PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDI PUDDING

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Great Picture of JIM, or the Greatest Picture of JIM?

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I caught you some delicious spam

More genius from the spam queue:

Despite its barely legal size, It’s the first legal seabass produced by the ongoing hatchery program to be caught by an angler.

Barely legal sea bass.

I do not want to know.

What I’m Reading: Catching Up, Sept. 12-26

It’s catch-up day! Yes, I know almost everyday is catch-up day at the Ongoing Work Stoppage – not usually ketchup day, though sometimes ketjap day. It’s been busy since the start of term, leaving me tired and occaisionally cranky, thus less inclined to write anything. But a bored Sunday afternoon is an ideal opportunity, and I’ve a backlog of books, so onward ho!

The books and I took a walk to one of the nearby parks for their pictures, to vary things a bit. It hasn’t taken me long to get tired of my table/floor as a backdrop.

Twin Spica, vol.2 by Kou Yaginuma – volume 3 is actually out now, and I was hoping to get my hands on it and do both volumes at once (Twin Spica, twin volumes, appropriate thematic picture) but it was not to be. In this volume, Asumi and her friends start Space School proper, and Asumi finds herself surrounded by jerks, in particular one teacher who wants to force her out of the program, apparently because of some history he has with her father. Most of the chapters involve Asumi settling in to school and trying to become friends with the people around her. Like the first volume, there are also a couple of supplementary flashback stories that shed some light on Asumi’s past and her family’s connection with the rocket crash that stalled Japan’s space program and devastated her home town.

I reread the first volume just before reading this one, and I got much more out of both volumes than I did on my first distracted read of vol. 1. The story elements in vol. 1 that seemed predictable to me the first time, I didn’t notice so much the second time, and I got none of that feeling in vol. 2. I like the balance of the past and present storylines. I’m curious about the characters and getting to like them (well, most of them – Asumi’s childhood friend with the glasses is an unredeemable jerk even if he did save her life once). I am totally looking forward to volume three, especially since this one ended on a DRAMATIC cliffhanger.

Amulet, vol. 3 by Kazu Kibuishi – This series has been coming out at the rate of roughly one goregeously coloured chunk of comics per year, and it’s always worth the wait. Gary at Fleen has a far more competent recent review than I could muster. The plot over the last three books has basically echoed that of the original Star Wars (with a generous helping of The Wizard of Oz) almost beat for beat so far. By my age I’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy adventure stories for at least 20 years, and I am definitely in danger of saying “Oh, not this story again”; but there are enough differences (Gary mentions how none of Luke, Dorothy or Frodo had their mothers along for the ride) and intriguing hints of things to come to keep someone more jaded than the target audience interested. There is a lot of menace lurking just off stage – and moving closer with every page. The supposed allies that Emily and company meet in the final pages of volume 3 are chillingly arrogant; clearly not the calvary anyone was hoping for. And the question of what Emily’s stone is actually after, and how much it should be trusted, seems to be getting ever more pressing. Plus, the art is absolutely gorgeous, and the characters are intriguing enough that I want to know what their stories are, and what’s going to happen. When a story is this well done, it doesn’t bother me in the slightest if it’s a little familiar.

Gente, vol. 1 by Natsume Ono – Of course, sometimes someone my age does want to read comics about something other than kids going to high school and/or having magical fantasy adventures, and at those times, why not read about a bunch of bespectacled middle-aged waiters eating fine food and drinking fine wine? Gente is the prequel to the author’s single volume Ristorante Paradiso, and the first volume tells stories from the Casetta dell’Orso’s first year – basically, how the restaurant staffed entirely by “distinguished older gentlemen” came to be. It’s a fun book, though not especially fast paced, full of slice-of-life type stories. My one complaint is that sometimes it takes me a bit to figure out which character is which – the sketchy art style and large number of balding older men in glasses means some of the character designs are pretty similar. Luckily there’s a cast list in the front of the book.

Next up: JIM takes another trip to the library!

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