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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
Holiday review fun. 
1st-Jul-2009 01:26 pm
I will be offline from July 2-5. Those who might need to know how to get in contact with me.

In the meantime, here is the latest batch of manga reviews, all of them devoted to Viz Media titles, to be published online:

At Anime News Network:
Tale of the Moon Prequel: The Other Hanzo(u) by Rinko Ueda (review copy courtesy of Viz Media)
Fushigi Yûgi -VIZBIG Edition- Vol. 2 by Yuu Watase
Black Bird Vol. 1 by Kanoko Sakurakoji (review copy courtesy of Viz Media)

At Graphic Novel Reporter:
Dinosaur Hour! Vol. 1 by Hitoshi Shioya
Leave It to PET! Vol. 1 by Kenji Sonishi
5th-Jul-2009 02:19 am (UTC)
On a semi-unrelated note, I was just accused of being you on the ANN forums. I think that's the last time I try to have a rational argument about "opinion" over there. Have fun at AX(?); I assume that's where you went... ^_^
5th-Jul-2009 02:43 am (UTC)
Huh. Lovely. I don't suppose any of the mods stepped in to disabuse the forumites of any lingering notion of you being me?

And nope, I'm not at AX. I'm in Maine--by the ocean and listening to the waves crash onto shore from my bed. :P I'll be leaving tomorrow.
5th-Jul-2009 02:49 am (UTC)
Oh, Maine is beautiful in the summer. The winters, though... Don't miss em. I only lived through one, but it was enough. Eat any ridiculously cheap lobster? There was a place in Portland where you could get a full lobster dinner for like $15. It was crazy.

No mod has stepped in, but I did assert my innocence (is that a good word? ;) ) as to being you. Dunno how it has gone over as I have not received a reply. It wasn't even really that I had been "defending" you per se. I just disagreed with someone else on an issue that happened to also include a clearly heated opinion concerning you. *sigh*
5th-Jul-2009 03:36 am (UTC)
Nah, I don't like lobster. Did have some fish'n chips, though.

*sighs* I prefer to stay away from criticism aimed at me--especially when it takes an ad hominem turn--it's unbecoming if I engage, and I'm being paid to write reviews, not defend to the death ones I've already written. Besides, it's only anime and manga--so glad I don't write about anything *really* important! (I'm still waiting with baited breath for the bizarre, patently untrue conspiracy theories, though, trotted out by those who can't otherwise understand why I might not believe exactly what they do.)
5th-Jul-2009 03:50 am (UTC)

I don't know exactly that she (assuming female, most CLAMP fans are, but far be it for me to presume) really, truly believed that I was you, as she simultaneously accused me of being you, an ANN newb and an internet newb in the same reply...

I reread my comments, too, to see if I was being confrontational, but honestly I really just didn't see it (annoyed, yes, but not outright insulting, but maybe I'm just less "sensitive" than other people?). I apologized anyway, but I don't generally feel the need to defend others, or myself, particularly on forums like ANN, which are full of the kinds of misunderstandings that breed conflict. I'm pretty well over that sort of thing. Continue to be smart and just stay away. It's not worth it to get involved. =P

I was just sort of fed up by the fact that every damned time I read a review thread in the Talkback forum there is someone pissing and moaning about how insulted they are that the review wasn't how they feel about the product, or that they feel "slighted" in some way. It could have been anyone's review thread. It happened to be one of yours.
6th-Jul-2009 01:13 am (UTC)
Yeah, the whole over-identified fan thingie can be a big problem--people are not equivalent to their favorite comic books, and it's nearly impossible to convince them to realize that just because I didn't like their favorite series, doesn't mean that I have any opinion whatsoever on the sort of human beings they themselves are.

Then there is a whole 'nother category of criticism of my writing that I see that would be better directed toward editorial. In many ways, the critic/journalist working for editorial press is an author function (in the sense that Foucault used it)--a whole raft of decisions coming from higher up, none of them my own, get conveniently subsumed under my name. This this endemic throughout editorial press, from ANN to the NY Times!, and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Unfortunately, "I was told to do it that way *shrug*" is rarely an answer that satisfies complainers, either.
6th-Jul-2009 12:30 pm (UTC)
And I suppose it doesn't help that some people are just more sensitive than others. The written medium doesn't help in that regard, either, considering it's harder to make intent in your words clear (while spoken in person can have a much greater degree of context/clear subtext). It's far more open to interpretation, particularly the interpretation that it is something personal to the individual reading it.

I have still not received a reply, and if I don't by the time I get home from work tonight I seriously doubt I will at all. I've found on forums and the like if you try to be nice or apologetic (and honestly so), people don't seem to know how to handle it. She might have simply given up the fight and walked away. Fine with me, but I feel like if I was going to apologize for writing something that could be construed as a personal attack, that at the very least, and at the very very least in private if not public, deserved some kind of, not apology, but perhaps acknowledgement (?) of the same from the other party. I'm not a person that requires a lot from others, but the courtesy of honesty is something I prize.
6th-Jul-2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the lack of context in the written medium can be frustrating--it's why emoticons have become so popular. They're a convenient way of replacing the body language that would supply the necessary context to spoken words in face to face interactions. (And actual studies of online communication show that emoticons do provide clarification.)

Ironically, I had a recent email conversation where I'd intended a matter of fact tone, and the other person read it as peevish and sent me a borderline hostile reply in return. If I hadn't been focused on other problems at the time, I might have used an emoticon to provide context, but instead I just dashed off a context-less reply. I ended up actually promising the other person to use more emoticons in the future!

Semi-related, I think it some ways its harder to abide by what would in real life be viewed as commonsense courtesy when interacting online. When confronted by only a screen, people are wont to let the sorts of ritualistic apologies and courtesies that are second-nature face-to-face drop away. Being harmonious and nice to a screen, sadly, actually requires conscious effort! (Whereas *not* being harmonious and nice to another human face requires commensurate conscious effort--it's like the world of human interaction is reversed online.)
7th-Jul-2009 12:50 am (UTC)
Then I must be backwards myself. I actually find it easier to be courteous online and very difficult to be so in the real world. Here I have time to think and reflect before I respond to someone else, whereas in the real world I have to react immediately and I find it easier to keep my cool when I stop and think before hitting the "submit button" rather than turning my brain filter on before I say something.

But I suppose what I do differently than a lot of these people online is that I don't think of them differently just because I have no face to connect their name/handle to. I don't think of them as usernames with attitudes, I still think of them as people. I wish more people would do the same. Instead I've found a world more full of labels, generalizations and assumptions than the world I'm trying to escape from.

As for emoticons, I feel like they are something very personal that I only use in the company of friends. I scarcely ever use them on the ANN boards because, honestly, I don't know or like any of those people enough to be that casual with them. I go there for information and discussion, not for chatting. That might be part of the reason I have trouble getting along with some people now and then (particularly some of the more overly sensitive and reactionary ones). It must be context, because I know I'm actually at least trying to be civil.

Well, there has been no response, so I'm guessing this person simply decided to walk away from the conversation rather than deal with anything I said in reply. Just as well. My vacation days are over with and work will be too busy for me for the next couple months to even want to deal with drawing out these kinds of conversations.
11th-Jul-2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Interesting. I used to not like using emoticons except with friends, either...but I find that it helps faciliate good online communication, so I've lost my hangups about that over the years.

Anyway, it's good that you have other things to do besides lurk on online forums all day! A sense of perspective is important. ^_~
11th-Jul-2009 01:03 am (UTC)
Indeed, think of all the anime I could be watching with my free time, instead. ^_^
11th-Jul-2009 01:04 am (UTC)
Umm...indeed. ^^;;;;;;;;;;;;
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