Archive for August, 2006

Aug
27

Posted some pictures from my wedding

Posted by on Sunday, 27 August, 2006

Horse Carriage

Yeah, I got married!

Sorry to spring it on you like this… But what was I supposed to do? Couldn’t very well post about it before, that would mean bad luck, and, worse, I would have to come up with an excuse why you weren’t invited! 😉

Anyway, I uploaded some pictures to Flickr, so go check them out here:

Johan’s and Hikaru’s Wedding

(UPDATE: I changed permissions on the photos so they are only visible to Friends and Family – so please sign up for a Flickr account to view them if you haven’t before)

Aug
22

A Glimpse Into My Dark Past

Posted by on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006

I was doing a vanity search on Google (where I turned up as no.1…but that is beside the point), far down I rediscovered something I had forgotten about:
Skull and Crossbones
Tronic’s CSDB Profile

The CSDB is the C-64 Scene Database and is a fairy detailed database of the “scene” (i.e. piracy/demo-making/cracking etc.) of the good old Commodore 64. In its archive it has information on people involved, games released, demos produced, and much more. The entry on me is not 100% accurate (it probably isn’t for anyone) but I think it is good enough considering the archive came into existance a few years ago but is referring to a period that happened 15-20 years ago.

There you have it. It’s out of the box now. I came out of the pirate closet. Although, back in the days when I was most active (1989-1991) no one used the term “pirate” and, as far as I know, no one among the people who are actually on the inside on the current scenes (be it PC or ISO, or whatever) actually uses the term to describe themselves.

What did we do back then? Well, during the time of my peak, the “scene” was virtually split into two parts (it wasn’t from the beginning) with some people keeping it 100% legal and producing music, graphics, and mesmerizing demos for the enjoyment of their fellow demo-making friends. The other part of the scene was in a more grey area from a legal perspective. These people looked down upon the demo-scene as not being the “real” scene, because after all, this kind of behavior was born out of hacking and cracking copy-protections from games. True – this part of the scene sourced original games, cracked (removed) the copy-protection, and then spread the game to all their closest contacts via mail, and later via modem. To get bragging rights, there was always a short intro attached which said who had cracked it when. For the most hardened crackers & scene-people it was (and still is) more about getting attention from your peers for a job well done as well as the satisfaction one gets after completing a difficult task, rather than spreading & copying the actual game that brought upon this behavior.

From the beginning, people were operating on their own, but quickly friends began to join up into groups to split responsibilities among themselves. There were always a few select groups that were deemed as better and cooler than others, and these groups and their members were called “elite”. The elite during the late 80’s, beginning of 90’s when I was active were groups like Legend, Ikari, Talent, Illusion, Genesis Project, Empire, Random, Paramount, etc. Earlier members of this highly admired elite were Triad, Fairlight (still alive!), Elite, ESI, Hotline, SCC, WCC, DCS, etc. What did you have to do to become “elite” ? Well, as in all socities, it is partly what you do and partly who you know. Without talent or contacts you were not getting anywhere. However, once in, when you were rubbing shoulders with the highrollers, then you could relax again. No more need to prove your worth. Just keep your cool, keep an elite attitude (whatever that meant) and your place in the top was guaranteed. I have to be honest, towards the end before I decided that the C-64 was not fun anymore and I quit, I really did not contribute much to our group’s (Illusion at that time) sucess but rather mainly hung around the top BBSs, talking about various stuff in the forums there and downloaded newly released stuff. It was an easy life once you were there!

Oh my, I got really nostalgic and carried away and wrote a way too long post! I’ll have to make a follow up post later and sign off now.

Aug
22

The Gaijin Nod

Posted by on Tuesday, 22 August, 2006



Japan train

Originally uploaded by ALEX FOUQUET.

We’ve all done it, or at least, seen someone do it. Some dislike it, some think it’s great – what am I talking about? The gaijin nod of course!

In short, the gaijin nod is when you meet another gaijin (means foreigner in Japanese – but not in polite terms) in the streets of Japan, you mutually greet each other with (usually) a slight nod and a smile. In certain situations, you could even say “Hi” or “Good Morning” (but that is a more advanced form of this gesture). Some people, mainly foreigners suffering from so-called “Gaijin Complex” do not particularly like the notion of the gaijin nod. They either don’t like it because a) since they are suffering from gaijin complex, they dislike contact with all other foreigners in Japan and would rather be left alone; or b) they think it’s racist behavior to acknowledge some unknown person on the street simply because of race or nationality.

I disagree. I think the gaijin nod is not about racism at all – it is simply a nice gesture towards another human being who happens to be in a similar life situation as yourself. When you see another foreigner looking slightly lost walking around in the outskirts of Tokyo, you cannot but smile and think “yes, I have been in the same situation as you” and at that instant you feel some kind of small connection to him/her and gladly give them the gaijin nod.

I would argue that the chances of a gaijin nod occurring between two random foreigners is reverse proportional to the size of the town you are in. Lately, you will probably not greet every single foreigner you see in Tokyo, but when I was living in Kobe, you would not pass a single opportunity to nod to your fellow man. Granted, when I nod a greeting to the 6ft Thai transvestite I bumped into in Shinjuku, I cannot honestly say we share much common experiences….but that is probably the exception to the rule. So, the next time you see a dumb schmuck of a foreigner on the train, why don’t you make his day by greeting him with the gaijin nod?

By the way – I blogged this directly from Flickr, thus the slightly different layout. I think it looked pretty OK with the image floated to the right, so I might try this layout more in future posts.

Aug
14

We are just hamsters in a wheel

Posted by on Monday, 14 August, 2006

Just read this: Japan Railway passengers to generate electricity at train stations (via: Newsvine) and it got me thinking that we are just a few steps away from being hamsters in wheels in full Matrix style…. OK, maybe not yet… :-)

Anyway, I’m back from my vacation by the way. End of the drought, I hope!