Rainy music

Rainy Mood

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 beautiful, beautiful profit.

Ku`u ipo i ka he`e pu`e one

Me ke kai nehe i ka `ili`ili

Nipo aku i laila ka mana`o

Ua kili`opu mäua i ka nahele

My sweetheart in the rippling hills of sand

 With the sea rustling the pebbles

 There, the memory is impassioned

In the forest where we delighted

Eiä la e maliu mai

Eiä ko aloha i `ane`i

Hiki mai ana i ka pö nei

Ua kili`opu mäua i ka nahele

Here, please listen

 Here, your lover is here

He came last night

We delighted in the forest

Ka `owë nenehe a ke kai

Hone ana i ka piko wai`olu

I laila au la `ike

Kili`opu mäua i ka nahele

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The near-sighted Farseers

Book review: The Farseer Tilogy by Robin Hobb

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Warning: the covers contain spoilers.

Only four books into the body of work penned by Hobb (Ogden) and she’s already becoming one of my favorite fantasy novelists. She fearlessly ‘steals’ from the rich fantasy cannon, drawing out familiar magics, creatures and settings. The Farseer Trilogy tracks the adventures, and misery, of FitzChivalry, a young royal bastard with a host of personality quirks and magical talents. All three novels are written from his first-person perspective, creating an intimate feel and an attachment to the protagonist.

Yup, there's a wolf and its a major badass.

Yup, there’s a wolf and its a major badass.

It’s impossible not to compare The Farseer Trilogy to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. The Six Duchies and Westeros are both conglomerations of diverse regions, magic plays an important but mysterious role, and terrible terrible things happen to our favorite characters. They each pay special attention to intrigue, with secret plots, assassinations, and royal families turning on themselves. Violent and sexual scenes, while less frequent in Hobbs work, are vividly gut-wrenching in both series.

What distinguishes Hobb is the way she treats her characters. Instead of Martin’s reckless abandon and near senseless killing, she invests heavily in the relationships and development of her creations. The roles of friends, lovers, father figures, and mentors are thoroughly explored in the backdrop of fear, uncertainty, and love. These relationships are constantly put to the test as characters go through puberty, new magic is discovered, and a zombie-like apocalypse promises a literal soul-crushing doom for all.

One my favorite aspects of Hobb’s writing is her construction of strong, female characters. The best part is that she doesn’t make a big show of it. It’s simply the norm for women to engage in, and succeed at, all the same occupations – including royal governance – as men. She does this without abandoning femininity or making grotesque caricatures of women living out a male fantasy of violent / sexual conquest. It’s just refreshing. This gender equality vanishes in the setting of the next series of books, The Liveship Traders, but the female characters remain three-dimensional and important.

I don’t feel qualified to say too much about the technical aspects of the writing other than that I enjoy it, and that there is a healthy scattering of foreshadowing, themes, and cleverness. I will also say that The Fool is one of the best fantasy characters ever devised. The Fool is to Hobb as Snape is to Rowling.

http://aidanmoher.com/blog/2012/09/asides/robin-hobb-working-on-new-fitz-fool-novel/

A nagging problem I have with the trilogy is that even though Hobb attempts to create a wide and wondrous world she rarely explores it. The Six Duchies may as well be called The Two Important Cities, Plus Vague Mentions of the Surrounding Countryside. As I read on to The Liveship Traders, this problem seems to be remedied by a change of scenery and the switch to a multiple-perspective narrative. However, as stand alone books, many settings become all too familiar and do little to spark the reader’s imagination.

While I’m critiquing, let me explain the title of the post. Fitz, the protagonist, can be a complete and utter moron. At least it seems that way to the reader. Perhaps Hobb simply wants to portray a teenager’s level of perception, but it can be quite frustrating when he misses the significance of something so obviously important. On the other hand, maybe the reader casually takes for granted the knowledge of all things fantasy: knowledge that is withheld from the ignorant Fitz. At any rate, Fitz’s ignorance plays a key role as he advances the plot with his poor decision making. The reader must simply suffer through it.

In all, I wholly recommend The Farseer Trilogy to any lover of fiction. In these novels Hobb has created a mature, thoroughly entertaining, and surprisingly insightful reading experience that stays with you like any good work of art.

wide dragon image credit : http://aidanmoher.com/blog/2012/09/asides/robin-hobb-working-on-new-fitz-fool-novel/ 

the other Andrew B

Artist feature: Andrew Bird

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tldr: you should check out Andrew Bird, he’s dope.

If you’ve met me in person, then odds are you’ve seen this fantastic performance (below) by Andrew Bird (left). As exemplified in this live version of “Why,” Bird combines his powerful singing voice with his stunning skill with the violin to produce a sound that I really cannot compare to anything else. His use of real-time looping, sometimes bizarre lyrics, masterful whistling, and impeccable taste in socks distinguish him as an artist and make him one of my favorites.

Underneath some of Bird’s stranger lyrics is more than a hint of social commentary. For example, he pokes at the education system in the song “Measuring Cups,” singing:

Get out your measuring cups
And we’ll play a new game
Come to the front of the class
And we’ll measure your brain
We’ll give you a complex and we’ll give it a name

Other songs have less discernible meanings and more fanciful lyrics. However, rather than being pretentious or condescending, I find his eccentric style charming and thoughtful. 

I had the immense pleasure to see Bird live in concert at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis with my bff Angela back in 2011. I could not recommend the act nor the venue more. I had high expectations, but the performance met and exceeded every one of them. The floor was packed, the music was loud but clear (always quality engineering at First Ave), and – led by Bird’s vocals and violin – the band rocked the crowds collective socks. The set list contained songs from my favorite  Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs including the appropriately named “A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left” (it’s like he’s writing this blog for me).

Towards the end of the act, he started to feed parts of the songs through a massive gramophone. The gramophone itself rotated on a platform, distorting the music with a “whomp-whomp” effect. As the speaker rotated faster and faster, the music became more and more surreal, even trance-like. The band returned twice to the stage for encores, the first time featuring an unplugged folk set: Bird on the fiddle of course.

He’s one dope Andrew B.

photo image credit: musicforants http://musicforants.com/blog/mp3-andrew-bird-give-it-away/

Introduction

Ah, the first post to a blog. Let the contrived awkwardness ensue.

The title “head tilted, ears pricked” came about as much from my attempts to encapsulate the purpose of this blog as to find something coherent that was an available domain name at WordPress. Finally, all those hours racking my brain for the perfect name to bestow on my created RPG heroes have paid off! Shout out to “Kitty” my brutally violent barbarian of Diablo III.

The goal of this blog is to provoke the curiosity and thoughtfulness that seem to be universally associated with an inclination of the head and, in the case of puppies, an adorable lifting of the ears. Most posts will probably come in the form of links to such content, but I will strive for a balance of thoughtfulness and playfulness (hence the puppies).

Finally, this blog may serve the function as a personal journal helping me to ‘sort it all out’ by sharing some experiences and letting out some of that internal monologue.

Here goes nothing! Now, please enjoy this oh so familiar yet oh so descriptive dog meme.

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meme image credit: knowyourmeme.com