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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

More Importantly: Why?

So I've been watching Bleach. Next episode for me is 37 -- and I still have no clue why the anime is titled Bleach. Seriously, WTF? Most animes let you know why the heck it's called what it is within a fairly small number of episodes. Even Fruits Basket, which only had a single reference to the title in the whole series, at least had something. Bleach, I've gone through nearly one and a half seasons' worth of episodes, and nothing.

And no, don't tell me the reason if it is explained somewhere in the series. I want that moment of dawning comprehension intact so I can go, "Ah, so that's it," when some reference to the title is finally made. I care about this sort of thing.

While we're on the subject of anime-related things, it's come to my attention that the "Search Art Hubs" form on theOtaku.com does not, in fact, search the site's hubs. Apparently it searches for tags. I was all set to laugh at there being three hubs for Cardcaptor Sakura ("Cardcaptor Sakura," "Card Captor Sakura," and "Cardcaptors") until I realized this. That was a bit of a disappointment, but oh well. The search box is still labeled incorrectly.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Take It Easy

You know, I really love my myOtaku page's theme. Not to boast, but I can't help but think about how nice it looks whenever I wander back over to myOtaku and check my front page. I still find it amazing that the theme turned out so well when I basically just made it up as I went, tossing together ideas as they came to me. "Hey, this background image would look nice. Hmm, I wonder if the border would look good that way." And so on. It kind of seems a shame to let it sit inactive for such long stretches of time.

Isn't it great when things just work like that? I love it when things fall into place all nice and neatly. Not nearly enough things in life work out that way.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Ferris Bueller's Desbreko's Day Off

So I took the day off from OtakuBoards; I didn't sign on at all today. (Saturday, that is. It's still 11:00 PM in my time zone.) That's pretty rare for me, heh. Partly it was because I had something more important to do today--no, I'm serious, stop laughing--but I also just wanted a break after spending way more time than usual on OB over the past week. It being the weekend, then, I decided to go ahead and just relax for the rest of the day after taking care of that important matter. It was thoroughly enjoyable and now I feel refreshed and ready to jump back into things tomorrow.

What was the important matter, you say? It was filling out a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. Despite my whining a few posts back, I most likely will just start college next semester, so being able to get financial aid is important. The price of textbooks is freaking insane. . . . Oh well, I'm sure I'll be fine once I settle into things; I just have to keep my lazy and apathetic side from taking over.

But after that, I found the August issue of Nintendo Power had arrived. Issues covering E3 are always great, since even though you can get online news in nearly realtime during E3, the coverage generally isn't as detailed until later, when places have the time to write some longer articles. After reading the issue cover-to-cover, my that rush of excitement for the Wii and a few choice DS titles is renewed.

Also, something I was reminded of from that issue of NP is that the Wii won't cost more than $250. Obviously this knowledge has been floating around in my mind for some time now, but I just realized today: "Hey, I got $250 from graduation presents. How convenient." I know my parents would rather I save the money for something more practical, but you know what? Screw it, the card they gave me said I should have some fun after having worked to graduate. That money is getting me a Wii at launch; no waiting around for Christmas this time, like I had to do with the GameCube.

So, yeah, that's going to be nice. What little income I had for a while is kind of drying up, so I can't really afford many new games. Which is annoying, because I really wanted to get New Super Mario Bros. But I guess playing the Wii version of Zelda: Twilight Princess as soon as it's released will be worth it.

But what do I do without any new games? No, I don't go (more) crazy, I just play Super Smash Bros. Melee or one of the other classics in my library. And that's exactly what I did before sitting down to write this post.

Fair warning here: The following paragraphs are me raving about SSBM. If you're not a fan of the game, you probably won't have any idea what I'm talking about. And, even if you are, you probably won't care unless you're really into it like I am.

Maybe this is just the gamer geek deep within me talking, but I find it utterly amazing that I can play SSBM (and the original SSB before it) for close to five years and still be learning new tricks, given how simple the game is to pick up and play. While I didn't exactly discover a new one today, I did discover a great new way to use one. And, wow, am I loving it.

To go off on a little tangent here, I've always been better with Marth in the air than I am on the ground. Sure, I'm good at fighting on the ground, but I'm at my best when I can bring Marth's air attacks into play. This has always presented a problem for me when playing against fast ground fighters like Fox. If I can't get him up in the air somehow, he can basically just go to town on me once he manages to slip inside my sword's reach--which isn't hard, given how fast he is. Or he could, until today. . . .

Today I found a way to effectively use my air attacks against a ground target. Now, jumping and trying to come down on an opponent with an air attack usually doesn't work too well because it's 1) slow, 2) easy to counter with an upwards attack, 3) leaves you vulnerable afterwards, and 4) is hard to combo into. Usually. This little trick I found, however, doesn't suffer for any of those. On the contrary, it's on par with most of Marth's ground attacks for speed, is hard to counter with another attack, doesn't leave you vulnerable after the landing, and is great for starting a combo with. So what is it? It involves a tiny jump (the smallest possible, with just a slight tap of the button), then pushing sharply down on the control stick so you fall quickly back to the ground. And in that split second you're in the air, you execute an air attack so that it connects just before you land.

So far I'm best at using the standard A air attack (the two quick, short range slashes) this way, as it's the easiest to time and works great as a dash attack. What I do is start the attack just before pushing down to start my descent. This way the first slash will be early and miss, but the second, more powerful slash will connect and knock the opponent backwards. From there I can combo into a ground attack such as a light down+A or, if I have time, a side+A smash before they can recover. And then I can combo into another of the air attacks. Doing that I've managed to combo Fox all the way across the Final Destination level, then spike him down off the edge with an air down+A. It was awesome; and by awesome I mean totally sweet.

Now, as if the offensive abilities of this move weren't cool enough, I'm finding it's also great as a dodge-and-counter move. Someone coming at you with fists blazing? Jump over an attack with a quick hop, have the first slash pass over his head, then come down to hit him right in the noggin with the second slash--all while he's punching at thin air below you. If you can time it right, a hop like that is actually quicker than blocking something with the shield or doing a sidestep dodge, since it lets you go right into a counter-attack without any delay.

The raving has subsided. I now return you to your regularly scheduled myOtaku post.

At the end of the day, then, I have a great new move to play with in SSBM. Refining its use, like I've done with others ( I <3 the down+A air spike), should provide lots of fun while waiting for the Wii's launch. And, hey, there's always Guild Wars (I also <3 no monthly fees) as well Zelda: A Link to the Past. I've fallen behind on my old quota of playing through LttP four times a year, so maybe I'll catch up on that again.

But, for now, I sleep. . . . Wait, crap, I still need to think of a title for this post. Um, okay, I guess that'll do. I'm going to go stop moving for a while, so whatever.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Poor Shinobu

A few days ago I got the urge to read the Love Hina manga again. This is my second time reading it, and I've seen the anime and OAVs twice as well. I think the series may just find a spot on my favorites list over in the sidebar.

One thought just keeps popping up whenever I read the manga or watch the anime, though: "Poor Shinobu." Shinobu is such a sweet and innocent girl, but she's always having to deal with the rest of the characters' messes. It's humorous of course, like all the rest of the series, but I can't help but feel sorry for her. Her life really does kind of suck. But I like how she manages to cope with everything without going too crazy, and she's come to be my favorite character in the series.

I think I feel another banner coming on. . . .

In other, somewhat more important news, I've been spending a lot of time on OtakuBoards lately. Not so much for posting, but for doing admin-type things. Can you believe I spent eight hours there yesterday? At first I didn't believe the clock myself, but 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM it was. I've jokingly told Alex that administrating on OB is my job that I don't get payed for, but I think I'm starting to actually believe it!

To date, I've hired ten new staff members and appointed three new category moderators (congratulations to indifference on the promotion today) in the process of remedying our severe shortage of moderators, but there's still a lot left to do. In the coming days (weeks? hard to say) I'm looking at hiring four or five new staff in The Arena. And when you're not especially active in a section of the boards, as I'm not in this case. . . . Let me tell you, that means a lot of sleuthing through posts in order to get a good idea of a person's track record.

Of course, I'm not having to spend hours on the board every day, so it's not that bad. But I sure did underestimate the difference in time commitment between being a category moderator and being an administrator. (Or maybe I'm just slow?) Not that I'm regretting my decision, but it was a bit of a surprise, heh. And, looking back on nearly a year of being an admin now, I can say that I actually enjoy this role more than the category moderator position I was in previously.

I wonder if there's any way I could weasel a living out of this kind of work.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

Fancy Pants

So I just got back from a wedding. (No, don't worry, it wasn't mine; I'm still available.) It was the second wedding I've attended in as many weeks, and I kind of wonder which of my friends is going to be next. . . . Or maybe it'll be me? It's unlikely, and frankly the thought of getting married any time soon is somewhat unsettling, but who knows. For the first of those two weddings the groom was only about a year or two older than me and the bride was a few months younger.

But, to get back to the point of this post, I snapped a picture of myself just after I got home. The dress ranged from suits and ties to shorts and t-shirts, so it wasn't especially important that I get dressed up for the occasion. But I ended up somewhere between those two extremes, in a nice short-sleeve, button-down shirt (but no tie), a pair of slacks, and some dress shoes. And, since occasions for dressing up don't happen very often around here, I figured I'd get a picture of myself looking all handsome-like before changing back into my normal attire.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

So there you have it. Me in my fancy pants, posing in front of my rather large collection of gaming magazines and player's guides. Oh, and my bad axe--can't forget the axe. Though, again, the picture is kind of blurry 'cause the lighting in my room sucks something awful. Apologies for that, but I figure blurry is better than nothing, right?

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Ego +1

I've known I had fans (mainly fangirls ^_~) around OtakuBoards and myOtaku for quite a while now. I mean, I usually don't like to boast, but with all my work on OB, projects like The DailyOtaku and Otakufiles, and my innate awesomeness, who wouldn't love me? I'm just an all around cool guy, if I do say so myself.

This being the case, I'd been toying around with the idea of making a website dedicated to my fans (but mainly my fangirls ^_~). Something like those little fanlisting pages you see around, with a member list, images to link back to the page, etc. Of course, seeing as how I move slowly with web projects, it remained as an idea in my head. That is, until my fans (specifically, a few of my fangirls ^_~) took it upon themselves to make their own fanclub.

The Desbreko Fanclub was produced by Aaryanna, indifference, Mariskah, and SunfallE, all without me knowing about it until now. And I couldn't be happier with the result. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside whenever I view the site or the images linking to it. So go take a look, everyone; you know you're a Desbreko fan.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Link! You've grown up!

Any serious Zelda fan should recognize that quote up in the title, and what it refers to. But, for those of you who aren't, I'll explain so you'll know where I'm coming from.

The quote is from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and is spoken by Navi (Link's fairy companion) after Link has been sealed away in hibernation for seven years in the Temple of Light. When he entered and first pulled the Master Sword from its pedestal Link was only ten years old, and when he awoke, he was seventeen. Obviously there's a big difference in appearance between a 10-year-old and a 17-year-old, hence Navi's reaction.

Upon first seeing his grown up self, Link is rather shocked, which is kind of the way I feel right now. I don't have the diploma in my hand right this moment, but I finished the last of my high school work yesterday, so I've effectively graduated. I knew this day was coming, obviously, but I never really wanted to think about it. So, now that it's here--"Link! You've grown up!"--I'm a bit shocked.

I guess what it comes down to is that I don't like change. At least not in big ways. But moving on after high school is not exactly small, and with the thought of graduating comes the thought of what I'm going to do afterwards. So I pushed the thought aside in favor of focusing on the day to day work. I didn't want to think about the change.

Of course, I don't have a lot of choice now. I'll soon be getting a figurative (at least I hope it's only figurative) slap upside the head by my diploma, and that's kind of hard to ignore. So my thoughts are turning to what I'm going to do next. And you know what? I still have no clue what I want to do.

College is the obvious answer, sure. You need a college degree to get any kind of decent job anymore, so I'm no doubt going to be attending a university sooner or later. And sure, you don't need to choose a major right away, as you've got a lot of GE classes to get through no matter what you major in.

So what's the problem?

The problem is, if I don't have a goal that I actually want to achieve, I have very little motivation. It feels like I'm working towards nothing. So, if I start college without at least some sort of clue as to where I want to end up, I get the feeling I'm not going to do too well. Or at least not as well as I could. I'm hesitant, then, to apply for college right away.

I'm sure this all sounds somewhat pathetic (it does to me at least), and some people reading this are probably thinking things along the lines of, "Pull yourself together and just do the work." Well, that's easy to say, and I have, in fact, told myself the same thing many times. Results have varied. But this is what's running through my head right now so into the blog it goes. I'm not looking for words of encouragement, pity, or anything else; I just felt like writing out my thoughts.

As Summer vacation begins, then, I have a new project to work on. That is, figuring out what the heck I want to do with my life. Exciting! . . . but not really. I've never liked making a big deal out of things. Wherever I end up, however, it should be an interesting experience in getting there. I hear life generally is.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Tweaks and Adjustment

I don't know if anyone's noticed yet, but I changed the image in my introduction. With that new art of Link from Zelda: Twilight Princess having been released around E3, I just had to use it. The wolf is still there in the background (I really like that art of the wolf), but Link takes the main focus in this one. I think it's a nice change from the previous image as well as an improvement.

Of course, whenever new Zelda art is released, you'll always finding me knocking on James' door with one of those stupid grins that says, "Do me a favor?" Or you would, except that this is the internet, so an instant message and a grinning smiley has to suffice. Either way, Jeh is awesome about hooking me up with high resolution versions of official Nintendo art, so I came away quite pleased with a 3026x2521 version of that Link art. Many thanks. ^_^

The new intro image wasn't enough, however; the art was just too awesome. I needed a banner for OtakuBoards as well.

As some of you might know, I used Paint Shop Pro 7 to make all my banners for quite some time. It worked well enough at first, since I was basically just fumbling around in the dark. I never looked up any tutorials or anything, I would just open up the program and mess around with stuff. And since I've always liked figuring things out on my own, that provided a nice little hobby for me. Learning how to use the various effects to crop and edit images (I've never been very big on original design) to fit them into banners was and still is fun.

And, as a few of you may also know, I recently got my hands on a copy of Photoshop 7. When I first started using it, fumbling around with the interface was frustrating after having gotten nice and cozy with PSP's interface. I continued to do most of my graphics work in PSP, only importing things into PS if PSP couldn't do what I wanted. My recent Scrapped banner is an example of that, where I did most of the work in PSP and then shuffled it over to PS for better overlay effects.

My new Zelda banner, however, would be different. I decided I was going to start from scratch in Photoshop and make myself get used to the different interface. This I did, and in the end, I'm glad I pushed myself past the initial reaction of, "What the hell? That's so much simpler to do in PSP." While PSP does have a simpler and more user-friendly interface, I think, Photoshop provides a lot more options. And now that I actually have a clue as to what I'm doing with the program, I'm really appreciating its extra depth.

What I ended up with, then, is this: The Twilight Approaches. I say, "ended up with," but I'm becoming kind of notorious for going back and tweaking my banners over the following few days after I put one in my signature; what you see there is actually a first revision of the original. As you can see, I was so pleased with the new intro image that I followed the same pattern for the banner.

But that's not the end of the story. I happen to currently be watching the anime series Martian Successor Nadesico. And that particular series happens to include a cute--and smart--little girl by the name of Ruri Hoshino. (If anyone remembers the Sasami-chan banner I made after watching Tenchi Muyo! you can probably guess where this is headed.) So there I was, just having gotten comfortable with making banners in Photoshop, with some prime subject material sitting in front of me. Yes, I am a sucker for cute little anime girls.

I didn't exactly have this in mind when I first made that Sasami-chan banner, but I think it spawned a series. Ruri-chan would be the second addition to it and I get the feeling more will follow.

I actually kind of surprised myself with the Ruri banner. At first I was just trying to make it live up to the Sasami one, which was a favorite out of my more recent banners, but I actually ended up surpassing it. I'm liking this new one even more. . . . Though it's a shame I won't be using it on OtakuBoards for a while, since I just put up the Twilight Princess one.

That does give me some time to tweak the Ruri-chan banner, I suppose. Just watch, I bet tomorrow I'll find something to nitpick and I'll be forced to tweak it. I always do, no matter how much I like the original "finished" version.

And that's pretty much all I wanted to talk about today. I figured it would be a waste not to show off the Ruri-chan banner somehow, if it's not going into my OtakuBoards signature for a while, so I figured I'd put it up here. Enjoy.

I swear I don't have a loli fetish. >_>;

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

You love me! You really love me!

Since so many people (especially the ladies ^_~) have been asking for a current picture of me, I present to you. . . . Exactly that. What, did you expect something all dramatic?

This is me sitting in my little office chair that I sit in while at my computer desk. It's turned away from the desk, and I'm hunched over like I do when sitting and being bored and/or thinking. Mainly I chose this pose because it shows the ponytail (again, for the ladies ^_~) and it's not boring like a straight back shot. Oh, and I'm wearing my Super Mario Bros. t-shirt that I love so very, very much. Aww yeah. . . .

So enjoy, peoples. And sorry it's kind of blurry. It's hard to get good lighting in my room, especially when three of the four bulbs in the ceiling light fixture are burnt out. I actually ended up having to turn the lights completely off in order to get the flash to go bright enough to illuminate things decently.

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Sunday, January 8, 2006

2004 called. Said it wants its web site back.

So Tony switched web hosts a little while ago, as some of you may be aware. Some of you may also be aware that he hosts my web sites (such as OtakuFiles), so this has affected me. It's only affected me in one way, but considering what way that is, it pretty much makes all other possible ways it could affect me moot. So what is this way? Well . . . I can't really upload things anymore.

See, Tony's new host apparently doesn't let you set up secondary FTP accounts. And without that, I have no way of getting files from my hard drive onto the server. So, while what I already had uploaded got transfered over to the new host, I can't post any updates.

"But wait," you may be asking. "You don't update your sites anyway, so what's the big deal?" . . . Okay, yes, I've been lazy about updating OtakuFiles and I hadn't worked on Rupee Shards for months before this. But I do use the hosting for music on myOtaku here! Lame, I know, but having some ad-free web space available comes in handy sometimes. Or, you know, when I get off my butt and actually update.

Basically, then, I'm just going to have to get my own hosting. (Or maybe I can mooch off Alan. . . . Hmm.) That won't be happening for at least a little while yet, but I do plan on it. I refuse to go back to the crappy free web hosts out there (ugh, Angelfire), plus I at least need PHP support for OtakuFiles. And if my plans for Rupee Shards get off the ground, mySQL support as well.

Speaking of Rupee Shards, I've started working on it again. I've done some tweaking to the layout I already had, changed up a couple styles, and today I whipped up a header banner that may or may not be tweaked as the site progresses. I'm quite pleased with the layout, so that probably won't need much changing from here on out. Next I'll be needing to go learn more PHP, how to set up a mySQL database, and how to make the site run off of said database. Yay for learning.

What will Rupee Shards be? Well, it'll be kind of like my old site, It's All About the Rupees. Except it won't have a funky-ass experimental layout, the contrast won't hurt your eyes, JavaScript won't be touched, the graphics section will most likely be ditched, and I might add a blog section running off Movable Type. Or, in other words, it'll be all-around better than Rupees in every possible way. If I ever finish it.

The plan, then, is to finish Rupee Shards before I get hosting of my own. Then I'll have something new and interesting to put up, plus I'll actually have a reason for getting www.rupeeshards.net as my domain name. So that's some motivation, since it would mean no new music and no OtakuFiles updates until I finish.

Which reminds me: Since I can't put it up on OtakuFiles, anyone who wants the log of tehsillycircus2006 can just IM me and I'll send it to you.

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