The Ill Communication

Backhacking you with some new intel

March 8, 2017 | 22:11 | Written by: snake911

Chugging right along we have four more items to look at from Ghost in the Shell.  After this we have one more batch of content to post and that'll be everything the franchise has to offer prior to the live-action film, which, I'm still planning to see when it hits theaters later this month.

Click on the image or the title's name to read the articles.  Click here for the feature's index page.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence
Mamoru Oshii gets back to work on the sequel to his 1995 film.  In one sense the pressure is on due to the critical acclaim the original film had, but on the other hand it's lessened in thanks due to advancements in technology made to make certain visual aspects to the film easier to produce than it was back in '94/'95.


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Game PS2
Not sure how easy or difficult it was to turn the style of TV show into a video game, but they were able to do it, impressing this guy who holds the TV series on a high pedestal.  Also, can you believe its been 7 or so years since the last and only Ghost in the Shell video game came out?


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Game PSP
Although it wasn't necessary, a decision was made to extend the SAC series by developing a portable game for it.  I say it wasn't necessary because the PS2 game already filled the role for being the product for this form of media.  Even so, I'm not complaining as anything SAC related is good.


Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex - Solid State Society
Closing out the SAC series with a bang, we get a made-for-TV movie that adds one additional chapter to SAC saga before they wrap it up and move on to the next iteration for the Ghost in the Shell franchise.  See the team take on an old familiar name that the franchise has tackled, the fifth time.

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Play'em if you got them

March 6, 2017 | 20:30 | Written by: snake911

Went to a car wash this weekend while running some errands and came across a small collection of cabinets in the waiting area.  And making use of retail space, they have not one but TWO multi game cabinets: an MVS and an iCade.  The MVS had Puzzle Bobble, Super Sidekicks 2, Aero Fighters 2, and Metal Slug X.  I played Puzzle Bobble.

As for the iCade, it had a wide range of classics sort of acting like an arcade within itself.  Also, I didn’t know the iCade system could be connected to a full blown cabinet?  Pretty rad though, because I normally like to get the premo wash so it takes a while until my car is ready, so I’ll just kill some time here.

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A migration to safe pastures

March 1, 2017 | 20:01 | Written by: snake911

So the big project I teased about a few posts back has been accomplished.  Yea!

For a while now I've been wanting to swap out the hard drive in my PS3 for a new one because, up until a few days ago, it still had the original drive that came with it!  I have the rare and sought after 60GB model that has the guts of the PS2 in it, allowing you to play not only PS3 games, but backwards compatible with PS2 and PS1 games too.

It was around a year ago when I realized I had a lot of games, videos, and other junk on my PS3 and I didn't want to lose it because of a hard drive failure, so I wanted to swap out the old 60GB HDD with a shiny new SSD for long term preservation.  The only problem was the price for SSDs, so because of that the project was always a low priority.  But all of that changed a few weeks ago when I saw one during a sale and it was one that wasn't very large in size, making the price even lower.  And by size I mean it was a 120GB SSD; tiny compared to modern standards that are creeping around the 1TB range.  But for me 120GB is good because it doubles what I already have.  Remember that it took nearly a decade for me to get close to filling 60GBs worth of space.

While it started off easy performing the swap, it quickly turned into a nightmare when one of the screws holding the HDD in the HDD cage wouldn't budge.  And while in the process of trying to get it out I accidently stripped the head of the screw.  It was pretty frustrating for about an hour not knowing what to do, but then I checked YouTube for a solution and saw a video showing someone with the same scenario I was in as that person demonstrated how they stripped a screw's head for the PS3 HDD and used a needle-nose plier to get the screw out.  So while not having needle-nose pliers at my place, I substituted by using a wrench, which got the job done with little effort.  After removing that screw, the rest was pretty much a cake walk.

In fact it was easier than what most people show online as I didn't have to do the weird part of updating the PS3 by downloading the firmware file from my PC to a thumb drive.  For whatever reason my PS3 kept the current version, my user account, and all of the settings like the screen resolution and Wi-Fi credentials.  All that was missing were the games, videos, saved data, etc.  For the backup, I saved it all to a 64GB flash drive I also bought during the online sale.  I've been needing a new one since my previous flash drive was only a 2GB, so using it as a way to back up my PS3 data to was a good excuse to buy a new one.

Another advantage for the SSD, since this PS3 is a backwards compatible model, I wanted to use it as a backup for my saved game data for both my PS1 and PS2 games, so over the last few days I've been copying all of my PS1 saves to the PS3.  It's a tedious task (having 8 cards to transfer), but an easy one to do.  Unfortunately my PS1 card is an unofficial one (a 32-in-1 memory card from Performance), so my PS3 can't see it.  This means I need to first use my PS2 to copy saves from the unofficial card to an official one and then copy the content from that to the PS3.  I'm almost finished with the PS1 saves and will soon work on copying a few PS2 memory cards too.

When it's all done, my PS3 should be an all-in-one for the first three generations of PlayStation consoles.  And thanks to the new SSD, I don't have to worry about moving parts like the platter and read/write head motors dying over time.  Hopefully this new SSD will last at least another 10 years.  In fact, I'm surprised that my PS1 memory card is still good, considering I bought that thing back in 1998!

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Coffee talk

February 26, 2017 | 12:54 | Written by: snake911

While not the biggest fan of coffee and coffee-live beverages, I do on occasion like to indulge and see if my taste for it has changed.  Take for example on Friday when I went to Dunkin Donuts to get my favorite thing on the menu: the Dunkaccino.  I usually get the chilled version, but this time I opted to go with the hot version to see I can now handle a scolding hot drink.  And with it, I’m sorry to say that I’m still not ready; even when using those coffee lids that have a door on it to help with sipping so you don’t take in too much at one time.  Now even though I can’t handle coffee that way, for whatever dumb reason I’m better at handling hot tea!  Not sure why (is coffee served way hotter?) but that’s how it is.

Then while shopping at an Asian market, I came across a brand of chilled coffee drinks I’ve never heard of before.  Mr. Brown, based on the can’s label, I think is a product of Taiwan and at the store they had three flavors to pick from: Cappuccino, Iced Coffee, and a rainbow colored can called Macadamia Nut.  I took home the Cappuccino and Iced Coffee flavors.  I bought them only based on the picture of the dude, who is probably Mr. Brown himself, giving me the thumbs up saying that his product is okay.

Between the two that I brought home, I preferred Cappuccino over Iced Coffee; although the label for the Cappuccino can made me nervous by it saying you might see some stuff floating in the liquid.  They shrugged it off and said it “was normal” and shouldn’t be a concern.  Hmm.  Never saw floaters in coffee drinks before, but fortunately mine didn’t have any.

In the end Mr. Brown was just ok.  Nothing to brag about.  For chilled can drinks, I’ll stick to Columbus, the stuff I was bragging about last year.  Although it’s now harder to find since 7-Eleven stopped stocking it.  But now I’m curious about how Japan’s canned coffee drink called Boss Coffee tastes.  You know, those commercials that starred Tommy Lee Jones.  They look pretty good, especially when I saw a video of this guy trying the premium one.  I look around to see if any Asian markets sell it here Stateside.

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February 23, 2017 | 22:22 | Written by: snake911

I took advantage of a President's Day sale this past weekend to give myself a little gift...or two.  I'm both excited and terrified for this upcoming project I have in mind.

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A barrier maze to distract you

February 16, 2017 | 22:46 | Written by: snake911

Got a new batch of articles for the GitS feature.  Check it.

Ghost in the Shell 2: Man-Machine Interface

This story may have been too smart for its own good.  Read this and see a cranky man complain about something he doesn't quite understand.  But he does complement it for having all dem purty pictures.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Possibly the best format for this material is having it be on television, giving it the opportunity to breathe across 26 episodes rather than compress it down to a two hour flick.

Ghost in the Shell 1.5: Human-Error Processor

The third and final manga in the series.  Well, as of 2017 it is.  If Man-Machine Interface wasn't your idea for a good GitS story, then this should balance things out.

Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG

Director Kenji Kamiyama and team outdid themselves with the second season of Stand Alone Complex.  This might be my pick for the best the franchise has to offer.

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Years in the making

February 15, 2017 | 20:03 | Written by: snake911

New additions for the Ghost in the Shell feature will be posted later this week, so get ready for pages worth of new content.  But in the meantime, I have a bit of related info regarding this feature.

It was probably 11 years ago when I bought Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence on DVD to add to my anime library.  Back then I usually bought the special editions over the standard ones because I loved the extra care publishers would put into those editions as you usually got DVD cover with fancier cover art, the soundtrack, and a DVD sleeve to place the case into, and that's what I did with when I bought Innocence all those years ago.  But the thing is, I bought the wrong edition.

Yup, dumb me didn't get the movie but rather an odd special edition supplement for the movie that includes the film's soundtrack and a DVD with a collection of music videos from the soundtrack.  Meaning, I got all the music, but not the film itself.  Doh!  I discovered this last Friday (2/10) when I was planning to watch it for the first time.

Desperate to now get a copy of Innocence for this feature I first checked to see if it was on one of the big streaming services, but it was nowhere to be found.  Next I checked eBay for a cheap copy, but all I found were expensive copies that were more than what I willing to spend, and then I checked the PlayStation Store to see if I can rent it, but it was only available for purchase.  My last check was Best Buy's website to see if there was a store near me that had a copy so I can pick up the next day.  But when I looked on their site, I noticed the release date for the Blu-ray/DVD version was released by Funimation just a few days earlier on Tuesday 2/7.  Wow, what luck and a coincidence that after 13 years since the original US release of this movie that the new version just came out a few days before I needed it.

And in fact, this one seems to be the definitive one to get if you're interested in the English dubbed version as previous versions have issues beyond comprehension.  For one, I didn't know what such a debacle the releases for this movie has been.  The original one was just Japanese vocals with English subtitles.  Not a problem, but that version had subtitles in closed caption style, so there were solid black rectangles behind the text, blocking a lot of the visuals; and there were noise clues like [footsteps].  Next was the UK release that had English dubbing, but the vocals were slowed down due to the frame rate differences between regions with PAL and NTSC, so everyone had deeper sounding voices.  Then there was the 2009 Bandai Entertainment Blu-ray version that fixed everything, but it's a rare item with a hefty price tag which I'm guessing is due to a limited production run.

But this new Funimation release of Innocence has everything I wanted for this movie: an issue free English dub, clean box art with a slip cover, includes both a DVD (for screenshots) and Blu-ray disc (for watchin'), and comes in at the low and reasonable price of $19.99.  So if anything, I stupidly by not reading the label of what I bought years ago, I ended up getting the right copy of the film at the perfect time.  Funny how things work out in our favor sometimes.

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Diaries from the Tower of Barbs -- Entry 02

February 9, 2017 | 19:32 | Written by: snake911

Seriously? It's already been a month and a half since I wrote the previous entry for this!  Man, time is flying way too fast.  Would someone please slow it down before I reach retirement age as I still got a lot of saving I need to do before I leave the workforce.

Any who, last I left off I was at the front door of the first boss and thanks to some serious grinding I was able to defeat him with little effort.  It was a relief to know all of that work paid off in the end, otherwise the difficulty might have spooked me from continuing.  Another benefit for pressing forward is the change of scenery.

I'm outside!  No more of those underground areas as I can now see the Tower of Barbs from where I stand, which oddly glistens like a jewel at night.  I like having the ability to see where I'm at on the tower, giving a barometer or sorts showing my progress for how much further I need to climb.  No more of those claustrophobic areas that mash together sewer tunnels, water channels, and maintenance corridors.  Now that I'm on the surface, I've been running around the streets, collecting new raw materials for new weapons and armor.

I've been finding a lot of projectile type weapons like auto rifles, shotguns, and the such.  And just like before, grinding has taken up a huge chunk of time over the past month, trying to master some weapons and increase the durability for my clothes as armor.  A lot of what I need requires going out and seeking a rare material that pops up randomly, so it's never guaranteed I'll find some during a raid for resources.  That's too bad because I think I lost two weeks just trying to find this material alone.

For Tokyo Death Metro, I decided to chill on building up fighters to my current star ranking, which is three.  Unlike the one star army I built up over the course of two days, now just maxing out one three-star fighter takes a week of playing!  I'm not going to upgrade all my fighters just to tear them down after a new star ranking occurs after I've climbed a few extra floors.  I think I'll take the time in building up all my fighters once I get to the highest star ranking in the game, which I believe is five, but we'll see.  In the meantime, I'll improve on my defenses by giving my fighters better armor and weapons and increasing my bank defenses.

Lately I've been buying a lot of mushroom stew to get permanent decals for my fighters.  I got tired of losing some really good ones whenever I died during a TDM match.  So far my mandatory decals of choice are the stamina and defense ones along with another that will increase the durability for whatever type of weapon I need to use the most.  The two decals I'm hoping to get are (1) the one that increases HP by 40% and (2) the one that cuts the time in half for maxing out a fighter's skills.  If I get that last one, I may consider investing time in ranking up more fighters.

I wasn't planning to, but on a whim I went forward with fighting the second boss late last week.  Even with all the grinding I did, mastering, and upgrading weapons, that dude took forever to beat!  If I'm remembering correctly, I think the timer was at 45 minutes for me to finish it.  Zoiks!

But now with a new change in scenery again, I'm now freaked the heck out because of the change.  Get me back to the streets!  On top pf that, I feel vulnerable because my fighter is severely weaker than the screamers on these floors, so I hope a new star ranking is unlocked soon because I need it.

That's all to report for now from the Tower of Barbs.  Until next time, happy climbing!

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Super (Surly) Sunday

February 7, 2017 | 22:44 | Written by: snake911

Well that was a turn around.

A turn around for a lot of things during this Super Sunday.  To begin, I'm not the biggest fan of football (I prefer hockey) so I barely have enough eagerness to care to watch just one full game and that's the Super Bowl; the granddaddy of them all.  I like it because it's an event that lasts all day.  There's the pregame entertainment, the halftime show, the party you go to watch the game at, the food, and of course the game itself.

The food was great, being a huge platter of nothing but snacks, chowing down on pizza, cocktail weenies, chips and dip, taquitos, sandwiches, soda, and dessert.  Today I can feel that a large bowel movement is nearing, so it would be wise if I were near a toilet all day in case of…you know.

While I don't really care for football, I know the Patriots are a team that constantly wins and everybody loves to hate, so I jumped on the bandwagon of being a Pats hater and wanted Atlanta to win.  That and the fact that my middle school used the Atlanta Falcons logo for its PE uniforms, so there was a weak, but connection nonetheless for me to root for them.

This meant the first period was great.  Seeing the Patriots with a point deficit that huge brought a smile to my face.  I even received a laugh when I said that Tom Brady is looking a bit deflated when the camera showed a close-up of his face, frowning just before he ran off the field for halftime.

Speaking of which, I wasn't too impressed with it.  But that doesn't come as a big surprise since I don't care for Lady Gaga.  There wasn't even a special guest singer to surprise everyone in the middle of the show.  Overall, I'd give this year's halftime show a C-.  Try better next time Pepsi, or whoever plans the show!

Entertainments from the commercials were subpar too.  I get we're in the middle of a really weird political period right now, but I was hoping to have the game be used as an escapism for a few hours where I don't have to see or care for any of that mess.  But no, there were a many ads that were trying to send a message of their opinions of things.  Where were the jokes?  The funnies?  The nuck nucks?  However, I did see the commercial for the upcoming Ghost in the Shell live-action film, and it gave me a glimmer of hope that it'll be good.  Fingers crossed that it ultimatley will be!

Then the game itself, where the Patriots made a miracle happen when they turned it around where they ended the game in a tie and then won it during overtime.  How'd that happen!  I can tell that everybody but New England were unhappy about how things turned out.  Me though, I made out like a bandit because I was able to take home the platter of crackers, cheese, and sausage slices.  I have Lunchables sandwiches for dayz!!!!!11!!!1!!

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Sounds of the future

February 2, 2017 | 20:08 | Written by: snake911

I wasn't originally planning to, but I decided to throw in a soundtrack to the GitS feature as a bonus.  I know I'm being selective by only picking one soundtrack as the music for the TV shows and movies are awesome too, but there's something unique about this soundtrack for the PS1 game that other soundtracks don't, so it gets its own article written for the feature.  Trust me, it deserves it.

Megatech Body CD., Ltd.
The original 1997 Ghost in the Shell game is fantastic enough for its gameplay alone, but when coupled with a great soundtrack, it elevates itself for possibly being one of the greatest games in the PlayStation's library.  Read this to see what the gushing is all about.

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