Sarah C

Feb 09

a t-shirt with souvlaki tetris on it, now THAT i’d consider~

FT2 comments • 521 views

To anyone who ever played any sort of videogame in the 80s, or if you even wanted to, or even if you DIDN’T but downloaded an emulator anyway because all the cheap hipster shops near you are selling tshirts with ropey graphics of FROGGER on them: you really, really should get Retro Game Challenge for the DS. Sure, it just sounds like another collection of retro mini-games, and that IS the basis of it but oh my, it is so much better than the sum of its parts!

You play the part of someone whose DS is hijacked by an obsessive gamer named Arino, who boasts of his supremacy in ALL GAMING! Indignant at your petty noughties gaming, he sends you back to the past to challenge him, turning you into a kid to take on child!Arino. This has the utterly charming effect of placing two little kids on the floor in front of a tv and gaming console on the bottom screen whilst the game gets played on the DS top-screen. The kids crawl about, sprawl on the floor, punch the air, exclaim out loud at the scary bits, howl in unfairness, fish out magazines for hints and tips (familiar to anyone who read eg SEGA FORCE et al – yeah yeah I’m a generation after typing out debug scripts, deal) and cheer on each other. It sounds nothing special at all but the down to earth charm of it, even the kids stumbling around on the floor and switching on consoles has gotten me OBSESSED.


Dec 08

Manga review #3: Absolute Boyfriend; I Won’t Let You Become A Star!; and Aromatics

FT + The Brown Wedge5 comments • 1,104 views

The story in today’s Independent on manga is pretty telling about what the author thinks of “comics for girls”. Quote: “The [typical] manga reader was a man, and he probably liked SF and he could be a student. But then they decided, let’s sell these as books. And so girls could walk into a book-shop and pick up their angst-ridden pretty-boy vampire comics and not feel intimidated by the smell or the staff”. Followed by in brackets, the shocking fact that 7%-85% percent of readers of ‘yaoi’ or Boys Love comix are in fact GURLIES. Anyway yesh but now onto the “real” manga. Patronising much, o fuckwit? There’s a picture of a manga written by a female author but you immediately realise it can’t go anywhere because half of the font is COMIC SANS.

Anyway, this article reminded me that recently I picked up my first SHOUJO MANGA (manga for gurlies, typically published by Shoujo Beat over here)! My decision to Try It (given that I hates all comics) was provoked by intense lolz from recent jdrama Yasuko to Kenji, which featured boyband drummer Masahiro Matsuoka as an ex-biker gang leader turned awesome shoujo manga artiste (each episode would feature him dressing up his two goons as eg swooning schoolgirls, cheerleaders, puppy-walkers etc).

I picked up “Absolute Boyfriend”, as I have familiarity with the jdrama (‘Zettai Kareshi’) based on the manga, which turns out to come with two further ‘stand-alone’ comics, “I Won’t Let You Become A Star” and “Aromatics”. I’m not sure if each ‘book’ has one ‘serial’ in each instalment, followed by two standalones or whether this is a one off as it was the last episode of ‘Absolute Boyfriend’, mind. As AB is the finale of a long-running story, it’s actually quite hard to say anything about it without talking about the drama which is a different kettle of cream-puffs. So I shan’t bother!


Aug 08

i vant to suck your blood

FT + The Brown Wedge2 comments • 198 views

Hold on. How come there are books about high school vampires (the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer) for which people make SOCK PATTERNS and no-one has TOLD ME?

Bizarrely, these books are authored by a rather “keen” Mormon author, and don’t feature drinking, drugging or… s3xxxing? Hold on a second, but you know the whole vampire thing is massively… like… about…? SINKING FANGS INTO NECKS and so on? Apparently these series are big business in the US (apparently whilst magic is evil, vampires – providing they don’t booze or s3x0r – are fine!) and set to be huge in other territories. Now I love me some teen vampire trash but when written by a woman who allegedly hasn’t seen an R-rated film “on principle” – whut?

I admit I haven’t seen an R rated film myself – I still don’t QUITE know what it means! I thought it was the stage above 18, but apparently not! From FAN FIC, I have the following assumptions about RATINGS:


Jul 08

Baking “Conversions” Gone Wrong

FT + Pumpkin Publog12 comments • 1,073 views

This is mentalist stuff!

I pretty much believe the internet is full of great recipes to try, but the world of American volume-based recipes using cups and “sticks” of butter just doesn’t work in the UK. I end up poking anxiously with floury hands on my laptop trying to check whether a teaspoon is a teaspoon is a teaspoon. Well, NO MORE. I am coming up with a definitive cheat sheet for the fridge, but it is NOT HELPED by finding ridiculous sites like the above which claims the UK equivalent to 1 US “cup” is “3/4 of a cup and 2 dsp”. Leaving aside the fact that I am British and am not quite sure of the difference between a desertspoon and a teaspoon (the REALLY weeny spoons, I guess?) – NO! UK measurements do not involve cups! They involve weights, in grams, or at a PUSH I can accept pounds and ounces in old money. What NONSENSE is this site claiming?!

Or if anyone would like to say that the UK started it with Pints and Imperial Pints and I am just thick, they are welcome to Try It, but frankly – weight based measurements are the way to go. I mean, even if you DO measure by volume, a cup of flour is different to a cup of WALNUTS or whatever. The standard in the UK is metric, I just find it downright bizarre have NO clue what that site is referencing. I now judge it: UNHELPFUL! And my cheatsheet is back at square one as how can I trust anything else on that site?

And speaking of which, where can I buy a set of balance scales from these days? Are they the sort of things found in Past Tymes stores and bought by Live Roleplaying Enthusiasts? (Sorry Tom).

Jul 08

Chestnut Cupcakes, a recipe

FT + Pumpkin Publog////2 comments • 1,141 views

cupcakes you say(I made these chestnut cupcakes a while ago and forgot to post! Naughty me. But never too late for fairy cakes, eh? Based on a recipe I found here. Followed that with some tweaks – my version is below, nicely metricised as well)


Chestnut Cupcakes with Chocolate (Kate) Ganache ♥♥♥ – makes at the least 12, probably some more depending on how much you fill the cases innit.


Jun 08

The Name Of The Game is… ILLGAZE!

FT3 comments • 156 views

Great article at from the Head of Localization on what sort of issues and workarounds people come up with in translating and localizing games for different audiences. Here he talks about things encountered in translating the Etrian Odyssey games. Hard limits on character names prove fantastic linguistic challenges from long and complex names in kanji over to good ole phonetic English!

“…. we had a hard limit of 8 characters for player skills, enemy skills, and enemy names, and a generous 10 for item and equipment names. The hard part is that 8 characters in Japanese can give you enemy names like 憤怒の眼光主, which romanizes as “Fundo No Gankou-Nushi” and translates as the even lengthier “Owner of the Malicious Glare.”

That’s a lot to pack into 8 English letters. So in this case, we jettisoned the word “Owner” as being the least meaningful word in the name, and were left with “Malicious Glare.” Casting about for some shorter synonyms for “malicious” gives us words like “evil” and “bad,” which are both short enough to fit. But Evilglare and Badglare have that slightly clumsy air that went hand-in-hand with the old NES days, and we try to produce localizations more natural than that, even with character limits as tough as these.

Read more of the article for weapons workarounds and maintaining historical authenticity! Sigh – I so wish this was my job…

Jun 08

Len Deighton’s “Action Cookbook”

FT12 comments • 1,149 views

The cover shows Deighton stirring a pot of spaghetti while a woman runs her hands suggestively through his hair. He’s got a gun hanging loosely by his side and is looking out at the reader with the kind of knowing glance that’s usually accompanied by a wink.

As the preface says: “[S]erious food enthusiasts seized upon [his recipes] without being sure that this was the same man who spoke over the Soviet radio, talked with Hollywood lawyers and wrote the sort of spy thrillers that had to be submitted to the War Office before publication. It is.”.

Nigella could never make cooking look this shexay….

Jun 08

The rise of the emo game? “99 no Namida” brings the tears

FTPost a comment • 579 views

As someone with a sickening obsession for all things Jin Akanishi J-boyband/tat related, I often find myself spending disgusting amounts of money on Japanese teen fash/music mags. Quite a few of these run large advertisements for new Nintendo DS games, generally featuring Cinnamoroll, seals baking cakes etc etc – which is a nice change to the mags here which only EVER advertise sodding Brain Age…. but a random one jumped out at me the other day and gave me a double take! 99 no Namida (99 Tears). I thought for one MAD moment that it might have been some sort of related DS game to the bawl-yr-eyes-out-sobfest drama that is 1 Litre of Tears – a drama based on a girl with a degenerative and incurable spinal disease, which renders her incapable of movement by the end, but doesn’t affect her mind at all, nrgghh gawd… and awfully? That’s not so far from the truth!

99 no Namida essentially does what it says on the tin. It’s an emotional development game (one might say… an EMO game?!) which creates a ‘personality profile’ based on your answering a few questions on the starting input screen, and then uses this profile to generate a story which should… make you cry! The point being that it is healthy to unleash your emotions and release stress, whether that is through a solitary tear rolling down the cheek or an all out bawl.

Whether this is true or not, I certainly can’t imagine playing this one on the tube. And how does it measure if you’ve cried or not? And if it doesn’t try and measure, then why not just read a weepy book? Or download aforementioned “1 Litre of Tears” into yr iPod? (Or in fact, read the actual true-life diary the story came from?). Can the crying game… really be a game at all? So – I seriously have zero clue on whether this will make it out of Japan. Can any of our Japanese correspondents confirm or deny swathes of salarymen sniffling as inconspiciously as possible into their briefcases on the tube each morning? Or… given the genre of the mag I saw the original ad in, swathes of schoolgirls gathered round in the playground, at the heart-rending stories of … ???

Well – I suppose emotional development is as important as mental development, given the popularity of Prof. Kawashima’s Brain Training — which has JUST dropped out of the UK charts! For the first time since release! Is this a sign that we’re ready to develop other parts of our mind, as well as arithmetic and logic? Hardly very Vulcan, is it…

Mar 08

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Nappy Club Rash

FT2 comments • 302 views

Whilst I don’t really give an Osakan monkeys that Billy Corgan has got his knickers in a twist over his record label permitting the Smashing Bumpkins to be used in promotional material for Pepsi and Amazon without permission, the real boggler is from the “… and finally” at the bottom, concerning use of the Beatles tracks for advertising… after years and years of blanket refusal to allow their tracks to be used for promotional purposes, when they FINALLY decide to relent, who would you imagine would snap them up as their first client? Well…

“This year Sony/ATV, which owns the publishing rights to the Beatles catalogue, said it would license their tracks. The first deal was with a US nappy brand to use the line All You Need is Luvs. It does not need to consult the surviving Beatles but said it felt a “moral obligation” to do so.”

Methinks Jacobs Creek are missing a trick here – come on guys – “Ticket To Wine” is up for grabs!

Mar 08

Wagamama goes breakfast

FT + Pumpkin Publog11 comments • 1,250 views

::: NOTE NOTE NOTE::: apologies for being a breakfasttease but apparently this menu is only on until March 30 2008 so if you want your full English breakfast soba noodles, get in there quickly!! ::: END NOTE END NOTE END NOTE:::

We note that Wagamama (on London’s Trendy Wigmore Street only for the timebeing) has commenced a new breakfast menu (pdf)! Your standard smoothies are still there, but what is this I see? Allow me to extract a few portions that drew my attn in particular…

breakfast yaki soba £5.50
teppan fried soba noodles with egg, smoked streaky bacon,
savoy cabbage, mushrooms and fresh chopped tomatoes (ed thinks: …. …. ….ed does not even KNOW)

wagamama kedgeree £5.50

a blend of sticky rice, naturally smoked haddock, spring onion and a
soft boiled egg bound in a curry sauce (ed thinks: haddock? curry sauce?? BREAKFAST?? BLEEE!!!)

okonomiyaki £4.95
a traditional japanese style omelette filled with red and green peppers,
savoy and white cabbage and mushrooms topped with
katsuobushi (dried tuna fish shavings) and aonori (seaweed)(ed thinks: b-b-b-but… where will they COOK it?)

asa gohan v £3.95
a traditional japanese breakfast of sticky rice, miso soup and pickles
can also be ordered with grilled salmon (ed thinks: frankly I have sort of been of the opinion that whenever people claim this is a traditional japanese breakfast they are just taking the mickey out of me as in every single dorama I watch everyone is ALWAYS having either toast or cereal and I have not yet seen one single breakfast scene featuring rice, soup or pickles – not even in Gokusen(2) – bluddy kids?? Someone who has actually been actual Japan, not just telly Japan can probably inform me whether this is GENERALLY the case or not- please?)

They will also do you toast, pastries, a regular “full english”, scrambled eggs, coffee etc… but frankly in for a fusion penny in for a fusion couple of yen, am I right?