Time Crisis 4 is great!

So after coming back from work at the end of a long trip, I find Time Crisis 4 delivered on my doorstep.  It is a step up from Time Crisis 3 with a FPS mode and a new feature to attack enemies on multiple screens.

The biggest change was working with the new Guncon 3, the official PS3 lightgun, which allows for shooting and the new first-person shooting mode.  Unlike the Wii Zapper, the Guncon3 does not use bluetooth to track its gun calibration.  Instead it uses two LED sensors to figure out where to shoot on the screens, which means I had to use up two PS3 USB ports for the game.

Overall, it is a fun shooting game that allows me to practice my basic shooting skills and to occasionally release work-related stress in a fun and controlled environment.  Pretending to be Eurotrash secret agents shooting up American terrorists has never been more fun!

All the rage

All the rage
Tracking the trend of angry Asian men
By Kevin Chong, CBCNews.ca
November 21, 2007

In his prescient new comedy, Yellow Fellas, Vancouver actor-writer-director Tetsuro Shigematsu plays a disgruntled young Japanese-Canadian named Howie Hiroshima, who decides to create a politicized (and unintentionally bumbling) Asian gang to combat skinheads and racism.

This independent film both satirizes and typifies what Shigematsu sees as an emerging cultural figure in North America: the angry Asian man. And he says the revolution is coming.

“All Asian guys are angry,” says Shigematsu, a stand-up comic and former CBC radio host who made Yellow Fellas over seven years, with only $5,000. “It’s just a question of whether they’re in touch with it or not.”

The image of the angry Asian man has gained infamy since a Korean-American student killed 33 people in a horrific shooting rampage at a Virginia college in April. But in the past few years, Asian men in North America have also become increasingly vocal and visible in non-violent ways as they voice their displeasure with certain inequalities in society. (The upsurge in anger can be seen in its most concentrated form in websites and message board postings.)

The trend is playing out in pop culture, too. After being pushed a little too far, the titular Asian-American heroes of the stoner flick Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle lash out against racist frat-boys and entitled bankers who stiff their quiet Asian co-workers. The Chinese-American rapper Jin — who happens to be the first Asian rapper to be signed to a major label — recorded a Donald Trump-sampling “diss track” about Rosie O’Donnell after the talk-show host used a “ching-chong” approximation of the Chinese language on The View. Justin Lin’s 2002 film Better Luck Tomorrow is considered a watershed film in Asian-American cinema, for its stereotype-shattering depiction of Asian teenage males who exploit their honour-roll grades and image as obedient sons to steal, snort cocaine and brandish pistols.

For many Asian men, racism and pop culture stereotypes are an ongoing source of irritation. Websites like Angry Asian Man and Asian Media Watch track objectionable portrayals of Asians in the U.S. media. Activist groups and not-for-profits, such as the Organization of Chinese Americans, have protested radio DJs spouting racial slurs and using offensive accents, racist t-shirts and stereotypical movie depictions.

Others are dismayed by the lack of representation. A 2004 study of U.S. television revealed there were no Asian-American characters in series set in Los Angeles and Miami, even though both cities have significant Asian populations. In shows set in New York City, the study found Asian-Americans made up only one per cent of regular characters but nearly ten per cent of the population.

When Asian men do appear on TV, “it’s either the martial arts villain or hero, or the opposite, the nerd who never seems to get the girl,” suggests Craig Takeuchi, film editor at the Vancouver weekly Georgia Straight. “It’s rare to ever have the Asian male as the dramatic lead.”

Which brings up one of the top grievances that young Asian men have with their profile in the pop culture landscape: dating patterns. Namely, they are upset about the predominance of interracial dating between white males and Asian females — who are often fetishized as hyper-feminine and subservient — over dating between Asian men and white women.

“I see a lot commercials where you have an Asian girl and a white guy,” observes Eric Nakumura, co-publisher of Giant Robot, a magazine devoted to Asian and Asian-American culture. “But when do you see the Asian guy and the white girl?”

Some point to actor Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) or an athlete like basketball player Yao Ming as proof that the Asian male’s alpha status is rising; but many remain dissatisfied.

While this griping is justifiable, at what point is anger counter-productive? Is this resentment helping to replace the colonialist image of the weak Asian man with an equally unpleasant stereotype — namely, the bitter Asian man?

According to Nakumura, the solution lies in including other races when talking about issues facing Asian men. He’s taken the idea to heart. The circulation of Giant Robot has shot to 55,000. Nearly half of his readers are non-Asian. “We don’t worry too much about identity,” he says. “That’s why [Giant Robot] crosses over. Because [when you worry about your own identity], you’re excluding other people.”

Boston-based Tak Toyoshima started his semi-autobiographical comic strip Secret Asian Man in 1999, to, as he says, “get all the Asian American-centric things off my chest and out there, without any real expectation. If you look at older strips, there is a lot of anger in them. It was public therapy.” More recently, however, Toyoshima has tried to reach a broader audience. “I want the strip to serve as a bridge between communities, not a wall.” He’s now more open to writing about light-hearted topics, and while he still often discusses race, he’s also considered it from the perspective of a Muslim woman and a black man. Sam, Toyoshima’s militant Asian protagonist, has evolved a more peaceful disposition.

“All the protests are great,” says Toyoshima. “It shows that Asians can organize, mobilize and speak with a collective voice. But the danger comes when people become closed to ideas and act according to feelings of obligation and become almost blinded by their duty of being an Asian.”

Starting from real characters instead of a political stance is what makes Adrian Tomine’s wry and observant treatment of white-Asian dating so fascinating. Shortcomings, a graphic novel culled from Tomine’s comic book Optic Nerve, follows Ben Tanaka, an angry Asian man with an Asian girlfriend, Miko, who takes issue with his interest in porn featuring only white women. After Miko moves from Berkeley, Calif., to New York, Ben dates a couple of white women. When these relationships fizzle, he heads to New York to find Miko, who has since begun dating a white guy. Their relationship sets Ben off on a racist tirade.

What makes Ben Tanaka so compelling is also what accounts for Tomine’s wide appeal (and the praise of writers like Jonathan Lethem and Nick Hornby). With an eye for awkwardly revealing interactions, he depicts Ben as a sometimes unpleasant character (rather than a put-upon Asian Everyman) who’s openly disdainful of Asians who blame all their troubles on racism and the boosterism within Asian-American cultural circles; he has to be convinced that race has anything to do with his relationships. Ben might be angry, but not in a way that’s different from the Asian female and white males that Tomine also writes about.

For Shigematsu, the best way to fight the lack of representation in media is to make his own movies. As Yellow Fellas makes its way through the film-festival circuit, he’s already planning his next feature, which stars another angry Asian man at its centre.

This time around, Shigematsu doesn’t think he’ll have much trouble finding actors. But back when he began casting Yellow Fellas in 2000, he recalls finding Asian actors was not unlike recruiting members for a politicized gang. Shigematsu remembers seeing Asian men on the streets of Montreal; they would eye each other tensely before Shigematsu even approached them.

“Nothing cuts tensions more than the query, ‘Have you ever considered acting?’” Shigematsu says. “I’d give them a five minute speech similar to Howie’s [in Yellow Fellas]: ‘When was the last time you saw an Asian onscreen who wasn’t Long Duk Dong or the stuttering waiter? When did you see the Asian guy get the girl? If you want to be part of the solution and not the problem, here’s my number. Join the revolution.’”

Kevin Chong is a Vancouver writer.

This is a frustrating issue for Asian males living in North America. It appears that being Asian and male in North America does not amount to much (more so in the United States) since we will always appear as the “useful outsider”, the “perpetual foreigner” who is rarely taken seriously or provided with substantive opportunities like his non-Asian peers. It is quite different for Asian females, who will always have more opportunities available to them on the basis of their physical appearance and ethnicity. Yet ,they will always have to struggle shaking off the “Asian mistress” stereotypes that have been valued by non-Asian men for so long.

Most of the time, Asian-American women will often try to break out of these stereotypes by submitting to them through their interracial dating and using this to advance themselves at the expense of their cultural identity. This also holds true for many Asian males who decide to fully abandon their ethnic heritage by refusing to speak or learn their parent’s native language, continuously put down Asians who are still immigrants or those who retain their identity, or simply disassociate themselves from all things Asian in the false belief that they will become accepted by the White power structure. African-Americans who have acted in this manner were often called Uncle Toms or Aunt Jemimas, and it is time Asians who sell-out or promote self-hate to be known as Charlie Chans or Amy Tans.

Some males will vent their frustrations by discussing the problems in the hopes it will make their struggles seem common among similar people. Others will express their frustrations creatively through music, literature, and even the rare independent film. Many however, will simply accept this unpleasant fate and willingly put up with race-related abuses from the White power structure. Then, there are a handful who will vent all of their pain and anger through calculated and brutal violence as seen in Virginia Tech.

Playstation Network from Around the World

On a slow weekend, I learned from UK Playstation magazine of a trick to download PS3 demos and related content from non-American Playstation Stores. It was interesting as I kept reading various blog posts of PSTriple fanboys lamenting about their inability to download content from Europe, Asia and even Japan.

Here’s how to create accounts to access the Japanese, Hong Kong and UK PSN store:

1. Cut a Hole in the Box (Just joking)

First you will need to create an all-new user in your Playstation 3 in the users bar. One that is done you can go sign-up to a new Playstation Network account by choosing your country or region as Hong Kong, Japan or United Kingdom. Make sure you select “Master Account” and then enter in all the relevant information (you don’t need a valid email address) and follow the rest of the instructions.

You don’t need to enter in any billing information if you are just out to download region-exclusive demos or video content, so you can skip that section entirely. After the billing information is skipped or entered, you will be asked to confirm all your false information before your account is created. Once that is over you can chose your avatar and skip the survey section to immediately sign in using your region-specific account.

If you don’t know Japanese, you’re strongly recommended to creating an account for the Asia-Pacific region such as Hong Kong and the PAL markets such as the United Kingdom. This way, you will have a chance to memorise the right buttons and input fields before you try entering information for the Japanese account, which only displays in Japanese. Do not concern yourself with real information such as zip codes, home addresses or trying to type a Japanese or Asian name because the Account Registration process supports alphanumeric characters.

There should not be any compatibility issues with PAL downloads unless you are only connected to a TV using SD cables instead of a component or HDMI cable.

Some region-exclusives from the UK Playstation Store are a demo of Super Rub-a-Dub, a making-of featurette for F1 Championship Edition, while the Hong Kong store has a demo of Hot Shots Golf, free add-on packs for Ridge Racer 7, a trailer for Gundam Musou while the Japanese store has PS3 compatible PS1 downloadable games, and exclusive GT HD videos for Nissan and Ferrari. It’s really sad that one has to even make multiple accounts for specific regions just to download certain freebies from each store because Sony wasn’t smart enough to allow for global downloads. Granted the Japanese store does have content that is exclusive to their local culture, but much of the same content was sent to the Asian stores with no localisation and are doing quite well in those regions.

Some great downloads from this week’s Playstation stores, we Super Rub-a-Dub, which is extremely sensitive to the SIXAXIS controller; Ninja Gaiden Sigma, which gives us a remake of the demo stage from Xbox; Virtua Tennis 3, which only plays for 1 round; a Gundam Musou commercial in Japanese and GT HD videos showcasing Nissan and Ferrari.

With that note, tomorrow is One Day Blog Silence day in honour of those who were horribly murdered in Virginia Tech in America.

Silence can say more than a thousand words.

This day shall unite us all about this unbelievable painful & shocking event and show some respect and love to those who lost their loved ones.

On April 30th 2007, the Blogosphere will hold a One-Day Blog Silence in honor of the victims at Virginia Tech. More then 30 died at the US college massacre.

But it´s not only about them. Many bloggers have responded and asked about all the other victims of our world. All the people who die every day. What about them?

This day can be a symbol of support to all the victims of our world!

All you have to do is spread the word about it and post the graphic on your blog on 30th April 2007. No words and no comments. Just respect, reflect and empathy.

Its business as usual…

These past four days have been interesting in America, as White America continues to remain in shock over the killings and coming to terms with the Model Minority stereotype.  For those who are unfamiliar with race relations in America, the “Model Minority” stereotype is a stereotype applied to all ethnic Asians in America who are typically stereotyped as being hard-working, bearing ethnic idiosyncrasies, excellent in the areas of math/science, extremely passive, and willing to adapt to the White power structure more willingly than other ethnic minorities in America.

With that being said, Asians in America have been traditionally stigmatised as being “ethnic”, weak, sexless, a jack-of-all-trades in academics, and most of all subservient.  It is safe to say those perceptions of Asians came crashing down on many Americans when Cho Seung-Hui finally made his move to release all his pent up rage, insanity on a Monday morning.  It didn’t really sink in until NBC and other news outlets in the world decided to air key excepts of his “manifesto” which depicted him as an awkward Asian-American who had a great deal of anger and committed to killing those who wronged him (whoever they may be).

Soon, people started seeing these images started to realise that this man could be the kid that hangs out with their children, the guy they work with, the guy who helps them out or just a random acquaintance that happens to be an Asian male.  Now people will consider Asian males to not only be good in math or science, but also capable of extreme psychotic acts of violence.    So far, a few Asians have related on various forums that their co-workers have started to look at them weird and reluctant to socialise with them while others no longer feel safe when traveling around predominantly White neighbourhoods.

Then there are idiotic acts such as this:

http://www.xanga.com/kenoak

i’m at michigan state at a frat house. just got word that 16 cars outside the international house on campus got vandalized… windshields smashed in. 14 of those cars were owned by koreans. this is almost certainly related to the virginia tech shooting. i’m really upset about this….. really upset. the kids are playing beer pong………

I would advise readers and Americans to refrain from revenge attacks against Asians because they are not like Cho Seung-Hui.  Remember that people are people and Cho’s act was no different from what happened in Columbine other than his ethnicity.  Despite what I just said, I am sure I will be profiled like many of my Asian peers in America save for Hawaii or California (where there is a sizable Asian population).

With that out of the way, it’s back to bashing the crap out of Sony and the Playstation 3.  From what have been circulating in videogame industry rags and enthusiast blogs, it appears that Sony’s European division will be “heavily restructured” meaning it will be downsized and it comes as no surprise that some top managers in Sony Computer Europe decided to call it quits.  The sales for the PS3 in Europe have already started to freefall after record sales in the initial weeks to the point where retailers in the United Kingdom are selling the systems as a loss just to liquidate their inventory.

On the upside, Sony finally released firmware 1.70, which made improvements in backward compatibility with PSone and PS2 games, allowed for emulation of downloaded PSone games, and allowed for rumble in old Playstation peripherals.  However, the downloadable PSone games will not be available in May and its also good to point out that Sony had about 7 firmware updates in the past year compared to Microsoft’s 2 revisions for the 360.  These improvised updates just come to show that Sony’s Playstation division and OS programmers are indeed run by the legally retarded just like Virginia Tech’s security.

Then the hardware sales in Japan also tell a story:

http://kotaku.com/gaming/media-create/simple-2000-the-japanese-hardware-sales-chart-250404.php

Nintendo must have been gutted of DS Lite supply, as this week saw a noticeable drop off in sales from last week’s hardware chart. Is the honeymoon over? Has the nation of Japan turned against its handheld leader? Doubtful. But even Wii sales were down considerably, so maybe that Blue Ocean is experiencing a red shift.

Despite an approximate drop of 50,000 in weekly sales, the DS Lite still sits proudly atop this week’s Media Create sales figures.

  • Nintendo DS Lite – 79,897
  • Wii – 51,365
  • PSP – 39,077
  • PlayStation 2 – 17,787
  • PLAYSTATION 3 – 16,889
  • Xbox 360 – 3,889
  • Game Boy Advance SP – 609
  • Game Boy micro – 588

Did you notice that PS2 sales exceeded PS3 sales? That may be due to Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix+ and Musou Orochi selling so well. Still, ouch.

So the Playstation 3 is still being crushed by a modified Gamecube and being cannibalised by their own Playstation 2.  It’s interesting to see how the top two sellers in Japan last week were the Nintendo DS and Wii followed by a portable PS2 and the PS2 itself while the PS3 is barely close to the PS2′ sales.  One would think that Gundam Musou would have boosted the PS3’s sales, but it really did little in the long-run.

It has reached the point where some random people can cultivate an Internet following just by creating a running gag pretending to be an uneducated PS3 fanboy:

So despite all of the obscenity-laced rant about Wii games and Devil May Cry no longer being a PS3-exclusive, the video points out that the “PSTriple” doesn’t have any good games worth talking about and parodies the fanboys who go on bashing popular games on the Wii or 360.  This was supposed to be a one-time joke by the Chad Warden fellow, but many of the PSTriple fanboys were actually dumb enough to use this video in defending their $600-plus investment in what can now be considered more of a “cheap” blu-ray player (assuming Sony can win that format war).

Speaking of stupidity, Taiwan Province decided to make a prank call pretending to be attacked by a killer in a university just to test police response time about three days after Monday’s shootings:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6571361.stm

Two MPs who faked a hostage-taking at Taiwan’s top university after the US school shootings have been condemned by the island’s governing party.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) made a public apology after two MPs reported that students had been taken hostage at National Taiwan University.

Armed police rushed to the campus, only to be told that the call was a hoax aimed at testing their response time.

The pair may face disciplinary action, but have defended their action.

Police who rushed to scene found Lee Chen-nan and another legislator, Lin Kuo-ching, on campus with a number of reporters.

The hoax drew sharp criticism from the DPP, which issued an apology, and from Taiwan’s cabinet, which said authorities would investigate whether the MPs broke any laws.

Why is Taiwan Province turning into a goddamn living joke to the point where Zhejiang Province looks more respectable?   Three days after the shooting and during examination week the two legislators from the “Democratic Progressive Party”, the party that wants total war with China, decide to make a crank call just to test police response time.  Both legislators justified their actions because it was supported by students who wanted to avoid the exams, without realising that they could encourage copycat pranks in the long-run.

The world turns and things will be back to business for the most part

The Virginia Tech Massacre explained by Cho Seung-Hui and a Hong Kong tabloid

There was more news today on Cho Seung-Hui despite the fact that over 150 people were killed in attacks in Baghdad and the Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold bans on  late-term “partial birth” abortion. No, it seems that sensationalising the actions of a mentally-ill Korean, which appears to be what Cho wanted when he went on his killing spree, is what the American networks decide to devote their air time to.

Recently, NBC received a package from Cho containing a long profanity-laced essay and a cryptic video with the following message:

You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today… but you decided to spill my blood.

You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option.

The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.

You just love to crucify me. You loved inducing cancer in my head, terrors in my heart and ripping my soul all this time.

I didn’t have to do this. I could have left. I could have fled.

But now I will no longer run. It’s not for me, for my children, for my brothers and sisters, the (bleeped). I did it for them.

The international response from South Korea has been interesting since the government felt the need to apologise for the actions of Cho because he was a ROK national. On another level, it appears that the South Korean President apologised to the Americans for fear of a negative backlash against Koreans and from some cultural obligation to be responsible for the success and problems of notable Koreans. According to news reports, Korean international students in Virginia Tech and other universities have decided to stick together in groups whenever the travel for fear of racially motivated reprisals. This doesn’t seem surprising since news networks such as Fox News and CNN have felt the need to emphasise the killer’s “Koreaness” and even framed this tragedy as an Asian Immigrant versus America issue.

With that being said, here is how the Hong Kong tabloid “Apple Daily” described the massacre using visual dramatisations:

This gruesome dramatisation shows Cho getting into an argument with the girl before killing her and the RA who intervened. The next panels show Cho locking the lecture hall, killing a professor, and having the remaining students line up against the wall before he killed them execution style. The last panel shows what police saw when they found his corpse. It is wrong for the tabloid to allow the artist to take liberties in portraying Cho’s use of dual wielding his guns during his rampage; yet this doesn’t seem to be a stretch since the package Cho sent to NBC had videos of him dual wielding with the two guns he used on Monday.

This is one of the worst killings in US history so far and shows that not even universities are safe from this type of crime. Something should have been done the moment he got in trouble with university authorities in 2005 or when he was sent for mental help.

Living away from parents makes it harder for them to track his moods and feelings. Every student in the university is treated as an independent adult, this is partly the reason parents are usually not in the loop when he was given medication or therapy. His Korean parents appeared to be surprised and humiliated by the actions of their son, which makes them reluctant to speak for fear of criticism and further humiliation.

Its always easy to dismiss a social outcast like Cho as a loser or a loner instead of trying to take measures to keep him from slipping into the deep end. His roommates seemed to have taken some measures but didn’t really care since he was just the guy who randomly assigned to live with them or just an acquaintance. His downward spiral was witnessed by his roommates, who he did not kill. They did the bare minimum, but other than that, they left him to his own devices.

The University is also at fault for taking their sweet time in stopping him in light of school violence in these past years. Instead of making a public announcement to get everyone out of danger, they simply sent a discreet mass mail that made it seem like an isolated incident in the early hours when everyone is either sleeping or in class. This could of been stopped either when Cho started to act up or when he made the first kills, but they failed miserably in both cases. The ultimate tragedy is that all this could have been prevented if authorities aggressively treated Cho Seung-Hui for his problems before they manifested into what we all witnessed on Monday.

Were the signs always there?

http://www.chicagotribune.com/la-na-shooter18apr18,0,447258,print.story?coll=chi-news-hed

Gunman was both methodical and angry

By Erika Hayasaki and Richard A. Serrano
Times Staff Writers

April 17, 2007, 9:03 PM CDT

BLACKSBURG, Va. — It was 5:30 Monday morning and Karan Grewal was finishing a break after a long night of cramming for his classes at Virginia Tech. As he left the bathroom at Harper Hall, his dormitory mate, Cho Seung-Hui, wearing boxer shorts and a T-shirt, entered for his morning ritual of applying lotion, inserting his contact lenses and taking his medication.

“He was, like, normal,” Grewal, a 21-year-old accounting major, said today, describing the ordinary start to what turned out to be an extraordinary day.

Grewal said he went back to sleep but, according to authorities, Cho stayed awake. In fewer than five hours, Cho was dead, having killed himself after shooting 32 others to death at two locations on the Blue Ridge Mountain campus.

“He did not seem like a guy that’s capable of anything like this,” Grewal said.

A day after the deadliest gun massacre in modern U.S. history, students, friends and officials were trying to understand how Cho, a 23-year-old senior who was majoring in English, came to kill. It was a hazy picture of a man, whose last note was a rant against rich kids and debauchery, but who also appeared organized enough to secure weapons and stage his rampage.

According to school officials, Cho even had time to post a deadly warning on a school online forum.

“im going to kill people at vtech today,” they said he wrote. The validity of the quote could not be independently verified.

The Chicago Tribune reported on its website that Cho left a note in his dorm that included a rambling list of grievances. The note included rants against “rich kids,” “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus.

Cho arrived in the United States as an 8-year-old boy from South Korea in 1992, Korean Embassy officials said.

His parents, who are in seclusion refusing to talk to the media, run a dry cleaning business in Centreville, Va., according to federal investigation sources. Cho’s sister is a graduate of Princeton.

His only previous contact with the law was a recent speeding ticket for doing 74 mph in a 55-mph zone, federal sources said. But the officials said he once set fire to his dorm room and was taking medication for depression.

By around 7:15 a.m. Monday, Cho had left his Harper Hall dorm for West Ambler Johnston dormitory. There he went to see Emily Hilscher, described as a friend by officials. Hilscher and the resident advisor, who came to investigate, were shot to death.

As police investigated, Cho was on the move. He had a backpack containing knives and ammo magazines, sources said. He was armed with two handguns.

One, a .22-caliber handgun, was bought in February at JND Pawn in Blacksburg, federal sources said. The other gun, a 9-mm Glock, was bought from a Roanoke firearms store.

After leaving the scene of the first shooting, Cho telephoned authorities with a threat, saying there was a bomb at Norris Hall, about half a mile away from Johnston.

At Norris, officials said Cho barricaded the doors with chains, then began shooting people. Thirty were killed before Cho turned the gun on himself, officials said.

At Harper, Cho shared a second-floor apartment-style suite with six other students. The suite has three bedrooms for two students each. The suite is connected with one living room and a shared bathroom. Its living room has a burgundy couch and tan coffee table, and today it was littered with empty water bottles and Dr. Pepper cans.

Cho shared a bedroom with Joseph Aust, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering. Aust said he knew barely anything about him, and the two hardly spoke. When they moved in together, Aust said that Cho told him he was a business major.

Aust said Cho was always on his computer listening to rock, pop and classical.

“He would spend a lot of time downloading music,” he said.

But Aust said Cho was away from the room more often than he was there. Aust didn’t know where he went. Sometimes, Aust said, he walked into their room and Cho would be sitting in his chair.

“I would come into the room and he’d just kind of be staring at his desk, just staring at nothing,” he said. “I would pass it off like he was just weird.”

Aust said that Cho worked out every day and went to bed at 9 p.m. every night. The last couple of weeks he started getting up at 7 a.m., Aust said. But recently he had been waking up at 5:30 or 6 a.m.

He said Cho didn’t appear to have any friends or a girlfriend. He also didn’t have any decorations, posters or photos in his room, just his laptop, books and clothes. Aust said he tried talking to him a couple of times.

“He would just give one-word answers, not try to carry on a conversation.”

Cho was an English major and the English department is in Shanks Hall, one of the smaller buildings on campus.

It’s a two-story brick building and, like much of the campus, was ghostly quiet. Inside, the chair of the English department, Carolyn Rude, sat in her office.

Rude said she couldn’t comment in detail because attorneys for the college advised the faculty not to speak. But, she said, she thought that there was a business major who switched his major to creative writing. She thought he may have taken a class with the esteemed poet Nikki Giovanni, who spoke at today’s on-campus convocation.

Virginia Tech has a fairly robust English department for a technical college, with 500 undergraduate students. They can follow three tracks: literature, language and culture, professional writing (technical and business writing) and creative writing

“It horrifies us to know that one of our students could have reaped such horror on our family and friends,” she said.

Stephanie Derry, a senior English major, was in a playwriting class with Cho taught by acclaimed professor Ed Falco this semester.

“His writing, the plays, were really morbid and grotesque,” Derry said.

“I remember one of them very well. It was about a son who hated his stepfather. In the play the boy threw a chainsaw around, and hammers at him. But the play ended with the boy violently suffocating the father with a Rice Krispy treat,” she said.

“When I got the call it was Cho who had done this, I started crying, bawling,” Derry said. “I kept having to tell myself there is no way we could have known this was coming. I was just so frustrated that we saw all the signs, but never thought this could happen.”

Prison Break will not be seen tonight…

Because the series ended its run 2 weeks ago with our heroes trapped in Panama for various reasons.  There will not be a Prison Break Season 2, Episode 23 or even an Episode 24 for that matter.  Instead we have a show called “Drive”, a show that resembles “Cannonball Run” with drama, as a replacement until Season 3 returns in the fall.  There is much apprehension about the plot for Season 3 since there were science-fiction elements being alluded in the final episode.

It’s interesting to see how popular the show “Prison Break” is outside of the United States with viewers from Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa.  However, today I’m not going to talk about Prison Break, but instead focus on the shootings in Virgina Tech in America.

As of this writing there have been 33 people killed including the gunman himself.  This was one of the worst school shootings in the United States for some time. According to preliminary reports, there were two different shootings that occurred in the University earlier today.

There were two incidents two hours apart, at a student dorm where two were killed and at an engineering building where 30 and the gunman died.

Officers said they were working to link the attacks and had not yet identified the gunman. Fifteen people were hurt.

Early reports suggest that the shooter was a 22-year-old Asian male that went on a killing spree because he was rejected by a girl.  Officials have not identified the shooter as of yet.  The shooter began his killing spree by walking into a dormitory and shot 2 people in their sleep and then proceeded to shoot random people in a lecture hall 2 hours later.  I find it disturbing that campus security did nothing to alert the student body until the killer struck again two hours later to bring the death toll to about 32 people.   Eyewitnesses at the scene are now stating that the shooter was a tall Asian male who shot all those students.

It’s also pathetic that the best the university could do to warn students was send a mass email to the students’ university email accounts.  This really isn’t the best way to prevent a bloodbath since A) not all students check (let alone use) their university accounts, B) a public announcement would have saved more lives, and C) not all students were in a position to check their university warnings.

Some eyewitnesses described the events that unfolded in their university:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/talking_point/6561335.stm 

I live in West AJ on the third floor. Apparently it all began around 0700 this morning, when the gunman shot and killed one person on the fourth floor. He may have shot other people in the dorm too. Now the police are telling us at least 22 people have been killed (counting the shooter himself). This is very scary, and we are shocked that something like this could happen here in Blacksburg. It really is a very quiet, rural, small town in Southwest Virginia.
Josh Shiben, Blacksburg, VA

I am a student at Virginia Tech and was in my dormitory at 10:30 when I FINALLY got word about the shootings. I was on my way out to class when I was stopped by a hallmate telling me about what was going on. Students are now coming back to the dorms. I have a friend who is in the building behind Norris and is surrounded by students and faculty who were in Norris. One girl expressed how she saw many bloody bodies. We are being advised to stay in the dorm, but information from the University is slow, although the news coverage has been the best source of information. Why weren’t we warned after the FIRST shooting?
Bethany Zimmerman, Blacksburg Virginia

Its ironic how students from state universities such as Rutgers or Virginia Tech wanted greater visibility among the world and from their fellow Americans and to not dismiss their school due to their lack of familiarity.  Last week we had Imus making racist remarks towards the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball team and now we have a deranged Asian shooter taking out 33 people in Virginia Tech.  My condolences go to those who were seriously injured and killed from this crazed student.