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Assorted thoughts.

People tell me quite often that Twitter has no purpose, is stupid and is only for people with the most miniscule of attention spans. I don’t agree with a lot of this, and I also disagree that it makes us feel more connected than we actually are. I’ve never felt really, truly bonded to someone on Twitter the way I do in real life, but I digress. The real point I’m getting at is that people who bash Twitter aren’t bashing Twitter for what it is. They’re almost never just admonishing it for putting an artificial restraint on communication–surely there are avenues left for unrestrained expression where you could rewrite Atlas Shrugged in lojban for all I care–nonono. People who bash Twitter are bashing it for being Minecraft or for being something like Saints Row II (entirely uninformed analogy)–they’re criticizing it for doing anything you want it to do and not having an instruction manual. Twitter will do absolutely anything you can think of.

Are you looking for a place to publish the minutiae of what you eat and wear on a daily basis? Congratulations, you can do that. Are you looking for a poor man’s RSS feed for people who don’t know how to work RSS feeds so that your webcomic can reach a broader audience? You can do that, too. You can use Twitter as a forum to engage with people about things they might not necessarily publicize otherwise. You can use it solely to publicize new blog posts–OR, my favourite use of Twitter, you can do all of those things at once from the same account. By following one account, a single user can get the personal stories of the author, updates on new blog posts and projects as well as political news from around the world that they might not necessarily be tuned in to.

BREAKING NEWS: this reappraisal of Twitter has now been interrupted by the fact that Canada just elected a Conservative majority government. Read more…

My first video!

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

And it’s already a mockery of geekdom with just a hint of a punchline at the end.

Categories: Anime, Not-A-Reviews

Evanlolian.

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment
LOL--Eva.

I have a migraine. Screw it.

No, I’m serious, I have a migraine, screw writing. This is the least ridiculous thing I can think at the moment. Screw it.

Categories: Anime, Not-A-Reviews

Even more series I’m watching, anime-style.

January 28, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned Excel Saga on this blog before, but if I haven’t, it’s worth a plug. It’s probably best to start describing this show with a comparison an equal number of you will be familiar with. I was watching Batman: The Brave and the Bold for a while, back when it first started being broadcast. I was overjoyed that someone had finally given the Caped Crusader a hug and told him that he doesn’t have to be down all the time. Brave and the Bold, you see, is one of the wackiest superhero cartoons in existence. It managed to make Aquaman into a righteous and awesome combat King who takes to every problem as though it’s a fight. And to every fight as though it’s the best thing in the world. Plots involved Aquaman and The Atom going inside Batman to fight a tiny group of invaders while Batman’s batmobile turned into a bat-giant mecha and he fought a gigantic version of the same invaders. In a word, Batman: The Brave and the Bold is wacky.

Fig. 1: Yes, moderate.

Or at least, it was, until about thirteen episodes in, when a two-parter took Bats to an alternate dimension where heroes were villains and villains were heroes. It was still outlandish, but you could feel the series stop being wacky at some level. Plots became serious, slavery was brought up–it’s still no Dark Knight ripoff, all angsty and off-key, but it was missing the same wack. Excel Saga, for most of its run, has been the same way. It set itself up early on as a Japanese, animated and televised equivalent to Airplaine!, where every week, they would parody a different genre of Japanese media. And for the most part, this is what Excel Saga does very very well. The version I’m watching has these neat little pop-ups, reminiscent of Pop-Up Video, that fill you in on all the Japanese trivia you’ve missed by living in North America. See fig. 1 for a moderate example. While this is distracting by its very nature, it feels like the kind of manic, enjoyable distraction that suits the rapidfire delivery and off-the-wall tone of this series. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Not-A-Reviews

The death of modern culture.

January 24, 2011 1 comment

Patton Oswalt recently published a bewilderingly long-winded and altogether baffling article on Wired.com. He talked about the death of modern culture and what he termed ETEWAF: everything that ever was, available forever. He says that modern internet politics have brought all of culture together in one handily accessible place for anyone to get a hold of, and he says this as though it’s a bad thing. While I agree, he goes on to say that speeding up this process can only bring back the singular pop culture of yesteryear, where everyone watched I Love Lucy and listened to The Beatles. Where his daughter can be the singular rebel who’s the only girl listening to “superviolent line-dancing music” “from Germany”. I have bad news for you, Mr. Oswalt. While my brother may love your comedy and I may love your performance as Remy in Ratatouille, our modern geek culture will indeed die. And there’s little we can do to stop it.

When I see people listening to new music these days, I hear a lot of people listening to the same few things already. And when they branch out to something new, they don’t listen to something new. They listen to something that sounds exactly like what they’re already listening to, but with one element exaggerated or downplayed. They repeat this process until they find their singular favourite band, who make dozens of songs that all sound the same, but all have the exact mix of what they want. I see people do this to movies, where they look for the one genre entry that is undeniably theirs and no one else will like the exact composition of that film as much as they do. People do this with everything until we all have our own niches of culture all to ourselves. Am I guilty of this? I can’t even tell any more. Read more…

Gender in fiction.

January 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Humanoid Sympathy

Pictured: why Cobb is sympathetic.

I posted earlier this week that I feel I am neither a man nor a woman. What I didn’t say earlier this week was that I don’t feel I’m a man or a woman given the options presented me. I’d like to distance myself from modern masculinity because it’s become so much about posturing, but I’m not a woman because I don’t believe finding tequila sunrises delicious makes me any more effeminate than chugging pitchers and pitchers of beer. Women do both of those things in real life, after all. And in real life, men can be frightening without having muscles, be wimpy without being short and be neurotic without looking like it from the outside. It’s only in fiction that gender comes with certain trappings, and it’s here that it gets fun.

Gender in fiction is a topic I’ve written about at length before. I’ve posted about The Bechdel Test and how The Social Network‘s women come off a lot better than Inception‘s. The only reason I feel even vaguely qualified to make either of those statements is that, again, in real life, I find myself exhibiting almost no traits of either specified “fictional” gender. I ran into a dude on Omegle the other day who said that he “didn’t pay attention” to what gender characters were in movies. I identify with his approach of willful ignorance. The movie is the movie and should stand not on its racial or sexual politics, but on itself and its own merits. However, not paying attention to these things also makes you miss out on so much that the director, writer, producer and cast are saying underneath the plot and its twists and turns. What does Christopher Nolan feel about the relations between men and women that he’s not likely to tell us directly? Why, indeed, is Fight Club almost impossible to blindcast with regards to gender? Read more…

Dubbing, subbing, everything in between.

January 6, 2011 1 comment

It turns out that even before I knew it, I was a weeaboo. One of my favourite shows as a kid was Iron Chef, though I defy any kid who got the Food Network to disagree. It was likely Iron Chef that was my introduction to Japan and their crazy, crazy ways. Sure, I’ve come a long way in my relationship with Japan since, but even back then, I knew that these were the kind of people to kill a live eel to eat in less than forty minutes time. Basically, not people to screw around with. However, Iron Chef was also my introduction to the practices of dubbing and subbing. I know I knew enough to ask, when Chad told me to watch Eva,”dub or sub” but Iron Chef was likely my first foreign media.

On Iron Chef, they have four panelists, a floor reporter, two chefs competing in Kitchen Stadium and Chairman Kaga. And, things I didn’t notice until I looked back on it, years later, everyone but Chairman Kaga was dubbed. He was dubbed for his opening reminiscence every week about that week’s contender, but for the rest of the program, he was the only person in Kitchen Stadium with subtitles. I found out, again in retrospect, why this was years later: you cannot dub Chairman Kaga. Chairman Kaga is perhaps the largest ham in a room that included gigantic pigs. It would be impossible to ask a voice actor to match that level of intensity for even a minute and a half, so he was subbed. Read more…

Categories: Anime, Movies, Not-A-Reviews