argurotoxos: a scene from System Shock 2 with a ghost crewmember (System Shock 2 | by plant_boy)
My dad set up the iPad Sunday afternoon to test the video recording for the family reunion. I recorded about 40 minutes worth of dance practise and made many notes, both positive bits and things that need work. I've improved a lot this past year, though; I can hardly stand to watch the belly dance videos I have from a year ago. (Maybe I'll feel the same way a year from now!)

Wonder of wonders, my Photobucket account is still alive. The audio is quiet (it was playing from my laptop) and the video is a bit dark, plus I've greatly shrunk the video size (the original was almost 400 MB) and Photobucket shrank it even more, but it should hopefully be enjoyable. The song is "Radwind Pt. 1" by MoozE from the S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl soundtrack. (You can download the soundtrack for free here.) Combining my love of dark ambient with my love of dance isn't the easiest thing, but it seems to work for sword. This was my first and only take for sword -- if it goes this well at the family reunion, I'll be thrilled! The song that kicks in a bit at the end is "Hydro 1" by Eric Brosius from the System Shock 2 soundtrack. I should also link to Tiazza's YouTube channel as she's who I picked up most of my sword work from.

Video direct link
argurotoxos: fanart of Lady Loki amused (Lady Loki - snerk | by etrangere)
Today I:

-Got up around 9 AM and drove over to have breakfast, go on a morning walk, and talk with one of my closest friends. (A few days ago, we went on an 11-mile bike ride together.)

-Stopped at the doctor's office to pick up a script for my mom and make my annual physical appointment. One of the receptionists actually gave me a printed copy of my immunization record at no cost. (The last time I'd tried to get it, I was told they would have to print my whole medical record and charge me almost $40. It's still crazy to me that I can't get my whole medical record without paying for it, or even read it myself at the office, but having the immunization list is a start.)

-Went to my bank's ATM for more cash.

-Bought a second watering can (for the back porch plants), another bottle of sunscreen, and some cheap, scented bubble bath at Walmart.

-Returned some of my and my mom's books at the library. I normally never eat while reading physical books, especially library books, but did one day at work when no one else was on to have lunch with and, sure enough, I spilled some food on it. It doesn't look that bad, but it's an interlibrary loan book, so it's up to the original library to decide if they just want to note the condition or if they want me to pay for a new copy. I also checked out a number of audio CDs and a few new books for Maine and the car drive. (CDs -- The Music Rough Guides to the Himalayas, Japan, Turkish Cafe, and Scandinavia; The Art of Seduction: Gypsy Nights - Belly Dance Music of the Balkans; books -- Belly Dancing Basics by Laura A. Cooper, Funny Misshapen Body by Jeffrey Brown, The Heart of Buddhist Meditation by Nyanaponika Thera, The Zen Path through Depression by Philip Martin. I'm still reading The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo.)

-Picked up my mom's prescriptions at CVS.

-Had a quick lunch (thai curry TV dinner) while reading the newest chapter of one of my current favourite fanfics (A Week is a Long Time in Vanaheim by Hermaline75, Loki/Thor, pre-MCU, explicit, WIP).

-Put on some sunscreen and worked outside. Watered the flowers. Planted some creeping thyme in my small front garden. Moved one of my marigolds that was started to wilt from a clay pot into the soil near the thyme. Swept off the front steps. My plants: two marigolds in clay pots and one amaryllis in my bedroom; cactus and regular zinnia, thyme, and one marigold up front; one marigold, one amaryllis, and two pots of three morning glories each on the back porch.

-Helped my dad check the fluid levels and air conditioning system in my car. He checked the other two cars while I had a short dinner and changed.

-Went to the first class of a new belly dance session half an hour away. The drive wasn't as bad as I'd expected, and the place was easy to find. There were almost 30 people there, some who had taken prior classes with the instructor and some who were completely new, ranging from late teens to 60s! Most people did have their own hip scarfs, though. The studio was an actual dance studio with wooden floors, a barre, and full-length mirrors across one wall. Oh, what a beautiful sight! The mirrors really do help, and I found myself automatically going into ballet warm-ups. It was quite a difference from my experience with the nearby belly dance class, where I was the only one there and the studio was designed primarily as a yoga studio, with no mirrors or barre and just painted concrete. Even though I enjoyed having more people in the class, I also found myself feeling very self-conscious and had a hard time relaxing. The instructor seemed much more knowledgeable, gregarious, and willing to give constructive criticism than the local one, although also a bit absent-minded. I'll be in Maine next week, but signed up for the rest of the session, which will be every Thursday night at 6 PM through 17 July. To my surprise, the instructor said she might even cover veil and zill (finger cymbal) use even though it's a beginner class.

-Came home and ate some fried rice with my parents.

-I might burn some music CDs for Maine after finishing this.

I work tomorrow 7:30 AM - 4:15 PM, Saturday 8 AM - noon (in theory; it might change). If we don't leave for Maine on Sunday, I might go to my close friend's house; he's off that day and their pool might be open.
argurotoxos: a scene from System Shock 2 with a ghost crewmember (System Shock 2 | by plant_boy)
Usually there comes a point where bands I listen to put out a new album that I don't care for. It happened with Nightwish (Dark Passion Play) and The Crüxshadows (As the Dark Against My Halo), with The Birthday Massacre (Pins and Needles) and Emilie Autumn (Fight Like a Girl). I only bought one song each off the newest Crüxshadows and Emilie Autumn albums, and it took a bit for that song to warm up to me.

The other day I was on YouTube and searched for Neuroticfish. I don't remember why; I have almost all their songs. I was scrolling through the results as usual and came across some song titles I didn't recognise. Strange, since as far as I knew Neuroticfish's last album was a compilation CD titled "A Greater Good" from 2008. Apparently, there will be a new album released this year. With some trepidation, I opened the first new song I found ("Silence"), waiting and fearing that, as with previous bands, I wouldn't like their sound as much as I used to.

My thoughts after the song? "Yup, that's Neuroticfish." Still going strong and still awesome.

It's so good to have new Neuroticfish music, and to actually be excited about a new album. This may be the first time I'll buy a whole, physical CD (and without listening to all the tracks before purchase) since The Birthday Massacre's Walking with Strangers.

Here's another of Neuroticfish's new songs: "Behaviour".

"You do ignore me
You don't listen to what I say
You do ignore me
You don't recall me
You do ignore me
A game that I won't play
You do ignore me
This isn't for me"
argurotoxos: an elegant half-nude woman standing in green skirts with head facing down and butterflies at her feet (Fée verte)
In 2013, I . . .:

. . . attended the funeral of my paternal grandmother.

. . . worked full-time at the same place all year and made two good friends.

. . . drove round-trip to Maine, New Hampshire, and Ohio (part way).

. . . took time off to visit with relatives and my best friend.

. . . experimented more in gardening.

. . . read a number of books, including two good, and very long, biographies (No Man Knows My History by Fawn Brodie [on Joseph Smith] and A prince of our disorder: the life of T. E. Lawrence by John Mack).

. . . started learning belly dance and expanded on my yoga.

. . . had both my laptop and my car upgraded. (I think the laptop was technically the end of last year, but I didn't have it fully customised or used as my default laptop until this year.)

. . . learned various corset lacing techniques.

. . . gained dental and limited health insurance. The former gave me access to the best dentist I've ever had, while the latter has caused me a three-month long, and still ongoing, billing dispute.



I've never been a radio listener, but we have it on most of the time at work to help the day move faster. We usually alternate between two stations, both of which tend to play rock from the 60's to the 90's.

There was this one song that came on ever few days, and I absolutely loved the instrumental section. I couldn't get enough of it and thrilled whenever it was on. However, I couldn't quite make out the lyrics or guess the name of the song. Fortunately, one of my co-workers/friends knew it and it became my song of the year: "Peace of Mind" by Boston.

"Now if you're feelin' kinda low 'bout the dues you've been paying
Future's coming much too slow
And you wanna run but somehow you just keep on stayin'
Can't decide on which way to go

[...]

Now everybody's got advice they just keep on givin'
Doesn't mean too much to me
Lots of people out to make-believe they're livin'
Can't decide who they should be.

I understand about indecision
But I don't care if I get behind
People livin' in competition
All I want is to have my peace of mind."
argurotoxos: a scene from System Shock 2 with a ghost crewmember (System Shock 2 | by plant_boy)
Title: Robert Rich & B. Lustmord - Stalker - Undulating Terrain [link]
Fandom: Stalker
Author: TheHardSteppa
Song: "Undulating Terrain" - Robert Rich & B. Lustmord
Notes: "An unofficial video to the track 'Undulating Terrain' by Robert Rich & B. Lustmord from the album 'Stalker'. Footage taken on a Nokia N95 at Waldringfield, Suffolk - Decemeber [sic] 2009. Edited using Sony Vegas Platinum Pro 9."

Stalker is the name of both a film and a computer game series [technically S.T.A.L.K.E.R.] inspired by the Russian science-fiction novel Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The album this song is from, also titled Stalker, took inspiration from the film, but is not the film's soundtrack.

In Roadside Picnic, and all of the Stalker adaptations, there is an area called the Zone. Though the Zone may initially appear to be simply a region abandoned and bereft of human life, it is a dangerous and mysterious land home to strange phenomena and artifacts. "Undulating Terrain," both the music and the unofficial video, capture the enigmatic and tense nature of the Zone, along with its forbidding beauty. The black and white video is a perfect choice and a nice homage to the original film; I don't think it would have been half as effective in colour. A lovely example of the dark ambient genre, which I've loved since Thief: The Dark Project.

Embedded behind cut. )

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argurotoxos: Midnighter holding balloons, waiting for his husband (Default)
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