Livejournal

It seems as though people have moved away from posting in Livejournal and, honestly, this saddens me. I've always enjoyed posting and reading others' posts here. I've also come to the realization that I've had this journal for nearly a decade now, for nearly the entire time that I've spent in the furry fandom.

Speaking of the furry fandom, I've now officially been active in it for a decade. I've attended nearly a decade of cons and meets. I'm still meeting new people all of the time, and my circle of friends has certainly shifted over the years.

Having returned from Ireland and Northern Ireland, I can safely say that much international travel is in my future.

I have no idea where the next school year will take me. I just need to take things as they come without worrying too much about the distant future. The bigger picture will materialize as the smaller pieces fall into place.
  • Current Music
    Cormac Breatnach & Martin Dunlea - Through The Fields, The Man Of The House, The Shores Of Lough Rea

Movie Comparison: War In Space (1977) vs. Atragon (1963)

For those of you who don't know, I'm currently stuck in Davis, sick. I watched all of the old Toho films that I have around. I had never watched War In Space before.
War In Space was released in 1977 and intended to be a direct sequel to Battle In Outer Space (1959). Unfortunately for its creators, I found it to be more similar to Atragon (1963) than Battle In Outer Space. Unfortunately, I was not that pleased.
Let's start with the plot because plot is perhaps the most important thing about a movie (in my opinion, at least). The story is dry and leads to an uninteresting script that gives the actors little to work with. Everything is black and white; the intentions of the characters are spelled out in the first few minutes of the movie. Unfortunately, nothing is really left to the imagination. I'll cite the love subplot as an example. Guy A and Guy B both want Girl; Girl wants Guy A. Guy A and Guy B are good friends, so Guy A leaves Japan so that Guy B can get Girl. When Guy A returns, Guy B and Girl are engaged. When Guy B dies at the hands of the enemy, Girl barely sheds a tear; I'm not sure if this is due to bad acting or a bad screenplay (or maybe some of both), but I don't get the idea that Girl was ever really interested in Guy B. She has no problem rushing into the open arms of Guy A once Guy B is killed. At least she cries a bit more when her father dies. The film itself is fairly emotionless. Beyond a feeling of "we need to kill the bad guys," no character depth is ever established. I was sick of the characters very quickly. In Atragon, former Japanese Navy officer, Jinguji, goes through several emotional dilemmas, as does his estranged daughter; although the love story between the daughter and a reporter is always only implied rather than stated, it almost works better this way by not distracting from the importance of the tenuous father-daughter relationship.
Next, let's talk about the music. War In Space's music is some of the most uninspired movie music I've heard since Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973). The composer takes the concept of Akira Ifukube's war march (a couple of which feature prominently in Atragon) and stomps all over it, creating something that I dare to call a mockery of the genre. The inclusion of the wahwah guitar in the march make the scenes in which it figures almost hilarious (unintentionally, I'm sure); I would expect to find these sorts of things in Gamera films, aimed at children. Atragon's music is expertly crafted to bring out a breadth of emotion: Jinguji's theme is constantly torn between stately and sorrowful, and the modal scale of the Mu theme provides an air of exoticism.
The picture quality looks the same in both Atragon and War In Space. Given that Atragon is 14 years older than War In Space, I would have expected some improvements to have been made, but there seem to be none. Perhaps this is really a testament to the Atragon team (Tanaka/Honda/Tsuburaya/Ifukube) that is so often credited for the successes of Toho's 1950s and early 1960s tokusatsu films. The redeeming quality of War In Space is that its earth-destruction scenes look fairly good; Teruyoshi Nakano seems to have vastly improved since the days of Godzilla vs. Gigan.
Since I've said nothing bad about Atragon so far (biased, much?), I'll say one thing that has always puzzled me about the film. If the Mu Empire were so powerful and advanced, why didn't they "reclaim" the surface of the earth before the humans became more advanced. It's much more easy to destroy huts made from clay with your laser beam in the shape of your underwater dragon deity than it is to destroy concrete buildings. Morever, I think the humans of several centuries past would have easily surrendered and would have viewed the people of Mu as gods. But, oh well. There'd be no plot if this were the case.
In short, I feel that War In Space reflects a general decline in the quality of Toho's kaiju/tokusatsu films in the 1970s. I am unaware of the forces which contributed to this downfall, but I can say with much certainty that War In Space fits in with some of its 1970s counterparts (especially that wahwah surf guitar).

Upcoming Concert in Westminster (Tuesday, July 20)

This upcoming Tuesday (July 20), fellow furry and my friend, Rod O'Riley, is playing a concert at the Sam Ash in Westminster at 7:30 PM. He will be joined by Bucker Fuskyote (me) and Michael Payne. We'll be playing six of his original songs.

If you're at all free and want to hear a free concert, show up. It'll be a lot of fun!

Sam Ash
14200 Beach Boulevard
Westminster, CA‎
  • Current Music
    Rod O'Riley - Away

<3

I am so in love with my wolf. He's sweet, amazing, wonderful, handsome, clever... I'm so lucky to be his.

I realized today that you can't take anything in life for granted.


NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd God.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get nerdy images and jokes, and talk to others on the nerd forum!
  • Current Music
    Ella Fitzgerald - Night and Day

To buy, or not to buy...

Okay, so I was shopping at Nordstrom with darkone238 and I found a shirt that I really like. It's Burberry, so you're paying the fashion tax, of course. Click here to check it out! However, it's $125 and I don't think that I can justify the cost of it. It's not like I haven't purchased clothing at this price before, but something's stopping me this time. I even came back a second time to look at it and try it on and I almost got it, but I didn't. I keep on wanting to snag it, though.

I'm also looking at Bluetooth headsets. I'm tired of yelling into a speakerphone while I'm driving. I'm looking at the following models:
Plantronics Discovery 975
Plantronics Voyager PRO
Vertu Aerius
Jawbone ICON
Jabra STONE
Jabra Pura
There are also headsets being released by Vertu and Tag Heuer in the near future, but again, I'd be paying the "luxury tax," as it were.

So, since most of these Bluetooth devices lie in the $100-$200 range, perhaps that's why I'm hesitant to spend money on the shirt. Perhaps I recognize that the Bluetooth headset is a bit more useful to me right now.

Also on the radar is an electric bouzouki. I'm going to get mine custom built and I'm looking spend $800-$1500 on it. I already have the money, but I'm going to wait on ordering it until I make my grad school decision. I have a couple of different designs that I'd like to try out, one of which is a hollowbody design, and I'll see what the maker thinks is best. My goal is to start a celtic rock band (think Wolfstone, Off Kilter, Peatbog Fairies) shortly after I move to the location of my PhD program, so I'll want to either have the instrument by then or have it almost complete so I can jump right in.

So, I guess I've written this entry to ask everyone's opinions. Do I get the shirt, do I get the Bluetooth device, do I get both, do I get neither? Which Bluetooth device should I get? Does anyone have much experience with any of these manufacturers? Is anyone a diehard Burberry wearer? Please post your responses! Thanks!
  • Current Music
    Madonna & Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes [Tracy Young House Mix]

Happy New Year!

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: Five kokoros, four benkyoushitais, three nihongosamas, two soudesukas, and a je suis in a petit fromage.

Happy New Year, everyone!
  • Current Music
    Ian Martyn and Tommy Rogers - The Five Days of Christmas

Whale Wail

Sorry for not posting in what seems like forever. I've been very busy as the semester comes to a close.

Mexico City proved to be a very nice vacation. It managed to much better than the multiple warnings I received regarding my health and safety. It was actually quite nice. Granted, I was smart about everything I did, but I wasn't uptight like I thought I would be.

I ended up taking away a lot from the SEM conference. There were a lot of good papers and I got an idea of how the academic conference works. It's a lot different than the cons that I'm used to, although there are many similarities. I'm looking forward to the next conference that I go to.

Other than that, life has been fairly routine. I managed to buy a new watch and a new ukulele. This Ohana ukulele has a pickup in it and I look forward to being able to play it amplified. I actually think it sounds a bit better than the Martin that I've been playing on since I started a few months ago and I'm glad that I've got this one that I don't really have to worry about in terms of sentimental and monetary value. I'll get a video of myself playing it sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Grad school apps are coming along well and I'm glad that I'm applying. I'm still trying to shrink the list down by a few schools and we'll just see how that goes.

This weekend is going to be packed with things, but I'll be looking forward to it. I've got a lot of work to get done, but I'm fairly confident in my ability to successfully manage my time and complete the tasks at hand.
  • Current Music
    Nickel Creek - Robin and Marian