Sunday, 29 June 2008

My Mantra

"I will not get depressed... I will not get depressed..."

Yep, that's my mantra these days. As usual, the contributing factors are present (they always are), and I can't focus on anything much aside from those that I should not. This is why I'm telling myself not to fall into the pits of depression.

I know it's a lot easier to fall than to get out. XD

Worry

People worry because they think they can do something; that is, they want to be able to do something.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Human action

The problems of this world are not caused by human actions, but rather by humans not acting their part.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Breaking the Code

After stating the basic points that make the anime, Code Geass, the great show that it is in my previous post, I'll get down to breaking down and analyzing things a bit further. Yeah, you may say I'm a bit conceited after you read through the next blocks of text, and I won't hold it against you. But try to enjoy the read, anyway. =P

I've previously outlined that the perfect blend of all the necessary plot elements is a major contributing factor to the anime's success. If one will look into the story a bit deeper, he'll see that there's nothing new actually. There's the bit of a chaotic royal line, which the main character/s is a part/member of. Internal conflicts are also subdued, and not made public, since the main character/s is/are living quite double-lives/hiding their true identity at the start of the first season. The main protagonist being a highschool students is not, and never will be, new as the romance bit that is almost always present.

And then the main characters will be piloting mecha (tsk... too cliche), and they'd be doing very much well as compared to professional pilots/soldiers. As such, death of extra characters (as well as main characters) are also there.

tl;dr version: It's not what makes up the show per se that makes it a hit. Therefore, I reiterate: it is the proper blending of the individual components that make it so.

But there is another important keyword behind the show's success: reinvention. Yes, they did a good job at it. They took all the elements that will endear the show to the viewers, mixed and matched them, and reinvented to make a show that has made a niche into an average anime-lover's heart.

The show capitalizes on that which silently resides in each and every viewer's heart: desire for power. Be it political power, sexual power, supernatural powers - the show was able to incorporate everything so as to encompass whatever that which the viewer so desires. By using a not-so-ordinary high school student as a symbol, the show's creators are able to tap into the innermost desires of the viewers to effect changes into a society that they're not able to do in real life.

Everyone wants to make a difference; yet not everyone is given the chanceAt the core of it all, is the fact that all the viewers wanted to be either a Zero or a Suzaku (or whichever of the main characters). Everyone wants to make a difference; yet not everyone is given the chance. By capitalizing on the viewer's empathy, the producers ensured that they've made a place for Code Geass among the most famous shows on the planet.

But as to all gambles, there's a risk the show conceptualizer took: to not maintain a neutral enough position. Sure, they've made it PG-13 but I doubt any average teenager can actually realize the beauty behind it all.

On the contrary, I'm highly anxious about the Code's effects on the average viewer. Sure, I didn't need to watch the show twice to separate that which are the true, though subliminal, messages that should be absorbed. But that is the 24 year-old me talking.

I just shudder at the thought of another kid doing a Gaara. There's way too much violence in Code Geass than Naruto, and unlike the latter, the former can't have the violence dampened with a few cuts and splices on the storyboard.

But for those who are able to appreciate it for what its worth, I'm sure they'd agree that Code Geass is top-notch. Very nicely done, 9.5 out of 10.

Perfect Pizza

As I've hinted in a previous post, I did a marathon watching of Code Geass all the way from season one. And as with most of the anime I love, I got hooked on it all the way from the very first episode of the first season. I believe such a nice show deserves a bit of review on this blog, so here it goes.

I'd have to first acknowledge the show's creators/conceptualizers; they do know their proper target market and how to market it properly. For an animated series aimed at viewers from the age of 13 to 30, this show does have all the necessary elements that will surely entice the audience and get them addicted: sex and violence, power and authority, strengths and weakness, humor and wit, morals and the lack thereof, brains and no-brainers, mecha, scantily-clad women/girls, hints of incest, and the usual high-school harem - all mixed in the proper proportions, with nothing served too much so as not to spoil the over-all taste.

In other words, it's a perfectly-baked pizza.

All the ingredients from the crust, to the tomato sauce and toppings, and even the oil - the plot elements, I mean - they are flawlessly blended that subliminal messages are just too inconspicuous to be noticed at first glance. One can't help but get engrossed with the story and symphatize with the characters, who are very understandably human (another plus point for me).

But enough with the food talk, or I'll start to sound as the glutton I somewhat am. =P

Hmm... Better yet, I'll make it a two-part review. Please stay tuned for the continuation. ^^,

Friday, 20 June 2008

Yes, another one

Before going any further, let's pause for a bit. I'll just make another advisory. =P

Hey, hey, hey! I've broken my record of making only 12 updates per month! :D

This post will be the 14th update for June, and I plan to write more and more. I'm actually gonna make that sort of review for Code Geass, but I decided this advisory should go first. Hehe.

Tale of Two Jerries

I just realized that I've been in my new office for almost two months already, yet I haven't blogged about it. So why not? Lemme see...

When I first arrived in the office, the second co-worker I met was Sir Jerry. Yeah, right. Katukayo. Amp. Up until now, we're actually still having some difficulties when the two of us are in the office at the same time. =P

And there's the matter of the group messaging that almost made things a bit more complicated. But since Sir Jerry uses Jedamz as his nickname in our group text, and I use Jherskie, there really wasn't much of a problem at all.

No one asked me, though, to use my second first name. If I'm not forgetting things, I said in a very old post that I'm Michael at home. The reason why I don't use it at work is that there are many others with that name. But now that the tables had turned, figuratively, I still opted to become the group's second Jerri. I guess the real reason is that I prefer to separate my personal life from my professional life. (By name, at least, since even when I'm home I can't just forget about work as my professional responsibilities extend even to the hours when I'm off-duty.) XD

The Code of Geass

Just a few weeks ago, Choco gave me a link to a site wherein I could download some anime. Actually, I was looking up Code Geass then since Jason had been cosplaying as Lelouch and I have only the vaguest idea about the anime.

Thing is, the site only had the episodes of the second season, Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion R2, but I never realized it until I had finished downloading all the first 9 episodes. Well no, I only realized after watching the first few seconds of the first episode. And since I really wanted to know the anime, and what makes it a hit, I decided to watch the whole of season one.

A few days ago, I started watching season 1 on imeem.com, but since loading time on the site takes forever, I was only on episode 20 after much slacking off at work. And since the files of the second season are already resting in my hard disk, tempting me to open them...

I did.

Even though I'm still missing a few crucial episodes from the first chapter, I still enjoyed watching the show. And by enjoying, I meant I also automatically applied that which I've discussed in a previous post. But in as much as I would want to discuss that right now, my torrent downloader just informed me that episode 10 of R2 had just finished downloading. I'll watch it now, and blog about the show later. =P

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

For Before Seven is Not Six

After I finished FFIX on my PSP several weeks ago, I decided to finish another game that had been staying in my Alicia's memory (teh PSP, for the new readers of this blog) for such a long time - Final Fantasy Crisis Core. Yeah, I know this game is several months old already but I don't follow the trends anyway. XD

While there was so much hype regarding the game before it was released, I daresay that I didn't enjoy it as much. Actually, I played it as a prerequisite of sort to it's sequel, Final Fantasy VII, which I plan to play next. I won't exactly say that it wasn't worth all the effort finishing the game, but I do have something against the main protagonist dying in the end for no important reason (except to serve as a basis for the story's continuation).

On to the next game, I suppose. =P

Formulas

You may say it's a gift, and you may also call it a curse.

Years of learning have so greatly imbibed several characteristics upon me, and I just can't throw them away even if I wanted to. Quite a double-edged sword, actually, but they do come in handy at times.

Oh well, as a kid, I was always fascinated with how things work. But, mind you, I never did dismantle toys and whatnots (since I didn't have any to tinker with), but I did my best to research their functions and processes.

Now that I'm a full-pledged engineer, my curiosity is still the same as ever, albeit on a different level. I'm no longer interested (much) on the mechanisms behind the objects I used to fancy since I have studied most of them back in college. XD

However, the engineer in me wouldn't let any opportunity pass without having the chance to apply the engineering principles I've studied. Call it an obsession if you want to, but I can't just let any decision go by without first balancing the different equations and extracting that which will provide the maximum output for the minimum amount of effort.

Worse, the mathematician in me would try to deduce everything into the most basic formulas, just for the sake of simplifying things (thanks algebra... lolwut!). And this peculiar habit of mine, as I've noticed, had become quite second nature that even the anime that I watch, and the books I read, are automatically reduced to the simplest equations, and the basic elements of the plot segregated and separately studied. I need not stress further that most of the time, I'm able to accurately predict how the events will unfold based on the empirical data presented during the build up.

However, knowing the formula is largely different from knowing how to use them. Perhaps this is why I'm still kinda frustrated as a writer. I know the proper elements that will make up a hit, yet I can't mix them up properly to even make up a decent story.

I guess this peculiar habit of mine will be staying with me for a bit more time. Being an engineer is a path I've chosen, so I've got to accept everything that goes with it.

Oh, just blabbering, by the way. =P

Sunday, 15 June 2008

The Connection

Now that I've gone on a reminiscing mode, one thing that immediately came up from the deep well that I call my memory just makes me grateful for my decision to have a broadband internet connection. Ah, I can still recall: sleeping early in the night, just to wake up past midnight because the dial-up internet connection was free (due to a very popular promo by a then-very popular ISP). Those were the days, and I'm sure there are several others like me acting as though vampires - staying awake through the night.

Ever since my mom got me my first PC (I lay claim on it, harhar!), I had developed a connection to cyberspace that had me entwined in the numerous webpages that I had visited all these years. There's the ever-useful email which I still check on a daily basis, as well as forum boards wherein I interact with others (although I'm really trying to distance myself from Ragnaboards these days as part of my quit-RO scheme), and most recently, streaming pages where I watch anime.

And then it dawned to me just a couple of days ago, I am (and I think I'll forever be) an anime-tard. XD (Google it up, I won't explain what the term is.)

Back in those days when I first stayed up in the early morning just to surf the net for free, I mostly spent my time downloading anime MP3s and other anime whatnots. Most of those stuff are still on my hard disks (I have an obsession for archiving everything, actually), although I rarely check them out these days.

Then came the game that changed everything - Ragnarok Online. I spent more and more time awake in the "free" hours because of that game (and thus, my addiction heightened). But now that I'm keeping myself away from Midgard, I've reverted to my former interest - anime.

Yeah, Shakugan no Shana's third season is still not within the horizon, and neither is Spice and Wolf's second. The final episode of Clannad will be out by next month (so they say), but I've already watched the movie version anyway.

One thing I had realized is that there are loads more out there. Hehe. Getting the connection is indeed a good decision for me. =P

Fundamental Steps

I am really one to believe that there are fundamental steps that must be undertaken in whatever process there is. Be it simple procedures on solving certain types of problems, to meticulous ways of cooking (for shows such as Iron Chef and Cooking Master Boy), even to walking the steps of life - all these share a common core, that is there are things that should never be forsaken.

Among those fundamental steps in walking in the path of life, is one thing that is best put in words by a popular Filipino saying, "And di lumilingon sa pinanggagalingan, di makakarating sa paroroonan" (Those who do not look back at their past, will never arrive into the future they want to be in). In other words, it is imperative that people reflect on the decisions and experiences that had all passed, and use these memories to better shape the future ahead.

I had always tried to look back into my previous experiences so as, most importantly, not to repeat past mistakes. However, there are many instances that I keep repeating the same errors over and over again (meaning, I kept getting low grades way back when, among other things). Blame it on my constant memory loss, and whatnots. Lately, I've been noticing that I'm forgetting more and more things as the days progress.

But no, I'm not making excuses or anything. I had been one to put in security measures and tons of backup plans to ensure things will go on quite smoothly. But then, there are trivial things that I don't notice, and thus do not prepare for. (These days, I'm trying to find ways to compensate for those.)

Of course, there are other methods that are, although unreliably random, sure to work. An adviser of mine, back in college, for example, was quick to point out one of my inherent weakness. This college professor of mine was with us for a bit of office immersion, and I was discussing about our workflow processes. A couple of explanations on this and that, and he remarked that I never changed. But I won't be divulging that weakness here in my blog. =P

So there, a fundamental step that I must undertake in order to move on to a better future - to look back and revisit who I really am. There are several matters that need to be addressed, and several more steps to be undertaken. But although the steps may be numerous, a Chinese saying does go this way, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Friday, 13 June 2008

Starting Again

Having lost my hope for the game I held so dear, I decided to just let it go and move on. However, all those years of addiction aren’t something that’d go away easily, of course. Actually, as with other addiction, there are withdrawal symptoms and whatnots. For my case, the manifestations were lost of focus and I easily got agitated if I didn’t log in at least once a week.

This is exactly why I had never been able to quit the game until I no longer could turn a blind eye over the things happening around. But aside from that feeling of hopelessness, something came up that allowed me to get pass my addiction. And that is another game, another life, a fresh start.

I’m starting again, this time in the world of Nevareth in the game of Cabal Online. I figured that the best way to totally eradicate my craziness over a game is to get engrossed in a new one. And if the new one doesn’t match up to the greatness of the former one, perhaps I may along the way give up playing online games altogether.

So now, I’m retracing my steps while moving towards a new beginning. I’m starting again.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

My Reason

When I made my decision several weeks ago, it came to me that I should formally explain the reason in this blog. Yes, I've decided to stop playing Ragnarok Online, and yes, there are several reasons behind it.

First of all, I still love the game (just to clear things up). I even made a simple experiment just to confirm that. You see, I haven't logged into the game for a long time now, so I checked on my account just a few moments ago. The tune of the loading screen itself is a dead give-away that a great part of me is still longing to get back to the times when the game was at it's prime. And then, I had my blacksmith go back to what I really consider my RO home - Geffen. I used to play only mages, so that the theme of the city of magic is so much inscribed into heart that hearing just the first few notes is enough for me to remember the memories I cherish most.

Still, a decision has to be made. It's not a choice between good and evil, nor between the lesser of two evils, or anything of the sort. It's not world-changing, and it most certainly isn't fate-affecting.

So why leave it behind? These are the factors that affected my choice.

Major ones first, I guess. If there's one thing I hate most about the game is that it is being run by a company in which I can no longer see either improvement or development. Time after time, I've turned a blind eye over the things, which all pointed out to one direction - that everything is pointless.

I need not a degree in business or personnel management to see where things are going wrong. All throughout those days when my addiction was at it's peak, I've blatantly refused to accept the fact that ominous signs are everywhere. I used to hope that things will improve, that there is still a faint ray of light in the dark abyss that things are being led to.

Alas, I no longer could continue the path of martyrdom that LU! wants its loyal customers to take. And so I decided to quit.

Another major factor is the conflict within my first real guild (the only one, and the last) that shattered the very foundation upon which I set upon my renewed addiction when I thought I'd give up late last year. Honestly, I can no longer continue in a game that I thought binded us into a genuine bond of friendship. Sadly, the bonds broke due to a little rift, and I find myself in a situation wherein no one is left within arm's reach. Yes, that's how I feel. And that is a factor why I decided to quit.

Technical glitches and whatnots within the game also led me to give up. With every new episode, it became more and more apparent that it was no longer a game for gamers - rather, way up to the core, the game had become the merchandise it really was. Because of the game being more and more inclined against gameplay enjoyment and more into it's commercialized value, I decided to quit.

And just recently, it was brought into focus that the game, albeit not among the most graphics-intensive of computer games, really does push the hardware to the limit. I've tried pitting it against 3D games that are to be expected to consume more hardware resources, and I've seen for myself that it raises CPU usage to the maximum whereas other games hardly use half of the full capacity of my Core2Duo processor. And I include that among the other factors why I decided to quit.

Then there's the pRO community that is also falling into disarray. There's a great portion of the community that are just too fed up and are, like me, quitting. And there's an ever greater portion so much blinded by the championships that morals are set aside just to outshine the others. In the gray area between the two margins, there are those numerous martyrs who also love the game too much that they still haven't arrived into the choice I've taken, which is to quit.

Just so to stop myself from putting things that may prove to be libelous, I'm ending this update here. And to clear things up why I only write these down now, it's because along with my decision to quit is the decision to make this post *only* when I know that I'm really ready to stick to my decision, and really ready to tell the whole world about it. Good bye, RO.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Excitement Before Disappointment

As of the moment, there are signs pointing to a *tiny* possibility of a good development I've been looking forward to (and I admit I'm hoping for it). And although the possibility is still unlikely because of the small probability, I still can't help but feel a bit of excitement as I wait for the announcement (if there'd be one, though).

But one thing I've learned to bear in mind is not to get my hopes up. I try to remind myself that this feeling of elation had constantly come around ever since I could remember.

Many times I feel some good vibes, thinking that good news is just around the corner. And then reality comes to slap my face. Hard. Then the excitement turns into bitter disappointment, and from the high altitudes my spirits had soared, I'd fall down fast into the deepest pit of misery.

Still, I can't help but feel excited. Yeah, yeah, call me stubborn if you deem it proper, but I'll still allow myself to feel elated over the excitement. I just hope it doesn't turn into another disappointment.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

What I want most

Just last night, I had a nice chat with a friend of mine who I may say is several years behind in this profession I'm in. Yeah, she's still studying and training to become an electronics engineer as I am. As our conversation lasted several hours, we talked about lots of stuff that mostly pertain to our common interests - the profession, anime, Ragnaboards, and our career path.

Among other things, our conversation led me to reminisce the joys and sorrows of being a college student. Yeah, these days I long to become a student again. Until, that is, something or someone reminds me of the horror I had gotten through. XD

But if there's something important that I got to be reminded of, it would be the same predicament I faced then that I'm still facing now. Simply put, that problem is finding the answer to the question, what I want most.

Until now I'm just going with the flow. I'm still looking for what I really wanted to become. I have several childish dreams (that are still... dreams), and I really am still looking for my own patch under the sun. Perhaps this is the reason why I really love to travel - I want to find the answers my way, in my own appointed time.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Meeting in Mangaholix

Mangaholix, for those folks who do not know, is a convention for manga (Japanese comic books) fanatics. For this year, the convention was held last Saturday in the SMX convention center at the SM Mall of Asia. It was actually the first time for me to attend this annual gathering, since there were some conflicts in my schedule last year.

I really wasn't going, since I'm not that much of a manga collector (I'm more into anime and gaming). However, the Mangaholix presented an opportunity for me to meet a few friends I haven't seen in a while. And since it's in MoA, I could look for a few things I wanted to buy that aren't available in my area. But most of all, I could get as far away from work as I could possibly can (without sacrificing much money!). =P

So here's a recap of that fun-filled day: unlike during my other previous trips to the capital city, I was able to leave home quite early. Not exactly early as in very early, but I think I was the first to arrive in the convention (to think that I was coming from the farthest location among the friends I'm meeting up). ^_^

Since I was first to arrive, I was able to look around in the convention (the venue wasn't big, as it was only half of the SMX), eat lunch, and shop around in the mall (yep, you got it right! I used my credit card yet again). After the quick lunch, I went back to SMX and met up with Anna and Jet (who just came back from Hong Kong and gave me a souvenir). We went around again, taking pictures of cosplayers and checking anime DVDs here and there. Not long afterwards, Mikan and Jason arrived, and we talked a bit before the two headed out to the mall.

Actually, Jason aka CoolBlue was cosplaying that day as Lelouche from the anime, Code Geass (of which I still don't know anything). Jason and Mikan went to the mall so that his hair could be fixed by a hairstylist, while Jet, Anna and me went back again to 'doing the rounds.' However, the other two returned shortly, since the service fees of the hairstylists are just too much.

Solution? Ehem... Ladies and gentlemen, announcing the opening of "Fanfare Secret Beauty Parlor." Hehe. =P

It seemed that the Lelouche character is quite popular; there were several requests for pictures even before Jason's hair was done (hair and make up courtesy of Mikan and Anna). Addy of the Ragnaboards joined us shortly; she was also cosplaying a character from a video game (again, I knew nothing about the character she was portraying). Her costume was great! ^^, (I dunno if I have good pictures, though).

From then, our 'rounds' changed to acting as PA for Jason, who was swamped with photoshoot requests as we went around the convention (Addy was with us just for a few minutes; she left the group and went on her own rounds).

Then, the group cosplay began. The group had to disband so as we could get good views of the stage. And although the presentations could really improve with several practice, the group cosplay was quite fun to watch. I never got to take pictures, though, as I was too far from the stage to get good shots.

Sadly, I had to leave immediately after the group cosplay. My trip was on tight budget, hehe. There was no choice but to leave early, so as my transportation expenses could be kept to a minimum. I was able to meet Kishuku Sou and Itoshiki Zetsuboushita (both from RB, too) for a while. Oh yeah, saw Raistlin as well, but as he was trying to stay inconspicuous or something (duh, as if a guy could be inconspicuous while wearing a pink polo shirt), we weren't able to talk since he didn't join the group.

After saying my good byes, I hurriedly left and took a bus, a jeep, another bus, and a motorbike and got home early in the evening. All in all, it had been a great day. It would have been better if I had money to spend on the DVDs (I was eyeing a few titles), or to at least stay a bit longer to watch the last day of the Pyrolympics. Oh well, at least that's something I'd look forward to watch next year. =)

Dealing with depression

I can at least claim that I know myself a bit more than before. A few years ago, I would never have understood why I was feeling blue at times. Nowadays, I fully realize just what's happening to me, and how best to deal with it.

My bouts of depression are a good example. Just a few days ago, I've gotten over one using a method I've worked out over the past months.

I found out that to deal with such ill-feelings, it's best (at least in my case) to find out the root causes and address each and every contributing factor. If no remedy occurs for one or two factors, search for a good alternative that will at least make up for it.

For instance, my recent depression was largely instigated by some dissatisfaction at work. No, it's not about the transfer (on the contrary, the transfer couldn't have been better timed) but rather the still-ongoing performance appraisal. Frankly put, I was after the salary increase that comes with it, since I have severals debts to pay (as I've said on a previous post).

As of the moment, my performance appraisal is still pending, and salary adjustments are still not within the horizon. I still have financial worries, and the other contributing factors are unlikely to be solved soon. Still, I'm up again and back to thinking positive.

The remedy? I just went out with a few friends. Plain and simple, but it works for me. And where I went to? Mangaholix. And that will be for the next post. =P

Up again

The depression I've fallen into for the past weeks have already gone for a few days now. I was actually feeling better, and I was gonna post a few updates since the last weekend. However, several things preventing me from doing so (crazy work schedule, power interruptions, etc.).

Nonetheless, I'm up again. Time to get moving and, quoting myself, "onwards to a brighter future."