krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
2019-04-16 08:12 pm
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Digital Packrat Opportunity

Checking the Planet IF aggregator weblog might not get me any closer to playing text adventures on a regular basis, but I do see interesting things on it. This morning, I happened to see a first report a digital archiver had put the source code of the canonical Infocom games (and a few incomplete, unreleased projects) on a program repository, and it was the added comment that this was a very grey area of “information archiving” that engaged my digital packrat instincts and had me downloading the files.

I’ve dabbled a bit in Inform 7, which compiles to run on the “Z-Machine” that allowed Infocom’s text adventures to be ported to multiple systems simple and complex, but this programming language was developed after Infocom had gone out of business. ZIL, the language Infocom used, looks much more forbidding and quite distinct from the six previous versions of Inform as well, although there have been recent attempts to recreate it. In reflecting on “possible insights on games I could already play,” I did happen to think of the rediscovery of a long-known-of third version of “Wumpus,” and how source code in BASIC is still more my speed.
krpalmer: (Default)
2019-04-11 08:49 pm
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Earth Landing (but not Moon)

I knew the second launch of a Falcon Heavy rocket was coming up, following the news well enough to be aware it had been pushed back a few days. As the scheduled launch time today approached, though, I was a little surprised to see a report the Israeli moon-landing probe that had reached lunar orbit a little while ago had crashed trying to touch down, and I suppose I have to admit to a thought or two of “superstitious resonances.”

When I turned into the live stream of the rocket launch, though (with the usual enthusiastic crowd somewhere in the background), everything did work, including the central booster managing to land on the barge out in the Atlantic after the side boosters had made their loops back to Florida (still a little hard for me to believe after it having happened before). Putting a communications satellite in orbit is less showy and more familiar than firing a sports car into a solar orbit reaching up to the asteroid belt, but more practical as well.
krpalmer: (anime)
2019-04-09 08:39 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Bloom into You 6

Bloom Into You remains a manga I’m interested in following, but when I bought the sixth volume I did have something of an “I’ll get to it in due time” feeling. So far as “girls’ love” manga goes I was finishing Sweet Blue Flowers, and after that I read Kase-san and Cherry Blossoms, fifth in the “Kase-san and...” series and, so I seemed to sense, its possible conclusion. Its two main characters did graduate from high school and move off to university, and there was a consummation scene, although there was also a last page promising the story would continue in university.
For Bloom Into You, though... )
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2019-04-04 08:15 pm
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(e-)Manga Thoughts: The Love and Creed of Sae Maki

I’ve dabbled a bit in legitimate purchases of “digital manga” before, some titles only being available that way in official translation, but have been thinking of late I could turn a bit further towards that (although one reason why is how overstuffed my bookcases have become with printed volumes of the stuff). Looking at the Kobo online store, I did happen to see titles from a publisher that doesn’t seem to have much of a presence in print, and I have to admit the “fanservicey” cover of a volume from one series caught my eye. The volumes weren’t as expensive as from other publishers, though, so as something of a test I bought the first volume of Tohru Uchimizu’s “The Love and Creed of Sae Maki.”
Sae-ism within )
krpalmer: (anime)
2019-04-01 08:51 pm
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2019: My First Quarter in Anime

As the new year got under way I turned back to an older anime series, and had a good time watching Super Dimension Fortress Macross once again. Beyond it, I’d wound up thinking of one title after another I could link to Macross through production in Japan, localization in America, or my personal whim; all of it didn’t quite block off the thought of getting to series newer and unrelated, though.
Also starting off: Hi Score Girl )
The brand name: Mob Psycho 100 II )
Toughing it out: Girly Air Force and Spec-Ops Asuka )
A reluctant pickup does reward: The Promised Neverland )
Manga lead-in: Sweet Blue Flowers )
The first links: Orguss and Mospeada )
Finishing and resuming: Great Mazinger, Mecha Ude, and Lupin the Third )
krpalmer: (anime)
2019-03-30 03:47 pm
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Manga Notes: RWBY Anthology 4

Having made it through three volumes of the “RWBY Anthology” manga did make “finishing the set” seem a little more inevitable. I glanced inside the fourth volume when I saw it in the bookstore, but I suppose it was only a “glance before buying it anyway”; I was still a bit uncertain as I started reading. That the “four-panel manga” that had seemed one of the few really good-looking pieces in the somewhat unfortunate first volume returned quite near the beginning of the fourth wasn’t quite encouraging, somehow.

I was ready to suppose Yang Xiao Long wasn’t that complicated a character in the first part of the animation these pieces are set during, a swaggering, hard-punching, big-sister type. There are a few jokes spun from the unfortunate complications that build up for her near the end of the first plot arc (and that did help make what I’ve managed to see since more interesting), and one piece does invoke the very end of that arc in a more serious way. Still, I got through the volume even with a comment or two at the very end speculating about doing something similar for the villains and supporting heroes. My own thoughts for the moment are just wondering when I might have the chance to see the animation that has been released but not on Crunchyroll; if it is going to get on Blu-Ray the same as the five previous parts, that might be as good as anything for me.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2019-03-25 08:07 pm
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Double Animation Wrap-up

In the space of a day, I finished off two animated series on Netflix (even if this doesn’t stretch that far towards “subscribing to that streaming service so that I’m not only watching anime.”) To be fair, “finishing” one of them amounted to settling on “one last episode” in advance of a forewarned expiration date, but I’d settled in the first place on returning to “The Real Ghostbusters” as something to occupy my attention while exercising on the ski machine in my basement.
The Real Ghostbusters )
Voltron Legendary Defender )
krpalmer: (Default)
2019-03-18 08:11 pm
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From the (Library) Bookshelf: The Personality Brokers

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)
2019-03-12 06:35 pm
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Movie Thoughts: Apollo 11

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)
2019-03-08 08:09 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Spirit Circle

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)
2019-03-03 07:22 am
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Midway Accomplishment At Last

“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)
2019-02-26 06:43 pm

Movie Thoughts: Alita: Battle Angel

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)
2019-02-20 06:53 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Yuri Is My Job! 1

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)
2019-02-14 08:24 pm
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From Meatball to Pancake

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)
2019-02-11 06:21 pm

Return to Macross

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)
2019-02-08 06:50 pm
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From the Bookshelf: Peanuts Every Sunday 1976-1980

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)
2019-02-06 09:09 pm

Double Announcement Catch

“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)
2019-02-02 04:22 pm
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Partway Down A Rabbit Hole

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)
2019-01-31 06:48 pm
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Closer Up Again

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)
2019-01-30 08:31 pm
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Manga Notes: RWBY Anthology 3

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.”