Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reading Homestuck Part Ten: ==> John: Would you happen to have a can opener I could borrow?

From here to here.

Rose begins to build. She creates stairs, which turn out to be very expensive. John says that he could have warned her about stairs. This is not the last time in in this comic that someone will be warned about stairs. It just keeps happening!  John offers the opinion that Dave is dumb for liking puppets. (John, like most of the cast has moments of being a complete jerk.)

Rose continues to build, and John goes looking for imps or useful items in the house according to the directions of the next ==> command. The only thing John finds however is a cabinet full of shaving cream. He is directed to take two cans of shaving cream which causes his telescope to launch itself from his sylladex. It lands outside near the broken piano, startling a couple imps. The next ==> command directs John to ride the pogo ride, but since the Pogo ride is now in the bathtub, there is no room for riding and then falling off of it, so John captchalogs it instead.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Blue Exorcist Episode 24 “Satan’s Spawn” --Review

We open "Satan's Spawn" with a repeat of the ending of the previous episode. Rin is understandably not happy with this, so he charges at Satan, yelling Yukio's name. The scene pulls back, and we hear Mephisto, discussing the events as they occur. Then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from the opening credits, we see Shura and Arthur fighting. Shura is trying to get past him and Angel is following orders, refusing to let Shura go help the kids who are currently at ground zero of an apocalypse. (To use a Dungeons and Dragons' reference, Arthur is clearly Lawful Stupid.) They argue, and we get a flashback to Angel talking to Ernst about his plans to destroy Gehenna. Ernst's actual orders are so offhand and indifferent they barely qualify as orders. We come back to the present and Arthur is declaring that he'll follow orders even if they are stupid ones.

Shura decides that fighting with Arthur is stupid, and tells him so. Then she runs past him. Arthur is so surprised at her response that he does not try to stop her this time around.

We switch back to Rin and Satan who have a conversation where Rin questions what Satan is doing inhabiting Yukio's body. Satan states that he had intended to use one of them as "vessels." Rin attacks, but is knocked across the roof. Satan further explains that he needs a body in order to fulfill his plans to merge Gehenna with Assiah, and Yukio is apparently the perfect fit. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: Shadow Heir by Richelle Mead

390 pp.

Buy on Amazon
I think that even if the series continues that this will be the last book I read in this series. This is not because I did not like the book, though it plays a part. (I am usually pretty good at continuing a series, even when I find it somewhat lacking.) It is more because this particular book feels like a stopping point to me. Another reason is because the ending is actually pretty open, but it feels like the story arc has been completed in some respect.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian Episode Seven “The Perfumer”--Recap

In this episode, we are back to Huey and Dalian. The episode begins with a conversation between the kid version of Huey and the mysterious girl inside the archive. She tells him that he should leave before he loses his soul to the archive, but Huey wants her to come with him. He tells her the door is unlocked and reaches out a hand to her. The girl in the archive tells him that the archive is her world, and that she does not need or want to leave it. Huey doesn't believe her, because he offers to take her away on an airplane. (This is a very cute statement, I think.) He continues to try convincing her to leave with him, but he's drowned out by a voice over of the girl saying that she had never really felt anything, until she had met the boy. Then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from the opening credits, we see an exchange between criminals at a crime scene, one of whom is addicted to some kind of inhalant in a perfume bottle. One of the criminals states that he plans on finding out the "recipe" of the drug that the other criminal is using. We get a very sinister view of the criminal and then we go to the next scene.

Huey and Dalian are in line outside of a bakery, and Dalian is extremely impatient. This particular bakery produces the best buns ever, and chances are good that they might run out before Dalian can get to the counter. (I am reminded of the Krispy Kreme donut fad.) Dalian gets her buns, but they are interrupted by a young woman who sniffs Huey and declares that he must be a nice person. The odd young woman asks for Huey's help, stating that people are chasing her. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Book Review: Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
281 pp.

This is not a book review. I was not able to finish the book or even get farther than three chapters.  This is because Trickster’s Girl is kind of awful. It is a “gee, why don’t I write a fantasy with a completely random non-specific hodge-podge of Native American mythology and then completely disrespect it via my heroine!” kind of book. It is a “why don’t I glom together a bunch of Native American belief systems then randomly throw in new agey ley lines!” kind of book. It is a “I have never heard of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland and therefore do not realize how badly I needed it!” kind of book.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Blue Exorcist Episode Twenty Three “Truth”--Review

This episode opens with a fairly disturbing, gruesome scene. Rin is tied to the x-frame in the center of a circle, being tortured to death. Yukio is understandably shocked and upset, because he had believed his grandfather intended to cure Rin, not kill him. Ernst however intended to kill Rin all along; he needs Rin in order to open a gate into Gehenna so that he can drop a bomb into the gate that will destroy Gehenna. (I am strongly reminded of several different StarGate SG-1 episodes that involved sending bombs through stargates.) Yukio of course immediately offers to take Rin's place. (Because he still believes destroying Gehenna is a worthwhile goal if it will cure Rin of being half-demon.) Ernst accepts.

The scene switches to Mephisto and Amaimon, who are watching from a distance. They discuss the situation and do not seem to be very worried about it. Mephisto mentions that things would have gone much differently if Rin had never drawn the sword. He seems to find the situation to be extremely entertaining and is eager to find out what happens next. Then we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from the opening credits, we see Yukio adding his blood to the demon blood being used to create the gate. Then he screams and all of the exorcists present burst into blue flame. Ernst does not seem to care, and is very confident that his plans will be successful. Next the scene switching to Ryuji and Rin's friends who are a little freaked out to see Yukio haloed by blue flames. Shiemi rushes forward. She is blocked by a blast of fire and Yukio telling her to stay back. Then the gate erupts with cackling monsters. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part Two

Chapter Three: My Advent on Mars

As I indicated earlier, I do not like John Carter. He is the squarest of all square jawed manly man heroes and I have never liked the pulpy square jawed hero type. (I generally prefer the snarky sidekicks or the grim yet reliable sidekicks. They are more interesting and I almost never want to hit them with bricks.) I also dislike him because of his being or having been a Confederate, but that’s an entirely different rant.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Moribito Episode Four "Torogai’s Letter"--Review

The episode begins with Tanda rushing back home with Balsa carried on his back. He is less than pleased that she's managed to get herself so badly injured. (His primary complaint seems to be that she has gotten herself hurt before he's even had a chance to talk to her again. It's a funny, and strangely heartwarming comment. It's clear that he cares for Balsa a great deal.)

The scene shifts to a pond deep in the mountains. A shamanic type is getting ready to have a chat with a water spirit. This is Torogai, the "magic weaver" the Second Empress consulted with. She makes contact with the water spirit, but the spirit is less than helpful. Torogai is not pleased and becomes even less pleased when she's attacked by assassins (the same kind of operatives that had been sent after Balsa in the previous episodes).

Torogai is able to defeat the two assassins by using magic and subterfuge. She leaves them with a letter intended for the master star reader. Then the scene shifts to the Emperor, the master star reader, Shuga and one of the operatives from the previous episode. The Emperor accepts Shuga as one of his newest secret operatives and there is some discussion about how the "Hunters" failed in their mission to retrieve the prince. The Emperor does not apparently want to believe that Balsa is just that good at evading his operatives and decides that the water demon that may or may not be possessing the prince is responsible for their escape.

The master star-reader readily agrees to thistheory.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian Episode Six “Libricide”--Recap

This particular episode is somewhat disturbing, and introduces a new key keeper and "Biblioprincess." We open with a peaceful country scene and a man wearing goggles. He is looking at a map. His companion is a young woman in restraints sitting in the sidecar of a motorcycle. She mocks him, suggesting he is probably lost. The man responds with verbal abuse spoken in a disinterested tone. These two are Hal Kamhout and Flamberge. After the brief exchange, Hal gets on the motorcycle and they drive off, and we go to the opening credits.

When we get back from credits, the young man is driving around a small, peaceful looking town full of cheerful people. After driving around he meets up with Mabel Nash, a police officer who wants to talk to him about the girl in the sidecar. Officer Nash is a bit horrified by Flamberge's attire, but Hal claims that Flamberge chooses to wear the restraints, while Flamberge states that she's only trying to match Hal's "preferences." (As I said, the episode is somewhat disturbing.)

Introductions are made, and Hal states that he is looking for a man and a girl wearing a lock. He also mentions that the girl will be carrying a book. (This sounds like a sort of vague description of Huey and Dalian.) 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Moribito Episode Three "Fight to the Death"--Review

We open this episode with a repeat of the ending of the previous one. The imperial black ops team takes off after Balsa. She directs Chagum to run into the forest and tries to hold off the black ops team. During the fight she notices that the operatives are not using their poison darts when she comments on this, the operative she's fighting flinches. The battle continues, and in the course the battle Balsa's rickety spear breaks and she is badly wounded. Balsa takes off and the operatives assume that since she's a mercenary, that she's simply run off.

The operative who flinched when Balsa mentioned poison darts directs the other operative to get the prince while he goes after Balsa. One of the operatives successfully nabs the prince, and another operative takes care of their leader. The operatives are all very surprised at Balsa's skill and in general believe that they have completely handled the situation because a mere mercenary is not going to try coming after them again after being wounded. (If you believe that last sentence, I have a beach house in Arizona I'd liked to sell you.)

We turn to Toya and Saya who are currently living in a boat. (It is not even a house boat. It's like a canoe with a tarp to keep the weather off.) Toya is extremely worried for Balsa, so he and Saya go looking for Tanda who is hopefully still in town. They discover that Tanda still has business in town so they decide to wait for him.

(Meanwhile, a storm rolls in.)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen

459 pp.
Buy on Amazon
The very basic summary of this novel’s plot is “Steampunk Twelfth Night set at a school for (mad) scientists.”  Our Heroine is a young woman named Viola who desperately wants to attend Illyria, which is one of the very best schools for aspiring young scientists. Unfortunately, girls are not allowed to attend Illyria as this is the Victorian Era.

Viola however is not willing to let something like being a girl stop her from going to school. Despite the very real danger of ending up in prison or worse, Viola, her brother Ashton and their childhood friend Jack, conspire to get her into the school disguised as a boy. (She intends to reveal herself at the end of the first year. This is a very dangerous proposition whether she succeeds or fails. She is literally risking everything to pull off this stunt.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reading: A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs Part One

Forward and Chapter One: On the Arizona Hills

Because of the John Carter movie coming out, I decided to do a Re-read of A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Burroughs is not one of my favorite authors because of reasons. I have tried reading the original Tarzan books and have not been able to do that because Tarzan in the stories is a massively annoying tool. (I did like some of the old Tarzan movies and also the cartoon, but I hate the stories.) John Carter is also a massive tool but is somehow more readable to me than Tarzan.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blue Exorcist Episode Twenty Two “Demon Hunting”--Review

We open with Kuro attempting to wake Rin up. Rin however is very deeply asleep. Kuro solves this problem by jumping on Rin's face. Yukio has apparently not returned from wherever he had disappeared to. Rin is understandably worried. Then he realizes that he is extremely late for class. He panics, and we go to the opening credits.

When Rin gets to school, he finds out that it's been closed. He learns that the director of the school has been blamed for the hostage situation occurring, and has been arrested. He also discovers that the new Preceptor for the school is Yukio. Then he discovers that Yukio is also the Paladin of the order, and the person who put him in charge is their grandfather. Ernst is also apparently the Pope now. He has declared an all-out war against demons and even the student exorcists are expected to fight on the front lines.

Rin of course is more worried that Yukio got to be Paladin before him.

The next scenes are a montage of exorcists (including the students) attacking various kinds of demons. The energy from the demons is absorbed by the weapons and a large grimoire. As the fighting goes on, Shiemi and a few other of the kids start becoming unhappy with what they're doing.

In addition to honestly malevolent creatures, they are also killing demons that don't actually cause harm.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian Episode Five “The Magician’s Daughter”--Recap

This was one of my least favorite episodes so far. (It's flamboyant and more than a little over the top, dramatically speaking. I can see that it is a tribute-type episode, but I am not sure of the genre.) We open with a cloaked figure who is gloating over a young woman who is waking up. There is a sort of mad scientist feel to the scene as the young woman is lying on some kind of glowing platform. The cloaked figure refers to the young woman as his daughter, and there is something definitely creepy about the way he's talking about her. He states that he has an "experiment" in mind, and we get a view of a very sinister smile. Then we go to the opening credits.

We come back from credits, where Huey is trying to put books away and Dalian is upset that he's putting away books that she is reading. There is also someone knocking on the door. The visitor is a young man named Armand who Huey served with when he was in the military. He is in a desperate situation, and begs Huey for a book that might be in his collection.

It's revealed that Armand has fallen hard for a high-priced courtesan named Viola Duplessis who has promised to marry the man who brings her a specific Phantom book. It turns out that she has quite a number of suitors, and has sent each of them after a different Phantom Book. All of these gentlemen have been visiting Huey and Dalian in hopes of getting one of these Phantom Books. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Moribito Episode Two "The Hunters and the Hunted"--Review

We open with the palace burning, and a scene of Balsa running down a street, dragging the prince along with her. (Apparently, she did not have time to ditch the clothes the kid was wearing.) Chagum looks completely traumatized. She eventually stops so Chagum can catch is breath, and offers some reassurance before they continue heading off into the night.

Next up is a long haired guy who is watching the palace burn from some kind of observatory. This is Shuga who is a "star reader." He was Chagum's tutor and the one who told the head star reader that Chagum was possessed by a water demon. We shift back to Balsa and Chagum who are now heading through some rough terrain. The kid is asleep on his feet and falls over. Balsa ends up having to carry him piggy back.

While this is going on, Shuga asks to speak to the head of his order. The master star reader is not happy to see him and even less happy to hear what Shuga has to say. Shuga is really not happy about this most recent attempt on Chagum's life.