May 26, 2013

Remember

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First World Problems


My computer's been clunky lately and Thursday morning when I got home from work, the only thing that displayed on the screen was a folder labeled with a question mark.

Having no patience for such introspection from a very expensive appliance, I attempted various Mac-specific fixes to no avail. I dropped it off at Mac Specialists on the way to check on my Mom (who was in the hospital getting her Gall Bladder removed).  Friday I was informed that the hard drive is shot. Fortunately, it was still under warranty from the time it got repaired after being struck by lightning. I should get it back late next week.

In the interim, Kuroi, my netbook with the tiny keyboard, has been crashing with demoralizing regularity. Last night I had a friend look at it and discovered that MacAfee was dueling with the Norton  that was bundled with the machine but was ostensibly never activated.

It's slow and I can't do frame grabs with this set-up, but I can actually poke about online for the first time since Wednesday night.

In other news, after a brief scare where she tried to pick up her grandaughter and opened herself up,  Mom is doing much better, though it is a chore to keep her from lifting anything.

Dad goes under the knife in two weeks for a hernia operation. I'll be super mister butler man for six weeks thereafter, so I' withdrew (early enough for a refund) from the two summer classes I was taking. I may take them in one of the later summer sessions.

Anyway,  as compensation for having sat through that banality bombardment, here is Kem Kem's rendering of 'Rei' Yamamoto, from Yamato 2199..


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May 21, 2013

OK. Here Is The Real Scoop on This Story

The story going around with this pic is that some HOA would not let a fellow fly an American flag  and this was his response...



Now HOAs  are a pernicious blight upon our civilization and and those that run them and think they are swell are bad and should feel bad.  Thus there is a lot to like about this story. However, this story breaks down upon the slightest thought. The quidnuncs that form Home Owners Associations are going to have as one of their first despicable acts, strict rules on what colors their victims can paint their houses. Thus this made little sense unless the fellow was just going whole hog in an effort to stick his thumb in their eye.



It turns out after 2 minutes of image searching that this is actually a dispute with a local historical society. Historical societies that enforce repair regulations are like HOAs with government sanction so this is actually even a better story than the fake (assuming Captain America here doesn't end up in jail).

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Footprints of a Monster

I got this grim but interesting image from The Daily Mail, which has some amazing and very sad pictures.of the tornado damage in Oklahoma and Kansas.



It's bad....and there are more storms on the way.
more...

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May 20, 2013

Ubu Roi (Bumped)

Anime Blogger Ubu Roi has had a rough year.


A completely accurate rendering of Ubu in a top hat and parachute*.

Ubu is steadily progressing though, and he has advanced up the tiers of Hell from STROKE to SPINAL INJURY.

Note that this is still, as our Dear Leader would say, "sub-optiomal". 

Today he finds out if he has to go down one level to BACK SURGERY so send him your good wishes. Oh, and prayers are not to be disincentivised.

If I'm not the only one unable to comment there please feel free leave your words of encouragement here.

UPDATE: He will require spinal surgery (ugh).

*and wig and shawl and dress and freaky-deaky anime mask.

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A Bad Day

...to be on Oklahoma or Kansas.



Witchita TV station gets hit


It looks like it just missed Don.


UPDATE:
 It's bad.
It's REALLY really bad.

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May 19, 2013

Gargantia Episode 7

In this episode we learn a few things.
Though its area has been reduced considerably by the grinding and pressure the now thawed global glaciers exerted as well as the rising sea levels of the now completely melted icecaps, there IS dry land...just not much.


Note the chart behind Ridget

We find out who the staff are that surround Ferrock most of the time. They are the leaders of the three other major fleets that have signed contracts to join with Gargantia. They signed a renewable contract submitting their external affairs to Gargantia, acknowledging the associated policies and the fact that Ferrock is in overall charge but they directly run their own fleets.



We find out that Whale Squid are held in high esteem by the populace of Gargantia and attacking them is considered a faux pas on the order of killing an albatross and is sufficiently bad luck to have anyone that does it risk becoming a pariah.

If you saw the last episode you can probably guess how we found that out......oops.

We learned some other things too....



Wow.

What's neat about this is that there don't seem to be any real villains. Even Pinyon's motivations while certainly ambitious are not entirely without merit. If the ruins/wreckage pan out then it could indeed be a boon for all humanity. Ledo is actually trying to save everyone and Ferrock and Ridget have perfectly reasonable reasons to doubt him.


It does raise some questions:


This is a very well thought out story so far.  I'm really, really enjoying this show.
more...

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Episode7 Attack on Titan

After the horror and flashback to yet more horror in the previous two episodes this one begins with a somewhat upbeat revelation...As far as is known there were no civilians eaten by the giants! Everyone made it through the gates before they were closed except the soldiers fighting the delaying action. The military, however has suffered mightily and as the episode begins Mikasa is going back to rejoin her friends  and assist in the survivors in an orderly retreat.  She arrives to find Sasha Potato Girl trying to rally a bunch of thoroughly demoralized troops, which include Armin.


And then,  Mikasa's eyes...just sort of die.



I must say this about the artists in this show. They really have the portrayal of dead, soulless eye's down pat.




I mean they've nailed it. The stills don't quite do the effect of this justice. While not particularly graphic the dead thousand yard stares in this episode are haunting in a way that really stays with you.



This episode ends with our protagonists pretty much in the same position as when it began, but a lot happened in between their making little progress. This battle is in it's third episode, and yet it doesn't seem to be dragging yet....which is unusual.

Mikasa had a moment of introspection that was interesting in that it had two aspects. On the one hand she determined that she is not going to give in to despair and she will fight to the bitter end. This is pretty straightforward and while well stated and inspiring it's not really unusual. What was unusual was the other thing she concluded. She reflected upon the fact that she's in a defacto leadership position and reflects on how this entails a good deal of DOWNWARD s well as upward loyalty.

 Mikasa has been portrayed throughout the show as a very decent person, but she really does grow in this episode even as she dies on the inside. There aren't many shows where this has come to the fore and off the top of my head I can think of only three other fictional fantasy female leaders who have had this virtue. Meia Gisbourne and the Captain in Van Dread, and to a slightly lesser extent Bellows in Gargantia.  This may not be a focus of the series but it is was refreshing to see this ethical point addressed.

There was also plenty of dystopic horror, and gruesomely gruesome gruesomeness, so the show hasn't had a sudden shift in tone...it's still hard to watch. But it remains intelligent and I note that nothing in this show has been extraneous...so that crazy ass giant means something.



Also, for those who've been watching the show : what happened to the key?

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May 18, 2013

The March of Technology

I don't know WHERE I got this. It was in my unsorted .gif folder.
It's interesting though as it does show how music media evolved over 27 years and how fast the changes became in the 2000s.


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The Visible Effects of Bird Flu in Hong Kong

Golly! I wasn't expecting THAT.



Via Wonderduck
...who probably needs your condolences right now.

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Oh...and Another Thing...

On a purely speculative note. Regards the last post,  I was....


"You were putting the politics below the fold!"

...I..
YES!
...I was just putting this post below the fold.
more...

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May 16, 2013

The Dam Bursts (Updated)

So...
I have some friends on Twitter who wonder "What's the big deal?" "Why RU so upset? H8er!!!" I have one friend who wrote in Davros in the last election...because he couldn't see any difference.
140 characters is not enough to explain anything involving complexity,
so for them I'll go point by point to the best of my abi....what?


"PoliTIIIIIIICCSSSS!" "Oh GOD! MAKE HER STOP" "Put it below the fold PLEASE!"

Oh right...
Sorry...
Below the fold it goes!
more...

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A Catastrophic Spelling Mishap

Not long ago I was reading thread on a naval history forum that discussed a proposal by the German Navy to use their Biber midget submarines in the Mediterranean Sea as well as for local defense. Attacks were contemplated on Alexandria as well as some other North African harbors.

Unfortunately the thread initiator made an error which rather derailed the thread....

...and caused this to happen.
more...

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May 15, 2013

Attack on Nendroid

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Well This Was Surprising



Surprises:
Attack on Titan has lots of them,. Gargantia on the Verduous Planet has surprises too, but they are usually of an entirely different sort....
more...

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May 13, 2013

Attack on Titan (Updated)




One day, long ago, the world ended.
Huge giants just showed up and started...eating people. This seems to have coincided with a near complete technological collapse as society is now sporting renaissance era tech.

Society, furthermore now consists of a walled area of Europe that looks to be a bit smaller than Andorra. The walls, over 150 feet high seem impervious to the giants. As a hedge, there have been built two secondary walls protecting progressively smaller areas. For 100 years there have been no breaches and humanity has developed a sort of pleasant if neurotic normalcy within its' prison.

Within this womb of denial reside these three young misfits. Left to right we have...


Not Pictured: The high-octane-nightmare-fuel they are witnessing.

  Armin, a bookish nerd who dreams of seeing the outside world.This heretical notion as well as his socially unacceptable belief that humanity is becoming too complacent about its tenuous hold on existence gets him beat up a lot. Fortunately for his longevity he is friends with...
  Erun, an athletic young man, who excels at fisticuffs and hangs out with the wrong sort of people (see above). As a result of this antisocial influence he has read the forbidden geography book Armin has squirreled away and dreams of seeing the ocean. When he gets old enough, he wants to join the Reconnaissance forces and explore the outside world. His parents do not approve, as the recon forces have a horriffic attrition rate. He's something of a hothead with a bit more idealism than sense. fortunately this is often tempered by his close proximity to...
  Mikasa, an orphan who is his adopted sister. Her parents were refugees from some mysterious, far away land called "Asia" so naturally, this being anime, she is cool as a cucumber and good at everything.  Having suffered through great loss, she does NOT want to loose her adoptive family and she strives to assist in extricating Erun from his many self-inflicted challenges with a fervor that borders on co-dependency.

Well, as you can see from the expressions on our protagonists faces, in the course of the first episode things go downright pear shaped. 


 Attack on Titan actually has had quite a bit to say about the dangers of complacency,  the utter contempt ruling elites can develop for those in the hinterlands, the necessity of freedom in healthy human development and the cancerous rot that results from its absence...and it often says them in the most graphically unsettling ways possible.

This show has has some extraordinarily disturbing visuals. If it were a live action film it might get an NC-17 rating. There is just something nightmarish on a primal level about people being eaten by big, naked, implacable giants that look like otaku.
Actually, nightmarish doesn't begin to describe it.

This is a gut wrenching show and difficult to watch but it is actually pretty interesting.
With a  structure, that evolves into something very much like a war story, it successfully captures the horror and dread of going into combat in a way that few shows have. The show is full of surprises and there's already been some decent character development. I do like the fact that Erun, while very much a shonen lead arch-type is NOT possessed of some awesome power and is not really the best at anything...getting by instead on his wits and tenacity. 



Be advised that Attack on Titan does not shirk from showing women perishing in combat with all the same gruesomeness as the men.  However, the series has several likeable and strong female characters, including Potato Girl here.


"Why yes. My name actually IS Potato Girl. You gotta problem with that?"

5 episodes in the show has really caught my interest and has a lot of potential. I intend to keep watching in the hope it lives up to it. I'm certainly looking forward to episode 6 because episode 5 seems to be taking the show in a very unusual direction.....
.No really...I GOTTA SEE EPISODE SIX!

Unfortunately, as I type this Crunchyroll has announced that...
Due to a materials delay, episode 6 will be delayed


Ghaa!

UPDATE: Well they finally showed number 6.
That was downright Wheadonesque.
This show is brutal but it is genuinely surprising me. At this point things have progressed so far that a more detailed & spoileriffic summary is really needed to discuss the show.


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May 11, 2013

Tankery in the US



Also this fellow who brought an M-5 Stuart to a pumpkin shoot.


Sadly, there were no 37mm pumpkins available, so he lost.

There's a fellow out past Zuni who has a Stuart that is apparently road (but not highway) legal, though that legality may be dependent on rural exemptions for farm equipment. . There's another Stuart in Crewe in front of the firehouse that at least for a time was hooked up to a radar gun and would train it's 37mm on and track speeding cars.


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Tankery in the UK

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Did I Think That, or Did I Post That?

Due to the unanticipated cram session, aside from a brief nap in the car, I got no sleep from Sunday morning until Tuesday. Tuesday night my attempt at sleep was thwarted by the vast quantities of espressos and other caffeine delivery methods I'd partaken of over the previous days. Wednesday, I had to work late, had niece duty and caught up on current events...which, along with lingering caffeine had me staring at the ceiling in dread after I went to bed. Thursday, I took all manner of caffeine to keep from falling asleep on the way to work which kept me up most of that night as well. By yesterday I was punchy and stupid but too wired to sleep. Various chores and errands as well as an ill-conceived desire to celebrate my matriculation kept me up till a bit after 11pm by which time I think I'd had less than 5 hours of sleep all week.

I woke up today at quarter to noon.
Ahhhhh....Sleeep.
Everything looks more colorful now.
I felt so much better as I drank my coffee and pondered my day...except for this silly nagging fear that....(checks SENT folder) .
..oh %$#!
...oh dear.
..Yes indeed.


" I actually DID send that E-mail. "

Oh well....

I'll just crawl under the bed and die.

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May 10, 2013

Ray Harryhausen

Ray Harryhausen died Tuesday in London aged 92. He was a genius who really helped to perfect the stop motion techniques pioneered by his mentor Willis O'Brien.

In 1953 he did an expanded adaptation of Ray Bradbury's short story "The Foghorn" which became The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. That film spawned the whole giant atomic monster genre of the 1950's including a Japanes film that was in some ways a re-imagining of the Harryhausen film...I seem to recall it began with a "G".

Harryhausen brought much magic to the screen in a series of modestly budgeted but exquisitely produced films in the the 50's and '60s, and was still doing effects work into the early '80s.


He did a tremendous amount to popularize fantasy films. His creations were top flight effects in their day and even now can be remarkably effective. 

He also had a reputation for being a perfect gentleman at conventions. Another of the greats has left us. He will be missed.

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