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Tanuki Racoon

A Story I like

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http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/highschool/...ed-with-a-kiss/

I am posting this because I am enchanted by this story. Sure, it's got a few flaws, but nothing serious. Why do I like it so much? The characterizations are awesome. Carter is amazingly fascinating: unique, different, original, and, most importantly, believable. I'd be friends with Carter if he were real.

Go read. Report back here.

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This is one wacky story. I agree, the next-door neighbor character, Carter, is one of the strangest (yet most fascinating) characters I've seen on Nifty. I just hope this isn't one of those characters who's "bizarre for the sake of being bizarre," and there's no motivation or explanation at all.

I'd like to see where the author takes the story in future chapters. (BTW, he did aggravate one of my pet peeves: "Look Through Any Window" was by The Hollies, not The Beatles. I hate it when people get pop culture references wrong in fiction, film, or TV.)

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I'd like to see where the author takes the story in future chapters. (BTW, he did aggravate one of my pet peeves: "Look Through Any Window" was by The Hollies, not The Beatles. I hate it when people get pop culture references wrong in fiction, film, or TV.)

Write him so he can fix it :)

I missed that myself and I should know better. Damn me to hell.

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I missed that myself and I should know better.

"I Should've Known Better." That's definitely a Beatles tune! (But it only went to #53 in the summer of 1964, from the soundtrack of A Hard Day's Night.)

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I'm really enjoying It Started With a Kiss. All of the characters are interesting, and strange. Strange is my kind of story, and besides it's a fun read. WBMS, thanks for the link.

Colin :confused:

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All the great elements of Carter are mine. Okay, okay. In my mind's eye. Seriously, he's got some whacky mannerisms, and they 'ring a bell' with me, but I was never quite THAT whacky. I really like the story, and I never get music references, since I don't hear the words to music. Seriously though, how would one correct that error? You'd have to change the premise that Carter only plays Beatles, or you'd have to find a similarly worded Beatles song. Anything else wouldn't do. Or, I suppose, you could just eliminate the discovery of the window scene; have Carter be oblivious to it.

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Seriously though, how would one correct that error?

Oh, simple. I'd have the other kid say, "I really like that Beatles song you were playing the other day, 'Look Through Any Window'." Then Carter would laugh and respond, "stupid, that's The Hollies. All I listen to is British hits of the 1960s -- Beatles, Stones, Hollies, you name it."

Then it would work.

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I've grown to respect the opinions of those who've praised this story here, so I'm going to give it a whirl. Well, I started already, but then I come to the sixth paragraph and I see:

The old guy wasn't phased at all.

Good thing, too, because I did not want the next line of dialog to read, "He's dead, Jim."

Going back to Nifty now to see if he works the Tribbles in somehow.

UPDATE: I read all of that's there so far, and I want to keep reading, despite the absence of Tribbles. Fascinating characters and you can't help but want to see how they deal with life and the circumstances they find themselves in in their own unique ways. The reason I like reading EleCivil, as a matter of fact.

Thanks to Wibby for pointing this one out.

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...I never get music references, since I don't hear the words to music...
Huh? Great story, once I'd got over Trab's bombshell.

I have a friend who's like Trab in that he doesn't hear lyrics, he says it's just a blur behind the music. Amazing. I'm sort of the opposite, I hear the lyrics on top of a background that usually blurs into a soundscape behind the words. I hear the music at those (usually few) times when there are no lyrics being sung.

Interesting how there are such unique ways of listening to music. There are certainly other ways that people listen to music beside these two extremes. I wonder if anyone has done a research paper on this topic. I wonder if it's ever discussed?

Colin :confused:

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I have a friend that's like Trab in that he doesn't hear lyrics, he says it's just a blur behind the music. Amazing. I'm sort of the opposite, I hear the lyrics on top of a background that usually blurs into a soundscape behind the words. I hear the music at those (usually few) times when there are no lyrics being sung.

Interesting how there are such unique ways of listening to music. There are certainly other ways that people listen to music beside these two extremes. I wonder if anyone has done a research paper on this topic. I wonder if it's ever discussed?

Colin :confused:

There have been some studies done in this area as well as other disciplines.

I have no references, as what follows was from discussions over many years with artists and academics from many fields.

As such I cannot claim any authority in these matters, but present the following in the hopes you will find it interesting.

A study we heard about was said to show that academics who intellectualised in their fields of science had lost the ability to actual see the form of an object. So instead of seeing, say, a tree, they saw it as its written symbol: "t r e e".

In other words they had lost the ability to render the image in their minds because they were so used to working in abstract symbols.

Artists were also shown to actually think in terms of images, similar if you like to icons on the desktop. Think hieroglyphics, or sign language.

Also it is said that reasoning can be either visually and aurally based. I'm betting it is both.

Hollywood has supplied many famous pieces of music with words to become famous songs. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is actually based on a piece by Chopin. It takes quite a skilled pianist to play this without most people imposing the words in their heads.

Eastern meditation, it is said, has been shown to result in more synaptic connections between the left and right halves of the brain.

This is also considered as enhancing the ability to differentiate between the purely physical attributes of, say, a piece of music as the technical requirement to play the correct notes, compared with the emotional experience the music conveys.

A way in which I can explain that, in my own experience is to show that when I listen for technical imperfections of distortion in a sound system, I would be analysing the sound with the left side of the brain to hear and identify those aberrations. When I am satisfied that no such obvious distortions are present, I then switch to feeling if the sound is conveying the emotional response of the music and it's performance. This would be equated with listening with the right side of the brain.

Left side of the brain = analytical or intellectual side.

Right side of the brain = intuitive or artistic side.

I should point out that this division of the brain is not without its critics, but I think it can be used as a metaphor for the complex process that is our brain for the purposes being discussed here.

So some fields of work will affect the individual by training one side of the brain to be more responsive to the aims of the work than the other side.

This will affect some people (academics) to be less able to hear music, than the accompanying lyrics.

Likewise others (creative artists) will hear the music without the words.

The balance would be to unite both for an evocative experience in the listener.

An interesting "experiment" has been occurring in music for the past 30 years or so as "composers" have toyed with a more intellectual approach in music. Such music has been very much based on the intellectual appreciation of the sounds rather than emotional response to harmony and in some cases even rhythm.

Such composers are often not very happy with this kind of analysis, as I make here.

Nevertheless it is possible to find references to music critics who agree that we have been giving too much emphasis to the "head" and not enough to the "heart" in modern music. The balance between the two is not being realised, although there is a movement to inject more heart into modern music.

Bach would be a composer that is considered to have attained that balance.

Whilst Tchaikovsky would be regarded as emotional dross by many. (Not by me I hasten to add.)

Popular music has not fallen for this imbalance anywhere nearly as much as so called modern or "new" music composers.

Rap is a very special case, but even that is in the process of using some harmonic values.

Eastern music is different again. Although modern access to Western music has allowed it to be appreciated in Eastern cultures, I was taught that most Eastern ears would hear even our most delicate love song as a military march because of the beat that lay behind it.

Many Westerners however find the Eastern forms of music become boring and repetitive, even though they are initially enchanted by the sound.

When I grew up you either liked "Classical" music or "popular" music. Rock and roll was yet to come. (Yeah I am that old.)

What I find really fabulous today is that more young people than ever seem to be willing to extend their listening to all these various forms of music, even to listening to natural sounds as a source of music and inspiration.

I still find people who "don't like classical music."

I usually go through a few movie soundtracks like Star Wars, and it isn't too difficult to show them that they do like symphonic music when it isn't presented to them as a snob object.

So to sum up, if it is possible to do that, I would maintain it is possible to train the way hear to a variety of different compositions, musical sounds, and forms. What we as individuals finally decide we appreciate most is for each of us to decide.

I would recommend allowing the possibility of that appreciation to grow as essential for full musical satisfaction.

No I have not forgotten those who have a condition that constrains them in some way from what I have discussed here.

Hearing can be a challenge for many people. Unique qualities can be an attribute or a disadvantage, but please remember that Beethoven was going deaf and could hardly hear at all by the time he wrote his 9th Symphony. Many actors cannot hear music at all, and many opera singers cannot act.

Some people are "tone" deaf, or have a form of tinnitus or other cognitive hearing problem.

Our society has developed around our sense of sight, and yet it is possible to present an argument that we could have developed a society based around our sense of hearing.

That we did not was probably because many people with perfect hearing never learned to listen.

:icon13:

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Fascinating, really fascinating.

Let me add another point to the pot.

The first thing I thought of when reading Trab's comment was the mix.

Some producers intentionally mix the vocal back into the music, which means it's very hard to make out the lyrics. Often, with tracks like this, you get to know a song well enough to sing along to it, and then find - when you eventually see the lyrics - that what you're singing is wrong.

Then there are artists who think lyrics are unimportant, and don't mind if they make sense or not. To me lyrics are all important. In my view songs are a storytellers medium, not a musicians.

Camy

Pretentious? Moi? Mais non.

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You have a very good point Camy. I suspect the mix is very important in this, because some songs are crystal clear to me. Often it is music in which the singer is very prominent, and the instrumentation very subdued. It also has a bit to do with the timbre (I think that's the right word) of the voice. Clear, as opposed to 'fuzzy'. It's hard to come up with examples of that. Petula Clark as opposed to Judy Garland. Roger Whittaker as opposed to Frank Sinatra. The first are clear, crisp, whereas the latter seem to have fuzzy edges, multiple harmonics, or somehting that blurs the edges. The latter are very hard for me to distinguish correctly, if at all.

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Fascinating, really fascinating.

Let me add another point to the pot.

The first thing I thought of when reading Trab's comment was the mix.

Some producers intentionally mix the vocal back into the music, which means it's very hard to make out the lyrics. Often, with tracks like this, you get to know a song well enough to sing along to it, and then find - when you eventually see the lyrics - that what you're singing is wrong.

Then there are artists who think lyrics are unimportant, and don't mind if they make sense or not. To me lyrics are all important. In my view songs are a storytellers medium, not a musicians.

Camy

Pretentious? Moi? Mais non.

I take your point about mix and that can apply equally to modern 'pop" as well as Grand opera"

I have heard some ferociously bad mixes. In the early days of Dolby stereo in cinemas you could hear half the audience saying to the other half of the audience, "What did they say? What did they say?" I readily admit that a lot of that was due to badly set up sound systems in the cinema, but the mixes were also anything but consistent.

I understand and agree that songs are primarily a medium for lyrics.

There are examples of lyrics that are designed to sound like one thing when they really are something else.

This happens because the artist wants to be enigmatic or wants a parent to think a bad word has been used when it hasn't, or to cover up a bad word when it has.

But getting away from lyric based songs, there are also songs that use the voice as another musical instrument in the band/orchestra with nary a hope of the singer being understood or anyone wanting them understood. Opera for instance has a whole ranges of voices that cannot maintain diction whilst a note is being sung. So they fake the word with the vowels. Coloratura sopranos often do this.

The operetta, "The Merry Widow" comes to mind where the lead female voice sings, "Love me and I'll die for you," becomes "ove me an I'll i or oooooo.." as the notes rise too high for many sopranos to maintain diction. Yes it can and has been done, but there is also an expectation of an audience to consider, as some people believe the words should not be formed. I am not one of them.

On the other hand I prefer my operas in the original language. Some of the translations are near nonsensical as are many of the stories. Here the emotion of the story as well as the story itself is discerned from the drama in the music. So unlike a Broadway musical the lyrics might actually get in the way of the telling of a good story. (Broadway musicals of course can have the best of both worlds.)

Richard Strauss (1864 ? 1949) was watching a rehearsal of one of his operas last century or the century before(?) when he marched up to the orchestra pit and yelled fiercely at the musicians, "Louder, play louder, I can still hear the singers!"

I am also reminded of the philosophical question: "which is more important, the singer or the song?"

For the answer, try to catch the Dirk Bogarde, John Mills movie "The Singer Not the Song." (1961)

The devilishly handsome Dirk is worth seeing in this ambiguous role, anyway.

Modern mixes in most recordings are no longer works of art.

At the high point of the recording industry in the 60s, a recording was made with the idea of taking the listener to where the composer wanted them to be. Today's passionless mixing style aims to tell a listener about a musical event that took place in the past with great accuracy, bypassing any ability to evoke the experience that the composer wanted for the audience.

It is the difference between a snapshot and an oil painting.

The actual playing is also often suffering from less than spirited performances.

Lest any one think I am talking solely of classical music, I will mention the Beatles, The Who and Pink Floyd amongst many others whose passion for music and sound production still affects those lucky enough to hear it as it was intended.

The Vinyl LPs of this era do have the original mixes intact. The digital transfers though scratch free, mostly, sound anemic in comparison.

Camy, in the songs I have heard of yours, I am certain you would have fitted into 60's era quite well. However you have something else, new and vibrant to sing about and that is well worth being able to hear and understand. Your own mixes, that I have heard have been innovative and inspired.

I was watching Queen perform "We are the Champions" on u-tube. There are two performances. One early - full of drama and youthful theatrics, the other better recorded but with less evocation of the anthem like nature of the song that demands you to participate in its spirit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xdCrZfTkG1c...ted&search=

I can't help but feel in one he performs because he wants to, needs to, even has to. Because he believes, "We are the Champions."

The other he performs because he is being paid. Okay so that is unfair, but I want to get across that clarity and quality do not always accompany passion.

Which of these two is better is not the point here. Just see the differences in the passion of Freddie Mercury.

In case you haven't gathered, music for me is an expression of the drama and passion of life.

That means the words and music must fit. They must call each other into service at the composer and lyricists's inspiration to evoke an emotional response for the listener. If that can be done with intelligence and meaning, then all the better.

:wav:

We will, we will -Rock you!

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I agree with quite a few of the posts above. Me personally, I hear the words and the music, and concentrate most on how they blend together to make the song.

My longtime partner, though, never hears the words. He's often amazed that, with only a few seconds' warning, I quickly remember the words to literally thousands and thousands of songs when I listen to music. Yet another useless skill I have.

Getting back to the story: the author, David, responded very nicely to my email, and I invited him to spend some time over here. He says he "lurks" here and there, but hasn't jumped into the discussions here. Hopefully he will soon.

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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who contacted David. Hopefully, as you said, he will join in the fracas, er, discussions. :wav:

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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who contacted David. Hopefully, as you said, he will join in the fracas, er, discussions. :wav:

I've always enjoyed a good fracas.

:wav:

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Fascinating, really fascinating.

Let me add another point to the pot.

The first thing I thought of when reading Trab's comment was the mix.

Some producers intentionally mix the vocal back into the music, which means it's very hard to make out the lyrics. Often, with tracks like this, you get to know a song well enough to sing along to it, and then find - when you eventually see the lyrics - that what you're singing is wrong.

Then there are artists who think lyrics are unimportant, and don't mind if they make sense or not. To me lyrics are all important. In my view songs are a storytellers medium, not a musicians.

CamyPretentious? Moi? Mais non.

Camy,

You described exactly how I think about music: it's there to tell a story. Maybe that's one of the reasons I like opera (for someone 17 years old, that's quite an admission!). Even with more popular music genres, say, like punk, the lyrics are what are important to me. I usually remember lyrics before I remember the tune they went with. That might even explain why I'm not much of a jazz fan. Most jazz CD's my folks have don't have vocals.

Colin :wav:

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I wanted to add my two coppers here:

In my experience, there are two kinds of music (oversimplified? Oh yes...because I'm a simple kind of guy): That which is lyric driven, and that in which the lyrics are a medium for the human voice, and the content of the lyrics doesn't really matter. In this latter case, the vocalist is simply vocalizing, and his voice is another instrument in the mix of instruments that make up the total sound of what is being played. I confess that I often have to listen to Opera in this context...If I go into an opera performance expecting a story, I will quickly become bored and be ready to leave. If, however, I view the whole performance the same way I would if I were at a symphony performance, then I'm good to go and can listen to the whole performance, no problem.

Because I'm into writing and words, lyrics are important to me in most pop songs. A song with terrible music values but which has great lyrics will win me over just as much - if not moreso - than a breathtaking piece of music with merely mediocre lyrics. And I am always delighted when I hear some lyrics that aren't about love...even if the topic is silly or not really applicable.

cheers!

aj

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