Archive for January, 2009
So with this flurry of blog posts in the past few days, it’s time for me to take a break. I have less than 5 months until I take the USMLE Step 1 exam, possibly the most important test of my medical career. As I mentioned a while back, I will be taking a blogging break until then so I have one less thing to distract me. I will, however, still be visiting my usual sites so don’t be surprised if I stop by and drop a comment (I can’t study all day after all).
My schedule for the next half year or so: finish the 2nd year of med school strong, prepare for the test in early June, attend my brother’s graduation at Harvard, come back to school for hospital orientation, and then a vacation at an undecided location. Take care, and see you in the summer!
I’m not sure when I first learned about Wolfgang Puck’s signature steakhouse named CUT, but it seems like I’ve been hearing its name every other week for the past year. Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith were photographed having a double date there last year, it was the setting for a lunch meeting in a recent Entourage episode, Adam Carolla on his radio show/podcast talked about his encounter there with a couple The Hills stars in December, on and on, not to mention all the food blog reviews I’ve encountered. CUT is a very hot restaurant, to say the least, and for quite a while, I’ve been looking forward to eating here with its genuine Japanese Wagyu steaks (think: Kobe beef). I made reservations a month in advance!
I leave all my consoles at home so whenever I go back to Los Angeles for Christmas break, there’s typically the “big game” of the year that I can’t wait to play. For 2007, it was Halo 3 and Mass Effect. 2006: Gears of War. And so on. For 2008, I was expecting it to be Metal Gear Solid 4, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Gears of War 2. However, lately I have become so weary of investing time into single player campaigns (and gaming in general) that I ended up playing none of these. Instead, Geometry Wars 2 and Super Street Fighter II Turbo: HD Remix were my games of choice this holiday when I did sit in front of the TV, both supremely excellent titles on Xbox Live Arcade.
But I’m here to talk about my first experiences with the PS3. When the Metal Gear Solid 4 bundles were first announced almost a year ago, I was excited about the PS3 finally having an appealing bundle/deal. However, I wound up talking myself out of buying the system. It wasn’t until Amazon restocked the limited edition Gunmetal MGS4 system for $200 off the original price that I was convinced and bought the PS3 in November.
I had planned to post about the Toto Washlet a few weeks ago when I returned to my Los Angeles home. These washlets aren’t that common in the U.S. and are probably best known as those “crazy Japanese toilets that spray water at your butt”. They’re everywhere in Japan restrooms, of course, but they’re also fairly common in Taiwan and I’m sure in other Asian countries. My uncle has had these toilets in his Taiwan house for a few years, which was an inspiration for my family to install them.
Wow. With the buyout of 1up.com and many Ziff Davis properties by Hearst, scores of Ziff employees have been suddenly laid off. A very harsh reminder of what a volatile and shaky industry videogame journalism is. I wish the best to all their staff. I’ve personally met only a couple of their writers years back when I was writing for GamerFeed/GameDaily, but I’ve long enjoyed the articles and podcasts by the group. They have a talented ensemble over there. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the staff banded together and created a GiantBomb.com-like resurrection.
Coincidentally, I was giving a classmate a ride home literally this afternoon when he asked me completely out of the blue whether I still worked for “that videogame company”. I could only wistfully reply, “Nah, that was in a former life.” Writing about videogames was never a serious career I had considered for a second and I did it only for my own entertainment, but nonetheless I still spent many hours dedicated to the company and got to enjoy many very cool experiences as a reward. It had provided many unforgettable memories. I’m sure the 1up.com staff are now feeling the same way looking back.
During the summer, I worked with a Korean Ph.D. candidate on a research project. He is an awesome person and made time at work pass by very quickly because we would talk constantly about Korean dramas and music. He had hooked up a stereo system in the lab and would introduce me to new artists and songs everyday. Having Epik High and Wonder Girls pumped at full volume in a lab has a very surreal quality. Research has never been so fun. Good times.
One of the shows he recommended to me is 1st Prince of Coffee House, a 2007 Korean drama. Japanese dramas are my mainstay because as I’ve stated previously, they seem to have much more variety. Korean dramas, while in general featuring better acting, tend to be too melodramatic for my tastes, even for the shows with a comedic focus. Plus, Korean dramas are quite long, averaging 16 episodes compared to the typical 10-12 for Japanese dramas.
I don’t watch too many Korean dramas for these reasons, but based on his heavy recommendation, I decided to watch this show. I think I’ve stumbled across the magic recipe for Korean dramas: two good-looking guys and two good-looking girls, each guy likes both girls and each girl likes both guys. Instead of a love triangle, they have love squares. 4 main characters is the perfect number to introduce enough plot points to sustain a 16 episode long series. Throw in some complications and misunderstandings for everybody to agonize over, wrap it up nicely, and there you have it, a Korean drama!
This is number 2 of my “forgotten blog entries”. First off, a disclaimer: I saw Nobuta wo Produce almost two years ago and took a couple screen captures for a blog post that never happened. I’ve forgotten most of the details about this drama, but since I had the screencaps lying around, I figured I might as well dust them off and get them online.
Nobuta wo Produce is a high school drama and a coming-of-age story about several students. Kiritani Shuji (played by Kamenashi Kazuya, center in image) is the most popular kid in school and respected by everyone, but his friendly and cool personality is a deceptive one that he uses to get whatever he wants. Kusano Akira (played by Yamashita Tomohisa, right in image) is the wacky class clown who talks a lot and makes a lot of noise but seems to be largely ignored by everybody, as far as I can remember. He looks up to Shuji and wants to hang around him, but Shuji wants nothing to do with him.
One day, a shy new student shows up at the school: Kotani Nobuko (played by Horikita Maki, left in image). She quickly becomes an outcast and is bullied by the other girls. For some reason I have forgotten, Shuji and Akira decide to have some fun together and begin a project to help Nobuko get out of her shell and make her popular.