Stay on the path

In years past one occasionally found such plants as argemone and corydalis in Wichita’s Sedgwick County Park. However, careful management has eliminated most of the pesky wildflowers, so that nothing distracts visitors from the splendid displays of Toxicodendron radicans throughout the park.

The same drive toward tidiness has also simplified the flora of the fields east of the park. Formerly, one would sometimes stumble across Mentzelia nuda, for instance, or Delphinium carolinianum, but gradually such conspicuous species disappeared. A few still remain, such as Oenothera rhombipetala and Dalea villosa, but if current trends continue, eventually the area will be just neat and tidy grass.

Today’s idiot

I haven’t posted much recently, partly because I’ve been busy, but mainly because most of what I would post would be complaints. Right now I am irritated with Apple computers, my website host, Native Instruments, lawn mowers, the financial industry, pathogenic bacteria and viruses, idiots with drivers’ licenses, kids running amok, oblivious parents, the human race in general. Each of these is worth a lengthy rant — the last a lifetime of invective1 — but I’ll spare you. Instead, I’ll just mention The New York Times, which has discovered Crunchyroll.

Writer Glenn Kenny may be the world’s outstanding authority on Droopy cartoons, but about anime he’s an ignoramus. In “Boomerang and Crunchyroll: Of Old Cartoons and Fresh Anime,” he name-checks the movies Akira and Ghost in the Shell, thereby gaining negligible credibility as an otaku. He plainly knows nothing about anime series, which comprise the vast majority of Crunchyroll’s offerings, and he can’t be bothered to do minimal research. Of all the series, excellent and lousy, that Crunchyroll streams, the only one he mentions is Akashic Records of Bastard Magical Instructor, one I had dropped in less than five minutes. I would guess he picked that one because it is in the top row of the “simulcasts” directory and features a character named “Glenn.” He writes that the first episode

“… features a scene in which Glenn walks in on a roomful of his female students in their underwear, yells that he is not going to give in to the “cliché” that says he is now required to avert his eyes, takes a good, long stare and then is thrown back by an unseen force, blood spurting from his eyes.”

I have no desire whatsoever to watch the rest of the episode, but if you have, please tell me whether the blood spurts from his eyes, as Kenny says, or his nose. I have a hunch that our expert does not know the convention of anime nosebleeds.

The other Crunchyroll title Kenny mentions is Fist of the North Star, which he describes as “gruelingly violent.”

So, according to the alleged Newspaper of Record, anime, as represented by Crunchyroll, is fanservice and violence. I never thought I’d be nostalgic for the irresponsible and wrongheaded Charles Solomon, but at least he knew something about Japanese animation.

Now you see it, redux

A recent message from the website host:

System Administration is currently migrating or will be migrating your account … to a newer server to better meet your needs. You should have no downtime during this move, and will be notified with your new server information once it completes. Please postpone changes until the move has been completed and DNS propagation completes.

This may be why my recent posts disappear and reappear and disappear again, and why Steven’s recent comment vanished overnight. You might find it annoying. I find it infuriating.

Unbooked

No more fox

So Mozilla is cracking down on thoughtcrime. I need to find an alternative to Firefox that runs on my Mac. ((Safari remains my primary browser, but there are some operations that Firefox does better, and I’ve kept both handy.)) I experimented with several yesterday, and while they mostly worked tolerably well for my purposes, none were astonishing — except for Opera. WTF? Am I missing something? What kind of browser doesn’t allow you to use bookmarks?! ((Yeah, there is a “bookmark bar,” but it’s useless for storing more than half a dozen sites.)) I have a large, organized and frequently edited collection of bookmarks, which I need. Why the hell is this joke is being recommended as a replacement for Firefox?

For what it’s worth, Chrome seems to be the least annoying. However, it’s part of Google, and I don’t want to have anything more to do with that particular borg than absolutely necessary.

Update: Show Mozilla your frowny face.

Ken the Brickmuppet recommends Epic.

Comparatives

Bad: 106°F (41°C).

Worse: Riding your bicycle home from work in 106°F.

Worser: Discovering that the air conditioner has quit working.

Worser still Rotten: Finding that the landlord is not answering the phone.

I am sitting in front of a fan, dripping sweat. I am not happy.

Update: The air conditioner decided to start working again. This is fortunate; the predicted high for tomorrow is 113°.

Oh yeah, anime

I used to write a lot about Japanese animation. I haven’t lately, partly because my obsessions vary with time, partly because I haven’t had opportunity to watch much of anything at all, animated or not. If nothing else goes wrong, ((While my luck isn’t Brickmuppet bad, the past 18 months have not been pleasant.)) there is a good chance that I will finally have my place back to myself again very soon, Then I will finally watch the rest of Dog Days and some more of Hyouge Mono, and see what else might be worth my time.

I don’t know if I will be able to afford maintaining an interest in anime, though. Katanagatari, a show high on my to-buy list, is offered in two Blue Ray/DVD “premium editions,” each containing half the series. These sets are available as “weekly specials” at RightStuf for $52 each. Katanagatari is good, but it’s not $100+ good. It wasn’t a Suzumiya Haruhi-level megahit, and I doubt that it will ever be released in an affordable DVD-only edition. Ditto Arakawa Under the Bridge, a series on my to-investigate list. Such prices seem to be what we can expect for most interesting series licensed during the next several years, until Blue Ray discs drive DVDs out entirely. When that happens, this might be what to expect. If so — well, good bye, anime.

*****

In other anime news, Dennou Coil remains unlicensed in America.

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Feline stroke of the week:

Gingrich, who would have made a marvelous Marxist ….

*****

You can read the grim details and take the quiz yourself, if you dare, here.

*****

Fear the Death Note.

Prelude to a sleepless night

I’d like to meet the man who invented the subwoofer. I don’t want to shake his hand; I want to slug him in the solar plexus. It is hard to think of any other innovation that has done as much to make life in the 21st century needlessly unpleasant. I feel lousy tonight, and I’d like to go to bed early. However, the inhabitants of my neighborhood believe that it is their inalienable right to party all night long on weekends, and that includes playing bad music loudly. I cannot not listen to music, no matter how stupid, and low bass notes can penetrate ten feet of concrete. Sometimes the neighbors will turn the garbage down or off if I ask them, but I have to get out bed and dress first, and when I get back home, it can be an hour before I’m drowsy enough to think about sleep again.

I’ve observed many times that the worse the music, the more loudly it is played. My hypothesis is that the chief pleasure in playing rap, techno ((“Disco for robots”)) and the like lies not in what minimal musical virtues the recordings might have — you’d have to be pretty damned stupid to find such drivel intellectually or aesthetically interesting — but in tormenting those who cannot escape the exaggerated, mindless beat.

Good news, bad news

The good news: There’s more Marie & Gali translated. Wasurenai is up to episode 27. That leaves 13 episodes to go of the first series, plus the 30 of Version 2.0.

Marika, a magenta-haired middle school student who favors EGL fashions and has no interest in science, finds herself marooned in Galihabara, an isolated town populated by famous scientists. They’re a little different there than they are in history books. Galileo is a buffoonish gonk, Newton is a snooty bishounen who only has eyes for his apple, Darwin is a robot, (John Ambrose) Fleming says “Yo!” a lot, etc. Fortunately for Marika, Madame Curie is relatively sane and provides her a place to stay.

Each of the five-minute episodes illustrates, sorta, a scientific principle. In the episode from which the screen captures above come, Archimedes, Hertz and Galileo compete in a fishing tournament. Through various ridiculous strategies, they catch enough fish and other aquatic creatures to capsize their boat, leaving them up lost at sea in a lifeboat with Marika. The episode ends with a brief lecture on bouyancy from Archimedes.

How much of the science kids watching the show will retain, I can’t say. It doesn’t really matter that much, though. Marie & Gali subordinates didacticism to broad, goofy humor, to its benefit.

The bad news: Captain Planet, the live-action movie. Please excuse me while I throw up.

500 errors

I’m tired of seeing this

and this

whenever I want to edit a post or check statistics. I plan to move my websites elsewhere soon. WordPress currently recommends Bluehost, DreamHost, MediaTemple and Laughing Squid. Does anyone have any experience with any of them? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

*****

After seeing the same henshin sequences recycled endlessly in typical mahou shoujo series, I’m not particularly scandalized by this: