#quailman and his sister Judy! #doug #cosplay #dragoncon
The Milky Way Band and Dark Skies
PSA:"That has to be superimposed - they photoshopped that on!" It’s understandable why a lot of you (and I do mean a lot) might be confused when confronting these vistas. But these are actual images of the milky way as seen under the best viewing conditions known to our planet, the dark skies. Due to the rapid growth of our civilization, we emit more light than we should and thus this darkens out many of our views and blocks us from making those wonderful necessary connections to the skies our minds desperately need. We can’t see the Milky Way band as seen above in many places, it’s always there though, rest assured, ready to greet us with its lovely stars. If we’re missing out on this.. is the way we use public lighting really as conventional as we believe it is? [Similar Posts: Losing the Dark - a Public Service Announcement on Light Pollution] [Losing The Dark: GIF set]
MDA Telethon is on tonight at 9pm on ABC, One of my loved ones has muscular dystrophy, please consider donating to the MDA, they do great work. You can donate anytime at this link https://secure.mdausa.org/donate/showofstrength
In honor of Sci-Fi channels Saturday Anime, a different Japanese animation film shown on their network every Saturday morning in the 90’s, I’m posting my sketch notes of my favorite anime this Saturday morning.
Ghost in the Shell, the original film, 1995.
I remember I used to have a subscription to Wizard magazine, one issue came with a mini comic of Ghost in the Shell- when I saw the guy’s brief case turn into a machine gun I said “Holy Moly Frijoles!” In 1996, I used to watch the Anti-Gravity Room (also on Sci-Fi) and there was a short feature on the animated Ghost in the Shell film, just released in the US on VHS. One Friday afternoon, I rented it from Blockbuster- it was the summer and I was eating my dinner of pizza, garlic knots and water in my room alone (eating with the family was hazardous to my health). I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
I LOVE the text at the beginning. All good movies begin with text on a black screen. Conan the Barbarian (1982), Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Bubba Ho-tep etc… It’s so cryptic, we are shocked humans haven’t been wiped out. I love the word: YET.
Who is this woman? She jumps off a ledge naked, hanging by a wire. No explanation, just mystery. The first we see of humans are through her eyes, digitized green blobs. I was happy to see the briefcase gun.
The song during the creation is intense. It is so strange, a true call to life, a call to awaken. Nothing is rushed in this movie. I found it odd that a cyborg body would still have to wipe the sleepy peas from it’s eyes. We’ve come so far, but still plagued by that human touch. Her room is an eye socket that she can shut.
Her name is Major Motoko Kusanagi. She is one of the great characters in all of history. She is driven by something inside of her that even she doesn’t understand and, unlike most characters we meet, she never becomes complacent. She never deviates. She never lets it go, she always pushes to go further. She also changes by the end of the film, thanks to the Puppet Master. But, in the beginning, she’s focused on finding out who she is.
My recent viewing of the movie also yielded this thought: I swear the slob guy who brings his garbage down too late is voiced by Don Knotts. Watch the original English Dub again, you’ll hear what I mean.
While chasing the garbage truck, she constantly surprises her teammate Ishikawa (who is the most human of the 3 of them). Not just that she is so deep, complex, and driven for a cybernetic organism… but I also think it’s because she is a woman. He also must feel pretty useless compared to her mental and physical abilities- but she encourages him by explaining how his human error is actually a benefit to their team. It adds a level of unpredictability which is essential for their groups survival. “Overspecialize, and you breed weakness.”
The chase through the market gives us some very insane music I’d never noticed before, and a dog running on the rooftops. Again, all good movies have someone running on rooftops. The guy she battles is given his own quiet moments in the alley, he’s given humanity. The battle is spectacular. It’s obvious, but I must say at least once: the detail in the animation is exquisite. The shading on the characters faces, the movement, the backgrounds! Magnifique!
The idea of implanted simulated experiences being so convincing, they would blind this guy to a tangible object like a photo, is scary. It’s so sad when they tell him what’s what. Batou is a simple guy, he just shrugs the guy’s situation off as “Just another pathetic ghost hacked human” and walks away. But Kusanagi stays, she knows this could be them, their entire perception of reality could be as artificially fabricated as this garbage man’s.
The montages are some of my most favorite parts. This film lets you wander. It’s important to take breaks and if you can’t physically go for a walk during a film, you can at least mentally stroll. She sees herself in many different places along the montage. Was she modeled after a lonely luncher? Or a mindless mannequin? Look at the buildings, they resemble humans. One looks like a mouth in the beginning, windows look like eyes. We love dogs because they resemble us. We have created a world in our image over and over and over, yet we have forgotten who we are. We are lost.
The translator they discover has the same face as Kusanagi. She keeps finding out that she may not be as unique as she once thought. She wonders what the point is of living at all when there’s another you in so many parts of the world.
The scene of the Major deep sea diving is so wonderful. In a world of appearances, distractions and confusion, to focus and look inside takes a radical alteration of your environment. Then, you are free. You can even become someone else. I believe this is why people take drugs, you can finally alter your perception. I live how she steals moments to herself. Batou doesn’t know how lucky he is to be on that boat with her and listen to her express herself. The way it is done is marvelous, I’m in awe! She asks the question earlier “Have you ever seen your own brain?” She hears a voice out of nowhere that she doesn’t recognize, at first- you think she’ll just shrug it off as “o, that was spooky” but she makes that turn towards the camera to let us know: she is never going to stop. I love the multiple fade-outs during the film, movies need more fade-outs.
There’s, of course, a story in there about Governments feuding with each other, creating the problems that keep their business going. It’s all survival. The guy’s robot fingers are pretty neat too. Later, when they are driving away in the car, he suggests “Maybe the puppet master has a girlfriend he wants to see” and his boss scolds this saying “ridiculous” and there’s a shot of robot fingers looking so sad out the window. It’s a tragedy for someone to tell him a cybernetic organism is incapable of something like love. Maybe he has had those feelings himself. It’s all very touching.
Kusanagi shows her bravery time and time again, she lets her ambition and passion drive her to go off on her own and dive into the puppet master herself. There’s another great montage, I love her ass kicking gear. The shoot-out with the Spider Robot guard is outstanding. Again, no detail is spared, even the spider bot has a personality. It is like a child or a puppy, it’s kind of sad she has to try and kill something like this, like her. An innocent. The bullets going up the tree of species and life on the wall- so much can be said about that image. Eradication of the old, of memory, and the question of what is going to come next. What form will life take? Her flight to rip off the roof is some of the most beautiful animation coupled with a perfect soundtrack. She doesn’t succeed on her own. She learns to trust Batou and even thank him. The manly man has to take a back seat and just be a spectator in the finale, how often does that happen in a story? “I might as well stay and see what happens.” THAT’S RIGHT! I love how petty and bitchy he is earlier when he tells the chief how weird Kusanagi has been acting and that it’s all in his field reports.
The confrontation with the puppet master is so well done. She thinks she has a grasp on what life is, who she is as a unique individual and he comes along and flips it all out of whack again. He proposes they merge and become a new being, their child in a way. She is horrified by this, having just discovered who she is and to risk losing it all scares her. “How will I know I will still be me?” He replies “Why would you want to?” Change is the only constant in life, repeatedly diving into the unknown. Like when we go to sleep, we have no idea what our dreams will be, or if we will ever even wake up again! Let go!
I don’t know what I’m looking at during that long shot of the newborn in Batou’s safe house. Is it a mirror? Is her consciousness all around and she can see herself?
I love how the film ends, “Where does the newborn go from here? The net is vast and infinite.” I have, unfortunately, had many bad jobs over the years- after leaving each one, this quote would run through my head and make everything better.
When I saw it the first time in 1996, I didn’t understand most of it but- like Kusanagi, I wanted to explore and dive deeper into it. Movies should be about questions. I read a bunch of reviews in some anime magazine after I saw the movie, half of them hated the movie because the main character was too “ugly” and they felt confused. Such a waste!
Masamune Shirow felt driven to make the manga, and ultimately Mamoru Oshii and Production IG had to make my favorite anime of all time. And love for the Manga English Dub, it has it’s own poetry doesn’t it?
Nancy Beaton dressed as a shooting star (1929)
2 images conjured up when I hear #Ferguson: a horrific war against citizens, and this character from my childhood
Illustration of gentleman grappler: Simon Gotch! His character! His Look! His Skill! Quite Manly! Seeing the Vaudevillains every week on NXT is worth the price of getting the WWE Network! I say!!!
Bill Maher on the criticism he’s received for his views on religion, his film, Religulous, specifically.
Dreamt that Jhonen Vasquez directed Drunken Master and I was so shocked no one knew about it. I spent the whole dream explaining to little children how it’s one of his lesser known works.
Happiest birthday to Sarah Moskowitz! A truly talented, hilarious, and beautiful individual! She plays wonderful music: https://soundcloud.com/sarahmouse
Running of the Matadors. This wacked-out, ba-nay-nay dream I had last night. I was in this dream talking to the characters (who were prisoners). I asked the first guy what he wanted his name to be and he said, “What.” I started cracking up because each prisoner was jailed in their own state of the art room with voice activated computer systems. When you ask a question, it starts up its “This is your online computer interactive system…” - so every time someone would say his name, the system would start up. It made me laugh every time. So, all the prison cells were adjoined in the middle of a huge circular track, they’d all be forced onto the track and have to avoid these Bull automobiles that would blaze down the track. As they’re avoiding these, Esther and I are watching. This old coot tells us this is the site where all the fairies in history exist, Esther didn’t buy it and looked through her binoculars and yelled out “Bull! It’s just pollen flying off that flower bed!” That’s my scientist!