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Because of the increased spambot activity, I have decided to change the comment system entirely. The Ninja blog engine isn't exactly flexible, but I've managed to successfully implement Disqus, which from now on will replace the old [Ninja's own] comment system. I won't touch the old comments; I have removed the old form, but I left the comment display code intact. They will now appear under Disqus comments.

Note to those, who are using Adblock or any other ad removing plugin; the comment number under entries is generated by a script, which might get blocked. This goes for Disqus form as well. I've run some tests, and everything is working just fine. If it's not working for you, try disabling ad removing plugins. Also, some connection managers block Disqus IPs alltogether, so if you're running those, add Disqus to your whitelist.

I've configured Disqus to use Akismet and additional community plugins to ensure stability, connectivity and to protect the blog from spambots. If you have any thoughts, drop me a comment, using the new and improved system. Enjoy.

Three months of silence and now, suddenly, I'm writing a new entry? This can't be true, you might think, and it's not. I'm writing this because I've noticed, that my blog host decided to punish me for not posting anything for the last three months by placing an ugly ad box at the top of the main column. The message placed within this box stated, that it will be gone once I add a new entry, and that's exactly why I'm posting this. I did acquire some new games and hardware, but I somehow never bothered to post about it. I'll try to do better, so stay tuned, but don't hold your breath.

Recently, I acquired a new graphing calculator by Texas Instruments. Few weeks back I was considering a purchase of a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, because the Titanium was way too expensive for my taste - the cheapest one I found online was selling for $342. After checking out some local stores I decided to dig around the internet for the cheapest place to get one, and that's when I found the Titanium on Amazon. The TI-84 Plus Silver Edition was selling for $174, so imagine my surprise when I saw a much superior TI-89 Titanium on sale for $139.

I had no choice but to grab it while I still could. The tricky part was, Amazon charges plenty for shipping to Europe, and a package would certainly be intercepted by customs. This would mean I'd have to pay customs 20% of the price, plus 25% tax. I didn't feel like throwing my money away, so I asked my friend DJGeki of Cryptic Allusion to buy it for me and send it to me as a gift. Amazon doesn't charge for the shipping within the US, by the way.

This way, I have managed to get what I wanted and I ended up saving $175. A graphing calculator might not be the best topic to discuss on a blog focused mainly on gaming, but it just so happens that there are a lot of games written for these calculators, as well as scene demos. There's even a Game Boy emulator, which thanks to the calculator's Motorola 68000 running at 16 MHz, a 160×100 display and tons of memory, is a pretty decent alternative for those, who can't live without games, but won't dare to pull out a real Game Boy during class. Another cool feature is the 3D graphing, which is probably the only visually interesting function of the calculator, so here's a sample video. If you can't be bothered with a Nico account, go here and click play.

If the calculator wasn't enough, when I opened a package I found some additional gifts from DJGeki and his wife Pam. I got two gashapon capsules, one containing a Super Mario stylus for the Nintendo DS, the other a Gyakuten Saiban 4 [逆転裁判4] super deformed figurine of Garyū Kyōya [牙琉 響也]. On top of that, I got a small bottle of maple syrup which, up until now, I have never tasted.

I always imagined that maple syrup's taste would be somewhat similar to honey, partially because of the obvious visual resemblance, and because I knew it was sweet and thick. The real taste is hard to explain. It is honey-like, but it has a hint of coffee syrup and malt somewhere in the background. I'll cook up some pancakes soon and we'll see how well these two go together.

So thanks again to DJGeki and Pam for supplying this delicious treat. Maple syrup is kind of hard to come by here, and I was told to stay away from the so called "pancake syrup", which doesn't have an aounce of maple sap in it. It's always fun to try new things, especially when they're this tasty.

Before I go, I'd like to ask everyone to come by the Cryptic Allusion forums and check out the CryptoCast section. There's a new podcast recorded every other week, which you can both download from the forums or participate in on Justin.tv. Follow DJGeki's Twitter to get the broadcast time and date or register on Justin.tv and subscribe to the channel. You'll get a broadcast start notification via email. That's it for now! Cheerio!

It's Easter, again. There are several things I like about Easter - It's a time when Spring usually kicks into higher gear, and when beverage manufacturers release their Easter specials. I'm not too keen on beer, but I like the those with addition of extra hop and malt, plus caramel - Easter brew, as they call it.

Easter is also when you usually get some time off. This year I have invested some of that time into playing newly acquired Xbox version of Red Ninja - at the same time I played a bit of Tenchu, so that I can draw a more accurate parallel between the titles when I get around to reviewing the first one, and to remind me how good Tenchu actually is. I've also been playing some 東方風神録 ~ Mountain of Faith, plus the newly released 東方星蓮船 ~ Undefined Fantastic Object demo. You can never get enough of Zun's danmaku on the lunatic setting.

I guess it's back to Easter beer and Påskmust for me. In case you have no idea what Påskmust is, it's a Cola-style non-alcoholic soft drink, with a very specific taste achieved by the addition of malt and hop extracts, much like in Easter brews. This beverage is sold almost exclusively in Sweden and Norway and it's traditionally consumed around Christmas [The name changes to Julmust then, for marketing purposes, of course] amd Easter - and it's pretty damn tasty. Every Christmas, Julmust manages to outsell Coca-Cola and Coke sales drop by 50% and more - yes, that's how tasty it is, and it's available only during these two holidays, which makes you want it even more. Ok, now I really need some, so I'm off - The bottle cap says "Happy holidays!". Cheers.

March is almost over and man, what a busy month it was. I bought a whole bunch of games, most of them seen on the picture above. The only one missing in this shot, that I haven't written anything about yet, is Guilty Gear X for the PS2. Now that's what I call a whole lot of games and a good month indeed. Do I have time to play all of these games? No. The SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 by itself is 16 titles on one disc!

I am trying my best to stick to the titles I've started playing but haven't finished, so I'm still battling on in Dragon Quest: The Journey of the Cursed King, trying hard to return King Trode and his daughter Medea to their normal selves. I guess it's time to revisit Monster Arena and show them what Team Slaughter goes for, now that I've gathered a bunch of tough, mean monsters. Last time the announcer mocked me and I can't let it pass.

After reaching past level 30 on all of my characters, I went after Dhoulmagus, the evil jester who was directly responsible for placing a curse over whole Trodain kingdom and the poor members of the royal family I'm now stuck with. In theory, the moment he is defeated, the curse should be lifted, but as you can tell by Yangus' humorous remark, grandad Trode still looks like a freak, and so the journey continues.

In other news, I see that some people will eat just about anything to get their proteins and a healthy dose of cuttlefish testosterone. I've noticed this discarted package, which once contained tasty cuttlefish balls - surely, left behind by a cuttlefish balls connaisseur - and I couldn't help but take a picture.
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