atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#437: Saturday night rambles

I really dislike web sites--particularly blogs or other text-based sites--which have dark backgrounds and light text. Yes, it may look really cool, but if you read more than a few lines of text, the next time you look elsewhere you will see dark-and-light bands in your vision.

Dark-on-light is the only good way to present text. One site I look at every once in a while presents all its text in yellow on black, which really hurts the eyes. And don't even get me started on the subject of low-contrast color choices, such as purple-on-gray. Jesus Christ.

It's one thing if your site is mainly pictures; it's another if you're posting nothing but text. I won't spend a lot of time reading a site which is hard to read, no matter how good the content is.

It's kind of odd, though. I never had trouble reading text on a green-screen monitor, and back in the C-64 days, my preferred color combination was white text on black. Of course the C-64 was a 40-column machine (the screen could hold 25 lines of 40 characters each), and on this monitor a single character would be about half an inch tall. The C-64's top resolution was 320x200:

...which is a bit small compared to this monitor's native resolution of 1680x1050; it's 1/4 of the screen of a typical VGA monitor running at the base VGA resolution of 640x480.

* * *

Steven den Beste wrote an interesting post on the economics of fansubs. The comments are very interesting, in particular.

When I first got into anime, in 1994, the stuff was pricy. Ranma 1/2 was $25 for a two-episode VHS tape, dubbed. (Subbed was $35.) AnimEigo charged $30-$40--or more--for a subbed videotape. In the case of Urusei Yatsura it was four episodes, but most of their releases were two episodes to a tape.

Mostly it was due to the economics of scale: if you're selling 500 copies of something, and if you want to make some kind of profit, and it costs a packet to generate the copies, your per-unit price is going to be high. If you're selling 10,000 copies, all else being equal, your per-unit price can be lower.

These days anime is a lot cheaper. DVDs are cheaper to produce in bulk than videotapes are--DVDs are stamped out rapid-fire, whereas videotape must be copied in real time--and the larger market for anime enables larger production scales, which also helps to drive down costs.

If you are not worried about having the latest releases as they come out you can get quite good deals on "thinpack" releases. If you're even more patient you can get stuff off eBay for a fraction of the original price.

90% of the anime I buy these days is thinpack box sets, usually on sale--I don't have the disposable income I had in the late 1990s.

But I think fansubs are a vital part of the fan community, too. Show me the company which is releasing the live action Hana Yori Dango. Can I buy translated versions of the live action You're Under Arrest or the live-action Sailor Moon? How about Mizuiro Jidai, Hime-chan no Ribon, Akazukin Chacha, Creamy Mami, or Magical Fairy Persia?

I got the first episodes of Yawara! in 1999. Neko Creations (a fansub group) did the first 40 episodes of that series, and then stopped after AnimEigo picked up an option on the rights to the series. I then waited eight years, and AnimEigo still has not released it. (The first season is coming out later this year, supposedly. It will cost around $150 for--what? 26 episodes?)

AnimEigo sat on the Kimagure Orange Road TV series for eight years before finally getting around to releasing it. I have it on laserdisk; I suppose I'm going to have to bite the bullet, buy another laserdisk player, and then copy them to DVD. (And then put the LD player and the laserdisks into a climate-controlled vault.)

Want Oh! My Goddess! TV? Be prepared to fork over $170 for the entire series--AnimEigo has re-released it as a "collector's edition". It's been out for a while, but don't bother with the individual DVDs; with the artbox that'll cost $175.

The anime market in the USA has exploded in the last 5 years. Old guard anime fans like me remember when you could fit all the commercially released anime into one 4-foot section of a 60" high gondola. ("Gondola" is retail-ese for "shelving unit", BTW.) And I'm not engaging in hyperbole, here--I mean all of it, every single title.

These days an entire wall of a typical video store might be enough space. We're lucky it caught on.

* * *

I wanted sesame chicken but ordered empress chicken. I didn't really think about it; I woke up hungry and wanted food, and it was early enough that the Chinese place would have my order ready in 15 minutes. So I was a bit surprised at how spicy it was, until I got my head straight.

My cat, Luna--
You see? I am an old guard anime fan! That proves it! I got a black cat in 1998 and I named her after the cat in Sailor Moon! If she'd been male I would have named it "Jiji" after the cat in Kiki's Delivery Service.
--Luna was nosing around and mooching as I was eating some reheated leftovers, just now; when I was done with the plate I set it aside. She sniffed at it, walked away, came back, sniffed at it some more, and then made "covering" moves--trying to bury it.

* * *

Today I got some more videotape of the cicadas in action, and I even managed to capture a male cicada "singing". The bug flexes its abdomen as it makes the noise. Considering how loud the noise is, that's not particularly surprising--it looks like it takes a bit of effort.

I realized--while mowing the grass--that the cicada's sudden death after mating is a survival-of-species tactic: the dead bug's body will likely fertilize the tree which will nourish the bug's offspring for 17 years.

The female implants her eggs into a twig, and today I saw what it does to the twig. It rips it up something awful, which explains why the end of the twig dies and falls off. (Also, incidentally, helping to fertilize the tree.)

* * *

Well, I guess I'm out of rambles for the moment.

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