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|Thursday, June 17th, 2010|
Machines can keep you breathing but what happens when you find a new war's begun?
I thought of something that would make a neat post earlier today, but subsequent thoughts annihilated it from my recollection. I hate it when that happens.
So, on a completely unrelated note... I've known for some time that there's something of a anti-female bias in a lot of shounen anime. But it stands out a lot more than it used to since 2009 to me. Why? Well, a friend and I were watching a variety of shows and we happened to notice they all had female protagonists. Subsequently, because I like continuing patterns, we kept the theme for the year. Then one goes back to say, Bleach, and realizes that, as cool as it is, the women get pushed out of being as awesome as they could be. Just compare Ulqiorra's released duel with Hallibel's. Of course, other series, like Naruto are worse. But then many are much better. Martian Successor Nadesico may be partially a romantic comedy but it's also a deadly serious mecha show at times and the women in it are all competent.
For the curious the shows watched in Summer 2009- summer 2010 with said friend were:
Revolutionary Girl Utena (his third time through, his brother's second, my... fourth or fifth all the way through but I've seen the first third of the show at least nine times now)
El Cazador De La Brujah
Sora o Kakeru Shojo
Serial Experiments Lain
Ni X Ni No Shinobuden (AKA Ninja Nonsense)
part of Madlax (which was just not well made enough to finish)
And it feels like there was at least one more, but I'm pretty sure Noir and Gokujou Seikotai and Princess Tutu were all previous years.
Oh, I also showed him and his brother Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons four and five, so that's got a female protagonist.
Now that it's a new year, I'm showing him Berserk for a change of pace and some refreshing brutality.
Does anyone else think Griffith is Sephiroth?
|Friday, June 11th, 2010|
This city's sleeping like a soldier trapped inside of an iron lung.
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is oddly enjoyable. I say oddly because it isn't as good as Princess Tutu or Jubei-Chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch but it's also completely lacking in the underlying madness that helps set those two apart from traditional magical girl shows (Tutu in particular has insanity literally lurking beneath the surface of it's plot while Jubei-Chan is more slapstick and has lovely fight scenes, particularly in season two).
On the other hand, the characterization is solid and fight scenes are both common and lovingly done while the schmaltzy themes are not overplayed as they so often are in such things. High powered magical battles make everything more enjoyable, after all.
|Saturday, June 5th, 2010|
|So come on, come on, just open your mouths and revive it.
Therion's a good band but they can be fairly obscure.
For example, I have no problems following Blood of Kingu, because I happen to be familiar with Babylonian mythology: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3vT9pGOIKA
Collect the blood of Kingu from the great old sea
And Arrogate the primeval waters
Inside your veins the power of the demon flow
Have you ever searched for your descent?
Gaze into your soul, we are the children of the ancient ones
On the thin facade we are the kindred of the benign gods
Take up and read the tables of your destiny
they hang around the neck of Kingu
Prepare the war between gods deep inside your soul
You are the one to fight in this war!
March for war in your soul. Hail!
Demon Kingu rise, rise, rise from the void. Hail!
Kingu rules the honred dragons, Ugallu, fishmen,
Mushussu, umu, bulls, frogs, scorpions, dogs... Kingu rules the void!
Kingu is the blood of man drawn off from this early waren
In your veins you find the strength from the demon's heritage
Chaotic waters covered every part of earth
The old gods split it like shellfish
But in the shells the blood of chaos still remain
Mother Habur suckle her children
[repeat pre-chorus & chorus]
Kingu, general of the host of chaos, fighting for Tiamat; Bearer of sky and earth
Kingu, the mighty master ruling eleven demons
Kingu, your blood is running insinde the heart of mankind
The ancient demon, they will return...
The blood of Kingu... their open gate
But another enjoyable piece, Trul, mystifies even me to a large extent:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVeFPeFwpVw
If you run in the track of wolves you're entering Trul
A land beyond the Shepherds grove in the depth of night
Do you understand?
Runes expelled from the world of God, (runes) with demons and trolls
(They will) push you down with the trident fork, (the) four stave rage of man
Wolves are going to hunt the shepherds flock and tear them apart
Bear the sign of the beasts of Trul, (the) four stave rage of man
This seems somewhat Norse, but I actually have a minor familiarity with Viking runes and don't recognize the term Trul for any of them. It might also be a mystical land but not one I can find mention of anywhere online.
|Friday, May 28th, 2010|
|There's loss and there's silence and sadness.
Just... That. Thanks for alerting me, penny arcade!
I take back what I said, "there's worse things than death here" should have been THIS entry title.
|Tuesday, May 25th, 2010|
There's worse things than death here.
I do so love the Protomen.
Although, perhaps this title would have been more appropriate to my last entry, alas and alack. (Although, alas and alack, alternatively appropriate aptness is ascribed to my last entry).
Bleh, lost my cellphone. The company's shipping me a new one but the handy contacts feature means I have hardly anyone's actual numbers memorized and I'll have to go collect people's again... which will be hard without calling some of them. Plus I lost that nice picture of the last ex-girlfriend.
I had to spend forever listening to the company's dreck and insanely complex return plans to get a new one (which turned out to be an 'upgrade' since that was cheaper than just replacing the thing, one of many weird quirks I was forced to deal with).
The new one has a excruciatingly tiny little qwerty keyboard, but it does store MP3s and has a touch screen, so I suppose that's okay. The old one had bigger buttons (non-qwerty but I don't text except for a brief period where said ex-girlfriend was texting me all the time).
It took more than forty minutes and two tries to get all the details worked out, but at least it's over with. I hope.
|Tuesday, May 18th, 2010|
This city... she's been dead for years now... for years now.
So, a brief entry dealing with prejuidice in HP Lovecraft as I'm reading another one of the 'inspired by' collections of short stories he's spawned over the years.
People often remark that there's some misogyny and some prejudice against those not of anglo-white origins. I didn't notice this when I started reading him and I wondered why. The answers were pretty simple: When it comes to women, they're generally more conspicuous by their absence than any massive negative generalizations. For me, at least, it's a lot harder to notice things not being there than being there wrongly. And that's a small enough amount of prejudice to be forgiven when it's happening eighty some odd years ago, I think.
But the interesting thing is the idea that he was prejudiced against foreign cultures and people. In his stories, they are often aligned with the Mythos and thus it's warping influence leaves them marked and unnattractive. At least to normal humans. But, here's the thing. In HPL, the normal society and culture his protagonist are from is WRONG. It's a vulnerable sham that doesn't really protect anyone from anything, except the full despair of knowledge. It's not really the foreigners that are flawed, it's the English/American culture, it's Western reason and civilization that are meaningless. Those savages? They're the ones who really understand the world and the ones most likely to prosper (or suffer least) under the coming changes. So, his protagonists may be well-educated and white but they generally end up shattered wrecks or dying horribly, whereas those of other backgrounds may well be victorious (if only in revenging themselves). So, it never twigged to me that, despite the occasional insulting language from people who were going to end up despairing over their own ability to face reality, that there was any kind of pro-white bias here, because it looked a lot like the opposite.
I'd rather be the one making deals with monsters and winning than the one living in a dream world that shatters on the rocks of reality.
|Tuesday, May 11th, 2010|
|Tuesday, May 4th, 2010|
|You're going to have to step out of the shadows and fight.
I've mentioned before that Revolutionary Girl Utena crawls in your head... Maybe it's the fact that I've seen the first few episodes at least nine times (it was one of the first anime the local library got and in addition to watching it myself, I've shown two friends, an ex-girlfriend, and the family). But I doubt it, as the following story will attest, a friend of mine who is watching Utena with me for the second or third time slowly (because we're showing it to his brother for the second and thus have to coordinate three people) hadn't ever seen any of the old Universal monsters flics. So, I showed him Dracula (which wasn't as good as I remembered, mostly due to the script-writers cutting at the book, Lugosi still did a nice job acting). Then we watched Frankenstein. And we hit this speech (it's at 7:30): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SvkFhBT3nI&feature=PlayList&p=478A16878AF3286D&playnext_from=PL&index=2
We both cracked up when he said "know what eternity is" and ended up rewinding, watching that bit again, and then spinning off the details of some bizarre Utena/Frankenstein crossover fic that will never actually be written. Presumably the secrets of eternity (and possibility of superior Duelist parts) lure the good Doctor to Ohotori, where he takes up the sword rather than the scalpel.
Frankenstein's a great movie, Boris Karloff is an exceptional actor, who can play a variety of roles, but excels at being creepy. I also liked him in the Mummy and the Black Cat (with Bela Lugosi). Mind you, he doesn't get a lot of talking in Frankenstein but his movements the first time we see him walk are perfectly undead. The tower set the Monster is created in is also perfect, full of bizarre angles and strangely shaped objects.
Also, I think, just as Serial Experiments Lain shaped my ideas about what truly powerful computers should look like, Frankenstein forever left me with some interesting notions about what a laboratory should be.
|Thursday, April 29th, 2010|
You're going to have to do better than fear.
I apparently do not spend enough time in comic shops.
I had to learn that there is a new series of Tick comics by going through back posts of the ISB.
I must have it.
Because, as a refresher, the Tick comic series involves, among other things, the titular character fights ninjas with the aid of a samurai named Paul who bakes his sword into a piece of bread to get through airport security and then bites chunks off it mid fight.
|Tuesday, April 27th, 2010|
|Not by man or machine! Not by you, not by anyone tonight!
The aptly named Axis of Awesome give some hilariously accurate musical advice:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pidokakU4I
Some things, you just need to share.
On the personal front, fighting a cold. I hate it when it makes my Mountain Dew taste off.
|Monday, April 19th, 2010|
|I will not be told where to stand! I will not be told what to say!
And if it hadn't been clear by now that my subjects bear no relation to their contents the vast majority of the time, this should do it.
I love Bob the Angry Flower,which happens to a be a comic strip series that runs in various magazines and is available online. after not looking at their archives for about a year, I come back to discover this waiting for me:http://www.angryflower.com/discov.html
Ah, that's good humor.
Here's a trio of fine examples, from back in the old days:http://www.angryflower.com/alight.gifhttp://www.angryflower.com/afterl.htmlhttp://www.angryflower.com/baddre.gif
And if I don't stop at that I'll just keep posting examples, like the time he went to Innsmouth and attempted to learn about Dagon or made the secretary of the UN put robots in all his funding proposals (Bob loves his robots), though the follow up strip is what makes that one.
There's also a multi-part bit entitled "Rothgar" where Bob travels back in time to stop Grendel with a laser gun and then everything goes wrong in amusingly novel ways.. or cliche ways that are novel for "Beowulf". http://www.angryflower.com/archive.html
|Thursday, April 15th, 2010|
|Tuesday, April 13th, 2010|
So death is not something that scares me... that scares me. There's worse things than death here.
So, I finally got around to watching the latest Die Hard movie, as most of them (but not the second one) are pretty enjoyable mindless action movies. And it was, though it may have tried too hard to surpass its predecessors. I summed the plot up a few minutes in, quite accurately "So, basically, every few years people forget that John McClane is a god of war and need to be reminded."
One of my friends added "Yes, the youngsters forget the old stories and awaken the sleeping legend's wrath."
Because if the villains were really that great at information gathering their phone conversation early in the movie would go like this:
"Who is this?"
"Wait, the same one that stopped three terrorist attacks, including killing an entire planeload of rogue elite special forces troops? And uncovered the secret master plan hidden in each one?"
"I'm so sorry... sir. I'm so very sorry. Words cannot convey... Look, I'm stopping the whole thing now, okay? I'll just... I'm going to leave the country and live quietly somewhere."
"Please don't kill me and all my men."
Of course an alternate summary a third friend added was the movie is pretty much "watching Bruce Willis get the shit kicked out of him and not stopping." He's pretty much the Determinator here, as he gets increasingly injured and slows down (even if it's far less than he should be) until he can barely move by the end. Which is pretty nice compared to some of the other action movies out there.
|They say... This city, she's been dead for years now... for years now.
I'd left off it for a while, since I only read it in fits and starts, giving time for chapters to build up whenever I catch up, but One Piece is surprisingly awesome at times.
Only in One Piece would they introduce a villain like this guy, Mr. Bon Clay aka Mr. 2:http://www.mangafox.com/manga/one_piece/v18/c160/11.html
He's a shapechanging flamboyant transvestite who loves swans and fights using a strange ballet-kempo hybrid. But what's important is that he becomes friends with the heroes, especially after his evil organization is beaten.
Then, during the prison break story arc, he stay behind to pretend to be the devil-looking warden,, giving the order for the outer gates to be opened and gets caught, going out like this:http://www.mangafox.com/manga/one_piece/v56/c548/17.htmlhttp://www.mangafox.com/manga/one_piece/v56/c548/18.html
I'm not sure that even could happen anywhere else.
I should mention that the warden likes to torture prisoners and is a serious threat, having defeated the main protagonist several times in what is a shonen manga.
|Wednesday, March 24th, 2010|
|But men they say a lot of foolish things.In the end the only words I can find to believe in are mine
Recently, I've taken to playing EVE Online. And while it has a steep learning curve and probably won't hold my attention for more than a couple months, it has quite a few things going for it. First, it's a scifi-spaceship piloting MMO so it's completely different from all the other ones. Secondly, it cost me only five dollars for the initial game instead of the forty or fifty most of the others seem to charge (which is almost an insult considering most of their profit's from monthly fees anyway).
But the important one is thirdly: EVE is astonishingly complex and realistic in many areas. It really feels like I'm controlling a spaceship with a futuristic GUI. Things move in three dimensions. Weapons don't just have range, rate of fire, and damage, but also turn speeds. Which means that if a bunch of small fast guys get in close to your huge expensive battleship and circle you at high speed your guns can't track them and they'll rip you to shreds even though their weapons do no more than a tenth what yours do, because you can't track them. The market is entirely player controlled and if no one wants something, you can't sell it (no, not even to vendors, since they don't exist). PVP isn't just a matter of killing people who can respawn, it's also about stealing anything the other guy was carrying from his wrecked ship, allowing real piracy. Control of empty star systems by a group lets them build permanent, game altering structures like player owned space stations (at least until another group invades and usurps control). There are probably more examples but those are all ones I find interesting.
On an unrelated note, so a while back Whitewolf revamped all their RPGs. And for the most part, the results were disappointing. Mechanically, the new system had a few advantages (the new attributes made more sense, as the prime example) but the new 'simplified' worlds were for the most part lacking compared to the old ones. Mage, in particular, lost a lot of its awe but the others tended to suffer as well. Vampire, for example, was cut down to four main clans and bloodlines instead of the old thirteen.
Why do I bring this up now? Because I was looking at a very impressive fan RPG using mad scientists in the White Wolf World of Darkness called Genius the Transgression which uses the new rules but as it is newly created doesn't suffer from being revised. Basically, you play mad scientists ("Geniuses or Inspired") who create Wonders, devices which are literally miraculous, since they aren't real science but loosely modeled on it (ala the Mad Scientists in Deadlands, who are unconsciously using supernatural materials as fuel).
The web site's here: http://sites.google.com/site/moochava/genius
|Wednesday, March 17th, 2010|
|They say your eyes are on fire. They say you'd kill a man for walking the wrong side of the line.
So... I may have issues with the current Pope. Certainly I called him a Nazi (when he was only a Hitler Youth back when it was hard not to be) and made fun of his resemblance to Palpatine.
But let's face it. I may play it up because it's funny, but the man's pretty much evil.: an exemplar of everything wrong with one of the world's most powerful religions put into power as backlash against his predecessor trying to drag it out of the middle ages.
As we can see with the latest evidence that he's pro-pedophilia (aiding and abetting is support):http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article7060406.ece#cid=OTC-RSS&attr=2015164
|Friday, February 26th, 2010|
|I've heard the men in the bars, I've seen the women lock their doors at night
Discovered 1625 Things Mr. Welch can no longer do in RPGS over at TVTrope's Crazy Awesome page.
And it is.
A small excerpt:
89. The elf's name is not Legolam.
90. My swashbuckling fop cannot take the flaw Dark Secret: Not Gay
91. A wet towel does not constitute an improvised weapon.
92. The name of the weapon shop is not "Bloodbath and Beyond"
93. I am to remind my DM that he must never, ever give my paladin a dire boar for a mount again.
94. I cannot base my ancient kung fu master on neither Gene Simmons or Bluto Blutarski.
95. I must not put the Thunder God on the spot again.
96. No making up polearms.
97. My one wish cannot be 'I wish everything on this piece of paper was true'
98. There is no such thing as Speed Polka.
99. Not allowed to see if Jedi can parry a shotgun blast with their lightsaber.
Here's another excerpt (number 319 is a Mr. Roboto reference, google the lyrics):
316. My character is not allowed to commit suicide five minutes into the campaign.
317. My battlecry is not 'Now young Skywalker you will die'.
318. Vampiric cows are not the fast food innovation of the future.
319. My character does not have the flaw: Dark Secret- I'm Kilroy.
320. The Sultan does not want a treasure bath.
321. The monk's official title is Brother of the Lotus Path. Not the Slap Happy Jappy.
322. My bard knows more songs than just "I Saw Your Mommy"
323. I cannot start the game with a highly contagious deadly disease.
324. I cannot start the game pregnant.
325. Even if he was a paragon of humanity in his alternate dimension, Good Hitler is not an appropriate superhero concept.
Links (list broken into four parts):http://theglen.livejournal.com/16735.htmlhttp://theglen.livejournal.com/89715.htmlhttp://theglen.livejournal.com/131998.htmlhttp://theglen.livejournal.com/282764.html
|Saturday, February 20th, 2010|
|I've heard them whisper about you.
Started reading the Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross. It's interesting in a Lovecraft meets spy fiction meets Dilbert way. Also picked up a new collection of Mythos inspired short stories at the library so it's a good day for tentacled many angled horrors to be in my mind.
Firstly, are bats dancing? All those shows where they try to represent 'how bats see the world' with the black and white vision are nonsense. Echolocation doesn't use the eyes at all. Echolocation uses the ears. Bats aren't seeing, they're HEARING. And then moving to the sounds they make.
Secondly, 'you can't take it with you' is the stupidest piece of claptrap I've ever heard. While it's true that the accumulation of wealth can overly consume someone so that they don't appreciate it, you can't take anything else with you either- not friends, not family (or if you can you probably shouldn't) not charities. Really you should just make sure you enjoy whatever you're doing and if that's getting stuff than go get stuff.
Also, I liked these harbringers of doom:http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/colbert-follows-fox-news-example-on-climate-change-it-is-dark-outside-so-we-can-only-assume-the-sun.php/ Current Music: Keep Quiet by the Protomen
|Friday, February 12th, 2010|
I've seen your face in the shadows. I've seen your face in the places I wasn't supposed to be.
Started reading the First Law series by Joe Abercrombie. It's a dark fantasy that's surprisngly engrossing considering the most sympathetic characters in it are a barbarian berserker who's burned whole villages and a crippled professional torturer (and later, an escaped slave who only joins the 'heroes' after being promised tens of thousands of corpses of her enemies).
Today, I went down to the local game/comic store. Man, their supplies have shrunk. They have a lot less stuff than they used to and the selection has become more main stream. The recession has to be hard on what's basically a niche market that frequently appeals to people who are both not very rich and prone to stealing off the internet.
Still, they were running a buy-one-get-one-for-fifty-percent-off sale so I snagged a couple of their larger, more expensive graphic novels (because the half price one has to be of equal or lesser value and you can only get the benefit once per visit, so you save more on more expensive things-- provided you were going to buy them anyway). I got my grubby little mitts on "The Tick: Color Omnibus 1" (not to be confused with the Tick Omnibus 1, which I already own, because this one prints the Tick color comics which are actually a completely different set of comics published after the black and white ones in the first omnibus) and a little box with the first three Bone books, which somehow counted as one item. I would have snagged NextWave 1&2 (I've read them but don't own copies) but I wanted to keep it under fifty bucks.
Just looking at my new purchases gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside (some people have, you know, whatever that emotion is that makes you help others, I have greed), especially the Tick.
Because the Tick is distilled beautiful madness and sheer awesome in pretty much every form, even the kid's cartoon (though that's less so than the live action or the comics).