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Jun. 8th, 2012


Decoding the Flamel Cross

My goodness it has been a while since I posted here! Anyways, just back to stew in my rekindled Fullmetal Alchemist fandom. I've also been inducted into the official Vic Mignogna fanclub, the Risembool Rangers, and even met the man himself at a convention just over a week ago! Vic is the voice of Edward Elric, fyi! :D

At first glance, I always believed that the Flamel Cross----named so because it is referenced in the works of Nicholas Flamel, the most famous alchemist in western History----simply represented medicine. A snake coiled around a staff or pole is almost universally recognized to have that meaning. Historically, it derives from two sources: The Old Testament, and Ancient Greek mythology.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites annoyed God into sending them a plague of snakes. After which, God instructed Moses to erect a pole in the center of their camp with a bronze snake at its top, so that by the power of God anyone bitten by a snake could look upon it and be cured. When you think about it, at the beginning this was a lesson about being thankful for what little you have. (The Israelites complained because they had grown tired of the plain-tasting mana God made rain from the sky just to keep them alive.) But, in the end, it became a lesson about giving up personal pride; I've always wondered if there were some individuals amongst the Israelites who were so angry at God, or so proud that they thought they could make due without His help, that they refused to lift their eyes to the pole, and so eventually died of the snakebite. In the context of Fullmetal Alchemist, I definitely think that both of these lessons were learned by Ed the hard way, even that his learning them defined his character development for much of the series. Just ask Vic Mignogna what his favorite line was!

For speculation on the Greek origin, see: Rod of Asclepius and Caduceus of Hermes. As for the inclusion of wings being the result of mistakes and misunderstandings, as according to the later article-----MAY I SIMPLY SUGGEST that in the 19th century they actually stemmed from common symbolism already long used in classical Christian painting? Angels were never believed to actually have wings, however painters depicted them with wings in order to show their "proximity to God", or rather their enlightened, transcendent, 'higher' nature.

There is, of course, the alchemical interpretation, "fixing of the volatile". Umm, well, what better to confuse than Flamel's own words? Good luck! (Note that at the very bottom of the page there is a link to a free online course on how to understand ancient alchemic technobabble. Sure wish that I had seen the before I read the whole darn page. Yeesh.)

Here, I show the version of the Flamel Cross that is unique to Fullmetal Alchemist, which includes a crown.

Well, first of all, I might look into crowns used in heraldry for ideas.

In Fullmetal Alchemist, this could simply be a reference to the fact that Amestris is a country founded on, founded for, and in many ways ruled by alchemy, not to mention full of alchemists who view themselvs as divine.

Or, it could mean something more individualistic, as if by blazoning it a person could declare, "medicine and enlightenment are king".

However, as a writer myself, I understand just how possible it is that they may actually be nothing more than what they seam----awesome looking, added by the manga artist to make it more her own style.

But, there is one more interpretation which I'm disappointed that no one else seems to pay attention to. In the 2003 version of the anime, the Flamel Cross is incorporated into a large transmutation circle that can trap and weaken a humunculus. The key to understanding 'why this particular symbol?' is the Oroboros tattoo that all of the humunculi have. According to lovely little Wikipedia, the Oroboros----sepent that devours its own tail----represents a creature that continuously regenerates itself similarly to a phoenix. In FMA, the humunculi are immortal and impossible to kill by conventional means because of their ability to regenerate. If the humunculus is the Oroboros, then the Oroboros must be the same serpent as on the Flamel Cross. It is immobilized at first, then as it is no longer devouring its tail, we can assume that it will shortly reach the end of its life. Which is exactly what we see happen to all of the humunculi who get caught in the trap in the anime. Aside from that it was pulled from Nicholas Flamel's documents, I speculate that FMA's use of the Flamel Cross goes no deeper than that. My only possible proof of its shallowness is the inclusion of wings even on the Oroboros design. As the wings are bat-like on the Oroboros and feathered on the Flamel Cross, maybe it's just a cute way of labeling who's a goodguy and who's a badguy, with Dante and Greed being exceptions just to complicate things.

Furthermore, since it is never hinted that Nicholas Flamel himself, or even a parallel of him, existed in the Fulmetal Alchemist universe, I am left to wonder weather "Fullmetal" was meat to sound so much like "Flamel", and thereby the Flamel Cross is nothing more than a crest for personal identification, with Ed himself being Flamel's anachronic, Amestrian counterpart. After all, FMA fans already know that Ed's father, Van Hoenheim, is actually the 'anachronic, Amestrian counterpart'  to Paracelsus.
Holy cupcakes, I actually spelled Paracelsus. o____O


Mar. 2nd, 2012


Writer's Block: Spring Cleaning

What do you really need to get rid of?
My to-do-list. D:

Jan. 3rd, 2012


Writer's Block: Words to Live by

What is your favorite quote?
Never mind my last answer. I just remembered the best quote EVER!!! :D


Writer's Block: Words to Live by

What is your favorite quote?
So what if I just ran over to FB and copied this from my profile? I love these! :D

"All the scientists hope to do is describe the universe mathematically, predict it, and maybe control it. The philosopher, by contrast, seems unbecomingly ambitious. He wants to understand the universe; to get behind phenomena and operation and solve the logically prior riddles of being, knowledge, and value. But the artist, and in particular the novelist, in his essence wishes neither to explain nor to control nor to understand the universe. He wants to make one of his own, and may even aspire to make it more orderly, meaningful, beautiful, and interesting than the one God turned out. What's more, in the opinion of many readers of literature, he sometimes succeeds." — John Barth, 1930

“I sent my Soul through the Invisible,
some letter of that After-life to spell;
And by and by my Soul return'd to me,
and answer'd: "I Myself am Heaven and Hell.”

— Omar Khayyam

"We recreate History not as it was, but as we wish it was." — Christopher Francis (??)

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, and not one bit simpler." — Albert Einstein

"There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign." — Robert Louis Stevenson.

Jan. 2nd, 2012


Hell is the Same Thing Over and Over

Probably going to be the hardest post I've ever had to write. My "excuse" for my current and disappointing position in life. This biographical story is long overdue. The older I get----I turned 22 today----the more frequently and seriously I get cornered by my friends and family: "Why don't you have a job?" "Why haven't you learned to drive?" "Why aren't you in school? Why are you still living with your parents?" Why are you always late? Reading this even now, I bet you, Reader, think you already have the answer and are ready to move on from this post. When I try to tell this story in person, I always get interrupted with advice.

A step forward in any of those directions could very quickly become five or six steps backward in my circumstances. I'm sure you've heard before that, sometimes, the best strategy IS to wait. Like quicksand or a bog mire; People understand action, not inaction; If struggling makes you sink faster, at least nobody will blame you. Metaphor aside, waiting to save your life could cost nearly all your PR. All the advice you have to turn down.... All from people who care abut you... Need I get started on all the insults from the people who don't care, or that actually think insults will motivate you?!

If you know me, you know I'm not lazy, and I should hope that it's easy enough for anyone to tell I ain't stoopid. So, what's my problem? The same problems everybody has: "Money, family, and family with no money," but to a degree you'd never believe possible until you've been here yourself.

My past is extremely difficult for me to talk about because I get overwhelmed; It's a complex story, plus more mental anguish than a comic book villain. In public, I rarely speak, and I'm sure I have a blank stare most of the time------this is not introversion, this is shell-shock. I delight in the smallest daily pleasures----"stopping to smell the roses"-type things----because they are the only joy I have. Sometimes, though, that just makes me feel like a lunatic-----crying because I looked at the stars.

I'm never sure where to begin---chronologically, or problem-by-problem like a checklist? I've tried to write this tale a dozen times before, and have tried both ways always fail at explaining the web between a thousand causes and effects. Which is the whole point-----so other people can understand what I see in my mind so sharply. It's not that the way forward isn't clear, it's just difficult-----like passing your body through a solid brick wall molecule by molecule.

Nov. 15th, 2011


Writer's Block: It's payday!

What would you do if you had a million dollars?

Nov. 1st, 2011


NaNoWriMo Cometh Again

Well it do!

This year though I will be working on an all original story, so I will not be posting it online. I will often check in here though just to rant about how it's going. Or not going. Or going wrong. Or just going. :P

It's almost noon on the first day and I ain't even looked at my file yet. xD

I'm continuing from where I left off on the currently-7k-word draft of a story that I started to write last Sep for the 3 Day Novel marathon. It completely and utterly depresses me that I seem to need a scheduled marathon in order to make any REAL progress on anything. ( TT~TT )

On the other hand, since Sep, everyone who's read the 7k words, including myself, have been in dumbstruck awe of the visual descriptive power that I seem to have sprouted mysteriously.

Selected excerpt:

"Rainy as ever, however," Mab determined, pleased, extending a scarlet umbrella as she began her trek from the station. Against the gray
hues of the drenched city and somber faces of the weather-weary townsfolk, the little girl with her red umbrella stood out in stark contrast, like a giant poppy blossom adrift at sea.

My grandmother is a fairly professional editor, and in her exact words, my story "is full of it." (It slipped out several times, and we LOLed.)

I only fear that I may have lost that power or let it rust.

I hit a wall and couldn't finish the story because I have this very prominent anti-villain who's motive I can't quite settle on. He is a preteen with dark superpowers who picks fights with he hero and anti-hero. I just can't figure out why he would rather fight than solve his problem some other more sensible way. (I like to keep my characters, even the kids, highly intellectual in spite of weather that's realistic or not; I think kids need more roll-models with brains. Kids HAVE great brains, we're just trained not to use them, and let adults think for us at all times. Needless to say my kid characters are unrealistically independent in the world.)

If I didn't train in kenjutsu myself, I wouldn't have a clue about his motive. The only clue I got, though, is extremely esoteric. Fighting is like handwriting. And like one can learn much about a person by examining the minutia of their handwriting, a master of swordsmanship can learn much about the life ways of his or her opponent by dueling with him or her. This was attempted in reverse in the Jet Li movie HERO, where the character Li plays tried to learn about another swordsman's fighting style by examining his calligraphy.

IF I succeed in portraying that point, this story will come out EPIC. Like Disney meets Matrix. If I try and fail, my entire plot will seem weak, even futile. :-(

Not feudal.

Oct. 13th, 2011


Writer's Block: International Skeptics Day

What are you skeptical about? (religion, ghosts, Toddlers and Tiaras, etc.)
Funny you ask. 10 seconds ago I was showing my bro this video my Jujutsu sensei shared with his class today. xD

Sep. 22nd, 2011



I was just about to post this when I decided to stop and answer the QotT. ("What 3 books have changed ur life?")

I save my post, then view the entry. There's only half of it displayed. I freak out, hit the back button, luck out that my old text was still there, and copy-&-paste the HTML view into a txt document. I review the code-----while stricken horribly with the hiccups myself!-----find nothing wrong, and proceed to battle with the stupid website for 10 more minutes trying to get the rest of my post to display in my Journal. Conclusion: Since LJ " u*p*d*a*t*e*d " their word-processor, their services has become practically worthless.

"Update" ~ secret code for fixin something that ain't broke.

I can only hope that all or even PART of this rant will make it through, let alone what I really wanted to say in the first place.

Been skimming Germanic folktales all night. In all, I found two, maybe three that I actually liked. But one in particular stood out. As the very end of one proposed version, I recognized an instance of actual, true depth. Ague with me if you will.

Most classic fairytales popular in today's culture are simply repolished HORROR stories, more often than not filled with beheadings, rape, and the like. Unless one can mistake visceral nausea for the feeling of supreme intelligence (I've witnessed people do it) I'd fully agree that connoisseurs like the Brothers Grimm and filmmakers such as Disney did us---and all of history---a favor by revising them. Sure, save copies of the originals for study, but delight in the remakes.

Anyways, in that vein, I feel I might one day like to rewrite the ancient lay "Heer Halewijn" as a poetic novella. :)

So, Heer Halewijn, legends of the Leanan Sidhe, and The Little Seal Skin are pretty much my favorite unsung myths. 'Unsung' as in less than mainstream; Not like Disney-Princesses-on-your-underwear mainstream, of course.

Got half a mind to write a vampire story just to show by comparison how retarded they've generally become. I'm already attempting that with fairies and angels in my major projects. Heck, I even have a plan for a story that should do that with steampunk. (Commencing Rant: Steampunkers really ought to commit themselves to higher standards of quality before they bandy around the label like they're serious about it. It's like starting all your poems with "roses are red" and equating yourself to the Greats, living and deceased, the sole exceptions being Verne, Poe, Wells, and Lovecraft. *lampshade comment is a lampshade*)

Anyways, hope this whole post makes it through LJ's new mincing technology. D:

Sep. 19th, 2011


Writer's Block: Talk like a pirate day!

Arrr, alas, no jokes, but this fine day would ne'er be complete w'tout trampling the decks a bit to the likes o dis spirited tune. p-)

An' wit all that Ol' Jules Vern is said to 'ave foreseen, it tickles me giddy to think tha' even 'e might ne'er 'ave seen this commin!
"20,000 Leaguse Under the Sea" was Walt Disney's first all live-action feature film in 1956. Not sure specifically who's ideas they were, but this song and Captain Nemo's pet sealion were NOT in Jules Vern's book. Disney & his co. invented them. I care cuz this is one of my favorite movies, and lately I've been trying to learn the difference between what Disney himself made and what movies his company made in his name. Even in his lifetime, Walt Disney apparently had trouble being taken seriously because people thought his movies were for just kids. But, compared to what crock the film industry is saturated with nowadays, even my little bro (with just such a bias against Disney) is starting to appreciate the man's rare genius. He still wont watch any "Disney" movies, but he frequently walks up behind me when I'm watching one and laments how filmmakers back then clearly "cared more" than filmmakers nowadays. All I can say to him is that movies are made to gross, not made to last. Not anymore. Except maybe if the director is devoted to a cause and a bit deluded. Causes can date a film, you know.

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