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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Keith Palmer's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, May 26th, 2016
6:18 pm
Completed Collection Thoughts: MST3K XXXV
The back of the latest official Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVD collection is already anticipating the new series. Until then, and however it turns out (I'm still concerned "using cheesy movies as an excuse to put down familiar targets" will be all too easy for the new creators to fall into), I can keep revisiting episodes I've seen before. I can be conscious that these days I use the time in between the collections for other things, but the whole deal with not necessarily going back to the same "favourites" all the time has something to it too. I'm also conscious, though, that as much I'd like to keep finding new things in existing works, the possibility of "wearing them out" also exists.

I started off with "Teenage Caveman" and its accompanying shorts, one rather more infamous than the other. The movie itself was hokily entertaining (even if I did have a sense of just how many possible digressions drag out its rather brief running time), and there was a little documentary about it too. "Being From Another Planet" dragged me up to the 1980s (and the tag-end of the "ancient astronaut" craze, even if this was at least different from the conspiracy narratives that swallowed all the imaginative potential of "flying saucers" and congealed into something fixed as the decade wore on). There have been times I fear this episode drags by for me, but this time I was at least taking particular notice of an early-1980s home computer playing a role in the movie. Along with a brief interview with the film's composer, there's a considerable extra feature in the original "Time Walker" movie (in widescreen, no less) Film Ventures International slapped its cheap credits sequences and new name on, but there I do have to face a certain reluctance to take on most of the MST3K films "raw," such that these biggest of all possible extras sort of deflate down to nothing.

In wondering about "Being From Another Planet" dragging for me, I can get to wondering about how others might be ready to downplay "12 to the Moon," at least once its short is past, where I had sort of played it up getting to the end of commenting on all of MST3K's episodes. I did seem to have a pretty good time with it still, though, and the little documentary about the movie made a point or two about some of the good work its crew had done before (even as it didn't mention the moments Mystery Science Theater was quicker to point out...) "Deathstalker and the Warriors From Hell," in any case, seems a general favourite, and there was plenty to enjoy in its medieval-yet-1980s antics. The extra for this episode was an interview with Thom Christopher, who played the villain as distinctively as anything else in the movie. He seemed pretty content with suggesting everyone had known just how "cheesy" things were turning out but were enjoying themselves anyway.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/260936.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Thursday, May 19th, 2016
5:15 pm
Prequel Appreciation Day: "10 Things I Like"

Being invited to mark the shared anniversary of two of the Star Wars movies by coming up with "ten things I like about the prequels" was invigorating, but also challenging. By this point my appreciation of them is pretty far-ranging; the trick was narrowing it down to a few things I could share some hopefully well-chosen words about. With thought, though, I formed a list, and then a list I could and had to pick and choose from. As I did so, I did have to face insisting it isn't a "top ten" list; to say something about the major characters might mean saying a lot, much of which may have been picked up from others. Instead, I hope this is more a personal but wide-ranging summary.

An illustrated summary, tooCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/260829.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Thursday, May 12th, 2016
8:01 pm
Crosspost Update: to May 12
I spent this weekend working on replacing the tiles on my kitchen floor, which threw off my schedule for keeping up a minimal presence on this journal by mentioning just what computer magazine covers I've been posting elsewhere online. However, in the posts I've piled up I managed to include a good bit of introductory coverage of the TRS-80...

Kilobaud, September 1977
BYTE, September 1977
Creative Computing, September-October 1977
Kilobaud, October 1977
BYTE, October 1977
Personal Computing, November-December 1977
ROM, November 1977
Kilobaud, November 1977
BYTE, November 1977

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/260377.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Saturday, May 7th, 2016
7:55 am
Repeated Accomplishment
I knew SpaceX was planning to launch another Falcon 9 rocket, and that another attempt would be made to land the first stage on a barge out at sea, but I had the impression the chances for another success still weren't high. At work yesterday, though, a slug of text on the information-cluttered screen of a local cable news channel reported the landing had happened, and at night no less. That this has been done twice in a row is impressive, but I do wonder about whether "making things look easy" will start to clash against those reported odds against success. I also wonder how long it could be before we find out how much work is needed to refurbish a first stage for use again, knowing how much work the space shuttle orbiters wound up needing (although it's possible they were more complicated machines).

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/260180.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
6:48 pm
In the Nick of Time
Today's of course the day people start saying "May the Fourth be with you" to each other with a wink and a nudge. Both the morning and the afternoon radio shows I listen to on the road to and from work mentioned that, but I was already in perhaps that much more of a lugubrious mood than I was a year ago.

For a brief moment just before Christmas, I managed to get over not just all the emphasis on just how much stuff had been put in front of the film cameras for The Force Awakens and the seeming code behind it but also the critical ecstasies that seemed more a matter of recycling old complaints, and articulated the careful reaction that I liked the movie more than I'd been concerned I would. Just a few hours after that, though, with an impression the latest movie hadn't been as "revisionist" as the code had made me worry I seemed to be thinking more about the other side of the saga, the crawling sense deepening the beloved heroes such a big deal had been made of their returning had just been presented as having blown the whole thing, except that we'd never quite know how because of convictions things had been cooler when Darth Vader's origins had been up to the imagination. A few months later, the trailer for Rogue One seemed very much more of the same, save that the mechanical and costume designs wouldn't have slight tweaks to them this time. As for being open-minded enough to go back to The Force Awakens looking for greater depth, hearing the special features on the Blu-Ray were making a big deal of just how much had been put in front of the film cameras in the context of ecstasies that seemed more a matter of recycling old complaints put me right back where I'd started, and in not having bought a disc yet I'm conscious of how I had bought a Blu-Ray player and a HDTV at last, and yet without really waiting for a declared sale, just so I could get to the saga Blu-Rays before it was somehow "too late."

With all of that, though, the latest announcement of "Prequel Appreciation Day" challenged me to come up with "10 favourite things." A bit of thought started bringing ideas to mind (although I can't say they're my top ten, just ten varied things). The only trick will be articulating them in the days remaining.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/259869.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Sunday, May 1st, 2016
5:56 pm
Crosspost Update: to May 1
As I work my way into computer magazine covers from the second half of 1977 (and the Commodore PET's moment in the spotlight), I've got around to posting some of the covers I do have for a magazine that isn't online yet. After Creative Computing, Softalk, and Macworld, ROM ("Computer Applications for Living") does seem to have become the old computer magazine I'm most curious about, even if the fact it'll soon be gone from the narrative means its issues haven't been scanned yet.

ROM, July 1977
Kilobaud, July 1977
BYTE, July 1977
Creative Computing, July-August 1977
ROM, August 1977
BYTE, August 1977
Personal Computing, September-October 1977

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/259739.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Sunday, April 24th, 2016
6:35 pm
Crosspost Update: to April 24
Along with pushing that much further into the computer magazine covers of 1977 (within which initial coverage of the Apple II began to pick up), I happened to repost a possibly relevant (to another topic of personal interest, anyway) sequence of images.

Kilobaud, May 1977
BYTE, May 1977
Creative Computing, May-June 1977 (properly coloured cover)
Kilobaud, June 1977
BYTE, June 1977
Personal Computing, July-August 1977

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/259438.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
6:52 pm
Anime Wrap-up: Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact
In the latest of my regular "quarterly reviews" of the anime I watch, I mentioned having become quite impressed with a not-that-old updating of a vintage series. I also brought up, though, being just a little aware that "Mazinger Edition Z: The Impact" didn't seem to have been widely discussed among other fans for all that reactions to the licensing announcement had been positive enough to get my attention. Somewhere along the way, I seem to have noticed a comment or two about one of the "Super Robot War" video games, which cross over mecha anime old and new but which the English-speaking fandom has to import from Japan and play in Japanese, including that particular series but "fixing the ending." It cast a certain apprehension over the escalating stakes of the final episodes.

To try to be non-specific, the series did end in somewhat the same "setting up" fashion as the original Mazinger Z did, only this time with a rather serious cliffhanger. That there hasn't been a continuation to this date means being stuck trying to "use your imagination," and perhaps that's the problem. For an anime series to "mangle the ending" is almost a cliche when it comes to fan reactions; I've done my best to positively view some of the more infamous series accused of that, but perhaps it's a bit different when you don't sense things going in particular directions several episodes out. Even so, there can seem a trace of "giving up" to let everything seen beforehand be cancelled out in the end.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/259175.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Monday, April 18th, 2016
5:48 pm
Crosspost Update: to April 18
I seem to have worked out a pattern for alternating between monthly and bimonthly computer magazine covers from 1977, although I suppose it'll change as other titles enter the fray. I also happened to repost a thoroughly classical arrangement...

Personal Computing, March-April 1977
Kilobaud, March 1977
BYTE, March 1977
Creative Computing, March-April 1977
Kilobaud, April 1977
BYTE, April 1977
Personal Computing, May-June 1977

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/259062.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Sunday, April 17th, 2016
11:45 am
Luck of the Draw
On my way into the once-a-month meeting of the local Apple user group meeting, I looked at the table where the raffle prizes are set out only to be hit with a sudden thrill of recognition. Among the assorted bits of hardware and envelopes with software licenses in them, I could see the iconic shape of an antique Apple II computer, complete with Apple-branded monitor and two Disk II drives. It would be a rare and unusual prize, I thought, and yet I was stuck remembering. Every paid-up member of the user group gets one raffle ticket a month, but for all that I have won a software license or two for programs I've found useful I've been very aware of sitting and watching as number after number not my own is drawn and people go up to the front of the room to claim prizes as big as old Power Macintosh G5 towers. (I've seen three of those metal-cased "cheese graters" won, although I have wondered if they were the same computer every time, returned by people who had got to wondering if they really needed another old computer.) This time, I took a picture with my iPad's camera of what I could now tell was an earlier Apple IIe to leave me at least a little proof the prize had been there.
The picture, and a bit moreCollapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/258578.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Monday, April 11th, 2016
7:11 pm
Crosspost Update: to April 11
Just as I was getting under way with computer magazine covers of 1977, I managed to get sick, which threw off my schedule for a while. I seem to be on the mend now, and have at least managed to get past a surely iconic cover image and a few thoroughly austere covers from a different magazine now added to the mix.

Personal Computing, January-February 1977
Kilobaud, January 1977
BYTE, January 1977
Creative Computing, January-February 1977
Kilobaud, February 1977
BYTE, February 1977

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/258453.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Sunday, April 10th, 2016
4:42 pm
Welcome Sundays (of 1952)
Back when the comics site I follow the daily reruns of Peanuts on began rerunning the strip from the very beginning, I suppose I was thinking ahead to the moment "Peanuts Begins" has now reached, the first Sunday page. I had wondered whether it would be shown as the "regular" reruns now go with the upper-right panel left out (as it could be) to reconfigure the pages to "portrait" format, but instead we're getting the whole thing a bit less blown up. I had also wondered about the colouring of the new "Peanuts Every Sunday" collections, and the colouring of this first page matches the book's... of course, there would seem to be weeks to come yet to be compared.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/258109.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Saturday, April 9th, 2016
9:06 pm
One Further Horizon, Then
Not interminable limbo, then, or even that broken at last only by final dismissal, but news of another tomorrow. It is nice to hear there should be an eighth omnibus published in English of the Viking manga Vinland Saga, even with the temporizing I did at the end of the seventh that "this wouldn't be the worst place to leave off." I'll just have to wait and see where and how things go.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/257889.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Friday, April 8th, 2016
7:00 pm
Safe Sea Landing
I knew in a general sort of way another Falcon 9 rocket was going to launch another Dragon supply capsule (containing, among other things, the first small "inflatable space structure" I've been hearing plans for for quite a while now) to the space station soon, but my schedules got sort of scrambled when I fell somewhat sick this week. Now that I'm managing to mend I'm paying a bit more attention to the news, but I didn't manage to hear the launch had been a success until it had happened. Then, I noticed reports "the first stage had landed," and supposed it must have been able to fly back to solid ground again, knowing how many explosions there have been on SpaceX's fannishly if somewhat obscurely named barges.

As I checked a bit further into the news reports, though, I saw the stage really had managed to land on a barge; I even managed to see a bit of video showing just how fast the final stage of the landing happens and the barge bobbing back and forth afterwards. Just as it took SpaceX several tries to get a rocket into orbit, perseverance seems to have paid off for once. This pretty much tops "inflatable space structures," at least for the moment.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/257609.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Monday, April 4th, 2016
7:25 pm
A Higher Challenge, an Easy Way Out
While it may have snowed here last night, making the ground much whiter than I can remember it being for a lot of the winter, one however-skewed sign of "spring" is a new season of anime series starting up. I'm still in that evanescent early stage where I can at least consider watching the series as they stream, hoping they won't be dismissed by everyone else. For one series in particular, I was contemplating going a bit further to take it in; I hadn't quite expected the invitation to go that much further.

Seeing news the Japanese discs for the new Macross Delta series had been listed with English subtitles did remind me how the Macross Frontier movies had been released with them, and how I had gone to the point of ordering the box set from Japan as "I value it that much higher than these other titles" converged with "I'm not just spending money on an object I'd put on a shelf and never actually watch," although I tried not to make a big deal of that afterwards the way a certain number of importing English-language anime fans sometimes seem to do. It is, of course, the "end-run" way around the perpetual licensing enigma some people are very intent on assigning exclusive blame for; it's also going to get very expensive to buy all the discs the series is going to be split up among. I remembered all the times having got my hands on "fansubs" of an anime series would make me buy the licensed release before getting around to seeing the series, just because that was the right thing to do (even if I could suppose some insisting it was that much more righteous to import the Japanese releases). The simple, cheap, and unexciting solution is not to watch the Macross Delta fansubs. That, though, does happen to be a lot like what happens quite often with me.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/257518.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Sunday, April 3rd, 2016
6:32 pm
Crosspost Update: to April 3
Since the last time I made up a post here of the pictures I've been posting off-site, I managed to get to the end of 1976. From that point on, there'll be more computer magazines to post covers of, which does mean things will slow down by comparison...

The Best of Creative Computing (back cover)
BYTE, August 1976
BYTE, September 1976
Creative Computing, September-October 1976
BYTE, October 1976
BYTE, November 1976
Creative Computing, November-December 1976
BYTE, December 1976

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/257239.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Friday, April 1st, 2016
8:39 pm
2016: My First Quarter in Anime
As another new year got under way, I was looking at all the anime DVDs and Blu-Rays I've piled up over long years of buying them faster than I can watch them (although I've been conscious in the months just past of seeming to have just about cauterized any internal urge to buy the expensive "quasi-imports" that reassure executives in Japan cheap fans over there won't be tempted to "reverse import") and contemplating just which of them to open, but also hoping, with a feeling that might have had a first, slight resemblance to desperation, I'd be a bit luckier this season at taking interest in new shows streaming everyone else wouldn't sour on straight off. In the first three months of this year, however, a few surprises affected both of those intents.
Starting off: Mazinger Edition Z: The ImpactCollapse )
Weekend diversions: Creamy Mami and GyrozetterCollapse )
An unexpected discovery: Paranoia AgentCollapse )
The lone survivor: ErasedCollapse )
The next surprise: Love Live! series 2Collapse )
Continuing on: Lupin the Third series 4Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/256996.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2016
8:50 pm
Stranded Riding With the Melting Limits (or, one more MST3K collection)
Getting the news the latest official DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes was beginning to ship reminded me this is usually the time Shout! Factory announces what episodes are going to be included in the collection to follow. I headed off to Satellite News, and the announcement was indeed there.

Things will start off with "Stranded in Space," an unsuccessful TV series pilot from the 1970s that perhaps is remembered most of all for being forgettable, but which did perhaps have a skewed idea or two for me to chew on. "City Limits" brings James Earl Jones and Kim Cattrall together in a very 1980s kind of post-apocalypse. "The Incredible Melting Man" is an episode people have been speculating about being included in a set for a while what with Shout! Factory having released the gross-out body horror movie before, and as much as I have to admit to laughing nervously at the general gooiness and sort of shrugging off the "Best Brains" using the "host segments" to strike back at the studio executives meddling with "Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie" it can be funny. "Riding With Death" will close things out with a mellow 1970s Ben Murphy appearing in two episodes of a short-lived TV series stuck together with the limited aid of a recurring guest star, one collection after his 1980s appearance in the MST3K canon. Some people commenting on Satellite News seem that much more enthusiastic about this collection than I might appear to be, but even this far into the sets there are still memorable episodes showing up.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/256663.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Monday, March 28th, 2016
4:07 pm
From the (Library) Bookshelf: The Magician's Land
Trilogies are as inevitable as ever, I suppose. When I did hear a third book in Lev Grossman's The Magicians series was now available, though, I didn't rush to find it. After that, it took hearing the novels had been adapted into a television series to get me thinking about that story again; I began recording episodes only to find I couldn't find the time to watch them, and when it was a choice between recording another one of them and recording another old movie I left the series behind. (I at least don't have to watch through films shown on Turner Classic Movies to edit out commercials before recording them to DVDs.) However, when I stopped into the local library for a few minutes I happened to see The Magician King on a display shelf, and that got me wondering, so I headed off to the "G" shelf to see a copy of The Magician's Land. Once I had it signed out, I got through it with the speed that can surprise me when reading novels these days.

If there was one thing I'd like to say helped there, it was the impression that by this point in the series the protagonist Quentin Coldwater had been forced to grow up somewhat. What I'd sometimes seemed compelled to see as a relentless, familiar assault of "geek culture references" seemed toned down in his case, anyway. Perhaps it really had always been his friends who were more likely to make those references, though; Quentin did wind up making some of them in some particularly stressful situations, to say nothing of cooking bacon to help get through one tough patch right after what had seemed a great feat accomplished wound up a little more ambiguous. I don't know quite why that grates on me the way it does, beyond the possibility it's about assuming a "correct opinion" that doesn't take some things seriously even as it refuses to find something else apparently worthy of attention. I did, in any case, get to wondering just how I would have reacted to a hypothetical student at the magical academy Brakebills being presented as "not having got over a teen interest in anime" and declaring herself a "magical girl"...

The novel as a whole might have seemed less inclined to indulge in the shock value of louche young things in a "faux Harry Potter meets faux Narnia" setting (although the characters do still drink like fishes). Its structure flashed back and forth to begin with to set up the ambiguous situation in the very first chapter, but this didn't carry all the way through. I didn't think of this as a burden; the conclusion in fact seemed quite satisfying. That got me wondering about returning to the first novels and reading the whole thing over again.

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/256486.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
Friday, March 25th, 2016
9:12 am
Crosspost Update: to March 25
I spent this week working through the 1976 summer break of Creative Computing (or at least I'd like to gather that computer magazine took a two-issue break in the middle of that year, the better to not have to hunt down two rare early issues). Along the way, I did manage to mark the continued development of microcomputers and indulged myself by including a page other than a cover (which, for BYTE, had reached past simply coloured drawings to the point of the Robert Tinney paintings long associated with it).

BYTE, May 1976
Artist and Computer
BYTE, June 1976
Popular Electronics, July 1976
BYTE, July 1976
Good Grief!

This entry was originally posted at http://krpalmer.dreamwidth.org/256158.html. Comment here or there (using OpenID) as you please.
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