Jump to content

  • Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account

Welcome to BZPower!

Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
  • Show off your creations, stories, art, music, and movies and play member and staff-run games
  • Enter contests to win free LEGO sets and other prizes, and vote to decide the winners
  • Participate in raffles, including exclusive raffles for new members, and win free LEGO sets
  • Send private messages to other members
  • Organize with other members to attend or send your MOCs to LEGO fan events all over the world
  • Much, much more!
Enjoy your visit!



The Strangest Pieces

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 12 2014 · 206 views

I swear this isn't a music blog.
(Okay, it kind of is.)
I've listened to a wide swath of different pieces of classical music, and I occasionally come across some things that are just ... well, strange. We're talking off-the-wall levels of goofy here.

-----La Monte Young - Piano Piece for David Tudor #1

This piece doesn't even have a proper score, just a sheet of paper telling the performer to come out onto the stage with a bucket of water and a bale of hay for the piano to drink and eat. Performance consists of either feeding the piano or letting the piano feed itself, and that the music is over once the piano had been fed.

-----Erik Satie - Vexations

Satie's Vexations is a remarkably unassuming piece of sheet music - but inspection reveals a peculiar direction in the corner: if you want to play it 840 times in a row, Satie advises performers to prepare beforehand, "in the deepest silence, by serious immobilities." John Cage - who will appear later in this list - was inspired by the inherent ridiculousness of Vexations and organized its first performance in New York in 1963. It lasted 18 hours and was played by a dozen pianists working in shifts.
-----Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet

The controversial Stockhausen composed Helicopter String Quartet to be part of one of his massive operatic projects. Each string quartet member is lifted in a different helicopter, and they coordinate their playing in tremolos, with the intended effect of making the helicopters instruments themselves. The piece is by far the most complex string quartet ever written.
-----Karlheinz Stockhausen - Fresco
Fresco is not composed with the audacity of Helicopter String Quartet, but nonetheless makes this list because of the scandal that marred its only performance to date. Written as background music for four orchestras situated around a hall, the instructions in Fresco irritated the classically-trained performers. Tensions between composer and performers grew wider, and some performers tried to refuse playing it, only to realize that they were contractually obligated to do so. (This didn't deter the concertmaster, who threatened to kill the head conductor.)
Remaining performers did so under protest, and the performance was a complete disaster. Performers took to practicing other repertoire instead of following their score as an act of protest, pranksters and hecklers distracted the few that stuck to Stockhausen's instructions, and the performance was halted when somebody cut out the lights on them.
-----Erwin Schulhoff - In Futurum

A lot of people are familiar with John Cage's famous "silent piece," 4'33", but it's not here. Few are aware that, while Cage's motives were different, the idea of a completely silent piece was not his own - the first one was composed by the Czech composer Erwin Schulhoff over thirty years before Cage. In Futurum - with its ostensibly crossed hands (the clefs are switched) and irrational time signatures (3/5 and 7/10) - appears as the third movement of his piano collection Fünf Pittoresken. The rest of Schulhoff's works take influence from jazz, making In Futurum all that much more remarkable in its uniqueness.
-----John Cage - Atlas Eclipticalis

Cage's music ranges from the serene (Dream, In a Landscape) to silence (4'33", 0′00″, One3) to more or less off-the-wall concepts. Atlas Eclipticalis is for any number of instruments playing the music however they wish, with the sheet music consisting of star charts graphed onto music paper. Because of the undefined instruments and the lack of both tempo and dynamic instructions, performances of Atlas Eclipticalis are all remarkably different.
-----John Cage - Organ²/ASLSP

A fan of extremes, Cage wrote ASLSP (standing for As Slow As Possible) for piano. The piano version usually takes around an hour to perform ... but the organ edition, owing to the nature of the instrument, can sound indefinitely. It wouldn't be on this list if not for an organ that was built expressly for the purpose of performing the piece - an organ piece that will end in September of the year 2640. But, while slow, it's still - theoretically speaking - not as slow as possible.
-----György Ligeti - Poéme Symphonique

Ligeti's music is full of rhythmic variation and unique sonority. Equal parts rhythmic experimentation and avant-garde parody, the score calls for 100 metronomes, all of which are set to different speeds.

-----Leo Ornstein - Suicide in an Airplane

This piece isn't really strange in the ways that the others are, but it honestly has one of the most metal titles of any piece of music I've ever heard of. I've decided to hone my orchestration skills and I've chosen this piece because of its musical depiction of a dogfight and rumbling engines, which is equally well suited to an orchestral sonority.


Music Since the Twentieth Century

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 11 2014 · 131 views

After my opinions on Mozart and much of the Classical era, I got to thinking about modern classical music, which in this sense means any music written after 1900. I have ... mixed feelings, shall we say.
Time for another music history lesson.
By the turn of the century, late Romanticism was beginning to die out. Gustav Mahler was writing symphonies of epic proportions, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy were defining a musical style dubbed "Impressionism" - though Debussy hated the term - and Alexander Scriabin was writing increasingly mystical music based on his own egomaniacal philosophy. These folks, and figures like them, were continuously evolving the musical language that had existed more or less continuously from about 1600, when the Baroque era started. Romanticism was fracturing, and there were sub-groups of composers who sought their own styles, and composers who simply struck out on their own path.
As time went by, harmony was extended, and by 1900 the usage of chromatic harmony - a technique whereby harmonies are derived from both pitches within the scale of the music you're working in and from without - was everywhere. In many composer's eyes, these kinds of rich, expanded tonal structures would go on indefinitely, with composers adding to the additions that had been accrued over the years.
Other composers thought that there simply was no place to go, that traditional tonality had reached its breaking point, and new rules had to be developed. Scriabin, who started out writing very Chopinesque music, evolved his own brand of harmony derived from fourths, altered dominant chords, and a few stunning examples of bitonality in some of his late preludes. Igor Stravinsky embraced rhythmic drive (and bitonality as well) in The Rite of Spring, which was so groundbreaking that the first performance was marred by a riot in the Parisian audience.
Most lasting was the music of the so-called Second Viennese School, headed up by Arnold Schoenberg. Schoenberg's first few opuses show the influence of Mahler and is filled with intense chromaticism - so intense that even those early works - far and away his most accessible pieces - were met with incomprehension at their first performances. Undaunted, Schoenberg veered into extreme atonality, writing pieces such as Pierrot Lunaire. Pierrot made waves not just with its atonality, but for its unique ensemble (known henceforth as the Pierrot Ensemble) and with its half-speaking, half-singing writing for voice.
But Schoenberg, for all of his cacophonous music, realized that this kind of free dissonance and atonality - something that composers such as Charles Ives and Leo Ornstein had experimented with - needed some sort of structure to hold it together, just as tonality had held music together before him. To make a long, diagram-necessitating story short, he came up with something called the 12-tone technique, whereby every note was sounded equally through the use of tone rows, which were essentially randomized chromatic scales.

Schoenberg's two major pupils, Anton Webern and Alban Berg, took Schoenberg's techniques and personalized them. Webern idolized Schoenberg and often moved just so he could be near him, and took the 12-tone technique and honed it to a disjointed science. Webern was known for writing exceptionally short pieces, and his piano music is characterized by its brevity, sparseness, and unholy dissonance. He died at the end of World War II after a trigger-happy American soldier saw his cigar and mistook him for an enemy soldier ... but strange composer deaths are a story for another time.
Despite the fact that his music was aesthetically terrible, Webern became one of the most important modern composers, for the avant-garde for most of the rest of the century followed his lead to some extent. The 12-tone technique was applied to other areas of music - instruments, dynamics, note lengths - to derive an incredibly strict kind of "total serialism," where the composer writes a few rows and the music more or less writes itself.
Alban Berg, on the other hand, experimented with making Schoenberg's ideas accessible. He wrote a masterpiece of a Violin Concerto and an opera, Wozzeck, which half-succeeded in this endeavor. He's considered the easiest atonal composer to listen to. His middle-ground approach makes him an oddball figure on both sides of the fence.

But back to Webern, whose techniques had a significant impact. Pierre Boulez took Webern's usage of serial composition to every extreme imaginable, writing music where every imaginable aspect is controlled by rows - pitch, velocity, register, etc. While Boulez has always composed this kind of music, even he realized that total serialization leaves no room for creativity.
The Greek composer Iannis Xenakis took off in a different direction. A mathematician and an architect, Xenakis was one of the first composers who took to "Musique Concrete" techniques - sound collages of recorded tape. Aside from his solo percussion pieces, his music is frankly ridiculous, as he wrote music based on mathematical formulas. Similar approaches were taken by Karlheinz Stockhausen, a controversial and influential figure in the sphere of electronic music, and who once wrote a string quartet where every instrument is lifted on a separate helicopter.

(Don't ask.)
I give all these examples to illustrate one point: since Schoenberg, many composers have taken refuge in music that is of theoretical interest, but not traditional musical interest. Say what you want about Schoenberg, Webern, Boulez, and Xenakis, but their music is aesthetically unpleasing. They thought that there was nothing of strict musical interest left to say, and so they found their own paths.

These paths are now showing themselves to be dead ends. The same strict adherence to predefined sets of rules makes much "modern" music as boring and as aesthetically similar to music of the Classical era.
But it's not like all 20th-century composers took to serialism. Alfred Schnittke and György Ligeti were remarkably innovative and wrote significant pieces without adhering to the strict serialism that had gripped much of the classical music cognoscenti. Schnittke likened his departure as getting off an overcrowded train, and Ligeti mercilessly parodied his fellow composers in his Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes.
Other composers, such as Henryk Górecki, Lowell Liebermann, Einojuhani Rautavaara, and John Corigliano have abandoned serialism in favor of a return to late Romanticism, a kind of musical reboot. They all have written music of musical and theoretical interest. Even Krzysztof Penderecki, a noted avant-garde composer who gained fame through his manic pieces for string orchestra (Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Polymorphia among them), abandoned that style, saying that we "must go back to Mahler and start over."
Suffice it to say that I very much agree with Penderecki.


Why I Don't Like Mozart

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Music Feb 08 2014 · 233 views

Let's get this out of the way: I really love classical music, and I kind of know a lot about it. I'm willing to bet that I know more things about music history than anyone else on BZP ... save for perhaps -Windrider-. Dude's a beast when it comes to this sort of stuff.
Most people don't really hold opinions on classical music one way or another, and those that do generally see it as monotonous and boring. I've never really held this opinion, but my favorite music has always come later in music history - not with the dissonance and atonality so revered by the composers of the 20th century, but with the Romantic era.
I'm using "classical" in a broad sense because I'm really not the world's biggest fan of music from the Classical period. Those who aren't as familiar with this history may be a bit lost at this point, so I'll see if I can't briefly recap some of the details.
The Middle Ages and the Renaissance are more or less grouped together in one era of music history. This was a very long era, but there were crucial innovations in harmony, melody, and musical notation. By the high Renaissance, polyphony - multiple melodies at once - was extremely common, and the best composers were able to write motets that used up to 40 distinct voices. Polyphony was music.
Around 1600, as musical instruments increased in quality and secular music became a more popular genre, the Baroque era started. Baroque music is often characterized as architecture, and Baroque composers were, as a general rule, ridiculously prolific. (Telemann is still the single most prolific composer in history, and Vivaldi nearly got thrown in an asylum when he interrupted himself at his day job - as a priest - to write down some notes that had occurred to him.)
Baroque music still drew on the polyphony of the high Renaissance to a certain extent, but by and large this kind of writing wasn't very common. Most Baroque composers used one or two melodies, with the notable exception of Johann Sebastian Bach. His keyboard music - especially his complex fugues with their finger-breaking polyphony - was considered antiquated, and his sons (he had a whopping 20 kids overall) were considered better composers than he was when he died. His reputation was revived when his works were rediscovered in the mid-1800s, and now, he's the only Baroque composer most people are familiar with.
All of which brings us to Classicism, where musical form became a bigger deal. Instrumental sonatas, symphonies, concertos, and string quartets became standard forms, and methods of writing for those ensembles were also standardized to a certain extent. Essentially, if you have a theme or two, you could plug those into sonata form, add a few basic harmonies, and boom, you've got a sonata movement. Simplicity and clarity became the name of the game in the Classical era.
The three major composers of this period were Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Ludwig van Beethoven. While many like to group their music together as the "First Viennese School," the music of these three were different. Haydn, speed-writing symphonies for the court orchestra under the Esterházy family, was, as he said "forced to be original," although many of his 100+ symphonies are not particularly innovative, as he had to conform to the musical tastes of both the Esterházys and their guests. His contributions to form have long since outlived him, and due to his productivity and his standardization of forms, he is known as the "Father of the Symphony" and the "Father of the String Quartet." Haydn's contributions to form and the language of Classicism cannot be understated.
Beethoven was widely different - while he started out fixed to Classical molds, he experimented with pushing the limits of what said forms could handle even before he realized that he was going deaf. When he came to terms with this, his experimentation led to more innovative and trail-blazing music, dispensing with convention after convention. He replaced the minuet with the scherzo in his later symphonies, looked towards Romanticism with his Sixth Symphony and a great number of his piano sonatas, didn't stick to traditional movement numbers in his late piano sonatas and string quartets, and famously introduced a chorus in the last movement of his Ninth Symphony.
Now for Mozart.
Mozart was hailed as a child prodigy, composed prolifically, and died at the young age of 35. In that time, he stuck to the already well-defined Classical forms, choosing to do as much within those constraints as he could. However, there really wasn't much more that any composer, no matter how great, could do within those forms - forms that were already well established by Haydn by the time Mozart began composing.
Haydn, though his music contains an aesthetic similarity, was creative as a musical troll. His Symphony No. 94 - nicknamed the "Surprise" - was designed to wake up sleepy members of the court with a massive chord following a very soft passage. His Symphony No. 45 - nicknamed the "Farewell" - sent a message to his patrons to let the musicians return home by letting players leave as the last movement progresses. Haydn chose the unusual F# minor as the symphony's home key, and had to get special crooks for his orchestra's horns to play.
But Haydn's formal unoriginality is explicable, as we know that he had to compose musically conservative pieces in order to get paid and did quite a bit under those kinds of restrictions. Mozart was, for most of his time as a composer, not hindered by a particular court. He was, more or less, freelance. Financially insecure, Mozart had the opportunity to be an innovator such as Beethoven came to be later, but did not.
Mozart, for his part, did write a few brilliant pieces in his later years - his unfinished Requiem, his Clarinet Concerto, and his late symphonies among them - but in his entire oeuvre these masterpieces are relatively few. If you took all of Mozart's works, put them into a list, and then randomized it, chances are you're not going to come out with one of his great works. Most of his pieces have a similar mood, and as mentioned, they nearly always stick to a predetermined form. In this sense, a great many are interchangeable.
In the end, this all comes down to my personal preferences and musical tastes. I know that Mozart holds a special place in many people's hearts, but as someone who has listened to a wide swath of his pieces, I really don't see what all of the fuss was - and still is - about.


J. J. Abrams, George Lucas, and Greg Farshtey

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays! Feb 04 2014 · 305 views

Long-time Blogarithm viewers may remember a long rant I wrote about the link between Star Wars and BIONICLE with regards to their respective prequels. In it, I made the case that fans of a certain thing have higher expectations and preconceived notions regarding backstory.
I thought that it might be time to significantly expand on that train of thought by considering the monstrous job that now lays ahead of J. J. Abrams, a task that is both Herculean and nearly Sisyphean in its proportions.
The post-Return of the Jedi world saw the beginning of what would become known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Now, the EU is huge - not just with more licenses than you can shake a lightsaber at, but with games and books that delve into the mythology like never before. It's pretty insane how much canon Star Wars material is out there. The fans have been accustomed to the Expanded Universe and the stories that are from the EU are as - in some cases, more - revered than the movies that started it all.
Let's face facts: J. J. Abrams will not be able to make a Star Wars movie without contradicting the Expanded Universe. The EU also relies so much on its own internal canon that contradicting one thing would likely cause a domino effect and negate pretty much every EU story that fans have come to love.
The so-called "Thrawn Trilogy" is a good example. Set after Return of the Jedi, the Thrawn Trilogy were a series of books by author Timothy Zahn that chronicled the main characters fighting off what remained of the Galactic Empire and fighting an Imperial admiral named Thrawn. It's considered to be one of the definitive EU novels and were considered frontrunners to be turned into Episodes VII, VIII, and IX.
Well, as it turns out, they're not going to be made into movies, which means that they - along with quite a lot of the EU - is going down the drain, so to speak.
The only way that effigies of J. J. Abrams aren't burned by rabid Star Wars fans is if, hidden behind all of those lens flares, he's actually a genius beyond mortal comprehension. However, I hope no one takes it as an insult if I say that I sincerely doubt that, even when taking into account the existence of Fringe.
The common problem is that fandoms generally expect consistently high-quality material from content creators. Star Wars had such a following that the prequels were bound to disappoint, regardless of quality. The pre-A New Hope universe was not nearly as explored before A Phantom Menace as the post-Return of the Jedi universe is right now. (I hope that made sense.)
All of which brings us to Greg Farshtey. BZPower did not grow to have the most members of any LEGO fansite without reason. BIONICLE was big, and BZP's heyday saw a level of traffic and server-busy messages unheard of today, all because of BIONICLE. We appreciated Greg's dedication and his interaction with the community, which is unheard of amongst the content creators of such a large fan base.
Nevertheless, voices of dissent emerged, which only became more prevalent in the post-Great Downtime BZP, after Greg disappeared due to his personal life and LEGO's new interactivity policy. Opinions on Greg's writing skills are lukewarm at best, as fans have matured and looked back on Greg's methods of storytelling with more critical eyes. (Time Trap is a great book and I will fight anyone who says otherwise.)
Why? Well, we had become accustomed, as a community, to Greg's presence. Without it, I believe that criticism of his writing would have come about much sooner. We, as fandoms are wont to do, came to expect an inhuman level of quality from Greg, as the Star Wars fandom is expecting an inhuman level of quality from Abrams and his gang.

After all, Lucas got enough flak for the prequels.


The Rise and Fall of Artemis Fowl

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays! Feb 03 2014 · 257 views

Or: Why The Eternity Code was the best Artemis Fowl book
Spoiler warning for ... well, the entire thing. I'm not marking individual spoilers; it's been long enough since the last book was released. Also this is really going to be rambling, I can just sense it. Consider yourself warned.

Ever since a friend loaned me the first book in the series, I'm a fan of Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series of books. The characters and re-imagined concepts of Colfer's stories captured my imagination.
As I caught up - at that point, The Time Paradox was the most recent book in the series - I'd realized that Colfer was a writer with flaws. With the release of The Atlantis Complex and The Last Guardian, I felt as if Colfer's writing had finally jumped the shark, so to speak. His characters and writing style became caricatures of themselves, with an over-reliance on his own tropes.
Mulch Diggums saving everyone, side characters with puns for names, recurrence of Opal Koboi as a villain, character such as Butler or № 1 reduced to becoming one-dimensional characters ... these are all devices that occurred more often as the series progressed, and devices that became especially prevalent in the later books.

For this reason, The Eternity Code is by far my favorite book in the entire series, because it's different and it avoids the trope traps that Colfer fell into. Artemis is beaten by Spiro, Butler loses a step after his death and subsequent revival, Opal Koboi isn't the villain, and so on. So many things are different about Eternity, and for that I enjoyed it immensely.
Another thing that I enjoyed about Eternity was that it was contained most of the moments where Colfer significantly changed something about the Fowl universe. Artemis's mind was wiped, Butler's physicality was questioned. Thereafter, the events of Eternity were hardly mentioned, save for the change in Butler's physical makeup. After a terrifying and distraught Butler scared the snot out of Arno Blunt in Eternity, I thought that it would be a sea-change for Butler's character, but it was not.
But back to the story. In the subsequent book, The Opal Deception - the last book where Koboi's appearance actually retains some semblance of novelty - Commander Root is killed. Root's character is not one I particularly ... ahem rooted for in the first three books. While he had his fair share of touching interactions with Holly Short, Root was mainly painted through other characters, and not always in a positive light. Nevertheless, this newfound willingness to change things - permanently - in Colfer's writing was encouraging. Eternity and now this? What would Colfer do in the next book?
The Lost Colony saw Artemis in puberty. The way Colfer handled Artemis's interaction with his love interest/unwitting half-villain Minerva Paradizo was not emphasized, nor was Paradizo even so much as given a shout-out in the final three books. Colfer says that Paradizo had lost interest in Artemis after his exile getting back from Limbo and was in the alps somewhere, but this was in a tweet, if I recall correctly. It would have been nice to get some closure on the plot point in one of the three books, even if it was just a throwaway line. Artemis's feelings were also not addressed in the rest of Colony. Despite this, Colony remains my second-favorite book in the series, for its new characters and addition to the Fowl universe.

Alright, time for another complaint. Colfer's writing called for a cast of heroes that always showed up. Characters were never split up for long periods of time. Mulch, Holly, and Butler always showed up with Artemis, and there were few extended, important scenes without the entire gang together. Even when it would have been easier to leave out characters - even the lovable dwarf Mulch - Colfer jams them into scenes. It would have been great to see more times where characters not have someone else to fall back on, which brings me to The Time Paradox.
​Paradox pulls out all of the proverbial stops, but even so, Colfer's reliance on getting his protagonists out of jams with Mulch Diggums reappears. It would have been great to see Artemis and Holly have to finagle their way out of sticky situations without the assistance of Mulch or Butler, but again, Colfer didn't take advantage of opportunities.
The Atlantis Complex is perhaps my least favorite Fowl book. I felt as if the series had come to a nice conclusion with Paradox, but the two Opal Kobois in the timeline meant that a continuation was necessary - and another return for a villainess who became a caricature of herself in each consecutive appearance. But Complex doesn't deal with that - instead, Artemis is now seen with a magic-derived mental disorder. Colfer's pro-environmental sentiment - one which I agree with - reached a level of overt preachiness that I found distracting. The only thing that Complex has going for it is its callback to Deception with the death of Commander Vinyáya. But like Root, Vinyáya was never a major character, and the readers were never emotionally attached to her character.
For all of the missed opportunities in his characterizations, Colfer's depiction of Artemis's growth and maturity was excellent. The nearly amoral tween crime lord of the early books changed into a more conscious part-time crime lord. While still not the most upright of character, Artemis's machinations begin to nip at his consciousness in Eternity and eventually lead to his annoyance at his younger self in Paradox and then finally to his plan to save the world in Complex.
This is getting really rambling now so I think I'll move on and talk a little bit about the continuity of the series. Complex, despite my dislike, was possibly the most continuity-aware book, with the reappearance of Turnball Root after appearing in a short story years earlier. However, many minor plot points that make their appearances in the books - especially towards their respective ends - are thrown away in subsequent books and never mentioned again. This ranges from the aforementioned Minerva Paradizo to the Doodah Day/Mulch Diggums PI firm.
I feel like I'm complaining a bit too much about Artemis Fowl to the point where one might think that I'm not actually a fan of it. Yet for its flaws - which I've pointed out here in perhaps the least organized piece of material that I've written in my entire life - I still like the series. I just wish it hadn't petered out towards the end and done more of the things that made The Eternity Code so danged epic.


Hero Factory, Re-Imagined

Posted by Sumiki , in BIONICLE/LEGO, BZPower, Writing Jan 12 2014 · 214 views

Hey you. Ever wanted to read a story where Hero Factory was rebooted to be gritty and dark and with humans and stuff?
Well have I got news for you.

Posted Image
(also go enter that contest)


i accidentally a thing

Posted by Sumiki , in BIONICLE/LEGO, BZPower, Writing Jan 11 2014 · 228 views

it's nearly two o'clock in the morning and I just wrote nearly 1,400 words about a gritty human Hero Factory AU (which I've been meaning to do for a good while)
question is, would anyone actually be interested in reading a story with a re-imagined Von Nebula, grizzled veterans, psychological manipulation, gender bends, and plot twists?



Santa Claus Is Coming To Town: An Objective Analysis

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Life Dec 21 2013 · 178 views

The Christmas season is upon us once again, and you know what that means: it's time for Sumiki to comment on another creepy Christmas song, this disturbing not due to its implications but because of just the lyrics alone.
You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I'm telling you why:
Santa Claus is coming to town.

So, we need to watch out (presumably for our own safety) and repress natural emotions because of someone who is coming into the town. Sounds like the bad guy of a Western film. Santa Claus already seems to be an oppressive figure.
But why should anyone listen? After all, Santa's just this old guy, right? He's only human, and presumably slower than most due to his age. Why would he know if your cry and pout? Maybe something really sad happened, and not doing that would be unhealthy? Put on unreasonable airs for a fellow who'll be coming through some time in the future?
He's making a list,
He's checking it twice,
He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice.
Santa Claus is coming to town.

Ah, so now we're getting to Santa's motives, or at least his chronic OCD. He wants to know who's naughty and who's nice in this particular town. But why does he want to know so badly? What does he need this information for? Moreover, how does he get it? The answer lies in the next stanza ...
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good, for goodness sake!

... which is pretty totalitarian, not to mention very, very creepy. The implication is that Santa must be omniscient, but the song never states this. Like Frosty the Slenderman Snowman, Santa is a stalker. He can't see you all the time when you're awake because he has a better chance of getting caught, but he sees you. When you're asleep. Wow. Furthermore, he stalks you long enough to be able to decide if you are bad or good and add it to one of his lists.
Being bad or good is subjective, depending solely upon the moral compass of the discerning person (i.e. Santa). If Santa is a morally upright individual, then he would be compassionate enough to understand when you're crying or pouting for a legitimate reason and wouldn't stalk you without your express consent. But we can clearly see from the song that Santa is not a nice fellow. Anyone who stalks people for the purpose of arranging people into two categories is not someone I'd want making moral decisions, and thus his lists are not to be trusted.

But what happens after you end up on these lists? After he's compiled the twin lists of all of the good and all of the bad people in this anonymous town, what will he do with them? Sell them to corporations? Hand them over to the NSA? Put them on Wikileaks? On the basis of this song alone, we can never know.


Ode to Oven Racks

Posted by Sumiki , in AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, Life, Other Stuff, Sumiki's Dad, twiggy, Writing Jun 08 2013 · 99 views

poems by sumiki and sumiki's dad: back by popular demand

It's hard to snack on an oven rack
(it's not easy to do)
It's hard to pack an oven rack
(I don't know what to do)

It's hard to stick a tack in an oven rack
(without sticking your finger)
It's hard to comb an oven rack
(without, you let it linger)

It's hard to take a nap on an oven rack
(you fall right through between)
It's hard to hug an oven rack
(unless you don't want your spleen)

It's hard to date an oven rack
(because they're just so flat)
It's hard to sled on an oven rack
(because you'll just go splat)

But it's easy to cook on an oven rack
(it's what they're made to do)
And it's easy to bake on an oven rack
(because they exist for you)

next time, we write about smuffin slappers


Making Sense of James Bond

Posted by Sumiki , in Writing, Rants, Not Essays!, Life Mar 24 2013 · 263 views

Over the course of the past few weeks, I've been watching a James Bond marathon, from movies I've seen a number of times to a few I'd only seen a few bit and pieces of. The series is episodic, but there is enough carryover between films to imply a sense of overall structure. Desmond Llewelyn played Q from Sean Connery until Pierce Brosnan, for instance. Between specific films there are correlations as well. The death of Bond's bride in On Her Majesty's Secret Service is referenced on occasion, especially during Roger Moore's run as 007. However, discrepancies and anomalies in the series pile up, which is why, to make sense of it all and fit it into my own headcanon, I have adopted the assertion that James Bond is, in fact, a Time Lord.

You heard me.

This solves the issue of the appearance changes, which are the main problem confronting anyone who wishes to make sense of Bond. But that's not all - one has to do some shuffling and some between-movie assumptions for this to fit.

Let's go chronologically, shall we?

We begin with Dr. No, where we're introduced to the early form of a Bond movie, complete with many of the tropes that would come to define the series in popular culture. From Russia With Love is its sort-of sequel, where SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion) and its recurring villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld are introduced, complete with white cat.

Goldfinger takes a break from Bond battling SPECTRE, but it returns with Largo's nuclear hijack in Thunderball. Blofeld's face is revealed for the first time at the climax of You Only Live Twice, but he escapes to fight another day and SPECTRE is far from over.

This is where it gets interesting. Sean Connery did not want to return to the role of Bond, so the producers cast George Lazenby and made On Her Majesty's Secret Service, a movie that I don't care for and don't understand why others do. (Maybe I'll eventually understand what all the fuss is about, but in my opinion Lazenby does not play Bond, but instead plays a cardboard cutout of a Sean Connery lookalike.)
But the existence of this movie becomes a problem for my pet theory. If the series had gone straight to Roger Moore as Bond, it wouldn't be a problem, but Sean Connery returned for Diamonds Are Forever, the next film.

Instead of saying that Lazenby was the same "incarnation" of Bond as Connery, he was a different character. Plus, the aftermath of the death of Tracy Bond in OHMSS would have certainly had an effect on Bond in the next film ... right?

Well, no. She isn't even alluded to until a conversation in The Spy Who Loved Me, three films into Moore's run. We also see her grave in the pre-credits sequence of For Your Eyes Only, and is referenced in conversations in Licence to Kill and The World is Not Enough. Instead of ignoring OHMSS (and those great moments for continuity in the other films), it makes sense to instead move the events of the film after Diamonds Are Forever, between Connery's Bond and Moore's Bond. Connery regenerates into Lazenby, and the events of OHMSS occur afterwards, accounting for Lazenby's stiffness. Grief-stricken afterwards, he regenerates again into Moore's Bond.

Moore lasts for seven films, some good, some completely and utterly ridiculous. (Read: Moonraker.) Between the events of A View to A Kill and The Living Daylights, Moore regenerates into Timothy Dalton.

But there's a catch here: unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again was released the same year as the official Octopussy, which performed slightly better at the box office. If NSNA is counted, this would throw a serious wrench into the Time Lord 007 theory - unless we move the movie in time to occur between DaF and OHMSS in our new, slightly scrambled version of events. Sean Connery is still Bond, but concerns are being raised about his age in the film. It's a remake of Thunderball, but Bond doesn't reference those events, even with the same-name bad guy and same plot. The only way this fits into the canon is if Maximilian Largo of NSNA is the son of Emilio Largo from Thunderball, and no one referenced the events of Thunderball.
(Or we can just ignore that one. Like I said, it wasn't even official (though some of the better elements of that film got used again in Skyfall to great effect.)

Anyway, after two films, a long hiatus occurs. Presumably Bond, inspired by License to Kill, goes rogue, gets caught up in the Time War, and becomes Rassilon before being time-locked again by the Doctor. Somehow he escapes, atones for the error of his ways, regenerates into Pierce Brosnan and beats up bad guys for another four films before becoming Daniel Craig.

Now, this is where the Time Lord 007 theory becomes really interesting, and fits in well with the ongoing continuity: Craig's first Bond film is also his first mission after not acquiring, but re-aquiring his license to kill. M is portrayed by Judi Dench, as she did at the start of Brosnan's tenure. Bond is reveal to be from Scotland in Skyfall, which accounts for Connery, who was born is Scotland in real life. It also accounts for the reappearance of the classic Aston Martin in the film, and the many callbacks to previous movies that wouldn't be possible if Casino Royale had been a true reboot.
Let's not just continue this logic with Bond. M and Q are different characters, but there is another recurring character in the films that is supposed to be the same person: Bond's CIA counterpart Felix Leiter, who has been played by seven actors. David Hedison played the role in Live and Let Die and Licence to Kill, which were some 16 years apart. Instead of making it too timey-wimey, let's suppose that these are two distinct characters, which means there have been eight Leiters to the six Bonds.
The fridge logic here is that, offscreen, Leiter gets in more inescapable, dangerous situations than Bond does - though he doesn't have the Bond magic of escaping those situations. It also accounts for Leiter's friendship with Bond, which was never explained in the films.


Posted Image


Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted ImagePosted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image


Posted Image

He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life

How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six

[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker

Sumiki is magic. - Cholie

Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles

Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo

"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker


Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva

BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex

What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus

I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh


Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok

Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker

Sumiki - hat-wearing ladies man. - Black Six

He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist

I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens

I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig

I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk

I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome

Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex

Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz

10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome


Posted Image
Posted Image
Hat Enterprises CEO
Posted Image
Group: Premier Forum Assistants
Posts: 11300-11400
Joined: 4-September 06
Premier: 9-October 06
FM: 20-February 12
FA: 29-August 12
Member No.: 45057
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
25th All-Time Poster

17th All-Time Premier Poster
4th All-Time PFA Poster

29th Most Profile Views
Cryoshell Album Winner
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
5th Most Commented Blog
3rd Most Viewed Blog
9th Most Entries


Posted Image

Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.

10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith

11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)


1/3/12 - Daiker
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/13 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
8/27/13 - 8/5/14 - None
8/12/14 - Another Chro Original
8/19/14 - Kanohi Zatth
8/26/14 - Miniland Hatpile
9/2/14 - S. S. Starfish
9/9/14 - Special - Claude Hairgel
9/16/14 - Green Flame
9/23/14 - Avohkah Tamer
9/30/14 - Special - The Havoc Wreaker
10/7/14 - Fire Snake


Posted Image

Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.




ToM Dracone
-Toa Lhikevikk-
Dirk Strider
Toa Flappy
Lime Paradox
Toa Robert
The X
Dave Strider
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Commander Helios
Popup2: The Camel
~Shadow Kurahk~
~System Of A Down~
Kohrak Kal17
Jackson Lake
Thunder on the Mountain
Ackar's Follower
Bitter Cold
Doc Scratch
Mendicant Bias
Darth Eryzeth
Toa of Vahi
Makuta GigaDon
~Toa Drokonas~
Progenitus Worldsoul
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
Bohrok Kal
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
.: WoLVeRINe :.
Alternate Velika
Schnee 1
Brickeens (again!?)
The Great Forgetter
Thomas the Tank Engine
Jonah Falcon
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
knuckles chaotix
The Bean
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Toa of Dancing
Toa Arzaki
The Oncoming Storm
Lego Obsessionist
Toa of Pumpkin
Teal Armada
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Mr. M
Mylo Xyloto
Lord of Ice
Gamzee Makara
Zarayna: The Quiet Light



Vorex: Keeper of Time


Toa of Smooth Jazz



Dual Matrix

rahkshi guurahk
Click to join!

Recent Comments

1 user(s) viewing

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Posted Image

Posted Image


If you learn one thing in life, learn this:

You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.

just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle

so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay

nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION

[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange

Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra

You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.

Also a long line of really great hats.

Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.

have we mentioned hats

To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.

It's a long story.


Posted Image


Posted Image