atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#754: Snow! (And a bit about anime)

Looks like we got in the neighborhood of four inches. I'm actually shocked.

The stuff that fell on the ground melted at first, so I am basing my measurement on the height of the snow on a table on the patio. It's not too bad for the first real snowfall of the season.

I overheard a blurb for the 10 PM news say, "Tonight at 10: The biggest snowstorm of the season! ...so far." [insert "rolleyes" emoticon here.] WTF, it's four freaking inches of snow and they're acting like it's the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And this is, by the way, a newsreader who has been in the Chicago area for years; it's not like this was her first winter in Chicago after spending her life in Califonia or Hawaii or Guam or something.

People from warmer areas of the country cannot function in snow. "ZOMGWTFBBQ! ICE IS FALLING FROM THE SKY!" Whenever you see video on TV of cars skidding helplessly out of control, chances are it's from somewhere that rarely sees snow. The morons don't know how to control the car when it's in a skid because they never needed to know until just that moment.

What's really funny is to see the morons from such areas of the country in four-wheel-drive vehicles. That's just adding insult to injury.

Four inches of snow: if I had to go anywhere right now, I wouldn't even bother putting the Cherokee into 4WD mode, unless I found myself utterly unable to get moving. Then I'd switch it out of 4WD as soon as I got the thing moving.

Now, if we got a foot of snow, that would be different.

But during the big snow of 2000, when I lived in Cedar Rapids, I was able to drive through that mess in a front-wheel drive car (Ford Escort) with only a little trouble. That was when there were maybe ten or twelve inches of snow on the ground, and really it was the drifts that were giving me all the trouble. Otherwise the car just plowed on through. That car's rather low to the ground; the Jeep sits high enough that I can slide underneath it without jacking it up. With all that ground clearance, I expect that a good limited-slip differential (LSD) would keep me from having to use four-wheel-drive in all but the most dire of circumstances.

That's why I keep noodling around with the idea of upgrading the rear differential to an LSD--it just makes sense to me. I'm not sure how the front diff works, if it's a "locker" that engages when the 4WD is on, or if it's a true differential; the primary difference between the "part-time" and "full-time" systems seems to be in the transfer cases: the "full-time" system has a front-rear differential of one type or another, and the "part-time" system just locks front and rear to the same speed at all times.

My philosophy for using 4WD is pretty simple: you use it to get unstuck, not for driving, at least when you're on the road. 4WD gives a person a false sense of security; using it incautiously will just get you deeper into trouble. If I had a dollar for every 4x4 I saw mired in snow along the road, I could buy another Jeep.

But this is Chicago, and deep snow is a rarity here--most winters I can count the big snowstorms on my thumbs. Some years I can count them on my nose; we don't get a lot of snow here, and it's uncommon for us to have more than about six inches of the stuff on the ground at any one time--and usually the more snow we have, the colder it is, because snow reflects a lot more sunlight than grass does.

We had a huge storm in 1967; we had one in 1977; and we had one in 2000, which was the smallest of the bunch. 1977 was bad; we have pictures of a six-foot snowdrift in our front yard that nearly closed off the front porch. Also there's a picture of me, age 10, standing in front of the six-foot high plow drift on the other side of the street from our house.

...It's either 1977 or 1979. I keep thinking that it can't be 1979, because by 1979 there were houses on the other side of the street; in 1977 they hadn't been built yet, and the town plowed all the snow to the west side of the street because there was so much and there weren't any houses on that side.

Whatever year it was, that was the year the eco-loonies were saying "Pollution is going to cause another ice age!" (The same loonies, by the way, who are now saying "Pollution is going to cause runaway global warming!")

In 2000, we got dumped on; and then it got cold. I was in Cedar Rapids, and on the first day of work of 2000 the high temperature was -3°F. I left work, got into my car, and it cranked slow, and I worried for a bit about it, but it started...and when I got home and saw the weather on the news, then I got it: Of course it's going to crank that fricking slow when it's that fricking cold outside!

Precipitation pulls moisture out of the air, and water vapor is 95% of the greenhouse effect. Couple extra-dry air with low surface albedo (snow) and no clouds.... Damn right it gets cold after it snows.

I was reading an article in Trains magazine by a guy who lives in North Pole, Alaska. Apparently it's winter for eight months up there, and around December -50° F is not uncommon. I have no idea how people can live in that crap. But they do. So I guess it's not so bad here.

As for me, I went to bed around 7 PM; House, MD was a rerun that I'd already seen (the one from last season where House and Cuddy are on an airplane and the sick dude has the bends) and that show does not have a very high re-watch factor, so I turned in.

Snowplow...snowplow...snowplow...zzzsnowplow WTF...zzzz...SNOWPLOW FOR CRYING OUT LOUD HOW MUCH PLOWING DOES THE GODDAMNED STREET NEED for four inches of snow?

Oh well. The DPW facility is one street over and two blocks north (Crete blocks, not city blocks); maybe some drivers were going a different way.

Anyway, it was easy to sleep. The bed was that perfect temperature, it was snowing outside, and I'm trying to get over the flu anyway, so I didn't really mind all that much when I thought about it.

Since I got home from the hospital at 1 AM on Monday morning, I have been outside long enough to get the paper on Tuesday morning. I can't even begin to feel guilty about that.

...I was thinking the other day that since I've got a Class C license, I could drive one of those plow trucks, if they'd let me.

Oh well.

I watched another three eps of the current series, Pretty Cure, Amaenaideyo! Katsu, and Kaze no Stigma.

Plenty of Haruka in AK ep 9, let me tell you, which makes me happy. And some of her older sister Miyako, too, which also makes me happy. Miyako's voice is provided by Kotono Mitsuishi, who is teh hawt.

Haruka's is done by Akeno Watanabe, who isn't as hawt as Kotono is.

Kotono Mitsuishi also played Koume in Blue Seed and Potamos in Wedding Peach--and Potamos was my favorite villain in WP because she was complex and interesting. (And had a cute catch phrase, "Mitai na!") She was Excel; Tap and Ribbon in Mary Bell (!), Misato Katsuragi (my favorite character from Evangelion), Usagi in Sailor Moon! (!)

...holy shit!

KnS starts a new story, this one a two-parter, and it's looking entertaining. The KnS world has all kinds of interesting things in it besides mages and demons--including pixies and ghosts. The pixie Tiana seems to be a recurring character, which is awesome.

And PC? PC was its usual self. Nagisa has to deal with a guy confessing his love for her. Of course she loves someone else but hasn't admitted it to herself, so she ends up gathering chestnuts with the guy on her birthday (October 10th). Wonder how old that makes her now? 14?

Magical girls almost always seem to be in junior high school, for some reason. I wonder why that is...

DUHH--marketing, moron. Target audience: girls in 5th-7th grade. (And weird asinine otaku like me. :'[ )

Youko Honna, who does Nagisa's voice, has a fantastic voice.

That was something unusual about Doujin Work: the characters were college-age. Most of them, anyway, since Sora was about 10 and Kaneru is 24. (I liked Kaneru the best.)

* * *

I've been thinking about generating another Christmas anime volume; certainly I have enough new material for one. (School Days ep 11 will not be in it.)

A surprising number of shows I've watched over the past year have had Christmas episodes in them.

Here's the current tape:

  1. Kodomo no Omocha #38: "Dokidoki Kiss for Christmas"
  2. Ranma 1/2 "Tendo Family Christmas Scramble"
  3. Urusei Yatsura #10 "Pitter Patter Christmas Eve"
  4. LoveHina Christmas Special
  5. LoveHina #25 "Don't Cry"
  6. Hime-chan's Ribbon #13 "SMAP Came"
  7. ToHeart #12 "Season of Feelings"
  8. ToHeart #13 "A Snowy Day"
  9. Kimagure Orange Road #38 "Kyousuke Timetrips! The Third Christmas!"
  10. Kimagure Orange Road #39 "Hypnotizing Madoka! Kyousuke's Risky New Year!"
  11. Marmalade Boy #40 "A Holy Night / I'm Alone on Christmas Eve!"
  12. Marmalade Boy #41 "The Morning of Lovers / Merry Christmas!"
  13. Marmalade Boy #42 "New Year's Pattern of Love / [duhhh...]"
...and I know most of these by heart by now. Particularly "Tendo Family Christmas Scramble". It's the dub and I can speak the lines with the characters--I've had a copy of this OVA, in one form or another, as long as I've been otaku--that's now thirteen years, by the way. (Thanks an assload, "Sailor V". I blame you for this. This is why I inflict magical girl anime on you. It's revenge.)

I've kind of gotten out of the habit of watching "Christmas" media, though. Modern movies about Christmas generally leave me cold. Okay, who thought it was a good idea to make the one about the guy who gets to be with his dead wife for one more Christmas? "Merry Christmas! Now I'm dead again!" WTF.

The one with Dolly Parton in it--okay, the breasts are impressive as always, but I've never really been much of a fan of Dolly Parton. (Alison Mack is in it, too.)

While we're on the subject, what about that movie where they cast Charles Durning as Santa Claus? What moron made that decision? Charles Durning may have the right shape to be Santa Claus, but that's about all--the man's a capable actor but even the best actor has roles he can't play. (Should a white man play Othello?) (The character, not Milton Bradley's lame "Go" ripoff, damn it.) (Heh. "White men can't jump" joke deleted.)

That's about as bad as casting Art Carney in that role. Look, I love Art Carney to pieces; his performances as Ed Norton in The Honeymooners are comedy gold--but again, he's not Santa Claus. I know! Sean Connery is getting up there! Let's cast him as Santa Claus: < sean connery >Now, let me see, have you been naughty or nice? [gunfire] Definitely 'naughty'. < /sean connery >

(When I say that line in my lame Sean Connery impression voice, it makes me laugh. Sorry.)

Baron Harkonnen--Durning did that role well. Santa Claus? No.

Martin Short as Jack Frost--that was good casting.

...but most Christmas movies they run on TV are worthless. "It's a Christmas movie so we have to have people crying and carrying on! That's what Christmas is all about!" Maybe where you come from, Mr. Hollywood Guy. I'm sure in your family Christmas is one gigantic angst-fest, where all the relatives--forced together for the holidays--have the equivalent of a full nuclear exchange, and do it every year, so you don't see anything wrong with the Red Ed Asner movie where the guy is dying of cancer so he has everyone come home for one last Christmas, and it's like pulling teeth because everyone has issues which must be resolved before it's too late....

People who are incapable of restraining their "issues" to help a dying family member are selfish morons who need to be beaten.

What happened to making happy movies about the holidays? Can't they even do that right anymore? There has to be suffering and angst and crying and weeping and mourning and grief by the truckload. If not that, if the movie's a comedy, then it has to be something like Jingle All The Way which compares with many Tom and Jerry cartoons.

That's why the networks end up trundling out White Christmas and such--and showing them a lot--because they're happy movies. They're light-hearted. They're aimed at a broad audience; the singing and dancing is meant to entertain everyone, not just children, and the story is pleasant, the conflict not too serious, the goal admirable, the tone jolly.

But of course in these postmodern times, that would never review well. Oh, it would be hackneyed and trite and so 1950s, you know, and it's beneath most directors because--well!--if I wanted to do a movie like that I would never have gone to Berkeley Film School, you know!

*sigh*

* * *

I'd better stop here before I really get going. This is already far too long.
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