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First published: 7/21/03

5 Years On...

Highlight reel: special moments in the history of TEL

  • TEL is turning 4 years old! The first draft of the document that became the main glossary page of TEL was written on July 14th, 1999. TEL was opened to the public on August 4th, 1999. I don't routinely broadcast my site statistics, but I'm also proud to announce that TEL has finally surpassed 200,000 hits (from unique visitors; meaning, not counting reloads). Not bad for a lain site, I think. It's good to know that people are still visiting after all these years, even though I've been slow to update.
  • I should also note that my webpage as a whole just turned 5 years old. I started working on my first webpage in June 1998, and Lawmune's Netspace was opened to the public on July 14th, 1998.
  • Finally, even though it's not TEL-related per se, Carol and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary (on July 20th). It seems that a lot of good stuff happens to me around this time of year...

Work in progress

It's been a heavy duty summer, the busiest I've had in years. Overall, though, it's been quite fulfilling.

Regular readers know that I'm a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This Spring, I finished all my required coursework, so early this Fall, I'll be taking my comprehensive Field Exams. I've been studying for that, and will continue to do so for the rest of the summer. I have a monstrous list of books and articles to read, so don't expect TEL to be updated any more regularly than it has been.

Since school doesn't pay me during the summer, I got myself a teaching gig for the month of July. I'm the software trainer and assistant director of KidCo, a program affiliated with Computers for Children (which operates out of Buffalo, NY). Basically, we're teaching a group of high school students how to put together computer systems and how to use productivity software (MS Office, mainly, though I'm also teaching basic web design and internet searching skills). At the end of the program, each kid gets to take home a computer. It has been a challenging experience, to say the least, but it's been immensely worthwhile as well. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted but glad that I've had the chance to (potentially) make a difference in people's lives.

A matter of convention...


My summer hasn't been all work and no play, however. In mid-June, I attended Fanime Con in Santa Clara, CA, which was a blast, as always. The main highlight of the convention for me was meeting and talking with members of the rather large Gainax contingent attending the con (as guests of honor or otherwise). As many of you know by now, I am a student of otaku culture, so I was thrilled to meet so many Gainax personalities at Fanime. I felt privileged to be in the company of such fun-loving and creative individuals.

Here are some notable items that I bought at Fanime
  • Space Travelers: The Animation (DVD) (heavily referenced in the live action Space Travelers movie starring Takeshi Kaneshiro)
  • Volcano High (DVD) (Korean martial arts/high school/fantasy/comedy, a great movie!)
  • Wings of Honneamise Poster (I got this signed by Gainax members Hiroyuki Yamaga and Yasuhiro Takeda)
  • Galaxy Fraulein Yuna Poster
  • All That Figure 2002 (photo book)

Amongst other things, I did some preliminary research at Fanime. Anime conventions are likely to be important research sites for me as my dissertation work moves into high gear. If everything goes according to plan, I will be attending two more conventions this year, Otakon and Anime Weekend Atlanta. I might be participating on a panel at Otakon (check back here for more details). I'd very much like to meet other lain fans at Otakon, so if you are interested in an informal get together at the con, drop me an email. At Anime Weekend Atlanta, I am looking forward to the premiere of Otaku Unite!, the fandom documentary I provided some research for. I also look forward to meeting Toshio Okada, the Otaking himself.

lain creators at AX 2003

Speaking of anime conventions, one that I didn't attend this year is Anime Expo in Southern California. Yoshitoshi ABe, the character designer of lain, was a guest of honor at that con. It also turns out that Yasuyuki Ueda (the producer of lain) was at Anime Expo this year as well! Most likely, they were both there to promote their latest work, Texhnolyze. At the con, Pioneer announced that it would be bringing Texhnolyze to American audiences. From the report I read, ABe and Ueda didn't discuss lain a whole lot during their panel. Haibane Renmei and Texhnolyze were the main topics of discussion. See this forum posting for more details from the panel.


Guilty Pop Pleasures

As part of my (re)immersion into (pop/youth/sub)culture, and also because I just happen to like it, I've been watching more TV than usual, listening to more mainstream music, and taking in a whole bunch of summer blockbusters. For a 27-year-old married-guy in academia, these are guilty pleasures at best, but hey, I need it for my work, and who says work can't be fun? ^_~

Things recently on the telly In the CD player Seen at the movies Book on the night stand
  • Tunnel Vision by Keith Lowe (an anorak's journey through the London Underground)

See you next time!

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Last updated on June 15th, 2004
Lawrence Eng