Friday, February 08, 2002

I just had a very pleasant conversation with Eliani. I really like this whole prayer buddy idea (Blue Rose's, if I recall correctly). I think this definitely should become part of the Testimony legacy.

As an added bonus for the conversation, in the course of explaining to Eliani about the whole history of Phoenix Earth I figured out at last what was really going on with the First Mage War. Perhaps I'll explain later; but since some friends from home might be reading this I think I'll keep it a secret for now. Especially since the history of the First Mage War has significant bearing on the course of the current game, and it would be a shame if the party was denied the chance to discover too much.

Rose came to the bass sectional today, which I thought was nice. It's a little intimidating singing around her, since I've never been as bad at singing as I am in Testimony, either relatively or absolutely speaking. But then again I've never done a cappella either, so it's kind of to be expected. Anyway I appreciate it when she comes to sectional, since we definitely benefit from her expertise. I think I am going to start dropping in on alto sectionals when I can. I'd probably learn more about teaching singing by talking with Dad, but Dad's not up here. And I'm sure I'll learn some valuable things about section leading from observing Rose in action.

Many people are at Twain's Screw Your Roommate right now, although I obviously am not. That is not at all a bad thing; I really have no desire to be there right now. That kind of dancing still scares me, but more importantly I don't particularly enjoy it intrinsically. I certainly enjoyed it last year, when there was a girl involved. I've decided that's neither a bad nor a cowardly thing. After all, as I was relating to Ayudaren today, I don't enjoy dressing up for the sake of dressing up. But I definitely enjoy dressing up for the sake of a girl. Likewise with non-social dance dancing.

Speaking of Ayudaren and dances, it seems that he and a bunch of other folks back home will be skipping the Vice Versa dance tomorrow (on account of not having dates) to smash tomorrow night. "To smash" is a technical term in Natalie, which means "to play Super Smash Brothers or Super Smash Brothers Melee." If you haven't been fortunate enough to play either of those games, Super Smash Brothers is Nintendo's tribute to itself: a game that pits all the licensed Nintendo characters against one another (and I mean all, from classics like Mario and Luigi, Link and Zelda, to characters that I hadn't even heard of before, like Mr. Game and Watch, the character from a series of handheld Nintendo-released LCD games which predate even the original NES). The game is quite easy to pick up but allows for a great variety of individual skill and style development within that very simple framework. That is part of the essence of good game design, and I applaud Nintendo for returning to it. Twilight, Ayudaren, Lionel, the DM, myself, and even my sister have all had good bonding and hanging-out times over nights of smashing. I miss you guys.

I watched the eighth episode of an anime series called "Hellsing" yesterday, which while not quite at the level of the previous seven was still fairly jaw-dropping. It was mostly a setup episode, though, so I can forgive its comparative mediocrity. Hellsing is the only anime series I have ever found (and with friends like Twilight, Kharmak, Maclaeden, and Selrahc I've been exposed to a fair number of anime series, at least in passing) which both contains absolutely nothing objectionable (gratuitious nudity is extremely common in most series) and has remained cool even though I've seen all the episodes translated into English. For this I must give it props.

The basic premise of Hellsing is that there are a number of religious organizations throughout the world dedicated to the eradication of the undead and the preservation of humanity. The Vatican has one, and in England it's the Knights of the Round Table, whose fighting arm is provided by the Hellsing Agency, run by the Hellsing family. And now, because I enjoy theatrical criticism, characters of note and why:

Integral Wingates Hellsing. The head of the Hellsing Agency since her father died, Integral is more or less your standard elegant, no-nonsense female leader character. One of the things that makes her interesting is that despite her veneer of competence, Hellsing is suffering under her leadership and she knows it. Is that because she isn't the leader or protector of Britain that her father was? Or just that times are particularly bad? We don't know yet, and Integral goes back and forth. This gives her an air of both mystery and humanity that make her attractive to me.

Victoria Celes. A former British police officer, Victoria was part of an investigation in the first episode which left her in the clutches of a vampire. She was fatally wounded in Hellsing's rescue operation and saved when the Hellsing agent involved turned her into a vampire. Victoria is the series' token sexy young woman who's generally innocent but can still kick butt when it's time. Victoria struggles for several episodes with the prospect of being a vampire for the rest of her life, which makes her eventual devotion to the vampire who created her very touching instead of stupid. In addition, I find the innocence/competence dichotomy to be believable in her as I do not in many other characters of her class. One of the basic things about Hellsing that appeals to me is that even though (like all anime series) it relies heavily on cool-factor, the character development is still very real.

Alucard. Alternately "Arkard," depending on who did the translation of the episode in question ("Arkard" is supposedly more correct, since "Alucard" is just "Dracula" spelled backwards. But I don't speak Japanese so I wouldn't know). Alucard is the enigmatic super-powerful character ("power" is a curious theme to recur in an animated series, but it's definitely a staple of anime), in this case an independent vampire who for mysterious reasons works for the Hellsing family. Alucard created Victoria deliberately, because, for all of his power, he's lonely. Much of the series' cool factor comes from Alucard, but his understated affection for Victoria redeems him as a character.

SG, BR, Simba, and Silver (who actually was wearing black and silver, just like one of the Shiny People) just came by. Rose was looking excellent in one of my favorite dresses of hers. She smelled nice, too. Both she and Thea have a very distinctive smell that I am extremely partial to. I almost had an emotional crisis when she complimented Simba on his dressing style, but I avoided it. Rose rarely if ever complimented me for physical attractievness, so there's no point in getting upset about it tonight. Probably that's just a feature of her dialect. If it's not I don't want to know.

Does anybody know how to get my comment boxes after the post they refer to like everybody else's? If you do please let me know.

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