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Just a speck of an entry this time, by way of contrast. ^_^ (Assuming I can actually submit this.. looks like today may have seen the threshold met for RFI disrupting DSL connections, due to locals using Mr Hertz' popular new invention, Old Sparky Brand Lights of Seasonally Flickering Illumination) I also wanted to post this before it went stale: tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 7.30pm, Asifa Hollywood members can see The Incredibles. With a Q&A session with Brad Bird. Moderated by Matt Groening. Not such a bad way to spend an evening, ne?

An interesting glimpse inside North Korea (11MB QuickTime), portraying an atmosphere of fear of an outside attack, and continued reverence for their leader.

A curious cross-marketing agreement should see fruition in the coming summer, between the California Tree Fruit Agreement and Apple, offering iTMS tracks with the purchase of peaches, plums, and nectarines.

Interesting inclusion in the 2005 Meeting of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association: "[F5] Pervert Studies: Considerations of the Social Life of Sex, Pleasure and the Erotic"

A look into the one possible future of DVD cryptography, as explained by the scheme's architect.

Finally, for the otaku with not enough music in their life: Bandai's limited run of 2000 units of the Neon Genesis Evangelion iPod. Meet the end (or rebirth) of the world in style!

And tonight.. I'm making toast!'ll be seeing the aforementioned flick. At last!
Er, perhaps I'm missing something and this is a stupid question, but...

As a point of inquiry, why is the "Pyongyang Times" an English-language publication, snazzily printed on a single sheet of high-quality paper, that uses English idioms and improper transliterations of "P'yŏngyang" in its headlines?

(And why is its front page different in the two closeup shots they show of it?)
I admit, that caught my eye too.. I'd simply assumed it was the obligatory publication to illuminate the administration in the best light, even if perhaps remarkably concisely. So, off to visit the mighty Wizard of Google I went.

First stop, this link, which yielded only, perhaps somewhat incongruously, a minor mash of Oracle errors. (Or, in Department of Homeland Security terms, a cyberterrorist attack)

Undeterred, I then came across an article from The Spectator, wherein we learn the Times has, in the past, been quite voluminous by comparison. Given the changes in the region, it's something of a time capsule per se, being written in 1983. Yet, plus ça change.. "Gaddafi looks more than ever like an eccentric Jewish gangster from Atlantic City: designer shades, over-the-collar bush of hair touched up with Afro-Sheen, Sergeant Pepper uniform and enough gold braid to hang an entire opposition party." It does, however, provide confirmation that the Times is "an English-language weekly newspaper".

Next, a passing reference to said organ as one of the "two" publications permitted whilst being held captive.

Aha! Here we go: The Pyongyang Times. (You'll notice the generic .net TLD. It seems North Korea shares something in common with only one other country: the lack of any delegation of their ccTLD, .kp, as is also the case with Western Sahara's .eh. Thus, for now, the ccTLD simply doesn't have any records in the DNS root. Whether this is for lack of computing infrastructure, or a political issue of refusing to accept a separate code from South Korea, I'm not sure)

FWIW, the headers say they're running SuSE/PHP/Apache 2.0.48. (Interestingly, a traceroute hops straight from a backbone provider in Berlin to the final destination)
Interesting. I'll admit, my first thought was "This can't be real." I thought it might have been, as you said, a big ol' propaganda pamphlet specially pumped out by a government institution upon this journalist's arrival-- just because North Korea is the sort of place where that's not at all out of the question.

And hmm... the ccTLD trivia could be the subject of a very good Quiz Bowl question in the near future. =;)
Egad, I have got to get back into ASIFA again ...
It definitely sounds like it'd be worthwhile! Obviously, this is a particularly high-profile event, but I'd imagine there'd be quite a few similarly illuminating events, especially for those with insightful questions to pose. And, okay, it's not exactly free at $60/year, but that sees pretty fair, considering.

Think you'll go for an on-the-night/online membership? ^_^ I'd love to go along, no question, but I'd probably just feel terribly humbled to be in the presence of such talent. I admire the talent of people such as Brad Bird, and my skills at criticism are generally remarkably lacking. I'll settle for being able to use The Incredibles as an excellent example for why the issue in animation shouldn't be, and really never has been, whether it's CG or cel, but the greater matter of do they care? If the soul is lacking, a finishing production may be beautiful, yet empty (why am I thinking of Britney Spears now? Oh well. She did bring us that catsuit, so it's even) - and the most crude animation can be considerably more enduring, as with the tale of Billy's Balloon, from Bitter Films. ^_^ (Or, hell, look at that Flash video for Everyone else has had more sex than me! And what sort of budget did that have? Some modest number of pizzas or fish & chips, most likely)
Oh, agreed. Disney's 2-D animation department didn't die because 2-D animation sucks. It died because their writers couldn't produce a good concept worth crap.
Sadly, yes. I'm still fairly astonished that the Florida and .au closures were authorised, when those units reflected some of the best talent the company had in their employ.. to dispose so casually of, in a corporate sense, such a core part of one's makeup, makes no real sense. But then, Eisner's gone the way, it seems, of many before him - brought to prominence on deserved success, and then come the endless laurels to be sat upon. (Be nice)

After all, it was Eisner who showed me the fun Disney had to offer again, in The Little Mermaid (yes, another bastardised public domain story derivative, and another argument for sharply reducing copyright terms), and Beauty and the Beast, despite the sad ending. Then, of course, his apex - The Lion King, which I saw about seven times cinematically, and went for the laserdisc box set immediately, a couple months before I had a player.

Since then? Tarzan, Atlantis, Treasure Planet. Yet, their B-movie division turned out Dinosaur (no storyline, but some highly impressive CG and integration, plus some cool characters. I wanna be Plio! :), not to mention The Emperor's New Groove.

Pixar knows where it's at. I just wish there were more studios of their ilk - perhaps there are, of course, and it's up to them, and the net, to get that talent seen.

Oh, yes, there was Pocahontas too. Which I've also not seen, but which did bring us Meeko, a landmark in procyonid animation, not to mention plush. ^_^

Dude. Lilo & Stitch.
How can you leave that one out? It's the best thing I've seen from Dizzy since...
Well, actually, I liked Atlantis.
Okay, since Emperor's New Groove, which is terribly funny.

But anyway, Disney sucks rocks, they closed all their 2-D studios, the contract with Pixar is ending,
and when they say stuff like "we're going to focus on 3D animation now", well, I have to laugh.
Because they don't even have a 3D animation studio, as far as I know.
I was under the impression the "Dinosaur" team got canned.
It is entirely possible that I am completely wrong.


Oh, gods, of course! Yes, Lilo and Stitch most certainly belongs in that list. Gorgeous design work throughout, and a comparatively mundane setting for a Disney production (the routine contemporary life, that is. If life's got to be tough, somewhere in Hawaii seems like as good a place as any to endure it), plus some great little jokes. (Stitch as record player, yay! I might have to try rigging up a suitably miniscule switch between my teeth sometime just to pull that off as a prank someday :)

Yes, I recall something about the Dinosaur unit being amongst those axed. Bizarre, if Disney's really going to try going head-to-head with Pixar. I wonder if there's some chance they might actually rise to the challenge? Then again, is there any need for them to do so? Certainly at the moment, they seem quite content to live off TV-grade animation direct to video, the parks, and general merchandising, these occasional gems notwithstanding. And whilst hardly a classic in the sense of the original, TLK 1.5 was far better than I'd expected, especially given the level of the first sequel.

Interesting that Pixar's delayed Cars 'til 2006 - amongst other effects, that means the Disney contract stretches out that long, too, though Eisner's due to go on Sept. 30, 2006, too. (That photo is disturbing)

And I finally got to see The Incredibles. Wow. ^_^
I hear tell that Toy Story 3 will be Disney's first 3D film--done without Pixar, as Disney actually owns the license. Can anyone collaborate this?
Ugh. I've heard a similar murmuring, but whether it's actually officially on the production schedule, I'm not sure. Pixar doesn't want to see it happen, obviously - they don't want to be stuck making endless sequels, and it wouldn't count towards the five-picture deal, which presently runs out with Cars. Disney does own the rights to the characters, though, and I believe Pixar has first refusal on any such project.

Stories like this suggest they may well be proceeding, although Tom Hanks has expressed hesitancy over appearing. Perhaps they could go with good imitations of the stars' voices, and just through brand recognition, I dare say they'd turn a profit.

And then there are masters like Miyazaki, who shuns sequels entirely, the closest being The Cat Returns (not one of their best, I felt.. a fun ride, but I'd been hoping for so much more, given how vibrant and promising the Baron's character had been in Whisper of the Heart, even if so briefly). Aah, I want to see Howl's Moving Castle! Maybe I'll just slip in Spirited Away in the meantime. ^_^
North Korea seems to fit the definition of a Paraniod schizophrenic quite nicely you know.
NIce to see one of my songs on your playlist
greetings from Croatia

NoName NoFame
Heh! Thanks for the track. ^_^ Have you been busy with other creations since that?