not Tolkien around

Posted in Film, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on January 24, 2019 by phanteana

the new year has barely started, but i received some super amazing news (no, i didn’t win the lotto): that Tolkien biopic that’s been in the works for the past few years is being released a LOT sooner that anticipated. while it’s been tradition for a Middle-Earth related film to hit the big screen around Christmas, the life and times of JRRT will make its theatrical debut in May (which is my birth month)…i’m more than fine with not having to wait until the end of the year for this one. 🙂

 

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“slow down, Edith…we still have another few months before the movie’s out!” 

 

 

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preaching for tomorrow, lacking for today (and the past few months)

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , on January 5, 2019 by phanteana

….aaaaand just like that, it’s a new year….which typically means posting best-of lists from the previous year (though that probably should have been done last week, er…year).

2018 certainly had no shortage of new and interesting music/film/books/etc. but to be perfectly honest, there were only a few standouts for me. i feel terrible for admitting this, but i STILL haven’t seen the new Suspiria. that whole “i’m in an immersive boot camp” thing doesn’t offer much of a work/life balance. but i’m currently on a break, as i’ll be transferring from Software Engineering to my school’s recently acquired UX/UI (at no charge, woo hoo!) course, so maybe i’ll squeeze in some time to watch it before the new program begins next month. i mentioned previous that Back-End Development was a problem for me. i discovered that UX/UI is something i’ve been unintentionally participating in my entire life (or at least, in the years that i’ve had internet access, which is a looooooong time). i find it enjoyable, plus it’s extremely compatible with my Library Science background. but more on that later…

most people who read this know i love music (or at least certain genres of it). in the past few years, my tastes have shifted from classic Goth to Progressive Metal (much to the dismay of some of my more Goth-leaning compatriots…i still love Peter Murphy, though, and always will). there were 3 albums released this year that captivated me:

 

Kobra and the Lotus, Prevail II

Calgary is jokingly referred to as “the Texas of Canada”.  but if you’re a relatively unknown band from there and are on an independent label, releasing a double album is no laughing matter. in fact, it’s serious business and for Kobra (yes, it’s her real name) and her band of mischief makers, it paid off. the companion piece to 2017’s Prevail I, this albums continues to accomplish the band’s goal, which is to connect people through music. they’ve definitely surpassed that mission.

 

 

TesseracT, Sonder 

to fanboys, a TesseracT is something in the Marvel flicks. to me, it’s an atmospheric outfit from England who take listeners on a journey through space and time. they’ve switched vocalists (formerly Ashe O’Hara, currently Daniel Tompkins) but that adds to the special effects, as each has their own unique style.

 

 

Last Union, Twelve

i actually discovered Italy’s Last Union 2 years ago when they released an unsigned, self-produced album titled Most Beautiful Day. what drew me in was a special guest vocalist on three of the album’s tracks: James LaBrie (as in THE James LaBrie). when an obscure band secures an iconic singer to duet with them, that signifies something special. now signed to a label, they’ve released an official version of MBD (re-titled Twelve) and are set for a bright future.

 

 

…now back to working on UX/UI projects while blasting these up-and-coming masterpieces.

 

 

give ’em the boot(camp)

Posted in Techie Stuff with tags , , , , , , on December 10, 2018 by phanteana

coding bootcamp is no joke. all those people who say it takes over your life are right.

after 6 weeks, i’ve opted to shift from my in-person immersive to the self-paced remote version (same curriculum). i drowned in the choppy seas of back-end languages, which i am not used to (nor do i have any interest into going into once i complete the program). it’s good that i’ve already narrowed down the fields i want to land in (Front-End and UX). however, the program i was accepted into is a Fullstack one and so i’m required to learn it as part of their syllabus. once i get the hang of it, i won’t have to look back.

in spite of the stress, anxiety, and depression, i landed a paying client: a small project (single page website) for a small fee (i’m not at the level where i can charge high rates yet), but it was responsive so it gave me a chance to flex my muscles with Flexbox a little more. they were very pleased with how it turned out. so there is hope.

brave new world

Posted in Techie Stuff with tags , , , , , on November 13, 2018 by phanteana

oh, WordPress…how i’ve abandoned thee. i apologize for not consistently filling you with tidbits of information. the reason for my absence? a drastic career change that has left me too tired to look at a screen (after looking at one all day). while i typically don’t post much about myself, i will say that the past 3 months have been overwhelmingly exhausting both physically & mentally: i bid farewell to my employer of 13 years, as my role was outsourced to an international office. but in all honesty, it was time for something different.

so what’s this former librarian doing now (courtesy of a lengthy separation package)? coding boot camp. as y’all know, i’ve been learning code for quite some time. i was accepted into a highly reputable program that teaches software engineering to newbies, then works with them to find their first tech job post-completion. previously, all my coding education came from online and part-time programs because boot camp isn’t feasible for someone who is working full-time. but now that my schedule has cleared, my every waking hour is devoted to improving my programming skills…which hasn’t gone so smoothly. although i’m only 3 weeks into my program, i have decided that back-end is not the field i wish to end up in; i’ve struggled with several of the concepts in Ruby and SQL (the program jumps right into these languages, as opposed to other coding schools that tend to start out with the front-end side). i am not the only one who has these issues, as many of my classmates have expressed similar sentiments. yet despite guidance and support from the staff, i feel i will never master (or at the very least comprehend) back-end languages…but that’s ok, because there are plenty of other areas that i am/can be better at.

 

i’m going places i’ve never been before…

cut from the cloth of greatness

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by phanteana

the 90’s were a transitional period in music: glitzy Hair Metal gave way to grimy Grunge, Faith-based singers crossed into Pop territory, Rap artists shed their party-time lyrics in favor of more politically-oriented content & Dinosaurs still roamed the airwaves decades after their big breaks. then, there was Alternative music: a library so vast it encompasses a multitude of genres (and this is only a fraction of it).

among the artists lumped into the Alternative category is Peter Murphy. anyone who has read this blog or knows me IRL is well aware of how devoted i am to him, & that despite forgetting my name (because famous people meet thousands of fans, so i don’t expect him to remember anyone’s name), he recognizes my face whenever he comes through my city and can recall little things here and there (he once complimented my haircut, and on a separate occasion asked me if i was still living in [name of section of city], but i had since moved to another section). his easy-going manner when talking to fans is just part of why i love him. i don’t view him as a celebrity, but rather as a (stunning looking) regular person who just happens to have been blessed with immense talent.

that immense talent landed ex-Bauhaus front man Murphy the honor of a Number 1 hit in 1990, as well as Billboard’s 9th Greatest Alternative Song of All Time (not too shabby), bringing him out of the shadows of Goth Rock & into the dorm rooms of Dr. Martens-wearing art majors (i was one, until i switched to Film Studies). that song, “Cuts You Up“, and its subsequent album Deep, stood apart from other artists receiving radio & MTV play with its moody violin, soul-searching lyrics, and its high-cheek-boned, bleached-blonde singer poised to perfection under the influence of David Bowie (the Godfather of Alternative Music). it was pre-Grunge, post-Glam…whatever you called it, it was a peak point for Modern music in 1990. although Murphy only cracked the US charts a total of 3 times in his 40-year career, “Cuts You Up” still reigns as a prominent piece of his catalog and brings back fond memories for those who remember it well…and considering Murphy is currently touring to mark Bauhaus’ ruby anniversary (and hopefully, that tour will make its way to the States), perhaps his signature song i due for a pop culture boost.

 

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a bearded Peter Murphy and his Bauhaus band-mate David J. Haskins still love their audience 40 years later 

keeping up with the Stokers

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 8, 2018 by phanteana

crazy rumors follow anyone and everyone, whether they’re in the spotlight or just your average citizen. if you happen to be a long-dead author whose most famous novel still leaves a mark (womp womp), then there’s bound to be some wacky secrets waiting to be unearthed.

Dracula is, of course, one of the most critically acclaimed stories ever written. published in 1897, it eventually went onto become required reading for English Lit classes and Goths everywhere. it also spawned tons of movies, television programs, and some very memorable songs (including “the one that started it all“- and this is only a fraction, as the original length is 9 and a 1/2 minutes long). but was it all fiction? not necessarily.

in a new interview with Dacre Stoker, the author’s great-grand-nephew, family history sheds some light on the dark figure that was Bram Stoker. Dacre, now 60, recounts how neighborhood kids would inquire if the Stokers would give them candy or drink their blood on Halloween. if you were a 12-year-old kid during the early 1970’s, there was always something weird about the street you lived on. but this morbid curiosity led the younger Stoker to piece together his heritage, resulting in a new book essentially described as a prequel to Dracula.

as for those pesky rumors about Stoker himself, they range from him being a closeted homosexual to promoting the book as a true story inspired by rampant tuberculosis (remember, this was the 19th century), as well as Stoker himself succumbing to syphilis (nope, kidney ailment). in addition, his son Noel (1879-1961) requested that his ashes be combined with his father’s. Bram also hinted at the possibility that vampires could exist, which is a belief that many people still carry in today’s society.

whatever people thought about Bram Stoker, one thing that’s certain is that his novel is still a bloody good read.

 

 

i am a librarian, i am a tech whisperer

Posted in Library Science stuff, Techie Stuff with tags , , , , on September 26, 2018 by phanteana

they don’t call it a Library Science degree for nothing.

when i was awarded my MLIS 5 years, it felt like i was granted access into a very special club. even though i had already been employed in a library environment since 2005, the MLIS signified the difference between myself and my fellow department members who did not pursue graduate education post-college (at the time i became staff, only a B.S. was required, with a preference for experience or education in Media). aside from me, there have only been a few others within my team who completed the MLIS; one is still here, while the others have moved onto other professional paths.

although i work with media as opposed to books and the archive i work for is privately owned, my role is still a vital one. like all the folks who work at the public or university libraries, i don the hat of “tech whisperer” when the copy machine goes wonky or the printer becomes possessed. i once had the best conversation with tech support: i called about the printer and somehow, the conversation veered towards the occult and pizza. i never did find out who they were since it was over the phone & i was assigned to a tech rando. but they certainly had a wide variety of interests and a prime knowledge of machinery, so the printer was back to its old self (i think) in no time.

i’m also the person who has to point out to anyone who walks in asking for the mail room that they are on the other side of the floor (apparently, the giant sign that reads “Library” isn’t enough to get their attention). the mail room inquires are right on par with the people in other departments who wander in on a whim, never realizing there is an archive on the premises (again, that’s what the sign is for). these are people who work in Creative, Ad Sales, and other areas that involve people constantly checking their emails all day and night, and their only conversations revolve around work and which team members drive them nuts. i hear it all the time in the elevator, and i’m glad i’m not them.

while these and other daily tasks may seem trivial, there is a science to them. there is a science to coding as well. i’m still figuring that out, but fortunately the people teaching me to code know how to operate a copy machine and aren’t using Dells from 1999. they also know the difference between a library and a mail room. thank goodness for the little things!