Saturday, October 28, 2006

Disneyland Overflow

Today was my company's annual Family Day, held this year at Disneyland. We got there a little after opening and collected massive Fast Passes. But after lunch, we met up with more family with annual passes. The problem was that the three of us who got there at opening (Mother Routes, Timotei, and me) finished the west side of the park and didn't intend on returning. But with more people joining our group little at a time, we found ourselves repeating a lot of the stuff we'd already completed.

Eventually we ended up as a group of 23, which made it impossible to get anything done. But we did do some cool things. We visited K-mart as she played host for Buzz Lightyear. And we even posed for pictures on Tower of Terror.

Click the picture for a better look.

I couldn't stay long however. I originally had plans to see Sister Act in Pasadena with Erico Suave and MacArthur. So at 6:30 in the evening, I left the group and met up with my friends and we drove down that crappy 5 Freeway in bumper to bumper traffic. I felt the most claustrophobic in Erico Suave's VW Beetle. The traffic was entirely too frutrating to bear.

But we made it with plenty of time to spare. I had eaten a big lunch buffet, so I wasn't hungry, but the drive made me incredibly thirsty. The Pasadena Playhouse has nothing really around it (unlike the Pasadena Civic Center which I mistook it for). So I was forced to buy their $3.00 bottle of Aquafina. Then during intermission, I found myself starving and bought a $3.00 cookie and $2.00 bag of M&M's. Crap.

The show was pretty good. A lot of good new songs, but something seemed off compared to the movie. Anyway, I was so tired from running around all day at Disneyland that I was falling asleep during the show. One thing that was cool, we saw legendary composer Alan Menken there (he wrote the music for the show). I wish I got a picture or his autograph, but he was always so far away. Oh well, when I tell this story again, I will have met him and now we're good friends.



Tuesday, October 24, 2006


It's no secret around here that I loves me my Nintendo games. I consider myself a born-again Nintendo fanboy. I was a dedicated Nintendo kid back in ye olde pub days. I still remember that Christmas when my brothers and I unwrapped the very first Famicon Nintendo system (which included Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt with Zapper, and Track and Field with Power Pads). We were off-the-wall overjoyed.

The next few years, we got the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and we were just as bowled over.

But then something happened. There was this perceived notion that we were growing up. We were never treated to a Nintendo 64 system and then opted to buy a Playstation. I can't remember why exactly we turned our backs on Nintendo at the time. I think it was the perception that Nintendo was for kids. Since we were getting older, we were supposed to graduate to the Playstation. (Plus, games were *cheap* with easily modded systems [if you catch my drift]).

So we missed out on most of the more famous Nintendo games like Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Starfox 64. I remember my first impressions with the N64 were bad because the new Mario game was completely in 3-D and I found extremely boring to navigate (but apparently it's incredibly beloved).

We eventually graduated to the Playstation 2, basking in the graphics upgrades and real life simulations. And while PS2 was our primary system, I still bought a Gamecube when an opportunity dropped it on my door for a bargain price. But even after buying it, I found myself only playing a few games like Smash Bros.

It wasn't until the Nintendo DS that I fell back in love with Nintendo's classic and superbly designed games and even trying many series that I bypassed/missed/overlooked.

I've never beat a Zelda game because I was very uninterested in long RPGs. Final Fantasy and Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation, along with the handheld Mario & Luigi games, helped break those barriers. I had never cared for the Starfox series because I thought free-roaming in space was dull. And I never tried Metroid because it seemed too difficult and on the Gamecube, I wasn't into first person shooters. But the DS showed me such inventive ways of playing that I wanted to try everything. I gave everything a shot and with the backwards compatibility of Gameboy Advance games, I was able to catch up with classics like Metroid: Fusion.

Which brings us to today. A bunch of us went to the Nintendo Fusion Concert stop in Orange County where bands like Relient K and Hawthorne Heights were playing. But the real reason I wanted to go was to preview the new Nintendo Wii console. With motion sensing technology, Nintendo plans to change the way we play video games. And after playing some of their games, I think they're going to do it. The new ways of playing are so much fun. I've already committed to spending the night in front of Target to get one on November 19.

Wii-living past gaming memories,


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ending Pending?

Just to let you know that I won't be discussing any specifics regarding the last book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. So if you are worried about spoilers, you can still read my thoughts on it. I'll try to be as vague as possible when describing things. But rest assured, I won't ruin anything for you.

Begin review of The End.

After the disappointment that was The Penultimate Peril, book twelve of A Series of Unfortunate Events, I wasn't as eager to read the final book The End. I mean, don't get me wrong. I was very interested to answer all of the lingering questions that the first twelve books have been dragging along. But I didn't find myself counting down the days to its release, not like I did with book twelve. I think I was just preoccupied with the Nintendo Wii.

But I did pre-order the book and had to wait an entire extra weekend to receive it from Amazon. And yeah, once it arrived last Monday, I immediately cracked it open.

The book starts off just like all the others; recapping the story of the Baudelaires. The book isn't exactly what I expected. I thought the last book would be a collection of explanations. I guess I expected it to come full circle and toss out any kind of story to just explain everything; much like the series finale of a show. But this book bucks that trend. Like all the other books, it is its own self-contained story. And why shouldn't it have been? This book speeds along as if it weren't the last of anything, and I gotta give the author credit.

And the story is fantastically interesting and imaginative. It was refreshing to see a different villain (though it depends on how you look at it) and to even see a different side of Count Olaf. The books are far from realistic, but at the same time, they are down to earth. Lemony Snicket doesn't sugar coat things and he has warned repeatedly that it won't end well. Well, I gotta say that I thought the ending was very fitting. Though not all my questions were answered, I believe there is meaning in Snicket's decision to leave things open ended; namely that the points aren't important. And if he were to answer some of these questions, we'd no more understand or care for it than if we were still in the dark.

And dagnabbit, how he ends the book makes you ponder the story from the bad beginning and opens wide new questions. I'm actually thinking about going back and rereading the series, now that I'm knowledgable on a certain detail.

Was that vague enough? If you couldn't tell, I really loved this last book. It was smart, funny, poignant, pregnant, tragic, hopeful, heartwarming, infuriating, and just plain memorable. I'm very sad that there won't be any other updates on the Baudelaires, but this ending was very satisfying. Though if you've also read The Beatrice Letters, well, I won't say anything further. It just makes me sad thinking about it.



Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Wedding Usher

It truly is the year of weddings and jury duty. I can't believe the number of weddings that have happened this year around me; friends, family, co-workers, famous people, etc. And really, the number of people summoned for jury duty is staggering too.

But this is about weddings; Charmin's wedding to be exact! Yes friends, my amazingly awesome cousin Charmin got hitched to her fiance Tony Toni Tone today!

Ellvin Kelvin, Timotei, and I were ushers. I was a little surprised at what the duties were since I thought all we did was tell people where to sit. Because the church was so strict, after telling the guests which side to sit on, we had to tell them to turn off their cell phones and that they were forbidden to video record or take pictures until after the wedding. Then after all the guests were seated (after having arrived all at the same time to be seated), we had to escort the parents and grandparents down the aisle to their seats. It was pretty cool.

Of course once the wedding began, the flashbulbs went off. People were taking pictures everywhere. So much for our authority. And I had never noticed how annoying digital cameras were until I heard the beep-beepbeepbeeps every 4 seconds.

After the short and sweet wedding, everyone applauded when the minister guy announced them and we took a mess of pictures. But we couldn't stay long because we had to help set up the reception dinner.

The reception was pretty awesome. We helped set up the slideshow (which was also short and sweet) and the party favors. I was in charge of recording the reception, but from my point of view. In fact, the newlyweds wanted to witness memories from every table's point of view, so they left cameras for all to use. I thought this was clever and I had never heard of it, but apparently it's a common thing.

However, things weren't all rosebuds and Lucky Charms. Near the end of the meal, I turned around to see many people staring at a single table. Turning around even further, an elderly woman (who later I learned was Charmin's great aunt) was not responding to repeated attempts to open her eyes or mouth. Thankfully, it turns out that one of Charmin's good friends (and co-wedding coordinator) was a doctor, one of the guests was a nurse, and one of our second cousins was a firefighter. They all helped her to the ground where they administered CPR. I didn't want to look because it was really horrifying. They had successfully revived her before the paramedics came (within 5 minutes). She went to the hospital, but is expected to pull through. Word has it that she may have taken one too many heart medications.

But besides that scare, things went great. Our family had the most fun in a long time. There was some dancing and drinking and man was there drinking at our table.

We're all looking forward to Ellvin Kelvin's wedding, whenever that may be.

Munching Cap'n Crunch,