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Sunday, April 30, 2006

7:20 AM - Ibuki's shocking find

Re: Kamen Rider Hibiki episode 44.

Shibue Jyoji's facial expressions really cracked me up.

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1:46 AM - Death, be not proud

What was going through the director's mind when he was visualising this scene in episode 44 of Kamen Rider Hibiki, I wonder?

"Hmm, this is a shocking, tragic scene so it really needs some ... buttocks."

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

12:46 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman Guncannon.
A fan-creation.

Circuit bending.
"Part performance art, part basement science, circuit bending is the creative rewiring of battery-powered electronics, ranging from Game Boys to Speak-n-Spells to talking teddy bears."

Guild Wars Factions Head Start Event.
I'm keen on getting the game as soon as it's available locally but I suppose I ought to wait until Arena.net fixes the initial batch of bugs.

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12:45 AM - Hmm ...

Seen online:

Could you repeat that?

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Friday, April 28, 2006

12:56 AM - Soaron

Captain Power: Soaron

Another shot of Soaron.

I really like the silver sheen of this figure.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

11:42 PM - The Tipping Point

The Tipping Point was the book of the moment six years ago. This would make me a laggard at the tail-end of a trend since I've only read it last week.

The book is ostensibly about social trends and the elements that cause some of them to take off wildly and improbably. That's interesting in itself but I was much more fascinated by a recurring sub-theme in the book.

It was astonishing to learn just how easily people are influenced and manipulated. It's readily evident we can be influenced by the words and actions of others. However, it's a bit unsettling to learn we also respond and react at a subconscious level to almost imperceptible clues in our environment and in other people.

As the book reveals, people can be influenced by emotions of charismatic strangers even when no words are exchanged. Broken windows and graffiti subconsciously encourage vandalism which in turn encourages more serious crimes. Suicide numbers rise and traffic accidents increase whenever a suicide is reported in the papers.

If you're intrigued by all this, I would urge you to visit the author's site and read his own attempt to influence you to buy the book.

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11:41 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Cobra: Class of '82.
See also: 1, 2.

A new use for for the AIM bot.

Teacher punishes students with porn.
Education Minister responds: "I will order the Johor education director to investigate ... If there is concrete evidence of misconduct, we will not hesitate to mete out the appropriate punishment ..." Appropriate punishment in this case will involve, what, having to read Archie comics?

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Sunday, April 23, 2006

8:47 PM - Future past

Captain Power: Soaron

A photo of Soaron, a figure from Mattel's Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future line.

The figure was produced almost two decades ago and I got it when the show was aired locally in '88 or '89. The 9.5cm-tall figure has some discolouration and is missing its accessories -- Virtual Toy Chest has a photo of a fully-equipped Soaron -- but it still looks pretty good for its age. The main problem with it right now is its joints are pretty loose. I had trouble getting it standing in any other pose than the one I ended up using for the photo.

The articulation is decent. There are ball joints for the arms and hips, hinge joints for knees and elbows, and swivel joints for the neck and, er, ponytail.

The thing I find most intriguing about the figure is it was made in Malaysia. Mattel did have a factory locally back then which it still maintains, I believe.

My memories of the show are a bit hazy -- it may very well be most notable for having the earliest known reference to the Babylon 5 series -- but I recall enjoying seeing the CGI version of Soaron in action. CGI was still something of a novelty back then.

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8:46 PM - Elsewhere on the web

JASDF in action.
Another fine batch of digirama from Tamaki's Little Treasure. The one featuring the JASDF zeroing in on Godzilla made me smile.

Football Manager PSP. [via]
"... effectively Championship Manager 3 Lite." This is actually a good thing.

PSP Portable TV review. [via]

Kids, this is your Education Minister.
“Gone are the days when I had the time to read Archie comics to relax."

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

1:25 AM - He slayers runes

Xevoz Runeslayer

A photo of a Xevoz Runeslayer.

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Friday, April 21, 2006

12:05 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Stikfas customs.
Bullstik's work is particularly impressive.

VGM interviews Jeff Strain. [via]
It's a comprehensive interview in three parts. I'm relieved to hear there'll be a plenty of PvE content in Guild Wars Factions and delighted the developers intend to improve the henchmen.

Flickr tag of the year.

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Thursday, April 20, 2006

12:33 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Star Wars ver. Mugenbine.
The Force is strong in usu. Check out his other Mugenbine fan-modes.

Face it.
A wacky moment. A photo. The Internet. Coming soon: a meme. Speaking of which ...

Bears on a Sub.
"... only one man stands between the polar bears and the submarine’s nuclear arsenal ..."

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

1:45 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Convoy reclaims his wheels.
Did the Microman LED Powers figures really think they could get away with it? But wait, Microman strikes back...

Microman Power Loader.
Taking inspiration from Robot Machine Z, one fan converts Transformers Energon Landmine for Microman use.

Identify those Transformers.
Search criteria include colour, alt mode type and generation.

ZoneAlarm v 6.1.744.001 released.
Be sure to check the firewall's program permissions once you've upgraded. Upon updating to the latest version, I discovered ZoneAlarm had automatically changed the permissions for Generic Host Processing for Win32 Services, LSA Shell (Export Version), Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer from Blocked (my preference) to Allowed.

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1:08 AM - Here there be ...

Xevoz Firedrake

A photo of Firedrake from the Xevoz Firedrake Reptosaur vs Runeslayer Arcaster set.

I got the set specifically for the Runeslayer figure -- I love knight-themed figures -- and considered the Firedrake figure to be nothing more than a bonus. This anthropomorphic dragon doesn't appeal all that much to me.

Still, every knight must have his dragon.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006

12:49 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Broadblast and sidekick.

You have been playing for one hour.
A funny take on Guild Wars' concerned reminders.

The Tank Man. [via]
"... his identity remains a mystery, but the symbolism of his act of defiance continues to have power."

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

12:15 AM - Some assembly required

Xevoz Transcorcher

A photo of Transcorcher (ver. robot) from the ... eh, you know what.

Transcorcher is a transformer of the reassembler variety with a lot of vehicle parts discarded for the robot mode. On top of that, there are parts included in the package with no function in any of the official modes.

The official robot mode looks a bit busy so I removed most of the extraneous armour and weapons. I intend to mod it further to create something more to my tastes.

You have to love robots with interchangeable parts.

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12:14 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Firefox 1.5.0.2 released. [via]

Artcade.
An exhibition of art inspired by videogames.

Possible endings for "Snakes on a Plane."
Scenario 4 made me giggle the most.

Dogs of war.
"... the Anti-tank dogs were successful at disabling a reported 300 Nazi tanks." I would have loved to have seen the look on a Panzerwaffe commander's face when his tankers explained what had happened.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

2:35 AM - Sky punk

Xevoz Sky punk

A photo of Street Punk (ver. Pilot) with an equipped flight pack from the Xevoz Transcorcher versus Street Punk set.

You can dramatically change the look of a Xevoz figure by simply making use of the extra body parts and armour included with each figure.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

1:06 AM - Elsewhere on the web

MisFormers. [via]
Ah, to be a modern artist. You get to mangle and combine parts of Transformers, claim it's meant to explore "issues related to social dynamics" and then charge 100,000 yen for the result.

Invincible Iron Art.
Doodles and drawings of Iron Man.

The Malaysian Engadget store.
"So, next time someone's in Malaysia, would you do us a favor and check up on 'em, make sure they're doing the Engadget name good?" Oh, I wouldn't worry about the store hurting the site's good name.

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Monday, April 10, 2006

1:27 AM - Elsewhere on the web

Xevoz Redux.
Some fan-created customs for a hypothetical Hasbro revival. Check out the fantastic Micronauts fan-customs as well.

Mugen Police Spinner.
A fan-mode by usu inspired by Blade Runner.

ROM the Space Knight Revisited.

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Sunday, April 09, 2006

12:27 AM - Say what

One of the lesser-documented problems resulting from the US becoming the sole global superpower is this has made my job as a tutor a little difficult.

Let me explain.

After more than a century of British rule, Malaysia has been influenced by its former colonial master in many ways great and small. This remains true after nearly half a century of independence and it remains true despite the long shadow the US has cast over the rest of the world in recent times.

My problem with the US dominating the world so much these days is that the younger generation of Malaysians tend to develop American accents. By younger generation, I mean kids as well as some of their school teachers. Is this bad? Well, no. It's just annoying and exasperating.

Take the word "command." I pronounce it the British way as do most Malaysians my age or older.

Some school teachers of the kids I tutor, on the other hand, are pronouncing it the American way. This is a bit annoying as I have to explain the differences between American English and British English to my pupils and often as not I have to delve into the complexities of dictionary phonetic guides.

At this point, I should mention some of my pupils don't even speak one form of English particularly well. The only times most of them even use the language are during English classes at school and during after-school tuition classes. All told, that's less than 8 hours a week.

I could see from their expressions that they were still doubtful after my explanation. After all, why would their school teacher teach them the "wrong" thing?

I thought I could rely on the pronunciation feature of my pupils' electronic Chinese-English dictionaries to settle the issue once and for all but much to my dismay, the voice that pronounced the word did so the American way. This was all the more exasperating since those Chinese-manufactured electronic dictionaries displayed the IPA phonetics for the British pronunciation.

Clearly, the US wasn't the only one to blame; China was at fault as well.

It's actually a bigger deal than it might seem since it comes down to an issue of trust. Who does the pupil trust: the school teacher or the exasperated tutor?

I'm confident that I've done my very best to explain the situation to my students. I didn't enjoy pointing out their school teachers were wrong. I certainly hope my students don't point out the mistake to their teachers. Some teachers have a nasty habit of not admitting their mistakes and victimising pupils who point them out. These kids suffer enough during their formative years. They don't need some underpaid, overstressed educator making their lives difficult for 45 or so minutes every weekday.

It's still frustrating for me, though. I feel like asking those teachers if they plan to drop the "u" from some words, start celebrating the fourth of July and driving on the right side of the road. Actually, if they'd begin driving on the right side of the road, I'm pretty sure it would solve the problem pretty quickly.

(On a side note, I wonder if any coroner has had to ascribe death to a bad case of mispronunciation.)

By necessity, all living languages evolve and I'm sure we'll see some moves towards global standardisation of the English language. In fact, the sooner this happens, the better. Get to work, international community.

This I command.

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Thursday, April 06, 2006

8:16 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Microman Ryukendo and Tsukaima review.
Goto Youki's got some amusing pictures. Oh, that wacky demon.

Big fight.
Scorponok versus Fortress Maximus.

Barrel of fun.
Why, yes, this transforming robot is happy to see you.

Biggest jerks of Guild Wars.
The 89-page thread is all the more entertaining given the contributions by posters who seem unaware they're revealing themselves to be the real jerks in their anecdotes. This post, though not in the thread, is a good example.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

11:45 PM - Punk

Xevoz Street Punk

A photo of Street Punk from the fantastic Xevoz Transcorcher versus Street Punk set.

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12:30 AM - Making a monkey

Beast Wars Transmetals II Optimus Minor

A digi-doodle of Beast Wars Transmetals II Optimus Minor.

This was one of the worst Transformers ever produced and one of the worst action figures I have spent money on. There have been more wretched Transformers figures produced but Optimus Minor is particularly disappointing considering the period in which he was produced.

Hasbro and Takara were clearly capable of some great beast-to-robot Transformers designs and the Transmetals assortment proved it. The Transmetals version of Beast Wars Megatron is one of the figures from the Beast Wars era that I still rate highly.

Thus, it was something of a shock when the Transmetals II assortment was released. Everything was so X-TR3M3'd to the point I wished someone would go over to the designers' houses and burn their collection of McFarlane Toys figures and Image Comics titles.

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Saturday, April 01, 2006

7:19 PM - Elsewhere on the web

Mark Brooks' deviantArt gallery.
Brooks was one of the artists who worked on Xevoz.

Popurls: popular urls. [via]
A web news aggregator that aggregates links from sites I've never even heard of.

Heal-Bot. [via]
Guild Wars players will get a kick out of this comic strip. Favourites: 1, 2.

Sheringham turns 40.
Solskjaer: "Teddy always trained hard and gave it his all, although I have to say he had a knack of knowing when to get injured - around November so he could get a sneaky week in the Bahamas."

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