April in Kansas

The tax collectors of Kansas want me to file my taxes online this year. How well does their website work?

After calling the toll-free number and learning nothing useful, I tried again.

So I clicked there.

I can cycle through the log-in page and these two pages indefinitely.

Every year I try to pay my taxes online, and every year I marvel at the utter incompetence of the website designers. Then I file my tax return on paper. Now the state of Kansas, in its wisdom and magnanimity, is going to start charging an extra fee for those who don’t file online (and another fee for those who want paper checks). There do exist some words that — weakly — describe my feelings toward the Kansas taxman, but I prefer to keep my website PG-rated.

Update: Success, finally, after changing to a different browser.


Cropped to make the point clearer
Cropped to make the point clearer

I have no intention ever of watching Queen’s Blade. I hope I never meet anyone who writes about it. ((With the possible exception of Ubu, who reported on the first episode of the first season (not for the squeamish).))

Update: Evidentally, my point isn’t clear. One of those who wrote about about Queen’s Blade titled his post “I would love a tentacle rape,” which is distasteful enough. The other gratuitously used one of the most offensive words in the English language.


When I watch anime, I see meditations on despair and redemption (Haibane Renmei), speculations about information technology and consciousness (Denno Coil, Serial Experiments Lain), case studies in dealing with grief and the importance of music (Sugar, a Tiny Snow Fairy), and illustrations of the importance of families (Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch and many, many others). When Brian Alexander, author of America Unzipped: In Search of Sex and Satisfaction, watches anime, he sees sex. ((To be fair, he notes that “Of course, not all anime and manga is overtly sexual — a lot of it is meant for children. Even some adult anime isn’t sexualized any more than, say, Wonder Woman (who was created as a dominatrix bondage fantasy).”)) I guess what you see depends on what wavelengths your eye is sensitive to.

(Via Derailed by Darry.)

More lists

Worst anime reviews

Charles Solomon sweeps places one through four with his comments on Divergence Eve, Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles, Haibane Renmei and Someday’s Dreamers at amazon.com.

I haven’t found anyone else with Solomon’s combination of arrogance and superficiality, but this review of Noir‘s first disc is lame enough for fifth place.


Favorite final episodes

Presented without comment, to avoid spoilers.

1. Haibane Renmei
2. Jubei-chan: Secret of the Lovely Eyepatch
3. Divergence Eve: Misaki Chronicles
4. Someday’s Dreamers
5. Noir


Favorite first episodes

1. Haibane Renmei
2. Cardcaptor Sakura
3. Denno Coil
4. Angelic Layer
5. Excel Saga

Update: Steven has posted his favorite last and first episodes.
Update II: Civilis posts his.

Thank you …

… Bandai, for simplifying my winter viewing. As a matter of policy, I don’t download series once they’re licensed. ((I’ve only made one exception, Seirei no Moribito, and that was just as well, since it’s now in limbo with Geneon’s departure from Region 1.)) I don’t need to worry any more about Shigofumi or true tears. In fact, I probably will never see them at all, unless Bandai changes its insane pricing.

I may take a look at Hakaba Kitaro or watch a few more episodes of Spice and Wolf, but more likely I’m going to skip the current season entirely and view some of the DVDs I’ve bought that I haven’t yet watched. Or I might just listen to Bach. In any case, posting will continue to be spasmodic.

Update: Pete and Avatar comment.


(If you’re reading this at Anime Nano, don’t bother clicking through. This is just the traditional “no time to write” post.)

Nutcracker season is imminent. While I’m not on stage this year, I will be in the auditorium taking thousands of pictures during tech week. There won’t be time for anime or anything else beyond work, sleep and photography. Things should return to what passes for normal around the middle of December. There might be a book review or two, but otherwise don’t expect much activity here until then.


If you need something to read, there’s plenty of fuss in the otakusphere about whether anime will survive. The most cogent discussion is, predictably, at Steven’s, here and here (be sure to read the comments). See also Avatar, Author and DiGiKerot.

He doesn’t look Jewish

So Pikachu is an agent of International Zionism:

Who: Saudi Arabia’s Higher Committee for Scientific Research and Islamic Law

What: Denouncing the lovable Japanese cartoon characters as having “possessed the minds” of Saudi youngsters, Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority banned Pokémon video games and cards in the spring of 2001. Not only do Saudi scholars believe that Pokémon encourages gambling, which is forbidden in Islam, but it is apparently a front for Israel as well. The fatwa’s authors claimed that Pokémon games include, “the Star of David, which everyone knows is connected to international Zionism and is Israel’s national emblem.” Religious authorities in the United Arab Emirates joined in, condemning the games for promoting evolution, “a Jewish-Darwinist theory that conflicts with the truth about humans and with Islamic principles,” but didn’t ban them outright. Even the Catholic Church in Mexico got into the act, calling Pokémon video games “demonic.” ((These Mexican Catholic officials obviously weren’t paying attention to the Vatican.))

(Via Jonah Goldberg.)

Random notes

Dino Squad — yet another reason to stick to anime. (Via Tim Blair.)


I notice that the group fansubbing Dokuro-Chan II calls itself “Philanthropy.” That’s not the word that occurs to me.


For those who regard every anime they’ve downloaded that is subsequently licensed as a an “obligation buy,” a suggestion. If it’s a lousy, trashy series, e.g., Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru, don’t spend your money on it. It will only encourage the company to license more garbage. Instead, take that money and apply it to a good show, preferably one that is underappreciated. (My own policy is less stringent. I purchase more than I download, and if a show is genuinely good, it goes on my “buy” list, even if I don’t expect to rewatch it soon. My drive may be getting full, but my shelves are overflowing.)

“Buy the software …

… but install the crack.”

The purpose of digital rights management is to punish the legitimate user. Shamus and Steven recently noted the use of DRM to enhance your gaming experience. DRM is also a traditional element of music software. Here’s a classic from five years ago: Waves Native Gold Bundle 3.2 featuring PACE Interlok. It’s noteworthy that PACE merely crashed your computer and forced you to reauthorize the software, repeatedly. Sony’s innovations compromise the security of your computer.

Update: from the comments on Shamus’ post:

It is a sorry state of affairs when people trust some anonymous cracker more than they do a legitimate publisher.