Monday, 28 March 2011

"I'm afraid not," Howl said. "You've had your time."

Today I heard some unfortunate news; Ms. Diana Wynne Jones passed away on March 26th, having suffered from lung cancer for a few years.

Diana Wynne Jones
16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011

So, one great fantasy author fewer in the land of the living. Fortunately her stories will live much longer. However, it's sad there will be no more stories featuring my dear Howl Jenkins, who's simply an awesome fictional character. Ever since I read an interview with her in which she said she might still write yet another story (after House of Many Ways) I had really been looking forward to it. I would have loved to read something with Howl as the main character again.

But time's our enemy, so rest in peace, Diana.

Howl's Moving Castle is the only book that has ever insprired me to write even remotely good fanfiction. Genereally, I neither read nor write fanfiction remarkably often, but a few years ago I started writing a HMC fic, which exploded from a planned two-shot to a long story with 13 chapters and 20k+ words. And its success has really surprised me. o_O I still keep getting email notifications when people add it to their favourite stories or whatsoever. I kind of promised to write a sequel – but yeah, it's been a year and a half already. I've been so awfully busy, and I don't even enjoy writing so much. However, I've had an idea all along. Maybe I will, one day (after graduation?), write that short story, just to honour Ms. Jones' memory and keep my promise to my readers?

And last but not least, one of my favourite Howl quotes:
"I give up. I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful."
— Howl

Monday, 21 March 2011

Withdrawal symptoms

♫ Trans-X – Living on video

I've been working on my thesis for the whole day and I would have loved to relieve my stress with my favourite pastime, roleplaying, but obviously I won't... P&P or table RPGs would be perfect, but that won't do without a lot of planning – besides, I don't have company for such at the moment (haven't had for a long time). Instead, I roleplay in mmorpgs and forums, but right now one mmorpg is patching, another one is suffering from server failures and my rpg forum is down too!

So basically, I was pretty much forced to write this blog entry. I had been planning it for a while now anyway.

A few years ago I discovered a great game artist called Mateusz Skutnik. Now I've played quite a few of his point&click (and quite room escape like games), or such games in which he's been one of the developers. Room escape games are not really targeted for people who lack patience – like me, but Skutnik's games are fascinating.

The Submachine series comprises several chapters, probably nearly a dozen? Point&click games, like already stated, pretty complex puzzles, nice drawings and such audio tracks that create a nice atmosphere. However, this series is not my favourite one. The picture is from Submachine: 32 chambers, which can be found behind the link, as well as the other chapters.

Daymare Town
Daymare Town is a very interesting game because it's black-and-white. It's an interesting solution for any kind of graphics that are supposed to be used. Basically, complex user interfaces rarely work well without highlighting color. However, since Daymare Town is a game, creating it in black-and-white is a design solution, not a flaw! (And to be precise, it's not white but beige.) Anyone with an interest in bizarre things and creatures and nightmarish things in broad daylight should try this one! The image is from the first chapter, which you can play here.


Covert Front
Covert Front is my Skutnik favourite! It's also the first one I ever played: back then, roughly two years ago, when only two chapters of the game had been released so far, I took a game design course and wrote an analysis of this game with two friends. Anyway – still point&click with a strong room escape feeling, and with an interesting plot! You're a secret agent / spy investigating intriguing conspiracy issues in the early 20th century Europe (which is not in-keeping with actual reality). Audiovisually very fascinating, exciting and what not! I truly suggest trying! The best thing for people like me is the fact that most solutions make at least a little sense – whereas I've played such room escape games in which the things that need to be done in order to solve the puzzles are totally random and ridiculous. So far Covert Front comprises three episodes – still looking forward to the fourth and last one! Oh, and the episodes contain nice cut-scene animations. A very interesting story! This image is from the first episode, All quiet on the covert front, which is also available behind the link.

Fog Fall
Although this game doesn't have Skutnik's art, but Maciej Pałka's, the style is somewhat similar and very nice! And I like this one a lot too, the settings are epic, like the name of the game probably implies... Two very interesting episodes. Start with the first one here.

However, I've already played all those... I haven't completed the third episode of Daymare Town, but to be honest, I lack patience. :D Perhaps I'll just keep dreaming of getting back to roleplaying (won't happen tonight) or... Well... go to bed? So that I can spend yet another interesting thesis day tomorrow. Or no, it's past midnight – today. So long!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Medicine from Japan

♫ Penicillin – 南十字星

I'm not sure if this is a bad joke, or a joke at all... I feel so very awkward, but the truth is that I received a parcel from Japan today.

Penicillin's new album WILL, which was released at the beginning of March. And no, I'm not really trying to make fun of the situation, I truly felt a bit uneasy, although I'm usually all enthusiastic when I get my hands on their new releases. However, today I couldn't help thinking of what the situation is like in Japan at the moment... All the devastation, trouble... the nuke crisis. I'm not hysteric, but I've loathed nuclear power ever since I was umm... fifteen, maybe? One school project back then made me realize what it really is all about, and well... I'm quite green. Although well... it's not the biggest issue in Japan yet. If the situation doesn't get any worse on the nuke plants, the natural catastrophe will surely be worse. A very unfortunate event. :/

I also received a signed photo. Fangirl stuff.

Today I also fell victim to alcohol advertisement... All due to a recent local JCDecaux campaign promoting Crowmoor with some very stunning, well, moor imagery. The bottle label is not as breathtaking as the big posters at bus stops, but I'm rather sure I only bought the bottle because of the ads... (Yeah sure, I'm working in the field of advertising...) Not that I wouldn't have bought something anyway! But I cannot even recall ever drinking Crowmoor before. And well, that will have to wait until Saturday... So long!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


♫ Sonata Arctica – Still loving you

I seem to have got a few new readers! *gasp* Welcome aboard.

I got (or stole?) the idea to write sort of... the alphabet of my life? I guess it also works as some sort of an introduction of what my life is like, considering that I haven't yet written enough to let possible readers in on all aspects of my life. Maybe rather many of the things mentioned here will be covered better in the future. And well, every now and then it was difficult to come up with good things for each letter, but... Oh well. A long blog entry will follow.

I have always loved watching animations. I prefer 2D to 3D, but basically pretty much anything goes or at least awakens my interest. And why did I say "watching animations"? Because I'm not too fond of making them. Damnit, they require patience which I don't have! I've made a few, and although I lack the patience, I've found myself taking one optional course in traditional animation at school... And even better, I've found myself making an animation for a commission! It was an insane task, but turned out nicely enough (I didn't make it alone though, but with a friend) and thanks to that project, I got to see a circus show for the first time in my life. Oh well, my favourite animations comprise such titles as Howl's Moving Castle, Mulan, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Thumbelina, Waltz with Bashir...

Blackmore's Night
I must immediately point out that I haven't lifted up every favourite artist of mine here in this alphabet listing, but only a few ones (maybe when the letters haven't meant anything else to me). Blackmore's Night represents such epic, fabulous, fairytale-like aesthetics that I like in music. Their music takes me far away – to other countries or worlds and to centuries past, anywhere. I particularly like to listen to them when I'm roleplaying.
Blackmore's Night – Under A Violet Moon [Spotify]

Computers & cameras
I'm a geek to some degree. And proud of it! Basically, I love my computer(s), my screens and each efficient component I have. I'm geek enough not to buy anything but custom-made computers, desktops of course. And I could barely live without two screens, although I have to settle for one at work. I love my Adobe software, and my Wacom tablet, and just... the good stuff I have! And I had to include cameras in the letter C because P for photography was already taken by other things, and somehow my computers and cameras go well together. I could say I have several cameras, but I haven't used my compact film cameras for years, so they don't count. But I have two digital cameras, a compact and a SLR one. Both by Canon! Umm... maybe I'll take photos of my computer later, though I'm not sure if it is that interesting...

I haven't gone in for dancing since before teenage, when I used to go in for some basic disco dance for a few years. And I don't have ambitions when it comes to dancing – it's just what I enjoy when I'm partying. I don't need alcohol as much as I need a good dancefloor and some good music - preferably 80's synthpop or something they play at goth clubs.

Edgar Allan Poe
He'd be my favourite author. I've been a fan since I was fourteen. I like both his poems and short stories. The Raven is simply brilliant!

Hmm, how should I explain this concept... Well, sure I would like to live in a fairyland, but basically what I mean is creating an artificial fairyland – maybe this is the madness I'm talking about in my blog description. Seeing bizarre things all around you and trying to make your life even more senseless.

Graphic design
Love, hatred and frustration. A great interest, and a great source of blood, sweat and tears. Basically what I've been studying for years and what I do for a living.

He is a Japanese singer, songwriter and a bit of this and that from a model to an actor and from a producer to a comic artist. First and foremost a singer after all. The vocalist of my favourite bands Penicillin and Machine. His music and other projects have been a great source of inspiration for me for years.

After years and years spent suffering from an identity crisis at teenage, I've finally found the real me, whom I consider strongly individual and I'm rather proud of that. I don't need to belong to any "group" or "scene" in order to be accepted and have friends. I tend to say that I'm not what I look like and I don't look like what I am.
Part of the whole individualism thing is having a somewhat unique name. I only have one first name, and as far as I know, I only share the same name with three other people. I don't know their last names, but if I google with my name, I can only get search results that really do point at me. It took me long to learn to appreciate that, I never liked being called with my real name. I've never considered my real name embarrassing, stupid or too old-fashioned, but back then when I didn't like it I just thought it was too long. Nowadays the most irritating aspect is the fact that barely anyone can spell it correctly. And now, that'd be the so-called individual me..:

I guess Japan gets to be mentioned here, because it was a great interest for me for several years. It still is, but I don't listen to Japanese music, watch anime, read manga or do anything like that as much as I did. I haven't even had the time to continue studying Japanese on my own. However, the culture, both old and modern, fascinate me, and I still do want to visit the country!

A tough letter too. I'm not obsessed with knowledge and I don't even keep gathering it like mad. However, sometimes it's nice to know a bit about the things going on around you. I could also have chosen "kissing" or something, but... No.

Ludwig Revolution
One of my favourite manga series, basically revamping old fairytales. By Kaori Yuki, a very, very talented manga-ka! I've also heard that Hakuei was a source of inspiration behind the character Ludwig!

Ooh yeah. (=a song by one of my favourite bands, Machine) Music. It's worth a letter although I'm not obsessed with music. I don't listen to music everywhere – not even always at home. I do not have an mp3 player or iPod or anything like that. I just carry my headphones to work and listen to Spotify there if I bother, for example, if I have some long-term task to concentrate on. Either way, various things from 80's synthpop to sort of battle metal excite me and keep me going!

Environmental values are rather important to me. I'm not an environmental activist, but I do value nature, want to protect and preserve it. I also appreciate animals of all kinds and want to respect each creature's right to live. (Photo © me.)

I was born on October 13th and I think there's something suitably epic about the date. After all, every now and then my birthday is on Friday the 13th and October is a nice autumn month.

Parapsychology, Pirates
Now this letter was a tough one! Pirates, parapsychology... Oh, and Penicillin, but it was mentioned with Hakuei. I've already written a long blog entry about my love of pirates. I shall, eventually, write about parapsychology as well. I've been interested in ghostly incidents since I was fourteen. I'm somewhat sceptic – not in such a way that I'd question the stories I read/hear, but I do believe most poorly-documented ghost stories are not paranormal at all. However, I do not like the word "paranormal" – I'd rather believe ghosts are a totally natural phenomenon, only such that scientist haven't yet been able to explain.

I prefer everything of high-quality. Especially when it comes to expensive things such as computers, cameras or other electronics... Not that it wouldn't be nice to have clothes and accessories of high quality as well. I'd rather pay for quality than go for a very good bargain.

Now this is a hobby I've been obsessed with since I was fourteen. Creating stories and sort of living them through is just... amazing. Maybe I'm hooked. I spend a lot of time thinking about RP-related issues, from plotting to well... anything. Reminiscing awesome RP scenes. However, at the moment I only go in for rping in a MMORPG world.

I couldn't possibly mention all the interesting things separately and although I'm currently a bit obsessed with steampunk, I didn't want to reserve S merely for that. I may not follow trends, but I really do like clothes and accessories and several things contribute to my own style. Steampunk, pirates, goths, Japanese youth fashion, comics, times past... Oh, and graphic design.

I guess it's enough to say that I'm a typography nazi.

Ultravox and other 80's synthpop bands
Though Ultravox's Hymn is an awesome song! The video can be a bit confusing.

I've been a pescovegetarian since I was thirteen. Now it's a self-evident lifestyle for me. I feel healthy, light, good... My diet produces less greenhouse gases and I don't support intensive production of red meat or chicken. However, I don't preach. I accept other people's diets as well as long as I don't need to hear the old lame joke "I've made a deal with the bunny – I won't eat its food and it won't eat mine".

At the moment I work at the normal office hours, thus, weekends are the time when I can sleep – and even better, stay up until early morning.

...okay this was a tough letter, but at least I can honestly say that I enjoy the magic of Christmas spirit.

Yami no Matsuei
One of my favourite anime and manga series. One of the few manga series that I actually have purchased.

Z-z-Z sleeping
Self-explanatory! Though I like sleeping in the morning, not going to bed early...
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