Wheee fun game!

Various updates, one sentence each. Go!

Christmas was awesome.

Hero and Batman Begins were great movies.

Raijin's BIOS vanished mysteriously and great wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

Advanced Wars DS is addictive.

I'm going back to college on Monday.

My sister loved my Christmas present to her enough to show 73h 1n74rw3b.

I haven't updated here in a long time, whoops.



Mary Kristmus

All across the internet, people are making blog posts titled "Merry Christmas", do not fall victum to this virus. Use these helpful tips in avoiding the disease.

1. Upon realizing a desire to wish random strangers a feliciatous occaision, supress it when nearing keyboards.

2. Concentrate on distracting elements such as Video Games, Photoshop and Pie.

3. Mispell it.

This should afford you the opportunity of a safe and unhazardous Christmas, merry or otherwise.



I'm home, for all of you who were not informed by my e-mails, phone calls and personal visits. I haven't updated for a while because I've been settling in, recovering from jet lag, and wrapping presents.

And playing a few games.

However, today I can find no joy, because a great and terrible cataclysm took place that really, really, REALLY ruined what has otherwise been a fine example of a week. This disaster is my own Mt. Saint Helens, an Atlantean scale catastrophe (well, at least in my limited outlook on things).

Raijin bit the dust, HARD.

Raijin, that work of love that was the PC I built myself, randomly suffered some odd symptoms this morning. Concerned, I shutdown and restarted. Raijin failed to boot. Then Raijin booted and Windows informed me that it needed to check one of my disks for errors. It did so, and did a lot of deleting of things that made me uncomfortable (and rightly so). Windows booted, and I thought at first that all was in the clear.

I watched as my desktop came into view. And I thought all was well. That was, until about 15 minutes later and the start menu still hadn't appeared. It turns out that about 50% of the vital functions of Windows had been deleted, including Task Manager, the Start Menu, Search, and everything short of the kitchen sink.

The brilliant piece of art known as Windows found a way to destroy the beautiful redundancy of even a RAID array. You have to give Microsoft props for that, that takes skill.

The result? I'm not a happy camper, not a bit. There's the possibility that the whole thing might be related to a part of faulty hard drives, but I can't be certain until after I reinstall Windows. The whole thing really puts in jeopardy the merriness of my Christmas, as well as my programming plans for the next semester. Given Raijin's history, it hasn't exactly been a staple of trustworthiness. Not to mention that I can't play some of my favorite video games.

So at the moment, I'm mournfully watching as Setup formats the new RAID array.




Last night it finally struck me like the smell of a skunk as it passes by your open, ground floor window. My time in Japan is not endless. I will not be visiting the library for periodic contact with my family backhome, studying Japanese most of the week, beating people with a large, bamboo stick (and vice versa), playing Monopoly with my host parents, or being ribbed by Jason. I will be in America in four days.

I literally cried.

I don't know if the Taiko drums I got to play earlier that day contributed, or if the cleaning up my room in preparation for the laundry and packing I'll be doing these next few days was either. What I know is a combination of events culminating in walking home alone singing hymns to myself after a day of test acing, Japanese activity participating, host family talking, Kendo club dining, karaoke singing and picture booth taking, resulted in a minor breakdown before bed.

I didn't do a whole lot with my fellow ryuugakusei. Sure, I had classes with them, and I didn't shun them. But while they were out doing things together, I was with my host family and the Kendo club. I was in Japan to be with the Japanese, and I lived accordingly.

Now, I've become extremely attached to various Japanese people, more than I ever realized. The kindness and care they showed the bumbling, nerdy gaijin who stumbled into their world with a excited but wide eyes was greater than I had ever imagined possible. When the fact that I would indeed be leaving sank into my psyche, it was like being shot. My senses simply numbed, and not because of the fifteen degree temperatures.

It really sank in when, after the long list of events featured earlier, one Kendo Club member wrote on the photo booth photos we took "Don't forget us" before they were given to me. Suddenly, just how important these people were to me, and likewise me to them, became dead apparent. It had been there the whole time, growing, and it burst into blossom right then. The sorrowful beauty of something at it's utmost peak, a flower who can only look forward to its end.

Flowers never bloom alone. Just as it was revealed to me how important the Kendo Club was, a catalytic chain of revelation ensued, as one person after another popped into my mind. I probably could have been set on fire and not noticed.

I have chained myself to Japan. These chains will not break, and they will forever be pulling me back here. Even as I am on the other side of the world, the chains will bite into me soul and remind me, "Your friends wait for you in Japan."

I have joked many times I've doomed myself to be eternally homesick, but the magnitude of my curse was never before apparent to me. I was blissfully ignorant of how much I would miss everyone, despite how much I missed my family at home. No matter where I go, my heart will long to rest in both places at once.

How I wish that God would grant me some small part of his power, that he can be in two places at once. If only I too, if only.



This is the final draft of a speech I have to give this coming Thursday. Included below is first the english and, for anyone who might be capable, the Japanese translation which I will deliver, enjoy.


Before coming to Japan, I prepared for my trip. I watched anime, listened to music, read books, everything japanese I investigated. Always Japan was incredible. But, the trip became scary because many unknown things in the trip there were. However, I fought my fear and came to Japan.

After arriving in Japan, my future was still uncertain. However, because my host family were very kind, and because they spoke very good english, I felt welcome. They have fed me great food, shown me great things, and helped me always. I will miss them more than anyone or anything when I return to America.

Together we have done many things. My host father has taught me shogi. My host mother has watched movies with me. All of us have gone sightseeing and played my favorite american boardgame Monopoly. Because they are incredibly kind, I have learned a lot about Japan and japanese.

My senseis have worked hard to teach me japanese, the Kendo club members have been patient as I learned Kendo, and Jason has given insight into life in Japan through his classes. The hard work I have seen has encouraged me to do my best. Whatever I have needed to do, I have been able to do because of the people here.

Everyday everyone has been extremely kind. I can not thank everyone enough for this wonderful experience. Japan has become my home, and I am sad to have to leave. I will think of Japan everyday after returning to America, just as I have thought of America everyday while in Japan. I want to come back to Japan whenever I can because of the kindness you have shown me.

Thank you very much.


日本へ くるまえに、わたしは りょこうのじゅんびを しました。アニメを みたり、おんがくを きいたり、ほんを よんだり、日本のすべてを しらべました。いつも 日本は とても すごかったです。でも、 りょこうが こわく なりました なぜ なら たくさんのしらないことが りょこうに ありましたから。

日本に ついてから、わたしは まだ 日本のせいかつが わかりませんでした。しかし、わたしのホストファミリは とても しんせつで、英語が とても じょうずでしたから、わたしは うれしかったです。ホストファミリは わたしに おいしい たべものを つくってくれたり、すごい ところを みせてくれたり、いつも てつだってくれました。アメリカえ かえってから、だれよりも なによりも ホストファミリを なつかしく おもうでしょう。

わたしたちは いっしょに いろいろ なことを しました。ホストおとうさんは わたしに しょうぎを おしえてくれました。ホストおかあさんは わたしと えいがを みました。わたしたちは みんなで かんこうに いきました そして、わたしのいちばんすきなボウドゲーム モノポリを しました。ホストファミリは とても しんせつ ですから、わたしは たくさん 日本と日本語 について ならいました。

北星の先生は ねっしんに 日本語を おしえてくれました、 けんどうクラブのみなさんは がまんづよく けんどうを おしえてくれました。ジェイソン先生は げんきゅうしつで 日本のせいかつに ついて くわしく おしえてくれました。 おかげで わたしは ひつようなこと すべて できるように なりました、みんなさん から。

毎日 みなさんは とても しんせつ でした。この すばらしい けいけんが できたことに かんしゃしています. いま 日本は わたしのこきょうに なりました。日本を はなれなければ なりません わたしは かなしい です. アメリカに かえた あと 毎日 日本を なつかしく おもうでしょう、日本に いるあいだ 毎日 アメリカのことを おもいだしていたように。 みなさんは わたしに しんせつ にしてくれましたから、いつか わたしは 日本へ かえってきたいです。

どうも ありがとう ございました。



Triple update today, be sure to check it all out.

Be sure to give me feedback on the idea presented at the end of this particular entry, especially names!

There are a lot of thing I like to do. I have plenty of hobbies, and my devotion to them all is obvious given how I am complete unable to properly do much in any of them as I am too busy figuring out which I want to do at the moment. That's not to say I never actually get to reading books, writing books, writing music, playing sports or whatnot, but more to say that I never actually am able to devote consistant time to each because of the competition between them.

As such, I have a designated hobby. That is to say, video games.

Recently it has come to my attention that video game reviews both in magazines and on the web are wholey and completely useless. There is little they afford in terms of useful information. Certainly, you'll get a basic concept of the premise of the game, whether or not the controls are utter crap, and whether or not there is any sound or music whatsoever. However, you could deduce most of that from a ten second video. When it comes to game reviews, I most often find myself longing for some hard information that actually pertains to the depth of a game.

Additionally, it has come to my attention that game scores are highly inflated. Goldeneye: Rogue Agent did not deserve anything about a three or four on a scale from one to ten, and that high a score was simply for the fact that the game had music, had graphics, and was technically playable. Yet, reviews were consistantly around six to seven for the game. I would have given the game a two.

Beyond simply horrid games, good games are inflated as well. The scores on the mediocre offerings of the Xbox 360 are enough proof. Madden 2006 for the Xbox 360 got only half a point less score on average than its PS2 counterpart, despite having only half the features, marginally improved graphics, and a plethora of game crippling bugs. Aside from that, the game was apparently fun. However, it just seemed odd that there wasn't a game that scored less than seven in the Xbox 360 launch lineup, despite the "meh" reactions to most of the games from the people who played them.

While studies show that marketing blitz effects sales and reviews are actually a non-factor for the majority of the gaming public, I know what bothers me and I intend on doing something about it.

A while ago, one of the other ryuugakusei (foreign students) said he wanted to write video game reviews for a magazine. I said I preferred reading independant websites such as Penny-Arcade and 1up.com for my reviews, as they seemed less likely to be biased about what games rocked, and what games sucked. He suggested we should start a website, we had a nice talk about it but in the end nothing came of it.

However, it seems to me that since my designated hobby is playing video games, I should not keep my experience to myself. Rather than sit around and bemoan the lack of truly informative reviews, I should try my hand at making my own.

I've actually already done this to an extent. Epinions offered a nice outlet for reviewing things. However, the lack of support for niche and foreign titles (such as the Japan-only DS titles I've picked up here) as well as the feeling of being lost in the waves of other reviewers turned me off, despite the fact that my reviews for some games were widely used to promote those games at various websites (such as this one).

So, something I want to do in the near future (which is likely not to take shape until after I graduate college) is to start my own full fledged website for reviewing games. Admittedly, as one man there won't be a whole lot I can do, but I'm certainly going to do it. If I'm going to be buying games anyway, I might as well tell the world what I find. I love writing anyway, I love fiddling around with HTML, I love web based attention, and so I'll be combining all this with my love for video games.

As such, I'll need an appropriate name and theme for my site. I'll probably go with a similar graphical scheme to this blog. As for the name, I don't know yet. There are some ideas listed below, but I'd appreciate any suggestions.



Tell me your thoughts!

Caution: Desktop Audio

CAUTION: Desktop Audio devices are dangerous objects and not to be misused. Follow the above guidelines or serious injury and/or death may occur.

If you see anyone using an desktop audio device in any of the hazardous manners shown above, especially if they are a ninja, keep a safe distance away from the party involved.


Last night I won my first Kendo match! Booyaka!

Here are the details.

The Kendo club was split into two teams. Whichever team won the most matches would win overall. I was selected to lead the way by going first. Things looked grim because my opponent, Ichiro, was one of the better Kendo players.

I very successfully deflected his attacks (much to my surprise as much as everyone elses'), and strategized a devious strategy. I would keep repeating the same two attacks over and over, lulling him into a false sense of security regarding the other attacks I knew. Then, I would strike at an opportune moment and surprise him.

It worked! I continually attacked "men" (the head) and "kotei" (the hands) while avoiding "do" (the body). When I saw his guard relaxed, I struck with do and scored! I was ecstatic.


One week from now at this time, I will be flying home. It's amazing how fast it all went by. It feels like just yesterday I was a bewildered foreigner stammering out single japanese words in poor attempts to communicate. Now, I'm a bewildered foreigner stammering out three or more words in poor attempts to communicate.

I don't want to leave, but I'm looking forward to being home.



A recent past time of mine has been to spend about thirty minutes a day laughing at the complete idiocy of a very specific group of people. To be specific, the majority of people who play Paladins in World of Warcraft and post to the official forums.

So that at least part of this is interesting to the general public, I will start with a rant which is related to my pastime, but doesn't require intense knowledge of World of Warcraft or video games to understand. Following that will be boring video game related things few of you will care about.

I also am thinking of one person in particular who should probably be doing something else than reading this, especially given the subject. You know who you are, what you should be doing, and what will happen to you when I return home in eleven days and find out you neglected something for this.

Anyway, begin rant on "unadaptability".

Forenote: I liberally use some terms such as "idiot" in the following rant. I do note that while these terms are used I have an understanding that the internet turns people into jerks, including me, and that any idiotic tendencies in a person are highly exaggerated by internet exposure. As such, I would expect that the people I refer to and rather blatantly assault are better people in real life.

Now that the apology is out of the way, the rant can truly begin.

One of the major traits I cherish and am proud to possess even a little of is adaptability. It allows me to beat chess players who use a predictable strategy, to change my monopoly plans in a flash, and eat strange japanese foods I never knew existed. Adaptability is a nice thing to have.

That's not to say I'm perfectly adaptible. I enjoy consistency quite a bit, very much evident from my homebody and anti-social personality. If there's any situation where the unadaptable side of me is extremely evident, it is a social one. I rarely modify my behavior for different groups of people or situations. I am always me.

I think that being too adaptable is just as bad as being too unadaptable. While being too unadaptable obviously has its drawbacks, being too adaptable kills consistency in life. It's hard to "settle" on anything if you are always adapting "perfectly" to a new situation. However, I don't meet a lot of overadaptable people.

The vast majority of internet idiots I have encountered are extremely unadaptable. Whether in regards to other person's opinions, new trends, or the ever changing state of the internet. Quite simply, these people lack any ability to change as everything else does. Arguing with them is like arguing with a three year old, logic has nothing to do with it. They can not conceive of a different way of doing things than is already in place, and any suggestion that things could be done in a different way or might even have to be done a different way is the worst insult imaginable.

The story goes something like this.

1. X part of life of the internet changes.
2. Unadaptable person complains about X.
3. Adaptable person explains logically how it won't be very difficult to adapt to X, and will only require minor changes.
4. Unadaptable person "refutes" their opponent vigorously, making sure to tell them they are wrong and everything was better before X.
5. Adaptable person is confused as the logic and the new situation both back up the argument that adaption is both easy, and the result is better than life before X.
6. Unadaptable person continues to "refute" their opponent with "facts".
7. Adaptable person points out that the "facts" are entirely and solely related to the way the unadaptable person already does things, and how the same thing can be done with slight modifications, better.
8. Unadaptable person doesn't waver in their belief that X is a terrible injustice and that the world will now end.

And so on.

It really is quite striking how vicious the unadaptable can get about not adapting, only equalled by the retribution the adaptable sometimes mete out in return.

A nice example is a fierce interaction of me and my brother vs an entire forum. A person had posted the following problem from a math test:

"There is a town in which the inhabitants have no means of communication. There is a rule in this town stating that anyone with a mark on their forehead must kill themselves. The population met once a day, for three days, after which everyone who needed to be dead had killed themselves.

How many people had marks on their heads?"

Up until the point we entered the discussion, people had been arguing about how there wasn't enough information to solve the question, how there wasn't any way people couldn't communicate, or how people could have just waited for rain and looked in puddles or found a mirror somewhere. We joined a little ways into the discussion, with a very logical and mathematical solution.

Our solution stated the following.

"We must assume there is at least one marked person, because otherwise this problem would not state that it was after the third meeting that everyone who needed to be dead had killed themselves.

At the town meeting, everyone can see everyone else, but not themselves. If a person sees no marked people, they know that they must be a marked person (as there is at least one). However, if a person sees a marked person, they can not tell as there is at least one and not only one marked person. They might be marked as well. The same can be said for any number of marked people a person sees.


If there is one marked person, they will see only unmarked people and know they are marked. This person will know to commit suicide after the first meeting.
Everyone else sees a marked person, and can not conclude whether or not they are marked.
Result: After the first meeting the marked person commits suicide and everyone who needs to be dead is. Everyone else comes to the second meeting and can conclude they don't have marks on their heads. If there was a mark, the marked person they saw would not have been able to conclude they were marked and would not have committed suicide.

If there are two marked people, they will see one marked person and can not conclude their status as marked or unmarked.
Everyone else will see two marked people, and also can not come to a conclusion.
Result 1: After the first meeting no one commits suicide, and everyone returns to the second meeting.
At the second meeting, the marked people each see that the other person did not commit suicide. They can conclude that the other therefore must have seen a marked person, and since they can see no other people they must also be marked.
Everyone else still can not come to a conclusion.
Result 2: After the second meeting the pair of marked people commit suicide. Everyone else goes to the third meeting and sees that the marked people are gone, and they now know they weren't marked.

If there are three marked people, they will each see two marked people. Because of that, they will act like the "everyone else" from the previous scenario, and wait until the third meeting before being able to confirm that they are marked. Everyone else will see three marked people and will wait until the fourth.
Result: After the third meeting the three commit suicide, and everyone who needs to kill themselves has.

There's the solution. For X number of people who are marked, X number of meetings must take place, after which everyone who needs to be dead has killed themselves.

Admittedly, neither this explanation nor the one I immediately gave is entirely flawless. However, the flaws are presentational only, with the logical not being expressed in pure perfection. The reaction to the solution was rather interesting.

Absolutely no one agreed with it. Not one other person thought we were right. It wasn't our logic that was wrong, we just apparently misunderstood the problem.

Any one of the following reasons were brought up for why we were wrong, and sometimes all at once:

1. The people probably could have seen themselves in a mirror or a puddle and known in the first place.
2. There's no possible way people can't communicate unless they can't see, hear, feel, taste, or smell.
3. How can people meet if they can't communicate?
4. How can people even know the rule if they can't communicate?
5. Why would a person commit suicide when they could just as easily forget the rule?
6. Better yet, they could purposely not do so, all the other sheep would commit suicide, and you could take their stuff, become rich, and go to some proper village where people can talk.
7. "After the third meeting everyone who needed to commit suicide was dead" doesn't mean they couldn't have been dead beforehand.

The general conclusion reached was that there was no solution to the problem.

We countered with the following:

1. The problem was on a Math test.
2. Math tests require concrete answers.
3. Therefore, this problem has a concrete answer.

It all went downhill from there. People brought up points such as, "The teacher might just be sadistic" or "People can make mistakes when making a problem". Despite the fact that we had a concrete solution, and the only refutations were entirely speculative in nature, no one changed their minds.

While I'll give some blame to my poor original wording of the solution, and the subsequent failure of my three revisions thereafter, I came to the eventual conclusion that the problem was largely in the inability of the other people to move out of the mindset they had started with and consider the problem from a different angle. The idea of actually listening to the problem when it said, "People can't communicate" just was too much of a reach. In short, by the time we arrived they had already become "set" into one way of thinking about the problem, and couldn't adapt into another.

The discussion burned down in flames.

I have, as I said, now taken particular interest in watching people show off their complete inability to adapt.

Thus ends the rant, and begins the second part which is even more boring and tedious than the first. Anyone who is unfamiliar with World of Warcraft should end here, and anyone else might want to for the sake of sanity. There is one person in particular I mentioned before who should be elsewhere to begin with, WHY ARE YOU READING THIS?!?!


Over the course of months the various classes of WoW have been being revamped to be more fun, more interesting, and more diverse. These changes are based half in changes made to their respective ways of fighting, and half in their talents.

The Paladin class has long been awaiting their revamp, having been rather upset at the unannounced change from the strike system to the seal system between beta and launch. A few things have been given to them here and there, but this patch is the one which will be bringing them up from the depths to which they plunged and into a world of fun.

That is, if you don't listen to the whining on the official forums.

The amount of froth being spat about the forums is incredible. Even in the most rotten of internet forums, I have never seen whining of such magnitude. It is so incredibly bad that what the actual facts say is almost completely unknown. Most of all, it is completely histerical, knowing some of the facts, watching it all.

Before I even begin, the changes were not perfect at the outset and still aren't (it wouldn't be being tested right now if they were complete). However, whining is not feedback, it is whining. The only people who listen to whining are bad parents.

Firstly, the non talent based changes are summarized as follows. Paladin seals cost a little more, and judgement costs a heck of a lot less. Debuffing judgements now last indefinately, so long as the Paladin is hitting the target. Additionally, Paladins can judge faster, at range, can stun faster, can now use their anti-undead spells against demons as well, and a particular skill (Seal of Command) now hits more often for less damage, but unmodified evens out in the end.

That all is pretty neat. However, there was general outcry about each of these changes. Paladins cried about seals costing more, declared loudly that judgement was already useless and being able to use it more often was worthless, sniffed at the indefinate debuffs, whined that judging at range defeated the purpose of being a melee fighter, called the new demon destroying powers pointless, and screamed that Seal of Command was now worse.

Despite the fact that with the exact same build as before, you'd be doing the same damage as before, for the exact same cost, people whined. Despite the fact that with a few easy tweaks you could be laying on more damage, more consistantly, and without the need to wait around for lady luck, people whined. Despite the numerous fine tunings and excellent small changes that added up to something big which I can not even begin to list, people acted like Blizzard had done as much work as a dead monkey on Sunday.

Specifically, Seal of Command had the exact same DPS, just more reliable. However, the extra power you could pour into just the seal allowed for greater DPS, and the new power of the Judgement added more on top of that. While the very last option mentioned cost (*gasp*) mana, the others didn't.

Even more hilarious, there's the possibility that higher ranks of the Seal do more damage, proc more often, or both. It's possible that such isn't the case, but as any thread asking people to try and find out is instantly swamped with naysayers and whiners who are just parroting whining to the contrary, we may never know.

The whines about the talent changes were even worse.

A good number of new talents were added, a lot of old ones were combined into one talent, gave the same or greater affects for fewer talent points, or both, and some more vital ones were made more accessible. The changes were extremely promising, and obviously still being reworked.

Whining ensued. People complained about every little change. They complained the combined talents were just combinations of useless talents into a single, useless talent. They complained that the accessibility of some of the more vital talents was still bad. They complained about each and every new talent. They whined incessantly about everything.

It was hilarious. A lot of whining centered around a particular palent called Pursuit of Justice, which increases Paladin running and mount speed somewhat. The decription is honestly poorly worded, as it states that it does not stack with "movement increasing effects", but testing shows that this nonstacking is limited to things such as potions and spells, as opposed to stats on gear (including enchants). The result? While it will not stack with potions and the offchance of a hunter running along side you with Aspect of the Pack, it will do more than replace an enchant on your boots.

You wouldn't know it if you listened to all the whining. Consistantly people cry out that it doesn't stack at all, and as such is useless (despite the fact that to achieve the same affect requires one enchant and four items).

It's absolutely incredible the amount of unadaptability being shown. Basically, every poster's complaints can be boiled down to this, "Blizzard didn't boost the talents I was already using, but instead made the ones I didn't use worthwhile and added other useful ones as opposed to making the already useful ones godly." The other whining can be similarly summarized, just replace "talents" with "skills".

It just strikes me as utterly hilarious, especially since half of the people complaining haven't even played the test server to find out what is up for themselves.

Certainly, everything isn't perfect. Sanctity Aura is still a little selfish, the judgement refreshes are currently bugged, and the strange bug which prevents one from using Seal of Command of a particular rank until you log out still persists. However, the remaining problems that may not be fixed are rather small, and not unfixable in the future.

If all the whiners actually follow through on their word, my Paladin's services will be in demand.

What ho!


Twelve Days of Japan

Only Twelve days, including the meagre hours left to me now of today, are left in my time in Japan. This is something that has crept into my mind as a both a great happy upcoming event and a great unhappy upcoming event.

Several parts of me want to go home. Several parts of me want to stay. They are organized from most homesick to most Japan sick, with a clear line seperating the sides.

1. The part that wants to see my family.
2. The part the longs for a Pepperoni Pizza cheaper than $32.
3. The part wishing to use words like, "eloquent" and "flabbergast" without needing to explain the history of English.
4. The part wanting to open Christmas presents.
5. The part wanting to present Christmas presents.
6. The part hoping I can instantly be transported home so as not to need to give this speech I'm writing.
7. The part that wants to play all the video games I left behind.
--Mid Line--
8. The part which lost and won a number of video games to Kendo club members.
9. The part that took far too many photos in the first two weeks, but didn't regret it.
10. The part who jubilantly spoke "Tadaima" upon returning home.
11. The part which enjoyed learning Japanese, even at a slow pace.
12. The part that came to rely on Jason Barrows' zaniness to sustain my weirdness fix.
13. The part that might wonder where all the aches and pains of Kendo went.
14. The part longing for games of Monopoly, meals, and experiences with my host family.

There's more than that, but you needed it all in a nutshell, and not one the size of Boston.

In conclusion, I give you the following:

"Behold, the hour has arrived! The Holy Temple of Firefury Amahira has been unearthed!" proclaims Yon-Zhauryg v'Klot, leader of the Cult of the Undead Inflammable monkey.


Define: Good Luck

Query resulted with the following answer:

1. Me

Just a few days ago, I played a game of Monopoly with my host parents that ended in disaster. It was a shocking defeat. Being in the perfect position to win, I lost. I couldn't believe it.

The exact opposite thing happened today.

I was in the perfect position to lose. A blunder on the part of my Okaasan netted my Otousan an early Monopoly of the orange group. He was also quite rich, having landed on free parking a number of times. This spelled certain doom, despite the trade I made with my Okaasan netting her monopolies with the red and yellow groups and myself monopolies with the violet and powerful dark blue groups. We simply didn't have money, and he did.

It got worse for me when my Okaasan did come across money, because now I was a mouse between two titans. My Railroads kept me alive for a while, netting me a good two hundred dollars every now and then. I struggled to keep my houses on Boardwalk and Park Place. Finally everything was mortgaged save those two properties, and one house had been knocked off of Park Place, leaving it with only two and Boardwalk with 3.

Sitting on St. James place (which had just fleeced me), I could see very few likely scenarios (none) that would lead me to victory. One titan or the other would crush me, and it was simply a matter of time.

For a moment, a glimmer of hope appeared when I landed on Free Parking, but it was immediately followed by my landing on a yellow property with four houses. In order to pay the debt, I would have to sell my houses.

I decided to cling to life like a drowning cat, and negotiated to give away my violet monopoly, and a couple miscellaneous properties in lieu of money. The reasoning being I could pay, but it would be more beneficial for my Okaasan to make sure she grabs my property, as opposed to my Otousan. I doubted I would be able to cancel anything but a pithy debt with my mortgaged railroads, but I still had my houses.

Then, my Okaasan landed on Boardwalk (thanks to a well timed chance card). I netted $1100. That money kept me alive long enough to land on Free Parking again, and take another hit on top of that. I was living by the skin of my teeth, but I was living.

I made it safely to Pacific, just past GO TO JAIL, and breathed a brief sigh of relief. I would make it to GO, net another two hundred, and possibly my Okaasan might land on my property and keep me afloat longer once I did get that far.

This miraculous series of events then transpired.

My Okaasan landed on Park Place, netting me $600.
I gambled, built three more houses (bringing the total to four each) and rolled a four, also landing on Short Line.
My Otousan landed on the Short Line, but it was Mortgaged.
I joked, "Okaasan ni!" (Okaasan two, indicating I wished her to roll a two).
My Okaasan rolled a two. I got $1700.
I rolled a four, landing on Boardwalk. I joked, "Otousan yon!" (Otousan four).
My Otousan rolled a four. I got another $1700.

This huge hit on both my opponents dehoused most of the board. I bought back the property I had given my Okaasan, and built it up. Avoiding all danger in another trip around the board (and landing on Free Parking again), I watched as both my opponents landed on the now fully armed and operational Park Place netting me a nice $1500 each. The remaining houses vanished, my Okaasan went out on the violet monopoly, I unmortgaged all her property, and fully built up the red and yellow monopolies. My Otousan didn't make it past the violets.

Victory was mine.

It was insane, I had been on the brink of death, I had zero dollars exactly, and only a faintest prayer of life. In fifteen minutes I went from the brink of death to a rebirth and vitality unheard of. It was impossible, but it happened.

Luck is obviously fickle, or at least likes to play around with people. Luck said to me these past two days, "Look at this! Behold that I can supplant all your skill or lack thereof and bring you victory or defeat on a whim!"

Obiwan Kenobi obviously was being more witty than insightful when he said, "In my experience there's no such thing as luck."


Some Games Need Sequels

Sequels get bashed a lot these days. People complaining about Final Fantasy XII, the reiteration of the same FPS: The Shooting gameplay, or the mere updated statistics of EA's latest sports title are a dime a dozen. I could spend a lifetime describing why these games become boring, why these sequels suck etc. But for the sake of getting to my point, I'll just you all know as well as I do that there's a point after which sequels become stupid.

However, before this point, sequels have a large potential to rock. While we have our share of failed sequels, we need only look as far as the five incredible Megaman games on the NES, the many Sonic games on the Genesis, and we won't even mention Mario. Sequels can rock hard, so long as they do not wear thin the premise.

I can think of a good many unique games out there that simply need sequels. These titles were original, cool, full of story and style, and downright fun to play. Yet these games are also the victums of failed companies, being cult classics, or just bad luck. However, given that titles such as Ninja Gaiden have been revived, and that sequels to old greats have been attempted (if failed), there is hope.

This is a list of a few games that really need sequels. These are not games that are currently slated to get them. We all know Halo 3 is coming, that we'll get another Final Fantasy, and that Mario will make another appearance. The following games currently have no slated sequels or, honestly, a snowball's chance in hell of getting one (or so it seems).

:Evil Genius:

This is the most recent of the games on this list. This game succeeded brilliantly at the same time Goldeneye: Rogue Agent failed miserably. Both had the premise of you being the villain in a world of spies, minions, and supervillains. However, Evil Genius was the complete antithesis of the burning trainwreck that was Rogue Agent.

Evil Genius put the player in the role of the criminal mastermind. You were your own Moriarty, and that was a great thing to be. Being an Evil Genius, you had to build a lair on some deserted island somwhere, recruit minions, do dastardly deeds in the world, build traps for pesky agents, and eliminate the top super agents sent to destroy your evil plans. Throw in all sorts of 60s spy thriller spoofs, and you have one heck of a game.

Sadly, the company that made this gem imploded shortly after announcing they were going to make the sequel. Evil Genius 2 now resides in limbo.

:Eternal Darkness:

If you have a Gamecube, you need to have this game. It shouldn't be hard to get, it was a launch title and they overmanufactured it (partly why no sequel is in sight).

The premise? Fighting zombies. What seperates it from all those other zombie killing survival horror games? A killer, killer story that spans ages, puzzles, exploration, the absolute best english voice acting I've ever heard in a video game ever, and most importantly fourth wall breaking effects based on a unique meter which measures your sanity.

I won't go deep into that last one, because that would spoil it. However, know that as your sanity meter drops, things that shouldn't happen do, and it gets really, really freaky.

The replayability is incredible too, there are enough of these effects that it won't be until the third play through that you'll be able to recognize 90% of them.

The game isn't a trigger fest, but more Myst meets Resident Evil.

Sadly, the company that made the game has not announced a sequel, probably because the game was a launch title, overmanufactured, and can be easily found for less than ten dollars new.

:Snake, Rattle and Roll:

Back in the early years of my life, before I recognized different companies made the games I played, there was Snake, Rattle and Roll. Made by Rare (a company now famous for all sorts of reasons), the game was insane. Literally.

How many games have you play as a snake which has to eat different colored balls which move in different and uniquely funny ways (wings, magical carpets, walking around, springs etc.) to pass a level, all the while avoiding rogue records, toilet seats, and giant feet?

The music was great, the style was off the wall, the controls were tight, the objectives clear, and overall the greatest and most wonderful game on the NES period. This is coming from a guy who love Duck Hunt and Excitebike like crazy.

Sadly, Rare never showed interest in a sequel. The game deserves one, badly.

Thus concludes my list. Look up these games, play them, and enjoy them. They rock.


Define: Bad Luck

Query retrieves the following definition:

1. Me

Some of you may remember my firey entry regarding my resolve to win the next game of Monopoly I played. Some of you may remember that I resolved to use every power I had to that end. I only managed the latter.

Oh how I managed it too. Using my skills, I piled up a ton of cash, netted myself three monopolies for the cost of giving my opponents one a piece, and built up fully said monopolies with plenty of money to spare. The remotest chances of my losing required one of the following two scenarios.

1) On my first turn after arranging this, I land on Park Place, followed by rolling a two to land on Boardwalk, followed by rolling an eight, landing on chance, and drawing the "Take a Walk on Boardwalk" card.

2) One opponent dies on the other, who begins to reap the slow rewards of the monopolies gained and, landing on my property once in a blue moon, continually gains more and more cash until his power rivals mine, at which point I either will land on his or her property continually or will have already been whittled down to nothing.

The latter happened.

When the deal ended my closest opponent, Hiro, had only enough cash for three houses on Boardwalk and Parkplace. That isn't an insignificant number, but he had very little cash remaining in his bank after doing so. He only needed to land once on any of my properties to have to pull back that number. Given that I had the deep Purples, the Violets, and the Oranges all lined up to snare him, it seemed likely.

Instead, the dance began, my Okaasan gave me loads of more cash before going out on Hiro with loads of morgaged property. I thought, "Fine, he doesn't have the cash to build on them." Then he landed on Free Parking a few times. "Fine," I thought, "He still hasn't even maxed out Boardwalk and Parkplace, and I have plenty of cash. If you know me, you know I stand up when I get excited. I did not stop standing up when after five times in jail, Hiro rolled nothing but twelves and escaped the deadly trap I had set up each time.

Then finally, he landed a huge jackpot of nearly two thousand dollars from Free Parking, and the Hotels appeared. I landed on both Pacific and Pennsylvania, followed by Boardwalk, all Hotels.

I lost.

I've come to the conclusion that on occaision, an unstoppable force plays around with us mere mortals. When this force, hereby referred to as "Luck", begins to affect something all ideas of strategy and skill become irrelevant. Regardless of any other factors, "Luck" calls the shots and the affected can only ride the wave or dig their grave.

Mine's pretty deep.

I could analyze that game a billion times, and I tell you I did, but I would still come to the same conclusion because there was no other way given how awesome I set myself up.

In any case, I'm not terribly upset that my Otousan won. If anything it is sort of nice to be consistantly beaten. However, I am entirely shocked at the incredible ill-fortune that was mine.

I think Shigeru Miyamoto probably tried to warn me about this in the dream I had last night. So again let the moral be that if Shigeru Miyamoto tells you something in a dream, you darn well better write it down.

What Dreams May Come

Last night, I dreampt the Shigeru Miyamoto was in the woods in my home's backyard seeking muse. While there, he was very surprised by a squirrel, and was "saved" by my father from having his snack stolen.

Some how this ended up with him staying the night in my house, and enjoying dinner with us.

So in my dream, I was having dinner with my family and Shigeru Miyamoto, and he gave me all sorts of sage advice about the video game industry, and this was bonified sounding advice in my dream, and I can't remember a word of it.

The moral of this story, when Shigeru Miyamoto tells you something in a dream, write it down.