7.20.2005

Went on a ride this last weekend (on a day featuring a record high of 116ºF)...

We drove "The Box" up to Martinez Mine.

The Box itself isn't too bad.









There are the occasional rough patches (realize this means rough for a quad), but it's not until the last quarter mile before the mine that the road takes a turn for the worse.



But the scenery is gorgeous all along the way.





Just before the going gets rough, you have to pass through the old mine camp. I'm not sure when exactly the mine was closed, but the buildings look pretty good for their age.



Once you get past the extremely rough patch, it's only a short and relatively easy drive up the hill to a good vantage point.



At the top of the hill is one of the many mine shafts dug into the hills all over this area. From the scattering of turquoise in the area, it looks like they were after silver. (My poor little camera just can not handle any direct sunlight into the lense with out all kinds of strange auras showing up.)



I tried to take a picture down the shaft, but between the slant of the shaft itself, the extremely bright exterior, and the way the sun was in the sky, it just didn't turn out right.

And finally, my favorite pic of the bunch, the massive winch they used to haul loads up and down the shaft.

7.15.2005

Japanese can be impossibly difficult to interpret at times. So much often goes unsaid that you're left struggling to make sense of what is going on. If that was the only problem, life wouldn't be so bad, but then you have the other end of the spectrum.

Japanese love relative clauses. An entire sentence can be used just to modify a noun within a larger sentence. It's a perfectly valid sentence. So what you get (though taken to an absurd extreme for the purpose of exercise) is sentences like this.

これは蚤のピコ住んでいる猫の五右衛門の尻尾踏んづけたアキラ君の漫画読んでいるお母さんがお団子を買うお団子屋さんにお金を貸した銀行員とピンポンをするお相撲さんが憧れている歌手の鸚鵡を盗んだ泥棒にトマトぶつけた八百屋さんが選挙で選んだ市長の入れ歯作った歯医者さんのホルンの先生の顔を引っ掻いた猫のシャルルの背中に住んでいる蚤のプチ.

That is one complete sentence composed entirely of relative clauses within relative clauses.

The romaji version looks like this.

kore wa nomi no Piko sunde iru neko no Goemon no shippo fundzuketa Akirakun no manga yonde iru okaasan ga odango wo kau odangoyasan ni okane wo kashita ginkouin to pinpon wo suru osumousan ga akogarete iru kashu no oumu wo nusunda dorobou ni tomato butsuketa yaoyasan ga senkyou de eranda shichou no ireba tsukutta haishasan no horun no sensei no kao wo hikkaita neko no Sharuru no senaka ni sunde iru nomi no Puchi.

Note that Piko, Puchi, Akira, Sharuru (Cheryl), and Goemon are names.

The basic sentence is

これは蚤のプチ.
kore wa nomi no Puchi.
This is Puchi the flea.

The rest of it all modifies the flea Puchi.

This is Puchi the flea that lives on the back of Cheryl the cat that clawed the face of the horn teacher of the dentist who made the fake teeth for the mayor elected (voted for) by the vegetable shop owner that threw tomatos at the thief that stole the parrot of a singer that was desired (longed for) by the sumo wrestler that played ping-pong with the banker that loaned money to the dumpling maker from whom dumplings are bought by the mother reading comics belonging to Akira who stepped on the tail of Goemon the cat on which lives the flea Piko.

Learning Japanese relative clauses as a native English speaker means learning to think ass backwards, but doing so is critical to becoming proficient with the language.

7.13.2005

It's becoming increasingly obvious that I need to just keep my mouth shut until I've seen a show twice before running off at the mouth. I also need to make a point of viewing the show on multiple entertainment centers. What sounds like crap in the living room might not sound so bad on the system in my room. What looks like garbage on a 50+" screen may not be quite so horrible on a 27" TV. And, a second viewing allows for honest assessment without all the expectations a 10 year wait can cause.

I think you can figure out what I'm talking about by now. However, I'm still pretty sure they redubbed the Japanese seiyu for all the flashback material.

Switching shows and genres...

Rahxephon...

Intro - Gets the Buddy Jesus thumbs up. Fully rockin' and/or hardcore.










Ending - B+ for effort, C+ for result. I know the mood they were shooting for, but the horrible engrish puts the kabosh on my suspension of disbelief.

The show itself isn't half bad. The pacing is decent, but for all they build up this conspiracy of who orchestrated the Mulian invasion, they don't really give the topic enough depth. That is of course, unless I've missed something very important (which happens, but not too often). Bahbem is a character that needs a couple of episodes of exposition just to himself.

It drives me nuts how many shows use the angst-filled-teen route when developing their characters. Having never been so hard-up for the attention and affection of others, I'm often left baffled at the mental paralysis some of these people suffer.

More to follow when time allows.
Heard on the Radio

So the mid-morning crew on the local talk-radio show had this Islamic expert on to discuss "things" ("things" being the need for moderate Muslims to retake their religion from fanatic murderers, etc.).

In the process of the discussing "things," he brought out the line that we always hear, that the Quran/Koran claims that any one who kills innocents will burn in hell, fire and brimstone, yadda yadda. I'm not going to argue that the Koran doesn't condemn murder. The problem is in who the Koran (as interpreted by lunatics) defines as "innocents." Jews are not innocents. Christians are not innocents. Infidels of any and all stripes are not innocents. The only people who fall under the Koran's protection are innocents within the Ummah, the Believers, the Faithful. Everyone else is fair game.

7.06.2005

What a difference 10 years makes...


Based on the various release dates I'd been seeing online, I'd fully expected to be writing this tomorrow, but as it happens, the local Suncoast had the latest Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki OVA DVD on the shelf a day ahead of time.

It's unfortunate, but I'm definitely noticing the absense of Pioneers influence. This is most obvious in the poor quality if the music. It sucks, all of it. This is most disturbing given how much I enjoyed the soundtrack for GXP done just one year prior. Pioneer was not a party in the GXP soundtrack, but they were the driving force behind all the prior Tenchi soundtracks. There really isn't one piece that I can point to and say, "This isn't half-bad." Little of it seems appropriate to the given scene. The tracks chosen for the DVD menus are particularly bland. However, I can't fault Funimation for that. They had no good music from which to choose.

It may just be me, but I could swear the flashback material used in episode 14, in addition to being over-layed with the new (read: horrible) music, was redubbed. I'm referring to the original Japanese footage. I'll have to confirm my suspicions later tonight. And speaking of the flashback material... From what wretched old DAT did they pull their flashback footage? They should have used the remastered film done for the US DVD release. The difference between the two is stark to distraction.

The writing seems...off. It may just be the difference between the way Funimation handles their subtitles compared to Pioneer, but something is definitely different between the previous iterations and now. I'm not certain how long after the events of episode 13 this story is supposed to begin, but many of the characters seem out of character. For all the emphasis placed on Ryoko and Aeka in the first two OVAs, they speak very little in these three episodes. Scenes where we could usually expect a blow-up from one or both of the women, barely register a twitch, and Mihoshi has been reduced to little more than fan-service.

By know you're thinking, "Goddamn... you must've hated it..." Well, no, I'm just disappointed at the quality of certain aspects of the production. I understand that balance is going to shift to make room for new characters. What concerns me is that the next 3 episodes are going to lack sufficient meat to make up for what I feel is lacking in these new releases. I hope to be proven wrong. It just seems like the only characters having any fun in these episodes are the new characters.