12.19.2003

Holiday tears

I just finished watching It's a Wonderful Life and crying like a baby (as usual) - the last ten minutes are a symphony of emotion! It's just fantastic and makes me feel fantastic. I know the final scenes so well that I start crying just before things happen (I was losing it about 30 seconds before George's brother comes home). I just love that movie! Now I'm feeling warm and happy and ready to be home with my parents for Christmas!

12.14.2003

Jonathan's Pie Party

Every year Jonathan celebrates the holidays with his annual pie party - that's all anyone wants to eat anyway, right? This year along with the usual goodies there were pizza pies and even Frito chili pie!

View photos: Pie Party 2003

Frakin' great

I can't believe it - the new Battlestar Galactica is absolutely incredible! So far there's nothing about it I don't like - the "re-imagined" storyline is brilliant, the acting is great, the effects are awesome (I love the simulated battle cinematography, with all the quick zooms and hand-held feel), and they even said "frak" and "cubits" (gotta keep that old vocabulary alive)! I've only watched Part One so far, but they have seriously done a fantastic job on this show. (As long as they don't introduce any singing women with two mouths and four eyes, everything will be just fine!)

Let It Snow! / Ray Conniff Singers / We Wish You a Merry Christmas

12.13.2003

Cowl-less at last

I'm taking a break from hanging pictures, and I just watched a fantastic episode of Justice League! Most of the episode is told through a bizarre TV show hosted by the Joker, including an on-screen real-time countdown clock (which the Justice League has to beat to prevent the Vegas strip from being blown-up). Any episode with the Joker is cool, but the added bonus is that the constant Green Lantern/Hawkgirl romance finally comes out in the open! We get to see Hawkgirl without her cowl (I wasn't even sure that thing would come off) and some super-smooching. Now, if they would only do something with the Batman/Wonder Woman/Superman triangle thing, we could turn this action cartoon into a soap opera!

Mikey likes fried-egg sandwiches! Yummy yummy!

Konnichiwa / Shonen Knife / Happy Hour

12.11.2003

Jedi Quest 7: The Moment of Truth / Jude Watson : 3 of 5

Another excellent story in the Jedi Quest series, with much more focus on exactly what's going on in Anakin's head. The story is fairly interesting, but it really doesn't matter, since to me the stories are just a backdrop for the author to crank out these fantastic characterizations. Every time she stops in the middle of battle to talk about what Obi Wan or Anakin are thinking is just wonderful - these are the kind of moments that you can't get in the movies! In this story Anakin is drugged by the bad guy (whom we find out is another cross-over from Jedi Apprentice!) so he's numb to his emotions, and he realizes how tormented he usually is by guilt and other pressures. He even has a real Gethsemane moment when he cries to Obi Wan that he doesn't want to be the Chosen One! The pacing of this story was a little off - the last few chapters read like the author realized she was running out of paper or something. But overall, it's another book in the series that always keeps me wanting more!

Keeping tradition

I just watched my Christmas DVDs, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I love seeing these classics every year! Rudolph is just so fantastic - all of the songs and goofy jokes, and the effects are pretty amazing for 1964. Now I'm feeling all Christmasy, but I wish my condo had more decorations (maybe next year). It looks pretty sparse compared to the wall-to-wall decorations in my parents' house right now - I can't wait to visit in a few days and take it all in! Happy Holidays, everyone!

Speedy Netflix

I've been a fan of Netflix since day one - I've rented literally hundreds of DVDs, so I've been able to watch the service get better and better. Recently they have been just spectacular - I think they've opened lots of local processing centers or something. Anyway, last week I mailed two DVDs back on a Monday and got two more from my queue on Tuesday! Now that's fast!

It's fun to watch English subtitles when you know a little Japanese. One word you hear often is sugoi, which means "amazing" or "cool". The other day someone said it on an NHK interview, and they subtitled it as "far out". I laughed for about five minutes - what a translation!

Speaking of Nihongo, my final was exhausting, but I'm pretty certain I'll have an A for the course. Now I can relax and forget everything I've learned before I start Japanese II next semester!

OK, this won't be that exciting to everyone, but I just realized I can crop images in Preview, the built-in Mac OS X image application. This is awesome, because Preview is a super quick application, which means I won't have to wait for Photoshop Elements to launch all the time. Yokatta!

Eternal Flame / The Bangles / Greatest Hits

Karaoke Revolution / PS2 : 5 of 5

When I first read about this game, I couldn't wait to get it! I'm a closet karaoke lover - watching people sing is a blast, and I've been up there a few times myself. Anyway, this game is totally cool! The technology is amazing, too - it comes with a headset microphone that actually measures the pitch of your voice so you can be scored on your performance. There are scrolling lyrics and pitch that you have to match with your voice, something like DDR (without your feet). The indicator of where you are singing is really accurate and helpful! I also love the graphics - you get to see your animated character singing to different crowds in different venues, and if you mess up, the people hold their ears and walk out! The song selection is not bad - mostly contemporary hits, but with a few 80's numbers thrown in. The game is designed to use expansion discs, so I'm looking forward to buying those. Karaoke Revolution was a big hit with my pals - it's a great party game!

12.09.2003

iBook gifts

Tomorrow is my Japanese final, which means tonight is all study - I've already got the coffee made, so I'm ready to go over the past semester's work. I'm pretty amazed at the vocabulary I've learned - I would guess it's at least 350 words by now!

I recently bought some Christmas gifts for my loyal iBook. I decided to go ahead and max out the RAM (because I kept reading about Panther being even faster with more memory, which is correct!), plus I bought a new battery, since I had abused my original battery to the point of worthlessness. Now my good ol' iBook feels great again - I can actually use it for a few days without plugging it in, and the extra RAM really helps when I have a lot of applications open! Eventually I'm going to want a new Apple laptop (of course), but there's a lot of life left in my two year-old iBook.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear / Narada Christmas Collection

12.08.2003

Lucky pennies

Sumimasen for the lack of posting lately! Shitsuree shimasu! My only excuse is that I'm preparing for my Japanese final, plus I worked practically all weekend on a super top secret "Christmas surprise" for my pals. I'll tell you what it is after this weekend! Don't worry, I've been keeping a list of things I wanted to mention, such as...

I have a habit of keeping "lucky pennies" in my back pocket. When ever I find a penny, I keep it in my pocket for as long as I can. I never take them out, so they end up jangling in my dryer, and when I take them out of there, I usually put them in the back pocket of whatever pants I'm wearing at the time! Anyway, a few weeks ago I noticed that my latest lucky penny was a "wheat penny" from 1944. It's fascinating to me to think of that penny being pressed during World War II, circulating through thousands of hands and banks, and one day ending up dropped in the street so I could pick it up to honor my goofy superstitions! It's just mind boggling.

Charging

The Haunted Mansion : 3 of 5

I knew there was no way that this third movie in Disney's "ride inspired" series could be as good as Pirates of the Caribbean, especially since Eddie Murphy has a habit of making duds, but I'm happy to say that Haunted Mansion was pretty entertaining. The best news is that the film is extremely true to the ride - nearly every room and gag makes it on screen, and everything looks fantastic. I was amazed to see the changing portraits and even the following busts, and the hallway looked exactly like the ride! The graveyard ghosts were excellent, and the hitchhiking ghosts joke was awesome! My only complaints were some weird plot situations, such as the kids seeing their mom die, and they don't even scream or look worried (at least Eddie pretends to cry). They also did a great job of working in the theme music from the ride - it's practically everywhere! If I wasn't such a big fan of the ride, I'm not sure how I would feel about the movie, but as a "tribute" to one of the best attractions ever built, it does just fine!