October 2009

WoWScrnShot_102609_221137Trying to get all the Tricks or Treats Achievements in World of Warcraft before the holiday ends. Tricks and Treats of Azeroth:

Complete the Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Outland Tricks and Treats achievements.

During the Hallow’s End event, each inn has a Candy Bucket which both starts and ends this quest. Clicking a candy bucket offers the option to take a handful of candy; taking the handful of candy completes and gives you credit for the quest. There is no separate turn-in. Each candy bucket has a separate instance of this quest. You can loot each one once during the event.

Candy Buckets can only be found in inns that allow you to set your hearthstone there. Buildings that look like inns but have noinnkeeper, such as in Moonglade, do not have Candy Buckets.

asus-gaming51The search is on for a new laptop/notebook. The must have list is an ability to play games to some level; i.e. I expect to be able to do World of Warcraft level of gaming, i.e. I don’t want it choking on a simple 5-man raid with WoW’s cartoony graphics. I don’t expect unbelievable framerates and killer sound, but gaming requires a base level of horseppower that will be what I want from a new computer, the trick will be finding one at a reasonable price.

The Asus G51 notebook got a refresh to keep it up to date, getting a core i7 Intel processor and nVidia GTX 260M graphics. From a review at notebookreview.com:

The ASUS G51J has a few solid improvements over the older G51VX, most notably the shift from the Intel Q9000 to the Intel Core i7-720QM processor. This change shaved roughly 5 seconds off its wPrime score alone. 3DMark06 performance went up as well, but we didn’t see that much of a boost in actual gameplay. PCMark05 is also down, but it is hard to say if it was related to hardware or operating system differences. Overall users who are interested in purchasing this notebook should look at one item; the price. With specifications improving or staying equal, ASUS dropped the price $200, from $1,699 to $1,499.

here is a very recent video of Battlefield 2 running on a G51 (ostensibly):

guildwars2I played a lot of World of Warcraft, up until the final Wrath of the Lich King expansion when I finally tired of the endless gear chase and took a long hiatus … But lately I have been wanting worlds to explore again and feel the beck and call of the MMO.

The sequel to Guild Wars is looking very good judging by the trailer, but it isn’t much more than rendered concept art at this stage. Still those locations look awesome.

A blend of technology and not of the junkyard/klodgy feel of Warcraft, but something that has that futuristic feel to it. I am very intrigued.

For generations, war and chaos raged across the land of Tyria. Five great races competed and warred against each other, struggling to tip the balance of power in their favor.

Then the dragons woke.

The all-powerful beasts stirred from their millennial sleep under earth and sea. With their magical breath the dragons spread destruction and created legions of twisted slaves. A deathless dragon named Zhaitan raised the sunken nation of Orr, triggering earthquakes and tidal waves that destroyed entire cities across the Sea of Sorrows.

Zhaitan’s undead armies surged from the sea, hungry for the destruction of the five races of Tyria: the charr, a ferocious race of feline warriors; the asura, magical inventors of small size and great intellect; the norn, towering shapeshifters from the frigid northern lands; the sylvari, a mysterious young race of visionary plant folk; and the humans, an embattled but resilient people.

Now heroes from the five races must set aside ancient rivalries and stand together against their common enemies.

Magic, technology, and cold steel will determine the ultimate fate of the world.

brave_fencer_musashiA discussion on a message board I frequent (hi to the Circvs Maximvs peeps!) reminded me of one of the most horrible, awful, just plain bad attempts at voice dubbing for a video game I have ever seen. The guy voicing Musashi sound like he is attempting a Texas drawl through a helium high. The woman voicing Princess Fillet sounds like she is 45 years old and all she is thinking about is the shoe sale at the mall. It just makes me shudder, wth were they thinking?

M.O.V.E.One of my favorite bands:


One of the most creative bands right now, funky europop music:

m.o.v.e (also spelled as M.O.V.E; formerly known as move) is a 3-member Japanese musical group. The group consists of Yuri (Masuda Yūri(益田祐里?)) on vocals, Motsu (Segawa Mototaka (瀬川素公?)) on the rapping, and T-Kimura (Kimura Takashi (木村貴志?)) as the producer.

m.o.v.e is perhaps best known for the unique style with which they blend rock, rap, electronica, metal, and many other genres into their music. m.o.v.e are also well-known for their contribution of opening and closing theme songs for the Initial D series. These include around the world,Rage your dreamBREAK IN2 THE NITEBlazin’ BeatGamble RumbleDOGFIGHT, Blast My Desire, Nobody Reason and Noizy Tribe. The also provided the opening theme for the anime series Ikki Tousen with their song Drivin’ Through the Night as well as the ending theme for the anime Final Fantasy UnlimitedRomancing Train, and the ending credits for KOEI’s Dynasty Warriors 2 video game, Can’t Quit This!!!! ~KNOCK’EM OUT~ [SH FUNK MIX]

Gonna move ya:

departuresWe watched Departures this weekend – amazingly beautiful, sad, funny, uplifting film.

A premiere symphony orchestra in Tokyo disbands, leaving Daigo Kobayashi (Masahiro Motoki) suddenly unemployed.  Suffering from an innate sense that he is a mediocre musician, he faces up to the fact that not everyone who has devoted their life to music can become a top artist. With wife Mika (Ryoko Hirosue) in tow, he moves back to his home town in the northeastern prefecture of Yamagata.  They move into the crumbling remains of his mother’s house, which doubled as the local pub.

Spotting a Help Wanted ad featuring the word “departures,” he is excited about the prospect of trying a new career in the travel industry.  He arrives for the interview, curiously eyeing the coffins lining the back wall of the office.  The company owner, Sasaki (Tsutomu Yamazaki), hires him on the spot, with only a cursory glance at his resume. Daigo finally ventures to ask what is involved, exactly, and is stunned to learn what he has gotten himself into: the ceremonial “encoffination” of corpses prior to cremation.  Sasaki urges him to take the job, proffering large amounts of cash.  He’s getting older, and needs someone to carry on the tradition.

In desperate straits, Daigo overcomes his initial trepidation and begins to travel around Hirano with Sasaki. Sasaki is comically matter-of-fact but firm in his directives and the contention that they are providing an important service to their community.   Some cases are markedly traditional, featuring beatific family members in time-honored transition.  Others highlight family dramas fraught with inevitable collisions, eased into unexpected conclusion.  True to Sasaki’s expectations, Daigo develops a deep respect for life in all its variations, and a profound empathy for people trying to make peace with the finality of death.

Too embarrassed to tell his wife about his conversation-stopping profession and admit that he has fallen in love with the townsfolk, Daigo vainly tries to keep his new life secret. As their relationship hangs in the balance, the big question is how he’s going to react to surprising news she brings, as an encoffineer, as a husband, as a son and as a human being.   It is Daigo’s turn to deal with life and death among the people who are dearest to him.

A story of love, of discovery, of revelation and of the transcending human spirit, “Departures” will linger in your heart and mind long after viewing.

makeupI loved this movie, gorgeous scenery from Japan, insight into traditions and culture, humor, philosophy, etc. It has it all. Showing the traditions of funerals in Japan and how the times have changed them. A glimpse into something rarely seen. Daigo’s acceptance of his role and growing care and respect in the rituals of encoffination and the way he uses his skill at the end of the movie to resolve his feelings was very poignant and well done. Very good movie, very deserving of its accolades.

jstuffI just added some new items to my Nihongo library. Some Uniball .18 mm Signo pens, a Showa kanji/kana practise book and a kanji practise book. I should have added a headband for studying. Ganbatte!!!

mugichan_wPeter Payne of Jlist has an interesting post up pointing to how small details that in anime can reveal a lot about the culture:

It’s always fun to observe the little bits of Japanese culture that are communicated through anime. I was re-watching the moe anime K-On! the other day, and I caught an interesting gesture that seemed to speak volumes about Japan’s group-oriented society. Tsumugi had just joined the keion-bu (light music club) and was eating in a fast food restaurant with her new club members. As the other girls talked about how to find the fourth member they needed to keep their club from being closed, Mugi (who has some awesome eyebrows, let me tell you) picks up her “potato” (french fries) and adds them to the pile Mio and Ritsu are eating from. It’s the ultimate gesture of group membership, mingling one’s food with your new friends so you can all eat on equal terms, and it communicates a lot of information about what kind of girl Tsumugi is to viewers. I’d probably have hoarded all my fries, and when they were gone I’d steal from the others…