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Special Guest: Ben Cantrick

"I love Ben Cantrick. He is modest, shy and retiring."
-Name and address withheld for source's protection.
(This quote has been brought to you by demand!)

Ben Cantrick, born Benjamin (, if you call me that I shall have to hurt you very badly ;) Walter Cantrick. Born at 5:48am in Austin, Texas, on September 29th, 1975 to Joel Walter Cantrick and Marianne Wesson. Current vital statistics; height: about 6', weight: about 180, hair: brown and wavy/curly with a loose ponytail in back, eyes: green.

Both Ben's parents are currently lawyers of some stripe or another, and his mom probably could have been a judge if she wanted to. Having two lawyers for parents has surely warped Ben in immeasurable ways, some of them perhaps even beneficial.

Currently, Ben's father is practicing contract and environmental law in Denver, CO, and his mother is a Professor at the Law school at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Yeah, but who is Ben Cantrick?

Well, Ben is first and foremost a Type A personality. He's time and goal conscious and slightly perfectionistic (read: slightly anal). Also, according to the for personality types, Ben is an .

Ben is a knowledge and challenge-a-holic. (Like I said, Type A) His great love of reading may have come from the fact that it was really the most difficult and yet most enjoyable thing to do. (Attributable to his possible dyslexia and lawyer genes, perhaps?)

Ben also loves computers. All kinds of computers. At all levels. Ben loves hardware. Ben loves software. Ben loves computer games. Ben loves operating systems. Ben enjoys constructing simple circuits out of 7400 series logic gates and wiring them into his computer. Ben also enjoys writing 3-D graphics routines and file-format translation programs. Ben likes to write TSRs. Ben thinks Soft-Ice is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Ben enjoys hacking the shit out of any program he thinks is inefficient. Ben, being Type A, loves these things because they give him challenge and reward him with knowledge. (Ben was the type of kid who was more interested in taking his toys apart, figuring out how they worked, and then putting them back together than actually playing with them.)

Ben has a strong mischievous bent. This may be partly due to the fact that he enjoys knocking down barriers. Right when someone starts to think that they're "the shit," Ben will try to completely pop their swollen ego-bubble. Lack of modesty in certain things is not something Ben considers good. (Call this contradictory and hypocritical if you like.) Ben's humor reflects this trait very strongly. He avidly follows the literature of groups like and The Discordians. (Slogan: "We're not really esoteric, it's just that nobody usually understands what we say.") Ben has been seen with Sub-Genii on occasion. Ben likes the band Ween. Ben finds M. C. Escher fascinating. Paradoxical, ironic and absurd humor are the kinds that Ben enjoys the most.

Ben will snarf sushi on a moment's notice, and would like to learn (and some of and , too) someday. He knows it's silly to idolize a culture that has so many flaws, but Ben likes Japan. He thinks he might be able to learn something from foreign cultures that he would never be able to learn from exposure to American culture. Ben went to Anime America '94, and also to Anime Expo and Anime America '95. Ben drove from Colorado to California and back to attend AE and AX '95.

Ben knows he is a hopeless computer geek, and should get out more. Ben enjoys The Dark Horse bar in Boulder, where you can get the best jalapeno and avocado burger in town and listen to the tunes of the live band, if there is one that night. And hopefully, someday, Ben will "have a life" and meet someone compatible. Until then... well, Ben will have to content himself with casual conversations with the multitude of killer babes that Boulder seems to always have around.

Ben's grandfather, who composes classical music, would probably scream if he knew what kind of music Ben likes. Ben likes everything from The Beastie Boys, to Nine Inch Nails, to , to Janet Jackson's old album 'Rhythm Nation', to Metallica and MegaDeath, to Lords of Acid, to Tom Petty, to U2, to Aerosmith, to... I could go on, but it would be faster to just say this: Just about the only kind of music Ben doesn't like is Country.

Part of being a Type A person is also being an adrenaline junkie. And Ben can be so, at times. But more than that, Ben has a great gusto for living. As Warren Zevon says, "I'd rather feel bad than feel nothin' at all." I'll sometimes do things that most people think are nuts, and most of the time I come out unscathed. When asked "WHY?", I often shrug and say "Because I wanted to know if I could" or "Why not?" Maybe you'll understand better if you read this . It reflects one of the cornerstones of my philosophy, which is if you're not learning, growing, pushing the limits in some way or another, then you're stuck in a rut and are existing, but not living.

Ani-bot note: The above has been painstakingly (with the emphasis on pain :) edited from personal page.

     One of the roles I played at the anime club I was in during college was editor and grammar-checker of the fansubbing scripts we produced. I frequently worried that my "cleaning up" of the rough translations in these scripts was adversely effecting their content. For instance, I would worry that I was projecting my speech patterns or style of English onto the characters, perhaps making them more, or less, intelligent and articulate than the creators intended. The question I remember to asking myself then (and the one that I'm still asking myself now) is "am I making my own interpretation of these scripts, or am I simply observing and clarifying what's already there?"

     What defines the "meaning" of something? Is it the thing itself, or what people read into it - their interpretations of it? Was I unbiasedly observing what was there in those scripts as I edited them for grammar, or was I interpreting them and in the process adding some of my own content? Ultimately I'm not sure if you can really say whether the "meaning" of any piece of artwork (be it a painting, a sculpture, or a piece of anime) is in the work itself or in the observer/interpreter. But I do enjoy those works that intentionally employ vagueness to increase the number of possible interpretations.

     Below are a few sites that I think point out the "vagueness potential" of my favorite anime series, Bubblegum Crisis. They show how much revelation, trivia, and background material can be deduced, implied, or outright guessed by the fans of the series. Whether this (over-)abundance of thought reflects more on BGC or its fans is not really that important to me. I don't particularly care about the deep psychological reasons that compelled these BGC fans to think these thoughts. The stuff on these pages goes beyond the straightforward and obvious and delves into (sometimes ridiculously) deep speculation. For that reason alone I find them both interesting and highly original. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I have.

Brian Angliss's BGC pages
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Talk about re-interpreting, Brian has it down to a science. And you know what? It's really neat that way.

Sentient Boomers: Bubblegum Crisis's Tragic Figures
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An important question asked in much of good Sci-Fi is "Where do you draw the line between human and non-human?"  I think this site makes an eloquent argument about one specific case.

The "I hate Priss Homepage"
() -
While ostensibly a flame page, to me it seems to end up asking an interesting question... "Why do so many people like Priss?"

The Bubblegum Crisis A-Z
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You want trivia? We got your trivia right here! The hosts of Anime Jeopardy ought to take a look at this site. It'd give them hundreds of new questions for their "Gibson's Get (Cyberpunk Anime)" category.

Anipike not being responsible for Acts of God or the vaguaries of humans  ;)
this column will appear 'as and when' articles come in. New articles will
be announced on the "New List" page. (So original, da yo..^^)

Would you like to suggest a guest? Write Nikkou.

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Last Update: 9/14/98