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A couple of announcements and some ‘Applause’

Hello readers! Long time, no see.

Well, I guess I should be honest outright about why I haven’t been writing here lately. Recently, I was picked up as a writer at the collaborative blog Nerdophiles. I’ve written three pieces for them so far, including a Dragon Con Survival Guide that has gotten a lot of traction since it went up yesterday. The experience of writing there has been delightful so far and I can’t wait to progress into the future with them!

Speaking of Dragon Con, I will be there! I’m not attending as press or as a performer, but I’ll be hanging around for sure. It’s likely that you’ll see me at the Pacific Rim fan meetup on Saturday and the Airship Races representing Steampunk Chronicle. Probably the Comic Book Pageant as well, knowing my dearest Lady Swales. At least I’m prepared!

Okay, onto the review.

Last week, Lady Gaga released her newest single ‘Applause’ into the world a week early to combat hackers who leaked the track. She followed this quickly with the official lyric video (which reminded me of how long its been since I’ve been to a drag show) and the gorgeously shot, but very bizarre official video.

Now, I was a little worried about sharing my thoughts on the song after Gaga posted this:

Ruh Roh...It doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence about writing in your blog about your thoughts on the song when you opinion is regarded as not relevant.

Then I remembered a very stupid detail: I’m a blogger, but I’m also a fan. Sure, I haven’t been able to see her live, but since the days of ‘Just Dance’ and ‘Poker Face,’ I’ve considered Lady Gaga one of my favorite pop stars. I was deliriously excited when the ‘Telephone’ video came out. I still cry about her ‘Speechless’ performance at the AMAs. I wrote a whole blog about how Born This Way grew on me as an album. I’ve cosplayed her. TWICE. I even bought and regularly wear her perfume.

It smells like fame, poisoning your boyfriend, and a little like apricots.

So, I think I can say the following with confidence:

‘Applause’ is one of the most boring pop songs I’ve heard in the past year. It seriously sounds like an unmemorable song from a 90s Europop band.

And I hate saying that! I’ve tried to like the song, but it’s like The Silence. As soon as it’s off, I forget I’ve heard it.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I can remember the chorus pretty well, but the song doesn’t make me want to go and listen to it on repeat. It doesn’t make me want actively avoid it the way I avoid ‘Blurred Lines’ by Robin Thicke either. It just… exists.

The thing for me though is that Lady Gaga isn’t suppose to just exist. She’s loud and memorable. Even if you don’t understand her, she’s making you talk about her. She’s digging your way into your head, even if it’s a song that offends multiple ethnic groups at once. I shouldn’t have to say I remember and like a Katy Perry song full of Dr. Luke’s lazy songwriting better than a Lady Gaga song, but that’s what’s been happening.

Of course, this isn’t me pitting one artist against another. It just makes me a bit concerned about ARTPOP if I’m not gelling to the first single. Then again, I wasn’t the biggest fan of ‘Born This Way’ and I ended up enjoying the album for the most part. Plus, it seems like Gaga is going a similar route that Bjork did with Biophilia and is including an app that goes along with the album. I’d like to see if it takes off and popularizes that approach.

Still, I’m not feeling the ‘Applause’. I know Gaga can do better and I hope she will do better with ARTPOP. Since I won’t know until November, I think I’ll just put The Fame Monster and ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ and ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ by Janelle Monae on repeat in the meantime.

lady-gaga-applause-cover

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Posted by on August 21, 2013 in Music

 

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No Fooling: The Diary returns!

After many adventures across the aether that include getting involved with fire spinners, taking up the media editor reins at Steampunk Chronicle, zipping all over the east coast with The Extraordinary Contraptions, and the general tiredness that comes from that, I’m happy to announce that starting today, The Diary of a Dimension Hopper is back in business!

Did you miss me, friends? Because I missed you. And with all the fun that’s coming out this year in movies and music, I’d be remiss to stop writing the Diary. Plus, you might be hearing me on a podcast or two soon, but more on that when it happens.

I’m hoping to be on a MWF schedule, but I’ll be at least posting once a week on one of those designated days.

We’ll truly resume on Wednesday where I’ll reflect on the life of the recently broken up My Chemical Romance, but for now, let me give you the six songs I’m currently listening to over and over again.

1.) ‘The Phoenix’ by Fall Out Boy – The second single/opening song from their upcoming album Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy is proving that they’re back with a vengeance. With intense instrumentation, Patrick Stump dialing it up on the vocals, and production from Butch Walker that brings out the best of it all, ‘The Phoenix’ is a driving track that has me foaming at the mouth to hear it live (which I will on June 2nd). Plus, the video for it brings back the weirdness I didn’t realize I missed during their four year hiatus mixed in with a fandom kink meme for good measure.

2.) ‘My Simple Pop Song’ by Professor Shyguy – I’ve known Professor Shyguy for almost two years through his band The Aeronauts, but I hadn’t had a chance to see his chiptune solo project live until this past weekend. Now my brain is filled with 8-bit music and his extremely clever and catchy lyrics. ‘My Simple Pop Song’ has been the main offender, with a precise breakdown of how a simple pop song that burrows its way into your head is composed. Kind of ironic, but I don’t mind. Mixed with some excellent dance moves, I can see why he calls himself “The poor nerd’s Justin Timberlake.”

3.) ‘Mirrors’ by Justin Timberlake – Speaking of Justin Timberlake! Now, I’ve been very bad in the fact I haven’t actually gotten a chance to listen to The 20/20 Experience yet. Sorry Justin! But the second single ‘Mirrors’ definitely surpassed ‘Suit and Tie’. ‘Suit and Tie’ is a little bit catchier, but ‘Mirrors’ just pulls at the heartstrings and shows why Justin Timberlake is one of the best voices in pop music right now. Plus, the video Target released of him performing the song with fans is really adorable.

4.) ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ by Against Me! – Back on Election Day, I made a trip down to Athens with my friends BFT and Little Spoon to see Against Me! perform at the 40 Watt. It was an amazing show that opened with this song and just unleashed fury in the pit that I had to spend a few days recovering from. It’s been consistently stuck in my head since then, but there is sadly no recorded version out yet. I await patiently, opening guitar loop stuck in my head, and a review will happen when it does.

5.) ‘Slut Like You’ by Pink – A month ago, I had the chance to see Pink perform at Philips Arena with The Truth About Love tour. And to quote Rona Thorne, it was AMAZIIIIIING. The Truth About Love is already an amazing album, but getting to hear many of the songs live mixed with her theatrics was certainly a treat. While I may not have tickets yet, I know I’m going to see her again in December. There were plenty of catchy songs during that show that have been in rotation on my iPod, but the dirty  feminist power anthem ‘Slut Like You’ has been up there the most. Especially after the weekend I just had.

6.) ‘Bone China Cup’ by The Extraordinary Contraptions – Okay, I had to slip ONE April Fool in here. This was all Teodore’s idea! See what kind of Steampunk silliness you can spot here!

Until Wednesday, my friends…

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in General, Internet, Music, Steampunk

 

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52 books in 52 weeks, Part 1: Comics, Languages, and Sailor V! Oh my!

After ending last week’s post, I realized what my topic for today is! Earlier this year, I signed up for the 52 books in 52 weeks challenge. My book reading last year was abysmal, and I wanted to improve upon that. So far, I’m halfway through my challenge, but I’m only going to cover the first 13 today! The next 13 will come either tomorrow or Saturday depending on when I want to do my review of Prometheus.

Anyway, here we go!

1.) The Sigh by Marjane Satrapi – A short illustrated fairy tale by the author of Persepolis. It’s a quick read, but Satrapi’s fairy tale about a young woman falling in love with a prince, and finding a way to bring him back to life after she accidentally kills him. It’s a lovely little tale with nice morals and lovely illustrations.

2.) Lost At Sea by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Before there was Scott Pilgrim, Bryan Lee O’Malley created Raleigh, the teenage protagonist of Lost At Sea. While the art isn’t as refined or dynamic as it was in the Scott Pilgrim series, Lost At Sea was a surprisingly accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be introverted and depressed at that age. While I never ended up on an accidental road trip the way she does in this book, reading about Raleigh was a lot like reading about myself at that age. O’Malley has always been good at writing women, and Lost At Sea just proves it.

3&4.) Codename: Sailor V, Volumes 1 and 2 by Naoko Takeuchi – Ahhh, the long fabled prequel to Sailor Moon. Something that was never read by most Americans until Kodansha acquired the rights for re-translation and publication in the US. As a Sailor Moon fan, reading about Minako’s adventures before she was a fully realized Senshi was a treat indeed. It was a bit surprising to me though, because Sailor V tends to read more like a loving parody of the magical girl genre than an actual prequel to the biggest magical girl manga of all time. Still, Sailor V made me love Minako more, and made me glad that Takeuchi’s work is available to us again.

5.) Habibi by Craig Thompson – I’m going to be honest here. I’ve never read Thompson’s debut novel Blankets. I’ve always seen the thick tome on the shelf of comic shops and graphic novel sections, but I never thought to pick it up. So going into Habibi, I was not aware of how lush Thompson’s work actually is. A tale of love between two children sold into slavery, this beautifully illustrated tale tells a story of religion, math, writing, and language as we read the story of Dodola and Zam. This book was a labor of love, and it shows on every page.

6.) Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff – Man, this book was weird. It starts with a woman charged with murder claiming that she’s an assassin, but by the end, it’s just a confusing combination of twists that left me staring at my iPad and flipping pages back and forth. I’m not sure if I hated it or loved it.

7.) Freerunners by Joseph Chandler Cain – I’ve pretty much said everything I needed to say about this book. It’s flawed, but still fun.

8.) Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Volume 1 by Naoko Takeuchi – Reading the Kodansha edition of this book was like visiting an old friend from another dimension. I know that it’s pretty much the same thing I read when I was 12, but something about her is slightly different. Like I said with Sailor V, it’s nice to have these new editions in the US.

9.) Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid by Lemony Snicket – This book is a quick read, but it’s full of wonderful snark and truth that only the creator of A Series of Unfortunate Events can provide.

10.) The Beejum Book by Alice O’Howell – I read this children’s book on the urging of my friend Thaddea, who is so named for the main character of this book. I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it as much as Thaddea did, but I’m happy to be wrong here. A wonderful children’s book, it’s a great book that combines imagination, real life lessons, religion, and psychology into a way that translates for children of any age. It makes me sad that this book isn’t really in print anymore.

11.) Shakespeare’s Sonnets by William Shakespeare – Having an e-reader to read these classic sonnets on is magical. My copy in iBooks is covered with a digital purple highlighter that has all my favorite lines and poems. Oh Will, you wordsmith you.

12.) Oracle of Shadows and Light Guidebook by Lucy Cavendish – This was a small book that accompanied a wonderful oracle deck illustrated by Jasmine Becket-Griffith. Sometimes, Cavendish seems very new age-y, but the deck and her explanations of how we work makes so much sense to me. It doesn’t hurt that Becket-Griffith’s paintings are so very lovely.

13.) In The Land of Invented Languages by Arika Okrent – This is an immensely entertaining book. While it is a non-fiction story about invented languages, linguistics PhD Okrent manages to explain the nature of language and the people who invent them in a way that all of us can explain. The beginning of the book may be a bit hard to get through, but the language that she’s dealing with is pretty hard to get through too. In the pages of this book, she really makes these languages shine, and the people who create them sympathetic. It’s not just a guidebook. It’s a story for the underdogs.

Tomorrow will either be more books, or Prometheus. Also, if you’re in Atlanta tomorrow night, you should come see The Extraordinary Contraptions perform with Birdeatsbaby! See you then!

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2012 in Books

 

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