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Thursday, January 5, 2006

You think she's a man? I don't think she's a man.

Well, I'm not sure, but I do know that I'm now a man. Legally, that is; I'm 18 and no longer a minor. Yay. (Bonus points if you know where the quote in the title is from.)

So, my birthday. First off, thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday, whether on OB, AIM, whatever. Even if I didn't reply to your PM (I hate replying to 5+ PMs with the same generic "thank you" each time), I still appreciate it. So here's one big, yet still generic thank you to everyone.

Second, the loot. . . . Well, this part isn't actually too interesting yet. The TV I got for Christmas counted as both my Christmas and birthday present from my parents, since it cost so much. But they did still get me a new flannel shirt (mmm, fuzzy), a box of Hershey's caramels, and *drumroll* a new doorknob! Yes, a doorknob, and I'm actually very happy about that. I've been lacking one on my door for months now, which has been pretty annoying. But I'm still waiting for the present from my three brothers -- it's apparently having to be shipped up from the bay area -- so I have more to look forward to. And another awesome and completely unexpected thing: Samgee, a friend of mine, is giving me $100 towards a computer component of my choice.

As for the happenings of the third. . . . Not much happened. It was like pretty much any other day except that we went out to Red Lobster for dinner and then came back to have birthday cake. But hey, I'm not complaining. I hate being the center of attention unless I'm actively doing something to put myself there. Like, you know, wearing a jockstrap on my head. The reactions to that were priceless, I tell you.

Oh yes, and something I had forgotten about: Now that I'm 18, I get to (read: have to) sign up for the Selective Service. If they bring back the draft, I think I'm heading for the border.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Night Santa Went Crazy

Well, Christmas was fun. A bit hectic, but fun. See, normally on Christmas day, people get up (or get woken up) anywhere from 10:00 AM through 12:00 PM to have breakfast and open presents. The grandparents and any other family usually come over for this, and a good time is had by all. After everything's been opened and whatnot, there's time to relax and play with our new toys. I usually help out with dinner in some way or other, but that's not until evening.

This Christmas was a little different. Being Sunday, we got up and went to church at 11:30 AM and got home at about 1:30 PM as usual. Already things were shifted forward an hour or two, but that wasn't really any big deal. But my grandpa had a stroke a little while before Thanksgiving, and is still in a rehab facility, so neither he nor grandma were here. That kind of put a damper on things. We opened our gifts with only the immediate family present, then soon afterward, we went up to visit the grandparents at the rehab center and bring them their gifts; we stayed and visited for probably a couple hours or so before coming home.

When we got home, evening was drawing close, so I of course had to peel potatoes for dinner. After that was done, I did have a bit of free time before dinner was ready, which I used to hook up the new TV I got. (I'll have to get a picture of it some time to post up here. It's amazing how much better it looks after using that other old piece of crap for so long.) That consisted of much untangling of cords and sweeping of dustballs, then hooking everything back up to the new TV. To try it out, I played a couple matches of SSBM before stopping for dinner.

Some extended family, including grandma, were able to make it for dinner. (Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes -- basically the same as Thanksgiving dinner, which I think is great.) Talking over dinner, then desert afterwards, was nice. Finally there was some time to relax after what seemed like the busiest Christmas I've yet seen. Most of the time things are very layed back around here on Christmas day. . . . Well, besides my mom sometimes stressing just a little more than necessary over getting everything cooked on time. This year, things just didn't feel quite the same.

With Christmas gone and past, I now get to look forward to my birthday, which is only nine days afterwards (January 3). This year is kind of special I suppose, as I'm turning 18 and -- gasp -- becoming an adult. Things are changing, yeah; I'm going to be a legal adult and I'm going to graduate from high school this spring. But I have no idea what I'm going to do from there, so I'm not exactly looking forward to it. As much as I've disliked high school, not having a clue as to what I want to do afterwards is even worse.

I suppose I should look into getting my driving permit after I turn 18 here. I never took driver's ed so I couldn't get it before, but now I think all I'll have to do is pass the DMV's little test to get it. Then my mom will probably make me drive her everywhere, to give me experience before getting my license. But then the funny thing is, once I do get my license, I won't actually be able to drive anymore. Neither I nor my parents can afford to buy me a car at this point, and I don't think their insurance will cover me driving their cars once I've got my own license. Yay.

Seems like, each year, I become just a little more withdrawn and pessimistic. So here's hopin' the year 2-0-6 turns out better than 2-0-5.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Bearing Darkness and Light

I bought Final Fantasy IV Advance yesterday. So far, I've only just covered the light in that "bearing darkness and light" line of the Mysidian legend; Cecil having just become a paladin. Right now I'm saved outside Baron, a little shy of five hours on the clock, and I'll be heading through the Old Waterway next.

Even though I'm only a little ways into the game so far, I can already tell that FFIV Advance blows the SNES FFII out of the water. You don't really notice it right at first, but the game is harder. (As it should be, considering the SNES FFII was the easy type version of the game.) The fight with the Antlion was probably the first place I really noticed the increased difficulty; its counter-attack hurts. And since then it's only been getting harder. In the fight with Scarmiglion (aka Milon, the fiend of earth), especially, I had to be careful. I'm really appreciating the fact that I'm getting a challenge out of the game again.

I'm also loving the better and more accurate translation. Lines don't sound nearly as cheesy anymore and conversations flow a lot better. (Though Cecil's "Damnation!" line when the second wave of monsters attack in the opening scene seemed a bit off.) There's more detail in them, as well. No longer do you have to read between the lines to be able to really see what the characters are like. In this version, you actually see from Cecil's thoughts and dialogue that he's struggling between his loyalty to the king of Baron and his own conscience, that he's not happy with his tainted role as a dark knight, etc. I can't wait to get farther into the storyline to see what I've been missing all these years.

Okay, so, if you're at all a fan of the SNES version, you need to play FFIV Advance. Or if you're a fan of RPGs at all, but haven't played any of the previous incarnations of FFIV, you should really look into it. I just can't imagine going back to the SNES version at this point. So much has improved, from the dialogue to the graphics, that there's just no comparison. I love it.

But enough about FFIV for now.

I finally got my Christmas shopping done today, which is a relief. Now I just need to pay people for my part in some of the gifts, do some wrapping, and I'll be finished. But I'm a bit disappointed. Because of various complications, we won't be having many people outside our immediate family here for Christmas. I still got my little cousins Animal Crossing as a gift, though; we'll just have to mail them their presents. I hope they enjoy it. . . . And can figure everything out okay. I could only find a used copy, which didn't include an instruction booklet.

And I think that's it for now. Everyone have a merry Christmas and, if I'm lazy and don't post again before then, a happy new year.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Kakariko Chronicle vol.1

My adventures in the wild world of Animal Crossing are progressing well. Most of the peaches that Shinmaru gave me are growing into healthy trees just outside of Nook's shop, and tomorrow I should be able to pluck the first harvest from their virgin branches. I know, that would've been funnier if they were cherry trees, but what can you do?

This is actually kind of a special occasion for me, in my obsessed little mind. It marks the beginning of two things: First, the complete overhaul of my town's landscape, which will end in nearly every original tree being chopped down and replaced with a fruit tree of some kind or a cedar tree. I did this in the original Kakariko, in the GCN game, and it was awesome. Second, it is the beginning of my fruit empire. With the money I make from the spreading foreign fruit trees, I shall rule the village and bend the puny animal inhabitants to my will. All hail capitalism! Bwahahahaha!

Oh, and on a related yet less maniacal note: A coconut washed up on the beach today, so that went into the ground as well. Hopefully it'll grow and produce more coconuts so I can line the beach with palm trees. If it's the same as in the GCN game, the coconuts won't be worth much more than my domestic apples, but the trees look cool spread out along the beach.

Other news! I made sure to wake my ass up at about 11:30 AM today so I could catch Joan before she left at noon. I bought a red turnip seed from her and planted that next to the growing rose garden by my house. Apparently I have to water it every day for a week before it's full grown, and if I miss a single day, it'll die. Shouldn't be too hard, considering I play for at least a few minutes each day, if only to check what Nook has for sale. And I hear that a red turnip is the start of a trading sequence, a la Ocarina of Time's Biggoron's Sword sidequest, that can get you some cool stuff so hopefully it'll be worth it.

There was also a Fishing Tourney today. I caught a 43.7 inch Sea Bass, I think it was, and entered that. I forgot to check back before 6:00 PM, though, so I don't know if I ended up winning or not. But if things work the same as in the GCN version, a message should be posted on the bulletin board tomorrow to announce the winner. And if that's me, I think the prize gets sent out in the mail.

I've been kind of slow about paying off my house mortgage lately. My first floor has been upgraded three times so far (It's 8x8 now) and I'm currently paying off that third upgrade. The original amount due was 298,000 bells and I have 200,000 left to pay. About 1/3 of the way there, but that's still a lot of money. I guess I need to start mining for fish again while I wait to get more foreign fruit trees growing. I <3 Stringfish.

Wi-Fi! First, more people need to get this game. It's absolutely wonderful, being able to pick the game up every day and have something to do. It's not something you'll be sitting down with for hours at a time very often, but for daily casual play, it's great. Second, more people need to get online with it. I'm usually on AIM when I'm playing, so please, IM me if you want to check out my village. Visitors are always welcome, so long as you don't chop down my trees or otherwise mess with the landscape, and you can take home as many apples as you can carry.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Blinded with Science

What a fun day. It started off fine enough; bit of pain in my chest when I inhaled, but nothing bad, so I assumed it was gas like it always had been for that sort of thing. But I was up at 10:00 AM and getting ready to go take my trigonometry final. I had studied, I made up my one sheet of allowed notes, and I was prepared to totally ace the test. Which I think I might well have done.

So yay, no more trig. It's over; done with; gone. Well, maybe not gone, since it's clawed its way into my brain, but you know what I mean. I'm free for winter break!

But that wasn't what made the day fun. No, that innocent little pain in the morning turned out to be not quite so innocent. While waiting for the bus after the final, it came back, but no worse than before. I shrugged it off and got on the bus to go home, relieved to be done with trig. Then it got a little worse, and again I shrugged it off. Then, on the way back, it got a little more worse; here I started to wonder what the heck was up. Nothing of the like had ever been that bad, and yet it continued to get worse until any little breathe would hurt and taking any sort of deep breath was outright painful.

That was when I started to worry a bit. I could take the pain, but it seemed like there was something a lot more wrong than a bit of gas. And then I started feeling lightheaded. I think it was about then that I remember thinking something along the lines of, "Oh shit, this is not good." I could feel pressure building in my head, and my ears started to ring. Then my vision started to black out. Honestly, I was a bit scared then. Breathing problems combined with fainting is just a bad combination, you know?

For about a minute, it got bad enough that I couldn't see a thing. Having my eyes open was no different from closing them. But I kept my cool; I couldn't see, but I still had control of everything else. Slouching back some, I leaned against the wall and kind of propped my head up with my hand while forcing myself to take deep breaths. It hurt, but I'd rather be in some pain than not have enough oxygen going to my eyes and related nerves to be able to see.

I stayed like that for a while, probably just looking like I was tired. I wasn't, after all, going to make a big scene over something if it was going to get better in a couple minutes. Now, if the bus had gotten to my stop and I still couldn't see. ... Yeah, there'd have been a bit of a scene. But that didn't happen, so as far as I know, no one was any the wiser.

So my vision slowly started to come back. First I could see the seat in front of me, then a little farther, then farther, until it was back to normal. After that, I sat back up and wondered what the heck had just happened and why. I still don't know for sure.

Getting off the bus, I walked the couple blocks back to my house and made some instant ramen. Because, not having eaten since the previous night, I was damn hungry. My mom was a bit freaked when I told her of the incident and made me go sit down while she took over with the ramen. She also wanted me to go up to the immediate care place in town to see a doctor, which I agreed might be a good idea. I still didn't think it was anything too serious, since it went away after only a few minutes, but I did want to know what the heck caused it. And besides, I needed to go up there to get a refill for my acne medication, so why not.

The diagnosis? Could've been gas, as I first thought, or something of the like related to indigestion. Or a muscle spasm, cramping up around my ribcage, which would hurt while breathing in. I think the latter is somewhat more likely, as I'd had those sorts of pains before from gas and such, but nothing even close to this. But regardless, it's nothing dangerous.

It's a bit annoying, though, because the doctor said that in case it is related to indigestion, I should stay away from spicy foods and acidic drinks for a few days. And guess what coffee is. Yep, it's somewhat acidic, so I can't have any unless I'm eating something with it. Less coffee makes the Des sad.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Who's that lounging in my chair?

Okay, so I'm stupid tired right now and listening to Weird Al songs. Some macaroni and cheese also happened a bit ago. A wonderful combination. ... Really.

Thanksgiving was nice. We had family over -- namely, my older brother up from the bay area and my cousin, her husband, and two kids down from the Seattle area -- which was fun. It's always nice to visit with them and catch up on notable happenings. Not that I usually have many to contribute, but it's nice to hear about them nonetheless.

My first cousins, once removed, or whatever the heck her kids technically are in relation to me, seem to love me. There's an eight-year-old girl (soon to be nine -- pretty sure that's right) and a seven-year-old boy. He always bugs me to let him play my GameCube whenever they come for a visit, heh. They have one, as well as an Xbox, at home, but apparently I've got a substantially larger game library. Which I guess makes sense, since I've had mine since its release and they only got one this year I think.

So anyway, I let them play Animal Crossing on Friday night after dinner. (Leftover turkey = yum.) They each got a thirty minute turn before they had to leave and I let them start new characters, taking the two remaining houses in my village. Only having a half hour to play, neither made it past the little starting jobs Nook puts you through, but they seemed to have a lot of fun with it. Which kind of surprised me, since I wasn't sure the boy would have the attention span necessary for following Nook's instructions; yeah, he's kinda hyper, heh.

That gave me an idea. Maybe, just maybe, I can kill two birds with one stone this Christmas. Both of them seemed to really enjoy the game and you can get it for only $20 since it's a player's choice title. $10 for each of them isn't bad.

Yes, it's after Thanksgiving and I am thinking about Christmas shopping now. No, I didn't go out shopping on Friday, however. The obsessive people who get up at 4:00 AM just to save a few dollars scare me. Freaks. Yeah, you heard me. You know who you are!

Personally, I'm looking for a new TV this year. Probably not anything fancy (read: no widescreen or HD support) since it has to actually be affordable to the rest of the family. But, at this point, anything would be better than the piece of crap I have now. Seriously, I've no doubt that the thing is older than I am. It doesn't even have AV ports; hell, it doesn't even have a real coax port. It has two screws that you can hook a coax-horseshoe converter onto. Oh, and the wires between the actual converter bit and the horseshoes broke, so I had to rig it up so that the bare wires are wrapped around the screws. If you can't see by now why I want a new TV, you're either an idiot or you're stuck in a closet with Vanna White.

And did I mention that my current TV causes interference with my brother's PC monitor, which is just on the other side of the wall? Yeah, that pisses him off. And he's about ten times the annoying idiot he is normally when he's pissed off. Not in a violent way, no, more the "I'm going to drive you freaking insane" kind of way. Damn I need a lock on my bedroom door.

Okay, let's just forget about TVs for a bit, then. On the handheld scene, I'm back to playing MKDS now that people are no longer visiting and I can crawl back into my hole -- er, room. Today I went through and got 3 Star rankings on all the 50cc cups and tomorrow I'll be starting on the 100cc cups. Most of the cups, in any engine class, I haven't had any trouble getting 1 or 2 Stars on, so getting 3 Stars isn't as hard for me as I first thought. It's still hard on 150cc and 150cc Mirror, of course, just not that "I'm going to crap on this game and then burn it" level of difficulty. Which, you know, is fine with me, since I'm not especially fond of stupidly hard games. And I do mean stupid, seeing as all it takes to screw your 3 Star ranking in MKDS is an ill-timed spike shell.

Remember, everything you know is wrong.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Easy as 1, 2, 5 -- 3 sir!

First up, Mario Kart DS. I've beaten the grand prix cups up through 150cc and am now working on 150cc Mirror. Funnily enough, I breezed right through 150cc after having to really fight for first place on 100cc. Obviously I was (and still am) getting better at the game the more I played. But it also seemed very apparent that the game's tracks were meant to be raced at 150cc speeds. Swinging around turns while popping off mini-turbos seemed so much more natural as one power slide would lead right into the next.

Of course, 150cc Mirror was a bit of a blow to my ego after that. In all of the previous Mario Kart games, I never noticed 150cc Mirror being much, if at all, harder than standard 150cc. So it came as quite a surprise when I found the CPU karts were markedly faster and smarter on 150cc Mirror. I got my ass handed to me on my first few attempts. (I swear, the CPU karts get way too many spike shells.) It really pushed me to improve my skills, especially in regards to doing mini-turbos, and it payed off; I got my first 3 Star ranking while playing 150cc Mirror Shell Cup.

I also finally got to play a few online matches with Tony and Petie. Online play is fun as ever, but there was something missing. Namely, the ability to shout, "Fatty beat you down!" after winning and actually have them hear it. If only the game featured voice chat.

Right, next order of business: bitching about school. Okay, so there really isn't much to bitch about, but I do have a trigonometry test on Wednesday. Yes, the day before Thanksgiving, which is annoying. Especially considering we have family coming Tuesday and I'll be needing to do some studying. I shouldn't have any trouble with the test but the timing is still kind of a pain.

On the plus side, I learned today (well, technically yesterday -- Monday) that the final will be the only test left after this one and that it won't be comprehensive after all. I had doubts at the start of the semester, about my ability to do as well in trig as I did in algebra, but it's looking likely that I'll ace the class. Yay for teh math skillzors.

And finally, the third order of business. ... ... ... Okay, so there is no third order of business. That's all I got.

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Thursday, November 17, 2005

I am a great magician. Your clothes are red!

Some of you might have noticed all the images on my site disappeared for a few days there. Tony (who's kind enough to host my websites and all the related crap) disabled direct linking of images from myOtaku since he was having problems with leeching -- problems with people other than me, I assume -- so that's why they went away. But I switched back to using ImageShack, same as I was before the theme change, so things are back in order.

If you were watching for it, you probably noticed I never made that Mario Kart DS thread like I said I was going to. Well, it turns out there's actually a semi-good reason for it this time, as opposed to my inherent laziness. GameStop was sold out on Monday so I had to wait till yesterday for them to get more copies in. I snagged one of those, however, so the thread will be forthcoming in the next day or so.

I haven't had a lot of time to play the game yet, seeing as I only got it yesterday, but I have played few grand prix cups on 50cc and a couple online matches so far. (The set up with our router was fairly easy. We just had to tweak a couple settings to get the DS to recognize it and now I can jump online any time I want.) I was beaten horribly in my first online match since I had done all of one 50cc grand prix before jumping into a regional match-up, but after practicing a bit I kicked ass in the next two matches.

I can't wait till more people around here get the game. I'd almost forgotten how much fun it is to play Mario Kart against other humans of the same skill level.

Oh yes, and I suppose I should post my friend code so people can add me to their list. It's 167563 257141.

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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Fatty Gonna Beat You Down!

So Mario Kart DS is going to be released tomorrow. It supports online play through the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. We have a DSL connection and a wireless router at home here. The world better get ready, 'cause Fatty gonna beat it down.

Okay, so more seriously, it'll be really nice to have access to online play right from home. I'm especially looking forward to racing friends from OtakuBoards, and I'll probably make a thread for the game in the Play It forum after I get it. Maybe write down the specifics of connecting and trading friend codes and whatnot. Anyone else planning on getting the game tomorrow or shortly after?

Also of interest is a 32 player tournament that N-Sider will be holding. With any luck maybe I'll make it in. The competition they had for Mario Kart: Double Dash!! on their forums was a lot of fun to participate in (plus, I nearly won) so it would be great to get into this one.

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Saturday, November 12, 2005

It's Alive!

Yeah, I know I haven't posted in a long time. I've lost nearly all interest in keeping a blog/journal/whathaveyou. So, um, yeah.

Something that you might be interested in (and you probably will be if you're still aware of this page), though, is that I've written a new DailyOtaku article. Go, read, and be merry.

Oh, and don't you just love shameless plugs?

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