Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ju-on: The Grudge [2003]

This here is for the theatrical release version of Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on [2000]. Armed with a bigger budget, did he make a better film? That's arguable. I would argue that he did not.
In no way a bad film, Ju-on: The Grudge (J:TG) just doesn't match up to Ju-on despite having the same director! In another viewer's case you might attribute this feeling to having watched the original before watching the remake. Not me. I actually saw this version first, then checked out the original and I maintain that the latter is the superior film.

The biggest difference between the two would be the acting quality. Again, the actors in J:TG weren't bad, it's just that Ju-on's were a little better. (The girls were cuter too. Don't judge me!) ╮(╯ヮ╰)╭

Naturally, the special FX were more fully realized... I guess? I won't say 'better' because, in my opinion, they weren't. Ju-on used what it could manage to do extremely effectively, such that throwing more money at it really doesn't enrich the experience by much.

This is a good film, no doubt about it. With a faster pace and higher quality FX, this is the version I would recommend to people looking to see Ju-on Lite. If you have the patience an appreciation for a slower pace I don't hesitate to point you to the original. The impact of the climax hits harder after the proper amount of building up. In addition, I feel that the timeline of the chapters flowed better in the first.
The sequence of events by chapter in Ju-on
Chapter 1: (1) Teacher arrives at house and finds mysterious conditions.
Chapter 2: (2) Tutor with Kanna of the Murakami family.
Chapter 3: (2) Girlfriend of Murakami son.
Chapter 4: (2) Kanna returns home.
Chapter 5: (1) Teacher realizes what has happened in the house.
Chapter 6: (3) Realtor sells house.
The sequence of events by chapter in J:TG
Chapter 1: (2) Rika arrives at house, some of the residents are missing.
Chapter 2: (1) Katsuya and Kazumi, the residents are at the house.
Chapter 3: (1) Katsuya's sister, Hitomi, hides under the covers.
Chapter 4: (2) Rika's boss checks up on her and comes to the house. Toyama tries to burn the house down (good man).
Chapter 5: (4) Toyama has been long dead and his daughter, Izumi, overhears a report about a health care worker.
Chapter 6: (3) The health care worker, Rika, tries to save her friend.

The most important thing J:TG lacked, and the reason Ju-on is a better film, was the element of unraveling the mystery. From the moment the teacher arrived at the house he, and the audience, knew something was odd. Next we see the future, all the victims of the curse being done in. Then we returned to the teacher and we all discover the terrible events that have transpired. Finally it ends with the house being sold and the continuation of the curse. In J:TG the story is laid out for you by a detective speaking with Toyama in Chapter 4. Truly a shame and Ju-on: The Grudge suffers for it in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ju-on [2000]

The first installment of the series, and in my opinion, the best. It is low-budget, the 'special FX' look it, and yet, it is frightening as hell. Scarier, in fact, than both the theatrical remake, Ju-on: The Grudge [2003], and the money-loaded American remake, The Grudge [2004].
Oh shi-
 The film starts with a teacher, Kobayashi, who goes to see a student who hasn't been attending school for a while. Upon arrival at the house he starts to sense something isn't right. For one thing, something rotting and bloody is in the trash and the boy, Toshio, is covered in scratches and bruises. He seems to be home alone and Kobayashi decides to wait with the kid, who starts making odd noises while his back is turned. Something on the upper level indicates they aren't so alone in the house after all.
Well, XP to you too

Suddenly, we skip forward an unknown amount of time. A new family lives in the house now. The daughter, Kanna (up there \(9_9)), and her tutor, Yuki, are upstairs going through lessons, no worries, right? Joking about boys, kidding her brother, Tsuyoshi, about his new g/f... But hey, what's that odd noise Yuki keeps hearing? What a shame...(she was cute). Fortunately, Kanna got called away to take care of some rabbits at school so she leaves the house safely...

Meanwhile, the g/f, Mizuho, goes to meet Tsuyoshi at school, but what's this? His bike and backpack are here but he is not? That's just low, you grudge you. She's innocent! Innocent I say! Nonetheless, Toshio takes her down in short order. (ㅎ︵ㅎ)

So Yuki, Mizuho, and I can only assume Tsuyoshi too, have been whacked. What about Kanna?! Can a person survive without a jawbone? At least long enough to get home apparently...

Then we come back to Kobayashi and Toshio, taking place before all those events just now. What happened here? Toshio, that long haired woman? What's the connection? Where are his parents? Well, answers come. Oh yes.
Kobayashi, hard-working teacher that he is, has stayed at the house until nightfall. For some reason he's chosen to stand at the windows all day instead of looking into the other rooms to find clues as to what's going on. Well he looks for clues now! And he finds 'em (or are they shown to him?). The wife, Kayako, had a real obsession with him. At this point I started to get a feeling for what transpired here. (((⊙﹏﹏⊙))) Understandably, Kobayashi is shocked and he starts towards the door before hearing the sound of flies coming from the closet. Oh shit. That closet. So that's why Kayako's ghost was up there. Huh. (⊙Д⊙) OH GOD! In a true testament to his human kindness, Kobayashi grabs the kid and tries to take him out of there posthaste. I would have said 'FUCK IT' and, as a YouTuber eloquently put it, "sprint[ed] away pissing myself for three blocks."

And his poor wife..........

What follows is the famous staircase scene. The most frightening part of this? Not Kayako coming down the stairs. It was the sound coming down the stairs of Kayako falling out of the attic! And the rustling......and sloshing.... 

When you watch this movie I want you to pay attention to how there are almost NO 'jump scares' in it. I could go through the whole thing and point out every time there could have been one accompanied by a timestamp like I did with in the American vs J/K Horror post. This movie lets you feel your own horror, it doesn't force it on you. When the characters are startled by something, the movie doesn't artificially startle you too. It's awesome.

Worth checking out, for both J-horror-philes and new comers. (O___O)-b

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ju-on's humble origins

I left this out of the previous post but I think I should make mention of the very beginnings of the Ju-on series: two 3-minute short films entitled 'Katasumi' and '4444444444'. Katasumi contained the prototype for Kayako, the murdered wife and primary onryou, while 4444444444 features the cat/boy, Toshio.


Monday, June 27, 2011

The Ju-on film series

Enough of that panda foolishness, lol. Back to the good stuff!

Ju-on [2000] is partially responsible for revitalizing the J-horror genre in the early 2000s and it is one of the two best known Japanese horror film series, the other being the Ring series (which can lay claim to most of that credit for the revitalizing).

First some history. The Ju-on series, 'juon' (呪怨) meaning 'grudge' or 'curse', is the brainchild of director Takashi Shimizu and I must say he's milked this thing for all its worth. Directing no less than 7 of the 10 films in the series, including two American remakes, I'm hard-pressed to resist calling the man a one-trick pony but hey, itsa livin' and who am I to judge?
They look like this.

First appearing as a direct-to-video movie in 2000, Ju-on takes the age-old haunted house premise and really makes it special. Anyone who's seen The Ring will be familiar with this image, the vengeful spirit, onryou, 怨霊. Well, that might be the most popular manifestation in the mainstream eye today due to those movies but they come in other forms too.

Or this.

Or this.
Most haunted house films run like survival horror games, the protagonists struggle to escape the house and when they do, they're free and clear. Ju-on? Well, that's what makes it special. In a similar manner to Ringu [1998], the menace is contagious. It follows you out of the house (or video tape) and into the world, wherever you go, and that, I believe, is why audiences loved it. The chills you feel follow you out of the theater and back home. Just like how Jaws made us think twice before going back into the ocean, Ju-on will make sure the first thing you do when you open a closet is to look up and check the ceiling. Not to mention this sound.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Kung Fu Panda 2 [2011]

Sequels. The comparison to the first can't be helped, even if it isn't deserved. I can happily say Kung Fu Panda 2 holds its own! I enjoyed this one immensely as well.

I have heard that the opening for the first movie was meant to resemble shadow puppetry. This one starts with a sequence that looks like actual shadow play. And no surprise, as the director for this movie, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, directed the opening of the first.

Of course, the first thought that came to mind when I heard there would be a sequel was, "What will it be about?" Well, they took care of that handily. The story of the peacock and the use of gunpowder came through very neatly along with hintings of Po's origin.

Identifying the voice actors for each role made for a fun activity during the first film. Of course, Jack Black was a given, second James Hong. Michael Clarke Duncan's voice is also easily identifiable. I didn't get Seth Rogen until he chuckled after Shifu sent Po bouncing down the stairs. Jackie Chan's voice isn't difficult to hear but Monkey just didn't get enough dialogue for me to make an ID for most of the movie. Michelle Yeoh's narration kind of made me roll my eyes. Her voice is used a lot for that type of thing. Gary Oldman lends his voice to a slimy villain, reminding me of his role in Lost in Space. I wish Dennis Haysbert, of Allstate Insurance fame, and Victor Garber, a.k.a. Jack Bristow, had gotten to speak more. In Garber's case, I wish he'd stuck around.

Dreamworks animated the fight scenes nicely though I wish we could have seen more peacock. Shen's fights hinted at some really cool moves but they were too short. Po's cel-shaded dream sequences made for a very nice change of style from the CG of the rest of the movie.

The Soothsayer eating Peacock's robe because she is a goat made me chuckle. It was a clever bit. The meet-up between all parties at the top of the tower had a nice twist. Both the Soothsayer and Shen are confused that Po doesn't know his past, which, in turn, made me wonder why no one else has ever brought up the panda massacre. It seems like it might be kind of a big deal.

These movies have managed to sprinkle humor into all their scenes very well, even the action ones. When it needs to get dramatic though it does that nicely too. I will say I rolled my eyes again when I saw the tai qi chuan sequences with the droplet of water though. Trite would be the word.

The final fight (oh no I'm comparing!) didn't have as much impact as the first one did though. Po's fat shielding him from Tai Long's nerve striking? That was good. Using Chekhov's 'inner peace' to redirect the cannonballs like water droplets? Not so much. The re-direction technique? Have you seen Shaolin Soccer? It's been done. Again, Shen's fight scene was too short. I must say, his death scene was also a bit too brisk.

The conclusion lacked impact as well. Po returns home, they have a pointless little argument over cooking. Then a reveal of a secret panda society living in the valley. I don't know what to make of this. Possible lead-in to a third film? Not really. A conclusion to Po's origin story? Not really necessary. It just didn't seem to have much of a point.

My verdict: An enjoyable film in it's own right and when stood up beside the first. (^_^)-b

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kung Fu Panda [2008]

Change of pace after those last few posts focused on horror movies.

Normally I don't like these types of movies that have their foundation in stereotypes but I enjoyed the first one so I thought I've give the second one a look too..... I'll talk about the stereotypes in another post. Yes, otherwise this review is going to get sidetracked on a ranting tangent.

It also helps that I'm a fan of Jack Black. His opening narrative had me laughing already.
"I see you like to chew. Maybe you should chew... ON MY FIST!"
The second thing I noticed was the voice actor for the Dad, James Hong. Is it just me or does he do a lot of his work in restaurants? He was the host of a restaurant in the Seinfeld episode “The Chinese Restaurant”, in a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory, in the episode "Color Blind" during the first season of Alias and in a few episodes on The King of Queens.  ╮(╯_╰)╭

Any way, Po the panda, fat, goofy and likable (kinda like Jack Black himself), is sort of like one of us, normal guy, daydreams about kung fu, works in noodle shop. Ok that last part probably doesn't apply to most people but you get what I mean. You know he's going to live out his dream, not least because the trailers gave it all away. (- -____||||)

Despite this, I liked the development building up to his becoming the real Dragon Warrior. The initial awkwardness between the Furious Five and Po came off very naturally, especially Crane.

One thing that gave me pause concerned the names, two names in particular. Oogway and Shifu. For those of you who don't know, Oogway means 'turtle' and Shifu means 'master'. If everyone else is going to be called Mantis, Tigress, Monkey, etc. why are these two named oddly? Especially Shifu, whom they call Master Shifu, which is actually redundant. If the writers really wanted to be culturally respectful they could have used the term Shifu properly. I'm sure they could have found a way to communicate to the audience what it meant. Hell, they even pronounce it in the ignorant way. ('shi' sounds more like the first phoneme of 'shirt') This post isn't about me giving you Chinese lessons, though.

None of Oogway's dialogue was special. All of it came from stock 'kung fu master' stuff we've all heard before, perhaps even read in our fortune cookies.

I really liked Tai Long's escape sequence. The prison looked great and all the defenses looked very convincing. Michael Clarke Duncan gives a funny performance as the rhino prison warden.

All of the fight scenes looked amazing, no I'll expand that, all of the action scenes looked amazing. Wonderful animation from DreamWorks this time around.

I won't lie though, this did pop into my head.

The final fight played out very well. Po's fat making him impervious to Tai Long's pressure point strikes made a very good twist. This had some foreshadowing early on when Mantis gave him acupuncture treatment but I had forgotten by the time the fight came around.

All in all an enjoyable film.

Friday, June 24, 2011

J(apanese)/K(orean) Horror vs American Horror Pt.2

Nevertheless, American horror in the 2000s didn't totally reinvent itself. The slasher/gore front stayed strong with such blockbuster franchises as Saw [1 film per year from 2004-2010] and Hostel/+Part 2 [2005/2007]. In fact, a new term was coined during this period for these gore fests: torture porn, a fitting description wouldn't you say?

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a shining example of the differences between American and Asian horror. A clip from the classic Japanese film, Kairo. Apologies for how dark it is though.
P.S. I did not make nor did I upload this clip though I wish I had on both counts.

First 3 minutes
Do you see how the woman quietly appeared in the corner, quite far from where he was standing? In an American film she would have appeared directly behind him accompanied by a loud sound. Notice how she slowly walked towards him? That stumble she makes is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. In an American film she would have walked towards him then suddenly teleport forward a couple of feet, possibly probably startling him and causing him to stumble back and fall over. Then she would lunge directly towards the camera while making a loud screeching sound zombies and other monsters find popular these days. For examples on the 'Screech & Lunge' see this at 2:10 and this at 1:51.

Rest of clip
You might have to watch the movie to get what's going on here. (O___<) *wink*
Anyhoo- DO IT (ಠ_ಠ) DO IT NOW NOW NAO
Anyway @6:57 You can be assured that in an American film something would have startled her and you, the audience, when she turned the light on. The maker of this video was also aware of this convention.

A clip from the remake, Pulse, for comparison but not for pleasure.


 Of particular note is the moment @1:27 when the thing with many arms jumps out at her. A typical cheap jump scare moment.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

J(apanese)/K(orean) Horror vs American Horror Pt.1

Continuing from the previous post, one of Asian horror's best features is the reliance on generating actual fear and dread, whereas American films usually go for tension (which they mistake for fear) and shock (also 'fear'). This discrepancy difference (^ヮ^;;)7 becomes very easy to spot when you compare the shitty remakes with the originals. Let's run through a non-exhaustive list from the last decade shall we?

Ringu [1998] ==>> The Ring [2002]
Kairo [2001] ==>>Pulse [2005]
Dark Water [2002] ==>> Same name [2005]
Ju-on: The Grudge [2003] ==>>The Grudge [2004] This one is interesting in that the director for the original, Takashi Miike, also directed the remake.
One Missed Call [2004] ==>> Same name [2008]

As you can see, the 2000s saw a prodigious number of hit Asian horror films ported over, fucked up altered to fit American tastes and shipped out. Throughout the 90s, slasher/gore films dominated the American horror scene and I believe the attraction to these Asian ones came as a reaction to that. Hollywood executives saw that there was something different about them from the stuff they had been pumping out. What the scriptwriters seemed to have missed when they wrote the remakes was that what made these films different was what wasn't there. Shocks and blood. Not everyone missed out on these points. The Blair Witch Project [1999] and The Others [2001] both utilized the minimalist approach and, not coincidentally, I liked both those films (and mentioned them in my last post as examples of good American horror movies). On a side note I will point out that the minimalist approach is not a magic key into my treasure box of loved horror movies. Paranormal Activity [2009], despite receiving good reviews and running with the minimalist approach, was nothing special to me. I believe it would have been nothing special to the majority of the movie-going public too if they watched more Asian horror cinema like me. I will tip my hat to the series for showing Hollywood how effective 'less' can be. No wait, let me say it in a way that will make them ACTUALLY care. I thank Paranormal Activity for showing Hollywood how PROFITABLE the minimalist approach can be. There, that should do it. Almost $200 million on a budget of $15 000 if I recall?

That was quite a bit of reading so I'll split this post into two parts for you tl;dr types. How accommodating and understanding I am! (and humble!) ╮( ̄ヮ ̄)╭

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Horror Movie Love-Hate

I love horror movies, particularly those of the J and K persuasion. Sadly, characters in horror movies have to possess a requisite amount of retardation in order for the plot to move forward, or in some cases, in order for the premise of the movie to be exist in the first place. A certain level of tolerance and a willingness to experience occasional frustration are necessities of the job.

One of the biggest differences between American horror films and Asian ones would have to be the gore levels. American films rely heavily on buckets of red corn syrup and CGI. For better or worse, films like the Hostel series come to my mind first when thinking of modern American horror films. This may not be entirely fair, I'll admit. The Blair Witch Project, The Others, The Exorcist, and The Sixth Sense were all great films that don't fit this mold.

Another thing, by far the worse one in my opinion, is American horror's reliance on what I call 'jump scares'. These are those moments when either the music stops or the violins begin to hold that one high pitched note as the protagonists approach a dark hole or prepare to open a door. AND THEN SOMETHING STARTLES THEM, whether it be the monster or, more often, someone shows up and says, "HEY!" This moment is also usually punctuated by a loud DUN! on the piano.

What I like about J/K horror? Well, that can fill a whole post by itself. Next post will elaborate on the differences between American and J/K.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Hangover 1 and 2

The Hangover [2009] is definitely one of my favorite comedies. I saw it much later than all my friends so I heard a lot about it, and as you know in those situations there is always the risk of having your expectations raised too high. Happily, this did not happen. I saw it and I thoroughly enjoyed it save for two points of dis-satisfaction:
A) I'm a fan of Galifianakis but I did not enjoy his character nor his character's humor. Having seen him in The Hangover and Due Date [2010], I believe Zach's best work lies off the silver screen. When I refer to "his character" I am referring to the awkward dopey dumbass he appears to be type-casted as.
B) The flamboyant gay Asian played by Ken Jeong. Over the top in an unfunny kind of way in my opinion.

Unlike some comedies, like Your Highness [2011] (>︵<), The Hangover was a funny movie as a whole rather than an unfunny blob with sprinkles of funny. Ok, maybe a funny movie with a few unfunny sprinkles. Again, I didn't care for Zach's humor being entirely based on his social awkwardness and ignorance of how to behave in public.

When I saw the trailer for the Hangover Part II [2011] I was both excited and trepidatious. How will it measure up to the first? How will the story work out this time? Oh no, Galifianakis is in this one too... I wonder if Doug will go missing with them this time? He kinda missed out on the 'fun' last time, being stuck on the roof and all.

This time the movie takes place in Thailand. My first thought was: "Hey there should be plenty of Asian characters so they won't just have a single stereotype-ridden guy".

[Spoilers may be ahead]
I wasn't disappointed. I got a whole bunch of Asian stereotypes! The stern father who pushes his son to over-achieve, the over-achieving 16 year-old Stanford pre-med virtuoso cellist, etc. Otherwise, the gang encountered a disappointing number of white expats.

The build-up to the expected 'morning after' was brisk. Alan's still awkward, Doug is married, Stu is still a dentist. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was waiting through the exposition for the "real action" to start.
Phil seems to be the glue that holds both the group and the action together. In the first movie, everyone except Phil had a special thing of sorts. Alan found his friend black Doug and won a ton of money playing blackjack. Doug ended up on the roof. Stu got married to a stripper.
Phil acts as an informal leader, putting together clues and following leads with a comparatively level head. Stu doesn't have enough spine and Alan doesn't have enough brains to do the job. Each of the characters more or less falls back into their familiar niche for this film.
Unfortunately, Alan hasn't gotten any smarter in the interim. I really hoped he would be "roof-ed" this time around so as to minimize the impact of his re-tard antics. This was not to be. Once again everything is his fault. He still laughs at inappropriate times, he insists on making a cringing ass of a spectacle of himself and, just like in Due Date, he doesn't know how to handle firearms safely. I actually groaned with disappointment when a gun dealer lays a micro Uzi on the table because I immediately knew that Alan would get his hands on it and say something to the effect of "whoa, is that real?" *blam* *blam*. I was disappointingly correct. Stu, if you had more backbone this sort of thing wouldn't have happened to you guys again. I'm jus' sayin'.

Alan has an illuminating dream sequence a third of the way through the movie, illuminating for us and him. He actually sees the 'wolf pack' as teenagers rather than grown men.
I was happy to see Leslie get a larger bit in this movie. The man can drive, haha. He's as flaming as ever but he can drive.

I liked it. I've heard some people say it didn't measure up to the first and I can see why they would say that, but I liked it. It fell short of the first by only a little bit, if only from a lack of novelty.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Movie Trailers

Some trailers just disappoint me so much. The trailer makes the movie look so good but then I go see the movie and it falls flat. Yes, the purpose of a trailer is to sell the movie and attract viewers and oftentimes the movie isn't good or doesn't live up to the hype. This post is about specific instances when the gulf between expectation and reality turned out especially wide.

Then there are the trailers that contain the best parts and/or edit footage from the movie so that it makes stuff seem to happen that didn't. That might seem confusing so I'll start with that.

The most recent instance of that one would be the A-Team [2010]. In the trailer you had Mr. T whistling the A-Team theme song while masquerading as a window cleaner. That was awesome. It didn't happen in the movie. (ㅎ︵ㅎ)

Your Highness [2011] looked like it would be so funny. Sadly, it seems that they used every single one of their good jokes in that trailer. Wait, let me phrase that more scathingly: Sadly, it seems that every single one of their good jokes fit into that 3 and 1/2 minute trailer. The rest of the 1 hour 40 minutes ended up as filler.

Hancock [2008] is an odd bit.

In fact, I liked the movie. It could have been better but it wasn't bad. I actually appreciated how the trailer kept such a good lid on the twist! Truly a rare feat these days. If you haven't seen probably won't so I'll deliver spoilers with abandon. When Charlize Theron revealed that she had super powers, I was legitimately surprised. That doesn't happen too often, let me tell you. Unfortunately, the latter half of the movie broke down and its ending lacked any kind of impact but over-all it remained an entertaining film. My disappointment with the trailer lies more with the fact that the movie didn't go as far with its premise as it could and should have. Ironically, despite my satisfaction with the trailer's non-spoiler-ness, I wish the movie had stuck with what the trailer made it seem to be about.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


A few of my favorite webcomics some people might not know about. Which would be a shame.

Cyanide & Happiness


Extra Ordinary

Drawing Board - The spirit of despair is my favorite recurring bit.

Brainless Tales - I have a deep love of puns.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

That one guy....

Say there's a social circle that you are a part of but there's that one guy you don't care for, but everyone else either tolerates his presence or likes him. What do you do? Float around on the other side of the room when he's around? Ignore him?

Let's say you are all friends on FaceBook but it is troublesome because the one guy comments often, and all these comments usually contain the traits that you don't like in the, in person. Un-Friend? Restrict privacy settings?

I don't have much of a dilemma, per se, since I am not unsure of what to do. It helps that I don't care if feelings are hurt. LOL
╮(╯ヮ╰)╭ >>>>>(#__) ><)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Idiosyncrasy #2: Repeat Segment

I always listen to songs on 1 Track Repeat. At any given time I fancy one particular song and I am happy to listen to it over and over for extended periods.

I 'spose this next thing is a separate idiosyncrasy but it is also music related so I'll put it here too. Actually...the #2 refers to the number of the post ABOUT my idiosyncrasies, not the idiosyncrasies themselves! ha-HAA!! Brilliant! The system is saved. (^_________________^)

Sometimes I only like small segments of songs, the rest I may not care for. They may even be as short as 4-7 seconds, maybe less. Then there are other songs where I like a segment a lot more than the rest of the song but as a whole I like the song, too.

These two idiosyncrasies combine to create a special place in my heart for this site. There you can find looped snippets of popular songs, and it never stops!

Snippets that I like more than the rest:
Creedence Clearwater Revival: Have You Ever Seen The Rain? [0:00-0:08]
"Weird Al" Yankovic - The Saga Begins [2:34-2:43]
Jason Mraz - I'm Yours [0:00-0:11]
Epik High - Umbrella [0:17-0:35]
Garry Schyman/Palbasha Siddique - Praan [3:07-3:11] (Only four seconds long, I did not lie)
How to Destroy Angels - The Space in Between [0:00-0:32]
Lady Gaga - Alejandro [0:29-0:46] (In other news, better off listening to Ace of Base - The Sign.)

Snippets that are the only part I like:
Rihanna - Only Girl [0:00-0:15]
Nodame Cantabile-Konna ni Chikaku de [0:00-0:18]
MGMT - Kids [Just go to that site I linked to up there. The segment is on the page lower down somewhere.]
Escaflowne OST - Dance of Curse [0:00-0:18]
Kalafina - Hikari no Senritsu [0:00-0:13 AND 0:34-0:36]

There's more but that should give you an idea. For many of the songs that I only like a snippet of, I used Audacity to create a 1:30 track of nothing but that segment looped multiple times.

I used to have an old mp3 player that allowed you to press a button and create a temporary A-point and B-point on the track and the player would loop the segment. I've never seen this feature on any other mp3 players.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hard Choices

A human life is important, until it endangers other human lives.
 What do you guys think? As you may gather from some of what I said in my previous post here, I definitely agree with this statement. Whether it be a murderer, a Hitler-esque dictator, an enemy soldier aiming his rifle at you, or simply a confused man with a knife to your throat, in the situation when more than his own life is at stake as a result of his actions, his inherent right to life is forfeit. If a man was stalking the halls massacring your co-workers would you try and dis-arm him, knock him out? I would take no chances. 
An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind? Consider the alternative: you will still have only one eye and he will have two if you do nothing. 
What do you think would happen if it became policy to automatically consider all hostages as casualties? Your first reaction would probably be one of horror. "Why would you do that?! They still have a chance! How could you?" Hostages empower the hostage-takers (I wish there was a more succinct word for them) because they then hold all the cards. The 'good guys' essentially gave them those cards by taking on a strategy of appeasement. Can't you just picture it: They get in their helicopter and make their get-away, taking a few hostages with them. Once they're scot-free they turn to the hostages and shoot them. Why not? Hostages aren't intrinsically good bargaining chips. They're only as good as the other side makes them.
I'd like you to keep in mind that the frame of this post centers around human interactions, not nation-to-nation or organization-to-organization. I hope you understand what I mean by that. (^__^;;)7

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Movie: Cube [1997]

Premise: 6 strangers wake up in a strange cube with no recollection of how they got there. Each side of the cube has a hatch that leads to another room with six hatches.

It quickly becomes obvious that this movie focuses on character interaction and struggle more than action plot points. Like some of the Saw movies, a bunch of strangers stuck in a perilous situation are bound to clash and fight.

At times the acting falters and the characters try too hard but over all it wasn't distractingly bad. I didn't like any of the characters in this film but I don't think I was supposed to.

David Hewlett of Stargate fame takes a turn as a fatalistic wet blanket. As a Stargate fan I was pleasantly surprised to see him here. Sadly, whatever love I have for the actor does not translate to love for the character he plays. I believe it stems from how different my own personality is from the 'we're all going to die, let's just give up' that he has. He was the only actor I recognized.

When watching this type of film you can't help but imagine what YOU would do in each situation that crops up.


Later in the film the gang finds a mentally handicapped man. Me, I would vote to leave him. He would be nothing but dead weight at best, at worst he could harm the group. His actions might not have malice but that hardly matters.
Have you ever heard of Hanlon's Razor? Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Not quite the situation for which that device is meant though. 

They come upon a room that has sound activated spikes. The re-TARD, who squeals and mutters to himself the whole time, becomes more than an inconvenience at this point. I wholeheartedly agree with Quentin here: we should to leave him behind lest he endanger us all. Nevertheless, Holloway adamantly defends the man and demands that he be brought along.
And he goes on to almost get Quentin killed. Holloway sees nothing wrong with this and acts as if his angry response after narrowly escaping death is uncalled for. The very picture of those insufferable creatures known as bleeding-hearts.

Am I being too heartless here?

New Gadget

Put a new music gadget into this blog: GrooveShark, on the side bar. Check it out. Have a listen to what I like.

6/16/12 EDIT: Removed the gadget. It slowed down loading of my blog.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Have you ever thought something was impossible, that it just couldn't be done? There are invisible walls that limit our potential.... man, that's deep.

Today I stuffed a sleeping bag back into its original package!

 Look at how much that punk expanded once out of its plastic bagging! I consider myself a capable sleeping bag roller but even this seemed impossible to me all these years.
After a mighty struggle I managed to wrestle the beast back into its case.

A reaction similar to this girl's ensued. I have other ways of rejoicing but I won't disclose those just yet.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Idiosyncrasy #1: Extra 'U'

I was born in the States, went to school here and learned American English in class but for some reason I always write and type 'colour' and 'behaviour'. How did British spelling get in there? (O.o)7 ??

I don't know. Was it reading Harry Potter in 5th grade? Was that it? An impressionable age to be sure, but why? I must investigate...
~~(__ಠಠ )
My mother was born in Hong Kong. The English held Hong Kong for years, right? This influence trickled into her mind and was passed on to me. She speaks English with a slight British accent sometimes. The extra vowel lay dormant for years until I came upon this children's book series, written by a British author, and BAM! Colors became COLOURS! Yes...that must be how it happened...


And with that I am back on track. A triple post day! I realized I actually missed a Friday AND a Saturday post so this should make everything hunky-dory. Yes, indeedy.


I don't like kids. I'm not old and crotchety by any stretch but I do not like children on principle. That is to say, I don't act particularly surly towards youngsters in the street. The negative feelings I have for <18 year olds is in theoretical terms, mostly. It isn't that they are "loud and obnoxious". I often say that I'm a child at heart and I prefer to be silly more often than not. Playing often gets noisy and I don't mind that. As for 'obnoxious', teenagers win out over children in that department.

Firstly: A lack of discipline. Now, I don't mean to say a military-like discipline where a kid doesn't speak unless spoken to. I don't appreciate the meant-to-be-seen-but-not-heard mentality. Stifling a child negatively affects their development. I am referring to an ignorance of how to act and when certain behaviour becomes inappropriate. Crying and temper tantrums come to mind before 'cute' and 'adorable' when I think of children.

Secondly: I find their sense of humor and wit wanting. Ok, ok, I know I can't really blame them for this and I don't. Nevertheless, I don't care for it. I have a deep-seated love of scintillating dialogue and bandying of crooked words.

When the childrens annoy me I picture this scene:

And you'd better believe I loved the mid-credit scene from Step Brothers. (^_______^)

Wub- I mean dubstep?

Before I saw threads laughing about it on 4chan I saw a few posts about it from one of my FaceBook friends. For a while I was confused as to whether it was a dance style or a music genre or both (like European jumpstyle or hardstyle). After this question got answered (the answer is C) I was confused about something else. What is up with this fanbase? I don't hate on the wub-wubs but I also don't think it's the most amazing thing ever.

My question: Why are some people so vocal about their love for dubstep? Is it just 'newest fad' syndrome?

I like that track. It's smooth and the piano melody is calming. The vocals bring it all together nicely, despite the fact that I can't make out anything the voice is saying.

This one I don't care for so much. The Cup-Stacking Girl's "OH MY GOSH!" sound bites were funny but otherwise, just lots of hard drops and bass.

What do you think?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Upcoming Movie Posts

I like watching movies a lot. In fact one reason I got a job at a Regal theater a few years ago was for the free movie privileges. It made up for the not-much-to-speak-of pay, most definitely. If you ever heard me talk about any movies though, you'd probably have the opposite impression. In conversations I usually don't 'discuss' or 'talk about' the movie, I rant. I rant about the stupidity of the characters, the casting, the storyline, etc.

Occasionally I watch popular bad movies, e.g. Twilight, Avatar, The Last Airbender (separate movies), Dragonball Evolution, in a process I like to call "knowing the enemy". I don't mean movies that are so bad they're good. These movies truly suck. But I don't want to hate on them without knowing what I'm talking about. I believe this to be no kind of high ground. And so I make the sacrifice, I watched all three Twilight movies. I read the books too, for the same reason. *shudder*

Since I missed a post Friday I'm going to double post at some point to make up for it. I don't know if I can keep up a '1 post per day' rate and still keep things meaningful- ah what am I saying, I have so much to say! Of course I can! I can promise you that I'll miss some days since I'll be doing something else but I'll do my best to keep the right amount going.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

An Intro of Sorts

This blog is going to be pretty random. There will be my thoughts on movies, my thoughts on life, my records of dreams I've had, and so on.

I first thought about making a blog after I'd posted a few Facebook Notes about such things as cantonese slang and a few of my favorite YouTube videos. Plans for a vlog also floated around for a long while but those have yet to come to fruition. Also my laptop is being a beetch so that makes things a little difficult too.

C'est la vie (- -_____||||)

I also like emoticons and long walks in warm rain, walking around the house shirtless and folding paper.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Recurring Dreams

What to write about in my first blog post?.....

As a kid whenever I was sleeping and needed to pee I would dream that I was walking up to a toilet. Using it had....consequences. My sibs would have similar dream experiences. Now I wonder whether these are common, or whether it's only because we grew up together.
A YouTube video with a related topic: here.
The link will take you to the appropriate segment of the video. If you have time you should watch the whole thing though, it's pretty funny. Unless he is serious. In which case, it is still funny but also illegal.

This hasn't happened to me in a while but sometimes I would be dozing off and I would have a short dream while in the half-asleep/half-awake state that always ended with me stepping off a curb and getting hit by a sea foam green car that looks almost exactly like this. I've always called the car a 1987 Cadillac for no reason whatsoever. It's the name that occurred to me. I looked it up and found this picture. Surprisingly, this car is actually a 19*5*7 Cadillac. I called it a 1987 Cadillac completely by random but apparently my subconscious fed it to me with a purpose. It was off by one digit but I am willing to forgive.

Well, there's my first post. Let my thoughts float out into cyberspace.