Posts Tagged With: Fangirl

[Book Rawrview] “Fangirl” or Does She Actually Know Me?

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I promise I was gonna write an actual blog post about what’s going on in my life right now. But truth is I’ve been reading so much that this Book Rawrview is about one of the things that happened.

I should shut this blog down. Not because I don’t like blogging here or because hardly anyone reads what I write about. But because if anyone really wants to know what I’m all about, all they need to do is read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Her main character, Cath, is so like me it’s scary. It made me want to check all my Facebook friends, message board people, Tumblr follower and whoever else may have an opportunity to secretly follow my life and write a book about it.

The plot may seem mundane at first but the magic is in how the story is told. Cath and her twin sister Wren just started college. But Wren insisted they don’t share a room because, really, to her this new era of their lives is one big adventure. New place, new people, yay! Cath is the exact opposite of that. She’s dreading it, hates dealing with new people. Her world revolves around Simon Snow (a fictional character that’s bound to remind you of Harry Potter) and the fanfiction she writes about him. She’s a bit of an Internet celebrity, her stories being some of the most popular in the fandom. In the real world, however, she doesn’t deal so well. The main person she’s always stuck to was Wren and now that she’s not there for her to hang onto, Cath’s entire world is in limbo. Her new roomie, Reagan, intimidates her. Reagan’s friend Levi makes her nervous. Still, she has to deal with that, as well with her mentally unstable dad and her history with her mother. And on top of that, she’s trying to remain a part of the fandom without anyone finding out and thinking she’s a freak.

Okay, so I don’t live in Omaha and I don’t have a twin sister. I didn’t just start college. And as far as parents go, my dad was the one who vanished, not my mom. It’s not so much about what happens in our lives but how we deal with things. I don’t want to spoil things but I’m gonna give you an example from the beginning of the book which is not giving away much of the actual plot. So Cath arrives at her dorm and for the first view weeks, she lives off her seemingly endless supply of protein bars. When Reagan points this out to her, she confesses that she didn’t want to ask anyone where the dining hall was. That’s me, right there! I can’t tell you how many times I spent ages trying to find my way around a store when I could have just asked someone for the way. There are days when it’s fine. But then there are days when I absolutely cannot tolerate it. And then there are days when I call my mom to ask if I can borrow something from her fridge and if she can bring it upstairs because I can’t even deal with the possibility of running into my neighbor in the hallway, let alone talk to any cashiers at the store. Of course, I don’t know how much of an impression Cath will leave with you if you’re a stranger to social anxiety. For me, however, she quickly became more than just a fictional character, she became a friend.

But I think even if that aspect of Fangirl won’t grip you, it is still a really touching story. The Averys’ family history is interesting and sad and I loved how Rainbow Rowell let both girls deal with it in a different way, turning out the exact opposite of each other.

The real strength of this book are definitely the characters. Some I liked more, some less but there were none that I really didn’t like. All of them were likable in their own way, and all of them also drove me insane at several points along the way. Some even made me throw the book at the wall because…ugh! That’s how realistic the book is. Sometimes people just drive you insane. And sometimes they make you laugh or cry or just nod in agreement. All of this happened to me here. If I may voice one wish, though? Please, please, please let Reagan be real and let me be friends with her. How I loved that girl!

Another thing I enjoyed was the discussion about fanfiction as a work of art that Rainbow Rowell picked up in this book. Instead of decidedly taking one side, though, she came up with two characters, one on each side of the argumentation, who were both strongly expressing their opinion. She doesn’t push one upon you but rather lets you see both sides. I’ve always been pro fanfiction. I read and write some myself (no, I won’t share the fandoms here). But I’ve always seen where the antis are coming from. I understand their reasoning and even agree with some of it. Over the years, after many a heated discussion, I’ve just come to conclusion that it is how it is. I enjoy it and I’m not doing anyone any harm. And I like how Fangirl isn’t trying to give the answer, either. Cath isn’t pictured as this unlikable nerdy freak, but neither is the other person (not giving away who it is) pictured in a bad way, either. Both are decent people and both just have an opinion.

There are about a thousand unresolved issues in Cath’s life, some real, some only in her head, and I absolutely loved reading about how she solved some of them and came to terms with others. My only problem is that I already miss her and the other characters.

And by the way, as I was Googling the cover art for this blog entry, I came across some graphic where someone had replaced the drawing of Cath with a picture of Zooey Deschanel in her role as Jess in New Girl. That is so appropriate! I kept picturing Cath like her all the time.

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Categories: Book Rawrviews, Bookworm | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye 2013! My Year in Review

We talked about 2013 on a forum I frequent the other day and when I wrote my short recap, I came to the conclusion that 2013 pretty much just was for me. It had its ups, it had its downs. I’m not sure I’ll look back on it as a year that was all that special on a personal level.

But even though, or maybe because, it was so unspecial, I’d like to focus on it in a bit of a detailed view. It’s good to look back on things and learn from them, appreciate them and just remember them. This also led to the first time ever that I jotted down notes before writing a blog post. I’m pretty sure what I’ve written in this blog in over a year now is a dead giveaway for how unfocused my blogging usually is. I sit down and write and to be honest, most of the time I have no idea where I’m going until I’m done. But when I decided I was gonna write a recap of my 2013, I quickly came to the realization that reviewing a whole year just isn’t gonna work without notes. Without thinking long and hard, I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch today, so remembering the past not-quite-365 days without a reminder here and there would be close to impossible.

In the process of taking my notes, I quickly started putting them into categories. Originally, this was just meant to help me organize my thoughts but then I figured it was a good way to do this. So here’s my year…

Personal Highlights

  • AFI: I wrote about this long and hard already, but my favorite band released a new record this year, after four long years of absence. It is hard for me to write about this on a platform like this blog because I’m aware how this comes off with other people. The majority of people have fond memories of being a fan of a band – when they were 14. They can’t fathom what it’s like when that kind of love for (an) artist(s) remains. With most people that gets replaced by other things that become important to them over the years and just like with other values that we are taught are ‘publicly acceptable’, we come to feel like ‘the odd one out’ when we feel differently. I’m not ashamed of how I feel about AFI, I’m just afraid of not doing how important they are to me and on what level justice by not finding the right words. I don’t want people to think this is a silly thing, just because I fail to explain it properly. For now, though, let it suffice to say that I’ve missed being an active fan of this band. And by active I mean actually having something new to deal with, having a word to spreads, having a tour to hope and plan for. The latter still hasn’t happened but I’m confident that it’ll happen in ’14. As an album, ‘Burials’ hit me on a very emotional level. The hurt and anger and emotional stress of this album is so raw and familiar to me that I think it would have caught me off guard either way, whether it is by AFI or another artist. For weeks, I built myself a home inside those songs and lived there quite comfortably. Which is exactly what I’ve always known and needed from this band. Which explains quite perfectly why they’re such an important part of my life.
  • Friendships: 2013 Has been quite the nice little rollercoaster ride for me when it came to friendships. I got a lot closer with one friend who is especially important to me because we have so much in common and are so very alike in aspects that matter. So far, there was this invisible wall between us that drove us apart whenever we started opening up, as if we were afraid to do just that. At some point, after a lot of fights and drama, this wall disappeared and we grew so much closer which is a nice, if even a little scary, feeling. With all of my anxiety and trust issues, I still feel the urge to run every now and again but I can even tell her about that without feeling like she thinks I’m crazy. Then another friend came back into my life at a time when I least expected it, catching me off guard and leaving me to contemplate things all over again. Now, after several months have passed, I’m confident that letting her in again was a good decision. It’s still a bit tender, like a new tattoo and I think it’s still a matter of trial and error with finding the right dosage of each other but at the moment, it feels right, like we’re doing the right thing. What I didn’t like was how it threw me into yet more drama with people who I feel have no say in what I do with my life and who don’t even know me. On the kindergarten frame of mind level, they still think in social groups and all you can do is choose not to play their games. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try to still drag you down. I know that it’s partly my own fault for allowing them to do that and for letting it get to me but sometimes I can’t help it. Especially when some people are so obsessed with getting at me that they cannot even let it go, even when I choose not to comment on or reply to anything they say or do. The third friendship that is giving me a bit of a headache is also my oldest friendship. A girl who’s been nothing but kind to me in over ten years. Almost 15, I think? We used to be so close but over the past couple years, I feel we’ve drifted apart. And I’m not completely innocent, I know that. It’s just really hard to face this huge and important talk I know we’re supposed to have about it all eventually. It’s actually one of my goals for the next year to try and save this friendship or maybe move it to a new level, if need be. The last one that deserves to be mentioned here is a girl I met through my weight loss journey. We’re not so close, yet, that I’d see her as a part of my inner circle but we’re in such a similar position with where we are with our weight loss and what we’re struggling with that our conversations get increasingly personal and it’s nice to share that with someone who truly understands.
  • Mallorca: After I don’t know how many years, I finally had a proper holiday again! I’ve blogged about this more than is healthy already and I’n still missing the last part which I may add later just for closure, so I’m not gonna go on and on about it. Let me just say how good it was to get out, change the scenery for a bit, enjoy the sun and think of nothing but which sights I wanna see tomorrow for a while.

Things I Learned / Achieved

  • I’ve finally accepted and come clean about my own anxiety. It shows in many ways but mostly, my social anxiety is really, really bad. I go through good phases when it doesn’t bother me at all and life seems easy to me but the bad times are never far away. I’ve told my closest friends about it, so they know I’m not being unnecessarily difficult. Which doesn’t mean I get to hide behind it and be reckless, but I hope it’ll help them understand how my mind works sometimes. It’s also something that I know fessing up to was just the first step of. I’ll have to work on it and constantly push myself to my own limits so hopefully, I’ll get better at dealing with it, even though I don’t dare hope this will ever leave me.
  • One of the best things I’ve done today was changing my doctor. In Germany, everyone has a regular practitioner that you go to for check-ups and temporary illnesses like a flu and who you will also go to for a recommendation of professionals regarding more difficult or permanent things. My old one was just really not very helpful and supportive and I’m so glad I switched because even though I’ve only seen my new doc twice, she’s already helped me a lot and made me feel much better about myself and my health issues.
  • The other good thing, though I’ve not been doing so well in the past few weeks, was changing my gym. It’s a much more professional place and gives me the opportunity to follow a much more personal and custom plan. Unlike my old gym, it makes me feel like I’m not alone, like there is someone who will listen to what I want to achieve and help me get there. When you’re a born lazybutt like me and someone puts you into a gym, you just feel overwhelmed. Where do I start? What do I do? How do I use all those machines? What courses are right? At my old gym, though people there were nice, I just felt alone with my quest and like everything they had to offer was made to suit everyone. Which just doesn’t help. I have to lose a significant amount of weight, the next person may be skinny and wanting to gain a lot of muscle. So we have different needs but the gym wasn’t really prepared to offer help with that. So I already feel better knowing that what I do when I go there is the right thing for me.
  • I took up writing again. Nothing major but when Secret Santa time came around, not only did I finish the actual story for that but also one for a friend and it reignited the spark I’d been missing for so long. Since then, I’ve had a million different ideas and hope to go through with at least some of them, rather than adding another few dozen unfinished pieces to the long list on my hard drive.

Books

  • The Land of Stories 1 & 2 by Chris Colfer: I’ve been a fan of the TV Series Glee for a while but never knew that Chris Colfer had written a book, or two by now. So I stumbled upon the first book by accident when I found a thread on a book community in which someone offered her copy as a wandering book. I signed up and had to wait for quite a long time. So long, actually, that I had considered buying it instead. But then it arrived and I read it and loved it so much that I immediately pre-ordered part two which I also got to read this year. I recently learned that Chris is working on part three and this got me so inexplicably excited! Fairytale adaptions are one of my weaknesses and he does it so well!
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: For some reason, TFIOS was almost the last book by John Green I got to read after falling in love with this author. Even though it is his most well known and popular publication so far. I think I was a little afraid of my own expectations. It is, after all, a YA book about a girl who has cancer. You find way too many books about The Big C on YA literature shelves and one day I hope to explore why that is so. Most of them are amazing but you know what they say, ‘too much of a good thing…’. So I was a little hesitant. But TFIOS really is as amazing as they all say. And more. I am 31 and I have a teeny weeny crush on Augustus Waters. There, I said it!
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This was probably my big surprise this year when it came to books. I bought this as part of an Amazon special in which you could buy three English paperback titles for 10 €. Most of the titles on offer didn’t seem very appealing to me as they were a lot of romance or sequels to books I hadn’t read. But I already had The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Map of Time in my basket and needed a third book and then I saw Ready Player One and remembered having read a good review about it somewhere. The plot seemed vaguely interesting, so I put it in my basket. It ended up being the first I read of the three and even though I was so suspicious about it, it turned out being one of my favorite reads this year. It was nerdy, clever, sweet at some point and set in a really, really detailed future world that you could imagine to exist a couple hundred years from now. Even though I’m nowhere near as obsessed with virtual worlds as the characters in this book, I can understand where the author is coming from. It’s so easy to lose yourself in online games and identify with your avatar in one way or another and Ernest Cline simply took it a step further, creating a wonderful ‘What If…’ scenario.
  • Authors: I discovered two new authors this year whose work really impressed me. One is Linda Castillo whose Kate Burkholder series I started with early this year. Right now, the fourth book is waiting to be read by me. It is set on the edges of an Amish community and besides the tension and suspense her stories offer, I like learning about these people and their traditions without it being boring in any way. With Neil Gaiman, I’m a little late to the party. Whenever I mention how much I enjoyed reading Neverwhere, everyone just rolls their eyes at me. Apparently, the whole world has been a fan for years. I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I made it a plan for ’14 to read more of his work.

Movies

  • Despicable Me 2: If you know me, you know I’m slightly obsessed with the Minions. I have posters, figurines, apps…whatever I can get my hands on and can actually use in some way. The first movie was probably one of my all-time favorites and I was looking forward to the sequel like other people are looking forward to their wedding days. For months, we had posters outside the cinema near the mall and every single time I saw them, I’d squeal. When the time finally came, sadly, I only made it to the cinema twice, not a million times like I’d planned. But it was glorious. Amazing. My God, how I enjoyed this movie! And I didn’t even particularly care for the plot, though it was enjoyable. I can’t wait for the Minions movie!
  • The Hunger Games – Catching Fire: I’ve read the books, I’ve cried, I’ve been tempted to throw my Kindle at the wall. So I have to watch the movies, too. And how brilliant they are! Catching Fire was so close to what I imagined things to look like while reading the book, I spent most of the time in the cinema convinced that I had already seen the movie. Which was impossible, I’d hardly even seen trailers. But it really came so close. I loved every second of it and can’t wait for the next part.
  • Now You See Me: This was my big surprise this year. I love Amy Adams, so one night when my friend and I found ourselves on the steps of a local theater, spontaneously in the mood to see a movie, I instantly voted for this one. But at the time I didn’t expect more than a bit of mild entertainment. But this movie was so, so good, really smart and had more strengths than just the magic tricks / special effects.

Goals 2014

  • Lose weight: I don’t remember a time in my life when this wasn’t part of the plan. Instead of making it a goal to be a skinny supermodel by the end of the year, though, I’m just not gonna set a specific goal but just promise myself that I’ll do my best to achieve as much as I can.
  • Be more organized: Again, this is a rather vague thing that involves more than just tidying up more or keeping the paperwork at home in line. It also includes small things like taking notes at work, using post-its for actual reminders rather than just doodling, remembering distant friends’ birthdays and sending cards out in time, taking two minutes to remove my makeup at night, not constantly forgetting to brush my hair, clear the dishes right after meals, and so on. If I get better at this, it’ll be easier for me to deal with everyday life in the long run because I know things are just running automatically and I don’t have to stress myself out so much over the smallest things.
  • Stay calm / Relax more:  I tend to freak out at the smallest cause because I’m just so annoyed with things in my life right now. It doesn’t make things easier and it doesn’t help and the only thing I achieve with it is make myself feel worse, so I need to find a way to stay calm and not act like a crazy ghetto bitch.
  • Rekindle friendships: There’s one particular close friend I already mentioned earlier who I’d like to become closer with again because I really miss her friendship. We’ve drifted apart a lot and I know we’ll never fully be on the same emotional level and share so many interests again but that doesn’t mean we can’t make this work. And then there are a few other people who I’ve never really been close with before but we were on casual terms, checking in with each other every other day and that’s gone down the drain over the years, as well. I’d like to get back to having that extended circle of friends again and let them know I’m here if they need me.
  • Save Money: I’ve really lost my way here. I went from having almost 1.000 € in my savings account + another 150 € in my piggy bank to have almost nothing left. And with the prospect of a possible AFI tour soon, I really need to get my act together. I’ve done well this month already by putting aside almost 100 € again and I hope to stay on this track. Also I want to stop abusing my credit card for spontaneous purchases whenever I don’t have the cash, so I can use it for the tour as well.
  • Go veggie: I want to give the vegetarian diet another go. I thought I may start by challenging myself to stick to a veggie diet for a week, if that goes well, extend it to two weeks, and so on. If I fail, I’ll start again. In the past few weeks, I’ve already explored several veggie lunch alternatives I could rely on at work. There’s a bakery / lunch restaurant that has freshly cooked pasta dishes every day and most of them are vegetarian. And there are a bunch of different supermarkets nearby that offer different kinds of salads or other vegetarian dishes. So even if I forget to pack lunch, I’d have good alternatives.
  • Cook more: This goes along with the goal above because it’s certainly easier to stick to a certain diet when you’re prepared. But it’s also easier to lose weight and be healthy when you eat homemade food that you know the actual ingredients of and that you can alter according to your own likes or dislikes.
  • Laugh more, cry less: Sort of explains itself, really.

Challenges 2014

  • Lose weight: This is not one big challenge as such but rather one I plan to take baby steps with as before. Right now, I’m still on the first step that’s listed on my Challenges page which is to lose 2.2kg by mid-January. Since I’m still lacking a working scale, I have no reliable result but hope to be on the right track.
  • Goodreads Challenge: As every year, I’m gonna take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge again and since I’ve struggled to reach my goal of 50 this year, I won’t up it and set it to 50 again. This time, I’ll put the widget on my Challenges page as well as soon as Goodreads lets you do that.

So, that’s all, folks!

I hope everyone has a great NYE, a lot of fun, whether you’re partying or staying home. I know I’m ready for 2014 to arrive.

Ready for 2014!

Ready for 2014!

Be safe and see you on the other side!

Categories: Bookworm, Foody, Me Myself and I, Movies, Weight Loss, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Fangirl’s Impressions

Today is the first day that really feels like fall is here. I was woken by a mini storm raging outside and since then, the wind has been shaking the trees outside several times and heavy rain has been pounding against my windows, startling the cats and getting me in the mood for seasonal baked goods. So while a hazelnut cinnamon tea cake is baking in the oven, I’m making more good use of this melancholy mood to reflect on my personal little highlight of the year: Burials, AFI’s ninth studio album. It’s been out here for over a week now and I haven’t listened to anything else. I’ve already become close friends with this album and the songs on it and now I feel like I’m ready to put my feelings into words…somehow.

I decided to go with a track by track-recap because the songs make up one beautiful big picture but they’re also individual little worlds of feeling and they just deserve to be mentioned and discussed as such.

The Sinking Night

For some reason, every second album since Black Sails in the Sunset seems to have its own opener track. So in that sense The Sinking Night is typically AFI-esque. Yet so far it’s the only track on the album that I cannot get quite into. I enjoy it for setting the dark mood for the rest of the album but I can’t quite grasp the heavy symbolism of the lyrics just yet. I feel bad for starting this post with the one song I like least but it’s not my fault it’s the first on the album.

Favorite line: On this sinking night I see your face.

I Hope You Suffer

This was the first song I had heard months ago, when AFI suddenly reappeared in my life with a bang. And I instantly loved it. Even though by now I’ve heard it a million times and I got used to its darkness and the way Davey’s almost growling the lyrics, I still absolutely love it. But I also still find it hard to bear at times. It completely lacks any sense of hope or positivity but is really dark and you can tell that you do not want to be in the focus of that kind of anger. And yet, I can relate to it as I, too, have felt about people like that.

Favorite line: I’ve seen my darkest days. You gave each one to me.

A Deep Slow Panic

AFI publicized this song just a couple days before the European release date for Burials. I pressed play on the streaming site – and instantly fell in love all over again. It starts with a few drum sounds, then quickly turns into a melody that is at the same time catchy and melancholy. You immediately want to sing along and it makes for good driving music but it isn’t meaningless background noise. What really grips me here are the lyrics and the way Davey sings them. The title really is so fitting and I can release to the sudden panic gripping you when someone you trusted stabs you in the back and you’re at the same time afraid of losing them but aware that what’s been there has passed and you can’t trust them again. It’s not just the words but also Davey’s voice which gets more and more high-pitched with each chorus and becomes the audio version of that feeling I know so well. It’s also the only song that seems purely sad and defeated rather than angry. It’s the first of my three favorites on the album.

Favorite line: Slowly I swallowed your fears for all of those years. How could you let them consume me?

No Resurrection

Another song that’s been released just before the album. It was also the first song I didn’t quite like at first listen. And indeed it took several spins of the album before it grew on me. It just seemed very repetitious at first. For me to fall in love with a song, I need one hook to get started on and then I take it from there.  And No Resurrection didn’t seem to have that at first. By now, the stomping intro to the song has become that hook and I’ve slowly embraced it more and more.

Favorite line: Don’t you know that heaven is slow?

17 Crimes

The second song to be released off the album, it stood in stark contrast to I Hope You Suffer and people didn’t know what to expect from the album anymore. Now that I know the entire album, 17 Crimes still stands out because it is a lot catchier and seems to have an all over more positive vibe than the rest. The lyrics are more hopeful and seem to be directed at someone else than the rest of the album. And yet, it fits in because of this. It’s that little glimmer of hope on the album and I’d love it just for that if it wasn’t already such a great song by itself.

Favorite line: Let’s run and kill like seventeen.

The Conductor

Another song I’d known from before the album (this was getting just a tad ridiculous, I swear!). My first thought was that it would fit perfectly on a Blaqk Audio album. There are a lot of electronic influences and at first, the music didn’t grip me. But the lyrics were instantly mine. By now I absolutely love the chorus and the short breakdown before it starts. I cannot wait to experience that live and scream the words back at the band.

Favorite line: Shake their frail beliefs. I’ll show them a believer.

Heart Stops

This is the second of my three favorite tracks. The first time I listened to the album, I was driving to work and the moment Heart Stops came on, I had the biggest, most ridiculous grin on my face. It’s one of those songs that come with such a fresh and unique sound, it’s so different and such an instant favorite. For me, it brings to mind the sound of Blink 182 and The Dear & Departed. Musically, it’s probably the most simple song on the album. Lyrically, it’s also very simply put but so spiteful. I just love how he changes from singing calmly to spitting out the words.

Favorite line: May the scars you left in me dig into you twice as deep.

Rewind

This is it, my favorite song on the album. I cannot even tell you how often I’ve listened to this already. It contains one of the most amazing AFI things: the screams! Oh my god, the screams! Every chorus rises and rises until it climaxes in Davey screaming “We rewind!” and I impatiently await the moment each time.

Favorite line: Call your doting dogs. As their weak servility feeds your emptiness, remember me.

The Embrace

I rushed to the theater to hear a tiny piece of this song in the Mortal Instruments movie and even though they were talking over it, I was amazed by how different it sounded. Had I not known it was AFI, I would have guessed it to be a Linkin Park song. Which isn’t a bad thing, just a completely new sound for AFI. It’s also very electronic and comes crawling at you and haunts you in an almost romantic way.

Favorite line: To take my deepest breath I walk into the raging sea.

Wild

This was one of the songs I found the hardest to get into. At first, it just sounds…yeah, wild! Just a cacophony of sound that I found overwhelming the first few dozen times. But slowly, it grew on me more and more. Now I just love the drums and the general craziness of this song.

Favorite line: Every one of my words – not worth believing.

Greater Than 84

Another song that immediately convinces with a catchy melody and a sound that just…pushes. It’s gonna work so well in a live setting, I’m sure, because it’s just contagious and really gets you going. It also has some of the most beautiful lyrics on the record.

Favorite line: Will you hold my hand as we count down the hours. Standing beneath the meteor showers.

 

Anxious

So far, this is the only song I don’t really have an opinion about, yet. I don’t particularly like it and I don’t particularly don’t like it. Right now, it’s sort of that “Bop My Head Along to”-song but hey, I’ve only listened to this album a couple thousand times by now, so who knows how much I’ll love it in a week’s time.

Favorite line: Swing love down and find the saddest song.

 

The Face Beneath the Waves

For the first five hundread listens or so I had the biggest problem with “getting” this song. Not the lyrics, mind you, but the sound. It’s very 80’s, very dark wave, very epic and depressing. I still cannot listen to it with every spin of the record because it just hits you with the full force of feelings that you may not want to deal with at all times. But when I do, it’s never just a casual kind of listening. It’s a song that you can’t help but feel.

Favorite line: Tell me what it’s like to hold a heart when it shatters.

 

There you go. These are my thoughts and impressions and I know this isn’t any kind of a professional opinion, let alone a review. You couldn’t expect anything that’s 100% objective from someone who’s loved this band for the past decade. Mainly, I’m just posting this here to recap the album for myself, collect my thoughts and maybe return to it later to compare my opinion then with my opinion now.

Categories: Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Boys Are Back in Town

Apart from the aforementioned stress at work, my life is simply wonderful at the moment.

Why?

Because my boys are back!

To the sane person, this may seem like a bit of a silly thing. But I have loved AFI for over ten years now. We’ve only just had our 10 year-anniversary in March of this year. This band has shared the best and the worst of times with me and it has managed to lift me out of my mysery when friends and family couldn’t.

I do not have any dramatic stories to share like some other fans, like how they literally saved me from killing myself because I heard their song while putting a knife to my wrist (not making fun here, just saying that’s not my story) but they have definitely changed me for the better. I’ve made friends and foes through them. I’ve seen the world (well, Europe…) because of them. I dared do things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. And most importantly, they taught me that it is okay to be who you want to be and do what you want to do. You only need to be passionate about what you’re doing. If you’re in it with only half your heart, it’s likely to fail, but if you give it your all, it doesn’t matter if it makes you look stupid, you’ll still be the coolest kid around because everyone else is just dreaming of what they’d like to do.

But they’ve been gone for over three years. Never really gone for me. But there weren’t any news safe for what you read on personal Twitter or Facebook profiles and those weren’t band-related. Other projects, weddings, vacations… It’s all nice to follow but what you’re craving as a fan is new music, and with that, a new tour. I’m still waiting for the latter as there’ve been no European tourdates announced so far. But new music there is. Two new songs have been released already, one of which will even be featured (as a remix) in the Mortal Instruments movie. And in October, a new album will be released, Burials. Wow! I cannot even begin to explain how it feels when I hear new music or when I’m told they’re being featured somewhere. Not without sounding silly, anyway. I always say I’m “proud like a mother” and I guess that comes close.

I’ve just followed them for such a long time already, through what will soon be four very, very different albums, five more that’ve been released before my time and numerous side projects. And nothing they’ve ever done has truly failed me. I can honestly say that I’ve loved everything they ever put out. Not in a stupid, biased way, like I would just make me like it. And with single songs, love may be too strong a word. But there’s never been anything that had to truly grow on me or that I would just dislike forever. Which is crazy because they’ve gone from being hardcore kids to…well, what almost sounds like progressive rock. Sometimes, I can only shake my head but most of the time, it just excites me.

Now the only thing I need are tourdates. And you bet I’ll be stalking them again!

Categories: Me Myself and I, Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop Kids Signed Copy

Pop Kids Signed Copy

I finally got my signed copy of “Pop Kids” last week. It still fills me with an excited feeling to know that someone I admire as much as Davey touched it. It also smells a bit of oriental spices and made me wonder if he’d been eating Indian or otherwise Asian food while signing all the pre-ordered books. It makes me feel like I’m thirteen but I still enjoy little daydreams like that. After I’d touched, photographed and sniffed it, it went straight onto the shelf, though. This is so not me. Usually, I treat my books quite poorly, I’m sorry to say, and I think my shelf is filled with what can only be described as paper veterans. Somehow, they’ve survived me reading them.

I’m not gonna go as far as to say that it had anything to do with this book – some kind of ‘epiphany’ maybe – but last week, I also figured I’m a terrible failure as far as losing weight and being healthy goes. I hadn’t even checked my weighed in weeks. So I decided to do so on Friday morning and make Fridays my weigh-in day. It’s quite convenient because if I’m gonna have a cheat day, it’s probably on a weekend and I can have that after weighing in. The result wasn’t quite as bad as I’d feared but it was still terrible. I don’t know. For every kilogram I lose, I seem to gain three more. Each time I’m a little successful, I get even worse after that. I even thought of trying to talk to my doctor about it and ask if she thinks I should see a therapist. I’m nowhere near as down or depressed as I used to be ten years back and yet, it seems like a totally psychological thing. I have no problem understanding what I need to do and why. but while I sit and think that I should probably have a light soup for dinner, I reach for the take away menu and call them. And while I think about going back to the gym, I stuff my face with icecream and chocolate. But I don’t know, just the thought of trying to find a therapist I could trust exhausts me…

At the moment, I’m totally motivated to do something again, though. I found some nice recipes for smoothies that are easy to make and actually quite tasty and I’m trying to replace the occasional meal with them. I think you’re supposed to replace one meal per day, preferably lunch, but seems too much like a diet to me. I don’t want to do something like that and then get sick of it. But two or three times a week, I could probably do without feeling terrible about it. The smoothies are also quite filling because they contain ingredients like oatmeal, bananas, almonds, etc. Each has about 500ml and I feel quite full for a few hours afterwards. I may be able to stick to this for a while and then maybe mix it up with a few other light recipes on days when I’m not in a smoothie mood.

Also – and this is gonna make me sound like such a sorry little person – I’ve found a picture of him with a girl who looks exactly like I would love to look with about half my weight off. She was thin, yes, but not model-thin and not fake-perfect, just…natural. And I know I could be pretty in a similar way. I’m not ugly, I just find it hard to smile when I hate the way I look so much. It’s stupid because even if I was exactly like her, he wouldn’t want me, I’m sure. But maybe it’s that I feel like maybe I could find someone like him or maybe because if I was thinner, at least I could say it isn’t because I’m a fatty and it isn’t only about me. I have no idea. But that picture was a huge inspiration for me to get serious about this again. I just really want to look better and be happy…

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Rollercoaster Ride

A lot of things have rattled the cage that is my little world lately…

I’ve received a blast from the past, so to speak, that came quite unexpected and was not entirely unpleasant but awkward. You know the “What if…?” games you play with yourself? When you play it all through in your head and you’re sure you got it all down and you know exactly what you would say or do? And then it happens and it’s nothing like that at all. I’m not upset with how things did work out but I haven’t wrapped my head around it all so far.

Then the thing that I’ve been looking forward to forever now happened: Davey Havok finally released his book. Now, I know we’ve only known about it since February. But I’ve been hoping, praying for him to release some kind of written art at some point. A book, poems – even an official blog would have been fine. I pre-ordered the book, of course, but then couldn’t wait and got it on my Kindle, too. I’m not sure I would have wanted to ruin my signed pre-order copy with my fingerprints anyway. It’s another thing I haven’t fully grasped, yet. I finished reading it today but I’m still not sure what to think. It’s not a question of whether I think it’s good or not. I love it! But it was also so dirty on so many different levels that I hadn’t expected even though I’ve been following the guy for years. I’ve listened to his tongue-in-cheek lyrics, I’ve heard him speak of several kinds of fetishes in interviews… It really shouldn’t have been such a surprise. But it’s different to read about it all in so much detail. And I know he said the book isn’t autobiographical. But there are so many parallels between the story of this book and what things appeared to have been like when he was a teenager, or even now when he’s hanging with his friends. It’s so hard to see the protagonist, Michael, and him as two different persons. The almost-vegan lifestyle, the fashion sense, the obsession with being center stage… I don’t know, I just had to actively remind myself that I wasn’t reading his old personal journal or maybe even a current blog. Maybe that’s what made all the sex scenes so hard to stomach. When I was a kid, I had a rabbit that I absolutely adored. One day, however, the rabbit started humping my foot and I found it so hard to accept he was still my little furry friend despite his…urges. This feels like a similar situation and I need to get over this before I can fully digest the – amazing! – commentary and criticism on the Web 2.0 Generation. So yeah…it wasn’t at all what I expected but I feel like that’s the best thing that could have happened. When someone you look up to and who is one of your favorite people still manages to surprise you, it’s definitely a good thing.

Oh, and my digital California money pot – also referred to as “The Savings Account” – has been filling up nicely. I got a decent tax return last month and then, fully unexpected, I got a letter from my landlord today, informing me that he’ll also pay me back a generous amount of money from the maintenance costs that I apparently paid way too much of. I have no idea about these things and I tend not to question them when they’re good, but I’m slightly paranoid that he’ll find out he’s made a mistake. Two years ago I had to pay a huge additional sum, then last year I got a nice one back and this year, the refund has doubled. I shall make sure to transfer it to the Savings Account as quickly as possible in case he wants it back. Either way, that means I have suddenly got half the amount I’ll need for the trip to California and it’s driving me insane that I have to wait so long now!

Categories: Bookworm, Me Myself and I, Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More Birthdays

DXHToday is an important day. Because it is Davey Havok’s birthday.

To most people, this won’t mean anything and I don’t blame you. I can’t even count the many, many times that someone babbled on and on about their favorite singer, actor, celebrity, whoever to me and I just thought that this was all nice and well but it didn’t mean anything to me. I think everyone has someone that really inspires them, who may have even brought a change to their life or influenced them in one way or another.

For me, this person would be Davey Havok. Actually, his entire band, AFI, are some of the most important people to me. As artists and, after meeting them a couple times, also as people. Davey still sticks out, though, because the lyrics of their songs come straight from his mind, his hand, his pen. And they’re what got to me the most when I found AFI over nine years ago. Oh hey, it’ll be our 10th anniversary next year!

Back then, I didn’t know what I know now. That I have some hormonal dysfunction that can often cause me to feel down and depressed. I simply knew that I was different than the few friends I had. I was sad a lot but I also knew that it wasn’t just any kind of sadness. Not the one where you have a cleansing cry and then it’s okay again. It was a feeling of dread, one that felt like there was no point to life anymore. I wasn’t suicidal per se, but I often wondered why I was even bothering and if things weren’t easier for a lot of people if I wasn’t around. I didn’t like dealing with myself because I knew I was way too serious, took too many things to my heart rather than being a little more easy going. I made so many things so difficult, I got angry for no reason, I took things personal that had nothing to do with me, I was unreasonably jealous and anxious. Just…so many things that I felt made me a bad person. Just knowing now that it’s all for a reason makes it all easier for me to deal with. But of course, I didn’t know that back then.

Now, I realize it could have been any band, book or poem at the time. There are a lot of them that bring across the message that I got from Davey / AFI. Which was simply that it is okay to be the way I was. It is okay to have dark, gloomy thoughts. It is okay to be awkward about people and in general sometimes. Basically, no matter who or what you are, it is okay as long as you try to be as decent a person as you can be at the time. If you’re having a bad day and the best you can come up with is being a miserable mess, well, then that’s who you are that day. But people have no right to judge you because everyone, even the most talented and beautiful and popular people have bad times. And that’s not gonna be made better by everyone kissing the ground you walk on. When I realized that even a wonderful, beautiful, popular person like Davey has those really dark days, it came as such a relief – though I did feel bad for him.

I’m not gonna say I listened to their album and came out a wonderful person who absolutely adores herself. Really, I still can’t stand myself most of the time. I’m bitchy and when I talk to myself – which happens a lot – I often don’t reply. I wouldn’t be friends with me. But I’m okay with that. If anything, Davey helped me to start a long journey that will lead me to accepting myself and, most of all, accept that other people like me. Well, I hope that’s where it’ll lead me. Either that or I’ll forever sound like a sad wanton groupie that only has day dream sex with an imaginary rockstar boyfriend. Oh god, please don’t let that happen!

DXH2Anyway, for all of the above, for many, many hours filled with beautiful music, for a lot of fantastic nights that I spent witnessing wonderful, passionate, energetic live shows, for the best reason to take long crazy road trips across Europe, for making me meet many wonderful people through our shared passion for this band…and gosh, for so, so much more…thank you, Mr. Havok! And happy birthday! You may be old now but you’re still one of the most beautiful people I know, inside out.

Categories: Me Myself and I, Music is my boyfriend | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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