11.30.2002

Bye bye. Birds

I've heard that Birds of Prey has already been cancelled, and I'm not surprised. That goofy conversation in front of the big clock at the end of each episode was more predictable than Charlie Brown and Linus with their elbows on the brick wall. I only wish they would have filmed Harley Quinn in costume - maybe they can manage that for the final episode?

Cool commercial

I have to say that the new Gap commercial really makes me smile (the new Give Stripes campaign where they're singing Love Train). The first time I saw it was while playing a gig, and it made me smile right in the middle of a song. (It doesn't take much, does it?)

Thanksgiving weekend

Happy Late Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope everyone had a fun holiday - I spent the day with my pals, watching the Macy's Parade and eating a tremendous meal at Chris & Eliza's house. I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to have good friends to spend time with!

Having a four-day weekend at home is amazing - everyday feels like Sunday! I've been getting lots of things done - I finally managed to finish converting another section of WEBmikey - the Yesterday section is now completely redone (at last). On to the next section!

11.19.2002

Happy 74!

Today is Mickey Mouse's 74th birthday (based on the day Steamboat Willie was released), and also the day that Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. I think it's pretty cool that these events are the same day, since Lincoln was one of Walt's heroes (and the main reason behind the Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction at Disneyland).

11.17.2002

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets : 4 of 5

Even though I haven't read the books and all of last year's marketing hype made me sick, I still really enjoyed watching Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone on DVD. So, I was actually pretty excited to see the second film in the theater (it's always fun to listen to the reactions and laughter of the kids). This is a great movie, with some exciting sequences (the spider chase was terrifying!) and touching moments between our student friends (who are twice as cute just because they're English kids). The kid playing Harry is actually a wonderful actor, and he really brings reality to the action sequences, too. I'm having fun learning about Harry (since I'm seeing these movies cold), and I'm ready for the third episode!

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones : 5 of 5

I made the terrible mistake of only seeing Episode II once in the theater (even though I loved it), so it's absolutely fantastic to watch it again on DVD! This is the first all digital film transferred to DVD, so this is a zero-loss experience - it looks great (except for the questionable animation in parts, which looks even worse on TV). It's amazing how much goes on in these two plus hours, and it's even more amazing after watching some the documentary material on Disc 2. I had no idea that a huge number of human character shots are digital as well (even some with Obi-Wan, Anakin and Dooku!). The deleted scenes that were completed for the DVD aren't very exciting, but the backstory is fun to watch anyway. Right now it seems like forever until Episode III comes out!

Manny Hattan's : 3 of 5

Since I just returned from New York City, it was fun going to the new "New York deli" in Austin. My pal Ryan and I went for lunch, since it's right there with our favorite lunchtime shopping (Best Buy), and we totally pigged out on sandwiches. I had a tuna melt with bacon that was especially good (it reminded me of Canter's deli in LA), and Ryan had a huge roast beef sandwich (I couldn't believe he finished it!). We both had sides of fries, which was a mistake - the sandwich alone was more than enough. The atmosphere is just barely cool - there's a giant wall mural of NYC icons, but not much else. The main reason Manny Hattan's gets a 3 is the price - these are expensive sandwiches. It won't keep me from going back, but an "upscale deli" is kind of an oxymoron.

WEBmikey links

A couple of cool WEBmikey related links:

  • You've got to try the Internet Archive Wayback Machine! You can view almost any site as it used to look in the past (some old sites are hilarious!). Even WEBmikey has been archived, so take a look!
  • I stumbled upon a mention of WEBmikey on a complete stranger's site, ToT. Read the nice comments in the archives!
  • One Day at Disney : 4 of 5

    A simple yet beautiful photo essay coffee table book (which unfortunately is out of print, so I had to snag mine on eBay) that covers a 24-hour period at the four Disney destinations: Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida, Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, and Disneyland Paris in France. Each page is presented with four clocks, so you can see that while people are watching fireworks at one park, employees are polishing brass in the middle of the night at another park. The photos are absolutely gorgeous, with very little text to distract the reader. It's great to soak this all in and see the joy that these amazing places bring to everyone!

    11.16.2002

    The Disney Films / Leonard Maltin : 3 of 5

    This is a wonderful book that you can often find at an incredible price (I got mine for around five bucks!). Apparently Leonard Maltin, a long-time Disney fan, started to catalog and summarize all of the Disney feature films, both animated and live-action, even before is he was the famous movie critic he is today. This is that original book, along with several chapters of updates that Leonard has added for various new editions. The original stuff is really interesting, since it includes detailed plot summaries, snippets of reviews when the movie was released, and lots of production details. Reading all of these made me really want to see some of these old movies (most of which are not yet available on DVD)!

    11.10.2002

    Gasaraki Vols 5 & 6 : 3 of 5

    This is turning out to be one of the most complex anime series I've followed - the story is now full of political intrigue, Japanese patriotism, and historical significance! Volume 5 was really interesting, since it finally takes the time to cover just who our heroes really are via an extended flashback to ancient Japan. So, the current Yoshiro and Miharu have the implanted memories of centuries ago, it seems, which explains their bond. Volume 6 gets really complicated, with all kinds of grain embargo stuff, mafia involvement, and much more as the power struggle continues. The animation seems to vary quite a bit from episode to episode - it's all good, but the change can be surprising!

    Stereo Toe-TALL

    Another full weekend is coming to a close - I got to hear some great music on Friday night, since I went to Emo's to see Stereo Total (my pal Dae recommended this band to me ages ago and I've been listening ever since). The place was packed and loud, but tons of fun (and now I know that it's pronounced "toe-TALL")! Last night GAH played an unexpected party gig, which was pretty chaotic, but turned out to be a great chance to let loose and jam!

    11.09.2002

    The Santa Clause 2 : 4 of 5

    My early Christmas spirit keeps building! I really enjoyed the original Santa Clause, so I was excited to see this somewhat goofier sequel. The scenes at the North Pole are really beautiful (and made me hungry for cookies and hot chocolate!), and watching the "toy santa" get a cocoa buzz is hilarious. Of course, there's always that scene where everyone gets the toy they always loved as a child, and there are plenty of teary-eyed moments about the magic of Christmas and having something to believe in (which is why I love Christmas movies). The animatronic reindeer are a little silly, but the kids in the audience really enjoyed them. I'm ready for the holidays!

    Slurp!

    I just got home from the movies, and they have Icees now! I had a giant cherry Icee (complete with the spoon-straw and the dome-covered cup), so I've got a tremendous sugar rush right now.

    11.08.2002

    All fall down

    It always cracks me up that nearly every single Disney villain dies by falling - from the wicked queen in Snow White, all the way to Gaston in Beauty in the Beast. There's always some battle at the end of the movie where the villain shows their evilness by taking one too many risks, and down they go (to conveniently die off camera). Pretty interesting tradition! (I also just realized that I have spent my entire life spelling the word "villain" incorrectly!)

    I'm already starting to listen to Christmas music - New York City definitely put me in a holiday mood. It must have been the ice skaters (or seeing all the cool gifts in Times Square stores)!

    Snow Dogs : 3 of 5

    I rented Snow Dogs because it's a Disney movie and because my mom loved it (she has a thing for cute, happy movies, like me). The movie had a lot less to do with the actual dogs that I thought it would, although the scenes with the dogs are really great (and I thought Nana was super adorable). The story is pretty simple, but definitely makes you feel good - I always enjoy movies where the main character finds a purpose in life and gathers up the courage to succeed. It was also kind of fun seeing Lt. Uhura play the mother (without the earpiece)! The Alaskan scenery is pretty cool, too (pun intended).

    11.07.2002

    Invaded by seniors

    Isn't it weird that certain stores in certain locations attract certain people? For some reason, the Randalls grocery store next to where I pick up my packages is always swarming with senior citizens! Every time I drive through the parking lot there's always some granny trying to back out of a space at .0005 MPH. And on the rare occasions that I buy something there, there's always a grandpa in a hat counting out change in front of me. It's kind of like a Twilight Zone episode!

    Be sure to check out the Trips page for my NYC trip, including three photo albums and three thrilling movies!

    Purple?

    Purple M&Ms just don't look right. I was just starting to get used to blue!

    New York City

    I had two great reasons to visit New York City again - my pal Ian recently moved there to go to grad school, and my pal Tom decided to run the New York City Marathon! This was an absolutely fantastic trip! Besides seeing the amazing sites and sounds of the city, there were plenty of stand-out moments:

    The Marathon: Ian and I managed to see Tom run by at Mile 16 (coming off the Queensboro Bridge). Being there with the huge crowd, all cheering and blowing horns and banging thundersticks, was phenomenal - it was so nice to see the city united in their support of the runners! (As a bonus, we walked right past Donald Trump near the Central Park finish!)

    Playing DDR: Thanks to Ian's pal Kate's recommendation, we went deep into Chinatown to an arcade to play DDR! There were tons of urban kids there (and I was the only caucasian 35 year old), and they accepted me right away as one of the gang. DDR brings the people of the world together - I even made friends with Chucky and Jose, and we talked about our favorite DDR characters and songs (and they cheered me on while I played).

    Making Friends: It was great to hang out with Ian's pal Kate and Tom's pals Rebecca and Jordan (who bussed in from DC). We had some fun meals together and wandered all over town enjoying the city (including 10 minutes of snow in Central Park, which was magical).

    View photos: NYC 2002 Day 1
    View photos: NYC 2002 Day 2
    View photos: NYC 2002 Day 3

    11.06.2002

    Spirited Away : 4 of 5

    I'm so glad that Disney brought this movie to the US so I could see it on the big screen! I have been a big Miyazaki fan since seeing Princess Mononoke (but now Kiki's Delivery Service is my favorite), so I've been excited about this film for quite a while (my pal Matt in Japan sent me playing cards featuring little Chihiro many months ago). The plot is fantastic - a little girl wanders into a strange place (in this case, a bath house for the spirt world), which of course brings to mind Alice in Wonderland. But Spirited Away is much more than a simple fantasy, because Mikazaki always manages to focus on characters and make you feel for them, while you're enjoying the imaginative eye candy. A simply beautiful movie!

    Mickey's toes

    I just spent four days in New York City and had an absolute blast! My pal Tom ran the New York City Marathon, which was completely amazing to watch. I'll have a full trip report with links to photo albums and movies available very soon!

    As you know, I'm a fan of Disney's House of Mouse. I've seen a few episodes lately with Mickey at the beach without shoes, and he's got toes! It looks really weird (Minnie has them, too). I seriously doubt the original model sheets for Mickey had any specs for a shoeless mouse, but Mickey with human-looking tootsies is flat out bizarre!

    11.01.2002

    All My Sons : 4 of 5

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - the Mary Moody Theater at St. Edwards is the best artistic entertainment value in Austin. It always amazes me that they can put on terrific productions with a high standard of quality for a mere ten dollar ticket. All My Sons was no exception - the actors (including The Janitor from Tom's Honor Among Thieves) were incredible, pouring out tons of emotion in this very serious and depressing Arthur Miller play. The sets made great use of the central stage, as usual, including amazing details (but not as amazing as the iron work in Lend Me a Tenor). The play left me stunned - it's a beautiful work, but incredibly sad (as expected).