Returning For A Visit
Why does the internet go insane? Every now and again, something will grab the attention of The Web and, for a couple-three weeks or so become kinda obsessed with it. Usually the item at the center of attention is among the stupider things one could think of. But occasionally, the internet sets its sights on something that's actually kinda interesting.
Last year, the town of Jackson Hole Wyoming became internet famous when a live-streaming webcam focused on the "town square" was inundated by visiting yootoobers. Apparently, one of the troglodytes that inhabits 4chan posted in that den of iniquity something to the effect that there was going to be something interesting occurring at such-and-such a time. Of course, some ridiculous number of people showed up to watch whatever it was... I don't even know if the something even happened or not... but then something strange happened. People kept visiting. And visiting. And visiting. Then the mainstream media "discovered" the story, and then there was another surge of visitors. At any time, there could be upwards of 3000 - 4000 watching.
Amazingly, a complex backstory arose... or maybe not that amazing, this being the internet and all. The Arch, centered in the above picture, became a mythological... almost religious... thing. One spoke of The Arch in reverent tones, its wonders to perceive. For example, The Arch was the bringer of the new day, which was signaled by the stop lights shifting from normal to flashing red. The Arch must also be fed, accomplished by people... well... walking through The Arch. Om nom nom. But the best known reaction would have to be "RED TRUCK."
This is Wyoming. The pickup truck may as well be the state bird. Most of them, however, are black. Or silver. Or some neutral color like that. I imagine that, the first time, there had been a parade of pickup trucks, all alike... and then came a splash of color among the utilitarian blacks and silvers. "Red Truck," someone pointed out in chat, and it stuck. Lemme tell ya though... I was actually watching one time when a red 18-wheeler drove through the intersection, and it was like all the important figures of every human religion ever suddenly appeared and did a Rockettes number in the center of the square. Good times, good times.
In the end, however, the appeal of the webcam died off, people went away, and things returned to normal... except there's always been a couple hundred viewers hanging around. A couple of nights ago, I found myself visiting the webcam for the first time in a half-year at least. It felt like I was the only one who remembered those times, as I had to explain what The Blessed Arch was, and the Red Truck, and... and...
Why did we do it? Was it the voyeur in all of us, watching without being watched ourselves? Was it an attempt to be a part of something both unique and mundane? Was it to connect with others watching as well? Did we want to see something peaceful? Or was it just The Internet being The Internet again? I don't know. I will probably never know. But I will be going back.
A Very Pleasant Surprise Indeed
On the whole, I tend not to talk about manga here at The Pond for no other reason than I've got enough on my plate already. I can only remember talking about two manga titles in the 12 years The Pond has been going, though there may have been another few that I don't remember. Which doesn't mean I don't read them... oh, heavens no. I just don't... talk about it here.
Today though, I need to sing the praises of a series I discovered last week. I went into it cold, ordering the first two books from amazon sight unseen... hey, I liked the title. As it turns out, this gamble has paid off big time. Allow me to introduce you to...
...That Time I Got Reincarnated As A Slime. And really, what more do you need to know when you've got a title like that? It may not be the perfect title, but I'll be darned if it wasn't enough for me. But, as they say, you can't judge a book by its cover. How about what's under the title?
Our hero dies in the first few pages, stabbed breaking up some street crime. It's probably the only memorable thing he'd ever done, honestly. He's 37, lives alone, has a nondescript job, is neither outstanding or poor at it, doesn't much go out, plays computer games, and realizes that he's nothing special. As he's dying, he tells his co-worker to make sure his computer hard drive is destroyed. Heh. Then everything goes black. The End.
Not the end. He wakes up... and discovers he's literally in the dark. Can't see, can't feel, can't move, can't smell, can't ANYthing. Gradually, with the help of a computer-like voice only he can hear, he comes to realize that he's... a slime. The lowest of the low. The monster that nobody fears, not even civilian npcs. Except upon reincarnation he gained two skills: [predator] and [great sage]. The first lets him absorb the abilities of anything he... um... absorbs. The second lets him combine abilities in new and inventive ways, gives him an... "instruction manual"... to the world he now inhabits, and lets him access the memories of his prior life. So he's an INTELLIGENT slime. An intelligent slime that very quickly becomes the deadliest slime ever: by absorbing a passing bat, he winds up being able to spit poison, and talk (by modifying the echolocation of the bat). As time goes on, he gains new and useful talents, but there's a problem. He's alone. He's in a huge cave, with no obvious way out, and nothing around him is intelligent. Until... well...
Of COURSE the cave has a dragon in it. Not just any dragon, either: the most powerful of the four dragons in this world. Who was locked away in this cave a very long time ago indeed after being defeated by a Hero. Magic prevents him from leaving, and his magic aura is so strong that nothing with a magic sense... pretty much everything even vaguely intelligent... will even come close to the cave. The dragon and the slime become friends... they both finally have someone to talk to!... and eventually Our Hero comes up with a way to get the dragon out of the cave... by absorbing it without dissolving it. Or something. It works, but there's an unintended consequence... of course. Hijinks ensue.
This is not a perfect manga. Our Hero The Slime quickly becomes so overpowered there's no fear that he's going to get squished. Removes a bit of drama from things, y'know? Some may not find the humor all that funny... it isn't laugh-out-loud stuff for me, mostly just a small grin. It's not at all hard to see where it's going, at least in the macro.
On the plus side, the art is quite acceptable. While the story may be predictable in the macro, in the micro there's been a few very nice surprises. The worldbuilding has been top-notch; while it's a standard fantasy D&D-style land, the way magic works is fun. Our Hero is a likable fellow, unsurprisingly... we're supposed to identify with him, after all. Really, it's been a fun little ride thus far. If you're in the mood for something light, but not too fluffy, That Time I Was Reincarnated As A Slime will go a long way for you. The first two volumes are available where-ever books are sold, and the third volume comes out in a couple of weeks. It's a good read.
F1 Update!: Abu Dhabi 2017, The Season's Over Edition
So with that, the 2017 season drives off into the sunset... literally, considering the sun went down during the course of the race today. The championships had been sewn up for weeks. It was theoretically possible for Mercedes' Valterri Bottas to take 2nd in the Driver's Championship, but he'd have to win and Ferrari's Seb Vettel would have to finish... um... 9th or below, it looks like. Half of the staff of F1Update! called in today, too busy spending the holiday weekend with family or friends or both. So it was a depleted crew that gathered in the F1U! Media Center And Snack Bar as the F1 Circus waited for the lights to go out. What sort of show did we see? THIS is your F1 Update! for the 2017 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi!
*LIGHTS OUT: We're changing our mind. We're not going to do bullet points tonight. The conversation, it flows through us. Because whooo-boy, this was a big race full o' nuthin'. Right from the start, Bottas took the lead from teammate/world champion Lewis Hamilton and would essentially not relinquish it for the rest of the day. However, almost immediately we here in the F1U! Media Center And Pizza Joint became incredibly suspicious. Hamilton didn't exactly attack the first turn the way he normally does... not that Bottas gave him much in the way of opportunity to do so.
And thus it came to pass that when the first lap ended, the top 12 cars on the starting grid... were still in the same position they started in. This did not come without some tomfoolery, though, as Nico Hulkenberg's Renault had been passed by the Force India of Sergio Perez. Hulkenberg, aware that the drab and boring Top 12 thing was resting fully on his shoulders, decided to take the place back by the simple expedient of ignoring Turn 12 altogether. He would eventually be given a five second time penalty, which he served during his only pitstop. It made no difference however, as he was able to open enough of a gap on Perez to come out ahead on the whole thing. Makes us here at the F1U! Media Center And Ball Pit wonder when someone is going to do it intentionally and win a race by doing so...
Anyway. Bottas and Hamilton began to open a lead on Vettel in third, while Bottas stayed around two seconds, give or take, ahead of his teammate. It is true that Yas Marina Circuit is difficult to pass at, but we suspect that if there had been anything to gain, Hamilton would have been giving it a bit more effort. Kind of like this writeup, come to that. When the two Mercs made their respective pitstops, Hamilton tried... he put in some quick times in the laps between Bottas' stop and his own, and the stop itself was faster than the Finn's... but it was to no avail. It was going to take a Safety Car situation to close them up. There were two opportunities for Berndt Maylander to wake from his eternal slumber and make an appearance. The first was when Red Bull's Smiley Ricciardo was told to retire the car due to a hydraulics failure. He found the biggest patch of grass in Dubai and nearly managed to roll it behind the wall for the track workers. The second time was later in the race when Renault let Carlos Sainz leave the pits without ever actually tightening the left-front wheel nut. Yup, the gunner never bothered. While this sounds like something that would happen at the F1U! Media Center And Lube Rack, it probably shouldn't during a F1 race. Just saying, y'know?
As the laps ticked down, the race settled into the processional we here at the F1U! Media Center And Parade Organizational Facility had expected all along. Late it looked like we could possibly have some action when Bottas locked up a wheel. That allowed Hamilton to close into possible attack range, but the Finn was able to fend off the World Champ easily enough. After this, it was clear that the Brit said "okay, you win". From spending the entire race within two seconds or so, he was suddenly four seconds back. And that's the way it stayed, the two Mercs finishing 1-2, with the Ferrari of Seb Vettel a distant 15 seconds behind Hamilton. After that, it was nearly a half-minute of waiting before the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line, Embryo Verstappen nipping at his diffuser as he did. There was then another wait of 40 seconds before Hulkenberg finished.
After the race, the two Mercedes drivers pulled onto the pit straight and proceeded to do donuts for the crowd, with the World Champion showing that one skill he doesn't have is doing donuts in a F1 car. Here's Bottas, carving perfect circles of rubber onto the track surface as befits the android he is, then there's Hamilton, flooping around like he's hooked up to a spirograph. We here at the F1U! Media Center And Etch-A-Sketch Art Gallery could only roll our eyes and groan. Which we then did, loudly and with feeling, when the Williams of Felipe Massa slowly edged its way into the picture. Yes, we know it's your last race, Felipe. No, we don't care, you had your moment in Brazil. The staff of the F1U! Media Center and Etiquette Facility tut-tutted savagely. We figure he thought he'd be the only one out there and by the time he realized the Mercs were, y'know, celebrating their season-long accomplishments, it was too late to turn back to the pits. Even Massa's long-time chief mechanic, Rob Smedley, asked "are you sure you're supposed to be there?" No, Rob, he wasn't. Thanks for asking, though.
In the end, the only change this race presented was Renault passing Toro Rosso for sixth in the Constructor's Championship. That went Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Force India, Williams, Renault, Toro Rosso, Haas, McLaren, and Sauber disappointingly brought up the rear. With a whimper, the 2017 Season came to a close, leaving the members of the F1U! Media Center and Prognostication Division to wonder: "wither the sport?" Things need to be fixed, from penalties for parts changes to constant domination by one team or another. Perhaps Liberty Media can pull it off, perhaps they can't. We'll find out in 118 days, in Melbourne. See ya then!
"...And Etch-A-Sketch Art Gallery" got a solid laugh out of me, so thank you for that.
Anything from the Prognostication Division on whether it looks like Liberty will try to upend the apple cart or leave things alone for a season so they can get a feel for things?
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 27, 2017 08:42 AM (rKFiU)
1. Isn't Berndt Maylander's slumber more like "eternally punctuated"?
2. "wither F1" or "whither F1" or both?
Posted by: Rick C at November 27, 2017 05:04 PM (ECH2/)
I have a policy of never correcting people until they ask.
Also, RIC's retirement meant RAI passed him for P4. Bummer. (When asked about it, Daniel went bitchy and said that in that car, RAI should have been way ahead of him.) And HUL's strong finish bumped him to... Tenth, I think?
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 27, 2017 06:48 PM (KXDM9)
#1 was intended to be a joke. #2 was a semi-serious question, given our host's whimsical nature.
Posted by: Rick C at November 27, 2017 08:53 PM (ITnFO)
Oh, like wither on the vine. I see. I have the world's worst superpower w.r.t. typos and other errors - if there is one mistake in your 80-page document, I WILL find it. Even if I'm trying to ignore it. And my eye will twitch unless I say something about it.
I probably should have been an editor instead of an engineer, but the pay is better in engineering.
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 28, 2017 09:38 AM (33oA/)
Oh! I just realized you thought I was twitting you for correcting him. No, I have a serious problem with correcting people and was trying to convey rocking back and forth in my chair with my eye twitching until I had the relief of finally being able to shout, YES THERE IS AN H! Sorry, I see now that that did not come across at all. I'll be quiet :-)
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 28, 2017 09:41 AM (33oA/)
Ha! I have the same problem. Did you by any chance go to Catholic school?
Posted by: Rick C at November 28, 2017 11:46 AM (ECH2/)
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 28, 2017 07:13 PM (EVb8m)
I am now thoroughly chastened :-)
No Catholic school, just a boatload of OCPD (which is different from OCD, but I have that, too).
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 29, 2017 10:36 AM (Fq+Vq)
And, in the first bit of big offseason news (that I've heard of anyway), Alfa Romeo is returning to F1 after a 30+ year absence. Teaming with Sauber, but NOT supplying engines; Ferrari will be doing that. The new team will be called Alfa Romeo Sauber, so, and correct me if I'm wrong, I assume that means AR will be providing needed cash to the beleaguered Sauber team in exchange for naming rights, yes?
Posted by: Thomas at November 30, 2017 08:47 AM (mSIXR)
F1 Quals: Abu Dhabi 2017
I'm a little pressed for time, but I didn't want to leave y'all hanging! Here's the provisional grid for the 2017 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi:
Different graphical format today... the usual grid layout isn't copying correctly, and Firefoxy doesn't work today for some reason. So instead you get a picture! Sorry... just imagine the nicknames, 'k?
Yup, Bottas is a full half-second ahead of the third place sitting Seb Vettel. As predicted, the weather was perfect for the Silver cars, and thus one of the Mercs was fastest in all three phases of Quals. It was Bottas that was the fastest when it mattered, though, setting a new track record in the process. Unsurprisingly, Hamilton is now saying that he hopes we don't "have a train" in the race... I suspect he'd be saying "yes, please, choo-choo" if he was on pole, though.
So we're all set for the 2017 finale, tomorrow morning is looming soon. We'll see ya then, then!
Toro Rosso may not be holding on to 6th. But if no one from Renault, Haas, or Toro Rosso scores points...which is possible... I guess we'll see.
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 25, 2017 12:47 PM (JPRju)
Oh, and I didn't realize P4 in the drivers championship wasn't sewn up yet. Daniel is only 7 points ahead of Kimi. And for that matter, Bottas could theoretically take P3 if Vettel screws up badly enough. Well, that adds a little spice.
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 25, 2017 12:52 PM (JPRju)
Did you get stuck with the new Firefox 57? It's been giving me all kinds of minor headaches. Some are just personal nits with the interface changes, although it IS running the Book of Faces a lot better. However on my mee.nu blog, it insists on putting something in all the text boxes, which keeps giving me blank More sections unless I clear them out, and adding a blank line at the bottom of my posts. (Comments seem okay).
Posted by: Mauser at November 26, 2017 09:26 PM (Ix1l6)
No, about six months ago Firefoxy began to stutter and pause badly... to the point where I'd be typing and suddenly letters would stop appearing. Then a second later, vavoop, everything I had typed would appear all in a rush.
Not just here... everywhere. Also dropdown boxes, link clicking, etc etc etc. So I moved over to Chrome, which works well but doesn't quite behave the same as Firefoxy.
For example, I cannot copy the quals results directly from the F1 website in Chrome... the formatting ends up broken quite badly. So I'd start the post in Chrome, then open FF, copy and paste the results there, save it, then reopen it in Chrome.
But Saturday, FF was being particularly recalcitrant and I was supposed to be going to Thanksgiving Meal right then, so... I went the quick'n'dirty route.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 26, 2017 11:16 PM (EVb8m)
Hey everybody! Did y'all have a happy Thanksgiving? Or, for those members of the Pond Scum that aren't in the US, did you have a good Thursday? Mine was... actually not so bad at all. I'm not going to the Old Home Pond for The Meal until Saturday, so I got to do something I've wanted to do for a long, long time: I watched football on Thanksgiving.
That I had no rooting interest in any of the six teams that played today is of no importance at all. In fact, that made it better in that I didn't care about the results, so could just watch and enjoy. I watched the entirety of the Vikings/Lions game, listened to the Chargers/Cowboys which wow was awful, and gave up on the Giants/Redskins somewhere in the second quarter and took a nap. Not a bad day at all, that.
Our son threw up, but that gave us an ironclad excuse to leave early (it was way too noisy). So, mixed blessings.
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 24, 2017 01:12 PM (JPRju)
I got up at 9:30, woke up around 11:00, played World of Warcraft until 3:00, napped until 6:00, ate dinner, played World of Warcraft until 11:00; went to bed. Would have slept till 11:00 AM today except the electricians finally showed up to re-wire a bedroom at 8:30.
Posted by: Ben at November 24, 2017 02:30 PM (ee6LA)
Wasted time on Social Media, roasted a chicken (Bachelor Turkey!), and did a little bit of writing. And watched Your Name.
Posted by: Mauser at November 24, 2017 03:41 PM (Ix1l6)
Mauser, she's Hibiki, one of the many Idolm@ster girls that isn't Chihaya, Makoto, Rin or (particularly) Anastasia, and thus only occasionally worth noticing.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 24, 2017 08:53 PM (EVb8m)
Hibiki is from Okinawa, which makes her worth noticing.
Posted by: muon at November 25, 2017 03:27 AM (vMYTH)
We played video games, ate a nice quiet dinner at home (ham, twice-baked potatoes, creamed corn, cheesy muffins, and pumpkin pie), then watched (stream-rented on 'zon) The Hitman's Bodyguard which delighted us far more than originally expected. Then I did dishes and went to bed.
I've had far, far worse Gluttonmas holidays.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 25, 2017 05:15 PM (rKFiU)
F1 on NBCSN: Abu Dhabi 2017
So this is it. Race #20 of 20. The last of the season. The last race to be covered by NBCSN and the Legendary Announce Team. The last time we'll see F1 cars without an ugly piece of structure over the cockpit. Perhaps the last time we'll see the well-known F1 logo. The last race of Felipe Massa's career... again. And the last weekend you'll have to listen to me whine moan and complain about Formula 1 for the season. Here's the track map for the 2017 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi:
I've said it before, I'll say it again probably: it looks like a great track to drive on. It's proven, however, to be not so much of a great place for a race. Like so many Tilkedromes, of course. Maybe now that Liberty Media owns F1 (essentially) someone else will get a chance to design a race course? Please?
Weather should be dry and hot, perfect for the Mercs, assuming they're not bolting 2018 test pieces onto their car for race experience. Even then, they'll probably run away and hide. But who knows? Not I, for I am just a humble fan.
Who will be sad when the race is over, for it means that Steve Matchett and David Hobbs will no longer be providing coverage for Formula 1, for the first time since I became a fan in the modern era... 2004. Those two, along with The Varsha and yes, even Leigh Diffey, have been the voice of F1 for me for 13 years. But ESPN is going to go with the international feed and announcers next year, rendering the LAT mute... and moot. So here, for the final time, is the broadcast schedule for the Legendary Announce Team:
Practice 2: 7a - 830a live on NBCSN
Quals: 7a - 830a live on NBCSN
2017 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi: 630a - 9a live on NBCSN
All times Pond Central. Accept no substitutes. Coverage of Quals will likely be delayed as Saturday is when I'm going to the Old Home Pond for the Thanksgiving meal.
Do we know what the announce team have lined up after this? Honestly, I genuinely enjoyed listening to their coverage and it added a lot to the sport. I wouldn't mind watching Le Mans or Australian supercross or whatever they end up announcing next, assuming it's not competitive motorized cross-stitch or something...
Posted by: Avatar_exADV at November 22, 2017 11:07 PM (h+ox1)
Well, The Varsha routinely works with Fox Sports as part of their more... esoteric... race coverage. He's a big part of their LeMans team, for example.
I think I read somewhere that Hobbs is going to retire back to Milwaukee, help his grandson with his racing career. Consider that "unconfirmed".
Matchett has apparently taken up poetry, just released a book of his writing. I expect he'll end up doing written F1 stuff.
So... no, not really. Just guesses.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 23, 2017 12:30 AM (EVb8m)
Random Anime Pictures #140: I Did NOT Expect That
As I've gotten more interested in the past months about anime-based figures, I've seen a bunch based on characters from something called "To Love-Ru." They've mostly been very good-looking, and there's a series of figures that are probably the best-looking I've ever seen... ridiculously expensive, waaaaaay out of my price range, but the best-looking. But I knew nothing about the series except that one pink-haired character wears a weird hat. So with so little to look at this season, I decided to give it a shot.
-To Love-Ru Darkness, Ep01
Never mind the zombies being attacked by giant plants. A careful eye will notice that the pink-haired schoolgirl is... um... crouched in an interesting location. This is not by accident. TLRD is perhaps the single-most ecchi anime I've ever seen that isn't flat-out hentai. And it was broadcast! "But Wonderduck," I hear you say and really, are you using whitening strips, your teeth look great, "if that picture is representative, it isn't that over-the-top, right?"
No. It's even more than that. Remember the High School of the Dead OVA? That was nothing in comparison to this show. Now, nothing I've shown you here is out-of-the-ordinary... or even particularly worth commenting on. That's because I don't dare put the NSFW stuff on the front page. I warn you again: if you click "more", you're going into NSFW-land.
I vaguely recall watching the first To Love-Ru series. Harem fluff, wasn't the worst thing I watched back then, nor was it the best.
I'm guessing you've got shiny-platter rips there, since (IIRC) the version that hit CR was heavily light-beamed.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 20, 2017 06:18 PM (rKFiU)
Everything I've read suggests that, when originally broadcast in Japan, it was totally uncensored. What CR did with it after, I cannot say.
I mean, there was a whole legal fooferraw about it apparently. Tokyo had just passed a "decency and morals" thingy, and went after TLRD. It eventually wound up in court, with a judge saying "yes, there's nipples. No, it doesn't violate the decency and morals thingy."
So they were clear to do whatever with the anime. And they clearly did.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 20, 2017 08:39 PM (EVb8m)
To Love Ru Darkness is the sequel to the first series, that ran two seasons IIRC. And the hero is a total zero in the show. Aside from him, it's Urusei Yatsura with the serial numbers filed off, and all the quality sandblasted away.
Posted by: Mauser at November 20, 2017 08:40 PM (Ix1l6)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 22, 2017 12:06 AM (2yngH)
Wonderduck, IIRC, the satellite version of the show was less censored than the broadcast version, so depending on which raws a group used while it was airing, you saw nipples or censorbeams. And of course they all went back and used the less-censored version when the discs came out.
Posted by: J Greely at November 23, 2017 06:52 PM (tgyIO)
Way late to this party. Rito (the doofus male) has a cosmic-level power to land in a compromising position with cute females, no matter how unlikely. Even the Deviluke girls' mother (the queen - she finds it hilarious. Al Franken, your publicist is calling....). No, seriously, it's a power. He actually has to suppress it once in order to deliberately molest Darkness (the blonde assassin's boss) in the manga.
Posted by: ubu at December 13, 2017 10:46 AM (SlLGE)
See, now they're just pandering. A beach episode. The fifth episode of twenty-six, and already it's a beach episode. Then the best shot of the whole thing is also the one where the Tagonist is most fully dressed. I don't understand how this show thinks at all.
Well, okay, maybe I do a bit.
This was the episode where everybody that wasn't a die-hard Aquarion fan jumped ship... and apparently, some of the die-hards did, too. I know I'm not going to go any farther with it. What's the point? I don't like giant robot/mecha as a rule, I don't like shouted special attack names, and I really don't like shows throwing in beach episodes less than a fifth of the way through the run. I mean sure, the fanservice is nice, but if the series is this desperate this early, the trainwreck that's coming is going to be immense. No thanks.
Despite my advancing years, my eye can still be distracted by cute representatives of the opposite sex, even to the point of watching an anime series solely because of a character design. Oh, it doesn't happen often... I usually require something more than that, like a storyline or grand concept that is appealing... but upon occasion everything will line up just right. As I wasn't really paying attention to anything this season... I still intend to finish up Girls Last Tour... I said "what the hell," and began watching Aquarion Logos.
This was not the best idea I ever had. I acknowledge that giant robot shows can in theory be interesting and enjoyable. Having acknowledged that, I need to state that Aquarion Logos does nothing to prove that theory correct. Lots of combining small ships to make a big one, lots of yelled attack moves, flat-out awful animation levels, a stupid stupid plot... really, the only worthwhile thing in it is the Tagonist, Maia (above). Yes, tagonist. She's not on the side of Right And Good, so she can't be the protagonist, but she's not on the side of Darkness and Evil anymore either, so she's no antagonist. So she's a Tagonist.* Oh, and the cafe that's a front for the Good Guys' Giant Robot Hangar has a row of rubber duckies, as seen up top there. Sadly, even the combination of cut-off jeans shorts and rubber duckies cannot save this series.
* Yes, I know I'm not using protagonist and antagonist correctly. Just roll with it.
Posted by: Ben at November 16, 2017 06:42 AM (4E68E)
I still think Yoko was Will's favorite thing about Gurren Lagann. I wasn't really paying attention to the show, but every time I saw her on screen, she had a very large gun very strategically placed, and Will kept denying it was intentional. Not sure if he was trying to fool me or himself.
Actually, I feel bad, because he used to re-watch Gurren Lagann every year, but he hasn't watched it since I made fun of it seven years ago. Will! You can totally watch it this year! I promise I won't say anything *and* I'll wait until your back is turned to roll my eyes!
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 16, 2017 06:51 AM (JPRju)
I've made two stabs at Gurren Lagann and just can't get past the first half dozen or so episodes. I'm assured that it's actually brilliant and moving and such. Eventually.
To the more cogent point, though: I like that the artist didn't simply copy-pasta one duck repeatedly to make that line-up.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 16, 2017 08:36 AM (rKFiU)
"I promise I won't say anything *and* I'll wait until your back is turned to roll my eyes!"
There you have it, that's true love right there, people!
Posted by: Rick C at November 16, 2017 09:12 AM (ECH2/)
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 16, 2017 06:50 PM (EVb8m)
What Greyduck said. I want to like Gurren Lagann sooooo bad...and I just can't make it past the first several episodes.
And yet, I own...I'm not entirely sure how many figures of Yoko Littner. It's a fleet. And there are *at least* three I don't have, that I will obtain at some point. The Real-Image, the Alter, and the Bunshitsu.
Posted by: Ben at November 16, 2017 07:01 PM (4E68E)
I must be more exhausted than I thought to have posted my email. Crap.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 17, 2017 07:46 PM (kS3Mo)
F1 Update!: Brazil 2017
A brilliantly sunny day greeted the F1 Circus as they made their way to the grid, led by the Mercedes of Valterri Bottas. The Finn was going to have to carry the banner for the Silver Arrows on this day as his world champion teammate, Lewis Hamilton, was starting from the pit lane after binning his car in Quals. He had his work cut out for him as the two Ferraris were right behind him in second and third, led by Seb Vettel, and the Italian team was desperate for a win. Every team wants to end a season on a high note, true, but Ferrari actually led both championships for a substantial portion of the season before watching Merc run away from them. Face needs must be saved. So what occurred? What transpired? THIS is your F1Update! for the 2017 Grand Prix of Brazil!
*SOMEONE SET US UP THE BOMB: After his visit to the barriers during Qualifying, Lewis Hamilton was going to be starting from somewhere around last place on the grid, so the team made the strategic decision to actually start him from the pit lane. Why is this important? Because it allowed changes to be made to the car's setup. The Mercedes has proven to be rather persnickity regarding the weather this season. It isn't fond of cool track temperatures, being unable to get its tires up to operating levels, so the team has to do everything it can to get heat into them. This slows the car down. The weather for Quals was cool and not sunny, so both Mercs were set up for that... and it got Bottas the pole. However, race day came and it was both warm AND sunny; the track temperature was right in the Merc's sweet spot. After the end of Qualifying, however, the cars go into parc ferme and cannot be worked on or adjusted in any way unless there's a safety issue, and even then it's a case of "like for like." The race Powers That Be have to approve the switching of parts, and will watch the change like a hawk. THEN the car goes back into parc ferme. That was Bottas' position. But Hamilton? Since he was already going to be starting from the back, starting from the pit lane would be no great hardship, and it meant that the parc ferme rules did not apply; they could make any changes they desired. And they desired to change the setup for hot weather. Oh, and to replace almost everything on the car, from floor to engine. It would make a substantial difference.
*LIGHTS OUT: Once the five red lights went out, we had the usual drag race to the first turn between Bottas on the outside and Vettel on the inside. Neither driver had great starts, wheelspin being the thing to begin with. It was Vettel who managed to get the power down to the asphalt first and he passed Bottas as they reached the braking zone for Turn 1. One turn later, all became chaos. Smiley Ricciardo spun his Red Bull, and behind him Kevin Magnussen and Stoffelwaffle did Very Bad Things to each other. This would call out the Safety Car, and only instants after the notification came out we had another wreck, this time when Lettuce Grosjean lost his Haas and broke False Esteban! into the kittylitter. This would prove terminal for False Esteban!'s race, bringing to an end a remarkable string: ever since he began racing single-seaters in the 2014 Formula 3 season, he had never retired from a race. Alas, no more.
*SAFETY CAR: As Berndt Maylander was woken from his dark slumber, Lewis Hamilton had to be chortling with glee. Starting from the pit lane had allowed him to totally avoid all the crashing and the wrecking and the glavin! and find himself in 13th. Seven positions in just a couple of laps? Not bad. Many changed tires during the Safety Car, but not the leaders, and not Hamilton, who began the race on the Soft tires (the hardest compound on offer) and looked to be going long in the first stint, and finish up with a sprint on the ultramegawowthesearesoft tires. The Safety Car also had the effect of gathering the field back together. Hamilton may have been in 13th place, but he was only seven seconds behind Vettel.
*READY SET GO: After the restart, Vettel managed to open a two second gap to Bottas, but no farther. However, they began pulling away from the rest of the field; they both wanted the win so badly there was never any thought to playing it safe or protecting the tires. As they ran away and hid, the cameras slid back to where the action was... with another silver-colored car.
*CHAAAARGE!: On Lap 5, when the Safety Car went away, Hamilton was 13th. On Lap 6, he was 12th, having passed Pleasant Stroll. On Lap 7, he was 11th, getting by Sony Ericcson. Lap 8 saw our champion leave Pierre Ghastly behind for 10th. You can be forgiven for thinking that Lap 9 would see him in 9th place. In reality, he was 8th, having passed both Carlos Sainz and Nico Hulkenberg. He then began to slack off, taking five laps to pass Sergio Perez for 7th. Now yes, Hamilton was in a much better car than everybody he passed, but that was still some mighty fine driving. And it wasn't over yet... at this point, Hamilton asked his crew a stunning question: "Is Vettel getting away?" In fact, he was only 16 seconds behind the leader at this point.
*PITS: By Lap 29, all the leaders had pitted for fresh tires... and Lewis Hamilton was leading the Brazilian Grand Prix (that's a lot of Grand Prix!). And he would hold that lead for 14 laps until he had to make his one stop for tires. He'd rejoin in 5th place, nine seconds behind Embryo Verstappen's Red Bull.
*NO... HE CAN'T, CAN HE?: On fresh tires, Hamilton immediately began reeling in the youthful Dutchman. On Lap 59, he took 4th place and immediately set off for the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen only two seconds ahead. He would begin hounding the veteran, narrowing the lead to as little as 0.9 seconds. Once Hamilton locked up going into a turn, however, it was clear that his remarkable day had come to an end, his tires cooked and the Merc wobbling.
*THE END: When the race finally ended, the top four finishers, Vettel-Bottas-Raikkonen-Hamilton, were covered by less than 5.50 seconds. There was then a 27 second gap back to Verstappen. In many ways, this 1 - 3 result was exactly what Ferrari needed. But there had to be a dark cloud hanging around, caused by Hamilton's storming drive. It wouldn't have been hard to imagine the champion on the podium... or if he had began the race near his normal grid position, running away and hiding from the rest of the field.
Next race is the last race, Abu Dhabi in two weeks. We'll see ya then for the finish!
Sure, but Hamilton was hugely advantaged by the car setup (and the safety car), so while he could still have climbed pretty high with the qual setup from 20th, it probably wouldn't have been quite as impressive. (Villeneuve called Bottas's performance "embarrassing"...but his car was set up very differently, and he didn't get to swap out all those parts. He's not as good as Hamilton, true, but he isn't terrible. I thought that was kind of mean.)
The gap to Verstappen is a little misleading because he pitted for red tires a few laps before the end. (Based on the radio chatter (the team was trying to talk him out of it) and comments afterward, I suspect he was deliberately trying for the fastest lap after Vettel beat him out for it in Mexico. Might as well - he had no chance of catching Hamilton and was well ahead of Ricciardo. He did get it, and it was a new track record.)
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 14, 2017 06:44 AM (JPRju)
Delay Delay Delay
So last night I went to sleep early, intending to wake up in time to watch the F1 race live form Brazil. Instead, I had a nightmare of a night. From around midnight to maybe 6am-ish, I was basically up every hour dealing with... um... a warp core breach.
I've had more fun. Anyway, the amount of sleep I had last night was insufficient to my needs which also led to massive headache that made me... um... cranky. I had to cancel brunch with the folks, sort of moved around in a daze until I sat down to watch the race around noon, then promptly dozed off with a sandwich in my hand. Once I woke up, I rewound the race, started it again, then dozed off at about the halfway point. Didn't miss much, though. Now that I've watched the thing, I'm going to go back to bed. When I awake, I suspect I'm going to feel like a overcooked strand of mafaldine.
You can probably see where I'm going with all this. It's not like the race was all that exciting anyway. Bear with me, I am old and tired.
F1 Quals: Brazil 2017
Well, quals hasn't aired yet here, but I've seen the important bits! Here's the provisional grid for the 2017 Grand Prix of Brazil:
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull Racing
Force India Mercedes
Felipe Retire Already
Force India Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton Who?
Hamilton threw his car into the barriers after just a few minutes of Q1 had elapsed, ending his day early. He later said that the crash "was very unusual" for him. Well, yeah. Kinda. I'll say this for the newly-minted four-time WC, his wreck had style. He went into Turn 7, the rear of the car broke free, and it looked for all the world that he was drifting the Merc through the turn intentionally. That is, right up until the moment it went rocketing off through the kittylitter and buried itself in the tire barrier. There were some anxious moments as Hamilton didn't reply right away to his pitwall asking if he was okay but eventually he confirmed no injury. He did look at the back of the car for a while before walking off... clearly he thought something broke back there.
Other than that, though? It appears the session wasn't all that exciting. Sure, Bottas took pole at the very last moment from Vettel, but... well. There are a LOT of penalties to be applied before the start tomorrow... Smiley Ricciardo gets a 10-spot, for example... so that'll jumble things up a little more for tomorrow's race. Weather is supposed to be warm and dry... darn it.
F1 on Somewhere or Other: Brazil 2017
Brazil. Not my favorite race. Oh, I don't hate it the way I hate Hungary... it's much deeper, this distaste I have for Grand Prix of Brazil. The Hungarian Grand Prix, I just dislike the track. Brazil? I hate the entire weekend. But first, here's the track map:
Okay, cool. From all reports, most of the F1 community loves the circuit, loves driving there, finds the place to be a great challenge. So why my bitter antipathy for Interlagos? Back in the old days, when my F1 fandom was shiny and new, Brazil was the last race of the season. That meant that my favorite brand of motorsport was going to be going away for four months, give or take, and it was all Brazil's fault.
I didn't say it was logical.
But because of all that, the weekend always felt gray and overcast, even if it wasn't. Maybe particularly if it wasn't. That we occasionally got reports of drivers or team members being threatened at gunpoint didn't help matters either. But rain is, if not common, then at least not very rare at all, which literally made it gray... and slippery, too! Bonus!
But now Interlagos isn't even the last race on the calendar so my distaste for the circuit doesn't even make sense anymore. Doesn't matter. Don't like it.
I do like the Legendary Announce Team however, and we've only got two more races with them until they are scattered to the winds. Let's enjoy them while we can, right? Here's the broadcast schedule:
Practice 2: 10a - 1130a live on NBCSN
Quals: 830p - 10p decidedly not live on NBCSN
2017 Grand Prix of Brazil: 930a - 12n live on NBCSN
All times Pond Central Time. I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the decision to show NASCAR practice instead of F1 Quals live. After all, NBCSN will not have Formula 1 much longer... no reason to hype it up just to have it move to ESPN next season. And thus we get Quals 12 hours late. However, if you're in the mood, Practice and Quals will be shown right before the race back-to-back-to-back. I'll still have the normal Quals report up Saturday morning/afternoon, whichever. I'm not even going to promise the F1U! for Sunday... best laid plans and all that, and my track record hasn't been great recently.
But it'll be here! I promise. See you eventually then!
I Blame Pixy. And J Greely. And Maybe Greyduck Too. (UPDATED)
Based on reviews, blurbs, comments, and otherwise out-and-out love given out over the years by the people in the title, I just bought the audiobook version of Storm Front, the first of The Dresden Files series, by Jim Butcher.
There are 15 books in the series.
I'm a inveterate completionist.
What have you done to me? I thought we were friends, man.
UPDATE: J says below that the first books would probably be improved if they got someone good to read them, audiobook-wise. They got someone good: James Marsters. Who?
Oh. Spike! From the Buffyverse. Guess what? He's really damn good. Stage trained, studied at Juilliard, that sorta thing. His take on Harry Dresden as a worn-down, kinda tired private eye-kinda figure is... well, I can't really say. I mean, I think it's perfect, but not having read the books, I can't compare it to my "mental reading", y'know? To me, it works perfectly.
Oh no, you can't pin this one on me. I got about three books in and wandered off again. (I'm not here to crap on the books so I won't go into why.) I don't recall offering effusive praise for the Dresden books. Butcher is a whiz-bang writer, though, so you'll probably enjoy 'em.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 06, 2017 08:46 AM (rKFiU)
The first one is the weakest, and it takes him a few books to grow out of the monster-of-the-week plotting and some obvious cut-and-paste narrative. They don't suck, though, and they set up some really good crunchy bits for later. I suspect the audiobooks probably improve the first few, if they're read by someone decent.
My biggest gripe about the novels (after about book 7) is that Butcher assumes you read the short stories as they came out in various themed anthologies. The first batch was collected in Side Jobs, but the second collection doesn't come out until next summer.
The TV show was pretty good, but only loosely connected to the novels.
Posted by: J Greely at November 06, 2017 11:23 AM (tgyIO)
3OH yeah. I DO offer effusive praise for that series.
Posted by: Ed Hering at November 06, 2017 12:09 PM (kublq)
And yeah, the TV show is different in many small ways but got the tone exactly right. Shame it didn't get picked up for at least a second season.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 06, 2017 04:19 PM (2yngH)
GD, I apologize, in researching who to blame I mixed up someone else's comment with your name, which was right above it. Or below it. Next to it? This was over at Pixy's place, mind you, not here.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 06, 2017 06:04 PM (i5Suc)
Marsters is a good choice. I listened to that sample chapter just now, and it works.
Posted by: J Greely at November 06, 2017 06:53 PM (tgyIO)
I like Dresden a lot myself. I agree the first three or so books are weaker, but they are still quite entertaining. And Butcher is developing as an author. The most recent, Skin Game, was EXCELLENT. I keep checking for the release date for Peace Talks, but apparently he's still writing it. Sigh.
Posted by: Mrs. Will at November 07, 2017 05:46 AM (JPRju)
James Marsters is so good, that I, a Brit, was surprised when I looked him up and saw that he isn't. The only American actor that's ever fooled me.
Posted by: AlanL at November 10, 2017 12:13 PM (XF+Oh)
Doki Doki Literature Club
Yeah, I know. "Wonderduck, another dating sim?" Yep! And not only that, it's about as formulaic as they come! I mean take a look:
Left to right, you've got the tsundere, the shy bookworm, the genki childhood friend, and the school princess who's also the president of this little club. Of course, you're the only guy in sight. We've seen this anime, this manga, this visual novel, before, dozens of times really. These same characters too... oh, the character designs might be different, but really they're the same.
So why did this free game that's available on Steam hook me so darn hard that it got into my dreams? I want to make this clear: there are spoilers ahead. Not massive ones, but spoilers nevertheless. If you're curious about this, but you don't want spoilers, allow me to direct you to friend Ben's post over on the mysteriously named Midnite Tease. He's got the stuff.
And, if you want to go into it with as little information as possible, I salute you and don't even mind if you're not going to read the rest of this post. Here's some music for you.
Quite possibly the happiest, most bubbly tune ever... perfect for DDLC!
Still Around, Still Alive
Just... really busy, really really tired, and for a couple of nights this week I had Very Bad Dreams. Things should loosen up a bit soon, however, and I'll write over the weekend. Hold on until then, okay? Thanks!