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Strip 599, Volume 4, Page 75


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< Piro >

the warm glow of the cute, evil timesink...

"computer 'smithing"

Saturday - August 21, 2004

[Piro] - 00:12:00 - [link here]

Last week I did something that i've been wanting to do for a while -- I stripped win2k off of my old Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop, wiped the hard drive and repartitioned it (after archiving a lot of junk i'll probably never need unless i actually delete it) and did a fresh install of winXP.

You might remember when i got this Dell about two and a half years ago. It's a potent, refurbished little beast that is more of a mobile desktop than a laptop (the bloody thing weighs 7.5 lbs). It came with Windows ME, which i didn't even boot up before i repartitioned and installed win2k over the top of it. This old Dell has been through a lot. It was the laptop that failed miserably in our attempt to show flash content at the first Naze Nani Megatokyo event at Otakon in 2002. I used it to process files for the first book. I did well over a year's worth of comics on it. Up till now, I haven't done a clean install of the operating system. As a result, there was the usual muck and clutter that slows down windows machines and makes them cry for the mercy of a fresh OS install.

Ever since I switched to the mac side of things, i have to say i've been enjoying not having to deal with the peculiarities of the windows operating systems. That isn't to say that macs don't have thier own peculiarities - they just seem to involve a lot less theatrics and drama than I was used to. I'm responsible for enough of my own drama that i don't need any from my computing platform. That said, there are things i i've missed not having windows as my main OS. All computing platforms have their own flavors, their own pluses and minuses, so i don't subscribe to the idea that one might be better than another. Even so, I did approach this rebuild with some apprehension.

Not because I haven't done windows installs before, it's just that with them you really sorta need to be current on things in the windows world to do things right. You know, all the tricks, settings, drivers, bits of twine, witches root and blood for sacrificial offerings to ensure a good build. Not really hard to do when you are using the platform, but you gotta do some research when you've been worshiping other gods for over a year :) I used to do regular rebuilds on an office full of Windows 3.1 machines running AutoCad, so i know how important this can be. The bad memories run deep.

The pleasant thing about XP, even over win2k, is how much easier it is to install. Good lord, its like night and day compared to the horror of a 3.1 install. Once you get past the... er, rather ugly (IMHO) colors of the basic XP theme, the interface shows a lot of small improvements. Once everything installed and even had the SP2 upgrades in place, it was like a different machine.

Given the fact that I have my mac G4 (Reki) at the Factory and my little 12" powermac (Hikari) for when I'm home, you might question exactly why i went to the trouble to rebuild the Dell (named Rakka -- see a pattern here? :P). Well, MT may not be a hardcore gaming comic like it sorta started out as, but that doesn't mean I don't miss playing games. I'm pretty much done traveling for the year (with the exception of Anime Weekend Atlanta next month, which Seraphim and I are going to), the store is up and running, the big crunch time of the past six months has started to level out... dammnit to hell, i deserve some friggin game time. :P

If you wanna hear from someone who is far more current and more on the cutting edge of games in play these days, you'll wanna read what Dom has to say about things. I'm a bit more behind the times. Not because i don't know what everyone is playing, it's just that I'm a little more quirky about the games i like to play. I rebuilt Rakka because i wanted to get back to playing Ragnarok Online.

Now, for everyone who has already started to write an email to me groaning about how RO is boring, or how much RO sucks, or how much Gravity sucks, or how i should be playing FFXI instead, save it. I like RO. I like RO because it's cute, it's quirky, its fun (for me) it meanders, and i like the feel of it. I don't play a game because others like it, i play it because i like it. Remember that old rant i wrote about "Generally Accepted Opinions"? Yeah, same thing.

The sad things about my little RO obsession is that i've wanted to get into the game for ages, but never really had the time. I tried during various beta phases. I tried when you had to pay to play during the beta phases. I wanted to play when all my friends were playing. Now, the game is out of beta and a fully released. the RO website doesn't suck anymore. All my friends have stopped playing. RO is "old news". I actually don't mind.

"I'll help you level up!" was what friends always used to tell me, but there was always a part of me that rebelled against that idea, at least initially. I wanted to do my time as a true noob and figure things out the hard way. Having someone walk me through everything just seemed... like it'd take the fun out of it. Part of that comes from a very single player mindset i suffer from. Kind of odd that'd i'd take so much interest in an online roll playing game :P

Anyways, i won't bore you with more details about learning the ropes while trying to level up out of being a novice. And even more odd is the fact that the extreme lateness of fridays comic had nothing to do with RO - i wish it did, that'd be a better excuse than the reason you're tired of hearing - struggled with the art, beat my head on the desk till the dialogue at least started to work. :)

< Dom >

Bounce hoooouse!

"pera pera pera"

Monday - August 23, 2004

[Dom] - 00:00:00 - [link here]

So my sister's boyfriend (a boy I'm fond of calling my de facto brother in law) is hosting a Japanese exchange student named Kayoko. I know this because he came up to my at my sister's birthday barbecue last week, took me aside and said:

"Dude, I need you to take her off my hands for a little! You can speak Japanese, talk to her or something."

After blinking and doing my best impression of Desi Arnaz ("Dude, you got some splainin' to do!"), he said that Kayoko had only recently arrived, and she was being a bit clingy--understandably, given that she's in a strange country and doesn't know many people other than my sister and her boyfriend. After his explanation of Kayoko's understandable reticence, knowing that I was the only person at the party who could speak competent (note that I don't call it fluent) Japanese, I did the only reasonable thing.

I ran, like a certain foreign language teacher in Azumanga Daiou. Then I realized how stupid that reaction was, and just sort of sat trying to think of what to say to Kayoko in a way that wouldn't mark me as a punk or an idiot, and a reason I should try to talk to her in Japanese instead of English.

A random note if you're wondering: most characters who speak in Japanese in MegaTokyo talk as if they were young women, given that most of them ARE young women. Piro also talks like a young woman, because we decided it would make him sound even more like a loser. It's very strange looking at Ken's translations into Japanese in this light, since my instinct is to cut everything down until they sound like they're men. Especially since Piro's speech makes me instantly think of a multitude of transvestite characters I've come across who speak similarly. It's warping to think that Piro talks even vaguely similarly to One Piece's Mister Two or Sakura Taisen's Baragumi.

Aaaaanyway. I sat thinking about what I could possibly talk about, when my de facto brother in law let slip that he was taking Kayoko to a baseball game the next time the Seattle Mariners visited the Oakland Athletics--so she could see Ichiro, of course. Bing! I had a topic to talk to her about. We ended up discussing American and Japanese baseball, her love for her doomed Hiroshima Toyo Carp, and Adachi manga (an essential part of your balanced sports manga breakfast). It's fascinating how quickly my conversations can turn to baseball, but this was a little extreme. At least we ended up talking about other things, which I honestly can't remember because they didn't involve baseball.

We had our conversations half in my limited Japanese and half in her limited English, and it turned out alright in the end, when my sister pulled Kayoko away and introduced her to vodka watermelon. As for me, I fled the scene due to my sister's habit of making "Get my little brother drunk" one of her birthday wishes.

A few days later, my sister asked me to keep a running translation of Kayoko's blog (which I won't link due to Kayoko posting pictures, and her hosting would die horribly if I linked) and I fascinatedly read her observations about our particular segment of American society. My sister has spent a long time trying to disabuse her of the notion that any one group can represent America, but her stories about us are still pretty interesting reads.

Now to wait until the Olympics are over so I can divert her attention to baseball again...

Speaking of the Olympics, I really like this ESPN article about the surprising Iraqi soccer team, and their distaste for being used by American politics.

Talk to you guys later.


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