September 29, 2016

Pixiv

So I recently signed up for Pixiv, since I was able to do it without having a Japanese IP address any more, and using a Google+ ID.

But there's one disturbing thing going on. The tie in to Google+ isn't JUST when you've logged in apparently, because periodically, frequently, and at rather disturbing times a little thing pops up at the bottom of your window saying something like "Welcome Back" and G+ logo. That tells me that Google knows now what page I'm on, JUST the kind of thing you want when looking at ecchi.... (It's bad enough to be tracked with web beacons and that kind of crap, but THIS is just leering over your shoulder creepy.)

I also recently signed up for a free CrunchyRoll account so I could watch some of To Love Ru. Which I've concluded is basically Urusei Yatsura for a new generation.

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September 12, 2016

Planetarian

Damn, that was depressing.

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July 10, 2016

Liquid Coolers

So Himawari is equipped with an Antec Kuler H2O 950, which since I built it has been working splendidly.

Obviously this is no longer the case, or I wouldn't be writing this. And so I'm asking for help.

Basically every once in a while, especially when playing World of Tanks, I get what I'm calling a Thermal Runaway. The LED over the contact plate goes from Green, through Yellow, Orange, and Red in a matter of about 30 seconds while the fan goes into high gear. But nothing seems to stop the inevitable overheat shutdown.

Even exiting all the programs, so the processor load is 0%, it still goes into shutdown.

Once I was able to get it to sleep before it shut down, and it woke up almost immediately cooler, but typically if it shuts down, it stays hot for 5-10 minutes and won't finish booting before it snaps off again.

But it's not entirely predictable. I can play a dozen battles without getting above 45C (Motherboard readout). The last time I was just looking at a web page. It's not making any weird noises, and it hasn't leaked. so it appears to be working normally until this happens.

Any suggestions?

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July 02, 2016

Flying Witch

I'm still working my way through Symphogear GX, but as a change of pace, I just pulled down something from last season that I didn't know about until I saw a mention of it in an article about the current, bleak season.

Flying Witch is very different, there are no world-ending plots, violent fights, or self-doubting to the point of self-sabotage heroines. It's one of those Slice of Life shows except it's about a witch.

I'm about 4 episodes in, and the comparison to Kiki's Delivery Service is inevitable. But aside from being very charming, there are a lot of differences. For one thing, the setting is Modern Japan. Her name is Kowata Makoto. She's from Yokohama, but after the required independence move-out at 15 (13 in Kiki...) she ended up staying with her second cousins in Tohoku region. Her parents wanted her to complete high school, so sent her to stay with family, which is a little bit of a break with tradition. She does have a black cat, whom she can understand, but he only makes cat-noises instead of speaking.

One of the running gags in the show is Makoto's terrible sense of direction. Another is that her Uncle, a farmer, has a near impenetrable accent. Asenshi did a pretty good job at making the subtitles equally understandable....

There is a parade of visitors to the house, like the Courier of Spring, or her older sister Akane, who is a very powerful and famous witch (Who chides her for not practicing enough magic). Or Inukai, a local witch who was accidentally cursed by Akane into being a half-animal person. Others are in the OP but I haven't gotten to their appearances yet.

It is a lovely, peaceful, and cheerful show. Beautifully animated. And perhaps the single thing that really makes it great is that it's not all about "Oh, We have to hide that you're a witch," like so many other comedies. It's more like the world has to deal with her being herself.

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June 20, 2016

Kirishima!

Yay! I finally earned my Arpeggio "Kirishima" battleship!

Now I need subtitles.

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June 05, 2016

Symphogear GX

So, what do you do when your sequel has used up every last bit of continuity from the first season of your show? There are no loose ends. What does your band of heroines and the government agency that supports them (With their own sub!) do?

Well, apparently they willingly let themselves be subsumed by the United Nations. So there's your cultural difference between America, as embodied in Captain America: Civil War, and Japan.

A Space Shuttle went to go pick up the remains of the old lady who restored the Moon, and collect technological samples from the piece of Frontier she got launched in, but a systems failure means it's going to crash into a populated area. Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters? No! International Rescue? Good Choice, but also Wrong. No, you call the newly renamed S.O.N.G. Only before they can break into action, they have to wait for UN Approval....

No, Seriously.

And there were two No votes.

So the sub launches a missile at the Shuttle, and the astronauts think they are doomed, but the missile MIRVs into three warheads. Okay, not warheads, but our three heroines, who apparently can survive in space (To be fair, they did in the first series as well). And then they deploy their powers to change the trajectory of the shuttle. It's very over-the top.

How over the top? "Oh no, now it's going to crash into K2!" They blast an entire layer out of the middle of the mountain, fly through the gap, while the top falls back into place, and one of the techs calmly announces "Updating K2 as the third highest peak in the world." They are gliding down the mountainside towards the treeline, and Tsubasa mounts a giant blade on the front of the shuttle, and trees go flying like an episode of Speed Racer. Hibiki punches the canyon walls to redirect their course, which unfortunately leads to another populated area. As the shuttle smashes down main street, towards the city hall, she jumps ahead, and with a punch, causes the shuttle to flip over the city hall and land on its tail behind the building.

That's how over the top.

BTW, we also get to see that the two Lolis and Maria are prisoners, wearing what looks like straitjackets with all the straps, except the sleeves aren't closed, they end in cuffs - big heavy metal ones that aren't actually attached to anything.... But I guess they have privileges, because they get to watch the live feed of the crash/rescue. In fact, later on Maria and Tsubasa get to do the actual concert together that got interrupted in S02E01 by Maria's terroristic announcement that went nowhere.

But, there IS a new enemy, and a little girl carrying a wooden McGuffin box with Norse runes on it is being chased by a woman firing coins at her, who isn't named Misaka. And apparently she has a teammate who ambushes Maria backstage after the concert whose power is draining the life out of Maria's guards. She also has ball-joints like some kind of doll... this can't be good.

Meanwhile, Hibiki is playing Fireman, rescuing people from a burning building (The life-sensors on the sub are just that good). and after saving everyone, she calls out to this strange girl standing on an overpass that it's dangerous to stand there. Little does she know this is the little witch who is behind this (we know she's a witch because of her outfit, and her flashback about her father being burned at the stake), and she wants to destroy the world. Cliffhanger as she fires a shot at Hibiki, who had unarmored after the rescue....

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May 26, 2016

New Wordpress Hugos Post

"If there is Hope, it lies in the Proles Fans"

(Symphogear G updates will continue to be comments on the main thread.)

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May 06, 2016

Symphogear G

This one is giving me a lot of trouble to get through, and I'm only 4 episodes in!

A lot of the things in the first series that were slightly off the tropes have been rigidly reigned in. I suppose it's a problem with what happens when a character's story arc has already been completed in the first series.

I'm speaking of Yukine Chris, the third member of the team who got there after a Heel-Face turn, who was so down on her existence the big bad had turned her into a severely masochistic wretch, and who, even though her powers were musically invoked, hated singing her song.

Now, she's at the musical high school struggling to fit in with the regular school girls who like her anti-social ass for some reason, getting drafted into making spring fair decorations, and shanghaied into the school's talent show, where at the end she decides that she really, really likes singing in front of people.

dafuq?

The big bad is back, sort of, since after all, she was a genetic memory from thousands of years ago, so she's manifested in another woman. Interestingly, the oldest and most powerful of the evil Gear users suffers from the same condition, and the danger of using her power is getting taken over by her incarnation of the big bad.

The other two baddies are a pair of lolis. One dead serious and her overeager protector.

Yeah, those rare magical crystals that turn into armor at the right sonic key are now apparently all over the place, and the baddies have even summoned a monster who eats them. As if the original "Noise" weren't bad enough. It really changes the whole scope of the story when the enemy is basically other humans with the same powers, rather than an extra-normal force and a secret internal enemy.

There are some real groaners. The baddies completely fumble their first plan, making a big splash at a concert demanding the world surrender or else, and then  blowing off their own deadline. They have a tilt-rotor, and an artifact they can use to make it invisible (But the good guys have a Submarine now!) however, apparently invisibility also cancels out the rotor wash too....

But the thing that bugs me is the whole pretense of normalcy in school. I liked in the first series that they kept school life out of the picture for the most part, and battles did NOT accommodate Hibiki's class schedule. But now... The bad lolis are infiltrating the school fair, and know the real identities of the heroines and want to steal their crystals... and it's just bleah.

Although the animation is better, I'll give it that.

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April 14, 2016

My first Instalanche....

I don't post to my WordPress writing blog often, but when I do, I try to make it significant. Sarah Hoyt read my latest, Don't Pirate Indies, and used her guest-blogger rights to link it. I peaked at somewhere around 137 hits/hr. Roughly 800 hits in a 24 hour period that came from Instapundit, and a fair number from Facebook. Not the System Crushing onslaught of Slashdotting, but still far more traffic than I've ever gotten before. And given the nature of Instapundit, the rate slacked off in direct proportion to time until the hits started coming from page two.

Oddly, File 770, which makes a practice of selectively quoting and misrepresenting various blogs, including mine several times, hasn't picked this one up at all.

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April 06, 2016

Symphogear

For some reason (Okay, fan art I found... somewhere) I tracked down and downloaded Symphogear (and the two followons). Amazingly someone was still seeding them.

I will, of course include spoilers. But this will be pretty short.

Hibiki is one of those main characters in Anime who is kind of pale. She's not especially smart or talented, but she's a "Good Friend" and "Helpful to everyone" and 99% of the time she's totally out of her depth. But her determination to help people carries her through. Virtually everyone else in the cast except her best friend is more interesting.

There are monsters that seem to pour out from another dimension called "Noise". They come in a stunning variety, but for the most part stand around to be slaughtered by the heroines. If they touch a person, said person turns to ash.

The government likes to keep this under wraps, in spite of the massive public spectacle of the attacks. But that's what Special Disaster Department 2 is for. Actually, they're there to support the two users of these ancient mystical artifacts that with the right verbal and tonal key, turn into cute armor suits and weapons that let them fight the Noise. Plus crews to vacuum up the remains....

Hibiki is invited by her friend to go to a "Zwei Wing" concert, but at the last moment, she has to cancel, leaving Hibiki to attend the concert alone. Is anyone surprised to find out that Zwei Wing is composed of the two heroines? Is anyone further surprised that the Noise attack? What's really surprising though is that one of the heroines gets killed defending Hibiki by using her artifact's most devastating song. And Hibiki really needed saving because some of the Noise attacks broke off bits of her armor and drove them into Hibiki's chest, leaving her moments from bleeding out. You know, the kind of mortal wound that can be forestalled by shouts of "Don't Die on me!" etc.

By the way, the purpose of the concert was to try to activate some other artifacts. Department 2 (Where is Department 1?) has a kooky science chick who has theories about how these things work. This series may pre-date Steven's fetish for red half-rim glasses, but I figure there's no harm in mentioning it here where he won't read it. The experiment goes badly, and somehow, some of the artifacts they were working on get stolen.

But who is the REAL bad guy? These monsters are largely aimless and purposeless. Someone must be controlling them....

Yep. Chris-chan is a girl who also has the ability to use these artifacts - one of which can summon the monsters, and another that is a set of heavy armor. (Later she is just left with one that manifests ranged gun-like weapons. Very sophisticated, these ancient Babylonians.) She had a tragic past: her parents, who were musicians, went on some kind of world peace tour, got killed for their troubles, and she was basically sold into slavery, until the Big Bad got her hands on her, and really messed with her head, and got her hating the world and considering the brutal sadism she was subjected to the only form of "Love" she could accept.

Anyway, Hibiki and her best friend go to this music-centered school, which JUST HAPPENS to be the cover for Section 2's base, and where the remaining half of Zwei Wing is a major attraction as a senior (Okay, I'll admit, I don't remember her name, and I can't be bothered to look it up). After her best battle buddy died, she got all serious and shit, and is all about pretending she's an unfeeling weapon instead of being human, and blames herself for being inadequate in that battle two years earlier.

Okay, Spoiler time. It turns out that the Big Bad and the Kooky Science Chick are actually the same person. Big Bad is actually some sort of genetic memory that took over Kooky Science Chick - awakened by the same music that our remaining heroine used to accidentally activate the first artifact many years ago.

The bits and pieces of the other artifact embedded inoperably in Hibiki's chest happen to work too. And so she becomes the new Battle Buddy, except Miss I'm a Weapon is all about fighting alone now.

When Hibiki ends up fighting Chris, she's all helpful and friendly and crap, "We're both humans, we should be able to talk and understand each other." This, of course, is the approach least likely to work with this kicked dog of a girl, who believes in no such thing as friendship. But she is doomed to have a heel-face-turn because once the Big Bad is done with her, and she's thrown out with nothing but the interesting clothes on her back and a single artifact (!), she has no place to go. Hibiki's friend finds her and takes care of her, and insists on becoming her friend. Naturally this will cause much consternation later.

And once the Big Bad's plan comes to fruition the three girls team up, although Chris, of course, insists she's not actually teaming up. They all must make the ultimate sacrifice to stop a big chunk of the moon from falling to Earth.

And then they blow it all by tacking on a scene at the very end to allow a sequel, breaking the tragic bookending the show had with Hibiki's friend visiting her grave. "Sorry, Couldn't tell you I'm not dead. Government secret." As if the shattered Moon isn't a clue.

This show also featured some of the WORST tortured spoken Engrish I've ever experienced. And the translators didn't help themselves with sounding things out that they should have had cultural knowledge of (like the Tower of Babel, not Balel.).

Still, it was cute, most of the characters were reasonably well-developed and interesting (except for the main one), and didn't depend on people being stupid to advance the plot. And while the final reveal of the Big Bad's plan was an invitation to facepalm, is that really so important? Although I have to wonder, if the governmental organization is fighting an enemy that is inside the organization, would the problem not exist if the department had never been formed? Do they cause themselves to be needed by existing? Maybe we can protect the world by NOT forming special governmental agencies to protect us from excessive weirdness.

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