Saturday, January 28, 2012

Marginal Gaming - Waiting to EXPhale


In his latest column for, Mike Cervantes discusses what it's like to play DC Universe online. No wait...I mean, what it's like to DOWNLOAD DC Universe online. yeah that's right.

Check it out on 8bitfix.

Friday, January 27, 2012

[TOG] Dakimakura- Japanese Hugging Pillows

Ah! Hello there in the nettaverse!! Welcome to my brand new series "the otaku guide" where it is my humble goal to teach you some things about being otaku you may or may not have known about. For this entry I will be teaching you about the infamous hugging pillow aka dakimakura. Now please do not judge, these soft pillows are perfect for male and female otaku alike! I myself have 3 of them (as you can see in the picture below). My favorite one is my over-sized dakimakura (which has been recently named Shelby) which is perfect for resting my head on when watching anime, playing some World of Warcraft or even when friends come over and need a nice big pillow for bed time ^_^ The one to the right is Sebastien (but I call him Sebas-kun) from Black Butler and the one to the left is Nia from Gurren Lagann (but she is often called pedestrian by my friends). I love them all!!!

Let's break the word dakimakura down:
daki 抱き- to embrace or cling
makura - pillow

Now a lot of otaku come to the misinformation of thinking dakimakura's only have anime females pictured on them and are exclusive to anime, manga, bishoujo games, etc BUT they are very very wrong because this type of pillow has been around in Japan since before being heavily influenced by otaku culture in the 1990's. During this time many galge (aka bishoujo or "pretty girl" games where the goal is to interact with attractive anime style girls) and anime received official dakimakura pillow covers through Cospa (a cosplay store in Japan that also specialized in goods such as dakimakura covers) and other companies. These pillows are also sometimes referred to as dutch wives.... but I am not here to explain to you what that is! Find out on your own if you really want to know...

A screen from the galge game Sakura Wars V.

While the main sources for these life size pillows are that of galge games, manga, anime, light novels and other properties with girls you can get dakimakura with male characters and even some odd ones such as Gundam or if you so desire comics book characters such as Iron Man, Spider-man and even Wolverine. In fact if you so desire you can get just about anything made into a dakimakura pillow cover these days thanks to websites that specialize in customizing a pillow just for your otaku flavor. I personally would love to have one of Archer from Fate/Stay Night or Satoshi from D.N.Angel.... or even Deadpool!

Example of male dakimakura using the
twins from Ao no Exorcist.

Dakimakura are infamous for being made from naughty images, but you can also get ones that aren't so naughty that are really just pictures of your favorite characters (as seen in the ones I have and the Ao no Exorcist one pictured above). Or if you want to get creative you can get covers made for your original characters! I have censored out the one below because it is an example of a naughty dakimakura. To see an uncensored one any of the sites listed in the if your interested in buying list will have some but most of the time online the pillows are censored but will not be on the actual product depending on the retailer.

Obtaining dakimakura can be as easy as asking one of your local anime goods shop if they carry the item (such as El Paso's own Robo Gato of which I bought my Sebastian pillow from) or asking to special order one. Now bear in mind there are two main types of dakimakura; the ones that are a printed pillow or the ones that are a case that you have to buy apillow for. The ones that are already printed can run anywhere from $20 up to about $45 while the covers depending on if you want them custom start at $30 and can go up to $90 depending on the retailer. The "innards" aka the pillow itself is usually around $10 to $25. I've even seen the proper size at Walmart for only $10! Which is a steal considering you won't need to pay for shipping.

If interested in buying your own dakimakura I recommend these sites:
Milanoo (Shelby is from this site)
E-bay is good as well if the seller is verified

Next time, we'll go over galge games, visual novels and the like.

Aspect Ratio - LCAD 2012

Join Sonic Man as he learns about an upcoming convention coming in July, 2012, and visits with cosplayers and participants of Las Cruces Anime Days 2012 at the NMSU Corbett Student Union!

Sexy Taco Productions - Las Cruces Anime Days 2012

The guys at Sexy Taco Productions outrun the camera, Sing some Will Smith, and race chairs at this year's Las Cruces Anime Days.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

MAS8705's Rant under 500 words: $60 downloadable games on CDs

How is it going everyone? I’m MAS8705 and today we are here to talk about the future of games! I’m so excited since I can’t wait for the Wii U, but for now, we got details on the XBOX 720! I mean, yes this is a rumor, but bet it is going to be something absolutely incredible!

WHAT!?! Are they serious about this? This has got to be the most stupid idiotic thing I has ever heard of since SOPA! In case those of you can’t connect the dots, allow me to do it for you…

*start the count*

First off, this can be understandable as this could be a mean to combat Gamestop, who goes ahead to sell used games… Now I admit I am part of that small percentage that loves to do business with Gamestop as I do love to get rid of my old games to get new ones, I can understand why people feel ripped off if they decide to trade in games, but really if you have a problem about it, then why trade your games in the first place? However, in this case it is completely stupid to make CDs work on only one system and that’s it…

Imagine if you will the same examples giving in the article here: Used Cars, used Books, Used clothing, what do all of this have in common? The idea here is that much like games, these are traded in or donated in order to get credit back for other goods. Imagine if you weren’t allowed to get used books for college, you are spending another $50 compared to used books, or you have to spend $1000s to get a new car when an older car can still get you from point A to Point B. Hell, we can go as far and say that there would be no goodwill store if this wasn’t allowed…

Basically, if this is true, this is basically DOWNLOADABLE GAMES ON CDS! You see the problem here ladies and gentlemen? Why the hell would you spend $60 on downloadable games? Even complete 360 games are being sold for $30 at best, but would you seriously spend $60 on a game, especially if the price may drop in the future? And what rental stores like blockbuster? If you try to knock out used games, you also knock out rental games too…

This is almost as stupid as SOPA; they want to stop the idea of trading, but they are only shooting themselves in the foot by doing this, as it is taking away the ability to try out games before buying.

Why not simply say that Blockbuster ruins Hollywood studios because people rent movies?

I can understand that when you buy used games, no money goes to the developer, however this plays off the idea of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Not to mention, if a friend of mine wants to play this game I have, how can he play it? Do I need to give him my system too?

In conclusion, unless if games are going to be sold at $20 each, don’t expect people to fall for this trick. By removing the ability to play on multiple systems, you might as well be playing Downloadable games, and screw the CDs all together. Again though, this is a rumor, however let’s hope that it stays just that and Microsoft realizes that this is a completely stupid idea, for if they don’t, I’m getting a PS4 or Wii U…

I’m MAS8705 and that was my rant under 500 words…

Word Count: 499

Side Note: As always, if there is a rant you would like to see, feel free to leave a comment below and I will be happy to discuss it...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

[Anime of the Week] Aquarion EVOL (1/22-28/2012)

Image copyright goes out to Satelight.

Aquarion EVOL is a sequel to 2005's Genesis of Aquarion that is currently airing on TV in Japan. Subs can easily be found online. There are currently 4 episodes out (technically 3 because the first 2 were released as an hour long episode for the premier). So far it is a very interesting anime with a good cast of characters, fantastic soundtrack and likeable characters.

Image Hosted by
Runtime: 24 min/ep
(the first "2" episodes were put together for an hour long special)
# of episodes: 26
Type: sequel
Rating: Teen
12.000 years after the events of Sousei no Aquarion, mankind is threatened by a new enemy from other dimension labeled "Abductors", who just like the Shadow Angels, invade the human cities to kidnap its inhabitants. To defend humanities from this invasion, the Neo-DEAVA organization establish two teams, one composed of only males and other by just females each one piloting its own giant machines called "Aquaria". To protect his new friend Mikono, teenager Amata Sora decided to used the powers he has kept at secret for his entire life and by combining Vectors with male and female pilots into one single robot, the legendary giant Aquarion is reborn once more.
Image Hosted by

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

SexyTacoProduction Interviews- Monica Rial and Jamie Marchi

The guys at Sexy Taco Productions interview two of the guests at this year's Las Cruces Anime Days, voice actresses Monica Rial and Jaime Marchi.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Remember, Remember...

January 18th.

Remember this day. Have it circled on your calendar for next year.

Keep it every year as a holiday, not one where you get presents or time off, but instead one where you reflect.

Remember this day, for this was the day of a revolution, our first bid for the freedom of the free web against one of its greatest opponents, the United States government.

Honestly, there’s no need to be too informative about it. You know precisely what I’m talking about. Today, January 18, 2012, a variety of major US websites, among them Google, Craigslist, and Wikipedia acted in protest against the Support Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). I don’t have to spend too much time describing what these bills too. You’ve read about them on bigger sites like Kotaku and The Escapist, and if you’ve visited Google or Wikipedia today, you’ve probably signed their petitions, used their search engine to look up your local congressman and seriously consider sending them a letter.

You’ve heard all about SOPA, how people in jest call it the “Sons of the Patriots” act, in reference to the similar deed Solid Snake fought against in Metal Gear Solid 2. You have heard it is supported by gaming and technology companies you admire like Sony, Nintendo, and even the Entertainment Software Association. You’ve heard that its attempts to install DNS blocking for domains has the potential to damage the navigation of the web. You’ve heard that recently it has been revised to be slightly less endangering and President Obama intends to veto the act, which has caused several outraged pundits to calm down slightly, but only slightly, as people are still concerned by the loss of internet freedoms apparent in the Protect IP act. You’ve heard THAT law gives power to corporations to deem anything a violation of copyright and take anyone from the most powerful competing organization to the most humble writer of fan-fiction to court for copyright violations.

We all know it’s important. We all know it’s something we should all be fighting against, and yet the only thing I can be said about it in this article I am writing is just how personal a law like this can be to one person. It doesn’t sound like it’s a lot, but even if it’s the least I can do in support, it’s still worth doing.

So here goes:

My family officially got internet access in 1996. At the time I was about 15 years old. More than the World Wide Web, my first explorations on the internet were on AOL keywords. I spent literally hours on the official Kids WB AOL portal, where I and a group of online friends wrote our first attempts at fan-fiction starring Earthworm Jim. The cartoon based on the video game had already been cancelled by the network, but on the internet it was still alive and kicking thanks to the efforts of our writing. So much so that the Kids WB keyword kept that message board open for about a year after the show was cancelled before finally taking it down. In the meantime I found other AOL and World Wide Web message boards dedicated to all the cartoons I enjoy, wrote several more fan-fictions and discovered…..Hey! I really enjoy writing! In fact I enjoy it so much I hope to write professionally someday!

Yeah it’s a hokey story about how I ultimately decided about what I want to do with my life, but the reason I bring it up is because I see SOPA and PIPA in terms of how it would limit me if I were still that age. I imagine myself at the age of 15, writing on a message board, when suddenly I’m summoned to court by…Interplay or Universal, suing me because an Earthworm Jim fan-fiction I wrote was a violation of copyright. In my day this happened, every now and then a fan-fiction writer would get a cease and desist letter from a company, telling them to take down some copyright material or face a lawsuit, and the individual would obligingly take the material off.

But SOPA permits companies to do SO much more…On that very first infringement, if they consider it enough of a copyright violation, they’d have me in court. No warning letter, no opportunity to quit, just…criminalization of myself over a work I wrote, not as a profiteer but just as a fan of the series.

If that were to happen to 15 year old Mike Cervantes, do you think he would have been interested in continuing a career in writing? What about the 15 year olds who are writing fan-fiction and drawing fan-art today? How will they feel once this act passes? A whole generation of creative people who, like me, were inspired by the fan-communities on the web would be forever lost.

Fast forward to just about a year ago and I’ve started attending UTEP. It’s just been a month since I’ve launched Augmented Reality, and I was taking a course in online journalism. It was a memorable course, not just because I was taking it while situating myself in the role of a blog manager, but also because I had a really great instructor.

My professor was a journalism veteran. He trekked across the world with his camera as a teenager and returned to the United States to become the managing editor of several English and Spanish language newspapers.

Naturally, you’d think that such a veteran of the printed page would put a lot of emphasis on the journalism techniques of old, but to my surprise, my professor spent just about every day of that class telling us how important the new digital media was. “If you’re a print media major, change your major,” he would often say “print is dead.” He would tote the modern technologies as giving the common man the ability to report news the instant it happened, citing an incident where an individual recorded an incident of Juarez gang violence using only the camera in his sell phone.

We would spend our mornings in each class exploring the front page of The New York Times and discussing current events. Often times our conversations would turn to the then-popular “Tea Party” movement. My professor was a professional journalist and never made any biases. But he did say once, that the one thing that concerned him the most about the Tea Party was that they don’t have respect for journalism. Couple that with what he had said about the new media and technology before, and I was able to form my own opinion about the information climate of today, which I will now share with you.

We live in a society of vast, widespread information. The web already contains more information than a person can ever possibly know in their lifetime and new stuff is being added to it every day. Anyone can update the web, including religious, political and social extremists, so you often have to be aware of where you’re getting your sources from, but besides that, anyone can share what they know about the world, essentially making anyone a journalist. Hell, I even do it as a hobby. Not since Gutenberg invented the printing press has communication been so revolutionized.

But with every technological evolution, there comes a series of technological revolutions. People who are comic book and video game fans know this because there were concerted, and at times successful, efforts to censor that material under the extreme belief that it was corrupting our youth, and interrupting our ways of life. We’ve grown to accept comics and are slowly growing to accept Video Games as media, but it just goes to show that whenever something progressive occurs in society, there will always be a specific group ready to oppose it.

There are people in our political climate who want to return to simpler times, adhere to traditional values, and hold us all to a standard of living that has served themselves well, but may not particularly fit with us all. Some of them are republicans, others Democrats and Independents, but they all certainly agree that the internet represents that last great frontier of free and open information an ancient conservative corporate society cannot fathom.

Think about it: Before the internet became public in the 90s, people had to rely on media run entirely on corporate sources. A small collection of very large companies own all the media in this country in every other form: television, radio, magazines, and newspapers, to the point where anything said in the media wasn’t in some small way biased.

The internet changed that. No matter what is said about the violence in Juarez on 20/20, it can’t compare to the footage shot by that one rogue guy with his cell phone camera. Corporations are concerned, not so much about torrents and piracy as they are about letting the public inform themselves in the same way as that one human being with a camera and an internet connection.

The corporations’ response to this is to lobby congressmen, who want a return to a corporate-sponsored media, (and if you think I’m incorrect about this, please google ‘Net Neutrality’) to give corporations a way to lobby the government and assert control of their intellectual property. Once they’re in the machine, they can then attempt to regulate and justify any sort of changes to the internet landscape as they can get away with and before you know it you’ll have a corporate-controlled internet.

So you see, being against SOPA and PIPA has more to do with copyright infringement, criminalizing fan-works, or even free speech. It’s about technological sovereignty. I want to be a part of that information-rich future my professor saw so clearly. But if these laws are passed, I won’t be able to go on and provide the articles, information and features on this site that I have freely and out of my own personal enjoyment. I’ll be too busy dodging my corporate Big Brothers.

Of course, that’s simply the way I see this outcome affecting me.

What you have to think of, is how it will affect you.

Oh and for all you El Paso readers: Here’s a link to a list of your elected officials.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

[Anime of the Week] Battle Doll Angelic Layer (1/15-21/2012)

Ruben suggested I feature Angelic Layer this month. SOOOOO I guess I am >.> Ok that was redundant. Anyways, it is up to you if you are going to watch this one in Japanese or English. Both are good in their own ways. Enjoy.

Runtime: 24 min/ep
# of Episodes: 26
Type: manga
Rating: All Ages
12-year-old Misaki Suzuhara has just gotten involved in Angelic Layer, a battling game using electronic dolls called angels. Even as a newbie, Misaki shows advanced skills as she meets new friends and enters Angelic Layer tournaments to fight the greatest Angelic Layer champions of the nation.

[Book Overview] Shiver, Mardock Scramble, Cinder [1-5/100]

[Book 1 of 100]
Image Hosted by
Series: Wolves of Mercy Falls
Book: 1 of 3
Page Count: 390
the cold. Grace has spent years watching the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow eyes-wolf --her wolf-- watches back. He feels deeply familiar to her, but she doesn't know why.
the heat. Sam has lived two lives. As a wolf, he keeps the silent company of the girl he loves. And then, for a short time each year, he is human, never daring to talk to Grace... until now.
the shiver.
For Grace and Sam, love has always been kept at a distance. But once it's spoken, it cannot be denied. Sam must fight to stay human -- and Grace must fight to keep him -- even if it means taking on the scars of the past, the fragility of the present, and the impossibility of the future.

I'm currently on page 212 with plans to finish tonight or tomorrow. My attempts to finish these past couple days have been unsuccessful simply because I've been working on other articles and preparing for a convention I'm going to this weekend. A review should be up before next week ends.

Others in the series:

[Book 2-4 of 100]

Series: Mardock Scramble
Book: Omnibus (all 3 volumes in one)
Page Count: 680
Why me? It was to be the last thought a young prostitute, Balot, would ever have…as a human anyway. Taken in by a devious gambler named Shell, she became a slave to his cruel desires and would have been killed by his hand if not for a private investigator and his self-aware Universal Tool, Oefcoque. Now a cyborg, Balot has not only physical powers, but the ability to disrupt social environments. She chases after Shell, his partner-in-crime Boiled, and faces down a variety of insane villains in this pulse-pounding cyberpunk noir adventure.

I planned to start this one yesterday while getting my car detailed but the place I bought my vehicle was being very rude and unprofessional simply because my sales person was not there =/ Needless to say I was not able to start this one yet. Even though I'm most excited to read this one. There is a movie out already (movie 2 is out as well but I'm waiting for the DVD release in Japan so a group will have footage to sub) and 3 volumes of the manga have been published in English!

[Book 3 of 100]

Series: Lunar Chronicles
Book: 1 of 4
Page Count: 400
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I found this book while wondering around Barnes and Noble one day. I'm a huge fan of series about cyborgs, androids, etc especially when it comes to them being nearly "Human". I forget which page I'm on though.

Update from The Editor [#2]

Hey there interwebz! It is I, your fearless editor, here to update you about this here blog about any sort of fandom- from video games to books, if it has a fan base we'll more than likely post about it. Let's get on to the happenstances, where abouts, do abouts and more you may or may not know about AugReal. THUNDERCATS HO <.<

First off, many of the bloggers here at AugReal are hard at work producing many articles for your beady little eyes to read. Some popular series such as MAS's rants, Alex's CD reviews, Mike's many articles on all things he sees, and my Anime of the Week's will be continuing. We'll also be starting up some new series such as Book Reviews, coverage of upcoming games, and more. Needless to say, you'll have more to read than ever before.

Secondly, we're also hard at work on video content. I'm working on some Gundam videos ranging in reviews of kits, anime as well as some stop motion films not just limited to Gundam (I have plenty of Figma's that are great for stop motion film making). AugReal also has the pleasure of helping a local film maker with a Yu-Gi-Oh fan film. We're also going to work on a secret film project based on a foreign film as well as many other videos.

Third! AugReal members will be at the following events this month:

Days: Jan 21 & 22, 2012
Location: Corbett Center, NM
Members Attending: Alicia (Akia), Ruben, Alex, Cris, PJ
Check Out: Fellow friend, Elijah Lawson, in the artist alley. Alicia'll be watching the table a portion of the time. Also check out Iron Artist. All of us attending are planing to participate. On Sunday be sure to check out the 4 hour block of panels Gundam 101, Family Fued and Roll of Fortune. Other than that, feel free to find Sonic Man if you'd like to be in this years LCAD video!

Open Mic Night
Day: Jan 22, 2012 from 6-9pm
Location: Percolator
Memebers Attending: Mike C, MAS
Some Info: $5 to watch; $2 to participate. Proceeds going towards a scholarship for preforming artists. Don't miss it!

Aspect Ratio - Show Your Heart Japan Relief Zumbathon at UTEP

Join Ruben Rascon as he interviews Kazumi Dominguez and Elizabeth Borguel, as they dance their hearts out to support the Tsunami victims of Japan.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Incoming Cirrhosis

Oh hey there little duckies, Alex here again to bring you "Bands Alex likes on ice in 3-D". We are still having some Bipolar-ass weather here; When I began this review, it was COLD AND WINDY AS FUUUUCK.


So i'm stuck inside....and you know what warms you right up?
Cocoa? No. A Snuggie? No. If you didn't answer booze you are wrong. Speaking of booze, This following band will forever make drinking fun. Korpiklaani is one of my personal favorite bands, and they drink....A LOT. Which is why this CD is a good idea for right now.

Today we will visit Korpiklaani's Sixth studio CD,Karkelo. A fun, cheerful, bouncy CD that encompasses so many positive moods that hint at "Hey man, go get some friends, and buy a buttload of Alcohol and party it up"


Not that i mean you should drink every time you feel a cool breeze. Just that after you hear today's album we might want to get a few bottles of something. Hell, "Karkelo" means frolic/party.
I think we are ready for this

While today had really shitty weather, this album just feels so upbeat, party-fillled, and just all around good humored. Like a cool happy drunk would make you feel, hugging everyone and bringing all of the good times; Karkelo could just be an album you pop in and drink booze to next to a fire or having a cool ass get together.

I will say this before i begin though. This review a sort of a pain in the ass; As much as i love Korpiklaani, the songs. Guys, The songs. Are in a Older Version of the modern Finnish dialect. Translations are gonna be approximate so sorry if i get them wrong guys.
pretty much how I was all night

The album begins with "Vodka"; the thundering plethora of bass drums, accordion, and the ever catchy chant "WODKA, WODKA, WODKA!" (they are Finnish, as in they can't really pronounce V). This song is just so groovy, so much to the point of wanting to get up and rain dance around something for the hell of it. Bar medley at its finest! Catchy as hell, check. Fun memorable song, check. bottle of Vodka, check! Hell it's even in English! Let's begin this drunken tirade!
preferably doing some of this

Second track "Erämaan Ärjyt" (close to Men of the Wild) Man claims to party all day in the sauna and drinks, fools around with girls and basically lives the dream; Lives in the forest and doesn't afraid of anything.

The next songs "Isku Pitkästä Ilosta"(Rising High, Falling Down) and "Mettänpeiton Valtiaalle"(Hidden by the Spirit of the Forest) have to do with nature. "Isku" is sort of like a story of a world war (within nature), Ragnarok comes to mind. "Mettänpeiton" is a ballad of sorts to Forest Deities."Mettänpeiton" is a Finnish folklore sort of a Rip Van Winkle, you lose yourself at the hand of mischievous gods. Starting as a slow song slowly gaining momentum with fiddles and accordions galore!

Fifth Track is a cover, "Juodaan Viina"(Let's Drink) originally by Hector. A sad song about two men slowly dwelling deeper and deeper into alcoholism, talking about life. The original song is more somber, Korpiklaani's cover gives it a sort of happy twist to it; the fast pace works so well with the serious subject matter.

The rest of the CD include many different folk tales, including finding treasure, a blacksmith who makes himself an Iron/Gold Woman, and drinking some more.

Totally Rad

The last track on this inebriated journey is "Komelo" (Hangover) title which is just perfect. A mellow instrumental with Yoik singing, is a really good way to finish up this 13 song ensemble.

While I LOVE this band/CD, there are some things I will nitpick about it. Some of the songs seem a little too rushed (in a bad way) But even then its are barley noticeable. The rest of the time you are too busy listening to the delicious, warm, happy orchestra that is "Karkelo".

While "Korpiklaani" is a Finnish band, they have a lot of success here in the states. So if you want to pick up your own copy of "Karkelo" you could probably find it at any music store for a reasonable price....Now here is the Official video for "Vodka" for you enjoyment.

Welp its raining.....That means I sense another shitty installment of "Bands that Alex likes on ice in 3-D". Until next time, Party on Little Duckies

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Augmented Reality Podcast - Episode #7 - "A CONVENTIONal Episode!" (01/14/12)

Augmented Reality Podast - Episode #7 - "A CONVENTIONal Episode!" by Augrealmag on Mixcloud

Join Ruben Rascon, Mike Cervantes, Alicia Bracken, Cris Enriquez, Alex Galindo, and PJ Moreno as they discuss the joys of LCAD. Special guest, Elijah Lawson

Note from Akia: The "clap them thighs" video can not be embedded so here's the link.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Southwest Scribes - Dog Tacos by Terry McChesney

Welcome to my new segment of Augmented Reality, where I will be reviewing local books, comics and other creative works from our home town of El Paso, TX. I’ve been collecting interesting and unique writings from all around El Paso, and I’ve been wanting to share my thoughts about them.

This book I’m about to review, Dog Tacos, by Terry McChesney, came to me through mail by the author. McChesney who has lived in Germanty as well as many different parts of the country, gained notoriety as the owner of “Skate City” in El Paso, a skate shop visited by many famous professional skaters. Now living in San Antonio, McChesney has written a book which takes place in the city of El Paso, and has traveled to El Paso during both EPCON conventions in order to promote the book. He contacted us because in both of his visits to EPCON he saw our cameras, but we were so busy with the convention in general that both times we overlooked his table. We agreed to review his book and also post an interview with him next time he was in the city.

We’ll get to the interview soon Mr. McChesney, but for now, here is my review of Dog Tacos.

The story centers around a 17 year old named Mike, an avid skateboarder, and his friends David and Cedric, as they skateboard downtown, cross the border, and eat at a Juarez taqueria affectionately referred to by Cedric as “Dog Tacos,” because of the three German Shepherds living in a pen above the restaurant sign. Along the way they run across gang members, get in trouble with immigration, get caught out past curfew and get involved with an incident involving two crashed cars that…well, I’d be spoiling the ending if I went any further.

One thing that stood out for me when I read this book was how familiar the setting of El Paso is within the story. I’ve read lots of books that took place with El Paso, and a lot of local writers have a somewhat nasty habit of romanticizing the city. If you were writing a book about a big major city like New York or Los Angeles, usually the author assumes you have locations and streets in mind, but with a lot the local literature I’ve read, often a street like Dyer is written as being “a menagerie of cracked cement floors, the lines of the jagged street etching a pattern like the branches of crooked trees.”

Dog Tacos mercifully has none of this; it goes about its narrative describing streets and landmarks as though they are there, making me feel more familiar with the settings than I would be if everything were spelled out for me. The way the three teenagers interact with one another as well as parents, girls, and gang members all have an authentic feel to them, and every single element of what they go through throughout their compact odyssey happens in an area of the city where it’s most believable.

It’s not a perfect book. At times it can be pretty literal in its descriptions, with one chapter ending with the declaration “They had no clue this night would change their lives forever.” Also, for a book written by a former participant in the professional skating scene, I was hoping that there would have been more emphasis on skating. The characters are skaters, and they use their boards to meaningful ends several times through the work, but there’s no real moment where any of them display any particular skill.

Terry McChesney shows he admires his El Paso audience by giving them a book written from their perspective, encapsulating the unique thrills of the city without making us feel like part of some elaborate rustic poem. Though the author’s interest in skateboarding has taken him far and wide, he illustrates that he truly considers El Paso to be his home, and if his life were like any of the three young teenagers in his novel, we can assume what he’s taken away from the city was something truly valuable. Pretty soon, McChesney will have a sequel to this book, along with plans to write other stories in the future. In the meantime though, you can get your own copy of Dog Tacos at or McChesney’s own website,

If you’d like your locally published or self-published book or comic reviewed on this segment, e-mail us at We will ask for a review copy, or if you cannot send us one, we will purchase a copy online at any nearby shop that has a copy available. We are all about supporting El Paso’s writing and art scene, and we look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Bringing Saxon Back

These last couple of days have been insanely cold in El Paso...And that could mean one of two things;
1.) We listen to Immortal


2.) Or we listen toVIKING METAL
Metal as FUCK

As much as I love Abbath and company, I can't help but give my own shitty opinion on an amazing album. Alex here with a new installment of "Bands that Alex likes on ice in 3-D", offering you one of the best eargasms out there today; Moonsorrow's 2001 "Voimasta Ja Kunniasta" (Strength and Honor) Photobucket

This album has no real story, nor is it a concept album. Its just "FUCK YEAH WARRIORS" all over. Moonsorrow gets to mix Viking/and Folk metal all into an orgy of sound that just brings you right in. Being from Finland I bet they just go outside and get inspired

The album begins with a soothing instrumental composed of a medley of keyboards/piano "Tyven" (Calm), a fitting introduction to something that is about to make you grow a beard and wield a battle ax. "Tyven" is then quickly transmitted towards another song "Sankarihauta"(Soldier's Grave) Story; A village in ruins, a man sees destruction and his family killed, anger so awesome beyond the comprehension of mortal man wells inside him.
(Gonna make an educated guess, but his is probably the last thing he saw)

He finds the army, tells them to "COME AT ME BRO" and proceeds to kill all but a few so they can tell the tale...Which is probably the best story of revenge ever told. The music itself is worthy of this song, the woeful/angry sounding vocals just fit in so well you can just feel the rage well up inside you. This is the kind of shit you want playing during times of intensity.....And it is just the beginning.

Track number Three is "Kylän Päässä" (A Village Away) This song....Guys, this song. "Kylän Päässä" tells the story of two foolish brothers who just have fallen prey to the lust of war and pride, not understanding the art that comes with it; it is a duty, not fun. The intensity in this song comes from all over, this is like four different songs packed into one, blending together perfectly into what could only be product of Valhalla itself ...... Your body was never ready.

Track number Four and Five are also in the list of positive things have to say, but it would make this post TL;DR more than it already is. Track Four "Hiidenpelto / Häpeän Hiljaiset Vedet"(Devil's Feild/Silent Waters of Infamy) and Track Five "Aurinko ja Kuu"(The Sun and The Moon ...Pssst Listen to them

As much as it pains me to say this word....All of these songs are. Epic...And they are, if epic wasn't so overused for stupid bullshit, if you looked for epic on the dictionary, one would find Moonsorrow as the definition.

The last song in the album "Sankaritarina"(The Story of a Hero) Is a beautiful, melancholy, 13 minute farewell. Saying goodbye to a good man and warrior is never easy, but in this world of battles it is an unavoidable risk, but knowing that one day we will all be reunited in the majestic halls of Valhalla makes it all the better. The last six minutes is what gets you the most the sorrow, sadness, the "Son I am proud" feeling that just oozes out of it. Then it fades out with a slowed down excerpt of "Tyven" and wind; feeling like the whole album was a lucid dream about to get lost in the breeze.

This journey is filled with war, treachery, loss, victory, folklore. Add Intense guitars, blasting drums, funky ass basslines,traditional folk instruments and why the fuck not some catchy as fuck keyboards and we get this

(Which is my favorite song of all time)

And for only Six songs this ain't too shabby.
This record can be bought on the internet....Unless you have a cool ass record store near you that has a wide variety of music.

Until next time. See ya' Little Duckies

Saturday, January 7, 2012

fate/ZERO s.1

I have the pleasure of being a Type Moon fan. Wether it be Kara no Kyoukai (Garden of Sinners) or anything Fate related, you can bet your buiscuits that Akia will be watching those shows and playing the games. This past Winter 2011 season Fate's light novel prequel fate/ZERO recieved an anime... sad part it was only the first season. Well, this coudl be sad or a happy moment depending on how you look at it. I personally found this a bit sad because the first season ended on... well you'll have to read on to find out ;)

image copyright goes out to i have no idea
[[english site for the limited blu-ray here]]

Original Novels by Gen Urobuchi
w/ illustrations by Takashi Takeuchi

Animation Studio- ufotable
Director- Ei Aoki

:series info:
Year- 2011
Season- Winter
# of eps- 13
Genre(s)- action, fantasy
fate/ZERO takes place 10 years prior to the events of fate/ stay night.
This is the 4th Holy Grail War.

It's always difficult to review a show that has such a niche fan base as the Fate series has; you're either a fan or not- there is no middle ground. Amongst my friends this stands very true. I myself am a HUGE fan of the Fate series where as my good friend Elijah thinks the series itself is full of generic characters and the story is too "emo bull shit" to be considered any good. There's also my friend Jimmy who's just a fan (not to the level that I am) and there's also my other friend Ty who's fan level could possibly be bigger than mine simply because he's actually finished the visual novel while I'm struggling to do just that (it's very long). Needless to say, more of my friends like the Fate series than not. BUT I do have some friends who were interested in checking out the series but when Elijah told them King Arthur was portrayed as a girl any interest they had vanished, which is a shame considering I find this gender change was an appropriate move for a series in Japan.

I'm going to do my best and make this an unbiased overview... well more than likely this will be difficult because it's hard to overview an anime I love without being biased about the reasons I love said anime. For example this time around I had two fairly solid favorite characters rather than a few I kind of liked or called "favorite". This season my favorites were Archer (Gilgamesh) and Rider [pictured below]. Without Rider this anime would have very well lacked any good comic relief. Rider was a very well rounded character this season but revealing who he is and why he was the comedic relief would be somewhat of a major spoiler so I'll just leave this at he was a great character who didn't have to have some big plans for the holy grail to be a legit servant. In the case of Archer (Gilgamesh) he was so pompous and full of himself that the few moments he was in the show made my day- especially this one episode where Archer, Rider and Saber were drinking to show who was a true king. You'll know the episode when you see it.

Anyways, besides having some really enjoyable characters this time around fate/ZERO also had heaps of action and lots more talking. If there's one flaw this anime has it's that I sometimes wished there was more interaction between characters than just heaps of talking. I wanted much more action. MUCH! MORE! Alas, this was only the first season so I guess I can let the lack of more action slide. There was still a good amount though; possibly more than the original anime and even the Unlimited Blade Works movie. Since this is an anime based on a light novel series that's a prequel to a visual novel it's expected for there to be heavy dialogue. Other than that I can't say I found anything wrong with the anime... but my good friend Elijah would argue I'm wrong.

Elijah likes to tell me the characters are too generic and the story is too "emo". Where I can agree with the characters being too generic, I can't really agree 100% with the whole emo thing. Type Moon has a habit of making their characters look way too similar to each other. This is very evident in their work on Tsukihime and Kara no Koykai... but as far as Fate is concerned this isn't so much the case. Yes a lot of the characters have similar features but isn't that how humans are in general? We all have eyes, noses, mouths, hair and more in common. Fate even does a good job of making families look like each other which is rarely found in anime these days. Rin looks like her dad and Illya looks like her mom. Now on the note of being emo... well Fate is meant to be a dark series; fate/ZERO is no exception to this rule. In fact, it goes into some material that fate/Stay Night did not touch in the anime (the visual novel is a much different story, especially the Heaven's Feel arc) such as rape. Now don't let this scare you away from the anime- the first 2 or 3 episodes has some really heavy material that I wish more of the show dealt with . I understand there's a second season though so some if not all of what was visited in the first few episodes just may be revisited and solved. Overall if fate/ZERO didn't have some of this material it would just be another generic "fighting" anime.

By far my favorite part of fate/ZERO has to be the music.

fate/ZERO is an anime for those that are fans of visual novels and flashy animation and characters. The characters of fate/ZERO (the servants) almost require reading up on who their based on to get a full grasp of the story. Each of the servants are based on a particular legendary hero from history. Saber has been King Arthur for as long as I remember, and Archer is usually Gilgamesh. Other than these giving away who the servant is would spoil the anime so you'll just have to watch to figure it out. Part of the fun is trying to discover who the servant really is before the anime itself reveals just that. After figuring out who is who I recommend reading up on that hero if you have the chance. This really does bring more light to why the character is the way they are and it gives you the opportunity to be smart and learn something new. This also makes fate/ZERO somewhat of a smart anime in comparison to others that don't use outside material to make a story.

After finishing up this season of fate/ZERO (the second season doesn't come out till April so you're going to need something to do) try out Fate/Stay Night and then the movie Unlimited Blade Works. Both are worth watching if you enjoyed Fate/ZERO ^_^

Friday, January 6, 2012

Marginal Gaming - Introduction

I'm starting a new column on 8bitfix where I discuss what it's like to be a gamer of a certain age, the decisions you have to make as a gamer and how those decisions could lead you into becoming a contributor to gaming as a lifestyle and an art form. Don't quite understand? Take a look at the article.

Welcome to 2012

Hey there all you in the interwebz, been a while no? Ya... sorry about not being a good blogger here on AugReal >.> I plan to do much better in this new year! I have many new series planned and also want to get back to doing the ones I used to on my R//W[G] blog. I also really want to do better on reviewing anime, manga, novels and more for you guys! One of my passions is sharing my honest thoughts on what's out there as far as geek culture; not many female otaku's seem to review some of the "guy oriented" anime out there and I feel this may give female otaku the wrong idea about some of these anime (and manga for that matter) so it's one of my goals this year to do a better job of being a female voice in the world of male dominated otakudom. Hope you'll join me as I develop as a better writer/blogger and as an editor! Following is a list of series I'll be continuing and new ones I plan to try out ^_^

1) Anime of the Week - It's a pretty simple series. I usually pick one I have finished that re-caught my eye recently or one that's currently playing in Japan. I'll even sometimes put a "why'd a bother" for a series that's kind of worth watching but could easily just be passed on.
2) Anime, Manga, Novel, Visual Novel and more Reviews
3) Manga and Anime Line-up

1) 100 Books in a Year (reviews and spotlights)- Before reading a book (or after a few chapters) I'll be posting spotlights with basic info such as authors previous work, a summary and possible page count. After finishing a book i'll either make a video review or type one up. I have a goal of reading 100 books this year... it's a tough goal.

MAS8705 talks about Phoenix Wright Mash Ups

How it is going everyone! I’m MAS8705 and I am excited since I am finally going to be doing one of my rants right now! I admit that I’m a bit out of practice (considering it has been a while since I have last worked on a rant), so this rant will not have a word limit, so if you want to see under 500 words, wait till next time… Also I'm going to attempt a new style of Ranting where I use "Visual Aids" to get my point across, so if you guys don't think this is good, go ahead and tell me and I'll be sure to correct this...

It has been a great year for me: I’ve passed my classes, I’m working again, and there was the announcement of a Phoenix Wright Movie! For those of you who haven’t seen the trailer, or haven’t seen the 2nd one, here is what I’m talking about…

Now I am a big hater of this whole god damn “Video Game Movie Adaptation” series, as people (mainly f***ing Uwe Boll) have no idea what the hell to do when it comes to making a video game movie. But hey that’s a rant for another time: This movie has me excited as it is following what an adaptation is suppose to do: Retell the story it is known for, and using the same characters and no new characters (again, F*** Alice). Not to mention of the Big crossover coming soon of Professor Layton vs Ace Attorney…

Now I’ve never had the chance to play Professor Layton, but this is looks to be shaping up to be an awesome game!

Let’s face it, there are a few things in this world that I can be truly excited for: Smash Bros, Chocobos, and the story telling of the Phoenix Wright games. Hell, I bet if you mash up Phoenix Wright with anything, it will be awesome… I want you to think of anything you would want to mash up Phoenix Wright with and tell me what would be the best crossover.

Alright, results are coming in… and…

SERIOUSLY?! YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK! Why the hell would you want to mash up the awesomeness of Phoenix Wright with My Little Pony!?!

*smashes head against wall several times to calm down*

Ok, ok… I’m sorry… it’s just that my little pony, (well to me anyway) sounds like a bunch of-

*puts away Nuke Bricks*

It does sounds like a bunch of hoopla to me since I could never figure out the popularity of my little pony, even after watching the "Know your meme" segment about it... Anyway, getting back on topic, there are actually two projects on YouTube that actually do mash together Phoenix wright with My Little Pony, and (as it turns out) I am finding it very hard to look away from since it is being executed perfectly... Also I don't want to scare away those who are afraid of losing their "masculinity" as they read this topic so I'm going to throw in some manly Clips to help even out this article... Here's the first one...

There we go... :)

The first is called “My Little Investigations” which is basically Edgeworth’s investigation games done with ponies. While you would think this would be stupid, it is actually well thought out… First shown by YouTube user, GabuEx, it later developed into Team Equestrain Dreamers (they were already a team, but GabuEx was posting the videos on his channel first), they have done a few things that actually expand on the game play style off the investigations game… While you can see the videos on their new YouTube channel:

Let me post one video that really stood out for me: The idea of “Partners”.

This is something that you would probably see in a future "Investigations" game where the partner you have can actually affect the story and progression, so this is was just mind blowing for me. Also there was a time when these guys are also RECRUITING artists and other people to help put the game together so if there are any pony lovers out there (you sick little monkeys… Couldn’t find a video for that one sadly ;( ) go to their site and apply, they need a lot of artists to put the game together. Again though, it is hard to say if they still are recruiting, but hey never hurts to ask...

OK, one more Chuck Norris Clip...

Well that was fun...

The 2nd mashup is a rather clever idea: a crossover of Phoenix Wright with My Little Pony called: Turnabout Storm

While many other people would try and post stupid dialogue with horrific voice acting, these guys have well written dialogue and pretty good voice actors, while at the same time having the look and feel of Phoenix Wright with Music while keeping it in the My Little Pony Universe. That and I feel Phoenix’s Pain about him losing his manliness the more he is in the world. Poor guy. Anyway, they also recently posted the 2nd part, so if you enjoyed the first video, be sure to watch the 2nd (I just watched it and I have to say the ending was quite the twist)...


Thank you Mike Haggar, I couldn't use three consecutive clips of Chuck Norris, Don't want him to come find me...

So… yea, I will admit that the fans do know how to work my little pony into the style of Phoenix Wright, and hell if I wanted to start watching My Little Pony, this probably would be the backdoor route to doing it… In fact, let’s watch one scene really fast just for the hell of it…




Must… Watch… Poni- *Punches self* NO! NO! NO! NO! This is sick and wrong! No wonder why people seem to watch these Ponies! If you excuse me, I’m going to watch five Chuck Norris films right now to get my manliness back! I’m MAS8705 and that was my rant for today! See you next time!

*Jumps out of three story window*

Special Notice: To help balance out my time away from Augmented Reality, I will be posting a few extra articles these next few weeks, I hope you all enjoy and leave a comment down below for anything you want to be discussed… Alongside with this, I am also planning on posting a few stories I have been working on too, so if you want a preview of it, be sure to ask...

Disclaimer: I don’t hate My Little Pony; I’ve seen a few episodes and it is written a hell lot better than most other shows nowadays… Also all videos and pictures used in this rant belong to those who originally posted them and the companies they belong to...