Jumping on the Bed!

The continuing blog on anime, games, movies, computers, college, and life in general

Marvel Heroes

So, I signed up for an account for Gazillion Entertainment’s Marvel Heroes website in order to fill out the closed beta survey. They sent the survey a few days ago which I answered all of their typical questions of age, can your system run the game, etc. One of the questions, however, was something I spent a fair amount of time answering. They asked “Why would you make a good closed beta tester” to which my response was this.

Marvel Heroes Survey Response (shout out to Mancer and Liz! Beware the spitters!)

I may have got a bit overboard, but this is David Brevik’s new company! Creator and lead programmer for the original Diablo David Brevik. Plus, he’s making a free to play Marvel MMO with Diablo style gameplay. Check out Marvel Heroes website to look for yourself.

This afternoon I received an email from Marvel Heroes with the subject line “Marvel Heroes Closed Beta Invite”. Let’s just say, the email started like this… “Greetings! You are invited to join our Closed Beta test of Marvel Heroes…”


Due to the NDA I agreed to, I can say that I am part of the test, but nothing that Gazillion Entertainment hasn’t already posted publicly. So now I get to share my gaming time between obtaining a Legendary Weapon in Guild Wars 2, Path of Exile, Borderlands 2, and now Marvel Heroes.

Thankfully I don’t to worry about Diablo III taking any of my time any more.


Project Ghibli

Project Ghibli

A number of years ago, a theoretically great idea popped into my head for an Anime Music Video centered around the Miyazaki universe. I’ve kept the video a secret with the exception of a small handful of friends to test the idea. I’ve been feeling inspired, as of late, to be creative so this will mark the beginning of production. I get to teach myself how to use Adobe Premiere Pro CS5 and possibly Adobe After Effects CS5 in the process. Sadly, I may have to touch Adobe SoundBooth. God how I hate that program. I just want Audition (formerly Cool Edit Pro) back. Why they axed Audition for Soundbooth is beyond me. I know I’m not the only one who hates the replacement program but I digress.

Project Ghibli is GO!!!! I’ll be posting snippets up here from time to time to share with everyone so stay tuned!

(“i will not take these things for granted” toad the wet sprocket – fear)

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Zune HD 4.5 Firmware Update

Zune HD 4.5 Firmware Update
Much to my delight, Microsoft has just released the 4.5 firmware update for their Zune HD lines of portable music players. Of which, I have. They went directly from 4.3 to 4.5. Other than taking about four minutes to update, everything seems to be working fine. Visually the “tilt” effect is more pronounced giving the entire interface a much deeper three dimensional effect. Personally, I rather liked the older more subtle effect (it took me three days of constant use to realize it was doing it). The “swipe to unlock” image also has a larger drop-shadow beneath it giving, again, a greater sense of depth. There is also a nice little fade out when exiting an application.

Speaking of applications… No more stupid advertisements before loading the games! I’m quite happy about that for a couple of reasons. Not the least of which that my 32Gb Zune is already bursting at the seams and I’d rather use that space for more music, not little adverts for the Zion.

As far as features go, the Zune HD now has many of the features that the Zune Desktop software has such as “SmartDJ” and “Marketplace Pics”. It also supports XviD files without having to convert it to whatever video format it uses… m4v I think. Overall the UI seems to be quicker, lighter, deeper, and slightly more animated.

(“touched” vast – visual audio sensory theater)

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Not trying to tempt fate here, but…

dead wd mybook

I really hope this is the last of the depressing news around here.

When I came home last week and went looking for some of my old files on my NAS (Network-Attached Storage), the mounted drive was unresponsive. “Enh”, I thought at the time. “it just needs to be rebooted again.” Unplugged the power to the Western Digital MyBook World Edition and plugged it back in. Instead of the happy blue rings of the system powering back on, I got nothing. Power-cycled it again and still no lights but a faint “click click click” sound was coming from it. My already battered heart took another hit and I went numb.

Damned the warranty, I dismantled the white acrylic cage imprisoning my data and the past four days has been spent trying to recover from the crash. I had intended for it to be a backup unit, but as I’ve been moving between a couple of different computers and six or seven operating system changes, it’s pretty much just been storage and not duplicated files. I seriously considered sending the drive out for data recovery knowing that it would likely cost me around $1,000. Thankfully I was able to get 70% of the crucial files back before the drive (pictured above) finally gave up the ghost and was throwing read errors left and right.

The MyBook World Edition uses some sort of linux operating system so the drive was partitioned and formatted as ext2. I’ve been using ext2ifs to read and write to my dual-booting Ubuntu drives for a few years now and it’s worked admirably. This time, however, it would only read the partition as part of a RAID set and wouldn’t open it normally. After a little digging, I uncovered another actually older utility called Explore2fs which is strictly an ext2 partition reader, as opposed to ext2ifs’s ability to mount the ext2 partition as a normal readable / writable drive within the Windows environment.

Explore2fs wouldn’t run properly at first but after setting it to run under Windows XP compatibility mode with administrative rights, it worked like a charm. It found the four partitions on the MyBook drive and let me browse the file system and export the folders I needed to my desktop. I did end up losing most of my music, but as I’ve been paring down my physical CD collection to those artists or albums I really enjoy listening to, I may not miss most of what’s gone. I was, however, missing over half of the 8,771 pictures I’ve taken with my camera over the last 6 and a half years. So I’ve been scouring the 34 hard drives I’ve been holding onto, in some cases for the past 13 years, for any and all files I want to keep.

The road is long and arduous, but while disposing of the cruft, and triaging the survivors, I’ve been reminded of many fond memories and I’m gaining a better sense of myself; learning about he boy I used to be, the person I am now, and the man I want to become. Amazing what nearly 3.2 Terabytes of data spanning the beginning of your adult life can teach you.

(“sleep” imogen heap – i megaphone)

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Pillow or Floor… Zzzzz!

Lunesta Vs Ambien CR

Due to numerous stresses in my life, I haven’t gotten more than two to three hours of sleep at a time for the last two and a half months, and with that some other unfortunate complications. I finally went to my physician to see what’s wrong with me and he gave me some samples of Lunesta. “The one with the butterfly in the commercials” he says to the guy who hasn’t had cable television for over five years. I’ve taken them nightly for the past five days and while it takes about forty-five minutes to start feeling the effects, I still wake up every two to three hours.

I just want to sleep!

My brain has felt like thick oatmeal for the past six weeks. I’m sleep deprived. And while I can function in society, anything that requires higher brain functions such as everything I have to do at work, takes far too long for me to complete. I figure five days is long enough of a trial, so I called today and told my doctor’s assistant that I’m still not sleeping through the night and asked for some Ambien CR which I know works after my flight to and from Japan a couple of years ago. Thankfully I was able to some samples from him again because this stuff is ridiculously expensive and of course since it likely works, my health insurance won’t cover a prescription to it. Go figure.

Tonight is my first night with the Ambien. Here’s to hoping…

(“what your soul sings” massive attack – 100th window)

[Update April 10th, 2010]

While the Ambien CR does kick in within a few minutes of taking the dosage, and it does offer me 4 hours of sleep before I wake up, after two nights of it working alright, the following two nights of medications didn’t even register. I felt a little “buzzed” but nearly as strong as before, and I only got three hours of sleep before I suddenly awoke. Instead of running the risk of gaining an addiction to the medications, I’m just not going to take them anymore. I’m going to try sleeping on the couch tonight to see if that helps.

[Update April 11th, 2010]

No luck, woke up every hour and a half. I’m seeing my physician tomorrow for blood lab-work, and then my psychologist Tuesday. -_-

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Nebulous Vagaries of the Cookie Kind


Before Sabrina left last Thursday, we ordered out for chinese food from China Fair and got our usual Orange Beef and Beef Fried Rice. After eating I offered two of the fortune cookies to Sabrina, one in each hand, as is customary. She picked hers and we proceeded to open them and find out what kooky engrish we’d be presented with. I don’t remember what Sabrina’s said, but mine was quite special. The cookie contained not one, but two fortunes…

Remember three months from this date. Good things are in store for you.


Eat your fruits and vegetables to strengthen your health.

Firstly odd that there was more than one fortune, and doubly odd that they were quite specific and seemingly related. At least they seem related to me. So here I sit, hoping the Lunestra will finally do it’s magic after four days of woefully lacking performance and wondering what the future will bring.

So, June 23rd… will you perhaps offer my heart’s wishes? Or are you going to surprise me altogether?

(“is it me” vast – april)



Raidmax Smilodon Extreme Black

I’ve essentially been using the same computer for the past seven years. For those who care to know, her name is Skuld. I built it using an elegant Antec Sonata II case that I got from Staples on clearance for $90. It is very sturdy, sleek, and made for quiet operation. It originally started with an AMD Athlon XP 1900+ which was later upgraded to an Athlon XP 2600+ and a new motherboard because the original one decided to cook itself. With the occasional upgrade in hard drive and video card (an AGP ATI 9600XT with 128Mb) it has stayed the same computer for the better part of a decade which in the computer world makes it nearly an antique. It still runs Guildwars alright, and any game that came out before two years ago.

A couple of years ago I toyed with the idea of upgrading it again, or building an entirely new computer. At that time though I was still trying to pay down my substantial credit card debts and while there were faster processors available they were still quite expensive compared to the small performance boost I would receive so I postponed my typical upgrade spree a little longer.

Now that I have my debt under control and I’m finally on top of my bills without worrying about whether or not I’m going to eat until the next paycheck, I once again played with the idea of building a new computer. After Sabrina and I built her a new computer a few months ago to replace her aging (yet still newer than my machine!), I offered her a friendly challenge. “When you’ve got time, could you find me a new computer case?” I figured she would be busy and wouldn’t have the time or inclination to do that for at least another couple of months. The results?

I now have a Raidmax Smilodon Extreme Black ATX-612WEB case waiting under my computer desk. Patiently crouched for innards. Either an unsuspecting passers’by, or the motherboard/psu/gpu/cpu/ram that I’ll have to order soon. I have a feeling it would happily feed on either. It was delivered late last night so I haven’t had much time with it yet. My initial impression of it is that it is a very solid case. It’s also big. I thought my Antec was rather large, but this is about another 3/4″ taller and at least an inch and a half wider. And while the Antec had a quiet subtle beauty to it, this Smilodon looks like it craves action. I can’t wait until I order a power supply and plug the thing in and listen to it purr! I’m also afraid that if I don’t feed it soon, it’s going to carve its dinner out of my calves which are unpleasantly close to it when I sit at my desk.

(“parabola” tool – lateralus)

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A lot has been happening over the past few days because very little had happened over the past few years.

Without getting into the gory details, I’ll explain it this way; I have once again found myself in a pivotal point in my life, a point in which I must figure out who I am. It is at once wonderful and terrifying. Part of me wants to debate whether or not it is, or should be terrifying. Does growing up present itself as a terrifying notion if you’re not ready? Or is it simply human nature to fear the unknown? Is it fear? Is it merely a stronger than normal sense of caution? Is it reluctance? Is it the stubbornness of an easily complacent child? What am I?

The other time I found myself like this, I was in junior high school trying to figure out who I was. I had been the typical sexually charged reclusive geek with poor hygienic habits and a video game obsession that rivaled most girls’ fixation on their hair and whoever was popular in “Teen” magazine. After a bit of soul-searching seclusion, I emerged as a more presentable geek. Gaming lore and skills to match in a body that showered and shampooed every day, and even started wearing deodorant and occasionally spritzing on a little of my father’s Old Spice cologne. Nearly every day I would wake up at 6:00am (mind you, school didn’t start until 9:10am back then) to catch the shower before the rest of the family used up all of the hot water and I would blow dry my hair, I even used hair spray for a couple of years. Then I would walk three miles (yes, up hill) to the Junior High instead of waiting for and riding the bus because it got me there right before school and I wouldn’t have time to spend with my friends in the Library, or outside under the eves that linked all of the buildings. Many of the other kids would actually respond when I smiled and said “Hi” in the hallways instead of pretending to ignore me like they used to. I felt more self confidence and even did some homework from time to time, though nothing topped my time spent with video games and reading fantasy / sci-fi novels. Months would pass when I would borrow a book from the library (often 300+) pages, read it through most of my classes, read it walking home, read it as soon as I was finished with my paper route, read it through the evening and hours after I should have been asleep, then finish it walking back to school the next day, all to return it and borrow another book to begin the process all over again.

I have been a pack rat for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why. Certainly my parents’ behaviors have rubbed off on me, but my brother and sister weren’t anywhere near as likely to store little trinkets to damn near everything. Take the picture above as an example. I was going through a bunch of stuff from my computer desk that was thrown into a box over two years ago when I moved out of my parent’s house.

  • There’s a Lina Inverse bookmark from AnimeNation (Jesus, are they even still around? (*edit – Yup, looks like they are and they’ve got a sale on hentai!))
  • a used up (but rechargeable) gift card to “That’s a Pizza!”
  • a hologram card of a Klingon ship from a Star Trek: TNG trading card set
  • a Pocahontas lenticular motion card
  • a card of All-purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku from a figure that Sabrina got me the first time she went to Japan
  • an old Senior Picture of myself (last one I think)
  • an Inyuyasha keychain that I snagged from Suncoast three years ago because I thought Usagi would like it, but haven’t seen her to give it to her
  • a few random cards from a TSR card set
  • a pile of old Disc Jockey name tags
  • a pin that says “pleasure or pain” from whom I wont mention to protect the… uh.. innocent. ^_^
  • my Megumi Hayashibara Internet Fan Club membership card
  • a tag from a Meijer shelf that states the Name Brand Horseradish Mustard is $1.29 and the Meijer brand horseradish mustard is $1.79 with a “savings” of $-0.50. There was even a little note on it that said “Do Not Hang. Save Value Less Than 10%”. I snagged it off the shelf because I was going to scan it in and make a blog entry about it probably five or six years ago.
  • a cute Porco Rosso keychain that Sabrina got me which I want to save because it means a lot to me
  • and finally an old sun catcher, or at least it used to be a sun catcher with a prism in the middle that hung in my bedroom window for probably 8 years before I lost the prism after the wind knocked it out of its perch one too many times. I used to love waking up in the morning and seeing tiny little rainbows splattered about my room. I kept it in hopes of finding a replacement prism to repair it. Besides, it’s a pretty cool dragon design.
  • And that’s just a few of the things in a 12″ cubed box of stuff. Everything has an emotional tie for me. Everything reminds me of something I did, or something I wanted to do, or someone who cared. Finding some of these things floods my mind with the past. Sometimes things I don’t think I ever would have remembered otherwise. Is it good to hold on to the past like this? Is the past holding me back from the future? At what point do I let go of who I was and let myself move on to the next step?

    Judging by the multiple trips to the trash with many bags of novelty trinkets, unfollowed paths, and aborted ideas, I guess the proper question is rather; Why has it taken me so long to get to this point in my life, and where do I go from here?

    (“optimistic” radiohead – kid a)

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    Mario Kart Wii

    Mario Kart Wii

    My thoughts on Mario Kart for the Wii… I don’t think I have EVER been this worked up from playing a game before. No, wait, I take that back. I used to yell at my brother because I could feel his body heat when I was trying to defeat the three stages of Dracula in Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, but I was 13 going through puberty. And yeah, I get flustered in Guild Wars when there’s no chance to get anything done without tacking another score of deaths to your tally, but Mario Kart… this “game” infuriates me like no other.

    We have a saying since the days of old when Playing Mario Party 5. “The Friggin’ Millennium Star is Rigging the Game!” And guess what ladies and gents. The Millennium Star is back in full f’n force here. It doesn’t matter how good you are, or how well attuned you’ve gotten to using the steering wheel. The game decides who wins. Not you. At the end of the race, <x name of character x> is going to be in third place. God help you if you’re in their spot.

    Speaking of the steering wheel, it’s actually a pretty impressive addition to the multi-functionality of the Wii. It’s a shame it’s shaped the way it is though, because while it is a steering wheel, it also holds an uncanny resemblance to a frisbee, and let me just say it’s a damn good thing that stupid strap was on because I well would have ricocheted the thing off three friggin’ walls after the majority of the cup races I’ve “played”. ;(

    Liz once did a college paper about artificial intelligence in gaming systems. Some are good, some are terrible, and if they’re in a Mario game? They’re God. The system knows that 78% of racers come along a particular corner in a certain way. It knows the exact tangential angle is needed to bounce that green shell off the wall to nail your ass so you spin out at exactly the right time so you get tag-teamed by an invincible Donkey Kong and knocked over course into the lava only to be brought back up inches away from the boost that you needed to clear whatever fire-breathing crevice was right in front of you, squandering your 2nd place to dead last 12th.

    It’s not so much that you’re playing the game, you’re being man-handled by digital equivalents of Albert Einstein mixed with Chris Pronger and a little bit of Charlton Heston. Insanely intelligent evil cooks without any hesitation to fire whatever weapon is nearby. 11 of them, all linked into their own little Matrix against you as your loose-handling cart and your onscreen avatar squealing “Wheeeee!” ignite into a fiery death upon atmospheric re-entry again, and again, and again, and again…

    Yeah, the f**king Rainbow Road is back too.

    So much like all of the Mario Party titles, the only skill involved is luck and I for one don’t want to spend what few hours of time I have at night hoping that perhaps this time I’ll get lucky and get through the 100cc Grand Prix only to go from 1st to 1st to 1st to 12th and come in 4th place again and again and again. I just don’t have the patience I used to have. All I wanted to do was unlock characters and vehicles for the little gaming nights we occasionally have. I shouldn’t be punished for that.

    (“airbag” radiohead – ok computer)


    MacHeist II.5?

    MacHeist II.5

    Back from the dead, and ready to pound out some posts!

    First up, the fine gentlemen at MacHeist have been up to no good again causing a ruckus amongst the indie Mac development community. For those not in the know, MacHeist is a bundle of 12 shareware applications that would normally cost $250 if you were to buy them separately.

    This is the 3rd time MacHeist has been available but the other two seemed to be testing the waters to see how the bundle would be received. To help sweeten the deal, 25% of the proceeds go to ten different charities. You can either elect to evenly split your portion of the donation to each of the ten, or one in particular. To give an idea how popular this was last time, here is a quote from the head of Mac Heist:

    Here’s the final tally for the charity donations for MacHeist II:

    $65,508.74 — Save the Children
    $60,451.47 — Prevent Cancer Foundation
    $57,695.80 — World Wildlife Fund
    $54,731.51 — The Nature Conservancy
    $53,096.23 — Save Darfur
    $49,157.89 — AIDS Research Alliance
    $42,665.13 — Humane Society International
    $42,016.53 — Action Against Hunger
    $38,217.58 — Alliance for Climate Protection
    $36,459.12 — Direct Relief International
    $500,000 — total

    Okay, so you get $250 of software for $49 and you get to feel good about donating to some wonderful charities, but there’s more! If you purchase the bundle online you can refer other people to check out the deal. If they buy it with your referral code then you earn a point in credit. Those credits can then be exchanged for additional bonus software packages and other prizes. Yeah, it’s a pyramid, but it’s pretty much a win-win-win situation. The developers get their products out and pick up a bunch of new users, you get a great deal of software for pretty cheap, and the charities get a boost in the pocketbook so your karma gets a nice warm fuzzy feeling as well.

    So, for all us Mac users out there, here’s what this bundle offers us…

  • Awaken 4 – A handy little alarm clock utility that will wake your mac from it’s sleep to start up a playlist of your own choosing to help wake you up. Sure is better than that shrill alarm sitting next to the bed. And don’t worry, the Apple Remote can be used to snooze the alarm. ~.^
  • Cha-Ching 1.2.2 – A simple slick interface for managing your cash flow. It isn’t a full featured accounting program, but who wants to be bogged down in accruements and asset depreciation? It’s simple, it’s taggable, and when done properly you too can be amazed that you spent over $200 in food for the month your girlfriend visits from Japan!
  • CoverSutra 2 – I really like this one. It adds a bit of a userfriendly glossy front-end to iTunes. To be honest, I’ve never liked iTunes interface. It’s just bland and hard for me to read because it’s so bright. I’ve always tended to darker colour schemes which is one of the reasons I’ve always used Winamp. I like having my album cover pop up on the screen when a new song starts playing, and I Love the system bar search ability! CoverSutra actually makes me not mind using iTunes. In my opinion, this is one of the three gems of this MacHeist bundle.
  • DEVONthink Personal – It’s a mind manager software. I honestly haven’t really used it that much, but if I ever feel like getting organized, I should be all set. ^_^ If anyone has any views on DEVON, leave a comment.
  • iClip – Is a clipboard organizer on steroids. Much like DEVONthink, I haven’t really used it, but I could see where it would be very helpful if you were doing a lot of copying and pasting between say… web pages and blog posts.
  • Overflow 2.5.5 – This is another wonderful little program that is saving me a lot of being annoyed with OS X. It is an application launcher that is very customizable and much like CoverSutra has a very slick and glossy design that makes the kid in me say “Oooh, shiny!” I really like to keep my dock as clean as possible but I have a bunch of programs that I often open up but I don’t want to have to open up the applications folder all the time to dig through it and find what I’m looking for. Yeah, I’m picky, but Overflow fixes all that. Hit up their website for a strangely satisfying demo video.
  • — Half way there! —

  • Wallet 2.7 – is a handy dandy little digital organizer. I wonder how many of the MacHeist users said “Great! I’ve got all of these cool new programs. What the hell am I going to do with all of these serials!?” I also have a feeling that the guys at MacHeist were also finding that a problem. Wallet comes standard with a spot for serial numbers. Handy! As well as customizable categories and you can add your own. It seems to be pretty solid but I’ve only added a few things and haven’t devoted my life to it yet.
  • Writeroom 2.3.7 – Excellence in simplicity. I highly recommend it.
  • Xslimmer 1.5.1 – Why doesn’t Apple have something like this built into OS X? Xslimmer strips away unnecessary application gristle by removing builds that you don’t need. Running a new MacBook Pro 3,1? You don’t need the PowerPC portion of those Universal apps. Gone! Do you need to run DVD Player in Swahili? Probably not. Gone! You can set up how many default languages to keep, and a few other niceties like where to save backups in case the slimmed down app doesn’t like missing it’s chunkier side. I cleaned up 780Mb from a nearly fresh install of Leopard. Another great addition to the MacHeist bundle.
  • — Now for the entertainment side of things, or: Wait, there are games for the Mac!? —

  • Enigmo – Pangea Software offers up the three games for this bundle, first of which is Enigmo. I haven’t played it yet because I’m busy with DDR Hottest Party, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Final Fantasy IV for the DS, Half-life 2, Bookworm Adventures Deluxe, and Okami. But when I’m on a road trip, I’m sure I’ll look into this a little deeper.
  • Bugdom 2 – Looks like a 3D adventure game with bugs. That’s all I got. Sorry. If I want to feel small and walk around crazy acid trip induced environments I’ll go through American McGee’s Alice. Though the younger Mac users may find this more enjoyable than firing at a Jabberwalkie with a blunderbuss. ^_^
  • Nanosaur 2 – Last but not least is another Pangea game. With dinosaurs. Dinosaurs are cool, right? Make a game out of it!
  • Okay so the tail end (pun intended) of the MacHeist bundle is kind of weak unless you have younglings around and want to keep them entertained. All of the other programs should have a happy home in your OS X though. Feel free to check out the main MacHeist site and poke around, and if you’re interested in buying it (or anyone else that might be interested), please use my referral link!


    (“Last Angel” Kumi Koda feat. 東方神起 – Kingdom)


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