Area influence82

I am Kenneth Cheung. I graduated San Josť State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science located in the Bay Area of Northern California. I moved back to Los Angeles and live in the San Gabriel Valley. I currently work for a tech company My main hobby is watching Anime and playing video games. I also practice kung fu occasionally. I still play Magic: the Gathering TCG, but have no one to play with. I am also interested in Transformers toys.

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03/12/2009
I updated extensively my Portfolio and Vitae.
I also decided that I will attend BotCon 2009 on May 28-31. FanimeCon 2009 is on May 22-25 and am not sure I am going yet. I am actively seeking employment so I applied for a few jobs. My current job is set to expire on July 31, then the cheaper, foreign replacements take over. It is bad to lose your job, but worse to loose it to an outsourcing company or foreign cheaper workers. I will discuss this and globalization in a later chapter of my book, Economism. I do have many chapters still outlined but not yet placed in a comprehensive chapter.
02/05/2009 Economism
Economism is a term I made up regarding my own economic theories. I just finished Chapter 7: Wealth and Poverty. I forgot to post a link to the book on my items page, so now it is there.  I am getting laid off, so I am going to find another job. Thus my next updates will involve my Portfolio and Vitae.
01/11/2009 AnimeLA 2009
I replaced the old Anime page from a list to a review. Basically it is a review of my anime DVD collection.
I also went to AnimeLA convention in LAX Marriot on January 3 and 4 2009. I took some pictures and have a photo journal here. This convention was really small. The Pacific Media Expo was the group that developed AnimeLA as an alternative anime expo. In fact, some members branched from AnimeExpo due to political reasons. AnimeExpo is getting very big, and though that may be good for some reasons, it is bad for others. For example, the rules are stricter at AX because they had to deal with liability form being sued for some injuries in the past. Because they are so big, they have to enforce blanket rules on all attendees, including dealers and presenters. An new group would not have to deal with that. This is where AnimeLA has an advantage. Smaller settings with les people and money feel more comfortable, as you can easily get to know the people you see more often. That is how AnimeLA felt. it was missing many special features and numbers, but it felt more humble than larger conventions like FanimeCon and AX.
I also leaned about ball jointed dolls by going to a panel. Ball-jointed dolls are detailed dolls that are closer to looking like real people and have joints that can move an many directions. There is a group of people that are crazy about them like a group of people who are crazy about any hobby. I myself am not obsessed with them, but rather they sparked my interest from a NPR news report. The ball-jointed dolls reminded me of revoltech figures that have patented revoltech joints that can allow them to do various poses. Those types of action figures are among the best types because of the super-posability. The same goes for ball-jointed dolls. Anyways, the panel was about photographing the dolls. I leaned about how to take the best pictures possible. Using the flash of the camera is bad, and outside filtered light is best. Basically, the photographer had a portable whole box that allowed light to filter in and had 2 lamps to position the light wherever he wanted. This has significance to me because that is how I can take pictures of my toys, whether they be transformers, cars or any other subject. Photography is not my field of expertise, but I would like to improve my pictures to share with others and generate better sales for products that I sell. Thus, from now on, I can take better pictures with the skills I obtained form that panel.
07/04/2008 Fanime 2008 Day 4
Because today is a holiday, I am able to spend more time in updating the website. I do not celebrate holidays as holidays. Instead I take advantage of extra time to catch up on other things I was going to do but could not. I added more links on the links page and will continue to do so as I find more good websites. That page will now combine all the websites I visit often. Before I had a separate anime pages section with anime related links. Now I will just combine them and revamp the anime page to better reflect my official tastes.
I am very late on this bit of news. One of the great anime production companies in the U.S.A., Geneon Entertainment (also known as Pioneer) shut down all U.S. operations on 12/07/2007 with the last orders placed on 11/05/2007 (coincidently my 25th birthday). It has been reported that they would focus on their own properties. Many franchises were left incomplete and other companies like ADV, Funimation and Bandai may later continue some anime series. Recently Funimation announced that they have made an agreement with Ganeon. Thus there is hope to finish some DVD series in the U.S.
On Day 4 of FanimeCon ( see photobucket album), there was not much to do. Most people were getting ready to leave. I wandered around doing last minute shopping and taking some last pictures. The previous day I attended another panel that I did not write about on 6/30/2008. This was by far the most interesting panel I have seen. There was only one presenter (whose name I never knew), but he had a lot of interesting things to say. He talked about the history of anime conventions. I had no prior knowledge of the subject, so everything the presenter said was all new and fascinating.
The first Japanese animation to come to the U.S. was Astroboy in 1958. it aired on NBC in Sunday nights. Later came Speed Racer which was somewhat popular but not so big. The event that changed anime forever was Macross in the 1980s. It was a space opera that aired prime time in Japanese networks. It was highly watched and highly followed. Macross changed the way people viewed anime, as even adults sat and followed the adventure. It was the first time a major pop idol stared in an animated series, the voice or "seiryuu" who played and sang to the character Min May. this actress became very closely associated with the character that people often typecast her in that role. Some fans did not like the actress because of the way Min May was presented in the anime (in other words, they hated Min May). In the U.S. of course, Macross was renamed Robotech with major editing done (I am currently watching the Robotech saga on DVD and have no idea of the differences between the U.S. and Japan versions). The American company that imported Robotech tot he U.S. were very careful when editing Robotech. Japan did not have a good reputation back then, so all Japanese references were replaced. They changed Hikaru Ichigo's name to Rick Hunter. They sensored a lot of it as well, taking some gory violence (there is really no blood at all in the first season. it is true that I have not seen the original Macross, but Japanese animation is full of blood when it comes to action).
In the early days of American anime fandom, people had VHS tapes that they exchanged with others in a mailing network. They wrote paper letters to each other. Back then, subtitled anime videos cost $40 to buy because of the low distribution and high production cost. One had to wait 6 months or longer for a half hour video tape to arrive. He would play it in his VCR for 30 minutes, rewind it and play it again. One such person was our speaker. His family was in the U.S. Military stationed in Okinawa. There they watched local Japanese TV and that introduced him to anime. In the U.S. Base, he would buy American goods like candy bars and drinks. Compared to the Japanese snacks, the American goods were Godzilla-sized. Thus the speaker would trade the American goods for favors. For example, one day when the speaker's family was at a mainland Japanese base, the speaker convinced his mother to lend him the car.
   Said the mom, "Where are you going?"
   "Uh, over there," the speaker innocently pointed.
   "For how long?" the mom asked.
   "All day," he replied.
Little did his parents know that he was going to drive all the way to Tokyo alone. He drove for more than 3 hours to a place he has never been to, as stranger in lighted land. I went to one studio where he met some animators. He gave the security some American-sized Coke and was allowed in to see people work on animation. The staff was 30-40 people large. They hand painted every cell (I learned that the paint is applied on the reverse side so the image on camera appears smooth). At the end of the day, the animators gave him many gifts, including boxes of Art cells and souvenir mugs. He drove back home with a carload of stuff. He arrived back to the base very late at night.
   "Where were you?" the mom asked.
   "Over there." he innocently pointed his finger.
   "Where did you get all that stuff?" She says.
   "Over there. I got you a free mug."
The next day:
   His father asked, "Why is there 300 more miles on the car?"
That was  good story, one of the early history of anime fandom. The first Anime Convention in the U.S. occurred in 1989. It was a rather small group of people form all over the country who met each other for the first time. Directors came to speak to fans. A small start up company called A.D. Vision started to emerge. A.D. Vision did not have a product just yet, but they were announcing that they dedicating to producing something. In Japan, the O-word (Otaku) had a bad meaning associated with bad things according to Japanese culture. Americans think of the O-word differently, reinterpreting it to their own tastes, similar to a California Roll of sushi. In the film rooms, the conventions used 35mm film. It was a lengthy process to place subtitles on the films. First it had to be translated, checked for accuracy, timed for every line of the script, and checked again. there was a separate subtitling machine that added words in a sequence. The machine, called Omega, was not cheap. It took 9 months to record subtitled anime for 3 video rooms. They subtitled also in VHS, S-video or the LaserDisc. Back then the S-video recorder was also expensive.
There was a internal divide among the board after the first Anime convention. The staff decided to split in two. Some people like the speaker worked for both groups in programming. The leaders of each group were rivals competing against each other and had their convention on the same weekend (which was ridiculous). They each wanted exclusive guests and special programs to distinguish each convention. One group was based in Los Angeles and called their convention Anime Expo. The other group was based in San Jose and created Anime America. Anime Expo evolved to be more business focused with more company professionals involved and Anime America was more fan based. As history shows. AX became the largest anime convention in the U.S. and Anime America was more fan-based. The AA group was older than the AX. Due to internal politics, the AA group dissolved. However, some members of the AA developed Fanime. The FanimeCon now carries part of the legacy that Anime America left behind. In the early conventions, the panelists met their fervent fan base. They were lambasted if they did not do a good job dubbing the anime. It actually improved the quality of anime as subsequent releases (Sailor Moon was  good example of fan activism were the early seasons were bad and it later improved by the third season).
06/30/2008 Fanime 2008 Day 3
I created a new links page from scratch. I decided to start over as my interests needed updating. You can find it here.
I find that the more I want to do, the less I am able to accomplish. I have so many books to read, newspapers to dead, magazines to read, notes to take, things to advertise, things to clean, videos to watch, games to play, websites to visit, people to communicate to, things to learn, articles to type, web pages to update, photographs to take, songs to listen to, exercises to do and more that I end up not finishing many jobs. I still accomplish a lot but just not to my satisfaction. I set the bar so high that everything I reach higher, so does the bar. This is what keeps me motivated to get up and conduct my business every day.
On day 3 of FanimeCon I decided to go to a panel room, a place where experienced people talk about things. The first panel I went to was about publishing web comics. The speakers were professionals (or amateurs) of the trade. They gave a few pointers on writing good comics. They said that writers should create characters with flaws, not perfect people. Evil people are not always evil. Characters should be relatable, if not always likeable. The website Comic Genesis is a good place to publish comics. Networking and linking to other peoples sites help promote the comics. Also giving free flyers will attract visitors to your website. Always update your website or the readers will notice. If you want to attract publishers, bring sample work and prove that you can make a deadline. Finishing the job on time is the most essential thing in publishing. A so-called "Mary Sue" character is a bad starter character. I asked what a Mary Sue character was and the panel replied that it was a stereotype. There has to be a point of writing the story. Never turn down a chance to promote your comic. Manga Studio is a good software to use for creating comics.
The next panel in the same room was workshop led by a publishing company called Eigomanga. They help new artists publish their own manga. In the workshop I learned that people and their body parts can be generalized and circles. Basically their bodies can be based on circular shapes inside. The circles help guide the drawing of the subject. I managed to draw something of my own. I was impressed that I could draw kind of well with the help of the circles.
The pictures in my Photobucket album are in ordered by number. The lowest number is the earliest picture and the highest number is the latest. FanimeCon 2008
06/16/2008 Fanime 2008 Day 2
I am going to later update or revamp the links and anime pages to better suit my own interests. My book, Economism, is currently on hiatus (not surprisingly), but I will finish my next chapter by the end of the month. I admit, I did slack off a little regarding my Fanime journal. That was because I was busy building a shack and selling more Transformers toys (a new hobby of mine). I have a ton of pictures to upload on Photobucket. I managed to upload many so far. Here is my FanimeCon 2008 Photobucket gallery.
At the dealer room, I bought  a katana with a wooden sheath. The reason why I wanted a katana with a wooden sheath was because I wanted one that looked similar to Himura Kenshin's master from Rurouni Kenshin and Motoko Aoyama from Love Hina. Most swords have a black handle and sheath, so a wooden one would stand out. The one I bough was pretty cheap ($40) and it has an alloy blade and a extra dagger (I did not care for the dagger but it was the only light wooden sheathed katana available). Last weekend I was practicing with it as exercise (I do not carelessly play with weapons) and it is pretty heavy and little sharp (the edge has a high angle, though not razor sharp). Not surprisingly it is made in China like the Chinese Swords I have. A good sword would be lighter. While I was practicing with the katana it felt very different that swinging the Chinese swords. Because it is heavier, maneuvering it around with one hand is more difficult. The handle is also longer for two hands, so the axis of rotation is in a different place when moving it in a circular pattern.
Day 2 at FanimeCon was better than Day 1 for me because I did not wait in any long lines for stupid tickets. I had the whole day to myself and some friends who I occasionally joined. I liked the many video rooms because they were places to sit down and chill after walking around for so much so long. Occasionally I took pictures sitting down because I was so tired and had nothing else to do. I enjoyed watching anime music videos or AMVs.  
05/28/2008 Fanime 2008 Day 1
I just finished attending FanimeCon 2008 in San Jose and it was cool. Due to Los Angeles traffic, it took me two and a half hours to travel from my workplace in Burbank to my home in South El Monte. That was crazy. It seemed that I had the same plans as others to go on a vacation beginning Thursday. I usually do not go on vacation so this was a rare occasion for me. The drive from Los Angeles to San Jose took five and a half hours starting at 8:00pm (because of heavy traffic I left 2 hours later than planned) and arrived at 1:30AM on Friday. Luckily there was less traffic, bit still noticeable. I was driving my 2003 Honda Insight that was supposed to achieve 53 miles per gallon. My gas tank was not even full, for I probably used more than 1 gallon of gas already driving over 50 miles since my last complete fill up. I bought some gas after 460 miles because my gas meter was running dangerously low. It was the first time I paid over $4 a gallon. The Bay Area in Northern California (also known as NorCal) has the highest gas prices in the country. As Pat Robertson would say, it was God's punishment for having so many homosexuals.  I was lost at least 2 times (sometimes I did not even know I was lost). My destination was my friend's house. He was kind enough to let me stay for the holiday weekend. In fact, I would never had attended Fanimecon 2008 if is were not for his hospitality.
When my friend and I first conversed about this event. he asked if I was going to Fanime. I then asked him if he and his family was willing to let me stay at his house for the weekend. A few days later he said yes and thus I registered. Keep in mind that the hotels may advertise special convention deals on their rooms but in reality, they are more expensive than regular price. They use the event as an excuse to charge more because they know the demand will increase. I registered early for the convention, so I paid the lower price.
Once I arrived to San Jose, I began to reminisce about my college days in the area.
I went to Fanimecon a little later in the morning on the 23rd of May (I had to take care of business beforehand and did a lot of walking: free parking is far and away). Near my parking area, I saw a robin whose leg was tangled in a net where a tree branch was cut down. It was flapping and chirping helplessly and I felt sorry for it (the problem was caused by people after all). I decided to save it by cutting the net off the branch.  I was very cautious because I did not want the bird to scratch me. After I picked up the branch and cut the net, the bird quickly flew away and I felt like a hero. On my way walking to the San Jose Convention Center, I met 2 attendees who actually camped out in the registration line at 3am. The line was very long on day 1. When I arrived the line was not too long. I began taking pictures starting with the registration line. As always with these conventions, there were many colorful costume players, or cosplayers. I met 2 of my SJSU Alpha Phi Omega fraternity brothers there and he helped me take pictures. The rest of the day will be described in pictures in my photobucket gallery.
In one additional note, I learned about a unique bootleg action figure of the character Saber from the hit japanese animation, Fate/Stay Night, which was about people who have servants who fight on behalf of them in a battle for power. China has no copyright enforcement whatsoever, so one company decided to market a knock off version of Saber. They called it Sader becauss they are 1) bad spellers and 2) probably to avoid copyright infringement. Saber is the most popular character in that anime series, which was derived from a PC story panel video game (a game that plays like interactive manga). This knock off toy, or KO, is what I call "retarded Saber." When you look at the picture, you can see the results of Chinese lead paint affecting the toys. They are becoming dumber. It is just funny to look at. it is a popular collectible among some in the Internet. The picture can be found here.

Explore the Past of Area influence82 for previous updates.

03.12.2009

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