October 10, 2007
Somehow I missed the recent (9/21/07 isn't exactly recent) release of AMV Hell 4. I can see my cable modem is going to be busy tonight (*ahem* after work of course).
If it's half as funny as the AMV H3, I'm gonna have a hard time breathing.
October 08, 2007
I commited a second cardinal sin. Unbeknownst to me, one of our group is that person who flips to the last page when starting a book. I made the mistake of supplying Miss Last-Page with links to the various Wikipedia pages for the shows in the hopper. I was very clear up front that the links were for after viewing.
I hit Haibane's wiki page to assess the potential damage and discovered that it is at least somewhat thin on plot details. Tragedy not quite averted, but it wasn't a complete loss.
Alright, so we're starting into the hot and heavy of Haibane Renmei at this point: episodes 8-13. People are disappearing, others are getting sick, and back stories are filling in.
I did help out a little with pointing out times during the show that deserve special attention to detail.
At the end of the show, at least one person had come to the prevailing conclusion about what Glie could represent. I did what I could to fill in the gaps with observations based on my multiple viewings of the show and left them all to stew on the show.
I'll find out what they really all thought about it this next week.
Oh, and to pad out the schedule at the end, we watched the first two episodes of Tenchi Muyo OVA 1. It makes for easy fluff to kill time before everyone is present, or afterward if some people have to leave early.
Next week we start into some solid sci-fi / space opera with Crest of the Stars.
So a couple friends expressed an interest in getting back to an old (thought rather sporadic) tradition of getting to gether to watch anime. We managed it a handful of time back in college, but it was always a hassle to get everybody in one place at one time so no one fell behind.
College days are long gone, and a measure of stability has settled in.
So now we're back on something resembling a schedule. Tuesday nights, I put a hojillion miles on my truck and we watch anime.
I get to be the pusher. I have the stash so to speak. I make suggestions, recommend genres, and generally try to guide them toward shows in an ordet that makes sense.
So what do they decide they have to watch the first week (9/25) out of the gate? Haibane Renmei.
It was my fault really. I shouldn't have even taken it along. When the semi-angelic girl on the cover caught their eyes, I refused to say anything about the plot, other than that it is very good, and very very different. That sold them apparently. I tried rather weakly to guide them in another direction until they'd seen a few other things. But they insisted that they wanted to see it, so I obliged.
Week one, we got through the first 7 episodes with only a few raised eyebrows and glazed eyes. Confusion was running rampant, but I kept insisting that, while not everything would be explained before the end, it would start making sense about five hours after the last episode.
The general concensus was a tentative thumbs up, unless of course the ending royally pissed them off.
October 04, 2007
Foul language welcome.
I'm trying to stick to the natural colors you see in the banner images.
And while I'm on the subject, I haven't been able to get the custom color pop-ups working right. I'd really rather the posting area were more tan/brown than it currently is. It's dangerously close to pink for my taste.
This was what I had to say about Haibane Renmei back in May of '05. Much of it is dated, but that has a lot to do with living conditions at the time, and there are a few things I'll need to append when I have a second.
Thank you sir for pointing this one out to me. I finished up volume 4 last night and have been letting things percolate since then.
Haibane Renmei is one of those shows that will leave you all warm and fuzzy, unless it doesn't. That sentence makes more sense once you've seen the whole show. If you're the kind of person who's a perpetual optimist, you'll no doubt be brimming with tears of joy at the beauty of salvation and redemption. If you're a cynic who tends to assume the worst, the open ending and loads of unanswered questions will likely leave you a little cold, but still with the sense that you've seen something special. Me, I'm switching back and forth between the two because I've got some sort of weird bi-polar pessimist disorder. Either way, it's a wonderful experience.
Below be spoilers where I will wax rhapsodic and bloviate on various things that come to mind. Read at your own risk.
No seriously... If you haven't seen it, stop here and find something else to read. There's a whole Intraweb of info out there just waiting for you. Come back when you've seen the show in its entirety.
September 24, 2007
A great many moons ago (I can't even find the post now) Kim du Toit described himself as an "Angry Man." He didn't mean he just flew off the rails at any little thing. He was talking about a deep-seated anger and frustration at what he saw going on around him. (again, I'm paraphrasing from memory here, but if anybody can find the original essay/post, you'll receive a free web-cookie).
What angered him was the slow and seemingly unstoppable assault on and decay of Western Civilization from forces both foreign and domestic. Individual rights and rational thought giving way to collectivism and emotional thinking. While Bill Whittle represents the Western Optimist, Kim can come across as the Western Pessimist. They're both right in some ways, and both points of view are valuable additions to on-going public debate.
Zetsubou Sensei is a caricature of a home-grown Japanese "Angry Man." His over-the-top rants on the decay of society around him are always followed up by, "I'm in Despair!" and a melodramatic suicide attempt. He's an old fashioned man in a world changing so rapidly that nothing ever gets a foothold into the culture long enough to become anything like permanent.
It's hard not to wonder what message the manga author was trying to send with this character. Does he agree philosophically with Zetsubou? Minus the despair and suicidal tendencies of course. Or is he satirizing those in Japan who may think like Zetsubou?
The rest of the characters could be looked at as critiques on other developments/aspects in Japanese society: hikikomori, xenophobia, etc. There's meat here for a lot of heavy analysis, but the show's mission to deliver laughs means playing up the stereotypes and amping up the ridulousness.
It's an intriguing show, whether it's meant to be taken seriously or not.
September 16, 2007
I first read about it here.
I wasn't much of a recreational reader until a friend handed me The Eye of the World in college. Ever since then, I've probably read more books in the last six years than all the years previous.
It's sad to hear that he's passed. From what I understand, he'd had the ending of the Wheel of Time series planned out long before ever typing a word. He's supposedly been dictating much of the plot and outline to people, so it sounds like the last book in the series may yet happen. He also spoke of some potential short stories to be sprinkled throughout the chronology later, but those are not going to happen now.
I wonder if he felt regret at not finishing it himself? His books touched a great many people, more than any author could really hope to. I'm certain that that's what he'll be taking with him, not any regret over a few untyped words. Sometimes the best endings are those left to the imagination.
I've been in my current job for 5 1/2 years. Well, I can't exactly say that.
I started at this place in Jan. 2002 while I was still in school. At that time, I was only the part-time "intern." They liked to sound big by calling me that, but really I was just a part-timer. I held that position for three years while I chipped away at my engineering degree.
A little over a month before graduation in Dec. 05, in the middle of trying to finish up my senior design project, both of my bosses left the company. ( I was passed back and forth between two departments as need arose.) One was fired just a week after the other put in his two weeks. I was very quickly thrust into doing the work of three people at the worst possible time.
The replacement for the fired boss had been lined up and arrived the day after the firing, but it took a couple months before he was anything like up to speed. I was still checking his work 4 months later.
The other boss that quit caught the company completely off guard, and they had to scramble to find a replacement. Their first attempt at replacing him was a complete failure. The new guy would nip out for "smoke breaks" to the van he basically lived in after moving from Oklahoma, and he would come back smelling quite strongly of alcohol. It doesn't help that he royally screwed up a big project, and I had to step in and do it all over again from scratch. He didn't last a month.
That position was technically empty for the next 5 months while I held it provisionally. In about April of 06, the head-guy at our plant asked me if I wanted the job. I didn't really. I had applied for JET before graduating, and I was pretty confident I would be accepted. But the news came back negative in late February, and I had made the horrible mistake of not having a backup plan in place. Also, in all the chaos after the first two guys left, there was a months-long process of all the other experienced people I'd grown up working with leaving as well. I was basically drifting at the time I was asked, so I accepted the job.
Ever since then, it's been one miserable day after another. I spent most of 2006 helping new people get trained rather than doing my job, and the turnover has been abysmal.
Things seemed to calm down in early 2007, but in the last month, three more people were let go. Two I can't say I'm sad to see go, but they at least seemed to be able to do their jobs. The third was just ridiculous.
I'm done being ignored when I point out problems. I'm done being ignored when the answers I give aren't what they want to hear. And I'm done dealing with ownership dedicated to un-fettered growth by squeezing blood from stones.
I've been recruited by a better outfit, and I'm gone.
August 30, 2007
When I comment in Minx from work, the ip hash always comes back as "sox9v", and from home it was always "ols40". Now my home ip is generating a different hash. I can't think of anything that would cause/require my home ip to change. From what I understood, the ip on a cable connection should be static.
It's not any big deal, just unexpected.
August 29, 2007
At least it sucks when you're shopping in a real estate market that's suffering the aftershocks of hyper inflation.
Four years ago you could have got yourself into a nearly-new suburban track-home for under 200k. Then the market went on a bat-shit crazy binge for a couple years.
At the height of the boom, you'd be in a bidding war for that same house for all of 15 minutes before it sold to some jackass investor out of LA for 310k. They all expected to sit on the property for a month or two, maybe a year, and flip it for another 50k or more. The bubble burst and now there's a couple dozen foreclosures a week because people bought up property they couldn't afford long-term.
All these newly bank-owned properties are flooding the market, but the banks being what they are, refuse to loose money on these deals. Houses that should rightfully be below 200k are still being held up by stubborn banks for what's still owed on them. (In one case in particular, I saw a bank list a pretty rundown house on the MLS at price of 210k, but finally dropped it to 180k.They rejected three offers for that lower price, then promptly jacked the price back up $12,000.) In the mean time, interest rates took off in May and June and haven't really relaxed.
When I decided it was time to get myself into a house back in March, things didn't look so bad. Interest rates were ok, but the prices hadn't yet dropped into my wheel-house. It may just be my perception, but prices seem to have flattened right about the time the interest rates bumped.
In the mean time, I allowed the lease on my apartment to expire and convert to month-to-month. I didn't plan on this taking so damned long. So I'm paying pretty close to what a cheap mortgage would be as it is.
Speculating investors and realtors have fucking destroyed the AZ real estate market, screwing those of us who actually want to live and work here.
August 23, 2007
Really good shoes.
The best way to make a trip to Vegas almost miserable?
Spend the weekend following your group of friends from place to place to place, not really doing anything.
In utility boots.
At least the hotel was nice.
Don't adjust your screen. We weren't actually on Mars. The camera in my very expensive cellphone just sucks that much. Between the poor resolution and the retarded automatic color correction, I hardly bother with using the camera function anymore.
And the amount of City Center construction going on along the Strip is absolutely ridiculous. If you were to turn 90º to the right from the picture above, you would see a massive hole in the earth from which burst a rectangular beast of steel, concrete, and wiring. We had the misfortune of being placed in rooms that faced the new iron monstrosity, and the construction had all of us up far too early on Saturday morning.
August 16, 2007
So, there's a Vegas trip coming up in my distant future. I hit Google Maps to figure out how to get to the hotel when what did I see in the satellite view but this odd looking set of buildings. From closer to the ground you get an entirely different view (and a hefty price tag).
It's called Turnberry Place, and whoever assembled the overhead shot for Google's database managed to turn four fairly normal highrises into a Dali-esqe image of leaning towers and nonsensical shadows. Though, it would be more fun to live in that way.
August 14, 2007
Xenoglossia is turning out to be far better than it has any right to be. The betrayal staged in episodes 17 and 18 was particularly well constructed, and it made me both angry and not a little bit amazed at the character's ability to stay so inconspicuous (and dedicated as well).
There's still so much left unexplained that it's hard to guess where the plot is going, but I don't get the feeling they're going to pull any Eva style metaphysical nonsense, so it's at least got that going for it.
August 13, 2007
You hear me? The last straw!
It's time to join Ducks Unlimited!
August 09, 2007
I can't imagine how you would even practice a landing at this airport.
Whatever they're paying that guy, it doesn't seem enough.
August 01, 2007
And he's not above bludgeoning you over the head with that for an entire novel either.
Or words to that effect.
A friend loaned me the first 8 books of the Sword of Truth, and while I was having some serious Robert Jordan deja vu for the first two books, once he set his teeth into the conflict with the Order, I began to finally feel like I was in new territory.
Then he decides he's gonna turn modern-day George Orwell for a novel. And while I agree with the sentiment, it's the ham-fisted execution that had me groaning every couple pages.
Hopefully he got it out of his system. Pillars of Creation has started out pretty slow, but it's interesting to see that he brought back Chekov's Siblings.
July 28, 2007
July 27, 2007
Two local TV stations (3 & 15) just had their helicopters crash into one another during a slow-speed chase.
July 25, 2007
It's been one of those days where I just keep getting things stuck in my head.
There's no sense in not sharing.
Little language warning in the second one.
The CBC has made a sitcom called "Little Mosque on the Prairie."
Read the full plot outline.
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