Manga Mentions 3.07 Part 2

How about another five volumes of manga? Let's start with the continuation of the two simultaneous series about our hero, Densha Otoko! Train Man Vol 3 brings the story to an end, and even though the art is still a little too crazy for my taste, the artist did a fantastic job of capturing the tension of the big love confession moment! Densha Otoko Vol 2, on the other hand, still has super-cute artwork (though I'm not too crazy about the cat-head people in the net world), and gets through the first and second dates. Video Girl Ai Vol 2 was an extremely quick read, but I'm definitely going to stick with this classic series until the end. In this volume, Ai gets "recalled" and we see the weird gods who let her come back to fulfill her mission. I''s Vol 12 (by the same creator as Video Girl Ai) spends the whole volume covering a sticky group hotel stay (lots of doki-doki sounds), but I think Iori gets too mad at Ichitaka when Izumi shows up (Izumi is so weird, but I like her determination). Finally, Monster Vol 7 is excellent as usual, even though Dr. Tenma doesn't show up until around Page 140 or so! Recently they have been focusing on other characters, and this time we have the tragic story of a detective who gets a little too close to the truth about Yohan. See you after another five volumes!


Forever at Epcot

Here's the rundown for my second day of Walt Disney World fun, this time at Epcot! There were lots of fun things about this day, which included two new attractions: the amazing Soarin' (which is identical to the ride at Disney's California Adventure, but just as beautiful), and Mission: Space. My Disney pal Melinda and I were both a little freaked out by the possibility of getting woozy during our trip to Mars, so we chose the Green Team (which is the same ride with less intensity). It was a totally cool experience, and I loved being in that cool cockpit with all of the switches, buttons, and lights (you can play with them to your heart's content, which I did!). Next, I finally got to check out the Leave a Legacy photos that my parents and I had taken during our 2004 visit, and it was so nice to think of our faces being there at Epcot forever! Finally, this was my first chance to really explore the nooks and crannies of World Showcase (on other trips I always went too fast), and it was lots of fun (I even spoke a little bit of Japanese in the Japan pavilion). Have fun checking out the photos! By the way, Melinda took some pics of me, which I'll have online sometime next week (hang in there, Mom!).

View photos: Epcot


Unbox on TiVo is cool

I used to be pretty skeptical about video downloading services, because I rarely watch video on my Mac (I would much rather burn DVDs and then watch them on my TV later). But recently I decided to try Amazon Unbox, because now you can order video that magically appears on your TiVo, ready to watch! It's definitely a great idea, and while I'm still much more likely to just rent DVDs via Netflix, I had to try out the service since they gave me a $15 credit to give it a shot. It took me about two seconds to register my TiVo (every TiVo has a unique service ID) with Amazon, and then I started browsing movies. Amazon has most movies for $3 or $4 bucks (which is like a virtual rental), and I decided to check out Idiocracy. After buying the movie with a single click, it started downloading directly to my TiVo in just a few minutes - pretty impressive! Watching the movie was great, just like any other TiVo show. It's nice to have another option for semi-immediate viewing, especially for impulse rentals. With technology like this, it really makes me think about all the cool possibilities there are for home media devices like TiVo - it's only going to get cooler!


Lights, Motors, Action!

One of the new attractions at Disney MGM Studios that I got to experience for the first time was the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show. I've seen other stunt shows before (including the Indiana Jones show several times), but nothing compares to this show! The theater is absolutely huge, containing an entire French town set. To fit the MGM Studios theme, there's a pretend director and actors that walk the audience through the various scenes, but the meat of the performance is sheer action! It's really exciting when each scene begins, because you hear the roar of the cars approaching, and then suddenly they are all over the place. Each car is constantly skidding, creating tons of smoke as they grind their tires down to nothing! This is really precision driving, too - whipping around to shop inches in front of other cars, going forwards and backwards at high speeds, and many other jaw-dropping maneuvers. Of course, there are explosions, too (gotta have a fireball!), as well as motorcycles and even a jet-ski! It's amazing to me they can do this show several times a day - the drivers are really fearless professionals. If you like roaring engines and squealing tires, this show is definitely for you! Here are a few photos from the first day of my Walt Disney World trip, and there are plenty more on the way.

View photos: Disney MGM Studios


Idiocracy : 3 of 5

I hadn't heard a thing about this movie (thanks to its non-existent marketing campaign) until my pal Tom mentioned it to me, so I decided to take a look (and I watched it for free on my TiVo via Amazon Onebox, which I'll talk about in another post!). The idea behind this movie is absolutely hilarious - an average army guy is frozen in an experiment and wakes up 500 years in the future to find that humanity has degenerated into pure stupidity (which is explained in the prologue, showing goofy rednecks having tons of babies). The best part of this movie are all the details of this new society - water fountains dispensing Gatorade, La-Z-Boys with built-in toilets, Costco stores so huge that you have to ride a shuttle between departments, and a wrestling star as President! My favorite joke is watching the outside of a Fuddruckers restaurant change as the years pass, with the name eventually transforming into what it sounds like anyway. Besides all of these funny details, the plot is just so-so. It drags a little in places, but there's always another joke around the corner to keep it interesting enough. In some ways, I think a few of the "predictions" here could really happen (especially a hit TV show called Ow, My Balls!), but it's still so much fun to laugh at humanity and just hope we can stay smarter than we seem!


Fantastic Fantasmic

I just got back from my 4th spectacular Walt Disney World vacation, and this one was really incredible! My pal Melinda and I are both "Disney pros", so we managed to see nearly every attraction at all four parks during the trip. Of course, I have about 600 pictures to go through, so it will take some time before I get them online, but I can at least start talking about all the fun. We had tons of luck with timing for buses, getting great spots for parades, and snagging Fastpasses before they ran out, but the most amazing luck was when we saw Fantasmic at Disney MGM Studios! Before the show, we got stuck in a pretty slow line for mouse ears embroidery, and by the time we got to the amphitheater, they were announcing standing-room only (for the 9000 seat theater!). They were herding everyone into a special area for standing, but one nice Cast Member saw the two of us and waved us down into the seats, just to attempt to find a place to sit. That was amazing enough, but then a guy sitting way down in front saw us and gestured that he had two available seats - so we ended up sitting only a few rows from the front! It was an incredible combination of lucky timing, and it turned out to be the best view I've ever had for Fantasmic, which was wonderful as always! I always love it when so many people from so many nations all get together and scream for Mickey - the whole world loves him. Stay tuned for more Walt Disney World stories (and too many photos) in the next few days!


Peter Pan / Platinum Edition DVD : 5 of 5

Being the Disney fan I am, it's essential for me to buy any new Platinum Edition DVD on the release date, even though the Peter Pan Special Edition still seems fresh on my mind (I can't believe it was back in 2002!). Peter Pan is such a fantastic Disney classic, and I've always loved the story, filled with adventure, excitement, pirates, indians, and the cutest pixie hips in the business. As usual, it's the bonus features that make the Platinum Editions worth buying, and there's some good stuff here! Unfortunately, the traditional Making Of segment is a mere 15 minutes (boo!), but there's a nice segment called The Peter Pan that Almost Was that does a great job of revealing several discarded story concepts (the alternate opening in Never Land was especially interesting). I also really enjoyed Why I Made Peter Pan, which has an incredible Walt Disney sound-alike reading an old magazine article, accompanied by rare photos. Speaking of photos, the galleries are pretty nice, especially the live-action reference shots. One of the best features is a new song, written by Richard Sherman using old lyrics dug out of the Disney archives (and Paige O'Hara does a wonderful job singing it). Finally, I even got a kick out of the games - Tink's Fantasy Flight is pretty exciting, but I'm amazed they put a kiddie version of Sudoku on the DVD (it takes so long just to explain the concept!). I had a great time watching the movie, and it definitely rekindled that wonderful Disney feeling just in time for my trip!


Ghost Rider : 3 of 5

I used to read lots of Marvel comics as a kid (more than I do now, anyway!), and I used to think Ghost Rider was really cool, especially when he teamed-up with other heroes like Spider-Man. Of course, Ghost Rider is kind of an anti-hero, and basically is just a cool idea (who wouldn't want to see a flaming skeleton riding a motorcycle?) that became an interesting character with lots of fans. The movie definitely takes a comic book approach to the plot, and the script is about as campy as you can get for today's audiences. There are certainly some groaner lines and plot holes, but I didn't really mind because the action sequences were really exciting! Any superhero movie has to start with the origin story, and even though there's a lot to watch before you get to see his skull catch fire, lots of the details help the plot make sense later. Nicholas Cage is just fine as Johnny Blaze, playing him just a little dim-witted (at least that's how I saw it), and I really liked Donal Logue as his friend Mack, though he dies way too quickly with almost no drama at all. Roxanne, on the other hand, was really boring, even though all of her blouses were missing the top three buttons. Ghost Rider himself is really well done - watching him use his chain whip and transform his motorcycle was especially cool, but I thought the long effects sequences during his "Penance Stare" were a little too much. This is definitely a movie to see when you're itching for some superhero action that doesn't take itself seriously - definitely better than Fantastic Four, but miles away from Spider-Man.


The Stones opened for the Heroes

Happy Day After St. Patrick's Day! Last night the Greatest American Heroes were part of the first Austin Tribute Band Marathon at Ego's, and it was a crazy fun time! Austin is overflowing with visitors right now because of the big South By Southwest festival, and when you combine that with St. Patrick's Day, you get a huge crowd of green-wearing party people. This show wasn't officially part of the festival, but even so, Ego's was totally packed from 4:00 PM until after midnight. The marathon was a great idea (and was advertised all over town with cool posters) - a different tribute band took the stage every hour, and we showed up early to take it in. We got to hear Elvis Costello, Journey, Iron Maiden, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles! The Heroes were sandwiched in-between the Stones and Hendrix, so I'm not sure the crowd knew what the heck was going on when we kicked into The Jeffersons, but at least the applause was nice. Overall, it was a pretty cool experience, and it was nice to mingle with the festival crowds (which I usually avoid) for awhile. What a night!


Two computers in one

As usual, this post is coming to you from my trusty MacBook, but this time I'm posting via Windows XP! Having a Mac that can use either Mac OS X or Windows XP is both weird and convenient at the same time. Since I will probably only need to use Windows once a week or so (just to keep track of my bills and things), I'm using Apple's Boot Camp software, since I don't really need both operating systems at the same time (and Boot Camp is free!). The installation was pretty painless - it's cool how it partitions the drive and actually kicks off Windows Setup (though it feels like the Twilight Zone when you see your Mac display that Windows logo!). Once the Windows installation is done, you have to install the Mac drivers for everything (which fixes the screen resolution, gets wireless networking going, and even does nice things like enabling two-finger clicks for Windows right-clicking), and that's it! Once I get rid of my old PC, I'll be down to only two computers, which feels just right.


DoomBuggies.com Presents the Secrets of Disney's Haunted Mansion : 3 of 5

DoomBuggies.com is without a doubt the best website ever devoted to the Haunted Mansion attraction, absolutely overflowing with amazing artwork, movies, sound, and of course, fantastic information. Last year they published this short book, which I really enjoyed, but I would call it more of an overview and not so much an in-depth collection of secrets. The main text is kind of a walk-through of the ride, describing everything that happens, stopping here and there to explain how certain effects are made. There are also shorter chapters on subjects like the Ghost Host and Haunted Mansion collectibles (which was really fun to read, since I had the board game a long time ago!), but generally only Disneyland's version is covered (there's no mention of Walt Disney World's library room, for example). My favorite few pages are the complete script to the classic Story and Song from Disney's Haunted Mansion album, which I must have listened to a hundred times when I was younger. There are some really nice photos (reproduced in black & white) and artwork, but it would have been amazing if the book had been designed with the same flair as the fantastic website! I definitely had fun reading through this book, but it only made me want to check out the DoomBuggies.com site again (and maybe that's on purpose!).


Flickr fun

I can hardly remember life before Flickr. I have thousands of photos still sitting there on Kodak Gallery (which was called Ofoto back when I used it), but Flickr is just a million times more useful. This week they just launched a new feature called Collections, which is basically a way to group Sets. I played around with it a bit and made a few collections, so I guess it's kind of cool. I tend to use tags for mini-categories, so I'm not sure how much I will take advantage of this new grouping, but it was fun to give it a try (and it's always fun to step back and enjoy all the photos I have on Flickr)!

While I'm talking about Flickr, I might as well point you to some fun links. My pal Barron uploaded some really old photos recently, and there are a few pics of me from my very first trip to Japan. Nastukashii! I also want to share my favorite source of Hello! Project wallpapers, all created by the extremely talented Hachiro. She is adding new wallpapers all the time, featuring members of Morning Musume as well as other H!P artists, and they are really creative and tasteful. Of course, there are millions of H!P wallpapers all over the web, but I haven't really seen Hachiro's mentioned anywhere, so I hope they become really popular. I only wish she made widescreen versions, now that I'm on my Mac Book with the larger screen. She has a really cute blog, too (also with wallpaper links), so take a look!

View photos: WEBmikey's collections
View photos: Barron's WEBmikey pics
View photos: Hachiro's Hello! Project wallpapers


Disney Insider Yearbook 2005 : 3 of 5

Disney Insider is a cool email newsletter full of Disney company facts and trivia, and during Disneyland's 50th anniversary they decided to start a new book series called the Disney Insider Yearbook. The idea was a new book would come out each year with articles and photos about everything Disney, delivered like a subscription. Well, even though myself and other big-time Disney fans ordered this book, not enough people did, and they cancelled the series soon after the publication of the first book! Most of the book is a little ho-hum, with plenty of text that seems to be a rehash of things I've already read, but there are definitely a few gems, such as a detailed list of all the hidden 50 logos that were on display in Disneyland. I also really enjoyed the articles on the making of Bambi and Lady and the Tramp (including some interesting CinemaScope discussion), since they are more about animation history and less about covering what parties Raven attended that year. The book came with a bonus DVD, but most of the DVD is an interview segment talking about what articles are in the book! The DVD also includes all of the Disney podcast segments that came out that year (many with archivist Dave Smith), so that makes it worth watching. I think the yearbook idea was kind of interesting, but I'm not too sad that this is the only one, since they are so many better Disney books published every year!


Thanks, Disney fans!

I'm still amazed that so many people have enjoyed my Disneyland Home Movies on YouTube (now viewed over 2,500 times!), so I feel like I should mention and thank my fellow Disney fans! There was a nice mention of the video (including some interesting facts about the original loading of It's a Small World that I never realized) on The Disney Blog (where I was honored to guest-blog a few years ago), and I even found a blog in French that linked to my video as well! It was also mentioned on Netcot, which is a great Disney-related podcast, and linked to in the show notes also. I've also really been enjoying the comments people have written on YouTube, many of them relating how watching my family reminded them of happy times with their own folks. Reading things such as "My grandparents would take us to Disneyland every October and seeing you with your grandparents brought tears to my eyes and some beautiful memories" really makes me happy! I hope I can find some time to edit some other short videos soon, and of course I'll be shooting tons of video at Walt Disney World only eight days from now!


Momusu no nichiyoubi

I haven't really written about Jpop for about a month now, so I though I'd take the time to catch up with some recent thoughts on my beloved Morning Musume! Yesterday I realized that I had a lot of bonus DVDs and other things to watch, and it was great to spend the afternoon enjoying them! I started with the video for Bokura Ga Ikiru My Asia (which shows you just how far behind I was!), and I thought it was a nice tribute to the 10-year history of the group. I have to confess that I'm not a Goto Maki fan, but having her as part of the special group didn't spoil it for me. I thought it was fantastic that they actually had a decent budget for this project so they could afford some cool CG effects, and I always love semi-slow motion wind effects, and thanks to the making of segment, I discovered they shoot the video at double speed to accomplish this (a big mystery solved!).

Next I watched the video and bonus DVDs for Egao Yes Nude (fantastic song, goofy title), and Mitsui Aika isn't too bad (I was pretty disappointed when she won the audition, but I'm sure she'll grow on me). Her singing is really mature, but her pointy chin really bugs me (I think that's why people say she looks like an old lady even though she's 14). Anyway, even though I'm really tired of sparkle fringe (Hello! Project must have got it on sale), the video for Egao Yes Nude is really cool (and Reina's dancing really stands out). I definitely like the song, and it's a great way to learn three-syllable Japanese words (if you've heard it, you know what I mean!). The making of segment is pretty funny, too (I always like it when Reina says Ostukareina)!

I've also been watching tons of Hello! Morning and Utaban episodes, both old and new, and I always end up laughing my head off. It doesn't matter to me if things get a little boring, since I'm always enjoying the Japanese language angle, but usually I'm just glued to the TV! The recent news about Hello! Morning switching to a 30-minute format is a bummer, but I'm glad there are hundreds of episodes I haven't seen floating around on the web. (It's kind of fun to be a relatively new Jpop maniac, because I have years of stuff to watch!) Finally, I just have to say that even though Sayumi and Renia are my favorite members, they seriously need to stop calling themselves by their first name! It was cute when they were younger, but the time has come to move on. Sayumi isn't so brash about it, but Renia just loves to start her sentences with a loud "Renia wa..." Mou ii desu ne!


Wild Hogs : 2 of 5

There certainly has been a lack of movies that I want to see lately, but since I still like to see something at the theater every now and then, my pal Melinda and I went to see this goofy little movie. My low rating is only because I wouldn't really recommend seeing this (unless you're a big fan of this genre), but I still had a few laughs, and there have certainly been worse movies than this one! Wild Hogs is about four older guys feeling like life has passed them by, so they go on a long road trip on their motorcycles. Of course, they meet up with a gang of bad-guy bikers, and the whole thing ends up in a showdown where they learn to be thankful for their lives and their friendship (big surprise!). I liked William H. Macy's character, since he's basically a computer geek (who is proud of his Apple logo tattoo), and the skinny dipping scene was pretty funny, too. However, there were some things that seemed really contrived (thrown in for a desperate laugh), especially the twin cops where one makes fun of his brother for having a shot-off ear! This movie probably should have been made for TV, but I guess it had to have a theatrical release since people always go to see movies with stars in them. Overall, Wild Hogs was good for some laughs with a friend, but I definitely won't be TiVo-ing this when it hits cable!


Manga Mentions 3.07 Part 1

No matter how busy I get, it's always essential to escape into some manga, so here are the last five volumes I've enjoyed. xxxHolic Vol 8 has a really bizarre twist where Doumeki shares his eye with Watanuki (who lost his in the last volume), plus another appearance by the cute Zashiki-Warashi (I'm completely aware that none of this makes sense to anyone but manga readers!). Kaze Hikaru Vol 4 was wonderful, and it's quickly becoming one of my favorites, since I'm fascinated by the history and culture (intensely researched, actually!) that's wrapped inside this love story (and Sei's mistaken jealousy over Okita's sword was really sweet!). Monster Vol 6 was unique because the main character Dr. Tenma is almost completely absent, but taking the time to develop the character of his ex-fiance is one of the reasons this series is so mature. Death Note Vol 9 was a little disappointing, only because the rules of the note keep getting more obscure (who cares what happens if there are seven death notes in the human world?), and because Near and Mello together are taking the cerebral thing a little too far. Kikaida 02 Vol 5 was filled with some excellent artwork, and this time includes a second story (apart from the main series) that felt much more like an episode of the awesome TV show. I would have loved to see Jiro stop a moving train in live action!


All aboard the theater bus

I have so many things to write about stacking up lately, so I finally need to mention seeing Kirk German, my pal and singer for the Greatest American Heroes, staring in Temple Civic Theater's production of the musical She Loves Me! Kirk does lots of theater work, but this time he had the lead in a cool show, which happened to be an hour's drive away. His parents were so thrilled that they chartered a bus for all of Kirk's friends, and it was a really fun trip! This was an amazing luxury bus with a bathroom and everything, and it was jam-packed with artsy folk (so we got to hear several live selections from Cabaret and Man of La Mancha). The show was really well done, and Kirk was fantastic. He's really natural onstage, and it was great to see him in his true element. (I wasn't overly impressed with the music itself, since some of the songs were a little so-so, but everyone's performance was wonderful, and the story was heartwarming.) After the show, we waited in the mile-long line to congratulate Kirk, and then enjoyed the comfortable ride home. It was a great evening of entertainment with friends! There are lots of nice photos of the production on the theater website, so take a look at the show.


Brother Bear 2 : 3 of 5

I finally took the time to watch this DVD sequel, which I rented since I like to test out direct-to-DVD releases before deciding to buy them, and it was definitely a lot of fun to get acquainted with these characters again! I really enjoyed the original Brother Bear on many levels, and for the most part it's obvious they tried to capture the same spirit with this sequel (using painterly backgrounds, similar music, and so on). Actually, the story is really good, involving Nita, Kenai's childhood sweetheart (while he was still human, of course), and they must make a journey together to break their bond (represented by an amulet) so Nita can get married. Of course, they remember they love each other, which quickly makes little Koda jealous for attention. It took awhile for me to get emotionally worked-up, but there are a couple of scenes (where Nita loses the power of bear speech, and when Kenai pantomimes his feelings for her) that definitely got the tears going. The songs by Melissa Etheridge are actually great, but unfortunately they only last a verse or so, since DVD sequels barely make it over the one hour mark. My biggest complaint is that Kenai's voice is not Joaquin Phoenix from the original, and that they stooped to using Wanda Sykes as the shaman character, who sounds completely terrible and out of place (thank goodness it's a small role). Finally, Rutt and Tuke are still funny, but they're even better on the bonus trivia game on the DVD!



I finally got my results for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (Level 4) that I took in December, and I'm happy to say that I'm officially certified! They sent me a really nice certificate that I'm definitely going to frame, and I hope some day to have a few more levels complete to hang right next to it. My dream goal for the test was to make an A, but I actually figured I would make a high B, and that's exactly what happened. My overall percentage was an 89% (only one point away!), mainly because my listening comprehension score was lower than I expected. The listening questions were definitely harder than the ones I practiced, but I'm still happy with how I did. Here are my scores:
  • Vocabulary & Kanji: 93/100 (93%)
  • Listening: 76/100 (76%)
  • Grammar & Reading: 186/200 (93%)
  • Total: 355/400 (89%)
I've already started gearing up for Level 3, even though it's not until December. It's really fun looking over the Level 3 grammar and realizing that I'm already familiar with most of it, so I just have to keep working and keep it all fresh in my mind. I'm really glad there's a JLPT for me to take, because having something to shoot for really gives my study focus!


Remembering Stella

One of the best things about being a musician in Austin was knowing Stella Boes, and I'm sad to say she passed away today, after a lifetime of making sure everyone around her was having the best time possible. Stella was the "star" of the Carousel Lounge, and I've known her a long time since all of my bands have played at the Carousel: the Day Jobs, Stella (our band that was named for her), and the Greatest American Heroes. She always made a special effort to make sure she was working when our bands would play, and always welcomed us with big hugs and lots of warm conversation. As anyone who's been to the Carousel knows, Stella would always steal the show with her wild dancing, and during the break she would give her usual speech, making sure everyone knew to tip the band, and always ending with "God bless America! God bless Texas! God bless Canada where I'm from!", waving the approprate flags that she always had with her. She absolutely loved everyone and absolutely loved life, and the Carousel just won't be the same without her. Stella has become pretty famous over the years (she's been written about in several magazines, and even had a photo in National Geographic), but she was just being herself - someone who lived a life of music and joy. I'm proud to have known such a magnificent person!

Weekend with Dae

WEBmikey is back again, and maybe I'll stick around this time! This past weekend was jam-packed with fun, since my pal Dae was visiting from Los Angeles. Each night he was here we ended up staying out late and seeing lots of great music, and finished it off by playing some great music of our own, since Dae joined the Ernesto Marquez Sextet for a gig last Saturday. We spent time with lots of friends, including our Day Jobs pal Ann Marie Harrop, since we went to see Brave Combo (which was an incredible show), and ate some of Dae's favorite Austin food. We balanced it out a little bit with the usual Town Lake walk, but we replaced those lost calories quickly at Amy's Ice Creams. The whole weekend was really cool - it's nice to feel a little nostalgic whenever my old pals are together again!


Hello, MacBook! Farewell, iBook!

Time for some really big news! This blog post is coming to you from my new MacBook! I'm finally retiring my old iBook G3 that has served me well every day of my life since 2001 (amazing!), and my excuse for doing it now is part of my de-cluttering effort. Since the new Intel Macs can also run Windows XP, I will able to use Microsoft Money, the one PC program that I can't do without, on my Mac, which means I can get rid of my old Dell PC! As usual for Apple, getting started with my MacBook was totally amazing. The setup process includes migration from an old Mac, so I hooked up my iBook (via FireWire) and all of my settings, applications, and files were transferred. Suddenly my brand new computer was identical to my old one! It was like I was using the exact same machine, except for the fact that it's a jillion times faster. I was amazed to discover that there's only one non-Universal application that I use every now and then, so all of my usual programs are super-speedy. I'm really excited to be in the Apple/Intel world now!