soooo busy

I’ve been really busy lately, enough to warrant a couple of days away from the blog. Ah, but being the gentle soul that I am, I remembered to keep handy all the topics I wanted to talk about in my little notebook… which I seem to have left elsewhere.

Well, let’s just take a shotgun approach and see where that gets us.

The Phoenix Suns: Coach D’Antoni is on his way out – it was a given considering that D’Antoni refuses to teach/preach defense and for the past three years his teams won because they simply spread the floor and out-shot the opponent. However, with the dynamics of the Western Conference changing this year, the loss of big-man coach Marc Iavaroni to the Grizzlies, and the fact that the Suns really couldn’t spread the floor like in years past (Raja Bell being the only real three-point threat), the Suns could’ve used a more defensive presence. They also could’ve taken the time to develop their young draft picks and players more, and gosh darn it maybe played their bench more. All of this becomes the downfall of D’Antoni. He’s looking at “opportunities” in Chicago and New York (neither of which is very palatable – the Knicks have virtually no roster outside of Nate Robinson, and Chicago is a mess no matter what happens), but he could literally end up back at the helm of the Suns as a lame-duck coach because there’s no way that Robert Sarver eats $9m for two years for a guy to do nothing.

The Arizona Diamondbacks: Ouch, Max Scherzer gets hit hard in his first majors’ start. In his defense though, he only gave up two earned runs in four innings, and three Phillies runs in the 2nd inning were the direct result of an error by shortstop Stephen Drew. HOWEVER, Edgar Gonzalez yet again allows another four earned runs in three innings, meaning that the last two games pitched by this clod have allowed D-backs opponents to score _10_ runs in a total of 5 and 2/3 innings!!! The D-backs need to designate him for assignment and recall Yusmeiro Petit already.

Guitar Hero III: I completed this game this past weekend. I especially liked the end boss duel, which was an updated rendition of the Charlie Daniels’ Band’s The Devil Went Down to Georgia. One of the songs in there was Eric Johnson’s Cliffs of Dover, which I absolutely love. I re-played that song at least 10 times. Of course, then I went on a hugely insane tangent and looked up Eric Johnson on Wikipedia, which led me to Joe Satriani (another fav of mine), which led me to go find the latest Satriani album. Nice… one thing though, the Wikipedia trivia section neglects to mention that Satriani’s song Always With Me, Always With You was a staple on the series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose (which is what drew me to Satriani in the first place, hearing that song on PLCL). So now, I have begun The Quest for the Parker Lewis Can’t Lose DVDs. 🙂

Anime: Finished True Tears (4 stars), Candy Boy (3 stars), and classic FLCL (4.5 stars). I watched also a couple of episodes of Elfen Lied (2 stars – couldn’t really finish it, couldn’t really stand it, follow it, want to watch it, etc. Not recommended). I have started series Amatsuki, Mnemosyne, and am about halfway through classic series Nadia Secret of Blue Water.

Manga: I picked up Akira vol. 2 this weekend as well. Yes, it’s classic, but it’s goooooooood. 🙂 Plus there’s talk of turning it into TWO live action movies (to be released in 2010 and 2011). On the same topic, the Robotech franchise will also see itself in a live-action movie in 2009 or 2010. All this talk leads me to…

Movies: Iron Man debuted this weekend – I wanna see!! And the announcement that The Hobbit will be released in 2009 and another ORIGINAL story to bridge the gap between the events in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is slated for 2010. And I’m probably going to have to see Kung-Fu Panda and Wall-E as well. 🙂

Tech: Ok, so I’ve got an old Compaq Presario with an 800 MHz Athlon CPU (Slot A – yes, that IS how old it is… go check Wikipedia for “AMD Slot A” and you’ll see), and it WAS running Windows 2000 (ooooh, another moldy oldie), but I’ve decided that this tower PC will get an upgrade. No, not to Windows XP, nor will Vista ever touch it. Rather, I’m going to just drop Fedora 9 on it. Wait, hear me out – I wanted to put Fedora 6 on it because I had nothing but praise for that version, and Fedora 8 was such a piece of crap that I wiped it from my server and reinstalled CentOS instead. But Fedora 9 includes the latest KDE desktop (KDE 4! drool…) and most of the latest packages out there that I really needed a place to play. ADD that this tower PC is destined for my son’s use, and I needed something that wouldn’t be such a pain in the ass to boot and run things like a word processor. Now, granted, I also wanted to move to Slackware 12.1, but in the end, Slack 12.1 is running KDE 3.5.9 and doesn’t include OpenOffice 2.0 (rather, it includes KOffice, which is servicable, but I’d rather go with OpenOffice), so that’s the deal-breaker. I’ll probably reinstall my second server with Slack 12.1 though because it’s a headless server and not a desktop PC.

Politics: Oh, geez, would someone win the Democratic nomination already so we can have an actual presidential race? Otherwise it’s going to be John McCain vs. a very broken and fractured Democratic Party nominee. And unfortunately, I really hate to admit this, but Barack Obama might end up winning the Dem ticket, which means that McCain will probably end up as President. Now, the LAST time this happened in the Democratic Party, the winner was some Republican ACTOR named Reagan. And even though I’m a registered Dem, I would vote for McCain over Obama. However, if Clinton won, I would vote Clinton over McCain. Obama just doesn’t have ANY experience, period. No way, no how. He’s just a bunch of rhetoric set to a popular background theme. McCain – well, he’s a good Commander-in-Chief, but I question how well he’d do on domestic issues. Clinton – the exact opposite of McCain, excellent on domestic policies, I worry about overseas. But then again, the crisis RIGHT NOW is here on our own soil, not across the water, so … my vote would go to her, if it got that far. And, it still might, if the Florida and Michigan votes are counted – for once, let’s hear it for the LAWYERS!!!

Anime meme

Warning, this one is Very Very long, and it covers a lot of genres. It’s good, though, if you’ve ever wondered what exactly you were watching and how it fit into Anime in general.

Directions: Select each title that you’ve seen at least one episode in its entirety; if an OVA or movie, you must have watched the entire OVA series or sat through the entire movie.

I. Action and Adventure
( ) .hack//SIGN
(x) Airmaster
( ) Battle Arena Toshinden
( ) Bleach
( ) Blood+
( ) Burst Angel
(x) City Hunter
(x) Cowboy Bebop
(x) Dragonball
( ) Flame of Recca
( ) GetBackers
(x) InuYasha
(x) Lupin III
( ) Mai-HiME
( ) Naruto
( ) One Piece
( ) Tenjou Tenge
( ) Trigun
( ) Saiyuki
(x) Yu Yu Hakusho
Total Here: 7/20

(Some of these are on my list of things to watch, like Trigun and .hack//SIGN)

II. Comedy and Parody
( ) 2×2 = Shinobuden
( ) Adventures of the Mini Goddesses
(x) All Purpose Cultural Catgirl Nuku Nuku
( ) Azumanga Daioh
( ) Bokusatsu Tenshi Dokuro-chan
( ) DiGi Charat
(x) Dragon Half
( ) Excel Saga
( ) Fruits Basket
( ) Galaxy Angel
(x) Here is Greenwood
(x) Kodomo no Omocha
( ) Kyou Kara Maou!
( ) Midori Days
( ) Pani Poni Dash
(x) Project A-ko
(x) Ranma 1/2
(x) Tenchi Muyo
(x) Those Who Hunt Elves
(x) Urusei Yatsura
Total Here: 9/20

(This one, however, doesn’t have as much I want to watch, so except for Excel Saga, that’s probably going to be it…)

III. Drama and Miscellaneous
( ) Beck
( ) Full Moon wo Sagashite
( ) Gankutsuou (The Count of Monte Cristo)
( ) Genshiken
( ) Glass Mask
(x) Haibane Renmei
( ) Hitsuji no Uta
( ) Honey & Clover
(x) Kaleido Star
(x) Last Exile
( ) Le Portraite de Petite Cossette
( ) Monster
( ) Paradise Kiss
(x) Princess Mononoke
( ) Read or Die OVA
( ) Speed Grapher
( ) Twin Spica
( ) Weiss Kreuz
(x) Wings of Honneamise
( ) Yakitate!! Japan
Total Here: 5/20

(Ones on my list here to watch are Count of Monte Cristo, Paradise Kiss, Read or Die, and Yakitate)

IV. Ecchi/Mature
(x) Agent Aika
( ) Cutey Honey
( ) Ebichu
( ) Golden Boy
( ) Grenadier
( ) Hand Maid May
( ) He Is My Master
( ) Iketeru Futari
( ) La Blue Girl
( ) Lingerie Senshi Papillon Rose
( ) Mahoromatic
(x) Mezzo Forte
( ) Miyuki-chan in Wonderland
( ) My Dear Marie
( ) Najica Blitz Tactics
( ) Negima
( ) Puni Puni Poemy
( ) Urotsukidoji: Legend of the Overfiend
( ) Wicked City
( ) Yumeria
Total Here: 2/20

(Most of these are not really ecchi titles, but oh well)

V. Fantasy and Supernatural
( ) Angel Sanctuary
( ) Aquarian Age
( ) Berserk
(x) El Hazard
( ) Final Fantasy Unlimited
( ) Fullmetal Alchemist
(x) Howl’s Moving Castle
( ) Magic Knight Rayearth
( ) Mushishi
(x) Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
(x) Record of Lodoss War
( ) Scrapped Princess
(x) Slayers
(x) Tales of Eternia
( ) Trinity Blood
( ) Tsubasa Chronicle
(x) Vampire Hunter D
( ) Violinist of Hameln
(x) Vision of Escaflowne
( ) X: TV
Total Here: 8/20

(Lots for me to watch here – Berserk, FFU, Fullmetal Alchemist, Scrapped Princess, and I will definitely get around to finishing all of Record of Lodoss War and Slayers…)

VI. Historical and Alternate History
( ) Anne of Green Gables
( ) Basilisk
( ) Barefoot Gen
( ) Chrono Crusade
(x) Grave of the Fireflies
(x) Fire Tripper
( ) Kaidomaru
( ) Legend of Condor Hero
( ) Millennium Actress
(x) Nadia – Secret of Blue Water
(x) Ninja Scroll
( ) Otogizoushi
( ) Peacemaker Kurogane
(x) Porco Rosso
( ) Rose of Versailles
( ) Rurouni Kenshin
( ) Samurai 7
( ) Samurai Champloo
( ) Steel Angel Kurumi
( ) Victorian Romance Emma
Total Here: 5/20

(Chrno Crusade, Millennium Actress, and Rurouni Kenshin are the only ones I want to see in this category)

VII. Kids and Family
( ) Angelic Layer
(x) Astro Boy
(x) Beyblade
(x) Castle in the Sky
( ) Detective Conan
(x) Digimon
(x) Doraemon
(x) Hamtaro
(x) Kiki’s Delivery Service
(x) Kimba the White Lion
(x) Monster Rancher
(x) My Neighbor Totoro
(x) Pokemon
(x) Samurai Pizza Cats
( ) Sazae-san
(x) SD Gundam Force
(x) Sonic X
(x) Speed Racer
(x) Spirited Away
(x) Yu-Gi-Oh
Total Here: 17/20

(I must have kids…)

VIII. Magical Girls and Boys
( ) Cardcaptor Sakura
( ) D.N.Angel
( ) Earth Girl Arjuna
( ) Erementar Gerad
( ) Hime-chan no Ribbon
( ) Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
( ) Magic Users Club
( ) Magical Girl Pretty Sammy
( ) Magical Stage Fancy La La
( ) Mahou no Star Magical Emi
( ) Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha
( ) Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok
( ) Ojamajou DoReMi
( ) Oku-sama wa Mahou Shoujo
( ) Pretear
(x) Sailor Moon
( ) Saint Tail
( ) Tokyo Mew Mew
( ) Ultra Maniac
( ) Wedding Peach
Total Here: 1/20

(Yes, the ONE would be because I was forced into watching ONE episode of Sailor Moon, no thanks to David Tai… I will eventually get to Ultra Maniac though since it’s by Wataru Yoshizumi of Marmalade Boy fame).

IX. Romance
(x) Ah! My Goddess
(x) Ai Yori Aoshi
( ) Air
(x) Ayashi no Ceres
(x) Boys Be
(x) Chobits
(x) Fushigi Yuugi
(x) Hana Yori Dango
(x) His and Her Circumstances (aka Kare Kano)
(x) Kimagure Orange Road
(x) Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
(x) Love Hina
(x) Maison Ikkoku
(x) Marmalade Boy
( ) Peach Girl
( ) Piano
(x) Please Teacher!
( ) SaiKano
(x) To Heart
(x) Video Girl Ai
Total Here: 16/20

(I still have to finish a lot of the series I’ve checked off here like Ai Yori Aoshi, Ayashi no Ceres, Boys Be, Chobits, Hana Yori Dango, Kare Kano, Love Hina, and To Heart. The only one unchecked that I will eventually see is Air.)

X. Science-Fiction
(x) Appleseed
(x) Blue Seed
(x) Bubblegum Crisis
( ) Crest of the Stars
( ) Galaxy Express 999
(x) Gundam (00)
(x) Macross
(x) Outlaw Star
(x) Patlabor
( ) Planetes
(x) Please Save My Earth
(x) RahXephon
( ) Saber Marionette (any)
( ) s-CRY-ed
( ) Soukyuu no Fafner
(x) Space Battleship Yamato (aka Star Blazers)
( ) Stellvia
(x) Transformers
( ) Voices of a Distant Star
( ) Xenosaga: The Animation
Total Here: 11/20

(On my list to see is Crest of the Stars, Galaxy Express (yes, I haven’t seen that classic yet), PlanetES, sCRYed, Stellvia, and Voices)

XI. Shounen-Ai and Shoujo-Ai
( ) Ai no Kusabi
( ) Descendants of Darkness (This is Yami no Matsuei… dude I had to think about the title for a moment, lol)
( ) Earthian
( ) Fake
( ) Fish in the Trap
( ) Galaxy Fraulin Yuna (shoujo-ai? err, kinda?)
( ) Gravitation
( ) Haru wo Daiteita
( ) Kannazuki no Miko
( ) Kizuna
( ) Lesson XX
( ) Loveless
(x) Maria-sama ga Miteru
( ) Mirage of Blaze
( ) Oniisama E
( ) Seikimatsu Darling
( ) Song of the Wind in the Trees
( ) Sukisho
( ) Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito
( ) Zetsuai/Bronze
Total Here: 1/20

(Again, only one here…)

XII. Sports
( ) Ace wo Nerae
( ) Ashita no Joe
( ) Ayane’s High Kick
( ) Baki the Grappler
( ) Battle Athletes
( ) Buzzer Beater
( ) Captain Tsubasa
( ) Eyeshield 21
( ) Ginban Kaleidoscope
( ) Hajime no Ippo
(x) Hikaru no Go
( ) Initial D
( ) Major
( ) Monkey Turn
(x) One Pound Gospel
( ) Prince of Tennis
( ) Princess Nine
( ) Slam Dunk
( ) Suzuka
( ) Wild Striker
Total Here: 2/20

(Only One Pound Gospel, and I’ve seen both the Anime OVA and the jdrama series. Hikaru no Go is about the game “Go” and not really a sports anime, so I wonder why it’s in this category…)

XIII. Surreal and Psychological
(x) Akira
( ) Betterman
( ) Boogiepop Phantom
( ) Elfen Lied
(x) FLCL
( ) Gantz
(x) Ghost in the Shell (movie or TV)
( ) Hellsing
( ) Jigoku Shoujo
( ) Karas
( ) Madlax
( ) Melody of Oblivion
(x) Neon Genesis Evangelion
( ) Noir
( ) Paranoia Agent
( ) Perfect Blue
( ) Princess Tutu
( ) Revolutionary Girl Utena
(x) Serial Experiments Lain
( ) Texhnolyze
Total Here: 5/20

(To watch: Hellsing, Madlax, and Noir. Notably, Witch Hunter Robin isn’t listed, but I would place it in this category…)

GRAND TOTAL: 89/260

Guess that makes me not as much of an Anime nerd as I thought I was. 🙂

Kaiji!

So, in keeping with all the other anime updates, I finished the series Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji (Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji). I have to say that I really liked this one, even though it was a little slower than some of the other series I had been watching of late. There were three “story arcs” within this series, and I really believe that the second arc was probably the climax of this series, but still it was worth every second of watching.

I Rate This One 4 out of 5 stars.

And there’s supposed to be a second season or series to follow, so I’ll be sure to watch that one as well.

April Anime Update #2

So I was finally able to finish off the Clannad movie.

It starts off with a little recap of the entire series and then “devolves” into a flashback/flashforward story of our two protagonists, namely Tomoya and Nagisa.

As an author, I really despise this way of storytelling because the pace of the story, the “flow” if you will, is severely and utterly disrupted the moment you cut into flashback/flashforward scenes. It’s also a way to “cheat” in storytelling – you don’t have to fill in the details because you’re in essence skipping ahead, like turning to the last chapter of a good book just to find out what the ending will be.

As such, there’s no motivation to understand Tomoya’s depression, no way to see the marriage (if there was one) of Tomoya and Nagisa, and no explanation of the disappearance of some of the major characters from the original series.

Overall, this movie gets a dismal 2.5 stars out of 5, and only because the first half of the movie was so good.