October 31, 2005 - 10:30pm
Autumn photos before the winter strikes. Well, the winter would
strike by now, if not for global warming. Thanks a lot, Canyonero
Hits in October!
October 31, 2005 - 10:20pm
out the champagne! DanielThomas.org has surpassed 500,000 hits
for October. That's half a million, kids. I've
been recovering from the flu the past four days, so somebody
score me some Halloween candy to celebrate.
October 26, 2005 - 12:40am
kids, let's sit around the Fitzmas tree and sing carols.
October 26, 2005 - 12:30am
like Monday's traffic hit a new high - 19,020 hits. Just a year
ago, this website was getting 2,000 hits a day. Now it's on the
verge of 20,000. Not a bad achievement, eh? It can't all be because
of people stealing photos, right? Right?
Citizen Kane of Japanese
October 24, 2005 - 11:30pm
likely. At least that's the thesis I find myself coming to. The
movie I'm referring to is The Great Adventure of Horus,
Prince of the Sun, the Japanese animation masterpiece
released in 1968. If it isn't the greatest anime ever made (and
one could clearly argue the point), then clearly it is the most
was conceived at the Toei Doga studio, which was a leading animation
studio churning out movies and TV shows in Japan. It was the
creation of a collective of masterfully talented animators: Yasuji
Mori, Yasuo Otsuka, Yoichi Kotabe, and a brash, young Hayao Miyazaki.
The leader of the group was a prodigously skilled director named
Isao Takahata. Horus was his first feature film as director,
and he schemed up a grand story that would forever destroy the
slavish Walt Disney mold, reinvent animation as a form of serious
filmmaking, and make a sweeping statement for his politically-charged
was birthed over the course of three long years, when Takahata
endlessly battled the executives of Toei, who expected another
simple, Disney-esque children's cartoon. He lost many of those
battles: the film's setting was moved from Japan's native peoples
to Scandinavia, 30 minutes were cut from the original two-hour
length (a length unheard of at that time), and two key scenes
were never animated, due to their extreme scale and complexity.
never knew what they had on their hands. Horus, Prince of the
Sun was released in 1968, and pulled from theatres after ten
days. Takahata was permanantly demoted, never allowed to direct
again. But like The Ramones, the film steadily built up a devoted
following among college students. In time Takahata, Miyazaki,
Mori, Otsuka, and Kotabe were vindicated a thousand times over,
with the World Masterpiece Theatre productions of the '70s, and
with Takahata and Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli.
Prince of the Sun, essentially, created modern anime. It pushed
animation into the realm of serious, adult, complex themes -
addressing socialism, the student union movements, and the war
in Vietnam, wrapped up in the guise of a thrilling adventure.
The film is loaded with visual and technical innovations, aggressive
camera movements that would only be copied in the age of CGI,
and in the tragic heroine Hilda, the most psychologically complex
character ever created for an animated film.
is available on DVD in Japan, Portugal, France, and now the UK
with English-language subtitles for the first time. The French
DVD, as usual, has all the best extras, including over an hour
of interviews and features, and a 24-page booklet. The Japanese
version has the classic movie poster. The UK release, for some
infuriating reason, has slapped on an asinine, stupid title: "The
Little Norse Prince." 37 years later, and the suits still
don't know what they've got on their hands.
be expanding upon this on the Horus film review page in the coming
October 24, 2005 - 11:30pm
in a mad rush to capture as many photos of the fall colors before
the leaves finally fall. Hmm. Reminds me, I really should stock
up on squirrel photos before winter limps in.
October 24, 2005 - 11:00pm
Parks, a great American. She showed the power one person could
make, and proved that even the smallest resistance against injustice
can bring results. To anyone who feels powerless to fight against
the wrongs in the world, I say, look to Rosa Parks. She will
be dearly missed.
of the Day
October 22, 2005 - 8:00pm
about the light posting this month. I'm quite busy working at
the bank, catching up on sleep, reading hate mail from Stryper
fans, and wondering why the site traffic continues to rise (around
18,000 daily hits now). Oh, I've also been taking many photos
of the autumn colors:
of the Rovian
October 8, 2005 - 8:15pm
Blumenthal has written an excellent
primer of Republican corruption during the Bush/Karl Rove era at
Salon. You'll have to watch a commercial to enter the site (the "free
day pass" thing), but that's a small price to pay. If you
want to know the basics of the various scandals swirling around
messirs Rove, Delay, Frist, Abramhoff, etc, then here's the place
and did I mention that Bush's approval numbers are now in the
30's? The Miers pick is proving a political disaster. To the
increasing number of former Bush supporters, I say Welcome to
the Reality-Based Community. About time your common sense kicked
of the Day
October 8, 2005 - 8:00pm
a photo from Wednesday night's rainstorm that pummeld its way
through Minneosta, causing local flooding and ushering in real Autumn
weather (yea!). Also, some pics from the Uptown area of Minneapolis
earlier today and this evening.
Visit to See My
October 5, 2005 - 2:00am
and the Catbus have come to the Minnesota Children's Museum,
and they will stay in the Twin Cities until next February. Naturally,
I had to pay our neighbors a visit when I finally had a day off
from the crummy "ghetto" bank.
is part of the museum's "Jump to Japan" exhibit, which
also features Japanese books, comics, and stations where you
can create drawings and animations. But most of the exhibit is
devoted to My Neighbor
Totoro, with statues of the movie's characters, clips from
the movie, and more. I even saw a Japanese movie poster, which
I'd love to score one of these days.
Totoro exhibit is a joint venture between Studio Ghibli and the
Children's Museums of Minnesota and Seattle, WA.
exhibit recreates one of Miyazaki's most iconic moments, the
comic scene at the bus stop. Here, Setsuko and Mei, while waiting
in the rain for their father to arrive on the bus, encounter
the giant Totoro instead. They offer him their father's umbrella,
and Totoro is overjoyed once he discovers just what it is used
for (note the leaf on his head).
wanted a profile shot of Totoro, in reference to the Studio Ghibli
logo which appears on all their films.
great shot of Catbus at a distance. You can walk inside and sit
on his seats if you wish.
really good two-shot of Totoro and Catbus. The route sign on
Catbus reads "Mei" in Hirigana. It refers to a scene
late in the film where Mei becomes lost and Satsuki asks Totoro's
help in finding her.
a shot I'm really proud of. I took a couple photos with Totoro
visible through the window. It looks like he just hopped on for
a ride. I'll definitely be adding this one to my photography
portfolio when I send out for freelance work.
of the Day
October 1, 2005 - 11:30pm
pictures to fondly remember summer by, as we finally pass into
autumn. Personally, I'm more of an autumn person, but I originally
hail from northern Minnesota, so maybe it's just me.