krpalmer: (mst3k)
I'm still putting some time into watching movies I've had sitting on my hard disk recorder for quite a while, sitting in a peculiar limbo of "I can't just record them to DVD until I edit them, but I can't edit them without watching them first." After watching a few respectable but lengthy old movies, however, I moved on to something a bit more dodgy. When I heard of "mockbusters," movies with names almost like those of big-budget features as if to fool at least a few people into buying something far more cheaply made, I remembered the cheesy movies of Mystery Science Theater 3000, and how the more recent "ripoffs" in that show's canon were some of my favourites. Beyond buying and watching my way through a DVD of the "raw" "Space Mutiny," I haven't devoted too much time to experiencing those sort of movies without a crew of professionals laying the comedic groundwork, but when I saw the science fiction channel was programming a string of "mockbusters" late one night during one holiday marathon (not just last Christmas, mind you) I decided I could take a chance on some of them.
When I got around to one at last... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
No matter how offbeat or obscure something to be interested in may be, I'm sure there are people interested in it who would like to see other people interested in it too. (This journal itself could be a variety of attempts at that, of course.) Because of the unusual way I became interested in Mystery Science Theater 3000, experiencing varied takes on its spirit and characters through text-based "MSTings" before I even knew what they looked like, I perhaps take a bit of interest in discussions about "how to introduce new people to it." One recent discussion on Satellite News, though, was focused on "millennials," people who might have been too young to have seen the series the first time around. Beyond the obvious issue that the "this reminds me of that" references that might have seemed even more prominent in the "Joel years" might lose their charm with time, there did seem to be a certain "kids these days" undercurrent every so often. I'm now wondering if anyone happened to think of how, back when the show itself was new, there were a certain number of people annoyed it wasn't encouraging the proper appreciation of the old movies they were willing to take a "non-ironic" interest in.

There were some more nuanced comments, though, about how the series was an elaboration of the local "horror hosts" who would introduce old movies on TV, and about how nowadays people aren't stuck just waiting for whatever happens to come on should they be interested in watching TV instead of doing anything else (and there, too, other people might be insistent there are other things to do...) I might have been a bit too young for even that; my family got its first VCR three decades ago, and after that we weren't stuck waiting for particular movies to come on TV. However, I did get to wondering about how, while MSTings might have affected just what I thought of "fanfiction," "fan works" started off a way to vicariously experience things I couldn't tape and couldn't afford. That age too may have passed; I may miss MSTings, but maybe in moving more lightly from work to work there are compensations too.
krpalmer: (anime)
There was another long wait for the last chapters to be drawn and collected, a wait for that final volume to be translated and available in print (it was released "digitally" months earlier, but as I already had the thirteen previous volumes on a bookshelf I decided I could wait out the extra months and avoid "buying it twice"), a wait to see if the local bookstore would get copies in, and at last a wait for the copy I ordered to arrive at the bookstore, but approaching two decades after I first heard about the anime I had the concluding instalment of the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga... and as I started into it, I was wondering if, with the way the penultimate volume had been shaped, after all the interesting and perhaps sometimes even "more positive" changes rung over the manga's full length on the original anime things would converge after all on one ending that had long seemed oppressive and bleak and I'd just have to deal with it.
Beginnings and endings )
And the manga's ending, too )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
A while ago, I commemorated the tenth anniversary of a notable MSTing and then took the opportunity not that much later to mark the same anniversary for the first "solo MSTing" I'd written. I did write a few more MSTings after "Undocumented Features," but marking each of their tenth anniversaries did seem a bit grandiose. Now, though, it's been ten years since the last MSTing I completed going by the date stamp on my personal file of it, which does feel a bit more significant in its own if somewhat dowmbeat way. In accepting the opportunity, though, I did get to thinking I could say something brief about each of my solo MSTings preceding it anyway.
'When military schedules meet the MTV generation, something's got to give.' )
'The miracle acrylic bubble locks his hysterical sobs away.' )
'He's not even going to dignify that with a putdown, I see.' )
'Something of a war poodle cut, then.' )
'Abstract is this season's post-minimalist.' )
krpalmer: (Default)
Before I had this journal, I had a home page, but even though the journal links to that page I haven't revamped it for quite a while. "Linkrot" is one thing; it's something else to look at things you said you were interested in and wonder if it's quite the same now. After a certain amount of unproductive thought about mere possibilities, I at last scraped together the motivation to start working on the text.

What I'd said about Mystery Science Theater 3000 could stay just about the same, even if it's been that much longer since the general MSTing community closed up. Aware I don't start my text adventure programs or Marathon all that much these days, I rolled them together and added an introductory section about "old computers" in general. I then turned my look at Robotech specifically into a "narrative" from Robotech to anime in general, although my daydream of going from a "Robotech eyecatch" to the "Super Dimension Fortress Macross eyecatch" to one from Macross Frontier with its illustration of the way things changed again seems on hold until the possibility of indeed getting those English-subtitled Blu-Rays of the Macross Frontier movies later this year and perhaps rewatching the TV series that preceded them. My section on Star Wars does stay at the bottom of the page where people might not be as likely to get to, but I did expand it; I also moved the link to my journal up to the top so that someone following a link might be a little more likely to see it.

To brush things up a little, I sorted out a few more basic tricks with CSS (although the style sheet section might be a little chaotic) and changed the look of some sections (although this might amount to the old-fashioned folly of "using every font in the menu just because you can"). I don't know how long it'll be before I work on my home page again, but maybe it might not be as long as the last time.
krpalmer: (Default)
A little while ago, I bought an official collection of PDF-formatted issues of twenty-nine years of the "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine. (This inclination, perhaps towards "counter-counterarguments" in general, seems to come from when I was a kid and my grandmother kept getting me books about "the unexplained"; instead of being intrigued by intimations of "things I wasn't mean to know," though, I was just terrified by the pictures.) Working my way through them, I happened to notice an approving book review in an issue from 1989 of a book called "High Weirdness by Mail" by the Reverend Ivan Stang, cofounder of the Church of the SubGenius, which offered mailing addresses and capsule descriptions of "strange organizations." Among promises of "Weird Science," "UFO Contactees," "Jesus Contactees," and "New Age Saps," the review also mentioned the book covering "creativity outside the mainstream" and tossed "Japanese animation" right in the middle of that subsection. I admit that caught my attention. Wondering if used copies of the book could be bought online, I started looking into it, and noticed another brief review mention the book covered the perhaps unfortunately named author of a conspiracy I'd written a MSTing of. That added fillip was enough to make me place an order.
Weirdness within )
krpalmer: (anime)
Every so often I get to thinking I should be reading more fiction I haven't read before; I can feel bad wondering if I'm just plain "intimidated" by literature, and melancholy that I don't even keep up with recent "genre" works. It took somehow or other overhearing a long-unfinished "fanfiction" series had been completed at last to remind me my reading habits there had fallen off as well from the days when, after much anticipation, I first got online and, in those text-heavy "dialup" days, fanfiction was one thing I sought out. It's easy enough to come up with reasons why: I can wonder if back then stories based on visual works were somehow a "substitute for the real thing" that nowadays I can easily afford, and also if, glutted with DVDs, I prefer not to get engaged with stories to the point of seeking out the developed thoughts of others in part because I suffer from "suspicions" about fandom "losing track of enjoying what they started off interested in." I suppose I could also admit MSTings had something to do with it; thinking back, it seemed easy enough to develop or even share in a superiority complex where we enlightened few saw right through the half-tossed word salad of everyone else. As much as I lament the atomisation of the "MSTing community" (even as I wonder if there are pockets of "snarkiness" hidden within multiple fandoms), I do want to think my perspective's become a little broader and perhaps even a little more self-aware (even if I've also perhaps decided my interest in Mystery Science Theater 3000 isn't a matter of "mocking (just about) everything.") As well, as I alluded to, just the number of extended works their writers seemed to lose interest in before I did might have had something to do with it.
As for the work I did see finished... )
krpalmer: (anime)
As I've mentioned perhaps more often than I have to, I buy anime DVDs faster than I can watch them. One of my reasons for this (among others touched on an interesting recent column) might be that I started ordering from a well-regarded specialty online store, but one with a high threshold for free cross-border shipping. To pad out orders and think that I'm paying for "product" and not "shipping," I may well have selected more than a few titles for thin reasons, but one of my more peculiar reasons may be that one particular series just happened to have featured in a memorable MSTing, the sequel to a MSTing I've wondered about being "the greatest of all time..."

At certain times, I have wondered if I've enjoyed the MSTing of Peter Guerin's "The Return of the Lawndale Militia" that much more than "The Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle," if for no more reason than that its jabs didn't hit particularly tender targets for me, as a handful of "riffs" did in its lengthier predecessor. It also happened I'd already seen one of the "obscure" anime series that particular story crossed over (with little rhyme or reason) with Daria, Gunsmith Cats, at my university's anime club. The other anime series I was convinced the story had skewed almost beyond recognition, though, I hadn't seen... but when the the manga it had been based was released some years later, I bought the first volume of Here Is Greenwood (back, I suppose, in the days when I sort of saw manga just as "poor man's anime"). For some reason, though, I wasn't quite able to get into the story that way, so when I did have the chance to buy the anime I took it, perhaps thinking of another time or two when I'd struggled starting a manga but enjoyed the anime made of it. Then, of course, the DVD case sat on my shelf for a long time. It took the thought the tenth anniversary of the MSTing was approaching for me to open it, and just for the full experience I rewatched Gunsmith Cats at the same time. (So far as introductions to those two anime go, I'm very tempted to suggest following the MSTing link and seeing both Guerin's own introductions at the very beginning of his story and the "riffing" on them.)

After all of it, I suppose both of the OVAs evoked wistful thoughts of "once upon a time" for me, of how multimedia franchises used to be built with three or six-episode OVAs instead of thirteen-episode TV series, and how this might make them seem more like "well-animated tasters" rather than "reasonable slices of story." (Gunsmith Cats in particular has an impressive car-chase animation in it, although I try not to make the same fetish of "drawn animation" as certain other fans do...) As for Here Is Greenwood in particular, I did sort of dwell on how I might very well not have ever paid any attention to it save for that accident of history even as I sort of acknowledged it would have seemed "distinctive" for being (more or less) in the "real world" to the first North American anime fans to see it. Still, I wouldn't say I regretted that particular experience. I was able to realise how one particular point in Guerin's story had indeed been skewed into something ridiculous, although I also learned that, just as one strange bit about Gunsmith Cats in the story wasn't that far off the anime, one other particular character had indeed appeared in the anime and not been taken from a mere different "fanfic," as I'd once wondered...
krpalmer: (mst3k)
It so happened that when the MSTing of "The Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle" was being released on an unsuspecting world, I was making the final touches on a first MSTing of my very own. The juxtaposition in time does seem to make looking back at both works just a little awkward, though; I wouldn't want to claim my own is on the same level as a strong candidate for "the greatest ever"... but if I can draw a distinction between "appreciating the accomplishment of others" and "remembering my own work," I might yet be able to manage it as I return to the MSTing of the first part of "Undocumented Features." (My old "MSTing guide," I suppose, means I don't have to summarise the story right now...)
'And what rough beast, its hour come at last, slouches out of CSLANtronix not to be bored?' )
'It's like the Algonquin Round Table, only with more ego.' )
'Hey, the injokes are out of the way. What more do you want--dramatic structure?' )
'You can abuse yourself--but don't hurt the building!' )
'And if I never hear the word 'context' again, it'll be too soon.' )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
As much as I can wish there was still a genuine MSTing community as a subset of Mystery Science Theater 3000 fans (although, of course, I could be doing something more about that myself than just wishing), many MSTings still remain. For some peculiar reason, I'm more able to ponder which of them is "the greatest MSTing ever"; I often try not to pick favourites elsewhere... I have the feeling many people would point to Adam Cadre's "The Eye of Argon" as, if nothing else, the greatest MSTing written by just one person. Thinking back to "Does God Love You?", I can wonder if it's "the first great group MSTing." There's also the feeling that people would point to the MSTings of the stories by Stephen Ratliff, who took some child characters who had appeared in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," contrived a way to put them in charge of the Enterprise, and wound up not only lifting one of them to ridiculous levels but also developing a peculiar symbiotic relationship with the MSTing community over years of writing... (For some reason, though, I'm not quite as fond of the one single story in that series everyone else seemed to point to as the really memorable one; instead, I can think of my personal favourites as including "A Royal Wedding," also tackled by Adam Cadre, and the "group MSTing" version of "Winning Love by Daylight.") It's also sort of tempting to look at the "for adult audiences only" "Stolen Memories," a Star Trek story so far as it has a young Julian Bashir becoming a sex slave on a planet of "furries"... After all of that, though, I find myself thinking of a very long MSTing, rounding through its tenth anniversary now, of a crossover between the American animated show "Daria" and the anime "Sailor Moon" that just happens to be a "technothriller," "The Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle"...
*Wrongness* just sort of boils off the story... )
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Thanks to the gracious notification of their author, I now have some new MSTings linked to at the end of the MSTing Mine. It seems to have been a while since I updated it, and it took a moment or two to remember just how I'd been doing it; in some ways, I found myself imagining that I had just run across evidence that some ancient folk art from days of yore hadn't quite vanished yet.

Still, this far along I seem able to be philosophical about it. Interest in Mystery Science Theater 3000 seems to have survived quite nicely, although perhaps it's just a matter of its fans producing different sorts of "fanworks" as opposed to "taking over the task of continuity." Too, it may well be that without MSTings pointing out "cheesy fanfiction," and perhaps more specifically arrogant "self-insertions," the mere fact of its existence doesn't dwell on me the way it just might have when I was reading fresh MSTings on a regular basis, for all that one of the most important MSTings in terms of getting me interested in them was one of a story I'd tried without much success to figure out before. (I do still seem quite able to keep reading archived works, though.)
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The "weekend discussion thread" on Satellite News this weekend was about Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan projects. With a nostalgic thought for the wordplay and overdone fanfics that went into MSTings but an awareness of how nowadays the game seems to be recording mocking commentaries to synch up with actual movies, I started reading the thread... and saw a comment from Joseph Nebus, who has written a good number of MSTings I found interesting, that he's starting up a new MSTing archive with many of the features of the late, lamented Web Site #9. I charged off to the link and bookmarked it, glad to have the pretty quite casual nature of my own project of linking to MSTings that had been posted to Usenet shown up by an archive with formatting, a proper search function, and the potential of "non-Usenet" MSTings showing up. What more will result from this I don't know, but it's good in itself to see.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
In the spirit of the season, I proffer a link to the MSTing "is santa clause dead?", the notable "MSTer" Matt Blackwell's take on a poorly spelled attempt to overanalyze one part of the holidays. It just happens to be ten years old this month, which is probably a reason why I thought of it...
krpalmer: (mst3k)
A vague thought began creeping up on me over the past few days, and I checked some of my own sources to discover that we're now a full fifteen years and change from the posting of some responses to brief "trolling" messages on the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Usenet newsgroup, responses that were cast in the voices of Joel Robinson, Crow T. Robot, and Tom Servo to create the earliest identified MSTings. From those small beginnings would grow lengthy multi-author works poking fun at endless, infamously wrong fanfics like "Stolen Memories" and "The Misery Senshi Neo-Zero Double Blitzkrieg Debacle"...

Fifteenth anniversaries, I suppose, are not really that special compared to tenth, twentieth, and even twenty-fifth, but I suppose I'm thinking of this one in part because of the melancholy awareness that just five years ago, I was able to mention this point to the people on a mailing list and a message board devoted to that form of Mystery Science Theater fanworks. In a few months from that date, though, the one person in charge of the central MSTing archive would take his site down to move and never put it back up again, and the message board would just sort of dwindle away... No doubt, it had something to do with the show itself having gone off the air a few years before, and yet interest in the show itself remains to this date. One thing that I've wondered about is if fans of Mystery Science Theater are more "satisfied" with the "official" body of work than other fans are of other properties, and don't need to "create their own perfect realities." I've also wondered about the possible difference between "riffing" on a movie, a sort of "group product," and "riffing" on a mere fanfic written by someone who just might not have been able to help themselves in the way filmmakers are "supposed" to. Of course, having written a few of them myself, I can also wonder if MSTings were finally just too much work.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
With something of the surprised but wistful excitement of a naturalist spotting one more specimen of a species feared extinct (even if I'm not sure anyone who sees this will share my interest), I can report adding a new MSTing to my shoestring archive of them (down at the bottom of this list.) Not only that, but the author of it has reposted his first MSTing as well. It's more than nothing, and better than that as well.
krpalmer: (Default)
Back when I was writing MSTings, we spent a great deal of time "riffing" on fanfics that might be summed up as "Mary Sue" stories... but in the process of that, I started to wonder about the connotations packed into that name. Many people found it easy to proclaim that their characters, characters it was at times just as easy to become infuriated at, "weren't Mary Sues." In tossing out the name, we might have been neglecting to shine a proper light on the casual arrogance, pointless one-upsmanship, uncritical love from the characters who had come before, and general rule-breaking that we were attempting to riff on.

Beyond that, at times I'm convinced that to be a "Mary Sue," a character has to be disliked by some of the audience; what can work in creating a protagonist goes way overboard in building up a character elbowing their way into an existing story. That may tie in with my uneasiness when a character not from a fanfic is proclaimed to be a "canon sue," because I can wonder if many of them are disliked because they're "not cool enough." The excessive fanfic characters I've found most memorable tended to come across as too cool to me.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
It used to be that the core works when it came to MSTings were gathered together in a single archive, "Web Site Number Nine." Unfortunately, the maintainer of that archive seemed to burn out by degrees. When he moved, he took his archive off line (and the mailing list MSTing authors discussed things on), and it never reappeared. I suppose the MSTing community may have been running out of steam as well (a second community focusing on writing MSTings of anime fanfiction, often using "non-standard" casts, burned out by different degrees some time later), but the sharp break left a void. When it gradually came to me that the first MSTings would have been posted to Usenet, I started searching through the Google Groups archive, and created a simple listing of links to them. That was better than nothing, but I suppose I didn't quite push to create a community of my own...

With that admitted, though, the occasional MSTing does still get posted to Usenet, and I just found one of them. It's an amusing commentary on an incoherent space-related rant, where the original point is obscure but the original author's determination in saying it seems quite clear. In any case, I got to make one more update to my archive.
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Mystery Science Theater 3000 writer Michael J. Nelson has started a project where he records MST3K-like audio tracks to be synched up to big-budget movies. When I heard that one of the RiffTrax was going to be of The Phantom Menace, I got sort of depressed about it. Now, I hear there's going to be one for The Fellowship of the Ring... and I've proceeded to oscillate between "Maybe it is all a lark," and "Is this one going to be treated with much more respect?" I'm still not quite in the mood to rush out and buy either track. Still, for all that some MSTies I dared check out the latest reaction of to this announcement weren't reacting with "It's gonna get what it deserves!" this time, I'm reminded of an earlier comment to the suggestion that the "Lord of the Rings" movies might ultimately get commentary along the lines of "They wouldn't do a good movie"...
krpalmer: (mst3k)
Even before encountering the very ambiguous news that some of Mystery Science Theater 3000's writers would be recording an MST3K-like commentary track for The Phantom Menace (the danger that they would start from the casual assumption that the movie has no redeeming features and let this sap the humour with bad feelings seemed all too real to me), I had decided to follow up watching Revenge of the Sith with reading a MSTing I once contributed to of a fake outline for "Star Wars Episode III: Fall of the Republic." Completing that just may be more important than before. Is this comparison the most unfair one ever made? Perhaps, but I'm doing it anyway. Why? Because I can.
'The action in 'Star Wars III' will be backstabbing, genocide, and child killing! And it's FUN!' )

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