The original Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom.
>>  The day-to-day chronicles of Baka-chan, evil genius and overlord of the Giant Pachinko Machine of Doom.
Cleaning house...

11/14/09 @ 10:28:38 pm, Categories: Site News, 67 words, 1134 views  

Just doing a little website housecleaning tonight…if only it were so easy to clean my apartment. ;[

I have pretty much all my obligations (Except re-paying Ed) out of the way, which means I’ll be free to pursue my own idle projects. First thing, will probably be to wipe this site. Maintain this blog in a frozen state somewhere, and make a new Wordpress blog for GPMoD.

On absent-minded preparedness...

11/07/09 @ 03:23:58 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, Magical Blue Smoke, 536 words, 2674 views  

People often hassle me about all the random shit I acquire despite no clear need or desire. I continue to prove the necessity of such hoarding any time an unforeseen obstacle pops up.

Today, I finally received the EPROM programmer I bought from Hong Kong last month. Nothing fancy just a ‘Willem’ type parallel port burner that cost me all of $16…but it should be enough to burn BIOS ROMs for my NEO-GEO boards and things like that. I also bought a USB->Parallel adapter on the off chance that it would actually allow it to work, since none of my computers have Parallel Ports. (My older machine and my father’s machine, which have the same motherboard, have a header for a parallel port at least)

Well, the adapter doesn’t work, of course. So I knew I needed a DB25 at the end of a 26-pin IDC ribbon cable. That isn’t a terribly common thing, except for this exact purpose. I went into the storage room where all my electronic junk will continue to stew down into a mulch for the next thousand years. There, sitting atop a box, is the stripped carcass of an old VTech IBM XT knockoff that someone offered me and I didn’t see any reason not to take it. (And then they also gave me a hugef00k dotmatrix printer and a little CGA monitor) I had recently gutted it for a couple reasons; for one, I wanted to get some steppers and stuff from the floppy drives. I also wanted some random boards to work on with my soldering station.

Sitting in the middle of the mostly gutted skeletal remains of the computer, was an expansion card slot DB25 port with a 26-pin ribbon cable. However, when I removed it, it turned out the DB25 was male, and not female. This struck me as still being rather lucky, since a male DB25 suggests it was a Serial port, and DB25 serial ports hardly ever have all their pins hooked up… (In fact, only the same 9 pins as a DB9 serial port and an additional ground are needed.) Nonetheless, I needed a female connector for the parallel port. I have a DB25 F-F gender changer somewhere, but I haven’t seen it in years… F-to-F cables? Don’t think I have any. Hmm… That’s when I remembered a lot of connectors I purchased off eBay several months ago. Mostly I jumped on it because it had nearly every conceivable type of USB board and cable connector (And lots of them) but it also had DB25 and DB9 male and female ports, both PCB connectors and solder-cup style with bolt-together housings. (Not bad for $25, since that’s what a couple DB15s with housings cost me a while back from Digi-Key)

Now, all I need to do is snip the ribbon cable, and solder the wires to one of my solder-cup DB25 connectors to create the correct header cable for my ASUS M2N32 SLI mobo, and I’m up and running. (But first, breakfast!)

And there you have it, whenever something like this comes up, chances are I will find everything I need amongst the things I have collected with no particular need in mind.

Keeping up with Baka

10/20/09 @ 11:46:57 am, Categories: Life of Baka, Retro Kikaku, 407 words, 1065 views  

Hmm, let’s see here… What have I had going on?

Well, a couple posts ago, I talked about being burnt-out and needing some ‘me-time’. I ended up quitting my ‘job’. The conditions had changed dramatically. I went from holding up my end without killing myself, to there not being enough work that I was actually capable of doing (Because the senior staff joined the junior staff in taking all the easy and low-level support tickets) and me spending so much time trying and failing to meet my performance expectations that I was literally doing NOTHING ELSE with my time. So I just determined that it wasn’t worth it anymore. I basically took two weeks and just completely put it out of my head, and guess what? I GOT THINGS DONE! Not only that, but I got SO MUCH stuff done, that the benefits outweighed what I was getting from the job.

Anyway, still waiting on a couple replacement SRAM chips so I can fix the 1-slot NEO-GEO board I spoke of in a previous post. I was at least able to get my 4-slot board to boot; it used to just show a bunch of random garbage on the monitor… After looking it over like ten times, I finally noticed a missing capacitor. Replaced it, it worked…but there’s something wrong with the graphics still…

I also managed to rewire my standard JAMMA wiring harness with all the modular connectors that an MVS harness has, and make all the additional harnesses that hook up to it, so now I can swap my test rig (a.k.a. the UNCABINET) between single slot MVS boards (And any standard JAMMA arcade boards) and my multislot boards, by only swapping 6 connectors (1P and 2P controls, Video, Speakers, Power, Test/Service) instead of the 50+ connections I’d have to swap to completely switch harnesses. (Now both use the MVS harness’ control-panel harness through a pair of 15-pin connectors.)

I moved all my arcade stuff into a corner of the livingroom and took this picture before cleaning up and moving this bookcase into the corner. The state of my collection hasn’t changed much.

Yesterday, I was watching a free 2-hour web seminar on cartoon illustration and concept sketching… So of course, I couldn’t find my tablet stylus. (I actually managed to find it, after an hour, by bitching on IRC about it in the right channel….it was in front of the monitor)

In Progress...

10/03/09 @ 07:48:56 am, Categories: Life of Baka, 512 words, 1031 views  

Blegh. Yes, that’s a pretty good description for it. Not my greatest day ever.

I found out that a bottle of sumi ink had spilled all over my desk…luckily this only made a puddle on my desk and glued a stand of DVDs together. Considering that all this was buried under half the stuff on my desk, it could have been worse.

I finally got my hands on some Chip Quik, and after fighting with it for a not-insignificant amount of time, I finally figured it out and got some chips removed from one of my ’spare’ NEO-GEO boards, then I removed the bad lower Backup SRAM from the board I wanted to fix… All went well, if not fidgety, putting the chip on the board, only when I booted it up, it turned out I had removed the WRONG SRAM…ontop of which, the one I replaced the good chip with was also bad… So I remove the new bad chip, the old bad chip, replace the good one I accidentally removed, and soldered on another ’spare’… Now both memory locations are coming up wrong in the hardware test…

Fuck it, I said. I decided to try and get my mostly-working 2-slot board fixed…but nothing I found was a problem. There were some areas that looked like bad traces, but there was continuity across them. I also started working on soldering jumper wires into a JAMMA harness adapter I was making, but gave up because that wasn’t going right either.

About the only thing I actually managed to do was take my old damaged KoF’97 cart and replace my original jumper repairs with some proper a proper ‘blue wire fix’ using wirewrap wire. (And it was actually blue, too!) My ass, legs, and back hurt from sitting on the stupid uncomfortable stool, hunched over the worktable, and all I can smell is the goddamn flux I was using.

I was also drawing something as a birthday present for someone, but it turned out I was out of paper to print it on, so I had to order some more…it’ll be here IN A WEEK. (And I already waited several days so I’d have the money to ship it.)

About the only un-terrible thing that happened today was that my mom found me the coolest damn thing. A nearly 40-year old Crosman Mark I .22cal pellet gun. IN THE ORIGINAL BOX! I can tell it’s at least 34 years old because in the middle of 1975 they started making a more idiot-proof version. They changed the design of the CO2 cylinder piercing mechanism, because people apparently couldn’t read instructions correctly, but more importantly…later versions removed the velocity adjustment screw, and damped the gun down to a lower setting. (People were leaving it wide open and complaining about not getting many shots from each CO2 cartridge) So, I’d say that it’s a very suitable gift for me, being the version that isn’t dumbed down. Shoots real nice, too. And it’s solid and heavy as a bastard!

Think I’ll retreat to bed… ~_~

How to not die in Left4Dead.

09/25/09 @ 05:14:49 pm, Categories: Baka-chan vs. Stupid People, 1282 words, 1153 views  

Let me preface this little primer with a couple of stories. Stories involving myself, and Akkrain.

We like to play on ‘fun’ servers when we just want to screw around. These typically involve lowered gravity, massive ‘horde’ spawns, unlimited ammo with no reloading, and unlimited ‘grenades’. They also tend to be INCREDIBLY HARD on anything but Easy, just because you’re overwhelmed so easily and FF is a bitch in those situations.

This allows you to follow interesting strategies on campaign finales as well as avoid many ‘Event’ scenarios. Because of this, we tell anyone joining our game to NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, start an event unless we tell them to. Because, chances are, THAT WILL KILL THE WHOLE GROUP.

Story 1 — In which Baka avenges judiciously.

We’re at the ‘crane’ event on the rooftops on the ‘Dead Air’ campaign. Me and Akkrain are already safely across to the other rooftop when some brain donor starts the event. We both yell something along the lines of “Oh you’re fucking dead", just before the whole group is swarmed by zombies and shit from every direction.

Baka ain’t havin it. I fight my way through all this shit to get to him… Akkrain’s dying, the bot fell off the fucking roof or something, I’m torn up, and this shit is about to get killed with or without my help: He’s murdered us. That’s when I unload into his face with my Uzi until he’s dead, and drop a molotov. Just before the horde finally hits the rooftop like a tsunami. “TOTALLY WORTH IT!” I said, as my character is torn limb from limb by hundreds of zombies. Needless to say, he was incapacitated and left in the saferoom as bait when the level restarted.

Story 2 — In which Baka educates a motherfucker.

Occasionally we’re forced, by dire circumstances or just our distrust in the bots ability to not get us all killed, to kill an AI-controlled character and take their supplies. (Usually because a real person needs a medkit, or we don’t want the AI to waste it.)

Akkrain is torn the fuck up, he needs a medkit badly. I find one, and call him over. (I already have one so I can’t pick it up.) One of the AI-controlled characters comes over to me, walks away, and then…totally inexplicably and just as Akkrain was about to get to me…takes the fucking medkit and runs off. Akkrain gets there and goes “Where’s the kit?” and I say “The fucking bot just took it!” and take off after it. I corner it and blow him away. Then, as Akkrain is catching up, the OTHER PLAYER comes and takes it. I go “Why?” “Why would you do that?” “You just watched me waste the bot for doing EXACTLY THAT.” Response? “fu” That’s when I aerated his face with buckshot and Akkrain finally got the fucking kit.

Story 3 — In which a unanimous decision is reached.

This fucking guy runs for the safehouse and goes and hides in there. Me and Akkrain make our way to the building the safehouse is in, laying down a wall of fire in our wake. We decide to go back and rescue the player who had died earlier and are just waiting for the flames to subside. By the time they do, he has de-spawned, making the whole thing moot. And that would have been it, except… The remaining random player, who was playing as Louis has spent the whole time running around in the safehouse while the AI has had Louis yelling “GUYS GET IN THE SAFEHOUSE, CLOSE THE DOOR” constantly, does something really not smart: Annoys us even further. He stands in the safehouse door, behind me, and says “WHY WONT ANYONE FOLLOW LOUIS ADVICE???”

I have to admit, my first impulse was to blow his fucking head off…and I’m the MODERATE ONE. I turn to see where Akkrain is… He’s standing right next to me, looking at me. And as if I needed any confirmation that we were thinking the same exact thing, we both turn and start emptying our autoshotties into Louis’ face, and kept shooting, without pause or hesitation, until he was quite dead. And I go “Just for saying something SO FUCKING STUPID.” and the guy ragequits the game. Me and Akkrain have a big laugh about it, and then get in the safehouse and close the door.

Story 4 — In which Baka takes you with him.

So, we were having a pretty hard time with the town on the Death Toll campaign. It was always one thing or another. Like accidentally aggroing a Witch in the middle of a horde rush, only to turn a corner and spawn a fucking Tank… Anyway, there was a player who we weren’t having any trouble with, and then…well…

We had just climbed out of the church’s second story window at the start of the level, and were mopping up the streets. After it quiets down, I look back, and he’s still standing up in the window… I stare at him for a few seconds, and that’s when he opens up on me with his M16. As I realize he’s trying to kill me, and he’s about to incapacitate me, I throw a molotov, getting it off just as I get incapped. Being that I’m fucking god-like with the things, it’s no wonder that it crashed against the back wall of the safehouse just as he retreated inside…drowning him in a lake of fire, incapacitating and killing him. He then ragequit.


How to NOT DIE in Left4Dead:

If you do something stupid — we will kill you.
If you say something stupid — we will kill you.
If you can’t spell — we will kill you.
If you pose a threat to us — we will kill you.
If you waste supplies — we will kill you.
If we decide you just aren’t very smart — we will kill you.
If we think your name is dumb — we will kill you.
If you use VOIP and your voice is annoying — we will kill you.
If you don’t listen to what we tell you to do — we will kill you.
If you fuck with us — we will kill you.
If you get us killed — we will kill you.
If we generally feel like it — we will kill you.

In fact, you are going to have to work very hard to stay alive, and I’m not talking about the zombies.

Do you understand? Because if you don’t — we will kill you.

We are better than you.
We know what we are doing.
We will remember.

There was some guy last week, really fucking stupid. But since he was only posing a danger to himself I let it slide, I didn’t have to save him after all, right? What tipped it was Akkrain commenting that his name was dumb, which it was. So we killed him and he cursed up down left and right. Said all this shit about how we’d better fucking rescue him, blah blah blah. So we did…so we could kill him again. He ragequit. A week later, he shows up again. We’re in the safehouse at the beginning of the level, and I turn and waste him, saying “I remember you, fucker.” and he quit.

You won’t get away with it. So how about not playing like a mental defective, and not doing something so stupid as to fuck with us? We’ll all get along much better that way. On second thought, just don’t play Left4Dead. There’s no ‘moron’ in ‘Teamwork’, moron.

A taste of Cyberpunk.

09/15/09 @ 08:41:51 pm, Categories: Projects, 2120 words, 7288 views  

So, some of you have heard me talking about the comic I’ve been writing. A story set in the cyberpunk universe of the Cyberpunk2020 pen and paper RPG. There’s actually a couple. There’s what has become the main focus, ‘Gaijin Samurai’. And then there’s the original story I was writing, which is more of a ‘movie’ to GS’s ‘long-running series’. This story is ‘Fool’s Errand’, and it was the backstory for the main characters that developed into Gaijin Samurai.

So, my standard intro…

The story takes place in a near future of armed warfare between multinational corporations and all sorts of other nastiness in a world gone sideways with more technology than it knows what to do with.

This is an excerpt from my script for a scene near the beginning of the story, just after events are set in motion, but before anyone knows what the hell is going on.

This particular scene I started writing around the end of 2007, though I finished it and polished it today. Parts of Fool’s Errand and Gaijin Samurai date to as far back as 2001.

Added a quick glossary.

Updated again with a reference pic for the aerodyne!


Taking a break.

09/14/09 @ 08:17:38 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, 382 words, 1051 views  

So, I keep saying that I want to be drawing more and stuff, but not really doing anything about it, and just saying I’m too busy with everything else.

I strongly suspect though, that not taking any ‘me time’ to do things I want is why I have been making so little progress the last couple weeks. I’m burned out. Burned out from trying to design things I don’t fully understand. Burned out from work. Burned out from being burned out.

Fuck it. I need a break. I need to just chill and do what -I- want for a while. Because, honestly, practicing and learning to draw better are steps towards my goals anyway.

So, I think I’m going to spend the rest of the day just drawing and screwing around, and tomorrow I’ll work on finishing up the webpage I’m doing for someone. And then? I’m going to just ignore all the things that pressure me for a week or two. No need to accomplish some epic fucking thing, no quotas to meet, just the desire to draw things and take it easy.

I know, that must sound a little selfish. But really, the only thing I have that’s even close to a J-O-B I can’t do in this state of mind. I have people who are sort of counting on me to be doing it, but it’s more about me specifically doing something and not about whether or not it gets done. (If I don’t, there’s others who will.) So I think they’ll understand in this context.

I’m actually embarrassed to admit it, but the catalyst for this was the ridiculous demands of someone in #moe. Ever since last weekend, when I mentioned the nice, filling, pancake breakfast I had, Swift has been harping on me to ‘draw a rori in hadaka-apron making pancakes!’… Yes. Welcome to my world. Today he further qualified it with ‘even if its just a stick figure, you lazy fuck’. I was backed into a corner. :P

So… I did it. Image 1 Image 2

I was basically laughing the whole time I drew this first rough sketch. I was really enjoying it, and that’s when I realized I haven’t been doing that much lately; enjoying things.

Anyway, I want to work more on those drawings, lol

Some stuff.

09/13/09 @ 05:45:57 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, 281 words, 1068 views  

Had some unexpected visitors today, my cousin and her bro. It was a pleasant surprise, but I wish it could have been AFTER I got the apartment straightened up, and not when I was in the middle of it! (You know, that period of time where it's worse than when you started?)

I finally managed to foist the devil tablet upon her. I had meant to give it to her a while back, but I couldn't find the stylus for it.

It's no Wacom, but— if it works —it's better than using a mouse. (Maybe.)

Looking up the post I linked above got me thinking; two years ago I didn't even have my Intuos3, and now I have a Cintiq... And I still haven't done much drawing.

I have no— and yet every —excuse. Quite honestly, right now, I'm working so hard doing all these other things to keep my head above water that there's no time to devote to practicing and drawing things...and I really need big chunks of time or it doesn't go anywhere.

Not the least of these is my working to re-pay Ed_K's more than generous loan, which allowed me to buy the Cintiq in the first place. So, getting that out of the way (Soon) will likely allow for some progress to be made in this regard. I have so much stuff I would like to do that I need to be able to draw for.

Anyway, I have to go lie down and let some allergy meds kick in, my head is so full of dust from cleaning that I'm going to literally break my neck sneezing. x_x

Status Report: What?

09/09/09 @ 12:17:53 pm, Categories: Life of Baka, 340 words, 993 views  

I’ve been so busy with work and stuff I’m starting to lose track of what all I am doing… I’m working on a website for someone, I’m a GM on a private MMO server (A job that I am constantly falling behind on when other things come up…), and I’m getting close to being able to sell a couple of products. (A USB arcade stick controller board, and my vacuum tube clocks)

For about a month now, my right shoulder has felt like it was going to fall off to varying degrees, from me sleeping on it wrong. I notice that it finally doesn’t hurt anymore, so what do I do? Keep falling back asleep until I manage to fuck it up again. Luckily it went away pretty quickly. I had some amusing and interesting dreams though.

The one that stood out most when I woke up went like this:
It was a sort of steampunk setting with airships and stuff, which I basically attribute to reading the latest page of Girl Genius before going to bed.

I was some sort of cadet trainee on an airship equipped for firefighting… I was partnered with this girl who gave everyone a hard time and generally just screwed around. A good example of this would be using one of the ship’s water cannon turrets to hose down some of the other cadets, almost washing one off the deck of the ship. (That may or may not have been me, I have mixed impressions of both watching her do this and almost being washed over the side myself.*) The other cadets resented me for her antics, like she was my responsibility. She saw to it that we met some suitably horrible fate, though I don’t remember how.

The last thing I remember before waking up was walking around in knee-deep water, picking through the wreckage of the airship for food rations.

*Of course, that impression may have more to do with what I strongly suspect was a crash landing in a shallow lake.

bure bure bure bure

08/18/09 @ 09:18:38 am, Categories: Life of Baka, 400 words, 861 views  

Off to a poor start today.

I was feeling really crappy last night, and ended up going to bed without making dinner. I woke up at one point in the middle of the night and noticed that my monitors weren’t off, and my primary monitor was displaying a strange screen I’d never seen before. But I couldn’t wake myself up the rest of the way to investigate.

At just a little after 6am, the power went out for just a moment… This seems to happen a lot, it’s starting to bother me. I need to remember to mention it to someone. I finally manage to force myself awake, and reboot everything. And then I found out what that screen was, since my machine would only boot to it. The Windows 7 recovery environment…

Now what the fuckshitting hell? This really pissed me off. I mean, what the fuck this time? I keep trying to go through with recovery, but it can’t find any HDDs. Good fucking job, windows. I -am- able to boot to my old WinXP x64 installation, and all the drives show up. I look at the Win7 drive, and there was some weirdness. A folder named ‘Recovery’ which I didn’t recognize. And my Program Files and Users directories were renamed to stuff like FSDFDSFFF. Renamed those. Was that the problem? How could that happen? *Reboot* Nope. Back to XP. I figure that somewhere in Windows 7’s boot-up procedure, it looks for a Recovery folder, and if it exists, it boots from that boot image. So if I rename it or delete it or something, maybe it will boot up correctly. Access Denied. THAT really fucking pisses me off. Always has. Like, why the fuck can’t I access my My Documents folder from another installation of Windows? That is a violation of how computing should work. Yes, there needs to be security. But a consumer OS should NOT, SHOULD NOT, deny someone with PHYSICAL ACCESS TO THE MACHINE. Passworded login, sure. But if someone installs a new version of windows, they should be able to get at their old files, you stupid fuckers.

That aside, I keep going back and forth between the Recovery Environment (Which is getting me nowhere) and Windows XP (Which at least WORKS), and finally, for some COMPLETELY INEXPLICABLE REASON, I can delete the ‘Recovery’ folder. After I did that, it booted up no problem.


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nani sore?
A peek inside the mad, mad, mind of Baka-chan. Animator, artist, hater of stupid people, and evil genius. Look upon the undoing of all order in the universe, and tremble.
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