foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
I still get sad about how (from my POV at least) the whole Safety Pin thing went down.

I wore one for a few weeks after the election, but pretty soon I gave up and fled the circular firing squad.  The message I was getting was, "If you wear one of these you had better be perfectly right-thinking and also a superhero highly trained in conflict de-escalation and preferably a martial art or two."  It wasn't enough to say "I'm safe" as in "I intend in good faith not to hurt you," it had to be "I'm a savior; I will keep you safe," but then you got into (justifiable) criticism of the white liberal savior syndrome...  At any rate just a simple gesture of solidarity didn't feel wanted or good enough.

Some days that does fill me with as much political despair as anything else.
foxinthestars: a solid black square (blackout)
Doing my small bit for SOPA Blackout Day. If you're a US citizen, please write your Congresspeople via the EFF; if not, please help spread the word!

(You've all seen this trick before; highlight to view the text.)

Hell, I'd say it's pretty timely as I'm here in the middle of an unauthorized translation project. Seriously, if you go over to that little LJ-comm you'll find the approximately four people there posting rips and scans and screenshots and unauthorized translations, and this Psychic Force thing brings it home for me that in fandom, we should be aware of the legal lines as best we can, but I don't think we can draw a bright clear line around "transformative = good fanning; piracy = bad fanning,"---especially in the non-Western fandoms where getting access to the material to begin with might require going outside the legal bounds, and in any language you can get into situations where the source is out of print (and the ancillary materials way out of print), approaching a choice between "pirated" or "dead." Which brings me to the point that they're talking of breaking the internet essentially just to shore up somebody's dinosaur business model. Yes, we should find a way to pay artists a decent living and see that the kinds of media we love remain viable, but "piracy" also reflects new opportunities, and impulses and values that are worthy of respect. See the above "out of print" issue; the old way was notably bad at making the widest range of material accessible to the widest range of people, and I think most of us can acknowledge access to works of the mind as an intrinsic moral good.

So yes, we should stand up to these proposed laws because they'll hurt more than just the intended "pirates," but we --- especially we as fans --- should also challenge the whole narrative of "piracy." I yield the soapbox.

On a happier note, today is Wendy!

Video on Nico Nico Douga (requires free registration)

Wendy's Story, English and Japanese )

Next up is Wong's story---in which we find out what's wrong with that guy (and I get to deal with his penchant for Chinese proverbs; thank gods for Japanese Google...).

P.S: For cheap laughs, paste the transcriptions into Google Translate and see what it comes up with. Here’s its rendition of Wendy’s encounter with Genma:

Wendy: That's you? What is shaved and I saw on the sumo Katsuage. . . I'll not listen to rumors!

Until now the Nuuu, seeking eagle'll just fold Fuse! Lord also 有Ri金 your stingray at Yuke!

Wendy: If in a hurry. . . I need a little punishment?


Wendy: The opponent has not shaved castor fishy smell.

P.P.S: In case anyone else wants to play along, this was my old-school low-tech redacting method (just replace square brackets with angle brackets): [FONT style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000" color="#000000"]blackout text[/FONT]
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
Politics has gotten so disgusting that on my iGoogle homepage I put the GoogleNews gadget on the Sci/Tech tab. I don't know what any of it is about, and that's a huge relief. I also think I dislike Lawrence O'Donnell as a TV personality/host. Keith or Rachel he ain't; the other night I ended up skipping darjeeling tea just to get away from the TV while Dad was watching him... (I might need a box of Twinings Irish Breakfast, tho, I love that stuff.)

Anyway, more FY Mirrorverse draft!

[Note for future reference: the story to date can be found at and under the NaNo2010 tag.]

My post-NaNo goal is not yet firm, but it's something like one thousand words per day (with more leeway for days off) and/or one chapter per week, so roughly halving the NaNo pace. Hopefully I can stick with it...

And one more scene from where I left off finishes another chapter )

***This right here, BTW, this is the danger of making your characters too powerful; you must then apply bulls**t to get them into trouble you need them to be in. This is exactly why, in all the Castlevania fanfic stuff, I never let Alucard turn into a mist like he does in the game.
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
Okay, breaking into my stream of NaNo posts with a politics bit, which I have shied away from politics some lately, but this one has literally been bugging me for years, and this from Reuters brought it up for me again.

First: Go Amnesty International.

But what's bothered me for years has to do with this bit: "waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning condemned by some as torture."

Now, my understanding is that "controlled drowning" would be more accurate than "simulated drowning," but leaving that aside, I completely do not get the uncertainty as to whether waterboarding is torture. Thinking back, I seem to recall that Bush's lawyers had created this convenient but disgustingly, barbarically, criminally permissive definition of torture, and the definition was: it's not torture unless it feels like organ failure or death.

Under that criminally permissive definition, waterboarding clearly qualifies. Even if you call it "simulated," no one is disputing that it's meant to create in the recipient the sensation that they're drowning --- ie, that their respiratory organs are failing and they are going to die.

Seriously, it's not complicated.


Apr. 7th, 2010 07:56 pm
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
Dad went off on one of his Confederate apologetics kicks. Not as disgusting at that phrase might imply, but enough that I'm now steaming mad and don't have anything to do about it. Grr...
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
(crossposted to LJ)

First, an overdue housekeeping note for the folks on LJ, and I apologize if this is rude, again. Crossposting everything from DW, it pretty much felt like I was on LJ anyway, and LJ just isn't agreeing with me. I wanted to get back to the unselfconsciousness I had when I first moved, so I'm no longer crossposting by default, only when I actively choose to. In the past week I also had a linkblogging project of going through the whole Castlevania series via online playthroughs and I figured it would bore everyone but me anyway... If you want to take a look over there, remember I also set it to allow anonymous commenting (I think; let me know if it gives you trouble), so you could comment over there as easily as possible.


I am completely uninterested in the Olympics. Of course, I've been this way for probably fifteen years or so. When I was at University and even more of a Japanophile than I am now (maybe I should get out my old one or make a new "cranky old Japanophile" userpic) they had the Winter games in Nagano, and even that didn't make the Olympics remotely interesting to me. Stephen Colbert couldn't even make them interesting to me on his own show.

On the upside, if Dad watches the Olympics all evening, it might actually be a good thing to try to break my Olbermann/Maddow habit. I've been flirting with politics fatigue, but the habit is hard to break...
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
It seems like, hanging out around artists, talking copyright issues is kind of a bomb-throwing enterprise. Talking about abortion gets me into less trouble.

But I do like, and their "minute memes" videos they're doing.

A new one came out today, and it's just cool to watch: "All creative work builds on what came before."

Here's the previous one: "Copying is not theft."

These were done by Nina Paley, who of course also made Sita Sings the Blues. (Yup, a full feature-length movie, made mostly by one person, who put it right there on YouTube herself. Damn good movie, too.)

Obviously we need some way to pay artists, but some people (like the YouTube commenter about "never be another penny for R&D") need to remember that economic advantage isn't the only thing that motivates people. I mean, there are plenty of webcomics artists, to take an example, doing great work that they don't even break even at; while that's not a good situation, it suggests that artistic activity won't grind to a halt without profit. That's not even to mention the fan-creative community, who are prevented by copyright from making profit on their work (are indeed threatened with huge expenses for doing it), but who unstoppably soldier on with it anyway. As for R&D, people want to cure diseases and make new inventions not only for money, but also because it would help people or be an awesome thing, and those considerations balance differently for different people. Indeed profit drive can in some cases be a perverse incentive; when the goal is to sell something new and make money rather than provide a new and greater benefit, how little innovation (ie, work and risk) can one get away with in order to reap the profit? (Drug patents and software versions are some egregious examples of this.) Again, not that these people shouldn't profit for their work and discoveries, but balancing incentive and access for the greatest good is far more complicated than "intellectual property for the win".
foxinthestars: cute drawing of a fox (Default)
The bed was successfully delivered! It's definitely different (and taller than I expected) but I don't think I'll have much trouble getting used to it... ^_~

As for "adult content," I was musing on the absurdity of how people freak out about certain things. One example is from Castlevania, and I was telling Jessie about it the other day: I've been playing (via emulator) the Saturn version of SotN, and I know just enough Japanese to be dangerous. Among all the crazy food and beverage healing items the enemies can drop was (in the American version) "Barley Tea." Oh, how distinctively Japanese, I thought. Only in the actual Japanese, that item isn't Barley Tea at all; it's Beer (You can kind of tell if you look at the stuff; I'm also thinking the "Green Tea" looks a heckuva lot like sake, but time will tell). Clearly, beer was something an American audience could not handle. From what my Suikoden fan friends told me at the time, "tea" was a popular euphemism in the PSX era. This has actually gotten better since the '90s, though; I guess enough gamers grew up that the old "video games are for kids" idea fell apart. Like in Okami, all the sake is uncensored. (Which is good; if they had made you subdue Orochi with "tea," I would have lost it, I swear.)

(There's actually a funny little story about this; in my first University semester of Japanese, we had a lesson on how to say "This is X." "Is it Y?" "Yes/No." One of the examples was "This is barley tea." I was supposed to ask my partner if it was something, and they answer yes or no; the assumed question was "Osake desu ka?" (is it alcohol?), but no one had told us whether barley tea was alcoholic, so I decided to ask a question where the answer was totally clear and said "Yasai desu ka?" (is it a vegetable?) Sensei was like "wtf?" and explained to us that barley tea is not alcohol, but perhaps my uncertainty was understandable...)

I was also re-reading the first two Finder volumes the other day, and was musing on, if I were to lend them out, how to warn/explain that, while the story is not about genitals, you will see some? It's like there's this virgin/whore dichotomy of art; the idea that something would show you a penis without being smut seems somehow edgy or overly-sophisticated. Which is weird; genitals are part of human life and sometimes they figure into things, with or without sex as such (which also just figures into life in all kinds of ways). Some indie comics are really good about this (Finder, as mentioned, also Blankets, although that probably does mean the library shouldn't have shelved it as "YA"); it's just strange and sad that only little cultural niches would get past that kind of thing.

And finally, today's installment of Castlevania playthrough links brings us to the Fifteen-Hundreds and the adventures of Christopher Belmont, who was hapless enough to have IDW make a comic book about him, but let's not talk about that, shall we...? -_-;;

Christopher's exploits began with The Castlevania Adventure (or is it Castlevania: The Adventure? Either way, 1576). As mentioned yesterday, it wasn't even clear that this game was about Christopher when it came out, and now I have proof that even Konami didn't know: in Kurt Kalata's review at The Castlevania Dungeon, he brings us this choice morsel of gaming ephemera. If anybody at Konami knew that wasn't Simon, they didn't tell the folks in Marketing. But we with our priveleged hindsight know that it was Christopher! We also know that this game is widely considered a bitch. I bring it to you in two flavors:

First, it's time to revisit Let's Player FreezingInfernos for his run through the game. This is what I watched myself, but I don't want to leave it at that because, well, after stage one... He cheated. Some rom-hacking wizard has apparently created a patch to translate the power-ups into standard Castlevania language, make Chris move at a reasonable speed, and let him keep his whip upgrades when he gets hit, rendering the game significantly easier/more playable. (When Chris's trailing leg is furthest from the camera it still looks like a spaghetti noodle, however.)

So for the straight version, how about... Full Color? (This one's not a playlist, but the other installments are linked in the video description.) Sadly we in the States didn't get the "Konami GameBoy Collection" releases, but that's what this is, in a perfect run by ArekTheAbsolute, who might just be psycho.

But why settle for mere Turner-esque colorization when you can have a complete, lush, shiny, still-brand-new-smelling remake?? That's right, just the last few months have brought us Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth. And there's a full playthrough of it on YouTube already, courtesy Rodriguezjr. Ahh, modernity...

Christopher's first quest brought him fifteen years of peace, but then, the plot thickened (as in there's a plot now) and congealed into Castlevania II: Belmont's Revenge (1591), wherein Chris is generally believed to have improved with age, walking a little faster, not bleeding whip upgrades like a sieve, and able to use some special weapons.*

The intro text scroll will fill you in on the now-existent plot, and allow me to make a couple of asides regarding Christopher's son. Firstly, his name should read "Soleil"---in fact the Konami GameBoy Collection (released in Europe) does render it that way. "Soleiyu" is some good old-fashioned transliteration fail, but when you hear how that's pronounced in French, you can understand how it happened. All of a sudden, it makes sense, and there's even a multilingual pun in that Chris named his son French for "sun." We don't see that much of Soleil, but he's significant in a couple of other ways, speaking here in terms of game-release order. He was the series' first canon "damsel in distress," preceded only by Simon's non-canon bride in Haunted Castle (more on it tomorrow). Soleil was also the first proper case of a mind-controlled/loyalty-challenged friend or loved one, a complication that would later become something of a series trademark.

But, playthroughs! One last time we revisit FreezingInfernos, who is much happier this time than last, and engages in some amusing hijinx before it's done. Also, all but the first video is again on the Konami GB collection, so it's in color, and you will see the ending call him "Soleil." So, for the straight version, we'll go classic black-and-white, with this run by UnitedVirusX (again, not available in a playlist that I can find; you'll just have to follow the trail through the "related videos" links); this way you can see the American version of the text---the ending at least is a bit different, and not only for spelling it "Soleiyu."

Generally, Christopher isn't one I've put a whole lot of thought into, I admit, so on the "my reactions" front I'm a bit indifferent. In my fanfic universe, I have actually considered axing Adventure and saying that only Revenge happened (Chris thought he dodged the family-destiny bullet, but no!), but I'm not sure I'd really be doing that for any particular reason, so why mess with it...?

* The weird thing is, the IDW comic ("The Belmont Legacy") has a scene of him getting the special weapons---for Adventure, in which game he does not use them. It might have been more interesting to use the scene to explain why he didn't have them that time, and any geeks who caught onto the reference/accuracy might enjoy it (or maybe it's just me that would do or enjoy that sort of thing), but who am I kidding, nothing could have saved that drek...


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