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April 15th, 2017

02:19 am: I don't use LiveJournal anymore.

Putin is a dictator, Trump is a sad clown, and I encourage every Russian child to embrace the wonders of homosexuality.

Resist, motherfuckers.

December 3rd, 2010

12:09 pm: Please Review Our Business for the Web.
Rating: How would you rate this business overall?
* * * * *

Title: Summarize your visit experience.

Review: Please review our business so that we can include your feedback on the Web.
There were teeth! They are still there. It is success.

Comments: We welcome your direct comments to help us improve our business. This information will not be made public.
My teeth long to return and frolic in your gardens. They do not understand why they are only allowed to play twice a year. I tell them that Camino Dental only appears on mist-shrouded mornings during the seasonal pilgrimages of the tooth fairies. It is a lie, but they are richer for it.

November 2nd, 2010

04:48 pm: 前代未聞
JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, so how do we separate violent games that are covered from violent games just as violent that are not covered?

MR. MORAZZINI: Well, Your Honor, I think a jury could be instructed with expert testimony, with video clips of game play, and to judge for themselves whether --

JUSTICE SCALIA: I'm not concerned about the jury judging. I'm concerned about the producer of the games who has to know what he has to do in order to comply with the law. And you are telling me, well a jury can -- of course a jury can make up its mind, I'm sure. But a law that has criminal penalties has to be clear. And how is the manufacturer to know whether a particular violent game is covered or not?

MR. MORAZZINI: Well, Your Honor --

JUSTICE SCALIA: Does he convene his own jury and try it before -- you know, I really wouldn't know what to do as a manufacturer.


MR. MORAZZINI: But I also wanted to draw out the point that California's law really is not an ordinance that is directed to a plot of a game. It's expressly directed to games with essentially no plot, no artistic value. This is the helpful nature of the third prong of the Miller standard. So it really is only going after the nature of the game where the child is --

JUSTICE SCALIA: Excuse me. If it has a plot it has artistic value, is that going to be the test for artistic value? Anything that has a plot?

MR. MORAZZINI: That would be one factor to be considered, Justice Scalia.


MR. MORAZZINI: The nature of a plot.

JUSTICE SCALIA: One factor to be considered, sure. But you were not telling us that so long as it has a plot it's okay?

MR. MORAZZINI: No, Your Honor. As this Court held in the Jacobilus case, a single quotation from Voltaire on the fly leaf of an otherwise obscene work was not going to make that work non-obscene.

JUSTICE SCALIA: You can't have artistic videos that involve maiming and cutting off heads and eviscerating people, right, so long as its artistic it's okay.

MR. MORAZZINI: If the level of the violence just as an obscenity, if the level of violence causes the game as a whole to lack the artistic, it is a balance, Your Honor, just as it is with sexual material. Each aspect -- that is why violence and sex --

JUSTICE SCALIA: Artistic for whom, for a 5-year-old? What a 5-year-old would appreciate as great art, is that going to be the test?


JUSTICE GINSBURG: Is there -- you've been asked questions about the vagueness of this and the problem for the seller to know what's good and what's bad. California -- does California have any kind of an advisory opinion, an office that will view these videos and say, yes, this belongs in this, what did you call it, deviant violence, and this one is just violent but not deviant? Is there -- is there any kind of opinion that the -- that the seller can get to know which games can be sold to minors and which ones can't?

MR. MORAZZINI: Not that I'm aware of, Justice Ginsburg.

JUSTICE SCALIA: You should consider creating such a one. You might call it the California Office of Censorship. It would judge each of these videos one by one. That would be very nice.


Heaven help me. Hide your kids, hide your wife, the apocalypse must be upon us, because today and today only, Justice Antonin Scalia is my personal hero.

Current Mood: 唖然

April 26th, 2010

08:12 pm: スルーかよ
"We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultra-violent actions, just as we already do with movies," Schwarzenegger said.


The MPAA ratings system for film is voluntary and industry-funded. There are no legal restrictions on distribution of non-pornographic films, and there have not been since 1952, when the Supreme Court ruled that film is protected speech under the First Amendment. (Fun fact: From 1915 to 1952, it totally wasn't!)

I know I should be used to this, but when a public figure just straight-up not-even-half-true lies, would it really kill the press to call them out on it, instead of serving as someone else's printing press and calling it a day?

April 6th, 2010

10:33 am: Boss Rush
My friend Chris at Paper Dino has been working for months on a game. And now, most improbably, it is out! It is called Boss Rush. It is about brave little spaceships fighting enormously powerful bosses.

You play the bosses.

You can play it online right here! It is free, but there are neat extras you can unlock for a measly five bucks, including a new boss. It is the best boss.

March 22nd, 2010

12:54 am: 洞窟物語物語
Hey! Anyone remember this post? Probably not, that was over five years ago.

Way back sometime in the 2001-2002 school year, when I was in Japan for the first time, someone online pointed me to a Japanese freeware game called Ikachan, a short and unpolished but unique game about the adventures of a little squid. The author's profile said he lived in Kyoto. Neat, so do I, I thought, we could meet up, haha. His site also featured some crazy-ass comics and something that looked like sprite sheets for a new game he had in development. Wonder if that'll be any good.

The year 2005 was rotten overall for me and my family, for various reasons. I'd come back from Japan after a year of English-teaching grind and moved back in with my parents. I had no real job outside of part-time library shelving and no idea what to do with my life. An initially very promising application to a government job dragged on and on for months, until on December 30 I finally got a letter clarifying that the position was no longer available. (Happy New Year!) And then there were the family medical issues, and oh, let's not forget the eBay tussle my parents got into with Angry Clavichord Man.

As it turned out, the highlight of my year got itself over with right at the beginning, when Gideon Zhi poked me on IRC and asked if I wanted to be the translator for some new freeware game he'd heard about, and if so, could I also contact the creator and ask permission. Oh hey, I think this is that Ikachan guy, crazy. I tried the game out. Seems OK. One hour turned into two, into five. This is... actually pretty great. The gameplay was classical yet inventive, the environments lively, the difficulty curve perfectly tuned, the characters simple yet sincere. This is exactly why I wanted to study Japanese. Translating this would be so much fun. The game was 洞窟物語, "Dōkutsu Monogatari". We called it Cave Story.

The actual translation was a whirlwind affair, something like a week of core translation, a week of editing, a week of testing and final polish. My life was sleep-library-translate-sleep-library-translate, with the occasional interlude of "You are going to get those grad school applications in on time, right?" "It's fine, Mom, I'm doing it [no i am not i am translating games about robots and bunny people]." Thanks in no small part to the kind assistance of the author, Pixel, we got the patch out before January was over. I liked the game, but it was just some random freeware on the internet. I figured the right people would enjoy it.

There are more right people, apparently, than I realized.

They told their friends. Their friends told their friends. Major sites and magazines found excuses to sneak it into their coverage. People drew art. Reorchestrated the soundtrack. Cosplayed. Discussed which parts of the game moved them to laughter or tears. Messages of gratitude began arriving on Pixel's BBS from Finland, Hungary, Alaska, Taiwan, Chile. Pouring his soul into this tiny world of tragedy and wonder, Pixel had released it to the world as a gift, and by some miracle I had mostly managed not to smash it to bits in transit. That love began to come back to him tenfold.

There are so many things I'd love to surprise my five-years-ago self with to brighten the skies of that dismal year. That just months later I'd break into the game industry and get to do localization full-time. That I'd be moving halfway across the country to Silicon Valley. That Pixel and I would become pen-pals, and I'd get to meet up with him and his family in Kyoto for yakitori and karaoke. And that Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya would get to realize his dream of seeing a game he had made presented to a modern console audience.

Cave Story, the WiiWare edition, goes on sale later today in North America. I'm not involved with this version of the game (for various reasons, the publisher went with an in-house translation), but I'm truly humbled ever to have had any connection with it at all. The journey it took is not one I would have ever foreseen. To everyone out there who believed in Pixel's magical little world, who shared it with a friend, who recovered a piece of their childhood, who took his sheer joy of creation as a personal inspiration:

Thank you. You rock.

March 5th, 2010

12:05 am: でたらめ
So, in case you missed it, there was a brief political tizzy this morning over reports that John Roberts, the conservative Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was announcing his sudden retirement. Shock! The rumor sprang from unidentified sources on some Hollywood gossip site called Radar Online, and quickly spread among the least-discerning media outlets (Drudge Report, The Huffington Post, Fox News, etc.). Free Republic freaked the F out; it was good times.

And then, as suddenly as the news had surfaced, it was gone. Radar Online retracted their story without explanation, and Court sources confirmed to the media that Roberts had no intention of or reason to resign. The moment was dashed, as ephemeral as the giggle of a snowflake.

But what was up? Law blog Above the Law thinks it's pieced together what triggered the rumor; apparently a professor of law at Georgetown University this morning opened a class on "the validity of informants not explaining their sources" with a sekrit insider tip dont tell anyone that Roberts was retiring for health reasons, then continued into the lecture. Halfway through, at the crucial moment, came the reveal: that unsourced tip he had passed along to the students had been a total fabrication, "made up to show how someone you ordinarily think is credible and reliable (ie a law professor) can disseminate inaccurate information."

And 10 years ago, before students were taking laptops and smartphones to class, that probably would've been the end of it.

So yes, what apparently happened was that Prof. Tague's sly prank on his class to demonstrate why you should always be critical of your sources... turned into an anonymously-sourced rumor that sparked a national media mini-frenzy. He started in one classroom and wound up teaching a lesson to the world.

(Or at least if we trust the, um, anonymous student accounts. Cough.)

February 16th, 2010

05:54 pm: 彷徨う心
Wooo! Turns out you totally can bike from Millbrae to Mountain View entirely on the Bay side of 101. There's even paved bike trails for a good 60-70% of the way.

So yeah, that's what I did with my Saturday.

February 11th, 2010

12:44 pm: Star of the County Down
Oh hey video from our concert last November! That is me on the left.

I think the electric bass is dubbed in? I don't remember that.

The tune is "Star of the County Down", although Doris is using decidedly more religious lyrics by Rory Cooney. This tune's everywhere, owing to it rocking so hard; Ralph Vaughan Williams used it in his (totally badass) Five Variants of Dives and Lazarus, and Luar Na Lubre's also done a version. And now here's another.

February 1st, 2010

12:39 am: 予想外の…合格!?
My coworker Ted is like, "Dude, you do localization for Namco, of course you could pass Level 1 of the JLPT [Japanese Language Proficiency Test]," and I'm like, "Um, no, that's the one with the extra thousand kanji and the esoteric grammar and the crazy technical reading passages, the one that pounds even the most heroic linguists into sobbing wrecks. I can barely follow a business meeting or read a newspaper. 無理無理無理。 Not a chance."

So, just to demonstrate, I took a practice test this evening (the actual 2006 exam), stone-cold without any preparation.

327/400! (Passing is 70%, or 280 points.)

Wait, what? Since when? It looks like my weakest spot was the grammar; I'm gonna need to drop by Kinokuniya and grab one of the study guides, and I hear they're messing with the test format starting this year, so I need to figure out what's up with that. But maybe this is doable after all.

All I can say is, I'm glad it's not a watch-a-movie-without-subtitles test.

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