I don’t get it

I dismissed Opera as a replacement for Firefox because it doesn’t do bookmarks. Now I’ve discovered to my intense irritation that WordPress doesn’t do blogrolls anymore. Fortunately, there is a plugin that restores the capability, but for a while this morning the atmosphere near my computer was sulphurous. I have lots of links on the previous site that I want to include here, but there is no obvious way to export them. It looks like I’m going to have to manually reconstruct the blogroll, grr. This will take a while. I am not happy.

But I really don’t understand. Why deprecate bookmarks? What’s wrong with blogrolls? And while I’m kvetching, why the obsession with magazine-style layouts these days? Sure, they look nice, but they’re a pain to navigate, particularly on a dinky laptop screen.

Bus rage

If you have 400 miles to travel and your options are Greyhound bus or a skateboard, choose the skateboard. You’ll get there faster and in greater comfort.

I left the house at 2 a.m. a week ago Sunday and arrived at the Wichita bus station shortly thereafter. I sat down with a book to wait for the 3 a.m. bus. And waited. And waited. And waited.

Evidentally Greyhound assumes that nobody reads any more, because there was a television up on the wall, tuned to CNN, the volume set to Very Loud. It was hard to read with the nattering voices. Nobody watched the television.

The stairway to the men’s room at the bus station was dark. It was not pleasant walking up them and, with my recent orthopedic problems, it was no fun at all making my way back down. Two of the four stalls were out of order, as were three of the five urinals. At the sink where I rinsed my hands, water flowed down the drain and onto the floor. There was no soap in the dispenser.

At 4 a.m., CNN repeated Larry King’s 2 a.m. interview with Colin Powell. Neither Powell nor King said anything worth hearing once, let alone twice.

At 5 a.m., just as CNN began repeating their 3 a.m. news report, the 3 a.m. bus arrived. It left the station shortly before 5:30, about two-and-a-half hours late.

My 7:15 a.m. connection east was long gone by the time the bus rolled into the Kansas City station, so I had the privilege of spending the rest of the morning there. At least the fixtures in the men’s room worked, and I was able to purchase a small hamburger that merely cost three times what it was worth. However, there were, not just one, but two televisions blaring, and none of the seats were comfortable. There were occasional announcements on the loudspeakers, but they were unintelligible with all the noise. I saw no chart listing which bus was boarded from which door. Fortunately, I correctly guessed which line was for the bus I needed in time to catch it.

The second bus left only about twenty minutes late, and I eventually arrived at my destination, about six hours late. ((Let me note for the record that all the Greyhound staff I talked to were courteous and apologetic. I’m not angry at them.))

Never again.

This was not my worst experience with Greyhound. Some years back, during a complicated journey, one of the bus drivers didn’t bother to go to work that day. I eventually reached my destination, exhausted and furious, in the middle of the night rather than the scheduled mid-afternoon.

It wasn’t always like this. Years ago, busses ran on time. You could even check in your luggage as you do at an airport rather than lug it from bus to bus, and you didn’t have to pay $10 for a second suitcase. I could buy a two-week pass for a very reasonable price, visit friends and family in several states out east and spend a few days at the Pennsic War on the way home. I used to entrust my hammered dulcimer to a friend with a car and take the bus to Winfield, arriving in time to set up my tent before the fingerpicking championship.

But not any more. Fewer busses run these days, seldom at reasonable times, almost never on time, and they don’t stop at Winfield.

Update: Maybe Greyhound executives should visit Japan.


Anime Expo has come and gone. What got licensed?

Denno Coil?
Mind Game?

Uh-uh. There was no mention of anything I’ve been waiting for. The titles that were announced all look like drivel. ((Well, maybe the remainder of Aria isn’t drivel, but I’m one of the few who didn’t find Aria the Animation a life-changing experience.)) Steven has a different list, but he, too, was disappointed.

I’m particularly annoyed that Denno Coil still hasn’t been picked up for region one. Number three of my top five, ((The other four are Haibane Renmei, Serial Experiments Lain, Cardcaptor Sakura and Shingu.)) it is the outstanding first-rate series I’ve seen that remains unlicensed. There are a number of older series on my to-buy list, but there seems to be less and less to look forward to nowadays. Oh, well; I finally got a new pair of glasses and can read all evening long again. Running out of anime won’t be a disaster.

There is a bit of good news regarding licensing: Kino International will release a compilation of Osamu Tezuka’s short films later this month. These date from 1962 to 1988 and are obviously essential for anyone interested in the history of animation. I wrote a little bit about some of them here.


It looks like upgrading to WordPress 2.8 broke the poll widget. Nevertheless, I think there were enough votes to pick the first round winners:

Cowboy Bebop (42%)
FLCL (23%)
Haibane Renmei (23%)
.hack//SIGN (17%)
Aria (15%)
Last Exile (13%)
ef: a tale of memories (11%)
Death Note (11%)
Azumanga Daioh (11%)
Code Geass/R2 (11%)

These ten will advance to the final round of the best anime OST poll. I’ll post the second round once I figure out how to get the poll working again.


Yesterday’s post has mysteriously disappeared. This is not the only anomalous incident involving my websites this week. My guess is that the web host’s server migration is not going as smoothly as it should. Until I’m reasonably sure that what I write won’t vanish, this weblog will be even quieter than usual.

(The missing post itself was of no consequence. It was just a few amusing links: this, this and this.)

If only …

… or, “What the hell were they thinking?” List #2:

1. Azumanga Daioh: There’s Chiyo, Osaka, Sakaki and Yomi — four memorable characters. (Five, according to those who can tolerate Yukari.) There’s one of the finest soundtracks ever recorded. It could have been a classic. Unfortunately, there’s also Mr. Kimura.

2. Divergence Eve and Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles: An excellent science-fiction story with interesting, sympathetic characters and a haunting ending that reminds me of Lain. However, it looks like pornography.

3. Kamichu! Hideyuki Kurata is a maddeningly erratic writer. He can be inspired, and he can be dumb. Kamichu! showcases both extremes of his range. The first two episodes are very good indeed and the third is a small classic. The fourth belongs to some other, lesser show, the fifth is dull, and I’m not going to discuss the sixth. The better episodes are good enough to warrant purchasing the boxed set if you can find a good price, but I recommend watching only the first three episodes, the seventh, the ninth and perhaps the twelfth.

4. Bottle Fairy: The first eleven and a half episodes are a great deal of fun for children and their parents as the four tiny fairies try to understand humans and their culture. However, the ending goes off-key and inspires depressing interpretations. By all means, get it for your kids, but stop after the eleventh episode.

5. The World of Narue: A pleasant, lightweight science-fiction story. It would be good fare for junior high students, except that it is rife with pointless panty shots.