Friday, August 31, 2007

Fletcher Won't Be Home Labor Day

It looks like Fletcher has C-Diff. He's been feeling bad for a few days now. One of the problems was solved by changing his ventilator settings back to what they previously were. This made him happier but he still has not been up to his standard "happy boy" attitude. My very insightful wife told me a few days ago that she thinks his stomach is hurting. I thought that it might be too but didn't think that it was the cause of anything since I think it usually hurts due to his hernia. Well, it appears that the labs came back and he has C-Diff which can cause stomach discomfort. My wife is right 98.7% of the time (which is better than Rush Limbaugh :). Because of this he's in quarantine for a while. That doesn't mean that we can't see him but it does mean that he cannot leave the unit and that we have to take extra precautions when around him.

We had planned on bringing him home for Labor Day and having the family over to cook hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. We'll have to scrap that plan now but we'll get to do it some other time...

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fletcher's Current Struggles

Yesterday Fletcher had a pretty rough time. When I got to the Children's Center he had been bagged three times and I had to bag him twice myself while there. He seemed to be in a good mood most of the time and yet, every so often and very quickly, he would start to high pressure and desat. I was under the impression that his trach was too loose which would cause it to move around and perhaps get blocked off. I could fit most of my hand between the ties and his neck. I asked the RT to tighten it and she did but I still noticed that whenever he turned his head to the left he got uncomfortable. I told this to Denise and when she was there he was having similar problems. The RT's didn't want to change out his trach saying that when they bagged him they felt no restriction. I may be weird here but, Fletcher had similar problems a while back - almost exactly the same symptoms. When they changed out his trach most of the problems went away. I don't really know why trying to solve this problem in the same way would not work. If nothing else, how could it hurt? Anyway, my wife had his trach changed out this morning after another bad episode. He had to have some poking and prodding done on him which didn't help matters with his mood. We've also asked that his Robinol be dicontinued since that can cause thicker secretions and also itchiness (he's scratching at his head like crazy now). Hopefully these steps will help him since he's mostly happy and doesn't act "sick". The tests that they did shows that he doesn't seem to have any bugs unless he has one of those "catchall" viruses that doctor say you have when nothing else fits.

Just a little info here about our weekend and a short rant about how well parents are listened to by "those who know things" in the medical field. If I am wrong about the problem then I'll admit it but, it still doesn't mean that every little thing we can do to make things right shouldn't be tried.

Love Hina - DVD Vol 6 of 6

The final volume of Love Hina contains the final four episodes (21-24). Extras include a character profile for Haruka and some anime previews. This is a wrap up (more or less) of the story. In the end, all questions are apparently answered in one way or another, or so it seems. Since there are two movies and an OVA series, there is obviously more to it.

As for this series, it was a fun light-hearted anime. It ended in a good way. I enjoyed the animation and character design very much. The dubbing was done well except for the voice of Mitsune which was just too "country" sounding. The opening and closing theme songs were good and really matched the tone of the show in their own ways. What I didn't like is the over-the-top violence. It's just gets irritating after a while when someone (usually Naru) smacks Keitaro into orbit or through several walls. I also thought it was funny how many times she hit Keitaro that everyone gasps when she raised her fist to her little sister. I guess you can only hit certain people and make it funny...

I still have to give this a 3 out of 5 though. I enjoyed watching it but this is not one that I will probably rewatch later.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Love Hina - DVD Vol 5 of 6

Volume five contains episodes 17 through 20. The extras include a character profile for Kaolla and some previews.

Love Hina - DVD Vol 5Things are wrapping up for the series. This disc contains stories about a haunted island that Keitaro's friends take the girls to in order to help him get with Naru - they also have some ulterior motives of their own. The Summer Festival arrives and, with Keitaro and Naru not speaking, Keitaro spends mostly with Shinobu. Kaolla's "big brother" comes to visit who looks just like Keitaro (but more suave and debonair). He must take a bride and wants Kaolla to be his wife. In the forth episode on this disc we finally get to see who Keitaro made his promise to so many years ago about Tokyo U (or so it seems)...

The story continues with the wacky antics and it feels as though we're getting to know the characters better. What will happen next? So far I have no clue and that's one of the things I like about this anime. Rating 3 out of 5.

Friday, August 24, 2007


The wonders of the Internet... I've just been browsing through YouTube, something that I've known about for a while but have never really looked at. I just rented a DVD from one of my favorite bands called Marillion and so I decided to look for a video on You Tube that I could put here.

I first found out about Marillion in 1985, the summer after my first year of college. I had heard Lavender on the radio and my best friend Jon had Misplaced Childhood on tape. From that tape I thought that the name Kayleigh was really cool. So much so, in fact, that I named my first daughter Kayleigh - spelled the same way. Anyway, here is a video of that song from YouTube for your viewing pleasure...

Love Hina - DVD Vol 4 of 6

This DVD contains four episodes (episodes 13 through 16). The extras are a "Making of" video about the English version featuring Wendee Lee and character profiles for Mitsune and Sarah.

Love Hina - DVD Vol 4Volume four of Love Hina continues the story on a little bit. The crazy van driver from an earlier episode that almost ran Keitaro down is back and we find out that he is Naru's old high school crush. His adopted daughter Sarah McDougal is introduced also. Mitsume tries to save Naru's feelings by keeping her away from Seta but since Keitaro works for him that becomes more and more difficult to do. When Naru finally does meet up with him again, Keitaro thinks he's got everything figured out and tries to do the the "brave" thing and step aside. This is an enjoyable anime, funny and way over the top.

Oh well, the soap opera of Love Hina moves on at a bearable pace. I should have the last two DVD's this weekend to wrap up the series and then it's on to the two movies and Love Hina Again.

Rating 3 out of 4.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Love Hina - DVD Vol 3 of 6

Volume three contains four episodes (9 through 12) and the extras are an interview with the director and a character profile for Shinobu.

I don't know what I thought this show was going to be about. I guess maybe I had more in mind something like Azumanga Diaoh but this is not like that. We are taken out of reality on many occasions is a world that more resembles Ranma or something like that. Episode 9 was a mystery episode in where everyone was looking for the missing rent money. Episode 10 started in with the "magical girl" thing where Kaolla was somehow able to grow older by looking at the red moon (which stayed full for several nights in a row). In episode 11 Naru suddenly becomes an idol singer. In episode 12 Motoko has to dress like a girl which causes her to loose her kendo abilities - and just at the time when the dreaded mecha turtle attacks.

Half way through and I'm still not too sure where this is leading except in the endless cycle of mayhem and hijinks.

This is still a good anime but not what I was expecting. Rating 3 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Love Hina - DVD Vol 2 of 6

Love Hine - DVD Vol 2The second volume of Love Hina gets zanier and funnier. I appears that Naru and Keitaro are getting closer as strange things happen when they take separate trips to Kyoto. The rest of the girls, thinking that they might be contemplating suicide due to their failure to get into Tokyo U, take off to find them before it's too late.

More strangeness ensues when Keitaro competes with Kentaro for a date with Naru to Never Land. Then a dream sequence episode with Motoko which has quite a few jabs at Japanese cliques with a magical girl sequence and a song similar to Mothra's summoning song among others.

Extras on this DVD include Keitaro's song book which include the lyrics and a clip from the "Legendary Hot Spring Turtle" song and a character profile for Motoko.

I don't usually give half ratings but, since this is creeping up to 4, I'll give it a 3 1/2 out of 5 (for now).

Monday, August 20, 2007

Love Hina - DVD Vol 1 of 6

Love Hina - DVD Vol 1Volume one of Love Hina contains the first four episodes. This anime is somewhat wacky and so far entertaining but not overly funny. The story revolves around a boy named Keitaro who, as a child, promised a girl that he would get into Tokyo University with her when they got older. She moved away and he cannot remember her name but plans on keeping the promise just the same. So far he's failed twice to pass the entrance exams. Down on his luck and needing a job, his grandmother comes to the rescue by deciding to retire and leaving the management of her apartment up to him. What he doesn't realize is that the apartment is an all-girl's dorm and his employment there is anything but welcomed by the tenants.

So far things are starting out like your standard harem anime - wacky but enjoyable. The artwork is pretty good and the character designs are nice. There is over-the-top violence as well with Keitarou getting the brunt of it. Not one character stands out yet except for the NeiA_7 look-a-like Kaolla who is pretty funny.

Extras on this DVD include Keitaro's sketchbook and character profiles for Keitaro and Naru.

So far I'll give this a 3 out of 5. Hopefully this will get better as I've read a few good reviews of this series.

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 6 of 6

The final volume of Fantastic Children contains the last four episodes (episodes 23 through 26). The extras on the disc are previews and an extra ending which is a good addition to the finale of the series. All of the components of the story culminate in a satisfying ending but one that is predictable from early on in the series. My rating of 3 out of 5 holds to the end as I liked the show but probably would not re-watch it - a good rental. One of the disappointments to the story was Detective Cooks. He really didn't have a role in the end. I can only guess that his and Alice's characters were only there to give background of the other characters for our benefit.

Fantastic Children DVD Vol 6

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 5 of 6

Fantastic Children DVD Vol 5This volume contains four episodes (episodes 19 through 22) and no extras save for some previews. In this DVD we see much of the story come together as Tina's fate and Dumas's plans are revealed. This volume slowly works toward the climax of the series and much information is learned. The pain of all of the characters and their decisions are shown and the tragedies that have led up to where they are now. A good story maintains itself but with nothing extraordinary to really set it apart. 3 of 5 rating.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Treble Makers

Yesterday Fletcher performed at The Children's Center in the Treble Makers concert. This is an annual performance that the kids do there. This year the theme was Oklahoma celebrating the 100th anniversary of statehood. Fletcher played the drums for "I've Been Working on the Railroad." He was not in the best of moods and when he got up in front of everyone he decided that he didn't want to play. I was fun watching him though. He did a little clap when he first got up there which was cute. His mother, sisters and I were there along with both grandmothers and a few friends. Afterwards, NeeNee was interviewed by Channel 9 New which was pretty cool. If you want to see some pictures the go to my wife's blog - she has some there.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 4 of 6

This DVD contains four episodes - episodes 15 through 18. There are no extras other than previews.

Fantastic Children DVD Vol 4The story in this volume takes a turn as Helga (Tina) starts to remember her past lives. She starts by remembering Seraphine her previous incarnation and then moves on to Christine the one before that. It is not apparent whether she begins to remember her past on Girishia or not but the story moves on into that past as well. We learn about that planet and the benevolent king and his daughter Tina. All seems happy at the palace except that there are machinations by the king's brother to take the throne. Seth and Solan vie for the hand of Princess Tina and when Solan wins out, Seth concedes to him but still vows to protect her. One day a bomb meant for the King explodes and gravely wounds Tina. She dies but not before the King orders his scientists to reincarnate her using the Zone that they've discovered. They do and also place an Orsel weapon in her at the King's request. When his brother discovers this he attempts to use her against the King but things get out of hand and she starts destroying everything. She badly injures Seth but Solan calms her before going too far.

The story goes more into sci-fi mode as we learn the histories of the white-haired children and what they are doing on Earth. Things are getting a little more exciting and a little more depressing as things progress. I'll still have to give this a 3 out of 5.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Blog Layout Change

OK, so I've changed the look of this blog. I was getting tired of the old template as it appeared that every other blog I visit uses the same one. So here's the new look. I'll probably change this on later too but, "so it goes."

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 3 of 6

Fantastic Children DVD Volume 3Volume three contains four episodes and no extras other than previews. The story starts to build in the first three episodes as all of the groups (except for Cooks and Alice) come together. The fourth episode on this disc (episode 14 overall) is a recap episode with nothing new in it. I have to say, I hate recap episodes and wonder why anyone includes them into the story other than for filler. That aside, it looks like the story will start to get more interesting from here on out now that we know who the white-haired children are and why they were looking for Helga. There is still a bit of mystery behind the Zone and what Dumas' role is with it.

More than half way through the series and it's still looking pretty good. Still a 3 out of 5 for now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Foundation and Chaos

Foundation and Chaos by Greg BearI've finally finished Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear. I started this book a while ago but had to interrupt reading when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. Then I went on a tangent and read The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of Shadow. I made up my mind to finish this book before I started on The Children of Hurin and thus I will have to wait until I get to the third book in this series.

This book (and the series) has been interesting so far but the subject matter is not what I'm in the mood for at this time. I thought it would be having just read a hundred or so light-reading Doctor Who books.

I did enjoy learning about the formation of the Second Foundation and of how robots figured into it. It's been a long time since I've read the Foundation and Robots books by Asimov so I can only remember the basics about these books. You don't have to know much about them to enjoy these books though since they do well as stand alone stories.

The story in this book takes place in Hari Seldon's later part of life. He is arrested and placed on trial for treason. A crux point for humankind is entered and the outcome will determine whether or not Hari can use psychohistory to minimize the downfall of the Empire. This is a good read and I'll rate it a 3 out of 5.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Lost Tooth / VBS

Last night Maddie lost a tooth... Her first loose tooth! I got a text message while I was watching the Bourne Ultimatum with my Dad that she had a loose tooth. Evidently this was very emotional for her and her mother as they ran the gamut between happiness and crying. Last night Maddie had been messing with it so much that it was hanging on by a thread. After her Aunt Kristi tried a few times with a washrag to pull it, she finally asked me to try. I pulled it and there was much rejoicing, and a few tears from her mother. Last night she didn't go to sleep for a long time as she anxiously awaited the Tooth Fairy (or as she calls it her Fairy Godmother) to come. Fortunately she awoke before I left this morning so I could see how excited she was with the shiny dollar left behind.

Maddie with a Loose Tooth
Maddie showing off her loose tooth

Maddie with a Missing Tooth
Maddie showing off her missing tooth (one day later)

Please note that the gap on top is not a missing tooth, just a gap - in case you're wondering :)

Last week our church had Vacation Bible School and Maddie and her Friend Lauren went. NeeNee taught the Bible Challenge and Maddie has yet to figure out that she cannot hang all over her when she's trying to teach the other kids also. It is funny to watch but frustrating at the same time. Kayleigh helped out in one section at VBS also. I don't have a picture of her in a beard or as a leper but here is a poor quality pic from my phone of her anyway. I think this was the night that she was making the dove land on Jesus' head.

Kayleigh at VBS

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 2 of 6

Fantastic Children DVD Volume 2Fantastic Children Volume 2 builds on the story arcs started in volume 1 as they begin to come together. We get more background on the children from Detective Cooks as he heads off to investigate new clues with Alice. Meanwhile, Tohma helps out Helga and Chitto and his mother brings them into their house. The children discover that Helga is one of them and start to search for her not knowing that she's run away from the orphanage. Gherta is before the council at GED and we find out that they have discovered a new dimension - possibly the dimension after death - and are wanting to anounce the discovery and put the country they work for on the map technologically. Cooks's leads take him and Alice to GED where they are captured.

A few questions are answered in this DVD raising many more.

Extras include nothing more than previews for other series and a clean closing.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fantastic Children - DVD Vol 1 of 6

Fantastic Children DVD Vol 1Volume one of Fantastic Children contains the first five episodes of a 26 episode series. The mystery of the series is being built in this volume as we really don't know a whole lot about what's going on. So far there are at least four different stories running. One having to do with the white-haired children spanning from 1859 to 2012; a second one with a young boy named Tohma and a young orphan named Helga; a third dealing with Detective Cooks who is investigating missing persons which leads him to questions about the white-haired children; and fourth about a company named GED.

So far there is plenty to keep you guessing about what's going on. There is not yet a whole lot to like about the characters though. Tohma is okay, Chitto it a brat (besides his name sounding like a snack food) and Helga is annoying. None of the white-haired children are seen enough to really relate to yet but you do feel that there is a sadness to them - which I'm sure we'll discover later.

So far plenty of mystery keeps this interesting and yet slow pacing is causing me some problems. Perhaps I'm just not really in the mood for this type of series yet again. Hopefully that will all take care of itself when the story unfolds more.

Extras on this DVD include a few previews for other series and a clean opening.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Grenadier - DVD Vol 3 of 3

Grenadier Volume 3 - Touch and GoGrenadier volume 3 was a good ending to a lighthearted fun anime. This was enjoyable as long as the suspension of disbelief factor was turned on high. The ending battle between Rushuna and Tenshi's double was really rather good. I have to agree with what the director said on the commentary though - it was too short. It reminded me of the fight scenes in the movie Equilibrium. All-in-all a good break from the more serious anime I've been watching.

This DVD contains four episodes and has commentaries on each one. Also included is the "In The Meantime" Theater again. A making of documentary is included about the director of the show as well.

Overall series rating: 3 out of 5.

And now on to Fantastic Children...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Sea of Shadow

Book Cover for The Twelve Kingdoms: Sea of ShadowI just finished The Twelve Kingoms: Sea of Shadow written by Fuyumi Ono, translated by Alexander O Smith and Elye J Alexander and published in the US by TOKYOPOP. I had to get this book after watching the anime. Unfortunately there are several more volumes - none of which have been published in English yet. I seem to always get myself mixed up in series that take forever to finish.

Anyway, the book goes into better explanation of the world of the Twelve Kingdoms than the anime did as one would expect. It also has no references to Sugimoto after Yoko leaves Japan or to Asano in it at all. This is fine with me since those characters were just tedious in the anime. This story deals primarily with Yoko and her coming to grips with her new role in a strange world. She starts out as a young girl who doesn't want to upset anyone - a people-pleaser. While trying to make it in her new world, she becomes disillusioned with all those around her to the point of not trusting anyone. She becomes cold and uncaring to others. Eventually she looks within herself to discover who she really wants to be and is finally able to make the hard decisions that she must.

As with anything - the book is much better than the show. It contains most of the story from the anime told in the Shadow of the Moon, Sea of the Shadow chapters. The only problem I have is how long we'll have to wait between volumes and whether or not all volumes will be published. I want to find out how it all ends - something that the anime failed to do.

I give this book a 4 out of 5.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Grenadier - DVD Vol 2 of 3

I watched the second volume of the completely outrageous Grenadier this weekend. It's an enjoyable story so far but entirely over-the-top. We're getting a little more character development and a new character joins the main cast, Mikan. The episode pacing picks up a little also.

The trio of travellers begin their journey back to Tento to discover why it is that Tenshi has issued a warrant for Rushuna. They meet up with a few Juttensen (Tenshi's guards) on the way.

This DVD volume contains four episodes and two shorts in the extra titled "In The Meantime" Theater which are rather funny. It also has commentary with the Japanese actors for each of the four episodes.

So far I still rate this a 3 out of 5.

Twelve Kingdoms - DVD Vol 10 of 10

Finally finished the Twelve kingdoms anime with the tenth volume. 45 episodes, whew, one of the longest anime I've seen. Unfortunately, it didn't end. Way too many open plot threads, the main one is the resolution of Tai's leaders and Sugimoto's role. Anyhow, it was very enjoyable and has made me get the first volume published in English. Now I must wait patiently for the rest to be published...

The Twelve Kingdoms DVD Vol 10 - Reverie

Friday, August 03, 2007

Grenadier - DVD Vol 1 of 3

Grenadier DVD Vol 1 - Service With a SmileI've been waiting on the final volume of Twelve Kingdoms to arrive from Houston and in the meantime I got the first disk of Grenadier "Service With a Smile". This is quite a departure from the seriousness of the anime I've been watching lately. This volume introduces us to Rushuna and her travelling companion Yajiro. Rushuna is a gun expert and Yajiro is a ninja. She has been asked by her sensei Tenshi to travel around and teach that people don't always need to fight. She believes that the best way to win a battle is to take away the other person's desire to fight - mainly with a smile... When this doesn't work, she is very proficient with her weapons as well - to an unimaginable degree of accuracy. Her reloading technique is unique as well - one you would have to see to believe.

So far the stories have been building on the world the characters live in with little character development. We have seen a little of Rushuna's past learning from Tenshi and we also discover why it is that Yajiro fights with a sword and not with guns. The second and third episodes are a two-parter that introduces Clown. He has an agenda which has yet to be revealed. In episode four we learn a little bit more about Tenshi and the fact that Yajiro doesn't like her. It is questionable at this point if there is a connection with Clown and Tenshi but it looks likely that there is.

All in all this was is an enjoyable anime so far if for no other reason than it's a departure from other types of series I've been watching recently. So far I give it a 3 out of 5. Due to the fan service I wouldn't recommend this to younger audiences.

Extras on this DVD include a pre-production show aired in Japan before the series was released. Also included is a textless opening song and alternate versions of the opening and ending theme.