PSP Appreciation

PSP-2000 Ice Silver

It’s only after two years that I’ve come to appreciate the value and quality gaming that I get from my Sony PlayStation Portable.

When I first got my ice silver PSP-2000 in December 2007, I wasn’t really that impressed or excited about it.  Ok it was the major buy for that Christmas for me personally, but I was more excited with the plamo and toys I bought then.  I think I just purchased the PSP with the thinking that, “heck, a lot of my friends have it, so I might as well get one”.   But I never really got into heavy play with PSP, and there were times that I didn’t even touch the PSP for a couple of months – it was left safely stored inside my work table in the study.

I’m not really a heavy gamer, especially since my Dad was hospitalized due to his third stroke in 2005, and my interest in console gaming faded to nothing when my trusty PS2 went bonkers on me late that year.  I figured changes in my priorities urged me to turn away from much video gaming, and except for the occasional game on my PCs, I don’t play as often now.  I found myself enjoying to surf the ‘Net more than burning on my console.

Things changed after my Dad was again hospitalized for kidney failure last August 2009, and he was prescribed to have hemodialysis treatments twice a week.  Being the only son it took my familial responsibility of taking him to the treatment center for his sessions, which falls every Mondays and Thursdays, from 6AM to 10AM.  We usually get into the center way before 6AM, so that he can start and finish his treatments early, giving me time to get to work, albeit late.

While the hemodialysis center is quite comfortable for both patients and accompanying family members alike, you can’t help to get bored most of the time.  They have separate cable TVs for each patient, but it’s mostly for the patient’s use.  The place is so cold you’d probably fall asleep huddled under thick jackets and blankets.  While there is a WiFi connection in the clinic, and I have brought my laptop along to surf or do some work, I found this to be extremely boring and I easily fall asleep, plus the fact that I really don’t wanna lug around the laptop to the clinic all the time.  Sure, the staff are very friendly, lively and entertaining – and the young female nurses are not so bad looking themselves – but I’m not the type to bother them all the time with socializing, given they have important work to do monitoring their patients.  Same goes with the family members of other patients – we all have responsibilities to our patients, so I don’t get to converse with them all the time.  So if I managed to stay awake for the four or so hours I wait for Dad’s treatment to finish, there isn’t much to do.

Then I remembered my PSP.

I found that playing with my PSP was the best thing I could do during the treatments to while away the time.  The portability and compactness of the PSP makes it easier to carry around than a heavier laptop, and thanks to its internal WiFi I can’t connect to the ‘Net and surf if I want to.  Having your eyes and fingers moving continuously as you play keeps me more awake than its use while surfing or doing work on the laptop.  Also I can watch movies and anime with it, so I usually download the latest anime episode the night before and load it to the Memory Stick before we leave early in the morning.  Finally I’ve come to appreciate the application called Bookr, which allows me to read PDFs and E-Books with the PSP.  The seven or so hours of power a fully-charged PSP battery can give me enough to survive about three hours of continous gaming while at the clinic, which is more than enough for me, since I do enjoy taking an hour or so nap during the treatment to catch up on sleep.  And if I do need extra power for the battery I have my trusty chargers kept ready in my car’s glove compartment.

Given how I’ve come to value my PSP, I took time over the New Year to upgrade it.  For the first time since I got it I’ve decided to upgrade the custom firmware to version 5.50 GEN-D3, and it’s now upped to firmware version from firmware version 3.90 m-33.  With that I’ve gotten several of the newer games, and right now I’ve been into playing a lot of NBA 2K10, Tekken 6 Resurrection and Final Fantasy Dissidia.

My concern right now is whether to buy a better battery to use as a spare, in the event that my current one gets easier drained thru time.  Also I’m thinking of getting a new EVA (as in extra-vehicular activity) airform pocket for it, since the one I got in the packaged deal for the PSP is already banged and nicked.  To me it’s the second most important accessory for my PSP, besides the thin crystal case, ‘cause it saves my PSP from getting scratches (aside from the paint nicked from the on/off slider and where the strap clings to the strap bar, my PSP is happily pristine).  I’m also thinking of getting another Memory Card, so I can put all my games in one and my anime/movies/E-Books on another.  I’m also concerned to get a new version of Bookr, but I don’t know if there’s already one for custom firmware version 5.50 GEN-D3.

So that’s how I’ve come to consider my PSP my current most useful gadget.  It keeps me company during those hours that I have to do my responsibilities for my Dad, and I pray to God to keep safe and inspired those who created such a helpful – and of course very entertaining – gadget.

Proud To Be A Pinoy Otaku

The title says it all, people.

I’ve announced to the world what I am, and I’m not a single bit ashamed of saying so. I am an otaku. Given my age, my upbringing, and what I have humbly accomplished in life, I’m probably your prototypical non-typical choice to be dubbed one. But I’ll accept the title of “otaku” over everything else people I know would call me.

You’re probably wondering why Kuya UC is ranting like this again. This is basically my reaction to the following video, from the GMA7 show Kablog (tama ba title?):
]Otalus on Kablog

To be clear, I have nothing against the two (of the three) persons interviewed in the segment. They’ve tried their best to clearly state why they call themselves otakus and the good points of being one. What I don’t like about the segment is the way the segment was edited. There seems to be a predominate bias against otakus and otaku culture.

It was stupid the way the production was made, giving over-emphasis that a true otaku is someone who overly obsessed with Japanese pop culture at the expense of reality. Any sense of taste in the segment went out of the window by the way they portrayed Otaku No. 3. It left the impression that otakus are weird, obessive people that shouldn’t be seen as role models for the younger generation, but as a bad influence from whom nothing good can be learned from.

Well screw the producer of that segment. He or she doesn’t know what being a true otaku is. An otaku can’t just be stereotyped just because the word otaku was described in dictionary that way – being a person obsessed anime, manga, cosplay and similar interests. A lot of otakus are normal persons who just happen to have interests in Japanese pop culture.

Take me for example: I’m 35 years old, coming from a very traditional family, and I’m into politics and can humbly say that I have run for local government positions several times and won each and everytime. I’m active in Roman Catholic civic organizations and charities, and love serving the public good. I’m into sports that most people won’t associate with being an otaku. But I am an otaku and no one can take me away from my otaku interests.

That being said, I don’t see myself as a obsessive otaku.

I don’t cosplay, and while SO sacred_essence does, I never heard her once forcing me to cosplay like she does. But I happy that the youth of today can find an outlet like cosplay for them to express themselves. It would be a little hypocritical to say that cosplaying is non-mainstream – heck, a lot of the corporate Christmas parties I’ve seen or heard about in 2008 are costume-themed, making them technically cosplay parties.

I’m a toy collector, and most of the toys I collect are anime genre ones. But I’m not the one to impulse buy everything I see just because it came from the anime I watched or liked. I just love to collect them since when I was young, and the collection bug has never left me. Again it would be slightly hypocritical to say otaku toy collectors are obsessive – what do you call older men (even older than I am) who collect more toys than your average otaku could purchase, just because they enjoy that particular toyline in their youth, or the cartoon it came from.

Also, watching anime is NOT a realm restricted to the current youth generation. What do you call those of us (of my generation) who watched shows like Voltes V, Daimos, Mazinger Z, UFO Grandizer and Mekanda Robot during the Marcos years of the mid and late ’70s? Aren’t we otakus then? It would be hypocritical for folks of my ageframe to tell their kids that watching anime is useless and not good, when back in their own childhood they watched giant super robot shows or literary classics-turned anime after school.

Do you know that I use Japanese traditions and thinking that I’ve learned from watching anime or the toys I’ve collected by the way I try to live my life? I hold my hat off for the way the Japanese would present themselves professionally, and how they value their personal honor and integrity when dealing with others. I marvel on how they simplify their products – be it cares, electronics, groceries and foodstuffs, even anime and toys – to make them easy to use but of excellent quality. I always try to integrate what I’ve learned of the beauty of Japanese culture via the otaku lifestyle in my work and public service, and they’ve proven a very valuable help to me.

So there you go folks. I hope you see what I mean. And I hope people like those who made such a demeaning segment will understand that they probably went thru a phase of their lives that they got interested in Japanese pop culture in some way or another, making them a part-otaku.

Let our bias against Japanese stuff end with the end of World War II – the Japanese are not our enemy now but our friends and the same goes with their culture. Just because they are influencing how some of the youth are living today doesn’t mean it’s totally useless and wrong. Heck we are surrounded by things Japanese that are beneficial to our lives – our cars are predominantly Japanese and same goes with our electronics.

I do advice moderation though. As we can see from Otaku No. 3, being totally obsessed with otaku culture can be harmful to one’s health. I suggest to the youth of today to approach the otaku lifestyle the same way a person should approach such things as smoking or drinking – be an otaku moderately. Use what you learn about being an otaku to benefit your life and future, and don’t use being an otaku as an escape from reality and its responsibilities. I approach my otakuness as an inspiration and a way to keep myself youthful in mind, if not body.

Again, I hope mainstream people would understand what I am trying to say, and look at otakus – be it people they know or their relatives or kids – as normal folks who just love the otaku lifestyle, and don’t discriminate and prejudge them for that. Hopefully the media will be fair in their description of otakus – we are a part of the Filipino way of life now, if not the way of life of a good portion of the worldwide village.

And for those otakus who think they can live in reality but still be happy with their otaku interests, be proud of who we are.