Living the Good Life, Episode 15 (August 5, 2016):

Ahhh, yes…this was a good week. Da lowdown:


WATCHAN:

Berserk 4-5, Jojo 17-18, OPM dub 2-3:

One-Punch Man 2: Enjoyed it as much as the first. Genos’s English voice will take some getting used to, but I think his VA did a good job overall.  In fact, I think all the VAs so far are doing a great job capturing the original spirit of the anime. Mosquito Girl’s voice was great, and the House of Evolution guys were god damn hilarious. I lost it when Saitama told Genos to keep things short and when the gorilla dude admitted he just wanted to sound cool. And Genos calling Saitama “sensei” and then “master” was just PERFECT XDSo far I’d give this dub an A 😀

One-Punch Man 3: I’m impressed once again–Genos’ voice is growing on me, the English VA has nailed Saitama’s personality (BARGAIN DAY AT THE SUPERMARKET!) and the Carnage Kabuto guy was pretty satisfying. I’m liking this dub more every week. I wonder who they’ll get to voice Tatsumaki?

Berserk 4: This might be my favorite episode so far. There wasn’t much action except at the end, so the failures of the animation weren’t as apparent, and I thought the anime gave some excellent lines to Guts’ blacksmith-mentor on the problems with revenge. Very good stuff.

Berserk 5: Scratch that, this is my favorite episode! The animation seems a little better and they finally, FINALLY gave Guts’ sword a new sound effect, which I muchly appreciate. My complaints are mainly about scene breaks…sometimes they seem a little abrupt or disjointed, and the anime cut out a couple of important scenes from the manga, such as the fate of one woman and her baby. Still, the improvements outway my directorial quibbles, so I’m very happy.

Jojo 17: Finally, the main plot started moving forward! This episode was just like the story from the manga, though I admit the ghost parts of it scared me a little…just a little…heh, heh. XD

Jojo 18: Yet another episode without any action, but this one was classic, introducing a character from the manga while having Josuke and his friend Okuyasu try their hand at a get-rich scheme! This show continues to impress me with its ability to entertain even when there aren’t huge battles or important plot progression going on. Really one of the better things I’ve been watching recently.

Didn’t watch Macross 17 and 18 this week…I’ll catch them, along with 19, next week, I suppose :p

PLAYAN:

Just Vindictus, mainly, even though my compy seems to have been repaired quite well (no more problems). Just grinding, just grinding, so nothing important :p

TIMAN:

Not much this week–I’d hoped to get another Dragonar ep out, but people have been busy; for instance Starseeker has been a lil sick and has also ran IRL job interviews and stuff. Hopefully things will pick up next 😀

READAN:

Been reading a lot of stuff too!

Sour Candy by the reasonably well known horror writer, Kealan Patrick Burke. I very much enjoyed this–no spoilers, but it’s a take on the classic “kid with special powers makes his caretakers’ lives hell” story (kinda like the one from The Twilight Zone) with a very interesting Lovecraftian twist and a horrific ending. The buildup, setting, everything was great. Excellent work!

Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Volume 2: Ambition. I don’t have as much to say about this one as I did about the previous entry, because most of what I said back then still applies. LoGH #2 is as good as #1, perhaps even better, given that Huddleston’s translation seems to be improving. There are a couple of errors, like Julian, a character in the democratic Free Planets Alliance, calling a superior “Excellency” (which is more suited for a feudal setting like the Empire), and some errors with counting (a planet described as having 2 million people on one page is said to have 20 million later), but generally the politics (a coup on one side, a civil war in the other), battle scenes (some very heavy hand to hand combat!) and characters (there’s one guy who’s a complete, shameless loser you just love to hate) remain eminently engaging. 😀

Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, who I read and liked the week before last. This was a pretty disturbing story–not quite scary (though it was in parts)–about an exorcism, kinda like that of The Exorcist. However, in this there’s a great deal of ambiguity as to whether or not the possession is actually real or has entirely natural explanations. In this respect, it’s similar to Tremblay’s other novel I reviewed, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

 

WRITAN:

Not much this week. Maybe next.

COMPUTERAN:

Well, as I promised, I’ll give y’all a rundown on the issues I was having with my Digital Storm machine.

It’s the one I had complimented so highly in this entry. A little while ago–a few months after I got it–I noticed a weird problem with it. Sometimes, whenever I turned it on, it’d just make a loud whirring noise while the monitor (my TV) would remain black, and wouldn’t do anything unless I held the power button down to shut it off. The first time this happened I didn’t give it much thought; the next times it did I tried changing the power settings around in my computer, and that seemed to help for a little while, but the problem came back a couple of weeks ago, and the last time it did, it apparently led to some severe problems–after I “hard shut down” the uncooperative machine by holding down the power button, it had to perform a system repair, and even after that, it apparently screwed up Symantec Antivirus entirely on my computer. When I ran the event viewer function, I saw all kinds of errors, ranging from drives failing to start to harddisk problems and all that.

Thus, I promptly emailed Digital Storm. The representative assigned to me was quite helpful and knowledgable, but the errors made me fear for the installation of my operating system (Windows 7), and the hard drive error in particular made me fear I had a bad part, so I wanted them to look at it and arranged to have the machine sent in.

I should have done it sooner, as it would have been completely free within the first 30 days. By this point, however, there was a 78 dollar shipping fee, along with the stress and inconvenience of lugging a heavy, fragile computer to the UPS office, all while planning a trip out of state! I managed to do so, including a printed out description of all the issues my machine was having and a recommendation they use the event viewer function as well, and was relieved when the UPS tracking site said it arrived safely…

But after that I had a few problems. I wanted to keep tabs on how it was doing, as the emails Digital Storm sent me consisted of things like “STAGE 1: Arrived” and “Stage 2: Diagnostics,” i.e just very broad, vague descriptions of what was going on rather than anything specific. However, I found it pretty difficult to get a hold of my representative at DS. Emails took a fairly long time to be received, and I spent a great deal of time on hold trying to contact him on the phone, which resulted in me going over my cell phone plan’s alloted hours and paying more due to that–VERY irritating. According to my rep, his hours had been changed recently, so I can’t hold it against him, and he was always as helpful as he could be and was both apologetic it was hard to get in touch and sincerely concerned (at least it seemed) with my satisfaction, so I can’t say I’m dissatisfied with his performance. But making sure the repair technicians were doing the right thing was another matter…when I called to see how things were going, I was told the technicians had found out something was wrong with my hard disk and replaced it, but they couldn’t replicate the startup problem I was having. They also gave no indication of having read the printed description of my problem, and I had to remind the representative I talked to (not the one I had started with) to give it to them. After that, they said they could reinstall windows 7 to fix some of the driver issues, and I consented to that, assuming they’d have to do so anyways and having backed everything up.

Afterwards, they mailed my computer back to me, and it arrived while I was away in North Carolina, at Duke. A bit unpleasant, but fortunately my father was home to get the machine. When I got it back, it seemed to be working well enough, running quietly, fast, and so far, after one week, without any of the annoying startup problems. The CD drive even seems to be running faster (this was something I mentioned to the representative via phone but didn’t describe in my emails or printed problem sheet, as I didn’t think it was a serious problem). However, not long after I took it out of the box they mailed back to me, I ran into problems with Windows Update. After downloading 212 updates, the computer restarted to install them. On restart, however, it said “failed to configure updates. Restarting” and then afterwards, Windows Update just hung on “checking for updates!” Fortunately, I looked it up online and there seemed to have been some problems with Microsoft’s July updates, so I downloaded a fix and the machine seemed to update properly after that.

Then I ran into another problem! After installing those 212 updates properly, my computer wanted to install 2 more updates for some reason. It did so, and shut down. When I turned it back on, I got this error:

“Secure Boot Violation: The system found unauthorized changes on the firmware, operating system or UEFI drivers. Press [OK[ to run the next boot device, or entire directly to BIOS setup if there are no other boot devices installed. Go to BIOS Setup > Boot and change the current boot device into other secured boot devices.”

Thankfully, my DS representative got back to me very quickly and told me that when in BIOS set up, to go to the security settings and change the OS option from UEFI to “other OS.” That seemed to work, and my computer turned on normally after that. Still, it was a pretty irritating conundrum…not sure I can blame Digital Storm for it if the problematic updates were released very recently, though.

So overall, I’m neutral about the service I received from Digital Storm. On the one hand, they seem to have repaired my computer well and the representative who spoke to me was both knowledgable and very much interested in helping me and concerned for my welfare. However, it was hard getting a hold of him and troublesome ensuring Digital Storm’s technicians checked everything they needed to–and the fact that I even had to spend 78 dollars in the first place wasn’t what I expected from what should have been a perfect machine right out of the box. I suppose I’m still happy with Digital Storm overall, but not as ecstatic with them as I was when I first received my machine. Well, at least I’ll buy from them again…*if* my computer continues to work well without any problems. If the startup issue happens again later on, I will be -very- displeased.

So far, though–at this Friday, at least–my computer seems to be working well enough indeed. After that last round of updates, I haven’t had any problems with it and it’s been running like a dream. So my opinion on Digital Storm is growing warmer…albeit still a little marred by running up my phone bill. I think Digital Storm–though, again, at this point, I’m generally happy with their help–would be well served to add a technical support online live chat as well as a sales one. ;o

That does it for this week. See y’all the next~

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