Haruka's Diary
Chasing After Rainbows: July 2009

30 July 2009

396th post

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(written on 11 June 2009)

With my birthday less than a week away, I'm not sure if it is something to look forward to. Most of my peers are living better lives than I had and now they are in colleges I'm unable to get into.

My parents are still pampering me to the point that I became matured and independent quite late and start to distrust them more. Why the hell did they teach me 2 useless languages since childhood that I don't practically use? Why did they made me do all that religious crap? I don't see the point and the reasons they give me doesn't make sense. Also, making me learn all the religious crap and those useless languages does more harm than good as it places a limit on what other useful things I could have learn and maybe master them better. Since I have never used them now and picked up a more useful language, I kinda have forgotten. On top of having my school in the past starting so bloody early, my parents turn on to some radio station that gives me a headache. (Those who said about people who had to leave for school earlier than me certainly did not count my situation.) Except for family outings, it seems to be a long time ago that I actually sat at the dining table with my family. Not sure if this is related, but I think the high fevers and other illnesses I had since birth is reducing my ability to think.

Sure that I have completed school, but I'm not sure about college. They say that it's a waste of time (2/5 of a decade) as the skills gained may become obsolete or would only just need to prove the ability to employers. The question lies in what to say, when to go to the interview (interviewee might be grumpy or by a person who likes me and more likely to be employed, and maybe bad things that could have happened which had been avoided along the way), and which company to go to. Finding that time and location is hard.

I wonder how different my life could have been if events that happened in the past had happened differently.

27 July 2009

395th post: Time passes by

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(written on 11 June 2009)

Look at how much time has passed: It's already the final week of July.

When I'm just lying around at home doing my own things that are not physically or mentally demanding time sure seem to fly by quickly that I can't believe how long ago an even took place.

I can't believe I actually spent a total of 10 months of practically not doing anything that involves studying or doing paid work: November 2006 to April 2007, and (late) March 2009 to (early) July 2009.

25 July 2009

417th post

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Just to let you know, this is not a scheduled post. I have delayed the next post by an another day so that I could squeeze this post in. I have just got back from somewhere where I can't mention, even when it's over, where I don't have access to the internet, let alone my files at home. However, this time back here is quite limited so I have to maximize it.

I don't have the time to explain it now, but let's just say the time I have yet to catch up with is preventing me to put up anything worthwhile. I have also met a lot of new people too.

22 July 2009

An Unexpected Wish (Part 2)

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Nanami found herself to be at the amusement park she remembers going to when she was 4. She saw her parents and brother in the distance. They looked younger than the last she saw them. As Nanami missed her family a lot, she ran and called them. Nanami noticed that her body was that of a young child, so everything seemed large. She tried to walk the way she's used to, but wasn't able to and fell down as she tried to. She's puzzled as to what was going on: she remembers that she was at the pool in her high school not too long ago.

As she struggled to get closer, she saw a rocket from the clear blue sky heading towards the amusement park. A large explosion from the roller coasters soon followed and the whole place became dark with fire and explosions everywhere. People were running and screaming and structures collapsing. The fire now separates Nanami from her family. Before the fire got bigger, her mother said that has continued on the Fujibayashi family and asks not to worry about the family.

Nanami did not understand what her mother was saying. She desperately kept calling for her mother as the flames now completely surround Nanami. As Nanami tries desperately to call her mother for help, an unseen force was desperately shaking her and a voice from the sky fading in. Nanami is puzzled as to where the force is coming from as the ground is not shaking.

"Fujibayashi-san! Wake up! Wake up!" said a familiar voice.

Nanami thought that the heavens are calling her, but the words she heard wasn't what she was expecting and seemed out of place. Her vision of the amusement park on fire soon turned into the infirmary with Misae holding her.

After Nanami was pushed into the pool, Yuichi rescued her, performed the CPR, and brought her to the infirmary. Misae felt bad about what she had done to Nanami and apologized. Misae just wanted to cheer Nanami up.

"Where's Takizawa-kun?", Nanami said as she looked abound for Yuichi.

"He said he has cram school today. Why?"

Nanami was disappointed that Yuichi wasn't around, but soon blushed with shock.

"Fujibayashi-san? What's wrong?"

"If he had done CPR on me, doesn't that mean that he... he...", Nanami stuttered nervously and whispered the rest of the words to Misae. Misae gasped when she heard it.

Their conversation was interrupted by their teacher who came in to check on Nanami.

Part 1 | 日本語版 | Part 3

18 July 2009

384th post: My experience installing OSes

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(written on 19 May 2009)

Until recently, I have been installing operating systems on various systems. This includes installing OSes via a virtual PC for many years now. I shall discuss on how I installed them and how it went. However, do note that I have never used any Mac OS operating systems long enough to know where everything is as the only time I get to use them is at an electronic store or when visiting a media/arts college before someone drags me away.

Unless otherwise mentioned, formatting the drive is required and, in some cases, partitioning too. This means that all data previously on it would be erased.

MS-DOS (virtual): Since the host machine has an actual floppy disk, I used that to start the installation. I don't know how different the version I used is compared to the one that came with Windows 95, but it did run games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D fairly smoothly. Since I have already used MS-DOS (or Command Prompt) in latter versions, using it with only the keyboard is not really a problem, but quite slow.

Windows 3.1 for workgroups (virtual): It came together with the above. However, installing it requires ~12 floppy disks. Since they are quite old, I had problems using some of the floppy disks, but after some retries, manage to finish it. Booting up after installing would lead to a command prompt. Typing "win" would start booting into windows. In some cases, I might also need to head to "C:\Windows" before the "win" command works. Not sure if it's normal, but I see the Windows boot-up screen for quite a long time before I gave up.

Windows 3.1 (virtual): This happened on a PC that did not have floppy disks, so instaling it was a challenge. At first, I used whatever version I had, but asked for a specific version of MS-DOS to be installed first. After *ahem* obtaining the virtual images and done installing, I did manage to use a bit of the Windows 3.1 interface, which was confusing and did not contain features I use frequently in latter versions. Double-clicking on the button at the top left would close the window (you can do the same action in Windows 7 at the same spot too even though there may not be visibly anything there) and the up & down arrows would maximize and minimise. Minimized windows are represented as icons on the desktop. Like MS-DOS, files are in the 8.3 format.

Windows 95 (virtual): I used the same CD as the one that came with the PC father bought in 1997. Not sure about the exact specifications, but I know it ran at 166Mhz. I think it's version B as it has IE3 insalled, but I can't connect to the internet even though the virtual machine network settings are the same for the latter versions. It however, is the best OS to run MS-DOS based applications and games. Installing it, however, is strange. Since the CD wasn't bootable, I had to use the Windows ME installation disc just to access it. Besides that, everything went smoothly. Oh, installing IE4 from IE3 would upgrade the interface to that found in Windows 98, but when upgrading to IE5 from IE3, the older interface still remains, but typing a local address like "C:\Documents" in the address bar in IE5 would have the new interface to appear. Did not detect an UDF-formated iso image.

Windows ME (hardware & virtual): Went fairly smoothly as the CD was bootable. Managed to get on the internet and install all the updates avalable. However, did not detect NTFS-formated discs (unless via a network). Text that were in Japanese appeared as underscores, squares, mojibake or question marks (at least, in the English version before applying updates). Copying that text would only copy that messed up text instead of what it is supposed to be. Loading thumbnails of files stored via the network seem to take forever and there is this weird interface (which is also present in windows 95, 98 & XP) of displaying random network folders instead of avalable PCs on the network. To access that would mean clicking on a not-so-obvious link there. Like any MS-DOS based version of Windows, the chances of the OS to freeze for some reason, and most likely a BSoD to appear too, is quite high. Does anyone know what is the Active Desktop for? It's automatically disabled after it crashes, resulting in an ugly white backgroud.

Windows XP SP1 32-bit (hardware & virtual): I have 2 Windows XP discs: Upgrade (from Win98) and OEM. Except for the annoying activation crap (which did not exist in earlier versions and were only relaxed in SP3 and Vista), things go fairly smoothly. Unless not technically possible, it even download updates before it starts installing. Except via 3rd party apps (like DOS-box), MS-DOS apps don't seem to work well. I tried Wolf3d: it ran, but there was no auido.
Due to delays, understated system requirements, and complains that are now alreay fixed for Vista, Windows XP actually lasted longer than Windows 3.1, 95, 98, and ME combined and with a lot of updates which is a nightmare from each fresh install involving multiple reboots. After it passed validation that is. At one time, I was surfing around to download my favorite programs before upgrading to SP2, the PC was shortly infected by viruses and spyware that it would be more worthwhile to reinstall Windows XP than to bother removing them. Eventually, I have to manually turn on the firewall before physically connecting it to the internet, only to find 99+ critical updates before SP2 appeared. Only the primary PC that had WinXP pre-installed was further upgraded to SP3.
Unless enlarged, text rendering is awful, even with Cleartype enabled. If cleartype is not enabled, it would look similar to 9x and 2k. The GUI seemed like a joke when compared to Mac OS X or Linux at time of release and probably dated as it was released 8 years and is still being used today.

Windows 7 Beta 32-bit & RC 64-bit (hardware): Seeing that other PCs in the house are already struggling with Windows XP, I installed it on my 2007 laptop with Vista. Since the total HDD space was split into 2 (3 actually) partions when I got it, I used the partion that was not used by the existing OS as the drive to install Windows 7 on. Of course, I moved the files to an external drive before I started installing.
Installing from scratch is quite fast compared with all the earlier versions and need not be attended until installation was done. (Though the PC might restart several times during that time.) Surprsingly, the folders from before the installation are still on the same drive partition after the installation. After installation, the differences from Vista are obvious: apart from better performance than Vista on the same hardware, traditional apps like Paint are given a makeover and a major revamp since Windows 95 about the taskbar. Text rendering is still horrible compared to current versions of Unix-based OSes.
For now, new features for the taskbar like having the controls to appear when hovering over the taskbar icon when running only works for WMP12 or tabs in IE8 appear as groups for each window & tab. Competitor's equilivant of those currently only function as a normal single window for each instances of the app. Except for some of my visual novels in some non-standard installation procedure, 32-bit applications would work in the 64-bit version that are distinguished from the 64-bit programs with the 32-bit apps in the "Program Files (x82)" folder. However, in the non-standard case, running it would not work with an error message or nothing happening. Changing the compatibility mode to "Windows 98 SE" with admin privilages didn't help. Running a virtual machine of an earlier (or 32-bit version) OS or via a 3rd-party app/patch is the only workaround to this.
Found it odd that the theme sounds are not playable in Windows XP even though both are .wav files. Wallpapers are nice though.

Fedora Core 1 (hardware): (I know version 11 was out since 26 May) The first Linux OS that I actually install on the PC. Was amazed at how nice the installation GUI was (compared to WinXP) and the user-freniliness of drive partioning. I can easily visualize what partition of which drive I would be installing to, make additional partions, and select from a wide range of file systems. Also, I was also happy that I was able to install a large range of display languages and be able to install more or change by just selecting it, or the very least, after a reboot. This is something Windows doesn't have. Sure there are multiple language versions, but the commonly used version of any Windows versions does not allow (or have) the ability to change the display language, they only have text input and display support. However, like any Linux OS I have used, installing program (especially hardware drivers) is a nightmare. I used to know how to install, but now I have forgotten.

Knoppix 3.2 (hardware): The first Linux OS that I have ever used. The fact that I could run an OS off a CD was quite new to me. Although loading time was slow and everything since starting the OS would be wiped out unless saved to somewhere, I actually like the interface (compared to Windows) and the programs are interesting. The AA app that has graphics rendered as ASCII, which looked cool. (Before Win7,) I also found the ability to easily see the devices connected quite useful. Except for images, .ogg and .mp3 files, opening media is somewhat of a challenge. Not sure if it's a version or hardware thing, but I need to open the audio mixer before I can hear any audio. Oh directories for drives needs getting used to. "C:\" in Windows for the first partion of the first drive would become "/dev/hda1" (or is it "/mnt/hda1"?) in Linux. All sucessefully detected drives, including USB drives, appear at a corner of the desktop. Konqueror was interesting too.

Ubuntu 8.10 (hardware & virtual): Since the last I used a Linux OS (Fedora 1), I can't help but to come across reviews that this distro of Linux is quite good and is friendly to people who are new to the world of Linux. I took a look: inserted the CD in Windows and it said that I could install it like a software. That same message appears within Guest OSes, including Win95. Though does not work on some, auto-boot with that same disc would allow you to test it before installing (via the icon on the desktop after the live-CD boot sequence) like Knoppix I tested earlier. Most of the apps I normally use in Windows (Inkscape, Firefox) already came pre-installed. VLC Player is easily avalable through the installation manager and their website (videolan.org) provides instructions on how to get it. Strangely, not a direct link to the file. Also, updates for Firefox are through that manager instead of the browser itself. Updates for the OS is there too. (I think.)
Though the default theme matches nicely, I don't like it. With some personalisation, I customised it to my liking and it bare little resemblence to the default. Also, the hardware features of the laptop that mysteriously disappeared when installing Vista SP1 was working again in Ubuntu. Quite useful when image editing or when the scroll mouse is unavalable.
Shame I have to remove it to make way for the Windows 7 Beta and RC though. Might put in 9.10 when I'm done with it though.

Well, this post turned out to be longer than I expected, probably even longer than the usual average of one part of my 2nd or 3rd story. I'll have the next post on 22 July to give you time to read what I had written.

15 July 2009

An Unexpected Wish (Part 1)

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Heavy rain poured onto a building where the funeral of a couple and their son takes place. A young lady in a black dress was seen crying a lot in front of the portraits of the deceased. This is Nanami Fujibayashi (藤林 菜々実), their daughter, whose immediate family was killed by a robber. Relatives and friends of any members of the Fujibayashi family paid their last respects to them and offer support for the sole living person in the family. It's hard enough to have someone close to pass on, but a lot harder to have one's entire family to be killed because of someone else's greed.

It was barely a week ago that she came home quite late because of club activities. Nanami was walking along the dimly lit road that leads to her house. As she reached home, she finds that the house is unusually dark and that the front gate and door were wide open. She called her parents to check if everyone had left in a hurry earlier in the afternoon. But when she called, she heard all of their mobile phones ringing from inside the dark house with nobody answering. Normally, if one of them had forgotten to bring their phone, the rest would have brought along. Nanami didn't think that they were going to anywhere today except to work.

As Nanami sensed that something is wrong, but is afraid of the dark, she called some of her neighbors to come along with her with a torchlight. Before entering the main door leading into darkness, they shouted loudly just to make sure. To no avail, there was no response. Nanami switched on the lights, and, to her horror, she found dead bodies of her family with clothes drenched in their blood. The neighbors soon called the police. Nanami was at a loss of words as to what to do.

The police cordoned off the house as they investigate the entire house for evidence as to the cause of death and clues that would lead to the suspect. During that time, she stayed with one of her neighbors.

With some investigations, eyewitnesses and autopsy reports later, they came up with a possible solution: Not long after Nanami left the house for school that day, a strange man randomly chose the Fujibayashi household to break into. However, not long after entering via the second floor, Nanami's brother spotted him stealing things in the parents' bedroom. He then went down to alert mom and dad in the kitchen, but the burglar quickly stabbed Nanami's brother multiple times at the stairs before attacking the other two people in the kitchen. He ran out through the front door in a hurry. All of this happened in broad daylight. This report was published in the newspapers nationwide on the following day, when the funeral would begin.

After the funeral, Nanami's relatives offered her to stay with them, but their house is at Hyogo Prefecture, and the Fujibayashi household is in the Kanagawa Prefecture, far enough for her to change schools. Nanami has already made a lot of friends, and has been living there all her life. Moving there would mean making new friends that may not understand as well as her existing ones, and have to adjust with a lot of new things on top of the stress with studying in high school. As Nanami is now the only living person in the household, and that no will was written, she now inherits everything from them. As she don't foresee obtaining a driving licence in the near future, she decides to sell off the family car and her brother's motorbike with the help of the others. Assuming that she uses the total amount of money gained from the inheritance only for daily necessities, it would be enough to last for several years without working, even after completing college.

As Nanami walks out of the house to hang dry the washed clothes, she walks past a photo frame hung up on the wall of the living room. The photo consists of her family, grandmother, and extended family members Nanami knows very little of. The photo was taken at a park during the Hanami season at the beginning of spring 6 years ago. Nanami is puzzled as to why her uncle's grandchildren living in Hyogo are about the same age as her. Since she was still a child back then, she only remembers the place, drunken adults, and that she was playing with someone who has the same family name as Nanami's grandmother, someone called Izumi Miyazawa (宮沢 泉美).

Nowadays, Nanami is never seen without a gloomy face. Having jokes with her does make her smile, but it lasts for only for a while. Even swimming lessons for physical education in the summer she was so eagerly looking for before, had her sitting by the poolside as she watches everyone playing.

"Fujibayashi-san? What's wrong?", said a guy's voice from behind.

Nanami knew that the voice belonged to one of her classmates, Yuichi Takizawa (滝沢 由一), but did not respond. In fact, it was hard to tell if Nanami was even listening. Yuichi is known for being able to cheer people up completely from things like failing exams, but doesn't know how to cheer someone who has three of their family members murdered recently like what happened to Nanami. Yuichi scratches his head, figuring out how to get her back to what she was before.

"Fujibayashi-san, shall we go swim...", he said to Nanami as he was about to hold her hand when another classmate, Misae Tamura (田村 三佐枝), pushes the both of them into the pool.

"Tamura-san! What are you doing?", said Yuichi as he reached to the surface of the water.

"Ah~ Takizawa-kun... I thought you two were about to enter the pool. I was only helping~"

"Can't you at least see how depressed Fujibayashi-san from the recent death of her entire family? Fujibayashi-san? Fujibayashi-san??!!"

Nanami is now sinking towards the bottom of the pool, but knows that it was Misae that pushed her. However, her depression made her not care that she's drowning.

Nanami blacked out.

日本語版 | Part 2

13 July 2009

379th post:: Wonder what they are up to...

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(written on 13 May 2009)

Being away from home, I wonder if the people at home are doing anything to my room. I don't mind if they clean it up, but not throw away my precious stuff. Also, I don't want them to go sneaking into my room to find something that would make me embarrassed. They normally don't as I'm always in my room and is hard get around but you never know.

Sigh, I can't watch much of the new Spring anime or the new episodes of Haruhi. I'm also missing out on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince... If only they didn't delay it from the originally planned December 2008 release... Oh well, there's always the DVD release or something.

11 July 2009

378th post: How my posts are numbered.

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(written on 13 May 2009)

You might have noticed I numbered my posts, except for my stories and some of the older posts. It's based on the post count of what I had done, including scheduled and drafts. It's because of of the later that you might see the numbers jump around.

Oh, and in case you have forgotten, I had mentioned back in April that I am now off to somewhere and would not be able to to put up new posts. However, I have prepared posts that are scheduled for the next 2-3 months.

Well, to tell if my posts are scheduled ahead, I might put up something like at the top of this post. Also, the time of the post would be at exactly 11:00 AM. Due to time constrains, lengthening list of what-I-should-be-doing- but-have-yet-to-do, (as at 13 May) I don't have much of my stories scheduled for the next 3 months. Also, until I have the time and get access, the links would not be available and would have to look through tags and archives after they are released.

09 July 2009

414th post: Noodles

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Noodles are stiff and fragile when dry.

But soft and springy when soaked in water for some time.

It tastes plain, but flavoring can be added.

However, that flavoring is not part of the noodle.

It just sits on top of it or the soup it is soaked in.

Chocolate marshmallow flavored noodle....

Purple noodles...

When bringing them abound in its unused form, broken pieces are unavoidable.

A cup of hot instant noodles is warm in the cold tempreatures.

It's hard to tell when those 3 minutes are up.

And I don't know why I'm talking about noodles.

Or what's with the purple chocolate marshmallow part I mentioned earlier.

07 July 2009

Alternate Dimension (Part 29)

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I had the sensation of my life I have never felt before last night. I was like, "Is this for real?" when it was going on, but I don't want to talk about it.

Anyways, today is the cultural festival at Kotomi's school. I didn't know what to wear, so I just wore my uniform. Saeko, who has been hiding somewhere in the house since before I arrived home last night, only came out of hiding after Kenjiro and I left. Kotomi is already busy helping out people this early in the morning that she can't stop and talk to me. She did say that her siblings are around when she ran past me.

Oh, Kotomi's siblings... I haven't seen them since I went to that country with Haruna and some of my current classmates not too long ago. It was such a large group that they probably didn't notice me there as though I was invisible. I did see Shin'ichi there, but he was too preoccupied with whatever he was doing. On top of that, they probably don't recognize me without my uniform on. Not to mention that I was stuck in a wheelchair and can't do absolutely anything. Saeko didn't even call them out as she never saw them before that day, but I have, at the Miyazawa household almost a year ago. We never met face-to-face that day, as though we didn't see each other that day.

Kotomi's siblings' age gaps with Kotomi are so great that I first thought they belonged to someone else as I was surrounded by so many unfamiliar people, including those whom were from my school at that time, until they address her as the older sister. It's that unfamiliarity the reason why I stayed close to Kotomi most of the time on her birthday. Although they had seen me on that day, I don't know if their memories on what they had known me as are modified like everyone else as they don't work with my company, but Kotomi and their uncle are. Are they here yet? If so, where?

Izumi: "Oh? Isn't that Hisakawa-oneechan? Hey! Over here!"

I stopped walking, paused, and started to turn around.

Shin'ichi: "Hey, you're calling the wrong person!"

Izumi: "What are you talking about?"

Kousei: "She's Kotomi-oneechan's close friend and visited her birthday party last year! Don't you remember?"

Shin'ichi: "What are you both talking about? Nee-chan's best friend is a guy!"

Ah, mixed reactions. Her oldest younger sibling still remembers me as a guy, while the other two remembers me as a girl.... Kotomi did told me that she had said to one of her siblings in November last year about Kotomi and I being boyfriends and girlfriends. It feels weird to have that relationship since I turned into a girl 4-5 months later. What I'm curious is why does he still know me as what I was.

Me: "Oh, Shin'ichi-kun, Kousei-kun, Izumi-chan! Long time no see! Your older sister did tell me that you three were visiting."

Izumi: "You're Saeko Hisakawa, right? My older brother keeps thinking you're a guy named Itsuki Hisakawa. He's weird isn't he?"

Mentally, yes, but physically, no. I'm stuck with the cloned body of myself while the one controlling my original body is a random lost soul. It behaves a lot like me because it has my memories and knowledge but absolutely nothing from its former self. Or is it the other way around? It would be scary and hard to believe to think that my mind was that lost soul because it didn't seem that way to me. Also, I need to explain my situation to Shin'ichi away from the others. But how?

Me (looking at Shin'ichi): "WHAT!? You think that I'm a guy!? How can you say that when you have seen me before?! Come with me! Oh Izumi-chan, Kousei-kun, you can go wonder around while I deal with this weird brother of yours."

I know, I made Shin'ichi unnecessarily scared. But it's the only way I could think of.

Izumi: "Ha ha! You got scolded! Hisakwa-oneechan, I'll see you later."

The other two are now out of sight. Shin'ichi is still trembling from my (fake) scolding.

Me: "Are you all right? I didn't mean to scold you. I don't know what exactly Kotomi told you about me, but as for what you said earlier, I am that Itsuki."

Shin'ichi: "Huh? How can a beautiful girl with a sweet voice like you be him? You look nowhere near to be cross-dressing, unless you have done it very perfectly."

Huh? What's with that last sentence? Let's pretend I never heard that.

Me: "It's hard for me to belief it myself too. I was working on something one night, and then I found myself to be like this the next day. To tell you the truth, I actually want to be what I am now. What I'm still puzzled is why you and the employees of the company I work for still knows the old me while everyone's memory about me has changed."

Shin'ichi: "No wonder I saw Kotomi-oneechan becoming quite depressed since May until quite recently. However, just the day before yesterday, I heard her watching a video and her repeatedly saying 'I don't want to die!', sounding as though she is in tears. I saw her carrying the old computer into her room not long before that, saying something about transferring files to the new computer I saw her bought in end-November last year. But, still, how do I know you are whom you say to be and not his little-known sister? Tell me something that I know about Itsuki that neither of us has already said."

You mean the computer the video file Saeko had transferred into was on the old computer that she hardly uses? That explains her recent behavior, because she just saw it. So that time travel to last year from the future is as good as traveling to the day before. Judging by the noise outside Kotomi's room that Saeko heard back then was probably on Kotomi's birthday last year, but she was too preoccupied and saw no reason to bother checking that computer even though it was placed on the computer desktop.

Me: "Hmm, this is hard, considering that I don't know what you know. Let's see, I was in class 1-3, joined the music club when I was still here, Kotomi changed her hairstyle before the first day of high school, she wrote a strange love letter with the name 'Coltrane Gorbachev', I was in the news several times for being stabbed to death..."

Shin'ichi: "Ok, that's enough. You are the Itsuki Hisakawa I used to know. Wait, did you say being stabbed to death?"

Me: "That's right. Three times, not including the unreported rape. I was already a girl when all of them happened."

I can't believe how casually I can say such things as though it's a daily thing.

Shin'ichi: "News report... wait, I saw another girl who looks exactly like you. Mamiko or something. News report says that she's your twin, but you don't have a sibling..."

Me: "Actually, that girl is my clone. Or rather, I am that clone, so technically, it's not wrong for your siblings to call me Saeko instead of Mamiko. It's hard to tell if my current mind was transferred from or created from my original though, because it seem that I know I entered a strange machine that looked like a teleporter and found myself to be suddenly at the other part of the room when I was being cloned. However, I saw someone who looked very much like me at where I was teleported form. Was it a cloning machine, or a failed teleporter? One thing for sure is that my body, especially my eyes, felt like they were never used before, like I was just born at that time. Also it would be impossible for me to turn back into a guy as my current body was never a guy in the first place, so that means I can no longer be your sister's boyfriend again. It's still possible with whoever is in my original body though."

He was at a loss of words and don't seem to know what to say.

Shin'ichi: "So how can I tell you two apart?"

Me: "Let's see, I am wearing a swimsuit of some sort that seem impossible to remove. (Wonder how it even got on.) You can see a bit of it if you look around my neck or when I wear short sleeves. Other than that, only our behavior is the noticeably different. You can tell if you were to simply observe. Asking what we both know is useless as we share information of what either of us encounter. Even right now, the other me knows that I'm talking to you and what I had just said even though she's nowhere near here."

Shin'ichi: "Sound like you are having a tough time adjusting to all those events that happen in just a short time. Oh, I should go now. It would be suspicious if I talk to you for too long. We would drop by to see you act later on."

Me: "Your're right, I forgot about them. Pretend that I have been giving you a long lecture of whatever I was pretending to be scolding you for from earlier when you get back to them."

Shin'ichi: "Yeah, see you."

I saw him having a sigh of relief when he walked away.

Oh! I should be heading to Kotomi's class at 2-1 now. They must be waiting for me to test out the costume.

Chapter 6

[Author's note: It feels like I have been repeating what I have already said in the earlier parts.]

06 July 2009

Disorientated Feelings (Part 13)

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(continued from Part 12)

Just as I was about to leave, Shin'ichi wanted to tag along with me. Well, since he's about to enter middle school next year and the most mature among my siblings, I don't see why not.

Along the way, we walked past an ad for enrollment into a university and academy specializing in certain fields: the school our cousin went to was one of them. The sight of those ads made him think about which middle school he should go to.

Me: "If you're thinking about entering the academy Aiko went into, you should keep in mind that many people are applying for it and admission is based on the grades you scored for the entrance tests and the amount of places avalable. So in order to guarantee being able to get in, you need to score around full marks."

Shin'ichi: "Kotomi----oneechan, why is it that you did not enter that school and chose a normal high school instead when you obviously can score high?"

This brother seem to always add an odd silence between my name and the suffix or even omit addressing me completely and jump straight to what he want to say. Well, I myself omit addressing them, but I am the eldest child (not that I want to be) in the family.

Me: "You see, I don't really like large places and the people there are the rich type who look down on poor people. On top of that, the school fees are quite high. The uniform of my current school was paid for by our Uncle Kenji since mom and dad are already struggling to support all of us."

Shin'ichi: "Oh, does that mean that uncle will help us?"

Me: "Well, only financially for necessities, but you never know. He may help you to pay the fees, but not help you to admit into places unless you could proof to him that you can. I got to work with him because he knows I like science-related stuff and score well in school. You could go to my middle school: I'm sure the staff there would know you as my brother from our family name."

He was staring at me as though there was something.

Shin'ichi: "You know, I never understood why dad keeps avoiding looking at you, Kousei or Kuniko. Do you know why?"

Me: "I don't know why myself, so I don't know the answer to that any more than you do. You could ask him, but he might change the subject if you do try to ask."

Shin'ichi: "Also, your face has that 'I have a boyfriend and want to be with him' written all over."

What? He knew about it? How...

Me: "H....How.... did you know?"

Shin'ichi: "Oh ho ho! So it's true! I noticed that since golden week, and more obviously, the days leading to your birthday. You were behaving differently. On top of that, I saw you sitting quite close to a guy at your birthday party at home the other day. Wanted to tell you this earlier, but mom is always around."

Me: "Okay, but don't tell anyone else about it, not even our younger siblings, until me or him say so. Promise?"

Shin'ichi: "Promise."

After a long trip, I finally reached a particular area in the capital I wanted to check out on, like music players, cameras and other interesting things with my salary. Not only is this place known for electronic goods, but also products relating to animation that is, for some reason, aired mostly quite late at night. We had to have a look around for cheaper prices, but also watch out if they are 2nd-hand or fakes. Good thing they close the road around the station: the place is too crowded!

Looking around, I decided to get a new notebook computer as the one in my bedroom is too old, slow, and can't run the current applications. I might also need it to write my own programs or do work. As for the old one, I'll put it aside: it's been gathering dust since I last use it during the holiday before I started working anyway. I can't even use the internet with the old one and since been using computers outside home a lot. At least it has a connection interface that is backward compatible with the memory devices I use a lot so I can get data out of it. As for the internet part, there isn't any at home, but I might be able to use the cellular network or one of my neighbor's wireless access point.

Is there anything else here? Well, since I came all the way here and dragged my brother along (or rather, he wanted to tag along) here, might as well explore the place. Where I am is not a good place to start for him though, at least, until he gets older.

I'm feeling rather hungry now, but something tells me to avoid those cafes that are scattered in this area and head elsewhere. After that, I'll let my brother go wherever he wants to go, except back here. I don't have anywhere in particular that I wanted to go now.

(to be continued in Part 14)

05 July 2009

410th post

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I don't know what to write. My head gets fried when I try to think. Maybe it's the overload of unnecessary stuff I had learn since childhood, like why a particular day less than a week after my birthday some years earlier that important to a particular country somewhere is over-emphasized to the point I don't want to hear it.

Or maybe it's the overload of the number of languages I was exposed to: at least 10. Español, Français, Deutsch, 中文/汉语, Bahasa Indonesia..... must I list them all? Many people around the world seem to be exposed to only one or at least two, but unlike those fast learners you see on TV, learning them is at a cost of learning other things like the molecular structure, the contour lines on a map to determine the height and steepness. Anyways, I'm exposed long enough to know what is being communicated but not the other way around or what is being said in written form. This could partly because it could be related or structured similar to what I already know. It's hard to say how many I am good at, but I can safely say at least 3 languages: you probably already know. How does one forget one's own native language? Lack of use, good at other language enough to read and fill in official documents correctly without aid, in a country that does not speak your language for a long time, etc... Kind of scary to think that I'm fluent at a foreign language, but poor in my native language.

In unrelated news, I edited my Twitter profile as I was typing this. Oh, the number 410 is based on what I see on Blogger's "edit posts" of this blog: already published + scheduled + draft + this one. Does not include posts I had done on my other blogs. Probably higher (and harder to keep track) if I did. Oh, and from Saturday, until the end of August, you might see the number drop back to around number 370+ and the English version of the 4th story I put up some time ago. Since these are written some time ago, I probably don't remember what they contain and mught be outdated by a few months.

I was originally going to write only a few lines after a long thought of writing nothing after uploading the above image, but didn't happen that way...

04 July 2009

Disorientated Feelings (Part 12)

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(continued from Part 11)

It has been quite some time since my birthday. The weather has started to get colder, and the trees are shedding their leaves with some already bare. I find myself to be with Itsuki and at his house more than I do with my other friends when I'm not working. I don't know why I am seeing him more frequently lately. Is it because of his house? That's not it: his house seems average but less maintained compared to mine. Not to mention the mess and dirt I saw when I first went there. The food? Wait, it was me who bought, prepare, and cook them at his house... Something he did at school? Unlike me, he seems to be the very opposite: hardly anyone knows him, scores quite low for exams, not in leadership role of the things he joined... Why did I choose him over guys all the girls are crazy over, or one of the guys who showed interest in me?

The answer to that: I don't know myself.

I woke up to a cold Sunday morning. It took me a while from the time I find myself to be awake and the time I get out out of it. This would happen quicker if the alarm clock is placed beyond my reach or know that I am / would be late for something. Sunday, 28 November... is there anything on today? Can't think of anything...

Kousei: "Kotomi Onee-chan, it's time for breakfast. Everyone is already there. Hurry up!"

Huh? Who said that? How did he enter my room? Oh, it's just Kousei, my youngest brother. Ever since I spend more time at work and with schoolmates, including Itsuki, I have been heading home quite late lately that I hardly see my siblings. Even if I am at home, I would shut the door from the time I reach home as to not let them disturb me. As time went by, I forgot why I was doing it in the first place except out of habit.

Kousei: "Kotomi onee-chan? Are you awake?"

Me: "I'm awake! I'm awake!"

I got out of my bed and walked towards the kitchen when I said that. True enough, my parents are already there and a bunch of children that resembles me and my parents. I don't really see them as siblings as my age gap with them is too great. Then again, I could be the odd one out as my parents had me quite early: when mom just graduated from high school. I was lucky they did not abort me before birth. Was shocked when I first fond out that the average ages of my classmate's parents are a lot older than mine. Average for my siblings though.

Shin'ichi: "Oh, good morning! Onee-chan. How rare for you to wake up this late."

Izumi: "You normally wake up just after mom and dad."

Mom (at the stove): "Did something happen? You can share it with us."

Uh oh, I don't want to say in front of my parents that I have a boyfriend and have been going to his house a lot. I could tell my siblings about this, but I don't know if they will tell mom and dad about it.

Me: "Oh, it's nothing. It's just that my friends are planning for something before Christmas."

Izumi: "Until you wake up quite late?"

Me: "Well, there are a lot of planning to do, and some of the places require booking in early for availability and discounts. You know that things my cost a lot more on the actual day and to avoid disappointment should some of the places are full when we do it later on."

Kousei: "Oh! What kind of event is it?"

Me: "We did come up with some suggestions, but have yet to decide on anything. Anyways, I'm hungry."

I don't want to talk anymore, I haven't drank or eaten since before I went to bed last night. Dad seem to try to avoid eye contact with his children, except Izumi and Shin'ichi, by covering his face with the newspaper and pretending to read it as I don't see him flipping the pages. He always does this, but I wish I knew why.

Me: "Um, dad? Do we have anything going on in particular today?"

Dad: "There is a baseball tournament on TV today, but nothing else. You can head out if you want to."

His face is still covered by that newspaper as he said that. The tone he said it in made me feel uneasy. What's up with his attitude? He also leaves home early and arrive late from work every working day for as long as I as I remember. Can't believe that this idiot is my dad!

Speaking of my family, my family tree seems weird. On mom's side, it does indeed show that Kenji, my uncle, is indeed my mom's older brother and my cousin as his daughter. However on dad's side, it seems that a lot of my relatives at dad's level are at the same age as me! For example, this Nanami Fujibayashi whose grandmother is my great-grandmother and, like me, lives at the areas just outside the capital and isolated from other relatives. I only saw her during the large gathering sometime before my current school started in spring. From what I know about her, she seems to be about a year younger than Izumi. Her older brother, however, is about the same age as me. It's a shame I don't know where they live or contact them. I would if I had.

Since there was nothing to do at home on a Sunday, I think I'll get ready to head to the capital to check out something. I need a break from helping out with my siblings' homework.

(to be continued in Part 13)

01 July 2009

408th post: Firefox 3.5

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Video requires a browser that supports HTML 5:

Besides that, I have yet to play around with it to tell what it's like, but it's performs beyond expectations. Maybe because I added more stuff then when I was using the beta and release candidate versions.

The only problem is that it uses about 470k+ of memory unlike the previous version at 350k+, at least, with the plug-ins I have installed. Such a memory eater... Since I have 2.5GB of RAM and is not fully utilized, it actually runs smoothly and a lot faster than the earlier version.

I use Firefox as my primary browser, but I do use Chrome on slow PCs, Safari if I don't like the way Windows renders text and as a standards-compliant reference since Safari 4 passes the Acid3 test at 100. For backward compatibility (or just want to know how horrible the page is rendered), I would use Internet Explorer 6-8 too. I do use Opera on mobile devices, as a USB-installed browser, or as a non-Firefox browser in Linux. In case you were wondering, the ages of my computers that are still working ranges from 1.5 to 11 years. The oldest had Windows 95 on, so for the sake of compatibility with today's programs, I installed Windows XP and added drives, and up to 384MB of RAM (from PCs that were faulty). Even with that, it is still slow.

Since I'm talking about Firefox 3.5 now, that obviously means that it's already out now.

Here's a screenshot of what I'm seeing for this post:
(forgive me for the LOLFace persona skin: I have yet to explore more of it.)

The special thing over plugins is that this works out of the box and embed it like an image. Same goes to saving it and copying the URL of the video by just right clicking like the above image illustrates.

Here's a YouTube version of the video if you can't load the above:

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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.