Music of the Month; Streets are hot

If you haven’t seen California Crisis, it’s worth watching at least once

It’s the middle of the summer in the Northern hemisphere and the streets indeed are hot to the point of the asphalt burning the feet and tar boiling in the cracks. This time of the year should be for relaxation for yours truly, but of course it isn’t. The past months have been hectic and stressful, to say the least, but at least I managed to keep my two posts per week rhythm, despite the quality being every which way occasionally.

Much like with previous months, there are no plans for the blog. I haven’t had the time to come up with anything. Plus, I’ll be busy creating a programme for a local convention about Iczer-1, which will take most of my attention away from other matters. I’ve only got few weeks to build it from the scratch, but at least I have my own posts from which to pull information from.  I’ll be throwing other 1980’s pop-culture material in there as well, and as such it’ll be slightly more expanded view on the whole phenomena and the cultural situation during the era in Japan. However, due to this, this summer won’t see a massive thematic post like I’ve been putting up during the past few years, unless something extraordinary turns up that I can tap for information.

That is not to say I’ll be using this forced vacation I’ve been thrust into only doing something I should consider extra work of sorts. I picked up a pen digitizer Huion GT-220 v2 relatively recently, but haven’t had the time to sit down hours on end and draw with it. Plans are to spend notable hours per day with it and trying to find some way to produce images I’d be somewhat satisfied with, commentators be damned. With this I hope I’ll gain enough experience with it to give a proper view on the thingamajig and do a sort of review, but that’ll have to wait until the end of the month. You already saw some scribbles I threw together with the previous mecha design post, because I’ve ran out of paper to scan. Well, this should force me to concentrate on the digital side of things and further encourage me to step away from just pen and paper whenever possible.

Speaking of mecha designing, the rest of the year will probably become unique examples of transforming mecha. We’ve covered the core basics, and rather than trying force terrible doodle on everybody, I’ll be resorting on existing designs. This is just a thought for now and the end result will probably be something else. I still need to talk about Super Sentai robot designs and contrasted to e.g. Macross‘ Valkyries due to the core difference in the target market.

Summer is also a time when things tend to die out a little when it comes to news and such. It’s not the best time to release certain kind of game titles, though summer blockbusters are at their peak. The upcoming Spider-Man Homecoming is an example of this, though I have to admit I have reservations for the flick and will have to wager whether or not I’ll be seeing it in the theatres. If I do, I might as well go watch the latest Transformers while I’m at it. I’d rather see movies myself and make up my own opinion on any movie rather than rely on Internet reviews, because ultimately only I can say whether or not whatever fits my tastes. The same goes for you, which is why I quit doing game reviews as such and moved unto related stuff. At least with controllers and similar stuff I can review their ergonomics and function relatively objectively without getting stuck on whether or not I or someone else likes it.

Rather than forcing myself to remember the last subject I was supposed to cover in this post’s last four hundred words, I’ll just recommend you all to go out and enjoy the sunshine or rain. I’ll just go fix my summer bike and go take a stroll across the town, it’s such a good weather to break my knees open again.

And oh, remember to sharpen your kitchen and tool knives, and to oil them afterwards. A well sharpened and oiled knife will last more than a lifetime.

Music of the Month; Shoujo A

The problem in playing Yakuza 0 is the overabundance of 1980’s atmosphere. The game’s definitely one that keeps you invested and how it rolls is pretty damn great, but I’m not all that certain that it’ll end u in my Top 5 games of the year. I’ve been playing these titles since the first one on and off, and in the end it’s the same thing, just sleeker and works better. That’s not a bad thing at all, and sequels should always be more refined that their predecessors, but is that all that is needed to be one of the best games of the year? Not sure yet. Though Yakuza 0 setting back 29 years really makes me feel giddy. Not that yours truly was already 80’s junkie to a point. There’s really only one song that could represent Japan of the era.


Another option would’ve been Nakamori’s Slow Motion

Now that Monthly Three is officially dead, or on indefinite hiatus if you like that more, I’ll probably aim to launch a subseries named Longpost, which intends to break the normal length of these entries. The 1000 character limitation is a bit harsh at times, and some subjects that just need more stuff behind them. Pop-culture and game posts from last year really used them the best they could, like the very first Monthly Three about Breakout and its genre’s evolution. One of the few post series I have personal affection for. Longposts won’t be a monthly thing, so that’s kind of load off my back, unless a topic requires it. Most of the play culture posts could use it, as there’s a lot of stuff that can be handled.

As for what’s planned for the month, there isn’t any. I haven’t had any time to think so far ahead, and this month I’ve actually had week or so worth of material as a bumper, hence there has been less commenting on current events, outside the Nintendo Switch. Whenever I have time, I’ll try to create a large bumper like this with entries that can be posted at any time. Seeing how life is what it is currently, with deadlines and workloads progressively getting heavier, there are times when I can’t really write anything down. The bumper helped me quite a lot during January, and creating a bumper that has a month’s worth of material would seem a good idea. Asks me to go bit on an override. There are some few topics that I want to visit, although few of them might rustle some people a bit.

You might’ve also noticed how January’s posts came out like a clockwork around 10:00 GMT0 on Tuesdays and Fridays. The bumper is the reason for this, and I intend to keep this rhythm going, if possible. I guess that gives me a semi-official schedule when it comes to publishing.

Schwarzesmarken‘s review was long time in coming, but take it as a one-year celebration for the TV-series. Whether or not there will be a TSF comparison this month is a bit open, and it’ll probably be from either Euro Front or Total Eclipse. Maybe I’ll try to do a viewpoint post on something regarding Muv-Luv, like the one I did about 00-Unit long time ago. Not really sure if such posts are necessary, this blog is less about an opinion and more about a point of view. Don’t expect a new ARG anytime soon, the schedule the TL has to work under is very tight. Combine that with the differences in time zones, it has become rather difficult, to say the least. Speaking of ARG, you really should go read Chris Adamson’s blog, it’s pretty great.

While I try to encourage interaction with readers, and I aim to reply to every comment made here, I also set up a Curiouscat account for those who want to be even more anonymous. This is largely for fun, and I’m more than aware how the account will be a wasteland.

Whether or not mecha design section will expand on transformations this time around, but it could be a running theme for the year. The problem with form changing robots is that it takes about two to three times the work to get my stuff together with them, as there is so much to cover. Well, not all that much, in the end, but I’d like to go deeper rather than just scratch the surface. The basics are largely the same, but when you start going into how to turn a block into a humanoid form might take time to iron out. Time that I don’t really have.

As for the review of the month,  I’ll probably end up resorting to a game review or finally getting around photoing Dual Shock 4. There’s a poll up asking whether or not reviews actually have any worth on this blog. For the more obscure stuff like 8bit Music Power for sure, as I’ve seen it cited here and there. However, for more common stuff I’m losing my sight on the point. Maybe you should count the Guilty Gear comparison posts as ones, as there is a critical component in them. Furthermore, numerous readers seem to be interested in these aspects of their character designs as the posts tend to drive visitors in on their own. This of course opens the question whether or not I am keeping this blog for the existing readers or anyone out there, possibly intending to expand the audience through some means. If I were to have monetary gain, I would aim to expand the audience through multitude of means. However, this being just a hobby, I’m content on delivering whatever brain vomit my hands type down and hope people enjoy it.

Maybe I should stop downplaying everything I do so much, it’s not really healthy.

EXP

When you employ a craftsman or an artist to create a product for you, the basic idea is that you pay for the production of the product, the product itself and whatever else goes into delivery and so on. However, if we were to philosophically to consider this, we’d be paying for the creator’s experience as well. After all, a piece by a master craftsman does seem to fetch a higher price due to its quality than the same piece with somewhat less elegance by the master’s student.

It could be argued that the quality and finesse of a product has some relevancy to the amount of experience the creator has under his belt. In a modern production environment this may not be the case, as automated machines are able to produce a very even quality. To put that aside, the amount of experience a craftsman needs to learn to master his craft doesn’t end. In a way, to call someone a master is sort of oxymoron, as there is always room to improve one’s skill, but we just tend to use the term to nominate someone who has skill beyond the standard qualifications, if you will.

The experience we’re talking about here isn’t just few times working hands-on with something, or just few years. Ultimately, to be considered a master of a craft classically requires a small lifetime. What many seem to forget about other fields is that they contain the same seed from we all learn from; failure. Failure and the will to overcome that failure by solving whatever problem caused that failure to come true is what makes us learn. As an anecdote, I’ve seen people having a swell time in the workshop and haven’t seen much troubles. However, at some point they are just faced with a wall that they can’t overcome easily because they have lacked the challenges failure brings with it. I have to say that most, if not all of my experience really has been accumulated through numerous hardships that have sometimes required me to scrap numerous work hours due to a simple mistake or an unseen problem that could not have been avoided without a necessary experience.

As such, experience costs a lot of money, but we rarely see this in the product price itself. Then again, perhaps it should even be visible in there to any extent. Experience however does have an effect on the price in few ways. Like I discussed earlier this month, accuracy raises the price due to the sheer amount of time it takes for a craftsman to ensure the required dimensions are to a point. Thank God for standard tolerances, I tell you. Those things are a life saver in, money saver and time saver. Anyway, with experience gaining those accuracies is, in principle, easier as you have that knowhow to back unto. This sort of experience doesn’t really appear on a conscious mind all that much, you just have both the muscle memory and the gist of doing something right. It’s like opening a bottle. You instinctively know that lefty loosy and righty tighty and you twist the right way without thinking it too much.

And yet we all just stop thinking and wondering which was the direction on an occasion or seven.

For a moment, consider how much time and effort you’ve spent on your hobby or field of work and how much easier things just are nowadays for you, and how much you still require to learn new things and experience to be just that much better.

You know this already by hear, but it never ends. Perhaps the best way to put it would be that we can master something well enough at some point in our lives, but due to the nature of world, the evolving technology, changing tools, new requirements and numerous other things that can change a thing within a month, we can never truly master something. Perhaps that sort of search for perfect mastery of something is in vain, but it is without any shroud of doubt very admirable, whatever it is.

So, to return to the point. The best place where you can see quality and worth of your money is in whatever restaurant you frequent. The more open view to the kitchen, the better. There you can see that sometimes the more expensive price can fetch a more skilled chef. Watching a master chef working in his kitchen is a wonder. Applies to really everyone at their own work, really. Have you ever seen a master secretary? That’s a sight to behold in itself, especially when it comes to time and event management.

However, experience and mastering the craft can make a person a bit blind as well. I mentioned that changes can keep one from being a master of something, but it could be argued that mastering a craft in a version of sorts that turns archaic down the line. Traditional and digital painting being just one example that pops to my head. Sticking to one style and way and being its master may exclude tools and methods that would make things so much easier at times. This sounds like I’m talking about martial arts or something.

A good example of this really is how traditional metal and such craftsmen are becoming a sort of rare species due to how the same products can be largely made faster, easier and more efficiently. For example, if you were to employ a craftsman to make a ladle, surely you would get a fine and well made ladle with no second piece like that existing in the world. That is, if you don’t order multiple pieces and ask him to do a limited mass production. However, ordering some Chinese factory to produce ladles for a fraction of the price and gain so much more in quantity with the same quality is reality we must face.

But experience. Don’t underestimate it, and if you want to ensure something as it should be, don’t be afraid to ask for it too

Music of the Month; Calling from Heaven

It’s that time of the year again. Things are kicking into higher gear, people are getting steadily busier with their work without them noticing and the festival seasons are creeping upon us without a notice. As such, many things, like the long promised new entry into ARG podcast, is sitting in the backburner, slowly taking its time and waiting a good spot to be recorded. International team-ups don’t tend to work well with timings, when such things are not a high priority.

Castlevania turned 30 years this week as well, so here’s for a classic franchise that will stay evergreen and the games of its origin will never be tainted. Should get around finishing Castelvania III one of these days. Should probably play Super Castlevania IV this Halloween like I did last year, intending to make it a tradition.

There are no plans for this month. I’ve yet to decide any of the themes, thou I do intend to give a proper Monthly Three this time. I did not intend to do one last month, but the three previous posts should really count as one as they do have a carrying theme across them. It’s also a theme that I’m not done with and most likely I will return to soon enough. Branding can be tied easily into disruption, and I’ve got just the thing in my notes to bring it together.

Regarding mecha designs, last month’s Artisanal mecha honestly was something I felt good about. That’s a rarity, but I’m not intending to do a follow-up on it any time soon. Instead, I may do a case study on Gundams’ designs, as one of the frequent search term for the blog is How to design Gundam. It really shouldn’t be anything special, there are set rules of sorts, just like with Muv-Luv‘s TSFs, which sort of is a series wide case study. A TSF comparison should be done this month as well, thou depending how busy I get it will be either one of the two aforementioned. If we’re honest, I would prefer to be busy.

While I try to keep personal affairs away from this blog, I do feel that recent events do make a good addition to this themeless monthly post. Recently I lost a person whom I considered a good friend, not because of death or the like, but because she regarded our world view to be incompatible and that she could not be associated with someone with certain views. It doesn’t matter which they were, the core was the she allowed few things to define me and the whole friendship as a whole. This also means it wasn’t much of a friendship, in the end. I find that immature, at best. A child may throw a temper tantrum when their way is not accepted, but an adult should be able to amuse opposite views and thoughts without accepting them as their own, but also allowing those views to exist.

Similarly, my niece was recently given a name in a naming ceremony, something that bugged the hell out of my parents as religious people. My mother could accept it as difference in values, while my old man most likely will get completely pissed and down the bottle. It’d make an interesting case study where one of them just doesn’t seem to handle his world view being challenged at such a base level, while the other simply deals with it properly.

Humans are not defined by one or two things. We are multifaceted beings with immense depth. Not necessarily complex as such, but we are a collection of multiple things that create a unique whole. To know such a being is not simple and takes time, and the more we become familiar with a person, the more we know of their personal motives and views. I do call that a friendship, but on the Internet that is rather hard to do to its full extent simply because there is no physical presence. Friendship challenges us in many ways, and the more we can be friends with people with opposing views in things without pushing them to change it, the wider view we have on the world and its issues. This is, of course, in perfect world only, as we there are a lot of people who would be willing to push their own views into others or even hurt them to fit their neighbours in their own world view. Live and let live, and all that jazz.

Perhaps it’s just me thinking that one of the things that show maturity is the idea of being able to see things from more than one point of view and consider all of them equally valid. This blog promotes this to a certain extent, as I it does stand from a certain perspective, but I still aim to amuse two or three different arguments for a thing from a time to time. Not to cover my ass or anything like that, but simply because of that multifaceted nature of man.

I may also put up  a new page of scans, if my lil’ side project to collect numerous issues of Comic Lemon People comes to fruition. While I doubt I will ever get a full collection of the magazine, I do find value in the thought of scanning the covers for posterity and historical record keeping as well as list out their contents. A niche project at best with limited use or audience, but for the sake of data and history, these sort of niche projects should be enacted anyway.

There’s a hashtag named #inktober going on in Twitter. I recommend checking that out just for the sake of cool inked stuff it may produce.

Oh, we’re closing up on 700th post, so that’ll be a new Different take on customer again.

The Devil’s in the details

Edward Teller calculated that the atom bomb would ignite the world on fire. He was proven wrong, not because the world still is around. It was because his fellow scientist told him he had not made the right calculations. Later in 1954, Teller’s team calculated the lithium-7 found in Castle Bravo wouldn’t be a problem with the hydrogen bomb, but because of miscalculations, the hydrogen bombs was about three times stronger than expected.

You would expect that mathematicians and scientists working on the most devastating weapon ever developed would have their shit double checked. However, humans are prone to make errors.

Very rarely something goes wrong in its largest of elements. More, often, it’s just that one little detail that can cause a cascading effect of other little things failing. We all know this, we’ve all experienced it more than once. The worst part of it is that we’ll probably overlook details even more in the future, causing more damage and harm than intended.

Let’s take a less dramatic example than a miscalculation in production of weapons of mass destruction, like the inclination of your chair. It may have been design to look great and has some use of the Horacek angle, but that may be to your detriment. The wrong angle where your back lies on while you type is different from when you’re supposed to relax. Not only that, but the chair you use for whatever activity has to have its own properties. Then you have the fact that despite our standard measurements, we have unique bodies with their own problems. There is no one universal chair, and they need to change with times. It’s like cremation chambers that nowadays need to take into account the fat percentage the corpse has in order to keep the whole facility from experiencing a raging fire. I wish I was joking. Even after death fat people seem to cause nothing but trouble to designers.

If we want to explore the Christian basis if the saying, despite seemingly originating from Germany, is that the Devil knows all the details. Seems like the details are an integral route to salvation, at least during Old Testament, where the Devil tends to obfsucate the necessary information. I’m the wrong person to ask about theology, but it does play to the whole thing quite well. Even in discussion noting the small things is important, and sometimes people intentionally leave the small things out, like with some of the recent news that have been about. Leaving a thing out here, another there, slightly re-wording something to give that slightly off-hand impression of whatever… It’s in the end a play to screw with your mind, dear reader.

I love using food examples, mainly because we all eat and good food is largely universal. This applies here as well, as you can take essentially any bit of cooking as an example about the small things going wrong. The heat, time, ingredients and their age, spicing, utensils, time you serve, everything can go wrong, and usually something does. You may have some slightly outdated or raw ingredients, the heat may be too low or you may burn the food a bit too much, you may throw too much salt or pepper in there and ruin the taste, the utensils may be wrong or material in them cause some problems and you may end up serving the food too early or late. You know the deal, you’ve made dinner.

But the Devil is in the detail. 666 is not the only number associated with the Beast. However, 616 seems to be the more accurate number of it as it is referred in the Oxyrhynchus’ papyrus. Modern world doesn’t recognize it any more due to these little details, like translation issues, but it is something that should be kept in mind. The ever-present fascination in the number in the end is part of our global culture to the point of many forgetting 888 is its counterpart, the number of Christ the Redeemer.

On this day, five years ago…

For five more years

To be completely honest, I have no clear recollection why I started this blog. Much like everything, this blog has been allowed to change with time, and if you go back to page 61, you will see the posts have been made in a very different tone. This tone shift has not been a conscious one, but more or less organic. Just like how people change. I still try to employ a style that’s more how I speak, rather than completely correct English. I have dropped joking about issues, because it’s clear I am not the best comedy writer out there, as many times I’ve seen readers taking a shitty joke as face value serious business.

Currently, excluding this post, there are 610 posts under 23 categories spread widely across 1 572 tags. Without a doubt, the most popular subjects does revolve around âge’s Muv-Luv franchise, with the most popular post being about… Guilty gear Xrd character redesigns. That’s surprising ever for me. Anyway, the blog has touched everything from certain personal issues to social media interactions, from culture to local events, so there’s something for everyone.

From day 1 I have had the rule that I do not advertise myself, the only two exceptions being two social media sites due to specific requests. This has kept the site relatively unknown and small-scale in size, but admittedly I have considered to put up the site up for more public circulation few times over, but never acted. This blog has been, and will always be, a hobby and I am not getting paid by anyone to do anything. I intend to keep it that way, and if in some freak accident I would ever be to employed to write something, it would most likely not be on this site, or I would explicitly state it so.

I have been the only writer for these five years, except for one post that my editor-still-in-break did about Lifeforce’s theme music. While I employ a writer-persona, it’s no secret how my real personality has been influenced by it and vice versa. Sometimes, keeping my two-posts per week rhythm is a bitch to keep up, sometimes it feels like every day could see a new post. It does take an effort in the end, but as this is a hobby, most graphs, images and the like I make and take for the blog are not as good as they could be. I am offering free content in many ways, and with this reality I do cut the time and effort I put into, e.g. charts. I haven’t purchased any domains or the like, simply because I would need a way to get that money back as well, and that would mean doing something that would go against the initial free set I based this blog on.

Will I keep writing this blog for another five years? If the Lord wills it, I don’t see myself stopping. It’s not like any publication would hire me anyway, so I might as well do whatever the fuck I want and the Internet just needs to tolerate that.

But, in the end, I do write to my readers (whoever they are) and for their enjoyment, whatever it is they get out from my incoherent ramblings. I may be an insignificant piece on the grand scheme of the Internet, but if I have managed to bring any enjoyment or information to anyone out there, then this has been worth it. I’m satisfied with less in that way.

Here’s to you, and here’s for five more years. Let’s hope I don’t fuck it up too badly. Cheers.

 

Music of the Month; In God We Trust

Complexity is not necessarily a bad thing. Lately I have been writing more reports than what’s healthy, forcing me to sit on my ass for hours on end and fighting against whatever bitchfest Word throws at me. I recognize wholly that most of my frustration is because I have no learned to use Word effectively.

Whenever a system like has multiple tools and options you can make use of it, the user is required to learn the overall functions of the system. There is no getting around this, because a system of large possibilities and tools can be simplified only to a certain point where the simplification becomes a burden. Windows 10’s unhelpful Something went wrong error messages is a symptom how the operating system has been streamlined and dumbed down for those who do not want to actually know what’s happening in the background. Oversimplification can be an option for those who want it, but forcing it on those who understand the underlying mechanics.

Word and Excel and pretty much epitome of this, and to an extent largely untouched by the same symptoms. They need to be powerful programs in what they do for those who understand what the tools do, but at the same time they need to be as simple as possible at the core level for the common user who doesn’t give a damn about the fancy stuff. It’s a hard thing to balance, but with proper design it can be achieved. That doesn’t really assure that the consumer will put time in learning how the system works, and most often this’ll end up somebody bitching about it all.

I’ve said it many times, but I’m living rather busy time, and while I have been able to keep up with the updates in my current situation, things may change for the worse very soon. As usual, I will aim to keep update schedule as usual, but I’m fighting a losing battle.

If you’re wondering why I chose In God We Trust as this month’s music, there’s two reasons. The first is that I really dig the song, and second is… well, there isn’t a second, nothing special I would care mention now.

Muv-Luv has  a Kickstarter. It’s got a month to go, so there’s nothing to comment at this moment on its success. I also feel that commenting on it would not be all that appropriate, seeing how close I am to it. There will be a second interview with Degica sometime soon on the Kickstarter, so sit back and wait for it.

Regarding the podcast, I haven’t found time to properly discuss with the people I had the test ‘casts. However, it would seem that the most popular ones were about âge related materials, so it’s more probable that it will become a specialised podcast surrounding just fandom. In this case no further podcasts outside some special ones would appear on this blog due to them being irrelevant in content. Most traffic was driven to Alternative Projects’ site anyway, so nothing would change in that front. This blog isn’t about âge’s products, thou sometimes I will indulge myself with them.

Some future plans; more How to draw mecha stuff. No deadline set, but the ideas to go over how to apply real world mechanical components’ visuals cues with certain visual directions like jugend/art nouveau, and something similar how to apply knowledge of musculature on nature replicating designs. Kinda useless really, when you take into account how shoving wheels removes so many problems adding legs would cause.

On TSF/plane comparisons EF-2000 Typhoon is next on the list sometime this month. Should kick my editor around to her back on the ball and have her write those few music entries we’ve been discussing about, but the more we plan, the more life seems to come in the way.

In all honesty, I don’t even know what I’ve written above. It’s after midnight, I’ve been working since I woke up sometime around half seven in the morning with just occasional breaks, and if God wills tomorrow will be a similar day. Good night for now, have a nice day and all that.