At the Altar

Apr. 23rd, 2017 07:07 pm
lovelyangel: (Haruhi Camera)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Pastor Cat and the Children’s Circle
Pastor Cat and the Children’s Circle
Meridian United Church of Christ • April 23, 2017

At today’s worship service I saw a photo opportunity, but I was way, way on the other side of the sanctuary, and I had to scramble into position – barely getting set in time to take one picture before the group broke up. Sometimes one chance is all you get. If I’d have been smart I would have at least reset the focus point (it was way over to the right of the frame) while I was running. But I didn’t. I was very lucky to get a shot at all.

As they say… it’s better to be lucky than good.

Naruto Rendan – Week 7

Apr. 23rd, 2017 06:41 pm
lovelyangel: Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica episode 5 (Homura Hair Flip)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Each evening I try to watch two, maybe three episodes of Naruto Shippuden. Some evenings after work when I get home late I have to do other tasks and don’t watch any Naruto at all. On weekends I generally watch extra episodes, although this weekend I didn’t.

I finished the Kazekage’s Rescue arc. I finished the Long-Awaited Reunion arc. I skipped filler episodes 57-71, resuming at 72 – the Hidan and Kakuzu arc. Today I finished episode 73. Canon episodes will continue through episode 89. I’m now into Shippuden episodes I’ve not seen before.

Naruto Rendan – Week 3
Naruto Rendan – Week 5

Best Donuts in Portland

Apr. 23rd, 2017 06:17 pm
lovelyangel: (Ayu w/taiyaki)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Blue Star Donuts
Blue Star Donuts

At our last dinner I confessed to Jenni that I’d never had a Blue Star Donut, even though I knew by reputation they are the best donuts in Portland. She said she’d bring me some next time she was there. And sure enough, on my doorstep today was a box of Blue Star Donuts, courtesy of my dear friend.

Jenni knows my favorite donut is the old fashioned donut, and that is what she bought for me. There were two in the box plus one other pastry. The donut was fine… but not as good as the ones that people used to bring to my workplace. But who made those? Krispy Kreme? Voodoo? I don’t know. This is going to nag at me.

Blue Star Donuts
Blue Star Donuts

How About a Dialup Sound?

Apr. 23rd, 2017 05:56 pm
lovelyangel: (Yukinon Wow)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Last week in the office I was talking to one of my bosses about an upcoming work anniversary, and I happened to mention IBM punch cards.

“What’s a punch card?”
“You know… the 80-character cards for inputting data into old mainframes. Hollerith cards.”
“No. I don’t know what those are.”

Stunned silence. I’ve never worked with anyone in IT who didn’t know what a punch card was. This was the first time I tried to explain what one was. I wasn’t very good at it. I resorted to doing an image search in Google. Lots of punch cards displayed on screen.

My boss: *blank expression*

“Do the rows represent characters?”
“No, each column is a character. There are only 80 characters on a card.”
“What if you have to insert a character?”
“You have to make a new card.”
“What if that makes the line too long?”
“You have to continue on another card. In Fortran, a character in column 7 means the card is a continuation from the previous card.”

My boss: *quizzical look* “When did they stop using punch cards?”

I didn’t know. I pulled up a Wikipedia Article.

“Wikipedia says the mid-1980s.”
“Ah. I was just a kid then.”

My boss and my daughter are about the same age, borderline Gen-X. I asked my other boss – who is even younger – if she knew what an IBM punch card was.

“Nope. What is it?”

I asked another co-worker – who’s originally from Mexico but is over 40 – if he knew what a punch card was. Nope.

OK. Maybe now I’m feeling old.

(I do have many other co-workers who do know what a punch card is. But it’s weird knowing there is a growing percentage who don’t.)

IBM Punch Card
IBM Punch Card

Gathering of the Guilds 2017

Apr. 23rd, 2017 05:14 pm
lovelyangel: (Hana-chan)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
2017 Gathering of the Guilds
2017 Gathering of the Guilds
Oregon Convention Center • Portland, Oregon

Every year I make my way to the Oregon Convention Center for the annual Gathering of the Guilds and Ceramic Showcase. As has been the case in recent years, time on the weekend is scarce, so the mission to the convention center tends to be tightly scheduled. This generally isn’t an issue as many of the craftspeople return every year, and I can skip over booths where I’m familiar with the wares.

There was some new ceramic art that I liked – stunning techniques – but nothing with perfect subject material. I was pretty good about not bringing home anything that wasn’t perfect. As always, the metalworkers had gorgeous jewelry – but I don’t need any more jewelry – and I don’t have many friends for whom I’d feel confident in buying that type of jewelry as gifts. The woodworking was magnificent, as always, and there was some surprisingly nice work from the bead society. Lots of good stuff all around, and I had fun looking. But I was quick.

I had brought my D810 with the 105mm f/1.4E lens. In general, I’m sure the convention would frown on my taking pictures of people in the crowd. However, I did get photographs of areas that I thought would be OK: performers and demonstrators.

Alyssa Clark was giving a demonstration on how to make sculptural vases:

The NurseBand provided musical entertainment. Too bad they have only a Facebook site. I don’t have a Facebook account, so I can’t contact them to let them know I have pictures.

Guild members were giving demonstrations

To avoid traffic and parking hassle I took Max to OCC. Each way was about 45 minutes to and from my house. I arrived at OCC at 2 pm and left at 4 pm. So all told it was a 3 1/2 hour chunk out of my weekend. Fun and photos – I can’t complain.

And this was a first for me… Max officials checked every passenger on the westbound train for a transit pass. I had the annual pass my company provides me, so I was good. Others weren’t so lucky. (It’s a $160 fine.)

More photos are posted to Zenfolio at: Gathering of the Guilds 2017.

Anime Spring Week 3

Apr. 23rd, 2017 04:00 pm
lovelyangel: (Kuroyukihime Poised)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Tousen Shimogamo
Tousen Shimogamo
Uchouten Kazoku 2, Episode 3

Here are the shows from this season that I watched this week…

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records (Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor): Episode 3
Glenn showed his stuff, and the episode was lit up with action. The series is so much better now than when it started. I’m on board.

Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (a.k.a. Sukasuka)(WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?): Episode 2
Good episode. I liked how Willem won over the young ones. I also liked the conversation between Willem and Chtholly. We’re only beginning to see the layers of the complex character Willem is hiding. My curiosity is aroused.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine (The Royal Tutor): Episode 3
Well… OK. Haine won over one more prince. I can contain my excitement. I’m not sure that Haine-sensei being droll is going to carry the series. This remains a borderline show.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 3
Yay! A slice of time with one of my favorite couples in Konoha – Shikamaru and Temari! Also some Hinata & Himawari time, too! But the best part was how Shikadai, Inojin, and Boruto teamed up to defeat the possessed Metal Lee. Pretty good teamwork for kids.

Sakura Quest: Episode 3
The story started out rather slow and ordinary… and never really got a lot of traction… but the very last part was sweet – Yoshino’s speech… and the formation of her court. Still, this series remains borderline for me. There’s not much competition on Wednesdays, so the show will probably remain in the watchlist.

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys: Episode 2
Fairly hokey setup for the entire show… and a big unanswered question is how did Hikaru Onigashima get the fighting reputation that he did? Well… I’ll ignore the dumb backstory for now.

Tsuki ga Kirei (As the Moon, So Beautiful): Episode 3
I’m mentally screaming at Kotarou…Don’t blow it, man! Say something! And then… and then… the barest whisper of words… then… cliffhanger! But before that, this was another superb episode… gently paced… filled with subtle glances and movements… and the music was wonderful all the way through. So far I love this show!

Clockwork Planet: Episode 3
Fun episode! The action scenes were tidy, and banter is starting to show nicely. RyuZU rocks, of course – and Halter isn’t far behind. Thursdays are by far the best anime night of the week!

Hinako Note: Episode 3
I wish Hinako wasn’t such a wimp. This is getting tiring, and I hope we soon get away from Hinako’s over-the-top shyness. It’s not funny. Everyone else is just fine. Thankfully the new character, Yua, softened at the end of the episode. It’s now a 5-girl series – just like Sakura Quest this season and BanG Dream last season. Let’s hope something interesting happens.

Seikai Suru Kado (Kado: The Right Answer): Episode 3
Well… beware of gods bearing gifts, I suppose. This SF story is moving sluggishly… and it looks like politics will be ramping up shortly. I can’t say that I’m very excited about this show. The gasping reactions by the onlookers are cliché and uncalled for. It’s hard to see how this story can go for 12 episodes. Maybe there will be a twist next week.

Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 17
Just the act of forming teams was pretty amazing, and I’m surprised and pleased with Izuku’s team. The battle itself was smart also. This episode was tons of fun, and next week’s conclusion should be just as good.

GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation: Episode 4
Rackam’s the man – his actions were laudable. On the other hand, General Furias was a cardboard villain – pretty annoying. Finally the Grandcypher got launched, and there should be some good action next week.

Eromanga Sensei: Episode 3
I’ll confess that I didn’t expect Elf Yamada to start showing some attributes that make her less annoying and more likeable. Her exchanges with Masamune were pretty good this episode. I don’t care much for the fan service and the rather arbitrary conflicts between Sagiri and Masamune. Get used to it, I guess. Overall, the show continues to have strong production values and pretty good writing.

Uchouten Kazoku 2: Episode 3
Man, does Benten know how to make an entrance! Twice! It’s nice having her back in the (increasingly complicated) picture. Also, Tousen got screen time! This episode had me so captivated that I about fell out of my chair when it ended abruptly. With superb voice acting, masterful direction, and plenty of P.A.Works scenery porn, this episode was top notch.

Alice to Zoroku: Episode 4
Elders rock! (I say this as an elder myself.) Both Zoroku and Sanae voiced some important things this week, and both characters became even more likeable. Sana was humble, and Minnie C continued to be a selfish jerk. At the end, I was glad Ichijo Shizuku is on our side!

Willem and Chtholly
Willem and Chtholly
Sukasuka, Episode 2

My Complete Manga Series

Apr. 23rd, 2017 02:53 pm
lovelyangel: (Hazumu Cute)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
My Manga Library
My Manga Library

I started collecting anime long before I started collecting manga. In comparison to my anime collection, my manga collection is small and young. Relatively speaking, the number of complete series is low. However, once I start collecting a series, I either drop it early or continue to the very end. Skip Beat! has me held hostage – volume 38 has been released, and there’s no signs that we’re heading towards a conclusion. I don’t really mind in this case. Skip Beat! has been a solid series, and I fully expect it will have a happy ending. That’s not always the case with manga. There’s the infamous ending for Usagi Drop (which I haven’t read). And I have some in my own collection.

That said, I’d like to rank my complete manga series (that is, manga series for which I have all of the volumes to the conclusion of the series) in order of preference, favorites first…

1. Claymore (27 volumes)
As much as I love my shoujo romances, violent action series Claymore is probably the manga I’d reread the most. I love the conclusion – and bought extra copies so that I could keep re-reading those volumes. Note: I also have volume 27 (the final volume) in Japanese. My commentary on the ending of the manga is Here and Here.

2. Marmalade Boy (8 volumes)
Ah. There’s my shoujo romance! An old classic, at that! Multiple likable couples. Happy ending. Smiles all around. Note: I also have volumes 1 & 2 in Japanese.

3. Koko wa Greenwood (9 volumes)
Mainly a comedy – but also a romance (Hasukawa x Igarashi). Another old (but largely unknown) classic – this manga makes me smile a lot. Note: I also have all 9 volumes in Japanese.

4. Azumanga Daioh (4 volumes)
Yonkoma comedies hardly count as a series – but I love them. In this category are Lucky Star, Hidamari Sketch and Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun – but I don’t have complete sets of those. Only Azumanga Daioh. Note: I also have all 4 volumes in Japanese.

5. Inu x Boku SS (11 volumes)
The first arc (prologue) was great. But then the world changed, and the story and characters were less compelling… and the ending, while trying to bring everything back together – fell flat for me. The couples are all fabulous, and I was rooting for them. I just wished for a stonger ending. Note: I also have volumes 0, 1, 2, 3, and 7 in Japanese. My commentary on the ending of the manga is Here.

6. Silent Möbius (12 volumes)
I enjoyed reading this series, but the art got progressively worse as the series continued. And I confess that I don’t really remember how things ended. I took a peek just now, and I think I’ll just have to read the series again, sometime. Note: I also have volumes 1–5 in Japanese

7. Sasameki Koto (Whispered Words) (9 volumes)
I liked this series – it was sweet and light. The main problem is that it hasn’t been very memorable for me. It’s been only a year since I read it, and I’ve forgotten nearly everything. My commentary on the manga is Here.

8. Girl Friends (5 volumes)
Another lightweight but sweet series. Also not memorable. Seems like most yuri titles are like this.

9. Kashimashi: Girl Meets Girl (5 volumes)
Well… everything was OK up until the end. Then the series went sideways. My gripes about Kashimashi were vented Here and Here.

10. Kareshi Kanojo no Jijou (21 volumes)
Shoujo manga… but this is one with a problematic ending – on two fronts: the nearly total erasure of Yukinon as a valuable, independent person and the creepy relationship between Asaba and the oldest child of Soichiro and Yukinon. I hated the ending of this series. Could we just pretend the last volume doesn’t exist? Everything was pretty good up until then.

11. Fruits Basket (23 volumes)
I’m conflicted about Fruits Basket. I loved Tohru and her friends Arisa and Saki. But I disliked nearly all of the Sohmas. I never really got into the romance candidates – and the final pairing was more of a whatever moment for me.

Coming to the library later this year: the complete manga set of Kimagure Orange Road (18 volumes). Where will it rank, I wonder? Interestingly, I already have all 18 volumes in Japanese.

The Library

Apr. 22nd, 2017 08:56 pm
lovelyangel: (Meiko Smile 2)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
In my previous post it might appear that I’m focusing on yuri manga, but it’s just a coincidence those volumes all came at the same time. The open manga series I’m actively collecting are:

  • Skip Beat!
  • Gekkan Shōjo Nozaki-kun
  • Hidamari Sketch
  • Citrus
  • Bloom into You

This doesn’t count English translations that got stopped: Aria and Lucky Star. I’d get those if I could. Also, on the side, I’m collecting the old Sailor Moon series. Lotsa manga.

I’m nearly up-to-date on the manga series. Where I’ve fallen behind is the anime series for my library. Part of that is simply that series distributed by Aniplex are so darn expensive. Part of that is that I’ve collected quite a few boxes that I just haven’t had time to watch yet, so I’m not in a huge rush to add more. Still, I know that series sets can go away at any time, so I’m not going to wait too long. Anime is my #1 hobby, and I’m committed to growing my library.

I keep an ongoing list of items I want in my library. The list is sorted by scheduled publication date. When I get an item, I check the box and move it to the Acquired list. Here’s what that list looks like (from Google Docs):

Anime/Manga Wish List by scheduled publication date

I’m waiting for the final disc set of Assassination Classroom to come out so that I can buy the second season in a single purchase. Also, it seems that Girls und Panzer der Film has been released well ahead of schedule, so I’ve ordered a two-movie bundle.

Yuri Manga

Apr. 22nd, 2017 07:37 pm
lovelyangel: (Hazumu Cute)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Recent Yuri Manga
Recent Yuri Manga

In the last couple of weeks I’ve tried to do a catchup on recent manga purchases, and I finished reading my last three purchases: Kindred Spirits on the Roof – The Complete Collection, Bloom into You, Volume 1, and Citrus, Volume 5 (all purchased at Powell’s Books, of course… but linked here to Amazon as they have more reader reviews). Coincidentally, these manga are all published by Seven Seas Entertainment, which recently has been expanding their selection of Yuri Titles.

I have a lot of manga, and yuri manga is a small and recent subset. I love a good romance, regardless of the gender of the participants.

Kindred Spirits on the Roof – The Complete Collection
This is an omnibus of two stories, each story comprising multiple chapters. It’s sort of a spinoff from the Kindred Spirits on the Roof visual novel, with two characters (Yuna & Hina) from the novel being side characters in the first story. Also the two ghosts make a cameo appearance. The two stories follow the general pattern of one or both protagonists having doubts and being reluctant in being in a “forbidden” relationship. Common theme. Common execution. The art is OK but nothing special. (The art in the second story is weaker than the art in the first; they’re by different artists.) That said, everyone is cute and lovable, and the stories are upbeat with very happy endings. I love happy romantic endings, and I enjoyed this manga quite a bit.

Bloom into You, Volume 1
Of the three books, I think I like the art in Bloom into You (Japanese: Yagate Kimi ni Naru) the best – it’s clean, crisp, attractive, and nicely-detailed. The story is unusual (for a yuri romance) in that the relationship between the protagonists is one-sided, and the non-emotional character (Yuu) doesn’t mind. Touko is manipulative and highly assertive – you’d probably hate her if she were a guy, but it seems the author wants us to cut her some slack – and I guess I do. Anyway, there’s lots of potential for conflict, and the situation does push my curiosity. The art and the writing have my attention.

Citrus, Volume 5
Citrus remains raw, messy, and erratic. Mei is so unpredictable, running hot and cold, that she remains largely unlikeable. I had hoped for a softening by now, and I can’t figure her out. Yuzu oscillates between compassionate – and clueless airhead. The manga is going to be made into an anime series, though. I doubt it will be very successful. Of the three series here, Citrus is the one that I have the least attraction towards.

Anime Winter Week 16

Apr. 22nd, 2017 08:39 am
lovelyangel: (Chibi Haruhi)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Poppin’ Party
Yeah, you’ve been kinda pushy, Kasumi – all season
Poppin’ Party
BanG Dream! Episode 13 (Series Finale)

Finally – the last episode – the final weekly post of the Winter anime season…

BanG Dream!: Episode 13 (Series Finale)
The final episode went by the book – nothing unexpected – or even interesting. Performances and appearances by members of the other two bands, Glitter Green and CHiSPA, helped a little. I actually enjoyed watching the Glitter Green members in their brief appearances across the series. PoPiPa’s prep and performance were nothing special – marred again by the use of mediocre 3D CGI – and by another forgettable song. Still, they tried to save their best song for last. I wish they had spent time after the show to do some reflection – but the series ending was abrupt. Overall, the entire series ended up being average. I have no reason to watch it again.

Poppin’ Party
Poppin’ Party
BanG Dream! Episode 13 (Series Finale)

Shut Up and Dance

Apr. 21st, 2017 06:57 pm
lovelyangel: (Chibi Haruhi)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
I almost never watch videos nor follow video links that friends send to me. I spend enough time watching anime – so I don't need other time-wasters.

How. Ever. Once in a blue moon a video will somehow catch my eye. I like “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon. I like anime conventions. Ergo…

Hot and Cold

Apr. 21st, 2017 06:53 pm
lovelyangel: (Horizon Singing)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Two weeks ago the service technician (Rocky) came out to fix my furnace. The power fluctuation during the windstorm knocked out the onboard computer, and I was afraid the motherboard got fried. Fortunately an error code was being displayed (upside down, when looking at the furnace face on), and the technician was able to fix the problem, reset the computer, and restore the furnace to operation. Then I had him install a surge protector – which he had recommended during annual maintenance in March.

That wasn’t all, though. Rocky returned the following Saturday to do more work on the furnace. My furnace had an internal part that had a design defect and was involved in not-quite-a-recall – one of those we’ll do the repair if it becomes a problem sort of thing. Lennox’s replacement program had ended years ago, but my 8-year-old furnace still has two years left on its warranty, and Rocky suggested that I should get the part replaced while still under warranty. I’d have to pay for labor – but not the part. Sure. Better to do it now than after the warranty expires. There was also a problem with a cracked condensate trap that Rocky had patched during annual maintenance – but had recommended replacement. Might as well get that done also, as the part was still under warranty. A half-hour labor was $100 – but worth it to keep the furnace in best operating condition.

Since Rocky was here, I asked him about what it would take to install air conditioning. Summers have been getting a lot worse here in recent years, and I wanted to know what my options were. He provided a lot of good information (cost, where the outdoor unit would be, ducting – and importantly, independence from the furnace so that the furnace could be easily replaced, keeping the air conditioner in place). It turns out that I have a pretty good furnace setup for accommodating air conditioning. I’m too cheap to pull the trigger, though. Summers are going to have to get worse, first.

Star Words: Part VI

Apr. 20th, 2017 06:23 pm
[syndicated profile] matril_feed
Returning to the regular chronology, let's take a look at our heroes' trip to Otoh Gunga. I remember being absolutely enthralled by this sequence upon my first viewing. I'll never understand the crabby nonsense about how special effects ruin everything and we should have real settings and practical effects and blah blah blah. Now, shoddy effects can certainly be distracting. But the idea that something has to really be there on set to be convincing? Bah. Why can't we have more faith in an audience's imagination? And the actors, for that matter. I love being transported to bizarre worlds that couldn't possibly exist here. That's part of the fun of the saga.

And we'd never been treated to something like this before. An underwater city, with peculiar bubble-like walls that kept out water but allowed entry if you slowly passed through them. A race of proud, amphibious beings who look down on outsiders with contempt. An imposing tribunal who passes judgement on wrongdoers with an arrogant assurance of their infallibility, who dismiss the invasion aboveground as completely irrelevant to the Gungan people, safe in their hidden refuge.

And then we get Obi-Wan's line.

"You and the Naboo form a symbiont circle. What happens to one of you will affect the other; you must understand that."

We've already seen hints of the overarching theme of symbiosis, but this is the first overt reference. I like that it's spoken by Obi-Wan; it shows that he has worked hard to understand his master's teachings of the Living Force. I also think the half-pleading, half-chastising tone is fitting for a younger, more impetuous character. Qui-Gon would certainly like the Gungan bosses to understand their interconnected role with the Naboo, but he's not going to demand that they listen to a lecture when there are more immediate urgent concerns. Obi-Wan is a little less patient with them. To him it's so patently obvious, and therefore quite frustrating, that their complacency will be their undoing. Qui-Gon is content, meanwhile, to use a little mental manipulation to expedite their journey. Always the pragmatist.

But any wise audience member won't dismiss the line as quickly as Boss Nass does. First of all, it provides some useful foreshadowing to the moment when the Federation's invasion does, in fact, disrupt the haven of Otoh Gunga, leading at last to their alliance with the Naboo. Secondly, what a beautiful and universal concept it truly is! This weird alien world and the vastly different human civilization above share an intrinsic bond whether they are aware of it or not, and certainly whether they like it or not. There are many real world versions of this concept, from John Donne's "No man is an island" to the Circle of Life described in the Lion King. Who we are, and what we do, will affect those around us, and the reverse is just as true, whether we're considering our fellow humans or other life forms or the very planet on which we live. We will only discount the wellbeing of others at the expense of our own wellbeing.

Notice that the blame for the rancor between the two peoples can't be laid entirely at the feet of the Gungans. Boss Nass expresses disgust at the Naboo's superior, arrogant attitude, and I don't think he's entirely fabricating. I can easily imagine humans, with their preconceived notions of what an advanced civilization looks like, would see the Gungans and immediately assume they're primitive, simple-minded, even child-like. If only they hadn't needed an extreme situation like an invasion for both groups to finally overcome their prejudice and embrace their symbiont as an essential part of life! At the risk of being extremely cheesy, I hope we can all find our place in the symbiont circle without being compelled by such extremes.

Next time, one of my favorite lines from Qui-Gon...

The importer has (mostly) caught up!

Apr. 19th, 2017 11:02 pm
denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
[staff profile] denise posting in [site community profile] dw_maintenance
Our content importer has mostly caught up with its backlog; almost everything that's still listed as being "in the queue" are jobs that were tried, failed once or more with a temporary failure, and are waiting to try again. (The importer tries a few times, at successively longer intervals, when it gets a failure it thinks might be temporary/might correct itself later on.) This means that new imports scheduled now should complete in hours (or even minutes), not the "several days" it's been taking.

If you tried to schedule a second import while the first one was still running, at any time in the past 10 days or so, you may have confused the poor thing. If you think your import should be finished by now and it isn't, and you're seeing "Aborted" on the Importer Status part of the Importer page, feel free to open a support request in the Importer category and we'll look into it for you. (It may take a little bit before you get a response; those of us who have the access to look into importer problems have been really busy for the past two weeks or so, and I at least need a few days to catch my breath a bit before diving back into the fray! But we'll do what we can.)

I hope all y'all are continuing to settle in well to your new home!

Last Camera

Apr. 16th, 2017 05:34 pm
lovelyangel: (Mamimi Camera 2)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Last week Photography Life posted an article about Last Camera Syndrome – the situation first identified by Thom Hogan in 2013 – where cameras are good enough, and we photographers can stop upgrading and simply use the cameras we have until we no longer photograph. It’s the opposite of Gear Acquisition Syndrome.

I push my D810 to its limits in low light – like I push all my cameras. I would probably use ISO 51200 if it were usable. (The D810 can be set to ISO 51200, but I see noise creeping in at ISO 3200, and I never shoot above ISO 6400 in which noise is clearly visible. The safe/calibrated max of the D810 is ISO 12800.) For as much event shooting that I do in dim light indoors, I probably can’t have high-ISO performance that’s too good.

So given that, I’d always be interested in cameras that could perform better in the dark. But the camera would have to provide at least 2 stops better performance, and I don’t know that even the rumored D850/D900 (not the rumored D820 likely to be announced later this year) with the D5 sensor would qualify. Looks like for me max ISO on a D5 would be 12800 – quality somewhere between D3200 and D6400 on my D810 – a 1.5 stop improvement. Still, a girl can dream, can’t she?

One reason a lot of baby boomers are connecting with Last Camera Syndrome is that we’re all of retirement age – and with less money to spend in our retirement years, we won’t be spending as much on photography gear. Expensive DSLR bodies would be out. Is the D810 good enough? Sure it is.

I’m pretty well set right now. I think I have a full set of lenses that I need. About the only thing I’m considering is a second camera body. For weddings, two camera bodies are mandatory. For other events, two camera bodies are highly desirable. Normally I’d wait for the successor to the D810, but rumors about the D820 are for a higher resolution sensor: 46-52 MP. I don’t need more pixels; I need larger pixels (for increased light sensitivity). If a D820 like that does come out this year, I think I’ll get a second D810 body – the prices should come down substantially. Maybe I’d even get a used one if the shutter actuation count was low. At that time, I might actually be at Last Camera. Certainly, the equipment should be good enough to serve another 10 years.

But I’ll always be checking out advances in high-ISO performance.

Related articles
Prediction: The Age of the Standalone Still Camera is Coming to an End for all but PROS (Vincent Laforet)
Existential Crisis (Thom Hogan)
2016 Interchangeable Lens Camera Shipments (Thom Hogan)


Apr. 16th, 2017 03:42 pm
lovelyangel: (Meiko Smile)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
There are two sites on the internet I rely on far more than any others. (I’m counting Google as a service, not a site.) Those two sites are Metafilter and Wikipedia. And because I read those sites so frequently, I’ve a history of donating to keep them in operation. I donate to the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation through my company’s giving portal so that my company will match my donations.

Metafilter, however, is not eligible for matching funds, so I have to give to them directly. They aren’t set up for Patreon, either. I’ve done one-time donations in the past, but this year I’ve decided to make small monthly payments, like Patreon. Metafilter has an arrangement with Stripe for recurring payments. Metafilter is the third (oops. forgot.) fourth site that I support with small monthly contributions. The full list is:

I’m still kinda proud that Matt Haughey (Metafilter) and Brad Fitzpatrick (LiveJournal) have Oregon ties.

A recent example of why I like Metafilter so much is this post in Ask Metafilter: Best advice from an old fogy

Kirk Drift

Apr. 16th, 2017 02:47 pm
lovelyangel: (Ensign Lefler)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Admitted Trekkie, here. I loved this essay by Erin Horáková: Freshly Remember’d: Kirk Drift. Thoughtful and insightful.

Although the essay states that Kirk and Picard are fundamentally the same character (following the Horatio Hornblower archetype) and differ mainly in personality, I’ll confess that in the Kirk vs. Picard debate I’ve always been firmly in the Kirk camp. Horáková’s column articulates what make Kirk so solid – and also why nuTrek Kirk is so terrible.

There are good comments in the Metafilter Post that originally led me to the essay.

Tangentially Related
I still would love to have a QMx Enterprise refit Artisan Replica. Sadly, there’s no way I could justify one.

Anime Spring Week 2

Apr. 16th, 2017 10:59 am
lovelyangel: Mashiro Shiina, Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo, Episode 6 (Mashiro Angel)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Megumi Jinno
Megumi Jinno
Eromanga Sensei, Episode 2

At the start of each anime season I try to sample every new series that Crunchyroll broadcasts. So here are the new shows from this season that I watched this week…

Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records (Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor): Episode 2
OK. Much better than the first week. Glenn-sensei was less of a jerk and more of a mage. I’d like to see more before committing to this series.

Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (a.k.a. Sukasuka)(WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?): Episode 1
Well… they had me at the adorable kids. And I had guessed correctly that they were the “weapons.” Also the writers did a good job connecting the audience with the two main characters. Another plus: the troll Nygglatho is voiced by Kikuko Inoue. And Satelight did very nice work this episode. I root for Satelight – another studio that can be very good – or very mediocre. I’ve added this series to my watchlist.

Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine (The Royal Tutor): Episode 2
Still difficult to figure this one out. I like Heine’s dry observations. The brothers are less interesting. I keep hoping for something more… dunno… captivating? Not there yet. Let's give it another week.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 2
Typical school conflict in the first term of school… but fun to watch the battle – which fortunately ended before Boruto got clobbered. This show might have a long run, so a slow introduction to characters is likely to be the wise approach. So far, Inojin looks to have inherited the worst personality characteristics of his parents, Ino and Sai. As we’ve seen already, Shikadai is indistinguishable from his dad, Shikamaru.

Sakura Quest: Episode 2
Well, the story was rather thin this week… and if this pattern of episodes holds up, the series might not add up to much. Still, the “five champions” were a nice mix; I like the characters. Will that be enough? Next week is the end of the three-episode trial.

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys: Episode 1
Strange little show based on an otome game. Episodes are 8 minutes long, but subtract OP and ED, and content is probably around 6 1/2 minutes. The premise is absurd, but the animation and direction is surprisingly “not too bad.” I can spend a little time in this to see how it goes.

Room Mate: Episode 1
I read the preview material on this one and saw that it was just a gender-swapped version of last season’s One Room. This show was automatically barred from my watchlist without any consideration. (Well… just to confirm what I’d read… I did watch one whole minute… and, yeah, it’s horrid.)

Tsuki ga Kirei (As the Moon, So Beautiful): Episode 2
Simple story… gentle episode… and I liked it quite a bit, particularly Kotarou and Akane connecting in the last part of the episode. Made me smile. The omake after the credits were cute also. I loves me a good romance!

Clockwork Planet: Episode 2
The second episode was much improved over the first. Lots of action and intrigue. I’m liking Marie and Halter. And I’m eagerly looking forward to next week when Naoto and RyuZU can save the day. This show looks much more promising that it did initially. Also, I hadn’t noticed that the OP song was sung by fripSide. I’m not a huge fripSide fan, and this OP seems nothing special, but they always have a energetic beat well-suited to the OP of an action series. Anyway, Clockwork Planet is starting to tick.

Hinako Note: Episode 2
Two stories – the first being a dream. Not much to say about the dream. The rest of the episode was a relaxed cute girl slice-of-life – inching towards formation of the theater troupe. I remain content with this fluffy, funny, pretty show.

Seikai Suru Kado (Kado: The Right Answer): Episode 2
Not great. Not terrible. This could turn into a long battle of politics and negotiations… and that doesn’t sound particularly exciting. Cerebral, maybe. We haven’t yet seen enough to know if this show adds up to anything.

Sin Nanatsu no Taizai (Seven Mortal Sins): Episode 1
That was explicitly terrible, and the censoring required was so prominent that sometimes the blackout was more than half the screen. The show wouldn’t have been any better uncensored, though – it’s crude, violent, and filled with unlikeable characters. This one isn’t getting near my watchlist.

100% Teacher Pascal: Episode 1
Silly kids’ show with 12-minute episodes. I don’t watch kids’ anime unless superb – which this wasn’t. Dropped.

PriPri Chi-chan!: Episode 1
Apparently the underground civilization speaks Japanese. Very convenient. This is another silly kids’ show with 12-minute episodes. Dropped.

Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 16
Pretty much as fun and exciting as one would expect… a non-stop eye-candy feast. Very pleased at the outcome – and the next challenge looks to be really difficult, maybe impossible, for Izuku. I’m eager to see what happens.

GRANBLUE FANTASY: The Animation: Episode 3
Must be a fantasy… ‘cuz somehow they’re able to buy stuff with no known source of money. Plus Gran and Lyria just wander away from Katarina without informing her. Baka desu? Apparently so. I took an immediate liking to Rackham, though. I wanna see his airship fly!

Eromanga Sensei: Episode 2
Two new characters were introduced as elements of conflict. While they’re meant to be annoying, the characters were well-drawn and well-portrayed – and I enjoyed watching their antics. Megumi is super cute – and totally untrustworthy. Elf Yamada is a spoiled child but a worthy rival for Masamune. The characters in this episode were beautifully drawn. The OP and ED animation were quite nice also. The ED is especially adorable (and plays off of events in the current episode).

Uchouten Kazoku 2: Episode 2
Another excellent episode – rapidly de-escalating last week’s conflict and ramping up another. Genjutsu! Yasaburō is right in the thick of things, as always. I would have liked to see more than a half-second of Kaisei in person – but at least she made an appearance – and pulled off a rescue, to boot. I’m very much liking how this story is unfolding.

Alice to Zoroku: Episode 3
Getting a better picture of the two opposing forces. This show switches between ordinary life and high conflict quite easily. One minute it’s Carl’s Jr… the next minute it’s a hunt for the powerful abductors. Backstory for Minnie C. was thrown in for good measure. I’m rooting hard for Our Team to make a comeback.

Hitotose Manor Residents
Hitotose Manor Residents
Hinako Note, Episode 2

Special Fan Note: Kikuko Inoue is in three shows this season. She is Nygglatho in Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?, Tōsen (the Shimogamo matriarch) in Uchouten Kazoku 2, and Junko Azumi (Kotarō’s mother) in Tsuki ga Kirei.

On Christopher Street

Apr. 15th, 2017 09:46 pm
lovelyangel: (Aoi Delighted)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories
On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories

For my birthday this year, Trisha and Nancy gave me a very cool book that I had been wanting: On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories by celebrity photographer Mark Seliger. But like all my books acquired in the last decade or so, it remained in my personal backlog. For a month the book laid, still in shrinkwrap, on the leather ottoman in my living room. But I wasn’t singling out that book – all my new books are neglected. About three weeks ago I finally removed the shrinkwrap and started to look through the book. I didn’t get far – but what few pages I did read led me to take the book into my bedroom, where it has been camped on my bed for the last three weeks.

About 10 days ago I read the first half of the book before I went to sleep one night. Tonight I finally took time to finish the book. In short, I’ll say the book was filled with moving stories and striking portraits.

It’s a bit embarrassing to note that it took me seven weeks to finish what is essentially a picture book. I’m guessing an average person would take about a half-hour (or maybe less) to flip through the entire book. And you would also think that as a photographer and a transwoman I’d be especially eager to consume the book quickly. But perhaps because I am both I wanted to bide my time and savor the book at a properly slow pace. Certainly the stories and the portraits brought back many memories of my journey and the journeys of many people I met during my time with the trans community in the Pacific Northwest. The portraits are beautifully done, also. The book is a fabulous addition to my library.

A couple of articles about the book:

Anime Winter Week 15

Apr. 15th, 2017 05:54 pm
lovelyangel: (Chibi Haruhi)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Poppin’ Party
Poppin’ Party
BanG Dream! Episode 12

We’re down to a single show still trying to cross the finish line for the Winter anime season…

BanG Dream!: Episode 12
The pacing and tone for this penultimate episode was somewhat odd. Again, BanG Dream! doesn’t do somber/serious very well. It seemed like a painfully slow process to finally make it to the audition. The audition itself was underwhelming – with an average song – and also the return of the not-so-great 3D CGI band performance animation. But, as expected, the band passed. Next week the finale should encompass the actual stage performance.

Poppin’ Party
Poppin’ Party
BanG Dream! Episode 12

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