[TIL]Writing About Your Interests.

So, some of you may know, I’m a university student, I’m one (1,800+ pages of material) test away from finishing my second year, studying Philosophy and Sociology/Anthropology. And one of the bennies when you get a too-open assignment, is to write about shit you care about. I wrote an assignment on Holism in analyzing RPGs.

This is actually not the first time I’ve done something like this. The first time we were asked to write a major assignment (around 20-30 pages) was in the fifth grade, and I wrote about Dungeons and Dragons. I hunted down the articles in Hebrew written about it, publications translated on satanism, psychology, how the game was brought into Israel, etc. This was back when “Mitzuv” the company that brought D&D to Israel existed, and TSR too, so I just had my mom go to their offices and photocopy that stuff for me.
I might actually still have this assignment somewhere, perhaps even on a computer (though if I do, it’s in Hebrew).

Now, I had a course in Philosophy about Holism, we’ve discussed the topic mainly through the lens of the Philosophy of Science and the Philosophy of Language, and a broad-picture was painted. We were told (we were told on the first lesson, so it didn’t come as a surprise) to write an assignment regarding Holism, anything we wanted.
And then came the time to write the assignment, and I wasn’t sure what to write about, so I turned to my interests, things I didn’t need to do major reading about in order to crank out a roughly 7 page assignment, because being the procrastinator that I am, there was no time.

I recalled the arrow diagram of The Big Model in RPGs, and how all the levels had to be taken into account, especially in light of “The Lumpley Principle” (“System (including but not limited to ‘the rules’) is defined as the means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play.”) and I set down to right.

Note, this assignment is obviously not without flaws, but I had constraints of time and space to begin with, and the paper had to be tailored to a specific audience. Roleplaying games may have needed a better explanation and breakdown, The Big Model deserves its own section, and of course, describing the roleplaying theory scene while giving everyone it credit too. But that was unfeasible. So things were simplified, and I’m sure some things were butchered.

Maybe it all makes me a bad academic, perhaps it even makes me a bad student, but the point is another: Use what you already know and care for when you can. Beat dealing with stuff you are either not passionate about (I quite like Philosophy, thank you), or need to read up on when you can avoid it (yes, I guess I am a bad proto-academic).

Here’s a direct link to the assignment, note, it’s a .doc (Word document, office 2000, ~2,000 words).

Also, this is the last day of the month, so expect some summary posts to follow this week, including my media breakdown, my purchases, a review of the Figures of the Month (I will see about that), and break-down traffic and posts made this month.

P.S. I know this is greek to most of you, “The Big Model”, “The Lumpley Principle”, etc. I touch on it in the paper you can read, and well, this is a blog about what I care for. And this is something I care for. So there you go.

P.P.S. The “About” page had been updated. The Links page still awaits completion.

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eBay Addiction [Long]

This is how you know you have an eBay addiction problem, or at least feed an addiction via eBay:
You go to sleep when you are currently winning bids for five items for which the bidding will close in about two hours, and you think to yourself, “Please, let me not win any of these bids.”
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Figure Friday – August 21st-27th

We have some news and sales for you at the bottom, so be sure to read it all (the exciting sale lasts for only 30 hours or so more). As always, click on the first picture for more photos, the photos at the end are linked to Flickr.
Post is not entirely Safe For Work.

Five Hot:


Enka Oudou Dai☆Shogun Hatoori Kiriko Ninja Ver. non-scale PVC figure by Yamato

Enka Oudou Dai☆Shogun Hatoori Kiriko Ninja Ver. non-scale PVC figure by Yamato

This is probably the best figure of the week, by far. The face is stunning, very well done lips, great eyes, expression, sculpting… the hair is not bad either. I’m actually happy they toned down the purple of her body-suit. Great creases. Just stunning. Someone wants to buy it for me? :D
Character designed by Shunya Yamashita, which I am hearing I should follow.
January 2010, 340 mm, 11,800 yen. For this size? For this quality? Worth it.
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Mai-HiME – My Princess, Focus thy Attention [Long]

Mai-HiME is an anime which I love. Many people don’t love it as much as I do, and I will try to remedy this situation here, somewhat, and will hopefully help you guys love this series as much as I do.

Mai-HiME anime

Left to right – Makoto, Mai, Natsuki.

This post will have major spoilers, so the rest of it is behind the tag. This is a series that plays on emotions. That’s what you need to remember. Continue reading

My Room, July 2009.

For the Otacool contest ran by DannyChoo, I took some pictures of my room as it looked during July 2009. I actually have pictures of my room from various states of dis-array for at least three and a half years, but here I’ll show you the most recent configuration.

It is I

It is I

I think this is a pretty good picture of myself, considering I took it with the camera held at arm’s length. Yes, my beard is red.

Also, before you go further, my room is not messy, it is busy. It’s what you get when you take two rooms’ worth of stuff and stuff them into one room. I know where things are, and aside from my RAM pile, it’s pretty organized, as much as space permits.

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Figure Friday – August 14th to 20th in Review.

I slightly got the dates on last week’s post messed up. The post covers from last Friday to this week’s Thursday. Anyway, on we go, with a special side dish of Comiket news, Volks Garage Kit, and NSFW figures on our “NOT!” list.

As always, click the “read more” to get to the main body of the post, click on the first picture of each figure to get to a post with more pictures that are larger. Clicking on the following smaller pictures will lead you to the Flickr page. And we’re on!

Five Hot:


CANAAN Canaan 1/8 PVC figure by Good Smile Company

CANAAN Canaan 1/8 PVC figure by Good Smile Company

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[Humor] Zabuza and the Rare Ingredient!

Zabuza, whose last name is apparently Momochi, which no one but Narutards knows, was the first real antagonist in Naruto. And he was AWESOME! And so, this post is dedicated to Zabuza, who traveled with Haku, the super-trap (Naruto picked flowers with him, thinking it was a girl).

Here I will cover this ultra-rare figure of him, and the rare dust, dust as you’ve never seen in a figure review before!

Zabuza, looking badass

Zabuza, looking badass

This post is intended in humor, read it as such (including the “Narutards” reference), also, I got the links page up and mostly running, it’s only 70% populated, I’ll get the rest done between now and the weekend, thank you.

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[TIL] Californication Season 1: Cali Fornication.

Yes, this title is another example of my endless wit.

This series was aired on TV here with daily re-runs, 12 episodes, each about 26 minutes. It’s a drama that you shouldn’t watch unless you’re ready for vulgarities and a lot of naked.

Californication (IMDB, Wikipedia), follows writer Hank Moody, who’s falling into women… It’s not addressed as much, but from the way he’s drinking and how early it is, I’d hazard a guess that the character is also an alcoholic.

Hank is a writer. Hank used to write. Hank does not write any more.
Hank used to live with the woman he loves, with whom he has a daughter, who doesn’t live with him.
Hank used to live in NYC, but now he lives in California, which he loathes, though it is not entirely clear why.

Hank hates his life. Hank is not on a road of self-destruction, when we meet Hank, he’s already at the end. He tries to get back with Karen, but this obviously comes only after she gets engaged.

This show runs for about 26 minutes of episode material, and is a drama. This is something I’m not used to, short-form drama. Sure, there are moments I laugh at in most episodes, but I wouldn’t call it a comedy. I laugh because something is funny, not because the series is a comedy. And there’s some difference I’m having trouble formulating in words.

The series does not have that much characterization, the characters stay more or less the same, and what changes is their relationships, very slowly, or the scenery, such as the women Hank beds, like an assembly line of fucking and self-loathing. Heck, I did get some vibes of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas from the series, if not from the series itself, then Hank did have some Hunter S. Thompson poured into him, or Hemmingway, or another of those old drunk, miserable, coots.

Hank’s daughter, Becca, speaks in a dead-pan voice, and she fulfills the role of the greek choir (such as in Sophocles’ play, Antigone) at moments in the series. Narrating to us how Hank is doing, what his nature is, etc. This is somewhat touching and sad, as she is also his daughter, about 12 years old, and knows of how flawed her father is.
As sometimes happens in such a series, you’re left unsure who’s the parent. Good thing Becca lives with Karen.

Hank: Who said you have to be realistic?
Becka: Mom
Hank: Oh.

Some other short points:
– The fake male orgasm never sounded or felt more fake. Seriously. No need to grunt when (fake) masturbating for the sake of the camera.
– This is not a story about redemption. This is not a story about falling. This is a story about the wallowing you do when you’re at the bottom.
– Episode 10 is fucked up. It’s written and feels as if everyone involved was high. The writers, the characters, us hapless watchers. It was weird.
Good acting by Madeline Zima, as a girl pining over an older man, whom Hank calls “Sociopath in training”.

I’m not really sure how to classify this series, or how to describe my feelings towards it. I’ve enjoyed watching it, overall. But it was kind of a morbid fascination watch. It’s somewhat well-made, and has some rough edges that I think are intentional.

Worth a watch. I will not try to grade this one, y’all.
Second season begins its daily re-runs tonight. Will share thoughts in 3 weeks or so, when it’s over.

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Ga-Rei Zero: Explosive First Episode. What Then? What do You Mean? It Blew Up!

Yes, that title is way too long. Sue me :)
There will be a certain amount of spoilers.

Ga-Rei Zero had been introduced to me by my friend Andy Kitkowski’s blog. He raved about how crazy the first episode was, so I had to watch.

You know what? It was all that. Heck, it was all that and more! It was spectacular, it was amazing, it was sublime. And it was twenty minutes.

These are NOT the protagonists of the series. Sadly.

These are NOT the protagonists of the series. Sadly.

Ga-Rei Zero is the anime prequel to the manga known as Ga-Rei, the problem is that the manga had not been translated to English, and honestly, most of us have not heard of it. I think this also affected our experience as we’ve known the anime was a prequel, and couldn’t invest ourselves fully, I don’t know for certain, as I did in fact know of the manga’s existence before watching the anime.

The anime’s first episode focuses on a team that kills evil spirits, and then you don’t see them in the rest of the series, which is part of what made that anime so great; they could allow themselves to go all the way, they didn’t have to hold back for the characters’ sake, kind of like George R. R. Martin in his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The second episode is also cool, we finally get to see the protagonists of the series, and the main villain, and the supporting cast. And they fight, and we find out they used to be friends.

Thus we get to what is the bulk of the series, when we see the characters’ past. Blah blah blah, we loved one another, you were like my big sister, you were like my younger sister, we had to fight monsters together. And perhaps if I came to the series from the manga, already caring for the characters, I’d have loved it. Perhaps if the first episode wasn’t so great (the second was also very good, but compared to the first, it was nothing), I wouldn’t have minded.

These are. The protagonists, that is.

These are. The protagonists, that is.

But the first episode was that great. And I did not care for the characters prior to this anime series, and so I didn’t finish watching the series.
I’ve heard there’s a great paraplegetic fight around the tenth episode, but I didn’t get there.

It’s especially vexing, but I suspect also successful in one regard though, you really want to know about some of the villains, the monsters, butterfly-boy. But for that you’ll probably have to read the manga, so I guess the anime series also was created to draw more readers to the manga.

The art in the series is on the very high end. Character design and technique is very sharp, buildings look good, nature is especially lush and vivid. The monsters look a bit too CGI for me, but I think that may be on purpose.
Kagura, the younger character is especially cute.

The opening song is the same as the ending song, except when it’s played at the end of an episode there’s no art. The art is of good quality, the song has a nice up-beat tempo, and shows you some of the background story which is what most of this anime is (which then leads to the first Yomi-arc of the manga). But, the words matter here, they kinda have in them what this is all about, about betrayal.
Sadly, the YouTube video is like in most cases, lacking translation of the lyrics. The lyrics matter, somewhat.

You know, if the series was actually about the awesome characters in the first episode, I think I’d have liked it more.

Score: First episode: 10/10. Second episode: 8/10. Onward: 6/10? It was ok, but nothing special, and not what I really set out to watch, in the context, maybe even 5/10.
Feel free to watch just the first episode, or the first two, and treat it like an open-ended OVA. Well, the first episode resolves itself, more or less.

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Figure Friday – August 8th to 14th in Review.

Here we are for another Figure Friday. This time there will be less photos, as I’ll try to use “Five Hot – Five Not”, with an additional figure or two.

Also, there were less figures this time around for me to look through, seems a combination of Obon, it not being directly after WonFes Summer 09, and not being the beginning of the month. Comiket 76 is ongoing currently, but I’ve decided to wait with figures from it either to next week, or till when there is an official declaration for them.

Anyway, let us begin (most figures under the cut, due to it being photo heavy). Pictures are not in order of how good or bad they are. Click on the opening photos to go to a page with more photos, usually.
BTW, some pictures are a bit risque.

Five Hot:


Panya season 4: Delight Lucia 1/7 PVC figure by Amiami

Panya season 4: Delight Lucia 1/7 PVC figure by Amiami

Best figure of the week. I really love the detail of her hair, her skirt’s edges might seem a bit too plastic-like, but I wouldn’t know without more photos, her forehead’s slightly big. She is adorable though, cute nice face, cute outfit. And did I mention the hair?
It seems costly for the height, but she’s squatting, and her hair is almost as big as her.
November 2009, 130 mm, 7,800 yen.

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