Saturday 30 March 2013

In Concert

This compilation by SEGA of excerpts from Vocaloid stage performances is a shortish (ten minutes) quick-and-easy reminder of some of what makes those events so much more than any others (and I've been to a fair few human concerts over the years, and watched others on TV or YouTube).

Instant wings, flying, immediate costume changes and the sheer exuberance of performers and audience alike (and never underestimate Len in this regard, as evidenced herein) all lift these events to a level I have never previously encountered. We are living in exciting times...

Saturday VocaJazz – 30 March 2013

Another of those Miku efforts that work better than one might have expected in the jazz genre is our song for this evening: Moonlight Transfer. With the change to summer time, I think it is right to end this season of VocaJazz tonight; but I plan to begin the next season in late October.

I think it's very good, with a nice part for the Hammond organ and a light percussion effect that suits this number to a tee. 'Interesting' Miku artwork too...

Being Followed

This is on Twitter, I mean, not being physically stalked in the street. I and my ever-present CHUM have a range of ways to deal with the latter anyway...but that's not something I can ever discuss here!

On Twitter, I am perpetually getting new 'followers' – those who have decided to include my tweets in their own customised timeline as it's called. I usually get two or three a day: it never seems to ease off at all significantly.

These new followers seem mostly to fall into one of five categories...
  1. Genuine: those who have a real reason for wishing to follow me, for who I am;
  2. Commercial: those whose profile makes it clear that they're trying to sell me something, or similar;
  3. Spammers: those who hope I am one of those who will automatically follow them back, so that all their spam gets into my timeline (easily checked by looking at their list of tweets: gives the game away!)
  4. Hackers: those who have usually already hacked one of my regular contacts' account and that person now seems to be sending me links. These turn out to be hacking sites, easily ascertained by (again) looking at their list of tweets. One of our Police Commissioner candidates (would you believe) has fallen for this three times that I know of in recent months;
  5. Political opponents: their aim is to spot something they can use against me, ideally (for them) that can act as a smear against others as well. They also use me as an access point to troll and/or otherwise pester others with whom I am in Twitter conversation. As a basic courtesy to those others, I tend to have to block the offender from access to my tweets. Put yourselves in my place and see if you can come up with an alternative: I haven't yet found one.
Nearly all of my new followers fall into one of these groups. Obviously the fourth group gets blocked as soon as I have checked what is going on (and never clicking on any provided link), the second and third category types usually un-following me after a few weeks, once they realise that I am not so gullible after all, and Iallow the fifth category ones as much as I can.

If those ones try too much manipulation, or make any personal smearing attempt at all, then they end up blocked. I might relent after a couple of weeks and give them a second chance, but any repetition and it's then a block for life. I really dislike dirty people, and that's among the dirtiest on-line behaviour of which I know. They are no loss; and it is entirely their own doing.

Perhaps they'll learn from the experience, but I doubt it...

Friday 29 March 2013

Happy Easter 2013

...and what better way to celebrate than by making some chocolate Miku and candies...

Thursday 28 March 2013

Virtual Meeting at Home

To anyone reading this who thought my short story (posted here nearly two months ago) was in any way far-fetched, check this out and also bear in mind how much has (at last) been achieved in this whole area in just a few years, after a period of apparent stagnation in this area of technology.

Now extrapolate that rate of development from where we are now to where we are likely to be in another sixteen and more years from today, and you can surely accept that all that I envisaged ought by that time to be possible.

This, today, is Augmented Reality, which I now understand better than I did when writing about the VocaFarre event a while back. You'll see what I mean about this interactive technology that places a virtual character in your own on-camera environment, such as in your home or neighbourhood.

Of course, you'll need to wear the special glasses; but I can see this merging with Google's experimental glasses so it could easily become commonplace worldwide quite soon...

More Mikudayo

Just before Easter...
For those readers who enjoyed my posting of two videos of the original Nendoroid-style Mikudayo a few weeks ago, here are two more of her at Good Smile Racing, showing some fun moments we didn't see before...


Although I am pleased that The Commentator is one of the relatively few publications that seek to redress the anti-Israel slant, and the broader issue of anti-Semitism, it does sometimes seem a somewhat one-dimensional stance they take.

Fortunately, today they are looking at the (if anything, even bigger) issue of Christian persecution and slaughter, at least some of which is experienced in two-thirds of the nations of the world. That article also covers the lack of media attention being paid to this situation.

Note the fear that is being generated; also that the two biggest sources of this persecution are Communism and Islam.

Now, long-term readers who took notice of what I have written on previous occasions will be aware that – as so often – I have always recommended looking for the clues as to why all this is happening. The bottom line remains that the devil is, naturally enough, targeting the real faiths (Judaism, which stopped BC, and Christianity, which also continued thereafter) using his followers and those gullible enough to be persuaded to do the same.

Those who remember Sam Neill's portrayal of Damian in The Omen III will be aware of just what can be done by someone like that; and so we find it in real life too. Many groups and organisations are easily manipulated in this way, including all the political Left of the world and their associated offshoots such as Unions, many large media outlets, some Think Tanks, subversive organisations, and others besides.

Thus it was inevitable that the devil's only true enemies would be the primary targets (the other conflicts are just part of the general melée where we are all pitched against one another, as I have touched upon before) although it has taken time to set up the scale of anti-Christian persecution that we have today – and it will almost certainly grow a lot worse in the months and years to come.

Interestingly, for the more perceptive, the big clue this provides (especially to agnostics) is that very fact that there can be only one reason why the targeting is so specific, and has been building for so long. Yes, it strongly indicates that Judaism and Christianity must be valid, otherwise there could not and would not be such a large, cross-boundary movement that goes well beyond what any human originator could ever reasonably be seen capable of doing.

No: this goes beyond that, and it is about time that those who have been suckered into easy (but foolish) dismissals of Christianity in particular – though having no idea themselves about why there even is a universe, let alone how it came to be – started to use their God-given intelligences to see what is really going on in the world, and join up against the evil that is being done. Lip service and encouragement are not sufficient: this requires true commitment.

Let us hope that we are not found wanting, now that the chips are truly down...

Delicious Tomato

First we had the Persimmon Song, and now it's Tasty Tomato (sometimes called Delicious Tomato), again performed by SeeU, though it was first performed by Rin, I believe.

UPDATE: the original has suddenly vanished, so this is another version, non-animated as it is all I could find.

Anyway, even though even this one still has no English subtitles, it's yet another bit of fun, and reasonably easy to get at least the broad thrust of what is going on...

Miku at '4k' resolution

What does that title mean? you might ask.

Well, take the normal upper High Definition of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and double it – both ways, horizontal and vertical. That gives you 3,840 (nearly four thousand, hence the '4k' shorthand for this) pixels horizontally by 2,160 vertically – four times the number of 'dots' that make up the image.

This is also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), and this visually stunning video was matered in that resolution. Here, it is at the usual 560 x 315 pixels that best fits this 'blog; but if you click the Quality (cogs icon) on the player (shown only when the player is active) the 'original' resolution is available, along with various others.

Of course, you'll need a suitable monitor to gain the full benefit of the UHD option; but there is something extra about even the 'normal' HD displays. The Miku model is an XS by someone known simply as mqdl, and it is very special for what is, after all, just the standard spec as far as hair and costume are concerned. It genuinely is quite something, although personally I am not a hundred percent happy with her mouth – but perhaps I'm just an old fuss-pot!

The song is called Leaping from Zero to Eternity, and when they are available in English the lyrics will apparently tell us something of Miku's "little genesis". I shall be looking out for those to appear...

Wednesday 27 March 2013

MikuUK Demo Concert at Sunnycon

These far from perfect five-minute and three-minute videos, from sound-stage staff and audience's recordings, gives a reasonable idea of what we can expect in Scotland later in the year.

There were some technical glitches on the day, and I have to admit I am pleased these happened now. If they were going to occur at all, it's best to have the time to iron them out before the big event. It looks as though other demo events like the Sunnycon one will also be held, though as yet I have no programme of dates and places for these.

Overall, it's looking promising (even if they did have the wrong motion for Torinoko City!) for what is quite a major feat to bring Miku and friends live to Britain...

The Scream

Occasionally, especially in rock music, there is a genuine application for a female vocalist to literally scream. It can be overplayed or mis-timed, as I have noticed on (thankfully rare) occasions; but if done well it genuinely can add something to a performance of particular songs.

In regard to the Vocaloid world, I don't think anyone would challenge the contention that Miku is the best at this, and is also a surprisingly good rock vocalist overall, despite her naturally feminine voice. Anyone in doubt of this needs to watch her perform Secret Police at Kansai – a sock-blowing-off rendition if ever there was one in this world

Here is a song and video performance I have posted here before, though this time with English captioning, which is helpful though unsurprising in its nature. Check out the scream at 1 minute 23 seconds in to see what I mean about Miku's more-or-less ownership of this particular feature. I should add that, although this is used sparingly in her repertoire, there are a couple of other examples I have found that are equally impressive and appropriate.

I'm sure there are (human) others out there who are in the same league, but in the Vocaloid world I think it is the queen who has this sewn up...

Tuesday 26 March 2013

Oppa Lapis Style!

This is a funny and cute version of PSY's song. No animation this time, just a nice pic. Incidentally, sometimes it's written oppa, at other time oppan. Listening carefully to it all, from the PSY original to this version, one gets the impression that the 'n' is just about there, in much the same way as it is (for slightly different reasons) at the end of some Japanese words and the Japanese pronunciations of our words.

This version by Lapis Aoki is a bit like Marmite, in that you almost certainly either love it or hate it. I don't think there's much if any middle ground here! The general opinion seems to be positive, so it's definitely worth having on my 'blog.

I eventually lost count of how many 'cute' and 'adorable' comments there are at the YouTube page (accessed as always via the YouTube button on the player when it's active) but it must have been somewhere around a hundred, with a few 'kawaii' as well. It took me a long time to skim-read them all, carefully discounting the blocks of duplicates (a YouTube bug that I encounter frequently).

The only oddity is that, strictly speaking, the song is written from a male perspective, admiring a shy lady. Then again, if it works for SeeU (as we know it does), there's no reason why Lapis can't do it too...

Tweet of the Day – 26 March 2013

I haven't found any good ones of these for a little while, so to compensate for that dearth I have today gone right to the top, and now present this explanatory tweet from God Himself...
"Atoms are made of protons, neutrons, electrons and (for flavor) croutons."
I think that might explain why their mass is at all significant even though they are nearly entirely just space – nothing much there, really.

Taking it a stage further, Atomic Kitten also have buttons and ribbons...

Monday 25 March 2013

Dragoon by Lapis

Actually, it's obvious that this song – originally performed by Miku under the same title – refers to riding on a dragon, not a dragoon! It works better with Lapis's voice, though, as a number of songs have been found to do since the fairy's release.

There's no animation in this video, only a delightful picture of Lapis. I intend to showcase a few Lapis items that we haven't had here before because they don't have stage performances, but that stand on their merits just as illustrated songs.

There are English subtitles in this video, and I think they are well worth following. I found that they, like the dragon's mighty wings, are in their own way uplifting...

SeeU Could Have Real English

Listen to Kim Da-Hee (or 'Dahee Kim' in our convention) who is SeeU's voice provider perform this song in virtually fluent English. The present technique of fudging it from her Japanese and Korean banks of phonemes works reasonably well, but has notable deficiencies.

Listening to Ms Kim here, one is struck by both the similarities and differences between her natural voice and SeeU's, the latter sometimes coming across a little lacklustre. Apparently this was a mistake of some sort made when the voicebank was originally recorded, and is often compensated for by having her provider add a (quieter, but effective) duet-style enhancement.

The overall effect is very distinctive, but it is a pity it has to be done this way. Hopefully, if the English voicebank does go ahead, it will be done correctly this time.

I have read that there are indeed real hopes for an English voicebank for SeeU, perhaps even later this year, though all of this is unconfirmed. It is now obvious that her voice provider is fully capable of supplying what could easily be the best (foreign language origin provider) English voicebank in the world. I'd say to her owners: Go for it!

In Pause Mode

As far as news, comment and current affairs are concerned, I have been in 'pause mode' since the new post-Leveson regulation framework came into being, apparently taking effect in respect of material published from Saturday just gone. This still isn't clear, but I am taking no chances...

Other topics (for I am lucky in having a multi-dimensional menu) are meanwhile continuing as normal.

I hear that an amendment is being presented by a Peer a little later today, which if accepted will exempt small blogging outfits and indeed all those covered by a specified definition in the Companies Act(s).

Once the outcome of that is known, and what the precise status of bloggers such as myself is and from when, I shall resume my former activities at the appropriate time, which might be immediately or it may need to await the completion of certain processes first.

We shall see; and in the meantime, that's as much as I shall write about the subject until there is further news, except to say that it is a fitting topic for Medway Monday, so I am featuring this post in that weekly exercise today.

UPDATE @ 1500 hrs: The amendment has been presented comfortably before the deadline (which passed barely a minute ago as I write this update). Guido has the details. If it should be accepted in the form given there, it means that local political bloggers will need to concentrate their commentary and reporting on a specific area, rather than deal with national issues except incidentally where related to something about which they are writing.

This will mean a shift in emphasis for me and for many others as well, so still isn't ideal as there is no reason why that should have to happen. I'm sure lots of dodges will be devised by others to get around such a restriction if it ends up incorporated into the final version of the Bill and passed, though I expect to play it straight, as ever, and just live with it.

Sunday 24 March 2013


This rock-y song (the title is an amalgamation of 'paparazzi' and 'cockroach' – you might be able to guess why!) is performed by an absolutely stunning model of SeeU with superb motion. As always, her supreme femininity is evident throughout, even though this is a much heavier number than usual for her.

All the video lacks is an actual microphone mounted on the auto-appearing stand(!) The hand motions are there, but the microphone isn't.

Still, it's a relatively minor matter; and I for one was so struck by this SeeU model that the song was nearly half way through before I even noticed the omission. Anyway, I had to take a moment to pick my jaw up off the floor and that was when I realised...

Beauty and the Beast 2

This is the theme duet from the show, here performed by SeeU and Oliver. Although it isn't perfect, though might be able to made better with a little expert tweaking here and there (especially at the end of the word 'beast'), it is quite delightful overall.

The (drawn) graphics are simple, and subtitles have been provided just in case – but aren't really needed, especially as the song is so familiar anyway.

We don't encounter Oliver very often, but he isn't bad overall. SeeU struggles only because – despite being bi-lingual – there still aren't all the necessary English phonemes in her two voicebanks to make this work a hundred percent. It is, nonetheless, a very good effort, as I think you'll agree...

Saturday 23 March 2013

Saturday VocaJazz – 23 March 2013

It's Saturday evening again, and a good way to wind down is with some not-too-lively jazz. This is called Held by the Sea of Ressentiment – an unusual title (which I suspect isn't quite correct!), an unusual ending, and a new singer on this 'blog, Iroha Nekomura, whose voice turns out to be very good for jazz vocals such as this.

Now, with a name like that (Nekomura means 'cat village'), it is unsurprising that Iroha is often depicted with cat-like characteristics, including a Hello Kitty badge (and there's a whole story behind that), but not this time. Cats really don't appreciate being immersed in water anyway...

Cosplay Dance

This is very well done, cosplaying dances by (and as) Miku. What more can I say? It's all great, and is yet another indication of just how big a phenomenon this all is, apart from in the more culturally-isolated countries such as Britain who are nowadays behind much of the rest of the world in some (modern) respects.

We're starting to catch up, though, with those such as Lita Chan bringing the idea of Vocaloid cosplay and dance to our nation in a more publicly visible way than we've tended to have here, thanks to her on-line photos and videos. That's one of the ways we need to go.

Meanwhile, back to the video for this post: it's Clover Club...

Tweet of the Day – 23 March 2013

From the ashes of His Grace, Archbishop Cranmer...
" says has 'a slight weakness' of turning Jesus into Cheesus Better than making him Karl Marx"
Got it in one! I saw the ghastly Giles Fraser on BBC's This Week just nine days ago, and witnessed the trendy Lefty type of supposed Christian who was just about as far from what Jesus was as it is possible to position oneself. The fellow's entire manner and slant were so full of the devil's agenda that it all brought into stark relief the reality of Satan's infiltration of the church with his subversives.

It's a pity it has dropped off the (very limited!) BBCiPlayer facility – I have just checked – but (UPDATE) I've just found the relevant excerpt at YouTube instead, and it tells its own story. Don't be fooled by thinking this is real 'passion'. It isn't: it's just a way to push a specific political agenda, as the stepping-back technique soon shows us...

It is about time that someone (perhaps His Grace) definitely laid to rest the myth that any true Christian could be a Lefty. As all the Left are entirely dependent upon deception, theft, dictatorship and oppression, it is obvious from square one that they can never, under any circumstances, have the right approach and outlook to follow in Christ's footsteps.

We all have difficulties in even approaching that ideal as it is, but placing insurmountable blocks in the way really isn't the way to go if one is serious and genuine in one's intentions. Flatly, the political Left are in diametric opposition to to Jesus' (and his Father's) intentions for us, and that can never be changed, merely camouflaged before the gullible whom such tricksters need to fool. They don't fool God, though!

The Giles Fraser types of this world will find it easy to be offered plenty of air time and support on Beelzelbub's Broadcasting Con-trick (BBC) but the rest of us need to be alert and not be taken in. The 'stepping back' method I have espoused is useful here.

For all Justin Welby's faults (and I have already spotted a few possibles) his approach is essentially a good one, and right for the current era. Giles Fraser is probably permanently incapable of even understanding that, let alone having a clue about what is a good approach. Welby's style will not be endorsed by Karl Marx, for a start...

Tatsumaki (Tornado)

Although the stage performance of this very attractive song is really good, and great fun (and very obviously so when you watch), the sound quality of those recordings hasn't been as good as it ought to be, ideally. Also, it needed to be voice-performed by Miku and not merely mimed by her, despite the admittedly high standard set by the voice of SF A2-Miki in those live performances.

Therefore, on this occasion I am foregoing the (hugely enjoyable) dance routine and just going all-out for sound quality. Here, then, is Tatsumaki written by Vokalekt Visions' neutrinoP and Tempo-P (music) and Tempo-P (lyrics) as usual, and is now performed and illustrated using Miku 'append solid'.

There are still no English translations of the lyrics, though these usually seem to turn up with the newer songs in due course, so I shall keep looking.

I bet even a certain 'Sad' lady (Sue from Rainham) of whom I know, and who is definitely not a Vocaloid fan, would probably enjoy this...

Melody For You

This song, though not really resembling any other directly, has an easily recognisable style, so there are no prizes for working out that it's one of Daniwell's. If you started it up and looked away immediately, so as not to catch sight of the credits in the video, you'd still spot that within moments of the intro starting.

The video uses one of Lat's superb Miku models, though not the same one I recently downloaded. Despite the somewhat basic 'flat' rendering that we sometimes encounter, and have here, it does work well, especially in facial close-ups. It's a nice model, and a good enough song – though I don't feel it is one of Daniwell's very best...

Friday 22 March 2013

Red and Blue

This is unusual, but quite appealing with its two performers' soft voices and lovely outfits that match their eye colours – one red, the other blue.

I don't know what the song is called or what it's about, or even who the singers are (I think they must be Utauloids), so this is just light entertainment to take as it comes. I have a feeling it'll warm a few hearts during the coming snowy weekend...

Thursday 21 March 2013

Persimmon Song

Here's SeeU extolling the virtues of the delicious persimmon fruit, which in Korea is known as Hongsi. It's a bit of fun, with a nice cartoon illustrated storyline too.

The song is by GaGain (of Arirang fame) and could easily be perceived as (South) Korea's answer to Miku's Po Pi Po, but with slightly more sensible words, here helpfully subtitled in English. The references to Miku's leek, Rin's oranges and Luka's tuna fish did not pass me by...

Wednesday 20 March 2013

Blogging Post-Leveson

It looks like the proposed Royal Charter – which in itself is probably the least bad of the "have to do something" options that became an unavoidable route to take in a coalition government situation – will include bloggers, as this highlighted extract from the Crime and Courts Bill shows...

I found the above at Cranmer's site, where he has gone into this matter to a fair degree. I suspect it's an unintended consequence as far as the Conservatives within government are concerned, but no doubt deliberately included by officials in this way, in furtherance of a different agenda (which is so easy for the Mandarins with a coalition government).

The 'in the course of a business' wording might exclude bloggers, but this will need definitive legal clarification. Otherwise a number of us are going to have to move the hosting of our 'blogs to an overseas server. I don't think we'll also need to physically leave the country, fortunately!

This really is a terrible way for our nation to go; though I can see that there wasn't a great deal of choice on this in practice, and it will have to do as a stopgap measure until wiser heads prevail and the whole thing can be dropped from statute, probably just a few years hence if we get a majority Conservative Government in 2015.

There are one or two other unknowns as well: if we stop writing about current affairs in England and/or Wales, does earlier material have to be taken down or can it stay on the new-direction 'blog? It can't go completely, of course, as it's all archived automatically at various locations around the world. Therefore there isn't any sense in practical terms in enforcing removal of earlier material if one doesn't join this scheme and thus agree to be bound by it.

That last bit is the key, of course; and already Guido has started a petition, which I have signed, to tell those who wish to censor on-line comment in general just where they can go...

For myself, this 'blog has a much wider remit than just current affairs, so I shall not need to cease blogging; and there are other ways to get material published and 'intell' fed out to others abroad where they can use it in much the same way as I do myself at present. Those whose 'blogs are entirely (say) politics-focused will not have that fall-back position, should it turn out to be a no-no to continue on their present path.

Anyway; we shall have to see what comes of the eventual Charter and its legal interpretation on the above points and (no doubt) numerous others. I shall, naturally enough, be monitoring all of that as it unfolds in the weeks and months to come...

Tuesday 19 March 2013


A six-vocaloid chorus performs this very good number (and, yes, I do recognise which voices are in the chorus, how did you guess?) which I provide as partial compensation for my removal of the Kansai concert video from here: that has been as a result of uncertainty as to whether this official video was actually licensed for upload at this time.

No doubt it will be confirmed OK for so doing at some stage, just as the various other concerts happily live, in full and in parts, on YouTube, where they continue to provide free awareness/advertising and add to demand for merchandise far more than the companies involved could ever achieve on their own. It is a near certainty that this was at least one big part of the reasoning behind making so much of the Vocaloid 'genre' open licensed, for example. Canny these Japanese, y'know!

Anyway, with this video, at least you get the same number of Vocaloids as appeared in that concert, though not necessarily exactly the same line-up...

Monday 18 March 2013

Gumi's 'ET' in English

Now that Gumi's English "Megpoid" voicebank has been completed, it is proving to be exceptionally fine. It isn't perfect, but it's very good indeed, allowing English songs (or English language versions of songs) to be produced that have little or no need for subtitles.

This song, ET, does have (more-or-less unneeded) subtitles along with a visually stunning image of Gumi – which is far better than the usual somewhat cartoon-y images and models one usually encounters of her – and is quite remarkable.

In a very real sense, the true worldwide spread of the Vocaloids begins right here...

Sunday 17 March 2013

This is Kansai

This is what went on there recently, at any rate, in the Wakayama Big Whale. This quite short (under 5 minutes) video is best viewed full screen, and the sound is particularly good in headphones, I have discovered...

Saturday 16 March 2013

VocaJazz – Trick Art

Rin displays her (largely unsuspected, I imagine) vocal versatility again with Trick Art, which has a cool but slightly uptempo style, and works particularly well with Rin's younger-than-the-vocaloid-norm voice.

By the way, with the coming of Spring and next weekend's clock change to summertime, I shall probably make next Saturday's the last in this VocaJazz season, which suits the winter season best, though I might continue until the end of the month. We shall see.

I shall start a new season in the autumn, when the clocks change back again.

I do hope it has been a worthwhile extension to what I post here, providing material that probably none of my visitors had ever encountered before, including this evening's offering...

World's End Dancehall

The Rin version of this that I had prepared (weeks ago) for scheduled publishing yesterday had gone by that time, so here's what I consider to be the ultimate Dreamy Theater version. By the way, Rin will be performing this evening's VocaJazz item, so Rin fans won't go without her today.

It comes complete with (somewhat 'Engrish') subtitling, as a Miku/Luka duet with a wonderful costume change part way through, and back again near the end.

It is sheer class, it hugely impressed a visitor here this morning (he's even thinking of coming to the concert in Scotland!), and really has to be viewed full screen...

Friday 15 March 2013


This is the original Mikudayo that I briefly mentioned in my Costume Play post yesterday.

As I said then, Mikudayo Version One is a grown-up size Nendoroid-style Chibi Miku (i.e. child, from which the Waybuloo 'cheebie' word derives) as shown in this under-a-minute video...

And here is a longer video, showing Mikudayo promoting the Good Smile Racing car at a meet with four of Japan's famous Race Queens and another character I do not recognise...

Ask Mr. T – Episode 3

It's been a while comin' but here's Mr. T giving advice on motivation; and if you'd like the app, here's the link...

Costume Play

Playing a part while dressing up as a character – costume playing or 'cosplay' for short – is a long-established activity, with Japan almost certainly being the world leader in this area of activity.

That isn't surprising, as the Japanese have long had a rich panoply of colourful and memorable characters who, even when sharing a generic style, have more than enough distinctive visual and behavioural distinctiveness to make each stand out.

I have featured photographs and videos with cosplayers (or 'cosers' as they are sometimes known) in recent months in particular, and occasionally prior to that. With all that head start, and all the anime and similar festivals that have been held in Japan for many years (such as the famous Wonder Festivals) there has been plenty of incentive and opportunity for cosplayers to 'get out there' and strut their stuff.

My own recently fantasy revolved around aspects of this, by the way, even though I wouldn't have been in costume myself, merely helping out by filling in with those who were. It would be me, and them, whom the audience see, not just the (in that case Haruhi Suzumiya) characters whose costumes they'd be wearing.

And this is a key ingredient: cosplay means that it is the player as much as the character who is presented; and I imagine it's a great ice-breaker for the inherently shy members of Japanese society to be able to approach a familiar character and at the same time meet a real-life person. This is the greatest difference between this activity and where the character has to be the whole package.

Take the recent launch of the Project Diva-F PlayStation game in Japan, for a good example. On that occasion, it was 'Miku' who had to be there in person, not so obviously someone dressed up as here, so what is called Mikudayo 2·0 did the job, as in this video (Mikudayo version 1 is a grown-up size Nendoroid-style 'chibi' Miku, by the way)...

You have to admit, they really do go to town on this sort of thing in that country: it's big business, of course, but it's also so easy to put your heart and soul into it, as even the company executives do just as much as any teenage fanboy geek!

So, in the west, what do we do? Well, there have been western cosplayers for years, though it hasn't been all that widely known. I have been aware of several for quite some time, though most are the wrong physical shape (too chunky) to carry it off as convincingly as they might otherwise have done. Also, many do not have the natural and unforced cuteness that typifies so much of the female character base from which our cosplayers are working.

Don't get me wrong: they have worked hard and really do try to make it work, with perhaps unexpectedly good results overall, but we really needed someone special to lead a more serious challenge to Japanese dominance.

Enter Lita Chan, who is near-enough perfect for this, and one of those few literally stunning ladies that genuinely does stop you in your tracks if you were to encounter her – certainly any fellas with good taste, and I suspect some envious ladies would find themselves (no doubt involuntarily) reacting as well.

I make no secret of my appreciation of ladies such as this, and freely admit that I have been impressed with Lita Chan's Vocaloid cosplay of Miku and, equally, Rin Kagamine, among others.

I foresee a tremendous future here, and (in a little while, when it all starts to really dawn on the west and we begin to catch up with the east's enthusiasm and fandom) fame and demand for the lady, and hopefully others who will follow her lead. The important thing is for her to stick with it, even when (as apparently happened yesterday) it can become tiring.

The trick is to pace yourself and not try to do too much at once: there's always another day, and the world isn't going away any time soon! Younger people have more time left to them that those of us in our 'sixties, and yet even I am content to leave things to another day if I find I am trying to do too much too quickly. It also gives Mum more time to make the costumes.

I know that Lita's manager already has that confidence and faith in her, and I too am getting a strong feeling that we have someone truly special here, and we need to nurture her and not burn out this wonderful asset to the whole fan-based community.

We here in the west still have a long way to go to develop our culture in positive and non-harmful areas of pursuit such as anime and Vocaloid appreciation, and the sheer sense of 'joining in' that in-character cosplay engenders.

We can be thankful for the likes of the MikuUK project for the concert in Scotland, the ever-growing existing fan-base in countries such as the UK, Brazil, Canada and the USA, and those such as Lita Chan who are prepared to lead the way by showing even us reserved Brits that it's okay to dress up as a character and pose and act in a fun way. It's been done, it's lots of fun, and we can all join in!

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Lots O' Leeks!

Miku's most famous accessory abounds in this short, jolly item, especially in the interesting stage design, which is taken from the new Project Diva-F game.

By the way, I think I might know where the idea of the so-called 'Welsh onion' could have originated: Pokémon's Farfetch'd, from the initial batch of 151 'mon.

Anyway, I don't (yet) know the name of this song, but it's a fun enough way to start off what is, outside, yet another cold and snowed-up day...

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Every Home Should Have One

Yes, it's a life-size Miku, just as at the live concerts, but in the home.

One day, no doubt, every home with a room large enough to accommodate the necessary technology will be able to have something like this, if so desired.

The display surface is a mosquito curtain-style mesh stretched across a metal pipe, so no expensive DILAD screen is involved. Further details are provided at the video's YouTube page.

The groundwork has now been done, and such achievements have been made possible thanks to the sheer determination and inventiveness of the Miku/Vocaloid fandom. Now it just needs to be made into kit form and sold as a complete package...

Monday 11 March 2013

Miku On Ice

I've said before that it's possible to make any suitable Vocaloid model do anything that can be depicted (or words to that effect), and here we have Miku ice skating.

It has probably been done by motion tracing an actual performance (some commenters at YouTube are suggesting the original was Mao Asada); but however it was achieved, it works very well, smoothly and near-enough flawlessly. It again reinforces the point I have been making here regarding the quality of motion, and how motion capture/trace can make a world of difference.

See what you think of this...

Saturday 9 March 2013

Miku Day test of Domino's Miku App

Here's a review of the Domino's Pizza app, which is actually available around the world; and although one cannot order pizzas for delivery outside of Japan, the other features work.

It's by Alex of Subtokyo, who always does his reviews in this easy-to-follow style and they work well, I have found, this one included.

This was done earlier today, which is Miku Day in Japan: that's 3 / 9 in the US-style dating convention they have adopted for Western dates – and we all know the significance of '39' (in Japanese: 'san kyu', an easy phonetic way for Japanese people to remember how to say "thank you" to English speakers).

See here not only how to order a pizza in japan, but also how the app recognises the special boxes – and trials have shown that a photograph of such a box displayed on a computer screen also works – and uses the box as a stage, whose design can be picked from a modest selection, for a live performance on your iPhone (it's not currently available for Android)...

Saturday VocaJazz 9 March 2013 – Star Light Rose

For the very best VocaJazz performances, we need someone like Luka, who here demonstrates that superlative quality and sheer versatility of hers in Star Light Rose. There are no animations of any kind this time, just the music without distractions.

Luka's vocal style here really adds to the feel of being at one of those (probably in a basement) small and intimate jazz venues, up close and personal, as the saying goes. The instrumental side doesn't precisely match that mood and feel, but it hardly matters on this occasion and most listeners probably wouldn't even notice.

So: just sit back, relax, and be impressed. I was...

Happy Miku Day 2013!

The excellent Hatsune Miku Fansite has reminded me that many people, mainly in Japan, are celebrating Miku's '39 anniversary' today...

To celebrate the sheer power of the Miku/Vocaloid phenomenon, here's the delightful Tatsumaki ('Tornado') that seems to convey much of what this de facto revolution is indeed now becoming, after relatively modest beginnings just a very few years ago. Note that Miku is here miming to SF-A2 Miki's vocal performance, which is very good for this song...

John's Vocawards

I have for a few weeks been thinking about devising my own awards for the best Vocaloid/UTAU songs, performances, outfits, and scenery (stages), in various categories.

It's a long way from coming to fruition, especially as I am still studying what is 'out there' (and there is a lot of it), but just as a taster the following are some of the likely contenders...
  • Most compelling stage performance – Luka (Double Lariat / Luka Luka Night Fever)
  • Best duet – Miku and Luka (Magnet / World's End Dancehall)
  • Most impressive costume – Miku (SPiCa, second outfit)
  • Prettiest song – Arirang (SeeU) or Tatsumaki (Miku)
  • Most beautiful song – Even Though My Song Has No Form (Miku)
  • Cutest song/performance combination – Nekomimi Switch (Lapis)
  • Funniest/cheekiest song and performance – Daughter of Evil (Rin)
  • Most feminine stage performer – SeeU
  • Most imposing male performer – Gakupo
  • Silliest song and motion – Po Pi Po
There we have ten categories already, and I'm sure I shall come up with more soon.

Friday 8 March 2013

Linkworld – Teaser

These are the two opening sections to what might one day become a novel that I started writing shortly before my illness made it difficult to continue. Thus the project has been on hold for some time, but could easily be resurrected, as could my main novel project that is also currently on hold (though I have never stopped planning and revising that one).

It should be fairly self-explanatory as to the premise of the story and broadly where it was going. Indeed, with only a further two or three sections it could be made into just a short story, at least for the time being, and I am considering whether to perhaps do that instead, in order to have a finished product.

For now, though, it is just a teaser...

Letter to the Outside.
"You may not yet know our Name.

Know now, though, that we are both within and without.

We live within this world--literally within, for our places need to be able to withstand all that you old-style humans can create with which to destroy yourselves--and potentially us with you.
We also live without, in our own societies in many parts of this planet, though all connected with each other in numerous ways.

We are within your racial and genetic history, but have begun to slowly diverge from your physical biochemistry, and already--after little more than a single century since we went our separate way--we are without your susceptibility to most diseases, and your recreational and truth drugs do not affect us, neither do most poisons.

We are within your cognisance, yet you do not recognise our specialness (which we keep well hidden) when one or more of us can be found in your towns and streets on occasion. Yet we always obey all your laws when we are in your places, and appear unremarkable, so avoid bringing undue attention to ourselves.

We are, however, completely outside your governance, monetary systems and other such restrictive and controlling influences, so our social and scientific advances have not been held back by any such impediments to true progress.

We are outside of "the system": we have no political parties, moneyed interests or other such powerful inhibitors, and are firmly determined to survive and grow in quality, though not in quantity. Therefore we have no hunger, save the hunger for advancement and betterment for all.

We have had atomic power for twice as long as you have had it, we produce no avoidable pollutants, and we have been flying gravity-nullifying aircraft for over half a century. You call them "UFOs" when you notice them, and they are ours and ours alone.

There are many other things I could divulge about us, but the time is not right for that. At the proper times, further details will be revealed, on four more occasions. We were not happy to feel compelled to operate in this undisclosed manner, but we had to do so until we reached a point where even partial disclosure could not result in any kind of viable threat to us.

That point has now been reached."

Mirva 3 Cartier-Hosna, Second Resident of Linkworld
28th May 2011 (Linkworld Date 119-38-4)

Status Report: LWD 126, Third Quarter
Warm greetings to all who either read or acquire this Status Report!
Today completes the third quarter of the 126th year of the LinkWorld Project. For the benefit of those of our number who need to operate Outside, the date "out there" is 30th May 2018.

As you know, the Outsiders have been made aware of our existence for a few years now, and they have--as we predicted--made several attempts to find us. This is part of the Plan we have for ensuring that they have the best chance of survival that we can provide in our necessarily limited legacy, when we leave this world behind--the Grand Project.

We are preparing them to make the leaps they will need to make if they are to overcome their self-destructive innate natures. For now, we have given them something new to think about, and the programme to come will guide them toward where they will need to be by the time of our departure.
It is unlikely in the extreme that any of their agents will find any of us; but we are of course fully prepared for that eventuality, just in case!

Our own energies are firmly being directed toward the two primary goals of our society: adding new Centres at a gradual but sustained rate; and pushing forward the Grand Project with all the skills at our command.

We continue to be aware of the dangers of inbreeding, and have recently increased the exchange of Residents between the various Centres. This of course is something the outside world would not easily be able to do to the extent that we can, owing to the language and cultural barriers that exist outside. With our common philosophy of life and Linguex to bind us together, we have no such obstacles.

We also have our teleportation tunnels between all Centres now in place, complete with the Inertial Dumping system that allows differences in departure and arrival velocities to be compensated for by "dumping" the inertial difference into the planetary core when we teleport from one Centre to another. I have tried this myself on several occasions, and although it isn't yet a hundred percent smooth, it has improved considerably since the early trials. It will improve as our understanding of the mechanics of the system continues to advance.

However, after six generations, we are now finding it necessary to introduce new genetic material through careful and highly selective breeding with a strictly limited number of carefully chosen outsider males. This practice cannot yet be extended to Outsider females as we have no way to ensure we can acquire the offspring, and would not wish to act in such a manner as to deprive a natural mother of her child.

Although we have the capability to remove all memory of the child's birth from the mother and have her memory and the official records indicate that the baby was stillborn, this we feel would be a morally unacceptable approach. We must never allow our powers and our own needs to lead us to even contemplate less than exemplary behaviour--that is not and must never become our way!

Meanwhile, the completion of the new Centre in Kent, England, brings the total of Centres to 43, 16 of which are in Britain--a superb achievement as we are far less obvious here (where it all began back in 1892, the Great Year) than in countries that are major players on the world stage. It is much "quieter" in the smaller countries, which is why we have only one Centre in each of the superpower countries (and those are there for special reasons) and the next three new Centres are planned for Mauritius, Venezuela and Portugal.

Our total population is now 132,000 or so, averaging around 3,500 per Centre. This scale of Residents per Centre continues to work well, and there are few tensions or other undesirable situations occurring anywhere in the Linkworld as a whole. The few crimes we do have are minor in nature, sporadic in frequency, and reducing in number every quarter.

This is without doubt due to the increasing closeness of our Residents, as more and more of us either acquire through training or are now being born with either telepathic or empathic abilities, or both, however rudimentary those skills and talents might be so far.

The trend is now well established: nearly all Residents can at least sense something of what others nearby are feeling, yet without unwarranted intrusion: it is just the surface thoughts and emotions of those people that are being picked up, and those being 'read' are always aware of what is happening.

On a personal note, I have an advantage over most Residents in that I was privileged to have been one of the very first of us to accept the training and dietary supplements that Mama Barbara devised for us all those decades ago. Who knew then just how far-reaching the effects of those early additions to (and subtractions from!) our food and drink would one day extend?

With the later refinements--and the new compounds that Mama's team have since developed--we can all look forward to life-spans of at least two hundred years, in most cases with no crippling diseases or other severe ailments. Who knows: maybe one day we shall even eliminate the common cold!

The latest news on this programme is the very recent confirmation of a further improvement that promises another forty to fifty years beyond that, and tests completed just yesterday mean that I can now confirm this great news to all Residents!

To all of you I wish good fortune; and I look forward to being able to impart an equally upbeat report next quarter.

Radhlee 1 Dicken-Ashbery, First Resident
LWD 126-38-6

New Lord Ashcroft Mega-Poll

With a sample size of some 20,022, Lord Ashcroft's latest commissioned poll is likely (though, strictly speaking, not guaranteed) to be closer to the real thinking in the country than the more typical polls of a thousand or so sampled.

The only figures I have from this mega-poll so far are for the "preferred outcome of the General Election in 2015". This comes out as 39% for a Labour overall majority and 30% for a Conservative overall majority. These are similar to the voting intention figures we have been seeing for quite some time now, so the two related-but-different sets of results seem to run somewhat in parallel.

The rest of the respondents apparently prefer a further coalition, but for some reason the two options of a Conservative-LibDem and a Labour-LibDem alternative have been lumped together. This brings them to 31%, which is a single point higher than the "Conservative majority" figure.

This Munton-esque sleight of hand appears, on the surface, to have been done that way purely to gereate that very fact. I have already seen my (so far) only source claim that a Conservative win is the "least preferred" outcome.

I am sure that the full poll when published will show separate figures for those two choices of coalitions, and indeed that will be very interesting to know anyway (if you think about it), rather than this seemingly manipulated combined percentage. After all, if coalitions are to be treated as mere variants within the same 'box' then surely so should majorities, to be consistent.

No doubt the full information will be made available in the next day or two, and perhaps someone such as Dr Anthony Wells will give an impartial assessment of what it all really means – unlike my only source on this so far, which has had an increasingly obvious and very specific anti-Conservative bias for quite some time now, and consequently can no longer be fully trusted. UPDATE 9 March: it's now here.

UPDATE @ Midnight on 8 March: Here is Lord Ashcroft's detailed discussion on the Liberal Democrats with regard to the mega-poll, as they go into their Spring Conference in Brighton this weekend. There are links to the full report and the data tables on the linked page, both of which I have downloaded and intend to study in some detail over the weekend.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Odds and Ends

This well-known vocaloid song by ryo here receives some special treatment, with a five-piece group featuring different models of Miku. Animation is by the almost equally well-known brotherP, which accounts for the very high standard and sheer creativity behind this.

Now, to those Miku models: because the last time I set the challenge of guessing which models were in a video I received precisely no responses, this time I'll tell you(!)
  • Animasa
  • Kio 2013
  • Lat
  • Tda
  • XS
For anyone who wants a challenge anyway, I shan't tell you which is which; but as a clue, it's the Animasa model on piano. The other four I'll leave you to work out.

Do not be sad when we see what appears to be decay and death near the end: it is only a prelude to what follows...

Scarborough Fair

Actually, it's a different (though similar) song called Romeiro ao lonxe, using the same tune, and here performed by Prima in the Galician language, no less!

It's quite an achievement, demonstrating yet again Prima's great versatility, and it seems to work very well – not that I'm an expert in that language, you understand, but I have some idea about the Hispanic-style languages; and yes, I can read the subtitles as well(!)

Wednesday 6 March 2013

Vocaleek 2012

It's been a quiet news day for me: things have happened, but nothing appropriate for me to post about here.

Therefore I have spent the last two hours watching Vietnam's first vocaloid concert, which they have named Vocaleek – though Miku's infamous accessory was not actually in evidence. The event featured the usual four Crypton Future Media "character voice" performers we know so well: Miku, Rin & Len, and Luka, and was held in Ho Chi Minh City on 14 October 2012.

There's some stuff at the beginning (nearly twelve minutes of this), and there was also a cosplay talent contest in one interval and a karaoke session (seemingly with a dud microphone!) in the other, so the actual concert performances are in parts, also with some editing here, I notice.

Technically, this fan-based event was well produced with admittedly less than perfect motion in places, though this was still noticeably better than (for example) the Vocalekt events, and much of it was still very good indeed. A lot of this seems to stem from how much is attempted in admittedly very clever software, and how much is implemented through modern (and now well-established) motion capture of actual performances by skilled dancers.

It all goes to show just important the motion is at these concerts, and the significant input made by those motion capture performers and the technicians where used in preparing the show.

The video production is a little flawed, mostly because of the projector glaring through the performers whenever they are in alignment. That's a point worth bearing in mind for future events: set up in a different position and try it out in advance, to minimise this effect. Overall, it is clear that a lot of good work went into this event, and all those involved are to be congratulated.

Anyway, the Vietnamese are certainly enthusiastic, as the audience shots showed, though typically for folk from that region of the world they aren't (mostly!) over-the-top. There seemed to be only a few hundred of them, which is as many as the venue could hold.

So, here we go. If it's too much in one sitting, one can always pause the video and come back to it another time...

Tuesday 5 March 2013

Love Logic, by Mayu

Another Daniwell song (you'll recognise some similarity to his Nekomimi Switch) performed by my 'bride' (ahem!) Mayu. There are English subtitles, and I suspect they reflect quite well the sorts of feelings that ordinary folk (especially teenagers starting out in that game) experience.

It's all rather cute actually, with Usano Mimi (Bunny Ears) well in evidence too; and despite the relatively simple animation and graphical quality in the video it actually works very well. Usano Mimi is the only cuddly toy I know with a Neumann U87 – or is it a TLM103? – microphone sticking out the top of his head: that's certainly a first!

Oh, and the infamous Mayu axe is absent on this occasion, so all is safe...

Sail Away

Here's the operatic vocaloid Prima showing some of her out-of-target-genre versatility, with Enya's Orinoco Flow.

It's not a clone of the original, and was never intended to be, but is good enough to stand in its own right as a slightly different interpretation. The more I hear it, the more I am impressed with this version, and I have also checked out the original just an hour or so ago for comparison...

Monday 4 March 2013

Snow Festival

Japan has been mounting these Snow Festivals I have recently been referencing, again in Sapporo, for a long time. This year's was the 64th, and here are just some snippets of and from the 2013 event (this is not the original video of the event that I embedded here, but that one seems to have some accessibility issues, so I've now found another).

Surprising? Perhaps; but we in Britain tend to underestimate the Japanese cultural side of life, being a lot more familiar with their technology and not having any particular reason to see beyond that. Maybe we should...

Also coping with the weather is the delightful Snow Miku tram...

Princess Mononoke

This well-known (to those familiar with the genre) song from the Japanese animated movie Princess Mononoke here receives the Prima touch, which works particularly well. It's almost as if the song could have been written expressly for her – which it wasn't, but it does give that kind of impression. I'm sure you'll feel the same just four minutes from now, assuming you play the video below.

Just a still image here, but that's all it needs on this occasion...

Snow Miku 2013 Report Part 3

Trying out something new, the Sapporo Miku Live Party organisers have held their latest such event in winter this time, to coincide with the Sapporo Snow Festival.

Snow Miku's report this week comes from outside the event, then inside (with a few Miku cosplayers well in evidence), a song (Senbonsakura) in full, and an interview with one of the organisers – which is cautiously encouraging for the rest of the world: the bottom-line message is that good things can come to us in time, if we continue our support!

From the way the song was covered, it looks like it has been taken from the usual fully professional video-recording of the event, so I expect it will appear in full on-line in due course. I shall be watching for that, and will bring it to you, dear reader, as soon as I can...

Rain Then Sweet Drops

This song is pleasant enough, and a gentle, happy way to start the working week – and with English subtitles, which is helpful.

This video brings us a very well designed town-scape, an interesting cat outfit for Miku, and even a kind of variation on the Mary Poppins mode of flight using an umbrella. Now that's not something you see every day...

Saturday 2 March 2013

Fol de Rol – early 2013

I now have a somewhat dedicated Twitter troll, most of whose tweets in recent weeks reference me, and I am even featured in a somewhat pretentious weekly (on Fridays) quiz he runs as virtually his only blog-style on-line contribution. There really has to be something wrong with a quiz in which each clue requires a full paragraph. It really is self-indulgent, pseudo-intellectual stuff, so best avoided, I think. The rest of us have real lives to live, with actual value to them...

The question is: what to do about the troll? If it were just me being impacted, I'd do my usual thing of simply ignoring him (it is a 'him'). I do this after I have paid out sufficient 'rope' that they give away their true colours and motivations, to the extent that I can be a hundred percent confident I am not misjudging them. I have already done this with the current troll, quite comprehensively. I know...

It is only when others are being troubled by the Lefty nonsense being spouted by the troll (who really needs to get a life, as the saying puts it) which is a latch-onto effect by following me on Twitter and then seeing others' tweets that I re-tweet. I'm not going to be cowed into ceasing that practice, so what if anything ought I to do to avoid being the bringer of a disease (or at least an obviously diseased mind)?

Well, it has to be said that those unwittingly ending up on the receiving end of my troll's interventions are all what would be termed sound; and as far as their reactions are concerned they fall into two categories: whose who challenge and those who ignore. The former have the upper hand, as by being factual and definitive they can easily defeat the intentions of the pseudo-intellectual who thinks he knows it all (and never fails to try to demonstrate this).

So, well done to the likes of Mark Wallace who have thus managed to defeat and indeed terminate the efforts of my troll in individual attempts on specific matters. Of course, we have seen exactly the same practice here in Medway, as I have described previously with Medway Labour and how they try it on until they realise they have been completely defeated, then run away and hide for a while, until they think no-one is still watching for their re-appearance.

It is all so predictable; and it all points up the character deficiencies in all such individuals. They are always cold of heart and calculating, nasty and live for the chance to manufacture criticism and negativity, especially toward decent people of a different political persuasion (no Lefty can be decent in terms we'd understand and accept). By contrast, the slogan in the banner above, played out in what I have always posted here over these (nearly) five years, shows just what can be done with a better attitude to life.

All these trolls' postings, in whichever format and at whatever forum, are cached for (in effect) eternity and are available for public scrutiny if one knows where to look. As the likes of Eoin Clarke have discovered, deleting tweets and 'blog posts has no effect on those archived records. A professional profiler could easily build up a quite accurate and very telling picture of any of these individuals, including my latest (and, currently, only) troll.

Again, this is simply a matter of paying out the rope at this stage. It'll be much too late by the time they realise what they've done to their own reputation and, by extension, to their malign cause. I know how to play this game, letting them do the running, so I shan't block this Twitter follower, as I have been contemplating, in the full knowledge that others who get caught up in his activities are well able to handle it in the most appropriate manner from where they stand.

I shall, at least for the time being, merely lean back and enjoy the show. My move will come later...

Arirang Live On Stage

SeeU performs two songs here: Ddararira and Arirang, the latter of which regular visitors here will probably already recognise. I found it powerful and moving for some reason, when we got to that second song. This was performed at a live concert in Seoul, South Korea, just a few weeks ago, on 19 January 2013, and the video has just been uploaded in the past couple of days..

SeeU really is quite stunning on stage, probably the best of the Vocaloids in that regard and quite possibly including everyone else as well(!) While Luka has the most commanding stage presence, SeeU is the most feminine. I can easily understand why Saul Preston (now 'Paul Lloyd') in my short story Vika was so taken with her. Perhaps he saw this concert and that was what set him on his lifetime's quest...

The video starts off with the camera zoomed out too far away, and occasionally strays outward again later on, where the strong lighting defeats the camera's exposure capabilities and it bleaches out the image somewhat. Do stick with it, though: it is genuinely well worth it when we do get to zoom in, the first such time being at twelve seconds in (part-zoom) and just over a minute in (full zoom-in). It's a seven minute video, so there's plenty of good material here, and it's quite captivating...

Saturday VocaJazz 2 March 2013 – Starry Sky

As if to show that even Miku's normal voice can do jazz, here's Starry Sky which has a relaxing style that is reminiscent of the US scene back in the 'fifties.

It is easily good enough to be included in my 'VocaJazz Saturday' series, and shows that it can be done with Miku, unlike with several other efforts that I have had to pass by...

Formless Song

I was going to hold this one back for a while, but as it's such a dull day today I've decided to make it a bonus item now.

This is possibly the most beautiful song ever written specifically for Miku (as I believe this was), with the unusual title Even Though My Song Has No Form, composed by doriko. It was in the Sapporo concert I posted about three months ago, but a long way in, so I don't suppose many visitors here got that far. It has English subtitles, but you'll want to watch the video, so I suggest going through it twice, to be able to give both aspects the attention they merit

This story-telling video features what to me looks more like an Append-style (rather than 'extend', but I'm no expert on this: I'm just going by hair texture and skin tone) Miku model of very high quality, with a somewhat greenish hair tint in a shorter style for a bit of a change from the norm, and in a nice – if a little plain – everyday outfit that suits the mood perfectly.

Oh, and you'll probably want to have a hanky or some tissues ready...

Friday 1 March 2013


One of the better Vocaloid songs that appeared from Vocalekt Visions last year is Neutrino. I like this song, especially the way it has been done here, which also includes English subtitles. It also tells us something about the song's composer...

Be aware that from around half way through to near the three quarters mark there is a constant 'strobe lighting' effect, which I even found a little oppressive after a while. Otherwise this is very well done, and somehow this particular Miku model seems to be almost in the room with the viewer, especially when doing a quick spin.

Interesting mini-fact: the song itself lasts many times longer than a neutrino does...

Eastleigh By-Election Result – 1 March 2013

By midnight, we had the turnout figure: 52·8%, which is reasonably high for a mid term by-election. Just under a quarter of all votes cast were postal votes, one source has said, while another has put it as high as two-thirds of the whole – the bulk of the Lib Dem ones apparently having been sent in before the Lord Rennard story broke in the media.

If the 66% figure turns out to be anywhere near the more accurate, this ought to explain the Yellows' victory if that is confirmed later, especially because of that timing.

Perhaps, in a way, that would be poetic justice, as the now-proven coincidental timing of the revelations should not have had an undue influence on the result anyway.

The Liberal Democrats are confident they have won, despite some seemingly odd suggestions that UKIP were running neck-and-neck with them, both overall and (on a separate occasion) in respect of postal votes alone. The size of the Lib Dem victory is all they await, plus formal confirmation of what they have apparently known since just before midnight, perhaps even earlier (though the first message saying this that I have found was timed then).

The word is that it's a big win (which fits in with my own prediction of either a narrow lead or a big one, but not a medium-size one) of "thousands rather than hundreds" as one source has put it. An update around 0130 hrs has put a nominal figure of circa 3,000 on this, though this was reduced to two thousand just twenty minutes later, presumably as a consequence of the larger UKIP score over the Conservatives (see below)..

There are indeed rumours of the Conservative candidate coming third, as a few commentators have been hinting might happen. If so, this will almost certainly turn out to be (also as others have said) an anti-'government' (as Conservative-led, and the Lib Dems also rejected) protest vote. It is the only credible explanation for UKIP coming from next to nowhere so suddenly.

That's okay: these things happen, and have done so for decades. The word at 0145 hrs is that UKIP might be around 500 votes ahead of the Conservative candidate. Later this was upped to around twice that number.

That would be a little sad if true, especially after the broadly good campaign that the Blue Team ran – though I do have reservations about the colouring of their last leaflet to look something like a UKIP one: it's not what I'd have liked if I had been standing, for example. I am sure that party people think it's all very clever and innovative, lateral thinking – but the voters are going to see it as trickery and  rather obvious attempted deception, perhaps even as a form of desperation. Wouldn't you, in their position?

It seems to have been only when that leaflet went out that the actual result shifted dramatically from what the polls have been indicating, and the Conservatives dropped from likely second place to actual third. There's a lesson in there, I strongly suspect...

Labour look like coming "a distant fourth" according to sources in Eastleigh. For decades their vote there was around 20% or so, dropping to just under half that at the 2010 General Election. Tonight's result is just as poor for them as it was in 2010, and it is even being rumoured that they have lost their deposit along with the numerous fringe parties/candidates. Perhaps Labour are becoming a fringe party themselves outside their heartlands. We should know over the next two General Elections, I think...

Meanwhile, by 0210 hrs the result is imminent, and initial percentage figures have the Lib Dems on 32%, UKIP on 28%, Conservatives at 25% and Labour on just 10%.

Anyway, at 0240 hrs, here are the full results for all fourteen (yes, 14 in the end!) candidates, with changes from last time...
  1. Mike Thornton (LibDem) 13,342 (32.06%, -14.48%)
  2. Diane James (UKIP) 11,571 (27.80%, +24.20%)
  3. Maria Hutchings (Con) 10,559 (25.37%, -13.96%)
  4. John O'Farrell (Lab) 4,088 (9.82%, +0.22%)
  5. Danny Stupple (Ind) 768 (1.85%, +1.56%)
  6. Dr Iain Maclennan (NHA) 392 (0.94%)
  7. Ray Hall (Beer, Baccy & Crumpet) 235 (0.56%)
  8. Kevin Milburn (Christian) 163 (0.39%)
  9. Howling Laud Hope (Official Monster Raving Loony) 136 (0.33%)
  10. Jim Duggan (Peace) 128 (0.31%)
  11. David Bishop (Elvis) 72 (0.17%)
  12. Michael Walters (Eng Dem) 70 (0.17%, -0.30%)
  13. Daz Procter (TUSC) 62 (0.15%)
  14. Colin Bex (Wessex Reg) 30 (0.07%)

(Lib Dem majority: 1,771)

Here's the BBC's video of the declaration...

Get Adobe Flash player