April 26th, 2007



The past two days, a flock of sheep has been roaming the grasslands near to our house. They're gone by the time we get back form work, though -- only to re-appear a bit further down the road the next day...
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Recipe for YouTube with better sound

The new camera also takes movies -- we have already inflicted some of those to you.

The camera produces Quicktime clips, but YouTube prefers XviD video and MP3 sound. I use AviSynth to frame-serve the clips to VirtualDub, in order to make an AVI with the right compressions. But the sound quality when the clip appears on YouTube is quite dreadful. Through some tweaking, I found the ideal solution to that.

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Probably, no-one will use this recipe anyway, but I felt a need to just record this trick for posterity.
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Toys for boyswomen

Luckily, klik felt good enough to join us for the project team dinner yesterday evening, and today to work. It's her birthday today, so we had baked quite a few cakes.

Just outside of the window of our project room, a working crew is busy with doing the groundwork in preparation of creating more parking places on the premises. In a month, TNJ is going to occupy the next door office as well, and there is a lot of building activity planned. Our CFO is the man who oversees all this.
He came over to congratulate klik with her birthday. He asked her whether she had taken her beach set with her so she could play in the sand, and together they looked outside at what had become of the 'garden'. Then he asked her whether she wanted to sit behind the wheel of the (smallish) backhoe the work crew used to shift the sand around.

Did she? Of course!

The work crew was having coffee in our cantina, but they were more than willing to put her in the drivers seat and explain a few of the levers.

And klik shifted a bit of sand.

The thing that gets called out towards the end, that makes everyone laugh, is our CFO shouting that a backhoe looks good on her. ;)
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Bishoujo squad!

New anime

Seto no Hanayome: A 'romantic' comedy. A boy goes to his grandmothers' house close to the Seto inland sea. When he goes swimming in the sea, he gets a cramp in his leg and drowns! But then he sees a mermaid, and she saves him. Of course, nobody believes him -- until the mermaid comes to his grandmother's house! Turns out she is the daughter of the head of the sea Yakuza clan, and the law says that if someone sees a mermaid, she must die! There is only one way out of it: she has to marry with the person who saw her!
We haven't decided yet whether this is genuinely funny, or merely a one-time gag drawn out for a whole season -- but then again, it worked quite well in the Gokusen... The pacing is much more frantic and the humour more slapstick, though.

Monster Princess: Horror/Comedy. Hiro has been separated from his sister for years, but now she has found a job as a caretaker at an old mansion and her employer has allowed her to bring her brother over. But it turns out that her employer is the 'princess of monsters'! Hiro encounters her, and saves her from being crushed by a load of I-beams -- getting himself crushed instead. This amuses the princess, and she resurrects him, making him her servant! Later that evening, she gets attacked by a beastman, and Hiro feels a strange compulsion to protect her!
Probably a sort of rehash of 3x3 Eyes, where the main character dies every episode and gets back up. The style reminded us of Rozen Maiden.

Sakura Taisen New York, NY: The first Sakura Taisen series we've seen, and apparently you need to know all the characters before you think it's interesting. Even though it's quite well drawn and animated, it could not interest us for more than about seven minutes.

Idolmaster Xenoglossia: Haruka wins an audition for pop singer, and moves to Tokyo. She meets another girl who has gotten through the auditions too, and together they search for their dormitory. While they are lost in the big city, they witness the launch of an iDol, a spacefaring mecha that defends the Earth against falling meteorites -- since the moon has fractured there are quite a lot of 'em (but how that should hinder the reception of earth-based signal systems like cell phones is not entirely clear to me...). Then the weird keychain they got together with their invitation lights up, and an iDol breaks out of its hangar to take Haruka into its cockpit!
Another twist to the usual contortions mecha series have to go through to get relatively naieve pilots into the cockpits of their mecha. The plot is a bit like Stratos 4, it seems -- but without the gratitious panty shots. Really nicely animated.

Touka Gettan: Something to do with a depressed novellist who thinks of one of the characters in he rnovel as her daughter, then said character actually comes to life and calls her, a maid with ulterior motives and a mysterious clan. Or something like that -- this one didn't make any sense to us.

Hayate no Gotoku: Hayate is a hard-working youth, but he has to support his parents, who are complete slackers. He is always working and still quite poor -- and to top things off, his parents saddle him with a huge debt with the Yakuza before fleeing! Hayate wanders the streets, penniless and without a place to go. He meets a rich girl, and devises a plan to kidnap her -- which of course backfires badly. Somehow, he ends up saving her from a different set of kidnappers, and the girl arranges for him to become her butler. And so he becomes Hayate, the combat butler!
Funny, with some time for quiet introspection in between the zany action. Hayate is a pretty straight character who gets in all sorts of unlikely (and unlikable) situations.