Monthly Archives: December 2003


I beat FFX2 a little while ago- here’s my comments (spoiler-free) that I posted in a forum a few minutes ago:

Well, I just beat the game- I got the normal ending, of course, because AFAIK there’s no way to know how to get the good ending without using a guide of some sort. Who’s bright idea was it to make button tapping in Chapter 3 a prerequisite for the good ending? Bah! Other than that, it’s actually surprising how few things you have to do to get that ending, really. There are apparently only two out-of-the-way requirements (one of which, as I mentioned, seems to come out of nowhere).

Anyway, I downloaded the good ending, so know what happens. It’s, well, good. :)
/me wants fanfiction now!

Anyway, on another note- did anyone else think that making the FFX series a prequel for FFVII was weird? (If you haven’t beaten it, that has nothing to do with the ending, on the contrary it deals with something Shinra says in Chapter 5) I mean, it’s cool- in a kind of sick and twisted way….. It’s like something you’d read in a fanfiction and write off as yet another attempt to connect every FF game ever. What’s scary is that now it’s canon, so it will onlly get worse…..

I’ve griped about the unintuitive extras/side quests in other final fantasy games before- like in FFIX and FFX where you basically need a strategy guide to even know that half of the side quests (important ones, even) exist. Older Final Fantasy games, like VI and VII, didn’t have that problem. Sure, you could get the guide, and it helped, but you could still figure out the majority of the game, and do all the important side quests, without it. Yeah, breeding chocobos was a pain, but it was a hell of a lot more intuitive than dodging 200 bolts of lightning in a row, or knowing you had to get a 0:00.00 time in a chocobo race to get your characters their ultimate weapons. Sure, it’s nice to have some ‘easter eggs’ in a game (like the extra summons, etc in FFIV), but IMHO those things should have little bearing on the story or outcome, and should only serve as a slight addition to the game as a whole. And there should definitely be hints somewhere in the actual game telling you they exist (e.g. talk to random NPC #568 7 times in a row, and he tells you to bugger off and check the cave behind the waterfall, where you find your utlimate weapon++ being guarded by a murder of Tonberries). If someone buys a game, they shouldn’t feel the need to have to buy the strategy guide because there is reallly no other way for them to find everything in the game. I’m just glad there’s still resources like GameFAQs available for just these situations, heh.

Just so you know what that rant was in direct refeence to (spoiler-free)- here’s some background of the situation in FFX-2. During a certain part of Chapter 3, Yuna wakes up lying on some flowers. She will say “I’m all alone….” which is your cue to start tapping the X button frantically. This causes something to happen. After you beat the end boss, you are once again walking through flowers. Again, you must tap the X button to trigger the good ending. There aren’t any hints anywhere that I could find to tell you to irrationally press buttons during cutscenes- but it is the only way to get the good ending. Bah, I guess I’ll do it during my New Gane+ playthrough (whenever that will be….)

/me has been slacking…

And not necessarily in the good way, either, though there’s certainly been plenty of that :)

I got a pile of toys that I’ve been playing with, mostly video games (I haven’t even gotten around to playing 3 of them yet…) and computer stuff.

I’ve been spending most of my time playing Final Fantasy X-2, which is better than I thought it would be. It looks like I’m at that ending part of the game, when all that is left is to do sidequests and go fight the end boss; yay. I didn’t get the player’s guide, and haven’t been using any online references, so I just know I’ve missed a bunch of stuff along the way. My method for playing thus far has been to try doing everything where (thing!=suck). For example, during every chapter I go to every location a few times and talk to everyone who is there; but I don’t waste my time on (probably productive) crap like the Calm Lands mini-games or Sphere Break. I hear tell that there is something akin to a New Game+ feature in this game, so it looks like I’ll have yet another chance to go through and try to do everything later on.

My computer’s been all modded up with funky lighting-type things, and last night I got the idea to put some glowing stuff (e.g. star stickers or something similar) on the drive casings so the UV cathode lights do more than merely make my floppy cable glow. I also got a cool new motherboard from Chris, who is too nice to me. When I get around to acquiring the stars (which may not be for a while yet, as I already have a pile of them and they are currently in Ithaca) I’ll probably update my geekosphere.

Well, there’s probably more to say, but the likelihood of me saying it now is slim. G’night, folks!

Friday Five

Here’s this week’s five.

1. What was your biggest accomplishment this year?
I’m going to generalize and go with the various volunteer and open source work I’ve done.

2. What was your biggest disappointment?
That I never did end up getting a job with a salary, and that I”ve only made about $2700 this year. At least I don’t have to pay any income tax, heh.

3. What do you hope the new year brings?
A job where I can be happy, which pays me enough to afford rent someplace preferrably Ithaca).

4. Will you be making any New Year’s resolutions? If yes, what will they be?
Not really. If I want to change myself, I try to do it right away (I’m impatient). Trying usuallly bears no strong correlation with success, however :)

5. What are your plans for New Year’s Eve?
I don’t have any formal plans yet. Last year I hung out at 7-11, with Bobby, I had fun so I may just end up doing that again :D

Have a Merry

It’s technically Christmas on the East Coast of the U.S., so I figured I’d do my annual festive post now :)

As I sit here, warmed by the light of my CRT, sipping eggnog, and listening to apropos music (of the standard, bleep-blooping, and novel varieties) I send this message out to all humanoids, cephalopods, dromedaries, ruminants, slackers, dark wizards, otaku, wookies, geeks, gurus, n00bs, kids, and everyone (everything?) else from 00000001 to 10001110 (a superset of the standard range):

Merry Christmas!

Xmas Cow Xmas Penguin
(The cow is for you, Chris :) )

Have a good one!

More on Lain *SPOILERS*

I’ve finished watching the end of Serial Experiments Lain. The last episode seemed a bit… incomplete…. to me, but that is to be expected. Anyway, I wasn’t quite sure of what to make of the myriad of messages presented (I intend on hosting a second viewing of the entire series when Chris is present during the break), so I did what any self-respecting geek would do, and looked for other people’s interpretations on the Wired Internet.

Unsurprisingly, Lain functions on two levels. It seems that some people favor one over the other, or even ignore one entirely, but I think both are valid views of the series (admittedly, one interest me more than the other, but that is mostly because I think cultural heritage is overrated).

The first level (01) would be the obvious one- take the series at face value and look at the insights it offers on the “real world” and the “wired world”. Look at it as a brilliant addition to cyberpunk culture, and enjoy the many references to nifty computer things. This view takes as much as possible literally, which makes some things make very little sense (the influence of the aliens, for instance). Because of stuff like that, people who take this view create many convoluted conspiracy theories to explain some elements of the series. This seems to be the common view, and though I think it has its merits (it’s more fun) I don’t think it is completely true.

The second level (02) takes the opposite approach, and looks at everything in the series as metaphor. There are a few E2 nodes that detail this view, if you are interested in the details. Basically, this view states that Lain, and all the events therein, are merely metaphors for the subjugation of Japanese cuture by Western influences. Lain herself is traditional Japan, and Eiri is the West, who turned himself into a false God using technology (which the West possibly stole from aliens). Eiri/West tries to assimilate everyone into a group consciousness, but Lain/Japan reveals him as the false God he is, and instead assimilates the technology into society (as opposed to the other way around). Seem far-stretched? Well, if you are American, it is supposed to- according to the producer of Lain,

(American viewers) won’t understand this. I don’t want them to understand this. This work is based on the sensitivity and values of the Japanese people. America is different from Japan. The work itself is sort of cultural war against American culture and the American sense of values we adopted after WWII. So I want American people to react to this work.

So all the Americans who don’t get it are just being “typical Americans”.

Despite knowing these facts, and that view 02 is the more “meaningful” of the two, I can’t help but still be attracted to view 01. Sure, maybe that makes me typical- but like I said before, I think cultural heritage is overrated (also typical). That doesn’t mean that I don’t think our society is cold and dehumanizing- because it most certainly is. It just means that I don’t particularly feel that traditional Japanese culture would be any better, for me at least. I can empathize with view 02, but I cannot change the fact that view 01 simply interests me more. Anyway, just because a view isn’t necessarily the intended one doesn’t make it worthless. Both views have merit, and the viewer should be left to interpret it any way they see fit.

Serial Experiments: Lain

Last night, Mike introduced me to Serial Experiments: Lain, quite possibly one of the coolest anime series I have ever been privy too.

It figures Peter fell asleep during it, heh. :D

It’s been about 18 hours and I already have seen most of the series. I only have 3 episodes left, and I’ll probably finish watching it tonight. It’s already bumped NGE off my list of favorite anime.

Anyway, I’ll probably post more on it later- right now, duties in the “Real World” call :)

More Links

In an ongoing effort to further procrastinate against the task of wrapping presents, I present you with some more entertaining wastes of time!

I found a link on Boing Boing to some freely available 8-bit Xmas music. It’s fun, if you like those kind of things (like me). If you do, you may want to look into this other site I found, as well.

Upon further surfing, I Stumbled Upon a homage to idiocy. I only held the damn button for 0.23 seconds, so I am more dumb than 0.0% of other people who tried it. But I did get to see that the average player holds the button for 6:48.70.

……. Maybe this is an elaborate scheme to give certain people something to do besides pass on their genes. If it’s not, it should be. The person who has the record time (12:20:00:22.28- nearly 13 days) should get a Darwin Award. Sure, they probably just wrote a script, or weighed down the mouse button and left the browser window open until Windows crashed… that doesn’t make the feat any less pathetic.

Oooh! I know! Let’s set up a website to see who can hold their breath the longest! Of course, we’d have to have some sort of breath/pulse monitoring hardware on the client’s side just to make sure no one cheats….. Whoever can hold their breath the longest before their pulse stops, wins! And then, everybody wins.

My cyborg names

Alright… so it’s not so much a cyborg as an android. But it’s still a robotic acronym name generator!

Here are mine:


Looks like I’m doomed to be a support monkey. Oh well, it’s a job at least, right? And if previous information pans out, and it ends up being where I want to work, that makes me happy :)

Weekly Free Associations!

I saw this on random thinks and decided it would be fun to do as a weekly thing.

  1. Exchange::gifts
  2. Parental Advisory::warning
  3. Blowout::tires
  4. Spider::fly
  5. Happy::sad
  6. Intense::listless
  7. Corrupt::cheese
  8. Got::milk
  9. Crude::rude
  10. Three::four

When _I_ was your age…..

Yeah, it’s like one of those ‘walk to school in the snow barefoot uphill both ways” stories. The difference is, I was actually there (well, then). I saw it, and can verify its validity. Kids today really aren’t allowed to do anything. Since when did playground equipment become a menace to society? I say, if they fall off a slide (for example) and break their widdle heads wide open, it’s natural selection.

Kids born since the 80s are pansies. I think I blame overzealous parents and a distinct overabundance of stupid lawsuits (< I | a loved one &gt <fell down | choked | [<cut | burned | poisoned | sprained | broke | killed> myself | themselves] | got fat | got offended> and it’s your fault!).

Linked from the usual ephemera.