April 26th, 2010

#2036: What the hell was that?

The dream started off with a wonderful premise: I was in charge of a colony on an incredibly beautiful Earth-like world. Everything was green; the short winter had ended and I was walking through the colony just looking at everything, and the mists finally lifted so I could see everything, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.

Then I found this weird sculpture, tall, black, metal, segmented and jointed, conical, with parts that moved when you touched them. It wasn't a sculpture, but an inactive robot; and its twin came out into the intersection, announcing, "Find the labyrinth piece under the altar! Find the labyrinth piece under the altar!" It was a command to this section of the colony for everyone to go search for something. (The labyrinth piece? WTF is that?)

...I was surrounded by little people with weapons out of the old Doctor Who eps--actually, World of Warcraft gnomes, now that I think of it--and I was fighting them and trying to get away.

Then I woke up.

"What the hell was that about?" I asked myself crossly.

It's so typical: I'm dreaming about something wonderful, fantastic, beautiful...and it turns into farce, and then I wake up. (I'm not kidding; this world made Pandora look like freakin' Newark.) Then the gnomes and their stupid weird robots.

*sigh*

* * *

No, I haven't seen Avatar. But those nerds got suicidal over its non-existence, so I figure it's a beautiful world. And it's supposed to be "Gaia", you know. (I did watch that dude's review of it, the guy who shredded "Phantom Menace".)

* * *

Anyway, today's adventure: my brother took us out to dinner at Benihana's. It was his birthday yesterday and his wife's mother's birthday on Wednesday (she was with us) and his daughter had just finished modeling at a bridal fashion show. (For rep points, not money.) (WoW joke. Point is, she didn't get paid for it.)

We were supposed to meet at the restaurant at 4; Mom and I left home about 3:30 and got there an hour later, and my brother et al had not been waiting very long, so all's well with that.

The GPS served quite handily. I've been to that Benihana's about four times in my life, the last time being in 2000, so I needed a little help with terminal guidance.

Not actually Japanese food, yada-yada. But it's a delicious and entertaining (and expensive!) meal. Mom had been unsure she felt like going, but she perked up yesterday and we went.

The meal starts with soup. We ordered sushi and I ended up having an entire roll of kappa maki to myself, so from the moment they started serving the food I ate continuously: soup, salad, kappa-maki, shrimp appetizer, vegetables, steak...I was stuffed and had to bring some of it home.

I just ate the leftovers. Microwaved them in the container for 45 seconds; they were delicious. More importantly, it was something different, which I have been craving of late. Not Chinese, not fast food, not pizza, not pork chops, not chicken, not hamburger helper, nor spaghetti. Ahhh.

* * *

...I make better fried rice though. No, I didn't say so to the chef.

* * *

I regretfully logged out of WoW around 2 AM Sunday morning specifically because I knew I'd have to get up; well, I didn't have to get up until 2:30 PM, which is good, because I re-read Yotsuba&! 2-4 and then volume 5, and didn't actually turn out the light before 4 AM.

I really hope there are more than 7 volumes of this. There were 7 at Border's.

...somewhere ahead is this image of Fuuka, and I can't wait for the context, and NO DON'T FREAKIN' TELL ME WHAT'S GOING ON HERE:



She's saying, "JYAN! JYAN! JYAN!" which is something like a fanfare; the small text in the last balloon contains too much kanji for me to decipher. I really hope this is Azuma's work and not from a doujin.

You know, but even if it's not, I am honored just to be in the same room as that image.

(I came across a doujin which extended the "busted bathroom lock" story. You know where Fuuka gets stuck trying to get out the window? This doujin just spliced in some more story--ecchi stuff--right there, and it nailed Azuma's art style.)

UPDATE: It's from a doujin. *sigh* Kanji reads: "It's my school swimsuit!" /UPDATE

* * *

Though nearly all anime babes are extra-cute, they are in fact not all supposed to represent people who are actually extra-cute.

An example from High School Girls: Eriko is drawn with the usual black lines surrounding blank space. But in fact the other girls refer to Eriko having dark skin; toning a dark-skinned character is a pain and takes too much time, so it's usually not done unless it's really important (such as if the character is a Ko-gal). Of course skin tone varies across the population and asians are no exception, so there are asians with light and dark complexions. Eriko's is darker, but not shown as such.

The same series shows some girls (the "otaku" or "freak" group girls) as being unattractive by doing some hideous things with the character designs; but then we get a closeup look at one of them and suddenly she's drawn cute.

Some artists manage this effect a bit better, but it's rare for any young woman to be drawn non-cute. (Rare exception: in Yawara! there are two attractive female characters: Yawara and Sayaka, and Sayaka is drawn less cute than Yawara is. The other female characters are non-cute. Particularly Yawara's friends, all of them.)

The way Azuma drew Fuuka, I was pretty sure Fuuka wasn't supposed to be particularly attractive. Fuuka's older sister Asagi is supposed to be a real babe; compare her character design to Fuuka's. Fuuka has such a simple (and slightly unruly) long bob for a hairstyle, and her eyebrows are thick, two cues which are supposed to say "plain" to the reader.

Yet she's popular enough with the guys that a guy tries to pick her up at the beach, and has had one guy at school confess his love for her. (At age 16, she's a first-year in high school.) So she is, in fact, at least "cute" and probably "pretty", and other people say so in the comic itself.

...in fact, in the chapter where Fuuka offers Yotsuba and her father their old TV, there's considerable mention made of "Lovely Fuuka". And I have to wonder if there was a pun they simply couldn't translate on "Ayase Fuuka", her name....

* * *

Anyway.

...logged out of WoW despite the fact that I was having a really good time. Ormus got promoted in the guild to "Noble", which gives him greater access to the guild bank and the ability to invite others into the guild. (This is a power I won't use.)

I've been dumping "bind on pickup" stuff--greens--into the guild bank because Ormus has 200 GP, you don't get much money for them from vendors, and I'm too lazy to auction the stuff myself. That's probably one reason I got promoted. Also, I've been playing Ormus exclusively since I created him, because I'm having such a good time--not just with the mage character class, but with the role-playing.

People have responded well to the role-playing, and it's fun.

If Ormus needs cash, I sell leather; I'm nearly to 375 in skinning and I skin everything I kill that's skinnable. Leather fetches a pretty good price at auction, particularly the higher-level stuff.

But Ormus doesn't need to spend a lot of money on food or drink, because mages can summon food and drink. (IMHO it violates the Laws of Thermodynamics to summon drink, because you get mana from drink, but WTF, it's magic after all.) Whenever I pick up foor or drink as loot, I sell it. In fact, most of Ormus' money goes to buy training and spell reagents (teleport runes, arcane powder).

I was having fun last night.

#2037: I am totally going to draw Mohammed.

May 20 is "Draw Mohammed Day". I'm totally going to draw Mohammed and post the images here.

* * *

Feds say states can't opt out of ObamaCare.

Here's an interesting point: the "federally mandated" 55 MPH speed limit was not actually a law; it was a guideline. States did not have to adhere to it. If they didn't, they would not get federal highway funds, and that's how the federal government enforced its will on the states in spite of the Tenth Amendment: holding money over their heads.

They had to do it that way. The federal government has no real authority over speed limits (among a great many other things), not constitutionally; but the federal government has a lot of money. (Okay: these days it prints a lot of money.)

The Obama Regime doesn't give a rat's ass about constitutionality.

* * *

The taxpayers may prefer spending cuts but taxpayers are, by and large, not Democrat voters. Democrat voters are the people who are taking money from the system.

...some of the richest people are Democrats, though, which mystifies me. It's beyond comprehension why someone like Warren Buffet would be a Democrat...except, of course, that Warren Buffet is so damn rich he doesn't have to pay anything like the taxes paid by the "ordinarily rich".

His tax bill is huge, no doubt, but as a percentage of his income it's smaller than the guy who makes $500,000 per year. The top 1% income bracket has tax shelters and tax-free investments which are simply not available to people at the bottom of the top 10%.

That's why Warren Buffet can be a Democrat: he simply does not pay the kind of taxes which most people do. Not as a percentage of income; he doesn't have to worry about what his tax bill will do to his ability to pay his bills. He pays people to ensure his tax bill is as small as possible.

Okay, if you're Joe Middleclass and you earn $100,000 per year, you're going to be sending half of it to the government in one way or another. (Income tax, property tax, sales tax, tax tax, and the horse he rode in on.) That means that after it's all said and done, Joe's got a bit more than $4,000 per month to live on--to pay bills, buy food, gas for the truck, etc.

If you're Bill Richguy and you earn $1,000,000 per year, you've got options. The government seizes about 30% of your income right off the top, and the other taxes you have to pay sap more out of your paycheck. Figure that after it's all said and done, you've got $600,000 of income left to pay bills etc. You can live the high life on $50,000 per month, or you can save and invest and live on less. $20,000 per month of disposable income gives you $30,000 per month in investments; and given time you can ease back from working hard for that $1,000,000 per year at your job, and instead let your investments do the work. Or you can keep on earning money while letting the investments accrue. Either way, you can move your money around into investments which either are tax-deferred or tax-free, letting you control how much tax you pay. (You can place a significant portion of your pretax earnings into tax-deferred investments and lower your initial income tax bill--so maybe you don't pay about 30% income tax after all.)

But if you're Warren Buffet, there are all kinds of things you can do. Limbaugh (who is not as rich as Buffet, but who is in the same category of income) once discussed how people in his bracket can "hide" income, perfectly legally, and pay very little tax on it. I'm sure the laws have changed since then, but the very rich still pay less tax as a percentage than the average person does.

I don't have a problem with this. I think when you earn money, it belongs to you, not the government. My point is, the super-rich Democrats don't understand the tax burden of the average person because they never see those kinds of taxes and never have to worry about having enough money, after taxes, to pay the bills and live a reasonably comfortable life.

So the super-rich Democrats think, "Ehh, if we need to raise taxes, it's just the way it has to be." They don't think, "How are the people going to pay for this and still be able to save, and send the kids to college?"

No one in government ever asks, "How will the people afford this?" Why should they worry about that? When you can legally point a gun at someone and say, "Give me 30% of your income," and not get in any trouble for it, why should you worry about how much money the victim has afterwards?

* * *

But the party cannot continue forever and anyone who thinks the defict is not a problem now is living in a fantasy world.

We could grow past a $150 billion per year deficit. We could even--given enough time--grow past the occasional $455 billion per year deficit. But the Democrat Regime has set things up such that they're spending $1,000 billion per year more than the government is taking in, for the forseeable future--and they're trying to pile on yet more spending.

"Over the past decade," the article intones, but the crisis in debt only got its legs after the 2008 fiscal year--that $455 billion deficit I mentioned, which came to us courtesy of the Democrat Regime in Congress.

Small deficits aren't really a problem. $150 billion is pocket change compared to a $2,000 billion federal budget. Small deficits can be eliminated virtually overnight simply by freezing government spending: you take a year off from the traditional practice of bumping every line item by 10%.

And you stop referring to a reduction in the rate of growth as a "cut". Okay? When a line item is slated to go up 10% but you decide that it's only going to go up 5%, that is not a cut. A "cut" is when a line item gets smaller, not larger.

Stopping the growth of spending allows the economy to grow to the point that it can support the amount you are currently spending. It takes only a modicum of political will.

...and that has certainly been lacking in Washington, D.C. No one cuts spending, ever. That's got to change. We can't sustain this kind of spending, and we can't sustain this kind of taxation--and taxation which will support a budget like the 2010 budget will crush the economy like an empty beer can.

* * *

I am saying it again:
I've just about made up my mind that the United States needs to put up a serious barrier on the US-Mexico border. I'm talking about razor wire, electrified fences, trenches, moats, and mine fields. Put up signs every 50 yards which say, in English and Spanish, "IF YOU PASS THIS FENCE YOU WILL DIE." Have guards posted in towers with night vision goggles and rifles with orders to shoot at anything human-shaped which attempts to cross. If someone tries to cross and gets blown up, shot, or electrocuted, he's left there.
And why am I saying it again? This Michelle Malkin piece, that's why.

* * *

Warning Signs: "A Whiff of Revolution". This is a good post.

* * *

The caption for this "There I Fixed It" post reads:
The plastic around the emergency exit came loose, they sent a technician on board to duct tape it back in place before we took off… yes, they let the plane take off this way..

I’m aware that this is most likely that super airplane tape. But you can’t tell me this wouldn’t make even the most stalwart flyer wary. I almost need a Valium just looking at it. – Ms. Fix-It
It's a piece of plastic trim. It's not like they duct-taped the wing on or something, you freaking idiots.

* * *

Oh, speaking of freaking idiots:

funny graphs and charts

This is actually also a Venn diagram. There isn't a callout for it, but the entire graph represents a set with total overlap of the set "people who are stupid".