August 23, 2011

GHAAAH!

The ground is not supposed to DO that!



UPDATE 17:33: Did a quick check of the house and boat. Damage in Churchland and West Norfolk is almost nil. There may have been some settling. Given Irene's anticipated festivities this weekend,  I hope the flood gates in the tunnels and sea walls aren't out of alignment now. Cell phone service has been very sketchy. After that distraction, I finished getting my grandmother packed and on her way to Raleigh with my uncle to ride out the storm.

UPDATE 17:52:  Chimneys fell and windows broke north of here.

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Irene Has a Full Itinerary

Our friends the Bahamians are in for a hellish week.
The barrier islands and river towns of the Carolinas are going to get pasted like they haven't in a great many years. A Cat 3 Storm making a near direct hit on Hilton Head, Wilmington, Moorehead and New Bern is going to make quite a mess. 




As an aside, this has the eye passing right over Brickmuppetburg on Sunday. We'll probably dodge the serious wind damage but a direct hit is never good and it looks likely to sweep a good bit of surge into the bay just like Isabel and the 1933 storm did. When it hits it will have been half over land for a while, meaning we may get an impressive rain dump like we did with Floyd. All 3 of those storms hit as CAT ones and did inordinate damage via flooding.  I'll be testing the generator tomorrow.

School starts Monday.

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August 22, 2011

VL Day?

It looks like the rebels in Libya have overrun Tripoli.

Whatever ones thoughts on this adventure we can all rejoice that having staked our reputation on this, the US has achieved a proxy victory. Really, we ALL can come together on this  which is rare in these partisan times. The reason for this happy convergence is that those of us who thought this was a dumb idea understand that once the nation has crossed the rubicon to war then we damned well better win the thing for the good of the country. Those that don't understand this...supported this war kineticism. (Bipartisanship FTW!)

Perhaps I'm being unfair. I mean its not like there was a vote in congress or anything.

Oh well, lets call out the purple suit cheerleaders and rejoice at a NATO victory together in a bipartisan fashion. 


Yay!

(Also, lets have a big bipartisan thank you to the crews of HMS Liverpool and FS Charels De Gaul. )

Galrahn has thoughts.


Update: Oh dear.

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Irene

It looks like Puerto Rico is getting hammered, and this thing has only just begun its mischief.


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August 21, 2011

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD

Oh boy...another high school show.

Much like Hidemari Sketch, this show concerns cute girls in a high school who get stressed out over the little curveballs life throws at them.

HIGH SCHOOL OF THE DEAD differs in that the curveballs include flesh eating zombies.


The whole zombie apocalypse idea has been done so often that it is a cliche' and this show breaks no new ground in overall concept. However, it is a very well executed example of the genre.

Now I have heard some complaints about the show and the most persistent one is that the fanservice is excessive. 

There is some truth to this...

Not only are there lots of powertools...



....but we get to see cute, snarky, intelligent girls using said power tools and doing so in a manner not consistent with manufacturer recommendations!

Oh golly willakers!

Oh..wait....yeah...the other fans.
Actually this show did come close to diminishing returns. as it is quite gratuitous in both its horror...

...and occasionally its cheesecake. 

Just think. Men who have never seen real boobs move were paid money to animate this.



However, the show has superb pacing, likable characters and very good writing. The dub is one of the absolute best I have ever heard, with  rapid-fire dialog that is fantastically delivered. The rewrite for the dub is  faithful but a bit more engaging than the subs. This is one of 3 or four shows that I think are better in their US dubbed versions. The American VA's do a stellar job in bringing out the characters They really make this show work with character nuances the subs can't quite catch.

  The show is an excersize in gratuity, but it never bored me and did not devolve into utter nihilism. I quite enjoyed it.

UPDATE: The dubiously researched fluid dynamics animation above is from one particular episode that is...excessively...excessive in that regard. However, switching gears did serve as a welcome respite from the horror. As gruesome and silly as the show can be, it was actually that episode which made it clear that the show is ultimately about people who looked into that dark pit and determined that they will not abandon their humanity. 
Shorter version...HSOTD is a sucking chest wound of awesome.
Slightly spoileriffic character sketches below the fold.
more...

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Best On-Air Apology Ever


Testify!

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August 15, 2011

It's A Mandelbrot Set of Crazy

Fandom is often an eclectic collection of hobbyists and can be a very cool thing.

And then there is this.


Perhaps we should rejoice, for if these people interacted with the real world they'd form homeowners associations or something.

'Hat Tip' withheld to protect the innocent.

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66 Years Ago

On August 8, 1945 Emperor Hirohito was presented with a report. The report concluded that the annihilation of Hiroshima had indeed been the result of an atomic bomb. The report went on to state that the US could not possibly have enough nuclear material for any more bombs...America had blown their wad. Thus, to have used this powerful weapon indicated desperation on the US side and that the Americans had no stomach for an invasion.

The next evening, August 9th, the Emperor received yet another report, this time from Nagasaki. The Americans had blown their wad...again. 

Over the previous weeks bombers had hit 35 cities with leaflets. This did not bode well.

 Now, Hirohito was not a strong Emperor,  but he was aware of and had explicitly and implicitly approved the whole horrid mess. He knew damned well what had gone down in Nanking, and he was quite aware that the Americans would be looking for heads as payment for Wake island, and the rape of Manila. His would be the most sought after head. Nevertheless, to save his people, he decided to accept the unthinkable US demand for unconditional surrender. When he informed his Generals and ministers of this and the fact that he intended to personally present himself to the allies, there was an uproar.  The little man stood by his guns however and after 4 days of heated deliberations he went to the palace and made preparations to broadcast the news to the Japanese people.

Then, on the night of August 14-15, over one thousand troops led by Major Kenji Hatanaka stormed the Palace to prevent the surrender.


Asshat

However, the speech had already been pre-recorded and the phonograph record containing it had been hidden, so the soldiers began tearing the place up looking for the recording. A general and a colonel were murdered  and an office building was set afire. Meanwhile, the phonograph of the surrender was smuggled out in a basket of womens underwear. Early in the morning General Shizuichi Tanaka drove into this mess himself and singlehandedly ended the coup, berating the officers in charge and dispersing them.

Professional

 Kenji Hatanaka later attempted to force his way into the nearby NHK station to stop the broadcast and plead his case. This was spectacularly unsuccessful and he ended up killing himself in the street. At noon, 66 years ago today, some NHK DJ broadcast a tape that saved countless  lives and effectively ended the Pacific War.


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August 13, 2011

Gai Rei Zero Thoughts


Humans are imperfectable beings that exist on a narrow ledge between virtue and the abyss. Within the noblest of our number there still festers a potential for unspeakable darkness. Even the most virtuous amongst us can release their grip and slip into that abyss in a moment of utter despair. Conversely, people can express kindness, nobility and courage of the highest order, even when their only available choices in life are a selection of horrific options. 

Few shows I've seen have managed to explore those truths as well as Gai-Rei-Zero. This show is a story of kindness, responsibility and love told using a series of merciless Gatling gut punches to the audience. 

The basic premise is actually 'by the numbers'. It concerns a group of government paranormal investigators who fight the ephemeral things  that the general public believe to be myths. This is the formula for a dozen or more shows but this show is very character driven and the execution is superb.  This, is not an easy show to watch at times but it is fantastic drama.  It's 12 episodes and while 11 might have sufficed it  is still very tightly written. The characters are well realized, like-able and develop believably. The animation is well above average, the action sequences are top notch, the horror is horrific and the comedy relief is funny. Hell, even the dub is above average. Alexis Tipton and Leah Clarke in particular play off each other very well. Rewatch value is low for me because as a grown man it is not right for me to cry.



Do note that the first episode is somewhat different in tone from the rest.
If you don't mind spoilers Wonderduck has a very thorough play-by-play style overview of every episode. It can be accessed here.

If you dislike spoilers do NOT buy from the Funimation site as their sales page inexplicably describes the last story arc in detail.

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Oh Fzzkt

It seems that some wondrous update from the church of teh Jobs is preventing me from ripping a DVD to get screencaps.  Well, in any event something isn't working.

As compensation for the meta-blogging here is a sweater-vest, mid-length socks, Saber and toast.



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August 10, 2011

Ga-Rei-Zero Very First Impressions

I've worked down my "to watch" pile to Ga-Rei-Zero.
The set is encased in a very hefty box, over an inch thick. It is being sold only in DVD blue-ray combo packs which gives Funimation an excuse to jack up the price. There is a thin layer of plastic surrounding the box upon which is affixed a sticker that says $44.99. This is a point of some consternation as the price plummeted days after I bought this set. The plastic around the set breaks easily. The box with disc 2 is not individually wrapped, but the one containing the first disc is. It requires a knife to open. Despite the weight and size of the packaging there are no fannish extras in the box whatsoever (aside from a Funimation subscription card but that hardly counts). The only thing accounting for the extra weight and bulk is the presence of 2 discs in a format I did not want. They are packaged with 1 BD and 1DVD in each volume-specific case so I can't even sell the Blueray discs.



Well...those are my first impressions. Sometime this week I'll have to watch it, but first I need to do Queens Blade and Hidemari Sketch reviews...the combination of which I fear might give me whiplash.

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Oh Drat

Next Year this time I plan to be in Japan sightseeing and doing interviews for a teaching job. I hope to start Next August (unlikely) or in January or April of 2013.


My cunning plan.....failed to take into account the march of technology.

Yes...boys and girls ...robot English teachers.
TIME magazine suggested the machines may threaten the jobs of some of the 20,000 to 30,000 foreign English teachers in Korea. It also named the robots one of the 50 best inventions of 2010.


BTW The existence of those two sentences in that order proves that TIME is staffed by dicks.

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Headline of the Decade

Blackberry Users Are More Important than iPhone or Android Users



Hah!


iPhone and Android users learn that they over-payed.

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Oh My!

RC Geekgasm!






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August 09, 2011

London Update

It doesn't look like its ended yet.
It's finally starting to illicit some coverage in the US and Drudge has a good chunk of his page  devoted to it as I type this.
More here, here and here.


Readers of Andy Janes' blog will be happy to know that has responded to an E-mail and is OK.

Update: Allan Harvey of Gorilla Daze is in the middle of it and reports "...the sky is full of smoke..." but he is safe and unhurt.

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Quick! Go to Zoopraxiscope

Don has discovered all sorts of wondrous things, including this gem.



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Usagi Drop

   Pulpjunkie provided me with the first episode of this show, which I had high hopes for. It met and rather exceeded those expectations.

Daikichi Kawachi, a thirtysomething Japanese bachelor attends his grandfather funeral. To his astonishment he learns that his grandfather had, 4 years prior, sired Rin, an illegitimate child...a blonde illegitimate child...who he had been raising after the mother abandoned her.

The extended family is utterly appalled by the little girls existence and want nothing to do with her. Despite there being families with kids present, everyone refuses to take the girl and the family meeting quickly becomes an excersize to determine who will get rid of the little girl as quickly as possible. 

Daikichi is sickened by the rough treatment the girl is getting and cannot abide the child being disowned and sent to an orphanage. So he adopts his aunt...thus begins the series.



This is a beautifully done show that highlights the best and worst of humanity.

Particularly jarring in the first episode is the disdain shown towards Rin, a child trying to comprehend the death of her father who she obviously loved very much. Despite this rather dark subject matter, the show manages to be both upbeat and quirky. The balance is pitch perfect. Daikichi is a bit out of his depth and hasn't quite thought this all the way through, (thus comedy) but he is a decent guy and this looks to be a really, really good show.

I highly recommend it.

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Crazy Day

Been Distracted.
The mosquitoes are abominable this year.
One of the dozens of bites my mom received over the last few days got infected, so she went into the hospital.
She's out now, the arm looks better and she's on antibiotics.

Oh, and my sister just informed me, I'm gonna have a niece.

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What is going on in London?

Its not getting much play on the news on this side of the pond as it's lost in the frenzy over the downgrade and ongoing market crash, but something is happening in the UK right now and it looks pretty bad.

From the Telegraph, a cut and paste of their ticker at 05:20 GMT.

Residents told to evacuate homes in Clapham Junction and Croydon
• Arson attacks in Birmingham and Liverpool.
• David Cameron to fly back to London overnight.
• Emergency COBRA meeting tomorrow - sources
Live map of the rioting
• Fires and looting in neighbourhoods across the capital
• Motorists attacked and pubs targetted in 'mass muggings'



More here and here.

What the hell!? It seems that this has been going on for three days and it's spreading, with at least Birmingham, Liverpool and Bristol experiencing the same.

I realize that there are distractions here, but the fact that our fiscal house is an unsustainable mess of a Ponzi scheme is not really news. The UK suddenly erupting in violence is.


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August 08, 2011

Suddenly

JAYWALKING!


Via (Seriously...Who else?)

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