Archives: October 2005
Mon Oct 31, 2005
Mistress of Paper
Finally, a superhero whom I can respect:
Yomiko Readman, code name "The Paper," meganekko, paper-user and bibliophile
A friend thoughtlessly brought by a stack of DVDs yesterday, including the Read or Die OVAs. There are plenty of nits to pick, but I can't help liking a story in which the heroine lives surrounded by more books than are in Steven Riddle's library.
Soundtrack: Estampie, "Alle Psallite"
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Fri Oct 28, 2005
Thu Oct 27, 2005
Wed Oct 26, 2005
Here's an article on Bill Watterson, who is as good at disappearing as he is at cartooning. Robert the LLama Butcher suggests that this is Watterson's current gig. Nah; it's good, but it never reaches the level of deranged genius that Calvin & Hobbes did.
Watterson notes that this is not the golden age of the comic strip. This is true. The golden age began January 1, 1980, with The Far Side (yeah, it's Kliban-Lite overall, but Kliban didn't do a daily panel, and sometimes Larson was inspired), and ended Dec. 31, 1995 with the last Calvin & Hobbes. From the end of 1985 until the summer of 1989, every day you could read Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side and Bloom County. For a few years, there really was a good reason to subscribe to a newspaper.
Speaking of llamas, I discovered that there is a Llamacon scheduled for next February. It's apparently not devoted to Robert and Steve, though.
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At a recent anime convention, there was a panel discussion on "Spirituality and Anime," which unsurprisingly focused on Haibane Renmei. The panel included the English-language voice of Rakka and a couple of academics. One of the participants has posted a recording of the discussion, available here. I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, so I can't say how valuable the comments are or if there are serious spoilers.
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Tue Oct 25, 2005
Mon Oct 24, 2005
There's going to be one more week of repeats, I'm afraid. I've been fighting a virus or something similar for the past few weeks. So far it's a draw, but it's left me very tired. I hope you all don't mind if I go to bed early tonight. Here's a reel that's also known as "Merry Blacksmith."
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Sun Oct 23, 2005
I've uploaded a couple more reviews: Interstella 5555 and Tenchi Muyo!. The former, a collaboration between Daft Punk and Leiji Matsumoto, is an hour-long music video; the latter is the archetypical "harem comedy."
Soundtrack: Medieaval Baebes, "Verbum caro"
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Sat Oct 22, 2005
Attention Lain obsessives
Digital Manga Publishing is producing an English adaptation of yoshitoshi ABe's An Omnipresence in the Wired, a book of art connected with Serial Experiments Lain. They are adding eight pages to the book, and they are looking for suggestions on what to do with those pages. If you have some ideas, go make a nuisance of yourself.
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Fri Oct 21, 2005
New worlds and old
Here's another blasted list, this time of sf movies. Those I've seen are in bold; those I'd like to see again are in bold italics.
* The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension!
* Akira -- I've got brief reviews of this and Ghost in the Shell up here
* Back to the Future
* Blade Runner -- unfortunately, I'd read the book before seeing the movie, and I left the theatre furious
* Bride of Frankenstein
* Brother From Another Planet
* A Clockwork Orange
* Close Encounters of the Third Kind
* The Damned
* Destination Moon
* The Day The Earth Stood Still
* Escape From New York
* ET: The Extraterrestrial
* Flash Gordon: Space Soldiers (serial)
* The Fly (1985 version)
* Forbidden Planet
* Ghost in the Shell
* The Incredibles
* Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 version)
* Jurassic Park
* Mad Max 2/The Road Warrior
* The Matrix
* Metropolis -- I presume the Fritz Lang version is meant here; Rintaro's is beautiful and dull
* On the Beach
* Planet of the Apes (1968 version)
* Sleeper -- I used to like Woody Allen's books and movies, but I've completely lost my taste for him
* Solaris (1972 version) -- the book is very good, but I never got around to seeing either movie
* Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
* Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
* Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back -- This is where I gave up on George Lucas
* The Stepford Wives
* Terminator 2: Judgement Day
* The Thing From Another World
* Things to Come
* 12 Monkeys
* 28 Days Later
* 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
* 2001: A Space Odyssey
* La Voyage Dans la Lune
* War of the Worlds (1953 version)
(Via Robert the LB.)
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Bulletins from Lollipop Castle
America faces yet another crisis: a shortage of magical ponies.
For most of the 20th century, ponies were primarily used as imaginary companions for giggling pre-teen girls. However, the market base for ponies has expanded considerably in recent weeks and months, as liberal euphoria has reached such giddy heights that only brightly-colored, silken-maned, magical sparkly friendly talking flying ponies are capable of complementing.
Steven Den Beste thinks that mahou shoujo are the key to resolving the problem, but I'm not so optimistic.
Bettnet links to an article on Weblog Useability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. These include:
No Author Biographies
No Author Photo
Nondescript Posting Titles
Links Donít Say Where They Go
Classic Hits are Buried
The Calendar is the Only Navigation
Irregular Publishing Frequency
Forgetting That You Write for Your Future Boss
Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service
I suppose I could invent a few biographies for myself (the real story of my life is pretty dull). I probably look better in your imagination than in real life, so please forgive me if I don't post my photo.
You might find Iowahawk's advice on How to Blog Good more helpful.
John Lanius recently went on an expedition to the swamps near Washington, D.C., where he photographed some of the wildlife, including Robert the LLama Butcher and the Maximum Leader. Gee, they all look so normal.
Does associating with haibane increase the risk of avian flu?
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Thu Oct 20, 2005
Tue Oct 18, 2005
A strange urge to pick grapes
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Another contradance from 1,000 Jigs and Reels, etc.
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Mon Oct 17, 2005
From the Crystal User Group mailing list:
Subject: 187 signs you are spending to much time in your studio..
1. You not only tap in time to the signal indicators on your car, but know exactly how many BPMs they're flashing at.
2. You go to hear a symphony orchestra and while your significant other is listening to the music, you're calculating the polyphony required to reproduce it.
3. Your neighbors are always asking your wife about "those weird noises" coming from your house.
4. In addition to your in and out trays at work, you have one marked 'thru'.
5. Last Christmas you synced your Christmas tree lights to your TB-303.
6. The accelerator on your car has aftertouch.
7. You expect the cutoff frequency of your door to change when you turn the knob.
8. You hear thunder and marvel at how clean the low pass is.
(N.B.: some of the following are a bit off-color.)
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A contradance from Elias Howe's 1,000 Jigs and Reels, Clog Dances, Contra Dances, Fancy Dances, Hornpipes, Strathspeys, Breakdowns, Irish Dances, Scottish Dances and More ... for the Violin, Flute, Guitar, Mandolin, Tinwhistle, Recorder or any Treble Instrument. This Elias Howe (1820-1895) is not the Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine.
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Sun Oct 16, 2005
Roller skating in the ruins
Father and son
I recently sampled a couple of Rumiko Takahashi's franchises, Urusei Yatsura and Ranma 1/2. My reactions are here.
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Sat Oct 15, 2005
I've upgraded the software for this weblog. It looks like there is a problem with comments, but since 99% of the comments I've gotten this year are spam, I'm not that upset about it. I'll see if I can figure out how to fix it, but until then don't hesitate to email me at mac.com (at) Tancos (make the obvious switch).
Update: comments should be working now.
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Fri Oct 14, 2005
Crusader soap opera
If you have broadband, you can watch the Bolshoi/Grigorovich version of Raymonda tomorrow. Information is here. Featured dancers include Maria Allash and Sergei Filin.
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Realism of presentation
Would C.S. Lewis have liked Serenity? Bruce Edwards says yes.
(Via Jelly-Pinched Theatre.)
Incidentally, there are actually several movies currently or soon to be in theatres that I am interested in seeing: Serenity, Wallace and Gromit, The Corpse Bride, MirrorMask and Grizzly Man, and perhaps also Thank You for Smoking and March of the Penguins. This is unprecedented. I'm not much of a moviegoer, and it is seldom that there is even one film out at any given time that doesn't look like a waste of time.
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The title refers to a favorite pupil of the Scottish fiddler J. Scott Skinner. I transposed this tune up a fifth, from E flat to B flat, to keep the melody within the range of the flute.
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Thu Oct 13, 2005
"The finest reel in B flat extant," according to James Scott Skinner in The Harp and Claymore.
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Wed Oct 12, 2005
THREE THINGS I DONíT UNDERSTAND:
1. Cell phone addiction
2. Comment spam
THREE THINGS ON MY DESK:
1. Keyboards (QWERTY and MIDI)
2. Eighth Day Books flyer
3. Someday's Dreamers
THREE THINGS IíM DOING RIGHT NOW:
1. Listening to Helium Vola
3. Missing dance class
THREE THINGS I WANT TO DO BEFORE I DIE:
1. Write a great novel
2. Record a great CD
3. Get a good night's sleep
THREE THINGS I CAN DO:
1. Program a sequencer
2. Build and play a hammered dulcimer
3. Cross my eyes
THREE WAYS TO DESCRIBE MY PERSONALITY:
3. Mostly harmless
THREE THINGS I CANíT DO:
1. Grand pliťs in fifth position
2. Enjoy spectator sports
3. Smile on command
THREE THINGS I THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO:
(I don't think I need to mention Bach and Mozart)
3. The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
THREE THINGS I DONíT THINK YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO EVER:
1. [C]rap and hip-hop
3. Billy Jeff Blythe
THREE THINGS YOU SAY:
THREE THINGS YOUíD LIKE TO LEARN:
1. More music theory
2. More math
3. More botany
THREE BEVERAGES YOU DRINK REGULARLY:
1. Apple juice
THREE SHOWS YOU WATCHED WHEN YOU WERE A KID:
1. Moose and Squirrel
2. Dick Van Dyke
3. Green Acres
THREE THINGS YOU WISH PEOPLE WOULD LEARN TO DO:
1. Turn the teevee OFF
2. Turn the radio OFF
3. Turn the cell phone OFF
Blame Robert the LLama Butcher for this one.
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"What would Jesus do? Jesus would probably rise from the dead on the third day, ascend into Heaven, and sit at the right hand of the Father."
(Via Eve Tushnet.)
Soundtrack: Qntal, "Entre Moi"
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Tue Oct 11, 2005
A strathspey by the Robert Petrie (1767-1830) who didn't trip over the ottoman.
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Mon Oct 10, 2005
No longer a minor
Carnival of Music #18 is up. (If you have trouble reading it in your browser, try selecting all the text.)
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The Mary Sue Society
Now I'm mildly curious about Lost:
At one point, someone will pick up a copy of the novel The Third Policeman by the late Irish writer Flann O'Brien. The cover will be seen for about a second, ABC confirms....
It will be featured at a "key moment" in the show, Craig Wright, who co-wrote the episode with Javier Grillo-Marxuach, told the Chicago Tribune. Wright also said anyone familiar with the book will "have a lot more ammunition" in dissecting Lost plotlines.
(Via Absinthe and Cookies.)
I doubt that I actually ever will watch Lost, but I hope that the glimpse of the book cover will pique some interest in Flann O'Brien, one of the craziest writers of the 20th century. At Swim Two Birds is his best-known novel and a Certified Postmodern Classic(TM) (it's worth reading, nevertheless), but The Third Policeman is his strangest and my favorite. A quick google didn't turn up much that's useful about O'Brien; a couple of introductory articles can be found here and here.
(Later: If I were feeling mischievous, I'd note that O'Brien is the missing link between James Joyce and R.A. Lafferty, and that The Third Policeman is the demonic inverse of Haibane Renmei.)
From MamaT comes word that Terry Teachout is leaving Crisis magazine in part because "American filmmakers are now making so few movies worth seeing."
I find it difficult to understand how any intelligent, cultivated person could be a film reviewer, but I imagine it's possible if you genuinely love the medium and make an effort to find the good movies that don't get wide release. What I really don't get is how anyone with even minimal intelligence can stand to be a teevee critic.
Pooh poker, anyone?
Soundtrack: Helium Vola, "Selig"
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Another Irish reel. I'm sure somebody of note plays it, but I've never heard a recording of it.
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Sun Oct 09, 2005
I've posted reivews for Jubei-Chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch and Sugar, a Tiny Snow Fairy. The latter is noteworthy as an example of a kid's show that parents will enjoy as much as their children.
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Fri Oct 07, 2005
Jem Moore and Ariane Lydon (a.k.a. "Passages") added a Bo Diddley beat to this reel and called the result "Ships Are Jiving." It can be found on their Dancing With the Strawman album.
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Thu Oct 06, 2005
Wed Oct 05, 2005
Thought for the day
Mass today. Homilist quite good, quotes the poet Auden. Talks about how we usually think of love between a man and woman as having an infatuation phase and a "realistic" phase, the former seeing too much in a person. But Auden argued that the infatuation stage was more accurate, more realistic, because we are seeing with the eye of God, Reality Himself. When we see what they are capable of becoming - little less than angels - we then realize that thinking too well of people is more accurate in the long run than thinking less of them.
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Tue Oct 04, 2005
Mon Oct 03, 2005
"I'd rather be a pig than a fascist"
Here are some more screen grabs from a movie that's guaranteed to offend Muslim hysterics, Porco Rosso.
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