Friday, April 27, 2012

The Quad-Monthly Maunder

Greetings and salutations reader, I am James (Semajj if you know me by that) and this is the ninth consecutive Weekly Ramble. According to my calculations (well, blogger pretty much does all the numbers and I just look at the charts) this will be the end of the second month of Weekly Rambles, it doesn’t seem like I’ve been rambling again for two months now (probably because this used to be a tri-weekly affair instead of quad- [sometimes quin-] monthly type of thing. Anywho, who cares about the numbers, let’s get this drivel filled wall of text on its way, shall we? First off is some news and/or happenings in my life mixed with some actual news that really caught my attention. After all of the non-writing-related things are said and done I’ll talk a little bit about my recent writing-related time that I spend this week (via “The Creator’s Corner). There may be some ramble here or there, but hey, that’s what I do. And as always I’ll finish this puppy off with a trip to “Semajj’s Bookshelf” and we’ll also have a new Song of the Week. Enjoy:

First off, I want to share an awesome web-site that was shown to me by a fellow /AMP/ poster: Freerice is a web-site that offers simple questions about various subjects of your choice and donates ten grains of rice through the World Food Programme. Pretty cool, huh? I’ve spent a good chunk of my morning answering questions about “English Vocabulary” because I like words, it’s a fun little exercise that not only builds your personal bank of words/understanding of words, but it also donates food! So if you like words (or math, or science, or geography, or a bunch of other subjects) and/or like to give food to people who need it, I suggest you go to this site and play around for a while. Heck if you want you can sign up to keep track of how much rice you’ve donated; here is my profile if you want to add me as a friend!

Belgh, I just took a swig of two-hour old coffee and I just found out that I’m not a fan of cold coffee…

On to our next tidbit of news/happenings I’m currently undergoing some training at work to become a better estimator! Before now I would peruse through a set of blue-prints and count every fixture (be it a light or a power outlet) and count a total of each different type of thing, I would also count a general length of wire and pipe that would run through the building to supply power to said fixtures. Well now I’m learning to catch every detail, find a definite length of pipe and wire, enter it into a computer program, get a definite price for the entire job (including materials and man-power) and give that price to a contractor so they can decide if they want us to do the job or not. It’s a bit hectic, but it’s nothing cataclysmically horrible, so I’ll live.

That picture right there, right above this text, is a MOT. This one is informational; others are silly, deep or just plain weird. These MOTs are what we do over at /AMP/, I have fun with it, and so here is a free 48 Hour Pass to With this pass you can watch any of the anime that is hosted on crunchyroll, post in the forums, and probably do a bunch of other stuff too. After the 48 hours is up, well I don’t know what will happen, perhaps your account will degrade to a free account and you’ll still be able to watch the anime (with commercials, and in a lower quality, and if it’s a simulcast you’ll have to wait a week), you’ll probably still be able to post in the forums too. Anyway good luck, this is only one pass and its first come first serve, game on!

Oh did you notice? I made two new pages! Located at the top of this blog are some new tabs: there is “Home” which will bring you to the normal “Weekly Ramble” home page; then there is a page labeled “Semajj’s Bookshelf” clicking on that tab will bring you to a page containing links to each and every item that I’ve shared via the little segment at the end of each Ramble, “Semajj’s Bookshelf”, so if you’ve ever been interested in purchasing an item that I’ve shared you can find said item on the Bookshelf and follow the link to a place where you can buy it. And finally is the unfinished page: “Songs to Ramble To” which will eventually contain a list of songs that I’ve featured in my Rambles, I’ll also probably include a link to a youtube video that contains the song, so look forward to that too!

Okely dokely, it’s time for “The Creator’s Corner”! *insert imaginary horns, whistles and applause*

Last week I did nothing to further my creations, but this week I did… a little. I put in a few more lines to my official rough draft of the first installment of “NEw”. As measly as that sounds, for someone as procrastinative as myself it’s a big step toward getting it done. They say that getting started is always the hardest part (at least that’s what I think they say, if not then it’s what I say) and I’m having trouble finding the right way to present the world, the characters and their situation; I’m also having trouble with some of the dialogue, but that’s a whole ‘nother ramble. Also, I’m not sure this fits in with the theme of “The Creator’s Corner” but I’ve started reading “The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft” and I’m having fun reading a short story or two before bed each night, in fact it has kinda set off a new concept for a small series of “lore” stories related to parts of “NEw” but hey, maybe I’m just easily influenced.

Oh man, done already? Well it can’t be helped, but before we part ways I’ll give you a look at some (two) new items added to “Semajj’s Bookshelf”! The first item I’m going to share today is “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Collection One” which is the first thirty-three episodes of the new “Fullmetal Alchemist” series. The second new item is “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood the Movie: Sacred Star of Milos” which is a movie that loosely ties in with the FMA: Brotherhood series. I also want to feature an item that I’d previously planned to share, but forgot to and that is “Sora no Otoshimono the Complete First Season” in a DVD/BD combo pack. If you want, you can now scroll to the top of the screen, click on the “Semajj’s Bookshelf” tab and look at the bottom of the list and all three of these items will be there, with links to where you can read more about them and, if you’d like, purchase them! And now for our Song of the Week, hmm, how about some new Linkin Park?:

This week’s song is “Burn It Down” by Linkin Park is the first single from their soon-to-be-released album “Living Things” which will hit the market in late June 2012. Awesome? Yup awesome. Anywho it’s about time for me to go, so as always thanks for reading; and if you have any comments, questions, tips or concerns, you can e-mail me at or you can leave a comment in those boxes below. See you in May!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Post-Birthday Party

Hello and welcome to Weekly Ramble number 8 on today April 20, 2012. As usual I am James and this is a compilation of stuff that I want to talk about. To start things off we'll sneak over to “The Creator's Corner” and see what's been going on with a few of my “projects”, then I'll talk a bit about Faulted, my World of Warcraft character, I'll spend a little bit of time talking about me and I'll finish up the main part of the ramble with a new fixation of mine. Plus at the end, as always, will be a new Song of the Week and a look at “Semajj's Bookshelf” to see what's new this week! Enjoy:

I thought I'd do things a bit differently today and start today's ramble with a visit to “The Creator's Corner” for a quick update on my three major stories (NEw, Volt and Eleven). In the past week I haven't done anything! That's right, I've been super lazy about any of my works this week, mainly because I've had most of the week off of work so I haven't been doing much other than relaxing. But I did read a short-story of mine that has been put on hold for quite a while (a bad habit of mine is not finishing things...). Project “Re;Inspiration: Titan” was a short story that I started writing that bridged a sub-story of NEw into it's own full-fledged story, Eleven. While reading through the incomplete story I got really excited with how awesome it was (some of that may have come from the fact that I was reading it on my phone instead of on a word processor, but the more authentic it seems, the more authentic it becomes) so I have been recently story-crafting the bridge between NEw and Eleven and even rethinking some of the key characters in Eleven, including a character that is introduced early on in NEw. I guess I'll stop here before I give out any important details, but I will say that Eleven seems like a really good story and I might start working on “RE:I” again soon...

Now then, in the past few weeks I've been spending a little bit more time with my little Dwarf Shaman in the World of Warcraft, and I've got to say I think part of the reason that I've been playing again is because of the hype that Mists of Pandaria is building. Anyway most of my time spent with Faulted lately has been flying around Azeroth doing archeology in search of new pets. That's right, Faulted's main goal in life is to be the very best pet collector, with a collection standing at 184 pets (as of now) I am currently tied for second place on my server, not too shabby if you ask me. If you want to, you can see Faulted's collection here. In the coming weeks I'll be able to get three more pets, which is good for me, my current goal is at least 190 pets before MOP is released. Next week (or the week after, I don't remember) is Children's Week, where we can escort an orphan around the world to visit monuments and once you bring your orphan back you are rewarded with a pet, there are two cities where you can visit an orphanage, so doing so will give me two more pets. And in three weeks the Darkmoon Faire begins again, and I'll be able to get my final pet from them this time around. I'll talk about my latest addition to my collection in today's “Semajj's Bookshelf” so please look forward to it.

So as some of you might have guessed from the title, yesterday was my birthday. That's right, twenty years ago, yesterday, was Easter 1992, but it was also the day that I was brought into this world. Twenty years have passed since then, and I can at least say a lot has happened. Among the more important: heart surgery when I was four, a bad car crash when I was in middle school and my parents' divorce late in my middle school years. Good things have happened too, but they never seem to leave as big of an impact as the bad. Over the years I've made and lost many friends, discovered my love for Japanese culture and my love for writing, I've even spent a good chunk of my life in the virtual world; I started playing World of Warcraft almost as soon as it came out and even though I've taken month-long breaks from it, I still play and I'm proud with what I've accomplished, even though it's just a video game. Well I don't want to get too sentimental, I'll just say it's been a good 20 years, and I look forward to many, many more years in the future.

Okay switching gears as we head for the finish-line, I just wanted to talk about the new Playstation Vita, no I haven't purchased one (yet) and I'm still on the fence as to buy one or not. The main reason I want a Playstation Vita is because of a new video game that might be on its way for the new system. In August 2011, a company named NIS America announced that they were going to bring the super awesome Black Rock Shooter video game here to America, at the time for the PSP (I don't own one of those either). Well fast forward to April 2012 and NISA still hasn't released BRS the game, rumors around the net (some even fueled by NISA employees) say that instead of releasing the game for PSP they are holding out until it is compatible with Sony's new Playstation Vita. Word on the net is that NISA will have some big news by the end of this month, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed while trying to keep myself from buying a used PSP and import a copy of BRS the game. But for the time being I'll not buy anything and just save up so I can buy the appropriate console/game combination when the Black Rock Shooter game is finally released in America.

If it feels like today's ramble is all over the place, well then I apologize, I'm sort of in a rush so I'm just spiting out words as they come to me, hah. Anyway it looks like we've finally come to the end of today's ramble, which means it's time to see what's new on “Semajj's Bookshelf”. This week two new items were added to the Bookshelf; a Fairy Tail Beanie and the World of Warcraft TCG Loot Card: Vicious Grell. Brief explanations of the two new items are as follows: the beanie is an all black fleece cap with a large red Fairy Tail guild symbol on the side (pretty awesome imo); and the Loot Card is a card with a redeemable code for an in-game pet, the latest pet in Fautled's collection. Now it's time for the new Song of the Week:

This week's Song of the Week comes from the anime Senki Zesshou Symphogear (an anime which really surprised me in the end, if you haven't seen it, follow the link to view it on NicoNico). Makyuu Ichii-Bal is preformed by Ayahi Takagi and is the character song for Yukine Chris from the Symphogear anime. Anywho, that's it; as always thanks for reading, and if you have any comments, questions, tips or concerns you can e-mail me at or leave a comment in the little boxes down below. Until next time, keep partyin'!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Of Luck, Excitement and 13

Rain, rain, come to stay, go away another day! Hmm I think that's right...
Hello and welcome to Weekly Ramble number 7 on Friday the 13th! Today I had the day off from work, so I apologize if today's ramble seems a bit late, there's a reason; probably not a good reason, but a reason none-the-less. Anyway today I'll share my Friday the 13th experiences (from today), I've also got some random news, a special "The Creator's Corner", and as always we'll take a look at some items in "Semajj's Bookshelf" and finish things off with a new Song of the Week.

So depending on what time-zone you are in while reading this, Friday the 13th might already be over for you, but for me it's about three-fourths done, and I'm pretty sure the worst of my bad luck has come and gone. Because it is Friday the 13th, and I have come into some bad luck today, I figured I'd share my misfortune with you, my dear readers.

This morning started like any other morning that I don't have work, first I sleep in for about an hour then I go get some breakfast (just a bowl of cereal) and turn to my computer to make sure the world isn't falling apart without me knowing (good thing; it wasn't). After reading all the interesting news that I came across and catching up on my favorite forum thread (/AMP/)  I decided to catch up on all of the new anime that have been premiering this week (see more about that later in today's ramble). Eventually lunch time rolled around and I looked out my window; it was windy but it didn't look like there was a big chance of rain. After freshening up and getting dressed I looked out the window once more before gathering all of my effects (cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.) and heading out to my local grocery store to buy a sandwich (and an umbrella because my house oddly lacks any form of anti-rain gear). About a quarter mile down the road (out of about a half-mile walk) rain started to pour down out of nowhere. Caught off-guard, and closer to home than the store, I turned around and ran home in the rain. Once home, I changed into some dry clothes and went to the kitchen to find something to eat (since my original plan of buying something at the store was ruined by the rain) I opened the cabinets to find them bare, save for a few cans of beans. Luckily there were a few tortillas on the counter, so I made myself burritos for lunch. As I was a few bites into my burrito, the tortilla decided to tear down the middle and the entire inside of it fell, luckily, onto the plate. Luckily that's where my bad luck ends since I decided to keep myself out of trouble and spend the rest of the day relaxing. And now I'm typing my ramble, hopefully things stay on the better side of luck for me for the rest of the day.

Hmm how's your luck been today? If you have a tale to tell, leave a comment below (although with my luck this'll turn out like the whole question thing I tried a few weeks back, ha ha).

So as I've said in earlier rambles, the new Spring 2012 anime season is under-way and I'll tell you, so far it is exceeding my expectations (which initially weren't very good). Crunchyroll has a large line-up of simulcasts scheduled for this season, a few titles that I would recommend, based on the first episodes, are Tsuritama, Kids on the Slope, and Polar Bear's Cafe. First off is Tsuritama, a show about an obscure group of friends who go fishing, and end up on an epic adventure. From the first episode I can tell this show is going to be fun to watch, the animation is bright and colorful, the characters are unique (and odd might I add) and, well it just seems fun. Next is Kids on the Slope, a show about Jazz music,  I'll leave it at that: Jazz. And lastly is Polar Bear's Cafe, a show that follows the daily life of the patrons of a cafe owned and run by a Polar Bear. It's light hearted, punny and funny. There are many other shows that seem like they could turn out to be great (I'm watching a lot more than just these three, but I feel like these three deserve a recommendation). There are also a few titles that will start simulcasting at NicoNico and a couple titles that have already started over at Viz. I have a bit more to say on this subject, but it'll come up a little later...

Before we get to "The Creator's Corner" I'd like to talk about an event that is coming in a few months. This certain event is more-or-less the highlight of my year, if you've followed by rambles since way back when I was just rambling on G+, then you might know what I'm talking about. But since I think there were only one or two people who actually looked at my stuff there, I'll fill the rest of you in: Anime Expo is coming up, and even though it's still a few months off, I'm already getting excited for it. Last year was my first trip to Anime Expo, and I had a great time, I met lots of fun people, saw a bunch of great cosplays, spent quite a bit of money and I got to see Hatsune Miku live in concert!

"Wait a second there Bucko, Miku live in concert, isn't Miku that 'vocaloid' or whatever you're always talking about?" You might be asking.
To which I respond: "Why yes, Hatsune Miku is a vocaloid, but I did see her, as well as the Kagamine Twins and Luka Megurine, live in concert last summer."
"Impossible, I know enough to know that those vocaloids are computer programs!"
Once again I respond: "True, they are digital idols, but they did have a concert. Here:"

Ah I have fun writing these. Anyway, yes Miku was there in concert and I was there to see it, it was amazing. The folks who run the Anime Expo have only so far announced a few guests of honor, but they only play a small part in the fun of Anime Expo. Apart from the concerts and the guests of honor, there are plenty of things that make it fun such as the vendors, the artists (who sell their own art in a section of the dealer hall), cosplayers and fellow anime fans. Yup, I can't wait for the end of June to roll around!

Okay the time you've all been waiting for: "The Creator's Corner"! Today's CC will be a bit different from previous editions of "The Creator's Corner". Today I'm not going to talk about any of my creative writing projects, today I'm going to talk about another project that I work on every week; this one! That's right, today I'm going to ramble a bit on rambles, mainly some extra ramble stuff that might be happening in the future. First on the small list of possible changes is the possibility of informal and seasonal anime reviews. Basically what I'd do, is at the end of every anime season, I'd share my thoughts on all of the shows that I'd watched and that had ended that season, then a few weeks later, at the beginning of the new season, I'd share my first thoughts and out-looks for the new shows that started that season. So that might happen at the transition from the spring 2012 to the summer 2012 season, so more info on that later. Another thing that might be happening around here is a page make-over! I've been rambling on this page for seven weeks now, and I think it's about time I put some effort into the layout of this page. What I was thinking (other than a new background) was to make some sub-pages that archive the songs of the week (and provide links to where you can listen to said songs) and a second page that compiles the entries to "Semajj's Bookself", complete with pictures and everything! Like I said, these changes may or may not happen, and if they do happen they won't be over night (maybe they will, it depends on how much effort and help I get on working with this page layout).

Well then, even though to me it seems I'm cutting it short, I'm actually quite a bit over my 1k word target. So I'll wrap this up quickly! This week I added two actual items to "Semajj's Bookshelf" and one digital item! The two items I got this week are the complete series of Canaan on Blu-ray and the complete second season of Sora no Otoshimono on DVD (lame Funimation, where's my BD). And finally the digital item I acquired this week is a new game by Sega for the iOS: Miku Flick. Quickly:

Yup that's this week's Song of the Week: "World is Mine" by Hatsune Miku! Anywho I'm going to make like a banana and split, as always thanks for reading, and if you have any comments, questions, tips or concerns, you can e-mail me at or leave a comment below.

... To Be Continued!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Semajj vs. Quad City Djs

Boy is today a busy day, but no matter how busy I get I’ve got to make time to ramble. Are you ready for the sixth Weekly Ramble? The first Weekly Ramble in April? Oh I’ve got some good news to dish out today, yes sir (or madam) this has been a good week for me indeed. I’ll start things off with some news (actually it’s more than some, it’s quite a bit), then I’ll have a small visit to “The Creator’s Corner” and we’ll wrap things up with a look at “Semajj’s Bookshelf” and a new Song of the Week. Ready?

Yes indeed this week has provided a plethora of great news, but before  I get to that I’d like to share a new trend that has been spreading around the Tube of You commonly referred to as “Quad City Djs vs.”

This new trend takes popular songs (in my experience mostly J-pop/rock songs) and mixes them with the Quad City Djs song “Space Jam” and I’ve got to say, ever since my first encounter with a “Quad City Djs vs.” song I’ve been addicted to them, so throughout today’s ramble I’ll be linking some of my favorite mixes. Hopefully you’ll find them as entertaining as I do.

Last week I mentioned the release of my friend J.R. Nova novel “Rising” and I just wanted to give him another shout-out because so far (I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m more than half-way through) the book is great. Once again it’s available on Amazon and Smashwords and I believe that there is a preview available at Smashwords.

Now on to the good stuff; remember last week when I complained that my dad and sister got into the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta and I didn’t? Well I checked my account Wednesday night and found that I had been given access in the sixth wave of beta invites. It took pretty much all night to download but when I got home from work on Thursday I had a whole new world waiting for me. After I copied my Shaman, my Hunter and my Mage from the live realms I created a new Pandaren Monk and started leveling. So far I’m very pleased with the pacing of the new level 1-12(ish) Pandaren content and the way the Monk class is played (even though at level twelve we still only have four abilities). Anyway, it’s safe to say that for at least the first few months of Mists of Pandaria, I’ll continue to pay for World of Warcraft. gg blizz, gg…

Another small note regarding Blizzard, they released a new Diablo III site and they’ve announced the official pieces for the Monopoly: World of Warcraft Edition. Personally, I want to be the Gnome-Bot.

Next, next, next, what’s next? Ah yes, anime! This week Crunchyroll has announced a bunch of new titles that they are going to stream for their spring 2012 Simulcast season. The following titles have been added since my last ramble: Saint Seiya Omega; Yurumate 3Dei; Naruto SD: Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals; Sengoku Collection; Polar Bear CafĂ©; Saki Episode of Side A; Upotte!!; Kuroko’s Basketball; Phi Brain (S1 and S2); Kids on the Slope; Mysterious Girlfriend X; and finally Tsuritama. Wow that’s a lot of shows, and they have at least two more unannounced titles as seen here. Also in Simulcast news Viz Anime of Viz Media announced the Simulcasts of Zetman (which aired last Friday and was pretty action-packed), and Accel World (which airs today, and I cannot wait to watch it). Sadly Viz uses hulu so unless you are a hulu+ member you cannot watch it in 1080p and you have to sit through commercials (but I’m just glad I don’t have to watch it illegally). Oh and hulu also sucks because if you aren’t in the US, you can’t watch it…

One last thing before I move on to “The Creator’s Corner”, as I’ve mentioned before I’ve become quite addicted to posting on a forum thread called /AMP/. A thing that I like to do to contribute is to match up a song and an anime and make Motivational Posters of the two (I wasn’t the one who came up with the idea, I just borrowed it and stuck with it). So if you want to see the four songs/anime that I’ve mashed up so far, click here. Each “album” name is the title of the song if you want to look up the song and follow along with the MOTs.

And now for an update on NEw: it’s still in progress and since I’ve been busy this week I’ve traded writing time for storycrafting time so it’s not much farther than it was last week, on paper at least. For those of you who don’t know (mostly anyone who stumbles upon this blog) what I call “storycrafting” is pretty much writing the story, but in my head. I don’t usually like what I end up with when I try to explain stuff on paper, so I usually focus on one subject at a time and break it down, find out every little detail about it and keep that knowledge in my head (although I do have a note sheet that is several tens of thousands of words long). So as far as the rough draft of NEw goes, it is more or less where it was last Friday, but in terms of actual content and character/setting/story development, quite a bit has been done.

And now, once again, we are in the final stretch and it is time for “Semajj’s Bookshelf”. This week I added a lot of items to the “Bookshelf” such as: Rozen Maiden, the complete collection on DVD; the Funimation Spirit Gun Bundle (all four seasons of Yu Yu Hakusho) on DVD + a Funimation tote bag that came free with it; Dream Eater Merry, the complete collection on BD; a $10 blind bargain item (which I cannot remember the title of, I’ll edit it in later if I remember to); Princess Jellyfish, the complete collection DVD/BD combo pack; Princess Resurrection Collections 1 & 2 on DVD; Puni Puni Poemy/Kekko Kamen DVD Double Feature; and finally Revolutionary Girl Utena Collector’s Sets 1, 2 &3 (which includes the entire TV anime, the movie and each box came with an art book). Wow that’s a lotta stuff, 11 items; my wallet sure did shed some tears…

Before we part, I’d like to introduce you to this week’s Song of the Week: “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists.

And that about does it, once again I’d like to thank J.R. Novafor helping spread the word about my rambles. Anywho, thanks again for reading, and as always if you’ve got any comments, questions, tips or concerns, you can e-mail me at or leave a comment in the designated area below. Ta-ta for now!