azurite: dream BIG (dream big)
2016-01-20 10:43 pm

Ghostwriter/Writing is Painful

 I remember a few years ago reading part of Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine” -- because I tend to devour any sort of book on creativity. I have an entire shelf devoted just to writing books. 

What ended up pissing me off about his book was the notion that in order to be a creative person, you have to be inherently depressed, angry, or some sort of addict (whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or something else). I hate that idea, even if history seems to support it.

I just finished watching a Fuji TV program called “Ghostwriter” on Crunchyroll. It’s only 10 episodes, but it’s easily one of the most dramatic, unpredictable shows I’ve ever watched. That it’s about something I love (writing) made it even more watchable.

I’m not sure how accurate a portrayal it is of the Japanese publishing industry and trends when it comes to writers (for example, there aren’t a lot of works by co-authors, or ghostwriting is considered extremely taboo there), but the suspense kept me binge watching, practically Netflix-style.

Read more... )

azurite: (Default)
2015-10-11 12:47 am

Azureshipping Theme Ideas

I haven't changed the layout of my Azureshipping fanlisting, "Blue Eyes and Apricots" since 2008 (!), and it's long past time I do so.

However, I'm stuck trying to come up with a theme. The previous themes and general color schemes/concepts have been as follows:
  • Version 1: Fond Memories: khaki, brown, photographs
  • Version 2: Dreamscape: Blue monochrome, cloud pattern
  • Version 3: Celebrity Style: Black, purple, turquoise, lavender, silver, lights
  • Version 4: Spring Icing: Pink, other pastel colors, flowers
  • Version 5: Weathered Rainbow: Grunge-style, dark blue, pastel rainbow colors, stars

I hope once I come up with a theme, I can commission a talented artist to make an image I can use exclusively for the next layout!

So what do you think the next theme of BEA should be?

Some random ideas I've had:
  • Anniversary (BEA's been around since 1/10/2004)
  • Cosplay
The hope is to come up with a theme that can be used year-round, or else I'll have to commission multiple pieces of art per season or holiday! (Not that I'd MIND having more layouts, but it might get expensive and difficult to program.) @_@
azurite: dream BIG (dream big)
2015-10-09 09:26 pm

I'm now on RedBubble!

I'm so excited about this that I honestly just want to tell everyone, everywhere.
So I got myself a new phone, and for once, I just couldn't pick a case for it. So I designed my own. Using my fanlisting Blue Eyes and Apricot' layout as inspiration, I designed an image that's usable for my new case, but also stickers, journals, totebags, and more!

Here's the image I ended up using:


Plus, I'd love to do more stuff like this. I don't consider myself much of a digital artist, but I love Azureshipping and would love to see more fan merchandise out there that shares that love. If you've got some ideas for things for me to try or want to collaborate, let me know!

So check me out on RedBubble!
azurite: (Default)
2015-09-24 08:05 pm

[FIC] [Yu-Gi-Oh] [Azureshipping] Thrice Gone, Part 1

I posted this on Tumblr yesterday to see if I could stir up any kind of a response from this "teaser" for the first chapter of a new fic I'm working on. I'm not "holding it hostage" or anything-- I've written more of this than what's posted, and I'd like to finish it, but I'd like to know what people think.

More notes follow.

Thrice Gone
A Yu-Gi-Oh! Fanfic
By Azurite - azurite AT seventh-star DOT net
seventh-star DOT net

Rated: T/PG-13
Pairing: Seto x Anzu (Azureshipping)
Timeline: Post (anime) series – within a few months or so, when the gang is in their third and final year of high school.

Idea Date: 5/16/2004
Written Date: 8/10/2015 - Happy belated birthday, Anzu! Sorry Not Sorry I keep throwing you into tragic situations for the sake of romance.
Posted Date: 9/24/2015 - Part 1

Disclaimer: I don’t own Yu-Gi-Oh! This is all for fun, not for profit.

Author’s Note: So yeah, I’ve been off the radar, so to speak, for what, several years? I’m sorry. A LOT has happened. Suffice it to say, I got writer’s block of epic proportions, despite “What Doesn’t Kill You” chapter 27 being 75% or more written, with the outline complete… but I can’t write duels to save my Life (Points). Anyway, thanks to a combination of re-watching the series again from the start in Japanese (!!) and my awesome boyfriend/editor, the chapter is now coming along more-or-less nicely (unless you’re Kaiba, then it’s being somewhat mean). And in the meantime, I’ve decided that if the writing bug strikes me and it’s not for WDKY, who am I to fight it? So here we are with an idea I’ve had for a long time, prompted to finally being in prose form thanks to a fully-realized scene that popped into my head today.

Thanks for joining me.
Read more... )
azurite: (Default)
2015-09-12 01:08 am

Pert Em Hru, Dammit!

Okay, so in the episode right before Yuugi goes to duel Dark Malik, Ishizu convinces Seto to witness the duel (and help increase Yuugi’s chances of winning from 3% to 20%, according to his “master calculations” or some such) by saying the words pert kertu.

This is just ONE example of Yu-Gi-Oh! series creator Kazuki Takahashi trying to get something right and failing, just a little. There are three main Egyptian-related ones that bug me.

1) The thing Ishizu is referring to is a funerary prayer. She says as much. She recites it –a poem written from a friend to a deceased friend (the Pharaoh). She reveals it is the same person who was dueling the Pharaoh depicted on the tablet–[Priest] Seto! Of course, modern-day Seto won’t buy any of this occult nonsense, but he still ends up going to the Duel Tower and handing over his Devil’s Sanctuary card, NOW thinking that watching Yuugi try and make a miracle out of 20% will at least be “entertaining.”

The actual funerary prayer is called Pert em hru, a.k.a. “Going Forth By Day,” a.k.a. The Book of the Dead.

Of course, the text of the Book of the Dead is customizable, so I guess we’re supposed to assume that the poem that Priest Seto wrote for the Pharaoh was just one of the customized parts–the whole actual Book would NOT have fit on a single tablet (especially if that tablet was also somehow describing the duel itself, the people depicted in the duel, why they were dueling, what monsters/spells/traps they were dueling with, etc.)

Now, she also says it’s in Hieratic, which is basically Egyptian hieroglyphic cursive. WHERE? I can’t find examples of it being used on STONE (in real history), either. Do they just like saying HIERATIC TEXT a lot? (BTW, when they say “There’s Hieratic Text on the Ra God Card,” they are actually being accurate about that. So if you look at the Ra card and try and find similar writing on the Stone of Memories, you won’t find it. The Stone/Tablet only has hieroglyphs.)

And where are the “missing” chunks of the tablet that supposedly featured the Pharaoh’s name? Are we to believe they were never inscribed, because sealing the Pharaoh’s name also meant sealing away the darkness that he dueled to prevent from destroying the world? (After all, the Pert em hru is supposedly written by the SURVIVOR/WINNER of the duel, Seto.)

2) Ishizu. NO. In the Ancient Egyptian arc, Takahashi got it right by calling her “Eye-shi-zu” (Aishizu in Japanese romaji), which is basically the Japanese pronunciation of “Isis.” And there is NO GOOD REASON why the modern-day woman could not have been named Isis as well. There’s NO GOOD REASON why the dub had to perpetuate the mistake, either.

3) Speaking of mistakes that thankfully WERE NOT perpetuated by the dub (which felt the need to edit and change everything else), the Millennium Item that Isis/Ishizu/whoever owns is called a “Tauk” (Ta-u-ku) in the Japanese manga and anime.

There is no such thing as a tauk. The correct pronunciation of the type of necklace Isis wears (a torque) is Toruku. So the dub did better by not bothering with the correct name for the specific type of necklace, but just calling it the “Millennium Necklace.”

I guess that’s far simpler than why the “Ring” is actually a pendant, and the Puzzle is too, because it wasn’t always a Puzzle, and the Ankh is actually a Key, but still an ankh in shape… At least the Eye, Scale and Rod are self-explanatory.
azurite: Life is short, talk fast (life is short talk fast)
2015-08-14 07:17 pm

Quasi-back for now maybe

Every time I go away from Dreamwidth blogging for a while, Dreamwidth goes and gets more awesome. I decided to nix my Premium account because even though I love the site and service, I was using it so rarely I couldn't justify the expense, especially when I've got my own domain and am often trying to post to my various WordPress-powered blogs on sites there.

The problem is, my sites are so new, so thin on content, that I don't have that built-in community.

This gets crossposted to LiveJournal, and why? Well, LJ has been around even longer than Dreamwidth, but LJ also had so so so many issues when Six Apart sold it (even before that, when Brad sold it to Six Apart). I really didn't like a lot of those changes, and I saw a lot of my fellow LJers move over to Dreamwidth. The communities sometimes followed, but not always.

I have a permanent account on LJ, which means it's not supposed to go anywhere, ever. Theoretically, all the interconnected services there are these days should mean that it's EASIER to cross-post and always stay up-to-date, but the real experience of LJ and DW are the Friends List/Reading Page, and these days, if I'm reading anything for a prolonged period of time, it's Facebook. Yes, there are fan communities there too, but it's very much NOT the same.

I never really divided my fandom self from my "real" self-- I'm not afraid to tell people who I am on Facebook or deviantArt or wherever, and I've never particularly cared about "IRL" friends or family finding out about my fandom activities.

"Judge not, lest ye be judged" I guess.

Long-winded entry continues here... )
azurite: (cat and mouse)
2013-09-03 03:19 pm

Categories, Tags, Hierarchies and WordPress, Oh My!

I'm finally getting around to working on Indigo Ink, my portfolio website and online resume. I've been tinkering with it in various small ways for a while, but a recent decision to re-watch and actually DO the tutorials in a Lynda.com lesson, "Building an Online Portfolio with WordPress," got me actually working on the project.

The Lynda.com lesson uses an example chef to build the portfolio, making custom post types and taxonomies for recipes, photos, and videos. These post types make sense for a chef, but what about for me? My portfolio has three different types of content: writing (the biggie), graphic design, and website designs.

I made three custom post types to reflect this, but now I'm struggling with the taxonomies. Whereas regular blog posts have categories (hierarchical sorting) and tags (non-hierarchical), what would I use for my three new custom post types?

For the example chef in the Lynda.com lesson, the recipes, photos, and videos all have some common ways of organizing, such as meal type. Then it can be further sub-categorized--hint hint, this would be a hierarchical taxonomy, e.g. a CATEGORY--into things like breakfast, dinner, dessert, and so forth. And even those can be further sub-categorized, into things like meat, vegetable, and so on.

But what about my writing?

Well, I have articles--ones I've written for university publications, and ones I've written for GamingDead.com. I have essays. I have fiction. There might even be further ones. But are these categories? Can I break down the writing custom post type into a category of articles, and then further into specific KINDS of articles? Or would it be better to have something like a "purpose" category, which can span across multiple custom post types? That way, I could say, my reason for writing this article, or designing this website was "school assignment."

I'm trying to find example portfolios that have custom taxonomies that might provide an inspiration as to the architecture or structure of how I should organize my content, but so far, no luck. Any suggestions?
azurite: Annie (Piper Perabo) of Covert Affairs, holding up a half-eaten donut with a huge smile (covert affairs - annie haz donut)
2013-08-21 10:39 am
Entry tags:

Justifying Amazon Fresh

I was so, so excited to hear about Amazon Fresh expanding outside of Seattle, but when it first debuted in Los Angeles, it wasn't in my area. Now it is, and I'm contemplating whether or not it's worth it to even try it for 90 days for free (because I'm an existing Prime member) and then upgrade to their Prime Fresh program, which is a whopping $299/yr (vs. Prime's $79).

Here's my attempt at breaking it down.

Grocery delivery is only available through Vons, a supermarket chain affiliated with Safeway. They're located a few blocks from my home. However, being the oddball Los Angeleno who doesn't drive, if I go grocery shopping, it either has to be with someone who has a car (infrequent) or get only enough to fill up my vertical cart. It's not a huge cart, but it works for laundry, so it should work for groceries, too. Intermittently, I'll run to the grocery store late at night to get one or two things that I can fit in my backpack or carry.

Vons delivers in 1-hour, 2-hour, or 4-hour timeslots. A delivery of $150 or under (which would be my usual, since I'm only buying for myself) costs $12.95. I can sometimes save $3 (for a 2-hour window) or $6 (for a 4-hour window), which means the cheapest that delivery fee would be is $6.95. Sometimes the delivery fee is free--if you buy participating items. Obviously adding these random, probably-don't-need items to my cart would probably add up to at least $6.95, if not more.

However, not every item that's in their stores is on their online site, and sometimes even their stores don't have what I need.

Assuming groceries every two weeks or so, I'd be paying a minimum of $166.80 just in delivery fees from Vons every year. Maximum, I'd be paying $310.80, if I only used the one-hour timeslots (or otherwise picked timeslots that didn't have "save $3/6" on them). If I factored in the occasional grocery run on my own or with someone, that might mean Vons is more cost-effective than Amazon Fresh. This also applies to if I go to Costco, where buying in bulk means I don't go shopping as frequently. That membership is $55/yr.

But what Costco and Amazon have in common is the variety of items; even if Vons has sales for club members, I have to admit, tallying up the coupons, promotional codes, special items, and stuff is a pain in the butt. Costco and Amazon simply have low prices, and that's it.

Considering all the stuff I usually buy on Amazon--I recently renewed my Amazon Prime account because of it--this is where it really determines if Amazon Fresh will be worthwhile TO ME. I'd still get all the benefits of regular Prime, plus free delivery for any order over $35 (for groceries, that's pretty much a given), and the option for early-morning delivery.

The selection includes local fare, which is a huge bonus--supermarket chains like Vons tend to get as much stuff as possible from out-of-country, it seems, so prices get driven up by the cost of gas trucking all this stuff from warehouse to warehouse to store. Plus, organic and fresh items are expensive as heck!

So, aside from all the grocery stuff, Amazon Fresh gets me the usual Prime benefits of:
* Free two-day shipping
* Access to Amazon Instant Video

I ordered 7 things in 2010, 15 things in 2011, 50 things in 2012, and 28 SO FAR in 2013. Considering how much I use Subscribe & Save for "necessities" like bulky items that would be a pain to get at the grocery store OR Costco (or Target, or wherever), I'd wager I'm on track to surpass my total number of orders in 2012. Of course, not all of those orders were for ME, so there's a margin of error to be had.

I'm sure there's a way to look at the CSV reports Amazon can generate about which orders ARE mine, and just how much I spent, but I don't know if that alone would justify the jump from $79 to $299.

I can always try it free for 90 days, but I don't know how long they'll be offering that promotion to existing Prime members.

So, what to do? To Prime Fresh or to not Prime Fresh?
azurite: (back to the future - save the clock towe)
2012-12-31 12:54 pm

Last Straws

Do you remember when LiveJournal used to be cool? You had to get an invite to even get a journal there. It was not only exclusive, it was run well. It just seemed to work. You didn't have this big complicated install, where you had to understand CGI or PHP or any of that stuff. You just went to the website, logged in, and wrote. You could get comments if you wanted, attach different moods and icons to each post to express yourself. You could organize things into Memories, and later, add tags. You could customize the look of your own journal, get friends, join communities.

You can still do all of that, and more (Scrapbook! Games!) but it's bloated now. I think everything went downhill the minute the site got sold to SixApart. They didn't know what the hell they were doing, and when SixApart sold it to whatever Russian company owns it now, it got even worse.

The amount of spam I get on my various posts throughout my LiveJournal history has increased nearly exponentially over the past few years. Communities are the one and only thing that LiveJournal and similar sites (like Dreamwidth, bless its heart) have over better, spam-free, more customizable blogging software--like WordPress, which I am now using for pretty much all of my websites.

I remember trying to deal with some of the spam over the past few days while my computer was "recovering" from an Erase and Install of the OS. I was busy installing updates and such, so I couldn't do it on there. I tried accessing the LiveJournal mobile site on my iPad, and I couldn't even tap on the login boxes, because every time I did, it thought I was tapping on the LiveJournal logo, so it just took me back to the homepage. It's because the mobile site wasn't properly optimized, and the full site must have used some Java that caused the login box to move around on the main banner. The mobile site--if one can even log into it--sucks, and that's becoming an increasingly dangerous thing in this day and age. Something that's BUILT to be accessible and responsive should be a priority for websites of any kind in this day and age. It's definitely something I'm aspiring to for my sites.

It's no longer a case of LiveJournal working; it's a matter of "if" and "when" -- it's also getting hit more and more frequently with DDoS attacks or other various outages that are never fully explained. LiveJournal doesn't have any sort of reliable presence to notify us of such outages AS they happen, so people are left in the dark. Sure, LiveJournal isn't exactly a crucial service, but it's still a pain in the butt when you're trying to access something specific--or perhaps writing something important--and all of a sudden you can't access it. If you've paid for any portion of the service--which a lot of people had, including me, way back in the day when I thought a Permanent Account might be a good idea--then you're essentially losing money for every moment of downtime, which is why LiveJournal is probably bleeding out its coffers trying to pay back users for all their lost time.

I'll miss it, but honestly? Bring back the blogroll. I can import my LiveJournal into WordPress now, maybe even figure out a way to crosspost it here to Dreamwidth (because I like Dreamwidth and at least want to support its continued development via communities I run), then I can just do everything I want from one single place. That'd be nice.
azurite: (fiction - have written)
2012-12-18 03:25 pm

The Future of Dragonfayth and other fanfiction archives running eFiction

Dragonfayth, my site for Azureshipping (Seto Kaiba x Anzu Mazaki/Téa Gardner) fanfiction from the Yu-Gi-Oh! fandom, has recently been inundated with spam. I've deleted it all, but as of right now, there's no solution for the problem as a whole.

The people behind the software aren't that numerous, and the package is pretty customized--after all, a fanfiction archive, while something hugely popular, isn't as mainstream as blogs. So it takes a while for updates to go through, patches and mods to be made, etc. And since the software is free, these people all have day jobs that take away more of their time.

I can't blame them, but I've reached the point where I'd rather pay to get a better solution, or use something else.

Since I don't really have the money or budget for hiring someone to make and teach me/maintain such a site for me, I'm stuck trying to find another solution. Finding software ready-made for fanfiction is harder than it sounds. Fanfiction.net and AO3's software is proprietary--not released to the public, not available for free. Same with FicWad, may it rest in peace. And don't even get me started on MediaMiner.org.

Most people who want their fanfiction archives use eFiction. It's been on version 3.5.3 for ages now; the supposed release of 4 hasn't happened yet, and I'm teetering on "lost hope" for it altogether.

Enter: WordPress.

I'm already using it for the new Seventh-Star Network (the main site, seventh-star.net, I'm building a What Doesn't Kill You site for my biggest fanficton project ever, and I've started making subsites for all my other sites for the various fandoms I've been involved in over the years. I've been using WordPress for ages, not just on GamingDead.com, but for sites that I've built for class projects, like Chixflix.

There are plenty of people who post their fics on WordPress.com, but making a fanfiction archive is a bit different.

I've already got a WordPress Multiuser installation setup for all my other sites; it wouldn't be a headache to set up another site with multiple authors (similar to GD) with open registration (still approved based on captcha codes to eliminate spam sign-ups), and utilize everything like making pages for fanfics, using tags for ratings and warnings, categories for...well, categories, and so on and so forth.

It's very, very tempting, but I don't know if I even want to try starting it as an experiment if it's not a good idea.

So, some questions for you:
1 - What does a good fanfiction archive REQUIRE? (For example, the ability to leave reviews)
2 - What separates an okay fanfiction archive from a GREAT one?
3 - If you have experience with WordPress, what do you think its limitations are for posting/sharing fanfiction?
azurite: (fanfiction - canon error)
2012-11-29 01:28 pm

Posting Fanfiction Using WordPress

Long time no write--at least, here. I've been trying to keep up with writing 750 words (about three pages, which is the suggested amount from Julia Cameron's famous "The Artist's Way," except she called them "Morning Pages"), and I've been semi-successful at that, though November has been all kinds of crazy.

I tried to do NaNoWriMo too, and though I've got an explosive opening for my first original novel (set in a fantasy world that my BF David is developing for a roleplaying game), I do not have a full and complete novel by any stretch of the imagination.

In the meantime, I've been trying to set up my sites as WordPress sites now, since learning Joomla! was just too damn difficult and time-consuming, even with a Lynda.com membership. I've been using WordPress off and on for years for various other sites, and it makes sense to use the biggest, easiest-to-use CMS for my own personal fandom sites, too.

Now, it's not (currently, as far as I'm aware) possible to integrate WordPress with every other script out there--I'd love it if there was eFiction and WordPress integration, but there's not. I'm keeping Dragonfayth around as the Azureshipping fanfiction archive, but I'm considering not making Epiphany, the archive I was going to use to gather all of my own fanfiction, using eFiction.

I was considering WordPress, since I'm planning to make all my fandom sites using WordPress as well, and it seemed appropriate (maybe) to make individual sites for my particular epic fanfics, like "What Doesn't Kill You" (especially since the PLANS for that story involve at least two sequels), and "Wax and Wane" (formerly "Only 16").

A quick Google search reveals that plenty of people use WordPress (the self-hosted variety OR the WordPress.com variety) to post fanfic, much as people use Dreamwidth and/or LiveJournal. The thing is, a blog-style format for posting fanfic ISN'T a great idea. It's timeline-centric, and the whole point of fanfics is that they can be found and read by anyone, at any time. You'd need to take extra steps to make navigation so people can get to all your fics, make that navigation obvious, and make it uncomplicated--which is why "Pit of Voles" or not, fanfiction.net is the repository for fanfics on the web. It categorizes everything by type of fandom, name of fandom, world/universe, author, rating, genre, characters, language...you name it.

I could probably very easily post fanfics as "Pages" within the WordPress schema, and have another "Master Page" that I update regularly with new chapters, edits, or whatever, but I'm just wondering if anyone else out there has taken this approach or has suggestions for another.

My main WordPress projects now are getting the non-fanfiction material from my fandom sites up on my new network of WordPress sites, and for those sites that might be specifically fanfiction related, there's a ton of other content to include: ideas, Easter eggs, edits, fanart...stuff like that.
azurite: (sailormoon - pgsm senshi)
2012-09-28 10:35 pm

Things That Could Be Different for the New Sailor Moon Anime

There's a lot of discussion floating around the web about what the 2013 Sailor Moon anime announced by Nico Nico Douga at a Tokyo event this past summer will be about.

Will it be closer to the original manga?
Is it a reboot of the original anime?
A remake?

No one "in the know" is talking right now, so that leaves fans (and those of us old-school enough to call ourselves "Moonies") speculating. Here are my questions for the future of the Sailor Moon anime:

IF IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE TRUER TO THE MANGA...

1. Does that mean we'll get to see Minako's "original" origin story, taking place in Japan (and a few other wild places like China and Greece), along with Kaitou Ace?

2. Will "evil" be more black-and-white instead of having a tragic backstory, being manipulated by a greater power, etc.?
2a. Will we see Queen Beryl's "tragic" backstory along with the origins of Queen Metallia?
2b. Will Rubeus and some members of the Black Moon Clan be mere one-shot characters meant to be destroyed by powered-up Senshi, while Demando and others are more fleshed-out and possibly tragic (because they were being manipulated by the Death Phantom)?
2c. Does that mean some enemies will die quicker than they did in the original anime, where they may have repented (Nephlite), been healed (the Akayashi Sisters, the Amazon Quartet), or been "reborn" without the influence of evil (Galaxia)?

3. Does that mean the Senshi will have more, fewer, or the same amount of powers, attacks and abilities? (In the manga, they had powers that never showed up in the anime, like Mars' "Snake Fire," or Jupiter's "Coconut Cyclone." But the anime also had original attacks, usually one-shot ones, like Mars' "Fire Soul Bird" and Jupiter's "Thunder Dragon")
3a. Does that mean the Senshi will have less focus, because their stories will be like "filler episodes," similar to Chibiusa's Picture Diary, the High School Exam Battles, etc. and Usagi will be the primary character throughout the main storyline?
3b. Does that mean Usagi will be more mature, as she was in the manga? (In the manga, she didn't cry nearly as much, was VERY mature about her sacrificial decisions and those of others, dealt with grief in a very different way, was much more determined in her role as a Sailor Senshi/a lot less silly, etc.)

4. Will it still take place during the original timeline of 1992, or will the timeline be bumped up to modern day, similar to the Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon live action TV series?
4a. Does that mean the fashion, activities, and accessories of the characters will change (cf. PGSM, where Usagi's transformation "pen" got turned into a cell phone)

IF IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A REBOOT... (in that it will feature new plot arcs, possibly new characters, or new look at the same classic story, similar to how PGSM did with the first season of Sailor Moon--it somewhat followed the manga, but was very original in many ways too)

5. Will it follow any of the plot lines from the PGSM drama, such as...
5a. Princess Serenity is the one who destroyed the Moon Kingdom (a.k.a. Silver Millennium)
5b. Minako is already an idol
5b1. Minako is dying from an unnamed disease
5c. Mercury turns dark before/instead of Mamoru/Endymion
5d. Mars doesn't consider herself a "friend" of any of the Sailor Senshi, even Usagi, though she has an interesting, tolerable relationship with Minako
5e. Princess Sailor Moon exists, and will destroy shit
5f. The plot will stop after the first season
5g. If there is a "special," OVA, feature film, or other sort of continuation, it will take place in the far future, be it when the Senshi are in/graduated from college, Crystal Tokyo (if the original manga/anime's plots are followed at all), or similar.

6. Will we see original characters from PGSM, Sera Myu, or characters briefly mentioned in the manga like Mio, Sailor Heavy Metal Papillon, etc?

7. What about characters that were unique to the original anime, like Yuuichirou?

8. Will it even focus on the original Sailor Senshi, and not Chibiusa and her team, the Sailor Starlights, a team in a different solar system/time period/galaxy?

9. Will it even have the same storylines at all, or will it have a fixed number of episodes in which any and all story arcs must be divided into?

IF IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE A REMAKE... (different from a "reboot" in that it will follow the SAME plot as the original anime, but have improved animation, stereo/5.1 surround sound, HD video, more special effects, etc. and MAYBE update a few things like cloud storage instead of CDs/floppy disks)

10. Will it have protracted transformation sequences like the ones from Pre Cure, Toei's current magical girl franchise?

11. Will Toei even be responsible for animating it? (Does Naoko Takeuchi have the rights to get it animated by another company if she so chose?)
11a. Who would be good at animating a formerly multi-million yen franchise, if you could pick any other studio currently operating right now?

12. Will the remake produce all-new merchandise, like the coveted Star Locket, if a version of it exists in the new anime? (This ties into the question about series length too, because while modern anime tend to have a preset, known number of episodes, Sailor Moon as a series is a known cash-cow, and it might be in the best interests of the license holders to either name a huge number, like the former anime series' 200 or simply not announce how many episodes the whole series will go, but go an episode at a time, adding story or prolonging story arcs as necessary.)

AND FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE....

13. Will it be dubbed into English/Cantonese/Mandarin/Spanish/Portuguese/Thai/Polish/etc. and will English-speakers be able to get DAMNED TALENTED VOICE ACTORS who commit to a continuous contract until series' end, barring horrible disagreements with their co-workers, bosses, Naoko Takeuchi herself, or Acts of God?

What brought all this on, you may ask? I've been watching the original Sailor Moon anime with my boyfriend lately, and he's asked me what I like about the current arc we're on (R2), how it compares to the manga (which he's skimmed through my Kodansha English volumes of) etc. I've come to the conclusion that much as I love the original source material, the R arc of the anime--and all its changes--will always be near and dear to my heart.

Also, Ai no Senshi (the song).

Mooniecode [1.14.15a]
SM:6m+ F:sMo>Ma++ΩPl<+ Sa>+:vAyall>+ Asall<+:aMo>+Ka+:pR2 D:sCh-:vZoEs--:aSh:pSS X:a68dic|200jp+Ω:m60jp|60mx|35xm+ O:d+:c--:s-:o?a-:h++:x- P:a++:s155:w?:f: eGBrg:hBrD+:t--:cWJ:bA-:zAr++:gf+Ω
azurite: (ffx-2 - yuna berserker)
2011-12-10 12:15 am

NO U: The customer is not always right

Customer service is so important to me. It's why I love working for the company I do, because the company holds customer service to a higher standard than so many other organizations.

That said, we may be in the "customer service" era, and people have come to expect a lot out of customer service, but the customer is NOT always right, let alone "king."

I went to a Subway here in the San Fernando Valley tonight, about 10 minutes before closing. I always get the same thing whenever I go to a Subway, but there was a girl ahead of me--bedhead, super-tan skin, bleach blonde hair and a sliced-up sweatshirt dangling off her at a weird angle. She looked stoned. She was slowly drawling something about the different kinds of bread available, then decided on 9-Grain Wheat, and asked for "everything on it."

Now, every single Subway has a sign that shows with words AND pictures, just what "everything" means without charging you extra. So the guy starts loading up her footlong sandwich as requested, and then by the time she gets to the end of the counter, she starts complaining: more of this, NONE of that, she asked for THIS, not THAT, and on and on. The guy did his best to try and make the changes, but the girl was so out of it (or something) that she just got snotty and said "You know you're so rude!" She started going on this tirade, to which the guy responded, "I'm sorry miss," and repeated what he thought she'd asked for, but then after the whole sandwich was made, she just said "Ugh, forget it, I don't want it, you don't have what I want, anyway" and she walked out.

The guy was tired and no doubt more than a little irritated, but he never snapped at the girl. True, he didn't exactly offer to scrap the footlong and start over, either, but the girl cut him off (by insulting him repeatedly) before he could. And she didn't seem to really know what she wanted, anyway.

There are all kinds of customers--all kinds of people--in the world. Some people are ready to buy, and some people just want information. But while there's never any reason for a salesperson to ASSUME anything about a would-be customer, there's also never any reason for a customer to be rude to the person trying to assist them. If they're not helping the way you want, take a deep breath and ask for assistance from someone else. Explain what's not working for you. Don't immediately get angry, get rude, or get egotistical and start complaining.

And if service is THAT bad? Ask to speak to a manager, or simply leave and write a review on Yelp or something.
azurite: (sailormoon - angel)
2011-12-01 11:17 pm

Reactions to the Sailor Moon: The Movie (short film)

There are quite a few "Sailor Moon" live-action fan movies in the works these days, but [twitter.com profile] SailorMoonFilm was one that was getting a lot of press from folks I follow and the Sailor Moon community at large. The initial previews weren't my thing--it didn't quite seem "true" enough to Sailor Moon, though it was marketed as an "Americanized modernization."



So, in a nutshell, my thoughts as a Sailor Moon fan... )

In sum: it's an awesome short film, and it looks very well-made, which should make those folks that contributed to the production effort very happy. I hope that if it catches the interest of anybody major, or if they petition the fanbase for money to make a longer film, that they improve some of the things I mentioned above--not for my own edification, but to make it more true to the Sailor Moon canon we clearly all know and love. Keep the Americanization, the modernization, fine--that's actually best for obvious budgetary constraints. But fix things like the costumes, because they're WORTH it. They're so iconic, there's just no reason to alter them. Naoko already came up with so many amazing versions, with any ridiculousness built-in and long-since accepted by fandom! Adapting them for no good reason (I'd love to hear it/them if there are any) just makes people seem like those pompous "artistes" with no respect for the original work that they're adapting.

I'd like to see how the story is further adapted, and I'd actually shell out for a soundtrack if there was one made.

I did not contribute in any way to this production, and the above commentary is purely my own, as an interested fan.
azurite: (sailormoon - manga venus fade)
2011-11-17 12:53 am

Sailor Moon Returns, Again: review of the manga vol. 2

Well, after much anticipation, I finally got my hands on Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Volume 2. And of course, I'm going to review it. How does it fare against the Mixx version? Is it a good translation compared to the Japanese re-release from the early 2000s? What new facts or possibilities does it uncover? Read on to find out!

Moon Power 2000! )
azurite: (apple)
2011-10-05 06:51 pm
Entry tags:

Steve

I thought my co-worker was joking when he told me that Steve Jobs died today. It sounds mean, but he's joked off-color things with me before, and I've been told I have a weird sense of humor, so I sometimes expect people to try me to see my reaction.

But it was for real. When we get folks asking about the iPhone 5 or whatever, we say "Until it's on Apple.com, it's not official." So I go to Apple.com, and there he is: Steve, with a stupidly short date range. I click through to see a short message.

For the remainder of my 15-minute break, I wavered between abject shock and a morbid curiosity to see what others have said. I checked websites and Google news. There's no way this is a rumor, no way this is a bad joke.

I've had a hard time not crying ever since I found out, and I've failed on numerous occasions, leading my co-workers to ask me what's wrong. This just makes me feel pathetic, because clearly I'm no good at holding my emotions in...not like I used to be, or like I thought I did. It also makes me mad, because I feel like it should be obvious why I'm upset, why everyone in the store should be upset.

But it's business as usual, and it's GOT to be, because that's what we're doing, honoring all of Steve's hard work, his memory, right?

It still sucks. I'm halfway tempted to take up the HR Admin's offer of telling the leadership I don't feel well enough to work, but we're short-staffed as it is, and I don't want to seem even more pathetic in the eyes of my co-workers. It's bad enough that when I cry, I get red-faced all day long, but to top it off, I decided to wear mascara today, so now I look like some insane zombie raccoon.

Given time, I might come up with something halfway decent to send to the Remembering Steve email address, but for right now, here's all I know:

My planned entry for the Adobe Imagination Challenge will still feature Steve. My plan was to put together a scene featuring the silhouettes of people/characters that have inspired me, and of course Steve is among them.

I'm sad because Steve really did inspire me. Even with horror stories, even with failures, even negative press, I still admired the guy because I saw something of myself in him: someone who was creative and believed in the possibilities that technology could bring to everyday people, not just super-geeks. Steve was (I hate the past tense right now) the kind of guy that pushed everyone's limits, that demanded the best, that had high standards. I'm like that too, and I get a lot of flack for it, but thinking of Steve helped me think that there's not something "wrong" with me for being enthusiastic, for being determined (and yes, sometimes very stubborn), and for taking all the things that I feel haven't gone my way in life and trying to make something positive of them.

I don't want to let go of my crazy dream that I've had lately, and that's to be a bit more like Steve, to make a footprint by making a difference: by having a crazy idea and sticking with it, no matter what. I want to stay part of Apple, not just because of the amazing people, the energy and creativity that flow throughout every part of the company, or because of the iconic products, but because of the foundations that Steve laid out. What we have today, what we take for granted in the forms of Apple Stores around the world, and iPods, iPhones, and iPads in every Starbucks and on every street corner, is because Steve thought something along the lines of "I don't care what people think. This is a good idea and I'm going to make it happen." And he did.

I'll admit to still being a bit afraid of giving more of a voice to my dream, of sharing the specifics with anyone I don't wholeheartedly trust (to keep their mouth shut but to provide me the support I know I'll need to get there), but it's a lot bigger than just "be like Steve." There are probably a lot of things people could counter that notion with, like how exacting Steve was, how private, how difficult to work with. If I'm not those things already, they're things I can empathize with, that I can understand and respect. I'm not saying I want to be Steve 2.0 or anything like that, but who could blame me for hoping to live up to the amazing legacy he set forth with his ideas, his products, his ventures?

I'm also not saying Steve did everything. He's not the sole inventor of all things Apple. But there is a reason why he's so iconic, why Apple is what it is today, and why a lot of those other people have jobs at all.

I wish he were still here. I wish I could have paid the Apple campus at 1 Infinite Loop a visit and just breathed the same air as him for even a moment, made a complete fool of myself by squeeing or turning into a statue instead of knowing how to say "Hello, you're an inspiration to me and I want to thank you for everything you've done." I wish I could have known him and he could have known me, and he could have told me that I'm just at the beginning of my road, that no matter what roadblocks manifest (of my own invention of otherwise), I can succeed, because he did, too.

Several years ago, I hated all things Apple. Steve Jobs didn't mean anything to me. My goal was to "topple Bill Gates." Things change. People change.

In his commencement address at Stanford in 2005, Steve made a lot of references to death and dying. Observations from various people throughout the years noted that he seemed to have an obsession with making an impact, because he thought he would die young. And he did. Fifty-six is young. I know he did a lot, and maybe that means he accomplished a lot more in those short years than anyone else has or could have, but that doesn't mean he couldn't have done a lot more.

That he died of a rare form of pancreatic cancer just means that even the greatest among us are still human, that money can't fix all problems, and that you can make a huge impact even if you're stubborn, even if people think you're a lousy leader or a pathetic programmer, and even if you set the bar incredibly high for yourself.

Thank you, Steve, for everything.
azurite: (sailormoon - usagi sweater)
2011-09-13 05:11 pm

Sailor Moon Returns: reviews of the manga vol. 1 and Codename: Sailor V!

Sailor Moon is back! I got the first volume of the re-released, re-translated, revised English manga, as published by Kodansha USA, the American branch of the original publisher of Sailor Moon. Mine wasn't packaged up quite as securely and pretty as [twitter.com profile] moonkittynet's was, but it didn't arrive damaged...at least, not by the packaging.

Turns out my page 159-60 was cut improperly though, resulting in a garish sticking-up amount of paper on both the top and sides of the book. I'm going to review my copy and then promptly return it to Amazon in the hopes of getting a new copy that isn't so fashmoogled.

Moon Power 1000! )

Venus Power! )
azurite: (sailormoon - crescent wand look)
2011-09-13 02:10 am

Written in Anticipation

So tomorrow is the official release date of the new version of the Sailor Moon manga in English, and the first time Sailor V has been translated in any official capacity. Because I'm a late-pre-orderer, I'm getting mine tomorrow, rather than having gotten it already, the way some lucky cats (*koff*Brad*koff*) have.

What I've read of Brad's tweets (he's [twitter.com profile] moonkittynet if you didn't know) so far makes me nervous. You could say I'm "living nervously," which is apparently going to become the next big Sailor Moon in-joke, and I've been abusing it so throughly today without even having read the first volume of the re-translated Sailor Moon manga where is appears, I should be probably be fined (or, you know, rewarded by Luna, since "living nervously" is apparently a good thing in her eyes).

Anyway, Kodansha has done what I personally consider to be a good job with translating their own titles in the past, but everyone has their own standards of what makes for a good transation. I watched a YouTube video recommended by Brad in his tweets, by a guy nicknamed OtaKing, who did a five-part "documentary" which was more or less a rant about how fansubbers have become cliquey, elitist, and generally lazy while bringing more awesome anime to English-speaking audiences. Like many of his other commenters, I generally agree with OtaKing's (and Brad's) perspective on translating, which surprised me a bit, since I got into learning Japanese because of my love for anime and manga, and I do understand the difficulty in translating things like Japanese's honorifics, or the politeness levels in speech. Rather than translate something that is "English" but sounds bizarre, out of place, or stilted, I think it's perfectly sensible to contextualize and make the speech fit the language. The examples OtaKing gives are sometimes extreme, and I disagree that some of the phrases he said "don't sound like English" actually do, but I guess it depends on the kinds of speech you're used to reading and hearing, which in turn has a lot to do with your education. And that's a whole other can of worms.

As for Sailor Moon, my attitude right now, before having received anything and only glanced at the few screenshots Brad posted on Twitter, is "anything's better than Mixx, right?" I'm still going to keep my original Japanese manga (or the 12-volume re-release and what little I have of the "true" original set...mine really has no value considering the stupid stuff that's been done to it over the years), but I plan on buying the complete English release.

Brad did say that Miss Dream's translations were better, and I'll frankly have to judge for myself. Not because I think Miss Dream's scanlations are bad in anyway, but that it feels awkward to have them up when Sailor Moon is finally, finally re-licensed for manga, and not just by some cute little startup that has no sense of money management (Tokyopop!) but by the American branch of the original publisher, a powerhouse of manga in Japan! I don't want even the best-intentioned of translators to screw things up for us Moonies. We all want to see a great Sailor Moon published, and here's hoping Kodansha responds to feedback when given, but we have had nearly two decades to set our standards so high. I just hope they realize that, if Miss Dream continues to translate the manga despite the licensing. After all, Alex Glover kept his translations at Kurozuki.com live until the re-release announcement, because Mixx/Tokyopop's translations just stunk that badly, long before TP went under (dare I say "got flushed?" Haha!).

Here's what I'm hoping for:
* The original names, not translated meanings like "Bunny" or dub-isms (or any other anime-isms) like Amy and Raye, no matter how close they "might" sound to the original.
* Accurate, consistent translating of everything, from minor character names to locations and attacks.
* Not a metric fuckton of translator's notes, sidebars, glossaries, or other things that aren't in the original Japanese re-release of the manga. I can understand the usual honorific chart that Kodansha puts in all of their manga lately, but Brad and OtaKing are right: the translation should read naturally in English, and honorifics interrupt that flow. You usually CAN translate them, or else adapt the speech to fit the context. Still, it is hard to explain that the way Michiru and Haruka (whom we won't meet for some volumes yet) speak to one another is very indicative of their close relationship, versus the kind of relationship Usagi and the girls have with one another, or even the relationship Usagi and Mamoru have. So...I'm actually in the middle.
* A normal, readable comic font, nothing fancy or crazy. Sure, it might be the speech of a dark villain, but if it's not readable, what the hell is the point?
* No flipping or cutting of pages. No editing of lines (drawn lines, that is) to make things "appropriate." Know your audience Kodansha: while there might be a handful of Tweens reading Sailor Moon for the first time, the vast majority of readers will be those of us that were there from (more or less) the beginning. As such, we're old enough to handle the suggestion of breasts. *shock!*

That's not too much to ask, right? What are your expectations? If you've got your hands on the manga already or will by the time you read this, what do you think?