So yeah, I like anime. Many people who know me know I like cartoons in general. More often than not, I’d rather watch a cartoon than any live action show on TV. In the past few years, though, my interests have shifted from what you’d find on Cartoon Network to mostly anime. This has as much to do with quality as evolution of interest.

It isn’t always easy being an anime fan, though. As a 30-something I’ve found it awkward telling people that I do like it. It has to do with the popular, skewed view of what anime is. Thanks to a few shows which are either popular now or have been popular in the past there is a view of what anime is which isn’t entirely accurate. Yes, there are series which star pointy-haired, super freaks out to save the world from grotesquely strong aliens. And we can’t talk about anime without talking about giant robots piloted by emo teens (hell, anime practically invented emo). Finally, yes, there are innumerable series which portray tentacled creatures having their ways with women. Once one gets past these generalizations it isn’t hard to see that anime is much like any other form of entertainment: there are genres, sub-genres, cross-genres, sub-cross-genres and so on ad nauseum. Unfortunately, these get swept aside by the public-at-large because all they see are the shows that have become annoyingly popular or stereotyped. I will be fair though, much like any other genre, it is easy to find rehashed ideas. This seems to have become a bigger problem in the past decade due to what some are calling an “anime bubble“.

Another issue I think the non-anime watching public can’t get past is that “cartoons are for kids“. This is a cultural issue which has become the case more in the past 20 years since the Children’s Television Act was signed into law. I don’t know about you but as someone who watched cartoons in the decade-plus prior to and well after it’s enactment I saw a significant change in the quality of animated entertainment. The notion that “cartoons are for kids” became more and more a reality. Granted, there are cartoons which harken back to a day before the drivel but unfortunately, they are few.

“Well, what about The Simpson or Family Guy?” While I’m a fan of these shows The Simpsons hasn’t been very relevant for at least 10 years and Family Guy points to another problem I’ve developed with American animated entertainment; that of extremes. We either make cartoons for children or we make cartoons for adults (see Adult Swim‘s original shows. Although, to be fair, they show anime, too). There typically is no middle ground (save for at least the one example mentioned above). Anime series, on the other hand, often appeal to a range of age groups. That appeal probably has to do with one of the things I enjoy about anime. One can be watching a show which is emotionally involved only to have the tender moments broken up with subtle bouts of humor.

Once you get past the blobby eyes in so many of them it is easy to see that they often portray their stories in the same manner we as living beings face our lives. Understandably, we don’t deal with the often fantastical aspects of their stories but that’s contextually irrelevant. The fact of the matter is, we don’t manage our lives strictly using crude humor (or humor in general, for that matter) nor do we make everything fluffy and gloss over the difficult aspects in juvenile ways. We apply all of our emotions and cognitive reasoning in order to understand and deal with our situations. Most anime does the same. Even the popular shows about the pointy-haired super freaks.

That actually hits on a big reason for why I like anime so much. Even being animated they tell essentially the same stories that live-action shows often do. However, I prefer anime over said live-action shows because it’s not only easier to get past the hokiness of some of the narratives but they actually embrace it whereas live-action shows often do their best to portray fiction as possible reality. In other words anime doesn’t take itself too seriously.

So yeah, I like anime.


Getting On

14Apr09

Note: It actually hasn’t been as long since my last post as the dates indicate. I posted a little over a month ago but due to the topic and the repercussions it could have on my employment I withdrew the post. It looks like Google’s cache no longer has it either which is fortunate for me. For posterity’s sake though, I saved a local copy. Mostly because I was quite proud of the humor. Mind you, there were no negative comments or incriminating information. Just a bit too much…liberty.

It’s been seven months since I lost my job. Since then I’ve been doing things to keep myself busy and sane. For the most part, that means looking for another job. Initially, it seemed like that would be a simple matter. In the latter part of last year there were quite a few Linux admin roles to vie for. However, the recession has since hit the IT industry and opportunities have all but dried up.

In the meantime I’ve lowered my expectations. Considering I’ve been out of a datacenter for so long and books can only give one so much practice, my skills are beginning to dull. As a result, I’m no longer expectant of a job that pays the same as the last one. I’m still looking for a Linux admin role but not one that lands all of the responsibilities for the network on my shoulders. While I shudder at the thought of it, I’m even warming up to the idea of a job that includes some desktop support.

I’m currently waiting to hear back from one potential employer who wants to bring me in for an interview. He worries that I’ll skip out in a month or two when something a bit higher-level is offered to me. I nearly flipped my lid when the recruiter told me this. I wasn’t angry, just surprised considering the conversation I had with the individual doing the hiring. I thought I had diverted that notion during the interview.

He had asked me what my long-term goal was, say, two to three years down the road. I told him that for me that was short term and that I saw long term as being five to ten years off. For the near-term, I told him I was looking for a job more or less like he was describing the position as which would allow me to grow and learn so that later, in the long-term, I could progress and take a more engineering-type role.

Hopefully, my explanation to the recruiter and my vocal animation was enough to convince him that I was not looking for a stop-over on my way to a better job a month down the road. Yes, I do plan on moving up and if that requires another company in ten years, so be it. But, right now I just want to get back into the swing of things and learn more of what I need to succeed in this industry.


It isn’t that I despise Apple. I dislike a lot of business practices such as tying the hardware to the software and vice-versa. Actually, if one drills down, that is really the only thing Apple as a company does that I really don’t like. The fact of the matter is, they make excellent hardware and an OS that is comparable (I pull up short of calling OS X the best out there).

Quite frankly, and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels this way, it is all the fanboys that cause me to dislike Apple. All the people that swear by Apple for no other reason than to make their own farts smell better.

Look, Apple is innovative. They know how to turn a computer into more than a boring beige box. In fact, they’ve turned the computer and its array of accessories into fashion items. That’s all well and good but, please, they aren’t gods. They’ve had their share of failures and will continue to do so. Steve Jobs? He’s proving to be just as human as the rest of us and will likely prove it ultimately in the next year or two if his disease is as bad as some make it out to be.

Now, if I could get past the idea that if I were to buy an Apple product I’d be lumped in with the blithering idiots who can’t see beyond their iPhones I’d be more inclined to buy one. Actually, the only thing I would buy is an iPhone; I could jailbreak it and un-tether myself from the Apple monopoly (which would resolve conflict #1 mentioned at the beginning of this post, and ironically, allow me to tether to other services).

I suppose if I don’t rub in peoples’ faces that I own an iPhone it wouldn’t be such a bad proposal. While it wouldn’t be an easy task (having to use the phone in public and all) I could be less of an asshole about it than some people I’ve seen. Being a Linux proponent I also know of Linux fanboys and the arrogance some of them portray. I’ve successfully avoided that as far as I’m aware.

Another issue making me reconsider the iPhone is the lack of Android-based options. I prefer the openness of the Android OS and that it isn’t tied to any one device. However, while a second HTC Android-based phone is in the works, it will only be available in Europe for the foreseeable future. Granted, I could buy a G1 and simply replace it when something new comes along but the G1 gives me the impression that it is what it is: a dot-zero release which I try to avoid. Besides, I find some of the Android short-comings a bit more than tolerable; Outlook support, for instance. When I get another job I expect to need email and with Android only supporting GMail, it isn’t going to be a good work phone.

I think at this point I’ve more or less decided my next phone will be an iPhone. I can jailbreak it and enjoy freedom Steve Jobs doesn’t want me to have and I can take advantage of many features other companies build into their products by supporting the iPhone/iPod interface. The only thing I now have to resolve is paying $25 more per month for a cell/data/messaging plan that I need to pay AT&T; than I would for similar service from T-Mobile for the G1. For a two-year contract that comes out to $600; not chump change.


Overdue Update

04Feb09

Cripes. I don’t even remember what I wrote last. I guess I should go look…bear with me.

(insert Jeopardy theme here)

Ok, I’m back. Baseball and the HoF. Not very relevant right now. Though I’m happy to see Varitek is going to be behind the dish again next season. His numbers might not return but at least he’ll be able to control the pitching staff.

About a week after my last post I moved out of my apartment and back into the bedroom in Ted’s house. It isn’t the best option for either me or Ted but it does the job of providing me with a roof over my head. Honestly, that’s the biggest piece of information I have to share. Three weeks since my last post and I really have nothing to speak of.

I guess that isn’t entirely true. I did have a job interview which led to a second interview which led nowhere.

I have a problem with recall. Put me in front of a computer and I can usually remember how to do what I need to do. If I can’t remember off the top of my head I know where to get the information necessary to accomplish the task. Sit me down and randomly ask me to write an SQL statement that involves JOINS and I lock up. Easy enough to learn when needed but after being out of work for nearly five months my skills are getting rusty. I’m relying on my O’Reilly book collection to keep me as fresh as possible.

Unfortunately, most organizations don’t care that technology is a moving target and knowing where to find the answers is an important skill. They want experts and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not one. When I interviewed at SV Rich asked me where to find the answer to something I don’t know. That he stopped me as soon as I said “Google” was indication that they know how IT behaves and that no one person holds all the information he or she will ever need but that knowing how to get it is just as necessary. It would be nice if I could find another SV in Massachusetts. Hell, I’d be willing to move back to VA if they’d take me back *hint hint*.

Other than that and the occassional social event with Ted and his (and by extension, my) friends not much else has been happening. I’m still trying to learn Japanese and I spend a lot of time playing video games.

Speaking of video games, Ken, a friend and former colleague has a large hand in vNES; an online Nintendo Entertainment System emulator. If you want to be able to play NES again and want to do so wherever you have a computer and internet connection I recommend looking into it.

It can be a bit awkward using a keyboard instead of an actual controller though. Because of this I ordered a couple new NES controllers and a USB adapter. With the assistance of a keymapper (Xpadder in my case) I can now play the original NES games that I loved when I was younger (and even more that I never knew about). I should probably buy a second adapter in case someone wants to go head-to-head in Tecmo Bowl.


I read a blog post by Kirk Minihane over at WEEI.com. For the most part he makes some good arguments regarding who should be elected in and why. One player he mentioned made me question one of his opinions on why. That being the moral arguments against a player. Specifically, he presumes that some of the 500+ sports journalists who are sent ballots will not give Rickey Henderson a vote because of the moral high horse he says they are on.

He then went on to make his argument in favor of Mark McGwire based only on his numbers and ignoring any moral aspects of his game-play. This specifically got me thinking about how the moral aspect should be considered as well. Perhaps not as significantly as statistics but, when the players behavior off the field places him in a wider public arena than simply playing the game did perhaps we should look harder at why.

This was the email I sent to Mr. Minihane:

Suppose Bonds is found guilty and it is proven he took steroids. Based on the numbers he’s a lock, however in this hypothetical situation it would be shown that his power numbers were obtained via less than scrupulous methods. Should the numbers be deflated or do we ignore the cheating and only count the stats effectively ignoring the moral aspect? Keep in mind that McGwire wasn’t technically cheating since the substances he used (or, at least, admitted to using) weren’t banned at the time making his numbers, if nothing else, legally legitimate.

You may think that the moral high-horse is all some journalists have but we hold less public professions to high moral standards. Even if someone we’ve never heard of is shown to take immoral action in order to get a leg up on the competition we toss them to the lions. Why then shouldn’t we do the same for what is one of the most public professions in the country if not the world?

You could argue that professional ball players don’t ask to be role models and shouldn’t be held to a role model’s standards. If so then they shouldn’t have gone into such a public profession. But, that is deviating from the original question and could open up a completely different debate dealing with off-field behavior that benefited the player on the field versus off-field behavior that was more detrimental to the player’s image and quality of play.

That fact is they *are* in a public profession and whether they chose to be or not, they are held as role models for innumerable youth the world over. If the choices they made to improve their play can be considered either illegal or morally reprehensible in the public eye then that should be considered.

Fame isn’t strictly due to skill. If it were we wouldn’t see players like Don Mattingly on the ballot; an average player at best but a fan favorite. Compare that to Bonds who, on the surface, appears to be well above average but is despised by both fans and the media. According to the online Princeton dictionary fame is also defined as “favorable public reputation” (http://as200l.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=fame). Where is the favorable reputation in Bonds’ case?

I suppose what all this boils down to is this: if you put McGwire in based only on numbers ignoring any moral aspect, how do you handle the Bonds situation which will have greater negative impact on the Hall of Fame?

Personally, I feel that should Bonds be found guilty of either perjury or use of steroids (the latter would certainly be a precursor to the former) that he should not be voted in. I also feel that his presence on the ballot should be withheld until the outcome of any legal issues should they last longer than the waiting period for being placed on the ballot.

As for McGwire, I admit to being somewhat hypocritical. He admitted to using androstenedione which wasn’t banned from the sport at the time nor is it illegal. This clears him from any wrongdoing from the point of view of the baseball rulebook and the law. However, that doesn’t legitimize using it. The problem is that he refuses to speak on the matter. This places him in a negative light and gives rise to questions as to why he won’t discuss it. Regardless, in my opinion due to the lack of information in the McGwire case compared to the the glut of information in the Bonds case, McGwire is more deserving of being elected into the Hall.


I finally finished reading the book about third culture kids that I bought last month. On the one hand it was an interesting read. On the other, it didn’t exactly tell me anything that I didn’t already recognize if only subconciously. I’ve always pretty much been aware of who I am and why. Seeing some of this in print essentially served to validate my awareness (I say “some” because I am defined by more than just having lived overseas).

While the book was useful it isn’t a spot-on description of what I and many others have experienced. My dad pointed this out when he told me that ours (mine, my sister’s and others’ like us) wasn’t quite the same experience as that described throughout most of the book. Specifically, while the experiences being described in the book were primarily those of children who were fully submerged in a culture, ours were as children only partially submerged.

We had an American oasis plopped in the middle of a foreign culture. As a result we were able to experience our surroundings but also find refuge in our own little America when necessary (such as when going to school).

This isn’t to say my experience was 100% unique. I still dealt with the separation anxiety of moving around numerous times (even before going overseas) and having to deal with losing friends while, at the same time, being confronted with the need to gradually blend into my new surroundings and make new friends. While I can still claim to be a third culture kid I realize it is in the more refined category of military brat. I always knew I was a military brat (even though we traveled as civilians) I just never fully understood what it means to be one. Actually, until I pursue more reading on that I still won’t but, I am closer to full understanding.

I just need to select a quality book about military brats which isn’t patronizing. I’ve found books but I don’t want to buy any of them until I know how well they deal with the topic.


A few days ago an article was posted on a message board of which I’m a member (The article can be found at forbes.com). It is about a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon who used liposuctioned fat to make biodiesel. On the message board people were expressing things from mild humor to nausea.

I’m wondering where the nausea factor comes in. I suppose it is understandable as most people associate using human byproducts with things like horror movies and insane people that make masks from the skin of their victims. Add to that the history which has been burned into our minds by the maniacs known as Nazis and it is easy to find the nastiness in this.

So, my question is this: is it possible to find uses for such things as voluntarily liberated body-fat without drawing connections to a horrendous past? Sure there are the sanitation and medical waste issues to deal with but if animal fat can be broken down into biodiesel why not human fat. Especially if the person providing has given permission to use it in such a way.

I don’t make the following comment out of lack of respect for those who lost their lives to those maniacs but I would like to point out that there are many parts of present day medicine which exists as a result of that insanity. Much of what we know about anatomy, for instance, is a result of it.

I would love to provide a truly objective representation of the ethics of using said medical knowledge but unfortunately, all I’ve been able to uncover are writings by those who are ethnically and spiritually affected (eg this article) as well as those who don’t bother to address that aspect of the discussion (eg this one). The former have, what I consider, a justifiable bias in their opinion and the later treats the issue as if the experiments were 100% medical in nature and not the result of murderous insanity. I suppose the latter would be the best objective argument but in some cases, sterilizing the subject matter of any humanity is nausea-inducing by itself.

FWIW: Once you’ve seen Dachau in person you gain a firm understanding of the horrendous nature of those maniacs. I certainly don’t offer my thoughts out of insensitivity. I was deeply moved by what I saw there. I merely try to look at what exists as opposed to what we would like to exist in terms of things we cannot change.




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