11.30.2004

A photo a day

I've been successful so far with my goofy goal of snapping at least one mundane photo everyday with my camera phone! It's so easy to take a picture and immediately send it to the web, and I'm sure I'll stick with it for quite a while. My latest photo appears in the left margin, and you can click it to view it in all it's blurry glory on Flickr! (You can also leave comments on Flickr, which I would appreciate.) One of the coolest features of Flickr is the calendar view - I love seeing all the little thumbnails together (kind of like the joy of seeing my PEZ collection). Take a look at my Flickr calendar and enjoy the view! I think next month I'll stick with more of a theme - maybe a PEZ dispenser a day, or maybe a self-portrait series.

11.29.2004

Disneyland: The Nickel Tour / Bruce Gordon & David Mumford : 5 of 5

I've read many times that this is the best book on Disneyland ever published, so I bought it over a year ago, but it takes me a long time to get to huge coffee table books! I finally started reading this just before my last trip to the park, and now that I've finished it I can agree with the public opinion - this is an incredible book. "Nickel Tour" refers to the original price of Disneyland postcards, and this book is designed to be a collectors guide to the thousands of postcards produced over the last 50 years. Of course, to present all of these cards (which are some of the best photography of the park available), you have to tell the history of Disneyland, and the authors have written tons of detailed text to do just that. I've never read a better description of how the park has evolved - they discuss where different figures have moved and what buildings were recycled (such as the Fantasyland Theater becoming Pinocchio's Daring Adventure), and describe lots of great attractions that are gone forever. They photos are fantastic (and they really make me want to collect postcards!) and include everything from sketches to costumed characters to just about every major attraction. This is definitely an essential Disneyland history book - it's just disguised as a collector's checklist!

11.28.2004

Still studying

Even though my schedule didn't allow me to take Japanese III last semester, I still enjoy studying the language a little every day. I usually study a few pages from my textbook or from several other books I've bought, and of course watching anime and looking up words in my dictionary is fun, too. The other day I came across this great article, How to Learn a Language, which mentioned Rosetta Stone software. I had thought about trying language software before, but I could never decide on one. With this recommendation, I decided to give it a whirl, in spite of the expense! Plus, the online demo was really helpful, and I was glad the software works on both Macs and PCs. Anyway, I got the first Japanese package, and it's really helpful - I've finished 6 of 92 lessons, so I have a long way to go, but it's a great supplement to my learning. A lot of the concepts I've already covered in class, of course, but I've already learned several verbs that I didn't know before. Tanoshii!

11.27.2004

Chobits Vol 5 : 3 of 5

Once again the tone of this series has changed, and even though I would rather just see cute romantic scenes, the story that's unfolding is really interesting. The title of this volume is Disappearance, and all of these episodes involve the kidnapping of Chi! On her way to work, Chi is abducted by some persocom geek who has read about her on the net, and he captures her in his house to find out what makes her tick. Hideki goes crazy, of course, and spends each episode looking for her. One episode barely has a single scene with Chi, but instead has a long talk between Hideki and Chi's boss from the bakery, who tells his story about his own persocom whom he loved and even married! It has a tragic ending, but does a great job of keeping the theme of persocom/human relations in the forefront. Lots of other interesting things unfold as well - we learn that Hideki's landlord is totally involved in Chi's past (which explains why she has all these clothes that fit her!), and she is even the author of the picture books that Chi is drawn to! Thankfully, everyone helps Hideki find Chi and life returns to normal, but now the mystery is at it's peak, and I have no idea what will happen next. By the way, the closing credits song is so beautiful!

11.26.2004

Fantastic food

Another fun-filled (and food-filled) Thanksgiving has come and gone. Chris & Eliza always cook up an incredible dinner, and I'm so happy to be one of their pals so I can enjoy it! After we ate we looked at old pictures, played DDR and Karaoke Revolution, watched Chris & Eliza's wedding video, and slowly recovered from our food comas just enough energy to drive home about midnight. And the weekend is still ahead of me (which is great, since I have lots of video editing to work on)!

View photos: Thanksgiving 2004

11.25.2004

Here come the holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! What a wonderful morning! I just finished enjoying all four hours of parade fun (you get four hours if you watch it on two channels!), and it was definitely spectacular. I love it all, from the bad jokes to the bad lip-synching of the performers, and especially Santa Claus, who looked great this year! The Spongebob and Chicken Little balloons were really cool, but the new M&Ms balloon was so boring. During my parade fest, I has a pot of coffee, some fried eggs, my Mom's pumpkin bread (yummy!), and filled my condo with pipe smoke - ah, the holiday season! During the commercials I read some of the original Thanksgiving Proclamations by Washington and Lincoln - I was definitely feeling lots of holiday emotion, and Lincoln's proclamation was so beautiful that I got misty-eyed. I can definitely say those won't be the first happy Christmas tears for me - just wait until all the Christmas TV specials start!

11.24.2004

Tuna before turkey

It's a four-day weekend! After lots of dreary humid weather, today was in the 50s and sunny - fantastic weather for "windows down, music up" driving. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving dinner at Chris & Eliza's, so I went to the grocery store at lunch for champagne and orange juice (since I've been called the Mimosa King). Yesterday I picked up a couple of yummy pies, which I had to resist gobbling up last night. I had some tuna from a pouch for lunch - I eat canned tuna most of the time, but I thought I would give the pouch a try. It's definitely easy to open and eat, but it seemed a little weird to me - maybe just a little more fresh. I'll probably try it again for a second opinion. Tomorrow morning I'll be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - definitely one of my favorite mornings of the year!

National Treasure : 3 of 5

Of course, I had to see this because it's a Disney movie, but I definitely enjoyed it much more than I thought I would! Even though the premise gets pretty silly sometimes, the film really comes across as a fun action adventure. In fact, there is almost no character development at all! Normally that would bother me, but the plot of chasing one clue after another is so exciting that it didn't matter (even though the love story is kind of tacked on, and people are really reduced to stereotypical "geek" and "bad guy"). I'm sure you know, but the story is about a huge treasure that passed from civilization to civilization and eventually ended up in the care of the Order of Freemasons, which most of our founding fathers were. So, Ben Franklin and the rest left clues to the treasure's location, starting with a code on the back of the Declaration of Independence. The way the clues fit together is pretty cool, and I liked all the Masonic symbols and things because I studied the Masons (because of their connection to Mozart). There's definitely an Indiana Jones feel to the film, which is pretty high praise from me. A great adventure for a great time at the movies!

11.23.2004

Back to yesterday

This is a cheater post, since I had some technical difficulties with WEBmikey yesterday (specifically, I switched to a new hosting plan with the same company for twice the space and half the price, but there was something preventing FTP from working!). Anyway, everything is back to normal now, so I'm posting to yesterday. What a great introduction to present one of my old WEBmikey icons! This was the button for my Yesterday section - I liked the building blocks for their childhood connotations. The Yesterday section grew to have the most subsections of my old site, since I put lots of lists here (such as My Cars, My Computers, and so on). I still think it's fun to make lists of things just for the sake of remembering them. Let me know if you can think of some others I should work on!

11.22.2004

Astro Boy Vol 18 : 3 of 5

Wow, I'm amazed that I'm still going strong with Astro Boy, after finding out about these books about a year and a half ago. They really are perfect little books for a quick five minute reading session at any time, and it's nice to always be in the middle of a story. This volume has five short stories, but only one has a cartoon Tezuka introduction. The Robot Spaceship reminded me a lot of a plot from the last volume, since it's about smaller robots who combine to build a larger robot (in this case, a complete spaceship, rather than a destructive giant robot!). Then there's a pretty cool Dracula story, which is fun since Astro's friends have major roles. Then there's Atlas, a meanie robot who has "Omega Factor" installed, which allows him to betray the usual robot nature to never hurt humans! The last two stories are super-short, so the plots seem really rushed. I couldn't believe it when the only thing that could stop some monsters from eating the city turned out to be candy! It's pretty funny to see helicopters dumping gallons of sweet red bean soup. I hope the next volume has a little more emotion and less smashing!

11.21.2004

Tots and bots

Sorry about the missing post yesterday - I was in Waco with my parents for early Thanksgiving, which we always do a week early so I can enjoy a big Thanksgiving blast with my Austin pals each year. Now I'm home and ready to get back on schedule!

I'm pretty much in Christmas mode now, and holiday music has made it into my iPod rotation. Before I left for Waco, I made a donation to Toys for Tots for Christmas, and you should, too! If you have great memories of wonderful toy-filled Christmases like I do, i think it's great to pass along the Christmas spirit this way.

Thanks to the Cyborg Name Generator, I can finally reveal my true robot identity! I guess I'm not following my programming on the killing part, but I'm willing to work on the efficient yelling!

11.19.2004

Sailor Moon Season One / Complete and Uncut : 4 of 5

While I was enjoying the live action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon series, I decided to start buying the original anime series. I had seen most of this season before, but only in the terrible English dubbed version (where Naru sounds like she's from the Bronx!), so I had to get this giant DVD set to experience the original Japanese series. Eight DVDs and 46 episodes later, I'm still a Sailor Moon fan! The first season is so fun because of the original introductions of the characters, both good and evil, all leading up to a pretty dramatic climax - how many series how you watched where everyone dies before the end? (Thankfully the whole Sailor Moon story is about "transmigration", a kind of reincarnation!) Unfortunately, even though this series is from 1992, the original prints must be in terrible condition - the audio and video quality are definitely not up to average DVD standards, but it becomes bearable to watch after you get used to it. There are so many great episodes with little romances, crazy monsters, funny scenes, sad scenes, and even a wonderful message from Usagi at the end. It doesn't matter to me if it's goofy - I think it's a great story! Pretty soon I'll be starting Season Two!

11.18.2004

Chobits Vol 4 : 5 of 5

This is the kind of simple romance plot that I love in anime! It's almost the complete opposite of the previous volume, so I guess there's a nice rhythm to the series. The first episode involves everyone going to the beach - Hideki, Chi, all of his girl pals (which is a little strange), his next door neighbor Shinbo, plus his rich genius pal who dresses all his persocoms in skimpy maid uniforms. It's a glorious episode where everyone just plays around and has fun! The next two episodes involve his prep-school teacher, first when she invites herself to stay over (and gets smashed on beer), and next when we discover her marital problems (because her husband is hooked on his persocom) - it gets pretty serious, but seems happy at the end. The last episode is so mushy - I love it! Hideki loses his wallet, and since he won't take Chi's paycheck, she learns to cook and makes him a great meal. Chi is so cute because she wants to make Hideki happy so badly, and when she smiles because he likes the meal, it's meltdown time for Mikey. These episodes are also fun because Sumomo (the tiny portable persocom) is with them, and she's hilarious! I wish I had someone to lead me in the "wakey exercise"!

On this day in 1928

Happy 76th Birthday, Mickey Mouse! (By the way, I can see at least 12 Mickeys from where I'm sitting. Think I should buy some more?)

11.17.2004

Looking back

The other day I was checking out the WEBmikey of the past on the Wayback Machine, and I thought I would revisit some of the images I made for the old site design. Here's one of my goofy face - really the only animated GIF I've ever made. I remember taking those photos with my old Nikon CoolPix, then I changed them to grayscale and put them together. I think I had just got those sunglasses (prescription, so I still wear them), so I had to get a semi-Matrix look with them. I guess the idea was to express my "many moods", since the original idea for this site was to compartmentalize my life into sections and lists. I think it's much more fun as a regular blog, since I can post about whatever I feel like, and I've kept up the daily posts (minus trips) for almost a year now! Anyway, enjoy Mikey's mug circa 2001.

11.16.2004

Peter Pan : 5 of 5

I bought this DVD very soon after it was released, since I enjoyed the film so much on the big screen - I can't believe I waited so long to watch it! This is such an incredible rendition of the story - it really does a fantastic job of capturing the emotions between the lines so the audience can identify with every character, even Hook. I love the gorgeous colors of the film, the exciting effects, and even the music, plus the acting is truly wonderful (and I'm completely enraptured with Mrs. Darling!). It was fun to watch it again on a cold night, seeing them fly through the snowy streets of London. Two things stood out this time - Mr. Darling is a much more sympathetic character than the usual portrayal, which makes him quite likable, and I really enjoyed how certain Disney character design touches are used (I really wish this were a Disney production - it definitely feels like one!). The DVD has a nice amount of bonus material, but it's grouped into so many short segments that I wish there was a way to play it all without constant menu selection. I can definitely see myself watching this movie many more times in the future - it's a beautiful story and a beautiful film.

Twilight reflection

The past few days have been really wet and sometimes a little chilly. I always have mixed feelings about this kind of weather. When it started getting dreary this weekend, it felt kind of like winter, so I got into a Christmas sort of mood and put up my few little decorations (just some lights around a window and some Santa Mickeys). Then Sunday was almost constant rain, and by the end of the day I was feeling so drained. On Monday I was moving in slow motion, so last night I was feeling mopey. But for some reason, today I feel a lot better, even though the weather hasn't changed. I think I really enjoyed my short drive home, because wet streets at twilight are kind of magical - they reflect the headlights and traffic lights and everything seems beautiful. I'm hoping for a sunny weekend, though - it will be wonderful to see the sun again!

11.15.2004

Waking Walt / Larry Pontius : 4 of 5

This book tells the story that every Disney fan wonders about: what if the legend that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen were true? The plot begins with a group of old men called "The Circle", who have been guarding Walt's secret and have found a doctor with an experimental cure for cancer. It's an amazing moment when they actually revive Walt, and spend time catching up on history with him - everything from man on the moon to Vietnam. At the same time, there's huge problems at the Walt Disney Company with a hostile takeover on the horizon, so there are hit men out after the group, making this a bit of a spy story as well! The story is well written and has lots of twists and turns, but the best chapters are filled with Walt telling stories, sneaking scotch, going fishing, and the moment of all moments - Walt visiting Epcot! The author was a former Disney executive, so the details scattered throughout the book are accurate and interesting. The other characters in the book are interesting, too, especially Harry, who "inherits" his place in the Circle and ends up as the receiver of a true Willy Wonka moment. Even though the pacing bogs down in places, this is a great story that really presents Walt in a truthful light, yet still honors his genius.

11.14.2004

Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 Vol 6 : 3 of 5

Another great anime series ends with this final DVD, and of course the ending is just a little weirder than I would like. Still, these are some amazing episodes, starting with the conclusion to the cliffhanger from the last volume. The entire city of Tokyo has been overrun by boomers, since these mad robots are kind of organic and can join with anything. All humans have left, and Galatea "becomes" an entire building which then blasts off into space! There's a nice episode where the girls meet up with some refugees on the outskirts of town and have some campfire drinking time, but then it's back to action. After donning their suits, they make it into space to face Galatea by riding the Sky Hook, which is really cool. A huge battle lasts for the final two episodes, with the girls fighting to control their suits, since they are in fact wearing robots that can be taken over by Galatea. There's some semi-touching scenes when Priss has to accept the Motoslave (her robot motorcycle) for what it is, and it ends up saving her life. The first volumes in this series were more enjoyable, but this was a mostly satisfying end to an action-packed series.

11.13.2004

Blow, man, blow

Last night I got see my pal Ernesto play with The Limelights, a kind of Rockabilly, early Rock & Roll band that plays tunes like Bill Haley and the Comets. The music is a ton of fun, and definitely gets you clapping and singing along. It was a treat to watch Ernesto from the front for a change - I've played so many gigs behind the drum set with him, but I rarely get to actually sit back and enjoy a show! The lead guitar and the saxophone play unison lines all the time, and Ernesto already sounds like he's been doing it for years (this was his second Limelights gig!). It was also cool to see Shaun from the Jive Bombers on the drums - he even kind of remembered me from The Day Jobs. It was a fun night of shakin', rattlin' and rollin'!

The Polar Express: 4 of 5

I had lots of thoughts for and against this film before seeing it. I'm generally not a fan of computer animation that tries to capture true human characters, because they often look stiff and unnatural. I also haven't read the book, so I didn't know what to expect from the story. On the positive side, I was definitely in the mood for a Christmas movie, plus I got to see it in IMAX 3D, which made it a spectacular event (completely sold out, in fact). So, the Christmas spirit won me over and I really loved the film! The story is a good one - I love any movie that takes me to Santa's workshop. They definitely expanded the book into more of an adventure (I've been told), so there are parts that seem a little unnecessary, but the Christmas message and the emotional moments definitely make it worth it! Sometimes they go a little crazy with the camera angle freedom that animation allows, and some of the songs are not so hot (especially the hot chocolate number), but the duet on the back of the train is a wonderful new Christmas song that I'd love to hear again. I'm definitely feeling Christmasy now, and I'm sure I'll want to buy the DVD to make this a yearly viewing!

11.12.2004

Today's happenings

Today I had strawberry-banana yogurt and oatmeal for breakfast. It's nice and chilly today, so I wore my Blogger hoodie, which is warm and snuggly. I worked until lunchtime, then went by my post office box to pick up some packages, one of which was a box of little toys from Japan (thanks, Matt & Kumiko)! I grabbed a turkey sub and went home, where I watched Super Milk Chan (which is one whacked-out anime) while I ate. I finished the work day, then came home to eat the other half of my sub, drink a beer, and watch Bubblegum Crisis. Now I'm blogging, but soon I'm going to start my weekend chores, and then go out to see my pal Ernesto play with his new band, The Limelights!

My Bloody Valentine / Loveless : 4 of 5

I've listened to the Lost in Translation soundtrack hundreds of times, and I'm always blown away by the track Sometimes by My Bloody Valentine. I decided to buy the CD with the same song, so I could get some real experience with this "shoegazer" band, and I'm glad I did. This music is so far removed from my usual taste, but for some reason it's beautiful - the songs are filled with heavily distorted guitar, often quite dissonant, and sometimes keyboards. The vocals are treated exactly like any other instrument - they are mixed very low and completely blend in with the music, which means you can't really understand any of the lyrics, yet they convey such emotion just by their presence. At times things get too out of hand, such as the instrumental track Touched, but nearly every other song is amazing. Predictably, the song I already knew is my favorite track - none other has the exact same level of awesome distortion. This CD isn't great for listening to in the car - I had to use my earphones and iPod to really appreciate it. When a certain melancholy mood hits, this is definitely music that I want to wash over me.

11.11.2004

Chobits Vol 3 : 3 of 5

This volume has another four episodes of this great anime, but even though it's super-entertaining, the misty-eyed charm is put aside a little for more humor, and the beginnings of a "serious" plot. First, Chi goes out on her own to spend her paycheck money, and decides to buy Hideki another porno magazine (she calls them his "yummies" and has no idea what they are, of course!), but she also buys a continuation of the strange book, The Town With No People, from the last volume, which gives her a vision of herself in a black outfit - kind of like a dark side. This mostly is put aside for the rest of the stories, and we're treated to more solid comedy. Hideki's boss' daughter Yumi asks him out on a date, and in another episode her dad loans him a DVD player and some special DVDs from his "personal collection". There's a weird horror episode that seems kind of like a Scooby Doo plot, and then a trip into an online game where the characters are presented as their avatars (a giant Sumomo is pretty scary!). Some weird things happen in the game that imply Chi's real power, but I would just as soon put that off and stay with the goofy romance!

11.10.2004

Nihon no mono

I love munching on Japanese roasted peas! I think I first had these on South Congress at the Hotel San Jose, because they're free at the bar, but I just recently re-discovered them at the grocery store. These are the hot variety with wasabi, and they're fantastic to chomp on with beer (watching anime, of course). I love it when I get a surprise jolt of wasabi that clears up my nose!

It's cool that Anime Channel On Demand is on cable now, but I can barely watch it because of the bad dubbing. I guess they really do try to do a good job and make it entertaining, but the original Japanese voices are just ten times better. Guess I just have to keep renting DVDs, but it's nice to have a way to preview things to see what I might like.

Here's a few plugs for Japan-related sites (that you probably already know about if you read WEBmikey). My pals Matt & Kumiko live in Osaka and Matt tells their adventures on Moon Station Foxtrot. My pal Barron sells his cool photography, and tons of the pictures are of Japan. Finally, I've been meaning to mention this story (written by someone Matt knows) for a long time, because I just about pissed my pants laughing when I read it. It's really creamy!

11.09.2004

Astro Boy Vol 17 / Osamu Tezuka : 3 of 5

I finished this volume pretty quickly, so I'm either reading faster or spending more time in the bathroom! Actually, I read a bunch of this on the plane flying home from Los Angeles - it's kind of nice to read a complete Astro Boy story in one sitting rather than piece by piece. This one has five stories, and while some of them are really interesting, I'd say one or two are pretty underwhelming. My least favorite is The Face in the Rock, which is really short and silly, involving a little exploding robot called the Fireball Kid. I thought Gademu was the clever story of the volume, because it's cool that one of the bad guys goes places with a bunch of servant robots who join together to create a giant robot monster! Space Parasites is interesting because things like trees and rats become dangerous enemies, and the other stories include some nice Tezuka introductions, plus a good scene of Astro refueling, which is always good for a laugh.

11.08.2004

Carlos & Kristin's wedding

Another set of my pals were married this weekend, and I had a great time at the wedding. Kristin & Carlos had a nice church ceremony, and then a fantastic reception at Green Pastures (where I have played a few wedding gigs in the past). The dinner was delicious and the crowd was a lot of fun - I didn't do any dancing, but it was a blast watching everyone! One reason I wasn't dancing is because Kristin asked me to be a semi-official videographer of the reception, so I shot an hour of footage of the event. It was fun walking around and filming strangers without asking them! While I was filming, my pal Ernesto took a few photos with my camera for you to enjoy. Congratulations, Kristin & Carlos!

View photos: Carlos & Kristin's Wedding

11.07.2004

The Incredibles : 5 of 5

All I can say is thank goodness there's a Disney logo at the beginning of this film, because it's sheer entertainment! Pixar has definitely done it again - I don't think I could really pick a favorite Pixar film, but The Incredibles is fantastic in so many different ways, so it's definitely a contender for the best (it's just missing that "Disney moment" that would put it over the top). As usual for Pixar, the story is incredibly (sorry, couldn't resist) creative and original. Superheroes are in a "protection program" after countless lawsuits because of the side effects of their daring deeds, and Mr. Incredible and his family try to live a normal suburban life. Of course, someone from his past returns to haunt him, putting the whole family (who each have cool powers) into action! I could go on and on about the film's design, from the excellent characters (with cartoon proportions, yet extremely realistic hair) to the sets (such as their retro home furnishings, which are perfect!). There's tons of action, set to awesome music (gotta get the soundtrack), balanced with some quiet moments, too (such as scenes in the office, dinner at home, and so on). I laughed hundreds of times, and cheered the heroes on to victory! It would have been even better if I had shed a tear or two.

11.06.2004

All my photos in my pocket

I've really been enjoying my iPod Photo! The extended battery life is really great, because I can listen to it all day at work for two days in a row before recharging - my old iPod needed a charge every night, and sometimes I would forget! I think seeing the album art is really cool - I had already been pretty diligent about attaching album art to my songs in iTunes, just because I thought it was neat (and using Clutter makes it easy), but now I get to see them on my iPod, too. Of course, the photo synching is amazing - I have over 10,000 photos on it! I'm using the folder sync method, since I'm not too fond of iPhoto for organization, so I had to flatten my folder hierarchy to one level, but that's OK. I just named each folder something like "2003 Thanksgiving", so I can quickly browse to the right pictures on the iPod. Watching them on my TV with music playing is wonderful! The first night I had it I watched a random slide show for almost two hours and got really nostalgic, and that's what photos are all about for me. I haven't bought a new case yet, but I want to get the iPod Socks when they come out, so I can pick a color to match my mood!

11.05.2004

Click me

Just wanted to mention that October 2004 was WEBmikey's best month ever for hits! I think a lot of that is due to the link on The Disney Blog (thanks so much!), but I also get a lot of cool Google search traffic, too. I think the key is I blog about so many different things that lots of searches find something on WEBmikey! I guess my subject matter seems limited to me, but the proof is in the stats. Thanks for the clicks everyone!

Chobits Vol 2 : 5 of 5

The series has such charm that's I'm completely into it already - I can't wait to watch it all! I watched all four episodes on this volume back to back, which I usually don't do with most series, and there were so many funny and touching moments that I can't count them all. Chi learns about money and buying things when Hideki buys her a book as a gift (I'm sure the plot of the book will be very important, since it seems to be "awakening" something in Chi's programming), and then she decides that she should get a job to help Hideki make more money. Unfortunately, she is so innocent that someone quickly ropes her into appearing in a peep show (hilariously called Live Cute Kitten Peeping Nyan Nyan), but as Hideki is rushing to save her, she glows brightly and flies out of the building! We don't really find out what that's about yet, but she returns to normal soon. Hideki also learns that he has to charge Chi or she runs out of power, and the intensity of Hideki's emotion when she nearly powers down is amazing. Seeing Chi happy about getting a good job (at a bakery) and hug Hideki is just the cutest thing ever - I'm definitely a Chobits fan now!

11.04.2004

Bubblegum Crisis: Tokyo 2040 Vol 5 : 4 of 5

This volume is one of the best of the series, and I've only got one more volume to go! These five episodes are pretty much non-stop action, starting with Nene (my favorite of the girls) being trapped inside AD Police headquarters with only a couple other cops, while tons of mad boomers swarm the building and trap them down (lots of scenes remind me of the intensity of Alien crawling through the Nostromo!). Galatea, the superior living machine lifeform, has caused boomers to fuse with just about anything metal, so cars and walls and even whole buildings can group together and become monster robots! The Knight Sabers get entirely new hard suits, this time made out of a oozing metal that hardens over them based on willpower (and has all sorts of weapons, of course). There are some great battles, plus a little emotion thrown in - Priss and Leon are definitely an item now. The Knight Sabers have a major victory over the Dragon Line, a huge power cable turned into a snake monster, but the last episode ends with a big cliffhanger - the Silky Doll (yes, that's the Knight Sabers' base) is under attack!

11.03.2004

You can make phone calls with it, too!

The phone that I bought last weekend is a Motorola V505, and so far I absolutely love it. I decided to finally join the flip-phone people (previously I've only had non-flip Nokias and Sony-Ericssons), and the larger screen and buttons that the flip design allows are fantastic. I can't believe I went so many years pushing tiny buttons with my fingernail! The camera was the main feature I wanted, and now I'm going to try to take some kind of picture everyday (I have unlimited picture messaging). I'm still playing with different settings on the camera, but the quality is definitely good enough for me. I think what I'm enjoying the most is making wallpapers on my iBook and sending them to the phone via Bluetooth. The V505 has a 176 x 220 screen, and I couldn't find too many existing wallpapers that size on the web, but it's so easy to make my own! If you have a Motorola phone and like the same stuff I do, here are the images I've made so far. Enjoy!

Aladdin & Genie | Astro Boy | Cheshire Cat
Chi from Chobits | The Lion King | Mulan
Mickey & Donald | Peter Pan & Wendy | Sailor Moon

Morning Musume / Best Vol 2 : 4 of 5

I had read that this second CD of Morning Musume hits was even better than Volume 1, so when I discovered that I could get it for relatively cheap from YesAsia, I decided to order it. I was really happy that it came in special packaging - the CD was boxed and included a giant button of all the girls (well, actually just their faces stuck on the top of cartoon elf bodies)! The CD is full of excellent stuff - I haven't decided if it's better than the first volume, but I definitely think it's as good. There's certainly one terrible track, though - I can't bear listening to Mr. Moonlight, an attempt at big-band swing that's simply awful (especially the lead singer!). I think my favorite is As For One Day, because the rhythm of the melody is fantastic! There are twelve tracks in all, with a good mix of completely fun tunes and semi-anthems, such as the 11th track (I can't read the Kanji!), which builds to a wonderful positive-sounding crescendo. There are 17 girls on the cover this time - maybe this includes some who have come and gone over the years. I wish there was a Volume 3 available!

11.02.2004

Chilly at last

I love it when the seasons finally change in Austin - today was the first day that actually felt like Fall. By the way, why does this season have two names (Fall & Autumn) when all the rest only have one name? I wore my favorite blue Cobble Cloth shirt (it's starting to fray, but it's been with me on nearly every trip I've taken) and jeans to work after months and months of shorts. I also started growing my beard back this weekend (for my Winter look). I kind of wish you could just take a beard on and off like a hat, but I think I'll enjoy wearing it again while it's chilly.

I'm going to start using my camera phone to send mundane pictures to Flickr, which can automatically show the latest photo here on WEBmikey. You can click the Latest Flickr on the left anytime to see my photostream, which will include all the goofy pics I'm sure to snap with my phone!

Hair / Austin Community College : 5 of 5

My pal Conrad (who's in the Greatest American Heroes with me) got the lead role of Berger in this Austin Community College production, so I simply had to see him sing and dance. As an added bonus, I semi-knew a few of the other actors who had been in The Comedy of Errors with me and other productions, and it's always fun to see folks you know performing. The show went far beyond my expectations - it was simply fantastic! I had never seen Hair before, so other than knowing a few songs, the story was new to me. I thought the story itself was interesting, since I really don't identify myself with anything close to "hippie" - they really presented all sides of that 60s lifestyle in a way that made me understand and appreciate it. All of the performers were incredible - not always because of their singing and dancing (which was darn good!), but because their enthusiasm was so huge! Their joy of life and their intimacy with each other was 100% believable (and I should say that sitting front row with so many beautiful student girls dancing in front of you is a treat!). Conrad was really inspiring to me - he stepped out of himself and became the part, so I didn't even think about him being my pal and bandmate. Seeing Hair was a wonderful experience!

11.01.2004

Weekend roundup

This was a big spending weekend! Each year I always buy myself something nice for Christmas, and this year I decided that I had to get a camera phone. Then Apple came out with the iPod Photo, which totally blew me away, so I decided to go to the Apple Store and check it out. As I expected, I had to buy one as soon as I tried it out! So, after dropping that cash, I had no resistance left, so I went to the AT&T Wireless store and ended up buying a new phone, too! I'm totally thrilled with both purchases, and I'll be posting about them in more detail soon.

The rest of the weekend was full of friends and entertainment. On Friday night, I played a super-fun gig with The Greatest American Heroes - the crowd was so enthusiastic, so I went a little crazy and ended up breaking five sticks before the night was over! On Sunday, the gang and I went to see Conrad in the Austin Community College production of Hair, which was absolutely fantastic! Of course, I'll have a full review as soon as possible. Then I had a fun dinner with Jonathan and Ernesto, got to drink one of my favorite beers (Hoegaarden), and then saw Team America again. Seeing Jonathan's reactions to everything was a blast! Overall, it was basically a Halloween-less weekend, but we did see lots of kids trick-or-treating while we were driving around.