Posted on

Fanimecon 2016

So by now some of you know but this trip to San Jose I had was plagued with problems and me just not having a real good time. I wanted to sit and explain why. First happened sorta before any of the event happened and that is my one carryon luggage piece had its wheel break. Now since I had three bags, my carryon, my clothes and my photography kit, not being to efficiently roll one was slowing me down like crazy. On top of that, I missed the first train down to the convention center so I had to wait longer than I had hoped to get there. Once arriving I changed into my costume (Reisen) and standed in line for what felt like an eternity to pick up my registration and badge. I think it lasted some two hours all said. Once I got it I walked onto the convention floor and saw my friends. One had noticed me, the other hadn’t. I walked up to the one that had to stand behind the one that hadn’t to surprise her and the girl who saw me slapped me in the gut with her purse. Intentionally, but she said it was playful. I wasn’t really feeling myself I guess. So we hung out for a bit but then through a series of events I can’t quite explain, the girl who saaaw me said I should go away or she would contact security. I was “Wait, what? I thought we were friends! Where did this come from?” I spent the rest of the day being incredibly moapy and beside myself. I tried to get some pics but all my ideas just kept coming too late for some people. Like, I found a Sonico and Shimakaze that would have made for an amazing hotel shoot but she was gone before I could catch her and a Yandere-chan (Yes, from Yandere Simulator) who I thought would do the same and titled “Dreaming of Senpai”.

This was just day one. On day two we did the group Touhou shoot and the girl from the first day did apologize to me but I felt like our relationship was gone at that point. It wasn’t well of me as part of the reason I came out was to see her again. The rest of the day was fairly uneventful, as Touhou cosplay was the most serious of serious business. I didn’t really spend any time with some of the other people I went to see (like Zelda) so I spent it trying hard to keep me from feeling sad. The evenings went by and I always felt like I was missing out on something instead of feeling satisfied. However, my spirits immediately perked up at the sound of the first chords of Mick Gordon’s amazing rendition of “The Instinct”. I followed the source and found out that I was going to be treated to the final four of a Killer Instinct tournament. I was so excited I sat in the front row and was giddy at the things going on. Our special guest was Maximillian Dood who worked on the game when it was with Double Helix. I did get to play a round on stage myself too! I realized how out of practice I was that day, but I had fun. I met an Excalibur that was putting on an act that I thought was hilarious and could not pass him up.

Day three was pretty bad, as about 3PM I noticed the suit was wet. Its wool, which made no sense until Idealized I had sweat completely through my undershirt and dress shirt all the way until the wool jacket. I had enough of that and had to get changed into some normal clothed, which all I had were what I flew in on. It didn’t make me happier, but it did make me feel a bit better since I didn’t feel like I was suffering from so much heat exhaustion. Later, I caught up with the girl again and got a couple snaps for fun, though I still sensed some tension. The night went on and once again it felt like I missed something that night.

Last day and holy cow this one is a mess. Got up and packed bags, put them into storage, hit the con floor in my flight home clothes. I didn’t end up seeing the girl again (though I did want to) and instead spent most of the afternoon swimming in Deadpools (ha!) and generally trying to have a good day as the con was about as dead as Otakon was on its last Sunday (somehow). Anyway, there was an advertised event of cosplayers taking over a nearby Dave and Buster’s after Fanimecon. Apparently they forgot about the Golden State Warriors game at that time. Anyway, one of the Deadpool gang decided to drive us all, but he left his car lights on and it was stuck in a garage with no way of starting it. Great. We decided to push it out of the garage while I drove (since I was the most experienced driver and the dune buggy had no power steering, I knew what I was getting into.) I got it out of the garage and onto the street where a man stopped to jump the car. By the time we got to Dave and Buster’s my time was up, so I caught my first Lyft ride ever (hilarious since I’m also a driver) and got to the airport. I am now cruising in the sky as I write this and don’t think I’ll ever come to this convention again. Four days is far too tiring to work and I’m not sure I really had a good time.

What a weekend.

Posted on

Anime reviews

A few months back The Escapist had a contest for an anime reviewer. I thought I would jump on it and try it, but I don’t think I was selected. Here are my reviews for Ouran High School Host Club and Gurren Lagan for your pleasure.

Ouran Host Club:
I am not a completely masculine dude and I find myself watching plenty of Soujo anime in my spare time between mainlining Gundams (the older ones) and ultra-violent stuff. Ouran High School Host Club was recommended to me by an Australian friend who’s into this stuff more than I am (he wears Salior Fukus to cons).

The first thing that hits me when watching this series are the character designs reminding me of something CLAMP would do. While the entire cast of characters doesn’t fall under the bishonen category just about every group including that is represented. Haruhi Fujioka is a girl mistaken for a guy who racks up a massive debt breaking something and must work to repay that debt. While it’s obviously been done in other series (He is my Master comes to mind), the use of a cross dresser as the lead is it’s point of originality. For characters there’s the prince, the badass, the silent, the incest twins and the shotacon but the characters are surprisingly well rounded for being a stereotype. As a turn off to me the shonen-ai theme seems to run thick with characters constantly fawning over each other and themselves to the point it gets rather bland by episode three. With the exception of Haruhi the entire female cast feels incredibly flat; as most end up as one episode girls without real stories and feel like they’re all the same girl with a different head. In fact only one girl has a different shape and she appears for a total of ten seconds. On the other hand while this does fall under the category of reverse harem it doesn’t take the traditional role of focusing on the relationship between the main character (Haruhi) with the other characters and instead it focuses on the characters themselves and not just the character and the lead.

That being said the humor that the series sells itself on is rather stable and sudden. Even when situations get serious at times a quick comedy jab at the wrong time keeps you from thinking about the drama too much. While characters seem to fit a common mold for this sort of thing they writers seem to find new and interesting ways to make them funny. Unfortunately towards the second half of the series the jokes begin to stop being funny. This isn’t because it’s reusing the old jokes since it doesn’t, the new humor just falls off as not being as creative. That being said most of the drama in the series is totally forgettable with most story arcs only consisting of one episode.

The overuse of roses as a backdrop whenever someone is bragging does get quite old but characters look alive. However, animation does seem to have some corners cut when characters get farther away from the “camera”. Otherwise, it’s solid, bright and colorful and characters close up seem exceptionally detailed.

I should probably make a quick mention that since I don’t know Japanese and hate reading subtitles I watch it dubbed unless absolutely necessary. In the case of this series generally the voice actors work. I’ve heard a number of complaints about how Vic Mignogna is the dealbreaker for the series but that’s not the case. Even at 48 years old and well over 6′ tall he does his best work with the eccentric types. I will say that Mitsukuni (Luci Christian) is probably a little too feminine and Haruhi (Caitlin Glass) isn’t deep enough for the roles they have but you get used to it and it fits well. The rest of the cast is quite pleasing. Music is nicely varied between pop, light rock and instrumental backgrounds featuring a Victorian theme. Weirdly the opening and closing songs are redone for the English release but unlike previous attempts at this (say Sailor Moon) this one is actually worth it’s own salt to the effect I didn’t even know it wasn’t the original tune until it was pointed out at me.

Extras:
Comes with Actor Commentaries, Outtakes (thirty-three minutes of ’em), clean opening and closing with samples from the Manga by VIZ media. Unfortunately the Manga samples are a little hard to read when in standard definition format that comes on a DVD.

Bottom line:
Generally entertaining for the first half of the series then begins to lose some of it’s charm. It’s worth checking out to enjoy yourself, though you might find yourself bored by the time the ending hits.

Gurren Lagann Short Review:
When I heard Gainax put out another anime that was hailed as the next big thing I was immediately skeptical knowing my .500 average with me liking whatever they put out. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is their latest offering prompting me to take a second look at my average. Let me do the run-down for you. It’s your standard Super Robot anime but we’ve upgraded to digital animation and bigger…um…eyes. But all the classic themes and characters are accounted for, disillusioned main character, eccentric support fellow, the bleeding heart, the princess love interest, the suspiciously feminine male engineer and a complete disregard for every law of physics and chemistry. Is the series good though? Well I think it’s great. There are a few minor complaints but in general the pacing for the series is incredibly good building up from small time nobodies to the saviors of the universe. On that note, character development is very good with characters being very intuitive and being very intelligent about their environment and the situations they are in. Generally very entertaining with points of comedy brilliance and an absolutely spectacular climax it is definitely worth a watch.

Posted on

Deadliest Sin 6/13/2009, the birthday present to myself

So I am 22 now. Do I really care? Not particularly, but it does call attention to myself, which I seem to be in dire need of lately. Kinda depressed lately of having no girl and pretty much being rejected or my new favorite word “Cockblocked”. This girl I met on Myspace I am interested in, but have never had the chance to see her in person. I have this sneaking suspicion she isn’t totally interested in me, which is odd since she was the one who came to me first. Also, this other girl who I know from high school who I feel for, but she doesn’t seem to be into me. She had been gone for a while so I let it go, but now that she’s back I feel that awkward heart sensation again. I also guess I am totally off her radar. Finally I have this girl I know over the internet from the UK. I like her because she’s snarky, pretty and very honest, among other fun features. But another thing that’s a big deal to me is that for my birthday she let me have an audio clip of her singing. I thought that was cute. Though I’m confused as to what women want from a guy or more bluntly, me. I am no good at relationships with women, but with how cryptic they are and what people say about them I can’t seem to get a girl, let alone anyone, to tell me what needs fixing. I’m a software developer at heart and frankly people can tell me “I hate it” but that doesn’t help me when I’m attempting to fix the problem. I can understand something like “The user interface could use a larger splash of color” or “The menu control feels sticky” but just “I hate it” never advances what needs doing. *Sigh* Another year, still girlfriendless.
Continue reading Deadliest Sin 6/13/2009, the birthday present to myself

Posted on

Zidane demands an update

March 23, 2008, 5:36 PM EDT, Sutherland Global Services, Syracuse Galleries
Weather: 0 C, Windy again
Subtitle: Where were we again?
So here ya go kiddies. Let’s see how I should start this. Okay, how about from when I last left off. Last thing I did was the Final Fantasy XI Fanfest. After that and getting home I just basically waited for the grueling editing process to hit. Here are the threads containing the webcasts we made:
Day 1
Day 2

Subtitle: What do you do again?
By now most of you know about my job as the database engineer. But a few weeks after the trip I got another job and now I work for Support.com. So what is this Support.com? Well, we’re a third party fee-based technical support company for Windows NT 5.1 or later computers (for those who don’t know the version numbers, its Windows XP or Vista, we do not support Macintosh or Linux). What we do is basically remote access support to customers. In other words, we lead a customer to a bouncing ball, then they sit back and we fix their computer from halfway across the country. Great idea? Sure as hell it is. Of course, I have some major complaints about customers in this service system that I just have to say.
Number 1: Our service is NOT FREE.
This is a big “duh”, but apparently some people can’t listen to the recording when people call up involving that our service is for a fee. We do not do services on behalf of any client for free.
Number 2: We are not <Insert Company name>.
Another big “duh”. By the time I collect someone’s name, Support.com is mentioned four times. We act independently on behalf of SupportSoft and SGS only.
Number 3: Network Magic is ultra fail.
If you call up saying your network has stopped working and you use or used network magic, there’s your problem right there. Network magic has a bad habit of “bricking” networks. If you call us up after going through the “troubleshooting” steps provided by network magic, all we’re going to do is pull it out and set it up by hand because it’s a horrific program and a horrid idea. You pay, Pure Networks owns your home network that doesn’t have any more functionality. You stop paying, your internet goes off. Wonderful scam in my opinion. As for why our number is on there, I don’t know the specifics, but we’re not supposed to be there.
Number 4: Listening to the technician.
If the technician tells you to do something, don’t question him/her or do something else. Most of us have years of experience backing up our repair skills so unless you have a Doctorate in Computer Science and ten years of repair experience, shut the hell up, listen and we’ll get done sooner.
Number 5: Be complete.
When I say that, usually I get half an error message when a customer gets one and I never get the information I need. In addition, some customers are quick to jump to conclusions, like most customers think that problems are caused by malicious software. Nine times out of ten, that’s horribly incorrect. In my case, a slow computer can be caused by malicious software, but more often than not it’s caused by people downloading software that clogs their startup.
Number 6: Want service? Show me the money!
Don’t try to get service if you don’t want to pay. We usually don’t talk after offering a service and you say no.
Number 7: We can’t help with passwords.
We cannot be legally liable for helping someone break into a computer. There is no way we can prove you’re the owner of the computer you are on. Don’t ask. Most of us know how to fix this problem, but we have tied hands for fixing it.
Number 8: If you have dial-up internet, don’t call us.
Two reasons for this. One, no matter what the problem is, you get the $129.99 service. Two, it takes FOREVER to get anything done through remote assist. You’re better off buying high speed internet then coming back.
Number 9: If you use any of the following operating systems, don’t call us.
This list includes ANY version of the Macintosh operating system, DOS, Windows 1, 2, 3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, NT4.0, 2000, Server 2003, Server 2008 or any flavor of Linux. Our software does not work or causes issues with these systems. Technical details: 2000 destroys the login system thereby bricking the computer, server 2003 fails and wreaks havoc on active directory, we assume 2008 will do the same. Also, finding a Mac and Windows technician that will work at what we get paid? Not likely.
Number 10: We don’t have any reps that speak <Insert Language other than English>.
Save for one guy on the day crew that speaks Puerto Rico style Spanish and one guy on the night crew who speaks Ukrainian, we’re without anyone who speaks languages other than English. We consist of about fourty people in total, ten of which are never really on the phone, so odds are we’re not adding another language division.
Number 11: Do not use a registry cleaner.
Registry cleaners do not work. They don’t fix hard drive errors, they don’t speed up your system and plain and simple they just don’t help. Whenever used they have a larger chance of causing problems than fixing them. Example, some registry cleaners have been known to completely blank the control panel and add/remove programs list. To be honest, the reason why this ends up this way is because registry cleaners are computer programs that work on a set of rules that are not right for every situation and can cause problems. Best advice: Avoid.
Number 12: The search bar is not the address bar.
This should be obvious, but some people can’t grasp the concept. Google does not give you a way to go directly to a site. If we say “put this in your address bar”, it will not work if you put it in the search bar.

Now that that’s out of the way, want to know how to beat the system? Here are some insider tips.
Number 1: Have credit card at hand.
See numbers 1 and 6 above. The faster you pay us, the sooner your problem can be worked on and eventually fixed.
Number 2: Be complete.
See number 5 above. To us, if you say “I have a virus”, we have to start asking questions as to why you think that. If you say, “I think I have a virus and I think it is causing all these popups and strange messages saying my computer is not secure…” then we can work with it.
Number 3: $129.99 is where the buck stops (For one computer).
Our prices do not go any higher. However, we do charge sales tax in Texas and Connecticut. The services that go over the $129.99 are Google Apps installation and Migration as well as a network setup that covers four or more computers, both of which are extremely uncommon.
Number 4: We charge by incident, not by time.
Meaning, if it takes us a week to fix your problem, it’s still a flat fee. Related to the above bullet is if you have more than one issue, it’s going to incur multiple charges. Say, you have a virus and we clean it out, then you want your network set up. That’s $99.99 for the Anti-Virus and $89.99 for the Networking. That’s just how we work.
Number 5: The QuickFix
This is the service we don’t advertise. According to regulations, this is a service at $49.99 (no discounts can be applied to this) and basically says after we pin a CPR (The $129.99 service) and collect the payment, a clock starts. If we do fix the problem within probably ten to twenty minutes and we like you (meaning you’re pleasant to work with), we offer the discounted price. Also, don’t ask for the QuickFix since if you mention it you probably won’t get it. We have to say it.
Number 6: “And how did you hear about us today?”
Mention how you heard about the company. Depending on how you answer, that may incur a discount for yourself. If it doesn’t, it helps the marketing department determine where our marketing systems are working or not. Internal Jokes involving SUSO run rampant here though.
Number 7: Be civil.
We’re human just like you. Treat us well and we’ll be done faster. Most of us are trained to talk on the same level as you, but some of us prefer to talk up by overusing honorable terms (sir, mam).
Number 8: Yes, we speak USA style English.
While we get a blend of how it sounds, we do all speak incredibly strong English. If you do the same, it will help out greatly.
Number 9: If you try to fix it yourself, let us know what you have done to it.
This can help us troubleshoot the problem if we know what you’ve done. If you don’t say what you did, we’re probably bound to repeat the same step.
Number 10: Humor us.
We are trained to not overlook the obvious. If it’s not plugged in, there’s your problem. If we ask you to check a wire, make sure you do.
Number 11: Hours
We’re open every day, including holidays, from 8AM EDT to 2AM EDT the next day. Not a 24 hour operation, but it is pretty close.
Number 12: You’re talking to a technician.
There are no receptionists, no level II techs, nobody over us. As you call up, that’s it. That’s all you get.
Number 13: Put your kids on the phone.
If you have kids that use the computer more than you, as long as you give permission, we can work with them instead. Since most of the current generation’s teenagers know computers better than their adult counterparts, we can usually get done faster.
Number 14: The verbal terms and conditions we blow by explained.
I say these extremely fast because it’s so boring, not because I want to make you agree to something you don’t understand.
14.1: You must be 18 years of age or older.
Since this is a legally binding agreement, we can’t do anything with someone under 18. However, if you give someone who’s 13 years of age or older (COPPA controls that number) consent, we can work with them in your place. Also, we take a credit card for payment, so being over 18 is almost required.
14.2: If I connect to your computer you consent to us taking remote control of your computer.
Because this is how we fix computers, we just need this agreement so we have the authorization to control your machine.
14.3: You are responsible for backing up your data and software.
Some things we do can cause you to loose data. This is to save ourselves from being liable for something that may have been out of our control.
14.4: We will refund your money if we are unable to resolve this issue.
What makes us special. We don’t charge diagnostic fees (upwards of $150.00 at some stores) since we do it over the phone in ten minutes. Also, if after an amount of time and after exhausting at least the “pod” we still can’t figure out a resolution, we give you the money back.
14.5: You also have a 5 day window to call back at no charge for follow up on the same problem we resolved.
Two things related to this. One, if we mark the issue resolved and you call back saying the same thing is happening again we can help you for free. If you call back with a completely different problem and neither you nor the technician can put the two issues together, we won’t help you without another charge.
14.6: We do not sell or trade your personal information to third parties for marketing.
Duh. This would be bad if we just handed out everything we collected about you to another company in the name of profit.
Number 15: Keep your CDs.
Often times we might require the use of your original Windows CDs or Driver Disks. When you buy a new computer, a new media player, printer, whatever save every disk it came with. This makes the issue much easier to resolve and deal with.

However, there is one major complaint I have about this job. I don’t do sales. My job is not to sell you a service, it’s to fix your computer. I’m a technician, not a salesman. There are some people in this group that would unfortunately rather try to force a service on someone who doesn’t want it. I don’t do that sort of thing. If I offer a service and you say no, I cut the call. I don’t object or anything. If you say yes, give me your information and let’s be on our way. Okay, that was long. Hell. It could have been it’s own post. Oh well.

Subtitle: I think my DVD rack fell on me.
I’ve been purchasing a lot of anime lately. I’ve also been keeping track of it on anime-planet.com and have come to the realization that I’ve spent over two months of my lifetime watching anime. Wow. Anyway, I’m still in dire need of cleaning my apartment and putting my next DVD rack together (yes, the original one is full) so I’ll save the list for another post. However, I did claim victory recently. I’ll tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there were eleven friends. The first five named two, three, four, five and six came home one day and looked at each other. Comfortable but confused, they asked, where were the others? Seven arrived in his own box. A special home for himself. In the months that would come, one more friend would be added into seven’s box every three weeks. But after twelve arrived, there was an awkward silence among them. Not only did two through six resent not having the box, but they all asked, where was number one? Contents of packages seven and ten were worn many times, but the others were unused. Two years they waited then someone came home. A package outside the door. A victory was achieved after two long years of searching. A box containing a box containing number one with room for five more and a sampling of audio. The friends were overjoyed.

The one that came home was one. With a home for two through six. They all now knew that they would be used for something else other than clothes.

Okay, enough with the lame story. Anyway, I completed Gundam SEED Destiny as the above story mentions. I’m probably going to watch it soon, but I have tons of anime to plow through, so it might be a while. As for a picture of the rack? I should take another one.

Subtitle: I’m branching out, not converting.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I purchased an Xbox 360 Elite Falcon edition. The gigantic black box seems to complement the white Wii well. The 360 provides an excellent list of features that I have a lot of fun with. First up is Dynasty Warriors: Gundam and damn is it fun. It’s a simple hack and slash game with a Gundam theme and it is very well polished and fun to play, despite a huge lack of balance with mobile weapons. As an example, why in bloody hell is God Gundam available? It’s main attacks are punches consisting of range that is so short it’s not worth talking about. Now let’s put this into contrast with something like Epyon (also available) which has range from hell and very beautiful SP attacks. I also got a nice taste of storylines not released in the US yet like Turn A Gundam and Mobile Suit ZZ Gundam. Overall the game is fun, but a bit repetitive. I also picked up an obligatory copy of Halo 3, beat the living snot out of it and put it away. Halo 3 unfortunately is a “more of the same” game of Halo 2 that looks prettier and concludes the storyline. I played Xbox live for a while, but only play with friends now since the online play is boring now. I have a few more games for it, but those are all that are worth mentioning.

Subtitle: The joy of computing
Recently I purchased some components for the aging V2.1 box. It’s not up to crazy snuff, but it is potent again and can handle operations without complaint. I also really had to replace a dying hard drive. I mean, the hard drive caused the CPU to run at 100% burn to be read off of or written to. Obviously something was failing in the drive. I don’t know what, but I replaced it and am wondering what I can do about a replacement. The drive hasn’t hit it’s age yet and has pretty much all it’s data off, so I care little about how it ends up, but I wouldn’t mind having a spare 250GB around. I also upgraded the video card which was a massive disappointment. I went from a Connect3D 9200se to a Sapphire Radeon X1650 PRO and after a week went back to the 9200se. Why? The X1650 blinks whenever trying to invoke DirectDraw, meaning whenever I try to play a video the card blinks rabidly and makes my eyes hurt. I’m returning that one because it just seems to be made of fail.

I also purchased myself a copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional. I figure I’m going to need something like this for work eventually anyway so I should have it. It is serving me well, however, I cannot use XNA with it yet. Speaking of XNA though, I am really getting into that. Sofar I’ve created a side scrolling shooter game based off of Freespace: The Great War which is turning into a really fun project and when I’m happy with an alpha version I’ll put it on this site to play. Speaking of Freespace though, I’m playing that a lot again too. For some reason I just feel reinvigorated to play such a fun game. The open source project turned the game from the most awesome space flight simulator ever and somehow made it better. Featuring graphical enhancements, a nebula that still gives people headaches and generally smoother gameplay it feels like a great new game all over again. I also got to finish the original Great War campaign with the project because I had such issues playing the original game on my laptop.

Speaking of my laptop, I’m about to strike up some controversy here. About one month ago I purchased a copy of Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit edition for my ASUS G2P. Originally, my laptop came loaded with Windows XP Media Center edition, meaning that my computer really wasn’t using the full force of my CPU and had huge problems with stability. Now that it has a 64-bit OS, this thing is turning into a raging road rocket. But why Vista? Well, I’ll ask a better question. Why not? Seriously, what is so horrible about this operating system? I think the most criticism come from people who don’t use it and just look at the outside. Sure, it has steep system requirements. But I’m happy the system requirements are so high. Not because I want people to buy new computers, but it shows that hardware manufactures really need to get in the game and churn out heavy duty equipment and advance forward with hardware manufacturing as opposed to the process they are taking now. I have yet to have a real problem with Vista sofar. Aero is nothing short of wonderful eye candy, feels faster than XP and works well with all my software. In fact, it plays so well, that my Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars game actually plays now! This is odd, since on Media Center it wouldn’t play without crashing and the box with the system requirements explicitly says it’s not compatible with a 64-bit installation of Vista. But it works. I’m willing to file this one under oversight by EA or just not knowing what the hell they’re talking about. Then again, the system also said a Radeon 9200 wouldn’t work with the game, but that was part of the only way I could get it to work. Meh. Whatever. It looks great and with Kane’s Wrath coming out this week I’ll be prepared for ass kicking.

The only comment I have sofar is user account control or UAC. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with Vista, this is the control that makes the entire screen darken and gives you the dialogue box asking you if you want to continue. Most people find this annoying. Personally, I’m on the fence. One, this is not an original Microsoft idea. In fact, it’s a great idea to prevent malware and stolen from a UNIX clone. Unfortunately it suffers from two critical flaws and they are the userbase hates it and when invoked it can really mess up some 3D games. As I said to someone it’s a fantastic idea and a great implementation to really stop things from doing suspicious actions. Also, if you do or do not notice, there isn’t a back door to this which is good if something tries to disguise itself as something legitimate, UAC will still catch it. I have yet to turn it off. Probably because I’m not bothered by it.

After this month or so trial of Vista, I have not found a significant enough reason to go back to XP. I am hooked.

Subtitle: *Drumroll* Live from Vana’diel…
Yes, I finally got my moment of fame for Limit Break Radio. My own personal White Mage show. Check it out here. I don’t really have much to say about it other than it was fun.

Subtitle: Round 3, FIGHT!
A rather recent event, Super Smash Brothers Brawl has hit store shelves and my Wii. A fun game again and definitely a lot different than the previous two. The general speed of the game seems somewhere between the original and melee with some characters that are heavyweights actually attacking at a somewhat related pace. As an example, Ike, who wields a large bastard sword, is rather slow with some attacks. Unfortunately my character from melee does not make any sort of appearance in Brawl, but Ike plays so much like Roy anyway, he’s an acceptable replacement. In fact, all but Pichu and Dr. Mario (who were really just clones anyway) have replacements in Brawl, Ike for Roy, Toon Link for Young Link and Lucario for Mewtwo. Some characters got quite a drastic change in Brawl too, some for the better, some just make you raise an eyebrow, see Mario and why F.L.U.D.D. was included as a replacement Down+B move. Oh, on that note, I play with the old GameCube controller, which was a great idea to include being able to do that since I’m so incredibly used to it. Overall I can see why the acclaim of this game is so high and I’m quite happy to play it. With so much to do and so many friends who play too, it’s just a dream.

Subtitle: One more to go.
Three weeks ago I finished all but one of my courses at the institute. It feels strange. Almost feels like yesterday I walked into Operating Systems with Mr. Sweeny and in ten more weeks I’m about to walk out with a college degree. Sofar it’s going to be a total drag with the company I have in my capstone project, but once I churn that baby out I can finally say bye to some people at the school and get on with life. I’m not optimistic that the project will turn out like I want it to, but I’m just doing this one for a grade, not to show people that I’m the greatest thing to hit the programming world since William Henry Gates III KBE (Don’t ask why I memorized his official title).

Subtitle: You didn’t mention that yet!
Well, do you ever think I would leave something like that out? Would I? Well? Okay, of course not. I am always one to include this sort of thing. I’ve been playing off and on. My new job is constricting my play time, but I still find the ability to rock and roll every so often. First up, I have gotten my Scholar to 37 and can now effectively use it as a subjob for my White Mage and what a fine subjob it is. I have the feeling this thing has trumped summoner as a fantastic subjob, providing more useful spells and abilities than the commonly used Auto-Refresh trait. I have also been working on my Dancer. At 32, it is looking like a fun job to play to 75. It reminds me a lot of my White Mage, but I usually don’t get to fill the healing role that well with Dancer. While some of my enfeebling steps are fun, the job doesn’t seem all that fantastic, at least so far. Going back to my White Mage, I finally got my Reverend Mail, so that’s one less piece of melee gear I need to complete my set. All I need now to finish is a Goliard Saio and maybe whatever else I can think of. I got myself the new transportation spells for my jobs too and I feel a little more complete with them. Campaign Battle is okay now, but it requires a more coordinated effort to really do some damage, like pulling mobs away. As for Wings of the Goddess content, I’m not seeing the best stuff yet I think, but I hope it only gets better. I wish I had more time to play XI.

Subtitle: Am I done?
Not really. I just don’t know what else to write about today. See ya.

Posted on

My life is boring

I just really noticed something. After reading my brother’s blog/book thingy, I just took a look at my own life and realized something.

It’s really boring.

Here’s what a day looks like: I lie in bed for half an hour after I get up. I finally crawl out of bed. Most of the days I don’t even shower. I figure, I’m not going anywhere, nobody ever comes here, why present myself? Sometimes I just leave my PJ pants still on. I throw on a random “junk” (AKA those useless Boilermaker shirts) tee to complement it just so I don’t seem so naked. I plop myself in my command station’s chair that’s broken because my father is too cheap to buy a chair that won’t break after a year’s use and I won’t buy another one. My vision comes to light. I say three choice words to turn my computers back to life from an idle state to monitors on at full power. I check my IMs (usually none show when I’m sleeping) My Yahoo!, my Yahoo mail account, my website mail and Slashdot. I check the usual forums of BlueGartrLS and Limit Break Radio. Nothing happened as usual. Turn on Final Fantasy XI and sit idle waiting for some shout to come by for something I want to do. I never usually get one. I look at some jobs at my usual career sites and fill out countless applications, but always get rejected because of going to school or something of the like. Check the forums again. Check my personals. Oogle a bit over some women who I know would think I’m too weird to date. Close the window and dismiss it. Start cooking my only meal for the day, which is only one of five things. Browse some image boards. Get the urge to code something massive, start it, get barely done writing the algorithm and stop again. Start eating the cooked meal. Fire up the TV to play a video game of some sort that isn’t XI. Put the game down and play some XI. Go back to the other game. Turn off the game and fire up some anime I really need to watch that hasn’t been watched. Pause it every five seconds to do something else. Code. Complain to myself about the decaying state of my dirty apartment. Pick up a couple things. Plop back at the command station. Watch more of that anime. Check my bank account balance. Pay my bills if they exist. Play XI some more. Finally finish the meal 8 hours later. Wind down to the end of the day with an aggressive game. Watch some hentai and get off to it. Clean up the mess. Change back into my sleeping clothes. Restlessly toss and turn in bed thinking about the idea of no girl is in it with me until I pass out.

Repeat.

Offbeat things:
Sunday and Thursday 6PM-11PM: Dynamis (XI event)
Thursday 8AM-8:30AM: Shower
Thursday 9AM-1:30PM and Friday 6PM-8PM: College.

Am I complaining? No. I have a good time with this and wouldn’t trade it for much. Though, I just had to examine what I do during a day. I kinda wish I had more people I identified very well with that I could talk to regularly, didn’t have to go to bed alone and could have normal conversation without swearing or bringing up something perverted.

Oh. One more thing in the offbeat section.

Saturday to Wednesday 5PM-2AM: My new job. I’m sure a lot of folks would be proud right about now.

Posted on

Otakon 2007

July 19th, 2007, 5:00AM, Hancock International Airport.
Weather: 20 Degrees C, Cloudy
Subtitle: Delays, Changes and big headaches.

Yesterday was my last day of hanging out with the ITT folks for the week. During that time, our instructor had a family emergency with his wife so we got class off. While we were waiting for him, I managed to get the SSH system to work so I could use the home network securely through ITT’s firewall and many other security measures. If I’m lucky, this will work absolutely everywhere, including heavily secured networks like banks and whatnot. Hell, it’s what I’m using right now to write this entry on my apartment computer (reminder, I’m at the airport). So anyway, I headed out from there and headed to Carousel Center to buy a present (more on that later). I get a call from Laura who is running the show for my hotel. Due to a discrepancy of some sort, our room got canceled. After me complaining quite a bit for it to be fixed, she comes back and we’re now paying about $80 less for the room, but there’s one extra person in it.

Oh well. So anyway, after it got sorted out, I was hanging outside of Victoria’s Secret. Unfortunately, I was like Hideki from Chobits. I had a nerve-wracking time trying to get in there without feeling weird. I walk in and am surrounded by a mess. The store was not kept well, lingerie was not organized well, on the floor, sticking out of weird places and it just felt, dirty. I guess. So I glanced around anyway. Some of the stuff in there was really sexy looking. I mean, I like what I saw, despite a poor presentation. So anyway, I walk up to the counter and get what I came for. And it happened again. “Can I help you find something miss?” Miss. MISS?! Does it look like I have boobs to you?! I didn’t really blow up like that, but I obviously thought it was funny. I replied with my signature, “I suggest you reconsider that statement” in a deep voice. She looks at me and says, “Oh. Well please accept my apologies. Are you looking for a gift card or something to wear?” I respond with the card then also think to myself, “This doesn’t make sense either. See, the counter where you put things and the pin-pad are on complete opposite sides of the point of sale machine. The winner? Not whoever designed this system. So anyway, I get my car and envelope, she then asks me if I’d like a bag. Now, it felt really weird at this point. I’m not sure what, but it just hit me. Then she finishes with “It’s really small and cute. Perfect for her.” I’m like, eh, why not. It may not be a bad way to present my gift. I get it, the bag and then head out. I stuff the bag into my laptop case to conceal it (I mean, I would of felt extremely weird with this tiny Victoria’s Secret bag going around for another half an hour). So I get home and claim my victory of being able to be in that store, alone and get my job done without freaking out or just breaking down by being surrounded by so much sex. I purchased this card, following seeing my dad commonly gets it as a gift. I talked to Maeve about it and she said it was a nice gift because it says to the girl I think you are hot. Personally, I thought of it like “it’s something you use anyway, so why not look/feel great with it?” After getting home, I decided that looking up the Wikipedia article for the store to see if there was anything interesting about it. Turns out the original concept for the store was not to cater to selling women’s underwear to women, but to men buying underwear for his wife or girlfriend. I thought this was an interesting concept, but dismissed the idea later thinking “it can’t be that way anymore. WAY too much pink and femininity roaming around to interest me or make me feel comfortable.”

So I got home and got a nap. Wasn’t too long, but it made me feel more prepared for the rest of the day. I got up, got to the bank for the cash, picked up some dinner, met James back at the apartment and watched the first disk of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. OH DAMN. It’s freaking wonderful. A fine anime, very funny, very energetic, has a decent “WTF?!” factor and has a good amount of fan service to keep the perverts (like me) entertained. I haven’t got a good chance to go through any of the special features yet though. I brought the included hair band with me for a laugh (going to see if Laura can get it tied to my hair properly.) Or I could try it myself. If I enter BWI with it on, it should be a dead giveaway what I’m there for. Then, I got the call. My flight has been canceled. No, it’s not the end of the world I am still going to get there. However, due to all this, I am connecting in a different place, arriving later but got some cash back for the problem. I don’t know if something’s happening at LGA (LaGuardia, New York City), or if it was just too under booked, but oh well. (Edit, about 6:20AM) Apparently, there was a steam pipe explosion in Manhattan. I think this could be the case, because I got the call about 10PM last night and the pipe seemed to have exploded only a short time before that. The fact that a steam pipe explosion causing the flights to the airport to be canceled doesn’t make tons of sense, but I suppose it can’t be helped. I’ve got about another 40 minutes until the boarding call is announced, I’m going to crack open my book: Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary by Linus Torvalds, the inventor of LINUX. Well, maybe not. Something interesting just occurred to me. My cologne, in a steel case, a liquid, at 1.7 ounces GOT THROUGH security. I forgot I put it in there. The hell.

July 20th, 2007, 1:39PM, Baltimore Convention center, Room 340.
Weather: 34 Degrees C, Sunny
Subtitle: And it begins.

Last night I finally got in. I decided to wait for Sarah instead of heading on. I did, meet her for the first time and I thought it was cool. She destroyed one of her toes and had a hard time walking. Oh well. We got on the rail and headed out to the convention center, put down our bags at the hotel and got in line for the pre-registration. As expected, the speed of their service kept us in line for only about an hour. After that we met up with Laura and got into the hotel. I’m not completely happy with my roommates, but at least they’re not serial killers (Sarah thinks they are.) We had two couples from upstate New York. They all seemed a bit too friendly with each other and that annoyed me, knowing me and Sarah couldn’t do anything remotely that interesting with each other. Anyway, we went to the dinner and found that a total of four people showed up, not including us. They (as in Uno’s) didn’t seek to keep our reservation. So we got some free appetizers for the gig. Anyway, after that we headed back to the hotel, I crashed, Sarah stayed up a bit, writing in pain.

Today, I got up at 9AM naturally. Go figure. I got into the bathroom without waking anyone, but ran into a problem. All their bathing suits are hanging up. Now the guy’s pants are fine. But the women’s two pieces made me cringe and hesitate. Oh well. I got all fresh and dressed, walked out of the room. Then I bumped into Sarah’s cot making a rather loud noise that woke everyone up. They all got up and I headed out to the convention. I ran into Frice in the game room, looked around and started pwning some n00bs at Wii sports. Damn that was fun, but in the process I destroyed my left arm, making it almost useless for days. I headed out again and walked up to Shiatsu Massage, which is where I am now. Hopefully Sarah will appreciate this, though I don’t have a demo partner to try it all out on. I guess its “good luck” from here on out.

July 20th, 2007, 6:16PM, Marriott Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, Room 8088.
Weather: 34 Degrees C, Sunny
Subtitle: Disappointed.

So I’m sitting in the hotel room with Sarah right now and she’s complaining about her toe and being sick. Now she wants to go home early. I personally am not happy right now. I was hoping for a decent weekend with a friend, not something that reminded me of how my sister acted on a previous trip. She tried to get her flight rescheduled for $400. I was expecting a minor fee; say $40, but not $400. But that aside, I think she’s just taking the coward’s way out. I thought she should have got some sleep (she stayed up really late last night) and figure it out in the morning, but she’s taking this way too hard. I think she now has a train she can take back later tonight. I’m worried for her, don’t get me wrong, but unhappy.

Let’s move on. I got in line for Fred Gallagher for a drawing of Largo for my book and asked him a couple questions. I showed him the picture of him and Gordon Freeman, he thought it was amusing plus he said he had a friend who worked for Valve. Really funny. So I moved on and asked him about a new version of the website. He responded by someone was already working on it, but thanks for the offer. Either way, I’m glad that’s done.

July 21st, 2007, 4:12PM, Baltimore Convention Center, Pratt Street Lobby.
Weather:  35 Degrees C, Sunny
Subtitle: The next morning.

Well, I’m back and feeling pretty decent. This morning I hooked up with Jonathan Stopchick of Caffeinated Lifestyle and talked quite a bit to him. I got some pictures with him and some myself and we were a decent crowd. I got a flower from an Aeris as a joke, still hanging out of my camera bag. I basically went around the dealers’ room, found nothing I was looking for, (The starter box set to Gundam SEED Destiny Volume 1 and something from Watsuki(a)) came back up here and sat down because my legs and back really hurt from all this running around. For some creepy reason Johnny wanted a picture in my Kimono, so you’ll get to see that when I return home. Oddly enough I haven’t watched a single thing of anime today. I will go to fan parodies tonight because, despite my hate for Neon Genesis Evangelion, Evangelion: Redeath is absolutely hilarious.

Kimono pictures:

 Standing

I am ready to serve you my mistress…

 I am ready to serve you my mistress...

And one that I took (This is Johnathan Stopchick by the way). BEHOLD! THE DEW!!!

July 21st, 2007, 12:47PM, Ballroom 2, Baltimore Convention Center.
Weather: 30, Degrees C, Partly Cloudy
Subtitle: And on the last day…

Last night I took a nap from 6:00PM to 8:12PM. I got some extremely bad pizza to eat, I mean, it wasn’t even completely cooked. Then I went to the rave for the fist time ever in my Otakon history. Well, I felt like a complete moron. Hell, watching Phil made me feel embarrassed. I walked around, bobbed my head a bit and went around in some “conga” lines. Overall it was okay, but I was kind of bummed I lost my Aeris Flower. I went to see Evangelion: Redeath Redux again and thought it was as kick ass as usual. After that I went to see Fencer of Minerva which was a pretty cheap hentai anime, but who cares about that. The crowd was the thing to see. Think of it this way: “Take it off!”, “Just put it in!”, “Boobies!”, “Meow!” and “Awe, come on!” were common to say every five minutes. I thought that was great. I didn’t finish watching it because I was too tired. I came back to the hotel and crashed.

This morning I got up kind of late, packed up and came back to the convention center to pick up a couple of things I missed. First was a tee for a friend, then I wanted a Megatokyo polo, but they were out so I went back to the Otakon booth and got one from there. Finally, I can wear my Otakudom at work and still conform to most dress codes. I ran into Johnny Stopchick again and we got a group photo. I then went to “Ultimate Anime Shop” and asked around to see if they had anything by Miss Watsukia. It turns out they didn’t but the owner of the booth said she recognized her art. I’m going to bother her online for it later. For some reason she gave me one of those advertising gifts, which was a condom. I thought that was ridiculously funny, apart from “free air” (Molex Productions) and bag of tissues (J-list). I am now sitting in Panel 4, waiting for the closing ceremony and the most important thing of all: next year’s dates for the convention. I don’t want the headache of finding a room at the last possible moment, so I want to do this early. So far I know Phil will be coming and joining me in the room, that’s two of a possible five or six. *Gurgle* I’m hungry. *Pulls out some chips and starts munching.*

July 21st, 2007, 7:08PM, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
22 Degrees C, Cloudy
Subtitle: Going home.

No problems here. Just hanging out in BWI, talking to someone I met on the way here and enjoying myself. The Otakon dates for 2008 are August 8th, 9th and 10th. I think that’s cool. I’ll be reserving a hotel at Days Inn on the 15th of August, 2007 or at the Holiday Inn in September 2007. I can’t wait to be home so I can relax and get some real sleep and a shower before work at 9AM EDT in Utica again. Here’s a crew picture for great justice:

12:40PM, Office of MTI Technology Corporation, The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation, Oriskany, New York
24 Degrees C, Partly Cloudy
Subtitle: Afterthoughts.

I thought I had a good time at the convention, though I would have hoped Sarah would enjoy it with me. In either case, I haven’t exactly got the heads up on the latest and greatest in anime slated for the states, but I did have a good time. Between the rave, pictures, fan service (personal story), hentai and food, I enjoyed my time there. No major complaints stood out in my mind, though I wasn’t really sure what to expect being out of the community for so long. Next year, I bring more cash for the dealer’s room.

12:31AM, Zero’s Apartment, Liverpool, New York
19 Degrees C, Mostly Cloudy
Subtitle: Pictures.

I didn’t take many pictures because I had Johnny do most of the work. Here’s a big slab of them:
http://www.caffeinatedlifestyle.com/gallery/Otakon%202007/