Hurricane Ike

Fun times will abound this weekend as Hurricane Ike passes over my home state. I live in a city that is in the current projected path of the storm, but we don't expect anything more than some high winds and flash flooding. The storm will have died out quite a bit by the time it gets here. My latest weather reports are telling me to expect winds up to 35-45 MPH, with gusts up to 55 MPH; and around 4 inches of rain (at least). My family lives farther to the south than I do, but they're just to the west of the eye of the storm; though I expect they'll get their share of stormy weather too.

The storm is really something to behold. Lower Galveston was already flooded by around 2 or 3 this afternoon, and the main part of the storm won't even hit until 12-2 am this morning. Upper Galveston, which is protected by a sea wall, will likely flood as well once the storm hits land. I think just about the whole town is out of power right now. A mandatory evacuation is in effect for Galveston, though I hear about 40% of the population chose to ignore it, even with warnings of "imminent and certain death." That would certainly be enough for me to get the hell out of town, but I guess it's not enough for everyone. Houston residents were told to stay put in an effort to avoid deaths caused by mass evacuation (like during Hurricane Rita a few years ago).

I don't expect to lose any power where I live, as we live near a major airport. But the building's cable box downstairs is open again, so I'm sure all the wind and rain will cut out our cable and Internet (not that it's ever that great to begin with; the company is due another call from us soon).

If you're interested in seeing the power of the storm, there are some excellent videos to be found here, and all the major news stations are following the storm as well.

Sex in Otaku Culture

Here's an interesting article over at MSN, about sex in anime and the Otaku culture, and how it's spreading into the Otaku culture of the west.


Here's the first part of the article, to give you an idea, in case you'd like to read the whole thing. It's not very long.

Anybody who doubts the rapidly growing influence of Japan's erotic cultural imports in the U.S. only has to spend a little time playing with a Hello Kitty vibrator while reading a fan-created pornographic Pokemon comic — or visit a “maid cafĂ©” (now available near Los Angeles and Canada) where the waitresses all dress in costume — to realize it's not just a fringe subculture anymore.

There is a good argument to be made, based on those characters alone, that we are all “turning Japanese” as the '80s song goes — especially sexually.

These cartoony, sexualized characters are all part of otaku culture. Otaku is a Japanese word that has evolved from meaning "techno-geek" to describing devoted fans who pore over Japanese animation (anime), manga (graphic books), hentai (erotic comics) and other comics-derived media. As the recent fashion collaboration of designer Marc Jacobs and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami illustrates, otaku culture has become entrenched in the hip American mainstream.


Update: Securom

If you read my earlier news post that talked about the gamer lash out against Spore and EA's DRM, here's an update direct from EA itself.

In an apparent response, EA has declared that they will still be using the DRM (in regards to the upcoming game Red Alert 3), but you will get a whole whopping FIVE installations, instead of three. Um...yay?

As Kotaku rightly notes, this is not a developer decision; it is EA's. So if you wish to protest this, either don't buy these games at all (and hopefully you won't pirate them either; unless you first buy the game then pirate it anyway because you want your copy to actually work), or if you own the proper console, buy it for that instead of for the PC. This way their PC sales fall, but the game still gets sold and played (which will make developers happy). It's hard to punish a company without also punishing the developers, but there are ways.


Funimation snags Kaze no Stigma

Via ANN.

Kaze no Stigma is a Gonzo production from last year's anime line up (spring 2007). It was pretty decent. I enjoyed it well enough, though it's nothing particularly spectacular. When I describe something that way, what I mean is that it's entertaining, but not really stimulating in any way.

The show centers around Kazuma, a young man from the Kannagi family of fire magic users, who lost a battle against Ayano and was banished from the family. Basically, his powers as a fire user were far too weak to weild the family's sword, Enraiha. He and Ayano battled it out to see who would be the heir, and Ayano beat him easily. Four years later Kazuma reappears as a powerful wind user, having made a contract with a wind spirit lord, and now works as a freelance magic user. He has returned to get revenge against his father, who ejected him from the family. But his quest for revenge brings him back to Ayano and his little brother Ren. While Kazuma has been gone, mysterious wind users have been attacking Kannagi family members. At first the family blames Kazuma, but they soon learn that a wind clan is the cause. Kazuma, who wishes to destroy the Kannagi, instead ends up working with them (or Ayano at least) to protect his brother Ren. Throughout the series Kazuma keeps a cold distance from the Kannagi family, with the exception of his brother, but somehow Ayano keeps getting thrown in to work with him (or sometimes against him) on his jobs.

There's a cute little romance in there, and it plays out fairly well. The viewers learn about Kazuma's feelings long before Ayano, but there's still a decent amount of ambiguousness for a while. Ayano is a hot tempered, rash, occassionally arrogant and sometimes clumsy girl who Kazuma trains (in his own strange ways) to become a more adept wielder of fire magic and the Enraiha.

The animation and music work well. It's Gonzo, and it looks like a Gonzo show. I'd watch it at least once, if you're into the whole spirit elementals and girls with swords kind of shows.

Also, ANN now has a list of the upcoming fall shows. There are some promising titles (like Clannad After Story), and the list there is not complete (as of this posting).

In the News - 9-8-2008

Mostly gaming news here. Not a gamer? Move along, nothing to see here. :)
Kotaku pimping coming up.

Official Wii Wi-Fi Router

They're calling it a Wifi Network Adapter. For...I don't know...people who are not smart enough to buy their own router and set up their own wireless network (or to get their ISP to do it for them)? Even though they're not that expensive, and they're really easy to set up in about 10 minutes? At least now you can get a router that matches your Wii (hooray?). Where the frak is my HDD?

DRM Angry Consumers Bombard Amazon

Will Wright's Spore is now officially on the shelves. Spore is protected with the ridiculously annoying Securom protection, which specifically limits the number of times you can install a game onto your computer (like 3 times or something). Not only does this NOT stop pirates (evidenced by a cracked copy of the game that was released online before the game even came out), but it hurts legitimate consumers. If you practice proper PC care, like I do, you probably re-format your computer at least once a year, if not twice (every 6-8 months is good). So eventually, if you chose to install the game each time you reformated, you would at some point be told that you can no longer install the game. Isn't that lovely? As a result, many angry gamers bombed Spore's review section on Amazon.com with poor scores.
Someone in the comment section (on Kotaku) stated that "cyber terrorism does not work," but I would like to point out that it DOES in fact work, even if it's not exactly classy. When psychologist and author Cooper Lawrence unfairly slammed Mass Effect on Fox News, gamers retaliated by posting bad reviews to her books on Amazon. Ms. Lawrence responded by actually bothering to look into the game, and apologized for her statements.

Nintendo not working on a hard drive

But is working on a "better solution," whatever that means. What could be better than giving us a frakking HDD already?

Harry Potter game pushed back

Just like the movie of the same name, EA's Half-Blood Prince video game will be pushed back to release next summer along side the film. Hooray. Gamers hope this means they will spend the extra time polishing up the game...but shouldn't get their hopes up.

Mercenaries 2 Starring Peter Stormare

Peter Stormare, voice actor for the Mercenaries character Mattias Nilsson (the fellow with the mohawk and tattoos), has sung the now famous Mercenaries "Oh No You Didn't" commercial song (which I posted about before). Stormare is a hilarious actor with a great voice. You may remember him from a recent VW ad campaign, where he acted as a ridiculous German fellow trying to connect to the "cool kids," by destroying their "pimped out" rides and replacing them with a VW GTI. You can see them over at youtube.