Music of the Month; Shoujo A

The problem in playing Yakuza 0 is the overabundance of 1980’s atmosphere. The game’s definitely one that keeps you invested and how it rolls is pretty damn great, but I’m not all that certain that it’ll end u in my Top 5 games of the year. I’ve been playing these titles since the first one on and off, and in the end it’s the same thing, just sleeker and works better. That’s not a bad thing at all, and sequels should always be more refined that their predecessors, but is that all that is needed to be one of the best games of the year? Not sure yet. Though Yakuza 0 setting back 29 years really makes me feel giddy. Not that yours truly was already 80’s junkie to a point. There’s really only one song that could represent Japan of the era.


Another option would’ve been Nakamori’s Slow Motion

Now that Monthly Three is officially dead, or on indefinite hiatus if you like that more, I’ll probably aim to launch a subseries named Longpost, which intends to break the normal length of these entries. The 1000 character limitation is a bit harsh at times, and some subjects that just need more stuff behind them. Pop-culture and game posts from last year really used them the best they could, like the very first Monthly Three about Breakout and its genre’s evolution. One of the few post series I have personal affection for. Longposts won’t be a monthly thing, so that’s kind of load off my back, unless a topic requires it. Most of the play culture posts could use it, as there’s a lot of stuff that can be handled.

As for what’s planned for the month, there isn’t any. I haven’t had any time to think so far ahead, and this month I’ve actually had week or so worth of material as a bumper, hence there has been less commenting on current events, outside the Nintendo Switch. Whenever I have time, I’ll try to create a large bumper like this with entries that can be posted at any time. Seeing how life is what it is currently, with deadlines and workloads progressively getting heavier, there are times when I can’t really write anything down. The bumper helped me quite a lot during January, and creating a bumper that has a month’s worth of material would seem a good idea. Asks me to go bit on an override. There are some few topics that I want to visit, although few of them might rustle some people a bit.

You might’ve also noticed how January’s posts came out like a clockwork around 10:00 GMT0 on Tuesdays and Fridays. The bumper is the reason for this, and I intend to keep this rhythm going, if possible. I guess that gives me a semi-official schedule when it comes to publishing.

Schwarzesmarken‘s review was long time in coming, but take it as a one-year celebration for the TV-series. Whether or not there will be a TSF comparison this month is a bit open, and it’ll probably be from either Euro Front or Total Eclipse. Maybe I’ll try to do a viewpoint post on something regarding Muv-Luv, like the one I did about 00-Unit long time ago. Not really sure if such posts are necessary, this blog is less about an opinion and more about a point of view. Don’t expect a new ARG anytime soon, the schedule the TL has to work under is very tight. Combine that with the differences in time zones, it has become rather difficult, to say the least. Speaking of ARG, you really should go read Chris Adamson’s blog, it’s pretty great.

While I try to encourage interaction with readers, and I aim to reply to every comment made here, I also set up a Curiouscat account for those who want to be even more anonymous. This is largely for fun, and I’m more than aware how the account will be a wasteland.

Whether or not mecha design section will expand on transformations this time around, but it could be a running theme for the year. The problem with form changing robots is that it takes about two to three times the work to get my stuff together with them, as there is so much to cover. Well, not all that much, in the end, but I’d like to go deeper rather than just scratch the surface. The basics are largely the same, but when you start going into how to turn a block into a humanoid form might take time to iron out. Time that I don’t really have.

As for the review of the month,  I’ll probably end up resorting to a game review or finally getting around photoing Dual Shock 4. There’s a poll up asking whether or not reviews actually have any worth on this blog. For the more obscure stuff like 8bit Music Power for sure, as I’ve seen it cited here and there. However, for more common stuff I’m losing my sight on the point. Maybe you should count the Guilty Gear comparison posts as ones, as there is a critical component in them. Furthermore, numerous readers seem to be interested in these aspects of their character designs as the posts tend to drive visitors in on their own. This of course opens the question whether or not I am keeping this blog for the existing readers or anyone out there, possibly intending to expand the audience through some means. If I were to have monetary gain, I would aim to expand the audience through multitude of means. However, this being just a hobby, I’m content on delivering whatever brain vomit my hands type down and hope people enjoy it.

Maybe I should stop downplaying everything I do so much, it’s not really healthy.

Holiday greetings

For the past few years I’ve written something for the parents about purchasing games as gifts for their children and grandchildren. In hind sight, this hasn’t really been worth the effort as none of these people really look for answers to these questions from a random blog. No, they go to a forum where they can discuss with people who are in the same boat and might end up buying little Jimmy the latest Transformers game for the wrong system or just get him whatever equivalent of Grand Theft Auto we had this year. In the end, whatever a parent gives their kid is labour of love in many ways. With age, the taste for gifts change and surprisingly often soft and usable gifts become increasingly more preferable over gadgets and goodies. There are those who have a knack of choosing the right gifts, and there’s like me who can’t figure out a gift to save their life. Stressing too much over gifts to either direction is fruitless job.

The upcoming week will be normal update week, with a mecha design post and Top 5 games of 2016. However, in preparation of the upcoming year I’ve set up a poll in Twitter that concerns what sort of posts I should emphasize. I don’t usually do this, I don’t really give a damn what posts get popular per se as I still don’t get paid, and I doubt anyone would be willing to patronize me through supportive services.

With that nonsensical stuff done with, do remember to make peace with people and matters, letting go of bad memories, making peace with each other and simply enjoy these (hopefully) few peaceful days. Merry Christmas to all of you.

Music of the Month; Airport

What, did you expect something Christmas themed this year? I’ve been on a Gundam W mood lately, been popping this in from time to time

So, what should I discuss this time? Things haven’t changed since last Music of the Month, so there’s that. Busy, tightly scheduled and all that. On top of all that, my apartment saw a water damage from one of the new pipes they installed, meaning I had to move to a new place for the time being, thou luckily I didn’t have to move all of my stuff. Then again, all my books, materials and whatnot are now in the apartment in the middle of being fixed, meaning I don’t have access to planned things and so on. Sucks to be me, I know.

On the flip side, the Director’s Cut patch for Muv-Luv on Steam got released, and you non-backers can pick it up from Denpasoft, if you’re a dirty old pervert like me. Feels like I’ve been talking less and less about Muv-Luv in general, but not by choice, not completely. I would like to write more about the franchise, but I always want to use time to form up something worthwhile. However, time’s a luxury now. The same could be said of my certain mental facilities, but that’s a story for another time.

Anyway, because I can’t read Schwarzesmarken as I am now, the TV-show’s review has been delayed. Because it took me a year to roll out a review of sorts for Total Eclipse‘s TV version, I’ll aim to rewatch Schwarzesmarken during Christmas and new Year’s holidays and roll a similar entry out around January. Much like with Total Eclipse, it will be taken as-is as a separate entity without ties to the source light novels or the VN. We’ll see if I do anything about the VN yet, which is probable to some extent.

In terms of video games for the year, I’ve already compiled a list of preliminary Top 5 of 2016, like usual, but now that I’ve looked back, there’s a not a whole lot I could do a mini-review out of. However, there should be at least two surprising entries on the list.

Speaking of lists, I waged through The Game Awards and it was terrible. The show was terrible to begin with. They had dedicated more time towards ads and skits instead of talking about games themselves, the choices of award winners and categories were questionable at best, not to mention when people on the stage also had their hands in selection and creation of games, mobile and handheld games lumped in the same category and again all Japan-only games were ignored. The show has become terribly irrelevant to the consumers and is nothing less than industry wanking itself off.

There are no plans for this month, I’m afraid. That means pretty much all posts that you’ll get for the time being will be rather ex tempore, which might affect their coherence, I’m afraid. I do have few idea nuggets polishing in the back of my head, but nothing that could kick off a Monthly Three. Unless you want me to talk about welding. Perhaps for 2017 I’ll plan each month’s themed entries out beforehand and start working on them as soon as possible. Whether or not that would be preferable is something only the readers can answer. Then again, if I write around eight entries in a month, six of them would be themed; Monthly Music, three Monthly Threes, a review and a mecha design post. That’s not a lot of room for other stuff if I want to keep this two posts per week rhythm. A second pair of hands would probably do this blog some good.

This month’s proper review will probably the Dual Shock 4 controller, because I caved in a picked myself a PS4 for some of the upcoming games, including Super Robot Wars V. That reminds me that at least one subject reserved for this month is BanCo’s Asian English translations based on Super Robot Wars OG Moon Dwellers and SD Gundam G Generation Genesis.

And oh, Drill Juice is doing Getter Robo Pai, a mahjong themed Getter Robo comic. Being a fan of all three, I expect it to be titillatingly bombastic. Here’s hoping they will make a proper mahjong tile set based on the comic, I could use a new set.

Different take on Customers; Dutch officials are stupid

Last time we were a bit late, so let’s be few posts early with this one. To those who are new, Different take on Customers flips the pro-consumer stance I usually have and discuss the other side of the coin. This time, I’m calling all consumers dumb idiots. Yes, even you. Especially when you’re walking around with your smartphone and ruining national treasures.

The recent news about Dutch officials wanting to sue Niantic and Pokémon Company for the ruination of their windswept beaches. This is retarded for three different reasons, the first being that neither aforementioned companies are not responsible of what people do when they’re outside hunting Pokémon. They should sue the people for behaving in a destructive manner because those people are responsible of their actions. You don’t sue an ice cream company because somebody stole ice cream from a vendor a gun manufacturer if somebody shoots a guy. Somewhat weak comparisons for sure, but gets the point across.

The second reason is that Dutch officials themselves are responsible for shitting things up on the beaches. Few months ago Kijkduin got a Pikachu pole, revealed by none other than Rachid Guernaoi of D66 party. Hell, according to a news report, the officials at Kijkduin marketed the place as the official Pokémon Go of the Netherlands. The idea was to boost the local economy, as the beaches seemed to get a lot of rare Pokémon for whatever reason. The officials essentially wanted to take advantage of the situation. It seemed to do the trick, attracting lots of people who would buy fries and soda while trying to catch whatever monsters they could muster. Hell, even the local police Tweeted about the pole.

The promotion worked like charm, and the beaches were swarmed with Pokémon Go players, which boosted the economy, but also began to destroy the sands because customers are idiots who don’t think what they’re doing as long as it’s self-serving. Both the players and Dutch officials are idiots who didn’t stop thinking twice what the hell they were doing. Kijkduin’s officials should’ve stopped twice to think what they were getting into. That is the third reason, shifting the blame. Dutch officials took no efforts to protect the beaches or put up any sort of supervision to control that the players would not screw the place up. Because the realisation came too late, they opted to sue the companies. I highly doubt their case would’ve stood in the court, seeing Kijkduin and Dutch officials themselves promoted the place to an extreme extend. The whole deal is ridiculous bullshit. Carry your own responsibility, Kijkduin.

It doesn’t help that few other places have requested to remove Pokémon spawning from their area. The Pokémon themselves are not the problem, it’s the people playing the game. They are a good case study of consumers who have no self-control and simply run anywhere to get what they want. This can be compared to women trying to shop clothes at a flash sale during Black Friday or when somebody shoots another for their brand new game console. People with certain cars and mindset may have a tendency to speed far past the allowed limit, while someone with a knife may start slashing somebody.

Companies produce goods that make all things possible. As long as an item is used in its intended and recommended way and the consumer is conscious that he is not harming himself or others, everything should be good. That’s the assumption. In reality, either because of ignorance, stupidity or intention almost every piece of equipment is misused to some extent, causing possibly dangerous situations. A beer bottle was never intended to be used as an anal toy, but that’s a fetish you can find videos of. Companies need to consider these things in a serious manner and build their products so that even when misused they could still be safe. So yes, a company producing bottle would need to make their bottles sturdy enough with as little sharp edges as possible in order not to cause any sort of cuts from their product, because people will misuse the bottle, especially if it’s shaped in a certain way.

It doesn’t help that people are ignorant of the products they use, unwilling to educate themselves to use them and gain knowhow. Understandable, not everyone can invest enough time to understand what’s the difference between file and a program, but for the love of God it would do some good.

Let’s be fair, people aren’t dumb. We just don’t think at times, and when we do, we usually think beside the point or make the wrong call. The consumers of game industry are no different, and we can’t blame the industry for their consumers’ actions. Unless they are actively promoting and telling people do damaging actions, the onus is always on the consumer or those on the general consuming end. The deal with Kijkduin and Pokémon Go frustrates me because there are nobody gaining any benefit from the current situation. Kijkduin will see less visitors now while their beaches are already fucked up, Niantic had to remove the spawns from there and the players lost a great spot where to catch some rarities. All because the Dutch officials rode the wave but didn’t think things through at all. Customers never do.

I produced a knife at one time for a customer. Not a fancy one by any degree, one of my early ones with a very simple design. The blade wasn’t too good either, but it did its job and cut well enough. I had to spend more hours on producing a leaflet on knife care, which I have to renew now and then. On top of that, I had to explain the customer how to take care of the knife, oiling it at least every month and so on. Few months later, I heard back from the customer, asking me why I had made the knife so sharp. Her son had cut himself open accidentally while he was using it as a screwdriver and she blamed it on the knife.

Providers can’t change the fact that their products will be misused or could be used as a justification for bad behaviour. It’s something we all need to live with and take precautions as needed.

Music of the Month; Calling from Heaven

It’s that time of the year again. Things are kicking into higher gear, people are getting steadily busier with their work without them noticing and the festival seasons are creeping upon us without a notice. As such, many things, like the long promised new entry into ARG podcast, is sitting in the backburner, slowly taking its time and waiting a good spot to be recorded. International team-ups don’t tend to work well with timings, when such things are not a high priority.

Castlevania turned 30 years this week as well, so here’s for a classic franchise that will stay evergreen and the games of its origin will never be tainted. Should get around finishing Castelvania III one of these days. Should probably play Super Castlevania IV this Halloween like I did last year, intending to make it a tradition.

There are no plans for this month. I’ve yet to decide any of the themes, thou I do intend to give a proper Monthly Three this time. I did not intend to do one last month, but the three previous posts should really count as one as they do have a carrying theme across them. It’s also a theme that I’m not done with and most likely I will return to soon enough. Branding can be tied easily into disruption, and I’ve got just the thing in my notes to bring it together.

Regarding mecha designs, last month’s Artisanal mecha honestly was something I felt good about. That’s a rarity, but I’m not intending to do a follow-up on it any time soon. Instead, I may do a case study on Gundams’ designs, as one of the frequent search term for the blog is How to design Gundam. It really shouldn’t be anything special, there are set rules of sorts, just like with Muv-Luv‘s TSFs, which sort of is a series wide case study. A TSF comparison should be done this month as well, thou depending how busy I get it will be either one of the two aforementioned. If we’re honest, I would prefer to be busy.

While I try to keep personal affairs away from this blog, I do feel that recent events do make a good addition to this themeless monthly post. Recently I lost a person whom I considered a good friend, not because of death or the like, but because she regarded our world view to be incompatible and that she could not be associated with someone with certain views. It doesn’t matter which they were, the core was the she allowed few things to define me and the whole friendship as a whole. This also means it wasn’t much of a friendship, in the end. I find that immature, at best. A child may throw a temper tantrum when their way is not accepted, but an adult should be able to amuse opposite views and thoughts without accepting them as their own, but also allowing those views to exist.

Similarly, my niece was recently given a name in a naming ceremony, something that bugged the hell out of my parents as religious people. My mother could accept it as difference in values, while my old man most likely will get completely pissed and down the bottle. It’d make an interesting case study where one of them just doesn’t seem to handle his world view being challenged at such a base level, while the other simply deals with it properly.

Humans are not defined by one or two things. We are multifaceted beings with immense depth. Not necessarily complex as such, but we are a collection of multiple things that create a unique whole. To know such a being is not simple and takes time, and the more we become familiar with a person, the more we know of their personal motives and views. I do call that a friendship, but on the Internet that is rather hard to do to its full extent simply because there is no physical presence. Friendship challenges us in many ways, and the more we can be friends with people with opposing views in things without pushing them to change it, the wider view we have on the world and its issues. This is, of course, in perfect world only, as we there are a lot of people who would be willing to push their own views into others or even hurt them to fit their neighbours in their own world view. Live and let live, and all that jazz.

Perhaps it’s just me thinking that one of the things that show maturity is the idea of being able to see things from more than one point of view and consider all of them equally valid. This blog promotes this to a certain extent, as I it does stand from a certain perspective, but I still aim to amuse two or three different arguments for a thing from a time to time. Not to cover my ass or anything like that, but simply because of that multifaceted nature of man.

I may also put up  a new page of scans, if my lil’ side project to collect numerous issues of Comic Lemon People comes to fruition. While I doubt I will ever get a full collection of the magazine, I do find value in the thought of scanning the covers for posterity and historical record keeping as well as list out their contents. A niche project at best with limited use or audience, but for the sake of data and history, these sort of niche projects should be enacted anyway.

There’s a hashtag named #inktober going on in Twitter. I recommend checking that out just for the sake of cool inked stuff it may produce.

Oh, we’re closing up on 700th post, so that’ll be a new Different take on customer again.

Chainsaw philosophy

I spend the latter part of the day with a chainsaw. It is something I consider fun, if you’re wondering, like trekking overall despite the overall content you read here. Chainsawing always gives a good moment to let your mind concentrate on something and be at ease. After all, the chainsaw is the one doing all the work. You just need to give it a direction and hold it steady.

That got me thinking how chainsaw is anything but that. It’s a tool that requires care and maintenance, from cleaning it from oils to sharpening the chain’s teeth. However, unlike something like a computer, which you can just dust off from time to time and be done with it, a chainsaw can’t be ignored all that much. The dirt and dust you ignore one time will always be there the next time, waiting for you and there is not real fast way to clean it just like that, especially if things get a bit oily. It’s not like with Windows, where you can roll up some program to defrag and clean your HDD and call it a day. No, you have to get hands down with a chainsaw, and that’s good. Chainsaw is not something everyone needs.

Chainsaw enthusiast I am not, but I do know those who have modified theirs to some extent. Larger tank, tweaked engine, custom chain and the usual. Hell, one even changed the start button and modified the pulley string to work with some sort of drill contraption of his own design.

Unlike some other tools, a chainsaw can kill you and here’s where its design usually shines. A chainsaw is a heavy contraption and weight just before your hands. The safety switch you press is usually placed where you have your best handle grip on the machine and the support grip sits just right. There are not many ways you can design a chainsaw to sit right in your hands, and whatever weight it has tends to become a non-issue when the chain sinks its teeth into the wood. Like with any saw, you don’t need to put any pressure on it.

That really is the fun part. That is not to say that the maintenance is not fun on itself, but admittedly it is something that not everyone might find enjoyable. Work thanks the worker goes the old proverb, and maintaining something like a chainsaw really brings it up. Having to use something to clean each crevice, wiping the fluids, checking the chain tensity and overall just keeping it clean. Perhaps this is sort of men’s romance kind of thing with machines, who knows.

To the point of sorts. Chainsaw’s use is not just letting ‘er rip and go through matter. Sure, in a hurry a good chainsaw could probably start under water and cut a crocodile through if needed, but as it’s a machine that you don’t need in a modern city all that much, if at all, it’s philosophy has kept itself relatively challenging. It is without a doubt a dangerous machine, and those hedge saws you see people buzzing on Sundays are like toys compared to a proper wood-cutter. It’s better to keep a device like that just ever so slightly complex in its need of maintenance and various safety levers and switches. We know some guy would otherwise cut their own arm off or lodge it into their throat if it was easy.

The duality of any product being easy to use while requiring some in-depth knowledge is something that most designs want to steer away. The easier and simpler a design is, the easier and cheaper it should be to manufacture and end-user to put into practical use. If complexity is needed, e.g. for an engine,  a whole market will pop up just to take that headache from your hands. Most basic car troubles consumers go to the repair shop could be done by themselves, but they lack the knowhow and would rather pay someone else to do it than get their own hands dirty. That’s totally fine, not everybody has the interest to fix their own car while others enjoy such things to no end.

However, no matter how simple a product is, it would always be good to know its core functions and possible ways to fix and maintain it. It doesn’t take a genius or someone who has taught himself ins and outs of their product, just a common consumer who has the slightest of interest to make the best use of their purchase. It benefits the consumer the most, as that could possibly mean you don’t need to replace a product as soon as you thought or can open new possibilities. Or in case of Windows 7 and 8, protect your privacy to a larger degree and select what services and functions you want it tun in the background while you watch your chosen adult entertainment.

Learning to use and maintain should be on the to-do list of everybody, most agree I’d wager. However, you’d be surprised how many consumers out there simply don’t know the possibilities or the extents their purchased products can go. Elderly people using their computers is one example, as I’m sure all you are aware of how limited use computers see, sometimes just being for browsing news, Facebook and e-mail with the occasional session of Solitaire. There isn’t exactly anything wrong in that, but there are better devices for that, namely smartphones and different pads.

While maintaining a smart phone or a pad, especially Apple’s closed products, is a more challenging task than maintaining your vacuum cleaner, both deserve your attention. The chainsaw philosophy really is something that shouldn’t have any special mentioning, making this post largely pointless. Keep your shit in good condition, whatever it is, and it’ll have your back any time in the future. You bought that stuff, so you might as well keep it in a working condition. Doesn’t take more than fifteen minutes off from your day. While you’re at it, crack that PC of yours open and dust it off, you’ve been putting it off for too long now.

Music of the Month; CHALLENGER + Review of the Month; Star Trek Beyond

I tend to have music selected few weeks beforehand for these, but this time I had none. You could call it a rut or something similar, but it’s not really that. Let’s boot the ol’ ‘tube and see what we come across.

I don’t put much personal stuff on this blog. Here or there you might pick up something or I mention situations making typing things down somewhat erratic. I don’t have a release schedule, I never had. A post early in the week and one later has been the standard for few years now. Things have become more or less a routine in this sense, and while that is not a bad thing, I find myself wanting to touch upon subject after subject beyond the scope I want to explore them. However, As this is a hobby, there would be no sense for me to write an entry every other day about every single thing that I want to. You’re not reading this blog for stuff like that.

For example, I had planned the failure that is the Themes in Godzilla for some time now, and despite it getting the summer special slot, it’s something that should’ve been more meatier rather than few sentences per movie. I had planned much more for the entry, it to be more grandiose and in-depth than what it ended up being, but I’m guessing it was also a topic nobody cared about. Godzilla is passé, despite Shin Godzilla gaining positive reviews in Japan.

Another example would be the latest brouhaha about the Nintendo NX design, it possibly being a portable and a home console hybrid of sorts, something that I would personally embrace fully. Ever since the DS and PSP were launched, I questioned the point of designing, developing and producing two separates consoles when the hand held consoles could muster good enough graphics, gameplay and controls as is. I am a broken record with this, but it is about the software. Seeing population is moving towards portable solutions with each technological iteration, it would make sense to emphasize that to a certain degree. Traditional desktop computers have made way for laptops and pads for a time now, and while I still am headstrong in my decision to stick with a more traditional wired Internet connection and a desktop computer, I can’t argue with reality around me. Full portability is where we’re going, it’s just a matter of when.

Perhaps the third and most pressing example of my conscious aversion of not writing âge related. This is not a blog just for Muv-Luv and Kimi ga Nozomu Eien. They certainly are a part of it and most likely the topics that have attracted most readers on the long run, but perhaps some of the 1990′ ideology of not-selling-out sticks to me at this point. The whole point of giving what the consumer wants fights against this, and I probably should start writing more about Muv-Luv in general not only for blog content, but for the simple raw reason to gain more views. I do intend to do a TSF comparison this month, as long as I can find good enough pictures of some TSF, F-16 Fighting Falcon being probably the strongest contender. This may be my own hubris, but I do see that there are topics and subjects that I am more equipped to discuss when it comes to Muv-Luv as a whole than others. Of course it’s my own hubris, both Type-94 (link on the right) and Chris Adamson do it better as is.

The only obstacle is that I don’t care about the views as much as I should. Perhaps an argument could be made that I am not as passionate as I should be about the topics, that I don’t care what makes people read the most or that I lack ambition. It doesn’t help that my current situation is still in the gutters, but you won’t see me explaining how dire my situation is or how in the gutters I am professionally speaking. It has no other relevancy for the blog outside whether or not I am able to write.

I’m not sure how successful the Monthly Three series has been. I expected last month’s theme of Video game culture and history to go well, but it seems that it was something very few cared about, despite it being one of the core themes of this blog. I deemed those and Dizzy’s design comparison posts as one of the best examples of what I could write about and felt oddly good, almost proud, about them. Of course, reality sets in and none of them were really successful even in a limited fashion. The Guilty Gear design comparisons have been yet another views collecting topic, so I’ll most likely I’ll have to give those more weight in the future.

Usually I set some goals for the of the month in these opening rants, but this time all I’m going to say that bets are off for now. Despite being able to keep up reviews for a time now, I’d rather call off my reviews than resort on making a video game review nobody reads. Screw that, here’s a first impression review of Star Trek Beyond I wrote after I was asked how I felt about it via Twitter. That’ll serve well enough.

Perhaps, just perhaps I am at a burnout of sorts. I don’t feel that I am getting the best quality stuff I could, despite the aforementioned being something I feel good about. There are a lot of subjects that I want to touch upon, but there are no driving reasons for me to invest the time in them. Well, there are, but I have to reason on how I spend my time, and to be completely honest, I am not using my time well at the moment. I should either be polishing up what I know and what I can do rather than spent time on writing. Maybe the thing I need to do is to take some time off and get shit sorted out. Maybe try out a voiced version of this blog, discuss topics out loud rather than in text. You can vote here, if you’d care about a thing like that.

Maybe I need a break, but if I take one, it’s not this month. But I do need food, and because my kitchen equipment is unusable at the time, I guess I’m going to eat out today.

The Devil’s in the details

Edward Teller calculated that the atom bomb would ignite the world on fire. He was proven wrong, not because the world still is around. It was because his fellow scientist told him he had not made the right calculations. Later in 1954, Teller’s team calculated the lithium-7 found in Castle Bravo wouldn’t be a problem with the hydrogen bomb, but because of miscalculations, the hydrogen bombs was about three times stronger than expected.

You would expect that mathematicians and scientists working on the most devastating weapon ever developed would have their shit double checked. However, humans are prone to make errors.

Very rarely something goes wrong in its largest of elements. More, often, it’s just that one little detail that can cause a cascading effect of other little things failing. We all know this, we’ve all experienced it more than once. The worst part of it is that we’ll probably overlook details even more in the future, causing more damage and harm than intended.

Let’s take a less dramatic example than a miscalculation in production of weapons of mass destruction, like the inclination of your chair. It may have been design to look great and has some use of the Horacek angle, but that may be to your detriment. The wrong angle where your back lies on while you type is different from when you’re supposed to relax. Not only that, but the chair you use for whatever activity has to have its own properties. Then you have the fact that despite our standard measurements, we have unique bodies with their own problems. There is no one universal chair, and they need to change with times. It’s like cremation chambers that nowadays need to take into account the fat percentage the corpse has in order to keep the whole facility from experiencing a raging fire. I wish I was joking. Even after death fat people seem to cause nothing but trouble to designers.

If we want to explore the Christian basis if the saying, despite seemingly originating from Germany, is that the Devil knows all the details. Seems like the details are an integral route to salvation, at least during Old Testament, where the Devil tends to obfsucate the necessary information. I’m the wrong person to ask about theology, but it does play to the whole thing quite well. Even in discussion noting the small things is important, and sometimes people intentionally leave the small things out, like with some of the recent news that have been about. Leaving a thing out here, another there, slightly re-wording something to give that slightly off-hand impression of whatever… It’s in the end a play to screw with your mind, dear reader.

I love using food examples, mainly because we all eat and good food is largely universal. This applies here as well, as you can take essentially any bit of cooking as an example about the small things going wrong. The heat, time, ingredients and their age, spicing, utensils, time you serve, everything can go wrong, and usually something does. You may have some slightly outdated or raw ingredients, the heat may be too low or you may burn the food a bit too much, you may throw too much salt or pepper in there and ruin the taste, the utensils may be wrong or material in them cause some problems and you may end up serving the food too early or late. You know the deal, you’ve made dinner.

But the Devil is in the detail. 666 is not the only number associated with the Beast. However, 616 seems to be the more accurate number of it as it is referred in the Oxyrhynchus’ papyrus. Modern world doesn’t recognize it any more due to these little details, like translation issues, but it is something that should be kept in mind. The ever-present fascination in the number in the end is part of our global culture to the point of many forgetting 888 is its counterpart, the number of Christ the Redeemer.

Music of the Month; La Femme Chinoise

Applies to a particular one-shot comic from Hariken Ryu found in Gigantis’ Blade

Summer, it brings all the same problems as always. I’ve had to evacuate my home for the time being, so that hampers my plans for the next week or two… which in turns basically throws a monkey wrench to everything I had in mind. Long story short, all the plans got scrapped for the time being, until things settle down. Thank God for the ability to time your posts.

That said, this month’s monthly three might end up being a historical view on how Fight! Iczer-1 OVA came to be. Due to it not having a lot going on for it, I’ve planned them to be significantly shorter pieces than the usual. To compensate this, this summer’s long entry will The themes of Godzilla, an overview to the franchise’s thematic history from 1954 Toho original to the 2014 Legendary’s Godzilla. This is because of two things; I had a successful programme about the topic at a convention, and the fact that I have all these materials at my disposal at this time, I might as well put them into use.

As for Muv-Luv, we’re probably ending up with a sort of special podcast this month, if not two. Probably being the keyword there. Things tend to change from day-to-day in what we can do and when due to life and work. I’m planning on a TSF comparison, but I’ll have to see how much time I have after I can go back normal daily life.

No plans for what could be this month’s review, but Schwarzesmarken is not off the tables.  It’d be a belated review, but a review nonetheless.

However, for the time being I will most likely be in the dark what happens outside the occasional news checking. I’ll just have to use this time to enjoy being offline.

Harder they are, the better they shatter

Dick jokes aside, popular culture loves things being hard. This is the hardest sword around, this shield is so hard that it can stand any damage and so on. This is largely bullshit, to be honest. Popular culture just has the habit of buying the idea of diamonds being the hardest generally known substance to man and going with it, because it seems it is too hard to teach that hardness alone doesn’t add to anything worthwhile. You need toughness to go along.

Hardness in Mohs is how well a material can resist penetration of other material, i.e. scratched. In all fairness, this is rather weak scale and is mostly useful with minerals Mohs scale is intended for. For geologists and craftsmen, the Mohs scale is still relevant. The higher the item is on Mohs scale, the better polish it can attain, with some exceptions.

The hardest naturally occurring material known to man is lonsdaleite, or hexagonal diamond. It was first identified in the late 1960’s from a Canyon Diablo meteorite, where specimens were found in microscopic size. If you checked the provided link there, you may notice that when actual stuff is talked, the Mohs scale was kicked to the curb. Mohs scale is essentially useless for industrial use.

In a more industrial meaning, hardness relates how much material resits compression and changing its shape. When we go up to superhard materials like diamond, their modulus of rigidity are very high as is their bulk modulus, the resistance to uniform compression. They do not deform plastically either.

Think it like this; when you strike wood with a hammer, it just dents. It deforms to form a spot where hammer was struck while leaving the rest of the wood intact. Strike glass and it’ll shatter without deformation,  sending shards flying about.

There are numerous tests in which material hardness is tested with. Vickers, Rockwell and Brinell hardness tests are the most often used, followed by Mohs. Oustide the Mohs one, all the aforementioned use different methods to attain the scale of hardness and the results can be converted between each other. If you’re interested in reading further into this topic, I recommend giving this site a go.

But as said, hardness alone is of no real use when it comes to how popular culture wants to showcase it. Toughness is needed. As a general rule of thumb; The harder something is, the more fragile it is. For example,. despite diamonds being the hardest general substance, you can pick up your hammer and smash them to bits. They’re also common as hell, and nobody should be willing to pay the insane prices jewellery shops are selling them. You can put that on DeBeers.

Toughness is the ability of any said material to absorb energy and plastically deform without fracturing. This is the opposite of hard materials that have low toughness, as they do not absorb energy or deform. They fracture, sometimes in an explosive ways. Toughness is after all a combination of both material strength and ductility.

Just like how hardness has its tests, the Charpy V-notch test and Izod impact strength tests are the most commonly used measured. While Charpy  is more about the fracturing the tested material, Izod tests impact power.

Ultimate tensile strength needs to be mentioned in this context, as it is effectively how much a material or structure can withstand elongation as opposed of compressive strength. Materials like diamond would have a very sharp breakage, called brittle failure. Other that are more ductile in nature would malform in plastic deformation before point of fracture. Something like glass has Mega Pascal of 33, depending on the glass variety and so on, while something like diamond having 2800 MPa, which still loses to multiple other materials, like graphene at 130 000 MPa.

How does all this come together with our topic? Let’s take the Destroyer-Class BETA as an example. It has a shield on top of it that is said to be Mohs 15 in hardness. That is to say, it is harder than diamond.  To follow the rule of thumb, this material then should be relatively easy to shatter, especially with the large surface area it has. However, as the BETA are biological mining machines, and the fact that their shield’s can withstand considerable stress before penetration, saying that it is Mohs 15 does not actually mean anything. It’s the same with any other fantasy sword or the like that gets called harder than anything else. It it to give an idea of a tough, unbreakable object, which is rather far from reality, all things considered. But Mohs scale is simple and easy and doesn’t require studying. Saying that something is harder than diamond is enough to give a certain mental image.

What the Destroyer-Class BETA has, and all those other fantasy things, is high toughness and resilience to deformation. A sword good sword should be able to bend itself and conform to stress without breaking, something that Japanese sword don’t actually do that well because they were made hard. They were probably the hardest sword made, and thus far more brittle than swords that conformed and bent. The hardness contributes to the sharpness without a doubt, but sharpness alone can’t win a fight. Skill aside, sword’s shape, material, balance and toughness are all factors. Katana being so hard, materials like bone could dull them fast. The idea of a sword being samurai’s soul is gross exaggeration, as the katana was the least used weapon during wars over spears and bows, and were discarded if a better sword was in vicinity. Later on you got guns that made close combat weapons largely obsolete. Japanese swords are most likely the most romanticized swords  there are, mostly thanks to movies and comics, but there are sources that put things right.

With shields or general tools, you do not want it to be hardest. You do not want a hammer shattering into your eyes or shield breaking down when an enemy hits it. With shields, you want it to malform and take the impact’s force instead of breaking it and allowing the opponent to advance. The worst idea you can have is shattering armouring or shield.

In giant robot series, it’s not uncommon to see armouring shattering like it was made of bricks or glass. It’s much easier to understand and is more dramatic, but a good armour doesn’t shatter. At best, it’s ripped apart into shreds under massive power. After all, most metals can be chipped like wood with proper tools, unlike something like diamond.

All in all, this was a very long and convoluted way to that hardness is almost a fetish in popular culture and is far too often depicted in a very uneducated manner, especially when Mohs scale is mentioned. But hey, all of that is fiction. Let’s just say this sword is Mohs 25 and has intrinsic tensile strength 500 Giga Pascals and tell it’s made of bullshittium and all would be well.

The thing is, in the end, that you can’t have a material that’s soft and hard at the same time, in general sense. A diamond like material can’t elongate itself and will experience fracturing instead. As such, in a case of Destroyer-Class BETA example, without any further information we can assume that the Mohs 15 hardness of indicative of other material strengths, making its shield very brittle. You don’t want your shuffle to be shatter the first time you hit a stone, you want it to be able to take the force from the impact. Of course, in-fiction it’s hard to penetrate with any weapon, where the whole deal with bullshittium steps in again.

Hard fiction often tends to step around these issues most of the time, as there are things like flexural strength and multiple others when it comes to material sciences, and simply relies on general terms and points of comparisons. General fiction on the other hand will simply play it safe and pull a diamond from its pocket and tell that this shit is hard, and that’s all you need to know.

Now let’s end this post with some great machining in slow motions.


“Almost sexual, isn’t it Smithers?”