February 14, 2005

I didn’t mention this, but I had a terrible time waking up last week. I kept sleeping through my alarm and opening my eyes at 10:00 or even later. Combine that with my router adventure last Friday, and I missed a fair amount of work last week.

So I’m making it up this week. I’ll probably go to writer’s group tomorrow, which doesn’t start until 8:00. This is both good and bad; bad because it makes most sense to stay at work until 7:30 or so, but good because it forces me to put in a long day. Tomorrow, it will add a good couple of hours to my normal day at the office.

My new home ‘net connection has greatly boosted my work productivity. I used to get in to work and check my mail first thing, merrily replying to friends and skimming through mailing lists. Once I was done, the workday inevitably paled in comparison, and I had very little enthusiasm. Now, I can just concentrate on my work.

In other news, I’ve been downloading and watching bits of anime from BitTorrent. Specifically:

    [Gundam Evolve]

  • Gundam Evolve is a series of short films commemorating major mechs in the Gundam universe. The original series of five films were for the central Gundams in Mobile Suit Gundam, Zeta Gundam, G Gundam, Gundam: 0083, and Char’s Counterattack. I watched the ones for Mobile Suit and G Gundam, and they were both quite good. The Mobile Suit film is esssentially a music video in which Amuro awaits take-off in his RX-78, closes his eyes, and dreams of the fights he’s been in throughout the series. The G Gundam film begins with a beautiful sequence of the main Gundam performing Tai Chi on the roof of an abandoned building, then proceeds into a typical silly fight sequence. Good stuff.
  • Makoto Shinkai is an anime creator, in the sense that he creates anime himself. Completely. He does all the backgrounds, cels, special effects, CGI, coloring, etc. He even does some of the voices. He created the reportedly amazing Voices of a Distant Star (I haven’t seen it yet), and I caught his “pilot” (more accurately an extended trailer) for his next work, The Place Promised In Our Early Days. I’m quite impressed; beyond being an interesting SF action/adventure, it’s fundamentally beautiful. I’m amazed that, not only does he make anime, he obviously takes the time to make every shot look gorgeous.
  • [IMAGE]

  • Uninhabited Planet Survive had such a goofy title I had to check it out. I’m still unsure about it; looks like the kind of series that doesn’t get really good until about ten episodes in. It’s a fairly standard SF drama, starting with an explosion inside some sort of space colony, then a man carrying his young daughter to an escape pod where he pushes her in and stays behind as the colony is consumed with fire. Almost a cliche at this point. Anyvay, she ends up going to an academy where she and a small group of students are apparently accidentally stranded on a wild planet, where they must, um, Survive on this Uninhabited Planet. The weird thing about the show is that the character designs are very rounded and simplified, almost like Digimon‘s characters. I’m not sure if it works in this sort of context.
  • My parents were also kind enough to let me put an anime DVD on their Netflix list. It was Aura Battler Dunbine volume 1, and I watched episode one tonight. This is the series that the Gundam guys made just after Mobile Suit Gundam. It was just about exactly what I expected: a fantasy mech series with old school character designs and strong direction and an already twisty plot. I didn’t expect it to move quite so quickly. I suspect that the director had seen Macross (which was released a year earlier) and was incorporating its fast pacing into his directorial style. Dunbine moves much faster than Mobile Suit Gundam, but his next series, Zeta Gundam, moves slower than Dunbine.

The president of Jones Soda writes wonderfully about his views on soda. A few key phrases:

The reality is that consumers don’t need our stuff. I don’t mean to say that. But when you start thinking that way — a lot of time, business people, marketers convince themselves that people need their stuff. They’re passionate about how you need my new widget. You need it! The fact is, you don’t need it! And as soon as you get off the fact that you don’t need it you become, in my opinion, you become a better marketer, you get a better understanding of your customer.

[Jones Soda]

My daughter drinks one Jones a week. And I’m good with that. We don’t sell two liters. It’s a treat. And everybody wigs out on it, saying it causes obesity. It’s the fact that you drink 44 fluid ounces of this stuff. 10 years ago the average size of a soda was 12 ounces. Now, the average size is 43 ounces. Well, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do the math, you morons. So we sell in 12-ounce. That’s it. Have a nice soda. If you’re going to drink a gallon of soda, you better figure out that that’s a lot of sugar.

One year on April Fool’s Day we sent a press release saying we were acquired by John Deere. That was hilarious. You sold out man! It was a joke, dude. We spelled Deere wrong. It was one of the funniest things we’ve ever done. We said they wanted their own weed-flavored soda. We came up with that stuff and people went ballistic. We were getting phone calls: “I can’t believe you sold out. You sold out to the big guy.” Dude, it was a tractor company.

Now I’m scamming. Companies are paying me to give talks. I think it’s a pretty good gig. They’ll pay me 10 grand to come talk to them. Maybe if I write a book, I get can that up there more. I do a good job and all the money goes to charity — so it’s not a total scam. So far we’ve built two schools.

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