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Friday, November 30, 2007

   Three things worth mentioning . . .
Number one: Today I'm registering for some super-intensive career planning program. It'll be a 7-day course-thing, 9am-3:30pm that I do in December to identify stuff like my skills, assess my personality, and otherwise figure out what kind of work for which I should be looking.

Number two: the podcast this week is freakin' funny. The guys have the giggles, among other things and mentioned a hilarious photo which you may find at this link.

Number three: I finished "Life is Like a Boat"!!!

By request, my next work shall be "Melissa" from FMA.

Have a good weekend, now.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

   Oh yeah . . .
Snow fell from the sky a couple nights ago. It didn't stick on the ground very much, but still.

Yeah, it's that time already . . . I should hurry up and buy Christmas lights before all the good ones are sold out . . . again . . . . .

In other news . . .

"World War Z" is an amazing book.

My pithy non-gym workouts consisting of curling a dumbell at home and practicing kung fu at the club may actually be getting me somewhere closer to the brave 300. That's kinda exciting . . . need to do more push-ups even though sifu doesn't want us to, though . . .

I'm about 2/3ds of the way through my next Mario Paint song.

Went to an employment resource place yesterday. I may have to do a "course" to figure out my skills and what jobs would be good for me in the near future.

Got an invitation to a couple Christmas dealies from people I don't regularly see anymore; one from the Superstore people, one from a girl I've known since Kindergarten - curiously, "The Girl" is also invited among others I haven't seen in over a year or two. Heh . . . damn, it's gonna suck seeing everyone and telling them I'm jobless right now, eh? Ah well . . .

Okita Souji (spelled "Soushi" in the subs) in "Shura no Toki" is perhaps the most masculine anime version of Souji I've ever seen. It's hilarious. Damn I loves the Shinsengumi . . .

It's Miss Scarlet's 21st birthday today. Go make a big stink over at her page even though her campus blocks comments on Firefox for her and she probably won't see 'em until she goes back home for the holidays, a'ight? 'Cause she's cool and keeps us all talking regularly so we never drift away from each other.

So yeah, Happy Birthday Red. I hope the mail arrives quicker than not so you can have some good times this weekend.

That's 'bout it. I'm gonna go heat up a sausage roll now. Peace.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

   Oh cool!
theOtaku's homepage is back to running on normal Eastern time! Means I can post the weekly-type stuff at 9pm again. Good, good . . .

And damn, the fall finale of Heroes is next week . . . c'mon writers! Make your deal faster! We're counting on you!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

On to Call of Duty 4 . . .
Finished Assassin's Creed.

It was freakin' awesome.

Ending didn't make sense for a while until I checked the internet. Now the ending makes plenty of sense and has been upgraded from "weird" to "brilliant".

Damn, now I have to wait for the next game to come out. Damnit.

In other news, I saw Hitman. A bit more gun-raging than I'd expect from that universe, but it's pretty gun-raging. Overall I enjoyed it. It's one of those "you're not worried that he'll die or fail, but you wanna see how he'll pull it all off" movies. I need to play that some more now.

I'm halfway through "Life is Like a Boat" in Mario Paint Composer still. It's a long process.

I kinda wanna watch "Kingdom of Heaven" again now . . .

Oh yeah, "Shura no Toki" is good times. So is "Zombie Loan". Enjoying them both quite a lot.

Ooh! I haven't gotten the new Human Weapon episode yet! Need to do that . . . heh, and hey, they're gonna do sumo in a couple weeks! Nice!

That is all. Safety and peace, my friends.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

I bought too many games . . .
First off, about that movie review . . . you guys should know I do NOT give out spoilers in those things! C'mon! Give me a little credit now . . .

And now for tonight's post:

Hung out with Stupid Ed all Wednesday playing PS3 and drinking beer. I'd call that a productive day.

Picked up Call of Duty 4 and Assassin's Creed. These were, of course, secondary objectives to Guitar Hero 3 which has still been sold out since forever . . . oh right, I need to check on that this morning . . . . .

Anyway, Assassin's Creed is ridiculously awesome. It's basically Hitman in the Crusader Kingdoms. Much fun.

Call of Duty 4? Also quite fun. I'm still a little weirded out by playing such a high-profile game on console and not PC . . . but seeing as my PC likely is out of CoD4's league now . . . I'll make do.

I'm gonna try to see Hitman today, if I can get a hold of those idiots from Superstore soon enough . . . (one phone call later . . .) . . . okay, I think I just got a hold of those idiots from Superstore. We should be good to go. Excellent . . .

I'm currently halfway through a Mario Paint composition for "Life is Like a Boat". Faster songs are definitely better for that program than slow songs. Just sayin'.

That should be all. I hope all the US-types had a good Thanksgiving yesterday!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

   The following is a SomeGuy movie review. Read at own risk.
Stupid Ed got into town for the week (perk to working in The States, you get to come back to Canada during Thanksgiving). So, I skipped kung fu and went to see Beowulf with him instead. It was a 10:30pm showing, I was already somewhat tired, and by the time the movie started the cinema was perhaps . . . half, 2/3rds full. Most there were of the same variety as us: Beowulf would be something to do, let's check it out since we have time to kill.

I've come to the conclusion that my schooling is probably going to affect every movie I see for the rest of my life. Just as studying Classical History had influenced my take on the movie 300, my Anglo-Saxon Poetry class has influenced my watching of Beowulf. And believe me, when "Beowulf" is in the course name, you learn a LOT about Beowulf . . .

Our own amazing artist Snowy had already left us a lasting dissertation on the movie's animation. And for the most part I have to say that I agree with her. There are times when the CG-enhanced acting wants to be crazy-fantastical and larger than life, and there are times it wants to wow you with its photo-realism. And it really does see-saw back and forth and sometimes it really does look really weird (Robin Wright Penn as Wealtheow gets a lot of this). I will say that that approach makes their interactions with the big 3 monsters a lot easier to look at and not like a CG "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" at all. But yeah, the fine details sometimes were just a little too smooth, or the smile is just a little too crooked. Not horrible, but nothing that'll make ya crap your pants.

The fights might make you crap your pants, though. I'd say the action scenes were definitely up there, taking advantage of the CG approach to let you rip bodies apart and whatnot. The big set pieces like with the dragon were cool with a neat take on dragon fire physics that was unique and nice to watch. Definitely a fun spectacle to watch in all. Would I have preferred an R/18A rating to go with this all? I just remember that there was a red-band trailer on their website . . . if you wanted to see it, you had to give a name and a zipcode and everything to prove you were "mature enough" to watch it (which is a pretty ballsy way of going about it). I watched it on YouTube in any case . . . and after that, I gotta say I was expecting something maybe a bit more graphic.

What can I say, after 300, it's hard to think of a PG-13 epic hero as quite as epic . . . aside from groaning a little at all their little Austin Powers "hide the nudity" sequences, though, it's a moot point.

So far par for the course, huh? Alright, I'll dig into the stuff I REALLY liked. I have to put on my scholarly hat now . . .

"Beowulf" has an excellent sense of the society from which it originated. The grandeur and the joy of the mead hall is exactly the kind of place stories like these were told (you don't even need the burping and the peeing on the wall to pull that off!). When people sang and told stories, they went about it in a way that was a fair modern representation of how it would have been back then. You'd have your group of people, one guy would start it off and spit his rhymes (or alliterations, as the original case was); everyone would go "Yeeeayah boi!" and then the next guy would go. Something like that . . . so the Germanic oral tradition is strong and it's well represented in this movie.

There's a lot of boasting and dissing in the movie, as there is a lot of boasting and dissing in the poem. Every time Beowulf goes, "I'm Beowulf and I'm gonna kill your monster!" you can hear people cheering and jeering all at once. But that's how it worked. You'd make a boast, and then whether you could come through with it was what earned your treasure. When Unferth sizes up Beowulf, basically going, "so THIS is the guy that's gonna save us, eh?" Again, that whole sequence is almost straight out of the poem (Beowulf and Unferth have a good moment at that point). So yeah, the boasting and the like was great.

Oh, and there WAS a point when they spoke Old English poetry in the movie. I enjoyed that even more.

Sharing of treasure: also well done. As Beowulf himself describes as what he thought was the ideal life: "battle in the morning, share the treasure in the afternoon." That's how a lord worked, and that's why he could have a meadhall full of thegns - 'cause after the fighting was over, everyone got a share in the loot. The part when Unferth gets the necklace (probably meant to be a torque/torc, but didn't really look it) is something straight out of the poem . . . 'cause yeah, we talked about torques a lot. So that aspect was good too. Needless to say, the opening sequence made me pretty happy to see all of that kinda stuff in there.

The last thing I'll touch upon is the use of religion in the story . . . 'cause that's always been a tricky part to the Beowulf poem. Here's where I need to give a quick history lesson . . .

The story of Beowulf is set in Scandinavia, but was composed and told (orally) by the Anglo-Saxons in Britain. The story is about a Pre-Christian time with Pre-Christian heroes, gods and legends. Beowulf remained this way for a few centuries until someone wrote it down . . . of course, the ONLY people who knew how to read and write back then were clerics - monks and priests and the like. So the written poem is kinda neat like that; it's written with many, many very Christian wordings but is telling a story that's absolutely about a non-Christian people. It's a part of the story that a lot of people have had to work with/around in all modern retellings of Beowulf.

So did I like how they handled the religion angle in Beowulf? Mm . . . yeah, it was alright. It was very clean, going from Germanic young people to Christian old people . . . but in following the movie's main theme of an end to the monsters and the heroes, that time-skip and the religion-shift works. If not that, it's at least neat and satisfying to know that they touched on that point.

So now I've discussed the styles and the themes of the story. How about the plot itself?

Hoooooooo boy . . . . . I think pretty much the moment we all saw Angelina Jolie in the trailer talking to and sexing up Beowulf, we all KNEW this wasn't going to be a word-for-word retelling. You just have to accept that and roll with it, I guess, 'cause the filmmakers have their own themes and their own story with its own motivations that they wanna tell. Besides, there's really only so much you can do with a story about a hero who comes to Denmark, kills a monster, kills the monster's mother, becomes a king, later fights a dragon". Why does he have to kill the monsters? Why are the monsters terrorising the Danes? The movie has its own ways to explain those.

Do they work? Ummmm . . . . . ish.

I can appreciate the story they wanna tell. It's about being true to yourself, living to the fullest and being worthy of being remembered in songs for the rest of time. They really drama that up. Of course, that doesn't make for a whole lot of conflict and stuff, now does it? Not exactly . . .

So you throw in romantic angles which were NEVER in the story. You add daddy-issues which were NEVER in the story. Again, for purposes of the story they're telling you understand why . . . but it still feels a bit too . . . . . I guess, modern? Like I said, for the purposes of the story they're telling I get it, but it still sits uneasy with me, knowing what I know.

Oh yeah . . . y'know Unferth, Hrothgar's "most respected advisor"? That's freakin' balls . . . Unferth is SUPPOSED to be his right-hand man, his bodyguard, his loyal aide. He's supposed to be a fighting man, not some damn robed bastard! As for making him a bit of a jerk, well . . . that's a question for the scholars that's been around for a while (my prof' like Unferth, so y'know . . .).

Beowulf of the Geats does indeed grow up to become king after his adventures with Grendel and his mother . . . he certainly does become king . . . of his OWN people THE GEATS! Yeah . . . they didn't do that in the movie . . . again, I can appreciate why they did, but these are the kinds of seminal changes that really tear up and rewrite the pages of the story . . .

. . . heh, and this doesn't even touch on the BIG change they took . . . . . that one is gonna be a source of a LOT of anguish in English Literature classrooms for years to come . . .

I really need to go to sleep, so I'll leave it at that.

So did I enjoy it? Yeah, it was a'ight. Music was good, story was good in its own Frankenstein-esque manner . . . wasn't anything inherently life-changing for me, probably won't feel the need to buy the DVD right away or anything . . . made for a fun Tuesday night, I'll say.

On another interesting note for anyone who cares, Gerard Butler (King Leonidas in "300") once played Beowulf in a movie from a few years back, "Beowulf and Grendel". Their version of the story is that Hrothgar and some other Danes killed Grendel's father when Grendel was still young . . . heh, yeah, wrap your head around that one . . . makes sense for a different kinda story though, doesn't it?

Whatever . . . "Hitman" comes out today. I'll hafta watch that quickly . . .

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

   Back to Normal Posts Again . . .
This'll probably the last mention of the Chuck Norris thing. I just wanna say that the majority of responses have been positive which is nice. As for the more negative than not . . . well, I'll just say that the replies to those comments have made me very happy.

. . . and aww! Mods took care of the really angry guy! Anyway, his comment was something along the lines of . . .

"I'm sick of this Chick[sic] Norris Bull****! Thanks, this post has given me diabeates. I'll see you all in hell!"

My reply:

"On the more amusing side, you now get to say that Chuck Norris gave you Diabetes and sent you to hell.

'Cause no one gets away with calling him Chick Norris and lives to do it again. Not without improper blood sugar regulation, anyway..."

Then there was a slightly less angry one that went down like this:

"Okay, can someone, anyone, tell me what is truly and honsetly so wonderful about Chuck Norris? Not to be petty, but if he really is the demi-god people believe him to be, why is the only time I ever see him is when I'm channel-surfing late at night or early morning and he's doing infomercials for home gyms? If he's so powerful, would he need a home gym? Geez, he's not really that great."

Kaiden's reply:

"Chuck Norris's movies are too graphic to be allowed in the daytime. He sells the Total Gym in hopes that someone will use it and get stronger and actually provide a challenge."

That reply was extremely happy-inducing.

And now I promise I'll not touch this Chuck Norris thing again for a long time to come.

In other news, Younha (the wonderful singer who did "Houki Boshi") once covered "Always" by Bon Jovi. This amuses me because I grew up with that song, more or less:

Heroes was good last night too. And it amuses me that Hiro uses "boku". Just sayin'.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

   And in one moment, my credibility as a Newsperson died . . .
Well, I posted that damn stupid thing on the front finally. Lookin' forward to seeing all kinds of colourful backlash from it . . .

. . . in other news, I indoctrinated TseUq to the love that is Beck and Ranma. Damn, that was fun . . .

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

   (Unpaid) Work continues . . .
I currently have 29 anime-related Chuck Norris Facts. I'm not sure how many I'm actually shooting for.

And in case any of you were wondering:

"Vowing never to kill again, Chuck Norris now wanders the land with only a reverse-roundhouse kick at his side; the next day when someone tried to tell him that it didn't work that way, Chuck Norris broke his vow."

In other news, my house is serving as a rest stop for an otaku en route to Seattle in the morning. That's a nice break in the monotony, I find, even if only for a quick stop to rest up for the 3 hour drive south . . .

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Friday, November 16, 2007

   Damn Stupid Idea Turned Reality . . .
I still feel in my heart that although Chuck Norris facts are a very old, old, old, old style of joke . . . that a really good one can still be funny as hell.

Yeah, I'll get to work on those . . .

By the way:

The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya has always been aired in its correct episodic form. The alleged "televised order" only occured in a section of closed space created when Chuck Norris was bored waiting for his Hot Pocket to finish microwaving.

In other news, are you guys watching Beck yet? And if not, what the heck's your problem?

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