There's a problem with Ad-Aware 6 build 181 that causes the automatic update process to freeze after downloading 5 per cent of the reference file.
(Apparently somebody mucked up the reference file name because Ad-Aware is attempting to download a reference file from 2002.)
One madman, desperate to save a doomed loved one, concocts a game which will see 13 battle to the death for the ultimate prize: one reality-altering wish.
This is the world of Kamen Rider Ryuki.
As is typical of series in the Kamen Rider franchise, Ryuki has an outrageous premise. It's a little bit Highlander, it's a little bit Digimon and a whole lot of Kamen Rider. It revolves around a mirror world populated by a menagerie of monsters and it is there that the battle of the 13 riders is fought.
Each of the thirteen riders has a reason to play the game. One seeks to revive his comatose lover while another is dying and seeks immortality. One simply wants to improve his lot in life while another craves power. A few try to stop the killing while others are less altruistic and simply revel in meting out death and destruction.
You could say Death, the rider of the pale horse, is the 14th rider as death -- and the five stages of grief -- plays an important part in the series. Many of the characters are dying or doomed to die. Many desperately seek to change their fates and the fates of others. Some will succeed but only at great cost.
The lead, a naif named Kidou Shinji, is presented with difficult, painful and unfair choices as the series progresses. Is saving ten lives worth sacrificing one life? What if that one life happens to be someone you care about? What if you have friends among the ten as well? What path would a true hero take? This being a tokusatsu show, chop-socky action naturally takes precedence over Moral Philosophy 101 but I appreciate the emotive layer since it elevates the action above random acts of senseless violence.
The battle scenes are typical of the newer Kamen Rider series: lots of style and ambition but the CG special effects often tend to fall slightly short in execution. I'm often left wondering at the things they could accomplish if they had a bigger budget but the effects, as they are, do well enough.
Comparisons with more recent Kamen Rider series? Ryuki lacks 555's panache and accessibility but unlike 555 and the bland Blade, Ryuki packs an emotional punch. There are many moving, stirring moments in this series and some depressingly sad moments as well.
Considering how grim and depressing the series can get, I was surprised to find it to be much funnier than 555 and Blade. Kidou Shinji is probably the goofiest character to ever henshin and the supporting cast is capable of some entertaining hijinks as well. And bearing in mind how over-the-top Kamen Rider henshin sequences can be (e.g. Alternative Zero's absurd transformation), Kitaoka's mimed henshin in the hilarious episode 30 is by my reckoning the funniest scene in a Kamen Rider series.
I caught the VCD boxset (22 VCDs containing the series and the 13 Riders Special) and a DVD of Episode Final, the Kamen Rider Ryuki movie. (I had earlier purchased a VCD boxset containing the first 15 episodes of the series and was immediately hooked.) The set is a Hong Kong bootleg but it has a veneer of legitimacy because it's been approved by the local censorship board.
The VCDs are in the original Japanese and have been subbed with Chinese and English subtitles which are onscreen simultaneously. If that wasn't annoying enough, the subbers weren't especially conscientious about getting the English subtitles right. If the character's named Goro and is referred to repeatedly as "Goro-chan," what would possess the subbers to refer to him as "Inagaki"? Truly, an enigma worthy of an Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World episode.
The Episode Final movie, which posits the battle of the 13 riders was the result of a missed play date, is only notable for the debuts of Kamen Rider Femme and Kamen Rider Repaint Ryuga, and its final third which builds strongly to a ... non-ending. The 13 Riders special, on the other hand, has nothing commendable about it aside from its gimmick: viewers could choose their preferred ... non-ending.
A Malay-dubbed version of the show is being currently being shown locally (noon Saturday on NTV7, fact fans) and the really neat thing about this is that the merchandise has been brought in and at very nice prices as well. Here's hoping the powers that be will eventually bring in Faiz and Blade as well.
Let me just set up the Match of the Season (Thus Far) for you:
As expected, it was a tense, gripping match though not a particularly entertaining one.
Ferguson would've been in the soup had he lost this match -- and as it happens he was in the soup anyway -- but he had always maintained United could win it.
And win it United did. United's 2-0 win meant Arsenal had tasted defeat for the first time in 50 Premiership matches. (Reports: BBC, Soccernet, ManUtd.com, Guardian, pix.)
It's a pity the match was marred by some wimpy refereeing. Mike Riley had decided to play it lenient early in the match and a number of fouls went uncarded. However, his attempt to calm things down by talking to the players did nothing to reduce the simmering tensions between these two sides and Riley was soon reduced to flashing the yellow card.
But the ref really earned the ire by getting some crucial decisions wrong including United's two penalty claims. Rooney dove and bamboozled the ref into awarding United a penalty while Ronaldo, who was later hacked down by Cole in the Arsenal box, had his own legitimate penalty claim dismissed. To be fair, it's worth pointing out that even Sky colour commentator Andy Gray got both decisions wrong the first time around and you really needed the benefit of a replay to be absolutely sure.
(Wenger, as you might expect, was whingeing about the penalty that was given but curiously silent about the one that wasn't.)
The dubious nature of the penalty call aside, you have to admire the guts van Nistelrooy showed to take the penalty. Cast your mind back to the last time United were awarded a penalty against Arsenal at Old Trafford. Arsenal's unbeaten run stood at a mere seven and van Nistelrooy could have stopped it there and then had he not missed. One wonders how many times that thought must have played through the Dutchman's mind as Arsenal went on to win the Premiership and create history. Too many, I think. The man stepped up again and this time fired a low shot to his right and the screaming celebrations that followed should have told you he had just exorcised some demons.
United's vaunted forward line has been criticised for not producing the goals but it was three United forwards who combined for the second goal. Saha passed to Smith who could have gone for goal but instead unselfishly passed to Rooney to tap it in.
It could've been 3-0 had Lehmann not saved Giggs' attempt earlier after the Welshman had been put clear by a Scholes ball.
The lowpoints? Some of United's aggression was a bit distasteful to watch. Van Nistelrooy raised his studs and caught Cole painfully just below his knee as the Arsenal man came charging in and the Nevilles clattered into Reyes several times. Arsenal gave as good as they got but I don't really like it when United resort to that kind of ugly football.
United are now 8 points behind Arsenal and United's fans will be hoping this win will kickstart the team's season. It didn't happen earlier after the wins against Liverpool and Fenerbahce but perhaps this win will do it.
I've just finished watching the premiere of the latest Survivor series. (They're calling it "Lost" for some strange reason.)
The big twist in the latest series is there's only one tribe instead of the usual two but I have a feeling the survivors will eventually separate into two tribes a few episodes down the line.
There are only 14 survivors this time around and this being the first episode, we didn't get to know them much. That said, Harry Knowles, the most famous of this season's survivors, needs no introduction even though he's dyed his hair and is being billed as "Jorge Garcia" for some strange reason.
The episode focussed heavily on Jack, a doctor, who has taken it upon himself to organise the tribe. He seems a decent enough guy but if there's one thing I do know about Survivor, there are one million reasons why you need to be ruthless to win the game. Jack, attempting to strengthen his position in the tribe, has made an early alliance with Kate and Charlie. Kate seems dependable enough but I'm not sure about Charlie. He looks like a merry, mischief-making hobbit. Watch your back, Jack!
The first episode played out in the usual fashion: tribe gets stranded on the beach, builds a fire and gets drenched in a tropical downpour. (No doubt the survivors will make building a shelter the main priority in the next episode.)
The first immunity challenge, "Find the Transceiver," was straightforward and Jack's little gang managed to locate it in the jungle without too much difficulty. Unfortunately, the pilot (I didn't catch his name) couldn't activate the transceiver -- so much for 14 months of flight school! -- and he was duly voted off the island. The episode ended with a shot of the pilot who was so distraught about being the first person voted off, he was left red-faced and speechless.
This is a pretty good start and I'm looking forward to future episodes.
Favourite songs of the moment:
For more free and legal songs, hop, skip and jump over to MP3 4U.
An MIT professor debunks eight myths about games. Linking to this should be made mandatory whenever one of those sensationalistic video game horror stories pops up.
Least surprising revelation this year:
(From the BBC's Football page.)
TM Net has upgraded its Streamyx service in my area. I'm getting maximum speeds of about 45KB/sec when downloading torrents now and it took me about 90 minutes to get all 233MB of the latest Kamen Rider Blade episode. However, I'm still annoyed that some sites remain inaccessible without the use of a proxy.
United played out a goalless match against Sparta Prague at Sparta Stadium earlier today. (Reports: BBC, Soccernet, ManUtd.com, Guardian.)
United rarely fail to score so Ferguson was aware of the significance of this, the second goalless draw in four days, and the fact United have only scored once in four and a half hours of play. The players themselves looked quite frustrated during the course of the match. Still, a point is better than none and United should thank Carroll for some outstanding saves.
I don't think the lack of goals is due to the forwards so much as the midfield. The match saw yet another new midfield formation take to the field. Giggs, O'Shea, Scholes and Miller didn't do especially well in this match but I think that's understandable since they haven't played together much.
That's the problem, really. This is a team very much in transition now. Ronaldo, Saha, Miller, Heinze and Rooney have been playing in United's colours for less than two seasons and O'Shea is playing in central midfield for the first time this season. I think the fans will have to exercise some patience as the new players find their feet and adapt. This is likely to mean some unhappy times in the next few months but I feel confident it will come together next season.
And what of the match against Arsenal on Sunday? I know I said I didn't expect United to win it but then I also expected United to lose last season's FA Cup match against Arsenal and misjudged United's resolve in the 2002/2003 Premiership season as well.
From the Star:
TM Net Sdn Bhd broadband customers are in for a bonus. Come Nov 1, the Internet service provider will upgrade all Streamyx broadband users on its 512Kbps (kilobits per second) package to faster 1Mbps (megabit per second) connections, at no extra cost. Streamyx 384Kbps users are also being upgraded to 512Kbps connections. Upgrading works are currently in progress in high traffic areas, with the rollout to all areas scheduled for completion by the end of the month, said TM Net chief executive officer Datuk Baharum Salleh. "We're committed to enhancing the affordability of our services so that more Malaysians would be able to enjoy high speed Internet access," he said.
TM Net Sdn Bhd broadband customers are in for a bonus.
Come Nov 1, the Internet service provider will upgrade all Streamyx broadband users on its 512Kbps (kilobits per second) package to faster 1Mbps (megabit per second) connections, at no extra cost.
Streamyx 384Kbps users are also being upgraded to 512Kbps connections.
Upgrading works are currently in progress in high traffic areas, with the rollout to all areas scheduled for completion by the end of the month, said TM Net chief executive officer Datuk Baharum Salleh.
"We're committed to enhancing the affordability of our services so that more Malaysians would be able to enjoy high speed Internet access," he said.
Wow. Great, right?
Only if you're assuming TM Net operates in the same reality as the rest of us. In TM Net's plane of reality, "upgrading" and "enhancing" services involves screwing up said services.
Thus far, Streamyx users (including yours truly) have experienced stalled downloads, inaccessible web sites and dropped connections. (Incidentally, if you're having trouble accessing web sites with Streamyx, you might want to try a proxy.)
See Shina run.
Run, Shina, run.
New from American Values Toys: Global Dominator!
(It's a 4.96MB MPG file by Chris Thomas that has a yummy satirical filling.)
Surgeon General's Warning: Search engine referrer links can evoke disturbing mental imagery.
Xeni Jardin called it "one of the most powerful televised exchanges in recent history" but I think it can be boiled down to the Daily Show's Jon Stewart calling Tucker Carlson "a dick" on air. (Torrent links, transcript, MeFi, Mark Evanier.)
I haven't watched the Daily Show much (though I've thoroughly enjoyed what little I've seen) and I've never watched Crossfire before this episode but something bugs me about this. I don't think this was a heartfelt plea to the media or a wake-up call so much as Stewart going on the offensive when he realised Carlson was about to call him on the perceived hypocrisy.
(The segment was preceeded by a clip showing Stewart being amused over some softball questions thrown at Kerry and then later included some of Stewart's own softball questions to the Democratic Presidential candidate.)
Carlson, who got put in his place, had a point, though: why doesn't Stewart do on his show what he claims the news media isn't doing? Because it's a comedy show on Comedy Central preceeded by a show about puppets making crank phone calls? That's a cop-out. Check out Stewart's intro for his post-9/11 show. Clearly, Comedy Central won't have to change its name or focus if Stewart occasionally puts on a serious face and does the kind of interview he feels the news media isn't doing. Kerry isn't appearing on every show so that appearance would've warranted some serious questions instead of "How are you holding up?" I'm not sure Stewart can shrug off his own responsibilities when 21 per cent of Americans between 18-29 get their news from The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live.
... we have burdened children - that one group that can't complain - so as to supposedly benefit those of us who do.This is the shameful application of a simple political truth: The future doesn't vote.
... we have burdened children - that one group that can't complain - so as to supposedly benefit those of us who do.
This is the shameful application of a simple political truth: The future doesn't vote.
United played out their fifth draw in nine matches in a goalless match against Birmingham City at St. Andrews. (Reports: BBC, Soccernet, The Insider, ManUtd.com, Guardian.)
I missed the first 30 minutes of the match -- I hate those early Saturday kick-offs -- and the 60 or so minutes I did see was a little depressing.
By the end of the match, Ferguson had van Nistelrooy, Saha, Smith and Rooney on the field but the problem was United could not dominate the midfield.
Keane kept popping up everywhere but he pretty much had to because his partner, Kleberson, was largely missing in action. The Brazilian ghosted stealthily around the field in a ninja-like fashion without contributing much and I suspect many were shocked when he was taken off the field in the 60th minute because they hadn't realised he was on it. Ferguson was later forced to play Smith in central midfield and although Smith ran himself ragged, it was painfully clear he was playing out of position.
Van Nistelrooy had the opportunity of the match when he lost his markers in the penalty area and got on the end of a Quinton Fortune cross but his shot from six yards out was saved instinctively by Maik Taylor. The rebound fell Ronaldo's way but the young winger fluffed his attempt.
Dumb: breaking the law.
Dumber: writing about it in your blog.
Favourite moments from Kamen Rider Ryuki #1: Kamen Rider Zolda's final attack in Episode 10.
He begins by summoning MagnaGiga, his contracted monster, then loads his Final Vent card and inserts his Magna Visor into the beast's back.
Preparing to attack, MagnaGiga raises its arm weapons, lowers cannons from its shins and opens its chest bays to reveal an imposing array of missile bays. MagnaGiga seems to draw energy from the very air around it as it warms up its entire arsenal.
Finally ready, Zolda pulls the trigger and all hell is let loose.
This spectacular sequence takes a little over a minute to complete but seen in all its glory, it will make you swear in admiration.
I wonder if some anthropologist or psychologist has studied why geeks feel almost a pathological need to belittle their fellow geek.
You'd think someone geeky would understand and emphathise with a fellow geek's eccentric passions but no, some of the most vicious criticism will actually come from another geek.
As someone pointed out, there's something quite absurd about a geek dressed as a Klingon mocking a geek dressed as a Romulan.
"Desired marginality" is another quirky geek hallmark. The fancy phrase is the rationale for geeks who loathe it when their particular area of interest gets mainstream action.
This is one of those jokes that make you laugh and then feel slightly discomfited about the fact you know what it's about.
It was slightly amusing when it happened but it's downright hilarious now.
I finished Warlord Battlecry 3's campaign earlier in the week and I was a little disappointed with its big finale. Defeating the Ultimate Bad Guy more or less involved locking him in his room. The climax aside, I found the campaign a pleasant enough experience.
("Pleasant" and "nice" seem to be the words to use to describe this game. It's not a title that inspires effusive praise. I think it's telling the publisher was only moved to modestly hype it as a "solid" game from a series with a "solid track record.")
The campaign was simple enough for my Undead Necromancer. At the default level of difficulty, the AI opponent seemed unable to deal with early Undead pressure and would succumb quickly in most battles.
But don't make the mistake of dismissing the game's AI as inadequate. The AI opponents are ranked from Squire to Emperor. Squire-level AI opponents are easily whipped but the Emperor-level AI opponent will quickly make you curl up and whimper.
You're allowed to continue playing in the campaign world after the story ends and it's likely you'll want to do just that since developing a hero is so addictive.
Seen on a local blog aggregator:
The first excerpt is from a toddler's blog (ghost-written by the mother) while the excerpt immediately below is about recreational drug use.
A photo of Kamen Rider Ryuki and Dragreder from the Rider & Monster set.
The reason it looks a little funky is I tried to touch up the picture with Pixia. I had used a piece of black cloth for a backdrop and despite ironing it, there was a big fat distracting crease behind the figures. Unfortunately, my attempts at removing the crease in post-processing were less than successful. I finally had an "Ah, screw this" moment of exasperation which is why the photo is in black and white and has been run though the Bump filter.
On the bright side, the crease isn't there anymore.
That loud thud you may have heard earlier was Manchester United and their fans crashing to earth.
After an outstanding performance mid-week in the Champions League, the Red Devils could only draw 1-1 against bogey team Middlesbrough at Old Trafford. (Reports: BBC, Soccernet.)
Rooney got all the headlines prior to this match and much was expected of him but the first goal of the match came courtesy of two Boro youngsters making their Premiership debuts. Morrison beat Heinze on United's left flank and produced a delightful cross for Downing to slam the ball past Caroll.
Boro looked the better side as the match progressed though they didn't particularly look like scoring much. McClaren's side seemed content to stifle United and keep possession for the most of the match and Boro were aided in their task by a United team which gave the ball away far too cheaply and far too frequently.
United did have numerous chances to equalise but the Red Devils just couldn't convert them. Van Nistelrooy fluffed a couple of opportunities as did, believe it or not, Gary Neville.
It really looked as if it would be one of those days but United got the goal they were desperately seeking in the 81st minute. Ronaldo kept the ball in intead of letting it go out for a corner and his cross found Smith who headed past Schwarzer for the equaliser.
(That loud sound you may have heard earlier was my shout of relief.)
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Pass comments to tmwarwolf attitude at yahoo dot combut drop the attitude.
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