Sunday, July 31, 2005

August approaches

It's almost August. In a few weeks, on the 22nd, school starts again. I start class on the 23rd, since my on-site classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

It's been a pretty boring day today. I have tried three times since yesterday to snag Entei in Pokémon Colosseum. The first time it KO'd itself with the recoil from Shadow Rush, the second time it got nearly knocked out by Earthquake but then KO'd itself, and the most recent time it got knocked out by its ally's Earthquake move. Even though I used Ultra Balls, which are the strongest Poké Balls you can have at this point, I still couldn't snag it.

I took a break after the second time and took care of some other stuff. I bought more Poké Balls. I went to Phenac City and beat Justy at the Pre-Gym. Then I went to Agate Village and dropped Plusule off at the Day Care again and rearranged my party to get rid of the Shadow Pokémon. Then I returned to Phenac and battled in the Colosseum, where a challenge was now open.

Everything is so expensive in this game. I run close to being broke quite often. It's frustrating.

I have the opposite situation in Tales of Symphonia. This is because of Zelos. Zelos can be the most aggravating person alive, but he also comes in quite useful. Equip him with a EX Gem Level 2 and the skill "Personal," then start talking to girls when you enter cities, towns, or other places that are more or less populated. Though you can also get items this way, more often the girls will give Zelos money, and quite a lot of it at that. I have over 100,000 Gald now. It's as good as a Game Shark duplication trick, but it's legit. Pretty neat, huh?

As school is approaching, I did a little back-to-school shopping today. I was looking for those big binders that are cloth and have pen holders and stuff, but I couldn't find any good ones at Albertsons or Savon, the two stores that would have school supplies that are closest to my house. I did find a pleasant surprise, though...I found Totally Spies folders!! I had never seen these before and I was surprised. I bought two of them, one for each of my non-on-site classes, since I don't really need full folder sections for them.

Since I couldn't find a binder like what I wanted, I'm going to check at Target, which always has tons of back-to-school stuff. I would like a binder and maybe some of those stretchy book covers.

That's all. More later.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A funny car and a sad ending

I finally went to see Herbie: Fully Loaded today. Even though I never saw the original Herbie, I still enjoyed it (they do give you a sort of recap of Herbie's past in the beginning credits, though). The movie was really funny, especially when Trip, the champion racer and sort of the bad guy, got some kind of fluid sprayed in his face by Herbie. Pretty funny. And the demolition derby scene reminded me of a game my brother once rented called Demolition Derby 64 or something like that. It was quite realistic.

I also read a sad ending today, as I finally finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The ending was as surprising as it was sad. Actually the whole book was. Here's a rundown of the plot, with an appropriate spoiler warning.


The book, unusually, does not begin with Harry. In the first and second chapters, we get a peek into the activities of the Death Eaters, and learn that Snape is in league with them (which of course we knew already from previous books, but here he says it himself). We also learn that Draco's dad is in Azkaban, that Voldemort is definitely back, and that a foul plan is afoot which Draco is supposed to help with. Snape makes an Unbreakable Vow to Draco's mother, Narissa Malfoy, to protect Draco.

We finally return to Harry, as he anxiously awaits the arrival of Dumbledore, who has sent word that he is coming to fetch Harry to take him to the Burrow (the Weasley's house) for the rest of the summer. He also says he needs Harry's help for a stop they're making on the way.

Dumbledore finally shows up, and tells Harry and the Dursleys a few things. He tells the Dursleys that Harry is free to leave when he comes of age (at 17) and they should not stop him from doing so (which seems like a strange contradiction of Dumbledore's insistence in The Order of the Phoenix that Harry remain with the Dursleys because remaining with his mother's sister keeps the special power of his mother's love for him alive...but Dumbledore also says that they have not been treating Harry like family, so I guess that sort of nullifies the first thing). He tells Harry that Sirius has bequeathed all he owns to Harry, which includes Kreacher, the house-elf, who is not too happy about having Harry for a master.

Before reaching the Burrow, Harry and Dumbledore pay a visit to Horace Slughorn, an old friend of Dumbledore's and a former Hogwarts teacher. Harry persuades him to teach again.

Finally, after a stay at the Burrow, where we learn Fleur Delacour is marrying Bill Weasley, and Harry tracks Malfoy into Knockturn Alley and begins to suspect he's joined the Death Eaters in his father's place, we arrive at Hogwarts, where extra security has been implemented thanks to Voldemort's return.

A surprise comes during the welcome dinner, for which Harry is late cause he gets petrified by Malfoy after sneaking into his compartment using the Invisibility Cloak and left alone on the train until he is rescued by Tonks, an Auror who was a close friend of Sirius and who is currently assigned to monitor Hogsmeade. Slughorn, who Harry and co. expected would be taking over Defense Against the Dark Arts (since that position is ever vacant), is instead taking over Potions, which slides Snape into the Defense Against the Dark Arts job he's coveted for years!! Obviously, this is not good for Harry and co.

A weird thing happens in potions...Harry is given an old book that is all written in, supposedly belonging to the "Half-Blood Prince." With this he excels in Potions, much to Slughorn's joy and Hermione's dismay.

The bulk of the book deals with various hookups and breakups among couples, like Ron and Lavender Brown, Ginny and Dean Thomas, etc. Harry begins to fancy Ginny (and since Ron and Hermione are such a good pair, I say, take her!), but then decides not to go out with her so as not to anger Ron. There are also problems with the Gryffindor Quidditch team, of which Harry is now captain, because first his Chaser, Katie Bell, gets ill from a cursed necklace she picked up in Hogsmeade, and then Ron gets poisoned from mead meant for Dumbledore. Both recover, but the team is forced to replace them during the absence, leading to rivalries.

Harry ever endeavors to find out what Malfoy is doing, and figures out (with help from Dobby and Kreacher, who he tells to spy on Malfoy) he must be using the Room of Requirement, the same room Harry and co. used for D.A. meetings in The Order of the Phoenix. He keeps trying to trail him, without success.

Meanwhile, Harry is taking private "lessons" with Dumbledore, which are not really lessons. They spend each "lesson" delving into Dumbledore's Pensieve in order to learn more about Voldemort. Lots of Voldemort's backstory comes out in this, like that he split his soul into seven Horcruxes in order to try to make himself immortal.

When trying to retrieve one Horcrux (which turns out to not be one -- the one they find is a fake, and the real one has been taken from the spot already), Dumbledore is forced to drink a potion, which weakens him almost to the point of death. Harry hastily Apparates them both back to Hogsmeade, and they both fly on brooms to Hogwarts when they spy the Dark Mark above the Astronomy Tower. In the corridor, they face Malfoy, who disarms Dumbledore with Expelliarmus, while Harry, frozen by some sort of charm cast by Dumbledore nonverbally, watches. Malfoy reveals that he is indeed in league with the Death Eaters, and they are at this moment ravaging and fighting in Hogwarts. Snape then appears, and it is revealed that he is too is in league with Voldemort. He then does a really, really surprising thing: he turns on the teacher who trusted him all these years. He turns to Dumbledore, wand out, and incants,


Yes, the Killing Curse!! The same one that Voldemort used to kill Harry's parents, and no doubt, countless others!!

I couldn't believe it. DUMBLEDORE IS DEAD!!!

Oh, and guess what. Snape is the Half-Blood Prince. The old Potions book was his. The "Prince" title came from his witch mother, who last name was Prince.

The book ends with Dumbledore's funeral and looks towards the seventh and final book, with Harry vowing to go out and try to find and destroy all the Horcruxes so that he can finally kill Voldemort. Ron and Hermione tell him that they will go with him. We don't know what becomes of Malfoy, though. It sounded like he wasn't going to go back to Hogwarts for his seventh year, and if he doesn't, I say good riddance. I'm not sure about our heroes either...Harry said he wouldn't go back but instead search for the Horcruxes, but I think somehow he'll end up there. You can't just drop out of Hogwarts, after all. Or can you? I don't know.


Well, I'm going to go home now.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Brother Yun's bio and other stuff

I just finished reading The Heavenly Man, which is by a Chinese Christian named Brother Yun, who was persecuted and imprisoned several times for preaching the gospel in China. It was crazy stuff. What piqued my interest was that he, his co-workers, his mother and his wife heard God speak so clearly to them in visions. I wish God would do that with me.

With that done, I finally picked up Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I've had in my possession for more than a week and had not yet started reading. I am still in the beginning, but it settles and reveals some stuff. Some of this might be spoilers, so I'll put a spoiler alert.


1. Voldemort (or, rather He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named...but I'll be brave like Harry and Dumbledore and call him Voldemort) is definitely back, although we don't see a scene with him in the beginning like in one of the other books (book 5, I think). Even Fudge says so, and he was one of the main proponents of the attacks against Harry for saying so in The Order of the Phoenix.
2. Fudge has been sacked, so he's no longer Minister of Magic. Good riddance, I say.
3. Ron's dad has been promoted. He now heads some department dealing with bad spells disguised as good and stuff.
4. Fleur Delacour (the Triwizard champ from Beauxbatons) is engaged to Bill Weasley, Ron's eldest brother.
5. Snape is a spy for the Death Eaters, which is not surprising. We know he was a former Death Eater from The Order of the Phoenix, and that he's not totally good we know from the rest of the series. Not to mention he doesn't care for Harry at all.
6. Dumbledore is not the man he once was, and has an injured hand. This is supposedly because of his battle with Voldemort in The Order of the Phoenix, which wore him out a lot. But he is still Hogwarts headmaster and Head Warlock of the wizard court.
7. Sirius Black is most definitely dead. The Order of the Phoenix seems to leave some hope that he is not, since no one sees his body, even though Dumbledore seems pretty sure, and Harry too. But in the beginning of book 6 there is talk of Sirius's will, which indicates he is most certainly dead.
8. Harry is not likely to become an Auror, as he hoped in The Order of the Phoenix. He only got an "Exceeds Expectations" in Potions on his O.W.L. exams, whereas he apparently needed an "Outstanding." Ironically, he got an "Outstanding" in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Go figure.
9. Harry is going to be Quidditch captain for Gryffindor this year, putting him on the same level as Ron and Hermione (who are house prefects, as of The Order of the Phoenix).


I think that's enough. I've got to work on my final for my web design class.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The secret of Botta

I was reading through my old posts and saw one where I was trying to guess what Botta is, if he isn't a Desian. Well now I know, so I'm going to tell you. Don't read what's below if you're playing the game and haven't got to the Tower of Salvation in Sylvarant yet. If you have, or you haven't and you don't care about spoilers, read on.


After breaking the seal at the Tower of Mana, your final stop is the Tower of Salvation. You can get there by talking to the dragon guy in Hima after you heal Pietro, assuming you talked to him before when previously visiting Hima. Talk to all the characters in your party , who are scattered about the city, after Raine recommends rest. At one point, the green-haired guy who appeared at Sylvarant Base will appear and try to attack Colette. Kratos will intervene, and the guy will retreat. He drops the Assassin's Ring, which Lloyd automatically picks up. Kratos then departs for some unexplained reason. Make sure to talk to Colette too, on the mountain top. (The Sword Dancer will disappear from Ossa Trail after that talk, so wrap that up before this). Then rest at the inn. The next day, join the others in boarding the dragons, and pick someone to ride with you. It doesn't matter who...I picked Genis. After a cutscene, you will land in front of the Tower of Salvation. Enter, and a discussion will begin about the bodies floating below the bridge. Just then the group spots Colette sitting and praying, with Remiel floating above her. Remiel explains that this final seal will make Colette lose her heart and memory. A very passionate scene, where the others try to persuade Colette not to go through with this awful thing, and Remiel reveals that Colette was being primed all this time to become a vessel for Martel to dwell in (as well as other truths about the mysterious "Cruxis" and his own plans) follows. Remiel then challenges you to a fight. He must be defeated for you to continue on. Then Kratos appears. He mocks Remiel and then reveals that he is one of the Four Seraphim, the highest angels in Cruxis, and that he came down to Earth to make sure Colette didn't waver in her journey. He too challenges you to a fight, but after Remiel, you may not have much HP left. If you have Orange Gels, use them to power up Raine to heal everyone, or use Apple or Melange Gels to do the same. If you don't defeat him, the game goes on anyway. Then his boss, Yggdrasill, shows up, dispenses more truths about Cruxis's plans, and challenges you to a fight. He can't be beaten here except with replay game bonuses, according to my player's guide, but you can try if you like. You may not have much HP for this either after Kratos anyway. If you lose, the game still continues. Yggdrasill then tries to kill you and take Colette away, but Botta and company save you and Colette. As Lloyd, you wake up in Sylvarant Base, the base near Triet. Raine and the others reveal what happened to an uninformed Lloyd, and then the group is ushered into a room to talk with Botta and the green-haired guy, Yuan. They tell you that they are the Renegades, a sort of resistance movement that opposes Cruxis. That was why they were after the Chosen's party. They pretended to be Desians since that is the only "evil" people the group knew of at the time. (You kind of wonder how Botta got an Exsphere then -- the one on the end of his sword which Raine takes as her own after escaping the base initially--but there are so many mysteries in this game that it's best left unpondered). They still try to go after the party, since if the now-soulless Colette completes her mission, Cruxis wins. The group wonders what to do. They decide to go to Tethe'alla, Sheena's world, which she says the Renegades have visited, meaning that there's a way to get from one world to the other. Sheena also says that the Renegades usually traveled between Sylvarant and Tethe'alla on flying jets called Rheiards, which most likely are somewhere in the base. After a confusing puzzle involving moving blocks, you get to the hangar, find the Rheiards, and hop on them to soar off to Tethe'alla. The cut scene is great.


That's the secret of Botta.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

War of the worlds is sooo scary, and other stuff

I saw War of the Worlds yesterday. It freaked me out, and to think I had to go to work after that! (I didn't have to go in till 3:00 yesterday). I felt really bad for Dakota Fanning's character. Man can that kid scream. There's also something about machine-head aliens with tentacles and long spidery legs grabbing people and torching others with a laser beam that is far from appealing.

Next up on my list: Herbie: Fully Loaded and March of the Penguins. Then probably Sky High and Must Love Dogs, which come out this weekend.

I have made some nice purchases lately. I bought Pokémon Colosseum for my Game Cube yesterday. It didn't come with any kind of book though, so I set out today to try to find a player's guide, but it seems to have gone out of print. I was told I might have to go to Barnes and Noble, since they would be able to back-order it if they don't have it.

Today I bought an Etta James CD at Starbucks and then, after not finding the player's guide, I bought another game: WTA Tour Tennis.

I am still playing Tales of Symphonia, and today I picked up Final Fantasy Tactics Advance again after a long while, but had to repeat a battle cause I forgot to save after it when I turned my GBA off to go clock in.

I have a problem in Tales of Symphonia. I am in the new world, Tethe'alla, and I am about to go through the Meltokio Sewers. But I don't have any Magic Lenses (I used them all up in the Fooji Mountains en route to Pronyma) so I can't add the boss to the Monster List (the other monsters don't matter; I can get them later). I can't get into either of the nearest cities--Meltokio and Sybak--because Meltokio's entrance is closed off by guards, and the Grand Tethe'alla Bridge isn't open, which is the only way to Sybak right now. I can't get to the north part of the continent due to a stupid inlet river that I can't get around. The mountains block the way to the south (I tried going south around them but I wound up going in circles). So for the meantime I am fighting monsters hoping that one will drop a Magic Lens. It will help me get my new team members--Zelos and Presea--to learn Techs. Zelos learns Techs really slow cause half the time that you tell him to use a Tech, he doesn't do it. Fortunately, he learned Eruption and Grave after I made him use Fire Ball and Stone Blast a gazillion times. I'm working on making him learn Air Thrust, cause when he learns that, he can learn Healing Wind. I think I 'm trying to get him to learn some kind of sword tech too. Presea, Colette, and Sheena all had Techs they began learning too (Finality Punishment, Triple Ray Satellite, and Power Seal Pinion), but they were easier to deal with. Fortunately, I made pacts with the three Summon Spirits of Sylvarant (Undine, Efreet, and the Sylphs) before going to Tethe'alla so that their HP won't be way higher otherwise. Well, actually Undine you have to get while still in Sylvarant, since you need her for the Unicorn event. Efreet and the Sylphs can be fought later, after going to Tethe'alla, but if you wait till later their HP goes up, so it makes sense to deal with them right after Undine. So right now my party is (I think) Lloyd, Genis, Zelos, and Raine. If I could find a dumb Magic Lens, I can use it on the boss in the sewers (if I can figure out the dumb puzzle!!) and finally get back into Meltokio.

I just thought about something today. One time you meet the Wonder Chef, he is disguised as a "cat toy," according to the player's guide. But if you look closely, you will notice it is not a mere cat, but a maneki neko, or beckoning cat, which is considered good luck in Japan. That this should appear in the English version of the game is quite funny. Animal Crossing had the maneki neko taken out of it when it was translated.

I went to school today in search of a book on Cascading Style Sheets for my IMT class. I found one all about it in the library. Sweet. I also found out that the bookstore had the books for fall already, so I wrote down the info on those.

Mum says I have to buy my books this time. The thing that stinks is my chemistry book is WAYYY expensive, even used ($105.25!!). But since I am making more right now cause I'm working full-time, my mom makes me buy everything. I was going to look at Dell computers and possibly get a new tower with this check, but it may have to wait. For chemistry, I've got to buy the textbook, a lab book, a composition notebook, a class packet, and my own goggles. Why do I have to buy goggles?! Shouldn't they provide those?!

For my other classes I have one book apiece required, but they seem to be reasonably priced. My human development book is basically just available used right now, which is priced at $77.75 (as opposed to $103.50 for new). My western civ book is pretty cheap too, I think, and if my brother still has All Quiet on the Western Front (a recommended book for western civ...figures, there was a recommended novel for my last class with this same teacher...Traitor's Gate, but that was much more interesting) I won't have to buy that.

Why are college books so darn expensive?! I mean the course packet, goggles, lab book, and composition book for chemistry will amount to around $30 if I get the lab book and packet new (who wants a used lab book anyway??'s like when I got a used workbook for French, and it had writing in it that I had to erase). The bulk of my money will go to the other books. At least if I buy them, I can keep the money from buyback.

Once school starts, I'm going to see if my teachers require scantrons and buy a whole bunch at the beginning so I won't have to keep going back.

Okay enough I'm tired. Pity I forgot to get my check before I left work today; I could've deposited it tomorrow morning. Oh well. It doesn't matter; I still have money from the last check.

As for a new computer tower, there's a basic one in a Dell catalog my mom brought home for me for $299, which is really cheap. It only has a CD-ROM drive (well, and probably a floppy drive too, although they didn't say that) but that's fine. I wanted a DVD-ROM (so I don't have to hog the TV downstairs to watch my small personal collection of DVD's, mostly the $1 kind you can get like at Wal-Mart now) and a ZIP drive (since my ZIP disk has a higher storage capacity) but I can buy those separate and get somebody to install them for me, if there's room. Well, ok, the DVD one's not absolutely necessary, after all I've gotta go downstairs sometimes. The ZIP I would really like. That can't be that expensive. I can see if Office Depot or some place like that sells them. Otherwise I have to go all the way out to Fry's, which is quite a ways away, plus I don't know how to get there by bus.

Okay...tired now. Going.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Karaoke game for Game Cube

I almost forgot to mention this. I got a copy of Nintendo Power on Friday and it had some nice game updates. Like that a karaoke game is finally coming out for Game Cube!! It's called Karaoke Revolution Party and is made by Konami, who brought us Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution for PS2 and Xbox. And according to the Game Watch forecast, a DDR game is in development for the Game Cube called Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix.

A new Pokémon game is coming out-- Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness, which seems to be a sequel to Pokémon Colosseum--as well as a new Zelda game (The Legend of Zelda: Twlight Princess) and a game based on Zatch Bell, an anime series I first saw in its Japanese incarnation (called Konjiki no Gatch Bell) in anime club at Mira Costa, which has since been dubbed and is now showing on Cartoon Network. And it looks like there's a GBA game based on W.I.T.C.H. coming out (and also a Winx Club game..that's a kinda cool "magical girl" sort of show that airs on Fox)!!! I am sooooo getting that!! I'm also interested in the "Ultimate" games series that seems to be coming out for GBA, with puzzle games, table games, etc.

They should come out with a mah-jong game. That would be fun.

Okay enough. I need to get dressed.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Willy Wonka the amazing chocolatier

Sorry I haven't written in so long...there just hasn't been anything to write about.

I got the day off from work today (which never happens!) so I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory then dropped by Barnes and Noble to pick up my pre-ordered copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which came out today at midnight.

My schedule has been more lenient at work, probably because we have a new employee that they're training, so in the last couple days I've been catching up on movies I haven't seen. On Tuesday I saw Fantastic Four and the next day I saw Bewitched. Then after two days when I couldn't go (cause of Str8 Talk on Thursday and closing on Friday), I went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today. So, except for Herbie: Fully Loaded and War of the Worlds, I have caught up on movies, sacrificing seeing Madagascar and Star Wars Episode III in the process since they closed.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was really good. I had heard that it would be more like the book than the 1971 musical Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (with Gene Wilder in the title role), and whoever wrote that was right. It was almost exactly like the book, even down to the songs sung by the Oompa-Loompas (who are all played by one guy--Deep Roy--who has a striking resemblance to Bob Newhart, only with a samurai topknot). Veruca Salt is played almost exactly as she should be, and as spoiled as in the original movie. Freddie Highmore, who was also in Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp (who plays Wonka), plays Charlie. There are some stuff added, but it doesn't deviate from the book as much as the original movie did. There are some minor changes, but they're not detrimental to the plot. Wonka is given a backstory, where he wasn't allowed to have any candy growing up cause his father was a dentist. His father is played by Christopher Lee, who is a great actor (most recently known for his role as Saruman in The Lord of the Rings).

The wierd thing was, if you've seen the original movie, listen to Wonka's voice as it comes out of the loudspeakers when the group first enters the factory's gates. He sounds like Gene Wilder!

I love Johnny Depp...he is SOOO versatile as an actor, right up there with Robin Williams, Kenneth Branagh, and Pierce Brosnan. Robin Williams has done a LOT of comedy, so it would seem he is only good for that. If you think so, watch Bicentennial Man or Dead Poets' Society and you will see you are SOOO wrong. He is very serious in those movies. Pierce Brosnan is known mainly as the suave James Bond, but remember he did Evelyn too, which is a very different sort of movie. He also plays a minor role in Mrs. Doubtfire, as the love interest of Robin Williams's character's ex-wife, and that is a different sort of role than Bond. Also watch an episode of "Remington Steele" sometime. This was his first acting role in America (that I know of) and he actually could've become Bond a lot sooner had he not been in it (he lost a chance to be Bond in The Living Daylights due to a renewed interest in the series prompting a new season to be made in 1986...his co-star Stephanie Zimbalist had a similar situation, having to turn down a role in Robocop). Oh and Dante's Peak...another very different role. Okay well not so different. And Kenneth Branagh's work speaks for itself.

I'm tired and don't really have anything else to say. Bye.