krpalmer: (Default)
On a trip to the city library, a book on a “new arrivals” shelf with the title The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing got my attention. As the description inside the cover suggested, the four-letter codes said to define “personality types” are familiar to me, even if I’ve never taken a test promised to spell that code out. Signing the book out seemed the simplest way to learn a bit more about the subject at that moment, so I did that and started reading.
Knowing yourself via questionnaire )
krpalmer: (Default)
As intimidating as the approach of another big anniversary of the Apollo moon landings might feel from some uncontrolled perspectives, it does mean documentaries are showing up. Over the Christmas holidays, I watched one about Apollo 8 on PBS, and then I happened to hear about a feature-length documentary about Apollo 11. It wasn’t long after that, though, that I heard that production would be shown in theatres, and I suppose I did reflect a bit on the journey I made over ten years ago to see In the Shadow of the Moon on a movie screen (before buying the DVD). On hearing the new documentary was showing up for its first screenings (only around the anniversary of Apollo 9, although by July things may be busier at the movies) I did decide to wait a week and see if, as the newspaper had it, it would get any closer to me, and that did happen. On the weekend, I set off to a fairly close multiplex.

The documentary did make some interesting choices, even if I kept acknowledging I’ve read enough about space exploration to always be able to back up with my own knowledge what I was seeing on the screen. (Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins got very brief biography sequences, including glimpses from their Gemini space flights.) It used period footage (in good shape, but not always “in Technicolor,” whatever that may mean) and period voices, avoiding any modern explanations beyond some very simple animations to set up the out-the-window shots, and using still photos taken on the moon when it had to. While it did use what I understand to be staging footage from a Saturn IB launch to represent third stage ignition, Apollo 11’s own “blastoff from the moon” footage, which started too late to show what Buzz Aldrin reported as the flag falling over, was shown. I can certainly say there were a few things shown that didn’t feel instantly familiar to me, on Earth and even in space.

Beyond In the Shadow of the Moon and the earlier documentary For All Mankind (which I first saw clips of at the Ontario Science Centre, then asked for on VHS), I suppose I could think a bit of the feature film First Man, which I went to see late last year and did wonder about a few of the representations in, at least as compared to the older TV miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon.” Neil Armstrong having held the camera for most of the moonwalk means there aren’t any especially good photos of him on the moon (although he does show up in the film footage taken out the lunar module window), which I suppose makes a fictional representation of him a bit more memorable. Even so, I can imagine getting this documentary on home video before the feature, although some of the explanatory text on the movie screen was small enough I wonder what it’ll look like even on Blu-Ray.
krpalmer: (anime)
When I started watching the anime series Planet With, I’d been pulled in by hearing the manga creator Satoshi Mizukami was involved in its production, having already found his manga “Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer” interesting. Over the three-month course of that complicated, intriguing, and personally satisfying series, I happened to see a comment Mizukami had produced another manga now being published over here, one that had managed to escape my attention before. Making up for that, I started buying the volumes of “Spirit Circle” from the area bookstore. By the time I began reading them, I understood the series to be complete in six volumes, shorter than Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer. The six volumes packed plenty of interest for me, though, even if I’m again left wondering about “giving things away to others about something I didn’t know much about beforehand.”
With that said... )
krpalmer: (Default)
“Commercially developed capsules will carry astronauts into space launching from the United States” have been talked up for what seems a good while now. The wait for talk to turn into accomplishment seemed to start ending with the first unmanned test launch of a SpaceX “Crew Dragon,” a development of the cargo-carrying capsules that have been docking with the space station and carrying some things back to Earth for a while now. The launch happened in the middle of the night such that I only saw it had been a success afterwards, and then I decided to wait for news the capsule with its dummy astronaut had docked to the space station. From here, I suppose I’m waiting to see the capsule makes it back to Earth and for a test of the escape rockets while a sacrificial booster is launching (which should be a previously used Falcon 9 instead of the “Little Joe” rockets used to qualify the Mercury and Apollo escape towers) before anyone gets inside.

Just before the test launch, I also happened to see Virgin Galactic’s passenger-carrying rocket plane had carried more than one person very high. Depending on how you look at it the wait for that might have seemed very long; the craft is a development of “SpaceShip One,” which flew very high in rapid succession to great congratulations about it having been done with government agencies having been cast out of the process, but which never carried more than one person and was sent to the Smithsonian quite soon after winning its prize. “No matter how hard you think this is, it’s harder” could be a heavy lesson, but when we do seem to get to accomplishment time can seem to start flowing a bit faster.
krpalmer: (anime)
Back on the upslope of last decade’s anime and manga boom in the English-speaking world, I did feel tickled at the first reports of series being optioned for Hollywood motion pictures. It’s been a while since then, though (including a bust that might not after all have amounted to “complete retrenchment to a handful of obsessives for all time”), and as some productions got lost in a maze of development and some did show up to reactions at most unimpressed among “fans in the know” and a general slide into obscurity, I suppose I fell back to “the original work isn’t diminished for me.” I can also ponder whether I’m more content than some with “drawings” and less requiring “the legitimization of live-action,” aware as well of live-action manga adaptations made in Japan that I don’t take too much interest in either, even if I’m also aware of snickers about “detachment from three-dimensional reality.” There might be a connection between that and how, while I don’t take a lot of interest in “live-action superhero movies,” I did go see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse at the movies after noticing the enthusiasm of others, then indulged myself watching The Lego Batman Movie on Netflix.

When it worked its way around to release at last, though, one more live-action adaptation of a manga that had been in production for a long time did seem to produce some positive reactions from people with their own solid interest in anime and manga. They seemed positive enough I even started wondering about taking my own chance on the movie. While I couldn’t see it during its opening week, on its second weekend I went to see Alita: Battle Angel. I was wondering a bit about this being one franchise I’d been aware of without ever quite managing to take it in, having missed out on previous releases and then supposing Kodansha Comics’s latest version did seem a bit over-produced for me as large-format hardcovers. As I watched the movie, though, I did get to thinking that while I wasn’t distracting myself “comparing it to the original,” that didn’t seem the only thing keeping up my interest in it.
An uncomplicated appeal )
krpalmer: (anime)
Of late I’ve taken some note of domestic manga publishers other than Seven Seas dabbling in “girls’ love” manga as well. Viz has put out two series I’ve bought, and Yen Press offered an “anthology” of short pieces by a number of artists. Now, Kodansha Comics has begun publishing a series the title itself of which seems a signal, Yuri Is My Job! I’ll admit that after that got my attention I wondered on general principles whether I was “starting too many manga series of late,” but also have to admit buying its first volume in the end.
Welcome to Liebe Girls Academy! )
krpalmer: (Default)
While I keep thinking I could put a bit more effort into following “space announcements,” I do have the habit of looking at the Astronomy Picture of the Day early on every day. A few days ago, it offered an update about Ultima Thule after New Horizon’s flyby, suggesting the two “circular lobes” of the Kuiper Belt object were a lot flatter than had been surmised and the approach had been from a somewhat lucky direction. I did get to thinking about previous suppositions the lobes had formed as rough spheres even if they hadn’t bothered to collapse into a bigger sphere under their low mutual gravity, and if those small potential spheres might have been used to insist “even pleasing roundness isn’t as significant as planetary scientists like Alan Stern insist; you’ve just got to bite the bullet and dismiss these small bodies as insignificant flecks in a larger system.” Again, I’m at least tempted to say “going out there and looking is more interesting than dealing with numbers.”
krpalmer: (anime)
At some point, “all the anime I could watch” piled up to where I shrugged and kept going back to see whole series again every once in a while. As last year drew to a close, specific thoughts of what to watch once more were sprouting in me, turning to some of my most foundational series. A decade ago this year was the last time I’d watched all of Macross, Southern Cross, and Mospeada, 2009 being the year Macross’s space opera mecha action had been said to start. (While the series hadn’t been fully available in its original form over here in 1999, when its prologue had been set, my university’s anime club had shown its first two episodes subtitled, and I remember private satisfaction hearing cheers for the midair rescue scene.) Since then, though, I had happened to think I was coming up on three decades since I’d first seen some of their animation repurposed together as Robotech, but as that year itself had begun I’d decided to “mark an anniversary” by watching different series altogether, even if I’d managed to head back to a particular selection of Robotech episodes as a later indulgence. I suppose the thought did creep up on me that if I didn’t return to the series this year, that might somehow amount to “when again, if ever?”
To 1999 and before )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
After ordering the latest big volume of “Peanuts Every Sunday” from the area bookstore, I once again took my time reading through it. The Sunday pages it reprints in colour get to ones I was alive for, although certainly I’d have first really noticed them in earlier, less elaborate reprint books. Balanced against that personal thought, though, was a certain feeling of melancholy that as this series of books moves into the back half of the comic strip I can imagine certain other people concluding even a “Silver Age of Peanuts” is wrapping up, even if there does seem no insisted-on guide to where the previous lines are drawn. It was also a bit surprising for there to be no introduction; perhaps Fantagraphics has run out of people to say things at last.
“And it’s orange? This I have to see!” )
krpalmer: (anime)
“Soon to be an anime” announcements do catch my attention every so often, but “soon” is a relative term, and when the chance to watch those series arrive at last I seem lucky to feel a vague “I think I’ve heard about it” push towards picking up on them. However, two announcements close together on Anime News Network, both declaring manga series I’ve read in the last little while will get anime adaptations, did seem to pack a bit more impact than usual in their combination.
Astra: Lost in Space )
To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
An “Answerman” column on Anime News Network explained where the money so many people these days see as having gone into OVAs and movies of the 1980s had first come from. Its discussion thread then spun along to the point of mentioning a book about American reactions to Japan in that decade, said to include a chapter about anime fandom then. That did get my attention, inclined as I am to reflect on having been around for that decade without really managing to pick up on just where some of the syndicated cartoons I’d taken quite an interest in had first come from until the decade following. I started looking up the electronic version of Andrew McKevitt’s Consuming Japan, then went to the point of signing up for Kobo when the title wasn’t available in the Apple Books store in my country; now, I’m wondering if the “bonus points” Kobo gives with purchase outweigh the differences and complications in its reading program from the standard Books.
From book to 'zine' )
krpalmer: (Default)
Not that long after the first halfway detailed image of Ultima Thule was radioed back to Earth from New Horizons, I went looking at the “raw images” available on the mission’s main site to notice some of them looked blank. Remembering comments seen that it isn’t easy to look in precisely the right direction close up to catch an object in a camera when very little of its orbit has been observed, I could keep wondering if the picture we had would be the best we’d get.

Several days ago, though, a better picture did arrive in the low-powered downlink, and when it was colourised as an Astronomy Picture of the Day I got to thinking. The conjoined blobs that had looked “dented” before were now showing some small craters, and after wondering (aware a layman’s speculation on scientific topics might be a bit off) if relative velocities are low that far from the sun and the less cratered plains on Pluto “might not mean as much as you thought they did” compared to the lunar highlands, Callisto, and the midsized moons of Saturn I did think of closeups of rocky rather than icy asteroids and the way the moon smooths out close up, gardened by really small impacts. The featured photograph all these thoughts came from was taken “seven minutes before closest approach,” but using the less telescopic camera on New Horizons, so I can at least wonder if there might be a better picture yet.
krpalmer: (anime)
With a few cautions still in mind, I did flip into the third “RWBY Anthology” manga volume in the bookstore just to make sure the art didn’t look altogether depressing. After buying it, though, I wasn’t fast at getting around to reading it. When I did open up the volume at last, the first piece looked surprisingly good; I had to go a bit further for things to seem closer to the norm, but there were still compensations.

In the early part of the story these anthologies are set during, Blake Belladonna does seem to have the most going for her beyond “action” with a number of secrets not only to be revealed but dwelt on afterwards. (There’s an afterword from her character designer, who admits “I’m not quite sure” how Blake’s weapon works.) As inconsequential as the manga pieces have to be in the story, I was able to keep reading.

There’s one letter left in the title, one main character, and one volume of this series to go. I’ll still have to see just what Yang’s instalment looks like inside (there were a few pieces in this third volume where, with everyone in their school uniforms, I kept confusing Yang for Weiss), but the thought “I’ve gone this far already” can hold as much risk for me as any other. Reading through the volume did remind, me, though, that the latest series of RWBY’s computer animation hasn’t been made available on Crunchyroll, and I haven’t yet tried sorting out what watching it via its creators’ official site will mean. There is the thought it’ll eventually be available on Blu-Ray like the previous volumes, even if I can fall victim to “don’t look up what anyone else is thinking about it, now or later; that can only cause problems.”
krpalmer: (mst3k)
The second set of episodes of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival were presented with numerous winks towards “watching them one after another,” but with one thing and another (including Christmas vacation), I didn’t get around to getting through all of them until now. I do want to say these six episodes built on the foundation of the fourteen before, but perhaps can’t say much in the way of articulated argument for that beyond that the original Mystery Science Theater had kept changing through its run, I keep finding the complications of the new setting amusing, and the latest episodes didn’t seem to build quite as many “riffs” around references to online services as I remember their predecessors doing.
Two-thirds to go )
krpalmer: (Default)
At the neighbourhood library, while paging through “BBC History” magazine I happened on an interview with Max Hastings about a book he’d just written on the Vietnam War. Having read some of Hastings’s other military history books, I thought it might be worth learning something more about a conflict more recent than World Wars One and Two. The first place I did look for information on the book was the area bookstore, supposing it might not be out in print over here yet. However, when I saw it was available in paperback in the store itself, I wound up buying a copy.
1945-1975 )
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
While I’ve indulged myself for several months with a bagatelle of a comic book pitting “Star Trek” (the animated series) “versus the Transformers” (the original cartoon), I can’t say I’ve had many impulses to check out further comics licensed from either property. In continuing to look at the “TF Wiki,” though, I did take slight note of another comic looking at a just-tangential “robot toy line of the 1980s,” enough that running into a comment suggesting it had continued on into an “edgy” take on things left me a little askance. One follow-up to that comment, however, did get my attention when I saw the claim the best of all the recent comics on the general subject remained “Incredible Change-Bots.”
More than just machines! )
krpalmer: (anime)
Some manga series I read each new volume of as it appears in print over here, and try my best to get up to speed again with what’s happening (although the pauses between volumes can get longer as I get further into series and they have to wait for chapters to be compiled over in Japan). Other manga series I manage to pile up and push through in more of a marathon, although I’ve wound up interspersing volumes of different series in between with the thought this will feel less overwhelming. I suppose that second way of doing things makes it easier to comment on a series as a whole.

It somehow feels like it’s been a good while since I heard about an anime series called “Mysterious Girlfriend X,” talked up at the time with much glee about “drool.” In the end, it was just one more series I couldn’t find the time to watch streaming, but when Vertical licensed the manga it had been adapted from I did get that second chance that shows up every so often. However, I also noticed the two-volumes-in-one omnibuses showing up in the area bookstore without starting to buy them. Then, a third chance appeared when the series was bundled at the online store Right Stuf, and this time I bought it. It did take me a good part of last year to get around to starting into the stack of six omnibuses even so, but I had spent a lot of that time going through stacks of Skip Beat! and Princess Jellyfish.
Much glee about drool indeed )
krpalmer: (Default)
The first day of the new year had New Horizons scheduled to fly past the “Kuiper Belt Object” nicknamed Ultima Thule, and aware the space probe’s mission was carrying on past Pluto I was interested in further possible revelations on the solar system’s icy fringes. Where the slow emergence of detail in the approach images from the final weeks and then days before Pluto and had sort of pointed out how small it is compared to Jupiter and Saturn, however, the final preliminary images of Ultima Thule staying just a few pixels had seemed to push things down to a smaller scale again. A comment or two that it would be tricky to get the cameras pointing in the precise correct direction had me wondering how things would turn out too.

It didn’t take too long to hear the probe was sending back recorded data after closest encounter, but for better pictures to come back took a while longer. Even the best image at the end of this week, showing two roundish lumps stuck together without collapsing into something bigger, still isn’t that clear. However, I did manage to find a comparison of Ultima Thule with Charon (which itself doesn’t seem quite as “pleasingly round” as Pluto to me) that really drives the difference in scale home for me, and might even be invoked to suggest “Pluto didn’t just happen to be noticed and hard-sold before all the other riff-raff out there.” Anyway, the end of this week is also turning up pictures from the surface of the other side of the moon, which on that scale might not look that different from the only side we knew about until sixty years ago.
krpalmer: (anime)
Each successive volume of Legend of the Galactic Heroes arriving translated in print raises my hopes we’ll really get to the end of the series, even if it’s a conclusion I’ve already experienced through the anime adaptation. The eighth volume was where I supposed that this time for sure we’d be faced with a shocking development, one that would shake up certainties and leave the survivors in the story trying to make a new way forward. Once it had passed, though, I did have to recognize I’d forgotten some of the particulars of just how it had happened. In any case, with the various tactical schemes of the space opera battles easy enough to just sort of accept (a lot of the action in this volume is set in a choke-point in space set up beforehand as somehow constraining fleet deployment) the development did get away from everything else seeming to revolve around how enlightened a despot Kaiser Reinhard von Lohengramm is. Yang Wen-li, even holed up in a last redoubt, remained skeptical about what might happen “after Reinhard”; I’m afraid I was inclined to stay skeptical about the way Reinhard was himself presented and to muse about just what “the average folk” might wind up for whatever reason holding up, although it does seem like it just might be more interesting to provide an opposing argument by setting up a different fictional scenario than to just complain about the way a particular fictional scenario has been designed.

The omniscient narration of the book did seem to keep alluding to future developments I’m also familiar with. One thing that did surprise me, though, was a third translator showing up. I can’t say Matt Treyvaud’s work seemed any better or worse than what had come before; there was a certain bit of familiarity in the Imperial marshal Oskar von Reuentahl, who has one blue eye and one brown eye (a trait at least a minor fetish scattered through other anime series) being described as “heterochromiac.” I did look ahead again and see a pre-order listing for the ninth volume of the series, but it’s a long way away yet; even if getting to the end of the series keeps feeling a bit more likely, I can admit to feeling freer to wonder if that’ll happen this year.
krpalmer: (Default)
With another year drawing to a close, I'm once again looking back at the first sentence of the first post here for each month. This year, I kept this journal going to the point where the odometer of "post URLs" rolled over to the three hundred thousands, still less than many other journals of course.
A year in twelve sentences )
See you in the new year!

March 2019

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