Friday, November 9

This blog is officially....

...on hold.

A bit of a joke admittedly, considering it was meant to document my 日本の生活, and now that I'm here I've decided to stop posting.

Why? Who cares. You can be sure laziness has a rather large role in it though.

Tuesday, September 18

Status Update

Stress. Ooooh, ahhhh.

Everything is still hanging rather thin, and I can already see myself running through the streets of London in the early hours of the morning on Thursday with several suitcases and narrowly missing the plane and dying in a mass of documents and unsigned papers after collecting a visa from a certain unreliable embassy building which doesn't answer phone calls.

Well that's the worst case scenario anyway.
Far more likely is that my suitcases will repeatedly get stuck in the Tube barriers, I'll end up losing something important, the embassy will be closed for no reason and the trains will probably be late. Add some rushing around into the mix, along with the fact that I still may very well miss the flight.
Wait, this is actually about the same. I forgot to say it's still in the early hours of the morning.

All this happening while my (badly packaged) stuff is sitting at home cause they won't take it without a commercial invoice (read: I have to sell my stuff to myself before they'll take it through customs cause they wanna tax me poor for no reason).

I'm going to be a nervous wreck before term starts and I haven't even left the country yet. Assuming I actually end up leaving at all.

S'all good fun though, I'm expecting more to go wrong.

I'm ranting cause today was just one of those days, and the following weeks' forecast reveals a repeat of bad everything.

Edit: Blog anzeigen? What the hell is that? Did someone randomly screw up the languages, cause I was half expecting Blogger to blow up in my face and lose my whole post, just to fall in line with everything else that's crashing down around my ears.

Thursday, September 13

Amaranth by Nightwish



A new single from Nightwish, showing off their new singer Anette Olzon, replacing Tarja Turunen.

Frankly I'm disappointed.

Anette is a fine singer but, she's not... Nightwish. They just sound so much more generic now.

Maybe their new album will change my mind but I doubt it; at least I have a ton of their old stuff to go by.

Thursday, September 6

Buy my things!

Seriously.

Most importantly is the 32" widescreen Hitachi CRT model downstairs which needs to go before I leave.
Come on people, it's £100 and in perfect condition *shakes fist*

Alright this month's updates are all incredibly mundane. Sue me.

The Escape: Updates 2

Shipping my stuff is going to cost around £300-£600. Decided to go with UPS cause they're the most straightforward, reliable and fast without having too many restrictions. The best part is I can do it all online.

After booking my flight I remembered I needed to have them somehow use my ANA mileage club number so I can accrue mileage, but of course statravel doesn't feel like responding to my emails.
Cheap is cheap, but they have to have some kind of customer service, right?

Had an ink stamp for my chinese name ordered too, but that's gonna take weeks to arrive.

The books I made for the holiday photos from Rome are now printed and shipped.

I've given up on renewing my passport, I'll do it in Japan.

Table booked for next Monday's meal.

...and that's about.

Oh and I've started adding more to my book.

The Escape: Updates

Well, things aren't exactly alllll going according to plan, but it's not so bad.

I've had to delay my flight to the 18th, because I haven't got a clue when my visa certificate is gonna arrive. The school isn't exactly being very helpful.

No cookie for statravel.co.uk for sending me an ISIC card which will expire this year instead of next year, and then ignoring my emails.
Infact, I think most of the enquiries I've made via emailed have been ignored, whether it's to the apartment people or the darn Japanese Embassy.

Thanks to Mai, I'm now a lot more informed about what I need to do once I get to Japan, but that can I wait I guess.

Got a few things coming up this weekend in regards to the "last of everything" run down.

Already said my goodbyes to some good friends last weekend. That was awful.

And now I'm sleep deprived cause we're having new windows fitted, and I have weird sleeping patterns. It's just THUMP THUMP DRILL all day long. Grr.

That's it for now, for once I'm genuinely too busy to post more often.

*yawn*

Tuesday, August 28

Rome

I had something more to say, but it left me when the airport shuttle driver decided to navigate the streets of Italy at 175km/h at 4am, also overtaking on the wrong side of the road occasionally with no hands on the wheel and coming rather close to colliding with a bus.

For now, just enjoy these two photos.

(Oh and if you aren't asian and assume all asian people look the same, please shoot yourself, then go back in time to realise that I'm in the 2nd photo and not the 1st.)




P.S. Don't worry Q, your food is on the way. Kinda.

Tuesday, August 14

Bioshock (Xbox 360 Demo) - First Impressions

Ahh... the game I've been patiently waiting for since... well, god knows really.

I was worried cause as good as the game sounded on paper, execution of such a complex idea would be a hit or a miss.

Well I'm not worried anymore.

Graphics: 10/10
Sound: 11/10
Controls: 9/10
Gameply: 12/10

Yeah, as you can see I've taken the liberty to use top heavy fractions to express the impression this demo left on me.

The first thing I did after playing it through was head upstairs and preorder the collectors edition (due out on the 24th in UK, along with the standard edition). It was that good.

If you haven't got the demo already then do yourself a favour.

Saturday, August 11

Obstacles, memories and a pinch of salt

"Once again it stands before me. The stone wall ahead looms higher and ever more menacing as the railtracks continue on it's steady collision-course.

Now, am I to climb over it, or struggle on the steep sides? An inevitable question that would have to be answered sooner or later, as the opportunity to turn tail and flee is forever growing fainter.

What looked like a small bump in the road several steps back now encompassed my vision as I'm swallowed into the shadow it casts upon the shrouded path I'm destined to travel."


Well I suppose I'll find out soon enough.
I hope "it seemed like a good idea at the time" are words that never have to leave my mouth in the upcoming 24 months.

Anyway, on to more cheerful topics; Rome in just over a week. Will be awesome.

Rush Hour 3 was also awesome. There's no real plot, character development or cohesion, and every time they tried to be serious about something they fell on their face with the weak and cheesy script... but hey that's not what Rush Hour movies are about anyway.
It was damn funny, and the action was decent. Humour won't appeal to everyone, but I still recommend it to anyone who's looking for a cinema outing.


Edit:
Also, a typo brought about the brilliant and ingenious word "peanus" which I'm now going to trademark.

Monday, August 6

eBay Stuff

Master Grade Freedom kit - Auction ends on 15/08/07

More to come, probably. (Guess not)

Auctions ended.

Saturday, August 4

More Paraphernalia - Clayz Saber 1/6

Probably my favourite anime collectable would be this 1/6 Saber (Fate/Stay Night) figure from Clayz.
Also happens to be the biggest thing in my collection.

Very high quality PVC, well crafted and hand painted. Mint condition with box.



Here are further photos from Moyism's gallery. I hope they don't mind my linking to their site.

These are, of course, now in limited circulation. I'm looking for at least £50 for it.

Edit: In true salesman style, for a limited time only, get everything you see here + the MG Freedom kit for £120.

Gundam Models: For Sale

Ah I remember the days when I was such a huge fan of these model kits... but that's a story for another day.

Today, up for sale, are my already-built Akatsuki (Shiranui load-out, HG) and Strike Freedom (1/100).
Also up, is my unbuilt kit for the Master Grade Freedom (Extra Finish Version).
All in shiny condition of course (see pictures below).

The prices are open to offers, but as of the 4th of August my friend gets priority on them. That means you Scott.
If he doesn't want them then it'll be up on ebay.co.uk, although you if you're interested you can start emailing me offers for them.
On ebay.com at the moment the MG Freedom is going for $76.99+$14.99 postage, and $109.99+$14.99 postage (UK postage). That works out as £45 and £61 respectively, bearing in mind the current ridiculous exchange rate (Read: It's worth more damn it).
The Akatsuki model is probably my favourite (the photos don't do it justice), I paid £20 for it.
The Strike Freedom was also £20.
For the MG Freedom, I paid £50.

Shiranui Akatsuki Gundam ORB-01 (HG, Metallic) Box + Manual
Whoops, the sword is double-ended, I just forgot to attach the other blade before taking the photos.


Strike Freedom Gundam ZGMF-X20A (1/100) Manual Only, Character Card


Freedom Gundam ZGMF-X10A (MG Extra Finish) Box + Manual


Reason for sale: I'm moving into a tiny apartment in Japan, duh.

Oh and, I'd rather sell them together in one go to avoid hassle. Since you're doing me a favour by buying the set, you can have it for a reduced price of £66 altogether (£40+£14+£12).

Current Bid Status:
I have £12 for the Akatsuki, and £35 for the MG Freedom.

Friday, August 3

Sony TZ (VGN-TZVN/X) Review

No specifictions list or photo gallery included in this round-up. There are already a ton of review sites out there with everything you need in this respect.
I've tried to cover only the points other reviewers have failed to comment on.




If you didn't already know, I splashed out on the top-spec Sony TZ series laptop (known as the VGN-TZVN/X in UK, 1.2ghz with SSD) the other day, and here are my observations so far.

All this is in from the perspective of your average student, who was in search of a laptop that could be taken anywhere without a second thought, and without dreading the idea of having a dead weight on you:

1. Modern day computing has even less use for pure clock speed than I had originally imagined. This laptop houses a modest (nearly-down-right-pathetic) 1.2ghz Ultra Low Voltage Core 2 Duo, but given the modern architecture, it performs volumes above the spec would imply. Gaming aside, this thing is lightning fast for more or less any typical day-to-day useage. The only applications it may struggle on are the ones which require heavy calculations and processing, such as video editing and the like.
My initial performance worries were entirely unjustified.

2. Speaking of games, I don't game much. This laptop is more than adequate with the outdated piece of junk integrated graphics (Intel GMA950) for the little gaming I do however, and I can run Guild Wars at close to maximum settings without any slow down. Says it all really.
Anything not too graphics intensive will run like a dream.
Aero on Vista is running with full visual effects, no lag whatsoever. Moderate to heavy multitasking is also painless, depending on the software of course.

3. The 11" screen bothers me less than I thought it would. Why? Probably cause it's an awesome screen. Brighter than even my desktop TFT and as sharp as the Samsung HDTV downstairs. Very impressed by the thing.
Glossy coatings may suffer from glare, but with the modern brighter-than-average screens it's far less of a concern.

4. Expectedly, the speakers suck. Typical laptop junk with no bass, although there isn't as much distortion as you would get in cheaper laptops.
Stick to your earphones/external speakers.

5. Construction is 10/10. Sturdy yet incredibly light and thin. Oozes from quality design and construction. Carbon fibre is definitely the way forward with portable laptops.
And with the regards to the looks, one term I've seen pop up is "executive jewelry". Go figure.
Screen does not ripple. Keyboard is brilliant (Google some pictures if you want to see what it looks like, it shares the same design as the Sony X505 and the newer Apple MacBooks) and does not flex at all. Dunno about other regions but the UK layout is superb too. I can almost type at full speed, which is quite a feat considering it's not even a full size keyboard (something that you won't even notice).
Big handed users will probably have more trouble, but hey, it's an ultraportable.
The premium carbon effect is a very nice touch too, I would recommend it.

6. As far as features are concerned you can look up the specifications and see for yourself, but I think you'll agree they don't disappoint for an ultraportable.
On a side note, I think biometrics are incredibly convenient, albeit less secure overall - not a concern for the average user though.

7. Bundled software is a nightmare. You'll find this problem commented on by every reviewer out there. Be prepared to put on a clean install or spend a lot of time getting rid of trialware.
Mind you, it comes with no discs. Like many Vista laptops these days, it relies on a hidden recovery partition instead.
If you want to reinstall Vista clean you'll need your own disc (you can use the serial key on the back of the laptop).
XP users stay away unless you feel up for a challenge in regards to hardware drivers.

8. SSD hard drives are well worth the money, if you're willing to spend money on performance. I commented above on the zippy speed and I'm fairly sure a large portion of that is owed to the SSD's seek speed. The current SSD drives suffer from bottle necking in performance due to the transfer speed of the connection, but the seek time is definitely nothing to be sniffed at. For me, 32gb of storage is plenty.
This is hardly a multimedia laptop given the specs, and I store all my photos, music and videos on my 60gb MP3 player.
After installing all the apps I could possibly want on this laptop, including Guild Wars, Photoshop and a myriad of utilities, I have a sizeable 10gb of free space for my documents or more software.
Mind you, that's after I've left the 7gb recovery partition intact; I'll merge it when I need the space (a generic removal guide can be found here).
If space is really necessary for you though, you might want to opt for one of the regular drives.

9. If memory is a concern and money is not, bear in mind you can add a 32gb SSD ExpressCard, an 8gb HC SD Card, and an 8gb Memory Stick.
One of each of those will net you a total capacity of 80gb of solid state memory. Pretty nifty huh? Will set you back god knows how much £££ though.
Personally I'll just stick with the 8gb SD card I have for now.

10. Battery life is phenomenal. I get 5-6 hours on full load and maximum brightness with Wifi on.
With the VAIO "Ultimate Battery" setting, I can clock up more than 7 hours word processing and browsing with Wifi off.

Little more to add to really. If you want a more indepth review then there are plenty out there (see list below). I just touched on the points which weren't specifically covered in detail by the reviews I looked at.
I didn't spend much time on the details as the specifications are pretty much as-is.

Some clarification on a point that's been brought up repeatedly:
No Santa Rosa. It won't be missed much on a laptop like this, and the chipset itself draws more power as far as I know.
The improvement on CPU power management brought about by Santa Rosa will see few benefits with the ultra low voltage processor.
Since I usually use my laptop plugged in, I wouldn't mind sacrificing some battery life for the improved integrated graphics that come with the new chipset, but I don't really need the power.
All in all I'd say Napa is still the way to go with slim spec ultraportables like these.

Conclusion:
Overall, with a £2100 for this particular configuration, it's no budget laptop. In my opinion though, it's worth every penny.

If you're in the market for an ultraportable, look no further. If you want to make comparisons though, Google up the Toshiba Portege R500.
I haven't tried it out personally but I dislike the lack of a glossy display (which is something many people would actually prefer, but I like my vivid contrast) and low quality keyboard found on the R500. It is cheaper though, and comes with a very impressive 64gb SSD drive as opposed to 32gb.


Reviews for the Sony TZ series:
Laptop Mag
Trusted Reviews
CNet (Note: I'd disregard their comment on performance, they left most the bloatware installed)
Notebook Review

And if you're still not convinced, here's an over the top CGI flash advert.

Links of the day

Alright maybe the title was a little misleading; I have no intention of making another post like this ever, let alone every day.

List of links, with at least one of them guaranteed to spark your interest:

-Can you survive in space without a space suit?
-Seven legged lamb
-Amusing sex positions which could cause hospitalisation
-Umm what the hell

And my personal favourite.

Wednesday, August 1

9 lives, 1 mission, 0 survivors



(I wish I could take credit but this was apparently the devious work of an Adam character.)

The above was something I found fishing around on digg.com.
Apparently the death predicting Oscar has spawned a new breed of lolcat; the death cat.
Amusing, if not somewhat cruel given the nature of original story.
Not that I care.

In other news, I've recently broken the bank and splashed out on one of Sony's brand new shiny TZ series laptops.
A quick google search for anyone interested will affirm the shininess.
If it's awesome enough I may be tempted to follow up with a proper review of the sexy machine in question.

It cost £2100, has a 1.2ghz processor and 32gb hard drive memory. Hohoho.

Plans for this summer's trip down to Rome looks set to go, at the moment we're looking at 4 nights instead of the original 7 cause of people and their other commitments getting in the way, but it's all good.

Also in the market for a new MP3 player. Considering getting a huge capacity one so it can double as external storage for my new laptop's mediocre internal storage.

It's just one huge purchase after the other these days, given my recent expenditure on the Sony eBook reader PSR-500 (which I love mind you).

Speaking of books, I've decided to scrap my on going novel (yeah I know it's been going for 6 years). If you dunno what I'm talking about you can look back a few posts.
Why you ask? Cause I've decided that it'd be too boring to write.
The story is still pretty damn strong for something I came up with so long ago, and with all the additions and stuff I've added in through the years it would have probably ended up being a fairly engrossing read. But nah.
For the time being I've begun a new story, with a less ambitious, shorter and hopefully more engaging plotline (which wasn't brewed by a 12yr old this time round).

Less RPG-esque adventure, more modern sci fi thriller. Let's hope I actually get somewhere with it this time.

Well, that's it for the first post of the month. I'll leave you with this seriously awesome link.
Oh and for MOAR laughs check this one out too.

Wednesday, July 25

Heroes and it's BS ending

Wow, I wasn't gonna update but that was laughably retarded.

If you haven't seen the finale of the first season, stop reading.

If you have, then you noticed how the last episode was idiotic, otherwise your brain wasn't functioning at the time.

There are plenty of plot holes and trip-ups all over the series, but the real circus begins when Peter and Sylar meet in the square outside that Kirby place in the final episode.
And no, I'm not complaining about the building being named after that round bouncy little guy from video games.

8 reasons why the script writers pulled the last episode out of their rear.

#8. That flashback with the dead guy. Wtf? Enough said.

#7. That schizophrenic woman with the super human strength whacked Sylar with a parking meter and he crumpled to the floor. That doesn't sound too bad right? Until you remember she tore numerous people apart with her bare hands on multiple occasions. I know she wasn't her alter ego "Vanessa" at the time, but she was shown to have possessed her strength earlier in the episode, and what, all she can do is make him fall to the floor and hold his stomach? Hell I could probably swing a parking meter at someone and at least knock them out.

#6. Speaking of that scene, if you were a fairly intellegent guy who had very strong telekinesis, controlled extreme radioactivity, the ability to freeze things, melt objects into goop, slice people open by pointing your finger at them and probably a great deal more, how do you kill a guy you've already half choked? Well just doing it properly and crushing his neck instead of lightly squeezing would be boring I guess, so you'd have to find the nearest object, tear it out of the ground with your telekinesis, and um, hit him with it using your bare hands.
I say "kill" but it appears Sylar's physical strength isn't up to par with the rest of his abilities cause the guy sorta got back up a few seconds later, but hey, better luck next time.

#5. Here, let me rewrite the final scene as a comic book sketch and fill in a few thought bubbles.
Peter: "OMFG I can't stop myself, shoot me already"
Clair: "OMFG why are you facing me, we agreed it wouldn't work unless I shoot you in the back of the head, and then you turned around you ass."
People in the background: "Sweet, she's gonna try and pop him in the head while wielding the high calibre gun with one hand. $5 says it flies out of her hand and hits her in the face while she leaves a hole in that fountain."
Clair: "Wait a minute, how did I even get here."

#4. You know, I liked how the series built it up and made it clear that the only person with the power to stop Sylar was Peter. I mean it's obvious, when you consider they both have a large arsenal of powers as opposed to just one. Especially after Sylar got Ted's mini nuke abilities.
Too bad the little "fight" between them consisted of a brief staring contest, Peter being force-choked Star Wars style, and er, that's about it.
Seriously even if Sylar failed ultimately in using his powers effectively, at least he gets bonus points for using them to damage public property.

#3. Sorry I forgot, Peter's one mean hero after all, throwing all those spectacularly normal and human punches at the spontaneously defenceless super villain who's been stopping bullets and making armoured vehicles do somersaults with his fingers.
Anyway, I guess everyone knows little Japanese guys with swords are far harder to stop than bullets and cars. Especially when they show up a few meters away, pause for a moment, scream and run at you.
I'm sure fans may argue that he was damn fast (like all little Japanese men with swords should be) but uh, what's the speed of sound? Well I dunno, I'm too lazy to look it up. Sylar was quick enough to turn around stop bullets after hearing the sound of the shots being fired. Go figure.
The guy even turned around and said "...you." and waited as he got impaled.
For the record, the future versions of Peter and Hiro were infinitely cooler.

#2. "How to stop an exploding man" is the episode's title? Is that mockery?
I mean, ignoring that he did actually explode in the end, let's discuss how it came about.
Oh dear Peter's going nuclear. Let's stick to the plan and shoot him. It's no big deal really, he'll just pass out and we'll take the bullet out and he'll regenerate. We can work on him controlling his powers later.
Wait wait, hold up. Nathan's got a better idea - I guess if Peter gets shot it might hurt so we'll let him explode instead.
Hang on he's been working awfully hard lately, so he should take it easy now; instead of him using his own powers to fly himself up out of harm's way, Nathan wants to end his career early and will do the honours of flying him up there and exploding with him.
This is much better you see, cause New York now gets a free fireworks display; raining happiness, body parts and deadly radiation down for everyone to enjoy.

#1. What could possibly be worse than the last point you ask?
Well think about it, what did they really conclude in this episode. I know Linderman's bitten the dust and a few other things were tied up including emotional resolves and unveiling the last few scraps of plot fragments for this season, but... we're left with a small problem.
The most important point is they stopped New York from turning into a wasteland yes? Not really, considering both Peter and Sylar, both radioactive suspects, are still alive (we discover Peter survives the explosion from the short trip to the future remember?). This sorta puts us back at the beginning in regards to the harbinger of doom which the plotline was focused on throughout the latter half of the series. Oops.

And to top it off here are a few gripes I have in general with the series.
- You gotta love it when the villain just won't die, because people repeatedly refuse to, neglect to or just plain forget to kill him, over and over again.
- Hiro needs to grow a brain and use his powers better. Don't get me wrong, he's awesome and probably my favourite character, but why he doesn't just stop time more often instead of teleporting around is beyond me - he could have single handedly ended the series half a dozen episodes short.
- It's cool that they made the bad guys into good guys, then back again etc. and vice versa all throughout the series to keep people on their toes, but it's a little annoying when you think back and notice that they've gone out of the way to actually subtly change the character personalities themselves to portray this. It wasn't as well done as it could have been.
- Wow what a smart way to cheat in poker. Stop time, switch the hands, and assume they forgot what cards they were holding/betting on all match. For god's sake.
- Claire is the ultimate fan of extreme masochism. Taking a bullet to avoid a dangerous situation fine, but why would you randomly put your hand in the garbage disposal. I think this series severely understates the concept pain, or at least she doesn't seem fazed enough by it to stop herself breaking all her bones repeatedly.
- The concept of time travel used in Heroes doesn't work. It just doesn't.
You don't go back in time further than you expected and as a result, return later than you planned to.
You don't accidently go into the future, notice that NY has been blown up, and then give up in exasperation and despair because you failed at preventing it.
Infact... ah I can't be bothered. Geez.

There's a lot more than that, trust me, I just put down what I have in the top of my head right now.

What a crap way to end a decent series. I don't even know where the next season is gonna go but I've lost a large chunk of interest all of a sudden.

Wednesday, July 18

Q's update

You know what's really cool?

Smoked ham. And maybe those lightly frosted layer cakes.

Mmmmm.

But not both of them together. Cause that's just sick.

(OMG did you see what I did there? You know, with the useage of italic, then bold and then... BOTH. Like, outta nowhere, but y'know sorta almost expected but not. Man I'm so cool.)


Smoked ham DIY kit. All of the ham and only most of the hassle. What are YOU waiting for?

Wednesday, July 4

Apartment

If anyone's curious this is where I'll be living when I'm in Japan.

Edit:
Nope, actually, this is where I'm gonna be living now. It's nicer.

A good 19 minute walk from the nearest Yamanote station, Tabata, which makes for relatively easy transportation to all the major places.

If I'm feeling lazy it's also a mere 5 minute walk from the Odai station of the Toden Arakawa line.

The Toden Arakawa is the only remaining tram line in Tokyo, and not only does it run past my apartment it also goes to and terminates outside my school.
How convenient is that?

Monday, July 2

Sola - Final Review


Spoiler Free

Alright, the last episode of Sola has been and gone, and I feel somewhat obliged to give some sort of comment on the ending given how much I was praising it in the initial review.

Ended at 13 episodes, and I have to say it wasn't a very predictable anime, depending on the type of stuff you're normally into.

With the large myriad of plot twists happening towards the end, and not to mention all the fighting, it somehow still kept it's dreamy atmosphere. I blame Matsuri's seiyuu.

While the ending itself didn't disappoint in terms of tieing up loose ends, I can't help but feel it was one of those last episodes that paint a happy ending over what wasn't really a happy ending. Not in the ideal sense anyway.

Also a few things didn't make much sense to me and they didn't bother explaining it, but it wasn't anything unforgivable in my books.

Being only 13 episodes long I can still recommend it, but it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
The action scenes aren't up to scratch with the more... well, action-themed anime, but hey that's not what this anime's about.
That said, I'm not sure what would be the best way to describe the genre it falls in. Let's call it a fantasy drama romance(?) for now.

Final Verdict: 7/10

Worth watching, but look elsewhere for your dose of action.

Tuesday, June 26

Musically deficient

Are you sleeping too soundly at night? No nightmares or conjurations of mentally warping sounds or images?

Then try listening to >this.

Listened to it yet? Thought not, I don't see you squirming around on the floor in pain.

Bet you're curious before you open it huh?

It's the painfully poor result of my 3 days of learning Beethoven's Fur Elise from scratch.
Not only is my version played at less than 50% speed on average, it's also suffering from random pauses and playing out of time. There's also the delightful effect of my sustain pedal dying randomly right at the end, and I tried to make up for it by pressing the keys harder (lmao). Didn't work did it.

Butchering classics is fun though, so I'll prolly be doing it to some other pieces, after I finish mangling this one.

Ah well it's prolly not so bad for 3 days. I'll post again when I've actually learnt to play it properly.
I have no piano experience whatosever, so the untimely death of your ears is not my concern. At least I've memorised it without the sheet music *cackles*

A flutter of pages at midnight

I stumbled across a recent article about reading habits a few days ago, but it's subject and contents never made it particularly far into my thoughts until this calm and silent morning.

So, the question is... are you an afternoon reader?
The kind that likes to laze in the sun, basking in the midday glow, cross-legged with a novel resting on one hand and a cool lemonade in the other?

Or perhaps you prefer reading at night; before bed you like to sprinkle your imagination with material for your dreams to feed upon.
A solitary bedside lamp lights your cosy page turning beneath the covers.

Not only were times of the day taken into account in this short article, but also the effect of weather.

There's always a comfortable feeling you get from reading during a downpour.
It's almost as if the curtain of water outside personally invited you to escape the grey skies and immerse yourself into another pocket of reality, enticing and alluring you with it's promise of hiding your truancy from the world with the sound of raindrops pattering against the glass.

Do you enjoy reading in cafes?
A cup of coffee at your side, and the murmer of people being drowned out by the potent concoction created through the convergence of printed text met with imagination.

How about reading on the way to school, or work?
There are always people who work towards making their journeys seem shorter by pulling out a magazine or newspaper and flicking through it's pages on the bus.
But then there are those who make their journey infinitely longer, delving deep into fantasy lands, only to awaken finding their distant minds accompanied by their bodies, coming into realisation they're a few bus stops too far.

Myself, I've fallen into a mildy surprising realisation that I best enjoy reading first thing in the morning, settling down in a comfortable low chair by a window after an early breakfast as the early light streams in, and not until the sun has risen to it's zenith do I close the window to the other world and wake up for a second time.
Unfortunately I'm usually in bed for most of that aforementioned period, but let's not talk about that.

I get irritable when I read at night, probably because my subconscious and my bed seem to have formed a pact against me and productivity in general.

So. How about you?

Disclaimer: As you can prolly tell from my choice of speech I was adding to my book earlier, so I'm still lingering in my authoring mode. Sue me.

Wednesday, June 20

Inori ~ You Raise Me Up - Lena Park

The long awaited single by Lena Park, which is due for public release tomorrow (20/06/07).
Full length opening of Romeo X Juliet, english version included, courtesy of Nipponsei.

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Tracklisting
01. Inori~ You Raise Me Up
02. YOU RAISE ME UP
03. Inori ~ You Raise Me Up (Instrumental)


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Downloads
MP3 Format 320kbps CBR (32.2mb zip archive)

-The torrent version can be found on Nipponsei's tracker here.
-The direct download via Rapidshare.com can be found here.

Sorry I've moved this post! Links and stuff are here.

Remember kids, support the artists you like by buying their music.

Tuesday, June 19

駆り立てる興味

私は日本語でQuyenがもはや私のポストを読むことができないようにだけそれを、私掲示するここから先は決定した。 この曲りくねった計画はおそらく私が執筆日本語でひどいので、しかし失敗する。 彼女の名前が英語のこのポストで現われる事実はおそらく彼女の好奇心が強いしかし作る、従って努力の甲斐があった。
私は実際はある従って日本語でひどいこのポストはおそらく意味を全然成していない。

Saturday, June 16

Argh

I still wish I could play piano.

Seriously, I'd give up one of my 5 senses (hearing aside, music is everything) to be able to play like that. Or a limb perhaps, as long as it's not an arm.

It's not like I haven't tried learning, but no matter how many lessons I take I can never make effective use of both hands at the same time. I seem to have a solid mental clog when it comes to doing different things with each hand.

Maybe I'm just a spoilt kid who wants to express himself in ways beyond that what abilities and talents allow, but still.

I think I'm gonna get more lessons in Japan. I don't care how long it takes, some things are worth the effort.

*goes off to the spend the rest of his evening perusing YouTube for skilled pianists* (why are they all asian?)

Edit:

zomg (it looks fast forwarded, but zomg anyway)

And more (okay fine, I'll stop now)

What the hell

Someone up there really didn't want me to be on the internet 15mins or so ago.

The series of strange events goes as follows:

-My router turned itself off (looking back it must have been a power flux, cause my lights dimmed at the same time), I went downstairs to see what was wrong with it.

-When I got to it, I had a phone call (my router is next to the only phone the house, conveniently enough).

-The call was from my ISP, they told me they accidently gave out my account details to someone else (...idiots) and were suspending my account as they were speaking.

-I was put on hold for a while and then when they were about to give me my new password, there was a flash of lightning and the power cut out along with the phone lines.

-It came back shortly after, then the guy rang back and gave me my details, I went and reset my router... and here I am, 20mins later.

 

Coincidence sucks.

My line is also still going up and down because of the sudden thunderstorm outside, so expect a lot of annoying missed message moments on MSN.

Edit:

Ooh this storm is a big one, and my line is just blinking in and out constantly so I'm not even gonna bother signing in. Uh apologies if you're reading this and we were mid convo.

I think I was talking to Q, Oli and Scott... but my PC shut off with the power outage so I dunno if I missed anyone (hah if you're not on here then your convo must have been boring as hell for me not to remember it. Just kidding).

Friday, June 15

Faith Summary pt.4 - Progress

And finally, this is what's written and not written.

If you don't know what this is about then read the first post.

Crossed out segments indicate completion, or at least roughly written. Editing is another thing altogether.

-Spoiler Free Section-

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[Structure]

Prologue

Book One: Silent Pandora
"And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." - Luke 22, 43

- Worlds Apart
- Angel of Midnight
- Six Winged Divinity
- Dreams and Shadows
- Journey's Dawn

Book Two: Second Genesis
"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels." - Matthew 25, 31

- Ocean of Tears
- Frozen Sorrow
- Flames of Courage
- The Great Rift
- Broken Time

Book Three: Nox Eterna
“Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” - John 3, 19

-The Cursed Drifts
-Where the Sky is High
-Artifact of Insurrection
-People of the Night
-Beneath the Heavens

Book Four: Twilight Requiem
"Neither can they die anymore: for they are equal unto angels and the children of God, being the children of the resurrection." - Luke 16, 22

- Edge of the Abyss
- Song of the Damned
- Prayers of Hope
- Guardians of Light and Dark
- Stairway to Heaven

Book Five: Through the Gates
"And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands." - Revelations 5, 11

- Shattered Heavens
- Arrows of Light
- Truth and Despair
- Lucifer
- Redemption from Ruin

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And there we are.

Yeah, judging from the structure I'm sure you can tell it's not gonna be small book. Haven't gotten very far have I?

Oh and hey I didn't mention it yet but...

This book is actually part of a 2 part series, and there's a follow up book complete with a brand new cast which I've already written the plan, and will have the task of continuing and finishing the story for this particular universe.

Not that it'll ever be written at this rate.

I shall leave you all with an excerpt of the prologue:

The Dawn of Nox Eterna
"In a time yet uncharted, a blinding wave of light burst from the sky, and for only six more days was the world enveloped in light. On the seventh, a curtain of dusk was drawn over the continents and seas, and the sun lit the passing of days no more. The moon shone a deep crimson, and the plethora of stars disappeared, never to be seen again.
After darkness fell upon the face of the earth, an unrelenting cold wind tore through the land which turned all vegetation in it’s path to gray ash, and those who could not escape it became lifeless twisted mannequins of stone.
From outside the reach of civilisation, unholy demonic creatures appeared and began to ravage the earth.
One by one the greatest cities of man collapsed into ruin and amongst the chaos, scattered remnants of mankind retreated into the shadows. Those that remained were consumed by their greed and became demons themselves... Save us from ourselves - the people cried, for God had turned his back on the world." 

-S’ayah, Keeper of Scrolls


And a rough sketch of the character Chloe.

I was gonna do more sketches and concept art but then it dawned on me that I sucked at drawing and as a result it was too time consuming.

Faith Summary pt.3 - Glossary and Explanations

If you don't know what this is about then read the first post.

Massively long post warning.

-Spoiler Infested Section-

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A note about the story:

The whole thing began when I had the idea of rewriting the events which took place in the Bible as a far fetched fantasy story.

The more it progressed the more it strayed from the religious origin however. Apart from the references, little remains except the idea of a leading figure accompanied by his apostles.

The crests representing each apostle which gives them their powers is a very anime inspired idea, as are many of the other ideas throughout.

The more I think about it, the more I begin to think this would make a better RPG than a book. The events and the way they occur along with the characters are very game-like, and would fit right in with the mechanics of an RPG.

Oh well, s'not like I'll be making a game anytime soon, so a written novel it is.

A large portion of the story involves hopping between different echoes collecting artifacts, and each one the worlds have their own stories, problems and characters, but I'm not sure if I should cut out those subplots entirely as the story is getting far far too long.

 

A more revealing story run through (written assuming you've read spoiler free intro already):

After being chased by the agents of Lucifer and finding the only one who may have had the answers murdered, The three of them (Neil, Robert and Nathan) find themselves cornered with no chance of escape.

Pulled from the brink of certain death, they awaken in a strange place with blanketed by a thick and endless darkness.

Found by Sarah and Carl, they are taken to a nearby village, but before they could find out much more about their situation, they are attacked by what appear to be monsters.

Amidst the chaos, they are saved again, this time by an unexplained burst of light and the revival of Neil's artifact, revealing it's true form.

After meeting with various characters and survivors from the village, the peace is one again disturbed, and Wrath descends upon the village.

Despite the awakening of Marie's bow and Neil's new found weapon, they were helpless to stop the immense power wielded by of the 4 generals. However, enough time was bought from the confusion and an Angel intervenes. Seeing the odds turning against him, the general retreats, giving the party time to gather their bearings and learn more about the events which have taken place.

After a night of much talking followed by an uneasy rest, the Angel, who calls herself Luna, departs. The party decide to take off in search of answers, and more importantly; a way home.

Before long their journey is disturbed by menacing dreams, and the situation worsens as a new enemy appears before them.

...as for the rest of the story, you're gonna have to figure it out from the notes. That's about as far as I've written up to, and besides, you really didn't think I was gonna go through the whole damn book did you?

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Ideas and giant plot fragments, also revealing most of the major plot twists:
Since Echoes have neither Ether or Mara, any artifact or magical being existing within one will be in a dormant or weakened form. On top of that, magical creatures cannot remain in an Echo for long as they will "bleed out" and cease to exist as their powers diminish.

In the past, seven great mages accidently disrupted the balance which enabled Lucifer to leave his sealed domain in Hell.
Amoungst these mages was Neil's true father.
After the defeat of God, indirectly lead to by the interference of the 7 mages, Lucifer was severely injured and weakened.

The surviving mages swore an oath to defeat him, and rid him from the throne in an attempt to atone for their sin. 

Another mage which played a part in all this was Neil's mother, but during the fight with Lucifer she was cursed by a shard of his wing, and slowly took the form of a demon herself. She chose to end her life before the transformation finished taking place.
They were defeated as 4 of them decided to turn against the others, and gave into their own greed for power which was promised to them by Lucifer.
Of the 3 left, 2 were Neil's parents which were both met their demise, but the other survived; the father of Elena.
The 4 traitors were given positions as court mages under Lucifer, but after some time had passed, they began to die as Lucifer's promise did not include eternal life. After their loyalty wavered, they tried to escape from Heaven, only to be hunted down and eventually killed by Lucifer's 4 Generals. All but one remained, and to this day she serves at Lucifer's side.
When Neil and the others defeat her upon ascending to the final stages of Heaven, she gives to him the last artifact, and subsequently fell from heaven to free herself from her sins.

When the war was lost, humans on earth either perished or became twisted and deformed, eventually becoming monsters which fed on survivors.

Lucifer has many agents, most which were humans at one point. Agents are not particularly powerful but they have the power to slip through different dimensional pockets at will, and can kill normal humans with ease.

The demon hierarchy is divided into lesser and Greater demons. Greater demons have a sense of awareness and are much more powerful and wise. Many of them are beginning to oppose Lucifer's rule, as they start to understand that without humans or beings of light, the end of demons would eventually follow suit. There are 10 members of the Aesir, and roughly 300 greater demons. All demons are divided into 9 classes, including vampires, fallen, werewolves, harpies and drakes.

One of the more interesting subplots would be the Ava side story. Existing in another Echo, Ava is worshipped as a goddess. Who she is and why the people serving her have potent powers is something that I won't reveal, not even here.

Character Notes:

Chloe is a "shell" crafted by Merlin as a tool of war in a time long ago during a great magical conflict. Being a construct, she originally had no life or consciousness herself, but Merlin created her in the image of his daughter, and gave her a soul.

The magical conflict escalated however, and Merlin was killed and the magiks of that era were lost. Without a contractor bound to her, Chloe lost the majority of her abilities, and while being stricken with grief at the loss of her master she deactivated herself.

The war between Heaven and Hell sparked her awakening, and she leaves behind the ruins of her slumber with a broken memory to face another era plagued by war.

Appearance resembles a young girl with long hair, but is in reality a powerful artificial weapon, created using magecraft far beyond the capabilities of the current era. She's also my favourite character, and later forms a contract with Elena.

Other noteworthy things would be Marie's bow of rebirth, which is enchanted with the spirit of various mages.

Neil is half angel and half demon, too lazy to explain why but you can guess from the notes above.

All of the characters which follow Neil and become his "apostles" of sorts have their own weapons and crests, the weapons usually being artifacts of some sort which they pick up along the way and the crests granting them a skill or power.

Robert will betray Neil in the final chapters of the book, and it will be revealed that he was taken over by Samael when they first arrived in this world. He will block Neil's pat before they reach the throne of Heaven.

Markus is an interesting character, although it would take too long to explain the workings of the Aesir, I'll briefly comment on him. He is one of the most powerful demons on the council, but being from the house of vampires he is often looked down upon by other greater demons, Largely because vampires are considered the most human of all demon races, and on top of that, the other vampires killed themselves in an incident in the past related to their blood lust and awakening. He dislikes his consciousness, a trait not possessed by other demon types, but it leads him to join Neil's party instead of assassinate him as the council planned.

Glossary/Notes:

Gate of West Wind - the link between the 8th echo and the real world, found at the ocean of tears

3 stages of Heaven
- Gates (guarded by Bardiel)
- Endless realm of Ice and Snow (where the war was fought)
- Labyrinth of Souls (to stop mortals from ascending to heaven, exit guarded by Pride)
- Kingdom of Heaven (where the throne lies)

Stairway to Heaven - Bridges the gap between Heaven and Earth, leading to the Labyrinth of Souls. Created when remaining angels fled to Earth as Lucifer rose to power.

Artifacts - Objects of great divine or demonic power, which were mostly destroyed during the war. The remainder were scattered throughout the various echoes.

Spear of Longinus - A spear said to have been plunged into the side of Jesus as he was on the crucifix.
Has great holy power, but was lost during the battle between Lucifer and God in the Heavens. One of the more potent artifacts.

Ragnarok - Sword forged by Lucifer, using the Ether of Auriel the ‘light’ of God.
Used to defeat God.

Testament - Neil's alternate Ragnarok was not powerful enough. Weaker than the true Ragnarok.
Was combined with spear of Longinus to create Testament.

Ragnarok (lesser) - Strange artifact found by Neil in his dimension, attracted the Furies.
Later discovered to be a alternate mirror of the sword Ragnarok.
Because of the absence of Ether in his home dimension, the sword is only a handle until he crosses over.

Atma - Demon eyes of true sight, allows the bearer to see beyond what normal people see, but also causes them to have constant nightmares and visions.
Cannot be used to look at the sky, as it will blind the user forever.
Possessed only by greater (true) demons.
Has varying degrees of power/mastery, depending on the level of inheritance and also skill of the user

Stigma - Holy eyes of dispel, allows bearer to break magic curses and seals, and also weakens any demon who comes into contact with them.
Cannot be used to gaze upon the depths of hell, as it will blind the user forever.
Possessed only by Celestials and Archangels.
Has varying degrees of power/mastery, depending on the level of inheritance and also skill of the user

Ether - Holy essence. All beings in heaven are constructs of this essence.
A great deal of this essence dissipated over time without God’s presence.
Only scarce traces of it can be found in any sub dimension.
Opposite of Mara, the dark energy possessed by all demons and infused into all fallen angels.

Mara - See Ether

Mana -
Energy formed from combined Mara and Ether, and exists within humans. Can be tapped through incantations to capture elements directly in the form of seals.

Magik Circuit - Symbols which link between the spiritual and material planes. Act as gateways and are required to summon raw energy into elements. Superior to the use of incantations in terms of speed and immediate application, but limited as it requires symbols to be presently accessible to the user, either on scrolls or drawn on the fly.

White Legion (Titans, Guardians etc.) -
Army of guardian angels, under command of Anixiel.
Guarded the gates of Hell until the defeat of Anixiel. Were scattered and only 211 of the 365 remain after the slaughter once gates of Hell were opened.
Withdrew into seal at edge of Hell, under the will of Logos.

Followers of Nox -
An ancient tribe of people who foretold of the series of events which lead to the disaster. Believed to be descended from exiles, those who were cast out of Heaven at the beginning of time.
Practitioners of shadow based magiks, and were later entrusted the artifact used to seal away the White Legion, so that one day they may be released if needed.

Ley Lines -
A spiritual link involved in connecting a master to any familiar or servitor summoned.

Matrix - A complex network of ley lines which link all living creatures to their souls. When severed the contact with their soul is lost.

Chronological Time Shift - Sub dimensions created when the war was fought are shifted forwards or backwards in time. This value indicates their relative difference. The 8th Echo "Spero" has a CTS of -351, so therefore it is 351 years behind the real world.

God was defeated in the year 2112 on the Spero timeline, equivalent to 1761 on the real Earth timeline

Seraphim - Last angel to be born from the light of God. Destined to restore order and balance.
Granted an unprecedented amount of power and born into the sub dimension, where he would grow up as a normal child.
Hunted by Lucifer because he fears the prophecies which say the Seraphim shall lead to his demise.

The new rank of Seraphim's is technically lower than Celestial, as it possesses only the last scraps of God's energy while Celestials were granted the most, however Neil can make up for it as he is also part demon.

Angel Hierarchy (I made it up, it's not meant to be accurate)
-        Seraphim
1st Choir     Celestial
2nd Choir     Archangel
3rd Choir    Angel/Guardian Angel

***THE BIG SPOILER:

Well here it is, the last and biggest plot twist to take place in the book.

At the end of the journey Neil makes it to the throne of heaven alone to face Lucifer, only to find that Lucifer is long dead. In his place a familiar face awaits him... yep it's himself. The reason why is related to the cascade of dimensions, but I won't go into it. There will be various hints and stuff that lead towards it throughout the story, but hopefully no one will see it coming. Unless of course you read it here.

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I've left a lot out, but I'm dying after writing all that.

Faith Summary pt.2 - Characters

Main characters only. If you don't know what this is about then read the previous post first.

I say it's spoiler free, but I let stuff slip all the time so in reality it's littered with spoilers. No major ones though.

-Spoiler Free Section-

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Say hello to: 

Neil Carter

A seemingly typical 17 year old boy going through relationship troubles. Born and raised in Cannonbrooke, Southern England, and the best student at the local Kendo club. Always quietly resenting the unwavering faith in Christianity which has deep roots in his family, one day he skips class after being drawn towards a strange artifact in the surrounding woodland. Ever since that discovery, he's had more pressing concerns to worry about. What is the meaning of strange repeating dream? Why can't he dispose of the artifact? And most of all, who are these mysterious figures shrouded in black that are stalking him?

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Marie Rhein

A mysterious 16 year old girl with a french background, and a survivor of the chaos which took place in the real world. The rest remains an enigma.

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Chloe

A young girl, with an unknown background and past.

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Elena Reed

Daughter of a famous mage, but does not know much about her parents since she hasn't seen them since she was young. Elena is skilled in the use of circuit magik (ugh, I haven't got a glossary yet, circuit magic is summoning related) and the useage of embedded seal cards (...forget it, wait for the glossary).

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Robert Bell

Neil's best friend since childhood, and the livelier of the two. Usually makes the plans and takes the lead in most situations, and possesses an air of authority. He is the same ages as Neil.

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Nathan Williams

A young boy, and another of of Neil's friends, the two became close after Neil stepped in when he was being bullied. Has a quiet and reserved personality, and is always picked on for having strange habits and ideas,

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Erica Rothesay

Sister of Catherine, and an orphan living in the ruins of Oxford with other survivors in the real world. Has a shy and quiet personality.

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Catherine Rothesay

The more outspoken and lively of the two sisters, she is usually very protective of Erica. The two of them are always together, although their personalities are almost exact opposites.

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Rose Mooreland

A once respected researcher, she's now keeps mainly to herself in the remaining society of humans. Despite her sarcasm and sometimes cynical outlook, she is a reliable leader and the acting guardian for Erica and Catherine.

She's often working with her assistant Carl, and knows more than she lets on about the events in the past.

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Audren Kirsley

A descendant of Roland Kirsley, he hails from the alternate existence of Neil's village. Currently residing in New Oxford with the other gathered survivors, he serves as a protector of the refugees when the need arises.

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Markus

One of the highly feared members of the Aesir, a council consisting of the most powerful Greater demons. Little else is known about him.

He is rumoured to be a demon descended from the house of vampires.This which would make him the last of his kind, as the rest vanished from history in an incident shrouded in mystery.

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Luna

One of the angels which now live in hiding after the defeat of God, swearing to exact revenge on Lucifer whenever the opportunity arises.

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Lucifer

The king of demons. 'nuff said.

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Samael

One of the fallen angels which swore allegiance to Lucifer during the aftermath of the war fought 107 years ago.

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Pride, Envy, Lust and Wrath

Angry Disclaimer: I started planning my novel before the FMA came out, and I won't change the names to avoid criticism.

These are the 4 fallen angels which became generals in Lucifer's ranks. I won't reveal anymore than that.

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Notes:

If the character description is short then it's because they tie in with too much of the plot to be included in the spoiler free section.

The characters all have their respective crests (what can they be I wonder?) and subsequently elements too, but I decided to leave them out. They can be revealed in the spoiler sections. I was kinda vague with ages and other details too, but you'll have to excuse that.

Up next is the massive glossary, which will be the first and last non-spoiler post.

Thursday, June 14

Faith Summary pt.1 - Intro

Extremely long post warning.

Most of my friends will probably know this but my latest (and longest) mini-project of sorts is in the form of an epic novel.

After being pestered about how it's going and what it's about all the time, I've decided post a summary of the main and sub plots.

I'm not writing this to be interesting, so unless you really wanted to know then save yourself the eye strain and don't bother reading any further.

Also I've been told off for alleged bible bashing and blasphemy. For god's sake (oops pun not intended) it's a fiction novel, sod off.

I'll begin with the spoiler free intro, and the massive recap serving to reveal the story in it's entirety will follow (if my keyboard doesn't wear out first).

-Spoiler Free Section-

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The story unfolds:

I'll begin by filling you in on the background. Before the story begins, there was a war fought between the gathered armies of heaven and hell, each lead by "God" and "Lucifer" respectively. Of the two, it is believed Lucifer gained the upper hand largely due to the defection of Gabriel, one of the greatest angels on God's side. Further details about this are "unknown" as of yet.

With the conclusion of the war, God was forced to retreat and leave behind all he had created, leaving the world to slowly descend into darkness and discord. Furthermore, the clash between divine and dark power during the war caused a ripple in the fabric of dimensions, resulting in "echoes" of the original dying world to be created in their own pocket dimensions, and subsequently scattered.

These echoes created through distortions are not perfect copies, and as a result each one has unique traits and imperfections. The main trait they all share is that their religions are false, and there is no greater being governing them. As such, there exists no miracles or supernatural occurrences beyond myths and stories. Similarly, the Bible and other holy texts are merely twisted versions of the original record of events which existed in the real world.

This is where the world as we know it comes into play. The earth we live on is actually one of the echoes that carried on existed long after darkness consumed the real world. And in this world resides what appears to be average boy, upon whom's shoulders rest the power to overthrow Lucifer and restore the chaotic web of worlds to their former state.

Notes:

None of the characters know of all this, but it'll become apparent to them during the course of the book.

What exactly happened to the real world? Well, who knows, suppose you'll have to find out.

The world we live in is designated as the 8th echo "Spero", and has a relative chronological shift value of -351 years. This means the original earth is 351 years ahead. All of the echoes are existing in relatively "shifted" timelines because of the chaotic nature of their creation.

I was toying with the idea of writing a side story set simultaneously along side Faith, with a different cast of characters and regarding the anomalies caused by coexisted alternate bible texts and their effect on the eventual merge of the echoes as the story progresses (oops that was a spoiler), but that's something for another time.

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Next up are the characters. Stay tuned.

There's...so...much...more...to...write... *dies*

Testing: Windows Live Writer

If you haven't heard already, Windows Live Writer 1.0 beta 2 (download) has been released to the public, and I have been swayed into giving it a try.

I'm not sure if I need the functionality of an external entry publishing application, but it's looking pretty useful so far.

Not only does it do all the html tags for me, it's easier to do... well, almost anything. Various plugins are a bonus.

It doesn't seem to work with Blogger's Picasa albums yet though, so I'll set it to my own webhost if I ever need to upload pictures. Too lazy right now.

With all the nifty useful features (and some less useful, like simple image effects? wtf?) and decent Blogger integration I guess I'll recommended it.

S'gonna take some getting used to though (get lost spellcheck... hah fine  "SPELL CHECK" - that's better).

Maybe I'll even be tempted to post more often with the added simplicity and convenience, who knows.

Wednesday, June 13

What? MOAR ANIME!?


Yeah well, you might not be so shocked.

Quick run through list of the new series' that're popping up this summer.

-Dennou Coil (see earlier review)
-Bakurestu Tenshi Infinity (is this an OVA? I forgot)
-Tales of Symphonia OVA
-Wangan Midnight (omfg it's like Initial D all over again)
-Devil May Cry (airs 14th June)
-Kenko Zenrakei Suieibu Umisho (4th July)
-Zombie-Loan (4th July)
-School Days (4th July)
-Code-E (4th July)
-Sky Girls
-Mushiuta
-Baccano
-Last 2 eps of Code Geass (alright fine, it's not a new series, but it still deserves a mention)

More to come as they roll in.

The list would be longer but it looks like the massive heap of anime from spring has left the studios a bit dry. Most of those series' are still running though, so you're not exactly missing out on anything.

Edit:
Watched the first episode of Wangan Midnight. Is it just me or does the animation actually look more out of date than Initial D's?
Well no matter, it looks alright so far I guess. Not sure I sit too well with the much loved trueno being replaced by an old Nissan Z series though.
That Porshe on the other hand...

Not anime related, but I've finally finished reading up to the most current chapter of Claymore (ch73). I hope the anime gets anywhere near as good as the manga is, as it an awful lot to live up to.
If you don't mind gore in manga you should check it out, has an addictive strong story as one of it's selling points.

Tuesday, June 12

Hamsters Beware

Lock away your pets and be afraid, for your furry balls of fluff are no longer safe.

Yes, that's right; the professional bare-hand hamster crusher Tsugumi is at large:

See those devious eyebrows? Suspicious cat-like lips? Typical signs of a hamster squasher.

You've been warned.

(no I haven't snapped, if you've played that game then you'll know very well what I'm referring to)

Review Edit:
Random acts of animal cruelty aside, Ever 17: the out of infinity is actually a pretty good game.
Any fans of text based RPGs with amazingly deep storylines will fall for it like a donkey with no legs trying to climb a flight of stairs.

The sci fi-ish plot boils down to a group of people that, under strange circumstances, become trapped in a large underwater theme park installation.
As fun as that might sound on paper, things get desperate as they run out of time, and structure begins to give way with areas flooding and closing off one by one.
The setting provides the making of a huge number of situations, which is perfect because it plays out like a dating sim, with each major story path being tied to one of the mysterious girls you're trapped with.

You get to play as one of 2 guys, as a decision during the game will lock you to one of their perspectives, and the series of strange events which unfolds over the course of 7 days will be seen through their eyes.

I have only 3 gripes with Ever 17, unless you count how long the damn game is.
Firstly Coco's voice/personality drives me insane, secondly the occasional inevitable translation screw ups, and lastly some events are just plain dumb.

We'll ignore the blatant sexual innuendo scattered throughout, cause it's pretty funny at times. Pretty welcome humour for an otherwise morbid situation (a situation I have to say all the characters deal surprisingly well with, I'm surprised they don't all have pneumonia and claustrophopic hysteria by the end of it).

But that aside, it's definitely well worth playing.

I'll give it a rating of 9/10 even though I'm not a fan of text based RPGs or dating sims. The story is just that good.

Only spoiler free video I could find happens to be the opening which is kinda lame.

What's with all the german names? Who knows, that's one of the mysteries in this game full of twists and turns that you won't find an answer to.

So far I've only achieved Tsugumi's "good" ending (yes, good in quotes), and I have 14 hours on the clock. Most of the plot is still shrouded in mystery so I guess I have some work to do.

Here's a proper review if you aren't convinced.

Sunday, June 10

Procrastination

Crap, why did it have to be a female character







Which School Rumble character are you?

You are Osakabe Itoko. You're a calm, relaxed person who's cool...and you know it! You're intelligent, but sometimes you like messing with people who aren't quite as intelligent or as quick-witted as you are.
Take this quiz!


Quizzes suck.

U-ka Saegusa's new album is cool.

And uh... someone help me look for apartments.

And... nope that's it.

Edit:
w00t

(it deserves a w00t despite the ending of that episode making no sense whatsoever, not to mention the highly disturbing next ep preview which consisted mostly of sounds of beating some poor girl)

Saturday, June 9

Murakami Haruki

It's been a while since I've read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, but the fond memories etched in the turning of each page from the front cover through to the back have remained fairly fresh in my mind.

Admittedly I'm not the avid bookworm I used to be, and those of you who know me will know that I no longer primarily use books as a device with which to pass the time.
Maybe this is why it's been over 5 years before another author has taken Pullman's throne in regards to my favourite author.

Not being a particularly well travelled reader, I'm still adamant about my preferences when it comes to books.
Stephen King is good. But I don't think he always lives up to the praise given to him, and his over-description can get long winded at times.
J. K. Rowling is good. But I'm sometimes put off by her simple and straightforward style of storytelling, even when the story itself is compelling.
Stepping away from the bigger names; Lian Hearn is a very talented writer, but his books, as great as they are, didn't leave much of a lasting impression for one reason or another.
Juliet Marillier has a great way of writing, but her stories seems to lack any major impact and depth as whole.

Now I could go on forever with this list, but with my young age at the time partially to blame, there's always been a sort of adulation and fondness in recalling the epic journey of Will, Lyra and Pantalaimon.
(Robin Jarvis' The Wyrd Museum trilogy has it's place too, but that's a story for another entry)

The above authors are all without a doubt highly talented writers, and so are the countless others which have earned my respect (Tolkien, H.G. Wells, James Clavell, Kim Edwards, John Grisham etc. etc.), but with books being the subjective little bungles of paper that they are, it's rare for me to find one that I really genuinely like.

Now in spouting all the above nonsense I've run out of wind and effort with which to finish this post in the same almost-well-written manner.
A shame I suppose, since I haven't really gotten to the point.

The end statement: Murakami Haruki rocks.

Recommended reads for fiction lovers:
-The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
-After Dark



...more to come as I drown myself in more of his works.

Thursday, June 7

Mixi

Mixi (supposedly the ingenious amazing and original result of "mix" + "i") is a Japanese MySpace type thing. Or Facebook (which > MySpace, you know it's true).
Or infact any one of the hundreds of social community sites out there you're prolly a part of.
Yeah, I know you're a member of at least half a dozen. Don't deny it.

The main difference is, well... it's Japanese, and for the most part,the members are largely based in Japan.

Not a bad way to meet Japanese people if you're into the kind of thing for whatever reason, but the catch is you need to be fairly fluent in the language if you want any chance of navigating the site.

You can get a taste of what you're up against from this screenshot of the site navigation.


I think I'll stick with Facebook for now, at least until I'm less crap at reading Jap.

If you've stumbled upon this blog post and you're feeling up the challenge then I guess you can leave a comment for an invite (it's like Orkut in that you can't sign up without a current member invite).
There're a few english guides floating around if you get terribly stuck.

Edit:
Completely unrelated but the chorus of Claymore's ED by Kosaka Riyu is catchy.