Monday, December 9 2013
US education system hits bottom, digs
Lots of press about the “Hour of Code” campaign recently, which has the goal of briefly exposing children to computer programming. Money down the drain, since most school curriculums still don’t include Hour of Basic Logic, Hour of Problem-Solving, or Hour of You Are Not A Precious Snowflake.
[Update: a number of the discussions of this are linking to Jeff Atwood’s Please Don’t Learn to Code, and wow did that attract hundreds of comments from people who completely missed his point. I agree completely with Jeff, and a lot of the reason is that I remember exactly what it was like when we did this back in the Eighties: put a bunch of kids in a room and try to teach them to program, and 60% will pretend interest and parrot what they’re told, 30% will be too bored to pretend, 9% will be actively hostile, and 1% will be excited about the opportunity until the other kids bully them into doing all the work. Bottom line, if the school curriculum included critical thinking skills in all courses, an “hour of code” would be as necessary as giving floating lessons to ducks. No offense to any ducks among my readers…]
Friday, December 6 2013
Yuu-shibu 10: well, now we know
It is now obvious how Lam-chan fits into the ending. Also, I was right about Blaze and Klein, Raul’s former classmates that were added for the anime; I didn’t want to say more at the time, but it should be pretty clear now.
They’re definitely tracking the Ecchi manga, despite things being reordered to accomodate the Amada story. They even had Lam flip up Elza’s skirt to show off her sexy panties, although they changed the reason and the audience.
It looks like I was wrong about Shell, though; he’s in it pretty deep.
Younha - Subsonic
After several months of teasing, a new EP from Younha. The only real disappointment is that track 3 “features” a rapper, which is invariably the same as pouring used motor oil onto a fine steak, but the music business continues with the odd belief that rap is the perfect accompaniment to any genre. Truth is, most rap doesn’t even go well with other rap, much less the sort of pop that’s focused around someone with a good voice and the training to use it.
Stylistically, her performances suffer a bit from her time belting out showstoppers on the I Am a Singer TV series, as well as a few rather busy arrangements, but only the ruined-by-rap track is a waste of time. Pre-release track Home is pretty good:
(oh, and thanks to her label for making the album available online in multiple countries on release day)
Waking up with frost on my lemons (not a euphemism), a warm breeze comes from Lion.
Tuesday, December 3 2013
Did someone order cheesecake?
Well, technically, he ordered extra-dimensional animated naked electro-girls, but I choose to respond with… something else.(Continued on Page 4344)
Friday, November 29 2013
What is this “turkey” you speak of?
My leftovers didn’t come from no bird:
(sadly, while Costco usually trims the silverskin, they apparently got too busy the day before Thanksgiving, so while these are delicious, the smoke didn’t penetrate the underside as thoroughly as I’d like)
Sunday, November 24 2013
Lost in translation: Lam-chan Punch!
[Update3: just rewatched the episode and there’s another translation that doesn’t work; I didn’t comment on it earlier because at the critical moment, I wasn’t looking at the subtitles. At 17:35, Elza flirtingly asks Raul to take her picture, insisting he’d do a better job than the customers. But what she says is “you’d take me properly, wouldn’t you?” and “(I) want you to take (something)”. His blood-starved brain wasn’t capable of handling the omitted word “photographs”, which explains his panicked reaction, something that the translation obscures. You can see that she’s being “haha, only serious”, but his hysteria doesn’t make sense if you follow the subtitles.]
At 15:15 in episode 8, Lam announces her intention to help improve sales, translated by Crunchyroll and those who copied their work as “Lamdimia do Aximemor will just have to get hot and heavy…”. Raul then says “hot and heavy?” while looking her up and down, which leads her to clobber him. Unfortunately, the “hot and heavy” choice doesn’t really work for either her meaning or Raul’s misinterpretation. It’s easy to forgive, though, because it’s a bit tricky to match the idiom.
Her exact words were “hitohada nuide”, from the verb 一肌脱ぐ = “to pitch in and help”, but literally a compound of hitohada (skin) and nugu (to undress). Raul, dazed from the heat (or a lack of blood flow to the brain from all the eye candy), heard only the literal meaning and gave her bikini-clad body the once-over.
[Update: to clarify, there are two different words read as “hitohada”: 一肌 and 人肌. The first (“one+skin”) means to help out, the second (“person+skin”) means skin. JMdict doesn’t list 一肌 as a standalone word, and uses both versions for the compound hitohada-nugu; my good dictionary separates the two. ]
I think I might have gone with “give it her all”; it changes her intended meaning a bit, but works in both contexts.
[Update2: Actually, it looks like the key piece of the idiom is hada-nugu, 肌脱ぐ; alone, it means “to take your shirt off” or “to work with great effort”, and in addition to hitihada-nugu, there’s also katahada-nugu, 片肌脱ぐ “to bare one shoulder” or “to lend a hand”. Lam-chan’s shoulder was already bare, so that expression wouldn’t have confused poor Raul the same way.]
Friday, November 22 2013
Yuu-shibu 8: Bikinis and plot crumbs
As I feared, they’re setting up the Amada arc to finish out the season, and the final scene makes it clear that they’ve merged it with the plot of book 1. They now have four episodes left to bring it all together, and while I appreciate the eye-candy and the culturally-acclimated evil genius that is Lamdimia do Aximimor, I wonder if they can finish the story properly, or if they’re too busy setting up “buy the BluRay” scenes.
The revelation of how the Demon Lord was defeated should still be worthwhile, but I worry that the actual resolution will be over-shadowed by the cheesecake. I think they’re going to try to have all the girls there for the big finish, particularly Lore and Lam. That will involve some rather contrived plotting unless they move it to the Leon store.
Not that the novels are short on cheesecake…(Continued on Page 4341)
Sunday, November 17 2013
Queen’s Blade, The Live
No Bodacious Space Pirates were harmed in the production of these books.
Friday, November 15 2013
Danger Level: Freckles
Kanae Kanzaki, collected here, here, here, and of course a google image search for 神崎かなえ will find plenty more. It looks like she did some part-time amateur modeling in college, then moved on. Her blog is abandoned, “her” twitter account exists only to promote some digital photobooks by one of the photographers who shot her, and I haven’t found anything to suggest that she’s still getting in front of cameras. Pity.
Thursday, November 14 2013
Wednesday, November 13 2013
Yuu-shibu story potential
After looking at both manga (which I’ll just call Straight and Ecchi, to keep it clear), I think I know where the anime is going, and how they’re going to get there. They seem to be mostly following Ecchi, and usually toning it down a bit (manga: Nova trips and plants her crotch in Raul’s face, Lam flips up Elza’s skirt to show Raul her sexy panties, tentacles are very ecchi, etc; anime: magical bukkake). Character design is pretty consistent across all three versions:
Both manga follow more or less the same path so far, with volume one ending soon after the Witch’s Arms incident. There’s some young Fino flashbacks in Straight that set up the big reveal in volume 2, but nothing comparable in Ecchi.
The big reveal in Straight comes less than halfway into volume 2, before Amada appears on the scene. Volume 2 of Ecchi isn’t out for another six weeks or so, but I’m guessing they do the same.
I think the order of those events is what they’re changing for the anime. Speculations and spoilers below:(Continued on Page 4335)
Tuesday, November 12 2013
Yuu-shibu manga comparison
[Update: I just bought the second volume of the straight adaptation. I hope they do this properly in the anime, because there’s a real story going on, and I quite enjoyed the revelation of how the Demon Lord was defeated.]
So I picked up the Kindle editions of the first volume from both of the Yuu-shibu manga. The one that’s actually called Yuu-shibu is the extra-ecchi version that adds Elza, Lam, Nova, and a lot more fan-service, while the one that shares the novels’ full ridiculous title looks like a more direct adaptation. The anime is using a lot of material from the ecchi manga.
The simplest way to explain the difference is to show the Witch’s Arms… (NSFW!)(Continued on Page 4333)
Sunday, November 10 2013
Q: How do you say “pop quiz” in Japanese?
A: 抜き打ちテスト, “nukiuchi test”
The literal meaning of nukiuchi is to draw your sword and attack in one motion, but over time it’s come to mean “doing something suddenly, without warning”.
These days I’m more likely to draw swords than take quizzes, so I was briefly surprised when I found it used in a discussion of Marika’s performance at school.
Friday, November 8 2013
SAO Swimsuit Special
Crunchyroll reports that they’ll be simulcasting the Sword Art Online Extra Edition special episode, in which sister/cousin/haremette Leafa/Suguha learns to swim in the real world, so they can do an underwater quest in the virtual world.
No doubt the next special episode will send the girls to an onsen so Liz can overcome her fear of steam.
They could have animated the one-and-only story with Asuna as the protagonist, but no, they went for the fan-service.
Thursday, November 7 2013
Friday, November 1 2013
Halloween monster report
A few Iron Men and Captains America, zombies male and female (including an undead prom queen), a pirate girl who could have been quite sexy if she’d been old enough for her taste in clothing, a lovely princess a few years shy of kissing her first frog, a teen witch who bought her stockings and heels at Fredericks of Hollywood and the rest of her costume at Toys R Us, and the usual assortment of ghosts, vampires, dinosaurs, ninjas, bears, cats, hungry teenagers, etc, many of them barely old enough to lisp out a “thank you”. The youngest were invariably accompanied by rather attractive mothers dressed up as Suburban MILFs.
[young teen girls with black-framed glasses in relatively normal clothing was a big thing this year; they looked to be dressed up as something, but beyond “cute nerd girl”, I couldn’t guess]
Since the neighbors at the end of the street started putting on a haunted house a few years ago, I’ve bumped up my candy supply. I give out large handfuls, so I figured 40 pounds wasn’t going to cut it this year, and bought 11 five-plus-pound bags at Costco. I had maybe a bag and a half left at 8:30. If they’d kept coming for another half-hour, I’d have been out.
Friday, October 25 2013
Yuu-shibu episode 4
Apparently the number one problem with the show was that there wasn’t enough fan-service in the opening and end credits.
They fixed that.
[Update: speaking of fan-service, Nova, Lore, Elza, and Lam are not in the novels. Lore is anime-original, and the other three were added in the manga. Actually, it looks like there are two different manga running, one a straight adaptation of the novels, and the other with extra service. Airi’s bunny-suit is straight from the books, though, and “somehow” Fino and Sara both end up in them as well.]
Thursday, October 24 2013
CMOS battery time!
So, to hide my new Kindle behind a VPN that pretends to be in Japan (so it won’t trigger region-detection forced on the ebook market by publishers), I had to resurrect an old wireless access point and put it behind a machine that could NAT out through an OpenVPN tunnel. I grabbed a dusty old Shuttle from my closet, put a fresh distribution of OpenBSD on it, and then had it lose all of its BIOS settings when I moved it to a more convenient place in the house.
I’d forgotten about the joy of replacing CMOS backup batteries; we’re so spoiled today.
Sunday, October 20 2013
MSP book1, chapter 2
[note: it did not take me two weeks to read this chapter. Rather, it took two weeks of medical tests that failed to find the cause of my chronic fatigue, leaving little time and energy for reading. It’s surprisingly depressing to hear doctors and technicians keep telling you that every system’s in excellent shape, when just carrying your laundry upstairs has you breathing hard.]
So, the morning after the revelatory dinner party, Marika oversleeps and frantically bikes to school. To her surprise, Misa, in a conservative business suit, pulls up alongside and offers her a ride. Making a snap judgement to trust this near-stranger, Marika accepts, and without waiting for Misa to pull over, gets her bike close, opens the rear door, puts one foot up on the outside rail, and tumbles into the back seat, bike and all. A rather surprised Misa makes sure she’s okay, and as she drives, explains that with the piracy business on hold, she’s taken a side job as the school doctor (the current doctor suddenly took a long vacation…). Asked if she did it so she could persuade Marika to accept the captain job, Misa answers that no, she’s there to protect her.
So when Mami excitedly informs Marika that they have a new homeroom teacher, and he’s a good-looking young guy, Marika figures out that it will be Kane before he walks in. Transfer student Chiaki is still a surprise, and in another difference from the anime, she stumbles as she heads to her seat, with a quick-thinking Marika grabbing her sleeve and saving her from a nasty fall. Kane looks around to see if someone tripped her, but Chiaki straightens herself up and apologizes, explaining that she’s always had a problem with tripping over her own feet. As she continues to her seat, she whispers, “thank you, Marika-san”. Hey, wait, how did she know my name…(Continued on Page 4321)