July 27, 2005

Jinx

It's just a superstition

Posted by Paranda at 9:53 AM | Comments (1)

July 25, 2005

Civilization III: Where the hell did my time go?

If I'm on your buddy list, you'll probably notice I've been offline for quite some time. This is because I saw a copy of Civilization III in the bargain bin for 9 bux last Wednesday, so I decided to pick it up. Huge mistake. Today, I am reporting in after 5 days of straight play during every second of free time I had. I didn't beat the campaign, because I am still IN THE INDUSTRIAL AGE.

Why? Oh I wish someone had told me this was a LONG game. Now normally, I don't mind long games. Hey I've played all the Final Fantasies; I've clocked in 90 hours on my Pokemon Silver; I still have a character on the Discworld that's 42+ real days old. But Civilization, no this isn't that kind of long. It isn't "fun" long. It's "take 50 minutes watching fucking India and China move their entire army across the terrain one square at a time for each turn that they are within your range of vision, and you can't skip it even though you turned off friendly and enemy animations..oh and watch all your workers do automated tasks such as building redundant roads across 40 towns" long.

Wars are also the most tedious things ever. There needs to be a way to build blockades, because I am not going to spend all my gold to build a human wall of troops just so one tiny conscript swordsman doesn't sneak in and steal my worker, destroy my improvement, and set me back another 5 turns (which means another 5x50 minutes of waiting, because of course the game decides you NEED to see everything that goes on in the game with no option to skip).

I hate Civilization III. It's the worst game I've played that I can't put down. Seriously, once I get mech infantry and destroy India for sweet sweet revenge (oh, trade me techs then backstab me the next turn huh?), I will toss this game.

Posted by Paranda at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2005

Overdue Enlightenment

Joy Album CoverEver had an album that you didn't really enjoy listening to the first few times and dropped it, only to relisten to it months later and discover it was awesome? This magical phenomenon of your brain suddenly "getting it" happens to me far too often, but even with my veteran experience...I was totally caught off guard this time with Yuki's recent album, "Joy."

Yuki Isoya, as many people may know, was the lead singer for the 90's j-rock band "Judy and Mary." After the breakup in 2001, she moved on to pursue her solo career and has been fairly successful. Joy, released this February, is her third album following "Prismic (2002)" and "Commune (2003)." While I was not really a fan of Yuki or JAM in general (I liked 'Radio' and 'Overdrive', but that's about it), I decided to grab "Joy" back in February simply out of curiosity and need for new music. After only listening it about two times, I got that "ehh it's okay but I will get around to it again a little later" feeling. A little later turned out to be a lot later: July, and totally by accident.

Yuki IsoyaI am a pseudo-shuffler. This means I like to load up every single song I have in my collection onto my iRiver, and play it on shuffle..but I don't actually listen to the songs in the order that get shuffled. I usually start with a particular song on my mind and just hit the next button until I randomly get to it. If there is anything good along the way I might stop, but otherwise my thumb gets a really intense workout any time I'm listening to music. So, even though I shuffle, I never really try many new songs since they always just get skipped over after the first 2 seconds. Yuki was categorized as "skip." However, last Friday, I was dead tired from working and I fell asleep on the way home (good thing I wasn't driving huh?) with my iRiver still playing. About a half hour later, I woke up refreshed to a very pleasant sound. My mp3 player had shuffled to "Walking on the Skyline," track 4 of Joy. After it finished playing, I hit back and listened to again, then a third time.

It was time to become a Yuki fan. I turned off shuffle and let the album play out. Next was "Sweet Seventeen," which had the most ridiculously nasally vocals I've ever heard in my life, and it was so cute I wanted to melt. And I did melt, because next on the playlist was "Cider." Yuki constantly sounds like she's got a frog lodged in her throat, yet it's not a bad thing at all. It's an addicting voice. She's also got a flair for mangling words and vowels. With all her "schleins" and "schlas" and "ü's" or whatever the hell she's saying, sometimes I can't tell if she's belting out Japanese or some weird variation of German. Jerman, perhaps? I seriously wonder if she purposely constructed her singing voice or if she really just does sound like that in real life. This style of singing was fairly prominent when she was in JAM too, probably even moreso, and now I am busy cycling through old JAM stuff to give it another chance. If I end up liking it, I'll be pretty busy with 9 years of stuff to go through. That's a lot of music.

Joy wraps up with a few slower songs, which are also nice once again because of the voice. "Tinkerbell," track 11, gave me the gay temporarily because I really like it and I should not like songs named after pixies, but I digress. "Joy" is a great album which has resparked my interest in Yuki, and I can't believe I've been skipping over it all these months. So if you've got time, check it out.

Posted by Paranda at 5:01 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Where is this image from?

Woah she looks so differentWhile checking out Momoi events today, I came across this page. It is an announcement about Momoi Halko and Kageyama Hironobu on stage for some event on August 3rd. I tend not to get pumped about these events or write much about them because they just make me depressed that I can't go. But this time, my interest was not caught on the event itself but actually the banner they used to advertise the thing. You can view the full banner on that page.

In all my years of Halko image collecting, I have never seen this pic, and I can't seem to identify where the hell it came from. I am missing some scans of booklets from her very old singles, but based on the hair/face this looks like a more recent shot so I doubt it's from there. I have seen that shot of Kageyama before though, so I know they pieced their banner together from old pics. I'm guessing it wasn't an exclusive photo shoot or anything like that. Now the question bugs me.. where did that image come from? It looks like poster quality, and if it is, I must track it down and buy it.

I will be looking for the full pic for a couple of days. Any help will be appreciated..or you can just gawk along with me and wonder. That is a nice pic after all.

Posted by Paranda at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

New Songs

Gedou OP screenshotWith the airing of Akahori Gedou Hour Love Game, two brand new Momoi songs have surfaced. Well, one and a half. The opening theme, "Nesshou! Rabuge Night Fever," is performed by Love Pheromone & Gedou Otometai featuring Momoi Haruko, Kageyama Hironobu, and arranging credit to some other guy that I didn't bother to research. Momoi and Kageyama have worked together many times in the past and have covered famous anisongs together on the radio. This new song has recognizable traits from both of them, but especially recognizable is Momoi's trademark yelp, "~fuu~fuu," which appears in favorite songs such as "Ichigo Go! Go!," "Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie," and "Koko da yo." Unfortunately, this sound effect is not done by her in this particular song, and the result once again proves that if your name isn't Momoi Haruko, you should not attempt to make this sound. Download OP here. The single will come out on July 27th and will have the full version of the song. I like Neowing so I am going to pimp their site again, because they ship insanely fast and are cheaper than Amazon after you factor in shipping. Thanks Amazon.jp, for $20 "economy" shipping on $10 items.

The real show is not as cute as the OP-ED animations would have you believe.Do not despair however, because TV shows always have an opening AND an ending. In the same show, the ending theme is a Halko song featuring full blown cutey moe moe vocals. The arranger this time is none other than Manzo (also the arrange guy behind 'Hide and Seek' and 'Friendship'), who seems to be adapting very well to Momoi's style of music, as each of his newer songs with her gets better than the previous one. In fact, he is starting to carve out a style of his own instead of churning out carbon copies of old UNDER17 tracks. As much as we all miss Aniki, this guy is looking to be a pretty good replacement. This actually sounds like an original song while still maintaining the things that make Halko songs so good. Ton Dol Baby features cute melodies, cute vocals, and even cuter lyrics. "motto baby" Download ED here.

The full version of this also comes out July 27th on CD, so preorder your copy now. I'd love to get both OP and ED singles, but I am just so poor. If you have to choose, choose this one: it has more Halko.

hahahahahaOh, and another reason to buy this...the frigging cover! Jeez just look at it (click image for big). There are just so many "WTFs" on so many levels with that image that I absolutely have to get at the liner notes and see where it's going. There is bound to be more pictures inside..rattles and pacifiers are a possibility. It's so odd yet so funny. Why do I suddenly feel like a creepy fetishist? Order it. Yes I am getting it for the music, not the pictures. No really. Seriously. I am. Those pics just..uh..happen to be a bonus, you know..if there are going to be any.

Oh by the way, it's not the first time Momoi has dressed up in baby gear; bet you didn't know that. :O

Also, my images are randomly floating over my borders when there's not enough text so I have to add this filler crap to make sure that doesn't happen. This is probably due to my shoddy beginner level CSS, but what can I say? I'm sure there's a way to fix this with one line to my stylesheet, but that's for skilled people. I, on the other hand, happen to suck.

Posted by Paranda at 7:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Keitai Hentai Musume

A strange video surfaces! It is titled "携帯変態娘", or "Keitai Hentai Musume." This translates roughly to..deviant cellphone girl? I have never seen this before. Let us watch with great interest..
Konnichiwa!
Oh wait a minute, is that Momoi? That does make sense. We all know how much Momoi loves phones. See her old ASCII column for proof of this. Ohhh she looks very pretty. Nice hair. Nice expression.
Is that a Digimon billboard in the back?
Apparently the phone is getting bad signal, and she is getting mad. But wait, the cellphone has quite a sassy attitude and is now talking back to its owner! Or rather, it is posing as a puppet while Halko does a hilariously bad voiceover talking to herself. Trust me, it is bad.
What a crazy cellphone.
The argument between the couple escalates, and the phone decides to run off.
A chase through the gift shop.
A high speed chase ensues. She looks like an 80s jpop idol in this shot. Noriko Sakai? Hey it sounds like they are playing "Digital Esper" in the background. This video must be very old (I'm guessing 2000-2001). No wonder she looks young. RUN LITTLE HALKO RUN!
Skipping in the rain
Unfortunately, our heroine apparently doesn't get much exercise and is quickly worn out. Here she is taking a quick break after zooming up some stairs.
Skipping in the rain
She finally catches up with the phone at the top of Tokyo Tower, and discovers it was low on batteries. Poor phone, it had been blamed for bad signal but it was really just running low on juice. She realizes this and resolves to be nicer to her phone. Here is a vanity shot of her skipping home in the rain. Yes, skipping.

In short, this cute little skit teaches us to be nice to our phones, because otherwise it might just run off and lead us on crazy chase through the city. They should make a 3D adventure game out of this. Credit goes to mandi for helping me make heads and tails of the dialogue.

Posted by Paranda at 10:50 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2005

Spotlight: UNDER17 cosplay

We've all seen cosplay of one sort or another. Usually the costumes are designed and worn by amateur hobbiests across the country, hoping to make their con appearance just a bit more interesting. They draw their inspiration from the outfits of anime and game characters, and sometimes the results are fantastic. This is one of those times, and it is so exceptional that I absolutely have to write about it.

UNDER17 cosplay!! Very good UNDER17 cosplay I might add. Only with Momoi do you have people who are more willing to cosplay HER instead of her characters (although I suppose her UNDER17 look is a character itself). It has certainly impressed me, and I can get pretty picky if you try to imitate my favorite singer in the whole world. Observe this comparison image:
Comparison pics

The pink dress is DEAD ON with the original that first appeared in the Kujibiki Unbalance single, complete with bulky white sneakers, gloves, and umbrella. This amazing work is credited to a ultrapro cosplayer from Japan, who also appeared as a katamari cousin at AX this year. Pretty cool Aria cosplay too, which happens to be one of my favorite manga. If you'd like to take a look, her website banner link is:
puriopuripanda
The UNDER17 costumes are on the diary pages May 05, November 04, and October 05. A cosplay community page with more pics is located here, but you must be a member to see full images.

Posted by Paranda at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2005

iRivers are goddamn tanks

iRiver model H340Seriously, if you are considering buying a harddrive MP3 player and tend to be a bit clumsy, buy the H340. This little box is invincible. I was walking home from work today at a pretty fast pace and listening to my MP3 player, when I somehow snagged my arm on the wire and pulled the whole thing flying out of my pocket. Realizing my $300 investment was soon about to meet Mr. Sidewalk below, I launched forward for a desperate saving grab. This stupid maneuver only resulted in me accidentally shotputting the thing 10 feet. I watched helplessly in horror as it landed on CONCRETE at high speed with a sickening sound and proceeded to tumble over itself several times like a cracked out gymnast.

I figured that was the end of my iRiver: there was no way a spinning harddrive could survive that kind of impact. After a rather unholy amount of cursing, I rushed over and cradled it like a weeping mother, and with the absolute faintest hope I plugged in my headphone jack. The exact same song was still playing uninterrupted..at full volume... IT WAS WORKING! This fucker took a fall that would have shattered any other electronic gadget (if my cellphone or GBA landed like this, they'd be finished), yet all I was able to notice was a little scratch on one of the corners..on the ridge in the corner. Not even chipped casing. It's like the iRiver had impact bumpers. What the hell?

I spent the rest of my walk nervously waiting for the player to suddenly crap out, but it didn't. I ended up playing another full hour waiting for some disaster to happen before finally shutting it off. In short, iRiver is awesome. Thanks for building the H340, a tank of an MP3 player without sacrificing form.

Posted by Paranda at 1:50 PM | Comments (0)

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