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Tora-Con Ahoy

Look, look, I'm using my LiveJournal!

Going to Tora-Con in Rochester, NY this weekend.  Not only have I been officially "guested" at this con (mostly thanks to the bit where they get me essentially for free provided I share everything w/Hil and Poe) but I'm getting a giant robot panel of my own.  It will run long.  This I promise you.

So... if any of my legion of people who once upon a time friended me (back when "friended" was an awkward turn of phrase and not the common verb that it is today) live in upperly NY and have a hankering for Animes, you should consider  swinging by to say hi.

New Moon Musings

Having been forced to watch Twilight last year and now with the growing mass of internet wanksplosion surrounding the upcoming release of the New Moon movie (and given that I'm such a fan of Twilight as a whole) I figured that I might as well learn more about the upcoming movie.  And rather than actually read the book (I'd rather face down another Ayn Rand, thanks) or wait for the movie to come out, I asked my bibliophile fangirl of a wife for a quick quick rundown.  The following conversation is the result.  

To hell with the innocent, names have been changed to protect the obviously guilty.

Me: So what exactly is Twillight 2: Electric Bugaloo about anyway? 
Wife: Well, remember how there weren't werewolves in the first movie, but there WERE Native Americans? Well, it turns out the Native Americans actually ARE werewolves, but only when there are vampires around. 
Me: Wait, so they're lycanthropically allergic to the pretty sparkly vampires?  That's awfully... convenient, in an oddly contrived sort of way.
Her: Yes, and since the vamps are hanging around so Edward can stalk Bella more efficiently, that means they've all become werewolves. Then Edward wanders off to brood, Bella falls in with the werewolves, and eventually there's a vampire/werewolf turf war. 
Me: Oooohhh, a turf war. But is there... snapping

(singing) 

When you're a Vamp, 
you're a Vamp all the way, 
From your first sip of blood 
to your "Van Helsing" day. 

When you're a Vamp, 
If the sun hits your face 
We just stand there and sparkle 
We're the awesomest race! 

You're never alone, 
You're never disconnected! 
You're home with your own: 
When werewolves are expected, 
You're well protected! 

Then you are set 
With a capital V 
Which you'll never forget 
Until eter-ni-ty 
When you're a Vamp 
You stay a Vamp! 

(spoken) 

EDWARD: I don't know what to do, I'm so deep and emotionally conflicted and not at all a poorly written cliche. 

BELLA: I don't know, Edward. And why are you in my room again at 4 AM standing over me while I sleep? 

EDWARD: You're right, Bella, I *should* try something new. 

BELLA: I'm not sure how you got that from what I said, but I'm an inherently weak-willed womany type and won't argue with you. Have you considered... brooding? You already have the hair for it. 

EDWARD: I just had a great idea! I'll try brooding! 

(Edward wanders off without finishing the musical number, forgetting that the filk actually ought to go on for another two or three verses, leaving Bella alone) 

BELLA: *sigh* Isn't he dreamy? Maybe one day I'll have his child... forcefully rip it's way out of my body. 





I would like to officially apologize to anyone who's ever seen, heard, or been in West Side Story.

JTV - More Birthydeathsuckday Fun

So, somehow my feeble machinations on http://www.thewebcomiclist.com and the brief mention of my comic a few days ago have managed to raise JTV's rankings from a lowly 10562 all the way to 9547... a positive raise of 1015 slots.  I now stand firmly between 9546 (Rebellion... apparently a story about memory loss) and 9548 (Pens, Paper, and Ammo... "A random collection of insanity from the brain of Mrs. Thallium.")

Now, I don't know if these were pitty clicks, but if they were... keep'em coming!  Now that I'm above the 10,000 mark, I'd rather not like to go back to the dungeons.

Jim The Viking: Death, Rebirth, Redeath

So I'm pleased to see that, according to http://www.thewebcomiclist.com, I am ranked 10562 out of the 10827 webcomics they have. Now, given that JTV has been more-or-less dead for years (and was never actually that good in the first place), I've just got to ask... who are the 265 losers who are ranked below me?

Well, it turns out that Lucky #10563 is a little webcomic called Baka-kun that, much like JTV, hasn't been updated since 2006 (according to this website, which is not accurate to say the least).  The plot is listed as "Starting with the relaunch, Baka-kun investigates the worlds of parody and satire as the new crew learn to not strangle each other."

Now, I could continue to rattle off all those ranked under me and berate them for not trying hard enough to beat ME... and perhaps some day, if I have time, I will... however I feel the need to highlight at least one other.  Coming in right near the bottom, at 10776, is one of the best-named webcomics I've ever seen... 

RoboNinja Vs DinoPirates

It appears to be at least 3 years deceased, and god only knows what it was actually about (I'm at work, therefore affeared to go clicking around too much), but that is undeniably an awesome name.  For them to have ranked that much lower than I... dear god, I don't know which god you pissed off, creator of this comic, but you sure did piss him/her/it off good, didn't you?


BTW, for refference, Errant Story is ranked 43 of 10827, 2 under Dilbert, and Exploitation Now is still sitting pretty at 3146, three times my own ranking.

Work-time Stress

First of all, even though I don't declare where I work by name and won't reference it directly... according to the new "Anti-Blogging Policy" they've recently enacted, I have to clearly state that the views and opinions I am about to express do not represent the views, opinions, or policies of my said unnamed workplace.

After having gone through that mess, I think you can possibly see some of the problems I'm encountering at work recently. About a year ago, I took a change of position within the company itself, to be one of the front-runners of a new department that was forming. Not only was it considerably more money, but it was also the opportunity to boldly go where we'd not gone before. I was excited.

Now, almost a year in, I'm ready to die. It's not that I don't enjoy the job - I do. I like what I'm doing, and I'm good at it. Being completely honest and not braggartly at all, I probably know more about the various levels of the job than anyone else does. The job itself isn't the problem... the politics are. I can't stand fucking job politics. "This has to be done this way because some guy six levels up who has no idea what we're doing or how it's done." "You can't contact the people who can actually help you, you have to call someone else who has to call someone else in order to get authorization to do what we're actually paying you to do." "Oh, the executives from the high up offices took everyone to a hockey game tonight. Except you. You have to come in."

There's been some recent upheavals - we finally picked up the remainder of the work we were supposed to be doing in the first place (there've been a lot of distractions that've come up)... 3rd shift carries most of the burden of the extra work, since most of it needs to be done in the middle of the night when the systems we're interfacing with are all offline... unfortunately, nobody really told the people of 3rd shift (of which I am one) what was going to go on, how bad things were about to get, what would be expected of us... we didn't get any advanced notice at all, just a memo to show up for a meeting a few weeks ago. A meeting the executives had scheduled in the MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING DAY, I should point out.

The worst part is that, a few days ago, the highest official at my specific office said that they needed to speak to me in person (this after I was raising some issues involving another employee who hasn't been there nearly as long yet somehow mysteriously believes he knows more than everyone else) about something. She wouldn't say WHAT she needs to talk to me about, just that she does... she missed our 'appointment' a few days ago, and due to my crazy schedule I won't have an opportunity to have this meeting until Monday AM. That means the entire weekend, I get to stress about what it is she needs/wants from me. It doesn't have to be bad - the supervisor didn't know what was going on, said nothing bad had been mentioned to her, so she said if it IS bad it couldn't be THAT bad.

Still, I worry... it's my nature. So, my entire night off Thursday was spent stressing out... and my entire night tonight will be too. Whatever happens, I'm staying as late as I need to on Monday to ensure I get my audience before New Years.

The Golden Rule of Copyright

This is the fruit of a long and actually very productive Hilary started on her forums about anime and downloading. I've come to an epiphany about the nature of copyright... it's brilliant, it's simple, it's sleek.


If you paid for it, everyone else should have to pay for it too.
If you got it for free, don't make money giving it away again.


That's all there is to it. Think about it...

The Battlefleet (Apology) Megazord

I've been a devout megazord collecter since the 4th season of Power Rangers, and there's never been a season quite like this season... it's had me (and a majority of the other collectors out there) banging our heads into walls and rubbing our eyes in disbeleif since it began.... but it looks like it's finally going to right itself, even if it is with the last Megazord of the year.

To clarify (for those not already aware of this situation)...  Normally, we in the US get a cheaper-made but still similar version of the far nicer, more detailed Japanese versions of the megazord each season.  Electronics will be stripped out, plastic parts substituted for the original diecast pieces, quality of the detail and paint will be less so, but they're at least similar to one another.  The pieces between the US and Japanese robots are reverse-compatible, which means that when the US decides not to sell whatever 'chase' megazord piece of the season they opt to leave out (the most infamous was in Power Rangers Wild Force, where they left out the Elephant... which was one of the main zords they used in almost every episode) diehard collectors have the option of purchasing the japanese counterpart.

Not so for Operation Overdrive.  Instead of getting a copy of the 12 inch incredibly articulated richly detailed part-metal Japanese Daibouken, we got... a 15 inch tall plastic with 6 points of articulation, no detail, and no metal.  It didn't even transform the same way... the Daibouken's helmet comes off to reveal a non-helmeted head, allowing you the option to switch out helmets depending on which mode you're in... where  the US version's head is one solid detachable brick of cheap plastic.  

Here's a side-by-side picture of them for comparison:  Daibouken on the left, Drivemax Megazord on the right.



That wasn't the end of the assult, however.  No, not by a long shot. 

There's also a second megazord designed to merge with the Daibouken/Drivemax.  Called the DualDrive Megazord (don't remember it's japanese name), it consists of five support vehicles that can either merge with the DriveMax or can form their own megazord.  When the toy came out (just last week), what did we get?  We got the exact same core as the DriveMax except painted black with two relatively correct support zords (drill and crane, which make up the arms) but ugly crappy hollowed out incomplete versions of the other two zords for the feet.

So instead of getting (left - a picture from the show), we got (right - no picture from the show to match, since this doesn't technically exist)...




And then there's the Flashpoint Megazord next to it's US counterpart...



What, you only see one picture?!?  That's right, it's not even being released in the US.  Not at all.

So... after all that, I'd been looking forward to what autrocity they were going to commit with the biggest baddest Zord of the season... the Battlefleet Megazord.  Five component zords become either a huge battleship or a huge megazord with spinning fists, lots of metal, lots of detail... I expected the worst.

Well, I finally saw the Battlefleet Megazord toy this afternoon.  (I did not BUY it, not yet, waiting to find out whether Jacque's job is going on strike first).  It is... awesome.  We got, as far as I can tell, the most faithful exact replica of the Japanese version that I've ever seen.  It's big, it's heavy, it's detailed, it's all the right colors, it's fists spin... I still have to crack one open to be sure, but it appears that they went all out with this last zord set.  

My theory is that, realizing what a horrible mess they'd made of the season by botching the first megazord (and thereby screwing up through assosciation the rest of them) that they almost HAD TO do a good job on this last one to earn back some credit from the fans who were so pissed off about all this. 

Friday Night Fu (Episode 001)


Friday Night Fu (Episode 001)
"Friday Night Fu (Episode 001)" on Google Video
Episode 1
Original air date August 17, 2007

The Movie: The Guy with Secret Kung Fu
1981, dir. Joe Law
There are two guys, not one, and the kung fu isn’t secret at all. Go figure. Two rebels are recruited to take on the infamous Dragon Gang. Along the way, they rescue a beautiful damsel on distress, team up with the daughter of a crusty coffin maker, and fight off the hungry attacks of a really fat zombie.

The Fu:
A bigass welcome back from the Fu Crew! Episode 1 went off with a few hardly missable bumps - the movie died on us at one key point; I forgot to turn my mic on in another; my mic just up and fell off during one host segment; and Director Matt, fresh out of the Nick Nolte Institute for Better Living, was a bit rusty at the helm. And yet it wasn't too shabby, all things considered. The movie was plenty fun (how far can you throw a coffin?). La Lohan stopped by for a few minutes, as did the no-longer-fat Fat Zombie from the movie. And, of course, much time was spent with our dear pal Professor Fu. Not bad for the first show!

FRIDAY NIGHT FU!

Yes, I used all caps.  Few things deserve it as much as this does.

Many many years ago (over 8, at least) there was a tiny little tv station here in cincinnati which didn't get any love from anybody.  It was very... very much like Weird Al's tv station in UHF.  They had a mix of satellite feeds from strange (and now extinct) sat channels like Network 1 (which brought us "Japanamation" two nights a week) and some highly eclectic local programming.  Highly eclectic.

Well, eventually the station got picked up by the fledgling UPN, making it their Cincinnati network operative.  Most of the crappy network programming fell away, but from this demise rose a new and wonderful thing: Friday Night Fu.  Combining two things I love... Kung Fu movies and Making Fun of Bad Movies into one hybrid concept... presenting (and mocking) bad Kung Fu Movies, Friday Night Fu was around for 2-3 years and was a staple of my television diet. 

Alas, as all good things oft do go, FNF (later just called 'The Fu' during it's 3rd season Saturday run) slipped into obscurity and was not continued.

UNTIL NOW!!!!

I missed the first episode (Damnit, damnit, damnit!) which aired last night, but they're back.  I'm going to try and record it here, however since I've got peeps in the city, I'm also going to implore them to set up a vcr for me.

If you live in or around Cincinnati, I strongly recommend you a) Write to TimeWarner and request they carry the 'real' local channels like 25 and 38 and not just the digital CinCW that they've opted to carry and... I can't believe I'm gonna say this about something else but... b) tape trade?  I know The Fu can't officially endorse this line of action, but I can't think they'd be overly against it.  To those of us not around here, I suspect it may be the only way...

The Chris Benoit Thing

I think we all have a dark side that we fear.

I was, once upon a time, a fan of Pro Wrestling, especially a tenacious little scrapper from Canada named Chris Benoit.  So of course, learning about the crap that happened of late, the events leading up to his death, especially as we find out more and more about the really bad things that went down, can't help but remind me of something from my own past.  See, there was a guy I went to highschool with...  

Now, to preface, my highschool had an abnormally high mortality rate.  Something to do with rednecks, shotguns, alcohol, and the fact that they built at least one of the major schools in our district on an Indian Burial site.  (No, I'm not kidding).

But back to the guy.  He was smart, funny, well liked, always ran with what I considered to be the cool crowd.  For my highschool, that actually meant our Marching Band - the sports jocks had their own cool crowd, but the jock cool crowd was the most sorry, depressing excuse for a clique you've ever seen.  No, in my school, anyone who was anyone was in the Band.  And he was in the band.  Hell, for his class, he kinda WAS the band.  He was iconic. 

He and I shared a number of interrests, and he and I were prone to be thrown on assignments together whenever we had the same class because I was one of the few people that could keep up with him/surpass him on intellect and speed of wit.  While we were not 'friends' in the conventional sense, I still held him in great respect.  I sensed in him a kindred spirit, a person I could relate to.

And then, one day a couple of years after he graduated, he came home one afternoon high on any number of frequently trafficed substances and, with a large knife, killed the mother of his child while the baby watched on.

Now, I know that they say that drugs can make a person do all sorts of things.  And I've seen some insane stuff throughout the years that fully supports that theory.  But, I will say, that I've never seen drugs make a person deliberately do something that wasn't already within them, part of their capacity, something that they could possibly have done without the drugs helping them.

And then, thinking of the similarites between he and I, I started to worry.  Could I turn rogue?  I don't do drugs, but I do have a temper, and have on at least one occasion gone overly dramatic on someone.  Could that be me plastered over the front of the local paper?  Could that be me, the source of endless gossip?  Is that darkness within me, as it was within him, waiting for something or someone to show it the way to the surface?

So, as I said at the top... I think we all have a dark side that we fear.  But I'll correct that now:  I hope we all have a dark side that we fear.  Because, this is one of those times where I suspect fear is good.  It's the people who say self-confidently "That could never be me, I'm not going to be that guy"... those are the ones more likely to fall.  We fear, because we suspect it could possibly be us one day... and that fear might just be the thing that keeps it from being us one day.