April 28, 2008

When does "Inspired by" become Plagiarism?

Here's a good example of how I hope to use "Random Debris" from now on.

There are only so may ways to arrange notes. Repetition is inevitable. So when I first played through the third episode of the Xenosaga franchise, one track in particular tickled that portion of my brain I mentioned previously that gives me (annoyingly selective) Rainman-like ability to remember a bit of music.

The track is called "Survive." Give it a listen.

Now, play this mp3 of track 17 from the Waterworld (1995) soundtrack.

You can only take "inspired by" so far. Hans Zimmer caught flak for his heavy-handed use of Holst's Planets when composing tracks for the Gladiator soundtrack (I've heard them both, and I'm much more on the side of the Holst foundation than the article's author). I like Yuki's music, but this sounds a bit suspicious.

Posted in Random Debris by: Will at 08:54 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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Weird Wide Web - 1

I decided I'm going to make up a new category for the random crap I come across while surfing and leave the "Random Debris" category to more serious subjects (Hah!). Basically I'll just link-dump stuff I find either humorous, cool, bizarre, or some combination of the three.

Today is a monk theme.

Monks chanting the Lotus Sutra (long, with a strange but cool acoustic shift about 7 minutes in, shamelessly stolen from the Hostages).

Which reminded me of another bizarre monk vid I saw at some point (@ Hop Step Jump I think). I think it's a piece of software (like a midi tracker) that allows you to have these "monks" sing various parts and turn it into a song.

The original song is a classic Yuki Kajiura piece. After that, it looks like somebody threw together a choir of anime character impersonators to sing the track.

Less weirdness and more music (video-heavy) beyond the jump.


Posted in Weird Wide Web by: Will at 02:30 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 25, 2008

My Kinda Woman

Over the years, I've observed something about myself. When it comes to females in anime, I'm a sucker for the sensible ones. The women who have their act together, and in the absence of plot contrivance, are perfectly functional people. If there's Shipping to be done (which, oddly, doesn't seem possible with most of my choices) , I'm usually Shipping in their direction

For example:


Posted in Anime by: Will at 09:05 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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April 23, 2008

Planetes - Extended Aftermath

I had some thoughts on the show that didn't really fit with the comments in the other post. Most are holes in the "realism" of the premise that I think are interesting.

For a show touted as "realistic," it seems to be full of highly dysfunctional people in positions where dysfunctions are normally filtered out in the application process. Psych evaluations are a big part of going into space right now. That would have been an interesting direction for the show to explore. The world is full of people who have no business going into space for various reasons, but if we commercialize space to the extent shown in Planetes (and dreamed of by guys like Glenn Reynolds), how do you handle the competing needs of access and safety for fellow travelers?


I know the Japanese are still in love with tobacco, but what company would spend the time and money building something as hair-brained as a "smoking room" into a moon base? Some people maybe be disappointed (angry even), but I fully expect space to be a default No-Smoking Zone, no exceptions.


How the hell do they feed all these people in space? I wasn't looking very closely, but I didn't see anything resembling dome-agriculture on the Moon. If I ever go back to watch it again, I'm going to keep an eye out for exactly what they eat and where they might get it from.


I'll keep adding to the list as I think of things.

Posted in Anime by: Will at 09:48 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 21, 2008

Planetes - Aftermath

This is an old draft (4/9/08) that's been sitting in the list waiting for me to finish it up. The problem is that I still feel exactly like I did when I wrote it, and I don't have any interest in going back to give the show a second chance.

It must be the novelty of "hard" sci-fi. That's the only explanation that makes sense for the praise this show receives. (Or the socialist prosthelytizing going on constantly throughout the second half.)

The management of the Debris Section are a couple of screw-ups that would never be let within sight of a functional rocket in the real world.

The ending felt tepid. Maybe all the glowing reviews inflated my expectations. Maybe moving in the middle of working through the show colored my experience. Maybe the show's the greatest thing since sliced bread, when viewed in the right place, time, and frame of mind. None of that does me any good right now, because I have no interest in re-watching the show at all right now.

Maybe in a decade.

Posted in Anime by: Will at 12:39 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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April 18, 2008

Shingu - Red Pill or Blue Pill?

That's basically the choice in this show. How much do you dare to know about what's really going on?

It's a show full of characters. Sure there are some eccentricities (I guess all aliens are fun-loving goofballs), but it looks like everyone's up to pulling their own weight when the chips are down.

On the other hand, you can tell the show doesn't take itself too seriously. Fourth wall breaks appear in just about every episode (mostly by Hajime in the narration, but occasionally someone else will ham it up and talk to the camera).

Oh, yeah, you can probably guess I found my Shingu DVDs.

Posted in Anime by: Will at 07:45 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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April 17, 2008

In a bit of a Jazz mood today

One of the songs I most enjoyed playing during my short time in the junior high jazz band was Birdland (named after the jazz club Birdland, which was itself named after a jazz musician nicknamed "Bird"). It was one of the first songs we played that gave us a chance to improv solos, and when we finally had it down, it was probably one of the fastest tunes I've ever played.

(Somewhere just north of 180 bpm when we were really pushing it. We never performed at that tempo. We just did it to see if we could. It was ridiculous amounts of fun at that speed. The director would have to break in to cut-time so he didn't look like he was trying to take off.)

It's a song I haven't heard in a while, and being jazz, there are about N+1 arrangements and variations out there. This is the cleanest recording I found so far.


The other song that was always a lot of fun was Malaguena. It's also another song with N+1 arrangements and variations (because in addition to being a jazz band favorite, it's also really big with marching bands)

Here's an indoor performance of the song from Blast! (a show everyone owes it to themselves to see)

Posted in Random Debris by: Will at 09:06 AM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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April 08, 2008

Ras-a-frassin' @$%#&"! *grumble*

I should have taken the Photoshop class back when I had the chance. This "learn-by-doing" isn't going as well as it did with AutoCAD.

Posted in Computers by: Will at 08:35 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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April 01, 2008

Life, the Universe, etc. ~ Part Deux ~ Now with More FAIL

Boy, almost a month without anything new here. I didn't have a resolution to keep or anything, but I had planned on every few days getting at least something up.

Settling in is settling in.

The box containing a number of my anime DVDs (including my still-wrapped Shingu boxset) appears to be lost/missing/stolen. The first run of bills are rolling in with all the pain of various "setup" fees attached. As much as I would love to run out and spend the money on the various big-ticket items that would really get me up to speed living in the place, small nickel-and-dime items are what has me running to Wal-mart every other day it seems.

The softball team had a mediocre regular season. We finished 8-4, with those 4 losses came in a row during the middle of the season. We're seeded 4th in the Tournament that starts this week.

In a couple weeks comes what amounts to a "softball team" camping trip. I've been looking forward to a little "cold weather" camping, but it's always been difficult getting more than a couple people interested. I'm curious to see how it goes. I need to get a good 0ยบ bag because nothing I've got right now is going to cut it at 7000'.

Shortly therafter comes a wedding to attend. I've got to figure out where my nicer clothes are in this mess. A polo and jeans is not appropriate wedding attire.

Lemme see... lemme see...

Oh, got notice of my ten-year high school reunion in the mail, only to discover they're charging $89 for a ticket. Thanks, but maybe I'll organize a counter-reunion for people not of a mind to waste perfectly good money just to meet people who are rapidly becoming strangers all over again.

Wow. That was bitter. I'm going to blame stress and lack of fresh anime. The winter season has tapered off. I won't even bother with any spring shows until a couple weeks in and some of the chaff has been shaken out.

And to leave off on a disturbing note...

Posted in Random Debris by: Will at 05:15 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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