fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
This is my front page. If you want me to add you, drop me a line here. Or, add me. Either way, I'll check you out. You can also drop me a line here if, for instance, you don't have my email address. All comments here are screened.

This post also includes every tag I have -- this is because my current LJ style doesn't include a tag index. (At least half of my participation on LJ is on my phone. I chose this style because, as bare-bones as it is, it loads quickly and it's still readable on a small screen.)

I'd tell you more about myself, but that's what my profile -- and the rest of my LJ -- is for.
fierynotes: Picture of Daimon, from Marvel comics, without a shirt.  'Look at me, I have muscles!' (flirty)
Below are two pictures of the actor Jason Momoa. You might remember him from Stargate: Atlantis, Game of Thrones, or the remake of an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie that I've never seen, but I'm not entirely convinced it needed to be remade. While he's definitely not in bad shape in either picture, he's undeniably softer in the photo on the right.



If you're a woman (or a man who bends that way), you might be drooling at one or both of these pictures. If you're a tabloid writer, you might be looking at the photo of the right and typing up a dramatic story about how he's going to die of teh dethfats¹. If you're Perez Hilton, you might be writing about his dethfats, and in addition doodling a penis or two aimed at his face in MSPaint².

I'm a mostly-straight gymrat, so I see something different here.

That picture on the left is what our culture currently pushes as the male ideal. For most men, it's really fucking hard to achieve. In addition to a few lucky rolls of the genetic dice, it takes a considerable time investment (one that's out of the reach of most of us) and dedication to a certain kind of eating habits (again, out of most people's reach). And even if you do achieve it, it takes effort to maintain it. And even if you're always working on it, the cycle of bulking and cutting means that it won't always look that way.

Currently, I look like a skinnier version of the picture on the right. I'd like to look like the picture on the left (though obviously much paler), and I'll work toward that end. But I'll keep both pictures in mind, and I won't beat myself up if I don't make it there. And honestly, I get enough out of my exercise routine, both physically and emotionally, that my time and effort won't have been wasted just because I fail at looking like a statue.

And obviously, as always, I won't be judging people who don't achieve this ideal (or the female one), or people who feel that their time could be better spent on other things.



    1. Historically, female actors are much easier pickings for this kind of hack job. Still, there are a few tabloid writers who consider talking about male actors getting a bit soft to be a daring innovation. I could have made this post with two pictures -- one hard, one soft -- of Channing Tatum instead of Jason Momoa, and I have seen that kind of tongue-clicking about him getting pudgy.

    2. I'm not saying Perez Hilton has done this, but honestly, who would be surprised if he did? I'd go look, but that would involve me actually visiting Perez Hilton's website, and honestly, I'd want to soak my computer in bleach afterward. Besides, I don't want to give that shitheap hits.

fierynotes: Picture of a B diminished 7th chord (B, D, F, A flat) followed by an inversion, in flames. (Bdim7)
(In this post, I'm linking to several music videos, in a wide variety of genres. Some of them are very good. Some of them are complete garbage. All of them are here for a reason.)

One of the nice things about satellite radio is that it has a display showing the name of the performer playing. Not like the old days of radio, where you had to wait until the song ended, and hope that the announcer would tell you who the performer was (and that you weren't being distracted at the time).

So, I've learned the names of a few more of my tormentors.

Beyoncé: most of her music doesn't move me much, but I'll admit she's enormously talented. One of the reigning queens of a different genre of music has covered one of Beyoncé's songs, and that speaks volumes. Even if I become heartily sick of hearing her (which is likely, given how satellite radio works), she deserves every accolade she's received.

Katy Perry: I still haven't forgiven her for thinking she's oh-so-daring for appealing to the male gaze, and she persists in writing bad songs. I actually kinda liked the instrumentation in the chorus of this song (it's stringy, of course I'd like it), but then Katy had to ruin it by being herself on top of it. (On the other hand, SPARKLE-TITS! Imagine if she and Sparkle-peen had a baby!)

T-Pain: aptly named. When Katy Perry leans on Autotune, the results merely annoy me -- T-Pain's use of Autotune is not merely annoying but physically painful. This man clearly couldn't carry a tune in a wheelbarrow with training wheels, so what's he doing in a recording studio?

Taylor Swift: not since AC-DC has someone gotten so much airplay from writing the same damned song -- with the same damned lyrics -- so many times.

And now, a few words.

Art in general -- and music in particular -- is its most successful when it connects with its audience. One might even say that's its intent.

There are lessons in the shit that makes it on the radio. Taylor Swift, for instance, may write complete shit, but the complete shit that she writes speaks to little white girls who think they're different (just like every other little white girl) and who've been taught to believe that there's that one special boy who will solve all their problems. They identify with her. Poison has that one godawful ballad which succeeds because everyone who's ever been in a relationship that failed, or seen one fail up close, has a place in their heart that the song squeezes. (And that song isn't alone.)

This applies just as much to good music. Just about every woman alive has had to deal with asshole pick-ups. Even if you've never touched alcohol yourself, there's a good chance that someone around you uses alcohol to run away from themselves, or becomes a monster when they drink, and that has touched your life in one way or another. Has child molestation touched your life? Have you ever known someone who seemed hellbent on going down in flames? If the answer is yes -- and it is, for all too many of us -- then these songs speak to us in ways that they never could if they were just a bunch of notes. And even if the answer is no, most of us are pretty imaginative. Even if we've never lost a child, we can imagine what that kind of crushing grief would be like.

(You'll notice that the rap and metal songs do all this in very different and much uglier terms, but that's because rap and metal and much uglier forms of music in general. They still touch on the same themes.)

I could go on, providing more examples, but I'm trying to keep this from turning into War and Peace. My point is that you don't have to be a good musician to be a successful one. You just need to have lived a life enough like the lives of the people you want to reach, and have a certain gift for reaching into their hearts. Every folk musician knows this. Very few folk musicians are anything more than barely competent on guitar... and yet, there are some very successful ones.

On the other hand, if you can get that ability to connect to others, and good musicianship, all in the same human being...!
fierynotes: Picture of Bill Weasley, from Harry Potter, looking serious. (staring)
Dear [livejournal.com profile] lunaseastar

Thank you for writing. I'd originally intended to reply to you, but you deleted your whole damned LJ, so I can't. Here, then, is what I'd intended to tell you. I've worked around a few things, since I didn't originally intend for this to be a public post, but the overall direction remains.

You have two major problems, as I see it. The first is you've created a huge mess. The second is that you are that person who created a huge mess. I know these sound like the same problem, and they are related, but one has to do with the world around you, and one has to do with you as a person.

Let's talk about that first problem. I'm very sorry to say this, but there is likely nothing you can do to save those friendships. It's not just the feeling of betrayal -- you'd be surprised at how people can get over that. The problem is that you're just too damned good.

You are, really. When I said you belonged onscreen or onstage, I wasn't joking... and everyone involved realizes just how good you are. No matter your sincerity, or your devotion to being better, there's going to be a doubt in the back of everyone's mind... and because you were such a brilliant performer in the past, there's no way you can assuage their fears.

(I am obviously aware of this phenomenon, but I'm not any more immune to it for that awareness. I am trying like hell to assume good faith on your part, and part of me -- most of me, in fact -- still insists that this letter you've written to me is simply another act in the play.)

There is nothing you can do about this. You very likely can not fix this mess. You should probably work on not making your current mess bigger, and not recreating it with new people.

I had hopes for you, until I saw you'd commented elsewhere, threatening to start the drama all over again, stating that you've saved every scrap of evidence. What the hell do you hope to accomplish? If your goal is to tear that other party down, how will you benefit? Even if you are the victor in that cage match -- unlikely, as you have a huge credibility problem -- do you think you will get back any of the relationships that you once had, that are now in ruins? Do you seriously think that starting all that shit up again won't make you look even worse? Do you simply not care, as long as you can drag someone down into hell with you?

At least, with me and likely with others, you appear to feel remorse, as well as disgust with yourself. This is good. You've done some really shitty stuff, and the fact that you appear to recognize this -- and hate yourself for it -- shows you're not completely a lost cause.

This is the simpler of the two major problems you're facing. The answer is, in theory, really simple -- stop being that person. Decide what you want to be, and work on being that. You've already done this once, in deciding that you do not want to be a junkie ever again. (For what it's worth, I do believe you were a junkie once, just as I was.) Do so again. Decide that you are not going to be that liar ever again. But don't do this for me, or for any of the people you've hurt. There's likely nothing you can do to reach them or get them back. Do it for yourself. Do it because you want to be someone you don't hate. Do it because self-hatred hurts, and this is the only way you can make it stop that won't end up killing you.

As a side note, since you mention drugs... many drug users have, for lack of a better way to put it, a hole in their heart, and drugs make it very easy to pretend that hole isn't there. You very clearly still have that hole. Find something good and meaningful to fill it. Religion is one of the more common things -- if you've read any AA literature, you'll find it mentions god a lot. Myself, I chose weights -- in addition to putting on a lot of weight at the gym, I've found it to have great value as anger management, and an unlikely form of meditation. Somehow, I doubt either of these are for you, but something out there is. Find it.

On a more personal note, I appreciate your apology. I find that I'm reluctant to tell you to piss off for good -- think of it as a small glimmer of hope on my part. That said, I am absolutely not ready to let you back in, and I strongly suspect I never will be.

As I said earlier, you're just too damned good.

Sincerely,
[livejournal.com profile] flamingchords

(Comments are screened. If [livejournal.com profile] lunaseastar wants to reply, I want them to be able to. For that matter, if any of you have been contacted by them lately (I know one of you has, and I suspect others as well), I welcome your thoughts.)

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fierynotes: Picture of Destruction, from the Sandman series, reading a book and slinging a guitar. (Default)
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