I lost all the time stamps when my other site went down, but from clues in the posts I've been able to cobble together a timeline here. At the very least they are all in order.
I can't vouch for the existence of everything that has been linked to, but I tried to update links where possible. Nothing else has been touched. Enjoy.
|Late 2003/Early 2004|
|Rated M means Mature, fools. Regarding GTA Vice City, I was going to write something about some parents needing to pass some kind of test to have children. Something like "Yes or No: I realize that as a parent I should take an active role in my child's life, such as not enabling them to be exposed to things which are far beyond their maturity and level of understanding." Those who answer no (or, more accurately, "what?") would be immediately sterilized. Then I thought that might be a bit extreme, and subsequently lost interest. I will say this: "An Individual Person" is a reasonable, intelligent entity. "People" are irrational and mind-bogglingly clueless.|
|Thought of the day: Diet root beer with scoops of lowfact ice cream in it cannot, in fact, be called a root beer float, because in actuality it turned out completely awful. The ice cream took on a strange crystalline quality, not unlike shaved ice, but completely unlike actual ice cream. Oh, and it somehow lost its taste in the process too. The root beer itself did manage to take on a cream soda quality at least. I don't think this will be an experiment I repeat without having real ice cream and real root beer, i.e. with actual sugar involved.|
GTA:VC story of the week. My favorite vehicle to use in Vice City is by far the PCJ 600, which is a pretty fast motorcycle. Anyway, well, I actually managed to run myself over with it today.
Now, losing control of the bike is nothing new. Losing control of it and having it wipe out a random pedestrian is nothing new either, and a quick $20 too. Losing control of it and have it wipe out me, that's freaking hilarious.
So I hit a car and it launched me from the bike, high and far. Well, while I'm recovering here comes the bike tumbling right after me...*bounce* *roll* *flip* *thunk*
...and a good time was had by all.
This is also why I will never have a motorcycle in real life.
Obvious thought of the day: Direct marketing companies = evil.
Spam, telemarketing, and junk mail...all these companies need to die. And don't forget that the only reason they even exist is that there is a small portion of our population who are consistently stupid enough to actually give these people money for their crap, thus encouraging them that much more.
New anime: Here's a few new shows that I would recommend
Interlude - an OAV series, it's about a student who is having strange visions of a horrific world where he sees his friends suffering and monsters destroying everything. Even when his friends seem to experience the same things, they have no memory of it. I don't want to go into much more detail than that so as to not spoil anything, but this one looks like it will be really intriguing and interesting to watch. I guess from my description it sounds a bit like Dual, and in a way it is. No robots though, but there is some comedy to it too.
Maria-sama ga Miteru - a shoujo TV series. I know this isn't new new, but I've only recently watched it. It's about a Catholic girl's school, and in particular about the "sister system" for lack of a better word. Basically the leadership of the school council is done by three girls, who represent three different Roses. Each girl must choose a younger sister who will eventually take over for them. So the beginning of this series describes one such girl's search for a "petite soeur" - younger sister. (lots of French words here) Anyway, I wasn't sure that I would really enjoy it early on, but after the first episode it ended up getting a lot more interesting. I guess it took me a while to understand the whole structure of the system before I could get into it really. I've seen it all the way through now and I'm glad I didn't give up on it. The main character, Yumi, reminds me of Tohru from Fruits Basket...only not surrounded by bishounen. Quite the opposite actually.
Bakuretsu Tenshi. This is a more straightforward shounen TV series, with robots, gunplay, and a squad of young women whose purpose is a bit clouded thus far but seems to be a vigilante force of some kind. It takes place in the future of Tokyo, where there is much more lawlessness and citizens are permitted to openly carry weapons for protection. There have been articles about this in on of the more recent issues of Newtype USA, and I'm glad I managed to check it out.
Melody of Oblivion. In this TV Series, Humans and Monsters have been at war, but now the monsters have one and people have more or less forgotten about the entire conflict. Secretly, though, the leaders still pay a tribute to the monsters every four years, which leads to some strange disappearances. Bocca, one student at the school where this starts out, questions why more is not known about the conflict, and dreams of becoming a warrior to fight the monsters himself. Then he meets one such warrior, and also finds out a (mad?) scientist friend of his is very much in the know about the war, too. This leads to Bocca discovering that he has the makings (markings?) of a warrior as well, and the scientist just happens to have an extra of one of the special motorcycles that warriors use as well...
|Face it, if you don't want to pay so much for gas, then sell your SUV which you only use to drive around town pretending you're hot sh!t and buy something a little bit more fuel efficient.|
Humorous fansub note of the week: I was watching an anime episode today...let's not get into details about
which show...but the fansubbers took it upon themselves to put the following on the screen at one point:|
Note:Stop watching. Now.This is of course after they've already put a warning at the beginning that sane people should not watch the show.
Raimuiro Senkitan and other anime:
Finally I've been able to download the entire series. I've only been looking for it for about a year or so now. I got the first episode off of Kazaa like last April and hadn't been able to find any more of it until recently.
This means it's probably going to suck, having waited this long ^_- Heck, even John of AnimeNation said he couldn't finish it, and from what I've read of his articles our tastes seem to coincide more often than not as far as newer anime goes.
I've tried to stick with it, but I'm giving up on Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito. After having seen three episodes, I can't get myself to continue. Likewise I'm not watching any more Smash Hit. It's just gotten painful to watch.
Other shows in danger of suffering the same fate are Gungrave, Nanaka 6/17, and Ultra Maniac.
Gantz is really annoying to me at the moment. I think it'd be a much better series without the main character Kei. I think I hate him. It shows a lot of promise though.
The first episode of Samurai Champloo completely rocked. It's the most recent work by director Shinichiro Watanabe, who did Cowboy Bebop.
Shinichiro Watanabe is not to be confused with Shinichi Watanabe (Nabeshin!) who directed Excel Saga and Tenchi Muyo GXP. I had to look it up again to figure out which was which to make this post though ^_^;
Midori no Hibi continues to be awesome. I thought it was a very bad idea for an anime when I first heard about it, but I'm glad I checked it out.
The fansub groups have really been dragging their feet on Melody of Oblivion. Surely someone, somewhere, is subbing this? I still only have the first three episodes. Again, it's free, so I shouldn't complain...
Calculus 3 and Anime
So apparently I'll be teaching Calculus 3 this first summer semester. Actually I got more advance warning on this than usual, most times it seems I find out about class changes on the first day of classes. Should be interesting though.
As for Raimuiro Senkitan, I finished watching it last night since it was just a 13 episode series. I guess it turned out pretty good, though there are parts of it that are somewhat questionable in their nature to say the least.
It seems like I'm always a sucker for school related anime, though. I don't mean sucker in a bad way, only that it seems I enjoy these shows more than your typical anime fan. Things like Azumanga Daioh, Great Teacher Onizuka, and Sensei no Ojikan, these are all excellent shows. Just recently I got to watch the first six episodes of Gokusen, which chronicles the career of the granddaughter (and heir apparent) of a yakuza boss who is starting her first teaching job and wants to get through it without letting her students know her situation. To Heart is another show that primarily documents school life, and Super Gals concerns itself a lot with school as well; both are very good shows. To name-drop some other school-related anime I enjoy: Da Capo, Kanon, Happy Lesson, Maburaho, Psychic Academy, Maria-sama ga Miteru, Onegai Teacher, and Onegai Twins.
Maybe this fondness for school-related anime stems from my being a teacher, or maybe there's something else about the classroom setting that really strikes a chord with me. Some of them are romantic comedies, some comedy-dramas, and others are just slice of life anime. Either way, it remains a fact that I really like these shows.
It's Procrastination Time! Yes, it's that special time of the week again when I'm sitting down trying to make out lesson plans for Calculus 3. Last week's seven hour marathon went so well I figured I'd repeat it every Sunday this semester!
Let's see what I've accomplished so far instead of making those notes:
So far so good, eh? Oh, and not only do I need to make lecture notes for the seven sections we'll cover this week, I'll also need to write the test they'll be taking tomorrow. Fun stuff, guess I'd better get back to it.
Addendum: Speaking of lunch, why is it that I can go buy 36 bagel bites (2-18 count packages) from Walmart for about $5.50, but if I want the 40 count package it'll run me about $6.50? Those last 4 bagel bites aren't worth a quarter each! But it's kind of silly though, isn't it?
Shingetsutan Tsukihime: The Tsukihime soundtracks are the new hotness. Both OSTs are excellent and stand up to repeated listening. Speaking of Tsukihime, the first volume of the anime is out in October from Geneon, who is also releasing the first soundtrack around the same time as well. So I'll have an official copy eventually ^_-
Tsukihime is about a high school student, Shiki Tohno, who has the special ability to see the red thread binding things together - as well as the ability to destroy the thread and hence the objects, as well as people... He wears glasses that prevent him from seeing these because it upset him so. A rash of killings in the city are suspected to be the work of vampires. Tohno, upon meeting a girl in the park, kills her for some reason he can't even remember. But the girl, Arcueid, has more important things to do than just die...
Good stuff, worth checking out.
Here's the opening music if you want to give it a listen. (1 min 35 sec, 32 kb/s, 371 kb)
One thing I noticed, as I've been watching Tsukihime again, is that it's not something that needs to be seen all at once. For one thing, there is a lot going on that needs to be digested before continuing. But at the same time, the slow, deliberate pacing of the show coupled with the dark subject matter...it's hard to say, but it seems like an emotional drain of sorts, like it takes a lot of emotional effort to keep up with it. Maybe it comes from having seen it before and knowing what ultimately happens to the characters involved.
On the one hand, the impression you get from seeing or experiencing something for the first time is definitely worth treasuring. On the other hand though, you generally only have an impressionistic view of it. You don't have the whole picture just yet, but what you see you think you like. Only upon repeated viewings do the gaps get filled in and everything starts to make sense. Sometimes it gives you an even greater enjoyment, and sometimes there occurs a bit of a demystification.
I can remember the wonderful feelings I've had upon experiencing some shows for the first time, such as Love Hina and Ai Yori Aoshi. In a way I reflect upon those feelings with sorrow, knowing that I can never again enjoy them in quite the same way as I did the first time. But I also take solace in knowing I can always revisit them and enjoy them once more. They still affect me as deeply as they have in the past, but the prima facia, as it were, that remains the most special.
This doesn't just apply to anime, you know?
|Quote of the Week: "The fact remains that it is my job to play videogames with my best friend. And my wife is hot." - Tycho, of Penny Arcade|
|Just for the heck of it...Dog pictures: one and two. Tony and Stormy.|
|The end of the world? Just noticed that someone had posted a copy of Howard the Duck for download, and there are 39 poor souls at this very moment eagerly trying to get it. Alas, the poor misguided youth of today. ^_-|
|Geek Test: This was an amusing way to lose a bit of sleep. Link is here. I scored a 38.6578%, which ranks me as a "Major Geek".|
Olympics: I've been watching the Olympics quite a bit this weekend, which has been good for the most part, but I do have two complaints.
First, the US Men's Basketball team is ill-suited for the format of these games, which really became obvious after Puerto Rico handed them their asses. Primarily they do not have sufficient 3-point shooting skills. This is especially heinous because supposedly they knew at the outset that it would be a major aspect of the game. Now, it's not all the selection committee's fault though, because a number of the players they wanted to be on the team that could shoot threes well opted not to participate.
Also I would say that teamwork and lack of familiarity with each other causes problems too, but you might expect players of their caliber to transcend those facts. I think the US would have been better served just taking the NBA champion Pistons, making a few replacements if needed for any international players they had, and just let them represent the US in the Olympics. Maybe it's not fair to other players who would like to participate, but I think the US needed to field a Team in Athens, not just a collection of superstars. We've already seen how a well coached team of players of varying skill levels (Pistons) can dominate a crew made up of superstars (Lakers). That's not entirely fair to the Lakers, but I think the point is still a valid one.
Finally my second beef with these Olympics is the absolute inability of any of the broadcast crew to pronounce Japanese names. It sounds like they work real hard to learn how to say Spanish names properly, as well as European and even Chinese names. But when a Japanese athlete comes up they still give it the same bad mispronunciation that probably 95% of Americans have always been accustomed to using. Case in point: I just watched the women's 400 meter freestyle trials. There was a Japanese swimmer competing named Sachiko Yamada, which is pronounced by stressing the first syllable of each name, SA-chi-ko YA-ma-da. Our broadcasters, like every other broadcaster so far, came up with: sa-CHI-ko ya-MA-da. I realize it's not an easy error to correct after pronouncing their names incorrectly for decades, but all it would take is a short 5 minute primer to help fix this. I mean, you're going be working a competition featuring athletes from all over the world, maybe you should study up on how to pronounce names at least? I think it's very disrespectful for people in their position not to at least care how to pronounce someone's name properly.
A couple quick comics...forgot to add these before.
First of all, yesterday's Penny Arcade was the funniest I've seen from them in a while. And that's saying a lot. For the uninitiated, PAX is the video game convention they're holding very soon.
Also, check out a Sinfest strip from earlier this week. Fear the squirrels. Edgers will know the terror of which I speak.
|I went ahead and uploaded my thesis in case anyone's interested. Apparently it spawned an article that appeared in Applied Mathematics and Computation, but I can't find a (free) copy of it anywhere.|
|A couple of my students approached me about sponsoring their anime club, so I'm pretty excited about that. It'll be cool to, you know, actually watch anime with other people. I never get to do that. The group seems to be all female right now, which is a little worrisome as to what we'll end up watching, but you can bet it won't be the neverending fighting anime like Dragonball Z. And I think that's something we can all be thankful for.|
|Penny Arcade: Again with the funny, does their comic skills know no bounds? Great job on facial expressions again, as well as the comic itself.|
GTA Vice City Sceens of the Day: Ran across some interesting things playing Vice City this evening.
First, that you just can't hire good help anymore. Once I buy a piece of property, my henchmen start to congregate on the premises, protecting it from other gangs. This time I happened to ride too close to them for comfort and tried to get out of my way. The henchmen, apparently operating under the assumption that I am astride the Scooter of the Apocalypse, saw fit to cast themselves into the water...only to drown, because everyone knows there's NO SWIMMING IN VICE CITY. Reportedly there will be swimming in San Andreas, which is definitely an improvement. Because I hate drowning just because the water is an inch deeper than I am tall.
The other screenshot shows a car flying through the air sideways. Anyone who's played the game a lot knows, though, that there's this jump which you have to do on a motorcycle to complete one of the missions. And here, I just decided to try it with a car instead. Much less control, as it turns out.
|I now own a house...How about that, eh? Now I just have to move this weekend.|
Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper...Could they possibly add any more adjectives to this? And even if they could, there's no way it fits on the can. These madmen must be stopped!
I guess it tastes decent. With so many flavors thrown together nothing really stands out. The cherry does a little bit.
Site stats: Well, I was looking through my site statistics for October, because I guess I was bored or something, and ran across something kind of odd. Actually it sort of defies explanation, and really you just need to see for yourself. One of these is not like the others...
Now, most of my referrers are from larinon.net because I'm using frames in my pages. Generally, any external linkage I get is from Anime Grapevine because sometimes I'll use images in my posts there which are hosted on this site. But this was just strange.
Now, purely for research purposes, I decided to check the site out. Just to save you a bit of time, it just seems to connect you to a page full of ads for various other sites. And by other sites I don't mean sites like mine that won't earn them any money.
So yeah, strange.
|I think my computer may have just set a new personal speed record. 13 mins and 18 secs to download a 172 mb file, or a sustained speed of roughly 215 kb/s. Usually I don't notice that stuff except I was just sitting here reading Slashdot and clicked back over to check the progress before going to bed. You may think 215 kb/s is no big deal, but if you've used bit torrent before you know that most of the time it takes a while to really get going strong. Consider also that I was also downloading another file at the same time. So there :P|
Futurama = awesome:
Kif: The Holo-Shed's on the fritz again, the characters turned real! Zapp: Damn. The last time that happened I got slapped with three paternity suits!
So do the 49ers suck or what? The correct answer is: "what". They don't just suck. I was going to call them abysmal, but I don't think that's being fair to abysses. Abyssi? Abyssisses. Whatever. We're talking Marianas Trench depths of suckfulness here, folks.
Get rid of the GM, Terry Donohue, and the owner, John York. And probably the coach too, Dennis Erickson, for good measure. They had an offer by someone, I forget who, to buy the team. Someone who sounded like they actually wanted to spend money on this team to improve it, not just try to maintain it and watch the bottom line. The bottom line is this: it's actually not a good thing to get the first pick in the draft, because you have to pay a ton of money to someone that you're not sure is going to perform at the desired level. For more info, Google for Leaf, Ryan, cross-referenced with Chargers, San Diego.
The 49ers: Long-winded breakdown follows.
I got to watch a full game of theirs today, which is of course an oddity this season. So I got to witness firsthand all of the problems they're having.
I still maintain that the owner John York is the biggest problem, with GM Terry Donahue still in second, but it's obvious now that Dennis Erickson just does not have all that much to work with here. Injuries have wiped out the defense's best players: DE Andre Carter, OLB Julian Peterson, and most significantly, CBs Ahmed Plummer and Mike Rumph. Rumph was finally making good progress in his third year when he went down with injury, but now in a unit that was already a question mark (having let FS Zack Bronson go to free agency in the offseason), the only constant from last year is SS Tony Parrish. An awesome player, definitely, but he can't do it alone. CB Jimmy Williams, who looked promising as a nickel back last year, really showed some holes in his game giving up some big plays and committing some big penalties early in the year. CB Dwayne Carpenter is decent, but not good enough to be an everyday starter, and finally CB Shawtae Spencer, a 2nd round draft pick, is still developing to where he'll need to be. Spencer has done well for a rookie, but that doesn't cut it here.
The defensive line has problems from the get-go, even just finding enough healthy bodies to fill out a roster. Bryant Young is still a rock in the middle, even in his thirties, but the line as a whole has been comparable to swiss cheese. I can't even name half the guys they're rotating in and out of there. DE John Engelberger is fast but kind of small for his position, so he can be pushed around. DT Anthony Adams is still developing but does fairly well when healthy. There was one guy I saw today, DT Brown, I think his name is Tony Brown, who showed some flashes of skill here and there. But the D-Line will be a major area of need come offseason. They need a bigger DE, maybe a huge DT to plug the middle.
The linebackers are still fairly strong, even without the great and versatile OLB Julian Peterson. MLB Derek Smith was doing everything he could stopping Clinton Portis from breaking loose, and OLBs Jeff Ulbrich and Jamie Winborn were all over the field chasing down Redskins. This unit is good, but it can't be successful when the other two components of the defense are hurting. If they can get Peterson back next year (contract is up again), then it should again be a position of strength.
Overall, the defense did reasonably well, actually. They only allowed one touchdown to the Redskin offense while forcing three field goals when pinned deep in the red zone. They do need to create more turnovers, that would help immensely, but the main problem the defense has is when the offense screws up and lets their opponents start their drives past the 50.
Ahh yes, the offense. Both the offense and defense have been bad this year, but at least the defense seems to be making progress. The offense can't seem to stay on the field for more than six plays at a time.
The biggest disappointment here has to be RB Kevan Barlow, who had 1000 yards rushing last year while splitting time with Garrison Hearst. With Hearst off in Denver now, Barlow was going to pick up right where he left off, possibly gaining as much as 1500 yards once he became the feature back. It was thinking like this that has come to haunt both of my fantasy teams this year. (I took him with my first pick in one league - picked 12th out of 14)
I'm not sure what happened here, but part of the blame has to go on the Offensive Line. All Pro C Jeremy Newberry is now out for the season after missing most of it. Also, LT Kwame Harris, the team's 1st round draft pick last year, has not progressed as much as had been hoped. He looked decent in relief of Derrick Deese last season, but just hasn't panned out this season. The team also lost their starting RG, Ron Stone, from last year, and their top backup Matt Willig. And like with the rest of the team, the line just doesn't have the depth to overcome its starters missing time. RB Maurice Hicks has looked good in relief of Barlow, but we've seen nothing like the brilliance that Kevan Barlow had tempted us with last season.
The receivers are hard to gauge. There have been issues with the QB position, definitely, but the WRs haven't really lived up to what billing they had going for them either. WR Brandon Lloyd should have had a breakout season, and he's definitely made some plays. But watching him today though, it looks like he's still having problems making catches, catches that he needs to be making without too much effort, even at this point in his young career. He has a lot of swagger, but he really needs to start backing it up with his performance. And top draft pick Rashaun Woods? Where's he been anyway? The coaches seem to be keeping him off the field, even though the team has long been out of the playoffs. They need to get him in there and get some work and see what happens. He looked good early on in training camp, but he hurt his hamstring and had to take it easy during the preseason. Since the regular season started he's barely seen the playing field, and only has a handful of catches. Now, WR Cedrick Wilson has looked pretty good this season, and at least has performed beyond expectations. Toiling in the shadow of Terrell Owens and Tai Streets last year, he's finally gotten his chance and has shown he can be a viable NFL receiver. That said, I believe he's not able to be the big play guy the 49ers need. Wilson is a good number two or slot receiver, but they really need Lloyd or Woods to step up and become the number one guy. Besides that, Wilson is a good return man too, which makes him pretty valuable to the team.
The bright spot on the offense is TE Eric Johnson. A converted wide receiver, he's now caught almost 80 passes on the season, by far the number one pass catcher on the team. He's got good speed which lets him beat opposing linebackers, and seems to be a decent (not great) blocker as well. Again, he can't do it all himself.
Finally we get to the quarterbacks. I was actually sort of surprised and disappointed that we didn't get to see 7th round pick Cody Pickett play today after Ken Dorsey broke a finger on his non-throwing hand. I would think the 49ers need to see what they have in him before they consider spending the top pick in next year's draft (which they'll most likely have) possibly on USC QB Matt Leinart. Because if they do bring in another QB, that'll give them four guys from which to choose three, and all are pretty young so it's difficult to say you've given up on one or another. Tim Rattay has been okay when he's been healthy, but he's been plagued by injuries all season. Rattay was expected to step up and be a decent starter after Jeff Garcia left in the offseason, but he hasn't been able to put enough healthy games together to get into any kind of rhythm. Ken Dorsey, the other starter this season, has also shown that he can be effective, but overall has not been as successful as Rattay, which means not particularly successful at all. Dorsey has had one less year in the system than Rattay, and getting the start today looked a bit uncomfortable in the pocket. The fact remains though, that going into the season the 49ers had three young and more or less untested and inexperienced quarterbacks on their roster, and they have struggled here all year.
It would have been nice to keep Garcia around at least one more year to allow Rattay and Dorsey more time to develop, but the management refused to pay him fair market value for a player of his skill. They had to know that the offensive line was going to be weaker this year with the personnel losses they suffered, and a veteran mobile quarterback like Garcia could at least have given the team a bit more hope for success.
The question now is, what needs do they address in the draft next year? Ideally, they'll be able to parlay that high first round pick into maybe a lower first plus a second rounder, but it's not a perfect world. The draft class this year doesn't look to be anywhere near as strong as last years, with no clear frontrunner on the top pick unless one team really feels the urge to jump up and pick Leinart or WR Mike Williams. There seems to be a definite need at QB, CB, and DL. I think they should trade down if possible, take a CB first, maybe a QB second (unless they've fallen in love with Leinart), and address the defensive and offensive lines next. More important than anything is they have to do well in these next couple drafts if they have any hope of returning to dominance. Alas that the guiding hand of Bill Walsh is no longer nearby. I have no idea how active the team will be in free agency. They were focused on removing the dead weight from the salary cap this past year, and I can't see them being quite free of it until maybe 2006. With an owner focused on the bottom line and a coach eyeing jobs elsewhere, who can say what will happen.
|I guess it'd really suck if I finished everything that I wanted to do, because what would I do after that?|
|Quote of the day, found online: Jesus is coming...everyone look busy!|
I've been meaning to link the site for a long time, but here's the page to Red vs. Blue. It's based on the game Halo, though really I think it can be appreciated by anyone who's played first person shooters which seem to be lacking in plot. Which means...all of them? Unreal and Unreal II were pretty awesome. Anyway, Red vs. Blue is just hilarious, check it out.
"...Seriously though, why are we out here? As far as I can tell, it's just a box canyon in the middle of nowhere. No way in or out...The only reason that we set up a red base here is because they have a blue base over there, and the only reason they have a blue base over there is because we have a red base here." "Yeah, that's because we're fighting each other." "No, no, but I mean, even if we were to pull out today, and they were to come take our base, they would have two bases in the middle of a box canyon. Whoop-de-f*cking-do." excerpted from Red vs. Blue, Season 1, Episode 1
More Red vs. Blue quoted goodness for your
(as bullets whizz past our "heroes"...)Also, who can forget the terms of the Blue team's surrender at the end of the battle...
Church (Blue):...Now what do we get?Classic stuff from episodes 21 and 22.
|Sin City: Awesome, awesome movie. Of course, I think I'll need to see it a few more times just to verify that. And to stare at Jessica Alba some more. Woo.|
Attention fools...Here's a newsflash for those who've yet to figure it out...
Just because something is not popular doesn't mean that it's not good. Likewise, just because something is popular doesn't mean it can't be good as well. That covers both sides of the fence.
Hobbies, interests, pop stars, hairstyles, et cetera become popular for various reasons. Maybe it's based on a simple yet interesting concept that makes it easily accessible to many people. Maybe it came to the forefront just at the right time, when people were in the right mindset to be interested in it and it hit the big time. Maybe it was just dumb luck. Who knows. But don't hate something just because it's popular. That's just being ignorant.
Also, just because you think something is horrible and utter crap, doesn't mean that someone else won't find it worthwhile and of value. To them it may be the best thing in the world. This is not any kind of comment on either party. Neither is better than the other, you just happen to have diverging interests.
Why do people get so uptight about that stuff? Are they that insecure about who they are that they constantly need to have themselves validated based on what most everyone else thinks? Don't cheat yourself, you'll be a lot happier.
Also, Pump Up the Volume is a great movie.
|Thursday I apparently came down with what's known as a stomach virus. These seem to arrive with different symptoms, and although my symptom assortment could have been worse, it still laid me up till late Saturday when I finally felt better. The fever alone was not fun, but of course it was packaged with a much more evil unpleasantness that I certainly could have done without. The MC anime club held a garage sale this weekend, to help raise fundage for A-Kon, so I couldn't help out with that in my condition...nor did I particularly want to go out and infect other people. I'm pretty sure that it's considered bad protocol at garage sales and the like to give your customers unpleasant diseases.|
Lots of movies are coming out soon that I'm aching to see. I still need to see Sin City again, of course, but I really want to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy first and foremost right now. Next after that I'll want to see Kung Fu Hustle, and the in May...the final installment of Star Wars! The first one to receive a PG-13 rating, no less, imagine that. Yeah, I'm going to go see it, possibly several times, you got a problem with that? Quit complaining about how Lucas does his movies, and either go see it or don't. No one's forcing you.
Ahh yes, I can't forget that scene in the second prequel movie, when Anakin returns from killing the sand people who had kidnapped his mother. I probably ruined the moment for Cohen when I leaned over to him and said "Anakin Skywalker: Now with 50% more evil." Good times, good times. I still can't watch that scene, which is supposed to be tragic, sad, and foreboding, without cracking a smile about that. Yeah, there's probably something wrong with me.
See the universe for just under 30 Altairian dollars per day!
So anyway, I saw Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yesterday. And, well, I guess I thought it was decent. Not great, like I was really hoping, but then I probably knew all along that it couldn't live up to the books.
It was still a bit disappointing, though, despite knowing that. The ending was just a bit flat. I wasn't really crazy about how Zaphod turned out either. I did think that Marvin came across pretty well, and Arthur turned out fine, too, but most of all I liked how Ford was done. The characters were fine, for the most part, I guess I just didn't like the plot that they tried to string together for the movie, especially knowing how things already went in the books. Someone seeing it without having read them might enjoy it much more, but I still think the ending doesn't live up to the build-up.
|I've been playing a lot of video games as well, making some good progress in GTA: San Andreas. Although, just as a side note, let me say that the proper response to "Would you like to come in for some coffee?" is most likely not: "You better be clean, bitch". I don't know, maybe it's just me.|
A long day of work after a long weekend, and now I've got this allergy/headache/congestion thing going on. Very fun stuff.
But anyways: A-Kon. My first anime convention. Dallas, TX, June 3-5, 2005. Certainly it will not be forgotten soon, for various reasons.
I got up at 5 am on Friday, to get ready to drive to Dallas. Arrived around 12:30 pm and checked in to the hotel and then the convention itself. We spent some time trying to find the other members of our group but eventually gave up. In retrospect we shouldn't have even bothered looking in the first place. After I came to the conclusion that I should stop worrying about what the others were doing and just go off and have fun by myself, the con became instantly more enjoyable.
Friday night was the concert. Three Japanese groups: ZZ, Kumiko Kato, and dream performed, in that order. ZZ was a sort of alternative/rap/metal group, and they gave a pretty impressive performance. I had never heard their music previously, that I was aware of, but all in all it sounded good.
Next up was Kumiko Kato. She was more or less a solo act (with musical accompaniment from backstage/recording). Her music was sort of R&B-ish, so it wasn't really my thing. But she spoke English pretty well and is adorable, so it's all good. A very unassuming person, that's part of her charm.
Last to perform was the group Dream. They did the first ending song to Inu Yasha, "My Will". Two of the members were there, with backup dancers in tow. Apparently they are just 2 of the 8 people that are part of dream, "they" being Kana and Yu (I remember their names from the panel). Anyway, their music is more dancey pop stuff, and it sounded good as well. They even gave us an encore at the end after much pleading. Overall it was a very enjoyable concert.
Saturday: panel time. I actually got to sit in on three panels. The first one I watched was with Kumiko Kato. I made it there in time for the second half, but she was again interesting and fun to watch. She seemed unsure of herself but was very enthusiastic. She seems to like Texas, this was her fourth con in the state.
After her though was the big one: Red vs. Blue. Six members of the group were present. Of the ones I recall: Burnie (Church), Geoff (Grif), Kathleen (Tex), (Caboose), and Gus (Simmons). There was one other guy but now I forget who he plays. ^^; I remember they said the guy who plays Sarge couldn't make it, so the member I forgot must be Tucker. Anyways, this panel was very enjoyable, they seem to be a really fun group to be around. They had the intro to the upcoming season 3 DVD to show us. I guess sometime when I get some money together I'll actually buy the DVDs. But they were funny, had a lot of interesting comments about the show.
The third and final panel I caught on Saturday was with Dream, the aforementioned Jpop group. As was obvious from their concert, the two girls do not speak English at all, really, so they had to have a translator for the Q&A session. This was not nearly as in depth a panel as with RVB, of course. The language barrier is a factor, plus half the audience was probably relatively unfamiliar with their work. But Kana and Yu were very gracious to us, gave us some good responses and seemed to really like their first trip to the US.
After the panels I decided to avoid the madness that was the Cosplay Masquerade/contest thing, and decided to just watch some anime in the viewing rooms. Most of what I saw I had seen before, but it's different when you're watching it with fairly large group of people, especially comedic stuff. I watched some Maburaho, Please Twins, Popotan, and Miami Guns. I had been hoping to watch Melody of Oblivion too, but I wasn't able to catch it. Unfortunately nothing really seemed to be making it's debut at the con, but I still enjoyed what I saw. And thank goodness everything was shown with subtitles rather than in english.
In between showings in the anime rooms we also got to see various anime music videos from previous years' contests. If you're not familiar, these are videos that fans edit together from a series or multiple series, set to a song. As it suggests it's a music video, with anime. Most of these were pretty good, and it was at least fun to me to try to figure out which anime each was from, though I didn't recognize all of them.
Sunday: pretty uneventful, just packing up and leaving. Left around 11:30 or so, got home around 6 or 7 pm.
In between all of the above I snooped around the Dealer's room a bit. During the weekend I just bought 4 manga, which was good but disappointing. I had been looking for a few more manga, plus several CDs which I had put off buying. I don't really need any more wall decorations and I didn't feel like looking for t-shirts either. So I was relatively unsuccessful on that count. I'm still looking for volume one of the Yotsubato and Lunar Legend Tsukihime manga.
All in all, I had a good time. It wasn't really what I expected. For one thing, I thought there would be more people, but being smaller is good. I won't get into some of the problems we had with our group, getting the rooms and paying for them, but if/when I go to another con I'm just getting a room by myself and everyone else can fend for themselves. With that said, hopefully by then I can afford it ;) This was a larger convention, so things were a bit more pricey, but a smaller one will be more manageable I think. I hear Maaya Sakamoto will be at Animefest in Dallas in September...
|So anyhow, what kind of evil deviant bakes a jalapeno inside of a piece of cornbread? That just isn't right.|
|There has been much going on the past week and a half. I had my job interview the morning of Monday, August 22nd, and then by midafternoon I already had the job :) So excellent news indeed. I won't have to really work any more hours, but I'll get more money to do it. It's good to be paid properly for your work. Now, the downside of getting hired, if there really is one, is that I had to be at work all last week from 8 am to 4 pm sitting through various meetings and training sessions and preparing for the coming semester. But I managed to survive, more or less, so things are sort of back to normal now. Well, not really, but closer to what I know as normal ;)|
|I noticed gas prices went down a little bit this past week, but premium gas is still over $3.00. Man, I really feel sorry for those folks that own those huge gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks and such. Wait a minute, no I don't. HAHAHAHAHA. Eat it, fools.|
Okay, so of course I got to see Serenity this weekend. I think it goes without saying, except that I already said it...so there.
Serenity worked really well as a movie, though really I think it's more for fans of the Firefly TV series to enjoy. For the most part it works as a standalone movie, but I'm certain I was able to enjoy it so much more knowing the characters and backgrounds and so on from having seen the series (in order, no less :P ), than if I had just walked in cold. A number of reviews that I have read in passing though give the film significant praise while having no prior knowledge of the characters and basic plot. So it seems to have turned out well, critically at least. Apparently it only opened with $10M, which is not particularly promising. Locally it only had four showings in Midland and four more in Odessa, which is bothersome. I want to see it again so I'll probably make an effort to do so on Wednesday on the chance it might be gone by Friday.
Yeah, the theaters here suck. Howl's Moving Castle, Miyazaki's latest opus, only showed one week in Odessa (and not in Midland at all). By the time I realized it was showing there, and on a Thursday evening no less, it was gone the day after. So you have to be quick about these things.
|I've discovered another web comic recently, thanks to the fine folks at Penny Arcade, called Unshelved. As you might have discerned from the name, it's a webcomic about a library. Having worked four years in a library myself, it's something that I can easily relate to. Maybe it's not for everyone, but as far as I've read it's been really funny and enjoyable, and I think it's fairly accessible for those that haven't been fortunate enough to have worked in a library.|
I settled down to take in a classic '80s flick earlier this evening - Better Off Dead, starring John Cusack and Curtis "Booger" Armstrong.
First of all, the movie, like many from the '80s, did not age well. Part of this is the music. Movies like the Star Wars age well because the use of a classical score doesn't remind you of any one particular time period. Plus it's an awesome movie regardless, but that's beside the point. When you see Better Off Dead, even if you're seeing it for the first time, you have to say "yep, this movie was made in the '80s." And the hair is only the beginning.
For one thing: skiing. There were an awful lot of skiing movies made in the '80s, I guess it was some kind of fad. No one hardly does that anymore, not that I really blame them. Still, I remember fondly the antics of Dean Cameron in such unmitigated comic disasters as "Ski School" and the ineveitable follow-up, "Ski School 2". Even though they were made in the '90s, they remained true to their obvious '80s roots. Read the plot summaries if you dare. Just a bunch of guys trying to get laid while trying to win the big ski contest and the heart of that special someone. I ask you this - is there not a more nobler goal than that? *sniff*
Heh. Anyways - Better Off Dead. It's good clean fun. That's all there is to it. Nothing real heavy going on. Sure, John Cusack's character tries to kill himself a few times, but I must stress: always with comic results. And when he's racing the Asian guys who talk like Howard Cosell in his parents' station wagon; being chased by a legion of paperboys on bicycles screaming "I want my two dollars!"; trying to contain his gag reflex in the face of his mom's cooking - comedy gold. It's not going to change the world, but you'll realize that maybe things aren't so bad, yeah?
|I turned 30 on Sunday :P|
Do they even make soapboxes anymore? What would we stand on?
Anyway, boxes notwithstanding, we all know that the internet has been everyone's soapbox for a very long time now. Plus there's all the pr0n, but nevermind that.
Just like everyone else, I have discovered exactly what is wrong with our world today. Except that I'm right. Just like everyone else. So, just like everyone else, this is only my theory and opinion. Take it as you will.
Reading a recent article and discussion on Slashdot about the games rating board (ESRB) and some ticked off family-oriented group (IDIOTS), it brought to mind some ideas I had been thinking about some weeks prior. And like most of my thoughts that I consider publishing to this slog, it quickly became forgotten. Or possibly buried in soft peat and recycled as firelighters.
So here it is, (American) society's number one problem: responsibility. When people screw up, they seem hesitant to accept the possibility that it was in fact their fault. We're quick to point fingers at other people and groups, and even more quick in knocking away any fingers that may be pointing back at ourselves. Everyone wants to be right 100% of the time. No one wants to admit that they were at fault, ever.
If parents would take just a second to examine the ratings on the movie or game they are buying or renting for their spawn, they would know whether or not it's appropriate. The ratings boards exist for a reason: to ease the burden on parents who don't have time to monitor every single piece of media on the market. GTA: San Andreas originally had a rating of M (mature, basically the equivalent of an R movie), but then was pulled and reassigned a grade of AO (adults only, the equivalent of NC-17). Agreeing or disagreeing with this change is irrelevant to this discussion. My point is this: are there parents out there that were buying this game for their children younger than 17? If they do buy it for their child and completely ignore the ratings, then they have no right to complain about the content they see in the game. It's their responsibility to at least read the rating on the box. But they don't want to admit that they are, in fact, idiots. So it's finger-pointing time.
It's not like a kid is going to walk into Best Buy and purchase these games on their own. Hell, when I bought GTA:SA a year or two ago, I got carded, and I just turned 30.
Perhaps a bigger problem is, to quote Berke Breathed of Bloom County reknown, "the narrow-minded zealotry masquerading as parenting". A certain group of people seem to want to force their ideas on everyone else just to make sure that everyone knows that they are right. I'm not naming names, but it rhymes with Eligious Undamentalists. They seem to forget not only our basic rights, first as humans and second as laid out in our country's Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also the requisite separation of church and state. We may not all be fans of our current governmental regime, but we still have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, et cetera, et cetera. Everyone has the right to believe whatever they want, and no one has the right to force said belief on anyone else.
Remember, kids: if someone else believes differently than you it doesn't mean that they are wrong and you are right. Nor does it mean that you are wrong and they are right. It doesn't matter. Each of you has your own perceptions and beliefs. There's no reason to be constantly worrying about what other people will think or say. Just be confident in who you are, be understanding and respectful of others, take what responsibility is yours to take, and above all else don't forget to have fun.
Coming soon: the condensed, 500 page version of "Larinon's various failed attempts at advice and social commentary: Why I have no business doing these things."
God's most recent peanut buttery gift to mankind...This past summer, it was Blue Bunny's "Peanut Butter Panic" ice cream, featuring peanut butter ice cream, miniature Reese's peanut butter cups, and swirls of chocolate and caramel throughout.
And now, just in time for Christmas? Peanut butter Hershey's Kisses. Don't take my word for it, but you need to go out to your car right now and visit your favorite grocery store and buy your own bag.
I shall continue to monitor the stores for more peanut buttery goodness. I know, I know, it's a thankless job, but I must persevere. Someone has to do it, and it might as well be me.
|A week is plenty of time for doing as little as possible.|
The 49ers ended up with the 6th/7th pick of the draft (pending a coin flip), which has to be sort of a moral victory at least, moving down 6 spots from one year to the next. They don't particularly need any of those top three guys (assuming Bush and Young join Leinart in the draft sweepstakes), though certainly Bush would be a great addition. Seeing what Frank Gore did the past couple of weeks though, I think the 49ers are already moving past the Kevan Barlow era. Between Gore and Maurice Hicks, they know they have a solid foundation of a running game. With a two game win streak heading into the offseason, I'm a bit more optimistic than I was a month ago. Alex Smith got his first touchdown pass finally, after 11 INTs, and the offensive line doesn't look nearly as offensive as before. Still, I think they're going to get at least a tackle or two in the draft. Probably they'll try to take a cornerback with their first pick, or trade down and get some extra picks if they can. Those are my thoughts on it at least.
Speaking of the draft, could there not be a more awesome name for an offensive tackle than D'Brickashaw? At least until CementBlock Henderson comes along someday. Or RoadPaver Bryant.
|**Peanut Buttery goodness update: Reese's Caramel Peanut Butter Cups. No further explanation necessary.|
Anime update: Though their understanding of English may be laughable at times, the fact remains the Japanese know what they're doing with their animation talent.
The midseason shows have now started in Japan, and already feature 3 shows I'm hooked on. The aforementioned Fate/Stay Night, Kashimashi ~ Girl meets girl, and Kagihime.
Fate/Stay Night is created by Type-Moon, the same folks that brought us Lunar Legend Tsukihime. Following in pretty much the same vein as their previous show, they already have me hooked on their newest opus after just 2 episodes. Powerful and mystical forces once again intrude upon the real world, as the battle spills over and includes a seemingly normal high school boy, who has more about him that meets the eye. Plus they're searching for the Holy Grail. You can't beat that.
I've only seen one episode of Kashimashi, but I knew even by looking at the vocal cast list I had to check this out. Yui Horie (my favorite seiyuu [voice actor] if you haven't looked at the rest of my site), Kana Ueda, Yukari Tamura, Masumi Asano, and Ryoko Shintani all are working on this series. How can you beat talent like that? The story seems to be an unusual twist on the normal harem romantic dramedy theme, because in the first episode you have a boy that is accidently killed by a UFO that crashed into him upon entering the earth's atmosphere, and then as an apology the aliens fixed his body but turn him into a girl instead. All this after the girl he was crushing on rejected his love confession. Where does it go next? I'm waiting to see.
Finally, there is Kagihime, another twist on Lewis Carroll's tales. They had me right there, because I'm completely helpless when it comes to Alice in Wonderland stuff. I'll watch/read whatever, be it Disney's decades old feature animation film, the live action movie from like 5 or 6 years ago that featured Gene Wilder and other random stars, Yuu Watase's manga Alice 19th, or CLAMP's S&M tribute to the story, the anime Miyuki-chan in Wonderland. Umm, forget I said anything about that last one. Anyway, I've seen two episodes already of this series, and it looks like it will be very interesting. There are these magical girls, granted powers by an invisible entity, that are trying to "write" Lewis Carroll's untold Alice story, "The Endless Alice". Each girl possesses different parts of the story, and their task is to engage other Alice's in Wonder Space and defeat them in battle and take part of their story. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more of this.
Fry: "So where is he located?"
Guard: "7152 Maple Road"
Fry: "Sounds nice."
Guard: "Prepare to be surprised."
So I was watching some Futurama - again - and ran across the above exchange. It may not be as funny just reading it, but it kept me going for a good minute, so much that I had to back the disc up to not miss anything. I'm still chuckling at it. I'd better stop reading it over and move on.
Futurama, to me, is one of the all time great American cartoons. I've never really been a Simpson's fan, though I'll watch it from time to time, but to me Futurama is their magnum opus. In my book, it's right up there with Animaniacs, Tom & Jerry, the Tick, Eek the Cat, and Looney Tunes. Maybe I'll include the Angry Beavers in that list as well. Someone needs to put that on DVD.
|Comic of the Day: today's Penny Arcade, because they've come up with another gem. The look on Annarchy's face in the second panel is simply priceless.|
The only winning move is not to play.
I caught WarGames again this weekend on cable. I've seen it a number of times in the past, but it's been a few years. The last time I watched it is also strangely lucid in my memory. It was when I still lived in Lubbock, so probably 2000 or 2001. I was sitting on the floor grading papers while watching TV, as was my custom, and not getting a whole lot done. That was kind of my custom as well, as I invariably get caught up in whatever I'm watching, since it still beats the hell out of grading papers late at night. Now I know better than to try that, and instead prefer to get up early the next morning to take care of it. But it's kind of strange what sticks in our minds more readily than other things.
Beyond that, it's still a great movie. A lot of it is outdated of course, but it's kind of like a computer science history movie in some ways. Old school modems, for example.
Also, I've decided that whenever I have to explain to someone what a card catalog is and how it was used, I'll start feeling really old. I saw Matthew Broderick using one in the movie and somehow felt nostalgic back to my days working in the Austin College library. For goodness sake, people, it hasn't even been 10 years. They still had card catalogs when I left, but they had the catalog on computer as well, and were gradually moving to a computer only situation. I'm sure that's how it is now.
Ultraviolet: Just a quick note today. I had tried to find reviews of the movie beforehand but apparently they didn't screen it to critics prior to the release date. So anyway, since Spring Break had just started, I was in a good mood and decided to go see Ultraviolet anyways.
Henceforth, this will be classified as mistake number 45,283
V For Vendetta comes out in a couple of weeks. I am almost sure it will be better than Ultraviolet.
"There's a surprisingly large gap between happiness and truth." So I've been watching RahXephon again. Well, that's all I really wanted to say about that.
Anyway, I've actually been catching up on some fansubs over the past week, being that it's spring break and all. Also I've been able to discover some new ones as well.
Mushi-shi. It's hard to tell exactly what it's about right now, but it's really good so far. It's about a man whose job seems to be to track down creatures called mushi, and help people that have been affected by them. The mushi are neither plant, nor animal, nor bacteria, and can be seen by only a select few, but they seem to have a very profound effect on the world.
Kage Kara Mamoru. This one I happened to read a blurb for in Newtype USA, talking about upcoming series. It's about a family of ninjas whose duty is to protect the family that lives next door to them from harm. This task has been passed down in the family for 400 years. The father protects the father, the mother protects the mother, and the son of the ninja clan, Mamoru, must protect the daughter, Yuna. Yuna, of course, is more or less helpless on her own, and is constantly being caught up in one catastrophe after another, which naturally Mamoru has to come to her rescue. It eventually ends up being a harem comedy show...but with ninjas. It's really a lot of fun. A little more serious than 2x2=Shinobuden, or at least less nonsensical. There's kind of a To Heart feel to it as well.
Tactical Roar. I've only seen the first two episodes so far (I think that's all that has aired), but it looks to be somewhat interesting at least. There were a few moments during the first episodes where the ecchi-ness gets a bit out of hand and starts to annoy, but overall should be a decent show. A young man - an engineer of some sort - gets assigned to upgrade the systems on a ship that is operated by a crew consisting solely of females. He seems to address the captain as an older sister, though of course we know that doesn't always mean they are related; he may just look up to her as an older sister. Anyway, the world they live in has changed and shipping and transportation by boats seems to be more important than ever, due to some massive meteorological event. Of course this leads to an increase of the number of pirates operating in the oceans as well. The ship that the story takes place on is one that has the duty of protecting and supporting transports and shipments as they cross the ocean.
We have normality After three weeks, I finally have a day when I don't have to do anything.
A lot has happened, to say the least. I went to my first math conference in Orlando, spent four days in all four Disney World parks, spent another day enjoying Orlando's wonderful airport attempting to fly on standby because one member of our traveling party, which I stress was not myself, couldn't get it in gear in time to make our scheduled flight, spent what seemed like another week grading the tests and homework from when I was gone, including both days last weekend, spend two more days preparing a sudoku game for the college's science extravaganza, spent another day at said extravaganza helping herd some 2k 6th graders through the school, and finally yesterday morning helping pick up trash for keep midland beautiful. So yeah, lots of stuff going on.
Disney World was a lot of fun, even with my distaste of rollercoasters there was still plenty to do. The fireworks shows were great, as was the light parade. I loved the 3D shows, Philharmagic and It's Tough Being a Bug. Soarin' was great, and thank goodness for fast pass, the line was insane. That's what we get for going during spring break time. Still, a lot of fun.
Also, flying on standby wasn't totally horrific. When we finally did board a plane coming back to Dallas (after some 9 hours in the terminal), I ended up with a first class ticket. Wow, there's a ton of difference than when we flew down the first time. We had like three people waiting on us in the first class cabin, for like 24 or so people. They couldn't wait to get me another drink, a snack, hot towel, etc. It made up for the previous part of the day.
The flight itself though, that was a different matter. After we boarded the plane, we waited about a half hour or so right where we were. Apparently there was a traffic jam (of planes) in Dallas so we were waiting a bit. While we were sitting there, the power suddenly shuts off, and the pilot speaks up on the radio, "um, that wasn't supposed to happen". Obviously our luck wasn't really changing, it had decided to make fun of us instead. So things got powered back on, we finally got clearance to take off, and made it to the Dallas area about two hours later. Well, it turns out the winds in Dallas have picked up a bit, and they are swirling, making it difficult for anyone to land. So we circle around at the outer marker, some 70+ miles from Dallas, for about an hour. We circle Dallas for like a half dozen times. Finally, feeling he hasn't tormented us enough, the pilot comes on the radio and informs us we have 15 minutes of holding fuel left before we divert to our alternate landing site. Since we're in a 747, it's clear Midland won't be a possibility here, so other than going to Austin, we'll most certainly end up farther away from home than we planned. We look out the window and see other planes circling around as well, at various altitudes, and I'm just sitting there having Die Hard 2 flashbacks. About 5 minutes after his previous announcement, the pilot comes back on and tells us we do have clearance to land, and proceeds to make the longest timed landing in aviation history to avoid difficulty with the wind.
Meanwhile, back in the airport, it turns out everyone's flight has been delayed for two hours or more. We end up renting a car rather than wait to find out if our connecting flight was cancelled or not, and finally arrive in Midland at around 3 am.
The next day a miracle happens: I am able to collect my luggage (which arrived in Midland some 15 hours before I did) without incident.
Oh, and now on top of everything else, daylight savings time gets sprung on me. Not fair at all.
The Venture Bros. on DVD. Coming to a retailer near you on May 30th!
In case you're not aware, the Venture Bros. is a recent Adult Swim cartoon (2nd season starting in June!). It's about Hank and Dean Venture, sons of Dr. Venture, himself riding the coattails of his own father, the reknowned Jonas Venture. The Venture clan gets into much trouble for various reasons, but are usually bailed out by their bodyguard Brock Samson (voiced by Patrick Warburton - also known as Kronk in Emperor's New Groove). He has an interesting cast of archvillans, featuring the Monarch (who wears a butterfly outfit) who is accompanied by the very husky-voiced Dr. Girlfriend, as well as Baron Unterbheit (~underbite - he has a steel jaw thanks to a botched science experiment). The show is very funny and inventive, and worth checking out.
Here are some quotes. You might find a more thorough list at the IMDB.
Henchman 2: Come on! They have one female servicing a large group of males. That implies a species that lays eggs.
San Andreas Fire Department
This was funny, so I thought I'd share it.
Like so many of my other GTA stories, it ends in the horrible mutilating death of a) my character, b) one of my character's friends, or c) some random passerby.
The dirty cops, headed by Samuel L Jackson, I mean Officer Tenpenny, have just sent me out to do some more of their dirty work. My job is to recover some molotov cocktails that the officers "stashed" inconspicuously in the middle of an alley in downtown Los Santos, and then go to the house of a rival gang and burn it to the ground. No problem right? I arrive at the scene on a motorcycle, my vehicle of choice for both GTA VC and GTA SA. This one happens to be a PCJ-600, one which I have had a history with.
Anyway, I park the motorcycle across the street from the house. Obviously there's going to be a fire, so I don't want it to get caught in any of the flames, right? It made sense to me at the time at least. There are a few gang members in front of the house and around the sides, so I quickly dispose of them first. After they are gone, I shoot out the windows and begin tossing in the molotovs. I have to be careful and stay a safe distance away because my aim is horrible. In the previous times I've played through the game, I've stood too close, missed the window with the molotov, and had it bounce back and engulf me in flames. Good times, good times.
So, the molotovs were almost all thrown in without incident, or at least without immolating myself, and the house is now in flames. A gang member runs out the door, burning, and dies on the lawn. Undoubtedly others inside share the same fate. Well, except for the lawn part. A job well done right? Haha, foolish reader, this is only the beginning.
Alas, a voice cries out in anguish. A girl is screaming from the second floor, she is trapped in the house and it is all your(my) fault! I have to rescue her! Because I'm not just some heartless thug that killed a dozen members of a rival gang mere seconds before! Plus she might be hot! Pun intended!
So I go inside. A lot of the house is burning but there is a clear path upstairs, right until I get outside of the room where the girl is. At this point I remember what I have to do here, and that I forgot the fire extinguisher on the first floor in the kitchen. The game reminds me anyway, but I could have saved time, you know?
I then retrieve the fire extinguisher, run back upstairs, and start to put out the fires. The extinguisher is kind of hard to aim, but I finally clear a path to the girl. As I enter the room, other parts of the house start to collapse, and I no longer have a clear path back outside again. Of course I have to use the extinguisher to clear out two or three more fires. This is completed without incident and we easily escape the house...
Hahaha, just kidding. Of course it didn't go without incident. How could I possibly make it through this mission without having any more mishaps? I stood too close to one of the fires I was trying to put out and, you guessed it, managed to catch myself on fire anyway. I'm not sure of the proper procedure here, but my solution was to jump away from the fire and proceed to run in circles until either the burning stopped or I died, whichever happened first. Stop, drop, and roll wasn't really mentioned in the controller setup.
But I wasn't quite dead yet. Luckily enough, it turns out body armor helps protect you from fire as well. The girl and I finally escape the burning house, moments before - shocking! - it collapses. The girl reveals to me that she knows who I am and actually lives in the same neighborhood. She is relieved and grateful, and ready to go home.
The bike is still parked across the street. Sometimes this comes as a surprise to me, that my vehicle is where I left it, because some of the criminals in this town have a cruel sense of humor and take my vehicle when it seems I need it most, and there's not a decent car to jack in sight. That is of course a story for a later mission.
So with the girl following me, I begin to cross the street. I've been to the gym a lot so I've built up my stats really well, and I can walk much faster than most anyone that's following me. I get to the bike first. Nearby I hear an emergency vehicle approaching, and I suddenly have horrible visions in my head about what might happen next.
Emergency vehicles in San Andreas are sort of a mixed blessing. I've seen many ambulances wipe out any number of pedestrians in their mindless quest to reach a wounded/slain person, not even caring about the half dozen corpses it left in its wake. The fire department is equally mindless in completing its task, but in addition to their wanton disregard of anyone and anything that may be in the street, they also have this firehose which they seem to fire at random toward anything that might be burning. Anyone caught in the path, usually me, is knocked backward and momentarily stunned by the jet of water they shoot out. This is not damaging to you, at least until the ambulance that you got knocked into the path of runs you over, but annoying just the same.
Finally, here it comes, the fire truck responding to the fire. It comes roaring around the corner, water shooting left and right. And the girl? She's just now crossing the street. At this point it sort of plays out in slow motion, like in a horrible, horrible movie. I know what's going to happen, but there's nothing I can do about it. Just as the fire truck narrowly misses the girl, it's turning at the same time to get a better shot at the fire. Of course, being a long vehicle, the back half of the fire truck doesn't respond as quickly to steering as the front, and it just comes sliding on through the middle of the road....
And there was much cursing.
|Well, that's enough slogging for today. Back to the grind.|
Color Schemes for the Web
For those of you might be somewhat color-impaired, like myself, here's some tools for adding color to your website.
Cedge's Color Center - presents a huge number of different colors in hex format (rrggbb).
Traumwind's 6-Colormatch tool - takes the desired color (input in hex format) and outputs five other matching colors. If you like one of the output colors better, you can click on it and match another set to it.
Colormatch Remix - Similar to the Traumwind tool above, but it uses sliders to add or subtract red, green, or blue from your selected color, and instantly updates your color and 8 others that match it underneath.
Cedge's Color Center is a good place to start, if you need ideas for a color, and then you can take your selected color to either the Traumwind site or Colormatch remix, and generate some matching colors for it. The Traumwind tool and Colormatch remix essentially do the same thing, but their functionality is different so you might prefer one over the other. But both are very useful and recommended.
Cons and things
Well, I didn't make it out to A-Kon this year, being that I didn't really have the money to spend this time (which is odd, I know, given how my situation has improved). But, I was looking at the lineup of musical acts and such and was definitely interested. Obviously the Red vs. Blue guys were there, and they had some nice musical guests, too, including KOTOKO, whom I would have liked to see.
But anyway, that really got me to thinking: for what guests would I just drop everything and spend whatever it takes to get to a convention to see perform or meet? So I made a list...
Hmm, well that is all that I thought of. Not too many, but I figured it'd be a short list. Maybe one of them will be over here next summer? Who knows.
|I was discussing before that I was interested in changing some of the colors on my page again. Well, I picked out some nice ones (finally), and felt good about it until I ran into this site. Now I want to learn CSS. I may come to my senses at some point, but in the meantime just bear with me on this.|
|By the way, you won't find reconfoobulating at dictionary.com, the slackers, don't waste your time.|
Stuff. Just stuff.
Here's a MacHall cartoon from way back that I was thinking of again for some reason...
Actually, I feel kind of the same way about blogs though. Does that make me less of a hypocrite if I actually admit to participating in the hypocrisy? Probably more, actually, but watch me not worry about it.
Just In Case You Have Nothing To Do On a Saturday...
Obviously I had to check it out. Anyway, I picked out some of my favorites and have linked them below. Enjoy!
Followup: Original RPGnet Thread
Some funny stuff
These things have amused me immensely the past couple of days, so I figured I'd share them here.
First: Improv Everywhere. A group which, as far as I can tell, loves to do random stuff and see how people around them react. The most recent mission involves going into Home Depot, moving in slow motion for five minutes, then shopping normally for five minutes, and finally freezing in place for five minutes. Now imagine 200+ people doing this all at once. Classic. See also the Best Buy mission where they all donned blue polo shirts and khaki pants (i.e. like Best Buy employees) and basically went into Best Buy and milled around confusing the customers. Pretty interesting, creative, and amusing stuff.
Secondly, for pure humor, I don't know why I haven't linked Bash.org sooner than now, but I guess it's better late than never. Bash.org basically lets people submit their IRC/other chat logs. Users then rate them as funny or not. For instance, you might be interested in viewing the top rated ones. Please note that many of these contain profanity and other language and material that are not safe for work/children. Here are three of my favorites, One, Two, and Three.
Randomness of the Day
For some reason I've really been wanting to watch Tank Girl this weekend...
What the hell is wrong with me?!?
Luckily I think I still have it on VHS somewhere. On the plus side, Naomi Watts as a brunette is the hotness.
I've been reading several series very religiously lately. First and foremost is Death Note, which I have through volume 7. It's a pretty dark series, as the title suggests, but the crux is a teenager, Light Yagami, who finds a shinigami's (death demon's) notebook. He discovers he is able to use the notebook to kill people, and thus sets off on his quest to make the world a better place by killing off all the criminals. Of course his plan isn't perfect, and he ends up going head to head with the Japanese Police, the FBI, and perhaps the greatest detective of the era, known only as L. The drawback? Light needs to know a person's name and face in order to be able to kill them. Thus begins the epic struggle between Light and L. A very captivating series throughout that really has some interesting twists and turns.
Next up: Negima! (aka Mahou Sensei Negima). Negima is by Ken Akamatsu, who also wrote/drew Love Hina (as mentioned previously). Basically this is what you might expect the Japanese to come up with if you gave them Harry Potter as a jumping off point. Except in this case, the 10-year old Negi Springfield becomes an English teacher at a Japanese girls' middle school, so that he is surrounded by 30+ schoolgirls. Okay, it's not as perverted as it sounds, but the main story focuses on Negi becoming a more powerful magician, keeping his students out of trouble, protecting the school, and finally searching for his father, the legendary magi whom Negi believes is not actually dead. First and foremost though, this is a school comedy, and comedy abounds here. I've already read through the 11th volume and am eagerly awaiting more.
School Rumble is another manga I have been enjoying quite a bit lately as well. Again, as mentioned previously, the anime series is very excellent, and the manga is very clearly the basis for most of it. A lot of the chapters follow the anime closely, though with a few differences, but certainly it's another way to enjoy Jin Kobayashi's great characters and story. Tenma Tsukamoto has a crush on the oblivious Karasuma Oji, while outcast/thug Kenji Harima has a crush on Tenma. Hanai is always chasing after Tenma's younger sister Yakumo, who has ESP and can see the thoughts of all the boys chasing her and wants none of it. Harima keeps running into Eri Sawachika at the worst possible moments, but seems to be friendly to Yakumo. And Imadori is chasing every girl he sees. It goes on and on and on. So School Rumble is a romantic school comedy, with most of the focus on comedy than anything else. No one seems to be able to get the romance part down.
The last manga I want to bring up is Anne Freaks. This is another darker series that I only have two volumes of so far (volume 3 is out this month). Murderous teenagers, a secretly trained militant group, police hot on the trail of both...there's lots of interesting things going on with just a couple volumes out. I'm definitely looking forward to more.
|Just in case you think you're going to be the first person to tape bacon to your cat, I have some bad news for you.|
This Is Not the Slog Post You Are Looking For
So anyway, we have these new automatic, motion-detecting paper towel dispensers in some of the restrooms at school. These were a little difficult for me to use at first, because I didn't know how much motion or how close the movement needed to be in order to be noticed. Then yesterday there was a breakthrough: the graphic on the dispenser indicates a hand moving left to right across the front of it. Immediately I held out my hand, palm forward, waved it across the sensor left to right, and was promptly given a paper towel.
It was at this point I realized I was using the Jedi mind trick on a paper towel dispenser.
Fortunately there was no one in the restroom with me to witness the hysterical fit of laughter and near collapse that followed.
"You will give me a paper towel."
This just in...Apparently I should be a Buddhist. Well, they're 75% certain at least.|
You scored as Buddhism.It's an interesting little test, 54 questions, check it out.
|3D doodlers of the world unite!|
|Creative ads from around the world|
Canis Canem Edit
I picked up a new game on Tuesday: Bully. This has consumed much of my free time since Wednesday (I couldn't start it Tuesday night because I was still in grade-papers-like-a-madman mode [characterized by frequent outbursts of cacophonous laughter]), or at least my non-anime-watching time.
Bully, for the uninitiated, is the latest work released by Rockstar Games, they of Grand Theft Auto fame. Given the company's lineage, and reading the description of this game some months ago, I knew I'd have to have this one. It's not often I buy a game at release. This marks the third title for the PS2 for which I have done so, the other two being Madden 05 and GTA: San Andreas. So far, it has not let me down.
The premise is this: You've been kicked out of pretty much every school you've ever attended, but now your mom has married into money and you are being sent to an exlusive private school: Bullworth. Here, your classmates are divided into five principle groups: Bullies, Preppies, Nerds, Jocks, and Greasers. As you complete different missions, you gain or lose faction with the various groups. If your faction with a group is low enough, they'll attack you on sight. While you are managing all of this, you have to be attending two classes per day, as well. Each of the six subjects has 5 classes to successfully complete, with each success giving you more abilities and tools to use in your endeavors. Completing Chemistry class means getting the abilities to make stink bombs, firecrackers, and itching powder. Completing Gym class gives you different physical skills and fighting moves. For Art class you become more attractive to the girls and get more health bonuses for kissing them. English class lets you earn the ability to apologize for you crimes to various authority figures, and Photography class lets you take and save pictures from around the school and surrounding town. Finally, shop class gives you access to faster and better bicycles. All of these minigames have been fun, though dodgeball was a little hard to master at first.
Your missions include everything from panty raids to fetching various items to photographing a cheating girlfriend to winning bike races or boxing tournaments. Random people will also come up to you and offer you mini-missions, usually to fetch or deliver something, for a small sum of money. Money doesn't seem too important, but you do need it to buy various things throughout the course of the game.
If none of that seems interesting, then let me present you this image. Any game that features a slingshot with a scope is alright in my book. You pick up various weapons and items throughout the game, many of these from befriending the nerds, such as the skateboard, bottle rocket launcher, and the aforementioned slingshots, which are great fun.
But wait! This is supposed to be realistic. You shouldn't expect to have free reign to do as you please without repercussions. All over campus, there are prefects scattered that keep a constant vigil, waiting to chase you down and take you to the principal's office. And if you go into town, the police will be keeping an eye on you as well. Minor crimes can be apologized for, but anything more will get you into trouble. So far I've had detention consisting of mowing grass and shoveling snow.
One of the more interesting features to this point that you don't see too much in other games (if at all) is the passage of time. The game starts out in September, but after awhile it turns to October and you see Halloween decorations all over. There is even a special Halloween mission where you go out and prank all the other kids while the prefects are at a party. A similar thing occurs on Christmas, but without the pranks. Snow falls and it becomes more difficult to use the skateboard and bike. On the plus side, you can pick up snowballs and chuck them at people. Pretty much anything you pick up can be thrown, actually. The game is very interactive and not very restrictive at all.
Bully sort of has an RPG feel to it, but at its heart it's an action game, based on the GTA series. Here, though, instead of murdering your opponents, you merely knock them out or humiliate them. You never die, though if you don't get back to bed by 2 am you pass out. And just like in GTA, if you get sent to the principal he'll confiscate some of your items. There are lots of different characters to interact with, each with their own personalities, to some extent. Though the actual map you play on is small compared to, say, San Andreas, the level of detail is very high. It certainly was a treat watching the snow fall for the first time in the game.
To this point, I've played 13 hours and finished about 34% of the game (it gives you a running total when you save). If the idea behind the game even sounds the least bit interesting to you, I recommend you pick it up as soon as possible, because it is everything it claims to be and more.
Let's not forget the wisdom of Douglas Adams:|
One of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them: It is a well known fact, that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. Anyone who is capable of getting themselves into a position of power should on no account be allowed to do the job.I also like: "Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose."
|If you can read this, my site is working fine.|
|I don't know what the big deal is about owning new game consoles on the first day. Historically I think it's been shown that these are not the best versions to buy. The XBox 360, to use the most recent example, had some serious issues at the outset as far as its power supply and overheating were concerned. Also, I can think of a lot of other ways to spend $600+ dollars. And the whole ebay thing is ridiculous, though I have no problem with people taking advantage of complete idiots. A fool and his $3000 are soon parted.|
|If you read one Fark forum thread this year, then it really needs to be this one. The epic tale of a young man who was unfortunate enough to get a delicate part of his manhood caught between the wooden slats of his computer chair, but was kind enough to document it in real time online (complete with picture (via cellphone) further down the page *cringe*). Oh Internet, what would we do without you?|
I picked all four home teams in the playoff games last week and got all four right (imagine that). This week? I'm picking the Patriots for the upset over the Chargers, with all other home teams winning.
Sample conversation I have with myself this time of year:|
"Wow, it's so cold, I can't wait till summer."Basically, I guess I'm saying I enjoy Spring and Autumn the most, without the extreme temperatures.
I've been watching a bit more anime lately - I think I burned myself out a bit trying to do reviews for 15 shows or whatever it was. Probably in April I won't do that again with the new season in Japan, or at least without such a large scope. Anyway, I settled in to watch some Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid, which is actually the 3rd FMP series. Just bear with it.
First of all, the series itself is great. I've already seen it via fansub of course, but the DVD release is truly special. Kyoto Animation has gained a fair bit of notoriety recently with their animation work, due in no small part to this release, but also for the Air TV series and more importantly The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu for those of you playing along from Japan... I mean Nippon). Anyway, this disc represents the first release in R1 by Kadokawa Pictures USA, which is the American branch of the Japanese company (as the name so implies). Thus, they have access to a lot of the DVD extras that were included in the original Japanese releases - something which is very rare for R1 discs. Lately, it seems as though we're lucky to get an image gallery consisting of 6 line art pictures and 3 trailers *cough*FateStayNight*cough*. Fortunately for me, extras aren't a make or break factor on the DVDs.
Here, though, we have something like 80 or 100 minutes of extras. And it's not drawn-out, mind-numbing BS like what ADV does with their english voice-actors, either. We have a variety of featurettes that include a visit to see the Japanese Self Defense Force display their weaponry, location scouting in Hong Kong where a lot of the series takes place, and a behind the scenes tour of Kyoto Animation's production house (among other things). The last part was my favorite, because it's really interesting to see how animation has changed over the years. Most of the work is done on computers (primarily Mac's, btw), such as the coloring and sequencing and things like that. Most of the basic artwork though, like the key frames, backgrounds and such, are still done by hand and then scanned in and colored and eventually turned into animation.
Also, what made this special is that on each of these featurettes we're being led along by the author Shouji Gatoh and the director (plus some other key figures). I found Gatoh to be really interesting, and he had a pretty good sense of humor too so it was enjoyable to see these guys just goofing around in Hong Kong and Kyoto Animation, etc. He wrote the manga as well as the light novels which are the basis for all of the FMP anime, and he's still just in his early thirties. I thought it was cool to see a guy who's had a relatively good amount of success, at least in that industry, just being a normal person and not too full of himself.
DEAR ABBY: Is it improper to wash kitchen cloths with the rest of your personal items and towels? -- INQUISITIVE MOTHER IN GEORGIAThank goodness we figured that out. Looks like my doing laundry this weekend is a go. I was eagerly awaiting Abby's answer on that one.
This just in from the local police blotter:
Dokken Lee Phillips, 18, methamphetamine possession.Parents, this is simply an outrage. A young...man?...with something to regret for the rest of his life. How will he ever lead a normal existence?
No, I'm not talking about drug possession, I mean the NAME. Dokken? How much did you really hate this kid? I swear, parents, if I ever have a student named Whitesnake or, God forbid, Ratt, I coming for you.
I just wanted to alert the media that I have achieved 100% on Bully - in fact the first game I've ever done that on. The missions themselves were not difficult to beat, but what ultimately tripped me up was finding all the little items. I actually found all 75 rubber bands on my own, and the rubber band ball as a weapon is a lot of fun. But the other tasks, smashing 25 garden gnomes and finding 40 G&G cards, ended up being pretty tricky. Ultimately I found 24/25 gnomes and 39/40 G&G cards on my own, but then had to rely on gamefaqs for hints on the last one of each. Not that going through those lists was easy either.
Ultimately the game is a lot of fun. As I mentioned before, it's not your typical game, but in its own unique way it's been immensely enjoyable. Not quite an RPG, not quite an action title, and not quite GTA, but I will recommend it to pretty much anyone looking for something relatively easy yet engaging and fun.
I had to drive to Odessa to see it (of course ><), but I finally was able to catch a showing of this great movie. It's kind of a fantasy film set within a time of civil conflict in 1940s Spain. Ofelia and her pregnant mother are arriving at the home of Captain Vidal, the leader of a force of men seeking to put down a rebellion. Their tactics are cruel and brutal, however, and we quickly see that Captain Vidal is only concerned about his son that Ofelia's mother is carrying, and not at all about either of them. Ofelia, though, encounters a fairy and is led inside a labyrinth near the home where she meets a faun. She is told by him that she is actually a daughter of the King of the Underworld, making her a princess. But to prove this, she must complete three tasks. The movie then centers around her undertaking these missions, while at the same time avoiding the ire of her stepfather and protecting her mother and soon-to-be brother.
The movie is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, who is probably most well known for directing Blade II, Hellboy, and Mimic. His work here, though, is something special. Yes the movie is graphic and it's R rating is well-earned, but he wants to make sure you understand the tone of the particular setting, and how much Ofelia yearns to find solace from it. Is it all just a dream to her, the fantasy world of fairies and fauns? That's up to the viewer to decide.
Looking at the movie's page on IMDB, you can see it's already won many awards, and has been nominated for many more, including some Academy Awards. This makes it pretty much the only film I've seen in the past year that is up for any major awards. Actually, the only other ones on the list that I've seen are Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean.
One thing though: it is in spanish, so of course it is subtitled. This is not any particular hindrance though and I found it easy to follow. Of course, when you consider my considerable past experience with viewing subtitled works, your mileage may vary.
Being that I had some time off this past week, I decided to finally play the FEAR expansion that I bought some months ago. Of course to do this, first I had to play through the original FEAR game. Here's a tip: don't play it just before you go to sleep :P
Anyway, they're both good games, and I'm glad I replayed the original game first because the expansion picks up right where it left off.
The game can be very scary, if you allow it to be. The key is to let yourself be immersed in the game, particularly paying attention to the music and audio effects. I've found that using headphones works best for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that outside noise is blocked out and none of the effects are dampened. Regardless, the game creators very skillfully crafted the music to fit each level and action, as well as adding numerous ambient effects to heighten the tension as you progress through large office buildings, abandoned warehouses, dark and lonely streets, and damp underground passages and subway systems. Here you're being assaulted by an army of replica soldiers controlled by an insane, vengeful psychic, a security force trying to keep the lid on their company's wrongdoings, and the ghostly minions of a dead girl who's somehow connected to all of this.
The story is very interesting for those who stop along the way and look into it. You could very easily skip it if you want, but to get all the key details there are laptops, answering machine messages, and other repositories of information that you find abandoned along the way that help fill in all the details. In some ways the story is reminiscent of Silent Hill or even Half Life, but it was intriguing nonetheless. A company experimented years ago on creating a psychic military commander who could easily and instantaneously control drone-like soldiers on the battlefield, but of course he broke free of their control and took his army with him. He has a chip implanted in him that allows him to be tracked, and you are a special operative who must find and eliminate him. On the way you uncover many of the company secrets, as well as having to defeat their security force and overcome the sabotage of various employees.
One of the improvements we've seen in recent years in video games is the AI of your opponents. In games such as Farcry and FEAR, your opponents work together much more fluidly than as in previous games in the first person shooter genre. They coordinate their attacks well and actively try to flank your position. This is a bit annoying at times, actually, but it does make for a much more realistic experience. Except for the damn ninjas. These guys have some sort of shimmering cloaking device that conceals them as they cling to walls, ceilings, etc. Then they just jump out at you when you get close. Once you recognize the signs, or more accurately, the sounds of their presence, it gets a bit easier to deal with, but I still jump anyway.
It should come as no surprise then that the ninjas go on to play a major role in the expansion. After a significant explosion (which I won't spoil), the area of the city lies in ruins and unfortunately your opponents are still not dead, so now you have to fight through them and try to find your way out. The city is in ruins and the replica soldiers (including the ninjas) have full control of the area, and more importantly the subway system. The storyline and tasks here are much more simple than the original: stay alive and get out. It makes a good follow up though, and even though it's somewhat shorter is a worthwhile game.
I did notice one particular moment of hilarity this time through that hadn't occurred previously. Apparently having realistic opponents is not without its own price. At one point, wandering through an office building, I encountered a group of replica soldiers. During the ensuing melee one of them decided to lob a grenade at me, a typical tactic they use when trying to flush me out. This particular soldier, however, was inside a windowed office. Half of the window was already shot out, but the other pane was still intact. So he lobs this grenade, and I guess I was moving at the time he threw it because he ended up hitting the divider between the panes of glass. Of course it bounces back at him and lands at his feet. If I hadn't shot him a split second later, he would most definitely have blown himself up anyway. I regret that I couldn't stop in time to see it happen. I was kind of shocked when it happened though and had to stop for a moment. Luckily he was the last soldier remaining in that room or else the others could have taken me easily.
Anyway, it's been very enjoyable, and I would recommend it to any who enjoy first person shooters mixed with a bit of horror. There is certainly some gruesome scenes and gore as well, so it's not to be taken lightly, but at the same time it's a very immersive experience if you just let everything happen.
OotS! GH! MAYDU!
Everyone else who is reading this and is a fan of Monty Python needs to check out the following webcomic. The Order of the Stick is a webcomic that I've only recently discovered, but have come to enjoy very much. It's based on AD&D 3rd edition, which fortunately I'm familiar enough with to get most of the jokes. Very good humor but an interesting storyline as well. One might describe it as 8-bit Theater with stick figures (in color!) rather than sprites.
That is all.
Oh, and MAYDU! is More Acronyms You Don't Understand!
Star Wars fans...You need to read this, right now: The Inbox of Nardo Pace, The Empire's Worst Engineer. Just plain Hilarious (mit ein kapital H).
The Fark.com thread also has some good user-submitted ones worth reading, starting about halfway down or so.
More anime goodness: Kaze no Stigma. I hadn't seen any of this when I wrote my previous reviews for the spring season, but this is turning out to be awesome. Magic is divided by the four elements, with fire supposedly being the strongest of all. But a former fire mage has returned to his hometown as a master wind user, and at the same time wind users have begun killing the family which abandoned him. When he is suspected of foul play, he must defend his honor, as well as himself from their vengeance, track down his kidnapped brother and find the real culprits who are trying to bring back a sealed god which holds the key to much of their potential power. Excellent show after three episodes.
Another great show that I wasn't sure about initially: Lucky Star. This is based on a four-panel comic (like Azumanga Daioh) and follows the daily school-life of four high school girls. Not a lot happens, as in many slice-of-life anime, but it's still very funny nonetheless. This show is being done by Kyoto Animation, and they make frequent references to the studio's other works, including Full Metal Panic, the Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon 2006, and Air. Very good stuff. One of the highlights of the show is the Lucky Channel segments which feature the manic-depressive ramblings of a washed-up idol.
Devices of Rube of Goldberg
For the uninitiated, a Rube Goldberg device, named for its originator, describes a machine that takes something very simple and turns it into a much more complicated process. In pop culture you can see a good example in the movie The Goonies, that being the elaborate device that opens the gate of their house (when Chunk has to do the Truffle Shuffle). Also, you may be familiar with the excellent Honda ad which uses each of the parts of the car to create the device.
Mouse Trap was a good game when it worked, eh?
Here's one more Rube Goldberg-type device to enjoy here. Apparently this is taken from a Japanese TV series for kids ("educational"), and these were spliced together to make this 8 minute video.
The repeated mantra is Pitagora Suicchi, i.e. Pythagoras Switch, which is apparently the Japanese monicker for these types of devices.
Addendum: Another one for you.
Order of the Stick
I've mentioned it previously, of course, but I just want to plug the webcomic Order of the Stick one more time here.
I've bought the first three book collections - great, hilarious stuff. If you are at all familiar with D&D and roleplaying games, then I think you really need to check it out. Here are some sample comics you might enjoy:main archive.
This may just be the coolest thing ever. A coffee table that is a computer, a computer that is a coffee table. Check it out.
|More Random Youtube Linkage|
The 213 Things Skippy Is No Longer Allowed To Do In The U.S. Army
I was looking for a few files on my computer today, and ran across a downloaded copy of this list. I'm pretty sure it's something Cohen sent to me at some point. Anyway, it's still hilarious and well worth reading.
Some of my favorites:
Actual Headline: Report finds Iraqi government precarious
I hear the researchers next plan to do more hard-hitting investigation when they tackle the outrageous claim that water is actually wet.
|My business cards make good bookmarks. Also, I've used them in the past to create an impromptu deck of cards. Seriously, what else will I do with them? They just sit there.|
A couple links that I have been holding onto: First, a Japanese IQ Test. Tos start it you click on the round button at the bottom right. The rules are listed here. Apparently they use it for job applicants and such. I thought it was pretty interesting. Plus, I was able to beat it. :P|
This is the most unusual and interesting thing I have heard in a while. I was wandering at random in the itunes store, and I have no idea how I came across this. It's a collaboration between a scandinavian singer named Gry and FM Einheit, who formerly was a percussionist for Einsturzende Neubauten. The song is called "Princess Crocodile", and while you can hear a sample on itunes, I found the full version on Myspace, which you can check out here. |
Just as a warning, you can only listen to music on myspace if you unblock flash stuff. Yeah.
Anyway, strange song eh? Oddly catchy.
Update: I've heard it like four times now, stop me!
Update 2: I went ahead an bought it on itunes. I bet I can save $0.99 in someone's bandwidth at the very least.
My Top Rated
I don't know why I decided to do this, but I guess I felt it might be interesting.
For those of you who use Itunes for your music collection or syncing your Ipod, then you may have seen the "My Top Rated" playlist. Since I just have an Ipod nano (4 GB), all along I've been rating my songs. The top rated playlists includes all the songs that are rated with 4 or 5 stars, the top of course.
Anyway I made a copy of mine to upload here.
Of course, this was easier said than done. I had to first output it to a text file through Itunes. Then I imported the data into Excel. Finally, after cutting out all the unneeded columns (file size, file location, everything you ever wanted to know about each track), I was able to use the export feature to create a nearly 200 kb html page. Fun stuff, eh? Looking at the source of that file, the coding is based on insanity. I wouldn't have done it like that myself. More importantly, I wasn't going to type all that myself either.
Looking at the page itself, I have 208 out of 619 songs (excluding comedy tracks) on the list, which I guess statistically speaking sounds about right.
I suppose the end result of this will be that I massively screw up search engine results. If anyone is searching for music to download and stumbles across this page and is disappointed, then I apologize :P
I Need Help
So I was just reading a book and noticed I was on page 189. The very first thing that I thought of when I saw that number is that it's the difference between 17^2 and 10^2, meaning that if I have a right triangle with a hypotenuse of 17 in. and one leg 10 in., then the third leg will be sqrt(189) in. Of course, right?
Yeah, it's an ongoing problem. I guess it comes with the territory.
I actually saw the ad for this one on VG Cats, and it looked good enough for me to check out the site itself. It's called Looking for Group, maybe you've seen it before. It's a fantasy/adventure type comic, and it's absolutely hilarious. One of the main characters, Richard, is an undead warlock (the one featured in the ad linked above), and he has a great time just being himself, often at the expense of others around him. The art is excellent as well. It's worth checking out if that's your cup of tea.
|This is of absolutely no relevance to anyone whatsoever, but I was playing minesweeper this afternoon and found an 8. (meaning there were 8 mines around a single square) Anyway, here's photographic proof. I thought it was kind of cool. Additionally, the picture proves I've been somewhat bored this afternoon as well.|
The previous anime season has come to a close in Japan, with the new season just starting. I've wrapped up a number of series in the past week or two.
Kaze no Stigma - Probably this was my favorite of the bunch. It was a 24 episode series and though it came to a good conclusion, I hope that there will be more eventually. The ending was left open and a sequel is definitely possible. Magic users and supernatural powers in modern society always seems to be an interesting topic to me. Speaking of which...
Darker than Black - A close second to Kaze no Stigma as my favorite of the past year. Probably there won't be a sequel to this one, not that I would mind. Certainly there were questions left unanswered in the 25 episode run, but it was brought to a satisfying conclusion as well. If only they had explained the origin of the Contractors at some point.
Code Geass - Lelouch of the Rebellion - This has been out for several months, but I finally just watched it. I forgot about it from time to time I guess. Anyway, after 25 episodes there is still no real conclusion regarding Zero and his war with Britannia, and it is clearly stated that there is a sequel in the works. I haven't seen if it will be a movie, OVA, or second TV series. Either way, I look forward to it. But as I said before, only slightly less angst-y than Gundam Seed and GSD.
Nagasarete AIrantou - A very simple series, and not challenging at all to watch. Sometimes it's nice to have something like that. Okay, so it's basically just a harem anime, but it ended up being really entertaining, so I do consider it worthwhile. 26 episodes, there probably won't be a sequel, and I have doubts it would even be licensed either, at least not in the current anime industry climate. But other than Darker than Black, it's the only one on this list I kept up with religiously, watching the episodes the same week I got them.
Lucky Star - Another easygoing, relatively meaningless series, so to speak. Again, that doesn't mean it isn't good, rather that it's a nice break from other drama-filled titles. Just pure fun and comedy. Lots of parodies of other titles in its 24 episodes, and I know I didn't catch them all - mainly they referenced Haruhi and FMP a lot. This show is probably unique in that I always watched both the opening and ending credits for the show. The intro is basically the catchiest thing ever, and the ending was always unique: For the first half of the series, the girls would sing an older anime song in a karaoke booth, and then for the second half Shiraishi would basically make stuff up as he went along. Funny stuff.
.hack//Roots - Another show that I've had for awhile, but have finally gotten back into since I started watching the DVDs that I've bought. A really well done series, but at the very end it's like they just stopped. I'm not even sure they reached any sort of conclusion. Certainly many things were left unanswered, and that's what kills me the most. I hope it gets revisited at some point, but I think the .hack universe may be played out now. I'll still have SIGN though. Maybe I shouldn't have watched episodes 5 through 26 in the same day. I guess technically it was a Saturday and Sunday, but there wasn't any sleeping done in between.
Finally, for good measure, I rewatched season 1 of School Rumble as well as the two OVA episodes yesterday. I had just gotten the second DVD and had an urge to see it again.
I've been making a few fractals here and there, mainly for my myspace pages, using this cool generator program I downloaded. So I decided to make a simple gallery page to show them off. The fractals are pretty basic, but I like how they came out and they serve their purpose. Enjoy.
This is one of the funniest things I've seen in the while. And the program does it all with a straight face no less. Awesome stuff.
"...your knees are the crumple zones"
More Number (non)sense
Driving back yesterday from San Antonio: "Oh, highway 2401. That's 49 squared." And that was at 8 pm after having just 3 hours sleep the night/morning before.
One of the interesting things about teaching athletes is seeing where they end up. Such as my Differential Equations student from several years ago that has been pitching in the Indians farm system - Matt Robinson.|
Currently, I have three former students participating in Division I NCAA basketball. First, an intermediate algebra student, Arturas Valeika, playing for Weber State. Second, also playing for Weber State, a college algebra student, Daviin Davis.
And finally, third, a calculus student, P.J. Hill, playing for Ohio State. And P.J. was the real surprise I think. The way I heard it, P.J. went to a tryout over the summer and ended up making a good impression on the OSU coaches and transfered after just his freshman year. He was already signed up for my Calculus II class when it happened, no less. He probably won't get as much playing time this year as the other two, but certainly it'll be interesting to see what he does in the future. Currently he (technically) leads the team in free throw shooting percentage, but that's only because he made both of the shots he attempted. ;)
In the meantime, the math competition team I was sponsoring and helping out at the college got some print in the newspaper. And online it turns out. As a bonus they even spelled four out of five of my students' names correctly. Oh well, better luck next time eh? They did get mine right, a fact at which I was mildly surprised. It's a good story though, and we hope to improve the next time around and kick some junior college tail.