Thursday, September 27, 2007

Castle of Cagliostro

So on Wednesday Fathom Events had a special screening of one my favorite anime films, Castle of Cagliostro. Yes, it's a Lupin III film but more importantly it was co-written and directed by the awesome Hayao Miyazaki. The film may be old (1979) but it's definitely worth watching. What I really like is how you can know next to nothing about Lupin III and still enjoy the film, which is quite different from nearly every film based on an anime TV series these days. (The Naruto films are pretty much just "let's take 1-2 of the most popular characters and make a film starring them and Naruto.") I suppose some Lupin III fans object to Lupin's somewhat sappy portrayal (he's much more pre-Leia Han Solo in the TV series) in this film and that's definitely valid. That still doesn't mean this film isn't awesome though.

The film reminds me of films such as The Goonies and National Treasure. It's an adventure film that focuses on finding a treasure but at heart it's a character driven story. These kind of films usually end up being really goofy and campy (see the above examples) but there's a certain undeniable appeal to them. A story like this works out a lot better in anime than in live action because of the lack of realism. There are certain sequences of National Treasure where one's suspension of disbelief is sorely tested. (I guess I should say the same for the Goonies, but I saw that film as a kid and thus I truly believed that anyone my age could survive death traps as long as they had a group that included a fobby Asian kid with crazy gadgets. )

All the ridiculous sequences of Castle of Cagliostro work a lot better simply because it's an animated film. It's hard for me to imagine the sequence where Lupin drives up the side of a mountain being plausible in a live action work. I'm apprehensive about the rumored live action Lupin because I feel the characters and typical plot are so well suited for an animated series. (Though I'm interested to see who would be cast as Lupin and Fujiko.)

Regardless of my musings, I enjoyed watching the film on the big screen and I hope to see more anime classics brought to the big screen...or maybe just the Naruto films, because as much I make fun of them I'd totally watch them on the big screen. Believe it!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

Why have I been lazy about blogging for the last week or so? I don't really have an excuse, but I'm just going to say it was because it was my birthday. It was also Talk Like a Pirate day as well, so my Wednesday was filled with rum and wenches and thus I had no time for blogging.

On Friday I went to the Magic Castle. Apparently one of my new friends is a magician and I didn't even know it. (Cue Final Countdown music.) Not only did I not know he was a magician, but I had no idea he was also a member of the Magic Castle. Apparently he goes there often enough that the women working coat check recognize him on sight. It was a lot of fun having him guide us around and tell us what to do. He was an awesome host and he even did a small performance for us. I must admit I really do enjoy magic and weirdly enough I don't particularly enjoy trying to figure out how it's done. I guess I'm a kid a heart when it comes to magic.

Saturday had me heading into downtown LA to watch a matinee show of Avenue Q. I'm not a a big fan of musicals but I throughly enjoyed Avenue Q, because it's written for 20-somethings like me. It's also ridiculously cynical and sarcastic so it clearly is my favorite musical production I've seen so far. To be fair though, the only other musical I've seen is Phantom of the Opera. This fact could change in the future. Maybe I'll watch Sweeny Todd if I like the film. I'd totally go watch My Fair Lady but I fear what other people might say if I actually go.

After Avenue Q we went to Fogo de Chao for a Brazilian meathouse buffet experience. I enjoyed it even if all the meat is pretty much flavored with just salt but I'm not sure if I would go back and pay the $55+ it is for dinner there. Of course, I don't eat beef so that might explain it. Their salad bar is pretty cool though and their plantains and fried polenta are great. Too bad that's all just filler.... Also apparently our payment came up $17 short which is pretty odd considering we counted the money several times before leaving. Bad beats indeed.

To cap off the night I got everyone to go see Resident Evil: Extinction. The less I say about this the better, but I will say it definitely follows the standard sequel rule of dilution. That is to say, they saved the worst for last. Fortunately for me, it was janky enough for me to be entertained.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Backwatch '07: Status Update

This weekend was the ultimate test for my back.

On Saturday I went to the LA County Fair with a couple of my friends. We ended up spending 8 hours there. I had no idea the fair was so huge, I saw the fire safety area, the garden, and a rock wall among other things. A good deal of the time was walking and while my feet hurt since I'm flatfooted I'm happy to report that my back held up admirably. No pain there at all, though I did strongly consider getting a foot message. We ended up walking all over the place and checking out a lot of the buildings which are mainly the same booths selling the same products and services over and over again. I must admit I particularly enjoyed the California State Lottery booth where my group spent some time playing scratchers. I ended up ahead by $11 which was good enough for me. My friend also bought some jank dvd films and we ended up watching one that night. More on that in a future blog post.

On Sunday I played Los Verdes Golf Course and walked the whole thing. This turned out to be quite a beating despite the fact that I had a pull cart. It was a nice course in terms of the view as well as a super good value; I can see why it's so hard to get a good tee time there.

The end result of all these excursions is that I'm actually aching in almost every part of my body BESIDES my back. I suppose this is good, but it clearly indicates how much of a beating my body took over the weekend and is a sad comment on my health. Still, it beats super-agonizing back pain.

Also, I really need to get more sleep. I'm fairly certain the 6 hours or so I get isn't enough for my body to really heal. I definitely want to be rested for this weekend too so I can celebrate my birthday without falling asleep half-way through.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mediocre Minds Fall TV Shootout

Fall TV season is almost upon us. It seems like only yesterday we had new summer shows like Greek as well as new episodes of Monk and Psych. Alas, their time is over and we're heading into the season of infinite jank and maybe (hopefully?) a few hits.

Sumir and I wrote up our thoughts on the new fall shows for all the major networks including the CW. I like how we're predicting a lot of cancelled shows. To be honest, I'm guessing we're going to end up way off on our predictions because Mediocre Minds totally does not represent the American people. (I predicted Dancing with the Stars would be canceled in under 1 season.)

Anyways, check it out if you're interested.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Backwatch '07: A Brief Update

Thanks to all those who expressed concern over my back. I'm pretty much fine now.

My back still bothers me when I stay in one position for too long, but it's not really pain so much as it is a tightness. Older people I've talked to tell me they have this problem but it's still pretty sad that I'm like this and I'm not even 30 yet. Clearly such is the effect of neglecting my body and leading a stereotypical nerd/geek lifestyle. I guess I'll be working on taking better care of myself from here on out.

One of the more annoying things is that I can't sleep in one position that long, I have to either get up and stretch or change positions in the middle of the night. It's not super annoying but it's not like I get a great night of sleep either. I suppose I could try painkillers before bed every night but that doesn't seem like a great idea. It might be time to get a better mattress but that is pretty expensive. I'll have to see how I'm feeling in another week or so.

I guess it could be worse. I could still be in pain and walking abnormally.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Let's All Go To The Chiropractor

As I alluded to in my previous post, I've been visiting the chiropractor. It's been an educational experience to say the least. I've never been able to comprehend why some people are scared of visiting the dentist. The guy just works on your teeth. If he messes up the worse that can happen is you have a crappy smile and some pain. The stakes are much higher with a chiropractor. It seems to me if he makes a mistake during adjustment I could end up paralyzed at worse and in more pain at best. Fortunately, the chiropractor I saw was great. I'll admit I picked him because he was the one that was closest to work and accepted my insurance. I liked his emphasis on stretching and preventive measures instead of just painkillers and other drugs. I've never been injured like this before (since I'm the stereotypical stay indoors and get fat geek) so I've been learning a lot about what to do to avoid injuries as well as first aid measures when I do get injured. The guy I'm seeing is a wanna be anthropologist. I think he has a masters degree in it but he said he's told old to go for the PhD and a teaching position. It certainly makes for interesting conversation especially since I'm Asian. We talk a lot about China and the Eastern world and American culture. I think it's great because it takes my mind of the fact that he is going to be moving my body and producing scary sounding cracks. Seriously, the noise my body makes during some of the adjustments are totally the Foley sounds in games and movies/tv when someone snaps some poor sap's neck. It's freaky. Still, I enjoy the heat and massages as well as the adjustments. According to my co-workers I'm much improved but there are still issues. I can't really sleep for more than 6-7 hours although that could be a good thing. I also have to get up and move around as well as stretch out after I've been sitting for a while. I suppose this could be for life but I guess we'll see. I've been told it takes on average about 8 visits to "fix" a problem (if it every really is fixed) and I'm coming up on the halfway point. I certainly feel better, probably more than just 50% better. Here's hoping I can heal up. The chiropractor seems optimistic since I'm so young. On a complete side note, I found it extremely ironic that I injured myself during vacation travel rather than golf or on my way to work. (Have you seen the freeway entrances in Monterey Park?) The chiropractor said it's fairly common to get injured while traveling because one is doing things outside of their normal routine. Often times one is carrying luggage and hustling to get from place to place. I guess that makes some sense.