Archive for September, 2006

What’s old is new again… and Haruhi

September 7, 2006

Given that I started blogging “late” in the game. There’s been a kind of nagging in my head. Do I just post the new stuff I’ve been exposed to, or do I also post catch-up material for the stuff I’ve already seen.

Thing is, I actually am not exposed to all that much. What I know or see is just a drop in the ocean. (You really realize this when you have a Japanese friend.) My bubble of experience is as insignificant as the people in Haruhi’s baseball stadium.

That said, I am committed. (And I love phrases with multiple interpretations.) So in an effort to keep myself not bored, I am going to include the older stuff. Otherwise I just may end the world and make a new one. Ah, the sacrifices I make for you people.

To the moderately observant ones: yes, I just finished watching The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. I plan to watch it again in the near future in chronological order. Initial impression from 1st viewing: my taste in women stands–I like my girls spunky and nuts. Am I weird?

Now if only she kept her long hair…

Ah… I get goose bumps just looking at Haruhi-sama.

Even in luddite mode I’m tech-friendly

September 1, 2006

About a month ago, through my own stupidity, I got bitten by some pretty nasty adware. Its ability to cripple my work has been off-and-on, kind of how I imagine outbreaks of various chronic STDs would be like. Back in high school & college, I would format/reinstall Windows roughly every 6 months. Basically, whenever enough crap slowed it down enough to piss me off. I held this pattern from my time using Windows 95 and 98. In comparison from the age of high performance, my current install is about 2.5 years old.

My student job in college was telephone tech support. Those in our office would bring in their own laptops. What I noticed is that those doing tech support will often tolerate problems in their own machines far beyond what we are called upon to fix.

I was no exception to the pattern, except this time I let it snowball a bit too much. I would have reinstalled XP but I seem to have misplaced my CD. Argh.

On an unrelated note, a Seagate 200GB hard drive I bought decided to die on me. It’s still well within its nice 5 year warranty (even a 1 year would have covered it actually…), but I haven’t gotten around to exchanging it. Mostly because I haven’t totally given up on the recoverability of my pr0n files.

On another unrelated note, the MP3 player I bought on clearance from CompUSA decided that its real calling was to be an oversized bug. I’m not quite sure why it thought this, but that’s what it showed me on its display after a few hours of use. Returning it was a one-hour pain.

And on yet another unrelated note, a rebate offer from CompUSA was having difficulty processing. “Transaction not found,” my eye! (I think it’s resolved now.)

All of these mishaps happened within a 2 week span of time. I was not a happy camper. So I rebelled. And by rebel I mean, “ceased to buy PC hardware and software.” I am still in luddite mode actually. It has pushed me into restarting my bishoujo figure collection, which is obvious to me now is a more expensive hobby than being a sometimes-PC-enthusiast/gamer.

Since I ought to include more images of actual bishoujo in here, I will include another widely-available-online picture of the last figure I bought before my hiatus from this type of fandom. Incidentally, I bought it during Kawaii Kon earlier this year. I believe Asuka needs no introduction.

asuka_wedding_pink.jpg

Actually, it was part of a (closeout display) set of four: Asuka pink and white versions, Rei blue and white versions. I like my women spunky and a bit nuts. Oh, and long-haired… oooh yes. So I favor Asuka out of the two.

I’m beginning to want my digicam more and more with every post. It may be what breaks luddite mode. (As if starting a blog didn’t.)

Shipping to Hawaii

September 1, 2006

I would like to think that I have greater than normal access to the objects of my desire. After all, Hawaii is geographically and culturally more similar to Japan than the rest of the Union is. One of my economics professors (who specialized in tourism) once claimed that our economic performance tracked that of Japan about as much as we tracked CONUS (that’s CONtinental United States for you hippies). And we are in the middle of the Pacific, a “natural” gathering place for all people in the Pacific Rim.

Unfortunately that last bit illustrates the simple problem with this “island paradise”: freaking everything must be imported. We don’t grow our own food (most of it anyway; taro is good though), we don’t manufacture our own clothes and, most important, we don’t produce any entertainment or merchandise worth a damn. Unless you count tourist goods. Us locals don’t. By definition, that stuff is for the tourists. (Please come! We need your money! I’m only half-joking.)

Basically if ocean shipping died tomorrow I’d have to start planning cannibal hunts, if only to get the jump on my prey before the 3rd world famine arrives.

I hear that commercial shipping rates leaving Hawaii are actually pretty cheap, since most of the ships/planes involved in hauling stuff in are leaving essentially empty. That’s just what I hear though.

Anyway, a personal consequence of this everything-must-be-imported reality is that I really really pay attention to shipping charges. Being an otaku on the mainland is fairly simple, you order from anywhere else in CONUS and they UPS ground it or something to you on the cheap. Because neither ships nor airplanes are involved, it is fairly fast and inexpensive. Not so here! Many companies (Dell, I’m lookin’ at you!) that offer “free shipping” promotions simply do not respect it for Hawaii; they won’t even extend a consolation discount. Of course, a few even decide to screw us over one extra step and count Hawaii as outside the US. (How insulting!) Don’t even start me on eBay, where some will simply refuse to ship here at all.

These discriminatory policies are not as common as I might imply. If anything, the situation has improved substantially over the years. (Thank you, USPS. I love you.) Still, shipping rates can differ substantially from one seller to another, being anything from free to $20 for one item. This obviously affects the way I shop.

Eventually it stops being about logic and starts being about principle. I generally refuse to buy from anyone who clearly discriminates against Hawaii…

Them: FedEx to Hawaii is expensive.
Me: USPS it then.
Them: Homey don’t play dat, foo’.
Me: Dammit!

Thus, I heavily favor anybody with free shipping to Hawaii. RightStuf, Deep Discount DVD, YesAsia and Amazon are all on my “favored” list; if I’m in the market for something, they get first crack at it (in roughly that order).

Yes, I’m aware RightStuf is slow as hell and, yes, they require paid membership (which I have) for their best prices, but they offer free shipping! Like I said, eventually it stops being about logic.

To compensate, I have pretty much stopped caring about time. They arrive when they arrive. It’s just as well anyway; I’m in a state of perpetual backlog (electronic games and anime):

  • I have over 5 games (RPGs no less) I haven’t even started since I bought them 6 months ago.
  • I still have at least 3 boxsets where I have not even watched the first DVD.
  • I am dreadfully behind in training up my Guild Wars characters; I haven’t even cleared the Factions campaign with any character yet.

As an aside, you can roll a mesmer in GW that really looks like a gothic lolita. So naturally, I rolled one, but she doesn’t have the right armor to get the proper look. So if anything, I will have her progress to the end of the campaign first. At that time, I will post a screenshot.

All I really have to say is that I love USPS. USPS >>> all (at least to a Hawaii local)

Lack of camera and Driving Miss Saber

September 1, 2006

Being somewhat behind in the technology curve, I lack a digital camera. Nay, I lack any camera. The last time I needed a camera, I bought a disposable model. I didn’t even use up all of the film.

Then one day I saw Wal-Mart selling really low end digital cameras in those annoying blister packs. You know, the ones that are completely thermal sealed at the edges such that it forces you to destroy the packaging to gain access to the goodies inside.

I still don’t have a digital camera since I don’t buy obvious crap. (Accidental crap is different.) But it opened my eyes; they could actually be quite affordable. Eventually I shall buy one… just not now. (Otaku-ness is expensive, you know.) Ah, but what does this mean?

Absolutely nothing. (You should know that if you watched a certain offbeat western.)

In any case, I will be unable to post pictures of the actual product I acquire. Which is a shame. But! As a cop out, I shall post my most favorite recent acquisition (now in widely-available-online version!), the beautiful Saber from Fate/Stay Night.

saberfigure.jpg

Admire her splendor. Admire it, dammit!

Introduction

September 1, 2006

I am the bone of my [censored].
Cash is my flesh, and moe is my blood.
I have admired over a thousand girls.
Unknown to hate.
Nor known to love.
Have withstood loss to purchase many figures.
Yet, those thoughts will never hold meaning.
So as I pray, “Unlimited Bishoujo Works.”