By Sifana Sohail
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It's Super Hero!
Yes, Super Hero. That's the name of a guy in Clearwater, Florida who goes around dressed in a costume, patrolling and helping people out whenever possible. He has a blog, several RLSH (Real Life Super Hero) friends who go out to patrol with him and has even saved people. Sounds very 'Kick-Ass', doesn't it?
Dressing up as superheroes and trying to actually act like them has turned into a subculture. In the US, there is even an RLSH Project, focusing on the participating real-life caped crusaders, their visions, actions and... pictures.
From Florida to Oregon, costumed vigilantes seem to be popping up everywhere. From Samaritan, Good Samaritan (two different superheroes) and Citizen Prime to Mutinous Angel, Death's Head Moth and Phantom Zero, the guys seem to have come up with a variety of names and costumes. Some end up looking like comic book heroes while others look like dark villains (which, despite their dark personas, they assure us they're not).
Most of these superheroes aren't all about crime fighting and beating up the bad guys. In fact, they're kind of boring. Citizen Prime, who patrolled in Phoenix, Arizona (now retired), said that he couldn't find crime to stop. He says, "The only crime I've ever stopped is when I was actually walking out of a sporting goods store with my wife. A shoplifter came running past me, and I managed to throw him to the ground." So he created a program called “Kid Heroes” to teach morals and values to kids.
In fact, that's what the majority of these superheroes do. Instead of violating people's rights, they “prevent crime and empower people to prevent it themselves by being seen,” as Mr. Xtreme says. They take part in rallies, appear to speak publicly and talk to people. While that's all that Soundwave and Jetstorm (two kid siblings) do, Tothian (based in New York and New Jersey) does much more. While his costume lacks the special Superhero 'oomph', he explains his choice by saying that they “get in the way of actually doing real superhero stuff.” A martial arts expert and Marine reservist, he actually fights crime hands-on. Another such superhero was Dark Guardian who successfully helped drive away drug peddlers from Manhattan's Washington Square Park.
Another superhero based in New York City is Terrifica, a woman who patrols NY City's streets at night. She refers to her 'secret identity', Sarah (last name unknown) as, “A very weak woman. Very needy, very insecure.” After being dumped by her boyfriend, she realised her calling - to protect drunk women from being accosted by men. She even has an evil nemesis - a Casanova who goes by the name of 'Fantastico' and likes to 'bring out the pleasure in people'. They've 'crossed paths' and Terrifica has thwarted his plans quite a few times in the past.
It seems like the superhero community is flourishing. Makes one wonder if there are any such superheroes in Bangladesh. Maybe a Dishoom-dishoom man? Or for people who've watched City Bus 2, the 'Hero' - 'Sakib Kan-er Friend', in his costume of sunglasses, converse and a gamcha around his neck. Of course, if a traditional superhero with tights and a cape started walking around Dhaka... the possibilities are endless.
As always, Click Happiness attempt to bring you some cool, relatively little known websites. Today's picks have employed some pretty awesome ideas and hence are a relief from the reposted contents and mind-numbing “social” games that are plaguing the web.
Howcast: Howcast.com is the new how-to capital of the internet. It's a bit like a reincarnation of YouTube as a fun and educational site, giving students and recent graduates an opportunity to earn a few bucks while giving them a chance to show what they can do. Howcast is partnered with corporate giants like Nestle, JetBlue and Playboy. The website looks neat and it hosts videos that range from 'How to spot investment scams' to 'How to iron between shirt buttons'.
Smarthistory: For those who are interested in arts and who find those art books to be a luxury they cannot indulge in, smarthistory.org is the answer. This website is a free, non-profit art textbook that combines art historians' comments and various facts about different arts and artists. The pieces are arranged in style, time, artist and theme, making learning that much easier. It is also the winner of the Best Educational Website in 2009 Webby Awards.
FreeRice.com: Freerice.com is a United Nations World Food Programme run website that has two goals. One is to provide education free to all, and the other is to fight world hunger by providing rice for free. How does it work? You answer questions on some basic subjects like Math, Geography and Humanities and for each correct answer you donate 10 grains of rice, which the UN gives away thanks to the advertisements on the site.
The Big Picture: The Big Picture is a photo blog run by three Boston Globe editors that focuses on current events. Whether it publishes photos of the Oktoberfest or flood in Philippines, it is a collection of the most amazing and recent photos taken by the very best photojournalists, truly showing us the big picture.
Chromercise: Get your fingers to be more active and improve dexterity while browsing. Google came up with an exercise to let your fingers work out in a very 80's looking site: Chromercise.com. They have pretty cute looking photos of fingers dressed in sweatbands and sharing their success stories with chromercise.
ANIME REVIEW Episodes: 26 * Rating: PG
By Professor Spork
Currently airing on Animax, Winter Sonata is the anime adaptation of a popular Korean drama series. Junsang, the gifted son of a renowned musician, moves to Chuncheon, a rural city in South Korea. Despite being warmly welcomed into the community, he remains distant and closed off, troubled by problems in his family life until one day his classmate Yoojin intercepts him on the way to school. And thus begins the love story. The road to their happy ending is cut short, though, when Junsang fails to meet Yoojin due to an accident, whereupon he is presumed dead by everyone in Chuncheon.
Ten years later, we meet Minhyung, an award-winning architect from the US. Though Yoojin instantly recognises the face of her lost love, Minhyung is clearly not Junsang. He is different, caring and open. Yoojin has moved on by now, engaged to her childhood friend, and Minhyung is also in a relationship, with none other than Yoojin's old friend and rival. But even though she tries to put him out of her mind, circumstances bring Yoojin to work at the same firm as Minhyung, whereupon she decides to give up on forgetting and sets herself to finding the connection she knows exists between this doppelganger, Minhyung, and the late Junsang.
The first thing that will throw regular anime-viewers is the language. Subtitles or no, for those who are used to watching anime in Japanese may be unsettled by the not-so-subtle distinction in language. It's like listening to a dialect. The stresses on words are different from even English, so it is rather difficult to decipher the tone of speech if the subtitles are not punctuated accordingly. Apparently, Korean stresses on syllables are nothing like those in Japanese.
Once you're over the accent, and you realise that words you've become familiar with in Japanese and could understand without having to look at the text, no longer mean what they used to. Of course the art style is likewise different, taking more of a cartoon approach than anime. While there is less detail involved in the drab colours and smaller eyes, the animation is also far more realistic than the average Japanese anime drawing.
Aaaand then there's the plot. Certainly, if you're into drama, there can be nothing better than this semi-classic storyline, and the romance is actually very well-portrayed. But if you've ever seen a Hindi soap, well, let's just say that Winter Sonata is a watered-down, summarised version of… take your pick of a Hindi serial. There is overdone dramatics, lots of tears, and twists and turns you wouldn't expect outside the likes of OC. Or Kasauti.
While Winter Sonata wasn't this particular writer's cup of tea, you should still give it a shot. Tastes vary, and if nothing else, you will get a rather realistic glimpse into the Korean culture and lifestyle. That's almost worth it.