Sunday, December 31, 2006

No "Noir Year's Eve" for me this time.

Subject: Noir
I'm just too sick this weekend to muster up a party like my previous two attempts at a tradition. I think this means I've only watched Noir a couple of times this year. I think... One, at least. I suppose I'll make up for it later. *sigh*

Anyway, it's nearly 2007. Forgive me if I don't bother dredging up a retrospective of 2006; I think over all, it's better off forgotten. Here's looking to something better in the new...

Saturday, December 30, 2006


Subject: Musings
I am apparently allergic to Arizona.

Well, that is to say, on Wednesday, a dust storm kicked up, and my sinuses completely went into overdrive. I was able to find some wimpy Benadrils to help, but because of this whole crystal meth craziness, it was impossible to get a hold of normal old-fashioned Sudafed. So I got to fly home with my head totally stuffed and no sleep. And if you've been in a plane, you know how the change in air pressure affects your ears? Well, imagine it while all stuffed up. Ouch.

So today, I'm still on West-coast time, eating chicken noodle soup, popping Sudafeds that I had to sign away for, and more or less miserably trying to keep my forehead from imploding. I guess I need a vacation from my vacation right about now.

More later; staring at the computer is making me dizzy.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Quick Pix

Subject: Musings
Well, I had a nice time exploring a little today, though my evening wound up a bit of a dissappointment. Not a big surprise considering it's Christmas eve, but there's not much open here in the "Gaslamp Quarter". The restaurant I went to was quite nice, and the entree was very tasty (a seafood California/Asian thing), but holy moly it was expensive. Overall I'm dissappointed in this area.

Next time, I think I'll try staying around Pacific Beach, where I hung out this afternoon. That's a funkier, and way more laid back, surfer-bohemian kind of place, and it was really nice.

Here's some pics:

From my room:

Surfers at Pacific Beach:

On the beach:

More beach:

The view from Point Loma:

Well, in the morning I'm off for the Middle Of Nowhere. I doubt I'll get to be connected until I'm on my way back home. So, Happy Generic Winter Solstice Festivities, everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Nice day for a drive

Subject: Musings
I forgot to mention the one bright spot from yesterday: at the car rental counter, they had a cheap upgrade available to the special-edition Shelby-customized Mustang. I was just going to get a convertible like mine, but I thought this would be pretty cool.

Pics later, but essentially it's a souped-up, aggressive version of what I've got, and it has quite a nice get-up-and-go to it. The ride is a little rougher because of the stiffened sport suspension, but that also made it handle corners a lot better than mine. And the exhaust rumble... a lot of fun; you can hear it coming around the block.

Okay, it's a total poseur-mobile, but on Monday when I trek out across the desert to get to The Middle Of Nowhere, I'll be digging it on the wide-open freeway.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Off to a wonderful start. Not.

Subject: Musings
Well, after waffling about bringing my laptop and not bringing my laptop, I decided to lug it along anyhow. I figured since I'm splurging on first class tickets (the regular fare at the times I wanted weren't much cheaper, so why not?), I wouldn't need to be standing around all that much.

Well, it turns out the weather in Chicago sucks this morning, and the plane isn't even here yet, though the flight was supposed to leave an hour ago. Combined with the fracas in Denver that stranded thousands, there's no guaranteed alternate flights that will get me to San Diego before tomorrow night.

So I'm going to get to Chicago and try the dreaded "standby" gamble.

Again, since I'm flying first class, it's usually easier to get on one that way than with economy. But it does mean being stranded in O'Hare for hours, lugging this laptop and my carryon from gate to gate like some sort of gypsy-in-a-sportcoat.

Best case, I'll get to San Diego by 5:30 Pacific time. Worst (for today), 10pm. I'd rather not think about being stuck overnight. Bleh.

At least the Rochester airport has free WiFi, so here I am, blogging away. I won't bother with pictures, because if you've seen one gray and drizzly airport tarmac, you've seen them all.

UPDATE: I'm in O'Hare now, and have 2 hours to kill. Just checking messages first while trying to recharge a little, then I think I'll go find a beer somewhere. Hope I can make it on the next one.

UPDATE 7:30 Pacific Time: Finally, I made it. That took way too long. I managed to get on that flight, but there weren't any first class tickets left. Grrr. But I managed to get an aisle seat on the emergency exit row, and there was no middle passenger, so it worked out all right.

Except I didn't get any meal like I would have in first class. So now I'm exhausted, starving, and really thirsty. Luckily the Gaslamp Quarter has a zillion pubs and restaurants to choose from; I'm just too tired to leave my room yet, though. *sigh*

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ferry fare-thee-well

Subject: Musings
The Rochester "fast ferry" just slipped over the horizon due north of my house at 7:50pm.

It was way the heck out there, but it's huge, so I stood out in the cold (with a nice smoke!) and watched it slowly creep across the horizon until it dissappeared.

Oh well, it would have been cool to keep it around, but I never got around to riding it over to Toronto. And, apparently, so did the thousands of other wannabe riders who also didn't spend any money on it either. Thus it lost millions for the City of Rochester.

Tomorrow I fly to San Diego, where I'll spend the weekend before driving over the The Middle Of Nowhere, Arizona for Christmas week. Supposed to be sunny and mild for the whole trip. I'll have my laptop, and will hopefully post a picture or three, but there won't be much media blogging, and when I'm in The Middle of Nowhere, I probably won't be connected all that often. Probably for the better.

Monday, December 18, 2006


Subject: TV
"Dexter" had it's season finale, and for once I wasn't quite keeping ahead of it and predicting everything. The red herrings were a bit mundane, and in retrospect, the "final encounter" was really cliche... but because of the word that there would be a second season, I was wasn't entirely expecting it, figuring the chase would continue into the next season for some lame reason.

The performances were kind of fraying around the edges, too. For every believable moment, there were 2 or 3 forced ones, it seemed. Still, the ticking-clock tension was entertainingly maintained for most of it, and it still held my interest better than most normal network shows. But I'm figuring that by the time the next season rolls around, they'll need to have a mighty compelling hook to bring me back. It's kind of absurd that they're going to try and drag it out more.

"Battlestar Galactica" is pausing on a bit of a showdown cliffhanger, with Adama about to nuke the temple from orbit (it's the only way he can be sure... *cough*), which I suppose would mercifuly end the soap opera of jealousy and betrayal that's passing for drama down there. Well, that's a bit reactionary, I suppose -- it's being performed reasonably well, but it's a bit of an eye-roller at times. More interesting is why the Cheif was inexplicably drawn to discover the temple in the first place... is he actually a Cylon like he suspected way back when? There's a big to-do being made about the "final five" or whatever, and Baltar may be one of them as well. Anyway, the show will be back in another month, but they're moving it to Sunday nights. In the "Dexter" timeslot, oddly enough... (different network, obviously) Weird place to put it though.

Finally, I caught up with the last couple of "Torchwood" eps; and the stories and side characters are probably the most interesting thing about them. The main characters, though... not so much. As much as I want to learn more about Jack's circumstances, he's just not very compelling. And everyone else ranges from unintersting to mildly repulsive. Still, it's better than most, but all in all, I'd rather be watching more Doctor Who. When's that Christmas episode due?

Friday, December 15, 2006

You reek, eh? Plus more undead fashion and extra-large non-kids

Subject: Noir
I didn't get a chance to post much this week; sorry 'bout that.

I caught up with episode 9 of "Red Garden", which more or less just continues where we've been before. More clues as to what's going on (well, some somewhat blatent tell-all monologuing), but no song this week. There's some subtley good things going on with the animation in a few places, which really make a couple of the characters come to life. Even though they're undead and all. Well, you know...

Disc 4 of "Eureka Seven" -- I dunno. Just when it totally starts to annoy me with Renton's clueless immaturity, it goes and puts a couple of little neat twists in it. Then it goes back and annoys me with the overall immaturity. *sigh* I dunno. I was more appreciative of the overall animation effort in this one, and there's a lot of "life" to go around because of it, which is lacking in oh so much anime. I just wish it were better written. Still, there's a few things that are still managing to hook me at least a little bit longer. We'll see.

"Fantastic Children" disc 5 -- A bit more of the backstory from the last disc. It had been a while since I saw it and I forgot a lot of it, but it started coming back to me after a bit. It turns out that the Greecians' real selves are huuuuge. Reminds me of Robotech... *cough* At any rate, I think there's just one more disc and it'll conclude. Oh, and I think I've already figured out that the spastic karate kid is Tina's long lost half-metal sweetie. I think I figured that out on the last disc. And that the Science Hag was the albino girl who lost it in the earliest episodes. Oh, and one more: the detective is Palzo. Well, somebody important has to be Palzo. And why I remember his name and not most anyone else's is quite wierd. I guess "Palzo" is easy to remember.

I realized that I haven't written up the end of "Tsubasa Chronicle" season 2 yet. I think I'll quickly re-watch it and then sum up the series. Also, the TV report for the week is cut in half, but I should say something about that, too. And then there's some "Galact-oh-yeah" to watch. Oh yeah!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Undead Fashion Models from New York™ vs. the Amazon Space Pirates

Subject: Noir
I haven't had time for much of anything for a while, since I was actually working on that article for Media Promenade (via Google Translation)... which I'll be posting on Bee Train Fan soon, as well.

But today I caught up with a backlog of a couple of things. First up was discs 2 & 3 of "Sol Bianca", which I started quite a while back. There's not much to say about it besides the fact that I thought it was enjoyable. Though it was more popcorn than profound, I still like how actualized the details of their universe were, and the characters were fun to watch. Girls-with-guns ain't hard to win me over, after all... Heh.

Also, I'd been neglecting "Red Garden", and caught up with eps 6, 7 & 8. 6 was quite the angst-o-rama, and featured the return of the melancholoy singing interlude, while the girls had to come to terms with yet another rule that defines their horrible existence -- they're all in it together, and if one quits, they all die. Ep 7 brings us a taste of backstory, and a glimpse into the "other side", showing the so-called bad guys may not be 100% "bad". Or, at least, they have what might be considered understandable motivations. Episode 8 was one of the most genuine so far, and actually amusing at times, and probably had the best breaking-into-song momentup to this point. The four girls are starting to bond, and feeling a little bit of hope of overcoming their dire situation.

Unfortunately, it seems like that hope might be falsely planted, though it's left rather vauge. I know that even though the moment itself seemed genuine, I couldn't help but thing the other shoe was about to drop. I'm glad it didn't in that episode, though, because that would have been a cheap cop-out, I think. It worked really well with it just the way it was, and it made up for some of the starkly brutal crap from earlier. Unfortunately, it also means that we're probably about to dive into another excessively brutal layer.

I don't know how many episodes this is supposed to be, though I can't see how they'd be able to stretch it to a full 26 without some crazy plot twist or change in scope. So if it's actually only 13, that means we'll be getting into some intense conflict and showdowns pretty soon.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

TV Blurbs

Subject: TV
Just a quick roundup of my weekly TV usuals... plus it'll get that insanity off the top of the page. *cough*

"Torchwood" -- Kind of a bit of an odd episode, which sort of half-heartedly got into an "ethics of ressurrection" thing, but wound up generally utilitarian about it in the long run. Towards the end, it finally hints at what may be the series "arc" -- something "big and dark" and heading this way; heading for Jack. Or something like that. Maybe that means we'll graduate from "monster-of-the-week" mode soon.

"Dexter" -- The side stories are still reeking of obviousness, and by the end of the episode they've pretty much put all of Dexter's repressed trauma out for all to see, in tiny-but-obvious flashback flashes. But ol' Ice Truck dude is starting to slip up a lot, and seems to be unravelling a lot more in a way that seems uncharacteristic of his, uh, character. Looks like we're heading for a bit of a climax/breakthrough, which is good, because I don't know how much longer they can drag it out for. We already know everything. Now it's just more ticking-clock.

"Hereos" -- the year-ender meant to keep us hanging for a few weeks over the holidays. And the characters were kind of interesting to see how the threads of the plots started to cross. So much so that the one thread still hanging out there (Niki et al) seems so much less interesting. Yeah, I know, there was a path-crossing there a while back as well, but it doesn't seem to play into the destiny that everyone else does. And while most everything that happened was more or less predictable, the one "twist" around Peter's vision admittedly left enough of a hook to make me curious as to what it all meant. But, a hiatus for a few weeks will be fine.

Also year-ending, "Studio 60" -- of course, it was "The Christmas Episode". And oddly enough, the humour is actually getting funnier. Just a bit, but now it feels more believable that they're writing a comedy show. Well, just a bit. Lots of little charming moments, even enough to overlook just how many pet-peeve issues Sorkin was packing in there. From the FCC to New Orleans. The New Orleans bit involved actual musicians from there, and I've got to say, it was a nicely crafted moment. Well, the camera could have slowed it's swoopiness a bit. But it was nice. Of course, there were a couple of predictable over-sappy moments thrown in, but I guess I'll at least say that they were well-performed.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Subject: Noir
I really don't know where I can take the commentary of this show beyond what I've aready written so many times in the past. I'm going to try for the sake of the 'zine I'm contributing to, but for the sake of myself, I think I've covered it a million times already. How could I not.

In the last couple of episodes, this show gets really, really philosophical and almost pendantic with it's posturing. Life, death, survial, and whatnot are all intertwined in the philosophy of exististence that the show tries to evoke. The issue at hand makes the war a secondary, nay, "thirstary" issue when it boils down to it. But with the real life state of war the way it is right now, it's hard to just relegate it to the level of fancy that "MADLAX" purports to. You have to watch it through the conclusion to put the reality of the situation in perspective.

And so it winds up that I watch another round of my second favorite anime and find myself unable to affect any change, let alone be able to correctly interepret any of the symbolism and meaning present in the narrative and artwork itself. I think I know what's going on, and I'm pretty sure that I can follow the narrative, but it's obvious that unless I fill in the literal what-to-fors, I'm just posturing.

Still, it can only be said that I want the complex aspects of this otherwise simple show to be understood and accepted by those whoe stuck with it during it's airdate. It's an amazing and fullfilling story despite it's shortcomings, and it should relaly be more accepted by the usual market-focused puveyors of the mass market. In many ways, that's what the show is about, isn't it?

EDIT: Wait, WTF??!? This is probably the most PWI technobabble I've issue in many, many months... Well, whatever...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Getting there...

Subject: Noir
Just finished disc 5, leaving off where the cliffhanger hung me just over 2 years ago.

I've been trying to formulate my infamous "Crackpot Theory™" so I can write about it for Makoto's 'zine, but for every little bit of "a-ha", there's plenty of "but, what about...?".

For those who don't know my "Crackpot Theory™", it's essentially the belief that one of the threads that make "MADLAX" is that it's about actually making an anime series. Limelda is the obsessive fan. SSS is Koichi Mashimo himself. From there, it takes on quite a leap in speculation, unfortunately. I think Friday Monday is either the producer, or the writer. Carrossea is whichever one Friday isn't. Kuanjitta is the network. Madlax is the anime itself, but Margaret is the real storytelling.

It gets kind of complicated.

Which is a shame, because I'm in the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" school. But I'm trying to have fun with it, as well as make a point about how a good story lets you project a lot about yourself and your desires on to it. That's the root of what I'm going to write about. I still have a week to get it all together, and hopefully with all of it fresh in my mind, I'll get through it in short order.

More to follow, I'm sure.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Phase 1

Subject: Noir
I'm going to wrap up my "MADLAX"-a-thon with disc 3, and will blast throuh the rest tomorrow. I love this show so much that I can't help but get immersed in it, yet there's only so far I can go in any one sitting. Which is fine.

This time tommorrow, though, I'm bound to be totally unhinged and PWI-focued, even though I won't have an adequately cogent thought in my head. Oh well, what are you gonna do? Snakes on a plane, and all that....


Subject: Musings
The Nintendo "Wiii" holds a certain mythalogical place in my heart, depsite the fact that I haven't played many video games for many years.

I'm very, very attracted to the new way that the motion-sensitive contollers make such an impact on gameplay. The last console I owned was the totally ancient ColecoVision, and I played so much Dig-Dug that I must have earned a mineralogical PhD somewhere along the line... Well, okay, maybe not...

The Wii, despite it's lack of HDTV resolution, is apparently the pinnacle of gameplay, what with its' motion-control widgets and throwing-cow madness. The only Nintendo console game I've played is the origianal "Bomberman", but I'm more than willing to make up for lost time if the gameplay of this nifty little device is all that they say.

I think I'm going to have to wait until after the holidays to find a reasonably-priced version, which I think I'm okay with. Let the Xmas shoppers get all of the hype out of the way. But come January, I think I might dive in and join this whole "Wii" insanity for myself. Let's see...

Im in ur houz, cookin ur pazta...

Subject: Noir
Weather's really crappy this evening, so I'm staying in and blasting through at least a couple of discs of "MADLAX" tonight. Let's make sure I've got everything:

- Booze... Check.
- Pasta... Check.
- PWI... Not just yet.

Yeah, that's close enough. *smirk*

UPDATE 3 discs in...: How do I love this show, let me count the ways...

One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand,,,,,,,,,

Next in line for Bee Train: "Murder Princess"

Subject: Noir
Bee Train Fan member Matrim spotted the news that there's a new OVA coming out (straight to DVD, as OVAs are wont to be) on March 28th, 2007. Here's the discussion, with links I found to some more resources, including character designs.

This isn't going to be directed by Mashimo; it looks like a few of his newer staffmembers from "Tsubasa" et al are getting the chance to lead up this manga-based effort.

Doesn't look like my cup-o-tea, but as a Bee Train fan, I'll do what I can to support it.