Coyotes, Foreigners, Journeys, and Glowing Vampires

As of today, 4/6/10, the Coyotes are hanging on to a slim hope for the top spot in the Western Conference. They trail San Jose by five points with three games to play. San Jose, for their part, plays today at Calgary (go Flames! 🙂 🙂 :). The Coyotes can win the top spot if San Jose loses their last three games in regulation to Calgary, at home against Vancouver (go Canucks!) and at home against the Coyotes, while the ‘Yotes must run the table on their last three (vs. Nashville, @LA Kings, @San Jose). That would put the ‘Yotes at 108 points and San Jose at 107.

Assuming that the Coyotes get all six possible points, if San Jose gets a win (two points) in any of those games, or any two OT losses (also two points total), the Sharks win the Conference title. Getting only one OT loss ties the teams at 108 points but still gives the Coyotes the Conference title, as the ‘Yotes would have a 51-25-6 record as opposed to a 48-22-12 record for the Sharks. Basically, that 2-1 loss to Calgary and that shootout loss to Nashville are coming back to haunt the Coyotes – that’s a three point swing that could have had the ‘Yotes at 105 points and pretty much having the Sharks/Coyotes game at the end of the season the deciding game for the Western Conference.

Instead, the Coyotes have a long shot at winning the #1 seed – unlike the NBA, the NHL still has the stupid rule in effect where the division winners are the top 3 seeds regardless of the points earned. The NHL needs to take a page out of the NBA’s playoff book and just guarantee that the division winners get first-round home ice at minimum while the next best points team gets into the top 4. If that were the case, the Coyotes would be right now at the #3 seed with the possibility of a #2 seed.


Lately on my CD player – Foreigner’s latest album Can’t Slow Down. The title track is such an awesome rocker that you hear it in your head for hours afterward. And there’s an awesome review of the album at by Jeff Giles, who totally nails it.

Also sharing time in the CD player is Journey’s Revelation which, yes, was released in 2008. New lead singer Arnel Pineda’s vocals are eeriely reminiscent of Steve Perry but without the self-absorbtion. Now, I had seen Journey live during the Arrival tour with Steve Augeri on leads, but hot damn Pineda does an even better job. If only more bands would look to YouTube for their lead singers!


I’m now on volume 7 of the Vampire Hunter D novels – the original written novels, not the manga that’s being produced lately. All you Stephanie Meyer fans need to drop your teen angsty glowing vampire fantasies and read a real series. (The only real “Twilight” anyway was the song by ELO.)

No seriously, the Vampire Hunter D series of novels blows away anything that Meyer could possibly come up with. The setting is fantastic, the characters are superb, the writing top notch, and you can’t help but wonder at D’s continued struggle with his destiny and what really happened to the Nobility. The two movies aren’t doing it justice – there needs to be a 52 episode TV series with the people that did the soundtrack for Witch Hunter Robin to do the music, and that would barely scratch the surface of what this series is about.

January Anime Update

So, I’ve been busy with the Anime watching in the last couple of months. The rundown:

Real Drive – it took forever for me to get into this series, but once I was at around episode 8, I couldn’t stop watching. This is by the same author as Ghost in the Shell (Masamune Shirow), and I completely love his work to begin with, so that was the original reason for watching. Have to say, though, that the ending arc could have been done better – it was kind of a letdown. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Toradora – This was a “WTF” series. I picked this one completely at random, but I’m glad I did. You knew right off who was going to end up with whom, but the whole point of watching is to see HOW they do it. (3 out of 5 stars)

Kurogane no Linebarrel – Giant robot series in general are always going to attract viewers. This one, though was so cheesy to begin with, I had to wonder about it. And 4 episodes in, I was starting to regret it. Then the midway ep came around and I was hooked – all the previous eps had little teaser bits that you looked back and went OH I GET IT NOW – and the storyline turned serious. If there was a sequel, I’d probably skip though. (3 out of 5 stars)

Shangri-la – Totally and without question a series that can hook you from episode one. If you missed this one, you need to go out and buy it. This is a keeper, all the way through to the end. (4 out of 5 stars)

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 – Every so often, I like to see those “could be” series, where the timeline is the very near future. This is one of those – yes, it takes place in Tokyo, but you know, the same thing could happen in Southern California if the Big One hits. Worth a watch just because of the effects of the aftermath. (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Scrapped Princess – I dug into my bag of Classics Yet To Watch and found this gem. Why I didn’t watch it when it came out, I’ll never know, but I’m glad I did eventually see it. The interaction and growth of the characters makes it fun to check out, and near the end of the series, it was only reluctantly that I turned off the TV. (4 out of 5 stars)

Clannad After Story – This sucked – in a good way. I mean, it was so emotional and tear-jerking that any person who watches this and DOESN’T get teary-eyed has a heart of stone. I hated watching it because I knew something else was going to happen that I didn’t want to see, but yet I had to see it just to know what happens next. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Eden of the East – Kind of a Bourne Identity theme, but nevertheless leaving you with wanting more than the paltry 11 episodes. This was one where I thought it ended way too fast – almost like watching a movie on the Lifetime network. (3 out of 5 stars)

Akaneiro ni Somaru Saka – Why I watched this, I don’t know. Unlike Toradora, which had endearing qualities, “Akasaka” (the shortened name of this series) does not. I couldn’t connect with any of the main characters, and there was nothing really outstanding by any of them – in fact, I can’t even name one of them, that’s how bad it is. (1.5 out of 5 stars)

Ride Back – For the love of everything visual, this series was absolutely outstanding. The storyline was tight and cohesive, I could actually get into the characters, and the action was perfectly paced. If you like motorcycles, this is definitely the series for you, because it takes bikes and elevates them at least a hundred notches. (4.5 out of 5 stars)

Gunsmith Cats – another classic I dusted off to watch, mostly because I had been going through and reading Sonoda’s manga again. Always a great watch. (4 out of 5 stars)

Toaru Majutsu no Index – “Index” was so good, I actually spent a Saturday watching 4 straight episodes. The beginning was a little hokey, but after you get through the first episode – and basically re-orienting yourself to the terminology and the theological references – this is a damn good series. In fact, so good that its spinoff (A Certain Scientific Railgun) will be another I’m going to be watching as well. (4 out of 5 stars)

Gundam G00 Season 2 – Holy @^#$&!!! Gundam G00 Season 1 was a 5-star series to begin with. This raised the bar even more. I mean, when I have servers at work named after the mecha AND pilots, I know it’s good. And I was never a real Gundam fan to begin with, but … well, holy &@#*$&*!!!! If you haven’t been watching this on Cartoon Network, GO BUY THE BLEEPING DVDs!! (6 out of 5 stars) — (yes, 6. It’s better than 5.)

Zettai Shogeki

Ugh. This Anime went from promising to lame in 0-6 seconds. There are only 5 episodes (OVAs), but while each of the first four had some semblance of promise (as well as gratuitous fan service), the last episode was so much exposition that it could’ve been a radio drama and come out better. (Although, the twist in the last 5 seconds of the episode was nice – but it didn’t redeem the entire series).

Exactly 1 star out of 5 for this one. It’s not worth your time.

2009 already

I mean, where did 2008 go? I swear I was sitting here in my chair and it was October. The next moment, I’m writing checks for the mortgage and they say “2009”.

Which means I’m either getting older, or I’m losing track of time. (Or both.)

Reflection – I left my old work group (Lending) last April to start work in a new department. It was tough to leave; I was one of the few left of the “original” Mortgage Web Hosting personnel, and most of the team members and contractors that I was leaving behind were people that I had worked closely with for four long years. In most cases, I even helped bring on board a lot of the current team members and contractors.

But, it was time for a change, and looking back 8 months later, I don’t have any regrets. My new team is smaller and that means that we all have to get along and know each others’ strengths and quirks. I think we’re jelling pretty well.

It was also hard to hear from all the team members and contractors that were let go after I left. Contractors that were so instrumental in getting major projects up and running and maintained had to be let go due to length of service. Team members that I worked with also resigned or were “bought out” (given a hefty severance), like my former team lead/manager-for-all-intents-and-purposes.

And in some cases, I heard from team members that were placed on “the list” (those whose positions that are being eliminated due to reorg or budget issues and are first in line for internal postings elsewhere in the company). When you’re placed on “the list” and you have been doing a narrow scope of work for your current job, it’s hard to get another internal position elsewhere unless that new job is similar to your old. And having to counsel/coach some of these people was really, really tough because I knew that their chances of finding another position at the company were very slim, and because I knew their families could be in serious trouble. Thankfully, one of them DID make it and get another position, and the other landed on his feet with another position at another company because of some of the advice I gave him.

So my Christmas wasn’t so bad after all, and neither was theirs. 🙂

Heck, I even learned how to replace a broken window in my house in the past two months. (Kids + basketball hoops + proximity to house windows + wild shots = bad things)

Now, an Anime update –


Macross Frontier (4 out of 5 – it was riveting up until the very last episode, and then it got corny for about half the episode…)
Sword of the Stranger (4 out of 5 – excellent movie since in the feudal period)
Wind ~ a breath of heart (4 out 5 – kicking myself for not watching this sooner, like say 2 years ago…)
ICE (3 out of 5 – a little cliched at the end “was it really just a dream”, but a likable pastime.)
Freedom (4 out of 5 – ending was a little rushed, but the artwork was absolutely gorgeous)
Vexille (5 out of 5 – holy SHMOLY! If you haven’t seen this, you need to.)
Yu-Gi-Oh: Shadow Games (3.5 out of 5 – this is the very first season, before the series began focusing on the collectible card game… it’s quite different, but enjoyable)

In the queue / already begun:

Deltora Quest (through episode 15 – there are 65 eps…)
Candy Boy (through episode 4)
Hellsing Ultimate OVA (through #5 – there are 6 total, from what I understand)
Gundam G00 Season 2 (through episode 14)
Clannad After Story (through episode 13)
Here is Greenwood [jdrama] (through episode 7)

Only first episodes watched:

Sekirei (What IS this series?)
Scrapped Princess (yes, I know I need to just watch)
Real Drive (ditto)
Zettai Shougeki (again, HUH?)

Series in progress but I can’t find time to circle back to complete:

Nadia (up to ep 22)
Tokyo Underground (up to ep 5)

On the To-Do list:

Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Chrno Crusade
Macross Fufonfia (hehehehehe)
Slayers Revolution
White Album
Akane-iro ni Somaru Saka
Crystal Blaze
Chaos Head

Maybe I’ll actually find time to catch up with my reading as well… I have three DragonLance novels still to finish off here at the homestead…. in between Suns or Coyotes games on TV of course!

September Anime Update

So, I’ve managed to get some more Anime series completed. Now, this is really a big accomplishment because 1) two kids reside in this house, 2) I have a full time job, and 3) I’m doing the majority of the housework while wife finishes her degree this November.


Anyway, in the past couple of months since the last Anime Update, I’ve finished:

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Individual Eleven (4 out of 5 – creepy good!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Laughing Man (4.5 out of 5 – this plotline had me trying to solve the puzzle early, early on… that’s a sign of good writing!)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex – Solid State Society (5 out of 5 – extraordinary. Highly recommended)
One Pound Gospel [jdrama] (3.5 out of 5. The actor playing Kosaku was downright hilarious, but Sister Angela’s actress needs polishing)
Idolm@ster Xenoglossia (3 out of 5. About halfway through it, the plot actually got compelling and made it worth watching. Prior to that, it was just fluff…)
School Days Valentine’s Day OVA (2 out of 5. Eh… not really that interesting.)
ef – a tale of memories (3 out of 5. Interesting plot idea, but not really executed well.)
Amatsuki (3.5 out of 5. The ending caused this to drop .5 stars, but if there’s a second season – no word yet on this – then I’ll up it back to 4)
Mnemosyne (4 out of 5 – holy crap, that’s some serious timelines and complex storyline)

In the queue / already begun:
Macross Frontier (so far we’re approaching 4.5 stars out of 5…)
Sekirei (only seen first episode … all I can say is NANI?!?!)
Candy Boy (only two eps and an OVA… what IS this?)
Hellsing Ultimate (YEAH, boy… OVA #5 comes out in October 2008 – NEXT MONTH)
Deltora Quest (so far it’s like the books, but I’ve heard there will be differences…)

Classics already begun:
Scrapped Princess (why didn’t I watch this last year??)

Things still on the “to do” list but haven’t started:
School Days
Ah My Goddess Tatakau Tsubasa
Chrono Crusade
Wind – a breath of heart
Itazura na Kiss

And just for grins, I’m going to revisit Marmalade Boy. (yes, all 70+ episodes.)