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I was in Target a couple of weeks ago, and noticed a lot of Halloween-themed decorations hanging throughout the store, featuring Domo-kun.

Remember Domo-kun? Many of you first saw him in that "God kills a kitten" picture that was floating around the webs, years before LOLcats were invented. If you were ever nerdy enough to investigate further, you'd have noticed that he's a mascot for NHK, a television station in Japan. So, what's a mascot for a Japanese TV station doing at Target?

if Wikipedia is to be believed, he's been scheduled to appear on Nickelodeon this year as well.

It occurs to me that in fourteen months, we'll be starting a new decade, and Michael Ian Black will be handed a Domo-kun from offscreen, and say something banal about it in front of a chromakey.
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I think I have more celebrities on my Twitter list than friends.

But, a few minor celebrities have responded to me: Lore Sjoberg, Martin Sargent, and the Mars Phoenix rover. Yes, I got a tweet from a robot on another planet.

And Greg Behrendt actually sent me an @-response unsolicited.

But today, I found out John Cleese has not only a twitter account, and that video interview about Sarah Palin, but also a rather extensive web presence.

And in more mundane news, a lot of people I don't recognize are following me. And that was even before I started trolling the election topics.


Oct. 10th, 2008 04:07 pm
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Twitter listed "ACORN" as a hot political topic. I still don't know why, but I created the tinyURL http://tinyurl.com/acorn08 -- it leads to an acorn flour recipe that was on BoingBoing this week.

I linked to the BoingBoing post itself, instead of the recipe it linked to. I wonder if that's good or bad, because a lot of angry folks are going to click that link.
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So I listened to "The Colour of Magic" as an audiobook last month. It was my first Pratchett book, so I figured I'd start with Discworld #1. Discworld has been on my gotta-read list since that clerk at the Scottsdale Borders recommended it to me and [livejournal.com profile] jecook.

I'd always wondered why Nethack had a Tourist character class, and now I know. I suppose if I read more books, then more parts of Nethack will make sense, in the same way that popular music started to make more sense once I'd started dating, and had my heart broken a few times.

And all through it, I kept thinking that there was no way they could make a movie from it. But it got a bit confusing towards the end, and I figured I'd better Google a plot summary online, and holy shit it's on British premium TV. Sean Astin is in it.

No mention of a US release, which means I'm perfectly morally justified in what I just told my computer to do.
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So Sharon Stone said something horrible about China and everyone's talking about it. It even made BoingBoing.

It seems that our media culture seems to place great importance on searching for small, inconsequential mistakes people make, and blowing them way out of proportion. It started with Don Imus, and has been snowballing ever since.

As somebody who still makes mistakes in my daily life, both spoken and otherwise, this worries me.


May. 11th, 2008 09:33 am
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In the Flemish-speaking parts of Belgium, French fries are apparently known as Flemish fries.

All Belgium would have had to do was send in a couple of ordinance disposal experts, and we could have foregone that whole Freedom Fries dicketry.

Yeah, I know what word "Flemish" sounds like. Remember all those jokes about the Wii's name? I rest my case.
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I was listening to a mariachi version of Man Eater on the Adam Carolla show this morning, and I realized that for 2008, we need a mariachi rickroll.

If I'd thought of it earlier, I'd have left a message for the manager of Food City to make sure they hired a band that knows it.

For those outside AZ, Food City is our marketed-to-Hispanics brand of supermarkets. And I've seen mariachis playing there before, on Easter.
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It's almost 1am again and I'm not ready to sleep yet, so I'll post.

Last night was a much needed Hung Dynasty show. I saw the band, and some familiar people who I've seen at other shows, and a couple of new fans. [livejournal.com profile] atillathehung even helped me with a minor bike problem that had just befallen me. Thanks, Bicycle Repair Man!

A sign of the times was near the end of the show where I could have sworn someone yelled "Rickroll!" As time goes on, that could replace "Free Bird" as what drunk people yell at bands. But it hasn't yet broken out of the Internet geek ghetto, for [livejournal.com profile] atillathehung didn't know what it meant. He thought the guy said "A Brick in the Wall", and he may have been right. I think they recorded the show, so we may know for sure soon enough.

That last paragraph reminds me, I thought I saw a guy with a phone camera there, catching a clip of their last song, that Judas Priest cover they useed to close with but brought up as an encore this time. I checked YouTube tonight, and sure enough!
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Did anyone else hear the "Johnny Fucker Faster" joke in grade school?

I thought it was just something that was made up by the kid who told it to me, because it was too stupid to have become oral tradition. But then I heard that Penn Jillette had heard it growing up, as he cited it as an example of a joke having a contrived setup.

But, this is Penn, co-producer of The Aristocrats, of course he knows it. But do any of you know it? And do you remember any part of it besides the punchline?

And who can guess the punchline without any additional information?
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So the /b/tards are protesting Scientology today. And there are posts all over 4chan's /b/ complaining that they're drawing unwanted media attention to the chans, and are ruining the protest with nonsensical memes, i.e. the inside jokes that /b/tards base a lot of their humor on.

I knew it was futile to expect them to keep memes out of the protests. Why? Because the purpose of a meme, in the classic sense of the word, is not to be funny, it is to spread. And what better place for a meme to spread than in a large public protest? Sure enough, you can see them everywhere in the live video shot in London. In this one, I recognized "DO NOT WANT", a rickroll, and "IT'S A TRAP", and "you just lost the game", though the sound quality makes it hard to hear anything.

This may actually be good news for their cause, because as long as the message about Scientology stays constant and strong, then the ancillary memes will just serve as additional hooks in the minds of passers-by, that all link back to the scientology message. Kind of like when you saw that "All Your Base Are Belong To Us" video, and you kept seeing things you saw in the video later.

But their effectiveness could also be bad news, on the premise that there's no such thing as bad PR, and this whole thing might end up actually promoting Scientology more than anything.

But it's good entertainment, regardless.
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From The 5 Most Annoying Banner Ads On The Internet
Worse, they're targeting the most annoying demographic on the planet: the "I only watch it for the ads" vacuum-headed smirkers. This is a public service announcement: SAYING YOU DO NOT LIKE SOMETHING POPULAR DOES NOT MAKE YOU INDIVIDUAL AND EDGY. It makes you dumbass- at least the unoriginal hooting herd enjoy the damn game. You're being equally unoriginal, dumber, and deliberately spending time to point out how you don't like it. Do you think a monkey that repeatedly eats stones and complains about it is the "cool, unique" monkey in among his friends? No, he's the stupid one even in a group whose main hobbies are masturbating in public and throwing shit at each other
The article is an "Americans are dumb and this is proof" rant that I usually don't approve of, but for the past several years, excluding this one, [livejournal.com profile] t_h_e_m has been hosting "commercial-watching" parties during the Super Bowl, even though a lot of people really do follow the game. We then voted on te winners, and those of us who didn't follow the game at least had each other to hang out around.

But the first part of the article is right: TV ads are the part of the program we skip on our TiVo, and until digital downloads came around, they were the only way to pay for the part of the programming we care about. Ad-worship is more than a little perverse. It's like a Stockholm Syndrome for consumers. Commercials are not our friends.
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What are my non-football-watching friends doing during the Super Bowl?

This is the first year I'm not going to [livejournal.com profile] t_h_e_m's Super Bowl "Commercial-Watching" party because they're not having one. The only people with houses big enough have too many balls in the air to host one.

There are certainly ways I could wander the deserted streets of the town. Jay Leno says he gets out and drives 100 miles per hour along the freeways, because the streets are empty and even the cops are watching the game.

I wonder if there are any particularly interesting opportunities that present themselves as a result of Glendale hosting it this year. But I can't think of anything. If there are more women at Starbucks that day, then it's because some of them are getting away from their husbands or boyfriends for the day.

I know at least one person who is leaving town for the weekend, because he lives ten miles from the stadium and ZOMG MAYHEM. I don't think that's entirely true. Before the game, there will be huge amounts of traffic coming from Scottsdale, heading west into Glendale. After the game, there will be huge amounts of traffic going out of Glendale, into various hot spots in Scottsdale and perhaps downtown Tempe. My neighborhood, and anywhere south or east of it, won't know the difference.
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1-31-07 -- Never Forget.

I'll commemorate this day in history by removing the season pass for Aqua Teen Hungerforce from my TiVo. Because the show actually sucks, and I never bothered seeing the movie, because all the characters are the same.

But, the Mooninite scare was a stark example of what we've lost in America. And it's but one in a long string of harmless acts mistaken for terrorism.
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Penn rants about how America's obsession with princesses is so un-American... in front of his daughter Moxie.

I wonder how Moxie's going to process that rant. She probably won't be very popular at the preschool if she goes around telling all the other little girls that her dad says princesses are stupid.

But it does creep me out a little. When I was growing up, all the girl-toy commercials were related to either babies, Barbies, or some saccharine ponies-and-rainbows mythos. And I figured that babies fueled their nurturing skills, Barbies helped them figure out the dizzying array of clothing women have to deal with, and the ponies-and-rainbows stuff was kind of like the girls' version of He-Man, a socially acceptable wallet-draining fantasy toy that, if not outgrown, leads to fandom. Princesses were around, but they weren't center-stage. But these days, even though I'm not a parent and don't watch much children's TV, I do see enough commercials, and sit in enough waiting rooms with TV's, and I'm seeing the trend.

I don't hear much about the ponies-and-rainbows mythos anymore. I wonder if Pokemon has taken its place.
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Not that I'm face-blind, but I can't tell if DO has two horrible female friends or one.

It just occurred to me to compare the character to various Hollywood versions of the geek.

Densha Otoko has apparently grown up to believe that women are mythical creatures, and having a girlfriend is beyond consideration. He's a grown man who dresses like a 12-year-old, and can't control his breath when talking to a real woman. The only time I can remember this archetype being even attempted in a Hollywood movie is in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Because in Hollywood, nerds are not only more handsome than in real life, but they're also more brave. Sometimes, even pushy. Children are allowed to be nervous about asking women out, but adults never are.

But no Hollywood nerd's story was ever based on a real BBS thread. So from this, we can assume that the Japanese image that stems from this series will be closer to reality. And thus, Japan's reputation as being nerdier than America is secure. Little do they know, we ourselves have plenty of guys who dress like 12-year-olds, and know more about mythical anime women than real women, but Hollywood doesn't write about them... yet.
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Holy shit, this one's even more melodramatic than the movie.

But having read some translations of the original threads, I can understand why they have to start the character out as an exaggerated caricature of a loser.  On the BBS, he ended every other sentence with the "I'm sorry and bang my head against the floor" emoticon. 

But, as a whole I find it hard to identify with a character who has, thus far, demonstrated practically no wit of his own.

That's one thing that's bothered me about the movie, and will likely bother me about any other adaptation I choose to watch.  And it may even bother me as I continue to read through the translated 2ch threads.  (I've only read "Mission 1".)

See, I've met a lot of geeks.  I've met likeable ones, unlikeable ones.  I've met shy ones, and charismatic ones.  I've met rich ones, and poor ones.  I've met well-rounded ones, and highly-obsessed ones.  But I've never met one that didn't at least try to be funny.

The only way I think someone could go that long without being funny is if they're constantly too panicked to think on their feet.  Which, I suppose, is why actors portray Densha Otoko as constantly panicked, even when things are going according to plan.

I don't know if I can stand to sit through umpteen episodes of this, actually.

I was also surprised by lots of English-language 80's pop in the soundtrack, including "Mr. Roboto" by Styx.  I thought the Japanese would be sick of that song in particular.
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This is certainly the best movie I've ever seen with ASCII art in it. (Monar should have had a bigger part!) But if anyone at all finds the two main characters believable, you've got some explaining to do. Maybe it's different in Japan, and maybe the brand of geek I hang out with is of a higher tier of social awareness than that guy. And they make sense in the Romantic Comedy Universe.

One thing that does work in the real universe is how the drunk guy on the train doesn't get confronted by anyone else on the train, and the answer was that Japanese people keep to themselves. That's the one thing that did ring true; countless psychological experiments (and a Dateline episode or two) establish that people in crowds are less prone to heroism, because everyone secretly hopes someone else will be the hero. I wonder how much of Tokyo's culture, and inner city culture throughout the world, is just a result of being in a crowd all the time. It makes the feat of confronting him all that much more extraordinary, and certainly Train Man's stuttery behavior seems natural for someone who's found himself in way over his head.

But, Train Man surprised me by never getting out of stammering mode. At first I didn't buy this, but then I remembered what I was like when I was 21 and attempting to date. I was just as over-apologetic, and stilted, and even self-deprecating. None of the side-splitting wit I'd been famous for online showed through.

Thus, Hermess (the woman) surprised me by cutting him a superhuman level of slack. Is the "friend zone" some unique American tradition that Japanese women don't have as an option? Or was there some chemistry going on that I wasn't tuned into? She gives him more slack than any woman I've ever met has given me, because she meets him way more than halfway. This must be where the movie spends its dramatic license as a romantic comedy. Indeed, this movie is just like an American romantic comedy, but without the Baxter.

The "battlefield manga guys" cutaways, and the commentary also, promote some emerging Japanese ideal that relationships, sex, and all the temptation of the "real world", are only a distraction from anime, manga, and the more important "fantasy world", and the commentary even draws the parallel between otaku and monks. Monks just live in a different kind of fantasy world.

Mostly, I kept comparing the anonymous posters of the mild-mannered text BBS 2ch to what I've read so far on 4chan. The movie depicts Anonymous as a handful of individuals, just like they are in real life, though perhaps not such a small and consistent group of them. But an American Anonymous would have probably been influenced by 4chan and Fox 11, depicted as a single green-faced man in a black suit, spouting all the opinions and advice like a single guy with multiple personalities, and every poignant thing he said would have been followed immediately by "STICK IT IN HER POOPER". For all I know, that's how it went down on 2ch, and the spam and racial slurs and other crap was filtered from the movie, to avoid killing the dramatic buzz and maintain sympathy for the protagonist.

I do think [livejournal.com profile] t_h_e_m needs to screen it once. I've heard a lot of random-sounding Japanese titles being flung across the dinner table, and "Densha Otoko" isn't one of them. It'll certainly provoke some discussion.
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Work usually slows down here as the new year approaches. Not this year. I'm doing some serious work over here.

Channel4 is just so much more pleasant than 4chan. I think I'll stay home from the parties all weekend and read it ionstead.
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I forfeit The Game.

No, I'm not talking about the game that Michael Douglas played, or the one Neil Strauss wrote about, but the retarded one that I've been hearing smatterings about on the Internet for a couple of weeks.

It's no more a game than religion is a means for living a moral life.  It's just another memetic virus.  Next time someone says "I JUST LOST THE GAME", I'll have to correct them and say "No, you just lost the shitty memetic virus."
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In this week's diggnation, Kevin and Alex call shenanigans on Tay Zonday, citing as evidence that his youtube profile was too well-produced and the photos too carefully posed to have really been an amateur effort, and the whole point was to get something viral on the web like lonelygirl15.

so, wait... all this for a new Dr. Pepper variation? I don't think so. Too much effort to have kept the secret long for such a minor product. It's been seven months, someone would have figured it out and traced the corporate affiliation back like the old Buddy Lee virals.

But it's a sad statement that every time something gets big, we have to wrap it in a conspiracy theory.

Hey, remember Super Greg?


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