Star Words: Part XX

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:44 am
matril: (Default)
[personal profile] matril
Twenty! At this rate, I could be doing this series for at least another year. Perfectly happy with that.

I've always appreciated the way that the prequels shift our perspective of characters first introduced in the original trilogy. Vader/Anakin is the most obvious example of this, but we also get to see a younger, brasher Obi-Wan, as a well as Palpatine adroitly playing a kindly, helpful role before his true nature is revealed. And then there's Yoda.

In the original movies, Yoda is a peculiar (and entertaining) blend of quirky and wise, goofy and admirable. He is the wise old hermit, the secret wizard that the hero initially disregards before recognizing his true worth and humbling himself to be taught by him. And yet for all his wisdom, by the end of Episode VI we begin to see that he, like Obi-Wan, is flawed in his understanding. Neither of them believed Vader could return from the Dark Side. Neither of them saw any option but for Luke to kill him. Luke saw another way.

Which brings us to Yoda's earlier days, before everything falls apart. His part in Episode I is relatively small, but enough to see that he is a leading member of the Jedi Council. Not an exiled loner, but part of the establishment. A well-respected leader -- perhaps a little more like Luke assumed he would be when he was looking for him in Episode V. This is Yoda in the glory days, blind to the doom that awaits the Jedi. Or is he?

"Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering."


Yoda doesn't know the full enormity of what's coming, but he's wary, perhaps not so arrogantly self-assured as the rest of the Council. He doesn't know that Anakin will become a dreaded Sith Lord, but he knows that his future is troubled. And these words of wisdom provide the perfect foreshadowing for the trajectory of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side.

When I first watched Episode I, I thought Yoda was being a little ridiculous in reprimanding Anakin for missing his mother. And I still think the Council's lack of compassion was significant factor in alienating poor young Anakin, demanding a stoicism that you couldn't possibly expect from a nine-year-old untrained in their ways.

However. Fear of loss is the core of Anakin's weakness. It drives him to anger when he cannot prevent that loss. That anger festers and becomes hate, toward the Sandpeople in Episode II and toward the Jedi themselves in Episode III. And suffering -- suffering is very stuff of Vader's existence, both for those who encounter him and within his own tortured soul.

If only Yoda's words could have somehow been presented as a kindly warning, rather than a stern reproof. But who knows whether Yoda ever would have had the means to protect Anakin from the darkness that threatened to claim him. He is in many ways a relic of the old Jedi Order, the last of their kind. Luke, with his greater compassion and understanding, will be able to build up something much better. (And don't talk to me about Disney movies that undermine all of Return of the Jedi's triumph. Just, don't.)

Next, more bold words from a newly empowered Queen...

Anime Summer Season: Early Ranking

Jul. 26th, 2017 07:08 pm
lovelyangel: (Shun Angel)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
PicTitle
Mitsuyo, Inukai, and Manami
Centaur no Nayami, Episode 3

Seems like my watchlist is established for the season. There might still be a few dropouts in the next week or two. I know that mid-August that Owarimonogatari 2 will get added, but that will be short.

My goal was to be following no more than 16 shows in a season – and preferably closer to 12. Turns out I’ve got 16 on the current list – a surprising number considering that Anime Strike has skimmed some of the better series away from Crunchyroll. I guess there’s no point in me adding Anime Strike to my subscriptions – I wouldn’t be able to keep up.

Here is the current breakdown. As always, the shows are ranked highest to lowest within each category (and consequently, the entire list is in priority order).

Watching With Enthusiasm
Top shows of the season that aren’t likely to get cut
Tsurezure Children
Boku no Hero Academia
Mahoujin Guru Guru
Centaur no Nayami (a.k.a. A Centaur’s Life)
New Game!!
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Jigoku Shōjo Yoi no Togi (Hell Girl: The Fourth Twilight)

Watching
Shows I expect to stay on my watchlist – but if they take a wrong turn, I’ll drop them
Gamers!
Knight’s & Magic
Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boy Friends)
Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite)

Watching With Wariness
Shows that are on the fence. Wouldn’t take much to knock them off of my watchlist.
Hina Logi – from Luck and Logic
Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World)
Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō (Elegant Yokai Apartment Life)
Tenshi no 3P!

Floaters
Watching informally… not tracking/reporting
Nobunaga no Shinobi (a.k.a. Ninja Girl and Samurai Master)

Dropped
Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu
Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni (In Another World With My Smartphone)
18if
Jikan no Shehaisha (Chronos Ruler)
Aho Girl
Nana Maru San Batsu (7O3X)(Fastest Finger First)
Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart (Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat)
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun (Aoyama-kun is a Clean Freak!)
Enmusubi no Youko-chan (Fox Spirit Matchmaker)
Hajimete no Gal
Musekinin Galaxy☆Tylor (The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor)
Ikemen Sengoku: Toki wo Kakeru ga Koi wa Hajimaranai

Tasuku Uehara And Karen Tendou
Tasuku Uehara And Karen Tendou
Gamers! Episode 2

Distribution
Here is the list of simulcasts I watch broken down by day. (I took this from my weekly task list.) The times in parentheses are Crunchyroll broadcast times (Pacific Time). On weekdays I don’t watch the shows at the time they are simulcast; I watch the shows after I get home from work.

MONDAY
Tenshi no 3P! (Mon 5:30a)
Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō (Mon 8:30a)
Isekai Shokudō (Mon 11:05a)

TUESDAY
New Game!! (Tue 7:00a)
Tsurezure Children (Tue 8:45a)
Mahoujin Guru Guru (Tue 11:05a)

WEDNESDAY
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations (Wed 2:25a)
Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e (Wed 9:00a)

THURSDAY
Gamers! (Thu 8:30a)
Konbini Kareshi (Thu 12:05p)

FRIDAY
Jigoku Shōjo Yoi no Togi (Fri 9:30a)
Nobunaga no Shinobi (Fri 11:05a)

SATURDAY
Hina Logi – from Luck & Logic (Fri 9:00p)
Boku no Hero Academia (Sat 2:30a)

SUNDAY
Centaur no Nanami (Sun 7:30a)
Knight’s & Magic (Sun 8:00a)

This is the most even distribution I’ve ever had. 3 shows on Monday and Tuesday – and 2 shows on all other days of the week. It’s most telling that every day – except Monday – I’m eager to see that day’s anime. That means that Monday has the weakest shows in the watchlist. I wouldn’t miss any of the shows on Monday if they went away. But other than that, the season is quite entertaining.

Chiaki and Kana
Chiaki and Kana
Tsurezure Children, Episode 3

PWLF Gallery

Jul. 26th, 2017 06:13 pm
lovelyangel: (Haruhi Camera)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
The Photo Gallery for the Portland Winter Light Festival has some of my photos from this year’s festival. Pretty cool!

School Trip!

Jul. 24th, 2017 08:31 pm
lovelyangel: (Tomoyo Confident)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Nike Portland
Nike Portland

One of my errands in Portland on Sunday afternoon was a stop at Nike Portland. Upon arrival I was surprised to see a group of Japanese students gathered outside the front door. I unfortunately screwed up the photo (above) – but you get an idea of what the scene was like. After the group entered the store, I went in myself to do my errand.

Nike Portland is a pretty cool store with three levels, and the students were having a great time. I heard one, ”Sugoi!” which is how I knew the students were Japanese. The excited girls in school uniforms made me feel like I was in an anime episode. (^_^)

You’re not really supposed to be taking pictures inside, but I sneaked a few quick shots with my iPhone. I wish I could have pulled out the Nikon D810 in my purse, but that would have been way too obvious.





Beaverton Night Market

Jul. 23rd, 2017 08:25 pm
lovelyangel: (Riho Camera)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
PicTitle
Beaverton Night Market
The Round • Beaverton, Oregon
Saturday, July 22, 2017

Last night (Saturday) was the first of two Beaverton Night Markets for this summer. I’ve been planning to attend only one, and the second one is on the same day as the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. So… the first one or nothing. I went.

I did review my Blog Post from Last Year and my Photos from last Year to figure out a strategy. Again, I didn’t want to make a big thing out of this. The Night Market is fun, but it’s not one of my major photo events of the year.

I used the GoldenHour.one app on my iPhone to calculate the difference in golden hours between this year (July 22) and last year (August 13). And I wanted to spend more time in the dark. I figured arriving about 30 minutes later than last year would be fine. I used the PDX Bus app to check realtime arrivals/departures at Millican Way MAX station, and timed my departure from home about 15 minutes ahead of the next train. On arrival I had about 4 minutes to spare, so my wait was short. The train arrived at 8:15 pm. Beaverton Central is only one stop away, so I was there by 8:18.

The market was really, really crowded. I thought it was bad last year, but it was even worse this year, even though more physical space had been allocated. (I think there were more booths, also.) The crowds were all along the booths, and there were also long lines for many of the food booths. There were fewer people in the chalk area for kids, so that’s where I started out.




I did try to visit booths and take pictures, but it was tough with so many people. I simply did the best I could, reminding myself that this was just a minor photo op, and I didn’t have to be super photographer.

As the dusk settled in, I started playing follow the light – and that’s pretty much what I did for the rest of the evening. As the sun went down, the air started to cool a little (it had been a 90°F day) – but more importantly a refreshing breeze started to ripple through the market. That was really nice – especially after 9:00 pm when the crowd started to thin a little. The market remained very busy, but movement was easier, and there were some small open spaces around some of the booths.




When the night started to take over, and the number of people continued to fall, the market felt closer to what a natsu matsuri should be like. I really enjoyed the end time of the market. Walking was comfortable, and I followed the light to various booths, where the activities were illuminated by random, artificial lamps.




I stayed until 9:50 pm, and the market was scheduled to end at 10:00 pm. There were still a lot of people at the stage performance, and I wanted to catch a MAX train before the masses clogged up the station. From the time I caught MAX at 9:50 pm to the time I got home was only 10 minutes! Home-to-home total elapsed time was two hours.

I used my Nikon D810/306 with the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens – mostly wide open at f/1.4. The photos have been posted to the Beaverton Night Market 2017 Photo Gallery.

For the Library

Jul. 23rd, 2017 07:18 pm
lovelyangel: Hitagi Senjougahara, Nisemonogatari Guidebook (Hitagi Offguard)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Monogatari Series Heroine Books
Monogatari Series Heroine Books

This weekend Kinokuniya had another 20% off everything sale for members, and I couldn’t resist stopping by on Saturday. I was surprised to find some of the Monogatari Series Heroine Books in stock. The store even had some wrapped so that the contents were viewable – a big improvement over the fully shrink-wrapped packaging used normally.

I bought a Hitagi, Tsubasa, and the Fire Sisters – but passed on the Yotsugi. The Hitagi one starts off in a fun way – the cover has Hitagi with her usual serious look, but the first page inside the cover has the same view – but with her smiling. I love it! The Fire Sisters book has two “sides.” The first side – the front of the book – features Karen. The second side starts from the back of the book, where the pages are inverted. I wonder why Tsukihi’s side doesn’t have an inverted cover illustration on the back of the book.

Each ¥900 book was marked up to $13.99, but the discount brought each one down to $11.19. I also had to renew my annual membership ($25).

Today (Sunday) I drove into Portland for a couple of missions. The second mission was a stop at Powell’s to buy the newly released Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume 8. I was terribly disappointed when I saw in the manga section all the manga in the series from volume 1 through volume 7 – but no volume 8. Shoot. I assumed they sold the two copies since my check the day before. I wondered why they didn’t stock more.

I looked around for a couple of other titles but found nothing to my liking. Before I left, I had a thought… what if they (again) mis-shelved the new volumes? Volumes 1-7 were shelved in the “M”s. I checked the “N”s – for Nozaki-kun. And there were the two volumes. I took one for myself and reshelved the remaining copy with all the other volumes. Yay!

Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume 8
Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun Volume 8

Time With Friends

Jul. 23rd, 2017 06:24 pm
lovelyangel: Hina Satou from Tesagure! Bukatsumono 3 ED (Hina Angel)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
I’m taking a moment to count my blessings… among which are a number of friends – who I don’t see often enough. I did OK in the last week and a half, though.

*****

Friday a week ago I drove to east Vancouver to meet Mike for dinner. I should know better than to check Google Maps, because the time estimate is always short for traversing Portland. Google Maps said 1:10. I planned 1:20. It took 1:35. And this was leaving Beaverton a little after 2 pm. I need to allow at least 90 minutes next year. I shudder at the thought that had I not changed jobs 3 1/2 years ago, this drive across the breadth of the metro area would be my daily commute.

Mike and I had an overdue catchup dinner at Five Guys; I hadn’t been before and wanted to give it a try. The burgers and fries matched what I’d been told – average burger and weak fries. I doubt I’ll ever go back. The important thing was catching up on news. Although we keep in touch by phone, dinner is important face-to-face time. Our fun dinner chat went from 4 pm to 7 pm. The good thing was that after rush hour, the drive east to west was only 45 minutes to my house. Huge difference.

*****

Friday two days ago I had lunch with an ex-co-worker who recently left Mike’s current (my former) company and started work at my current company. Small world. (Actually, there are quite a few people from my former company who moved within the last four years to my current company. Not surprisingly, it’s never – well, one exception – the other way around.) I haven’t seen Angie since 2014, and we had a lot to catch up on, although we had a scant hour to exchange news. I enjoy talking with Angie; she’s smart and filled with positive energy. We’ll definitely have lunch again in the near future.

*****

Saturday I made an impulsive decision to have lunch at Reedville Cafe… and I gave Debbie a scant 1-hour heads up, inviting her if she was available. She was. We met at 11:30 am and had a lively chat until 1 pm. She had a stack of things to do (including stops at the Portland Saturday Market and the Canterbury Renaissance Fair) prior to her departure on another adventure next week. So we kept a time cap on lunch. In some respects I was surprised at how much we had to talk about considering we spent two whole days together earlier this month.

Anime Summer Week 3

Jul. 23rd, 2017 04:19 pm
lovelyangel: (Konata ThumbsUp)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Kukuri
Kukuri
Mahoujin Guru Guru, Episode 2

At the beginning of each anime season, I try to sample all the new shows (excluding sequels of series I haven’t watched) at Crunchyroll. Week 3 is generally where the watchlist begins to stabilize. Here are the shows from this season that I watched last week…

Tenshi no 3P! (Angel’s 3Piece): Episode 2
Still ramping up, and there was nothing extremely good nor extremely bad about the episode. I don’t know what the deal is with this Masayoshi character; his opposition to the performance is annoying. I hope that his request gets permanently buried soon. The series overall is on the fence.

Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō (Elegant Yokai Apartment Life): Episode 3
Surprisingly sad story about Kuri and Shiro. I don’t know why the apartment residents didn’t think Yūshi shouldn’t watch the arrival of Kuri’s mother – things seemed more sad than scary, and everything was under control. At least the series has a serious side.

Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World): Episode 3
Two more cheerful stories. And good food. Relaxing.

New Game!!: Episode 2
Maybe the most serious we’ve ever seen this show. I expected Aoba to win – and yet things didn’t turn out in a simple way. My favorite character in this show remains Kou, and although she took a huge misstep mid-episode, I’m glad she came around to doing the right things.

Tsurezure Children: Episode 3
Ahhhh! So sweet! My favorite 12 minutes of the week, I think.

Mahoujin Guru Guru: Episode 2
Wow. I didn’t expect a cliffhanger! The show still makes me smile a lot. I’m going to enjoy this series.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 16
Between large story arcs, Naruto (and consequently, Boruto) takes a timeout for single-episode stories. This week’s story about Denki and Iwabee was rather tame and predictable. (Also, I found it hard to believe that Denki could master vertical climbing in the short period of time that he did given how long it took Naruto to do the same.) Nothing special, here – but no harm, no foul.

Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite): Episode 2
Ooh. Ayanokōji has hidden talents! I didn’t expect that. I still like Horikita… and maybe Kujita isn’t as bad as I feared. There’s plenty of mystery remaining around these three, and I’m still interested in seeing how they are going to save their class.

Gamers!: Episode 2
While there were some problems with the way Uehara treated Aguri through the entire episode, there was a sort of poetic justice at how his brain got zapped when Aguri revealed their backstory. This episode brought a number of surprising twists to character relationships, and I’m liking how these stories are developing. This show is more entertaining than I had expected.

Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boy Friends): Episode 3
Both guys (Honda and Mishima) remain idiots. At least there’s a third couple on the horizon. This was a pretty slow and rather frustrating episode. I hope something nice happens soon – because nothing of importance happened today.

Jigoku Shōjo Yoi no Togi (Hell Girl: The Fourth Twilight): Episode 2
While I had guessed the ending, the getting there was nonetheless creepy. I thought maybe Nanako would come to her senses at the end, but I guess for the sake of the drama, she had to go all the way.

Hina Logi – from Luck and Logic: Episode 5
Continuing in the mahou shoujo slice-of-life… exam time. Shows like this need some excuse for competition. Give Yayoi credit – she’s rational, reasonable, and fair. A lazier show would play up Yayoi’s competitive streak to the point of weakness; I’m glad this show took the high road. In recent episodes the series has ignored the dark side of Rosa, but at least we got a reminder this week.

Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 29
Excellent battle between the U.A. students and Stain. I was entranced the entire episode. Good job, Bones!

Centaur no Nayami (a.k.a. A Centaur’s Life): Episode 3
Both stories were excellent. The societal / government undertones remain spooky, but that’s part of what makes this series interesting. Also much attention was paid to my favorite character, Manami, and her family. The Chi-chans and Sue, Manami’s younger sisters, all were adorable. Hime’s cousin Shino was adorable also. The Mitsuyo x Inukai couple made a good showing – funny and heartfelt. This was simply a feel-good episode all around.

Knight’s & Magic: Episode 4
While an adversary remains within the kingdom, I was concerned that Ernesti would be facing multiple groups. However, it appears he might actually win over the Marquis and his engineering organization. That would be huge. Ernesti is like the Naruto of the magic & mecha world. Stefania, Addy, and Kidd provided good support for this episode. Some combat. Some humor. Overall this episode was entertaining.

PicTitle
Mitama Family
Centaur no Nayami, Episode 3

Kanna’s Garb

Jul. 21st, 2017 06:51 pm
lovelyangel: (Mamimi Camera 2)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Kanna, My iPad Pro, Wrapped in a Photo Skin
Kanna, My iPad Pro, Wrapped in a Photo Skin
iPhone 6 Photo

Last week I received the photo skin I’d ordered from DecalGirl. From my photo library I chose an image that works regardless of how the iPad is oriented. I didn’t get the skin mounted perfectly – but it’s close enough. The skin adds a bit of grip and protection – and it shows off one of my images, so I’m pretty happy with the setup.

Star Words: Part XIX

Jul. 20th, 2017 11:54 am
matril: (Default)
[personal profile] matril
I'm going to have to find a new way to title these posts. Roman numerals can get kind of unwieldy...

Anyway, let's look at the Senate scene in Episode I. It might just be my favorite Coruscant scene in this movie. First off, we get a dizzying view of the chamber where thousands of galactic representatives meet. It reveals the truly massive scope of the Republic...and how easy is to drown in a sea of bureaucracy. The scene is frustrating; of course it's frustrating. It's only a few minutes long, yet it seems to drag on interminably as we slog through procedure after procedure. Then, when Amidala finally has the chance to plead her case, she's immediately interrupted, and asked to defer. This brings us to her scathing response. "I will not defer. I have come before you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty now."

"I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee."

We see now why someone as young and comparatively inexperienced as Padmé managed to get herself elected ruler of an entire planet. Her gifts are on full display here; her eloquence (clearly not planned beforehand, as she's being compelled to speak extemporaneously), her passion, her ability to cut through all the political bickering straight to the heart of the problem. Her people are in peril of their lives and the Senate might be willing to form a committee to talk about it. Maybe. Well, she's not having it. The momentum of her resolve will carry her all the way back to Naboo, where she will reclaim her planet without any help from an ineffectual government.

Of course....in the process, she unwittingly paves the way for a Sith Lord to attain the highest position of power in the galaxy...and her planet's freedom will only be a temporary victory, as it will ultimately fall under the shadow of the Empire along with everything else in the galaxy. And so we see the quiet brilliance of Episode I. On its own, it offers a simple tale of a young queen saving her people in the face of galactic indifference and conspiring villains. But as the first chapter of the saga, it portrays the beginning of the end, a pyrrhic victory on the road to tragedy.

Next, some prophetic words from Yoda (though even he can't see the extent of the approaching disaster)...

Never Thought I’d Do This

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:42 pm
lovelyangel: (Gromit Prison)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Before I bought an iPad, I listed some use cases. (Of course I did. I’m a Business Systems Analyst.) One of those use cases was ebook reader.

I had a few ebooks on my iPhone, but reading books on a phone-sized screen was tedious. That was OK, as ebooks are just there for reserve. I greatly prefer physical books. I collect physical books.

Sadly, I’ve left little time in my schedule to read books – physical or not. The collection of unread new books in my library is embarrassing.

However, I know that I’ll be visiting my family in California this fall – and that means wait time in airports and the flights themselves – an opportunity to do some reading. Now that I have an iPad, ebooks are actually practical now, and I figured I should stock a few titles just to have with me at all times. As soon as I bought Kanna (my iPad) I installed selected titles from Project Gutenberg… and later a few more from Standard Ebooks. Of these books, the one I’m enjoying reading right now is Japanese Fairy Tales.

Last month I purchased a copy of David duChemin’s latest book, The Soul of the Camera. I have a collector’s edition of the physical book, but I also received at no extra cost a copy of the book in ebook format. And interestingly, I’ve read more of the book on my iPad than I have in the physical book itself. It’s just that I have the iPad with me always – and I’m not usually carrying around extra books. Some of duChemin’s books I have in electronic format only. Some I’ve purchased; others were free. His stuff is really good. All the ebooks are loaded into my iPad.

Again thinking ahead to my travels, I thought I should add a few more books to Kanna. I’ve resisted purchasing ebooks, but I felt that buying a few select titles wouldn’t hurt – even if they replicate what I have in my printed library. I did a bit of research and found eBooks.com. However, the ebooks purchased there require the use of an Adobe ebook reader, so I declined to purchase books from them. I fell back on the Apple iBooks Store, as I knew those ebooks would open in iBooks. I do have a Kindle reader, but I try not to buy books in Kindle format. My Kindle books are all freebies.

Interestingly, when I had done searches for titles of books, I got hits in both eBooks.com and the iBooks Store – and the prices were sometimes quite a bit different.

*****

The first book I sought was the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible. I really love my New Interpreters Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, and I would have loved to get a match for that, but I guess I was lucky to find an eBible at all.

There was only one NRSV bible at eBooks.com. It cost $20 and was from Abingdon Press, same publisher as my study bible. After I ruled out eBooks.com I found the title in the iBooks Store for $10.99 (regular version) and $13.99 (includes Apocrypha) from Harper Bibles. I bought the one with the Apocrypha.

Side note: At the Amazon link for my bible above, Amazon notes that I bought the bible on March 19, 2004. First, it’s cool that Amazon has tracked my purchases going that far back. Second, I readily found the link because I had posted about the purchase in My Blog. I seems kind of crazy that I’ve been blogging that long.

*****

I don’t agree at all with Objectivism, I’m not a Libertarian, and I recognize that there are huge flaws in Ayn Rand’s writing style. Nonetheless, I enjoy reading Atlas Shrugged. (I always skip John Galt’s deathly tedious speech at the end.) There are stunningly clueless things that politicians and CEOs do today in the real world that remind me of characters and scenarios in Atlas Shrugged; I can’t help but grimace.

I have the 35th anniversary edition of Atlas Shrugged. It’s a hardback and is massively heavy – fine to read in bed – but terrible on the road. Both eBooks.com and the iBooks Store sell the 50th anniversary edition for $9.99. I kinda hate the cover of that edition. Interestingly, the iBooks Store also sells that ebook with the 35th anniversary edition cover – and for a dollar less! I did download samples of both versions. While they are both offered by Penguin, the 50th anniversary edition has a Bantam Books colophon, while the 35th anniversary edition retains a Dutton colophon. The text and layout in both ebooks was identical. When I see Bantam Books, I think of mass market paperbacks. So… better cover that matches my own hardback book… Dutton imprint… and $1 less. This was a no-brainer selection.

The ebook by default is 1313 pages. I bumped up the text size one notch, and the number of pages is now 1455. The text is actually easier to read on an iPad than it is printed. (There’s a slight bit more breathing room between lines.) I like it. I wanted to keep reading, but I forced myself to stop.

*****

The third book I wanted to have in my portable library was Eric Frank Russell’s Men, Martians, and Machines. This is a longtime favorite that I never tire of. John O’Neill points out in his review above that Men, Martians, and Machines was like an early precursor to Star Trek. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved the book. I have both the 1965 Berkley Medallion paperback and the 1984 hardback as shown in the article. Unfortunately, as O’Neill pointed out, “There is no digital edition.” Dang it.

I have a large library of science fiction books, although I stopped buying SF and fantasy books in the 90s when I realized I wasn’t reading the ones I was buying. If I couldn’t have Men, Martians, and Machines, then what would be a good “go to” book that I’d always be happy to read? Tolkien trilogy? No. Dune? Nope. Foundation trilogy? Nah. What about Good Omens? It’s one of my favorites. But really I can reread it once in a long while. Have to be in the right mood. Still… makes me think…

*****

I’ve pretty much stopped buying new fiction. The last fiction book I bought was Too Like the Lightning more than a year ago. I never finished it. Instead, other books stacked up around it. It turns out that bedtime is a terrible time for me to try to read books; there’s too much other stuff I’m trying to do. I’ve kind of given up on tackling any new fiction books – and there are quite a few big hitters that I’ve written off – Scalzi, Pratchett among others. I read my old books because I like them and because I can speed through them super fast.

Anyway, I thought about getting Good Omens to have on Kanna… and that led me to think about Discworld – because Terry Pratchett co-authored Good Omens with Neil Gaiman. I’d long ago determined that I’d never read the Discworld series – because, what the hey? I can’t even finish a single book, not to mention 41. It would be best to not even start.

What I’ve found, though, is that in a few minutes I can quickly get sucked into The Soul of the Camera, or Atlas Shrugged, or Japanese Fairy Tales. I’m going to be stuck on an airplane. Maybe I should take a crack at something new. Maybe I could even start on Discworld.

So the third ebook I bought was The Color of Magic. Both eBooks.com and the iBooks Store sell this book for $4.99. Pratchett was super-awesome, of course, and his prose easily captivated me. I’m suspecting I’m actually going to finish this one. Way, way past due.

And, normally, I’d want to have printed copies of the books I read. I’m just kinda that way. I buy CDs also. In this case, however, any Discworld books I get will be in electronic form only – and Apple DRM locked, at that. This is the first time my reading library could end up being substantially extended without print copies. I guess I’m finally moving into the 21st century.

I plan to follow The Discworld Reading Order Guide.

Anime Summer Week 2

Jul. 16th, 2017 03:08 pm
lovelyangel: (Chibi Yuri)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Kukuri
Kukuri
Mahoujin Guru Guru, Episode 1

At the beginning of each anime season, I try to sample all the new shows (excluding sequels of series I haven’t watched) at Crunchyroll. In week 2 there were still quite a few new series premieres. Here are the shows from this season that I watched last week…

Tenshi no 3P! (Angel’s 3Piece): Episode 1
Well… that has to be the most adorable girl band in anime ever. There’s a danger in using 5th grade girls in an anime series aimed at teenage boys, so we’ll see if this show can stay in-bounds. Apparently this show is by the same writer/studio that did Ro-kyu-bu. I hadn’t watched that series, but I guess it was a bit controversial. I’ve checked my blood glucose levels, and I can probably tolerate the super cuteness of this show – for now it’s on probationary status in my watchlist.

Yōkai Apāto no Yūga na Nichijō (Elegant Yokai Apartment Life): Episode 2
The episode seemed dull and sloppy for the first half… but maybe it was just the introduction of so many characters. At any rate, the second half had a somewhat unexpected change-up – so maybe this series isn’t as two-dimensional as it appears at first glance. I’ll stick around for another episode at least.

Isekai Shokudō (Restaurant to Another World): Episode 2
Looks like we’re in for some short stories – one for each world. That’s fine. The characters and their stories are interesting – and everyone eventually ends up at the Yōshoku no Nekoya. This show is moving along nicely and maintains a good feeling.

Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni (In Another World With My Smartphone): Episode 1
An exceedingly simple show in art and script. Too simple – like a kid’s show. This episode was hard to sit through, and I’m not adding the series to my watchlist.

New Game!!: Episode 1
They’re baaaaack! All of them! This was a nice refresher for all the characters and a cute callback to episode 1 of the first season. I loved how Doga Kobo again did a super animation moment for Kou’s hair. This is the most we’ve seen of Shizuku in a single episode, but it was a reasonable move to use her as a focus for visiting each of the staff members.

Aho Girl: Episode 2
This episode wasn’t quite as bad as the first one. At least they toned down the banana jokes… and featured less punch-in-the-face violence. Still, the tone oscillates between annoying and mean. Regardless of whether or not I watch any more episodes, I won’t be listing this show in my weekly summary.

Tsurezure Children: Episode 2
D’Awww! Still sweet! I’m loving these vignettes! Lots of characters – and many more, I hear. I’ve buckled up for the ride.

Mahoujin Guru Guru: Episode 1
Even though I’d received a heads up from Random Curiosity, I still went into this series thinking it was going to be just a silly kids’ show. One really can’t help it given the art, character design, and animation. But it turns out the writing is closer to Dragon Half than anything else. This show is pretty funny! Lots of great in-jokes… I especially liked Kukuri’s failed spell circles that included the Laughing Man from Ghost in the Shell. I wouldn’t have guessed this show would make it to my watchlist – but there it is!

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 15
Wrap up episode basically, “What do we do about Sumire?” But this being Naruto, foes become friends. I’d expect no less. At least we got a bit of action with another training exercise. Nice to see the new generation of Ino-Shika-Cho. New ED with new characters hints at the next story arc.

Ikemen Sengoku: Toki wo Kakeru ga Koi wa Hajimaranai: Episode 1
The good news is that I suffered for only the 3:30 duration of the episode. The bad news is that this was a stupid, faux-history farce rendered with CGI. Dropped. Immediately.

Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart (Nora, Princess, and Stray Cat): Episode 1
The character designs aren’t too bad, and the episodes are only 3:30. The skippable introduction and OP song consume an entire minute. Those are the best qualities of the series. The animation is minimal, and the script isn’t good. Move along.

Hajimete no Gal: Episode 1
Ugh. I’m not sure how I even made it to the 10-minute mark of the 24-minute episode. Crass. Sexist. This was painful all the way. Rejected!

Yōkoso Jitsuryoku Shijō Shugi no Kyōshitsu e (Classroom of the Elite): Episode 1
OK. That was pretty impressive. I waited all episode for the gotcha, and it hit hard at the end. Assuming the writing keeps up, this should be an excellent series.

Musekinin Galaxy☆Tylor (The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor): Episode 1
A short format (3:30 episode duration) spinoff from the well-known Musekinin Kanchō Tylor (The Irresponsible Captain Tylor) – that is nothing like the original. Maybe Azalyn is the same character (although she looks a lot different), but it’s a new Tylor and Yamamoto – cheap and unrelated knockoffs of the original. (Really? A robot?) Setup, art, character design, voices, and dialog were all terrible. Pass.

Gamers!: Episode 1
Sitcom about gamers in high school. Might be average. Might be special. Who can tell? It’s not quite boring and not quite interesting – but this is just the introductory episode. I like Karen Tendō but can’t figure out Keita Amano. I’ll probably go with at least a three-episode trial.

Konbini Kareshi (Convenience Store Boy Friends): Episode 2
I just wanted to shake both of the guys. But at least they finally made the tiniest steps towards their respective crushes. C’mon, guys! Get a clue!

Jigoku Shōjo Yoi no Togi (Hell Girl: The Fourth Twilight): Episode 1
This is the fourth season of Jigoku Shōjo. I’ve watched the first season… I own the first two seasons on DVD… I never bought the third season because it was much more expensive. This is unquestionably a dark, dark series – but like many horror anthologies, it can be hard to look away. This fourth season is going to be six new episodes and six recycled episodes. The first episode was certainly one of the new ones as Enma Ai’s full suite of companions was present. This episode was just as dark as always – and the production values were consistent with previous seasons, so I was not disappointed. Keeper.

Hina Logi – from Luck and Logic: Episode 4
This week was of a throwback to the early days of mahou shoujo when magical girls used their powers to solve everyday problems instead of battling enemies. Very fuwa fuwa, very slice-of-life. As I said last week, “Harmless.”

Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 28
Good coaching from Gran Torino… contrasted to interesting conflicts between different factions of villains… and vignettes from the other internships. Lots happening all around, and everything is coming to a head in Hosu City. Plenty of action to watch, coming up.

Centaur no Nayami (a.k.a. A Centaur’s Life): Episode 2
This is cruising along like a slice-of-life show… but it’s just enough different to be intriguing. The first story that centered around Nozomi wasn’t particularly great, and the pressure from Mitsuyo was nearly bullying. But across the entire episode we got a peek into the Mitsuyo x Inukai pair, and I always like to see couples. The second story was more interesting as we got to see another race - the waterfolk. Their school has military guards – the worldbuilding here is fascinating. I also like Hime’s hair tied up. I didn’t expect that attention to detail. Plus we met an adorable couple – Koma and Shizuura. I want to know more!

Knight’s & Magic: Episode 3
I’m glad they sped through the development of the new mecha. After all, we know that Ernesti is just going to blow through all the engineering challenges. Let’s move on to the action scenes! And as I’d expect, there’s a (currently secret) faction in opposition. Gotta have political intrigue to add to the drama. Anyway, this breezy episode was fun.

PicTitle
Manami is still my favorite
Manami Mitama
Centaur no Nayami, Episode 2

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