Tuesday, February 28, 2006

New phone!

I'm tired right now, and I have all the lights off, so I'm not going to go into depth right now, but when I woke up this morning and came downstairs, waiting for me was this cute little box. I had no idea who it was from, I wasn't expecting a package, and there was no return address, so I gave it a thorough once over to look for any telltale signs of it being a package bomb. Once I was mostly satisfied, I proceeded to open it carefully. Imagine my suprise when it turned out to be the new phone I ordered just a few days ago! The term on my cell phone came up, and Sarah decided that we should renew, and get new phones while we were at it. Sarah got the ROKR, while I got the RAZR I had been salivating over for many months. Good golly, it's so beautiful! My phone is sexy. All I need now is a sexy Honda S2000 to go with it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Proceeding as planned

Despite most of the LEDs in my Strike Freedom going out, I have decided to finish it anyhow. So I stayed up late last night to finish the wings. It's really looking nice now!
Oh yeah, I just realized that I took that picture while it was over the firplace, so my 4 year old nephew won't get to it. Anyhow, that's pictures of some of my extended family.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Good news and bad news,,,

The Strike Freedom has come together nicely, though I haven't been able to get the LED in the head to work properly. Also, though in my pictures, all five lights on the Strike Freedom are working, after having it plugged in and running off USB for about 30 minutes, the LED for the chest area burned out. So, it seems that I will be going to Radio Shack and picking me up some new goodies. You see, the main body is built to run off three AA batteries, (1.5v ea. x3 = 4.5v) however, the voltage I metered off the USB was 5.1v So, maybe the chest LED felt it was being overvolted. I need to pick up new supplies, though I'm not sure if I just want to replace the head and chest, or if I want to upgrade the entire kit with better LEDs. Maybe ones of a different color. I would ask for advice on this, but no one comments on my blog anyhow, so it would be a fruitless endeavor. UPDATE! The right leg LED is out. I'm totally getting all new LEDs. And now the right arm is gone. Man, I need to get some quality electronics in this bad boy.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Strike Freedom update.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I got my Strike Freedom today. The thing was totally thrashed. The box was all crumpled and distorted. It is a complete miracle the parts weren't broken, though many of the frames were snapped in pieces. What happened was the dip who sent it, simply took the box the kit comes it, wrapped it in 'protective' brown paper, and mailed it through the Post Office. Right. First of all, those boxes are NOT mean't the be abused, they aren't rigid enough to stand up to it. The only kit boxes I have seen that are is the PG Zeta, PG GP-01, and HGUC Dendrobium Orchis. Secondly, the USPS is very infamous for beating the crap out of packages. I'll no longer ship through them, because so often boxes come to me destroyed. Long story short, use UPS, they rock.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Onegai Twins gashapon.

Can you believe it? Almost a month with Digital Gashapon, and I haven't reviewed any gashapon yet. So anyhow, in this entry, I'm gonna try something new. Pictures! (Edit, pics not working the way I hoped...)

Some months ago, my ex-girlfriend/fiance bought me some capsule toys, one of them was this little figure, Miina Miyafuji from Onegai Twins. Pic Pic Pic

Cute, eh? Yeah, I thought so too, but as you can see, she's, ah, incomplete. The boxart shows her paired with the other chick from the series, Karen Onodera. So, after a bunch of badgering, I finally got the other half of this pair. Pic Pic Pic And she comes with this base, that, when combined with the part from Miina, makes a complete whole. There's even ripples in the half pool from where Miina puts her foot in.

From there, you put Karen on there, then manage to get Miina attached on there somehow, and in the end they make a really cute figure. Together, these figures make a pretty good pair, though seperate, they don't really look so good. Karen looks like she's about to pray to the porcelain god, and Miina looks mildly suggestive, but in the end they turn out fine.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children

Thanks to the wonders of BitTorrent, and the annoyance of too few seeders, I finally finished my download of Advent Children. It only took me 9 days. Let me make myself clear, it was totally worth it. Final Fantasy: Advent Children is a cinematic sequel to the blockbuster killer app Final Fantasy VII, what some people refer to as the best Final Fantasy or even RPG ever made. Personally, I never played through it, and prefer FFVI, but I intend to own FFVII someday. in July of 2001, a sub company of Squaresoft, called Square Pictures, released Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. This was a science fiction movie penned by Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy. The entire movie was CGI, since awesome CGI cutscenes were becoming something Square was famous for. Personally, I liked it. However, my opinion was not shared by the public, as the movie bombed in the box offices, and lost over $120 million. Needless to say, Square Pictures folded, after they made the animated short Final Flight of the Osiris, which took place immediatly before Matrix: Reloaded, and is part of The Animatrix. I believe that Spirits Within bombed because it was not enough mainstream SF for the general audience, and not enough mainstream Final Fantasy for the video game fans. In the end, everyone felt let down.

Back to my subject: If Square Pictures had released Advent Children instead of Spirits Within, I don't think they would have flopped, especially if they took the 1:41 movie and expanded it to a more standard 2:00 by adding in backstory for the uninitiated such as myself. The graphics were stunning, at times it really looked photorealistic, the story was great, and made sense in the world the game created. However, where this movie really shines is the fight scenes. From the first battle between Tifa and some Sephiroth wannabe, (ps, Tifa is hot, and she kicks butt. I want to marry her!) to the final battle between Cloud and the REAL Sephiroth, it was one fast paced high action severe butt-kickin' action after another. My personal favorite scene was when Sephiroth pushed a building onto Cloud, and he's jumping through the flying rubble, hacking stuff in half, until he comes to Sephiroth. Also, the only thing in that movie I was really covetous of was Cloud's sword. It's cool. He starts out with this cool looking sword, then over the course of the film, he takes his second sword he has in his hand and fits it onto the first. He does this several times, though it isn't until the end of the movie that I realize that the swords stay together until all his swords are one sword. It was cool, I wanted one. Anyhow, this movie is coming out on DVD and UMD on March 28. I reccomend it for anyone who likes Final Fantasy, RPGs, or people flying around with swords.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Washington State Trooper is more than meets the eye!

So, tonight was an interesting night. I went to FHE like I do every Monday night, and I had fun, taught a lesson about the Armor of God. I brought my friend Tim (DarkMK) because he wanted to, it was fun. Afterwards, we went to a friend's house to socialize, and watched a bunch of stupidly funny Thumb movies. When that was done, I took Tim home, since he lives across the river from Pasco, and his car don't work so good. I was going down highway 240, and I am talking with Tim about something, and I see a car in the U-turn area. I know it's a cop, he's moving, and I look at my speedometer, I'm going about 65. In a 55 zone. He's after me. Sure enough, the cop pulls in behind me and turns on his blinkers. He tells me he lasered me at 64mph, and that's no good. In the state of Washington, that's a $91 fine. I get nervous and put on my best anti-ticket attitude. The cop says he recognizes my name, and had I been pulled over recently? I replied that yes, that cop did in fact pull me over a couple months ago, for the same problem. (I didn't get a ticket then, but since I was a repeat customer, I knew I was getting one now!) Then he notices Tim's Transformer wristbands. Tim is wearing an Autobot one on his right wrist and a Decepticon one of his left wrist. I am wearing my Decepticon tie tack that came with my RM seeker set. "Hey!" he says, "Transformers! I used to watch that when I was a kid! I had all the toys, and watched the show every day, they were great!" He also talked about M.A.S.K., and Go-Bots. We got to talking about the upcoming movie, and the current toylines, and stuff like that. Finally the guy says that he has enjoyed talking to us, but he needs to let us go, he's got other people to pull over. So, thanks to Tim and the Transformers, I don't need to pay another ticket! Yay! And my respect goes out to the officer that pulled me over. On the way back I saw him and about three other cruisers chasing a bad guy who didn't want to pull over. Best of luck to you guys, I hope you catch your man!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Tonight I went to a dance at church, and it was okay, I guess. It was sort of a blind date thing, where I drew a picture on a plate, and then a girl picks the plate, and those people are a couple for the evening. Anyhow, I went to this dance thing and the music was outrageously horrible, but there was a couple okay ones. But anyhow, there were four women there who were the most gorgeous of all. And I got to dance with each one. It was great, and they were all hot. All respect to my sister, but I think the best looking one of the four was this Thai woman named Shau. Yeah, that was worth it alone, though I was really nervous asking her.

BTW, for those of you who are curious, my iPod fixing worked out good. and I just noticed that these past two posts haven't had any hot links in them. Funky.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

It's the end of my iPod as we know it...

...and everything's fine. I hope. Yes, I have finally finished rebuilding my tracklists on the computer, it's now time to plug it in and reformat. So long iPod. You may be changed from now on, but you will always be my #1 iPod! Wish me luck everyone!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Weird of the day...

Sport beans. Yup. I was in the local grocery store with my brother Jonathan and in the checkout aisle was this little bag of jelly beans that says Sport Beans on it. The sub text says "Energizing Jelly Beans." Apparently they are Jelly Belly's answer to a sport drink, since they are packed with sugar and electrolytes. Big-J and I tried them out, they aren't bad. I'll be waiting for the energy drink beans next.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Future of Robotics...

...is in Japanese hands. I mean, the Dutch have Lego Mindstorms (which, BTW, Lego just came out with a new generation of Mindstorms. Looks cool!), and the Americans have Robosaurus, but the Japanese are the drivers of the robotics field. In the game Metal Gear Solid for the Playstation (now also MGS: Twin Snakes for the Gamecube) Otacon mentioned that the Japanese were the first to develop bipedal autonomous robots, and that anime was the reason. This is true actually. Only in Japan is the culture and economy such that this things can be made. And though some people might try to deny it, shows like Gundam are the inspiration for today's designers. When I was building one of my robot models a few years back, my brother Paul looked at it and stated that it was cool, but such a thing could never walk under it's own power. He then launched into a discussion about how impossibly complex the human body is, and how many functions were required for someone to simply stand in one place. Now, Paul has never really got interested in the field of robotics, and I believe he was thinking in terms of static walkpaths, where the movements are preprogrammed, and though the computer is programmed to respond to all sorts of circumstances, no one can plan for everything. That is why the Japanese then made one that can.

Sony, in 1997 built their SDR-1X, a bipedal robot built to a similar purpose as the AIBO, namely to promote human-robot interactivity. This design they continued to test and improve, until in 2001 they publicized the SDR-3X, which had the ability to make up it's walkpath on the fly. Gone was the obligitory jerky motions and lack of true improvisation, this robot could cope with any obstacle of up to 10mm and any angle up to 10 degrees. Now all Sony needed was to make the people like it. Thus in 2003 Sony completed their SDR-4X, named QRIO. (compare the QRIO specs to the SDR-3X!) This robot was designed to function in a household, alongside the pets, children and adults. The QRIO was built with safety in mind, with pinch-proof joints, and complex damage prevention techniques. When this guy is bumped, it moves with the motion to keep balance. When falling is imminent, tuck and roll baby! It then preforms a through systems self check as it gets up. After that, it procedes to track you down and deliver a brutal smackdown to you for your cruel act to a multi-thousand $ machine. The QRIO has stereoscopic vision for depth perception, and can recognize people by face and voice. It can also respond to their voices with high tech voice communication software. All of this is being done realtime inside the unit, there is no external unit. When in need of charging, the QRIO procedes to it's charging station, where it docks itself, charges, then gets up to interact some more. Google Video has clips of QRIO in action.

When I first started talking about the QRIO, I was going to compare it to Honda's clunky P2 robot, which got a whole lot of publicity, because it could walk up and down stairs, though in fact, the biggest achievment was that it didn't look quite so much like a walking refrigerator as the P1. However, in looking into it, I discovered that Honda has a new ASIMO, which actually looks like a big QRIO. The ASIMO, however, is about 4 feet tall, built for human assistance, not entertainment. There are some really good background materials in the History section, and the media section has cool videos. Honda is really happy that their robot can run four times faster than the QRIO. They don't mention that it's because the ASIMO is four times taller, but hey.

All in all, I think it's easy to say that Japan is leading this robo-revolution. For further proof that America is kinda behind, take a gander at the high technology SARCOS humanoid. Sure, it's just a chunk of mechanics that's hard-mounted to a frame that houses it's computers, doesn't really look cool, and can't actually do much that the Japanese bots can do, but remember this: when it comes down to the line, SARCOS's machine can play air hockey. Don't mess!

PS. This just in! If this link works, there's an updated QRIO that has increased wrist articulation! Check the Video 3 link. Coolness!

The beginning of the end...

Today I started work on making my iPod Nano work again. Which isn't to say that it doesn't play music or anything, but when I got it, I keyed it to the PowerMac G5 at Press Craft, and the only other times I used it was on Mom's eMac, or Dad's iBook. Then for Christmas we got a Gateway (thanks G & G!!), and I've been basing my work off of this. Which means this is where I add to my music collection. But, I can't add it to my iPod, it isn't currently Windows compatibile. (grr, I thought they were bi-OSal out of the package.) So I need to reformat my Nano, which will delete all my cool music, and also all my pictures. Le sigh. When I stopped working at Press Craft, I of course backed up all my tunes (on 2 CDs and 1 DVD, all filled to the max. 5.05GB, 3.1 days. Rockin) and also backed up the library files, hoping all my playlists would transfer, but they didn't. Again, grr. So I loaded all my music into iTunes today (notice how everything Apple makes has only the second letter capped? Maybe they should rename the company aPple.) and I am recreating the playlists that are stored in my Nano, then I'll wipe it and start afresh. This time without boring pOdcasts.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Filler Project...

I'm waiting for my Strike Freedom to get in, and I'm pretty sure I'm ready to go, I'm just sitting on my thumbs now. Anyhow, my friend Tim has rekindled his intrest in modelling and started working on his Master Grade Patlabor Unit 02 with flash kit. I was checking it out today and asked him if I could detail up his head construct. Tim had built it, but hadn't trimmed the parts properly, so the gates showed. I took it apart, trimmed the parts, and now I'm working to ink the panel lines, and paint the optics. It'll look great when I'm done. I know, I know, I need to get to Benjamin's Sky Lynx, it'll happen eventually.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Yahoo! Primus Update!

This is exciting news! Despite previous reports that the US edition of Primus was coming out late this year, I have received news from BBTS that Primus will be arriving in May! If you have been eyeing the Japanese release and it's cool box for a while now, fear not, for you shall only have to wait an additional three months, instead of six or more! For those of you who may not know, Primus is the creator of the Transformers, and has been anxiously awaited by transfans for years and years. Our anticipation of him was only rivaled by our anticipation of Unicron, Primus' counterpart, and had a figure come out a few years back. Anyhow, off to sleep now! I must beat this dastardly cold!!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

A real Transformer!

This is a real transforming RC robot. This is pretty sweet. It's hosted on some kind of Poor Man's Google Video, but oh well.

W00T!!! Insta-update!

I was on Adobe's site, and I saw something about 3D PDFs, so I took a looky, and lo and behold, it's wicked cool!! Basically, you can create something in a CAD program, then export that information to imbed in a PDF. Then the PDF uses OpenGL or something to render it in realtime. So you have, basically, a cool 3D object in your PDF that you can rotate, animate, and move. Take a look at the sample PDF, it has an airplane engine in it that you can play with.

Zak to the rescue!!

Heh heh, today, I was in a meeting with a correspondence of mine, when I looked to the skies. There, shining in the clouds, the Zak Symbol!! Someone needs my help! Quickly I finished my meeting and got to a phone booth, where I changed in an instant from mild mannered Zak Hale to The Stupendous Zakman, Freelance Graphics Designer!! Off I rushed to the business place of my old employer, he needed help! Quickly I went in to assess the situation. Dave had a problem that the graphics designer he hired to replace me couldn't fix. Luckily, I knew what the problem was, and more importantly, I knew how to fix it! He was having issues consolidating his Pantone colors into a unified set. So I saved the day, and got $20 out of it. Cool. Oh, and he just upgraded to Adobe Creative Suite 2. Suite!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Job hunting...

I hate being unemployed. But I like talking to people when I am looking for a job. Today I spent six hours in a class at the LDS Employment office. Those people are the best, and that class is 100% top notch. Not to mention free. My non-member friend Tim was there with me, and he commented that the class was the most helpful one about unemployment he had ever taken, even better than ones he had spend several hundred cha-chings on. Any of you who might be looking for a job, hop on over to Provident Living and click on the Employment tab. It'll take you to a job listings search engine. Works worldwide, and you in no way have to be a member of the church to use it.

PS. Oh, and my ex wanted me to mention that she disposed of a mouse her mom killed. Her mom set the trap, Sarah threw it away. Mom gets the kill. But don't worry Sarah, we'll make a mouser of you yet!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Gundam models!!

Well, my tax return is coming in this week, so today I'm going to order some goodies for me. I have always had the opinion that when you recieve a tax return, or a big chunk of change, or a nice raise, or a first paycheck, you should get yourself at least one thing to make yourself happy. So, probably to the envy of some people like Danny Choo, I'm getting myself a 1/60 scale Strike Freedom Lighting Edition, and also a HGUC Advanced Hazel. Yeah, this'll be pretty sweet. I'll post updates as I go along. I'm also going to build it according to Danny Choo's Gundam Modelling Tutorial for Busy People, slightly modified, since I'm not exactally busy. And I'll be wiring it for USB power compatibility, also discovered while browsing Danny Choo's blog, I'm not his PR guy, I swear! I'll be making adjustments to that routine as well, hopefully building a USB B-end female plug socket right into the Strike Freedom's base. That'll be cool. More later...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Yay for BitTorrent!!

Today, my appreciation of BitTorrent was cemented. I spent the last three days downloading The Conquerer of Shambala, the Fullmetal Alchemist movie. I got hooked on FMA some time ago when it started showing on Cartoon Network with Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Now I have all the way up through volume 7 of the US release DVDs, but I've already seen the fansubs that came out some time ago. Now I have a fansub of the movie, and the subs are kinda tweaky at times, are missing from a few lines, and there's this one part where the subs start showing lines from about 30 minutes previously, and then continue through till they catch up with the movie, about ten minutes later. Regardless, the movie is totally cool, and even kind of leaves it open for another movie, though it wouldn't be a story that is critical to the story. Everything wraps up well, though not quite in the way you would expect. Anyhow, anyone who hasn't seen Fullmetal Alchemist, you need to see it. This is one of my favorite animes of all time, and my new standard for gateway anime. (Funny, since I am typing on a Gateway now, though I hate it. I am a Mac man!)

Christening the new blog!

Actually, I should say, my first blog, and actually, my only blog. I have been thinking about making a blog for some time now, just a place to dump some excess random thoughts now and then, and my mind kept coming around to a blog. My brother has a blog now, where he writes as a game console analyst, and my sister has a blog, where she writes about all the cool stuff she gets to do in her daily life. I've also been reading Danny Choo's blog a lot, and just real recently decided to move out of the shadows. Anyhow, the message board I frequent most, TFW2005, just updated to a new style, and included blogs in that, and maybe I'll do that, but I felt I wanted something a bit more in no man's land. I named it Digital Gashapon for a couple reasons. First and foremost, the more obvious references to my username were taken, also other little self descriptive terms like Wordsmith. Secondly, I felt that gashapon, a favorite of mine, was a good analogy. Gashapon are small toys or figures that come from vending machines in Japan. You can also buy them in little boxes. They are randomly packaged, inexpensive, and pretty cool. This is what I will try to attain in my efforts.