You can legally download the first episode of Death Note for $2, which is not a bad deal, assuming that there is no limit on how many times you can play the file. However, as Astro discovered, if you’re on a Mac, you’re out of luck. You can only watch the show on a Windows machine. This is not mentioned on the download page; you have to do some clicking in the “support” menus to discover this. It looks like I’m going to wait a few months, or years, for the DVDs. I wonder if Viz will stick a mandatory Naruto trailer at the begining of the Death Note discs, as they do with Hikaru no Go.



The mystery echinocereus. It’s supposed to be E. dasyacanthus, but the flower doesn’t match the seed list description. (This is another instance where the camera doesn’t get the color quite right, though it’s closer than yesterday’s photo. The flowers are a slightly more purplish than they appear here. This goes for the ones in the header art, too.)



There’s a wisteria vine I pass when I go to work. In spring every year it becomes a solid wall of lavender. This year, however, the late freeze killed all the buds. The vine has come back, and it has even managed to produce a few racemes, though it’s a pitiful display compared to the usual spectacle. (The camera has difficulty accurately capturing some shades; the flowers are less blue and more violet than in the picture.)



I don’t think I’ve ever posted a picture of my dulcimer. This was the eighth one I built, back in 1993. It has a cedar soundboard, sixteen treble and sixteen bass courses, and is most playable in keys with a sharp or two.

Chain reactions

Pythagoras Switch is a science show for small children. Each episode follows the same format. Puppets introduce a video on a such topics as how the shapes of objects are clues to their manufacture or use, or static electricity, or how technology imitates nature. After that, a youngster controls his father or grandfather with a cardboard “father switch.” There is also some very simple animation, and either the “algorithm march” or the “algorithm exercise,” sequences of simple movements performed in canon. Children old enough to read the subtitles are likely to be bored by the very elementary level of most of the show.

What makes Pythagoras Switch worth watching are the Rube Goldberg mechanisms that open and close the show and separate the segments. Here’s a collection of these “Pythagorean devices.”

Here’s the algorithm march, performed by ninjas:

Five episodes that I know of have been subtitled. There’s quite a bit available on YouTube.

Children’s theatre of the absurd


There’s a mysterious door in the floor of five-year-old Ami’s room in her family’s new home. It leads to Animal Yokocho, or AniYoko, a parallel universe inhabited by talking animals. Three of the animals pop out of the door every day to play with Ami: Kenta, the high-strung bear; Issa, the gentle panda; and, Iyo, the playful, deranged rabbit. They do things differently in AniYoko:

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