2017-Aug-04, Friday 09:52
dorchadas: (Chiyoda)
Last night at [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's suggestion we watched a documentary called The Birth of Sake, about the Yoshida sake distillery in Ishikawa Prefecture, while we drank some sake ourselves and ate Japanese snacks.

Sake is my favorite alcohol but I knew basically nothing about the process of making it, so everything in the documentary was new to me. The workers live at the brewery from October to April, tending the sake around the clock from rice through to finished product, and then need to find other work for the rest of the year. They could automate the process and leave the measuring and tending to machines, but the workers value the human approach and believe that their customers value that aspect of the process. The brewery has been open for six generations, and there's a 神棚 (kamidana, "household shrine") up on the wall in the main room of the brewery and some scenes of the workers gathering together to pray.

Over the course of the documentary, one of the workers died of a sudden heart attack and two quit due to the grueling schedule, inability to find good work the rest of the year, and being away from their families, so one worker who was going to retire came back for another year. There's a note that sake consumption has been in decline since the 70s and that now there are only about 1000 breweries down from 4600 a few decades ago. That does match with my experience--though there was a brewery in Chiyoda, everyone we knew drank beer or shōchū most of the time.

I really liked it! It was all in Japanese with subtitles, though I could barely understand anything the older workers said (they might have been speaking Hokuriku dialect). It was immersion-style, with the filmmakers taking scenes from the workers' dormitory, the five a.m. waking period to tend the sake, the parties, the quickly-scarfed-down meals of miso soup and tamago kake gohan before going back to the floor. It's up on Netflix if you want to watch.

I looked into where to get Tedorigawa sake, and while there are some stores, none of them are nearby. Maybe I should get some shipped to us while [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd is still at home and can sign for the shipment...
dorchadas: (JCDenton)
So I loaded up Twitter last night while I was reading in bed and among the cute Kirby pictures and journalists tweeting about how terrible the world is, I saw a trailer for a new movie:

It's not quite Shadowrun. It has elves and orcs in the modern world, but the cyberpunk dystopia element isn't really present. It's more urban fantasy, as keeps calling it. But I'm going to think of it as a Shadowrun-adjacent property until I'm proven wrong, and we're probably going to have a viewing party for it when it comes out.

My dentist's appointment was slightly more involved than I was expecting. I was told that I just needed new sealants at my last cleaning (at a different location), but the dentist said that I had very early cavities and could probably do with fillings, so to prevent future problems I got them filled. It was painless and took next to no time, but still a bit distressing that my previous dentist could have missed them.

Well, I switched dentists now, so hopefully it won't happen again.
dorchadas: (Blue Rose)
I don't usually go to see a movie for a variety of reasons, but as a Christmas present--they can call it for the holidays all they want, but everyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas knows what it really is--the vice president of our unit gave everyone two free tickets to an AMC movie, and when [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd mentioned wanting to go see Rogue One, so I told her I would go see it. And today, we did.

Further comments in the spoiler below:

Spoilers )

It's a pretty good movie with some flaws that annoyed me, but not enough to ruin my experience.
dorchadas: (That is not dead...)
​I actually went to go see a movie together with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd! The last movie we watched together in a theater was...well, actually, it was あん, but before that it was The Golden Compass, way back before we moved to Japan. I'm not usually much of one for movies, and even less for movies in a theater.

So of course, we went to the theatre and saw it with orchestral accompaniment.

I've never seen E.T. before now. I know all about it because of cultural osmosis and because I read the novel adaptation, the same as I did with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But actually seeing it on the screen is different, of course, and I was a little...underwhelmed.

I have the wrong attitude toward E.T., is the problem. I get that he's supposed to be childlike, full of wonder at the world around him in addition to being kind of cute, but all I could think was "a species capable of interstellar travel on a scientific mission to a primitive world and they send this guy?" I can accept that he's confused by human tech, since the Asogians clearly use the Force as the basis of their civilization () and have some kind of collective intelligence, but that he's confused by everything? I had a hard time with that.

Though I did like E.T. trying random foods out of the fridge. It reminded me of all the complaints about scientists being idiots in Promethius.

I have some issues with the ending, as well. Elliot yells that MAJESTIC are killing E.T., but it's clearly not their fault. E.T. was dying before they even showed up, and G-Man was being sincere when he said they were doing everything they could to save him. It didn't work because the problem was separation from the Overmind, which would have killed E.T. even if MAJESTIC never learned about him. He revived when he was back in range, timed so as to create maximum The Power of Love feelings in the audience, but honestly I just rolled my eyes. Elliot is a kid, and medicine is scary to kids. It's all chemicals and sterile smells and tubes and pain, and often the feeling better part comes later enough that it's not easy to associate with the treatment. Of course Elliot thought MAJESTIC was killing E.T. And he did die during the treatment, so it's a reasonable conclusion for him to draw. It's just wrong.
I also liked the end, when E.T. wanted to take the primitive from a backwater world along as a pet.  photo 6-0faa7aa343f6c067899c8c2579e6ea91d335662e.gif

I liked it, but I have questions, is what I'm saying. I had a hard time with some of the premises and that interfered with my overall enjoyment. But I can see why it's so well-loved, and seeing it with live orchestral accompaniment was absolutely worth it. We had nosebleed seats, but I could still see the screen the conductor used, which had the movie playing along with some green or red lines that went across to keep time during important moments. The performance was superb, of course, and [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd mentioned that having live music meant that she had an easier time paying attention to the soundtrack and not letting it fade into the background. I agree--I know I complain a lot about video game soundtracks becoming more like movies and so becoming orchestral mush, but it turns out that if there's a real orchestra playing that music it doesn't fade into anything.

Much like the way to get me to eat pizza is to call it "flatbread" and charge $20 for it, the way to get me to see a movie is to have live professional orchestral accompaniment.  photo 3327b7f6b45a33781e80dce4e4461510-d4ipx9c.gif
dorchadas: (Chicago)
A few things.

Dreihaus Museum
A month ago, my parents suggested going to see the Downton Abbey clothing exhibit at the Dreihaus Museum, a 19th century house downtown now converted into, well, a museum. I haven't seen a single episode of Downtown Abbey and know almost nothing about the show--they I have read To Marry an English Lord, one of the books that inspired the show--so I didn’t really care about the clothes, but I loved the rest of the house. Big portions of it were done up in dark wood with wainscotting as high as my waist, tiles or dark wallpaper, extremely high ceilings, and lavish carvings. It’s exactly the kind of decorating I would do if I had infinite money.

I would gladly put everything in this picture in our apartment.

Though there’s a bit too much light in that picture for me. Draw all the curtains, put a fire in the fireplace so there are shadows dancing around the room, and I’d be happier. Sure, I’m a stereotype, but it’s comfortable here.

I was a bit disappointed in the audio tour. There was the occasional cue on the various plaques throughout the house, but 80% of them related to the Downton Abbey exhibit. I was hoping there would be a bit more context for the original inhabitants of the house, but I suppose that’s not the draw. You can tell that because my parents originally wanted to get tickets for over a month ago but they were sold out until this weekend. They added another month to the exhibition and now that’s sold out too. The only tickets available are a few daily walk-in tickets.

This took place before the museum but wasn’t as important. My parents thought that we could get in to see the non-exhibit part of the house first and then go see the exhibit when our ticket time came up, but it turned out that the exhibit was spread out throughout the whole museum and so we couldn’t get in at all. So we went shopping for new boots, since my current boots are literally falling apart on my feet and if there were a particularly rainy day my feet would get absolutely soaked. We looked around a bit, and then we walked into Macy’s, I went over the sale rack, and I found these:

Black. Pre-distressed. Narrow. Suitable for scavenging through the fallen ruins of our once-glorious civilization. And they were up for 80% off so I got them for $27. When the salesman rang them up, he said apologetically that he couldn’t provide any further discount on top of that. You know, I’m okay with that.

Now I’ll just have to make sure to break them in before my old boots lose what little structural integrity they have left.

After that, we met [livejournal.com profile] drydem and his wife [twitter.com profile] ameliaaldred for dinner at Sable Kitchen and then headed down to the Gene Siskel Film Center to watch a movie they had suggested. It was called Sweet Bean on the advertisements, but the original title is あん.

It was Japanese in a way I’d have a bit of a hard time describing to someone who didn’t already know what I meant. If the movie had been American, there would have been a whole section dedicated to the evils of stereotyping and fighting to make sure that Tokue was able to keep working at the dorayaki stand, or maybe the schoolgirls would unite with the dorayaki baker to stage a protest against the owner’s plans to remodel the place where they stop in for a treat every morning before school. But, well, しょうがないな. Some things you just have to accept. It’s how you react to them that matters. I tend to take that approach to life too, which is why I think I liked the ending so much even though a lot of reviews I saw said it was overly sentimental.

I don’t know that much about cinematography, but I found the shot composition interesting. Almost all the shots were close-ups on one character at a time, occasionally with other characters blurry on the edge of the framing. A lot of the other shots were shots of nature: cherry blossoms, autumn leaves, that sort of thing. And other than maybe a few minutes here and there, there was no music whatsoever. I don’t watch enough movies to really give a good opinion of how ordinary this is, but I thought it was a neat stylistic choice.

I’m glad I could understand the Japanese, too. There were a few bits here and there with subtleties that I would have translated differently than the subtitled did, and an untranslated bit at the end just as the credits begin to roll where some children run up and order dorayaki, and when he asks how many they want, one shouts out, “Ten!” It was a lovely ending.

Also, I would kill a man for some taiyaki right about now.
dorchadas: (Do you speak Elvish)
Today, [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou, [livejournal.com profile] drydem, and his wife sat down and watched the Tolkien Editor recut of the Hobbit movies into a single movie. I hadn't seen any of the Hobbit movies before now. I don't usually see movies for a variety of reasons, and while this has been on my computer for a while I haven't previously made the time to watch it, because it's four and a half hours long. But I have two weeks off over New Year's, so why not?

And it was good! A lot of the complaints I've heard about the Hobbit movies--that the action scenes go on for too long, that there are too many extraneous plot threads, that there are too many stupid plot threads--didn't really apply to this version. Though even here, I felt that some of the action scenes went on a little too long. I probably would have cut the last battle out almost entirely. Just fade to black when Bilbo gets knocked out and start again when he wakes up. You know, like the book. And I'd have cut out the reappearance of the goblin king and most of the escape from the mines, as well as the stone giants fighting each other. But those are minor quibbles, and probably just because I have a slight headache from watching four and a half hours of movie. It's a way better length than the nine hours the uncut version runs.

One thing [livejournal.com profile] drydem noticed is that the groups here are basically Warhammer factions in a classic case of the children influencing the parents. The dwarves fight well in groups, have Scottish accents for no adequately-explained reason (if we're going from the source material, they should have Eastern European accents), are incredibly stubborn, and bear grudges forever, though Tolkien did write, "No friend ever did a Dwarf a favor, and no enemy a wrong, without being repaid in full," so. The elves are condescending assholes to everyone, are inhumanly skilled ninjas who can shoot an orc in the eye from thirty paces away while backflipping between arm-thin tree branches (thankfully cut in this version), are always pretty and never get dirty, and are Better Than You. Humans are dirty, corruptable, greedy, and good with improvised weapons, but have individual members who can show striking courage and strength of spirit. And orcs wear skulls on their groins.

It's hard for me to offer too much criticism because I haven't seen the original, but I thought this was a good movie on its own merits. There were some minor bits of continuity that only make sense in the context of the original--for example, Kili's wound just gets healed because Tauriel has one line and a couple brief shots in the boat at Laketown, and Smaug burst out of Erebor with a mysterious coat of gold because the gold-surfing is cut--but it's much better than having to sit through the original scenes, which I thought were silly even in the brief shots I've seen of them on YouTube.

So yeah, I recommend it!
dorchadas: (Arrow to the Knee)
This post is inspired entirely by this video:

I've been looking for an extended version of "Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold" for months, and I finally found it. I haven't seen any of the Hobbit movies and I'm not like to unless they ever show up on Netflix or [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd buys them, so this is the first time I've seen any footage from it. I haven't even watched the trailers.

After I found this, I sat down to watch it with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and we ended up getting into a discussion about how dragons are portrayed. And while it's true that the lone knight fighting and beating a dragon has a very long pedigree--and indeed, occurs repeatedly in Middle Earth itself, with Eärendil defeating Ancalagon, Túrin defeating Glaurang, and Bard defeating Smaug--I really like dragons as nearly-unstoppable forces of nature. More like dragons in Shadowrun, I guess, where dragons mostly sit in the back and manipulate everyone and are powerful enough to demolish cities and survive orbital strikes even in a world of 2060s technology.

Dungeons & Dragons lives up to the latter part of its name by having a dragon for every occasion. First level characters can fight pseudodragons, second level characters can fight faerie dragons (or maybe switch those, depending on the party), third level characters can fight pavilion dragons...it goes on and on. Go to the online Monstrous Manual and scroll down the D section and there's whole pages of dragons for every occasion. And that's a reasonable approach, especially in a game like D&D that's based on an endless variety of different kinds of monsters with extremely specific ecological niches (lock lurker, anyone?), but I like the idea that dragons are rare, fantastically powerful, and you probably need an army, an archwizard, or other supernatural aid to fight one.

I guess "other supernatural aid" applies to the heroes mentioned above. Eärendil had a magic ship hallowed by the Valar, Túrin was using Gurthang, and Bard had the thrush tell him where to aim.

I keep bringing up D&D, but there's a D&D setting called Birthright that does dragons this way. There's only one kind of dragon, and you can see from the picture there what kind of threat they're supposed to be. Birthright actually does a lot of generic fantasy stuff right--it has elves that are complete assholes, for example--but the dragons are one of the things I really like about it. Dragons as forces of nature, not as a ladder of different types that are color-coded for your convenience that you climb on the way up the XP ladder.

Basically, I think there's value in there being monster-based challenges where the players can't just roll initiative and go to town. I actually just got something on DrivethruRPG called Stealer of Children that involves a first level party and a creature that requires magical weapons to hurt, forcing the party to think of novel strategies to kill them. As long as there's enough warning about what they're facing, that is. No one likes having something invincible sprung on them out of nowhere, as "realistic" as it might be. I'm pretty sure the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain thought that Smaug just showing up was pretty cheap.

Various thoughts

2014-Mar-09, Sunday 19:27
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
I used to write a lot of blog entries that were just random snippets from my life. I've moved away from that and into more themed entries as time went on, but here's another info dump!

Last night I saw Knights of Badassdom, which is the first movie I've seen in almost two years unless I'm counting wrong, and it was...meh. I think part of the problem is that the "characters" in the movie had basically not character at all, and no reason for me to bother with feeling bad when they died. The movie just relied on casting people like Danny Pudi or Ryan Kwanten or Peter Dinklage and they saying "Hey! Hey! You know this person from [famous geek media source]! Isn't it cool that they're here!" And for [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd, who does watch [famous geek media source], it did have some effect, but it just fell flat for me.

Also, the ending shattered my suspension of disbelief over its knee. Not an auspicious return to movie-watching.

Oh, something interesting I noticed, I think based on an RPG.net thread. One of the big old debates people had in the OSR movement was the idea of player skill vs. character skill. This is often expressed through ranting about Spot Checks, but I can see the legitimate complaints, where skills are used to surpass immersion in the world. Like, what's the point of describing the room in great detail so that the PCs will look behind the statue to find the secret button if it's all going to mechanically be handled by a Spot Check? Just get the essentials out of the way and roll the check. The downside, which is something that I've fallen prey to myself, is the dungeon with stupid logic puzzles that the characters could easily solve but the players have to actually work out. The canonical example of this is the GM making the players work through the Towers of Hanoi to open a door or something, though I used the Eight Queens.

For CRPG players, though, it's the other way around. One of the big complaints I've seen about Oblivion from Morrowind fanatics is that Oblivion isn't a real RPG, it's an action RPG (whatever that means), because for a lot of things the character's skill doesn't matter. The most obvious example is the lockpicking minigame, where a skilled player can pick any lock without breaking lockpicks at all, so Lockpicking skill just acts as an artificial gateway for what locks the player can even attempt. On the other hand, I can see why they did this, because one of the biggest complaints about Morrowind is the combat. When you base everything on dice rolls against the character's skills, but you can see yourself swinging a sword through the enemy and it not hitting...well, that does a number on immersion. Also, it can be boring. I modded Oblivion to make lockpicking a straight skill roll and it involves me clicking over and over for 10 minutes to pick locks occasionally.

I suspect it has to do with the ability of CRPGs to portray the entire world graphically, whereas TTRPGs have to rely on the theatre of the mind, meaning that entirely different constraints apply and immersion means totally different things. One of my favorite computer games is Unreal World, but honestly, if it were a possibility, I'd rather play that in the Skyrim engine...or at least with Skyrim visuals. Part of the reason I put so much time into modded Fallout 3 is that I turned it into a post-apocalyptic survival simulator, which is a lot more engaging when you can peek through desks and behind beds and so on to find items rather than making Spot Checks or searching the square. Trying to replicate that experience in a TTRPG is one of holy grails, but I'm not really sure it can be done.

It's finally warming up in Chiberia. Enough that [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a friend and I were able to walk around for over an hour outside and not feel like we should have been fighting off wargs and yeti to get to our destinations. The sun is out too, and now I can tell I'm getting old, because for most of my life I reacted to the sun basically the same way that a vampire would, but now it's a welcome sight. Then again, it might just be that after a few years of soft, weak winters, I'm no longer conditioned to a true Chicago winter and the sun comes as a welcome sight. I guess I've lost my ability to call it the daystar.

Among all the complaining about daylight savings time, I'm actually kind of happy about it, because Ta'anit Esther is this Thursday and this means I don't actually have to get up much earlier than I usually do in order to keep the fast. I just have to wake up, eat, and then shower instead of doing it the other way around. I guess I am kind of the stereotype of the convert that becomes more observant than a lot of others...though somewhat oddly. I mean, if I always say the blessing before meals, but still eat bacon cheeseburgers, I'm not sure where that puts me. (^_^;)

That's about all I can think of for now!

Holiday travel

2010-Dec-30, Thursday 03:48
dorchadas: (Default)
We spent Christmas with [livejournal.com profile] libbymae and her husband down on Innoshima, which looks nearly the same as Chiyoda if you ignore the ocean. After forgetting my laptop back in Hiroshima, returning to get it, coming back and nearly falling asleep on the bus and ending up in Shikoku, the rest of the weekend proceeded quite smoothly. Christmas dinner especially was excellent--my favorite part was the vegetable quiche-like dish, though I don't remember its actual ingredients so I can't really give any hint of how to replicate it here. The chicken was good as well, stuffed with lemon but otherwise unseasoned. There was some kind of cheesy cauliflower dish, but I'm not a fan of cauliflower so I didn't eat it. The gluten-free lemon cheesecake was also amazing, and I kind of regretted eating so much chicken because I couldn't eat any more than a single slice of cheesecake.

We also watched a couple movies. One was Miracle on 34th Street, which I had never seen, and I guess technically I still haven't because I was starving halfway through (dinner was at about 3 p..m) so I walked out to the conbini to get some food. As it was a 20 minute walk, I missed everything after the Santa guy gets committed. The other movie we saw was Muppet Christmas Carol, which is probably my favorite Christmas movie (if I could be said to have one) of all time.

Maybe the most memorable part was on the way back from getting my laptop. I had gotten off at the first stop, 10 minutes from the bus center, and ridden the subway back. The problem was, the ticket to Innoshima cost \2000, and I didn't want to buy another one after I had barely used the one I had. So what did I do? Well...I gaijin smashed it. When the guy on the next bus stepped off, I stepped forward (about a head taller than him) and thrust the ticket at him. He took it reflexively, with a somewhat dazed look on his face, and stamped it, so I bowed slightly to him and got on the bus. Of course, due to the aforementioned nearly missing my stop, it didn't all turn out so smooth in the end, but that's 2000円 I can spent on buta kimchi cup noodles instead of another ticket.
dorchadas: (Iocaine Powder)
I'm eating white rice now with some seto fumi furikake. White rice is good enough by itself, but this makes it especially yummy. I should eat more of it. Rice isn't a bad snack. If I do that, though, I should make it the real way--ten minutes of washing to remove the starch and all. Washing isn't so bad when you have a rice cooker.

Johnny Depp is in Aurora today to film a scene from that new movie about John Dillinger he's in. Apparently, he's supposed to get there around 7 p.m. and people have been waiting since 4 a.m., which boggles me. I mean, I know he's hot, but even if Maggie Gyllenhaal (for my own example of "hotter than the center of a nuclear explosion) was in town, I wouldn't bother trying to catch a glimpse of her through the tinted window of a limo, much less waiting 15 hours to see her. If there had been mass media during the Renaissance, I wonder if people would have followed the lives of the nobility this closely?
dorchadas: (For the Horde!)
Hot Fuzz is ten pounds of awesome in a five pound bag.

That is all.


2007-Apr-15, Sunday 01:36
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
I was not a very culturally aware child. I rarely watched movies, and didn't start really listening to the radio until my sophomore year of high school (and then stopped again once I got to college). I rarely watched television--I'm lucky my sister did, or I probably would have missed out on things like Scooby Doo and Fraggle Rock. Tonight, I watched Goonies, which I somehow managed to miss earlier on. So much I missed in the past.

I'm currently reading an extremely depressing book called When the Rivers Run Dry which is about, essentially, how a lot of developing nations are doomed to starvation and chaos due to depleting their water tables faster than they can be renewed. It also goes into interesting detail about how the rotting plants at the bottom of dams account for a large amount of methane, how a lot of rivers that people used to talk about being huge are now getting sucked dry (in, for example, the American Southwest), and about the amount of water needed to produce a lot of things being a hidden cost. It's interesting, but hard to read in a Malthusian sort of way. Yay.

Brunch tomorrow!
dorchadas: (Jealous)
I used to listen to angsty, depressing music, like the Cruxshadows.

Then I started listening to happy music, like Utada Hikaru and video game soundtracks.

Now, I listen to happy-sounding music with angsty-depressing lyrics. Things have achieved a balance, of a sort.

Watching this video has made me want to play Symphony of the Night again. For a platformer, it was pretty damn good. It had plenty of RPG elements, which is something I'm a huge fan of (I even went and found a mod that added RPG elements to Unreal Tournament. I don't know anyone else who used it, and the bots weren't the best at point allocation, but it was still fun), the castle was huge, there were all kinds of moves you could pull off...SotN is basically the Castlevania game against which all others should be measured. It should be fun to play again. Now, if I could just manage to beat Xenogears...

I saw The Illusionist tonight...again. It wasn't bad, though I liked The Prestige better. Not that the two movies are really comparable, except insofar as A) they're about magicians and B) a lot of the movie seems to be about one thing but is actually about another. The Illusionist didn't have sci-fi elements, though (well...not really), which does make it better as a period piece. They're both worth seeing, regardless. :)

Wedding invitations have been assembled. We'll be sending them out soon.
dorchadas: (Jealous)
I don't understand how insurance repricing works. I got a bill for around $800 from the doctor today. Okay, not surprising, he's a specialist. What was surprising is how far down insurance reduced it: $180. That's to $180, not by $180. And most of my bills are like that. Either health care is obscenely overpriced and only people with good insurance are getting anything remotely approaching a fair price, or my doctor is going to go bankrupt.

It's probably the former.

I saw 300 tonight. It was, in a word, badass. If you took pure badass, and let it ferment for a while, and distilled it into celluloid, and then wrote on it with a brush made of awesome it would still not be as badass as 300 was. I can kind of see how people could see it as slightly racist, or as a right-wing power fantasy, but I don't think it's something most movie-goers either wouldn't pick up on, or wouldn't care out. Perhaps they should...but oh well. THIS! IS! SPARTAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

So, webcomics. What makes webcomics so awesome? Probably the fact that they're unbound by syndication rules and most of them don't make any money, despite what their writers might want. Anyway, I just know that webcomics have raised the bar high enough that most of the comics in the paper are unfunny trash to me currently. I've found some--like Zombie Hunters--that are great, but which would never make it in a normal newspaper.

I've been thinking about making one, but I can't draw worth crap. I might be better at it than keeping a on writing a story. Speaking of, I need to finish my NaNo...

I'm still here

2007-Jan-29, Monday 00:35
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
I went to see Pan's Labyrinth last night. I had read the wikipedia article on it back when I thought that it would never make it out here, but I had forgotten enough of it that parts of the movie still took me by surprise. For example--the violence. Despite being able fairies, there wasn't anything fairy tale-esque about the violence. The world of the film is muddy and dirty and, well, realistic, especially when the captain just out of nowhere smashes in a prisoner's face with a wine bottle. That took me by surprise. The movie is excellent, though, and I'd encourage people to go see it.

spoilers )

We also went to talk to the rabbi we've contacted for the wedding, which was a little unnerving, mostly because he was so serious. After the discussion, though, I realized that the mood was warranted. A wedding is a serious occasion, and he doesn't know our propensity for levity. Even so, I don't know that that much humor is necessary for a wedding. A reception, yes, but...

Other than that, and my previous entry, I'm okay :)
dorchadas: (Broken Dream)
It comes out on DVD in a couple weeks.

See it.

It is, perhaps, one of the most important movies you will ever see.
dorchadas: (Angst)
...which is why I haven't posted in a week. There's stuff coming up this weekend, though, so I should have another post after that. I'm going to spend a day in the city with [livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and see Wicked. ^^

I had a big angst rant prepared but...well, you've heard it before, so I'm going to skip it. Instead, I'll pose an ethical question to you. This question is based on X3, but really, you don't have to have seen it to answer it. Here we go:

[Poll #744027][Poll #744027]

Any explanation you leave in comments would be helpful ^^

My opinion )

Finally: Judges orders arguing lawyers to settle dispute with rock, paper, scissors.
dorchadas: (Office Space)
...governments should be afraid of their people."
-V, V for Vendetta

We saw V for Vendetta this weekend, which was really good, though it did make me want to punch a Republican in the face. It's by the same people who did the Matrix, but without any of the pseudo-religious philosophy. Instead, it just has political philosophy, which is fine by me. Plus, it's based on a comic by Alan Moore. What's not to like?

Other than that, the weekend was rather pedestrian. I'm not playing LARP anymore--at least not for a bit--and that's that.

My annual performance review is coming up soon at work. We'll see how that goes. It's hard to imagine that I've already been there a year. I guess it's true what people say about time passing more quickly the older you get.
dorchadas: (Dreams are older)
...[livejournal.com profile] softlykarou and I watched Serenity last weekend.

I'd known about Firefly for a while, though I'd never seen it--the people on RPG.net are, frankly, crazy over the series. I admit, I had a little bit of geek aversion to it at first (i.e., a bunch of other people like it, so clearly it sucks), but when I actually watched it, I realized that they were right. It really was that good.

I'm not sure what I like about it so much. It's not, strictly speaking, sci-fi--it happens to take place in space, but it's really a Western, with any number of of tropes to reinforce it (interfering government lawmen, lawless frontier, the way the characters speak, the weaponry, the Reavers as a "Savage Injun" stand-in, etc.). There are some sci-fi elements (oppressive corporations, government conspiracies, psychics), but... It's just the way that everything mixes together. Especially for a show that only had 13 episodes, it's incredibly well-written. There's none of that rocky start-up time that a lot of shows have, the characters flow well together, the dialogue is funny when it matters and dramatic when that matters... I also like the fact that Mal is willing to actually kill people who need killing (and, admittedly, a few who don't). I've been watching too much anime lately--the "absolute pacifist" always gets on my nerves.

And yes, I do have an .mp3 of the show's theme song, if anyone wants it.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me.

There's no place I can be
Since I've found Serenity
You can't take the sky from me...
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
That's one of the lines from Reefer Madness: the Musical, which I watched with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and a bunch of her suitemates on Saturday. It was hilarious. I liked it enough that I'm seriously considering getting a copy myself. It follows the original pretty closely, even using the same lines in some cases, but also manages to incorporate a Jesus dance number, zombies, Communism, and, of course, music. If you get the chance, watch it!

I beat Xenosaga. It was, perhaps, the most non-final ending ever. I leave the game only slightly less confused as I started, so don't ask me to explain the plot to you. And from what I hear, Xenosaga II doesn't do much to clear up all that confusion. I'll still play it, but...

I was invited to go watch Neverending Story at two of [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's friends' apartment on Friday night. We created a drinking game--any time anyone said "Bastion," "The Nothing," "Atreiyu," "The [Childlike] Empress," or there was a transition between the real world and Fantasia. Needless to say, we stopped playing about halfway through the movie :-p We also had chips, which were really good. Thanks for inviting me (even though the people who did aren't reading this)!

LARP was slow. I showed up late and left early, though the leaving early was due to in-game reasons (raid/recon on Sabbat house). Ciarán is getting much more interesting now that he's actually involved in the plot. It almost makes me not want to switch over to that Assamite Sorcerer. Almost. Anyway, there's a new Prince, and in true Ciarán fashion, he already doesn't trust him due to a comment about 99% of a vampire's life being manipulation. It's true, but the fact that the Prince was willing to say it outright was a mark against him. I also got involved in a discussion about the nature of vampirism (rising above the Beast vs. always remembering you're a predator). It was pretty interesting, and I wish it happened like that more often.

Next weekend--Stepmania at DDR night!

Edit: Oh, an anonymous caller called into the Beacon today and said they really liked my columns. Yay fans!
dorchadas: (Zombies together!)
I cleaned my room! There is nothing on the floor anymore, my bookshelves are neat and tidy and everything is visible (no more two-rows deep to hold all the books). Now I just have to vacuum and dust more. The shelves and the dresser are dusted, but there are probably other places that need it.

My visit with [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd was quite long (eight days), and a lot of stuff happened that isn't that exciting to recount, as is usual. Mostly just playing games, her knitting while I played games, me reading while she played games, and so on, so I will recount the highlights here.

The first highlight--and the one that made me feel kind of bad--is that her family got me Christmas/Chanukah presents. Several of them, actually. A wok set, including four rice bowls and four sets of chopsticks, four miso bowls, and a metric fuckload of candy, including neat stuff like ginger candy and muscat gummies (whatever the hell those are). Oh, and gelt. The reason I felt bad is because I wasn't expecting nearly that much (and it's not counting what [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd got me). I got them Frango mints, which were worth perhaps a bit more than usual due to Marshall Field's being bought by Macy's, but still--it's just mints. Then again, they probably didn't expect anything, so...

I beat Halo. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd's brother owns an X-box, so I figured it was my chance. I can see why people liked it so much (and I do want to go back and try it on Legendary now...), but it wasn't the BEST FPS EVAR like I've heard. The quotes from the Covenant were hilarious, though, and I now have a better background on Red vs. Blue. Slightly. One more gamer milestone down.

As my previous post mentioned, I managed to avoid getting horribly burned on New Year's. [personal profile] schoolpsychnerd and I went to one of her friend's family farm for a party, and when midnight rolled around, we decided to set off fireworks. Unfortunately, one of the fireworks did not go up before it exploded. No one was seriously hurt, and only one person was even hit, and it was only a glancing blow that led to a scorched jacket and singed hair. An enormous green spark went by about six inches from my head, though. It was very exciting, for a moment.

We played Karaoke Revolution, too! I have discovered I'm pretty good, as long as I don't sing funk. I totally lack any ability to sing funk, which I guess should not be that surprising.

We saw Memoirs of a Geisha in the theatre...which was okay. I didn't like it that much. It was incredibly pretty (and Zhang Zi Yi is hot), but...that's all it was. I didn't get any sort of feeling of emotion from the movie, no matter what happened on the screen. The book was much better at evoking emotion, at least from me.

And we watched a bunch of anime and hung out. It was wonderful ^_^


dorchadas: (Default)

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