March 5th, 2010

sunset samurai

The Heaven Star Wormwood. (14)

Hayate X Blade Volume 6 by Shizuru Hayashiya.

Akira Fan Club
must pay the ultimate price
to see maid cosplay.

The most recent Hayate X Blade, & as usual I snapped it up as soon as I saw it. That says something for it, huh? The mixture of fun, confusion, madcap humor, sword fights, & just pure...X factor? Make it eminent & compelling bubblegum. The premise remains the perfect pitch: all girls sword fighting school, but now the relationships-- the melodramatic, comedy-crazed, punch & flirt heavy relationships-- are in focus. The one bad thing remains the just raw ability to confuse English speaking readers with names & nicknames & pet names & family names & nicknames based on family names, & names which are puns on translations in can be tricky. Like when Isuzu gets called "Wan Wan," because that is Japanese for "Woof Woof" because in her family name is the phoneme "Inu" which is Japanese for "dog." Stuff like that can make keeping track of what is happening tricky. The moral of the story is: this remains exactly what it has always been. Insane. This volume continues the last volume's "maid costume" theme & climaxes in a fight between eighty girls with wooden swords & eight girls with...ladles.
thousand yard drink

Lets drink fancy rotten grains! Leave those oats in the water to soak & add bacteria!

Last night I came home from work & convinced Jenny to quick hurry up & watch two episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender. She was resistant, but these were the last two before the four-part finale, so I wanted to knock them down so we could do the last "episode" all in one go. One was...pretty intensely referential! Anyhow, the reason for the "quick, hide here!" push was because we had a double date with manningkrull & the mysterious Lady M. The original seed of their visit was to look at our apartment, & so we give them the five copper piece tour of the joint. Hey, I like our apartment! It doesn't look like they'll end up being our neighbors, but you never can tell. After that, we went to Beer Table, since that is my go-to obsession these days. Fancy beer! It compliments my not-drinking-much very nicely. M is French, but fully fluent in English-- & also seems to know just as much pidgin Japanese as I remember, so that was fun. We'd only met Manning once before, when he picked us up at a train station to take us to littlewashu's party about, oh, five years ago. Still, internet relationships count! At Beer Table I started with a glass off the tap, Nøgne Ø Imperial Dunkelwit, which was a deep 10% beer that was flavoured like a light beer. I liked the first taste I had of it, but then realized that really all I wanted was about a mouthful. Not that it was bad; I quite liked it, but had drinkers remorse for all the drinks I could have had. Jenny had the Schlenkerla Fastenbier, which was a smoke beer & thus really fun & tasty, if gimmicky. Wait a minute, am I remembering that wrong? I am! We had a taste of the Schlenkerla Fastenbier but then Jenny ended up ordering the smoke beer I got last time, the Schlenkerla Urbock. For the second round, I had Gale's Prize Old Ale 1998, which they described as "antique, soy, earth, & tobacco." It sounded & tasted like the Harvey's le coq I had before. It sort of was a wimpier version of the le coq, actually. The big winner, I think was Jenny's second bottle, Prof Fritz Briem Grut which was supposed to taste like "bay leaves, caraway, ginger, anise & rosemary." That was really light & herbal; it was super alchemical. I liked it a lot, like-- a lot a lot. Manning & M talked about a Canadian beer called "La Fin du Monde" that they like alot that also sounded very tempting. Conversation was one of those funny mixes that the internet creates-- knowing what each other did for dinner the day before but not what careers the pursue; just basic facts being sort of behind the veil. So we caught up & kidnapped the...what do you call a beer sommelier? Well we asked her a bit about brewing & she was very helpful. Dinner was at Cafe Steinhof, where I was done screwing around. I went right for the jugular. The bread dumplings with mushroom fricassee is the best thing on the menu; sometimes I don't order it to sort of explore to see what else might be worth eating, but I would not be swayed. Even paprika, my ethnic weakness, would not stop me. Full of good spirits & good spirits, we chuckled our way through the meal & then had a cold walk to the train. Well, they had to walk to the train; we went home, & I fell into a deep slumber as if spellstruck! So yeah. A very nice time; I hope it becomes a staple. Manning is as good a gentleman as I remember & Miz M was truly charming.