Skin Hunger

We haven’t seen each other for a while and when we met again she just went for this long solid hug that I did not expect. My skin was buzzing afterwards and my heart was beating so fast. I did not realize how touch-starved I was until that moment. It’s been years since then and I still remember it because it was I think the best hug I’ve ever had. I’d love to repay her with a solid hug of my own but she’s so far away now and we’ve grown distant as well I think, because I am not good at maintaining friendships.

– – – –

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Review of ‘Hello World’ (2019)

Review of ‘Hello World’ (2019)

I watched this Japanimation film **Hello World** yesterday in the cinemas. It was a love story with a sci-fi twist. I was very doubtful about the animation because it was that 3D style where the characters look puppet-like in their movements. I do not like this style, but somehow the story became engrossing enough that I was able to look past it.

The characters, especially the main girl are likeable. She is serious and strong-willed, she knows what she wants and goes for it. Main guy is the opposite – he is indecisive but he does improve later on. Now the problems with the film are: the plot and the pacing. I felt so much was packed in the later part of the film that it felt rushed.

The visuals as I’ve mentioned is that 3D puppet-like style (think BLAME!, think Knights of Sidonia). One good thing about this 3D animation style is that it can yield pretty trippy visuals. There’s a scene where a character gets into this weird metaphysical space and there are a lot of colors and shapes and repeating 3D patterns. It is a visual feast.

Overall, a decent romance anime in the vein of ‘Your Name’ with that young people romance but with weird metaphysical/supernatural complications kind of thing. If you liked ‘Your Name’ you might like this film.

P.S. On my way out of the theatre I saw this young person wearing that infamous hoodie with the ahegao faces. Weebs these days are something else.

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Review of Mugen no Ryvius (1999)

Mugen no Ryvius is a highly psychological anime. We are periodically subjected to the inner mental workings of the various characters. And it’s not the inspirational inner wisdom kind of psychology either. These are dark, dreadful psychologies we are exposed to. These are various musings on survival, connecting with someone, dealing with intense existential pressures. The setting provides the main crucible for the inner torments of these characters – these are young people stuck in a space vessel, trying their best to not be obliterated by internal and outside forces.

The beginning episodes, there are a lot of things we have to figure out on our own. It can be annoying at times, but it serves to move the story forward very quickly. The music could have been a bit less jovial in order to fit with the mood. I felt like the poppy songs with the crooning female voice did not fit in certain scenes. Flashbacks are thrown in occasionally to flesh out conflicts between characters, but largely the story proceeds in real time.

The animation for the human characters is medium-tier. Not that bad, could be better, but it works. Where the animation shines is in the design of the mechas and the ships. I like the vast internal spaces, the metal corridors and walls, all that electronic-mechanical stuff. The space battles are really good. You get a feel for the vastness of space and of the vessels the characters are in. The images of massive destruction are a visual feast.

One of the most basic criteria I have to judge whether to continue watching a show or not is whether I’d want for the characters to die. In the initial episodes I certainly did have this feeling. I did not care for them – they are young, brash, annoying, shallow, all the usual character tropes of teens and young adults. What made me continue watching for a while was the space battle scenes. The mecha here aren’t numerous and expendable. They are carefully brought out one by one for our consideration. We are shown their abilities, what makes them unique, how they operate. This makes their destruction or survival that much more impactful. But later on, I did start to care with several of the characters, and so this was added motivation to my continued watching of the anime.

The overall mood varies. It goes up whenever they win another battle, and goes down again once we are shown the things the trainees start doing to each other. The height of this communal feeling happened only for a brief time – it is during the party scene following their initial victory. But even that is abruptly cut off by a really bad news.

The show makes a commentary on society and how crowds act when under existential pressure. If you are the misanthropic kind, the kind of things the trainees get into would not surprise you. It kind of fizzles at the final episodes however, but the journey to get there was entertaining and interesting.

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The side of the ship was made of a transparent material, so that you could see the sea creatures outside while the ship was moving. There were a couple of dolphins that I could see. They were playing, making a circle chasing each other. Beyond, behind them I dare not look at. The idea of being surrounded by deep-sea creatures, and not even that really, but just being in the middle of the ocean creeps me out a lot. The ocean covers most of the earth. Human beings cannot live in it. We did come from the ocean though, at least that’s what I think of when I recall the idea of the ‘primordial soup’. Maybe it wasn’t an ocean, maybe life originated from a very large lake. But isn’t the ocean just a very large lake? Good point. I rest my case your honor.

Anyway, then the ship started to flood. I don’t know how the water started to come in. Maybe it was the shitty construction of the ship. Maybe this new experimental transparent material wasn’t fit to be made a part of a ship. Or maybe this is just how dream-logic works – when you dream you’re in a ship, that ship is going to flood, and all those creepy crawley creatures of the deep and the high seas would come in with their slimey tentacles and hundreds of needle-thin teeth and they’d cover you and eat your internal organs. I remember in this dream I was a small child. I am not a small child. I am not a big man now either in the real world, but I am definitely not a small child. So I started to run towards this door, the kind I’ve seen in those movies about submarines, the ones that have a wheel on it that people could turn in order to seal the sides so the water couldn’t get in. I don’t remember ever reaching the door. I do remember the water steadily rising and me wading through it, and there were other people too making their way towards that metal door.

Maybe I died in that dream, and where I am now is the post-dream-afterlife. Just call it reality, dumbass. I woke up from the dream, and now I am here, and all of this is real.

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Contemplation of Eternity

– – – –

The Master was banished into this remote abandoned Church after a theological dispute with the Archbishop. He was threatened with blasphemy, and it was only his aristocratic status and popularity with the nobility that saved him from a more permanent fate.

His assistants, Magnus Diaphanous and Martin Ambiguous, have been observing him at work. The latter had just come in from the kitchen area after having just prepared their meal for the evening. The smell lingered in to the laboratory after he entered and closed the door.

“How long has he been like this,” Ambiguous asks.

‘He hasn’t moved since afternoon,” Diaphanous replies.

“Are you sure he’s not dead?”

“I check his pulse every thirty minutes. He’s still breathing.”

All the master really wants is the secret to immortality, or the ability to turn copper into gold, whichever is more convenient, or comes first.

Since his discovery of the glow-in-the-dark liquid, the Master’s efforts have been invigorated. He’s been boiling liquids, mixing powders and metals. Inhaled a lot of the resulting fumes too, sometimes accidentally. Now he’s trying out meditation using the light of the liquid. He believes his research has reached a new phase and he is closer to the goal.

Thirty more minutes and he finally stands up. He sighs, turns to his assistants and says, ‘Fine, okay, let’s eat.’

– – – – –

The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher’s Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers, Joseph Wright of Derby, 1771

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God must have wanted for this to happen

Lightning struck an innocent child, killing the poor innocent baby immediately. It is like that in the world. So much pain and darkness and misery, and lightning just striking you when you least expect it. You’re just out there in the middle of the field. The cows are nowhere to be seen, maybe they’re in that grove over there, just munching on some grass. And then it starts to get dark, and what are you doing there even, where’s your mommy little kid? But you just stay there probably sucking on a strawberry-flavored lollipop. Where is your mommy?

Well your mother is drunk, several miles away in the house, in the big house with all the white shiny surfaces of marble tiles and glass and metal. She is a beautiful but bitter woman. Life wasn’t easy for her, all those dark years of striving and grinding, and then finally a comfortable life, all of a sudden, because of that man, your father, who is I don’t know where right now. This isn’t what she wanted, this life, but it’s certainly better than what her life was before. And then you came along, the idiot child. Sure, cute, but just kind of missing something a little bit in the head. You’d bump into things and not even cry when you fall down face first onto a pile of Legos. Something was weird with you, and your mother was kind of freaked out by that. It doesn’t really help that she didn’t want kids, but had you anyway in order to lock in your father who was a sort of traditionalist in an old masculine way where he just had to marry the woman he first impregnates. And this country has no abortion too. Tough luck.

God must have wanted for this to happen. After the marriage soured, your father, your mother’s husband that is, just continued gallivanting about like a young man in his prime spreading his hybrid GMO seeds everywhere. So much fertile ground for that agriculture. And the women, in this poor country, they offer themselves to him because poor and not-educated well and just plain opportunism. Some mothers would even offer their own daughters to him. What is up with this guy anyway? He seems like a total rich ass-hole, which is what he is in the world, in this world. Got lucky. Didn’t really need to work a day in his life. Lots of lands. Parents were successful landowners and business-owners and all that stuff. So he was sent to the best schools and when he got kicked out was educated by tutors but his mind was just resistant to book learning, and so he just went about in the world doing whatever he wants, and he must have been lucky since it was your mother he impregnated first. That’s another thing in this world, luck.

It must have been that you opened the door and wandered off and just walked several miles into the middle of the field. You just wanted to see the cows, you like hearing them moo and like watching them chewing on grass and leaves and fruits and vegetables. You stood there in the middle of the field as the sky darkened, and rain started to fall. Who knows what you were thinking as you got soaking wet? Did you even feel the cold?

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Minds preserved inside the books

I have to think in terms of paragraphs and sentences. So people would think I am a normal human being, and not a weirdo who is probably into some funky shit no one should be into. We pretend to be normal so that people could empathise. But why would we want to please them? Who are these people anyway that they must command our desire to be normal? Why do we want for them to accept us? Why am I speaking/writing/thinking in the first person plural?

I am writing this in FocusWriter. That rectangular portion of the screen which functions as the ‘sheet’ of paper is transparent, so that the wallpaper is visible behind it. The wallpaper is a sci-fi setting. It’s a group of astronaut-scientists in this semi-alien, maybe post-apocalyptic landscape. In the deep background is the ruins of what looks like a giant industrial factory. The scientists are wearing shiny suits with that retro plastic bubble helmet. I don’t know why I am describing these things to you, dear reader. I just like you to know what I am dealing with here. So that you would not be surprised why all these words are coming out like this.

FocusWriter is pretty kewl

Maybe I’d write something science-fiction-like. I just like this writing set-up, and I want to make full use of it. I am pretty sure I would be able to produce something with this. Something long maybe something that needs an outline? I need to learn how to write in such a way that it is easy to edit later on. That would be a kind thing to do for my future self. Imagine how many articles and books you’d be able to write with that skill. Always though, hard work and consistency is involved. I read somewhere that Danielle Steele, famous writer, works more than eighteen hours a day. She averages fours of sleep daily. She writes so much that she doesn’t have that much time to read books. She makes Stephen King look lazy. It’s scary how obsessive she is.

Of course it’s not enough that one should just write. I like Stephen King’s work ethic more, in that he incorporates reading sessions in his work day. I think it is important that a writer also reads, for research and inspiration purposes. Just writing, without any research seems too self-absorbed. It just makes writing a solipsistic sort of activity, or rather ‘more’ of a solipsistic activity than it already is. One should at least attempt to engage, if not with the outside world, then at least with other human beings, other minds. Minds preserved on paper. But who knows, maybe that kind of solipsistic writing has its own merits. Like, extreme originality, or extreme weirdness.

None of these make much sense yet, but just throwing words at the paper, maybe something would stick.

Show yourself to be alien and original enough, but not so much that you would scare the reader away. The reader for a time is our customer, and because she is our customer we must take great care that her demands be met. The reader demands satisfaction, escape, adventure, those vicarious thrills. This is a mercenary way to look at it.

This young woman is all alone in the world. She has only her books – shelves and shelves of them, to entertain her, to help her deal with the boredom. She is immortal, she doesn’t grow old. She doesn’t need to eat much. Just enough. Probably she can even gain nourishment through photosynthesis. In the far post-apocalyptic future, living in her sealed mansion, she’d have turned crazy so many years ago if it weren’t for the presence of these minds preserved inside the books in the vast library/museum/building. Maybe she actually has gone crazy. But because her mind got bored of being crazy, it became sane once more. Periodic moments of insanity and lucidity, alternating forever.

She picks a book at random and opens it somewhere in the middle. She reads the first paragraph, then the second, and so on. If she finds it interesting she would read the first page of the book and continue on until she finishes it. There is no fear of running out of things to read soon.

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