Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Yuki - Biscuit

I had a couple other funny videos I thought I should put up first, but when going through videos for J-Pop artists today, I came across one I just had to share. Yuki embodies everything wacky and fun I love about J-Pop (no wonder as she's one of the oldest J-Pop artists still around, starting back in 1991 as the vocalist of the legendary Judy and Mary). Her videos are often as nonsensical as her songs, but with this infectious, unrelenting bright energy I absolutely adore. The name of this song is Biscuit, to give you as much context as possible...

Monday, January 28, 2008

LasagnaCat

Saturday, January 26, 2008

One Man Left

Well, it's been a while since I've written, and with good reason.

- I got hit by the most deathly of sicknesses this past weekend. From Saturday morning on I was stuck in bed with: a splitting headache, so bad it felt like each hemisphere of my brain had its own massive headache; a delirious fever which gave me the single worst work-related nightmare I've had; a wet hacking cough; one sumabitch sore throat, and I should know as whenever I get sick it's ALWAYS with a sore throat; aches all over my body so I could really only lay on my back or stomach; chills, needed to have three blankets on me to stay warm; and the slightest bit of a runny nose. Saturday through Wednesday I was feeling this way, and as it didn't clear up by work on Tuesday, I went into the doctor's office that day. Got a preliminary look at, some antibiotics, some chest xrays, and orders to check back in a couple of days to see if the results were bronchitis. So needless to say, I had the most unfun MLK weekend ever.

- I've actually watched some sports lately! Two weeks ago I watched some of the playoff games for the Superbowl: San Diego vs Indianapolis, and then New York vs, I think, Dallas. It was exciting to watch these games with some friends in the apartment complex here, and I love yelling at little men on screen when I'm drunk too. Both games were big underdog games, which helped, where I followed along with being impressed that the longshot teams won.

- Oscars look to be very boring this year. I haven't really seen any of the movies that are up for nomination; I do need to see There Will Be Blood while it's still in theaters.

- I got 3:10 to Yuma in my latest Netflix batch. Just as good as I remember it, and the amazing soundtrack by Marco Beltrami is definitely a big part. I love well done Western soundtracks; it's the instrumentation. Something about the choice of using a lone, bombastic, wailing trumpet to represent the lone, hard gunslinger.

- Before I recently tried to go on a bit of a videogame diet, I've been playing tons and tons of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a first-person shooter with an alternate reality theme, where a second nuclear disaster occurs at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the near future and causes strange changes in the area around it. You play a man who's awoken not knowing who you are, only with a tattoo on your arm, and the name and picture of a man you're supposed to kill. You wander the post-apocalyptic wasteland scavenging and hunting to get by, barely escaping rogue military elements, mutants, and lawless bandits. You can either take on side missions to hunt down people, retrieve goods, or eliminate a band of enemies, or you can simply travel around, living in the wilderness as you will, only returning to the vestiges of society occasionally for supplies. I really love the atmosphere and mood of the game. It's so intense, I found myself adopting very cautious tactics, and constantly watching behind myself ingame, to make sure I wasn't about to be ambushed. If you've ever had a postapocalyptic fantasy, this is a great place to live it out.

- I've been really getting into, and have almost finished Flight of the Conchords. It's really one of those series you have to get into the rhythm of. Aside from the occasional hilarious song, I had to watch about seven or eight episodes before I saw one that just made me bust up laughing because I expected the characters to act one way and they totally blew those expectations away. I hope they get a second season, and I recommend the show to anyone who's a fan of silly songs.

- Evan got me House of Leaves for Christmas, and I started reading it while I was sick. Very Blair Witch Project-y, which I like.

- I'll most likely be posting tons of YouTube videos up here now, as this is my main distraction at work and I rarely get to share it. Plus I've found some funny ones.

- I've drank more orange juice and green tea in the past week than I think I have in the past three months.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sometimes you have to post these things.

Sometimes you do.

(9:40:04 AM) Fred: You have balls!
(9:40:05 AM) Ev: (Autoreply) Inservice day (He's away.)
(11:32:16 AM) Fred: Balls are your favorite
(11:32:19 AM) Fred: Not a day goes by
(11:32:24 AM) Fred: That balls aren't on your mind
(11:32:44 AM) Fred: I remember when we went out for hamburgers that time
(11:32:54 AM) Fred: And you asked the waitress if they had any burgers in ball form
(11:33:01 AM) Fred: Cause that's the only way you take your meat
(11:33:11 AM) Fred: Hot beef injection
(11:35:41 AM) Fred: And by that I mean the cock
(11:35:49 AM) Fred: With a side order of balls
(11:35:51 AM) Fred: Extra hairy
(11:45:59 AM) Fred: I bet that even if we had gotten a chance to get Taco Truck while you were out here
(11:46:18 AM) Fred: You would have asked Leo to dip his spicy Latin nuts in your tacos before serving them
(11:46:29 AM) Fred: for "extra flavor"
(11:46:38 AM) Fred: "!MAS SABOR!"

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time to Blow Doors Down, or My Belated New Year's Post

- Fantastic New Year's. It really was fun seeing A Patch of Black play and back together again. Quite a rocking show. It was also good to see Lucas and Erin and laugh and have fun with friends I haven't seen for a while.

- New Year's Day was a combination of long needed apartment cleaning and diving headfirst into the bounty of games I bought on Steam. Valve had a huge holiday sale, and I couldn't help but snap up pretty much every game on there I wanted. Some highlights include:

  • Psychonauts - This fantastic 3rd person platformer plays like you'd expect a Ratchet and Clank/Sly Cooper/Spyro, etc. game should, but where it really shines is in the art direction and the wacky style. The humor is playful and dark, the whole world looks mishapen and eerily colorful, and the characters are all grossly exaggerated. It feels exactly like if Tim Burton made a platformer, which I love.
  • Darwinia - This one surprised me. An RTS-lite that takes place inside a virtual world, where you have to guide and protect sentient AI creatures from virii in a hostile environment, with 80s wireframe graphics. I wasn't expecting that much from it, as I was looking at the Infogames pack mainly for Uplink, but there's something seductively fun about its tone and world.
  • Geometry Wars - Another big surprise. A simple spin on classic arcade games like Asteroids and Centipede, you pilot a ship around and fire in eight directions to destroy increasing numbers of differently colored geometric shapes which fly at you in strange patterns. The draw is the fun difficulty, ooh-and-aah colors and explosions, and chill music.
  • Jagged Alliance 2 - A throw-back to my high school gaming days. This 1999 overhead turn-based squad shooter has you organizing and controlling a team of mercenaries, each with RPG-like increaseable skills, while micromanaging your mercenary roster, their supplies, and town militias, all to overthrow an island-nation dictator. Pretty fun, but may be due to the nostalgia factor.
- I've been getting back into anime lately, and I'm enjoying it. There were a number of good hits this past season that I had to take a second look at before I noticed how awesome they were:
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei - Itoshiki is a teacher who despairs at life and the world around him, and is constantly trying to commit suicide. His students "help" by berating him constantly and have their own problems to deal with. The harem-esque cast is composed entirely of deranged girls: one never leaves the school and is found hiding in different cupboards and closets each episode; another was stalking her boyfriend until Itoshiki told her true love is commiting suicide together and she begins to stalk him; yet another student is an exchange student from the U.S. and tries to sue everyone she can, including the teacher when he accidentally sees a flash of her panties; etc. The show spends each episode dealing with either the problem student of the week or Itoshiki's despair and outrage at some minute part of human behavior. The show is both a hilarious parody of harem anime, and a riff on all different sorts of cynicism. Sayonara, Zetsubou Sensei was really the gem of this season and I can't wait for the sequel this spring.
  • Ghost Hound - In a small town in the mountains of Kyushu, three boys who have had traumatic encounters in their childhood become friends and learn to transfer their souls into a parallel world known as the "Unseen World". The Unseen World is however undergoing a change, with its ghosts starting to appear in the real world. From the director and scriptwriter of Serial Experiments Lain, this fills my weird-tranquil show of the season quotient. It's one of those anime where meticulous attention to detail and well-used space and silence make for an amazing experience. Although I've only seen three episodes of this so far, it really is a fantastic series.
  • Dragonaut - Humanoid, laboratory raised beings with magical powers transform into dragon robots and are piloted by spiky, multi-color-haired pilots who are trying to defend the Earth from a malevolent, alien planet which has destroyed Pluto and now rests in its orbit, sending its own dragon robots to attack Earth every couple of years. Completely cheesy and over-the-top but well done, I geeked out on this series and lived up cheesy-anime days of yore before I noticed how 2-D it was (no pun intended). I'll definitely watch the last episode when it comes out, as this was a fun little diversion.
  • Claymore - Half-demon, half-human, emotionless blonde women roam the countryside with giant broadswords and hunt down demons preying on human beings. I didn't mean to make it sound as flimsy as Dragonaut with that description, as this is actually a very quality show. Real emotions, and real tragedy, as the Claymores defend humans from this demon menace which claims hundreds of lives, but are despised by humans for their unnatural powers and being half-demons themselves. I'm currently hooked on this series, and nearly talked myself into marathoning all 26 episodes last night until my logic got the better of me and convinced me it was 11 pm and I needed some sleep.
Crap, I know I had more to write about, but my memory has faded over the week it's taken me to get out this inaugural New Year's post. Ah, well, I'll leave it there for now.

Happy New Year!