rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Default)
Operation Mincemeat: How A Dead Man And A Bizarre Plan Fooled The Nazis And Ensured An Allied Victory by Ben Macintyre.

Nonfiction book chronicling a British intelligence plot from the 1940s which can be roughly summed up as "drop a dead body containing fake intelligence into Axis territory in order to mislead the Nazis into thinking the Allies plan on invading Sardinia instead of Sicily during Operation Husky" although that highly, highly underestimates the amount of work and thought that wound up going into the plot. In fact the book goes into an astonishing amount of detail on all the people who got involved with this scheme, from the British intelligence operators who organized the plan, the various scientific experts they consulted on the details- including Sir Bernard Spilsbury, an undertaker, and an inventor who had to invent a special case to transport the decaying body- the Spanish civilians and government officials who got involved in the case of the British Officer Who Was Carrying Around Possibly Important Documents, and the various Nazi intelligence officers who wound up getting their hands on the fake intelligence.

The book is very informative and frequently amusing, demonstrating just how damned absurd WWII could get at points. One of the many hitches in the scheme, for instance, came later on when the fake intelligence wound up in the hands of Spanish bureaucracy and the British intelligence circle had to both 1) act like they were extremely worried about the missing papers and desperate to get them back before the Nazis could read them while 2) making sure that the papers did not get returned by the neutral Spanish bureaucracy before the Nazis could read them. Picture both the Allied spies and the Axis spies gnashing their teeth and fretting over a suitcase held by some oblivious Spanish officials and that is essentially the situation.

That said, on a personal level I think the thing that stuck with me most from the whole story was the identity of the body used, that of a homeless, mentally ill Welshman named Glyndwr Michael whose short life was incredibly tragic and went for decades with his identity entirely unknown; the British government had to do a lot of morally dubious things in order to pull off the scheme, including using the body of a dead man without getting permission from any relatives, so a lot of details about the plot, including the original identity of the body, were kept secret for a long, long time.

The Cat Who Could Read Backwards by Lilian Jackson Braun

I originally picked this up thinking it was from a series that [personal profile] thethrillof once recommended to me, known as the Cats In Trouble series- after reading the book I'm pretty sure it's actually the start of an entirely different series of detective novels featuring a feline mascot. It was a reasonably pleasant, breezy read, however. To the point of being a bit cartoonish in places, honestly.

The story centers around a reporter named Jim Qwilleran, a man with a mustache that gets a bizarre amount of attention, who was formerly known as an award winning investigative reporter, but whose career has steadily gone through a downward spiral for reasons that are never specified. He winds up applying for a job at a newspaper called the Daily Fluxion and getting a job as a feature writer focusing on the local art scene despite, as he puts it, not knowing "the Venus de Milo from the Statue of Liberty." He's then introduced to a variety of eccentric characters in said local arts scene including:

  • George Bonifield Mountclemens, the Daily Fluxion's incredibly scathing art critic with a talent for pissing people off and for cooking absolutely delicious food.
  • Ka'o-Ko Kung, nicknamed "Koko," who is Mountclemens' incredibly intelligent, pampered Siamese cat.
  • Cal Halapay, a wealthy, popular artist who mostly does paintings of cherubic children and is utterly incapable of listening to poor reporters who are trying to interview him.
  • Sandy Halapay, Cal's trophy wife who apparently flirts around a lot.
  • Earl Lambreth, the haughty owner of the one art gallery that Mountclemens actually seems to approve of.
  • Zoe Lambreth, the wife of Earl Lambreth, an incredibly talented artist who Jim Qwilleran winds up getting a crush on.
  • Butchy Bolton, a butch lesbian sculptor who works with metal and teaches art at college, protective friend of Zoe's.
  • Scrano, reclusive Italian artist who doesn't actually live in town but ships his paintings over occasionally. 
  • Nino, youthful sculptor of garbage and the sort of character you'd probably put "I Am The Walrus" onto his FST if you made a FST for him.

Naturally with this sort of crew murders start happening, and it's up to Jim Qwilleran to figure out Whodunnit and Whydunnit, while navigating a variety of red herrings and frequently getting pointed in the right direction by Koko the cat, who is either ludicrously intelligent and already figured out the mystery, or just has a knack for getting coincidentally interested in the same locations of important clues, Qwilleran isn't entirely sure.

Much like Qwilleran I pretty much had no idea who the killer was until the very ending of the book, although I feel the ending/the reveal was also sort of abrupt.

(On a side note various editions of the book's cover seem to present Koko as a pure black cat or, for one German edition, sort of stripey and fluffy, which annoys me because Koko is very specifically stated to be a Siamese cat. Come on, cover people.)

Seven Ages: A Brief Narrative of the Pilgrimage of the Human Mind as It Has Affected the English Speaking World by A Gentleman With A Duster.

Incredibly old history book I found in my library that post-dates the first World War but actually predates World War II. Not sure if the physical book I read was literally almost a century old, but it was definitely older than I am and physically handling it was interesting: the pages were thick and rough cut, it had that antiquated, vaguely vanilla, old book scent, someone had helpfully written the name "Harold Begbie" in pen beside where the book was credited to "A Gentleman With A Duster," there was a card pocket in the front from before the library checkout system had been computerized that indicated the book had been checked out before in 1963, 1964, and 1965, small fragments and strings of the binding were coming loose though the book as a whole was pretty well intact, and in general it felt just fragile enough that while I was reading it I was frequently slightly nervous I might suddenly horribly damage it somehow.

As for the book itself, it was... somewhat interesting, but also slightly frustrating for me to read because Mr. Begbie and I don't see eye-to-eye on several key points such as 1) a general attitude of British patriotism, 2) whether or not belief in God is crucial to an individual's mental health, 3) the appropriateness of certain side comments Mr. Begbie makes about "oriental" culture and the Irish, 4) whether or not we would totally adore Socrates if we ever met, 5) how tyrannical Darwinism is, etc. etc. I read this more for the heck of it than anything else, honestly.

The content is basically an overview of mostly-British history, focusing on the evolution of popular philosophy and theology, which Mr. Begbie roughly divides into, well, seven ages: The Age of Socrates, The Age of Aristotle, The Age of Jesus, The Age of Augustine, The Age of Erasmus, The Age of Cromwell, and The Age of Wesley, covering from 470 B.C. to 1791. The initial chapters, especially the one on Socrates and Jesus of Nazareth, focus heavily on the individuals they're named after, so I was initially expecting the book to basically be a series of short biographies on people Mr. Begbie considered especially influential; the later chapters, however, tend to focus more on the general cultural climate of the eras featured. Generally interesting especially if you're into British history, but again, I was often frustrated by the proselytizing tone of the whole thing.
rynet_ii: Picture of Blue Rose from Tiger & Bunny, with a Pepsi logo attached. (superheroics sponsored by PEPSI)
There Is Always a Next Time 

The episode starts off with the publicity fallout from the previous episode: we look at various citizens talking about Lunatic and how his methods are probably more effective than the Heroes non-lethal ones. After the opening song we cut to a meeting of various CEOs around the city discussing the situation.

Poseidon Line CEO: I must say this is unexpected.
Helios Energy CEO: We never thought something like this would cause the public to mistrust our city's heroes.
Titan Industry CEO: If more and more people question their abilities it could be disastrous.
Helperidese Finance CEO: You're right, it could put Hero TV in jeopardy.
Odysseus Communication CEO: We've got to do everything we can to prevent that from happening. At this point we've got too much money invested in them.

There's a brief shot of Maverick's neutral expression, then Yuri speaks up.

Yuri: Let's focus. We can't afford to have someone operating above the law. Lunatic may think he's fixing the world but the Justice Bureau doesn't approve of the use of capital punishment. We should be putting together a plan to arrest him, and as soon as possible, before there are more victims.
Kronos Foods CEO: Wait a second, how do we do that? We have no idea when or where he'll strike again!

Read more... )
rynet_ii: Picture of Blue Rose from Tiger & Bunny, with a Pepsi logo attached. (superheroics sponsored by PEPSI)
The Wolf Knows What The Ill Beast Thinks

We start off reiterating where the last episode left off as Lunatic- not that we know his name at this point- kills the repairman. Bunny tries to pursue him but alas, Lunatic has vanished.

Anyway, most of the episode is Bunny angst and other plot stuff, which I won't get into because this is a Yuri Petrov Observation Diary, not a Tiger & Bunny In General Observation Diary. There are, however, a coupla Lunatic-related notes before he shows up again:
  • The heroes end up hypothesizing that Lunatic is affiliated with Ouroborous and the murder victims were all members of the organization being killed off to "plug leaks." This will be revealed to be wrong but I'm making a note of it anyway.
  • There's a scene where some kid kicks Wild Tiger and yells at him for not killing the "bad guys" during a charity show, foreshadowing the effect Lunatic's actions are going to have in the next episode.

About thirteen minutes into the episode the heroes zoom off to the hideout of a crime syndicate they're going to raid alongside the police.

And then, the instant Hero TV goes on air....

Hi Yuri!
It's not really stated but I think it's fairly reasonable to assume Yuri was in on Agnes's plans for this broadcast (since she had to contact the Justice Bureau, where he works, in order to get the go ahead) and that he deliberately timed his attack to start the instant the show does. Because Yuri Petrov is an extremely melodramatic man.

Read more... )
rynet_ii: Picture of Blue Rose from Tiger & Bunny, with a Pepsi logo attached. (superheroics sponsored by PEPSI)
All's Well That Ends Well

First episode and no dialogue or anything from Yuri, but he does have a cameo in the scene with the after party.

Screenshot of Blue Rose arguing with her manager, who says "That domineering attitude is what makes you so popular." Yuri Petrov can be seen in the background.

He's on the far left. Drinking... something. I'm pretty sure that's not a champagne glass, but beyond that I have no idea. It's probably something alcoholic though, which is interesting considering his familial history with alcohol. I doubt he's a leisurely drinker, but he's apparently okay with taking a glass at social occasions like this.

If I understand correctly he does and says slightly more during The Beginning movie, which is sort of an expansion on the first few episodes; I'll try to watch the movie properly later, but there's a more focused shot of Yuri during this scene, and a new scene later on where he introduces himself to Barnaby- if I remember correctly, during the exchange he encourages Barnaby to "follow his own sense of justice" and it's also mentioned that Yuri's actually pretty new to his position with the Justice Bureau.
Read more... )
rynet_ii: VY2 sits at a desk writing while love letters fly around him. (I probably wrote something.)
 [community profile] littlepictures 

There's even some new stuff in it, check it out if you like. I do plan on making all my DW icon posts on there instead of here so, uh, if you've been following me for the engaging tiny pictures content, you might want to switch to there?

I do eventually plan on reposting the icons on currently on Rynet onto LittlePictures eventually, but I'll still keep the old posts up.
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Bat-science)
Contains Undertale, particularly RP related UT, and a TB Riddler.

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rynet_ii: Arcee with a slight smirk. (Botsplainin)
Contains: Misch. fandoms, especially Undertale, a collab, and a lot of furry Batman stuff. Be forewarned of large images.

Read more... )
rynet_ii: VY2 sits at a desk writing while love letters fly around him. (I probably wrote something.)
Crossposting some doodles and artwork from my art tumblr that I've done since the last one: Contains sloppy little comics, OCs, expression practice, and fandom stuff as per usual.

Read more... )
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Bat-science)
In a large, Japanese city in a near-future setting, there exists a team of heroes known as the Gatchaman Crew.

Gatchaman are a kind of henshin hero (think Power Rangers or Sailor Moon) that have special powers based on their own personalities, and originate from their NOTEs- literal notebooks that represent their souls and can be used to communicate with fellow G-Crew members.

The G-Crew are selected and guided by a mysterious council of aliens, represented by a cryptic man named JJ and to a lesser extent, a tiny panda-like alien named Paiman, who serves as the squadron leader. Their mission is to protect the earth from malicious aliens, such as the MESS, an ever shifting cube made of cubes that absorbs humans and other things within it. 

Complicating the G-Crew's mission are some guidelines they're required to follow, such as keeping their existence a secret from most humans, something they can accomplish with a power known as the "Amnesia Effect" which prevents non-Gatchaman from seeing or hearing them. (Though they can be felt if they bump into anyone during a fight.)

The story starts out with the recruitment of a new Gatchaman, an eternally cheerful and artistic teenaged girl named Hajime Ichinose. Hajime is quick to befriend the other Gatchaman but is also just as quick to question their rules and follows her own impulses, something that frustrates fellow Gatchaman Sugane Tachibana, a more straight-laced teenage boy who takes his position as a Gatchaman very seriously.

However, lest you think this is just a monster of the week kinda show... )
It's a little... complicated to sum up, partly because this show is kind of weird. But I am enjoying it!
rynet_ii: VY2 sits at a desk writing while love letters fly around him. (I probably wrote something.)
Total Icon Count: 106


And the third and final batch of the icons of Bruce Wayne in the Big Chill! 

Read more... )
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (almost lost.)
Total Icon Count: 218


Part 2 of the icons of The Batman in The Big Chill!

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rynet_ii: Shouma looking freaked out. (FUCKIN INCEST EVERYWHERE)
Total Icon Count: 255


Icons of the Batman in The Big Chill.

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rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Default)
Wasn't actually tagged for this, just felt like doing it.

"Put your playlist on shuffle and list the first ten songs. No cheating!"
+ Favorite lines from said songs. (If applicable.)

1. Birdhouse In Your Soul - Pushing Daisies OST
(I have a secret to tell / From my electrical well)

2. Don't Ask Me - OK Go
(Don't be so damn benign / And don't waste my fucking time)

3. Sweet Baby James - James Taylor
(Maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep / But singing works just fine for me)

4. Sails of Silver - Steeleye Span
(And you, false love, will weep for me / When I'm gone, when I'm gone, when I'm gone)

5. Cameo Lover - Kimbra
(Open up your heart! Open up your heart! / Open up your heart and let me pull you out of here)

6. Champagne Supernova - Oasis
(But you and I, we live and die / The world's still spinning 'round / We don't know why)

7. Rosa Morada - Rita
(心の中 探っても見つからぬままの あなたを探し)

8. A Lonely Voice - October Project
(I keep looking back / Traditions back across the centuries)

9. San Fran - Kids of 88
(We were too young to know / We were shadows)

10. Hamburg Song - Keane
(Fool, I wonder if you know yourself at all / You know that it could be so simple)

* * *

If you're seeing this, take it as an invitation to do this as well.
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Default)
In the city of Seoul, Kim Seung-geun has an enormous financial debt and jumps off of a bridge into the Han River, intending to commit suicide. Instead, he washes up on a deserted island in the middle of the river, a small place used as a support for a nearby bridge, but otherwise separated from the mainland. (This island is an actual place called Bamseom, though its name isn't mentioned in the movie.)

Seung-geun soon discovers he cannot leave the island at all and finds himself living in a bizarre Robinson Crusoe-esque situation despite civilization being clearly visible on all sides of the island. He's at first pretty unhappy about this, but soon discovers that he can survive off of the local flora and fauna and make use of the trash that washes up on the island, and while he's there he at least no longer needs to worry about his debts. Reflecting this, the "HELP" message he wrote on the sand earlier is changed to "HELLO."

Meanwhile, in an apartment building overlooking the Han River, there lives a woman named Kim Jung-yeon. Jung-yeon is agoraphobic and lives with her parents, only ever leaving her room in order to go to the bathroom. She spends her days pretending to be different people online and at night, she uses her high quality camera to take pictures of the moon.

She only ever takes photos of the city during the day twice a year, when the local civil guard ushers the citizens off of the street and the city winds up looking like a ghost town. (Iiii do not know why this happens? I think it's like an evacuation drill or something.) As she's looking around the city with her camera she winds up spotting Seung-geun and grows fascinated by him, watching him with her camera until eventually she musters up the courage to sneak out of her apartment building and to the bridge built over his island, where she tosses off a bottled message for him to find. An odd correspondence starts between the two, with Seung-geun writing messages to her on his beach and Jung-yeon tossing bottles off of the bridge.

Officially this is a romantic comedy... )

I also personally didn't find it as funny as, say, The Martian- I did some mental comparisons because they're both stories involving survival in a hostile environment- but I think this is mostly because my personal concern over the character's mental issues kind of overshadowed some of the humor.

Don't get me wrong though, I did enjoy the film- watching Seung-geun establish a life on the island was interesting and I did enjoy seeing Jung-yeon and Seung-geun slowly forming a connection. It's just that this is a romcom that I wound up watching as if it was a drama.
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Bat-science)
Went and trawled through pixiv for The Batman-specific fanart and I am now compiling it into a list format in the hopes of sharing it with the other TB fans I know. This list miiiight be a little difficult to read if your computer can't read Japanese or Chinese characters.

I hope y'all enjoy! (This post isn't done yet but while I slowly chip away at it, feel free to look around.)

Read more... )
rynet_ii: Shouma looking freaked out. (FUCKIN INCEST EVERYWHERE)
Total Icon Count: 51


I've always been fond of the weird, bathroom door silhouette figures that Mawaru Penguindrum uses for its extras and background characters, so I got the urge to iconify some of them.

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rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (I'm totally an alien u guise)
The Martian is a science-fiction movie about Mark Watney, an astronaut/botanist who winds up stranded on Mars after his crew mates mistakenly believe he died during a deadly sandstorm. The movie centers around Watney's attempts to survive on Mars until he can be rescued, something the people on Earth are desperately trying to coordinate.

The film was intense in places- one of the earliest scenes involves Watney having to do surgery on himself. And frequently, just as Watney and the others are making real strides towards his eventual survival, something disastrous will happen to set them back, usually injuring Watney in the process. My adrenaline was pretty high after I left the theater.

It's also funny, which was something I was not aware of after watching the trailer the first time. (Though did later have some expectation of it, based off of book snippets like this.) Watney is one of those smartass dude characters, but unlike a lot of smartass dude characters he isn't really annoying at all, a fact I chalk up to a mixture of "doesn't use misogynistic humor" and "this man is stranded on a planet that is doing his level best to kill him so he's entitled to some swearing and snark."

Actually re: misogyny stuff. This film is pretty good on that point? There are several named female characters who all work at NASA some spoilers clarifying that point ) and they're all competent at their job, and don't exist for sexual gratification and/or damsel-in-distressing. There are also several non-white characters working for NASA related to the previous spoiler ) so yeah, bonus points for diversity, guys.

Also, science! I am not very knowledgeable about scientific anything, but I could follow along with what the characters were doing pretty well, and apparently Neil deGrasse Tyson approves of how things were portrayed. It's very much a Man Vs. Nature story, so there's a lot of the characters using their knowledge of physics/chemistry/robotics/etc. in order to figure out How To Make Mark Watney Not Die And Get Off Of Mars.

So yes, it's a pretty enjoyable movie overall and I thought it was well worth the ticket fees. More spoilers for a tidbit at the end. )
rynet_ii: A deoxys (alien-like pokemon) with a neutral expression. (Bat-science)
The Secret of Anastasia is one of those super low budget animated movies you're most likely to find in a bargain bin full of DVDs. It is veeeery loosely based on the life of Anastasia Romanov and the rumors that she survived the Russian Revolution and was quite likely an attempt to cash in on the better known Don Bluth movie that came out the same year and had a similar premise.

Anyway. The Secret of Anastasia plays out similarly to the Bluth film in that an amnesiac Anastasia runs into a con artist (here, a former general named Vladimir) and they decide to track down Anastasia's grandmother, the con artist so he can get his hands on a bunch o' cash, Anastasia so she can reconnect with her past, and the con artist has to teach Anastasia How To Royalty in the mean time.

However, while Anastasia has an antagonist in the form of Necromancer Grigoriy Rasputin and his Humorous Talking Bat Henchman, The Secret of Anastasia has the Cheka chasing after our heroes, a romantic rival for our con artist character in the form of Prince Paul (Who I think isn't based on any actual person, but I dunno for sure), and the supernatural element takes the form of a quartet of walking, talking musical instruments that serve as the amnesiac Anastasia's surrogate family. (This is a really weird movie.)

Then there's the plot twist. )

The Secret of Anastasia seems to be primarily known for its villain song, "Prince Charmless," but otherwise I don't see much of it anywhere, possibly because it's terribly animated and written and is generally sort of dumb. I enjoyed it immensely, which may have to do with the fact I was sleep-deprived when I watched it, but I like to think it's because it's one of those bad movies that are more amusingly bad than irritatingly bad.
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