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Odainsaker

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About Odainsaker

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    Landed Gentry

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    Pale Blue Dot, Texas
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    SimCity, Civilization, History, Geography, Art, Architecture, Urban Design...and Anime and J-dorama!

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  1. Die Toten Hosen - "Tage wie diese" ("Days Like These") Proving once again that hopelessly unassuming me would stick out in the audience like a sore thumb at their concerts.
  2. A common real-world means used since ancient times to physically show a political boundary is the use of boundary stones or boundary markers. These are similar to milestones, waymarkers, or survey markers, and they can range from simple rocks, posts, and sign poles to megaliths, stone pillars, and landmark obelisks. They are often inscribed in some way, with modern ones also being sequentially numbered or identified by coordinates. Of course, the size or your region and the fictional relationship you imagine between your states can affect the plop roleplaying. Sentinel stones in the far wilderness may be enough between peacefully co-existing states, while frontier fence lines, border walls, and even defensive trenches might be needed between states with less happier history. I've seen city journal landscapes with romantic megaliths and crumbling medieval walls, but I don't think I've ever seen barbed wire trenches or fortified Maginot lines.
  3. I'll hazard a guess that perhaps you have 3ds Max along with the BAT4Max plugin installed by default in Windows under the Program Files directory. The Program Files directory in Windows is protected by the system and requires administrator permissions for changes, and as BAT4Max does a lot of file writing to an output folder nestled within the 3ds Max program files, if your 3ds Max installation is under Program Files, then it will need administrator permissions when carrying out BAT4Max functions. You may need to either adjust the permissions granted to 3ds Max and BAT4Max, or reinstall 3ds Max and the BAT4Max plugin outside the default protected Program Files directory.
  4. A new music video last month from an Old Fave... Die Toten Hosen - "Unter den Wolken" ("Under the Clouds") ...and an old television video from the New Fave... The Elephant Kashimashi (エレファントカシマシ) - "Kodoku na Taiyō"「孤独な太陽」 ("The Lone Sun") Interestingly, lonely frontman Miyamoto Hiroji on the talk shows is apparently a fan of bookstores, especially second-hand bookstores, collecting old historic maps, fine art books on Chinese Yixing Zisha ceramics, and urban photography books of old Tokyo. I now look around my bookcases and see books of old historical maps, Chinese fine arts, and architecture and urbanism, and now thanks to the promotion by a rockstar with awesome hair, I now have to hunt down or order a copy of Ikeda Akira's Images of TOKYO 1961-1967: City of Water and Streetcars. Almost a hikikomori book hoarder...I feel just like Wayne and Garth discovering that Alice Cooper is a history nerd brimming with random facts about Milwaukee: I was not aware of that!
  5. AskWoody is a wonderfully useful blog now that Windows automatic updating has become woefully unpredictable and even outright perilous and had reported warnings almost a month ago on the need to get up-to-date with the proper security patches, particularly the MS17-010 batch released in March, in anticipation of this particular outbreak.
  6. I didn't want to do a political quote here again, but this Wonderland gem of today's international diplomacy just could not be passed up: "They tricked us! That's the problem with the Russians--they lie." -- Unnamed White House official to CNN on the Russian state-run media release of insider photos showing President Donald Trump meeting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak in the White House Oval Office only hours after Trump suddenly and controversially fired FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the FBI's accelerating investigation into Russian hacking of the U.S. 2016 election, possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russian agents, and the compromising of Trump Administration officials to Russian intelligence. While a Russian photographer was admitted into the Oval Office, the U.S. press was specifically barred from seeing or photographing this awkwardly ill-timed meeting, and American citizens especially were not supposed to see this happy photo of Putin-praising Trump with Kislyak, the suspected spymaster whose web of intrigue has already brought down a National Security Adviser, an acting Attorney General, a Democratic presidential candidate, and now an FBI Director: Nope, no collusion there... ...and you did not see that photo. Fake News!
  7. Hehe, good point, and it is indeed quite stern...I was actually reminded of London's Tottenham district's St. Mark Methodist Church, built a decade earlier in 1937 in that pre-war British art deco style that could have so easily lent itself to fascism. It must be all those post-war British movies that try to imagine what a Fascist Britain could have looked like under Nazi occupation with Edward VIII as a puppet, for they are often filmed around such heavy period buildings, with the favorite being the Battersea power station. Ah well, if we are going to be stern, we should be boldly so, like the 1932 Cine Teatro Brasil Vallourec in Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Like a diesel locomotive just arrived into the Praça Sete de Setembro. Or maybe a Guild Navigator...
  8. The Rivard Report, a local news journal focusing on San Antonio urban issues, had an article this week about the redevelopment of the Travis Park Church block: "Travis Park Church Exploring Redevelopment Ideas" -- The Rivard Report (Photo by Bonnie Arbiitier on The Rivard Report) The Travis Park United Methodist Church is itself a wonderful example of Texas Hill Country church architecture from the mid-1800s, and the redevelopment of the underutilized church-owned buildings on its block is an important project for this part of downtown, but what caught my eye in the article was this image of one of the buildings on the block: What is THAT building? The church's own online history tells us this Youth Building, at 613 Navarro Street, was intended as a church youth center within a 1946 plan to redevelop the block. As part of this plan, the older Harmony Hall building, within which the church had previously rented space for classrooms and choir rehearsals, would have been entirely replaced, but it was later to decided to keep most of the older structure and just rebuild the façade. What they completed in 1950 is a building in an art deco style rarely seen in San Antonio. San Antonio does have a number of popular art deco buildings that are preserved as important examples of that style in Texas, but absolutely no one thinks of San Antonio as an art deco city. For a city that was already a tourist trap in the late 1800s, historicist revival architecture was the norm here, especially Spanish revival and Gothic revival with lots of brick and terracotta work. The art deco buildings we do have differ from the historicist ones primarily in the stylization of the applied ornamentation. Structure, massing, fenestration...they're all the same, just wearing different ornamental dresses, and in several cases they indeed are art deco remodels of earlier historicist façades. To see bold, cubist massing like the Youth Building is very unusual, even if it is ironically still a new façade applied over an older, historicist building. (Photo by Jim Parsons on Hill Country Deco) More outstanding, however, is the Loring Window, the cruciform stained glass window dominating the front. A gift from the Loring family, this 50ft. window constructed with 4,700 pieces of stained glass collected from across Europe and the U.S. was, at the time of its completion in 1950, the tallest stained glass window in the U.S. It is designed so that sunlight from the afternoon sun behind the building would shine through the stain glass crucifix, illuminating it spectacularly. (Photo by jimvondoom on Panoramio) I admit, I live in this city, and I didn't know it was there. An art deco ziggurat, here?! I've even taken inadvertent pictures of it, without even realizing what it was I was photographing: Must have been the poorly placed interference from that traffic light. That, and I was too focused on the fancy, Spanish Baroque revival penthouse of the Majestic Building in the background. For the curious, the building on the left of the image is the South Texas Building, formerly the Central Trust Company Building, site of the bank run that heralded the arrival of the Great Depression to San Antonio. Across Navarro Street opposite the South Texas Building and the Youth Building is the Vogue Building, which formerly housed the fashionable Vogue Department Store. Facing the church off the left edge of the image would be the St. Anthony Hotel, once the premier grand hotel in San Antonio where cattle barons, railroad tycoons, and oil magnates divided up Texas and the Old West. Cattycorner from the church and behind me in the image above is Travis Park, where monuments to the Lost Confederacy still stand. The church once stood on a powerful corner block, and if the can fix urban streetscape mistakes like this, maybe theirs can be a powerful urban block once again.
  9. The Elephant Kashimashi (エレファントカシマシ) - "I am happy" I must admit, I didn't really like this song in its original album form, but, oddly enough, I do like watching this particular performance. It may be because vocalist Miyamoto Hiroji is so much older here than when he first wrote the song, making much of its youthfully silly shagginess now seem wistfully ironic and nostalgic. To think that Miyamoto-sama was once so young yet still doing the same thing: The Elephant Kashimashi (エレファントカシマシ) - "Tatakau Otoko"「戦う男」 ("The Fighting Man")
  10. Amazon sells both digital download and physical disc versions of the SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition. The digital versions on Amazon are offered as a "Direct to Account" or as a "Thin Game Download." Commenters on Amazon warn that the "Direct to Account" version is actually the undesirable Origin DRM version being sold by Origin via Amazon and requires linking your Amazon account to an Origin account. The "Thin Game Download," however, is the preferred patched and DRM-free digital download. Amazon in the U.S. is currently offering the "Thin Game Download" digital version for $16.77. The disc versions being sold through Amazon are actually being sold by third-party marketplace vendors, similar to Ebay, and those vendors may either be selling new or used discs, for which Amazon will first list the best price followed by additional best shipping costs. Used discs will be listed within a range of wear or damage conditions, and the vendor is supposed to state any such wear issues or defects, but be aware that vendors are not always clear or complete in their descriptions. If purchasing a used disc, buyers should be absolutely sure that an original working CD key is being included, that the discs are authentic and a matching set, and that the discs are appropriate for their region. Additionally, due to older DRM schemes on the physical disc versions, all of the disc offerings, both new and used, may not work with fully-patched Windows 7 or 8 without operating system workarounds, and none will work at all on systems running Windows 10. The listed $0.38 price is by a third-party vendor selling a set of two used discs without the case and, more significantly, without the CD installation key.
  11. John Williams - "The Imperial March," played by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra on the grounds of Vienna's Schönbrunn Palace. The march is already a classic, but...wow, look at the setting: The Force Awakens in the Austro-Hungarian Empire! Mitteleuropa: Revenge of the Sith The Habsburgs Strike Back!
  12. Did you known that a Jefferson Davis Hardy was a Black Tiger pilot on "Star Blazers," the U.S.-localized version of the classic anime "Space Battleship Yamato"? The original character Yamamoto Akira was not only renamed, but given a U.S. Southern accent that would have made both William Jefferson Clinton and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions proud. Who would have thought that States' Rights and the War of Northern Aggression would dovetail into a Japanese postwar revisionist cartoon's space fighter pilot with an awesome shock of anime hair and a drawl? Yamamoto/Hardy's ultimate kamikaze scene was originally considered far too inappropriate for general U.S. broadcast television in 1979, and the final impact saluting the dangerously foreign wartime values of a former enemy were specifically edited out for the sake of American children. However, we knew all too well what had happened... Jeffuuusun Daaavis Haaardy...BANZAI! ... The latest remake of the anime has reimagined the heroic character American viewers first knew has Jefferson Davis Hardy into...ahem... Maybe if she was the President of the Confederate States leading the glorious fight for The Cause, the North's Army of the Potomac might have surrendered en masse without firing a shot.
  13. I think I might have once again found this one, Maxis's Marshall Printing, as the American Stock Exchange Building at 86 Trinity Place in New York City's financial district. This was formerly the New York Curb Exchange Building and later was the trading site for AMEX, a contemporary of the NYSE. The Maxis recreation has some variations in the number of bays, the setbacking, and the ground floor. However, the general size, the articulation of the windows and vertical pilasters, the shapes of topmost sculptures, and the Art Deco corner notching are a very close fit, and this huge close-up of the real building wonderfully shows those details. Of course, Maxis's loose discrepancies are fairly large, many of these types of buildings share similar elements and patterns, and sometimes an architectural firm might do lesser-known variations on a successful design, but I'm fairly confident this is the right source. The flagpole was enough for me. I'll be honest, I cannot claim to have first spotted this, as @simcity4fan12 actually offhandedly mentioned it back in 2009 on @Francis90b's Bat Mill when Francis90b was making a detailed BAT of the AMEX, and, amusingly, many of us from this thread posted about this building in that thread. I didn't even realize the connection then, and I even posted in that thread! How so much work and knowledge gets buried and lost in the shuffle...this will just be the filing here for the Maxis References thread where we can see it in one place in and praise simcity4fan12 for his long ago find. I've only stumbled across this again while using Google Earth Pro to inspect the neighboring Trinity Court Building (the building on the left in the image above). To think that I once walked around and even photographed these buildings in real-life without knowing just what they were.
  14. No one here or on SC4Devotion seems to have named it, but I now know which it is, thanks to accidentally stumbling past it with Google Earth Pro while researching another building. It's the Aria, the former Lewis Tower Building in Philadelphia! This is a wonderful looking BAT project, and Philly has some surprisingly awesome buildings.
  15. Though it is a beautiful hotel now, it was originally built as the Medical Arts Building, an office building for medical professionals to operate their private practices. In the early 20th Century, these innovatively centralized "medical arts buildings" would be where a person downtown could receive a check-up with their private physician, see a referred specialist, or just visit a dentist. When it opened in 1926, the 13-story Spanish and French Gothic Revival building was San Antonio's tallest, and the triangular site made it "San Antonio's Flat-Iron." The top floors housed a 50-bed hospital operated by the building's medical collective, giving recuperating patients a commanding view of the city. Amusingly, much is made of the seeming need to limit skyscraper development within sight of the Alamo, lest such buildings alter the historic integrity of the skyline as seen from the Alamo grounds. This was the argument strongly pressed by UNESCO to block the proposed Joske's Tower. The Emily Morgan ironically stands as a pointed counter-argument to the notion that tall buildings are necessarily incongruent and incompatible with the Alamo or its surroundings: Interestingly, the Medical Arts Building was built with a wall-to-wall façade that suggests the street façade wall could be continued by later buildings in what was then a series of under-developed blocks on the fringe of downtown and the around the rear gardens of the Alamo. That potential development never happened, as the Great Depression that suddenly ended San Antonio's 1920s building boom was just around the corner. A competitor built a few blocks west of the Medical Arts Building was the J. M. Nix Professional Building, which opened in 1929 as the largest, tallest, and most fully-integrated hospital skyscraper in the nation. Unlike the Emily Morgan, the Nix Professional Building is still run as the Nix Medical Center, and is a rare surviving example of such an early downtown Gothic skyscraper hospital: Amusingly, the buildings I have most cited in this thread--the Alamo, the Menger, the Emily Morgan, and the Nix--are all considered the four most haunted sites in downtown San Antonio, which is itself claimed to be the most haunted city in Texas. There are supposedly ghosts from Mexican and Texican war dead, ancient Indian burial grounds, lost Spanish conquistadors, disappeared French explorers, Old West saloon shootouts, forgotten Civil War heroes, atmospheric hotel mystery murders, sinister mad doctors, and old patient suicides. I'm not a believer in the paranormal, but, yeah, that's definitely Spook Central. I might argue its part of the life and liveliness of the city that Alamo Plaza is also a rally point for the annual Zombie Walks. __________ It's not often that urban planners and architects get to work with significant sites like this, and this has naturally rocketed to the forefront of San Antonio urban design. For those interested, here are a couple of YouTube clips of the site for more context: Alamo Plaza ground level Drone footage of the Alamo at sunrise Disturbingly, the proposed Alamo Plaza Master Plan will already go before City Council for approval on May 11, and we are being told it needs to be approved despite any misgivings and that is can "evolve" afterwards. I suspect some deadlines involving the release of the project's $450 million in funding or the conditional donation of the Phil Collins Collection are at work, but the notion that we need to approve what we have now and maybe fix it later is worrisome given the deeply fundamental issues being criticized in the plan.