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Comedy and Music

There are a lot of forms of media that I have strong attachments to. This little rant is about one form in particular.

TL;DR my mother was very sick for my entire childhood, and dad was out of the picture for the most part. So, I spent an absolutely insane quantity of time-consuming media. 
I sometimes debate with myself on what has been the most influential... Cartoons? Well, certainly they had a huge impact. But I'd argue literature was more directly to thank for me developing complex opinions... But how can we ignore music? Not much can match music when it comes to simplicity and emotional connection. 
That's not just with me either, I think music has a unique way of interacting with its audience. It's short, so it's much more readily consumed than most other forms of media. On top of that, it's usually only got a few lines, and it leaves a lot of emotional interpretation up to the person listening. I haven't even mentioned the obvious stuff, like the feelings that we get as a creature when we hear a well composed tune, or that many musicians are more approachable and easy to connect with than other forms of celebrity... But, at the end of this pointless little introspection, I arrive at the conclusion that, very specifically, Musical Comedy is the lifeblood of what makes me who I am. 
If you can take something as serious as composing a song, and riddle that with comedic hooks and satire, I am putty in your hand. Nothing makes me more happy than listening to musical comedy. 

My first true love in this field is likely the same as just about everybody else from my generation... Monty Python. The Galaxy Song was one of the very first times I felt like I comprehended that things can be vast and epic, but at the same time, hilarious and unimportant. I'd say that song is a simplified version of the way I feel about life as a whole. 
I can't imagine I was older than seven the first time I heard it. It changed the fucking game for me, in terms of how I viewed all media. I expected everything to make me laugh as a child, because if something can be that beautifully composed, and intelligently put forth, AND make me laugh my arse off... Why shouldn't everything? 

Obviously, I grew and developed from that. Not everything HAS to make me laugh for me to love it. In fact, my absolute favourite book series is about as comedic as a trip to the dentist. 
But deep down, if a person is able to inform and entertain me at the same time, they win me over very quickly. 

I think that's all I have to say on the matter; so now I'm going to link a bunch of stuff I find particularly entertaining:

Monty Python:


Tenacious D:


Weird Al:

Axis of Awesome:

Aunty Donna:

Tim Minchin:

Friendship is Witchcraft:

Tom Lehrer:

This list is by no means comprehensive. There are countless other performers I'd love to link, but I think they primarily make serious music, so they aren't really comedians to me. There are others who are comedians, but I only like one or two of their songs, and feel like it's odd to include them when on this list I've so far are just acts that I enjoy the bulk of their work... Anyway! Quite a few of them are politically divisive. 

Thanks for reading my silly blog. 
-Pen

Corsetry!

Going to be starting a mini series of short videos with some basic corset tips and stuff. 
Firstly: I wish to apologize for being so deeply scruffy in this video. I was very sick whilst filming- and that's as good as I could scrub up. I wish I'd waited- but I wanted to film so... Here we are! 

I don't want to delve TOO DEEP into this series- because I think corset videos are their whole own category and make for their own channel- but I get SO MANY QUESTIONS- so I think I'm going to start answering them in video format, so I can direct people to my own videos when someone has a question to ask. 

Do I know everything? No. 
Will I always get everything 100% right? Probably not. No matter how sure I am- A lot of corsetry knowledge is based on community sourced personal information and what little studies have been done on the subject- (mostly not in English!) 
But I do have a lot of experience in this field- and am probably equipped now to answer questions.
If there's anything in particular you'd like me to cover on this topic, please make a request in the comments. I will absolutely be adding everything to a list to slowly work through. =) 

Dogsperience

The following post is me relaying a negative experience I had walking my dog, presented in a disjointed unprofessional manner.

Here's a much more pleasant video set in the same time frame: 

I like to, as one of the very first things I do in my day, before I shower or have breakfast, take my puppers for a nice long walk. It can range in length from half an hour to an hour, depending on the weather and Fort's disposition on any given day. It's good for both of us.
I work from home, and have even started working out at home also, so I don't actually have much cause to leave my house on any given day, and as a person who has social anxiety, it's a little bit too easy to fall into negative patterns of seclusion. So walking with Fort not only provides him with a good bit of exercise but also keeps me sane. 

So- The other day, Fort and I were on our morning walk. It was towards the half way point, when a young man listening to headphones whilst walking his Boxer puppy came around the corner headed in the opposite direction to Fort and I.
Since living in San Diego- Fort has developed some trouble issues that he's never had before. It's difficult and weird for me because he's never had these issues before, and I've always focused a lot of training time with him. But anyway- one of his biggest new triggers is other dogs. He's never cared about them before, but he's started getting defensive when around other dogs. One of the ways I am combating this currently is by trying not to change my body language at all when we see other dogs, but trying to walk at a distance where he never feels threatened. Just to show him that other dogs aren't a big deal.**
Back to the Man and his Puppy... I immediately notice that this puppy is not on a leash. I glance down at Fort and notice that the hair on the back of his neck is standing up a little bit. At this point I'd NORMALLY try to casually walk towards the tree line so he could sniff and just remember that everything's okay... But this little boxer pup spotted Fort, and let's just say that it was the best thing he could think of ever happening. Because he decided that where Fort was, was precisely where he needed to be.  
At the absolute full speed of a dog who's just reached full size but not yet out of that puppy mindset, he ran into Fort. Fort's reaction to seeing this dog running at him was to immediately roll onto his back. His eyes went super wide and terrified as this 60lb puppy plowed full speed into Fort's prone and scared body. He let out a high pitched growl, but mostly he just sort of laid there with his eyes wide and his teeth slightly barred. I felt like the shittiest dog owner ever in that moment. I couldn't keep my dog safe from an over enthusiastic puppy. How does one deal with that situation? I have to pretend nothing's wrong so that he doesn't get more scared and defensive, but I also just want to get him away from the cause of his distress. Fortunately I didn't have to think long because the man caught up and snapped a leash on his dog and apologized. He was still listening to his headphones, so he barely looked at me, and just sort of walked off dragging his puppy along behind him. This dog had zero interest in leaving Fort however, so he barked and pulled back the whole distance, really just making sure Fort knew that this was a traumatic experience for everyone involved... I reached over and gave Fort a little scruff on the chin, he wasn't as wide eyed any more but he was still obviously pretty shaken, so I decided to take the shortcut home.

Fort was doing okay for the most part, he's not physically injured from his experience, but he's obviously still a little frazzled because every time there's a sudden noise I notice he jumps a bit. Anyway, we round a corner to cut through a parking lot, and standing in the entrance is a man and his son. The man's back is to us, but the child notices Fort and immediately stops dead in his tracks to stare at Fort. I'm terrible with age guessing, but I'd say the kid was around four years old. He makes some very loud noise and crouches down to be on eye level with Fort. He then screams "PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY PUPPY"... His dad's reaction to this is to keep walking. He gestures to his kid to keep following, but keeps walking at a relatively fast pace, facing away from the whole situation. My immediate reaction is to look at the child and say "He's in training right now, please leave him alone." The kid looks at me with a look of vague incomprehension on his face. He returns to looking at Fort and screaming Puppy.
I look down at Fort, and he's not super happy about any of this. He still looks scared, but also a little confused. I crouch down to give him a reassuring pat and say to the kid "Please stop yelling, you're scaring him" and I try to wave at the father to get him to come back, shouting "Sir, excuse me sir!"... But his glance back doesn't give him sufficient reason to respond any differently to how he's already responded... So he shouts at his child to come along but keeps walking away. I figure he's doing that parenting thing where they pretend to leave their kid behind.... But he was actually just being very rude to me. Fort was far too entertaining to this child for him to be worried about abandonment. 
I have no idea how to deal with children. I do not know any. I have never socialized with them outside of when I was age appropriate to call them peers... I would have had to physically push past this child to cut through the parking lot, and I didn't want to walk Fort past him, but he didn't seem old enough to actually understand the things I was trying to convey to him... So I couldn't just ask him to move... Maybe I could? I don't know. I asked him to stop yelling again but he didn't listen, and actually decided to escalate to also clapping and jumping on the spot to try to get Fort's attention. Fort's reaction to all this was actually just to ignore the child. Normally Fort loves kids, he honestly isn't usually the best at restraining his joy around children. My normal response is to get him to lay down so that kids can come pat him if they are excited. But his reaction this time wasn't the usual joy. It was a casual indifference. So I just decided to walk the long way home to avoid having to deal with this child. 

Anyway, we got home eventually and I gave him his breakfast and we both snuggled on the couch for a while before I started my day properly. 

I don't know how to deal with this sort of situation. Naturally I want to do the best by my dog. I want him to be comfortable and relaxed when around other dogs and people, but I feel like every step I take to improve his well being, gets thwarted by the rudeness of strangers. 
Upon consideration, I feel that I should have just told the child to move. It's silly to me now that I was unable to do so at the time. I have no idea how to deal with children, and even the parent's reaction wasn't inexcusable or anything. He wasn't speaking English when he shouted to his child, and I know that in some cultures shaking your head actually means "yes" so he honestly could have not known at all that I was upset. I was trying not to show distress on my face so as to not upset Fort. Also the man and his dog... Honestly I think if that puppy and Fort had played it would have been all fine. But the way he was dragged away barking and Fort's general fear being met with physical distress was just so unpleasant. 

Sorry this was such a downer. Fort is a lovely dog for anyone who this is the first they've heard of him. He's a six year old Corgi. Incredibly sweet and cuddly. I am nervous that people will read this and only read the fear and aggression bits. But he's really an incredibly good dog. He's just developed a few little things since living in the states that I want to help him move on from for his own sanity.

Thank you for reading. I don't know how you got through all that, but I hope it was interesting to read at least!
-Pen

**It occurs to me that I should explain a bit more of the backstory to Fort's recent behavioral issues at some point. I feel like that post in and of itself will be quite large, so I didn't want to include it in this post. But if people are curious I will consider writing a post about that too in the future. It'll just be me explaining Fort's history.

Smile! (singing)

The main reason I haven't posted many singing videos is just because, in my opinion I don't have a setup that works well for it. Sure, I have a great microphone but it takes so much more than that to make a good vocal track. 
For example, filming this video, this video that is two minutes long and a single take without any cuts... Took me two hours to film, because every take before this was interrupted by a cat, or a dog, or a creaky chair, or a helicopter... etcetera. This was far from my best take. My voice was incredibly tired by the time I filmed this take simply because I'd been singing for two hours. 

I've also got zero vocal training. I really want to stress that. I am a hobbyist singer. XD I enjoy singing very much and do it a lot, and as a result of that, fans regularly request that I sing stuff (this song was a request from Patreon.), so I will likely post more videos like this in the future... But I honestly kinda feel weird about it. 
I just don't feel like my voice can really carry a video, I notice every tiny little crack and crumble, as I'm sure anybody else with knowledge of singing does too... But yeah I dunno. People request them and I do enjoy singing so... tadaa? 

-----

In this video I am singing "Smile" by Lily Allen. To find out more about this song, click me for a wiki article

Also, if you'd like to hear the proper version, click me to hear it! 

New Years Resolutions Aren't Good.

I'm a firm believer in seizing the day... 
I don't mean that in a "take risks- YOLO LAWL" kinda way, I mean that in a "If you want to get something done, you've got to be the person to get that ball rolling, and there's no time like right now to start." way. 

I feel like New Years Resolutions are the antithesis of this sort of mentality.
It's the "I'll start tomorrow." mentality.
I don't believe that January holds any power over us. We don't somehow get radder, faster, stronger, and MORE CAPABLE during the calendar month of January. So why wait? What does waiting actually achieve? 

Well, firstly it helps us shirk our responsibilities.
A lot of the sort of things people write down as resolutions aren't exactly highly nuanced technical skills. It's usually basic lifestyle things like; lose weight, draw more, spend less money. Things that we personally think we should be doing, but that we don't _want_ to do. When we wait till January to start doing them, what we're actually doing is making it SO MUCH HARDER to succeed at them.
Thanksgiving Dinner sure is delicious, and I'd hate for you to feel guilty the whole time, BUT if you have a specific goal of losing weight, two plates of stuffing right now don't somehow not count because you're going to start being careful in January... What I'm trying to say is that we tend to be reckless when we have a deadline for when the things we enjoy are going to go away. 

Secondly, it convinces us we're lesser than we are.
We don't magically get stronger on the days we set aside to start things. Mondays, January First... "Tomorrow"... These magical days don't have any extra power. So- on those days when we try to do something, we're only using the exact same abilities and strengths that we COULD HAVE used weeks/days/hours ago... BUT we will convince ourselves we're extra motivated. We'll tell ourselves that because we set this time aside that our heads are extra clear and that we're EXTRA ready... But all we're actually doing is taking power away from all the times that we haven't decided are our motivation days. If we only give 100% occasionally, what are we giving the rest of the time? 

Thirdly, it gives us a scapegoat for failure. 
When we give power to arbitrary times, we're also giving it our weaknesses too...
Sometimes we need to face those weaknesses. Sometimes we need to have a fucking good hard sit down with ourselves and seriously figure out what's important to us. Shock horror, maybe you don't actually care as much about getting amazing at drawing as you thought you did... You just like the IDEA of being good at art, not the reality of the hours and hours of practice that goes into it. It's actually GOOD to know this about ourselves though. It's good to admit to ourselves that after a big shitty day of work we just want to binge watch netflix. It makes it easier to handle our vices when we acknowledge what they are and factor in how much enjoyment they give us. It also makes it easier to specifically focus on the things we DO want to do. Instead of having five things we aren't actually sure if we want to do or not, but _think_ we'd really like.

There's actually more to this than I had originally thought. I've never liked New Years Resolutions, but taking time out of my day to specifically try to explain why has made me dig up way more than I expected to.

But, finally, it keeps us complacent. 
When we have to set dates us to even start trying to live, we aren't living... Challenging ourselves and trying to constantly improve or learn new skills is WHY we succeeded as a species.
The human machine is a fascinating. It is capable of amazing things. Go find out what yours is capable of.

From the bottom of my little black heart, thanks for reading. 
-Pen

Postscript: Does anybody else find it hilarious that I'm posting my big negative rant about January First ON January First? ;)