Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 19:43 Satterfits all around after repeating a story I heard from Shane Scott. The classics never fail. #
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 12:54 Finally getting over the initial twitter-only phase, and starting to blog again. #
  • 20:37 @methodicechidna I am frequently dissapointed in grits. When they're good, they're good. When they're bad, they're disgusting. #
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Thursday, February 26, 2009

three things that need to be memes

I've taken three screenshots from Uchuu Senkan Yamato that really ought to be common memes. Spread 'em, people.

I said, "Idiots"
No, you stupid pervert
Complain, complain. You only call me when you have a complaint.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

changing my recommendations

I no longer recommend watching 12 or 13 hours of Star Blazers from the link I posted yesterday. Trust me, I did it. By the end, your eyes get used to fuzziness and compression artifacts, and the real world looks strange for not having them. As I said, the DVDs are on Netflix.

These subtitled versions of Yamato are of such a higher visual quality that it would be a crime to do anything but pimp them instead:

I have not found the Japanese version of the actual TV series on Netflix, only the Japanese movies.

Monday, February 23, 2009

We're Off to Outer Space..

Disclaimer: I don't know shit about anime. I can count my fingers the number of Japanese-created cartoons I've watched outside of brief youtube clips. So what I am about to say is not as an anime expert, because I'm not one. If you're an anime fan reading this, forgive me for never having seen a Wave Motion Gun before.

Uchuu Senkan Yamato (Space Battleship Yamato) is really awesome. You should watch it. I say this from the point of view of somebody who, like you, grew up with Star Trek and Star Wars. It's just plain good Space Opera.

Do not, as I did, start by renting The Movie. This "movie" was made by editing the entire first season of the shown down into an hour and a half recap. It apparently was a blockbuster in Japan. But after watching that, I found this:

This Youtube channel has the first 13 episodes, in Japanese with subtitles:

And here the 14th through 26th, the rest of the first season:

And then there is this:

(Aside: this is pretty low-quality video even by Youtube standards, but if you want quality you can rent the whole series from Netflix)

This last one is the entire first season of Star Blazers, the Americanized version of Yamato that ran on Saturday mornings circa 1979 and sometime into the early 1980s. Even though they edited it to remove stuff like sexually-harassing robots, it still comes across as a remarkably uncensored cartoon for its era.

Remember, this was a time when the Wonder Twins and Gleek were considered acceptable as superheroes for American kids. This was just shortly before the advent of G.I. Joe, a cartoon in which neither "terrorists" nor the U.S. military were actually allowed to kill each other.

While trying to avoid spoilers, I will note that Star Blazers features:

  • Radioactive asteroids being thrown at the earth until the all the oceans dry up and the whole world becomes a deadly radioactive desert. (No roving bands of mutant biker punks that I've seen so far, though.)
  • Vehicles that are known to be occupied blow up regularly, with no sign of any escape pod or parachute.
  • There are a lot of frickin' lasers (up to an including the Wave Motion Gun), but there are also quite a few bombs and missles.. Weapons far too close to something that might actually be used in a real war for most cartoons to allow them.
  • The mooks are humanoid, sentient, individuals. They are not droids, clones, or anything else that it is apparently considered OK to kill in a kids' show.

Star Blazers is much more in line with live-action like Star Wars, or possibly "Buck Rogers" (the one with Erin Gray) than with contemporary or near-contemporary cartoons such as Superfriends or G.I. Joe. You probably think of all of these as harmless fun. Remember, though: Buck Rogers has global thermonuclear war - mutants and all - as the starting point of the series. As Star Wars has blowing up inhabited planets just to prove that you can do it. Did Cobra Commander ever get to do anything like that?

Oh shit, I forgot to mention the most important fact of the whole show. The Space Battleship Yamato is literally supposed to be the WWII Japanese battleship, converted for intergalactic travel and outfit with the Wave Motion Gun, the mother of all BFGs. This ship doesn't have a big energy-beam weapon, this ship is a big energy beam weapon.

For obvious reasons, they toned down a lot of the Japanese nationalism that was present in the original. Which for most non-Japanese, was probably needed. I do wish they actually let them drink sake, though.

why, why was I programmed to feel pain?!

Am I just a lot of scrap metal to you? I also happen to have life. I hear. I see. I feel. All these things were created in me to serve human beings. And I live among you, sharing your hopes and dreams. And yes, your fears. I know when you're lonely and frightened. I know how you dream of returning to Earth. All these senses, all this feeling, I've come to realize is Love. Yes, I'm made of metal and I'm strong. I will fight to protect you. And if I'm destroyed and only scrap metal is left, well, it once held a heart.
robot IQ-9, Star Blazers season 1, episode 16

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Last week's hail storm put these holes in my vinyl grill cover

Friday, February 20, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 08:26 I've been watching this page grow for years, and it never ceases to strain credulity. No one's that ignorant. #
  • 19:07 Incredible Hulk (as in, the Bill Bixby version) on a big screen HDTV.. I'm scared. #
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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Look at these freakin' hailstones!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 14:00 I often wonder how much modern pop music is still shaped by early drum machines that could only think in 4/4 time and 16th notes. #
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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 14:00 I often wonder how much modern pop music is still shaped by early drum machines that could only think in 4/4 time and 16th notes. #
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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 09:11 Weird.. on my new cable box, you seem to be able to get to more channels by surfing than you can get through the "guide". #
  • 19:16 Everywhere I go, strangers ask me where I got this thing: #
  • 19:42 What kind of restaurant Kacey's is: ours is the only table here with no grandparents. #
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Saturday, February 07, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 18:56 This waffle house where I'm eating is older than most of its employees. #
  • 19:41 @chetman for some reason I usually think of waffle house as being staffed mainly by "miss mamie" types #
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Friday, February 06, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 15:49 @jisbellemtp I am always the only person visibly under 65 who isn't just there to deliver a shipment of meds or something. #
  • 19:30 "I want to be in that Rhumba, when the Saints go over there" - HJS #
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Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Tweets for Today

  • 08:19 About to do one of the craziest things in software engineering: write code for a project while also managing it. #
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