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Strip 810, Volume 5, Page 66

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< Piro >

"manga curl-up, part 1"

Wednesday - January 11, 2006

[Piro] - 18:58:00 - [link here]

It's nice to be feeling better. I tell you, being sick for three days almost resulted in me blowing all my 2006 goals, but somehow i managed to pull through without too much damage :P Luckily it wasn't the kinda cold that made me feel like I wanted to die or anything, It just made me move around in an almost comedic slow-mo and desire nothing more than curling up in my chair with a backlog of manga to read. So that's what i did. :P

It helped that i had just picked up a bunch on saturday when Seraphim and I went out shopping... a trip which, as usual, involved hitting a lot of bookstores ^^;; (it seems we were spotted by a reader, too - no idea what store you spotted us in, Rhandir. You coulda said hi, i don't bite usually ^^;;) I'm a big fan of grabbing at random titles to see if i find something new that interests me. For a long time, even with the ever increasing selection of manga in bookstores, it was still pretty much mostly stuff i was either aware of, wanted to read, or wanted to avoid like the plague. One of the nice things about saturation is that we're starting to see a lot of things i've never heard of... and i like that :)

That's not an elitist comment, btw... most manga fans know about what's worth reading out there, the big names, the titles we all love (or hate). Heaven knows the publishers promote the stuff pretty thoroughly :P And, well... it is kinda my job to keep up with what's worth reading. You can never have enough inspiration. I'll also say it for the 1000th time - i am not fluent in Japanese. I know just enough to make it very frustrating to page through and struggle with untranslated manga grasping only the barest edges of it. I have much better understanding of the language of the art than i do the language. :)

Anyways, lemme review what i've read recently, in all that time i should have been working on the comic. :P

One of the best little gems i discovered in the past year is an unusual little title called Chikyu Misaki by Iwahara Yuji. It's an older work, dating back to 2001 for the original japanese release, but for some reason i just love the subtle odd cuteness of it. Very good conveyance of emotions, and a wide range of them in this oddly good little story. It has a serious edge, but there's a little wimsical lightheartedness in there too. That and after picking up the 2nd volume on Saturday... Tokuko is seriously t3h awesome. The way she reacted to the 'country yokel' attack made me laugh myself into a headache (this was probably more due to my head cold than it actually being THAT funny) :P Still, after the ice maiden front you saw in volume one, Tokuko in vol 2 is awesome. Just be sure to keep her away from Olfa blades -- for the bear's sake.

(this is why i don't review stuff often. I sound like the lamest dorkwad fanboy in the world. Well, what the hell, you can laugh at my review style if you like...)

Another thing we picked up is Viz's large format edition of Nausicaa of the
Valley of Wind
. I've had the original flipped (and well flipped through) version of this classic Miyazaki work, but these very very nice editions are printed right to left, in a larger format in a kind of off-brown ink that much more of a pleasure to read. Nausicaa is a very immersive read for me, and i've gone through it several times. It is one of my favorite titles, and has had a great influence on me over the years. Kudos to Viz for printing it in this format. (i have a whole rant devoted to why you won't

I'm still waiting patiently for CPM to release more World of Narue manga. Yes, now that it's January i have been looking for vol 5 each time i hit the stores. Not there yet, sadly :( I have most of The World of Narue in Japanese already (i stole them from dom) but the translated versions are required for full understanding :P It's a quirky and somewhat bizarre story (i mean, come on, in the first few pages Narue clubs a small animal into the pavement with a baseball bat :P The author admits to not having a clue where the story is going most of the time, he makes it up as he goes. Sounds kinda familiar... ^^;;;;) Still, its a cute story, and i cant wait till we get to the volume where Rin sprouts wings for some bizzare reason :P

I've been reading Ultra Maniac for a variety of reasons, mostly because i'm such a big fan of Marmalade Boy (both are done by Yoshizumi Wataru) and Ayu is cute as a bell. I can deal with wanting to beat the male characters to death with an old Daisywheel printer (thats a normal reaction to Yoshizumi's work, tho for Namura i always wanted something more satisfying, like a few cement trucks :) The problem with Ultra Maniac is that the delivery of this story does not have any of the feeling that Marmalade Boy had. I dont know, the characters explain themselves too much, and it seems way too topical. That and the whole magic-user-in-training thing has been done to death :P Yet for some reason, i like it enough to keep reading it.

I love Hellsing. I don't know why. But whenever Dark Horse sends me a new volume, i'm happy. People accuse ME of dragging things out - come on, at least Hirano-san is able to do it in 30 page chunks and not one at a time :P Yet i still love it :P The whole thing is just SO over the top i can't help but chuckle at it. The Crossfire extras are great too, with Yumiko actually showing up in the Hellsing story this time. Gotta love homicidal nuns with with swords.

One thing i did last saturday was pick up a whole bunch of (ok, i'm gonna use the term even though i don't like it) Original English Language manga. Honestly, there's nothing better for the future of this stuff than to see more examples of OEL stuff surfacing in stores (in fact, i was impressed by the fact that the 2006 TokyoPop calendar was all OEL titles, and i've been similarly impressed by the number of offerings by Seven Seas) Next rant i'll give a quick review of what i liked the most.

< Dom >

Trojan maaan!  Hoo-ah!

"Trojan maaaaan!"

Friday - January 6, 2006

[Dom] - 00:37:00 - [link here]

Three days ago, I couldnít tell you the difference between a Windows MetaFile and Windows Media File, but today, Iím pretty sure that I could happily go the rest of my life without seeing the letters W, M and F in sequence again. As a note, if you're on Windows, RUN WINDOWS UPDATE NOW. I cannot stress how important this is. The security patch is absolutely essential to safe browsing. If this patch had been released earlier, I might have been saved. Don't let this happen to you!

But let's not get ahead of myself. This, like many horror stories, starts on Monday.

On Monday, I got a quick little message from Cortana linking me to a random patch thing, with no other information attached to it. So, figuring it was a link to random 4chan porn or something (which 99.9999% of the links he gives me are, really), I ignored it and continued poking around World of Warcraft, which my family got me for my birthday but I hadn't tried until I was sure I'd pretty much gotten all I could out of City of Villains (I haven't, by the way, just that I made a promise to them that I'd play it).

But then, I heard that distinct, annoying "click" that Internet Explorer makes when it feels like it has accomplished something important, which can range from "I need your confirmation to go any further!" to "I made a mess on your couch!" What was odd about it was that I only run Firefox on my machine. After poking around my windows, I saw a popunder with the cheery message that a toolbar had been installed on my computer. This, much like when I cook for myself, set off all sorts of alarms in my head that I was in terrible danger. So I ran Spybot, and Spybot declared to me that I had a whopping 215 trojans that hadn't been there before. 215. I mean, the last time that many trojans were in the same place at the same time, Greeks were pouring out of a pinata and stabbing the lot of them.

Okay, okay, so I'm trying a little too hard to be funny here. But really, what else can you do? It's a pretty bleak story, but a special gift of mine is being to step away from almost anything and find the humor in it. It's what keeps me from going insane.

Anyway, after running Spybot and Hijackthis, I ran a few cleaner programs, turned off the computer, and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning, I started fighting the malware invasion, dredging up every scrap of knowledge from the brief period I was a computer scientist in college.

Which, of course, means that I sent IMs to friends of mine from college who have gone on to be software engineers. Many thanks to Cryptomancer, Sogarth and Hodge-podge for all their help, by the way, in case I forget to thank them later.

Under their remote supervision, I started systematically clearing out miscellaneous pieces of spyware and trojan horses, running countless spyware elimination programs and interpreting diagnostics. This also involved research, a lot of tinkering with my task manager, and various tricks to force my system to shut down tasks, unregister .dll files and delete pesky files. After about five hours or so of bashing my head against the invaders on my computer, I was about ready to strangle someone, but I keot plugging away, since the options were either cleanup or "give up, revive the desktop, and wipe the laptop so I can start from scratch".

Eventually, I was forced to delve into the bowels of my laptop and diddle with the registry--which, let me tell you, isn't very fun at all. It was like performing open heart surgery with a chainsaw and the Jaws of Life, and after the 7th hour of hunting down and purging malware from my computer, I started getting loopy. I started talking like Governor Ahnold and telling each individual piece of horrifically persistent malware "Sahf Side Kick 3... you hoff bean tahmeenated!"

At around hour 10, I managed to convince Hodge-Podge and Sogarth to come and work their tricksy hobbit magics on my poor Alienware, and as we all gathered around my laptop, I could swear that I heard the opening strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra coming from somewhere.

Then someone hit me upside the head and told me to quit singing, and I realized it was me. But the comparison had been made, and we all picked up our bones and started bashing them against the computerized monolith.

Three hours later, we'd managed to get my box in workable condition again--though it's still waiting for Hodge-Podge to come by with his USB CD drive so we can wipe it clean and reinstall windows. But hey, until I back up my files and raze it all, it's usable and isn't endangering me, which is all I can ask for.

The moral of this story is: Dom isn't very good at this whole "computer maintenance" thing.

Well, the lesson is also "patch your computer, and if a patch doesn't officially exist yet, FIND IT". But that isn't nearly self-mocking enough. So I'll stick with my original lesson.

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