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Tag: ponderings

Individual Contributions to DBZ Fandom

It is always fascinating when we are able to track down the actual first-time uses of certain words or phrases in DBZ fandom. Some of the things we take for granted and simply accept as commonplace were actually created by fans either for simplicity’s sake, out of ignorance, or even sometimes out of honest mis-translation.

Some of our favorite examples are things like:

  • Ultra Super Saiya-jin“, a term coined by Curtis Hoffmann back in 1993 in his summaries of the tankôbon to describe the in-between stages of SSJ that Vegeta, Trunks, and even Goku showcase after Cell has been introduced
  • Kushami“, the Japanese word for “sneeze”, also coined by Hoffmann in 1993 as a nickname for Lunch in her transformed state
  • AD” as used for years in the chronology of the series, a mis-translation of eiji or simply “Age” by Greg Werner in the late 1990s from his translation of the timeline in the seventh daizenshuu

There are other ones that we have not been able to track down the first-ever uses for. There is “Mystic Gohan” to refer to the character after his “upgrade” from the Old Kaiôshin (which goes back to at least the year 2000 in quick searches); there is the word “zenkaiincorrectly used as a proper noun to explain the power-up that a Saiya-jin receives after recovering from near-death, which appears to be an English-language-only development, possibly originating sometime in the early-to-mid-2000s; there is “base” that gets used to refer to the “normal” (tsûjô in Japanese), non-SSJ forms of characters, which appears to have become common-place in the English-speaking fandom during the PS2 video game revival for the franchise.

It really gets funny when people cross the line into delusional territory, though. A commenter on our third “Inconsistencies” video posted and asked why the video was receiving bad comments. When another commenter was challenged on their response of it being from “some guy [who] is being critical and nitpicking when he himself has made no creative contribution to this world”, they followed up and justified their existence and contributions to fandom with:

Well if you really need to know, I’m the first person to use the word “canon” in reference to continuity. That was on the Pojo forums way back in maybe 2002. You won’t find any record of that word being used in that context previous to that time either. So, yeah it’s more of a contribution to a subculture in general and not specifically to DBZ, even tho it was on a DBZ forum.
I’ll add that it was a more or less original contribution and not simply a commentary on a finished work.

Yes. You read that right. This individual honestly believes that they invented the term “canon” as it relates to continuity in a work, fictional or otherwise (or, giving them the biggest benefit of the doubt that I can, perhaps just DragonBall). Either that, or they at least have a hilarious (if not obnoxious) sense of humor about themselves.

The word “canon” shows up at least two years prior on alt.fan.dragonball (and probably much earlier if you are willing to dig). This person’s claim is essentially dead-on-arrival from the very beginning.

The word itself goes back thousands of years with this very same definition, so they certainly can’t take the claim in that respect. As far as I know (and I hardly claim to be an expert), the term originated with the Bible and what the church deemed to be the “true” and “correct” stories to include in their official version. The word and its associated phrases (“Such and such is canonical…”) have been floating around with not just anime, but all types of fiction for decades. I know little-to-nothing about Star Wars, but I know there are just as many heightened-emotion arguments about what is canonical with its expanded universe as there are with our own ridiculous arguments relating to DragonBall GT and the movies and the guide books and the international translations and so on and so forth.

That someone honestly believes that they were the first person to use the word “canon” as it relates to DragonBall… and did so only in 2002… and relays this information with the tone they did, propping their “original contribution” above something that is “simply a commentary on a finished work”…

I mean, it goes beyond delusional at that point, right…?

What Makes A Good Blog Entry?

I ask this question both of myself (to try and answer in an actual blog post… how fascinating!), and also of you all, dear readers. What does make a blog entry “good”…?

One thing to keep in mind is that I am not talking about a “blog” from a personal standpoint. This is work-work related (as opposed to hobby-work related), so the goals and methods will be slightly different. Are there any “professional” blogs that you follow? If so, what aspects really drag you in?

Here are a couple of my own thoughts:

Authoritative Tone
You know me well, by now — any writing that I do very purposefully takes on a tone of authority. If you simply act as if you know what you are talking about, it is all the more convincing! This is not something I am too concerned about, since the folks I will be calling on for articles have that authority… and I am the final word, anyway, so I get to copy-edit anything that needs it.

Be Personable
What makes a “professional” or “corporate” blog different from a standard press release is not just the tone, but the delivery. There needs to be a real voice. It can be a fine line walking between conversational and professional, but it can and should be done. Guest writers of relevant notoriety can be a huge help in lending a personable, yet authoritative, tone.

Outbound Links
Again, you know how I operate! If there is a source, it must be cited. Providing links to something other than your own website shows that you live in the real world and acknowledge that other people have ideas and opinions.

Make a Statement With the Post Title
It is a little basic, but it is true — grab the reader’s attention.

Know Your Goals
What do you want to actually accomplish with this blog? Do you want readers to comment? You need to ask them a question each time, then. Do you want to be picked up by news media? Be sure to mention your blog in conversations and other cross-promotions, have it readily accessible from your navigation… all the good ol’ regular stuff.

Maybe the best question to ask is: what makes a bad blog entry? What are some tell-tale signs that something is “off” and perhaps not credible, researched, authoritative, and even worth your time? Things like grammar and aesthetics (while important) are blatantly obvious, so we can skip past those!

Kids and Social Networking – Your Thoughts?

I am going to be doing a little presentation next week at a luncheon at an organization regarding children being online and social networking. The focus is keeping them “safe” in some sense, but it will be more along the lines of just being aware of what is out there, how to keep tabs on it, building the necessary vocabulary to understand it, etc.

I think the big thing I am going to harp on is just helping people understand why people join these sites and do the things they do. Once you understand the why, everything else falls into place. As far as I can tell from observation and my own personal experiences, the main reason is just selfish validation. What I mean by that is that people are using these sites basically for the purpose of having their own existence justified and validated by receiving positive feedback. Whether it’s Digg promoting things, Facebook with the “like” button and status update responses, Twitter and getting responses to tweets… everything is intended to be a virtual pat on the back to just prove that you exist.

While narcissism extends far into adulthood, there is no denying that it is far more prevalent among children (especially teenagers) and their rebellious age. It is always about finding your place, understanding where you fit into the world, blah blah blah.

What does everyone think about this? Would you describe it differently? What other reasons do people have for joining and participating in these social networking communities?

Adults Can’t Play “Animal Crossing”…!

One of the biggest stories going around the blogs today is a bit of fantastic “journalism” by ABC 17 News with the following specific quote by investigator Andy Anderson (as taken from Game Politics) really striking a nerve:

“There is no reason an adult should have [Animal Crossing: City Folk],” says Andy Anderson, Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force.

Wow. The wife and I were utterly enthralled by the “first” (yes, I am aware of the Japanese Nintendo 64 version) game on the Gamecube… at least until I beat her in paying off my mortgage, and we realized there was no end-game beyond that. I then found myself completely absorbed into my Wild World on the DS trying to catch all of the fish, pay off yet another mortgage, keep my neighbors from leaving town, etc.

I have not had a chance to get into it with some City Folk, especially since nearly all reviews state that for its third (fourth) iteration, Nintendo has not brought anything new to the table. That does not mean, however, that I suddenly feel that adults have no reason to be playing these games, and should somehow come under suspicion of perverted wrong-doing for doing so.

Yes, the point of these stories is to frighten the begeezus out of parents. Yes, mainstream media almost always gets it wrong. Yes, Animal Crossing is a cutesy game. Yes, you should be worried if someone misses a real-life mortgage payment because they are busy fending off Tom Crook Nook.

But seriously? They’re a pedophile if they play Animal Crossing…?

Anderson says adults playing “animal crossing” and similar games are likely doing it for the wrong reasons.

Those parents who Nintendo originally marketed the game to so they could trade messages with their children in the off-hours while one’s at school and the other is home or at work? Bad, bad, bad people.

Sound off, everyone.

(Also, yes, I’m changing around the look of the blog. It is nowhere near finished, but it is a start. Additionally also as well too, more Street Fighter writings to come as promised.)

Thoughts On Donations?

This is a subject I am heavily conflicted on.

Ever since the dawn of Daizenshuu EX (and VegettoEX’s Home Page and Ultimate DBZ Links Page before them), I have done anything and everything in my power to keep things as “real” and “transparent” as I can with the site. I have never asked the community for anything, and do not expect anything in return for running the site. There have been plenty of generous “donations” over the years (for example, our buddy godofchaos has been hosting the podcast for us free of charge, and we’ll be porting over the forum to his server in the near future; many years ago our old buddy Scott, or SREDBZ, used to host our website for us). We’ve even had prize donations for website contests. These have always been unsolicited, mean the world to us, and make the community a better place.

I’ve had people ask about monetary donations in the past, but I’ve always struck them down. This is for fans, BY fans, gosh darn it! Things are a little different now. I’m not a 16-year-old punk kid starting a links page. The wife and I are lucky to be two educated adults with full-time, well-paying jobs, but there’s no denying what the current economic situation is.

Time to be a little realistic. Especially with our first home purchase entering the picture, one can’t help but wonder what a couple extra bucks would mean.

There are new guide books coming out. There are new CDs coming out. Shipping from Japan ain’t cheap. Equipment could use replacing and upgrading. Thinking about trying some new conventions.

Despite never having done so in the past, I’m seriously considering putting up a PayPal “Donate Now!” button over on Daizenshuu EX. Part of me feels… ya’ know, so what? Tons of other websites, blogs, and podcasts do this (including some of my favorites). I even paid for a premium version of a podcast for a while before it unfortunately passed on, and I didn’t think twice about supporting it. I tossed a couple bucks over to the CO-OP guys right after they got laid off from 1UP.

The other part of me freezes up and feels like a total sell-out. It goes against everything I’ve tried to do in the past. I feel like we are in such a (comparatively speaking) great, financially-secure place… what right do I have to ask anyone for anything, even indirectly like this? What reason do they even have to take me seriously?

So I guess that’s what my question is. What reason(s) do you have for even taking such a request seriously? If you saw that button pop up, how would you feel? How do you think the rest of the fanbase and community, the ones who don’t take the time to respond but are just as important, would feel? What would you like to see done with any donation you may or may not make, regardless of how little or grand it may or may not be?

I’m definitely waiting to hear your responses. It’s not as important or dire as I think I’ve made it out to be, but your thoughts and responses are genuinely welcome. I’m going to cross-post this on the Daizenshuu EX forum (there’s obviously a larger reader base there right now), but please feel free to leave blog comments. If you would rather privately send your thoughts, go ahead and just send them on over to VegettoEX@aol.com.

Thanks so much, everyone!

More Reflections On… Well… People (And Being Online)

A review of recent comments on the Daizenshuu EX YouTube channel and playing some Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 on Xbox Live last night reminded me just how jaw-droppingly incomprehensible people can be online. I have come across a couple good bits o’ reading over the last couple days that somewhat tie in with this subject, and I just wanted to pass them along. A lot of these thoughts will come around again when I finally decided to do a WTF EX podcast episode about current internet culture and the (non)value of feedback/comments as a whole, but until then, I hope you enjoy some of these bits.

First and foremost, let me make it explicitly clear that I hold absolutely no (serious) delusions of grandeur and hardly see myself as any sort of true “celebrity”. With that being said, I also have been running prominent (for their community/audience) websites for well over a decade, moved on up in several hobbies, presented at conventions, etc. I’m out there. People know my name and plenty of other things about me. People have come up to me in public. I’ve been asked to sign things (OK, just once that I remember). OK? OK. Just sayin’.

While I occasionally read a little too much idealistic and unrealistic prose over on Techdirt, as a whole I really enjoy what is posted there, and tend to agree more than disagree with what Michael Masnick has to say. Above-mentioned review of my YouTube comments and a few e-mails to Daizenshuu EX perfectly mirrors the title of an article from the other day, “Reading Comprehension: A Terrible Thing To Waste“.

In 2007, some people who somehow signed up for the program without meaning to, started Google searching the program — and commenting on that post, often complaining that they were signed up against their will. In April of 2007, one person noted that the charge on his credit card was denoted as being for AMZ*Prime Club. Within days, if you did a search on that phrase, we were the top result. At first, our comments started to fill up with angry messages from people who claim they never agreed to sign up for the program. Then… people started emailing and calling us demanding a refund.

Particularly with our “Rumor Guide” and detailed explanations of things from the originial Japanese reference material, many people write in to “correct” us, but end up saying the exact same thing, simply in their own words (and typically with FUNimation-only verbiage). It is almost always followed and ended by some snarky comment, demanding praise for their valuable time wasted on us (that’s if it hadn’t already started with a horribly-written insult). Just like Techdirt ended up:

Five minutes later, she replies:

How the hell do I contact Amazon – it seems to me that you and Amazon are probably working in collusion to fleece people.

And… with that I give up. Apparently, it wouldn’t matter how clearly Amazon explains their program. There are still some people who will not be able to figure it out.

… I have had too many instances where responding back and forth with readers/listeners/fans ends up with me tossing my hands up in the air. While the following example is not one where I responded back and forth with the author (I didn’t bother replying at all), and is also not an example where they don’t realize they are actually agreeing with us, it still fits in with the whole mentality of these sorts of comments. This may be completely over-the-head of my non-DBZ-fan friends and readers… but chances are, if you’re here reading this, you have some familiarity with DBZ ^_~.

In your rumors guide, u said that Trunks can’t reach SSJ2.. and your reasoning was that because it was a big deal when Gohan ascended to SSJ2 and beat Cell..

However u didn’t consider that the “big deal” could have been over Gohan’s power and NOT over the SSJ2 transformation. We all know 2 Saiyans can have different strengths even if both are SSJ form. For example, Trunks and Goten in early SSJ form can’t beat Vegeta or Goku. Also, SSJ Goten was slightly weaker than SSJ Trunks.

What I’m tryin to say is, ppl weren’t surprised at the new “SSJ2” form that Gohan transformed into. The big surprise was over the fact that Gohan’s SSJ2 form was even more powerful than Goku’s and Vegeta’s SSJ2 form.

Now, back to Trunks. During the Cell saga when Future Trunks fought Cell, he clearly became an “Ascended Super-Saiyan”. Even the episode was titled “Trunks Ascended”.

Later on, during the Majin Buu Saga, episode “230 – Super Saiyan 3!”, Goku CLEARLY stated that an “ascended super-saiyan” is also known as “super saiyan 2”.

So there u have it.. Future Trunks WAS indeed able to become SSJ2.

There are so many things wrong with this e-mail. They are clearly writing in response to one particular entry in the “Rumor Guide“, and yet despite having a well-researched and correct explanation in front of them, there is some… I don’t even know what to call it…? I don’t think “sense of entitlement” is the right way to explain it, but it’s along the same lines. As I’ve noted time and time again, there seem to be a large contingent of FUNimation-only fans that yearn to “correct” information based off the original Japanese… and while that’s not to say there isn’t the opposite (I mean, hello!… I’m right here!)… oh, you can see where this is going (an “It’s FUNimation’s own fault there’s a fractured fanbase, not mine” editorial is too much effort for me, these days). Let’s just move on.

The other article I wanted to point you over to was “Some Things Need To Change” by Michael Arrington over on TechCruch. Arrington takes a lot of flack for things he does and says, but at the end of the day, I think he’s pretty accurate in saying:

I write about technology startups and news. In any sane world that shouldn’t make me someone who has to deal with death threats and being spat on. It shouldn’t require me to absorb more verbal abuse than a human being can realistically deal with.

Again, please refer to the beginning of this entry where I plainly state that I’m not placing myself among the larger crowd of genuine success stories in the tech world. I’m just some guy on the internet talking to other nerds. There are clear parallels and warning signs, though. Do I really want to take any of my projects “further”, whether it’s a legitimate business or just a highly-expanded-upon hobby-venture? If there are already fake YouTube accounts set up with the sole purpose of insulting one of my websites (whoops; just legitimized it by acknowledging its existence!), repeatedly have to delete anti-Japanese comments from my actual YouTube account… blah blah blah. I don’t mean to make it out to be a larger situation than it really is (let’s be honest… it’s not). At the same time, they’re all horrible reminders about what kinds of people are out there, and how easily they have access to provide “feedback” to you. Why should anyone have to put themselves in a position where that’s even a realistic situation? Perhaps I’m being the unrealistic and delusional one, expecting and hoping to just go about my business having fun with enjoying things without receiving negative comments in response.

The problem is that I love what I do when I’m not hiding from some crazy fucker who wants to kill me or being spat on by some unhappy European entrepreneur we didn’t write about.

CONCLUSION: My buddy David summed it up pretty well when he told me…

I think YouTube, Hulu, and similar large online forums just show how the world really is: loudmouthed, hateful, and ignorant.

Also, if your first name is “Michael”, you appear to be doomed on the internet. Even further additionally, does John Gabriel’s theory just make that much sense?

As I’ve stated before, I’m not looking for “sympathy” or even agreement with the topics discussed and relayed in these types of posts. People seem to like the “behind-the-scenes” look into how things are done at Casa de EX (like my podcasting setup), and I figured this all worked together nicely to provide yet another view. Especially if you disagree with what I’ve presented, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Pretty interesting how I’ve essentially degraded internet comments to a worthless pile of trash not suitable for a second glance, and then say I value them. Let me instead end it on a funny e-mail.

From: < name removed >
To: vegettoex@aol.com
Sent: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 7:04 pm
Subject: PLEASE RESPOND¡¡

You know Yoshio Anzai (shueshia) ?
Please give me information about yoshio anzai and contact information for yoshio… please
ATT: < name removed >
Bogota Colombia
Thanks

Hey, it’s snowing outside!

(Any uplifting things you’d like to hear about? :P)

Foreign Things Confuse Me

I am back from the Honeymoon! We went on a cruise to Spain / Italy / France, and I am going to have a ton of pictures and stories to share (especially from Pompeii). In the meantime, I have something simple.

This question goes out to all you Europeans out there. I should probaby have figured this out on my own (or just asked Andrew), but it gives me an excuse to use the WordPress iPhone app and put up a picture.

So anyway, what the Hell is that thing on the right of the toilet?

There was a regular sink across from it all, so I’m at a loss. Am I supposed to pee into it? It looks like another sink, but it is so low to the ground. Maybe to wash my hands if I fall? Or vomit into if I am super drunk and can’t get off the bathroom floor?

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