Friday Fun: Checking under the hood

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I was heavily considering writing a post about recent events in anime news and whatnot, but these posts are supposed to be fun, right? Instead, I want to talk about the tech behind my site. Admittedly, this is a topic for which I really don’t have a good gauge on what people think, so let me know if I’m boring you with the details. Really, I want to know! And if you want my opinion on anything related to websites, please don’t hesitate to ask. If there’s any way I can help, I want do so.

As I say in my About page, this blog is built using a framework called Django, which is a framework that uses Python as a programming language. If you’re interested, my source code is available here. The main reason I chose to use this framework instead of the more popular language PHP is that I wanted to spend my time learning a language that I could use outside of the context of web development. At the time, I wasn’t fully sure I was going to get too far in web development, so you could say I was hedging my bets. This actually came in handy later on as I’ve built a few scripts in Python to help me import data from WordPress into this blog (like old posts or comments).

The hardware of my blog is hosted on OVH, a suggestion I took from a friend who knows a lot more about web development than I do. If you’re curious about the actual specs of the machine, it’s VPS SSD 1 on this page. As a word of warning, this kind of server is really barebones, so I wouldn’t suggest it if you’re new to this. My previous server was hosted on JustHost, which has scripts for installing WordPress or other website systems as well as a web interface for interacting with the server. The reason I changed over was that I no longer needed the scripts and the OVH server was much cheaper. To give raw numbers, the hosting cost of JustHost was about $15/month, which amounts to around $180/year. By comparison, the OVH VPS is $3.50/month, or $42/year.

Which brings me back to WordPress. Despite having created this website, I still think that WordPress is a great discovery platform, which is why I continue to copy my posts on a free WordPress site. Part of the reason I bring this is up is that it ties into my “general updates” on the blog. WordPress has an API available for developers and I’ve been looking into it as my next big update for the site. I’m not sure what is available to me in the API yet, but my hope is that I’ll be able to synchronize comments between my site and the WordPress site, which would allow readers to comment on this site by logging into their WordPress account. Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Hope this was fun.

Little Witch Academia Episode 10: Not the bees!

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Honestly, I thought I’d be put off by the love spell concept of this episode, but it wasn’t bad overall. I admit that the bee was going a little bit overboard with the stings, but I think the interactions between the characters in this episode were generally solid. Andrew gets a decent introduction despite being arguably a side character and surprisingly Lotte gets a bit of extra character too in her interaction with Frank. Still, you have to admit that Andrew’s kind of an overused character type.

About a minute of this episode has gone by and I’m still stuck staring at this ice cream cone. That top scoop looks like it’s floating on nothing right now.

Really not being coy about the Cinderella reference, huh? More importantly, I understand that this is the only important shop in this series, but are there really no clothing stores in this area?

The shopkeeper mentions a Snow White set as well, but we’ll pretend like we didn’t hear that. It’s probably not important.

Cool, now I can pitch my squirrel army idea.

This is some excellent logic. Treat me like a guest because I’m here now! It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t invited!

Sucy releases this bee in the middle of a crowded room and it flies directly to Andrew…because the plot demands it!

Also, a bee normally uses its stinger as a defense mechanism…but whatever, magic bees. *grumble grumble*

Why does that matter at this point?

Yeah, but why, though? Because you can’t control them? Because they cause harm to the world with their practice?

Really thinking highly of yourself, huh Andrew? Also, this guy gets more characterization than most of the girls at the academy…go figure.

Come on, Akko…he hasn’t been drooling over you in this entire conversation.

You expect me to believe that in a room full of rich people who probably never go outdoors, no one freaks out that there’s a bee loose in the room?

Haha okay that was pretty funny.

Well this is a nice moment.

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo S2 Episode 10: The Axis lost again

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Well, that was certainly a colorful ending…in multiple ways. So uhh…I guess we’re done, huh? Moving on…

Starting off strong on faces I see.

Wait, is this supposed to be “holy water”? Aren’t hot springs just hot water?

Again, what’s the difference between being useful “a few times” and being useful “on occasion”- I seriously can’t stop. What’s wrong with me?

Haha I love how casually this guy is introduced as a bad guy. I was wondering why he was important.

Okay, I usually complain about Darkness, but the way she reacts to the word “slime” caught me off-guard…in a good way?

Well, can you really blame Kazuma? Nice play on the RPG stereotype.

Uhh…Wiz?

Well, the music started, so I guess things are serious now.

What if Kazuma’s bones were disintegrated by the Explosion spell? I mean, sure, plot armor and all, but still…

Are we really doing this right now? One final punch to the face?

Surprise! The bad guys win!

Oh come on!

ACCA – 13-ku Kansatsu-ka Episode 10: Flip that switch

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Surely we’ve finally reached the tipping point in this series, right? This series has been one heck of a build up, so it’ll be fun to see where things go when the cards fall on the table. That being said, this episode also introduced a pretty cool district, built on hope in a seemingly dire environment. Might be one of my favorite districts so far. Anyway, how are things going to go down?

First off, of course we need to spend some extra time in the gambling district. And secondly, I’m inclined to believe that pushing Jean as the new king like this suggests that he won’t be getting the position. Hard to say…most of my speculations in this show have been wrong.

So the goal is “we need to unify the districts, but let them stay distinct”? Okay…you’re gonna need to be more specific on that.

I guess the show needed a villain. I should have known better…he was a bit quick about exonerating himself to Jean. Hmm…what if Jean realizes he’s behind everything? That would make for a fun twist.

That name sounds an awful lot like “planet”.

So does this hole go up to the surface? I need to know these things!

This district is an interesting contrast to the rest of the series, which focuses way too much on local cuisine in the other districts.

Well, that’s fair.

Hmm…that’s a nice way of saying “we don’t have much, but we can give you our support”.

This scene is also a nice touch. Nino makes a big deal about the fact that Jean has never once suspected him, so it’s a bit of a twist that Lotta realized something about him was off.

Oh…guess it’s time to start the plan.

Give me a break, Mauve. Which side are you on?

Oh snap.

Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen Episode 10: The sword is loose!

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I don’t really have much to say about this episode other than…well, Rin got his turn. I went into this more last week, but seeing Rin draw the sword wasn’t exactly the most motivating thing in the world given that we’ve seen the same progression twice already and Rin’s in particular was probably drawn out too long. Anyway, now he can finally fight, so things should get more interesting, right?

That’s…not what I was expecting.

Aww man…I was just about to make a comment about literally fighting fire with fire…

I feel like this fight would have been a lot better if Todo didn’t have that orange filter surrounding him.

It’s a spirit bomb!

Wow…they really went with the “make him absorb too much” plan.

Zombies!

Anyone else find this giant Nee to be excessively creepy?

Also, this would have been more interesting with a brief explanation of why Shiemi was choosing those specific plants.

If Karura is just using part of the barrier to defend Suguro, why does it cost him extra energy to maintain it? It seems like Suguro paid for a full second spell and Karura just chose the cheap option.

I’m asking the same thing, buddy.

I would say something about making plans for the future, but I know better with this series.

Eh, I have to admit that I like conversations like this.

Finally…

Tales of Zestiria the X Episode 22: Did not expect those characters to get so much focus

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This episode felt like a scattered mess. Symonne and Lunarre are thrown in for no reason, so their fates aren’t really impactful in any way. Heck, armatization in this episode even felt tacked on…and short-lived. I think the most annoying part of the episode is that this final battle seems to be exactly the same as the end of the first season, with the only difference being that the Lord of Calamity fight will probably end differently.

And probably the most disappointing thing about this episode is that the skit at the end didn’t really have anything.

That’s an excellent question, Dezel…still wondering what Symonne is doing here. Also, given what happened in the game, of course it’s Dezel that talks with Symonne.

I’m considering how these lines would sound without context to the people at the front of the carriage. It’s probably worse because they can only hear Rose.

But anyway, if they’re practicing like this, then they’re definitely going to make armatization a thing for the final battle.

Crap…I never pay attention to recipes in the game, so I have no idea if this is a clever reference.

This is funny and all, but do we really have time for this given how much explanation was ignored in the last episode?

Well…that’s one way to introduce the earthpulses.

Oh yeah…after all of that build up of Lunarre’s indecision, we get this. Wait, there wasn’t any build up for that? What the heck is he doing here then?

Remember in season 1 when Sorey purifies a human for the first time and experiences the burden of that process? Then he immediately walks into a war zone and purifies multiple humans with no problem. They’re literally doing the same thing in the second season with dragons.

After all of that frustration and exposition, this was way too easy.

Alisha gets a transformation sequence because the fans demand it!

Really, Rose? She was never-

Hey! That’s my line!

Someone explain to me what this character has done to deserve such a dramatic death scene.

That’s…kind of convenient.

Rewrite Episode 22: Solving the world’s problems with tanks

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I’m intrigued by this episode, but also uncertain. On the one hand, it introduces the limits of Kotarou’s devotion to the mission. He doesn’t have grand delusions of saving the world and therefore inevitably runs into issues when he’s confront with pressing moral decisions. On the other hand, he’s kinda screwing the world over…a little bit. And I certainly wasn’t expecting a confession in this episode.

Meeting the big bad?

Maybe I’m just being crazy, but what’s that stuff in the bottom right? It looks like it’s a real photo that got pasted in the anime world for some reason.

Also, 3 guesses who this monster is…

Haha that was a good one. The pity headpat from Kotarou makes it even better.

Given that Kagari is being really impatient about taking down Guardian and Gaia, I’m questioning the roles for the loli heroines in this series. Are they just here as cameos or do they have purposes? I can see Kotori and Akane having roles in the story, but I’m not so sure with the others.

If Kotarou had a recording of the interview with Kashima Sakura, why did he consider resisting when accused by Suzaki? Was it just because the full tape was too damning and he didn’t think he could get away with just playing an excerpt? I would have preferred to see a little more of a mixed reaction from Suzaki when listening to the tape rather than just switching to trusting Kotarou completely.

Well, that’s one way to go about it. I’m actually a bit skeptical about these magic words, but maybe that’s just me.

Finally figuring this out, Kotarou?

We call that “hyperbolic discounting”.

Ugh…did we really have to use this wording for the translation? Is this closer to the Japanese version? Because it seems like we could have very easily said “Suzaki already has the other executives on his side” or “in his pocket” rather than evoking the brief image of Suzaki literally in bed with each of these executives.

Well, that plan failed spectacularly.

Oh…okay then. That escalated (and de-escalated?) quickly.

Ouch…rejected.

Youjo Senki Episode 9: No one expects the potato

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Well, this episode certainly makes it seem like we’re heading into the final battle. What better way to do it than launching our main characters into the middle of enemy territory in a missile, right? Anyway, still got plenty of time for the operation to go wrong, a cameo from our recurring villain guy, and some more Being X trolling. Should be fun, right?

I’m curious whether the series actually reaches a resolution. We could get the standard “this is only the beginning” ending, an ending where the war is over but Tanya still has more turmoil ahead before “defeating” Being X, or just a nice, satisfying resolution to everything. Is it sad that I’ve been conditioned to think that last option is ridiculous?

Oh yeah…I totally remember this guy. Also, telling Tanya stuff is always safe, right?

Pretty deep, dude. I should probably hold my criticism of this discussion because, as they say, it’s the first time they’re dealing with a world-scale war.

Something I’ve been wondering for a while now is whether the shields the mages use are constantly on or activated when needed. It feels like most situations where they are used are ones where it would be impossible to react in time, which means they’re likely just active in general. If that’s the case, though, then it makes their situation significantly less dire than that of most soldiers. Would be nice to get a brief explanation on that one, but maybe that’s just me.

You mean the human faces he uses to talk or the nutcracker?

Hasn’t this girl learned not to try and see Tanya’s actions in a positive light?

Stand back! He’s going to try science!

Apparently V1 missiles were a WWII technology. Truly a blessed message from Being X, huh?

Spoken like a good engineer. Control? We don’t need control! Just go straight at them!

I guess this means they’re taking the bait?

So no pressure or anything.

Wait…that’s your end game, Tanya?

Yeah, that’s the voice I would use when reading that letter too.

Friday Fun: Favorite Themes from Winter 2017

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Nice and simple for today (and not because I’m being lazy)…just going to go through my favorite songs from the Winter 2017 season with the season coming to a close. As always, I’m basing these opinions solely on the song itself. If you follow me on Twitter, this list might be familiar. Let me know what you think of the themes from this season.

Openings

ACCA – “Shadows and Truth” by ONE III NOTES

This is easily my top pick for the season. It’s incredibly catchy and I found myself unable to skip it while watching the episodes. I admit I had a bit of trouble dealing with the autotuned voice at the beginning, but it’s not too distracting and goes away after a certain point.

Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans – “Fighter” by KANA-BOON

Strangely, this is two seasons in a row I’ve chosen a song named “Fighter” as one of my favorites. The songs couldn’t be any more different, though. I have a preference for JRock and this song really hits a lot of that.

Kuzu no Honkai – “Uso no Hibana” by 96neko

It’s hard to choose between opening and ending for this series, but I favor the opening because it’s more active. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this one.

Endings

3-gatsu no Lion – “orion” by Kenshi Yonezu

This song is the endings counterpart for ACCA’s opening, a song I loved instantly.

Urara no Meirochou – “go to Romance>>>>>” by Luce Twinkle Wink

This one’s a bit uncharacteristic for me, I admit, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I found this song really catchy.

Little Witch Academia Episode 9: Pirates!

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Meh…overall, not an interesting episode. I know I’ve had my complaints, but I’ve generally appreciated the themes in this series. For this week’s episode, even that felt missing, to the point where we just got an extended explanation of the headmistress’s past through a chase scene.

Where has this headmistress been this whole time? Also, shoe on head.

Akko decides that it would be a good idea to use magic to solve her problems rather than just…putting the headstones back? It’s not like they could have cracked the headstone or anything…

Yup, we just needed a ridiculous reason to have a zombie. Random side note: the amount of brain this skeleton seems to have is incredibly unlikely.

Somehow the secret of magic has survived generations of witches like this.

Haha Sucy in the background is amazing.

Do police officers really allow senile elderly citizens go rampant with a weapon as long as a family member is present? I feel considerably less safe.

Again…really hard to believe this.

So…green hair means Miranda is probably the headmistress, right?

You mean the staff they showed us at the beginning of the episode?

Gasp!

Remember when Akko said she’d stop taking shortcuts? That was nice…

Oi Lotte. That’s my job.