Tuesday, March 31, 2009

This nation reeks of a sad inferiority complex.

This nation reeks of a sad inferiority complex, and it's happily displaying it for all the world to see.

The most recent example, being that of the brouhaha over the (misunderstood?) troll post of Chip Tsao, shows how embarrassingly obvious this inferiority complex - under the guise of demand for respect and dignity - really is, and how this nation has no problems flaunting it. That this nation has to make a point of acting offended, and with such fanfare complete with public blacklisting and empty, senseless threats of boycotting, for every jest poorly done or otherwise.

Can't we just shrug off trollbait articles, or silly stereotypes that show poor knowledge of our identity as a nation? Last time I checked, those should reflect poorly on the authors or makers of said stupid articles or shows, not the referred country or group of people.

Now, if you're a fellow countryman and netizen you're probably familiar with the RRRAAAAGE reaction that Tsao's article elicited from bloggers both inside and outside the country.

However, I wouldn't go into that. I wouldn't be a hypocrite and say that these bloggers are stupid for doing such a knee-jerk reaction and they should think, just think, and realize that worldwide mass media has a bad, tasteless stereotype prepared for people of every race and profession.

I wouldn't expound on the well-known fact that we as a nation have a poorly done generalized stereotype for every Joe the trailer trash American, Gupta the five-six Indian, Ching the booger-eating Chinese, etc, etc. That just because Filipinos have self-branded themselves as the world's hardworking underdog doesn't mean they're supposed to be off-limits when it comes to crass insults and gross stereotyping. All of us are supposed to know those things; anything short of acknowledging those is nothing short of undeserved arrogance.

However, forget about bloggers. The nature of blogs and the convenience that they provide encourage the posting of spur-of-the-moment rageposts that authors would most probably regret posting after the haze of anger clears. That makes them a tad forgivable, provided that the authors wise up within 24 hours after posting their shit.

No, I'm more disappointed at our politicians.

Unlike bloggers, politicians should have minutes--nay, hours--of mulling things over before deciding to call reporters from all newspapers and TV networks and whine, over national and international airwaves, that this or that foreign national trolled the Filipinos and demand for public apology. By all rights, they should have had more time to think before broadcasting for all the world to see the flag of Inferiority Complex.

Our politicians and activist leaders surely have the penchant for making knee-jerk reactions towards Filipino stereotypes lurking in international mass media. Chip Tsao's facepalm-inducing article (which elicited the ire of government officials such as Senator Pia Cayetano) isn't the only case where politicians - who may or may not be merely seeking for easy PR stunts - have gone apeshit and made a universe out of a molehill over an offhandedly-delivered jest or comment.

There was much ado against Teri Hatcher delivering a racist line from her script in Desperate Housewives, which apparently implied that Filipino doctors are incompetent. Of course, that implication isn't true at all - so why react in such a manner towards a work of fiction? Knowing that Filipinos all over the world even lambasted the wrong person (Hatcher, for saying what was in her script that was written by somebody else) is already embarrassing in itself.

And yes, who can still remember Claire Danes' persona non grata status handed down by the government for saying the obvious, which is the fact that parts of Manila smelled of cockroaches, had rats all over, and that the sewage system is malfunctioning or non-existent?

All of the above cases involve high-ranking politicians carelessly call for public apologies and "boycotts", not even thinking that acknowledging the truth and actually acting on them is way better than calling forth even more attention on the facts that they are trying to deny. Okay, so one visiting foreigner said that Manila reeks of cockroaches? Fine, let's shout to the rest of the world how one famous personality remarked that our city smells like vermin! And that we're demanding Apology! For something that is fucking true!

Good job. Keep it up, politicians. Keep it up with our tax money and wasted airtime.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thursday evening, between sleep and wakefulness.

Almost midnight. Several hours into the game, and you're already doing your second lengthy dungeon run in that single session. You're lying down in front of the TV, head propped up on two plump pillows, with feet resting on the slightly warm PS2. You can feel the console's almost imperceptible trembling as its laser read the contents of the game disc from time to time.

At this point your fingers are now on auto-pilot, knowing which buttons to press and the order on how they should be pressed to surf through the menu effortlessly as your tiny people in the TV did your battles for you. At first you dedicate a minuscule part of your thinking processes to consider your next move while battling Shadows. Pressing down, down, X brings you to the Persona page, where you select your newly-acquired Persona and use it in battle. You do this so you can register its card in the Velvet Room.

About an half hour (or more, you could not tell anymore) later your eyes feel heavy and your body wants to assume the fetal position that it usually takes during sleep. But you want to forge on through the dungeon - you want to know what would happen in the following days, whether someone else appears on the Midnight Channel, or if you passed the first midterm exams in the tiny virtual world.

So you did. Your hands still cradle the controller, fingers - which already developed minds of their own - dancing on the buttons, waiting for your decisions no longer. Your eyes remain trained on the TV screen, but are focused no longer.

Eventually you encounter a fox in one of the red-carpeted rooms, and it's looking up at your character with its sly yet coy half-smile. As you notice the small hearts printed on the fox's frilly apron you hazily wonder, in the back of your mind, whether or not the animal is a pooftie.

You tentatively reach out a hand and touched his fur, and suddenly you notice an unrecognizable scent of a subtle yet consistent, flat quality. Your mind is in a haze; you cannot tell if the scent came from the strange fox.

Then you hear a knocking on your door, and you try to turn your head towards the noise but instead you feel your body jolting mildly - suddenly your mind and your awareness are back in your room, and you realize that you were not running your hands on the fox's fur but instead remained cradling your controller. You also realize that the knocking on the door which snapped you back to reality wasn't real as well.

With great effort you sit up and reach behind the PS2 to switch off the console, and with shivering fingers press the power switch of your TV. Staying in that narrow border between sleep and wakefulness never failed to make you feel utterly disoriented.

Then you pick up your DS and booted up Space Invaders Extreme 2.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Haruki Murakami candy bar.

"It's like a Haruki Murakami candy bar," he said as he chewed my last packet of granola bar with utter relish while we waited in line at the ATM queue. "I don't like it. I have my reasons for not liking it, but I understand why you love it so much."

He masticated my favorite treat with a tentative relish; he hadn't eaten anything substantial for a good several hours, and yet I asked him to accompany me on a longhaul trip on a quest to pick up my new DS. I knew how much he needed to eat something, anything; and his apparent need for nourishment somehow made his statement worthless.

It IS a Haruki Murakami candy bar. The petty intellectual side of you does not like it - and yet look at you; chewing it, swallowing it as readily as you would every single sentence that flowed out of Alan Moore's pen.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fly high, Gamera.

...and let's spew out turtly fireballs in the sky.

(thanks to Nyan for drawing this awesome Gamera and Mai doodle. X3)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Work Time Fun. Or, my mind-numbing work playlist.

For some reason I can't load imeem's main page at work, but I can open links to specific music or playlists in imeem.

Huh. I'll just post my playlist here to make things easier for me in terms of applying general audio anaesthesia during work, and to give those interested a glimpse of what kind of music I listen to.

Someone said that the mix of songs in all of my playlists makes her nauseous for some reason...maybe its because they had some Korn in them.

Work Time Blargh

McFarlane Toys: The Matrix Sentinel Deluxe Boxed Edition review

DISCLAIMER: This post and the content that follows are written by Ryan and not the original owner of this blog.

Let me say this to start.

I love toys. I've always loved them since my parents gave me my first G1 Transformers when I was but a young lad who always mined gold in his nostrils. Now with me actually being a productive member of society, I've taken up the toy habit again. And I'm going to review one of them tonight, with Mai's blessing.

Now, please bear in mind that I'm really not a toy 'collector' of any sort - I just buy toys because I like them and love to play with them - so I may not be able to give accurate comparisons of the toy I'm reviewing to other toys. So sorry about that. Also I tend to babble on a lot, but I'll try my best to keep a lid on it and stop acting like a douche so much.

In any case, let's get on with it with my first Super-Awesome Toy, The Matrix Sentinel by McFarlane Toys!

When I first saw this sucker on a window display en route to Wasabi I knew I had to get him. I'm a huge fan of huge toys (no pun intended) and a large, hefty figure of one of the best-looking robot monster designs ever is a proper treat for me. He was going for a price that's well and above his original asking price, but we do have to keep in mind that McToys did release the Sentinel around in '03, thus making it quite the antique figure. I'm not too sure if he's rare or not, but hey, I wasn't going to pass him up. I mean, come on, it's a huge robotic octopus with fifteen huge fully-articulated tentacles - what's not to like?

Now let's get him out of that cardboard prison. To deal with the copious amounts of scotch tape sealing the edges, I've armed myself with a rusty box cutter, and sure enough I got them out of the way.

However, when I made to open the box, I realized in horror that I would have to do the unthinkable: DESTROY the box to get the Sentinel out. The actual 'lid' isn't the roof of the box at all, but at the bottom, and hinged in such a way that it also forms the back wall of the box. To make matters worse, the lid itself is stuck to the bottom with a huge amount of...glue? Paste? Unthinkable sticky liquid perhaps? Whatever it was, it was set on not letting me keep the box intact. SO I DIDN'T. I tore that sucker open.

Smell that new toy smell. Well, old new toy smell. But still a glorious scent nonetheless!

And so this is the McFarlane Toys' Deluxed Box Version of the Matrix Sentinel, unboxed and laid out in its full, coiled-and-ready-to-rape-anything-in-the-area glory. It's bigger than it looks, and I'll illustrate that in just a second, after we get the twisty ties out of the way.

Ho yes, there are twisty ties, but in a surprisingly SCANT amount. In fact it was a bit disappointing, until I realized that something more insidious barred me from traipsing into the land of Happy Fun Tentacle Time.


I can forgive the sadomasochistic box enclosure, I can forget the finger-wrecking twisty ties. But this is just going too far, now! This is the same type of tie they use for disposable handcuffs! And there was no other way to remove the dang thing but to cut it open, so I had to go at it with the rusty cutter from before.

After some careful, CAREFUL cutting...

Almost there...



Look at him! He's so cute, all wrapped up tight like a ball! And with his inner claws like that it's like he's just waiting for a cuddle. I henceforth call this form Squidball!

But yeah, he's out. Much rejoicing.

One thing you notice immediately when you take him out of the box is how freaking HEAVY he is. No joke - while I can certainly do with more exercise, I do find some objects that people consider as heavy to be 'cartable' - but Sentinel here weighs a ton(nothing wrong with that, that just says that it's a solidly built figure and no mistake). After the weight you notice just how much of a big deal he really is, and despite his overinflated price tag, whatever you pay for him, you're getting your money's worth.

That's because he is ridiculously DETAILED. When McFarlane Toys does Deluxe Toys, they really go the entire nine yars. Everything, from the eyes to the claws to even the small teeth-like 'mini-claws' on the underside of the Sentinel's body is sculpted, a painstaking effort to make this piece of toy heaven as movie-accurate as possible. I can't think of anything to criticize it with. It's PURE FURY.

And then we get to the tentacles. Oh yes, the main star of this toy, the tentacles. Unfurled from their curled position, these babies measure almost two feet long, making the Sentinel my biggest (or rather, longest) toy to date. Each tentacle is fully poseable and bendable, and they will firmly hold whatever pose you put them in (that includes raised or lowered positions). One thing to note here though is that this is where the Sentinel drops a bit in movie accuracy: the original Sentinels had red piping on their tentacles. But seeing as those red markings were dropped in the sequels, I guess we could forgive it for that.

Each tentacle comes equipped with a four-pronged claw, and there are three variations of the claw: a permanently closed one, a permanently opened one, and an articulated one that you can freely switch between rape mode, grab mode and grope mode. Now this is where the packaging starts to get on my nerves: The box actually crushes the latter kind of claws into bent, unidentifiable pieces of plastic. This is easily remedied with the hot water process, but it just screams WRONG when an integral part of a toy's appeal is deliberately compromised like that.

The Sentinel's inner claws are pretty well-detailed as well, and you can pose them somewhat, seeing as they're attached to the main body by balljoints. However, it's pretty easy to have them fall off. Not easy like Revoltech Lazengann's fists easy, but too much movement and they pop out. You can easily pop them back in, though, and they catch on tightly.

I'm really pleased with this figure. He's got heft, he's got poseability coming out of his ears, and out of the box he's just one massive toy that is literally BEGGING to be played with. Of course, one of the tentacles did come off from the body after I started trying to pose it properly, but further investigation revealed that there was not enough adhesive applied to it. I fixed that with just a smidgin of Mighty Bond and it's back on, stronger than ever.

Now, you might be wondering about the obvious - can the tentacles actually do what they're supposed to do, when the schoolgirl figures come a-running? Yes, but sadly no. See, the tentacles themselves are thick, so while they're poseable as heck, you can't have them wrap around something as small as, say, a figma Asakura's angle or arm. You can however wrap them around her waist, and the claws do allow for some grabbing/pinching/penetrating action if you know what I mean. Please do watch out for an upcoming gallery featuring female figurines interacting with The Sentinel. But it's all going to be wholesome!

And now, to the scores:

Presentation/Packaging: 5
Costume and Expressions: 10
Sculpt and Paint: 10
Gimmicks/Accessories/Base: 7 (The Deluxe Boxed Set came with a Real World Neo that can attach to the base to form a diorama. It sucks but it's considerate.)
Articulation: 10
Fun Factor: Posing and taking Photos: 10


If you're a robot monster fan (even if you didn't like the Matrix much) and you see this guy going for any price, get him. He's fun, he's cute, and he can be an awesome opponent for all your figmas and busou shinkis.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Using Outlook with personal email for the first time, etc.

1. Dumb and dumber.
Ryan: Oh! That means you managed to get it to work? X3
Me: yeah X3
Ryan: Awesome X3
Me: seems like Outlook was programmed to pull email out of Gmail every 30 mins by default
Me: I set it to 5
Ryan: Whoa D:
Ryan: Ah, you don't use the 'send/retrieve mail' function?
Me: er
Me: I’m expecting Outlook to do it for me automatically
Me: I don’t want to keep pressing them Send/Receive buttons every now and then to check email, you know.
Ryan: Ah, yeah.
Me: ..you mean you keep on pressing that button to check email in your office account?
Ryan: Yeah D:
Me: ...what’s the effing point of using Outlook then?
After all these years in the intarwebs using email clients is new to me. I feel so dumb. Maybe I'm even more dumb to set this up in the first place when Gmail already has a small yet nifty Notifier app.

These days I see Outlook as a decent business appointment organizer, nothing more. I think my rare Microsoft-phobe side would stick to Gmail, thank you very much.

2. I know you love being your usual helpful self, but some people in the big bad world out there just don't deserve to be helped.

It's a good idea to gauge the situation before helping other people; you need to ask yourself questions like "is helping them going to be beneficial to everyone, including me?" or even "is helping them going to cost me more than the benefits that I gain (if ever)?” before you extend that eager hand. It's not like you’re asking for payment for every good turn you make; think of it as valuing, loving yourself.

But don't worry. No matter the rage or the fuck-ups I know how much you're worth, especially when you hold me (hint: It's considerably more than a factory of DS'es, Nintendo included).

Now stop calling me tsundere

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cold Turkey.

Slashers are impressive these days. One managed to cut through my bag even while I was hugging it close to me on my lap and took my DS and eyeglasses. While the nature of their skills is less than admirable, their deftness is actually enviable.

Here's a short list of the things I lost that mattered to me  :
  • DS Lite
  • Monster Bag (a cute pouch I bought off David that I use as DS softcase)
  • Frog charm
  • Mosquito coil charm (yeah, one of them WTF keychains that I like so much)
  • NDS game saves
My game saves. Losing them hurt a lot; I used to back them up regularly after my Phoenix Wright: Justice For All save got corrupted at some point, then I eventually slacked off since I didn't get any problems after that. Damn, there go the 50+ hours that I clocked into Chrono Trigger, the advanced and difficult stages that I managed to unlock in Space Invaders Extreme. All the stages, mini-games and toys that Ryan and I unlocked in Rhythm Tengoku Gold.

I wonder what other (virtual) irretrievable things are lost.

In any case I'll get another DS Lite when the next payday rolls along; I actually considered getting a DSi but I decided to hold back - despite knowing that Acekard 2i works almost flawlessly - because I'd rather wait for an Asian or US unit with English system menu texts.

I can always do what Ryan does - sell off the current unit and buy a new one. He makes it look so easy.


My Chrono Trigger save ;O; It hurts. And no, I won't consider downloading a perfect game save from the nets - it's not my game.

Then I shrug, and life goes on. I'll just plow through again - at least I know where to go for the most part in the game. And I have to get reunited with my beloved Nuus.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I may have lost you...

...but I'll see you and be with you again, even if you're going to come back into my life as a different person.

I'll miss you very, very much.


Friday, March 6, 2009

Saturday Morning Watchmen

Him: I don't know if this is real or a master troll D:

Me: thats a troll

Me: ...I hope. Lol Bubastis is even there.

Him: Yeah. So I'm not too sure D:

Me: nah I don't believe it. Unless...unless the reasoning behind the existence of the cartoon is that it's one of Ozymandia's marketing ploys. You know, like the figures his toy department comes up with.

Me: ...

Me: that's scary.

Him: That's...pretty plausible. And scary.

Me: I just gave the perfect reason why the watchmen will have a shitty cartoon.

...and as it turns out, a Saturday Morning Watchmen cartoon did exist .

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Installing XP via USB, wurk, oekaki.

1. Finally got rid of Vistaids. It took sometime, but thanks to some good articles (this one did the most help), my Mini-Note is now running without any excess baggage. Speedy booting times! Minimal to no lag! D:

I'm thinking of writing my own guide on how to install Windows XP on netbooks (or any laptops, for that matter) that do not have any optical drives, since I found out that installing via USB sticks is mainly a hit-and-miss affair. It's just that I'm either always too tired when I finally get home or simply have something else to do. :/

The one I linked above is good, but I here are some things that I learned elsewhere in the murky corners of the Net:
  • Windows XP Installers with Service Pack 3 are not recommended (SATA problems?). Install Win XP SP2 and just upgrade afterwards to SP3. However, if you're one of the people who try out exotic XP installers (like Black, etc), you'd best buy at least four installer variants so you have back ups in case some don't work. Custom installers have settings that may cause compatibility problems. I tried out a Black installer but it didn't work, despite it being SP2.
  • If you can't boot from your hard drive after a successful install and are queasy about modifying the boot.ini file, do this: just delete the boot.ini file. All you'll get by deleting it is an error message appearing for a split-second in the booting sequence, but the machine will just right itself afterwards and load Windows. Too nervous? Back up, back up, back up.
Of course, doing a fresh install using another OS apart from the one that came with your netbook will wipe out everything, even the preloaded installer. I read that there were some ways of not wiping the partition that contains the preloaded installer, but I didn't bother since Vista sucks and is not worth the 12GB that its installer takes up.

2.  Something work-related: Now that I'm finding myself conducting meetings (and quite possibly training, maybe), everything feels like my skin is gradually feeling, responding to the large bucket of ice-cold water dumped over my person. I think both my JT and JD are no longer just what they currently are.

I need to step up to see this curious development through. I want to read this very entry one year after today, wearing a nostalgic smile on my lips. Perhaps I'll even say "Ah, this is when everything picked up."

3. I've started changing some elements of my layout, thanks to the (cheap) tablet that Ryan and I got (yay, pseudo-conjugal property). The first few moments I've had with the device were fraught with words such as "sira naman to eh!" (it's malfunctioning!) though I eventually acquainted myself with the basics of tablet control. It's not a mouse, for one. Or at least, it's more precise than a mouse.

And after an hour of setting up everything, I finally made myself my first oekaki-ish doodle evar:

Not sure why she turned out like...that. Ah, well. I wanted to draw something, and a few minutes later out comes something else.

I'm like a printer that prints out documents like I should, only translated in gibberish.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ken Ishii vs FLR - SPACE INVADERS 2003

I think I died a little inside.