A Rough Couple of Months

So, I haven’t quite shaken the aftereffects of Winnie the Flu; possibly not even WuFlu itself. I tested at the beginning of the month, expecting to be cleared, but no. I was still positive. Extremely tired; no energy, slightest effort left me gasping for breath and my chest hurting. But everything was looking up by the weekend…

Then the cold snap from hell hit. Let me make this perfectly clear: the problem is ERCOT, the Electricity (UN)Reliability Council Of Texas. It’s an association of producers, consumers, and others (mostly producers) that manages the state power grid. Unlike the other 47 lower states, Texas has kept it’s grid free from Federal regulation by making it Texas-only. Which, thanks to the issues of regulatory capture, means that the LAST time this happened, ten years ago, the state legislature declined to make any requirements for winterizing the plants mandatory. ERCOT make big balley-hoo over their recommended changes…which weren’t implemented. And over-reliance on green energy meant the wind turbines in west Texas froze up. Meanwhile, plants that were designed for use during summer demand were not prepped; sitting there in cold oil and with frozen cooling pipes.

But hey, global warming is going to take care of all that, right? Assuming the Maunder Minimum doesn’t get us with the glaciers I was assured (as a kid) that would cover the US down to Missouri.

I may have to take up politics again. Dammit. Oh, and I seem to be relapsing from the lack of power (temporarily alleviated), stress, and work to deal with frozen pipes, no water, etc.

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About that WuFlu

So, by “survive the WuFlu”, which I was talking about in June. I was a bit inaccurate. You see, it wasn’t that I had it, and was celebrating surviving. It was that I was cheering not getting it.

Fool, me.

So I retired from work on Dec.30, and spent a day the next week with Redneck Guy and Redneck Boy (who needs a new name, having long since become a productive member of society). And we all promptly came down with Winnie the Flu. And Redneck’s wife. And probably Boy’s girlfriend. I’ve been feeling just a tad… awful. This last weekend was the worst, but I’m finally starting to feel alive, although slow.

Could have been worse I suppose. Dr. Heinous went out for supper a couple of nights ago, and an idiot turned right in front of him. Fortunately, no injuries, and a cop saw the whole thing. Me, I’m ordering in from Krogers.

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Excess Weight of Light Novels

So, as I said, I’ve been reading a lot to pass the time. Sadly, not all of it is good writing. Actually, a lot of it isn’t. So, in the vein of “I read this crap so you don’t have to,” I thought I’d warn you about the dreck out there in my usual snarky fashion. One thing about the Japanese invasion of light novels, now we’ve got Western authors imitating the genre, and some of it’s just as bad. I shouldn’t insult the writers; I did read (sometimes multiple releases) of these series…

So, without further ado, the list of books I shouldn’t admit to reading, and why:

I’m a Behemoth, and S-Ranked Monster But Mistaken For a Cat – our first entry in the “books with titles that are too long” is pretty much the bottom of the heap. Accomplished Knight is reborn as a tiny, but powerful cat. He’s adopted by a busty hawt elf adventurer babe who has a bestiality fetish and can’t wait for him to grow up. The book drops hints a light as 16-ton blocks of steel about them eventually producing cross-breeds. Beginnings of a harem forming. Aside from that, it’s all sunbeams and lots of ecchi. Not bothering with book 2.

A Most Unlikely Hero – by one of the American imitators, Brandon Varnell. Blatant rip-off of To Love-Ru (which he admits as much), only with a bit more active and powerful MC. Same set-up (galactic empire princess runaway/marriage candidate), though it’s set 200 years in the future on Mars He’s still dense, but doesn’t quite have Rikko’s powers of lucky accidents. However, he shares the princess’ power to make disastrous inventions that go awry. With two of them at work… boom. A lot of booms.

The World’s Strongest Rearguard – I’m isekai, you’re isekai, everybody’s isekai! Corporate wage-slave from modern-day Japan ends up in an alternate LitRPG world with his cute former boss. Lots of people from Earth are reborn here, and for some odd reason have to explore dungeons in this city. Rife with stats and game mechanics; too many of them, in fact. Due to a misunderstanding, he selects a broken cheat class with unusual powers, resulting in his collecting a party of teenage to mature girls. Did I say party? I meant harem, of course.

Mapping: The Trash-Tier Skill That Got Me Into A Top-Tier Party – Another entry in the “books with titles that are too long” list. Fortunately, it’s a little better than the first entry in this list. I actually liked this one, though the world-building needs a bit more work. Failed adventurer gets scouted for the top guild when its leader actually reads the job description. While it’s not great art, the high point of the books are the female characterizations. One’s a throwaway character, another is undeveloped (as yet), but the other two and their (eventual) attraction to the MC (and rivalry) happen organically in the story and are well done. Decent humor too.

Wiedergeburt: Legend of the Reincarnated Warrior – another Brandon Varnell story, and probably his best. Written in a semi-Wuxia style, it splits narratives between the original life, and the second life of a hero. A freak circumstance sends the MC back to the very beginning of his story, with some of his powers and all of his knowledge intact. He sets out to re-win his wife-to-be and save his country and family from the fate that awaits them. Only he seems to end up collecting extra girls during the process…and attracting the attention of the foe who killed them all. It’s kind of obvious who the snake girl is though.

Why Shouldn’t a Detestable Demon Lord Fall in Love? Another entry in the “maous are just misunderstood” category. The Demon lord gets transferred into the far future of the world, and falls in love with the first woman he sees. He marries her and moves in with their daughter. They finally share a kiss in the second book. One word summary: boring.

A Fox’s Love – First in the American Kitsune series. Another Brandon Varnell series? His longest, and frankly, worst. I’m almost ashamed to admit I read ten of these before finally giving up. I can barely buy that a normal teenage boy wouldn’t immediately jump in bed with a willing, drop-dead gorgeous foxgirl in the first novel, but after TEN they’re just into heavy petting? Despite that, what it finally took to blow me out was that the author didn’t know the difference between an assault rifle and a machine gun. Yeah, I’m embarrassed.

The Greatest Demon Lord is Reborn as a Typical Nobody – Another misunderstood, reincarnated maou. OP protagonist, cute elf childhood friend. I confess I remember next to nothing about this novel, which suggests another one-word summary is in order: forgettable.

Well, until I get in the mood to write again. Hopefully sooner than six months, this time.

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So, Another Sighting of Ubu

Been kind of quiet lately. Going through some things I don’t want to talk about. Getting ready to retire at the end of the year, after 31 years with the City of Houston. It was just getting to be a drag.

So I got bored enough to decide to write an article on all the crappy books I’ve been reading, which I may do shortly (or not, I dunno), and decided to check up on the blog. Nearly 200 spam to be deleted, yay. WordPress needs updating (a lot). At least I’m on an independent platform, that isn’t likely to defenestrate me for liking anime, having a name like Oppai Pantsu, or voting for Trump. Maybe I should take up safe and supported activities like burning down businesses, stealing elections, imprisoning everyone in their homes, and groping women.

Oh well… Western Civilization and rule of law were nice while we had them. Wonder what the reprehensibles thought about the state of the Roman Empire around 400 AD?

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Yes, I survived the WuFlu

Like fuck I’m going to call it “Covid-19” to keep the PRC happy. Personally I think we should recognize Taiwan just to piss them off. Do it one day before the election so there’s no time for the media to come up with a narrative.

Anyway, anime. Watching Tower of God. It’s kicking ass, but the webcomic readers keep dropping spoilers about hating Rachel. It better be renewed for a second season. And a third and a fourth….

Tried to watch Black Clover again. Last time I gave it three episodes and out. This time I pushed through to Asta joining the Black Bulls, and his initiation. And I’m still not into it. Narutard with grimoires. I just can’t stand that type of loud-mouthed protagonist. I’d rather it was following the other guy.

Looking for something else to pass the time.

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Brynhyldr in the Darkness

So, back when I was watching Astra, being annoyed at Funi’s player led me back to CR, where a series of time-wasting links dropped me into this 2014 anime. Shortly after starting to watch it, I realized I had watched two episodes some time ago, and then stopped. It didn’t take long for me to figure out why — the utter um-beliveability of Kana’s surviving being a total paralytic, and Kuroha being able to keep her alive and well.

Caring for a complete invalid is a full-time job — been there, done that. Well, close enough. That and “witches” obviously being manufactured espers, which also, mixing genre terms annoyed me no end. Well, this time I just rolled my eyes and went with it… and while it was no Astra, it definitely was worth it. It mixed horror with lite harem comedy, and actually pulled it off fairly well. The narrative did suffer though, in conversion to the anime.

Reading a few of the reviews reveals that this is a 100-chapter manga adapted into 12 episodes. That means a lot of arcs got cut out, and many items got shorted – especially the final battle which was a tad cliche’, but still, it hung together remarkably well. Warning: Pretty girls die. Ryoha Murakami, the male protagonist, is unhealthily obsessed with the childhood friend who died, but it makes sense, given that he has an eiditic memory — the accident which killed Kuroneko and gravely injured him is as fresh in his memory as yesterday. Seeing Kuroha, her spitting image, every day only makes it that much more “real” to him.

I do think that Kuroha’s motives are a little too noble and altruistic given the situation she’s in, and the short life she expects to lead. Perhaps if they had done a 24 episode season, the extra time would have fleshed out her motives better. I am not sure about the whole “alien” thing that the events of several years ago are built around. I may be missing something, but the connection with the dam, the accident that “killed” Kurneko, and her seeing an alien isn’t very clear, nor the reason she was made a witch. Definitely a refrigerator moment, and I don’t mean Perry.

The first OP was really good; I hated the second by comparison. Animation was, in a word, awful at times. Classic Deen. I can’t recommend this show highly, but I’d give it a solid C+ for cute girls, character progression, and the dramatic tension. Even when they’re having a good time, it feels like death is just around the corner… because it is.

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Oh Yeah, that …

Yes, I finished Astra. No terrible eye-rollers. Loved the “what happened afterwards”, especially the narration. Ha! All in all, not the greatest anime ever made, but one of the best I’ve seen in the last few years.

Now I’ve got to get around to finishing an article on Byrnhyldr in the Darkness.

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