Archive for December, 2008
Special New Year’s Eve delivery from the mailman! I’m a huge fan of the DJ Max Portable series on PSP, made by a Korean company called Pentavision. It’s a rhythm game series similar to Beatmania and has great soundtracks and slick presentation. I own the Limited Edition prints of DJ Max Portable 1 and 2, both limited to 1,000 copies each. With the newest installment in the series (titled Black Square), Pentavision outdid themselves again and produced a stellar Quattra Limited Edition. This set is again limited to a scarce 1k run. Being the fanatic that I am, I made sure to reserve one the moment Play-Asia started accepting pre-orders.
As I’ve mentioned previously, visiting A Bathing Ape stores is always a treat in itself. The stores showcase the talent of interior designer Masamichi Katayama and his company Wonderwall. The Los Angeles store just opened in April 2008, and while I knew there weren’t any recent releases that I wanted to buy, I decided to stop by for the first time and check out the store since I was spending the day in downtown L.A. anyway.
In the most amusing performance in recent memory, Perfume appeared on Music Station’s Christmas special, where the producers thought it was a good idea to roll out giant balloons into the crowd. The balloons bouncing around the stage created an attractive visual, but as they were batted around by the audience, they started exploding, flinging debris onto the stage. I thought it was hilarious.
The Perfume Music Station performance is on Youtube so you can check it out for yourself. Perfume is one of the biggest success stories in the past year and a half, vaulting from obscurity into a very popular group in the Japanese music industry. I’m a big fan of their electropop music and their inexplicably hypnotic and bizarre dances.
I’ll walk you through the performance. Perfume begins with an abridged “Polyrhythm”, the song that made them a household name. Before you ask, yes they’re lip-syncing, as they do in pretty much all their performances because of the vocoder use in their songs. At 2:10, they transition into “love the world”, which is when the balloons start rolling out. The balloons explode throughout the song, but the best part is around 3:55 when… well, Kashiyuka gets attacked.
Amazingly, aside from a quick flinch, she was unfazed and continued her dance without a break. A true sign of a professional!
As you probably noticed, I’m trying out a different WordPress theme. The switch was precipitated by my desire to post images larger than 400 pixels wide, which was possible with the old theme but looked awkward because the image would spill over the sides of the allocated column width. If I wanted to widen that layout, I needed to pay for an upgrade so I’m switching to an entirely new theme. The downside is that color is virtually non-existent, which I’ll have to disguise by posting more pictures!
For prosperity’s sake, here’s my former header image:
If you were ever curious about the meaning of “Protocol Snow”, I briefly discussed its origin before. The header image itself was inspired both by that name and by my fondness for bicycling in the snow/ice, which I still maintain is a lot easier than slipping all over the place on foot. I snapped the photo outside my university’s main library with my bike covered in snow.
My connecting flight to Los Angeles has been delayed an hour and a half so I’m stuck here in Phoenix, kicking back after probably the scariest flight I’ve ever been on. I don’t have an accurate measuring stick, but there was a 5 minute stretch of turbulence where I experienced estimated G forces of 2 G’s and plenty of negatives. If it had continued for long enough, I’m certain I would have sunken eyes by now.
Anyway, hooray for free wireless internet so I have something to keep my mind off the delay. I just overheard a conversation by a couple of guys and a woman who had gotten off a flight. They apparently had met for the first time on the flight and I’m guessing they sat in the same row. The woman’s connecting flight is delayed until tomorrow, so the guys, who claim to live 10 minutes from the airport, are offering to let her stay overnight.
She thanked them for the offer, but declined. The guy then offered again, reiterating that it would be only a 10 minute trip away. She declined again. In total, it took three denials before the guys finally got the hint and left. “I gave you my number so give me a call if you need anything. 10 minutes!” he called as he left. The woman had already turned away.
As school starts to get more intense and with the ultimate exam (USMLE Step 1) waiting in June, free time is hard to come by.
Oh who am I kidding, I still manage to keep up with my favorite TV shows (Top Gear, Top Chef, 30 Rock, and The Office) and do plenty of Internet browsing. But updating this blog has become secondary, as evident from the progressively lengthening time between posts. I have a few drafts that I’ll post this Christmas break, but I’m considering taking a blogging break for the first half of 2009, when I really have to get serious about studying for that test. I feel it’s a courtesy to announce a blogging break because otherwise readers might think the blog is dead if there hasn’t been any updates for a couple months. Nothing definitive for now, but I’ll see after the New Year and will make a separate post in the future about that.
Anyway, I was taking a break from studying for my Friday test (last one in 2008!) and came across a few links:
Iron Chef: Battle Souplantation
Maybe it’s because I’ve been studying too much, but I thought this idea was hilarious. Souplantation is a hearty buffet restaurant that specializes in salads and soups and is one of my favorite comfort restaurants. The food blogger who wrote this dined there with a friend and challenged her to make custom dishes with the available food.
I eat at Souplantation pretty much every time I go back home because it’s cheap and pretty tasty. This challenge brought back memories of a past Souplantation experience after my brother had his jaw surgery. When you eat at Souplantation, you start at the beginning of a long and winding food bar and make your way to the end where the cash registers are. My brother wasn’t able to chew anything, but he came with us to eat anyway to drink soup.
Of course, since he couldn’t eat anything, he was pushing an empty plate along the food bar, which I found very amusing. While getting bored waiting in line, I started taking vegetables and making a smiley face on his empty plate with the ingredients, the face getting more complex as we proceeded along the bar. I don’t remember if my brother was annoyed or not since he couldn’t eat, but the people waiting behind us were giggling.
My favorite model, Jessica Michibata, has recently published her first photobook. She updated her blog today with photos of a meet-and-greet session in Shinjuku with autographed copies of the book. I’m thinking about picking up a copy, though no U.S. retailer is carrying it last I checked. With the yen so strong these days, it’ll be pretty costly if I have to import it. Autographed copies have already appeared on Yahoo Japan Auctions though. Hrm…
Encore opening coverage
The opening of a new casino in Las Vegas is always exciting, though in this case Encore is just an expansion of Wynn Las Vegas. Still, I’m keeping an eye on this site, which will bring coverage from a couple of Vegas veterans as opening night approaches in two weeks. Since I’m a Los Angeles native, Las Vegas has always been a quick and easy vacation destination, a mere three hour drive away. I probably won’t be going to Vegas this Christmas, but late 2009 is definitely a possibility. Several new properties are scheduled to open by then for me to check out.
Alright, back to studying. After my test on Friday, I’m going home!
UPDATE: I can’t express enough how much I love Top Gear. If you haven’t seen it before, today’s episode is a good place to start because it has it all: super fast cars, entertaining and informative segments, laughs aplenty and gorgeous cinematography. Then go back and check previous episodes because they’re all good. This episode particularly sparkles.