10.31.2003

My iPod

It's no secret that I'm an iPod addict. My trusty iPod is usually no more than 10 feet away from me 24 hours a day - I listen to it in the morning, all day at work, and in the evening, too. (Oh, if only I could listen to it in the car without resorting to FM reception, but that's another story.) I'm a fanatic about syncing it with my iBook so that all my MP3s have correct stats, plus it constantly keeps my listening fresh. It keeps me going through every flight when I travel, and I almost wish I had to ride a train or subway daily just so I could listen to it more!

It all started when that amazing commercial aired, featuring the guy bopping around his apartment listening to Take California by the Propellerheads. First, I loved the song, since I was newly crazy about dance music thanks to DDR. Second, I was already an MP3 fan, and I had already enjoyed using an Rio MP3 player in the past (which could hold about 25 songs and took 20 minutes to transfer over serial!), so I was really excited about a new device that could "do it right". Third, I'm an Apple fan from way back, but I hadn't used a Macintosh at home for a few years, so the time seemed right to jump back in. So, that silly commercial hooked me into buying an iPod, plus an iBook so I could finally realize my dream of ripping my entire CD collection and listening to it on this cool device!
My dream has come true - every CD I own, from the Beach Boys to Beethoven, is on my hard drive, which means it's periodically on my iPod. I absolutely love the fact that I'm constantly cycling through my collection - everything gets a day in the spotlight. I get to hear the tracks on a disc that I forgot I liked, plus I get to hear entire CDs that I forgot I owned! With about 7,500 tunes, it's starting to feel like I always have new music. On the other hand, my thirst for new CDs actually has gone up, since I know I can easily just work new stuff into my magic rotation system! The magic comes from iTunes, which is easily the best MP3 ripper, organize, and player I've ever used. Thanks to Smart Playlists, I can fill my iPod with dance songs with "groove" in the title that I haven't heard in the past two weeks, or any kind of criteria like that!
Of course, I went through the "cool case" phase. I think I bought about five cases before settling on one! The iPod is tough to case, because you need a balance between protection and allowing the beauty of the device to shine through! I settled on the iSkin, and I have a few of those in different colors to suit my mood. Truthfully, I like it because it has a little loop so I can attach one of the many keitai (cell phone) straps that I bought in Japan!

My iPod is the original 5GB version with the actual moving scroll wheel, and of course, now they are selling 40GB models with a cool new design. I'm extremely tempted to upgrade - I don't really need the extra space, since I sync so often, but the new look is very tasty (so thin!), and you can do a few more things on it that I like, such as rating each song as you listen to it. (You can rate songs in iTunes, but I don't listen very often on my iBook, since I like to plug in to my stereo, and the whole point of the iBook is surfing in my rocking chair! That's why I need another Mac to act as a jukebox - maybe there's an iMac in my future.) Someday I will definitely get a new iPod, but I don't regret the hours of entertainment this good ol' original has given me.

Music is one of life's mysteries and greatest pleasures. Why shouldn't it be right at my side? I never know when the mood will strike and I simply must hear some Spice Girls, or some Blossom Dearie, or the Cowboy Bebop theme song, or the Enchanted Tiki Room, or a memory-filled Day Jobs track. My cool little iPod helps make me a happy guy.

10.29.2003

Legacy of the Jedi / Jude Watson : 4 of 5

Jude Watson is just a fantastic Star Wars author - no doubt about it. She knows these characters better than the screenwriters, that's for sure! This amazing book spans four generations of Jedi Masters and their Padawans. First, we meet young Dooku and witness the seeds of his fall to the Dark Side. As expected, the book does a great job of generating sympathy for characters that will be evil in the future, since redemption is such an important part of the Star Wars mythos. Next, we meet young Qui Gon with Dooku as his master, which is such a different type of relationship than I've read about in the Jedi Apprentice series. Third, we read about young Obi-Wan and Qui Gon, which is exactly as expected, and fourth, Anakin and Obi Wan, which I've been enjoying in the Jedi Quest series. There's really no need to discuss the plot - it's enough just to experience all of these characters and discover what makes them tick. Any Star Wars fan will enjoy this book!

Sorry, wrong number

Thanks to several wrong number calls on my cell phone, I've discovered that I have the same phone number as the McDonald Observatory at UT Austin. Only the area code is different, so when people call they just don't want to accept that they've dialed a wrong number. It's pretty funny - someday I just need to say "We're all too busy today because we're tracking an Imperial Star Destroyer just past Jupiter." Oh well, I don't really mind - I used to listen to Star Date on the radio, so I think the Observatory is pretty cool.

Man, getting ready to move is crazy. There are so many things to do that I've got to make every moment count. My goal every day this week is to come home for lunch, eat a sandwich, pack three boxes, and call a utility to schedule my service transfer. So far so good!

Laisse Tomber les Filles / April March / Chick Habit

10.27.2003

New iPod

Not too long after I wrote my love letter to my iPod, I broke down and betrayed my original MP3 pal for a spanking new 20GB model (don't worry, my old iPod went to a loving new home). I'm totally thrilled with my purchase - the new iPod is so much sleeker and so incredibly cool! I'm pretty psyched about carrying 4,000 songs around with me, too. To celebrate, I bought a few songs from the iTunes Music Store, which is really impressive. Now I'm starting my new iPod case collection - I already have two of the new iSkin eXos! I think I'll order a glow-in-the-dark case next.

O Mio Babbino Caro / Charlotte Church

Star Trek: Nemesis : 2 of 5

I used to be a big fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation - I only use the past tense because I don't really watch the reruns anymore, but the show was always excellent. Now I watch old Voyager and the new Enterprise without fail, so I'm definitely a Star Trek fan in general. Anyway, I decided to rent Nemesis, since I missed it in the theaters, but it definitely didn't rekindle any of my former fandom. It starts with a pretty goofy wedding for Riker and Troi, including a classic Data-being-stupid moment, and then gets into the plot fairly quickly, involving a clone of Jean Luc and the Romulans. Overall, I have to say it was pretty boring - I definitely wasn't on the edge of my seat. There are some great effects moments - the Enterprise full-on ramming the enemy ship was fantastic. In case you didn't know, this movie includes the end of Data, but it doesn't hold a candle to the death of Spock in The Wrath of Khan!

10.25.2003

Tokyo Disneyland CDs : 4 of 5

I ordered these official Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea CDs from a great place called CDJapan (the site itself isn't so hot, but the prices were about 30% off Amazon's import prices!), since I really enjoyed my visit there this year. The Tokyo Disneyland CD is pretty similar to other park CDs that I have, with some of the same attraction music and songs, but the Japanese versions are so much fun. My favorite tracks are Mickey and Minnie's answering machines (from ToonTown) - you haven't lived until you've heard Donald Duck speak Nihongo! The Tokyo DisneySea CD is also fantastic, since they wrote a "theme song" for each land of the park, with full orchestra and English lyrics! Listening to these tracks really makes me want to visit again. These are great CDs for theme park geeks like me!

Looking good, Stitch

I've been watching the new Lilo & Stitch series on the Disney Channel, and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. Most Disney series based on animated features are pretty dismal, but this one has a lot going for it! Nearly all of the original voice talent from the movie is here, and they've done a great job of keeping the watercolor background look (I wonder if it really is watercolor?). The animation is also nice - Stitch always looks just right, and Lilo stays on-model most of the time. It's not a ground-breaking show, but it's definitely TiVo-worthy!

Yesterday evening the Greatest American Heroes played the Fall carnival at Galindo Elementary School (where my pal Eliza works), and as the sun went down while we were playing, the clouds all around us turned the most beautiful, brightest orange I've ever seen. It was like we were in the middle of a sunset! See, if I had a camera on my phone I could show it to you - one day I will!

Mac OS X Panther is really cool. They always say a new operating system will be faster, but this time it's no joke - my iBook is definitely peppier! There are so many subtle interface tweaks that are so nice. I'm especially enjoying the slightly condensed font (a new default, I guess) - it really looks elegant!

Submarine Voyage / Disneyland

10.23.2003

Yatta!

Good news, Mikey fans - I aced my first Japanese quiz writing the whole thing in hiragana and katakana! I was a little stressed about it, but practice really does pay off. (I definitely recommend Nuku and Hiragana & Katakana for Mac users!) Our sensei was really funny - she walked around the room looking at our papers, grinning from ear to ear. She said that she felt like a mother watching her babies take their first steps - she was so happy we were actually writing in Japanese! By the way, that's "Michael" (Maikuru) in katakana!

In Love Again / Blossom Dearie / May I Come In

Princess Nine Vol 5 : 4 of 5

I've really been enjoying Princess Nine - it's a great anime to watch one episode at a time when I come home for lunch. I just now realized that this series only has six volumes, so the next one is the end! This DVD had some great episodes, mainly because the plot has fully solidified the many love triangles going on (and even throws in the fact that the coach has it for Ryo's mom, just for fun!). One of the episodes is about Kanako and her dad, who grants her a birthday wish to keep the team alive (it was almost squashed from the big scandal about Ryo's dad). The team is now at an intense training camp, where Izumi becomes a whole new level of bitch - I don't even like her right now. The big problem now is that Yuki (kind of my favorite character) has lost Fifi-chan (her little good luck doll)! How can they get everything resolved in only one more DVD?

10.21.2003

Nice / Puffy AmiYumi : 4 of 5

As soon as I heard the Teen Titans theme song for the first time, I knew I had to buy this CD. I was already a Puffy fan, so it wasn't a tough decision! Besides the theme song, I really hadn't heard any "new" Puffy, since I'm mostly familiar with their older hits, so it was great to find out they're still really fun and even hipper! The album does a good job of mixing several styles, from the edgy (but still bubblegum) feel of Planet Tokyo (which has awesome English lyrics) to some groovy latin beats. The girls' voices are as cute as ever, and the harmonies are cool, too. Of course, the Teen Titans theme is awesome, but I wish they had included the Japanese version they play every now and then on Cartoon Network. This CD is full of excellent driving with the windows down music!

Panther on the prowl

This is a big week for Mac users like me, since Mac OS X 10.3 Panther is coming on Friday! I've always been happy with new versions of the Mac operating system. This version has some great Finder improvements I'm looking forward to (like Expose, which lets you see all your open windows at once), an updated Mail application, plus tons of other features and speed enhancements (which is always appreciated by my little iBook). The coolest thing about this upgrade was the price - since now I'm an official daigakusei (college student), I was able to buy it at student pricing, which is about 40% off retail! Doomo arigatoo, Apple!

Hikari / Utada Hikaru / Deep River

10.19.2003

Agent Aika Vol 2 : 2 of 5

Yes, I rented the second volume of the "all panty shots" action adventure, but mainly because there are only two volumes, and I'm a sucker for completing something once I start it. The story and the characters are actually much better in this one - there's not much personality development, but the plots are a little more interesting, I guess. First, Aika is seduced by a girl dressed as a guy (apparently just for the humiliation), and then she is tricked into submitting to a physical exam (because the enemies need her data to combat her, of course). The last episode is just crazy - their entire office building is destroyed and Aika is missing, but she finally returns and convinces the bad girls to call off the battle. There's no avoiding how weird this show is, but I can't deny it was a little entertaining.

Space Mountain surprise

I don't know if this is 100% confirmed yet, but it looks like they are re-painting Space Mountain at Disneyland in white! This is fantastic news to me - the original color scheme for Tomorrowland was all white, looking very "future clean" and cool, so I've never really appreciated the bronze and gold Buck Rogers look. When I visited Tokyo Disneyland, I was really impressed with their white Space Mountain, so I'm hoping Anaheim's will look just as great. What a great nostalgic way to get ready for Disneyland's 50th anniversary!

Someone Else's Heart / Squeeze / East Side Story

10.17.2003

I'm golden

Thanks to two major trips this year (Japan and Hawaii), I have been awarded AAdvantage Gold status! I got my fancy card and membership kit from American Airlines in the mail a few days ago. Now for the next year of vacations I'm going to be getting on the plane first! That's right, I'm going to be Mr. Pre-boarding in 2004, so please stand aside while I approach the gate, lowly travelers. I'll get to flash my card for the first time when I fly home for Christmas!

Here's a new fun feature for you (as long as I don't get tired of doing it): I'm going to start posting the song that was playing on my iPod as I was writing each entry (since I'm always listening to my iPod). Check out what Mikey's groovin' to now!

Such a Beautiful Girl Like You / Pizzicato Five / Playboy & Playgirl

Jim Carrey

I can remember seeing Jim Carrey for the first time on In Living Color, and I thought he was pretty funny, even if his face was made of rubber. Then I saw Ace Ventura and I couldn't believe how stupid he was! He's just gotten worse since then, playing every single role as the same bizarre, loud idiot. Even though he has done some OK work (such as The Majestic), I can never forgive him for completely destroying the characters of the Riddler and the Grinch! Please retire, Jim, and give us all a break.

Alice from DDR

I'm not the only one who's in love with Alice, the cutest little dancing bunch of pixels in the whole Dance Dance Revolution world - I found quite a few fan sites on the web looking for this image! Alice is adorable, even though she doesn't wear a short skirt like the other DDR girls. She's cool enough in her T-shirt and jeans, and don't forget those suspenders hanging loose from her waist, because that's her look, dude. Alice seems quiet and reserved with her Mona Lisa smile, but of course, she loves to dance!

10.16.2003

Astro Boy Vol 2 / Osamu Tezuka : 3 of 5

My pal Matt, who introduced me to Astro Boy, recently went crazy and decided to send me his books - I'm very grateful, because now I can continue to enjoy this great series! This volume has some fun stories dealing with the rights of robots, who have become full-fledged members of society. There's a great scene where Astro switches heads with a robot president to help him make a speech (because his brain has been removed, of course). Next, a cool robot magician is framed by a rival human magician who makes a duplicate robot to commit crimes, and finally a robot sister puts her mechanical brain into a race car for her beloved brother (who never knew his sister was a robot). The imaginative things that robots can do with their interchangeable Lego parts is really entertaining! I'm looking forward to more adventures in Volume 3!

Walking stick

The other day when I came home for lunch there was a magnificent walking stick outside my condo. He was just stuck to the side of the wall (I wonder how they do that?), and he was the best looking walking stick I've ever seen. Here's a picture that doesn't do him justice! When I left home an hour later, he was still there, in exactly the same position - maybe he was sleeping. At the end of the workday, he was gone, so I guess he crawled away to hide himself in some twigs or something.

10.15.2003

Don't touch the sides!

I used to love playing Operation (a Milton Bradley game) when I was younger. I remember getting it for Christmas and having a great time "taking out his spare ribs for $100". I couldn't believe it the other day when I saw a commercial for Operation Brain Surgery! It's the same game, but you reach into the poor guy's head and pull out stuff that shouldn't be there. It's just too weird! Kids sticking their hands right into a cerebral cortex is one of the most bizarre ideas ever.

Yesterday I realized that Smallville and Enterprise (pretty much the only two network series I watch regularly) have moved to the same time slot (thanks for the tip, Mom & Dad)! Luckily, I was able to adjust my TiVo Season Passes so it will record Smallville during its original broadcast, then catch Enterprise during its encore presentation later in the week. Whew!

The Lion King : 5 of 5

Of course, The Lion King is one of the best animated films ever made, so all I need to review is it's presentation on DVD! This is the third Platinum Edition DVD set, and even though I enjoyed the bonus materials of the last two (Snow White and Beauty and the Beast) more, this set still contains some really interesting and fun stuff to watch. I enjoyed each of the mini-documentaries covering different aspects of production, music, and even the Broadway show, and some of the games were fun (but once is enough). The new animation for Morning Report is pretty good, but it's so short that it doesn't seem like much of a big deal. The best features are the special home theater sound mix, which sounds incredible, and the excellent commentary, which features Don Hahn (whom I really admire) and the directors discussing tons of details as they happen in the film (like all commentaries should!). The movie itself looks wonderful, and I plan on watching it more than a few times!

10.14.2003

Enjoying Kerouac

I've been a Jack Kerouac fan for a long, long time, and I've always enjoyed his prose and poetry. I've read his works many times, and when I read one of his biographies, I always seem to cry a little before I reach the end. Thankfully, there are some amazing recordings of Jack reading his own work, including some with Steve Allen improvising on piano in the background. The other day my iPod started playing October in the Railroad Earth (one of my absolute favorites), and everytime I hear it, I have to stop whatever I'm doing and simply enjoy it. The words are an amazing picture of San Francisco, railroad work, the differences between people, and the beauty of everything that is life.

Nihongo no kurasu (Japanese class) update: I've been doing great on all the quizzes and tests so far, but this week we're switching to full-on Japanese writing (hiragana, katakana, and some kanji). Kowai!

Pokemon Pinball / GameBoy Advance : 5 of 5

I used to love playing Pokemon Pinball on my old GameBoy Color - I like games that I can learn in five minutes or less, and nothing is easier to control than a pair of pinball flippers! This new version of one of my favorite games is excellent on GameBoy Advance! The graphics and sound are really nice, and the movement of the ball rolling as the screen scrolls vertically up and down the pinball table is fantastic. There are two playfields to choose from, and each has lots of fun things to light up so you can start "Catch Em" mode and nab some Pokemon, which are all stored for you in your Pokedex (providing a reason for playing over and over again). Even though this game features tons of new Pokemon that I never learned about in my Poke-phase, it's still a blast to catch one of my old favorites (like Jigglypuff!).

10.11.2003

Simba's eyes

Yesterday I watched tons of bonus material on The Lion King DVD (review coming soon, mochiron), and I've been admiring the character design. The little highlights under the lions' eyes totally make all the difference - it's genius! It really gives the face depth and more expressiveness. I'm sure everyone reading this has the DVD by now (yeah, right), so check it out.

I went to see the International Tubadores (my pals Lisa, Jonathan, and Chris) play this week at Asti - Eliza and I had a fantastic dinner, drank wine, and listened to their great music. Their style is absolutely perfect for that place - accordion, mandolin and euphonium at just the perfect sound level, strolling around from table to table. It was easy to see that everyone in the place loved it. I'm definitely planning on going to see them more often!

One of the joys of life is playing Game Boy Advance all snuggly in bed, since that beautiful backlit screen is awesome in total darkness! Now if I could only keep my hands from falling asleep while I'm lying on my back holding the game above my head.

Beautiful Girls : 3 of 5

Sometimes I'm convinced that a gremlin puts movies into my Netflix queue, because I often end up watching a DVD that I have no memory of at all. I really have no idea why I rented Beautiful Girls, but my guess is that I was interested in Natalie Portman after her Amidala role, so I thought I would watch something else she did. She only has a small part in this movie, but cute and charming anyway, as kind of a wise Lolita next door. The plot is about a guy who returns to his small town home for a reunion, and he and all his friends go through episodes with women - the usual stuff. However, I did actually enjoy it, since it really touched on some aspects of courtly love (wanting is better than having) and the nature of beauty - pretty amazing for a movie with Matt Dillon and Rosie O'Donnell, huh?

10.10.2003

Facing Future / Israel Kamakawiwo'ole : 5 of 5

During my recent trip to Hawaii, I constantly heard a lot of fantastic music on the street, in bars, and even playing in the airport. One of the live performers mentioned "Iz" (as his fans called him), and I couldn't get his songs out of my head, so I had to buy this CD. I guarantee that your stress level will fall by 50% as soon as you listen this music! Most of it is simply ukulele and singing, sometimes with bass, but it's completely fantastic in it's simplicity - you can hear every cool chord on those high strings, and Iz's voice is smooth and heavenly. There are a few duds on the disc (especially Hawaiian Superman), but even those are kind of fun and don't bother me. Everyone will know the song from the eToys commercial, but this CD is way better than that.

Japan by phone

I love my Sony Ericsson T68i cell phone, but I'm seriously jonesing for a camera phone! I love looking at sites with moblogs (mobile blogs), since they usually include camera phone shots that capture the spontaneity of everyday life. I can't wait for the Z600! Anyway, my pal Matt in Japan (where a cell phone without a camera is like a sandwich without bread) recently joined the revolution and sent me some pics one night (which was morning for me). Here's a few that illustrate his journey home from work with a stop for some groceries. I don't know why I love this stuff so much, but I think it's way cool!

10.09.2003

Breaking drumsticks

I'm sure you've always wondered, "What kind of drumstick does Mikey use?" Since I was trained in jazz drumming, I started with a light stick, so I quickly settled on ProMark 7As (made of Japanese oak), with the nylon tip, because I love to hear the high end in my cymbals. When I play with the Greatest American Heroes, we can get pretty energetic (especially if the crowd is fun), which really calls for a heavier stick, but I just can't do it - I need that light rebound bounce to keep me going. So, that means that I break sticks pretty often with GAH (including the last two gigs). I don't mind though, since it makes me feel like I'm really having a good time, and I have enough sticks to last me for years. About three years ago I bought a case from zZounds, since I have an old friend named Mark Schoenhals who used to work there (and he still might), and he got me such a good deal - I still have lots of sticks to break!

Princess Nine Vol 4 : 3 of 5

This volume kicks off with the second half of the big game, which the girls must win for the right to play boys baseball! Things get really rough, and then Ryo figures out how to throw the "lightning ball" (which seems to gain it's power from sheer determination), so it's victory for the team! Everything goes downhill from here, though - the "scandal" behind Ryo's dad is revealed, and Ryo is crushed, plus all the negative media seems certain to dissolve the team. Izumi is a total bitch through it all, as Ryo runs off to her home town to discover what her dad was really like, and almost dies saving some orphans in a storm! Suddenly, Izumi realizes that she "needs" Ryo as her rival - just like Hook needs Peter Pan. It's nice how this series is interesting without resorting to giant robots or anything like that. Not my favorite volume of the series so far, but still really enjoyable - I'm ready for some more baseball action, though!

10.07.2003

Boba Fett 4: Hunted / Elizabeth Hand : 4 of 5

Another fascinating look into Star Wars history is contained is this cool book - the first meeting of Boba Fett with Jabba the Hutt! Boba heads to good ol' Tatooine to follow Jango's advice (from his "book of wisdom" that he left to his son), and we immediately have a wonderful adventure with characters we all know and love, which is why I enjoy these books so much! There's some cantina action, traveling on Jabba's sail barge, the introduction of Boba's jet pack, and even mention of the Sarlaac (which is kind of creepy since Boba will end up as lunch someday). The only downside is that Boba really becomes a hero at the end of this story, which is just a little over the top for a kid who's goal is to become a dangerous criminal, but it's still a great plot. Besides the excellent first book, this volume may be my favorite of the series!

Upselling jerks

I saw a movie at the Metropolitan last week, which used to be one of my favorite theaters. They have some of the best stadium seating (great elevation) and sound in Austin - my pals and I specifically picked it for big movies like The Phantom Menace and X-Men. Last week, however, the stupid concession stand seriously stained their reputation. First, they give each person in line the hard sell for a popcorn/M&Ms combo, which makes the line slow! I like M&Ms anyway, so I decided to get the combo just to save time. But then they go into upsell mode and try to push the mega-bucket size on me! All that talking and attempted convincing just makes the lines longer. If they would just shut up, they would sell more because people wouldn't be put off by the crowd!

Putting pigging out on popcorn aside, I just successfully completed yet another SportBrain challenge, just under the wire! This one took 30 days, so I didn't really get in gear until after returning from Hawaii. I never would have made it without DDR!

10.04.2003

Genius mustard

I've started eating sandwiches again (stop the presses!), so I bought some French's yellow mustard the other day. It has this funky new top that prevents any extra mustard to leak out of the nozzle after you squrit, which stops guys like me from licking it clean. It's an ingenious design - it's like squeezing mustard through the top of a McDonald's cup cover. I hope someone made enough money to retire on this!

Speaking of sandwiches, all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches must be cut diagonally, by official order of WEBmikey. Don't forget!

DDRMAX2 / PS2 : 5 of 5

I completely forgot to review DDRMAX, Konami's first US PS2 version of DDR, and now it's too late. It's also completely unnecessary, since DDRMAX2 is so much better! There's a large selection of songs, including some US releases (from artists like Dirty Vegas and Kylie Minogue), plus several of the songs have full screen artist videos! The videos are really cool, but steal your attention away from the arrows (so sneaky!). Tons of the songs have freeze arrows this time, which I have mixed feelings about, but I can deal with it. There are fantastic Nontop Mode courses, Endless Mode (which is awesome), and it's a ton of fun to unlock hidden songs and features (and the game lets you know your unlocking progress this time!). My favorite feature, though, is the return of the on-screen dancing characters (which they ripped out of DDRMAX), and they all look fantastic with crisp, smooth graphics. DDRMAX2 is an excellent game - great features, great songs, and a great mixture of difficulty levels to keep it interesting!

Hoover's Cooking : 3 of 5

I used to drive by Hoover's every week for two and half years on the way to Day Jobs rehearsal, but I had never eaten there until recently, when I went with Ernesto and his mom. The place was packed, but service was still pretty speedy, and everyone was having a good time and enjoying themselves. The menu has lots of comfort food items, kind of like Threadgill's (but no fried okra!), so I ordered the CFS (which every Texan knows is Chicken Fried Steak), plus mashed potatoes (with skins, of course) and macaroni and cheese, to complete the "total starch plate". The CFS was really good, but the macaroni wasn't so great (and I'm a big macaroni and cheese fan!). We didn't have desert, but they didn't have banana pudding anyway, so who cares? Hoover's is a pretty good place for a fun, casual meal.

10.03.2003

I want to do it all

Every now and then I get a really overwhelmed feeling, because there's so much I want to experience and not enough time to do it all. There are so many books I want to read, DVDs I want to watch, games I want to play, restaurants I want to try, places I want to visit, hobbies I want to start, friends I want to spend time with, and much, much more! Sometimes I just can't see past it all and I can't decide what to do with my free time - there are just too many choices! Oh well, I'm glad I'm interested in so many things, I just wish I had more time to enjoy them all.

According to my usual "beard schedule", I should start growing my winter face-fur about now. I was thinking about it today, but somehow I don't want to stop shaving yet. Maybe when it gets colder I'll let it grow, but for now I'm going to keep it clean.

Lost in Translation : 5 of 5

I went to see this amazing movie after reading Barron's comments on Takoyaki.org, mainly to see Tokyo and enjoy the Japanese setting. Surprisingly, the movie was so good that the story far surpassed my interest in Japan (though it was great to see Tokyo and Kyoto and to catch a few words that I knew). Lost in Translation is the story of two people looking for themselves - they just happen to be in Japan. Bill Murray is wonderful in his role, and Scarlett Johansson is spectacular (not to mention downright beautiful), both of them really getting their confused emotions across. The plot doesn't move very much - they meet, they spend time together, they say good bye, but the unspoken connection that they feel is incredible. I was left with a wonderful feeling of how people find what they need in other people, just as these two characters discover life in each other's company.

10.02.2003

Disneyland or Hawaii?

When I got back from Hawaii, several pals asked me if Hawaii was better than Disneyland (because they know how much I love Disneyland, and how much I loved Hawaii). It was an easy answer - Hawaii is some of the best the "real world" has to offer, but Disneyland is the best place in the world of fantasy. The real world is a spectacular, marvelous place that amazes me everyday, but truthfully, nothing beats the world of fantasy - a magical place where animals talk, princesses are beautiful, wishes come true, and even the scariest evil eventually falls off a cliff. Even though Disneyland is a physical place in the real world, being there has much more of an emotional effect than any other "real" place (for me and millions of other fanatics!).

DDRMAX2 update: I scored a 600 combo tonight playing Nonstop Mode! And I swear Charmy mooned me. (For those who don't know, the game randomly changes camera angles as the dancing characters do their thing, making for some interesting shots of the gals in skirts!)

Battle Athletes Victory Vol 2 : 3 of 5

Watching Battle Athletes and Princess Nine means I'm in the middle of two "sports" anime at the same time, but even though they both involve intense competition scenes, they are so different. I'm really impressed with both series though, and this volume really gets things moving. Jessie, the over-achiever American competing to go to University Satellite along with everyone else, really gets mad at Akari, because she's not a serious athlete even though her mom was the best athlete ever. So, after a really mean and humiliating challenge, Akari goes home. Her best friend shows up and finally talks her into returning (and we get a super dramatic argument scene that implies Akari's friend wants to be more than her friend), and now Akari is kicking butt! This is a great series that I plan on enjoying to the very end.

10.01.2003

Dancin' away

Today's topic is DDR - I've been playing the new DDRMAX2 for PlayStation 2 (Last 5 review coming soon) and having a total blast! I played for an hour today (which is great for my current SportBrain challenge, since I really need the steps), and pretty much every day since last weekend. It feels great to break a sweat again. Here's a few random DDRMAX2 comments:

  • Break Away is a super cool song - the energy is amazing! I've only heard it once before, when I played DDR in New York City and this kid Chucky sang all the words (in Japanese) while I was playing.
  • DDRMAX2 brings back the dancers (they took them away in the first DDRMAX), and I love dancing with my favorite gals again (Alice and Emi). The new graphics make them cuter than ever!
  • I can't believe I never discovered Event Mode before. Now I can play game after game without going through the credits and all that stuff!
  • The announcer keeps saying "You're not an ordinary fella!", and every time he stats to say "You're not..." I think it's going to say something like "You're not following the beat!". I've gotta get used to that!
  • My beloved Ignition Pad has a bad sensor on the left arrow - what a bummer! I guess I finally just stomped it into the next dimension. Now I'm back to my regular dance pad (still RedOctane, of course), but my feet miss the cushy goodness of the Ignition.