o · tac · ra · cy [oh-tok-ruh-see]
1. government by otaku; a form of government in which supreme power is


Latest Articles

Anime LA 2011 in Slow Motion

News image

Cosplay photography kinda bugs me. Yeah, I've been doing it for a while, whether it be for friends at co... [More]

Review: The Olympus E-3

News image

After nearly two years with the Olympus E-3, it's time to put this DSLR back out on the market and into ... [More]

Review: The Horipad EX2 Turbo

News image

The Horipad EX2 Turbo is a good pad for Xbox 360 gamers needing a pad for fighting games.  After al... [More]



Spectators and Gaming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Friday, 26 June 2009 04:31

Arcade InfinitySpectators are the driving force behind sports and music.  Why isn't this the case with video games? 

Back in my early college days, I was: a piano performance major.  Not that I really believed in the importance of music interpretation; I just happened to be pretty good at it!  (Really!)  Natural, then, that I hate what it is I’ve lived my life with, right?  So it makes sense that these days I’m wondering about the importance of video game player.  (Right?) 

Me, I totally believe in the importance of playing the game.  The game isn’t just some artifact that is to be observed.  It must be played.  How else would the message of the game be communicated except through the actual play?

Printing Takes Time, Money PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 17 June 2009 18:38
Various printing problems...

So right now I'm printing stuff.

I've got two fairly nice Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printers.  When they work, they create wonderful, wonderful output.  On really beautiful paper (like my preferred Ilford Premium Pearl Photo) the prints turn out drop-dead gorgeous.

Unfortunately, they don't work 100% of the time.  In fact, they don't work even 40% of the time.

On this particular job I'm stressing over, I'm being commissioned to make 20 full bleed art prints.  Unfortunately for me, I can't just put 20 sheets of paper into the feed and hit a button.  Doesn't work that way.

First off, the feed mechanism on both of these printers sucks.  You look at the printer wrong and suddenly it's sucking in two or three sheets of paper at a time.  When the media costs $0.50 to $1.00 a sheet, you don't want that to happen, so that means I print one sheet at a time.  Every 20+ minute I have to load another sheet of paper.  Fun.

Then there's the print heads.  These things get clogged every 5 sheets or so.  One clogged nozzle means nasty streaking.  That means I'm doing nozzle checks before every single print I make.

Then there's the fact that full bleed printing is non-trivial on these printers.  You can't simply say you want borderless prints.  (Well, you can, but only if you like a couple millimeters being cut off on every border.  That means I have to guesstimate the dimensions in my print settings.  Right now, I'm telling Photoshop to print the picture as 12.8" x 18.707" in order for the printer driver to properly fill the 13" x 19" page.)

And then there's the stuff that you just can't account for.  Just an hour ago, one of the two printers developed a clog that just will not go away, even after an hour worth of cleaning cycles.  Earlier today, the Windows print manager decided that every job was done after about 8 inches of the 19 inch long document was printed.  Before that, the printer decided it would be a good thing to mar otherwise perfect prints with a smear of black ink on the bottom edge.  Yesterday, a fly got into the printer and... well, you can see the results here.

So!  All in all: printing sucks.

Lately I've been considering my options.  I only use these printers to print jobs for other people, so considering all the time and money I funnel into them, I should probably just get rid of them.  Considering my nature, it's far more likely that I'll replace them and continue offering services...

Time to rework this thing... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 08 June 2009 18:49

The site looks great in Firefox 3... and horrible in everything else.  Chrome, IE, Opera... ARGH!  Damn top bar is messed up... ah well...

Edit: FIXED!  No thanks to you lousy updated css...

The Purest Form of Anime Collection PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 08 June 2009 18:12
Back in the day, true anime collectors collected animation cels

Oh sure, you could collect LDs, soundtracks, artbooks, figures... all sorts of stuff.  But none of those things were: the show itself.  All those goods were simply things made to further push the show on the masses...  The cel, however, is an actual component of the show.  Whether broadcast over the airwaves or etched onto optical discs, those images flashing on the television screen are actually pictures of those cels, artefacts that are now in the hands of thousands of collectors around the world.

Of course, now that the world has long since embraced the computer for animation, there are no more cels to collect.  Yeah, you might be able to find cels made for specific purposes (magazine printing, limited edition paraphernalia) but for modern digitally produced anime, cels simply don't exist.  For the collector who is only interested in pure anime collection, what is left?  Even collecting motion picture prints doesn't quite cut it, as those are merely reproductions of an original (and nowadays digital) master.  How does one really collect anime?

Sure, you can continue to own DVDs and goods related to an anime... but how about truly OWNING AN ANIME?

For most people, owning an anime (or at least, rights to production and distribution of an anime outside of Japan) is simply ridiculous.  However, there are some pretty choice gems out there.  The recent bankruptcy of Central Park Media has brought to market some really nice titles.  How many of you wouldn't like to own Area 88?  Or Patlabor?  Or They Were 11Here is GreenwoodSilent ServicePing Pong Club?!

It seems CPM didn't retain permanent ownership in negotiating rights for much of their catalog, so maybe this liquidation isn't as lucrative as it could be.  Still, why not just go abroad and get rights from the source?  Surely it can't be that expensive to get something cool/unique/good from the annals of anime history?  Me, I wouldn't mind grabbing those Yokohama Shopping Log OAVs, or the TV show Kokoro Library.  Given the choice between a new Lamborghini and three sisters struggling to justify the existence of their far off library, I'll take the cute drama (complete with a soundtrack from Hogari Hisaaki that is far better than it has any right to be.)

Too bad I'm a couple hundred thousand dollars short of being able to make that choice...
More Music From Way Back When... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 27 May 2009 14:57
IMD Senior Thesis Show 2009

So earlier I had shown off some old music.  There were some other ones that I just found that I figured I'd put in a separate post.  Well, here's that post:

ray7.it (MP3 file) was a reaction to Working Designs's reveal of their English opening to the Magic Knight Rayearth Saturn game.  Besides showing off the actual OP song, Vic Ireland also showed a joke version that had the singer rocking out.  Me, I LIKED the joke version, and felt just a little bit of adjusment would push the people on rec.games.video.sega.saturn (any of you guys remember newsgroups?) to understand my position.  I did some EQ on the music, sliced it up a bit, placed it into Impulse Tracker, then added some steel guitar and extra drums to punch up the song.

md-1-1.s3m (MP3 file) was another song from 1998 that made me realize how much I enjoyed writing loops more than songs with beginnings and endings.  It actually has a pretty good sound and groove, and the flute sounds pretty natural.  In the MP3 version, you can hear it with the song looping a bit in standard Japanese game OST style.  Like last time, note how I can't come up with a good song name for the life of me.

1_.it and 2_.it (1_.mp3 and 2_.mp3) had me trying to write music for the game that was in my head.  Of course that game was an RPG, me being infatuated with things like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 3 (6 for you hardcore folk), and as I've established before, I really enjoy loops.  Loops, orchestral, RPG, can't think of names, etc.

Now I personally don't remember ever making tm1.it (MP3 file).  Obviously unfinished and pretty rough sounding, but after finding it, laughed out loud (yes, this is different from LOL) because of just how generic it sounds.  Yeah, I definitely didn't always write winners.  (Not to say that I always write winners now...)

I'll do another music update later on.  Maybe you'll think it's better than this stuff, maybe not... but at the very least, I can promise that it's not more than 10 years old...

A quick update... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 21 May 2009 17:13

So let's see...

I'm rewriting about 2 weeks worth of music because I suddenly lost control of one of my soft synths, one of my monitors is still going crazy (at least it's just the one monitor...), and I'm currently shuttling metric tonnes of crap between apartments while being tempted to run a print shop.

In lighter news: I now own the most awesome basketball game ever (aka: Run and Gun 2, aka Slam Dunk 2) and thanks to Flickr Stats, I've found another person I need to keep track of in the blogosphere.  To Rachael: Thanks for writing and being pretty interesting at it!

And before any of you say anything: Run and Gun 2 IS the most awesome basketball game ever.  Save your Double Dribbles and NBA Jams and all that; I'm not having any of that...

Wait... Calbi BBQ? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 12:09

Kogi BBQIf you're an LA area foodie, you've probably known about the Kogi BBQ truck for a while.  With its twitter-mania and pretty tasty Korean-inspired tacos and burritos alongside more traditional or out-of-right-field specials, it's been a rather big hit.  Of course, it was inevitable that they'd get some imitators.  A few traditional Mexican dives have been trying to integrate the Korean flavors into their own menu, some with more success than others.

Thanks to some random blog comments, I happened across Calbi BBQ.  Check out their twitter.  Check out their menu.  Compare it to what's currently on Kogi BBQ right now.

Wacky, huh?  I'll probably be keeping track of this thing...


Page 4 of 12