Bodacious Space Anime

Music video of the opening theme.

I’m currently doing a marathon of Bodacious Space Pirates, a sci-fi anime about a high school girl who becomes a pirate captain in space (the title is fairly self-explanatory). It is glorious. Don’t be put off by the cutesy opening. It reminds me of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya in its oddball premise and in the way it firmly grounds its fantastical science fiction elements within an interesting narrative. It’s how science fiction should be done, but too often writers forget the “fiction” part and it becomes a three hundred page exegesis of the workings of blaster pistols.

It’s actually fairly hard sci-fi for something from the visual media (i.e., movies, tv, comics, etc). Not that I care about the consistency of fictional gibberish (one of my favourite science fiction writers is Ursula K. Le Guin), but the little details are still pretty neat, such as how the space suits have an attachment point for helmets on the back and how the bulkheads have to be manually cranked open after the power on a ship comes back on.

I even like the recap at the beginning of each episode. Normally I’d just fast forward through it (for instance, Bleach has freaking five minutes of recap and the opening before you actually get to the episode you want to watch) but this show’s recap usually has some kind of space philosophy being read to you while scenes from the previous episodes remind you of the gist of what happened before. Stuff like,

“In outer space there isn’t an absolute left, right, up, or down. It all depends on your relative position. Understand where you’ve come from and where you’re going, which way you’re facing and you’ll always know your current position. Confronted by the vastness of space, you may be disoriented by how small you are. But overcoming that feeling is your first step in outer space.”

All of this while the protagonist is shown on her training cruise and learning how to space walk. The recap even presents new background info which isn’t absolutely needed but is nice to have.

Anyway, I like this show. Watching it isn’t a bad way to say goodbye to 2012.

Animal Castration and You: A How-To Video

Via Cracked, that strange competitor to Mad Magazine during the 1980s (and now a comedy website/time sink), I learned about the Sami practice of half-castration, where a reindeer’s testicles are crushed to remove its orneriness while leaving it enough male hormones in the form of squished testicles to give the animal plenty of muscle mass and preventing it from becoming decadent and eunuch-like. The traditional practice is to have the reindeer’s testicles crushed personally, that person being a woman using merely her teeth and jaw muscles.

Perhaps a video might help illustrate what I’m talking about. Incidentally, if you watch it with the sound on mute it becomes vaguely pornographic, especially with the final shot of a guy smoking a cigarette.

Really, Dresden?

Maybe this was a male-female translation problem. I read an article once that said that when women have a conversation, they’re communicating on five levels. They follow the conversation that they’re actually having, the conversation that is specifically being avoided, the tone being applied to the overt conversation, the buried conversation that is being covered only in subtext, and finally the other person’s body language.

That is, on many levels, astounding to me. I mean, that’s like having a freaking superpower. When I, and most other people with a Y chromosome, have a conversation, we’re having a conversation. Singular. We’re paying attention to what is being said, considering that, and replying to it. All these other conversations that have apparently been going on for the last several thousand years? I didn’t even know that they existed until I read that stupid article, and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

I felt somewhat skeptical about the article’s grounding. There were probably a lot of women who didn’t communicate on multiple wavelengths at once. There were probably men who could handle that many just fine. I just wasn’t one of them.

So, ladies, if you ever have some conversation with your boyfriend or husband or brother or male friend, and you are telling him something perfectly obvious, and he comes away from it utterly clueless? I know it’s tempting to think to yourself, “The man can’t possibly be that stupid!”

But yes. Yes, he can.

Our innate strengths just aren’t the same. We are the mighty hunters, who are good at focusing on one thing at a time. For crying out loud, we have to turn down the radio in the car if we suspect we’re lost and need to figure out how to get where we’re going. That’s how impaired we are. I’m telling you, we have only the one conversation. Maybe some kind of relationship veteran like Michael Carpenter can do two, but that’s pushing the envelope. Five simultaneous conversations? Five?

Shah. That just isn’t going to happen. At least, not for me.

– From Cold Days by Jim Butcher

If you’ve ever wondered what it sounds like when someone’s talking out of their ass, well, here you go. There’s the vague appeal to an unspecified scholarly source (“this one article my cousin’s roommate read”), the Just So story grounded in the “Men are from Mars and Women are Screeching Harpies” school of pop evolutionary psychology, and the whole mealy-mouthed “I’m not a sexist but scientifically speaking women are fuckpuppets for men” defensive tone that permeates the entire passage. It’s been so long since the last Dresden Files book that I’d forgotten how tiresome the sexism could get.