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Monday, 30 April 2012

BLOG -- Recap of April

So, here is my recap blog for April. Again, I will only mention here what I haven't mentioned in my past blogs. If anybody is curious on my thoughts on anything, please go ahead and ask. :)

Outings/Events in April:
- Met up with my friends and my sister to celebrate my sister's birthday.

- Had a "Wine & Dine" event at work -- I drank lots of wine that day, haha.

- Met up with my old friends (x3). It's always a delight :)

- Tried yoga for the first time in my life. It was brutal, but refreshing!

- Played this awesome game called "Cards Against Humanity" with my co-workers.


Exposures:
- (restaurant) ??? -- this was some Korean restaurant on Baldwin Avenue. I don't remember what it was called. The food was pretty good.

- (dessert place) Sugar Marmalade -- only had a dessert and it was pretty good.

- (restaurant) Duke of Kent -- it was okay.

- (drink) Rolling Rock -- as some of you may know, this is the drink that The Angry Video Game Nerd drinks during his retro video game reviews. I just had to try it. It's not bad!

Finished...
Watching:
- (Anime): Mushi-Shi -- This is a really cool, serene, and strangely gross anime. I think the stories are very engaging and the animation is very... out of this world. At the same time, though, I find that almost every episode has one scene or imagery that just makes my skin crawl.

- (Movie): Perfect Blue (for the 3rd time)
- (Movie): Mushi-Shi (live-action) -- Some of the effects were cool. Not as good as the anime, though.


Playing:
- Nothing!


Reading:
- (Novel): Spare Parts by Rick Hanson -- This was okay. I only read it because I enjoyed the author's second book, Mortal Remains. This one wasn't as enjoyable, though.


Currently... 
Playing (not all at once):
- (PS3): Record of Agarest War Zero 
- (PS3): Uncharted: Drake's Fortune 
- (DS): Luminous Arc 2 
- (DS): Professor Layton and the Last Spector
- (GBA): B-Daman
- (PSP): Persona  
- (Wii): Fortune Street 
- (PS2): Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Watching:
- (Anime): iDOLM@STER: The Animation
- (Anime): Peach Girl

 
Reading:
- (Manga): No Longer Human by Usamaru Furuya
- (Manga): Strawberry Panic by Sakurako Kimino + Takuminamuchi
- (Novel): The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


That's it for April! Just read my past blogs to see what else I did this month. I really shouldn't be blogging right now since I'm super-busy this week, but I want to keep to this end of month blog (and my blogging schedule in general). Blogging these recap blogs gets me to put all my photos on the computer, haha. Here are some random photos from this month:

A Quiche Lorraine from Duke of Kent. I only enjoyed it because it did not taste like cheese.

Bulgolgi from that Korean restaurant at Baldwin Avenue. It's good!

Korean beer from that Korean restaurant at Baldwin Avenue. 
It had a light taste. Then it got bitter in the end.

Rolling Rock.

A random shot of my desk drawer. I forgot that I had bought some booze on Friday and didn't bring them home with me for the weekend. It was quite a surprise to see them this morning, haha.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

BLOG -- My Movie-watching History (in Theatres) Part 1 [1995-1999]

So... this is a bit of a cop-out blog, at least for me. I have to spend most of my day today reading up on my course for work. This is a cop-out blog to me because I've already documented this on Good Friday... though there will be tweaks to make this less personal and less detailed (my original document had extra little details like which theatre I went to, what time, and who was with me).

Anywho, this blog will be about the movies I've watched in theatres from 1995 to 1999 -- just any thoughts I may have about them when I first watched them (no commentary from my current perspective unless necessary). Why am I blogging about this? Well, I like keeping records of stuff -- it's just how I am. And I'm quite big on nostalgia. Hopefully, the mention of some of these movies will bring some memories to you (whoever is reading this) :)

My Movie-watching History
I've always thought that I was a late bloomer to watching movies in theatres. I still think so. Growing up in an overprotective environment, and having parents who worked almost everyday, I was never allowed to, well, go off on my own anywhere, including to the movies (even if my friends invited me; even if my sister was with me).

Even though my first movie-watching experience was in 1995, that only happened because I had an awesome homeroom teacher. She probably overheard me or my sister saying that we had never watched a movie in theatres and decided to take us one day. If she didn't take us, then my first movie-watching experience would have been in 1998 -- nearly three years later. I was over 11 years old at the time.

When movie-watching was new to me, my sister and I watched many. It also helped that movies were cheaper back then. Now, I'm very selective about which movies to watch in theatres. When comparing the price of a movie ticket to the general price of a DVD... it really does come down to if you want to experience the movie once on a large screen or experience the movie more than once on a smaller screen.

SPOILER ALERT WARNING!!
Since I will be mentioning a good number of movies in this blog, some of them will contain spoilers. Any movie that will contain a spoiler will be marked.

1995

MOVIE: The Amazing Panda Adventure
DATE: Sometime in September or October?
RATING (OUT OF 5): Unsure

COMMENTS: This was my first movie, but I was so young… I didn’t understand everything that was going on. I was just happy that it was my first movie in a movie theatre. I enjoyed the panda, and I was pretty sure that the movie had some kind of moral (because I was so young and my teacher took us). I don’t remember the movie being all that great, though.


1998


MOVIE: Titanic [SPOILER]
DATE: May 2, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: Titanic wasn't all that great. We watched it so late in its run, everything was spoiled for us. I didn’t care that much about Rose and Jack (I had absolutely no interest in Leonardo DiCaprio back then). The only sad part in the movie at that time was when Jack froze to death and Rose let him sink. But I was only sad about that part because at that time I was thinking about somebody I loved tremendously.

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MOVIE: Armageddon [x2]
DATE: July 15, 1998
DATE: July 29, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: The first time I went to see Armageddon -– that was the first time my sister and I ever watched a movie without ANY parental / adult supervision. I really enjoyed Armageddon. I’ve always liked the idea of putting a rag-tag team together and using their special personal quirks to accomplish a task. I thought the romance was sweet, but of course… at the time I was stupidly in love, so I enjoyed anything that was slightly romantic. The theme song, “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith -– I’ve loosely associated it with that guy I loved.

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MOVIE: The Truman Show
DATE: July 19, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: This was very enjoyable. It was funny, but serious at the same time. I really enjoyed the idea of the movie, and thought Jim Carrey did a really great job with his role. I only saw him do funny roles before, like Ace Ventura. This was the first movie that I’ve seen him play something slightly different. The romance was very sweet.

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MOVIE: Ever After
DATE: August 11, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: This movie was very sweet and enjoyable. Drew Barrymore did a really great job and I enjoyed the romance and humour. I almost cried during certain parts. Whenever I think back to it, I still think it’s a wonderful, romantic movie –- really touching.

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MOVIE: Disturbing Behavior
DATE: August 11, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): **

COMMENTS: I was first interested in this movie because of the poster and trailers. It looked cool and disturbing (and I was all for disturbing back then). Watching it though… was a huge disappointment. I didn’t realize that Katie Holmes was in it until I watched it. I lost some respect for her because there was a scene where a guy touched and lightly fondled her breast – and she let it happen. I know it’s just her following the script, but she had to okay it for it to happen. It was the first time I ever saw a scene like that, which is why it bothered me so much (and of course, I was quite young). Overall, this movie wasn’t as disturbing as I expected it to be.

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MOVIE: Avengers
DATE: August 25, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: It was a different kind of movie. I was really drawn to it because of the woman and her leather bodysuit, haha. It looked cool. The movie itself was quite meh… though it had some interesting visuals. I still remember a scene where the main guy was sitting somewhere naked, casually reading a newspaper, and speaking with the main woman casually. I kept wondering if some kind of romance would develop between the man and woman. Now that I try to remember, I don’t even know…

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MOVIE: Dance With Me
DATE: September 1, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: This was very enjoyable. I really enjoyed the soundtrack and I loved the dancing. Unfortunately, even though I tried to force myself to like the romance between Chayanne & Vanessa Williams (and I succeeded for many years, but with still something clawing at the back of my mind), I always thought that the romance with a bit too… pushed. Because of that, and because that was the main focus of the movie, I can’t say that I fully enjoyed it. I bought the VHS. I bought the soundtrack (though I don’t have either anymore). But… I knew. In the back of mind, I knew that it wasn’t as great of a movie I expressed it to be, because of that forced romance.

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MOVIE: A Night at The Roxbury
DATE: October 9, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): *****

COMMENTS: I greatly enjoyed this movie (that I'm sure many others would consider as stupid). I saw it as two brothers going to clubs with a dream, and trying to find love along the way. It was also really funny, too, which I liked. I didn’t think much of the fact that they were really just trying to score with girls. I thought it was deep. The soundtrack was AMAZING! I bought it right after the movie.

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MOVIE: Practical Magic [SPOILER]
DATE: October 30, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): *

COMMENTS: I was very disappointed with this movie. I was hoping for a deep romantic film with bits of magic thrown in to enhance the romance. But no -– the romance wasn’t really there, and there was more focus on the magic –- the magic of resurrecting the corpse of a guy they accidentally killed. Just… no. It was horrible.

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MOVIE: The Prince of Egypt
DATE: December 22, 1998
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: I really enjoyed the movie. The choreography of the graphics was amazing. Disney did a great job, but when I told my religious friend about it, he told me that the movie was garbage!


1999


MOVIE: She’s All That
DATE: February 12, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): **

COMMENTS: Horrible. Just like Practical Magic, another aspect detoured the focus of romance, making it less deep than it was advertised. It was more focused on the comedy of high school life. Maybe if the film was longer and more romance and feelings were developed, then maybe I wouldn’t be attacking it so harshly. Rachel Cook wasn’t all that. She was just a pretty girl. Period. Those two didn’t go through enough together to really know each other. It was too light.

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MOVIE: Forces of Nature [SPOILER]
DATE: March 19, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: We were supposed to watch Carrie. But we decided last minute to change our show (to my sister's dismay). Forces of Nature was good, but I knew then that if I saw it second time, I would not enjoy it as much. I didn’t like the affair issue, since the guy was going to be married. At the same time, though, I was hoping that the guy would end up with the new girl (after breaking off the engagement with his fiance, of course), only because he seemed happier with her. When he didn’t, I was very disappointed.

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MOVIE: The Matrix
DATE: March 11, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): *****

COMMENTS: This movie was totally out of this world. The explanation and technicality was beautiful. The powers were cool, too. I totally loved it. I totally dug the trench coats as well.

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MOVIE: Tarzan
DATE: July 18, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: I really enjoyed the movie. It was fun and cute.  I really enjoyed the theme song (“You’ll be in my Heart” by Phil Collins).

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MOVIE: The Haunting
DATE: August 10, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): ***

COMMENTS: This was a neat movie. There were some creepy scenes, but interestingly enough, there weren’t many killings at all. I thought this was going to be something very horrific -– something that would give me nightmares. Totally off, but I enjoyed what I got out of it -– a nice story.

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MOVIE: The Sixth Sense
DATE: August 10, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): *****

COMMENTS: This was the first movie I ever watched by myself. And it was a great choice. I really enjoyed The Sixth Sense. Haley Joel Osment did a spectacular job as the kid and Bruce Willis was really good, too. It wasn’t too freaky, except for the scene with the boy ghost (when he says “I’ll show you where he hid the gun”, then he turns around and you see that part of his head was missing). The story itself was very touching. I had nightmares that night, though.

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MOVIE: Pokemon: The First Movie
DATE: November 21, 1999
RATING (OUT OF 5): ****

COMMENTS: I never really watched the series, but my sister and I knew that our friend was really big on Pokemon. Before watching the movie, our friend explained some of the running gags -– like how in every town, there is always a Nurse Joy and Officer Jenny and that they look exactly alike in every town. The movie was interesting and I thought it was really heartwarming, just seeing how much Ash cared about his pokemon, and how much his pokemon cared for him. Now thinking back on it, I think it was the best Pokemon movie out of all of them. This is the movie with Mewtwo.

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That's it for this blog. Thanks for reading! If you have any comments about anything (even if you greatly disagree with anything I've said, or if this made you think about the movies you've watched and want to share), feel free to comment! :)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

REVIEW/THOUGHTS [Movie] -- Battle Royale

Format Watched [Specific Edition, if any]: Blu-Ray + DVD [The Complete Collection]
Approx. Runtime (Battle Royale: Director's Cut): 122 minutes (2 hours, 02 minutes)
Approx. Runtime (Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut): 114 minutes (1 hour, 54 minutes)
Approx. Runtime (Battle Royale II: Requiem): 134 minutes (2 hours, 14 minutes)
Language Watched: Japanese with English subtitles; English
Other Language(s) Available: None
DVD Extra Content? Yes
Type of Movie: Bloody, Suspense, Action, Psychological
Overall Impression: I have loved Battle Royale ever since I first watched it. It is totally worth seeing. The sequel sucks, though.



Note: Even though this Complete Edition contains Battle Royale I and Battle Royale II, for this blog, I will only review at length Battle Royale: Director's Cut [which I will refer to as just Battle Royale]. Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut, Battle Royale II: Requiem, and Battle Royale in other media will be briefly mentioned.


PERSONAL STANDING (Pre-exposures, thoughts, etc.)
I've watched Battle Royale many years ago (maybe 2004?) in Japanese with English fansubs (because it wasn't licensed back then). Even though bloody movies aren't really my thing (sometimes I have to cover my eyes during really gory scenes), I really enjoyed this.

I honestly never thought that I would own a licensed copy, due to Toei's (the company that owns the rights to Battle Royale) condition years ago that the movie had to have a mass theatrical release. I don't know if that condition was relaxed, but it is now licensed. And it's in my hands. And I'm blogging about it right now.


STORY
Before I start, check out the original trailer for Battle Royale. I think it sets the tone quite nicely.


Now, in a bit more detail: At the end of the millennium, Japan's economy drastically fell and millions became unemployed. Losing respect for the adults, 800,000 students boycotted school and juvenile crime went up. Fearing how the children would turn out, the Millennium Education Reform Act (AKA BR Act) was passed. The BR Act is as follows:

One Grade 9 class is randomly selected. The students are then placed on a deserted island and have three days to kill each other off until there is only one survivor.

Kitano telling Class 3-B their lesson plan.

Battle Royale follows Class 3-B who are selected for the BR Act.

"GAME" DETAILS
In Battle Royale, every inch of the "battlefield" is divided into zones. Every now and then, the higher-up (Kitano) will announce who has died and which zones will become "danger zones" at which time. If a student is in a "danger zone", then their electronic collar (every student wears one) will activate and explode.

Before the game actually starts, each student gets to take their personal bag and another bag that contains food, water, a compass, a map, a flashlight, and a random weapon.

After that, it's pretty much anything goes during those three days. If there is more than one survivor by the end of the time limit, then everybody's collar will activate and nobody "wins".

I am still unsure if Battle Royale is televised. I think only the results are televised, nothing else.

MORE THAN JUST A SHOCK, TEEN BLOODFEST MOVIE?
YES! If Battle Royale was such a movie, I don't think I would be able to watch it as often as I have (I have it playing right now while I am blogging). Of course, I do enjoy it when I see the characters I hate meet their "Maker". There is a lot of substance in this movie -- through character interactions and seeing how each of them deal with their current situation.

Battle Royale addresses so many different issues. If you were placed in that situation, what would you do? Would you be willing to kill your students? Your friends? Can you live with yourself if you do? Would you team up with somebody and try to find a way out? And if you do team up, how much will you trust that person? How would you know if that person would trust you back equally? Many, many questions come up, and Battle Royale looks at many of them. I think these issues make up the real core in Battle Royale, not the bloodiness.

PACING AND STRUCTURE
When I first watched Battle Royale years ago, I thought the pacing was a bit slow (maybe I was too hyped up by others into thinking this would largely be a gorefest of a movie and was then expecting that). I also thought the structure was a bit disjointed. A few times throughout the movie, the screen goes black and shows a character's thoughts in writing. The very end also features a few scenes. I didn't understand why they were at the end of the movie instead of being integrated in the movie.

Now I have no issues with either the pacing or structure. I think the very last scene is touching (now that I understand it better -- I think I was too young to really get it before). Though I still don't have much care for the basketball scenes. For those who haven't watched Battle Royale, you're probably wondering, There are basketball scenes in a movie about students killing each other off?

At times, I almost wish the movie was longer -- I get a little sad now whenever it ends.

BATTLE ROYALE VS. THE HUNGER GAMES
I know I mentioned this in my blog about The Hunger Games, but I'll say it again: Battle Royale came before The Hunger Games! It is not the other way around. I will also say that they are not comparable. That's all I wanted to say here. A more detailed "comparison" between The Hunger Games and Battle Royale is in my blog mentioned above.


ACTING/CHARACTERS
The acting is great. Almost all of the students were played by 15 year-olds (about how old they should be in the movie), and they did a great job. Very convincing. Beat Takeshi was really good as Kitano. I think his subtle humanness added a lot of complexity to his character.

CHARACTERS
There are very few characters in Battle Royale that I outright hate. I can't really fault the characters for doing what they're doing to survive. But for the characters who were annoying (there are only two I can think of -- will mention their names at the end of the blog), I was quite glad when they hit the bucket. By default, I do not like Mitsuko Souma or Kazuo Kiriyama.


For everybody else, though, it was rough watching them go. Many of the characters are relatable -- even Kitano. I really like Kitano -- I have a lot of sympathy for him, despite his actions. I also really like Takako Chigusa -- her conviction is really awesome. I like Shinji Mimura's intellect. I could go on for a while, so I'll just say that I like Shogo Kawada, Nanahara Shuya, Hiroki Sugimura, and Nakagawa Noriko as well -- they are cool, likeable characters (for me, at least).


MUSIC
The music fits nicely. It's pretty much all classical, orchestrated pieces that enhances the atmosphere. I love the opening track -- so intense! Many times I don't actually hear the music, but I know it's there, and I know it's doing its job well.


ENGLISH DUBBING/SUBBING
ENGLISH DUBBING
Yes, I took the hit for everybody and watched the English dubbing of Battle Royale just so I can tell you how it was. There is no English dubbing available for Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut or Battle Royale II: Requiem (thank goodness, haha...).

The English dubbing was... ugh. There were some voices that worked and some that didn't. Kitano's voice was horrible. He sounded like a froggy drill sergeant. Shuya sounded spaced out and ambivalent at times. Noriko's voice was pretty close to the original, but it clashed with the dubbing of everybody else. Chigusa's voice was too high. Pretty much, the more distinct the dubbing was, the worse it sounded. The generic English dubbing for the lesser important characters actually sounded better, in my opinion.

ENGLISH SUBBING
I have one beef with the English subtitles. There is no extra layer for subbing for just Japanese text. That means that if you were watching the English dubbing, you have to have the English subtitles turned on if you want the subbing for Japanese text (for those times when the screen goes black and all you see is a character's thought in writing, for example).


DVD EXTRA CONTENT
Overall, I think some of the segments could have been lumped together, because not everything stood out, and some of the same footage showed up in different segments. I think more English subbing would have been great as well. Here are all the extra content with some comments from me (if any):

MAKING OF BATTLE ROYALE (50 mins)
This was interesting. You get to see how the director (Kinji Fukasaku) is like -- very energetic and quite strict. He tends to be very specific for certain scenes, even to how some characters should move when taking their bags. It was neat to find out that some of the cast members did their own stunts. I have new appreciation for the lighthouse scene, after seeing how taxing it was on some of the cast members emotionally.

 The director (Kinji Fukasaku) adding more "blood" to a prop.


BATTLE ROYALE PRESS CONFERENCE (12 mins)
A press conference with Fukasaku, the author (Koushun Takami), and some of the cast members before the advanced screening of Battle Royale. Beat Takeshi was very funny.

INSTRUCTIONAL VIDEO: BIRTHDAY VERSION (3 mins)
A short, cute clip of the cast and crew celebrating Fukasaku's 70th birthday.

AUDITION & REHEARSAL FOOTAGE (7 mins)
This should have been longer. I would have loved to see more. It was neat to see rehearsals for scenes that got changed in the end.

SPECIAL EFFECTS COMPARISON FEATURETTE (4 mins)
This was okay... but not that interesting in the end.

TOKYO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2000 (4 mins)
About the same thing as the Battle Royale Press Conference segment -- just a different location, cast members, and event.

BATTLE ROYALE DOCUMENTARY (12 mins)
Here Fukasaku and some of the cast members talk a bit about the movie and some of the characters. This should have been longer.

BASKETBALL SCENE REHEARSAL (9 mins)
This was okay. I never realized that the basketball scenes were shot months after they finished shooting Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES FEATURETTE (10 mins)
All I remember from this is how one girl was trying to get into a sad state to play her part. And that I really want to wear the school uniform (guy or girl's, it doesn't matter).

FILMING ON-SET (11 mins)
This should have just been lumped in with the Audition & Rehearsal Footage.


PACKAGING
The packaging is sleek and cool-looking. I do have one beef with it, though. Here are a few pics from the packaging:







This is my beef: why were the discs placed in this way? For me, personally, I found it difficult to take out the discs.


BATTLE ROYALE VS...
BATTLE ROYALE: THEATRICAL CUT
Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut was released before the Director's Cut. The Director's Cut is Battle Royale: Theatrical Cut, but with some added scenes. I would recommend watching the Director's Cut to get the full story because some of the scenes add character development.


BATTLE ROYALE: NOVEL

The novel came first. The novel and movie are slightly different from each other. I personally prefer the movie, because I like Kitano's characterization in the movie much more. In the novel, Kitano is just an authority figure -- not connected to Class 3-B in any way. There is more characterization in the novel, though.


BATTLE ROYALE: MANGA

The manga has more character development than the movie, and it follows more closely to the novel. It is also much more gory and graphic -- more nudity and sex as well. I'd probably say this is the most "adult" of all Battle Royale media.


BATTLE ROYALE II: REQUIEM

 The sequel sucks. Just saying. The premise sucks. The acting sucks. The script sucks. The whole "game" system sucks (they changed the rules around). It is almost like the adults don't want to give the kids a fighting chance at winning or anything. Beat Takeshi was great in his scenes, though!


CLOSING THOUGHTS
Battle Royale is a movie that's full of substance. I highly recommend this movie to everybody, even if bloody movies are not your thing. Even with all that happens in the movie, it somehow still manages to stay very human.


Thanks for reading! If you want some more input about something I didn't cover, feel free to ask. :)

Usually I would have a "Spoilers" section here, but I think I covered everything I wanted to talk about.

These are the two characters I found really annoying (stop here if you don't want to find out):
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Kazushi Niida and Satomi Noda

Saturday, 14 April 2012

BLOG (PERSONAL) -- Random Thoughts/Events for This Week (Apr. 8-Apr. 14)

So... here's another blog with random thoughts and events that happened this week. Just like the last time I blogged in this way, my mind is just scattered, slightly overwhelmed, and probably a bit more stressed. Even when I'm home, sometimes I just don't feel like I should relax -- I feel I should be doing other things... staying "productive", lol... but we'll get to that later.

Events this week:
Dinner Buffet with Co-workers Plus Movie
Even though I'm so quiet and not very social at work, I still went to this outing. And I had a very good time.

We watched 21 Jump Street, and that was hilarious and awesome. I always wanted to watch it -- mainly to see Channing Tatum. Haha! I've been an on-and-off fan of his ever since I saw him in Step Up. The character he plays in Step Up is just so... hot and dreamy, haha. The character Channing Tatum plays in 21 Jump Street is quite cool, too.

Japanese PSN Yen card #2 came
So about a month ago, I ordered another Japanese PSN Yen card from Yesasia.com. It arrived this week and I used it up just as quickly as the last time. And yes, I spent it all on buying DLC for iDOLM@STER 2. And there are still more items I want to get. So far, I've spent about $300 CAD total on DLC for iDOLM@STER 2... Here's a video of one of the songs and costume sets I bought (the outfit is sooo cute and neat):


Got My Hair Coloured and Cut Professionally
Can you believe that this was my first time getting my hair cut professionally? Well, it was! I was pretty nervous, unsure of the normal process that goes on when getting a haircut. I figured that since this would be my first time, I might as well go all-out and get my hair coloured as well. I was very excited!

For many years, I've wanted to colour my hair dark purple. I have black hair, but I didn't care about my hair actually looking purple -- I wanted my hair to look black, but then have a purple shine when the sun hits it.

When the hairstylist came to speak to me about what colour I wanted, she brought with her a folder with different hair colours. I looked at the colours and pointed at the only purple one I saw, which was really bright. Then I told her that I wanted purple but still have my hair black. I'm not sure if she understood exactly what I wanted (English was not her first language). She told me that in order to get that colour, I would need to start with a lighter base colour. Then we went back and forth for a while, me saying that I wanted a purple shine but not minding my hair looking black. In the end, she said she could do it, but would have to apply it more than once, hinting that it would cost more for me to get my hair coloured that way. So I settled with a dark red colour.

It was a long process overall. A bit over 2 hours. My first impressions? Man, does it hurt! My hair must have been so tangled before getting to the appointment. The total (hair colouring and cutting) came out to $160. Is that too much? I have chest-length hair. I met up with a friend afterwards and she told me that it cost her about $100 for colouring and cutting. She has shoulder-length hair.

I'm not posting up any pictures of my new style until I feel more comfortable with it. I'm just trying to get used to the bangs now -- haven't had bangs since I was in Grade 5 (many, many, many years ago).


Okay, I'll switch to my thoughts this week. Well, there's only one thought I'm willing to share. My other thoughts this week... are quite personal and too revealing, lol.


My Thoughts on:

Productivity vs. Free Time
For the past weeks, I've been having trouble sleeping. And I think it's because I'm stressed out. Partially from work, but more from feeling uneasy. Now that I'll be starting a course for work, I feel like I'm back in school. I don't particularly enjoy that feeling, even though I like to learn.

During my years in high school and University, I always had a nagging, guilty feeling whenever I played video games, goofed off, or just did something (at home) that wasn't studying. Even though I played lots of video games and watched a lot of anime during those years, that guilty feeling would make the activities sometimes less enjoyable -- because I know I should be doing something else. Sometimes, I'd put off playing some games to avoid that nagging, guilty feeling.

And now... that feeling is back!... Somewhat. And I don't like it. I want to be able to play my video games and watch my anime, truly relaxed... without anything in the back of my mind saying "You should be doing this instead..." It sucks, lol...

Okay, I stop here... I'm too sleepy to continue further, lol.


Thanks for reading! I apologize if this blog seems scattered. Tomorrow is a very busy day for me, so I decided to blog now, even though I'm nodding off every now and then. Haha... my apologies again.

I hope you all have a good week! :)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

BLOG -- One of a Kind Show (Spring -- Toronto)

Happy Easter! I don't celebrate Easter, but I do appreciate the day off. I spent it looking at old movie stubs and recording them all in a Word document. Lol... documenting over 15 years of movie stubs. I may post it up here one day. I wanted to do it before all the ink faded away... because I'm a stickler for the little details in my memories (as some of you might have picked up on from my blogging style).

So last weekend, the same day as the Final Fantasy concert, my sister and I attended the One of a Kind Show at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.  The One of a Kind Show is a convention where various small businesses and individuals gather to sell their homemade, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind products (as well as promoting their business). Attendees go to this convention to experience and buy the stuff. Admission was $14. It was my first time at this convention, and I had a swell time!


THE BEGINNING (12:30-ish PM)
When I walked through the doors I thought, Wow! This is huge! Tons of different booths... carrying different items... everywhere. I'm a girl who loves variety so I was excited!


My sister and I started at the nearest corner and snaked around the aisles to the opposite end, taking bench breaks in-between. Since we had to leave around 4:30 PM (to eat dinner and get to the Final Fantasy concert in good time), we aimed to get to the end by 3:00 PM. The remaining time would be spent revisiting booths and making purchases.

The first section was the food section. Many booths were giving out samples and my sister and I got to try some yummy stuff. 

The most memorable booth was the Monkey Butter booth. They were selling gourmet peanut butter. My sister took a sample and I reluctantly took one as well. I generally don't like peanut butter -- I don't like how it sticks to the roof of my mouth. The flavour I sampled was white chocolate raspberry. My taste buds were... pleasantly delighted! I tasted the white chocolate -- and the raspberry -- and the peanut butter -- in this amazing union. The texture... was smooth and jam-like. I knew then and there that this is peanut butter I would actually eat. I knew that I was going to buy a jar. But sticking with the game plan (of leaving purchases to the end), we continued on.

Another memorable booth was the Mad Batter Bakers booth. They were selling gingerbread and sugar cookies. Though... I already knew about them. My sister went to the One of a Kind Show last winter and bought some really soft gingerbread cookies from them. They're good -- VERY good!

Other samples I tried were lobster and crab dips, which were okay. They made me think of hummus -- rich, thick, delicious, but I wouldn't be able to consume much at one time. I also tried some wine jellies (wine-flavoured jam) and that was really good. If I brought more money, and if I wasn't going to a concert later in the day, I would have considered buying a jar.

After the food section was a mix of clothing, stationary, jewelry, and other miscellaneous booths. My sister and I generally stayed away from the clothing booths (though I was set on buying a tie -- don't want to keep wearing the pink tie my co-worker gave me). Clothing at the One of a Kind Show -- being one-of-a-kind and possibly an expression of oneself -- is generally on the high-priced side. There was one booth that carried frilly, gothic lolita clothing. It totally drew me. I looked at the price of one of the dresses: $235. I found one booth selling ties for $30 (I didn't know if that was extremely pricy or reasonable).

As we walked by the booths, my sister was marking down the booths we were thinking of revisiting. There was this neat booth selling musical spoons. They're two handcrafted wooden spoons glued together and when you hit it against your leg and fingers, it'll produce sounds. It kinda makes me think of a horse galloping.


THE END + PURCHASES (2:45-ish PM)
When we finally reached the end, it was around 2:45 PM. We were bushed! We sat for about 20 minutes, talking about what we saw and what we wanted to buy. I was trying to calculate about how much money I would spend, because I couldn't spend that much. I have been keeping a budget and I didn't have much "free spending money" for the month (thank goodness it was March 31st). We looked at all the booths my sister marked on her map, and I drew out our "plan of attack".

One booth didn't get revisited because we decided not to buy anything from there.

Then we got off our seats and put our plan in motion. Many from the booths that we revisited remembered us, saying with a smile, "You came back." It's nice to know that we were remembered :)

Even though we knew what we wanted to buy, we still spent a good amount of time trying to pick the designs that we wanted, haha (except for the musical spoons). I was really looking forward to getting back to the Monkey Butter booth -- all I kept thinking was, Now I'll have something to eat for breakfast that's easy to make (I could eat cereal but I'm semi-lactose intolerant). When we got back to the Monkey Butter booth, though, this is what we saw: 




NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! Monkey Butter was sold out!! I was soooo unhappy. The one thing I wanted to buy most at the show and it was sold out. Gone were the visions of me eating delicious-flavoured peanut butter sandwich for breakfast... T.T

We finished the rest of our purchases by 4:15 PM.

Here were my purchases (I did not take any photos of what my sister got):

My various loot. I did end up buying a tie, lol.

Cookies from the Mad Batter Bakers. Delicious!

Musical spoon and a neck cooler thing. The neck cooler is for Summer.

Crystal pendants. They just looked pretty.

Buttons. Cute buttons.


Total spendings:
Mine:
Tie -- $30
Heart pendants -- 3 for $22.60 (tax gets added sometimes)
Musical spoon -- $25
Mad Batter cookies -- $12.99 
TOTAL: $90.59

My sister:
Neck cooler thing -- 3 for $30.51
Buttons -- 6 for $10
Marshmallow toffee chocolate roses -- 2 for $5.65
Mad Batter soft gingerbread cookies -- $7.00
TOTAL: 53.16

TOTAL TOTAL: $143.75

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the One of a Kind Show. I know that if I had more money (and I had no other plans for the day), I would have bought more. I enjoy the exposure to new and unique things. My sister and I already bought our tickets for the next show in Winter (which I've heard is much bigger and busier).

In the meantime, I'm hoping to get my hands on some Monkey Butter, lol (once I do, I will mention it in a blog, hehe)!

Thanks for reading! Here are some business cards I picked up from various booths:



I hope you all have a good week! :)