October 06, 2016

Unsquare dance

Dave Brubeck is a famous Jazz musician and composer, most famous for the piece "Take 5". Brubeck is probably most famous for the fact that he tended to use strange time signatures, like 5/4 for Take 5.

Another of his pieces has the extremely clever (IMHO) name "Unsquare dance" which is in 7/4. And amazingly enough, it swings.

In 2001 when he was 80, that piece was performed by the London Symphony Orchestra with him as a guest. He had lost a lot of dexterity, so the main piano solo was performed by someone else, but he had a solo at the end.

The first soloist, a sax player, was truly outstanding. As soon as he started playing, I said, "Oh, yeah!"

But the most delightful thing of all is Brubeck's reaction to it all. He has a big grin the whole time and obviously is enjoying it enormously. Music is happiness (or can be) and this one is.

I don't link to music much but I ran into this a couple of days ago and couldn't pass it by.

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October 01, 2016

Vivid Strike -- ep 1

At first I didn't think that this was even in the same timeline as Nanoha Vivid, but after I finished the first episode I came to the conclusion that it's the same timeline but two or three years later.

And the story is about a befriending that needs to happen. Of course. (The motto of this canon is "Friendship through superior firepower".)

Filling in some gaps, I think what's going on is that Team Nakajima in the course of two or three world tournaments has become a major name and gained lots of fans and attention, because of the outstanding performance of Vivio, Einhart, Rio, and Corona. Lots of people coming to them trying to join, and so Nove has opened a gym, "Nakajima Gym", which includes basic exercise equipment but also has martial arts training. Nove runs the place, and her star martial arts team is Corona, Vivio, Einhart, Rio, and Miura. And Yumina Enclave, who isn't a fighter, seems involved too.

(Miura moving over makes sense. As good as she's gotten she probably can't really train with the other students studying with Vita and Zafira. In Team Nakajima there are several who are at her level that she can reasonably train with.)

The main character is a girl named Fuuka. She's had a hard life, living in an orphanage and living in the lower strata of society. She's learned to fight out of self preservation. In the orphanage she had a friend named Rinne.

Rinne got adopted by a rich family, and she changed. She became cold and dark, and no longer acted as if Fuka was her friend. Fuka, meanwhile, has grown up and is trying to survive but is having a hard time doing so because she keeps getting into fights, and keeps losing her jobs. In the most recent incident she seems to have been fighting to save a couple of co-workers, and she got hurt pretty badly.


Einhart is out running and finds her. Being mostly out of it, Fuka tries to hit Einhart with a magically enhanced punch. Einhart blocks it but is impressed by the power of the blow. Then Fuka passes out. One hospital scene later, and Fuka being fired from her latest job, and the doctor gives her a note from Einhart telling her to come visit the Nakajima gym.


So we get some angst (not much) and some back story, and some fighting, and Fuka gets hired to work in the gym, in exchange for food and board and a bit of pocket money. And her job is to be a sparring partner.


Rinne, meanwhile, has gotten extraordinarily good at martial arts and has a record of 157 wins out of 158 matches. Her only loss was to Vivio in the most recent tournament, and Einhart won the under 15 world championship. (There's some confusion about this in the translation I watched. Both Einhart and Rinne are described as the under-15 champion. I suspect that Rinne was the champion but lost that title to Einhart in the most recent tournament.)

The series story is obvious: Fuka has to become strong enough to defeat Rinne, and in so doing will revive their friendship. She's going to do that by studying the Hegemon-stye with Einhart, evidently the first student Einhart has taken in. And then she'll enter the world tournament and fight her way up the ranks far enough to meet Rinne in the ring. (Or, maybe, fighting in the street in their old neighborhood. The ED is ambiguous about that; it shows them fighting in the street but it also shows them fighting in a ring.)


The ED has flashes of characters we know from Vivid: Victoria, Hallie, Sieg, Els, Chantez, and Ixpellia, who is awake again and full-sized.

Based on the first episode I think it's going to be pretty good, at least for a fan of the canon. No world crisis, nothing like that. But ultimately the real story of every series in the canon is about befriending, and this one will be true to that.

UPDATE: Also...


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September 01, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" is the title of the latest film directed by Tim Burton. And if that doesn't make you squee then you have no soul.

Burton is, by this point, legendary for his films and for his unwillingness to cleave to any kind of genre. They may be spectacular or they may simply be weird, but they won't be remotely formula.

Just from the title and the brief description, it sounds like it was sold to the studio as being attractive to fans of Larry Potter -- and it probably will be. But it won't be a Potter-me-too because Burton doesn't do me-toos.

It's supposed to hit the theaters on Sep. 30, and it's almost enough to tempt me to go see a movie in a theater for the first time since "The Matrix". I probably won't, but I'm really looking forward to how people react to it.

Unless Burton really lets us down, it's going to be an event.

UPDATE: If the trailer is anything to judge by, Burton is on his game.

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August 04, 2016

Alas, if only it were real!


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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 11, 2016

Who's right?

Toys for the new Ghostbusters film are already in clearance, even though the film doesn't open for another four days.

On the other hand, it currently scores 77% (53 to 16) on Rotten Tomatoes. Who's right?

We'll know for certain on Friday, but right now I'm inclined to trust the people who are gambling money on it. The stores have put that stuff in clearance because it isn't selling. So if I was a gambling man, I'd be betting against it.

I won't be seeing it, but that's no distinction. The last movie I watched in a theater was "The Matrix". And I think that newest American movie I watched at home (on optical disk) was "The Incredibles". Hollywood lost me a long time ago. (It didn't help that I don't own a TV. I haven't missed it, either. And when I had a TV, the last show I watched regularly was "Good Eats".)

UPDATE: Anyway, come Friday I'll be too busy watching the AT-X version of "Ange Vierge"...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 08:26 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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June 26, 2016


You'd think Spielberg would know better. You'd think someone at Disney would have noticed.

There's a story about a Japanese company who wanted to compete in the broadband market against Road Runner, so they licensed Woody Woodpecker for their competing mascot, and their advertising slogan was going to be "Get Woody, the Internet Pecker". According to the story (almost certain apocryphal) one of their American employees had to explain to them the slang meaning of "woody" and "pecker".

So Disney is bringing out Spielberg's movie, "The BFG". And even I, about as un-hip a person as you'll find, had as a first thought, "Wow! How fast does it fire?"

Probably not fast at all since it stands for "Big Friendly Giant", not "Big Fucking Gun".

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May 28, 2016

M.C. Escher, call your office

I think this is really sweet:


Here's how he did it:



This one is pretty good, too:


Warning, lots of NSFW elsewhere on his page.

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May 13, 2016

The revolution isn't quite here yet

As nice as my Kindle is, and it's very nice (8.9" Kindle Fire) the big problem is that a lot of the books I want to read are not yet available for it.

Like The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress. A lot of the classic Heinlein books are available for the Kindle but not that one.

And A Night in the Lonesome October.

And just now I had a really strong urge to reread Jack of Eagles. It's one of the lesser known novels by James Blish, but it's really good.

On the other hand, I just discovered that The Demolished Man is available for the Kindle. So maybe I'll read that tonight.

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April 27, 2016

Touhou Peanuts!

This page has a lot of odd stuff from what might be a group project to create cross-breed art and comics featuring Touhou characters in Peanuts art style. Be warned: all the Peanuts stuff is G-rated, but there are other things which are NSFW. One gallery, for instance, is full of tentacle rape art.

Anyway, this is a sample of the good stuff:







(And the translations look to be Google Translate; understandable but a bit odd.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 08:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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