Tuesday, October 11, 2005

so strange... today I weighed in at the lowest weight of the year (165lb), which is also the lowest weight I've been in at least the last 5 years. maybe longer. sad.

why am I posting this? so I don't forget after my weight shoots back up a couple dimes.

my friend pAT (aka raydeen aka krazykat) sent me this Katamari article:

Video Game 'Katamari Damacy' Has Fans Knitting Hats And Baking Cakes

my response:
That was a good article. I'm actually surprised that Katamari is only at a quarter million sold. I would've thought it to be a greatest hit by now. there's so much fan fervor online I just assumed everyone has the game...

I understand being resistent to doing the sequel. but I'm actually hoping they continue the series even further. I think they made enough changes in the new game to make it different yet the same... 'course, some of the changes I'm not so keen on but whatever. I'd like to see in the next game that the prince/cousins actually visit other planets/satellites and roll up weird items on those. different terrains/different items. it would be cool to port the planets from WLK to the next installment, then roll on those. now I'm talking out my ass b/c there prolly won't be another sequel. ah well.

I discovered last night that I've only attained 3 comets so far. I have a LONG way to go! I did find yet another damn present in the flower level. I must have 25 presents so far. And I have only 950,000 roses left to collect. woohoo!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Monday, May 16, 2005

"robust" would be how I'd describe the past weekend that started w/me falling asleep at 9:30PM Friday and not waking until 12 hours later. call it needed b/c I needed it. so Saturday became the home improvement day I had been looking forward to and I did accomplish some things and felt damn good about it. as evening approached I started thinking about the PINE*am show I was headed to around the 10 O'clock hour. then it dawned on me that I had forgotten about the Japan Girl Nite tour!

JGN by Benton Label occurs around the same time as SXSW. I checked the site and sure enough I missed the damn thing (obviously, since SXSW is in March). I was seriously deflated since last years event was so incredibly cool and entertaining. this year the line-up of Japanese girl punk bands were new to the tour ('cept the headliner, Petty Booka) so it would've been an opportunity to catch these acts and buy merch otherwise difficult or impossible to get. yeah, I was not in a great mood upon realizing this major oversight. and I'm still not over it.
pull the rabbit ears by PINE*am
so anyways I pick myself up and head to Wicker Park to see the 3 Japanese girls known as PINE*am. I'm dreading the trip b/c according to the posted tourdates they are not performing in any typical club or venue; they playing in someone's fucking apartment! this was new to me and I'm not real cool w/the unknown factor shit. so I drive around looking for parking and realize it's not doing on a Saturday nite in the heart of Wicker Park teeming w/all sorts, coming and going. I'm really not a people person so naturally that insect of reservation buzzed around my ears and I began thinking about turning back and just saying, 'fuck it'.

fortunately rationality took hold and I parked the car farther than I wanted and hoofed down to six corners looking for the "apartment". turns out it's only a few doors down from the Double Door so I follow a couple up the stairs to the 2nd floor, where my identity was questioned (the couple in front of me had "recognized" faces). after paying my six dollar donation, the strange man in the chair opens the door and everything I imagined the place to be became a reality.

sure enough it was an apartment cum art space (RE: shithole). it was cleared out save for a few ratty old couches and walls covered with prints and photocopies and whatever else these kids call art. the kids inhabiting the joint were what I expected; self-important dirtball artist types in their ironic urbanware about half my age sucking on Newcastle, Camels and cloves. my kind of fun. rrrright.

luckily I arrived only a few minutes before PINE*am started so I didn't suffer thru too much awkwardness beforehand. watched the band finish soundchecking. then they fired it up to wild snotnosed cheers. the audio was hurting due to the live amps and lack of decent PA in the apartment. I felt sorry for their sound man who was trying to make the best of it. despite the poor conditions, PINE*am rocked it and most of the 100 or so that crowded the room really got into the music. that was nice to see. after edging my way up to the front I took a few photos to share here.

click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge

PINE*am gave about 40 minutes of electro-pop goodness, then packed up and tended to the merch table. of course I made it over there in a beeline and eventually Tsugumi, the lead singer/bassist, came over. it was humorous b/c she kinda understands English but not quite everything. so we played that game for a while as I picked up their earlier CDs, some stickers, buttons and a shirt. Tsugumi cut me a deal on the CDs so I figured I'd keep buying crap.

click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge click to enlarge

as the primary English speaker of the group, Chiz (who translated for Tsugumi during the performance) , came over to man the table I spent the time chatting w/Tsugumi, who as it turned out could hold a decent conversation in English. I asked her how they ended up playing in the apartment at which point their sound tech looked at me with a muddled expression; with short pauses between each word he said, "I... have... no... idea." I gave him a sympathy laugh and continued talking w/Tsugumi who seemed genuinely excited to just be there.

when I pointed out some guy's kanji tattoo of "Nihon" (Japan) she asked if I read kanji and spoke Japanese. during the ignasecond before my reply of "chotto" (a little), I realized that was a mistake. Tsugumi smiles then suddenly starts rattling off Japanese a mile a minute all thrilled to speak in her native tongue. I, on the hand, just watched, listened, nodded and smiled. ^_^

after getting a photo taken w/the girls, I thanked them and wished them luck on the rest of tour (quipping that I hope they get better venues the rest of the way). said "bye bye" and split... right behind the guy w/the Nihon kanji tattooed on his arm. turned out to be a rather enjoyable evening despite the adverse conditions. hell, if PINE*am could light up that 2nd floor shithole apt, they could do wonders in a small club with the right audience. hopefully they come back to chicago for a better gig.

after that I went home and snagged Latios on my first attempt then stayed up late to read HUSH vol 1. Sunday I was up and going early again to do more work around the home. caught the first matinee of Unleashed, which might be the best Jet Li movie I've seen (and I've seen a hella lot of them). but not b/c of Jet Li. cool flick so go see it. picked up lunch at Amitabul and soaked in the rest of evening organizing and such. so nice to not have Japanese homework to do on a Sunday night! ~sigh~
is this thing working now?

Sunday, March 20, 2005

i love the original nick...

-----Original Message-----
From: Wednesdayadams92@aol.com
Sent: Sunday, March 20, 2005 6:16 PM
To: stakk
Subject: I WANT A SHIRT!

i saw ur website and absolutly loved the t-shirt!!!! do have anymore that u r willing to give away? please e-mail me back as soon as u get this!!


Sunday, February 27, 2005

man, i've been killing the feature flicks so far this year... between yesterday and today i caught 3 films in the theater, including my first back to back viewing in years. years, i say! that was yesterday when i hooked up w/Kev & Sally for a viewing of Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids at the Renaissance in Highland Park. when we arrived i noticed that Bride & Prejudice had a showing only minutes after BiB was over so i suggested that we see that as well since we were there... and as i expected, my friends were game. sweet!

Born Into BrothelsZana Briski's Born Into Brothels was everything you've read about it (assuming you've read about it which you should) and 100% deserving of the Academy Award it won tonight for best documentary. well, i didn't see the other nominees but i'm still happy that BiB won b/c it is an extremely moving and poignant film. wasn't totally perfect (i thought some of the camera effects were pointless and just wasted screen time that could've been used more wisely) but otherwise it was a very good albeit tragic documentary.

in case you're not familiar with it, the movie documents children born to prostitutes in the Calcutta red light district. the filmmaker gave a group of children simple point & shoot cameras and began teaching them about photography. the kids would then hit the streets and their homes to capture their lives in static yet kinetic imagery. the children are wonderful but sadly trapped in these lives with little or no way out. the kids are cute, charming and quite touching w/each having their own unique personality and potential yet confined in this horrible place. definitely a worthy film to see... if nothing else it will sure as hell make you feel a lot better about your own life. Oscar or not, go see it.

Bride & PrejudiceBride & Prejudice, which started about 10 minutes after we walked out of BiB, was the whole other side of the spectrum of living in India. omg, was it the polar opposite of the previous film, and possibly the best way to view this "westernized" Bollywood flick (directly after viewing the poverty and despair in Calcutta). i won't spend a lot of time on B&P other than to say that it too was totally entertaining but for completely different reasons, obviously. sure, Aishwarya Rai is a beautiful woman but her sister, Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar), was super hot. overall, it's a fun flick that also gets Naveen Andrews off the LOST island and back to speaking in his native British accent. not the best Bollywood film i've seen but still decent, humorous and a good viewing despite the wooden non-Indian actors.

after the movies, Sally had already prepared chicken curry which was the perfect way to top off the evening. it was especially nice to take in the day with them since they spent time in both areas of India where the movies were filmed. So besides picking up the tickets for movies despite my insistence on paying for at least one of the viewings, they also offered some insightful commentary from their experiences in India. as close to perfect of day as it gets.

this morning i popped up to catch Constantine over at Village 18, my regular mainstream movie haunt. Constantine wasn't nearly as bad as the reviews made it out to be and even as a slo-burn supernatural thriller adaptation of Ennis & Delano's Hellblazer comic; it kept pace rather well with nary a lull during its 2hr runtime. it won't go down as anything particularly memorable but i enjoyed it nonetheless.

3 movies down this weekend and the Oscars just wrapping up tonight, it's been quite the "movie" weekend without an official movie night. not bad. and hey, "Ryan" won best animated short. woohoo!

Thursday, February 24, 2005

during my lunch break i went in for another 1.5hrs under the needle primarily to get the shading done. Tim still amazes me with the speed and intricacy of his work and yet he's so goddamn humble about it. anyways, here's a few snaps of today's session.
session 2 shading
yep, my leg is back to that exquisite filleted feeling again. but at least it looks cool.

Monday, February 21, 2005

so today worked out nicely considering i called in sick right around the time i was due in the office. i wasn't sick so much as i was completely exhausted from not falling asleep until sometime during the 6 O'clock hour. i tried to sleep but it just wasn't doing...

before finally dozing off i had already determined there was a pretty good chance i was going to call in sick. i told myself that if i did i wouldn't waste the day entirely. fortunately i did not. after pulling myself awake and checking the absurd messages left from my office, i headed to Lincoln Park to take in an afternoon viewing of Sky Blue... and i'm so glad i was able to watch this on the big screen!
Sky Blue
as the reviews declare Sky Blue is a gorgeous film. the CG and traditional cel animation meld together almost seamlessly (unlike Appleseed). Also despite the reviews panning the eco-futurist storyline it was actually pretty good and a helluva lot less convoluted Japanese anime. oh yeah, Sky Blue is a product of Korea if you didn't know. i'll definitely be snagging this DVD when it's released. it may even make a movie night appearance...

...outside of that i spent a leisurely day down on the northside 'nobbing around shopping and whatever. it was a delightful sick day indeed. i'm sure to enjoy more of these if things continue the way they are at the office. blah.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

after rescheduling from last week i was finally able to get my sit down @Deluxe w/Tim for (the beginning of) my calf sleeve. Tim is an amazing artist besides being a great tattooer and i was confident he'd come up w/something pretty fucking cool based on the criteria i gave him (which was a tree with a Yamabushi Tengu hiding out). of course he did and so far the result has turned out better than i expected. click the images below to see the larger, detailed photos.
i head back in 3 weeks for another session to start the color application.

Monday, January 31, 2005

i don't often get requests for this specific t-shirt:

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeffrey Montano [mailto:choklit_cow@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2005 2:25 AM
Subject: Question about a LeShirt

Hey, I was wondering if there is anyway I could still purchase the "Motel 666 Welcomes Spooky Kids to Dayton" Reprint, Leshirt? I was unable to attend aswell and would'ev loved to have been there, so I honestly NEED this shirt, so please consider selling me one, but Thank You either way, please contact me back at this email adress, whether you can or not.

Thanks for your time

SINcerly, Mosh

Thursday, January 27, 2005

see, i do get "normal" email too:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ray Bostic
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 2:43 PM
Subject: Beartooth mountains

I saw some of your pictures from the Beartooth Mountains.
I am going to be in the Yellowstone area in late June 2005.
I was wondering if you would suggest a couple of day hikes in
the Beartooth Mountains.

Thank you,

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

the following gem showed up late last night in my work inbox. "id stab u?" clever.

-----Original Message-----
From: JaMeS marshall [mailto:id_stab_u @ yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2005 11:37 PM
Subject: t-trihs

dude fuck.......dude you still sell them manson shirts???fuck i want a couple goddamn tshirts.......email me back please regarding real nice shirts........

Monday, January 24, 2005

today another fan emails:

From: Alex Castillo
Subject: Loudness

Amigo mi nombre es Alex Castillo, soy de Guatemala, y tengo algunos albunes que eh comprado de este maravilloso grupo Loudness, unicamente tengo el Tunder y el devil soldier, pero quisiera tener todos los discos si es posible me gustaria saber si tu puedes darme copia de los mp3 que tengas de ellos preferiblemente si son los albunes completos aqui en guatemala es una mierda pq no hay muchos lugares a los cuales llegar y encontrar grupos de esta maravillosa calidad me gustaria saber como podriamos hacer para que me des copia aunque sea de unos cuantos albunes pq es un maravilloso grupo y me encantaria tenerlo en mi coleccion personal, pues soy rockero de corazon y colecciono musica no para venderla ni nada por el estilo sino para gozar de lo mejor de lo mejor, como loudness, gracias y espero poder allar en vos una respuesta a mis plegarias orale brother hasta pronto.

[loosely translated: Friend, my name is Alex Castle, I am of Guatemala, and I have some albums that I bought of this wonderful group Loudness. I only have "Thunder" and "Devil Soldier", but it wanted to have all discs if it is possible. I would like to know to me if you can give me copy of mp3 that you have preferably of them if they are albums complete. Here in Guatemala is shit. There are not many places to which to arrive and to find groups of this wonderful quality. I would like to know how to me like we should to do so that of copies to me although he is of a few albums. This is a wonderful group and enchanting to have it in my personal collection, then I am a rocker of the heart and I collect music does not stop to sell it nor nothing of the sort but to enjoy the best thing of the best thing, like Loudness. Thanks and I hope to be able to receive an answer to my spoken prayer to my brother very soon.]
i enjoy Apple riffing like the iProduct thing and this: The Apple Store Of The Future.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

another fan emails me today:

From: antonio augusto cesar junior
Subject: Fantastic Musicians and Band

Good morning, Friends from Loudness Band, my name is
Antonio Augusto Cesar Junior, I live in Brazil, in the
middle of a jungle, the Amazon Forest, at State of
Pará, so if you take a look at the map, at north of
Brazil, Belém is the capital. So I´m sorry by bothering
you, but I love your sounds, the way you play your
musics, all the instruments very well played, that´s
because I love your musics very much, mainly
Progressive Rock, Pop Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal,
Punk, everything that means rock. Please, if you can do
me a favor, so this is important to me, you could send
to me a PROMO CD from your musics, the way you play
your songs is really fantastic, please, if you can do
this to me, so if you give me the permission to play
your songs in a FM Station here in my city, ok, if you
don´t give me the right to do it, believe me I won´t
play. I don´t lend my cd´s to anybody I keep them at
my bedroom, only to me hear them. I´m 41 years old, but
I love music,this is very important to me. I really
thank you if you can do this dream to become true, if
don´t, is a great pleasure to write an e-mail to a
great band. Thanks again and God blesses you in your
musician life. My address is Rua São Francisco 833.
Bairro Batista Campos, CEP 66023530. Belém Pará Brazil.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Appleseed The Movieinstead of choosing the obvious theater flick over the weekend, i went somewhat out of my way to attend a big screen viewing of Masamune Shirow's Appleseed, the loose remake of the '88 OVA. i can't really compare the two since it's been at least 5 years since i've seen the OVA and i remember dozing off while i was watching. anyways, this new and improved Appleseed, based on Shirow's (Ghost in the Shell/Intron Depot) manga, was indeed the visual treat the trailers would have you believe and definitely theater worthy...

and i won't bother stepping on the soap box about my disdain for CGI integration into traditional cell animation b/c i think this is the direction for most anime studios, in this case Digital Frontier, so there's no use bitching about it. besides Blue Submarine, i think the first time i recall CGI and cell merging in a feature presentation was in Metropolis. i didn't like it then and i don't care for it now. CGI has reached a point of realism that makes it appear as tho cartoon characters are running around interacting w/the real world a la Roger Rabbit. the latter example i can understand but for anime it's slightly jarring. ok, so i did toe the soap box. gomen nasai.

anyways, Appleseed The Movie was pretty cool albeit familiar - Shirow's future here poses machine-created man versus man, a twist on the man versus machine future - but i've come to accept that anime/manga future so it's no longer surprising to watch yet another iteration of it unfold on the big screen. Appleseed was a fun flick but nothing terribly deep or convoluted as Osamu Tezuka's work, which isn't a downside just an observation.

at the point when i thought Appleseed was headed down convolution road, it took an upturn towards mecha-ville, with high action laced between calmer spots of exposition. i was entertained thru-out and definitely recommend catching it on the big screen in your area (assuming it's playing in your area). it might not be quite as good on the small screen but probably decent enough - Appleseed is akin to one large PS2 cutscene (ANN gives it favorable ratings so far). the real downside for me was that it was presented w/the English dub! WTF?! it's in extremely limited release and they serve up the English dub?! very fucking annoying.

hot off the wire: "In limited release, Geneon Entertainment's Appleseed, an animé import featuring the kick-ass warrior heroine of a futuristic society, zapped in at 31 sites, averaged $2,539 for $78,718."

so yeah, i skipped Elektra even tho i did want to see it. i don't think my ticket would've mattered much since it tanked in a big way. i attribute that to the poor reviews and Garner's "illness" which left her off the pub-circuit leading up to the flick. i say "illness" b/c i wonder if she bailed on the promotion run after the initial reviews started trickling in? then again, Halle did go gangbusters pubbing Catwoman. i'll try to squeeze in Elektra next weekend along w/the Assault on Precinct 13 remake (that didn't need to be remade).

and since this is my first official post of 2005 there is some housekeeping in order... catching up, we like to say. year kicked off w/a better than usual new years spent @Ron's (Capt'n Satan) playing party games the whole fam while sipping the hard stuff. warm and cozy fun. then alotta bowl games w/kev of which only the Iowa and Michigan games were worth a hoot. then the semi-huge year-end news that my employer is being acquired by a rival company, one whom i hate, is followed in the first week of the new year with news of impending lay-offs. ah, wonderful. so that deal went down last week and we lost 3 - but none of mine.

thanks to a last minute save i was able to keep my dept intact and throw someone else in front of the bus. yeah. that sucks but like a mother wolf i gotta protect my cubs. fortunately the layoffs had hardly an impact and things are moving forward, hopefully in the right direction. doubtful but w/o hope we have nothing (yes, i am fervently watching the new Battlestar Galactica series). Happy New Year!