Odds and Ends: February 1st 2014

I am towards the end of Final Fantasy VIII, but my interest is seriously starting to wane as is my obsession with Animal Crossing, but that game is more of a on-and-off affair anyway.

  • The Bravely Default demo is pretty fun and as a result, I am planning on buying it as soon as it comes out. It is the spiritual successor to Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light (originally read that as Final Fantasy IV and was a bit confused). Old school style RPG with implied pros and cons, job based combat and character progression system, SUPER awesome music and art style.
  • I purchased the Thief Gold, Thief 2, and Thief: Deadly Shadows package off of Steam and modded it to my liking (note to self: post about that later). Cautiously excited about Thief 4, but mostly because it is a break in the stealth game drought. I have a sneaky feeling though that it will not remain too faithful to the series.
  • The Legend of Zelda 4 Swords Anniversary Edition is free through tomorrow on the 3DS Nintendo eShop. I love competitive co-op games, especially those that give you the opportunity to fuck over other players in a friendly manner.
  • We have a bird feeder and it’s kind of awesome. YAY birds.
  • Finally got around to picking up The Lies of Locke Lamora and am greatly enjoying it thus far.

On Pirating Things

1. I don’t feel piracy is theft in the traditional sense (a direct deprivation of another’s property; As in, X had a car but now does not because it was stolen). That said, if your only motivation for piracy is not having to pay for something, that is at best immoral.

2. You are not going to stop high school and college kids from pirating media. Ever. They are an audience of people with zero money and infinite time; So stop needlessly punishing the rest of us by saturating things with DRM of for the sake of chasing the white whale.

3. For working-age adults, things tend to fall into one of two categories: Buy or don’t buy (the first category becoming increasingly small). If I feel that a piece of media is good enough to consume, I will just purchase it. If I am not willing to purchase it then it is most likely a waste of time that could be spent doing other activities.

4. If you make something that I want to pay for unreasonably unaccessible (literally not available for legal purchase, laden with DRM to the point of being borderline usable, etc), I will probably just torrent it. It is really sad when you don’t allow me to give you money. Why won’t you take my money?

5. Christ on a bicycle, absolutely everything has malware in it nowadays. You see, back in my day…

Odds and Ends: November 23rd

Here is just about every arbitrary interest from the past week or so. Also do you know what day it is today? Today is Doctor Who Day.


  • Per a coworker’s recommendation, I have been avidly watching Once Upon a Time on Netflix. Though it does not quite fill the gaping void that Breaking Bad left in the time that I allocate to television dramas, it is entertaining enough for what it is. I think I like season 1 more than season 2, but whatever. Also as a side effect: Sudden urge to watch old Disney cartoons.
  • Next up on queue would be The Walking Dead or Sons of Anarchy. I felt that season 2 of TWD was fairly mediocre and dropped the show. I have also read the comics through approximately where season 2 ended so I am sure that has something to do with it.
  • Archer is really funny.
  • Anime: Toying the idea of a Crunchyroll subscription but I am not sure there is enough anime on there that I would watch to warrant yet another subscription service. To watch: Kill a la Kill and Space Brothers.


  • Have actually started playing Animal Crossing again.
  • Will soon pick up Pokemon X again and finish it when my attention span cycles around to it. Awesome game overall, greatly improved from its predecessors (from what I understand. The last Pokemon game I played was literally Pokemon Red). Why is movement in this game so janky though?
  • I kind of want the new Zelda game but kind of need to finish the rest of the handheld games that I have purchased first.
  • I have absolutely zero wish to purchase any of the new consoles because there is absolutely nothing that I wish to play on them. I guess I will probably buy one at some point, most likely whenever Kingdom Hearts III is released.

Women’s Wallets Suck
I am looking for an inexpensive leather slim wallet that will hold: Approximately 1 to 2 bills (at most), 4 cards, and maybe 1 or 2 miscellaneous items such as slips of paper etc. I prefer wallets with a dedicated ID window but it is not a deal breaker. It must however be leather because that’s just how I roll; It also must be durable, well constructed, thin enough to fit in the front pocket of my girly jeans, and not retardedly stiff. I am willing to pay more money for a wallet of exceptional quality, but it must not be stupid expensive; There’s no need to spend serious cash on a designer item that stays in my purse/pants. This is the wallet that I am considering.

I am looking to purchase an entry/mid-level DSLR or mirrorless camera for both traveling and casual hobby related photography. I have been looking into one on-and-off for years, but I kind of need to buy one within the next 6 months, preferably by the end of the year so that I can spend some time with it actually learn how to use it. Realistically, I am just beginning to dip my toes into actually doing more than pointing and shooting with my cellphone or current camera. I want a camera that will stay with me a while and have a lot of room for growth yet will not be too difficult or too advanced for a relative beginner to use. Form factor is also a concern since I will be traveling and possibly hiking etc with it. Setting a general budget at $800 but that’s pretty flexible figure.

As such, I am leaning towards purchasing a mirrorless camera instead of a DSLR. I would also like a fully articulating or at least tiltable screen, but that feature is not a deal breaker. The front runner so far is the Sony NEX-6.

Odds and Ends: October 3rd

Not so much gaming this week other than GTA on and off.

  • So apparently Valve filed a trademark for Half-Life 3? Popular speculation is that HL3 could be one of the native AAA titles for SteamOS but that, and really anything else, is just speculation at this point. Hell it could and likely to be honest, means absolutely nothing at all. I’ve been hurt before Valve. It’s most likely fake.
  • Without saying anything specific to spoil the episode: The Breaking Bad finale was quite satisfying. I am pleased with how the show concluded.
  • Cautiously excited about Mighty No. 9.
  • Cautiously disappointed with Thief 4 based on the bits and pieces that I have seen and heard. It kind of seems like it is turning into a generic third person action game with a stealth element which is exactly what I did not want from a thief game. I mean, I am sure it will be a decent game overall but as a pure stealth Thief game? Maybe not so much but we’ll see.
  • I have a strong feeling that GTA online is going to kind of suck for a bit until the servers stabilize. Prediction confirmed…
  • I had the most excellent day of airsoft Sunday despite my GoPro deciding to take a massive shit on me by only recording the first 16 minutes of footage (pretty sure I accidentally put a mostly discharged battery in, whoops). So no break dance fight footage for me. Sad panda.

Saltybet: Tips and Observations


Why have I not finished GTA? Because I am obsessively watching Saltybet. Saltybet is a free 24/7 Twitch stream with a fake-money betting system. The stream runs random CPU vs CPU battles off of M.U.G.E.N a 2d fighting engine with literally thousands of characters downloaded from wherever. The things that I find fascinating about Saltybet aren’t the matches themselves, but rather the meta game and the community surrounding the meta game as everyone tries to figure out which characters are more broken than the others. Here are a couple of observations, starting with character properties, All of these of course, are subject to change as ultimately, Saltybet is pretty random regardless of any pattern.


  1. AI: Probably by far, the most important quality that a character can have. Very very little can make up for having a shit AI. You can sometimes tell if a character has an aggressive AI by looking at their idle animation. If it is abnormally fast, there is a decent chance that their AI will go into turbo mode when the match starts. Similarly, if they don’t have an idle animation or don’t look like they will move they quite frequently won’t, unless of course the character looks like it was specifically designed to be OP.


  1. Damage/health: Characters vary greatly in damage and health. Mexihealth and mexidamage referring to insanely high health and damage stats respectively. These aren’t deal breaking stats as characters with high damage and health stats can and often are beaten by characters with a better AI.


  1. Supers: Shit characters with a one-hit KO super can still win (eg the weird dbz characters from Brazilian sites have ‘mexibeams’ as they call them). On the other hand, shit AI’s can mean that a character ends up never using any supers.


  1. Hitbox: Remember that large characters aren’t necessarily better because they (usually…) have large hit boxes. Non-retarded small sized characters will quite often confuse the AI of larger sized characters. So unless their AI spams some cheese move, there is a chance that a larger character will lose…unless they are enormous. Always bet on fighting game bosses (characters that literally take the entire screen) as they usually have insanely high damage/health in combination some attack that they spam that is literally unavoidable because it hits the entire screen.


  1. Hierarchy of attack types: Bullshit attacks > beam spam > swords > non-sword weapons > fighters > other. A lot of the Waifus and decent anime characters have some ranged beam or death ball that they spam constantly. Good luck determining who does and does not beam spam though. Regardless of attack type, I think aggressive AIs have a higher chance of winning (doing something is better than being a potato). Again, good luck determining who has a more aggressive AI…


  1. Misc properties that may or may not matter: Having more special attack bars, having a longer name, having an adjective name (evil, dark, shin, ghetto, etc), being more glitchy than the other glitchy character.


Per series:

Remember that no two Kens are ever the same. Also, don’t ever mess with Rare Akuma, any variation of Ronald McDonald, or Barney. There’s a list of god tier MUGEN characters floating around, but these are the ones that I have heard about and seen.


  • At least half if not more of the MUGEN characters are Brazilian DBZ characters and as a whole they, as in 90% of them suck ass because they all have terrible AIs. The super small-sized DBZ characters are terrible as are any of the characters that look like they use charging as a game mechanic because that is literally all they will do for half of the match. There are a few normal/large sized DBZ characters in the higher tiers but good luck sorting them out of the lot. Nail for example is one of them since he apparently has little to no hit box…


  • Naruto characters (stiff Narutos specifically) almost always lose. The only time I have ever seen one win was against DBZ.


  • Always bet on Card Captors, Sailor Moon and any weird female Japanese fighting game character based off of doujins: TouHou, Melty Blood. Their frail outer appearance is offset by beam spam of some sort.


  • Watch out for fakes.


  • Kenshin characters are a safe bet. They don’t have spammy beam attacks but are for the most part insanely fast with a decent AI (they also all have swords).


  • A lot of the non-fighting game video game characters are pretty decent except for Chrono Trigger.


  • The characters that are ripped from actual fighting games (real not fakes) seem to be fairly balanced in that they are at least guaranteed to do something since all of their normal moves have been copied over to MUGEN. So against a character with a crap AI (DBZ, Naruto) they will usually win. Bet at your own risk. Of the fighter characters, Puzzle Fighters are pretty decent as they all have that green cheese roll.


  • The robots that explode when they win have a fast attack rate but low damage.


  • Made up characters are a mixed bag. IIRC they tend to have pretty OP attacks if they ever manage to pull them off, as they can either literally stand there and do nothing or end the match in 10 seconds. I’ve heard to always bet on MS paint but to be honest, most of those seem to be a wildcard.


  • Ninja turtles (I think it may be just Michelangelo though) have a very high chance of winning by a timer scam (they will get a few hits in and then glitch out of the arena until the timer runs out)


When you lose all of your money, will will get $10 in pity cash. If you are stuck in the salt mines always go all in on someone. $10 can win a lot if there’s a big upset. There is an account based leveling system in place btw, so the more you bet the higher your level and minimum cash will rise, making it easier to get out of the salt mines. If you want to win big you have to take a risk on an underdog and hope for a big upset. This is kind of where I am right now (went all in and lost).


Odds and Ends: September 17th 2013

I am so conflicted. I have a virgin copy of GTA V ready and waiting for my undivided attention, but we are almost caught up on Breaking Bad. We have one more episode to watch and before we can enjoy being up to date with the rest of the world (for once) for the last two episodes of the series. I suppose we can spare 40 or so odd minutes to watch one episode. It seems that there are a lot of strong contenders for most shocking scene in a television show for this year. Anyway, a short update on things that I have been watching and playing:

  1. We have been religiously watching Attack on Titan as I imagine virtually every anime fan is given that it is the new hotness anime blockbuster. I’ve heard that between the anime and the manga, the anime is better paced and easier to follow. I really want to binge read the manga, but I really enjoy anticipating watching the anime each week
  2. MOBAs are the last bastion of genres that I have never really played for one reason or another (the only other games that I don’t really play are sports games if I recall correctly). My goal is to at minimum make it through the DOTA 2 tutorial and play 3 games at some point.
  3. Still flirting with the idea of picking up FFXIV to play on-and-off casually, but since it is out of the time and money budget, I will just press my nose against the window and keep a watchful eye on it. Pretty sure that PvP was slated to be released at some point. So if the game is still alive at that point, I will probably consider picking it up at that time.
  4. Why would you review a game as “very good but imperfect” then give it a perfect score?
  5. The lies of Locke Lamora digital copy is on sale via both Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon for 99 cents. It comes highly recommended as a fun fantasy read. Conveniently enough, it was next up on my list of books to read.
  6. I…I may need to buy this when it comes out.

Airsoft Helmet Project: Part 2

image_54Follow up to the helmet post. I like almost everything about my GoPro except for the fact that the clear plastic housing reflects in the direct sunlight when we are running field games. I finally got tired of it giving away my position and having people pretty much aim at it all day, so I ended up spray painting the housing. It’s not the cleanest spray job to say the least; I didn’t tape up the LCD viewport very well, allowed some paint to leak through, and attempted to clean it up with acetone which made it way worse. So consequently, it’s hard to see the battery meter and camera mode unless in direct light, but no big deal. I still don’t like the color all that much but no one has any ultra-flat spray paint in stock with coyote brown. Also added some bungee cording and what not.

Another issue: The ESS turbofans are kind of large and bump up against the front of the helmet. I am looking into buying lower profile full-seal eyepro that will mount on the arc-rails. So far, the Smith Optics Boogie Regulators seem like the best option but I’ve heard they fog pretty badly unless you are constantly moving around.

Magician’s End by Raymond E. Feist

After 29 books and 30 years, the Riftwar Cycle finally comes to an end. Finishing the last book in a series, particularly a long series is always so incredibly bittersweet, especially for a cherished series that I grew up on. Obvious statement: Magician’s End is the last book in a pretty long series. If you have not read the previous novels, it probably isn’t going to be all that great of a read. Another obvious statement: If this is a series that you have read and enjoyed, this book is an absolute must read as it does wrap the series up nicely. Here are a couple of thoughts and shortcomings, mostly because raving about how much I love something doesn’t seem like it would make for an interesting read (minor spoilers):

Many of the newer characters are obviously rehashed (the many Jimmies for example). I am sure that it is to provide continuity and to show the reader the the strength of the ConDoin line continues to carry on through the generations, especially when you take Pug’s experiences and lifespan into consideration; And this book is very much about reflecting on the past. End result though is that Hal, Martin, and Jimmy feel shallow and rehashed. I didn’t find either of them very interesting or developed characters.

Magician’s End effectively follows two separate story lines that don’t really interact all that much: Pug saving the universe and the kingdom falling into civil war. Though I did enjoy Hal, Martin, and company’s aspect of the story and  recognize that it is an important part of the story, there were stretches of it that weren’t all that interesting. For example, the civil war. First off, it wasn’t all that compelling. Second, it never reaches a point where anything all that important happens given the scope of the story, which arguably could be the point but reading it felt like it was written as an obligation to break up the Pug chapters. I feel as if the two story lines should have been either intertwined more or split into two separate books instead of effectively dividing the Chaoswar Saga in half. I almost feel as if that aspect of the book detracted from Pug’s storyline.

That said and all that considered, I would rank Magician’s End on the upper end of more recent titles in the series. It’s an enjoyable read, the last couple of chapters being especially satisfying even if they are a bit heavy on nostalgia. Most loose ends are nicely tied up. Quite a satisfying end to a long series.

Site Upgrade/Update

LOOK EVERYONE, all of about two of you wonderful readers. I finally updated the software and theme on this site. When was the last time I bothered changing the theme or modifying it in any significant way? 4 years ago?

Summer Movies and Other Things

A few quick notes on Summer movies, anime, and miscellaneous media things.

  • Iron Man 3: I liked it a lot but not as much as the previous films. As multiple people have already stated, Tony Stark 3 may have been a more appropriate title given how little suit action there was.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Benedict Cumberbatch! Bit of a Sherlock fan here…I don’t feel that the female characters were as strong as they could have been to say the least as I was a bit disappointed with Uhura and Doctor Marcus; Mostly with Doctor Marcus given how far her character deviates from the original films. Though most importantly, I greatly enjoyed Star Trek Into Darkness as a whole. The reboots have just enough Star Trek flavor without feeling like a huge nerd circlejerk.
  • Pacific Rim: Awesome. Exactly what I wanted/expected. If you have ever even remotely been enjoyed or been a fan of giant robots and giant monsters, you must see this film in the theaters. I wouldn’t say that the plot or dialogue is Oscar worthy but I don’t think anyone goes to a straight up action film expecting Citizen Kane.
  • Shingeki no Kyojin: Probably the most interesting new anime series that I have seen in recent memor; Not that it means much coming from me given that the last actual new series that I have seen was Puella Magi Madoka Magica (watch it even if you don’t think that it will be your thing, it’s quite good).
  • Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C3-bu is effectively K-On but with airsoft guns. It is exactly what I was expecting down to the animation quality and character types.
  • Daft Punk!

Heart of the Swarm: I have had about $20 Blizzard bucks floating around on my bnet account for about a year that I keep neglecting to spend. Seeing as how I have been kind of wanting Heart of the Swarm (and that it’s not likely to drop in price anytime soon), I might as well just buy it at effectively half off. Unfortunately for me, Blizzard allows you to purchase items using either your Bnet balance or normal payment methods, not both for a single order. So in order to purchase this game, I had to add funds into my balance, wait 3 full days for the transaction to go through and then finally purchase the game. Lame. The campaign and what not are fun as expected, even though I have more or less set SC aside to play Animal Crossing and Metro Last Light.