I bought this (almost) brand new 40 inch LCD TV for $78

I've had this Coby TFTV4028 TV for a few months now.

I’ve had this Coby TFTV4028 TV for a few months now.

Sometimes gambling on those “parts or not working” eBay auctions pays off. The damnedest thing is that, from what I gather, this was a store return. It’s still under warranty though, which means that even if it were broken, the original owner should have been able to get it repaired or replaced for free. He or she would have had no reason to sell it.

There’s not a single scratch on the screen at all. The only cosmetic imperfection is a scuff on the lower left corner of the bezel.

The TV does have an iffy power supply. It sometimes won’t come out of standby mode. If I take the back off the TV, unplug the motherboard from the power supply for a few seconds, and then plug it back in it usually starts working again and will last for weeks or longer as long as I leave the TV plugged in and don’t have any electrical outages. If it loses electricity for even a second, it’s likely to get stuck in standby mode again and I either have to leave it unplugged from the wall for anywhere from several hours to several days or unplug the motherboard from the power supply again to get it work. It’s not much of a problem though since I don’t plan on moving/unplugging it any time soon.

I liked Sakamichi no Apollon

Spoilers-a-go-go

I just marathoned Sakamichi no Apollon today and I’m convinced it was the best show of this last season. Granted, I watched very few shows this season because throughout most of it I was overwhelmed by difficult exams at school and a new OSX86 laptop project I was feverishly working on for a while, but I think I can pretty much dismiss the rest of the shows of the season as inferior without bothering to watch them.

The first episode really got my attention immediately for reasons that show I completely missed the point: I felt tremendous empathy for poor Kaoru climbing that slope every morning to get to school, the reason being that my own school that I attended until last semester is at the top of a hill far steeper than the one in the show. Carrying books up something that steep before a day of expensive, insipid classes that teach you nothing you couldn’t learn for free in less time on the Internet is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. Seriously, if we can put a man on the moon, why can’t we build escalators on sidewalks?

For a so-called josei-muke show the characters have relatively small eyes. Ritsuko, perhaps is an exception, but even she doesn’t have those very large sunfloweresque eyes that I would have expected of a lower tier show of this genre, proving the high quality of this show beyond the need for any further discussion. Nonetheless, I’ll further it.

This is one of those shows for which, after watching the first episode, you say to yourself, “Ah yes, this is why I continue to convince myself, season after season, that there are worthwhile anime out there. It wasn’t self-deception after all”. The theme song alone engaged me immediately, to say nothing of the fun and lively music in the show itself.

I was hoping for a bit more about Jun’s activities in the Zengakuren student strike, but that was not a major plot point it seems. Any time I watch a period show set in the 1960s I hope that the writers will make best use of such an interesting time period, but I feel like it was almost wasted in Sakamichi no Apollon. On the one hand, the fact that the time period is almost irrelevant is appealing to the extent that it’s the sort of story that could happen anywhere, in any era. However, it just seems like a loss to me that one of the major side characters, Jun, unwittingly gets himself involved in a student strike, yet nothing much is made of it except that it ends up being the indirect cause of him moving to Tokyo later on. It’s almost as though it was thrown in there to say to the viewers, “Here’s this apropos reference, just in case you forgot it’s the 1960s”.

The costumes, on the other hand, are really fantastic. There’s something about the cap and red and white striped shirt that Sentarou wears that is very friendly and appealing, rather than threatening. Jun’s plaid pants are the pinnacle of style, if you ask me, though I could never wear them myself due to being vertically challenged. Ritsuko is agonizingly cute with her freckles, pigtails, ribbons, and red winter coat. It’s a shame that the characters are usually wearing school uniforms and that we didn’t get to see more outfits, though the school uniforms themselves are interesting as well since each character wears them in his or her own idiosyncratic style.

Even the unimportant background characters have nice outfits. For example, the mother of Ryunosuke, one of the kids from the rock band that Kaoru and Sentarou upstaged at the culture festival, looks exactly like Jane Jetson and this lady with the pink coat and hat is the type of extra mile effort that, while not strictly necessary, adds flourish to the show. The clothes and music all make me feel nostalgia for the era, which is an incredible feat considering that I hadn’t yet been born at the time.

For a 12-episode series the pacing was quite good. There were times where the show felt a bit heavy-handed like when Yurika and Jun were at the train station and he was about to leave for Tokyo and the scene with Kaoru and Sentarou on the hospital rooftop. While the problem with the former is that it’s simply a really overused cliché, the latter, I personally suspect, wouldn’t have seemed so overstated if it weren’t for the fact that by the time this epiphany moment comes along the viewer has only known the characters for about four hours in total. If it had occurred in episode 22 of a 24-episode series instead of episode 11 of a 12-episode series it may have been quite different for me.

Make no mistake though; my whining shouldn’t be construed as a lack of emotional response. I was tearing up plenty during the last couple of episodes. It’s times like these that I really have to stop and wonder if a show was actually well done and I’ve been legitimately affected by it emotionally or if I’m just a sucker for trite crap and a crybaby in addition. But then I remember that I have impeccable taste and that if I liked something then the only answer to that question is that it must have been good to begin with because retroactivism and coining neologisms are valid as long as I’m the one doing it.

Mawaru Penguin Drum and [email protected] are over

Bored to Death and Hung were cancelled. I have nothing good to watch now, whether Western or anime. I like Kimi to Boku, but not so much that I actually look forward to watching it or anything. There’s nothing like that left.

I should really be ashamed at what I waste my time watching and why

I took this screenshot because I thought it would be useful for the next time I needed a good picture for one of those "I came" images but then I felt guilty using this show for that so I'm going to trail off now...


I’m such a hypocrite. I pretend like I’m some connoisseur of TV but I just watch whichever show has cute character designs, a catchy gimmick, or voice actors with whom I’m enamoured. Chihayafuru is appealing for most of the same reasons that watching Pokemon is and episode 09 really made clear to me why. The viewer is the protagonist, Chihaya, and looks forward to every episode/day in which opportunity is provided for her to overcome one of life’s obstacles, recruit a member for her club, increase her experience points, or get a kansetsu kiss from Miyano Mamoru. Episode 09 was the quintessential training camp episode in which the clubmembers go to the house of one of its members to practise. The protagonist’s variegated array of teammates, from the nerdy Tsukue-kun to the normal girl Kanade to the allstar bishounen Taichi, are all the viewer’s friends and it’s my relationship with them, not some fictional protagonist’s, that are slowly improving and bestowing significance upon my tender developmental years. It’s my aching otomegokoro, not hers. This isn’t healthy but it’s why we watch TV. It’s just more apparent in josei and kids shows than elsewhere that this is our motivation for watching. I nearly let myself watch Nana as a result of a similar need for vicarious emotional discharge but mustered up sufficient shame to avoid that pitfall just in the nick of time.

Neither the director nor the writer draw your attention to it quite as blatantly when it comes to gaining experience points in the real world. I did laundry today but I don’t feel like my competence level as a human has increased all that much for it, nor do I feel the sense of satiety or completeness that gets underscored at the resolution phase of each story in shows like Pokemon and Chihayafuru. Problems arise, tension builds across an episode or several but, eventually — and most importantly before the viewer falls into despair from beginning to perceive the show as a “downer” and risk dismissing it on those grounds — the problem gets resolved and we all feel that we’ve overcome one of the hurdles of childhood and we’re one step closer to fulfillment, maturity, and satisfaction. In TV World everything happens for a useful reason; each time we resolve a problem we get noticeably better at life. Our skillset gets filled out, our minds expanded, or our hearts opened to something new. It’s an enjoyable experience because TV concentrates this development into a few short minutes at the end of an episode instead of allowing it to take the more diffuse, less noticeable form it manifests itself in in daily life, a form nowhere near dense enough to function as the emotional payload of a TV episode.

But just like caffeine, prolonged use means I’m needing this in ever larger doses. Real life wasn’t cutting it from the beginning, but now even TV isn’t saccharine enough for me. Chihayafuru and Tamayura Hitotose are but I don’t know what I’m going to do next season. I’ve been watching a lot of Sekai Meisaku Gekijou lately because they exclusively adapt stories that fulfill the above formula. It’s not enough though and on a practical level, I can’t buy from Yahoo! Auctions and not all of the seasons are available on Share. Ghibli is good for honeyed fairy tales, but I’ve used those films up.

Industry, do you hear me? Forget robots, explosions, and sport shows; spin more syrupy accounts of growing pains that I may watch from under a snuggly warm blanket with my wet sleeves and carton of melancholy flavoured ice cream.

Masako is a more likable character than Ringo (and day 5)

I want to say sardonically, "Simpsons did it" but the irony is that it wasn't nearly this funny or absurd when they did; it was actually one of the most heartfelt and serious episodes in the series.

I like stalker characters quite a bit and really enjoyed all of Ringo’s episodes pursuing Tabuki. I also enjoyed learning about Momoka and watching her strained relationship with Shouma develop in the wake of the actions of the Takakura parents. It’s all very fun and the idea of being stalked by a high school girl never really loses it’s appeal, but I’ve decided that Masako is, nonetheless, a more endearing character. Her charm is how mysterious she is. The viewer is scared of what she’s capable of and, until episode 16, knows very little about her, which lets the viewer’s imagination run wild.

As for the table, it would get unreasonably long if I kept including all previous days. I don’t know how long I’m going to keep this experiment up, but, at the very least, I shouldn’t give up until I’ve recorded at least 10 days. At the end of 10 days I suppose I’ll make a table of all the results.

Abstract here
 

Day #Offences for male students (within 5 minutes of start of class) #Total offences for male students (inclusive)
5 4 4
Day #Offences for female students (within 5 minutes of start of class) #Total offences for female students (inclusive)
5 4 7
Day #Total offences(Male + Female) %Offenders [%Offenders(adjusted)]
5 11 22% [36.667%]

I’m bored this season so I’m going to try to watch all of Sailor Moon

I will fail, but it’s worth a try. I never watched it when I was a little kid because my room looked like this and I was already mistaken for a girl frequently enough.

I will now marathon through my reasons for being underwhelmed this season:

There’s barely anything I think I can bear to watch this season. Perhaps there are some good shows, but I have profoundly deep-seated genre biases: I don’t like mecha or battle shows. Horizon is a school battle trainwreck that interests me even less than Karutamon. Gundam is mecha, Majikoi is a school battle erotic trainwreck, Mirai Nikki looks like it’ll be a boring battle to the death scenario I’ve seen countless times before, Phi Brain is shounen puzzle bullshit, Tamayura is pleasant and heart-warming but slow as watching paint dry, Persona is based on a game too erudite and long for me to appreciate or even play, Busou Shinki is based on a series of action figures, Maken-ki is basically the poor man’s version of Ladies versus Butlers! and I haven’t yet seen Un-Go.

image

I’ll watch Ika-musume because it’s wholesome and the protagonist is adorable. I’ll watch Haganai because it will inevitably be the most popular, if not best, of the season and if I don’t watch it, I’ll feel out of the loop later on. I’ve heard Kimi to Boku referred to as K-ON! with boys. K-ON! is too good to be compared to Kimi to Boku; a more apt analogy would be to say that it’s like A Channel with boys. I found A Channel about as mediocre as anything could possibly be. There was nothing overwhelmingly wrong with it, but it didn’t do anything to stand out from other similar shows of the same genre that I’ve seen. That’s what Kimi to Boku feels like. My feelings for it may change if it gets significantly angstier or if a shota enters the cast. As for C^3, I’ve only watched the first episode so far but the sudden girlfriend appearance premise never gets old and I like clumsy girls from other dimensions/planets/planes of existence who aren’t familiar with the ways of us earthlings, just like Ika-musume. I’ll try watching Mashiroiro Symphony but I may drop it if it’s disappointing like Yosuga no Sora. I’ll watch Working`!! because I’ve grown to like it.

I just watched the first episode of Guilty Crown without, as usual, knowing what it was about beforehand. I am disappointed by the prevalence of explosions and robots. Those are demerits according to my genre biases. On the other hand, there are skintight powersuits, neat character designs, and Sephiroth, all of which mean I will at least try a few more episodes before giving up.

Though I say that few of these shows pique my interest, if I have the time, I’ll inevitably end up watching some of them. Nonetheless, [email protected] and Penguindrum will be getting the lion’s share of my attention this season, just as they did last season.

Poor Shouma

You silly duck; that's not how you eat pudding!

He didn’t ask to be involved in this mess with Ringo, penguins, and kidnappers. I’m not very smart or observant, so I don’t have any criticism of this episode, but it was fun and I’ve now developed a feeling of obligation to take amusing screenshots every week while watching the episode and make obvious and inane comments about them, even when I didn’t pay much attention to the episode. Now we know who that orange-haired girl is. Well, we still don’t know who she is exactly, but she and her penguin are up to no good at least.

I also feel bad for Ringo now. She’s not a villain. Yes, she did cause Shouma to get hit by a car, and she is more or less to blame for his life being put in danger, his getting kidnapped and having this and that done to him, but now that we know her sob story about rejection and Momoka and her daddy issues, I feel bad for her. She doesn’t need to go through all this.

I’d also like to know what the hell kind of hospital Shouma is in. It looks like a printed circuit board. Or the inside of Manhattan Mini Storage!

As Kanba progresses from one storage unit to another, descending the stairs into deeper and deeper levels of his memory, as it were, I was reminded of Kaiba, which I just watched for the first time this week. It reminded me of how Warp uses that gun thing to open what looks like a thought balloon above the head of a person whose thoughts he wants to enter.

I still don’t remember the name of that orange-haired Pigeon Blood lady. I don’t even remember if we ever learned her name and I’m too lazy and important to go check. I think she’s called Masako, but I’m not sure. Is she just another of Kanba’s many ex-girlfriends? One thing is for sure: it seems she went to medical school with Dr. Irabu:

The last episode of that penguin show looked just like Bakemonogatari

…with all these panoramic shots of big landscapes, repeating geometric backgrounds with lots of straight lines, right angles, and characters tilting their heads to the side with their faces half-covered in late afternoon shadow.

Sora no Ana…I saw that movie. It took place in Hokkaido and was pretty mellow as I recall.

I had one of those sliding puzzle things when I was a kid. Coincidentally, instead of numbers, it had a picture of a penguin that you were supposed to construct by sliding the pieces around. It was pretty aggravating until I figured out that I could pick the pieces off the board using my fingernail and then reattach them in the proper positions.

Looking like Bakemonogatari is a good thing though. The whole episode was just such a pleasure to look at. Although I kept thinking of Bakemonogatari throughout the entire episode, it still had some of the familiar theatrical elements in it that have been present throughout the series, such as spotlights and other lighting effects that make scenes look as though they’re on a stage before an audience.

Unfortunately, also like Bakemonogatari, this bara — I mean unmei — no hanayome stuff makes it clear this show will now be denounced by those pesky foreign feminists as guilty of sexualizing children. Maybe Antonin Scalia will solidify his place as the Justice about whom I have the most conflicted feelings and defend media like this as he’s done when it comes to similar concerns with video games. It feels so peculiar liking that guy.