Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Miniature Akallabêth of Sorts

Well, here it is- what you've all been waiting for, since the moment when I first expressed my hope to migrate to a paid host, free from the restrictions of a free blog. It's been a long wait, no? First of all, I kept myself waiting, researching the benefits/detriments attached to the use of a free hosting service, being, to a certain extent, quite determined to make use of one, even going so far as to set up a site bearing the name a20tameshi. Don't bother searching. It's dead. It's a good thing that I didn't name it aprilius20 as well, since I am a little emotionally attached to this name- my little exercise in branding. Wouldn't want it to be attached to something that returns an error 404.
Enough of all that mushy historical nonsense. Like I said, here I am, and here I shall remain (I hope). I have a feeling that I stole that line from somewhere, but I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it's Tolkien. Remain I shall, but some problems remain that have to be sorted out, minor issues like (what in blazes) this link, and this link. Oh well. Not that I can do anything about them at this point.

A more pressing issue would be that I can't display Japanese text. I say display because I can type it in, but once published, whether in the post title, the post itself, or in comments, it shows up as '???'. Untranslatable gibberish. Running it through Google Translate leaves me with the most sensible translation of '???'.

Well. I've done some fixing. xJAYMANx, who seems to be facing some identical issues (unless I misunderstood him), pointed me to some scholarly articles floating on the internet. I tried out one method that I figured I could do without screwing up the whole system- entered the PHPadmin system (whatever that is) and changed everything (under the heading entitled collations) that was set to latin_swedish to utf8_unicode. Of all things, why Swedish? Never mind. Nothing seemed to change, but while typing this post days after making the changes, I noticed that Japanese text showed up fine in the 'Recent Posts' section, and while I hover my pointer over the page tab in the browser itself (example).

Now,  regarding content. New land, new ways, as they say, but I think that mine shall largely remain the same. Posts will continue to remain a mixture of obscure nonsense mainstream topics, but all will remain deeply related to me, as the main subject matter. This is my little world, after all, so what if everything revolves around me? Categories, however, will have to undergo some changes- I think that I will be splitting reviews from 'Thoughts'. You won't really notice the difference. As for post titles, I have long debated whether I should use simpler titles from now on. After much consideration, I have decided that I take too much delight in devising weird, long, and confusing (and every now and then, utterly irrelevant) titles, so there's not a chance of this tradition ever being changed.

Links. Feel free to link me, and I might reciprocate. Well, I most probably will. I wonder though, whether I should break my self-imposed 'ban' of not linking other sites until I establish some sort of connection with the owner (note: I used to refer to this as 'after a long while of stalking')- much more relaxed compared to the ban in its more ancient form. Then again, I really don't think that I would go around guerrilla-linking, linking just to attract attention. Nah.

Regular visitors will have noticed the changes made to the link section. In the old days I used to use a single category, lumping everyone under the heading 'nakama', but that won't work now, and not just because Japanese text seems to be rather reticent. Most of my links are to friends' blogs, and as such would contain nothing of much interest to visitors more interested in reviews, or community-related affairs (by community I refer to the online Japanese subculture clique, with which I maintain a rather removed, or detached relationship).

At first, I tried creating two categories- ad rem, and nihil ad rem. I deem it of the utmost importance to note that used these terms not because I am a second-year law student, but because Latin is a nice language, one far more charming than the current Italian used today in the land of its origin. And almost nobody would understand it. Problems cropped up, though, which I won't bother explaining, being aesthetic in nature. Also, being in the habit of thinking too much into things (reading lines into lines instead of reading between the lines- it's a hobby of mine), I thought that some people would be offended if they found that they had been lumped into nihil (meaning irrelevant). I now had to settle for one single category. But how to separate the two for more coherence? Kobayashi Jin's School Rumble provided the solution: the usage of musical notations. Take a look for yourself.

One more thing. There will be ads, to go towards the cost of hosting (by the way, this site is being run as an add-on domain). If I get more than enough, well- yay for me. I'll try and keep them as unobtrusive as possible, so don't worry about it. In any case, you won't be seeing giant pop up ads advertising Viagra or 'banana- flavoured mann cream'.

'Stuff relevant to things said in previous post'

To begin with, a  follow up from my previous post (Bad Weather). Luckily enough for me, everything worked out alright, I suppose. I did manage to take the exam, after all. I really couldn't restrain myself- let's see, what did I do this time? I complimented the Sinn Fein for their unique approach to their parliamentary duties, charged Britain's Conservative party with being lily-livered prudes full of hot air (politely, of course), ran down the University's favourite (dead and long gone) professor (A.V. Dicey), and compared judicial review to a nuclear bomb. Heady stuff. I think I'll pass this time, though.

Oh, yes. I remember Blowfish asking if I'd gotten my 'new chucks' yet. There's something wrong with my digital camera- I keep getting some sort of lens error, and when I don't, the image is blurry. The only available method available to me- short of holding it up in front of me with a stupid grin while sitting in front of my laptop- was to use my dad's phone's camera, which really isn't very good. Picture quality is therefore, well, crap. You have been warned:
There they are, the shoes I won by ringing up 8TV on a Tuesday night. I think Tuesday is 'ladies night', haha- with Belinda and Zher hosting. I admitted on air that I wasn't really interested in the shoes, haha- that what I really wanted was Utada's latest CD, This is the One. I didn't know at the time, but it turned out that I actually won both the CD and the shoes. The shoes, as you can/cannot see, are by Converse, from their Metallica range. Maybe they had a hand in designing it. Who knows. The only indication that it comes from that range are the words 'METALLICA' on the flap.

I didn't really like it in the beginning- actually, I wanted another pair, from the normal range of shoes, but was told that my voucher was only valid for that particular range. -sad- Well it's free, so I can't really complain. Where was I? Oh yeah, I didn't really like it. First of all, it's Converse. I've never liked that white plastic/whatever thingey they stick on the front part of all their shoes. Secondly, it's white- dirties easily. My sister's been egging me on and on about how they look like school shoes. Third, they're hard to put on- I have to stick my feet in sideways (about 90 degrees), and turn and twist once inside.

That said, I've gotten used to them. White is actually a good color to go with most of my clothes, in contrast to my trusty black Nike (Which has lasted me four years and is still going strong, having taken me all over the world- really). White seems to brighten me up (note: appearance, not mood), while black... it sounds strange, but black seems to root me to the ground. Hmm. That's probably why I slipped while walking to the train station after the rain, haha.

'Random Information Dump'

6 October 2009:
Was told by college admin that my PTPTN loan (government study loan) had been approved. This is funny, really, as I applied for it a year ago. Not only that, but after sending in the preliminary form I'd decided not to apply for it, and threw the second form, which contains the bulk of the important procedural formalities, into the trash. Well. So my loan has been approved. One year late. Despite me not sending in the form. After I closed down the relevant back accounts... government efficiency at its best.
8 October 2009:
The date of the planned invasion of Malaysia by some nutty Indonesian ex-student leader. They planned to attack with bows and arrows, sharpened bamboo sticks, and cheap katanas. Nothing happened. The group he led announced that they'd push the invasion date to the 9th. Nothing happened on the 9th either. In an interview with Malaysian press, he categorically denied accusations of insanity. I'm perfectly sane, he said (or something to that effect). Good for you, chum. Don't bother relying on that defense when (and if they even bother to) throw you into court.
13 October 2009:
Night class for Commercial Law, but the lights went out halfway through. Pretty comical. Dismissed early since they couldn't fix it. Rained at night- watched a mother cat nudge her kittens to a dry spot from my balcony. Received a notification from Wordpress stating:

Warning: We have a concern about some of the content on your blog. Please click here to contact us as soon as possible to resolve the issue and re-enable posting.

Luckily, it turned out to be a bug in their system. Still, it was rather scary. Oh, this happened to the old blog, not this one. This issue was first mentioned in the comments in Bad Weather, since I (obviously) couldn't post anything at the time.

30 October 2009:
While waiting for my dad outside some building in town, a guy on a motorcycle started hitting out at another motorcyclist. Stunned, I thought that they were just two idiots duking it out... better not to get involved in such idiocy. It was only when the guy who got assaulted dropped the bike and ran madly across the main road towards who-knows-where that I realised that he was actually trying to steal the bike, and that the other guy was trying to stop him. Hmph. Lost my chance to engage in some heroism. A bunch of people gathered around. One called the cops, motioning others not to touch the downed bike. Why bother, I thought. The bike wasn't stolen. The thief, gone. Cops will take forever to arrive. What's the point? I stood by and enjoyed the wind.
3 November 2009:
Pop quiz, with the lecturer giving away chocolates. Haven't had something like this since kindergarten. Went to an old downtown mall near college to buy some DVD-Rs. I took the lift on the way down and saw an interesting sign: 'Warning. CCTVs are installed. Traitors will be charged'. Um. Technology is amazing, isn't it? Met a friend who had just migrated to my college. I had in my hand a soybean drink in a transparent plastic cup. It was hot outside, so we went in. I placed it down. He picked it up and looked at it, and sniffed it quizzically. 'I thought it was water', said he. Optical illusion- blazing hot outside, and the sun was bright- it looked like water to him earlier. Oh my. I wonder if I'm the second coming of Christ. Like how he was supposed to have turned water into wine, I turned soybean into water, haha. Nobody screaming cries of 'burn the heretic' yet?

And that's the end of this post. What? You were expecting more? Or should I say moar? There will be more, in due time. So just sit still and be patient. In any case, this site is still under construction. I need a new header image, or perhaps more than one- the header rotation system looks nice. I still need to fix the problem with Japanese text too- any help would be much appreciated. Till next time;)


  1. My linking policy has always been - link content that you yourself support, find useful, or have some connection with. That said, my Girl G33k blog was meant to be more "professional" and less "personal," hence all the reviews, and very little about my personal self. So I don't typically link more self-invested blogs like yours and Jay's. I super duper appreciate you linking me, though. And if anyone visiting my site ever bothered to check out my "profile" section, they'd see the blogs that I follow.

    I'm happy to hear that you were able to take your exam! Though I wonder how you politely call someone(s) "lily-livered prudes full of hot air." "I say old chap, you're a lily-livered prude full of hot air. And I mean that in the nicest way possible."

    The shoes look really cool, but I hope for a better picture when you get your camera working. The design looks awesome, but it's difficult to see the detail. :(
    For the record, I wear sandals or flip flops about every day of the year. Sometimes with socks, if it's cold (I know, I know, sandals with socks). I rarely ever put real shoes on, unless I'm going somewhere nicer (and nicer than just, nice sandals, lol), or it's REALLY cold. Like, snow and ice on the ground. And even then, sometimes I've worn sandals. It's just soooo much effort to take real shoes on and off. ^_^

    LOL, the teacher gave you chocolate with your pop quiz? I guess if he gives you something sweet and yummy, you won't hate him for the quiz?

    "CCTVs are installed. Traitors will be charged." What does this mean? Not the (what I assume is) Closed Circuit TV part. What do they mean by watching for traitors?

    All Japanese text looks like a funny little box with numbers inside it on my computer. :( I never did figure out how to fix that (or maybe I did, but was too lazy to bother implementing it).

    Anyway, hooray for Tolkien references!

  2. Free Hosts totally blow.
    I started my blog on a free host to play around with wordpress before starting it for real and it was horrible.The blog was down 60% of the time and thats most certainly something you dont want to happen.

    So you dont like Chucks?Im amazed that you dont find them comfy since I loved how they felt the first time I inserted my feet into them.The biggest drawback of them is that they last abou 3/4 year and then theyre done for good.Atleast when Im walking around with them ^^;;

    I would have preferd plain chucks aswell and ohh they are supposed to get dirty XD

    I wouldnt have mind to be categoried under Nihil.After all we Germans are all nihilists atleast if youre believing the big lebowski ^^

  3. @Kris: Yup, I've noticed the nature of your links- I visit ANN regularly, they have some nice editorials there. Don't really know the rest (aside from DC). You're welcome! I have to admit though that not many of my visitors seem to click on your link- the main clicker seems to be me, haha. Guess it's cos' I've never been that involved in the 'community'.

    How did I call them "lily-livered prudes full of hot air"? Simple, by using different words, haha. I think I just said something along the lines of "the Conservative party has made some big promises, but I doubt that they have what it takes to fulfill them". Heavily cloaked, haha.

    Lol, sandals with socks?I won't say a word. Same here, sandals whenever possible. I only use shoes when going out somewhere- whether for outings with friends or when on holiday. Real shoes? Haha, what does that mean? I guess I should share the secret to easy shoe-wear: don't tie your laces all the way. I just sorta twist them into two separate knots on either side- enables me to slip in and out. Well, in my trusty Nike, at least.

    Haha, we don't mind the quizzes, as it's really open-book, so there's really nothing to worry about if you've been attending classes and taking notes. But the chocs are a nice bonus, hehe:)

    Yup, Close-circuit TV. I really have no idea what the 'charging traitors' bit means, but since the building is really old, I'm thinking that it might date back to the late 50's, during the Communist insurgency. I guess there was this sense of intense patriotism at the time... or someone just wanted to suck up to the powers that be.

    I think I have the solution to your Japanese text issue. You probably haven't installed East Asian fonts on your PC. If you're running XP, go to Control Panel - Regional and Language Options - Languages - Install Files for East Asian Languages, upon which it will probably prompt you to insert your XP installation CD. If you're running Vista, it should be pre-installed, so no problems there.

    Yay for Tolkien references indeed! Although 'Akallabêth' might be too big a word for such a post, haha.

    @Blowfish: 60% of the time? That's scary. Luckily that never happened to me while I was testing my test site ( which is pretty much dead now- RIP, buddy.

    So 'Chucks' is a nickname for Converse? I thought you meant 'shoes' the whole while. I dunno, maybe it's because the ones I'm wearing are made from canvas... they're a bit heavier than what I'm used to as well.

    Saaay what? Nine months and they're dead? Nooo~ I guess I have to keep them clean for nine months then;) Never heard of shoes being meant to be made dirty, haha.

    Lol. You don't mind being categorised as 'nothing'? Big Lebowski, haha. Had to wiki it. From what I've read, it sounds pretty impressive, haha.

  4. @Aprilius
    It seems that the Converse Allstars arent that popular over there as they are here.These shoes originated from the 1920s if my memory serves me right and started of as basketball shoes that were revolutionary at their time since they went above the ankle and prevented injuries that way.Some Marketing Genius back then had the great Idea to pay a top-basketball player called Chuck Taylor to give his name for these shoes.
    Thats why the Converse Allstars have the nickname chucks ^_^

    Its like youd call your Nike Airs Michael :P

    These shoes are nowadays pretty popular in the Skate/Punkrock/Indie scene and thats probably the main income source for Converse these days.Youll rarely will find someone from those scenes who hasnt got atleast one pair of them in their locker.They have a revival from time to time in popular culture aswell.

    One of the downside of these shoes is that they are pretty weak and usually have a very short life.Im wearing my shoes everyday and youll notice that the canvas will start to get weak and rip a few centimeters before the part where Canvas and Rubbercap meet.

    Ive had different experiences with them though.Some start to break rather early while some are rel methusalems.

    And well that dirty shoe part...I think this comes from the punkrock aesthetics associated with these shoes.The more messed up and dirty they are the more you lived with your shoes and well youre cooler XD

    Gosh what a long text about some shoes ^^;;;

    You havent seen The Big Lebowski yet?Its an awesome movie and you should definately check it out!
    Jackie Treehorn treets objects like women!

    No seriously the movie seems pretty flat at the beginning but its actually a very well thought out piece of entertainment

  5. @A20-man: Yup, u understood me. Fortunately, I don't use Japanese text much. Hence, my delayed response to any meaningful solution. Strange that comments display them fine, which is why I commented the way I did... Btw, I hovered and clicked the "xJAYMANx" link in your post and it transported me to some alternate-dimension Google translate page. Check your other links like Blowfish's too. Hmm, I like that "Random Dump" section. The date format seems kinda familiar, hmmm...

  6. Lol, right on the heels of Jay-san's comment. I had the same thought! (Maybe because I just visited..)

    Eh, 60%. ._. My free host seems least, it never seems down to me when I need it. =)

    And maybe the nihilists wouldn't mind being in the nihil group..-coughs-

  7. @A20-man: Hmmm, weird. I just copied and pasted some Japanese text into a new test post, and when I preview it, my blog seems to display the characters just fine. So maybe it works on my Toybox after all. I only notice the "?????" when my Toybox pulls in RSS feeds into my middle column (still there). So the Toybox could be experiencing a feeder problem, not a WordPress problem. Which is nonetheless weird for you. Hope you find a solution.

    @Jenn-chan: Haha, you again? Second time today! Or third, if u include my visit to your blog.

  8. @Blow: Oh, they are popular here, to a certain extent, but not on the level of brands like Nike and Adidas. Eh? Chuck Taylor was a basketball player? And here I thought he was a rock star:P

    Haha, I haven't heard of anyone calling Nike Airs Michael. Jordan, yes, but not Michael, lol. I wonder if it'll come to a point when people call their Speedos 'Thorpe' or 'Phelps', haha.

    Hehe, 'long text about shoes' indeed- you must really like your Chicks- eh dumb typo lol- chucks, I meant
    .But nooo I'm definitely not gonna get them dirty, haha... I don't even wear them when it rainsXD

    I've heard much about treating women like objects, but treating objects like women? Haha, weird~ sounds like something out of Zetsubou Sensei, lol.

    By the way, sorry about your link- didn't know that it was being directed to an innocent schoolgirl's (OK college-girl) blog until Jay told me about it. Haha, imagine that, visitors expecting reviews of ero QB figures reading mushy love stories instead:D
    ...good thing it wasn't the other way around though, haha.

    @Jay: Ah, good for you, then. My problem is that I have a few posts either entirely in Japanese, or bilingual posts:( Yeah, I hope I can find something soon. Maybe irritate WP to the point that they release a fix, hehe.

    Acht. Thanks for the note about the links. Strange, but I don't see anything wrong with your link- it sends me directly to the toybox when I click it. As for Blowfish's link, though...^^;;

    Haha, it would seem familiar, wouldn't it? Especially since Akallabeth came right off the heels of your Blog 218, haha. It's a good format for dumping things that don't have the depth to constitute an entire post. I've done it before, somewhere... gotta dig, though. Still, I can't compete with your 'random dump' in terms of length, lol.

    @Jenn: Apurikotto Waffles is hosted on a free host? I thought you were running on a paid host. Oh well. Maybe the 60% was from when Blow was running on a fre5e host- quite a while back, I believe. I guess things might have taken a turn for the better since then.

    Haha, what does that -cough- mean? Don't tell me you want to be tagged in the nihil group too~

  9. @Aprilius20
    I only know Chuck Berry the Rockstar ^^;;;
    yeah,I do like those shoes but I am not worhsipping them like some people do :P

    So my link was wrong?Haha to wich side was it linked too?

    I bet it would have been funny the other way around.Someone wants to read some msuhy love story of said innocent schoolgirl and is greated by plastic mammaries XD

  10. @Blow: Hmm, no idea who that is. I do know Halle Berry though... definitely a tastier berry^^;
    Yup, somehow your blog title -flying pussyfoot- was linked to this blog. Wonder what I was thinking when I linked it, haha. Yeah, that's what I thought too- I'd probably have gotten a few slaps if that was the case:P