Girls with guns

Before Koichi Mashimo’s trilogy1, there was The Nutcracker, as produced annually by Friends University Ballet.

I spent the evening tonight taking far too many pictures at the dress rehearsal. I’ll eventually post a bunch on my photo weblog, but it will take a while to go through them all.

Update (December 10): I’m through with the party scene in act one. The pictures are here.

I’ve put one in puzzle form below the fold.

Continue reading “Girls with guns”

Keep your wrist solid and in alignment with the bones of your forearm

A couple of links to help you get into the spirit of the season:

What to give the heretic on your list (See also St. Louis’ guide to dealing with barbarians.)

Beware rogue carolers, and avoid broadcast media until December 24

If you absolutely must sing a carol, here are the words:

Dianthus nergalis, and blogging in 1842

Ruri’s Law: the vast majority of people are idiots

Crunchyroll continues to license interesting older anime. Recent acquisitions include the willfully eccentric Oh! Edo Rocket1 and Tatsuo Sato’s first major series, Martian Successor Nadesico. There’s also the exceedingly odd Cromartie High School. In all three, anything can happen.

The very early days of the internet

I’ve compiled a short wish list of shows that the people at Crunchyroll might consider for future acquisition.

Dennou Coil — It’s available on disc, but I don’t think this classic Miyazaki-does-Ghost-in-the-Shell series has ever been legally streamed in North America.

Shounen Onmyouji — Protagonist Masahiro is the only shounen hero who doesn’t make me mutter “idiot.” The show was one of the last licensed by Geneon USA and was orphaned when the company went out of business. The later discs are virtually unobtainable.

Katanagatari — Also available on disc, but I don’t think this eccentric and ironic chronicle of extreme swordsmanship ever been legally streamed here.

Crest/Banner of the Stars — Possibly the best thought-out dramatization of war in space.2

Pupipo — Short and funny doesn’t mean trivial.

Continue readingDianthus nergalis, and blogging in 1842″

G, D, A, E, sometimes A, E, A, E

Over the years I’ve watched my young friend Roger Netherton develop from a talented youngster to a first-rate fiddler. I’ve mentioned him numerous times, e.g., here, here, here and here; you can find additional mentions by searching here for “Roger.” He focuses on old-time music, but that’s not his only interest. He taught himself Japanese well enough that he was able to skip the first year of Japanese language class at college and start with the second year. He later spent a semester at a college in Japan. He did the translations for my notes on installing Hatsune Miku, which is the most-visited page on my website. Here he plays a melody from the anime Someday’s Dreamers, accompanying himself on piano.

Roger is finally ready to record an album. His Go Fund Me page is here. If you like old-time fiddle, you might want to check it out.

ANN No

Like hell I’m giving these jackasses my phone number. It looks like it will be about two weeks before I visit Anime New Network again — if I bother. The encyclopedia is sometimes useful, and perhaps 10% of the news is actually noteworthy, but the rest is just a waste of pixels. I can do just fine without it.

Calendars, again

New Zealand must have lax or poorly enforced copyright laws. An outfit called “Pixiluv” that ships from there advertises numerous calendars on Amazon.com. Many feature old art and advertisements that are, or should be, out of copyright everywhere, but quite a few others display recent illustrations, such as the Katanagatari calendar above.1

Continue reading “Calendars, again”

Hoary old tune

While cleaning house a few days ago, I unearthed the first piece of music I ever wrote. It’s a piano rag, written half a lifetime ago for the first music theory class I was able to fit into my schedule.1 I was curious to see how it sounded after all these years. I could barely play it when I wrote it, and I’m way out of practice these days, so I transcribed it into Logic and let the computer play it.

It’s not as bad as I feared, but not as good as I hoped. Don’t look for the score on my sheet music page. I didn’t really know what I was doing then2, and it shows. The title is “Hairy Toes.” Please don’t ask me to explain that, or what I had in mind in the penultimate section.

Update: Uploaded a recording with a different virtual piano.

Not pictured: Spiderman

One of the sights at the convention

I spent part of the afternoon downtown today at the Air Capital Comic Con. Overall, the cosplayers were underwhelming — perhaps they wore their better outfits yesterday — and there was a surfeit of Spidermen and Harley Quinns, but there were a few who made bringing the camera along worthwhile. There are more pictures here.

Rich and noble

Neofinetia (Vanda) falcata in a non-traditional pot

I foolishly attended the orchid show last weekend with my checkbook on hand, with the result that I now have half a shelf of mostly “easy” orchids under lights in the kitchen. Most were in flower when I bought them, and you can see them here.

However, the one that is not blooming has perhaps the most interesting history. That is Neofinetia falcata (recently reclassified as Vanda falcata), the “samurai” orchid. According to the Fūkiran Society of America website,

Furan or wind orchid, the Japanese name for Neofinetia falcata, started to be called ‘Fūki-ran’, which means the orchid of the rich and noble people. Many years ago, only the rich and royalty could own Fūkiran, and they searched the country far and wide for rare and unusual varieties. These plants were often covered by a gold or silver net in order to protect them, and people had to cover their mouths with Kaishi (a thin paper usually used for calligraphy) in order not to breathe on the plants while they appreciated them. This, by the way, is the same way the Japanese appreciate a great sword.

Although prices have come down over the centuries, some varieties can still be pricey:

In Japan at auction in 2005, bidders paid from $20,000 to $70,000 for rare varieties of fuukiran which seems a bargain compared to the $300,000 or higher often paid during the 1980’s to late 1990’s.

According to the dealer and most online sources, Neofinetia is fairly easy to grow, as orchids go. It blooms in summer.