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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Return To The Shrine (Part 1)


Well, it has been a few years.  Lots has happened and for the past 5 or so years well, as one can see here the site has been rather dormant with little in terms of posts and/or hopes of new content/info.  Hell, seems the last few posts have been nothing but "hey we are trying to come back" or "oops sorry for the delay".  That ends now in this post as there are now tangible items being worked on as I speak.

Some things were said prior posts in regards to this but lots of life changes (mostly positive) happened after what was a fall from grace.  The anime site and store was so close to being the full time gig & center of mine and my wife's (yep, Danielle's finally my wife now and we have a little girl named Yuna).  But, well...that didn't happen due to Hurricane Sandy & things beyond our control from then.   This was followed shortly by the sudden loss of our main artist, Kenneos as well as a big door to anime voice acting being closed for the honest questioning of a very jaded and then self centered western anime voice actor. 

That all began in 2012, 9 years ago...and were mentioned in prior posts a bit too.  What happened later was all positive but with a catch.  I got that decently paying programming job I worked 10+ years to prove I was worthy of, a job that to this day has kept me on my toes and without much sleep.  With it came a little bit of the spoils like ability to buy a house.  I was able to marry the woman who has been with me since only a few weeks after the start of this very site in March of 2002, who I was engaged to from x-mas eve of 2007.  A wedding almost always delayed due to a lack of money, a wedding that was to happen in 2013 had the events prior didn't happen...but that job help bring finally in September of 2016.  Another positive was becoming the voice of a popular and award winning dog, Crusoe the Celebrity Dachshund.  

The negatives were that my time to do anything I loved outside of programming was brought to a near halt...even playing video games and watching anime.  Up until recently even the time to do much was and has been a struggle.  You'd think with the recent world changing pandemic from covid 19 that I'd be able to finally check off all my items and get things rolling again, but that doesn't come easy when you are the father of a 2 year old and with a demanding job.  

However, that job for a while has kept me in the know and sharpening the skills I've had for quite some time.  For years I've been planning the return to all of this and something happened just recently that might finally have the stars aligned and the motivation to return to the hobby, site store and more that was left on the shelf... left to grow the mold we see in this wonderful art piece above that I wish I knew the source to.

In the podcasts that you heard my wife and I on, you heard my distain for a new age of moral panic, not by the antagonists of old, but of a new breed of perpetually offended...by the people who claimed to have once been on the side of our fandom and other things one would say are progressive free and were scrutinized. 

Well, the moral panic by a new age of puritans has hit a fever pitch and it would seem that they have come after anime fans, anime / Japanese artists, collectors, voice actors who choose not to participate in this cult without a deity and against all we hold dear.  

This isn't new for me, I became an anime fan thanks to my childhood friend Tiago B. around 1996 thanks to a turn of events that can all oddly stem from me getting a Sega CD with no plug (maybe more on that another day); a chain of events that lead to this site and me meeting my now wife (again...maybe more on that too...very Love Hina on that one).  When I was in high school, I was teased by people who hated anime for the reason of it being different and being asian.  I grew to love the aesthetic, the culture, the positives of the habits of the people of Japan, and yes, I married into a part Japanese family too.

The people who teased my love for video games and anime were the "popular types" and the types today who'd probably get canceled to hell for acting a certain demographic they are clearly not.  Professors balked at my wanting to program for video games and at home, the religious right wing were ever so prudish about the sexyness and power seen with anime and Japanese women.  

Now, we are seeing it with those who are on the other extreme of the spectrum, people who claim to be anime fans but are anything but.  Those in big industries are attacking video games and particularly now anime...even people in the western anime industry. Gone is my trust in Funimation, CrunchyRoll, RoosterTeeth, ANN and Kotaku.  The latter two I used to get my news from and they used to in some cases with me as well before they blew up in popularity and lost their ways.  These entities mock and make fun of fans and the very culture that got them on the radar in the first place... all too familiar to those people I dealt with in high school.  

It's gotten too much for me to bear and hold my tongue.  I try to and will continue to be positive as I can as the community I do represent with my voice acting role as Crusoe is actually one of the most positive communities I have ever seen.  They kind of remind me of the old anime community and old group of anime voice actors who are just there fro the love of the content...not for political brownie points, not for silly scandals and not for anything backhanded.  They are so positive in an internet that has always been a rough place to be but only has gotten worse due to the amount of pointless eggshells one must walk over.  The fact of the matter is, people need to stand up and realize the eggshells and those who put them there are weak if firmly stood against.

What has happened?  Why am I ranting like this?  What's the goal?  

Well, the straw that broke the camel's back was what some of you probably are visiting about...the fact that anime figures are now being banned.  This isn't something new (I reported the inklings of this two years ago)...but it has totally grown by leaps and bounds.  Amazon particularly at the moment, but how far will they go?  How much more of an anti-Japanese, anti anime rhetoric do we have to see and hear?  This coming from entities that claim they are "trying to stop asian hate".  Please...we all see you never cared until it made you all look good.

This is why I've had to come back...but this time I have experience and a long yearning for a return.  The world of tech and internet applications has changed a ton and while I was away, I became part of the forefront of it all.  Even way back in 2014, just before I sold some of the last figures on hand form my store, I made it where you can buy with Bitcoin.  Crypto is just the tip of the iceberg and I for the past few years stood at the shoulders as the R&D tech person for brands and businesses that would make all of those blogging companies shrivel with fear in the corporate sphere.  

From demoing the Hololens to the CEO of PepsiCo while working side by side with the CEO of MTNDew, to making the 1st 3D ad with Google's team, to the beta testing of Twitter's now retired Fabric, to building a Unreal Engine AR scene for the International Read Cross, to an AR experience for the fashion industry that took up the entire Javits Center (you know...where NYCC is hosted), to a Unity project for the MTA, to even ironically building a platform for chat and web content delivery on Amazon's AWS...I've gone through the trails of fire in tech that most never do.  I own my own house now.  I have resources & knowledge I never had back when I added that anime figure store to this here site in 2008 to a whopping $200,000+ in figure sales.  

Amazon and the actions of the new age of the "always offended" have made a bad enemy; someone in industries and tech that their hipster blogs only wish they could compete with.  I have a few projects I left dormant and on the drawing board that I will go into in upcoming posts in more detail but let's put it this way...I'll make sure to add my name to the list of those who won't be stepped on.  There's lots of good for humanity that those with a passion in these forms of entertainment, tech and art can (and have brought) to the table.  The people who cry "I'm offended" are the crabs in the bucket.  Their time was the 2010s...this is the decade that this must come to an end.  You should not be ashamed of your culture, your love/respect for a culture nor your creative & positive hobbies.  

The first step...I'm bringing back my anime store.  Will only be small at first but let's bring this back.  

Second, the blog here which.. well, yes it's back now but it sure needs an update. 

Third: the podcast will return.

Fourth: I'm going to return to let's plays

Fifth and more... more on those as I create them.  Might be best I don't mention them too much until they are about ready (something I learned well in my work)

Oh, and Google ads...they are going to go away.  For years they said my posts about anime and the various art, tropes, memes, etc are a "violation" on adSense.  That's ok... there's enough sites with site destroying ads.  Those need to go.

My job and being a father is still a ton of work but damn... I feel a new life in me.  

Let's GO!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Long Gap, But Not The End

Hey there,
Been a long time hasn't it?  Almost 2 years of nothing?!
My sites, stores and general content has been...let's say nonexistent the past almost 2 years and nothing here on our blog has been updated with much care or order for a while.  Well, that is hopefully going to start changing (hopefully not jinxing it).  
I'm finally settled enough in my home to begin what I wanted to do in the first place; grow/reboot my online presence, sites, content and business.  A ton has happened in the past few years.  It was like the life changes that should have happened all combined at once since 2015.  I got a very important job role in NYC as a Lead Developer, I got married to Danielle who's been a part of my life since 2002 and my fiancee since late 2007 and I bought our first home!  Heck, even just these past few months I became the voice of a famous online pup, Crusoe The Celebrity Dachshund, so my voice acting has been keeping me busy as well.  The downturn (and financial issues) my anime figure business suffered by the events of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 are now gone and there is another store site in the works.  
The insane number of life changes, 24+ hour project sprints and tasks life threw at me these past few years was beyond tiring so Danielle and I took a week off to Disney in Orlando (the same place we went for our honeymoon). The vacation was exactly what I needed so it's time to get things back on track. 
First things first, hopefully more content and to get things going... I'm not going to keep the Anime Figure Bot  in it's "in dev state".  She will now answer questions and eventually move toward being a dynamic assistant to our anime store's revival.  
Also, moving forward we do wish to update the site/blog and all to be out of it's 2009 state as well as phase out Google Adsense as well a number of other Google services being used on this site.  Google over the past few years has made their platforms increasingly restrictive on free speech and with ever puritan-like prudish nature.  We are not fans of crazy non-related ads, Google's overall actions and honestly not into much advertising in general beyond what we need to keep the site afloat. 
Advertising on this site will for a time stay as I am talking to a number of people who wish advertise here (all anime related) so ads in general will change here.  Down the road we might just restrict advertising to a single Patreon pledge banner, mention of our anime store items and quick sponsors in online videos / podcasts.  This will allow us to keep making content and not worry that attractive, non-pornographic anime art will get flagged by a platform and people who will eventually die out in obscurity by then end of this decade when the next set of outrage culture fiends finds their next mindless topic to waste their efforts on.  
Ranting aside, we are not gone and if time stays my friend (and we are not jinxing ourselves yet again) we do have plans for more content and still being a part of the community we've been a part of since 2002. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Anime Shrine PodCast Episode 6: New Year, Google's Continued Prude Algorithm Garbage

After a year of silence...we are back and talking about how 2016 was NOT a bad year for us despite the internet still loving to hate 2016 as well as more ranting about the crappy Adsense censorship and Youtube algorithm that has been a bane to long time online content creators.

(Warning: Explicit Language)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Loss of A Friend and The Song of Our Return

2016 has been an interesting year.  It started on a promising note after a low point for me when I had to quit from the NYC job that originally freed me from a dead end job.  It was a horrid place to work for and a perfect example of the clueless world of the "posh" NYC elite.  Things changed for us when I got the position as a Unity developer for a smaller startup company that was in desperate need to finish a project for a beer company.  Without the efforts of me and my fellow devs, the company would have fell apart.  As stated in the prior posts, success came after working the longest consecutive hours I've ever had to do.  The rewards since have been wonderful.  2016, despite what is popular right now, was and will probably one of the greatest years in my life.  Danielle and I, after dating only a month after launching this site almost 15 years ago and being engaged since 2007...finally, finally got married in September.  Here's a picture of us...not too often do I show anything buy anime on the site but I do like shutting up the complainers of 2016...

Not everything was happy and wonderful for us in 2016.  This was stated a while back on our Facebook page but I also promised to talk more about this...

Just before our wedding in September, we lost a dear friend and somebody who was very important to us at Chuck's Anime Shrine.  Our main artist and probably one of our site's number one fans, Kenneos (real name, Victoria Chamizo)... tragically passed away.  It was real a shock for Danielle and I.  Her death and the fact that I've been extremely busy as the now lead developer of my current job... is why this blog and site was left dormant yet again for much of the year.

Here are some pictures Kenneos made for us.

This picture was the last one she made.  Since our mascots matched the Pokemon Go Team colors so she was to draw all three with their respected teams; Fumi for Team Mystic, Demon for Team Valor and Angel Fumi for Team Instinct.. seen below.  This was the only one she was able to finish since she past away shortly after this image's completion.

Her death almost made it feel like it was time to pack our bags here with the site as well.  However... with everything going on the internet like the fact that many of the major gaming and "geek" blogs are now over ran by fan-hating marketing hipsters and the way Google, adsense and Youtube are screwing over the independent creator...there is a need for people of the "original internet" to step up.
Throughout the years we had a number of opportunities to be like many of the big names out there as we were the firsts in a number of things we either never cultivated or simply had inconveniently bad situations that prevented our progression.  We were one of the first to post AMVs online, before Youtube was a glimmer in anyone's eye.  We could have eventually moved to licenced anime streaming and been Crunchy Roll way before them.  We were one of the first indie "geek" blogs posting games and anime reviews after receiving actual review copies from the industry.  We could have been Kotaku before Kotaku...hell, before Kotaku went off the hipster/SJW deep end...we used to be one of their biggest supporters.  We were one of the first anime figure businesses in the US to be a legit distributor of Good Smile Company & Figma figures back in 2006/2007...long before Crunchy Roll took that market into their own as well.  We were one of the first sites to delve into Indie game development.

So many what ifs, so many missed chances.  Yet... things this year have never been better and I've been coming into this industry on a different angle.  I'm the lead dev to a rapidly growing startup that is all in the fields I love.  Despite being blackballed/gate-keeped by some from doing anime voice acting...I've done a fair share of various other voice acting projects/ genres with others in the pipeline as we speak.

Still...various questions arise...

Should I continue blogging?
Should I continue updating this site and anime.fm?
Should I continue the Tenshi-Oni game?
Should I bring turn the anime store back on?
Should I continue making content online despite being one of the earliest content creators on the internet yet being a nobody in comparison to other content creators after many years?

Yes, yes I should continue all of that.

Kenneos would have wanted that and just the other day I got a message on my old AMVs on Youtube from a few people.  They told me they were nostalgic about our AMVs and it was those videos that got them into anime, games and these hobbies that are now the forefront of popular culture... over 10 years ago.  There are music artists who are still wishing to see the Tenshi-Oni game come to fruition.  There are artists we support and others we would love to support by bringing their talents into our sites, our games and our content.  There is so much we can do even as old forgotten starters of the internet.  My job keeps me very, very busy but it's all doing the highest levels of development that is related or connected to these hobbies.  I might not be able to get in as many updates and be able to man the anime figure business constantly (that is still going through a php "white screen of death" issue), but I have a wonderful wife who has been here since a month after this site started in April of 2002.  You guys might hear more from here than me when I'm too busy to even post.

Since money is not as big of an issue as it used to be for this site and since I want to stick it to Google Adsense for trying to censor my blog posts...we'll be phasing out Adsense ads (I mean who views/clicks them anyways...I use adblock too).  We'll instead let the anime figure store (sorry, it's still down ^^;;) and donations on our new Patreon Page keep the site going.

We hope that we are indeed "back" again.  I did promise a song.  A bit weird and cheesy, I know, but this song is what got us through the end of 2015 and into the start of the life changing year of 2016.  It's honestly the song and cover version I want to licence in our Tenshi-oni game...granted it's from an anime too so who knows if I'd ever be able to licence the cover for use.

Happy end of 2016 and here's us moving on and moving forward.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Game Development is Science & Art...but Not Contemporary Art

Sounds weird, right?  Claiming that video game development is an art but not contemporary when video games have only been around for the past ~40-50 years.  Hear me out here because a lack of understanding this is positively ruining the game industry as well as the credibility of indie game development; possibly even game development as a whole.

Listen, I'm guilty of being one of the many over the past decade who pushed for categorizing both anime and video games as art.  This is from decades of dealing with a usually right winged, religious conservative mentality that since the 80's tried to demonize our hobbies and games from either a position of ignorance or a position of envy that they have no discerning hobbies and dreams.  Since my early years of gaming in the 80's I've been told a number of times that I was "wasting my time" with my love for video games from those in my own social circle, on public news and even my academic sphere of influence in Computer Science during the early 00's.  Oddly, we are now seeing the same bullying from those on the far left.

Kid trying to talk to great aunt about Pokemon Go; who's desperately wanting to return to a life of no hobbies. Source 

It was a battle of creditability that many of us fought and still try to fight to this day.  Thing is something (mostly) great happened.  A few years after I finished left college in 2004-2005 a threshold was reached, games became bigger than Hollywood movies.  The "game" changed.  Video games pierced into the main stream media and has since only grown and expanded in the 10+ years since; maintained by the fact that we, the gamers, became adults and to the dismay of the past generations, didn't shed our supposedly childish love.  From that point on, game development & programming courses became a norm in many schools and eventually it was finally recognized as an art of both technology and design as oppose to some "childish fad" some hoped it was going only to be.

So the battle was won right?  We did it.  We, the gamers (and yes, even anime fans to some degree) didn't have to be shunned for liking a hobby that was scientifically proven to improve a number of our senses and expand our imagination; with the development of which encompassing the entirety of of Computer Science and also responsible for moving that field forward.  Trust me, the old hat enterprise apps being outsourced to India in the early 00's were in no way improving Computer Science.  Much of the mobile / smart phone revolution was due to gaming... as is the current revolution of VR and AR.   Games have and will always move tech forward.

Dark Souls 3: A game that is a work of art in addition to being a fun game

Depression Quest: A game created for the sake of being "artsy" 

Not so fast with the celebration, though...
With this great improvement of the field and hobby came some issues; one of which was a ghost of gaming's past that almost killed it before.  The main issue is that the popularity of games and thus the money that can be had from clinging onto it's coattails invited a feverish group of marketeers and later, non-tech contemporary "artists" into the field.  The prior, the marketers, where actually the group who almost killed games in the 1980's, whom shunned games after a crash they created, and whom their succesors today like to keep the indie game scene in some sort of clique.  If you are not a part of that clique, forget any preemptive rewards, accolades, blog posts and well... hype.  The "clique" now includes a bunch of well positioned non engineer contemporary "artists" who don't know what it takes to make / code a game but want to "change" the industry similar to how a contemporary artist wants to "change" art with a canvas full of literal, actual shit.

See the above example of two games; Depression Quest (DQ) and Dark Souls 3 (DS3).  First off, I initially honored Depression Quest's "doing something different" angle.  Though one was by one person and the other was by a big budgeted studio, the politically motivated gate keeping created by the maker & bloggers supporting DQ shows what is wrong with the Western Indie game dev scene.  Dark Souls was created by a person (Hidetaka Miyazaki) who, like me, was told he'd never be good enough for the industry.  The creator of DQ took the fame to her head, not looking for improvement of the craft while Miyazaki stays humble and always trying to do better with each game since Demon Souls.  If you are to be a true game designer, the latter is the way to go and how you make art out of the craft.  The other way is like being a cat who sprays the yard to keep others out while also letting the yard die from the abundance of urine.

Like Art, Game Development and Programming is a Craft & Skill
da Vinci's art vs...

...contemporary art.

Before even the 00's, to make a game was a mostly engineering feat that, once set up, could then be given a focus on art, gameplay and design.  You had to know Computer Science and programming first and foremost and create your own game engine.  The improvement of the game development field was moved along by people like John Carmack who understood the science of both light and what gets displayed on to the screen.  Even in the early 00's I read the insane details on how to code for the Game Boy Advance in C++.  Once you got a working game engine, you can then get to work on the "real" development.  This steep learning curve was why Flash and actionscript2 took off in the early 00's as much of the initial engine set up was done.  This lead to many game devs beginning in the field thanks to mainly Newgrounds.com.  in 2002-2003 it was either 1) Go to Computer Science in college and secretly do it for game development (since you'd have been shunned then) or 2) Self teach some action script and Flash and get posting on Newgrounds.  I did a little bit of both.  Later when IOS game development reached a peak in 2010, me and other devs had engines like Cocos2D, Cocos3D and later SpriteKit / SceneKit to get going on apps.  Today it's even easier with the Unity game engine taking the lead as Flash did then with others like Unreal Engine and other easily available engines at our disposal. To be a game dev now is like saying you were a blogger in 2008... it's not hard to be a game dev at the minimum... and that is fine.   

However, like good art, there are basics one should know before being able to do something truly great with the craft.  Even with great tools like Unity and Unreal Engine, a lack of understanding the science/coding behind it will become apparent to the masses of gamers, your real client, in the form of missing features, lag and overall bad execution.

For Da Vinci to have even begun his art, he had to study human anatomy and lighting.   Many artists know this and a good art school will train the artists with those two main keys to their teaching.  That scientific detail to the craft in art is no different when you learn the update loop cycle to a game, or understanding that you need to keep polygons, lighting and scripting lean on mobile devices or even on consoles.  No being a so-called "true" artist is the driving force to the tenants of contemporary art and also due to the paradox-like idea of the question of "what is art?" You can (sadly) get away with an empty canvas due to some weird artsy notion of "emptiness" or some drivel like that.  

To the dismay of bloggers posing as news companies and some indie devs...you can't pull the same crap in game development.  Your clients, the gamers, will see right through it.  It's a fragile foundation to build a game on and no amount of mass demonization of those who call this out will protect you from the obvious... that you'd need to get back to the drawing board. 

The issues of Over-Hyping By Marketers, Devs and Computer Illiterate Journalism 

The promised look of No Man's Sky at E3 2014

Back when a non gaming marketing-based company like Warner Bros took over a then new industry when they bought out Atari in the 80's, it echoed the current situations of when major blogs posing as news sites (blogs younger than even this blog) haphazardly promote or degrade individuals via political motives with the end goal of who gets the most clicks while awarding and promoting games that aren't even out in the market.  WB was an uptight, stuffy, suit-filled cubicle factory that saw the groups of free loving Atari devs, cabinet builders and it's former owner as a bunch of hooligans.  In what became a development hell for Yar's Revenge's creator Howard Scott Warshaw, the computer illiterate marketers / owners of WB tried to ride the hype of the E.T movie and rush out a game based on the movie.  This mistake and ignorance of what it takes for developers to make a good game was what lead to the crash of '83 (and not Warsaw's fault).

When you have people who are not familiar with the craft trying to sell the craft, you run into a big problem.  There have been a number of companies who have done this mistake over the years but the most recent example of this was with the game, No Man's Sky.  This one was a collision of two of the bad issues that arose in video games being in the mainstream.  Not only was this game over hyped by bloggers and game "journalists" who hardly know about the technology (just how to spin things for clicks) it also was over hyped by it's main designer, director and yes, the rare thing of also being a developer as well.. Sean Murray.  As a fellow dev who loves procedural computing, I really feel for why he was maybe a bit too excited about this.  To make a game even like the final output of No Man's Sky all procedurally is a feat of the science.  However, the current Indie culture does nothing but make insane expectations for upcoming games and applications.  Marketers are paid to do just that, market products and make them look good.  To a point we can see where they were coming from but we have to stop over selling something that isn't even out.  Even worse, when you look at games like Fez or No Man's Sky... the games were not even out, yet the creators were given awards and accolades for what was nothing but hot air at the time of the awards.  The indie "clique" is creating a hashtag leeching, gatekeeping "club" of people who are all high on themselves.  Instead of the humble attitudes we see from someone like Miyazaki, we see nothing but pats on the back, oddly synchronized well edited Youtube videos and blog posts for a select batch of games the "club" feels worth it.  Not only is this counter to what it means to be an indie dev, as all of these "indie" award conferences resemble the averous of the Oscars, but it also goes a few steps further in it's delusion by shunning and blackballing those who call them out.  It's awarding devs too early in what the Oscar equivalent would be like giving the Oscar away to a movie where only the trailer was shown.

So, how do we fix this?  How do we, the gamers and game devs stop the over hype?  It's unfair to the gamers who are already tired of the now over two years of being demonized by people "in the industry" who don't even represent the end clients.  It's also not fair to developers who work hard to get a game out but have to feverishly try to match the extra hype that might not have matched the scope of the work they had to do; an extra scope brought on by the blindly passed accolades & overzealous, uninformed bloggers.

To fix this, we have to realize that great game development is the combination of both great science and great art.  Flimsy contemporary art methodology could maybe work on the most abstract, upper level...an after thought after the presentation, but won't fly as the foundation of the development.  Secondly, in addition to gamers (and some devs) speaking out against the collusion in the game journalism and the indie scene, we have to also let it be known that journalists have to know at least some of the technology before they go out and hashtag bomb the hell out of social media about some "industry changing game."  We need less business people and marketers behind the voice of games and more gamers and game devs being that voice.  If you are a game dev like me, get blogging and though I've be a "dev" technically for over 15 years, I'm not some amazing dev, I'm always improving and learning. Yes, the blogs that spawned a few years after this one became huge and yes, they love to blackball devs and gamers who go against their marketing campaigns or political agendas (things that have no place in this field) but your voice can matter.  Gamers still love it when a dev is open and honest about the hard work that it takes to make even a basic game. It might drown out the marketers who are only writing about games because it's a hot topic is just a feather in withered cap of journalism.

In the case of No Man's Sky, it was also much to the fault of it's director. So studios, indie or not, need to find that median between what they are delivering and representing it in a good promotional fashion to the gamers.  Basically, under promise, over deliver.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So About Our Long Blog Post Hiatus...

Well... it's been some time.  Our last blog post (not including the previously sponsored one) was back 9 months ago in November.  Simply tons of things have happened in that time and it's about damn time to get this site (and the anime figure store) back in gear.  There is just too much going on not to talk about and with a number of anime, gaming and pop culture blogs/sites, most much younger than this site getting too much lime light (and some falling off the deep end of selling out)....I think it's about time we keep our hands game....or am I just talking to myself here?

Where the hell have we been? (wait, didn't I ask this in the last post?!?)

The last post talked about something that finally happened in the 16+ years I've been working a job and something sadly most of us today might never experience... 1) being treated like a human being and equal at the job 2) being in the field / job you wanted to.

To somewhat summarize..I was trying to get out of a dead end "web dev" job.  I almost did that with the anime figure business and voice acting when Hurricane Sandy wiped much of that away (well, much of the figure business that is; voice acting helped a bit after).  Since the late 90's and after many years of being told of how stupid I was for doing it by "professionals" in Computer Science, I was always looking to be a game / app developer.  The forever unfinished game Tenshi-Oni and the characters from it whom are the mascots of this site came from a flash game idea I started in 2003.   Then I moved to IOS native and almost got Tenshi-Oni rolling out on IOS in 2012; yet another victim of that storm's aftermath.  This later turned to Unity development.

With voice acting picking up and getting the honor to write my own published IOS development book, I somehow broke free from the IT recruiter purgatory and got a Unity developer job in NYC for a major production company.  They sadly were wolves in sheep's clothing and I actually flat out quit them for the sake of my sanity and to not give such terribly ran places the satisfaction of having developers at 1/4th the pay and 4x the workload/stress.   During that time, my anime figure store's php code got nerfed by some .htaccess hack that I to this day haven't had the chance to undo. (just frontend stuff, nothing else in terms of logins and whatnot)

There was a silver lining in me quitting as within that week I got scooped up by a smaller yet much more awesome group of developers in NYC who were in desperate need for a Unity developer who worked with game and particularly non game work; something I did exclusively for the few months I was with that horrid & vapid production company.  Working with non game applications in Unity was (and still kind of is) something almost nobody is doing so I instantly became a need asset for this and other companies.  This was ALL without the help from IT recruiters who now more than ever come to me with roles, to which I gladly say, "sorry, I'm taken."  It's seriously like relationships...the moment you are taken, people want you.

Speaking of relationships.  I started this site only a month before I met my fiancee Danielle in April of 2002 and we got engaged..get this.. Xmas eve 2007.  The various trials of life always kept the wedding and a chance to move on in life far away.  Thing is, in about 3 weeks, Danielle and I will be finally married...FINALLY!  The wedding ceremony was officially signed for back in January....near the beginning of this long blog hiatus.

Up until now, the Unity work was indeed rather grueling with any all nighters and weeks of crazy debugging and fixes.  The app was for an awesome famous beer company who made the process much easier to bare (unlike the jewelry client I had the misfortune to work with under that production company).

However, to think I've abandoned this blog, the site, the figure store, Tenshi-Oni and the voice acting you are completely wrong ^_^

This crazy 2016 year:

So... if there aren't many posts after the one.. soon after the wedding on Sept 10th and the much needed 2 week honeymoon vacation, we will be hard at work to get back to regular posts, finally get the store back up, back to Tenshi-Oni work and maybe upgrade the look and feel of our sites as well. (feeling very 2007 around here).

This year has been the most insane, eventful year I have ever witnessed in my almost 33 years alive; not just for me personally but in terms of public news and events.. from the insanity brought on by Pokemon GO last month, to the anime and gaming news, to the wonderful and much needed death of Gawker and to the explosion in new emerging tech.  There is just too much to talk about and we should have been talking about more.  The internet moves fast and forgets fast but as always, we are still here and will soon catch the next wave back into the fray.
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