[thechat] [OT] IM Question

Luther, Ron ron.luther at hp.com
Thu Jul 24 10:35:01 CDT 2003

Hi Folks,

A friend of mine has grounded her kids ... <shrug /> ... it happens.  She 
also cancelled their computer use privileges.

She's looking to find out if 'Instant Messaging' leaves any kind of footprint 
behind - so she can bust the kids if they are IM-ing their buds while she is 
at work.

I've never used IM - so I don't have a clue.

{It's an old Win box and <sigh> uses AOL. I'm not sure what IM client - 
probably whatever AOL recommends/comes with.}



<tip type="notes on recent anime purchases">
I had 'the bug' so I went out and bought some more anime. I ran out to Best 
Buy at lunch a week or so ago and picked up "Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell". 
Then I ordered the "Cowboy Bebop" series from one of the z-stores on Amazon - 
import, 3 DVD set, express delivered to my <voice>doorschtop</voice> for less 
than $31.  [Since I have kids and grandkids I'll comment on 'viewability for 
a younger audience' as well: {side note - the US typically has more hang ups 
about things like nudity than other cultures, so it _can_ be an issue for 
some parents.}]

"Akira" - This is supposed to be 'the first big-time anime film' ... kinda 
'the one' that established anime as a serious art form.  It was okay. Pretty 
good - but not 'great'. It was probably awesome when it came out in 1988 ... 
but that was quite a while ago. SciFi. Post-apocalypse Tokyo - stupid 
politicians trying to keep the place running - an 'x-files' type gov military 
group doing experiments on psychic children in a search for "the ultimate 
power" -- and some teen motorcycle gangmembers that get caught up in the 
events of the day.

Primary reaction?  Pretty darn violent.  I didn't count, but I'd guess 'at 
least' 100+ come to some sort of violent end in this film. Language is mostly 
limited to dozens of "What the hell?"s  No sex. A brief few seconds of female 
toplessness ... (a teenage girl gets pushed against a brick wall and her blouse 
gets ripped off before she gets punched in the face.) Some scenes done very 
well -- feverish hallucinations are a natural area for animation to shine in. 
The movie ran a bit 'long' for me. I think it could have been edited down a 
bit more. The plot could have stood a little more beefing up - pretty much 
one major twist ... the rest was pretty boilerplate for me. Again, I'd say 
"good" or "okay" ... but not "great".

For some reason this movie brought back memories of Delaney's "Dhalgren" book. 
I'm not sure why.  Maybe I was wishing it was 'Dhalgren'. Maybe I was thinking 
the impact didn't age well. <shrug />

Recommendation?  13 year-old boys should eat it up.  Might be worth getting 
from a historical perspective. I'll probably watch it again at some point - 
but I don't think this is one that I will recommend 'without reservation' to 
my friends.

"Ghost in the Shell" - This is a terrific movie.  This is the one I will 
recommend to friends who want to see what an animated movie that isn't 
targeted to pre-teens *can* be. Sci-Fi. A gov 'black ops' group of cyborgs 
is out looking for a superhacker that hacks people's minds, erases memories, 
creates new ones - and uses them as tools for espionage.  They run into 
roadblocks from the gov 'diplomatic' corps since the hacker is manipulating 
inter-gov relationships.

Primary reaction?  Actually, there were 2. The first was noting that this 
came out in 1995 and was still billed as "the first decent anime since 'Akira'". 
Whoa!  'Akira' must have seriously caught all the other filmmakers with their 
pants down if it took 8 years to come out with a better flick!

The other reaction was "Wow".  Great story. Echoes from 'The Manchurian 
Candidate', similarities to 'The Matrix', introspective consideration of the 
distinction between what makes us human [soul/ghost] and the body [shell]. 
This is a very well down movie.  Two visuals stood out for me: near the 
beginning there are two men in a hotel room - the 'windows' are screens 
showing a tropical fish tank. [Nice touch with the Arowanas swimming around 
- an oriental symbol of 'prosperity'!]  It's not flashy, but moving wallpaper 
and window 'screen's are a nice scifi element.  The other scene was similar: 
the characters appear to be walking through a shopping district (ginza?) 
and a 'heads up' animated ad appears on the store's display window and 
follows them as they walk by. They ignore it ... but so many people have been 
trying to make that a reality it was kinda neat to see how it might look in 

The movie still has some violence.  The language is a little rougher and 
includes a few FUs.  No sex.  There is a lot more female nudity: (1) the 
main character is a female cyborg ... this means you have to have the 
obligatory 'flashback to creation' scene where she is floating naked in a 
tub of mysterious liquid. {Cyborgs are never C-clamped to a test desk or 
folded over next to a welding tank ... nope, they either float or stand naked 
in a glass tube filled with mysterious liquid ... that's just the way it goes.} 
(2) The main character has 'therm-optic skin' - so she can become invisible 
[like the alien in 'Predator']:

<geek 1>Cool, so it would be like '7 of 9' sneaking up and blowing the crap 
out of the bad guys?

<geek 2> No stupid.  It would be like '7 of 9' having a great excuse to peel 
out of her clothes!

Overall, an excellent movie.  [Gee - if it takes 8 years for the movie better 
than this one ... it should be out soon!]

"Cowboy Bebop" (Series) - This is a collection of 26 episodes of the TV series. 
That's kind of an obvious limitation - each episode has 25 minutes to set the 
storyline for the week, throw in a chase scene, a fight (martial arts or 
firefight), good music, and 'posing to look cool'. They bring it off 
surprisingly well.  [Okay there are one or two 2-part episodes ... so that 
expands their 'artistic space' a bit.]

I've only watched the first 11 or so episodes so far. After the first 8 I 
would have said 'okay for teens' ... but in the last 2 or 3 episodes I'm 
hearing a little stronger language ["Yeah? Well *I* was a fan of the blues 
since I was back in my father's nutsack!"], a few more 'adult situations' 
[gun-drawn character bursts into a hotel room and finds two men in bed 
together, topless nudity of a hermaphrodite character] ... so I'm not sure 
how I'd recommend the viewing age yet.

The music is great - probably the best use of different styles of music to 
'set the tone' for each episode of any TV series I've seen. The 'style' of 
the show is very good - and the 'tone' of the show varies widely from 
episode to episode. The characters definitely grow on you. 

It's an addictive series.  I'm looking forward to the rest of it ... 
particularly the other 2-part episode whose ending I think Ben called 
'the best 15 minutes of TV ever' ... or something like that.  Good Stuff!

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