Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday modeling: Jeff / jpsteel

I hadn't had a photoshoot since December.  I was far too busy with moving and starting my new job.  At last, I decided I was ready to do some modeling, and to my happy surprise, I was contacted almost immediately for a shoot in my new town of residence.

When the day finally arrived, I was, of course, extremely nervous.  The photographer asked that I bring leather leggings, ankle boots, and a few different fitted T-shirts and tank tops.  The shirts and boots were no problem.  I had trouble finding leather leggings, though.  I ended up going to a store that was a little below my intended age range.  I know I look young, but actually, I'm in mid-twenties, so stores like H&M and Forever 21 are not usually ones I frequent.  :b

I was early as always because I wasn't actually sure where I was going.  We were meeting at a library, and I didn't know how parking would be.  I was really made up with my long blonde curls, make-up, and leather leggings.  Compared to the other people waiting for the library to open, including homeless people, I absolutely stood out.  A lot of people noticed me, some definitely stared at me.  The introvert in me did not like that!  I love having my pictures complimented, but in real life, it is very awkward to receive so much attention.  I avoided all eye contact, hoping no one would decide to come talk to me.  I waited inside for about twenty minutes until Jeff, the photographer, finally texted me and told me his location and what he was wearing.  He was a nice guy and had all the equipment.  He got a photographer's pass from the library (I guess he shoots there pretty frequently), and then we went to our location for shooting.

Almost immediately, I realized I had misinterpreted his instructions of what to bring.  As a linguist, I usually love ambiguity, but this misunderstanding really embarrassed me!  When he said different fitted shirts, I thought he meant shirts with different fits, as in some loose and some tight.  What he actually meant was that he wanted ALL of the shirts to be fitted and to bring different kinds of fitted shirts.  Whoops!  He also apparently wanted me to bring a white shirt, but he definitely didn't mention that in the description, so I did not bring one.  I don't usually wear white shirts because they are so easily stained, especially by sweat.  I usually reserve my shirts for times when I know I won't be sweating or eating in order to make them last as long as possible.

Well, anyway, I had a couple shirts that he could work with, so on we went with the shoot!  The shoot was fun, and Jeff was certainly a great director.  I only wish that he could've allowed me to pose on my own a little more.  The direction was nice because it helped me know what he wanted, but I felt limited in my posing because I was constantly being told what to do down to the last detail.  I couldn't just let loose and see what interesting poses resulted from me just going with the flow.  I was also concentrating so much on making sure that my poses were exactly what he wanted that I kept forgetting to think about my facial expression.  So, it wasn't as much of a posing learning experience as I would've liked, but it was still a good experience overall, and actually, the pictures turned out great.  There were a ton, and I really liked all of them.

The blue denim shirt was actually one he brought for me to wear, which surprised me since it certainly wasn't fitted!  Also, the leather shorts were his, not mine.  Er, I wasn't expecting to wear shorts, so I didn't shave my legs beforehand.  Haha, at least my body hair is very light!

Friday, February 27, 2015 a BOSS

Okay, not really like a boss, but actually, the defense went great.  The questions weren't too difficult, and even better, it was actually cut short (only about fifty minutes) because there was supposedly a class that was sure their class was in the conference room we were in at the time of my defense.  They must've been wrong (we scheduled the room quite specifically), but my committee decided that we were done, so we ended it, yay!

Also, thankfully, only two of my colleagues showed.  Their support was wonderful, and at the same time, I didn't feel too pressured or overwhelmed.  Most of my colleagues expressed their sympathies that they could not come, so I know it wasn't because they didn't care.  I had one colleague who came about half an hour after it ended hoping she could catch the end, so again, I know they care.  >^___^<

I had been taken clonazepam a few days before the defense including the night before and the morning of, so...I actually felt pretty normal.  I felt normal and cheerful pretty much the whole time, which is very unusual for me but certainly attests to the strength of anti-anxiety medication.  Another reason I know it worked is because after the defense, I felt EXACTLY the same.  I didn't feel relieved or glad that it was over.  I just felt like, "huh, okay.  I guess that's it."

I'll talk more about the defense later (with COMICS YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY *arm flail*), but for now, enjoy these pictures that my colleague took for me.

Yup, I wore my hot pink button-up shirt!  Figured it was as good a time as any to finally wear it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Defense tomorrow

Tomorrow's the big, morning, I guess.  It's at nine.  I don't really know exactly what I'm doing, what I'm supposed to prepare, what I'm supposed to say, but I'll do my best.  I'm going to be dead tired this weekend, though.  Tutoring for three hours right after my defense, a date (!) later that evening, a photo shoot on Saturday not to mention all of the preparation for my class on Monday.

To be honest, I don't know if this was really the right path for me, but I intend to finish it.  I can choose another path later if needed.

Just please let the light in you honor the light in me.  I'm definitely going to need it!  I'll have a few friends there to support me, which scares me a little, but hopefully, I won't disappoint anyone.  I spent a good hour or so crying today.  My professor and thesis chair sent me a nice e-mail encouraging me, and I don't know what happened, but it just put me over the edge with appreciation but also more grief.  I feel better now after drugging myself, but I am an insanely emotional person.  My biggest fear for tomorrow is not being able to adequately speak.  I can usually speak just well on paper, but orally, I get very tongue-tied and confused.

I wish I had time to make a graphic, but I need to go to bed.  Until tomorrow!  >.<

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


My MA thesis defense is this Friday, so that coupled with the class I am teaching (that isn't really going that well, myeh), I have been incredibly busy and stressed.

But it will all pass eventually!  I've done some modeling and will do more for the next couple weekends, so I'll post those pictures soon and talk about my experience.  I will also be talking about my thesis defense experience...with COMICS!  YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY *arm flail*

Until then, I have work to do memorizing and preparing and stuff.

Zettai daijoubu da yo!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday animation: 劇場版ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲 (Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back)

Oh, boy.  :b  It's been awhile since I've reviewed an animated film, so I was hoping for a more aesthetically pleasing or cultural one for today, but alas...the first Pokemon movie was selected.

I have mentioned many times in this blog that I am a huge Pokemon fan.  It will always be one of my biggest fandoms.  For this reason, I adore the first movie, but I also recognize that it's really not that good.  Even within the fandom, it's kind of confusing and even annoying at times.

This movie was a huge deal when it came out.  Pokemon had taken the world by storm, so kids all over the world and certainly in the U.S. were dragging their parents to see the first movie.  Pikachu on the big screen?!  Heck, yes!  Subsequent films also went to theaters, but none had as much success as the first movie.


Overview: The Pocket Monsters Movie: Mewtwo's Counterattack, known in the U.S.A. as Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, is an anime film first released in Japan based on the popular anime video game and T.V. series, Pocket Monsters/Pokémon.  Although it received mostly negative reviews, it was a huge box office success and remains the most well-known movie in the series.

Art: The art is a huge step up from the anime series.  It is exceptionally better.  That said, it still isn't spectacular.  The colors and lines are clearer and crisper, the backgrounds look much nicer and are more detailed, and there is more fluidity.  Still, the movie has a very anime-esque feeling in that there are held frames and limited lip movements.  Also, the design is nothing particularly impressive.  Many of the characters have similar facial features and only really differ in terms of hair style and color.  I like how this film does not rely too heavily on CG effects, especially compared to the films that follow this one.  So, ultimately, it's not very impressive, but it's certainly not ugly.  There aren't any dazzlingly beautiful scenes, and in fact, there are very few pretty scenes in general, but it still is a visually pleasing film.  The animation itself is nothing impressive, but it's not a distraction.  It's okay overall, I suppose.

These last screenshots are actually from the credits, not the actual movie.  I wish the actual film had more scenes like these.

Wow, this is a nice scene.  That reflection in the water is beautiful, and so is the rendering of the sun's rays.
Sound: I'm only rating the Japanese soundtrack and voices.  The American version has some awesome pop songs thrown in and also has great voice acting, but I always try to stick with the original.  The music is mostly instrumental, all of which is fantastic and fits the mood of each scene well.  Seriously, the soundtrack is wonderful and easily the most redeeming aspect of the film.  The stand-out song is definitely the re-recording of the original Japanese theme song, Aim to Be the Pokémon Master '98.  Rica Matsumoto, the voice actor of the main character, Satoshi, sings the song, and boy, she is INCREDIBLE.  I don't mean to say that she has a fantastic singing voice, but her emotion and sound is so raw and perfect.  The Japanese theme song is not as good as the American theme, but Rica's voice alone really makes the song.  She is also an incredible actor, of course.  She, along with the voice actor of Pikachu, Ikue Ootani, are the stand-outs in this movie (and in the Pokemon series in general).  The other voice actors are also fantastic, though.  I love Team Rocket's voices and the voices of all the Pokemon.  Overall, great sound quality, great voices, great acting.  The music and voice choices are part of the reason why I love Pokemon so much.

Story: Okay...this is where the film really kind of fails.  The story isn't really that bad, but it has a lot of parts that are beyond cheesy, silly, and just plain irritating.  The film also needs the context of the T.V. series to be fully understood.  The other movies really are standalone films, but this one can be confusing if you are not familiar with the T.V. series, which was most unfortunate for the many parents who had to sit through this movie.  Basically, the main character, Satoshi, and his friends are invited to an isolated island to meet the world's greatest Pokemon Master.  Once there, they discover their host is actually Mewtwo, a clone of the legendary Pokemon Mew.  Mewtwo is angry at humans for creating him to be used only as a tool and plans to exact his revenge on the whole of humanity.  To achieve this end, Mewtwo has created clones of all of the Pokemon that the trainers he invited to his island brought.  The clones and real Pokemon end up fighting, really fighting, not just battling like they usually do.  Mewtwo and Mew also start fighting.  Action-hero Ash--er, Satoshi--reveals himself when he jumps in the middle of the two most powerful Pokemon fighting.  He dies (I think?), Pokemon all start crying, and their tears resurrect him.  I'm not even kidding.  The film pulls the most cliched Care Bears-esque ending EVER and pretty much negates any other awesome parts of the film.  But oh, it gets worse.  Mewtwo is touched by Satoshi's sacrifice and decides to end the fighting, and then...he decides to erase everyone's memory of the event while he and the clones go off to find their own place where they can live in peace.  Yeah, so in the end, it's like it NEVER HAPPENED.  It's one of those films where you're like "What was the point of all that?!"  All of the lessons they learned about not fighting and being equal, completely GONE.  The story was okay up until the end, but the end is just so bad that I can't possibly say that this is a good film.  The characters make up for the story a little.  Team Rocket is especially funny, and the other characters are all the same personalities from the show, the same likeable characters.  At the very least, the film is certainly not boring.  Silly and cheesy, but there is plenty of humor and heart brought by the characters.

Even Gary made it into the movie.  Gary Motherfucking Oak...

Okay, some CGI here...

The most epic battle EVAR.

Action-hero Ash/Satoshi cannot be stopped once he starts.
Ash dies, and his beloved Pikachu starts crying...

And his other Pokemon...

As do Takeshi/Brock's and Kasumi/Misty's Pokemon.

Even Pokemon who don't even KNOW Satoshi join the crying fest.

The tears somehow float in the air and pool toward Satoshi's lifeless body...this is a joke, right?
Holy crap, it WORKED.  The tears actually brought Satoshi back to life.  You have just GOT to be kidding me.  Dx  WHAT YOU DOING TO ME, POKEMON?!  HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DEFEND YOU AS A SHOW THAT ADULTS CAN ALSO ENJOY WHEN YOU DO THINGS LIKE THIS?!



Personal appeal: Well, I'm a huge Pokemon fan, so I do love the movie, but it is definitely a guilty pleasure, and the ending ALWAYS makes me cringe.  I've seen it a million times, but I don't actually plan on watching it again anytime soon.  If it's on T.V. or if a child I'm with wants to watch it, I'd be fine with it.  So, basically, I only like the movie because I'm a Pokemon fan.  It has nothing to do with the art or story.  It's just because it's part of my fandom.

No idea what just happened and learned absolutely nothing...yup.
Overall, I would give this film two peridots out of five.  The music is fantastic, but the art is just okay, and the story is really weak.  It's not a terrible movie, but it is in no way a good movie.  It's worth a watch if you're a Pokemon fan, but otherwise, it has little to offer besides the music.