Monday, January 30, 2012

Dracula Burger - Mouse

Alright, I think I'm going to have to kick Dracula Burger out of The Ghibli Blog, and post them here at Vol 4.  Why?  Because hardly anybody reads this site, that's why.  Which means no complaints.  So I'll continue to post the remaining comic strips that are "in the can," and then decide what I want to do about it.

For anyone who visits Daniel Thomas Vol 4, my deepest thanks.  I've been working hard on Ghibli Blog lately, but I intend to be publishing more Vinyl LP and Video Game posts here.  I've been slacking on both fronts, so I should do a better job.  Also, I'm starting to get some tip money on the other site, which kind of motivates me to work harder.  Once the tempo here picks up, I may add a Donate button here, too.  We'll see what happens.

I still think these comics are funny.  Sigh.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Dracula Burger - Worm

I think you need the mindset (and humor) of a seven-year-old to laugh at these Dracula jokes.  But absurdity and silliness for its own sake is something that I cherish.  In the right state of mind, I'll be laughing hysterically.  Heck, the whole notion of Count Dracula eating hamburgers is hilarious.  And I enjoy the idea of bringing old-school sensibility to today's internet meme comics.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dracula Burger - Manners

Okay, I've caved in and decided to post Dracula Eats a Burger comics on both blogs.  This way, I can get them out faster, while I've still got the coffee-and-sugar-fueled sillies.  I've just been in a strangely childish, Calvin and Hobbes sort of mood this week.  Might as well go with it.

In case you haven't seen these comics on The Ghibli Blog, this comes from an obscure and laughably bad 1980 Toei made-for-TV anime movie called, "Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned."  It may be the single worst cartoon ever made, and just about the funniest.  It's certainly the most absurd.  It's definitely worth tracking down just to see Count Dracula a) mug Brat Pitt and Gwenneth Paltro and steal their wallets, and b) walk into "Sandwich King" (wink wink) and order a burger.

In any case, the image of Dracula chomping down cheeseburgers captured the imagination of my inner seven-year-old, so I'm in a rush to create as many goofy comic strips as I can before my adult brain reasserts control.  I hope I get a Hollywood movie deal outta this.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Today is SOPA Blackout Day!

As I'm sure you already know, today is the day for the mass online protest against the SOPA bill working its way through Congress.  This legislation, the creation of the MPAA, would give government and private industry the power to censor, block, or shut down any website suspected of "piracy" or "copyright infringement."  Since the internet is based on sharing and connectivity of media, this pretty much makes the World Wide Web itself a suspect.

This is a disastrous piece of legislation, propped up by dinosaur industries and the authoritarian-minded politicians in their pockets.  This is a profound threat to our liberties and our way of life.  It's very simple.  If SOPA passes, sites like The Ghibli Blog can be shut down.  Hell, Youtube, Facebook, Reddit and Twitter can be shut down.  SOPA could also be used as a tool of political suppression.  People who criticize the government, or the ruling political party, could be shut down. Websites that embarrass politicians could be shut down.  Do no doubt that these scenarios could happen.  Expect it.

Call your members of Congress and demand that they stop this reckless assault on our rights.  SOPA does nothing to stop online "piracy," and you know it.  It will only be used by the powerful to beat down their rivals and their critics.

Call the Congressional Switchboard now -- (202) 224-3121.  Then call again.  Keep the pressure up!

The Return of the Sony Biotracer

I've been in a funk over the state of my stereo system lately.  The sound has been terrible - muddy, distorted, low-res, nnothing worthy of the LP medium.  I sold off some components, junked the turntable (a Sony PS-X5 that I've often liked or hated, but never loved), and tried to figure out where everything went wrong.  It became so dire that I openly considered abandoning vinyl records altogether, and going back, at long last, to Compact Discs.

Then I discover something miraculous this week - a couple CDs of "needle drop" recordings from my beloved Sony PS-X75 Biotracer turntable from three years ago.  The table was paired with a fiery red Dynavector 10x5, a Pro-Ject Tube Box II phono preamp with a pair of Mullard vacuum tubes, and the Marantz 2235b stereo receiver (now my only remaining component).  And the sound was exhilarating, punchy, clear, deep, richly textured, full of color.

It's funny how one can forget these things.  I had already realized that I was lost, musically-speaking.  I was trading around in low-to-mid-fi audio gear on the cheap, never coming close to the former highs.  I had forgotten what the high end sounded like.  Now I have my lost recordings and I'm quickly remembering things.  Now I have my purpose again - I have to get my stereo system back!  The PS-X75 Biotracer!  The vacuum tubes!  The high-resolution analog sound!  This is where the LP truly becomes master of its domain.

It's fascinating to see this "vinyl revival" emerge, as many people remember the wonderful music they lost, and many people discovering it for the first time.  It's fun to see LP sales quadruple in four years, to nearly 4 million albums in 2011 in the US, while CD continues its endless slide into extinction.  I think that's largely because I like to root for underdogs.

A lot of people interested in vinyl records want to know, is it better than CD?  Is it worth getting a turntable and pulling out all those old LPs?  Well, yes, it is worth getting a turntable and spinning some records.  There's something magical about the experience, about the ritual, about the sound of smooth vinyl against a phonograph needle and lively, rich tones coming out of speakers.  As to who wins the fight, LP versus CD, that's a little bit trickier.  And the bottom line is that it's going to cost you.  There's no getting around that fact.

On the LP-CD fight, I'd say compact disc wins at the budget or entry level.  At $500, they become more or less equal.  At $1,000, vinyl LP blazes away.  And I'm talking the price of your entire system: turntable, phono cartridge, phono preamp, and amp.  The vintage market is a gold mine if you know what to look for, but don't let nostalgia blind you; most of those old turntables on Craigslist and eBay are junk.  The true classics - Technics, JVC, Pioneer, Kenwood, Sony - are worth the effort to discover.

Long story short: LP still kicks, you'll have to pay real money to find that out, it's totally worth the effort.  Start saving your pennies.  Oh, and enjoy the Youtube video of my old Sony Biotracer in action.  You have to get one of these turntables.