avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
I am two tracks away from completing my new album Coming To A Theatre Near You, which I began on May 29th of this year. One track is an instrumental and is being troublesome. The other is one that I am hoping my friend S will record herself performing for me, because she wrote the tune and it is much better when she sings it. Everything else is done.

Let's just...let that sink in. I just almost finished an album. In a month. And as far as I can tell, the only thing seriously wrong with it is my voice, which is kind of unavoidable. I still like my arrangements, the songs are variable but none of them are, I think, actually bad, and the tone colours of the album are nicely diverse. It is, of course, very white, but then, as Davy Jones said, so am I, what can I tell you.

And I've got it done in a month.

The moral is clear. Grit your teeth and do it yourself. I still want my wonderful friends who can actually sing to sing on the Argenthome album, because that needs good voices, but I no longer have any serious expectation of making that happen in this decade. This album is not attempting to be a Truesingers album; it's me as a rather unlikely Truesingers tribute/covers band. Argenthome needs to be a whole lot closer to good.

But Owls...I could revive that one and do it this way. Finally get that done.

If you want to hear the ten currently available tracks from Coming To A Theatre Near You, you can sign up on my Patreon page at https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande to pledge as little as a dollar a month (and it's collected on the first of the month, so that gives you four weeks free access), and look at this post: https://www.patreon.com/posts/coming-to-near-12422702 for links to all of them.

I think you'll agree that it's not at all bad for a month's work.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Shaving. I have a complex relationship with shaving.

I've just done it, and my face feels like mine again. If you ever see me with a beard longer than an eighth of an inch, it's a sign I've been down for a long time. There was a time in my life when I actually chose to have a beard, but it was never entirely a free choice. My skin, you see, objects to being shaved, and while this is probably true of most people--hence the proliferation of lotions and potions and gunks dedicated to making it less of an ordeal--it seems worse for me. My face feels like mine, but it's also prickling and itching like mad and making me want to scratch it, and nothing seems to stop that. I've tried. Of course, the fact that I then spend the next three hours finding bits I've missed and debating whether to trail back to the bathroom and get rid of them doesn't help.

If I had the money and my druthers, I'd do something permanent about it, but that's pure vanity and totally unjustifiable, and besides there are people of whom I am fond who for some bizarre reason like me with facial hair, so I feel I need to keep the option open for their sake.

But it is my face, and while it will never ever in this world be a woman's face, despite the best efforts of FaceApp--I sometimes try to analyse just what it is FaceApp changes, but I haven't succeeded yet--I'd kind of like it not to be aggressively full-on male at least some of the time.

And let's not even talk about my arms and legs.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Yes, I know I haven't. I don't know, it's just...I don't feel as much at home here as I did in my little LJ. I know it's better, it's got central heating and the roof doesn't leak and there aren't Russians living in the dustbin, but LJ was where I started out this blogging lark and I was forced to move out of it and I'm just not used to this place yet.

Anyway.

A line in a story I'm working on brought "Walk Away Renee" to my mind, and trying it over, I realised I was singing "Don't walk away, Renee, you won't see me papa tulang-gown," which doesn't make a whole heap of sense even for me. So I went Googling, and found the Four Tops version, which is the one I know, with the lyrics, and corrected my mondegreen. And then I found out that that was not the original version, which was recorded by a group called the Left Banke, and possibly co-written by their keyboard player about a girl he may or may not have been in love with. So I listened to two recordings of them doing it.

They don't do it right.

Let me rephrase that. The band that originally performed the song sing the second line of the chorus, the one I had so much trouble with, a certain way. They do it "ta-tum ta-ta-ta-taa tum tum tum." And it sounds...limp. Nothing there. When the Four Tops did it, either they, or the producer, or somebody, tweaked it just a little, to "ta-tum tum tum ta-ta-ta-taa-taa," and it lifts the whole chorus nine yards over the head of the original. Which only goes to show that creativity doesn't stop when the song is written.

As for the rest of the song, the lyrics are very good, though I get the feeling they may have picked the best three verses out of an awful lot of them. There's a disjointed quality to them. The arrangement is nice too, in both versions, though "Reach Out" will always be my favourite Four Tops song in that respect.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Well, sort of. I've started posting videos on my Patreon page, of a concert I did with my bandmates Chris, Valerie and Silke, back in 2012. The first one, Road Song, is free, the second, Centipede Questions, is patrons only ('cos it's an original Zander-style song). You can find them, along with the first two episodes of a piece of D'niverse fanfic and various other bits and bobs, at https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande or thereabouts. If you haven't looked already, why not head on over?
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
It's patrons-only, so if you want to see it sign up for as little as a dollar a month. And if you like it, tell your friends!
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
The importing process has now finished. Sadly all my lovely LJ icons are gone, and since the computer I made them on is also one with Nineveh and Tyre, they probably won't be coming back. I've only got the option of fifteen on here anyway.

I still don't know what if anything was wrong with the new LJ user agreement, except that it was in Russian, but the deed is done now. An era ends, a new one begins. We'll see what happens.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
So, um, hi. If you follow this journal you'll know I have a Patreon page now, which I've started in a desperate attempt to put my abilities to some use in plugging our leaking domestic economy. I have thirteen lovely patrons right now, which is a wonderful start, but I am really hoping for more.

I've made it a monthly-pledge Patreon rather than per-thing, because I have no idea how to price my things even when I manage to finish them. So for as little as one dollar per month (it's a US site and they show everything in dollars, but they'll take whatever) you get access to everything new I put up there, and I'm aiming to put up at least one piece a day.

Looking at other people's Patreon pages, that looks like a heck of a deal.

And the more you pledge, the more I can do. I intend to start putting music and art up there in due course.

There are now more reward tiers, if you feel able to pledge a bit more. You can comment on my posts and tell me what you like or don't like, what you'd like to see from me. I really hope you will.

Because this isn't just about the money, though that is important too. This is about you and me having a conversation, getting to know each other better. It's about me getting better at making art for you. As long as it's something I can do, I promise to try.

If you know someone who might enjoy my stuff, tell them. If you enjoy my stuff, pledge a little (or a lot if you like, but a little will do if you spread the word).

Let's see if we can make this work.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
So, um, hi. If you follow this journal you'll know I have a Patreon page now, which I've started in a desperate attempt to put my abilities to some use in plugging our leaking domestic economy. I have thirteen lovely patrons right now, which is a wonderful start, but I am really hoping for more.

I've made it a monthly-pledge Patreon rather than per-thing, because I have no idea how to price my things even when I manage to finish them. So for as little as one dollar per month (it's a US site and they show everything in dollars, but they'll take whatever) you get access to everything new I put up there, and I'm aiming to put up at least one piece a day.

Looking at other people's Patreon pages, that looks like a heck of a deal.

And the more you pledge, the more I can do. I intend to start putting music and art up there in due course.

There are now more reward tiers, if you feel able to pledge a bit more. You can comment on my posts and tell me what you like or don't like, what you'd like to see from me. I really hope you will.

Because this isn't just about the money, though that is important too. This is about you and me having a conversation, getting to know each other better. It's about me getting better at making art for you. As long as it's something I can do, I promise to try.

If you know someone who might enjoy my stuff, tell them. If you enjoy my stuff, pledge a little (or a lot if you like, but a little will do if you spread the word).

Let's see if we can make this work.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/conversation-8571542

A short-short story this time, stand-alone. Patron-only. I hope you will look at it and like it.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
https://www.patreon.com/posts/conversation-8571542

A short-short story this time, stand-alone. Patron-only. I hope you will look at it and like it.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
S., you may remember, is the creation of JJ Abrams, of whom it has been said, and writer Doug Dorst. It consists of a novel, Ship of Theseus by the fictitious V M Straka, beautifully packaged as a nearly seventy-year-old library book, extensively annotated by two fictitious readers and lavishly adorned with miscellaneous documents stuck between the pages.

This is a book that could only ever be a book. There is no conceivable way to translate the whole of it into any other medium. The story...well, there are at least three stories, possibly four; the story being told in the novel, which itself goes disturbingly nonlinear at times, the story of the writer and his translator and what happened to them while the book was being written and thereafter, and the story of the two aforementioned readers, told via differently coloured annotations in the course of at least four separate passes through the book and not necessarily sequentially. The possible fourth story consists of what may or may not be going on in the world around the readers as they pursue their relationship with each other, with the book, with the author. This is a book that could never be filmed, dramatised, even read aloud. Even as an ebook (which has been done) it's missing a whole dimension of experience.

So, it's clever. What else? Well, I find the novel, Ship of Theseus, not the sort of thing I would go out of my way to read, but very compelling nonetheless. The story of Straka, like the unseen fourth story, I have only imperfectly grasped; hence the reread. The story of Jen and Eric, the readers, is very well done indeed. It never seems implausible that they are conducting this conversation entirely by writing in the pages of a printed book and then leaving it on a shelf for each other to find. They are believable, well-drawn, flawed and vulnerable characters and I grew to like them.

The only problem I find with S.--and it may not be a bug, but a feature--is that it's all but impossible to pick a storyline and stay with it. The novel, the prior and subsequent passes of Jen and Eric, the maddening codes and ciphers contained in the translator's footnotes, all conspire to distract the attention, and I end up flipping back and forth through the pages, unable to settle on a story and stick with it, unwilling simply to put the book down and try something less demanding. It's worth the effort, though. The last words in the book (apart from the endpapers) mean nothing unless you've read the whole thing first...and when you have, they're funny, and moving, and hopeful.

I will treasure my copy of this book as long as I live. Whatever you think of Abrams' efforts in other areas, this he got right. Unless you're uncontrollably enraged by people who write in books, you might like to give it a try.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
Okay. If I have done this right, the following link should take you to what is probably the beginning of a new Gestalt story:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/possibly-new-8553397

But, if I have done this right, it will only do so if you have signed up as a patron, for as little as one dollar per month. I don't know if this will work, and I'm not sure if I like it, but this is the path I've started down and I have to give it a fair whack. We really do need the eggs.

If you aren't a patron and you can see it anyway, please let me know.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Okay. If I have done this right, the following link should take you to what is probably the beginning of a new Gestalt story:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/possibly-new-8553397

But, if I have done this right, it will only do so if you have signed up as a patron, for as little as one dollar per month. I don't know if this will work, and I'm not sure if I like it, but this is the path I've started down and I have to give it a fair whack. We really do need the eggs.

If you aren't a patron and you can see it anyway, please let me know.
avevale_intelligencer: (Default)
Here's the link: https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande

I hope to earn some financial support this way, instead of just panhandling. Wish me luck.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
Here's the link:

https://www.patreon.com/zandamyrande

I hope to be able to earn some financial support this way, rather than simply panhandling.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
[livejournal.com profile] watervole responded quite impassionedly to my suggestion for some dialogue that I would quite like to see in a movie, in response to a certain rather tired cliché that I have encountered rather too often in various forms of fiction, and most recently in Doctor Strange, which we otherwise enjoyed quite a lot. She seemed to think I had missed the point of the statement. Since the point she thought I had missed was stated in the immediately following line, I rather think I did get it. I just didn't agree with it.

Quick show of hands. How many of you here reading this (not many any more, I know) actually treat every single moment of your lives as precious? How many fill each and every unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run? How many live every day as if it might be your last? Every moment? Every minute? Every day? Honestly?

Can't see your hands, of course, but I'm open to the idea that I'm the only one here who ever gets bored, ever feels dull and uninspired, ever gets tired and just wants to stop. I've always known I was deficient in many ways, and if I was alone in that terrible vulnerability that wouldn't surprise me. But if by some chance I'm not, if there are others of you out there who have black moments and terrible quarter-hours and days when you just want it all to be over, tell me this: how does it make you feel when someone tells you that you should really regard every moment of your life as precious because it might end at any minute?

Exactly. It's rubbish. As a reason for valuing your life, it's among the least rational of all. When (not, thank gods, if) I have times when my life seems precious to me, it's because I have friends and family, chosen and unchosen, whom I love, and because I have things to say that I think need saying and music to make that I think will make the world just a tiny fraction richer and people whom I believe I could make laugh if I could just get the words in the right order, and because there is more to see and more to do and more to experience, and the notion that all that could be chopped off at any moment by a random stroke of fate...just makes the whole thing seem even more pointless. Half the time when I want to die it's because I know that I'm going to, at some point, and when it happens I probably won't be ready anyway, so it might as well be now when I'm as ready as I'm going to be. What can I say, depression isn't logical.

Life isn't gold. It isn't some useless metal that only has value because it's scarce. Life has value for a whole host of reasons, and the fact that it will end is not one of them. So no. Death does not even give life meaning in that way. It just takes it away. And if you are so far down that the only reason you could possibly have for valuing your life is its temporariness...then that's not going to do it for you either. Trust me on this.

And I wouldn't have gone any further into this, except that a piece of speculative movie dialogue got mistaken for a serious philosophical essay. Which is probably my fault, for not making it clearer what I was doing. I'm sorry. But I stand by what I've said in both posts.
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
"'Death is what gives life meaning'? You're seriously saying that to me? That's your conclusion based on however many centuries of thought you've given to the matter? Okay, then, here's a question. What is the actual meaning that death gives to life? What meaning will my life have after I'm dead that it didn't have before I died? Because my thinking, my feeling on this, is that it's what you do while you're alive that gives your life meaning, it's what you say and what you think and what you do before you die, and what death does, the purpose and function of death, is to stop you doing and thinking and saying any more, it's to end the meaning in your life, to put a limit on it and curtail it, kind of like the full stop that ends a sentence, and you'll have noticed that I haven't ended this sentence, I haven't used a full stop, and I could have done, I could have put in lots of full stops and made it into lots of little sentences, and it would have meant exactly the same, but the thing about life, the real bugger about life, is that we only ever get one sentence. We only ever get one sentence. We. Only. Ever. Get. One. Sentence. A life sentence, ha ha. And too many of us, far too many of us, never get to finish it, so our sentence, our sentience, ends up meaning nothing. Death is the full stop that ends our sentience, often before we've even got to the verb. Death is what takes away the meaning from our lives.

"Death has functions, useful ones. It stops the planet getting even more choked up with life than it is already, it frees up the matter and the energy that's held in our bodies so that it can nourish other life, it ends pain, it provides closure for lives that have long ago stopped meaning anything, sentences that have just become word salad. Death is useful. Nobody denies that. But to say that 'death is what gives life meaning'...well, people who say that, they either haven't thought about death at all, or else, like you, they've thought about it for so long that they've lost sight of whatever sensibility they might have had, lost sight of how life feels. It's nonsense. It's meaningless nonsense. And nobody should believe nonsense.

"Believe that when we die we go on to another place. Believe that when we die we're born again. Believe that when we die we rejoin the great cosmic mind. Believe any of that. But never, never, ever, believe that death is what gives life meaning, and don't try to make me believe it. And don't ever try to stop me fighting against death. Because my sentence is nowhere near ready for a full stop."
avevale_intelligencer: (bitmoji)
"Everyone's entitled to their own opinions. Nobody is entitled to their own facts." (Internet truism)

I've said before that essentially, nearly all "facts" as we understand them are in fact opinions, based on or supported by what we believe to be evidence, as filtered through our sensoria and interpreted by our brains. In practice, for the most part, this is a difference that makes no difference, and anyone who makes anything serious of that argument is being studenty and pretentious. There is one reality, and for the most part, in most cases and most of the time, we can agree on what it is. What it *means*...well, that's another kettle of fish entirely.

The abovementioned truism has been getting quite a lot of use in the last couple of years, and with Tronald, the current President of the USA, and his team busily coming out with "alternative facts," that seems likely to go on. What interests me about it, though, is the large hole it blows in the idea that non-religious people (who, I believe, comprise the majority of users of said truism) are actually capable of religious tolerance in any real sense.

When you call them on this, they stoutly maintain that they think everyone should be entitled to believe whatever they wish, as long as they don't try and force it on anyone else. Which is as good as saying that everyone is entitled to "their own facts," since it must surely be obvious to anyone who thinks about it that, to a religious person, a religious belief must of absolute necessity have the status of a fact, or what exactly does the word "belief" mean? Christians are not "of the opinion" that God sent His son to redeem mankind. Buddhists do not "incline to the view" that the material world is an illusion that must be transcended if the soul is to attain Nirvana. Jews are not "prepared to entertain the notion" that Passover night is different from all other nights. If any of them say they are, then in my estimation (and I admit I'm an outsider, see below) they're just being nice and trying to avoid causing conflict or offence, which is laudable but not conducive to greater understanding. An atheist friend, not so circumspect, told me quite flatly the other day, "it's a fact. There are no gods." It may be her fact, but it's not everyone's.

How all these contradictory beliefs may be reconciled is not an insoluble problem--I can think of half a dozen reasons why a deity might have communicated, or been understood as communicating, different truths about itself to different peoples, without using the words "sadistic," "psychopath" or "deceiver" once--but happily, it's not my problem. I have no facts in that area. None. Nor any opinions. I have nothing to defend except truth and logic.

But when you say "nobody is entitled to their own facts," and then claim to be okay with different people believing that different deities created the world, you are contradicting yourself. Because a belief is not the same as an opinion.

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