Week 17.23

  • I discovered that Midjourney has an alternate set of models called Niji (aka Nijijourney) dedicated to creating anime-styled imagery. It’s astoundingly good. It has four stylistic modifiers: standard, cute, expressive, and scenic. Look at all the implicit context and environmental storytelling in these scenes. I really wonder where they came from.
  • I also found Draw Things on the App Store, for both iOS and macOS, which can download an array of open source AI image generation models off the internet and run them locally on your devices — no fees, no internet connection required. Grab it while you can. Of course they are nowhere as advanced or fast as the paid services, but you know they’re going to get there soon, especially if Apple continues to crank up their proprietary silicon. Incidentally the anime-focused version of Stable Diffusion is called Waifu Diffusion.
  • My Retroid Pocket Flip arrived from China and I was relieved to find it quite a solid product. The build quality is good, no looseness or wobbles; the D-pad and all buttons feel great; the screen is incredibly bright; and the giant 5,000mah battery and active cooling make it more than just an Android phone with physical controls attached. It’s a really nice way to run emulated ROMs. I used to love playing Lumines and Every Extend Extra on my PSP, like over 15 years ago, and being able to revisit them again on this little $164 USD device is quite a thrill.
  • If I hadn’t impulsively pre-ordered this while in Japan, literally while walking to our anniversary dinner in west Shinjuku, then I would definitely be buying an Anbernic RG35XX right now for a mind-blowing $56 USD. It’s a Game Boy Pocket-inspired device with a bright 640×480 screen and the ability to emulate all 32-bit consoles, and maybe even the N64. I can’t believe how cheap and good these things have gotten, and there are so many of them on the market too.
  • I finally finished watching the Korean revenge drama series The Glory — it took awhile because Kim wasn’t interested and so I only get to see it on my own time. It’s the rare TV show that dares to wrap up its core story in the first season, and The Glory gets some very satisfying closure in. The remaining threads could make for an interesting second season (now in production), but also it could have been canceled and everyone would be okay.
  • We started watching Drops of God on Apple TV+, which starts off with an immediate deviation from its manga source material about the world of wine: a Japanese male main character has been replaced by a French female one. This adaptation is an international joint production that switches between English, French, and Japanese, and each episode begins with a reminder ‘not to adjust your television’. Anyway, I think they’ve managed to keep the main idea while toning down the big, overdramatic ah hah! moments you’d expect from manga/anime. It still has people honing and demonstrating their near-superhuman skills (taste and smell, in this case), which is always fun, even when said skills aren’t the usual martial arts, boxing, tennis, math, golf, you get the idea.
  • Everything But The Girl’s comeback album, Fuse, is officially a hit. It debuted at #3 on the UK charts, a stunning career best for Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt. It’s so good to see musicians from <wheezing> our generation </wheezing> coming back after a long hiatus to demonstrate absolute mastery of their craft (as opposed to embarrassing themselves, e.g. U2, The Smashing Pumpkins).
  • Michael also mentioned the greatness of Karma Police out of nowhere, which led me to play the song in my head, and I commented that it simply sounds like nothing else. I tried asking Apple Music to make a radio station from similar songs but it was totally wrong, just songs from bands in the same wide category, but none of them actually sharing the same vibe or brilliance. Somehow this led to me revisiting Keane’s very strong first album, which I have many strong emotional attachments to. It came out in 2004, I think, and I must have played the hell out of it.


  1. Week 18.23 – sangsara.net Avatar
    Week 18.23 – sangsara.net

    […] of retro games, I lasted a full week. The Anbernic RG35XX I said I wouldn’t buy since I already have a Retroid Pocket Flip is now on the way to me from China. There are some […]

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