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December 2014
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Let It Snow Saxy Sleigh Ride Serenade

Dave Koz, Sergio Flores and Bob Saget surprised quite a few folks this year when they went along in a Lyft and made some holiday memories. The music was excellent and the attitude was world class; happy holidays, one and all!

LinuxConsole 2.3

The new release of LinuxConsole 2.3 is good news for those with older computers who still want to get some entertainment or work out of them. This Live Disc build started life as a way to turn an old computer into a working games console, and it will still do that. But what it has really gotten good at is making old computers with few resources work properly. That means a box with as little as 256Meg of RAM and running an old Intel, NVIDIA, or ATI graphics cards can run just fine with a fast boot, and it also supports newer graphics cards as well. They have also built some scripts to help you update packages into local RAM while running the base Live Disc, connect to printers, and so forth. They also support installing it to a LiveUSB stick, or installing it to duel-boot with Windows. They have downloads to make both of those tasks fairly easy, so you don’t have to be a Linux guru to get them running.

Street Pong

They came up with the idea in 2012, and after million of views they decided there was enough interest to actually do it. This is a Pong game embedded in the traffic crossing controller so you can play with someone across the street while waiting for the light to change. Thanks to i-Programmer for the heads up on this one.

Time Taxi

If you are looking for something different in the way of a Sci-Fi TV show, check out Time Taxi. It is a show about choices, and how sometimes when you make the wrong one you need a do-over. It is more philosophical and intellectual than the average US show, but that is part of what makes it worth watching.

Why We Love Cowboy Bebop

I have been waiting for years for Cowboy Bebop to come out in Blue Ray, and it finally happened today. I am going to try not to watch them in one non-stop marathon. I am going to try to savor them, maybe one episode a day. OK, maybe two, and four per weekend day. And I will be listening to the soundtrack a lot, possibly the most amazing Anime soundtrack ever recorded (go Yoko Kanno!).

Something to Do: Movies

There are two very good choices this time around. The one I want to see first is Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; the third film in the Museum trilogy takes place at the British Museum this time, and once more looks to be a world of fun. Also this week The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies brings that expanded story to completion.

Something to Watch: Discs

If you are in the mood for action/fantasy then Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is probably just what you are looking for. This particular reboot is my favorite of the TMNT video offerings so far, and a whole lot of fun. On the more serious side, we get The Maze Runner this week as well, based on the YA series of novels by James Dashner.

TV gives us Extant: The First Season, a CBS sci-fi program that has been picked up for a second season. With humans, aliens, and robots, it is at its core a story about the human heart.

In Anime, A Certain Magical Index II: Part Two continues the magical story line from Academy City, a place where ESPers are produced through genetic engineering (as explained in A Certain Scientific Railgun). An encoded grimoire containing catastrophe magic has been stolen, and Index must be protected lest the thieves use her to unlock its secrets. In the Ambition of Oda Nobuna our protagonist is thrown back in time, and on arriving in a Sengoku period timeline noticeably different than our own promptly gets a historical figure killed. He will now have to do the work originally done by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to help unify feudal Japan.

We also get Bleach: Season 23 with episodes 317 through 329 with the continuing story of the Soul Reapers. The really exciting Anime news for me this week is about a re-release: Cowboy Bebop is finally available in Blue Ray! I am going to have to watch that all over again, from the beginning. If you haven’t already seen it, you have a serious treat in store. Besides buying the discs or watching it at the Funimation site linked above, you can catch it on Toonami as Adult Swim does its Cowboy Bebop Marathon the weekend after Christmas.

Hikaru Utada’s Beautiful World

The new incarnation of Evangelion is taking forever to be released but Hikaru Utada’s excellent closing theme for it, Beautiful World, became available online the other week, so I had to post it here. The music video is directed by Tsurumaki Kazuya, who also co-directs the films in the reboot of the franchise, and the visuals do justice to the music. I am still waiting to see the third and fourth movies for the new series, but this will do for now; it promises that the balance of the story will still be making it to the big screen and out on disc. Thanks to Crunchyroll for the heads up on this one, and the info that there is a new CD coming out from Hikaru. The video ends before the song does, but it is enough to let us know what it sounds like.


Rurouni Kenshin 2: Kyoto Inferno looks to be every bit as intense as the first film, and there is one more to go after this before the series is complete. A former assassin wanders through Japan promising to defend those in need without killing. If the story seems familiar and you haven’t seen the 2012 movie that began the live action film series, you may have read the manga it is based on, or perhaps seen the 1996 through 2008 anime series Rurouni Kenshin: Wandering Samurai. The anime ran 95 episodes, with breaks of several years sometimes between story segments, so it took a while to make. The song you hear playing in the background in the trailer is One OK Rock‘s hit Mighty Long Fall, which I posted here previously if you want to hear the whole thing. They are an amazing band, and you can pick up their songs on iTunes.

All You Zombies out next month

They took Robert A. Heinlein’s time-travel story All You Zombies and turned it into an Australian movie called Predestination, and it will be out in January. This segment is the first 7 minutes of the film, just enough to give you a feel for the rhythm and mood of this rendering of the story. The tale is more twisted than Heinlein usually got, except when he was mucking about in time. Thanks to io9 for the heads up on this one.