March 09, 2008

ARIA, Undines and Promotions.


The world of ARIA is a lush and expansive one, with three series worth of anime (ARIA the Animation, 13 episodes; ARIA the Natural, 26 episodes and one OVA, "Arietta", and ARIA the Origination, currently on ep8 of 13), and two separate manga (Aqua and Aria) to draw details from (please note that this post draws only from the anime)

The setting for ARIA is the city of Neo-Venezia, nearly a brick-for-brick copy of the Italian city of Venice (which has been abandoned, finally slipping under the water of the Adriatic sea; whether this is because of eco-disaster or natural subsidence of the city is unknown), located on what was called Mars, now Aqua after extensive terraforming.  Like the original, Neo-Venezia is waterbound, with canals replacing streets.  As one would expect, the gondolieri of Venice made the trek to Aqua as well.  The profession underwent a sea change (pardon the pun) in Neo-Venezia, however. 

Now called Undines, the gondolieri of Neo-Venezia are exclusively female.  A mix of tour guide and limo driver, Undines might almost be considered the 'rock stars' of Neo-Venezia, with magazines devoted to them, and the best being known city-wide and beyond, with their fame seemingly reaching to 'Manhome', as Earth is now called. 

The Undines are well-organized, with their own guild of sorts, the Gondolier's Association.  The 'gondolier concession', if you will, is run by three companies: Orange Planet (the largest, whose uniforms are lined with yellow), Himeya (the oldest, red), and Aria Company (the company followed in the show, blue). 

There may be at least two other companies in Neo-Venezia as well (whose uniform colors are green and purple, respectively), but other than a brief moment in one episode, they exist 'off-stage', if you will.

Given all this, there are a few things that have bothered me (slightly) about the world of the Undines:
more...

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Random Anime Picture #13


Poor Alice... that was just mean.
-ARIA the Origination, ep08

That'll tide you over until I get the ARIA post I mentioned last week finished.  That darn ick made it impossible to write clearly...

...then it's F1 time again!

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Mee.Nu Problems

Earlier today, mee.nu, the domain for a good many blogs (including Chizumatic and Brickmuppet), was having problems being 'located', if you will, by the internet as a whole.  If you tried to visit those sites, you received a message stating "this domain is registered and maintained by one of our customers".

Pixy Misa, the great guru of mee.nu (and the charter member of The Order of The Honorary Duck), got the problem resolved very quickly; impressive, since he's in Australia and the problem was occurring around 9am Pond Time.

Unfortunately, the problem seems to have returned.  So if you've been having problems getting to any of those sites, that's what's going on.  Don't panic, they'll be back soon.

(Pixy tells me that The Pond is maintained on one of the same servers as those carrying .mee.nu sites, but since I'm a carryover from the .mu.nu days, I'm not affected.)

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:09 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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March 07, 2008

F1 Pr0n: Williams FW30!


T3h 3\/1L!
Looks aren't everything, but the new Williams charger, the FW30, has an aura of menace and nasty around it.  It's been a while (Minardi '05) since we've had a black and white car on the grid, it's kinda nice to see.

On second thought, maybe Williams doesn't want to invite comparisons to Minardi...


more...

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March 05, 2008

The Ick Is Back... d*mm*t.


Sick Yuno FTW x2!
Remember a couple of weeks ago when I had a cough?  It's back.  The difference now, though, is that I know what it ISN'T:

It isn't a flu (did you know they've got a test for that now?  They stick a q-tip up your nose then do something with it and then they know if you've got the flu... miracles never cease!), it's not pneumonia, it's not whooping crane cough, it's not a toomah, which means it's probably a virus.  And that, ladies and gentlemen (and my regular readers) means...

...there's nothing they can do for me, except try to keep the cough from expelling my lungs from my chest and out my mouth.  Whee.

That Aria post I was talking about is still in the works; it'll get up eventually.  For now, though, I'm going to bed.



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March 04, 2008

Gary Gygax Has Failed His Saving Throw.

Gary Gygax, the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, and one of the founders of TSR Games (and the Dungeon Hobby Shop), passed away today.

I can't even begin to tell you how many hours I spent in Vaucaunson's Duck's basement, playing D&D with the group (John, The Other John, Paul, David, Jeff, and The Other Jeff)... many, many, many nights worth, that's for sure.  Lord only knows how many cans o' coke met their ends at our hands, or how many dice rolled across the table (and we never reached 4th level, either...).

I suspect that many of my readers have similar stories; the guy was a legend in the years before computer gaming took over, and has only grown in stature since, even after being shoved out of the game by TSR going under and being acquired by Wizards of the Coast.

Vauc, I remember he tried to hire Dr John once upon a time... any thoughts for the crowd?

UPDATE:  Order Of The Stick pays tribute and does it right.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 06:05 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Random Anime Picture #12


God bless the Japanese...
-Yotsunoha, ep01

How many fetishes can YOU find in this picture?

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March 02, 2008

Random Anime Pictures #11


-Spice + Wolf, ep08

"Hey, I've got a great idea for a show."
"Okay, tell me."
"Medieval economics.  We'll follow a guy in a cart around as he goes from town to town trading pepper for apples, and then for wheat.  It'll be great!"
"..."
"Whaddya think?"
"ARE YOU INSANE?"
"Huh?"
"Medieval economics?  There's no way people would watch that!"
"B-b-b-but... why not?"
"Not enough girls!"
"Mmm... how about we give him a wolf goddess disguised as a teen girl as a partner?"
"NOW you're talking!"

You wouldn't think there'd be any chance that a show like Spice + Wolf would be interesting, but it is.  Unfortunately, it's interesting because of Horo (the abovementioned wolf goddess), not because of the main premise (medieval trading) or storyline.  Horo's feisty, clever, witty, and her ears and tail are cute (as she'll tell you at any time)... and she's practically the only reason to watch the show.  I'm not sure I've ever seen a series that's so dominated by a character.  There's one episode where she's not on screen until the final thirty seconds, and it's really bad.  I mean, REALLY bad: "two guys sitting in a room, talking" bad.

I can't recommend Spice + Wolf, but there are a lot of worse shows out there... and please note that I'm watching it to the bitter end.  Maybe we'll figure out why Horo the wolf goddess looks more like a fox than a wolf...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:19 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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Random Anime Picture #10


I love this shot...
-ARIA the Origination, ep06

I'm currently working on a post about an aspect of the ARIA world that's bothered me for a while.  It's not a problem with the show at all, but one of those things that's like the socket of a recently-pulled tooth... you can't help but poke at it with your tongue. With any luck, it should be up on Sunday.

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March 01, 2008

One Last "...Angel" Post.

I almost wish I hadn't checked this.

The VCAs have a new feature this year, showing where each nominee ranked in the voting in each category.

"...Angel" was the best of the non-finalists in the "Best First Video" category.

UPDATE:  No it wasn't, at least not because of this list.  It's in alphabetical order by video name; of course, I was looking at the name of the creator instead.  Thanks to Andrew F. for pointing that out.  Guess I just wanted it to be true so much that I just didn't research it enough. 

SO close, OH so close... congrats to OneLastKiss123, though.  Really good video, there.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 12:28 AM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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March 13, 2008

An Official Pond Announcement

(bumped to top)
I'm afraid I have some unhappy news to announce.  The F1 UPDATE! crew will probably not be able to do a report for the upcoming Australian Grand Prix Qualifying sessions Friday night. 

This past Sunday night I went to bed, but about five minutes after my head hit the pillow, the left side of my mouth felt like someone had shoved a white-hot knitting needle into it.  It didn't stop until I figured out that it hurt only when I was laying down; I got about two hours of sleep sitting in an armchair.

I got into the dentist's office this morning, and she took one look at the x-ray and said "Yup, there's no chance of saving that one.  Plus there's some swelling, too.  If we let it stay in there, there's a good chance it'll REALLY start to hurt, and get infected to boot."  A few minutes later, I got 'lucky': there was a cancellation in the oral surgeon's schedule for Friday, so they'll be able to get me in for an extraction under general anesthetic. 


In some ways, that's great news.  The tooth hasn't hurt since Sunday, but that side of my face has some slight amount of swelling, and has felt quite warm since Tuesday or so.  Getting the damned thing out of my head can't do anything but help.  Unfortunately, the extraction is late Friday afternoon, and I might not be recovered enough to watch the quals and write about them until, at the earliest, Saturday afternoon.

I suppose it's possible, sure, but given my past history with tooth extractions, I'm not betting on it.  I WILL be here for the race, and there WILL be a F1 UPDATE! afterwards... assuming there's no difficulties with the surgery, of course.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:45 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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