Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cool Hough Kids

It's a Sunday evening and I'm listening to The Cool Kids. I just found out about them, of course via what some may think are questionable means: iTunes free tracks.

It's very much in the same vein as Lupe Fiasco. People say it's a throwback to the Hip Hop of the 80s. Whatever it resembles, me likey. As long as it's not like the crap that I hear blasted through cars all over the place today. I'm not a hip hop fan--it's fun to dance to when you're out and about, but to listen to everyday? Not so much. But The Cool Kids are something I can listen to. It's not tolerable, it's actually enjoyable.

On to another topic: dancing. Specifically, that Dancing with the Stars has some really hot girls. Of course, Cheryl Burke is cute. I've known that for the past few seasons, but I only found out about Julianne Hough today. I can't believe there's another blonde I can add to my mental cutie list. She is really something. I guess that dancing does your body good. It looks fun what with all the dancing shows that have sprouted recently.

If Cheryl wasn't a reason enough to watch DWTS, then Julianne shaking it will force me. Just maybe.


Do we live proxy lives? Well, think about what you do and what you get. Do you do something that will immediately or directly get you what you need or want?

I've never really thought about this, but I say we do live disconnected lives. If you're working, you go to work to make money. The immediate result of working is receiving money. This money then is used to get you things like food or fun. In a life that is not a proxy life, one would do something where the act of doing is the goal or its immediate outcome is the goal. Proteanview compared it to tribes who go hunt or gather to get the food that they need. Or if you wanted to have fun, you would actually do the act of having fun like dancing.

I would say that the proxy life is what allows us to have complex and sometimes fulfilling lives if conducted correctly. But this is also a broad generalization. Maybe there are people who like working for a company and actually work for the goal of helping that company. Maybe some people don't pay for their fun. Maybe some people do gather their food at the end of they day.

For those who live the proxy life, the use of money and trade has allowed us to get material wealth and satisfaction. I like my video games, and for the most part, I worked to get money to get them.

Of course, there's always more to life than this proxy and daily grind. I think those who do the proxy thing really well, make loads of money so they can do loads of things. In those cases, the proxy life works.

For me, if money didn't matter, if I felt invincible, if I didn't need to worry about the future, I think I could enjoy myself more.

But that's when I ruled the world

I can't think off the top of my head a Coldplay song that featured violins so prominently as the driving rhythm as they do in their single Viva La Vida. Of course I am a little biased since I am such a huge Coldplay fan, but I really love this song. So far, they're two for two. I really liked Violet Hill, and I think Viva La Vida really complements it. Viva La Vida has a driving beat like many Coldplay songs, but I get a laid back feeling from this single. Whereas Violet Hill is a little more determined and serious like a marching band, Viva La Vida is just a genuine enjoyable feel-good song. It's like opening a box and a gust of wind hits you and you smile and listen to to the violins playing. I'm not trying to analyze the lyrics, but I like that they gave a shout-out to Roman Catholic choirs. I can just picture a choir full of singers in the black and white church frocks on a grassy hill and everyone having a good time in the summer. Except not to hot like an American summer, but what I imagine a European trip to a field would be like.

I really don't care that Viva La Vida is played in the iTunes commercial. I'm past judging when bands sell-out. If it weren't for "selling out" I would never have heard of Coldplay back in the day. One of their songs ("In My Place") was played on Smallville, when Smallville was still bearable and interesting. Since then, I never looked back.

But, I have yet to experience them live. I'm upset, thought that in their Norther American tour, they won't be selling tickets to a New York City showing. You have to win it, so I'm hoping I have good luck.

Violet Hill and Viva La Vida feel like Coldplay's newest effort will be really fresh. They seemed more relaxed and I'm hoping that each track spawns the same desire from me to listen to them on a loop.

Monday, May 19, 2008

M. Night's "The Happening"

M. Night Shyamlan's new movie The Happening comes out this summer.  Check out the trailer first then decide.  So far, I'm very "meh" about this movie.  It's definitely not because it's by M. Night.  I've already come to terms that The Sixth Sense will be his best movie, but I am not a serial M. Night hater.  You just need to realize how good his first movie was and then tone it a tad bit down for the rest, but I actually really liked Signs and I liked The Village (but not too much).

People and animals, I think, are dying all around the world.  People are scared and panicking.  No one know what's happening.  It sounds like a good suspenseful premise.  I feel like it could be a J.J. Abrams type of Lost thing, but quieter and creepy.  But it's just the damn trailer and makes it look horrible.  Rumor has it that there's no real resolution in the movie.  It might end in a cut-to-black or the actual "happening" is invisible or imagined.  Actually, as I am writing this I am starting to feel a little hyped for this movie.  I just hope that the resolution is satisfying or at least I can syphon some deeper meaning whilst everyone else hurrah-hurrah's for the stupid Hulk movie.  (I'm still going to see the Hulk.  But not in theaters necessarily.)

I guess you shouldn't watch the trailer.  That way, the whole suspense and atmosphere of the movie won't be spoiled.  I'm going to keep my fingers crossed, but I won't be holding my breath.  (Lady in the Water just hurt me too much.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Did you know Brazil can function well even without foreign oil?  They have cars that can run on sugarcane ethanol.  If there were a situation that prevented the import of any oil, like, oh say, we run out of this "unlimited" fossil fuel, Brazil would not flinch.  I'm calling the U.S. out on this.  Why?  Why can't we develop technology that will make our economy and security that much stronger.  We will be independent and keep the earth healthy.  We won't have to unnecessarily kiss the middle east's ass.

Oil is not unlimited.  The world will run out soon enough.  Maybe that will be the only thing that keeps people from driving.  Also, we could just stop using plastic bags in supermarkets.  It takes oil just to make those bags that people throw away after they buy their grocery.  Switch to cloth bags that you can reuse again and again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lost Predickshuns

What the fuck is up with Lost? Seriously. I just saw the episode in the fourth season (current) that has Locke asking a dude in the cabin how to save the island from the boat guys. This show is constantly throwing me motha-effing questions. I seriously feel like I'm being jerked around. The Lost writers are having field days where they sit around in a circle, probably on the grass in the forest, while they smoke some herbs and shrooms, and they decide to put the most unbelievable things on the show. Not too unbelievable, but just crazy enough that you think what the fuck just happen in the last hour.

You name it they have put it in the show. You thought polar bears were nuts. You thought smoke monsters were insane. Try having time traveling and flashbacks that combine with flashforwards and an island that seems to have no rules. I think that the show ends with the island just having some goddam underground railroad system that supplies the insula with all the freaky shit ever. ("Hey, let's put a polar bear and some dharma cereal on this thing and send it to the island. We got nothing else to do".)

Now Christian, Jack's supposedly dead father, and just last week, also Claire's father, is actually on the damn island. And not just on the island like where-the-fuck-am-I, but inside the cabin with friggin' Claire. Claire is not even freaked out. She has even let her infant son go. What kind of fracked up shiznit is this bowl of honkey doo?

Stop jerking me, Lost writers! It's episodes like this when I just want to shoot myself and switch back to being a Heroes fan. Sure, Heroes is Lost lite, but that's because when they give you questions they answer it.

Let's make a bet, we'll see someone get shot on the island but mysteriously reappear later on. No,not crazy enough. He'll reappear as a girl. And he'll actually be Jack from the future. She'll be Jack from the future who had a sex change because that's the only way the island would let Jack back on the island.

And then someone will discover that if you stick an iguana in your bum, the smoke monster will appear in a pinkish hue and the theme song from Charles In Charge will announce its arrival every time. That way you have a head start.

Let's see. What else will Lost come up with. Okay, Locke will learn magic during an extended stay in the cabin. Not Harry Potter magic, but stupid parlor tricks. Let's make that one singular trick. He can turn a flower into a dove. And that dove craps green meteor rocks that people can eat just in case there's no helicopter drop-off. Of course Hurley will have a ball with this dove. Not because he's fat. But because instead of a regular dove face. The dove will have the face of Libby. Yeah, motherf@#$ing Libby.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Fringe and Dollhouse

Fox has a history for being a trash hole for reality television and crappo vision in general. They do get good shows once in a while, but they don't know how to market or handle it and Fox ends up canceling it (e.g. Firefly and Arrested Development). Recently, Fox has picked up orders for two shows that have great potential for next year's television run: Fringe and Dollhouse.

What makes Fringe and Dollhouse Asukal fodder? They're made by the Lost/Cloverfield guy (J.J. Abrams) and by the Firefly/Serenity dude (Joss Whedon) respectively. Lost and Firefly are two of my favorite things. That and kittens. Plus had Iron Man not been so hot, I would say that Cloverfield is the best movie I've seen in theaters this 2008.

Of course, Fox will fuck it all up, so I'll probably end up just adding a box set of seven episodes for each show next-next season. Fringe is about a government group that studies paranormal events. From the little I've read, it sounds like an X-files show. I actually never watched X-files when I was younger, so I'm actually not really looking forward to Fringe its content; rather, I'm just riding the J.J. hype train. (He made Lost and Cloverfield, so Fringe might be good.)

I'm more excited for Whedon's Dollhouse. The last thing of Joss that I was into was Firefly/Serenity, and since that's dead, I've been lacking in the Whed department. Firefly was the bomb. But even without Whedon's name on the show, the concept sounds loads more interesting than Fringe. It's also about a government group, but it's a group of people that can have memories or personalities downloaded and use that to solve cases. It's a secret group, I am guessing, but the drama and excitement comes from the question of whether it's ethical to do such things and whether the dolls have true identities themselves. There's a lot that can be played around there. It will of course have the wit that comes with Whedon's writing. Just think of Asukal but the exact opposite.

We shall see. Hopefully there will be more box sets of Dollhouse than of Firefly at the end of its run. Oh, and Tahmoh Penikett of Battlestar Galactica will be in it alongside Eliza Dushku. Penikett deserves more screen time as he was one of the better actors on BSG. Go, Helo!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Check Out My Stimulus Package

What would I do with my stimulus check? Let's see: I'm unemployed because I quit my job months ago. I'm still in grad school part-time for a degree that will get me back into the same job that I quit. I'm living at home and living-- err, I mean, mooching off of mama and papa (emphasis on the second syllables). And, I am slowly chipping away from my savings. Actually, it's not slow, I am blowing it.

Most people are going to save it. They're the smart ones. They're the ones with discipline and jobs. They have the foresight to look to their retirements. But what can I say? I'm in my mid-20s (almost wrote 'early', arghh!) and I think I should focus on enjoying myself. About a year ago, when I was enjoying work (summer is awesome, not just for students, but for teachers) I was thinking of saving up to go travel for this summer. I wanted to save up enough to so I could pay for my brothers also. But of course, plans change. Now I'm taking it slow.

I still want to enjoy myself. So I'll feed my second addiction, which is video games! Depending on how much I get, I plan on saving it temporarily and earmarking it for a nice Playstation 3. Grand Theft Auto IV is begging to be played, but I want that PS3 bundle that comes with Metal Gear Solid IV. I may have to spend more than the stimulus, but this is a great excuse to blow several hundreds of dollars. What was I gonna save for anyway? A car? Well, maybe that would make more sense, but I have the urge to splurge on gaming. Plus, you know my Wii is horrible for anything but Smash Bros.

I dont' know. Maybe I should wait until the price of a Playstation 3 is more manageable, like around $200 to $300. Who knows if I'll even get a check.

EDIT: On second thought, I don't even have an HD tv to enjoy this sucka.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Go, Batman. Go, Batman, Go!

Just to show you how much I love Batman Begins: I came home last night tired and allergic to everything, but I still popped in BB from NetFlix, and I still was able to stay up (3 am end time).

I couldn't watch it in the family's pseudo home theater/den because my bro was studying in there, but I was not easily prevented from enjoying god bat fun. I pulled up my lappy (that's laptop for you laymen), grabbed my bed sheets and jumped on to the uber-comfy leather sofa. It wasn't an ideal set up since I had to use headphones and I had to tilt my head to see the screen, but the softness of the couch alleviated some of the problem. Hey, it was better than sitting on a chair with the laptop on a table as if I were studying. Paper!

I was actually surprised that I enjoyed Batman Begins so much on the second time. Well, I was more surprised that I hardly remembered each scene. It was as if I were watching it for the first time. Still an unbelievable movie. The ironic thing is that the realism and plausibility of the movie is what made it so good.

Batman has always been that type of hero: relatable and human. You believed this rich man is so angry at life that he became this vigilante. You believed that he was inspired by his good parents to make things better in Gotham by seeking justice and turning away from his angry vengeance. Most origin super-hero movies are like that. It's great to see how Batman came to be. Literally, it was great to see how he learned to work in the shadows, where did he get the inspiration for his special gloves and his symbol. It was great to see how he acquired his gadgets and how his bat signal came about. So good.

I was also really impressed by the star power of the movie. Most movie stars stay away from comic book roles and roles that have them play limited parts in general. Cain and Freeman, two of some of the best actors around, had little screen time compared to Bats and action, especially Freeman, but that didn't stop them from playing their characters well. It's great to see that they're not too stuck up to be in comic book movies.

One may also argue that Batman Begins stands on its own outside of the comic book genre. I actually feel that Batman Begins can be a good movie by itself unlike movies like Spider-man and Iron Man. (Absolutely, under no circumstances, am I dissing Spidey and the tin can. Awesome and almost stands with Batman Begins in the best movie category. Actually, those three movies may switch places alot in my book.)

This post is already too long. I was going to argue against the naysayers who say nay to what they think was an unexplosive movie. Maybe later.

Monday, May 05, 2008

McDonald's Paper

Right now, I am sitting in a McDonald's on Broadway and 138th-ish. It's not everyday I get to "blog" outside of, what now feels like, a permanent hole. So enjoy this little bit Asukal fans.

I woke up this morning and I finally went to school to begin my research for my paper. I'm not writing anything heavy, it's just for my thesis in education. It's probably going to be a load of bull-donkey-doo, but most papers from my experience are. Did I get much work done? Not really. But I did navigate my school's worthless digital library system so that I could download pertinent journals. If I had been just a little bit more lazy, I'd have just stayed at home and trudged through google scholar. I got at least 10 articles or so-- that should be enough. I still have to "read" them and THEN start typing the paper. I only have to have the review-of-literature and methods section for this semester, but I heard from a birdie that the literature part is the hardest. I have to look at the past work that giants have done so that I can stand on their shoulders and see farther than them. That's not going to happen.

I'll probably just wrap a portion of the giant-- the toe, maybe, and color over the wrapping paper with my own two-cents and style. It should be good enough for class.

When did I become this diminutive pretender? Was it right after 8th grade? Did I really peak ten or so odd years ago? What the frick kind of peak was that?

I hope that the next real world post is much more lively, because that crispy BLT I scarfed down is making me depressed. Or, it's the allergies-- allergies to pollen and pollo.

It's time for class now. Peace, I'm out!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Taglog Pangako Or Not

I am so jealous of this little girl I found on youtube who can speak Tagalog better than me. That's not such a huge feat, but if you take into account that I'm in my 20s and she's in her fours, it is a little embarrassing. What's even cooler is that she's a Ukrainian-Canadian baby who was adopted by a Filipino family in Canada. So take that, me!

But, oh how she's just the cutest thing in the world. She reminds me of how much I miss my little cousin when she was four. My cousin had the cutest voice with a slight lisp which made her so cute (I'm oozing cute thoughts right now). She would call me Kuya (0f course) and one time started calling her own mother Tita because she heard me and my bros call her that. Then my tita would be all "Anak, don't call me tita. Call me Mommy".

Good times.

Anyway, I realized a couple of things from this video. Even though I'm relatively young to be thinking of having my own family, I realized that I'd be perfectly happy with adoption. Color doesn't matter. I know I can genuinely have feelings for a child who's not my own blood. Plus, blood is overrated.

Secondly, I think I'm going to start speaking Tagalog at home. Sure, my family speaks English to each other, but my mamay (grandpa, but in reality great-grandpa) does not. He's really old and it would be great if I can tel my mamay to stop dancing or tell him a joke or ask how he hid from the Japanese during the second world war. I see it all the time-- Americans who can communicate with their older relatives. Why can't I?

The first thing though, is I have to get over how stupid I may sound sometimes. I can sound decent when I say things like "Na saan sila Daddy?" or " Give me the remote. Tumotulog ka lang." Basically, it's pidgin Taglish. But I think I'm going to start trying to form sentences, regardless of how much of a manok I sound like. If I combine that with English Tagalog dictionaries, I think I'll be fine.

We'll see what happens. I have made so may promises like this before. Plus, I would like to be able to talk to relatives in the Philippines who live in the bukid/country-side. Some live in Manila, and they speak English, but I would love to joke around and be relaxed in the bukid.

Ciao. (God, I can't stop watching this cute little girl speak Tagalog!)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Iron Man One and a Half

This is not really a second look at Iron Man. I do want to see it for a second time (only other movie I saw twice in theaters was Spider-man 2), but I just want to nitpick the movie some more. Now that I've had more time to think about it, Iron Man ranks up there with Spider-man 2. It doesn't surpass it for a couple of reasons.

The biggest reason is that the commercials, trailers, and advertisements pretty much spoiled all the scenes of the movie. Granted, it made Iron Man's trailers that much incredible, but at the expense of some wow factors during the actual. Yes, I was wowed a couple of times during the movie, but if the trailers and commercials would just have left some things out, I know this movie would have leap-frogged right over my favorites. Excellent trailers, though. It really made me hyped for this movie.

Another reason Iron Movie does not surpass Spider-man 2, is the fight scenes. I'm not going to spoil anything, but towards the end of the movie, I was hoping Iron Man would fight the baddies with excellent fight scenes. Look at SP 2, all those high flying acrobatics and hand to hand combat with Doc Ock were incredible. I could not believe my eyes, and this was with 2004 technology. Iron Man did impress with the graphics, but he didn't really fight much. Sure he used his repulsors and missiles here and there, but there was no build up. He should have charged up his cannons at one point and deliver a final blow to his enemy. Watch the movie and you'll see what I mean.

Iron Man is still the incredible summer movie to beat this year. I highly recommend it. If the sequel, which hopefully still focuses on Stark, has more combat and his demon-in-a-bottle struggles, I can see Iron Man 2 surpassing Spider-man 2.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Iron Man

I just saw a night-before showing of Iron Man (Woot, Woot!). As you can tell by my wooting, I really enjoyed the movie. Either that, or I just enjoyed going to see movies the night they are released. I actually didn't know they show movies the night before-- this wasn't a midnight screening like Spider-man 3, which by the way, I saw a year to this weekend before (Maybe, I'll make a habit of this every year).

Before I give a quick review of Iron Man, I just want to give everyone a heads up: I saw this movie by myself. There were other people in the theater, but I went to it alone. Judge me if you want to, but I just don't have the call-up-and-hang-out relationship going with peeps. Most of those peeps are either broke, working, or hundreds of miles away. So you see why I had to go "dolo". Also, I would like to apologize to any English majors and my brother, if they find my use of conjunctions to begin sentences appalling. It's a bad habit. But, what are you going to do? (On purpose, I did that.)

Iron Man has marked the beginning of the summer blockbuster season. Definitely kills Spider-man 3, but if you think about it, that's not too hard to accomplish. It had all the elements of a great popcorn flick: action, boy and girl flirting, uber effects, and of course comic relief. What you won't find are corny-ass one-liners (How many hyphens have I used so far?). Thank God, for that. Nothing ruins a movie more than those stupid quips. Just watch Catwoman. Actually, the sad thing is the puns in that movie were the least of its problems.

Robert Downey, Jr plays the billionaire playboy very well. He's a fast talker and should definitely give props to the writers. Kudos. It's good to see Ms. Paltrow in something that's not by Billy Shakespeare. She's back on my good list. Right next to Chris and the band.

Iron Man is just a comic book fan's dream come true. There are nice hints here and there that reference things in the comics (War-machine, anyone? That has to be one of my favorite scenes). You should wait until the end of the credits to get a nice bonus scene. In response to that, I hope they just make some sequels focusing on Stark/Iron Man, instead of adding more heroes and villains. Take a book from Spider-man 3: You CAN actually overdose on super-heroes and villains.

This movie is for everyone. Iron Man brings back the super-hero movie in a sea full of wannabes. It deserves a seat right next to Spider-man 1 and 2 and Batman Begins.

Next Stop: The Dark Knight.