July 29, 2016








(In case you're wondering, this is from episode 4 of Jinsei.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Cheesecake at 10:58 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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July 27, 2016

Incoming canon fire

Is this an indication that I'm hopelessly unhip, that I don't have the slightest idea who any of the people are, who are referred to in this comic?

I remember seeing the very first Star Wars movie a couple of days after it opened, before it became a Big Thing. It was on the big screen at the West Gate theater here in Beaverton (which no longer exists) and I was a cub engineer working my first full-time job at Tektronix.

When the Death Star exploded, the audience burst into applause. I've never heard anything like that before or since. And after I walked out of the theater, I wasn't at all surprised that it became a phenomenon. But that was nearly 40 years ago.

And now it's an entire canon -- and I don't know anything about it. Oh, well.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 07:59 AM | Comments (14) | Add Comment
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July 26, 2016


Part of the problem with the cheesecake posts is that I've been trying to be too fancy. Let's keep it simple! If yuri is good enough for Canada Oil Sands Community, it's good enough for me!





Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Cheesecake at 07:14 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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July 25, 2016


That's what "Bakuon!!" means; it's the onomatopoeia in Japanese for the sound of a motorcycle engine revving.

Pete watched three episodes and gave up on it. Far be it from me to try to convince him to change his mind (I always hate it when people try to do that to me) but I did have some comments.

People have made connections between the four main characters of this series to the "Top Wrench" (was that the name? Probably not...) series about cars and stuff made in the UK, and looked for other things.

But no one seems to have made the connection to Azumanga Daioh which I think is blatantly obvious.

AD didn't have a plot. It was the story of the three years of high school of a small group of girls who were all in the same class, and it simply told the story of all the things that happened to them which they thought were noteworthy. The way I imagine it, Azuma attended their ten year anniversary and got these young ladies together, bought them all beer (including Chiyo, by that point also an adult) and got them to reminisce about their years together in high school, and taped it with a hand-held recorder. Then he went back to his studio and wrote his cartoon.

Of course that isn't true. (Or is it?) But the only overarching story is just three years of high school.

AD is, in a sense, the iconic "cute girls doing cute things" series, but in most of those they set up the situation and then time freezes and things stop changing. What was most distinctive about AD was that time passed and things changed.

And Bakuon!! is in a sense the same way. It's a joke anime telling stories about a group of high school girls who love motorcycles, and if it feels disjointed it's because there isn't any overarching plot. It begins with the formation of the motorcycle club and the 12 episodes we were given cover about the first year and a half of it.

It wouldn't be wrong to call it "cute girls doing cute things on motorcycles".

Pete says he watched three episodes. That's an unfortunately place to give up, because episode 4 is the beginning of the Hokkaido trip, and it also introduces Kamisama. It also has an onsen scene, where we learn about Rin's Suzuki logo scar on her butt.

There isn't any series-level plot but there are long-term background stories going on, most prominent of which is the entire question of what is going on with Lime-sempai. I've written about her several times so I won't go into it again now. Kamisama is another one; he keeps showing up, and when he first met Hane he called her "the chosen one". Did that really mean anything?

In some ways, ep 11 is the most typical episode of the series. It tells three stories, each of which is self-contained, all of which are unrelated to one another, and all of which are hilarious. Only the last one contributes to the series continuity, and only in a small way.

Like AD, the situation does progress. In AD, they advance through the grades, and things change only because time is passing and people are growing up. And in Bakuon!! there are changes to the series continuity, like Chisame joining the club, getting her license, and buying her scooter. But it isn't plot because this series doesn't have a plot.

IMHO it doesn't need one. But that does make it a bit hard to wrap up at the end. AD ended with everyone graduating from high school and heading off to college. Bakuon doesn't run long enough for that, and I thought that the story they chose to wrap up ep 12 was about the best they could do. I liked it; it brought tears to my eyes. But Pete never got that far.

He linked to my first post about the series which I titled "Boobs and Bikes", but I wasn't really totally serious about that. I just liked the alliteration. It isn't really a fan service series. I mean it has some (especially the end of ep 5); but the boobs aren't the point of the show. It's about motorcycles and what it means for high school girls to become bikers. I really liked it, and I hope they give us another cour.

UPDATE: Oh, dear. I forgot how venerated Azumanga Daioh is in some circles and I seem to have commmitted sacrilege.

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July 24, 2016

Is it summer yet?

Everytime I visit the US Weather Bureau web site I see all kinds of warnings about hot weather in the midWest and NE.

It sure hasn't happened here; it's felt like late March for the last month or so: overcast with intermittent rain and highs in the upper 60's. Last couple of days we finally got into April. (It's supposed to hit 85 today.) The problem is the jet stream has been south of us:


So while all of you are getting your weather blowing north from Mexico and the Caribbean, our weather has been coming down from Alaska.

About a month and a half ago we got 3 days of scorching heat. Well, "scorching" for us anyway; highs in the upper 90's. But then the weather turned cold and it's been cold ever since. I even had to turn on my apartment heat one time.

Oh, well; such is life.

I've become addicted to Haifuri. I've watched it something like 5 times now, and it just keeps getting better. The blatant idiocy of the concept is still evident but the characters are growing on me, and damn it can get exciting during the combat sequences.

A good sign that a series has gotten under my skin is when I start thinking "What comes next?" after the show is over, and so:

Also, it isn't a fan-service show, but they did give us a little.



When I watch some of the battle scenes which involved larger ships, one thing I noticed is about the ships with 3-gun turrets like Graf Spee and Musashi: when they fire the guns don't all fire at once; they go bababoom.

Is that historically accurate? I've never seen anything like that before. I've seen film of American battleships firing at night and it looked to me like all three barrels fired simultaneously.

Staggered firing would make sense in terms of reducing wear on the turret bearing. Staggered firing would reduce gunnery accuracy by spreading the shells out. Which would be considered more important? In this show we see it from Hiei, Musashi, and Graf Spee, so they're making it both Japanese and German ships doing that.

UPDATE: Another thing that took me a long time to notice:

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 12:16 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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July 22, 2016

"Fully Unclear"

We'll probably never know why he did it. It's a complete mystery, totally inexplicable. There isn't any precedent, I tell you; no pattern, nothing even slightly related or indicative. No hints. No clues.

It's a real head-scratcher.

The gunman in Munich killed 9 people, wounded 16 more, and then shot himself. He was 18 and held citizenships in both Germany and Iran.

Hubertus Andrae told reporters the gunman's motive was "fully unclear"...

Of course it was. We all knew that before you told us!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:22 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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July 21, 2016

You make this sound like it's a problem

Hugo, Colorado:

The Town of Hugo has been warned not to drink, cook or bathe using the local water supply, due to evidence of THC.

Thursday afternoon, Hugo Public Works told the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office about the issue in the town's water supply and investigators are assessing the situation with state authoritiesincluding the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado State Patrol and federal authorities.

In other news, local motels and hotels report a flood of reservations being made from Berkeley.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 05:30 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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It isn't a grand old Flag

A nation's flag is important. It represents the nation, it leads men into battle. Men have died for flags, not just rhetorically, but literally. The raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi is one of the most iconic news photographs of the last century, and it's especially poignant since some of those men didn't live out the day.

A flag should mean something; it should represent the country. The US flag's meaning is well known: 13 stripes representing the original 13 colonies of the revolution, and a star in the upper left corner for every state. Which means that every time we add states, the flag changes, which last happened in 1959 when Alaska and Hawaii became states.

A flag doesn't have to be complex to be meaningful. The flag of Japan is a simple red circle on a white background, but it represents the rising sun, which has always been Japan's identity as the Land of the Rising Sun. And it's a noble flag.

I like the Union Jack. It is made up of the Flag of St. George representing England and Wales, the flag of St. Andrew representing Scotland, and the flag of St. Patrick representing Ireland. (Which could have become a sick joke in 1921, but isn't because Northern Ireland is still part of the United Kingdom.)

These are flags with meaning, symbols that are symbolic. I've never felt that way about a lot of the flags of Europe; too many of them look like they were stitched out of spare rags from the nearest tailor shop and if they have any kind of symbolic meaning I never figured out what it was. This has bothered me my whole life!

So let's try a quiz, shall we: What countries are these flags?










How many millions of men have died for these prosaic rags? And if they do have any kind of meaning, it's probably something like "Habsburgs Forever!"

(I've left the nation names as filenames on those pictures.)

Why is it that so many national flags in Europe are just two or three panels of solid colors, horizontal or vertical? Seems like there's a bunch of "...well, they're doing it!" going on here, and that's a hell of a reason for creating a symbol that men will die for. Pfeh.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Rants at 04:04 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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July 20, 2016

Heck of a good question!


When I was a kid, I thought there would be some point where a gong would sound, and a switch would throw, and suddenly I'd be an adult and I'd know it.

I'm 62 and I'm still waiting. Somehow nothing like that ever happened. I've come to the conclusion that this old saw was actually the truth:

The only difference,
between men and boys
is the size of their lies
and the price of their toys.

The only real change, and I suppose it was a good one, was when I left home to go to college. After that I could decide to do things without having to ask permission from my mother. (My dad died a week before I entered college.)

All my life, deep down I had this irrational fear that someone was going to walk up to me someday and say, Nope, nope, it was all a mistake. We've decided you don't get to be an adult after all. You have to get back in the cage again and let other people run your life.

And now I'm facing that as a real possibility. I may have to enter a nursing home, and the prospect fills me with abject terror. I got two and a half weeks of that in November 2012 after my stroke when I was in the rehab hospital, and after one week I was ready to go home, at least mentally. (I sure wasn't physically, though.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 03:56 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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Fat shaming?

For the love of God, why is this a thing? So-called "Super Pochaco" is a companion to Super Sonico -- or at least she's part of the same canon. Sonico's attractions are obvious, but why, oh why, is anyone interested in this Pochaco? Ye Gods!

Whatever it is, there are a lot of expensive figurines of her, and they wouldn't do that if they didn't sell. What next, a Super Pochaco anime? (Super Sonico got one, and IMHO it's better than it has any right to be. I enjoyed it.)

The way I understand it, Pochaco is Sonico's fan and decided to try to emulate her. But unless she has an amazing singing voice it's apparent that Pochaco is completely unqualified for the role of model and rock musician. (Sonico is also studying oceanography in college, by the way.)

I suppose I should have gotten over being surprised by Japanese fans a long time ago, but this one still massively perplexes me.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 09:31 AM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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