The NHM was probably one of my favourite places to go as a kid in London, after the Tower of London, and let's be honest here, it's because of the dinosaurs. They had a lot of dinosaurs. They still do! It was slightly dissapointing since half the museum seemed to be shut for renovations, but there was enough there to make it interesting, even if I did miss the massive skeleton that normally sits at the entrance. I still remembered a surprising number of the exhibits, and they're still playing the same video of 'Dinosaurs in TV and Film' that they had, what, 2 decades ago? I can't remember if it had Jurassic Park in it at the time, or if they've updated it at some point. On the board next to it the most recent film they talk about is 1989's The Land Before Time, where I'm told extensive research was done to make the dinosaurs as realistic as possible.
I'm guessing they meant in terms of how they looked and moved... maybe?
But there's more to natural history than dinosaurs, or so I'm told, and I did have time to see the mammals as well! The big cats exhibit is always a hoot, and I got to see a not particularly well looking cheetah, the best of all mammals, next to a sign saying that taxidermy for the purpose of exhibits is no longer museum policy, so these examples are very old and will probably never be replaced, but are still on display because... I guess they need something to display at least? Not that the kids who were there for the Easter holidays seemed very bothered with anything that wasn't a dinosaur, but who am I to judge when I was just the same when I was their age?
No servals on display to that, this isn't Japari Park.
Anyway, I have another job interview to get to today, so wish me luck with that!
In other, less intense news, I had quite a good long weekend, went down to Sussex and had a look at Chichester Cathedral, which was pretty interesting since I'd never been there before. And hey, I guess that's what you're supposed to do at Easter! Although you're probably meant to be in the cathedral while a service is in session, but hey. We can work up to that. Then we went down to the Solent, which was having some sort of sailing day. It was pretty neat being back on the south coast again, even if it wasn't East Sussex. Makes me want to move back there, in a way, maybe in 500 years or so I will.
So that's pretty much how my life's been these past few days, further updates when interview season is over!
As for this blog in particular, I've decided to use it more as a log for the various projects I'm working on. I feel that by not engaging with them enough outside of the time I'm specifically allocating to work on them I'm not warming up my creative engine enough, which is causing them to stall, and other painfully forced metaphores. Anyway, the idea is by posting more ideas here I'll get more motivation to work on them, but in practice, who knows what'll happen! I'll probably keep using it as a general journal which... well, I haven't done a whole lot of these last couple months admittedly, but hey. Maybe one day I'll write how those months went! Spoilers: it's been weird.
So yeah, hi dreamwidth, I look forward to working with you!
I had a good birthday. For my birthday dinner I had a pizza named after me! Except without the ham, looks like I really have gone vegetarian. It was nice going away fot a short while, I hadn't been out of the country since like April 2015. So it was a good change of pace if nothing else. Did the tourist stuff, got very cold in a southern French house with no central heating in January, and visited some FNACs. FNAC is great, we need more shops with that range of stock in the UK. I got a copy of the Inazuma Eleven manga in one of them, that was really cool.
I also went across the border to Italy! We only spent a few hours there, but it was the first time I'd been to a new country since... I think going to Finland in 2011? So that was really cool. Had an authentic Italian pizza while I was there, so I can confirm Italy has pizza.
Yeah. If you're a vegetarian on the Meddeteranian who doesn't eat seafood, you'd better like pizza.
I've had a gently week getting back into the swing of things, ready for next week, which I guess is the real start of 2017. I just liked 2016 so much I can't stand for it to end, looks like! I have a lot to do though, like watching anime. Gotta get on that stuff.
I'm... a fan of Star Wars, I hesitate to say big fan as I haven't really read the EU in any big detail or seen the Clone Wars or anything like that, but I like the films. I particularly like the X Wing fights, so I was pretty hyped going into this, only to find out it wasn't really related to the Rogue Squadron series of books (which, again, I haven't read, but know of through cultural osmosis). Still, it had a better X Wing fight scene than The Force Awakens, and one of the main characters of that film was an X Wing pilot. So that I enjoyed!
Overall, I'm still not sure how I feel about the film, which is one of the reasons I waited so long to make this post. I probably need to watch it again, but I don't think the fact I only saw the film once a month after release, against the 3 times I saw The Force Awakens, really says anything about it. Just that it wasn't the first new Star Wars in a decade. And while my opinion on TFA have settled into the 'good but not great' area, I think what I like about Rogue One are what I have issues with in TFA, and vice versa, although comparisons between the two aren't always useful, if slightly inevitable.
Overall it's a darker film than most Star Wars, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I'm just unsure how it sits with the usual Star Wars theme. I understand the desire to break with the Star Wars formula (hence it being billed as a Star Wars Story), but the Star Wars brand does raise expectations. I also feel it takes a while to get going, with much of the cast only really getting a chance to shine in the film's final scenes. A lot of it also seemed very stop-start, when Star Wars at its best flows pretty well from one scene or location to another. But then, we're no longer in Lucas' Galaxy.
Which is the one thing I liked most about the film, it tried to do something new. My biggest problem with The Force Awakens was that it went over a lot of the same ground that previous films had done (except the X Wing scene, it could've done more of that), often not as well as the previous films had done (and certainly not well enough to justify it), and while what it did new was by far the best parts, there wasn't really enough of it. Which is why I, somewhat paradoxically given my earlier complaint, enjoyed Rogue One, it took the Star Wars universe, and the now well-worn conflict of Rebellion and Empire, and did something new with it, even as we saw the old cast (some brought back with CGI, which worked... better than it should've, even if far from perfect). The final battle was nothing short of spectacular, and made it well worth it, although it did raise some questions about what preceded it. So yeah, all in all I feel another viewing is definately needed. But you all get a blog post on it anyway, even if that does make it pointless at this point!
Random thought: I really liked how a few Rebel side characters had very 70s moustaches/hair. It really helped the film fit in with the look of the (very 70s) original Star Wars film, which takes place 5 seconds after this. A good, if unnecessary, attention to detail that really helped my immersion.
In conclusion: I won't be happy until we get a feature length trench-run
And by finishing, I mean playing everything after the opening, pretty much.
All in all I liked it. It didn't quite have the feeling of customisation you got from IE1, as unlike IE1 pretty much the entire story team were significant characters. Not that that really mattered a whole lot, as you could still just not play the story characters (except Mark). On a related note, how lucky it was that the 5 players injured at the start of the game were the 5 Raimon players to have no development or pretty much any dialouge after the opening scenes in the first game.
A couple of things I found odd were the alter ego mechanic, where a player has 2 personas, each with 2 different sets of skills, which made sense for Shawn Froste's storyline, but... not much apart from that? Scott Banyan had an alter-ego, except the first skill the alter learnt was 'Jinx' (causes moves to be more likely to fail) so I never used it. Plus I didn't actually use Scott a whole lot, there was a lot of good defenders aside from him. Aside from that nobody else really uses the mechanic, at least on the easily recruitable side, there's at least one (recruitable) villain looks like used it, but other than that nothing. Which kinda seems strange. It would either make sense to make more use of it (and I can think of a couple characters it definately could be implemented with that it wasn't) or just leave it as a purely Shawn thing.
The other was... I don't know if it's a huge issue, but I had a problem with the final game against Genesis. A while before the game, Jude says he has a new move that will score against Genesis, and you need to use it to complete the game. Except I'd saved and quit between him saying that and playing the game, so I ended up playing the game 5 or 6 times, going ahead by scoring with someone who wasn't Jude each time, and then getting a game over at half time. I actually had to use trial and error with the players most likely to score, story-wise, before getting to Jude and remembering that conversation. Not that I think the game needs to be as signposted as the GO games were, but I definately found that kinda annoying.
Of course, I complain, but all in all I found the game really fun. It was definately a break from the first game, with a much wider scope, going across most of Japan (which presumably also made it harder to localise, but the team did a good job of it anyway). It was also quite a bit darker, which did make it a bit harder to keep playing at first like I did for IE1. I still feel the series has a problem with plot escalation, going from winning the youth cup to fighting aliens, but hey, I'm not here to tell Inazuma to not have out-there plotlines.
I'm not sure how much of the postgame I want to do, there's still a couple characters I want to recruit, but I have a pretty solid team already. Plus there's more post-game wise in other games, so I might play through those first, and come back to 2 when I need that Inazuma fix. Well, at least this game has a postgame.
Other assorted thoughts:
I recruited Samford in the first game, and did the same as soon as I was able in this game. He has a nearly identical kick stat to Axel, the team's best striker, despite being 10 levels lower. Which makes sense, story-wise, but still, nice.
Speaking of Samford, his Royal Academy Redux chapter nicely foreshadows the final chapter.
Tori is pretty cool, for someone related to a politician named 'Tori'.
The plot-enforced chapter where you have to use a training facility is back from IE1, and it's just as annoying, although this time there was a twist that made me appreciate it more.
And if anyone cares, the team I had for the final game was
Darren; Mark, Bobby, Jack, Shawn; Miles, Tori, Jude, Sue; Samford, Axel
Subs from: Erik, Aurelia, Cheetah, Hurley, Aphrodite
It was an interesting one this year, as my parents were back, but couldn't stay for the day itself, so we had a fake Christmas 3 days early, with gifts, songs, turkey dinner and... no carols, as they had to go home to pack. Still, it was a pretty cool day all in all for a not Christmas day. Plus, I finally tried quorn bacon, as bacon butties are a tradition in our house on Christmas day. They weren't exceptional, but still, better than I expected. Not that I'm quite sure what I expected.
For the day itself, I went out cycling in the morning along the river listening to Christmas tunes on my mp3 player, which was pretty neat, then cycled over to a family friends to spend most of the day, which was also kinda cool. I've kept up with cycling since then, and actually found a neat new place to ride in today, although sadly because of the weather couldn't explore it a whole lot. Still, leaves something to do for next time! After, you know, buying some gloves.
Today I had leftover Christmas dinner sandwiches for dinner, which made a change from the Boxing day meal of chocolate and garlic bread that was about to expire.
Not pictured: lots of chocolate
Well, that's the end of the series. Turns out Lilie was the final boss all along.
After Christmas, anime has continued with Princess Tutu episode 20! The plot's continuing nicely, as we find Fakir might have some hidden talents, as stories he write have a strange habit of worming their way into reality. We actually find out quite a bit more about his backstory, and how he got to where he is today. I... don't actually think I have much to say about this episode. Well, that's not actually true. I could say a lot about the metafictional elements, but I think my mind is still stuck after this last week, so... Probably best to do a bit more to unstick it and then get back to writing these. Still, anime waits for no one!
My new passport arrived today! That was pretty cool, I am now, in one sense at least, official. I don't know if I really have all that much to say about it other than I'm hype! It's great things are finally moving. Might not be too fast, but we'll get there in the end. Plus, I can actually look for jobs now! Which... might not be great, but we all have to eat, I guess. I might hold off until after Christmas, at least.
It helps with paying for ballet lessons at least. Which I still need to do.
In other news, my parents are visiting for a bit, so it's busy busy busy, although it's not all that bad. I guess not living under each other does help for that.
And of course, I went to the post office over the weekend to post something again. Because naturally!
As for anime, that's still happening, slowly. I've finished Love Live S1, so there's a post I need to make, plus I've watched some Girls und Panzer, which I think I should also make a post for. And then I've also seen two films recently that I want to post about! Well, I want to post about one of them at least, I might just fit my thoughts on the other one at the bottom of one of these posts. But not tonight.
The hero this school deserves
Princess Tutu is back, and with a slight break from usual as we have a Shakesperian episode! My knowledge of A Midsummer Night's Dream isn't all that good, but it still made an interesting shakeup with a different form of theatre. And, interesting, with another ballet student this time, just to make things even more confusing!
I could probably talk in great detail about the connections to the play, but my lack of knowledge is gonna show through in record time, so instead, well, let's talk about the episode itself. Bottom herself, or Hermia as she would probably prefer to be called, was a pretty cool character. Her ability at reading others emotions because she always found herself in the background was a nice touch, and helped flesh her out in quite a realistic way, and the way she chose to apply this skill, despite her own percieved limitations, really set her apart. Probably one of my favourite one episode characters, for all the right reasons (as opposed to some other favourites, like Femio), and that's saying a lot. She really deserved the, perhaps unexpected, end her story got.
As for the rest of the episode, there was quite a lot going on. We learn, from Drosselmeyer himself no less, that all of Mytho's heart shards that were hidden in other hearts have been returned to him, but there are still other pieces left. Mytho himself is more conflicted than ever as a result of this (or, specifically, his pride returning to him), and is taking it out on Rue. It's actually quite interesting. Between this, Kraehe, and Fakir's actions towards Mytho at the start of the series, we've seen some genuinely nasty sides to all of the main cast (barring, of course, Ahiru). It's a brave choice, particularly in the genre, but I should probably hold off talking about how it pays off until we see more, of course (it might be a rewatch, but it's always worth refreshing the memory). On top of that, there was a nice romance thread throughout, and also some comedy. It thankfully averts some of the expected results of a misunderstanding in a romcom you (or more accuratly, I) was bracing for, and the confusion over ballet poses between Hermia and Cat-Sensei was very comical.
That guy yelling at people to be quiet in the library is back again. The most important role in the series, that.
Subs: Darren LaChance, Katsu, Zhuge Liang, David Samford, Sol Daystar
I'll post more on how they went later!
Beach episode, as predicted last time, and we get a bit more character development. We're at Maki's house, but Maki isn't as keen to get involved in having fun with the others, as that's her way. The characters generally are getting more used to being around each other as well, and we got a few good moments. Nico trying to one up everything was pretty entertaining, as was the pillow fight.
So.. I guess this is a post to say I don't have much to post? I'm probably going to hold off on these until I actually have something to say, probably a season 1 retrospective or something. Or if something happens I want to comment on. I started with the post per episode for a series I generally had a lot more to say about, and kinda carried it over, that probably wasn't a great idea. Not that it's a bad show, it knows what it is and it does it reasonably well. It's fun.
Yeah, it's bad. But hey, without practice, none of us are going to improve! Or something like that!
Anyway, this weekend was interesting. Went around London for a day, which kinda made me miss having a travelcard. Getting out and about is good, but also the money needed is... not so good. I checked my bank balance, and... actually it wasn't all that bad. I'm gonna renew the travelcard. You know, in January, when the Christmas shopping has died down. And maybe buy myself a pizza or new clothes or game or something nice. You know, to treat myself for being good and not spending money. That makes sense, right?
But yeah, walking around London was nice, and I even got some writing done, so even if I didn't do all I wanted to, it was still pretty good. Today, I've mostly been rearranging my room while I've got the space to work on it, and looks like tomorrow I'm gonna buy a cheap chest of drawers or something to finally sort out my clothes storage problems. But more on that when the job is done!
Finally, I discovered some news the other day that was on the line between bizarre and hilarious, so that was certainly an experience. But again, more on that, later!
Yes, we are still watching Princess Tutu! It's been a while, wow. In today's episode, a mysterious, and unfinished play appears, but soon the ghost knight it centres on appears in the town!
That's right, not only is the border between fiction and reality breaking again, but we've also started recovering shards of the Prince's heart again, relegating the villains we've expected to see to bit parts today.
I'm not sure if this is one of the more memorable episodes of the show, but it does make an interesting break from the past few episodes, with Rue and Mytho's quest for sacrifices taking second place to regaining a heart shard (remember those things?). We also trade the traditional ballet class scene for one involving the theatre club.
There's... probably more I can write about it, but I'm a bit exhausted just now - I should stop leaving these posts so late. I'm sure there'll be plenty more to write about next time!
Instead, I went to a cafe for a while and considered my options for jobs. Money's an issue as my last job haven't been giving me as much freelance work as I'd hoped (although given how it was run generally, what did I expect), but I can't apply for jobs just yet as I don't have my passport or degree certificate back. Still, it's good to know what your options are, and I came to some decent conclusions. I still need to iron out a few details, but all in all I feel I'm in a better place than I was when I was jobless a few months ago. Although, there's other reasons for that, but I'm glad that I took this time out to work stuff out.
In other news, I found an article about a transgender ballerina earlier today, which was a pretty cool read. Even if the article itself was a bit clunky at times, I still thought it was neat. Good these stories are being told, if nothing else.
Love Live is back, and we're in Akihabara to visit a maid cafe today, because the show knows its audience. Next episode looks like the beach episode too, so that's definately a thing.
It wasn't a... bad episode, all in all. Nozomi is still a creep, but it was a good episode to give Kotori a bit more character, especially since she's been around a while. We learn more about her, and why she joined Honoka to become an idol.
And... I don't really have much more to say about this episode, it was fairly light, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, even if I do have some issues with it. It's a fun show, but one that doesn't need much discussion. Nico had some good scenes again, and they pushed into another idol's terf. Will that become an issue? Stay tuned and find out, I guess.
Until next time!