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Hi there, while we hope you enjoy browsing through the site, there's a lot more you can do if you register. The process is easy and you can use your Google, Facebook, or Twitter account to make it even faster. Some perks of joining include:
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Team J.A.F.



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Friend Me?

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Sep 27 2012 · 146 views

I've been made aware of just how out of date my BZP Friend list is. I think it's updated from like 2008 or something. There's not many people on it, and half of them aren't active anymore, and I know I must be missing a lot of people. If you want me to add you to my friends list, post here. (Granted, if I have absolutely no idea who you are and we've never interacted I may be hesitant but what the heck bloated friends lists are all the rage.)

:music:


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Finally Watched The Harry Potter Finale

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Sep 22 2012 · 133 views

The final Harry Potter movie, the Deathly Hollows Part 2, came out in theaters in July 2012. I did not go to see it.

The movie came out on DVD last November. Around that time, I added it to our Movie Queue for Blockbuster (the service where they send us DVDs like Netflix... and yeah they're still in business.) Since then, my mom keeps reshuffling the list to bring the movies she wants to see to the top. (And I didn't even put my choice as a high priority.)

So here it is, at least 9 months later, and it finally came it. Couldn't have picked a better weekend, since my folks are out, and they wouldn't have appreciated the movie anyway.

It was... interesting. It changed a lot of things. Somewhat iconic moments too. Although I guess that's to be expected for any movie adaptation. I wish they had actually shown some of the deaths like Fred's, but the other-student fighting was a little sparse. On the other hand, they did give Neville proper treatment, and I especially liked his bridge scene. (Like seriously, people said he was cool in the books, but the movie makes him look the part so much better.) Oh, and the fire creatures were well done.

So the movie was enjoyable. Book is better, but seriously, the seventh book (especially the second half of it) was some of the best stuff from the whole series, and I guess it did a good job of showing it on the screen. But I was still shouting out corrections when they said the quotes wrong. :P


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Electronics I Want

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Sep 13 2012 · 142 views

Just a various list of new devices I would want upgrades on, in order of want.

New Laptop: I have a Toshiba Satellite that I got in December 2007. In Summer 07, I got a Toshiba Satellite that was the top of the line student laptop of the day. (Or well, high enough quality for it's $1,000 price tag.) Then it got stolen, and my replacement was a lower quality model. It's worked swell for five years, but now even web browsing can tax my system, and dare I even think about playing games on it! And five years isn't a bad time to get an upgraded machine, IMO. (And I am also considering a new desktop too... but either way a new computer is sometime I need/want.

New Cell Phone: Some of my classes have dabbled in mobile web browsing, but I'm still on a phone I got two years ago that has the most basic of web browsing. (And the fact that it's lasted two plus years says something, since I've drowned or cracked my other two phones I've had since 07.) It would be nice to get some of the newer equipment so I can actually experience the mobile browsing that we're being told to design for. But smart phones are expensive... both in the initial purchase and then with the monthly plan. And I might as well keep going with my current phone for as long as it can last...

New Headphones: Okay, I go through headphones faster than anything else. The headband snaps, the wiring rips out, some internal issue screws up the sounds; I am just excessively hard on them. For example, I got a nice expensive pair for Christmas last year, and they snapped in half on me in June. :( I am kind of picky about headphones, since I cannot for the life of me use ear-buds, so I need decent ear-cover ones. And in general, I try to buy cheap ones, but sometimes they turn out to be too cheap. There's a style of Sony headphones for $14.99 that I've gotten often, and those seem to last longest with me and feel the most comfortable. But my current pair is starting to wear out, so many time for new ones? (And I need to convince people that when I say I want new headphones for birthday / Christmas, don't get me those expensive that cost alot and then eventually break in some stupid way. :glare:

New Watch: I'm also fairly old fashion in that I like to wear a wrist watch at all times. Yeah, yeah, people claim they can just check their phones or whatever for the time, but I've developed the habit of glancing down at my wrist whenever I want to check the time... so much that I keep doing so when I'm not wearing my watch. :o I'm also picky about watches... they've got to have the date, a light, and preferably a timer. (So pretty much a standard digital watch, but I used to be even more old fashion and use the basic clock models.) I also prefer a non-metal strap that has reinforced connections behind the watch, because I've had so many of them rendered useless because the area where the strap connects to the watch itself strips apart, and then the whole thing is useless. I've had watches where the straps break somehow or where the internal battery just dies. My current watch got scrapped up pretty badly on my last hike, making it nearly impossible to read the minute's number. As such, I need to get a new one, and the process is complicated enough even when I try to stay cheap. (Because why buy a pricey watch when I know it'll inevitable get wrecked too?) But I'm going to keep on wearing watches, because I'm looking forward to the day where I can hide a communicator in it and / or a wrist laser. :D

Wireless Mouse: Man, I've had bad luck with mice too. Sometimes the optics go dead, sometimes they drain the batteries too quickly, and sometimes the USB connector gets busted. I've generally switched between Microsoft and Logitech mice, with my current one being of the MS variety. In general, I have liked using both types, so it's mostly just a matter of when they break down. My current mouse has a gummed up scroll bar that no longer works properly, and now I realize how much I use scrolling when I can't do it as easily anymore. Maybe I should go for a Logitech one next (since the last one from them had the USB connector break, but now they make those smaller so it shouldn't be an issue anymore.)

Ipod Charger / Stereo: Yes, in general I am a PC guy; I really don't like having to use the MAC OS at school. Plus, Apple's actions as a company are often to my distaste. (Personal preference, feel free to have your own opinions, just be aware that I don't want you spouting them in my blog) But, gosh darn it, Apple did the iPod thing well, and I have to give them credit for it. Granted, I did not buy my first iPod... it was a gift, and I might've gone for something else on my own. (Not sure about Zune... never really caught my taste to begin with, and it's not exactly uber popular either. Maybe one of the off-brand MP3 Players.) And my iPod nano has lasted for five years without any real complications. (Sure, it has a few scratches, and once it did get corrupted but I was able to go to the university's Apple store and they restored it.) But the iPod stereo hook-up... I've been through two, and my current one can barely connect with the iPod and play music. (And it no longer charges it either, much to my dismay.) So another one of those would be swell too.

Jetpack: My current backpack has lasted me since high school. Sure, one of the front zippers has worn out, but overall it is still one of my best pieces of luggage for trips, be they backpacking, to school, or on an airliner. Unfortunately, by backpack does not yet let me fly. This is a major design flaw, and I think I need to upgrade. Anybody know the best manufacturers of jetpacks? (Don't answer that... I have researched the option and their still in the testing phases, and keep spouting nonsense like "inefficient" and "unsafe.")

...

So yeah, lots of technology I want. Lots of things I could buy. It would cost lots of money to get all of this. And currently, I barely have any spending money. I have some saved up for BrickCon that I earned from working for my folks this summer, but my saving from last summer's job have been spent, and being unemployed this summer didn't do much for my bank account. And then there's all the LEGO I need to purchase. Personally, I'm hoping for a discounted Helms Deep at BCon, and maybe a t-shirt that's a size too big, so that way when it shrinks like all the rest I bought at Cascade, it'll still fit.

Anyway, that was a rant about my wants and desires. If you want to send money to the "Make Xccj Happy" fund, just give me a PM. ;)

:music:


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50 Ways To Say Goodbye

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Aug 29 2012 · 154 views

But the song only gives 11 examples of how she died.

Why does Train keep releasing catchy singles?

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Watching Anime

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Aug 06 2012 · 153 views

Wow, I haven't blogged in a week. It's not that I've been busy; kinda the opposite really, haven't had much to do. Besides being jealous of everybody who went to BrickFair, but that's really not something fun to blog about. :P

But yeah, I guess I have been spending a lot of time sampling random Animes on the web. It started when I looked up some of the Marvel Animes, because I've been trying to watch Marvel stuff and decided to see what Japan did with them. The Iron Man and X Men versions were okay, but I really liked the Wolverine one they did. They did change up his character quite a bit, but I'm not a big Wolverine fan so I didn't mind. That whole show was just non-stop action, it seemed.

So I've been taking a look at some other animes. Some I only watched a few episodes of, and the only ones I've finished were only a season long. I started by watching some of the more comedic ones, then moved onto some sci-fi and fantasy ones. Some of them do capture the emotion of the characters very well, and some of them seem to just drone on endlessly. (Hint, those are the ones I didn't continue watching. :P )

As for names, well... Umisho was a funny and cute one, and it helped that I was watching it at the same time as the Olympics because it's about a swim team. I also liked High School of the Dead because, despite not being a fan of zombie themes, it did a really good job with the characters and the action. Even tho it seemed to have a hope theme with it, some of the other themes explored really creep me out because of how realistic they are. :lookaround: And I started following updates of a new one called Sword Art Online, which involves people getting trapped inside a virtual reality game, which is crazy cause I wrote a similiar story years ago! (Granted, I think I borrowed that idea from another show...) The first few eps were good, but since it's ongoing, I'm not yet sure if I like where it's going or not.

So yeah just a few of my thoughts based on the mindless web video viewing I've done lately. Oh, and BTW, this is not an invite to say what animes I should watch. :P

Also done some story writing still. Might go on a backpacking trip next week, even tho I'm horribly out of shape. Oh yeah and school starts in two weeks, y'know, right when summer weather starts back up. The three months of unemployment went fast!

:music:


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Speculation on Future Spider-Man Sets

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jul 23 2012 · 110 views

Okay, so I was looking at the selection of Spider Man figs showed at ComicCon, and I was thinking about the kinds of sets they could make out of them. As far as I could tell, there were only two villains: Dr. Doom and Venom, and a Spidey set would need to have a good set of villains in addition to Spider and allies. Perhaps some of them are repeated thru the sets, like Loki was for the Avengers sets. But since there don't appear to be other Marvel character sets (No X-Men :( ) it looks like Spidey should get a wave all to himself. (Unless they combine the Marvel and DC waves next year, in which case it will be Batman and Spidey... but I'm assuming not.)

So, assuming Marvel had a line of spidey sets, I was wondering what they would be like. Specifically, what would a cheaper $11 set include? Both Venom and Dr. Doom seem likely to be in the expensive sets, but maybe there could see a small scene with Spider-Man vs Venom, set on a rooftop or sewer or something. Have simple bust useful scenery pieces.

But then I realized that they're probably just going to give Spider-Man his Spidey-Bike from the TV show, so the cheaper set will yet again be that stupid, overly large bike mold, with a handful of lame street-side pieces to bulk up the piece count.

That's my prediction. They did it with Catwoman's cycle and Captain America. They're going to do it for Spidey. I can just tell.

Oh well, I'm sure next year's wave of sets will be shown in the upcoming months, and then we'll know for sure. Just putting out my prediction.

Also, I wanted to point this out. The Spidey sets are based off the new Spider-Man cartoon, which I'm still kind meh about. But anyway, he had a super hero team he works with, and I noticed that Lego produced the two of the four who have white skin: Nova and Iron Fist. Can we not get more characters with other flesh tones? (Especially female ones?) Still waiting on a Storm minifig and a X-Men Blackbird model. (Hey, they made Phoenix, so there's still potential for more X-Men stuff.)

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It's a Mystery

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, Stories Jul 16 2012 · 137 views

It's always great to read a mystery. You know that portions aren't going to get solved until the end, and I know I always have to keep reading on to see just what happens.

It's a little harder to write a mystery. When I do, I usually know the big reveal early on, and try to subtly hint towards it without giving it away.

But writing a mystery while also not knowing what it is... that's tough.

The LSO Round Robin Epics are fun, but both my Bionicle and COT stories have some pretty decent mysteries going on. All the authors are setting them up, but I really want to know what their intentions are for the stories. Hopefully we can pull it off and make it a fun, compelling read even as we try to figure out what's going on too along the way.

Also in other news, I've been spending my unemployed nights to work on one of my other personal stories. The story about this story: I wrote the original almost a decade ago and worked on it for years, but then lost about half of it when my computer was stolen and I didn't have a full copy on backup. As such, I started rewriting it again three years ago, and I've only been making slow progress on it. But last month I got past one of my writing blocks, and now I've been cranking out the story; I've written nearly 30,000 words of it in the last month. Woot! Sure, I'm just at the halfway point of where I had it last time, but I've had years to work my ideas in my head, and now it's mostly just a process of getting it typed out. (At least, until I hit another spot where I get stuck on how to continue... and as a writer, I tend to avoid jumping over troubled spots, because I like to build my current writing on what I've already said and such.)

But yeah, not having to wake up in the morning and go to work really frees up a lot of evening time to write. Too bad I like having money more, or else I would do this all the time. :D

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Thoughts on Series 8

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts Jul 16 2012 · 128 views

Yeah, I'm clearly one of those people who're addicted to collecting figs. So many people seem to be disappointed about Series 8, mostly because it has a bunch of rehashes of figs that have already been released: skier, cowgirl, cheerleader, robot, alien, man-bat. I mean, they're not exclusive or as exciting as the Spartan, Elf, Hazmat Suit Guy, or Roman. But I know at BrickCon there were all the guys demanding more rehashes so they could make opposing teams and such, and I find some of the rehashes to be cleaver and unique enough to be worth it. So I'm excited for this series.

And to follow basic protocol, I'll give you my initial opinions on the figs. Granted, I'll probably buy they all up anyway when they hit store shelves... but some will be a priority buy. :P

Alien Queen: Okay, this one did kind of catch me off guard. Very similiar to AC, but it would be great for army builders wanting to make a lime green civilization. Plus, lovely purple!

Cowgirl: Interesting design, although I'm not a big fan of single hat + hair molds.

Santa: Well, we've seen dozens of Lego Santas before, but he looks to have a lot more detail to him.

Spanish Conquistador: A well designed historical fig, and I'm sure he'll be popular like the Gladiator and Roman. But still, you do know what Conquistadors did? Not necessarily a profession I would like to honor in Lego form.

Bulgarian: Luv the pretzel!

Red Cheerleader: Like I said, it's great to have an opposing team uniform, so I approve of the concept. And the hairpiece will be new in black, but it still looks kind of off on this fig.

Diver: Epic. So much better than that crazy guy from Series 1.

Football Player: HAH, he's supposed to represent America Football! Helmet looks like a reuse of the Hockey players, and although he doesn't have a real football, he looks cool. Now I wonder if future sports figs will get the new trophy in silver and bronze colors. (I believe that's a new mold... smaller than the ones that appeared in World Racers.)

Pirate: Okay, nice, but doesn't Lego do Pirates quite often?

Fairy: Nice. Love the wings. Still don't like that hairpiece, even in a new color.

Businessman: Kinda meh towards him personally. We get plenty of businessmen in Lego City.

Shakespeare Guy: Very nice detailing, not a theme I would've expected, but it looks nice.

Evil Robot: My least favorite. Doesn't feel like he brings anything new to the table. I'm sure he'll be great if you missed out on the first one tho.

DJ: I want that hair piece, if just to recreate a character representing my sign-off emote.

Man-bat: Dude, I totally wanted one of the brown ones in the Monster Fighter sets, but they only came in the expensive castle set. Now I have a chance to get the black one for cheap... super excited!

Skier: Probably my favorite fig. I love the pastel coloring, plus a skier is always cool to have. Looks more extreme than the first one.

Other thoughts? Now I have to figure out how to feel for each of them... some of them look like they might be tough to identify.

:music:


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Fun With Vector Art

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, TV Jul 02 2012 · 120 views

So bothersome!!

Okay, so background story: I'm working on a Flash project and I wanted a bunch of background people. (I'm using Flash CS5 for this.) But I have this other program that I've used before to make vector art: Corel Printshop 97. Yes, it's that old, but it has this awesome section of clipart and I've gotten pretty good at working with vectors in it. So it should be an easy thing to do; copy vector art from Corel to Flash.

But no, Flash will only accept a crummy picture file. But from experience, I know that Flash will accept copied vectors from Illustrator. BUT when I tried copying the Corel vectors to Illustrator, they got all screwed up. (Instead of straight lines, they turned all wavy... I have no idea why.) BUT I know that vector art that I've drawn in PowerPoint can easily get converted in Illustrator (because I've done the PowerPoint to Illustrator to Flash transition before with some of my art.) Plus, I know that Corel vectors copy fairly well into PowerPoint. But I have to run a command in PowerPoint to turn Corel vectors into PowerPoint Vectors. (Basically, ungroup command.)

So here's my process:

Customize clipart vectors in Corel
Copy to Powerpoint, ungroup
Copy to Illustrator
Copy to Flash (where I have to ungroup it again)

Needlessly complex, yes, but it lets me design the vectors in an older 97 program and then manipulate them in an animation in a 2011 program. :D

As for the people vector art I was working on; Corel has lots of clipart features to create your own people, including various hairstyles, facial features, and clothing. And where the official stuff ends, I can go in an tweak the vectors to make more customized stuff.

An example of this is when I got bored and made Korra and Lin BeiFong.

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Not perfect, but I think they're cool. I custom designed the hairs and then altered various clothing designs to match up with their on screen presence. Yayz.

So that's enough blabbering for now... I need to come up with more stuff to blog about.

:music:


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Spell Check Is Back!

Posted by xccj , in Thoughts, News Jun 25 2012 · 106 views

My Google Toolbar (on IE) spellcheck option is finally working on BZP again. This last month, I've been getting an error every time it tries to check spelling on the forum. I'm not sure what the issue was, since it worked elsewhere on IE, and auto spelling didn't work on FireFox on BZP either. (But it did on Chrome... but I don't really use Chrome too much.)

Basically, for the last month I've been flying blind on BZP. AKA I've just been typing and spelling to my best ability, and when I type out longer, complicated words like antidiestablishmentarianism, I would likely miss out on a few letters somewhere that a quick spellcheck would catch, but since I didn't have a spellcheck, I just left them as they were.

Now, spellcheck is working again, so now I can see that "antidiestablishmentarianism" is actually spelled "antidisestablishmentarianism"!!!! Yay for me!

(Still don't have a grammar check or logic check option, but even if I did, I'd probably just ignore them out of principal.)

(Also of note, with the exception of the long example word, I had 3 other minor misspellings in this entry... but not any more. :P )

I get excited over random stuff, don't I?

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Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5

Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit

Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
~ Tove Styrke

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