Gimp Pisses Me Off

Posted on February 28th, 2006 in Hardware & Software by andrija

In case you don’t know, GIMP is an image editor that strives to compete with Photoshop.  It’s open source and as such free to use, and it’s been around for many years.  If you ask around, it’s well regarded, both in terms of what it does (it’s supposedly very powerful and feature loaded) as well as a success of open source model.

Well, that don’t mean jack, pardon my grammar.  I can’t believe how incredibly annoying that thing is to use!  Never mind annoying, how about extremely unstable?  As in it crashes every five minutes, literally?  A bizzare error message pointing to a problem with font pops up, and after you click on whatever button you want, it simply crashes.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Wild Arms 4

Posted on February 27th, 2006 in Video Games by andrija

Steven has graciously bought Wild Arms 4 and borrowed it to me! I am looking forward to playing it, once I’m done with Final Fantasy 8 of course. I haven’t done anything regarding that game today though. No rush! For a change, I watched some western movies today. Western, as in “made in anglo-saxon culture”. Men with Brooms, and watching Wedding Crashers as I’m typing this. I doubt I’ll see that movie in its entirety today though.

More Final Fantasy 8 – it got good again!

Posted on February 26th, 2006 in Video Games by andrija

Oh man, what a ride!  Disc 3 starts a bit slow but then it’s one spectacle after another.  A hidden city-state that looks way out of place on that planet.  A big city, with lots of locations in and around to investigate.  That part was still slow, until they send you to… a space station.  No, really!  I felt as if I was playing Star Ocean: Till the End of Time all over again!  Great artwork all around  And all tied up with generous number of gorgeous cutscenes.  The feel of the beginning of the game came back!  And story finally starts to unravel, with explanations and revelations every few screens.  And then it gets pretty emotional, too – between Squall and Rinoa.  Someone saves someone else, and from then follows the very nice and quaint scene in Ragnarok.  Is Squall finally admitting his feelings?  He was sure acting on them for the entire disc 3 so admitting he loves Rinoa is just a formality.

But then, due to a plot twist – which does explain a few things – the girl leaves his side, at least temporarily.  Ah, screw the girl, you got a kickass ship, Ragnarok!  Er, uhm, pun not intended.

Wireless Networking Trouble

Posted on February 25th, 2006 in Hardware & Software by andrija

I was having a lot of problems lately with my wireless connectivity.  My Toshiba Portege R100 laptop – which is Centrino platform – would lose connection to my D-Link DI-624 Rev. C router quite frequently – several times a day – for no apparent reason.  And it would often have trouble automatically reconnecting, forcing me to use “repair connection”.  And even that was not working well for the last few weeks – I had to use the switch on the side of the laptop to physically disable the network adapter during the repair sequence, otherwise it’d just hang forever.  It would also have trouble reconnecting after waking up from standby.  As I use my laptop a lot, this is understandably quite an inpediment to productivity – and a source of a lot of frustration.  Given that it happens a few times a day, this isn’t just something that you can live with; not if you’re like me.  So I decided last Tuesday to do whatever it takes – short of buying new hardware, which I tend to this in circumstances like this.  Right now I don’t want to buy new stuff, as I’m unemployed.

It’s Snowing!

Posted on February 25th, 2006 in Vancouver by andrija

Yes, that’s right – the snow is falling in Vancouver right now!  That’s somewhat rare.  It won’t be staying on the ground though, it’ll melt right away since the temperature is above zero.  For snow to stay, now that would be rare.

Lots of anime today – Bleach 64-65, Canvas 19 and Fate/StayNight 8

Posted on February 25th, 2006 in Anime & Manga by andrija

I just finished watching these first two episodes of the new season of Bleach as fansubbed by Lunar. Well, they didn’t waste any time introducing new set of villains. Once again, they are mysterious and elusive. And they’re kidnapping Ichigo’s friends left and right. What the hell? I hope they get to the bottom of this fast, as it’s actually pretty annoying.

One bad thing about these new episodes is how they try to insert humour to mix with serious stuff. I don’t know, it just doesn’t seem to work for me. Maybe it’s because it is too soon. I mean they just got back last night, for God’s sake! If you’re going to allow humour, make pacing a bit better – or just concentrate on action.

Well, Fate/Stay Night 8 was a transitional episode.  No action whatsoever, but some humour, and a new master/servant pair is introduced, though just slightly.  Four women at the same time in his house, and the ensuing discussion was as if from some cutscene  in a japanese style RPG.  Amusing, and Toshaka is cute as always, but nothing really big happens – other than a relevation of a new master, as I mentioned.  There is some unexpected behaviour from Saber at the very end, and as a consequence the episode 9 preview shows some action.  I don’t know what else to say, really.

As for Canvas 19, this was one of the better episodes.  As we’re drawing nearer to the series close, obviously we’re going to see our male lead choose someone from his “harem”.  And the obvious choice – or normal choice should I say – seems to be forming  as there’s some major development, though more of an introductory one.  Kind of like we had episode 20 in Shuffle named “the person that Rin likes” –  we seem to have almost the same timing here.  Although Canvas is a better series, save for the music (I do like songs, but they’re no match for the Yuria’s You, never mind for the Innocence).

5th Ending for Bleach is catchy

Posted on February 24th, 2006 in Anime & Manga,Music by andrija

Steven was right, Life is a nice song to end an episode of Bleach.  While it doesn’t feature in latest episodes (its last appearance is the Episode 63 special), it did feature in best episodes.  I found lyrics″>lyrics> for it as well.

New Anime Today

Posted on February 24th, 2006 in Anime & Manga by andrija

  • Hanbun no Tsuki ga Noboru Sora – final, 6th episode is out.  This is a short series dealing with a very sad subject, love where one person doesn’t have a long time left to live.  I just finished watching it, it’s fairly nice and touching, but sad.  It sidesteps most of cliches that are so common in romance genre, though there are a few annoying things – mostly some hard-to-believe stuff, like doctors and nurses beating up patients (no, really).  Worth watching, unless you must avoid sad stories (I won’t blame you).

  • Petopeto-San – Ep. 7, finally, after who knows how many months of waiting (I just checked – 4 full months!).  I really like both the opening and the ending songs for this anime.  While it’s one of the more bizzare titles out there, to be sure, I like to finish watching what I started.

  • Aria, final episode 13 – and speaking of ending, yet another series ends today (for fansub watchers at least).  Final episode of Aria is appropriately nice and recap-like.  Not that there’s much to recap in this series – which actually means that the recap itself is not much, or in other words, it fits well with the rest of episodes.  I kind of enjoyed watching this slice of life series, but many people will not – because, really, just about nothing happens.  It’s people discussing their feelings, enjoying nice scenery or just enjoying life in general, by doing nothing.  This is kind of show that has an effect on you by influencing your mood, and not by shocking you, teasing your mind or your hormones or just plain entertaining you.  If you don’t like talking about feelings, you won’t like this.  I heard there’s going to be a second season; we’ll see.

Progress in Final Fantasy 8 – Disk 3

Posted on February 24th, 2006 in Video Games by andrija

So I got to disk 3 of Final Fantasy 8.  A considerable plot twist occurs at the transition, just like between disks 1 and 2.  At first I thought it was deus ex machina but after a while I will acknowledge that the signs were visible earlier.  It’s still a very convenient explanation, and while it may explain Squall’s situation, it doesn’t explain how nobody remembered their childhood until Irvine reminded them.  Well, it does explain it, but I still have the feeling of “you just came up with this idea right now, didn’t you?”.  They might’ve incorporated some clues into the story after the fact but still, the transition is not natural.  I find it forced, I really do.

On the other hand, the love relationship is evolving nicely.  On disk 2 there were some nice – romantic and/or funny – things happening, such as “tour guide” sequence, ring, and the life-saving from falling death sequence.  Yet, they did feel tacked-on, even though the emotions were natural enough.  But it felt like a decoration on a cake, rather than one of its layers, if you know what I mean.

Furthermore, on disk 3, it seems like Squall has finally changed – and what forced the change is a sudden realisation that he might lose Rinoa.  Nothing like separation to force out the real feelings of a person.  I like it.  Even the Squall himself says that he has changed.  It’s nice to see his behaviour change from stiff “I follow the rules” type of guy, acting all responsible and logical, not allowing emotions to interfere with his decisions – to someone who’ll throw everything away in order to save just one person.  Of course, I’m overdramatizing – I don’t want to spoil it for people yet to play the game.  It’s really not that big of contrast, he isn’t letting the world perish for the sake of one person or anything.  It’s just that even the simple action of running away from one’s responsibilities – that were thrown at him, against his wishes – in order to folow one’s heart is a big step for Squall.

Yet, even then, it still feels tacked-on, the whole romance – even though it’s supposed to be the main focus of the game.  Perhaps they didn’t want to risk losing the pre-pubescent male audience, you know those not-quite-adult boys that scowl at girls and romance?  Or am I just not in the right mood or frame of mind?  Whatever the case, I am not getting that wonderful vibe that I felt during the opening of the game.  Perhaps what’s missing is at least one good CGI cutscene?  Well, actually, there was one; so they did plan the job right.  Maybe it’s my mood?  Hm.