Oh Monday. How I wish you were Friday. I have one review in today’s Manga Minis at Manga Recon, for volumes 2 & 3 of Go!Comi’s Ultimate Venus. It is a silly, silly series that I enjoyed quite a bit more than expected. This initially led to a rambling post musing on the futility of assigning grades in reviews, but it sort of pushed itself into a corner so I’ve given it up for now. Instead, here are a few random links to things I’ve enjoyed recently:
2. Her Majesty’s Dog at soliloquy in blue. Over, oh, basically a day, Michelle read and reviewed this series in its entirety. The reviews are funny and fun, and they’ve been an awesome read. Enjoy!
3. Katherine Farmar’s response to the whole Hooded Utilitarian thing at Whereof one can speak. I can’t bring myself to make fantastic, heated arguments about much nowadays, but I still love it when other people do.
4. Viz Media’s new jobs feed. I keep waiting for “Woman who loves manga, lives on the other side of the country, and has no useful skills” to turn up, but so far it’s a bust. I never give up!
5. Ed Sizemore’s Reflections of a Rookie Reviewer at Comics Worth Reading. Ed talks about his first year as a CWR reviewer, and it’s pretty damn inspiring.
Now for a strange personal interlude. I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic lately, both for NYC (certain aspects, at least), and my little sister, and when these things are put together, it gets me thinking about music. So I thought I’d share a few free mp3s! As some of you know, I recorded an album, oh, ten or eleven years ago, filled with songs mostly written by me. The physical albums are long sold-out, and I doubt we’ll ever print more, but you can still buy the mp3s at CD Baby or iTunes (I think the CD baby album download is cheaper, but you can buys single songs at iTunes). I’m not sure I can truly recommend it after all these years (a lot of it seems seriously embarrassing now), but here are a few tracks, just for fun.
Goodbye: This is still my favorite song on the album after all this time, though it seems kind of ridiculous in retrospect. Heavily influenced by a childhood love of Goodnight Moon, this is accompanied mainly by cellist James Jacobs who recorded sixteen cello tracks, plus double bass and recorder. Sixteen cello tracks. I play guitar on it too, but it’s all about the cello. It’s technically a happy song about leaving New York for a better life. On the other hand, the guy who I was planning to leave New York for broke up with me soon after. Over e-mail. Ah, life. Most of the songs have stories like this, since pre-2000, you could best measure my life in increments of ex-boyfriends. Even the cellist was an ex-boyfriend, though thankfully far ex enough by that point to play on a recording of songs about ex-boyfriends without being included. Heh. Katie doesn’t sing on this, but I always think of her, because she cried the first time she heard it.
She Waits For Him: One of the few songs not about me (weirdly, it’s actually about, uh, Buffy… and Angel… what?), and my baby sister sings on it with me, which is what I was getting nostalgic about. I was listening to a lot of Joni Mitchell at the time, which I think is pretty obvious. This is, actually, the very first song I ever wrote.
Unless you count Dan, Dan the Eyeball Man, written by my sister and me while we were in college, about a guy she had a crush on her freshman year. The chorus was written over the phone (from her dorm to my apartment), and the rest in the back of a van over vacation, while accompanying our parents on their move from Michigan to New York. It is mostly incomprehensible unless you went to our school (Carnegie-Mellon University), and at one point all of the buildings (some of which no longer exist) burst into song. This is the one song from the album you can’t get online, as it was an unlisted bonus track. And you know, really this is my favorite song on the album. Katie, *smooch* this is for you.
Lastly, I Don’t Think You Know, the one upbeat track on the whole album, though it’s only the tempo that is actually upbeat, while the song itself is pretty damn bitter. My sister is on backing vocals again (wahoo!), James on cello, and this time we’ve also got engineer Ralph Grasso (who was really responsible for making this album possible) on drums, and his friend Robert Derby (who also mastered the album) on guitars and electric bass.
I’ve shared these tracks before in various places, but I think never here. Hopefully there’s something there to enjoy still, after all this time. Ah, nostalgia. If only I had a glass of wine.
Entertainment Blog saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 1:03 am
Hey, i also love manga and music. I am a frequent manga reader.
firstname.lastname@example.org saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 8:41 am
Thanks for the link to Ed’s post, too. How fascinating.
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm
Hey, I think he replied to you over there!
Ed Sizemore saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm
I did and I’m jealous that your Mom reads manga. I hope your Mom doesn’t mind being called Melinda’s Mom. I’m old fashioned and can’t call my friends parents by their first name. It just sounds rude.
I wish I could get either of my parents to try manga. My Father is very regimented in his entertainment; books shouldn’t have pictures and movies shouldn’t have subtitles. His favorite line is, “I don’t want to read a movie or watch a book.” My Mom and I have very different taste in fiction, so I don’t know what to recommend.
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 9:24 pm
I am very lucky with my mom! She’s read all the available English volumes of xxxHolic and Hikaru no Go, and has expressed interest in a volume of manhwa I reviewed for Manga Recon, 11th Cat Special. It was hard for her to learn to read right-to-left, but she kept at it! Both my parents are awesome in terms of a willingness to try out whatever new things I’m passionate about. I’m very, very lucky.
Oh, and I’m sure she’s fine with “Melinda’s Mom” though she would not think it was impolite if you called her “Jan.” :)
What are your mom’s tastes in fiction?
Ed Sizemore saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 9:43 pm
My Mom likes romances and mysteries. Mostly, it’s mysteries these days.
I’m listening to your songs and they’re great! Your voice sounds familiar to singer/songwriter Jan Krist (jankrist.net) especially her See Stone EP. Man, that is so cool. In fact, you made me dig out her CDs, so I could listen to them again. Looking at her website reminds me I need to pick up her last couple of albums. I definitely need to download your CD.
I can’t complain about my parents, they put with me during my Kiss mania days. At one point every square inch of my bedroom walls was covered in Kiss pictures. That’s true love to see a son through that phase of life.
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm
HAHAHAHAHA I kind of love that you had Kiss mania. Helps me feel less self-conscious about some of my youthful obsessions. Like, The Outsiders (first the S.E. Hinton novel & later, its film adaptation). You know, because I was a girl. I read the book hundreds of times, and had posters of all the actors in the movie all over my walls. My grandfather, lovely man that he was, actually took me to see the movie when we were visiting them in Ohio. He even pretended to like it.
Bit of trivia: our dog, when she is in dire need of a haircut, resembles Gene Simmons in full makeup. I wish I had a photo so you could see. Though perhaps it would not be as funny to you. :D
Would your mom read mystery manga? Or have you tried that?
Thanks for the link to Jan Krist! I look forward to checking her out! And thanks for your kind words as well! I was never a great songwriter, and some of the lyrics particularly embarrass me now, but I did make my living singing for a very long time. I will upload the CD for you for free, though, if you want it.
Ed Sizemore saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 10:35 pm
Actually, I probably would find the dog’s resemblance funny too.
I’m not familiar with the mystery mangas so I haven’t suggested any.
I definitely would like to hear the rest of your album. You have a wonderful singing voice. There’s another singer your voice reminds of, I think she is also a singer/songwriter, but I can’t pinpoint it. Aaargh.
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 10:46 pm
Aw, now I really wish I had a photo!
I think I have friends who read mystery mangas, so I’ll see if I can get some good recommendations!
Look for an e-mail!
StephA saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 12:16 pm
Oh, lovely songs, thanks!
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Thank *you*! Glad you enjoyed! They seem so silly now. :)
Rudy saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 8:50 pm
I like this kind of music and nostalgia!
I have friends who have done things like make movies in college, only to go on later in life and dismiss them as something not good enough to give further thought. I think that’s sad—we had fun making those; they’re not really good enough for world-wide release, but they’re good enough to play occasionally and remember.
Your music isn’t exactly right up *my* alley but I like it just the same. Of course we liked it enough to ask you to sing some of it at our wedding—so that ought to mean something! :)
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 9:27 pm
I love looking back at stuff I did years ago, even if it was silly (like, say, Dan, Dan the Eyeball Man), or melodramatic like the rest of this album. :) Heee, I enjoy your old albums and cable videos too! :D
It really meant a lot to me that you wanted one of my songs at your wedding!
Rudy saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 9:40 pm
It was great having you be a part of that.
Too bad we only see you… rarely.
And we didn’t take any pictures when we were there in November! Except of Kino of course, who clearly was the most important being we visited :)
But I digress!
Melinda Beasi saysJanuary 27, 2009 at 10:07 pm
Kino is more photogenic than we are, anyway! :D
I do wish we saw you more often. Especially now with Heather, by the time we see you again, she’ll be a completely different girl!