September 30, 2020
Ducks In Anime: Duck And Pandahamster II Some time ago, I wrote about a wonderful little trifle from the geniuses over at Kyoto Animation entitled Baja no Studio. Sadly, I first saw this delightful story about a hamster-blob-thing and his toy duck friend shortly after the terrible arson that consumed KyoAni's Studio 1 that killed 36... including the director of Baja no Studio. As it's set in an anime production building that was based on Studio 1, it was doubly hard to watch.
Earlier this month, Baja no Studio: Baja no Mita Umi (Baja and the Sea) was available for streaming for a limited time... and now it's available at all the usual places one can hoist the black flag!
...and it's just as incredibly cute as the first one. This time, Baja and Quacky are told by Magical Girl Coco about "the sea", and magically takes them there. It's as insanely beautiful as anything KyoAni has ever done.
Yes, that's them on top of the water sphere. It looks even better in motion. Anyway, all is right with the world until the baddy, the evil Dr Doom wannabe Gi shows up and literally pulls the plug on the whole thing. Whirlpools ensue.
The show then becomes about Gi trying to turn poor Baja into his evil minion by... mistreating Quacky. The utter cad.
Quacky does try to fight back, however, like any brave duck should.
But is soon banished to a stormy sea, leaving Baja all alone. It's a heartbreaking moment, and I won't reveal how the situation is fixed, but rest assured all is right with the world by the end. Because that's the way it should be when a duckie is involved.
I'm not going to go tell you to watch it right away. I'm going to tell you to save it for a day you're feeling down. I won't claim to say it'll make everything great, but for 25 minutes or so, you'll feel better. Because that's what duckies do.
September 21, 2020
Submitted Without Comment
EDIT the next day:
September 14, 2020
Before Civilization. A few weeks back, I was chatting with Ben from MidniteTease about pretty much nothing in particular when the discussion turned, as such discussions between two relatively healthy red-blooded American males often do, to the topic of videogames.
Why, what did you think I was going to say?
Anyway, Ben is currently learning how to create mods for Fallout 3. Considering that I can use my computer to open e-mail, this amazes me to no end. He had said something about making Deathclaws wear party hats... I think? I might have that wrong. Anyway. He's doing that, and I'm still playing Fate Grand Order. Still have yet to miss a log-in from when I began around the New Year, in fact. I've gone from being a total clueless n00b in the game to being a total clueless vet at the game with a roster that's strong enough to carry my lame tucus to victory.
No, no, what I meant to say is that I've actually learned how to play, how to use the mechanics to my advantage, all that sort of thing. I've spent hours reading and watching videos on the thing, and without a doubt my favorite part of the game is... a daily webcomic that gets posted on Reddit. I've linked to Rednal's imgur album so you can read it if you want. It just put up its 500th consecutive comic a few days ago, and also finally gave it a name.
However. FGO is not the only thing I've been playing of late. God help me, I've begun playing Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy. As the creator of the game says, "I created this game for a certain type of person. To hurt them." I don't know if I'm the certain type of person mentioned, but it does hurt. So very much.
But during that conversation with Ben, somehow we veered off topic briefly to floppy disks. No, I don't know either. But as we chatted via text, I went looking through a box of old Sony disks I have here... from my RadioShanty days, no less. Over 20 years old, in other words. Poorly labeled if at all, they just sat there with no way for me to access them. And there, at the back of the box, was something that honestly took my breath away for a moment. Or maybe it was the hot sauce on the burrito, one of the two. Lets go with the thing in the disk box, shall we?
1987. I had a 286 around about that time. I couldn't tell you how much RAM it had... probably 640kb. I'm pretty sure I bought this when I was in grad school, though. 1991, then. Either way, holy crap. You've maybe played the remake that came out in 2004 which is available on Steam, and it's really quite a faithful "cover" version. But just think about this for a moment. When Sid Meier made this game, he was still four years away from the release of Civilization.
That means it was literally "before civilization." And, for all you kids out there, yes, it's before your knowledge too. You never experienced floppys.
This is very nearly archaeology, certainly in computer terms. How weird it is to say that. Anyway. Thought you might be interested. If not, eh, sorry to waste your time. If you were, great, happy to waste your time!
September 04, 2020
All Of Them, Really. You may remember a while ago, I was lamenting over the length of my hair and how badly it needed to be cut. Of course, with the Plague-19 going on getting out to a place of haircutting was difficult if not potentially fatal. This left me with two options: let it grow or cut it myself. For a while, I continued to let it grow... and grow... and grow...
But then came the issues. First, it was having to clean my hairbrush every few days. Then it was my bathtub drain clogging almost bi-weekly. Then it was random hair in my metaphorical (and sometimes literal) soup. But the real tipping point was being woken up by a literal mouthful of hair. It had gotten so long that what would have been a ponytail had I tied it was migrating to cover my face during the night. This could not stand, and so I made the decision... I had to do the deed.
Being nearly as impulsive as a block of concrete, I had to make sure I wasn't going to mess up. I have a very nice Remington beard trimmer...
No, not that Remington. At least, I don't think it's the same company. If it is, that's the weirdest case of business diversity I can think of. Anyway, beard trimmer. It's quite good for an entry-level model and it lets me remove my beard in about a fifth of the time it takes me to shave. Even better, I've had it long enough now that its now saving me money on the cost of razor blades! Win win all around! However, please notice the name: beard trimmer. I had no idea how well it'd do when it came to the overgrown field that was my hair. Its blade is less than one-and-a-half inches wide, and my head is much larger than that. Further, I didn't want to shave it all off, and the trimmer did have a guide that'd keep it an inch over my head. That'd still be short, but not oh-my-god-what-did-you-do short. So, I practiced.
Right in front, dead-center of my hairline.
Because where else would you practice when the possibility exists that screwing up would make you look incredibly stupid and would be obvious to everybody that looked at you? Then I doubled down on the stupid by not cutting flat, but at an angle so the resulting length was actually quite a bit less than 1" tall.
Yeah, about like that. Fer the luvva crepe. Before I continued, I did the one smart thing I'd done since the decision to shear myself had been made: I hopped onto the Chicago Cubs website and ordered myself a new Cubs ballcap. Because your hair can't look stupid if nobody can see it! That accomplished, I went back and got to work.
It's more exciting if you imagine a hair-cutting sequence occuring with this playing in the background. No seriously, imagine scenes of long hair dropping to the floor, close-ups of the trimmer blade deforesting whole rainforests of red, all in dramatic cinematic dramaticness. You picturing that? Pretty cool, isn't it? Heck yeah it is.
That's not what it was like. Instead it was me trying to get my hair to just all be the same height and failing miserably. For the next three days, every time I was in the bathroom, I'd see another patch that was clearly too long and work at it some more. Eventually I just set the trimmer to the very lowest height that wasn't blade-on-skin and said screw it. I'll be honest, it wasn't a good look for me. I didn't quite look like the sort of big dumb muscle you expect to see in a bad crime movie, but it was pretty close. It's been a couple of weeks now, and while it's still very very short... I can brush my hair just as well with my hand as I can an actual brush, and drying it after a shower takes about two rubs of a towel... it's not as horrible as it was. At least now you can tell I have actual hair.
Better than choking on it every morning, I'll tell you what.
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