Cartoons and Corn Pops

The past few days have been filled with fun and old friends! My pals Matt & Kumiko were here for a visit, and my pal Dae was here from Los Angeles, too. We've all had lots of fun goofing around town, throwing parties, and eating tons of food. Kumiko was really nice and put up with all of my Japanese questions, and she taught me lots of new stuff, including a kids song about an elephant's nose! It's great to be together with old pals again - expect more photos and details over the next few days!

While Matt & Kumiko were here, I decided to throw a cartoon party! Everyone wore their pajamas, we ate lots of cereal and breakfast food, and watched Looney Tunes and Schoolhouse Rock. It was a really great time!

View photos: Cartoon Party 2005

By the way, this is the last day of my Disney Ride Vehicles series on Flickr, so I hoped you enjoyed the set (it looks good all together). I think this month will be back to random phone pics until I think of something interesting.


Boy: Tales of Childhood / Roald Dahl : 5 of 5

I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. Since I knew this was an autobiographical work primarily aimed at adults, I figured it wouldn't be as entertaining as the children's books I was enjoying so much. I was completely wrong! Boy is a collection of memories of Dahl's life from his earliest childhood through his high school graduation and the beginnings of his life in the working world (all before World War II). Dahl was almost an obsessive letter writer to his mother, and since she saved every last letter, he had a huge chronicle of his life as his source. Many segments of letters are reproduced in the book - in fact, the title comes from the way Dahl signed his letters. Two things really made this book incredible for me. First, the stories themselves are so amazingly removed from today's world - from children receiving severe beatings at school to doctors removing tonsils without anesthesia, along with the simple joys of visiting the local candy store. Second, the way Dahl writes is incredibly conversational - you really feel like you're sitting with him in front of a fireplace or having a beer at a pub while he spins these wonderful tales, and they're all true! Reading about the trials and happiness that shaped Roald Dahl gives me even more appreciation for him as an author of wonderful stories. I can't wait to read the sequel Going Solo soon!


Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (Special Edition) / Original Soundtrack : 4 of 5

Just before the original Star Wars trilogy was released on DVD, I started buying these CDs to get excited about seeing the movies again, but it's taken me forever to give them a serious listen! Now that I've seen the DVDs a few times, everything is so fresh in my mind that the music is much less of a tease, but really enjoyable regardless. As always, I love the full presentation of John Williams' wonderful character themes (I've always wondered if they appear in the films as presented, though). Yoda's Theme is so playful that it makes me wonder if the whole character had been fleshed out when it was written, and Han Solo and the Princess is truly a fantastic love theme. This movie also contains the introduction of the classic Imperial March, a tune that sticks in humanity's brain as much as the main title theme itself! Another standout for me is The Battle of Hoth with its use of piano pounding in the lower octaves to portray the Imperial Walkers making their way across the snow. In fact, the instrumentation in general is much expanded from the soundtrack for A New Hope. There are also many small themes that evoke Cloud City, for example, and plenty of use of the other familiar themes, such as the beautiful Jedi/Force theme. I haven't bought The Return of the Jedi soundtrack yet, but maybe I should before The Revenge of the Sith comes out!


Star Trek / The Original Series / Season One : 5 of 5

I've been a Star Trek fan for as long as I can remember - I've been to conventions, and I even put little rubber bands on the top of my ears to play Spock when I was a kid! So when these ultra-cool complete DVD sets were released, I knew I had to buy them, and I got Season One from my parents for Christmas. Eight DVDs later, I'm still a huge fan! It was really great to see these episodes again, looking as sharp as possible, and without commercials. Watching these as an adult, I saw all kinds of things I never really noticed before, such as how often the crew is drinking coffee (and the "coffee girl" who keeps circling around the bridge with fresh brew). I also developed a new appreciation for those short skirt uniforms! There are some awesome episodes in Season One, such as Balance of Terror (everyone's favorite), and classics like Arena (everyone loves the Gorn!). The bonus materials aren't the greatest, however (I don't really care about Shatner's affection for horses), but some episodes have a "text commentary" that is simply fantastic, revealing secrets such as when equipment from other episodes is reused and when sets are redressed to look like someplace else. The packaging is really amazing, looking very Tricorder-like, and each season is a uniform color (gold, blue, and red). I can't wait to continue watching with Season Two, which I got for my birthday!


Walt Disney's Bambi: The Sketchbook Series : 3 of 5

I had been wanting to try out this series of Disney art books for quite a while, but since most of them are out of print, they are pretty expensive to obtain. I won this book from Disney Auctions, so now I know firsthand what this series is like. The Sketchbook Series is well-named, since the book is simply a collection of pencil drawings and nothing more - there's almost no text in the book at all, except for animation notes on the drawings themselves (which can be quite interesting). For this Bambi volume, there's a set of sketches for each main character, as well as some sections on other general forest animals and the forest itself. The sketches truly are beautiful, and they are reproduced perfectly, so every move of the pencil can be seen. I enjoyed the few notes there were - I think it's fascinating that they qualified things like "Faline's head length is the same as her ribcage". Unfortunately, even with a long look at each sketch, I finished the book in a really short time. I'm happy I bought this book, since it was the first of this series, but I probably won't be seeking out the other volumes anytime soon.


Think Tink

It's been awhile since I talked Disney, so here's what's been going through my mouse-mind lately. I'm planning on making my usual October Disneyland trip, since that's always been a good month to go, and I figure at least some of the 50th anniversary crowds will have diminished. I'm really looking forward to all of the special 50th stuff - the park museum in the Opera House, the new parade and fireworks (I can't wait to see Tinkerbell's new flight on the crazy rig they have installed!), and I've got to buy a pair of golden Mickey ears as soon as I get there! I'm also psyched that some of the old Disneyland traditions are returning, like the awesome Matterhorn climbers (photo from MousePlanet)! I really hope these guys are doing their thing while I'm there.

I've also been listening to tons of rare Haunted Mansion audio lately. My favorite find so far is what seems to be a complete, unedited recording of the entire session (well over a half hour) with Paul Frees. You get to hear every take, good and bad, of that classic attraction script, along with some coaching from X Atencio (the Imagineer who wrote the script and song). Frees was a vocal genius, and the between take comments are hilarious!


Hitch : 3 of 5

I like a good romantic comedy every now and then, and the previews for this movie were pretty funny, so my pal Melinda and I went. It was nothing spectacular, but it definitely had some good moments and kind of makes a guy like me think about relationships, attraction, and all that spooky stuff. Will Smith is just a cool guy - I don't know if it's all attitude or style, but he always does a great job of making anything seem smooth (both on and off camera, from what I've seen), so he's a great choice to play the "date doctor". There's a little bit of narration to get the audience into the philosophy of what he does, which is basically to get women to see guys they normally wouldn't notice. Of course, there are two plots - one is about Hitch's work with a guy and the celebrity girl he loves, and the other is about Hitch himself, his past, and his attempts with the female lead. Even though they show a funny little flashback of Hitch before he was cool, it really doesn't flesh out his character - he still ends up seeming a little shallow. But hey, this is just a little comedy, so who needs depth? It's always fun to see underdogs coming out on top, so I enjoyed the show! I liked the soundtrack, too - I actually already knew two songs they featured (from Everything But the Girl and Pink Martini), so I feel really hip.


Finishing stuff

Yesterday I finished my pal Lisa's video project, and I even got it burned to DVD without too much trouble. Every time I finish an iMovie project, I realize how badly I need to get a super-serious Mac to work on stuff like this! I love my G4 iMac, but I'm definitely ready for some G5 action to make things easier - especially stopping all the countless "pinwheel" delays while iMovie thinks and thinks. Thankfully I didn't have a big crash this time, though I did have to recreate one section of the movie because something freaked out. Anyway, the project is complete and I'm happy with it! I really like working with video and it's a fun creative thing to do, so I just need the tools to do it well.

I also put an end to Endless Mode on DDR 4th Mix yesterday! That means completing 52 songs without stopping, so now I've beaten two Dance Dance Revolution mixes. For me, that means playing Trick mode rather than Maniac, but Trick is much more fun for the long haul.

My pals Matt & Kumiko from Japan are coming to town this week, and my pal Dae from Los Angeles is coming later in the week! This means life will be fun, crazy, and busy, so there may be a lapse in WEBmikey postings. I have lots of reviews already written ahead, so hopefully I've have a minute or two each day to put one up - I'd like to keep up my daily streak!


Little Shop of Horrors : 5 of 5

I took my pal Eliza to see this traveling Broadway production for her birthday, which was a lot of fun since she had never seen the show or the movie! On the other hand, I've seen both a few times, but this was one of the best casts (not to mention band!) that I've seen. I think what I enjoyed the most was listening to the Menken/Ashman songs with a new Disney ear (since this show was the early work of the same team who wrote the songs for The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast). Howard Ashman's lyrics are simply fantastic and so clever - he was definitely the Lorenz Hart of his generation. Both ballads in the show, Somewhere That's Green and Suddenly Seymour are completely moving, funny, sad and hopeful at the same time. I also noticed that Alan Menken seemed to steal from himself - the last phrase in the Somewhere That's Green reprise sounds just like the end of Part of Your World, but I guess you're allowed to do that if it's all your own work. The stage was great, the Audrey II man-eating puppet was extremely well done (including performers in the "roots"), and the performers were top-notch, especially the three girl chorus that narrates the show - one of them was an understudy for the performance, but she was incredible! Finally, the actor playing the dentist (and about four other smaller roles) was simply fantastic - he was a true musical comedian!


Mean Girls : 1 of 5

I added this DVD to my Netflix queue just because I like to keep up on the latest with the Disney slave girls (such a great term that I stole from Miceland!), even though this Lindsey Lohan movie wasn't a Disney production. I'm glad Disney had nothing to do with it, since it was pretty much terrible. I can get into the typical teen high school movie as much as anyone, since I enjoy escaping into a younger world, and they usually have a good set of pop songs on the soundtrack. Mean Girls was so lame that I didn't even enjoy the music! The plot involves Lindsey kind of going undercover with the fashion queens clique (the "plastics"), but then she becomes one herself, turns her back on her real friends, and then it all turns around at the end. There's not a single moment that really made me care about any of these characters, and there's little transformation that takes place even after the moral has been told. I noticed this was a Lorne Michaels production, and he managed to use around five different Saturday Night Live cast members to fill out the plot, and they all did an OK job with minimal screen time. I guess it's just the story and tone of the movie that really put me off (and any movie with narration practically screams "We couldn't get the plot to gel, so we're going to force it to flow with stupid voiceovers, OK?"). Maybe Lindsey will have better luck in the Love Bug remake!


Who is that guy?

Yesterday I found out that my 20-year high school reunion is coming up this summer. I don't plan on going, since there's only a few old pals that would be nice to see, but it's definitely fun looking around on the reunion website! Here's a graduation photo featuring a super-young Mikey, wearing my valedictorian white gown. The folks with me are Susan, who was in my honor's biology class, Steve, who worked at Taco Bueno and took me on a 100+ MPH joyride, and April, a fantastic and true friend (the only one here I'm still in touch with). I can't even remember what it was like to be that age! If I was offered either the full head of hair or the much lesser weight, I don't know which I would pick! Old photos are so much fun and inspirational - I wish back then I took a couple thousand photos a year like I do now.


Listening, thinking, learning

Tonight was pretty eventful - after doing some video work and eating a sub (it's so great to eat half a sub for lunch, then come home to the other half waiting for me in the fridge!), I went shopping at three stores to get some additional party necessities, then I still had time for some cappuccino and reading at Barnes & Noble. This time I went to the Lakeline store, since I was already close by - it's not nearly as cool as the Arboretum store as far as the cafe is concerned (maybe because it's windowless in the back of the store), but I still had fun. I finished a magazine and another book, but the best entertainment was watching and eavesdropping on a bunch of Korean kids doing their calculus homework. They were all cool, sporting their iPods (which they listened to with one earphone so they could keep talking), chatting on their cellphones, and talking about the origins of language (one kid even told the Tower of Babel story).

Today is the anniversary of my Uncle Glenn's passing away, and coincidentally, my boss' brother died this morning of some kind of heart trouble. Thinking about how fragile life is and watching the energy of young students gives me extra determination to enjoy life, which is definitely too short. I guess I'm just taking Lent to heart.


Warman's PEZ Field Guide / Shawn Peterson : 4 of 5

This was another great birthday gift from my pal Dae, who is well aware of my PEZ addiction! I have several other books on PEZ collecting, but I had only just realized this book had been released when he sent it to me. This is a small format (four inch square) yet really thick book filled to the brim with perfectly clear, professional photos of nearly every PEZ dispenser in existence. Each dispenser lists a little bit of information, such as production year and approximate value, but generally the photos are the stars of the book. It's a lot of fun to see dispensers worth thousands of dollars that I'll never run across (even some where the photo depicts the only known existence of the dispenser!), as well as seeing everything in my collection and realizing how things have gone up in value. There's also an illustrated glossary at the end with detailed photos to explain PEZ terms like sleeve, channel, spine and so on, including ways to identify deceptive fake dispensers. The result of reading this book is I really want to expand my collection with some expensive PEZ! Maybe I need to start checking eBay more often.


Closer : 4 of 5

I saw this movie with my pal Ernesto since we wanted to see if the Academy Award nominations were deserved, and even though it's an intense movie, I still enjoyed it. It fits in that category of movie that I like because it's sad, which doesn't really fit my own character, but keeps me balanced. Anyway, Closer follows four characters (two British men and two American women) through a seemingly endless stream of cheating and deception, sometimes jumping large gaps of time (four years at one point!). Most of the time I could find myself sympathetic with each character, but usually I was just appalled at how they ruined their own lives in such a dysfunctional way. All of the acting was great, especially Natalie Portman, who manages to be an adult and still retain all the qualities of youth (of course, I latched onto her character, and in many ways the movie does seem to follow her attempt to reinvent herself). It's interesting that the film really doesn't have a soundtrack - any music heard is playing in the context of the scene (mostly opera and classical), except for the same song during the beginning and end of the movie. I always appreciate a film that ends with an uneasy feeling - at the end of Closer, it seems like the sad tale will start to replay itself again and again as soon as the credits end.


Weekend enjoyment

Yesterday I did my usual weekend chores, went shopping for upcoming party necessities, and last night I went out with my pal Ernesto to see a movie and eat dinner. We decided to go to PF Changs since it was walking distance from the theater - it was amazing how crowded it was! They told us the wait was an hour and a half, but we didn't really care since we were going to the movie anyway. So, we had a couple Tsing Taos in the bar while we waited, but then we had to leave for the movie! After seeing the movie (which was interesting with a slight beer buzz), we walked back to the restaurant for a 10:00 PM dinner, and it was still a half hour wait! Man, their food is good but I can't believe that they can sustain that kind of crowd all hours of the evening. Anyway, we stuffed ourselves and it was a good night regardless.

Today I synchronized lyrics to five songs on my pal Lisa's sing-along video project, watched some old Haunted Mansion video with a young Donny Osmond (and smoked my pipe using my precious Swans!), and tonight I'm taking my pal Eliza to Little Shop of Horrors for a late birthday present. It's been a great weekend!


Ragtime at the Magical Kingdoms / Chris Calabrese : 3 of 5

I finally bought this CD after seeing it constantly recommended on Amazon (based on my Disney preferences), and it's definitely a unique and welcome addition to my Disney CD collection. These are ragtime piano renditions of tons of Disney tunes, both from the movies and the theme parks, played by a pianist who has worked at several of the parks through the years. There are 21 tracks of music, and many of the selections are medleys, so there's a lot of tunes packed on this CD! His stride piano technique is flawless and super-entertaining (I'm always thinking, "How can his fingers do that?"), though less suited to some songs than others. The first half of the CD is the best, with incredible cuts like the Tiki Room Medley and Yo Ho/Grim Grinning Ghosts Medley, but near the end of the CD, it seems like he's used up all his ideas by the time we hear World Showcase Medley and One Little Spark. The recording quality is great, but almost a little too sharp, making the piano sound a bit synth-ish. But putting my pickiness aside, this is a fantastic CD of music that makes me feel like I'm eating an ice cream sundae on Main Street!


Pooh's Heffalump Movie : 3 of 5

There's just something about Winnie the Pooh movies that makes them so charming they just can't go wrong. As long as the characters stay true to personality and the backgrounds have that wonderful storybook quality, I'm going to enjoy the story. As usual, I saw this Disney film on opening day with my pal Melinda, and even though I had fewer emotional moments than in past Pooh tales, I still really had fun watching it. It was interesting to me that so much of the plot focuses on Roo, since the little guy pretty much had his own story in the last DVD release, Springtime with Roo, but it was really heartwarming to see him finally playing with another character his age - the little Heffalump named Lumpy, one of the first "new" Pooh characters in years. I thought his English accent was completely adorable, and the songs he sang with Roo gave me a big smile (Carly Simon does a good job with most of the music, just as she did in Piglet's Big Movie), but I thought it would have been fun to include a bit of Heffalumps and Woozles - maybe they're saving that for "Pooh's Woozle Movie" in 2006! Christopher Robin doesn't make an appearance until the closing credits, but these scenes are well done, integrating Lumpy into some classic Pooh moments. Hurray for DisneyToon Studios, keeping it real with 2D animation!


Shuffling along

Yesterday another birthday gift from my parents arrived - an iPod shuffle! The only reason it's a late gift is because it took over four weeks for Apple to ship it because of the great demand, but it was worth the wait. I was pretty amazed when I opened the big shipping box to find a little green CD-sized box under a bunch of packing paper! I knew it was supposed to be the size of a pack of gum, but it's even smaller than I imagined. It was really easy to load it up with about 120 songs from my iTunes library, and the sound is really great. Today I went on a short run at lunch and a long mall walk after work to try it out, wearing it around my neck on the lanyard - it's totally weightless, if you ask me! I'm hoping I'll run more often since it's so fun to listen to!

Last night I went to an Ash Wednesday service to kick off Lent, which means I'll be starting my charity giving again. This year I'm going to do a set amount roughly every other day until Easter, which means twenty donations to twenty charities. It was a nice service - I like the Ash Wednesday liturgy, because it makes me see how precious life is and want to live it well.


The Super Milk-Chan Show Vol 1, Disc 2 : 3 of 5

I've wanted to see Super Milk-Chan in Japanese from the moment I first saw the show on Adult Swim, but it took me a while to see it, since the DVD release is really confusing. Each "volume" is a two DVD set, but each disc contains the same episodes. Disc 1 contains a completely Americanized version of the show, with weird live action interstitials and all of the dialogue re-written, not just translated. I rented that DVD first, but it was so unlike the show I wanted to see, that I sent it back right away. Disc 2 of each set contains the original Japanese episodes, plus a "regular" translation (which is the version they use on Adult Swim). So, was it worth the trouble to see it in Japanese? Well, it's fun to hear the Japanese dialogue and figure out what words they use (it sounds like Tetsuko says "Romantic!" instead of "How dreamy!"), but actually the show is just as funny in the regular translated dub. It's cool that the DVD has some much older episodes (with a different style of animation) that I hadn't seen before, and watching the original opening and closing animation was awesome (although the audio tracks for these are missing!). So, I'm not sure if I'll rent the rest of the series - I'll just keep watching it on TiVo for now.


A fun evening and an amazing discovery

I've been working on a video project for my pal Lisa, and tonight I went to see her and Jonathan to show them how it's coming along. She does music therapy for the elderly, and the video is like a sing-along of her and Jonathan playing music, with synchronized words on the screen (which is where I step in with iMovie). It's been fun working on it, and everyone is happy so far.

Afterwards I went to Barnes & Noble again with my bookbag for a couple hours of excellent cappuccino-enhanced reading, and then I bought four travel books for my next trip with my parents. Of course, I didn't need four books, since they all cover the same thing, but I get so caught up in the color photos and maps that they all seem essential. I love the ones with fantastic, easy-to-read street maps, especially if they fold out.

When I got home, my parents had called with some great news! A couple of years ago I mailed a "travel pipe smoking kit" to my parents house to use when I visit at Christmas time. I included an inexpensive pipe, cleaners, a tamping tool, and - you guessed it - two boxes of Swan Vestas! What a treasure! My parents are going to mail them to me, and they should easily last me the rest of the year or more, since I usually smoke two bowls a week, using two matches per bowl. This is better than putting on an old jacket and finding twenty bucks in the pocket!


Thunderbirds : 3 of 5

Being a fan of the original Supermarionation series, I planned on seeing this live-action version in the theater, but it closed so fast that I missed it! Even though it got terrible reviews, I had to rent it out of loyalty and curiosity, and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, there's quite a bit not to like, especially for a fan - this is actually a pretty bad introduction to the series for theater-goers who haven't seen the show, since the plot seems to happen before the TV series begins, and turns it into a kids movie (like The Goonies with rockets!). The opening rescue is by far the best scene, showing the Thunderbirds in action and staying true to the show by using the theme and hearing everyone say "F.A.B."! After that, it's all young Alan, Tintin, and Brain's son Fermat (completely invented for the movie) going up against the Hood. I was happy to see all of the characters, though there is so little attention paid to the actual Tracy sons that they are totally flat - all the action is on Alan and his dad Jeff Tracy (who goes along on missions, rather than staying on the base). Getting back to the good stuff, Lady Penelope is completely stunning, and her chauffeur Parker is cast perfectly. It was fun for me to watch as a Thunderbirds fan, but I can see why the general public didn't get into it.


All good things

All good things come to an end, they say. Yesterday I went to my pipe shop to stock up on Swan Vestas matches, which I've used to light my pipe for at least the past 10 years, only to discover that they are no longer available! At first I thought they just weren't being imported to US stores anymore (they're from the UK), but after searching the web, I can't find anyone who sells them online, either (and reading posts on message boards about folks selling them on eBay is further evidence). They were the coolest match I've ever used - shorter than a usual match, but made to burn slowly, with a different sulphur content in the head (so they had to be struck on a sandpaper strip on the box). Oh, how I'll miss them!

It's old news now, but I also found out that Star Trek: Enterprise has officially been cancelled, so the last show is in May. Now that I've been watching the original series again on DVD, my Star Trek interest is up, so losing Enterprise will be a total bummer.

On the plus side of things ending, I just finished my garage organization project! I finally got some cool shelves and even more plastic boxes from the Container Store (I can't believe how much stuff I bought from there!), and now things are definitely looking good.


Sandy in Disneyland

A couple nights ago I watched an old recording of a 1974 TV special called Sandy in Disneyland (a limited release on DVD from the Extinct Attractions Club). I figured it would just be a simple variety show with Sandy Duncan singing and dancing on Main Street, but I was completely shocked at what I saw! They actually filmed several musical numbers and skits inside the classic attractions, providing amazing views of the ride elements! First, Sandy and Ruth Buzzi pretend they are thieves in the Haunted Mansion, and they actually walk by the conservatory, through the hallway of doors, down the stairs in the ballroom, in the attic, and even have a seat on tombstones in the graveyard. From the angles used in shooting, they are actually walking the path that the Doombuggies take, which means the ride vehicles were actually removed and the track covered with a floor of some kind in order to shoot this show! I know it sounds crazy, but I can't see any other way it could be done. Next, Sandy sings with Ernest Borgnine in Pirates of the Caribbean, and they are actually walking around the coves, next to the piles of gold, and even in the captain's quarters (with the skeleton in bed). Finally, Sandy and Lorne Green walk all over the Primeval World diorama while singing a duet - they are right there with the baby Triceratops and even walk under the belly of the Tyrannosaurus! I completely freaked out - it's so weird to see live people tromping around where only animatronics are allowed. Needless to say, this is a one-of-a-kind TV special that's worth viewing if you have a chance!


Astro Boy Vol 20 : 3 of 5

It took me a long time to get through this volume in tiny doses, because I've been reading so many other things lately. I got my wish after reading Volume 19 - this volume also contains only two long stories (rather than many short tales), starting with the continuation of the big plot twist of the last volume, where Astro turns bad! The mean Astro frees the entire robot population and carries off his robot family's house to an island to start his robot nation, but they are met there by a weird Aztec-like tribe (whose leader also happens to be a robot). Then sweet little Uran turns evil (oh, the horror!), but finally everything becomes normal again somehow. The second story is about a weird 4th dimensional being called Meeva, who can bring things from the past to the future when he is in physical pain (pretty strange!). Dr. Tenma captures Meeva because he wants to bring back Astro from the past the moment he was born (April 7th, 2003) so he can keep him for himself, but of course his plan fails when Meeva brings back ancient Japan from 10,000 years ago - when it was still under the sea! This was an exciting volume overall - it looks like the next volume is back to lots of small stories, which will be nice after these epics.


More theme days

Yesterday was exercise day, so I ran at lunch, did a bunch of mall-walking after work, and topped it off with several games of Pump It Up at Dave & Busters. Even though I'm loyal to DDR, Pump It Up is still kind of fun, mainly because of the unusual songs (such as a dance version of Beethoven's Pathetique sonata)! Today is reading day, so I just got home from Barnes & Noble, where I camped out for two hours, drank cappuccino, and got a great start on three different books. It's fun hanging out and people watching, too - I saw some chess lessons going on, plus what I think was a Japanese tutoring session (the student kept getting shita and ue mixed up, but I know better!). Maybe I should find a tutor, since I have zero practice speaking - I always ace my Rosetta Stone tests, and I'm learning lots of vocabulary that we never touched on when I was in class, so I'm happy about that, at least.


Kikaida Vol 1 : 3 of 5

My pal Dae always sends me cool birthday presents, and one of them this year was this DVD, featuring the first five episodes of this wacky Japanese series from the early 1970s. I hadn't seen Kikaida before, but after reading episode titles like Green Mantis: Bizarre Killing Machine and Orange Ant: Challenge to the Death, I knew I was going to love it (since I can't get enough of rubber suit monsters)! Kikaida is a robot (who has a human form and a robot form that looks like a red and blue Ultraman) who was created to fight the forces of DARK, an evil organization who wants to take over the world, and keeps sending new Destructoids out to face Kikaida. When Kikaida is in human form, he's called Jiro, and he always shows up strumming his red guitar to announce he's ready for battle, and then transforms by yelling "Switch on! 1, 2, 3!" The battles are great, since when an enemy is destroyed, there's a cloud of smoke and then lots of random electronic parts fall to the ground (one time I saw an ordinary house light switch)! The theme songs during opening and closing titles are funny, too, with hilarious lyrics. It's so bad that I love it to pieces! Now I'm faced with the decision of buying more of the series (since Netflix doesn't have it) - I want to see the rest of the Destructoids!


TiVo and pizza

It's a rainy day, so I think I'm going to order a pizza and veg with TiVo all evening. I've been following a silly schedule of giving each day a "theme" so I can decide what to do with my free time. It helps me to balance all of the stuff I like to do, so it's kind of fun. Anyway, today will definitely be TiVo day, since I have several episodes of Enterprise and the new Battlestar Galactica to catch up on!

Today my pal Ryan and I went shopping for lunch - he shopped for DVDs and stuff for a Super Bowl party, and I bought some more stuff at the The Container Store, since I have been going wild with organizing in the past few weeks (one of my New Year's resolutions). Now I have a place to put all my GameBoy Advance games, a crate for my Christmas decorations, and another big container for random garage stuff. Last night I moved all my college papers into nice plastic boxes - no more cardboard for me!

Well, my PEZ month on Flickr is finished - take a look at the whole thing! I think now I'm going to move to my die-cast Disney attraction vehicle collection. Hopefully I can get some semi-sharp photos of them.