Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"Le Grande Rewatch: Ultimate GWG"

I've just finished Day 2 of my Ultimate GWG Trilogy rewatch; partly to celebrate the arrival of my El Cazador box sets, and mainly because it's the lead up to "Noir Year's Eve". I've resigned myself to watching my favorites once per year, because I definitely overloaded on Noir and MADLAX like I feared. I think this arrangement works pretty well, though.

Last night ("Taco Taco Tuesday-su") I blasted through most of Cazzy, only skipping some of the more egregiously weak bits. It's not all that awesome a show, but there are quite a few charming and appealing moments to make up for it. The wish for a "true" successor for the GWG "trilogy" moniker casts a dark shadow over it, and despite the excitement back when I first reported and speculated on it, I'm a bit jaded with the outcome. That carries over into Phantom, which I'll hopefully opine on later (maybe for "Phantom Phriday", if I don't burn out before then...)

Watching the last 5 discs of MADLAX just now, I'm reminded of the technical and structural superiority of this show, and the aspects that first drew me to Bee Train in my post-Noir discovery phase at the beginning of this blog. Watching MADLAX week-by-week, with its convoluted mystery and interwoven story threads; well, it makes El Cazador look like the "moe" show of the week, in comparison. It's not, though... There's a thoughtfullness and care to most of the episodes that the typical schlock can only aspire too. A feeling and a happiness -- whimsy, even -- that works on a few levels all by itself. But compared to MADLAX, well hell, how can you compare anything to MADLAX??

Tommorow night will be Noir, and I fear it. For years, I've feared my reaction to rewatching my true love of a show. To sustain love, I need to feel love back in return, and, well duh -- it's a TV show. I can only project love upon it.

But it's a delight and it will always be. It's a time that's long overdue to treat myself to all that drew me to it in the first place, much like MADLAX did. There's still trepidation, and I'm sure tomorrow will bring reluctance, but I'm very, very much committed to seeing this through. I've been looking forward to it for months. This is Noir's day.

Monday, December 07, 2009

New Bee Train for Fall 2010: "Psychic Detective Yakumo"

Over on ANN, they report that 2chan says this week's NewType will "reveal" that the Psychic Detective Yakumo novel series will be adapted by Bee Train for next fall. Directed by Murder Princess' Tomoyuki Kurokawa, and written by Blade of the Immortal's Hiroyuki Kawasaki.

Since I was kind of "meh" about both of those, I find myself a little less than enthused. But no big deal; it's still nearly a year away.


...UPDATE: And if I kept reading, ANN also reports that Masaaki Yuasa and MADHOUSE is making an adaption of Yojō-Han Shinwa Taikei novels as well, airing in April 2010. I'm a bit more stoked about that, because I was recently poking around a few Kaiba episodes and wondering what he had next on his plate.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey-related program activities

I'm a few hours into a Mystery Science Theater 3000 marathon, and I've got a turkey slowly reaching the ideal temperature, and smelling awesome.

I picked up Alton Brown's book on a recommendation. He gets into the reasons behind certain techniques and methods, and while I'm not as interested as getting into some of the gear-fetish geekdom, I was sold on the notion of accurately measuring cooking temperature. At least with roasting, which I often over-do.

I also decided to try brining. Essentially, soak the turkey in a salt/sugar/spice solution for a number of hours before popping it in the oven; it infuses the cells of the meat with the liquid and flavoring. For sugar, I decided to use Guinness, and my fingers are crossed that I got the proportions right.

One thing I couldn't bring myself to follow his recommendation on was stuffing. I really think the whole point to stuffing is to actually stuff the bird. His point was that, in order to cook it to the right temperature to eliminate samonella (165F), you have to overcook the rest of the turkey, which dries it out too much. However, he also describes that brining lets you get the cooking temperature higher w/o that problem, so it's a win/win, I think.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Trek Jim, but not as we know it

Today was Star Trek day, because the new BluRay of the "reboot" showed up from Netflix. I started my early-morning Saturday cartoons with some of the animated series from the 70's (which I watched religously back then), and then some of The Next Generation TV series; both, again, from Netflix.

(The animated series was really shittily animated, but the sci-fi storytelling wasn't all that bad. A pity. TNG wasn't entirely as bad as I thought it would be in the the early season -- better than a lot of Voyager at least...)

At any rate, the JJ Abrams' "reboot" of the Trek franchise didn't suck. But it was very, very different. And not entirely in the well-crafted way that Galact-o-yeah was -- the 20th-century industrial settings of the guts of the various starships, and the gritty textures applied to most everything, kind of betrayed the utopio-futuristic vision of Trek in general. Despite the Apple Store quality of the bridge and all the lens flares thereof.

It was a lot of fun, though. Many ingredients of the Trek Ethos (TM) were left intact. There were quite a few homages to earlier canon, including the "early Spock" days from the animated series episode I just watched (funny how that worked). Quinto almost makes an excellent Spock, except his voice doesn't have anywhere near Nimoy's gravitas. In fact, none of the voices have any real maturity to them. Maybe Bones... he had the best homage to the original character in the whole thing. But overall, it was kind of like "Emo Trek" with all these too-young faces and less-than-epic subject matter.

But I did enjoy it, and I think future "episodes" in this newly-minted retcon universe might serve the "Trek" mythos quite well. Here's hoping...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Those little surprises that put a smile on your face...

...I get home and see this in my email:

Greetings from DVD Pacific.

We thought you'd like to know that we processed your Invoice today.
This invoice contains:
1 | Batman: The Animated Series - The Complete Animated Series [17 Discs]


I forgot I had that on backorder from many, many months ago! Here's the amazon.com listing, because DVD Pacific isn't even listing it anymore (probably because I didn't pay anywhere near what you see on Amazon!)

Time to get another DVD shelf...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A new member of the family...



As part of my on-going mid-life crisis (heralded with my first purchase), I sold my minivan to a co-worker with a growing family, and then, after months of agonizing decision paralysis, I made an impulse buy for its replacement.

It's actually a 2010, which will be the first time I bought a vehicle early in the cycle -- but the rebates was good, and the 0% financing was icing on the proverbial cake, as it were...

And now my Mustang can continue stay out of the up-and-coming winter weather. Hooray!

Monday, September 14, 2009

G-scare

So I get home this evening and fire up the ol' blog (I use my links on the right as my bookmark list), and Google goes and tells me "Blog has been disabled" !!

I try to log in with my Gmail account, and it says "Account has been disabled" !!

Y'know, I've set up a lot of my internet life using this account, so I was a bit concerned. I followed the various "help" bits on Google's site to get to a point where I could enter a plea for help... then nothing. Okay, I figured; this'll take a while. Googling around, I see this happens now and again. Some are panicky. Some are livid. There's a little bit of "be calm and give the form time to do it's magic".

So I endeavor to be calm and wait it out, trying to imagine a scenario where this might be an opportunity to ditch my current personae and build a new internet life* from scratch... And I didn't like the thought so much, to tell the truth.

So anyway, about 3 hours later, it did do it's magic. Well, I'm still not able to access POP, but everything's intact and working again. Phew.

First thing I'm doing is backup all this up! I may not have been very active lately, but I still kind of like some of what I blathered on about back in the day.


*(I actually do have my "real" identity online, and it's not hard to find the connection, but I'd rather not have my obsessive drunken fandom linked to quite so readily, go figure...)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Honk for English...

I'll just leave this here...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"El Cazador" streaming already?

I must have missed it. Funimation has got streamed episodes of El Cazador de la Bruja (up to 22 so far) on their site. Subtitled only at this point.

My network is flaky at the moment so I'm not having much luck getting a stream of anything but their dumb commercial. So I have nothing to say about their quality yet...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Gearing up

Summer lasted for what... 2 weeks? Fall is starting already (which I'm ok with; fall is quite pleasant here if it stays sunny), and my thoughts are turning to...

Upgrades!

I'm a compulsive upgrader, both with my computers and A/V gear. With the release of Windows 7 (I have my MSDN RTM ISO's ready to burn) and my burgeoning BluRay collection, I'm going all-out. I found a great deal on the new Denon 2310CI receiver (which will decode advanced surround formats via HDMI, plus other advanced niceties), and that led to me picking up the new Oppo BluRay player (with advanced DVD upscaling that will totally obsolete the very expensive player I bought a few years ago... *sigh*), which led me to getting new parts for my HTPC, which led me to getting a new 24" monitor and upgrades to my desktop, which led to me getting an SSD hardrive for my TabletPC, which led to.... Oh hell.

So all this stuff starts arriving today (and the bill for it all arrives later in the month *cough*). So I'm going to spend my Labor Day weekend doing something that actually cheers me up -- endlessly configuing and tweaking my gear! Hooray!

Monday, August 17, 2009

"Monster" anime coming to "Syfy"

ANN tells us that the recently-licensed Monster will be on the Syfy "Ani-Monday" block starting October 12.

It's a long one, so even at 2 episodes a week, that'll be going for a long time, I'm sure.

I'd venture to guess it will be dubbed. I think ulitimately I'd like to watch it dubbed into German, with English subtitles. That would be cool (if there were any decent German dub studios, which I believe is something rare...)

Oh, and "Syfy"? Please....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

"Casshern Sins", "Eden of the East" licensed

ANN reports from Otakon that Funimation has snagged Casshern Sins and Eden of the East, to be released in 2010.

If I had kept up with blogging, I'd have mentioned that I kept watching Eden, and even enjoyed it a little bit, though I found a few minor aspects annoying. Still, the story was kind of interesting.

Casshern Sins was a show I was really trying to work up a decent post about. I had gotten sucked into it a while after it finished, and blasted through it in short order. Though it really had an overbearing bleakness, I thought the design, atmostphere, and unique style were outstanding, and there was quite a bit of energetic, lively animation to make up for a lot of the seemingly static, gloomy angst. It was another of those "journey-not-the-destination" types of runs, where the side characters encountered along the way where often the most compelling part. I look forward to owning this one, for sure.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"Blade of the Immortal" licensed...

According to ANN, the Media Blasters "AnimeWorks" label will be dubbing and releasing Blade of the Immortal to North America at the end of September.

I didn't blog much about this one, as I was less than enthralled about it (though, by my current lack of blogging about Phantom, enthrallment has little to do with it...), but I'm glad to see it's coming over.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bloggiversary #5

Has it really been 5 years? Apparently so. In some ways, everything's more or less the same as it was then -- but in a lot of ways, it's entirely different. Go figure.

The weather has turned exceptionally nice as of today, which is to be expected around Memorial Day weekend. I'm taking a few days off from work to hopefully recharge. And the weird thing is, I'm not planning any sort of anime marathons like I would have in the past. I'm just looking to get the house prepped for summer relaxation, and to enjoy the piece and quiet I have here at the lakeshore.

Someday I'll post about what I've been watching, both TV and anime. Maybe even a movie or two. But for now, a nice beer on the deck in the sun with the refreshing breeze off the water is really all that's important right now.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Unprecedented early BBQ? Not quite...

I see back in April 2006 (when I actually used to write on this dang thing) I grilled a whole 4 days earlier. But today was a gorgeous rare 80F day in late-April, so I washed my car, took a nice drive, and now I'm about to grill up some steak. And some bacon-wrapped sausage. I've been wrapping a number of things in bacon lately, go figure...

The bugs are thick and annoying right now, and a bird deigned to shat on my shorts, so I'm feeling a bit squicky, but a few more beers and a change of pants is alleviating that.

I've actually been watching a whole lot of things, and even have a few post ideas to start on. But there's that ol' inertia in the way. Like I've said before, it's easier to not-blog than to actually blog. But it's nice, I've got great tunes blasting, and I'm in a good mood; so who knows?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Big surprise! "Phantom" licensed by FUNimation... for online streaming

(h/t AlexShadow on the forum...)

I was a bit shocked to see this so soon, but FUNimation is posting subtitled streams of Phantom episodes. In the case of episode 4, hours before it's actually aired in Japan!

Over on ANN, in the comments section, a Funi rep clarifies that the license is for streaming-only; DVD releases are a discussion for another day.

Oh, and US-only? Yeah. That's the way it works, I guess.

I guess I'm going to follow along with what I'm doing with Shangri-La and will watch it exclusively through the official channels. As much as I find the FUNimation video player's constant *buffering* an incredible annoyance (leaving it paused for an hour or so to pre-download seems to be the solution), plus the Flash player is rather choppy and blurry when trying to play it fullscreen at 1080p. Oh well, all the more incentive to buy BluRay discs when they're released!

Onward, progress!

Friday, April 03, 2009

"Phantom" has aired, fast fansubs follow

I took a peek at the raw of the episode, and was pleased! The "Hand of Mashimo™" is strong in this one. *grin* A hi-def version of the fansub has already hit the torrents, so I'll probably catch that tonight.

More over on the forum, of course. And more later when I'm not actually blogging from work.

(Link updated to point to the new Phantom-only board)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Spring 2009 Anime?

Well, I've glanced quickly at the series that are about to start in the next few weeks, and besides Phantom, I guess I'm only going to give Gonzo's Shangri-La a try.


Artwork by Range Murata evokes my nostalgia for Last Exile, and a soft spot for Gonzo shows that attempt to "go epic". And the animation in the very brief preview looks pretty good. I'm also going to give it a go via Crunchyroll, which will be streaming it at 720p within hours of it's Japanese airing. 2 weeks free trial of that "anime service", then it's for-pay at a price they don't say up-front. But I figure it's time to put my money where my mouth is: I want to see exactly that kind of service and I'd be willing to pay for it. If the stream is good. And if it doesn't cost too much for just the one show I'm going to watch right now.

(and if the show lives up to expectations...)

Production I.G.'s Eden of the East was tempting until I saw how the manga-y bits in the trailer -- a lot of attention paid to backgrounds and wide shots, but nothing much unique about the character expressions. I will probably still give it a chance at some point, because it still seems better-produced than most everything else. But I'm not going to go out of my way.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Michikothon

Michiko to Hatchin ended a little while back, and I didn't have the chance to watch the last 4 or so episodes until just now.

Have I mentioned that I love this show?

It's flawed. So what? I still love it.

There are aspects of the animation that are crude and clumsy, even until the end. Yet there are cuts that are brilliant and perfect. And the art direction is tremendously spot-on, with a sensuous attention to detail and a scintallating use of color.

And the characters... Even the side characters are lively and fun, despite the occasional lapse into cliche. Our leads, though, are a tremendous presence, with noted screen stars doing the voices, as opposed to the usual anime dub artists (who have a following of their own, of course). That presence is nothing without the character design and animation (and "fashion-of-the-week") artistry from the different studios and animators involved. It was subtle but obvious that there were many players doing their part in this, and it added to the enjoyment from my perspective. I hope I can find out more about "who did what" someday.

The writing, well, again, it had it's moments, but in a "journey is greater than the destination" sense. Which I enjoyed quite a bit. There were homages, tropes, shortcuts, and cliches, and yet there was an ultimate sense of the "moment" when it was important to feel something. It was a fine ride.

The best and most unique part of the whole series -- the sort of thing that is the polar opposite of what you typically find in Japanese shows -- is that there was a distinct feminine perspective to many of those "moments". It's hard for me, a crotchety old bachelor, to put my rhetorical finger on it, but it was pretty clear in a few clear sequences that there was definitely a woman's perspective behind it. Certain gestures, expressions, reactions... you never see these little touches in most any other anime to this point. Or much of any animation for that matter (except probably Persepolis or various indie shorts). It make the whole series a little more honest and true, despite its little indulgences into genre homage and trope-a-liciousness.

I really hope this one gets a decent licensing deal. Sign me up for Blu-ray discs the moment they come out! It would be awesome if it made it a wider audience through some sort of TV syndication. But I fear it might be a bit too quirky around the edges to cross over... We'll see.

(Oh, and I wanted to make a crack about Shinchiro Wantanbe seeming to want to be a DJ more than he wants to be an animator, but damnit, the music was excellent and fun and who can fault him for his contribution here?? *grin*)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Straight outta TAF

I haven't researched much about either of these yet (especially the "when?"), but the TAF shaky-cam trailers look promising when added to what little info I've heard so far:

CENCOROLL, a solo effort?


Summer Wars, brought to you by the talent from The Girl Who Leapt Through Time; something about a rural town defending itself from an invasion by the internet.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The end of Galact-oh-yeah...

The ending is a spoiler-rich environment, and yet, maybe a futility-rich one as well.

Not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy it, because I did. But as I've admitted before, I'm rather easy.

There's quite a bit left unanswered, but overall that's okay. Even with the fact that they tried to introduce new history-via-flashback and tried to shift the previous years' prophecies on to these final buildup, it really did bring some emotional closure; some fine moments, through the extended denoument (and by "extended" I do mean extended).

When you see it, it won't be too much of a surprise. It's closure, after all. Throw in a few bars of the original '70s Galactica theme and it's all forgiven, right?

Like I said, I'm easy. I loved the many moments, buildups, journeys, and projections they threw at us here at the end, and I don't feel any particular loose end worth tugging at. The look and atmosphere has always been superb (the HD broadcast particularly so), and I will never fault this series on it's flair. No siree.

Without spoilers, there's not much more I can think of to say, except "farewell". There'll be the Caprica prequel series, and supposedly another special in the fall about "the Plan" the Cylons had, but otherwise, this one is done and gone.

I enjoyed it, it didn't change my world, and it's done. Moar pleeze!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Watchbusters!

Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah!!!





...I finally read the comic after all these years when I was in Portland. The NYT review said the movie was probably aimed at adult males who were 1) sophmores in college in the mid/late 80's, 2) had a large record collection, and 3) didn't collect comic books but had a roommate who did. I was like, "hey, that's me!"

...haven't seen the movie though. I'll probably Netflix the BluRay right away though.

Monday, March 09, 2009

My HTPC is dead.

I was going to put the title "Kirika is dead" for this post (I named my computers after the women in Noir, of course), but I thought it would be a bit troll-tastic.

The morning after returning from my trip, I was about to settle in on the couch and catch up with any fansubs and websurfing I hadn't done all week, when I hit the power button on the remote and nothing happened. No spin-up, no POST, nothing. It had been running almost non-stop since Christmas, which isn't unusual for it, and I've had it off for a week on those occasions I take trips, but this time, dead. *sad*

I've ordered a temporary cheap power supply to see if that is the issue (I've tried a dozen other things including the CMOS battery), and then my final attempt will be to totally dismantle it and try to rebuild bit by bit. But if the motherboard has finally given up, I'll be quite sad, as I'm well-invested in all of the equipment on it, and all of the new equipment uses different interfaces. Which means new all-around. *sigh*

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Yet another BTF outage

The forum is down yet again, due to a couple of failures over at the hosting provider. It will probably be back in the next few hours.

UPDATE: Looks like everything's finally back, much to everyone's relief...

Friday, February 27, 2009

Flying to Portland

I'll be heading out to the Portland/Wilsonville area in Oregon for business on Monday. I won't have any time to see anything this trip, unfortunately. And I'd say that bloggin' would slack off, but then, I'm already about as slacked as I can get here... *sigh*

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"El Cazador" licensed... for real this time!

ANN reports that FUNimation has officially licensed El Cazador De La Bruja. They'll be "releasing two complete season sets later this year".

For those keeping score, I called it back in August '08. *grin*

AlexShadow already started the discussion over on the forum whilst I was at work. All El Cazador discussions since it aired are there as well, of course!

Monday, February 16, 2009

BTF site outage again.

Grr. Well, I suppose it's been awhile since the last outage at my webhost. Not counting the daily database lockups, but at least those go away in a couple of minutes.

It's going to put a damper on this evening's silliness, I suppose. And epic RPG posts. With luck everything will be back in place in the morning. If not, hang tight.

UPDATE: Looks like it was only for two hours, though the psychic damage was done... *ahem*

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

If you've ever wanted an ELDA TALUTA screen saver...

Forum member Koveras made a screensaver for those of us who haven't had our minds controlled quite enough lately...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Viz to release "Monster" DVDs

From the "long time coming" files, ANN reports that Viz is releasing Monster. Details coming someday.

Funny coincidence, because I was just thinking about that show, and was considering rewatching the fansubs...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holy Frakamole!

Battlestar Galact-oh-yeah returns by pulling out all the stops. The cliffhanger of finding the blackened husk of a planet leads into a deep, dark descent into despair and depression; yet also discovery.

And holy frak do they give us some stark gut-punchers when they do.

They totally made it worth waiting all this time for this continue. It's totally rewarding. Over the top, totally crazy, but completely entertainingly dark and heart-pounding.

We're into the race to the finale. There's a chance that it will detour into the pockets of "Emostar Crylactica" that it diverted to in the past, but given that they've given us such a "welcome back", I have faith that I'll enjoy every last minute of it 'til the end. I hope so. It's worth it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The rut, I am in it...

After extended periods of not-blogging, it gets easier and easier to not-blog. No "Year in Review" post. No "Winter Season Preview". No continued praise for Michiko to Hatchin or X'amd. Nothing about the TV I've been watching.

I'm a bit stressed because I'm getting transferred at work. To an office that is a miserable commute to the other side of the city. So I think I need to seriously consider selling my little patch of lakeside solitude and get back into the middle of civilization.

That might be what I need to get out of my rut. Near my friends, near stuff to do. And that's got me mostly convinced to go through with it. In this economy, though, I'm uncertain as to the success of selling this place for the amount that would make the move possible. We'll see.