Saturday, June 2, 2012

Moving!

I have a new site! And I copied all of my posts to it. All new updates will be here! :)

-- SystemsReady

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why I Like Ice Hockey (and the Winnipeg Jets)

As someone who isn't very much of a sports person (I'm actually not that big of a TV person in general), my newfound admiration and love for watching hockey, especially college hockey, took me by surprise. Today, while I was admiring a tweet by Wil Wheaton (who is a massive LA Kings fan), I found myself thinking, "If I met him and he asked me why I like hockey, what would I say?". With that in mind...

My first hockey game of any kind was in my freshman year of college. In the Frozen North, it's cold enough and snowy enough that it's commonplace to have toddlers who can ice skate. Hockey is such a big sport up here that our hockey arena can hold twelve thousand people - and often hits that number of people attending, especially when a rival is here. So naturally, alongside the commonplace Marching (American football) and Basketball Bands, we have a Hockey Band. And naturally, being the bandaholic that I am, I opted to join it despite knowing absolutely nothing about hockey. My hometown is Las Vegas. Our resident hockey team, the Las Vegas Wranglers, play in an arena, The Orleans Arena, that isn't even a hockey arena the majority of the time. I had my high school graduation there. So you can imagine that I was absolutely clueless about hockey. I literally asked when halftime was and I got laughed at by my fellow bandmates (note: for those who don't know how ice hockey works, it's three periods with two intermissions).

Despite my initial sheer ignorance, I fell in love, both with the sport itself and the culture of college hockey, however annoying and ugly it may be at times. Hockey, at least college hockey, is a fast sport, especially when compared to the stop-and-go action of football and the jogging pace of basketball. This alone made it more interesting to me than other sports I had previously watched for band. I found the mechanics of teamwork and interaction with the opposing team far more interesting than in other sports - making blink-and-you'll miss it formations, passes that require almost psychic knowledge of the location of the other players, weaving and dodging in between friend and foe alike just to get that stick on (or keeping it on) the puck. Of course, there's the checking and the fights, too, but I honestly find them as interesting as I find tackles in football: meeeeeeh. And after you watch a certain team long enough, you start getting a feel for the players' styles - Trupp's penchant for bouncing the puck on his stick, or Gregoire's insanely scalpel-precise, blink-and-you'll-miss-it shots to the goalie. (Oh god, I probably just gave away what college I go to now, hahaha)

The college hockey culture is great, too. Chants, signs, you name it, people have it. The enthusiasm at a game is incredibly infectious. I actually like the atmosphere at the Women's games more, though, mainly because the people who go there actually care more and aren't drunk off their asses because the lack of popularity that the program has keeps the idiot frat boys from going. That said, I do enjoy going to both games, playing for people, reading the crowd's energy and feeding off of it to keep going throughout the night. It's actually this environment that I find myself thinking of when I think about becoming a DJ, as a way to stay involved in that brand of music performance after I graduate college - professional hockey doesn't have hockey bands.

As for why I like the Winnipeg Jets...it's related to a story that I get to tell you. I actually wrote a blog post about this, but in the shuffle of too many things to do and not enough free time, I never posted it - or the copious amount of pics I took for it.

Our marching band was supposed to go to Utah this past school year for our annual uber-giant-awesome band trip to somewhere not in the Frozen North. However, because of ballooning projected costs and the Utah college's lack of conviction on whether we'd even see field time, the highly-anticipated trip was scrapped. In return, however, the President of our University promised that he would ensure funding for all projected Hockey Band trips this past year - including a new one that the lovely people at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg wanted us to do - even later offering to pay for the costs themselves and having no limit on the number of people we could bring with us (which is a HUGE deal - NCAA requirements are incredibly strict on the number of people in a hockey band at, say, the Final Five and the Frozen Four, so only about 30-or-so people can normally attend those tournaments in our band).

So naturally, I got back early from Winter Break and went on this trip. We drove there by bus and stayed in a nice casino/hotel that was its own little piece of Vegas (and I took lots of pics! I'll post them sometime). But by far the biggest, greatest thing about the trip was now nice everyone was: both the staff at the MTS Centre AND the local hockey fans, who turned up just to see some hockey, even if both teams were American. They were great sports, and they were extremely kind to us. Apparently hockey bands are a rarity in the Even More Frozen North, so we were a kind of novelty. We got TWO encores after the game. TWO. And we got tons of applause from them. When I think about that trip...it makes it all worth it. The memories of this trip keeps me from becoming a clarinet-playing She-Hulk when we get totally heckled by asinine Gophers fans.

Which is why my favorite NHL team is the Winnipeg Jets. They play at the MTS Centre, and many of the people who attended that game we played at were Jets fans. I can't help but think about them when I hear about the Jets playing. Plus...they're not from Minnesota, their fans are nicer, and they're physically closer to where I live in the Frozen North than the Minnesota Wild is. Also, I'm an Air Force brat, and rooting for a team called the Jets just feels totally RIGHT to me, hahaha!

So that's the short (well- *looks at post* -more like really long) of it. Maybe I need to figure out a way to make this more concise, ahahaha.

HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY, OY OY OY!

EDIT: How the HELL did I miss the last paragraph when copying this over? OH NOES! D:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On Pauly D & Deadmau5

So one of my sisters, upon reading about the Twitter war between these two aforementioned artists (though perhaps I should use the term "artist" loosely for Pauly D...the guy's on Jersey Shore, after all), said that deadmau5 seems to have started the fight and has a "Twitter-temper". This, by the way, was after reading MTV News's article about the thing (yeah, because there's NO way they could possibly be biased for a "star" on one of their god-awful "reality" shows, right?).

To which I reply: lolwhut?

Now, I'm sure there's a gazillion blog posts and articles about it by now, so my two-cents will be focused on a trend or two that I think this highlights, as opposed to me going on and on about the order of events here. Basically, Pauly D posted his latest music vid on Twitter, asking people in the Tweet what they thought about it, and deadmau5 said that he didn't like it (and for the record, the first tweets in which he said this were really tactful, especially for him). Pauly D proceeded to get massively butthurt, calling deadmau5 a "hater" and having his legions of fans attacking the Canadian artist. Which, naturally, pissed off deadmau5, much like how walking into a sleeping dragon's lair and poking it in the eye will piss it off.

This to me highlighted two annoying trends: one, people's tendency to get insanely butthurt nowadays towards anything that could be perceived as a personal attack, including legit criticism, and two, the idea that because someone's famous, they are untouchable and are above all criticism. These two trends are greatly related to each other. For instance, in this case, Pauly D is clearly used to getting his ass kissed by his fans, and having someone on (or, in this case, above) his level say "lolno, it's not that good" is a change from the norm he's used to, to the point that a relatively benign negative criticism about his work gets interpreted as a personal attack, hence the Twitter explosion over an honest opinion. A lot of the fandom attacks on deadmau5, I noticed, cited how successful Jersey Shore was, etc., hence displaying the second aforementioned annoying trend.

To be fair, the first trend of "negative critcism = personal attack" happens to lots of people on the internet, not just famous people (and even deadmau5 is guilty of falling into this at times). The fanmade Vocaloid character Yowane Haku is a personification of this trend, stemming from instances in which artists, after whining about how they never get any attention, will then whine about negative criticism their badly-made songs would get after people would actually look at their stuff. The name "Yowane Haku" could literally be translated as "to utter negative thoughts" or, eloquently, "to spew complaints". And this trend is a hallmark of bad fanfiction, bad videos, etc.. How many times have you come across a bad fanfic on the internet, and, upon someone posting geniune criticism and genuine recommendations to fix their flaws, get banned and/or labeled by the author as a "hater"? Or crossing into real life, look at parents who get all offended when their kid brings home assignments with bad grades, and attack the teacher, as if the teacher pointing out the student's poor performance is a personal attack on the parents themselves. This trend is a major sign of emotional immaturity - someone so unused to any genuine criticism, or used to being coddled by everyone, that any criticism as such is instantly perceived as a way to tear them down instead of helping them.

The second trend really drives me nuts. I first became keenly aware of it during the Twitter war between deadmau5 and Madonna (notice a pattern here?) over his incredibly vitrolic response to her ham-handed "Molly" comment at the Ultra Music Festival. Many of her fans went on and on and on about how her popularity makes it ok, and who's deadmau5, a lowly "unknown" electronic music producer, to even DARE to criticize one of the queens of pop? And the same is seen in this latest Twitter war too: "Pauly D's making tons of money on his show, what the hell are YOU doing? Nothing.", "You're just jealous", etc.. I hate this mindset. The idea that someone can be above criticism is a poisonous one. Let's take this mindset and apply it to areas outside of the Twittersphere, for instance. Are politicians above criticism now? They make tons of money and get lots of press time. CEOs? Actors and others in the movie industry? If having fame and money makes you above criticism, what's stopping you from doing bad things, aside from your inherent empathy? How will you improve yourself if you don't get legit criticism because everyone thinks you don't need it?

Of course, these trends will never go away, but I thought that the Twitter war two days ago was a poignant illustration of them. Food for thought.

VocaList Updates

Sorry I haven't gotten much done. You should notice that some of the images on the site look different, though. Anyway, here's my changelist of updates for the past two weeks or so:

+ New Voicebanks have been added to the About Vocaloid page:
+ Bruno has been added. (info.php, list.php)
+ Clara has been added. (info.php, list.php)
+ Akita Neru has been added. (info.php, list.php)
+ Kasane Teto has been added. (info.php, list.php)
+ Sakine Meiko has been added. (info.php, list.php)
+ Yowane Haku has been added. (info.php, list.php)

+ Changed the content on the About Vocaloid page. (about.php)

+ All descriptions on the About Vocaloid page now have up-to-date info. (info.php)

+ Did various image-related additions and fixes on the site:
+ Redid the following:
+ Kamui Gakupo's Song Search Result image
+ Nekomura Iroha's Song Search Result image
+ Mew's Song Search Result Image
+ Utatane Piko's Song Search Result Image
+ Akikoloid-chan's Song Search Result Image
+ Aoki Lapis's Song Search Result Image
+ Leon's Song Search Result Image
+ Lola's Song Search Result Image
+ Miriam's Song Search Result Image
+ Prima's Song Search Result Image
+ Sonika's Song Search Result Image
+ Tonio's Song Search Result Image
+ Sweet Ann's Song Search Result Image
+ Big-Al's Song Search Result Image
+ Oliver's Song Search Result Image
+ Bruno's Song Search Result Image
+ Clara's Song Search Result Image
+ Kasane Teto's Song Search Result Image
+ Kaito's About Vocaloid Image
+ Lily's About Vocaloid Image
+ Nekomura Iroha's About Vocaloid Image
+ Akikoloid-chan's About Vocaloid Image
+ Luo Tianyl's About Vocaloid Image (Not Implemented Yet)
+ Sonika's About Vocaloid Image

+ Added the following:
+ Vocaloid3 Lily's Song Search Result image
+ Luo Tianyl's Song Search Result image

+ Fixed a bug in which Sweet Ann's and Big-Al's song search result images were mixed up. This is because Big-Al is listed before Sweet Ann in the code (leftover from back when Vocaloids were more organized by name than release date) for the image script, which isn't true for the classes for the images in the CSS stylesheet. It's fixed now. (image.php)

I'm in the middle of redoing the entire sprite sheet for the Stats Vocaloid images, which is why none of them have changed. This will also involve me redoing the CSS classes for these images, so please don't be surprised if they look...odd for a little bit. Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm working kinda-sorta full time over the summer in a web development job, so even with school being out, my free time's a little limited at the moment.

--SystemsReady :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Noooope.

Sorry, no real post this week either. Yet again, real life gets in the way of all of my meticulously-crafted site plans! I got some Vocaloid entries for the About Vocaloid page done and fixed a glitch, but that stuff (aside from the bug fix) hasn't been uploaded to the site yet. I have so many homework assignments and projects due this upcoming week...things should slow down a little bit after that...maybe.

SystemsReady

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Long Time No See

Rest assured, I've just been busy lately. Here's your really short list of updates for the site. >x<;;

+ Adding a new PV is fixed for REAL this time. Turned out to be an entirely different problem than anticipated (I used a wrong variable for a value in the MySQL query). Ugh. It's really, really fixed this time! (update.php)

+ Well look at that, search actually works again. I dunno why that was broken or how long it was broken. Weird. (compare.php)

+ Added new voicebanks to the About Vocaloid page:
+ Prima has been added. (list.php, info.php)
+ Sonika has been added. (list.php, info.php)
+ Tonio has been added. (list.php, info.php)
+ Sweet Ann has been added. (list.php, info.php)
+ Big-Al has been added. (list.php, info.php)
+ Oliver has been added. (list.php, info.php)

+ Akikoroid-Chan has been changed to Akikoloid-Chan, and songs featuring this voicebank have been changed to reflect this. (list.php, info.php, image.php)


I plan on doing a WHOLE LOT MORE over the next week, such as finishing the rest of the voicebank listings on the About Vocaloid page, updating said listings, updating voicebanks (yes, I know that Aoki Lapis is out and that Yayin Gongyu's name and design got changed), and fixing the various images on the site (I finally found a version of Akikoloid-chan's artwork that isn't blurry yaaaay). I also plan on actually redesigning the Browse page, though I have no idea if I'll actually implement it by the end of the week.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Gradual Changelist

Here's what's been done over the past several days:

+ Added more voicebanks to the About Vocaloid page:
+ Lola's information has been added, her image uploaded, and her name added to the list of voicebanks on the page. (info.php, list.php)
+ Miriam's information has been added, her image uploaded, and her name added to the list of voicebanks on the page. (info.php, list.php)

+ Information has been updated for existing voicebanks on the About Vocaloid page:
+ Vocaloid3 Megpoid Native's release date has been added. (info.php)
+ Aoki Lapis's release date has been added. (info.php)
+ Ring Suzune's information has been updated to mention things brought up in the latest demo. (info.php)
+ SeeU's information has been updated with info about her upcoming English voicebank. (info.php)

+ Added corresponding site images for Gumi Native, now that they released the boxart for that voicebank.
+ Added corresponding code for those images (image.php, style.css)
+ Native's boxart has been added to Gumi's About Vocaloid image.

+ Found a high-res boxart of Mew, so her images were redone.

+ Added individual images for all of the items that show up on the stats.png sprite set, as well as one for UTAUs.
+ Made a new function in the image generation script for the handling of these new images. (image.php)

+ Fixed Miriam's song search result image.

+ Changed the Vocaloid section for the song entry generation script. Yaaay less text! (entry.php, style.css)
+ Added working mouseover text for the Vocaloid images. I knew that the alt attribute wouldn't work, but I ran out of time to research the appropriate attribute before work.

+ Prettied up the song data in the song entry generation script (entry.php).

+ Put in a temporary patch to the related songs script so that entries with multiple credited artists don't exhaust the allowed amount of memory allocated. I don't get it. I fixed glitches and such in the script, but I STILL get a fatal error for that. Having multiple tags doesn't do it, wtf? I'll buy more memory for the site when I have money. (related.php)

+ Made the "song added" message a little less squished. (addform.php)

+ Put in an artist completion portion for song adding. Basically, if one of the artist fields is unlisted, the add songs script will now look through the database for songs with the same artist, and automatically fill in the other field. Yay, no more quick song searches for English translations of Japanese names that I can't remember! (add.php)
+ Added the code for it to the song updating script, too. (update.php)

+ The Incomplete Songs page has been revamped, not only to look better, but to load faster, too. It doesn't try to generate all of those different cases at once... (incomp.php)
+ Search engine can now handle the Incomplete Songs cases (assemble.php, compare.php).

+ Fixed a glitch in the song update script in which it would look at the wrong field in its attempt to get an album title, resulting in an erroneus error message. (update.php)

+ Fixed a glitch in the song update script in which new PVs submitted would not be added to the PV database. ARGH. How did I not catch this when I wrote it?! (update.php)

+ Tags over 75 characters long will now appear in an actual textbox instead of the narrow, thin...box-thing that usually shows up. (edit.php)

+ Tag searches from the individual song entry page will no longer fetch partial matches (for instance, clicking on the "Moe" tag in a song entry will not yield a search result that includes "Moetron Subs", only those with the actual "Moe" tags in their tags, clicking "Weekly Vocaloid Ranking 10" won't fetch songs with "Weekly Vocaloid Ranking 100", etc.). (compare.php)

+ Fixed a typo that prevented the message for tag searches from showing up properly. (compare.php)

+ Started adding songs and tags for the Weekly Rankings. Fun fact: the Weekly Vocaloid Rankings originally started out as the Weekly Miku Miku Rankings!


I've been trying to make a version of the Browse Vocaloid page that doesn't look like crap and I've been entirely unable to. It's really, really frustrating.