Once More at Random

Wow, I really need to find something to do a full-length post on, huh? Till then, though:
  • So Halsey, in Halo, is a damn war criminal, and yet she's presented as sorta the voice of the setting. I do like, though, that the series forces its audience to cope with a moral ambiguity like that. Can you imagine Whedon trying to present a person like her as in any way admirable? Considering the Spartan program is basically what happened to River...only it saved humanity's entire existence. Because unlike Whedon the people who wrote Halo are grownups.

    Let's leave to one side that Whedon couldn't have a female character do what Halsey did, because let's face it, he believes that only men have free will. Women are only capable of evil, in his works, if they've been abused by men.

    Anyway, though, did anyone consider that maybe the reason Cortana didn't go rampant, and may in fact be "metastable", is that the person she's a neural clone of already considers herself a god?

  • So remember when Obama gave the conservative movement a very nice gift, by saying something about "I don't know how you'd say that in Austrian" and allowing them to mock him by pointing out that Austrian's not a language, they speak German there?

    Yeah, well, one problem, Austrian is a language, it's called Ostarrichi, and it's not mutually intelligible with standard German (where its name would be Österreichisch). But that doesn't change the fact it was a gaffe—see, in Austria, Austrian is just the folk dialect; all public communication is in the local variant of standard German. So basically Obama made the same mistake as assuming a Jamaican politician only speaks creole.

    Incidentally the Austrian for Roger Ebert is Orschloch.

  • So I was reading this extremely staid gag manga by the guy who did Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei, and one scene, where Confession is mentioned—yet portrayed as a thing where the priest just tells you that you're actually just fine—has once again raised a question in my mind, occasioned by every appearance of Christianity, especially Catholicism, in a manga or anime. Namely, do the Japanese not own encyclopedias? Because I'm pretty sure a stressed, developmentally-disabled Kaibab squirrel wouldn't get it that wrong, unless it was pathologically negligent with its research.

  • The revived samurai in my SF book talk like samurai, or some of them do, anyway. But I had an amusing scene where one of them says, "Sessha wa nanimono de gozaru to oboshimeshiteiyagaru?" See, samurai habitually use humble/honorific speech, and "oboshimesu" is the honorific verb "to think".

    You probably know it better as "Orya dare da to omoiteyagaru?"—who the hell do you think I am?

  • So you know how in Reach, finally, we can have female Spartans? Am I the only one who thinks their armor looks fetching if it's black with pink trim? Sadly I'm working my way toward the complete set of Gungnir armor (the helmet costs 400 thousand cR), and it looks dorky on girls. Except for the knee plates, they coordinate nicely with the wider greaves on the female suit. Anyone else notice that, that the female suit's greaves flare slightly toward the shoe, giving them a sorta rainboot/kogal sock look? It's fascinating how cute you can make a suit of armor, without affecting its functionality in the slightest.

    For guys' armor I usually go with white with orange trim, but my Gungnir suit is either dark orange or dark yellow, making it look like copper or bronze. I like the darkest color in each row best, usually, it has a neat enamel-like shine the lighter colors don't quite have.

    Yeah, other than language my major talent is designing clothes. I don't get it either, but there it is.

  • Another example of this weird dandyism of mine is that the felinoids in my book have lace cuffs on their jackets and coats, except the military, whose cuffs have a pleated ruffle. But the ruffle is actually an energy-dissipating inner layer, allowed to peek out at the cuffs—the military uniform also includes a jabot (think Captain Hook's necktie) made of overlapping armor plates.

    Both sexes, by the bye, have those cuffs and jabots, but the females wear skirts and hip-length jackets, while the guys wear tailcoats and pants sorta like the ones from an old-fashioned gi. Originally the tailcoats were robes, then they added a slit at the sides to allow them to ride, then they got rid of the front flap.

    Yeah, I don't really go into the evolution of their clothes in the book, but I've worked it out. It's all in a day's work for an SF writer.

  • I don't know if anyone out there has gotten right up close to a downed Banshee, in Reach, but if you do, walk around it in a circle. And watch as the back plate changes from green to purple, iridescently. This, even more than the obvious work that's gone into the cultural setting, shows you that the blokes at Bungie really care about what they're doing.

    But seriously guys, why aren't the bullets caseless? It's the 26th century.

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