Moving Time!

Thanks to my friend Dave, I now have my own domain name and hosting! Ahhhhh!! Please update your bookmarks to www.nostalgiajunkie.net! All new content will be posted there from now on, but I will leave up this old blog too (at least for a while).

See you all at the new place!

Big News!

Eee! I’m so excited! Something really awesome has happened, but it’s not quite ready to be revealed just yet. There’ll be more details on Monday, so don’t touch that dial!

Hope you’re all staying cool in this heat!

Little Girl Blue

These days, I make no secret of my affinity for the Carpenters’ music. However, I have never really spoken to anyone of my fascination with Karen Carpenter herself, and the precious few things I knew of her brief life.

There are several TV retrospectives and biographies– and of course, the 1989 biopic which started this whole thing for me. I’ve seen them all now (thanks to the magic of the internet) and at the end of each one, I always felt that there was something vital missing, like we weren’t getting the whole story. Things like that don’t just happen. There had to be a reason for her illness and struggle besides her being unhappy with her body, as many women are.

I would sit and listen to the songs, and prompted by the sadness in her voice, the curiosity would set in and I’d ask myself, why? Why was Karen Carpenter dead? Why did her marriage fail after such a short time? Above all, why was she so damn sad? I’d watch those biographies over again, hoping maybe I’d notice something I hadn’t before. There were hints of it in the TV movie, but they were only hints hidden under a lot of television gloss, and still I was left with far more questions than answers.

Until today.

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, after having listened to Karen sing all day, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went to Amazon.com, intent on purchasing Carpenters: The Untold Story, the official biography written by Ray Coleman in 1994. Maybe there would be some answers hidden in its pages.

I read the reviews, as I always do before buying something, and I started to change my mind. One reviewer stated, “…unfortunately, Coleman fails to deliver the intimate personal details that help one to understand the tragic and bittersweet story that is the Carpenters.” This wouldn’t do at all. I knew it was just going to say the same stuff I’d already heard in all those other biographies and TV specials. This was whitewashed– not necessarily the fault of the author, but an inevitable result of collaborating with the Carpenter family, whom I’d long suspected of being a little too secretive on the whole matter. What were they trying to hide?

Then over in one of the side panels of the Amazon page, I spotted Little Girl Blue: The Life of Karen Carpenter. I had never seen or heard of this book before– that’s because it just came out a month ago today. This is an all-new, “unauthorized” biography of Karen Carpenter, created with the help of many of her trusted friends.

Again, I went to the reviews. “Finally, the truth,” they declared. Still skeptical, I looked at the preview of the book, and read the foreword by Dionne Warwick, and the author’s note, and the prologue, which told of the struggle of the writer hired to pen the TV movie, and how he was forced by the family to edit and edit until he gave up and quit the project. I said to myself, aha! This is the one.

So I ordered it, shelled out for the one-day shipping, and spent a good bit of today reading the thing from cover-to-cover. After I finished reading it, I felt like I had lost a dear friend. I laughed a couple of times, but mostly cried. This story is possibly the saddest thing I’ve ever read. My suspicions and those of many other fans were correct– in many of their songs, Karen had been singing her life. She had suffered so many hardships: being forced out from behind her beloved drum kit into the harsh spotlight, her practically non-existent personal life, her failed attempts at independence from her family, her shelved solo album, her utterly disastrous marriage. She really, truly was Little Girl Blue.

What really broke my heart was finally learning the details of her marriage and why it fell apart so quickly. The book also lays bare some of the hurtful, cruel things that her husband said to her, and I almost couldn’t believe it. How could a person bear so much pain with a smile? The answer is, they can’t. And that’s why she’s not with us today.

In spite of all these sad details, the book is lovingly told, not sensationalized, not slanderous. It’s a respectful account of her story, and I’m very, very glad for it. We, her fans, can now begin to understand and come to terms with her death instead of being left wondering why. Hopefully, all of those who read it can learn something from it, can learn that what we all need more than money, talent, fame, or anything else is love, acceptance, and support. And of course, I hope that it would also help shed some more light on anorexia nervosa and similar afflictions.

Magi Magi Magiiro!

Last week, I finished watching Mahou Sentai Magiranger (Magical Taskforce Magiranger), which was a freaking BLAST and I loved it to death. This is the first time in a while that I’ve actually felt a sense of loss at the end of a series. Usually I’m at least a little bit relieved when I finish watching something, because then I can go on to other things. But I wanted Magiranger to keep on going. :(

In case you don’t know, Magiranger is a Super Sentai series, and if you don’t know what Super Sentai is, look it up. It’s the first one I’ve ever watched– no, I never even saw Power Rangers as a kid because I thought it looked stupid. I’m almost afraid to watch more Super Sentai because I don’t know how any of the others could possibly be as awesome as Magi was.

Even though it’s not anime, it had everything that I originally loved about anime: cool magical attacks, colorful costumes, kickass action, lovable characters, shocking plot twists, catchy songs, and last but not least, giant robots. I expected that the live-action would make it intolerably cheesy. Wrong!

Okay, the acting was stiff for like, the first ten episodes. But after that, they all got better. In fact, everything about the series kept getting better. And then Hikaru/MagiShine showed up and was all, “Hello, I’m awesome.” And after that things REALLY took off. Hikaru is my favorite, by the way. I think I have a crush on him.

Have a look at the second opening, which has Hikaru in it (he’s the gold one).

The closing is ridiculously cute and catchy and I love it and wish I could do their little dance. (Don’t ask about the talking plant.)

And because the whole world should know how awesome MagiShine is, here’s his first transformation and fight. Check out this GQMF:

Okay, okay, I’m done now, I promise.

I Am Officially Obsessed.

I’ve only talked about it here once before, but I’m a huge, huge Carpenters fan. And I just took it to a higher level of fandom by ordering Twenty-Two Hits of the Carpenters 10th Anniversary Edition: a 2-disc compilation of Carpenters songs straight from Japan. At $50 (including shipping, gah), it is the most I’ve ever paid for a CD in my life.

Why plunk down 50 bucks for a compilation album full of songs I already have? Well, it’s not just any compilation album– the second disc consists entirely of karaoke tracks made from the original freaking masters. In other words, these are no pale imitation karaoke tracks like you usually get. These are the original recordings, only sans Karen’s lead vocal. I have been looking for this for ages and I’m glad to finally get my hands on it, even if it did cost me.

Here’s an example of what the songs will sound like:

I don’t have much of an outlet anymore, but I grew up singing. I still love to sing, even though I’m no Karen Carpenter (I wish). So I wanted to have these tracks around just to sing along to.

These instrumental versions have been released on CD before, only to go out of print after a short time. Needless to say, I wanted to snap up this re-issue while it’s still available. Who knows; this might turn out to be an investment purchase if it eventually goes out of print too. :P

Thoughts on the Late Night Fallout

I’ve been a fan of Conan O’Brien since one late summer night in 1998, so technically this falls under nostalgia…? Yeah, I know, bit of a stretch. Anyway, like many others, I was outraged and saddened at what happened to him this past January. (And I never liked Leno even before all this mess.)

This post actually comes straight outta my Livejournal, but since few of you here have access to that, I’m re-posting it here. I just want to make my opinion on the matter a little more widely known, I suppose. (Plus, hey, it’s content! Can’t complain about that, right?)

I am getting tired of people saying they have no sympathy for Conan O’Brien because NBC gave him millions in severance pay. Money, money, money– who cares? Ever stop to think that things aren’t always just about the money? NBC did wrong by him. Period. Also don’t forget the part where he was paying his employees out of his own pocket.

I think people don’t realize how hard a job it would be to be on television five nights a week. Think about it. You don’t just sit in a chair and talk to people. There’s a lot of stress and time and work involved, so I think television workers and actors deserve to get paid a lot of money, because you can’t just hire average Joe off the street to do jobs like that. It takes experience, knowledge, and talent. I do think that some performers are overpaid *coughlenocough* but in general, they don’t have an easy job so they deserve some monetary compensation.

THAT BEING SAID, it’s clear Conan was not just in it for the money. Obviously it didn’t matter to him that much because he was content to give quite a bit of it away to his staff. Forget the 45 million dollars and just think of it this way: The man worked hard for years and was given his dream job, and then was betrayed and had it taken away from him. Just think about how you’d feel if that happened to you. Would the 45 mil really be all that much of a comfort?

I guess I’m just tired of people being a bunch of cynical, jealous assholes. People think performers and other rich people should be happy and joyful and are not allowed to have any problems whatsoever just because they have boocoos of money. Look at all the celebrities that end up destroying themselves– money does not solve all problems and it does not buy happiness. You’d think people would’ve figured that shit out by now.

At least Conan’s touring the country, and making a triumphant return to TV this fall on TBS, and he’ll be on 60 Minutes tomorrow night– can’t wait to see that interview. So things are definitely looking up for him in spite of all this crap, and I’m glad.

Anison of the Week #1!

As I said before, I’ve been trying to work on my story lately. Unfortunately, I have developed writer’s block, and I do not feel like smashing my head into it until the wall breaks, so I’m giving it a rest for at least a couple of days.

However, I did have an idea for a new feature for this here blog!

I watch a lot of anime and I like Japanese things in general. I also have a deep, undying love of music and few things get to me like a good song does. Therefore, it should go without saying that I LOVE anime songs, also known as and hereafter referred to as “anison”.

More specifically, I like mecha/giant robot anime and I have a pretty damn huge collection of mecha anison. Many of them are old, too– I have songs that date back to the 70s. So I’ve decided that in order to liven things up a bit around here, I’m gonna open my giant playlist, pick a random song, and then write a little bit about it and the anime it comes from, and probably the artist if it’s one of my particular favorites. I’m thinking of doing this roughly once a week. I know it’s kind of an obscure thing to write about, but I hope you guys enjoy it anyway.

Iku ze! Let’s go! Okay Winamp, let’s shuffle!

This week’s anison is:

*drumroll*

Fukkatsu no Ideon, by Taira Isao!

Ah, good one– one of my favorite anison (warning: you will hear me say that a lot). It’s the opening song to a mecha anime called Space Runaway Ideon, from the creator of Mobile Suit Gundam, Tomino Yoshiyuki. It aired in the 1980-1981 season, so it’s pretty old by now, and rather obscure even among some anime fans. However, I’ve seen all 39 episodes and the feature-length conclusion thanks to the magic of the internet!

Photobucket

Despite it being a giant robot show, Ideon is not for the kiddies. In fact, it is one of the shows that led people to christen the director “Kill ‘Em All” Tomino. Given that, and if you’re an anime fan and have seen End of Evangelion, you can guess how Ideon ends. (In fact, Anno Hideaki more or less admitted that End of Eva was pretty much a total ripoff of the Ideon movie. But now I’m getting off-topic.)

It’s violent. It’s a mindfuck. The characters are frustrating with the way they constantly misunderstand each other. It was possibly the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it, possibly because my husband and I watched the whole thing with a group of friends.

Anyway, I enjoy the opening song quite a bit. I’m not sure if I can adequately explain why. I don’t even know what genre of music this would fall into. It has such a different sound compared to most other anison, starting off quietly with some nice acoustic guitar and then kicking into a surprisingly upbeat song underscored by brass and strings and finishing off with a nice drum flourish.

The lyrics fit the series well too, with lines such as “the power of the legendary giant tears the galaxy apart”, which is very prophetic!

And on top of all that, it’s sung by one of my absolute favorite anison singers, Taira Isao. He’s not as prolific as some other singers of the time, but he did a great job with the songs he did perform, and this is certainly no exception. His voice is so unique and perfect for this song.

Now check it out!

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