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.”
krpalmer: (mst3k)
2019-01-27 06:02 pm
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Through the Gauntlet (The Day Lords, Fish, and Eagles Ended)

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)
2019-01-23 06:36 pm
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From the Bookshelf: Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy

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)
2019-01-17 08:17 pm
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Comedic Transformations: Incredible Change-Bots

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)
2019-01-11 06:49 pm
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Manga Thoughts: Mysterious Girlfriend X

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)
2019-01-05 03:50 pm
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Coming (more) Into Focus

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)
2019-01-01 01:45 pm
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From the Bookshelf: Legend of the Galactic Heroes: Desolation

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)
2018-12-31 09:30 pm
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2018: Journal in Review

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!
krpalmer: (anime)
2018-12-31 04:04 pm
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2018: My Fourth Quarter in Anime

As a new season's worth of anime series started up three months ago, I was conscious I didn't feel grabbed by quite as many of my initial limited understandings of the shows beginning as I'd been for several seasons before. As I still wasn't quite stuck altogether on the outside there, though, I was willing to make up whatever shortfall this might seem to be from my own collection and series presented as a block on Netflix, even thinking a bit of a change might be nice. A different change that also happened along the way, however, was going into my stacks of DVDs and Blu-Rays, at last picking out titles I thought I could "get rid of" one way or another with the thought this was one small push back against one day "finding myself buried in things." This stretched so far as to titles I'd bought years ago but never opened until such time as I could find myself wondering "was I ever that interested in seeing them?" In no real way did it seem to threaten "putting all anime behind me at last," but I did wind up a little conscious it's one thing to pile these chopping-block titles in a different place, and another to figure out just how I can sell some of them or just hand everything over to the library book sale to make them someone else's problem.
Starting off: Kyousougiga and Dragon Pilot )
Antiques: Great Mazinger and Hustle Punch )
Actual streaming: SSSS.GRIDMAN and Anima Yell! )
The rewind begins: Last Hope and Slayers )
The rewind continues: Serial Experiments Lain and Patlabor OVAs )
Wrapping up, looking ahead: Castle of Cagliostro and Robot Carnival )
krpalmer: Imagination sold and serviced here: Infocom (infocom)
2018-12-26 06:50 pm
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Through the End Point Elsewhere

News of the impending “Tumblr apocalypse” hit just a few days after I’d loaded a melancholy image into my queue there. Having hit on the idea, at a moment when coming up with something to post here every week or so seemed to be overcoming me at last, that I could delve into livelier online pastures yet keep from just recycling things other people had already posted by making up a selected chronological record of old computer magazine covers, I started off with the first issue of Creative Computing. Now, I had come to the last issue of the magazine.

I did ponder getting to the end of the covers for December 1985 and letting my site drift off into the ether. Still, I also got to thinking of how, when I’d first turned up the last fourteen issues of Creative Computing in my family’s basement, whatever had happened in computing afterwards between then and the present day seemed more obscure. (It can feel a challenge to imagine just how Creative Computing itself would have presented at least the immediate years following.) I wondered quite idly about somehow posting “monthly summaries” here, but when none of the seemingly innocuous images I’d already posted to Tumblr seemed to have been flagged (even if I have to go through my “archives” to find the covers the “search field” won’t turn up) I have to admit inertia took over. I am a bit conscious that while other magazine will drop out along the way, I have sources for at least a few that’ll run until 2005 or so. In any case, keeping this journal itself going isn’t always overwhelming, even if I haven’t gone very far yet towards seeking out “Tumblr refugees” on Dreamwidth to get a little further away from “my best audience is myself.”
krpalmer: (Default)
2018-12-24 11:46 am
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"Riders on the Earth Together"

“For the first time in all of time men have seen the earth: seen it not as continents or oceans from the little distance of a hundred miles or two or three, but seen it from the depths of space; seen it whole and round and beautiful as even Dante—that ‘first imagination of Christendom’—had never dreamed of seeing it; as the twentieth century philosophers of absurdity and despair were incapable of guessing that it might be seen. And seeing it so, one question came to the mind of those who looked at it. ‘Is it inhabited?’ they said to each other and laughed—and then they did not laugh. What came to their minds a hundred thousand miles and more into space—‘half way to the moon’ they put it—what came to their minds was the life on that little, lonely, floating planet: that tiny raft in the enormous, empty night. ‘Is it inhabited?’”

Archibald MacLeish, 1968
krpalmer: Charlie Brown and Patty in the rain; Charlie Brown wears a fedora and trench coat (charlie brown)
2018-12-16 09:33 am
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Near-End-of-Year Animation: Yellow Submarine

At the beginning of the year, I watched for the first time an animated feature film made in Japan half a century ago. Horus: Prince of the Sun did seem an interesting piece of work and one step along a path leading to today (although I certainly haven't taken in every other step along that way). The supplementary material on-disc, though, in trying to build up just how important the movie had been, mentioned another animated feature film from 1968 with comments I might risk paraphrasing from memory as "Yellow Submarine was a cheery holdover from 1967's doubtless chemically enhanced optimism; Horus was a display of 1968's grittier, violent, protesting mood." At least sometimes a little resistant to feelings of being hard-sold (especially when it seems to include bonus putdowns), I got to thinking about that other movie and how long it had been since my family had taped it off the educational channel's movie show (along the way, I've collected the canonical central albums of the Beatles discography), and before the year was out I'd got around to ordering a Blu-Ray of it. (In the meantime, I'd watched a third movie first opening in 1968, 2001: A Space Odyssey, over again. Michael Benson's book Space Odyssey had mentioned some people had gone straight from working on Stanley Kubrick's movie to Yellow Submarine, managing to find a more interesting job than tracing and painting black mattes over endless frames of model photography to aid in compositing the special effects.)
Memory and influence )
krpalmer: (Default)
2018-12-10 08:23 pm
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The Winds of Mars

When the InSight probe landed on Mars, I said I ought to try and keep better track of what's happening with it than I've seemed to do for previous missions, and I have been looking at the official NASA site every so often. The news the probe's seismometer, still sitting on its upper deck before a robot arm lowers it to the Martian surface, had recorded vibrations converted into "the sound of the Martian wind" did spread beyond there, and it got me thinking back to impressions I'd seen a book by Arthur C. Clarke from the 1960s proposing a first Mars lander might not be able to send pictures back from the surface, but could well have a microphone attached. I picked my copy of his The Promise of Space off my bookshelf, but couldn't find that there. After a moment's wondering just where those impressions had come from then, I thought of something else all of a sudden and hurried downstairs to find a copy of Man and Space from the Life Science Library, which Clarke had written the text sections for just before starting to work with Stanley Kubrick on "the proverbial 'really good' science fiction movie." There, I found the description of the first microphone on Mars, all the way up to the possibility of it capturing "a sound that grows louder and louder, closer and closer," building to "clangings and bumpings and rattlings, all ending suddenly in a grinding crunch and the abrupt cessation of the radio signal." Certainly, I'm not expecting that in a further update from InSight, but Clarke could have been forgiven his optimism for having written that before Mariner 4 reached Mars.
krpalmer: (kill la d'oh)
2018-12-10 03:57 pm
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The Thousand Day Farewell

What importance the Love Life School Idol Festival mobile game plays in its multimedia franchise, among live concerts and CDs and the anime series and movies and all the ancillary merchandising, I don't know. That it has kept being updated with new content and features probably means it's a mark in a corporate plus column. One feature added a while ago, though, did focus my mind on the time I've spent playing it since I saw the movie that closed out the first anime storyline and went on to a source of additional content. That the game now tracks the time you've spent playing it and gives you a special bonus every hundred days is something, but the thought of getting to a thousand days playing did get to me and have some consequences at last.
It's been a while )