Friday, 9 May 2014

spanish grand prix

It's the Spanish grand prix this weekend.

Spain is where they do a lot of testing, but this seems to result in a relatively uninteresting race.  I'm not sure why - I guess because they all know how to set their cars up perfectly for the track, so there's no variability to it?

This weekend was going to be horribly busy, but a few things have dropped away.  One of the more random was that my landlord was supposed to be going on holiday last Wednesday, but when I got back that evening he was still there.  Well, he was there, but his wife wasn't - turns out his hip is playing up (he's never mentioned it before :/) so he felt he couldn't go, but his wife decided to go on the holiday anyway!

As such, I've no real chance to get into the shed to sort through the boxes, which is annoying.  I'll still probably do a swap of summer stuff for winter stuff, but I'm also not sure because of the weather - it's been quite variable for a while now and I'm having to switch between clothes and coats quite often, which is proving to be a pain.

And speaking of clothes, I've bought most of what I need for Canada.  There are a few items I'm going to make later decisions on, but I've either got most of it or it's due to be delivered.  It's obviously been quite expensive, but these things have to be done - particularly for the Canadian Grand Prix.  The weather can be quite variable in terms of shifting from sunny to wet, so I've had to cover both possibilities.

Now I just need to work out how I'm going to fit it all into my suitcase!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

so bad it's good

I've so far failed to watch all of the shows available this season on crunchyroll, because as previously discussed; there seem to be a lot more than usual.  However, I have watched a few and am up to date with them, so I thought I'd do some reviews.  These are broadly in reverse order - I have to say I've actually been a bit disappointed overall with the season and a lot of the shows are poor to middling (of course I've not watched quite a few so I may not have seen the great shows yet!)

Dai Shogun - Great Revolution

This is the one that's inspired the title, as it's really quite bad, but sort of fun because of that.  It's not totally terrible in all regards.  The drawings are good and well rendered, but please note - that's specifically the drawn images.  What they then do with those images is horrible, because the entire show isn't really animated.

You know that cheap technique they used a lot in the old days but not so much now where they literally slide the single drawing around to "animate" it - in this show that is almost the entire extent of the animation.  I honestly can't work out if it's just plain cheap or if it's trying to use that technique deliberately to give it a particular look and style.  It's like when you watch a show that's a homage to something, only the thing this is a homage to is terrible animation, and who wants a homage to that?

But that's not the only problem - the plot isn't so much terrible as it is non-existent.  I honestly have no idea what the show is really about, but not in a good way.  It's not trying to be suspenseful or introduce mystery; it just doesn't seem to have any real point.  The only thing that comes close is getting a big mech across the country... which the hero apparently doesn't want to do... for some reason that isn't at all clear.

As for characters, everyone is a one dimensional cut-out, with entire "character arks" basically taking less than about a third of an episode to resolve.

With the lack of animation, the fan-service is also pretty disappointing... it's just all around poor, which is kinda what makes it enjoyable - it's so bad it's funny, in a baffling sort of way.

Magica Wars

This is a series of shorts from Gainax.  I believe the characters are meant to be anthropomorphic representations of regions, or the region mascots or something.  I dunno, I kinda didn't bother looking it up.  It also doesn't really make any sense - perhaps it does if you know more about the regions of Japan, but to me it's basically a fairly random and meaningless magical girl show.  With quite a bit of objectionable content - the girls are all pretty young and there's quite a bit of perving (including groping of one while she's sleeping... as you do).

If the episodes were longer I would have dropped them, but the animation is nice enough for me to lose 4 minutes of my day a week.

Blade and Soul

At some point Gonzo started making anime again.  I'm not quite sure exactly when, but they've done a sequel to Fam - The Silver Wing and a few other things.  This is a Gonzo show and seems to be right on the money for that - lots of fan-service and a plot that doesn't quite seem to be big enough to fill the episode count so there's a lot of filler.

The show is actually based on a game - a Korean MMORPG, if memory serves, though I think it's an original story but using some of the characters in the game.  I'm not totally sure about that as I have no knowledge of the game.

Anyway, the plot seems quite generic overall - an assassin seeking revenge, though as mentioned, her revenge seeking doesn't seem to be quite full time as she does a lot of other stuff too.  There are a few peripheral characters, some of whom are a bit more interesting (the main character is of the "blanks slate with no emotions" variety).  There's also quite a lot of fan-service with more than a fair dash of bouncing.

I dunno - it's pretty poor, but it's kinda nice in a way to see Gonzo doing what they do again.

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san

This is another series of shorts.  In this case it's a comedy series around a few yuri (that is to say lesbian) character.  If you have a light knowledge of Japanese, you may notice that the two names involve "dog" and "cat" (well, an inugami is a dog-god, and I'm not sure if nekoyama is a cat god?) - but the basic idea is that the characters are animal-like and their relationships kinda bounce off that.

It's okay - some of the jokes fall a bit flat, but it's very quick-paced.  Indeed, I find it a bit too quick paced in places, and it can be difficult to follow the subtitles.  However, it's sufficiently short that skipping back isn't too big a deal.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014


I got a bit of a shock on Sunday when I weighed in, as I'd actually gained 3 pounds, meaning I now weigh 21 stone.

This obviously puts me above where I've been since my supposed recent push to try to lose a bit more weight.  It also means I'm heavier than I have been for quite a while.

I have a few excuses, but the honest truth is I've lost my way a bit.  I've been feeling rather down if I'm honest - looking for a new job hasn't resulted in anything, even when I changed my "search parameters" to loosen them up.

I've had a fair few interviews, but no real sniffs of a job.  I actually went to an interview on Tuesday (it was one I was contacted about before I stopped for Canada, but has taken ages to result in interviews).

I think it went well as an interview - certainly better than most of the others I've had; however, I don't think I'm quite what they were looking for.  I'm therefore anticipating that there will be someone with more relevant experience that they will interview (I was first).  In fact, they may have let the cat out of the bag in that they have a temp covering for someone who was on maternity and then left, so I wouldn't be surprised if really that person will get the job.

The honest truth, though, is if they offered me a job I'm not sure I would want to take it.  I mentioned above that I'd widened the parameters, but I think really in my heart of hearts I don't think I want to stay in this sector (it's quite difficult to explain as I can't really say properly!).

I've actually now stopped all of the automated search e-mails and turned my CV "off" on the job websites.  Once I'm back from Canada I'll fire it all back up again and go back to looking outside of my current sector.  Trouble is I'm really not enjoying working at my current place any more, which is why I loosened things up in the first place, to try to get something to happen quickly.

Either way, my current focus is to get real on the diet - I can't have a situation where even my old clothes don't fit me because I've put on weight!  I mean at the very least it would be ruinously expensive to have to buy everything in bigger sizes again!