Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Magical Girl MMORPG...

The idea just, well, hit me.

A "magical girl" MMORPG.

Stick with me a moment here, lemme walk you through it...

You have a nice fictional Tokyo, with all sorts of neat sights and created maps, where our players hunt monsters and have occasional Fight Club PVP battles. They're all hunting down monsters and critters and creatures and all the naughty things that go bump in the day (and the night). Girls-and boys-of all sorts are on the battlefield, trying to make Tokyo a safer (and PG-13) place...

I can even see the character archtypes-

Cosplayers-They can change their powers by their costumes. Higher levels mean more interesting costumes...

Meganeko-Gadgeteers and Weird Stuff creators. Occasionally blows up property in the area.

Miko-They cast buff spells and healing spells. Oh, and can banish some kind of spirit critters.

Joshikousei(and whatever the male version is)-Major sailor suit action, with all the fun and excitement that brings. Divided into the ones that actually use weapons and the ones that are spell casters.

Tsundere-Years of harem abuse means that these are the game's "brick" characters.

There's probably a "gun otaku" character type a'la Sosuke Sagara, with options of "real world" or "sci-fi" guns. Add a Martial Arts template, too.

So, our (of legal age-18 and over) characters go out and make the world a better place-hopefully without doing too much property damage. The various districts of Tokyo serve as a way to control character levels (and it all converges on the center of Tokyo...). Map-accurate, too...tho not probably "ground-level" accurate.

Probably can pull this off with most current MMORPG engines, but I would definitely want the whole "high anime" aspect to the graphics. Lots of explosions...and havoc and chaos and panty shots. Real-world clock as well, where players are on Tokyo time. And, some monsters are out during the day, some are out during the night...

I'm almost tempted to add a connection so that you can play iTunes native to the game.

So, anybody want to start throwing more ideas up against the wall, to see what sticks?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If It's A Religion Of Peace, Why Isn't It So Peaceful?

Just, read the first two stories, then come back here. I'll wait.

The last days of Aqsa.

British iman's daughter needs police protection when she converts to Islam.

Read and follow up the links. Especially read the whole article on the British woman whom converted. And, remember this is England, a land of high liberalism and claimed that everybody more-or-less "got along well". There was a statistic there, wasn't it? Just to bring it up again...

"Earlier this year, a Policy Exchange study found that 36 per cent of British Muslims aged between 16 and 24 believed those who converted to another religion should be punished by death."

This is not a small minority. This is not-in theory-a group that has just come from the home country and many of them have probably been born and raised in England their entire lives. In short, they've lived most of their lives in a Western society with certain rules. They have not just fallen off the banana boat and are still gawking at the big city-they can no longer claim ignorance as an excuse.

We keep getting told that Islam is a religion of peace. Of peaceful interaction, when Moslems and Christians and Jews lived in peace with each other, and it was only the coming of the Evil Jooos whom took Israel away from the Palestinians and George W. Bush's evil that made them mad and angry and willing to blow themselves up.

The problem with that is that the history is that ignores several hundred years of Islamic history-not the least of which is the jizya-go read the Islamic legal commentaries, especially the humiliating nature of the tax payments to Islamic rulers. Or the status of the dhimni, whom have their lives hideously legally restricted and have no escape by conversion to Islam, for example. In many cases, conversion was restricted by law-it lessened tax receipts for the Islamic government.

I've held-and have always held for years-that Islam could probably be considered the only real form of fascism that would have worked for the Middle East, in which it tried to unify the various amoral familists of the extended-clan structures into a single unified whole. And, that if Islam wants to be a religion that wants to live with the rest of the world, it needs to have a version of the Reformation. The issue with that is that the Koran is considered to not have been divinely inspired a'la the Bible, but the literal Word of God. There are no mistakes in it, no errors, no "feature creep" from people making errors in wondering what the translation of really obscure words are.

Yet...I don't see it happening, in all reasonably. And, I don't know how to make it change-the Islamic world has to change itself and there's too much inertia for it to change. The Saudis fund their extreme radicals to go away and try not to seize Mecca again and doubt the Islamic street credentials of the Royal Family's rule. The Palestinians live high off the money of the UN and if they ever took Israel, that money would end-as well as taking over Syria which has a much better claim of being a Palestinian majority country. And, let us not talk about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom is convinced that he might be the Tenth Iman and he will be the one to solve the Jewish Problem-with nukes.

I just hope that the mess...doesn't explode while I'm still around. The solution for it is going to be messy. It will be a solution that will probably offend most Americans, but by that time we won't have a choice. We will have to do what is needed, because we must.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Zen And The Art Of Beer

About 2002 or so, my dad's dad died. Thud, dead. Not only did this give my current car (which has lived well, but shall soon have to be retired...), I drove my dad down to a meeting with several members of what was left of Dad's dad family.

I learned a lot about my Dad on that drive, all the sorts of stories and tales and such that I should have learned years ago...mostly because my Dad's dad family and Dad's dad got alienated from each other after the death of his mother and that he didn't give up the kids (i.e. Dad and his brother) immediately for adoption. I don't know anybody of Dad's family beyond his father, a short man that survived World War II, made a home, worked his ass off even when he grew old.

About two weeks later, I got the basic hardware needed to make beer, an ingredients kit, and made my first batch of beer ever with my Dad.

And, about five years later and much beer, I know my Dad a lot better. I've got more reasons to talk with him. I've learned a lot from him, and we've learned more about each other.

We do need to make more beer...Mom is going to be in one of those "not good" situations in a few years and I need more stories from him.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Nukes, More Of The Time

Via Instapundit and Slashdot, former nuclear activist Gwyneth Cravens is advocating that we get off the coal (and by extension, gas) teat and switch over to nuclear power. Not only does this tick off the Saudis and the oil industry (which a lot of the moonbats can appreciate), it is a lot cleaner and a lot safer than coal power.

Don't drag out the old beaten horses-Chernobyl would haven't passed the laugh test at the AEC development committee. Three Mile Island functioned exactly as designed, and while it was a mess...the reactor came back online. That, and it was a perfect-storm event where a really bad movie happened soon before the accident, and the two got co-located in people's minds.

Still...we need more power, and we're running out of options. Especially if we want to live our lives in about the same way we want to...

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Some Details On Game Design Concepts...

From my replies so far, both on and offline...they've been pretty useful, the spaghetti is sticking to the wall very nicely-

Basic Concepts And Such-
  • Once upon a time, I had a somewhat sarcastic thought about RTS resources management, on the basis of the old cliche of "Mars Needs Women" a'la really BAD '50s movies. So, by the following logic if Mars Needs Women, Venus Needs Men, and the poor humans are just trying to hold onto both of them with both hands. Venus needs Men for their high-end, Tier 2 and 3 units, Mars needs Women for major upgrades to their walkers, and humans need 'em both for keeping their really advanced weapons working.

    This, of course, lead to the whole joke of "how do you catch women? Shoe sales?" and going on and on and on from there. The horse had been VERY well flogged, thank you....
  • One of my big problems with Supreme Commander was just how BIG it could get. Oh, it was fun, no doubts about that, and the whole "sending hordes of soldiers across the map, raising huge dust clouds" has an appeal to it, but at a certain point, I kept getting the feeling of pixel bitching, wishing I had a few (human) sub-commanders I could just assign bits of the combat assignment to, I had to go to the bathroom in the middle of a on-line game, etc, etc...

    So, we have both the scale (enough to give some tactical variety and make it challenging without "oh, it takes three hours for our fastest ground vehicle to make it to the other side of the map") and by building infantry in a squad format encourages players to save units that have built up a really high level of experience-pull them back from the front lines, rebuild their capability, then send them right back out into battle again...
  • Mid game...this is the point in DoW where you've maxed out your Tier 1 building capabilities, have about half or so of your Tier 2, and looking seriously at your future options. Better yet, in Supreme Commander, you have your builders building Tier 2 defenses, the factories are churning out Tier 2 vehicles and you're seriously thinking about what your Experimental Weapon for stomping the enemy flat will be.
  • When I was talking about resources...Humans have their resources sent to their base directly by teleport technology. It's slower, but it can't be stopped short of destroying what's mining the resources. Mars and Venus need to use vehicles and build buildings to store resources, and they can be attacked and destroyed. Mars units can have shields and weapons added to their transports to make them much harder targets, Venus can add stealth systems and boosters to make them faster.
Universe Notes Bit-
Ah yes, THIS bit of fun...
  • The game's basic concept is "serious comic"-we have humor, only 40% of the humor is black, and the game does take itself (mostly) seriously. The designs of all three sides are practical within their context.
  • The game takes place on Earth, Mars, and Venus. The game's campaign mode (which ties into the game's on-line can play campaign battles online and earn achievements a'la XBox Live!'s system...) takes you through the story and the three factions. Each one of them has a part in the story to play...
  • All three sides are (in campaign mode) mostly shooting at each other. Both of the Alien sides want humans, the Humans want their world back, and nobody is going to play nice.
  • The game is in full 3D with "fog of war" effects on both the visual field and radar possible.
  • The technology is realistically can tell right away "oh, that's a Martian" unit right off the bat...
The Factions
  • The Humans are the "conventional" faction. You need to build or improve buildings to build better units. They have infantry and vehicles...and these are separate things. Human infantry is built in squads, etc, etc....
  • The Martians start out with a central core/factory that can only build light "infantry" drones, construction drones, and materials transports. As it gets resources, it upgrades into a much larger core, which can build heavy "infantry" drones, then the first Walker lands. Walkers, with the right Core upgrades, can build "vehicle" drones and "aircraft" drones. As the Walkers grow more legs, they grow more Core slots, which you can add more facilities to produce drones, which means you can build better drones. Of course, each space taken up by a drone facility could mean you can't upgrade your shields...and shields are what keeps nasty weapons away from your fragile hull.
  • Venusian units start out with a single factory...and all it can built are Builders and Troopers (basic soldiers). You mix and match Builders and Troopers into buildings, more powerful infantry units, and eventually you can build Scouters, in which you can combine 'em with Builders and Troopers to produce even more powerful weapons, base defenses, infantry and vehicles, etc, etc...

    One small note about Venus buildings-blow one of them up, and you suddenly are under attack by the "liberated" Troopers....
I'll talk more about units when I have some chance to figure out exactly what the units will be...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Some More RTS Game Concepts...

A while back, I kept tossing ideas against the wall to see if they would stick for a RTS strategy game.

After some thought, quite a bit of beer, and playing some more games, I've come up with ideas for my game that would make sense, fill bullet points, and could be easily summed up. Oh, and maybe be made with the grace of God(dess)....

Basic Concepts
  • I damn well am going to try and keep the idea of "Mars Need Women/Venus Needs Men" game mechanic. All the sides needs them, the Humans are the only producers of them, and in multi-player games they can be traded around for other things...
  • The game scale is to be between Dawn of War and Supreme Commander-no map should be bigger (in "real-world" scale) than ten kilometers by ten kilometers.
  • Units will be built around squad-sized units for "infantry" and individual vehicles.
  • All three sides will have a different combat dynamic, and that dynamic can be adjusted within the three types of combat dynamics. This change in combat dynamic is based around the building of a mid-game building, which offers access to several technologies and augmented units.
  • There is a definite "resource flow" in the game. Human players have the advantage that their flow of materials (there are only three resources in the game-humans, matter, and energy) cannot be interrupted, Martian material transports can be upgraded with shields and armor and guns, and Venusian units can have cloaking devices added.
  • There will be ground and air units.
Okay, to the factions!


The Human faction is a bunch of survivors from the early days of the war, hidden deep underground and developing their technology to fight the alien invaders on the surface of their world. They use a LOT of nanotechnology and cloning technology-a Clone Complex has to be built so they can deploy advanced units and vehicles. They are the most "conventional" of the three races in the game, and all their tech looks like it was developed by Masumune Shirow (lots of glowy bits...)

One of the Human's big advantages is that they can steal and upgrade their own hardware with the technology of the other two sides. For example, they can salvage shield technology and improved energy weapons from Martian walkers, and stealth technology and improved projectile weapons. The other big one is the use of teleport technology-Human material feeds come directly from the miners to the base, without a vulnerable supply line to interdict. Later units can also "blip" across the map in deadly rear attacks.

The mid-game development point is a Citadel, in which one of three technology tracks and final weapons can be built-
  • The Art Of War-Units will incorporate heavier weapons and armor, at the cost of mobility. This technology line leads eventually to the Overlord walker and the Lucifer supertank with it's massive quantum cannon.
  • The Art Of Fortresses-Defensive structures will be improved, and are cheaper to build. This technology line leads to the Quantum Reaper fixed defensive gun and the Mammoth four-legged walker.
  • The Art Of Cavalry-Mobility is supreme in this Art-all units move faster, and air units can pretty much zip from one end of the map to the other with hideous speed. This technology line leads to the Wyvern bomber and the Shiva supertank.

The Martian faction has come to Earth to take our women. They need women (for reasons that SO do not involve tentacle rape (not!)) to build their war machines beyond the basic core. A Martian base starts out with a Core (think of it as a HQ building) and several Constructors. As the resources flow into the Core, it upgrades automatically (you can build other units at the time, mostly infantry) into a Sepulcher, which allows for the first of the War Machines to arrive. As you gather resources, another War Machine arrives, to build up the total army (of six? eight?) in the area. The tech looks an awful lot like something made in the '50s or so, many fins and shiny bits and curves and fun stuff.

Each War Machine is pretty much a mobile base (stole this idea from Universe At War) and they auto-upgrade as resources flow into them. At first, a War Machine has three legs, three leg slots for upgrades, three torso slots for weapons, and three core slots for add-ons. As time goes on (in a very...disturbing ripple of growth), a fourth leg is added, giving more slots....and so on until you hit the total of six legs. Heavy units are built at the War Machines, and upgraded via technology built at your Sepulcher. Air units are built at the Sepulcher, as well.

The mid-game tech development point is the Reliquary, where one of the three technology lines can be built-
  • Tomb-Heavier shield technology is the heart and soul of the Tomb series of technologies. The most powerful shield technology and the Thermobaric Cannon (big explosion) can be mounted on your War Machines.
  • Grave-Faster shield regeneration and the ability to penetrate enemy defenses easily is a core element of Grave technologies. Faster-regeneration shields and the Twist Cannon (bypasses shields) can be mounted on your War Machines.
  • Masoleum-Shields are much, much cheaper and the weapons are built to do huge amounts of damage. Cheaper shields and the Lash Cannon (think of it as a killer rope gun) can be fitted to your War Machines.

Four armed, very busty and well-built female aliens, the Venusians have come for our men and...well, for our men. And beer, too. Can't forget the beer. They start out with several Assemblers, which will either split into more Assemblers, or merge into a Foundry. The Foundry can build Assemblers or Soldiers...and by combining numbers of Assemblers or Soldiers, you can build more powerful units. (Think of the "more faces equal more power" of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann-the more units that merge, the more powerful a unit can be created. Of course, you can queue up building the units entirely...).

Venusian units tend to steal from the '60s in terms of design concepts and looks. The Venusians tend to rely a lot more upon mobility and stealth than their enemies-even their "basic" units are hard to detect on radar than the other two races. The best way to describe their strategy is "stick and move".

The mid-game tech development point is the Liturgy, and they can choose one of three technology development paths...
  • Chorus-Stealth technology is first, foremost, and paramont. Pretty much their units vanish on the radar screen and the "normal" stealth units are invisible in all ways...with this technology, the Venusians can build the Monolith superheavy tank and the Scimitar fighter-bomber.
  • Soloist-The quality of the units increases, and they can withstand more damage and deal it out, as well. With this technology, the player can build the Romancer walker and the Fresco superheavy tank.
  • Glissendo-The air is where this technology leads. Flying units get faster and can do more damage, and all units can engage air targets now (except for fixed defensive weapons). With this technology the player can build the Stevedore airborne assault walker and the Marathon bomber.
More ideas as they come up...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

My Challenge To The Anime Studios/Producers

Here's my idea.

A twenty-six episode series anime series. It's a mecha series/harem anime in which all the things make sense (and it's a series that Steve Den Beste would watch and love-think of it as the hybrid love child of Vandread and Suzumiya Haruhi No Yuutsu). Interesting characters, neat plots, and minimal loli.

All the usual package deals and such...and within 24 hours of release in Japan, a full version of the show, subtitled, will be avalable on US and UK iTunes. Possibility of there being the same release on the Japanese version of iTunes. Add in a season pass.

(Oh, and if the series takes off and a second season is made-there will be that possibility-I will retain rights to write the pen&paper RPG version...and it will be fun).

I'm willing to bet cash money that people would pay $1.99 an episode (the first two are free...) or $45 for a season pass for a series that would come out from Japan promptly. And, it would beat fansubbers out of their game. Not that I'm in any particular complaint about fansubbers, but it's time to use the technology, not fear it.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Fansub Issue(s)

Steve Den Beste has lately been talking about all the problems with fansubs, the Japanese anime market, release times, and how it probably will kill a few of the anime companies here in the United States (it has already killed Geneon).

My opinion is very much an end-consumer one, so take it with a grain of salt. My issue is very much one that SDB notes-that it can take anywhere from about 2-3 years for a series to come from the United States. It has been bitched over, talked about, discussed, dismantled, dismembered, Wikipediaed and folded into a little hat by the time American fans can see it...

...unless they watch the fansubs. Only the fansubs give the non-Japanese speaking fans the illusion that they're "watching" the series with the fans in Japan or speak the language. And, let's face it, there are some series that are too old (Gundam, Legend of the Galactic Heroes), too weird (School Days), or just too niche (a judo anime who's title I can't recall off the top of my head) for an anime studio to make a decent profit off of.

Especially considering what Japanese studios think of fans...

Case in point, I am a die-hard Gunbuster/Diebuster fan. Big fan, I think that any anime fan that hasn't seen Gunbuster at least once needs their head examined. Or their Otaku rights revoked. But, when Bandai Visual brought out Diebuster out on DVD, they released it at $39.95 for two episodes on a DVD and weak/anemic extras.

Two episodes on a DVD. Of a six-episode series, I can...somewhat accept this. But, nearly $40+tax, you better stuff the rest of the DVD space with as much stuff as you can. Hell, throw in a second DVD of just "The Making Of" information.

Even worse? Freedom. Six episodes, one episode per DVD, next-to-no extras, $39.95 for a half-hour episode. That is easily more than a dollar a minute. Not even counting tax.

No wonder the Japanese studios are afraid of re-importation of anime DVDs from the United States. What most Japanese fans pay for one episode, they'd get about 2-4 episodes, maybe 5.

And, let's be fair...the dubbing setup in the United States isn't good yet. Most fans will freely admit that most dubs...could be done better. Unless the series has major popularity, the dubs are not of pretty high quality and they take a lot of time. Most series could be subtitled in a few might take a few months to get a series properly dubbed. And, with the way that anime series are done (usually just-in-time or so...), it would be nearly impossible for a American distributor to get the scripts in enough time to do an English-language soundtrack.

What would really work would be a distribution agreement with Apple/iTunes. $2 for an episode of a series, $50 for a "season pass" that would automagically download each new episode, with official subtitles. Of course, this would require Japanese studios and TV execs (whom are not an imaginative bunch among AMERICAN execs, and the Japanese ones have to be worse) to work out that they have to get their product out to fans-both American and Japanese-faster and easier.

Of course...I think the only way they'll get realism is to be whacked over the head.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

You Know, You Have To Ask Why....

...nobody has thought of this before.

It makes a lot of sense, in a whole "why not?" sort of way...I don't see any reason why you couldn't build a sealed-package pebble-bed reactor that would fit on a flatbed truck, fit the cooling tower on a second truck, and just deploy it somewhere where you need lots of power.

Hell, combine it with solar power, and you can use the solar power for "home" use and the nuclear plant for "industrial" use (refrigeration of food, running wells, recharging electric trucks and farming equipment, tools, etc, etc). For some small towns in the United States alone, they could work a co-op setup where all the towns in a close area chip in to get the reactor, giving them enough power to do things. Oh, and sweat equity in setting up the power wires and such.

Or for military applications...a lot of gruff is being put into military technology such as diesel-electric hybrid drive for light armored vehicles, the increasing need of electronic systems on the modern battlefield, and keeping the batteries charged for all the gadgets that American soldiers carry. Probably in 10-15 years, military units will probably mount fixed high-energy lasers and railguns for anti-artillery/missile defense in major firebases. The time will come when the power is needed...

There are a lot of options out there, and maybe this will be what, in some places, allows locations to become civilized.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Six Ages Universe

I've been coming up with ideas of a metaverseal concept for a series of game universes, using HERO 5th as the game system. I call it "The Six Ages", and it'll consist of five major game universes.

The First Age is the focus of the game Glories. Think of it as the Hero 5th version of Exalted-it's the era of Atlantis, Shangra-La, and similar cities of myth and legend, when magic was alive and bouncing through out the world, the swing of a hero's blade could carve canyons....and this all ended when the "magic" (actually the quantum energy that allows the rules of physics to be broke) is sealed away. Most of the gods fall asleep, and the world rolls into the Second Age, which is the world we live in.

On 9/11/2001, the Third Age sets off with a bang when the planes crash into the World Trade Center. This awakens the trapped power that was sealed away...and it's woken up and it's as pissed off as a force of nature can ever be, and this game is Capes and Cowls. Think less Heroes and more The Ultimates. The good guys are good guys, the bad guys are bad guys and it gets very interesting when the lines start to blur...

As time goes on, and we get to the Crash-a massive, major event that ends the superhero era. It is PROBABLY about the start of the 22nd Century...we think. The Crash ends with a lot of the records of the past century or so scrambled and messed up, and this leads us to the Fourth Age-it's a cyberpunk/space exploration era and the subject of Survivors. Think a mixture of the Aliens universe and a lot of the bad cyberpunk films of the '80s and '90s, which leads up to a war between humans and an alien species-a nasty, and brutal one that leads to an empire being formed.

The Empire that forms-the Terran Empire, which is the title of the book, is the core of the Fifth Age. There's very definitely an aspect of Traveller to the universe. Got some ideas on how to handle some of the problems of huge empires, such as "how do you keep the Emperor/Empress from going Nero on you?" and more. Much fun, then then the power REALLY comes back...

Our last gaming age is the Sixth Age and this is the era of the Legion of Super Heroes, New Gods, and such. Superpowered and super human beings and aliens...much big fun. No title for this book yet, but there will be one...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dream A Little (Girl) Dream...

Steve Den Beste's comment about the otaku's dream girl hits hard in many, many ways...

Mostly because he's described one of the problems of any otaku-getting women interested in him in a good way. Most otaku girls/women tend to have issues...and they tend to be interested in men that most otaku males are not.

Case in point, YaoiCon was held last weekend and the hotel was near San Francisco Japantown. The restaurant there I like to eat at when I can (sadly, not daily-long story) had a horde of fangirls. Most likely they were very young-high school to early college-due to the high amounts of giggles over sexual pairings and triplets and other odd combinations. The only series they talked about? Naruto. The proposed relationships? Let's just say that anybody that has had any idle fantasies of Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy slashfic would find the love geometry disturbing...

So, for the fan that isn't highly can see the issue. Or that don't have on their Character Sheet "Dark Flaw:Secretly Not Gay".

Also, the Otaku Dream Girl is interested in the main character because they like him. Not what they can do for them-get them beer, solve their problems, be their last-choice date because the guy they wanted to take out dumped them at the last minute. They realize that the character's heart is good, even if his efforts are at best bumbling...or naive. Or, better yet, they know the character is worthy...and is worth knowing better.

The main character knows where they stand with the Otaku Dream Girl. It's not a game of "emotional minesweeper", or the ever-popular "does this outfit make me look fat?" passive-aggressive BS that some women think is their due. Or wondering if the girl is hanging out with them because the main character can fix their computer/do magic/has wished for a girl like her to stay with him forever.

Sadly, that's why the Otaku Dream Girl is a fantasy-the attractive girls want to have Johnny Depp, or Orlando Bloom, or whatever androgynous male boy-toy that looks good in boxers is this year. That is "kind" and "sensitive" and can know their emotions. Oh, and dress well, too. The ugly girls want something that tends to validate that they are fucked up, and not worthwhile. And the guys? We're confused here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Strikers Seven Issue 2 Up!

Just finished and posted the whole second episode of Strikers Seven. Characters revealed, powers found, and some nice big explosions, too.

Still looking for an artist. And, thinking about scripting out Ultimate Livewires. Yay, fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gundam 00 and "Solution Unsatisfactory"

About 1940 or so (the question of exactly when the story was written is a bit in debate), Robert Heinlein wrote "Solution Unsatisfactory". This tale, which could be called the first of his "Patrol" stories, tells about how the development of a new technology (radioactive dust) forced the development of an organization that had to create peace at all costs, lest the weapons of war exterminate humanity. But, it ultimately falls onto the one man-whom could die tomorrow of a heart attack from his weak heart or from falling down stairs-to keep the whole mess from flying apart.

Which leads us to the newest Gundam series, Mobile Suit Gundam 00. I'm already on the second episode, and I've already begun to noticed that the guy behind the curtain is not doing a really good job of pulling the strings, running the console, and he's missing some of the notes.

Let's start with the premise-about 300 years from now, the Earth has pretty much flowed into three major governmental organizations, all of which control an orbital elevator that feeds their countries with energy (and presumably access to space, such as the Moon and the rest of the Solar System). Wars are still being fought, but they're mostly small, proxy wars that change very little. To this end, a mysterious organization called Celestial Being, using highly advanced technology in the form of the Gundam mobile suits, has sworn to end all wars between nations. Regardless of whom is the aggressor or the defender, Celestial Being will come down and destroy both sides.

This is a nice, lovely, Tranzi concept that is annoying as hell-probably the dream that a lot of European and such politicians have of the United Nations. But, the question becomes-if they are impartial to support either side in a war, does Celestial Being merely act as another way to preserve the status quo?

The first, real "mission" of Celestial Being is a battle in Sri Lanka, where the Human Reform League (which is China with other national bits) supports the government against the Tamil Tigers. In this battle, the Gundam pretty much exterminate the Human Reform League army and end the battle...and stops the Tamil Tigers from following up the battle. So, the HRL remains pretty much in control of Sri Lanka...and, while Celestial Being has stopped the "conventional" engagement of both sides, it hasn't prevented the Tamil Tigers, for example, from sneaking in somebody with a overcoat of Semtex. Hell, both sides are a hotbed of so many religious and ethnic messes, that maybe the presence of a foreign military is a good thing-it gives them all something to shoot at that isn't their own neighbors.

So, what is the ultimate goal of Celestial Being? Their avowed goal is to end all

If a Shia wanders into a Shiite market and blows himself up with a Semtex overcoat, what does Celestial Being do? Hell, what will they do for a more conventional, infantry battle? Commit slaughter on the scale of the Soviet Union?

(Of course, the director of the series of Seiji Mizushima, whom directed Full Metal Alchemist. The series could be politically...quirky.)

Another factor I noticed was that nobody claims, whom does claim Africa? Or have the powers of the world let Africa sink, rather than try and pour more treasure, lives, and time into that rat-hole?

I'm actually curious about how they'll solve the problems their plot makes for them. I have an idea of how I'd do it, and I wonder if our ideas will match at any point...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Need More Hours In The Day...

I so very do.

Finished up Ergo Proxy and Reideen. Both good, will write more formal reviews of 'em in a few days. I want to do it now, but have to do things that are important so I can afford anime, like work.

Short bits-Ergo Proxy feels like a longer, longer version of Serial Experiments Lain, but with the whole world as the laboratory. Characters were interesting, but occasional bits of the whole Refrigerator Problem shows up.

Reideen is what it is-a post-Evangelion, giant robot anime. More like RahXephon (which is not an insult, I like and still watch RahXephon, unlike Evangelion-which I watch when I need to suffer), Reideen's plot both moves fast and slow, and it is the synchronization of these plots (the plot about what Reideen is and why the aliens are after it is slow, the "robot stomping" plot is fast). Tho, the Really, Really Huge Sword at the end was a fun thing, too...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Recent Anime Watching Habits...

I haven't, sad to say, been seeing a lot of anime lately. Mostly due to work schedule, and there isn't a lot that I've been interested in. very short list of series I've watched or been in the progress of watching...
  • Ergo Proxy-This has been a good series, so far. Very much in the whole vein/genre of "giant conspiracies", some of the moves have been telegraphed miles away...but, damn it, I'm still watching.
  • Grenadier-If there was any MORE fan service, they would have to cut into the plot...such as there is. Rushuna is most certainly doing cinematic gun shooting effects...
  • Reideen-Apparently, this is a remake of a much older series. It isn't bad...just that the way it was written, there were so many opportunities for plot and character expansion.
  • Bleach-I'm honestly watching it because the fights are good material for Exalted. I'm trying to figure out how to stat out the Ichigo/Kenpachi fight...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

After Six Years Of War...

...I have to seriously wonder if Al Qaeda is the Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight...

Let's see. Osama tried to crash the American economy with the 9/11 attacks, and the American economy went up about the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias.

Iraq and Afghanistan are lurching towards something that can be called "reasonable" in a bad light. Considering where we're talking about in the world, that has to be progress.

There hasn't been a major terrorist attack outside of the Middle East in at least three years, unless you count the Keystone Kops attack in London with the flaming SUVs.

"But, other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?"

And, the response of the critics of the war is little children antics in Gen. Petraus' hearing.

I'm scared that our enemies may save our government because they just can't do anything's like watching one of those sitcoms where the entire cast is made up of morons, with one token sane person.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cat Herding, a'la Conventions...

Way back, oh, last year, I would watch Angela in action at SilCon 2006 meetings, and it was like watching a cat and dog fight...if she didn't get what she wanted, it was a Pain In The Ass...and I had to make it, somehow, work out right.

This year, I'm in charge of SilCon 2007's Staff Feed. And...the stress level is half that of SC2006.

Need to get chafing dishes instead of crock pots in place? Done.

The menu that has both a veggie and a meat option for three lunches and three dinners? Done.

Bringing up the three-body cooler for storing stuff? Done.

No stress. No drama. No "oh, I'm going to make it an issue to get my drama quotient up"...just professionals getting a job done.

Great times, and there will be some well-fed people.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

If I Were A Terrorist, I Wouldn't Post At The New York Times

(Tho, considering some of the bone-headed things the NYT has done lately, I wouldn't be surprised...thanks to Michelle Malkin for finding this.)

Steven Levitt posted in his New York Times blog that he wanted people to make suggestions on how to attack the country. And, of course, he intended this as a purely thought exercise so that "we could defend against it". Of course, he covers his own ass with all sorts of statements that he intends for all of these thoughts to be used to build better defenses...

My God, is this stupid or what? You play the whole game of "oh, let's think up some ideas", in a public forum and people might look into it...and use them.

Hell, I could probably cripple a good bit of the economy with six panel trucks, enough ANFO, and five "willing martyrs". Of course, I'm not going to tell people HOW, especially in public.

Of course, the New York Times has done some seriously bone-headed things, turning the paper of record into a paper with a record-and a bad one that's getting worse. The Old Grey Lady may not be around much longer...and that might be a good thing.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Long Review Of "Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows"

I promised a longer review, and with the availability of the plot synopsis on Wikipedia, I'm just going to concentrate on the highlights and the things that bothered the hell out of me about the series.

I've said before, and I'll say it again-of the seven books, Deathly Hollows was about second or third to the worst of the series (it depends upon if I count the second worse book-Order of the Phoenix-as a whole or only about a half or so of the book, with Chamber of Secrets being the worse). One of the biggest issues of the book is that the build up of Voldermort as the big villain, and that the response of the Ministry of Magic was so ineffective. My issues? There's a list, so you have been warned-
  • After the last War with the Dark Lord, I would have been shocked if there hadn't been hordes of researchers trying to develop a way to detect if somebody was under the Imperious Curse-even if it was just the Aurtor's office and even if it kept giving back whole loads of false positive results to be investigated. We know-from at least from Half-Blooded Prince-that memory modifications can be detected and a powerful wizard can find the original memories. That Voldermort's minions went directly for the head of the Ministry of Magical Enforcement prior to the head of the Ministry itself was a brilliant move in one respects-but another that could have been a failure, as the department should have been primed for keeping an eye on people in their own section that would have acted improperly.

    Hell, considering how important the job is and how much of a threat it would be if the head of the Ministry of Magical Enforcement fell under somebody else's control, they would have done something like James Bond's "M"-there are all sorts of details that nobody knows or "everybody knows" that is wrong; all as a concealment for the real man (or woman) behind the curtain.
  • That the head of the Ministry of Magic was assassinated was another one of those "brilliant moves" that could and would have backfired. Ignore the change in the Wizarding World that happened after the Minister's death...yes, probably there was a deep prejudice against non-pureblood wizards in the magical world, but to have a change and to see it happen so fast pushes the point too hard. Especially as probably many pure-blood families have at least one half-blood or "foundling" Muggle in their family tree, and probably recently. In addition, many would have found the sudden and total shifts in authority rules in the Ministry to have engendered a huge amount of hate in the various members of the Ministry that wern't willing to follow-and there would have been all sorts of passive resistance, "Ooops, sorry Miss Umbridge, the paperwork you requested was misfiled somewhere, should find it by the end of the month, sorry!"

    Once again, this falls into the level of "believability" in the plot. More interesting would have been splitting up this aspect of the plot between the last three books-the first having the Minister of Magic sacked and the new Minister seeming to be "effective" and dropping all sorts of new rules. By Half Blooded Prince, many suspect that he is at least sympathetic to Voldermort's aims, but has put himself in such a position of the old saw that "if this is the cure, give me the disease" is applicable. In Deathly Hallows, the new Minister of Magic can enforce his aims, which are for the "purification" of the Wizarding race.
  • Oh, and don't tell me that if the Ministry of Magic in the UK had gone this bad, other Wizarding organizations wouldn't have started to pay attention-and planned on how to "clean up the mess" in Jolly Old England. The United States, at least, would have been planning something...
Another big issues is the Deathly Hallows themselves. For three of the most powerful magical items in existence, and one of them owned by the a Dark wizard whom was only second to Voldermort because he didn't have enough time to get really evil, there should have been many, many, many more hints scattered throughout the books. So, from my perspective, the hints could have been dropped like this-
  • Hermione learns about the book of fairly tales during her research into the Sorcerer's Stone, thinking that the Resurrection Stone was another name or hint about the Sorcerer's Stone.
  • In the second book, Gilderoy Lockhart would have been looking for anything to polish up his magical reputation, and a real Deathly Hallow in the form of Potter's invisibility cloak would have done wonders. Which would have dropped hints along the lines of "why are people so interested in this cloak?".
  • By the third book, the first real seeds of the nature of the Deathly Hallows should have shown up when in an act of desperation, Harry uses the Invisibilty Cloak against the Dementors, even warned that they wouldn't be fooled by it...and they pass by without seeing him.
  • Fourth book, we get to the wand. A small throw-away scene when Ollivander asks to look at Dumbledore's wand, and looks at the wand and Dumbedore in mixed amazement and lust and horror would have been very suitable indeed...
  • Fifth, good question. We bring back the stone (in the form of the first hints of the Horacrux) and the duel between Dumbledore and Voldermort, we get hints that Dumbledore is getting older and not as good, but his skills aren't slipping as fast as they should...
  • Sixth book is where we get a serious hint about the nature of at least one Deathly Hallow-why would Dumbledore even think about wearing such a powerful and dangerous cursed magical artifact? Unless there was another power behind it...that Dumbedore wanted to use.
  • Finally, the seventh book is where all the items are brought together with each other.
I wonder, seriously, if the series is "as planned" out as Rowling has claimed it was. Oh, an author should be allowed some spontaneity in their plots, and occasionally a character can get away from the author...but, you don't just drop a powerful "gun" in the last part of a book, it feels too much like a deus ex machine. And, I still think that Harry should have kept the Elder Wand-after everything he faced, after everything he stood for, he earned the right to that wand.

Third problem is one of the characters that falls in the category of "love to hate" in the form of Serverus Snape-I kept thinking of him prior to Deathly Hallows in the same form as Kerr Avon, a character that has his own agenda and his own plans. That the question of "who is he loyal to", I've always held that the question of Snape's loyalty is simple-that he's loyal to Serverus Snape without exception. His working with Dumbledore to stop Voldermort is intended for the sole purpose of having both of them kill each other, so that Snape is on the top. Snape has demonstrated on several occasions that he is a highly competent wizard with a multitude of skills and ambition.

This version of Snape, the one that we see at the end of Deathly Hallows is one that bothers me because...hell, we should have gotten more hints about his lust/obsession/"I'm your greatest fan" aspect of the relationship between him and Lily Potter. That his sole reason for abandoning the Dark Lord was that he found out that Lily would have been killed by Voldermort. And, his hatred of Harry was based upon how much of James Potter was in Harry, but his defense of Harry out of his unrequited love of Lily lessens him. I could see seriously that he hated Harry because of him, Voldemort killed Lily, but he sees Harry as the tool to finally achieve his goals-of ending Voldermort after Voldermort takes out Dumbledore. And, quite frankly...after seeing most of the representations of James as a teenager, I wonder seriously how much of Snape's hate of James was justified, on the same plain as the hate of a goth nerd to the head of the football team that everybody liked because he knew who to suck up to and who to blow-and stole the love of his life from him.

Now, we get to Dumbledore-whom I have said was pulling off a pretty intricate Xanatos Roulette throughout the books-and this gets back to the "plotting and planning" of Rowling thing that I wonder she did. That Harry's only real father figure planned-from the start to the end-planned to feed into the meat grinder of Voldemort's war and have him killed so that Voldemort would finally be vulnerable to another, while all the time he was leading Harry to believe that he was the one that would stop Voldermort. And, Dumbledore's history-a nice counterpoint to Voldermort-would have been another thing to have all sorts of hints dropped into his life, rather than at the end. You knock a character like he was off of his pedestal carefully, or you crush a whole lot of plots-and he was just thrown off the pedestal really, really hard.

The last bit of my dislike of the series was that, to be frank, how much did Harry Potter change through the books? With the exception of a patch in Order of the Phoenix (which I see as kind of justified-throughout most of the book he was treated like a mushroom by most of his authority figures), Harry has always been a pretty decent, pretty good person. And, he has never been tempted by some of the deeper aspects of power in the Wizarding World...not even once. The nearest he has been tempted has been the Mirror of Erised to find the childhood that he wanted. Even when confronted with the last two of the Deathly Hallows, he chose to get rid of one of them-the one that the entire book seemed primed to give Harry in the form of the Elder Wand. Despite stories to the contrary, the Elder Wand is not the One Ring and Harry Potter has shown that he possessed strength of character to have held onto it. Of course, you have to wonder where that strength of character came from-inside himself, or the enchantment on his house that kept him safe from harm--which had to have included mental harm, as his treatment by the Dursleys damn near bordered on child abuse and would have made him a perfect Muggle hater.

It wasn't a bad book, it just wasn't a good book, and we were all primed for a good book. Tho, at the very least, it meant that people are reading more...and that is never a bad thing. I don't regret buying it, I don't regret reading it, I just regret it wasn't a better book.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Short Review Of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows"

Okay, there's a short and a long review. The long review will be later.

My short review-

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows" is the last book in J.R. Rowling's famous series of books about the English Wizarding world, and it's title character, Harry Potter. While the series, from how it was written, tried to end with a bang; it instead ended with a whimper. The book suffers from several Xanatos Roulettes, not the least of which is the other title "character" of the book-the famed Deathly Hollows.

The plotting suffered...there were hints that should have been dropped in earlier books, and earlier portions of the book, that weren't.

At the end, you feel glad that it ended-because the book ended in a major deus ex that would frustrate many readers. It felt like Rowling changed the rules of how magic worked...just so she could get the ending she wanted. Add to that a series compression of how it should have ended...which would have been a great "travelogue" sort of book.

Add to that the final annoyance, in my mind-the treatement of Snape. Everything about him, up until the last book, was a character that was trying to build up his own abilities so that when Volermort and Dumbledore finally slag each other, he's at the top of the heap. I kept looking at the character's end as being one like Kerr Avon, smiling as both sides realized that he's set them both up to kill each other off...

I think that I won't be able to come back to this book for a bit. How bad was it? I got it Saturday and pulled it from my bag for work (I have usually two hardcover and two or three paperback books for reading on public transit) tonight. This is the shortest time that I've ever had a book in my bag, not even making it through the week. I don't think I'll be reading it, any time soon again. It bothered me that much...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Short posts today, just to get things off my chest. More details as I have time.

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows? IMHO, the book was about second from the worst in the series (#5 aka Order of the Phoenix annoyed me to no end, until about the last third). And, you read it and go back through the other books...and Rowling really, really sucks when she tries to do plotting. I'll discuss this in more depth, but let's just say that if this is was qualifies as "good fiction", I should work harder on trying to do a Heinlien-esque juvenile/young adult book.
  • I have dream of all the buses in San Francisco smelling like french fries. One of the biggest advantages of this would be that we'd be cutting off more of our dependence on foreign oil. So very much always a good thing.
  • Another Harry Potter comment...I really, really, really hate how Serverus Snape died at the end of the series. Up until the end, I always kept viewing his character as more of a Avon-type character-ultimately his loyalties were to himself, and nobody else, and he was running the hell out of all the other people.

    Damn it, I'm talking more about this book than I want to right now.
Will have my much more complete and complicated review of the last Harry Potter book up either tomorrow or Thursday.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

An Insult To Bottom Feeders

Let's see, Ted "I Never Met A Terrorist I Didn't Like" Rall is at it again.

I had to give it a day so I could think about keeping my temper. Not only is it a flat-out insult on American troops, it makes a direct comparison to American soldiers and Al-Qaeda "soldiers" and their ilk.

Last time I checked, America soldiers would use "hard" methods of interrogation, which we're allowed because many of these "insurgents"/terrorists are not protected by the Geneva Conventions up to about Article IV(which the US is not a signature of)-they are not a part of an organized military chain of command, openly wear their weapons and are identifiable as soldiers, make an effort to avoid civilian casualties, and several other factors.

We don't roast up the son of a local headman for dinner as a threat to remain "loyal" to the cause.

Nor do we just slaughter people and bury them in the groves. Even though I think many Iraqis wouldn't have a problem with us just stuffing many members of Al Qaeda in shallow graves coated with pig lard.

I really, really wonder what people like Ted Rall think. If they do "think". Do they believe because they're "progressive" and oh so socialist, they won't be touched by people like this?


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Big Easy Of The Big Easy

Just had this inspirational brainstorm. I was reading and thinking about "Life On Mars", and thought about this idea for a story...

Take a detective from New Orleans, who's partner just died. She's wanting to find out who killed him...and she has a new partner.

He's very much an "old school" cop. He dresses as much as you can, like he was from the '70s. He "interrogates" people in ways that a lot of cops aren't allowed these days. Has problems with cell phones and computers. Is a "bit" dirty (there's two scenes that reflects this-one is when she meets him, he's eating a meal, and the guy that owns the resturant won't take her money, cause "she's his friend". A second incident is when a guy tries to slip him a $100 to make a problem go away-he lights the bill on fire and stuffs it in the crook's pocket).

In short, he seems like he was resurrected from the '70s.

Which he was.

It turns out (we'll learn this as the series goes on) that he died in 1976, killed by six people-two he didn't know, his old partner, and three other people. All to keep the secret of a land deal that made them millions. When Hurricane Katrina hit...he came back from the dead.

By the end of first season, we learn that when he "brings to justice" the six that killed him, he gets to go on to Heaven. If he gets killed again (which can only happen if his head is cut off), he goes straight to Hell...

Interesting bits of drama, and there's also the whole "duck out of water" aspect to the story.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Stupid, Stupid Greens...

(Stolen from Steve DenBeste...)

I do have to admit, it's a good idea. A company in California is building a solar farm, and on the one hand, that's a good thing. Supplies eighty megawatts over 640 acres. Of course, this is during sunlight hours...

Also, if my math is right, you're getting about 0.125 megawatts per acre. And, probably subsiding the solar power panel industry, which really needs to spend more in research to make solar panels tougher, more capable, lighter, and cheaper. And, while it will make the heart of any tranzi whom could get cancer from a dosage of heavy metals in water that requires major effort to find happy, it is a waste-worse yet, it's an arrogant waste.

Let's see. If my math is right, the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant generates about 2.9 megawatts per acre. If you built the same facility on the same bit of ground as the solar plant, that would be 1856 megawatts-1.8 gigawatts, which is noticeable fraction of the State of California's power needs. Twenty nuclear power plants this size and you have the entire state's power needs and PG&E can get back into the buisness of selling power out of the state, which is why California's bills tended to be so low for so long.

(Yes, I know after deregulation that PG&E isn't in the power selling business-I think. Let me just use my ideas and thoughts here).

Of course, that would require us to build Evil Nuclear Reactors, which is kind of like invoking Satan to the Gaia-worshiping environmentalist Greens and Tranzis.

I wonder, seriously, how well this planet will work out in the end.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th Of July...

For those of you that are outside the United States...happy Wednesday.

For American citizens...the nation has been crazy, but we're still here, and not leaving any time soon.

So, for all of you that want America to go away, you can all come and kiss my lovely ass.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tales From The Side-SF Pride 2007

Today was the SF Pride Parade and I went, expecting to have a good, and busy time.

That I did, but I honestly didn't expect how busy....

First clue should have been on BART, when by the time I got to North Berkeley, I was packed into a train that resembled one from Japan than on a Sunday.

And, to the people that organized MUNI, when you have these kinds of crowds, you really, really need to have more trains. And this was to the Giants game. Maybe there should be a special "Sunday" schedule (which is pretty much a Saturday schedule), so that the massive, massive crowds can be accommodated. But, this is a good thing-at the very least, it means that that people will be spending money and making the world a better place, a bit at the time.

Of course, I didn't even make it to Pride to see something interesting. These two lovely ladies were a part of Azure Bellydance (sadly no website), and they had participated in the Pride parade. Great ladies, tired but very happy and highly professional about it.

It was a good sign, I think...they looked like that they had a wonderful, wonderful time.

I came into the show via the Civic Center MUNI station...and the whole party was going on, and it wasn't even NOON...I was amazed. And happy, because this year, I was getting my Utilikilt...something that I've wanted for a long, long while.

And, blessed be, the Utilikilt booth is right there, which is a good, good thing. I have the cash, I have the time, I'm going to get myself fitted, and have my own Utilikilt, something to wear that's all new for me.

I discover exactly what size I need...and they don't have any.

Damn. A great plan ruined. Oh, well.

I go forth, and explore the whole aspect of the Pride Parade, and I'm finding all sorts of neat people. For example...

These lovely and fascinating ladies were at SF Pride from Berkeley. Great people, and I think I should have chattered at them a bit more. Neat people, and very cute. I would love to run into them all again.

Ah yes, Honeybuns and Lola. Two other lovely ladies that I would love to meet again-and buy dinner, and wouldn't kick out of bed for eating crackers, unless they were very, very messy...

Some more people whom came to Pride, and looked like they were having loads of fun. Not the least of which is that the day was still young...

The lovely and loving ladies of The Sock Boutique. They were great with the schwag, and it made me a bit guilty that I wasn't able to really get anything they had offered to sell. Which was a shame, they have great stuff...

This was at 1:30...and it just kept getting busier and busier indeed...

And, yet again, we have the average and run-of-the-mill SF lunatic. It's always fun to see them....

Happy, happy couples. You can't look at them, and not feel happy for them. Love is so very hard to find in this world indeed. We all need more love in this world.

Two very happy grey bears. I have to smile at them, at that age, they look happy and so much in love. You can't ask for more than that...and yes, I'm envious.

More ladies of Pride. I love the costumes, it feels so very much like a really, really good party at a sci-fi con with some of them.

Brekke of the Society of Janus, who is wearing such a lovely, lovely corset...

I love women in corsets, there are so many ways they are lovely indeed...

Oh, did I mention this lovely lady. Her name is Jazz, a dear friend of mine, and I like her a lot. She wears a corset, and so very sadly, she's taken....

...namely, to the guy on the left. Lucky man indeed.

By this time, it was nearly 2 pm, and the crowds were just packed...I realized that my hate of crowds would be kicking in like clockwork, and it was time for me to get out of there. I hate being packed in with people, it makes me feel like a sheep.

I hate feeling like a sheep. I'm very much a wolf.

On my way out, I ran into these lovely two ladies... The lady on the left is Artemis Chase, model and all-around cutie. Loved her friend, too. Two more lovely women to invite to dinner... (Edit: Her friend's name is Charisma Glitteratti.)

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Second Test Drive Completed-"Full Metal Panic!-The Second Raid"

So, due to the fact that I'm looking at paying for school in about two months (donations to The Cause are always accepted...), I haven't had a chance to watch the series on DVD yet.

Warning, there are spoilers...

1)What I liked about the series was that we got a better sense of how MITHRIL relates to the rest of the world. Not the least of which is how Teresa keeps herself in charge-however hard it might be.
2)Emotional know what, I can really sypathize with Sousuke. He's discovering that he's not just a solider anymore, but has other parts of his life that he can do and explore. And, that he's in love with Kaname...
3)Of course, Kaname changes, too. She demonstrates an ability to defend herself, think quick, and work fast on her feet. Oh, and that she can wield a mean tazer.
4)I'm curious about the nature of the whole Amalgam/MITHRL relationship-is this a "secret war" aspect, a'la the whole SHIELD/AIM conflict in Marvel comic books? Or are the being used as proxy forces for world powers?
5)Of course, the series suffers from "Series Syndrome"-the main characters can't resolve their feeling for each other, not really...since that would mean the end of the series. Or, it would get rid of a lot of the comedic plot aspects of it.
6)I know there are several more books and such in the series...when will we see them animated and published, so I can see them? And read the original books...

Opinion? If you liked the first series, you'll like this one. If you didn't...don't expect this to change your mind. Nice mecha combat action, I liked it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What's Going On Out There?

It's a serious question. On the Liberal side of the aisle, the insanity has hit the mainstream. By God, many of the so-called leaders have made sounds and chattered in ways that twenty years ago...hell, ten years ago would have had reasonable and total accusations of the world "treason" bandied about. Not the least of which is the whole "we want out of Iraq" chant from senior leadership of the Democratic party. They are willing to make the blood that American soldiers have shed, the work of thousands that have fought and stood by Iraqis that want a nation of laws, a nation where they know they won't be killed walking down the street because they believe in a slightly different version of God, all for domestic political points. DOMESTIC! POLITICAL! POINTS!

And, let's not ignore our so-called "conservative" and "Republican" friends on the other side of the street. EVERY SINGLE POLL that has checked on this subject has stated that people want a border wall and law enforcement first on the whole illegal immigration issue. Emphasis on the first part, before anything that looks like a guest worker program or amnesty. And enhanced enforcement of the laws-busting employers that knowingly use illegal immigrant labor, busting up gangs that get across the border to escape justice, and keeping people from coming here and using our laws to surf the welfare rolls. Instead, it's like the White House has been working with the Mexican goverment and given it everything they want...

And, the sides are crazy. Not even during the Clinton years did things get this crazy. I don't think any of us hated him in the same way the Left does with the BDS-we didn't like him, thought he was fool and a knave and an idiot...but we just wanted him to go away and join Jimmy Carter in peanut farming. To become a trivia question on Hollywood Squares. Not this outpouring of venom that is standard....I don't think even the Freepers were this insanely hateful of Clinton.

I wonder, seriously, what will happen in this upcoming election. It hasn't gotten serious yet, but when it does, it will be a messy election.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back From The Educational Wars

Long few months, mostly the fun of learning how to work through the various Adobe programs. Still discovering new tricks for old monstrosities.

Will be blogging more in the next few months, and I have gotten a nice, new Nikon D70S (okay, used but in good shape) to play with. Expect photos, some of which might be NSFW (you'll be warned if there is such stuff).

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Plot Glut

Steve DenBeste was talking about how, once you boil it all down, a lot of the harem animes are the same. Worse yet, you need to be a CPM to really differentiate between some of the shows. And their greatest sin? They flunk the refrigerator test, even before you finish the show.

Does this tie into the glut of remakes? Let's see, Disturbia is a remake of one of the great classics (Rear Window), the swarm of TV shows being remade into movies (the person that does an A-Team remake will go on the same list at Uwe Boll as "people I'll feed into wood chipper, feet first"), and such.

Why? Quite frankly, we're running out of plots. It hasn't all been done before, but I'd say about 70-80% of it's all been done before. What's left is getting pretty esoteric, and pretty weird-and something off-the-wall and strange.

Some of the things that could be's an idea. Try taking a trope, and subervting it.

I've been banging around this idea for a manga/anime seires. Take the Fushigi Yugi plot and mess around with it...

Our main character is accidentally summoned from our world to a Asian magical fantasy world to fulfill a prophesy. The Princess of Roses will marry the Dragon Prince, and will lead that world through it's next thousand years of what it becomes. As the time comes closer, the sixteen Dragon Princes (and Princesses) start appearing, eight bright and eight dark. Once the Dragons kill each other off, one will be left to marry the Princess. If a bright prince marries the Princess, "good" things happen. If a dark prince marries the Princess, "bad" things happen. Both for a given value of good and bad.

So, the "good" and "bad" guys are gathering up the Princes and Princesses to await the summoning of the Princess of Roses...

And this time, the summoned one is a guy. That has all the characteristics and rules of the marks the Princess of Roses should be. Whom is most certainly not a retiring and reticent type. He can make gunpowder and can do blacksmithing, and is a military and engineering otaku. He knows history. A few episodes along, he organizes a village into a small Roman legion with longbows for ranged weapons. He exists as a major change in the world...and there are people that don't want change.

Hilarity, death, romance, and comedy ensue from there.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Concealed Carry For California?

I need some help here.

According to this, there is a pretty set procedure for getting a proposition on the ballot.

After what happened today at Virgina Tech, I think it's time.

Hell, I think it's way past time.

Only one.

That's all that had to have been there. Only one with a gun. Only one that was willing to stand up and fight.

Highly Depressing...

Everybody has heard the news about the attacks on the Virgina Tech campus.

What makes it worse is that there was a major legislative proposal to allow concealed carry on campus. That it died on committee is something that people will be regretting.

My fears? I go to college, in the evenings. And, as you know God made little green apples, somebody is going to try and do better-and survive.

If it happens when I'm around...I live in California. Where the "right people" think we shouldn't be able to defend ourselves. Because if I could, I'd be carrying. Not because of this...because I believe I should be able to defend myself. And others. A state of affairs that somebody at work would have liked-she got robbed in San Francisco, in broad daylight, by a free-lance socialist. Shooting him a few times would have been a good thing, in my opinion...

Grr. I'm tired and long days...and the idiot count has gone up...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Saw "300" Again...

...and, damn if that isn't a powerful film.

It's the sort of film Hollywood should be making. The bad guys are bad guys, the good guys are good guys, the villains are nasty, and the moral is one that should be told, over and over and over again.

Hollywood won't make this kind of film, because it means they have to acknowledge that there is good and evil. Not just "a few points of view".

The bad guys commit horrible atrocities in the name of their god-king. Oh, did I mention that they consider civilians a "valid target"?

I wonder why Hollyweird wouldn't want to make heroes that fight this kind of evil...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

First Test Drive Completed!

I got to watch Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, all thirteen episodes. God bless fansubs.

It's a fun, occasionally light, occasionally deep series. Fight choreography is much different, it does flow togeter a lot better. I did especially love the magic system...spells more as programs than arcane formulas. Interesting concept, I must think about it more...

I really wish the characters were older, Episode 5 left me feeling a bit icky, and Fate Testarossa was pushing about 1.2-1.3 reis (clone of the original girl and despised by her "mother", and used only to gather the Jewel Seeds needed to resurrect the original). It was a good story, tho the next series seems to be aiming at the whole shojo/blowing up Tokyo power levels. Not sure how that'll be...but we'll see.

Opinion? Worth watching if you're a big fan of the "magical girl" genre. The character youth should be carefully considered, but it's a good show.

Friday, March 30, 2007

This Looks Awfully Familiar...

This map is a map of the Internet, posted by somebody that logged IP connections. While looking at this, I pulled out my copy of the Ghost in The Shell manga, and turns out that the map that Shirow posted...looks an awful lot like about the map he had...and very much like a star cluster.

Hm...if Sword of the Stars could support a map built like this. Or Starfire...GOD, the game would take few YEARS to go through. We'd need computer support just to track the production. And combat....I'm scared in so many ways. We could reach battles that would make ISW 4 seem tiny and puny. It could be fleets measured in thousands of ships. Hell, we might even have to make the game played so that whole TEAMS of players were playing the Emperor and Imperial governors of just one empire, as a part of an game that would take years to play through. It's scary on so many levels.

But, it's one of those things that should be tried. And played.

When I win the lottery...maybe.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Watching The Last Episode Of Battlestar Galactica Season Three... (Warning, Spoilers)

...and, I do have to say this.

What the motherfracking hell was going on?

Are they all toasters and just don't know it? We know that Laura Roslin, Caprica Six, and Athena are sharing the "imaging" of the Opera House with Baltar.

Which also leads to the next big question-what happens next? Galactica is facing off against a BIG Cylon fleet. Starbuck is back...and she says she knows how to get to Earth. Lee's in a Viper, and probably realized what he is-a pilot. We have the Final Five there...and that means that there are at least two hybrid Cylon/human children. And, what is their ultimate agenda? To finally end the war between Cylon and human?

And, there won't be new episodes until 2008.


ADDITION-Friend of mine made a comment, and I have a scary theory.

Roslin is an early version of the human/Cylon hybrid. She had a vision of Leoben Convoy in Season One, not focused...but pretty specific. The drug she was taking for her cancer was causing hallucinations, not quite specific. This might have unlocked her latent ability to image. After she was injected with Hera's blood to cure her cancer...the hallucinations and dreams have been getting more and more specific.

All of her hallucinations that we see on-screen are of Cylons. Even the near-death hallucination she had in Epiphanines had Cylons in it, in one form or another.

That she's imaging with Hera/Athena is one thing. That they're sharing the imagery with Caprica Six is something...crazy. Does that make Baltar a Cylon? A hybrid that shares "imagry" with Caprica Six (their mutual hallucinations)?

And, what is the agenda of the Final Five? All of them are trusted people, having proven their loyalty time and time again, in blood and fire. Where does their agenda lead for all the sides?

Thursday, March 22, 2007


You know, you look at this, and you realize that people are crazy in GOOD ways.

Somebody is going to do the stats in a game system, you know it. Probably Warhammer 40K.

And, you know somebody will make the miniatures.

And there will be the battle...

Damn it, I want this on a T-Shirt. And if it wasn't going to call down a Plague Of Lawyers...I'd make this T-shirt...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Anime Crash Test Dummy

I think this is going to be my big thing for the next few months. I'm going to be looking at various fansubs and seeing what's pretty cool and what sucks.

There will be much suckage, I'm fearing. I haven't seen a lot lately that has me impressed.

So, time to fire up the BitTorrent software and see what's up. Note, I'm going only to post complete series (just in case it's pretty decent at the end), so be warned.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Anime Frustration

I think that me and Steve DenBeste are in full agreement on this-the latest round of anime is kind of sucking.


Worse, a lot of remakes, a sign of studios that are needing a serious creative boost (and I want to know whom thought it was a good idea to make a second season of Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan, so I can whap them on the back of the head with a two stroke guitar). Those whom are "in the know"-what is the average age of directors and anime writers these days?

Sadly, even the fansubs are getting kind of dull. Let's see, what I got recently was Soko No Strain, in which the main female lead's best friend is a doll that she talks to and never responds, never acts, never does anything but sit there, the entire series. The mecha were too curved for my tastes, looking more like mobile statues than weapons, and the whole concept of a war that takes place at relativistic speed was done better by, oh, Gunbuster and The Forever War....

My theory? Two-fold. The first is the export market has finally caught up with Anime-they know that eventually something will be sold to America. And, they want the next Naruto, the next Cowboy Bebop, the next Evangelion-the mega hit that will make them millions in DVD sales, toys, models, look-alike cosmetic surgery, porn... And, if what I can see on TeeVee and in the stores is what "Americans" like to buy, we're buying a lot of yaoi, drama, shonen-ai faire, and similar. No big mecha stories or "deep" plots.

Oh, and porn, lots and lots of porn...

Second? The cost of investment in anime means that a lot fewer chances can be taken. Like movies, if you don't have a "name" (voice actor, director, studio, etc), fans won't go to see the movie/anime. This means that this is the time for the independent studios to start making products. I do think that the Internet will save anime-if only because within the decade, somebody will make a complete series, produce it, master it, press it on DVD...and only meet once for the release party.
(And, if there's any justice in the world, I'll be writing the scripts and directing...).

I'm a tad frustrated...and I hope to see more neat stuff, and soon.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Watching Gunbuster and Gunbuster 2

So, I just got Gunbuster on DVD, and watching Gunbuster 2 (Diebuster) via the ever-lovely and useful BitTorrent (I swear, I've saved more on getting BAD anime via download than all the reviews in the world). And, you know what? Gunbuster still holds up, despite being nearly twenty years old (yes, TWENTY years, that's scary...). My only complaint-if any-would have been that if there was a series that deserved a "reimaging" or at the very least bringing the animation quality up to "modern" standards, this is it.

And, despite the fact that GAINAX can't normally do a sequel to save their lives, Gunbuster 2 ties in a lot of the same themes. The same universe-and the way the story is told, it's more like a continuity of the original series. The series is a hell of a lot better than any of the "oh no, humanity sucks" tales of Evangelion (GOD, that series has gotten on my nerves lately, much better series are languishing in obscurity, yet the passive-aggressive Shinji and annoying company are going to have a new series made of their adventures...). I would love to know more about what happened before Gunbuster 2, why the Dix-Neuf had it's degeneracy reactor removed, why the defense system of Operation Galaxy Center Throw changed into the Space Monsters of the series, and why the Topless came about...a hell of a lot more than wanting to find Shinji Ikari and give him a beat-down that would make Camile Vidan go "damn, that boy has it rough".

Supposedly, Gunbuster 2 will be coming out on DVD. Will I get it? Do bears poop in the woods?

Monday, February 19, 2007

Random Week Notes

Haven't updated this in a week. It feels like a month, between work, school, and a social life that is just confusing the hell out of me.

But, for all of my fans (all three of you), here are some of the thoughts/things that my brain has been up to.
  • Fate/stay night is just flat, like week-old opened soda. Solty Rei has been done before, and done better. And, this sucks...I'm looking through some of the anime I have, and there isn't much new stuff-fan or pro subbed-that is about as good as a lot of the stuff in my library that would be considered "classic" anime. I want new stuff, but a lot of what the market seems to be pushing out is...watered down? Dumbed down? As if they know they're aiming for the American domestic market.

    I just finished up the whole Full Metal Alchemist TV series, then watched the movie. I liked the note the TV series ended on. I hated the movie, if only because it felt way too much like they were trying to recycle the character models. At least this time (unlike way too much anime) the Nazis were bad guys...
  • Everybody tells me that I need to do two things-get a Mac, and get a girlfriend. On the first, I like the big iron of my PC-okay, I might have to replace the mobo, I KNOW I'm going to have to replace the sound card...but, I can do that with my PC. Macs...once they get too far, it's time to buy a new one. Tho, upgrading the new Mac Pro with the heavy-duty Xeno processors (violating factory warentee!) and setting up my box as a dual-boot Windows/OSX system has a temptation to it.

    On the girlfriend issue? Working on it. So far, eighteen people have told me I need one since the start of the year. When I get to number twenty, I'm making them a plaque...
  • Bring me the head of Bill Gates.
  • I'm curious-how do most men learn how to date? 'Cause most "men's magazines" tend to be nearly usless on this subject. My female friends have suggested that I try a sneaking a look at Cosmo or Elle or such. At this point, it just might be worth trying...
  • Fantasy books have been annoying the hell out of me. I personally found trying to read any of the Lord of the Rings trilogy to be an exercise in homework, which is one of the reasons why I'm reading something else. And, they keep using the same European models, or a Japanese model. I would find it awesome if somebody set a good novel in the Era of Warring States in China, or Byzantinum (the various tales of Bellasarius are good reads).
More thoughts as my brain hits them...