loopychew: (normal)
So as beautiful as Yoko Kanno's "Voices" is, the English version used in the Manga Entertainment dub always bugged me with bad scanning and only vague links to the original lyrics (except for the part in the original that was in English, anyway). I figured I'd try my hand at a version that flowed more naturally and was much closer to the original translation (yes, there are embellishments). This was the only place I thought appropriate for such content, so why not.

No attempt at rhyme scheme or anything, it was difficult enough to get the flow right. Maybe sometime in the future I'll give that a shot. I used this site as my reference.

Enjoy. )
loopychew: (normal)
I felt more than slightly sad yesterday as I read about Harold Ramis' death, and the more I think about it, the more I realize how much I associate him with Jamie.

As with most kids my age, playing Ghostbusters was just as common as running around with a flashlight and claiming Jedi Knighthood. He, LilBro, and I would run around as the original three. Jamie, wearing glasses, would be Egon. I was Peter and LilBro was Ray, but I don't know if there was any real reasoning behind those two choices, but Jamie was always Egon because he wore glasses.

I've got this sneaking suspicion that Jamie held Egon as a role model, someone he could easily identify with. Jamie liked his fun, but he also enjoyed doing things that society at large thought was nerdy--maybe not collecting spores, mold, and fungus, but model building and painting, D&D, etc. Egon was also the genius without whom the Ghostbusters would never be able to actually bust ghosts, and Jamie loved trying to invent things and experiment. It could all be bull--Jamie had one of those old science kits with the transistors and LEDs even before Ghostbusters was a thing--but the idea seems to fit just right.

Years passed. We enjoyed things like Groundhog Day together, and probably any number of Harold Ramis movies--back catalog things like Animal House, cameos in movies like As Good as it Gets (first movie seen in Geneva with my family, though Jamie was still in New Jersey at the time), and such. After he moved to Switzerland and I came back from Wooster, I told my family that we should watch Analyze This. We picked up the DVD and enjoyed it immensely, and it became a brief running gag that everyone in my family would do Robert De Niro's pointy hand gesture and go "You! --You're good!" whenever we were acknowledging one of us being correct about something.

That must have been the summer of 2000, because not that long afterward, the car accident happened.

Most of you know that Jamie died in a car accident. I'm not sure how frequently I mention that my mother was also in that car, and almost literally hung on by a thread; her seatbelt, while keeping her from dying, still caused some serious gastrointestinal injury which never healed 100% but quite close. The same paramedics that pronounced Jamie "expired" at the scene quickly rushed my mother to the Doctor's Medical Center at Modesto which wasn't that far off, where in a miracle of all miracles they apparently specialize in gastrointestinal surgery.

Of the days spent waiting for my mother to recover, of the days we passed in the hospital by her side, one of the first things she did when she was conscious enough to take any action was to do De Niro's pointy hand gesture. She was still in a breathing apparatus and probably wouldn't have had the strength to say anything anyway, but the gesture was enough to tell us she'd be good.

Lastly, while the accident happened at the end of August, we didn't hold the funeral until the end of October (as documented in my very first LiveJournal entry ever). After the funeral was over, after (or before? I really don't remember) the dinner, we all went and watched Bedazzled and had a good laugh, even if it was an otherwise forgettable film.

Harold Ramis and my brother will apparently forever be tied together in my memory, and maybe that's why his death hit me more than I thought it would.
loopychew: (Default)
Since I haven't figured out my tumblr yet, I'll be reblogging more or less manually. This is from my friend [livejournal.com profile] lirazel, and I think it's pretty important:

I rarely do this.

I rarely ask my friends to respond to a posting by linking to an article or some other post somewhere in their own blogs -- something that's called "boosting the signal" in a bold borrowing from broadcast media.

However, I came across this Boston Globe blog post today. Let me quote:

She is 5 years old, she is from Glendale, Ariz., she was last seen wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans, and pink flip-flops, and she is black.

The last characteristic matters, and not only because Jahessye Shockley's family needs the public's help to find their little girl alive. It matters because according to the Justice Department, children of color make up 65 percent of all missing children cases; 42 percent of those are African-American, 23 percent Latino.

It matters that Jahessye is black because despite those statistics, of which she has now become a part, the face of the missing child in America has long been, and continues to be, a white face. Six years ago, it was Baby Jessica. Right now, it's Baby Lisa.

A Google search crudely but clearly suggests the disparity in the cases of these two girls, who vanished within days of each other in October. "Jahessye Shockley," 143,000 hits. "Baby Lisa Irwin," 3.8 million hits. Another expression of the disparity, less scientific but sobering nonetheless: reward amount in the Shockley case: $11,000, offered by law enforcement and the group Silent Witness. Reward amount in the Baby Lisa case: $100,000, offered by an anonymous donor.


This strikes me as so unjust and so important that I am asking you (yes, you in the Comfy Chair) to post links to this story where and as you can. Here's another.

Warning -- when you Google this story, you will find that Jahessye's home life is complex -- her mother once pleaded no contest to child abuse charges, and when Jahessye was reported missing the State of Arizona took her three older siblings out of the home and has not, so far, provided a reason. The cute little white girls who have recently gone missing or turned up dead also lived in circumstances that were/are complex. The injustice comes when we care more about the poor white child than about the poor black child, as if the disappearance and death of children of color is only to be expected.

If you read the article, you will also come across another story -- a small black child kidnapped from his bedroom. His mother was accused of abusing and possibly killing him, when, as it turns out, he had brittle bone syndrome. He's never been found, and is probably dead. The reward offered for information in his case? $1,000 USD.

Jahessye, and other missing and exploited children of color deserve to be found and brought home. If we make enough noise, we can help make sure that money and attention are at least more equally distributed. It may not help, but it couldn't hurt.
loopychew: (Default)
So Amazon had their giant press release regarding the new batch of Kindles yesterday, and I've been mulling it over. Since this has absolutely nothing to do with music gaming and I haven't figured out how to work that newfangled tumblr account of mine, I figured I'd keep to using this as a forum for my thoughts on the situation.

It sounds like all these Kindles are now designed to complement the currently-existing Kindle 3--now rechristened the "Kindle Keyboard"--as opposed to being a replacement, which is a smart move--as much as the current keyboard disappoints (does anyone else who owns one hit 'm' instead of 'n' frequently because of the key positioning?), some people will always prefer a tactile keyboard to a virtual one, and none of the new models have one.

Let's start from the lowest price point up.

Kindle: At $80 (without ads, $110), this is one of the sleeper news hits: finally, an e-book reader connected to one of the most popular e-book platforms around, for less than a Benjamin. That's one major milestone down--it's now more affordable to students. However, this still doesn't work well for lower-income families, since 1) it's Wi-Fi only (how likely is it that someone would own a Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi hotspot device without owning a computer?) and 2) the Kindle is really a personal device, not well-suited to sharing amongst families (at least with books, if someone's reading one, you can pick up another; it doesn't matter if you own all the books in the world on your Kindle if you've only got one of them and three people who want to read). The five-way switch would make it frustrating to input words if you want to use the Kindle shop, but it should work reasonably for reading, at least. Not good for vision-impaired people, as audiobooks and text-to-speech can't work without speakers. We'll have something that can really benefit the masses once the price gets down to maybe $50 with 3G support (or a good public Wi-Fi system--either way, really a pipe dream if trying to get e-books and readers to lower-income areas where even $50 may not be considered affordable, which I know is a lot of places).

Kindle Touch: Really can't say much until I hear more about the touchscreen, but the shorter profile makes it easier to fit into a pocket without things falling out. Front-facing speaker is nice, too. It's priced to compete directly against the Nook Touch, and it looks like it comes out favorably (more space, speakers for TTS and audiobooks, only $10 more for the 3G edition if you don't mind ads).

Kindle Fire: The belle of the ball, a $200 tablet which, while lacking in cameras and other devices usually taken for granted in tablets, this is both a Kindle in name only. Sure, it reads books and WhisperSyncs them to your system (when connected to Wi-Fi, natch), but this is in reality--for the US, anyway--Amazon's answer to the iTunes ecosystem, and revenge for iBooks. By pricing it at less than half the price of the cheapest iPad, Amazon has put forward a strong entry into the portable media empire. For $50 less than a Nook Color, you have a device with the ability to read lots more media. Granted, it only has limited carrying capacity (8GB will get you a couple of movies at full resolution and no external memory slot to my knowledge), but the price--and the promise of free downloadable media for Prime customers--makes it difficult to resist. If it's a loss leader, the uptick in Prime subscriptions and media purchases--books, Amazon MP3s & videos--should keep it afloat.

Well played, Amazon, well played. I'm not going to buy a new Kindle reader--I haven't even had mine for a year yet--but the Fire looks like something I may get somewhere down the line.
loopychew: (Default)
I just used the phrase "End user-induced depressant overindulgence" in a computer support ticket.
loopychew: (Default)
Due to dearth of quality content on my journal as of recent, here's a list of "names" Nigerian 419 scammers have used in e-mailing me. Note how they are all composed entirely of first names, including given "surnames."

Liza James
Madelene Stevie
Dr. Philip Omar
Rachel Mario
Vivian Luis
Mark Jacob
Bernard Mathieu
Lee Scott
Mr. Melvin Walter
Mr. Franklin Hendrik
Mark Jacob
MAXWELL DERRICK
Nana Richard

Okay, for that last one, "Nana" isn't normally a first name in English, but still, I found it amusing.
loopychew: (Default)
RAPTUR'D )

(It's also my new Facebook profile picture.)
loopychew: (Default)
So, uh, hi.

Days at work right now are desktop deployment, which means a lot of small gaps of idle time--enough time to jot down a few things that are on my mind, most notably the death of Guitar Hero, as well as the sale of Harmonix. All of it can be found here for your perusal. Again, I figure most of you don't care much, but just in case you're curious as to what's been up with my hobby of choice, there you have it.

Also, I mainlined all of Community to date a couple of months back, and have been following it steadily since. This past week's episode focused on a character with suicidal thoughts, and without turning it into a Very Special Episode (or even mentioning the word "suicide"), managed to write a fantastic episode that explores the situation in-depth. I'd not heard of Scallywag and Vagabond up to now, but after this essay, I'll probably be checking up on them on a regular basis to add to my critical analysis of pop culture TV.

Still reading everyone's posts! Even commenting on them, occasionally. Life just isn't that exciting, even if it's a bit busy right now.
loopychew: (Default)
So I was in New York for a week over Christmas Break. Unfortunately, I didn't get to visit people outside of family things (plus, I was sick the first couple of days--stomach bug), so I didn't get to meet up with most of my friends at all. For the four or so days I was upright, there was a to-do list, on which one of the topmost items was: buy glasses.

So, I go with my mother and a couple of friends, one of whom was also looking to purchase glasses, and thus the decision was made to go to Mott Street Optical, which I recall going to regularly as a kid but don't ever remember buying glasses from there (maybe Jamie did). So after getting xiao long bao at New Green Bo (Nice Green Bo? Either way, awesome food), we walked the fifty feet to the store to get glasses, and I chose Tag Heuer 7104s, the make and model of which aren't particularly important or relevant to this post, but they're awesome glasses and look cool and stuff, and I kinda want to show them off. (So much that I actually took off my glasses to find the model number.)

No, the relevant thing to this post was the conversation my mother was having when discussing price. You see, my mom is a born haggler, and in Chinatown, something like a price tag was not going to stop her. Paraphrased from memory, the conversation between her and J (the clerk assisting us) was something like this (in Mandarin, of course):

Mom: So how much is this going to cost?
J: Well, the frames are $350, and it depends on what kind of lenses you want. Regular polycarbonate lenses are $100 and ultra-thins are $170, so the lowest price would be $450. Because I know you [they've dealt with each other before], I'll knock it down to $430.
Mom: $250.
J: $430.
Mom: I got you new clients (gestures to friends, who are fascinated by a pair of...Tom Fords, I think?). $250.
J: $420.
Mom: Okay, $280.
J: $420.
Mom: $300.
J: Look, I like you and everything, but I can't get that low. $400.
Mom: $300.
J: $380.
Mom: $300.
J: $380's my bottom line.
Mom: ...$350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: $350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: $350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: ...$350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: $350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: $350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: $350.
J: No, serious. I can't go lower than $380.
Mom: New clients. $350.
J: I would if I could. $380.
Mom: Okay...but you need to throw in the ultra-thins.
J: Can't do that, they cost extra.
Mom: Lawrence, are you wearing ultra-thins?
Me: No, these are standard polycarbonate.
Mom: Those aren't that bad.
Me: No, they're not.
Mom: $350, I'm not going any higher.
J: I can't get any lower without talking to my boss.
Mom: So get your boss!
J: He's just going to tell you the same.
Mom: Then get him out here.
[Around here, I faze out, and am sidetracked by my friend debating between those glasses and a pair of...I think CKs. When I get back:]
Mom: I've got your card. You know I can bring in more business for you. What's wrong with $350?
J: $380 is the lowest I can get you, and my boss isn't going to tell you any differently.
Mom: I'd like to talk to the boss.
J: You can't.
[Back to the other friend and the glasses. Three minutes later:]
Mom: Okay, $380.
J: Thank you. (goes to fill order)
(Beat)

That's when Mom turns to A, the guy helping out our friend.

Mom: Is J the boss?
A: (flatly) No.
loopychew: (Default)
The video and essay attached to this NPR blog entry are relevant to my interests. If there's a more intuitive way of learning math out of doodles as both Vi Hart and Paul Lockhart show us, you bet your ass this is something I'm going to keep around. Even if you don't have time to read the essay, the video is pretty simple and awesome.
loopychew: (Default)
If you haven't been following gaming news over the last couple of days, you may have missed the announcement of Professor Layton Vs. Ace Attorney.

I can think of only one way to make it even better.

loopychew: (Default)
Last night's "Duets," starring Dianna Agron's eyes and a bunch of twentysomethings pretending to be high school kids, contained a bunch of well-done songs, authentically hilarious Kurt one-liners, and fantastic Brittany moments that actually had dramatic impact. But really, it's all about Dianna Agron's EYES. Like seriously, she had the eyes of ten women. And not in a jar--not accusing. Like, seriously. Sure, the insanely-named-even-for-this-show Chord Overstreet (who for some reason they kept addressing as "Sam") pointed out how lovely they are, but somehow they kept going and going.

On a more serious note, I now fully believe Mike and Tina should attend Asian Couples Therapy (particularly after "Sing!", which was insanely ador(k)able, and support Rachel realizing exactly what kind of uber-harpy she can be, as well as Burt calling Kurt out for his stalkery behavior around Finn and now Chord. Artie is still crazily dorky, but wastes no opportunity when the spotlight is on him. Like I said, Brittany started out MAKING OUT WITH SANTANA being her usual airheadedly hilarious self, and even the final grace note with the nose-meatball thing was both smile- and sigh-inducing. This was a better Brittany episode than the Brittany episode (as a character, not as a singer/dancer).

Also, the song selection was brilliant and wonderfully executed. Rachel/Finn doing Elton/Kiki was great, I've already mentioned "Sing!", Mercedes/Santana's "River Deep, Mountain High" was scenery-chewingly awesome, "Lucky" was full of DIANNA AGRON'S EYES, and the end mash-up was well-done, although I'll always think of Harry Groener dancing in the streets of Chicago (before he became mayor of Sunnydale) whenever I hear "Get Happy."

Best episode of Glee this season, which to be fair isn't saying all that much (its competition was three episodes, of which one is a serious dud and the other two were uneven). I have a feeling the rest of the season won't live up to this, but I'll be happy to be proven wrong.

Also, DIANNA AGRON'S EYES.

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