Fish in the pond by Bryan - oz4caster
Fish in the pond, a photo by Bryan – oz4caster on Flickr.

Woke up to an absolutely beautiful morning and decided to run out to a local park to get some fishing in. I have been fishing since i was a lad and have never really lost the bug. the peace and solitude, just being on a pond casting your line in the water and watching the water. Its a wonderful thing, just a perfect marriage of nature and man.So calm and clear, of course I did not get a bite. It was more about relaxing in the moment than anything else.love this photo of a sunfish from Bryan on flickr.

Finally a Zombie apocalypse that gets it. Surviving the apocalypse is about humans in a stressful situation, that delicate balance between freedom and individuality and acquiescing to the demands of a group. There is the conflict that drives the drama and tension. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic was adapted for TV and is being aired on AMC.Currently a six part series, AMC has already greenlit a second 12 episode season.  Zombie lovers like me are rejoicing. Kirkman says that he will never reveal the cause of the zombie uprising in the comic because its not central to the story or characters. The  stress of surviving day to day in the dangerous world of post-apocalypse will challenge people much more than our current TV/couch lifestyles ever could. From the website:

The Walking Dead is an epic, edge-of-your-seat drama where personal struggles are magnified against a backdrop of moment-to-moment survival. A survivalist story at its core, the series explores how the living are changed by the overwhelming realization that those who survive can be far more dangerous that the mindless walkers roaming the earth. They themselves have become the walking dead.

Three episodes in and I am hooked. Great cast, characters and writing are making this the best thing since Lost. I am ambivalent about the cheesy CGI blood splatters and willing to discount them if it keeps production costs down since that is not the focus of the show. This show is flying in the face of the reality TV takeover and giving scripted shows a chance.


Jumping the shark – its when a TV show strays so far from its orginal premise that the result has nothing to do with anything other than an attempt to garner ratings. From Wikipedia:

Jumping the shark is a colloquialism used by TV critics and fans to denote the point in a television program‘s history where the plot spins off into absurd story lines or unlikely characterizations. These changes are sometimes the result of efforts to revive interest in a show whose viewership has begun to decline. In other cases, the changes have other causes (e.g. an actor quitting, different writers being hired) and the diminished interest is the result. The two causes can feed into each other, leading to even greater changes and even lower popularity. Nonetheless, some series remain profitable and popular long after they have been judged by some to have “jumped the shark”. The phrase has recently come into more general usage, and is applied to cultural phenomena other than television programs.

Man Vs. Wild is the survival TV show which features Bear Grylls in various survival situations explaining how to find food/water/shelter and continue to live. Normally something like this would be very interesting, learning survival techniques etc. But the latest moment from the show seem to be all about grossing out viewers, from eating live snakes and maggots to drinking water squeezed from a ball of elephant dung, its all about topping your self in the name of attracting the gross out ratings. Deviating from survival and nature into the king of the gross out TV. The newest is is Bear teaching that you can get hydration and water from rancid water by giving yourself an enema. This give whole new meaning to the phrase “lie back and think of England” …

Io9 has a very good rant about the Flash Forward TV series that aired on ABC this fall. I liked the series but it started to suffer from Lost-itis with too many storylines and more being added all the time. Maybe when it comes back it will be better, but since its broadcast TV… My biggest beef with the series is in the way we seem to be getting no closer at all to a resolution of just what is the cause of the flash forward event.

from io9.c0m: Even without strong characters, a good plot can still suck you in. But FlashForward doesn’t have a good plot, or even a particularly linear one. Instead, it’s all over the place, mixing in terrorist threats with Blackwater-esque corporate conspiracy theories, star-crossed lovers and medical dramas, murder mysteries and soap operatics about marriages and alcoholic fathers relating to their long-lost daughters… everything except the science fiction behind the FlashForward, which has become the McGuffin that gets lip service every now and again. In fact, there’s so much everything that the show feels not just unfocused, but incoherent. What’s FlashForward actually about? Ten episodes in, I’m not sure that I really know anymore. And that’s a pretty big problem.

Lost became lost when the plots never reached any sort of conclusion at all, all we had was more and more plots held together by good characters. Lets hope Flash Forward doesn’t go the same way.

M.O.V.E.One of my favorite bands:


One of the most creative bands right now, funky europop music:

m.o.v.e (also spelled as M.O.V.E; formerly known as move) is a 3-member Japanese musical group. The group consists of Yuri (Masuda Yūri(益田祐里?)) on vocals, Motsu (Segawa Mototaka (瀬川素公?)) on the rapping, and T-Kimura (Kimura Takashi (木村貴志?)) as the producer.

m.o.v.e is perhaps best known for the unique style with which they blend rock, rap, electronica, metal, and many other genres into their music. m.o.v.e are also well-known for their contribution of opening and closing theme songs for the Initial D series. These include around the world,Rage your dreamBREAK IN2 THE NITEBlazin’ BeatGamble RumbleDOGFIGHT, Blast My Desire, Nobody Reason and Noizy Tribe. The also provided the opening theme for the anime series Ikki Tousen with their song Drivin’ Through the Night as well as the ending theme for the anime Final Fantasy UnlimitedRomancing Train, and the ending credits for KOEI’s Dynasty Warriors 2 video game, Can’t Quit This!!!! ~KNOCK’EM OUT~ [SH FUNK MIX]

Gonna move ya:

SeasideBrian over at Gaijinbash is back. My favorite expat Tokyo blogger finally moved to a new place with an internet connection. more photos and stories, he is even in the Tokyofoodcast sake exchange. HDR photos and irreverent cultural wit are always welcome. Especially the HDR photos; more of those are always welcome.

Checkout his Flickr photostream for more of those wonderful HDR photos of Japan scenery.

openslotreceiversWe take a little time out here to talk a little bit about college football. I have been reading Chris Brown’s analysis of the USC-OSU game that ended in a Trojan victory. I think Chris’s analysis of the blatantly unimaginative Buckeye offense is dead on.

Tressel’s style has been so bland and predictable over the last few years. I really think OSU needs a reall offensive coordinator and a QB coach who will teach the QB fundamentals to a raw talent like Pryor. I don’t think Tressel should be fired or any of that captrap; he is doing fine as a head coach. He likes to play a “conservative” game. Get a lead and sit on it, run the ball to control the clock, etc. etc. This is so frustrating to watch because you always get the feeling that the Bucks leave plays on the table. That there were essential plays missing. etc. Then there is this, look at the pic on the side:
USC literally lined no one up over the slot receivers, and yet not once did Tressel instruct Pryor to immediately take the snap and throw the bubble screen. For most teams this is an automatic check or sight-adjustment, and it is by no means difficult (every high school runs it). Unless you force the defense tocare that you are spreading the field, then all you’re doing is hurting yourself; Tressel would have been better keeping an extra fullback in the game. Thus the rushing results were obvious. In the diagram above, USC has only one safety back and eight guys in the box, compared to seven blockers for OSU, not counting Pryor. Tressel called an inside handoff that was stuffed — USC had more guys than OSU could block.

Pryor is a raw talent, he needs solid coaching on fundamentals of QB’ing, not how to throw, but how to make reads and checkdowns, that kinda stuff. Tressel Ball is too staid and old fashioned, all Pryor will learn is throwing mechanics and handing the ball off. Throwing to the open receiver to keep the defense honest and open up the running game is sound football strategy. Otherwise the D will load the box and kill your ground game. If the D gives you an open slot receiver then you take it until they learn to stop  it.

Its a testament to the players and the staff that the game was as close as it was. I am not meaning to disparage anyone. I just always get the feeling that something is missing when I watch the Buckeye offense, now I feel that others see the same missing elements and they are able to give concrete examples.

Check out more of Smartfootball.com, for some good analysis of the X and O’s side of the game.

mclaren_mp4-12cMcLaren , the Formula 1 Championship racing team that also makes civilian supercars, took the wraps off their latest – the MP4-12C. Via Jalopnik:

Until today it’s been known as the P11. Now, we’ve got the first official photographs of what we told you earlier is now called the McLaren MP4-12C — the first bespoke McLaren road car since the F1.

but what we all really want to know is what makes the get-up-and-go:

It’s a 3.8-litre 90-degree V8 mounted amidships and producing ‘around 600bhp and 443lb ft’. ‘It delivers the highest horsepower to CO2 ratio of any car on the market today with an internal combustion engines – and that includes petrol and diesel hybrids,’ boasts Antony Sheriff, MD of McLaren Automotive. Expect a CO2 output somewhere just south of 300g/km.

Contrary to earlier speculation, this is McLaren’s own V8, dubbed M838T and breathed on by twin turbos and driving the rear wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox (no manual is available). The V8 has a dry sump and a flat-plane crank like a race engine, to lower the centre of gravity and allow a higher rev limit of 8500rpm.

Every single component of the MP4-12C is unique, vows McLaren. Not a single switch or part is pilfered from a rival’s parts bin.

Drool! I cannot wait till Jeremy Clarkson waxes poetic on BBC’s Top Gear while thrashing one of these about. Check out the full photo gallery on Jalopnik. Hehe, switchblade doors reminescient of the Lamborghini Countach of my teenage daydreams.

paddle shifters and very spartan dashboard. I like the layout of the controls but I want to see it in action, lit up. Hopefully there is a HUD display for the windscreen:


Let's Learn Hiragana

Let's Learn Hiragana

To learn Japanese you need to start at the beginning. For Japanese children the beginning is Hiragana. Equivalent to learning the ABC‘s, the symbols of the syllabary are the sounds which form words. As Chris at Nihongo Notes states:

Basically you build a solid foundation in a similar manner to how a child would learn a language. Once you have a solid foundation you can build upon it with fancy grammar and a larger vocabulary.

The best book I have found for simply learning the Hiragana syllabary is Let’s Learn Hiragana by Yaxsuko Mitamura. She goes through the syllabary in groups, practising each one and giving basic vocabulary using the kana as she goes. Simnple drills for writing each symbol and even goes into proper pen strokes  when writing.

I have been looking for a book that teaches the Hiragana set without treating the reader like a child. Hiragana is the first thing Japanese children learnin school and a lot of the materials available have that focus. I.e. they tend to be written for kindergardners. I want a book that eschews the cutesy pictures and just focuses on building the foundation of language. Yasuko’s book does that very nicely.

more pics from the Hocking Hills Market. Nostalgia trips for all us grognards …

Remember the CB radio craze from back in the day? “Breaker Breaker 1-9!” fun stuff …

Batman and Robin Society, Superman Society, and the Green Lantern Society buttons available at this stall..

Old Battleship game set and an old computer joystick. I spent many an afternoon as a teen playing Battleship with my friends.

This Tandy/Radio Shack 1650 chess set still works. Check out the old Sony Walkman and Hot Wheels next to it. Like a kid again…

Remember 8 track tape players?  The tape entitled “16 Greatest Truck Driver Hits” cracked me up …

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