Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Nerdiness and Addiction... and weird music... and guitars... yes, guitars...

A Slight Departure

Given the previous week's events and the current trends in the gun market, I had planned to do a writeup on how to buy guns (or what you have to do to legally buy guns and who can legally have guns, if you prefer). Instead, I chose to look at something that is equally close to my heart. It is also a lighter topic - something we could all use on occasion. All work and no play, you know...

Related to today's subject is this week's music video. Given that I am on the road this weekend, I wanted to post early in order to beat my usual Friday release. If you can't wait, scroll to the end, otherwise, enjoy!


So. I'm not the only one. Not in this house anyway.

My wife is a nerd. It's one of the things that helped us understand each other and it was part of the attraction. but enough of that.

The Gateway Drug

She is now an Asian Pop Culture nerd. She always liked anime. I'm not talking Pokeman, Avatar: The Last Airbender, or even Naruto. Assuming that anime is simply Japanese for 'kid's cartoon' would be akin to thinking that all live action TV dramas are only for kids (or adults for that matter). Yes, lots of shows are for kids or teens, but the great majority are produced for an adult audience. Imagine your favorite soap opera or police procedural drawn as a cartoon. There you go. That is anime.

We watched InuYasha for years when it was on Cartoon Network. InuYasha is currently streaming on Hulu - if you want an intro to anime, this is a good place to start.

You know what they say about men who carry big swords, don't you?
You know what they say about men who carry big swords, don't you?
So, over the last six months, herself has been getting in deeper. She started watching more anime on demand on cable, on NetFlix (having a Wii is the awesomesauce for this alone), and online (Mainly crunchyroll and AnimeHere). Other than gaining a crush on Ichigo Kurasaki from Bleach, no harm no foul... I am that secure in my relationship... and it gave me free time to blow up digital tanks...

A Slippery Slope

As with other addictions, anime was the gateway media. from there, my wife started to hit the hard stuff: Manga.

In the same way that anime isn't just cartoons for kids, manga is definitely NOT just comic books for kids. American Geeks, Nerds, and other Fanboys have been attempting to defend the US comic industry for years. In Japan, manga are a respected part of culture (not so much in Korea and China, but they are still there). Kids, hipsters, wives, and salarymen all read manga.

Normally, anime begins life as a manga. InuYasha, Bleach, and others started out in this form - small black-and-white books read right to left, back-to-front (from the American viewpoint), concerned with any subject or literary style imaginable. There are modern, sci-fi, fantasy, historical, and other styles of manga. Some sources for free Manga include Manga Fox,, and MangaHere. If you have an iPad, enjoy, you'll have a ball sitting on the couch!

One benefit from all of this is that she has learned about 100 words and phrases in Japanese. Quite a few of these are useful in conversation. A number of these are the words for some of the different regular story line types, categories, content descriptions, etc. Unfortunately, these leads to knowing some terms that may make American audiences uneasy. Much of this is from the different societal mores and concerns. While the broader American audience may take issue with a gay male couple and have no issues with a tattooed hero, it is the complete opposite in Japan.

We have Christianity, they have Yakuza.

The Last Straw

Eventually, the desired anime and manga ran out...

But wait! They make live action dramas of some of them, as well! (The term 'Drama' is generic to any live-action show - whether drama, comedy, action, etc.)  In our house, it started at Gokusen, a hilarious drama about a Yakuza assassin-princess cum-school teacher - trust me, it works. Gokusen had already been read as a manga and watched as an anime. The live-action was definitely funnier based on the outbursts of laughter from the desk five feet to my right. The big differences between these series and American television series are the lack of violence and the lack of sex. LOTS of love triangles, family conflicts, and money issues though...

The hit parade kept a'rolling for awhile. A. Long. While. Brother Beat, Nobuta wo Produce, Yukan Club, Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge, and others. Many others.

Japan failed to keep up with the voracious appetite, unfortunately, so off to Korea we go...

The First Step to Recovery... admitting you have a problem.

Coffee Prince, Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, and other Korean dramas.This led to looking for the music, which led to trolling the news for the various 'Idol' bands - The Korean Music Industry is a machine... dorms, training, choreography, curfews...

This led to last week's video, PSY's Gangnam Style. I saw this on The Soup's feed and recognized it for the brilliance it is.

You're welcome.

Wait. You Want More?

Now that you had to go through all of that, here is this week's music video - Led Apple brings us another K-Pop video that will make you wonder what they are feeding to the Korean Musicians.

Again, you're welcome.

The Upshot - or, DOES THIS EVER END???


Check the guitar on the right...
The upshot about all of this is that I became aware of one of the coolest instrument concepts I have ever seen. While watching another Led Apple video, I saw the guitar player playing what looked like a funky Steinberger Demon. I was intrigued, so I looked up what he played. IT. IS. NOT. A. STEINBERGER.

Now, I am quite familiar with the history of guitar-style midi controllers. However, I am drooling over the 'guitar' controller they made. All I need now is $800... and for them to make a bass version...

Enjoy this last video (a demonstration at NAMM 2011).

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Disappointed at the mall

I know. It isn't hard to be disappointed at the mall...

I was about to comment on lots of folks spending about $6 to get 1000-1500 calories in order to support their beliefs... but I am too disappointed right now.

I took my son to his tae kwon do class at the mall and to do my walking. I was impressed (but not surprised) by the number of folks supporting CFA. The line was 50-60 deep the whole time. Seeing as we are in Enid, it was to be expected. And, to make it clear, while I disagree with the corporate beliefs of CFA, I think it is great that their supporters came out. That is to say until we left...

The disappointment kicked in when, on our way out, I saw 20-something guy in the line wearing a T-shirt on which he had written out John 3:16. I don't take issue with that so much as his modification of the verse. He had a line through "the world" and inserted "straight people".
For God so loved the world Straight People, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
He may have changed something else - that was all I caught in my attempt to get to the door.

If the mall didn't have two security guys right there making sure no one took any pictures, I'd be sharing the joy.

During this whole CFA deal, I have been concerned, surprised, and, at times, amused. This is the first time that I have been disappointed by the actions taken by anyone (besides public figures).

I know that this guy does not represent all (most) Christians. I suspect that this guy would also not have worn this shirt in public without the belief (correct or not) that everyone around him agrees.

I am most disappointed in myself in that I did not point out his 'correction' and inform him that not everyone agrees with him.