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Dex-ray specs [20 Aug 2013|05:08am]

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- Z
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Might as well make 'em blue [29 Jul 2013|12:12am]
So I checked out the new (2012) Ninja Turtles cartoon. Pretty good, though I really don't get the heavy anime influence. Ninja itself may be Japanese, but the Turtles are American, so why are they saying "hai" to Splinter and having their moods indicated with anime symbols? (I didn't see any sweatdrops, but they used that red sharp sign for anger...)

However, that's not what blew my mind. Several of the voices sounded familiar, but the one that kept bugging me for the whole episode was Donatello (my favourite turtle, as if you had to ask). Turns out he's got a long voice-acting pedigree and doesn't just use the same voice for everybody. His biggest roles have been Arthur from the Tick, Yakko Warner, Pinky of "and the Brain"... and Raphael in the original Turtles cartoon!

You can't DO that! They're totally different! Raphael is cool but rude! (Give him a break!) Donatello does machines! (That's a fact, Jack!) You can't just swap them willy-nilly! You might as well make Michaelangelo's nunchuks actually useful by sticking, like, a blade or somethi--

They what?

Why, Nickelodeon? Why are you messing with our heads?

(Want to be really freaked out? Watch this interview and see Yakko's voice coming out of an actual human being.)

- Z
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Compound interest [24 Nov 2012|07:18pm]

There are lots of interesting math pages around. Here's an oldie-but-goodie: What's Special About This Number?, a page that's been online about as long as my own. The maintainer, Erich Friedman, is out to tell us something mathematically interesting about as many of the counting numbers as possible. This is a task which in one sense can never end... and in another sense already has.

Find that hard to believe? Suppose we stop right now with the current page. It's finite, so there are omissions from it; let's list them in order. (As I write this, the list starts out 391, 424, 460, 488, 508...) By using this list, we can name the first uninteresting number, the second, the third, and so on.

But wait! First, second, third... those numbers are interesting. Everything less than 391 is. So in fact we can fill in the first 390 of those omissions with "the #th uninteresting number". Now we've found something interesting to say about them!

Okay, but what about the rest of our list? We've only removed 390 out of an infinitude of entries. Let's call the surviving numbers not just uninteresting, but "level-2" uninteresting. Surely they're beyond saving.

But wait! There's a first level-2 uninteresting number, a second, and so on. Up until the 391st, those are interesting things to be! Now we've got facts to cite for another 390 numbers. Go us! What's more, we can continue this process with levels 3, 4, and so on of uninterestingness...

Until we get to level 391, that is. 391 isn't interesting, so neither is that level! There are still infinitely many numbers on our list, but now they're beyond the reach of our level system. The surviving numbers are a whole different kind of uninteresting. They're so uninteresting we don't have the words yet to talk about how uninteresting they are. They're some kind of super-uninteresting.

Say, wouldn't it be interesting to know what the first super-uninteresting number is?

You get the picture. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to show that this process can be carried on forever, assuming we're allowed to come up with a new word for each level of uninterestingness. (This is not the same as just making up words willy-nilly; we're not describing, say, 4637 as "the first vreemish number", where "vreemish" is defined to mean "4637 or higher". Our words come from the process above, so they aren't arbitrary.)

"Hold it!" you may say. "There was nothing special about the number 391 in that proof. It would have worked no matter what the smallest unlisted number was!"

I know, right? Friedman must be some kind of workaholic. He could've just listed a fact for 1 and called it a day.

- Z

(Note: The above is a rephrasing/overcomplication of the old "no boring numbers" joke. I think I first read it in Martin Gardner. Some of you probably recognized it early on, so thanks for not interrupting.)

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Tea For Two (fic, K-ON!, humour) [04 Nov 2012|07:27pm]

A while back I ran into a K-ON! fic where Mio is asked what one person she'd most like to meet, and for some reason she says President Obama. Ever since then, I've had the idea for this fic on the backburner. It's set sometime in 2010. Take it with an entire salt lick.

No real people were harmed in the production of this fic. Of course, if you choose to identify someone not named in narration with a particular real person, that's YOUR business.


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- Z

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Characters, Please Relax [28 Jun 2012|12:55am]
Note to all manga and anime characters:

CPR does not count as your "important first kiss". Honest. It doesn't go on your permanent record. Not even the pickiest etiquette expert would say otherwise.

It's okay. You can find another plot device now.

- Z
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Regrets [02 Nov 2010|11:10am]
Well, November is upon us, it's an even-numbered year, and that means it's time for my biennual* Election Day post.


I'm reluctant this year, but not because I don't have anything to say. On the contrary, I have strong opinions on American politics right now. I could go on for pages (and would have done on several occasions this past year, if I weren't so lazy). No, the trouble is what happened last time.

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- Z

* Apparently that's the word for once every two years, semiannual is for twice a year, and biannual amusingly but inconveniently swings both ways.
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Fine, be that way [01 Aug 2010|01:37am]
[01:32] <@BSWolf> you're playing second life now?
[01:32] <@Makine> whos eyes are those eyes
[01:33] <@Makine> BSWolf: no
[01:33] <+pewbert> i thought makine was bibi
[01:33] <@Makine> i tried it once and it broke my computer
[01:33] <+Hildr> i did a study on second life
[01:33] <+pewbert> but now i see its aelie
[01:33] <+Hildr> its not a game
[01:33] <@BSWolf> lol
[01:33] <+pewbert> ninja hax
[01:33] <+Hildr> its virtual reality so to speak
[01:33] <Zeke> I beat second life
[01:33] <Zeke> The final boss is a pain
[01:33] <+Hildr> >.>
[01:33] *** Makine sets mode +b *!*Zeke@etc.
[01:33] *** Makine kicked Zeke from the channel: fail

...Well, that's the way it goes.

- Z
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Zeke Gets Unreasonably Mad #1 [20 Apr 2010|12:23am]
And now, my first post typed on a Blackberry. (But not actually posted from it; I don't have a data plan yet.)

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- Z
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Her Love is a Stapler (fic, K-ON!, humour) [15 Apr 2010|04:02pm]
I've had a couple of K-ON! fic ideas on the back burner for a while. Now that the second season's started up, I figured it was time to finally get one written. Won't make much sense if you don't watch the show. (So watch it! It's good fun.)


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- Z
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Saaaaaaail away [12 Dec 2009|01:57pm]
After a delay of roughly forever, I've finally posted something new at 5M.net: Five-Minute Sailor Moon.

I never watched the show, but I was aware of it because my brother did (not that he'll admit it now). He was just below the age where it would have been too girly for him, and I was just above that age. However, I did watch one episode all the way through. I guess I was channel-flipping and decided to see what was happening... and man, big stuff was happening.

This was the first-season finale, of course. Sailor Scouts were dropping left and right. And despite the dub's attempt to pass this off as getting knocked into a coma or something like that, I wasn't fooled for a second. I have a feeling most kids weren't. Serena wouldn't have been that upset about her friends being unconscious, and their spirits certainly wouldn't have shown up to help her in the final fight.

It sort of blew my mind. I'd never seen anything this heavy in a cartoon show before. And although everybody came back to life, the ending was sad in a whole different way, with all the girls losing their memory of being Sailor Scouts. It made such an impact on me that I set aside my inhibitions and watched the next one... but I don't think I got much farther than the "Luna Mind Meld". That was a little too tongue-in-cheek for me (and for years I assumed it was a dub change, but apparently that's really what she calls it).

So let that be a lesson to those who would dumb stories down to make them healthier for kids. Forget the whole question of whether it's disrespectful to the original creators -- sometimes it doesn't even work.

- Z
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Seinen/coseinen tangent [28 Nov 2009|12:05am]
Anime is a funny beast. That sounds like an overgeneralization, of course -- after all, there's a ton out there, in many different genres. But what I've been noticing lately is how many anime series seem to be aimed at audiences we in North America don't even have.

Take Haré + Guu, for instance. Brilliant show, if slightly kiddy; every time I watch it I think about how well it would fit in the after-school animation block. But then I realize you can only say that about 80% of the show -- the rest has stuff that wouldn't be appropriate. What do you do with Weda, Haré's scantily-clad boozer of a mom? Or Bell, the devoted maidservant who gets violent nosebleeds over her mistress's "purity"? Hell, the fifth episode is all about determining who fathered Haré out of wedlock.

This isn't unusual. For every show like Ai Yori Aoshi, where the adult stuff fits fine because the show pitches itself to late teens anyway, there's one like Rosario + Vampire which combines simple kid-friendly concepts and plot structures... with panty shot festivals and incessant breast-size jokes. (I do have examples without plus signs in their titles, by the way.) I enjoy lots of those shows, but they also make me feel vaguely uncomfortable, like I'm watching someone make dirty jokes with my little brother in the room.

There's a word for what I'm talking about: surrounded. No, wait. The word is seinen. It's supposed to mean targeted at males in the 18-30 range, but in my experience, it's more often what I've described above -- material that would be fine for kids from about 12 up, were it not for the gratuitous stuff mixed in. Like most genres, it's fuzzy; I'm not sure why Ai Yori Aoshi is seinen and not shoujo, for instance (though it makes me less embarrassed for enjoying it). Aoi may appeal to some men's fantasies of the perfect girlfriend, but her appeal to girls as an old-fashioned romantic heroine is even stronger. My point, though, is that the seinen audience seems to be one that only Japan aims for. Kids' and even teen shows don't have breast jokes and panty shots here, unless I'm way out of touch.

It's just something I've been thinking about. Which brings me inexplicably inexorably to Soul Eater.

That show is great. Seriously, it's way too much fun -- can't recommend it enough. I'm 40 episodes in out of 51 total. And what I find myself wondering, for a somewhat different reason, is what audience this show is aiming for.

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(By the way, I know I'm late to the party. Soul Eater finished airing back in March. But I'm just watching it now, and I wanted to say something about this strange dilemma I'm feeling.)

- Z
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Five-Second SAW [23 Oct 2009|09:15pm]
Yep, Saw VI opens tonight. So here's a little something I whipped up a while ago. Full spoilers for the first five.

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- Z
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Oh, I'll add to your discussion [12 Jul 2009|03:49pm]
Different sites use different mechanisms to eliminate spam comments and abuse. I think it was Slashdot that first let users vote posts up or down; this is better than nothing, but it's no substitute for an intelligent moderator. For one thing, in a forum where the balance of opinion is heavily on one side, that majority can easily shout down dissent with their votes. That's one reason I think it's important to let users decide if they want to see downvoted posts, instead of simply hiding them from everyone.

But there are other problems which have less to do with philosophy and more with mechanics. This one I just stumbled on, for instance.

I've always sorta figured that when you create a discussion, you add to it by definition. What with zero being less than any positive number and all. But that's probably just the kind of naive idea you get from working in math.

- Z
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Long enough to reach the ground [20 May 2009|09:29pm]
So I decided to start biking again recently. My first time out, my old bike exploded under me. Okay, it was just the inner tube of the back tire, but it impressed the people across the street.

Since then, I've been seeing what I can do with Dad's bike. It's more of a racing bike, with ten speeds and those weird handles that curve down like mountain goat horns. It has no foot brakes, but I can live with that. The real problem is bigger: it's bigger. Specifically, this bike rides several inches higher than my old one. As a result, I need to lean way over to get a foot fully on the ground. I've never had a bike this high before, and stopping it scares me to death every time.

Is this just something an adult biker is supposed to be used to? Or is it a real problem? Any advice from bikers on my f-list would be appreciated.

- Z
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Live Long And Oops (short fic, comedy) [15 May 2009|06:11pm]
Saw the new Trek film. The fiver is coming, but not till I see it again. In the meantime, here's a little thing I just had to write.


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- Z
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Hell Days (fic, Hell Girl / School Days, comedy) [04 May 2009|06:09pm]
Yep, I am officially joining the already over-swelled ranks of people who post fanfic on their LJs. And this particular fic is gonna take a little explaining. (For readers of my journal, that is. If you've come here from elsewhere, you already know why.)

I recently became a huge fan of the anime Jigoku Shoujo, aka Hell Girl. While checking out some images related to the show, I came across this one, where Enma Ai is ferrying some guy to hell (this being what a Hell Girl does). The guy turned out to be Makoto from School Days, a show I had already heard of on account of its nice boat. I decided to check out the anime and see why this guy deserved such a fate.

Short of sci-fi, you will never find a more incredibly screwed-up anime than School Days. It's as if a dating sim collided with a train. Needless to say, I loved it. And I see now why some artist liked the idea of Makoto becoming a Hell Girl victim...

...but we all know that's not what would really happen, don't we?

Here's a short crossover that wouldn't let me go till I'd written it. If you haven't seen Hell Girl, all you really need to do is read the bit on "Hell Correspondence" in the Wikipedia article so you understand the premise. If you haven't seen School Days, the fic will mostly fill you in. Without further ado...


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First! [20 Mar 2009|11:10pm]
Of the many, many ridiculous things in the BSG finale, one really leapt out at me, and I'm gonna try to be the first one to point it out.

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In other news, if you'd like to check out an example of truly mind-blowing lameness, watch the post-finale show on Space. You'll get to see BSG fans who are more like Trekkies than Trekkies, and bargain-bin hosts telling each other they just set the blogosphere on fire. Sweet Christmas!

- Z
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Too much confusion [20 Mar 2009|07:20pm]
Tonight is the end of an era. Yes, the days of everyone saying "Battlestar Galactica is SOOOO brilliant and so much better than EVERY SHOW YOU LIKE, you herpes-encrusted potato byproduct" will be over after tonight. They will be replaced by the days of everyone saying "Battlestar Galactica WAS so brilliant," etc.

My speculation on the finale is here. Spoilers through last week's episode. And tonight's, if I'm right that Hera is an evil mastermind.

- Z
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1929-2009 [06 Mar 2009|02:03am]
My grandpa passed away last night.

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- Z
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Tablet arts [28 Feb 2009|06:07pm]
There's speculation that the character who appeared in last week's BSG has an anagrammatic name. (Possible spoilers at that link.)

Well, I can top that. Hold onto your mind, 'cause it's about to be blown.

"Battlestar" is an anagram of "battles tar".

There will be a tar monster in the last episode. You heard it here first.

- Z
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