Monday, June 30, 2003

More manga goodness! There always seems to be many many more comics coming out than I can buy. I want more Mars on the manga front, but I can't stop being too cheap to buy them. Same with Watchmen or more Sandman. I'm too worried about being broke to buy anything, even though I know I'm going to get my check at the end of this week or next week.
Random Shit I've seen

A liquor store sign "The wait is over! Weapons of mass distraction are here!"

I saw a Darwin fish on someone's bumper. This is in Memphis, so this is strange.

A girl who interns in the mental health institute with me today wore a shirt that said 'are you crazy?'

My dog seems to have a hole in his fur through which you can see his skin. I noticed this when trying to draw him.

A few years ago, I saw roses blooming in November. They were beautiful.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Both lovely and terrible.
I watched an old Audrey Hepburn movie today. I really like old movies. You get the illusion that the movie was made just to be a movie, not a vehicle for product placement, commercials and soundtracks. I'm sure there were plenty of movie stars hawking this or that product, but since I don't see it, I still have the illusion that it's there to tell a story.

It's the same with anime. Overseas, they make mad cash on the merchandising, but since I don't see Oh My Goddess toys at the Happy Meal window, I can ignore that. I don't know why blatant merchandising annoys me, truthfully. I think it is because it sometimes detracts from the story. For example, if in a beautiful scene, some schmaltzy rap song cuts in just to they can put that song on the soundtrack and sell to the masses, that detracts from the movie.

I know I want quality entertainment and that doesn't come for free, but you can do a great movie on less than a million. (a lot of money for the regular Joe, but nothing for a movie studio) and really entertain without putting in all this other junk. Although I submit I am grossly ignorant of the movie making process. Just another random gal passing through, I guess.
Dude! It seems that Neil Gaiman will be working in comics again. It will also be interesting to see Dr. Strange get a good outing again. Dr. Strange has been one of my favorites since I found an early collection of some Ditko stories laying around. (Probably belonged to my father) The Dr. Strange essential has been on my 'to buy' list for a long time, too. I really like the idea of a magician, fighting all sorts of evil.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

It is really too bad that people continue to blame suicide on online groups instead of being the hard work and figuring out why these people were suicidal in the first place. People seek out ways to commit suicide when they are suicidal, they don't become suicidal because people told them it was cool. Some people may say that the mindset convinced them that were wavering on the edge to plunge over.

A problem with that is that you don't know what will cause that last straw, it can be your platitude about how they are terrible people for being depressed for all you know. I am aware that it is easier to blame and that grief's hard work and people tend not to be at their best during the grieving process. However, I hope that noone should have to die in vain. Just blaming removes our opportunity to change something to make suicide less prevalent. There could be more support, less stigma around depression, but instead we will get maybe a few more laws that don't do anything to help, and everyone will go back to their complacency.

Friday, June 27, 2003

There seems to be nothing that isn't sold back to us nowadays. Pepsi trumpets 'being you' and champion (I don't know the name of this company, it's an underwear company) has a commercial about being a champion in your own eyes. It sort of undermines the whole message since you know you are just being manipulated into buying stuff.

There's no real rebellion nowadays-nothing that really comes from the heart-just stuff that is bought and sold. Some people say "well, there's p2p, we're so rebellious!", however, that's not rebellion-people are still downloading the same old crap, the same old dull ideas just for free, instead of paying for it.

Even I don't have any original ideas. All of this spiel has not been terribly original, nor has it been presented in a new revolutionary way. Then again, it is not like anyone reads this, so I can entertain myself anytime I like.

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Canada is cool.
I really like Billy Joel's song 'The Stranger', because it seems to me to be about the hidden part of people that they refuse to acknowledge. That socially unacceptable part of yourself that you never show. For example, I really enjoy being taught African songs and dances. I know it's not socially acceptable to like something that hasn't been sold back to you, but it's lots of fun since it's very energetic and I have a craving for things that come from some place else than from the marketing guy's demographic sheet.

I'm rambling today, but that seems to me a problem with some people. Some people think that they are revolutionizing the world by downloading music, but the truth is that music companies won't lower prices, they won't suddenly decide to give it all away for free and they'll probably not take risks on good music. The problem here is that they are trying to change the world, but they are still holding on to that old 'the stuff you buy is your identity' worldview, in which buying a certain CD buys you entrance (even if it's just as a loser on the bottom) into affecting yourself as belonging to a subculture.

I'm not totally free of that, but I am pretty aware that we need to gain some values, and not the values that mean depriving others of rights and trying to strive towards a golden past that never existed. We should probably work to develop ourselves, instead of just blandly consuming what is out there to consume, all pre packaged and neat, but we won't, so why I am writing this long rambling thing is unclear.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I'm never going to be famous. My name will never be writ large on the roster of Those Who Do Things. I don't do any thing. Not one single thing. I used to bite my nails, but I don't even do that any more.
Dorothy Parker, Here Lies (1939), "The Little Hours"

Monday, June 23, 2003

I'm really tired and lazy lately. I need some real motivation here, but it wanes every day for me. I simply lack the energy to do anything I want to do. My best hours are spent at work and when I come home, I don't have to do anything but lay down, vegetate and sleep. Why am I so lazy?

Sunday, June 22, 2003

And in manga news, this page has surfaced leading to juicy rumors about Tokyopop and the Fruits Basket series. I hope Tokyopop keeps it up. Both comics and manga seem full of good stuff lately, and it only seems to be getting better.
Here is a nifty rhetorical trick to recognize, for easy countering. A common bigot's trick is to give a criteria that has nothing to do with the right or privilege that they want to withhold from group A, but that (this is the trick) categorically excludes group A. Then they try to say that this is somehow integral to the right or privilege which means group A can't have it, but the real point is just to exclude.

Here is an example from history. A long time ago, there were laws called Jim Crow laws. An example of this sort of law was the grandfather clause. You could vote if your grandfather could vote. However, no blacks could vote because their grandfathers had been slaves, and slaves couldn't vote.

So when you see this sort of reasoning, point it out. I hope I have helped.

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Today we have whiteness studies classes. While most classes such as history or art are about mostly whites, this class seems to deconstruct what it means to be white, instead of just being about being white in an unconscious way. Should be required for graduation, in my opinion. Also, some common myths about Affrimative Action, what you need to know before shooting off your mouth.

Friday, June 20, 2003

And yet again people are stupid. Don't buy a pet just because it looked cute in a movie. If you're not going to take care of it, don't buy it. And actually do research, don't just impulse buy a living thing, you total and complete asshats. Clownfish are saltwater fish, not freshwater, but I'm sure most of these people buying them will just think this fish can thrive in a goldfish bowl. Not to mention the danger to the environment posed by taking animals out of the wild just so they can go belly up in a tank.
Still crazy and sick, but you should all read A Child's Life. I am strangely fascinated by Phoebe Glockner, which is very strange, yet I guess even older teens can still have the strange fixtations of adolescence.

Monday, June 16, 2003

Also, it seems to be a shocker that a third of Americans know how to wipe their own behinds without instructions, let alone vote for the leader of the free world, although they probably don't vote since they haven't figured out what a 'president' is. Here is the story.
I just had a there are kids starving in Africa moment! Here's the story. I go to a summer program, in which participants gain teaching in science related subjects such as anatomy and chemistry, a $2000 stipend, and an internship. On Friday, people who were interning at Lebonheur(a children's hospital) were to go and get their shots so they could work there. This one girl who wasn't going there wanted to walk with them, but the medical student who was supervising said only that Lebonheur students could go there.

So instead of complying, she decided to grumble and cuss. I'm surprised at that sort of behavior. You can't just let people walk around the city without anyone knowing where they are. Does this girl know how expensive it is to be sued, and if the medical school got sued over this program that they probably wouldn't have it again? One selfish person could ruin it for everyone.

Not to mention that if you accept their money, you accept their rules. I know some people who would love to have that money and that internship on their resume for doing little more(up to now, we start internships tomorrow) than looking reasonably alert when someone tells us about some subject and looking like we are taking notes. It would take ten weeks of full time work at $5.15 (the minimum wage) to get two thousand dollars if we lived in a magical tax free world. Ten weeks of hard labor, and they are giving it to us for eight weeks of work.

Not to mention, in some parts of the world, two thousand is more than you could get in ten years if you worked all year. I'm not a real activist about that sort of thing- I like my cushy little American bubble too much for good taste, but at least I'm aware that I am spoiled as heck. I think that surviving college on a thousand bucks (although with the supplement of work study, and a two hundred and fifty scholarship check) is a big achievement. However, I am pretty aware that I am not doing badly.

I love my whining, but come on. I've seen this sort of behavior before too. I went to France once, and on the last day, they decided to have a drunken party(at 16!) and then complain when the teacher took away their bottle of wine. Like an authority figure who has a job to do is really going to let them act wild and crazy. Not to mention, these same people spent the whole time bitching about the food. I don't get how people go to a foreign country and then think they aren't supposed to eat any of the country's food. If you wanted to stay at home, stay at home. I saw some more of that bad behavior today. The director of the program decided to take us to an Ethiopian restaurant, and paid for us all to eat.

However, some people just had to bitch about it not being MiccyDs. This guy is paying for us to have an experience together, and people just bitching and being so ungrateful. The food wasn't that bad. That hot chickenish stuff they can keep, but the legumes(tasted like potato salad) and those greens were pretty yummy. But people really need to learn some values. I know I'm not the best person in the world, but I try not to be so much of a bitch. Come on, show some manners.

Sunday, June 15, 2003

My marketing demographic has been the same since late adolescence- I'm in the sensitive college kid demographic. Sensitive college kids are just beginning to enjoy the more high brow things in life through baby steps. Maybe the things that seem deep now will seem shallow as ever when experience sets in, but it doesn't hurt to try.

My personality lends it self more to that than the teen/frat boy demographic since I'm low energy and like the more relaxed things in life. For example, I wouldn't be caught dead in the club because that's the territory of high energy hot extroverts who like to dance. I want to relax and just be comfortable.

Saturday, June 14, 2003

Dang, they gave Spike Lee the injunction. I love Spike Lee- Do the Right Thing was great, for example, but there are a lot of other things, places and people named Spike out there. He's ruining his good name with such foolery, especially after resting on his laurels so long- although I submit that I haven't seen the 25th Hour.That sucks, because many other black films just plain suck.

I know they are going for the mass audience, which likes feel good tales about attractive people and their easily resolved problems, but I'd like more meat to my stories, and I don't mean sappy Oprah flicks like Antoine Fischer. Just because it's not all sugar and pie doesn't mean we have to get bogged down in bathos.
A lot of good fun today, as a company expresses interest in getting Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared out on DVD. It's good to see quality getting a new life on DVD, since I don't really like to watch TV. It's only on at the time they want it to be on, and I want to be entertained whenever, which is why DVD is more convenient for me. Whenever I get in the mood, I can just pop it in.

Also, on DVD, a good show can be archived years after its cancellation. For example, My So Called Life is one of the best example for future TV writers on how to write a minority character. They didn't pretend Ricky was just a white guy in a different skin color, yet he didn't go around saying "Look at me, I'm a wacky minority here to spice up your life". Ricky's story was treated with the same dignity and respect as the story of all the other characters, which is really hard to do with today's social climate, let alone how TV studios are.

Also, a blog details the funny things people say on amazon reader reviews. It's lots of fun when the whole nation gets together to type their poorly written and edited opinion. Of course, you could say that about blogs too, but since I'm doing it, it's cool.

Friday, June 13, 2003

I watched episodes six and seven of Rose of Versailles today, and it was great fun. By exploiting the inherent drama of the story of Marie Antoinette, and keeping the story moving while still dishing up conspiracies fed by the queen's own mistakes, ROV really keeps from falling into a rut.

Gary Groth is a bit too honest about his shortcomings as a business man. While honesty may be admired in theory, most people want simple stories about the little guy wronged, not complex stories with the fault being shared and ambiguities in the story. Although, I think it is pretty cool that he is so honest, if anyone wanted to be a comics entrepreneur, they could at least take the lessons of Fantagraphic's hard times to heart.

Also, there are some funny people who have come to Fanta's aid, and also more about Team Comix.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

I am offering Chance Pop Session one and Saint Tail Volume one for sale. I'll take the best offer. In other news, I am late, but still glad that Fanta is saved, and also, chilling Japanese suicide pacts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Man, people should know better nowadays. Animejunkie needs to get off of its high horse. There wouldn't be anything to sub if companies didn't produce anime(Urban Vision coproduced it, it's their stuff!) If you're just a parasite, don't think you're the whole show. Digisubbers, you're just a stop gap til we can get real DVDs into the marketplace.I know it's fashionable to act like all this stuff you're ripping off just magically regenerates, but it's not like that. Anime is a bit harder to defend because it's not a one person in the basement with their banjo affair. It takes time, talent, energy and money, not just a Japanese dictionary and a bad attitude.

And on a lighter note, animenewsnetwork shows us how to review an anime. Instead of merely saying "This was crap, only diehards need apply". It tells us why the reviewer didn't like it, and gives examples. If anime fans want to make their fandom seem less like the providence of little boys and more of a mature fandom, they need to learn how to express themselves. It's so funni!!!! may be well and good for a 12 year old, but by the time you're pushing 14, you better be able to at least express your self in complete sentences, and try to use mostly correct grammar. Also, remind yourself of why you review- it's because people won't go into purchases blind, right? However, being vague doesn't help because most anime is cute, and funny is different for everyone.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

I hate strapless bras. They won't stay on, even if you get the tiniest type and hook the last hook so it's super tight. I guess they are designed for women with actual breasts, but my nipples still show. I wonder if I should just buy nipple tape, if I can find any. Band-Aids really aren't very comfortable.
Sorry for blogging so much lately, but really, Fanta is having some huge blowout sales to get rid of that overstock. I have dibs on Ethel and Ernest!
Some nice hard facts about racism. I might disagree on what he says about ability tracking, but it's a good summary of indicators of discrimination.
Being colorblind is not the act of ignoring race. It is the act of knowing the difference and treating everyone respectfully all the same. If you ignore race, you can't do the work required to try to understand others. You don't have the power to control your perception, you are at the mercy of others. However, if you step up to the plate and try to learn and understand, you have the power to change things. Someone said that the antonym of forgetting is not remembering, but justice.

You can not erase the past, but you can try to understand the past in an attempt to create a better future. Also, here is some interesting modern art. Everyone listen to the audio for white chair. As long as you are willing to be educated, there is hope. When you only want to listen to your own voice, well, you're fucked.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

Here is an article on magical negroes. Some people may be complaining- they made us have black characters in movies, and now they want them to have actual character traits beyond one or two? Oh the horror! The problem about diversity in films is that it has to not just be for the sake of putting in a black, you have to give him a life, a family, a community. No man is an island. There are no randomly black kids flown in from Mars apparently, as they are the only black people in the movie. Yes, it would take work, research and thought to craft minority characterizations that are as fleshed out and compelling as the whites' characterizations, but I think the top writers in Hollywood are able to think on that deeper level, even if they don't want to.

Another race based site is I like this site because it comes at the problem head on. It doesn't dance around it with fancy phrases, it says "I'm not your little flower toy, so fuck off!"
Yay, killing the hooker (by Lea Hernandez) is going to be free all summer!
I just got Life of the Party, and really enjoyed it. It's full of those anecdotes that sound great in books, but you know that if it really happened to you, it wouldn't be very funny. For example, in one story Mary gets really messed up, and ends up wearing someone else's panties (among other interesting experiences). I especially like the art. It's half way between cartoonish and realistic with a bit of cubism thrown in for fun.
If this article is to be believed, the various Archie titles sell 800,000 to 900,000 per month. Comics fans say kids don't read comics, but I guess Archie isn't on their radar. Good simple stories that are sold everywhere seem to sell. I wonder if we can gain a lesson from this.

Friday, June 06, 2003

This is belated, but if you really want to support our troops, you need to do it by not trashing our country. Don't let Ashcroft expand the Patriot Act, don't let people talk big about programs and not fund them, and above all, don't let an election go by without your educated vote. Don't tell me you don't have time, you certainly have the time to be watching American Idol or whatever reality TV show is on- getting your news from someone besides Fox News or actually, just TV in general, doesn't take that long.

TV tends to flatten out the issues. Huge moral questions that are full of complexity are reduced to simple melodrama. While that gives them great ratings, it's not so good for people who actually need information to make decisions. There might be the occasional smart TV show, but you shouldn't rely on the TV for your information. Also, it's best to check more than one source. I'm not saying read ten newspapers a day, but if one day you listen to NPR, one day you watch Fox news, one day you read the local newspaper, one day you read the BBC's website, you get a more rounded picture of the world away from any liberal or conservative bias there may be.

And pick up a book people.You can still get more depth into the issue, because they have the whole length of the book to get into all the complexity and ambiguity. Pop in a book on tape during the commute to work. Education doesn't stop with what they make you read in school, you should be trying to learn something everyday.

Don't worry about your cool level or worry about stereotypes of book smart people without 'common sense'- if you had common sense in the first place, it's not going to disappear because you picked up a book, and if you didn't, at least book smarts will give you some advantage.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Today was a good day. I managed to fit in a little power walk around the pond. In other news, Fanta is rapidly gaining on its goal, and here's a funny quote from Newsweek's perspectives section. "Spitting on the ground is dangerous to your health, and spit contains infectious diseases. But with one small bag in your hands, your health will always be invincible" printed on white spit bags handed out in China.

I wonder if spitting in public will become a new national taboo in China. If that happens, maybe a hundred years from now, the idea of spitting on the street would be as unthinkable as the idea of sleeping with your grandma is to Americans.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I just watched a very good documentary on gay adoption on PBS. It didn't gloss over the problems-the desire of some of the children for mothers, the lack of child friendly places in say, the Castro, and adopting cross racially. On that specific issue, I am amazed at the maturity of the film on this. It acknowledged that yes, love isn't going to erase hundreds of years of prejudice, but still has a hopeful tone that maybe things can be worked out.

The smaller ambiguities and troubles were also well presented. I never have thought of the trouble that a guy who has grown up lip synching to Judy Garland would have raising a jock, or the worries they might have if he took to women's shoes, but both issues were raised without being smarmy. I don't watch much TV, so I am surprised when I find something that embraces complexity.

Most Americans live in a simple world it seems. Either this is right or it isn't. We have a two party system which tends to divide us right down the middle, and the dominant philosophies nowadays don't leave much room for ambiguity. So TV also carries that attitude.

It's either the whiny liberal Democrats with their special pork barrel programs or the greedy Republicans that are about to put us all out of doors after they cause world war three. Moderates don't get much airplay. I guess ratings aren't as high for moderates, and the media is a business, but that's pretty crazy.

These new FCC guidelines are a bit worrying to me, because I don't want to live in a country where all news is filtered through one company, instead of the two or three now.
Bookslut has a new issue out, with reviews of Krazy Kat and my hero of the day AR Ammons.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Good Fanta news- they are two thirds to their goal of $80,000! Come on folks, there are plenty of comics where that came from!
Today, I made a discovery. I didn't know that the UT medical center had its own candy. It tastes like orange and cream, and is really good.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

It's time for the June issue of Sequential Tart! I always would like to hear more from Jill Thompson, so this month's interview is pretty welcome.
Beautiful drawings, but I have never seen her comic work. Maybe I will someday.
This is a very interesting website on strippers viewed in a feminist light. I don't know what I think about strippers. I've only seen one once, stepping out of a private party in the dorms, and what surprised me most about her was her size. In my mental image of strippers, I pictured girls that were all at least five feet four inches, but this girl was five feet tall. While this is probably a silly thing to be shocked at for more worldly people, I was certainly surprised.

I at least know I couldn't be a stripper. It seems like you'd have to at least not fall off of the stage, and well, that's not my forte. I have a saying- I can do anything just as long as it doesn't have to be done quickly or well. Well, you certainly can't have a niche of 'falling off the stage' fetishes, so I don't think I'd last long.