October 31st, 2004


I went to see the President...

...and all I got was this lousy parking receipt. Well, it's what I get for showing up there that close to 2 PM, which is when I was told to be there. I should have realized that with all the security, waiting until almost 2 to get there was stupid, and in fact the MPD and Secret Service had the Target Center locked down at about 1:45, which was about ten minutes before I got there. So it goes. There'll be other Presidents and other rallies.

Spent the rest of the day hanging out with Kale and Josh, mostly watching Kale bash street punks, Nazis and other evildoers in City of Heroes. Oddly, it was more fun than watching people play computer games usually is...unfortunately, I missed MinneTokyo. Damn.

A day in the trenches

Pretty uneventful day. Woke up at 9 after resetting the alarm before bedtime and staying up to catch the first hour of the Rootman, and then reset it for another couple hours of sleep. This may be the last time for a few days that I get more than six hours of sleep, what with classes and everything. Melody and Scott decided not to go in and have pancakes with her mother, so that left me free to go about my business, which I did.

Found a used HB copy of Settling Accounts, the fourth novel in Harry Turtledove's alternate history in which the South manages to win free in the original Secession War but loses big when it joins England and France in the First World War. The Second World War has started, and the CSA is looking a lot like Nazi Germany. Good read so far. Also found a used copy of Gasaraki, which is supposed to be good; at any rate, it has Monica Rial doing some of the dub work on it.

So I started Settling Accounts while doing lunch at Chipotle, which has a BOGO election reward: buy a burrito on 10/31, save the receipt, show proof of voting on 11/2 and get one free. Nice. After finishing the burrito, I returned the DVDs to Video Universe, got more to replace those, and then parked myself at Caribou Coffee to kill time until I had to start my shift of calling for the Bush/Cheney campiagn at 4.

That went surprisingly quickly and very well, which I suppose was a gimme since I was calling in Bloomington and that city tends to elect Republicans to most offices. I suspect Randy Elledge is praying for the President to have major coattails, since he seems to have a reputation as somewhat of a loony - or so I was told by a couple of folks I called when I exhorted them to vote not only for the President but for Congressman Ramstad and their local Minnesota House candidate. So it's been an okay day, but I'm going to crash soon so I'll be well-rested for class tomorrow.

Girls, girls, girls

Not of the Motley Crue variety, though. Thanks to the Doublewood shipping the DVDs I forgot back to me, I was able to watch DNA-Squared before it was time to return it today. Man, this is a strange story, one that seems oddly dated, even. The story revolves around Junta, a fellow who likes girls but suffers from an "allergy" (more of a panic reaction, it seems) that makes him barf whenever he sees a girl's cleavage or butt. This gets in the way of his relationships, to say the least, and catastrophically so with Tomoko, a beauty queen who seems ready to do it with Junta until he loses his lunch all over her living room.
As if that wasn't enough of a problem, the attractive (if weirdly-dressed) Karin enters the scene and shoots him on their first date. Karin turns out to be from the future, where the infamous (and irresistably sexy) Mega-Playboy and his descendants have triggered an overpopulation problem of epic proportions. Karin has thus come back to fix the problem by changing Junta's DNA so he can't become the Mega-Playboy. This she does, but it turns out that she's shot him with the wrong mutagen and caused the very problem she came back to solve. Hilarity and heartbreak ensue as Junta's DNA wobbles back and forth between the Mega-Playboy state and the original barfulous condition. Good art from the creator of Video Girl Ai and an amusing story.

Saikano isn't funny at all. I first noticed it as the cover story in an issue of Animerica, where the article on it was subtitled "Schoolgirls of Mass Destruction", which overstates the case more than a little. It's essentially a romance between the withdrawn Shuji and Chise, who is -let's be frank- pretty pathetic. She's timid, weak, shy and forever apologizing for everything, but she does manage to come on to Shuji and start a romance with him...just before the JSDF selects her to become a cyborg weapon in the apocalyptic war between Japan and some unidentified nation.
Chise has serious problems with her cyborg side and is terrified that Shuji will reject her when he finds out, as he does during an attack on Sapporo when Chise is sent into action against a force of aircraft that are carpet-bombing the city. For once exhibiting some tenderness, Shuji reassures Chise that he doesn't hate her for what she's become, and he becomes the only civilian who knows what the apparent delinquent is doing in all the time she's missing from school. Even Chise's parents don't know that their child has become a commander in the JSDF, known as "the ultimate weapon" and gaining the power to level entire cities as she grows.

While Saikano isn't as relentlessly noir and depressing as, say, Jin-Roh, it's not a happy story either, but it is compelling, and I've rented the other two discs in the series. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of it and seeing how things turn out.
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