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Just finished watching Kill La Kill (24 episodes). I loved it and would highly recommend it for the crazy over-the-top action, crazy comedy (there were at least 5-10 episodes where I started laughing out loud). It reminds me a bit of Gurren Lagann which took mecha anime and then went to the absolute extreme, but instead of mecha, this was the magical girl transformation stuff. (And as such, stupid amounts of fanservice. Maybe to the point where they're parodying fanservice.) Loved the soundtrack as well.

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Current Mood: amused amused

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Hehe. Ponies need charging too. http://imgur.com/kMCJhXf

I was going to post a real entry at some point (I've had my Dreamwidth update-my-journal page open for a week now), but I no longer remember what I was going to post.
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Movies:
- Pacific Rim. Relatively predictable, but not too bad.
- Elysium. Somewhat predictable. Wish there was more about the world of the future and just how the higher class vs lower class separation came about. Instead, it was just an action movie.

Anime:
- Shingeki no Kyoujin / Attack on Titan. Highly recommended. Kinda sad that the season is over, may read the manga.

- Kill la Kill: It's been compared to FLCL. I don't remember enough about FLCL to confirm or deny this. All I can say is it left me literally laughing out loud at various absurdities. Everything is done way over the top.
- Kyoukai no Kanata: Might drop, might not. Looks like it might be turning into a harem series.

Games:
Finished Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii U). Not too bad. Rather eagerly anticipating the new Zelda: Link to the Past?-ish-remake?thing? 3DS game. In the meantime, I was talked into buying Pokemon X. First pokemon game in over a decade. Crazy.
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Went to Comic-con, accompanied by Sharon. Generally didn't plan at all. Survived. Yay.

Saw a number of assorted panels - most were pretty awesome. I think the best were ones by established authors or voice actors and such and panelists were quite happy to chat with each other and joke about things.

Got way too much swag. Ended up having to ship some of it home (well, plushies and a few random bits of clothing).

Picked up MLP chapter 9, con edition, signed by Katie Cook, thanks to Sharon.
Got all 16 autographed volumes of Kevin & Kell.
Got 2 volumes of SMBC.
Bought 2 standalone works for TwoKinds for Sharon, since I'm already getting all of the TwoKinds stuff via Kickstarter.
Said hi to the folks at the Girl Genius folks (already paying crazy amounts for their Kickstarter)
Got a stop-sign shaped sign that says "POOP".
Picked up pushies for friends.
Picked up a Pea Shooter (Plants vs. Zombies) plushie for myself.
Picked up the Mystery Pets Artbook from Diana X. Sprinkle (http://www.dianasprinkle.com/2012/04/mystery-pets-artbook/). Was silly and forgot to get it signed. Whoops. Also got two posters and a comic from a random grab bag.

Also got some random free stuff.

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Current Mood: chipper chipper

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So I got the Wii U a few days ago. Deluxe version. Quite pleased with it - it's pretty and shiny. I'm a bit disappointed that the touch screen is pressure sensitive and not capacitive.

The initial OS update does take stupidly long.

All was good until last night, when the power adaptor suddenly died while I was playing New Super Mario Bros Wii U. It was rather odd - I don't think I've had a power adaptor die on me like that before. Either way, ended up bringing it back to GameStop, where the dude kindly pulled out another new Wii U, pulled out the power adaptor, plugged it into mine, got my disc out, and the proceeded to do an exchange. Not sure why he didn't just switch the power adaptors. Oh well, more club nintendo points for me, I guess? Thankful that I hadn't bothered running the Wii -> Wii U migration yet, so I didn't really have any data to lose, aside from the NintendoLand and Super Mario Bros. savefiles.

And now, my new-again Wii U is happily (read: slowly) downloading the new OS update. Sigh. Time to do laundry and get food.


Driving down to LA tomorrow. Renting a car from Enterprise at SFO, then driving down Hwy 1 alone, so I can blast MLP music and musicals. Hopefully will not die. =^^=;

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Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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13 episodes. Shoujo series - relatively standard plotline with a poor girl that loses her home and ends up living at a shine. It caught my eye because one of the characters had animal ears. ^^; I'm a sucker for that.

But, all in all, it was quite good. Heck, I'd say I'd even consider watching it again, maybe. It's directed by Akitaro Daichi who also did Jubei-chan and Fruits Basket. It's really quite well done - bits of humor, bit of romance, all spaced out enough so you're never really stuck on one emotion for too long.

I kinda wanna read the manga now.

As the favorable review at http://psgels.net/2013/01/03/kamisama-hajimemashita-review-84100/ notes, it would have been even better as a 26 episode series.

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Finally completed Ni No Kuni [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ni_no_Kuni] tonight. I probably approached 60-something hours. Definitely didn't need that long to beat it, but I enjoyed hunting down rare creatures that'd give me crazy amounts of EXP, and then crafting together right items and such. End final boss was absurdly easy, considering the amount of leveling I had done. (I think I was getting close to level 80.)

All in all, a delightful game. Felt a bit too straightforward, although I think part of that might be because I didn't turn off the "Here's where you go next star marker" - it's on by default, and I suspect it might be more of a challenge if I turned it off. Still, it did make life a lot easier and definitely frustration free (no "ahhhhh, what do I do now?" problems.)

The story was happy. Standard Studio Ghibli fare. Minor plots twists, here and there, but very minor, nothing terribly surprising.

The art and music were both beautiful, as expected from Studio Ghibli. Contemplating playing the DS version, even though it's not translated, but from what I'm reading, the story and everything is generally the same, with slightly less awesomeness, since it's isometric and not real 3D. We'll see.


Also played Bastion [http://store.steampowered.com/app/107100/]. That was a much shorter, but harder game. Also rather beautiful. I loved the narrating. I actually wished Bastion was longer / had a stronger story. I wanted to learn more of what happened to that world.


Oh, and I beat the campaign for Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm sometime ago. Not too much to say there. I'm definitely still enjoying the story. Need to go back and beat it on brutal though.
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So apparently Las Pegasus Unicon (a brony convention held in Las Vegas) somehow crashed and burned. From what I can make of things, the organizers didn't budget well and/or got shafted by hotel and other things, resulting in the convention getting cut short, assorted folks being unable to get flights out (what.), people's hotel rooms being charged extra (I guess they booked at con rates, but then when the con management couldn't pay the hotel, it reverted to normal rates? I don't know what's going on here...), official special guest attendees and such not getting paid. Etc. It's a mess.

But not only has the community rallied around to help raise money for people that got hit by unexpected expenses, writers from the show (M.A. Larson and Meghan McCarthy) as well as the major trading card company Enterplay have stepped in to help. The former have set up auctions and the latter has donated a ton of cards (rare collectables and such) towards the charity (http://www.equestriadaily.com/2013/02/enterplay-adds-full-set-of-cards-to.html).

I know it doesn't _really_ cost these people anything to do this, but the fact that they bothered... o.O

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Flying to Taiwan for two weeks.

Currently at NRT (Narita airport in Japan)

Quick bullet notes:
• Plane was a 787-8, ANA metal. 787 Dreamliner was pretty. If you've ever flown Virgin America, take their planes and add windows that adjust the amount of light that gets through with buttons. It kinda bothers me that it doesn't go completely opaque though.
• It felt like business class, but apparently it's actually, according to seatguru, the plane is only split into business and economy. I was in economy.
• The seats for economy don't actually recline. Instead, the actual seat slides forwards a bit. I don't like it.
• The toilets onboard 787 have bidets! And also a overactive flush sensor.
• I was so happy to see Wolf Children Ame and Yuki as one of the movie options onboard. I've been looking for a fansub / torrent, but hadn't found one. And not only was it available, it was subtitled in English!
• Also watched Bourne Legacy (meh) and Total Recall (interesting idea, but also kinda meh in the end)
• Leeching free wifi to download the latest pony episode. Yay pony! (Although I've been downloading in chunks between airports. Yay wget -c)

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Yes, I'm still playing it, although now it's been heavily modified to the point where I'm effectively just cheating for competition. Honestly, a waste of time, but I want to complete the game, thank you very much.

First, I used freepone, found http://www.reddit.com/r/MLPIOS/comments/1349n8/hardcore_cheating_for_tons_of_coins_and_gems/

It essentially redirects the request for latest prices to a local file, roughly speaking and provides the option to make everything in the store free, or worth bits. I opted to make everything worth bits.

Then, once I hit the quest where I had to collect 10 gem for Spike, I sobbed, raged, and poked Google.

Turns out someone already reverse engineered the save file. Huzzah! (So glad I didn't have to try and install gdb on my iPad and see if I could tweak the memory directly. Fortunately, I didn't try that route, as it's apparently a lot harder than I would have been able to deal with. See following link-)

So some genius geek already do all the work: http://roundcube3.blogspot.com/2012/11/reverse-engineering-with-ponies.html

Grabbed the perl scripts, found my GameLoft UID, modified the xml file to give myself more hearts and gems, set the quest so I had collected "9" gems, then proceeded to get the missing gem through the balloon popping quest. Also updated a few timestamps, removed all the huge rocks and stupid parasprites and bumped the trash timer up by a few factors of 10, so hopefully they won't pop up for a while.

Things are much happier now. I'm even thinking of rearranging my buildings so my version of Ponyville is prettier.

Back to NaNoWriMo now. 37419 words. I'm kinda hoping to get to 45k before I sleep. I never write much during the week, so 2-2.5k words per weeknight is unreasonable, making a 45k target a must.

On the bright side, I've written (via harsh, faster telling, instead of showing) what happens in the following 'chapters', so writing from now on will only involve me fleshing out the action. This is going to need a lot of editing in the end if I want to upload it to fimfiction.net. There's periods of semi-acceptable, graceful prose, followed by terrible chunks of ugly, Ben-got-tired-of-writing-about-this-and-decided-to-transition-things-abruptly.

Also, I've got a bad tendency of making typos when typing really fast. I'll think 'close' and muscle memory ends up typing 'cloths'. Blargh.

--

Yet another open letter to GameLoft:

Dearest GameLoft,

Thank you for bringing My Little Pony to the iOS (and Android) worlds. It's not polished to what I'd prefer, but I'm sure kids will love it.

However, the biggest problem with it is the economics. Please, find a game designer and ask them to crunch the numbers. Or walk through a simulation of how long it would take to acquire everything just by grinding. I'm not even sure it's possible.

Yes, you say, we want you to give us money.

Thing is, we would love to give you money. But not in the hundreds. If I could clear the game with $10, you would have had it yesterday. I think the target price point should have been 1-2 pennies per gem, not 10 cents per gem, especially considering the total price required to complete the game.

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Well, someone completed the MLP game. Pretty sure some cheating was involved. But the requirements for completion are quite hefty - heavier than I would have expected, actually.

Details and link to videos here: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/11/gameloft-game-100-completion-ending.html#more

Also, you can toss Cadance now: http://futzi01.deviantart.com/art/Cadance-Toss-337732858?offset=50#comments XD
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Well, nargh. Stupid iOS MLP game nicely tuned and correctly designed to make us want to spend money.

Princess Celestia: 950 gems <= Dearest Gameloft? I hate you.
Rarity: 90 gems
Rainbow Dash: 500 gems <= I hate you for this too, 'kay? Just so we're clear.

For references sake, gems can be purchased at about 20 for $1.99, 55 for $4.99, 120 for $9.99, 260 for $19.99, 700 for $49.99, and 1500 for $99.99. I think I get a daily bonus of 1 or 2 gems for playing each day? That'll be... 250+ days for Dashie, and years for Celestia. =.=

There's periodic "sales" in the store that last around an hour or so, despite it saying "2 day" or "3 day" sale. Not sure if that's a typo, or "day" as in in-game "day".

Anyways, I have things set up decently well so that I have three production building that complete at 1, 2, and 3 minute intervals with three ponies in each, netting me about 10k in gold coins per hour, I think. Then there's a few slower building that I rotate ponies through to net the third-pony production building bonus - those complete between 25 min - 1.5 hours. In general, the iPad I'm playing on just sits by my keyboard, with the sound off. When a completed building notification pops up, it gets tapped once (I let the game auto-collect my coins and such) and I go back to what I was doing (usually writing for NaNoWriMo).

I have 16 ponies unlocked at the moment. (Twilight, Bon Bon, Mrs. and Mr. Cup Cake, Cheerilee, Lyra, Braeburn, Big Mac, Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, Pinkie Pie, Snips, Applejack, Octavia, Spitfire, and Fluttershy). I've "explored" to all of the Elements of Harmony locations. I've pretty much stopped playing the minigames to level ponies now, since I've got 4 4 ponies at with 5 stars and 2 with four, and that's generally enough to run my production buildings.

Unfortunately, I only have 5 gems now. I've lost probably half of the gems I've collected to accidentally bushing a "Use gems to speed this up" buttons. Makes me wish I could save and revert sometimes. (Probably could. Should try archiving the save file data sometime, and rolling back / etc. I've looked at the data file. Could not immediately determine format, nor could I find values I was looking for (places to change how much stuff I had))

Most of the gameplay right now is just flat out grinding, really. And if I ignore having to level up ponies, it's pretty pain-free, since the mental cost is relatively low (context switching to tap something on a screen, while distracting, isn't too terrible.)

If only I could convert gold coins to gems. Even at a 10,000 -> 1 gem ratio would be acceptable. 9,500,000 gold coins for Celestia, while being an insane number, is well within the realm of being actually doable.

--

In other news, NaNoWriMo is past 15k now. (Although I'm supposed to be closer to 22k tonight. Blah. Spent too much time watching older episodes of MLP, looking for character data, and then watching Sword Art Online (anime series where players are stuck in an MMORPG, and death there means death in the real world. With no way to exit the game except by beating it. It's surprisingly well done.).
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NaNoWriMo status: Words written today: 3,345. Total: 7,745. I'm 3,921 short of where I should have been by the most recent midnight. 5588 words short of where I should be tomorrow. According to Dropbox's revision log, I've been writing for about 5 hours. Sigh. Maybe another 5 hours tomorrow (err, today - it's 2 AM?!), then more time friday.

I wish I had an app that tracks when my writing app has the current focus, so I can see just how much time I've spent writing. Even cooler would be if it could grab my word per minute average. Right now, it looks like it's approximately 600-900 words per hour (so about 10-15 words per minute, which is slightly below the 19 wpm listed for composition on Wikipedia).

At this rate, I should need another 6-9 hours to get caught up with where I should be tomorrow. Obviously that won't happen all at once tomorrow, so... yeah, another 5-6 hours after work tomorrow once I get into the flow. Then all day friday, hopefully, if I don't slack off. That's a danger.

(I get friday off, since it was my birthday this past tuesday, and the job comes with a your-birthday = personal holiday policy, so I opted to take friday off instead of taking tuesday off.)

Also, got Halo. Thankfully resisting the urge to play more. I've got self-control, right?
Also picked up a 3 TB external hard drive to act as a separate local backup (for now) of my other externals. I have BackBlaze (highly recommended cloud backup), but I generally don't back up everything there, since it takes ages to transfer all the data, and some stuff I don't care _that_ much about (like downloaded anime series that are just sort of sitting around, a bad habit from hotline server days, when you needed stuff to trade...).

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As posted on Facebook:
Phooey, Nanowrimo is down (nginx failure, apparently). I'm only at 375/50,000 words. This has been a terrible start. At least I (kinda) know where I'm going with this story. Having a plot sketched out beforehand makes a surprising amount of difference when writing. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing has yet to be seen. Also, as fanfiction, working in someone else's world (additional constraints on locations and characters) is quite interesting.


More about the planned story / other stuff not posted to FB:
Standard adventure plotline, generally following Voyage and Return on one group and potentially The Quest on the other group. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheSevenBasicPlots, http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheHerosJourney)

Using the My Little Pony world, although adding a few race of felines (Hey, there's Diamond Dogs. Shouldn't there be cats of some sort? Other than Opal? I need a name for these, by the way, so suggestions are welcome. Otherwise, they're tentatively named "Carbon Cats", but that's silly and boring) and working in a race of Deer from a different fanfic (http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/04/its-dangerous-business-going-out-your.html), although I think said deer are going to be more seers and tricksters than the deer that was in that story.

Making use of the Equestria Map found here: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2012/08/high-resolution-map-scan.html
And the Ponyville Map drawn up by Aurebesh found here: http://aurebesh.deviantart.com/gallery/31093498

Kinda nice not having to design my own map. Although it also means I'm somewhat constrained by the geography. Can't randomly plop in a mountain. XD

As for characters, I'm using the CMC and the mane 6. So yay, don't have to design my own characters. And arrgh, need to figure out how to write in Applejack's accent. And stay true to their characters. And writing 6 characters traveling together is going to be interesting. (I think the big challenge here is making sure they get equal "screen" time. I'm not sure how to accomplish this.)


In other news:
MLP Season 3 really really soon. Squee!

Halo 4 getting released on Nov. 6. A wonderful birthday present, whee. I've preordered, although I hadn't planned on doing NaNoWriMo when I preordered, and now that I am doing NaNoWriMo, I'm not sure I'll have the time to play. :\

Voted (by mail). Yay. Gods, I hope Obama wins.


Life / status update:
PuzzleBang 2012 went well. Prizes were awesome, all money put towards the event has been covered by my company or ACM via company sponsorship. I think everyone had fun - I know I did.

I live up in San Francisco now, in a small, and bloody expensive studio in North Beach. Old place has finally been rented out (just barely covers my rent, which is nice). I really appreciate having a 10-15 minute bike commute, instead of a 1.2-1.5 hour bike-train-bike commute. Although, I'm not sure I've used the time effectively to get more done. Slightly less exercise too (2x 1.5 mi bike rides is now down to a 2 mi bike ride).

I really should be writing more in NaNoWriMo instead of blogging, but... meh, need to 'talk' about something else. Depressingly, this post is past 500 words, almost twice what I wrote for NaNoWriMo. Blah. I need to be more descriptive when writing. Wish my knowledge of words was stronger. I envy some of the fanfic authors who've got this awesome control over building pretty things with words. Like "Short skirts and explosions"'s The End of Ponies (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/1571/The-End-of-Ponies). ::le sigh:: Maybe I should to re-read their works (or maybe read other works of fantasy and fiction I have) and copy their style. If only I had time...
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Fluttershy


Quizzes? When I should be working on writing puzzles? Why yes, I am a silly, procrastinating pony. ^^;;
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Benjamin Juang
User: ibneko
Name: Benjamin Juang
The Wizard's Oath, species-nonspecific recension
In Life's name, and for Life's sake, I assert that I will employ the Art which is its gift in Life's service alone. I will guard growth and ease pain. I will fight to preserve what grows and lives well in its own way; Nor will I change any creature unless its growth and Life, or that of the system of which it is part, are threatened. To these ends, in the practice of my Art, I will ever put aside fear for courage, and death for Life, when it is fitting to do so- looking always toward the Heart of Time, where all our sundered times are one, and all our myriad worlds lie whole, in that from which they proceeded...
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