Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, January 30, 2004

AEON has cursed me.

In script readings, one of the primary criticisms I get is I over-enunciate. But it's just good classroom English!

And, oh happy day! It's finally official: Pixar is dumping Disney! In a press release released today, Pixar CEO Steve Jobs said that contract re-negotiations between Pixar and Disney fell through, and that Pixar is now actively looking for a new distributor. The final Disney/Pixar collaberation will be Cars, set for release in 2005.

But, that's not all. Disney will retain the sequel rights and copyrights to all Disney/Pixar co-productions. That means Disney could pump out Finding Nemo 2 or Toy Story 3 without Pixar involvement.

Next Issue...I Can't Believe You Talked Them into Making A Bug's Life 2!

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

And today's name for my on-air shift was..."Remy LeBeau." You know...Gambit?

More movie news!

Cars - Pixar is all excited that none other than Paul Newman is going to be doing a voice in their next film! "Cars," written and directed by "Toy Story's" John Lassetter, is on track to come out in 2005. Newman will voice a race car. Also in the voice cast are Bonnie Hunt, Owen Wilson, and racing star Richard Petty.

Meet the Parents 2 - Ben Stiller is on record as saying he wants Barbera Streisand to play his mother. Streisand is reading the script

Next issue...Light the lights

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I should jot down some of these brilliant bits of movie news so I don't forget to read them on tomorrow's show:

Shrek 3 - #2 doesn't come out until this May, but work has begun on #3! This time, look for Shrek to razzle the Knights of the Round Table.

Meet the Parents 2 - Work is finally beginning on a sequel to the hit Ben Stiller/Robert de Nero comedy. Stiller's father will be played by...Dustin Hoffman.

DVD News:

I do so love Kevin Smith:

An Evening with Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder - The first "Evening" DVD, featuring highlights from Smith's college Q&A sessions, was such a hit that another one is in the works! This time, footage from Smith's panels at comic book conventions will be included.

Clerks X - A 10th Anniversary edition of "Clerks!" Among the bonus features will be Smith's comic book "Clerks: The Lost Scene" brought to animated life.

And the Oscar nominations have been announced! Here's the nominees in my new favourite category, Best Animated Film:

Brother Bear
Finding Nemo
The Triplets of Bellville

Now, I know what you're thinking: "What's this Triplets movie?" I've read very little about it. It's a French film, about a grandmother whose grandaughter is kidnapped during the Tour de France. So, the grandmother teams up with the titular triplets (an old song-and-dance team) to rescue her grandaughter. The first and only review I read of it said it's a French knock-off of "Spirited Away." More as it develops.

Next Issue...Twilight

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Latest column, folks! This week's offering is called New and Improved:

"I’m living at home with my parents. I own a DVD player, and have a modest DVD collection. There are many nights when there isn’t anything good on TV and I’ll throw one of my discs into the player. And that always leads to my father’s heavy sighing and constant complaint: “Are you watching this again?” Mr. Anderson recently visited me, and we watched An Evening With Kevin Smith, throughout which my father heavily sighed and my mother begged us to let her watch something on TV. When I returned Mr. Anderson home, he said to me, “Boy, your parents really don’t like Kevin Smith, do they?” Well, it’s not Kevin Smith they don’t like. It’s DVDs. Thanks to me, they had to watch An Evening With Kevin Smith a third time! My parents would much rather watch the newest episode of Law & Order: Bylaw Enforcement Unit than be subjected to the greatest movie ever made…again. Seeing a movie twice is one too many times for them. When it comes to entertainment, “new” is the only thing they’ll tolerate."

Read it all!

Saturday, January 24, 2004

I'm now officially loathing small town life again.

See, I'm sure you all remember the saga of my Godzilla poster, which I woefully forgot in Japan. Well, I've resolved to send them the remaining 1000 yen to cover the rest of my bills, and then they can take my poster and go f--k themselves.

But this means I need a money order for 1000 yen.

Small town post office can't do it because they don't have the exchange rates. Small town bank can't do it because the only foreign currency they deal in is US dollars. Bank even said, "You have to go to a bigger financial instituion."

That's one thing I hate about the bank in Entwistle. They are a clique. Everything you ask them to do is a hassle. "Can I withdraw some money?" *irritated sigh* "Go to the ATM outside for that." "The ATM machine ate my card. Can I get a new one?" *irritated sigh* "I guess." "I'd like to make a payment on my loan." *irritated sigh* "Can't you do that at our website?"

So, I guess this'll have to wait until Monday and maybe I can get it done in Edmonton. The only thing that pisses me off is that I said to Kumagaya, "I'll have this done on Saturday!" little realizing that something as simple as a money order was beyond the grasp of Entwistle's institutions.

You know, maybe that was my problem. I kept saying, "I need a money order for 1000 yen." They must have instantly thought it would be a gigantic amount of money. I checked the exchange rates before I left. Maybe things would have been different if I said, "I need a money order for $12."

And I'm reflecting on the week just ended. I missed the RTA faculty's big drunk-up/hazing ritual known as "Meet the First," in which everyone gets together to see how drunk they can get the new students. I was told I was missed, but I doubt it. I'm not the kind of person who's missed....

Right now, though, I'm thinking about my next assignment for Production. It's time to start working on our voicing technique. and we have to bring in some kind of story that can be read in about 2 minutes, and it must have at least one "narrator" voice and one "character" voice. Instructor said that children's stories work best for this. So, I'm debating right now:

Do I dig out my old copy of Politically Correct Fairy Tales? Surely I must have one in there that's 2 minutes long. Or the other one I'm thinking of is the opening chapter of Good Omens. You know, where Crowly and Azeriphale are sitting at the gates to Garden of Eden trying to figure out what went wrong. Both would be good.

Next Issue...Spike Witwicky Stikes!

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Well, I just finished my assignment for journalism. I had to write 5 leads; the first sentence in a news story. I don't know about mine, they just don't seem witty enough.

And my first time doing remotes could have gone better. The equipment room wasn't unlocked until the last minute, so I got started a half-hour late. I had no idea what to talk about, so I just winged it.

And I wonder how many people got the joke when I decided to start using the radio name "Spike Witwicky."

Next Issue...The New Markworld Order

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Right now, I'm in the same mindset as I was at the dawn of my first semester, which is essentially: "Oh my God. Everyone is so much younger and better than me. I'm going to be a collosal failure at this. I may as well just quit, but that'll just embarass too many friends and family, so I'll just plug along until I flunk out." So it's reallly upsetting when I pass everything.

This all kind of stemmed from an assignment we had to do today. We had to transcribe a newscast and read it to the class. This is taught by two instructors. One, the male, I don't think has ever said a nice thing to me about my voicing. His complaint today was that I have too much energy for reading the news. I have to tone it down a little. That, and because of the energy, I don't emote enough. He does have a point. It is kind of bad to sound perky when you're reading a news story about child molestation.

I can't help it, though. Because I have been a natural ham most of my life (and made good money doing it in Japan), I have a lot of energy when you turn on that microphone or get me in front of a crowd.

Still don't understand where the other instructor, the female, keeps saying I'll do good in news. I think that stems from the fact that my university arch-enemy, Brad Goertz, beat into my head how journalism should present a balanced picture. In the little intros to journalism I've done so far, I tend to harp on that quite a bit. Yeah, Brad and I had our differences, but he actually taught me quite a bit.

And now tomorrow, I have to be at NAIT to do my first official on-air shift on the student radio station. That, to be honest, is scaring the shit out of me. I'll be doing remotes, meaning I set up in the school's lobby, and at every commercial break, they cut to me and give a one minute spiel on some upcoming campus event. You've all heard them on real radio stations: "Hi, this is Jimmy Crane, and I'm down at Frankie Ford where they're having the push, pull and drag it in sale...."

Now, why is this scaring me? Mainly because they haven't taught us how to do it yet, and I really don't know what campus events to talk about, so I'll just be winging it. I've kind of accepted the fact that, because I don't know anything and this is my first time, this is going to completely suck. Once I embrace that, I can have fun with that.

Kind of like when they didn't renew my contract in Japan. On one side, I felt completely liberated. To know that I no longer had to be prim and proper in all my classes made me cut loose a lot more and my classes became a lot more fun.

Once you accept that it's all coming to a screaming halt, you don't care. And when you don't care, you're free to have fun with it.

Next Issue...The End Is Near

Sunday, January 18, 2004

And now, the latest edition in "Things I've said that my best friend thinks is funny."

The set-up: So, I get this ICQ message from a beautiful young woman I haven't heard from in a long time. And right away, she launches into sex talk. I'm a little taken aback, but I go along with it, in my somewhat innocent/dumbfounded way.

The bombshell: Turns out it's not the beautiful young woman! It's my best friend Mr. Anderson, who's visiting the beautiful young woman, manning her computer, and messing my mind. Naturally, I reacted by saying something funny

What I said that he thought was so funny: "Dude, it's like I just lived a Cole's Notes version of The Crying Game."

Next Issue...Vengeance!
Well, I had another one of those Sundays. I got absolutly no work done. True, I have no homework due until Tuesday, but I was hoping I would get it all done today. But I refuse to feel guilty! It was Sunday, darn it!

Instead, I did some wacky downloading. We've all seen the Spirit Mars probe on the news, right? You know how they're always showing that nifty NASA animation showing what the landing would have most likely looked like? Well, at the NASA website, I found that animation, complete, uncut, and with no newscaster narration. I downloaded it and I've been watching it over and over. I'm just amazed at how this multimillion dollar probe was bouncing across the Martian surface like some gigantic beach ball. Plus, it is some of the most beautiful computer animation I've ever seen!

Anyway, as always, latest column is up! this week's is The Old Apartment, and here's a clip:

"When I first came home from Japan, one of the things that struck me as odd was the fact that nothing had changed about Entwistle. Everything was right where it was supposed to be, looking as old and dilapidated as ever. There’s just something unusual about revisiting a place that you haven’t been to in ages. Seeing what’s the same; what’s different. I already have a rough plan to go back to Kumagaya in 20 or 30 years, just so I can walk around in a shell-shocked state murmuring, “I had a life here.” I’m sure it would feel similar to my recent return to my original university, Augustana University College."

As always, here's the place to read it all.

next issue...The Wrath of Cowell
OK, folks, so I'm going to summarize another episode of the new He-Man cartoon. If there's one thing I love about it, it's that it goes into a lot of "origin of..." episodes and back stories for characters. I was always curious about that kind of stuff, but they never went into it. And today's was a great "origin of...."

The Power of Greyskull - Prince Adam awakens from a strange dream. In it, there were the Snake Men, and they were defeated by this third evil warlord, and then a guy who looked kind of like He-Man but wasn't was there, and the third warlord defeated him, and the He-Man looking guy lost the Power Sword down into Castle Greyskull's moat. While trying to figure this out, Adam gets a telepathic call from the Sorceress. She sensed a disturbance in the force, so Adam was to come to Greyskull.

At Castle Greyskull, Adam tells the Sorceress of his dream, and the Sorceress figures that it's connected to the disturbance that she felt. In order to figure it out, they decide to delve into the past of Eternia. They entered into a secret chamber of Castle Greyskull, and there Adam saw a giant statue of the He-Man-looking guy. The Sorceress revealed that that man was King Greyskull; the man whom Castle Greyskull was named after. And, upon study of the tapestries, we learn that the third warlord was the one, the only...HORDAK!

We flashback to the time of King Greyskull. He is worried. He knows that Hordak is amassing his forces, and a large, final battle is coming between him and Hordak. Greyskull laments that he needs more power to defeat Hordak. Greyskull's wife, the sorceress Veena, suggests that Greyskull seek out the Oracle to find this great power. Greyskull mounts up on his Battle Lion, and heads out for the Oracle.

Meanwhile, back in the present, Skeletor receives a telepathic message from Hordak. Turns out Skeletor owes Hordak a favour, and now Hordak wants to collect. Skeletor's task is to go to Hordak's Shrine and release Hordak, or else Hordak will kill Skeletor. Skeletor takes off for the shrine like a bat out of hell.

Meanwhile, back in the past, King Greyskull has found the Oracle, and we are all stunned to see that the Oracle is a Trollan. (That's Orko's people.) The Oracle tells Greyskull that, to get the great power, he must go on a quest. The usual "slay a dragon, conquer a maze, 40 days and 40 nights in the desert" kind of quest. Greyskull finally gets to the cave where the great power resides and in the cave he finds...the Oracle! The Orcale gives Greyskull a box and inside is Greyskull's sword, thought lost in his first skirmish with Hordak. The Oracle explains that the power resided in Greyskull the whole time. Satisfied with this, Greyskull turns to leave, but the Oracle reveals one last piece of info: Greyskull will not survive the battle with Hordak.

Greyskull returns to his castle (yup, Castle Greyskull) just in time to see the troops massing. It tried its best to look straight out of The Lord of the Rings. We saw Hordak flanked by his generals Grizzlor, Leech, and Mantenna. (and it was great seeing them updated for the new millenium!) King Greyskull steeled himself, and then launched into battle. He battled through Hordak's army, swiftly defeated Grizzlor, Leech, and Mantenna. Hordak commented that Greyskull's power was indeed great, but Hordak then threw Greyskull several thousand yards just with a wink of his eye. Hordak then opened up a portal to the Dark Dimension, with the intent of sucking Greyskull into it. But Greyskull would not give up! As the Dark Dimension portal began to grow, Greyskull started crackling with more and more power! He finally bellowed out, "I HAVE THE POWER!" as lightening was thrown from his sword and struck the portal. Now, Hordak and his troops were all sucked into the Dark Dimension! Hordak and his forces were gone...but the exertion was too much for Greyskull. He collapsed.

Dying in his wife's arm, Greyskull revealed something else the Oracle told him. (Cue Matrix theme.) Greyskull revealed that one day, when evil rises again, a chosen one will rise and use his power to defend Eternia. And then, Greyskull died, his body turning into a glowing ball of power. The Power touched all the members of Greyskull's court, turning them into the Council of Elders. (those who ruled Eternia before King Randor.) The Power then took up residence in Greyskull's sword. Veena picked up the sword, and swore that she would defend it until the one arises. And if she dies before the one arises, then she will find another to take her place. And thus, Veena was the first to bear the mantle of Sorceress of Greyskull.

Back in the present, Prince Adam realizes that it is the Power of King Greyskull that flows through him. And that the dream was a warning. Skeletor seeks to free Hordak from the Dark Dimension. He-Man sprints of to Hordak's shrine....

At the Shrine, He-Man heads of Skeletor. He-Man says that if the Shrine is destroyed, Hordak can never be freed. Skeletor agrees, and promptly destroys the Shrine. Skeletor leaves, and He-Man is confused. "It's as though he doesn't want to free Hordak," He-Man laments. And, Evil-Lyn watched this whole proceeding, and was intrigued....

Cool. Now that we had Hordak, the question is as it always was: where's She-Ra?

Next Issue...The Return of the Horde

Friday, January 16, 2004

Well, the first week is just about finished. This new semester is going to prove...difficult, mainly because of an 8 am class on Thursday and, once every two weeks or so, I've got to do a 7:30 am shift on the radio station. That makes little sense to me because no one is here at 7:30. Oh, well. I'll beg and plead with my classmates if anyone wants to switch, but it may prove difficult. I've already asked around to some people and the responses range from, "Well, Mark, I live on the south side and my bus trip is about as long as you drive" to "Dude, I am soooooooooo hung over in the mornings." My first one is next Wednesday.

Oh, and I've got a new timeslot for my show! Wednesday afternoons at 3:30. I'm the lead in to NR92's long-running and popular football show. I'm the perfect lead-in. Nothing says "football" like the music of Hikaru Utada! There's some new guidlines instituded this semester for private shows, too. In my one hour show, I must run at least one commercial. And I must produce spots and spliters. Since I'm learning production, I'm hoping I can make most of this myself. I'll update the site and send out a spam on the subject this weekend.

But, for this first week, I've got nothing to do until 10am on this sunny Friday morning, so I'm here in the computer commons watching trailers! One that I've been waiting for has just gone online:

Van Helsing - Anyone read Dracula? In that film, Van Helsing was the vampire slayer who was dedicated to hunting down Dracula. Well, you just knew someone would have the brains to take this and turn Van Helsing into an action hero! In this film, Hugh Jackman (Wolverine to geeks like me) plays Van Helsing, hired by the church to do some monster-slaying. He goes trekking through Transylvania hunting down Dracula, and along the way, he also does battle the Wolfman and Frankenstein's monster. It's from the same guy who made The Mummy films, and seems to be in the same mold. Looks pretty good. May 7!

And, just for the heck of it, I also watched the trailer for Adam Sandler's latest comedy:

50 First Dates - Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore reunite for another romantic comedy. This time, Drew suffers from short-term memory loss, so she always forgets that she's dating Adam. Hence, Adam does all kinds of things to try and get Drew to remember him. That's right, it's Memento: The Romantic Comedy! It's got some laughs....

And it's time for class.

Next Issue...Radio Star

Monday, January 12, 2004

I got a suprise in the mail today. I got a postcard from Akiko. I know, I knew a lot of Akikos. But this is the one who was my tour guide in Nara! (If you don't remember, go back and read my column How To Acheive Enlightenment and Impress Girls) I'm completly baffled as to how I got it, mainly because I don't remember giving her my address. I dug through my shoebox of Japan mementos and found her card. I should e-mail her and tell her I got it.

Anyway, had my first day of the second semester today. It was little more than a 10-minute session of, "Here's your schedule. Any questions?" Thursdays are going to be rough because I have an 8am class. Wednesdays and Fridays are going to be even rougher because the possibility exists that I'll have to be there at 7:30am. I'm frustrated at this situation, angry at the situation, and once again consumed with fear and self-doubt as to why I'm doing this.

So, I find it helps to clear my head if I focus on a goal. The goal right now is getting the show going ASAP. I'll have to pick a new timeslot because my new schedule has me working from 9 to 4 just about every day. The only exception right now is Thursdays, which will be from 8 to 4. Since I'll have to drive in on Thursdays, I'm thinking about politey begging from a timeslot early Thursday evenings.

Oh, well. Justice League is on.

Today's trivia tidbit: Disney put up 10% of the cash for Spirited Away.

Next Issue...The Ending Sleep

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Last day of the Christmas break, and I celebrated by going to see Kill Bill. What did I think of the fourth film from Quentin Tarrintino? Well, there are very few movies where, five minutes into it, I say to myself, "I'M GOING TO LOVE THIS MOVIE!" Kill Bill Vol. 1 is one of those few. What moment made me say that to myself? Well, it opens with these words on the screen:

"Revenge is a dish best served cold." - Old Klingon Proverb

Yes. Any movie that starts with a Klingon quote is instantly a classic in my eyes.

Anyway, latest column's up! This week's offering is called Troublemaker:

"So now that I’m a university graduate and I have four years of experience in the world behind me, you can imagine how relaxed I am this time through school. My heart rate no longer jumps when midterm exams came around. If I find an assignment is a few words short of the required amount, I no longer care. That’s not to say I’m completely apathetic. I still study. I still do my research. I still get my assignments in on time. I simply no longer see the point in fearing everything.

But without fear to motivate me, I find I can become quite the troublemaker. No fear for my grades means I have more confidence in voicing my concerns over how a class is taught. If I think the instructor’s lesson contradicts something I’ve now seen or done in the real world, I’m more inclined to get up and say, “Hey! I think you’re wrong.” The most glaring example of this had to be my computer course."

Read the whole thing! I dare ya!

Next Issue...Back to School

Saturday, January 10, 2004

*sigh* And here I was so hoping to go into Edmonton today and finally see Kill Bill. Why didn't I go? Two words: freezing rain. Really didn't feel like braving the ice-coated highways.

I really miss Kumagaya in that I was just 5 blocks from the movie theater and could go see a movie whenever I wanted. But that's not a "missing Japan" thing. That's a "missing living in a city" thing. And, to some extent, a "missing having a steady stream of income" thing.

So, instead, I fired up the DVD player and finally watched my latest DVD acquisition, Castle in the Sky. This is another classic from Hayo Miyazaki. It came out in Japan in 1986, but in North America in May. It was supposed to come out in 1999, but fate and Disney Studio politics conspired against it. The first time I saw it was almost a year ago. I came home from work one night and BOOM! It was on TV.

Anyway, the North American dub is pretty good. If I have one complaint, it's choosing Anna "Rouge" Paquin to voice the heroine, Sheeta. In case you didn't know, Anna Paquin is a New Zealander. And, in Castle in the Sky, her voice wavers between a fake American accent and her native Kiwi accent. About halfway through the film she decides to stick with the Kiwi. It's a little annoying, but you get used to it.

The New Zealand accent isn't annoying, it's the wavering between the two. Figure I should clarify in case any Kiwis are reading. On the contary, I think a New Zealand accent is very sexy. What can I say? Back in high school, we had a New Zealand exchange student one year and she was damn sexy. So now I'm just convinced that all women from that part of the world are goergeous.

Here's hoping I can make it to Kill Bill tomorrow. What better way to end the winter break?

Next Issue...Porco Rosso Next!

Friday, January 09, 2004

Well, I took Mr. Anderson home to Kingman today. We had a good time, as always. He beat me 2 out of 3 at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. I think I may have disappointed him a bit, though.

He brought with him his vast collection of Neon Genesis Evangelion and Revolution Girl Utena. These are 2 anime programs that he's just in love with. I watched the first two episodes of NGE and failed to be impressed. We never even got around to Utena. It's difficult to explain. I'm just kind of burned out by anime. Spending an afternoon watching all 26 episodes of another program about chosen ones in giant robots or sorcerrers with magic powers or immature schoolgirls who learn to grow up when they get superpowers from a cute talking animal and must save the universe. I did that in university. I'm a grown up now.

Speaking of university, when I took Mr. Anderson home I took a little side trip to Camrose and checked out my old haunt Augustana. Ran into a few old classmates who are working there now and got some inside skinny on the whole U of A merger. Their plans for reconstruction...wow. In 2 years it's going to be a whole new school.

Next Issue...Revolution Boy Makrus!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

I've been watching a lot of cop shows lately. I'm starting to notice that each one has...signature dialogue to it. The first one I noticed was on the CSI shows. They're signature dialogue tends to be a cryptic statement made right before commercial. For example..."This looks like a case...OF MURDER." This has become my new thing around the house. I make cryptic statments before I leave the room. "It feels like we've got a case of...THE MUNCHIES." "I need to use...THE BATHROOM." I tell ya, my folks thought it was funny the first two times. Now they're just annoyed.

And then, the Law & Order shows. Their bit has been well-known for some time. Cop makes a bad sarcastic one-liner about the dead body before opening credits roll.

Anyway, tomorrow's going to be a crazy fun day. Mr. Anderson is back in the province, and we had a rough plan to go see Lord of the Rings: Return of the King before he goes back to Vancouver to live in his girlfriend's father's basement. He's down near the Camrose area, so tomorrow, I'm going to drive down to Camrose (2 hours), pick him up, we'll head into Edmonton to see ROTK (1 hour drive, 3.5 hour movie), and then I bring home to Entwistle (1 hour). And then, we spend Wednesday and most of Thursday watching all the Hollywood greats that I love but he's starting to view as "mediocre." Then Thursday, I either take him back to Camrose or dump him off in Edmonton. He's still waiting to hear back from his Edmonton contact....

I tell ya, what I do just to spend a few fleeting hours with my best friend. But hey, it's been a year since I've seen him. I want to see him. Even if it is just a few fleeting hours.

Next Issue...The Ties That Bind

Sunday, January 04, 2004

I had some delightfully witty ramblings, but I've forgotten them all. Oh, well. Latest column's up! Sorry, but it's a lame on this week: An Episode Guide to Shadow Raiders:

"Now, Shadow Raiders was one of the greatest cartoons ever made. It was produced by Canada’s own Mainframe Entertainment, the same folks behind ReBoot, Beast Wars: Transformers, and the new computer animated Spider-Man. Shadow Raiders was loosely based on the War Planets toys. Did you remember War Planets? Giant war machines the size of planets with all kinds of gizmos and weapons for destroying each other. Shadow Raiders told the tale of the people who lived on those planets and the lives that such an existence would lead to."

Read about all exciting 26 episodes!

Next Issue...Behold the Beast

Saturday, January 03, 2004

I just finished paying my post-Christmas bills. We're into panic mode, folks. Must find job.

In other news of self-pity, I've always been curious about the film Howard the Duck. It was the late film last night, I taped it, and I'm watching it now. I'm only half an hour into it, but I was going, "Oh, my God, this is bad" 29 minutes ago.

Today's random observation. We all know the propensity of North American animators to slip references to their past films in the current projects. For example, in Finding Nemo, you can clearly see a Buzz Lightyear action figure on the floor of the dentist's office. So, while watching Spirited Away, I said to myself, "Ya know, if this were made by a North American studio, you just know that Totoro and some of the gods from Princess Mononoke would be among the spirits at the bath house.

Next Issue...My Bath Time

Friday, January 02, 2004

Oh, I just love modern technology. I got Ad-aware to clean some of the spyware off my computer. When all the spyware was gone, I loaded up Kazaa to go MP3 hunting, and do you know what happened? I got an error message saying, "A spyware removal program has recently run, and must have "accidentally" deleted some files neccessary for Kazaa to load ads. You need to reinstall Kazaa. If you do not want ads, please pay $29.95 to get the complete version!" So do I reload Kazaa? It can wait, I think.

Other than that, nothing to report.

Next Issue...Something to Write Home About

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Well, here it is. January 1, 2004. One year ago, I was hanging out with Mr. Anderson at a Japanese shrine, ringing in the new year in a traditional Japanese style: praying for luck and fortune in the new year. While at the shrine, Mr. Anderson made my buy a fortune. He said it's the whole point of going to a shrine. Naturally, it was a little slip of paper in Japanese, so I had no idea what it said. I slipped it in my pocket, but Mr. Anderson gave me this warning. If it was a fortune for bad luck, then it had to be left behind at the shrine, or the bad luck would follow me. If it was for good luck, then leaving it behind was optional. I just slipped it in my pocket and kind of forgot about it. In the year that followed:

- I lost my job in Japan.
- I'm still fighting with my former place of employment in Japan over a poster I left behind.
- I'm once again living in my parents' basement.
- I'm running out of money.
- I'm still a virgin.

I guess we can safely assume it was bad luck. I knew that night I should have left it behind, just to be safe....

Anyway, my Mom borrowed Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl from one of her coworkers. I must admit, it was a pretty good movie. It brought back fond memories of riding the ride at Tokyo Disneyland.

I actually thought I was going to be sick when I rode Pirates of the Carribean. See, we got to Tokyo Disneyland right when it opened at 9am. In order to do so, it meant getting up at 6 to catch the train at 6:30. In all that time, I didn't have any breakfast. So, it was 10 am. We just got off our first ride, the Jungle Cruise, and some of us sat down to take a break. I decided it was time to finally have breakfast. I bought an (overpriced) sandwich from a Disney concession, and as I sat down to eat, some of the people I was with said, "OK, while everyone who wants to rest rests, we're going to go on Pirates of the Carribean." Now, it was my goal to ride all of Disneyland's famous cheesy rides, of which Pirates of the Carribean tops the list. So I said, "But I want to go too!" But I couldn't go on the ride while eating my sandwich. What was I to do?

Well, it was the first time since before I had teeth that I ate without chewing. I stuffed that whole sandwich into my mouth and swallowed it in one gulp. How I didn't get sick on Pirates (or on the next ride, Big Thunder Mountain) without throwing up, I'll never know.

Ever since I got home, I've been debating as to whether I want to write a column about my trip to Tokyo Disneyland. I don't really think there's a whole column in there. It was cheezy! Now, goint to the Studio Ghibli Museum, that warrants a column.

Next Issue...And All That That Implies