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Buggered

Written by Mayhem on . Posted in Final Fantasy, Gaming, General Rubbish

Work is really taking a toll on my health at the moment. Its coming to the end of the year and we’re just being bombarded by many things and many people who are in a state of panic to get things done before Christmas and the school vacation period. My boss is only managing to keep up with it all, but he’s hardly in the office as he’s always in a meeting or he’s been ‘required’ to attend one. Everyone who rings up says “I need to speak to him urgently! My matter is extremely important!” and since everyone has something important, then they all get pissed off when my boss doesn’t return their call. Prioritising at this time of year is out the window as everything really IS important and must be done as soon as possible. I guess the other factor is that I can’t say I’m the most healthy person on the planet lol, I do eat a bit of junk food, usually because its quick and simple and I can continue working while I’m nibbling away at some chocolate or a packet of chips (crisps to those in the UK ;-)), but of course with it being a demanding time and not eating the right things it makes it worse for me to handle the stress that’s currently flowing over me. Today was probably the worst it had gotten. I hadn’t had a lot of sleep over the weekend and last night I managed to crawl into bed and was out almost instantly (which is extremely unusual for me since it usually takes me about an hour or so before I finally nod off), and was still quite groggy in the morning. Went to work and it was full-throttle the whole day. I did manage to get out for a break but that was a bit stressful too lol. I wanted to go and buy a clock radio so that I could have it at work and listen to the radio with a nice big digital clock (handy since there’s no clock near me except for the one on the computer). I ended up down at Rundle Mall – the main shopping strip in the centre of Adelaide – and that was the start of it all. It was busy and over crowded as a lot of kids had finished up school (high schoolers mostly who had finished all their exams) and so you were having to weave in and out of the flows of pedestrian traffic to get from one side of the mall to the other. Anyway I went to one store which was an electrical store – nobody asked me if I needed any assistance and I couldn’t find a clock radio anywhere. So I went to the second electrical store that I knew – same deal. There were hardly any customers in there, but a lot of staff and they all ignored me while I stood in front of a very small choice of clock radios for about 10 minutes. I’d had enough then so I wandered into the Myer Center, and then into the actual Myer department store. I wandered up to their electrical section and found myself looking everywhere again, but before I knew it I saw something that really grabbed my attention. And it wasn’t a clock radio!!! What did I buy instead of a clock radio (which I found heaps of in Myer but changed my mind since I’d just spent a large amount)?? I bought Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus!! Its actually really hard to find in Adelaide. My nephew turned up one weekend not long ago and showed it off to me. He said he’d wandered around a number of the usual game stores but they didn’t have it. He finally found it out at EB Games at the Elizabeth Shopping Centre. I didn’t think I’d be out there anytime soon so I did wander down to the EB Games in Rundle Mall a few days after he’d shown me his copy but they didn’t have it. So when I saw it in Myer, I grabbed instantly lol! I haven’t yet played it as I’m completely stuffed but I may look into playing it on the weekend :) Anyway, yeah so when I got back to work – and realised I was running a bit late after all the running around I did in the mall – there were a whole pile of things to get done and I’d suddenly realised that I’d forwarded my phone to our voicemail instead of down to our receptionist. I know that the girl before me used to do that all the time, even when she was at her desk (stupid idiot!) so my immediate thoughts were that I’d done something stupid and it would be frowned upon. After that I did a lot of stupid mistakes and kept forgetting things and I realised then that it was getting a bit dangerous and that the stress was causing me to not be able to concentrate very clearly. I ended up speaking to a colleague and he agreed that when that begins happening, its time to take a bit of a breather. I also mentioned it to my boss and he understood too. So I said that if I didn’t feel too well in the morning, or still felt like I was a bit stressed, I wouldn’t be in tomorrow to work. My boss was fine with that and said I should look after my health first. But then after I left I thought that perhaps what I’d do is sleep in in the morning (I normally get up at 5:15am) and then go to work later like maybe arrive around 11am. I ended up ringing another work colleague and she said she’d pass that onto my boss in the morning. The thing is, if I end up waking up in the morning and I am worse then I’ll be sending her a text message to tell my boss that I won’t be coming in at all! I think that the other stupid thing about it, and its my fault and I am aware of it, is that during the day at work I’m usually on the computer all day. I do leave my desk to go to other sections and go to meetings, but the bulk of the time is spent in front of the computer (or on the phone). And then when I come home what do I do? Go onto my compter! So that most definitely adds to the list of ‘stupid things I do’ especially when I’m stressed out (see I’m doing it right now!)

OMG! It's teh brightness!!!

Written by Mayhem on . Posted in Anime, Asian Music, Gaming, General Rubbish

I got sick of the darker looking scheme so I changed it. This theme has only just been out for a short while but its nice. Probably a bit too bright for my usual tastes lol, but its a change. I should start posting up some photos sometime. I know you can get a flickr plugin for WordPress though I don’t have an account with them (yet). I went to Borders last week as I remembered that they sell a little bit of manga. Well their ‘little bit’ has grown into a huge amount! I was really surprised at how much they were now offering, though it had been a few years since I was last in the store so no doubt it was popular enough for them to add to it. They are behind, however, in their releases and they don’t have as big of a selection as some of the online stores I have frequented (and they’re waaaaay more expensive) but at least its another option for me to go to :) I bought the first two volumes of “Demon Diary” and since there’s only 7 volumes in total I’ll probably get the rest on line. $21.95 (AUD) per book is a bit much! Tamarket sell their manga anywhere between $11 – $21 (AUD) depending on the title. Most of the bigger ones and the heavier books (like yaoi stuff) are the more expensive, where as the bulk of their releases are on average around $16 per manga. I’ve seen that the latest expansion pack to the Sims 2 has been released. I wasn’t really a big fan of the original “Pets” version so I’m not likely to go for this one either. There is a new holiday ‘stuff’ pack that is also out, and that’s probably the version I’ll be picking up when I next get to it. I’ve heard things about Pets being a bit buggy, in that they’ve changed a bit of the structure and this has caused some problems and strife for modders. Its always the modders that have to update and create work-arounds and the EA mob just seem to wait until 4-5 months later before they decide to release a patch that will solve the problem. So long as the new mods coming out from fan sites still cooperate with my current versions then I’ll be happy enough without getting . Listened to Dir en Grey‘s latest single titled “Agitated Screams of Maggots”. I have the single and I was reading the lyrics. They’re pretty full on and nasty (completely in English), however lead singer Kyo screams them and the words mesh together so you can’t really friggin understand anything he’s saying anyway. Can’t say its their greatest song, they’ve done a heck of a lot better, but some die-hard fans love all of their stuff including this screaming single. I also got 12012‘s latest single and the last of a trilogy they were releasing over 3 months called “over…”. Slower and a bit more ballady but still got the j-rock sound that I love from them. Out of those two singles I am definitely happier with the 12012 release! Currently I’m on my flexi-day – also referred to as a day-off lol. If I have enough hours up I can take up to two per month, though I rarely ever do. I’m about to put in my request for leave over the Christmas vacation and with all the public holidays that abound in that time of the year I end up getting about 3 weeks off. Normally I take about 4-5 over the Christmas vacation however I’m taking some time off in March so didn’t want to be too greedy! ;) I usually try and take my flexi days off on a Monday as I’m a shocker when it comes to the first day of the week. A real grouch. I usually bite people’s heads off as soon as they look at me or talk to me first thing lol, but usually I’m a bit calmer by the end of the day. So having Monday’s off is usually a good thing ^_^ And finally, I’ve been finally catching up on a fairly lengthy anime series – “Naruto”. I had been downloading episodes and was up to somewhere in the 100’s but then got overloaded with other anime stuff and couldn’t be bothered downloading a long series that I hadn’t even started watching. So I’ve found all my older episodes and started watching them, and will be downloading all the newer stuff to catch up. I’m still a long way off from Episode 210 – which is the most recently released episode as of this post – (I’ve reached Episode 51 lol) but I’ve been watching a fair number of eps in a row and it won’t be long before I’ll be almost caught up!

Overseas Stores & Online Shopping

Written by Mayhem on . Posted in Anime, Asian Music, Books & Manga, Shopping

I’m now adding a new store to my list of reliable and worthwhile merchants. Because there aren’t a lot of stores here in Australia that sell anime, Japanese music and manga/anime artbooks, I basically get a lot of that stuff overseas. Sometimes I will check out the local online stores and compare prices with overseas stores to see if I’m getting a better deal here or over there. The disadvantage about ordering from overseas is usually the cost to ship items over here. More so when you’re shipping stuff from Japan. The cost is very high in that regard.

 

For me the only way to be happy with a store, including its service and product variety, is to try it out myself. There are a few places which will have feedback from people about their dealings with some of the overseas stores, and this feedback can be valuable, but everyone’s circumstances are different when ordering stuff from overseas so everyone will have differing opinions on different stores. As I said, though, the only way to know if it’s a good place to buy anything is to try it yourself.

 

I can say that for asian music I definitely get everything from cdjapan. I have ordered from YesAsia, who do offer free shipping on certain items (to a certain value) and that has been a bonus, however that is only if you have it shipped through normal processes like airmail. This is not good if you want to have something like a new release as soon as possible. The only advantage they do have over cdjapan is that they also sell Korean and Chinese music as well as Japanese. And while they are cheaper, I can’t say I’m overly fond of their packaging methods. They are okay, but pretty average. The same really goes to cdjapan, though they do put a bit more packing material in to protect the CD/DVD as much as possible to limit movement. Most of the time I’m ordering stuff that comes via an express shipping process, so the items usually don’t need a lot of packaging material since it gets moved here pretty quickly. I have bought a CD and a DVD from Australian anime store Tamarket, but this only happened due to them having an item that was no longer on sale overseas. Otherwise I wouldn’t have bought it as they are more expensive.

 

In terms of anime goods such as toys, action figures and models, there’s a few stores that are quite good. Most orders I’ve put in have been through HobbyLink Japan. It deals mostly with models, but also has some great action figures too. They usually get the latest stuff in, but you need to be able to get onto them reasonably quickly because these can usually disappear within a few months. I ordered my FFVII:AC Sephiroth figure from them, however when I went back a few months later to order Vincent, they were no longer selling them. Vincent I ended up ordering from Tamarket for roughly the same price as I paid for the Sephiroth figure. When Cloud Strife came out, I knew I couldn’t order him from Japan as it was a special release for outside of Japan (since he originally came with the special edition super duper version of the DVD release) so I had to look to other stores that I hadn’t tried before. I ended up ordering him from Akadot Retail, an American online store which sells quite a lot of anime and manga stuff. I can say that the service was good and I was impressed with the packaging. I also liked the little hand-written note on the invoice which thanked me for my purchase and hoped I enjoyed the product. I’ve also bought Tidus, but ordered him through HobbyLink Japan. In terms of service, all three were fairly good. In regards to the cost, they were all fairly much the same, despite the figure itself being cheaper in the US, the cost of shipping ended up bringing it inline with what I paid for the other two figures. In regards to the packaging that they came in, I’d have to say that HLJ stands out the most. I have ordered models from them in the past and although they come in boxes, HLJ ensure that the boxes themselves are still in mint condition when it arrives on your doorstep. They are wrapped up tight together in a type of plastic wrap, then placed in a bigger shipping box and further packing material is placed into the box to prevent it from slipping around. They usually use the air-pillows (small plastic bags sealed with air) which also cushion the boxes from the sides and prevents too much movement. They also do this with other things too.

 

Moving onto books, magazines and manga, there are a number of stores I buy from with one new one that’s just been added to my list. Most of the manga I buy from Tamarket. They tend to keep reasonably up to date with the releases and are good at getting them in. They are a decent price, though another Australian store Anime Anytime (Yorokonde) sell them cheaper. The only thing with AA is that they don’t have that big of a range as Tamarket does and they tend to focus on a certain genre rather than a variety. I have not yet ordered translated manga from stores overseas so I can’t comment on shipping of that type of item from overseas stores. I have, however, ordered Artbooks and Anime magazines from HobbyLink Japan. Although they are all in Japanese (and I have no reading skills in Japanese) they are good for scanning images which I usually put up on my Animay website. Again, HLJ have a reasonable range and their prices are about the same as most overseas stores. Packaging is also excellent, they will often put magazines and books wrapped together into a large flat box and add a few air-pillows to keep it from moving around too much. The most recent store I have ordered from that I can recommend is Animaxis. Tthey sell a variety of anime goods including manga (Japanese only), artbooks, action figures, models and miscellaneous items. They also sell some anime DVDs but these are Japanese versions only. Anyway, I ordered a couple of artbooks from them. These artbooks “Uzumaki: Naruto Illustrations” and “Harukanaru Toki no Naka de Artbook” were both unavailable at the time, however the site did state that they would get the two items in once an order had been placed. They also stated the length of time it would take for the items to arrive (1-2 weeks). Prices were about the same as HLJ, though shipping was pretty expensive, but they only offer express shipping on their items when its overseas. Packaging was well addressed. The books were wrapped up together in plastic, then placed between two sturdy pieces of cardboard which were then taped over with one large strip at each side. Then it was wrapped up with bubblewrap and placed into a plastic shipping envelope.

 

I know I’ve gone on a bit about packaging, but I can’t stress it enough. When its well packaged and arrives in mint condition, then its well worth the money spent.

 

If you’re wondering whether I’ve had any bad experiences with online stores, then yes I have. These were in relation to music orders. One was JPopHelp. They have a lot of stuff, though there’s also a lot of bootlegs too. I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve put through an order and never heard from them until after I’ve sent an e-mail through for an update. Once it took them nearly 3 months. The other store I’ve ordered from but wasn’t really happy with was SensAsian. I’d only heard of them more recently and found they had a DVD that I couldn’t get anywhere else. So I put in an order and did receive an e-mail with all the details and saying they’d received my order. Weeks later, nothing had happened and I hadn’t heard anything, not even an update on my order. I went to the site and logged in, but couldn’t work out the system there as none of it made sense (maybe it was just me). It seems that although they said they had it in stock, they actually didn’t have it in stock and had had to order it in for me which was why it took so long. From the day I ordered to the day it arrived approximately 2 months had passed. What annoyed me the most about it was that nobody bothered to e-mail me to let me know what was happening.

 

In short here’s a quick rundown on my recommendations:

 

Ordering Music CDs

cdjapan

YesAsia

 

Ordering Anime goods such as toys and memorabilia (excluding books & magazines)

HobbyLink Japan

Tamarket (Australian)

Akadot Retail (US)

AnimePower (Australian) – good stuff though hard to tell if its in stock or not. I’ve sometimes put in an order for a number of items and received an e-mail saying only 1 or 2 of the items I’ve requested are in stock.

 

Ordering artbooks, magazines and manga

HobbyLink Japan (artbooks and magazines)

Tamarket (manga – English translated)(Australian)

Anime Anytime (manga – English translated)(Australian)

Animaxis (artbooks) – as mentioned in my blurb, they do sell other stuff though I’ve only ordered artbooks from them so far.

CDs, Books and other shtuff

Written by Mayhem on . Posted in Anime, Books & Manga, General Rubbish, Visual Kei, Websites

I’m still having issues around stuff being sent to me from cdjapan. I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of GazettE’s first new single “Regret”. It was due to arrive last Friday as the note on my list of items had gone from ‘In Shipping Process’ to ‘Shipped’ on that Wednesday night. Usually it takes 2 days before it arrives at my doorstep (as in it arrives on the second day) but this time it was not to be. Nothing arrived on Friday. I was pretty pissed off but there was nothing I could do about it. And its not to say that its cdjapan’s fault for the lateness, its probably Australia Post. However, on the upside, the lateness meant that I had the time to discover the difference between the Optical and Auditory Impression releases. Originally I just assumed the difference was due to the Optical version having the PV and Making of PV. That’s not the case. It turned out that the Auditory Impression version has an extra song on it. Most unimpressed! But this is how the bands make their money, release two versions with something different on each and people will buy both! I had to find a copy of the Auditory Impression and rip the third track. The unfortunate thing was that I think the CD I ripped it from was faulty (wasn’t mine anyway) so the third track came out a bit quieter than the two I ripped from my own. With this in mind and still with time to spare, I quickly ordered the Auditory Impression version of the second single to be released “Faith in the beauty”. And just in time too! Both CDs went to ‘In Shipping Process’ on the Monday night, were shipped on the Tuesday night and arrived yesterday (Thursday)! Both are great releases and its great to have a proper copy of them now lol. Now all we have to have is a new album from them ^.^

 

I’ve been a bit lax in reading my book lately but the other day on the way home I ended up in a bus where I got the single seat right at the front. The problem with that seat is its right in front of the ticket machine and next to the door so people stare at you or look at you when they get on the bus. This is then a great excuse to read a book so your head is down and you’re preoccupied (I also have my mp3 player on too). So I picked up the book again and was thrown into chaos by it from the start lol. I had kind of stopped half way and it was at a fairly quiet time of the story, but the next couple of chapters have just thrown that all out the window. However, I’ve now worked out the style of writing as its becoming pretty obvious in each book. Basically it starts off with introductions of characters or reintroductions of characters depending on which book you’ve picked up. It then gives you a rundown on what’s happened so far. You then have a long period of time, as in several chapters, of events that are happening that are fairly drawn out with much detailed description of the events happening or the environment and people around the main characters being described. Most of the battles that happen seem short and brief, usually because the story is being told from the view point of the main character and apparently he can’t seem to remember much about what happened at each battle lol. Any battle that involves the second main character, who’s story is told in third person, is usually very brief in that it’s an ambush, they’re attacked and its all over with lol. Then the next lot of chapters are around many of the characters that you meet during the first half of the book being killed suddenly and swiftly. You’re thrown into chaos as everyone around the main characters dies or is killed in some battle or by some assassin. Then revenge is sought which takes about 5 pages to happen and then the book is over. Basically what the author does is write a long drawn out saga and then ends it quickly and dramatically. Kind of like how I would do it lol, though you kind of feel a bit cheated when you get to the end of each book. I’ve still not reached the end of this book and originally it was supposed to be the final book until the author decided to write a fourth one (which I haven’t seen in stores here yet) and now there’s news of a prequel coming out too.

 

Anime and website wise, not much happening. I have been catching up on some new and old series that I’ve kept aside to watch. I’ve yet to watch “Death Note” or “D.Gray-man” but both of those I’m looking forward to watching. At the moment one of my new favourite series is “Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge”. An absolutely hilarious series that for me, has replaced the now finished “Ouran High School Host Club” series. With my websites, not much movement has happened. I’m rethinking the wiki program as I’m not sure how I’m going to work it now and I don’t want to start working on the main site until the wiki is sorted out. I’m now thinking of putting in Media-Wiki after all, which my host said is possible as they’ve put it in and its working well for them. But I really need to think it through and maybe, just maybe I’ll do that this weekend.

 

Unless I decide to play games again….

Recent Comments

Chris Johnson

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I’ve been through more music devices than I can count, and I’ve always been happiest with the Apple line, especially now that the drives are all flash! Glad to hear you’re happy with your purchases. :-D

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