Nine Inch Nails: ADD VIOLENCE EP

Nine Inch Nails Official Store

(image source: store.nin.com)

I am overwhelmed by the music being released this year already…so much I love and so much to look forward to.

One album soon to be released (July 21st, Friday) is Nine Inch Nails ADD VIOLENCE EP.

Two songs have been released already to the public LESS THAN and THIS ISN’T THE PLACE. The latter song was put up just yesterday on NIN’s official youtube channel. The song is melodic, slow and infectious. The video features a machine (audio equipment?) with knobs/buttons/lights labeled phrases such as ‘Amplify Chaos’ and ‘Add Violence’, as the song goes on the camera slowly pulls back revealing more of the machine.

The video is simple and after I viewed it for around the 50th time (not kidding) a few ideas came to me. I have long loved NIN and have worshiped creations by Trent Reznor. His lyrics and technique in song writing is extraordinary. Reznor often critiques society/politics and inner turmoil among other things in his song lyrics (think album YEAR ZERO).

A connection between Year Zero and ADD VIOLENCE is definitely there and NIN has given information about this. Info in article here.

My impression from the video might be a bit of a stretch but this is what I got, old machine (audio equipment of some sort, I’m guessing) appears aged and beaten up a bit but everything appears to ‘work’ as the machine turns on and comes to life. The machine could be a metaphor for a society that still runs on ‘old technology’ or ideals (phrases on buttons/knobs). A reference that comes to my mind is the machine in the underground facility in the early 2000’s TV show LOST. I’m not sure if this is audio equipment but if it is then my idea of a society that runs on ‘old technology or ideals’ could be the spoken word/thought process that is ‘old/archaic’ and still being used today. A bit of a stretch yes but that’s what I think of.

A few thoughts on the video for LESS THAN. Video begins with a woman staring at a TV screen with game controller in her hands (TV looks like an old chunky TV from the 90’s or early 2000’s) a neon bright animation is shown on the TV screen similar to a retro video game from the ’80’s . Lyrics are digitized and zoom up into the viewers face. This reminds me of virtual reality and societies trends today that revolve around the style and technology of past generations. It is as if the woman, in the video, is being consumed by this ‘new/old’ technology until her identity becomes nothing. The repeating line at the beginning of the chorus, “So what are you waiting for? You got what you asked for.” brings to my mind the idea that millennials (myself included) demand more of everything and for a generation that is overloaded with technology in their life, most of us get sucked into a ‘virtual reality’ of what ‘life is like’ (how people look, what people do, who they are etc. think social media/fashion trends and airbrushing photos for flawless skin). The end of the video has quick shots cut in of what I think is a hand reaching out of the TV…reference to VIDEODROME? Not sure but that’s what comes to mind.

(VIDEODROME (1983) photo source: imdb.com)

 

To sum it all up, I am excited for this new release from NIN and will be purchasing a digital copy and most likely a vinyl copy as well for my collection!!!

Please feel free to leave any comments below!

Thank you for reading my writing and I hope you return in the future!

-Alina

 

p.s. I haven’t started watching the new season of Twin Peaks yet but damn NIN on the show is wicked, see video here.

 

iZombie: Why the Living Dead matter

iZombie Poster

(photo source: imdb.com)

iZombie is a series based on the DC comic of the same name originally released in 2010. The TV show began in 2015 and is still running. There are currently four seasons out but I will be covering just the first three. The main premise of the show is about an underground existence of zombies in Seattle, Washington. Their existence was the result of a energy drink (similar to toxic sludge) at a 4th of July boat party turned massacre.

The main character is Olivia, a med student who is newly engaged to Major (Major what? No, his name is Major) after being scratched by a zombie on the boat. Olivia’s (also called ‘Liv’, lol pun on Live) life dramatically changes as her skin and hair loses color and her craving for brains (dowsed in hot sauce) becomes more voracious. Liv becomes a medical examiner, coroner, for the police department allowing her access to fresh brains which she consumes in secret. Her partner, Ravi, also works as a coroner and quickly discovers her eating brains. Ravi’s reaction is the first of many markers in the show that makes it unique for the zombie genre. Ravi is intrigued by Liv’s condition and begins researching the cause for her zombification as well as a cure which is the overall goal for the entire series.

The next character that plays a major role in the series is Clive Babineaux, a detective at the police department. This is where it gets interesting. In this story, after a zombie eats a humans brains they have spontaneous visions belonging to that person. So, after Liv eats the fresh brains she finds in the morgue, suddenly she begins to have visions that relate to the victims death. She is compelled to help solve mysteries relating to homicides and soon teams up with Babineaux who is led to believe she is a psychic with incredible accuracy. The duo begins to solve mysteries, some of which are related to the mysterious energy drink that caused this secret zombie outbreak. Along with Ravi’s help, these three find themselves getting closer to the truth.

Other Key Characters:

Peyton, Liv’s best friend who works for the legal system, learns that Liv is a Zombie.

Major, Liv’s ex-fiance that struggles with a changed Liv and later learning of her Zombification.

Blaine, a ‘Spike-like’ character reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, who is refreshing, evil (at times), and highly manipulative. An admirable adversary for Liv.

These characters are interwoven throughout the story and play out their own particular story lines that contribute to the overall story as a whole.

Key aspects that bring something new to the Zombie genre:

Eating brains gives you visions.

There are zombies already among us, living in secret.

There are zombie-led organizations that influence the lives of humans and zombies.

Zombies are presented as individuals, or together as a minority group under attack by humans. For the most part the zombies try to blend into society in fear that their discovery will lead to their death (‘death-death’ for the living dead: beheading etc).

Although some of these aspects may already be in other comics/movies/tv shows, I believe it is the approach that gives iZombie its uniqueness.

Key aspects about the show that stand out:

There are comic-book qualities to the show, for instance, the memorable intro that is presented as comic book panels, chapter breaks that are marked by a still of the last shot which morphs into comic-like art, and the precise structure of each episode that is form fitting to a comic in a series.

iZombie possesses qualities that can mark it as a meta-show, the show’s ability to be self-reflexive. For example when characters discuss zombie movies/shows within itself while hinting at a critique of iZombie (I noticed this more often in Season 3).

A killer soundtrack, often songs are sung and performed by the character Blaine throughout the series. They are mostly classic rock hits among others but the songs add a little more ‘art’ to the show. Often the songs are sung/played at the end of each episode to gain an emotional effect from the audience while also reflecting what just happened.

Popularity:

iZombie ranks #3 on imdb’s list of “Most Popular ‘Based on Graphic Novel’ Titles”.

This show has high ratings and a lot of admirers for its style and subject matter. I among them find this show to be very well put together and genuinely intriguing to watch. I look forward to watching Season 4, especially after the the end of Season 3 which left me aghast.

(Note: Contrary to professional movie/tv show reviews, I did not include the actors/actresses names after introducing the main characters. I have included the link to imdb.com that possesses all this information. This is just me writing informally.)


 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!

Any comments/suggestions are welcome!

-Alina

Thoughts on Collecting Words and Memorizing Poems

20170710_120233
Alina Happy Hansen’s Word Notebook 2017

 

Thoughts on Collecting Words and Memorizing Poems

by

Alina Happy Hansen

 

Words are the blood and bone for all poets. It is crucial for poets to understand that one’s poetry can only evolve and mature by a constant habit of studying words, styles, forms and the memorization of poetry. I admit, I need to work on these habits myself but I do try to keep up with one particular exercise and that is collecting and studying words.

I have a small notebook (pictured above) that I keep close to my desk or latest pile of books at all times. Inside are pages of words that I want to learn, memorize, and use in my poetry. Usually I start a new entry by writing down the date then writing down the words I want to add. Occasionally I will write a specific definition that makes it easier for me to learn the word. I have not memorized or utilized all the words in my ‘Word Notebook’ yet since there are too many but this habit keeps me on the look out for new words, strange or unknown, that fascinate me.

An expansive knowledge of words and their meanings benefits a poet in their writing since every single words counts. Poems are created through a concise and condensed build up of words. Each word is crucial in the construction of a poem because it only takes a few words to create a memorable outstanding poem, or a few words to ruin an entire piece (but honestly you can have 2/3rd s of an amazing poem and then a 3rd of so-so and still love the poem to death).

The habit of memorizing poems (often great classics) benefits the poet by teaching them the importance of rhythm and punctuation. After a poet learns to read poetry, much like reading music, it is then a whole new challenge for a poet (or anybody!) to perform a poem. I say ‘perform’ because poetry is not like other forms of writing. Poetry originates in ballads and songs sung in the ancient past usually about heroes, conquests, wars, and love. Poetry is an art form created with words and like art it must be presented in an appropriate manner to audiences.

The form of poetry depends entirely on the placement of words and punctuation (or lack thereof) knowing how to read a poem is a step away from knowing how to read aloud a poem (to perform the piece). Acknowledgement of these aspects of learning and studying poetry helps the poet grow as a reader and writer. It is the same concept that a musician has to music. Study it, learn it, perform it THEN creating it yourself suddenly becomes an exciting venture.


 

Than You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Free Hand #38 (Cave of Expressions)

Cave of Expressions

 

The words pull me under,

tide sweeps overhead. Trying

to dive into nowhere into

nothing and burning, my

mind, my head. My only

sickness that plagues

me is a cave of

expressions

that molds

in the

darkness

of my

intellect.


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Notebook Excerpts #4 (May/June)

Here are some excerpts from my May and June Notebooks. I use regular composition notebooks to write in, take notes, and attempt poetry and fiction. I have filled one entire Notebook every month for the last few years. I find it to be a good habit that keeps my writing and my mind fresh.


+ signifies breaks in sections of writing/poems

 

(MAY 2017)

How I bleed.

Let it fall down, marble, the cold sky. And the clouds are fat in the neat of the sky.

What are the words that break each other?

Up and out, down and inside it all.

How death becomes reality eventually for all of us.

+

How glass sounds, smashing glass,

smashing it all. The sting in the eardrums.

The sting of pain that bellows and coldly crumbles.

+

and situated coldly across the old sky wandering

her eyes reflected a pain that was not found.

In it all, was not found among the wreckage of her personality.

+

Why do we care about the theory of a god? the existence of one, at all?

What does that mean? All the power that corrupts the hearts of man.

+

Writing between us. Writing it all, climb into nowhere and pulverize, pulverize the summer sun. My heart beats, beats clean, crisp and cold all my eyes return into the holy error of death. Calm and sweet my body blossoms into nothing. I am nothing.

 

(JUNE 2017)

My mind  burns, could you find me, any colder? The eyes of my heart return to a death that I can no longer find. Why my body bends and breaks, closes completely.

+

Words written on these pages-what does everyone know? My blood burns like no one else, my mind poisonous to everyone. Burning them into a burning light but I am so cold.

+

My skin turns blue until there is nothing left of me until there is…nothing.

+

Sweet flowers that destroy you, into the forgotten night. My eyes drift silently into nothing.

+

What do the words mean? Do they mean anything? I’m not quite sure anymore.


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Flash Fiction #7 (Hospital Stay)

Hospital Stay

by

Alina Happy Hansen

He sits propped up on some pillows. The sick smell of bleach and antiseptic is inescapable. His neighbor groans in pain behind the curtain partition. The TV flickers every other minute, the signal weak. A voice calls to him from outside the opened window. His heart beats furiously. The voice of his dead mother reaches him, getting louder as he reaches for the call button. “Why did you say you wanted me to burn in hell?”


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina

Announcement: Working on…

Penny Dreadful Poster  Salem Poster iZombie Poster

photo sources: imdb.com

 

Hello! 

Here is an update of what I am planning on posting in the next couple of weeks!

First,

I realized I haven’t done two ‘Monthly Notebook Excerpts’ (May and June). This is because I’ve been working a ton and trying to get my personal life in order this summer. Not an easy feat. So do expect a combined post ‘May/June Monthly Notebook Excerpts’ very soon.

Second,

I am still under a pile of books that I have been reading this summer. I hope to have two or more finished by the end of this month and a reflection post for each one.

Next,

I have a few ideas on posts under my subsection of writing ‘Film, Music, Art’, here is what I’m considering (give any suggestions in the comments below!!!).

Reflection/Review Post:

Penny Dreadful

Salem 

iZombie

These are all series available on Netflix. They are some of my favorites. I have been thinking about doing a review on one or all of them this summer.

That is all I am thinking about right now!

Please feel free to leave any suggestions etc. in the comments below! I will take all suggestions into consideration!

As usual expect my ‘Free Hand #’s’ poetry posts as well as my ‘Flash Fiction #’s’ I will be doing those regularly still.

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I greatly appreciate all my followers and regular readers!!! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Alina

Reflection: Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

photo credit : jkrowling.com/writing/

 

For the past eight months I have been re-reading the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling. Growing up I only read the first four books. I was one of the few who actually did not finish reading the series but I did watch every single movie when they came out. I also collected wands, Harry Potter merchandise and related books (Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages).

Last fall I decided I wanted to read the entire series in order. Last month I finally finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, this week I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.In celebration of finishing reading the entire series plus the playscript I watched the Harry Potter Movies ( I have seen the movies countless times over the years). I did not plan on my return to the Harry Potter world to align with the commemorative 20 year anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone but it conveniently worked out that way.

This post is a quick reflection on reading the series and watching the movies plus a brief overview of the playscript.

Also, a brief comment on if the Harry Potter books are a bad influence because of their fantasy/magic elements.

 

Books (1-7):

I became totally enthralled with the Harry Potter world after seeing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in the theatre in 2001. I would keep the popcorn bag and movie tickets for years until I finally lost them when I was 18. Immediately afterwards I immersed myself in the Harry Potter world, collecting movie merch and the books. I remember reading the first two Harry Potter books when I was a kid and being completely sucked in (this was about the same time I became an avid reader).

When I read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban I was around ten and I remember thinking suddenly that I was nervous and scared to keep reading. The first two books were amazing but it wasn’t until Prisoner of Azkaban that I felt like I was reading a scary story. Prisoner of Azkaban became my favorite book and movie instantly for its dark content. When I read Goblet of Fire, the death of Cedric brought a new level to reading the books. First, they were getting bigger and bigger. Second, the death of Cedric brought gravity to the story. It felt like the threat of Voldemort reached beyond just the story and became a serious matter during my childhood.

Rereading the first four books, I was amazed at how much I actually remembered. I did read the third and fourth book multiple times growing up but because of the increasing size of the books I felt overwhelmed at the idea of reading them but enjoyed the movies nevertheless. Reading them this time, having a few more years of reading under my belt along with critical analysis skills and a soon to be complete BA in English, I found myself dissecting the books in the same way I would a piece of 20th Century Fiction (natural habit for me but for some yawn evoking). Key aspects that I noticed and took notes on included character development, details on the harry potter world/magic and the classic story line of good versus evil. These aspects sound simple enough but when time is given to pick them apart suddenly the genius of J.K. Rowling emerges.

Character Development: I felt at certain times especially as the books became darker and more serious, the character development was incredible and fascinating. The complexities within each character, the struggles, fights and relationships I felt reflected the characters ages accurately. Following a small child’s life from birth to the final face off with Voldemort at 17, the books contain the growing pains of a young kid but also the anguish of a child fighting for his life and trying to survive his ‘adventures’.

While reading the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and his friends begin to feel differently, their attitudes, actions and behavior appear to be maturing but also possess the complications of teenage years. Harry is constantly being pushed beyond his limits, fighting alone or fighting together with Ron and Hermione (who have their own issues). Barely surviving attacks and life threatening adventures the trio uses their talents, wits and strengths to keep going but underneath it all is the theme of friendship and love that keeps them alive.

Harry Potter World/Magic: It is the little inventions and unique approach to magic/fantasy that make me admire J.K. Rowling even more. The simple idea of Quidditch (wizarding sport that includes balls, hoops, and broomsticks) or the talking/moving/exploding candies to the larger more complex idea of Horcrux’s which weaves the entire story line together in a thrilling magical mystery. For an author to sit down and think out these particular elements of their own fictional world is a feat that should be respected and taken seriously. Making clever and complex ideas work within a piece of fiction require skill, there are many places where Rowling magical creations could have not worked but honestly every aspect is so thoroughly thought out and woven together perfectly in concept that there is almost nothing that I could think of that could have been improved.

Good versus Evil: I think we (the audience) understate the gravity of the ‘Good vs. Evil’ story line in Harry Potter. Rowling could have easily made the story simpler where it was only Harry Potter versus Draco Malfoy but instead she gave Harry depth and a mysterious past. The villain wasn’t soft around the edges or toned down, Voldemort killed, tortured and sought out Harry’s death plenty in the series. The ultimate bad guy that represented ignorance, hatred, and power-hungry selfishness. The political and social commentary that lives under this story is what really intrigued me. The whole idea of Voldemort wanting wizards to rule over muggles, that ‘pure bloods’ are the only true wizards and that ‘mudbloods’ are nothing, bring to mind horrible similarities with the Nazi’s in World War Two. As well as the whole concept of House Elfs, Goblin rights/wars and how wizards regard and treat magical creatures (think of the Centaurs and Giants). These details add social commentary to the Harry Potter story that can be reflected on and applied to real world scenarios.

Not only is there true evil represented in Voldemort but also realities in child and adult relationships (not all adults are good, they are complicated and have their own problems as well). For instance, the short relationship between Harry and Sirius Black (his Godfather) who is constantly reminded of James when he sees Harry and on more than one occasion treats Harry as if he is James. Another example is the complicated relationship between Harry and Dumbledore (Headmaster at Hogwarts), in the last three books Dumbledore’s attention to Harry becomes more questionable, is Dumbledore using Harry to defeat Voldemort? Did Dumbledore really ever care about Harry? (All this is concluded and revealed in the Deathly Hollows) it is complicated and mysterious most of the time since naturally Dumbledore is presented as good and whole, a sort of father figure/ master protector of Harry but as Dumbledore’s past is revealed, his intentions are questioned by Harry and others.

A few other key characters that I think are worth mentioning that add to the ‘Good vs. Evil’ element of the story. Gilderoy Lockhart, an egotistical writer and fanatic that puts Harry and his friends in danger for fame and glory (he is briefly a teacher at Hogwarts). Dolores Umbridge (works for the Ministry of Magic) hides her beliefs and support for Voldemort in public but soon reveals how evil and treacherous she really is when she temporarily becomes Headmistress at Hogwarts. Peter Pettigrew (Scabbers) an animagus wizard who hides as a household pet in the Weasley family for years before discovery (finally redeems himself in the Deathly Hollows) his lies and devotion to Voldemort to save his own skin is repulsive. And of course, Severus Snape who is presented to readers and characters almost throughout the entire series as an evil man who torments Harry and is a double-spy (Order of the Phoenix and Voldemort follower). In the end Snape is revealed to have protected Harry and impeded Voldemort the entire time, an unknown ultimate hero of the story.

 

Movies (1-7.1 &7.2): 

There were multiple directors that did the Harry Potter movies and because of this each movie has a particular feel and style that changes over time while reflecting the subject matter of each film (in my opinion, this is successful). The movies do leave out a lot of events, info and details from the books but keep the story line strong. I found that at certain points the movie almost paralleled the book precisely then diverted off, or changed this and that. (Example: the Battle at Hogwarts, Neville’s role or how Doby is buried/where.) Little details and little things but overall the movies are done well and even now hold up to the special effects used today (think of the Philospher’s Stone troll scene in the girls bathroom).

It has only been six years since the last Harry Potter film was released but it feels like it was forever ago. It is amazing to think that for almost my entire childhood I had this fantastic story growing up alongside me. An inspiring story that encourages people to treasure friendship and fight against evil and intolerance.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Playscript):

I am not a big fan of scripts/screenplays. I find them to be a story without meat, just the bones and hard to digest.

Admittedly I was fascinated by this story of Harry’s child, Albus, and Draco’s child Scorpius, as they try to fix the past but in the end fight against evil alongside their parents. I found the first part (the playscript is divided into two parts) a little lagging and without the cherished narrative of Rowling. It is simple and cut out, using the characters to tell another Harry Potter story, for the next generation. The second part I found more interesting since many elements from the first part were finally beginning to tie together and make sense. Reading the playscript feels more like a cartoon version of events than the life-like one of the books. Overall, any Harry Potter fans must read this playscript sequel if they want to quench their thirst for more from the Harry Potter world. Of course there is also Fantastic Beasts

 

Are the Harry Potter books a bad influence? 

I have heard countless times from people that the Harry Potter books promote witchcraft practices/satanism. I remember when there were articles and news stories about Christians and other religious groups banning and burning Harry Potter books in fear that they promote devil worship even now Harry Potter books are under attack in public libraries and other places because of their content but regardless of this there have been more than

“…450 million copies sold world wide…”

(source: http://www.harrypotter.bloomsbury.com/uk/harrypotter20/ )

I believe the only reason for these responses is purely because most religions are taught that ‘magic’, ‘witches’ and ‘wizards’ are directly linked to the devil. This has been taught for a very very long time and it started centuries ago. The fear of the devil and magic (from a Christians point of view) stems from fear of unknown pagan religions that include their practices and beliefs. For more information on the history of pagan and christian religions, here’s a quick overview

The story of Harry Potter should be treasured for what it teaches children and adults. That love, friendship and family should be valued above all else and that in the face of evil and intolerance we must come together and fight. The story of Harry Potter promotes acceptance, peace, and the triumph of good over evil. 

 


 

If you are reading this Thank You for taking time out of your day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!

-Alina

Flash Fiction #5 (Dinner)

Dinner

by

Alina Happy Hansen

 

He hums to himself sharpening his knives. Her voice echoes down the hall.

He positions himself, ready to slice. Her voice grows louder from down the hall.

He looks at the meat, the red, bloody slab and begins to cut, cut it all up, into

tiny bitty pieces until there is nothing left to cut up any more. Her voice echoes,

a scream, from down the hall. The sizzle of the meat in a hot pan. She calls out,

“WHERE’S MY DINNER?!” at the top of her lungs.

 


 

If you are reading this Thank you for taking time out of my day to read my writing!

I hope that you will return in the future!

-Alina