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Stuff that's big and serious. And written.  Reviews of software, first looks at gear, and analysis of things that happen.

Filipino Catholicism is Pretty Extreme PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 25 December 2008 19:13
(Picture of) Picture of Crucifixion

The title of this post is something I've said more than a few times about the religion I was born into.  I've also used the label Marian Cultic to describe the Filipino brand of Roman Catholicism.  As you can guess, the religion of my parents' homeland is not something I talk about in the most glowing terms.  (Not that I dismiss Christianity entirely: anything that can inspire something like this or this can't be all bad... I think...?)  One of the reasons comes from one of the (very few) memories I have of my early childhood in the Philippines: seeing a man crucified.

I've described this before to some people and many dismiss it as me misremembering or stretching the truth... but it is indeed the case that people volunteer to get themselves flogged, walk a few miles with a cross on their back, then get themselves nailed (not roped, nailed) up in the hot tropical sun for a while.  Obviously it's meant to just be a temporary crucifixion, but sometimes things go wrong.

I was reminded of this when I arrived at my parents' home on the other side of the country and decided that I needed to do a little bit of reading before going to bed.  The first thing I see is a random issue of National Geographic which I open up to a random page, to be immediately greeted by: a picture of a crucifixion.

If you'd like to see more, here's a video showing that the practice is alive and well.

Merry Christmas.

 
The PMX 2008 Game Room: Looking Back PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:09

PMX 2008 Game RoomPacific Media Expo (PMX) was never on my radar as an anime congoer, mostly because it wasn't really an anime con.  I was never really interested in the J-rock scene, or the J-punk scene, or the EGL scene, or any of a number of other things that I thought comprised PMX.  It wasn't until 2007 that I went to my first PMX, dragged there by various cosplaying friends, that I might take some pictures of their latest concoctions.  There, I found a neat little con that had a lot of events that I wasn't into.

I also found a couple dudes on staff there.  Previously acquaintances, I now call them friends.  Interesting thing about friends, though: they can get you to do things that you never anticipate yourself doing.  One of those things happened earlier this month: running the first PMX Console Gaming Room.

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Review: The Pentax K20D PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Monday, 20 October 2008 00:00
Pentax K20DMy current camera system...Pentax K20D

I owned the Pentax K20D for five months in the middle of 2008 and there's no doubt in my mind: The Pentax K20D is a brilliant camera. 

Damn shame that I had to sell it... just had to be done...

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My Japanese Coach is Buggy PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Friday, 17 October 2008 07:36

Maybe you guys are into video games or manga or anime, and maybe you've probably entertained the notion of learning Japanese once in your life.  Maybe you've taken a class or three while at college, or maybe you tried out one of those audio courses.  And maybe you've thought to yourself: "Learning Japanese through a video game would make so much sense..."

So now we've got Ubisoft's My Japanese Coach for Nintendo DS.  It's not bad.  Barely.

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I Had a Nikon D700... PDF Print E-mail
Written by Vincent Diamante   
Thursday, 02 October 2008 16:03

(8:13:28 PM) sklathill: Two days ago I bought a Nikon D700.
(8:13:31 PM) sklathill: Today I returned it.
(8:13:34 PM) sklathill: HATED it.
(8:15:15 PM) whitefinder: That bad?
(8:15:18 PM) whitefinder: Why's that?
(8:15:35 PM) sklathill: High ISO... brilliant. Absolute brilliant.
(8:15:48 PM) sklathill: But god I hated how it felt.
(8:16:06 PM) sklathill: it had a very substantial hand grip, but I always felt like I was barely holding the camera by my fingertips.
(8:16:22 PM) sklathill: And the way I had to scrunch my fingers up to use buttons on the top side while in shooting position.
(8:16:46 PM) sklathill: The way I had to compromise stability in shooting position if I wanted to do functions that required my left hand (for example, changing ISO or shooting mode)
(8:17:14 PM) sklathill: The position of the command dial by my right index and thir dfinger just felt aboust as wrong as it possibly could have been.
(8:17:29 PM) sklathill: The menus... ugh. I hate trawling through the menus.
(8:17:52 PM) sklathill: And their solution for faster operation is to give the user their own custom menu that they can add items to? I couldn't stand it at all.
(8:18:48 PM) sklathill: I absolutely hated it. People told me that I could learn it... but my gut says there's no way I could learn to enjoy using this camera.
(8:19:02 PM) whitefinder: You ought to write an otacracy review!
(8:19:18 PM) sklathill: I should...

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