Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: Year in review (Or should I say 'My Head Was in the Clouds for 365 Freaking Days'?)

Tomorrow, 2006 is gone. Quite honestly, given the mess that took place in 2005 — not exclusively the 26 hurricanes, but the trouble I got in with PKMN.NET and the close realisation that it was silly to stay with such disagreeable people) — I thought this year would be better. Alas, it resulted in my deconstruction and forced me to look over the year with the hopes that all will be brighter when the little hand points to the twelve.

In the beginning of the year, we had the pleasure of watching Saddam storm out of the room (God rest his soul now). I, however, publish a sceptical review of the karma system adopted by PKMN.NET (and it's survived to this day). I also lose the last of my respect for Serebii.net when someone by the name of Ama but who masquerades as Encyclopika publishes a piece called Treehouse Saga, resulting in a scathing attack by this blog, which had seen darker days. Of course, four months later, the installation of a tracker (the little globe thing on the left) revealed that the author had published a retaliatory statement on her own blog. Thus led to a series of arguments between the two of us that made me decide that the site wasn't worth bothering with, except to sometimes laugh off the fact that it boasts that it's the best and latest while there remains a rocky and rough side to it. This is for you, Ama: I'm still prepared to have a go whenever I see something fishy.

Next, while PKMN.NET fades out of focus on my radar, the Pokémon Community zooms into clear view. After noticing the clash (which is no longer as perceptible) between the mods and old-time members over seniority that culminated in a defamatory Wikipedia article, I speak up, and two weeks later I'm a moderator. Of course, I have to try a second time before it really goes away, but in its place comes another splinter site or equivalent thereof, Shinou.

Finally, we had two youth summits, one hosted by the Elks Association and another by Youth2Youth International. The former gets me an admirer, while the latter gives me an opportunity to explain away the smoking problems at the arcade.

What's it all for now?

That's a good question.

I recount my mother telling me that I've had my head up too much, looking down on others. I have to say that she was right; the fact that I'd subconsciously resorted to all this in the lack of maturity probably made this year hell. I'll be honest here: You'll be happy to hear me admit that everything that incurred hatred from others, especially in school and on the forums, was my own doing some way or other.

The evidence of life going that way in school can be found on the tongues of those in my technology class. Our project required us to create a video yearbook to accompany the printed and bound one we were organising, but this yearbook would go solely to the seniors. Although I had been assigned to shot watch and editing, I, dwelling on how foolish I had made myself during the previous years, didn't do as the rubric told. Rather, I tapped away at the Macintosh computers without a single thought to the others, finally doing little more than stand guard during filming, but not before yelling at a student who had given me the role in reparation for lack of activity in shot watch. The teacher ended up marking me on par with the rest, but given the fact that I had done absolutely nothing to contribute to the film aside from a single hint at the cover art, I felt I didn't deserve a single point. If I'd foreseen this, I'd have asked to move to Mr Leitz's Java class, which I would have found of significantly more use. Even before that, I was under the delusion that I was, out of the blue, hated, but after a mediation session that knocked the reason for such hatred into my head, followed by a bungled session with another student and my sudden upsurge in work ethic in my uncle's class, I began to veer to the opposite end of the spectrum, turning from a person who demanded attention to one who had no answer to give and wanted nothing to do with the rest of the students. This went so far as a request to have my name extracted from the yearbook — at my parents' urging my picture would remain — on, as it turned out, the sole basis that I would have been labelled 'rudest'.

On the forums, my life started going up, but then it took a devastating downturn in the last few months. The restriction on teams on SuperCheats was gone on protest, I was falling out with even more people than before, and, it seems, I've lost almost all credibility as a moderator. The last few weeks were shaped by the failure of a rule that Scizz and I had fabricated to remedy tangent habits by a single member, after which I just sent Erica to announce the removal of the rule to hide my shame. Then fallouts with Kura and the Blue and Natsuki pair reveal more ignorance on my part that I hadn't squashed before. The truth in all cases here was that I was on the staff under the delusion that the forums couldn't survive without me, and in many cases I got everything horribly wrong. One time I would blame Super Cheats for not having a cohesive staff while the depression would really be rooted in my lack of professionalism as a Pokémon Community moderator. On another occasion I may have said that PC was supportive of me while Super Cheats put me down, while I in reality had flaws in both areas.

The truth is, I'm more or less a fraud. I probably shouldn't have Brigantine's school system (which I was in until 2003) shoulder the blame for it, as I had liberal psychological help while the students would be tricked into thinking I was the greatest. As I may or may not have mentioned before, I had people walking up to me asking 'Who was the sixth president?' or 'What's the square root of 7895778?' and waiting in the hopes of either a prompt answer or, more to the comedian tune, a sputter of failure to conjure an answer. This carried over into high school and PKMN.NET, where fights with the staff would lead to TPL. Soon enough, I find myself on the staff of a prominent Pokémon forum when, as was more or less demonstrated by my failure in TPL, I probably didn't have the competence. Moreover, the board I was assigned to had so few instances of infraction out of which so few occurred whilst I was online that other staff would race to it and resolve it. Not even an internal restriction of superior moderation of that board helped; I just looked for technical issues while other things could have gone on. The same, interestingly, may hold true for my supermarket job, although many have said that it was for the best; I'll have to analyse that later.

As a result, I went around asking for resolution ideas. All I wanted was someone in my age group who I could call on in real life and who could relate to me and point out what I was doing wrong. All I had was a group of girls with whom I would sit at lunch and laugh gaily for thirty minutes, and I was innately afraid of bringing anything up with them. It's no matter, though; I probably will not see them again until 29 January, when internships end. As for the seniors, I may have just seen the last of them; they're going to remote locales for internships and either going to the ACCC campus for the rest of the semester or working at those locales. If not for the decision to take online courses, I'd have opted just to stay off campus and work full-time at the supermarket. I suppose it's too late now, unless I reimburse the school for $300 for failure by default.

Then again, I hope to attend a college far away from home, so I can start anew without any of these problems chewing my back. The next step will be applying, and by now they've all gone into rolling basis mode. I'm screwed.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

To the AAMAYL searchers....

I'm noticing that lots of people have turned up this blog looking for the fan fiction piece 'A Day Inside May'. This fan fiction has been removed in Serebii.net's pruning process.

The closest you can get is this.

...Let's not do the 'part' scheme, let's just get around to the summary of the past three days

As suggested by the previous entry, I have spent two hours out of each of the previous two days as well as today learning to drive. Submitting to my request that we get an independent instructor, we hired out of Safety First and out came a lad named Justin at 6.15pm yesterday.

As soon as I got into the car, my heart started to race. I was on a road restricted to 15 miles per hour (due to a few people down the road). I decided to tap the accelerator when I was told that we were still in park. I moved to drive position and started slowly down the road until we came to the stop sign, at which point I felt my arms lock. For the first day, my steering and method thereof generally was wanting — whereas I would witness quick motion of the arms crossing over as others turned, I remained to shuffling shyly around the steering wheel. This ended up dogging me the entire night, during which we cruised around Galloway Township and Port Republic. The instructor seemed to know the parts, although I was merely familiar with the route numbers. After a few juggles with the wheel whilst trying to remain in the lane and braving a six-way junction in Absecon (my classmates know the one), I finally managed to drop off a previous student and make my way back to Brigantine. I didn't want to share my experiences in public that day; I'm lucky the entry below is here.

The second day, following some words of confidence from table friends*, I met the instructor yet again, this time waiting in the roundabout in front of the school. I cautiously made my way out and we headed for Galloway yet again. This time glare, not curves, posed the problem, although it was only when we retreated into Linwood that I finally managed, painstakingly, to execute a proper, non-shuffling turn in a work zone of all places. The highlight, though, was parallel parking: We made our way to a park and the instructor took a few cones and poles out of the boot. My objective would be to scoot by the cones until the smudge on the back starboard of the car lined up with the forward pole facing the street, reverse, turn the wheel full right, and back up until anothe smudge lined up, and so on as many of my driving friends would know. I'll leave it to them to explain the 'K' turn. Nevertheless, this continued for ten trials or so until it came time to pick up the next client.

Today, I started at 4.00pm. We made our way out once more and took the previous client home in Egg hrabour Township. Once that was done, we took the promised shot at the city, Ocean City. Once we had covered a few blocks in the city and my turning had improved, we outed and went to the Linwood client again. When we parked outside a pub in Brigantine, the instructor filled out a few forms for me to deliver and I walked off, realising only a few seconds later that the pub was closed on Wednesdays.

* I don't sit with the seniors, due to irreconciliable differences. Rather, I now sit a table with five nursing juniors, a culinary student, and one senior. They're all female, and are interestingly enough those I didn't like in the beginning due to their social mischief. I've settled down with them now.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Driving school: Part I

A pot binge downs the Ski Club. A girl's given birth and one junior is already pregnant to the rumour. That's in school, whilst I'm in the car. For the first time, I'm on the driver's side.

This isn't pushing them as a kid. This is driving school. Real pedals, real gas, nothing to stop you except counters from your instructor. Today was day one, starting at 6pm outside the house. The objective would be to drop off a kid in Galloway and then tour Port Republic.

  • I need to make sure the lever is in the right position before I push the gas.
  • Due to nerves, my arms are always locking. When I turn, I find it hard to execute a decent one due to these arms. I guess I'll get over that.
  • I need to look on my right. I have a map at home that requires you to drive on the left, so that's somehow influenced my thinking for the past few years.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vote for your favourite member!

...not elected officials, as I missed doing as my birthday was on Election Day.

Rather, I'm talking about class superlatives. As seniors, we're involved in the creation of a student yearbook, printed and bound as well as video. on Thursday, we were handed out leaflets polling us on whom would fit for superlative categories. A few weeks earlier, though, I had approached the head of the yearbook development department and made a decision that shattered everyone: I asked her to omit and substitute my name if it were listed as a superlative. Only two weeks ago I had fought with my parents to not have my pictures taken, which I found to be extremely stupid in retrospect (I ended up getting them taken in the end). While the latter turned out to be calamitous for me, the former decision both surprised and infuriated the seniors. As people ticked off the leaflets, I found that my motive could have been justified by two details:

  • Two members short-listed me as 'rudest'.
  • I had, as I told Brandon on PC, done a right job of deceiving and berating people in a daze of thought of my own academic prowess. In reality, though, my grades were standard and I had been found to be unfairly advantaged by my middle school in the conclusion of a peer mediation session. I even found myself to be an entity apart from the rest of the class at times. Finding it hard to admit this, I simply wrote a short Word document and printed it to hand to my homeroom teacher in what was probably cowardice.
Not a decisive detail, though, was the declining respect I had for such a system. Back in middle school, when I was voted to be the most intelligent and artistic male, I saved face simply by not voting for myself or even skipping categories. These days, though, the desire to have a photo in the section became more and more compelling. One of the guys went around as we typed up paragraphs in the library and asked people to vote for him as the most attractive male; in reality, he was good-looking, but a pregnancy by him as well as his ostentation, which annoyed me chronically but not severely, beset him. One of the girls even shouted in response, 'If you go around asking people they won't vote for you!'

Point well made. Then, however, I realised that this was exactly what happened on forums, or could happen. As many readers know, the Pokémon Community manages to get away with Member of the Month threads without a mass of hype that would come as it did with the yearbook, even considering that there are less than 60 people in the graduating class. Some months, though, this is due to lack of interest or a narrowed field of acquaintance. Elsewhere, and I'm sure PKMN.NET has experienced this, such threads start generating 'VOTE FOR ME!' spam. Although such resorts indicate that the person behind it isn't nearly as qualified as those that would naturally be voted for (and it's a proven fact — do you see Forest Grovyle trying to champion her work?), they still do it, and the threads are eventually canned.

Although I don't like the system, I still go to the Member of the Month threads and vote. Over there, the honours are temporary and are unlikely to reflect the real person as known by real-life friends. In the yearbook, though, it'll be accessible to those in the family who want to inquire about the past, especially the kids. If it's seen in the yearbook that you were recognised as the rudest, it will reflect off anyone voting it. If it's seen that you were the most intelligent or artistic, they'll probably challenge it — and all they'll get is a subway or alley map. For that matter, they'll challenge you on your intelligence — Stephen Hawking, regardless of whether he had the honour in his yearbook, is probably challenged so many times. For me, the fact that I had made such a big point of my intelligence makes me cringe even today — I'm bombarded by questions even at the register, there are girls who appear to like me on the grounds of my supposed intelligence, and there are the guys at the corner who try to make me recall an image with my eyes shut or prophesy something. And I've done it for so long, sometimes arrogantly. And it needs to stop. But the cost of leaving it behind will probably mean the loss of many admirers, but maybe it is worth it if they're there to challenge me....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The people upstairs

I am terribly sorry I didn't blog this, but it took place on the day of my previous entry and was followed by an actual day at work.

In order to graduate, we're required to undergo interships — two weeks if you're taking a college course during the second semestre, four weeks otherwise — with a potential employer in the field of our major (in my case computer science). Last Tuesday we were given a series of seminars about presentation in a job interview in order to prepare us for the following day, when interviews would take place. The first was the course director discussing how to dress and present in an interview, which basically meant many of us would have to borrow blazers from her the following day.

The second, though, subjected us to the treatment: the senior cosmetology class. We filed in and sat down to have our fingernails manicured and hands washed at the first layer, and then they sent us up to dip our hands in some container. When I neared the container and viewed the prohibitive orange contents before turning toward the hands in mitts and plastic bags, I was slightly apprehensive. I was then to learn that it was a deep wax, which was supposed to clean out the lower layers of the hand skin. I still had the mitts on and my fingers were held together by this solution when the fire alarm sounded. Once everyone was outside, one other student's hands became cold and asked for a mitt, so one cosmetology student took mine off and massaged the wax, which had now hardened, off my hands. How great to have my fingers move again!

Once that was over, it was a job application course hosted by a recruiter for the Harrah's properties. That ended the interview courses, leaving us to wait the following day to forage for dress shirts and pants to dress in for the interviews. I was the only one staying at the school to complete the internship, so I went upstairs and spoke to the head of the IT department.

As I explained earlier, people had been using proxy addresses to gain access to MySpace (for the most part). The man I was going to talk to that Wednesday morning was the guy who made sure it didn't happen. I sat down and picked up my course description and we began to talk. After I asked him about the environment of the rooms upstairs, we lapsed right into a talk of how bad the video game console war and then how calls from downstairs turned out to be very funny causes such as stray plugs. Then, he told me something shocking: The whole network had to be refitted. The old Dells had to come out last year since many programmes such as the NCLEX courses refused to work on the old Dells, so in came the flatscreens at bargains from Dell due to the educational cause. The old laptops were being phased out as they required external NICs, which would be bumped against stack pallets, damaging the hardware. There were even some Inspirons bought five years ago that had succumbed to damage one way or other (he noted that it had become cheaper to buy a new computer than to replace the LCD screen) and would no longer boot up. That explained the introduction of the WiFi-optimised Latitudes.

The most shocking thing of all was that Novell was going to go as well. It turned out that NetWare 6 would be the last proprietary operating system Novell was to produce before it would build verything in Linux. (It had bought SUSE, making this possible.) While this wasn't a concern for the school (although it was a lamentation as NetWare could not be hacked due to the use of its IPX protocol), course programs would also reject NetWare. On top of that, Novell was not lenient with pricing for eductaional purposes. This meant that the system was going right over to Windows Server 2003. (Whether it'll allow ESS to affect Macs this time around, as BorderManager had a little ground there, remains to be seen.)

Shocked by the new development, we concluded our interview. It was fun talking to him, as we managed to laugh throughout at how the developments came to be, but the fact remined that if things weren't to get done with the system by end of break, I'd have a lot of work on my own hands. But it's an intership, and we're putting this on our résumé, so I'm personally ready.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sky Temple IRC Down

Forever.

Apparently the forums failed to generate any activity while the chat existed, so the licence will not be renewed. Shame.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Verdict: Ash's new voice is better

I'm sure Alyssa will probably have a fit.

Although two weeks have passed since I saw the episode, I should say now that the new person playing Ash Ketchum on the Pokémon television series, Sarah Natochenny (Jamie Peacock was removed after the Mastermind snafu), beats Veronica Taylor. She manages to give Ash the correct boyish voice, which Taylor had for the first few episodes but let devolve into a more squeaky voice as time wore on. (Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Brock, whose new actor Bill Rogers doesn't quite emulate the mature voice Eric Stuart was able to give.)

It's been over two months since the decision to replace 4Kids' actors became final. As I reported before, 4Kids withdrew from the animé following financial woes and had to transfer or lay off members of the original cast due to the contract they had. While the promise was that 4Kids' attempts to Americanise the series would stop, the tradeoff was the removal of the original actors. Thus resulted what was a letter claiming to be from Taylor urging fans to protest the action, resulting in the SOVA snafu that affected the fandom.* Despite the SOVA claims that such a move would be worthwile in spite of the financial detriment, the series, to me, is actually coming along much better. A television series based on the upcoming Diamond and Pearl versions is apparently due in the United States around the time of the games' release, and Pokémon USA are ready to have it transferred.

* I only found out about this letter after I wrote the entry. Not only does it seem odd to me that 4Kids would take her back after writing such a letter, but I have reason to believe that all of the interviews on Pokébeach and perhaps the 'letters' themselves are fake. Taylor likely didn't know of the existence of Bulbagarden, which claimed to have received the letter Taylor supposedly wrote to touch off the hullabaloo, and if she did, I doubt she would turn to people like them for a reprisal rather than consulting an actors' union.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cross Stinger in 'sucks' shocker

d---head no1: cross stinger

and followed by annefranman52 from the supermod of supercheats....he deserves to be called a n00b.not a d---head.

d---head no3: tornado212 another shameless motherf---ing d---heads......edit: not a d---head. but dumbass.

edit: he shouldnt be called a d---head. he should be called a f---er.

demote meand ban me from being a moderator if you dare you son of a bitch cross stinger.......

See what subscribing to details on MSN (my new address is crystalwalrein@hotmail.com; the old one, linked to at the top and bottom of the blog pages, will be used for emails only) gets you? A moderator, whose signature I had previously had to disable after his stand for 'freedom in signatures' — be it the freedom to curse out Chelsea footballers — challenges the notion that sedition alone won't get him demoted, let alone banned, from Super Cheats. But I think I'll use this quote, taken from his account on Windows Live Spaces, to create an entry on how I've been viewed on Super Cheats.

Members of Super Cheats who are currently reading may or may not have disagreed with me on letting Mr King of Games re-enter — after it became clear that he had fabricated the accounts RKO-123, Dr Advice, and Mr Kennedy (they actually weren't JCD, as I had previously reported), David gave him a few hours to recant before banning him permanently. Not even a month ago, he returned under the account KOG and pleaded forgiveness, whereupon I decided first to put it to the vote and, four minutes later, when I had realised it wouldn't go anywhere, immediately bade him re-entry.

A more recent argument — in fact occuring earlier today — was over the standing prohibition of election of moderators who had been banned for clear offences. Shadow GX had previously been banned for a disagreement with Dave and later received two moderator positions, and yesterday Dennis, who had subscribed to the rule, removed her and Lurch5000. However, Rich, who had said that Shadow GX could stay after I probed the possibility of her asking Nintendo_dude for a position, was infuriated and removed the rule altogether, claiming that there remained chances that previously banned members could have reformed enough.* This touched off an argument between all of the moderators and eventually led to questions as to how far I really was able to go as an administrator.

Personally, I'm doing what I can. I respect Rich's opinion and have in fact asked him to approve certain segments of rules I had drafted, but, as with the removal of team objectives, I'm slightly disappointed. Far be it to say anything against myself, as this would prohibit me from attaining a position at PKMN.NET if ever I was considered if that rule were in place there, but this rule had some sense to it. It's extremely difficult to place any trust in anyone liable to spam and flame or proven to have done so and been banned for it, unless it came from a mutual disagreement. For us, it was an incentive for members to stay out of trouble if they wanted any position of authority.

Then again, having written that whole screed, I'm brought back to the moderator system. I'm sure this was what ultimately befell PC's election system back in the day: In a similar vein to what's happening here, a former administrator, Sarah, insulted another administrator's religion on several occasions and ended up out of the fold after, from what I see in the search results, Jake put his foot down with her. Although administrators aren't appointed through this method, it may have signalled the end of such a system if it was in place at that time, or a reason for it being thrown out previously. This is the flaw our current system has: Our community is so large that we find it difficult to survey individual members for potential mod material, so we let them come to us and look at them. We usually give out ten or more spots out this way before Dave prunes them, which still tends to leave us with eight or more. Between these successful applicants and considering the current crowd we have in the Staff Forum, only one or two of them, if the applications are all to videogame boards, will go on to moderate community boards (General Chat, Team and Clans, etc.), three or four will remain on their board but will be known pretty well throughout the fold, and the rest are likely to tire of their position and leave or end up banned. It may seem inaccurate due to what seems to be a variety of people in the Staff Forum, but in reality only about twenty different people end up discussing things regularly behind the curtains as opposed to the full count of moderators, which has consistently floated above 100. Even among these twenty or so, there will be two or three moles who end up being kicked out or otherwise in disfavour. Thus the quote at the top of this entry.

And as long as there are moles, the abilities of super mods and administrators will remain in question, even if they're selected by Rich himself without much input.

* This can be said for Kylie-chan, currently a super moderator on PC. As Dark_Pikachu, she was banned for spamming and flaming but was later brought back on demand of the other members. It probably wasn't even three months afterward when she was promoted.

Update: Due to excessive flaming in the comments area, comments are disabled for this post.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Admins

Again, a good forum rant, something I haven't done in quite some time.

As a moderator on what's arguably the largest and most recognisable American Pokémon forum (which is currently undergoing a domain change as its normal URL was ripped out of their hands by the staff of an absent administrator's site), I have to carry out consequences for infraction of rules set by a collaborate authority, the administrators. The fact that these people have so much power and are usually responsible for bans makes their job probably the most misunderstood in the world.

When you're a member who fears the boss and resents the rules, you can forget the moderators, who merely serve as a police force. No, your enemy is the administrator. And those who have the audacity to demand that they turn over control of the forum know full well that the admins have that happy power. If they fear the principal in their school due to their ability to throw them out of school or refer them to potential employers, they fear administrators. Administrators are basically the top of the heap, cream of the crop. The boss. Führer. Allah. God. Unfortunately, with this power comes a sudden upsurge of hatred and resentment, which I had to absorb as a super moderator on SuperCheats and later as an administrator in larger measure.

I believe the reason for this is how people start to realise, at a very young age, that someone's controlling everything. If you're Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard (which there are now doubts thereof), or Jerry Falwell, you'll say it's God. They also realise that there's a long and bumpy road to that position. However, it culminates in the delusion that, as an administrator, God, principal, President, or whatever, you can wield as much power as you want without reprehension. This delusion sometimes evolves into challenges to the current rules or, for the particularly but not surprisingly crude, spamming up the place in a vain attempt to garner attention. It can even go as far as hacking, which I've been through once. No matter the cost, people crave unlimited power.

Our best defence, though, is the fact that this assumption is far from true. If administrators wielded power without scruple, there would be no forum, as everyone would have left. Even PKMN.NET's administrators, although they'd like people to think otherwise, have limits, although I'm sure the assumption otherwise may have led to the departure of old-timers such as Mewthree, Morkula, and Lightning — and I've confirmed that it's undone Imperial Dragon. As an administrator, you have to manage a lot of things: SQL, HTML, possibly PHP; member inquiries; moderator promotions; affiliation; a main site if applicable; downloads; and, of course, the server and associated costs. The last bit applies most when you're the owner — meaning that you'll have to resort to ads, a hated element of web design. Add the possibility of facing people who want your position so badly they'll create a little chaos to destabilise you and....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Even more army

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/opinion/letters/story/6886704p-6751377c.html

Two students finally got their voice in.

Blazing comments

It's a disappointment to Blaze, evidently, that the Community failed to collapse after the hacking, but he had hopes for Shinou.com to surpass PC in some time due to either a lack of funding for the server or lack of general linterest. His aspirations have gone so far as to create a blog — one that now has the Community Staff kicking up a fuss.

Blaze's blog has contributions from many members of Shinou.com, including BGTFamily, who owns the back end site Total Pokémon. In his post 'Guest Blogger', he allows BGT to post what seems to be evidence of Shinou.com steadily overtaking the Pokémon Community and provides numbers courtesy of 'some fellow fans', while the numbers prove, on further examination, to be completely fabricated. BGT rates the Pokémon Community to have 3,344 members against Shinou's 2,060 at the time of writing, but a quick look at the PC boards will tell you that the number of registered users — not active users, since the article doesn't say that — is currently 20,839, the day after publication of the article.

Another piece of information contributed by kind Blaze is a review of Paul's PokéJungle project. Upon hearing that the domain is 'Spinarak', he jumps and yells that Spinarak is a trademark of Nintendo, which it is, and warns against removal of the domain. It may seem like a shrewd warning, but wasn't it Blaze himself who took the domain Shinou.com, another trademark of Nintendo? Any sane person will know that copyright laws don't extend to the use of these domain names for fan sites, which Shinou.com and the Spinarak domain are.

Then there's a quip below that article: 'While we were at this once amazing forum, we were in talks with Kwesi (the humble and quite rad owner of PC) to co-pay for a server for PC/TotalPokemon.com. Approximently about Five Days after Kwesi paid for the Server in full, did we pull out of the agreement due to the arrogant PC Staff who did not like the idea of us having control . . . [and] decided that they rather pay for the Server, then have us have anything to do with it. Apparently they didn't keep their word, because about a few days ago PC once again has ads featured all over the forum.' They broke the word when the agreement was broken, so they had no choice. This post is effectively bull.

Most unfortunately, I'm not the first to report on the sleight of hand and otherwise plain and simple tosh that this blog offers. Remember FandomObserver? While he refuses to reveal his identity (and there have been calls for him to do so), he's become a good contemporary of mine. While he maintains the idea of just reviewing the fandom as a whole, he's gone in and criticised Blaze, something I should have done long ago, closing the first part of his latest review with a title, 'Misguided Webmaster With A Big Ego'. All I can say in addition to that specifically is that Joe's eating his heart out right now.

So what is Blaze? Does he have an ego? Yes. Does he remain true to his contemporaries, especially Erica, whom he said would be the only one out of PC's staff administrators to get any staff holding? No. Does BGT? No, he relied on ridiculously inaccurate statistics (Alexa, which is generated by users using the site's toolbar) after three months of quibbling with the rest of the PC staff.

It's a good thing Nicola's not including Total Pokémon in her collaborative 'Autumn Always'.

Texting

Di-di-dong, goes the chime emitted by AIM on a Sidekick. Someone's replied to what is construed to be an urgent message when it merely adds to the current drama consisting of anger over an unfaithful boyfriend. Sometimes it's a girlfriend. But whatever the case, texting is another feature of cell phones in which the purpose is defeated.

My main concern is the charge incurred by sending a line of text. On TMobile it's probably two cents to send a line of text, but compared to a five- or ten-cent minute, I'd say the vocal minute is more productive. I'll assume that the average person sends and receives four or five lines a minute: Usually in five lines you get about a quarter of the conversation done whilst the conversation is nearly over (about 80 percent) when the vocal minute passes. And it's a separate charge, one that many teens have compromised to pay for separately.

But what is the logic here? I happen to know that LiveJournal and Blogger allow you to blog from your mobile, but when people do, as I've observed from the blogs that link here via the Next Blog function, it's usually to send a picture, not necessarily text, but since it has to be posted as HTML it still counts as a line of text — two cents more. Compare it to taking photos on a digital camera and then uploading them onto your computer at night, when time is plenty. I'd take the latter any day. Plus which, for all cell phones (don't mention the Treo, Sidekick, or Blackberry to me; they're called PDAs no matter how you look at them), the lack of a QWERTY keyboard makes posting and recording difficult for the poster and potential reader; it's designed more for short recording and the usual speak on AIM.

Of course, this applies to the United States. In Europe and Asia (except China, where text messages are censored), texting is as useful as the vocal minute due to less reliance on the car. For the Americans, the fact that texting diverts your eyes off the road is another lack of support. We already have states passing laws against the use of cell phones whilst driving; with new studies coming out, they might push for harsher penalties on those texting whilst driving. In Europe, you're sitting on a train or walking much more than you can drive due to the city's unaccommodating layout, so it's a lot safer and more productive. They have an excuse, at the very least.

Note to self: Don't start this habit if stuck with the GoPhone for Christmas. The smilies have been knocked down and the tilde is starting to crumble away.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More army

The newspaper that printed the article about Matt's objection to saying 'Yes, sergeant' decided that it warranted a column by the editors yesterday:

“Yes, sergeant!”

You say that a lot in the military.

But should students at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology have been told they had to say it — and do 20 push-ups, if they didn't say it loudly enough — when Army recruiters gave commands during a phys-ed class last week?

Matthew Rodin, an 18-year-old senior, didn't think so. He refused to say “Yes, sergeant.” As a result, he was removed from gym class and sent to the library to sit out the period. Rodin says he also was threatened with a grade of zero for the day. The school principal says Rodin's grade will not be affected if he completes an assignment he was given in the library.

Partisans of both stripes — supporters of the war in Iraq and opponents of the war — no doubt quickly came to their own conclusions about this incident. We're just guessing, but we suspect one group immediately thought: This is outrageous — Army recruiters have no business being in a school. The other side: This is outrageous — the military deserves our support, and Rodin is an unpatriotic, ungrateful jerk.

Allow us to make what we hope are three more reasoned points:

One: Military recruiters have a tough job to do. This nation is at war. The all-volunteer Army needs recruits. And there's nothing wrong with recruiters having access to students and students having access to recruiters. But allowing recruiters to lead a gym class — a captive audience, so to speak — seems a bit unfair to students who may not be interested in the recruiters' message.

Two: While we certainly respect our military and support our troops, no Army sergeant in this country has the right to come into a school and order students — or any civilian — to say “Yes, sergeant” or anything else.

Granted, this incident may well be much ado about not much; other students say Rodin took it more seriously than anyone else and that the only one who had to do any push-ups was one of the recruiters, because students out-shouted him in the “Yes, sergeant” department.

Nevertheless, point three: Rodin is clearly a young man with strong convictions; he had every right to express those convictions; and he should not be punished for having done so.

And if you disagree with any of that: Get down and give us 20.

Of course, Chris McMahon of Absecon had another idea today.

Regarding the Oct. 20 story about the student who was terribly offended when some Army recruiters were invited to the Atlantic County Institute of Technology for a demonstration about physical fitness, even though it was not a recruitment visit:

I cannot for the life of me understand why this man deserves the amount of press space he was given. People like him despise the very military that has guaranteed him all the rights to speak as he does. Without our military to defend us, none of our rights would be worth the paper they're written on. Those who have served and died for our country are the reason the coward and wimps of this country can whine and moan about how terrible things are without fear of reprisal.

There will always be people like this student. He will live here and benefit from all that our military does to defend his rights. But like the majority of liberals, he will despise them and probably never have the courage to serve himself. It is a disgrace that he is given a headline on the Region section as if he is some defender of values, when it's quite obvious what he really is.

I think the other matter is that Rodin distorted the story — he was threatened with a zero, but his alternate assignment made up for it; the Press misinterpreted the interviews to mean that Rodin was being penalised for not participating. I'll have more later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pokémon PDF

I came up with an idea in a vein to the new team rating forum to assist members in competitive and progressive battling: Create a PDF document detailing attacks, battle statistics and probablilties, natures, contests, etc. Anyone interested in contributing to this document can send information that they have compiled in a text file (.txt, Notepad), rich text file (.rtf, TextEdit and WordPad), HTML document, PDF document, or Works (.wps), OpenOffice (.sxw), or Word (.doc) file to me or contact me via MSN or Windows Live Messenger.

Here's what I'm looking for in your contributions:

  • Thoroughness and accuracy. If your information is found to be false, ambiguous, or thoroughly incorrect, it will be rejected. You should provide as much detail as possible in explanations therein.
  • Formality. All submissions must be written legibly with all code (if applicable) correct and friendliness of content, i.e. no swearing or defamation.
  • Original work. Do NOT take text or other information from sites and claim them as your own. I will not accept anything determined to be taken directly from another website or publication that is not your own work.

All submissions can be sent immediately and must be received by 12.00am GMT -5 on 5 November 2006.

So if you're a decent writer, know enough about Pokémon to help others, and are willing to contribute to the cause, start right now. I know some stuff, but I'm going to need all the support I can get as I can't write it alone.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Canoe

Had I decided it was not worth it plunking down $16 and not had been threatened with academic penalty for the decision, I wouldn't have gone. I did have doubts about the worth of the trip, yes, but what happened in the end was a different story.

Today we went up to a canoe rental service on the other side of the Mullica River. When everyone had sorted out their partners, I ended up in the same canoe as my friend Nick and thus went down the path to the creek landing. Once we determined where we needed to stop for luch and then end (I didn't bring any lunch of my own), we loaded the ten canoes out and shoved down the creek, which ran perpendicular to the CR563. As I had gone canoeing before and did not sink, I didn't expect the journey to incorporate hazards that would provoke the incident over and over.

Less than one hundred yards down the creek, the current split and left a small islet covered in moss and divided the creek into shallow and narrow streams for the next thirty yards. One team managed to get stuck perpendicular to the current and asked Nick and me to ram into the side so they could get rowing again. We did, but they remained stuck. When we reached out to their boat to correct them, we overbalanced and fell into the current — the first hazard failure. A minute later, we decided to climb up onto the islet and manually remove the canoes from the current and turn them in the direction of the current so that we could continue.

I had not rowed in years, my last time probably being in Belize going down a river after visiting the Altun Ha ruins and then being scooped aboard a boat that took us to our cruise ship when the storms arrived.* As a result, I found it difficult to alternate sides to paddle on to keep the canoe away from overhanging branches or completely felled and submerged trees. I ended up crunching up against heavy branches at some points but failed to draw blood, and often we had to correct when the bow of the canoe (where I was rowing) crashed into the bank. Although none of these corrections caused us to capsize, we did capsize a second time a mile down from the first incident when the canoe came upon a submerged tree branch and tilted us to the right. The water wasn't freezing and it helped out my toe, but I began to shiver slightly when I climbed back into the canoe once we managed to correct it sufficiently.

Although we didn't capsize after that, my clothes remained soggy and my rowing improved gradually but slowly. We did manage to block the creek after lunch break after we exited a pond and managed to get stuck between the bank and a trapped log while other canoes passed by right over the log. Luckily, the terminus of the route wasn't more than a half mile further, and we managed to make it with the other five able canoes that had passed us at the log. Once we were gathered at the bridge, we stacked up our canoes and walked to the bridge deck to listen for the following canoes, but it took nearly an hour before we were able to hear anything distinct. At 1.15pm, we saw two canoes coming down the creek — the one in front was completely submerged and the occupants were still rowing! Oh, how we shared a laugh at that.

The end result: shower off when I get home and arrive an hour late but not miss the employees feed a stray fox with a milkshake and some chips. As an added bonus, all of my cards in my wallet are soggy, but my ATM card should probably be working now.

* The same cruise in which the teenaged girl was stalking me, not the one in which I was ground against my will. There's a major difference. If you have any questions, just drop me an email and I'll be happy to answer.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Four years on

Surprise, surprise. I actually didn't have any form of Internet contact until I entered ninth grade, when it was required in order for us to send any assignments to the teacher. And it wasn't until January that I actually registered for a web service — in this case, Super Cheats. And when I stumbled across the Internet, I had already observed, and decided not to subscribe to, the type of speaking that used abbreviations, pipes, and such. Now that it's been almost four years that I've been in the net, I've changed a lot — not much in real life, as I'm always the one who chooses to remain behind as far as that goes, but in the sense of communication over the Internet.

My first submission on Super Cheats was a hint about capturing Regirock, Regice, and Registeel as well as how to get to Rayquaza. (It may no longer be in the system since submissions were regularly pruned before the archiving programme that started in November 2004 or so.) The hint was typed out in a meticulous format, although it eventually was broken up by the editors' habits that preceded the new PRO-submitter system, and it reflected much of what my stance of speaking was: formal, abusive of big words, and haughty to a point. And when I pioneered the question-and-answer sections on the site, I pretty much kept the same sort of tone.

Then, PKMN.NET. In May I came across its Spanish extension looking for photos of Mirage Island. In July I found the main site and registered — this was the first forum I ever joined. My first posts were shallowly demonstrative, many of them being experimentation with BBCode and copying and pasting of Pokémon reports I had written earlier in my life. As a result, I was regarded with looks of 'wtf?' all over the board, but then again, I hadn't been on the scene that long and had much more to learn. And when the admins pulled their joke of September by censoring 'Muuma' (there was a massive team called The Muuma Army, led by Rex) and then responding to calls for the censor being lifted by replacing several common words with 'muuma', I became ever more frustrated. It finally boiled over when my name at the time, Vennblomster, was censored. This rage followed me all the way to the formation of TPL.

Then, it was back to Super Cheats. Their forums opened in September 2004, and the members that joined immediately made a joy of it (the rumour had been circulated a few months back). This was just what I needed to get my forum use on track. Over time I developed an understanding of how it worked, helped mostly by tooling the rules from PKMN.NET to provide examples of how I thought the forums should be run (until I found that the configuration of the forums made full application of those rules impossible, and it was eventually discovered that the rules had just been duplicated and modified, so we were left with a meshed list that survives to this day and was geared mainly toward issues that were at hand at the time of writing. Nevertheless, it helped me so much that I was able to experience the joy of being a moderator of a respected website in March of the following year, although the promotions unfortunately coincided with the PKMN.NET fallouts. But I can't forget the smaller forums where I would communicate with people and help run things. One of hese forums was the Crow's Nest, the first forum at which I became an administrator, regardless of the foundation of the forum (a failed roleplay on PKMN.NET). I was very harsh there, as I later would become at Super Cheats upon promotion.

As far as speaking went, I got a lot better. Normally I didn't think about the topic before I replied (and admittedly, I still don't sometimes), and I kept up the formal speech for a while. When I used MSN, I adhered to graphic smilies that are now abhorred where I am. I can probably say that the graphical smilies were something of a change for me — I found it difficult to convey emotions any other way. By the time I had come out of TPL and returned to PKMN.NET, I had lost much of the formality, but it would still be some time before I reduced my speech, became slightly more terse, started using asterisked cues, and then moved on to text smilies at the endorsement of Lily. Each time I would get a reaction of surprise from whoever witnessed it — as you can see, Lily was astounded and Shiny Zapdos was horrified to see me use 'XD'.

So here I am, a moderator at the Pokémon Community, a DCC regular, and an MSN hog. Who knows what'll come next? I have a LiveJournal, which is good, but will I probably migrate to using the tilde instead of the ellipsis? Only time will tell~

...Drat.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The army

No, no, I'm not enlisting, folks. I'm already fed up with the situation in Iraq as it is.

Rather, it's the second time in my career that my gym class had a set of Army drillers come in. I expected the day to be just walking to increase our endurance for the big stroll down the bike path to the shopping centre, which I had done last year (and walked the entire way while others had to stop and board the bus for transport; luckily the bus driver kept a canteen at ready hand). Alas, no — it came right out of the blue that three recruiters were in the room we called the gym, although it was small and cramped with the large exercise equipment taken into consideration.

We had the recruiters before; however, we were advised to eat a large lunch beforehand. This time, there was no notice (although I did eat some breakfast). We briefly shook hands with the recruiters and then were sent to the back of the gym room. The recruiters had the girls form two rows in the front and had us boys form two behind them. Once we were filed in, we went to the instruction of posture (attention was arms bent vertically with elbows to the back and shoes to 45-degree angles; normalcy was standing with arms held behind the back) and then to a set of exercises that, the recriters claimed, was performed four times out of the week upon rise.

Many of these exercises involved the upper body (raising the roof, overhead clap, and jumping jacks). Since I do not swim often and do more walking than lifting, in which case that was just packages of water, I tired halfway into the period but was determined to go on in order to allay embarassment. I would rest when there were no recruiters pacing near me, and sometimes when we performed exercises that I was structurally weak at, they would have to correct me manually, an example being bicycling, in which it was nearly impossible for me to hold my legs straight six inches above the ground.

Then, after we had been sprayed with enough sweat to fill a drinking glass, we were led out. It wasn't that cold, but it was enough to dry our faces. Nevertheless, we started sweating even more once we were compelled to do the '30-60': we sprinted for thirty seconds, walked for sixty, sprinted again, and so forth until time was called. Then the last three were 100 feet of bowlegged walk and sinking stride, and then a continuous sprint once around the traffic island.

I don't find it amazing that two of my classmates are enlisting in the armed forces and were used to this sort of stuff. I, unfortunately, wasn't. Luckily, I only have to work this morning, and I should have recovered enough from the ordeal to at least hold a pack of Deer Park above the counter.

Update: Turns out one of my friends likened the drill to Nazi imperialism, accusing it of being a recruitment in disguise. Trust me, if three people in the class have decided on the armed forces before the Army came in last year, it's probably not. Sorry, Matt.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Four things that have to go

It's time to kick into gear. While this blog is primarily used to document forum ills and, to an extent, Pokémon and my life, I have been toying with the idea of adding quips like this, in the mode of George Carlin. So here we are with a few things I've been wanting done and over with.

  1. Sequence ordering for exit numbers. The objective here is to number exits in a streamlined fashion, starting from 1 for the first exit and numbering them in order of occurence. However, as more interchanges are often added, the system collapses and you need to add letter suffixes such as 'A' and 'B'. For example, the stretch of I-4 outside Walt Disney World had five letters tied to the number 24, and once all of the interstates in Florida were switched over to mileage numbering, this anomaly was reduced to three exit numbers, one for US-192, one for FL-417, one for the Walt Disney World thoroughfare. The advantage mileage numbering has is that it's flexible and it's easier to use the system to judge how far you've gone since mile markers are actually not posted on most stretches of highway, especially in New England.
  2. And on the subject of interstates, the southern half of the new Jersey Turnpike (NJ-700). Having this and I-295 within five miles of each other for the majority of the way and running parallel, especially when the latter provides more access to the area south of Philadelphia without any tolls, is stupid. Whenever you can see a motorway on the side of the one you're travelling on and the pattern persists for 50 miles, it's a sign of error. And while removing this half of the Turnpike resolves the road burden for the south, it'll also provide a definite path for the I-95 in place of the path that the town of Hopewell rejected.
  3. Foreign alphabet glyphs and accentuations in place of English alphabet characters in forum posts, MySpace profiles, and the like. I have gone over this before — there is no place for bars, parentheses, brackets, and numbers as letters, and the same can be said for Greek, Russian, Armenian, and Hebrew letters. This could be said of a certain PC member earlier in the week.
  4. Friend lists. I believe the people you choose to talk to and randomly assort on your MSN or AIM list constitute your friend list. You do not need to go off to another site and arrange something that states otherwise, especially if by adding a certain friend you end up incurring far more than that one friend. And going beyond the Internet, friend lists turn into slam books in which you're free to write whatever you want against a certain person. In fact, the staff had more than 10 slam books confiscated in 2001. But yes, with the news of bullying on MySpace, it seems these slam books are unfortunately eternal.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Macintosh

As you can guess, this is currently being typed on a Macintosh computer — my school has a few of them but they're all in one room.

Of course, it's now an opportunity for me to reminisce about old school days. I was part of an after-school programme in the first and second grades since I had wreaked havoc at the local daycare and really didn't have many places to go once school ended. While it was a time for me to do any homework that had been assigned, it also allowed me to go into a room full of computers, all running on the old, columnal Macintoshes. In fact, the fist computer I ever used was one of those. I remember the maze games and calendar setups I had used as long as the computers were there.

And for eight years, once the old Macs had gone, I was grounded on Windows. In fact, almost everything I used for some time, if there were versions available, were created by Microsoft — MSN Messenger, Streets and Trips, and Office. Then, three years ago, I stumbled across an iBook and started looking it through. I eventually stumbled across SuperCheats using that computer, looking for Pokémon Crystal hints. Two months later, I joined.

Although what I don't like about Macs is that you can't load MSN Web Messenger on them (sorry, Shadow), I liked nearly other aspect of it. One thing was the graphics capability, which had been pounded into my head for some time before. The other was the fact that I was getting to meet an old friend after eight years of lack of communication. To be honest, I probably want a Mac now.

Or maybe it's just me. I know, I know, I've been accustomed to Windows for eight years (and have used Linux a few times), and I like trying out new things. But there's a Mac right here for God's sake....

Monday, October 02, 2006

About time

...that someone's decided to make a dedicated review of the Pokémon fandom, since I don't have the energy.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Freshmen

I remember how it was four years ago, when I first entered the school and wondered how I was going to survive in the domain. Already I had gotten the rumour that there were bound to be 'freshman fridays', events in which newcomers would be ridiculed by other groups for their lack of indoctrination into the scholastic system. Now that I've survived three previous years here, partly due to help from an uncle and students that came with me from Brigantine, I decided I was no longer subject to that. Indeed, when one of my friends, César, came up with the idea of filming a documentary exposing some of the supposed ills brought on by freshmen of the year such as the lunch line glut, I approved it with a nod.

But when I experienced a particularly bad glut that I figured was due to hold me up for at least fifteen minutes, I initially decided to just leave and eat at work before shift started. Then, some students and staff began to ask me why I wasn't eating — and soon enough, I spoke with two classmates that were employed by the kitchens and they decided that they would do something to regulate the line on the side that I usually got in on. That they did (although the other side is still subject to gluts, probably more severe than when flow control was established) — and they were quick to point out that the current freshmen were not posing the problem, but the current sophomores and juniors were.

Thus I came under the assumption that all of the hype about freshmen in this school was predicated on how the sophomores and juniors of this year — about eighty percent of whom I'm talking about are in the nursing programme — behaved. I remember saying that I wasn't really loved before until I had the blood taken, and I developed a bit of respect for those people, but now I feel sorry that I ever approved the film plan. Fortunately, I was able to have the plans revised — I ended up doing the storyboard myself — and as of now we are interviewing teachers about their experiences with the current freshmen. As I had expected, all of them were exceptionally pleased with the ones coming in this year — they had better academic and behavioural standing than any other age group in the school as of now (but it's still early in the year).

End another three-paragraph essay, all I can come up with during the school year.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bzzzzzzt!

I remember watching a programme about dog whistles; whenever someone blew into one, a dog would rush forth but humans would not be able to hear it. I then learned that it was because our eardrums aren't quite as good as those of dogs.

And then again, such quality can be limited to youngsters. Shortly before school started, a company produced a ringtone, 'Mosquito', that was configured so that only students could hear it. When school started for me, it turned out that the ringtone had become so popular that many techers knew what it was, What may seem as a disappointment may be that two of our teachers were able to hear it loud and clear; in fact, one, our marine biology teacher (I stopped her course to pursue Spanish last week), demonstrated it to other teachers. It turned out that she had been a musician and had kept her ears healthy that way. On the other side of the spectrum, though, our gym teacher — the same one that assigned the mechanical babies — was led into the room as Dan, one of the ringtone owners, played a sample for her. She couldn't hear it, so she made us turn around and raise our hands if we heard it. When most of us did, she accused us of lying and stalked out. The ringtone has proved so successful that I also heard shopkeepers intend to use the sound to drive hoodlums away.

Even so, I haven't seen the need to text in class or otherwise use a mobile phone during those hours. My stepbrother was ecstatic to receive one the Christmas before last, and ever since then he's wanted the best and the most expensive out of it; he's used that thing for more uses than it's been designed for, from what I can tell. I'm the exact opposite; since mine was not a flip phone and it kept turning on when I brushed against a wall, and I never had any cell phone numbers to keep anyway (only that of Tom, whom I haven't communicated with much since I started working), I stopped using it after four months of being forced to have it on me and gave it to one of my father's labour contractors. This Christmas, though, I may be getting one of Cingular's 'go' phones and, when I receive my licence, AAA services. The main concern in my family was being stranded on a dirt road, which I saw as the only use for a cell phone if ever there was one.

And there's also the possible meet-ups. Lily did mention calling Frostweaver via mobile once....

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Not gone

...and I bite my tongue at my thoughts since the last post.

Not only has Blaze initiated Shinou.com, touting it as a replacement for PC when it goes down due to intrusion or lack of funding, but PC was hacked yesterday. Last night I learned that someone had been using Steve's account on the sly, but now was when it was really time they did stuff: When the smoke cleared, all of the super moderators had been removed, all super mods except Jake had been removed, and the entire population fell to 225. That number remains at the bottom of the main index but is soon to be fixed. During that time, I admit I had no desire to return to the forums if they came back, seeing as it was, to me at that time, a summation of a horrible server and faulty practical security working as one. Of course, now that I realise that they could just go back and grab a backup of the forums as they had done two weeks ago, although it'd cost them records after 4 September, I now see myself as an idiot.

The first guess was that Blaze and BGTFamily, the owners of Total Pokémon, were connected to it as they had been hounded out of the Community and Shinou.com was opening right around the time of the hack. Yet both contended that they weren't, although Blaze foresaw the hack after a chat response warning him against a friend of the sender coming to take down the site and PPN, which is slated for removal from the fold soon anyway. The decision to remove PPN, though, and leave just SIVPH, was the genesis for Blaze's guess that Shinou would survive and eclipse PC once funds falter.

There was me thinking that PC would have to obtain yet another database, as they did in September 2003 when their old database failed. Instead, Kwesi insisted on moving house — the URL became www.theud.com/pokecommunity (the old URL will redirect — in fact, the URL was redirected the night of the hacking, right when the boards were ready to go public again; that may have been a factor) and mods had to fix up glitches that resulted from the move (which were generally confined to broken images). Of course, a backup of the boards from 4 September had to be put in — the boards were down completely for five days at that rate, so little difference was made.

Oh, and at time of writing Shinou.com was still closed. I'll say that by tomorrow night they should be open. I guess having bilingual forums and a hassled agenda went quite a way.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pokémon Community gone?

Update: It's not closed. Kwesi moved the board, but records after 4 September have been wiped clean. I will reveal the URL when it comes time.

Original announcement: Nearly a week has passed since the Pokémon Community has been out of order. Many thought it another denial-of-service attack, but what with Kwesi not speaking and Steve telling no-one but Matt where he's been over the past months and why the Community hasn't been brought up to order, it's now best to guess that, amid the rumours of a relaunch and Total Pokémon leaving the fold, the Community may have met its end. For the second time.

In a conversation I had with an insider, I was told that Jake had tried to have BGTFamily, an administrator inaugurated in June, demoted. Blaze, a co-owner of Total Pokémon, had had that end of the stick when the forum for Total Pokémon had been established on PC, with the excuse being that his representation didn't warrant the right to have full moderation rights to those boards or the right to be in the staff dominion. Blaze was reinstated shortly afterward. As a result, when it became the accepted rumour that PC wasn't returning at all, Blaze and the folks at Total Pokémon started their own forum, Shinou.com. According to this insider, none of the petty administrators with the exception of Erica was invited to maintain their rank at this new board due to Jake's alleged belligerence, and forums were going to be switched around and original mods furloughed.

The board, the insider says, should be open sometime next week or so.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Who are you?

Now it's time to ask someone who they could be.

There is a person visiting from Cerulean, Kentucky, running on Cinergy Communications and using the IP 216.135.53.81. If that is you, leave a comment. No rush, just want to know who you are.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Popular. Yeah. I guess so.

Popular Girls

I'll assume that this is not a mock site like one I was once showed that was made by Democrats that tried to insult Radical Republicans by creating an anti-Pokémon page with supposed evidence of demonic affiliation. If there's one thing I hate, it's a girl that tries to delude others by establishing a code of conduct that promises to make you popular but requires acts that will more likely drive people away from you.

First we have clothing and bag brands. Last year I had to do a project in my health class (this came before the baby, thank you very much) in which we were to evaluate the expenses for raising a baby in its first year of life. Although we know the cost is quite high and should prove prohibitive for teens, the figure — nearly $91,000 — was offset by designer labels such as Gucci for clothes to even diaper bags. The very same label makes a cameo here, along with other labels and their respective websites. (It can be argued, though, that Aéropostale is so commonly worn that it's basically cheap by now.)

It then goes on to mention pearls, earrings, and torn jeans if you want the Gothic look — I'm afraid that's all too common and detractive. For one thing, it doesn't make a great impression when you're taking a job interview or attending school for that matter, as most dress codes will want you to not have holes in the jeans. Unfortunately, the dress code at my school, which disallows revelation of the leg past the ankle except in cases of skirts or gym shorts, has been flouted so many times that I've just accepted it as a fact of life, but it's gotten considerably better since measures were stepped up in my sophomore year. And for another, the British have a name for people, especially girls, who deck themselves in excessive amounts of jewellery and vivid clothing — they're called chavs.

Next, what populars do. They go to the mall, have five way conversations, post provocative pictures on MySpace — check. It's all the same, thanks in part to shows on Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and ABC Family — we're at prep schools, tapping away at our keyboards and spitting out dialogue on AIM or chatting up the corridors by shopping at the mall. There's a store called Hot Topic in a mall near to me, but the clothing there is extremely expensive and many people know it; in fact, not many people from my area shop there at all.

They read the teenage tabloids such as J14 — that fails to extend into high school. If you want the material you can get in that magazine, go pick up the National Enquirer. I guarantee that fifty percent or more of what you read in J14 or Tiger Beat is fake and directed right at the girls. I feel terribly sorry for Jesse McCartney.

As for hygiene, I'm glad it looks out for clean hair and teeth as well as healthy skin. It also advises that you allow for better grades, so that's about the only kudos I'll give it there. It took me some time to find something positive to back up the 'don't be stupid' calls throughout some of the site's pages, but dang it, I managed it.

Believe me, being popular is nothing you want. Popularity, in a sense, is wanting to be somebody from the scope of power, influence, and ability. I was popular in middle school because I could use big words and seem as if I knew what they all meant. True, I did know what some of them meant, but usage was generally lackadaisical — I realise now that it takes far less pressure to say what you want in simpler terms or, if it's a big word, check the dictionary before you proceed. Unfortunately, this led many to believe that I could be tripped up, and even today I have friends stop me on the street and ask, 'What does supercalifragilisticexpialidocious mean? Who was the fifth president?' I sometimes answer lightheartedly, but when it comes to math problems, especially when they begin with the line 'I'm having problems with my work', not only am I annoyed, but my confidence back then comes back to bite me in the ass. Of course, it then raises the question whether it was actually thickly veiled personal resentment.

In effect, the very word 'popular' is undermined. The word is supposed to suggest few role models, but as soon as people follow suit, whatever is done becomes a standard. It's like being in a rave full of shouting moshers and a heavy metal band blaring onstage, and you're convinced as much as the next person that your shouting will somehow get you noticed. Now when someone does something differently, they're referred to as deviants, at term otherwise reserved for the 'popular' girl.

Now I just let people see my maps, especially handwriting samples. Now that I know better, I don't randomly spew out trivia and lift my head to assert its authenticity. I'm already paying my dues for all that, especially when I see the consequences levied on girls that try to fit in the crowd.

Livejournal again

Again, I screwed up.

I decided to keep a parallel LiveJournal blog to relect the school flow and save this for reall issues. I'll cross links between the two on occasion. I've added a link to the top so you can read.

Next project will be designing a skin for it.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

SPP overcome at last (?)

Well, from the events of recent days, it seems so.

When I returned from Maryland, not only did I hear that Steve Irwin had gone, but now something else was beginning to go. If you type in the URL 'www.serebii.net' into your browser, you'll no longer come to the splash page that leads you to Serebii.net — in fact, even typing it with any attached file path will lead you to a YouTube recording of Rocky Horror's 'Sweet Transvestite'. This morning it seemed as if Joe had wrestled the domain back, but tonight, at least for me, it had gone back to the recording. As of now, and I hate to do this, the URL that'll get you back to the site is just an IP address: 64.72.117.249. (Maybe you can edit your hosts file and ensure that the domain goes to that IP.)

And that's not all. Yesterday it was reported that a hacker was loose on the board and had managed to ban every staff member aside from Joe. In the picture at right (contributed to Wikipedia by Hakerius) you will also see that the hacker, if it's not a joke, changed the vBulletin template so that the columns were in reverse order. He also cleaned out the Announcements board and soft-deleted topics in another board (so that the mods could restore them).

Now, it's easy to say that the site will bounce back. After all, a few months ago it recovered from a server debilitation. But with the increasing hatred of SPP for its attitude toward other forums — especially PKMN.NET — will getting out of a rut like this for even a short time be sufficient? It could very well be a case of resentment by outsiders for failing to keep up a reputation and, at this rate, security.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Steve Irwin

Those of you from PC wondering why I, along with several others, have a turtle preceding my name on MSN, it's our swan song to Steve Irwin. No one will doubt that he was a man not just of nature, but of Australia itself.

He first developed an intersst in reptiles when he received a snake for his sixth birthday. He then went on to help his family take care of wildlife on their reptile farm, which he transformed into Australia Zoo later in his life. It was at this zoo that many of his documentary shows, the most popular of all and the one giving him that title for eternity being 'The Crocodile Hunter', in which he, his wife Terri, and his pet crocodile Argo put on a show for audiences and, many times, set out to investigate the predatory habits of dangerous creatures such as boas and rattlesnakes.

Personally, I think I never watched his shows as much as I should have. My cousin is an animal lover and almost certainly was a devout fan of his; in fact, at a glance I could probably say that her affinity was derived from watching his series on Animal Planet a lot. I knew, though, that he loved animals so much that he was destined to make himself into a conservationalist renowned throughout the world. That, he cerainly did. Nonetheless, this led, as many sceptics were undoubtedly hoping, to his untimely death: Whilst filming a documentary on the Great Barrier Reef, a stingray poked its tail right into Irwin's heart, and Irwin died before the others could get him to the surface. But in the interest of honour, he died doing what he did best, making the world more aware of nature.

Goodbye from a friend who, in retrospect, really wanted to know you more.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

TPL all over again

If anyone remembers the PokéLab, you'll recall that it fell apart after the promise of a site with little posting etiquette and, in effect, consistency of administration. It seems that a site is starting to take a little ride along the same road: In the wake of Blue Mew and a few others being banned in connection with a spam threat, a new site has been formed.

Unfortunately, the accusation of being communists that the admins made to PKMN.NET instantly turned the place into a rough conception of that. The Delibird now says 'Everyone is equal but Delibird is more equal than others', the only member rank is 'Proletarian' (a rank Karl Marx didn't like!), and the members have taken titles such as 'Comrade'. To blast Salamence's Lair for inadvertently promting this, I drew up a post for them to read; I wonder if it's still there as they removed a threat made by Jeroen.

This is ridiculous.

I remember being part of a coalition similar to yours more than a year ago and have seen it fail spectacularly because of internal problems, i.e. the administrators, including myself, tried to separate from PKMN.NET and found a site based on hatred of Jeroen and laxity when it came to the appropriateness of content and copyright issues. Having recovered from such an act, I can only expect an issue such as this just to fizzle out in less than a year.

From what I gather, this arose from Blue Mew and a gang of spammers delivering a threat to the administration to try to seize control of the site by spamming and encouraging havoc. Believe me when I say this: We tried it before and it blew up in our faces, so spamming will get you nowhere if you want to establish a point, let alone a reputation for yourselves. It's nothing more than feces to clean off the cement, not a technical problem — this seems to be the delusion under which you all have been labouring.

Now to call PKMN.NET a group of communists was not only completely unequivocal, but exactly what James was waiting for. You've seen the user ranks and names change to reflect it. They're not declaring any kind of war. They're taunting you. They're taunting you because you evidently can't think of a way to bring your case to them without acting abberantly and thus are making yourselves just look stupid. This abberation is also evident in your deletion of Jeroen's threat and is compounded by hypocrisy resulting from removing William1's post for 'offensive material'. Honestly, I thought lessons were learned after the PokéLab, the site I was part of, fell apart for the very same reasons. Obviously, they haven't.

Unless you all can get over this enmity and renounce your position against us — honestly, as a member of PKMN.NET, I seem to be enjoying the changes made to the forums as a result of your comments, ha! — we're all just going to point at you and cry 'Look at those idiots trying to look cool by making a baseless stand against Jeroen!'. Take it from someone who's gone down the same road you have and crashed on uneven pavement.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Mike and John

Two headlines today.

Mike

Our Manchester-loving and Chelsea-hating admin at PKMN.NET has finally attained to the age of seventeen. For three years he has waxed his power by using blunt logic, point-blank reality, and the nerve to say what's on his mind to overpower those that tread across PUK to wreak havoc (unfortunately, I was one of them long ago).

À la James: Happy birthday, Mickey!

John

Further to my previous post about the JonBenét Ramsey murder, it seems that the DNA found in Ramsey's underwear did not produce a match to Karr This means that Karr will not be charged after all, and it'll probably be another ten years before something else comes up, if Patsy didn't do it. (On the other hand, I heard from a co-worker that the parents moved the corpse away from the scene of the murder and refused to bit a medical examiner entry until the court forced them to. Perhaps this means another conspiracy theory?) However, he's going to stand charges in California for possession of child pornography. As a guy wanting attention and fleeing those charges to Honduras and Thailand in the first place, it's not even a decent consolation prize for him. It goes to show that some people not only want their fifteen minutes, but some of them will use very little of their brain to achieve it....

Friday, August 25, 2006

John and JonBenét

It's possible for any huge event worthy of scowling at, such as the attack on the World Trade Centre, the anthrax mailings, and the JonBenét Ramsey murder to be looked at from a point of view that seems wildly off tangent. It's been this way for about a hundred years now, probably starting from the propaganda that the sinking of the USS Maine was an attack by the Spanish. These days, though, anything we talk about has a sceptic in the works. This isn't at the scale of believing Dumbledore to be secretly alive, but to the scale of something that's been dragging on for nearly a decade.

Namely, I'm talking about Ramsey.

The story begins on 25 December 1996 in Boulder, Colorado. Not long earlier, according to reports, Ramsey had been told by Santa Claus that he'd swing back 'round for another encounter with her family once his gift round was done. Whether this Santa did really come back becomes the question the following morning, when a ransom note is found where JonBenét would normally be sleeping amid her many plushes. The note suggests that she had been abducted and the author was looking for $118,000 from John Ramsey, JonBenét's father. A few hours later, JonBenét is found dead of asphyxiation. The Boulder police start the investigation clumsily and refuse help from the state police or even the FBI, but do so horrible a job that the case is left open and JonBenét's parents have to endure the agony of accusation and moves from their home to avoid publicity.

This would go on for about nine years. Then, on 10 June, Patsy Ramsey, JonBenét's mother, dies of ovarian cancer. Exactly two months later, an arrest is announced in Bangkok — John Karr, a schoolteacher with a long rap sheet for child abuse and former husband to two women he wed as teenagers, had turned himself in out of the blue, admitting that he had killed the girl but maintained that it was accidental. This raised questions within my store — did he really do it? Did he want to kidnap her but not kill her? These questions are still being asked as Karr enjoys a governor's meal on a business-class extradition flight to Colorado.

Cue the conspiracy theories, the first of many, and one that at least is my own: He had probably said that he did it just to put the case to rest at his own expense, a brave deed but not one worth universal respect. Surprisingly, though, there is no mention of the murder at all in this week's National Enquirer, whilst the other tabloids blubber on about Marilyn Monroe and John F Kennedy. and from what I can see no-one has come out with a Google Video detailing the possible cause of the six-year-old girl's death. But it will happen, no matter how long it sinks in. Take, for example, the World Trade Centre. A group came out with a series of movies under the title 'Loose Change', stating with evidence how the attacks could really be a feint pulled off by the government to bring cause for invading the Middle East.

Getting back to Ramsey, I have set up a few theories that I bet will land on pages in the tabloids or Internet documentaries:

  1. The Santa that promised Ramsey a return to the house could either be Karr or, as the note suggested, some sort of extremist out to snooker the public. If Karr were the Santa, though, he'd have to make his entry into the home apparent — there was no evidence of a break-in.
  2. Karr could have intended to kill Ramsey and penned the note to throw investigators off. The note contained numerous misspellings, indicative of the author possibly being the extremist described therein ('we represent a small foreign faction; we respect your bussiness [sic] but not the country it represents'). It also had a signature that some experts say matches a note he sent to a college friend later on.
  3. Karr could have tried to sodomise and abduct Ramsey, as could be seen that she was sexually abused at death, and tried to restrain her as he shuffled out but unintentionally garroted her and left her to die where she was.
  4. Patsy could have provided a front for Karr as long as she remained alive. While she took the heat from the police and caused the investigation to stall, Karr would be able to get away and conduct possibly more crimes. Patsy's death, then, could have been the sign that it was all over.
  5. Patsy could have committed the murder but Karr could have wanted to give investigators what they wanted by turning himself in.
Start counting down the days until the Enquirer starts taking these theories into their own hands. I daresay I've provided a rudimentary list to start off — come next year it'll have grown to about fifty.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. What? That's All?

Yes it is, folks. Pluto has been declassified as a planet today.

The International Astronomical Union set forth the definition of a true planet today in order to clear up the dispute over whether Pluto was not a planet or it and about fourteen others, thirteen of which do not even have names, were planets as well. Looking at the article, the IAU declared that a planet must be a sphere and have a gravitational force of its own by rotation — no problem there, it's a sphere and has three moons, Charon and two unnamed. It also declared that it must orbit around a star — no hitch. However, there was a new qualification that automatically ruled out Pluto: It was possible for it to collide with another planet, in this case Neptune, by intersecting its orbit. Despite the length of time before this could happen — presumably more than 30 million years in the future if Neptune takes 160 years to orbit the Sun and Pluto takes 250. Thus, Pluto was banished to the dwarf planet rank along with the other Trans-Neptunian bodies, reducing the number of planets to eight.

Or, of course, that's how it's expected to be for the time being. This decision, if left to stand, would invalidate any science book printed after 1930, when Pluto's status as a planet was confirmed. With this at hand, the debate is likely to rage on, with a loophole possibly added in order to let Pluto stay and those beyond it remain at dwarf rank. At least I hope so. For one thing, the word planet was first used to describe something orbiting a star (it comes from the Greek for 'wanderer'), and to me this new class of dwarf planets should still constitute planets. Let the IAU set aside the other eight as correct planets, let Pluto and the ones to be found beyond it be another subset. But to me, they are all planets, as they spin, are spherical, and orbit the Sun. To me this new clause of being able to stay out of the path of another planet is ridiculous as it was so recently conceived (as far as about two days) and could rob us of a story on the cover of the New York Times titled 'Neptune and Pluto Collide, Both Planets Explode Into Dust', just like those old science fiction movies.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Smilies

Okay, I screwed up yet again.

I'd been under the impression that non-graphic smilies were some sort of redundancy, but as far as MSN conversations go, as demonstrated in this field test with Lily, those of you who actually have me registered will experience the feeling that I may not be who you think I am.

Lily says:
CWWWWW
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Hmm?
Lily says:
Was Nami-chan on today? o.o
=D?
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Not to my knowledge.
Lily says:
...;_;
'kay, thanks~
! by the wya
way*
Your way with words..is almost like a male version of namine O.O
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
'CWWWWW'....*chuckles*
Lily says:
keep typing~
What about CWWWWW?
:3
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Nothing. *innocent look*
Lily says:
Not working for ya.
XD tell!
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
No, I just found it funny.
Lily says:
Can I ask why? =P
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Nah, just made me chuckle, nothing much ado.
Lily says:
...>O
Fine.
I'll think of more nicknames for you in the future.
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Okay, okay, it was because it sounded as if we were married.
Lily says:
XD!
XDD!
XDXDXD!! Wow.
XD!
That left me laughing irl
What about CW-chan? XD
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Yeh, that'
ll do....
Lily says:
;;
Be happy.
Be h a p p y
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
*laughs with head hooked down*
Lily says:
You always sound so formal.
>___>
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Oh, sorry....*remorseful look*
Lily says:
Speaking of formal,
your blog
descibing the usage of tilde..
XDD
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
What's so funny?
Lily says:
I never knew someone could actually explain it that way. XD
Usually we take it for given, y'know?
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Yeah, we sure do. XD
Lily says:
...
.....
y-you typed XD.
o_o
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
...I did? O.o
Lily says:
o_______o
YAY
omg.
XD! yayayay
you typed XD
>=D
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Thought I'd try something new.
Lily says:
I think that's really cool~
Now..
if only I can make nami-chan do the same.
she never typed anything more than ._. and ^-^
..you suddenly went silent
*weep*
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Oh!
Sorry....
._.
Lily says:
Welc-
you typed ._.!!!
*HUG* 8D
<33 awesome
XD and ._.
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Oh, lord, I'm chuckling at this.
Lily says:
XD and ._., CW-chan
=D
How could we like, NOT celebrate? 8D
Why chuckle?
>O
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
No, no, I just find it funny.
Lily says:
Well, CW
pretty soon
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
How you rejoice at me using something other than 'o.o' and a tongue smiley.
Lily says:
I'll have you typing 8D and ;D and ;3 and ;< and all those Lilyish smilies.
welcome to the life of pair ups. ;D
You disappeared again ;_;
Sorry
I'm very
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
No, no, still here. ^^
Lily says:
attention seeking to-
DBIADBAID
^^?!!
O__O
O______O;
Who are you and what have you done with CW? >=D
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
No, no, this is the real CW here. XD
Lily says:
Awesome
You typed
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
Yes.
Lily says:
three
smilies
today.
I think we've accomplished a lot, wouldn't you agree?
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
I only typed those to make you happy. ^^;
Lily says:
;;
Everyone does that, nowadays!
Do it for your own personal gain, not me.
:3
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
I just wanted to see your reaction. Not as if I'd abandon them that quickly, though.
Lily says:
I see..~
You intimidated me at first. o_o;
So formal. >>;; XD
Crystal Walrein — PNG transparency on Internet Explorer 7! says:
This is being blogged. XD
Lily says:
>=o
XD


Welcome to the twilight zone, folks. :P