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Strip 511, Volume 3, Page 163

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< Piro >

Sanae and Akio (Nagisa's parents from Clannad)

"a little obsessed"

Saturday - January 24, 2004

[Piro] - 22:53:03 - [link here]

This is really kinda sad, when i think about it.

I've got a little 2:37 minute AVI file here that i've been watching over and over most of the day. It's not even really animated - most of the images are stills, and most of them i've seen before. The music is new - good stuff too ("Megumeru" by Eufonius) been listening to it most of the day, off and on. What is it? The opening for Key's new game Clannad that many of you know i've been looking forward to for quite a while now - or at least a sample of what it might be (I won't really know till i get the finished game).

Reminds me of my first exposure to Kanon - it was a AVI file of the opening. First time hearing the song "Last Regrets" which is still a fave of mine. Funny the things that inspire you. It's also sad how much i'm looking forward to something that isn't animated, is only 2d for the most part, and as far as i know doesn't introduce anything really groundbreaking or new as far as gameplay goes. Pretty sad how just the art and the mood of the game is enough to make me eagerly await it's release, as well as all the stuff that will come out connected to it (hmmm, goodies). It falls squarely into the genre of stuff that I like best. Word is that it will be released early this year. It's about time. God, I'm such a pathetic Keyfan. ^^;;

One of the problems with most American games these days, i think, is that developers feel the need to always push the envelope, to make things 'better', bigger framerates, better netcode, more advanced AI, more polygons, better weapons, etc. It's gotta be the most advanced, newest, the best game engine ever - one that require you to buy a new computer...

Bleah. That's a whole 'nother rant. Got other things to talk about first.

Regarding Megatokyo Volume 2 - As many of you already know, Megatokyo Volume 2 is out there, having been released last week. Some of you have even managed to find a copy, even in places like Australia and the UK :P. Thank you for the kind words about the book, and even the critiques - people are saying exactly what I figured they would about the short story included in the book :) No offense taken, guys, I know exactly what the problems with it are. :P

I've also received some irritated emails telling me that they had been told by various bookstores that the book had been delayed. That's not true - the book shipped early last week, it's just that it may take a while for the books to find their way thru distribution channels and onto some store shelves. Your local comic stores were probably be the first to get them. Other stores, like Amazon, Borders, Waldenbooks, etc, might take a little longer (some stores are telling people mid February, for instance - not sure if it will really take that long). The Meagtokyo / ThinkGeek store should have books early in the week, just waiting for our shipment of books to arrive.

As for pre-orders, Dark Horse has all the mailers labeled and ready to go - I think they started packing and shipping last Friday, so you can expect all of your books to ship no later than mid week. If your book doesn't arrive in three weeks, be sure to email me and I'll see what happened :)

I was going to rant today mostly about something that irritated the hell out of me the other day, which Seraphim alluded to in her rant - I'm a little irritated with Apple right now.

If you remember, I purchased my mac G4 system about a year ago, and I've had very few problems with it - it's been a great system to work with. Some things have bugged me (for instance, having to pay almost $200 for a system upgrade to a computer that was not even 9 months old when OS X 10.3 came out) but probably the most irritating thing that apple does is push the sale of their Applecare extended service plan crap.

Granted, I come from a 'I built it myself out of spare parts and stuff I purchased online and there is no hope in hell anyone can help me fix what is wrong' PC background, so sure, the idea of paying for a service plan is a bit irritating. What is REALLY irritating is that after making the decision to pay premium for the mac systems in the first place, that the applcare stuff is *not* cheap. $250 bucks for... pretty much nothing. At least not till after the one year warranty runs out, right?

Ok, you may also remember that we got Seraphim a 15" powerbook when they came out. Damn nice little laptop, she's been inseparable from it since we got it. First thing that sort of went wrong with it had to do with the defective screens they used for the first batches of 15" powerbooks (the infamous 'white spots' on the screen, if you follow the mac news stuff at all). Sure enough, her computer developed them. We decided to do nothing about it because she couldn't afford to not have her system for the two weeks or so it would take to repair it. That and I didn't feel like fighting with them about it. Other than that, it's been working fine. Fine till I got home from Japan, that is...

Literally, not 4 hrs after I walked in the door from my rather long and convoluted flight, the light on her screen flickers a few times, and goes out. Open and close the screen a few times, it flickers a little, but then stays off. I can see that the computer is working, just the backlight is out.

Yes, things do go wrong with machines, even good ones. Laptops have problems, it's a pain, but it happens. I checked the warranty, and it was what I expected - one year warranty on parts and labor and stuff. 90 days on phone support. I figure that's unimportant, not really needed anyway. The thing is broken, I just need to send it in and get it fixed.

So I call them up, and the first thing they try to do is sell me the fsking Applecare extended warranty plan. I wasn't interested in that - it's still under the 1 year warranty, let's get this fixed and I'll think about it. Once I got rid of him, the next guy prodded me about it again. What the hell? Stop trying to sell me the goddamn applecare! I want this thing fixed!

Turns out that since 90 days had passed, that it would cost me $49 just to talk to the tech person. I asked him if he was joking - its broken, it needs to be sent in for repairs. Of course, you see where this is going - they have to walk you thru all the 'its probably the idiot between the chair and the computer that is the problem so lets walk thru some diagonistics' crap - and for that, I had to pay 50 bucks (or, of course, pay $250 for Applecare, at that point the phone call would also be covered.) Screw that, I paid the fifty bucks. Really not happy at this point.

Then, after a series of diagnostics, all ending with 'I can't see anything on the screen, there's no backlight', I finally got them to process sending me a box to return the thing in. Took over 40 minutes on the phone. Seriously questioning my 'switch' at this point.

Anyways, time helps you cool off. Also the fact that I got a sales call later that day from some poor bastard at Apple who was contacting me regarding my FIRST mac purchase of the year - the G4, for which my 1 year warranty was almost up, and wanting to see if I wanted to get the extended plan for two more years. heh. Did I chew on HIM for a while. I'm getting cranky in my old age.

Dumb thing is, I did want to get the extended coverage for my main machine - it's a year old, it's nice to have - I just don't appreciate being pressured into it. The guy knocked 50 bucks off to cover my bad experience earlier that day. What sucks is that this only covers the one machine. Hell, what incentive do you have to buy more machines when you need to tack a whole extra $250 bucks onto each one just in case something breaks? Not a good way to keep customers like me happy.

I don't think I'm wrong not being happy about all this. I spent a lot more money switching to the mac platform than I would have sticking with the windoze world. I ponied up and paid for what needed buying, including new software, licenses where needed, etc. The whole Applecare thing just feels like an extra grab into my pocket that makes me feel pretty used. And add to this the fact that Seraphim is without her laptop for a good two weeks right in the middle of her school term. Not fun. Not at all.

Anyways, even so, I do like these machines, it's just feels kinda rotten to have this come down this way. I mean, it took the Clannad OP to cheer me up, for chrissakes. :P

Oh yea, need to talk about japan... ok, next rant :P Pretty sad how life moves in and just kicks you square in the butt soon as you get home. :) I filled up a whole rant and I've only been home a few days. Ah well, Wednesday then :P (once again, more rants, more comics this year - you all are sick of the promises, so I wont promise, I'll just do :P)

< Seraphim >

Himekittie

"my boyfriend's back!"

Friday - January 23, 2004

[Seraphim] - 22:31:11 - [link here]

Happy 2004! Every New Year's Eve Piro and I sincerely say to each other that THIS is going to a good year. It is going to be our year. You know - a year when neither of us get sick or hurt and nothing bad happens. So far we have never been right. This year is no different. First, I have to apologize to our advertisers Revolution Hosting, LRNJ Project, Battle On, and Nitrocosm for all my mistakes. They are very nice guys and never call me a total git even though they are probably thinking it. It is only the third week of January and I've already screwed up so much. Piro is probably going to fire me. Then yesterday I opened my laptop and the screen flickered on and then it flickered off - permanently. You'll hear some definite rantage from Piro about that. It has not been an auspicious start to 2004.

Then Piro was gone for a week to Japan. That was the worst. We have never been apart for that long ever! Two weeks into the New Year and your fiance leaves for a week - bad omen. I had to drive him to the airport at freaking 3:00 am in below zero weather. That was painful. He did bring me lots of uber kawaii Neko things. He also brought 'me' a PitaTen art book. Hmmm, it is kind of like the Christmas he got me a webcam for HIS computer. Funny how that worked out.

Piro has always told me how crazy Japanese TV is. Now Spike TV has the Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. It is a Japanese show somewhat like Fear Factor without the disgusting eating stunts and without the safety precautions, The show lets the contestants fall like 20 feet into a little mud puddle- I don't think the kneepads are going to help much. I particularly like how the helmets never stay on. I don't know how people don't end up maimed or paralyzed. What exactly are they competing for? Is it a game show? Do they get money? Or is humiliation a prize? It is completely dubbed over so I don't know what is really going on, I don't really care since I just howl with laughter whenever I watch it.

I got a really nice email from Chris Tarbassian at Operation Comix Relief regarding the donations received from the Megatokyo Community. It makes my 2004 seem a lot better.

Dear Sarah,
    Just want to let you and your readers know thatthanks to all of the help, packages are going outrather quickly now.

    Since we received their donation for postage,hundreds (not a typo) of comics have gone out.
    Again thank you,
    Chris Tarbassian
    Operation Comix Relief

Ok, the con season begins again. We will be attending the following 2004 cons with Wizzywig!:

Katsucon 2/13-15 Crystal City, DC
Megacon 3/5-3/7 Orlando
Sakura-Con 4/23-35 Seattle
Anime Central 5/14-16 Chicago
Fanime 5/28-5/30 San Jose, CA
Akon 6/4-6 Dallas
San Diego Comic Con 7/22-25
Otakon 7/30 - 8/1
Anime Weekend Atlanta 9/24-26

Also keep an eye out for Wizzywig at Anime Boston 4/9-11 and Anime Expo 7/2-5, and if you are in Columbus, Ohio this weekend, be sure to visit them at Ohayocon. :)

I felt bad after my Banned Book Week rant because I thought that people would think I was picking on Texas. I had actually found references to book burnings and cuttings in Maine, Pennsylvania, and (gasp) even Michigan but the Texas cases seemed the most egregious. I recently found an article on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website about a new law in Michigan that makes it illegal to allow minors to examine any material that may be harmful. The wording of the law is scary. The proponents say it just refers to pornographic material but the actual text of the law goes much farther in so much as to include any book with narrative descriptions of sexual excitement, That is a hell of a lot of stuff from classic novels to Seventeen magazine and the possibility for interpretation is too broad. It also applies to visual performances and music. It doesn't just refer to gas stations with Playboy in the magazine rack even though the censors describe it as just that. Oh yeah, Piro and I are CBLDF membersand I recommend it to anyone who values reading. The work they do extends well beyond the realm of just the comic book industry.

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