September 07, 2017

Any Word About Ubu?

While people are preparing for the probable calamity that is Irma, it should be noted that one of those affected by the Harvey disaster has dropped off the radar. Though he rode out the storm and its initial aftermath well, the last we heard of Ubu, he was glad he didn't live in Beaumont. That was a week ago. Shortly after that, there was a report that parts of Houston were forcibly evacuated due to a dam breach. Shortly before that, news reports and Ubu's own blog indicated that he was at risk from fire ant's, chemical leaks, telemarketers, and alligators.


Has anyone heard anything? 

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This is one of those Black Swan's Isn't It?

This could have all kinds of political ramifications!





Image via the Daily Mail

For some reason, #10 Downing Street and Buckingham Palace have as yet declined to comment.  (VIA)


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September 06, 2017

Ewww




This is looking to be a very bad thing, especially, if, as expected, the thing peters out over Kentucky and the Virginia panhandle. Hurricane levels of rain on the towns in those mountains valleys will be a nightmare. Worse, a lot of the folks there don't have an appreciation of these storms, there may not be good flood maps to direct evacuations, and the topography makes evacuation something of a crap shoot except over very long distances. Furthermore, it is fiendishly difficult to predict exactly where one of these beasts will drop their rain. A lot of people may be caught in this. 

In other news, we may well loose the VAB

It looks like St. Martin got crushed. The governor of the U.S.V.I. was just on the news and mentioned that the damage is severe with the hospital on St. Thomas badly damaged. (It should be noted that he also went to great lengths to say that the widely reported story of his ordering the confiscation of everyone's guns in the territory is bogus.)

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September 05, 2017

Well Then...

The answer to the question "will they do more of these?" is yes. 


Pro-tip:
Never judge a society by its mean girls. 

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No!No!No!No!No!


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September 04, 2017

The "M" is for Monster

Irma ain't looking good. It appears to be taking the path of maximum mayhem through the islands and it's likely that somewhere between Corpus Christi and Nantucket, next week is going to utterly suck.







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Info Bleg

How DOES one embed a You Tube video cued up to a certain time?

Does anyone have any anime recommendations this season?

What Pad /Tablet would you recommend for non-gaming applications?

What is a frn and when is it invalid

(Note: Picture is unrelated to text of post)


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It is Not Entirely Clear When or Why They Dropped the "Don't" From Their Mission Statement

...but assuming it was ever really there in the first place, I imagine that the conversation between Larry Page and his underlings was something along these lines...




Yeah, I'm revisiting this, but it seems a topic of legitimate concern in light of yet more recent events and revelations

It's especially troubling given the nature of Google in the context of certain developments abroad...

 Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how "trustworthy” you are.

In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are – determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant – or even just get a date.

This is where we're heading, as soon as the party most in tune with the techweasels regains power, and when that happens I fear the yoke may be too heavy for society to throw off. 

Orwell, was writing cautionary tales, the tech giants see them as utopian fantasies. 

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Midterm Report Card

Concept A
Characterization A-
Basic Comprehension of American Superhero Comics A
Plot A
Screen Time for Frog Frau and Gadget Girl D-
Pathos B
Comprehension of What a Hero is A
Physics/Biology F*
Pacing C-


This has been a surprisingly good show, being Kohei Horikoshi's take on superheroes, specifically AMERICAN comic book superheroes, albeit in a Japanese setting and in a Shounen style of storytelling.

That last bit was a cause for some trepidation, especially as season two began with a  tournament fighting arc, which, in Japanese boys comics, is usually where interesting stories go to die. Fortunately, this show has thus far used such framing devices, not as filler, but as a way of providing venues for characterization of what is a fairly large cast. 

The breakneck pace of the first twelve episodes does slow considerably as much of the show's action is now taking place simultaneously in different locales and some events are told in a Rashomon style from different viewpoints. However, the story is continually moving along and most of the villians are actually quite interesting, several having interesting ( though admittedly warped) philosophical reasons for their mayhem. 

The Japanese storytelling techniques notwithstanding, this is a show that GETS the American superhero genre in a way that American superhero comics often don't anymore. Most notably it appears to be a disquisition of the nature of heroism. At least three of the characters are pointedly reflective of some of the more obnoxiously nihilistic 'Iron Age' tropes, not in homage to those ideas, but in mockery of them.  The number one hero of the universe, a pivotal, but largely background character named All Might, is a VERY American superhero combining the best aspects of Captain America and Superman. Powerful and idealistic, All Might is an astounding beacon of strength and sincerity...
IN A WORLD 
...where superheroes are basically licensed mercenaries . 

You see, some years prior,  superpowers spread like a disease through the general population granting over 99% of humanity "quirks" which range from the useless to the dangerous. Superheroes are, perhaps surprisingly, not passe' since the criminal element is similarly blessed. Superheroing is somewhat akin to private security firms, licenses and bonding are required and they work closely with the police (many have product endorsement side gigs based on their social media presence). One way to get a license is to go to an accredited superhero college...This is the goal of one Izuku Midoriya, who has, since a young age dreamed of being a superhero. There's just one problem, as the show starts he is revealed to be one of the infinitesimally small number of people with no quirk at all. 

The main characters are for the most part quite likeable and (generally) idealistic, though perhaps not quite as much as they think they are, heroism being more than a career path or physical strength (as they are finding out). Interestingly, even some whose goals seem at first glance to be cynical are pursuing them for noble reasons. This is really, well done.



This series is a shonen show, and all that implies, but it is an outlier of its genre in a most positive way. I am enjoying this series immensely more than I have any right to be right now. 


* This is as it should be.

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Eromanga Sensei Ends

Actually, Eromanga Sensei ended some time ago, but I only just finished it as shortly after watching the first few I had developed a nagging fear that it was going to be horrible. 




Fortunately it was merely offensive. 



Sometimes exuberantly so....



The show did not conclude, it merely stopped, though there was continuous, if unsteady character development throughout. It remained enjoyably silly till the end. On the debit side, it kind of jumped the shark when the second female author entered out of left field. More disappointing was that her arrival made the series an actual harem show (which it had not quite been up till that point). Still, it was cute and generally funny. It also had a lot to say about the creative process, but it really said all it had to say in the first 8 episodes, and it was pretty much fan service after that.


 and crossovers...with troubling implications.

Some of the characters, particularly those introduced later, appear to have been conceived by rolling dice and referencing an NPC encounter table, but I must say that Elf Yamada is one of the better characters in recent years, having surprising depth and complexity for an utter loon. The show did not live up to its early promise as it spent the last third checking off every trope box on the harem show bucket list as if to apologize for the quirky and touching first part. Disturbingly, this may imply other...issues...with the plot. 

It's still cute and funny overall, but nowhere near what it could have been.
(Or was.)



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Lost in Translation

So, in an attempt to mitigate simultaneous afflictions of boredom and writers block, I went and watched the Japanese dub of RWBY which is currently streaming on Crunchyroll. 


Wow.

This interpretation has a truly bizarre series of editorial choices. Some, like  the almost complete omission of the JNPR story elements one can almost get one's head around. Others, like severely cutting the fight scenes (removing most of the cute character bits and even some of the better choreography) are completely inexplicable.

To be fair, the very odd Jaune Arc...er...arc in the first season was indeed a dumpster fire of a subplot (until the end), but it clearly established why Jaune appeared to be a few islets of brilliance in a sea of derpitude. 

Along with Weiss, Jaune is one of the characters who has come the farthest in overcoming personal shortcomings, and without this backstory, his later development (especially in season 4) is not going to have anything like the same impact.  That whole arc as well as the other excised footage also developed Phyrra's character, establishing her both as 'the pro from Dover' and as a mentor to many of the other characters, particularly Ruby. The whole notion that JNPR are genuinely significant to the story is lost, as are several things that seemed to be random, throwaway bits, but were, in fact important foreshadowing. This can't help but hurt the show later. Indeed, one of the best and most consequential conversations in the series, (Ruby's "Nope" speech from season one) is completely omitted.



Way more important than we initially thought.

The voice work is off as well. However, it's not that the voice acting is bad per se (it's not) but rather that the characters are voiced as straight up versions of their respective (assumed) archtypes. To my surprise though, the guy they got to play Oobleck nails it. 

I'm not sure, but they may have cut as much as 45 minutes out of the show as of the middle of season three, much of it, as is noted above, fairly consequential to the later plot. 

This brings back memories of my youth in anime fandom when everyone was griping about how edits by the American rights holders would almost inevitably gut the impact of or destroy the cohesiveness of the plots of anime brought to the U.S.

Well, it's not just American distributors that do that...

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