< Piro >
Monday - September 4, 2006
When reading or writing stories that take place in the more or less modern world you really can't help but include the everyday things around you. These include the brand name goods that we use and obsess over, the ritualistic events that our lives are organized around and the enemies and boogiemen we are all supposed to be afraid of. Some stories are written to be period pieces, where they harken back to a bygone age and use the memories of brand names, rituals and enemies to help set the tone of the work. Other stories are written about the future, some time ahead that we may or may not live to see. Other works (and i think there are a lot of these) are supposed to be happening in the 'now' -- it just happened, it's happening now, or it will be happening five minutes from now.
Megatokyo is supposed to be in the 'now' category of time. This is quite a challenge when you consider that a typical day in Megatokyo has been taking an entire year to flesh out. I've seen people break brain cells trying to figure out how to gel the fact that while Largo was waiting for Neverwinter Nights to come out Sony had more than perfected android technology and plasma cannons... and the fact that only six days later in MT time, the game has already been out for years. I'm infinitely amused by the fact that we go from a young looking mulleted Solid Snake in MGS 2 in September 2000 to an old, broken, crotchety Solid Snake in MGS 4 in September 2005. Five years for you and me, 57 days for Largo, 500 years for Solid Snake... no, wait it's actually only six years. Huh. Snake is supposed to be 43 now, and he only looks that old because of advanced cell degeneration due to his imperfectly-cloned genes. I hope i don't look that old in 5 years, but then i haven't spent as much time outside.
(databit: in Megatokyo, the Tokyo Game Show happened on the 2nd day, it is currently Monday, day 58 in this chapter, and yes i have this sorta kinda figured out (at least as figured out as it is possible to do)).
The point is that it's amazing how much things can change in a few short years, and that it's really hard to keep a sense of uniform time in a story that deals with any aspect of popular culture. Back when i started Megatokyo, i was still trading VHS tapes of fansubs with friends. Miho's cell phone was kinda cool because it had a camera on it (what a wacky idea). Sega's Dreamcast was one of the big consoles of of the day. I never thought that Microsoft's X-box would ever be taken seriously. Megatokyo began with Largo and Piro trying desperately to get into E3, which as of this year will no longer really exist..
I wonder, as i look ahead, how much of Megatokyo will people not really understand as some of the things it refers to change. Six years ago, who would have thought that E3 would go away? In 2000, It was a fantasy that Kanon, this non-mainstream upstart of a game about snow and sad girls and weird moody crying-game stuff only nutters like me would be into would not only get an TV anime series, but eventually a high quality remake...
I suppose it's like some of the references in A Scanner Darkly (which i just read. Phillp K. Dick was t3h awesome, but you should already know that) a somewhat futuristic tale where references are made to the USSR, people still use phone booths, and cars still have carburetors and must be tinkered with, or Arthur C. Clark's 2001, where the most obvious choice for an airline that would make it to the future and fly us into space would be Pan Am (remember them? ^^;) or that scene in WarGames where the kid uses a pull tab from a beer can to tweak a pay phone and make a call... do people remember pull tabs that actually separated from the can? I guess younger people who watch that movie probably can't comprehend back when your personal computer usually wasn't connected to anything, and you had to actually cradle your phone handset into the modem itself to connect to another computer, or when you didn't have hard drives on your computer and everything ran off of floppy disks...
Yeah, i feel old sometimes.
Well, not really. When i think about anime and manga and how much has changed over the past 15 years, or how much computers and the internet have changed, it makes me feel old. When i think about how specialized you have to be these days, devoted entirely to one thing or another (this being the only way to really stay up to date on anything) i feel old. The other day, when i was sitting in a Kayak in the middle of the Huron river listening to the wind blow through the trees and the quiet sounds of the river, i didn't feel old at all.
Maybe that's because nature never seems to really change that much. It's always there, the wind, the trees, the grass, a comforting presence that we often turn to in order to take a break from our otherwise hectic lives. In nature, things don't really change much. When Seraphim and I went out to South Dakota last year i picked up a fascinating book called "Exploring with Custer - the 1874 Black Hill Expedition" which contains a whole series of photos taken from the same location as photos taken by the expedition. What's startling is not just what has changed (Custer State Park is actually seems to be more wooded now than it was back in 1874) but what has not changed. One picture shows a piece of dead wood that is lying in exactly the same place as it was back in 1874. You look around and the natural areas don't seem all that different than they were 100 years ago. Seasons come and go, but the outside is still the same outside that has always been there since we were kids. Unlike everything else in our lives, You aren't faced with having to replace it every couple of years because there is a new and better version available and your original one has worn out.
or has it? Just because the changes don't happen as quickly as they do in everything else in our lives doesn't mean that it isn't changing. Even an old cave troll like myself has noticed some of the changes. I swear that the weather is different now than it was when i was a kid, and there are a number of things i've seen and read about that are just... different now. Of course, it could be just me. After all, i've always been mostly an indoor person.
Regardless of your political leanings, i will say one thing about environmental issues. These tend to be emotional and politicized to all extremes, with facts and observation either fervently defended or mockingly dismissed depending on the core beliefs and perceptions you bring to the table. I try to be very open minded about things, but i can't hide the fact that i lean towards being a bit of a tree hugger. Anyways, this film may come with quite a bit of political baggage, but it does bring up issues which i do think we shouldn't just dismiss out of hand. Do your own research and make up your own mind.
I suppose i worry too much. It's probably just like all those little historical things in stories like Megatokyo that are kind of off, bits of history or memories of things that just changed and are really no longer part of the 'now', things that just kind of have to be overlooked to enjoy the story. You know, the whole 'suspension of disbelief' thing. Maybe it's just another of those 'perception' things i'm always playing with. It works in real life too, right?
Yet I can't help but wonder if we are going to finally, once and for all, make nature itself one of those disposable commodities with that "planned obsolescence" that we build our lives around these days. If so, I just wonder how expensive the upgrade is gonna be.
I wasn't really planning on hitting such a sombre note with this bit of rambling today, and i'm sure i'll get all sorts of hate mail for giving off a bit of an environmentalist vibe in this rant (if you are disturbed and upset by the fact that i have such leanings, too bad. deal with it). If you've followed my fredart blog at all over the past month or so, you'll note that I've spent more time outside this summer than i have in a long time. In fact, it's been a bit of a 4 day weekend for Seraphim and myself (which is part of why the comic for Monday is not done yet. I was originally going to do a DPD, but i decided to go ahead and do a comic anyway, it'll be done by later tonight.) Things are going to start getting very busy for me next week, so it's been nice to take a little break.
It's a little late to be announcing this, and i'm sure most of you have noticed by now, but the Miho Polesitting poster is now available in the MegaGear store, so be sure to pick one up.
In about a week Seraphim and I will be heading to Germany to attend Connichi on September 15 and 16th (we will not be there sunday - we're only going to be in Germay for two days). Not really sure what the schedule is, but you should be able to find me at the show either Friday or Saturday with little problem.
ok, i better get back to work on mondays comic so i can post something later tonight...