Wednesday, December 24
From Ranma in Ranma ½ to Faye Valentine in Cowboy Bebop, from Lina Inverse in The Slayers to Lime in Saber Marionette J, by way of Momiji in Blue Seed and Pai in 3 x 3 Eyes, Megumi Hayashibara is without doubt my favourite anime voice actress (or seiyuu).
If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a voice actress, there's no better or funnier introduction than the Megumi-Toons.
While you're there, you might also like to check out these translations of Azumanga Daioh.
Christmas shopping: done. Except for young Harry. Since he's only two weeks old, he's a tough one to shop for. All he wants right now is his mummy and a clean nappy.
I bought a few things for myself along the way, including volumes four and five of Ai Yori Aoshi and the new expansion pack for Neverwinter Nights, Hordes of the Underdark. The only oint in the flyment is that I have to get it all home somehow... And there are no trains running. Not a one.
Where's Thomas the Tank Engine when you need him? He'd get these striking slackers sorted out, quick smart.
Tuesday, December 23
And here they are. I could have compressed the files more (and I have in some cases), but everyone has broadband now, right? Except Tiger.
A charming little series about a group of high-school girls, and the funniest thing I have seen this year.
An educational children's show, and a good way for Westerners to learn a bit about Japan. Warning: high cuteness factor.
Jungle Wa Itsumo Hale Nochi Guu
"The jungle was always nice, then came Guu"
Or maybe this is the funniest thing I've seen all year. It's certainly one of the weirdest things I've seen, and also one of the best. These are the opening and closing sequences for the TV series and for the OVA series that followed it, Jungle Guu Deluxe. Note that the files sizes for the openings are somewhat on the large side due to the frenetic scene-shifting involved. The closing sequence of Jungle Guu Deluxe is a classic, but you really need to watch the show to appreciate it fully.
Um, I haven't watched this yet. Something something.
Mahoromatic II is the sequel to Mahoromatic. [Duh — Ed] Mahoro is a retired combat robot now working as a maid. I like the original ending sequence better (the Mahoro Mambo), but this one is cute too.
Nanaka has lost her memory and regressed to the age of 6. Silly on the face of it, but surprisingly moving. Because if Nanaka recovers and regains her memories...
Another series that is silly on the surface but has some real depth. Also, in this case, boobies. And ferret-girls, and dancing dandelions. Una!
An adventure story involving a young princess prophesied to destroy the world.
Secret of Cerulean Sands
An adventure story set in the 19th century, based loosely on the works of Jules Verne.
Stellvia of the Universe
The story of Stellvia and her evil plot to take over the Universe. [What?! No it isn't! — Ed]
Tokyo Mew Mew
The story of a group of Mew Mews in Tokyo. Sorry, I haven't watched this one either.
UFO Princess Warukyure
Also known by those who can spell as UFO Princess Valkyrie. Warning: Contains boobies. Contains very boobies.
Original Opening (20MB) (more boobies)
Revised Opening (20MB) (less boobies)
Original Ending (5MB) (no boobies to speak of)
Revised Ending (10MB) (still no boobies to speak of)
Ending (19MB) (boobies return with reinforcements!)
The story of a young witch who has come to our world seeking an education. Chaos ensues. Of course, chaos always ensues. You'd think we'd have learnt that by now.
The first batch of anime video clips is uploading now... About 700MB worth. I need a faster internet connection. Mind you, that's always true.
The best I can do here is 2Mbit, which would set me back $550 per month. Alas, unhappy Pixy...
Monday, December 22
Pixy Misa's Doesn't Suck Award goes today to VirtualDub. VirtualDub is a simple, free video dubbing program. You give it an input file, tell it how you want the output file to be, and it does it. Want the first 90 seconds of a file? Or the last 60? No problem. You don't even need to recode the file - it extracts the bitstream directly and builds a new file for you. Want to overdub with your own soundtrack, or add subtitles? Go for it.
It's not fancy. It's a little bit fiddly to get the start and end points to exactly the right frames. But it does what you tell it to. That's a key feature missing from every commercial video package I've tried.
What does all this mean? It means that very soon I'll have a little library of anime video clips up for your enjoyment and education. Watch for them!
Update: Hmm. It seems to be having a slight problem with Popotan, which is the first clip I've tried in a widescreen (16:9) format. Some more tinkering required...
Update: Don't know what is causing the problem, but recoding the file fixes it. Speaking of which, for fast encoding, reasonable quality, and reasonably small video files, Xvid seems to be the codec of choice. It's also free.
Check out Ghost of a Flea to see why. But this is really far more accurate:
You are a Cyberculture Floozie. The theoretical
aspects of postmodernism interest you only
insofar as they can be used to make cool blinky
things. You probably take psychedelics and
know at least one programming language (HTML
counts!). Other postmodernists call you a
corporate whore. They're probably just jealous
because you make more money than them.
An hour and a half spent with a screwdriver, kernel modules, random config files and the latest nVidia drivers and I have finally have both Kei and Yuri working perfectly at 1600x1200 at 85Hz. Crisp, clear, rock solid.
The 3D performance on Yuri is still somewhat lacking... I have no idea what to make of this, since I have never tried to do any serious 3D graphics on Linux anyway. It's certainly not the card - a GeForce 4 Ti 4600 Ultra - so it's either a problem with the drivers or with the way I installed them. But 3D on Linux is not a priority right now; the only thing I'd use it for is pretty screen savers.
Kei, meanwhile, has a nifty new GeForce FX 5700. This makes no difference at all that I've seen so far, but over Christmas I expect to spend some time playing Knights of the Old Republic, so we'll see how that goes.
For now, I've also yanked the cable from the gigabit ethernet port. It's just not worth the bother for a 60% speedup (which is all Windows seems able to manage). I'll fix it another day.
At one point I managed to drop Kei on her head - I had propped the case up on a chair, but it turned out not to be very well balanced. No harm seems to have been done... And I can't type without touching wood here at Pixy Central.
Pixy's Tip of the Day
If you are assembling a new Linux box, don't buy a video card less than six months old. Unless it's for a server and you never plan to use the console in anything other than text mode.
Just don't. It's not worth the money or the time you will waste trying and failing to get it to work. Last year's cards, on the other hand, are cheap and plenty fast enough, and work just fine.
Sunday, December 21
It's early morning, just before dawn, with the sky beginning to lighten to the east. To the south I can see the lights of the city; across the valley, above the houses, hangs a crescent moon, its circle just visible by reflected Earthlight. A breeze stirs the ferns in the garden below my balcony, and a few clouds drift lazily northwards. It's cool now, but a a fine warm summer's day is promised.
Time for bed.
Anyone out there who understands Windows networking?
If so, does Windows actually comprehend the concept of having more than one network card? And of, like, routing packets to the 10.1.1.x network out the card configured with the 10.1.1.y address? (Yes, my netmasks are correct.)
Or should I just give up and configure my Linux box as a router?
I now have six network interfaces - 100M ethernet, Gbit ethernet, three firewire interfaces, and another one calling itself "Microsoft TV/Video Connection" that just magically appeared one day. Sometimes some of them work. Sometimes some of them don't work.
Pixy's Tip of the Day
If you wish to experiment with TCP/IP over Firewire, do not use the Firewire chain with your external hard disk on it, as this will likely cause the disk to be unavailable to either computer.
Saturday, December 20
I spent a pleasant evening yesterday reading comic books.
Wandering around Kinokuniya the other day I discovered that they had in stock both Sergio Aragones' Groo the Wanderer and Mark Crilley's Akiko on the Planet Smoo. I have a fair collection of Groo, but I've been looking for Akiko for a while now. Disappointingly, they only have the novel of Akiko on the Planet Smoo and not the original comic, though they do have six* volumes of Akiko's further illustrated adventures. So far I've read volumes one through three, which comprise the tale of The Menace of Alia Rellapor. It's lovely stuff, and highly recommended for children of all ages.
On the Groo side of things, I picked up The Most Intelligent Man in the World and Groo and Rufferto. The latter is particularly remarkable for a highly detailed five-page index.
Kinokuniya used to be my local bookstore, so I was disappointed when they closed their store. I was rather happier when they opened their new store in the Galleries Victoria (across the road from the Queen Victora Building in Sydney). The old store wasn't small, but the new one is at least five times the size. Now they've been there for a while and have had a chance to fill all that space with books, and I have to say that they are probably now my second favourite bookstore. First, of course, is Galaxy, Sydney's Science Fiction bookstore, where I have been a faithful customer for twenty years.
Not only do Kinokuniya have lots of stuff I want (first rule for success in business: have something people want), but their prices are reasonable, and they gave me a discount (10% on Tuesday, 15% when I went back today), and they gave me some free gift vouchers, and coupons good for 20% off in January and February.
Now all of you go away for a little while, as I still have three volumes of Akiko* to read.
* And another one.
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