25 Nov 2002 8:19 pm

It looks like I’ll have to put off my media-transition rant for some other (rainier) day. I’ve more or less been occupied by the sheerly repetetive palette of music that dominates my playlists these days.

I mean, I know that I’m addicted to anime (for which there are no twelve-step programs, and the closest thing to a cure might well be to watch Fight Club over and over; but that merely turns you into an otaku of a different stripe), but my mp3 player’s selection has a predominantly j-pop/anime theme. You know you’ve got it bad when you’ve got both Sobakasu from Kenshin (with it’s squeaky bubble-gum pop by Judy & Mary) and Shell from Witch Hunter Robin (which is a dark, almost dirgelike piece) on the same playlist. And I can’t simply attribute this to the sheer amount of Japanese cultural media that I consume; it’s an aural disaffection for the vast amount of pap available on the radio. A quick perusal of the top tunes of our times for local stations shows an utter predominance of boy-bands, chronologically and emotionally confused girls, and the uber-angsty rip-off spawn of Pearl Jam dominating the airwaves. Compared to this, a lot of the anime-themes that I’m listening are the auditory equivalent of cool, glacial-fed spring water on a hot summer’s day.

That’s not to say that there’s no good music out there; but you’re probably not hearing a lot of it in rotation. Take Tom Petty’s new album The Last DJ, for example. The guy writes some pretty decent-sounding screeds against the homogenizing and rapacious nature of Clear Channel and the unfortunate related downsampling of musical genres, and in return, not a single song gets radio airplay. Other artists do pretty well because of their established fan base, but nary a song is to be heard on the radio (I haven’t heard anything of Tori’s Scarlett’s Walk album on the air, for example).

In this respect, I do miss Napster; it was, if you’ll forgive the phrase, a new paradigm in music sampling. It let you experience different kinds of music without the dominating control of corporate culture, or having to shell out your cash only to discover that the disc in your hand was composed of the one track in heavy Clear Channel rotation and fourteen tracks of poor-to-mediocre filler. Granted, Napster also let people steal music like there was no tomorrow (“all the fun of shoplifting, with a fraction of the guilt!”), but with studies up in the air on how this may or may not have affected music sales, I tend to side with the better angels of human nature and say that people will buy the music that’s good, and let the crap slide back to the bottom of the used five-buck-a-bin pile.

That, and Napster started the entire peer-to-peer revolution, which can rightly be considered one of the major killer apps of the Internet (and for which I am ever so thankful, as I am downloading two episodes of Noir and one of Azumanga Daioh to add to the growing pile of Things that Need Watching). So it’s a bit of a shame to finally see the last parts of Napster get swallowed up and spit out by the auction houses, to be sold as memorabilia. If you ask me, though, instead of shelling out $15 American (~ $200 Canadian, given today’s perilous exchange rates), what the true Napster fan should be doing is making their own shirts. I know I am; and here’s my template:

Bootster. Not to be confused with Bootsy Collins.

20 Nov 2002 1:10 pm

I was recently turned back on to Neo-Modus’ Direct Connect, which is a peer-to-peer client similar in concept to Hotline in terms of it’s “servers” (centralised hubs where groups of people connect to share files), which also shares Gnutella‘s “share the wealth” mindset; some DC hubs only allow you to connect if you have a certain amount of files that you’re willing to share (though there are ways around that).

I mention this because DC is my current pusher of choice for fansubbed and as-yet-unavailable-on-DVD anime releases. These push the “grey area” for intellectual property; downloading these files might be tantamount to theft, but then again, they’re not available in my local market-area. I might try to import these DVD’s, but then I’d be breaking yet more laws to get my DVD player to be region-free.

As it stands, fansubbed shows serve to promote more interest in their content, leading (hopefully) to consumeristic bastards like myself to purchase the english-language Region 1 DVD’s when the get released, helping to fill the coffers of ADV, Pioneer Animation, Media Blasters and other similar companies.

On a slight tangent, I’ve been watching a lot of Pioneer’s excellent releases (Love Hina and Cowboy Bebop, mainly), and I’ve come to the realization that, while they put out excellent discs, their preview trailers are simply horrible, what with the jarring voice-over narration shilling for the shows. ADV, on the other hand, knows how to sell a show through its trailer; trailers in Evangelion lead me to purchase Excel Saga, and trailers on this series were what lead to my acquisition of Steel Angel Kurumi.

On another tangent: Azumanga Daioh’s opening song is too damn cute (with the purposely off-key vocals and everything), and Mahoromatic’s ending music (Mahoro de Mambo!) makes me smile every time I hear it.

Confidential to Dave T: Happy Birthday, man.

19 Nov 2002 9:50 pm

The fortuitous acquisition of an old-style Playstation has allowed me to indulge in my weakness for the Final Fantasy series. I finally managed to connect the PS to the video selector which leads to the Radeon All-in-wonder (because the dreamcast is also connected, even though, in true excessive geek fashion, it’s also accessible via a KVM switch for true VGA graphic performance; trust me, seeing Ikaruga in dazzling 640×480 at sixty frames a second blows most TV displays away). The downside to this was that I had to disconnect the NES and the SNES from selector; I just didn’t have the space for all four consoles. This lead me to examine my remaining NES cartridge collection, comprised of the original Legend of Zelda, Crystalis, Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior I and II, Super Mario Brothers 1-3, Metroid, Metal Gear, and Megaman 2. Judging from this, my formative years were spent learning how to find hidden things, equip them, jump around like a crazy fucker and consume mushrooms and weird flowers, wander through endless corridors and stealthily infiltrate military bases.

With the exception of the “sneakily infiltrate military bases part”, I would say that the original NES was probably one of the best training excercises for University that I can think of.

15 Nov 2002 9:20 pm

I was educated by Jesuit priests, who are pretty much some of the best debaters in all of Catholicism. Jesuits are a philosophical lot, and fairly deep into higher-education and the combination of the secular and non-secular. So I was pleased as all get out to read this article from Wired. I didn’t know that the Pope had astrophysicists!


09 Nov 2002 1:26 pm

I fell outta my damn chair lauging at this one. This week’s Photoshop Phriday is a winner!

Not what Michaelangelo had in mind

But really, ultimately, a winner is you!