July 29, 2004

Here’s an attempt at describing my life for the next few weeks:

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
25 July 26 27 28 29
Otakon morning, drive to Saalon‘s
1 August
At Saalon’s
Drive back in morning
3 4 5 6 7

9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18
Sign townhouse contract
Review townhouse
20 21
Move clothing, pots, pans, etc.
22 — 28
Move books and bookcases, one load per night

So. Yes. I feel like the robots in classic Star Trek who were given a set of logical impossibilities. “Every-thing you say is false…but if that is true…then it can-not be true…il-log-i-calil-log-i-cal….”

Owning a home has become a big part of American culture. Note Fannie Mae’s radio ads, fashioning itself as a pillar of the American economy (an ad campaign that happened to start just after the Justice Department began investigating them for massive fraud on a scale that would impress Enron execs, but I’m getting off-track). A touch of awe enters peoples’ voices when they tell their children, “Some day, you’ll grow up, and you’ll own your own home.”

Homes are massively expensive. My knees get weak at the idea of a $10,000 plasma screen TV; my townhouse will cost twenty times that. It’s an astronomical sum.

So, I guess I’m justified in being blown away by this whole process.

[Ghost in the Shell TV screenshot]

In other news, I watched the first disc of the new Ghost in the Shell TV series last night. I hoped it would blow me away; it was “merely” entertaining. Perhaps this was simple too-high expectations. This is a huge property, and it has some of the best staff in anime, from Masamune Shirow to Yoko Kanno to Production I.G. I expected brilliance.

I got a good techno-thriller. It’s essentially a cop show set thirty years in the future, where the world was created by a real futurist. This is a believable future.

The protagonists are the members of Section 9, a “grey ops” team that’s heavily armored, amazingly skilled, and charged with the most delicate of missions, from defusing hostage situations to investigating rogue robots. The series keeps the strong cast from the manga, but chooses very odd voices. The leader of the team is the tough-as-nails pragmatist Major Kusanagi, but they gave her an almost silky, Madonna-like voice. Togusa is the newbie to the group, a fantastic shot but unsure of himself. His voice is deep, mature, and confident. The others don’t suffer as badly, but the voices just don’t match the characters.

On the other hand, some series need a few episodes to establish themselves, so this one may improve as time goes on.

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