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Messages - ironmage

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General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 19, 2017, 08:29:35 PM »
Let's all carve a pumpkin, roast the seeds, sprinkle them with pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), and enjoy with a nice cold glass of apple cider. 

Come on, who's with me?  We'll wear costumes and watch classic monster movies and everything. 
Count me in.  I think I'll microwave my cider, though.  The weather up here is starting to turn.

Also, coffee sucks.
Well at least there is some sanity in here.
I thought I was the only person in the entire universe who doesn't like coffee.

Nosferatu (1922):  This is one of the earliest vampire movies, if not the first.  Being from the silent movie era, there are some aspects that might seem cheesy to a modern audience, but this film is still genuinely creepy.  Count Orlok (portrayed by Max Schreck) is a monstrous character, more a daemonic predator than a well-dressed gentleman of class.  Wherever he goes, he is accompanied by rats and pestilence.  He does not turn his victims to vampires, but kills them outright.

Some elements which today would be considered cliche, even comedic, appear here with the force of originality;  it's hard not to cringe when Orlok rises from his coffin.  One of the more memorable scenes was Orlok walking through a town, carrying his coffin lightly under his arm like so much baggage, an almost absurd juxtaposition of the mundane and the eldritch.

There are technical issues here (I guess night scenes could not be shot at night with 1920's film technology), but the cinematography is remarkable for the era, especially in the use of shadow.

Here's a picture of the Count, to trouble your dreams.

Dracula (1931):  This is acclaimed as a classic, but I have no idea why.  This movie is boring.  The pacing (and dialogue) are slow, the acting is uninspired, and the overall effect is about as frightening as a head of cabbage.  Bela Lugosi's Dracula isn't even interesting enough to be a potential target for parody; but at least van Helsing occasionally slips into mad-scientist territory.

Even by 1930's standards, the special effects are pathetic.  The bat is obviously being dangled from a fishing pole or somesuch (at least the wire wasn't obvious), Dracula passing intangibly through a giant spider web is implied by cutting away, and then back again (better to have left the scene out), and too much is done off-screen.  Dracula bites someone?  Off-screen.  Dracula gets staked?  Off-screen.  Dracula turns into a wolf?  We have to be told about it, second hand.  Forget about seeing the transformation, we don't even get to see stock-footage of a wolf running away!   When the subject of werewolves came up, Nosferatu at least provided a shot of some sort of wild dog.

The Soundroom / Re: Random VGM
« on: October 10, 2017, 11:59:14 PM »

Anime, TV, and Movies / Re: Anime/Manga Journal
« on: October 10, 2017, 11:55:49 PM »
Text dump incoming!  I had yesterday off, so besides finishing up a couple series, I also ran an initial sweep over the new lineup (as available on Crunchyroll). Series I like (for the moment) are coded in blue, ones I particularly disliked in red.
From backlog:

Spice & Wolf (finished):  I was going to unsubscribe from Funimation after watching this; everything else in my queue has already appeared on Crunchyroll.  But you know?  I think I want to watch this again.  I'll save my review until after the second pass.

Deadman Wonderland (finished):  I loved the premise:  A student is convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and is sentenced to incarceration in a prison theme-park, where inmates are employed in life-threatening tourist attractions.  But, although the series as a whole was entertaining enough, the characterization and plot weren't strong enough to make this recommendable.  Maybe you could watch this if you're feeling gore-deprived between seasons of Attack on Titan.
From last season:

Gamers! (season 1 finished):  I thought the Love Polygon schtick was somewhat overused by the second half, but this series is still a lot of fun.  I'm shipping Amano and Hoshinomori. desu desu

Classroom of the Elite (season 1 finished):  I liked the series that this almost was, but I wanted 10% less fanservice, and 15% more political backstabbing.

My Hero Academia (season finished):  This series is awesome on every level.

Dragon Ball Super (continuing):  What will happen when Goku runs out of colors to turn into?  Stay tuned!
Initial impressions from the new season:

Black Clover (1-episode drop):  Asta (Naruto) wants to become the Wizard King (Hokage) but he has no magic powers (ninjutsu), while his friend Yuno (Sasuke) is a natural prodigy.  Plagiarism, much?  Still, there is some originality here: Asta is more irritating than Naruto ever was.

Sengoku Night Blood (2-minute drop): After one minute, I guessed that this was based on an otome game.  I was going to give it a chance anyway, but then saw "Idea Factory" in the production credits.

Juni taisen: Zodiac War (continuing):  This started out okay.  I'll give it a couple episodes.

Love is Like a Cocktail (1-episode drop):  Not to my taste.

Food Wars (continuing into third season):  I'll take a double order.

Urahara (8-minute drop): I know they were aiming for a unique style, but the wonky perspective in the backgrounds gave me a headache, and those first eight minutes were boring.

Konohana Kitan (continuing):   Slice-of-life shows are hit-or-miss with me, but this is starting out cute enough, and hasn't raised any red flags yet.

Tsukipro: The Animation (4-minute drop):  Boy-band anime.

Rainy Cocoa (1-episode drop):  Meh.

King's Game (1-episode drop):  A horror series needs a good lead-in, and a gradual build-up of tension.  Abruptly jumping into the drama--manufactured drama, in this case--is a rookie mistake.  If I don't care about the characters, it isn't going to matter to me when they get splattered all over the landscape.

Recovery of an MMO Junkie (continuing):  When she walked into her apartment, and said "tadaima" to an empty room, I felt a twinge.

Dies Irae (1-episode drop):  ...I have no idea what that was supposed to be.  Perhaps playing the VN is a prerequisite to understanding this, because it felt like I had dropped in on the middle of a long-running series.

Vanishing Line (continuing?):  Hmm.  We'll see.

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (1-episode drop):  I only watch reverse-harem series when I like the protagonist, and this particular tragic heroine was too Mary Sue for my liking.

Twocar (continuing):  ...sidecar racing?  Sure, I'll give it a try.

Blend-S (continuing?): I thought I was going to hate this, but then I started laughing.  I doubt I'll stick with it, but it might be okay for a bit.

Anime-Gataris (1-episode drop): This is a show about an anime club.  It didn't start out too bad, but in the preview, they ask the viewer not to drop the series after the first episode.  So naturally I dropped it.  I'm contrary that way.

A Sister's All You Need (4-minute drop):  Four minutes was too much, and now I can't unwatch it.  Eww.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 09, 2017, 02:31:00 PM »
Tch, fuck that. Someone asks what I'm doing over a weekend, it's "Gym, video games, and sleep, in that order each day. Why, you wanna do something instead?" Throws the their court, makes me seem like I don't care (I actually do, I'm just smart enough to know that lack of concern=cool), and maybe gives me something to do for the weekend.
You're my new role model.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 09, 2017, 02:06:06 PM »
When a bank teller or grocer asks me if I have any plans for the evening or weekend, I find myself flailing for a response. "I'm going to play video games, or maybe watch some anime" isn't exactly something I could say to a normie, but it's not like I can lie extemporaneously, either.  I either say "nothing much", or something completely random about the weather.  Even when a social interaction goes smoothly, I often still feel like an idiot afterward, and end up replaying it multiple times to figure out what I might have said wrong.

The last trip to the grocery store, the guy asked about my weekend plans, and I said "pickling" (the vinegar, spices, and large quantity of garlic served as my alibi).  It only occurred to me later that because this is Canada's Thanksgiving long-weekend, he would have expected an answer that involved some sort of family gathering, and that it was really quite odd that I was spending my time processing vegetables, instead.

I wish they would just let me finish the transaction and go home.  My life isn't that interesting, really.

Haps:  Eight quarts of pickled carrots.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: October 08, 2017, 09:24:49 AM »
I had the option of sedation during the removal of all four wisdom teeth, but the surgeon didn't think it was really necessary, and I turned it down.  The local anaesthetic worked out just fine, and the experience was more tedious than anything else.
The pain isn't actually all that bad once your mouth is numb. In my case it didn't even hurt until the anesthetic wore off hours later. There's just awkward pulling and drilling and stuff. If anything, the part I hated the most was the blood.
^Much like that.  I really don't like the smell or taste of blood.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: October 04, 2017, 08:09:46 PM »
Played through Diablo yet again, and got a cramp in my mousing hand.  Went with a Rogue this time.  This is one of those games I keep coming back to.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: October 01, 2017, 01:55:11 PM »
Valkyria Chronicles 3:  After a few victories with no casualties, the squad is beginning to warm up to Kurt, and he's managed to break the ice with two female squad members (Imca and Riela, both who have "issues"). At a couple points, I've been given a choice of two battles to pursue, although the consequences have not been made clear yet.  I wonder if the storyline branches too?  (If I get to choose, I'm going with Imca.  I like my women a bit anti-social).

There's been a joint mission with the team from VC1, against a particularly vicious imperial squadron, whom I will no doubt meet again.  It was fun to have Rosie and Welkin on my team again, but...tank machine guns in VC3 are totally nerfed compared to VC1.  You couldn't kill a chicken with these things, and AP and HE rounds, although effective, have limited ammo.

It has become painfully evident that there were at least two people involved in the translation.  One of them was close to pro-level (I think), but another appears to not understand Japanese at all; the translated text and the Japanese audio just don't match.

An easily dissected example is a line from the equipment shop.  The girl says: "Maido domo desu.  Kamisama wa okyaku-sama janakute okane-sama desu yo ne."  Literally:  "Thanks for your continued patronage.  My god is not the customer, but money, you know?"  There's a Japanese saying that "the customer is god", which roughly corresponds to "the customer is always right", so I would localize this as something like "Welcome to my shop, where the customer's money is always right!", or more liberally, "Welcome!  They say the customer is always right, but I'm just here for the money."  I don't think these are *good* translations, mind you, they're just the best I can do.

The actual translation text reads:  "I thank God, not because you are a patron, but because you're a well paying patron!"  Well, okay.  I guess they got some of the words right, but the concept is way off.  I wonder what else they get wrong, when there's no Japanese audio for me to cross-check with (or when the audio exceeds my listening comprehension, which is 80% of the time).

Questionable translation notwithstanding, I am quite enjoying my time with VC3, in sharp contrast to:

Fate/Grand Order: They've released the Okeanos chapter of the story, and to the already swollen morass of moe cliches, they've added a trope I detest:  The lolicon masochist.  Were this an anime series, I would leap to my feet, point at the TV dramatically, and cry out "DISQUALIFICATION!"  insert Phoenix Wright gif here

There's nothing left here for me but the treadmill of addiction, and that way lies madness.  I'm dropping this.  The next time I try a mobile game, I'll pick up on the warning signs earlier, and hopefully waste less time on it.  Bye-bye, Tamacat.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 25, 2017, 08:03:15 PM »
but did you use the tracking???

I didn't need to adjust the tracking, which is fortunate, since then I would have had to find the remote.

General Discussions / Re: Whats the haps?
« on: September 24, 2017, 11:42:43 PM »
There were houseguests.  They brought a movie with them.  It was on magnetic tape.

Yes, I still have a VCR, but I hadn't powered it up in years.  Was it going to screech and grind?  Was it going to smoke?  Was it going to mangle their tape?

Alas, the outcome was far worse than I feared.  The VCR worked perfectly, and the movie was hideously boring.

Brush and Quill / Re: Book Thread Continued
« on: September 24, 2017, 11:37:27 PM »
Frank Herbert - The Dosadi Experiment:  I wasn't paying enough attention when I picked this up, and it turns out to have been the sequel to a book I hadn't read.  Notwithstanding that, reading this wasn't really worth my time.

The major interesting ideas here are rehashed from Dune.  Dosadi is an extremely inhospitable planet, and after a number of generations, the colonists placed there have developed extraordinary survival talents (also see: Arrakis, Salusa Secundus), and, for some reason, an almost preternatural ability to read other people's mental state (also see: Bene Gesserit).  One of the alien races involved had a legal system that seemed quite interesting, but unfortunately Herbert didn't expound upon it adequately.  I normally enjoy figuring things out with incomplete information, but here I was left with more questions than answers.

It might be easy to attribute my confusion to having not read the first book (Whipping Star), but Dosadi didn't seem very well constructed to begin with.  Although the middle of the book held my interest, by the end, the roles and motivations of the main characters were unclear, and the whole thing seemed rather muddled.

I think I need to be more careful about checking reviews for anything Herbert wrote in the second half of his career.  (Dune is one of my favorite books, but the last two or three books in the Dune series were pretty bad.)

You know how you sometimes hear something good on the radio while you're driving to work, but you don't quite catch the name of the song, and then when you get home nine hours later you google a bunch of half-remembered song lyrics and partial band names and eventually find a song that's different from what you remembered, but still pretty good anyway?

That happens to me a lot.

The Burning Hell - Fuck the Government, I Love You

This isn't my usual style of music, but I liked the lyrics.

Game Journals / Re: A Game Journal Reborn
« on: September 18, 2017, 07:55:09 PM »
Valkyria Chronicles 3:

Kurt Irving graduated from the military academy at the top of his class, and after leading the troops under his command to victory in his first two battles, his future looked bright.  But after unknowingly witnessing a suspicious transaction between a general and a civilian (spy?), he finds himself suddenly transferred to Squad 422 (The Nameless), a small unit populated by criminals and other expendables.

He is not welcomed.  The first squadmate he encounters almost kills him, half the team won't acknowledge him as leader (even though he's the ranking officer), and the rest ignore him completely. 

The plotline is parallel to VC1; as the narrator explains what the main Gallian forces are doing, I keep thinking to myself, "Hey, I was there for that!"  It looks like the writing is going to be more mature than VC2 (no "anime highschool", yet), but I'm a little concerned about the story telegraphing its punches.  (There's a girl with some silver in her hair and the "Mysterious Body" potential.  I hope I'm not supposed to be surprised at her true nature when it is inevitably revealed.)

The translation is fairly good (for being fan-made), although there are some technical issues, such as misaligned text. The translation project is clearly incomplete; I'm hoping that all of the main story was translated, but some of the ancillary material (newspaper articles and such) is still in Japanese.  I can cope with a little katakana here and there, but I hope I don't have to break out the dictionary later on.

My major complaint (aside from the lack of an official translation), carries over from VC2:  This is a PSP game.  The maps are still segmented into small chunks, and the AI is still as dumb as a concrete post.  As much as I love the VC style of gameplay, it feels wasted on a handheld.

P.S.  In case you're wondering, yes, I imported a physical copy.

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