Revision Episode 1: Time and Love

By bluemist on November 4th, 2010

I like precious things, you can say that I love these precious things. But when you steal my precious things, I be angry. Don’t make me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry.
This post is for the win, for the fail and for teh awesome that I call my precious things.

One day isang araw, I saw nakakita, one bird isang ibon, flying lumilipad, I shoot binaril ko, I pick pinulot ko, I cook niluto ko, I eat kinain ko. This is me in a nutshell. My mundane everydays. I am a consumer, actually because I’m pro, I’m a prosumer too. I game so I’m a l33tsumer as well. Sometimes though, time is unfair, and love is blind, Let me tell you how I feel about each one.

Time is my worst enemy, my lv99 boss. It’s stealing my cuuutteeness everyday. And it doesn’t reveal its intentions. It just goes tick-tock, and someone would trigger my alarm. Suppose I wanna do my precious thing, time would fly as if the big bang happened in a split second. My preciousss just game overs already. Yet when it comes to hataraking, it’s hidosugiru. It slows down to a crawl. I try petiks mode, but it’s still slow. What can I do? I can’t just quit you and be broke…back. I need monies to fill my precious things. I’m in this massive loophole. I’m in a nice boat, but it’s boring and stressful on this boat. I wish these tickets would turn to diamonds. This is why I want to play the lottery. The world better prepare for when I’m a billionaire. But even I know can’t be that lucky. I’m just me. This is a bad apple. Even in the midst of flowing time, I feel languid, spinning round and round.
I can’t even see the heart that’s leaving me, don’t you know?

This is heaavvy. I can’t just go 88mph and go back to the past. I could only wish I could turn back time, or at least give me time to think things through. Change doesn’t happen overnight, no matter how much I hope or believe in it. Does time expect too much? Maybe society does, but it’s overrated. More on that later next week at 11, now back to me. I’m growing old, yet I still want to be young. Warui? Anything wrong with that? Naritai youni nareba ii jan! I wanna stay this way. Remember me this way. I’ll never let this go, this is also a part of me. I like these precious things, you can say that I love them. If time tries to tell me to grow up, I won’t listen. It won’t be me. I shouldn’t succumb. I’m forever young.

Love is blind. I’m trying to find my way. Cause I can’t see myself falling in love with someone. Even if it means the whole damn world to you people, I can’t forget you wait and see. I can be strong even without it. Don’t force me to love someone or something I can’t love. Can’t buy me love. You can’t hurry love either. Love takes time to heal when you’re hurting so much. I fell in love before, yes, but it hurts. I can’t escape the pain inside, because love takes time, and both of them are my enemies. As if the world conspires against me now.

To all the girls I loved before, I’m sorry. I’m not creating a harem, I can’t be a womanizer. Sometimes I wish I did, at the very least, I would have had experienced love. Right now, my experiences of love are either a bag of hurt, or fake. Darn all you fake 2D. Your love is not a plus. I can just da capo these loves without any consequences, because there is such a thing as save points and flags. This is not real life, this is a fantasy. These eternities I longed for are nothing but rumbling hearts that don’t beat. And because of this, whenever I go back to reality, I know I need to be in love. I know I’ve wasted too much time. I ask perfection on a quite imperfect world. And fool enough to think that’s what I’ll find. A heart that cared, but went unshared. Until it died within his silence. Is it my fault to be introverted? To be silent? Is it a sickness that should be cured? I am me. I’m just me. I’m tired of feeling sad, sometimes I just don’t want to ‘feel’ anymore. Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again. So ronery. Forever alone. Heart of stone.

And so I runaway, 10000 light years away from here. Crying out “love!”. Hoping that someone may hear. But I can’t cry hard enough. And so I sing. Though a song has no shape, it’s better than nothing at all. Can’t make love out of nothing at all. But just like 2D, love songs are figments of expression. I’m just loving love itself. But it’s okay. If the world tries to force me to find a way back into love, I won’t listen. I shouldn’t succumb. I’m forever young. Let’s take it slow. Yukkuri de iisa.

Higher Definition Addendum: Frame Doubling

By bluemist on October 20th, 2010

Higher Definition

image

FRAME DOUBLING
During my early fansub days, I was particularly paranoid about the frame rates of the videos I download, especially in one specific example – Chobits. This anime actually runs smoothly when the screen slides and pans, and this can be evidently seen if you get a Chobits video that runs in 29.97 or 30fps. There are some fansubbers/raw providers though who only provided it at 23.976 or 24fps, which means it loses the smoothness during screen pans and introduces judder or jittering.

Nowadays I see a curious feature in HDTVs called Motion Interpolation. It tries to insert middle frames on a video in the hopes of making it smoother. A best way to describe it is to take your traditional cinema/film and make it look as if you’re watching a soap opera (Soap Opera Effect). LCD TVs with 120Hz or higher refresh rates have this feature built in. Let me explain though that this is an acquired taste. Personally I don’t like to motion-interpolate live-action videos because I’m very used to the cinema/film effect. Also, this will not be as the original makers of the video intended it to be, because the feature is trying to add information that wasn’t there in the first place. It’s a bit similar in concept to upconversion, where you try to add more pixels in the hopes of making it look sharper and clearer (cue CSI enhance-enhance lol).

For anime and PVs though, this is a pretty awesome idea! I find that I enjoy the viewing experience tremendously when I take advantage of this! Of course, while I don’t have a 120Hz display because they are still expensive, I am able to simulate the experience by either converting videos to 60fps or decoding them on the fly as I watch. Both the guides I linked are pretty techie so be forewarned, also you need a pretty souped rig to decode on the fly. My Core 2 Duo 3GHz rig starts to cough at motion interpolation if I give it a 1080p video.

It’s pretty hard to explain without actual samples so I prepared one to best illustrate this how this would look. I have encoded the first To Aru Kagaku no Railgun OP, one in its original 24fps form and the other motion-interpolated to 60fps. The difference is incredibly noticeable in this video. It wouldn’t be nice in YouTube because it caps all video at around 30fps so I will provide download links.

Railgun 24fps
Railgun 60fps

Apologies if it looks grainy because I tried to keep the file size low, but what the heck, I will share another one! This is the incredible Bad Apple PV in 960×720 60fps glory:

Bad Apple 60fps

What do you think? Does it look better to you with the additional smoothness in motion? For me it certainly does, at least for anime, MADs, PVs and other animated videos. I’m in the process of converting a lot of my videos to 60fps. As I said, this is an acquired taste, and it’s not what the original video makers intended, but it still looks awesome.

Handling Information Overload

By bluemist on August 17th, 2010

Information Overload

torrents

Sometimes it is better to pull the plug. Wake up, smell the coffee, go outside. Breathe true air. Because what we have today is what I described before as information overload. Basically, because of technology, globalization, and human nature, we have too much stuff going on in our lives, and it’s starting to bog us down. As the internet grows bigger, our communication with others becomes stronger, products and services continue to come to us from every part of the globe, and as we desperately strive to fill ourselves up being a part of this entire information ecosystem, by sharing, ranting, and basically enjoying it, the overload will continue. In this article I will share with you my experiences in trying to control my personal information overload, and hopefully you could derive some kind of solution in your own overload problems.

Well, not that my advice would be of any significant value. There are better people out there who are better-equipped (physically and/or mentally) to deal with their real-life issues. I am here as a typical geek layman, someone who is supposed to love information overload by the nature of being into anime, games and technology. First things first… when did I jump from loving information overload to loathing it? Since I started being in the corporate slave, of course. I have worked for quite a while now, and I find that my down time isn’t as plentiful anymore as in my school days. Back in college, I was able to marathon tons of anime or play long hours of games. Not anymore. There were times I was too stressed out at work that I can’t muster to enjoy any kind of entertainment. Keep in mind that I also had worked in Japan for a freaking YEAR, and as someone who isn’t inclined in the Japanese work culture of going overtime every single day, coupled with the mostly-alone apartment life responsibilities like cooking and cleaning… I was really a workaholic.

Information overload is not just about entertainment per se, but all kinds of information including news, education, and even personal dealings. Back in Japan, sometimes I forget to check up on the international news. God knows if the world is going to end already without me knowing. In terms of education, as a computer programmer, I did want to learn more languages and hone my skills. My work was becoming quite stale and I was locked into a certain kind of skill set that doesn’t grow. Unfortunately I really don’t have much time away from work to do that. And personal dealings. I was completely ‘told’ by friends and family when I had never called back home or even chatted via internet for a few weeks. Those were rocky times in my psyche indeed. Imagine hearing news of a death of a relative or a school acquaintance, or changes like “oh and they broke up” and “she’s pregnant!” and “they’re married already”, when you are thousands of miles away and can’t share with them your happiness or sadness about their matters.

Coming back to my home country was quite a breather, but it wasn’t that easy either. Considering that I can’t do anything else (other than work and some play) there in Japan because I’m not from that country, there are more kinds of overload waiting for me at home. It was around this time, three years ago, that my prodigal journey had ended. My outlook towards my life had really changed from there. Sometimes you can see the desperation reflected in my blog, in which whatever promises I made would eventually fail anyway. In the end this casual, sporadic blogging would be the norm for the next years up until now. I came home quite beaten up, only to be beat up just more. I still have the same job, so even though I have a little more time in my hands due to not going overtime anymore, that doesn’t amount to much because I commute to and from the office through vicious traffic jams. My apartment in Japan was quite convenient… because I only walk half a minute to and from the office. Heh. Also because of this, I started acting like a hikki sometimes refusing to go on social meetings and such. Great, that’s no different from being inaccessible via phone or internet chat… actually that’s worse. So with my time similarly limited, with broken blogging, broken habits and hobbies, and broken awareness of things that are happening around me, I finally realized that I had been a victim of information overload. That would be the time when I try to start picking up the pieces.

Apologies for that long intro to my life, this is where “handling information overload” actually starts, lol.

I asked myself a lot of questions. What information do I need? What information do I want? What would be considered vital information? Can I sort out information? Is there a way to filter out information? How do I keep things simple. How do I keep information at a minimum without missing out? While I can’t answer those in a general way, I do find those questions as a great barometer. Those questions will only yield more specific questions, and those I can answer directly.

To give a specific example, let’s start with technology, particularly Linux. I admit, I’m a Windows guy… and if you ever see me going Linux, it will only be information overload for me. I used to try a lot of Linux operating systems from Ubuntu to Red Hat, but no matter what I do, I can’t ever use it. I can’t imagine myself using it everyday. Even if I completely configured my computer running perfectly in Linux, there will always be that hardware or software quirk that would annoy me into saying “why can’t this feature which is in my Windows be in my Linux”? Sure, as they say in Linux, if they don’t have it… write code for it. Heh, that’s kinda unproductive. Unless my career path becomes Linux, I don’t think I can handle it… so I threw it all away. It’s enough that I know what Linux is and that I know the gist of how it works. The time to go all out isn’t today. Thus my prime solution to information overload was born:

“If it’s not your battlefield, don’t try to make it your own.”

There should be a reason, a motivation, and an inspiration if you are into something. You shouldn’t enter into something with shallow thoughts, because it will only overwhelm you. As a Windows user, Linux is not my way into the computing world. I don’t need to learn more about Linux than what I know right now (I’m a pretty good end user). Now, for example, if my job requirement changed to needing Linux, then Linux becomes my battlefield. That would be the time to learn more about it, because it isn’t information overload anymore.

This general rule would apply to every aspect of information overload that I had encountered. It required me to gather whatever I had at the moment, and figure out which places are my true battlefields. Stuff that I am already good or familiar at. So lessee, in terms of anime, I’m into moe~, shoujo, and slice-of-life. Goodbye sports, mecha, action, and fantasy… unless they are good. This essentially limited my anime viewing to bare minimums, but because I only focused on genres which are my fortes, I don’t think I’m particularly missing out. In terms of education, whatever programming languages I am already skilled at, I can hone them more. International news? I don’t need to be watching CNN every hour right? Even just the headlines suffice. Real-life/social issues? At the very least, ping on messengers or check out social networking sites to check up on “people”, not what “people do that doesn’t matter” like their scores on their online games or something.

My solution is some kind of priority prioritization isn’t it. Focus on what’s important, with a small amount dedicated to whatever “may” be important. This is a very critical statement, because sometimes we prioritize those which “may be important” in our lives and those make up the bulk of information overload. We think too much on one topic, especially on the short term, that we forget that in the long run… it doesn’t freaking matter after all.

All your usual anti-stress methods are compatible with this, after all, many of our hobbies are anti-stress methods. With so much information available and ready for us to consume (or rather, ready to consume us), we have to start trying to counter by evaluating our own appetite. In the end, all it boils down is the will, the knowledge, the power, and the courage to identify which things matter to you the most. If it matters to you, it isn’t the one overloading you. All other things… are.

Five-Year Anniversary!

By bluemist on April 30th, 2010

One
Two
Three
Four
LOL… I am still blogging?

(Assuming anyone is still wondering) In any case, I would like to congratulate myself for the fifth anniversary of this idle, inactive, but still-alive anime blog. I am typing this right now at the office at night just when my bosses are not around. Seriously, real life is a busy. And so about whether I could still blog moar or not, I would leave it up to time to decide. I’m still (barely) alive at Twitter and GRSI, so please do give me a holler if you (think I) feel lonely.

(Assuming anyone is still interested) Beyond my non-existence so far this year, I guess I still somehow have anime as a staple of my hobby diet. This season I have my K-ON, Maid-sama, and Angel Beats, along with FMA which will awesomely end very soon. Also as usual I have my current Vocaloid obsession sickness, in which I frequent the Vocaloid Weekly Rankings in search for any new good Hatsune Miku music, or Gumi, or others. No eroge or any visual novels being played, because MW2 is currently eating up almost all of my game time, and heck all other free time. Oh gawd, with the upcoming DLC I’m probably gonna fall further off the face of the internets.

(Assuming anyone still cares) Thank you for the support so far. I know so many of you don’t read me anymore, but it was a fun ride while it lasted. Nope, I’m STILL not quitting, despite the relative inactivity of my blogging. I should never lose to myself, no matter how demanding real life can be. Besides, the distinction of real life and… fandom/animu/otaku life or (whatever you call it) should not be a distinction at all. It is all a part of me.

Someday, I shall return in true form and with a greater passion…

I hope.

Thank you.

By bluemist on April 1st, 2010

Vocaloid for Valentines

By bluemist on February 13th, 2010


Love is such a wonderful feeling, and what better way to express it than through love songs? Well, these aren’t the usual sentimental songs, because they come from none other than Vocaloid! So if you are in the mood for a little easy listening while you fall in (or out of, or away from) love this Valentines season, please do have a gander at nine of the best love songs that I could find being sung by Hatsune Miku herself. If you don’t like her roboty voice to ruin your listening pleasure, don’t worry, because I also linked “utattemita” versions sung by some of the best amateur singers around Nico Nico Douga. Hopefully this will make you feel inspired and in love, or maybe depressed too, as some of these songs revolve on unrequited feelings… like mine (sob). Haha, anyway here goes.
Continue Reading