In the name of Justice, Love, Truth, and Food...
My world consists of anime, piano, books, sloth and gluttony. If you see any other subject matter, it's only a momentary lapse.


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(ordered by priority)
Boogiepop Phantom, Wolf's Rain, Crest of the Stars, .hack//sign


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E Pluribus Unicorn by Theodore Sturgeon

I Am Legend by Richard Mathetson

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

The Plague by Albert Camus



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wSaturday, October 11, 2003


Luckily, the actual story of Jane Eyre and knowledge of the Crimean War aren't really necessary to enjoy this book. There's so much more to it, the strangeness of the society - but clearly so matter-of-fact and everyday to the characters - that I can feast on other things. It's more of a chasing game, they're hunting down the criminal mastermind and trying to figure out a way to bring him down.

There's also a corporation, called Goliath, which reminds me of the Umbrella corporation as portrayed in the Resident Evil movie. They might not be developing the T-virus, but they're into secret weaponry, heavy-handed techniques, willingness to sacrifice innocent people to further their own goals.

Truly a very unique book - so hard to describe, such a combination of so many cool genres, yet remains distinctly its own.

posted by Beatriz at 9:47 PM




w


Even more cool.

Every Friday night, Richard III is put on in the small town of Swindon. There's no cast, no crew. Every night, the cast is picked from the audience, all of whom has seen the play so many times, they know every part. Every once in a while, a big actor/ess will show up for a part - but never with advanced booking. Just to give the audience a treat.

posted by Beatriz at 8:38 PM




w


I can't believe that I almost forgot to describe the coolest, most idiosyncratic part of this book.

This book is about books. Where books are taken seriously, and as important to modern society as their reality shows. The books, the arts, everything is vitally important to the point of killing. The criminal mastermind of the century goes into a book, grabs a character and kills him, thus removing him from the pages of the story forever. And in this reality, that is a horrendous crime.

In our reality, no one would care.

The Baconians run around handing out pamphlets that it was Francis Bacon who actually penned Shakespeare's works. And it's an important, life or death issue. There was a ban on neo-surrealism in paintings, which led to rioting; and when the ban was lifted, the classicists rioted. The police had to be called in, there was blood and death.

The synopsis of The Eyre Affair tells us that the bad guy kidnaps Jane Eyre the character and holds her for a huge ransom. And he's actually taken seriously.

The situations are serious, but quaint at the same time. Quaint because it could never happen in our world, where our criminal masterminds are of Charlie's Angels and Mission Impossible caliber.

This society's entertainments are a brief example of the values these people have. There are Will-Speakers set up on streetcorners, which recite monologues from Shakespeare if you put in a coin. Rather in contrast to the private headphoned boxes of Britney Spears and 9 other CDs avaialble on every aisle of a Best Buy.

The machine Thursday's uncle invented has buttons marked "Open" and "Close," not touchpad or voice recognition. There's definitely a steampunk feel, aided by the presence of airships and a quoted speech by a congresswoman against funds for the "development of a new form of propulsion" (ie, and engine).

posted by Beatriz at 8:14 PM




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On reading The Eyre Affair
It's a very cool book. Kind of a steampunk, metaphysical, literary mix in an alternate universe. It's set in 1985 (although publichsed in 2001), but they still use airships. The Crimean War is still going on, and is kind of the equivalent of our Vietnam. My boss brought it - along with a whole shelf of other books - for our lending library, then told me she thought I would probably like it. I proceeded to head immediately upstairs to grab the book before someone else grabbed it. Despite no one else really liking this kind of stuff. And the fact that it was 5:15 and most people have already left. I needed the break anyways.

It has a cute, quirky sense of humor. The characters actually remind me of the family members in Bridget Jones' Diary; hardly surprising, I think the writer is a Brit. And it takes place in England. She has an inventor-uncle who makes crazy things, and there's a very clever exchange.
"Did the memory erasure device work, Uncle?"
"The what?"
"The memory erasure device. You were testing it when I last saw you."
"Don't know what you're talking about, dear girl."
The book also has an old-school detective feel (the main character's name is Thursday Next), radical/militant groups of Shakespeareans, Baconians, pre-Raphaelites, neo-surrealists. And the bad guy gives me the Moriarty-feel, even though I've read not one Sherlock Holmes mystery. (Ooooh, I should do that. Now added to my books-to-read spreadsheet: Sherlock Holmes. Too bad I bought the complete collection when I was Oxford, and have no idea where the hell it is. I know I didn't bring it with me to DC, I would've spotted it on my shelf and read it already.)

There's also violence and death. Don't think it's a cute, humorous story, because it really isn't. The bad guy is bad, and he has cool metaphysical powers over persuasion and perception. The SpecOps group reminds me of the Harry Potter Ministry of Magic.

There are, however, two problems I have. First is my lack of knowledge about the Crimean War. I knew about it at one point, I even had a class on Soviet history. The class opened with World War I, but the Crimean War had so much influence on the tsar's foreign policies, leading into the revolution, that we had a bit on the pertinent underlying causes to the Crimean War. In this alternate reality, the Crimean War never ended - but I can't for the life of me recall what the hell ended it, what the hell it was about, and why it was important. Just that it probably had to do with Russia's desire for access to the open sea. (I still remember, after all these years, Professor Barrett's clue on how to remember the underlying causes for almost every great war Russia was in, that they wanted access to the Dardanelles. Or something like that. Maybe it wasn't even Barrett, but it was someone.)

Second, is that I totally forget what happened in Jane Eyre. Ironically enough, Sarah Daisy and I were discussing the Bronte's this past weekend, and we both agreed that Jane Eyre is highly superior to Wuthering Heights. Superior even to a bunch of the old writers that we had to read. Unfortunately, I only read it as a freshman in high school (12 years ago), and have a vague memory of possibly picking it up once on my own during the college years. But if I'd done that, I'd surely have a better grasp of what happened? Turns out to be not the case.

So I asked my source for a text copy, and he gave me an MS Reader version. I think I can probably get a text file from an online source of classics I found once, that Sarah Daisy knows the url of, and pop it on my Palm.

Do I reread Jane Eyre before continuing with The Eyre Affair? I can't decide - I simply have next-to-no idea what these people are talking about when they refer to the JE characters, but I don't want to put this book down. It's so good, the writing drew me right in. But being so ignorant about two such central motifs of this book make me very uncomfortable. I feel like a completely unintelligent person muddling my way through the book. I hate missing references and missing allusions.

Okay, problem solved. I just looked up the author in amazon.com, and apparently there's a second book (referred to on the back cover, but I wasn't sure if it was out yet/ever published), and a third one coming out next year. I shall finish this book, read JE while The Eyre Affair is still fresh so I can understand the connections - albeit after the fact - and then read the second.

Jasper Fforde is a good writer, I'm pretty positive I'll read the whole set.

posted by Beatriz at 7:33 PM




w


F'ing tired of spam.

Every day, 200+ spam messages get filtered to my Bulk folder. (I use yahoo to read my email, forwarded from the person who's hosting it). That doesn't include the 15+ that get missed and I have to delete manually.

Has anyone else noticed this upsurge?

posted by Beatriz at 7:06 PM




w


Thoughts on Kill Bill (no spoilers)
Minus proper grammar/sentences. Minus links. Not in the mood, have other stuff to do. But I think I should at least comment on what I saw last night, in my first solo movie adventure in years.

Had a Burrito Brothers burrito before the show. Been eating so much Chipotle lately, I'd forgotten that burritos don't have to be the size of my head.

It was ok/good, I give it an 8 overall. Better than the "7 = enjoyed" because I more than enjoyed it, but I didn't love it the way I did Reservoir Dogs.

The acting was perfection, all the way through. Every person was perfect, every line on target, every expression - from verbal to a mere eyebrow lift - practically exquisite. I hope to see more of Julie Dreyfus/Sofie in other movies, she was adorable. As much as any Yakuza second-in-command can be. Gogo I recognized from Battle Royale, although through the movie I wasn't sure if she was the runner girl or the insane one. Sarah Daisy said she thought she was in Ringu (turns out she wasn't), but I recognized her right off from BR. I even vaguely recalled reading on a BR site that an actress landed a part in a Lucy Liu movie. Didn't remember which one since my eyes kind of glaze over the Japanese names. Sorry, I can't keep them straight. Ethnocentric of me, but unless they're a big actress, someone always in my attention, I don't bother to learn them. Just kind of see where the letters lie, what the name kind of looks like so maybe I can recognize it in a cast list later. Obviously I usually don't.

Sarah Daisy says she thinks it's presumptuous and egotistical that Quentin Tarantino didn't want to edit out parts of his movie, so he split it into two. I have mixed feelings about this. I agree to an extent, but why should he have to bow to convention? He didn't want to, he has the clout, the reputation, he knew the first part is a good enough movie to get people to come back to see the next - hell, let him do what he wants. I'll probably see the second one in the theater as well.

Some of the scenes, however, could've been cut shorter. About a third of the way through the movie, I started getting a little bored. The end was great action, but the story moved a little slowly at times. I have similar feelings about Braveheart; I have no doubts that it was a fantastic movie, but that thing did not need to be 177 minutes. The opening could've been so condensed, a few parts in the middle (can't remember exactly what though) shaved off to make it 120. But then it wouldn't have been an epic, maybe not even a contender for best picture. I think The Last of the Mohicans is one of the best movies ever - but at 112 minutes, the only thing it was nominated for was Best Sound.

There's a review of Kill Bill that pretty accurately expresses my own feelings about the decision to split the movie up.
Speaking of which, there was a pretty big uproar over Tarantino's and Miramax's decision to chop "Kill Bill" into two. Many felt that it was nothing more than a crass decision to make more money. And, in the eyes of the Weinsteins, they're probably right. But, Tarantino was wise enough to understand that many people wouldn't want to sit through a 3 hour plus exploitation film and, for the most part, he's right. "Volume 1" ends perfectly so we never feel like we were cheated (cough, "The Matrix Reloaded", cough).
Which, incidentally, I haven't seen yet. So I'm annoyed that this person just gave something away to me, since I've avoided information about it as much as possible. Apparently not enough, however, because all of the tidbits that snuck through have gone towards convincing me I can wait for it on HBO. I have no desire to waste a Netflix rental or money at Blockbuster to see it. And, even more distressing, there was a preview for Matrix Revolution before Kill Bill. Oh, the timing/demographics makes sense, but I hadn't seen the second movie. It's rather ineffective to shut one's eyes and cover one's ears, being in a loud theater and all. But I digress.
And, by the time the end credits roll, the movie has left us both mentally and emotionally exhausted (in that all too good way) so all we can do is go home and re-coup for "Volume 2" (or for our next screening of "Volume 1"). I'm not sure it would've been possible for me to sit for another ninety plus minutes of action (and I mean that in the best possible way).
It was 110 minutes of movie. I didn't need anymore - violence, blood, story, long scenes, anything. It was over, it was time to go home, and that suited me just fine. If I hadn't known there was a second part coming up, yes, I would've been pretty pissed, but I knew it was originally one movie that they split into two parts, and that the second is needed to finish the plot. Not a surprise, and actually great timing on the split. This one had the backstory/her waking up, her attacks on two out of the four subordinates; the second will have the battle against the other two and Bill. Rather symmetric.

One more thing about my complaint of "too long scenes." The above reviewer also comments that there are a lot of allusions to the 70's martial arts flicks and other genres. It's very possible that the scenes I thought were long and pointless, were in fact chock-full of homages that I just missed. I got the western feel, I got the Kurosawa feel, I got the anime - but I won't hesitate to admit that what I consider an expansive film knowledge compared to the lay person, is vastly inferior to Tarantino's own.

Hell, there's a lot of references I miss that even my friends catch. I'm glad that I had Sarah Daisy with me during Death to Smoochy, because I would've thought it incredible boring and weird otherwise. Sarah Daisy caught a lot of the references and either explained them to me, or assured me that, yes, they did add to the movie. They weren't random, they were well-placed and meaningful.

posted by Beatriz at 6:59 PM




wFriday, October 10, 2003


When I first started my email, I joined a couple survey sites that claim you can win cash for filling out their stuff. I actually did get a $10 check once. But lately, I've kind of ignored the emails informing me of a survey. Until today.

It was about adult beverages, so I had to take it. We all know I'm a total alcoholic - in a totally bad way.

So I'm going along with the survey ("Of the following, what adult beverages have you consumed in the last 4 weeks?"), and then for some reason it starts focusing on Bailey's Irish Cream. I say, yeah, I've drank it in the past four weeks. In fact, it's a necessary ingredient to the condensed Mudslide shots I get at Atomic. That I usually feed my opponents during a dart match, hoping to f*ck them up so I can win.

After the questions regarding times I drink it, and if I'll buy it (practically never; I rarely - if ever - drink at home) it shows me the nutrional information.

For every .6 of a fl. oz. there are 17.5 grams of fat. And something upwards of 450 calories.

The next question was, "After viewing the nutrional information, do you plan on drinking Bailey's?" Upon checking "no," a text box popped up asking my reason why.

If I'd known there's 450+ calories and 17 grams of fat in one shot of Bailey's, I never would have drank that stuff in the first place. I'll stick with wine, and remain blissfully unaware of the rest of the nutritional content of my alcoholic beverages. I can't avoid it on the beer/cider in a bottle, but I can at least rip off the label.

posted by Beatriz at 5:21 PM




w


I am going to see Kill Bill, Vol. 1 tonight. Alone.

I used to go see movies by myself all the time, but it's been years since I've partaken of the solo activity. I rarely even go to the movies anymore. Partly because I'm lazy. Partly because I wind up reading crap reviews.

But this time - this time I bought the damn ticket online and will be attending the 7:30 show at Union Station. Sarah Daisy probably wouldn't want to see it - it's not her type of movie. Same with Susanna. I think only a guy would really want to see it with me, and it's not particularly a date movie. Not that I have dates. And besides, what guy would suggest going to see Quentin Tarantino-insanity on a date, even if I were to have one? For the most part, girls don't like violent bloody movies. At least in theory.

But I love this kind of stuff. I have weird tastes, I've wanted to see this since I heard about it. In fact, I shall tell you the story. It's kind of random. I was imdb'ing one day, looking up people and things I hadn't heard much from in a while. Searched on Quentin Tarantino to see what he's doing, and saw the listing for Kill Bill (this was before he decided to split the movie up into 2).

So screw it, I want to see the movie, and I know that if I wait then I'll never see it until it hits HBO. Months from now.

posted by Beatriz at 10:53 AM




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Pissed
I'm taking a huge break from IRC, at least #b5 and #sg-1. I can't deal with them. All they do is sit there and tell each other how much each other suck. The straw that broke the camel's back follows.

I was trying to buy tickets from hollywood.com, and a couple of times I clicked through the site, I'd get a flash ad for Runaway Jury - which wouldn't shut down. I had to close out of the browser and restart.

So I mentioned it on IRC, and someone told me to use a "real" browser and then I wouldn't have the problem.

I use Mozilla firebird, I have popups blocked. I'd called it a "popup," which was wrong, but I didn't feel like typing flash ad or something. He left, but I said that I use the Mozilla browser and that he should at least acknowledge that it's a good browser.

Someone else said, "You know next to nothing about computers. How would you know what's a good browser or not?"

Fuck all of you. I'll talk to the ones I want to on IM. I'm sensitive, I'm fucking angry with the world, and sitting in a channel where all you guys do is put each other down is not the healthiest for me at the moment. JD said I shouldn't take you guys so seriously, and I too-often forget it. I went through too much hell of a bunch of assholes putting me down throughout my life to voluntarily sit in a channel where that's the norm. Especially since most of the people do it just to revenge themselves on the frustrations they experienced when they were younger. Two wrongs don't make a right.

I don't sit around and tell you all that you suck because you like one thing or another; or, the times I do, are far and few between.

See you guys in a month or so.

posted by Beatriz at 7:39 AM




wThursday, October 09, 2003


Anytime there's extra food from a meeting, or someone is nice and buys donuts for the office, we put them by the Departmental in/out boxes.

At least, we used to.

Since we got Tony - whose office looks directly at the in/out box table-area - the junk food must be placed in the Xerox room. Because he doesn't have any willpower.

It really kind of irks me, I mean - just don't eat it. "But I have no willpower." I really just want to tell him that it's not my problem, to deal with it - but he literally picks up whatever I put there and brings it into the Xerox room.

So I run into Patrick, munching along on the food and aimlessly pacing around. I mentioned that I'd wanted to put it on the front table but Tony literally wouldn't let me.
Patrick: That's because Tony has no willpower.
Me: Ya think?
Patrick: And it drives him crazy. That's the difference between me and him - I have no willpower, but I don't give a damn.
Right there with you.

posted by Beatriz at 3:59 PM




wWednesday, October 08, 2003


I'm almost finished with American Gods, and I think it's fantastic.

So I started downloading the Sandman comics, since Neil Gaiman seems to be pretty groovy.

And I hate comics. I hate them.

First, I don't know wtf order to read things in. When I'm looking at a page with no panels, and tons of little text balloons, how the hell am I supposed to know what order to read them in?

Plus - and this is even more annoying - the strategic bolding of every third word or so is driving me batty. I feel like I'm on a horse that's off-canter.
She dreams of a tall, dark man. His eyes burn like twin stars in her head.

Roderick Burgess' waking dreams are of the power and the glory. And of death, of course. Especially death.
I know that reading comics is kind of an acquired talent. It takes practice, learning the conventions, getting used to the layouts. From EK,
If you keep reading, you will get used to it. It's kind of like learning a language almost. Comics have their own conventions and symbols. It's just another way of telling a story, and if you're not used to it it might seem weird, but like anything else once you learn how it works it'll be fine.
Watching anime took some getting used to. Now I kind of settle my mind down, let my eyes grab the words, listen to the intonation of the voice, watch the action - it takes more concentration than just spacing out, watching Friends. But not really outward concentration, more inwards, pulling the elements together.

I know that a lot of anime is based on manga, the word for Japanese comics. Which read from right to left. I've even seen a lot in the stores; but if I can't stomach American comics, how am I supposed to deal with the Japanese?
And manga has a whole other set of symbolism different than American comics. You've probable seen in anime when characters have those giant tear drops on their heads or when they have nosebleeds or things like that. Or the characters get all super deformed.
However, a lot of the anime I've really liked is based on manga - which means that I'd probably like it.

I guess the conclusion is that I should get used to reading comics with this American stuff, then move to manga.

And it's literally taken me 40 minutes to read just 3 pages of Sandman. I get annoyed and have to babble about it for 10 minutes. Like here.

posted by Beatriz at 1:30 PM