lorekai: Ikebana

I’ve posted about this before, but earlier this year I started taking ikebana lessons, they’re a great deal of fun, and according to my teacher I’m at least somewhat talented at it, so as I’m currently between games, thought I’d use this chance to talk a bit about it.

For those of you who don’t know ikebana is a style of flower arranging originating in Japan, it has set rules, and makes careful use of space, and is different from more western flower arranging, in that the focus is not on the person viewing, but on creating something that highlights the plants’ natural beauty.  Despite the rules, there is actually a great deal of creativity and freedom to it, and it’s often considered a form of relaxation, if you’ve ever been interested I would recommend giving it a try, it’s a very fun and rewarding hobby.

Here are some of my attempts.

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Upright Moribana

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Upright Moribana in Reverse

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Slanting Moribana

marsy: Mr Shark

I got some shark leggings today. Today was a good day. This is them. These are not my legs.

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https://blackmilkclothing.com/products/mr-shark-leggings (source for all those who are feeling jealous)

 

Today has also been a tiring day (cats are not good at letting me sleep) so I am going to sleep now. I just checked that it is after 9pm, and so I won’t be breaking my personal rule of never going to bed before then. Maybe I will dream of sharks.

wildfillysama: Welcome to Night Vale

I’m very late to this party.

 

I was advised that I would 1) Really like this series and 2) Should really listen to this series, a very long time ago. Sadly I disregarded this advice. Now I am fully caught up and am wallowing in a combination of fandom and regret and no regret at all. Also kind of wanting merchandise.

 

For those of you who do not know, or who like me have been maintaining a stance of wilful ignorance while waiting for the right balance of free time and interest to check it out, “Welcome to Night Vale” is a series of podcasts (also available on youtube) set in a fictional, X-Files-ish American town and ostensibly delivered by the mostly harmless, generally insane and occasionally possessed radio presenter Cecil Palmer. Other fun guests on the show include a scientist attempting to figure out what’s actually going on in Night Vale, two prospective mayor candidates (the old faceless lady who secretly lives in your house and a literal 5-headed dragon), a floating magical cat (not sure if that’s quite the right noun) and many more. It’s really rather amazing. I completely recommend listening. Here are some quotes, taken from the series’ twitter feed and also quoted from the radio show itself.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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And now… the weather!

 

300 Megapixels Worth of Heartache

So the DNA sequencing facility I work at moved to a different hospital campus a couple weeks back, and the boss finally got rid of a few deprecated sequencing machines that were taking up valuable storage space. Gave them a good clean-out so no nasty chemicals were left in them, and sent them off for disposal.

Two SOLiD 5500XLs, two SOLiD 5500s and a single SOLiD 4 sequencer. Five sequencers in total. These sequencers use fluorescently-tagged DNA fragments to sequence stands of DNA bound to microscopic beads immobilised on a glass plate; in short, they take pictures of glowing DNA, cleave off the glowy bit, attach a new, different glowy bit, rinse and repeat. Then, through the magic of SCIENCE and COMPUTING POWER, we get a DNA sequence.

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That’s not important at the moment.

What’s important is, that to get the sorts of resolution needed to tell each of these microscopic beads apart, you need a pretty damn good camera and optics assembly. I don’t care about the optics assembly, I have narrower bandpass filters in my camera already. The camera sensor though….. There were five of these beasts that I could have acquired.

The sensors inside those machines were sixty, that’s right, six-zero, 60 megapixel CCD-type sensors. That’s not the biggest sensor in the world, but it’s certainly up there. As a comparison, the sensor I used for all of the astrophotos I’ve put up on this blog is a TrueSense Imaging KAF-8300, 22.5mm diagonal 8.3 megapixel sensor.

A little bit of searching brought up the model of sensor in the sequencing machines.

They were FTF9168M sensors from Teledyne DALSA, the glorious bastards that brought into the world the 111MP single-chip sensor for the Astrometry Department of the U.S. Naval Observatory (http://www.dpreview.com/articles/1319797632/dalsa100mp), and the 570MP FermiLab Dark Energy Survey camera (https://www.darkenergysurvey.org/DECam/DECam_add_tech.shtml).

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Long whitepaper short: these imaging assemblies had larger sensors with a higher resolution than any commercially available CCD for astrophotography, quantum efficiency that puts a lot of other sensors to shame, and double the dynamic range of my current sensor.

I only learnt of this AFTER the machines had been disposed of.

 

No chance of salvage, no chance at making an array of sensors, no chance at selling three off and making obscene amounts of money. I was in physical pain when I heard that. The expression on my boss’s face when he realised what he had done was an amazing amount of shock and horror. I will be hurting about this to the end of my days.

 

300 megapixels worth of heartache.

 

Stay angry my friends, I certainly will.

An Ode to Cheesecake (or is it?)

Mmm, cheesecake

Your sweet cream drives my heart wild

Let me never stray to another cake

Of course you aren’t perfect

Very close though

Every moment is magic

Fattening but worth every calorie

Oh God, why am I typing this

Really I should be eating this cheesecake

Your objections are noted

Of course they are ignored

Unfortunately thy end draws near

Is there hope for a second helping

Surely I must be able to consume more

Like the mighty whale

I must time travel to save you

Kidding, I’m totally going to eat you

Endlessly I lust for more

Alternatives will not suffice

Together we are stronger than apart

Really though this is getting a bit strange

Uncomfortable yet?

Cheeeeeesecake

Kingsley baked

 

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BERSERKER

 

Dedicated to wildfillysama. Happy Anniversary!

 

The dramatic reading was AMAZING. We’ll be picking cheesecake out of our ears for months to come. God help us.

lorekai: Gyakuten Kenji 2

Gyakuten Kenji 2 is the Japan only sequel to the Ace Attorney series spin off game Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, and while there has been no official English release, a fan translation of the whole game was somewhat recently released, much to the joy of many people, myself included. For those interested in checking it out, while I cannot point you in the direction of a rom, once you have found one you can go here to find the patch,  easy instructions on how to use it, and links to some emulators, I find Desmume works best for me. If you need any assistance feel free to comment, and I’ll do what I can to help, but now, on to the review.

 

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Story:

While difficult to talk about without spoilers, the story in this game is interesting, both overall and in the individual cases. I enjoyed the characters used, and there was a good mix of both new and returning, though some were quite unexpected, but it was good to see them being expanded on.

 

Gameplay:

The gameplay is very similar to the previous game in the series, you control Miles Edgeworth to examine crime scenes, collect evidence, question witnesses, and form logic, ultimately to work out what happened. What is new to this game is the addition of something called Logic Chess, which works in a somewhat similar way to Phoenix’s magatama, as a way to obtain more information, except instead of just presenting evidence, you are given options to guide the conversation based on what you think would make the witness more likely to give away their information. It’s an interesting mechanic, it’s addition certainly adds a lot, and out of all the weird lawyer powers in the Ace Attorney series, not only is it the most reasonable, I would also say that it’s the most enjoyable.

 

Graphics:

Graphically I’d say that the character sprites in this game are a little underwhelming, they are certainly not bad, but this isn’t that old a game and already they haven’t aged well, more of what I’d expect from a Gameboy Advance game.  The character portraits on the other had are a completely different story, they are colourful, fun, and very expressive, adding a lot of charm to the game. Though in fairness it should only be expected when you consider the origin of the series. The in game locations are also very nice, detailed, and vibrant, with lots of little things to investigate.

 

Sound:

Coming from the same composer as several of the other games in the Ace Attorney series, for anyone familiar with the games the soundtrack is exactly as you’d expect. For those not familiar, it’s excellent, atmospheric, fun, and catchy, with a good range of songs appropriate for the different situations in game.

 

Overall:

If you are a fan of the series I would definitely recommend this game, and the fan translation. It’s a very fun game, and the translators have done an excellent job, especially for such a text heavy game. I encountered no issues while playing it, the script choices and the names they gave the new characters all seemed very in keeping with the Ace Attorney universe, and furthermore, most impressively, they seemed able to keep the returning characters in character. While some people I’ve spoken to seem put off by the inconvenience of emulating, this game is worth the difficulty and if Capcom ever does an official release I would buy it on day one.

marsy: Tomodachi Life

I became the proud owner of Tomodachi Life for the 3DS the other day (yesterday, I think. I’ve lost all track…). First impression – it’s hilarious! For those who don’t know, this game involves caring for an island full of Miis you’ve created/got from someone else. So, I have an island populated by my family, some friends, and three Nintendo staff because I need more islanders (if you’re reading this and have Tomodachi Life, please give me your QR code!). It’s really quite entertaining watching people you know doing all these strange things, like rolling about on the floor when bored, ninja running with friends when they come over, meeting up to put makeup on together, having some of the most bizarre dreams, rap battles, etc.

My only complaint is that you can run out of things to do quite quickly unless you have lots of islanders (I assume). Also some of the problems can only be solved by getting an item from another islander, but they aren’t always forthcoming (I need a disposable camera, damn it!).

I would recommend Tomodachi Life to people who are entertained by watching representations of people they know doing stupid things. I am one of those people. Speaking of doing stupid things…

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