Monday, September 22, 2008

Death to the College textbook industry.

Honest to god.

$450 for books for ONE class. That's in addition to the tuition cost and an extra $50 in unexplained "fees" for said class. What kind of crack is this industry on?

Nearly $600 for books for three classes this quarter. And that's just for one of us, Brit and I are going to be forced to share whatever materials we can because FA isn't going to be in until long after classes start and that has to somehow come out of our pocket.

Is there a tree shortage somewhere? Do the teachers get some kind of commisions for forcing $170 a piece books at you? Would it really be concidered wrong if beat the snot out of the teacher who requires us to buy three $100+ books for one online class? Who would blame me. 

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Kitchen Princess Vol. 6

Ugh! It took me so long to get my hands on this volume of Kitchen Princess. I read most my manga from the library. Seattle's public library actually has a really vast amount of manga so it feeds my habbit much farther than my wallet would take it. And I avoid the crazy weeaboos who live in the manga isle at Border's so bonus! The downside is how long I have to wait sometimes for books, especially if it's a popular series. For example, I'm number 27 or 34 people waiting for the 18 copies of Kitchen Princess Vol. 7 in the city. That'll be a while.

Anyway! After the cliff hanger at the end of volume 5 I was a little disappointed with how this one went. The whole series can be a bit vapid but dealing with the death of a major character in such a breezy way didn't sit right with me. And the reaction of the other students didn't wring true either. Daisuke's sudden change of priorities and immediate loss of distain for whatever it was he hated his parents for was also less than stellar. Throwing in yet another plot twist and cliff hanger at the end made me toss the book into the air with a "Feh!" and curse my interest in soap opera shoujo like this. But I'm still going to read the next volume ... for the some reason that I've watched Clueless dozens of times. I have a weird attraction to mindless candy.  I'd probably enjoy Kitchen Princess more if I weren't reading Fruits Basket at the same time. Reading a stellar shoujo while reading an average one makes the latter feel worse than it really is. 

It's been a crazy busy few days with little time for gaming or anime. I'm finally, after SEVEN years of being out of high school, getting back into school seriously. The problem is I only decided this about two weeks ago and classes start next week so I've been going a bit nuts flying around getting financial aid in order and leaping through all the loops that colleges like to throw at you before they let you attend. However, as of today I am done with everything and free to start classes next Thursday with my first Japanese class. I couldn't be more excited.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fall is a wonderful horrible time to be a gamer.

If my list of must play games gets any longer I'm going to have to live on ramen for a month to afford them all. Fall is such a wonderful and terrible time to a be a gamer, wonderful in that "Holy crap look at all the awesome" way and terrible in that there is only one of me and my wallet is only so big.

I've got games currently owned to play: Lost Odyssey, Atelier Iris 2, La Pucelle Tactics, Puzzle Quest not to mention LoTRO and Alba18. Games just released to buy: Spore, Tales of Vesperia, Star Wars: Force Unleashed, Too Human, Infinate Undiscovery.Games coming out soon: Fallout 3, Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria and I'm sure all those lists have things I'm forgetting.

My question for the gaming industry is, why do they do this every single fall? My sanity and my budget beg you all to spread things out! Ten months of nothing new and two months of feeling like I'm drowning in games is just too much roller coaster.

On a blog note, I removed the "bento" from my tag line until I can afford to cook good food again. Felt a bit like false advertising.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Aria the Animation Ep. 1-5

I've been on a slice-of-life kick lately, it's like I'm allergic to plot all of a sudden. The newest I've added to my long currently watching list is Aria the Animation. The first thing that caught me was the color pallete. I know, odd right? As an ex-fine art major I'm very into color theory and I know which shades appeal to me personally. Lucky Star does, Sketchbook ~fullcolor'S~ does, and so does Aria. It's also a bit of fun color theory that all three of those series share an easy going slice of life theme as well.

The setting is certainly unique. Hundreds of year in the future a girl chases her dream of being a gondolier ... on Mars. It took me two episiodes to get that Aqua = Mars, which I think is delightful. Any sort of typical sci-fi esque voice over explaining where mankind currently stands wouldn't fit with the mood. And mood is one thing Aria has. It starts with the color pallete of soft almost sun faded colors throught out and extends to many wide panning shots of water and city scape of the sort that you'd expect in a French indy film rather than an anime. The animation is top notch. The show is just down right -pretty-. There's an almost fantasy like theme throughout, the combination of sci-fi and fantasy that the Japanese excel at and which sadly there is not nearly enough of, with different professions in Aqua taking on mythological names. The gondoliers go by the term Undine with the three best being known as the Water Faeries to the Sylph who deliver mail via airbike. 

It's much less character driven than other slice of lifes like Lucky Star or Azumanga, unless you count the abundance of adorable scenes centered around the cat President Aria. The characters are much more low key than most anime and very believable. Humor is present, I've gotten plenty of giggles thus far, but it's less slap stick and usually contained in odd facial expressions or the adventures of Aria-sato. 

If you don't like the slice of life genre chances are pretty good that you won't like Aria the Animation. If you do, or if you've previously enjoyed artsy foreign films, you'll probably like it. I'm very quickly becoming a fan. 


I admit it... I have a problem.

Name a free to play Asian MMO, especially a cute anime based one, and chances are I've played it. I can't stop downloading the darn things! Most can't hold my attention for more than a few days but it's like an addiction, downloading and trying them. I don't know if I just like seeing new games or if I'm actually hoping to find one that I can play for longer than a week or two.

Current obsesesion, Albatross18 (Pangya everywhere else, and a much better name in my opinion)

I first came upon the game when I was playing Trickster Online, an addictive little game that I played for a few months made by the same company. In Trickster two of the characters of Pangya, Arin and Kooh, are little pets that follow you around. I though Kooh was adorably hot ... then I found out that she's eleven. This doesn't stop people from lusting after her and clothing her in skimpy outfits and that disturbs me. What disturbs me more is that... she's still hot! Gah!

Anyway, I tried it probably a year ago but didn't play much because frankly I suck at sports games. Giving it a try again and I'm sucking a bit less and having more fun. It's pure eyecandy, and without the graphics and characters I doubt I'd play. There is something really satisfying about hearing that "Paang-YA!" though. The game is plagued by the same idiots as any other free game but it's a great distraction. I'm trying to save up to buy Arin but at the rate that I seem to be making pang it'll take a month to earn that much. ; ; 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I want this so bad. Yes, those kittens are omlets. 

PAX Aftermath

I meant to make posts about each day of PAX but ended up spending so much time writing reviews and answering questions on the LoTRO forums that I never managed to update my blog. So here's a quick run down:

Saturday - So crowded I couldn't breath, honestly. The expo hall, which I expected to be busy obviously, was so bad that just walking down the aisles you were often stuck for twenty to thirty seconds completely unable to move because of some traffic jam ahead. This situation made it near impossible to stop and look at anything much less talk to people. I spent very little time in the expo hall on Saturday and most of it was spent at the Turbine booth. The panel I was looking forward to most, one about writing and marketing a gaming blog, ended up being such a fanfest for the internet celebs in the panel that it was more "Meet and scream at your favorite blogger" rather than an instructional panel. I ended up leaving about ten minutes inot because of that and the fact that it was held at the smallest and most poorly set up theater in a corner of one of the main halls. Standing room only and so loud and poorly lit that you could hear or see anything on the screen. 

The highlight of the day was the Fallout 3 demo. I am not much of a FPS player, I've played a few but there has to be something else to hook me there aside from shooting crap. I am a huuuuge Bethesda fan. I've spent more time playing Oblivion than any other game, save MMOs. Somehow I caught that Fallout 3 was a shooter but missed that it was Bethesda until I read it in the PAX program. Also, shame on me for not realizing that Bethesda = awesome RPG. I am going to play the hell out of Fallout 3. It's like "post apocoliptic Oblivion with guns".  We called it an early day Saturday because there was a four hour chunk of time between panels that we wanted to see and with the crowds just decided that going home would be more fun.

Sunday - We spent most of our time on Sunday in the main theater, we watched the end of the second PA Q&A, the Spore demo (more coming up) and about half of the Dragon Age Toolset demo before we wandered off to get in some last minute expo hall action before the doors closed. Sprore.was.awesome. Like a good chunk of gamers, I've been waiting on Spore for years. I didn't realize that it was going to be SO freaking awesome nor that it's coming out next week. Everyone in the theater was excited afterwards, I was surrounded by people calling friends on their cell phone to rave about Spore. 

The expo hall time after was another highlight because ... we finally managed to demo Aion. Brit and I have been waiting for that game for over two years now. Finally getting our hands on it after so long was like crack. Our reaction after playing it for about fiften or twenty minutes was "Can't wait till that releases" and Sunday night at home was filled with both of us randomly commenting "I want to play Aion..." 

We ended up skipping the final Omegathron round. It didn't start until 5 but the line started at 3:30 and was already packed. We just dropped off our punch cards and left to get some dinner at Westlake Center before heading home.