Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Welcome to my youtube channel!

Hi all! I've finally created and customized my official youtube channel.

You won't see my videos there, but my favorites. Why? Two reasons. One, I have very few videos of my own :P. And two, I want to share what's in my mind. I've created organized playlists out of my favorites, and I hope to expand them so you can know more about me.

See ya!

http://www.youtube.com/user/rickg22

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Looking back at my previous posts...

It's no use hiding it. This year has been the worst year of my life. So painful that my desire to live had just vanished for a while. But after all the problems are gone, and after starting to get my life back (starting with a new take on the Code::Blocks IDE - I'm adding some new features to the Search & replace dialog), I read my previous posts on this blog.

And you know what I found out? That all the suffering these past few months had just felt like a nightmare. Like a horrible nightmare that I was just waking up from.

I really don't know if you understand me, but if you're on the edge of desiring to die, please, gather all your strength and live! There IS light at the end of the tunnel. It's just hard to struggle and to cope with the aftermath, but there is hope.

Well, it's getting late and I need to finish this programming thing by monday. Maybe tomorrow I'll read chapter 2 of Blade Runner.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Disappearance" Haruhi movie: 150 minutes long!

I'm glad I've been paying attention to the news. After the Kyon-kun-denwa ... ahem, Endless Eight fiasco, it seems that Kadokawa are looking to redeem themselves. So, the good news, is that in the Disappearance movie, we'll have TWO AND A HALF HOURS of fun! Yay!

Source: Official Haruhi website - via Cartoon Leap.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi: Coming soon!

Just to keep us excited (or trolled?), Kadokawa has brought us a commercial for none other than the Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi - coming up, in 2010!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Konsole numpad fix for KDE4

In /usr/share/kde4/apps/konsole/default.keytab, search for "Keypad keys with NumLock On". After that section is finished, add the following lines:


# Keypad keys with NumLock Off
key Up -Shift+Ansi+AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOA"
key Down -Shift+Ansi+AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOB"
key Right -Shift+Ansi+AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOC"
key Left -Shift+Ansi+AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOD"

key Up -Shift+Ansi-AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[A"
key Down -Shift+Ansi-AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[B"
key Right -Shift+Ansi-AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[C"
key Left -Shift+Ansi-AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[D"

key Home +AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOH"
key End +AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\EOF"
key Home -AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[H"
key End -AppCuKeys+KeyPad : "\E[F"

key Insert +KeyPad : "\E[2~"
key Delete +KeyPad : "\E[3~"
key Prior -Shift+KeyPad : "\E[5~"
key Next -Shift+KeyPad : "\E[6~"

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Just installed KDE 4.2 over Mepis 8

It cost me a lot of effort and several misconfigurations, but it was worth it.

First of all, I needed to change my debian repository from Lenny to Squeeze. This is where problems started. I didn't like having all those new packages to upgrade, so I decided to upgrade most of them. The problem was that one of those packages overwrote my libglib, and suddenly I couldn't get any GTK applications to run. Like, you know... synaptic - the package manager.

Oops.

I managed to reinstall the previous glib by switching repository back to Lenny, and doing some package juggling in aptitude (the commandline package manager).

Okay, we're safe again, I can boot up firefox.

But oh, no, another problem. The Squeeze version of Synaptic has a segfault problem on certain packages, so I had to update with the SID (experimental) version, where the bug had been fixed. This one gave me a lot of headaches.

After I managed to get it fixed, I updated most of all the applications (except those with CVS / SVN numbers in their versions).

So far, so good.

Finally, there was KDE. First I downloaded all the pertinent packages in synaptic by choosing "download packages only".

I backed up my ~/.kde3 directory...

And updated.

Most of my settings were saved - except the keyboard. And some autostart files that I had previously disabled also ran, so I had to remove them by hand (I forgot which file I edited).

Next, I realized that the settings weren't so easily found. I still can't find where the "start feedback bouncy icon stuff" is located.

I had to reboot because a game messed up my display (hint: Don't try to run KQ, it forces the full screen on you, and if you kill it, the screen keeps being messed up).

I also noticed that my numpad doesn't work so well in konsole. Why is that? I don't know. I guess I'll find out later.

Another setting that I had to reset was the shortcuts like "execute", the task manager and the "start menu" (the big "K" button).

After setting those correctly, I also realized that some settings in the System / System Settings are set to read-only, there's no way to run the program in root mode, I don't know how.

Another downside is that the quicklauncher widget is quite hard to set up, you can't just drag and drop like you did in KDE 3.5. You need to navigate through the right click menu.

The new Plasmoids are pretty cool. Unfortunately, there are too few of them. I guess KDE 4 is still seen with bad eyes by devs.

Another quirk (in my last reboot) is that you need to click twice on the quickstarter to actually see your apps. I hope this happens only in THIS boot.
Other than those quirks, I find the overall look-n-feel to be quite pleasing to the eye.

I think the upgrade was worth it. I was getting bored with my old kde 3.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Endless Eight: The aftermath



Have you ever heard of "Post traumatic stress disorder"? It's a kind of mental illness that affects people exposed to trauma. It has happened to rape victims, and to veteran soldiers. Even after the suffering is gone, the pain remains.

This is how I feel right now. Not to a great extent (it wasn't a real trauma), but i feel a huge disappointment at the second season of Haruhi.

I'm disappointed. Because I expected the best series on Earth, and a peak in the popularity of Suzumiya Haruhi. A new life to a myriad of fans crying for the airing of Disappearance, and much more exciting content to calm them down.

Alas, this has not happened. Like a war prisoner who has escaped his imprisonment, the free world seems suddenly void of meaning, and the pain of the times in prison keeps haunting him at night.

That is the feeling. Terrible boredom. "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi" will never be the same after this disaster. The purity, the enjoyment, the happy times are now long gone. All that remains is a bleak image in a painting stained with blood and tears.

A crumbling monument to what once was the greatest anime series on Earth.

Re-reading the novels no longer feels "magical" or "special". It's just "more of the same".

If "The Sighs of Suzumiya Haruhi" had been aired as the third, fourth, even sixth episode of the new season, this would still feel great and we would all be waiting in hope for the airing of "The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi". We would be waiting for the new episodes. We would experience a newfound love for Nagato Yuki, seeing her blush and acquire emotions. We would see a boom in Haruhi fanfics and fanart.

But all of that is... gone. Like trying to hold a diamond that has now become sand. It's gone... slipping through our fingers... into the ground, to become nothing but dust. Instead, mediocre stories about schoolgirls founding a music club and having fun will become this year's fad.

And now, let's say farewell to The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi, and make a toast. For what it could have been.



But then again...

Do the novels deserve this treatment? No. It's just that this feeling of hopelessness will be very hard to go away. It's a terrible aftertaste. I really don't know how to feel right now. Angry? Mad? Sad?

I'm too exhausted to get mad. Maybe this is what Kadokawa wanted. But why? Who cares! Fuck you Kadokawa! FUCK YOU!

Maybe we'll be able to enjoy the novels by reading them again. But don't expect to gain one cent of our money. You've gone too far this time.

Endless Eight finally ends!

HURRAY!!! THE ENDLESS EIGHT TROLL IS OVER!



(Image courtesy of 4chan)

After 8 horrifying and shameful repeats of practically the same episode, Endless Eight finally arrives to a conclusion!

(WARNING: Spoilers ahead)

How does it end? Well, Kyon finally gets the guts and yells that he hasn't finished his homework. In front of Haruhi, he asks the rest of the brigade if they haven't done theirs. He starts planning, and Haruhi gets upset at him taking the lead, so she helps them finish their homework (she already finished hers, so she got to play videogames with Kyon's sister).


(Sorry for the bad quality image, this snapshot was taken from a low-resolution raw).

After Haruhi was finally satisfied with the summer vacations, Kyon (and most important, Nagato) could finally wake up on September the 1st. Yay!

What's next? Disappearance?

The next question is whether we'll have only one Sighs episode (the making of the adventures of Asahina Mikuru) and then we can witness the long-awaited Disappearance Arc, with only four episodes left for the new season, or if we'll have to bear with 5 episodes for Sighs.

Whatever the result is, we can only be sure of one thing: Disappearance will have to be aired, AND have top-notch quality. Otherwise, heads will start rolling at Kadokawa.

Update: Continuity error? (in a time loop? HAH!)

I just spotted a continuity error. In previous episodes of Haruhi, Kyon's alarm clock RANG. With a bell. In this episode, Kyon's alarm clock BEEPED!

Maybe I'm the first one to spot this subtle difference?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Can't watch Disappearance? Make it, then!

Today I found a very pleasant video on youtube. After being trolled so much by Kadokawa and their evil KyoAni minions with Endless Eight, I wanted so much to see a blushing Nagato Yuki.

And behold - I found a video where she does blush!

This video was made in 2007, and is a reenactment of a scene from The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi.

WARNING: SPOILERS.

In this scene, Kyon wakes up in a world without Espers, Aliens or time travelers. A normal world. And in this world, there is no Suzumiya Haruhi. At least, not in North High.

But there is a character whom he knows: Nagato Yuki. In this world, Nagato had met Kyon when he helped her get a library card. She was too timid to get a card herself, so he had helped her out of compassion.

When Kyon enters the literature club room, she recognizes him, but wonders why he keeps staring at her. Trying to hide her emotions, she goes back to reading her book. But he's still there, looking at her. Anxious, she starts blushing more and more, as Kyon enjoys the view.

I'm sure this fan-altered scene will please all the Nagatoists out there. Enjoy!



Update: Japanator accepted my submission, and made it into an official news story. Hurray!
http://www.japanator.com/the-fans-bring-us-what-kyoani-won-t-see-yuki-nagato-blush-in-this-video-10796.phtml

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Impossible! I'm enjoying Endless Eight!

And here I thought there was no way in the world I could actually enjoy Endless Eight. And yet, I did. So, what happened?


I downloaded episode 6 of the "second season" of Suzumiya Haruhi. I did this because I needed the rotating clock scene for an AMV I've been wanting to do for a few months.

After I finished downloading the episode... I put play and chose a scene randomly. And I was amazed: I actually enjoyed it!

How can this be? Because the background music, the character expressions, they were done amazingly well.

Maybe it's like the baby food commercial: By hearing that song so many times, you're actually starting to enjoy it (by Menem!). Let's just hope Endless Eight doesn't become this year's George Constanza.

However, it's still a waste that KyoAni is putting so much effort in practically identical episodes. Sigh. I still wish I was able to watch "disappearance" later. I hope a miracle happens and Disappearance finally airs.

For now (newest japanese word I learned while watching anime: Toriaezu - meanwhile, for now, right now), I'll use the little free time I have to make my Haruhi AMV, and finish my fanfic: The Alternate World of Nagato Yuki (an alternate version of The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi. The premise is: What if Nagato could remember something she had forgotten?), available on fanfiction.net. In any case, this endless eight troll has given me a few ideas to put on the story.

See ya next iteration!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Endless eight STILL not over.

I just watched episode 16 online, and the time loop is STILL NOT BROKEN!
We'll have to suffer another groundhog day next week!

ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

On the other hand, this week's episode provided me the material I *just* needed for my future Haruhi/Alphaville AMV.

Oh, boy.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's groundhog day for Haruhi!

Finally! The moment I've been waiting for, for nearly 600 years: The time loop episode, yay!

Being a die-hard fan of the Suzumiya Haruhi Light Novels, finally we could experience Endless Eight in all its glory.

What's more, we can finally see Nagato ACTUALLY showing emotions. Who can NOT feel compassion for this poor girl?


Nagato! Don't despair! We love you!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The depression is over!


NEW LIFE, HERE I COME!


A week ago I joined okcupid.com, an online dating site based on questionaires so that you can find your match based on politics, moral, hygiene, religion, common interests, sexual tastes, attitudes towards life and whatnot. Answering over 1000 multiple-choice questions has helped me know myself and boost my self-esteem. I no longer feel lonely or doomed to die abandoned by everyone. I go to bed with hope instead of pain, and wake up with joy instead of the burden of having to live another day.

FINALLY, I am free!!

If a nerd girl (otaku preferred) wants to become my girlfriend and lives in Mexico City, feel free to visit my dating profile.

Anyway. My current job is still going to be very demanding for the next two weeks. Maybe then I'll be able to resume work on my open source projects.

Until then, so long!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Front Controller Pattern: Removing redundancy in web applications

Hello, everyone! I'm here posting from my new job. In my frist day I've been given a series of documents to study. Turns out that we'll be using a front-controller architecture.

In my previous job, I used an MVC approach to design our web applications. But I noticed that there was a lot of redundancy in the "main" scripts. Basically, I did the following:

  1. Define the used variables
  2. Access session data
  3. Call the appropriate method based on the current action
  4. Process the results


The only necessary part for each script is step 3. Call the appropriate method based on the current action. So what am I doing with a bunch of nearly identical scripts that have to be customized?

This is where the Front Controller pattern comes in.

The Front Controller Pattern

In a nutshell, a Front Controller is a single script that serves as a front-end for all your applications. All the other scripts are called through some parameter (usually defined in the URL as a query string variable, or some path to a "script").

The trick is that the front controller already handles authentication, session, etc. If you want to add, for example, a traffic control routine to limit the number of calls per second, you can do it in the front controller.

For more information about the Front Controller pattern, check out these links:

http://java.sun.com/blueprints/patterns/FrontController.html

http://w3style.co.uk/a-lightweight-and-flexible-front-controller-for-php-5

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/library/os-php-designptrns/

http://evolucionphp.blogspot.com/2007/09/front-controller-pattern.html (spanish)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cleanup time = 4 liters of dust!

Finally I moved out some of the stuff that were in the storage house -er, my room, and moved it to the other room that I began to rent to store... stuff.

Several briefcases, several bags of old clothes, old video recordings, more bags, and one piece of furniture. Now I know where all that dust that kept appearing in my room came from: It was hidden under all that baggage!

Let's hope that this cleanup can finally give my lungs some rest.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

After 3 years of trolls, Haruhi is back!



Finally! After three long years of promises, promises, and promises, we're now able to watch the first episode from the long-awaited Haruhi Season 2.

This episode is "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody". I chose this screenshot to compare it to the "leaked screenshot" I showed earlier, that turned out to be an independent CG art for an anime magazine. Personally, I liked the CG art more than the new animation. I didn't like the new character designs, they look too "K-On'ish" to me.

In any case, this is a wonderful day for all Haruhiists, and personally I congratulate the pilgrims - er, fans who traveled all the way to Saitama to watch the earliest broadcast for this episode.

Update: The videos of this episode that were posted on youtube are now removed thanks to a copyright claim by Kadokawa.

I guess this is what "the disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi" really means :D

Monday, May 18, 2009

May 24: More evidence of New Haruhi episode?



Have you noticed that Haruhi-chan episode #25 has "24 May" as the date when Kyon met Asakura?

As we should probably all know, May 24 is the date when the Haruhi Season 2 first episode will be aired.

I find this very suspicious. Because in Nagato's game, the date is related to Asakura's DECEPTION AND KILLING of Kyon.

Or maybe it's just another subtle hint at Season 2?

Well, Kadokawa, you better not make fun of us. Because we might turn into an angry mob of Asakuras at you!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's cleanup time!

Having passed the worst part of my emotional crisis, I realized there was a lot to clean up in my room. I had purchased some fansubs recently (I don't have money to purchase originals, and I consider fansubs to be of better quality, for reasons that I won't explain here), but I had forgotten to cut the covers from DVD size to CD size.

I keep my fansubs in transparent CD envelopes, and they fit all in a small box designed for CDs. Well, I had these fansubs all piled up in their "original" boxes, and they use up all the space. So this is one of the things that I'm going to do right now.

My room is a mess.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Haruhi second season: Leaked screenshot?



Browsing the web, I found this picture (courtesy of the somethingawful forums). It's a scene that takes place in the third novel of Suzumiya Haruhi, in chapter "Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody". This chapter sets the stage for the fourth novel: The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, which will be covered by the Haruhi season 2.

With all the hype behind the second season, my question is: Is this a real screenshot that was leaked from the season 2, or just a (very high quality) artist's rendering?

Friday, May 1, 2009

I hope I haven't got the swine flu...

I woke up with a terrible headache this morning. And yesterday I had a sore throat (not right now, thankfully), but this has raised my suspicions. If tomorrow I wake up with fever, I'll get a doctor right away.

Did I mention I live in Mexico city?

I hate this! :(

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Literature of Suzumiya Haruhi

Introduction.

For the past 2 weeks I've been having some headaches - possibly due to the stress of not being able to find a good job, and having your whole family use you as a cheap-o maid replacement to help with the daily chores. So, between the job hunt, helping mom, helping sis, (she's practically a single mother, and I say practically because her husband works all day), getting depressed, getting headaches, I haven't had time to work on my open source project. And then, when I happen have a little time, I find myself blocked.

Fortunately, to relieve the negative feelings accumulated in my right brain, I've had some time to forget about my problems by reading translated japanese novels at baka-tsuki.org. It's not easy to find the novels in English, and that's if you had the luck to be born above the Bravo. What is an international user supposed to do when the international shipping and handling costs twice the value of the books themselves? And here I thought the NAFTA would do something to help. Pfft.

But I digress. The reason that I'm writing here is to promote the not-yet-published (at least not below the United States) novels of Suzumiya Haruhi.

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi

Have you heard about Haruhi? It's an anime show about an obnoxious, freakishly annoying hyperactive girl with no sense of morals who happens to have divine powers that alter reality according to her wishes. The trick is, she doesn't KNOW she has those powers. So her school club, called the SOS brigade, ends up paying for the broken dishes. Ah, isn't that beautiful?

Our stories narrate the misadventures of Kyon and the other members of SOS brigade in the quest to save the world from Haruhi. Haruhi is not aware, but the team members include a time traveler, an alien, an esper, and Kyon, who will later travel back in time to help her three years ago with sending a message to the stars.

So - what does the anime have that makes it so special? To be sincere, I only have a slight idea. But what I came here to talk for, is the novels - and literature in general.

The nauseating misadventures of a literate person in the "wonderful world" of fanfiction.net - part 1 of 1

If you ever set a foot on fanfiction.net, you'll often find a small number of good fan fictions about cartoons, anime, books, etc. Then you'll find a greater number of regular fan fictions, and a huge amount of works whose nauseating bad quality makes the dizziness of Mirror's Edge look like a children's merry-go-round.

So what's the reason for the bad quality? Lack of education. Most fanfic writers are a bunch of illiterate kiddies who think "reading" is browsing the interwebs to catch up with latest gossip of their favorite TV star, and whose concept of "literature" is Harry Potter.

So, here I am, tired of this world filled with a lot of stupid and non-cultivated sheeple, realizing how much Haruhi was right in saying that she's bored of this world (so bored that she nearly destroys it unconsciously).

Suzumiya Haruhi, Yagami Light, Lelouch vi Brittania, I beg you, let me join your ranks and take over the world.

How to write good literature?

A few days ago, to save my mind from boredom and frustration, I decided to let my imagination take off and reach the multicolored skies of the work that humans call "art". I decided to write fan fiction about Haruhi. Having read the novels, I tried to imitate the author's style of narration. After all, Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

It was an interesting and passionate exercise. But after reading my own works, I realized that my writing was very inferior to the original works. Why? Culture.

I'll make a parenthesis to ask this question: Have you ever actually read science fiction and fantasy? I mean reading works of people like H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Orson Scott Card, Edgar Allan Poe, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, and, of course, J.R.R. Tolkien? I don't include J.K. Rowling on purpose, because the level of culture in her works approaches the following formula:

(x!) to the power of -1, for very large values of x.


If the only kind of fiction you've been in contact with, are the latest cinematic adaptations of Marvel stories, and the only superlative of "good" you know is "awesome", it won't require the mind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to realize that your fan fiction will be more displeasing to the mind than a hydrogen sulfide cloud is to the nose - and don't get me started on grammar.

On the contrary, if you have read good fictional works, and if you're well-versed in all kinds of science (biology, genetics, math, astronomy, history, geography), then it means that you have many more ingredients and spices to cook your own works of literature.

While Haruhi's creator, Nagaru Tanigawa makes a lot of cultural, astronomical, scientific, science-fiction (this means book science fiction, not cheap TV sci-fi, as I have shown above) and historical references, the only references I could think of were mathematical, computer science, a little psychology, and anime. It was then that I realized that to write good literature, you need to read A LOT of good literature.

Please allow me to repeat that.

To write good literature, you need to read a lot of good literature.


My opinion of the Suzumiya Haruhi Light Novels

Acknowledging the fact that a translated work loses a lot of the original appeal, I feel compelled to take off my hat and give Tanigawa-sama my deepest respect. His writing style is not only amusing (Kyon's remarks achieve a level of sarcasm that would make Gregory House proud), but the story is exciting, well structured, complex, and even romantic. Its characters are anything but two-dimensional (with the exception of Asahina-Mikuru, but what's a meal without a good spice?), and... I simply ran out of words to describe the psychological impact of his novels.

How could I describe the impact that Tanigawa's works had on my mind? Perhaps the only adequate comparison would be the vaporization of a car with a rocket sled at 650 mph.

To paraphrase Nagato Yuki, there are some things that cannot be explained with words due to the high levels of information loss.

My conclusion: If you're an anime fan, are curious about literature, and whose desires for reading are far greater than the desire to put your grey matter to sleep, please read The Suzumiya Haruhi light novels.

Thank you.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi: Light Novels review

Here's a small "What I read / expected / got" image I made for TheSomethingAwful forums.



I have to say I finally finished reading the translated novels, up to chapter 9 (yes, all of it.

Frankly, I expected the same thing I saw in the TV series: A twisted kind of humor about a spoiled little brat (Haruhi) who kept making Kyon's life more annoying everyday (hence, the snapshot). What I got was so awesome I couldn't describe it, so I used a screenshot of Star Wars, but still that's an understatement. Perhaps a video would explain it far better:

Yet another Mikuru Beam Parody

Yup, that's how awesome it was. See, Episode 00 of the Adventures of Asahina Mikuru was just the movie. Knowing Haruhi, the world was turned upside down during the filming of the movie, and kyon was, as usual, in the middle of it. Also, the Mikuru Beam became real. That's why Nagato had to throw Mikuru to the floor. Interesting enough?

Well, that's JUST THE BEGINNING.

I happened to read "the disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi" (the 4th novel) and we get transported to a world where Haruhi didn't have superpowers and everyone was normal - including Nagato. But there was something different with this Nagato: She showed emotions. Anyway, Kyon gets back to the normal world (or he sets the world back to normal ;-) ), and see the first glimpses of Nagato showing emotions.

The first one: "Thank you".

Later in the novels, I witnessed something much more awesome. Nagato faced her self in a past timeplane (they traveled to the past with Mikuru's help).


Past Nagato: Request Synchronization.
Present Nagato: ...
Past Nagato: Request Synchronization.
Present Nagato: Denied.
Past Nagato: ... why?
Present Nagato: Because I don't want to.


So, trust me when I say this to you: READ THE NOVELS!

You learn much more about Mikuru, Nagato, Koizumi, the Organization, Tsuruya-san, and the SOS brigade's enemies (yes, there are enemies now!)

My current thoughts right now are the anxiety for the Season 2 of the Haruhi TV series. Will they arrive this year? I really hope so.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the Haruhi-chan TV series made by Kadokawa for youtube! :) Imagine a mix of Lucky Star and Haruhi, remembering that the actress who voices Konata is the same who voices Haruhi! Hilarity ensues :D

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

G.I. Joe vs. japanese Godzilla: Ever wondered why?

One thing I've been thinking about is how 80's TV shows for americans involved saving the world from evil villains who wanted to dominate the world, while japanese cartoons involve saving the city from total anihilation by giant monsters (from space or elsewhere).

After watching a recent movie about the CIA, I realized it was all about war.

For Japan, it was Hiroshima. A city was completely destroyed and the country fell into chaos. On the other hand, the 80's were for the U.S. about the cold war and the cuban missiles looming like Damocles' Sword upon the free world (read-as: The U.S.)

So, we have G.I. Joe, we have the Marvel and D.C. Cartoons (including of course, Captain America), we have space operas, but all of them centered around an evil villain wanting to rule the universe/galaxy/planet/whatever, and a team of heroes wanting to counter them (He-man, Silver Hawks, Blackstar, Bravestarr, etc).

Meanwhile, the Japanese have Godzilla, giant robots fighting giant monsters (again, all in the city) or invaders from outer space...

Notice the difference:

East: The bad guys just destroy the defenseless city.
West: The bad guys want to destroy the government.

East: The bad guys are ALWAYS more powerful than the military (remember, who lost WW2?)
West: The bad guys are ALWAYS less powerful than the military.

East: The bad guys don't care who they kill - the more, the better.
West: The bad guys only threaten to kill - to lure the good guys into a certain death.

East: The good guys defeat the bad guys even at a technological handicap. They're SMART!
West: The good guy can only defeat the bad guys with greater technology (a lesson well learned during WW2: The gun is mightier than the sword!)

This philosophical difference is also appreciated during modern cartoons and TV shows.

East:

Robotech: Aliens come and destroy the planet - well, almost all of it, and the good guys defeat them using their own technology.
Slayers: Demons can only be defeated by summoning even greater demons (and we have to thank they can't destroy the whole world... yet)
Dragonball Z: The (insert your favorite enemy) wants to destroy the Earth.
Voltron: Aliens want to destroy the planet. How to fight them? With a giant robot, of course!

West:
He man vs. Skeletor and his evil henchmen...
Spiderman vs. (insert your typical villain)...
Batman vs. (insert your typical villain)...
Superman vs. (insert your typical supervillain)...
Knight Rider vs. your typical thieves...

Anime is often criticized for its excessive violence. But there's something we have forgotten: We may have been scared about 9/11, but it was the U.S. who put the bomb in Hiroshima and Nagazaki. Do we have the moral right to complain about the excessive violence in japanese cartoons? But I digress.

The main difference is that while we were worrying about the cold war and the russians, the japanese were still trying to cope with the destruction of not only two of their greatest cities, but of their whole civilization. The stigma is still there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How anime companies are shooting themselves in the foot

How anime companies are shooting themselves in the foot (oh, and I found a nice anime blog)

I may be preaching to the choir, but I couldn't resist posting about it... again.

This time it's anime companies. I recently found a cool blog dedicated to reviewing anime. It's located at http://vissione.wordpress.com/. So, it's a very nice place to check out for anime you might want to watch.

The problem? Almost all the opening and closing sequences I found were removed due to copyright reasons. Isn't that stupid? The guy isn't stealing anyone's media. He's PROMOTING YOUR ANIME YOU IDIOTS! (i'm talking to the anime companies).

And then I remember Peter's Principle and realize that the owners of anime companies are a bunch of incompetent dummies.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I quit my job, and I feel fine!

When I signed up for a C++ developer job at the company, the least I expected is that I would be testing webpages and have nothing else to do. I can't say anything more (I don't want to be sued). But I can't stand it anymore. I want a job where I can fully exploit my C++ abilities.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Amazon + 360 game + intl shipping + clumsiness = ARGH!

Last week something happened that really irritated me. Someone broke an XBOX 360 game that I had purchased online (with LOTS of difficulties).

The game? Guilty Gear 2: Overture. At first I had tried to purchase it through Amazon. No problem there, right? Wrong.

First difficulty: Export restrictions.

There was an export restriction that prevented Amazon from sending me the game directly.

So what did I do? I happened to have a US address so that they could send the package there. It's one of those international services that help you get packages sent to you across the border (legally). Normally it's not easy to get those, because you need to go to the U.S. embassy to sign some bureaucracy papers. A relative of mine happened to have one, so I used that instead.

Second difficulty: Shipping expenses.

Everyone would think shipping would have no problems. But I ended up spending over $150 in shipping for a stupid game. Wanna know how much the game costs? Less than $30. Obviously something VERY WRONG is going on.

Third difficulty: I can't send the package directly to my friend.

As if that wasn't hard enough, I needed to receive the package where I live, because that's a restriction of the international delivery service. Guess what, I had to wait at home to check if the package arrived. What would happen if nobody was home when the package arrived? Fortunately, my parents were home the day the package arrived. But that was a rare case.

What happens next? I have to send the package to my friend, and spend another $30 sending the package to my friend (we don't live in the same city).

The whole transaction took over 2 months.

The next week... my friend was playing the game with one of his pals, when the XBOX 360 fell, and the game got terribly scratched.

I can't ask for a replacement because that doesn't apply to international orders. So I wasted over three hundred dollars total.

What about backups? Now, if the XBOX 360 allowed one to make backups of their games so that they don't get scratched in an accident, everyone would be happy. but oh, no! Piracy!!! Gasp! We need to protect our billionaire investments!

And still, my friend insists that he wants to get ANOTHER copy. Original of course. (I still don't understand why can't we purchase a pirated version of the game, *IF* we could get one. It's for ONE person, only ONE license is needed, right?)

This is the reason why I don't support the videogame industry - or the music or film industries. They don't care about backups. They don't care about replacing your broken discs (even if making one of them costs only one cent). They just care about their money. They're RIPPING US OFF, and then they treat us like criminals.

Well, there's NO WAY IN HELL that I'm going through all that again! Want to get a game? Get some patience and wait for the game to get sold in here. Then, TAKE CARE OF IT!

The whole videogames industry is just a mafia. Export restrictions, anti-backup ("anti-piracy") measures, overinflated prices... I'm sick tired of it. I'm glad I already sold my PS2 and the games I had purchased (first-sale doctrine, hurray!). And I don't plan to purchase another console for me (or for anybody else) EVER.

Congratulations, Microsoft! Your just lost a valuable customer!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

YouMute: Destroying creativity online.

Saturday morning. I recline on my chair to enjoy the delicacies of online audiovisual creativity. I grab the rounded pointing device and control the imaginary arrow known as "mouse pointer" to start up the bookmarks on Firefox.

Today I feel in a good mood, so I thank heavens for allowing me to enjoy the synaptic interconnection between different people in an act known as "video art". To my dismay, there's something wrong. The artist has been muted. What can an artist do without his voice?

I'm talking about youtube muting videos online. My inner peace is gone thanks to the putrid greed that the Warner Media Group, Sony and Universal show. They don't care about artists. They just care about money.

It's no wonder they call themselves "Recording Industry Association of America" instead of "Music Industry Association". Because music implies art. And this is not about art. This is about expoiting random bands, getting all the money that they earned from their hard work, and creating a phantom enemy: Piracy.

It's all a lie. There is no lost sales due to piracy. It's a myth. And the RIAA has kept earning money all along, but they want to make more. So they create in their twisted and retorted minds this make-believe villain.

"ZOMG, teens are steeling our songs from youtubezorz!!!111"

So they start muting the videos created by people, like you or me - videos that took hours, if not WHOLE days to make. What about the effort of those people? They're not asking for money. They just want to express their feelings with everyone in the form of music and video.

That is what youtube used to provide. Creativity meant that you could use someone else's works to create something new and make it 10 times better than the original. This is what remixing is.

But not anymore. The big media groups are demanding to be paid for every single time their song is heard on an online video. It doesn't matter if it's just a small fraction of the video. They shut it down.

This is the end result: Creative expression being completely destroyed.



Because YouTube are shooting themselves in the foot. They're turning from something like this:



(If the video was removed, it was an excellent AMV made by ZephyrStar - the video took him A WHOLE YEAR to make)

Into this:



(A stupid backyard injury)

IF YOU LOVE ART, PLEASE BOYCOTT THE RIAA. If they mute us, they deserved to be muted, too! (Oh, and now that you're at it, boycott youtube, too. It won't take too long before they become a piece of crap)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cutest anime video ever (featuring Hatsune Miku)

I was blessed today when I found this music video featuring Hatsune Miku. In chibi version! ^_^

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What Stallman said about George Bush


In 1988, George Bush called Mike Dukakis a "card-carrying member of the ACLU", in effect comparing the Bill of Rights with Communism and its defenders with Communists. This insult to the US Constitution inspired me, as it did many others, to join the ACLU. Let's hope the Shrub will not be president; one Bush was too many.


(Said on a Slashdot interview, on May 1st, 2000)

And there are more Stallman quotes regarding politics:

It's official: Attorney General Ashcroft says that people like me "aid terrorists" because we "erode our national unity". I was wondering how long it would take for the Bush administration to say that its critics are "aiding terrorists", because that follows a global tendency in the "war on terrorism" to attack dissent and criminalize protest. If government condemnation of dissenting views offends you, please give your support to the ACLU, which has spoken out against them.


Some points to think about:

a) Like father, like son. Bush father compared the Bill of Rights with communism - Bush son completely destroyed the rights of the american citizens, and even went to call the constitution a "piece of paper".

b) Geniuses like Stallman are very often right about their predictions. Why is it that common people do not listen to their advices until it's too late? I'm sure right now people would say "Oh my Gosh! Stallman was SO right!" But four years ago, everyone was like "ZOMG! The tarrorists! We must do something!"

c) The people get the government they deserve. Let's hope Obama manages to fix at least some of the mess created by the shrub. And let's hope that this 8-year mistake inflicted upon the world doesn't repeat itself (Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it). But maybe I'm asking too much of the American People.

d) If we let the government control our lives because of "terrorism", then the terrorists have won.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Highlander, Chibi Edition

This is my latest creation. One of the premises of Rozen Maiden is that all 7 dolls must fight in a duel called "the Alice Game", until only one doll is left. The winner gets "the prize", which is to become Alice, a perfect being full of beauty and majesty.

This reminded me of Highlander, the movie (there can be only one!) Therefore, I hereby present you:

Highlander, Chibi Edition (There can be only one, desu~)

I hate the RIAA.

Alright, ladies and gentleman, here comes X, the greatest Guitar Hero ever!
(applause)

And now he's gonna interpret you your favorite song, Y!

(applause)

- Wait a minute, where's the song?
- No song. The RIAA accused uploaders of piracy.
- Oh c'mon man, I own the f'ing song!
- Rules are rules.
- But it's FAIR USE! I just want to play the damn song on Frets on Fire!
- Sorry, no official download. You'll have to wait 60 seconds and try again using rapidshare.
- Alright, screw it. I'm gonna burn the song and just download the frets file.
What? No standalone file?
Okay, I'm contacting the author... a couple of days later, I got the file.
Now, to convert the song MANUALLY.
Done.
ARGH, IT DOESN'T SYNC!

(public boos)

*SMASHES GUITAR*

And this is why I hate the RIAA.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More braaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiins....

I'm so tired I feel like a hungry zombie. And speaking of zombies, here's a great zombie comic:

The Zombie Hunters. Apparently the author has managed to combine the atmospheres of Silent Hill, Resident Evil, VGCats, and... emo. Worth taking a bite at it ;-)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Treason

Why, oh why.

Everything was going according to Plan. But now I feel betrayed and full of hate. Dakara, I am now inclined to take revenge. I will take revenge upon Code Geass and spoil the ending! (so you won't have to).

Okay, here goes the plot. Lelouch, a young prince that was betrayed by his father, King of Britannia, swears to destroy Britannia no matter the costs. This happened when he was a refugee in Japan - which was invaded by Britannia with superior technology.

SOMEHOW, Lelouch obtains a mystical power, the Geass, that gives him the ability to give any order to ANYONE, and no matter if that implies something that the victim fights against with all his/her will, the victim will obey.

Now, Lelouch uses that power to take revenge upon Britannia, using the alias of Zero. The 23 most epic anime episodes you could ever watch, take place. This is even better than Death Note. Or is it...?

Near the end, Lelouch's sister, princess Euphemia, starts a new era of peace by declaring the central part of Japan as a special protectorate where no discrimination will happen.

Lelouch is defeated in his purpose of revenge, but he agrees. Then, this is where things get nasty. He tells Euphie about his power. "If I was to order you... to kill all the Japanese...."

And guess what happens? The Geass goes out of control, and Euphie, who had fought against discrimination, begins killing all the Japanese!. Lelouch has to kill her, and now his best friend (who was in love with Euphie) is going to take revenge upon him.

So... this is what I want to say to the creators of this anime.

YOU RUINED IT YOU BASTARDS!!! Code Geass was about to become my *NEW* favorite anime, and you f***ed up it in five minutes!

How exactly do I feel? Like the ending of "Planet of the apes" (the original one, not Tim Burton's mockery).

I'll quote.

You finally really did it...
YOU MURDERERS!
YOU BLEW IT UP!
DAMN YOU!
DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!


Yes, that's how I feel. To the readers: Do yourselves a favor, and DON'T WATCH THIS SERIES. Ugh.
I want my money back!

P.S. Just in case you didn't get it... Code Geass sucks! (Yes, I admit it, I just typed it to increase the blog rankings :P ) Hey look, 408 results, yay! http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22code+geass+sucks%22&btnG=Search

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 2 without activities.

Lately the job has been getting me really busy... and tired. As a result, I haven't been able to work on Saya for two consecutive days. Maybe it's one of those weeks.

On the other hand, I've been enjoying a really interesting anime: Code Geass. Given my fascination for intelligent anti-heroes (or villains) who always think strategically, I love it. At least it lets me enjoy a day that's been filled with frustrations.

G'night.

RedHat reminds me of Microsoft.

Argh. I absolutely hate CentOS (and redhat). Due to job reasons, I needed to install CentOS 5.2 on a virtualbox VM.

Let me tell you - it's the most unfriendly Linux distribution I've *EVER* tested (yes, even more unfriendly than the first Ubuntu distros that appeared). I was expecting that with the advent of new Linux distros, the RedHat guys would learn something. Guess what? They didn't!

For starters, YOU DON'T KNOW THE ROOT PASSWORD. If you set up a user, the installation just assumes that you don't want to ever log in as root. So it doesn't ask you for the root password. Oh, gee! How am I going to install packages, huh? Ah, guess what, I should have told it to make a root user in the first place. Ugh. At least Ubuntu got it right (relatively) by letting you sudo.

This problem was "solved" by loggin in with a single-user, by entering the boot menu, pressing e, moving down, pressing e again, and adding a "1" (without the quotes) to the command, pressing enter, and "b" (note that I had to Search The Web to find out how to do this. Why don't they provide such a facility? What a user-unfriendly boot menu. So, I booted as root, typed passwd, entered my password, rebooted.
Alright, I can login as root now!

Then more problems arise. As I'm tired of the stupid mouse pointer getting caged in the VM, I wanted to install the VirtualBox additions. I got an error message that said: "/bin/sh: bad interpreter". Googling didn't work. I had to do /bin/sh VirtualBoxAdditionswhatever.run

Then it told me to install GCC because it wasn't installed.

Oh, great. OK, no problem.

apt-get install gcc

bash: apt-get: command not found.


What? No apt-get?

So I tried yum install apt-get, yum install apt, and nothing happened.

ARGH! Do I really have to stick with an awful package manager? Why don't they just face the fact that rpm SUCKS? Install apt, dammit! And synaptic now that we're at it. Oh, but that would be admitting that our package manager sucks, right? Right. This is why I say they remind me of Microsoft: They suffer a terrible case of the "NIHS" (Not Invented Here syndrome), so they throw at us all their proprietary - er... branded software and we have to stick with it. Why didn't they add apt in their damn repos?

So now I'm still trying to find a tutorial on how to install apt on RedHat. And still not succeeding.

I really don't know why RedHat supposedly "improved" on Debian. It's as if they had embraced and extended it, to stall development and make their users suffer with constant annoyances.

So, if you're gonna try a new distro, do yourself a favor. DO *NOT* try RedHat (or CentOS because it's the same thing). It's a piece of crap.

Update: Just what I needed. After installing synaptic, I couldn't install packages from the CentOS repository (E: Unknown signature /var/cache/apt/archives/gcc-c++-4.1.2-42.el5.i386.rpm: (SHA1) DSA sha1 md5 (GPG) NOT OK (MISSING KEYS: GPG#e8562897). After Googling, it turns out that the CentOS signing key does NOT come installed by default! (For security reasons, they say. WTF?)

Just in case you need it, here's the command:


rpm --import http://mirror.centos.org/centos/RPM-GPG-KEY-CentOS-5


Sheesh. Fixing a broken registry in MS-Windows is much less frustrating than this.