Monday, July 28, 2008

Harold and Kumar

Originally posted on xanga.

Harold and Kumar are not my heroes. But they do present something not normally seen in American movies. Asian American (AA) leads. Harold is of Korean descent and Kumar of Indian (India) desecent.

Its coming out on DVD tomorrow and I plan on watching it when I get the chance to rent it. I remember dragging my wife out to the Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. I didn't know what to expect. I sorta knew they were stoners and that they wanted to eat at White Castle. In 2004, I hadn't eaten at a White Castle, so I didn't know what they were talking about. But whatever, I was going to support the movie with my hard earned $$ so Hollywood would know that AA leads could carry an movie. The thought the movie was average and had funny moments. It did touch on Asian Sterotypes for both CJK and Indians. Which are similiar and quite different in each culture. To go into the differences of just CJK, watch the dramas. They touch and deal on similiar subjects but is quite different culturally.

I have low expectations for Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. But I expect it to be entertaining. Comedies of this sort is for "chill" time. Not really about getting your "brain" on. Although, I suspect I'll have to pay attention to get the debunking references.

As I get older and have less free time to myself, I have to be extra careful in my media choices. I have been more and more leaning towards all things from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, and Japan of late. Even though I am not part of those cultures as I live in Los Angeles, they present to me something I don't see in American media, strong Asian leads.

Friday, July 25, 2008

2008 San Diego Comic-Con

Originally posted on xanga.

I was at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con. It was an awesome experience. The floor was larger than I expected.

I remember walking around thinking, this is way too much for just 1 day. I wish I could have been there for all 4 days and to check out the panels.

Since I saw ads for it as I started collecting comics in the 80s, I had wanted to go. Amazingly, I have been to only 1 in my 22 years of active comic book collecting.

I'd like to make it out a few more in the next few years.

The convention started yesterday and last until Sunday. Make it out there if you can. You'll be overloaded!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

In a Trance - DJ Doboy

Originally posted on xanga.

I got into Trance in the late 90s mainly due to "Tranceport" by Oakenfold. I've been a fan since and have seen the genre evolve through the years.

Among my favorite DJs is DJ Doboy. I started listening to his mixes around 1999. I happened upon it by accident in one of those IRC chats. All his mixes were available for download. At that time, there were only a handfull. Fast forward to 2007, you have over a hundred! Just google him and you'll see many a mixes available for download.

My favorite is Vocal Editions, SSE and Trancequility mixes. In general, I like almost all his stuff. But with that much to choose from, its hard to pinpoint.

"Vocal Edition Volume 04". Tracks 1-4:
01. fragma - embrace me (durestadt vocal remix)
02. camino feat jeanna - feels like heaven (jet set remix)
03. sally oldfield - mirrors (mario lopez club rmx)
04. velvet - china in your hands (extended mix)

This maybe my favorite 4 songs together ever. It was my metrolink to office mix for over a year when I had a longer commute. Even today, I still listen to these 4 tracks over and over again.

It's a shame that DJ Doby is on hiatus at the moment and his last mix released in 2007. I await his return.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Iron Man - 鋼鐵人

Originally posted on xanga. Updated 1/21/2009.

Up to today, Iron Man is the #1 movie for the year 2008. It'll most likely be surpassed by Indy 4 in the next 2 weeks. Its very likely, in 4 weeks, The Dark Knight.

I was hoping that Iron Man would be #1 for the year of 2008. Highly unlikely now. Other movies for the year have yet to come out. Harry 6 might have a chance at the end of the year.

On the international front, Iron Man is #2, but will probably end the year in #4, after Indy, Batman, and Harry.

About 1.5 years ago, I decide to stop collecting comics. I've been cold turkey since that blog entry of April 2007. My last quicken entry for comic books was February 2007.

However, I went back to Frank & Sons this week and spend $99 on all the Iron Man comics I could find since than, plus a Iron Man Mighty Mugg.

Iron Man has been very popular since Civil War and the Iron Man Movie propelled it outta space. Recently, the last five years, there have been 5 one-offs of the main series and just a few months ago, they started a 2nd Iron Man series. Can the Iron Man fanbase carry all these titles? Does this dilute and main Iron Man series? Does Iron Man demand the kind of attention of a Spidey, Supes, or Bats?

I became an Iron Man fan in 1981 when I read a beat up Iron Man 149. The cover had Iron Man flying towards the eye of doom. It drew me and I was hooked and an Iron Man fan for life. I've actively collected Iron Man since January 1986 with Iron Man 205. Since than, I've amassed a few Iron Man issues. Dating back to the TOS stuff. I am prolly missing about 30 or so issues now. Mostly from the 60s. Since I don't go monthly like I did in the 90s and 80s, I have a handful of missing issues in the 2000s era. But only a handful.

Comic books are not normally very PC and in the case of Iron Man, the archenemy is a villian by the name The Mandarin. Through the years, I cringe when The Mandarin appears. Why? Because of how racist the stories are. I have a bad feeling, but The Mandarin will appear in an Iron Man film. I am sad that we're going to see lots of Chinese Stereotypes like honor, face, blah, blah... The best Iron Man story arcs do not ever revolve around The Mandarin, but they keep bringing him back. Over and Over, bad stories, bad stereotypes, etc!

My 2 favorite creative teams on the series are Denny O'Neil/Mark Bright and David Michelinie/Bob Layton. Any arc that Michelinie/Layton did were awesome.

I go back to the West Coast Avengers Vol 2, 1-20 years with very fond memories. Iron man 200-208 was great. Doomquest, demon in the bottle, armor wars, heroes reborn, heroes return. extermis (non mandarin storyline). All great arcs! Non have the mandarin. nuff said

Friday, July 18, 2008


Originally posted on xanga.

Before Facebook let non students in and before MySpace allowed you to skin your look, there was Friendster. By all accounts, the Social Networking was its to lose. Probably not the first and definitely not the last, it was the first time I had heard of a network of friends. Friends inviting friends to share stuff. In the past, it had been forums and group list that keep everyone informed, "networked".

But than came along Friendster. Friends inviting friends and strangers left out in the cold! You were sorta safe! I was getting daily request to join the network. I didn't buy into it. But as the talk online and around the office was all the rage about Friendster, I gave in and joined.

Man, wasn't it cool to see your list of friends, see their friends who were not your friends, etc. You could explore forever! Part of the reason is because Friendster's site was so slow. Sometimes, logging in took 20-30 minutes. People got upset, bashed Friendster and left in droves. Where, to MySpace. In just 3-4 months after Friendster hit the scene hard and let it slip, MySpace took over. MySpace copied all the good stuff of Friendster and actually let you log in and surf the "social network".

That was just 5 years ago. Friendster gave it all away.

Why am I thinking about Friendster anyways? I received an email notice from Friendster that one of my friends has a upcoming Birthday. I clicked, tried like 5 different passwords before one finally worked. Looked at the site and forgot just how bad it is compared to Facebook. Compared to MySapce its not as bad. I was shaking my head as I looked around. Amazed and confused and finally dazed, I may never log in again.

Holiday Dreaming - 夢遊夏威夷

Originally posted on xanga.

夢遊夏威夷 (Holiday Dreaming) is a 2004 Taiwan film about 2 guys looking for a AWOL solider. The English title is a little weird for me as it is more like "Dream of Hawaii". During a scene in the movie, they reference the line.

I think it was a good film. There's all sorts of "weird" supporting characters that get their few minutes in. From the 2 kitchen cooks, to the bala girl, to the gangsters, and to the shop owner. All are presented eccentrically.

The recent Taiwan films I've watched recently all have a similar feel to them. They go at a slower pace, focus on many characters' unique attribute, highlight the landscape, and seek discovery. Holiday Dreaming had all those elements.

Part of the story takes place on the eastern coast of Taiwan. I couldn't help but marvel at how beautiful and tropical it all was.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Kung Fu Hip Hop or Kung Fu Pop (精舞門/精舞门)

Originally posted on xanga. Updated 1/21/2009.

Kung Fu Pop or Kung Fu Hip Hop was a rather entertaining movie. Because its a china production with some HK stars, I had to give them the benefit of the doubt. So, I wasn't expecting a great story, nor great production value. I basically expected a b movie.

Because of my extremely low expectations, it was meet and than some. The story was cheesy. The character development was still happening as the movie ended. The reason behind the battles was cheesy! The cheese factor was extremely high.

But that's what I was expecting! It met it and exceeded them because the dancing was actually pretty good and Kung Fu was a nice addition.

My social commentary on all this is that I hope China develops its own urban culture without having to borrow so heavily from the US. I see that influence on HK and Taiwan. It is even more so in Korea and Japan. Instead of borrowing so heavily as the aforementioned countries, create your own. There's over a billion ppl in China. Not all of them will be middle class. I'd guess that most would be struggling as always for a "better" life. They should create from within. Explore from within. None of this "east meets west" crap. We should be offended by "far eastern" anyways.

Monday, July 14, 2008


Originally posted on xanga.

Has it really been 10 years?! In 1998, I had just quite my masters program in psychology to start a career in HTML programming! Inspired by a really lame Faye Wong fansite on Geocities I made overnight, I made that fateful move to the "Tech" field.

That summer, I had an internship with a bank mostly filing folders, papers, scraps, etc. But it was so fun to be in the corporate world and see a service center of over 800 hundred people operate. That fall, I was moved to the ATM group that also included the Webmaster of the bank site. I was actually editing corporate HTML on a semi regular basis.

Whats all that got to do with Starcraft?! Well, I worked 24-30 hours a week there and barely got any sleep. The reason is that I would play Starcraft from my lame 2400 AOL dial-up connection until 4-5 am in the morning and try to make work at 8am. I'd goto my car at 10 and 3 to take 15 naps and napped the whole lunchtime! Just to do the same again, repeating my cycle. I had classes on Tues/Thurs and can't believe I passed those in hindsight. I was a Starcraft addict and was intent on being on the ladder.

That addiction soon wore off by the fall quarter, as I was only playing Starcraft a few hours a week and had fallen off the ladder. The realities of life could not be ignored any longer.

I remember that summer very fondly, but won't expect the same when Starcraft 2 comes out. That was also the summer I had The Rockafeller Skank on repeat and the numerous mixes I could located in the AOL chat rooms distrubing MP3s via emails. Yes, it was only 10 years ago.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Blueberry Nights - 我的藍莓夜

Originally posted on xanga. Updated 1/21/2009.

I recently watched Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights starring Norah Jones. Made in 2006 and released in 2007, it finally made it to DVD in 2008.

I didn't want to write a blog about it right after I watched it, because I wanted to give it a little time to rest and for a couple weeks to go by. I must say that I thought the film to be average. Kind of how I felt after 2046.

Chungking Express is in my top 20 films all time and In The Mood For Love is my my top 100. So, I have great expectations when a new Wong Kar-wai film comes out. I try not to let the hype get me, but its rather hard since his films take forever to get released.

I am glad I watched it because it was very stylist and revolves around love in isolation, the theme I find in all Wong Kar-wai films.

I also have seen way too many films with Jude Law. That guy needs to chill and stop being in everyones artsy fartsy movie. Because he's been in over 25 movies since 1999. I must have seen 20 of those and not because of him, but because of the films. The guy knows the good scripts!

If you're expecting Wong Kar-wai flair, this movie will give it to you.

Friday, July 11, 2008

MTV Sucks

Originally posted on xanga.

I wanted to catch the fourth episode of "America's Best Dance Crew". But instead, its being released next week! What's up with that?! The previous episodes got releases hours after the show air on the West Coast!

I wasn't excited about this show already, that's it, I am out, no more for me. I am just glad that I got my dance (only in my head) on for the past few months.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Legend of the Condor Heroes (射鵰英雄傳)

Originally posted on xanga. Updated 1/20/2009.

I've watched a few clips and trailers for the upcoming wuxia drama The Legend of the Condor Heroes.

I've seen all 3 of the major adaptions since Felix Wong and Barbara Yung's 59 episode epic in 1983/1984. I remember just trying to rent the drama back in the 80s was a major pain. Since there were few video rental stores, it took months to get our hands on it. And because of the demand, we had to return it by a certain date or risk surcharges. Outrageous! Its not like that today. Once the series is over, within a couple of weeks, its on DVD and you can purchase it.

I wasn't all that fond of the 1994 remake featuring Julian Cheung and Athena Chu. Even though Athena is one of my favorite actresses, I didn't think she fit the part.

I did however like the 2003 one featuring Li Ya Peng and Zhou Xun. Maybe because I didn't really have expectations and the series was on VCD, it sorta blew me away. It was annoying to have to change a disc every episode, but I got over it as the series went on. The ending was a little weak beacuse everything seem to end so abruptly.

I was actually quite surprised that they were making the current verson due for release in 2007, but postphoned to 2008 due to an injury to the main make protagonist, Hu Ge.

It would have been less than 5 years if released in 2007. Being released in 2008 roughly gives it 5 years. I don't now, I forget the Jin Yong stories within a few years. Might take me 2 or 3 years to completely forget parts of the stories. That's why I put them on in the background to refresh myself. I did that a couple of years ago for the 2003 series. But once I found out of the 2007 series, I stopped. Just so I would be murky and not completely know the story as I watch it again.

Anyway, search for it on youtube and you'll see many many clips, trailers, MVs, etc about it. I can't wait for it to come out. From what I've seen so far, it's going to have the best production value of any of the Jin Yong series I've seen. I hope it lives up to the hype and people's expectations.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Born to Fight (Kerd ma lui) (1986)

Originally posted on xanga. Updated 1/20/2009.

Born to Fight was released in 2004 but filmed some 18 years before in 1986. The quality is that of some 70s HK b-movie.

The main character does a good job of demonstrating he has skills. But that's about it.

The action seems dated and if you're expecting a Ong Bak, look elsewhere.

Update 1/20/2009: There are 2 versions of this by the same director. The first one is reviewed here, released in 1986 and a remake made in 2004.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

America's Best Dance Crew (Season 2) Episode 3

Originally posted on xanga.

Ok. So I wasn't that excited about watching this episode. For the most part, I wasn't that impressed. However, I will keep watching because of SoReal Cru and Super Cr3w. They had the best routines given the assignment and their choreography. There's still a life line.

I was so disappointed that I went back and watched the first two episodes of the first season. In comparison, I wanted to keep watching, I didn't really look to jump. I am just waiting for the episode to end in season 2.

I think my music taste represents the crews that I tend to favor. I tend to lean towards the groups with very intricate isolations and choreography. Although, I like the b-boy moves a lot, I am bored by the stunts and flips.

Maybe that's why I like Kaba Modern so much. I watched the "encore" routines on Youtube and thought it was so amazing. Especially the ones where they extended it to 5 minutes. Totally blew my mind. I must have watched it 4-5 times in sucession.

I think I prefer those because there is no editing. No cuts to stage, from left to right. Just seeing it straight on makes the whole better.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Home Depot Sucks

Originally posted on xanga.

The Home Depot sucks. If you read this and you work for The Home Depot, I am sure you're not the sucky person and that its your colleague.

I ran out of propane for my BBQ Grill and wanted to exchange mine for a filled tank. I decided to goto The Home Depot (HD) because it seemed the most convenient and was sorta on the way. Man, did I make a mistake.

Instructions are:
1. Leave empty tank (by the cages that are locked and contain both empty and full tanks)
2. Go inside and pay for tank (in my case, an exchange)
3. Come back outside and get full tank

Pretty easy, just 3 steps. I head back to my car and bring the empty tank and leave it by the cages. I make my way inside to go pay for the exchange. On my way to the cash register, I past about 4 or 5 employees. People that are wearing those orange vest and have name tags. I smile, but do not get smiles in return. Instead, I get stares of "what are you looking at" in return. No sweat, I am not here to make friends, just want my propane so I can go home and BBQ for my family.

I get to the cash register(s) area. There's 4-6 self checkout stalls. All full. There's 2 "full" service cash registers open. 1 that's right next to the exit, the propane cages and what seemed like the most convenient. The other one is on the other side of the store in the contractors area. So, roughly 50-75 feet away.

I get in line that's the closest to me and want seemed like the most convenient. 2 parties are ahead of me. The party right ahead of me is (I am guessing here) a mom and daughter pair, not asian. During the checkout process, the mom is chatting it up with cashier that's in his early 20s. It almost seems like flirting. As the mom and cashier are talking it up, a lady that's suppose to change the cash register drawer appears. Its my turn at the line. I have no items as I am going to let the cashier know that I am doing a propane exchange. The lady says to me that they'll help me shortly. Just my luck. I have to wait a couple of minutes for them. No sweat, I am not in a rush. No big deal.

The cash drawer lady finishes her thing and calls the cashier back to begin again. As the cashier is walking back to the cash register, he's on the phone and 2 guys are following him. I tell the cashier that I am paying for propane. Cashier tells me to hold on. Does a bunch of stuff on the register. The 2 guys that followed him are now interacting with him. I am not exactly sure what's going on. I just want to pay for my stuff and leave. I've been waiting in line for a long time. The cashier starts swiping the items of the person behind me!

What in tarnations is going on?! I ask the lady behind me if the cashier skipped me. She doesn't know. I than ask the cashier if he skipped me. I get a "huh?". I asked again a bit more firmly, "Did you skip me?" I get another "huh?" I must be speaking a foreign language! I asked a third time, irritated now, "Did you skip me?!" The cashier now starts to pay attention and says, "Oh, you're not with them?" (referring to the 2 guys that came during the cash drawer exchange).

I look at the 2 guys. They are asian. I look at the the lady behind me, she's asian. The cashier is not asian. Completely irritated, I respond, "Not all asians are togther". The cashier gets really polite and starts on my transaction and calls over the speakers to have someone goto the propane cages for an exchange.

Cashier transaction finished. I goto the cages. I look at the time on my cell phone to see how long I have to wait. 3 minutes go by, no one shows up. 5 minutes now. I don't want to go back inside to deal with anyone. 7 minutes! I am conflicted! I don't want to go back in. Finally, at 9 minutes, an employee of The Home Depot is bringing some carts back and sees me. That guy asked if I need a tank. I say yes, present my receipt, and get my full tank.

So, that speaker call was USELESS! If that cart guy had not showed up, I would have had to go back in to ask for assistance!

I am on the verge of NEVER going back to The Home Depot. I've had good experiences with other ones. Maybe it was that location. During my bathroom remodel 2 years ago, I was at The Home Depot and Lowe's like 3-4 times a week for 2 months. I don't recall service being even remotely as bad as today.

But in any case, the people there are not friendly and the service sucked for the most part. I am not going back to that HD location if I can help it for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Zheng Jie (郑洁/鄭潔)

Originally posted on xanga.

Congrats to Zheng Jie for being the first Chinese woman tennis player to reach the semis of a Grand Slam. Zheng Jie's journey has garnered many headlines since she dispatched Ana Ivanovic, the world No.1 and the No.1 seed at Wimbledon.

In a true act of charity, Zheng Jie has annouced that she will donate all her winnings from Wimbledon to a disaster relief fund for the earthquake's in China. Which devasted her home province of Szechuan, China.

Good luck to Zheng Jie in the semis against Serena Williams.

As I've been reading the articles about her recently, I couldn't help but notice how racist some of them were. My hometown newspaper, LA Times had an article listing Zheng Jie as "exotic". (The Boston Globe) noted that her name is unpronounceable!

Los Angeles and Boston! What is up?! 2 cities with major Asian presence!

UPDATE (7/3/2008) - Zheng Jie lost in straight sets in the semis against Serena Williams. Thanks for the great run Zheng Jie.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing (北京奧運會)

Originally posted on xanga.

Since 2001 when I found out that Beijing won the bid for the 2008 Summer Olympics, I wanted to go. Unfortunately, life didn't align and I will have to watch it from the states.

The past Olympics were always great.

I think the first Olympics I can recall was the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. I was actually here in LA, but I didn't go to any of the events. Only watched it from the TV.

This summer, I plan on tuning in to the following events:
Table Tennis
Beach Volleyball

I think there are more, but Yahoo! sports only has a limited listing.