WELCOME to the personal home page/blog of Matthew La France. Please enjoy your stay.


I broke a bottle of sesame oil in my kitchen, so now it's a little greasy but fragrant. :P

I'm being sort of introspective recently so I wanted to take a moment to try to sort out some thoughts about myself. I've been thinking about my career goals and my employability. At work I prefer feeling confidant in my knowledge. I don't mind learning new things, but I am very uncomfortable if I do not know a lot about what I am doing, and am not in an environment that supports learning about it. I have quit jobs for this reason.

I think that my intiution is a strength that I rely on, but I do not completely trust. A lot of things that I enjoy doing require a certain abount of intiution and "feel", such as art and romhacking/translating. "Knowledge" alone is not enough with either, a willingness to experiment and follow your instincts is just as important.

I'd like to know how to increase my confidance. One obvious way is increasing my knowledge. This always makes me feel more confidant. I'm not sure if "trusting my instincts" might be another, but I usually feel like the instincts I choose to trust are not the right ones. I guess by that I'm thinking about my tendancy to push people away. Trusting my instincts when doing something that requires them (good instincts) might be a better way of puting it.

I think I am kind of an egomaniac. I go out of my way for people (sometimes) and feel sort of shunted if no one notices my efforts. It's kind of pathetic I suppose, depending on how obviously I might be vying for attention. Needless to say, I am susceptible to flattery. ;) I guess that while being brutally honest I also need to be truly ok with who I am.

Someone said something to me today that made me think. Basically that a by-product of not being totally ok with myself, is that I do not fully live as myself. I don't like interacting with people because they ask me all sorts of questions, and make me face things about myself that I don't want to have to deal with. I'm not talking about anything deep either, it's like I feel self conscious about the kind of music I like, that sort of thing. It's stupid but I just can't stand trying to be myself and be around other people. Some people are just themselves and are ok with being that way around people and I can see that in how they talk and behave. The same is probably true for not being ok with yourself, it affects how you behave in obvious ways.

In the simplest terms, I'd like to be ok with who I am, and be ok with expressing that to other people. I sound like self help book, but it's just because I'm trying to think in the most basic sense. I know that I am not, and that's ok, but in order to live my life fully, I should accept myself and be myself fully. I think other people will respond to that a lot better than just hiding who I am. Maybe.


Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone's day was good. I had a nice afternoon with my folks. I've been reading William Gibson again (All Tomorrow's Parties). It made me wonder what he would think of romhackers. Somehow they fit into his world of reused technology, fandom, historical archiving, and cyber-punk geekery. I really like his writting because I somehow feel a very personal connection to it. It makes me look at everyday life a little differently.

I am fairly interested in the romhacking scene and how it started and why people participate in it. It has been around for a number of years. I feel like I am approaching it late in it's life and I'm not really privy to either it's beginnings, nor it's intricacies. A lot seems to have flourished on IRC which I avidly avoid. I've enjoyed reading some of the interviews and things conducted on RPGD, what seems now to be an ex-romhacking news site.

It really amazes me to think of people all over the world pulling images from rom chips and arcade boards, lovingly cataloging them, trading and sharing them, and deconstructing the hardware made to run them in order to emulate them accurately on any number of computing platforms. There have been a lot of dedicated souls and inteligent minds set to these tasks with no organization, or motive for profit. Only buring curiosity, interest in and respect for the hardware and software, and a sense of challenge and adventure. I know I am romanticizing, but to me it seems nothing but romantic. That and the doujinshi scene are the most amazing things I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing or being a part of (though I am still mostly an observer of doujinshi).

The whole evolution of the internet is really great, from homepages to mp3s to web-logging, there are always such fresh, real and interesting things happening. Things that aren't packaged and sold, and when they are they usually die and are reborn. It's still a place where people do things because they want to, everything is a grass roots movement, and there is a true feeling of freedom of expression. I hope that those aspects of the internet never change, though most good things on the internet have a definitive life-span, I hope that spirit that truly exists now is never erased.

I'm not really looking forward to working tomorrow but I'm not really dreading it either. I'm happy one of my best friends is around for a few days, and I will be spending a little time with friends hopefully tomorrow after work.


I got some stuff done today that I wanted to. Not a lot really. I had sort of a half relaxing, half productive day, but not very much of either. :P I added another 10 games to the PSX Anime List. I worked a bit more on Energy Breaker, but I'm burning out a little on the editing right now. I propositioned someone about Magic Knights Rayearth on the Game Gear. I'll have to see if that goes anywhere. I'm going to do a little asking around about PSX hacking soon. Right now though I am going to go to bed.


I am in a piss-poor mood this evening. I'm stating to think that I should be back on medication, but since I can't really afford to put myself back on medication, that thought only stands to worsen my mood. :( I just need to stay positive. It's not like there aren't good things going on in my life, I just get irrationally depressed, or irritable is more accurate. It's probably chemical. :P

In an effort to stay positive, I've been continuing to enjoy proofreading Energy Breaker. It makes me feel like my Japanese is getting better, which it is, though it is far from good. It's getting easier to get by small hurdles, and I'm having to ask for less help. In a less positive vein, I'm wishing I could get some small things that I can't afford. I'm not really good at having no money. It's frustrating just wanting a CD or two and feeling like I just can't afford it. Ministry and Danzig both have new albums out I haven't heard. I want Utada Hikaru's American album debut as well. The holidays make it hard too. The store I work at is getting busier and it's hard watching people blow money on shit when I am just happy to be able to buy groceries this week. It's not like there aren't worse problems in the world. It just get's to me after a while.

I was reading this article in GQ about some of the soldiers coming back from the fighting in Iraq, and not coping well with returning to society. It's like this huge mixed message, go and fight and kill people and then come home and be domestic and peaceful. It's like some guys are coming back and killing thier girlfriends/wifes and stuff. I can imagine these guys thinking "man, I've killed someone for less than that" and they actually have. I wonder what it would be like to have been through this traumatic experience and then just come back to a life you lived maybe only 6 months or 1 year ago, and it's like this totally different world, because your perspective has changed so much. And no one understands you, or where you are coming from and everyone is so petty and concerned with such small, stupid things. Here you just got done fighting for your country and it's like nothing has really changed but you. That has to be really difficult.

I guess I'm thankful to be stuck in that world of pettiness for now, but it gets me down.



Well, my 3 days are obviously over. I have not said anything about what I got accomplished, but that doesn't mean that I didn't do anything. ;) I finished the second block of Ace of Spades. Yay! I also finished the picture I was working on which is in my gallery for those who would like to see it. Be warned it is dirty, more that just sexy, but less that hardcore. I finished Halo 2 on normal and thoroughly enjoyed it. The ending was abrupt, but hey, at least there is something after the credits.


Well, Halo 2 kicks ass. I was not as blown away with the graphics as I thought I would be, but that's mostly because the in-game-graphics-cut-scenes have this annoying low-framerate/pop-up problem which is very distracting. It definately has everything that was good about the first game though, great fighting, memorable battles, interesting story, funny one liners, and it looks a lot nicer. I'm still in the middle of the game, so I have not gotten to the ending which I hear is disappointing, but so far it's great. I can't wait for a big multi-player party with my friends on Sat. :)

BTW: I'm at the begining of a 3-day weekend that I'm really looking forward to. I hope to be getting a lot accomplished in the next couple of days.


Well, Halo 2 comes out tomorrow! Yay!! It has so much to live up to, I'm afraid of it being too in-your-face and over the top. I hope it's a little subdued in places like the first one. I can't wait for it though, I'm really itching to play it.

I am working on a digital painting right now which is coming along well. I'm pretty much finished with the script for Magic Knights Rayearth which was really small and fun to translate. I found, dumped, and translated a little more text for it last night. I've got to scour the rom for any more, but I'm hoping that's the last of it. I'm close to finished with the second block of Ace of Spades. It's tedious to translate, but I like it a lot. The S&M stories are pretty sexy. ;)

I'm also probably doing some more translation work on Energy Breaker soon. I have gotten a chance to try out some of the game so far and it's looking good. Sounds like there may be some technical bugs to work though, but I'm confidant it will be playable at some point. BTW: I posted an ad on the Whirlpool for technical help with MKR. If anyone is interested please let me know.


Well, Wed. was a pretty crappy day. In the ensuing day I was able to read some encouraging things however that I'd like to pass on. First and foremost, it is against the law for George W. Bush to run for president again. This was Michael Moore's no. 1 reason not to slit your wrists. ^_^ Others included the fact that "Bush's victory was the NARROWEST win for a sitting president since Woodrow Wilson in 1916." And also that "the only age group in which the majority voted for Kerry was young adults (Kerry: 54%, Bush: 44%), proving once again that your parents are always wrong and you should never listen to them." ;)

This was the most encouraging thing I think I read however. "Although George Bush won by 3% nationally, we must remember that 55.4 million Americans stood with you and with John Kerry. You are certainly not alone. And a healthy environment, a strong and fair economy, good schools, domestic safety and the end of the war in Iraq are goals we all share -- red states and blue states alike." - MoveOn

I am also happy to be living in Vermont where Kerry won by a 59% majority. One of the highest Kerry majorities next to his home state of MA.

Puting that all behind us, I'm sure there was other crap I wanted to talk about also. Hmm... I finished translating Magic Knights Rayearth for the Game Gear! (Well at least 99%) Yay! I even made a small text insertion to tease you.

I'll have to get someone else to do the rest of it though so I don't f-it up.

I gave up on Slayers Royal for now. There is a file that errors on the disk and won't copy completely, either on it's own, or in an image file. I will have to wait on that for now, but I'm going to mess around with some other games in the mean time. ^_^


It seems like my days off are shorter and shorter all the time. :P I did some pretty interesting things last night and today, though I did not get as far as I was hoping. I decided to sit down with Slayers Royal for the PSX and see what sort of damage I could do to it. I was happy to find a few good utilities, one for extracting and inserting .tim format images, and another for playing .str format movies (and some other formats) from Playstation games. Both are available under Zophar's Domain's utilities.

Since I was able to grab some avi files from Slayers Royal I decided to try my hand at subtitling them, which is something I have never done, though I have wanted to try it for a while. After searching around on the internet, I found Sub Station Alpha (SSA), and VirualDub, and a small post on how to use them. After getting around having to download the subtitler plugin for vdub, I managed to subtitle my first video. Yay!

Not that I have any idea how to insert it back into the game mind you, but I was still proud of myself. I did manage to find what is probably the main font in the game and dump it to a bitmap. This would be fairly easy to get into a text format to make a table file from. I went as far as to edit some roman characters into this bitmap and insert it back into the game file as a .tim. I was very excited to play the game and see how this came out, but I ran into my big frustration here.

I used Isobuster that Chris had recommended to me to pull the individual game files out of the ISO. I tried burning these files to CD and playing them with ePSXe but it would not play. I don't know if it's because of the change I made, or the fact that I was using a CDRW. I tried several shareware demos of ISO editing programs to rebuild an ISO image out of the files I edited, but none of them would make a file larger than 300M. After a little more playing around, I decided to just let it be for now and try again another time.

I'm fairly pleased with my success extracting video from a PSX game and subtitling it. I'm also happy that it was at least 2x-3x easier to find and edit the font than it is in most non-PSX games. I wish I had been able to find and change some text in the game but I sort of ran out of steam. I'll try it later and see how it goes.

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