misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - hair)
...And yet, clearly evidence of child-like, or at least adolescent-like, behaviour on my part. To be specific, rampant fan-girl-ness. I can't quite believe I'm actually posting this, and yet, I feel strangely compelled to do so:

[Broken image link edited out - they apparently removed images when the contest ended]

Clicking on the image will vote for Sharon den Adel (lead singer of Within Temptation, possibly my favourite band in the world) in a cheesy "Who is the Metal Queen?" poll in some rock magazine or other. Despite the fact that WT has frequently insisted that they are not a metal band.

Or, you can go take a look at the full assortment of options, if you feel less like humouring my Sharon den Adel/Within Temptation obsession and more like checking out an entire page full of beautiful and talented women. I just wish they had it set up so that you could click on them to find out more about each one, what their music is like, etc., but no, clicking on any image registers a vote. Oh well... I did spend a little googling some of the names of the artists I wasn't familiar with.

Currently, it seems to be largely a two-way race between Sharon, and Tarja Turunen (former singer of Nightwish), with Simone Simons from Epica as a distant third. All the others are trailing way, way behind.

And the only thing I can possibly say in my defense for posting this is that age 47 and 17 aren't that different - all you really have to do is leave a couple of lines off the 4.

[ETA: Sharon won! Thank you to everyone who clicked.]
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Sharon hair)
Music meme again, this time brought to you by the letter F (and [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby). Instructions in the previous post, for those who want to play.

  1. "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues - Best Christmas song ever. Also, one that nearly lost an old friend of mine her job once. She was a switchboard operator at a law firm, and got in trouble for singing this song while walking down the hall in the office - and particularly because when one of the lawyers came out to scold her, she sang it directly to him: "Richard! You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, merry Christmas!"

  2. "Fear Of Freedom" by Poison Girls (Sorry, couldn't find any link where you could listen to this one, but the lyrics are here if that helps) - I was passionately devoted to this band in the 80s. They sort of grew out of the same anarcho-punk scene as Crass etc., but were much more musically varied, and lyrically more introspective and less didactic. This is one of my favourite songs of theirs.

  3. "Farewell to the Crown" by Chumbawamba - a fun little song about, well, killing the British royal family. Only Chumbawamba could write something musically so perky and cheerful and lyrically so nasty.

  4. "Forsaken" by Within Temptation - It's a cool coincidence that I got the letters S and F, because that enabled me to include two of my very favourite WT songs, and a pair that go really well together at that. "Forsaken" and "See Who I Am" are kind of like the dark and light side of the state of the world - if "See Who I Am" was about why there's still hope, "Forsaken" is more about why things are so royally screwed up in the first place:
    We lived our lives in our paradise,
    As gods we shaped the world around.
    No borderlines we'd stay behind,
    Though balance is something fragile.

    While we thought we were gaining,
    We'd turn back the tide, it still slips away.
    Our time has run out, our future has died,
    There's no more escape.
    Also, the link above goes to an awesome live video, which captures a bit of the intensity of what they're like live - though it's interesting to see the contrast between the kind of venues they play in Europe, where they're much better known, and the relatively small club I saw them in here.

  5. "Fama Tuba" by Helium Vola - I was somewhat undecided between several different songs for the fifth pick, but this was the only one of the lot that had a video, so that ended up deciding me. Helium Vola are a German band who describe themselves as "electro-mediaeval", which in practice means "Now iz ze time on Sprockets vhen ve chant in Latin." You can see the lyrics translated into several languages (including English) here.
misslynx: (Music - Within Temptation - Sharon fierc)
  1. Reply to this post and I'll assign you a letter.
  2. List 5 songs that start with that letter.
  3. Post them to your journal (preferably with links to where people can hear them, and some kind of comment), along with these instructions.

My picks:
  1. Spin Moon Magic by The Dreamside - this is the first one that came to my mind as soon as I saw what letter [livejournal.com profile] curgoth had assigned me, because it is not only one of my all-time favourite songs, but also, in my opinion, officially the best pagan song ever. And quite a change stylistically from the folky stuff people usually think of as "pagan music".

  2. Sisters of the Light by Xandria - Another major favourite, though I must ask people to please ignore the crappy fan video, large chunks of which seem to have been spliced in at random from a video for a different song, with a totally different feel from this one. The contrast is kind of jarring... But the song is awesome. If you ever wondered what you'd get if you combined German gothic metal with bellydancing music and added cool witchy feminist lyrics, wonder no more (OK, this particular song is actually not very metally at all, but the band does seem to get classed in that genre more often than not).

  3. See Who I Am by Within Temptation - OK, so we've had Best Pagan Song Ever and Best Feminist Song Ever, and this one I think I have to just rank as Best Song Ever, full stop. Or at least, very highly placed on the list of Best Songs Ever that I can't decide among. It's musically powerful and breathtaking to listen to (especially at high volumes), Sharon's vocals are beautiful, and the lyrics are really inspiring and uplifting:
    See who I am
    Break through the silence
    Reach for my hand
    I'll show you that we can
    Free our minds and find a way
    The world is in our hands
    This is not the end
    This is one of the songs I listen to when I'm overwhelmed with the awfulness of so much of what goes on in the world, and need to feel like there's still hope.

And now, just for contrast, we need a few songs that are not by female-fronted, vaguely pagan-ish, gothy, European sort-of-metal bands.
  1. Station to Station by David Bowie - I'm an old-time Bowie fan from way back, having grown up listening to his early 70s stuff, and while I'd be very hard pressed to ever come up with one single favourite Bowie song, this is one of many that I love. And it starts with S.

  2. Sex on Wheels by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult - and for pure fluff and fun value, I just had to add this one. Trashy, campy, completely without any redeeming social value. And fun to dance to.

So that's five, but I can't resist adding in a sixth bonus pick:
  1. Sex and Wildflowers by Sieben. Yes, the whole album. OK, so very few of the actual songs start with S, but both the album and the artist do, and that's got to count for something. If you're not familiar with classically trained violinist Matt Howden's project Sieben, check out Love's Promise, Crimson Clover or my personal favourite from the album (more intense and less folky than most of the rest), Deathlust.
misslynx: (Default)
OK, I know this is a couple of years old and many of you have probably already seen it, but I hadn't before now, and it is awesome. I have a huge love for unexpected outbreaks of creative weirdness in public places, and this particular had me literally in tears from laughing so hard:



BTW, Improv Everywhere, the group behind this, has an LJ feed: [Bad username or site: improvevrywhre/ @ livejournal.com]
misslynx: (Default)
O. M. G.

That was one of the best concerts of my life. And I've been to a lot of concerts.

Seriously, you should have been there. And by "you", I mean everyone.

I will perhaps post more later, tomorrow, when I'm not trying to make myself plough through some last-minute urgent work before going to bed. And maybe see if any of my cell phone pics turned out.

But for now, I just had to say: wow.
misslynx: (Default)
Not to mindlessly repeat the name of the blog I found it in, but this really, truly is an epic win:

misslynx: (Quote -shut up)
OK, still no promised catch-up post, but multiple posts in one day nonetheless. Because I just have to rant about this:

An otherwise relatively sane and reasonable (to my knowledge, anyway) acquaintance just sent me an e-mail forward, the least annoying aspect of which was that it was completely untrue and had already been debunked on Snopes.com. The most annoying? Well, I'll just link you to the Snopes page on it and let you do the math.

Herewith follows the response I would like to send to said person, but probably won't.

Cut for vitriol )
misslynx: (Me & Aidan in ravine)
The best cure for the malaise caused by following behind someone large and male on the last row of weight machines, who is doing 2-3 times the weight you are on many of them (and more than that on the dreaded Shoulder Press machine, which remains my nemesis): finally getting to the Abdominal Crunch machine at the end, and after waiting while he grunts and pants his way through an endless set, checking the weight before you finally get on -- and adding 10 pounds to what he was doing.

Yes, Mr. Muscle Man, your arms and shoulders and what not may be a zillion times stronger than mine. But you will not defeat me where core muscles are concerned, because I have spent two years doing the carrying-an-ever-heavier-child-around-in-a-mei-tai workout, and apparently my abs, lower back, and hip muscles are now made of titanium.

Also: today's most effective workout tracks:

"Estuans Intrinsecus" by Corvus Corax
"The Liberty Song" by the Levellers
"Opheliac" by Emilie Autumn

Commonalities: fast, loud, and featuring strings of some sort.
misslynx: (brain dead)
I've been in a huge work crunch lately and have just done two consecutive all-nighters, at least if all-nighter is defined as staying up until the hours when most people are getting up, and then trying to squeeze in a few hours of sleep in the morning, as opposed to not sleeping at all.

As a result, I am not exactly brimming with energy. However... I am very definitely going to Funkasia tonight! It's been the highlight of Pride weekend for me ever since I discovered it, and more so now that I had a chance to get well and truly hooked during its brief duration as a monthly night last fall, and have been in withdrawal ever since.



More info at the web site I built for them: http://www.funkasia.ca
And on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/event.php?eid=96431205739
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
It's practically gotten to be a running gag here by now, but I have yet another new nomination for Best Song Ever (yes, in addition to the 15 or 20 I've singled out for that honour already).

Tonight's Best Song Ever is "Motherfucker = Redeemer (Part One)", by Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Words are not sufficient to describe the awesomeness of this song. I can't even really figure out what it is I like about it so much - it's a 21-minute instrumental full of oddly distorted guitars and some classical instrumentation as well, which has a really haunting, evocative feel to it... Maybe it's just perfect for my mood this late at night.

Song ending. Sleep now.
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Savage was lovely - I am going to miss it so much. I don't even know where else there is to go any more.

Saw a few friends - [livejournal.com profile] margrock of course, and [livejournal.com profile] sher_khan and [livejournal.com profile] wildelf - not as many as I'd hoped, but was still good.

And on the way back, there was an impromptu streetcar party, with three guys drumming (two djembes and a bodhran) and people dancing on the seats and in the aisles. Definitely made taking the TTC a lot more fun than usual.

And now, bed.
misslynx: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen:



Campy, kitschy, and completely made of win. If I'm ever attacked a gang of incompetent-looking thugs, I want to be rescued by this dynamic duo!
misslynx: (private parts)
Lifted from [livejournal.com profile] pagandelight:



A while back, I linked to Emilie Autumn's electric violin cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. This is if anything more warped than that, but differently. It's kind of a swing/loung version of... Well, you'll see when you play it.

Lyrics definitely NSFW.

As I commented to the original post, the frightening thing is how well the song actually works in that format. Er -- for a given value of well, anyway. :-)
misslynx: (Default)
Back in town -- since Tuesday night, really, but I've been busy catching up on work and what not so I haven't posted anything much until now.

Spent all of yesterday with a massive splitting headache that I couldn't initially figure out the cause of, since it did not have the right characteristics to be a migraine (no knot in the back of the neck, not just on one side, no particular sensitivity to light or sound). It felt strangely familiar, though, like I'd had that kind before... It started very early in the morning, a couple of hours before when I would normally get up, and lasted straight through the night despite the popping of multiple extra-strength Tylenols throughout the day. Still there a bit today, though considerably lessened.

The mystery was solved when I recalled that during my entire trip to Points South, I was drinking copious amounts of coffee, because (a) I hadn't brought my Adderall with me, and (b) as Neil Gaiman famously pointed out (follow-up post here), it is virtually impossible to get a decent cup of tea in the United States. And then, upon my return, I reverted to my usual one-cup-of-tea-in-the-morning-and-no-other-caffeine workday pattern.

Ah, yes. That would be a caffeine withdrawal headache. Haven't had one of those since dropping out of grad school.*

Anyway: apart from the headache, things have been reasonably good since my return. No huge client crises in my absence, backlog of work significant but not overwhelming, got to see [livejournal.com profile] thewronghands yesterday despite having missed her the night before, and am seeing Aidan an unprecedented four days in a row this week, due to the collision of various events.

Tonight: going to see MIDIval PunditZ with Karsh Kale and Vishal Vaid as part of the Masala! Mehndi! Masti! South Asian festival at Exhibition Place. I've been a fan of MIDIval PunditZ, whose sound has been described as "the sublime blurring of boundaries between classical Indian, electronica and rock", for some time, so the prospect of getting to see them live is exciting, and the fact that it's FREE even more so. If you're for some reason not familiar with their music yet, you can hear some here.

The festival (which also includes a marketplace with vendors of all things South Asian, and a food area with booths from various local Indian restaurants) opens at 6pm, and the show starts at 8:30pm, at the Bandshell Stage in Exhibition Place, for any of you who are local and would like to come. Did I mention it's FREE?


* Contrary to popular belief, tea does not have more caffeine than coffee. It has about a third to a half as much, depending on what kind of tea and what kind of coffee. I think the myth comes from tea leaves having more caffeine by weight than coffee beans, but that does not translate into equivalent levels of caffeine in the actual beverages that you drink. More here.

Salsified

Jul. 12th, 2008 04:46 pm
misslynx: (With Kiska (on couch))
Well... I have discovered one interesting side-effect of my new location.

As most of us that live in Toronto, and some who don't, are aware, this is a very, very multicultural city. Also, a city that is very big on street festivals: one of the world's largest Pride celebrations, plus Caribana (a Caribbean festival), Taste of the Danforth (Greek), Corso Italia Festival (Italian, obviously), and a whole bunch of others I can't think of offhand, most notably including the Salsa on St. Clair festival -- a Latin American festival.

Which takes place this weekend. On St. Clair West, between Christie and Winona.

We all recall that I live a block west of Christie, right?

So yes: there is a Salsa festival going on directly outside my apartment. Crowds, booths of Latin American good and merchandise of various sorts, sound stages with live music, dance areas (one of them being the very intersection I live at the corner of), etc. The dance area right outside my apartment is one where they are giving lessons, so the music I have been hearing all day has been frequently been accompanied by an announcer's voice calling out things like "Right! Left! Right! Left! Now, forward! Cha cha cha!"

Despite the fact that this is an annual event, and there are posters up everywhere, I had somehow managed to completely forget about it until last night.

On the bright side, I do not need to bother to play any music in my apartment this weekend, as that would be quite redundant.

On the less bright side, if I want to listen to any other sort of music this weekend apart from Salsa, I am out of luck.

Anyone who phones me this weekend should probably bear in mind that I will not be able to hear the phone unless I am sitting right next to it. And even if I am, hearing you on the other end may be slightly challenging.

Were I inclined to feel like a cranky misanthropist at this particular point in my life, I would probably be finding this all highly annoying. Instead, I have opted to find it entertaining, and I think I will now go out and check it all out from closer up. I have to go get cat food anyway, and that means going straight through three blocks of the festival to get to the pet supply store, so I might as well check it out along the way.

However, we will see how entertaining I still find it by the end of the weekend. This may be a test of my ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of all things, including unexpected Salsa festivals.
misslynx: (Deliria)
Due to a mega work crunch, I will not be going to as much Pride stuff as I'd hoped to, but two things I will be going to are Funkasia tonight and the Dyke March tomorrow.

The Funkasia event tonight - which is free, and happening from 7-11pm, at the south stage of the Pride Festival area - has been really under-publicized and for some reason doesn't even appear on the Pride Toronto web site. And Funkasia itself, and its host/organizer DJ Zahra, doesn't have a web site of its own any more, since it's been on hiatus for the past couple of years. But back when it was a regular event, it was amazing. Awesome Indian dance music - Bollywood songs, bhangra, etc. - and just a huge amount of fun.

Anyone else going tonight?
misslynx: (everything changes)
Many things are making me happy today, even though I still have lots of work to do and stresses to deal with and what not. Here are some of them:
  1. The side streets in my new location being so green, full of big trees and lush gardens, so that even though my apartment itself is right on the corner of a busy street and has no balcony or garden space itself, I do not suffer any lack of "green time" -- every walk with Kiska is restorative to me. (Interesting side note: there's actually scientific evidence that exposure to nature helps reduce ADD symptoms).

  2. In particular, the fact that lilacs are currently in bloom.

  3. Likewise, having two decent-sized parks very close to me, one a mere two blocks northeast, and another, about four times bigger, five or six blocks south. Also, a huge ravine about ten blocks north and another (part of the same riverbed) eight blocks east or so.

  4. And the Wychwood Farmer's Market, just a couple of blocks east -- even though I missed the opening day of it last Saturday due to DrupalCamp Toronto and will be missing the next one due to the Radical Business Intensive. But both those events are happy-making in their own way.

  5. And the fact that the Green Art Barns will be opening later this year, just a few blocks southeast.

  6. Seriously, living here is the next best thing to living in the country -- but on a street with lots of cool little stores and restaurants and a 24-hour public transit line, a 5-10 minute ride from the subway. Best of both worlds.

  7. Visits with Aidan -- I was there yesterday and will be again on Wednesday. I still miss being able to see him every day, but things could be a lot worse.

    In particular, yesterday I found myself enjoying the way that he can managed to be insanely cute even when doing something really annoying. He had spilled water all over his shirt -- for some reason he absolutely loves drinking water from a glass, but hasn't quite got the process under control yet, so there's usually a lot of spillage. So I was trying to change his shirt afterwards, and got the old one off with no problem -- he's always happy to get clothes off him, but putting the new one on turned out to be, er, challenging. He may not have good water-glass control yet, but he has excellent reflexes and is incredibly wiggly, and can get both his arms in under the shirt and push it up off his head in much less time than it takes me to pull it down over his head, all while simultaneously twisting and wiggling in about 17 directions at once.

    I think it took me about ten minutes to get that shirt onto him, but he was so cute in the way he fought it off that I was laughing the whole time and it all felt kind of like a game.

  8. I am also happy that my eating habits have changed enough since the last point when I lived on my own that my fridge is half full of fresh vegetables, because the vegetable drawer is nowhere near big enough to fit them all.

  9. And finally, the song listed in the music field of this post is massively happy-making. I was all prepared to hate the new version of Nightwish after all the drama with them publicly firing their lead singer, but when I first heard "The Poet and the Pendulum"... Oh Gods! *faints*

    It's a 14-minute epic that's divided into several parts so that it's like a number of songs blended together, or maybe the separate movements of a symphony, given the level of classical influence. In particular, there's a part about a minute and a half in where the very slow and soft intro shifts into this breathtakingly intense sort of -- I don't know what to call it -- neoclassical explosion that's equal parts metal aggression and symphonic precision, with strings and guitars and what not blended perfectly -- words don't really seem to quite be able to do it justice. All I know is that no matter how many times I hear that song, that part always makes me have to stop whatever I'm doing, close my eyes, and just listen...

    It's the musical equivalent of a really earthshaking orgasm. I kid you not. Listening to it actually tends to leave me flushed and hyperventilating, with my pulse racing... It's not the only piece of music that's ever hit me that way, but there are very few, and fewer still where the recorded version will do it -- usually that sort of reaction is more likely to happen with live music. If you haven't heard that song, and you have any liking at all for strange fusions of classical music and rock, you really, really need to. Preferably on good speakers, with the volume turned up really high.
And now that I have shared at least a representative sampling of the happy that is today, I should really get back to work. Because actually getting some long-overdue projects finished and being able to invoice for them would be another kind of happy, one which I am very much looking forward to.

Dancing boy

Sep. 4th, 2007 05:35 pm
misslynx: (Aidan newborn)
During the almost six weeks we have thus far been parents, several things have at one point or another struck me as "OMG best invention EVAR!!!" for their extreme usefulness in calming down baby Aidan.

First and foremost, the old wooden rocking chair we received as a hand-me-down from some of [livejournal.com profile] optimystik's relatives. I have taken to referring to rocking him there as "invoking the power of the rocking chair", and once even found myself saying to him "The power of the rocking chair compels you!"

But today's Best Thing Ever: Putumayo kids' CDs. Putumayo is a label that puts out world music compilations of various sorts, and lately they have taken to doing compilations of children's music from various parts of the world. We have the Animal Playground CD, and most of World Playground and Caribbean Playground in MP3 form. And all of these seem to have a truly uncanny power to calm down an inconsolably crying or cranky baby.

However, it is not merely listening to the music that has such an effect. It is, specifically, dancing to it. Of course, a not-quite-six-week-old baby is not well equipped to do much dancing on his own, so it is necessary to dance for him, or with him I suppose would be a better way of putting it. To put on the music, crank it to a volume where it drowns out his own sound production, hold him close to one's body, with a hand behind his head since his neck is not too strong yet, and then dance around the room to the music in question. Presto: happy baby.

Must get all the rest of the series...

I suspect that in this, his father's genes are showing. Any of you who have looked at Optimystik's userinfo page know he used the phrase "dancin' fool" there. The geekier of you may know that this is a Flaw from the role-playing game Werewolf: the Apocalypse -- specifically, one possessed by some of the were-bears, where if they hear any sort of rhythmic music, they have to dance to it. No choice. And it has long been popular opinion that Optimystik possesses this flaw in real life, ever since the time he caught himself dancing to the sound of a car alarm.

The apple, apparently, does not fall too far from the tree. How old do you think we should let the baby get before we start taking him to all ages club nights? :-)
misslynx: (Default)
...Plus a few other random notes
  1. Aidan is now two weeks old, insanely cute, and mostly relatively non-fussy. He has his moods once in a while, but on the whole, much less crying than I would have expected.

  2. Also, much more sleeping. He only wakes up a few times most nights, and mainly just to nurse, though he also needs the occasional nighttime diaper change. [livejournal.com profile] optimystik and I are taking turns as to who sleeps in the bedroom with [livejournal.com profile] kettunainen and the baby and who sleeps in Optimystik's bedroom, so that the nighttime wakings are more or less evenly distributed... At least between the two of us.

  3. Sadly, Kettu is the only one equipped for the feeding, and thus gets most of the nighttime wakings whether she wants them or not. I did not do so well with the whole inducing lactation thing, largely because I was a slacker too busy to do as much pumping as I should have at the time when it would have been most useful.

  4. As if to compensate for not losing as much sleep as I'd feared, I have had killer insomnia for the past two nights, to the point of only getting about 3-4 hours sleep in 1/2-1 hour bursts punctuated by long periods of annoying wakefulness.

  5. In non-baby-related news, today's experiment has confirmed that even under conditions of extreme sleep deprivation, when one's ADD medication has completely failed to kick in to any noticeable degree, deciding to try and boost it with a cup of actual full-caffeine coffee is a less than stellar idea. On the bright side: it certainly worked. Big time. On the less bright side, if I ever do that again, I will make myself write out "CAFFEINE AND ADDERALL ARE NOT FRIENDS" 100 times or so -- once my hands stop shaking, I stop hyperventilating and my heart slows down. In the meantime, no one had better sneak up behind me and say boo. (Seriously, the uber-jumpiness only lasted about an hour, but it was decidedly un-fun.)

  6. Now back to the baby: Cut for potential ick factor )

  7. On the whole, a newborn baby is kind of like a cuddly human-shaped pet that mainly just eats (well, drinks), sleeps, looks cute -- and needs its portable litter box changed about 85 times a day. Kind of fun, really, apart from that last part, and I'm starting to be able to do that on autopilot.

  8. But may I say, the not-fun part of non-bio mommyhood is getting asked over and over (by doctors, nurses, random strangers, etc.) if I'm:
    1. her sister
    2. a friend
    3. her midwife/doula
    4. etc.
    I think I need to make a little button that says "NO, I'M THE OTHER MOTHER" or something.

  9. Now on a completely non-baby-related note, I have recently become aware that Within Temptation are going to be playing in Toronto on Sept. 11. I have not been to a concert of any sort (apart from the occasional classical one with my dad) in longer than I care to think about, and I love that band. Anyone else local planning on going?
And now: let's see if now that the weather has cooled off, I can actually get some sleep.
misslynx: (Feline world domination)
I played this for [livejournal.com profile] taikakettu last night, and tonight before she went to bed she made me promise to post for it for all to enjoy/wet themselves laughing at.

Anyone who has ever giggled at certain types of photos that seem to be all the rage now HAS to listen to this:

http://www.thefump.com/lyrics.php?id=85

It's best if you just click Play without reading the lyrics first.

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