RABiD BUNNY FEVER
I’ve been waiting to hear this kind of news for years: Domains May Disappear After Search. I’ve often told people for this kind of reason to watch where they are registering domains, as I believe some registrars like register.com are not very scrupulous and would do this exact kind of thing. I personally use GKG for all my domain registration needs, though they have recently ticked me off with a policy I recently ran into in which you can’t modify any information on a domain 6 months after renewing an expired domain with a credit card. Their tech support also isn’t very good, but they have fair prices and excellent domain management interfaces.
Another huge domain problem is “domain tasting” in which domains can be registered and then refunded within a five day grace period. Unethical people will use this to register expired domains and keep them if they get enough hits. After all, domains only really cost 25 cents to register if you are an accredited ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) registrar, which cost something like $3000 to obtain. This is a big problem if anyone lets their domain expire. Fortunately, some services, like GKG, give you a grace period to reregister your domain after it expires before others can try to claim it.
OK, so I lied last time and am not doing the second half of my medical stuff post like planned, and will save that for later. I should be posting happy stuff on a supposed-to-be-happy day like today anyways ^_^;. Most of you out there who have heard of Gainax know of it due to Neon Genesis Evangelion (better known, and hereby referred to, as Eva), their “ground breaking” series released in ‘95-‘96. I’d have to say this was, and may still be, the most well known good anime series, meaning not including such tripe as Dragon Ball Z, Pokemon, Digimon, Sailor Moon (which isn’t THAT bad actually...), etc. It always gave me a bad tremble whenever I mentioned anime to general people and they replied with “oh, you mean (like) Sailor Moon?” But anyways... I should let you know beforehand, most of this post is a history of anime and some interesting info on the anime Nadia.
The TV series Gainax did immediately before Eva, Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water, released in ‘89-‘91, is one of, if not my favorite anime series. You can definitely see the influence it had on Eva too. Before I talk about Nadia though, a little history about Gainax first. If anyone is really interested, check out their OVA (Original Video Animation) “Otaku no Video” release in ’91, which is KIND OF an autobiographical parody. I just picked up a copy for myself with some of the Chanukah/Xmas I received this year ^_^. Basically, Gainax is made up of a bunch of otaku. So these anime otaku in the mid ‘80s were of the mindset of “man, we can do better than all the shit that’s coming out”, so they started their own “amateur” company of fervent obsessed fans, and revolutionized the industry with their brilliance. A good chunk of what they do is worth a watch, though I am not quite a fan of all their stuff, it all has its own fun nuances and radiance to it that can only be found by people that truly love what they are doing.
So, back to Nadia. I’d rather not really go into the story because I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone that may choose to watch it, but it is heavily based around Jules Verne’s works, most specifically around Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and the exploits of Captain Nemo, though with the usual crazy Japanese anime twist. It takes place in 1889-1890 and has a very steam punk feel to it. Disney’s 2001 Atlantis: The Lost Empire is actually quite a blatant rip of Nadia too, and not even an iota as worth it, IMO. I have also heard The Lion King was a pretty blatant rip of Kimba the White Lion, an anime from the mid 1960s. I cannot personally confirm this however, and can’t complain much as The Lion King is one of my two favorite Disney movies, along with Aladdin. But um... back to the topic on hand... darn tangents!! Nadia weaves many different genres very excellently into its story including science fiction, adventure, mystery, comedy, and a hint of romance, but maintains its silly mood throughout, even when dealing with clichéd “difficult” topics like killing, death, and general genocide :-). The main characters are Nadia and Jean, an engineering genius Frenchman, who are excellent foils for each other. One example is how Nadia is one of those “dear god how can you possibly even think about eating a dead animal” vegetarians, which Jean just can’t comprehend “what are you talking about, it’s meat”. And then you bring in the well-mannered 4 year old Marie who is always complaining about how immature/ill mannered the adults are... it’s just a very fun series with a lot of memorable and lovable characters.
So after finishing the ~40 episodes over a week, I went and checked the Wikipedia article on it and found some very fascinating facts, namely tying in Miyazaki with the series, which was a shocker too me. Hayao Miyazaki is by far my most respected (anime?) director, I believe. Most people would know of his works under the anime studio Studio Ghibli, though he doesn’t only do stuff for them, and they have other directors too, but Ghibli and Miyazaki are generally pretty synonymous. I have multiple other topics written down on Miyazaki that I will talk about later, and will post a good list of Miyazaki/Ghibli titles I made a while ago as soon as I can find it. Anyways, some of the more interesting trivia notes I stole from Wikipedia are as follows:
- This show’s origins date back to the mid-1970s when Hayao Miyazaki was hired by Japanese movie giant Toho to develop ideas for television series. One of these concepts was "Around the World Under the Sea", (adapted from Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), in which two orphan children pursued by villains team up with Captain Nemo and the Nautilus. It was never produced, but Toho retained the rights for the story outline. This explains why Anime fans often liken Nadia to a Miyazaki production; the animator reused elements from his original concept in later projects of his, notably the Sci-Fi series Future Boy Conan and his action-adventure film Castle in the Sky.
- Approximately ten years later, Gainax was appointed by Toho in 1989 to produce a TV series which would be broadcast on the Japanese educational network NHK. Miyazaki’s outline for "Around the World Under the Sea" was the one which captivated Gainax the most. Under the direction of Hideaki Anno, the animation studio took the central story and setup Miyazaki had developed and touched it up with their own creativity. (incidentally, Anno had previously worked for Miyazaki as an animator on Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.)
- Nadia showed up on the Japanese Animage polls as favorite Anime heroine, dethroning the then top champion, Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa.
- Nadia was originally intended to have an estimated 30 episodes. Since the show was so popular in Japan, however, NHK requested Gainax to produce more episodes, extending the episode count to 39. These episodes, dubbed as the "infamous island episodes" (which begin on Episode 23 and conclude on Episode 34), took hits for poor animation (since, as mentioned, other animation studios in Japan and Korea produced these episodes), ill-conceived plotting, and character stupidities; consequently, they drove many fans away. Only by Episodes 35-39 does the show return to its initial roots wherein lies its appeal. The setting of these episodes was suggested by Jules Verne’s other novel featuring Captain Nemo, Mysterious Island.
- According to the notes found in the DVD sleeve of the Italian edition, the true reason behind the difference between the "infamous island episodes" and the rest of the series, would be that production was late on schedule. Starting with episode 11, Anno was working up to 18 hours a day on the series, and yet he was unable to cope with the screenplay, which was then handed to the storyboard team. After episode 20 (aired September 21, 1990), NHK put Nadia on hold to make space for news coverage on the Gulf War: the series returned about a month later with episode 21 (aired on October 26th). Nonetheless production was still late, and Anno asked friend and Gainax co-founder Shinji Higuchi to take over the direction of the series, while he was going to focus on the ending. According to the same source, Anno would have stated that episodes 30 and 31 were the only he would have saved among the Island Chapter ones, while episode 34 was entirely scrapped and replaced by edited sequences of previous episodes.
- At the start of each episode, a Japanese inscription appears on screen (written in the Latin alphabet) and is read by a man’s voice challenging the viewer to follow him for an adventure. "Are you adventurers? Do you seek the truth behind the mythical being that lies beneath the blue waterfalls named The Perilous. If you are, then you must first find me." This derives from the perplexing challenge of Arne Saknussemm in Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
- The series contains numerous nods to other Japanese television series, as is to be expected in a series by Gainax, which is famously comprised of "otaku" (fervent anime fans). Ostensibly, the Grandis Gang are modeled after the villains from Tatsunoko’s Time Bokan series, and M78, the home system of the Atlanteans, is also the home of Tsuburaya’s Ultraman.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual, authors Michael Okuda and Rick Sternbach state that the superconducting crystals used in Starfleet phasers are called fushigi no umi. Sternbach is a noted fan of anime.
One of the most important notes here is the forth and fifth bullets talking about the “infamous island episodes”. While they are still in the general Nadia style, and are fun, they have their downsides. I would personally even recommend skipping at least one and a half of these episodes, due to them being so worthless. They are:
- A large chunk of #26 “King’s on his Own” - After Jean gets knocked out after a terribly silly Wile E. Coyote falling gag homage and he dreams of inventing 21st century technologies.
- Most, if not all, of #34 “Love to Nadia”, which is a “singing recap” episode. What I remember of the songs are especially atrocious.
On that note, the movie really isn’t worth watching at all either. Especially the first 1/3 (30 minutes) of the movie, as it is nothing but a recap of the series.
Oh, also, the original title was translated as “Nadia of the Mysterious Seas”.
[8/2008] I’ve been bullied into removing this post for the time being until I get it rewritten :-\. Annoying too, as it was my most in depth and, I believe, longest post, at more than 2500 words.
It’s great to have standards so everything can play together nicely. I’ve even heard IE8 should pass the Acid2 test with “Web Standard Compatibility” mode turned on, and it has been confirmed for a long time that FireFox3 will (finally) pass it. Microsoft, of course, has a bit of a problem with backwards compatibility when everyone had to use hacks in the past to “conform” to their old IE software, which was, and still is, filled with bugs and errors; and with IE version upgrades, they need to not break those old websites. This really technically shouldn’t be a problem if people properly mark their web pages with compatible versions of HTML, XHTML, etc, but who wants to deal with that? Compatibility testing and marking, especially in the web world, is a serious pain in the ass, which I can attest to after working with web site creation for many years, something I am not very proud of :-). I am a C++ advocate, and Java/.NET hater, and yes, I’ve worked heavily in all of them.
Anyways, some new web standards even break old ones, for example:
is no longer allowed. Non nested (ending child elements before the parent) is no longer possible in certain circumstances in HTML
4, and definitely not allowed in XHTML, as that would be specifically against what XML
was designed for. This was one of my favorite parts of original HTML
too, in that you could easily combine formatting elements in different sections and orders without having to redefine all previous formats each time. Though CSS
does help with this, it has its own quirks too that I consider to be a rather large failing in its design. I should be expanding more on that later on.
And then there’s this one other oddity that has always bugged me. Two standard HTML colors are “gray” and “lightgrey”... if that’s not a little confusing... and for the record, “grey” and “lightgray” do not work in IE.
Further, XML, while it has its place and reasons, really really bugs me. Just the fact that it really slows things up and is overused where it’s not needed because it is the “popular” thing to do. Come on people, is it that hard to create and use interfaces for binary compiled data? Or even ini-type files for crying out loud... Until we have specific hardware designed and implemented to parse XML, or better text parsing in general, I will continue to consider XML a step backwards, a very unfortunate reoccurring reality in the software world.
How to destroy movie from novel adaptations
I read through Eragon and Eldest, the first two books of the Inheritance Cycle, by Christopher Paolini, a while back, and was very happy with the novels, mainly for the relationship between the two protagonists, Eragon and his dragon Saphira. The fantasy novels brought in a bunch of new possibilities of fun with dragon lore and their abilities, a topic which has, to my knowledge, never really been elaborated or expanded on in the past to this kind of extent, though I have heard the lores in these books bears a large resemblance to a novel called Dragonriders of Pern. I would recommend the Inheritance Cycle to anyone looking for a fun, though not necessarily quick, fantasy read. The series was originally supposed to be three novels, but as of a few months ago it was announced that it would be four. The third book should be coming out in September of next year, which I am waiting in anticipation for, though nowhere near the level of excitement as any of the Harry Potter books brought me.
The reason for this post though is to actually rant about the movie adaptation. One pet peeve of mine is people that say movies or TV shows are horrible without ever having given them a viewing, let alone a chance. I am the kind of person that will usually sit through anything, no matter how bad I feel it is, just so I can talk to people about it afterwards and be able to validly say why I did or did not enjoy it. This, however, did not apply to the Eragon movie. I was retching after about three minutes and think I got through five to ten minutes before I was so thoroughly disgusted I had to stop and just fast forward through the rest to see different parts I was curious about. Which was a mistake as the rest was even worse than the beginning. It was that bad. The movie was very obviously a ploy by the studios to milk in some money by throwing out a half baked fantasy movie trying to parallel Lord of the Rings in style. I honestly don’t know how it got as far as it did.
I went to do some research and found out the director, Stefen Fangmeier, who had mainly been a visual effects guy in the industry, had no prior experience as a primary director, and only one as a secondary director, and was about as suited to the job as Bush Jr. would be to playing Jeopardy. What’s even worse is who wrote the screenplay, Peter Buchman, who’s only previous screenplay work had been... get this... Jurassic Park 3. I’m not even going to go there.
I really have to wonder how the hell those 2 got ahold of the license to make the movie. The book was, after all, a New York Times #1 seller. The publishers must have really dropped the ball on this one, or maybe Paolini, being pretty much still a kid by the time he finished the first novel (19), somehow got taken advantage of. I just find the situation to be horribly sad.
It probably didn’t help that I didn’t expect much at all from the movie as I had heard about its huge flop after opening, with many dedicated fans of the novels walking out of the theater in tears of disappointment.
On another slightly-related note, it has been rumored as of today that it is now official that Peter Jackson will be producing 2 Hobbit movies. We shall see, but I would be very happy if it was true. I thought Jackson did the best possible job that could have been done on the movies. I only had one major complaint, in that Gimli was really given a short end of the stick throughout them, though at least they picked John-Rhys who was perfect for the part. Gimli was one of my favorite characters in the novels, and they substituted any of his glory to his pretty-boy counterpart elf, Legolas. I also had a few minor quibbles with it, including some scenes I had wished to have seen (ie Bombadil), but were left out for obvious reasons, and that they changed around bits of the story so some actors would get more screen time and they wouldn’t have to introduce others, like Arwen stealing roles of multiple other elves. Alas. The thing I liked most about them was how well the CG was integrated with the live action shooting. I still consider it the best job done integrating CG into a movie I’ve seen; so well that you can no longer tell that it’s clearly computer generated.
I’ve been a long time fan and user of Seagate hard drives, as they are the only brand that have consistently not failed me, like Maxtor, Western Digital, and others. The first Seagate drive that I ever had die on me was almost 10 years after its first use. This trend seems to however not follow to its FreeAgent external USB drive line. I was a bit iffy on trying them out, as I had read online before buying that they had a seemingly high failure rate on arrival. Low and behold, I ended up buying one from Office Depot around Thanksgiving, as $100 for 500 gigs seemed well worth it, and it was dead on arrival. I think it ended up passing maybe 1 out of 5 trial formats. So I swapped it out, tried another, and it was DOA too, passing its format and scandisk, but then failing out on multiple sectors when I tried to use it (I am super obsessive about data integrity). So I gave up on those. My fears since I had heard that Seagate bought out Maxtor, the probably lowest quality hard drives on market, had been confirmed, though probably for different reasons. I did however recently buy a new SATA Seagate 500 gigger @ ~$100 and it seems to be working fine ^_^.
Random Trivia: Gigabyte is actually technically supposed to be pronounced “jigga-byte” as in jiggawatt from the Back to the Future movie(s). The suffix has just been mispronounced for so long, no one seems to know that Back to the Future actually had it right :-). I found this out after watching a video from the early 80s on hard drives, and then confirming from multiple dictionaries and sources.
So I’ve been rewatching lots of old shows over the past few years that I watched as a kid and remember enjoying. The latest reinstallment of this pattern would be Disney’s Gargoyles. It’s still a lot of fun to watch even though the antagonists’ plots are a little... unbelievable sometimes :-). The main reason I wanted to mention it though was the fact that it has a plethora of star trek actors, mostly from Next Generation, showing up in it. Hearing familiar voices I recognize always makes me smile, especially when put to animated characters. The ones I’ve recognized so far are:
|Actor Name||Gargoyles Role||Star Trek Role|
|Jonathan Frakes||Xanatos (Main antagonist)||Will Riker|
|Marina Sirtis||Demona||Deanna Troi|
|Michael Dorn||ColdSteel (One of Goliath’s rookery brothers) + Tarus in “The New Olympians”||Worf |
|Brent Spiner||Puck (Yes, Oberon/Titania’s fairy)||Data|
|Nichelle Nichols||Diane Maza (Female Cop’s mother)||Uhura (OST)|
|Colm Meaney||Mr. Dugan in “The Hound of Ulster”||Miles O’Brien|
|Kate Mulgrew||Titania & Anastasia (Fox’s Mother)||Katherine Janeway|
|Avery Brooks||Nokkar in “Sentinel” (Digitally enhanced)||Benjamin Sisko|
|LeVar Burton||Anansi the spider in “Mark of the Panther” (Digitally enhanced)||Geordi LaForge|
|John Rhys-Davies||MacBeth||Leonardo Da Vinci (Voyager... hey, he counts for Star Trek!! XD)|
But of course, many of these actors have played dozens to hundreds of other rolls and deserve to be known for more than just Star Trek, including recently Nichelle Nichols on Heroes, right after George Takei (Sulu) left the stage. If you haven’t ever seen any of Takei’s stand up, I would like to note it’s good stuff, and that he has a wonderful sense of humor.
On another note, John Rhys has always been one of my favorite actors too. He’s been in more things than you could shake a stick at, and you probably wouldn’t have even realized about half of them. Most people nowadays would most readily recognize him as Gimli from the Lord of the Rings movies.
One other recent smile came during rewatching DuckTales. I’m sure anyone of my age group that watched the show will remember the Golden Goose episodes. I had just noticed on a recent rewatching of the series that when the mystical water is used to turn things back from gold, it uses the lightsaber activation sound :-).
It has now been well over a year since I started working on this web site, and it’s still not even remotely completed. I wanted to have everything finished before a launch, but I realized long ago that would not happen, as there is too much I want from this site, so I will be launching as soon as I can, and updating sections as I go. I had gotten a great deal of it done the first month or two that I had started on it in October of 2006, but then real life kicked in and I lost track of it, and haven’t really touched it since.
Many of the upcoming posts in the near future will be ‘retro posts’ in which I formed the idea sometime in the last year, and jotted down the basic premise to write about more fully later.
I’ll probably be keeping most of my posts geared towards technical stuff, though I am also trying to get most of the non technical stuff out of the way first, too, and I’ll try to update 3-4 times a week, in an every-other day type of schedule, more often if I feel like it or am inspired, as soon as the site is launched.