ever really know who I am? Do behavioral and psychological modification drugs make me a different, better person?

It's scary when you think about it. What you think is the world is always filtered by personal experience; is there anything concrete and objective, or is life just a continuous and subjective experience? Your whole life, values, beliefs, etc. are founded upon your definition of self; if something shakes your world view (like my previous blog regarding de Beauvoir's characters), you suffer an identity crisis- you don't know who you are because your definition of yourself has turned out to be false and shattered.

I know for a fact that I'm a different person when I'm not on medication. Around seven years ago I tapered off from all my meds, under my therapist's supervision. I couldn't get out of bed- the anxiety, depression, and fear closed in around me. I couldn't even function.

Perhaps I could have adjusted. Maybe I just needed more time. But it's freakin' scary. There are times when I can barely function on medication, when the despair and sense of failure are just overwhelming (something I've been experiencing rather frequently this academic quarter).

So I am a different person with medication. I don't how, or to what extent. If I was living in a different period of time or in different social and economic circumstances and never had the options of pills, would I have killed myself? Would I have been reduced to a whimpering, huddled, fearful animal? Would I have snapped? Or would I have found some inner strength that helped me cope and live life relatively normally?

Obviously, I hope the latter. I have found and developed some will that has helped me overcome a great deal of my anxiety.

But these are frightening questions that I try to avoid. Though sometimes they pop up and I fall into a funk of despair aand uncertainty. The most frightening thing that I ever wonder- something that I've never asked aloud or written- is whether people would still like and love me if I wasn't on drugs.

Would I even like myself?

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