Monday, February 27 2012


Almost a year since my last post... I never do feel like writing stuff.

But I would like to point out that, after 2.5 years of being inaccessible, I finally finished work on my website! Please go to and have a look! It is currently mainly used for displaying my photography portfolio, but it will eventually also be used for other things.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 09:04 | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Friday, March 11 2011

Help with Japanese translation

Can someone tell me what this print reads? I tried to figure it out using the kanji lookup feature of nihongodict, but failed miserably. Click the image for a larger view.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 20:58 | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Sunday, January 02 2011

Anime Recommendations

I compiled a list of anime recommendations for a friend of mine, and figured I might as well post a link to it here. It includes a synopsis, short commentary and recommended release for each title. I hope to eventually write reviews on all the shows I have been watching, but I have no inspiration and little time right now.

Anyway, the list of recommendations can be found here.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 20:39 | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Tuesday, May 18 2010

Toaru Majutsu no Index - Review

Toaru Majutsu no Index

Kamijou Touma is the weakest of the weak in Academy City, a place where people with paranormal abilities, so-called espers, study to increase their power. One day he finds a girl hanging over the railing of his balcony. She says her name is Index, and claims to be a magician. She is being chased by other magicians, who wish to obtain the 103,000 grimoires locked away in her head - all the volumes on magic that have been outlawed. Touma takes it upon himself to protect her, and in doing so involves himself in the ancient struggle between science and magic.

Kamijou Touma
Kamijou Touma:
Wherever Touma goes, bad luck seems to follow; it is no coincidence that his catchphrase is "such misfortune...". The ability he possesses is called Imagine Breaker: any supernatural ability that comes into contact with his right hand is cancelled out. He helps people whenever he can, most of the time without even being asked to do so.
Index:Index, or Index Librorum Prohibitorum in full, is a mage of the English Purist Church. She is the target of many attacks because of the 103,000 grimoires that have been stored in her brain.
Misaka Mikoto
Misaka Mikoto:
The third strongest of only seven Level 5 espers in Academy City, her ability is to control the flow of electrons. Her nickname is Railgun, because she can use electricity to launch metal projectiles at great velocity.

Tsukuyomi Komoe
Tsukuyomi Komoe:Komoe-sensei is Touma's homeroom teacher. She has a bit of a crush on him as well, which is why she enjoys putting him in detention.
MISAKA:Misaka's twin sister.
Accelerator:The strongest Level 5 esper in Academy City, his power allows him to change all vectors he comes into contact with.
Kanzaki Kaori
Kanzaki Kaori:A mage sent by Necessarius, the Church of Necessary Evil, to capture Index. She uses magic to strengthen her body, and attacks with a long katana.
Stiyl MagnusStiyl Magnus:Kanzaki's partner, his magic allows him to produce flames. He is rarely seen without a cigarette in his mouth.
Himegami AisaHimegami Aisa:
Also known as Deep Blood, the smell of her blood attracts vampires. However, when a vampire comes close to her, it will die. She is a very quiet person, with a rather introvert personality.
Kazakiri Hyouka
Kazakiri Hyouka:
The best student in Kirigaoka Academy for Girls, one of the top five schools in Academy City. She is the first person Index befriends, next to Touma.

Note: there are so many supporting characters in this series that I decided only to include those who play a central role in more than one episode.

Let me start off by saying the I really liked this series. I find the concept of a city dedicated purely to science fascinating. It is also interesting to see the two different approaches to supernatural power - one rooted in science, the other in magic.

Now let me say what I didn't like about the series. It starts off extremely slow, causing me to almost drop the series after four episodes. The story arcs were too short at only about five episodes each, as well as quite repetitive; all of them pretty much came down to some bad guy doing some bad thing, and Touma stopping him to save someone he barely knows. The story in itself is not exceptional either, nor is it extremely well told.

However, the thing that really got to me about this series were the characters. We have Kamijou Touma, the world's unluckiest individual, but also truly a modern knight in shining armour. There is Misaka Mikoto, the third strongest esper around, who refuses to admit she likes Touma. And then there is Index, possibly the most adorable and loveable character I have ever encountered in any work of fiction, which I think can mainly be attributed to the excellent voice acting.

Moreover, the humour in this series is very much to my liking. I can't remember any other time when I laughed as loudly on my own as in the episode where Index goes to the beach for the first time and, mistaking it for a hat, puts a jellyfish on Touma's head.

Deep down I want to give this series a four star rating, but I cannot possibly justify such a rating based on characters alone. The fact of the matter is that the story is quite lacking. Still, I didn't want the series to end.

I think I'll go watch Haibane Renmei again to reassure myself of the importance of a good story.

I can imagine myself watching this series many times without it getting old.

Full StarFull StarFull StarEmpty Star

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 23:41 | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Monday, May 17 2010

My Anime List

Just a short informative post: if you want to keep track of what anime I'm watching, what my progress is on series and what I plan to watch in the future, you can view my list here:

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Monday, April 05 2010

In the Pipeline #2

Long time, no posts...

I will not bore you all with the reasons why it has been so quiet here, the bottom line is that my time has been extremely limited as of late. My schedule should be clearing up a little from now on, so here's a couple of things I'm planning to post about.

As far as anime goes, I finished watching Death Note a while back, and I believe I still have reviews of Summer Wars and Cowboy Bebop due. I have decided not to write a review of Love Hina, as that would require me to rewatch the series yet again, which is not something I want to do right now. I do not rule out the possibility of a post on this series in the future though.

As for series I'm currently watching: I watched the first four episodes of Seikon no Qwaser, in which I like the idea of manipulating certain metallic elements, but the milk vampirism may cause me to drop this series. A while back I started watching Serial Experiments Lain, but after three episodes it become too much for me to handle, so I have put that series on ice for a while. I watched the first four episodes of To Aru Majutsu no Index, but so far it has failed to incite much interest in me, so I keep putting it off. I also watched the first three episodes of Chu-Bra!! and the first episode of Ladies versus Butlers, but I highly doubt I'll be watching more of either of those.

One series I have been following with great interest is Fairy Tail. To my delight ANN now lists 36 episodes, as opposed to the previous 24. So far I have watched the series up to episode 23, I will definitely be posting more on this.

In other news, we finally had some days with nice weather, so I had some opportunity to take my camera out. I have quite a bit of pictures already, so I'll probably post a bunch later. I also (finally) played Assassin's Creed 2, which I enjoyed so much I think I'll throw in a review of that as well, or at least a somewhat less formal post on the subject. Furthermore I have been watching the Zatoichi series and both the Battle Royale films, which I might dedicate a post to.

That's pretty much it for now, do not expect any posts on the very short term, stuff will most likely start appearing next weekend at the earliest.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 23:41 | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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Tuesday, March 09 2010

New Camera

Three weeks ago I ordered a camera and two lenses, which arrived yesterday morning. The contents of the package are posted below (click on the images for larger size).

A Nikon D90. For obvious reasons I cannot take a picture of the body, so I found this one instead (imagine it without the lens; I have no idea why it is put to show those settings on the screen, there is a little screen on top which shows just that). It's main specifications are that it has 12.3 MP, shutter speeds from 1/4000 to 30 seconds, can shoot up to 4.5 fps, an ISO range from 200-3200 (it can go down to 100 and up to 6400, but with less precision) and an 11-point auto-focus. Oh, and it can also shoot 720p video.

A Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens. The large maximum aperture means you can get some crazy depth of field effects. It came with a soft cloth bag for storage and a simple round lens hood.

A Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. The large maximum aperture over the entire zoom range is really nice, it allows me to take pictures with high magnification from far away even when it's somewhat dark outside. It came with a much more sturdy bag for safekeeping (it's like backpack material), a much fancier looking lens hood and a UV protection filter.

Apart from these things I also bought a 16GB SanDisk SD card and an extra battery for the camera.

Bottom line: expect to see some updates in the photography section as soon as going outside no longer results in losing fingers.

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Thursday, February 18 2010

Haibane Renmei - Review

Haibane Renmei

A girl named Rakka suddenly wakes up in a place totally unknown to her. She doesn't remember much of her life prior to the moment she hatched from a large cocoon-like thing. Overnight, Rakka sprouts a pair of wings from her back, a most painful process, during which a woman named Reki tends to her. While Rakka recovers, Reki explains a bit about the place she is in. She is in a large manor named Old Home, which is close to a village called Glie. Reki explains that Rakka is one of the Haibane, who appear in this world from time to time and are permitted to live there by the villagers in exchange for them taking on a job that needs fulfilling in the village. As time progresses we learn more about the Haibane, as well as the world they live in. I won't say more about the plot to avoid serious spoilers, but suffice to say there is a lot more to it than meets the eye.

Rakka is at the centre of the story told in Haibane Renmei. We follow her from the moment she is born into this strange world, as she tries to figure out why she is there and what happened to her family.
Reki:The unofficial leader of Old Home, Reki is the one who found Rakka's cocoon and cared for her as she grew her wings. She is strong and reliable, both qualities which earned her great respect from her fellow Haibane.

Nemu:One of the eldest Haibane at Old Home. She is always calm and kind-hearted. She works at the library.
Kuu:The last Haibane to join the family at Old Home before Rakka. She is almost always cheerful and full of energy, and becomes close friends with Rakka soon after she arrives. She works in a cafe.
Hikari:The eldest Haibane at Old Home next to Nemu and Reki, she is always kind and helpful. She works in a bakery.
Kana:Probably the least cheerful of the Haibane, on the outside at least. She is good with tools and works with the town's clockmaker in the clock tower.
HyoukoHyouko:One of the Haibane who live away from Old Home, instead choosing to live in an abandoned factory.
Washii, The CommunicatorWashii:Also known as The Communicator, he is the head of the Haibane Renmei, a group of people who loosely govern the Haibane. He is the only one permitted to speak with the people outside the village walls.

I've not seen that much anime yet, but it's safe to say this is the best I've seen so far. Not only is the plot amazingly well constructed, it also has some of the best character development I've ever seen in any work of fiction.

Furthermore, it has a brilliant tension arc. It starts off very slow, which emphasises Rakka's confusion about the place she suddenly finds herself in. The first half dozen episodes or so focus purely on the other Haibane and what they do, as Rakka attempts to find a suitable job in the village. Then, slowly, the pace of the story begins to pick up as we learn more and more about the world she is in, until it finally culminates in one of the most intense finales I have ever seen.

Aside from the story and characters, I also love the visual style of this series. The artwork and the animation is not of supreme quality, but it has a very unique, somewhat surreal feel to it that fits perfectly with the story.

The voice acting on the other hand is of exquisite quality. I could not imagine the casting being better. I incidentally noticed that the seiyū who did the voice of Reki also did that of Konno Mitsune in Love Hina, which is something I would never have guessed judging from the voices of the two characters themselves.

My only complaint would be that it only consists of 13 episodes. Then again, I guess a writer takes as many episodes as needed, no more, no less.

Overall I would say it is a true masterpiece.

High, although I must admit I have not taken the time to watch it again myself.

Full StarFull StarFull StarFull Star

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 18:30 | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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Monday, February 08 2010

My Computers

So I recently bought a new 1.5TB harddrive from Seagate. Installing it into my case was a five minute job, but I could not get it to work in Windows XP (haven't tried Windows 7) without using Windows setup to create a partition on it. If anyone knows a way to make such a partition without first having to use the Windows setup feature (I'm talking about the one you use when you want to install Windows) I would really like to know. Either way it's working fine now.

It did get me thinking though that maybe I should post my system specs, so here they are:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 @ 3.8 GHz
Cooling: Corsair H50 water cooling
Memory: 4 GB Corsair XMS2 800 MHz DDR2 (2x2 GB)
Graphics: ASUS nVIDIA 8800GTX
Motherboard: ASUS P5N32E-SLI Plus
Harddrives: Seagate 320 GB and 1.5 TB, Samsung 1 TB
Power Supply: OCZ GameXStream 600W
Case: CoolerMaster Stacker 832
DVD Writer: Lite-On LH-20A1P
DVD Reader: LG GDR-8164B

For peripherals I use:
Primary Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 2494 24" 16:9 1920x1080
Secondary Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 931BF 19" 5:4 1280x1024
Mouse: Razer Lachesis
Keyboard: some crappy Trust Slimline thing with ridiculous key placement, but it types lovely.
Speakers: Creative Gigaworks T20
Headphones: AKG K240 Mk II
Headset: Creative HS-1000
Printer/Scanner: Canon MP540

I bought this PC around two and a half years ago, though at the time it had an E6600 instead of the E8500, only the 320 GB harddrive and it lacked the water cooling. I also upgraded my memory from 2x1 GB to 2x2 GB, but I can't use the other 2 modules any more as it makes my system very unstable. I suspect one of the slots in the motherboard is broken, which means that will probably be the next thing I replace.

Manufacturer: XXODD
Model: XNi120t
Monitor: 12.1" 16:10 1280x800 touch screen (can rotate 180 degrees)
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 @ 2.53 GHz
Memory: 4GB 800 MHz DDR2 (2x2 GB)
Graphics: Intel GMA 4500MHD (integrated)
Harddrive: 500 GB 7200 rpm
Misc: 3.5G HSDPA/UMTS module, Dual Layer DVD writer, 7-in-1 card reader, 2.0 MP webcam

The only thing I dislike about the tablet PC/laptop is that the screen makes it very heavy (well over 2 kg). The touch screen is a lot of fun to use though, it is especially nice in GIMP (obviously) and in Firefox if you have an extension such as FireGestures installed. Handwriting recognition in Windows 7 is lovely as well, though it seems to have some trouble recognising numbers, especially the 9, 1 and 4; it usually turns them into g, l and u.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 10:27 | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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Sunday, January 03 2010

HP Ink more expensive than human blood

Cheaper to run your printer on Blood

Glad I have a Canon printer.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at 20:38 | No Comments | Add Comment
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