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< Seraphim >

Seraphim's little origami page

"Moving Violations"

Monday - February 4, 2002

[Seraphim] - 08:11:02 - [link here]

T minus 12 days and counting.

As if going to grad school full time, working full time, and life in general with Piro isn't hectic enough, I decided to uproot us and change our abode. The actual impetus to move occurred before Christmas. I was INNOCENTLY walking around and walked full speed into a large mailing tube of posters protruding from under the coffee table. My first non-swear words after determining no bones had been broken were "We're moving." When Piro saw that he would have his own work/gamer room to lock the cats out, he was on board with the idea.

He even got into the idea of shopping for appliances. I was looking at an Eco sensitive front loading washer with 1050 RPM spin cycle - he liked it too - because it was l33t - yes, a Kenmore Elite. Only Piro would need a l33t washer and dryer. A washer and dryer, I'm giddy. I hate the laundromat. I hate laundromats even more than the can recycling centers they have in Michigan. I recycle all the glass, metal, paper, and plastic I can and I do that for free. I would save and recycle cans without a deposit just to avoid those horrid counters. In Georgia you could crush the cans and take them to a local fire station that would take them to a recycler and donate the money to a hospital burn unit. Here they can't be dented in the least or the barcode is invalid. It is a big hassle and it doesn't recycle non-deposit cans - like for juices - and you STILL have to go to the recycle center.

We got hit hard by an ice storm last week. Our neighborhood was decimated. So many trees lost - and a few cars. If I would have had comprehensive on my car I would have parked it under one of them. As it is I only have PLPD and that wouldn't even pay for towing its crushed carcass away. We didn't lose power but my folks, sister and some friends were out for several days. I think we should move to the desert when I am out of school. You never have to worry about an ice storm knocking down Saguaros unto your house or power lines.

Although a good deal of Ann Arbor was without power the University was up and running. Every campus in Southern and Northern Michigan could close but the Ann Arbor campus would be open as usual. My undergrad college was the same. It was run by Dominican nuns who figured we had God as our co-pilot while commuting. I was driving home in a snow storm one evening after class and unfortunately God was not co-piloting for the dame in the brand new Mustang and who crossed the center line and totaled my car. It was a crappy car but it looked something like one of those old fashioned steamer trunks with all the stickers on it. I had stuck all the bumper stickers I had collected from every country I visited in Europe (plus a few anti drunk driving and other socially responsible subjects). Those were my more hedonistic days. I figure the Rabbit didn't disintegrate into a million pieces around me (picture Wiley Coyote sitting on ground with steering wheel in hand) because of them. This car was so old it was almost before safety belts but definitely before crumple zones and air bags.

The car I have now is airbagless and it is from the time manufacturers actually thought automatic shoulder belts were a good idea. Silly manufacturers - next they came up with SUVs which are the scourge of the planet. If people want to drive something that big and really compete out there on the road, they should just upgrade to a semi cab and trailer. To quote a dear friend of mine, "Go big or stay home." Piro and I were driving in the Detroit area and witnessed an Explorer Sport Expo where professionals were teaching Explorer owners to drive on large mounds of dirt they had piled up. How does one get to be an expert at driving on fake dirt mounds? We laughed our asses off. Really, what comes next? They'll be slapping metallic paint called Desert Patina and vanity plates on busses and selling them to yuppies for their outdoor adventures.

Ah well, time to think about a new car after we move. Hopefully piro won't hurt himself like he did last time. That boy worries me sometimes.

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< Dom >

Natsuki loves this fuzzy elf. I don't blame her.

"BAMF!"

Saturday - February 2, 2002

[Dom] - 11:28:03 - [link here]

First off, I'm perversely proud to announce that there'sgoing to be a geek gathering in San Francisco, organized byhepkitten. Usually I avoid large gatherings of MT fans atall costs, but as I said, I'm perversely proud of this one. Why? Because the acronym is BAMF--Bay Area MegatokyoFans. And because I'm a dork. But before I speed off intofacetious blabbering like I usually do, I'll give thedetails on the thing. Like I said, it's taking place inSan Francisco. Hepkitten hopes to hold it some weekend inFebruary, first going to dim sum (mmm... dim sum), then tothe park or something. If you're at all interested, sendher an e-mail at bamf@woebegone.orgwith your day of choice. I'll most likely be unable toattend, due to other engagements, but who knows--as long asit's not Katsucon, there's a chance of me being able toattend. Plus, maybe you can convince her to move it tosome time in March. Stranger things have happened.

Moving on. Yes, as you can tell, I'm an unabashed comicbook fan. Not of the tripe that litters the stands thesedays--though I do sometimes read those to give me somethingto do on slow days, it gives me something to laugh at--butthe stuff that really interests me as a story.

Comics are a fairly unique creature. Unlike children'sstorybooks, movies and illustrated books, the comic relieson equal parts image and printed word. You can't shove thewords out of the way, but you can't get away with just wordbubbles, either. Look at the work Kevin Smith does--whileit's witty and all, I can't stand Clerks. I get thefeeling that it'd work better as a short story, so I didn'thave to stare at the same static image with differentdialogue every panel. And in contrast, take a look at therecent (silent) 'Nuff Said issues of Marvel comics or takea look at some of the scriptsthat Marvel has up on their site. When I was flippingthrough those, I got the distinct impression that I wasmissing the point--some worked, some didn't, and I knew Ididn't want another month of these things.

And that's why, back in college, my prof affectionatelycalled 'em "co-mix", due to what she called their"verbal/visual hybridity that commingles image and text,sometimes using the visual for the temporal demands ofnarration and the verbal for merely visual effect". Idon't call them that, though--it sounds pretentious. :)

So, yes, I love comic books, both as ten minutes worth ofpulpy enjoyment and an artistic/literary genre--to doanything less would invite the wrath of Will Eisner. Sofar, though, I've only found two stories where the mediumis absolutely essential to the story it tells, rather thanan illustrated short story or movie lite. One is ArtSpiegelman's Maus,which is at once inspiring to me as a bad, but aspiringwriter and disturbing to me as a human being. The other isthe first three issues of Warren Ellis' "Transmetropolitan",because it needs both the columns and the images of theriot to be wholly effective--if you only get the column,you only take in part of the scene, while if you just seethe riot, you miss the whole impact. Fascinating...

What's the point of all this? Well, other than plugging apersonal interest of mine, it helps me write for MT--whichI think would work just fine as a movie or a short story,so I can't really say it's in the same category as theprevious two. I've also started up a random pet projectwith Meruru of Nekoboxthat it will be useful for.

On to what you usually expect from me, the rants on videogames. Well, here we go...

Dynasty Warriors 3 is a nice example of beat-em-up action,but unlike other people who rant and rave about that gameuntil the sun comes up, I can't compare it to Streets ofRage 2, my personal benchmark for all beat-em-ups. Onething Streets of Rage had going for it wasdigestibility--you would be in once scene, fight a set ofenemies, and within a few minutes you'd be somewhere else,fighting a new set of enemies before you could get bored. Dynasty Warriors 3 is like whittling--you run into a crowd,press square a few times, maybe end it with triangle,circle, or both. Lather, rinse, repeat as needed. Sure,the different missions provide needed variety, butcripes--there's only so many times you can cut throughhordes of ancient Chinese soldiers. Plus, that battlewhere you kill the peasants always makes me feel vaguelyguilty. So enough with that.

A co-worker of mine recently visited THQ and told me that agame called Britney's Dance Beat exists, while they nevershowed a lick of Red Faction 2. I think that speaks foritself.

In another piece of news that speaks for itself,apparently, Casey Kasem refused to reprise his role asShaggy's voice for an upcoming Scooby-Doo game. Why? Because he's a strict vegan, and Scooby's health isrepresented by sandwiches, which have animal products in'em somewhere.

Aaaand, with that, I leave you. I'll rant again when Ihave time--which will be a while from now, given how myFebruary looks. Oh, well. Come summer, things will slowdown--especially since my boss told me I don't have to workat E3, but I can still go...

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