Saturday, November 20, 2010

Movie Night - November 20, 2010

Movie night, and a note that holy crap it's icy out there when i left. Car coved, driveway slippy, stay safe out there people.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
   Do i need to say how much i love, love, love this movie? Watched it four times or more now since getting the bluray, and still want to watch it more. I'll make the obligatory note that the graphic novels are great too, but both hold their own. You will get a lot more information about backstory in the books, that makes you appreciate the movie more, but the movie can stand on it's own. So many scenes were right out of the books, and most of the characters looked right out of the movie. Anyway, see this movie and read the books. I don't know of anything else like it.

Funky Forest: the First Contact
   Speaking of nothing else like it, this movie. Wow, Japan sure can bring the weird. It was long, with an intermission, and then another intermission, but that was more a joke, but it kept you on your feet wondering wtf was going to happen next. Eventually, most of the parts sort of connected, mostly by characters, but still, very random performance art feeling. Not necessarily in a bad way, but a very, very weird way. Think dreams you can't control. That pretty much sums it up i think, but i could be wrong.

Hot Tub Time Machine
   Liked this, tons of great call backs to 80s movies, and a great cast. Not the most sympathetic characters at times, but that is part of it's charm, and it's also not very PC. Not sure what else to say, but i'll have to see if i can find out more about certain characters, who seemed familiar.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Culture Fest and other stuff

Tuesday i decided to go to culture fest, after many hours of pacing around, changing my mind back and forth, etc. Part of why i was so undecided was that i only heard about this from the online calendar that UW-RF has on their site, and that they also listed the rehearsals but didn't make it clear which one was the "real" event. Sadly, it also showed i seemed to miss another drag show the week before. They really need to advertise things better, but who knows, maybe they have tons of info at the university talking about it, but off campus, even the local newspaper site, had nothing at all that i could find. Another part of tossing around if i should go was that it was at the North Hall Auditorium, which i've only been in a couple times at most, and many years ago. So i did't know if there would be a good spot to photograph from without bothering too many people.

Eventually, i did decide to just go. Fought the anxiety and just went. Also forgot my extra memory cards. D'oh! If i had the 5D with me that would be less of a problem, as with the 16GB cards it can hold around 800 photos, but i had the 7D and with the same card it holds about 500 or so. Sounds like a lot, but with still being not so used to low light, performance shooting, i set it on high speed capture, and try to get some good shots of motion. So sadly i had to set the capture to medium sized RAW, i'm not a fan of shooting in JPEG, as RAW saves so much more information, and allows more recovery of borderline shots post shoot.

So i get there, walk in the auditorium, and see it's got a balcony. I ask a lady working if it's okay to go up there, and she says it should be. I was mostly worried the doors would be locked, as there were lights up there, but once i got up one door was unlocked. I grab a decent seat, and get ready. Side note, have i mentioned how much i hate stairs? I really need to get in better shape, ugh. Before the event starts, three more people end up sitting up there, but after intermission aren't there anymore. I hope my camera wasn't too noisy, especially during the quieter moments, but that's part of why i sat where i did, to not be such a disturbance.

The event itself was pretty awesome, very similar to the Unity in the Community events that had people perform. A couple things of note that stood out to me the most (and i'll probably be talking about these on my daily photo site, but i wanted to post like this here, yeah, yeah, i know).

It started with a fashion show, various countries, here is the Japan group. All pretty neat, and well done, but the Japan ones were just adorable, they had fans they held up, even the guy.

The belly dancer, i believe her name is Dalal (i heard her last name, but no clue if i'd mangle it), and if i 'm not mistaken, the same woman who preformed the belly dances at the Unity in the Community events i've been to the years before. She's pretty damn awesome, i don't know much about belly dancing, but she did a great job. It was funny though, that when she was ready, they kept having problems with the music. They got it going right though, and off she went. Personally, i prefer her hair like this to the very curly she had before. This outfit is neat too, the layers of the white and red really played off each other well.

The swing dancers were pretty amazing too, doing moves like flipping around, tossing each other around and up, all that. Not what i was expecting at all, that's for sure. Just sad that at the shutter speed i had to use, a lot of them had a lot of motion blur and didn't look as good as i would hope.

I forget this guy's name, (i really wish they had programs for these, lots of hard to remember names) but he started out with a ukulele and moved on to a guitar and singing a medley of  songs that one wouldn't think of as fit for acoustic guitar. Pretty awesome really.

The guy on the right was the main performer for this bit. Started out with telling a joke, then asked for someone from the audience, who he asked to help him take his clothes off, joked about her being his wife, and revealed a tattoo (fake?) of the falcon and UWRF. Then said it was because it was because of all the great people he has met here. (awww) Then the guy on the left came out, and they did a fight routine, with different music and such, that worked it's way into music from Mortal Kombat theme song and them fighting in slow motion. It was hilarious, they even had fake blood and were amusing. Some of the moves were very impressive too, so hard to describe really. One of the best of the night for sure.

Ha Family Lion Dance Troupe. I've always loved these, not sure why, but it was pretty cute how the tail wagged as it moved too. At one point it lost one of those balls on it's nose.

The singer, who's feet you can see on the stage, told people to sing along and dance if they wanted, so people did. It's was pretty fun, at first people started waving arms around, then a couple held up lighters, then several started dancing, more than you see here.

There were more pictures, and performers, but this is what i felt like elaborating on for now. Good times, good performers, but bad advertising.

I was going to talk about some other stuff, but this is getting long, and i'm sure people don't really want to hear about that. More just weird dreams, feelings, all that emo stuff. ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Movie Night - November 13, 2010

Movie night and was also Sebastian's birthday, so mostly his choice. Also very random. ;)

DC Showcase: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam
   That is some title! Heh. It was pretty good, but a bit confused that it was so short and that it had the other shorts from DC Showcase with it, and priced the way it was. Still, loved it, an actual origin story i liked (they didn't drag it out ages) and he didn't do the "but i don't want these powers" bit.

Laaaame... All clips of this are "Embedding disabled by request". So here is a link to one clip.

The Flash Pilot
   Well... that didn't age well... We didn't even finish it actually, we all got bored. Not a good sign.

Birds of Prey Pilot
   Much better, although so odd how they change characters for the tv from the comics.

   I'm not as much a fan of this as most people it seems, way, way too long getting to know annoying characters, monster macguffin, then the peek a boo monster near the end (i mean really? No one saw this huge monster coming in the quiet field? really?), shaky cam, lets sacrifice everyone for a half dead jerk, etc. While the effects were awesome, the idea of huge monster on the rampage, it winning, no real answer, all that, which would pretty much be what it would be like too. Although i thought the Gamera one from a while back did it better while actually having more a story than "lets escape, no i need to get my ex, now lets run, and scene". Sorry, i'm feeling snarky, heh. Also of note, the Rifftrax makes this movie a whole lot more enjoyable. ;) Speaking of Rifftrax, the Troll 2 one, is awesome, unlike the original movie. ;)

Invader Zim The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot and The Nightmare Begins
   How can you not know Invader Zim, or not love it? ;) It's awesome.

How Not to Live Your Life Don's New Job and Don's Angry Girlfriend
   New season, first two episodes. So glad they are all back. :)

Kitty Bunny in a box

While cleaning the kitchen area, and emptying all the stuff out of this box, Kitty decided to run in there, and relax. She loves boxes, not as much as Maru the Cat, but she loves these. They all seem to love things that have only one way out, with a cover on top, probably a prey instinct. Keeps them safer feeling. Whatever the reason, it's adorable, and i had to grab the camera.

One thing you may be able to see, is her skin condition. She's flaking like crazy, has been since last year, and her fur is not growing back there as fast. It's almost like dandruff, but where it's the heaviest it forms an almost crusty area, and it seems to itch for her too. When i take her to my vet, who is very well versed in rabbits as house pets, not as farm animals, she can't seem to find out what is causing it. No bugs, mites, or anything like that. I've looked online, and nothing that seems close fits, as her blood is always fine. I've thought about giving her a bath, but the vet and people online say it is a huge stress for bunns, and if she is unwell, it can push them over the edge. Plus they really, really hate being wet, and can get too cold if wet too long. She otherwise seems fine, so maybe i'll just have to keep grooming her and spoiling her until we can figure out what will help.

Feisty silly bunn. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010


So i noticed a huge spike of views on my flickr, something that really only happens when i upload new things, and usually only when it's of cute girls. On the stats page, i see this:
Click to embiggen. 

I go look and see what is up with that, as it's a little weird that so many seem like radio stations. Turns out there is some thing they all have up that shows a collection of body painted women, painted as sports teams and what not. They all show the same people, and when clicked on they get sent to the flickr. 

This is the one image they linked to and has been getting a lot of views:
From the Painted Muse set.

I'm guessing this got linked because i recently switched the usage on my photos so one of the bands i took photos of could grab them to use. I guess it's "welcome to the internet" for me, heh. 

One of the funnier aspects of this is that my 'all time' views are pretty amusing to me:
Pretty girl, pretty girl, Juusto snacks (??), pretty girl, pretty girl, holga cap (??)

That shot of the Juusto Snacks gets a lot of searches from google, no doubt because they are so yummy. The holga cap though, that gets hit from all over, hopefully more people get sent to, as that's who made it. That gas mask shot though, it's been rocketing up the ranks, and six favorites so far, and the top 11 most favorited of mine are of her in the mask. 

So yeah, not a real point to this, just something to distract me from cleaning for a bit and felt like sharing. 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Movie Night - November 7th, 2010

Movie night again, some disappointing movies sadly, so while it's sad Jason has to work so much, i'm sure he won't be sad he missed most of these. ;)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine
   We came in later to this, having seen it before, though i can still share what i thought. While the X-Men are one of my favorite comics, mostly from the 80s and such with quality coming and going, the movies have only partly impressed me. This one, not so much. The best parts are Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth. I never would have picked those two to portray them before the movies, but they do a great job. The other characters were changed in bizarre and silly ways to the point that i had to wonder why they were even in the movie as those characters. Deadpool is a perfect example. Not to get on a rant, but his comic book version is a funny smack talking character that frequently breaks the fourth wall and is quite witty. Funny fact, one of the few surviving Rob Liefeld  characters from the 90s, pouches and all, and is even more popular now. The movie version starts out okay, then is not even close. Oh well.  
   I'd also like to point out the 'de-aging' system used in this and other movies, mostly by Lola. It's used in movies on major stars and has such an NDA attached that in those, you'll never know. It's also used less harshly in those. In this and the other X-Men movies, it seems to be pushed too hard, or even the fact that we know the faces of those stars too well, that they look uncanny (no pun intended, or maybe it is, heh) so 'young'. The effects are also very inconsistent in the movie, and i'm really curious as to why. From scene to scene even. Watch his claws for a good example. Ah well. 
   So for so much written here, it's a 'meh' movie. Unfocused, cluttered, and in the end kind of pointless. If you are an X-Men fan, you may like it or hate it, but should probably see it for some reason. ;)

Clash of the Titans
   The new one. To sum up: exposition...ACTION... fly over shot... exposition...ACTION... fly over shot... exposition...ACTION... fly over shot... exposition...ACTION... fly over shot...  (you get my point, heh). Not to mention, it has only minor connections to the actual myth which is trippy and awesome by itself (best comment ever about the Greek Gods "What’s not to love about a murderous, incestuous and all together mentally unstable pantheon of absurdly powerful beings.") the characters are annoying, and there is no reason to care about any of them. Felt like a videogame most of the time, and not a good one. 

Psychoville Halloween Special
   Oh my god, this was awesome! Reminded me of Trick r Treat at times, but in a very good way. It's so not for kids, to say the least, especially certain parts, but i loved it. 

Hills Run Red
   Oh Dark Castle, what happened to you? I loved the first few films, good fun horror, not 'this'. 

How Not to Live Your Life
   The last three episodes of season 2. Better than season one, which was up and down, but i enjoyed it. This season the chemistry was better and their timing was awesome. I also want to point out, it seems season 3 starts the 8th of November, *cough* *cough*. ;)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Movie Night - October 30th, 2010

Movies and pumpkin carving, and much fun on Halloween Eve.

Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster
   Pretty cute live action Scooby-Doo movie with lots of nice call backs to the old cartoon, and funny moments. Also, when did Velma become such a cutie? Kind of makes sense though, as now nerdy girls are cute and appreciated, so it does make sense.

The Boy Who Cried Werewolf
   First off, wow to Brooke Shields, she was funny, kind of sexy in a creepy way, and a total shout out to Young Frankenstein. Like the last one, not Citizen Kane by any stretch of the imagination, but good fun, and lots of hidden references to classic horror.

   I still love this movie so much, but it's been so long since i've seen it whole, that i forgot how many parts it had to it. I remembered three stories, but wow, so not three. Also probably the origin of my love for Trick r Treat, my favorite Halloween movie now. Side note, why aren't there more Halloween movies tied to the holiday like Trick r Treat is? Besides being a good anthology halloween movie, it actually takes place on halloween. Ah well. Creepshow is still awesome, can be funny, but also chilling if you let it be. Nice to see it's on bluray, but why no extras?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Part two thoughts on shoot

Even though no one asked for it, here is part two of my thoughts on the shoot.

Here is one of the shots of the flapper i was mentioning that just clicked for me, lighting and everything.
Used the Alienbees ABR800 ringlight with the 30 inch moon unit, here and nothing else. The couch was a good deal from the wall, and i was around ten feet away, using my 70-200 lens. From what i've seen online, most people use ringflashes in a way i don't really care for, and besides looking very samey, i feel it all looks too washed out to me. What they do is stick the model right up against the backdrop, and shoot close up, usually against a white backdrop. Even my shots where i was using a white background, i still kept the model a bit away. I want to say i love how all this looks, but especially her dress and leggings. The light seemed to really grab it well. I also like how the background isn't all lit even, it kind of forms a circle around her, obviously due to the ringlight, but i was thinking i would need to grid for that, but that would have probably unlit her more. I also want to point out, virtually nothing was done to this image out of camera, only a little balancing in Aperture.

Which is something else i want to talk about. I see so many images where they are post processed more, and i just feel "wrong" doing it. It's not a dig at them at all, more i've been in the mode of feeling i have to capture it and show it the way it was. Not sure if it's a thing i've gotten used to from most of the other shots i've done, nature, events, etc. Just every time i do somethings that aren't just subtle, i look at it and think "have i overdone it?" and then just revert it to before. Others i do it to, and i love it, but think "What if they hate it?" and then revert it. Maybe it's also because i did a lot that playing around in Photoshop when i first got it in the mid 90s, using filters on everything and going overboard. Not sure if this is something i need to work on, or embrace my current way of working. Definitely something i need to think about.

One thing i do need to work on is narrowing down shots more. If you've seen the shots i've posted on my flickr of this shoot, you can tell i do "Oh this one is cool, and this one, and... and... and..." too much. It's just some have so many neat poses that look good to me, and i have a hard time saying it doesn't. Maybe i'm not looking close enough at faults, or i'm too close to the images and don't want to reject them. I'm not sure. I do see other shooters settling on only a couple shots out of tons.

Quick thing before i move on, i want a fainting couch now, heh. I'd probably end up using it in too many shoots, and would have to keep the bunnies away from it, but after shooting on one, i want to shoot more on one. Probably doesn't help that i've wanted a sofa or other from Funky Sofa for a while now. Okay, moving on.

Here is the bed in the hotel i was talking about. That sure is a lot of pillows, but they were all comfy and so was the bed. Thrilling eh? Just happy it was probably the first hotel bed i actually found comfy, most are way too hard or way too soft. So there was that.

Here is the main shooting space, a very big warehouse style space, with various backdrops and walls all over. This made me wish i lived in a warehouse or similar space, and even made me wish i lived on a farm with a barn that was even half finished or heated. I've wanted a finished barn ever since going to Circle Sanctuary and seeing their neat set up in their barn, and the house in LaCrosse (Onalaska actually i think)  that had a barn that was finished with an official sized basketball court in it. Not that i wanted to play basketball, but the ground floor was all nice hardwood with a tough sealant, so yeah. I also thought that it would great for parties, heh. I also always thought a converted church would be neat, but those are really rare and expensive. Not like this is going to happen, but it's nice to dream, you know?

So that's about it really, still got a few to get up to flickr, but getting close. I would also like to say i'm glad this weather waited, i would have hated to drive in this down to Racine, that's for sure.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a weekend.

This last weekend i went to the latest Halloween Bash group photo-shoot down in Racine. While i'll get to the actual shoot in a bit, lets just say some things i found "funny" about the trip.

I saw a car with the plates "I Carly", and this sooo confused me. Isn't it a young kids show? Appealing to very young (younger than teen?) kids? So... if the owner could drive and get a car, they must really, really love that show. Oh...kay.

Got a visual aura migraine at the exact moment of check in at the Marriott hotel. Like at the exact moment i asked for a room, i started to lose sight. Timing, win, even though it did suck, much better than getting one while driving. Speaking of getting there, my trip odometer was at exactly, 333.3 miles from my garage, and i got placed in room 123. (which amused me a bit, seeing as the whole place was deserted, two other guests or so?) Speaking of which, again, it's creepy being the only one at a breakfast buffet, and in the evening for food. There seemed to be a wedding party saturday at some point, but probably after i left. Nice hotel, probably the first hotel bed that was actually comfortable. I got some pictures of it, but not handy, so you will probably see them later. Also, when did hotels stop accepting cash? Seriously, it's good. I do want to complain that the vending machines were empty though, so you had to go get overpriced stuff from the desk, five bucks for two bottles. Funny thing, while at the breakfast buffet, two workers (there were five workers i could see, and me, in the whole place) asked me "Why would anyone come to Racine??" It was amusing. They really didn't have a high opinion of the place. I haven't seen much of it honestly, kind of reminds me of LaCrosse, but close to Milwaukee, and about an hour and half from Chicago or so, not far from everything like LaCrosse.

Both times i have gone down, i have brought precipitation down with me.

On the way back, near Eau Claire, in the fog, four cop cars had a car surrounded and lit up. It was beautiful, with blue, red and white lights all in the fog. Whatever he did, sure pissed them off, that seems sure.

There are some things i am sure i'm missing, but can't seem to think of them off hand, if i think of them i'll talk more about them i'm sure.

On to the shoot. It was similar to the Painted Muse shoot i went to, same place, some of the same people. Less people, models, photographers, make up artists, etc. though. Seems less than half the models showed up, which is always a let down, but seemed to flow okay, with most photographers shooting steady. I wasn't feeling so hot, not sure if i was coming down with something or just left over from the migraine, but i kept having to take breaks and sit down for a while. Kept getting light headed and weak feeling. Probably didn't help that i was shooting with a new setup, ring flash and portable power. Gets heavy and doesn't have the best handle, so my hands started hurting and was afraid i was going to drop it. Got about nine different looks shot, pretty good all of them. Missed a couple models/looks, partly because of not feeling hot and partly some had arrangements with other shooters. I did feel bad for the two make up artists though, they seemed bored, with so much free time and not much to do. There was a third, but she kept pretty active. I do have to say i loved her hoodie with the cat ears and her apparently new blue and purple color in her hair.

Sadly one of the models who as listed as coming didn't come, and i loved her look and was curious what she was going to wear and looked forward to shooting with her. I hear a lot of complaints about what they call "flakes" on Model Mayhem. Models who don't show up, and usually because of "dead grandmother syndrome". That would be depressing, have a team ready to shoot, and the model not showing up for whatever reason.

One of the shoots i did was hands down my favorite, her look, the lighting, the set just clicked. Flapper on a fainting couch, it was awesome. Seems too she came farther than i did for this, north of the cities too. She was at Painted Muse, but lived down there i think then. I did get down though when she mentioned "my camera taking good photos". I know she probably didn't mean it bad, or as an insult, but it's one of the things i don't like people saying. It's like all you have to do is point the camera and it does all the work. It's worth noting that if you give several photographers the same model, you get all different shots, it's more the person behind the camera. Oh well. I did love the shots just looking at the back of the camera after i shot them, and love them even more on the 'puter. Very little "needs" to be done, minor touch up really if that. The funny thing worth noting here, i used a ring light on these, just like "uncle Terry" does, but got a very different look. It does make me laugh though that one of the models and shots i did looks like something out of American Apparel. heh. The awesome shoot though made me want a fainting couch, although it would probably be in all my shots after that, heh.

While the shoot was going on, several guys with studded leather and tall boots came in. I kept thinking they looked familiar, but i guess not. They are in a band called LockJaw. Funny things again, i kept looking at them funny, trying to place them, and one of the friends came up and told me not to be afraid of them, heh. Seeing as i was dressed pretty plain that day, i can understand them not knowing i was more scary looking than them at a point, heh. I didn't get any shots of them, but it looked like they had some good shots, they had a ton of props and great photographers shooting them. One had a paintball gun that looked like a huge sniper rifle, and kept telling me "not to worry", because i kept looking at it, but it was more i was trying to figure out where the paintballs went. I know some people who would have loved it. They also had swords and other guns, some with bayonets too. Talked to a couple of them, asked them if they ever played the Warehouse in LaCrosse, one did and said only about 30 people showed up for a sunday show. Sadly that's kind of how people in LaCrosse are with shows, kind of in the middle of  nowhere, so your best bet is getting as many from even from the Twin Cities to get more people, especially if you have a more niche sound.

The shoot was interesting and fun, but i do need to learn to communicate with models better and be more willing to shoot longer. I tend to let them go nuts, and shoot away, and when i see i have a handful of good shots i let them go. I think this is from doing more event, nature and macro photography, it's a different mind set where things happen and you have to capture it and can't ask them to repeat it or tell them what to do. I also have a hard time thinking up poses for the models to do or describing to them what i'm thinking even. Then i get nervous, and that never helps.

One of the organizers mentioned how there are so many events down there that it's not seeming to be worth it anymore. Sad as i'm only now getting into it, and there rarely seems to be anything like that up here. There are plenty of meetups, but most are like photo walks, and things like that. Not model shoots, with awesome body painters and such. Oh well, now that i'm getting better, i just have to focus and come up with ideas and build my own team and shoots.

Side note of interest to me, it seemed every photographer there had an iPad, with their portfolios and an awesome app that has model and other releases on it. Peer pressure finally won out, and now i have my own iPad. Now to stick all my photos on it and all that jazz. I'm such a techno-whore (only techno? lol).

So that's the thrilling story of my weekend. Try to contain your excitement. The pictures will be up on my flickr as soon as i go through them and do all the stuff needed. I do think i am getting better, and really like a lot of them. Hopefully so will others.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Movie Night - October 9th, 2010

Been a while, so i might be out of practice doing this. Just bear with me. ;)

First up we watched three of the DC Universe animated shorts, all very good, but i'd really love to see a series of The Specter, it would totally work, and be awesome. Note, for these i couldn't find trailers for just the short, so i'm putting the trailer for the main movie or what i can find, just so you know:

Green Arrow
The more 'typical' superhero short of the bunch, with more a focus on action than the other two, but very well done.

Jonah Hex
EC comics/Tales from the crypt feeling, in other words, awesome. Haven't seen the live action movie, but heard it wasn't nearly as good as this.

The Specter
Awesome kind of grindhouse, LA noir, comic movie. Awesome to see different styles used in animation and such.

Then the movies started.

A Bucket of Blood
Kind of funny to see the people who later got more famous, and a funny retro horror. The beatnicks were hilarious too.

Eyes Without a Face
Wow, i had heard it was a highly regarded and impressive film, but had no idea it would go as far as it did for that year. Great direction too, although the music choice was odd, to say the least, but they are French, so i just go with it. ;)

Lust for a Vampire
Not one of Hammer's best, and seemed to drag a lot, with odd pacing, was funny to see the random nudity that just "happens", kind of miss that in modern movies. What? ;) Funny thing, i'm so used to vampires dying violently, exploding, turning into goo, etc. when staked that i was kind of surprised how mild it was here. Also, damn that song, ugh.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Final Fantasy XIV Online

So I've been playing a good deal of Final Fantasy XIV Online, since the collectors edition got a head start last week, and once i got past the quite steep learning curve, i've been having a good time. The game is beyond beautiful, graphics and animations, but i'd expect nothing less from Square to be honest. The controls are very similar to the single player Final Fantasy games, and once i plugged in an Xbox 360 controller, it played way better in my opinion, although it seem most Japanese players play with only a keyboard (yikes!). I'm curious how the Playstation 3 version will be next year when it gets released, more options are always good. Along those lines, man does this game polarize people, either people love it or hate it, so reviews are pretty much useless, especially ones that don't spend enough time to get the flow of it. It's a slower, more deliberate game than others, button mashing is pointless and actually not a good practice as you can queue up actions. That is where some people are complaining of lag, it's not, they just already selected an attack and are waiting for it to shoot off.

Shot of my character at the loading screen wearing a grey hempen cowl:

Classes are something else people are seeming to be confused by, you can be any one you like, just equip the weapon, and you can level up those skills and pretty much use any skill with any class. Very nice, want to fight with swords and cast spells? Go right ahead. You can also wear whatever gear you want, although some isn't "best" for what main class you want to be. You can also equip any level of item, but won't get the best stats until you are the 'optimal' rank it says. Worth noting is that you have a separate "physical rank" that levels no mater what class you are using, disciples of war, magic, hand or land, you get ranks. Chopping trees, get xp to increase your botanist rank and physical. Weaving things, get weaver ranks and physical ranks. etc, etc. I tend to do lots of different things, so my physical rank is around 22 right now, but my highest job rank is like 14, weaver and botanist.

Which leads me to my few complaints. The story line quests are triggered by what rank you are in a job, not physical. Get one at creation, then 10, then 15, 20, etc (so i've read). These are fun and interesting, with interesting story and such. The rest of time it's levequests, eight of regional, eight of local, every 36 hours or so, reset at a set time server side, not when you do them. I do realize that most quests in most games are just kill X rats, prettied up, but it's nice to have that motivation, i'm not much of a grinder really. So i'm hoping they add something to either cut that time, or add more quests. Seeing as there is a tab for "quests 0/16" in the journal, but no one seems to have found who gives them out, if anyone yet. Also worth noting is that there are no "!" above people who give quests. You kind of have to pay attention, read, and explore, which i kind of like.

My awesome hair style:

Crafting and gathering are actually fun and interesting mini-games, not just click and go make a sandwich. Pay attention, get stuff, it works. Although couple complaints here too, no in game guide on what recipes need, although you don't need to get them like other games, you are told them in game and either write them down or look them up online (second one, really). You can try to make anything you have the mats for, but will most likely fail if they are too hard. Mats are the other problem i'm having right now, as most recipes need varied items from all different crafts (although more realistic when something with leather and metal needs both) but the market wards is borked right now and no way to search it sucks. Also it sucks that most people are selling useless things, not what others really need, so you have to wade through people trying to find what you want, and failing. They have said they will make it searchable, or add an AH later, but for now it sucks. Best off crafting what you can with what you can make yourself.

A shot of me in Ul'dah, just hanging out:

There is a neat official site with info, recipes and more called The Loadstone, with blogs attached to your character. I'm not exactly sure if this will work for others, and haven't written anything in the blog yet, i think this is my site there. It's sort of like the WoW armory, but with a more social bent, and less a "get better gear n00b".

Neat little sig generator for forums and such at this site, which has several styles and looks like this:

So yeah, people probably don't care about this, or don't play, but i'm having a blast.

Menraku Ramen Miso

Also eaten recently was Menraku Ramen Miso, and i have to say, so far my favorite, hands down. Also one with more pictures than normal.

Same as usual, package without wrapping. 

Peel back lid, take out two packages...

sprinkle powder base and dried veggies out on noodles. Pour boiling water and let sit for three minutes.

Squeeze out miso paste on soup (hard to explain what miso is like, but i love it)...

stir and eat. Nom, nom, nom. You can tell how the miso spreads out and flavors it, very good. 

Hands down so far, my favorite. I could live off this, well, mostly, but you get the idea. The noodles are good, and plentiful, a good amount of dried veggies, and the soup and miso are a great flavor. 

I've probably said it before, but i'm really seeing the difference between what we have as ramen and what you can get here. There is more than noodles and a small package of dry powder, in fact more noodles too. Granted, these are generally around $2 each here, probably less there, while our cheap ramen is like a pack of six or more for that price. That said, while the story of a student getting scurvy by only eating ramen is a myth, most of our ramen has had most nutrients fried out and the powder doesn't add much, so seeing ones like this with more actual "stuff" is good to see, although the sodium is probably a bit high. Oh well, got to live like a rock star, heh. ;)

Menraku Ramen Soy Sauce

A little behind here, been playing a bit of Final Fantasy XIV Online and backed up on actually posting these, heh.

One of my so far favorites, Menraku Ramen Soy Sauce flavor.

Package, without plastic wrap. 

Two packages inside, one with veggies and powder, the other one with a liquid.

Powder added, boiling water added after that, wait three minutes.

Squeeze liquid (concentrated soy sauce flavor i'm thinking), stir and eat. Nom, nom, nom. 

I am loving the styrofoam bowls, even though probably not as green of me to, it's nice not having to worry about too hot of hands or burnt fingers. (probably have to explain here, i have one of those water boiling appliances that heats up quick and hot. It does get hot, boiling actually.) I do love this one, pretty much one of my top ones. Yeah, i'm not the most eloquent right now, or ever really, but oh well. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bowl Noodles Rich & Savory, Chicken

This is another instant noodle review, because i live the life of a rock star, well not really, but i figured i'd do more before i eat them all. This is one of Bowl Noodles Rich and Savory, Chicken Flavor, got this at Econofoods here in town, not at United Noodles like most of them. Basically i was just getting other things and figured i'd pick up some different types to try.

Unopened, yep, that "soup booster" is between the plastic and the package proper. 

All but the booster go in with water, microwave for 3 minutes...

Add booster and stir when done, then eat. 

My judgement is that it's pretty average, or below. Nothing thrilling flavor wise, kind of like cheap chicken soup or something, and the noodles were very bland and a bit too soft. At least that was my feeling, but i've been eating firmer ones, so there is that. It wasn't horrible, just not too thrilling or something i'd go out of my way to eat again, unless i put some sriracha on it, which i seem to be doing for everything lately, but i'd like to keep the original flavor for these.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Food trip

Was craving Calpico, and decided to go over to United Noodle in Minneapolis. It's a good distance, close to 40 miles from here, but worth it. I only hoped that this time they had some, unlike last time i went where they only had a couple bottles left. As you can tell from the photo above, they did.

If only getting there had been so easy. I got lost due to construction and a simple wrong turn that led to lots of one way streets. Ended up getting onto this road that snaked along the river, thought i was never going to get off it, and kept not knowing where the hell i was. After a long, long while, i saw the street name that the place is on. So i quickly went on it, even though i wasn't sure if i was on the right side of the river or not. Several times the road ended at a T and i had to choose left or right, but in the end chose right. Got there in the end.

Was quite busy too, more than i've seen it before, not sure if it's because of time of day or what though. Surprised they rearranged the store too, i kept looking for the Japanese section, and eventually sound it, and purchased much. I picked up some C.C. Lemon, which is pretty famous for their Simpson's commercials in Japan. It's actually really good too. Nicely light carbonation, and very lemony, without being too lemony. Wish i had bought more, only got two bottles, one of which is hidden behind the Oi Ocha, which is also good. Basically a nice unsweetened green tea from Japan. So many beverages, but also a ton of food, which you can see pictures of on my flickr. Basically a crap ton of ramen, several different flavors, snacks like mochi and Pocky, and tons of instant curry which i end up craving over rice i make in my Zojirushi rice cooker.

Thrilling story eh? Yep. The more things change the more they stay the same. Been doing a lot of this kind of shopping and such to distract myself from how much i've been missing and thinking of Jodi, not sure what kicked off this time. Could be that's it National Suicide Prevention Week, that i've been watching movies that reminded me of her, or that i've got so much on my mind that just won't go away and she was the only one who seemed to honestly understand and not mock or judge me for talking about them. Heck, even therapists have tended to do not really listen. Any way, i miss my best friend and more, one of kind she was, and am just trying to keep it from getting worse. If that's possible.

The bunnies are awesome as usual, shedding like crazy though. As usual.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Movie Night - August 4th, 2010

Unorthodox movie night tonight with it being just me and Jason, two movies, two cats and conversation.

   Visually interesting movie, not bad, not really where my head was at though, so i may not have appreciated it as much as i could have. My favorite parts were the character, costume and prop design. I'm guessing this was a labor of love kind of thing.

The Stuff
   "One lick is never enough", heh. Kind of a messed up classic in my mind, horrible special effects and more, but just so odd you've got to see it at least once. ;) So many actors from Law and Order too, the early seasons.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Zoo trip

Yesterday i decided i needed to get out of the house see something, so went to the Minnesota Zoo. It was a toss up between this one and the Como Zoo, but when i saw the Minnesota Zoo had a monorail, well that sold it. Besides a nice way to get an overview of the zoo, i'm probably more out of shape than i should admit to, and wasn't sure about walking it all. Well, that turned out to be true, i got to about half before my legs and back hurt like hell. The back is less being out of shape and more a continuing issue i've had with it since falling down the stairs. Good times.

Anyway, never having been there before, and wanting to take a more scenic route, i ended up getting lost. Lots of backtracking, thinking "where the hell am i??", and pulling over checking a map (yeah, yeah, i have a pocket gps that was out of charge, and driving solo isn't an easy way to get un-lost). Eventually got to a place where i recognized the road names, and got there. It was a gorgeous day though, and i wasn't minding driving around back roads enjoying it, so there is that.

Got in, and was surprised how busy it was there, figured a wednesday while other things were going on, the state fair, school starting soon, etc. that it would be less busy, but it was. Lots of groups of kids, and even more parents with kids. One quick gripe, there was a family with a freaking wagon, several strollers, and more, going through the more narrow passages, blocking areas, backing into people. Just made me notice more people who only think of themselves. Also lost count of how many kids ran into me while i was standing there, them not looking while running around, parents not giving a crap. I get it, the kids are over stimulated, but the parents should know better. Not to mention the ones tapping on the glass, when signs clearly said not to, parents un caring. Yeah, if it's not clear, the trip didn't endure me to people, that's for sure.

That guy up there in the picture is a red panda, rubbing his head on that branch. One of my favorite things there. Just too cute, even if sleep seemed it's favorite activity, heh. The otters were also one of my faves, as growing up there were some that lived near the river behind my parents house. So many awesome animals, a lot were sleepy, but it was pretty hot in the tropics area, and when i was there it was about that time most sleep anyway. Even though, i did take a lot of photos, filled almost two 16gb memory cards, about 900 pictures. Went though last night and picked about 138 of them and posted them to my flickr. I'm thinking about going to zoos more, at least trying to hit more. I used to go to the Milwaukee Zoo quite a bit when i lived more down there, and even made a few trips when i lived in LaCrosse. Which reminds me, i should go down to the Bristol Renaissance Faire sometime. It's been close to 20 years since i've been to it, and i prefer it's set up, more shade, less a big empty space, knew plenty of people who worked it, etc. I say this, and it's been years since i've even been to the Minnesota one, 2001 or so i think. Long story. 

On an unrelated note, saw something that i wish i could have gotten a picture of on the way back. Nearing Hastings, a man was walking down the highway in tight short shorts, built like the hulk, and tanned to a very dark brown. It was so completely random and took me off guard that really wish i had a picture of it.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Movie Night - August 28th, 2010

Movie Night, with lot's of Japanese things that rocked.

Highschool of the Dead, Episodes 1-4
   Highschool students and zombie outbreak, with lots of fan service during the first episode but that tapers off thankfully. Not that i mind it, but it seemed out of the feeling of the show. Like it more than i was expecting to, and it kept getting better too as the episodes went on. Interestingly, the show aired on tv in Japan, and according to Sankaku Complex (site nsfw, possibly), the censoring was pretty heavy and at times odd, "massacred by censors" post, and "now censored everywhere" article. Also seems to be censored with black and white areas both, so there's that to keep in mind. DvD is unedited though.

Vampire Girl vs Frankenstein Girl
   Yes, again. Mostly because some hadn't seen it, and also because it's awesome. ;)

   Also by the maker of the above. Less batshit insane, although it did have some moments, but a more complete movie with actual plot and more character development. I really, really want him to do a kaiju movie now, even though there was a good bit of that here, i can just imagine how fun it would be. ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Movie Night - August 14th, 2010

A very diverse movie night, that's for sure, which ended up with one of my new favorite movies.

iCarly, iPsycho
   This and the next two was mostly watched for their son, being things he could watch, if you were wondering. Not typically things we would pick, although Justice League is pretty good too.

Victorious, Tori the Zombie
   Was described as this generations Saved by the Bell, which fits. ;)
   (I have no idea why this video is backwards, or such poor quality, but its all i could find to give you an idea of what it is.)

Justice League, Secret Origins (1-3)
   I do like this show, but prefer the later episodes and seasons, they hit their stride after a while.
(can't find a youtube for this either, sigh)

That Mitchell and Webb Look, Season 4 Episode 5
   Not much to say about it, some hits, some misses, still pretty funny. Funny reference to a Doctor Who episode. Couldn't find a youtube for this episode, but you get the idea.

She's Out of My League
   Not a reference to the Justice League, sadly. No clue how this got so high rated, pretty meh. Also, i must point out how i find her friend much better looking and more interesting as a character too. Wondering how they all aren't in jail for all they do on planes and airports, but i guess it's all for the plot.

House, aka Hausu
   Oh... Em... Gee... I love this movie. There is a Criterion Collection DvD, which i WILL own. ;) I really have no words to explain this, none. Other than it's awesome and insane. Watch the trailer, it doesn't even come close.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Movie Night - July 31st, 2010

Movie Night for July 31st wrap up time, and off we go!

Godzilla Raids Again
   An older, from 1955, Godzilla film. Interesting, but also kind of funny for it's special effects, puppet-like and sped up, different than later films. All i kept thinking about the name though is raiding like in World of Warcraft.

That Mitchell and Web Look, Series 4, episode 3
   Besides some odd sketches that would have probably made sense if we were from there, it was pretty dam funny. As the show usually is. ;)

Sherlock, A Study in Pink
   I was quite wary about this, as pretty much every Sherlock Holmes pales to the Jeremy Brett version, but the lead did a pretty good job of channeling him in the ways that matter. His voice and inflections were damn close, and there were good call actions he did that Jeremy Brett did, partly because those were illustrations in the book, but also fit the character. A variation of the story A Study in Scarlet, but with obvious changes. Some aspects of the show i am a bit not such a fan of, the fast cut chase of the cab, just didn't seem to fit for me. One thing i started not liking but grew to like, even though it got less used as the episode went on, was the floating text. Not too sure i like the change of Watson's character though, there just seems to be something missing in him to me. Maybe he'll be more to my liking later, who knows. Gah, i could go on, me and Sherlock, lol.

The Crazies
   Funny thing about this one, i netflixed this a while ago, and accidentally got the original. This version came the other day but i just hadn't got around to watching it, so it's good then that i didn't. Once it got going, it just kept going more and more. Wow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Night July 10th, 2010

Movie night again, can't think of something witty to type here, sorry. Although i had thought about photographing the Poison cover band and the Schitzofrenic one too, i decided my body was too sore and it would be good to hang out with friends. Sick Girl kind of made me second guess that decision (kidding, but it was bad)

First up was Gamera: Revenge of Iris
   Holy crap this was awesome, and brutal, and probably kind of what it would be like if giant monsters fought in our cities.

Followed by Daybreakers.
   Interesting premise, kind of slow though, and it was pretty.

Last up, Sick Girl
   Sigh, i guess "if there is nothing nice to say, then don't say anything."  "..." Wait! I thought of something! It gave Stephen Geoffreys (Evil Ed from Fright Night) work! That isn't gay porn! (wow, did not know that...)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Movie Night - July 4th, 2010

Odd night for a movie night, but that was due to a convention that most everyone else was at. Odd also for the things we watched. Unrelated, not too pleased that it seems my air conditioning went out sometime during the day. Ugh. Not going to sleep well tonight.

Doctor Who, Pyramids of Mars
   Tom Baker Doctor Who, first two parts, decided to watch something else for various reasons. I still like it, but it is a slow paced one, that's for sure.

No trailer really, but this will do. ;)

Gamera, Guardian of the Universe
   First of a Trilogy of Gamera, quite enjoyable, but then i do enjoy Gamera. Him being really neat and all.

Gamera, Assault of the Legion
   Neater than the last, quite more mature in spots, but then we discovered there is a "redneck" audio track. Oh my, might have to watch that version some night.

Sex Drive.
   We needed a comedy, and this was what we settled on. The unrated version, which was quite random at points, to say the least. Looked away at when i saw a rabbit on the road, they really need to stop doing that, seriously, it's pissing me off.