Theory Of Nothing

or Just Theory

Your Fantasy Comes To Life

Men who cannot handle too much reality and prefer to seek their ideal women in the world of anime can now play out their fantasy with the Anigao Girls, newly started up in Akihabara, Japan. “Anigao” means “anime face,” so it’s no surprise that Anigao Girls is a business offering photography sessions with its staff of real girls wearing anime-style masks and costumes.

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For about SGD128 or USD85, you can take photos of an Anigao Girl for one hour. The session is 1-to-1 and you get to choose what costume you want your Anigao Girl to wear. Each extra costume you want your Anigao Girl to wear will cost you about another SGD$12.80 or USD$8.50. If you bring your own costume for your Anigao Girl to wear, then it’s about an extra SGD20 or USD13. A bikini-clad Anigao Girl will be more expensive at about an extra SGD32 or USD21.

(Link with more photos and video)

Is visual consumption enough when it comes to anime, or do the rules change with anime comes to life? If so, do the Anigao Girls provide other services in addition to photography sessions so as to allow for the realistic consummation of fantasy?

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Saturday, 28 July 2007 Posted by | News, Pop Culture | 1 Comment

Beat the Spanish

If you really haven’t started reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, then you’re far behind the Spanish. Some of Harry Potter’s fans have not only read, but even translated and posted online a Spanish version of the book. It can be downloaded as a PDF or read online in blog format.

(Link)

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Saturday, 28 July 2007 Posted by | Literature, News, Pop Culture | Leave a comment

Still haven’t read Harry Potter?

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Don’t you want to be saved… like the rest of us?

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Saturday, 28 July 2007 Posted by | Comic, Literature, News, Pop Culture | Leave a comment

Pottering on the internet

Now that I’ve read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I finally dare to allow myself to read the purported spoiler news surrounding it before its official release. But in order not to spoil your fun, I shall keep it all to myself and simply highlight how some of these spoilers germinate via technology. So read ahead, there are no spoilers.

One of the most widely circulated purported spoilers was a series of photographs of the book leaked onto the internet before the book’s worldwide release date. Every page of the book had been meticulously photographed, all the way from page 1 to page 759. They were then made downloadable from various file-sharing networks such as Pirate Bay, and in various formats, such as the easily accessible PDF, as well as formats for Palm and of course, iPod, etc.

A few days later, computer experts pointed out that the identity of the person behind the leak could be easily revealed from the camera he was using. The camera he was using could be just as easily traced from the digital DNA of the photographs taken by the camera. This digital DNA of vital information, or “metadata,” is known as Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) data and cannot be switched off. While some software can be used to strip or edit the information, you cannot edit every field.

Unsurprisingly, it has already been traced that the particular camera used to photograph the book is one of the original Canon Rebel cameras, probably a 350D. Because the model is three years old, the camera would likely have been serviced at least once since it was purchased, in which case the owner’s name would be known. Vic Solomon, a product intelligence officer at Canon’s UK head office said, “In theory, we can find out which country the camera was sold in and in turn the warranty and service centre records in that country could be checked. It would take a lot of work, but there’s a good chance they could find him or her.” As it is, it can already be safely concluded that the camera was likely sold in either America or Canada, because the Rebel 350 was not distributed in any other country.

Bloomsbury, the UK publisher of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, said that its lawyers are investigating all potential leaks of material from the book and would take legal action wherever necessary. Meanwhile, JK Rowling, the book’s author, was “staggered [that] some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children, who wanted to reach Harry’s final destination by themselves, in their own time.”

If nothing else, the pre-release furore surrounding Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has emphasized the snowballing problem of copyright with the increasing use of technology and especially the internet.

(Link)

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Thursday, 26 July 2007 Posted by | Internet, Literature, News, Pop Culture, Technology | Leave a comment

Wizards Rock!

In the blazing intensity of the Harry Potter phenomenon burning up to fever-pitch just before tomorrow’s launch of the the series’ 7th and final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, let us here, at Theory Of Nothing, take a look at the Harry-Potter-inspired wizard-rock bands that have flared up all over the world.

The 183 wizard-rock bands mostly comprising of children and teenagers, with an even mix of male and female wizard-rockers, are a growing global cohort spanning not just America but reaching even as far as Russia, Norway and Australia. The wizard-rock bands of this tight-knit, do-it-yourself community rooted in Harry Potter fandom, use MySpace for publicity, produce and release their own music, as well as book concerts at libraries.

One of the most famous wizard-rock band is the Hungarian Horntails, based in Brooklyn, America. Band leader, 8-year-old Darius Wilkins leads bandmates Rayn Feeney, 9, and his younger brother, Holden, 5. The seasoned performer does sound checks with his signature rousing yells: “We’re the Hungarian Horntails! Are you ready to burn this place down into a fiery wreck?” and “We’re the Hungarian Horntails, and we’re going to blow this place up with fire and rock!” The Horntails are named after characters from The Goblet of Fire, and some of their most popular songs are, “Kill the Basilisk” and “Which Witch Is Which?” Their first album is called, “Burn Voldemort’s Butt.”

However, Hungarian Horntails is not the first wizard-rock band inspired by JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. That honour goes to Harry and the Potters. The Potters, aka Paul and Joe DeGeorge, aged 28 and 20, are two brothers from Norwood, America. Their first show, in 2002, was an impromptu performance in their parents’ backyard, where they dressed up as Harry Year Four and Harry Year Seven and sang songs like, “Platform 9 and 3/4ths” and “I Am a Wizard” to a smattering of pals. Since that day, the DeGeorges have run with the idea, playing libraries, house parties and rock clubs across the country. This year, they will average 130 rock shows, mostly over Joe’s college breaks.

Besides Hungarian Horntails and Harry and The Potters, other well-known bands include Parselmouths (who write funny songs from the point of view of snotty girls in the Slytherin house), Draco and the Malfoys, and The Whomping Willows. Other noteworthy wizard-rock bands names are Tom Riddle and Friends, expecto patrAWESOME! (a pun on the “Expecto Patronum” incantation), and The Hermione Crookshanks Experience.

To check out the wizard-rock bands, their shows, and wizard-rock-themed festivals where muggles can rock out, log on to The Wizrocklopedia and WizardRock.org.

(Link)

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Friday, 20 July 2007 Posted by | Literature, Music, News, Pop Culture | 1 Comment

Unending Beginnings & Usurping Footnotes

I have been doing my PhD for 4 years.

I am writing Chapter 1 of my dissertation.

Chapter 1 was supposed to be 8,000 words long.

I began Chapter 1 with an epigraph.

I have been writing about Chapter 1’s epigraph.

So far, I have written more than 10,000 words on Chapter 1’s epigraph.

I am still writing about Chapter 1’s epigraph.

I will write the rest of Chapter 1 when I’m done with writing about Chapter 1’s epigraph.

Obviously, Chapter 1 is no longer just 8,000 words long.

It is going to be much longer than 8,000 words.

How long?

As long as it takes for the footnotes to become longer than the main text.

So far, I have 107 footnotes.

I love Theory Of Nothing.

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Thursday, 19 July 2007 Posted by | PhD | Leave a comment

Say no to cartoon boobies and micro willy, children.

US publisher, Boyds Mills Press, has decided not to publish the latest book by one of Germany’s best-selling children’s book author, Rotraut Susanne Berner, because it contains cartoon sketches of an art gallery with works depicting naked bodies.

To be exact, Berner’s cartoon illustration shows adults and children in an art gallery which displays a portrait of a naked woman on a wall and a tiny 7-milimetre-high scuplture of a naked man on a pedestal.

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According to Berner, Boyds Mills Press had informed her that she could either agree to have the offending images removed or the book would be withdrawn.

While Berner admitted that staff at Boyds Mills Press appeared to be acutely embarrassed about their objections, she also said that they feared being confronted by hundreds of scandalized parents if they went ahead and published the book in its existing form.

In fact, besides the cartoon boobies and micro willy, Boyds Mills Press had also earlier on requested that Berner removed smokers from her cartoon illustrations.

In response, Berner said, “This was a joke. The man’s penis is about half a millimetre in length and the naked woman is clearly part of a work of art and not a real person.”

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For the author, any form of self-censorhip was out of the question. She added, “If you’re going to censor something, then the reader should be aware of it.”

However, while Berner was ready to accept recognizable censorship, Boyds Mills Press was not going to settle for anything less than the complete removal of the offending images.

So when Berner asked the US publisher to black out the spots they deemed problematic, it stuck to its gun and refused Berner’s condition.

Thus, it is almost certain that Berner’s latest book will not be published in America. American children will neither have to handle depictions of naked human bodies, nor be endangered by shocking German sensibilities.

The 59-year-old author’s illustrated Wimmel books, which playfully follow the daily lives of adults and children through the four seasons, have won international acclaim and are best-sellers in 13 countries from Japan to the Faroe Islands. According to Berner, no other country has been overly concerned about the cartoon boobies and micro penis so far.

(Link, link)

Berner’s Wimmel books don’t seem to be available in Singapore either – please correct me if I’m wrong.

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Thursday, 19 July 2007 Posted by | Comic, Literature, News | Leave a comment

Forbes Fictional 15

Amidst much gossip and rumours, the long-awaited and always highly debated Forbes Fictional 15 list is finally out! In today’s news, Theory Of Nothing will highlight some of the most memorable billionaires of our pop cultural history.

Mr Richie Rich is no. 4 with $10.7 billion. Living in Richville, U.S.A, this 10 year-old has made a name for himself with his vast inheritance and conglomerates.

Mr Monopoly is no. 6 with $7.1 billion. The respected Mr Monopoly is now 71 years old and lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey. All his money is from real estate.

Mr Willy Wonka is no. 11 with $2.07 billion. 57 years old Mr Wonka is famous for being especially eccentric and secludes himself in Kent, England. He made his fortunes with his candy empire and by bringing aerospace to new heights.

Mr Lucius Malfoy is no. 12 with $1.3 billion. Mr Malfoy is 51 years old and lives in Wiltshire, England. His money is all pure blood inheritance. A word of caution: do not tell him you’re not pure blood.

Mr Tony Montana is no. 13 with $1 billion. 42 years old Mr Montana lives in Miami, Florida. Mr Montana has notoriously made all his money in cocaine.

Ms Lara Croft is no. 14 with also $1 billion. Ms Croft is 37 years old and lives in Wimbledon, England. Besides inheriting her father’s fortune, Ms Croft has also made a tidy sum dabbling in antiques.

Mr Mario ends the list at no. 15 with again $1 billion. He is a young 23 and lives in edgy Brooklyn, New York. He has accumulated his money from what else, but commodities, of course.

As you can tell, today’s billionaires come from diverse backgrounds such as literature, film, video games, board games, etc. We are truly well into the postmodern age.

Till our next news flash, keep well, readers of Theory Of Nothing.

(Link)

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Tuesday, 17 July 2007 Posted by | Film, Literature, News, Pop Culture | Leave a comment

Is this why I have a blog (or two)?

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Monday, 16 July 2007 Posted by | Comic, PhD | Leave a comment

Philip Pullman Wins “Carnegie of Carnegies”

Philip Pullman has won the “Carnegie of Carnegies” with Northern Lights, the first book from his Dark Materials trilogy.

Northern Lights was the Carnegie winner of 1995. Winning the “Carnegie of Carnegies” means that it has emerged tops in the Carnegie medal’s 70-year history.

This is after going through an annual selection process which begins with the UK librarians nominating titles for the longlist, then picked as top 10 by a special panel of children’s literature experts, then finally going through online polling to determine the “all-time” winner.

Northern Lights won 40% of the total votes, and also received the highest number of votes from overseas (a total of 36% from North America, Europe, Asia and Australia combined), demonstrating its international appeal – Pullman’s books have been translated into 37 languages and sold over 12m copies worldwide.

Pullman said that he was “humbled and honoured” by his win and “it is without any question the most important honour [he has] ever received, and the one [he] treasure[s] the most.”

Northern Lights has also been adapted as an acclaimed stage play at the National Theatre. A feature film under the US title, The Golden Compass, is due to be released later this year.

In case you’re wondering, these were the 10 CILIP Carnegie Medal Winners in contention:

Skellig, David Almond (1998)
Junk, Melvin Burgess (1996)
Storm, Kevin Crossley-Holland (1985)
A Gathering Light, Jennifer Donnelly (2003)
The Owl Service, Alan Garner (1967)
The Family From One End Street, Eve Garnet (1937)
The Borrowers, Mary Norton (1952)
Tom’s Midnight Garden, Philippa Pearce (1958)
Northern Lights, Philip Pullman (1995)

(Link)

The Dark Materials trilogy are a few of my favourite books of all time, and within the trilogy itself, Northern Lights is the one I love most. I’m happy.

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Sunday, 15 July 2007 Posted by | Literature, News | Leave a comment