Friday, December 31, 2004

A Year in Review

Another year is about to end, but not before the various departments of my life issue their annual review.

"Two thumbs at forty-five degrees."
- Re: General Overview

"At 28k a year not a cure for the common man, but good for insomnia nonetheless."
- Re: Law School

"Oops. Wasn't that a practice?"
- Re: The Election

"They need me more than I need them. Really. It's true."
- Re: Women

"Are losses tax deductible?"
- Re: Poker (Thank you very much, ESPN)

"Another reason to consider jabbing your eyes out with a hot iron."
- Re: Television

"It's hard, grueling work, and our viewers are relentless and rude. At least I'm getting paid. Er, wait, I'm not."
- Re: Fansubbing

"Wow. Bothered to stick with it."
- Re: Blogging

All in all, not a bad year. See you in '05.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

That idiot Tibor lost the key

More and more I find my speech has become infected with metaphor. I am like a character from Dumas, except I use television rather than classical antiquity as the source for my comparisons. It makes, I find, for peculiar sentances, all the more so because it requires on the part of the listener a commensurate knowledge of things trivial. The title expression is but one example, in that case an idiom to express personal incompetence without the actual admission. It, like a startling number of its ilk, have been farmed from the Simpsons, but I actually refer to a full range of various programs, as befits a man who has squandered much of life in front of the TV.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Struggling against SARS

We at Japan-TV had started subbing a show called Orange Days a few months ago. But then, as is somewhat common among volunteer organizations, personality disputes erupted into open warfare, and some members quit. They later teamed up with another small fansubbing organization and formed SARS. Most of the OD crew departed for SARS, leaving us with the equally difficult choices of essentially starting over or dropping the show entirely. We ultimately decided to persevere.

As you might expect, the program has become something of a bone of contention. We feel entitled to it because we were the ones who started it in the first place, while they feel justified in continuing because they were (in large part) the original subbing team assigned to it. Releases for Orange Days have taken on the characteristics of relay races, as both groups shepard the series through the subbing steps as fast as possible, motivated primarily by vanity and hurt feelings.

Personally, though I found some of the actions SARS members took when leaving Japan-TV, trivialities for the most part, but calculated to leave behind injured sentiments, distasteful, I have no particular hatred for them as a whole. This lack of vehemence has actually gotten me into a little bit of trouble with the rest of Japan-TV, some of whom feel genuinely hurt, and others simply revelling in the warm glow of antagonism. Still I remain committed to ambivelence, not only because I see little to gain from this petty war, but also because I happen to have been on passibly good terms with some of the SARS people otherwise uninvolved in the fighting.

As a loyal member of Japan-TV, I intend to do my best to see we beat SARS to the Orange Days finish line, and that we do so with a superior product too. Still, I wish them all the best they can get without taking any from us, and as they are the ones doing Gokusen, I'm sure they'll do alright.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Life, art, and some imitation somewhere inbetween

I find I have trouble keeping my mind under hand. While in furthering the cause of any other pursuit, be it of exceeding importance or trivial vanity, my imagination grabs hold of the slightest diversion. My thoughts are often dominated by the most frivilous conjecture, such as the ability of a given piece of real-estate to survive a zombie attack. Sometimes I look somewhere and see not trees or rocks or benches, but AWP nests, foxholes, and spawn points. Perhaps even more disturbing is the fact that the rest of me seems quite capable of carrying on with my life even as the brain wanders off into absurdity.

Odd as this may seem to some, I think it is to be preferred to having never entertained such thoughts at all. Life, though it has plenty of demands, more than you could ever actually fulfill, is yet somehow incomplete without idle, fantastic, speculation. For myself, I live in as many worlds as I can find, and I revel in the escape they provide knowing, in the end, I have as sanctuary this pleasent reality.

If you want my advice, then, I suggest as much idle imagination as you can get. It's easy, free, fun, and ultimately you may find life obtains a kind of whimsy, just by thinking it so.

Sunday, December 26, 2004


Here we go:

Die Hard Complete Collection
Robotech Remastered: 2
Robotech Mini-DVD ep 2
A Short History of Byzantium
Fifteen Byzantine Emperors in Profile
DVD Burner
Wallet and Keychain
Sharpe's Eagle
Imperial Guard Karskins
Hickory Farm's Meatstick
Henry Weinhart's Rootbeer
Sundry Cash and a Gift Certificate


A Lump of Coal (seriously)

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Happy Gift Day

I will leave aside, at least for another day, expressing my amusement at the perpetuation of old pagan traditions "Christmas" represnts and instead wish everyone pleasent holidays.

For my own part, I celebrate "Gift Day." I exchange gifts with people celebrating Christmas because I chose to be tactful in my rejection of their religion, and because it is a convenient forum for expressing general appreciation. So, Happy Gift Day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Oh, aside from my maginificent bowling performance, there is one other event worth memorializing. Today is my parent's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Yup. Married twenty-five years ago this december 22. I was born in May. If you think you hear the sounds of someone loading a shotgun, you aren't the only one. Still, they've managed to make it work well enough.

Good for them.

Turkey Shoot

Yesterday I went out with a friend of mine. He's in Japan most of the time, teaching English as part of the JET program, but he came back for the holidays. After exhausting our other options, we were obliged to turn to bowling. I personally find the "sport" somewhat silly, and it had been quite some time since my last outing. At the time, though, there seemed little else to do and I didn't think of pool until it was too late.

I have never had a particular aptitude for the game; it is an accomplishment simply to roll the ball in a strait line. Although I never really kept track, I think I have a lifetime average of somewhere near seventy. This is a respectable score for your average five year old, but that's okay. Nobody is good at everything. So, given my previous history, I wasn't really expecting much.

You can imagine my surprise, then, when I managed to bowl four strikes in a row. It was a singular feat of athletic prowess, one that left both of us quite impressed, at least, with the violation of the law of averages if not my actual bowling ability. After the third strike, the monitor rendered a crude turkey standing atop three X's. Then a fourth. Truly it is a highwater mark in my participation with this idiotic pasttime.

Oh, and I finally managed to break 100! My four strikes managed to boost me into the 120's. I might turn pro, but I hear it's all politics.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Saturday on the Western Front

Drove down to Los Altos today for a rousing day of boardgames. Now, I can imagine many of you would find the prospect somewhat dull, and I do not judge you too harshly for your imperfection.

Got there around noon, and left a little before ten. In between, I got to play The Napoleonic Wars, and Paths of Glory, both manufactured by GMT. TNW is a large multi-player game that simulates Napoleon's wars of the early nineteenth century. I played France's doormat, otherwise known as Austria. Although I managed to inflict a few good hits on the imperial steamroller, I actually spent most of the game as a bystander following the loss of Vienna to French forces. Britain manages a dominating victory in the end.

Paths of Glory is a WWI boardgame, benefitting from a flexible and fast rules system, it's possible to slaughter an entire generation of European youth in a few hours. I played the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungry for those of you who are insufficiently well read) and lead the Kaiser's armies to glorious victory over Flander's fields.

Oh, and it was my brother's birthday. Yippee.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

On the other side

Well, done with all my stupid finals. I actually had only four finals, though I had five classes, as one of them required a paper instead of a test. Although it is always somewhat difficult to judge such things, I think I did well enough. There was nothing in any of the tests that left me completely clueless, so I know at least that I didn't completely bomb.

It remains to be seen whether or not my performance will prove merely adequate or if it should rise to the dignity appropriate with my more optimistic expectations, but at the very least it appears to be an issue between these two alternatives. Nothing to do now but wait and see.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ad Vitam, Ad Astra

Well, I just finished watching Ad Vitam. It's also known as Immortal, or in Japan where it is due out soon, God*Diva. It's a French film, and more information on it can be found either here or by googling. Though it was made in France, it was originally produced in English and then later dubbed into French, so it is not only possible to find an English language version, but it is quite easy.

The movie itself is a sci-fi film with impressive cgi, awesome cityscapes, and excellent character designs. It is a visually stimulating movie, and certainly worth a viewing on that account alone. The score is largely forgettable, but at the least it does not detract from the vivid imagery, which is as I've already said, quite spectacular.

There are a number of themes running through the film, only some of which are really explored. The movie also seems to have a number of subplots, and indeed it seems to be almost a collection of subplots in some ways, very few of whom are completed. In many ways it feels like there is too much going on in one movie, and there are a number of interesting subplots which seem otherwise able to carry a movie on their own. The end leaves you a little disappointed because it not only chose to resolve a very few of the outstanding issues, but in my mind it picked the ones of least interest.

Even so, it was an enjoyable experience. Parts of it seem somewhat disjointed, and as I said it leaves a lot of fascinating directions almost completely unexplored. Still, Ad Vitam is definetly worth a view.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Pointless Factoid IV

The image on the Queen from a deck of playing cards was based on Elizabeth of York, mother of Henry VIII. Neat.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Finals, Fall 2004

Well, it's Final's period at SCU. From now until December 16, nothing but studying. No movies, not TV, no computer games.

No problem.