2.27.2003

Dancing Corndogs in the Night / Don Hahn : 5 of 5

Don Hahn is one of Disney's great producers, who worked on The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantis, and many others (he even worked on Who Framed Roger Rabbit!). I have seen him speak on DVDs many times, and always thought his comments were insightful. Recently I found out he had written a book on creativity, and even though it's out of print, I was able to find a copy on the web. What an enjoyable, wonderful book! Don talks about all aspects of creativity - its sources, its purpose, what to do with it, how to nourish it, and much more. The writing style is very conversational and full of fantastic anecdotes (many of them Disney related), and often completely hilarious. I have a lot of respect for Don Hahn, and I think I learned a lot from this book. It's definitely inspiring!

The Flaming Lips / Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots : 4 of 5

My pal Dae bought me this CD, once again proving he has fantastic taste in music (I owe my obsession with Saint Etienne to him!). I had never really listened to the Flaming Lips before, although I think I remember seeing posters for them when I was in college. This CD is so cool - it has a good mix of synthesized sounds and acoustic guitars, with simple, relaxed vocals. The best track is about a karate girl who fights giant robots, but the lyrics about that silly subject matter makes it seem so sweet. I heard one of the tracks playing on Smallville, too!

It's a fact

Sometimes you just gotta eat Spaghettios. Am I right?

Ranma 1/2: The Digital Dojo - The Complete First Season : 5 of 5

Several years ago before my pal Matt moved to Japan, he was big into renting lots of anime. One night he introduced me to Ranma 1/2, and I loved it. I had never seen anything like it - a funny series filled with just the right amount of sexual innuendo and goofiness. Ranma is a boy who turns into a girl, and his dad turns into a giant panda. As the series progresses, there are many more cursed characters who turn into other animals (a pig, a cat, a duck), and the love triangles are unbelievable. This five DVD set collects the very first episodes that got me hooked so long ago, and it was a fantastic Christmas gift from my parents. I had such a great time watching them all again! (And for those who know me, my heart will always belong to Shampoo!)

Non-Signalers

Sometimes I feel like a mind-reader in my car, especially when I know someone is thinking about changing lanes or something without using their signal. It just amazes me when someone waits to turn on their signal as they make a turn - don't they know that a signal is supposed to indicate the intention to turn? I'm always quick to let someone in front of me, but if they don't signal to do it, they can forget it!

The Jungle Book 2 : 3 of 5

I think I've seen the original Jungle Book more than any other Disney movie, since I watched it over and over with foster child Chris while he was with me. I think I know all of the songs by heart, and I've long been a fan of the animation (Mowgli's movements are so realistic!). So, I was both excited and nervous about a sequel, since you never know what Disney is going to come up with in these Television Animation films. In general, I did enjoy the movie - the new songs are pretty good, too. However, there was a little too much rehash for my taste - I think they sang The Bear Necessities three times! The animation is hit and miss - some of it's well done, especially in the character emotion department, but other times it's just too simplistic for the big screen. At least it was a chance to see a Disney cartoon in the theater, and I'm always happy to do that!

Saba Blue Water Cafe : 4 of 5

My pal Eliza suggested this place when I was decided on where to go out for my birthday, and I really enjoyed it. The interior is very cool, with dark areas surrounded by cool bright lights, and they have lots of great drinks, including several types of Mohitos, which I loved! We didn't eat a full dinner, but the appetizers were great - especially the calamari, which was nice and salty. The waitresses were nice, and they brought me an excellent creme brulee for a birthday dessert! I don't do much drinking downtown, but I wouldn't mind going here again.

Catching Up

I've been terrible at posting my purchases on WEBmikey! Suffice it to say that I've bought a lot of goodies over the past few months. I guess all I can do is start again with what I've bought in the past few days:

  • Mickey Mouse shirt
  • Belle's Magical World DVD (only to complete the Beauty and the Beast DVD set)
  • Treasure Planet DVD pre-order
  • Learn in Your Car Japanese CDs
  • Persistence of Vision magazine back issue about the Haunted Mansion
  • Limited Edition 101 Dalmatians framed pin and vintage fan card
  • Two Disneyland shirts (deep discount!)
  • Two Disney Parade Cars die-cast vehicles
  • 2.26.2003

    Icy roads

    Yesterday Austin was pretty much shut down due to icy roads - I had to stay home from work. I got some chores done, watched a few DVDs, and drank brandy to stay warm. By the end of the day I was a little bored, but I survived. Anyway, I had the perfect opportunity to catch up on Last 5 reviews, but I let it slip by. Oh well, I'm sure you'll forgive me.

    I'm starting to get the Disney park itch really bad - I'm usually getting excited about a March trip to Disneyland by now, but this year my first Disney park will be Tokyo Disneyland. So, I'm starting my countdown now at 90 days!

    2.20.2003

    Fun with friends

    Hello again! Thanks for suffering through many days without a WEBmikey update. I had some busy days here in Austin playing the kind host to Matt and his beautiful fiancee Kumiko (which required a DDR demo, of course), then jetting off to Vegas to spend some fun days with all of my pals in the "City of Free Drinks"! It was a fantastic time!

    Congratulations to my pals Chris & Eliza (and Kristin, too) who ran the Motorola Marathon last Sunday! Ernesto, Jonathan & Lisa, Conrad and I cheered them on - it was so cold that I kept running in place, and racked up over 17,000 steps on my SportBrain! Wow!

    This is a big music weekend for me: the Heroes are playing at the Carousel tomorrow, and then Stella is recording for eight hours on Sunday. It's going to be fun and exhausting!

    Matt & Kumiko in Austin

    My faraway pal Matt visits the good ol' USA with his fiancee Kumiko, succeeding in impressing everyone in a 50 mile radius.

    View photos: Matt & Kumiko

    Las Vegas

    I've been to Reno many times as a child (I used to love Harrah's kiddie room!), but never to Vegas. I finally went with my pals Ernesto, Dae from LA, and Matt from Japan, visiting the US with his fiancee Kumiko, and it was a fantastic time! I really enjoyed the huge casino hotels, especially Paris (which was themed like Epcot!), as well as good ol' downtown Vegas with its Rat Pack charm. The rides were great: the Star Trek Experience was incredible, and so was the Manhattan Express roller coaster at NY NY! I didn't lose too much money - hopefully I drank what I lost in free cocktails.

    View photos: Las Vegas 2003

    2.14.2003

    The Absent-Minded Professor : 4 of 5

    Disney has started releasing more and more of their classic live-action features on DVD, which is great, but they've decided to produce no-frills versions. This DVD has literally no features, it's not widescreen, and worst of all, it's colorized. If you put all those negatives aside, the film is so great - I swear I have seen those high school basketball players jumping through the baskets about a hundred times, and I still laugh out loud! I really like they way they explain how the flying Model T is controlled, assuming you have a jar of flubber handy! I'm looking forward to renting and enjoying more of these old Disney movies - I just wish I could see them presented with the respect they deserve.

    2.13.2003

    The Black Hole : 4 of 5

    This movie came out on DVD so long ago - in fact, it was one of the first movies I ever rented on DVD! My parents bought it for me for Christmas, and it's great to have my own copy! This is another one of those adolescent-defining movies, right up there with Tron and Clash of the Titans. The story starts out great and gets super bizarre, but the effects (for their time) are fantastic, and everything is clean and colorful in that true over-the-top Disney fashion. It's also fun to see washed-up folks like Ernest Borgnine and Anthony Perkins give their best bad-acting performances, not to mention Roddy McDowall as Vincent the floating R2-D2. I love this movie, for all its bad points and its good ones!

    2.12.2003

    Balto : 3 of 5

    Balto is the legendary half-wolf, half-dog that helped a sled team of snow dogs transport medicine to a small town in Alaska, which saved a lot of sick people. There's a statue of Balto in Central Park in New York City (which is featured in the movie during the live action bookends). The animation is very well done, with great character acting and emotions (you know it's good when animation can make animals sexy). The story is exciting, too, although the last third kind of goes on and on with literal cliffhangers. Overall, Balto is a great film, and that's a huge Mikey compliment, considering it isn't a Disney film!

    2.11.2003

    Walt Disney Treasures: Mickey Mouse in Black & White : 5 of 5

    This is the third of the Walt Disney Treasures that I got for Christmas, and of course, it's another treat. I really enjoyed the Mickey Mouse in Living Color set from last year, and it was a great set up for these black & white cartoons, including Steamboat Willie. Watching the ancient Mickey pull cats tales, smoke, and steal kisses from Minnie is hilarious, since Mickey would never do such a thing today! I also love how all of the older cartoons are in constant rhythm - anything a character does is always right with the beat of the soundtrack. There are lots of cute plot lines that involve nothing more than Mickey and Minnie getting together to play music or eat lunch - so simple and sweet. What a fantastic collection!

    2.10.2003

    The Time Machine : 2 of 5

    I'm a big fan of the original movie of this HG Wells novel, so I was pretty interested in seeing this big budget remake, but then I totally missed it at the theater! I finally rented the DVD to see what I missed, and though it was entertaining, it wasn't much. The beginning of the movie was great, since I love seeing the typical bumbling professor schtick in turn of the century London, and I even thought the newly added premise of wanting to change the past to bring back his fiancee was cool. But I think they skipped too quickly over the creation of the time machine, which is my favorite part of the original, since they needed to squeeze in the "can't change the past" plot line. The rest of the film was OK, though the ending was kind of weird for me. I guess there will never be a perfect remake.

    Breakfast for dinner

    This weekend there were some major cooking events at Mikey's condo. On Friday, Ernesto and Matt (visiting from Japan) cooked up a nice sausage barbecue, along with some broccoli and macaroni and cheese. On Saturday, I had a "cartoon & breakfast" party, and all my pals cooked up bacon, eggs, french toast, and pancakes - they even brought over a juicer to make carrot juice and apple juice! The funny thing is almost every pot and pan I own were used - some of them for the first time ever. I didn't even know I had a vegetable steamer!

    Cartoon Party

    Mikey invites his pals to celebrate "Saturday morning" on a Saturday night! Classic cartoons, loads of cereal, wacky pajamas, and flying kiddos make it a night to remember.

    View photos: Cartoon Party 2003

    2.09.2003

    Electric Light Orchestra / Strange Magic : 4 of 5

    Another Christmas gift from my parents (yes, I has an awesome Christmas this year!), which has brought me hours of nostalgic joy. I was a big ELO fan during middle school and beyond - I can remember buying most of their albums and listening to them over and over. This is a two CD set - the first CD has many early songs that I didn't recognize, but then suddenly some crazy keyboard line poured from my speakers and brought with it a flood of memories! All of the great songs are here - it was so much fun to hear them again!

    2.08.2003

    Saint Etienne / Continental : 5 of 5

    This is a Japanese import album that I bought several months ago, but I forgot to review it until now! This has quickly become one of my favorite Saint Etienne albums - I simply can't believe that this CD was never released in the US! It certainly is well worth the import price. The whole album does a great job of bridging the gap between danceable tunes and the more esoteric stuff. He's On the Phone is simply a fantastic song - I can listen to it over and over!

    Diana Krall / Live in Paris : 4 of 5

    Ernesto bought me this great CD for my birthday. I have most of Diana Krall's earlier albums, but I stopped listening to her when she became too mainstream contemporary (lots of strings and mellow tempos - a little too sappy). This is a live album, and I'm happy to say that it's fantastic! She is so much more suited to this style - straight ahead jazz with a simple rhythm section (all fantastic musicians). She performs many of her earlier songs with bouncier speed and great solos - there's also a version of Billy Joel's Just the Way You Are!

    2.07.2003

    Disney Karaoke Vol 1, 2, 3 : 3 of 5

    I got all three of these CDs for Christmas, and they've been tons of fun to sing with. Each CD has around 10 classic Disney songs, both with and without vocals. They aren't the original soundtracks, but they're still pretty close (most of them sound like they were produced with synthesizers rather than an orchestra). The non-vocal versions have some sort of soft instrument playing the melody over the accompaniment, so you have something to go by when you're singing. I've had a blast singing with these in the car!

    Saint Etienne / Finisterre : 4 of 5

    This is Saint Etienne's newest release, which I got from my parents for Christmas. Their last couple albums have been pretty minimalist - very cool to listen to, but not very suited as a soundtrack for driving (which is my primary listening environment for CDs before they hit the iPod). Finisterre returns to the super fun dance music of the early Saint Etienne, while still keeping hints of the sophisticated sense of their recent work. There's a little bit of soft rap on here, and some weird vocal interstitials, but nothing detracts from the great music.

    2.06.2003

    Wal-Mart

    I have nothing against saving money, but I am against militant penny-pinching. I'm just not into suffering through an giant, over-crowded, messy store to save a few bucks. I only go there if I need to look for PEZ or something, and I swear that each and every visit is enhanced by the smell of a full diaper wafting through the aisles.

    Home Depot

    I am the anti-handyman and proud of it. Never do anything you don't want to do if you can pay someone else to do it! I goes without saying that I hate hardware stores, and Home Depot is the worst (I like to call it Home Creepo). The parking lot it always full of too-huge trucks and the store is full of sawdust-stinking, flannel-overwearing dudes. I only go there if I absolutely need a special lightbulb or something.

    2.05.2003

    Little Mikey at Disneyland

    See some of the beginnings of Mikey's Disney mania! See Mikey's beautiful parents and grandparents! See Mikey's authentic mouse ears!

    View photos: Disneyland 1970

    Almost finished

    It turns out that the DDR mix that I am closest to "finishing" (passing every song, all levels) is DDR Extra Mix (with the naughty nurse!). I just passed two 9-footers in a row! I tried to pass a third, but my legs completely gave up on me - I'm still recovering. Six more songs to go and it's mine!

    2.04.2003

    Mikey's 36th Birthday

    Mikey and pals have a few colorful drinks and are suddenly surprised by a flaming creme brulee! (OK, it was just a candle.)

    View photos: Mikey's Birthday 2003

    2.03.2003

    Wink wink, Cindy

    Have you seen the latest Walt Disney World commercial with the guy sucking in his gut while he flirts with Cinderella from afar? What a fantastic commercial that I can completely relate to! (Yes, I love the Disney princesses. Yes, I love to smile at them!)

    Just reminding you again that Tom's continuing Uzbek adventures are being updated on Tom's WebWorld.

    Dinners for Tom

    It took three going away events to get Tom to leave! Here are the final two dinners: one at Buca di Beppo, and the last at Ernesto and Lisa's pad.

    View photos: Dinners for Tom

    Eliza's 30th Birthday

    Eliza holds royal court at the Cheesecake Factory, while her loyal subjects bestow her with gifts (and eat dessets the size of trucks).

    View photos: Eliza's Birthday 2003

    2.01.2003

    IMAX experience

    Today I got up early, filled up the gas tank, got a triple venti non-fat latte, cranked up the Beach Boys and drove to San Antonio to see The Lion King on IMAX! The weather was beautiful, and it seemed like such a short drive. I loved the movie - this was my first Disney IMAX experience, and it was nothing short of spectacular! After the movie, I enjoyed a chili dog and a root beer float on the Riverwalk (where they always have one of those Peruvian flute/pipe bands playing), then headed home. On the way I stopped in San Marcos at the outlet mall to visit the Disney Store Catalog Outlet! It was really fun, but I didn't buy anything (most of their clothes are for women - discrimination!). I was wearing a Walt Disney World shirt, so a nice woman talked to me about the parks. She is going in a couple of months for her 40th birthday (Happy birthday, whoever you are!).

    On a sadder note, I was shocked to hear about the space shuttle Columbia today. I'm a fan of our space program - earlier this week I had watched the live feed from NASA TV on the web of the shuttle astronauts, and now they are gone. Most people my age refer to the Challenger disaster as the "Kennedy assassination" of my generation - everyone I know remembers that day (I was eating a cheeseburger in the OU Student Union). It's a little strange to have been away from the media for this disaster - I don't think I've really accepted it yet.