Oct 2 2016

One Punch Man

Adel Gabot

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10:56AM

I just finished binge-watching the first season of the anime One Punch Man. Not to mince words, but… I loved it.

It’s one of those silly, no-explanation-necessary, fun anime epics Japan is known to produce from time to time. This 12-episode run of 30-minute shows doesn’t try to explain where the hero’s powers come from (apart from his simple story about just working out for three years to prepare), and frankly, I don’t really care to know.

But the man is incredibly strong. All he needs is one single punch to devastate an enemy, and that’s basically it. It’s a one-joke anime; you never really worry about how he’s going to do, you know all he needs is that one punch, and everything’s over. Somehow, the producers make that one joke last for one whole season, and the strange part is it doesn’t get stale. At least for me.

Saitama, our hero (when he goes out as one) is dressed in a basic, ridiculously simple yellow and red costume with a white cape, and he lives simply in a bare apartment, looking forward to sale days at his neighborhood grocery and making simple egg-and-rice dinners. To quote him, he “is just a hero for fun.”

He is bald (apparently from all that working out), and his freewheeling, carefree manner even in the face of overwhelming danger is odd, but strangely appropriate for his character, who doesn’t seem to care much about anything other than what’s for dinner. He wanders about the city looking for wrong things to right in his spare time. For fun.

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In his adventures, he comes across a man named Genos, who’s been converted into a powerful cyborg in the recent past and has aspirations to be a hero as well. Genos gets to know Saitama and, admiring his abilities, makes himself Saitama’s “disciple,” hoping to learn from him, and begins living in Saitama’s apartment.

They both apply to get registered in a database of heros, where Genos becomes a top-rated Class “S” hero while Saitama becomes a low-rated Class “C”. There, they meet an assortment of other different, weird and eccentric heroes, and the show explores the adjustments and class conflicts Saitama has with these other heroes, mixed with their many adventures protecting the world from all sorts of weirdos and aliens.

I don’t really know what makes the show appealing. It’s all patent nonsense, with the usual anime-style tricks the Japanese have turned into an art. Sometimes the animation is very basic and simple, but sometimes turns into heavy, overwrought graphics to emphasize the power and action involved. Occasionally, it devolves into Moebius-type drawings, and sometimes into a childish cartoon style. It’s all good.

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One Man Punch has its share of detractors and non-fans. My brother, for instance, hates it and says it’s too-Eighties looking for him, whatever that means. But I’m a big fan for sure, as are millions of otaku around the globe.

I can’t wait for the second season, which begins on Dec. 19.


Feb 17 2012

Ghost Hunters redux

Adel Gabot

I’ve written about them before, and I’m writing about them again.

I just can’t stop myself from watching Ghost Hunters. I know it’s basically a sham operation by the SyFy Channel. All the ghost hunting stuff is hogwash, or at least wishful thinking, that there aren’t really any ghosts or spirits and all the stuff they’re saying is just bunk. But somehow, I can’t stop watching them every week. I download episodes as they come and watch, and heckle, eagerly. All through eight years of them, and the several that Ghost Hunters International, their spin-off, has been on, I’ve been suckered and drawn in week after week.

Now, with the season finale of another good “case” and one of the guys announcing that he’s leaving GH, I guess it’s time again to examine my morbid fascination with the crew and what they do.

I have their formula down pat. They introduce the week’s case (or cases – on thin weeks sometimes they have two cases per episode; that’s when you know they’re stretching) while driving to the site, and they talk to someone in another vehicle via walkie-talkie, usually Amy, about it. They get there and talk to the owner of the house/resort/building/structure and discuss the goings-on over there, and ask to be taken to the hot spots. Then they break out the “equipment” and get set up; they put up video and audio gear on the “troubled” areas, then then they go “lights out” and begin the investigation, which lasts through the night. Then they turn the lights back on, pack up, go away and study the “evidence” for a day and come back for the “reveal”, where they show the evidence they’ve gathered to the client and give their sage advice on how to deal with the “haunting”, if there is one. They they’re shown driving away, congratulating themselves on a job well done, and they go “on to the next!”

Now why they have to do the investigation in the middle of the night with the lights out and the cameras on night mode is anybody’s guess. You could make the argument that ghosts can haunt a place no matter what the time of day, and no matter who’s around, and the Ghost Hunters don’t have to go there in the dead of night with the lights out to investigate. And why investigations only last for one night is also anybody’s guess. Why can’t they hang around for several days or nights and investigate the case to death? Get all that ghost stuff out in the open? Sheesh.

I guess it’s all part of the show’s conceit that Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson are plumbers with RotoRooter by day, with all their plumbing jobs and duties, and only go Ghost Hunting on their off hours. Look, who are they kidding? A large part of their week is obviously shooting for the show, and what about the rest of the crew – Steve, Tango, Amy, Britt, Adam and whoever else they’ve roped into doing the show? What do they do in the meantime while Jason and Grant are off being plumbers? Just the off-show work, the website and the fan club’s activity gotta be more trouble than these guys can handle.

But heck, no matter what hijinks these guys are up to, God help me, I love ’em.

I don’t mind that all the evidence they collect per show don’t amount to a hill of beans. That all the sounds they hear or collect, all the “apparitions” they think they see, all the EVPs they gather, all the funny feelings they get are all wishful thinking on their part (and on ours). That, for all of the evidence they’ve gathered over the many years they’ve been doing this, they have yet to capture definitive proof of the afterlife. All the sounds they’ve recorded are attributable to ordinary, everyday phenomena or simple recorder noise, and all the photographic and video evidence they’ve collected are mere specks or dust or whatever on the tape or the film. That the electromagnetic stuff that they say come from the ghost world are but glitches in the ether. They simply don’t have proof that what they’re investigating is real, even after all this time. And that’s the plain, unvarnished truth.

Yet, amazingly, I watch them week after week.

Sure, I heckle. I doubt everything they see or hear, and often laugh at the overdrawn nonsense SyFy parades in front of me every time. But I love these guys, and I’m willing to forgive their lapses. I’m willing to suspend my disbelief, if only for that hour every week. I’ve grown to love these blokes, with their overly serious manner and their treating each case with as much gravity as they can muster.

And now, one of the guys, one of the two founders, is leaving Ghost Hunters. Grant announced he was leaving at the end of yesterday’s two-case season ender episode, and there were tears and hugs. Maybe he’s had enough of the nonsense, and wants to go on with his life, I don’t know. But yeah, there were tears. From me. Which was why I wanted to examine my reasons for liking this silly show so much. It’s grand entertainment to me, at least, ghosts be damned.

Grant Wilson, you will be missed.

The show’s going on hiatus starting next week, and Ghost Hunters International will take its place in the meantime. Ha. There’s no letting up with these guys.


Jan 21 2012

Bluetooth power out 2

Adel Gabot

There’s some developments to this story – and not all good.

Since there wasn’t much happening today, I decided to go out for lunch and then go to Starbucks and kill a few hours writing those reviews. I came with my iPad-keyboard setup, which was nice because I came from fully charging the keyboard (or so I thought) last night and was prepared to type the afternoon away.

I spent the first hour just surfing, with the keyboard out and open but as yet unused. When I got bored surfing, I hit a key, expecting the keyboard to wake up and connect like it usually did. But – it didn’t.

Hmm. I hit a few more keys, but no response. I picked the iPad off and checked the power switch of the keyboard, and the thing was on. I turned it on and off, tried reconnecting, but the keyboard was dead and not responding. Damn.

So something WAS wrong with it. I tried to figure out what could be the matter, and wondered if I should take the case to the manufacturer and hope they’d give me a replacement. But that was a tricky proposition since I bought it online from a guy, and so didn’t have a proper receipt. So I just spent the next couple of hours just surfing without the bluetooth keyboard, and hoping that I could revive it when I got home, recharge it (again) or something.

When I got home I hooked it up to the mini-USB cable connected to my iMac again, and the blue charging light came on for a few minutes, then went off. I disconnected it and reconnected it via bluetooth to my iPad again, and wonder of wonders, this time it worked. I’m typing on it now, disconnected from the charger, and so far it works fine. I don’t know for how long, though, although I’m hoping it should work properly from here on in. I’ll test it out some more and put it through its paces and see how long the power will last. So far so good.

I don’t know what I would do if this thing turns out to be wonky. There goes my alternative laptop experiment down the drain. I was really hoping I’d hit on a solution, but it looks like that’s in jeopardy at the moment. Sure, its working fine now, but for how long? Suddenly that MacBook Air being sold on PhilMug seems appealing.

Will continue to test this setup first before I come to any drastic conclusions.

 

UPDATE: Ok, it’s been hours, and the keyboard is still working. Hoping that this was all it was, a glitch in the matrix. Still testing, opening it and reconnecting every hour or two, and so far it’s looking good, that bluetooth icon lights up every time. Will continue testing until tomorrow before I declare myself out of the woods.


Jan 20 2012

Bluetooth power out?

Adel Gabot

I got into a big scare this afternoon.

My iPad 2‘s bluetooth keyboard just plumb gave out on me as I was writing a Technoodling review this afternoon, settled in my usual little place.

I thought the thing was toast. My Logitech/Zagg Bluetooth Keyboard Case was supposed to run for weeks without needing a recharge, and just like that, in the middle of typing a sentence, it died on me. I thought, it can’t be, it hasn’t been that long that it needed already needed a recharge. It must be broken. I tried turning it on and off, tried reconnecting the bluetooth, tried everything I could think of to get it to work. Maybe it was just a glitch, a momentary thing and it would work again if I just reset it. But nothing worked, and I had to resign myself to finding out when I got home later if the keyboard was hosed or not. In the meantime the thought of continuing writing the review via the iPad’s onboard keyboard was too much hassle.

In retrospect, I think it HAS been weeks since I recharged it. I don’t rightly remember. I don’t think I even recharged it properly; just the one time, I think, when I plugged it in just to top it off, and before that, I don’t think I even actually recharged the keyboard since I first got it. I think I got spoiled by the battery longevity of my Kindle, which is rated at two months at 30 minutes use a day, and I figured this keyboard was the same. Thing is, I didn’t notice it giving any sort of warning notice. Then again, I couldn’t see if there was, the indicator light is hidden by the iPad, if there was some indicator of fading battery life. This was a glitch in the manufacture of the keyboard, and maybe I should tell Logitech/Zagg about it.

When I got home I immediately plugged the keyboard into the micro-USB jack, and lo and behold the blue charging light came on. The keyboard was fine, it really just ran out of power. After an hour or so the light went out, and I guess it was charged up again. I tested the thing, and everything worked as normal. We’re back in business. There is just the matter of finding out when exactly the power would run out again, and if there was some indication of low power I was missing.

I vaguely remember reading in the manual that there was some indicator of low power, some blinking light or something, but it also said the thing would continue working for a couple of days or so before finally winking out. (Couple of days? Wow.) Besides, there’s the matter of the hidden indicator light which means I can’t see it anyway, Ah, hell, I guess I just need to get into a routine where I plug it in every three or four weeks just to make sure. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about running out of juice.


Jan 19 2012

Blowhard

Adel Gabot

There was a guy just in here in Starbucks who was an incorrigible, loud, irritating blowhard.

I’d seen him before, and he was not as big a jerk the last time, but today he was really something.

He was with this other guy, some token sidekick-personal assistant-sycophant type. When he sat down, it was incessant tooting of his horn. In a loud voice for all of the shop to hear, he talked endlessly of his exploits: his joining a “marathon” back in the day where he became “champion” and beat out everyone in the 5K run, it was in all the newspapers; his being unbeatable in tennis, where he won a ‘humongous” trophy that he had to leave in the States because it was too big to bring home; and that sort of junk. He waxed rhapsodic about his various other adventures that turned me into an unwilling yet captive listener.

I didn’t want to listen, and tried to tune him out and work, but his overriding, grating voice couldn’t be denied. You just had to listen, he was so loud, and I could tell that the other patrons were also being bothered and irritated. And still the guy went on and on.

When he first arrived this morning, he made small talk with the guard. Apparently they were old “friends”. Maybe the guard worked for him at one point in the past, and the false bonhomie he cultivated back then he brought back to life now, and his false cheeriness was stupefying. His sycophant assistant didn’t help, and he encouraged the blowhard to tell more of his wonderful exploits.

After a while (a long while), his parents came and met up with them, and old lady and an old man with a cane and a limp, old rich and old money. He immediately turned into a dutiful son, kissing the mom and giving the dad a mano po in respect, shifting into obedient yet still arrogant superiority. Apparently they all had a lunch date next door, and they all left noisily.

Thank God.

I thought they’d never leave.

Just ranting. Back to work.