Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My rusty Japanese and Yu-Gi-Oh!

Speaking of Yu-Gi-Oh!, I started playing Nightmare Troubadour on my bro's NDS. I noticed that he had a Japanese ROM, probably by mistake since he also has an English one loaded too. In case you're wondering, these are all on a Top Toy flash card. My Japanese is still good enough that I can understand the gist of the lines but my kanji vocabulary is lacking. Playing this game is only sort of helpful for practice though. I think a visual novel would be more intensive on dialogue, hmm?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


You guys remember these cards and the TV show?

I love the art and the naming of these cards. A lot of them have the little tidbit in the commentary box and I feel like it's interesting enough that if someone put a mind to it they could write a whole story on the character.

Case in point, looking through my brother's old cards today and I found this one. I remember this guy used to be my favorite. Practices sorcery, swordsmanship and martial arts, not to mention he can travel across dimensions? Damn, I wanna be just like that when I grow up hahaha.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Quick music post

I don't have a lot of time so I'll just share some A(wesome)A(sians) with you here. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

J-Pop #2: Shining Star

There's a hurricane a'stormin' outside so I wrote this post on Friday. Thanks to the miracles of Post Scheduling this should come out here on Sunday at 3:00pm.

Ok, this one is pure J-Pop, I swears it. (^^___;;)7
From Nami Tamaki, one of the genre's greatest.

Before Hallyu hit me in college my anime love sailed me through a lot of J-Pop territory. On the other hand, I didn't listen to a lot of radio. As a result of this I grew up appreciating music without having to understand the lyrics.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

J-Pop #1: Younha

To balance out all that K-Pop here's a dose of J-Pop for you. Some of you may recognize this song as one of the ending songs for Bleach (back when it was good). It was so good they made it the opening theme song for a while, too.

I love the piano in here. (^___^)

Younha - ほうき星
Grooveshark link

Oh snaps, I didn't realize she sang a Korean version, too! Uhh... does this mean I just maintained the imbalance? (___- -)7 Woops.

She's actually Korean by birth. How interesting. I didn't know her at all! (^_^)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lucid dream, sad dream

Had a terribly sad dream last night. I guess I am lucky enough to be one of those people who can lucid dream? Zach mentioned that he couldn't, which made me consider the possibility that it is not as common as I thought. Any dream that I am aware of having ends up turning lucid, even if I can't perfectly recall it later that day. Is this common?

So last night three of us, myself, a girl and one other guy, dash into a house, chasing after a man with a knife. The lights are out and the only light source is an old style camcorder I'm holding with the light turned on. The girl leads the way, holding her own little kitchen knife, and I follow, shining the light so we can see. We go up some stairs to the second floor and our third loses sight of us, getting lost below. There's no time to wait for him to catch up, we have to run on. We circle through all the rooms but they are empty, there's no third floor but where could he have gone? The pair of us complete the circuit and head back towards the stairs to search beneath. Perhaps he dashed ahead of us and went back below? She turns the corner and screams out. I come around just in time to see him stab her through the chest. At this point the darkness disappeared and I dropped the light, lunging forward with my own knife. (No guns apparently.) His blade pierced my shoulder but I drive mine into his chest. My left hand comes across to grab his kinfe by the blade, holding it so it doesn't go all the way through the joint. We fall against the banister and I push harder. His breaths slow and stop.

It really hurt when he stuck me. The shoulder went numb but the real pain came when the blade bit into my fingers. When I woke up I lay there for a long while thinking about how we had both failed her. Not 'failed to protect her', as she wasn't a limp and delicate waif. She was our team-mate, every bit as strong and capable as we were.

Sometimes, when I have incredibly vivid dreams like this, I wonder if that wasn't a glimpse into the life of another dimension's Me. In this case, I really hope not. (_ . .)
Damn. It was intense.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Favorite Word #1: Schadenfreude

Seeing the wonderful word 'zeitgeist' used by Ivan Montiel in response to yesterday's post has inspired me to share with you another word of German origin and, incidentally, one of my personal FAVORITE WORDS*fanfare*

Schadenfreude - n. pleasure derived from someone else's misfortune.

You're lying if you tell me you have never experienced this. That or you don't know of FailBlog. In which case I'd highly recommend a look-see.

Hmm? (O_<)>" *nudge nudge wink*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

lol kthnxbai l8r idk my bff jill

I've heard a lot of people lament the younger generation's loss of writing skillz skills what with instant messaging and texting.
Is it so much trouble to type, not write mind you, type 'later' instead of 'l8r'?
Well, yes. Yes, it is a difference. Even more in the case of such phrases as 'I don't know' = 'idk'.
But it's only a few extra keystrokes! How lazy can you be?!
Therein lies the misconception: It isn't a matter of effort but one of expediency. This can be seen clearest within the activity of mobile texting. This usually takes place through the use of a numpad or, more recently, one of those slide-out QWERTY pads. With a numpad the difference of two characters can become several more button presses. Again, you can sneer all you want about how little extra effort is required there but can you really tell me there's something wrong with taking the easy route when the purpose, communication, is not adversely affected?
Speaking from the perspective of an MMORPG player, fewer keystrokes means efficiency as well. That also applies to instant messaging.
I will say this though: The shorthand, while appropriate (yes, I will go so far as to say 'appropriate') for texting and IMing, is not appropriate for use on more thoughtful writings such as emails and articles. The latter activities do not have the here-and-now spontaneity that calls for acronyms in lieu of commonly used phrases.

What do you think? If you cringe when you see 'lol', what would you have us do instead? 'haha'?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

K-Pop #6: Covers

Remember what I said about the dances being a big part of the 'songs' as a whole? It's pretty amazing how far and wide K-Pop has spread. People in countries way out, far from S. Korea show their love with dance covers like these:

Speaking of dance covers, check out some of this talent for Rainism.

It makes me smile to see the fun go beyond borders and even language barriers.
Case in point! => There was actually a dance cover contest for the 2NE1's single "I AM THE BEST" and the submissions came from all over the world. If you have some time to kill, take a look at these videos.

FranceVietnam (the contest winners). Singapore. USA. Thailand. Japan.

Monday, August 22, 2011

K-Pop #5: Legendary Dances

The videos wouldn't embed so I had to use all links instead. (T_T)

Speaking of K-Pop dances and popularity, here's a very nice video from one of the YouTube channels I'm subscribed to, Simon and Martina.

At the time of this post the most popular comment, with 317 (O_O)-b's:
"seriously 2008 was the best kpop year....all the legendary songs were out then".
Not wrong. That statement is not wrong.

For ease of access, here's the list of songs they reference:

Jewelry - One More Time

TVXQ - Mirotic (See last post for this vid (O_<))

Rain - Rainism This is one of the most famous K-Pop performances, even today.

Uhm Jung Hwa feat. T.O.P. - D.I.S.C.O

Big Bang - Lies (One of my personal favorites)

Wonder Girls - Nobody

Wonder Girls - So Hot

Lee Hyori - U-Go-Girl

And the song over the credits is Sunset Glow by the way. Just so you know.

Enjoy the musics.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

K-Pop #4: Dance

Remember what I said about K-Pop being unabashedly commercial? The spirit of the genre is to entertain and this is something they do very well. One consequence of this is the prevalence of Singles over Albums. Every year dozens of new groups debut and/or disband, making so-called 'one-hit wonders' de rigueur. It is what it is though, I for one don't lament the realities of the industry as they are and I don't have a contemptuous attitude towards the different way they do things. The continuously changing field of artists makes it extremely interesting to watch and read about, something I used to do often.

You remember such classic hits as this and this? The catchy tunes in conjunction with the music video and dance routine doubtless helped to cement them as classics of the pop genre. I call them classics of pop because that is what they are, regardless of whether you actually like the songs or not. For K-Pop artists the dances and/or music videos of their singles are considered almost as important as the songs themselves. A lot of the staying power for these songs comes from the memorable dances and this isn't lost on the creative minds behind the music. That's one thing I miss about those pop days. You don't get a lot of those intricate dance numbers making the videos anymore. This is one reason I think Beyonce's Single Ladies got so much attention. Alongside "...Baby One More Time" I don't think it would have stuck out so much because it wouldn't have been the only video to be comprised of dance routine. To be sure there are still dance routines in MVs but they don't make the videos. For example, take Lady Gaga's Telephone. It has a dance routine, sure, but it didn't draw specific attention. No one talks about it, praises it, or associates the dance with the song. It's just...there.
Not so with many of the hit K-Pop songs. Years later, these movements still evoke the song they came out with. Not to mention the hordes of talented fans you'll find on YouTube who upload dance covers for them. It's really quite awe inspiring to see so much fun coming out of this. And if you have a problem with fun... well, I don't know that we can be friends any more.... ~~(/>▂<)/

Observe, for your viewing pleasure, one of the best to have graced the stage:

Of particular note is the sway @2:00.

That group right there is TVXQ, the very same group that sang "'O' Jung Ban Hap", my first touch with K-Pop. In retrospect it makes perfect sense that this be so; TVXQ's fanbase is massive. Fun fact: the group has made the Guinness Book of Records twice, first in 2008 for having the largest official fan club in the world and subsequently in 2009 for being the world's most photographed celebrity group.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

K-Pop #3: Sold

So the LCD on my Sansa broke and I've pulled out my Zen X-FI. Man, that Sansa's been with me since 1st year of uni. Check out the commercial that sold me hahahaha.

(⌐ ⌐◡)7

The Zen has a lot of K-Pop I didn't put on the Sansa though, so there's been a lot of rediscovery going on today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

An Unremarkable Dream

So usually my dreams turn lucid near the end, the ones I remember at any rate, and the ones I don't remember don't matter do they? Well, last night I had the singular most unremarkable dream it should be possible to have.

You ready?

I put on a pair of blue jeans and they were slightly uncomfortable. Just slightly.
That is all.

(___- - )

Oh wait, I recently got back my Reactions image folder.

The pants. Didn't fit....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

K-Pop #2: Favorite

And I've returned to the present!! Yeah, that's five posts in one day but don't cry for me, Bloggertopia. That's a weekend of posts I couldn't write due to lack of computer access. (^____^)7

Here's my favorite K-Pop song of them all. I happened to find it shortly after I really got into this musical genre:

It just sounds so happy. Incidentally, Big Bang was the second group I encountered, after TVXQ, but they became and remained my favorite.

As you know, I don't understand the lyrics but, while this may be a blight (or a slight) on pop music in general, that really isn't important for enjoying it.

K-Pop #1: The Beginning

Posting for Wednesday, 8/17. Yep, I'm on a roll here, chasing the gap!
~~( O__O)>"

Speaking of chasing, here's one of my favorite poems.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon
By Stephen Crane

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;
Round and round they sped.
I was disturbed at this;
I accosted the man.
"It is futile," I said,
"You can never — "

"You lie," he cried,
And ran on.

There it is. Man, short and soo poignant. I've actually shown this to some people and they say something to the effect of, "I admire him, chasing after his dreams no matter what." To this I just stare like so. (⌐⌐_) They completely missed the point about blindness and close-mindedness.

ANYHOO, that really didn't have anything to do with this post but I didn't want to make a separate one.

On to the main point: Korean pop music, or, as I call it: K-Pop. Unless your circle of interest is stubbornly regional you will have heard something about this. The spread of Korean entertainment, otherwise known as the Korean wave or Hallyu, didn't stop in Asia. While it's still burgeoning in North America it has a definite hold. K-Pop has a plethora of detractors and they're entitled to their opinions. One of their complaints is that K-Pop is extremely manufactured. This is true. And this is one thing I do not begrudge the genre. It is unabashedly and openly commercial. You know how you hear music fans, and not just hipsters, bemoan their idols "selling out"? Throwing away their deep musical hearts and selling their complex musical souls for mainstream success and fat stacks?
Yeah, well, catchy music sells and nobody embraces that like K-Pop. You know how Lady Gaga songs are catchy? I'm one of those people who scoff at her fans' talk of 'pioneering' and 'revolutionary' musicality. I know what she looked like before her mainstream success and I'll tell you now, she wasn't born this way. Google search [lady gaga pre-fame] and you'll find it.
At this point you might be cringing in horror thinking, "A genre of Lady Gaga-esque music?" *reaches for noose*
I'd say stay your hand good sir! The good thing about K-Pop is that it is so prolific. There's bound to be a track in there that is so damn catchy you'll like it. I mean, really, LOOK AT IT'S FANBASE! It's spread all over the world and I'll be damned- no, you'll be damned if you really think all those fans actually understand Korean hahahaha. K-Pop is so catchy it's gotten everywhere based on that quality alone.

Admittedly, I don't check everyday anymore like I used to, but I still listen to some good tracks that came out a few years back. I'll go about giving out doses of my favorites here in subsequent K-Pop #X posts.

If you're new to K-Pop, well hahahaha. I hate to do this, but I have to warn you to that the industry- No wait, this applies to the American pop scene too. Anyway, auto-tune has gotten out of hand. It's in almost everything. But if you can look past that then you should give it a chance. No, really. Look past it. As in, look up older songs. Hallyu hasn't passed it's "heyday" or anything like that, it's just that if you are like me, you prefer not to have every syllable auto-tuned.

What better song to put in the inaugural K-Pop post than the song that actually got me into the genre in the first place! Actually, that is a story in itself. My first taste of K-Pop passed me by. I wasn't even aware of it when I heard the song. I just knew I liked the sound. (That actually perfectly describes the mechanism by which K-Pop spreads lol) It was at the end of a particularly well-made Anime Music Video. The original has since been deleted but here's a lower quality copy I found:

The snippet of the song comes after the credits.

The creator of the original video is still around and here's a stand-alone copy of that signature sequence:

As you can hear, that segment didn't actually contain any lyrics so I couldn't know its origin. I dug a little bit and, once again, like-minded weirdos like me posted questions about the clip, against all odds of being answered, and we were rewarded. The snippet came from a Korean song called "O 正.反.合" (a.k.a. "O - Jung Ban Hap") by a group called DBSK (a.k.a. TVXQ). Hehe. Not to be a hipster or anything but I encountered this song before the Korean Wave really hit the U.S.

Here is the music video for the song itself:

I don't know if any of you guys out there (⌐⌐_) (_¬¬) are the type to scrutinize this closely but this song IS a lot older than 2009. I won't go into the messy details but the company S.M. Entertainment reuploaded all the videos between Nov. 23-25 of that year.

The best leaders

Posting for Tuesday, 8/16.

This is another post on a serious note. Now, I'm not big on politics, in fact I'll admit I can be described as 'apathetic' towards most of the struggle. Yeah, you can tell me all about how these currents will affect my life and many others but that doesn't change my feelings about it. For every person who thinks things should best be done one way, there is someone who just as staunchly believes otherwise. I truly believe that the best leaders are those who got into the position without seeking power. There was a passage in one of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books, I cannot remember which one, in which a group of men in suits ask an old hermit questions about how to run the universe or some such then leave. If you recall that scene then you should understand what I mean. If you don't, go read those books! It's good stuff.
Anyway, where was I... Oh yes. You remember John McCain? Back in the day he was actually a really good politician in my opinion. Despite being a Republican, he did a lot of good work. I laughed heartily every time I saw him branded a 'maverick' because he didn't follow the Republican party line. Good for you, sir, for having some integrity. Clearly something your party doesn't appreciate. And I'm not even trying to be scathing. Sadly, the man lost one too many times when he lost the Republican nomination against George W. Bush in 2000. When he came around to face off against Obama in 2008 he was kind of a changed man. For the worse. A lot of his 'views' had fallen more in line with orthodox conservative thinking and there you could see that he really, really wanted to win that one. If I may say, he "sold out" in a final bid for the presidency. Since then he's gotten worse. I might even go so far as to say he's become an obstructionist. And his party is probably proud of that.
I will say this though, McCain was a good man. Shit, he was a better man than most of his supporters. You can see what I mean here:

Really, how must it feel to know that you have to depend on jingoists, racists, and other ignorant types to vote you into power? I'm am confident that McCain felt twinges of frustration inside when he had to endure the boos of that crowd of 'supporters'. On the plus side, I'm happy to see that when the old lady calls Obama an Arab the blonde lady behind McCain's elbow shakes her head exasperatedly. It's good to know there are some good apples in that batch.

I say if you want to lead, you'd better want it because you feel you know what's best, not because you want control.
Try this exercise. How do you determine who gets the remote for the TV? Do you want to hold it even if you don't particularly have anything you want to watch? That's a pretty good indicator that you want the power, common good be damned.

Applying that to the real world, right now I don't think the Republican party actually really wants to defeat Obama in the upcoming election. Hell, I don't even think they know what they would do if they got the presidency. It's probably better for them if they just let Obama go another four years and focus their efforts on fucking up the system from the inside, gleefully jeering at Obama the entire time.

Layoff Teachers Based on Seniority or Effectiveness?

Posting for Monday, 8/15.

Listening to NPR this week and I heard about this debate. Yes, white people aren't the only ones who listen to NPR. Apparently, the current policy is to lay-off teachers based on seniority, i.e. new teachers get laid-off first. The proposed method would be to determine who to let go based on effectiveness. I'm not sure how that would be gauged but let's not get stuck on that for now. Reading a copy of Costco Connection I found the question posed to the readers as well. (It's from two or three issues back in case any of you guys are also Costco members and want to check it out. And if you hung on to that old issue.) Those who responded with 'seniority' gave reasons like:
-Teachers who have been there longer will have the experience and know-how to deal with the problems they face.

Basically, what you're saying is that teachers that have been around for a while will be more EFFECTIVE? Then what is your problem? Let effectiveness, i.e. merit, be the measuring stick, in that case. Their argument needs a new leg to stand on. I honestly don't understand how the ones who staunchly support a seniority based system can say they aren't self-serving.
Worst case scenario for a merit based system: The new teachers find they can't compete with the older and more experienced ones. Tough, but I'd want the best education for my kid and if it comes down to fighting for my child's education and future versus the teachers' livelihoods, naturally I choose my kid. Only the best stay.
Worst case scenario for a seniority based system: Driven and motivated, newer (not necesarily younger, though) teachers are booted off . The oldest stay, without any qualifications aside from years of service. Can't you just picture it? An cynical, jaded teacher whose spirit has been beaten down over the years by generation after generation of apathetic students slips by doing the minimum, resting easy knowing that as long as he doesn't break any laws or display overt negligence he will be able to keep hold of his job. Come on!

I don't see how this debate can't be phrased to ask: Which teachers should we keep? Older or better? That should be obvious, right?

Asian in my Caucasians? It's more likely than I thought...

Posting for Sunday, 8/14.

My tastes for girls runs pretty much exclusively Asian. Don't rag on me for being racist, man, I'm entitled to my own tastes. Sometimes though, a girl of a different persuasion catches my eye. Case in point, one day I found You Belong With Me. At the time Taylor Swift wasn't really super famous yet and I hadn't heard of her nor seen her before. In the video she's supposed to be the character of a nerdy, unattractive girl. They get this across by giving her these big hipster glasses when she's otherwise an obviously attractive girl behind them. <(⌐⌐__)> Ok, that was a digression there but not an irrelevance. I thought her pretty too! That's actually a rarity. I have difficulty matching faces of famous white actresses with their names because they all have a kind of homogenous beauty to them, in my eyes. So I surprised myself when the thought that she was pretty crossed my mind. Oh, she isn't ugly by any standards, that isn't what I'm saying. All those "widely accepted to be examples of beauty" women aren't ugly to me, they simply made no impression. The key here is that the thought actually crossed my mind. For a while I wondered why. Then one of my friends laughed and told me why. She has almond-shaped eyes. Hahaha, it would be just like me to like the look of a white girl because of the Asian traits. (>ワ<)\

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Messengers [2007] Pt.2

Posting for Saturday, 8/13.

Here's that scene that started all this.
Continuing this harrowing tale, the police arrive and the parents return to find...nothing. All the smashed furniture has reverted back to normal, leaving no sign anything unusual happened. This doesn't help the trust issues between Jess and Denise. Lolz, those ghosts done played you, girl!

Even though Ben also saw all the weirdness he can not corroborate her story. It turns out something Jess did before the movie has rendered him mute. Denise mentioned that Jess couldn't drive Roy to the hospital with a suspended license so I assume she drove drunk or something, crashed the car and got Ben hurt.

A creepy whisper awakens Jess in the night. She promptly finds Ben, also awake and standing in his crib. She recruits him to point out where the ghosts are walking. Somehow she cannot see them and they disappear when she turns her gaze upon them. That last part, I don't know why. Their appearances do not frighten the boy so why bother showing yourselves to him? And if they go so far as to make her hallucinate the house being destroyed and physically drag her into the cellar, why hide?

The adults, including John, do not believe her fantastical sounding story so she goes to the one person who will listen to her: Bobby, a boy of similar age from town whom she met earlier. He tells her about rumours that the house is haunted but apparently there is no knowledge that the previous family died. All he knows is that the family up and left a few years back, probably due to bad harvests.

Jess, being white, decides to go investigate the house's past. She finds a clue in the attic but of course the ghosts don't pass up this excellent opportunity to scare her a little bit. Black goop comes out of the floorboards and the ghouls come crawling on the ceiling, from under the staircase and up out of the ground. All of this disappears as quickly as it appeared and Jess dashes outside. The sun shines brightly over the fields of sunflowers. She starts to break down, wondering what is happening to her.
They do look creepy. I'll admit that!
The ghosts begin to step their game up, providing her with visions of the ill-fated mother in her final moments, whispered words and moans, and creeping about on the edges of her sight. The mother's ghost leads her to the barn where she finds a creepy little boy. He does the old lunge-and-screech. Jess ends up in the hospital with some minor cuts and bruises shaped like a tight gripping hand. Once again, the ghosts play her; the wounds look self-inflicted! Hohoho!

Now I have to wonder why the ghosts haven't been tormenting the mom and dad. Plus, they look like they actually get along with Ben! Go figure....
The family gets in a big fight and Jess takes off on her bike. By happy happenstance, Bobby comes by in his truck and gives her a ride. She reveals the story of how her parents came to lose their trust in her and how Ben lost his ability to speak. They go into town to look for clues.
Meanwhile, Denise speaks with Ben and she starts to get inklings that something IS going on here, something paranormal.
Meanwhile, John notices some odd behaviour amongst the crows.
I think they've been feasting on infected flesh....
It turns out John is actually the father of the previous family. The harvest of sunflowers that year was poor and things weren't working out between he and his wife, Mary. At the beginning of the movie she was packing some suitcases in preparation to leave him. He returned to the house in a rage, killing everyone. In the present time, he notices Denise placing a suitcase on the porch. Finally, the ghosts appeared before her and scared her straight. Unfortunately, John awakens as well. It seems he repressed his memories of his murderous rampage but these come bursting out now. He falls under the delusion that Denise is Mary.
Up until this point the acting in this movie hasn't been too bad, no Oscar performances here but no Razzie's either. They all start to decline now though.
John chases the wife and kids into the cellar where he gets taken down by the ghosts of his family. Nice... but why didn't they pick which side they were on earlier?
John tries to drag Jess down with him but both her parents grab her arms and tug her back out. Yay! Family power!! Flash forward some time, Roy and Denise are good again, Ben speaks, Bobby helps out on the farm. All around happy day caloo callay!

Crappy horror film. It had moments though. Just moments. You shouldn't watch this for the horror, but there are other reasons you might. (O_<)

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Messengers [2007] Pt.1

A long time ago, I saw a horror movie trailer. Years later, I could only remember one scene from that trailer: a mother is making a bed, she fluffs up the sheet and for a moment a pair of ashen gray legs appears standing under the sheet. That was a great scene. I have no illusions about the quality of the rest of that movie but that was undoubtedly a good scene. Unfortunately, I could remember nothing else about the movie. No actor names, not the year, not the title, nothing. Only that scene. But guess what? Hahaha, I wasn't the only horror fan out there that scene stuck to. A Google search for the unlikely search terms: [legs under bed sheet horror] brought up a Yahoo Answers query as the first result. BAM! The Messengers [2007]. Try it out! I think it's still the first result right now. Man, the internet is amazing.

I Youtube-d The Messengers trailer and it all came rushing back. This time though I recognized some faces. Guess who is in this movie? A pre-Twilight fame Kristen Stewart! Her acting was as wooden as ever but that's not a big problem here because I have no expectations of this movie. No wait, that's not entirely true. I expect this movie to be bad. There, that's better, hahahaha.

The house will be haunted. That's obvious right away, even if you didn't see the trailer. The beginning of the movie offers us a flashback. A mother rushes into a bedroom with her son and thells him to hide under the bed and everything will be alright, etc. Loud footsteps come up the stairs the boy sees his mother thrown across the room, hitting the wall. Of course, the kid is NOT ok sitting in plain sight "under" his bed and he seems to know it. He scrambles out and runs into his sister, they both dash downstairs and the boy hides under a table while his sister gets pushed over the banister. Wait. That isn't entirely true, either. I'm giving you the wrong idea. He crouches under the hall table like it's an earthquake. What he doesn't do is hide. The line of sight between himself and the top of the stairs is uninterrupted. The sister crawls toward him and urges him to run. Dumbass kid scurries around the corner and hides in a cabinet under the kitchen sink. Apparently, Hiding is this child's weak point cuz he ain't good at it. Going outside and hiding in the fields doesn't occur to him. He closes the door and sniffles quite loudly before the menace, I assume it's a demon-possessed father or something, grabs him and disposes of him. And there was much rejoicing. (If you get that reference, you're cool. If not, you are not cool.)

Years later, a new family, the Solomons, move in. The father, Dick, his daughter Sally, and son Tommy- oh sorry. I mean father Roy, mother Denise, daughter Jess and son Ben. The house is located somewhere out in North Dakota on a sunflower farm. It seems Jess did something to cause her parents to lose trust in her, though it isn't revealed til later.
As the family moves in, unpacks boxes and such, we get a good dose of jump scares from innocuous things. You know nothing is going to happen so early but they have to maintain a certain level of tension you know? And to remind you this is, in fact, a horror movie.
That bedsheet scene shows up around this time and I seriously considered calling it done straight away but I can't watch a fragment of a movie. That would be unseemly.
One of the most contrived jump scares comes from an old man who appears without a sound, offering Roy a job at the bank. I don't know about you but when was the last time someone who was looking for you walked up and stood 5 feet from you without making any sound to get your attention beforehand. You'd think the old man tried to scare Roy intentionally.
Weird noises and bangs abound, some aggressive crows (dare I say....angry birds?) harass Roy and his seeds, etc. A laborer, John, shows up and gets work helping out around the farm. The only thing that actually earns its creepy points is a ghost of the previous family's son who crawls on the ceiling. Only  Ben sees him, and for some reason he isn't frightened. This is ridiculous. I don't want to hear anything about how innocent he is. The ghost is pale, moves in a stop-motion fashion, and looks like it's rotting. If this kid isn't scared it is because he lacks self-preservation instincts.
It's a reflection in a spoon.

One day Roy cuts his hand on the tractor and needs to go to the hospital. This gives us another opportunity for the mother to hint that she doesn't trust Jess to drive nor to watch over Ben while they are gone. Eventually, Roy convinces Denise to drive him to the hospital and leave Ben in Jess's care. Too bad. While the folks are out the house ghosts decide to fuck with her a little bit. They smash lamps and shatter the banister, throw chairs around, knock shelves and china off the walls, make screaming noises, etc. While all this happens Ben calmly follows a wind-up toy around the house. It leads Jess to the basement staircase where pale rotting hands drag her backwards into the darkness, all the while Ben watches her placidly. What a dumbass kid. Not to mention an Oscar-winning actor, for sure.

Alright guys, that's it for now. (___- -)=3

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Part 2 for the Explanation of the "Planet of the Apes" post

This concerns the "case" that I so vaguely referred to at the very end of the post on Tuesday. Most of you readers fell under the impression that the case was this:
Movies these days are shitty remakes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011] is one of these.

I'm sorry but the only way you guys could have made that mistake would be because you guys missed out on watching the original. A real shame. Otherwise you would have seen from the trailer that the plot is entirely different. You young'uns...tsk tsk.

The truth is my 'case' referenced my post On the Creation of Zombies, in which I posited that previous generations held a fascination with nuclear power and energy, a fascination that films of the age reflected. These days that fascination has changed to focus on genetic research and development.
I used a comparison of zombie origin stories to illustrate this shift. When I saw the trailer for Rise of... I noticed that it also showed this shift well.

Exhibit A: At the end of Planet of the Apes [1968] the protagonist rides out from the land of the apes to what is known as the Forbidden Zone (ooga booga!!). There he discovers that he did not land on an alien planet as he had originally thought but in fact has landed on Earth sometime in its distant future. He delivers a famous cry of despair, implying that humanity destroyed itself through nuclear war, allowing the apes to become the dominant race on Earth.

Exhibit B: Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011] has changed this origin story. The cause of mankind's downfall now lies in genetically enhancing the apes.

There you go. Hope that clears things up, guys! (^_^)-b

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Explanation of the "Planet of the Apes" post

Judging from the comments on yesterday's post a lot of you missed the point and/or misunderstood what a 'reboot' is and how that is different from a 'remake'. I'll delve into the Remake vs Reboot issue in this post and I'll go into the "point" in the next. Thanks go out to D4 for alerting me to the confusion. (O_O)-b

A remake of a movie is pretty much exactly that: an old movie, usually with dated special FX, gets remade for a contemporary audience (which really likes its eyecandy, I won't deny or decry that). I'm sure you've encountered many remakes about which the critics decry how the film has lost its heart amongst shiny new CGI lasers and such. This isn't high-brow talk, this is a real problem.

An example of the over-reliance on FX as opposed to content would be a comparison of Star Trek series. The phaser beams, not to mention the fight choreography haha, haven't aged well on the older Star Trek series but the plot lines you found on The Next Generation remain vastly superior to any thing that Enterprise had to offer. By the way, that was an example of an old thing with good story but bad effects compared to a new thing with good effects but bad story. That was NOT an example of a remake. Fortunately, Enterprise got such low ratings the network cancelled it. I take much comfort in the knowledge that the Trekkie fandom (most of it) retained good taste.

Sadly, movies are more or less one-shots. Even if the film turns out crappy, the viewers will have already paid for their tickets. More often than not they have been suckered in by spectacular trailers, which the companies are never shy about stuffing with the best snippets of FX (and sex). And therein lies the heart of the problem, which should honestly NOT be a problem, as such. The old film's story was great, that's why it got someone's attention. The FX, perhaps, not so much. Ok. Spruce up the effects and retain the golden story, right? That second part has given generations of movie makers, be they writers of the new screenplay or movie executives, much trouble. They don't seem to understand. They just don't understand.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Planet of the Apes - This is not a review

I watched the Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011] trailer (which pretty much gave away most of the movie). I sincerely hope you all know that this is all part of the reboot of the old Planet of the Apes [1968] film. And guess what I noticed?

Check out the trailer here. The first handful of words spoken include "gene therapy" hahahahaha.

If you will recall from the original film, that ending strongly hints that humanity ended due to what? Nuclear war.

I rest my case. People in the 60s feared the atom. People in the 21st century fear the gene.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Some people feel that textual communication is very limited, that it lacks a robust range of expression due to the difficulty of conveying such emotions as sarcasm, humor, anger and such. I for one do not believe this must be so. I'm sure you've heard such nuggets of information as "Facial expression and body language play important roles in communication" or some such at some point in your lives. True, text doesn't normally allow for these additional facets but here is where emoticons come in.

While most of you will think of something like this when I say emoticon: :-) The 'smiley' that started it all. I actually do not like what I call "sideways emoticons". Doesn't it feel a little odd to you reading this sentence horizontally and then an emoticon like this D< popping up?  That's an angry one, for you emoticon-illiterate types. As a result, my emoticon-ing exclusively deals with horizontal faces, save for this one: XP. The good old tongue sticking out emoticon does not have an easy horizontal equivalent and I'm not so blindly fanatical that I would ban myself from using it.

Bridging the gap between cold pixels and the person behind the keyboard, I present to you my personal favorite emoticons.

The happy

(^_^) (^ヮ^) (>ワ<) (≥ヮ≤) (º▽º) ( ' ◡ ' )

The angry

(ಠ▂ಠ)凸 (ಠ_ಠ) (òmó)9

The Y U No


The shocked


The sad

(ㅎ︿ㅎ) (。。__) (T﹏T) 囧興◄Is a turtle

The carefree

╮(╯ヮ╰)╭ (  ̄____ ̄ ) ( ^^.)~~♪ ♫

The approving


The disapproving


The suspicious

(⌐⌐__) (__¬¬)

The injured

(#▂><) (✖__%)

The undead


The table-flip

(ノÒ_ó)ノ ╧╧"

The exasperated


The fop

(ಠ_ృ) <"Pish posh!"

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Today's witty exchange

I have a baby sister who, through no fault of mine own
(⌐ ⌐__) (__¬ ¬),
likes to hit people. She hasn't yet mastered her muscle control so she goes all out! Despite being 12 years younger she can deal massive amounts of damage and frequently beats her older siblings (savagely, I might add). This may sound funny to you guys but her fists are like little rocks! Rocks I say!! ~( ಠ◡ಠ)9"......( />.<)\

So today, we sat her down to discuss her lack of control:

My bro: Man, stop hitting with all your strength! See when we hit you it's at half power, like so *whack* but when you hit it's like this *pound*.
Me: Yeah, stop beatin' us so savagely.
Bro: SAVAGELY! Just wailin' on us!
Me: Like Smithers.
Me & Bro laugh heartily.

If you don't get the pun.... go back to watching South Park or something.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Listening to the radio

I listened to the radio today and Kevjumba was right on the mark with his commentary: Almost all songs sing/rap about "partying, sex, alcohol or booty" these days.

Listening to the most often played songs you get to hear almost every track feature some of these pearls:

-in the club
-get down
-put your hands up
-party people

Here is my new ringtone guys. Check it out. (O_<)-b

Friday, August 5, 2011

Living a thousand times

You want to know why I rant so much about movies and such? It isn't because I have lots of anger. No, no, it's because have standards for things, entertainment included. The movies and books are especially important to me because these are the ones that mass amounts of people will read or watch. These works of fiction serve to weave people together. Everyone has different lives, different experiences, but when two people have read the same book, watched the same tv shows they have a common ground of vicarious experience. And there's one of my favorite words right there by the way.
I have never actually fought demons on mountaintops nor have I caught the hand of a friend as they fell into an abyss but through the many fantastic stories I've consumed, I kinda have. These adventures have allowed me to 'see' and 'do' so many things. I've killed, loved, saved, and lived (and died) thousands of times through these stories. And that's why I'm like, "Hey now hey, I wouldn't do that, hey wait a- dammit. whydja go and INVESTIGATE alone you idiot!"

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Artemis Entreri

This name probably doesn't sound familiar to most of you, but today I have a rant about a fictional character from one of my favorite book series, The Legend of Drizzt. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, you can skip this post since laying out the background information behind the ranting's specifics would take too much time.

When Artemis first debuted as a character I loved his story.
Artemis - A cold-hearted assassin who has devoted  sacrificed his entire life to become the best swordsman alive meets Drizzt on the battlefield.
Drizzt - A dark elf whose skill with the blade matches Entreri's perfectly.
However, there remains one crucial difference between their two lives. Drizzt has friends, companions, people who care about him and fight alongside him. This difference cuts Artemis deeper than any blade ever has. If Drizzt surpasses him, or even equals him, in swordsmanship then his entire life has been wasted. This fuels Artemis' obsession with defeating Drizzt in combat.

Furthermore, Entreri must deal with his limited human lifespan and the knowledge that Drizzt will live many times longer than he. Indeed, Entreri, about 40 years of age upon introduction, has already reached his physical peak. He knows that even if he proves a better fighter than the dark elf now, his edge will fade in but a few years time, whereas Drizzt will remain in top form for centuries to come.

All of these psychological issues that Entreri must face made him the compelling character he was. I completely sympathized (sadly I could not empathize) with his frustration.

In time, after Drizzt bests him on several occasions, Entreri comes to terms with his life and his mortality. At this point everything turned towards a great conclusion. He could have a few more stories with him as the protagonist, doin' his thang. But then the author, R.A. Salvatore, made an extremely poor plot decision in my opinion.

Artemis carries a jeweled dagger that allows him to drain the life-force out of people, yeah? Well, in one of his later books, ol' Arty drains the life-force out of an otherworldly being and some of that being's essence fuses with his own. Some of the effects: He regains the vitality of a man about half his age and his aging slows down considerably. How considerably? Well, he'll probably live about as long as Drizzt would now. Oh frabjous day! Callooh callay! Right? WRONG. This is cheap. You just robbed Artemis of one of the things that defined his identity. He had to deal with his (comparatively) imminent mortality and move on, but now? You should have just made him an elf or something to start with. All those pages of character development and you just threw it away Salvatore. But hey, now you can keep writing stories for him for years to come because he has plenty of life left in him now, eh? God dammit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So, with the latest Harry Potter movie passing us by, what are your thoughts on film adaptations of books? Or, more generally, adaptations going from reading material to watching material, or vice versa. Almost always, the movie/series turns out to be disappointing compared to the source material. It's just the way it is. The reason companies invest money in an adaptation is because the original gathered a following, right? If only those same companies cared about disappointing that following just a little more. Too often the adaptation isn't just disappointing compared to the original, it downright sucks by itself. The problem stems from the fact that these people know that a certain amount of revenue will come in no matter what due to the fanbase. Whether or not they leave cursing the movie doesn't matter, the tickets have been paid for. On the other hand, sometimes we get so lucky as to have gems like the Lord of the Rings movies. Furthermore, in some cases the movie brings attention to some under-appreciated things. For example, I had never considered reading Watchmen until I saw the trailers for the movie (2009). And that ain't no shame. Without that movie I wouldn't have ended up reading the comic. And even then, that wasn't due to underexposure. In fact, a few weeks prior to the movie news, my room-mate at the time had suggested I check it out. I didn't and I forgot about it, even though he left his copy on the coffee table the whole time, a mere 2 feet from my usual spot in the commons area.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3-Iron/ 빈집/ Bin-jip [2004] Pt.2

The next morning finds them by a river. Drifter drills a hole through a golf ball he took with him and threads a wire through it to make a loop. He continues to practice his golf swing, towards some buildings, at one point frightening a passing couple. They wind up at the apartment of a professional photographer, who happens to have a few framed photos of Woman. He repairs a broken wall clock, takes some photos of himself (Woman joins him) and cooks for her. She cuts up and reassembles one of her pictures and hand-washes some clothes the way she saw Drifter do it.
The sound of the doorbell startles the two of them. A woman has stopped by, apparently unaware that our photographer isn't home. She leaves and they vacate the apartment without incident.

Drifter winds the wire around a tree again and practices his swing when Woman stops him, positioning herself in front of the ball's path. He shifts around the tree but she follows him and blocks him again. She stares at him intently, not answering his questioning gaze. Unwilling to put her in danger (in case the wire came loose, perhaps) he puts the club and ball away. The next house they enter belongs to a professional boxer. They have a broken stereo. They take some pictures and partake of some of the couple's alcohol. This turns out to be a mistake. The two of them fall asleep in the bed and the pro boxer husband attacks Drifter. His wife quickly stops him when she finds nothing missing. The couple are understandably confused and the two interlopers leave.

Shin Ramyun of course.
The two stop at a convenience store where Woman gets an instant noodle bowl. Drifter starts to hit the golf ball again and Woman blocks him again but he shifts. She doesn't stop him but continues to stare. He pauses before swinging again. The ball comes loose and smashes through a windshield.

This time Woman comforts him as he cries on a street corner.

The next day the two make their rounds posting on doorknobs. Life goes on. The two end up at another flat. You'll just have to watch this scene to see the excellence of it. I won't say anymore on it here.
( ̄◡ ̄)/

Enough rising action, the climax approaches. The two enter another apartment building to find an elderly man dead. Apparently he fell and hit his head. They carefully wrap his body and bury him. Unfortunately, the man's son appears and, finding two strangers inhabiting his father's home, assumes that they did something to him.Things get worse when they find the body. Neither of them utter a word; however, and an autopsy reveals the old man died of lung cancer. The husband shows up to claim his wife and he bribes one of the officers into allowing him to swing golf balls at Drifter before releasing him. Drifter attacks the officer afterward,resulting in his arrest.

While in prison he continues to practice his golfing with an imaginary ball and club. One of the prisoners takes his imaginary ball, provoking Drifter. The prison moves him to a solitary cell where he continually hides out of sight, angering the guard. The film takes a surreal turn here. Drifter goes around his cell and tests the limits of his sight range, 180 degrees around him. He identifies the blind spots of a person's vision and disappears like a ghost.

Woman continually resists Husband's advances and ignores his claims to have become a changed man. She returns to the home where she and Drifter first came together and sleeps.

Drifter's sentence ends and he gets revenge on the cop who wronged him, in suitably surreal fashion. He returns to the homes of Boxer, the Garden (where they slept) and Photographer before making his way to Woman's, all the while invisible. We get little peeks into each of their lives, each of the relationships.

Drifter finally returns to the house. Husband feels his presence but cannot find him. Then, Woman speaks to Drifter for the first time, though the husband mistakenly believes she spoke to him, "사랑해요."

The film ends with a sign card that makes you think. I for one have always believed the happier possibility.

Monday, August 1, 2011

3-Iron/ 빈집/ Bin-jip [2004] Pt.1

GRAAAAWWWWHHHH!!! ,6(≧︿≦)9' Damn it!!! I almost made this a Quarantine [2008] post but that would cut into my horror/non-horror post ratio. And I re-watched it so I have some things to say, you better believe it. As I write this post I am watching Quarantine 2: Terminal [2011] (it came out earlier this month, July 17) and I so wanna write a post about this too. This one is not a remake of [REC] 2 [2009] and it- ok, gotta stop.

Here, I introduce to you one of my favorite films, known in English as 3-Iron. It is a Korean romance drama. Surprised that it isn't a horror film, hmmmm? I direct you punks here. The Korean title translates to Empty House. Even those who don't understand any Korean at all will not run into trouble here: This film contains hardly any dialogue! The two main characters hardly speak to one another; when's the last time you saw that in a romance drama?