Star Words: Episode II, Part 4

Oct. 19th, 2017 03:30 pm
matril: (Default)
[personal profile] matril
The first scenes introducing Obi-Wan and Anakin already tells us a lot about the relationship they've developed over the last ten years -- a strong camaraderie, but complicated by all sorts of tensions. Now, as they watch over Padmé's apartment in the night, those tensions become even clearer. Obi-Wan doesn't like Anakin's plan to lure in the assassin, nor his confidence that he'll be able to sense any danger, leading to the positively icy exchange of "Your sense aren't that attuned" "And yours are?" "Possibly." There is a lot of competitiveness going on between these two, whether openly-acknowledged or not, and it's all a symptom of Obi-Wan being a very young master and Anakin being a very unusual Padawn, desperate to prove himself as the best of the best. It verges on dysfunction at times. A teacher and a student really shouldn't be competing with each other.

But Obi-Wan is trying. He genuinely cares for Anakin at this point, not just in deference to his former Master. He wants him to succeed; he wants him to be at peace. He just doesn't always know the means to teach him how. It's probably for this reason that a certain line of his always strikes me as particularly heartbreaking. As he notes Anakin's lack of sleep and the subject turns to the troubling dreams of his mother, Obi-Wan tries to console him.

"Dreams pass in time."

Ah, but do they? Not these dreams; not for Anakin. Not until the awful future they are foretelling has come to pass. I'm not sure if Obi-Wan has any idea that they might be visions or premonitions. Would that change his response? Maybe not, as the Jedi are so strictly forbidden from having emotional attachments. Maybe he really would advise Anakin to ignore the visions and not concern himself with his mother's fate. But I can't quite believe he would be so fully cold-hearted. He seems sincerely sympathetic in this scene as they discuss the dreams tormenting Anakin's mind. But he also seems to believe that his advice will be enough to console him. "Dreams pass." And it's clearly not enough.

It's particularly painful when Anakin goes on to say that he'd "rather dream of Padmé." Ouch. If you know the events of Episode III, that line carries a particularly harsh dramatic irony. And those dreams don't fade calmly away either -- they drive Anakin straight to the Dark Side before their awful fulfillment.

And yet...if he had ignored them, taken Obi-Wan's advice and considered them nothing but passing dreams, maybe the whole tragedy could have been avoided. There's a whole boatload of fatalism versus free will to unpack in that scenario, and it's obviously beyond the scope of this single entry. It's enough to acknowledge that Obi-Wan's simple, wistful little line carries a lot more weight than might appear at first.

(A brief tangent - here is a refreshingly prequel-positive look at the political metaphors of Star Wars. It is, of course, extremely biased about certain real-world politics, but whether or not you agree with those biases, it's awfully nice to see an article free of bashing!)

And next time, more character development through banter!

Early Morning

Oct. 17th, 2017 07:37 pm
lovelyangel: (Amy Camera)
[personal profile] lovelyangel

I arrived at work at 5:40 am. Naturally, it was dark – but also foggy. I took a few minutes to walk over to one of the bicycles in the area and take a few pictures (7). There are now 35 pictures to go until filename / counter reset.

I didn’t leave the office until 4:40 pm. It was a long day, and I’m pretty worn out tonight. I hope things go better tomorrow.

Amanchu! Episode 13

Oct. 16th, 2017 06:27 pm
lovelyangel: (Akari Ehh?!)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Chizuru Himeno and Akane Mizunashi
Chizuru Himeno and Akane Mizunashi
Amanchu! Episode 13 (OVA)

Last week Crunchyroll gave use a surprise treat – Amanchu! episode 13 a.k.a. the OVA included in the final Blu-ray/DVD volume. The story was a visit from Futaba’s friends, Chizuru and Akane, from their previous school. It was a standard type of story for Amanchu! – a little bit of drama but mostly pleasant. Mainly it was nice to see Futaba, Hikari, and Katori-sensei again.

And then there’s the little Aria joke… not the one about the two cats named Aria and Hime… the one about Futaba’s old friends. Akane Mizunashi was voiced by Erino Hazuki – who was the voice of Akari Mizunashi in Aria. Chizuru Himeno was voiced by Chiwa Saitō (Yay!) – who was the voice of Aika S. Granzchesta, heir to Himeya Company in Aria.

The art and animation were good but not stellar. Good enough. Any iyashikei anime from Junichi Satō gets a smile and thumbs up from me.

Chizuru Himeno and Akane Mizunashi
Aika and Akari… no, wait…
Chizuru Himeno and Akane Mizunashi
Amanchu! Episode 13 (OVA)

the passing storm

Oct. 16th, 2017 11:59 am
davemerrill: (Default)
[personal profile] davemerrill
We got some wind last night! We were up near Woodbridge doing some trail walking and Islington was closed, we got routed through a neighborhood and we saw branches down, fences down, a tree down in the road and residents all standing around in the sun because the power was out. Most people treated the intersections as four way stops, as they should. We dodged the rain, the sun came out on our walk, we got home and we hadn't lost power but we'd lost internet, as something had happened to the supplier that supplies internet to our provider. So I got some drawing done and we watched the Spider-Man movie, which was a perfectly fine super hero movie. Not too full of easter eggs, a little overlong, nicely acted... not the best film of the year, which is what I've seen people say, but for a super hero movie it was fine.

Saturday I put the new Let's Anime up, we took a bunch of stuff to the thrift store, I bought a cooler fan for the PC, we did some walking, I put the new fan in the PC, I swapped the exhaust fan for another exhaust fan, the PC runs a LOT quieter now, thank goodness. We watched the original William Castle "13 Ghosts" which isn't as good as "The Tingler" or "House On Haunted Hill", mostly because those films have Vincent Price and this one doesn't. It does have Margaret Hamilton, though, who is always great.

We actually dropped a lot of stuff at the thrifts on both Saturday and Sunday. I keep uncovering clothes I haven't worn in years or duplicate sets of wrenches or computer speakers we don't need or books I haven't touched; I think we've taken a bag or two to various drop off places every weekend since AWA. I'm at the point where the frustration of "too much junk" is stronger than the satisfaction of "look at all the stuff I have."

Friday after work I changed clothes and we went out to Kensington Market to see Donald and David for their 50th birthday. It's amazing to think that I spent most of my 20s getting home from work on Friday and immediately heading right back out to meet friends somewhere - these days it's a real struggle to do anything but relax on weeknights. I don't have the energy level I did when I was 22. On the other hand, I'm not driving to and from Athens every weekend, and I have an actual job, not the low-paying part-time nonsense jobs I had when I was in school. It evens out, I guess.

Still Behind

Oct. 15th, 2017 08:13 pm
lovelyangel: Homura from Homura Tamura v2 (Homura Musing)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
MAX Station at Holladay Park
MAX Station at Holladay Park
Portland, Oregon

This afternoon I attended the final staff meeting prior to Kumoricon. I left Beaverton at noon and didn’t get home until 4 pm. Driving to and from the DoubleTree by Hilton Portland brought back memories of my daily commute for five years. I did lane changes and surface street navigation as much by learned reaction as anything else. The DoubleTree is only a block from where I used to work.

I did arrive a little bit early, and I took a brief detour through Holladay Park. One thing that struck me is that the trees were still mostly green – and it’s the middle of October. We haven’t really gotten a freeze yet. Fall got a late start, and it’s ramping up in a very leisurely fashion. It was sunny today and quite comfortable outside.

Green Foliage in Holladay Park
Green Foliage in Holladay Park
Portland, Oregon

The formal meeting went from 1:15 pm to 2:40 pm. The breakout sessions afterwards for the sub-groups started at 2:45 pm. Our group (Multimedia) ran until 3:30 pm.

(And, Portlanders, the convention is still in desperate need of staff for the registration area… so if you ever wanted to volunteer for an anime convention, this is a great opportunity. More info: Kumoricon Staff FAQ, Kumoricon Staff General Information.)

All weekend we had good weather, and although there were some outdoor tasks I needed to do, I couldn’t get to them. I’m still scrambling to get (partially) caught up. I did get a week’s worth of anime done in about 2 1/2 days and am caught up on that front. There’s some volunteer work that I have to do this coming week and weekend in addition to my regular chores. I’m going to remain super busy for a while.

Kumoricon is only 11 days away, and I’m trying to burn down the last few pictures so that I can reset the counter and filename prefix on D810/302. I did only about 2 dozen clicks this weekend. The last image taken was NFC_9957 – so 42 more photos to go.

Autumn Flowers
Autumn Flowers
Rite Aid Pharmacy • Beaverton, Oregon

Anime Autumn Week 2

Oct. 15th, 2017 10:09 am
lovelyangel: Hina Satou from Tesagure! Bukatsumono 3 ED (Hina Angel)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Mari Shirako
Mari Shirako
Urahara, 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. I’m still trying to get caught up with a backlog of work at home, and I made a big push to get up-to-date on anime. Here are the shows from this season that I watched last week…

Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou (Wake Up, Girls! New Chapter): Episode 1
With the change in studios from Tatsunoko Production to Millepensee (mainly the producers of Teekyuu), I expected a decline in the production values. I don’t know if the production values are notably worse – but the art and direction are different – less realistic and more cutesy. It does seem like there were some animation shortcuts. The story seems about the same. And there was one WUG performance on stage (with their new costumes) – it was terrible CGI and recycled their big song from season 1 – “7 Girls War.” I’m kind of lukewarm about this but not quite willing to drop the show yet.

Black Clover: Episode 2
The episode was primarily Naruto’s… er… Asta’s backstory. His rival, Sasuke – that is, Yuno – didn’t do much this week.

Jūni Taisen: Zodiac War: Episode 2
The war of attrition continues. Kinda feels like Mahō Shōjo Ikusei Keikaku (Magical Girl Raising Project) in that the winners of any battle seem random. As with that series, I’m not even going to try to guess outcomes. I’ll just watch.

EVIL OR LIVE: Episode 1
As soon as I saw the Haoliners branding, my shields went up. Sure enough, there was some shortcut “animation” up front – and a really terrible premise announced in the narration. An extremely wobbly storyline, random doses of violence and homophobia, and Haoliners’ dull direction make this a totally ignorable show. And so I shall.

Mahoujin Guru Guru: Episode 14
Start of a new quest… a rather haphazard affair for the most part… didn’t get really interesting until Operation Lovey-Dovey… and then the big twist at the end – Kukuri has gone Homura! Gotta see what happens next week! Loved Kukuri’s version of the preview clip for next week!

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 28
Well… the writing isn’t that great… and the battles are not dramatic. But I think my expectations are fairly low with Boruto. I just shrug and wait for the next week’s installment.

Urahara: Episode 2
I guess this is intended to be a kids’ show… the story moves so slowly and is super simple. While the art and animation remain very pretty (too good for a kids’ show), I don’t think the story is going to hold my attention. This season is pretty full, so I think I’ll drop this series from my watchlist.

Konohana Kitan: Episode 2
Very cute slice-of-life… a bit too sweet but nicely heartwarming. It was nice to get a bit of the hidden story behind Satsuki – blended in with a “day off wandering around town” wrapper.

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan: Episode 2
It appears 3 minutes is too short. The episode just started with a calm morning in the town when a conflict popped up and a battle erupted – only to stop immediately as the episode ran out of time. I’m guessing the actual fight is going to be really short next week.

Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie): Episode 2
I’m still liking this show a lot! I continue to strongly root for Moriko/Hayashi x Yuuta/Lily. Of course there are too many coincidences, but if that helps shorten the conflict and story, I’m willing to let those slide. Trivia: Yuuta’s family name is spelled the same (in kanji) as my own. (^_^)

Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series: Episode 2
I don’t know if it’s the art or the direction or something else… but I feel like this reboot lacks the subtlety of the original. This episode felt blunt, somehow. It’s not a bad rendering, but I’m feeling it could be a lot better.

Garo: Vanishing Line: Episode 2
Action/horror… mindless fun… like a scary high-speed roller coaster ride. I don’t mind sitting back and letting this show entertain.

Code:Realize – Sousei no Himegimi (Code:Realize – Guardian of Rebirth): Episode 2
Cardia is not much more than a door stop at the moment, and I hope at some point she becomes a real person. The guys are just an assortment of characters, and the villains are as formulaic as they come. Animation and direction are weak, and the script is so-so. This could be the most forgettable series currently in my watchlist, but it’s not unwatchable – yet.

Two Car: Episode 2
Two Car has settled into its normal episode format, and I’m liking the show quite a bit. Each of the teams has their quirks and problems, and the show gives us a nice peek into the relationships. I’m eager to see more. Ai and Nene from the Miyake Girls’ High School Broadcasting Club are entertaining, also.

Sangatsu no Lion: Episode 23
Rei is back. The episode used the Science-Shogi Club to launch both stories this week. The first story about winning and losing at shogi was somewhat interesting, but the second story about ramune (and Rei’s first club experience and bonding) was so-so. Ramune felt too long. As frequently happens, these short vignettes are part of building up the character of Rei, so they’re a necessary tedium. We saw just a few moments of the Kawamoto sisters – which is not enough – but much better than nothing. I’m hoping the new OP animation is a bit spoilery, because there were a couple of isolated shots of Hina-chan – hinting there could be some sort of serious relationship.

Blend S: Episode 2
This comedy is right up my alley. Anything that pokes fun at anime – and does it well – makes me smile.

Mahō Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’s Bride): Episode 2
This series continues to impress. Strong direction supported by good writing. All the characters have been intriguing so far. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I’m riveted to my seat.

Anime-Gataris: Episode 2
Silly, goofy show – but entertaining enough. Many jabs at anime tropes and titles ( “Sold Out Online,” “Suzushii Yahashi no Yuuutsu,” “Ru:ZERO” with Team Am or Team Emily… ) Nice enough fluff to end the anime week.

Stile Cafe Staff
Stile Cafe Staff
Blend-S, Episode 2

classic anime on dreamwidth

Oct. 15th, 2017 12:31 pm
davemerrill: (Default)
[personal profile] davemerrill
by the way Dreamwidth users, when I made the switch to Dreamwidth, I ported over the "classic anime" community from Livejournal. If you're interested in Japanese animation circa 1960-1990, you might enjoy this group.

Well, I'll be honest, so far the group has been me posting Let's Anime links. It would be great if we could get some other people in there doing some chatting about them Japanese cartoons. Come on by.

speed racer turns fifty

Oct. 15th, 2017 09:32 am
davemerrill: (Default)
[personal profile] davemerrill
The seminal Japanese cartoon Speed Racer turns fifty this year, and that means it's time for Gen-X kids such as myself to begin saying "fifty years old? Why it seems like just yesterday..."

Back when the live-action Wachowski siblings' film came out, I wrote a big piece about Speed Racer for Otaku USA, and I've since re-jiggered it slightly and it's up at Let's Anime!

belt him one

Oct. 13th, 2017 12:15 pm
davemerrill: (Default)
[personal profile] davemerrill
Let a lot of corporate licensed characters work hard to confuse and mislead in an over-written, unfocused comic purportedly designed to get kids to wear their seat belts!

It's all happening right now at Stupid Comics!

In other news, I took a sick day because I was feeling sick, and I am repurposing my 2008 Speed Racer article for Otaku USA as a Let's Anime piece, and the weather has cooled off and gotten rainy. We ate a lot of turkey for Thanksgiving and watched Yamato 2202. Did a lot of housecleaning over the long weekend and there's more space in our space, took a lot of stuff to some thrift stores and haven't really replaced it with anything. Which is the plan, I guess. This weekend we have no plans, next weekend is a AN staff meeting, weekend after that is the AN Halloween thing, and then it's November already!

Anime Autumn Week 1

Oct. 12th, 2017 06:59 pm
lovelyangel: (Homura Watching)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Arisu Kamiigusa
Too Meta?
Arisu Kamiigusa
Anime-Gataris, 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. The last couple of weeks I’ve been swamped with various commitments, so I’ve fallen far behind in my anime viewing. It took more than a week and a half to watch what was available last week. Here are the shows that I watched…

Black Clover: Episode 1
Asta was pretty unlikable throughout the first episode, yelling every line, and I don’t know if he’s going to get any better. Having an akuma alongside is unlikely to help. On the other hand, Yuno is too good to be true. Still, this could be an interesting series. The animation and direction are decent. With the nature of the two protagonists and production by Studio Pierrot, comparisons to Naruto are inevitable. I’m not optimistic, but let’s see how the second episode goes.

Sengoku Night Blood: Episode 1
I got only 8 minutes into this one. The character design, dialog, art, animation, and direction were all pretty bad. There’s no way I could watch a season of this, no matter what the story line is.

Jūni Taisen: Zodiac War: Episode 1
Well, that certainly was dark. The action scenes with the Boar as a young woman were fairly spectacular. The psychological manipulation she did to her younger sister was brutal for an anime series. This show seems unpredictable (to me), and I’ll give it a three-episode trial. The source material was co-authored by NisiOisin, so it’s bound to be interesting.

Osake wa Fuufu ne Natte Kara (a.k.a. Love is Like a Cocktail): Episode 1
A 3-minute short about a woman who easily gets drunk. It’s supposed to be a comedy, but I was uncomfortable with the situation. The person who prepared the cocktails this week was her husband, but regardless, I’m not into the humor. Pass.

Mahoujin Guru Guru: Episode 13
The quest continues to be quite entertaining. This episode had a number of quick chuckles. I’m onboard for the second cours.

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 27
The Hidden Mist thugs weren’t much of a match for the Hidden Leaf students. Then we got a bit of the ol’ Uzumaki friend-making talk along with backstory for Kagura. Not really much of an episode. Looks like things get serious next week.

Urahara: Episode 1
Goofy. Surreal. Silly. But this show has a certain charm. It might end up being too nonsensical to keep the entire season, but I’ll give the series a shot.

Konohana Kitan: Episode 1
When Studio Lerche puts their A-team on a show, it’s going to be well-crafted. Konohana Kitan is very pretty. The characters are stock – but fairly likeable. I liked this little slice-of-life.

Tsukipro the Animation: Episode 1
A whole bunch of bishounen – pretty boys – grouped into bands and trapped with weak dialog. It appears all the animation is CG – but whether it is or not, the animation is fairly stiff and limited. There’s nothing of value here. Pass.

Pikotaro’s Lullaby La La By (web): Episode 1
2:50 length episodes with animation that is only moving cutouts. On top of that, the story was terrible. Bye bye Lullaby La la By.

Ame-con: Episode 1
2:30 length episodes of which the first 0:30 is the OP song and the last 0:30 is the ED song. Very limited animation – is this a web animation? Anyway, nothing interesting happened. This wasn’t worth 2 minutes of my time. Pass.

King’s Game: Episode 1
Ugh. First the misunderstandings, which I hate. Then arbitrary gruesomeness. A psychopathic villain – somewhere. And the protagonist is an idiot who makes every single situation worse by his terrible communication and persuasion skills. There’s nothing good about this story. Dropped.

Taisho Mebiusline Chicchaisan: Episode 1
Another short. These episodes are 3:30 in length. The animation is not great – but it’s way better than that of the other shorts. The first episode introduced us to the weird situation. I’m not sold on this concept – but I’m willing to give the series a chance. I think I can spare 3 minutes a week on this – for a while, anyway.

Net-juu no Susume (Recovery of an MMO Junkie): Episode 1
Alrighty! That was adorable! I think I’m gonna like this series. The two main characters in real life and in the game are fun to watch. Signal. MD did a nice job with direction and animation – probably on a limited budget. It’s not fancy… but little details give the show character.

Kino no Tabi: The Beautiful World – The Animated Series: Episode 1
It’s been a long time since I watched the original series – and I have it on DVD. This reboot has much of the spirit of the original and is fairly well done. Nostalgia tells me the original is better (art, voices), but I’ll try to judge the reboot on its own merits. Nice to see Kino practicing her quick draw again. Something I did not know – Aoi Yuuki, who voices Kino in this reboot, also voiced a character (Sakura) in the 2003 original. I wonder what she thinks about that. This is the second show this season from Lerche; I hope they don’t get overextended.

Dies irae: Episode 0
Loads of violence and unlikeable characters, mostly faux Nazi. Mysteries of power – that I’m disinterested in understanding. Unimaginative and stiff dialog. There’s not much to like here. Pass.

Garo: Vanishing Line: Episode 1
That was an frenetic, action-packed 23 minutes. Studio MAPPA did a great job with direction, animation, art, and sound. I didn’t know that this is the third anime series for Garo. I haven’t seen the first two seasons, but I’m probably OK. The director certainly got my attention.

Code:Realize – Sousei no Himegimi (Code:Realize – Guardian of Rebirth): Episode 1
Not great – but not terrible, either. The characters, from literary works, might be quirky enough to be interesting. Cardia is voiced by Saori Hayami, so that adds a little something to an otherwise dull (so far) character. The anime is based on a visual novel, so I’d keep expectations low for a good storyline. Still, I’ll give this at least one maybe two more episodes as a trial.

TwoCar: Episode 1
At least the series jumped right into action and introduction. Lots of characters to learn, and the mix looks to be a fairly typical variety of personalities. I dislike the conflict between the two protagonists, but I guess there has to be some kind of personal drama alongside the competition. Can’t judge the series from just the introductory episode, so let’s see how a “regular” episode goes next week.

Blend S: Episode 1
Something of an ersatz version of Working! by the same studio (A-1 Pictures). Not hilarious – but harmless and chuckleworthy. Sure. I’m game.

Mahō Tsukai no Yome (The Ancient Magus’s Bride): Episode 1
Very nicely done, start to finish! I was captivated right away, and I’m rooting for both protagonists. So far, this is the best series (at Crunchyroll) this season!

Anime-Gataris: Episode 1
I don’t know what to think of this one. The art is a little bit different, and I don’t know anything about the studio, Wao World. The art seems clean and competent, if a bit simple. The writing is OK, but things are taking an extra turn for the weird at the end. I don’t think we’ll know the tone of the show until episode 2. I’ll check it out, anyway.

Imōto Sae Ireba Ii (A Sister’s All You Need): Episode 1
The first two minutes were awful… I figured it was some kind of dream… and I wasn’t too far off. The remainder of the episode was fairly ragged… including more fanservice… and characters that were either extreme and unlikeable… or blending into the background. I usually root for Silver Link as well as director Shin Ōnuma… and direction and production values are quite good… but the story is cringeworthy. (Really? There are 8 light novels built around this?) While Chihiro seems to be the anchor (even though she was almost completely on the sidelines in this introductory episode), I think I’d just feel bad for her being surrounded by this zoo. I’m going to drop this from my formal watchlist, but curiosity might have me peeking into episode 2 on the side.

Moriko Morioka
Too Meta?
Moriko Morioka
Net-juu no Susume, Episode 1

Star Words: Episode II, Part 3

Oct. 12th, 2017 11:47 am
matril: (Default)
[personal profile] matril
It's no secret that I'm a diehard Padmé/Anakin shipper, so any quotes that relate to them are going to generate an inordinate amount of fangirling from me. I could probably include the entirety of dialogue from their Episode II moments in this series. I'll try to restrain myself. ;)

Their reunion scene is just delightfully awkward. They haven't seen each other since Anakin was a boy, and while they've both done some growing-up since then, his transformation is much more dramatic. (Anakin's maturity is illustrated rather easily by the casting of an older actor. Padmé's is more subtle, mostly accomplished through costuming. 14-year-old Padmé never wore anything remotely revealing or form-fitting). As he's spent much of those ten years harboring a crush on the girl who befriended him on Tatooine, he is desperate to make a good impression upon reuniting with her. not go exactly as he might have hoped.

"Ani? My goodness, you've grown."
"So have you. Grown more beautiful, I mean. Well, for a Senator."

Poor Anakin. He's barely once sentence in and he's already putting his foot in his mouth. Then comes Padmé's response.

"You'll always be that boy I knew on Tatooine."

Anakin probably wants to crawl into a hole in the ground and never come out. So much for proving his maturity. Looks like he has always been and always will be a child in Padmé's eyes. No wonder he's so insistent afterwards on pledging to track down the assassin, against all his master's disapproval -- he's desperate to win Padmé's favor to make up for such a wrong-footed introduction. Alas, Obi-Wan's chastisement only humiliates him further.

By the way, there is so much secondhand embarrassment in this scene, illustrated by way of cleverly-timed cuts to the onlookers' faces. Typho, Dormé, Obi-Wan, even Jar Jar -- they all notice it, and there is much hiding of smiles and darting of eyes. I love how editing can tell a story without a word of dialogue.

But here's the thing. I'm sure that Padmé didn't intend her response as a put-down at all. Her face is full of fondness and warmth. And Jar Jar points out to Anakin afterward that she's visibly happier than he's seen in a long time. She's not denying that Anakin is a young man now rather than a boy; she's recalling all the good things she remembers about that boy on Tatooine -- helpful, kind, eager to please, bright and inquisitive and good. Maybe there's a patronizing quality to her words, maybe not, but at their heart they are words of praise.

And they become all the poignant as Padmé and Anakin's relationship progresses. Anakin's qualities as an attractive young man are no doubt very enticing, but what really makes Padmé fall in love with him? Many of those same traits she admired in the boy, though now infused with the intensity and tumultuousness of young adulthood. And when he falls to the Dark Side; when he betrays all that she believes in, what does she cling to? The hope that somewhere deep inside, the innocent boy still remains. The trinket he gave her as a child is a powerful symbol of that innocence, and she carries it to her grave.

Next, Obi-Wan's words of dubious comfort...

One-Woman Star Wars: Episode II

Oct. 9th, 2017 11:35 am
matril: (Default)
[personal profile] matril

I'll be taking at least a month off before starting Episode III, because it would be truly insane to start right on the next one...right?

But really, I need to spend this month working on my Halloween costume. It's probably going to be from Star Wars this year. :D


Oct. 8th, 2017 07:09 pm
lovelyangel: (Aoi Startled)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
I’m under a huge backlog of tasks… and while I’ve made progress this weekend, I’m still so far behind that I don’t know when I’ll be on a reasonable schedule. Certainly evening events on Thursday and Friday took a lot out of me in time and energy.

I haven’t watched any anime since Wednesday – and with the new season underway, there is a pile of shows begging for my attention. Had I been on schedule, there would have been a weekly summary today. I have no idea when I’ll get caught up. Midweek I might be able to post the summary that was due today.

As expected, the Autumn Crush is on. My evenings and weekends will be stressed – all the way to February. I’m not complaining. However, there will be times when I’m under radio silence. Boy am I glad I don’t follow Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter! I don’t need any time wasters! (Many would say that anime is a time waster, but it’s something that energizes me.)

Saturday Out and About

Oct. 8th, 2017 05:00 pm
lovelyangel: (Kuroyukihime Happy)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Saturday was riddled with errands, but it was a pleasant and cool autumn day, so running around was relaxing. I started with a trip to our company store but didn’t find what I was looking for. Target didn’t have what I wanted (a specific moisturizer) and neither did Uwajimaya (Tottori Pears from Japan). I drove into Portland on the Sunset and a highway alert sign said the rightmost lane was blocked by an accident after the Vista Ridge tunnel. My plan had been to drive straight into downtown, but I diverted to 405-N. The new route went near one of the three destinations in my list. I took the accident as a sign that I should have lunch early.

So it was that I had lunch at Tilt just before 11:00 am. I got a good parking space right on NW Everett by the restaurant. I ordered a cheeseburger with cheddar instead of american. (American cheese is the default; cheddar is $0.50 more.) To be honest, I could hardly taste the cheddar. Good burger, though.

Tilt • Portland, Oregon

I happened to strike up a conversation with Mark, who was visiting from Minneapolis. The conversation started around Tilt itself, and he wanted to know more about Swan Island (where Tilt started), Tilt’s industrial theme, and gentrification of the Pearl district. We also talked weather – norms for Minnesota, Colorado, and Oregon – global warming, the decline of civilization, the end of the human race – you know, the usual stuff. We had a very nice chat.

After lunch, I drove over to the SmartPark at Pioneer Place. From there it’s just a block to Nike Portland, where I searched for the Nike Pro Hyperwarm tops I was wanting to try on. It used to be that I knew exactly what size to get, but the Nike Pro line changed their cut and sizing earlier this year, and I had to order one size larger. Now I don’t trust sizing, and I can’t order blindly online. It’s best that I check fit locally (although there’s no charge to return/exchange online – but it’s kind of a hassle and a waste.) The store had the colors and sizes I wanted, and a trip to the fitting room was successful. Very pretty but expensive goods… however I get a substantial discount… and feeding a bit of my bonus back to the company is a virtuous cycle.

Nike Pro Hyperwarm
Nike Pro Hyperwarm

On the other side of Pioneer Place was the huge Apple Store at Pioneer Place. I figured I’d drop in and check out the iPhone 8. I’d not been to this Apple Store as I usually go to Washington Square. But this was an easy walk. Although weekends are always really busy at the Apple Stores, this store is huge, and there were plenty of iPhones available to play with.

I tried out the iPhone 8, and it was everything I expected. The glass back was nice, also. And just to be sure, I tried out an iPhone 8 Plus. I still dislike that form factor very much; I want a phone I can hold in one hand. Too bad. The cool camera is only in the iPhone 8 Plus. But that’s OK – I keep my cool camera in my ONA bag.

My last two errands were back in Beaverton. I bought some Brach’s Indian Corn (on sale) at Rite Aid. And I finally paid a visit to the new 99 Ranch Market that opened at the end of August in the neighborhood where we lived before our divorce. The store took over an abandoned Albertson’s location.

Saturday afternoon probably isn’t the best time to check out a grocery. The parking lot was completely packed. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that parking lot as full before.

I walked through the market. My impression is that it’s a Chinese version of the Korean H-Mart. We have a very large H-Mart in Tigard. 99 Ranch has a similar layout – but crammed into the much smaller space of an old Albertson’s store. The designers did a nice job, actually. There’s a bakery, deli (with dim sum), meats, seafood, vegetables section… household appliances and utensils… and the usual Asian foodstuffs.

I was amused by the fact that Uwajimaya did not have any Tottori pears from Japan – but they did have Asian pears from China… in the meantime, 99 Ranch Market did not have Asian pears from China – but they did have Asian pears from Korea.

Anyway… nice store. I told Katie to check it out. She cooks a lot of Asian dishes.

I Am Much Like My Heroine

Oct. 8th, 2017 03:47 pm
lovelyangel: (Homura Manga 1)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
We’ve been told to check/update our Kumoricon staff badge images prior to the convention, although the image we used last year carries over into this year. But just in case I logged into the staff portal to check the image. It’s correct – the image of my girl Homura Akemi from the first Puella Magi Madoka Magica manga volume.

But what I hadn’t noticed before is that my Homura avatar is pretty darn similar to my current profile photo:

My Kumoricon Badge and Profile Images
My Kumoricon Badge and Profile Images

It’s a coincidence. Honest!

Homura Tamura Vol 3: Finished

Oct. 8th, 2017 03:45 pm
lovelyangel: Homura from Homura Tamura v2 (Homura Musing)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Puella Magi Homura Tamura, Volume 3 (Final)
Puella Magi Homura Tamura, Volume 3 (Final)

It took an entire week, but I finally finished the final volume of Puella Magi Homura Tamura. Maybe it wasn’t the perfect closure, but the volume was of similar quality to the first two installments. I liked it just fine. Made me smile.

Cal at OSU

Oct. 8th, 2017 02:42 pm
lovelyangel: (Haruhi Camera)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
Beaver Fan
Beaver Fan
Gill Coliseum • Oregon State University • Corvallis, Oregon

For the second work day in a row I tried to leave the office by 3:30 pm. Again, I was just a little bit late. I dashed home to unload my computer and lunch bag – and to do a couple of quick chores. It was 4:00 pm when I finally was on the road.

Friday afternoon at 4 pm is a terrible time to be trying to get anywhere in the Portland metro area. I knew from experience that the highways (217, I-5) south to Wilsonville would be clogged and slow. Google had suggested a couple of alternative routes – one through Sherwood and one through Newberg. By the time I’d gotten on the road, Google suggested Sherwood. Sherwood is closer and less roundabout than Newberg, so I went with that. I took the normal back way (Roy Rogers Road) from Beaverton to Sherwood and then followed Google’s instructions for back roads from Sherwood to Wilsonville. There was still congestion at the south Wilsonville interchange and down to Charboneau, but then traffic moved freely. This was a pretty good route that saved a good 10 minutes. (40 instead of 50 minutes.)

I had allowed 2 hours to drive to Corvallis, and it took only 1:50. It was a bit before 6 pm when I popped into McDonalds for a quick bite to eat. By 6:20 pm I was at Gill Coliseum on campus.

Once a year I try to go down to Corvallis to watch an OSU Women’s Volleyball game. Generally, I try for the first Pac-12 game at home as there are often posters or other special items. Usually that game is in September, but OSU has had a long streak of away games – 13 straight away matches since August 26. I don’t ever recall a home Pac-12 opener in October.

In front of the coliseum I encountered the mother of OSU’s libero, Kayla Ellis. She saw me looking for the right line to get into for tickets. We talked about the upcoming game. (We both thought our team would be competitive against Cal and had a good chance to win.) This surprise meeting ended up with me getting a free ticket to the match. Sweet!

I entered the building and got myself a program. I asked the person at the program stand what was available, and he said the poster with the roster on the back. I wasn’t highly observant and wasn’t thinking at all, and this would haunt me later.

At courtside I went to find a spot from which I’d take pictures. I was thinking that last year I sat on the south side (the “paying” side with individual chairs), and I vaguely recalled that I thought I had a better view from the student side. So I went to the north (student) side. It looked like OSU would be sitting on the east side, so I took a seat on the OSU side of the court – three rows up and five seats from the center line. Once the match started, I was annoyed that the First Referee (the one high at the net) was blocking my view. I don’t recall this being a problem. (Later when I was at home, I reviewed photos. In 2016 I was on the student side and in 2015 I was on the “paying” side.)

At the start of the game, I also was disappointed that we were wearing orange jerseys. I much prefer our white jerseys (but saving those for Sunday’s match against Stanford made sense). The match started. I found I was having a lot of trouble getting focus. I had brought the AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E. Somehow during the action it was focusing too deep. After strugging for most of the set, I switched from point focus to group focus. Then the shots worked much better.

OSU Women’s Volleyball Team
OSU Women’s Volleyball Team
OSU vs Cal • Gill Coliseum • Oregon State University
Corvallis, Oregon • October 6, 2017

In the second set, the First Referee blocked much of the view, and there weren’t many shots I could get. I generally expected limited compositions on the other side of the net. In the third set, when the team was back on the side where I was sitting, the compositions were better. The 105 maybe was too long for some of the shots I wanted to get, and the most successful images were centered on action on the far end of the court.

Sometimes I wasn’t looking to take pictures. I put the camera down and just watched. As always, Mary-Kate Marshall was amazing. I love seeing her in action.

And something I haven’t been able to experience in a while… We Won!

Afterwards the team was at a table signing autographs. I didn’t really have anything for them to sign – but then I missed the poster that was not the game program – that would have been cool to have signatures on – but I didn’t see that poster, nor was I observant when I was taking pictures. I think my brain was simply too tired from the long week, and it had shut down. A poster with signatures would have been cool to take to work. But rationalizing my stupidity, I guess I don’t need one more thing that I don’t have space for. There won’t be another chance to get a Mary-Kate signature, as she’s a senior this year. :(

I wasn’t in good picture taking form either. I saw that the light was dim, and I bumped ISO from 1600 to 3200. But for some reason I did not note that the aperture was at f/2.8. I don’t know why it was stopped down from f/2, which I had been using all evening. I was carrying the stiff game program around (12"x18"), and had to take pictures one-handed. If I had been thinking, I would have just set down the poster somewhere, instead of awkwardly trying to snap photos. Like I said, my brain wasn’t really functioning. In some respects I was lucky to get photos at all.

I may not have been in form while taking photos, but I did enjoy seeing all the kids who were clamoring for autographs from the team. There were many girls and a few boys. So cool! And I was lusting after the autograph volleyballs. (^_^) Delighted fans. Delighted players. The atmosphere was exuberant.

iPhone 6 photo

We won in three sets, but by hanging around taking pictures of the autograph session, I stayed later than I should have. I did run into Kayla’s mother again, and we chatted some more. It was after 9 pm when I finally left.

Per my own tradition, I stopped at McDonalds on the way out of town and had a vanilla cone. Maybe because it was Friday night, this McDonalds was in chaos with a backlog of orders. And they ran out of chicken nuggets, which put a number of orders-in-progress in jeopardy. The simple cone took longer than expected. I was finally heading out of town at 9:30 pm. Traffic was light, and I drove fast, so I was home at 10:50 pm. Very, very tired.

The photos from the evening are posted to a Zenfolio gallery: OSU Volleyball 2017

After 17 Years

Oct. 8th, 2017 10:45 am
lovelyangel: (Akari Ehh?!)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
A short but intense work week… and I was trying to make an early exit from the office on Thursday. My target was 3:20 pm, and it was only 3:35 pm when I was able to dash out. Not bad.

I’ve done the trek just enough to know that Google’s 1 hour 5 minute estimate is bogus — and that it takes a good 1:20 to get from my workplace to east Vancouver. I caught some good traffic breaks, and it took 1:25 to get there. I simply need to allow 1:30 from here on out – unless I happen to be making the attempt during the middle of rush hour, in which case I’d allocate two hours or more.

The event was the farewell party for Mike, who had gotten laid off in the RIF at our previous company, which had been bought by another company in the spring. His last day was the Friday I was visiting family in California. His farewell gathering was held the following week at Auto’s Pub in Vancouver. The party was scheduled to go from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. I was lucky to make it there at 5 pm, where things were in full swing – although a few people had already left. There were maybe 15 people at a long table. Mike was in the center at one side. I found an empty seat near the end of the table.

Everyone was surprised to see me as I haven’t seen my co-workers from my previous company since I left 3 1/2 years ago. Conversation was lively. I had a chance to speak briefly with Melissa, Jen, Allie, Damon, Greg, Pat, Patrick, Peter, Mark — and of course, Mike. Towards the end of the time, people exited in ones and twos, and by 6:30 pm the group was small, but we huddled closer together for more conversation. We didn’t stop until 8:15 pm. By then there were only four of us left. Two excused themselves, and Mike and I went over to the Old Spaghetti Factory for a late dinner.

Mike and I enjoyed dinner and chatted for an hour, where among other things I brought him up to date with happenings with my family in California. Mike himself was enjoying the break from the difficult work situation he’d endured all year; he’s confident things are going to ultimately work out. His run of 17 years at our previous company was a good one. Mike and I had a good chat, although it was clear I was starting to fade from the long day.

By 9:20 pm I had to call it a night as I had work the next day. I didn’t get home until after 10:00 pm, and I didn’t get to sleep until 11 pm – much later than usual. 5:00 am was going to come too soon.

Annual Family Visit

Oct. 8th, 2017 09:38 am
lovelyangel: (Default)
[personal profile] lovelyangel
The last week in September was a frantic one at work. I scrambled to complete some urgent and important tasks that had come out of the blue. Critical items were delivered at the wire, and I was able to escape the office at my planned time, 4:00 pm Thursday. The boarding time of my flight out of Portland was 5:57 am Friday morning.

In my 2017 plan two short vacations were scheduled – one in spring and one in fall. Both vacations were intended to be shared with my friend Mike. I had to scrap the spring vacation because a project at work took away my ability to take time off. The fall vacation was a long weekend to visit my family in California. However, as the time approached to make travel arrangements, my dad had surgery to address an issue, and things didn’t go as expected. I put travel plans on hold. Over the course of several weeks, it was becoming clear that the situation was too complicated to forecast a time when my dad would recover enough to go home. I felt I needed to stick with the original travel schedule – but this would not actually be vacation. Instead of going with Mike, I brought Katie and Daniel.

Unfortunately my deferment of travel arrangements meant that I didn’t have full options for flights. The 6:30 am flight out of Portland the only morning choice available. My original plan was to fly back Sunday afternoon as we had done last year. However, the Sunday afternoon and evening flights were full. So I had to grab a Sunday morning flight. That meant we wouldn’t be able to visit with family on Sunday at all. I was not happy, but there wasn’t much I could do.

Friday morning we left the house at 4:30 am. I didn’t sleep well the night before – getting only 4 hours of sleep and waking at 3:15 am. Yay.

The flight from Portland to Orange County is almost 2 1/2 hours. I learned that my soft fleece sweatshirt is the perfect neck pillow, and I could easily nap while the plane was at cruising altitude. This sweatshirt is now permanently in my travel checklist.

The visit with my family was wonderful, albeit too short. We spent the entire time with my mom and brother — with additional time with my sister and a nephew on the second day. Visits to the care facility to see my dad were necessarily brief but crucial. All around there was much news to exchange.

We also had some greatly enjoyable meals as a family. Lunches at Yoshinoya and In-N-Out. Dinner at a Chinese restaurant and a Special Boat dinner at Matsu.

Family at Matsu
Family at Matsu • September 30, 2017

We stayed up late talking on Saturday evening – and could have talked much later, but we had to call it an evening as there was a flight to catch in the morning.

I had slept extra on Friday night but did not sleep well on Saturday night. Sunday morning came all too soon. We checked out of the hotel at 7:30 am and had plenty of time prior to the 9:15 am boarding time for our flight back. We were back in the airport at 12:30 pm and with multiple traffic problems weren’t home until nearly 2 pm.

As is often the case, the trip was both uplifting and draining. I’m experienced enough to know that I need a full recovery day from travel, so I had booked Monday off from work. Two business days in a row off from work is a rarity for me, and I’d have to pay the price when I returned on Tuesday. But I wouldn’t have been completely functional on Monday; the extra day off was essential. I’d deal with the backlog on Tuesday.

keep off the grass

Oct. 6th, 2017 11:47 am
davemerrill: (Default)
[personal profile] davemerrill

let comics teach you how one puff of "mary jane" can turn you into a hallucinating freaked out wastoid! It's all happening at Stupid Comics!

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