Save the Japanese forests, Totero-style

Posted at 11:44 AM Dec 12, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

Totoro.jpgWhile I don't normally like to boast about all the awesome things going on here in San Francisco, I think everyone can agree on our need to save the environment -- especially if it's done with the theme of an adorable creature from a super cute movie. Tonight at San Fran's Cartoon Art Museum, the Totero Forest Project is putting on a benefit to raise money for the forests of Japan, the setting for Studio Ghibli's beloved movie My Neighbor Totero. This is one of those classic movies, like Spirited Away, that may be designed for children, but captures the hearts of American adults -- like me! If I wasn't committed to starting my wedding registry shopping tonight (that stuff takes forever), I would so be there.

Of course, the Totero Forest Project is still more than happy to take your donations, even if you don't live in the San Fran area. Here's a description of the forest from the project's website:

Sayama Forrest is one of the most remarkable urban forests (approximately 8750 acres) in Japan located right outside of Tokyo. This forest is said to be where the idea for the masterpiece "My Neighbor Totoro" originated from. With Japan's rapid urban development in the 70's and 80's, the forest has been losing its land. In 1990, the director of My Neighbor Totoro, Hayao Miyazaki helped set up the national trust, Totoro no Furusato Fund to preserve the environment in the park.

Highlights from Arse Elektronika '08

Posted at 2:04 PM Sep 29, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

Yes, there are sex machines under those futuristic looking sheets...

As I mentioned on Friday, this weekend I was part of a conference called Arse Elektronika, which touched on the tantalizing world of technology, science fiction, and beyond. You can read about the conference, whose theme this year was "Do androids sleep with electric sheep?", in depth here or here. I present to you a list of some of the moments that stood out for me in these three days of sexiness:

- Listening to tips for a happy, healthy, science fiction sex life.

- Sitting in front of a hand-crank machine that used a moist, prosthetic tongue to rhythmically lick a lollipop. Yum!

- Listening to a sci-fi erotica reading that involved naked women covered in spiders, lust toward aliens, and flying vibrators.

- Seeing a talk that connected aliens with fairies with pancakes with L. Ron Hubbard.

- Hearing Constance Penley, a respected sex and gender professor, shout, "We want to piss on space. Fuck space!"

Yes, it was a colorful weekend full of lots of fond memories, most of them bizarre, other-worldly, or otherwise not safe for work. Now back to the work week...

Penny Arcade Expo '08: spend time in a costume, be in strangers' photos

Posted at 12:01 PM Sep 02, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

One of the staples of any fan event like The Penny Arcade Expo is people dressing up in costumes to imitate their favorite video game and anime characters. This past weekend, cosplayers were out in full force. Some of my favorites included these Katamari girls, this Master Chief, and this sad excuse for a little girl.

While dressing up looks like a lot of fun, I'm never quite sure what the etiquette is with people in costumes. When they look like they're having a good time, I don't mind stopping them for photos, but when they look tired and sweaty I always feel bad convincing them to put their giant foam heads back on and pose. Also, I forget that not only journalists take photos of these guys. It's also normal expo-goers who break out the cameras to document the well-meaning freak show.

Speaking of cosplaying, what do you wear under those suits? 'Cause if it's nothing, I don't want to know.

Penny Arcade Expo '08: how to get your girlfriend into gaming

Posted at 10:06 AM Sep 01, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

It's Monday, and the 2008 Penny Arcade Expo is officially over. That means I've lived through dozens on video game demos, swarms of unbathed fanboys, and, as of yesterday morning, a panel on "How to get your girlfriend into gaming." As a girl who's obviously already into games, that last one left me with more mixed feelings than hanging out in a room of funky-smelling tabletop roleplayers.

While the idea of getting more women into video games -- a field that's definitely male-dominated and comes with a lot of stigmas for girls -- is a good one, there's something so condescending about plotting how to bring a female into the fold as if she had no will of her own. The conversation tends to go, "What kind of game can I innocently introduce to my girlfriend so that she'll get instantly addicted?"

Also, girl gamers en masse tend to acquire a "You go, sister!" attitude. Sure, it's nice to see women playing together, but the number of men at yesterday's panel who were recommended to send their girlfriends to a female gaming clan so they could "join the sisterhood"... It makes me shudder. But what do you think, Heartless Doll readers? Are you interested in gaming but just too scared you'll look like a dork to try?

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