7.29.2002

Tiki at the Hut of Two Kristens

Surf music, fruity drinks, Hawaiian leis, and a 7-foot tall Tiki head - what more could you want?

View photos: Kristen's Tiki Party

7.28.2002

Bye for now, Ian

What a jam-packed weekend! On Friday, there was a surprise party for Ian (who is moving to NYC very soon). A bunch of us met him at the Elisabet Ney Museum where he works and enjoyed some beer and cake, then played some fun songs featuring Ian and Lisa (on accordion) while the rest of us banged on percussion toys (it sounded completely crazy)!

On Saturday, Good Kristen and Evil Cristin held their last blast at their carport party shack, since Kristen will be moving to LA soon. The Greatest American Heroes played some surfin' goodness and everyone had a great time among the cool decorations (provided by Cristin and Tom's TIki Shop) and flowing booze.

Today my PC did it's best to ruin my day, but I was able to keep it going by upgrading to Windows XP. I only use my PC for Microsoft Money, so I had to keep it running somehow! (I wish there was a good home finance app for OS X, but Quicken is really lousy.)

Last weekend at Zilker Park I got three fire ant bites on my left index finger - those painful little things filled with pus and looked really disgusting! They are only just now going away - I hope that's my first and last experience with them.

Bay's First Birthday Party

Bay Fujimoto turns the big one year old, so Mikey seizes the opportunity to give Disney merchandise!

View photos: Bay's First Birthday

Ian's Surprise Party

A music-filled romp at the Elisabet Ney Museum to send off Ian to NYC (and fame and fortune), featuring the Ney Sanitarium Orchestra.

View photos: Ian's Surprise Party

7.24.2002

Mary Poppins : 5 of 5

Anyone who knows about my "sick ritual" knows how I feel about Mary Poppins - this is easily in my Top Ten favorite films! I have owned the video for a long time, but since TiVo made me give up VCRs forever, I had to buy it on DVD. It was a joy to watch it again, along with some great bonus features, including the Hollywood premiere at the Chinese Theater! It's hard to say what it is about Mary Poppins - all of the songs are phenomenal, and seeing each character learn and change by Mary's eccentric influence is just magical. It's simply impossible to watch this movie and not feel 10 times happier when it's over!

7.23.2002

Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies : 4 of 5

I tried to avoid collecting this series, but I finally gave in (and I'm glad I did). This is a great set of the fantastic Silly Symphony cartoons, early Disney shorts that basically illustrated a song without featuring a major character. Everyone knows The Three Little Pigs, of course, but there are so many other gems here - I especially love Musicland and The Cookie Carnival because they are so fantastically creative! There are some great insights with Leonard Maltin, who is basically the host of the whole Walt Disney Treasures series, including some rare footage of the Big Bad Wolf as a Jewish stereotype (which was reanimated later, of course). Now I'm on my way to collecting all of these!

7.22.2002

The Royal Tenenbaums : 4 of 5

Yet another Gwenyth movie that I completely let go by at the theater, but I can excuse myself from this one since there are so many characters that her role doesn't dominate the film. This is a strange and wonderful story of a broken family full of caricatures - people with habits and clothes so unbelievable that I felt like I was watching the kids in Willy Wonka! I think that's why I liked the movie, though - it becomes a kind of morality play since everyone is too strange to identify with. It's also really funny, with some great unexpected sight gags and jokes. By the time the story was over, I wasn't really sure what I just watched, but I know I had a good time doing it.

7.21.2002

The Powerfpuff Girls : 3 of 5

I can still remember watching the early episodes of the Powerpuff Girls on Cartoon Network back when they first started - they were really fresh and unique and super funny, too! Then they exploded in popularity, and here they are in a movie! I was curious to see how their animation style would translate to the big screen, since it's such a simple, thick-line look - I think they did a pretty good job, especially with a few CG touches and nice effects like explosions and such. The story was nice, basically a retelling of the origin and then a big Mojo Jojo fight, but it was a little strained plot-wise to get the story to feature length. Overall I really enjoyed it, and I got to see it with my pal Ryan, the biggest Powerpuff fan in the universe.

Classic Disney : 5 of 5

This is a box set of all five volumes of the Classic Disney series of CDs. I already had a good number of these tunes on my A Legacy in Song set, but I really wanted this set for a couple of reasons. First, it includes much more recent tunes, including songs from Aladdin, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, and Hercules (the other set stops at Beauty and the Beast). Next, it includes lots of music from other Disney-produced films, like Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach! Each CD is packed with 25 or so tunes, so this is a lot of music. It's a great set, since some of the earlier volumes included here are no longer available individually.

DDR victory!

Big Dance Dance Revolution news! Mikey has finally passed a 9-footer! I decided to just pick the first 9-footer on Konamix, Afronova Primeval, and keep going over it in practice mode until I got the steps down. When I finally passed it in game mode, I was so excited (and completely exhausted)! Nothing is impossible! (Of course, now I have 14 other songs to pass to finish the whole mix, which could take awhile!)

Last night Tom and I saw Into the Woods at Zilker Park at the outdoor theater - we had a great time. Of course, we spent the whole show drinking wine and taking breaks from the plot lying down on the blanket under the huge pecan trees. It was really nice seeing the stars between the giant branches - beautiful!

The Big Lebowski : 3 of 5

I rented this one at the recommendation of my pal Jim (who can quote this movie all day), and it was a good call. I really enjoyed the character of "the Dude", watching him fall in and out of trouble basically with no action on his part at all. John Goodman's character was funny, but sometimes a little too over the top to completely enjoy for me. I really liked the bizarre camera work - the shot where the camera is in one of the holes of a bowling ball as it rolls down the lane is fantastic (and dizzying)! There are lots of other fun characters and great lines, tied together with a surreal cowboy narrator who appears in a few scenes, which gives the whole movie a cool feel.

7.15.2002

Heartbreakers : 2 of 5

I'm not sure why this movie ended up in my Netflix queue (probably just to see Jennifer Boobs Hewitt), but I remember hearing that it was pretty funny back when it was released. Well, I guess parts of it are chuckle-worthy, but generally this was a real snoozer. Mother and daughter con artists seduce and marry rich men and hijinks ensue - whoop de do. The worst part of the movie was the horrible lack of editing - this kind of comedy should be 90 minutes tops, but Heartbreakers is over two hours (and there are 30 more minutes of deleted scenes on the DVD) - unbelievable! Oh well, at least I've got this movie off my chest (pun intended).

Karaoke night

On Saturday night my pal Ernesto decided to get his money's worth from a tuxedo rental (he needed it for a work awards ceremony), so he decided we should go sing karaoke! We went to Common Interest, and Ernesto sung Pennies from Heaven in his fancy threads. I finally managed to get on stage for my first public karaoke, too! I sung Just the Way You Are, and it went pretty well - I got some crowd cheers and about four anonymous compliments afterwards! Pretty exciting - I hope I can go back more often!

This weekend I decided I wanted a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - I don't think I had eaten one in 10 years or more! I ate three on Saturday - yummy!

My pal Ryan came up with a new term - the fatsies. This is a special form of the munchies, but it won't be satisfied with pretzels or carrots. The fatsies demands things like pie, cake, and ice cream! (I got the fatsies last week and had to eat some Twinkies, but they weren't as good as I remember them from years ago.)

7.14.2002

Dark Star : 1 of 5

I guess people either love or hate this movie, and I'm going to join the latter group. I rented it because I remember seeing lots of pictures from it when I was really young reading Starlog magazine - seeing the effects (very Battlestar Galactica looking, if you ask me) brought back a lot of memories. The plot (very rambling) and the dialogue (even more rambling) are so boring, however - I had to force myself to watch the thing without loading the dishwasher or something to keep myself occupied. Yikes! I suppose it was kind of interesting to see some of the influences that made it into Alien and Star Wars, but I think it was much better as a Starlog article.

7.13.2002

Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Collector's Edition : 4 of 5

About a year ago I reviewed Atlantis after seeing it in the theater - I enjoyed it, but I was looking for a little more emotion, I think. Now that I've watched the hours of bonus material on this collector's DVD set, I need to up my rating! I guess I didn't really understand that the animators were trying to create an action/adventure epic, along the lines of the Indiana Jones movies, and they definitely succeeded! The stuff on the extra DVD is fantastic and well organized - it took days to see it all, but it was worth it. I guess I have a much greater appreciation of the comic book action style they were going for than I used to - now I'm an Atlantis fan!

7.12.2002

Cardcaptor Sakura Vol 2 : 4 of 5

Another quote enjoyable set of episodes, all much better than the Americanized versions! Sakura captures four more cards (of course), and we finally meet Li. Once again, these original episodes allow much more emotion to show (especially when the Illusion card pretends to be Sakura's lost mother). I really like the segments with Kero at the end of each episode - I can't believe they completely cut these for the WB! It's so funny seeing Kero discussing the details of each battle costume that Tomoyo creates for Sakura (and the last scene of him smoking a pipe in a bow tie is hilarious)! Netflix doesn't seem to have Vol 3 - what am I going to do?

7.11.2002

Oliver & Company : 3 of 5

Another Disney movie I never saw at the theater, and wouldn't really have been interested in if I weren't collecting all the animated feature DVDs. Oliver & Company is basically Oliver Twist told with animals in New York City, and has lots of interesting stuff. First, there's lots of early CG work (for buildings and cars) that works fairly well. Next, all of the songs were done by different composers, and they tried to be really contemporary (right down to using Billy Joel - he even voices one of the main characters!). They also made an effort to keep the dogs realistic (always on all fours), even though they're talking and singing. Overall, it's not super entertaining, but it's still pretty fun. The best part - Bette Midler's rendition of Perfect Isn't Easy sung by a pruning poodle!

7.10.2002

Dancing goal

I really want to "finish" a complete DDR mix. I've been groovin' and movin' much too long - I need to pass those 9-footers and live to tell about it! I've decided that I'm going to shoot for Konamix, since it's my newest mix and has such a wide variety of songs on it. I passed several 8-footers today, so next I need to starting playing the 9-footers in Training Mode. That should do the trick!

Men in Black II : 3 of 5

I still find it hard to believe that I missed seeing the original Men in Black in the theater, but after seeing it on DVD (and then immersing myself in the WB cartoon for a few seasons), I'm totally into the concept and was ready for a great sequel. I really enjoyed MIB II, especially the Michael Jackson scene, and I always enjoy some good weirdo creature designs, but I think the plot was a little too mystery-oriented for such a generally goofy movie. Will spent too much time being too serious when he should have been more funny, too. Oh well, the overall experience was really fun, and I got to see the fantastic CG short The Chubb-Chubbs, which was hilarious!

The Princess Diaries : 4 of 5

I hadn't intended on actually enjoying this movie, but I thought I would rent it since it was a popular Disney flick (plus I'll rent anything since it's all covered by Netflix). I have to say that I had a great time watching it, not for the goofy physical comedy, but because I started to feel for the characters. Of course, it's not too hard to identify with the nerdy girl, and it's wonderful to see her face her fears and become a stronger person (while still retaining her own identity). Plus, she's a cuitie, too! It was kind of cool seeing Julie Andrews in a recent Disney film, too, since to me she will always be Mary Poppins, definitely in my Top 10 list of movies!

Jedi Quest 2: The Trail of the Jedi / Jude Watson : 3 of 5

Another enjoyable adventure in the new Jedi Quest series, which starts out on as a simple training exercise for Obi-Wan and Anakin (on the same planet that Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan trained on way back in the Jedi Apprentice series). They soon discover that there are bounty hunters all over the planet, and the two defeat them in way cool Jedi style. There's lots of peeking into the thoughts of both Master and Padawan here, and as a bonus there is an introduction to a new villian who seems to have Sith connections! It's fascinating to see Anakin interacting with Sith legends and artifacts, knowing what fate lies ahead!

7.09.2002

James and the Giant Peach : 5 of 5

Being a big fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas, I'm in love with the look of this movie. But I'm also a fan of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, which was also written by Roald Dahl, so I'm love with the story, too. In other words, this is a fantastic movie! The combination of live action and beautiful stop motion is awesome, and allows for the visualization of so many fantastic things. The voice acting is perfect, and the music is wonderful (from funny songs to the sad My Name is James, which can always bring a tear). Once again, I'm a sucker for a plot with a child overcoming obstacles and finally becoming a part of a new world - James and the Giant Peach is a great rainy day movie that can make the sun shine again.

7.08.2002

Bridget Jones's Diary : 3 of 5

First off, don't you hate the apostrophe after a word that ends with an "s"? It looks so wrong to me. Anyway, Tom and I rented this DVD since it was the only thing we could agree on at ultra-mainstream Blockbuster, and it made for a nice relaxing Sunday evening movie. I hadn't been overly impressed with Renee Zellweger in the past, but it always amazes me when someone can maintain an accent and really transform into a character (like Gwenyth in Sliding Doors). The plot is really cute, of course, and does a good job of making you see yourself in Bridget (which is easier for some than others!).

7.07.2002

Old Blue

I did about five loads of laundry yesterday, which is practically everything I ever wear! Dreary weather makes me want to cover up, so last week when it was raining all the time I wore some long sleeve stuff, including my navy blue Cobble Cloth crew from Lands' End, which I think is my all-time favorite article of clothing. It's getting pretty worn out and old, but it has been with me everywhere - to Japan, to Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and just about everywhere else (if you dig through my trip photos you will find it all over the place).

Speaking of photos, Ofoto is now forcing visitors to login to view photo albums, which means you will probably have to register to take a look at my exciting pics. Sorry about that - it's no big deal really, so please go for it and continue to enjoy them!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone : 3 of 5

I first heard about Harry Potter when my pal Helen was obsessed with the books. I had intended on reading them, but then the hype engine went into full swing and I just couldn't bear to have anything to do with those freaky spectacles. Now that the popularity has wound down, I figured I could handle watching the DVD, and I actually enjoyed it. I thought the first half was much better than the second, since I was more interested in the whole dual world thing than the actual "evil plot". The effects were pretty cool, too. I can't say I'll lose any sleep until the sequel comes out, but I'm sure I'll rent it eventually.

Jedi Quest 1: The Way of the Apprentice / Jude Watson : 3 of 5

Now we officially embark on a new series - the early adventures of Obi-Wan and Anakin. I'm glad that Jude Watson is continuing the writing, since I love the sense of continuity provided through flashbacks and other references. This plot has to do with several Jedi teams facing an epidemic on a planet that splits the Masters and their Padawans, and we're introduced to a possible new friend for Anakin (and some interesting insight into his childhood and lack of friends). Once again, getting into the minds of the characters overshadows the story, but there are some great action sequences with battle droids and the like. I already miss Qui-Gon, but he lives on in Obi-Wan's memory.

7.06.2002

Circus program

Hello again! It feels like forever since I've updated WEBmikey - I guess I've just had a busy week with the 4th of July and playing two gigs. I plan on really relaxing and enjoying this weekend, which hopefully will mean lots of new WEBmikey stuff for you!

I finally got around to reading my program from the circus! I have to say that I found the stories about the clowns really inspiring. All of them seem to be so happy living the life of a clown and making people laugh - I can definitely see how rewarding that would be. I love hearing about people who follow their dreams and wind up with the destiny they choose. On another note, seeing the circus made me think I'd like to learn how to juggle!