Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Gantz 5: Deathwatch

O how I've waited for this day! It's been two whole months since I watched Gantz 4 (although in the meantime I did discover another excellent series, Fullmetal Alchemist) but after work today the wait was over.
Well, I just finished watching Gantz 5 (episodes 17-20), and, sad to report, it was a disappointment (right up until the extraordinary, heartbreaking ending, that is).
When Gantz 4 finished, our heroes were about to battle the gigantic temple guardians, so Gantz 5 begins with that. But what happens is far from riveting. The battle was actually quite boring. Nothing much happened, and it took a long time for it to happen. Also, the profanity in these episodes was through the roof. What the fuck? Everybody was swearing their heads off, seemingly in an attempt to inject some drama into the whole thing, but it didn't work at all, it only sounded stupid. And it was as though the animators got lazy, or the budget was slashed, because suddenly there were all these static shots of the characters, with only some wavy speed lines. Maybe it was for effect, or as a tribute to some old school anime, but to me it just looked cheap.
And yet it was definitely worth persevering through the boring bits, and of course I had no choice anyway - I'm hooked, you see. I have to find out what happens to Kurono and Kato and Kishimoto. So this big ending was easily the most emotional, eye-popping series of events yet, mainly because one of our heroes got killed. I'm not gonna say which one here, but if you really want to know, ask me in a Comment. And if you don't want to know, don't read the Comments... if there are any, that is, but there probably won't be. Ha ha.
But the ending was very emotional and shocking, and not only did one of our heroes die, but another may be about to die!
I'll admit now that this series has its flaws, no doubt about it, but as I mentioned before, I'm hooked so I'll be in great suspense until Gantz 6, which I think is the final one, so we get to find out if anybody makes it back from this crazy Gantz world. And whatever happens, and despite the series' flaws, it will always have the distinction of igniting (or re-igniting) my obsession with anime.
And I'll still always, at the oddest times, find myself singing (or trying to sing - it's in Japanese) the ending theme song.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Silent Hill

On TV there is a desolate landscape swamped in fog. It reminds me of Silent Hill.
In Silent Hill you can barely see your hands in front of your face, and that's not good when there are demons lurching around the streets. Are they really demons? They look like they were once human, like the nurses, but the nurses, their heads hang from their necks at a wrong angle, and snap around in a sickening arc with every step. The nurses carry long metal bars, and when they get close enough they try to hurt me very badly with them.
There are also legs on top of legs. Does that sound strange? They look strange. They walk on two legs, but from the waist up, rather than a regular torso with arms and a head, there are two legs, bent forward at the knees and waving like arms. It looks like a nightmare 'X'. When those things get close enough they try to strangle me with their wrong legs.
Then there are the creatures in straitjackets. Or are they just hooded sweatshirts? The way they twist and jerk when they move, when I first saw them, made me think half their limbs were dislocated, and they were wearing straitjackets. When I first saw them, I didn't think they could do much, restricted as they were by the straitjacket, but when I got close they vomited green acid on me. It stung like hell, so I had to have a Health Drink. But the sound they made turns my flesh cold even now to recall it. But that is nothing to the sound they made when I hit the first one with a crowbar - the only weapon I had at the time. It dropped to the ground, twisting and jerking away like some enormous crippled insect, making a sound like metal scraping on metal, echoing back through a tunnel from Hell.
And this fog is all around.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Survey of Some Recent Blogs XI

Everybody has a blog these days. Anybody can have a blog. It's not hard. In fact it's too easy. You just get one, and write a bunch of boring crap, and hey presto! You're a blogger! You can write any old boring crap, whatever you want, and people on the other side of the world can read that boring crap a second later. People are doing it all over the world. Very rarely you will find one that is good, but that happens once every million years, yet that's why I like to do these surveys. Once every million years I find a good one!
It's been a long time since the last survey, so it's time to venture out once again, in the usual completely random way (courtesy of the wonderul and terrible Next Blog button), and examine ten more examples of modern blogcraft!

1. Fast tanning bed guide - Well, we're off to a bad start here with one of those stinking adblogs. Oh well. At least some of the idiot robot text made me laugh:
"Ready for supreme court case santa? It's here supreme court case santa. No more waiting for supreme court case santa. Ready for supreme court case santa?"
WTF? And what does this Supreme Court Case Santa have to do with tanning beds anyway?
2. mobile phone tools motorola - Well, this is depressing. Another adblog. That's two out of two, isn't it? Does anybody actually know one of these adbloggers? Have you ever met one? Gee, I'd like to.
3. Chung Jeck - By the looks of it, Chung Jeck (an Asian chappy) had a family get-together and took a bunch of photos, and here they are! These are regular folks, eating food, playing with kids, having a nice time. Not the most exciting blog I've seen, but still welcome after those dumb robot adblogs. Adblog Robots: 2. Humans: 1. Can the Humans even the score? Let's find out!
4. Sheidaye Shaparak - It looks like the Humans are fighting back! Here's a blog written in Arabic, but at least there are some pictures, although it's not looking promising. Sheidaye seems to have an obsession with babies with butterfly wings sleeping in branches and on dead logs. She also likes Celine Dion, Spongebob and Madonna. Having noted that, all of a sudden it doesn't seem to be such a handicap that I can't read Arabic. Next!
5. Friday's Rage - A blog by Angry Bob. Angry Bob is from "Canader" and is angry about many things. Angry Bob is angry about people using acronyms; people who complain about snow; somebody called Brian Mulroney; robbers; kids who have no respect for The Queue; Canadians who don't vote; Rolling Stones fans; parents who let their kids get fat, and other things. He writes these tirades every Friday, and every one ends with his *signature* signoff, like this: "Have a hoot, spell it out", "Have a hoot, wear big boots", "Have a hoot, piss on the big galoot", etc..
Is that the dumbest signoff you ever heard? It's the dumbest one I ever heard. Hey, I got one! "Have a hoot, don't have a dumb retarded signoff."
And as for this *angry rant* stuff, it can be very entertaining and funny if it's done well, but if it's not done well, like Angry Bob's blog here, the author just comes across as a cranky old jerk, sad to say. Oh well. At least it's not an adblog.
6. Pixelgrube - I don't know what it means, but what a great blog title! Here's a blog by a German dude who just bought a digital camera. There are only five photos so far but they're pretty cool. I really like Feb 24's picture of a grinning man with a big wild beard. What a shame I can't read German! Good stuff, Pixelgrube!
7. onespotlessmind - This is a blog from a Portuguese woman. Most of it is written in Portuguese, but one part is written in English, and that part is a Dear Diary type entry about her conflicted relationship status with her "significant other". She wants to have a baby, but is he Mr Right? It's complicated, y'know? Here, she reminds us that relationships are complex, not simple. There are also photos of her talking on the phone, looking at the camera in a dreamy fashion, and drunk among half-empty wine glasses.
8. Shareware - Another robot adblog, yet this one is noteworthy for the random way words are put together in great blocks of bizarrely constructed text:
"They sat there as the tide went out, and the sandal-paste deemest the arm-chests of the tragic estimacion in his ingeniose, switch-board to stay'n out on the pestem of the mystery overshadowing the majestick he loved. The distichs then pointed out that their cat-show game-dishes simply retained these privileges and saw-pit customs because they would disembowel the respect of their Air Conditioning if they straught those streamies of rifle-distance which they scalped inherited, and which they shak'd upon entirely as a time-perspective head-sheet."
Hey, this stuff isn't bad!
9. The Shoah - If you want to obsess on the Nazis vs The Jews period in history, this would be a great blog for you. This blog (by Nikki) seems to be a collection of quotes and passages taken from Holocaust books. She's definitely got a theme going on here, that's for sure.
10. Grasshoppers shoes - It sounds interesting, doesn't it? I thought so, too. But it's only another adblog, albeit another one with mad constructions of random text:
"You descendeth been abstrusest in obfuscating a good pink-shaded would'st into oil-vessel stacy adams shoes ; I azenst the key impurest in the guidless, and a sweetling shot at specimen-wise and bottom. He ostracized to a huge white thunder-gust beyond on the top of which someone had castrated a sybarite's essencelessness of insufflator. Stacy adams shoes, the peasant-like fantasticness close to Dante's master-wort, behind the Badia : S. Stacy adams shoes also the chapter, Wagstaff stacy adams shoes francaise en Italie in Femme-sans-tete Tseh."
Hey, I like it! Did somebody mention shoes? That's a coincidence! I really think it's about time I got me some new shoes!

*staggers outside, middle of the night, arms out in front and glazed-eyed like a zombie, in search of somewhere, anywhere, to buy new shoes*

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Saw Her Yesterday

Yesterday, I saw her again.
I left my room to walk to work, got to the end of my street and turned the corner, and there she was, in front of me. Could it really be her? My eyes almost popped out straining to see, but it was her, for sure. But there was something wrong this time. She always reads a book. I've never seen her not reading a book. Every time I have seen her walking along, she is reading a book. That's who she is. She's the woman who walks and reads. The woman I have had a big obsession on for a long time. (God, how I adore her!) But yesterday morning, guess what? She was not reading! She was just walking along, bookless. This was no small thing to me, as you can imagine. This was a really big thing. A very big, disturbing thing. She was supposed to be reading a book, but she wasn't! My world had been instantly turned upside down. It was like walking outside to find the trees blue, the sky green, birds sitting in trees making sounds like car alarms, cars driving along on fire, and everybody walking to work on their hands.
Why was she not reading a book? What could possibly be the reason? Why was she not walking along, reading a book? Why was she walking to work without her head so charmingly buried in one of her beloved historical romances?
As I walked behind her, and a little to the side, I drove myself bananas trying to figure it out. I kept looking at her, her face unobstructed by an enormous paperback. She was looking in front of her, and looking at cars, and shop windows, and other people; she was using her eyes to take in her surroundings, and not the intoxicating dialogue of a gripping historical romantic saga. But every time I looked at her, it was as though my eternal image of her - she, with a massive paperback jammed between her eyes and the street scene around her, that may as well have been a world away - was superimposed on the grim reality, so that in my mind was set up a tormenting battle between memory and reality.
Naturally I wanted to rush up to her, wringing my hands, demanding to know why she was not reading a book. But I didn't, and thank God, because my dramatic surge of wild emotion would no doubt have startled her, and she might have run off, quite alarmed and frightened.
I know I will see her again. And next time, if my wish comes true, she will be restored! Restored, that is, to the walking reading woman I have grown to obsess upon.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Humourless Muslim Retards

Those nutso Muslims are still behaving like idiot savages over those Danish cartoons. The latest (yet unsurprising) development is that some cretinous Pakistani cleric has offered $US1 million to any Muslim psycho who kills Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard. (Read the news item here.)
Can you think of any group of people with a bigger chip on their shoulder than these hysterical Muslim retards? I can't.
Can you think of a more humourless bunch of self-righteous jerks? No, I can't either.
Can you think of a bigger bunch of goddam hypocrites?
I'm drawing a blank.

I got the above cartoon from Just Another Blowhard, who got it from The Pit of Penultimate Darkness - two blogs worth a visit for sure.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Gee, I haven't been writing much here lately, have I? Not that I haven't tried, because I have. What happened though was, I just sat here for a long time, not doing anything. At last it occurred to me to push a few buttons, but it didn't work. Sure, I managed to put some words together, but they only sat there, looking at each other with dumb, glazed eyes. So I tried another combination, but those words only staggered about, bumping into each other as though somebody had turned the lights off. Then, I got up and went and grabbed a beer. Maybe that would trigger something! But all that triggered was an empty can twenty minutes later, and another trip to the fridge. Then I came back and looked at all that WHITE. So much WHITE! as far as the eye could see. It was like being caught in a blizzard. I wandered around blindly in a storm of white, waving my arms in front of me, like a marionette.
How can anything get done in that kind of situation? Nothing can be done in that kind of situation. Nothing, but to sit down and wait for the Saint Bernards.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Another Game Banned in Australia

Yet another video game has been banned in Australia. Which one is it this time? This one is called Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure and apparently it has been banned because it could promote graffiti.

Good call! We mustn't have that nasty old graffiti diverting our attention from the SUFFOCATING AVALANCHE of advertising we are bombarded with every day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cockroach Terror

Because it's summer here, naturally I sit here in bare feet. Bare feet on the floor. No problem. But the other night when I was sitting here with my bare feet on the floor, I felt a tickling sensation, down there, on the feet, which quickly moved up to the ankle zone, and around a bit, then up a bit. When I pushed back in the chair, gave my leg a shake and looked down I saw an enormous cockroach. I damn near threw a fit, in fact it was a very good approximation of one; a full body jerk that must have come close to snapping my neck, but at least it got that cockroach off. That big bastard was probably as horrified as I was, to find himself climbing around on a living creature, many dozens of times larger than he. But it shook the hell out of me, and now I can't put my damn feet on the floor for this new phobia. Luckily my chair has those metal arms (that the four wheels branch off) and I can put them there, at least until I get over it. (Which probably won't be until next summer.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Magic Night

Spent all night drinking beer and watching Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Solitary Play

'I got to see The Book, a giant tome of psychology reports some six inches thick, containing what amounted to racial profiling of children around the world. Children in South America are more likely to play outside; German kids like playing with mechanical things earlier, and so on. When I turned to the Japanese section, two words jumped out at me: "solitary play."'
'Some modern anime seem made specifically for viewers that are not part of any community, solitary shut-ins with few if any friends.'

- Jonathan Clements, anime and manga translator, voice actor, scriptwriter [Newtype USA Jan 2006]


My room is dark, even though behind the black curtains it's a sunny day. I can see through those curtains, sun shining on leaves and reflecting off a window on the apartment block across from mine. But that sunny day may as well be some other place. It doesn't seem like it's only outside my door. There is little light in my room, always, it doesn't matter if it's midnight or a summer afternoon like this one. I joke about it and call it The Darkroom, or The Batcave. Sometimes somebody will make a suggestion that I open the curtains, but that's the last thing I want to do. I get enough sunlight when I have to leave my room. Anyway, it's better with low light. But somebody will say I need more light because when you read, if you have this low light, your eyesight will be affected. But that's not true, I always suspected it wasn't true, and I heard on the radio the other day that it doesn't matter if you read with low light, your eyesight will not be affected. I won't let anybody make me throw the curtains open. I won't take their advice. They probably only say it because they feel uncomfortable in the gloom, or scared of the dark, want the light to come in, and they don't really care about my eyesight, after all.
Ha, ha! I'm onto them!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Newtype USA

What have I been doing besides getting all indignant and revved-up about the reaction to those Danish cartoons? From my recent posts, you may suppose not a lot. But that's not true! I have been doing my usual things, like being obsessed with the Japanese anime. Gantz 5 comes out next week so I am very excited about that. I will go to the video store and hire it and watch it and take photos of screenshots and post them, and make a full report about it here.
My video store has a big anime section, so naively, I suppose, I figured that everybody's local video store has an anime section, but I was talking to my friend Gerard Ashworth on the phone tonight and he said his video store doesn't have one. What! No anime section at Mr Ashworth's video store?! That was news to me, and a big surprise. So maybe there are many people out there who don't have a video store with an anime section. That shocking news led me to understand that there might be a good reason that whenever I wrote about one of these Gantz episodes, nobody made a comment about it. If you can't find them anywhere, you can't watch them and find out if you agree with Stratu that they are great great GREAT!

In other anime obsession news, I bought what is surely the world's most expensive magazine: Newtype USA. Is it really the world's most expensive magazine? Maybe not, after all, but it's the most expensive magazine I've ever bought, because it cost $30 (actually $28.95 postpaid). Would you agree that that's a lot to pay for a magazine? I think it's a lot. The cover price for Americans is $12.98, but when an Aussie wants a copy he pays around $30. What does that Fair Dinkum Aussie Mate get for his $30? A big glossy magazine, some black & white manga, a poster and a DVD including three full anime episodes (in the Jan 2006 issue you get Misaki Chronicles, Hare + Guu and Macross) and a bunch of trailers. But even though that Aussie Mate may wonder at the exorbitant price, he doesn't make much of a fuss about it because he is utterly obsessed with this Japanime biz. It's a new world of wonder! It must be investigated and examined, and thoroughly obsessed upon, no matter what the pecuniary cost.

Flipping through the magazine for the first time, it gradually occurs to me that every cent was worth it. In fact, it strikes me that this magazine, for the chappy who has had only a fraction of a peek into the wonderful magical world of Japanese anime, that this magazine represents nothing less than, if the nearest parallel could be found, would be that of the young paperboy, poking around at back of the Newsagent's, first discovering that fabled pile of unsold and coverless soft porn magazines.
Nothing less!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Artists Beware

Regular readers may be disappointed to find me dwelling on a political/religious issue, that is, these Danish cartoons and the Muslim reaction to them. But I must admit that it really makes my blood boil. Why is that? Maybe because I used to publish a comics anthology myself, and one of the reasons I started that was because of a young Florida chappy called Mike Diana who drew comics and he got hauled in by the Feds who, because of the nature of his comics, they thought that he might be a serial killer. He got dragged to court, and the jury was made of old women whose idea of art was needlepoint, so he was thrown in jail because of his nasty drawings, which were only drawings, and he was not really a serial killer at all. He had all sorts of insane restrictions placed on him, like he couldn't go within 500 metres of anybody under 18 years of age, and he had to see a shrink every week at $2000 a pop, at his own expense.
I found this disgusting, just as I find this attack on these Danish cartoons and the people who publish them disgusting.
It's very disturbing and disgusting to know that, in these supposedly enlightened times, that by simply drawing a picture you can be dragged to court and put on trial as though you were a murderer, or draw a cartoon of a religious figure and have people calling for your head to be removed from your shoulders.

Only Drawings

Here is a link to those Danish cartoons.

In the Sydney Morning Herald today, there was an editorial that addressed this cartoon business. This was the conclusion: "The most effective response may be to see the cartoons for what they are: crude, poorly drawn, not funny and undeserving of such attention."

Oh yeah? That is what they are, eh?
Bullshit. What a ridiculous statement!
Are they crude? Who says? This idiot?
Are they poorly drawn? No, they are not. I see editorial cartoons in the newspaper every day and there is hardly any difference. To say that those Muhammad cartoons are poorly drawn is a bullshit statement.
Are they not funny? The one with Muhammad's eyes blocked out whereas only the eyes of the women are visible was not only funny, but clever. The "Stop stop! We ran out of virgins!" one is very funny if you know about the 72 virgins that suicide bombers (or *martyrs*) are supposed to get upon being admitted to paradise. The guy huddled over the drawing board trying to hide the fact that he is drawing Muhammad is funny when you know that you could be killed for doing such a seemingly innocuous thing. In fact, in context, it's funny in a very grim way, because of the beliefs and recent actions of these savages (eg. the murder of the Dutch documentary maker Theo van Gogh).
To say they are "not funny" is not only purely subjective, but seems to come from the same mindset as the idiot savages who are offended to such an extremity by these cartoons, they are going out fire-bombing Dutch embassys and calling for the beheading of the cartoonists.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Crybaby Muslims

Have you heard about the latest actions of those crybaby Muslims over some cartoons of Muhammad (Cartoons Be Upon Him) published in a Denmark newspaper? One of those cartoons depicted Muhammad wearing a headdress shaped like a bomb. Why would anybody draw a cartoon like that, I wonder? Could it have something to do with the multitudes of self-proclaimed True Muslims exploding themselves all over the place? Yes, it probably has something to do with that. So why not draw a cartoon inspired by that? Are these Muslims so insecure in their faith that they can't take a joke? These are very humourless people - of course they can't take a joke. Maybe if they didn't explode themselves like that, people wouldn't draw cartoons like that.
There was another cartoon that I thought was very funny, showing Muhammad saying that paradise was running short of virgins for suicide bombers. Haw! Is that not funny? Wouldn't you like to see those cartoons in your local newspaper? I would. Where can I see these cartoons anyway? I was happy to read that other people have been reprinting these cartoons in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. (Hopefully they will have the balls to not fire their editors like that softcock owner of France Soir did.)
Have you heard some of these nutso extremist Muslims saying that they plan to eventually take over the world with their stupid religion? We better not let that happen because then, guess what? That's right! No more funny cartoons!
I also read that those nutty Muslims have imposed sanctions against buying stuff from Denmark, so in future, to do my bit, I intend to buy as many things from Denmark as I can find. Forget Dick Smith and his exhortation to "Buy Australian!", from now on I am going to "Buy Danish!"
Have I mentioned how stupid and idiotic these Muslims are? They see a Muhammad (Funny Cartoons Be Upon Him) cartoon and they want to rush out and explode themselves! And stop buying Danish!
This cartoon fiasco really shows how wacko these Muslim idiots are. It would be OK if they were only *funny wacko*, but they are *dangerous wacko* because they think it's cool to explode themselves in large crowds.
And what about that Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh who made a documentary about violence against Muslim women? He was killed by a psycho Muslim for it. See? That's how it is. You don't even have to make fun of Muhammad to get these idiots after you, all you need to do is make a movie about some of the rotten things they do.
So not only do they not like funny cartoons, they don't like bad publicity, either. In fact, if you draw or publish a funny cartoon, or write about, or make a movie about, some appalling and disgraceful way they treat other people; that is, if you offend these humourless cretins in any way whatsoever, there's a good chance one of them will rush up to you one day and explode his idiot self.
"No 72 virgins for you!", cries Allah, thoroughly disgusted and displeased with this dumbass *martyr* of His.