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  1. Panel 1:
    Characters shown:
    Belphegor, Boo
  2. Panel 2:
    Where are all these weird processes coming from? And why does it smell like burning breakfast cereal in here?
  3. Panel 3:
    Nooo!! My B3owulf cluster!
  4. Panel 4:
    Characters shown:
  5. Panel 5:
    Characters shown:
  6. Panel 6:
    I see. Someone wants to pl4y ruf.
  7. Panel 7:
    Moww meow mew meww!!


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< Piro >

yay for unconnected randomness!

"things inbetween"

Tuesday - October 14, 2003

[Piro] - 14:05:02 - [link here]

Before I start, just a quick note. Sarah and I will be at the Motor City Comic Con this Saturday in Novi, Michigan. We should be there, at the Wizzywig booth, most of the day, so if you live in the area, stop by and say hi. :)

It's been an odd month for me. At least three times in the past two weeks I have sat down to write a new rant, but found myself unable to write much of anything. Ideas have wanted to stay vague, thoughts wanted to stay thoughts and not suffer the ignominy of being organized out and communicated to anyone else.

There is always a multitude of odd little things bouncing around inside the protoplasmic goo that fills my brain cavity, but there is something about the cold weather that seems to slow them in their endless tumble. They become harder to corral, more difficult to coalesce into some communicable medium. It's almost like they just want to stay where they are and remain disassociated thoughts, comfortable and freely disconnected in the goo.

It's odd, then, that I consider fall to be my 'creative' season. Back when MT started, one of my earliest rants dealt with how much I like this time of year, when the very nature of the outside world seems to change into something more amenable to my inner thoughts. I don't really know why I have an affinity for this time of year. If you look objectively at Fall and Winter, you can almost see shades of death, of ending, of nature turning itself off to hide until the warmth returns in the spring. So why *do* I like this time of year?

One of the indelible things about being human is that most of us have the capacity to feel emotions. "Oh god," I hear some of you think, "Piro is gonna talk about 'feelings' and 'emotions'. Get me a bucket." Well, like it or not, even that inner groan you feel is a 'feeling'. Everything we do is affected in some way by your emotional makeup. When I refer to emotive things, I am talking about the whole range, even the subtle and mundane feelings. These are the inbetween feelings that are often overlooked in most mass marketed media.

Emotions are funny things. Sure, there are words, phrases, commonly understood concepts that describe feelings. We all know what 'happy' means, what 'sad' means, 'depressed', 'jubilant', 'ecstatic', 'gloomy', 'suicidal', 'bubbly', 'petulant'... human language is chock full of words that describe emotions. We understand what they mean because we can connect them with how we actually feel. An essential part of human communication is the communication of emotions. Words are probably one of least efficient way to describe feelings. People are very sensitive to the signs - body language, tone of voice, the eyes, facial expressions. What's remarkable is how universal most communicable feelings are, even subtle ones

Yet there are inner thoughts, moods, places - the bits inbetween the easy to describe emotions, that I think many of us strive to understand. It's a lot like being able to see something only out of the corner of your eye, or something that becomes less distinct the more you focus on it. This is where 'entertainment' media comes in. We tell stories not because the facts of a story are really all that important, but because the process of experiencing a story lets us feel something we wouldn't get from a simple description. Good stories, or stories that mean something to us, help us experience thoughts and feelings we aren't quite sure how to put into words.

The most important thing about emotions is the fact that descriptions alone don't mean anything - it is the experiencing of emotions them that give them validity. Sort of how you can't really describe a taste, you can only label something you've experienced, and use that as a indicator. There are several levels to communicating information about emotions. You can describe emotions or the state of someone's feelings with a certain detachment. This is what news reports are supposed to be like - objective, neutral, informative. Or you express things in such a way that the reader/viewer actually experiences the feelings you are trying to communicate. This is what most books, movies, TV, anime, manga do best. They are an experiential medium.

Have you ever had anyone try to explain to you their 'great story idea'? It's usually something they have worked very hard on, figuring out all the details, what happens where, who the characters are, the mechanics of the universe, etc. ... and this is often followed by a blow by blow outline of everything that happens. The only feeling you get from listening to this is usually just the desire to claw your own eyes out or strangle the person before you. This is not because the story is bad, per se, but because the method they are using to tell you totally does nothing to convey the emotional content that they themselves feel quite strongly. A big mistake that many people make is not realizing that just because you feel something, it doesn't mean that others will automatically feel what you feel. Communicating what you feel inside successfully is very difficult, and the desire to do this is what I think drives creative people to work as hard as they do on things.

I've had people ask me to describe Megatokyo in a few sentences. I can't do it. I've been ask to describe 'warmth' in a short paragraph. I can't do that either. I think that's because the expression of the story comes out in the telling of it, in the art, in the dialogue, in the experience of it. In this world of Cliff Notes and sound bytes, I think a lot of important little subtleties get lost. And people wonder why I avoid doing the Story and Character section of this website :)

So, I guess in the background, outside of the actual work I've been doing (Megatokyo itself, working on Book 2, etc) there have been a lot of vague inbetween thoughts and feelings brewing in the goo that wants to somehow find it's way to paper. It's raining out today, but it feels oddly comforting, not really sure why...

One good thing about this is that these moods have prompted me to start working on 'warmth' again in those little cubbyholes of time that I can spare. This story has been missing something, and I've been trying to pin it down, to find what's missing, what isn't working. I guess that's where the frustration comes into these things, no matter how much you try, all you can ever do is get close.

But maybe close isn't so bad, it lets people fill in the blanks with their own feelings. Maybe in the end its more important to prompt people to feel, and fill in whatever blanks you've left. Maybe the blanks are important too...


- megatokyo merchandise -

Megatokyo t-shirts, posters and other merchandise can either be purchased online at the Megatokyo / ThinkGeek store, or from Wizzywig at various anime conventions around the country, even conventions that I will not be at. Below is a list of upcoming conventions where Wizzywig will be at:

  • September 26-28 Anime Weekend Atlanta (Atlanta GA)
  • October 3-5 C-Kon (South Bend IN)
  • October 18 Motor City Comic Con (Detroit, MI)
  • October 24-26, Anime Reactor, Rosemont, IL
  • November 7-9 - Neko Con (Virginia Beach, VA)
  • November 21-23 - Sugoi Con (Cincinnati OH)
Just for reference, here is Piro and Seraphim's con schedule for the rest of the year:

< Dom >

Yes, it's still effed up.

"Down time"

Tuesday - October 14, 2003

[Dom] - 22:30:00 - [link here]

Please note that the above picture has nothing to do with the work part of my rant and is all about the second part of the rant. I loved working at GamePro and hope to work there again soon, so no, I'm not going to take a P90 to the GP guys

So Friday was my last day at work, and since Seraphim was originally scheduled to take this rant spot, I ran off to my parents' to celebrate my father's birthday. I thought the rant space would be good 'til my Wednesday rant, but, well, look what happened to that.

It was weird cleaning up my cubicle on Friday. There were three years of accumulated gaming crap in that cube, from t-shirts vacuum packed into the shape of race cars to action figures of the vice president and a coconut monkey. And a Butterfinger foam finger, which I need to get to Greg Dean this weekend.

It was also weird saying goodbye to everyone, because they wavered between saying "Goodbye, it's been great having you around and life will be weird without you workin' here" (I was the intern for a good three and a half years, a record for the ages) and saying "psst... check craigslist in a few weeks". It was weird, but not entirely unwelcome, so that's got me feeling better.

But the weirdest thing was that Cliff (also of Real Life) was there helping me clean out my cube after his interview, and if he gets the job, he gets what used to be my cube. So he was there helping clean out what could be his own cube, while at his interview my boss told him "Yeah, we don't expect Dom to be gone long". Which seriously gives me hope.

And then that night, my friends and I went to watch Bubba Ho-Tep, and that restored a whole lot of my faith in the world in general. Seriously. Bruce Campbell had a huge fight scene with a scarab, for crying out loud. How can you claim that life is bad when you've just watched a shameless actor beat an evil "cockroach" with his bedpan and a space heater?

And I'm staying busy, too, what with the second MT book coming soon, and then a lot of other MT work coming after that's taken care of. And nothing cheers up your unemployment period like... working.

So with a lot of cheer under my belt, I then proceeded to read Gunslinger Girl, perhaps the most messed up and depressing manga I've ever read. Seriously. It has my friends saying "oh, NO. NO WAY. That's messed up!" And yet we can't stop reading it, because it's fascinating and (gasp) decently written. Sure, there are a lot of "interesting" name choices, but I got over being weirded out by manga names after reading Puchimon, where the main character is named Melty Bagel. Anyway, Gunslinger Girl is a TV series now, but what I'm interested in is that 'someone' has licensed the manga. Go and get it when it's out in the states--I probably won't get it myself (I'll talk about this in a future rant) but I'll gladly plug whoever translates it, as long as they do a good job.

In other manga news, Chrno [sic] Crusade is also eating up my reading time, partially because the role of Azmalia will be played by Chiba Saeko in the TV series, and also because it's a halfway decent action series with good art and characters I can very easily get to like. I'll talk more about Chrno Crusade later, too.

As a final note, I'm sorry to everyone who's e-mailed me in the past month or so, I swear I'll get to my mail this weekend or next. I bet I have a few thousand in there, which is gonna take a while to sort through, even if most of it is spam or virus mail.


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