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Oh, *yeah*, Square Enix?

Oh, *yeah*, Square Enix? published on

WELL YOU CAN’T STOP ALL OF US

I’m being serious. My reaction to that was to get even more inspired about MY BRILLIANT THING. I looked at the screenshots and thought, “you know, I should probably look around and see if people have posted example game files using Ruby, to get an idea how flexible that is,” and also had an idea about the sprite problem. I might be able to use Magus’s glide animation! I suffer from persistent self-destructive behavioral patterns!

See, the thing I don’t get is why they don’t care about normal fanfic. Okay, so there are two things I do not get, because I also don’t understand why they care at all – but given that they clearly do, I don’t see why it shouldn’t extend to all forms of derivative creative works.

Or, rather: maybe I do see why they care, in the abstract. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I’ve read that Square Enix rewrote the ending of the DS port of Chrono Trigger to make it more consistent with the sequel, Chrono Cross. This was not popular with a lot of the more old-school fans, who frequently prefer to think of the events of Chrono Cross as being non-Chrono Trigger-canonical. (Spoilers: Chrono Cross puts Lucca in a refrigerator.)

The impression this gives me is that someone on the Square Enix creative team is one of those people who identifies so strongly with the story they want to tell that they feel a literal sense of trespass when other people play around in it.* (See: Jo Walton**.) They feel that they have suffered an injury; and the present state of copyright law appears to validate them in this. So, they use it to attack the people whom they perceive as having hurt them.

The feeling is not invalid. When I first heard about that Chrono Cross spoiler, I thought I’d been punched in the stomach. I felt literally betrayed; I think I still do.*** A lot of people say that, after seeing the Lord of the Rings movies, when they reread the books, they could no longer locate some of the things they’d found there before. The experience of watching the movies had obscured or destroyed things they needed to find in the books, and this is a kind of loss. Adaptation gets personal. In fandom we sometimes talk about striking things from our personal canon. But the fact is that emotionally, when a story takes on personal meaning for you (and in the fiction that I prefer, that is defined as when a story succeeds) that sort of compartmentalization isn’t always possible.**** It can hurt.

It can hurt. But you don’t have the right to $150,000 in damages because someone hurt your feelings. You idiot.

Yeah, this is where my sympathy runs out.

You also don’t have the right to stop people from talking to each other because they might say something that upsets you. But whatever. (Yes, I’m aware that legally that depends where you live, but morally I think I’m on pretty firm ground with that assertion.)

Anyway, I would speculate that the video game adaptations matter more to the Square Enix creative team than do fanfiction and doujinshi because video games are the medium they work in – it has a greater immediacy, and thus a greater sense of violation. Probably the same thing applies to writers like Anne McCaffrey and Anne Rice, who are disgusted by fanfic, but don’t have a problem with video game or movie adaptations of their work.

* Which is a FASCINATING position to take when the canon in question is 1) a video game, with 2) a plot predicated on the existence of alternate realities. Okay, guys. I’ll be over here ON THE INTERNET

(my Squeenix love is so very conflicted)

** I can’t link to the original comment because I’ve kind of, uh, blocked Making Light in my HOSTS file. So I’m sometimes capable of fighting off the self-destructive impulses, when artificial aids are available.

*** I suspect that I might even be more sympathetic to all this if I didn’t have some deep-rooted, stubborn conviction of Square Enix’s own creative dishonesty, because they did something with their story that seemed wrong to me.

**** I wonder to what extent the evolution of fanfic in its current form coincided with the evolution of franchise television and comics. (Were radio dramas usually written by a bunch of different people, or was there usually just one writer?) The way people relate to fanfiction seems to me something that couldn’t have developed in a time when you weren’t exposed to narratives that both 1) had a clear and inaccessible source and provenance (aka, the TV station or publisher), and 2) changed hands.

Q: What stupid thing am I making my adult students read this week?

Q: What stupid thing am I making my adult students read this week? published on

A: A Daily Mail story about a four-eared cat. (It had some of this week’s vocab in it. I rewrote it slightly to put in more.)

After finding this article, I googled the cat and found a second four-eared cat named Yoda, this one on YouTube. Apparently one of these four-eared cats is a my aversion to puns renders me incapable of completing this thought. Please go about your business.

Dreamwidth!

Dreamwidth! published on

Yup. I remain snarp.

I’m kinda still pondering what to do when cross-posting goes live – I doubt the buggy WordPress lj-crosspost plugin I’m using will be able to post to Dreamwidth. Anyway, I’ll be reading both my list there and my list here for the foreseeable future.

Edit: loqia posted in the comments saving my world with her WordPress crosspost plugin JournalPress. It will hopefully work with Dreamwidth soon, and in any case presently works much better than LJXP, the plugin I was using before.

Three Things Post

Three Things Post published on

1) Olfactory Rescue Service – A frequently-updated blog of really detailed incense reviews. No, these guys are crazy. BPAL people may want to look at it? (Because BPAL international shipping is expensive, I’m trying to transfer some of my perfume nerdery over to incense, of which Japan has a lot.)

2) Amazon is preventing gay and lesbian books from showing up in searches, something that, given Amazon’s monopoly status, is obviously going to have an impact on their ability to get sold. You can write cuss words to them via their web form, or phone cuss words to them at these numbers provided by rydra_wong.

3) Last night I had a dream involving a very stoic eight-or-nine-year-old boy who was captain of a naval ship, in a very small island country engaged some vaguely Napoleonic-looking war involving dragons. (Though I don’t think that the dream was Temeraire fanfic – I think it’s based on hanging around in Second Life pirate-themed areas with Jenan yesterday, plus Warcraft withdrawal.) When he was on his ship or on the docks, everyone treated him with proper respect, as if it was perfectly normal that a little boy be the ship’s captain. The other captains and the admiral of the fleet often came to consult him, because his knowledge of the weather was unparalleled – he could predict storms and calms days and sometimes weeks in advance.

But the further the captain got from his ship, the more people began to feel that it might be a little strange that a child should be in the navy.

One day he and a few of his crew were betrayed to the enemy. When the captain was carried onto an enemy ship, the spell seemed to break entirely. Suddenly everyone, even those of his own crew who had been taken with him, saw him only as a little boy. As always, his face was quite calm – but a deep sadness fell over him. When left alone on the deck of the enemy ship for a few moments – because he was only a little boy, so what could he do? – he took a small wooden flute out of the pocket of his red greatcoat and began to play. Though it was a summer day and only a little past noon, and the sun was bright and the wind was strong, a little mist began to rise up off the water.

And then I woke up.

Cute things

Cute things published on

Ed Book is a nature photographer whose photo blog I’ve been reading for like… six years? I know I found it before I left home for college. Generally he’ll post pictures of hawks or foggy lakes or snow on mountains or suchlike, and talk about nice people and their dogs he met while out working. He’s in his sixties and has a large, impressive beard. His usericons are all picture of himself looking like he’s about to, you know, cut down a tree or sail a shrimp boat or deliver presents to all the children of the world. He ends every post with the word “peace.”

Sometime in the last couple weeks he appears to have discovered Rickrolling. I was a little startled.

(He only does it under friends-lock, so you will have to friend him if you don’t want to take my word for it. He just now made a gleeful post about doing it to some telemarketers.)

On the matter of webcomics.

On the matter of webcomics. published on

Those of you who are not presently reading the brilliantly-named webcomic “Vampirates” might do well to examine the most recent page and consider the gaping hole that would be left in your life had you not seen it.

Though the page is spoilery. If you want to know why you should read the comic without resorting to spoilers:

1) The vampirates are Canadian and are taking a boat to Saskatchewan (landlocked).

2) Apparently what Canadian vampire pirates do is, they lobby for health care reform. I know! I didn’t think it would top their list, but apparently yes.

3) It is very pretty with a good sense of flow in panel design. (Well, the people are very pretty – it’s not much for backgrounds, unfortunately.)

4) It is sort of BL, but has excellent female characters, one of whom is the Obligatory Person Who Keeps Saying, “Don’t Worry, I’ll Protect You.”

5) If none of that did it for you, go ahead and click on the link up there.

6) It’s called Vampirates.

(Though I warn you now that if you get into it, its iffy update schedule will break your heart over and over.)

I’m linking to McSweeney’s, and that makes me a bad person.

I’m linking to McSweeney’s, and that makes me a bad person. published on

Footnotes, Endnotes, and Parentheticals That Cost Me Marks on My Thesis:

3 Who, although a gifted academic, is still a douche.”

I actually pretty much said that about a Renaissance theatre guy named Stephen Orgel this one time. That paper got me my highest grade ever from that professor.

Matt Thorn has a blog now, and you will read it.

Matt Thorn has a blog now, and you will read it. published on

That is all.

(He posted an image gallery of pre-war yuri illustrations from his top-secret Matt Thorn sources!)

Though I worry he will get all tired and burned out from making all these insanely content-heavy posts. That is a lot of stuff, there, for a blog that’s been up three weeks.

Best Manga Plot Synopsis Ever

Best Manga Plot Synopsis Ever published on 8 Comments on Best Manga Plot Synopsis Ever

“The four vast duke houses Bezarius family’s next term owner, Oz Bezarius, a 15 year old who is being thrown into an abyss of darkness prison because of sins his body know not of when he was at the coming-of-age ceremony. Oz met the black rabbit(B-rabbit)which is stained by blood, which called upon the chain Alice, will the exchanging of contract help him escape the abyss successfully?”

Peanut-Butter Monkey Pandora Hearts

I am determined to read this.

… published on

I listened to a Decemberists song called “Cautionary Song” today. This song is an extended exploration of the timeless theme that Your Mom Is A Whore. According to a random LiveJournal person I found via the google, the lead singer has been known to start giggling during the last verse.

Not actually relatedly, I found this webcomic the other day, and it is very awesome. Now I understand panel #5! I aspire to find a situation in which it would be appropriate to use that phrase.

I have now watched twelve episodes of Gundam Wing. Episodes 11 and 12 take place mostly in China, but for some reason they very carefully avoid ever actually calling it “China.” And we find out that Sally Po – who last time she showed up was in the military and lived in Europe somewhere, like, with the Delta Knights maybe – is no longer in Europe, but rather in rural China, coordinating a guerrilla-warfare rebellion against some bad guys we have never met before! Some guy apologizes that they are welcoming her home with all this killing, in the single line of dialog explaining her sudden change in locale!

Did I mention that it is completely impossible to identify people’s ethnic origins in this anime unless someone says it out loud? Sally has brown hair and blue eyes. A lot of the insurgents do.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to take the elements of these two episodes and impose some kind of a plot on them. Spoilers, I guess?

Continue reading

The Alpha

The Alpha published on

Today thegeekgene and I had to clear out an old cabinet so it could be replaced with a new cabinet. 90% of this cabinet’s contents were old photos. After the heavy stuff was dealt with, thegeekgene and I sat down and started going through the pictures, trying to establish an equation to determine the size of Mom’s glasses by way of her distance from the 70’s and wondering why, as children, we had never once been arrested for indecent exposure. I mean, if these photos are representative, we maybe wore clothes 20% of the time, at most? Where were our parents?

Then I came upon The Photo. A great stillness settled about me. thegeekgene‘s running commentary on what Dad thought he was doing with that ice cream faded to a dull buzzing somewhere beyond the walls of my mind. Suddenly I understood everything I had done for the past eight years. All my sins and obsessions were laid out neatly before me, like sweaters that need to be air-dried so they’re like on the table. Here was the foundation of all that I am.

It was a picture of me, at the age of one-and-a-half, sitting on a plastic toy horse and watching a cartoon called “Hashimoto in… Spooky-Yaki!”

I had not realized how early it had started.

I couldn’t find that exact cartoon on YouTube, but I found another one from the same series. It’s pretty cute. Apparently they were directed by a 1st-generation Japanese immigrant named Bob Kuwahara, and they’re all about the Japanese mouse screwing with the American mouse’s head.