I was looking for a DVD box set of an animé called "Steins;Gate". Amazon sort of does one (not in France) that is an expensive two-part Bluray/DVD combo. I reckon it would be very nice to watch this animé in HD - the problem is that I have no HD equipment, so a Bluray disc is a mite less than useful to me.
After some Googling, I found a site called OtakuCastle listing a plain DVD version for €19,98 postage included. Seems okay, so I went to order.
PayPal spat the order back, with the message that "To Yo Trading cannot receive payments". A friend dug around and found out that the site is registered to "Toyo" in Selangor, Malaysia. Specifically, somebody called James. Not the Ivan that explained that the site is "not accepting payment at the moment" (quote).
At this point, I decided that it all sounded rather strange, and I was unwilling to send money as a private sale (in order words, any payment not to the business was unacceptable). So I found a seller on eBay listing the same article at around €17 and I purchased that. And then I sent an email to Ivan of OtakuCastle to say as much (and to ask for my shopping cart to be cleared as the site does not appear to provide a mechanism in order that this may be done).
Ivan gets back in touch telling me that a paypal payment request has been sent - and indeed one arrived - payment to be sent to a person called Maria (her full name is longer but I'm not going to post it - though a Google search for her exact name results in zero results).
Order status is updated to "Awaiting payment". I think it will be awaiting payment for a long time. I sent another message stating that I was not going to order this product in this way, so Ivan helpfully pointed me to their alternate site - force-anime.com.
The eBay vendor is also based in Malaysia (the DVD is a Malay/Chinese/English subtitled one - did this as a plain DVD set never make it to the west or something?). Wouldn't it be ironic if it was the same person!?
Well, having requested a DLM to be stuck on my line, I received a response from Orange's tech saying that my line appears to be stable so they weren't going to do anything.
I noticed a download today hit 260K/sec. That's just not possible on 1.6ish megabit.
I mean, I would love faster broadband, but I understand quite well that certain laws of physics are getting in the way. Sadly I'm not a reality warper (else my little town would be known by the locals as Little Tōkyō!) so 2 megabit is about all I can expect at this distance. Well, I now have it. And a tripling of my upload speed to boot (so I can dump lots more cack on YouTube - quick, wake up the cute kitty!).
10 bit HD video
Since AnimeSenshi is offline for some reason, I grabbed an HD version of an animé. A 10-bit one to boot.
Goes without saying my 1.6GHz Atom-based eeePC 901 with Intel graphics hardware can't cut it. In standard playback, my itty-bitty mobile phone with a dual core 1GHz ARM almost manages it (it's a bit jerky but the main problem was with losing sound randomly). I find it comic that a low-end mobile phone can outpace a real PC. If my phone video player (MXPlayer) allowed the same sort of optimisations as SMPlayer - like "skip loop filter" and such, it might actually make 10bit 720p H.264 flow smoothly.
I can get it working on the PC, however:
- MPlayer process priority - high (isn't it this already!?)
- Decoding threads - 2 (but note it might need to go back to one if non-HD stuff crashes)
- Loop filter - skip on HD (two threads gives much nicer picture than the blockiness of one thread)
- And, of course, jack the processor speed to max. Asus' control utility "Super Hybrid Engine" has a super speed mode that will overclock the Atom to 1.8GHz.
Goodbye, Hello & Goodbye
[the title is an inverted reference to "Hello, Goodbye & Hello from the animé "Children Who Chase Lost Voices from Deep Below" [星を追う子ども] - it's a nice song and a ridiculously beautiful movie; really, the level of "scenery porn" is so far beyond eleven it's off the scale, just look at the linked YouTube video]
As a bloke, I am half female. This is because I have an X chromosome and a Y chromasome. Girls are an X,X pairing. There is no such thing as a Y,Y human.
We are not quite there yet, but it is not out of the realms of capability to imagine that it would be possible to diddle around with one female human egg in order to blend an X from there into the egg of another female human. This will, always create a female (X,X) baby.
Conversely, this procedure cannot be performed with a male. Not only does a male human have no mechanism for containing a developing embryo, but a Y,Y will at best result in a many-toothed creature that rips out of the guy's chest and attacks humanity, successfully. You could, perhaps, take an X or a Y and implant them into a female, but why the science? We've been doing exactly that for nigh on ten thousand years using a docking sequence that even a complete moron could fail to mess up (yet some, somehow, manage to do so...).
Then we must consider that it needs a female human to make a baby human. For all the "gay rights" in the world, two guys simply cannot "have a baby". It is biologically impossible. However there is a caveat. That being that, inbreeding and gene dilution issues aside, it would be perfectly acceptable to have a hundred females and one male. I'm sure he'd be rather a happy male, all those girls wanting to have his babies. Constantly. But, that's all it would require if ever there was a need to restart our species. Lots of girls and a couple of boys.
But, on the other hand, us males do have a purpose. We must nourish and protect the females. Keep them from harm, keep them fed. As much as it is the job of a female to raise children, it is the job of the male to protect the female. As a civilisation we have evolved to pair off. A male and a female devote themselves to each other. This is not unique, some males have multiple females, and some partners seek out unofficial pairings when they believe the proper partner isn't paying attention. However, by and large, this unquantifiable "love" thing keeps a male and a female stuck to each other.
One thing you will notice, however, is that the role of a female is actually pretty important. If I found the girl of my dreams and got her pregnant, in a sense that would be my destiny fulfilled. Somebody else could guard her from harm. A different person could nourish her. We, the males, are actually interchangeable. So long as the female is looked after, it does not matter who. Well, it does matter - it's that "love" thing again. Or maybe an issue of trust. Either way, what is clear is that:
- It is the purpose of a female to create new humans
- It is the purpose of a male to look after the needs of the female
[Goodbye] Enter religion. The ancients had it right. Wise sages (female), Mother Nature... Call them neanderthals if you must, but they had this one sussed.
In more recent times, the males realised that they were, essentially, screwed. They set about a coup to restore an honour they never really had in the first place, and the females didn't make too much of a fuss. So we have a belief system where a supreme being (male) and his son (male) are all important (except for the places where they still retain vestiges of the old ways and worship Mary instead). The religion is based upon male priests and vicars, male bishops... this leaks out into the Real World where the executives and directors who are female generally have to do a more impressive show than an equivalent male in order to catch the same breaks. In addition, average pay is less for the same work as a male counterpart, and there is a lot of gender bias (I myself am always pleased to see a Girl Geek pop up as this is so often a males-only pursuit).
This brings us to The Church Of England. Known internationally as "the Anglican church" (as in Anglo-Saxon, Angleterre, etc). Basically this is "Catholocism For Dummies" - there's no confession, no hail mary, no saints, no billions of days in purgatory. If you take what a Catholic believes and pull out all the red tape, paperwork, and beaurocracy, the result is Protestantism. This isn't a surprise, for it descended from Catholocism back in the 16th century (the full boring blah is on Wiki if you are interested).
Why the Church of England? Because that is what I am supposed to be. I was confirmed or baptised or something. Some bloke in fancy robes chucked water on my head and I didn't burst into flames. I was entered into the Church at the request of my mother. Something about lost souls. I was 15 and had more important things to think about than fuzzy religious doctrine. But I went along with it, it made her happy so that was good enough.
I am now going to make her unhappy. For I am older and
wiser stupider better able to think things through, and while I have never been a good little Christian (too many questions), I have asked the questions I ask in order to attempt to find some sort of sense in our existance. I may talk more on this another time, suffice to say that...
[Hello] I have a lot of respect for the female humans. Not because they are female, and not because I hope to pair up with one someday, but more basically because the alternative is to disrespect half of our species. I believe that employment, positions, benefits, and all sorts should be based upon the simple fact of ability. Not gender, not colour, not who your daddy is, but quite simply "ability".
I would like to believe in something other than myself. I would like to believe in something open, caring, friendly, that makes you feel happy to be a part of it. I am currently looking at Shinto (spot the Japanese influence!) but do not know if that is compatible with how I perceive the world. It is fantastically interesting, all the same.
I cannot say what I do believe in. I have not found it yet.
I can say what I do not believe in. What I do not believe in is a religion that you "suffer". A religion should empower a person, enrich their lives, and make them happy. It should never be mourned, it should never be suffered, and it should never throw hardships at a believer no matter what the excuse.
And above all, it should promote equality as much as is possible. You should expect to go to the head person for advice or guidance and have no problem with that person being male or female. A ceremony should be led by a female just as it would be led by a male.
I find the current state of affairs within the Church of England to be utterly appalling. I struggle to understand why this happened, and I feel sorry for those who were more openminded to welcoming women into the Church in a much more active role. However, many years of preparations and it was not to be. A vote of no-confidence was recently held in the Laity, and this fell down too. The Church of England is just not yet ready to welcome females with open arms. As a result of this, I find myself unable to continue to hold any sort of allegiance or connection to the Church. I have, for want of a better phrase, lost faith in The Church of England.
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|joe, 25th January 2013, 23:32|
Why would anyone want to be a part of a world wide institution, responsible for kipping humanity in dark ages for more than 300 years, responsible for atrocities on human race and brain washing us for centuries.
|Rick, 25th January 2013, 23:54|
Some people see it as bringing "enlightenment", a means to "save" the human race, and showing us "the truth".
But, then, some people see fairies...
(Felicity? Marte? Find out!)
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