Category: bush leagues

Anime Autobiography – Anime Clubbin’

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I began university in Fall 2006, and lived on-campus the first semester. Very quickly, I joined two clubs – the Newman Club, where I’d spend most of my time, and of course the anime club. At the time, I don’t think I realised just how little anime I had actually seen, and though one of my roommates was also a fan, he was just a casual fan like me. So, now able to watch several different shows a week, my experience with anime would expand rapidly.…

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On Selling Out to New Technology

Earlier today I set up a Twitter account (CheshireOcelot, if you want to know). I had created one four years ago for a couple weeks as part of a class on computer mediated communication (the same class that prompted the creation of this blog, in fact), but I deleted the account a few weeks later. Before I write or say anything, I always ask myself, “Is this worth sharing? Will my audience be informed, delighted, or moved?” In 140 characters, the answer is almost always “No.”

Now, even then I realised that those who get the most out of Twiter use it primarily to follow interesting people and share links to quality content, rather than to inform others that I’m currently eating lunch, going to bed, at the urinal, or otherwise leave people in despair by overdramatising meaningless statements. However, at the time, not many people used Twitter, making this somewhat theoretical. Four years later, now that everyone but me has an account, I figured I may as well hop on board, though it did take the catalyst of my little sister joining for me to follow.

Facebook presented a similar case. I joined in 2006, but deactivated my account after a couple months, and not having an account was a point of pride for me. By 2010, though, I caved in. Almost everyone I knew expected me to have an account, so much so that I missed a couple events that I’d have liked to go to because the invitation was sent via FaceBook. The specific catalyst was a friend’s birthday; for some other reason she had called me that January day, and happened to ask why I hadn’t shown up for her party. Of course, I hadn’t heard anything about it, and she said, “I sent the invitations through Face- oh yeah…”

I was similarly late to get my own cell phone, laptop, iPhone, and current-gen video game console (PlayStation 3), but I’ll save those stories for later. As for Twitter, I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I doubt I’ll post much, but I’m already following several other people, so probably I’ll just use it for news and such.

I do wonder, though, how many people besides me join these things not because they have a use for them but simply out of peer pressure.…

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I Still Have Too Many Books

It occured to me about a week ago that I didn’t have enough literature on my shelves. Though my bookshelves groan under the weight of my books, novels and poetry make up less than a third of them. Non-fiction makes up about a third, and the most represented genre are the graphic novels, though the number of volumes per series gives that contingent an unfair advantage.

Anyway, I wanted to read some good fiction or poetry, so off I went, and have set myself even more hopelessly behind in my reading backlog. I found good stuff, and for cheap too (they were all used), but I look at this list of books I got and despair. I list only those books I’ve purchased in the last seven days.

From Half-Price Books:

The Iliad, by Homer (trans. Robert Fitzgerald)

Vile Bodies, by Evelyn Waugh,

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

La Vita Nuova, by Dante (trans. Dante Gabriel Rossetti), which I just finished reading today, all 48 pages of it.

I had actually wanted to pick up Les Miserables, but HPB didn’t have any copies except for one abridged edition. They did have eight or nine copies of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, oddly enough.

I also picked up On Duties, by Cicero, while there.

From a neighbourhood garage sale:

Bullfinch’s Mythology, ed. Edmund Fuller

The Martian Chronicles and Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury

The Gulag Archipelago, by Solzhenitsyn again. I got One Day because it was shorter at HPB, but at garage sale prices I couldn’t resist. I also got a non-fiction book here, Searching for Your Ancestors, by Gilbert Doane.

From a local comic-book store:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.…

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Who? Qui? 誰?

An acquaintance of mine recently started a new blog of her own, and I wanted to welcome her to the blogosphere, but hesitated. My dear readers may be shocked to hear this, but my given name is not ‘Cheshire’, nor do I come from the ‘_Ocelot’ family. Though that is the pseudonym I use online, obviously nobody I know from the real world, this acquaintance included, would recognise me by that name. So, should I blow my online cover, so to speak?

I’ve never really hid my online presence from real-world acquaintances, so exposing myself in such a way would really bother me so much, though I do have some concern about random folk on the internet figuring out my real-world identity. Now that I have tied my name ‘Richard’ into this blog, it would be that hard to figure out who I am anyway. It’s just, what I do and the people I know online have always dwelt apart, and thrusting them suddenly together would seem strange.…

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Oh, the Things I Watch

So, armed with my new subscription to Crunchyroll, because like the rest of my generation I’m impatient and can’t wait a week for new anime episodes, I’ve set to watching this season’s new shows as they come out. What do I settle on first?

Yeah, Cat God. I know it wasn’t that long ago I declared moe dead to me, but this show pushes too many of my buttons. I can’t resist catgirls. I love shows like Oh, My Goddess! and Spice and Wolf with goddess girlfriends/roommates/traveling partners/whatever. I love shows dealing with the supernatural in general, really.

The show’s pretty average, actually. Episode 1 was too chaotic, but episode 2 fixed that. The jokes aren’t too bad. The animation meets par, but won’t blow anyone away. Call it ‘Mostly harmless’, I guess.

I think I can redeem myself by also watching Gainax’s new show, The Mystic Archives of Dantalian, this time via Nico Nico’s streaming. All I really want from the show is Gosick but with better writing. Two episodes in, I have high hopes. I can tell I’m not the only one, since most of the discussion I’ve seen of it so far has been praise for not having the annoying habits of other shows, and Gosick in particular. Dantalian has, of all things, a competent protagonist, a girl with a sharp tongue but not unnecessarily bitchy, and mysteries that don’t require not just a suspension but outright termination of disbelief.

I especially love the show’s artwork and atmosphere.

I’m also using Crunchyroll to continue Hanasaku Iroha from last season, and for Fist of the North Star for some old-school action.…

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I Have Too Many Books

…but I can’t stop buying the things. I’m like a crack addict or a hoarder when it comes to books (well, maybe not a hoarder). Literally, it can take months, even a few years, before I get to some of the books I buy.

In the past, I’ve always juggled multiple books at once. Typically, I’d have a couple things I was reading for a class, and at least one other for leisure on top of that, usually with the leisure reading taking priority, of course. Add to that graphic novels, which, fortunately, I can knock out quick enough that they don’t add to the backlog too much. Now, there’s no reason for me to do that, but for whatever reason I’m still juggling.

Anyway, enough of my eccentricities. Here’s what’s on the plate now:

A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill. I have mixed feelings about Churchill as a leader, but I do like his writing. I’ve been wanting to get a better feel for English history, and the scope of this work (in four volumes) also appealed to me.

The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, trans. Ivan Morris. More Japanese stuff, this time from the Heian period. A collection of anecdotes, observations, lists, and whatnot from a court attendant. It’s best in small doses, but I’m impressed enough to consider renaming this blog ‘The Pillow Blog’, since my idea for ‘Everything is OK!’ seems similar to how Shonagon went about the Pillow Book.

Summa Theologica, St. Thomas Aquinas. St. Thomas is my patron saint, and I’ve read many of the articles in the Summa before, but I’ve decided to finally read the whole thing. It’s an epic project, so I’m just going a few questions at a time.

Dragonball, Toriyama Akira. Popular series hurt my indie cred (*ahem*), but I liked the first volume and bought the box set, which came in a nice box with a poster, booklet, and all sixteen volumes. Seven volumes down, and so far I’d say DB deserves the popularity.

Ranma 1/2, Takahashi Rumiko. What’d I say about popular series? Well, I’ve really liked the first ten volumes, so whatever. The main criticism I’ve seen of Ranma 1/2 is that the jokes get very repetitive. There’s definitely a pattern to them so far, and there’s still over twenty volumes to go…

I’ve also just finished Economics for Helen, by Hilaire Belloc, which a friend of mine highly recommended. I’d also highly recommend it to anyone.…

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The Sudden Death of Moe

Well, for me, anyway. Moe has been around for several years and far be it from me to predict when it’ll end, but for me it died while reading vol. two of Kakifly’s K-On!

I don’t think K-On! itself caused it; I did like the first season of the anime adaptation, though I never watched season two. Rather, while about halfway through the graphic novel, I realised that I just didn’t care about this story. I think the sudden realisation may stem from a recent episode of the ANNcast podcast, where one of the co-hosts (Justin Zevakis, IIRC) commented that, as a grown man, he had no reason to care about what a group of high school girls are doing.

Actually, maybe my distaste isn’t with moe per se, but with high school comedies. The first graphic novel I really got into was Azumanga Daioh, by Azuma Kiyohiko. At the time, I was in high school, so watching a bunch of high schoolers was relevant to my interests, even (or perhaps especially) if they were girls. Since then, though, I’ve seen several other shows with the same setting, some of which I’m sure I’ll still like, but at this point I graduated high school five years ago. The setting seems really trivial, and honestly some stories suffer from the lack of gravity inherent in most teenage relationships. ToraDora had this problem – though the urgency the characters felt to clarify everyone’s feelings may have seemed important from their point of view, I found that sense of urgency unnecessary.…

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WordPress Jetpack

So, a few days ago WordPress released Jetpack, which makes some features of available to users of self-hosted WP blogs. I find this a little funny, because I briefly made ‘OK!’ a self-hosted blog but eventually returned here because I found more useful. No major problems, of course, just a few minor things. Now, though, it turns out I may as well have just waited and self-hosted a little longer and I’d feel a little silly moving this blog again. Maybe I’ll go back to self-hosting in the future; we’ll see. ^_^…

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