Log in

Apr. 29th, 2016 @ 09:37 am Rise and fall of the Angry Blackbird
Current Mood: pensivepensive
Tags: ,
A blackbird had decided to build a nest in the hedge, close to the back door. So far, so good, but then he got Really Angry when the cats went out. Sounding the alarm and even diving towards them! The cats sneaked from chair to chair, but after about a week of this they didn't want to go out as often anymore: the Angry Blackbird was winning the battle for the backyard. It even got so bad that they'd sit on the backs of the chairs we have in the living, and the Angry Blackbird would see them through the glass, and then would get all Angry again -- we've spent a few days with the curtains half-drawn...

And then last Saturday, the cats went out -- the Angry Blackbird seemed to be occupied elsewhere. But after a while, he had found them again and was again in full-on alarm mode. When I went to the backdoor to let the cats back in, I saw that they had caught a lady blackbird! I let them in, and then I found that the bird was still alive -- but she clearly was never going to get up by herself, so I had to euthanise her... Not a happy experience, that. We're still not sure if this was the prospective bride of the Angry Blackbird, or just a random passer-by.

Later that day, we decided that enough was enough. We plucked the blackbird nest out of the hedge (which was still empty) and chucked it in the green bin. I don't enjoy interfering like this, but raising a nest of young birds in our back yard is not going to end well for anybody involved.
We haven't seen the Angry Blackbird since.
About this Entry
Apr. 23rd, 2016 @ 08:36 am (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, luna_puella!
About this Entry
Apr. 22nd, 2016 @ 10:05 pm More new anime
Current Mood: mellowmellow
Shounen Maid: Chihiro's mother dies, and he's left all alone. A kind older couple take him in, but then his uncle turns up to take him in! Turns out he's a rich costume designer, living in a big house -- even though Chihiro and his mother led very simple lives... But Chihiro doesn't want to rely on charity. The house is filthy, and he decides to clean up. So his uncle makes a deal with him: he can be the live-in maid in the house!
An orphan taken in by family -- and they are actually kind and compassionate? We haven't seen that too many times before. And it's fun in a gentle way. I want to see more about this.

Haifuri: Sea levels have risen and most of Japan has been submerged (again). There are now naval ships protecting the city ships -- with an all-female crew (because of course women don't fight...). We follow one training ship, staffed by a highschool class. But there's something weird: once they set out and approach the rendez-vous point, they are attacked by the ship of their instructors! They run away, but are now considered to be dangerous by all the other school ships...
Interesting, it reminded me of Starship Operators. There is obviously a conspiracy going on here, and I want to know what's happening. I would have liked the character designs a bit more realistic/serious though -- the way they act is like it's a regular highschool comedy series, which it's obviously not.

Sansha Sanyou: Yoko used to be a rich girl, but her father's company went bankrupt and now she's poor. She doesn't really know how to act in the company of 'normal' people, so she doesn't have any friends in class. This means she always eats her lunches alone. But one day, two other girls find her spot and the three of them meet up for lunch from then on.
An interesting mix of characters. And the writers didn't take shortcuts by simply selecting one of the many two-dimensional stereotypes. Still a bishoujo series -- but you know I like those.

12-sai: Chicchana Mune no Tokimeki: The series focusses on a sixth-grade class and the changes that the kids in the class go through. Main character is Hanabi, who finds out that she actually likes her popular classmate Yuto.
The character designs seem a bit dated, and it has all the trappings of your last year in elementary school. I didn't particularly like that year, so I don't really want to revisit all those things like inter-class feuds and all.

And that's it for this new season -- at least for the full-length episodes. And none of the short-length episodes were of interest -- which is like it usually is.
About this Entry
Bishoujo squad!
Apr. 21st, 2016 @ 10:55 pm Stacked
Current Mood: nerdynerdy
TransIP, a hoster in the Netherlands, has a free offering called STACK: free cloud storage for 1000 GB! It took me a few days to get an invite to activate it. It's based on Owncloud, and they made branded clients. That means there are clients for phones and tablets, and every OS (including Linux!). In addition, you can mount the drive through WebDAV too. It's reasonable fast, and you can store your Dropbox many times over in there. I'm a fan.
About this Entry
Apr. 21st, 2016 @ 10:38 pm More new anime
Current Mood: okayokay
Super Lovers: Haru's mother lives in Canada, and when he comes to visit her for the summer, he is tasked with looking after his adoptive brother Ran, who is still just a kid. Ran lived in an orphanage, and he's kind of a wild child: spends all of the day outside and is only friendly to the dogs. But with some hard work, Haru slowly gains Ran's trust and gets him to behave a bit more like a human child.
It's a yaoi series, but the first episode is just build-up. But two (adoptive) brothers with a huge age difference shagging up? Creepy.

Kuromukuro: An ancient artifact was found, so of course the UN built a lab to investigate it. Yukina is the daughter of the lab director, but she just isn't that smart as her mother... One day she visits the lab to return a forgotten cell phone, and all hell breaks loose when several objects from outer space land on Earth -- they're attack mecha! And then the artifact activates with Yukina there!
The setup strongly reminded me of Neon Genesis Evangelion, which is not a bad thing at all. It's all very polished and there is quite the plot twist at the end. I really want to know how this continues.

Kuma Miko: In a mountain village, humans and bears have learned to live together. The bears even speak the human language. Up the mountain is a shrine dedicated to the bears, and Machi, a middle school girl, is the shrine maiden there. She takes care of the ceremonies, but before and after she chats with the bear, who is quite friendly. But Machi is thinking of leaving the little village behind and moving to the city.
Small-village life with a touch of the supernatural (and the history is just a tiny little bit lewd, which amused me). A very pastoral feel, like Non Non Biyori, but then with a talking bear being around too. We liked it.
About this Entry
Kashira? Kashira? Gozonji Kashira?
Apr. 19th, 2016 @ 11:11 pm Hamburgers
Current Mood: fullfull
My boss, a Canadian who lives in Germany, is visiting Nijmegen this week. When I asked him if he needed me to make any arrangements (specifically for dinner), he replied that he'd just go to the snackbar for some fries. (This was through text chat, so I think the sad undertone I thought I heard was completely my imagination.) I replied that he should go to Restaurant Wally in the city centre, because they have great burgers there. I may have talked those burgers up quite a bit, and it turned out that he's not averse to a good burger. It didn't take long to decide that we'd go there together.
So when we were about to leave, there were two other colleagues left in the office, and they came along. One has a long list of strict dietary requirements, but since everything is made fresh, I thought it wouldn't be too much of a problem to have them change the burgers slightly to conform to fit within the restrictions. They even have an allergy-matrix where you can see which allergen is in which menu-item. This colleague doesn't like to make a fuss about her diet (which I can fully understand), but it wasn't any problem for them to, for instance, leave the bun off the burger and to serve the dressing apart from the salad so that she could eat with confidence.
So expectations for the burgers were high, but they were met. We had a good evening, and it was around 9 o'clock when I dropped them off at their hotel. I think there will be more visits to Wally in the future when he's in Nijmegen...
About this Entry
Apr. 18th, 2016 @ 08:59 pm More new anime
Current Mood: calmcalm
Joker Game: In 1930s Japan, a group of men is trained to become spies. Of course, this requires something different from the strict adherence to military doctrine that the army requires. So the men, who don't even know each others' real names, play all sorts of subtle games amongst themselves. Lt. Sakuma gets posted as the army liason to this spy unit, but he doesn't have a high opinion of these methods. But he has to learn to play the game to keep up with them...
An interesting concept set in a time where Japan was rapidly becoming the militaristic state which would plunge them into WW2. It's all very subtle, until Sakuma starts to 'get' it -- and then he gives as good as he gets.

Re:Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu: Subaru is a NEET, and then one day when he visits the conbini, he gets transported to a fantasy world. This is of course like the games and the anime he is familiar with, but he quickly learns that he is not the protagonist of this world: he doesn't have any magical powers and is not immune to some old-fashioned beating when he runs into some thugs. He is saved by a half-elf who is looking for her stolen insignia, and Subaru, who got a look at the thief, decides to stick with her and help her.
We sure have seen this plot development quite a few times, but it's kinda refreshing that Subaru didn't gain any special abilities. He is at quite a disadvantage too... What can I say? I kinda like these series.

Big Order: Some people can get their wishes fulfilled, which is of course potentially dangerous to the rest of humanity. They are called 'Orders'. Eiji is one of them, and he is convinced that it was his 'Order' that destroyed much of the world ten years ago. Of course, he keeps it a secret, but when he is found out and his sister is taken hostage, he remembers what his real wish was, and acts on it.
Apparently made by the guy who wrote 'Mirai Nikki', and that we didn't like that either. I guess we don't like watching series about psychopaths.

Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge: Tanaka is lazy: there is nothing he likes to do better than to snooze. Luckily enough, his friend Ohta looks after him. Tanaka is so dedicated to his laziness that he goes to great lengths to be able to be lazy...
Funny in a slow-paced way, with some nice characters. The comedy reminded me of Nozaki-kun: funny situations without having to resort to weird violence or improbable situations. I'd be interested to see where it goes.

Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku no Fatalite: Some time ago, an attempt was made by a king and queen to seal an evil dragon away, but it failed. Now their son, the prince, has become a swordman, and he is seeking to finish what his parents started. Of course, not everybody is thrilled with that prospect, because the status quo gives them power over others.
The animation is kinda bad (as modern series go), and we didn't really care about the characters and what was going on. Bland and lacks character, with an uninspiring technical execution.
About this Entry
Ships passing in the night
Apr. 17th, 2016 @ 09:25 pm More new anime
Current Mood: okayokay
Kiznaiver: A group of highschool classmates are captured by the shadowy organisation that is running their town and get subjected by the Kizuna System. Now, when one of them feels pain, they all feel it. They will be given missions, and the organisation is willing to demolish the whole town in order to get them to cooperate...
Kinda weird, and I'm worried about what the missions will turn out to be. But it's also fun and the animation style gets nicely 'semi-flat' for the more zany parts. Interesting plot, I want to see how it will develop

Mayoiga: A diverse group of people joins a tour to a secret village, under the impression that they will start a new life there. They only know each other by their internet handles, though some of them know each other from their 'old' lives. There's a very diverse cast of characters, and not all of them are sympathetic -- they all have their own reasons for abandoning their lives and trying to start anew.
With so many characters, you know it's probably going to be a case of them being killed one by one... To up the tension, our 'main' character is a very naive boy who will probably get into all sorts of trouble since he is so easily manipulated. It's all mysterious and weird, a bit like Lost I guess. Let's hope this one will have better writing. ;)
About this Entry
Fleeing rabbit
Apr. 17th, 2016 @ 09:51 am Spontaneous RPGing breaks out
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
I have been watching quite a few gaming streams on Twitch.tv lately. basically, you're watching other people play a game. Some also have a face-cam, most have audio to provide a running commentary to the game, and there is a chat-room for the stream as well. It's an oddly social thing: it's like you're sitting on the couch watching someone play, with some banter in the background. The type of banter is of course quite dependent on the streamer and the public they attract.
I've been a follower of this one guy. The topics in his chat range from national anthems and language structures to the mechanics of the game he's player. His regulars are a friendly bunch, and it's fun to hang out with these people. So when he mentioned earlier this week that he was going to be playing Dungeon World (a pen-and-paper RPG) this Saturday, I was intrigued. I could even help with the preparation by sharing my guide for setting up a campaign over Google Hangouts.

I have the Dungeon World book -- I got it because the game has a large following. It uses the 'Apocalypse World Engine' -- it's basically a fantasy game based on the rules engine of another game. I've tried to read through the rulebook, but it was not easy to get through: there's lots of jargon that really obfuscates what it is trying to do -- I just couldn't wrap my head around what a 'move' actually is, etcetera.
So I thought it would be interesting to watch some people I 'know' play the game, to see how it works and what makes it 'tick'. So when I saw the announcement coming up on Twitter that they'd go live with a Dungeon World session, I joined the Twitch channel. And it turned out that the game had slots for players open, so I was immediately invited to join. Apparently not knowing the rules was not a problem: we'd spend some time going over the rules and creating characters together before starting out. klik was out to the theatre and hadn't come home yet, so I thought: "OK, why not?" I got the link for the Hangout they were using, and off we went!

The total session time was about 2.5 hours, but we spent a good chunk on character creation and discussing the rules. I got to play Hazel, the Halfling Thief, and I had a great time. With the game being streamed on Twitch for a live audience, it wasn't as focussed as my regular Play-by-VOIP games, because you also want to keep an eye out on the chat on Twitch as well. Still, great fun, and we'll probably continue the game somewhere next weekend. I think I understand Dungeon World a lot better, and there are some things in there that work out quite nicely.

You can watch the stream here (if you're interested). Skip to 12:00 because that's when we started creating the characters. The adventure itself kicks off at 55:00.
About this Entry
Apr. 16th, 2016 @ 09:58 am New anime
Current Mood: okayokay
More spring anime!

Koutetsujou no Kabaneri: The world has been overrun by zombie-like creatures, and the remaining humans have retreated to strongholds, keeping the zombies out with steam-powered weapons. A caste system has sprung up. Armoured trains run from city to city. And then one of the 'stations' is overrun by the zombies, panic ensues! One young engineer finds a way to kill the zombies, but he needs to get out of the city if he wants to survive...
It's been compared to Attack on Titan, and there are certainly parallels between the two series -- liking AoT is certainly a good predictor of liking this one. The animation is very nice, the characters seem cool (at first glance), and the plot could be interesting.

Sousei no Onmyouji: 14-year old Rokuro was a very powerful exorcist, but he stopped two years ago when his family was killed in a demon incident. Then one day, he catches a girl falling from the sky: she is an exorcist too, and they get caught up in a demon incident. Faced with this demon, Rokuro needs to draw on his experience as an exorcist again to save the day.
Fine for what it is. The character designs are nice and the demons are really unnerving. But in the end, it didn't really grab us -- the exorcisms are more window dressing, and it's probably a "monster of the week"-type of series.

Sakamoto desu ga?: Sakamoto is the coolest guy in the school. Girls want to be with him, guys want to be him. But they get jealous and try all sorts of nasty tricks on him -- which of course all backfire horribly and Sakamoto comes out smelling like roses every time...!
It's like One Punch Man in that the main character can't lose. You'd think that would get stale quite fast, but OPM has shown us that doesn't have to be the case. And the setting is a lot less 'out there', which makes it both more relatable but will also require better comedy writing from the creators.

Netoge no Yome wa Onna no ko ja Nai to Omotta?: Hideki is a nerd who spend most of his free time in an MMORPG. Once he confessed his love to a female character there, but it turned out to be a guy -- so he never trusts female character again. He is part of a guild: two other males and one female. When they declare an 'offline meeting', it turns out that all the guild-members go to the same highschool -- and apart from Hideki, they're all girls.
It's probably 'one of those series', but I liked the set-up. The in-game footage is kinda cool too.
About this Entry
Ships passing in the night
Apr. 11th, 2016 @ 08:33 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, coronanl!
About this Entry
Apr. 11th, 2016 @ 08:32 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, cissa!
About this Entry
Apr. 10th, 2016 @ 04:47 pm More new anime
Current Mood: bitchybitchy
Bungo Stray Dogs: Atsushi got kicked out of the orphanage where he lives. He then saves a man from drowning, who turns out to work for the 'Armed Detective Agency': a group of people with special powers who take on cases that are too hard for the police and the army. They are hunting a man-eating tiger, and Atsushi is convinced that tiger is after him personally! It turns out to be slightly different, and he gets recruited to become a part of the Agency...
It has special powers, it has a colorful cast of characters and a main character who has his own powers but seems to be mostly normal... The snappy dialogue and the action also reminded me of Kekkai Sensen, and that is not a bad thing at all!

Boku no Hero Academia: 80% of the population has powers in the form of 'Quirks'. This has given rise to supervillains and, of course, the superheroes who fight them. Izuku dreams of being a hero like that and going to the 'hero academy', but he is 'Quirk-less' and hence doesn't have a superpower! Everybody ridicules him, but he is determined to make his dreams come true.
Remember the last part of One Punch Man, when he joins the hero association and gets a rank and all? Well, suppose there's a highschool that trains its students to become heroes like that? And suppose one student is determined to make it work while he doesn't have any powers...? It's kinda cool, but poor Izuku is indeed quite worthless in a fight, so I'm not sure how he's going to make it work.

Hundred: Large monsters called 'Savages' attack mankind. The only thing capable of stopping them are 'Slayers': special trained forces powered by a 'Hundred', which turns into a weapon that suits their personality. Hayato has the highest compatibility rating and is invited onto the school-ship Little Garden to study to become a Slayer there. But he gets into trouble during the opening ceremony and is challenged to a duel by the school queen, the student council president!
I'm sure I've seen this exact set-up before. And we didn't watch those series either.

Flying Witch: Makoto is a witch, and as is traditional, she has to move out to become a full-fledged witch -- but her parents worry and make her stay with family in north Honshu. She gets lost easily, so her second cousin hands her off to his friend to bring Makoto back home. On their way, Makoto finds a mandrake root and wants to give it to the friend as a present...
It's like Kiki's Delivery Service, if Kiki lived in the present day, looked like Minmei from Macross and was a bit odd... Slow-moving but hilarious.

Endride: Shun is obsessed with crystals, and one that is in his father's lab, sends him to another world, where he meets a prince who wants to kill the current king: the usuper of his father's throne. Apparently people in that other world can summon special weapons from their chests, and Shun has this power too. Together, they escape the castle.
Not only is the plot uninspiring, the chemistry between the two boys is incredibly bad too. Designs are 'meh': instead of an exciting and beautiful world, it's all rather drab on the other side. Mediocre at best.
About this Entry
Apr. 9th, 2016 @ 11:45 am New anime
Current Mood: okayokay
Here's my take on some of the first episodes of the anime that's new this spring season!

Bakuon!!: It's about highschool girls who drive motorcycles. Hane, the main character, is a ditz, but she gets impressed with motorcycles and joins her school's bike-club. She then goes on to get her license.
It tries really hard to be like K-On, but then with motorcycles: Hane is ditzy and has a reliable younger sister, there's a cast of the usual characters... If you really like motorcycles and know everything about them, then I guess it's a fine series. It felt kinda boring to us though.

Ace Attorney: Based on the DS games about Phoenix Wright. In fact, it's like you're watching someone play the game, with visual effects that are kinda cheesy. The story is kinda lame, the animation isn't very good... We never played the game, and watching this surely didn't put it on our list of games to try!

Anne-Happy is about the seventh class of a high school that promotes academic and athletic achievements: the first three classes in a grade concentrate on study, the second three focus on sports. The seventh class however is focussed on luck and happiness: all kids in this class are unlucky, and the coming three years they have to work on getting more lucky. Of course, the series focusses on a set of unlucky girls, each with their own problems.
What Anne teaches us, is that your happiness is independent of the events that befall you: even though she is very unlucky and gets into accident after accident, she choses to be happy and see things in a positive light. (The Buddha says: "People make their own suffering.") In that light, I am also very interested in the homework that the kids get in order to become more lucky. More so than the main characters -- so we'll see if it keeps being interesting.
About this Entry
Bishoujo squad!
Apr. 3rd, 2016 @ 11:54 am (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, starkodama!
About this Entry
Mar. 24th, 2016 @ 10:02 pm Kitty doorkeeper
Current Mood: lovedloved
Tags: ,
We had new windows and a new front door installed in Februari. The old windows were only single pane glass, so in winter it wasn't very comfortable. And since that side of the house is oriented to the south, it needs regular painting -- but the new windows are plastic, so we never have to do anything about that again.
I especially like the new front door -- though we had to install a mailbox outside since the new door doesn't have a mailslot. (Which we only found out after it was installed and the mailperson rang the bell to tell us she couldn't put our mail anywhere...) It has a narrow pane of glass to the side that goes all the way to the floor -- a perfect size to act as the lookout post for a cat!
So when I return from work, this is how I am greeted:
About this Entry
3-eyed cat
Mar. 19th, 2016 @ 09:02 am D&D cartoon narrated as an actual session
Current Mood: amusedamused/nostalgic
Remember the old Dungeons & Dragons cartoon? I remember playing in Rolemaster campaigns that were just about as cheesy as that cartoon... So when someone linked to a video that narrated an episode of the cartoon as if it was an actual RPG session, it provided me with a good mix of nostalgia and amusement. And it even has dice rolling sounds!
About this Entry
Feb. 27th, 2016 @ 08:50 pm Anniversary
Current Mood: lovedloved
Last Monday, I had a day off -- originally to be on stand-by in case an update on the webserver for klik's work would go wrong. But that had happened on the Wednesday before (and went off without a hitch). But I had already requested (and gotten) the day off, so I decided to let it stand. Only afterwards did we realise that we would be married exactly 12.5 years on that day! So we had every reason to spend the day together and do something pleasant.

In the afternoon we went to see An, a sweet taste of life. When we were getting the tickets, we noticed a little folder about the movie, and it had the recipe for the sweets that are made in the movie: dorayaki, fluffy pancakes with a filling of sweet bean paste (which is called 'an', the title of the movie). The movie itself is nice, I'm not going to spoil it!
Then we walked around the city centre for a bit, stopped for a cup of tea, and then we went to restaurant Ivory. We had a wonderful dinner there -- we'll be sure to return!

Of course, the recipe had to be tried out! We used store-bought an though (we've made it ourselves before, but it's kinda finnicky). The end result was delicious! Klik had baked some for a gathering she had today, and there were two left which we had as dessert!

They were lovely!
About this Entry
Jan. 28th, 2016 @ 08:59 pm (no subject)
Current Mood: happyfestive
Happy birthday, sillie82!
About this Entry
Jan. 22nd, 2016 @ 09:25 pm New anime
Current Mood: okayokay
Luck & Logic: Evil extra-dimensional entities possess people or animals on Earth and invade Earth like that. The only ones who can protect against that are humans who have made a contract with a friendly extra-dimensional entity and who have some sort of 'logic device'. Yoshichika has lost his device and his contract, so he's now just a normal civilian. When he gets caught up in an invasion, he is forced to establish a contract with a goddess who has found his logic device and who tracked him down. And then he has to go live in the dorm with all the other 'logicians', who are of course all girls...
It's not innovative: it doesn't show us anything that hasn't been done in other series, or show us a new take on something that's been tried before. An also-ran.

Oshiete! Galko-chan: Galko is a hyaru, Otako is a fuyoshi, and Ojyo is a rich-girl type with little experience of the 'real world'. The three friends are classmates, and discuss various topics in these short episodes.
Having stereotypical characters means you don't have to think too hard! Yeah, not very enthused about this one.

Ooya-san wa Shishunki!: Moving into his first apartment, the protagonist finds out that his landlady is actually a girl who attends middle school.
Again, short episodes, light on content. Meh.

Sushi Police: The Sushi Police keep an eye out for unnatural combinations of sushi, and they will raid any establishment that serves non-proper sushi, using a robot launched for their airship headquarters.
Short episodes, 'zany' action 'comedy'.

Koukaku no Pandora: Autonomous robots have been developed, and now there are even androids using the same technology. A young girl gets converted into an android (because of reasons that are not revealed to us) and sent to live with her aunt on an island. On the boat there, she meets a woman who has an android girl with her as well! When they arrive, explosions are set off all over the island, and the girl gets roped into helping the woman, who seems to have some really shady things going on...
So it starts kinda slow, with lots of talk about the world and the technology. And then, when they get to the island, it turns into a complete action rollercoaster! There's a lot going on here, and it's both interesting and amusing. I want to know what is going on, and the girls' cheerful disposition despite all the weirdness certainly makes it nice to watch.

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara: Yuzuka gets the offer to become a magical girl from some creature that was hanging out in the garbage. She accepts, and she triggers her transformation sequence -- which gets her into some sort of swimsuit...
You guessed it: short episodes, and not much of interest.

Ojiisan to Marshmallow: Kusaka likes marshmallows, a fact that his much younger colleague exploits to get him to ask her out.
While I appreciate the absurdness of the subject matter, it's just... I don't know.

Tabi Machi Late Show: Apparently every episode will have a single story about saying goodbye. The first episode is about a cook who leaves his job to travel to Italy to learn more about cooking -- he challenges his boss to a pomodori-sauce duel when he comes back. There's a little twist at the end, which was kinda neat, but all in all it did not leave us wanting more.
About this Entry
Maid dance