August 28, 2015

Blush

I sure didn't expect the way this started.

UPDATE: One of the reasons I don't read SF&F any more, and instead spend my time on anime, is that anime generally doesn't preach. There are a few shows that do, but those I don't watch.

Sturgeon's law applies -- at least; sometimes I think Sturgeon was an optimist -- but there are shows that entertain me without trying to change my life.

If Mouretsu Pirates has an agenda, I sure haven't noticed it. Likewise for Railgun.

Most of the people involved in creating manga and anime subscribe to Walt Kelly's goal in life: "To have fun while making money." They have fun, and they want us viewers to have fun.

And usually that is all they want. And that's all I want.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 10:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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GATE -- ep 9

 

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The title of this episode was "The Hakone Mountain Night Battle" but Rory didn't end up involved. That'll be next episode. (Oh, well.)

First half of the episode was spending the night at Risa's place, and then going shopping the next day.

The second half was at the hot springs. And there was only one potential "buy the BDs" shot, and that not certain. I suspect this isn't that kind of series, frankly.

This episode was all setup; lots of little things that happened (like the Pina and Bozes discovering Boy Love manga) which establish grounds for later events, but nothing really noteworthy in itself.

There wasn't any rubber duck at the onsen, so Lelei amuses herself in the hot spring by levitating a ball of water.

(She eventually lets go of it and it splashes on her head.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 12:41 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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August 25, 2015

GATE: Lelei la Lelena

I am finding Lelei to be the most interesting character in this series, and I'm getting more and more impressed with her. She's 15 years old, but she's really intelligent and she's very resourceful. Her magic power hasn't really been unleashed yet in the anime, but it has in the manga and she's no slouch. LOADS of spoilers below the fold, OK?

more...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 09:06 PM | Comments (37) | Add Comment
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Mysterious appearances

Jesus has been doing things like this for centuries. Elvis started doing it shortly after he died.

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And now it's Trump: his face showed up in a tub of butter.

By the way, today's word is "apophenia".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 09:57 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 24, 2015

Kindle Games

So I'm thoroughly bored with all my PC games and decided to see what might be available for my Kindle Fire.

And what do you know, there are a scad of games which are "FREE!"

But every one I looked at includes a warning that they contain in-app opportunities to spend real money for power ups. Which is to say the game is prohibitively hard if you don't do that, right?

Forget it.

UPDATE: So maybe I should visit GOG again? Problem is, I've bought seven games from them and only ever play two of them.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 09:13 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
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Sexy Cyborg

OK, I got this from Ace. She lives in China and uses the name "Sexy Cyborg" on Imgur, and apparently is a new Internet rage, for reasons which should be obvious. I should warn you that it's NSFW.

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First, she's stacked. Second, she's a nerd. Her thing is designing tech clothing and accessories, like LED platform shoes.

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Which she makes herself, or at least she helps.

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This time it's spy shoes. There's an amazing amount of stuff hidden in those shoes.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Weird World at 12:14 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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August 23, 2015

Spa F1

So I happened to get up a bit before 5 AM, and having nothing better to do and not being sleepy, I monitored the "live timing (spoiler)" section of the F1 website and watched the race.

I'm looking forward to Wonderduck's writeup of this one because it was a lot more interesting than most of the recent races. There was actual racing going on this time, including spectacular passes, and a lot of real competition. (A lot of that is because this is one of the best tracks used in F1.)

It probably was a lot of fun to really watch, instead of just looking at the leader board and reading a live-blog, like I was. And even that was fun.

UPDATE: I feel like writing more. Huge spoilers below the fold.

more...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Entertainment at 09:37 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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August 22, 2015

Where there's smoke...

I've been smelling wood smoke all day, and I was beginning to wonder if Beaverton was burning down. Actually it's smoke from the Cougar Creek Fire, which was started by lightning on August 10 and has been burning ever since on the east face of Mount Adams.

The problem with fighting it is that it's really a long way away from anything, in the middle of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It's pretty much equidistant from Portland, Tacoma, and Yakima. And current weather isn't helping: hot, dry, and gusty. Plus it's burning through a big area of standing-dead Lodgepole Pine killed by bugs to its north, which is nearly ideal firewood, dry and full of resin, and pine needles all over the ground. So the current estimate for containment is October 1. (!!)

They may not be seriously trying to stop it in the north, both because it's particularly dangerous there, and because in the long run getting rid of all those dead trees will be a blessing by opening up the land.

But it sure does smell scary here right now.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 01:55 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 21, 2015

Willful Blindness, French edition

A 26 year old Moroccan boarded a train in Brussels headed to Paris, and when the train cross the French border he revealed an AK-47 and started shooting.

Fortunately for everyone except him, two US Marines on vacation heard him loading his gun in the bathroom and stopped him almost immediately. 3 wounded, but no one has died yet.

Sadly, one of the Marines was hit in the neck, and is now in critical condition. (I deeply hope he isn't paralyzed. I deeply hope he doesn't die.)

And the French authorities say?

The motives behind the attack were not immediately known, although a spokesman for the interior minister said: 'It is too early to speak of a terrorist link'.

It seems like this always happens. What should be obvious to even the most casual and blithe of observers is invisible to "authorities" and "spokesmen" whose primary concern is, always, preventing anti-Muslim backlash.

In the case of the French, there may also be another reason. It isn't commonly spoken of, but in the so-called "Banlieues" Muslim extremists have been stockpiling weapons for years. By now they probably have a good sized arsenal, and provoking them might be like poking a stick into a hornet's nest.

IMHO this is also the reason why the French ignore the way that "youths" go out and torch hundreds of cars on occasion.

Guys, you can't put off the reckoning forever. You are in a war and your enemy is attacking you. Large parts of your nation are already occupied by enemy forces, and are now "No Go" places for your law enforcement. This is like a tumor: the longer you wait, the bigger and more dangerous it gets.

Your primary responsibility is to keep your citizens safe -- and you can't depend on the US Marines to protect you. They won't always be there.

They don't work for you.

UPDATE: Now they've confirmed that he was an Islamist militant. Big surprise, that.

UPDATE: The other Marine was stabbed in the fight, but is not in critical condition.

Even though they were both wounded, they still subdued the guy. I assume it was the one who was stabbed who did it.

The third wounded man was a French actor, and he seems to be getting the headlines.

UPDATE: We're getting a lot of "fog of war" in these early news reports. Some reports are saying the second Marine wasn't hurt. Some reports are saying there were three Marines rather than two. I think maybe we'll start getting more accurate reports by tomorrow.

UPDATE: And it's getting more foggy by the minute. Now they're saying that the American serviceman who got wounded was Air National Guard.

UPDATE: The fog is beginning to clear. Powerline has a rewrite. There were three Americans who stopped the gunman. One was Air Force, one was Air National Guard, and the third was a civilian friend of theirs.

UPDATE: More clearing fog.

UPDATE It's been long enough so that a lot of the hyperbole and crap is clearing away. There were three Americans who fought the perp. One, Spencer Stone, is Air Force and was on leave. He was the first to attack the perp, and he got cut on his neck and had his left thumb "nearly cut off" maybe. Anyway, he's fine (relatively speaking); after surgery on his hand and installation of a cast, he's been released from the hospital. The other two were Alex Skarlatos (Air National Guard) and Anthony Sadler (civilian college student). The three became friends in middle school and were taking a vacation together. There was also a Brit named Chris Norman (in his 50's) who jumped in and helped.

The perp's AK apparently jammed, and one of the Americans grabbed it and used it to beat the perp unconscious. (Damned right, too. Every time I read that I get a big grin.) The four of them tied him up, and stood guard until the cops came.

Reportedly the perp also had a pistol but it didn't have a magazine in it. Clearly this guy was a real idiot. He's been telling the French Police that he found the rifle, the pistol, and the Molotov's under a bush in a Belgian park and decided to use them to rob the train, with no intention of killing anyone. Like anyone believes that.

And then there's a report that the railroad employees ran away and locked themselves in a special car, and ignored all pleas from passengers for help. Which is either astounding or not depending on your opinion of the French. Either way, if true it's despicable. (Reminds me of the Captain of the Costa Concordia.)

The three Amis and the Brit have all been given medals. And Stone's hospital bills better damned well be on the house!

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GATE -- ep 8

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And so the girls testify before the Diet. This version was better than the one in the Manga; Rory's part went on longer and it filled in a lot of holes that the manga just left.

Also, there's this guy:

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They changed his art rather radically, and I can understand why. The manga version is positively demonic. Anyway, his name is Komakado and he's from "Public Services", purportedly the Japanese equivalent of the CIA. His first conversation with Itami is straight character building, but it's brief and very enlightening.

Anyway, Komakado is aware that the CIA and the Russian and Chinese equivalents are all trying to capture the girls. Presumably it would give them a huge bargaining chip with the Japanese, who might have to cede full partnership rights to exploit the Special Territory in order to get them back again. Komakado's job is to prevent that, so he identifies himself to Itami and starts revealing decoy plans and so on.

But that isn't in this episode. If this series ends where I think it will, then we'll be in Japan for another three episodes -- and it doesn't seem like there's going to be enough material in the manga for that. This episode ended about halfway through chapter 19, and my guess was that the series ends in chapter 24. There's no way four chapters become four episodes, so either they're going to add some anime-only material, or else it isn't going to end where I think it is.

That's assuming it's one cour. If it's actually two cours, then all bets are off. Chapter 46 would be a perfect ending point for a 2-cour series.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:24 PM | Comments (15) | Add Comment
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