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> previous 20 entries

Thursday, November 6th, 2008
11:37 am - Runderworld
10/31 | 6.15km | 38'22" | 6'13"/km | 516 cals
11/05 | 6.54km | 39'47" | 6'04"/km | 548 cals

Beaucoup Fish is, without a doubt, the best album I have found for running so far. The slow build-up, intense spurts and lovely cool downs, make for a really great running experience, and it's so easy to zone out while listening to Karl Hyde's mumbo jumbo.

current mood:  

Tread

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008
5:41 pm - Running
Log:
10/02 | 3.06km | 21'33" | 7'02"/km | 258 cals
10/16 | 3.28km | 22'40" | 6'54"/km | 275 cals
10/20 | 3.23km | 20'55" | 6'27"/km | 271 cals
10/22 | 3.21km | 20'07" | 6'15"/km | 269 cals
10/25 | 4.76km | 30'02" | 6'18"/km | 399 cals
10/27 | 4.72km | 29'51" | 6'19"/km | 395 cals

Thoughts:
After a slow start, I've really started to get into running. I always run in the same area, around the local park, and I moved it up from two laps to three laps for the last couple of runs and noticed my stamina has increased a great deal. The pace I've been keeping has been more than satisfactory, and I'm definitely interested in increasing my stamina for now, rather than speed.
Physically, I haven't lost any weight, but I feel significantly fitter and somewhat leaner. I assume the weight is shifting from fat to muscles. My constitution has improved immensely and I'm getting much better nights of sleep. Last night was the first time my shins started to hurt since starting running so I might have to lay off for an extra day or two this week. I get shin splints every time I run on a machine in the gym, but it hasn't been bad at all in the park. I've got a cough anyway, so this week might be a write off if it doesn't improve tomorrow.

Music:
My Vitriol "Always Your Way" - awesome for both 20 and 30 mins.
Bloc Party "Intimacy" - awesome for 20 mins.
Way Out West "Don't Look Now" - a bit slow, maybe better if I start from track 4 or 5 though.
I'm going to give some of those Nike Original Runs a try too.

current mood:  

Tread | 5 footprints

Friday, October 24th, 2008
7:52 pm - Money is rubbish
My savings in the UK are now worth less than 2/3 what they were a few months ago.
Seems either Japan is deceiving everyone or someone made a royal fucking mess of running my home country's economy. Maybe I should cut my losses by investing what little yen I have in buying poundage. Things have to turn around, right? Right!?

current mood:  

Tread | 7 footprints

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
10:56 pm - Testing+


current mood:  

Tread | 10 footprints

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008
6:07 pm - Legends of the Fall / Winter Games
Pretty much decided what I will / won't buy before the year end. The ones in the second category are definitely wanted, but holding off for a bit, pending sudden mood swings.

Yes, please
Dead Space
Fable II
Mirror's Edge
Gears of War 2
Otomedius
Culdcept DS
Patapon 2
Chrono Trigger DS

Hold on, wait a minute
LittleBigPlanet
Fallout 3
The Last Remnant
Left 4 Dead
Ketsui
Dodonpachi Daioujou
Prince of Persia
White Knight Chronicles
Samba de Amigo
Professor Layton and the Last Time Travel

current mood:  

Tread | 8 footprints

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008
10:51 am - Naming
When I set up my home network a year or so ago, I decided to go with some Vana'diel names for machine names, and it's kind of grown stale now. I've got Jeuno as my main server which I can access and listen to music from anywhere that has an internet connection, I've got an external drive connected to that, which I call Rulude. Then there's my iPod touch which I named Qufim, and my notebook, which I think I forgot to name, but was originally going to call Bastok.

Back at Sense, we used to have this awesome naming system where workstations were fruits and servers were colours, with the centre of everything being called 'orange'. I think they've probably got rid of this system now there are tons of people working there though - you run out of fruits quicker than you imagine.

Well, the point is, I'm looking for a new naming system, but drawing blanks. I kind of want something sci-fi or fantasy, but not too cheesy. By cheesy I mean "deathstar" for the server and "tiefighter" for the laptop, or something along those lines. I'm thinking "yggdrasil" for the server actually, but not sure what would be the appropriate laptop name to go with that. Maybe midgard, hel, jotunheim? I have a hunch cobbi will be able to help me out here.

current mood:  

Tread | 18 footprints

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008
2:09 pm - Rocktober
ご無沙汰しております。

I spent most of September's gaming time rounding off my achievements for Tales of Vesperia. Great game, marred only by a slight dip in the story in the last part. But it ended up better than FFXII, in my opinion, which was very surprising for a Tales game. So I've finished my first Tales game, where do I go from here? People say Abyss has a better battle system, but I'm not likely to go back to a PS2 game nowadays. A next-gen remake would be welcome, or a PSP port perhaps. I still have Infinite Undiscovery to get around to, though. My copy is still sealed, but I wanted to leave a nice gap between that and Vesperia so I don't go crazy.

On the DS, I've been progressing at a snail's pace with The World Ends With You. I'm actually getting really into it, but only when I stopped trying to control the top screen. I turned the difficulty up a fair whack to increase the drop rates, and I'm near the end of Day 6 now. It's fun, lots of fun, and the music is amazing for a DS game. There is so much DS stuff that I want to try, though. I just don't spend much time on the DS these days as I'm usually too sleepy to play anything on the train, or I'm standing up, which makes DS play pretty tricky.

Aquanaut&apos;s Holiday Last week I picked up Aquanaut's Holiday for PS3, which has been fantastic so far. It's so much better than Forever Blue on the Wii. The game has an interesting story in which a researcher has gone missing, and you go looking for him, picking up clues from a trail he left behind. Rather than petting the fish, you can get their information instantly by clicking on them, and certain species have a "singer" fish, which you can engage in sonar conversation. This enables you to upgrade your sub, which opens up the map further. The graphics and surround sound provide an immensely immersive experience. There are also some beautiful underwater landscapes like the one in the screenshot on the right.

Grabbed Wipeout HD and Little Big Planet β too (thanks dcharlie and sheep_herder, respectively) . The former is ball-breaking stuff. Seriously amazing visuals. But my skills are old and rusty. I'll have to spend a fair bit of time to get as good as I used to be. LBP is sugar sweet and all, but I haven't been really blown away by the gameplay yet. I'm still looking for some amazing user-made content as the pack-in levels are basically tutorial at this point. Most of the user stuff I've played so far has been: jump on vehicle, press hold, finish. Boring. I'm looking for some more entertaining platforming action, and I've got a few tips on boards and stuff which I'll try out later. I am concerned the game could get tired quickly though, even though it has a lot of potential to keep things changing. The problem is being able to cut through the crap and get to the good stuff. From what I saw of the interface so far, this doesn't seem easy.

Pre-ordered Fable II from Play-Asia. The Japanese version won't be out until December, with no confirmation that it will have multi-language support anyway, and this is definitely a game I want to play with English voice acting. I'm well pumped for it. Oct 21 release. Fallout 3 a week later, but I'm skipping that for now as I just won't have time to play it.

Raiden IV and Otomedius both got delayed *groan* but that has been a blessing in disguise really. Raiden IV finally comes out tomorrow and there's still no date on Otomedius. My new joystick is ready and waiting though.

current mood:  

Tread | 9 footprints

Thursday, September 11th, 2008
3:48 pm - More Manga
I finished reading the Kurosagi books a couple of weeks ago. The wait until volume 10 is going to be massive, but I'm assuming I won't break down and buy the bi-monthly Comic Charge which it is published in first, although it does feature Otsuka's other work, MPD Psycho, which I'm destined to get into, so you never know.

After that, I picked up another couple of Otsuka's books. The first, Tokyo Case, is about a series of crimes that involve time travel and other supernatural abilities. It's quite a headfuck for the largest part, but it kind of comes together in the end. I don't think it's a one-off, but I haven't heard anything about part two either. Also picked up Kumohachi, which is illustrated by Yamazaki, like the Kurosagi series. It tells the tale of traditional Japanese monsters, like Kappa and Rokurokubi, but I presume they've been altered, as the final story starring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and fairies was obviously way different from reality.

Both are good reads, although they lack the depth of characters that the Kurosagi series has managed to develop over nine volumes. I have a couple of other old mangas to check out, and after that I may try some more Otsuka stuff like Mail and Ritual Service.

current mood:  

Tread | 2 footprints

Monday, September 8th, 2008
11:54 am - meme bojacked from ferricide
Elaborate on your default icon.
It's a line from a Manics song, which is in itself a quote from George Orwell's 1984. The song itself is full of vitriol and one of my favourite Manics songs of all time. But the line describes my feelings quite well. I have strong beliefs in a lot of matters, and I doubt anyone else shares those beliefs. I do what I think is right, and I try not to let anyone steer me in another direction. I rarely use the icon, even though it is my default, as I feel it is rather "strong" for most subjects.

What's your current relationship status?
Separated, waiting for paper work to go through.

Ever have a near-death experience?
I thought it was at the time, but it wasn't really.

Name an obvious quality you have.
Super cynicism.

What's the name of the song that's stuck in your head right now?
"The Vanishing Of Maria Schneider" by dEUS.
The song has a repeating melody, where the tail of one verse leads into the start of another, and it could keep on going like that forever. It's cleverly structured and is hard to shake from my head without listening to the album it is on.

Any celeb you would marry?
I'm not really a big fan of marriage right now, but I could be tempted to marry someone on the edge of death if it would mean me becoming wealthy in a few years.

Who will cut and paste this first?
sheep_herder

Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Yes, but they were Japanese so disqualified.

Do you wear a watch? What kind?
Swatch Irony, but I often take it off during summer.

Do you have anything pierced?
No.

Do you have any tattoos?
No.

Do you like pain?
In the right time and place, it's ok, I guess.

Do you like to shop?
I like buying stuff, and I even like just looking and coveting, but I'm becoming scared of spending money, so may stop this.

What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Pizza last night.

What was the last thing you paid for with your credit card?
Two light bulbs and a bunch of eneloop batteries, last night.

What is your desktop background?
Clouds and blue skies - a vector illustration.

What is the background on your cell phone?
http://jonnyram.com/img/keitai/mother3.gif

current mood:  

Tread | 4 footprints

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008
3:02 pm - Game prices
I don't understand why a puzzle game is often sold for the same price as a platformer or shooter. It's like paying for an album and getting a single. Example: $50 for this!?

current mood:  

Tread | 8 footprints

Monday, August 25th, 2008
5:02 pm - Everybody else is doing it... (year end shopping list)
Year end shopping list time. Better weigh up future damage and see if I can try to offset it in the present.

2008/09
11: Infinite Undiscovery
25: Otomedius G

Maybe: Raiden IV, after Raiden Fighter Aces got me pumped, it's difficult to pass this up, especially since it looks even more insane than the RFA trio.

Stuff that looks interesting but gets the finger for wallet reasons: Blue Dragon Plus, Aquanaut's Holiday, World Destruction. Pending play status in other games, they may be doable, if I sell on stuff to fund them.

2008/10
30: Little Big Planet
??: Fable 2

Maybe: Thunderforce VI
Fingered: Valkyrie Profile DS, Wii Music (lol), Culdcept DS, Away, Avalon Code, Yuusha no Kuse ni Namaiki da or2, Dr. Slump

2008/11
20: Last Remnant
??: Gears of War 2
??: Mirror's Edge

Fingered: Animal Crossing Wii

2008/12
???

Fingered: Dissidia, Tales of Hearts,

Stuff without solid dates:
Prof. Layton and the Final Time Travel (not played the second game yet, but it is impending on my backlog).
Chrono Trigger DS. Will be my first time to play this revered classic.
Patapon 2. Loved the original, hopefully this won't be too samey.
Prince of Persia. Trailer looks awesome, but will it come out this year?
White Knight Chronicles. Should be out this year, according to Level-5, but will they make it.
Cry On. I have a sneaking suspicion this is going to get a December release date at TGS. Fingers crossed.

Stuff to wait on:
Viva Pinata 2 for the inevitable price dive after it tanks (sucks for Rare, but it is so bound to happen in this market).
PSP mk3. Will wait to see if it gets hacked, otherwise stick with my trusty mk2.
Ketsui. May well be all shootered out by the time this comes out.
Fallout 3. Unfortunate case of good game up against great games, I feel. Maybe a shoe in early next year.
Left 4 Dead. See Fallout 3. Seems import only for now, anyway.

Digital downloads up the wazoo
Castle Crashers
Gradius Rebirth
Uno Rush
Portal: Still Alive
&c.

current mood:  

Tread | 13 footprints

Friday, August 15th, 2008
5:20 pm - Brave Vesperia
I'm about 20 hours into Tales of Vesperia right now. It's unique in that it's the only Tales game I have played for longer than a couple of hours. This one has a really punchy start, so it pulled me in considerably quicker than the other five or six Tales games I've attempted. I'm still pretty nauseous whenever I heard Estellise talk, but the other characters' voices are reasonably tolerable. The battles are awesome, no horrible puzzles like Legendia, and actually, a pretty serious story for a Tales game. None of the usual racism/outcast bullshit, so far at least.

The achievements are a little monstrous though: beat the game in 15 hrs for 15pts; beat one of the bosses at level 15 or less (I just beat him a couple of hours ago at level 35 or so). Plus some insane completionist achievements which will probably be worse than the Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey ones when all's said and done -- it's not enough to meet the different monsters; you have to use an item to analyze them! At least in this game you can carry over your collections to subsequent plays through, courtesy of Tales' typical grade shop at the end of the game.

Lots of fun, though. A nice up-tempo summer game.

current mood:  

Tread | 3 footprints

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
5:28 pm - Summertime & Kurosagi
I simultaneously love and loathe Japanese summers. I can't stand the humidity, but the crazy weather we get for the season is way too exciting to pass up. Intense thunderstorms, typhoons, random cloud bursts. It sure beats the perpetual grey skies of home.

I've been diving deep into a manga series recently. A few years back, the "Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service" manga grabbed my attention with its slickly designed cover (you can see it here). Peeking inside I could see that most of the kanji had furigana too, which I thought was great. And I kept buying the new volumes that came out, even though I never got around to reading them. Until now. I started the series a couple of weeks back and I've ploughed through the first four volumes already. It's a slow-boiling series, and although the first volume came out way back (2000, I think), there are still only 9 volumes, the latest of which came out today, coincidentally.

It's about a group of Buddhist students who use their spiritual powers to fulfill the wishes of the recently deceased, usually for little or no reward. The characters range from a young channeler who has a crazy alien puppet, to a female hacker who also manages the delivery service. The stories often feature quite grotesque murders, and there is definitely a horror element. Most of the time the stories are self-contained, with occasional chapters following a larger story arc, similar to X-Files.

According to the link I posted above, Dark Horse has done an excellent translation of it, so I'd recommend checking it out.

current mood:  

Tread | 2 footprints

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008
5:39 pm - Long hot summer days
Bits and bobs of stuff in this update.

Been getting heavily into the Ghibli recently. Over the past few weeks, I've seen Spirited Away, Laputa, Tales from Earthsea, and at the weekend I took my son to go see Ponyo at the cinema. He's only four, but he enjoyed it and was screaming that he wanted to go see it again straight away by the end of the day. I tried to watch Totoro too, but it turned out my DVD copy of that has half the audio missing, just missing. Very odd. I tried it on two players too.

My birthday came and went painlessly, so I think I've got over the horrors of last year's. Lewt I scored included Batman Begins on Blu-ray (thanks, sis!), a courier bag that my Macbook fits in (and is safe), a couple of shirts, a watch that has a hanging device to function as a clock and a chain to function as a pocket watch, and Take That's latest album (thanks?, Mum!). Oh yeah, and a Spelunker figure, the leetest lewt of the lot. I bought myself Boom Blox, which was possibly the biggest letdown this year, but I'll get over it. Rhythm Tengoku next week, and then not much until September, unless I foolishly end up buying Vesperia. Tons of stuff coming out on XBLA and PSN though. Not to mention some Gradius thing on WiiWare, which looks ominous and low-res for the sake of it.

I had an idea for a game, and I'm seriously considering making it. Of all the kits I've seen so far, Garage Games Torque Game Builder looks like the simplest route to get a playable up and running. The problem is mainly that the idea, though quite simple, is quite elaborate and will require a fair amount of graphics creation. Maybe I could do wireframes to start with and see if I have the patience to get past the early stages. Either way, it's a game I'm really keen to play so I'd like to see it come to fruition some day.

That said, I'm also getting more and more itches to do design work in my free time, as well as slowly learning Action Script. I need to get hold of some books though, and I'm not sure about the best way to go about this. Cheapo Action Script 2 books, that have actually got good content for someone like me, in English. I'll have to check some auctions and stuff.

current mood:  

Tread | 6 footprints

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008
1:15 am - Growl
How did I survive until now without this app?

current mood:  

Tread | 4 footprints

Monday, June 30th, 2008
5:03 pm - Double bill: 28 Days Later & Howl's Moving Castle
Another good pair, by all accounts.

28 Days Later / Starts off almost exactly the same as I Am Legend, and goes down this route for about an hour or so, then things turn gruesome in a very different way, and the real terror reveals itself for the last third of the movie. As is expected from a Danny Boyle movie, awesome music from some cool artists, including Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The Japanese version came with the happy, sappy ending by default, but fortunately included the cinematic release's ending as an extra. Both were quite extreme in their own way, though I prefered the miserable ending by far.

Howl's Moving Castle / Not quite as deep in fantasy as Nausicaä, but still very dreamy. The story reminded me a little of Millennium Actress, with the female lead and the passage of time aspect. It's basically a love story, but with the usual Miyazaki tones of war, adventure and innocence. Also the Japanese is pretty straightforward compared to most anime features, thanks to the relatively down to earth setting, so it's nice to be able to take my eyes of the subtitles for most of the movie.

current mood:  

Tread

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008
4:20 pm - Games I might buy this summer
Not had one of these for a while, since there's been a real lack of interesting releases for the past six months, but summer brings fun, and fun stretches wallet:

Daigassou! Band Bros DX (tomorrow)
Dragon Quest V (17 July)
Boom Blox (17 July)
Wario Land Shake (17 July)
Rhythm Tengoku Gold (31 July)
Infinite Undiscovery (11 September)
Raiden IV (11 September)
Otomedius G (25 September)

There's a bunch of other potentials, like Tales of Vesperia, Afrika, Too Human, Sigma Harmonics, Blue Dragon Plus but really depends on if I'll have time to play them or not. I'm fed up of buying games that I don't play. I haven't even played through FFIV and DQIV on DS yet! August does look rather empty at this rate, but I'm relatively content with just filling in the time with FFXI if I have any. And before buying another Tales game which I'll never complete, I'd at least have to complete Eternal Sonata, which is similarly sugar-coated and vomit-inducing in the voice department.

But I'm currently entangling myself in GTAIV and GRID, both of which are awesome, I think. GTAIV has been getting a lot of hate on the boards, but I'm not affected by any of it since I never played any of the PS2 outings. Actually, I find having to repeat the difficult missions from the start to be quite frustrating, and since I'm trying to get the "within 30 hrs" achievement, this repetition has soured the game a little, but not to the extent I would throw my controller in disgust or anything. My DS has been left sapping its own battery for the past few months as I haven't felt the urge to play it on the train at all, and now I've started reading books on the train instead. Quite a departure for me, but it's nice to tuck into a big chunk of English these days.

current mood:  

Tread | 4 footprints

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
5:15 pm - pt015
Jobs: NIN, SAM, THF, DNC, WHM, RDM
Level spread: 69-70
Location: Caedarva Mire
Enemies: Ephramadian Shade
Experience: 11,000 in 1.5 hrs

Forgot to mention this little party, thanks to the genkai excitement. Shade experience plummets at 71, but the fights don't speed up much when the rest of the party is still unlevelled, so the last 30 minutes was a lot slower than the first. Also the SAM died once which slowed us down further towards the end. Not to mention, the party was hardly a damage-dealing formation anyway.

Hard to believe I have achieved so much in such a short time. Levelled RDM from 64-70, and BLM from 32-37, all in the space of 15 parties. I'm still not looking forward to levelling WHM to 37, but it should bring back lots of memories at least.

current mood:  

Tread | 10 footprints

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008
11:38 pm - Jonnyram 1 Maat 0
Went on darksday.
Level 70
None of my skills capped, enfeebling close though.
Gear gave:
Enfeeble+22
Elemental+10
INT+32 on the INT equip
MP+227 on the MP equip
Finishing time 4:43

Log fart:
M Regen
J→M Sleep resisted
M→J 114
J→M Sleep II
J Blink
J Stoneskin
J Refresh
J→M Dispel Protect
J→M Gravity resisted
J→M Paralyze
J→M Dispel no effect
J→M Aero III 369
M Aquaveil
J→M Sleep
J→M Dispel Aquaveil
J→M Aero III 369
J→M Sleep resisted
M→J 0
J→M Sleep II
J Blink
J→M Aero III 369
M→J Thunder II 0
J→M Sleep
J Blink
J Convert
J Cure IV 358
M→J Aero III 0
J Cure III interrupted
M→J 55
J→M Sleep II
J Cure III 171
J Stoneskin
J Blink
J Cure III 191
J Vile Elixir
J Chainspell
J→M Aero III 369
M→J Dia II 0
J→M Aero III interrupted?
M Chainspell
M→J Fire II
J→M Aero III 369
J→M Aero III 369
M→J Gravity
J→M Aero III 369
GAME OVER MAN

I guess I got really lucky. I mean Regen at the beginning, then aquaveil, dia II, chainspell gravity. Err, yeah. Still he wasn't awake for much of the fight so even if he'd tried something a bit more exciting I don't think he would have got anywhere.

current mood:  

Tread | 6 footprints

6:03 pm - Rare pop?
Remember this guy? :O
http://ffxi.killvoid.com/forums.php?m=posts&q=168447

/dance4

current mood:  

Tread | 6 footprints

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