lydamorehouse: (Default)
Ugh, I have not had a chance to really sit down and finish the story of our trip to Chicago. It was amazing, honestly. The only other thing we did before leaving was go to the Shedd Aquarium.

a giant crab looking out of the aquarium at the camera.

This lovely crab is not the star of the story that i'm about to tell, but I didn't actually think to take pictures of the murder in progress that we observed in the tank two doors down, as it were. There was a crab that Mason and I watched that had cornered--pincered, really--a sea urchin and was greedily munching on its tank mate. We initially thought, "Oh, maybe that's crab food?" but then Mason noticed a picture of that exact urchin on the list of tank inhabitants and we were like, "Oh. Oh MY." Mason, who, when he was four of five would tell you that he wanted to grow up to be a marine biologist, was enraptured. I mean, I was, too? We must have stood by that tank watching the carnage for a good two or three minutes and Mason was like, "Okay, I want to come back to this, so let's look at other stuff and circle back around."

When we came back, the urchin had made a break for it (somehow!) and the crab was desperately trying to fish it out of the crevasse it had snuck into.

Such drama!

Also, Mason could NOT have been more excited to see an isopod and a ratfish, both of which are denizens of the very deepest, darkest parts of the ocean. A place Mason has longed to visit since he was a toddler. Other kids dream of the moon; Mason, the deep ocean.

Isopods, I should tell you, look like deep-sea pillbugs (or sowbug or rollypolly.) We sort of attracted a lot of "??" attention when Mason was like, "OMG, ima! An isopod!" Literally, everyone in the throng around us was like, "What's so damn exciting about a sea bug?" If anyone had asked that out loud, however, I'm SURE Mason would have been happy to tell them.

The drive back was uneventful. I managed to take a "wrong" turn leaving Chicago, so we ended up heading home via Milwaukee, but that wasn't the end of the world. Even as I veered off, I thought, "Eh, 90 / 94 both lead where I'm going, what's the difference?" And, sure enough, it wasn't much. We saw some slightly different scenery, is all.

Mason was back to school Monday and I worked at White Bear Lake from 10 to 2, which was only exciting because when I went to take the recycling out--Buttercup got out. Most of the time, this is no big deal. I nab him and toss him back inside.

This time, as one other time that I remember, Buttercup FREAKED OUT. He hissed at me when I approached him and growl/whined like I might hurt him. When I picked him up he got so scared that he basically ran over my face using his claws to get away from me. The cuts were not deep, but foreheads BLEED like a m-fer and I literally had to change my shirt before work because of the fountains of blood pouring off my face.

The reason I think Buttercup was having some kind of weird post-traumatic stress (he was stray before he came to us) is because when I opened the door, he ran in ahead of me like he was so, so very glad to be home away from that scary person trying to hurt him. He wound around my legs when I came in as though to say, "Ima, there was some scary sh*t out there, I barely escaped with my life, I love you so, so much!" My only other thought is that the other time he hissed at me like this and freaked out until I opened the door for him was another time when he got out and I kind of corned him between me and a wall. This time, it was me and a fence. Makes me think something really nasty must have happened to him that's lodged in his subconscious.

Poor baby.

I'm also deeply angry that, despite all the blood, I barely look injured. If you look closely (or I point to them) you can see the various scabs, but damn it. I was mauled in the FACE! I wanted to tell people some wild lie about how I was attacked by a bobcat!! My mutant healing factor has cursed me again. I never black eyes, either, damn it.

And now, three days later, everything just itches... and I can't scratch because they're all still so new and surface.


Anyway, I don't have much to report in terms of reading. I'm currently reading a manga called Hinamatsuri by Ohtake Masao, about a magical girl who falls (like literally, out of the sky) into the life of a low-level yakuza thug. She's from an alternate dimension/other world where telekinesis is a thing and so she's got superpowers that come in handy from time to time, but she's also like 11? So, the yakuza guy kind of becomes a trying-to-be-tough/secretly-softy foster father for her. I'm on chapter 40 or about 83 and I'm not sure I'm going to finish it? I don't hate it--in fact there have been a lot of fairly touching scenes so far and some humor that I could appreciate, but this kind of light touch is always a tough sell for me. I love humor in manga, but I tend to really prefer humor as a side note to more serious material? 

Anyway, a friend of mine also let me know that there is a second season of "Morose Mononokean" available on Crunchyroll, so I've been watching that. It's yet another story of a high schooler who can see yokai (this is apparently a MAJOR epidemic among high schoolers in Japan,) but I really have been digging the world-building around the yokai and the Mononokean (a kind of living, temple/tea house that moves through space, and, of course, currently occupies the folded space inside the high school.)  And the relationship between the master of the Monokean (Abeno) and the aforementioned high schooler. 

So, that's me ATM. I am working again tomorrow, from 9 to 1 at Shoreview.  But, we now have to pay for the trip to Chicago, so that's how it goes.

In other news, it's April 10th and it's snowing BUCKETS outside.
lydamorehouse: (??!!)
Since I (hopefully) will have more folks stopping by here to check out fannish stuff, I will lead with the fact that I just finished watching the anime for Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san / Skill-faced Bookseller Honda (the link takes you to the review I did at MangaKast, my manga review blog.) I felt very 'meh' about this one, mostly because I'm not a huge fan of humor that depends on me finding typical nerd behaviors funny. I never much liked "The Big Bang Theory" for similar reasons.

This is not a universal problem I have, however. I rather enjoyed what I read of Watashi ga Motete Dousunda / Kiss Him, Not Me despite the problematic schtick of the TV trope 'beautiful all along' nerd-style. I think part of the difference is that I get the sense that in the case of Kiss Him, Not Me, there's an underlying... appreciation of geekdom? Like, the humor isn't only to point and say: LOOK AT THE WEIRDO BEING WEIRD. Instead, it's more of a gentle 'isn't it funny when...." with specific nerd habits. I have no problem laughing at myself or my community. I do it all the time, in fact. But, there's a subtle difference when it's done with an 'us' vibe, instead of a 'them' vibe.

I felt Skull-faced Bookseller Honda had a lot of 'them' vibes.

But, the anime is short (only 9 episodes), so you can decide for yourself. Or you could follow the link I provide in the review and read the two chapters of the manga that are online.

Possibly the best manga a read this week was Shimanami Tasogare by Kamatani Yuuki. It's an #ourvoices manga, as Kamatani-sensei is non-binary... and talk about an 'us' feeling, holy crap. The story is a coming out story of a boy who is outed by his browser history and a bunch of bullying, nosy high schoolers. The boy consequently considers suicide. He's saved from his attempt by the vision of a woman leaping out a window.... she invites him to a clubhouse for GLBTQIA+ folks and he finds his people. It's really a lovely story. I cried all the queer tears. I reviewed that one over at Mangakast, too, but this is basically all I said about it, because I really want people to go read that one for themselves.

So, that's my fannish news.

Meanwhile, in real life, I'm sipping tea that my friend [personal profile] naomikritzer brought back for me from China. She's recently returned from a trip to Taiwan to see our mutual friend [personal profile] jiawen who sent back stationary for me, which is very cute and which I plan to use right away! (Thanks, R!)  Naomi also gave me a gorgeous handmade notebook filled with handmade paper, which is almost too pretty to write in.  She also got me a cool bent metal sculpture that is, apparently, the Chinese character for the sounds my name makes (LIE-duh). And, as if that wasn't enough, she also brought me some fun candy to try and one of those funky little prizes you always see in anime that people get out of machines and are in round, plastic balls. 

So much wonderful stuff. 

And, more importantly I got to hear all the travel stories. I LOVE traveling, even though I can't afford to do a lot of it, internationally. My family and I are all about the road trips--particularly Mason and I, who have been known to spontaneously head off to small Minnesota towns to see statues of Vikings and whatnot.

I like traveling vicariously, too, so it was a wonderful afternoon for me.

Now, I think I'll just sip my tea and hop over to Tumblr to see what mayhem is happening there.
lydamorehouse: (crazy eyed Renji)
Last night, Shawn and I watched the season finale of "Victoria" in which it is revealed that Prince Albert invented Christmas.  I was actually surprised to discover that was mostly true (obviously the pagans did it first, but)--he very much popularized the Christmas tree and some of the other traditions we tend to think of as eternal. 

I have to say that [SPOILER!] I'm going to hate to see Albert go. I like the actor a lot, and he's managed to make an historical character I knew almost nothing about (beyond the fact that Victoria never stopped mourning him and that he's apparently 'in a can'*) and made him very engaging and interesting. It's funny, too, the extent to which history acts as a spoiler/tension builder. Shawn and I are forever trying to count how many children Victoria and Albert have, because we know how many they manage before Albert dies.  So, we're like, "ARGH! They already have five!!"

I found myself talking to the cats in a bad German accent in the middle of the night. I blame PBS.

Also, I've learned way more about syphilis than I ever wanted to know. Albert's brother, Ernst, suffers from it in "Victoria" and then, by chance, Shawn and I also started watching a new Netflix show starring Sean Bean called "The Frankenstein Chronicles" and his character also has it.

I despair that we'll finish that one, however. Shawn is even worse at binging TV than I am. She'll start out strong and watch three episodes in a row, but then she almost never feels like going back to things. We left "Fortitude" right whenactual spoiler ) was getting started and haven't been back. I think maybe she decides she doesn't like the show, but doesn't want to tell me. I'm actually fine quitting "Fortitude," but I'm weirdly intrigued (kind of despite some bad, repetitive writing) to find out what's going on in "The Frankenstein Chronicles."  I suppose I could finish watching it on my own, but I don't like watching shows during the day when I should be doing housework or writing--with the only exception of anime while I do the dishes. (In case you're wondering, I'm still working my way through Natsume's Book of Friends, though I'm thinking about checking out the Ancient Magus' Bride, since there's a limited number of those and I'm pretty sure Natsume goes on forever.)

What's funny, of course, is that Shawn watches a ton of TV without me.  She'll watch dozens of episodes of things while sewing together her strips of fabric for rugs.  She's seen most of "Stranger Days" and "The Crown"--both of which are the kinds of shows everyone I know is watching and talking about, but which I've seen none of.

Ah, well.

How about all of you? Are you watching anything good lately?

*this comes from a childhood phone prank in which you'd call a store and ask "do you have Prince Albert in a can?" (some kind of tobacco product, apparently. Even as a kid, I had no real idea what this was,) and then, when they said they did, you were supposed to say, "Well, let him out!" and hang up.

We were very sad before the internet and had to entertain ourselves in ridiculous ways.
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
That means I missed "What are you reading Wednesday?" which is probably okay, since, once again, I read a lot of yaoi and not much else.

We had one heckuva storm here on Monday. Luckily, Mason came downstairs early that morning complaining of an upset stomach. I mean, that part isn't lucky, per se, but because of Mason's irritated bowels, I was able to convince Shawn to stay home, too. After all, we'd been promised this big storm and it seemed to have missed us. We all deserved a snow day. Shawn agreed.

Best. Decision. Ever.

The snow started sometime late morning. By noonish, I couldn't see the end of the block, the winds were blowing so hard and so much snow was falling. We ended up officially getting 12.5 inches, but with the wind there were easily drifts bigger than that in a lot of places. Schools didn't close early and some students were stranded until AFTER MIDNIGHT. I can only imagine how horrible it must have been for some of the kids, especially the very little ones.

Tuesday, St. Paul did declare a snow day. I'm sure, in part, just so students who had been traumatized would not have to get back on a bus. The main drags were clear by Tuesday morning, but our street wasn't completely plowed until afternoon. St. Paul spent the day digging itself out.

Mason and I celebrated the day off by going out to ramen at one of our favorite places up the road. We timed it perfectly again, as the plows had come through by the time we came back from lunch.

I don't even really know what I did with myself yesterday... oh, yes, I was very social. My friend [personal profile] naomikritzer came over to chat about life and eat a pot pie I made with some leftover turkey. Later that same day, my friend Sean Murphy came by to talk about Marvel movies and eat pizza. Mason stayed late to work on robotics.

Today, in fact, Shawn and I will be at the Washington Technical Robotics... event? evening? I don't know what they're calling it, but it's a little demonstration of what they do for everyone's parents. Oh, I think they're just calling it "parent night." Anyway, it should be fun. Mason hinted that I might get to pilot a robot. That would be cool. Tonight is also Wyrdsmiths, so I'll be rushing from parent night to my writers' group.

I'm also feeling kind of low today. I'm not sure I got enough caffeine. I came home and made a pot of coffee rather than stopping at my favorite coffee shop to get an espresso. Also, the anime I'm watching while I do the dishes is low-key depressing.

I'm watching Natsume's Book of Friends / Natsume Yūjin-chō. There are some 76 episodes and I think I'm on... 11, maybe? Natsume is a high schooler who can see yokai and who has also inherited from his grandmother a book containing the names of the monsters she's defeated and enslaved. Natsume is very kind-hearted and is quite happy to return the stolen names of the enslaved creatures. So, a good number of the episodes feature the stories of the various yokai and Natsume helping them out in one way or the other.  On the surface, this is all very light, even feel-good. Except, Natsume is really lonely. We find out that he's been shuffled from relative to relative over the years because his parents are dead and no one believed him when he told them what he could see (yokai are traditionally invisible to most people, except the gifted.) Even in episodes where things work out, he just sort of exudes this sadness...  it's really hard to explain.  I mean, he's finally in a place where he's stable.  The relatives he's with now are childless and very loving, they've very much adopted him, but he still acts like a guest. He found another student who  is partly gifted, with whom he COULD share some of his burden, but he doesn't.  Likewise, there's an exorcist potential mentor type that skirts around the edges of Natsume's life that he could form a friendship with, but, as he said in this last episode, he's lived so much in fear, he doesn't even know how to begin to trust in order to open up.  Part of his personality is that Natsume actually gets along better with the monsters than he does humans.  And, I like that a lot, but it's just... like I said, low-key sad.  

I just finished an episode (and the dishes) and I've wandering around the house feeling lonely.  I blame Natsume.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 The tree is down and the interior house decorations have all been put away.  The house seems emptier and less shiny.

We knew that it would, so yesterday we decided to console ourselves with mimosas. We sipped them as we removed the ornaments and did the annual dragging of the tree to the back yard for alley pick-up.  Given the headache I woke up with this morning, that may have been a tactical error. :-)

I also made a nice dinner of roast chicken dinner, just because.  New Year's Day is one of those "do we do anything special? I dunno. Do we?" kinds of days, and for the most part the only tradition we have is that the tree comes down.

Today was Mason's last day before he goes back to school, so we got him a haircut, spent his Christmas gift card at Barnes & Noble, and had lunch out on the town (his favorite? Wing Stop. I like it OKAY, but he loves it for whatever reason, so what the hell. It was an easy treat to give him.)  I hung out this afternoon with [personal profile] naomikritzer which is always lovely, and otherwise it's been a low key day.

Trying to decide what to watch next for anime.  I watch anime while I do the dishes, so I'm always SLOOOWLY going through various series. I just finished Mushi-shi, and am now starting Natsume's Book of Friends. (Haikyu! was it's own weird phenomenon. Normally, I can't binge watch like that. But, if Mason is invested, I will. We used to do this with Bleach back in the day, too. Under Mason's influence, we are now reading the manga for Haikyu!, too.)  Anyway, the point is, if you have anime recs for me, please feel free to drop me a comment.  I also just love to know what other people are watching / reading.
lydamorehouse: (renji has hair)
 Normally, I would tell you that I'm not very capable of binge-watching.  I don't have the stamina for it, normally, or the hours.  But, Mason has been talking me into late night binging of a volleyball anime, Haikyu! --which we'd seen most of before, but hadn't gotten to the end. We still haven't, but we've exhausted all that's available on Hulu. If we want to watch the last ten episodes, we'll have to switch over to Crunchyroll.  

Haikyu! is weirdly addictive. 

I can't entirely explain its appeal.  I mean, it's a SPORTS anime.  About volleyball.  None of those words excite me in the least in most situations. And, it's actually really BROADLY shounen.  I mean, there are moments when the characters get super-imposed by their representative animals.  It should be so dumb as to be unwatchable.  

YET. I was up until almost 1 am last night, muttering, "Mo ichido, onigaishimasu." (Which is basically "Again, please" or "one more time, if you would.") Which is extra funny since the characters in the anime are constantly yelling this exact phrase whenever they need to make another score or just want to KEEP PRACTICING. It's also a phrase often taught to students of Japanese, because it's an easy way (moderately polite) to ask someone to repeat themselves.

That was the other fun thing about watching Haikyu! for both Mason and me: language lessons. Mason is learning Chinese at school. He's in his second year, and there's been a lot of work on learning the Mandarin characters.... which are, in many cases, the similar in Japanese Kanji. (It's not one-to-one of course, but you can read about the connection more here, if you like.)  But, every once and a while, when the credits are rolling, Mason will perk up and say, "Oh! College Student A! I can read that!" Which is super-cool, IMHO.  

For me, it's tiny little phrases that are common and repeated: "Ohisashi buri desu!" (Similar to: "Long time, no see.") Or "Daijoubu?" ("You okay?) or "Mo ikiai!" ("Go again!") and the ever popular, "Mo ippon!" ("Another point!")

Not that I see myself ever saying these things in Japan.  But, they do apologize a lot for missing shots, and I'm certain to say, "Summimassen."

The other thing that all this led me to be curious about is: what are other people binge-watching right now?  (Popular at my coffeehouse, "American Vandal," "The Newsroom," and "Godless.")
lydamorehouse: (aizen's return)
...not only that, but Tom Hiddleston's MCU Loki. It was really awesome. I think I turned into a crow at one point. But, we definitely made an alliance with the giant ant people.

I blame this on the fact that Shawn and I watched Kong: Skull Island together. Was that movie panned? We LOVED it.

But, today is Wednesday, so I'm supposed to be talking about reading. I read a ton of manga chapters this last week and not much else. So, I read:

Koi to Kedama to Otonari-san by Suzaka Shina
Ekrano by Kitoh Mohiro
Weekend Lovers / Yokubari na Shuumatsu by Fuwa Kiriko
Blue Drop / Buruu Doroppu by Yoshitomi Akihito
Wombs by Shirai Yumiko
Legend of the President’s Glasses / Kaichou no Megane Densetsu by Irie Aki

Of those, the stand-out was Wombs. It's a very odd, but compelling science fiction manga about women soldiers who, when impregnated with an alien lifeform, are able to travel through an alternate dimension that moves them through real space.  The story takes place on an alien planet that humans (presumably from Earth) have colonized and terraformed.  We're at war not with the native species, but with a second group of colonizers (presumably ALIEN) who think this planet belongs to them. Since we were there first, it's a fight.  The women are used as troop (and supply) transport, but also as scouts because the various spots that they can hop between are a network left behind (or possibly still used by) the planet's natives.  There's a lot of intrigue about various military groups agendas, what the natives are, what would happen if we let one come to term inside a human host, etc., etc.  There's unfortunately, only one volume that's been officially licensed. If you want to read it, you have to look for it on scanlation sites, like Mangago, etc.  The scanlators seem to have done four out of the five available volumes.

If you ever want to read what I think of the manga I'm reading, you can check out:  I review every manga I read.  Which reminds me that I should write something up about Kill a Kill, which I didn't finish because it turned out to be ecchi. 

In the department of things I'm watching, I just got caught up with Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (though Crunchyroll will likely release another one or two before the year is up, I suspect. I'm NOT a premium member, so I have to watch an extra week for the latest to free up.)  I started watching Mushi-shi, which I'm really enjoying.  I don't post much about the anime I watch because I'm SO SLOW. I'm kind of the exact opposite of a binge watcher. I watch one, half-hour episode a day, while hand-washing the dishes (we don't have a dishwasher.)  I have a couple of friends who can blow through an entire series in a matter of days.  I always feel like a slug in comparison.

How about you? Read anything interesting this week?

lydamorehouse: (Default)
 This week, I read a lot of manga.  I stormed through My Hero Academia / Boku no Hero Academia by Kohei Horikoshi, reading volumes 2-8 in a matter of days.  That almost catches me up to everything currently out in official tankōbon, and the library let me know that volume 9 is awaiting me in the hold section. Last I checked this one is being actively scanlated and the pirate sites have up to chapter 158 or so. I have yet to decide if I'm a mega-fan.  I've been very burned by JUMP products (do not speak to me of Bleach or Naruto's endings. Other people blame the creators, but I blame the publishers. It's a writer thing.) 

I also ripped through the available chapters online (1-15) of its spin-off Vigilante My Hero Academia: Illegals / Vigilante Boku no Hero Academia: Illegals by Furuhashi Hideyuki / Beeten Court.  

Speaking of spin-offs, I also read Gangsta: Cursed (vols. 1-2)  by Kohske / Syuhei Kamu, which kind of sucked, but made me remember just how much I LOVED the original by Kohske-sensei.  I've reviewed all of these over at my manga reading blog, MangaKast, if you're interested to know what I thought of them.

I also got a chance to beta-read [personal profile] naomikritzer 's novel, currently titled Everyone Loves Cat Pictures.

Whew, I think that's it. I have one more manga upstairs, Not so Simple by Natsume Ono in my TBR pile, and I also watched the first episode of Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, which I think I'm going to continue as the anime I watch while doing dishes. 

You?  How'd you do this week?


Aug. 9th, 2017 08:43 am
lydamorehouse: (swoon)
 It's Wednesday already again. It was a good week for reading, probably because of our extended stay up at our friends' cabin.  So, stuff I read:

Spells of Blood and Kin by Claire Humphrey. A book I didn't expect to like, but ended up falling into easily.  It's about a Russian-Canadian witch and berserker/werewolf/vampires (?) I'm not quite sure how to explain the Kin, and that's the part I figured that I'd find stupid, but I really didn't.  It's one of those pseudo-literary novels where it's kind of also about families, both blood and made.  I ended up enjoying it.  

Then, I read half of Emmi Itäranta's The Weaver, because I was hoping for a sequel to The Memory of Water, which I really loved. Alas, this is not what I was looking for and so am giving up on it.  It's just a little bit TOO poetic for me.

I also read a graphic novel called Just So Happens by Fumio Obata. It's about a Japanese woman who has moved to London to pursue a career in some kind of design work. She's struggling with settling in, and then gets the call that her father died in a hiking accident.  She returns to Japan to try to figure out if she still belongs there.  It's kind of a non-story, in that nothing is resolved.  Our heroine never entirely feels at home anywhere.  The art is pretty, though.  It's a fast read. 

I got through half of the Pandora Hearts manga volumes that I took out of the library. (I took out six, read three so far). Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki is about... huh, how do I describe this thing? There's a rich/tragic little lordling named Oz, who gets caught up in a supernatural adventure, probably because he's the key to some mystery involving "the Abyss," and ends up in a contract with a devil.  I'm still not sure how I feel about this series. I watched the first 7 episodes of the anime on Hulu and am finding it compelling... enough. I think my problem is with the main character.  His daddy issues really just don't interest me, and my sympathy for royal dukes only goes so far.  I'm kind of the opposite of your average romance reader (at least the ones who seem to get a lot of books targeted at them, at any rate,) in that you really have to work overtime to get me to give ANY f*cks about rich aristocrats and their "tragedies."  Just slapping a title on a character does nothing for me--well, other than infuriate me. Luckily, our poor little rich boy has a companion that I like better. Sadly, it's turning out that he's a lost prince with a tragic backstory, too, so possibly there's no one in this story that will appeal to me. The only thing that's keeping me hanging on ATM is that there's a scene with the character I like (Raven) wherein his overlord accuses him of feeling "abnormally" towards Oz, which is Japanese code for gay, so here's hoping that Raven is queer AF.

Hoping a manga/anime character will turn out to be canonically gay never ends well, so probably this is an exercise in frustration all around.  Ah, well, I have nothing else to watch while doing the dishes currently, so I will keep with this.

lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 Oops, I forgot that yesterday was "What Are You Reading? Wednesday."  This week has been very weird for me.  But, enough of that.  I will simply move my Wednesday list to today!

I picked up a nonfiction book at the library called Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities by Richard Valantasis.  I've been interested in the Gnostics since reading Elaine Pagels, plus this one promised to talk about other wacky early Christian cults.  I'm about halfway through the book and I'm a little disappointed in the surface treatment of everything, but the this is a publication, so I probably should have expected as much.

Otherwise, I've been doing my usual yaoi reading. I read After Morning Love by Fujii Mitori, which I actually liked better than most.  I feel like the official translator missed the boat with the title though, I think you'd get a slightly better sense of the plot if it were called, "The Morning After Love," just a very slight change that tells you that this starts with the classic, "Wait, why am I hungover? Who is in my bed?" and leads to romance.

But, I speak almost no Japanese, so, weirdly, no one has hired me to be a translator.

Speaking of Japanese study, I've been terrible about keeping up with it, BUT I started watching "Pandora Hearts" on recommendation and I actually had to pause at one point because I distinctly heard the hero ask, "Kimi wa?"  (Who are you?) Given my native-speaker Japanese teacher's reaction to someone offering 'kimi' as a word for 'you,' (he turned BEET RED and literally could not speak for several seconds. I had to be the one to tell the student, "Um, that's a little rude? You've shocked Tetsuya-sensei."), I thought--okay, either this person is extremely rude or... maybe we're supposed to presume previous intimacy, despite the fact he doesn't recognize this demon-woman?  

"Anata wa?" is even fairly rude for an opening gamut, in my understanding. I feel like a polite person would ask, "Dare desu ka?" (lit: "Who is?') leaving off any rude pronouns.... which are most of them, so there you go.

To be fair, this guy is freaked out, and anime heroes tend to be rude as a rule (at least in shounen). Ichigo, for instance, is not someone you want to learn Japanese from because he starts out using the pronoun "tamee" which is akin to shouting out 'Yo, a$$hole' to people you meet. But 'tamee' hear it a lot in anime speech.  You hardly ever hear 'kimi' spoken (or rather I should say, *I* haven't noticed it as often since I started paying attention) except in love songs, where it seems to be used almost exclusively, because of the intimacy it implies. My gut sense of 'kimi' is that it's not the normal sort of word you'd use WITH A STRANGER.

I had a long talk about this with another friend of mine who is studying and eventually, with the help of Google, we learned that 'kimi' as a you-pronoun can be used by men of a high status when addressing an underling without being considered rude AF.  Apparently, in the right context, 'kimi' implies a strong hierarchy, and, thus, tells us a LOT about this character, in that he can presume that the person he's addressing--a STRANGER--is automatically and significantly below him in the social pecking order.  This fits with the character, in that he is presented as a lordling of some sort, though after this pronoun use, I'm going to have to assume PRINCLING of some sort, or possibly even THE prince of all the land.

Things you can glean listening to a program in a language you barely speak.... kind of fun. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, because I am absolutely NOT one of those anime fans who will lecture a fellow fan that subs (subtitles) are superior in every way to dubs (dubbed)--BUT, I will suggest to anyone who is able to handle /comfortable reading while watching to give subs a try once, if you never have, because I do believe that it is possible to pick up extra content subconsciously.  Obviously, the above is an example that only works for someone like me, who is trying to learn the language.  BUT, previous to this, I FELT things about some characters in "Bleach" based only on my impression of their voices--their inflection, etc.  Without knowing ANYTHING about Japanese, I picked up on the fact that one character had an unusual accent (Gin for those in the know) and that it was likely Significant.  I do not know what they did with Gin's voice actor in English.  Ideally, American/Western voice actor casting would have a native-speaker on staff consulting about regional and class accents. (Please don't pretend we don't have class accents in American English. You KNOW what an upperclass East Coast accent is compared to a dirt-poor Southern drawl...) I know likely don't have a person like that on staff, but in my ideal world they would, because this is the stuff I feel you get by listening to the foreign language often enough, even without ANY study.

That being said, if, right now, you're feeling like I just dissed you because you prefer dubs.....  Honey, no!  I am so happy you're watching anime!!  I would never, ever tell you that you MUST do subs. If dubs is what works for you, yay!  I watched all of Full Metal Alchemist and Black Butler dubbed and J. Michael Tatum (the voice of Sebastian in the English BB) is an amazing dude and I would FIGHT anyone who says he's not an awesome, seductive Sebastian!

Besides, if you've been watching anime long enough, there used to be things you could ONLY get dubbed.  I have no idea what the original Starblazers sounds like, but my anime fan cred is strong because, kids, I was watching that LITERALLY before many of you were born: in 1978.  Deslock was my first anime husbando. 

Wow, this turns into a long screed. My apologies.  Gomen, gomen....
lydamorehouse: (Default)
 I was asked by SF Signals to join another "Mind Meld" to answer the question: "What was your favorite movies, books, video games, television, podcasts and other media that came out in 2014?"  

It will be a surprise to no one that anime and manga dominated my list:  MIND MELD: Favorite Genre Works 2014

I've linked here to my MangaKast reviews of a lot of the manga that I've been reading.  The ones that made the list that were new this year (by which I mean, of course, new in official English translation) were: Hitogatana (which actually isn't yet collected in English, but I liked it enough to want to include it), Gangsta, Deadman Wonderland, and What Did You Eat Yesterday?  

Anime for this year included two brand-new ones: Barakamon and Gekken-Shojo, Nozaki-Kun.

Neither are particularly science fictional, but they're both DEEPLY charming in their own ways.  Barakamon was my all-time favorite this year and it's about absolutely nothing at all.  That's not fair, of course.  There's a very strong story and  even wacky hi jinx but the pace and feel of it is extremely peaceful, which is what I enjoyed about it.  If you want to know more about the plot, check out the article. The short of it is that there's a calligraphy master who needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city (and mistakes he's made) to find his inner peace/inner art. Stuff happens, it's f*cking adorable an you should be watching it. (Who had this?  Hulu+ maybe? I don't think Crunchyroll had it, but I might be wrong.)

The other new, new anime I featured in my round-up was Gekken-Shojo, Nozaki-kun (Girl's Monthly, Nozaki-kun) which is wonderfully silly and really, really hard not to love.  Interestingly, this one is also about an artist, though this time our title hero, Nozaki, is a mangaka (writer/artist of manga) who happens to write and draw Girl's/shojo stories. The American analog would be discovering that a high school jock was secretly writing Harlequin Romances (of the super-thin serial kind). You can see the humor potential instantly, of course, but what I loved about this anime is that it could have ended up in the land of gender stereotypes, but instead worked hard to constantly flip expectations, types, etc. while also providing fairly real people that you could actually believe in and root for. (This one Crunchyroll has, for sure.)

The other anime I mentioned in the article were Yowapeda (or Yowamushi Pedal) and Free!, both of which were technically in their second seasons this year (both of which I watched on a pirate site, but I'm sure by now they're up on Crunchyroll).  But the second season of Yowapeda/Yowamushi Pedal only finished up last week, I think, so it's very current.  I love them both for very different reasons.  Free! (second and final season: "Eternal Summer") was bittersweet.  I'm not sure I've seen enough sports manga to know how typical it is to follow Third Year students through their final year of participation and spend much of the anime dealing with the whole idea of "Well, that was high school, so now what are you going to do??"  That made the show... almost heartbreaking in places.  And, of course, the other fun thing about Free! this year was that it was clear that the anime writers were very aware how GAY everyone thought this team was and there was a lot of teasing fan service to the point that I was constantly on Skype asking my friend, "Are they even pretending any more???"  which was actually quite fun.

Yowapeda/Yowamushi Pedal's second season is called "Grande Road' or something similar and it's the second and third days of the Inter-High race.  The entire season has been them racing, so that means there have been a lot of upsets, a lot of 'leave no man behind' moments, and general high tension. The first season has the distinction of actually making me cry.  This season less so, though we've gotten to know a lot more of the characters from the other teams.  It's still one of my favorites because Oonada is possibly the hugest dork in the history of dorks. This year my favorite scene involved Oonada following one of the rival team's captains basically because he thinks he's spotted a fellow otaku and even though this guy is a complete jerk to him Oonada just wants to talk anime.

Brother, I hear ya.

So, yeah, I mention a few other things in my review, but most of those I also discussed here (Guardians of the Galaxy movie and Ms. Marvel the Marvel comic book.)  

What about you?  Read, watch, listen to anything really good this year??

lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Okay, so I GUESS Detour is this weekend. Right. I kind of thought it was NEXT weekend, and I would have continued thinking so if I hadn't gotten a text from a friend that said, "Are you coming to Detour?" To which I said, "Yeah! Next weekend, right?" She wrote back, "No. Now..."

So I texted back, "Be there in a bit."

So I scrambled together my costume. This year I cross-played Ichigo. Luckily, I had made Zangetsu some time ago.


There was a surprising LACK of Bleach cosplayers at Detour this weekend, but I got a few pictures anyway.

Me and Rukia:


A blurry Final Release Uliquiorra who was trying to get into the elevator:

And... that was about it. I saw a Byakuya who was there from last year and one other Ichigo, but that was really it.

These two were awesome, though, L and Light (chained together!) What I liked about them was that L really had the movements down. He even walked with that funky slump, and Light carried an apple (so you know Ryuk was there, we just couldn't see him.):

There were, of course, a crap LOAD of SnK/Attack on Titan fans there. I mean, a [bleep]-ton. I didn't even bother trying to photograph them all, but there were two Annies there, though I said to the other one (with Zoe Hanji), "You look bigger on TV":



Part of all the SnK love, I think, had to do that Funamation was there showing off previews of their English dub Attack on Titan. Tomorrow, if I go, I'm just going to wear my hoodie.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Saturday morning Mason has swimming lessons, so, rather than negotiate the back and forth, he came with me to MarsCON.  I stopped by registration for my badge and bought Mason a day pass.

This was Mason's first ever con.  I thought for sure he'd hook up with his friend Molly and that'd be the last I'd see of him, but he ended up sitting in the back of the panel room, which was Kruschenko's, so there were comfy chairs in a kind of antechamber.  So Mason didn't even have to listen to us drone on about "Getting into the Mind of a Fanatic."  Actually, the panel was pretty good, though there were a lot of panelists and we veered into the NAZI analogy, despite [ profile] naomikritzer's valiant attempts to keep everyone on track.

The rest of the con was me showing Mason what a con is like.  Mason, being Mason, adored the demonstrations.  We watched a Korean sword martial art and we learned the difference between a Korean sword and a Japanese katana.  But, Mason and I were pretty excited to talk to the Sa Ba Nim of that dojon because, apparently, you get to learn sword at any belt.  We tried to win a sword, but, alas, we didn't get the prize.  I did, however, get to cut paper with a bokken.  That rocked.

Mason and I tried to go into the game room, but the rules of said game room kind of baffle me.  Like, it's not clear how one starts a game.  I presume that one can just sit at a table and open a game and people will join you, but every time we went in there were no open tables.  It was also unclear how one jumps in to a pre-running game, or even if one can.

So, we took some jelly beans and left.

Mason really loved the prop room, and if the picture ever makes its way through the aether fem my ridiculously un-smart phone I'll be posting a shot I took of Mason standing next to a very, very realistic looking Dalek.  Mason also really loved all of Umbridge's proclamations/rules from Harry Potter... and all of the Harry Potter props, actually.

Then when we came out of there the SCA people were doing a demo of their battles and Mason tried to watch that, but the SCA people were very... postalizing and kept wanting to TELL us things about their organization, armor, etc.  Mason just wanted to see the bashing of heads.

After that we just kind of killed time waiting for the Anime room party to start.  When it did, they'd started watching Wolf Children, which I adored.  Mason and I sat on the floor and ate girl scout cookies and commented along with everyone else.  This might be the moment that Mason realized that the world is filled with nerdy otaku JUST LIKE HIMSELF, because he was beaming through the film, his ears all perked up, like he finally felt, as the heroine of Wolf Children says, "like he found his pack."

Oh, and my furry friends?  YOU SHOULD WATCH THIS.  It will make you cry.  It made Mason and I cry, but damn it, I think it would be even more powerful for anyone in the furry fandom.  The basic message is not only 'you need to accept who you are," but also, "let your children be what they are."  And, bam! Right in the FEELS, if you know what I mean.

Also, I have to confess that they had an Anime quiz and Mason and I got THE ONE BLEACH QUESTION...


Mason says he knew the answer but didn't want to speak up.  Meanwhile, I wrote down the year that the Bleach Anime came out wrong.  I remembered it had a "4" in it, but didn't realize it was 2004 (I might have put down 1994).


I may have to leave the fandom in shame....

So, today I'm off to go back to the con by myself.  I think I'm going to miss having Mason there.  He's a good companion for these things.  He and I have already agreed that he'll come along for at least one day for the rest of these.... and I couldn't be more proud.  Leap, my little wolf child!  Leap!
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
After my post about the horribleness of fruitcake, my friend [ profile] empty_mirrors decided to send me DECENT fruitcake from the UK, where she's from.  The packages arrived earlier this week and included some other UK delicacies that we can't get 'round here, including Jelly Babies and Treacle (because Mason always hears about treacle in the Harry Potter books and had to know!)  We haven't had a tasting yet, because Shawn came down with a horrible case of the laryngitis crud that we've been passing around the household, and we wanted to wait and have a special UK day/tea where we tried ALL THE THINGS and it seems unfair with her snorfling and unable to taste much beyond her own mucous....

With any luck, that will be this weekend.  I plan to take may pictures and post all our reactions.

But, poor Shawn, this cold/laryngitis thing has been growing stronger with each person it attacks (like a shounen hero!), so she's been really knocked back, far worse than either Mason or I.  I'm still suffering a tiny bit--my sinuses are still runny and my throat hurts, but I'm otherwise mostly over it.

The issue of British food (and fruitcake) came up last Friday when I dined with the Wolves (the good folks at Sofa Wolf had me over when my friend and fellow writer Kyle Gold was in town.)  Turns out, the Wolves make their own figgy pudding, which is another one of those things that you always hear about, but... at least in my case, have never had.  So I slyly invited myself to some holiday gathering so I could taste it.  I mean, it sounds like some kind of sweet version of haggis!  You make it one year and let it... ferment?... age?... in a cold, dark place for OVER A YEAR????  Seriously, I can't wait.

I had a lovely time, as usual, with the Wolves.  Afterwards, Kyle and I have been emailing back and forth percolating on an idea for a furry-type novel for me.  Could be fun, is all I'm saying, and at this point, I have so very little to lose.

In fact, later this afternoon, I have scheduled a phone call with my agent that I'm kind of dreading.  It's one of those that could go either way.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Also, since I was sick, I've been neglecting my around the house duties.  Today I tackled a pile of dishes.  One of the things I like to do while doing the dishes is watch Anime on my iPad.  It sits nicely in the windowsill above the sink, so I can do my work and still read subtitles.  I've gotten through Full Metal Alchemist, Free!, Attack on Titan, and Samurai Champloo that way.  I've just started Death Note.  Death Note is different from a lot of other shounen Anime in that our hero is... kind of a villain.  No, not kind of... totally.  The basic premise is that a death god, a shinigami, has dropped his notebook , into which the names of the dead are written, into the Human World.  A bright high school boy named Light find it and discovers that he can kill people by writing their names, times of death, and cause into it.  His plan, of course, is to use it for GOOD.  He starts by picking off condemned criminals.  But, what's interesting about the story is that the slippery slope is VERY slippery and pretty soon we discover when the shinigami comes to track Light down, that our "hero" plans to create a new world and SET HIMSELF UP AS GOD.

I spend a lot of this show not sure who to root for.  It's like "Dexter," without the funny/interesting insights into human nature from the point of view of a sociopath. The only thing that's compelling about Light is how smart he is.  But he's DEVIOUS-smart, which is compelling, but also kind of... scary, especially now that Light is trying to save himself from discovery.  I like the show a lot, but it makes me remember why I'm not terribly fond of vigilante heroes, like Batman.

I know everyone loves Batman, but Batman has never been a favorite of mine (nor his Marvel analog Iron Man), because essentially Bruce Wayne (and Tony Stark) is a rich vigilante.  Both heroes use money to give them powers that allow them to operate beyond the law.  Both heroes believe they're serving justice.  In the Marvel and DC universes, it's very rare that either of them make a mistake and it's clear that we're meant to believe they're right, they *are* doing the right thing for the right reasons and filling a real need.  What's funny to me is that I'm a huge fan of two other rich vigilantes: the Scarlet Pimpernel and Zorro, but in both those cases, the universe in which the heroes live is very clearly screwed-up and both heroes fight to protect those being harassed by corrupt governments.  You could make a case that Gotham is a corrupt government, but it's not usually portrayed that way OVERTLY.  Again, over in the Marvel Universe, the same could be said for New York (or LA, depending on if Tony is in the East Coast or West Coast Avengers at the time), but, you know, again not strictly obvious or overt....

I don't really know where I was going with this thought except to say that I guess shows like "Death Note" feel more honest to me, like a REAL exploration of what might happen if you have an intense sense of justice combined with the knowledge that sometimes the system fails to catch the bad guys/punish them properly.  And maybe some Batman story lines *have* dealt with this, I don't know.

I probably just don't like Batman because he has a butler.  Who has a butler in this day and age? (And yes, I KNOW some people still do, but do we LIKE them??)
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
Last night my friend Rachel took some friends and I out to a Japanese restaurant in Minneapolis' West End called Raku. We had sushi and sake. Our sake had an awesome name: onikoroshi, which the menu translated as 'demon slayer.' It was really tasty. I have to say my sake experience previous to this was very low. I bought a bottle once at a grocery store in ValParasio, Indiana, and it was, in point of fact, nothing to write home about. This sake might not SLAY any demons, but I could certainly see it creating a few... because tasted like floral scented water. I could have had way too much to drink very, very easily.

Luckily (and unluckily), Shawn stayed home last night because Mason was feeling under the weather, so I had to stay sober to drive--and, in case you didn't know this about me, I'm the lightest lightweight ever. Two sips of anything, even something most people don't think of as terribly potent, and I'm under the table muttering about 'dim shablows' and telling people 'I love ya, man.' Plus, as fun as that may sound, I'm actually one of those people for whom alcohol actually works as a depressant. I'm a very sad drunk.

At any rate, what I really want to post about was our sushi. Particularly this:


Naruto sushi! Weirdly, it did not contain ANY RAMEN....

It was a nice night. I handed off what I hope to become a 'seekrit project.' So... fingers crossed.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Right, so I started the Monday after a long weekend WITH NO COFFEE. Then, half-way to school, Mason calmly informs me that we've forgotten his backpack.


But, things are better now. I decided since Monday decided to SUCK LIKE A HOOVER, I would treat myself to a stop into my favorite coffee place, Claddaugh, and order a five dollar latte, which I almost never do any more. Claddaugh is a lovely place on 7th Street in the sort of outskirts of downtown St. Paul where you get the occasional crazy person who likes to sit in the warm coffeeshop. Today, as I waited for my to-go order, the crazy person in question shouted at random intervals nonsense about California. I couldn't tell what exactly he was talking about, but he didn't seem happy with that particular state of the union. My favorite part? Everyone ignoring him. I asked Mary, the coffee shop owner about him, and she shrugged and say, "Ah, he's harmless," and the guy sitting at the bar and I got into a discussion about how it's kind of nice the way coffee shops deal with the ocassional crazy. This guy was a regular, and people just sort of tuned out the outbursts. If anything, there was almost an air of protectiveness. "Him? Oh, he's OUR crazy." I told the guy at the bar about the time I was at Madison for WisCON and I was up early, as usual, and hanging out at the coffeeshop, Michelangelo's. A crazy guy there liked to randomly stand up and expound on how communists were in charge of the Interstate system and probably we were all going to hell because of it. Same as at Claddaugh. He was clearly enough of a regular that most people glanced up briefly when he started his speech, but then went back to reading their Saturday newspapers or playing Angry Birds on the iPhones.

After leaving Claddaugh, I came home to discover a request for an interview in my in-box. So I took a few minutes to answer the dozen or so questions and send it back. I got asked that ubiquitous question, "If they ever made a movie of your books, who would you cast...?" Normally, I hate that question because I don't watch enough TV or movies to even have a clue who's the new hottie superstar. But, I now have a defaut answer! J. Michael Tatum. He is, in fact, the only actor I know. True, he's currently best known as the voice of Sebastian in "Black Butler" and for his work in "Ouran Host Club," but, having met him, I can tell you, he'd make a fine Valentine or Sebastian in live-action. So, ta dah! I finally have a decent answer to that question. Granted, it makes me look perhaps a bit like a super-geek to name an Anime voice actor, but to which I say, "And your point...?"

The fun part of this story was that I was feeling brave so I texted J. Michael himself and told him this (through reasons that still somewhat baffle me, we exchanged phone numbers at the end of Gaylaxicon--apparently I didn't give him the impression I thought I did, which was, "Idiot Squeeing Fan Grrl"), and, anyway, instead of getting back, "And you are...?" He wrote back something very sweet which implied that he remembered me, but also made him seem like possibly the NICEST GUY ON EARTH. It's possible that he stared at his phone and thought, "Who the fuck is this?" but then shrugged and decided, "Well, you know, it never hurts to be nice," and then later went to the Googles to try to remember what possessed him to give his real phone number to someone in Minnesota who wasn't Anton... but, hey, it kind of made my day, regardless.

Thus cheered, I was able to make the return run to Mason's school to deliver the all-important backpack with "big mouth" (their planner thingie into which EVERYTHING OF SIGNIFICANCE goes,) and make a trip to the Ramsey County Public Library to begin to return the six thousand books that Mason took out at the beginning of Thanksgiving break. I also had to pay a nearly six dollar fine, because, well, for us, the break started at the beginning of the month and Ramsey County is evil and actually charges their juvenille patrons for overdue books.

In other exciting news, today is also going to be the day that I do something with all the leftover potatoes. You will be happy to know that I've started some potato bread. I'm a big fan of potato bread myself, even though I suspect my family will think much less of it than I do. It still only uses a cup of the stuff, so I will also be making knefla (a German potato/noodle-thing) for diner. That should take care of most of them. Perhaps I will also have to have one last gravy-slathered pile for a late lunch, too.

Whoot. Well, that's probably all the news that's fit to print. I will have to, at some point, write a recap of our Thanksgiving adventures. Suffice to say there was turkey (24 pounds of it), stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, brussel sprouts, and freshly baked French bread. Our friends the Jackson came so there was Boggle and puzzling and amazingly awesome company for several days. It's been a much quieter, sadder house without them. Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday because we actually have this lovely tradition of celebrating with the family we chose rather than the family we came from. I have no issues with my family of origin, mind, but it's really quite wonderful to gather people you've known and loved for years... people you picked, your friends... and hang out with them for a giant meal.
lydamorehouse: (ichimaru gin)

This weekend, while Mason and I were up at the cabin, it was very rainy. We decided that the best way to spend a lazy, rainy day was watching a little more Bleach. Imagine my surprise when we came across this scene:

In which Kenpachi Zaraki decides that he can no longer fight in his usual wild (though massively affective) style. Instead, he has to use the one form that the Head Captain insisted he learn. Guess what it is?

It's dropping the f**king sword, just like we did over and over in bokken class.


Now, if sensei Jon had said to me, "You know, Kenpachi uses this to defeat an Espada. It's worth knowing." I would have totally signed up to learn Aikdo forever.

lydamorehouse: (Default)
Shawn and I have been trying to watch the TV show "Grimm." We've DVRed it, so we have most of the episodes to date, though we haven't quite caught up yet. I WANT to like this show. I love a lot of the side characters, particularly Monroe, or, as someone (i09?) calls him, the "Pilates Wolf." He's a Big Bad Wolf, a Blutbatt, who is mostly reformed his ways, and who is an awesome enough character he totally deserves a spin-off. Because our hero, the Grim: Dull.

Dull. Dull. Dull.

As I complained on FB last night, dude has no superpowers. He has the second sight, but that's really all he's got. No grim reaper scythe, no zanpakto, nothing. In fact, in the episode that we watched last night his big ability was to bleed on to one of the big bads. Seriously. *I* can bleed.

People tell me this last Friday's episode actually involved a weapon and maybe "punched things up a notch", which it would be nice to see, because... man. Dude is also the world's worst detective. Like Batman in reverse.

But I end up watching for the side characters and because the universe of Grimm is weirdly compelling. Like, what's up with the French speaking captain? So, I'll keep watching --probably while complaining the entire time. But, hey, there's a long tradition of shouting at the TV in my family.

I've also been watching "Black Butler." I finished FMA (the 2004 version), and was thinking about starting up on "FMA: Brotherhood," but I just felt kind of burned out on Al and Ed for the moment. Anyway, I like "Black Butler"... it's sort of a creepy Anime version of Downton Abbey, with a demon butler, so that works for me. I will say though, that "His Butler, Escaping"... holy sh*t, can anyone say torture porn? Yowza! (And yet SOMEHOW there is no fan fic on Archive of Our Own yet.) Still, I find myself wishing that the story would go less into what's being served at tea, and more into what kind of demon Sebastian is, and his back story more and, like, why is the prospect of devouring little lord Phantomhive's soul worth all the hassle that little brat puts him through. I have been teased that some back story is coming (by Sebastian himself in the "next episode" teaser, but I've learned not to trust those after the corset scene... also, EEEK,), but we'll see if I'm really satisfied.

I'm about half way through Season 1, Part 2, for those who are interested. I also picked up the Manga from the library because someone I talked to implied that it was "darker" and that turned out to be untrue. It's almost verbatum to what's on the show. (Including the cut out scenes of food porn, which actually I find charming in both the Anime and the Manga. I just want more Sebastian.)

I have to say, in general, I need more information about the Japanese version of the grim reaper. It confuses me. Three shows I've watched have shinigami (aka death gods/grim reapers) in them: Bleach, Black Butler, and SoulEaters. I've only see the first episode of SoulEaters, but they seem to all be going to Grim Reaper Academy (am I right?) At any rate, I was really confused in Black Butler that the reapers seem to act as an intermediary between souls and heaven/hell (which seems pretty standard), but that there are also angels as well as demons. Is this typical of some mythology I'm missing? The shinigami seem to generally be non-partisan in that a reaper will deal with hell-bound and heavan-bound souls, and demons are clearly eaters of souls, but I am still not sure what the angel is up to in Black Butler (though I'm enjoying that she seems to be a villian of sorts.)

In other Real Life (tm) news, there isn't much to tell. Mason and I are planning to hit B&N tonight after school because one of his authors has a book out today, Rick Riordan, who has another one of his Egypt mythos books out. Mason is particularly fond of this series, even more so than the Percy Jackson books. So tonight promises to be fun for him. I was hoping to get to KSW, though we'll have to see how all that plays out.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
Today is shaping up to be a productive and possibly social day for me. I managed to get a bunch of errands all done before 9:00 am (including returning a purchase to Target) and Shawn just e-mailed to say she might be available for a lunch get-together. At 1:00 pm I'm going to be meeting a friend from KSW to read his astrology chart. So, that's like twice as many people as I usually see in any given afternoon.

Otherwise, after about fifteen minutes or so, I'm planning on getting up off my sorry butt and doing the dishes while watching Anime. I'm still working through the original (1984) FullMetal Alchemist. Mason suggested I just give up on it since so many people seem to prefer The Brotherhood, but I'm stubbornly seeing the storyline through to the end. Because I'm like that.

CONvergence is clearly picking up steam, as I've been contacted a bunch of times about various preferences and arrangments. I still can't quite believe how awesome it is that I'm going to be one of their guests this year. This is the event, after all, that much of the Twin Cities simply refers to as "Con" (which implies it's the ONLY ONE, Highlander-style.)

It has now been confirmed by the programming guy that my con schedule for CONvergence is "crazy busy." Anton had earlier hinted that my programming was "a metric tonne." So, I guess I get to have ALL THE PANELS. Hooray! It's like Christmas in July!
lydamorehouse: (urahura)
I've been talking to another friend on e-mail about cosplay, and I think my problem is that I care much less for the costume and a lot more for the play. If I went in costume, (which, btw, I am considering for at least one day of CONvergence, depending on my schedule,) I would TOTALLY spend the day in character.

But, as I've determined, I'm a lot more playful than a lot of people. I was also always that RPGer who would demand to be called by my made-up name (and nearly always opposite gender pronoun) and jump up to act out various scenes during the course of the game/campaign. I also almost NEVER broke character out loud. I might pass notes to the GM about plans or plots or such, but most everything I said (outside of those moments when you HAVE to roll the dice) was in character. I came of age in a time before LARPs so I missed out on that trend, which is probably just as well, because I might never have put down the "dice," as it were, to write. I'd probably still be out in the woods somewhere in costume pretending to be someone else all day long (and well into the night.)

Now that I understand that's my own weirdness, I'll be able to cope much better at the next Detour, I think. If I decide *I* want to cosplay at Detour, I'll just be sure to bring along a posse of friends who are in on it with me.

Speaking of Anime, I feel so incredibly stupid. I only just yesterday discovered that I can stream ALL THE BLEACH at the Viz Media Anime site. See what happened was, I bought Shawn a new iPad for her birthday (technically it's a refurbished iPad, not the new, new iPad,) anyway, we were setting it up and I realized I'd forgotten my Shonen Jump password. I had to go through all the rigamaroll to reset my password and, in the course of all that, got shunted at one point to the main Anime page (as opposed to the Manga page.) Imagine my suprise (and Shawn's groan) when I discovered that EVERY TUESDAY there's a new translated Bleach direct from Japan!! Whoot. Okay, so I'm only about 200 episdoes behind where they currently are, but, what this means is, after NetFlix runs out of discs we can keep watching. Hooray. (Yes, I know Bleach is ending this year. But Mason and I aren't fast watchers, actually. We can burn through a disc in a weekend, but that's only four or five episodes usually. So basically I'm set for LIFE.)

If I may go on about this for a moment, I have to say that I think that one of the reasons this series has inspired so much energy from me is because, ultimately, it's both DEEPLY rich and UTTERLY broken. A lot like Star Wars, actually, which was very likely the last bit of fantasy/SF that stirred this kind of crazy devotion in me. The world of Bleach (particuarly the spirit world, the Soul Society,) is dense. There's a lot of cool stuff: magical swords, magical combat techniques, spectacular fight scenes, in-fighting, weird and unexplained characters who clearly come pre-loaded with a lot of issues that you never quite get all of, etc. Then, after this amazing explosion of awesome, it's like Tite Kubo couldn't quite cope with the pressure to remain super. Not unlike George Lucas. Because then he seems to fumble the pass (and I don't just mean in the Anime, which I totally get has a lot of "filler.") This sort of combination (awesome/awful) inspires a lot of fan energy, becuase a lot of fan fic (at least my own) comes out of a passion to "fix" what is broken in a show. For instance, my fav guy is clearly the Han Solo in a way. He stars out incredibly fascinating and then gets used as the punchline in all the jokes. It makes me crazy.

Okay, enough about that. In my real life (tm,) I am still a bit driftless. I sent in a couple of proposals to my agent, but today I should probably try to work on the one she wants--which is more fluffy Tate stuff. I'm having a really hard time coming up with this because I'm kind of tired of it... though I'd pretty much write to spec right now if it meant having a contract.

My Loft class is just about over. I was just asked if I'd be willing to teach on-line again, and I said yes. Despite the weirdness of teaching on-line, I think that there are some real advantages to getting to do this sort of thing from home. So, I'm going to give it another try. We'll see if this next experience gets any easier/better. I suspect it's a matter of getting the hang of things (not unlike my first experience with Detour.)

Mason is home from school today with an upset stomach. I think he just had too many weird foods last night as he got a pair of chopsticks from a tutor who'd traveled to China (she gave a pair to everyone in class, not just the kids she tutors) and so he talked us into Vietnamese food. He got pretty good at the chopsticks, but I'm not sure all the spice and whatnot agreed with him. Plus, afterwards, he had a bunch of desserts including both icecream and watermelon.

At any rate, I'm going drag him along to my Women of Wyrdsmiths meeting because I think he's actually already over it-- thanks to a bathroom trip this morning (TMI)-- and I really hate to cancel that get-together because it's one of my favorite weekly traditions.

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