Writing

‘It Follows’ — Some Thoughts.

The Blurb:

After carefree teenager Jay sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh, for the first time, she learns that she is the latest recipient of a fatal curse that is passed from victim to victim via sexual intercourse. Death, Jay learns, will creep inexorably toward her as either a friend or a stranger. Jay’s friends don’t believe her seemingly paranoid ravings, until they too begin to see the phantom assassins and band together to help her flee or defend herself.

My thoughts:

I was actually impressed by this little film that is apparently low budget. While the director uses a typical cliche of horror, he amped up the horror by not explaining exactly what “it” is that follows Jay and how it knows when someone’s had his (or her) first sexual experience. There is no slashing, no blood and guts spilling over, no dramatic climax of Girl vs. Demon. The angry spirit (or whatever it is) is slow and meditative, almost like a zombie, walking casually towards the victim as if it had all the time in the world.

The characters were smart, too. They actually made smart decisions and thought logically about what to do in order to get rid of “it.” And when the one person dies, it made sense to me why that person died.

My criticism of the movie is that the parents seem to be non-existent throughout the movie. They are there in the beginning, concerned by the terror that her new boyfriend thrust upon her and then they disappear. Aren’t they concerned by her running away in the middle of the night and seeing people that no one else can see? And why doesn’t the curse affect adults? Seems strange to me. Also, what was the purpose of them going to the pool towards the end of the movie and placing lamps and such around it? I suppose it pointed out to her friends that this thing exists, but why couldn’t they do that elsewhere?

This doesn’t have anything else to do with the rest of the movie, just a personal annoyance of mine:

There is one part towards the end of the movie where one of the characters is sitting in the hospital bed reading off her compact e-reader thing and eating a sandwich. I’m one of those people who can’t stand listening to people eat and this flipping girl was chewing so loud and so fast that I wanted to jump into the movie with her and chuck a chair at her or something. I very nearly fast-forwarded through this little bit because I couldn’t take another second of it. But I plugged my ears and turned my face away until it was over. It was an obnoxious scene that could’ve been taken out but it’s not something that bothers everyone so I endured it. If anything was scary that was.

I hope they make a sequel to this movie, just so I know more about what “it” and why it follows.

Review: 4 Stars.

Advertisements
Standard
Writing

Coming Round the Mountain.

I learned a new song yesterday, “Comin’ Round the Mountain.”

The person who arranged it had it both in the Key of G and Key of C and I tried out both of them. I liked the sound of it in G better but C was easier because I didn’t have to do D in the middle of the song. It’s more awkward than the other chords that I’ve learned so I have to pay more attention but it will get easier, I’m sure.

I’m definitely procrastinating on learning melody, but at the moment I don’t care. As long as I learn a couple songs and practice scales occasionally I’m good. I have a feeling melody is on the scales that I’m learning but I haven’t made the leap yet.

My callouses are coming and I can feel the hardness of them when I type and they still hurt a little bit. I wish we didn’t need callouses to be able to play but that’s the way to go. It’s so weird to have them on a couple fingers but not on others.

I have “Man of Constant Sorrow” to learn. Now that will be a disappointment if I can’t learn the chords to and even the melody. For now I’ll learn the chords.

Standard
Writing

Getting the Groove.

I’m slowly working my way through the basics of mandolin playing.

Yesterday I worked on a new strumming technique as well as switching chords while doing it. I still haven’t got the full hang of it, but I have the idea of it.

Today I went through everything that I learned then I added a new piece of information to my knowledge: melody.

In case you didn’t know, the first song I’m learning right now is “Cindy,” an old folk song. I’ve got the chords to the first first and the chorus. Today I was trying to nail down the melody for the first line. The left hand is on the A string and you go second fret, fifth fret, fifth fret, open, second fret. It took me a minute or so to learn it because the guy in the video that I was learning was going slightly too fast, so I had to replay that minute several times before I got it. After a few times, I got the idea of it, but still not quite fast at it. I wonder how you play the chord and the melody at the same time? I haven’t gotten that far yet, though.

I feel kind of frustrated when I reach a rut in my learning, but I’ve only been at it for a couple of weeks, so in the grand scheme of things, I’m learning fast. This is my problem: I want to be a professional after a couple weeks and it’s not going to be that way. I’m anxious to learn some other songs, but I need to get the basics down before I can build up to something new.

I just need to remind myself that we all need to start somewhere and that if I keep practicing a little bit every day then I’m going to reach my goals.

I wonder how many years it took for people in certain bands to learn their music and to get to where they were. I wish I started earlier, but I might not have had the patience that I have now. Or the determination, even. One day, one day. If I keep pushing myself, I’ll get to where I need to be.

I read online that it’s preferable to have a hard pick when you’re playing mandolin. I have a medium pick and a thin pick, but so far, I’ve been playing with the medium. I wonder where you can go to get different kinds of picks just to see what the difference is in the sound wise.

Some other things I’d like to add to my mandolin collection:

  • Hard case
  • Strap

That’s…about as far as I got. Plus learning how to put everything together. Right now I’m learning traditional folk songs, but I want to eventually learn some Irish and bluegrass songs–maybe even some country songs if I become an expert. But for now I’m getting ahead of myself and need to focus on one at a time. It’ll happen.

Standard
music, Postaday

The Pain of Growth.

wireMy fingers feel broken today.

They were sore when I came home from mandolin practice but I woke up really sore this morning. My fingers hurt when I type. They gently throb when I lift them up, when I gently touch the cup.

I want it to end. I know they are not used to playing strings and when they get tough they’ll no longer hurt. Hurting means I’m getting there. Hurting means I pressed my fingers to the fret just right.

I’m just impatient and I don’t like pain. Does anyone truly like pain? Pain is gain and in this case it’s true.

Standard
Life, music, Writing

Musically.

It’s been a long week.

As usual, I don’t quite know how to write about anything.

I finished a book the other day. Every book I finish is a success because it’s been a hobby that has quickly been a bore. One day I’ll find excitement in it again. In the meantime, I’m content being reading occasionally and not obsessively.

I bought a mandolin. It’s an instrument that I’ve admired for many years and often dreamed of playing. I never thought I’d be brave enough to try. Now I’ve got a nice instrument (one that I looked into and a friend asked her musician friends about, so that’s nice.) I learned about how to hold it, how to hold the pick, how to strum it properly, and today I learned a few chords. My hand isn’t quite strong enough yet to hold down the strings as I’m playing and my fingers haven’t developed callouses yet, so they’ve been hurting today. But I learned three basic chords and I just need to practice them.

Chris Thile has been my main hero of the mandolin. He’s the one that made me aware of what a mandolin even was, caused me to want to play with intensity. I will always admire his musical talent. Today, I wanted to find some other people who played mandolin, particularly women. I’m surprised by how few successful mandolinists are women. I’m sad to discover so few women want to play. I’m not trying to break barriers or become famous or anything but why? It’s such a beautiful, whimsical instrument. More women should give it a go.

I’ve been listening to Button Poetry a lot recently. It’s a company (is this the right word?) that publishes poets and hosts spoken word poetry of these poets. I don’t always listen to them to the end, but if someone’s message catches me, I find myself staying to the end. I’m not used to slam poetry/spoken poetry, but I feel drawn to the soft spoken, quiet beings that draw your attention and have a soothing voice about them. Not that there’s anything wrong with other speakers, that’s just what I’m drawn too. I need to listen more often.

I checked out “Helium” by Rudy Francisco and read a few of his poems. They’re very beautiful and minimalistic. I like it a lot. Free form poetry is the best, in my opinion. If I have to write anything else, then I’m struggling.

I look foreword to sleeping in tomorrow. I look foreword to reading a little bit, playing music a little bit, maybe even writing a little bit. Becoming well rounded is hard sometimes,

But I’m working on it.

Standard
Writing

Why Modern Country Music Stinks.

I discovered a new YouTube channel last night called Lost in Vegas. They are two guys from the Los Vegas (obviously) who listen to various music from various genres and react to it. They have a country music series and surprisingly they like a lot of the songs that they’re reacting to and have a lot of good thoughts on what’s being talked about in the songs.

In one of their videos, one of the guys asked what makes country music country and why do a lot of people separate themselves from a lot of modern country and say it’s not real country.

I’m going to attempt to answer this question, even though I don’t think I’m necessarily the right person to answer it. Nor do I think my answer necessarily answers for everybody as there are people who love modern country and others who only go for traditional country and still others who will only listen to bluegrass.

Here’s what I think:

In country, the music tells a story of everyday people. It tells of struggles, of triumphs, of friendships and heartbreaks and revenge. If you’re going through something, country music has it. You can connect to it. The music is acoustic and strikes reminds ordinary people of well, ordinary things. It connects them, reminds them that other people are going through the same things too.

For a long time, country music has taken a backseat. A lot of people consider country and those who listen to it as backwards and a little strange. They don’t seem cultured or with the program so to speak. So, I think with modern country, musicians have been trying to make it sound cool to those who wouldn’t normally listen to it. And in their effort to appease a broad range of listeners, they’ve lost the country sound that a lot of people were used to hearing from country music.

And that’s why there’s a lot of anger and frustration. People want to hear that traditional, acoustic sound. And there’s not a lot of that in modern country.

I go back and forth with modern country. There’s a lot of it that I will never like because they sound like rap or pop than country. But there’s a lot of country that sounds like the 90’s country that I enjoy. And then there’s modern country that perfectly balances country and pop in its instrumentals and voices and that’s enjoyable too.

Country is one of those people that reminds you of a time when life wasn’t so connected to technology and well, modern times. And to stray too far from that causes disruption. I think if they can balance country/pop in the song like Shania Twain or even Garth Brooks could in the 90’s while keeping ordinary everyday things in mind, more people would be able to connect to it even if they don’t typically listen to it while not angering the country enthusiasts.

Standard
Life, Writing

The Tuesday We Never Forget.

Found in Google Images

It’s the seventeenth anniversary of the World Trade Centers falling due to an act of terrorism.

It’s actually hard to believe that it’s been seventeen years since that Tuesday morning when the world changed so drastically. In spite of the years that have past, it’s still in the forefront of the American mind, and indeed, the world’s. It’s still talked about as if it was yesterday because to be truthful, we are still dealing with repercussions and events that have and are happening due to what happened.

I could talk about where I was that day, but really, that’s what people expect of others to do when the anniversary comes up, so I won’t do that; even though I think about it every year as if it’s a snapshot burned into my skull.

Instead I want to talk about my feelings and emotions.

Even though I was a teenager at the time of it’s occurrence, I don’t think I felt the full emotional impact of 9/11. Instead, I felt an obsession. I watched the news obsessively every night. I watched shows of heroism, people being saved, animals being taken in, simple every day acts of coming together to grieve and overcome. When Alan Jackson and Toby Keith made their patriotic songs, I felt a surge of pride for being an American. These terrorists could bring down a building, but they couldn’t bring down my patriotism. When it was announced that we’d go to war, I shook my fist and prayed that they’d take down the men who planned these acts.

But it hasn’t been until the last couple years or so that I felt a more emotional impact of what happened. I can feel the horror, the terror, the sadness, and the reality of death that occurred at ground zero. Over 3,000 people died. 3,000 people. For every person that died, can you imagine the number of friends and family members that each person’s death impacted? The children, the wives, the husbands, the sons, daughters, fathers? Even if you say ten people per death, that’s what 30,000 people who felt that person’s loss? It’s unimaginable.

Maybe it’s because I’m older, I can understand the loss and the pain that this day truly meant for me and for others. For the United States and the world. Or maybe it’s because I read so many stories and heard the last words of people knowing they’re about to die.

I can understand now.

I was aware seventeen years ago, but I wasn’t truly aware. Not yet. That would come later.

I don’t think we could truly recover from that Tuesday morning, but we can make steps to making a better future. May we never forget.

Standard