12.31.2001

Awake with the moon

I forgot to mention that a few days ago the moon woke me up! It was about 4:00 AM, and the moonlight was so bright coming through my bedroom window that it completely filled the room. It was really an amazing experience (which unfortunately I only just now remembered!).

Happy new year in advance, everyone! Tonight I'm going to try to party while blowing my nose all night - I think the famous Austin cedar may be kicking my butt. Nothing will keep me from having a nice time with my pals, though!

12.29.2001

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: 30th Anniversary : 5 of 5

At last, Willy Wonka has been released in a widescreen edition, and it looks fantastic! The picture is so sharp and colorful that it seems the movie was just released. As you may know, I'm a huge Willy Wonka fan, having seen the movie hundreds of times (maybe), so it's wonderful to have the special features on this DVD - a great documentary with interviews with all of the kids (Veruca turned out very nicely, I must say), plus sing-along songs and an excellent commentary with the kids (where the girls admit having a crush on Charlie when they were all 13). An excellent DVD release!

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring : 5 of 5

I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy sometime around 7th grade - all of my friends were reading them and we were all playing D&D, and I really enjoyed them. I even liked the animated film, though it was so hard to follow. This time they've done it right, and then some! All of the acting is fantastic - no stupid "catch phrase" lines to ruin it. The scenery is incredible (now I want to live in the Shire) - every time I was completely blown away by some beautiful city, there was another even more spectacular one just around the corner! Of course, this first movie is a total cliffhanger - I predict someone will steal footage from the next film (already shot) very soon!

Disney dividend

Uncle Walt sent me a check for 21 cents yesterday! I hold exactly one share of stock in The Walt Disney Company, just because the certificate looks great on my wall.

I've just spent practically the whole morning watching the features on the bonus disc of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and I'm still not finished! It's an absolutely amazing set of material - I feel like I've looked at over 1,000 preliminary sketches. Whew!

One more Disney related note - in the original Three Little Pigs, there is a picture on the wall of links of sausage labled "Father". That's got to be the funniest, weirdest, and sickest little gag I can think of in a Disney cartoon.

12.28.2001

Ranma 1/2 Random Rhapsody Vol 6 : 4 of 5

My pal Matt introduced me to Ranma 1/2 several years ago, and we watched so many DVDs together before he moved to Japan. Since then, I hadn't seen too much Ranma, even though I knew there were tons of other episodes available on DVD. Thanks to Chris and Eliza, my Ranma interest is peaked again! This is a great DVD with three funny episodes (which are better subbed than dubbed, of course) - my favorite involves a "scribble panda" that comes to life from a drawing and wants a date with Ranma. Absolutely hilarious!

12.26.2001

Back from OKC

I'm back in Austin now after spending a wonderful Christmas with Mom and Dad. We had a great time eating, playing with computers, going to movies, opening presents, and generally doing all the warm and cozy family things you can think of. I got to eat all of my favorite cookies, eat all of my favorite meals that Mom cooks, and watch all of our Christmas home movies. Now I can start thinking ahead to the new year - I wonder how much WEBmikey will grow (the site, not the tummy) next year?

Mouse Tales: A Behind the Ears Look at Disneyland / David Koenig : 5 of 5

No question about it - if you are a Disneyland fan, you will read this book in one day (like I did). The author has interviewed hundreds of Disneyland employees (Cast Members) and collected all of their stories into thematic chapters. In fact, there are so many anecdotes that come at you so fast that when you finish the book you can barely remember what you've read! Of course, there are nasty stories too about lawsuits and union strikes and so on, but the majority of the stories are just so much fun that they make you want to drop everything and go work at Disneyland (no matter how grueling it may be)!

12.25.2001

Kate and Leopold : 3 of 5

Yes, I like "chick flicks" (I think my favorite is One Fine Day). Kate & Leopold is definitely a chick flick, just like almost anything else with Meg Ryan (has her nose grown even larger since You've Got Mail?). The plot involves time travel and a space-time paradox, so don't even try to figure things out - just enjoy Meg being courted by Wolverine. There are some fun scenes involving the art of 19th century rules of gentlemen, too - wouldn't that be nice if they really worked?

12.23.2001

Joe Somebody : 3 of 5

I really enjoyed Galaxy Quest and even The Santa Clause, so I guess that makes me a Tim Allen fan of a sort. Joe Somebody is a nice little movie that gives you that "anything is possible" feeling. There are no fall-down laughs here, just an easy-moving plot about how a geek can get attention and change his life, but of course, the woman he wants really liked the old geek more. Overall, I had a good time watching it and didn't get bored (and the main female character has some of the best brown eyes anywhere).

12.22.2001

The Majestic : 3 of 5

You probably already know that I simply despise Jim Carrey. However, when he makes an attempt to be serious, he's not that bad (I pretty much enjoyed The Truman Show). Now I can say that he's been good in a few movies - The Majestic is a nice film, if you go for formula schmaltz like I do. The plot isn't that important - just imagine every Hollywood tear-jerker cliche packed into one movie, and there you have it. If you have half a heart, you'll cry 3 or 4 times. I certainly don't recommend it for everyone, but it's nice if you want a warm wholesome feeling.

12.19.2001

Mallrats : 2 of 5

I know I've seen this movie a long time ago on cable, but I figured I would rent the DVD just to complete my watching of Kevin Smith films. There are some really funny moments here - I especially like all the comic book references. Overall though, it's easy to get bored with the plot - it seems to take a long time for the grand finale to carry out. The DVD includes lots of extra scenes - all of which are complete snooze material! So, I guess I can just barely recommend Mallrats if you are a geek who will get all of the inside jokes, but otherwise, watch Clerks again instead.

Spreading the revolution

Last night there was some fun DDR action at my pals Chris and Eliza's house - they now have two dance pads! (You can send my royalty check any time, Konami.) I managed to pass many 7 footers, too. I have a feeling that I will have some real competition once they start really practicing!

I had a nice brisk walk with the iPod this morning - not too chilly, but oh so windy!

12.18.2001

Jedi Apprentice 15: The Death of Hope / Jude Watson : 4 of 5

Wow, this two parter has turned into a trilogy, and this second installment is tragic, in true trilogy style. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan spent the entire book searching for Qui-Gon's kidnapped love, fellow Jedi Tahl, falling into battles along the way. Even more than Jedi 14, this is Qui-Gon's story - many chapters begin with a flashback from Qui-Gon's childhood, which are all well-written and interesting. The end of the story is extremely sad, and really makes me want to start Jedi 16 right away!

12.16.2001

Caught up

I can't believe it - I'm caught up on all of my overdue Last 5 reviews! I guess that's what dreary weekend weather will do.

12.15.2001

The Nightmare Before Christmas : 5 of 5

I had to buy this DVD for the holiday season, because it has become one of my favorite Christmas movies. The stop-motion animation here is the best ever shot, and the creativity of the images is absolutely astounding. The story is great as well, and the Danny Elfman music is wonderful (my favorite is the 5/4 love song that Sally sings). I guess you could watch this for both Halloween and Christmas, but it seems much more Christmas-y to me. I wish we could see what's behind the other holiday doors!

Vanilla Sky : 2 of 5

Let me at least say first that this movie is well made and well acted. Everyone looks great, the settings are cool, and even the music is pretty good. Now let me say that the plot of Vanilla Sky is a piece of junk - it starts out nicely, taunting you to figure out what's going on, and then just dumps you, I got to the point where I could predict which unpredictable thing would happen next, but I stopped trying to discover why, because it was impossible. When the "truth" is finally revealed, you feel like you've been cheated into watching a science fiction movie all long. Lame, lame, lame.

DDR results

Today I'm wearing jeans one size smaller than usual, plus I know all the words to "Shake Your Booty"! Thank you, Dance Dance Revolution!
This endorsement not paid for by Konami, Inc.

Ren & Stimpy are back

I'm so glad that VH1 is showing Ren & Stimpy! It's been way too long since these incredible cartoons have been on TV. Unfortunately, a few scenes have been cut, but I can't complain too much since I haven't seen my pals in at least five years or so. They seem to be concentrating on the classic episodes, but I'm hoping they will get to the more obscure ones!

12.14.2001

Stanze's ashes

I just received Stanze's ashes today, along with her collar. It's amazing how everything I've tried not to think about for the past several days can all come back just from holding a little wooden box. It feels right to have her ashes with me, though, and her collar still smells like her (or at least brings up her smell in my memory).

12.13.2001

Christmas handbells

I just played in a handbell quintet for a Christmas concert - I had to handle seven bells on my own! It was a lot of fun, actually, and we did a good job (though the last rehearsal was a little better than the show - it always turns out that way). Playing made me feel quite Christmas-y!

My new iBook is constantly ripping my CD collection. Right now, if I clicked Play for the whole darn thing, it would play for six days, 14 hours, 31 minutes and 40 seconds. Maybe I should take a week of vacation and drink coffee continuously to listen to it all? Nah, it's more fun to just hear random songs - that's the best thing about having my music as MP3s.

12.10.2001

Dance Dance Revolution Pals

One day I was browsing through my digital photos and realized that I had hundreds of shots of my friends playing DDR at various parties. So, I slapped some together into a little slide show set to the tune of "Dancing All Alone" (a favorite among my DDR crowd). Enjoy all the sock pictures!

Watch video: DDR Pals Slideshow

12.09.2001

DDR party

Last night Tom hosted a Dance Dance Revolution party, since so many of his friends have been bugging him to see what all the buzz is about. I played "coach" all night long - dancing along with the current player, clapping out rhythms, and generally being an encouraging cheerleader. I didn't sit down from 9:00 PM until 2:00 AM, and did so much dancing during that time (I danced little "exhibitions" when there was a gap in willing players)! Today my legs are worthless - my quads are sore and my calves are stiff - but it was a great time.

Big gifts

Time for another exciting confession - I went a little crazy buying myself Christmas presents this year. I have always loved portable music, hence my obsession with MP3 players, my minidisc player, and so on. Recently Apple released the iPod, an elegant little MP3 player that holds over 1,000 songs that can be quickly browsed from a cool interface. After I saw the commercials and read some reviews, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I went to a store to look at it in person, and that was it. The only problem was that the iPod is for Macintosh only, so I would need a new computer, too! (I was "raised" on Macintosh, but hadn't used them for around two years.) I read some great reviews of Apple's new iBook (the cool little white one, not the crazy make-up compact), so that's what I decided on. Then I went further and bought a wireless router, so I can surf and read email at cable modem speed from the couch (oh, lazy joy)! So, that's my story - I'm writing this blog entry on my iBook with no wires and loving it. My iPod is in my pocket shuffling through 1,100 tunes, too. Don't worry, I'm still primarily a Windows user, but it feels nice to have a fun little computer again to enjoy in a totally non-work context!

12.08.2001

Tom's DDR Party

So many friends were curious about DDR, so Tom had a party where everyone could join the revolution.

View photos: Tom's DDR Party

12.06.2001

Jedi Apprentice 14: The Ties That Bind / Jude Watson : 4 of 5

Qui-Gon is in love! Hey, I though this is going to be forbidden in Episode 2? Oh well, it makes for a great storyline in this volume of the Jedi Apprentice series. Jude Watson has done a fantastic job of carrying over new characters and storylines from one book to the next. This one reads very quickly, even though most of the storyline involves political intrigue. Unfortunately, this is another Part One (I hate those), but I've already started Jedi Apprentice 15: Qui-Gon Gets His Freak On!

12.04.2001

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World : 3 of 5

Even though this is kind of a short, throwaway movie, I'll stay say it's a little better than the average Disney "direct to video" sequel. The animation has some nice touches, including some cool CG sailing ships, and Pocahontas' hair still looks beautiful. Even the songs are OK - one even gave me that Disney weepy feeling. My biggest complaint is that the roles of Pocahontas' animal pals is greatly expanded, making things a little too goofy at times, but all in all, it's a pretty nice sequel.

12.03.2001

Samurai X Vol 2 : 4 of 5

What a dramatic story! The conclusion to the saga of Rurouni Kenshin is contained in these final two episodes, and it beautiful and tragic at the same time. The first episode focuses on the rural life of Kenshin and Tomoe living as farmers while hiding from the violence waiting for them. We see their love develop, and discover that Tomoe loves Kenshin even though he murdered her fiancee. In the last episode, Kenshin faces his "final battle" and is only spared by Tomoe's sacrifice (sorry, guess I just spoiled the whole thing for you!). Wonderful story, beautiful animation - this is what anime should always be.

Matt's memories

Sorry to overload you with Stanze memories, but I just have to post a quote from my friend Matt, now living in Japan. All of my friends said really nice things, but somehow this sums it up perfectly.

"Stanze was a good dog. She was my friend too. She licked my bare legs on many occassions. It really tickled. I was always amazed that you could take it without buckling under the tickle. You were a great friend and companion for Stanze. She was privileged to have you as her master. You always picked up her poopoo with blue plastic bag mittens. You woke up early to walk her and you cleaned her peepee without getting angry. Stanze was a good dog, and I'll miss her. I can see her tail making tight circles as she ran now. I think losing her will hurt you for a long time. It's natural. But Stanze died old and happy. Tonight I will have a drink to her memory."

12.02.2001

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs : 5 of 5

This two DVD set is an incredible production! The movie is fantastic, of course - my mind boggles when watching it and thinking of all they accomplished with the limited technology of the time. I actually don't think the story is paced very well, but it's all so beautiful that I don't even care, The additional materials feature cool "tours" and all kinds of documentaries - extremely interesting. My favorite feature is a game where you help Dopey on a wild ride through a dark mine, answering trivia questions to help him out (some of which are difficult, such as matching musical instruments to the dwarfs who play them!). Owning Snow White makes me want to buy more Disney DVDs!

Remembering Stanze

I had a little "wake" for Stanze last night - nine friends came over and brought lots of food, drink, and good spirits. We had such a great time - we looked at photos of Stanze, we all told stories of our pets throughout our lives, and then ended up playing DDR while we were all a little drunk (I have a nice headache this morning, but it was worth it). It felt so nice to toast Stanze and just be with friends!

I ended up skipping the DDR tournament yesterday, since I wanted to relax and mourn a little, plus I didn't think I would qualify because of the large expected attendance. Well, I just found out that the qualifying cutoff percentage was 55% - I was consistently scoring 70% when I was practicing! That means I would have made it with no problem! Oh well, I'll just keep dancin' and rock the next one.

The two hardest habits to break - I've been doing these for 15 years:
  • Closing doors when I leave a room so Stanze wouldn't pee in it
  • Eating my food down to a little "last bite" for her
  • 12.01.2001

    Spy Kids : 2 of 5

    I rented this out of curiosity, wanting to see if I could recognize any of Austin in the background (I did), and also because this movie became so popular so fast. I have to say that I didn't enjoy it very much - it was OK and had nice spy gadgets and gags, but the overall plot was just stupid. The mutated agents and the bizarre castle and all of that was just dumb - it would have been a much better spoof just using cliches from "normal" spy films. Maybe Spy Kids 2 will be a little more traditional.

    Wake for Stanze

    A nice evening of remembering, food, and of course, DDR.

    View photos: Wake for Stanze

    11.30.2001

    Good bye, Stanze

    My first dog, Stanze, died at 4:00 AM this morning. She was 15 years old, which is a long time for a beagle, and she was with me her entire life. When she developed a tumor the vet gave her two weeks to live, but she managed to stay with me two more years - she was really an amazing dog. Of course, she was a pain, too, but who wouldn't be at 115 years old (human years)? Stanze fought through major surgery this time, and almost recovered, but eventually succumbed to infection. I'm glad she had a nice life, though I'm going to miss her begging for a long time.

    11.25.2001

    Enjoy it

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just enjoy life - not everything has a purpose, not everything has to be productive. We are each given many, many hours to just goof off and marvel at how great it is to be alive.

    11.23.2001

    Flock of butterflies?

    I just took my first walk in a long while (since I joined the DDR revolution, anyway) to enjoy the nice holiday weather. It was really humid, but the walk was peaceful and wonderful - I saw so many butterflies! It made me remember how when I was walking before I used to see so many dragonflies - amazing how the seasons change everything. What's the proper term for a "flock" of butterflies, anyway?

    Thanksgiving with Chris and Eliza and all of my other friends was fantastic! As predicted, we ended up playing a lot of DDR! The food was spectacular - I should have some pictures for you later this weekend.

    11.22.2001

    Thanksgiving 2001 with Chris & Eliza

    Even more food than last year, but we played lots of DDR so we didn't gain an ounce.

    View photos: Thanksgiving 2001

    11.21.2001

    Jonathan's Pie Party

    The night before Thanksgiving, always prime the pump with as much pie as possible.

    View photos: Jonathan's Pie Party

    11.20.2001

    The Endless Summer Revisited : 3 of 5

    This is a documentary of Bruce Brown and his filmmaking created by his son, focusing mainly on the making of the original Endless Summer and the sequel (which isn't available on DVD - how rude!). It was really interesting to hear some of the "secrets" of Endless Summer - how some of the "comedy" scenes were later shot in Bruce's backyard, and how they self-distributed the film until the studios saw what a gem it was. It was also cool to see some of the "stars" today - all making surfboards or somehow involved in the sport still. Now, if I could just see Endless Summer 2!

    11.19.2001

    Janet Jackson: The Velvet Rope Tour : 2 of 5

    I know, why did I rent this DVD? I confess - I read about it on the DDR Freak forums, so I though why not watch it? It was fairly enjoyable - the dancing for the most part was cool, though sometimes too complex to even be interesting. The concert sets and costumes were excellent - especially the wild giant toy box set! I'm only a minor fan of Janet, so I did fast-forward a lot, but it was fun to watch anyway.

    11.18.2001

    Samurai X Vol 1 : 4 of 5

    I suppose this is my first "historical" anime series, set in the late period of the Samurai just before the Meji Restoration. The series is a fictional retelling of a historical legend involving the greatest assassin who ever lived and his lover/wife (whom he rescued after killing her fiancee). The story is involved, but easily deciphered with the background material on the disc, and the animation and action is nice (though this is the bloodiest series I've ever watched). I like the dialogue - so many ancient sayings about sake and flowers. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of this series!

    Excited doggie

    Stanze is always so excited to come home from the "Doggie Hotel" (which is our official euphamism for the kennel) - she always jumps out of the car and runs to the front door like she just can't wait to get inside. She's so cute for a 115 year old woman!

    I watched the 90 minute premiere of Justice League today - not too shabby! It's good that Cartoon Network is funding WB projects like this show, which might not have made it to the air otherwise. The animation is nice (though a little more rushed than the original Batman and Superman series) and the story was pretty good, too. I only have two small complaints - I suppose they were unable to get Tim Daly to voice Superman again, so that took a little getting used to, and here's the big one - why is Wonder Woman flying? I've always thought Martian Manhunter was cool, so it's great to see him in a cartoon!

    11.17.2001

    Post from Waco

    Howdy - this is just a quick entry because I'm here in Waco with my parents, and Dad just said that my Aunt Vee was wondering why there weren't any updates lately. So, here's an update!

    11.06.2001

    Haiku

    Three dollars, six songs
    Thirty minutes of sweating
    Lunch-time DDR

    11.03.2001

    Everything But The Girl / Temperamental : 4 of 5

    This EBTG CD is a little more sound focused - the vocals are a little less memorable. However, I actually chose this CD because of that, and I like it. The heavy beats are really danceable and the overall flow of the album is nice. I still like Walking Wounded much better, but this is a nice follow-up. I'm sure there will be more EBTG in my collection soon.

    Friends and magnets

    After seeing Monsters, Inc. (super creative and fun), I had some friends over last night to play DDR. It's amazing how anyone who tries it really likes it, once they get the basic concept down. I had a nice session this morning, and I passed my first 8 footer!

    While my pals where here, I had a few more magnetic poetry compositions on my fridge, so I figured I should get my Magnetic Poetry page up right away. WARNING: This is the raunchiest stuff you will find anywhere on WEBmikey! Magnetic poetry just brings out the "creativity" in people, I guess.

    I had to install a new version of BlogBack, but I think I messed up when converting the old comments, so it looks like we're starting fresh. Thanks to everyone who commented before - keep doing it! It's fun! Maybe there will be a prize for the best comment!

    11.02.2001

    Monsters, Inc. : 5 of 5

    Of course, I'm in love with this movie - not only am I a Pixar fan, but there is no way they could go wrong with this storyline, which is as creative as creativity gets! A few things that stand out are Sully's fantastic blue fur (unbelievable for CGI animation), the hilarious TV commercial for the company they work for ("I'm Monsters, Inc!"), and the tearful goodbye between Sully (Kitty) and the sweetie pie girl (if they had put a sad song in the soundtrack there I would have had to leave the theater crying!). The finale chase popping in and out of doors has to be seen to be believed, as well. I'm all set to preorder this one on DVD.

    Nina Gordon / Tonight and the Rest of My Life : 3 of 5

    Nina was part of Veruca Salt, and I'm thinking she was the "good part", since this CD is really entertaining. There are a few tracks that are quite Veruca-esque (and rightfully so) with cool guitars, plus a lot of love songs that are much more quiet. There are only a few tracks that just bore me - in general, this is a great CD to sing along with.

    Cool things

    A lot of cool things have happened since my last post:
  • I got my new dance pad, so I'm happily part of the revolution once more. I'm now playing everything in Trick mode, and it's a blast. I played on the Drag again, too, and some kid named Justin encouraged me to push myself to exhaustion.
  • I went to the Carousel last night for Stella's 13th anniversary party - it was fun to relax in a crowded bar with friends. It's fun to do anything with friends, actually.
  • I just saw the first Christmas decorations up at the mall. I know it's early, but I don't care - Christmas is fun!
  • John K.'s The Ripping Friends is pretty fun - watch it if you are a Ren & Stimpy fan starving for outlandish cartoons!
  • 11.01.2001

    Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace : 4 of 5

    I'm so glad that Lucasfilm released this on DVD before the release of Episode II, because now my Star Wars muscles are all flexed and ready to go again. I also had the chance to realize that Episode I really is a good movie and has a great story - it's just destroyed by the bad acting of Jake Lloyd as Anakin! If that little turd hadn't been cast, we all would have enjoyed the movie so much more (the DVD includes the final audition of Jake and two other kids - both of which were better by far!). The additional material is wonderful - beautiful extra scenes finished just for the DVD and fantastic documentaries that are truly entertaining and revealing. It took two days to watch all of the special features, but it was worth it!

    Ben Folds / Rockin' the Suburbs : 4 of 5

    As a big fan of Ben Folds Five, I was crushed when the band broke up. I'm so glad that Ben has continued to make music - this album is just great! The sound is very much like the Five with lots of piano, but a little more introspective. There are several story songs on here that are a little sad, the hilarious title track, and the amazing "The Luckiest", which is a sappy song that feels just like something I would write. I love it!

    10.28.2001

    Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Rose Collection Vol 1 : 3 of 5

    I decided to try out this series, since Netflix keeps suggesting it due to my anime habit. I have to say it's interesting, though extra weird in the plot department. The Student Council of Utena's school if secretly trying to revolutionize the world through sword battles over a chosen bride. If you're still with me, Utena is a girl who idolizes a prince, so she dresses as a boy and ends up winning all of her duels, so she is "engaged" to this chosen girl (who also happens to have the power of making a sword appear from her chest). There's all this strange intrigue and a battle in each episode, all set to bizarre rock tunes about the apocalypse. Yeah, this makes a lot of sense, so I have to keep watching it.

    10.27.2001

    Dance pad tragedy

    Oh horror! I think static electricity fried my dance pad! Last night when I picked it up after a long playing session, I got a pretty good shock when I touched the end of the cord (this was after everything was unplugged from the Playstation). I think with the weather cooling down that static charges are more intense, plus sliding around in socks for two hours doesn't help. This morning, the pad doesn't register anything - it does light up, but the game doesn't know it. I tried it on both the Japanese Playstation and my PS2 with the same sad results. I just ordered another pad from RedOctane - I hope it gets here quickly! I'm going to have to be careful about "discharging" first. Now I have to go to the arcade today for my fix.

    Reverse luck

    I've realized that I have a compulsive superstition - whenever I see a penny on the ground, I always pick it up (even if it's inconvenient, like when my arms are full of groceries!). I guess I always heard "See a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck" and somehow I got it into my subconscious that if you don't pick up a penny that you'll have bad luck. Weird, huh?

    Playing DDR at home is still fun - I got 4th Mix (just for more songs) and I'm finding I have to play in Trick mode to really have fun. I'm considering (just thinking about it, mind you) trying to qualify for a DDR tournament here in town on December 1st. The qualifying songs are tough though - I practiced them yesterday. Still, if I could just get in the tournament it would be kind of fun. I will definitely be there to watch the other dancers, though, hoping to see some amazing action like I saw in Osaka almost exactly one year ago.

    I'm going to a Halloween party tonight and have no idea what my costume will be. Uh oh!

    10.21.2001

    Pump It Up pros and cons

    While I was working at Works, I used to make lots of trips to Dave & Busters to play games and have lunch. Now I usually stop in every two weeks or so just to see if they have new games. Today I went since I was buying a ramen bowl next door, and discovered that Dave & Busters finally has a dancing game - but they got the wrong one! Instead of getting Dance Dance Revolution, they got the "rival" game, Pump It Up (not by Konami). Hey, I still ended up playing for over an hour, but DDR is so much better. To be fair, here's the good stuff:

  • Wide variety of songs, from Aha's "Take On Me" to J-Pop
  • Full-on cartoons animate in the background while you dance
  • Big-screen presentation is huge

    Now here's the bad stuff:

  • The arrow system is DDR at 45 degrees (you step in the corners instead of up/down/left/right), which means the space between your feet is much larger, so it feels a lot less like dancing
  • Lots of annoying delays between songs
  • No announcer! (How am I supposed to feel larger than life?)

    Anyway, I had fun, but Pump It Up will never be my dance of choice. Having something at Dave & Busters is convenient, though, so I'm sure I'll play every now and then (sweat is still sweat, eh?).
  • 10.20.2001

    DDR on campus

    What a cool DDR day! I decided I had the guts to try out the arcade on campus (where are the younger DDR-ers hang out), and I also just had the urge to play on a newer machine (they have a brand new 5th Mix, while I usually only get to play an older 3rd Mix). Anyway, I got there and some other guys were playing (first time I've ever seen anyone else play in Austin) - one was really good, showing his friend some tips. When they finished I played doubles with the good dancer, which was cool because we weren't competing at all - just enjoying some sychronized fun. The machine was great, by the way, with excellent stereo and lights (the lights are the main thing missing at home). Another guy wanted to play, so I offered to play doubles with him, and that was fun, too. Then I continued to spend a full two hours dancing on that machine in an arcade with students filing in and out - at one point I had 8 people standing around watching (the pressure to not mess up is kinda cool). So, this was a new and amazing experience! Then I hauled my sweaty carcass next door and slammed a Gatorade.

    10.19.2001

    Amazing Nurse Nanako Vol 3 : 2 of 5

    Well, I finished this insane excuse for anime lovers of big boobs. Not extremely exciting or interesting - Nanako turns out to be a clone of a clone of a clone (not a robot like I assumed). There was a huge plot involving the Vatican to clone Jesus from blood taken from the Shroud of Turin, but of course they could never get the technology right, so they were after Nanako (the only truly successful clone). That's about it - I guess it was kind of fun, but this is one series that would be pointless to own, so I'm glad I rented it.

    10.17.2001

    TV for geeks

    I have to say that the networks have done a great job of catering to geeks like me - Enterprise and Smallville seem to be pretty good shows! Enterprise is cool because of the "primitive" technology and the Vulcan tension (though the comm officer is so wimpy that I can't even enjoy her good looks), and Smallville had a great premiere, doing an excellent job of spinning the Superman origin a little to provide some excellent guilt for Clark to deal with (and Lana Lang, while not the traditional redhead, is really, um, oh boy!). My poor overworked TiVo - too bad they had to start these shows while Bravo is still running Thirtysomething!

    Come on, somebody use the new comments feature! Please?

    10.15.2001

    Clerks: The Animated Series Vol 2 : 4 of 5

    Not much more I can say about the second DVD, except that it's even funnier than the first. A couple of fun standouts are that lots of celebrities did voice cameos (including my beloved Gwenyth) and that in one episode they choose to end the plot with an unbelievable anime spoof - I laughed out loud for 15 minutes and had to watch it over and over again. Now that's entertainment!

    10.14.2001

    Clerks: The Animated Series Vol 1 : 4 of 5

    I suppose not very many people know that Kevin Smith's Clerks was made into an animated series to be broadcast on ABC. it was canceled after two episodes, which is a crying shame! Now all 6 episodes can be seen on two DVDs, and let me tell you - I wish there were more! The animation style is beautiful and the jokes are dry and funny - each episode goes by so fast because it's just that entertaining. I think they did a fantastic job bringing the essential qualities of characters to animation - both visually and personality-wise, and the crazy plots are ingenious. The disc also includes great commentary for all of the episodes (most of which centers around how they were screwed by ABC).

    Passing Paranoia

    I just passed a milestone on DDR 5th Mix! Previously I had never been able to pass "Paranoia Eternal", even though I had passed every single other song (in Basic mode). Today after several rounds in Training mode (which lets you slow tempo and hear handclaps for each step), I finally passed it with a B! I'm so stoked - that song is absolutely crazy at 200 BPM and full of off-beat, syncopated steps that I would hate to drum, let alone dance! Anyway, I did it!

    I've started using an easy little service called BlogBack so you can comment on specific blog entries. It was simple to add, and it's kind of fun, so comment if you want to!

    10.13.2001

    The Aristocats : 3 of 5

    I hardly remember seeing this in the theater as a kid, but I sure remember singing the songs (I think I had a book and record set). I love the characterization in this movie - the way each of that cats moves is so distinct and really brings out their individual qualities! Of course, there are some really weak points to the plot, but generally that's covered by the good music. Once again, I had to get used to Baloo's voice coming out of someone else - I've got to find out who that guy is and why Disney overused him!

    Self-study

    Hajimemashite! I'm doing a little study of Japanese on my own, just browsing some books and flash cards for fun. I still remember all of the words I learned when I visited Japan last year, so I thought it would be nice to learn a little more. Now I can feel really cool when I understand a word or two watching anime or overhearing conversations in an Asian market!

    Saturday mornings are so much fun. I sure do love the weekend!

    10.12.2001

    The Disneyland Source

    There are hundreds of Disneyland sites on the web, and I've looked at so many of them that I can't remember what cool things I've seen on which site! However, when I want to experience a Disneyland ride to get away from it all, I know I can go to The Disneyland Source. This excellent site has a multilevel map that allows you browse down right to the attraction you want, and then provides video of the complete ride experience (or audio only, if you prefer). They even have movies of some rides that are closed now, plus the Real format movies blow up to full screen nicely! Now everyone can go to the Happiest Place on Earth!

    Visit site: The Disneyland Source

    10.11.2001

    Happy retirement

    Just a quick post to say my dad is pretty amazing - he's enjoying his second retirement now (this time it's final). I'm so proud of him for surviving though a stressful job - now he can relax, catch up on enjoying life again, and bug Mom all day long!

    I played DDR USA tonight for the first time since I've owned DDR 5th Mix - I can't believe how I have improved! I was able to make it through certain songs that I could never pass before, just from playing so many songs in Trick mode! I love how I feel after a long session - the energy rush is incredible!

    My new plan now is to add one Last 5 entry everyday (or close to it) until I get caught up on my ever-growing list of things to review. If I would just stop watching DVDs and reading books, I would catch up, but no way am I going to do that!

    10.08.2001

    Postless weekend

    Another weekend passes quickly with no major WEBmikey updates - oh well. It was a full weekend, playing two gigs (both really fun) and lots of DDR. Stay tuned, I'll try to blog as the mood hits me.

    10.06.2001

    Space: 1999 Vol 3 : 4 of 5

    I have to confess that Space: 1999 is really entertaining, no matter how drug-induced it gets. This volume features some of the weirdest plots yet! Peter Cushing (good ol' Grand Moff Tarkin) captures Koenig's spirit in a dream world, where he falls in love with his daughter and almost abandons Alpha. Next, everyone turns into drunk zombies on planet Piri (which is constructed primarily of styrofoam balls, it seems). Finally, a crew member turns into a heat vampire and starts killing people! It's weird how this show never has any "science" based plot - everything is so bizarre!

    10.04.2001

    Japanese DDR

    The DDR madness continues - my pal Barron loaned me his Japanese Playstation console, so I quickly ordered the amazing new DDR 5th Mix (available only in Japan). I just spent two hours straight playing it - wow, what a game! The overall design and look of the game is so much cooler than DDR USA, with more characters to dance with, over twice as many songs, and lots of other new features! I had to play with every character, and I managed to get As and Bs on almost every song (in Basic mode, of course). I also like the more "bizarre" things the announcer says that don't appear in DDR USA - I even remember one of them from my sake-drinking evening in Japan. "I can see a dream in your dance! I can see tomorrow in your dance! We can call it - our hope." Man, talk about a deep compliment!

    10.02.2001

    Xanadu / Original Soundtrack : 3 of 5

    I recently saw Xanadu as a Mr. Sinus Theater 3000 production (which was hilarious) - it reminded me that loved this movie, and especially the music, so many years ago (in fact, my friend Scott got me this soundtrack on vinyl for a birthday gift). So, I had to buy it again - it's so much fun to hear Electric Light Orchestra and Olivia Newton John - it's even funnier that I still remember all the lyrics!

    10.01.2001

    Everything But The Girl / Walking Wounded : 5 of 5

    Recently I watched Time Code again on cable and realized just how great the soundtrack is! I was especially impressed with a song called "Single", which I discovered was by Everything But The Girl. So, this is my first EBTG CD, but it won't be my last - I've listened to this CD over and over for days in my car, and it's still mesmerizing. I love the thick bass, drums, and hypnotic vocals - the lyrics are quite intelligent, too. Fun to listen to loud!

    9.30.2001

    Orlando, Florida

    In September 2001 (soon after the national tragedy), my good friends Chris and Eliza went with me for my first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida. We were there for four days so we could spend some time at each park: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios. We stayed on the property so we could fill every minute with Disney goodness. Even though we were a little in shock from the recent events, we had a fantastic time!

    Walt Disney World Details

    During September 2001, my pals Chris and Eliza were nice enough to go with me to Walt Disney World in Florida. We stayed at one of the many resorts (Caribbean Beach) so we could ride buses to the parks at the crack of dawn and party at Downtown Disney in the evening. I had always wanted to see Walt Disney World, being such a fan of Disneyland in California, and we had a fantastic time. There's so much to say about each day that you're just going to have to settle for some quick summaries! We planned this trip way before the events of September 11th, but it was so wonderful to go to a place of hope and happiness and live life as it should be in spite of the world's difficulties.

    WDW 2001: Animal Kingdom

    Fun: Riding the cool Dinosaur ride twice and watching tigers play
    Food: McDonalds at the Restaurantosarus
    Adventure: Watching three rhinos 10 feet from our safari jeep and getting really drenched on Kali River Rapids

    View photos: Animal Kingdom

    WDW 2001: Epcot

    Fun: Zooming around Test Track twice in a row while the park was deserted
    Food: Lunch at Morocco with belly dancers and dinner in Germany with 33 ounce beers
    Adventure: Getting stuck in the Maelstrom ride in Norway for 15 minutes listening to a voice say "Please remain in the boat"

    View photos: Epcot

    WDW 2001: Magic Kingdom

    Fun: Riding all the classic Disney rides, including the three mountains (Space, Splash, and Thunder) before 11:00 AM
    Food: Getting stuffed at Cinderella's Royal Table in the castle
    Adventure: Caught in a torrential rainstorm during the Jungle Cruise ride, resulting in getting soaked through and through

    View photos: Magic Kingdom

    WDW 2001: MGM Studios

    Fun: Watching the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and seeing The Little Mermaid sing
    Food: ABC Commissary quick snack
    Adventure: Dropping 13 stories in the incredible Tower of Terror

    View photos: MGM Studios

    Walt Disney World trip

    Well, I managed to get the Walt Disney World page up (check it out in "What's New?" to the left), but not much else. The weekend goes by so fast anymore!

    My DDR secret

    It's time to reveal a secret that I haven't told my pals - I am a closet DDR junkie. "DDR" is Dance Dance Revolution, which is a popular Japanese arcade game that involves stepping on arrows in time with cheesy dance music. I first saw the game in Japan, and was amazed by it (probably because I was downing vending machine sake). Then I played one game of it while visiting my parents - I was terrible, but I kept thinking about it for days afterward. Next I found all kinds of DDR websites, and after reading those I broke down - I bought a Playstation 2, DDR, and a Red Octane dance pad (a large pad with the arrows that you dance on to play the game). Now I am hooked - I play at least an hour a day, and I'm getting good! My addiction has spread to arcades, too - I found a few DDR machines in town and I've been visiting on the weekends to play. I'm even good in the arcade now (though all that sweating in public is embarrasing)! If my obsession continues, I'm going to have to buy a Japanese PS One so I can play all of Japanese DDR games (which have lots more songs than the US version)!

    Lucky pal

    Just a mention that my pal Chris is the luckiest guy I know - he was in an accident on his motorcycle that totalled his bike and flipped him through the air and he only broke a couple bones in his hand. Chris plays guitar in The Greatest American Heroes, of course, and he's still managing to rehearse! I have some pretty amazing friends, I think.

    Japanese browsing

    Well, the singles thing was kind of fun - not really productive, but it was a fine way to spend the evening. Yesterday I spent the day driving around shopping - I went to two stores that carry anime toys, books and videos. I didn't buy anything, but it was great browsing all of the cool (and expensive) stuff. Then I went to an Asian market to get some Pocky - a popular Japanese snack that is basically a chocolate covered pretzel stick. When I visited Japan, I ate them almost everyday, and I saw them for sale in the Japan section of Epcot, so I started craving them again. They are super oishii!

    9.29.2001

    Getting stale

    Hello again, finally - WEBmikey is getting seriously stale! I was going to work on some things tonight, but I'm going to a crazy singles mixer with my pal Ernesto (purely for emotional support, I think). Here's some "coming soon" items to watch for (hopefully by tomorrow!):

  • A page about my fun trip to Walt Disney World
  • As many Last 5 reviews as I can stand to write
  • More blog entries to talk about stuff
  • 9.28.2001

    Bubblegum Crisis: Hurricane Live : 3 of 5

    Well, I though this was the next volume of the series I'm watching, but it's really just a set of music videos for the older Bubblegum Crisis series. Still, I really enjoyed it, since I'm hooked on J-Pop, and I especially liked the live concert segments, which included a girl band pretending to be the actual characters from the series - so okashii! Anyway, the music was good, and I got to see lots of the older series that I wasn't familiar with (and I much prefer the style of the newer series!).

    9.27.2001

    Monkey Magic: Enter Stone Monkey : 1 of 5

    This show used to be on around 6:00 AM on Saturday, and I used to see the last 5 minutes of it after Stanze got me up out of bed. It looked kind of interesting, with lots of CG work, so I figured the DVD would be good. Well, I'm afraid that Monkey Magic is magically boring - it seemed to take forever for me to get through all of the episodes on this disc. Some of the animation is fun to look at, but the story is a snoozer and the characters are just too stupid for me to care about. I may like the goofy theme song, but I'm definitely not going to rent any other volumes of this one.

    9.19.2001

    Off to Walt Disney World

    Just a quick blog post to say I'm off to Walt Disney World tomorrow morning - I get to be at the airport at 4:00 AM (oh boy). So, no WEBmikey posts until next week. Get ready for tons of photos!

    9.16.2001

    Moving on

    Even though I'm excited about going to Walt Disney World this week, I've still been struggling with getting past last week's events. Today I wandered around the mall just for some escapism, and the best thing that happened to me was hearing a young boy yell "Neato!" in a toy store. All my life I have never wanted to let go of my childhood, and I attribute much of my happiness to that goal - last week was so rough that I lost sight of that. Listening to that child look at the world with wonder and excitement was just what I needed, and just what I need to do. At first I thought of this as a selfish task, but this is my way of being stronger than the tragedy - believing the world is an amazing place and that life can be wondrous is all I can do to help myself and those who know me.

    9.15.2001

    Here come the Heroes!

    The Greatest American Heroes have hit the scene - and we were a hit! We simply could not have asked for a better debut gig. We played last night to a completely packed Carousel Lounge, full of all of our friends, plus friends of friends, plus all of the folks who stayed after the previous band finished. We were amazed! The best part is that everyone loved what we're doing (TV show themes and surf) - people recognized all the songs (how couldn't they?) and even danced! (When's the last time you saw a full floor of folks dancing to "Welcome Back Kotter"?) The legendary Stella was there and pumped up the crowd, too (she also made them sing "God Bless America" and the National Anthem, and everyone really enjoyed it - we also donated all of our tips to the Red Cross, and ended up raising over $200). I think part of the great time was because people were so ready to have a great time after the rough week - I even overheard someone say that it was great to hear TV themes because there hasn't been any shows on TV all week. To top it all off, the Carousel asked us to book another gig there right away! Thanks to all who were there, and be sure to see us again soon!

    After the great time last night, I'm finally ready to start getting excited about Walt Disney World again. I'll be going there with Chris & Eliza on Thursday for four days of Mickey. Don't worry, you'll see a full report here!

    9.13.2001

    Feeling numb

    It's been too long since I posted - I think I've been avoiding writing (or even thinking, really) anything since Tuesday. I watched most of the tragedy live, when no one knew what was going on. I remember wondering how long it would take to repair the World Trade Center before the first tower fell. I spent the whole day numb - I cried a lot, but couldn't sustain the tears since I was too shocked to even feel as sad as I wanted to. I know plenty of friends of friends and sisters and cousins of friends who could have been affected, but thankfully all of them are safe. I stayed at the WTC Marriot during my last visit to NYC - directly between the twin towers. You can see a few shots of the surrounding building here (no shots of the towers, though). This entire area is simply no more. I'm getting on with life now, hoping that the air travel situation doesn't affect my trip to Walt Disney World next week. It seems like continuing to enjoy life is all any of us can really do.

    9.08.2001

    Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 Vol 3 : 4 of 5

    Wow, all kinds of things happen in this volume! First, we get to feel sorry for poor Nene (the ultra-kawaii Knight Saber), who just doesn't perform well enough in battle and almost gets kicked out of the group (don't worry, she redeems herself). Then we get lots of backstory on Linna (the most down to earth girl and therefore the most attractive) when she visits her parents (this is science fiction action?). Plus, we see that Mackie (Sylia's brother who showed up recently) hasn't changed in years - I'm guessing he's an advanced boomer made with Sylia's DNA! Netflix doesn't have anything past this volume - what's up with that?

    Almost 4,000 hits

    I'm about ready to hit 4,000 on my page counter - woo hoo! Do I hear champagne corks? (Ho ho ho.)

    Why do people in the right lane drive right past a sign that says "Right Lane Ends" and then stay in the right lane until it forces them over, causing them to run others off the road? And why are these people always driving SUVs?

    It's weird how the 15 or so Japanese words I know are the words I hear all the time in cartoons, on TV, or in songs. I guess I picked the right words! (I have seen "sugoi" translated as "cool", "wow", "fantastic", "amazing" and a few other things - does English really have that many more exclamations?)

    9.06.2001

    Drinking with Tom

    Dinner = 1/2 jar of applesauce + 1 Guinness at Continental Club + 2 Belgian Wheat at San Jose Motel (Don't worry, I had a healthy lunch!).

    Tom and I were supposed to see the new Rude Mechanicals' play, but the tickets he won didn't include a reservation - they were sold out. So, we caught the last hour of Hot Club of Cowtown at Continental Club (they had lots of guests - a pianist, another fiddle and a guy on alto sax), then had some drinks at the San Jose Motel with the beautiful people. We ate lots of wasabi peas, too. It was lots of fun listening to a drunk girl saying "you're my fucking friend" over and over.

    I ended up seeing three folks I knew tonight, and inviting them to the gig next Friday. It's weird how when I finally get out I see people I know.

    There was a Robert Creeley poem stuck on the wall in the bathroom at the San Jose. Creeley is great - I was really complemented when my poem Trash was compared to Creeley in a workshop I took a million years ago (at least it seems that long).

    A thought

    Why have there been no blog entires lately? How should I know? Maybe I haven't had any deep thoughts lately. How about this one: I really like boiled eggs.

    9.05.2001

    Romeo Must Die : 3 of 5

    I borrowed this DVD from Barron without knowing anything about it - this was my first Jet Lee movie. I liked the story quite a bit, and the action was really good, of course, as well as the soundtrack. I also had never seen anything about Allayah, except for the news of her death - she was really good in this movie, both in the action scenes and emotionally. The special features were pretty interesting, though I didn't like how they tried to "video-ize" them with hip hop - they could easily stand on their own without that added distraction!

    9.03.2001

    The Music of Disney / A Legacy in Song : 4 of 5

    I found a great price for this three CD set on Amazon.com, so I bought it to get fired up for my recent Disney World trip. This is a great set, including almost everything you would want to hear, along with some obscure things that are just plain hilarious. The book that comes with the set is fantastic, too. Now I can cry to "Part of Your World" whenever I want!

    9.02.2001

    Pink Martini / Sympathique : 4 of 5

    I simply had to buy this CD after hearing track after track on internet radio and loving it. This is a beautiful CD project - I really don't know the background behind it's creation, but the whole production is a tapestry of lovely goodness. Fantastic Latin rhythms, lush strings, and sexy vocals - unbelievable from start to finish.

    9.01.2001

    Amazing Nurse Nanako Vol 2 : 2 of 5

    Much more shameless boob bouncing, but at least the story does move along somewhat into the mystery of just who or what Nanako is. We find out that the doctor (Nanako's boss/keeper) had a dream of building a cyborg named Nanako, presumably after his childhood nanny/friend leaves. His old MIT rival shows up to fight Nanako (who he is sure is a cyborg), and the gang uses the interesting technique of torturing Nanako to get her to attract the enemy so she can destroy it at close range. This volume shows much more of the other characters at this strange hospital, too, including the older woman after the doctor's attention. I don't know any of the characters' names yet - I'm still too shocked that I'm actually watching this series.

    Curse of the Jade Scorpion : 3 of 5

    So many people talk about the "old Woody" and the "new Woody", and while his older films are much better (Manhattan is my second favorite movie), his recent ones are still really entertaining to me. You always know you're going to get a black screen, Garamond Condensed white letters on a black background, and 30's jazz, and there's just something comfortable about that. You may know that I'm anti-Helen Hunt, but even she could deliver Woody's great one-liners with ease. So what that there's nothing special about it? This is still a fun and relaxing film.

    R.E.M. / Murmur : 3 of 5

    Long ago, I had all of R.E.M.s albums copied from friends on cassette. Well, I gave up cassettes a while back, so I think I'm going to buy these CDs myself (slowly). I felt like I was a college junior again as soon as I popped this CD in and heard "Radio Free Europe"! You can't understand a word of lyrics on this album, but this is very cool pre-commercial R.E.M.!

    /usr/bin/girl

    My pal Scott is a big fan of weblogs, and he sent me this link. Zannah is an amazing Seattle gal that manages to live an interesting life and still maintain daily updates to several websites! She's a fantastic writer and loves anime - where are these girls in Austin? Take a look at /usr/bin/girl - here she basically shares links to fun sites and animations. When you want to get to know her better, you'll find a link to her personal journal here as well. All I can say is, The James is a lucky guy.

    Visit site: /usr/bin/girl

    8.30.2001

    Doggies at Disneyland

    I received my 1958 Disneyland gate map (the brochure you get as you walk in) today! Can you believe that they used to have kennels to leave your dog or cat all day for 25 cents?

    Yesterday I had a bit of food poisoning - immediately after lunch I felt absolutely awful and had to go home and sleep. Thankfully I slept through the potential disaster part (if you know what I mean). Today I was a little week, but tomorrow I should feel tip top again.

    OK, the first day of rain was wonderful, but now the 4th day in a row is getting tiresome. Sigh.

    Space: 1999 Vol 1 : 4 of 5

    At last I managed to rent Volume 1, containing the pilot episode, "Breakaway". Somewhere in my subconscious I remembered seeing the moon blasted from Earth orbit by exploding nuclear waste, but it was exciting to see it all happen again. After the first episode, the series immediately takes on it's bizarro character - this is the most mystical science fiction series I know of. The second episode has Helena's husband back from the dead, and the third episode has the moon going into a black hole, with results just as crazy as the Disney flick. I don't know why this series never took on a standard Star Trek tone, but it's kind of fun since these plots always keep me guessing (and often laughing).