24 Oct 2002 8:58 am

Why is it that, whenever I have to travel for work or for school, the planning and execution of these trips borders on the ridiculously easy side, slipping almost into haphazard organization. Grab a suitcase, toss a few clothes in, make sure you have cash for laundromats and car rentals, bring your ID and, most importantly, bring your notes. I can pick up and be in Minneapolis or Boston or Northern California with an hour’s warning and on be on the plane watching the clouds from the other side in another three.

But, give me two months to plan a trip to the other side of the country, and four hours before departure, I’m still not entirely ready. Oh well. C’est la vie. More updates from New York, hopefully.

21 Oct 2002 1:41 pm

I’ve got two songs on my playlist, in heavy rotation. The first is “Bother“, by Stone Sour. The second is “Kiss Kara Hajimaru Mirakuru” (Miracle that Started with a Kiss), off the Steel Angel Kurumi soundtrack. “Bother” is a dark, dirgelike wail; “Kiss Kara” is happy, infectious bubblegum pop. Currently, they sit at positions 6 and 7 on my playlist, surrounded by “Let Me Rest in Peace” off the Buffy Once More With Feeling musical, and “Cruel Angel’s Thesis”, from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Is it any wonder the girls dragged me to the Island on Saturday? No TV, no computers, just miles of beach and volcanic rock. ‘Twas a bit cold for surfing, but surf we did (or at least attempt to; getting Jenn to her feet was a nigh-Herculean effort). Claire and Mo’, being Melbourne residents since they was wee lasses, plant themselves more surely on a longboard than I do on pavement.

Still, the media fast didn’t last too long; only long enough for the girls and I to enjoy Nature’s majesty, then beat feet back to the full-spectrum glow of The City, and the inevitable viewing of Excel Saga, which really needs watching to truly understand the humour. Then Mo’ pulled out the fansubbed Angel Heart (Steel Angel Kurumi, here in North America), and now I am resolved to purchase all 26 Episodes.

Serioulsy; what’s up with the strange penchant for anime comedy-plots to involve physically-powerful yet cute women in (almost) subservient relationships to pre-adolescent boys? Case in point, Naota and Haruko; also case in point, Nakahito and Kurumi (to a different extent, there’s always Shinji and Misato). Is it a power thing? A strange wish-fulfillment fantasy enacted by the writers of these shows? Or is there a deeper point to it? I wish I knew more about Japanese culture to make a more definative statement, but as Messr. William Gibson says, they are a society permanently on fast forward; a future we can trade with.

17 Oct 2002 12:37 am

Jenn is here, sleeping soundly (poor girl; long day and too many badly sampled tissue cultures can do a number on your nerves). We’ve finally finished the Martian Successor Nadesico series. And among the thoughts racing to the surface is… Ruri-mania.

Keep in mind, this post is going to be a little didake — the teachings that go to the apostolate. In this case, I’m expounding on anime, a topic that many of you can go right ahead and skip if it’s not to your liking. Come back later today; I’ll have something less esoteric then.

I was wondering what it is with the strange — attraction is the wrong word — perhaps fascination is better, but it has poor overtones of desire — that anime has for the stoic, sad young girl-character. Evangelion has Rei, who beats out poor Asuka in fan-polls by a wide margin; and Nadesico has Ruri. A good friend of mine told me that, back in ’98, before the release of Nadesico: Prince of Darkness, fans were smashing locks and breaking windows to acquire Ruri merchandise.

So what is it with these sad girls? Why the obsession? I have my theories, but they smack of Western Imperialistic Dogma; and they go along the lines of “otaku attraction to submissive, yet paradoxically strong, young, innocent female characters.” I suppose I’ll have to discuss this with the rest of the girls when they get around to finishing the series.

Which leads me to another question. When is ADV releasing Prince of Darkness in North America? Argh.

16 Oct 2002 9:29 pm

It’s not precisely a dirty little secret, but I have an overly large fondness for interior design (and, as a result, IKEA is like a little temple to me, whereas Mobler is the occasional Mecca). When I moved into my new apartment, I figured, “Heck; now’s the best chance to get matching furniture”. Now that’s a lot of practical solutions to everyday living. As a consequence, I also have this strange fascination for Home and Garden Television; more specifically, it’s a devotion to the show “Room Service“, and the ultra-cute Sarah Richardson. Mmm. Spunky, cute, sweet voice, and a lot of innovative ideas for interior design on a budget. Sigh. At least I’m not alone in this devotion; Jenn, Mo’ and Claire do this strange little frantic rush to the only couch in Mo’s place whenever the show pops on the air: everything gets dropped when Sarah goes on screen.

This sort of devotion to shows and its hosts comes and goes in cycles; first it was Junkyard Wars (with the original hosts, Cathy Rogers and Robert Llewellyn). Then came Iron Chef, and it’s spiritual successor, Banzai (which, unfortunately, lacks a charismatic host in the same vein as the Iron Chef’s Chairman Kaga).

Bonus notes: Weird overlaps. Robert Llewellyn played Kryton on the British space-comedy series “Red Dwarf“. For the failed American TV release of the same series, Hinton Battle was hired to play the character of The Cat (done masterfully by Danny John-Jules in the canonical British version). Hinton played the demon “Sweet”, in the seminal musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More, With Feeling“. Small world.

16 Oct 2002 5:00 pm

Well, the power of Bree compelled me to see Buffy with the group last night, against all better instincts. On the plus side, I haven’t seen Bree in far too long, nor had anything resembling a decent conversation with her. In terms of interesting and informative conversations, Bree ranks somewhere near the top of the list of people with whom I prefer to engage in active discourse. So, yay. On the minus side, no Dan or Kristen, who were too busy throwing people around to come. I know it’s not their fault; it’s the tyranny inherent in the system. And, shockingly, Bella was not there (that marks a first; Bel’s been a part of the Buffy crew for a very, very long time).

Why do I go to these events? Besides being a convenient otaku hook for obsessing over the works of Whedon, I mean? By and large, I’m fond of the company, but then I prefer the old-skool company rather than that which can only be appallingly described as “the new hotness“. Or somesuch.

Hmm. There’s been a lack of intelligent rants on this blog recently. I suppose I’ll fix that either later tonight or early tomorrow; I had this entire mini-essay prepared about applying the maxim “Better to reign in Hell than rule in Heaven”, and how it tends to affect all manner of social interactions, but it’s a little too scorched-earth, methinks. It needs some reworking, and some distance, for it to be more objective and less vitriolic.

Ah, the world needs more spleen anyway.