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