Since it's a dreary Saturday outside, and since I haven't talked about myself much for the past couple of weeks, let's have a personal update.
Meh, I never heard back from IKEA, which had several positions open several weeks ago
, though I probably wouldn't have cared for the work too much, since I'd have to get there very, very early in the morning, before the sun rises most of the year, and I am most certainly *not* a morning person.
I applied at some point last week at a video store which is opening up within easy walking distance for me, but still haven't heard back from them. I'm not sure when this video store is opening; probably some time next month. I don't want to say the name of the chain, but it's not Blockbuster. It's a chain partnered with a videogame rental chain, and I actually had to submit my CV to a guy at the videogame rental store, and one thing that was cool about that store was that they had a whole bunch of used "old school" games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I wasn't there to buy anything, so I didn't give their selection a good look, but I definitely intend to go back there sometime to scope it out, because, while I am no stranger to SNES and Sega emulators and ROMs (in terms of knowing of their existence), and while I have bought legitimate ports of some of my favourite "old school" 16-bit (and 8-bit in the case of the first Phantasy Star
) games for the Gameboy Advance and PC when available, nothing beats actually playing old school games on a television using actual old school controllers. (Which reminds me... those "Plug It In and Play" games-in-a-controller from Jakks Pacific Inc.
intruigue me. They should do a Sega Arcade Classics one. Or a Sonic the Hedgehog
one. Or a Virtua Racing
one. Or a Taito Top Landing
one, though that's more of a pipedream.)
It's not all bad news, though. May seems to be job fair season in Ottawa, and there is a new Starbucks opening here in Nepean. I wouldn't mind working at a Starbucks, with a relaxed atmosphere and gratuities (that means tips, for those of you in Rio Linda)! And all the Venti whipped cream and sprinkles-topped hot chocolate I could drink (though, apparently, some of the liquid concoctions at Starbucks actually have more calories than a frickin' Big Mac
). I shall go to their job fair on Tuesday.Giant Tiger
, which is a Canadian discount department store chain that's "discount" even compared to Wal-Mart, is also having a job fair soon at their corporate headquarters on Walkley Road in southern Ottawa, so I might just saunter along by there and see if they've got any openings not too far from Nepean. Believe it or not, I've never actually been in a Giant Tiger store in my life. They almost built one on Don Quichotte in Ile Perrot, just over the border from Pincourt, near the part of the stip mall where Domino's Pizza and Subway are, but nothing ever came of that. I've heard that Giant Tiger is either a really depressing place to shop at (like Wise in Quebec before it closed) or an eccentric mecca for people who like cheap and unusual stuff.
I've also signed up for workshops at Ottawa's fine Employment and Financial Assistance Centres
, including a three day one for writing Resumés and Cover Letters next week. I'm going to the downtown (Central) one instead of the West one over at Centrepointe (Ben Franklin Place) here in Nepean as, while the Centrepointe one is a lot closer, they seem to mostly do their workshops in the morning and, as previously stated, I am not a morning person. At least it's an opportunity for me to go downtown on a weekday (there are some books I've been meaning to check out of the central library anyway, and I want to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
, but only on cheap Tuesday as I don't have much cash). My parents have been going to workshops over at the Centrepointe centre in the morning (and their absence makes the dogs super-anxious, and they bark a lot, sometimes making me get up at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m.). It seems to have re-energized them with their job searches.
Eh, I was going to do a post the other weekend about how I actually got on the list at a medical clinic I probably shouldn't name, as it's difficult to find doctors in Ottawa and I don't want the place to be swamped. (For those of you new to Ottawa desperate to find a doctor, I'll give you a hint: it's somewhere in western Ottawa on the 118 bus route.) Eh, in retrospect, the experience wasn't that interesting.
My parents drove me there, I got to the clinic, in a non-descript low-level professional/commercial mixed-use building, went to the front desk, waited around for a couple of minutes to be served as the receptionists seemed to be filing stuff, showed my OHIP medical insurance card, sat down, tried to figure out which movie was on the television... didn't recognize it for a minute or two, just a bunch of Americans in some sort of desert setting, but then they offered one of the denizens of the desert a 5th
Avenue chocolate bar, and I recognized that it was the original Roland Emmerich Stargate
film, which amused my parents when I told them later, since the exact same film had been playing there when they were there a different day. After half an hour, I got called into one of the examination rooms, and waited some more, while reading the Molly Moon
book I had gotten a week or so before. I got to see a doctor, a young woman of Middle Eastern origin who had seen my parents a month or so beforehand. I didn't get much time to speak to her. I asked her for a referral to a neurologist to see if I could get tested for Asperger's (I know, the fashionable disorder to have these days), I asked her about some migraines I had, and she gave me some Advil. I'm not sure what else I talked about, but I asked her if I could have a checkup and she said she wasn't available until the end of the summer, and I made an appointment for July on the way out.
I took the 118 bus back along Baseline to Merivale/Clyde, deposited my GST rebate cheque in the Royal Bank in the only little shopping centre in the entire fricking area that has a bank machine in which you can make deposits (it's so out of the way... they should have one closer to the area with Merivale Mall and the strip mall with the HMV in it) and checked out the Comic Book Shoppe, thinking maybe I'd get a volume of Urusei Yatsura
with my GST refund. Nope, they only had up to 15, which is what I already have, and they weren't ordering any more unless I special ordered. Damn, they had the complete Fruits Basket "brick" boxset
for just $90 Canadian, and they were selling the Nadia collections
, each containing half of the 39-episode series (19 and 20 episodes a piece) plus 2 soundtrack CDs EACH, for an incredible $60 Canadian. Damn, that's an incredible deal. Even though I haven't watched Nadia
all of the way through since 1997, I would have sprung for it, but it was just a little more than I had gotten in my rebate cheque. Well, that's one reason why I gotta get a job. But the trip to the comic book store wasn't a total waste of time. I preordered the first volume of the anime version of Makoto Yukimura's Planetes
. The annoying part of that, though, is that I forgot completely that the fourth season King of the Hill boxset
goes on sale Tuesday, so, since I've already "spent" the money in a way, I can't get that as well. Unless I can find some books I can sell or something.
Anyway, there's some other stuff I want to put in, but I've gotten distracted by the Thnikkaman, so I'll finish this article later.
A MIYAZAKI FAN WITH WAY TOO MUCH TIME ON HIS HANDS...
Despite my ever-growing allergy to excessive adulation of and gushing about the works of Hayao Miyazaki
and Studio Ghibli
, I am a (rarely-posting) member of the the Miyazaki Mailing List
, and very occasionally they'll have some sort of topic that's not just "Debate: Is Hayao Miyazaki ingeniously brilliant, or brilliantly ingenious?", and someone whose name appears to be Jean Bass had an interesting link.
Ever wonder what a life-sized statue of San from Princess Mononoke
made entirely out of Lego blocks would look like?
Probably not, but one Eric C. Harshbarger
has built one anyway
"Completed, it is 163 rows high (5 feet, 1 1/8 inches). It probably weighs over 80 pounds. It is completely glue-free. It is my favorite sculpture to date..."
The guy is apparently an award-winning Lego sculptor
. You can see some of his other work in his portfolio
, including a book-style Alice from Alice in Wonderland
, Bart Simpson
, Milhouse Van Houten
, a bust of Conan O'Brien
, and R2D2
FREE VIDEO UPLOADING? ANOTHER OPTION...
For a while now, I've been wanting to put my animated short debut from 2002 (and the only "completed" piece of animation I've ever done), "More than Meets the Eye", a Transformers
homage, somewhere free and reliable on the Internet. But, even though it's only 30 seconds long and silent, because I didn't really use any sort of compression on the AVI file (and I don't want to compress it, because there's some fine detail in there I don't want to lose), the file size is about 31 mb.
My first attempt was with OurMedia.org
, which is a completely free service that lets you upload files directly to the "Internet Wayback Machine" Web Archive
servers. As I wrote before
, I think that Ourmedia is a great place if I want somewhere I can dump a large image file to instead of nuking my Photobucket account. I recently did a post over at Ourmedia about a mysterious object I photographed at the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix that probably isn't a ghost, but I can't quite identify it
, and I included, as an attachment, a uncompressed scan of a photo of racetrack firemen in a Chevrolet pickup truck
that's some 400 kb in size, several times as big as the version of the photo I put in this entry in my poor, neglected Photoblog over at Fotopages.com
. But, for uploading video files larger than about 10 mb, Ourmedia is fairly useless. They tell you to use their uploading program for larger files, which would be fine, except it doesn't work at all on my Windows ME computer, and I've heard that it doesn't work on many other computers either.
My second attempt was with the brand new Google Video Upload
service, which is not only free to use, but, if you so choose, you can actually set a downloading fee if you want to make money from your videos. (I have no intention of charging. I only have the one AVI file anyway, and it's very amateurish. Don't expect The Incredibles
. Expect the polar opposite, actually.) I got the Google Video uploader programme, and, wonders of wonders, it actually worked. I was able to upload the file to their server with minimal effort. The downside is that someone at Google has to screen the video first, just to make sure that it's nothing illegal and that I'm not infringing on anyone's intellectual property. (Actually, if they're super-strict about that one, they might not accept it as, while the animation itself is 100% my own, there is an actual 1980s TV commercial on a television screen that obviously I didn't make. A lot more than I would be able to get away with claiming as "fair use", but, since I'm not making any money off of it, I don't think there would be a problem.)
I don't have a problem with the fact that they're screening the videos, as, obviously, they'd be at least partially liable legally for what is hosted on their servers, but they are taking their damn sweet time at telling me whether or not they'll accept my video file. If they do accept it, I'll write a separate new post talking about the animation, since, rewatching it recently, I found a couple of small details I had never noticed before, and I created the damn thing!
NOTE TO PIERRE BERNARD'S RECLINER OF RAGE FANS...
The official NBC Late Night with Conan O'Brien
page has finally done a major overhaul, and, while they still don't have a separate subpage for "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage", the segment that has been so good to me for Google hits, they have added many new and recent pieces of video from the show, including one "Pierre Bernard's Recliner of Rage" segment that, as far as I know, hasn't been made available anywhere else for download, the one from Tuesday, March 8th
(or early Wednesday, March 9th
, for those of you time purists) wherein Pierre was complaining about Aaron at the NBC commissary not consistently stocking the same brands of juice so he couldn't get enough bottle caps of one color to make his bottle cap portraits
On the Conan page
, click "Video Moments", and it's currently on the second page of the clip index, though that's sure to change as they add more Late Night with Conan O'Brien
video clips. And, no, I don't know how you can save streaming video to your hard drive, so please don't ask me.
Also of note, on Tuesday, Late Night with Conan O'Brien
switched over to filming in HDTV format, meaning that, on conventional televisions, the show is now "letterboxed". This alt.fan.conan-obrien post
links to some sample high resolution screencaps so those of us with conventional televisions can get some idea of what we're missing. Check out this scary shot of Conan's hand
, where you can see almost every freckle and hair. Ain't technology grand?
Look, uh, I'm not doin' one this week.
Yeah... not doin' one.
"And I pretend that it's made of money..."
Aww... a second week without a new "SBEmail"
(the Strong Bad e-mail I was quoting was "mile"
, which, I believe, is my brother Nick's favourite), though we do get a new level for the Stinkoman 20X6 game
and a new set of messages on Marzipan's Answering Machine
, including a message from about my favourite alternate version of a character
("You Got a Call from the Thnikkaman").
While I'm sure Strong Bad will be next next Monday (hopefully using one of my e-mails; I sent my third attempt about a month ago), I did find some interesting reading in the forum
for the unofficial Homestar Runner wiki
: a thesis entitled "Homestar Runner: Faces of Alienation" by Francois Tremblay
(hmm... no "c cedille" on "François"?). Analyses of all your favourite Homestar Runner characters done in academic lingo (though not lingo that's so obtuse that it's inpenetrable to anyone outside the Ivory Tower)!
"The theme of alienation is obvious when one looks at the interactions between the characters. Social isolation seems to be the norm in the HR universe, either because of lack of social power, capacity to communicate, or discordant values. The characters I would call alienated in HR are :
Homestar Runner - tabula rasa, more on this in his character analysis.
Marzipan - discordant values.
Strong Sad - discordant values and lack of social power. Interestingly, Strong Sad and Marzipan's modes of expression sometimes seem to intersect.
King of Town and Poopsmith - they have social power only to each other, and therefore form a self-contained system. This alienates them from the rest of HR.
Homsar - His status as Other automatically alienates him."
Ooh, interesting reading. This is reading a lot more subtext into the Homestar Runner characters than the one author and anthropology professor Peter Wood attempted over at National Review
"Homestar Runner and his friends seem to live in one of those Anytown, America universes. The characters are a circle of acquaintances who usually seem several years post-high school. (The cloying sweet Marzipan is the only regular who is female.) Homestar Runner is the good-natured high-school jock, who has yet to fall into the existential perplexities of John Updike's Rabbit. Maybe he is too dumb to sense any of life's darker textures. His real opposite is Strong Sad, who is intelligent but bedeviled with Prufrockian paralysis. He has, as we've learned to say, a "self-esteem problem," and the Chapmans make him pay full price.
Free County seems to be a multiethnic place. Bubs, the local concessionaire, is blue-skinned, bug-eyed, and speaks a sort of Satchimo lingo. Strong Bad's machismo and gargled accent suggests he is from south of the border. Homestar and Marzipan are small town white America."
If I ever manage to resume my university education here in Ontario, I should write a dissertation about what Bubs can teach us about the wonders of capitalism, or maybe Thnikkaman and the Cult of Celebrity.
KAHN WE TALK?
I've known about this for over a week but couldn't say anything until after it was posted at Anime News Network
(not that I have much to say about it anyway), but, for ANN's weekly "Sunday Spotlight"
interview feature, Steven Pennington recently "sat down" with 4Kids Entertainment CEO and Chairman Al Kahn
(though "sat down", as ANN puts it, is kind of misleading; it was a very long-distance phone call between Steven in Australia and Al in New York, though, I suppose, if they were both sitting down while on the phone, it's technically
I think it's a very well-conducted interview giving some insight into why 4Kids treats the anime it licenses the way it does, and Al Kahn should be commended for having enough balls to do an interview with an anime site. If I was in his situation, I probably wouldn't.
What attributes should a property have before you consider bringing it over to the west?
We look at things such as popularity, but also if it has a merchandising component; can we license it, can we license products for it? Thats really the main issue for us... the playing pattern, if it's popular and how it merchandises. If we can't merchandise it, it really doesn't have a lot of interest for us.
Because it's not financially viable?
That's correct, because it's too expensive to do the dubbing and the acquisitions because we rewrite, we re-script, we re-score. So it's very difficult to do that if you don't have any other revenue streams and we have to make sure we get that.
A lot of aspects in your adaptations are changed from the original Japanese version. Some things like dialog, credits and names are changed for obvious reasons, but things such as music are re-done. Why do you feel this is necessary?
Only to make it more Western. We westernize it so that children in English-speaking countries will understand it, and to us that is very critical. It's a mixture of the westernization, the trying to make the music appeal to kids who are in the United States.
Very predictably, this interview isn't going down so well with some of the kiddies on the ANN message board
(and probably on the anti-4Kids whine sites too, but I'm not in the mood to read fanboyish bullshit today), all of whom convince themselves in their own minds that they know better how to market 4Kids' anime acquisitions to 4Kids' target audience much better than the man who has been in the business for years and makes millions in revenue a year and whom the Japanese licensors are perfectly happy to do repeat business with. (Yeah, actual profit is down, but that's because Pokémon
, their biggest moneymakers, are both at the tail end of their fad cycles, and nothing they currently have has quite the same mass merchandising potential.) One does not have to necessarily agree with the changes 4Kids makes to shows to understand why they make business sense. ANN writer and columnist Bamboo Dong ("SakechanBD") gave the perfect answer
This may surprise you to hear, but the MAIN MARKET for the shows that 4Kids licenses and airs... is NOT a bunch of nerdy otaku. People keep assuming that anime fans buy tons of DVDs, and that several thousands of fans buy each uncut DVD, and companies like ADV and Bandai are on the same financial footing as 4Kids. You're all wrong. You people argue and argue like you know the market better than the CEO of a 2 billion dollar company, and it's ridiculous. You assume that the North American anime market is huge and wildly successful and each DVDs sells tens of thousands of copies, when you could'nt be further from the truth. He has sales figures, you don't. The end.
I am annoyed at myself for not thinking of asking Steven, back when I was talking to him on AIM before he did the interview, to ask Kahn how well One Piece
is doing with the 12 to 17 Nielsen demographic. I know I have, in the past, talked about Spongebob Squarepants
beating it by a margin of 5-to-1 in the ratings
, but that's with the 6 to 11 Nielsen demographic, which is the only one where ratings information is readily available online (as it's the demographic most important to advertisers on the channels that do Saturday morning cartoons). I'd be willing to bet that One Piece
probably does a bit better, percentage wise, with 12 to 17, although I doubt it beats Spongebob Squarepants
, which is popular with a wide variety of demographics, and I'd guess that there are fewer 12 to 17 viewers on Saturday mornings in general, as, once Americans get to their mid-teens, they tend to lose interest in cartoons. (Anime fans being the exceptions here, of course.) Yeah, 4Kids TV (formerly Foxbox) gets anemic ratings, but Saturday mornings are way different from when I was a kid, when ABC, NBC, and especially CBS cartoons ruled supreme. It seems the cable outlets Nickelodeon and, to a lesser degree, Cartoon Network own Saturday mornings, and the old "Big Three" broadcast networks are reduced to rebroadcasting content from cable networks that fall under the same corporate umbrella, and it's only a couple of channels that weren't even around when I was a kid, Fox and the WB Network, that have original animated content on broadcast television on Saturday mornings, and the ratings they get just don't compare to the cable channels. Anyway, now that One Piece
is also on Cartoon Network, I predict it will be relatively more popular, but it will only ever be Dragonball Z
popular at best, which is pretty good but still niche compared to the popularity of Pokémon
at its peak or of Spongebob Squarepants
now. And One Piece
will never be more than a small cult show with North American adults, popular only within the anime fandom niche. Anyway, I think the novelty value of Japanese cartoons has worn off with the crowded mainstream children's audience, and a show like One Piece
won't get the attention it might have gotten five years ago simply by virtue of its being Japanese.
One thing Al Kahn said that he might come to regret is this:
On a similar note, do you have any intentions of releasing any other Japanese series in their original format?
We expect every series we license to be released in its original form.
Eh, for series with a strong Internet fanbase, like One Piece
and, to a lesser extent, Tokyo Mew Mew
, I think a subtitled, uncut release will happen sooner or later, but for shows like Pokémon
, I'm skeptical that there would be enough demand for such a purist-grade release for it to be worth foing (and I doubt Nintendo would let 4Kids do it, even if 4Kids wanted to), and, for shows like Fighting Foodons
that attracted virtually no audience on either the kidvid or the anime purist sides of the aisle, it's never going to happen.
Anyway, congratulations to "Steventheeunuch"
for conducting an informative interview that makes for a good read, and I hope to see more from him on ANN in the future.(By the way, this is pathetic, but I spent something like half-an-hour just thinking up the "Kahn we talk" headline. Kind of a "think, Peggy, think" situation, which is when Peggy Hill tries to thing of something clever and amusing for her "Musings" column in the Arlen Bystander but comes up with something not particularly clever and not at all amusing (though she congratulates herself on it anyway). Yeah, that's the best I could do. It was that or "The Wrath of Kahn", but that one would have made no sense as Al Kahn isn't punishing anyone.)EDIT Jesse Betteridge
gave me a link to this image of what James T. Kirk thinks of 4Kids
. I'm not endorsing the point of view, since I don't really give a crap either way about what 4Kids licenses or does to those licenses, but it's funny in light of my small text comment about the "Wrath of Kahn
" not being a good title for this article.