Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: May 2009

30 May 2009

Alternate Dimension (Part 1.1)

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Wanting to finish the device and with permission from the director there (I can't believe he just said yes after looking at me just after stepping into his office), I brought it back home. Since it doesn't look anymore like a watch a a glance, I wore it on my wrist. It was design to be worn there anyway, but it doesn't feel like I'm wearing it when I wore it. Even though I made and programmed this, it was someone at headquarters who designed it and I would just blindly follow the instructions. Since the instructions were not specific, I would just think of how to accomplish each task given without even knowing what I'm making. Looking at the design and what I had been doing with it, I'm guessing that the external appearance is to deceive people to think that it's just a normal watch while it's actually something that I would see in spy movies. But what? Sure looks futuristic to me.

I headed to the lockers to take my stuff and to put things that I would need at work later on. This also includes my while lab coat that all staff are required to wear. I could bring it home, but looking at the state of my house, I think I could easily dirty it, not to mention things that could happen on the way to and from work on my bike. The only thing from work tonight beside the device I'm working on is my work pass: I need it to scan on the card reader to gain access to various parts of the workplace and for some, have a face scanner. Having a beam of red light entering my eyes during the scan made me feel funny, like I'm unconsciously forced not to do something bad or something. (Wonder if that light is laser like the barcode scanner at the supermarket? It could damage my eyes faster if it is.) It's kind of inconvenient, but it's certainly better than entering some lengthy forgettable code. They also said that a thumb reader is not safe too as authorized personnel would have problems with the reader, someone could capture the thumbprint of the last person that used the reader, or worse, someone could chop off a person's thumb or the whole arm just to gain entry and steal secrets. The pass has my name, Itsuki Hisakawa (久川伊月), quite large, my job title in medium-size, and everything else small. The photo on this pass is of the same size as the passport, so if those large name of mine were to be re-arranged, it would still be larger than the photo.

From work and the train station, my house is in the opposite direction of the road that leads towards the recently-completed expensive apartment complexes. My family is not rich enough to move there, let alone maintain the current one: It's in a horrible condition. Since both my parents are working somewhere far away for quite some time now, I would only clean areas I normally go to, if I feel like doing so that is. Strangely, that mood comes when exams are nearing. My girlfriend and schoolmate, Kotomi Miyazawa (宮沢ことみ), is a top scorer in school. I thought that it would be impossible for me to get to her as I was just a nobody and all the other guys are interested in her, but it was her who came to me. When she came to my house for the first time, she would point out to how dusty my house is and could see the cobwebs of some places, like no one has been living there for a long time. Despite that, she keeps insisting on coming to my house when she has nothing on. Was it because there's now no one else but me at home? Was it because of my house? No, that can't be it...because of the horrible state it's in, unless you mean doing things together without being disturbed. I have been to her house before, and I can't believe how chaotic it is: she has many younger siblings and they were either running all over or were crying loudly that her dad comes home when they would be asleep and, being the eldest child in the family, the mother keeps asking Kotomi to do the household chores. Makes me wonder how she manages to score the highest in the entire school with all that chaos she has to go through each day. She said that I'm the only person whom she showed her true feelings to. I was quite shocked when she first yelled at me and showed her angry face: I heard from everyone, including her family, that she is quite sweet and gentle with a sweet voice and always looked calm in otherwise stressful situations. Was that angry girl shouting at me (for reasons that have nothing to do with me except as a punchbag) the other day the same sweet, gentle, smart girl everyone's talking about? I think that all that shouting at me was from the pressure that had built up inside, but can't show or release it. She could have picked me as one of the random guys during her "urgent" search for someone whom she could release her pressure at and still have other people not know her true self. Well, seeing that there is the extremely low chance of me finding a girlfriend who would be my wife, and her coming to me of all people out of the blue seems like fate, might as well go with her.

Well, it's been a long day, so I'm going to put my things aside and take a shower. My room is filled with several difficult books that a typical person would be unable to understand. The study desk, which is facing the window, has all my assignment books and notes on it. I don't remember how end up with so many things in my room. Sure it's messy, but I made sure that the area leading to my bed, study desk, and wardrobe are clear from all the stuff. Each time I look at myself naked, I am reminded of how much I hate it. It's hard to explain what exactly, but what other guys might find normal would be annoying to me. For example, this thing at my bottom, it sometimes tries to force through my clothing when I least expect it or think of a certain something, especially when I'm not wearing underwear! It's because of this thing that I can't think properly or feel comfortable no matter what I do, especially riding the bike or during lessons. Would make me feel funny if I try to force it through my clothing in such a way that it won't pop up, even more if I try to sit on my bike in that way. Argh! What's with this annoying thing? I have been having it since birth and I felt worse with it since between primary and middle school. Wearing the school trousers in winter does make me feel warm, but sweating in the summer! Would only find relief when I change into shorts, but except for primary school, soccer, tennis, or swimming, it's not part of any attire.

I changed into home clothes, hung my uniform at a corner for tomorrow and started working on the device. Because of it's size and it's complication, working on it is quite hard. After some thinking and working on it for some time, I got tired from all that squinting and adjusting very tiny things. Not wanting people to steal or me forgetting about it tomorrow, I wore it on my wrist after securing all the loose things and putting on the cover. Tomorrow will be a busy day, just like any other.

← 3rd paragraph of Part 1Part 1.2
5th paragraph of Part 1

29 May 2009

Windows 7 RC x64 version

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(I uploaded a JPEG version of this, but it mysteriously disappeared on the image hosting site...)


I have used the Windows 7 32-bit (x82) beta version (build 7000) back when it came out earlier in the year. After discovering that my laptop (Acer Extensa 4620) could run 64-bit (x64) version, and with the release of the Release Candidate (RC) version, I decided to replace it.

During the installation process, like the beta, I have to select customize instead of upgrade and select the drive to install on. Had to be careful with this part as there is a long list. Fortunately, the name of the drive, capacity and the amount of free space are shown. Although I have already backed up my files on the drive, formatting the installation drive was not necessary. The Windows folder from the beta had ".old" added to the name. Since I don't need it, I deleted it.

Like the beta, there is the feeling that it's somewhat different from Windows Vista. I have used Vista since 2Q 2007. Have to admit, before Vista SP1, copying files especially, seem as though something is not right about it. Also , it wasn't until a year later, when the warranty expired, that I upgraded from 1GB (512MB + 512MB) to 2.5GB (2GB + 512MB) of RAM.

Anyways, I went to customize the themes and had a pleasant surprise. Besides the default theme, I noticed 5 additional themes (Architecture, Cartoon, Scenery, Nature, and Scene), something that I have not seen since Windows 95 Plus! ages ago. Upon clicking on the theme, Windows would nicely/magically change into the new theme. Exploring further, I notice that the wallpaper could be changed at set fixed intervals from any folder you like. Be it the default images, your drawings, or even... well, basically any supported image. The bar that used to contain widgets is replaced by one that you can drag around the screen and have it to appear at the very top. Access it by selecting "Gadgets" after right clicking on the desktop.

Not sure if it's an Ultimate version-only feature, but after heading to the Windows Update and selecting some optional updates, I was able to change the display language. Requires me to log off first though. Not sure if other updates are the cause of this, but a restart is also needed. Options to install those other languages seem to come and go at random. (Is it me or is WMP12 auto filling in missing info for my mp3 files wrongly from the moment it's opened and files added to the library?)

Another thing that I did not mention in the beta review is the new taskbar. If you hover it, the mini-thumbnail of the window appears. If it's a media player, controls would appear (currently works only with WMP12), if there are multiple windows (and tabs for IE8) of it, it would be grouped with each individual ones appearing. In earlier versions, even though the option isn't available, you could also move the taskbar to any corner of the screen as long as it's not locked. In Windows 7, this is made more obvious, though bottom is still the default. On top of that, you can also choose the following options for the way the icons in the taskbar appear:
  • Always combine, hide labels - (Displayed on most screenshots) This is the default option. Could tell programs from their icons. Also looks nice when it's at the side of the screen, which also takes up fewer screen space if on a widescreen display than to have it at the default bottom.
  • Combine when full -  Self explanatory.
  • Never Combine - (Displayed on the 2 screenshots of this paragraph) If you prefer separate icons for each running program, even if multiple instances of it are opened this option is for you. Multiple tabs in IE8 in a window are still display as a single icon if hovered over though, unless you have multiple windows opened. The closest to the classic option.
Performance ranking - The numbering might be different from Vista, but it still have the same function: scans all your processor, random access memory, graphic memory (for both games and Aero), and the transfer rate of the primary hard disk, and then takes the lowest rating. A blue coloured rating indicates that the ratings are current, grey if new hardware/driver is detected and a rescan is needed for an updated rating. Although it took a while to scan, my system rating fell to 3.2 from 3.4 after the rescan because of Aero support. Everything else remained unchanged.

I did mention that this is the x64 version, so what happens when I try to run a 32-bit program? Well, when installing to the Program Files folder, it would, by default, install into the "Program Files (x86)" folder. However, there may be some obscure programs that don't install there. An example would be visual novels, which seems to still actively support that ancient Windows XP and earlier operating systems and provide false alarms to anti-virus programs. If you're lucky it (visual novels) might actually run on Vista 32-bit. Setting the compatibility mode by right clicking on the program, click on properties, heading to the compatibility tab, enable that check box, and selecting the drop-down list don't seem to work. Speaking of that, the compatibility even includes service packs of earlier operating systems. The only real benefit of using 64-bit over 32-bit is that it could use more than 4GB of memory or more, which includes both system RAM and Video RAM combined.

Microsoft also made some improvements to the power button in the start button by making it obvious what pressing the button would do and having the ability to change that. Here's how different from earlier versions (might be different for corporate PCs):
  • Windows 3.1 & earlier - Except for the NT versions, exiting Windows meant heading back to MS-DOS. I don't know how to shut down in MS-DOS, but I think you could just power it off when nothing is running. For NT versions, it actually shuts down.
  • Windows 9x - pressing "Shut Down" would pop up a window with black dots at every other pixel and a window at the middle with ratio box (drop-down list for ME) for options in question format. In Win95/98 there was also an option to enter MS-DOS from there. Having it to head to sleep or log off instead appears as a separate option in the start menu and may or may not appear.
  • Windows XP - Difference from 9x is that it is now represented in a colourful box and the background actually fades into monochrome instead of a pseudo one. You could switch to other users without logging off. However, to hibernate, you would need to press the Shift key and the standby option would change.
  • Windows Vista - Pressing that button would immediately have the computer to be in standby mode instead of shutting down and, if long enough, hibernate. If there is an update needed to be installed (indicated by a yellow shield with an exclamation mark next to the icon), it would shut down after installing updates. Fortunately, there is an arrow to the right of it for more options. Option to switch/log-off user is integrated in there too.
  • Windows 7 - Same as Vista, but default has changed to shutdown instead and made visible what pressing the button would do.
Looking around, people seem to only know the "Shut Down" and "Restart" options seeing how often they complained on how long it takes to start up. Let me explain how it works in the order that appeared in Windows 7:
  • Switch User - Switch to another user account on the computer without logging off
  • Log Off - Logs you off from your account. Sometimes, you could use this instead of restarting and logging back in
  • Lock - Locks your computer to prevent unauthorized persons from using the computer while you go away. (Shortcut: Winkey + L)
  • Restart - Same procedure as Shut Down, but starts again after shutting down as though you had automatically pressed the power on button again right after it had shut down.
  • Sleep - Have the PC in a low-power state mode and would immediately start back when woken up. Power indicator might be red/ember or flashing green.
  • Hibernate - Somewhere between Shut Down and Sleep. It saves your session and shuts down and resumes back when turning back on. Useful for portable devices or, for some reason, want to temporally unplug the power chord. Slower when compared to sleep, but still a lot faster than shutting it down and turning it back up.
  • Shut Down - Starts the procedure so that the PC could be turn off safely. Older hardware, might display a message saying that it's safe to turn off instead of doing it automatically. Recommended only if you want to install updates, programs you just installed requires restart, but don't want it to start up again (eg. need to leave), or physically unplug the power chord (for desktop or laptop without battery) or battery (for laptop not plugged in) to move stuff around, opening it up, or just save electricity from non-usage for a long period of time.
I'm aware that there is a Windows Virtual PC that included Windows XP available for download, but my PC doesn't meet some of the requirements. Besides, I already have Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 on the Vista partion with the add-ons on all Guest OSes installed (except Win 3.1 & 95) and I only used that to check compatability of my web pages in Windows ME's IE6 or programs that can't work with Vista, the latter, as I found out, was caused by the anti-virus and can't be bothered with the white-listing or disabling it temporalily.

I would like to test on other PCs, but they are quite old (2002 or earlier) or had their curcits burst. (Remember me saying about inserting the RAM wrongly on the  2005 motherboard?) I also don't have the finance to buy a new one. At the current rate, the amount I get from those miserable banners per month won't even cover an item at a 100-yen shop...

What would I do when I'm done with the RC? Well, if they RTM or RC2 comes out or the time it expires in 1Q 2010, I would install some kind of a free Linux distribution on it. Might be Fedora, might be Ubuntu, who knows? No point downloading it now as there could be a new version by then and I already have burned CD images of various distros from some time ago.

That's all I could type for this review. For more detailed info and screnshots, I would like to refer you to Paul Thurrott or anyone who have better insights and could explain stuff that I don't understand like Hyper-V better than me. Also, sorry about possible spoilers in the first 7 screenshots of this post, was watching "Eden of the East" and "K-On!" episodes 8 and 9 respectively at the time of typing.

(Can't believe it took me 12 hours to write this...)

26 May 2009

An original story by me (Spin-off Part 1)

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Nobody knows how exactly the doll was made or how old it is. It may be an ancient artifact, but it looks quite new to be so and is surprisingly durable despite how fragile it looks. One thing's for sure though, there have been rumours where a lot of people have come across it and some time after finding it, they would want to get rid of it, or would disappear when their attention on it is at the lowest since coming across it, or had something bad happening to them. All had possession with the doll or was with someone that had the doll. The latter knowing anything of the doll is not necessary.

Due to it's time-traveling and age-proofing properties, organizations researching on the doll and coming up with theories that may involve the doll are having a hard time tracing its origins and what the doll in a particular time had or had not already went through as compared to that of another time. For example, it's made in Time C, but may travel to Time K and then to Time J, then suddenly jumping to Time U and then to Time A. So to anyone, it could be mistaken to be made in Time A as that is when the earliest it appeared. Anything that the doll did (assuming that it has a mind of its own) and changes people made to it might not be accurately be reported. The doll at Time A might have gained knowledge and have changes made by people in Time U but not at Time C, which people though that there are several versions of it. Also, the rumours from the past about the doll might actually be referring to the future. It's complicated to explain things when time travelling is involved. Easiest is to explain from the time-travelling object point of view, but explaining the cause and effect of it and having two instances of it at the same time frame is still confusing and it might not even know what time it's in.

Yamada-sensei is spending the winter holidays in a Spanish-speaking country somewhere. While looking around at a flea market there, he had set his eyes on this doll at such ridiculously low price. Thinking about what he would do with the doll, he though that he could use it to entertain the some of the 3rd-year students he teaches, as they are probably stressed up from the college entrance exams revisions, and probably make those who dread seeing him look forward to him more, especially his homeroom class of 1B. The buyer seemed relieved when he bought it.

When Term 3 starts in January, which is also the shortest, the 3rd years would be graduating quite soon in March. Most plan to continue on to college, some had already taken the college entrance exams. At least give them good luck for later on in their lives. He's not sure if the activity of showing the doll to them would affect them negatively, so he brought it around to find the opportunity to do so and ask them, but those opportunities are rare.

He didn't have much success with the 3rd years, so until closer to their graduation, he would do it with the classes of other years instead. On Friday, 4th February, during homeroom period of class 1B, Yamada-sensei showed the doll to the class. Unknown to everyone, the doll sensed the girl sitting at the middle-front right of the class, near the window. That girl, Haruna Kobayashi, was wishing that her childhood friend of a far-away country would be to be with her. The doll then analyzes her and the person in question she is wishing for. To someone looking at the doll, one of the eyes would seem to focusing on her, and the other appearing an empty eyeball as a result of the eye pupil looking in the direction opposite of where it's facing. The eyes seem to remain in the same position regardless of how the doll is moved in the current mode.

The doll made a check on who the person is referring to: they met each other via their fathers when they were in university. They are close buddies and would meet each other during the summer and winter holidays with the whole family until quite recently. Haruna's childhood friend, who is some years older, has started working last May after he received a job offer from a well known company of an otherwise difficult-to-get job position. Haruna's dad is working at some unknown place and her mother is with him. For some odd reason, it also had money belonging to people who died that are left unclaimed and forgotten, money that has been lost as a result of being burned in flames, soiled in water, people tearing/destroying money without replacing them, and the accumulated value of coins that lay forgotten (eg. inside drains, buried in a forgotten corner) of denominations that are too small to be useful, all transferred to Haruna (as fresh money of course).

Before the doll could proceed with the appropriate action, it looked into the future and saw that Haruna's childhood friend would be involve in a terrible accident about 3 months from then. Looking at the situation, the best would to have him to enter Haruna's body at the time he should have died. In order for him to easily adapt Haruna's body and have the people around not find strange about it, it would have to make Haruna herself to fall into a coma long enough to have people think that she has lost her memories upon waking up, which would be when her childhood friend would be (unknowingly) taking over control over her body. It also foresee Haruna and her childhood friend's minds merged together later on and would have the merged mind to behave exactly like the Haruna from before the whole event started (which is about to be). First, it would need to make Haruna faint and then go to her childhood friend in such a way that the doll would be with him at the time the accident would happen in order for the plan to work.

Haruna was wishing that her childhood friend would be with her as she is in a situation where having it possible would be difficult, but she needs him badly. She had her hands clutched together on the desk and her eyes closed, though open enough to see what's going on. Next thing she knew, she saw nothing but a flash of green light in her eyes. Out of shock, she tried to jump out of her chair, but instead, her body position remain unchanged and fell sideways, like something jumping around inside a box: her body is the box and her mind is the something jumping around inside it. At first, Haruna is puzzled as to what was going on as she found herself lying sideways on the floor in the same position as she was at the table instead shooting up out of her seat out of shock. Haruna tried with all her might to move her body, but nothing happened. Even her vocal cords are not vibrating and eyes not moving. Although she can now only feel, think and hear, they are quite useless when it comes to communicating with others as, to others, she appears to have died as her body is lifeless. She is now also forced to see, hear, and feel things she doesn't want to and unable to do anything about it. Haruna's hell of literally not doing anything has only begun.

At that moment two girls called for help, while another two guys ran out of the classroom. Everyone in class had horror on their faces at first and frantically kept calling her, but somehow soon decided to start touching the body. They noticed that the clothes were normal, but her body is unusually stiff and carrying her around is like carrying a mannequin with real skin and body heat. They even had her to lie down on her front, but it looks like she's kneeling down. Sitting or jumping on her bottom in that position to straighten up had no results. Haruna is feeling the pain from them doing all that and is annoyed that people are playing around with her body like a toy, but she can't do anything about it. What also puzzled her was that even with them doing that would not result in them successfully straightening her body.

The paramedics soon arrived. Because of Haruna's position, they had to place her side of her body on the stretcher and then to the ambulance. They put the stretcher into the back of the ambulance. They tried to straighten her body, but is unusually stiff that However, en route there, her body keeps slipping off so many times, they decided to place her at the front seat with the seat belt on.

At the hospital, doctors were puzzled as to how it happened as they had never seen Haruna's condition before and thought that they were joking when what appear to be a realistic-looking female mannequin with a school uniform on in a sitting position was brought in until everyone explained what happened.

But the doll now seem to have an interest with one of the girls who called for help back at the classroom, Saeko Hisakawa, who appears to be trying to understand her telepathically. It sensed that the girl's body is an empty shell with a mind of its own and gathering memories and experience to prepare for her male counterpart from an another dimension, Itsuki Hisakawa, to enter her when the time comes, which is, coincidentally, around the same time as when Haruna's childhood friend would be involved in the fateful incident. Currently, her self from shortly after the incident is controlling it. Also, to Itsuki Hisakawa's point of view of what would happen that day would that he would become a girl and would have a clone. However, that company Hisakawa works for and it employees and immediate family members of top-level people seems to be unaffected by the dimensional change. Hisakawa's girlfriend, Kotomi Miyazawa is one of the few unaffected as she also works for the company and the director is her uncle. When Kotomi would have Saeko to turn back to a boy, Sawko would turn back to Itsuki in a different dimension, but during the cloning in-between the two events, Saeko's mind is transferred to the body of her clone, Mamiko Hisakawa, and a new mind is based on Saeko's original mind. Although merged later on, they could only read and control each other and are still separate minds. So the one who would be transferred back to the male counterpart in December is not the original Itsuki Hisakawa. The original mind of Itsuki Hisakawa still remains in the female cloned body of Mamiko Hisakawa. Reason why the clone did not change was that the clone was based on the female body at the time of cloning and that the clone body does not exist in the dimension of the male counterpart. Kotomi also thought that the original Itsuki would remain with the original body after the cloning, but she can't tell as Itsuki's original mind behaved more lady-like in the cloned body (the original Itsuki is aware of this fact) and the original body now has the new mind that retained the same behavior form before the cloning. The original Itsuki also hated being a guy because of people's expectations and certain features of the male body that he hate or find more annoying than if he were to be biologically female.

As the doll found some relevancy to the doll for both Hisakawa and Miyazawa, it would follow them after it was done with Kobayashi.

22 May 2009

The story of a North High student (Part 1)

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Note: This part based on The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱) novel, but summarized in a 3rd person point of view. Reason I'm doing this is that I'm stumped as to what to write for my stories. This part, however, has too much important details that very few are skipped.

Kyon never believed in Santa, he knew that that the Santa that appeared in kindergarten was a fake. However he still wants to believe that there are aliens, time-travelers, ghosts, monsters and espers.

After middle school, he completely grew out of that fantasy world and became grounded in reality. Mankind did not go beyond the moon in 1999, let having anyone to take a trip to Alpha Centaur being possible in his lifetime. As for the name "Kyon", his aunt that he has no seen for a long time started it with "My goodness, Kyon has grown so big!". His sister thought that it was funny and his friends called him that too when they heard his sister doing so.

Kyon's life was just a normal, carefree high school student, until he met Haruhi Suzumiya.

Kyon regretted choosing the school at such a high hill that it would be torturing just climb up in the summer. Each time he is reminded of this, he has to do it for the rest of his high school days.

Guys were wearing sport jackets, and the girls were wearing sailor uniforms: an odd combination. After the entrance ended, he entered the 1-5 classroom.

His homeroom teacher, Okabe-sensei, gave a self-introduction. He is their PE teacher and talked about how great handball was during his university days. It seem that he could go on forever until he suddenly asked the class to introduce themselves.

Everyone took their turns to introduce themselves. Kyon gave his very short introduction before the person behind him goes next. He won't forget the words she said:

"I am Haruhi Suzumiya, graduated from East Middle School. Normal humans don't interest me. If there's anyone who is an alien, time traveler, or an esper, please come and find me. That's all!"

Haruhi looked around to see the speechless faces of her classmates and then at Kyon before sitting down. Based on her conclusion and her solemn face, she wasn't trying to be dramatic or funny: She is always serious.

The tense atmosphere of long silence was only lifted when the teacher indicated Taniguchi to continue.

Some days later Kyon turned around to talk to Haruhi about the introduction. Her arms crossed her chest and lips sealed together and stared at him.

"Hey, the stuff you said in your introduction, were you serious?"

"What about it?"

"Aliens and all that stuff..."

"Are you an alien?", she said with a serious look.

"...No."

"If not, what do you want?"

"...It's nothing"

"Then don't talk to me. You're wasting my time!", she said with a cold stare.

Kyon wanted to talk to her even more, but can't think of anything good to say. Fortunately, the homeroom teacher entering at that time saved him. He turned to his desk to see that most of his classmates were looking at him with great interest and the same feeble expression on their faces. He learned later on that they graduated from East Middle School too.

Not wanting others to think that Kyon is a loner during lunch, he ate with his middle school classmate, Kunikida, and someone who graduated from East Middle School, Taniguchi, with him.

"Did you try to talk to Suzumiya?" Taniguchi asked. Kyon nodded.

"And then she said some weird stuff and you don't know how to react?"

"That's right!"

"If she's interested in you, she wouldn't say weird stuff like that. All I can advice you is to give up! You should know by now that she's not normal. I was in her class for 3 years. I know how she is. I thought she would at least try to control herself after she got into senior high; apparently she hasn't. You herd her right?"

"You mean the alien stuff?" said Kunikida.

"Yeah, that. Even back in middle school, she always said and did lots of weird things. For example, there was this school vandalizing incident."

"What happened?"

"There's this tool where you use plaster dust to draw field lines, right? What is it called... Anyway, she sneaked into school at night and, with that thing, drew a very huge symbol in the middle of the field.", said Taniguchi as he was remembering the incident.

"That as so shocking. I went to school early that morning, and all I saw were big circles and triangles. I couldn't figure out what they were supposed to be, so I went up to the fourth floor to
get a bird's eye view. That didn't help: I still didn't know what that symbol was."

"Ah, I think I saw that before. Didn't the newspaper have a story on it? It even had a helicopter view of it! The symbol looked like a broken Nazca pictogram," Kunikida said.

Kyon doesn't remember hearing about it before.

"I saw the article, I saw it. The headline was something like 'Mystery Vandal Strikes Middle School At Night,' right? Well, care to guess who pulled that stunt?"

"Don't tell me it's her."

"She admitted it herself. There's no mistaking it. Naturally, she got called into the principal's office. Every teacher was there, questioning her on why she did it."

"Why did she do it, then?"

"I don't know," Taniguchi answered flatly.

"I heard she refused to say anything. Of course, when you're getting glared at by her, you tend to give up on whatever you're planning. Someone said that she drew the symbol to call out to UFOs, others said that it was a magic symbol and was used in summoning monsters, or that she was trying to open a portal to different worlds, etc... There were many speculations, but as long as the perpetrator refuses to talk, we may never know if those rumors are true or not. To this day it's still a mystery, but that's not all!"

He continued to finish his lunch.

"Once I came to the classroom in the morning and discovered that all the desks were moved out to the corridor, or that there were printed stars on the school roof. Another time she was going
around the school Ofuda all over the place... you know, those Chinese ones where you put the paper talisman on a vampire's forehead. I just can't understand her."

Haruhi seem take and unusually long time if she had headed to the cafeteria during lunch. Other odd things Kyon notices about her include:
  1. She changes her hairstyle every day with a pattern of some kind.
  2. When changing for PE, class 1-5 and 1-6 would combine with the girls and boys separated. Girls would change at 1-5 and boys at 1-6. Unfortunately, at the end of the period before, Haruhi started changing before the guys had even left without caring. Ryouko Asakura requested the guys to leave the classroom as soon the bell rang.
  3. At the end of every period, Haruhi would go missing and at the end of school, she would grab her bag and shoot straight out. Turns out that she would go and participate all the clubs in the school, but leaves them shortly, despite persuasion from the club. Her explanation was: "It is annoying for me to do the same club activity everyday." At the end of the day, she didn't join any clubs.

Quite soon, there was not a single person who didn't know who Haruhi Suzumiya was even though they might not know who the principal was.


The May after the Golden Week arrived.

"Hey, Kyon", said Taniguchi as he approached him from behind. "Where did you go for Golden Week?"

"Took my little sister to see my grandmother in the countryside."

"How boring"

"Fine, what did you do then?"

"Part time jobs all the way!"

"You don't look like that kind of person..."

"Kyon, you are in high school now. Why do you still bring your sister to your grandparents? You got to at least look like a high school student.

"It is a tradition of my family's to have a cousin gathering during Golden Week," Kyon replied.

Haruhi was already sitting at the desk behind his when he entered, staring at the outside. Her hairstyle suggests that it's Wednesday. Before he knew it, he was talking to Haruhi.

"Do you change your hair style each day because of the aliens?"

"When did you notice?"

"Hmm... for a while."

"Really?" Haruhi put her chin on her palm, looking irritated.

"At least that's what I think, because you look and feel different to me everyday."

"For color: Monday is yellow, Tuesday is red, Wednesday is blue, Thursday is green, Friday is gold, Saturday is brown, and Sunday is white. Then that means if we use numbers to represent the color, Monday is zero and Sunday is six, right?"

"That's correct."

"But shouldn’t Monday be one?"

"Who asked for your opinion?", Haruhi scowled at him.

"Have I seen you somewhere before? A long time ago?"

"Don't think so."

Okabe-sensei soon entered the classroom, and their first conversation ended. What shocked Kyon the most was that Haruhi actually answered properly. He originally thought that she would go like, “You are annoying, moron, shut up! Whatever!”

The next day, instead of tying three ponytails, Haruhi had cut her long and slender hair short. The waist length hair has been shortened to shoulder length. Though Kyon finds the hairstyle to suit her, her cutting her hair the day after he talked to her about it is just strange. When asked for her reason, however:

"No reason."

She answered with her trademark irritated tone but didn't show any sort of special expression. Kyon had expected that kind of reply.

"Did you really try to join all the clubs? Is there a club that is more fun than the others? I'd like to consider joining some myself."

"None." Haruhi answered flatly. "Absolutely none."

She emphasizes this again, then slowly let out a breath.

"I thought that high school would be a bit better. In the end it's the same as mandatory education. Nothing changes at all. Looks like I joined the wrong school."

"I overheard something the other day... It's not something important anyway... Did you really dump all your boyfriends?"

"Did that Taniguchi tell you about it? God, I can't believe that I'm in the same class as that idiot even after I graduated middle school. He isn't one of those stalking psychos, is he?”'

"I don't think so"

"I don't know what you heard, but it doesn't matter, most of them are true anyway."

"Isn't there someone out there you want to have a serious relationship with?"

"Absolutely no one! Every single one of them is a moron, I just can't engage in any serious relationship with them. Each one of them would ask me to meet him at the train station on Sunday, then for sure we would go to movies, amusement park, or to a ball game. The first time we eat together would always be a lunch date then we would rush off to a café to drink tea. At the end of the day they
would always say 'see you tomorrow'!"

"I don't see anything wrong with that!"

"Then, without fail, they would confess over the phone. What the Hell! This kind of important things should at least be told face-to-face!!"

"Hmm, you are right. I would ask the girl out and tell her directly."

"Who the hell cares about you!"

"The problem is, are all the boys in this world such dim-witted creatures? I have been agitated by this question since middle school."

"Then, what kind of boy would you consider 'interesting'? Is it going to be aliens after all?"

"I am fine with aliens or similar things as long as they are not normal. Be they male or female."

"Why do you always insist on something other than human?"

"Because humans are no fun at all!"

"That... maybe you are right."

"THAT'S WHY!"

Haruhi suddenly stood up and knocked her chair down, causing everyone to turn and look at her. That was when Okabe-sensei rushed in.

"Sorry I am late..."

"THAT’S WHY I AM WORKING SO HARD!!"

"Er... Homeroom is about to start!"

Haruhi sat back down. The teacher was disoriented from Haruhi's yelling.


After class, Taniguchi, with his mystified face, tried to corner Kyon.

"What kind of magical spell did you cast?"

"What magical spell?"

"This is the first time I've seen Suzumiya talk to a person for so long! What did you guys talk about?"

"Kyon has a history of liking strange girls," Kunikida popped up from behind Taniguchi.

"It doesn't matter if Kyon likes strange girls. What I can't understand is why Suzumiya would talk to you? I don't get it at all."

"Maybe Kyon is as weird as her?"

"Probably. I mean you can't expect someone with a nickname like Kyon to be normal."

"I want to know too," said the voice of a cheerful girl that came out of nowhere. It was Ryouko Asakura, she was elected as the class representative during the previous lengthy homeroom session.

"I tried talking to Suzumiya-san a few times already but nothing came of it. Could you teach me how I should talk to her?"

"I dunno."

"I am so relieved now. She can't go on being isolated from her classmates like that, so it's great that you've become her friend.”

"Friend, huh?"

"You need to continue helping Suzumiya-san so that she can get along with the class. We're in the same class after all so we're counting on you!"

"If there is anything I need to tell Suzumiya-san, I could just ask you to pass the message to her!"

"Hold on! I'm not her spokesman!"

"Please?" she asked sincerely, putting her palms together.

Asakura took Kyon's "um" and "ahh" as a yes and went back to the other girls. They were looking at him too.

"Kyon, we are good friends right...?" Taniguchi asked, staring at him suspiciously.

"What the hell is going on here?"

Even Kunikida, with his eyes closed and arms crossed on his chest, nodded.

385th post:: misinterpritations

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In the post I put up before this, I had trouble typing the lyrics with overlapping characters in various sizes. In the left of the image, do I type "ああ" or "あぁ"? "好き" or "女子き"? "せつない" or "せっなり"? "大丈夫" or "丈大夫"? "か5に入" or "から二人"? "い", "II", "11" or "り"? I know what it is by looking at the rest of the lines, the ones around it, and playing the song, but it's hard to read. (I can't even read my own handwriting...) It gets worse if it's cursive or text from the 19th century AD or earlier.

As for listening but don't have the official lyrics,"フルスロットな脳内" (Full slot na nounai) could be misheard as "Full Throttle wa What am I?". If you have looked at the lyrics and hear the song at the same time for Lucky Star (らき☆すた) opening, you would find that it's hard to follow. The most obvious is the "曖昧3センチ" (At vaguely three centimeters) part: in the song, it sounds a lot like "I my something"!






Spoilers: You were looking forward to watch it yourself when someone else, who somehow watches before you, says out loud or post something that particular significant event that would have otherwise be a shocker if it wasn't for that spoiler. Today, or more specific, the past few hours as at typing this, people at places like Twitter and 2/4-chan are putting up spoilers of episode 8 of the 2009 airing of Haruhi.

It's even harder when someone close (physically or relationship) says out the spoiler. Like heading to a movie theater and midway watching "The Village" (2004 film), someone at an audible distance away says out the plot twist that happens later on.

To me, this Haruhi episode really isn't a spoiler as I have read the novels it's based on quite some time ago and latter volumes of the Haruhi novels that are not (yet) covered by the anime.

(Ironically, I haven't read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows" yet even though I ordered and received it the same way as die hard fans who are the fastest to finish reading it from the official launch day. When was that? It seemed not too long ago, but then again, time seem to zoom by quickly and is now almost halfway through 2009. Also, where did the 1st to 3rd book went off to? It seems to go missing as soon I bought the movie DVD of those...)

PS. Harry Potter married Ginny Weasly and had children.

19 May 2009

383rd post: The feeling of being sleepy

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Heading to bed to rest after a long day of work would have me to fall asleep. However, if the day seem to pass by very quickly or still have full of energy by bedtime, I would probably have trouble falling asleep. Most likely because of something that I may or may not be looking forward to.

Well, even if I manage to lie down to sleep out of tiredness, I would still be mentally awake but with my body sleeping and therefore lay there helpless and can't do anything until I actually fall asleep out of boredom or when the time to wake up arrives. I might also be able to hear people's conversation nearby even though I might actually appear to be sleeping to them. This happens very rarely though.

As for dreams, I don't really remember what it is, after all, based on my memories and won't be able to recall some time after I woke up, but I know that it's weird. One weird dream I had was that I was falling off a building or cliff and hit the bottom. Even though I actually felt being hit, I didn't even fall off the bed or have something on top of me. Lately, it's been about something that I dread of happening or something.

Hmm... (looks at the time) shouldn't I be sleeping right now? Well, my sleeping times is messed up: the delay is now 1-6 hours after my bedtime before I actually go to bed. I might even be sleepy and not know it. Mysteriously, I'm able to wake up at the same time regardless of how late/early I sleep without an alarm clock, except that the time I would be

15 May 2009

381st post: preview for k-on episode 8

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In the preview for K-On episode 8, I spotted Ui (Yui's younger sister by 1 year) to be wearing the Sakura High with a red ribbon on it. It's not obvious due the primary focus on other members. With the fast-paced nature, with the previous episode being Christmas and New Year themed, this episode seem to be exactly a year from episode 1. Looking around, Azusa Nakano could also be joining them. With them performing at the Budokan before they graduate, and 5 episodes left before the end of the spring season, I wouldn't be surprised that K-On would have 24 episodes in total.

I know I'm behind on doing this, but I had just posted my writeup on episode 4 earlier today, where they head to the beach. Far behind enough that the widescreen (and uncropped) version to be avalable.

Why are they are wearing maid costumes? Probably having a club showcase for the newcommers or something.

380th post

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(was doing v0079 when I came up with the idea of doing this)



I rotated the individual parts of v0003 among other things to get this.



Mixed the background of one vector with non-background versions of other vectors to get this. I would like to add more, but found not to be suitable due to the lighting, insufficient areas of the character are vectored, or risk crashing the editor after adding too many.





Earlier, I tried to create a nice Twitter status widget with HTML with code based on my navigation menu, but conflicts with other HTML-based Twitter status caused it to appear messed up. In the end, I reverted back to the Flash-based version (though a different theme) in its place. Discovered new code during the process though.

I changed the images of the navigation menu again. I have changed from Taniguchi from the infamous "Wasuremono" scene, to Mio looking out of the window (just before CM break in K-on ep6), and now, Yomi of Ga-rei.

I have yet to figure out how to have the link to change colour at the same time as when you hover over the area it is on. Also, you can click that empty space to the link in question or the other language version if already there. Reason why I didn't make the cursor to change to that when its hovered over a link is that clicking with the scroll wheel (or holding Ctrl while left clicking) would not have it open in a new tab. Also, mobile browsers might not even treat that as a working link.

13 May 2009

Alternate Dimention (Part 26)

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(Continued from Part 25)
[Mamiko's point of view of what happened from Part 24]

Saeko received a call from Kotomi asking for help urgently for Kotomi's school festival tomorrow. Saeko and I came across a shop near the train station along the way. I don't know why, but those pretty things they are selling at the shop attracted my attention. I can't help myself but to check the stuff there.

I don't know how much time had passed, but Saeko has quietly left me behind and found out that she's now quite close to that school. I know we can read each other minds, but can't she at least tell me that she's leaving? She has never even spoken a word to me since the night after we gained the ability to read each other minds, although this could be partly my fault for playing with a machine I know nothng of that had me end up in a cloned body of myself in the first place. Hold on, does that mean that my current mind was separated from my original? If not, then who was controlling my original body while I'm stuck in the cloned body? Either way, our minds are merged back, but still retain separate bodies with different abilities. Also, at the recent festival of my school, Kotomi did something to the device on Saeko but none to me. If that device turned me into a girl from a boy (when I was still part of my original body), but got cloned as a girl later on, doesn't that mean that I would still remain as a girl if my original body were to somehow revert back to a boy? The fact that this body i'm in now was created as a female with the chromosome of my original body not carried over, it does seem possible: I don't have any scars, my teeth are perfect, the ache in my body is completely gone, my eyesight and nails are perfect, it's like as though the body is freshly made from scratch, but still retain memories and knowledge. I even have different perspective of the daily things too and two different sets of memories from before: from the dimension Saeko was originally from as a boy and another that would fit the situation Saeko is now in. Hard to tell if the latter set of memories are made up or Saeko really did enter another dimension where she would be a rich and high-scoring female instead of a poor and low-scoring male, though it would fit me more than her though, but I am her clone after all.

As I got closer to Kotomi's school, students from there seemed to have a déjà vu kind of a reaction when they see me. I think Saeko had walked past them in one direction earlier, and that I look exactly like her.

Although Saeko is now in Kotomi's class of 2-1 with her classmates, Kotomi herself is nowhere to be found. Kotomi could be around the school helping the others, but where exactly is she?

"Are you looking for someone? I've seen you wandering around here a lot lately..." A girl's voice from my right entered my head.

"I'm looking for Kotomi Miyazawa."

"Oh, you mean the second year student council president candidate? She should be in class 2-6 now. That class hasn't really prepared for anything. When asked why, they gave an excuse about a table somewhere in the middle being cursed or something. Anyone who sits there or move the desk would immediately feel dizzy and faint.", she explained. Class 2-6 was my former class.

A cursed table? There wasn't such thing when I was there as Itsuki... and since when was Kotomi even in the council???

I headed to the classroom, and though I am very familiar with the place, I fell uneasy walking around. To avoid the possibly-crowded corridors, I walked through the courtyard and towards the stairs nearest to the class. I (as Itsuki) used to like to hang out here to have lunch with Kenjiro if I wasn't with Kotomi. It was also here where I bought photos of girls (as a guy) from people in the photography club who were discreetly selling them from being found out when the clubs were actively promoting their clubs during my first few days here last year. Besides field trips, the sports and cultural festivals, this is one of the few rare opportunities they could take pictures out in the open.

I then reached class 2-6: my former class. Looking inside, only the back half of the class is decorated. There are black curtains to separate the two halves. I don't know what they are planning to do as all the desks at the front half are in their usual positions, as though it were to be a normal day.

One of my former classmates, whom I know very little of, spotted me looking inside. At my current state, he only knows me as the girl from an elite school who is somehow interested in the Kenjiro of this class.

As though knowing what was on my mind, he called Kenjiro out and brought me to him.

Kenjiro: "Oh? You have come to see me again?"

Me: "Not exactly... I'm looking for Miyazawa-san. Someone told me I could find her here."

Kenjiro: "She was here a while ago, talking to us about moving the tables around. But she abruptly ran out, saying that she would be back. She seem to have a puzzled look on her face, like she's clueless as to why she would suddenly want to go to the toilet."

The toilet is on the other side of the corridor, so I did not see her as I entered the classroom. Then again, the corridor is crowded with people making final touches to the place. Knowing Kotomi, she would avoid unnecessary trips or at least inform other people and walk out gracefully, and make dash when no one, except me, is looking at her.

Kenjiro: "She was calm until she placed her hand on that table. That table is cursed: anyone who sits there or even touches the table would feel bad, but not serious enough to land in the hospital so far."

He pointed to a desk I was sitting at until May. I'm puzzled: Why is the very table I sat at cursed? Is it a preventive measure so that no one could sit at my place? But why? I didn't ask for it, and until a while ago, neither do I know about it. Could this table be the very reason why Kotomi called me over?

Kenjiro: "From what I can see, I can see exercise books identical to ours. Our year is the first batch to use those textbooks, so it's a mystery how it got there. From what I can see, it seems to have 久川伊月 (Itsuki Hisakawa) written down, the same family name as you. Do you know who that is? Your brother? That family name is not common."

Itsuki was one of my former names, but I'm not sure if I should tell him that. But he won't believe me anyway because of the mass differences of the me before and after the change. I'm surprised that the textbooks are still here. I'm guessing that this so-called curse is to prevent other people from discovering, but how do I pick it up and end this silly curse?

Me: "No, sorry. I don't know who he is."

I lied, obviously.

Kenjiro: "It's because of this table that we can't really plan properly. It wouldn't really be a problem if the table were to be at the corners of the class or at the dead center, but this one is somewhere in-between and is highly prone to be knocked over. Anyone in my class who are not part of any club or committee are in that other half or just lazying around. It's too small in there to have what we really want and.... Hey! You're sitting on that cursed desk! Oh no, you will be cursed very badly! Get away from there before it gets worse!"

I was sitting on top of the desk while trying to transfer the contents of the desk into my body while they are not looking. I just remembered from the time I stuffed my original body inside me, only this time, I just need to make physical contact with the table (and feel that I'm glued to it) to start transferring the items. To others, it would seem that the items had vanished into thin air. Even though sitting on it at first is slippery due to the swimsuit on my body under my uniform that is impossible to remove or cut, it has been quite useful: because of this, I am still shocked to find myself still alive and fine after being run down by a high-speed van or stabbed on various parts of my body with a knife multiple times. Since mine and Saeko's minds are merged, I think we would still be together should her body somehow die.

When I was done, I carried the table aside and continued with the rest. Others were shocked that nothing happened to me, on top of being the one who had contact with the table the longest. Besides, why would my own desk curse me?

Me: "See? The curse of the desk is gone. It's now just an ordinary desk as anyone else."

Everyone: "W-What did you do?"

I can't reveal my former self. Neither will I reveal that the cloned body of myself I'm in now can do things out of the ordinary. Have to come up with something...

Me: "Well, when Tanigawa-san mentioned the name written on the book, I was guessing that this could be the legend of a wandering spirit that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although harmless when not provoked, it can make you think that someone sits at a place even though there really isn't anyone. Did anyone felt anything odd about the table before prior to preparing for today's festival?"

Girl A: "Well, I did felt that someone was actually sitting there until May..."

Kenjiro: "Yeah, until then, it was this same presence had been around since the beginning of last year. For some reason, this same presence feel like you, Hisakawa Mamiko-san. Speaking of which, I think I might have seen you before the preperations of the festival..."

Uh oh...

Me: "Well, that spirit did originate from my family some time ago. Um, it could also be preparing you to meet me before the actual event? Even I don't know the mystery of my own family history... so er...."

I'm at a loss of words to say. Fortunately, Kotomi came to rescue me.

Kotomi: "...why do I have this sudden urge to to head to the toilet from the moment I touched Itsuki's table? I'm his girlfriend you know. Does that table not know me? Oh, Mamiko-chan, you're finally here. I have something important to tell you, something we can't discuss here. Oh, and 2-6, I'll be back again."

Kotomi dragged me out of the room to somewhere. How does she know that I'm Mamiko and not Saeko as we both look exactly alike and the both of us are not too far apart? As I was about to get out of the class I said:
"The curse should be gone now, but I can't guarantee that it won't come back."

I don't know where Kotomi was dragging me to and I was preoccupied about what other people would think if they saw us and what would happen that I didn't pay attention to where we were going.

(To be continued in Part 27)

12 May 2009

375th post: navigation menu images changed

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(a slightly updated version of this post)

On some of my blogs, I have changed the images with this new style. I wanted to do this earlier, but didn't know how. Turns out that I could use an image-editing software that has been installed on the computer, but rarely used, to do this (GIMP). All the time, I was trying to see if the program I had always been using (Inkscape) has this feature. I still need the latter program for sizing and cropping to the exact dimensions though.

For example, if you were to hover over "Anime", the new version should display as the background. For the older version, it would be or, if I didn't modify as a result of the recent resizing of square thumbnails, . Notice the gradual transparency. As there are some problems with the colour scheme with these new images, I might need to do some adjusting or even replace with new ones. I might also have to remove the borders and that background colour when hovering over text links anywhere on that page.

If you didn't know, that image is from the infamous "WASUREMONO" scene:


It's been some days since then. I have found out that the width of 170px is not enough. Also, some of the images used don't seem right due to the area cropped. It's hard to judge what size would fit nicely, so I might use the version used on the drawings blog as that has the largest width and height.

I don't count the blog to test the layout though, but I might use that to preview changes of my widgets written in code without risking accidental changes, which has happened before, and easily apply it. It's also where I would construct new blog layouts for existing blogs, along with elements such as text/HTML widgets.

I don't really know how to come up with a new design for the menu, because the current one is meant to replace an earlier version that has its limitations. The current one is done through trial & error to what you see now. There are, however, minor variations. The red version you see on my main blogs is to match the colour of the blog, but it didn't look quite well.

Also, those new images also seem to make the menu look worse, but that could be because of the colour scheme. I might remove the background colour when a link is hovered over, because it now makes the link on the menu ugly. As for the border, I'm not sure.

Since I have so many things to do, my priorities for this is low, though I might make gradual changes.

As for the colour scheme used in the testing blog, I don't have plans to apply it to anywhere. Just wanted to see if the colour combination and font usage I saw in a visual novel would fit in nicely.

08 May 2009

374th post: Lol, what?

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I was playing around with Google Maps to see what places I have never been to looked like at street level and was shock to see a particular street that has a long row of people posing for the camera at such high resolution without face blurring. People were holding up sings that range from "x loves y", "hi mom" and even "engineering". People were even holding up bicycles, large balls of various colours, and even wear clothing or do actions that sticks out.

Here are even more pictures of the place:
 
Wonder what's the occasion or how many people are there....

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中野区, 東京都, Japan
帰国子女 英語能力は堪能。趣味はアニメや漫画やプログラムコードを編集。通常、あたしの小説を英語で書いてです。Grew up abroad &travelled to different countries. I write my own fictional novel on my blog.