Monday, July 30, 2007

Finally saw Rescue Dawn on Friday.

Yep, that's about how I felt about it.

You know nothing is ever going to touch Aguirre... or Nosferatu for me when it comes to Werner Herzog, but this was a fine film. There was a lot going on in there. Herzog has such an uncanny ability to take random things that may seem sort of trite or played on the surface, affix them to a lush landscape, and then blend the unnatural pairing of sometimes mediocre dialogue and/or characters with raw human experiences to create chaos that is contained enough to make you want to fall both cerebrally and physically headfirst into the film. He always seems to form something magnificent and riveting.

As he said when my husband and I met him years ago, he's one of the greatest directors who has ever lived. Most people I would say pish posh to if they said that, but he's the real deal.

And can I get a "yum!" for Christian Bale? Hot damn! The boy doesn't have the best range, but he does really well with what he's got and looks great while he's doing it (his eyes actually do the most work to make his characters), and holy smokes is he dedicated. Can't wait for The Dark Knight next year.

Anyway, it was well done. You must go see it.

But after you see it, be sure to take a look at this site -- created by the family of POW Eugene DeBruin and featuring POW Pisidhi Indradat (the last surviving POW who escaped the camp in the film) -- for a different take on Herzog's portrayal of DeBruin. The way Herzog portrays DeBruin definitely adds to the tension and story of the film (and apparently illustrates why there are those disclaimers at the end about characters in the film) but the DeBruin story from his family is a 180 from Herzog's. Their story gave all of the characters new depth, but also made me feel quite sad for how they felt the film tarnished Eugene's memory.

Sure, Rescue Dawn is a film only based on true events and has the disclaimers, but many people won't look at it as such. And hell, it uses real names of the POWs. After reading this I felt it to be an important element to the truth and honor of the whole story.

BTW, I also saw Transformers this weekend. Totally fun, except for the forced sentimentality and romance bits (c'mon, it's Transformers -- no one cares about that stuff!) Made me feel like a little kid again, and also made me wonder where my Transformer is buried in my parents' yard.

I don't care what they say, the demographic for this movie is 30 year olds, for real. You want to see this on the big screen, as it is Michael Bay all the way.

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Generally, I'm an advocate of "to each their own," and as long as everything's consensual and whatever it is doesn't involve messing with other people's happiness and fulfillment, I'm usually like, whatever. Unless you wanna step to me, and, know how that goes.

But while you're off doing your crazy shit, I do reserve the right to think whatever that may be is still freaky freakdom yo, and I gotta say this is just disturbing.

Otaku boys, please, get yourself some therapy.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

I love to come home from a long week at work to a little something something to start my weekend out on a lovely note. Hellboy: Darkness Calls #4 (so sad, almost done!) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer #5 were waiting on the coffee table, dropped off for me by my honey before he went to work. Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than curling up on the couch with a cold glass of mugi cha, set on doing nothing else but reading some delicious comic books.

Oy, I must be getting old. No, that's not it. Maybe I'm getting less coarse in my pleasures. That's better.

So of course the Hellboy is an ass-kicker. And Buffy keeps getting better and better. This stand alone is really well done, and a credit to how well Joss Whedon can switch so effortlessly between silly and solemn. I am so chuffed at Joss Whedon's 4-issue story arc/5th issue stand alone/4-issue story arc concept. This is also why he's the man. And guess who the next story arc is about? Whee!

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

News of record for July 24, 2007

Published: July 24, 2007


Sheriff's reports

Saturday, 9:49 a.m., Jamestown — A woman on Preston Lane says a man bought her a horse in an attempt to seduce her.


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I’ve blogged aplenty in the past about my good friend Jon Stich and his mad illustration skills. But lately the boy’s really been working it. Jon took his portfolio to Chronicle Books, where the folks in the design department were so impressed with his work (apparently they were especially impressed with his portrait of me and my sweetie-pie) that they contracted with him on the spot. Check out this story from Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle Magazine for his first piece!

Doing what you love and making a living is a blessed existence indeed.

Speaking of magazines, design, and things I love, anyone check out the new Harper’s Bazaar and their fashion spread in conjunction with the Simpsons film? A big bunch of fashion design heavy-hitters – Donatella Versace, Marc Jacobs (for Louis Vuitton), and Victor&Rolf, just to name a few – are Simpsonized and pieces from their latest collections are modeled by Marge, her sisters, and Linda Evangelista.

Love the Jean Paul Gaultier panel, with Maggie in a Birkin:

And here's the real deal:

So well done, and really fun. This is what gets me to buy fashion mags and not regret it later.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Oy, here it comes. Obligatory Harry Potter post. Please be aware my links and narrative may spoil the new book for you, though I will attempt to contain my narrative as much as possible out of respect for your reading enjoyment.

I will admit that even though I love to read, I've never cracked one of the books. Not interested after watching the first film. Love the films, I do. And a very large part of my love for those films is the magnificent Alan Rickman's portrayal of Severus Snape.

Yes, if you know me, you've got me -- it does have a lot to do with the villianous black nehru jacket and flowing black priest-like cloaks (phwoar!), the gothic trappings, the uptightness, the jet-black hair, the measured and stern voice...*swoon*

Ah, and don't forget his riding crop...erm, I mean wand...erm, no, I about that wand?

*ahem* anyway...

My first brush with Alan Rickman was as one of the two actors in the excellent film Closet Land; since then I've really enjoyed his hysterical performance as Metatron in Kevin Smith's Dogma and of course his very important bit as Severus Snape. Very similar characters, in a way, I know, but he's also quite versatile. Who can forget the evil Hans in Die Hard and "classic fool" Harry in Love, Actually?

So, of course, being completely enthralled with Alan Rickman's performance and knowing the importance that Snape plays in the last two books, I have been all over the internets gathering the last story because I just couldn't wait.

And you know what? I was heartbroken at the injustice of the end.

I realize Harry is ultimately an innocent and deserves a happy ending. But a less than innocent but long-suffering -- and most importantly, repentant and romantic -- character such as Snape, highly dedicated and a master of his craft, but unloved and under constant, almost lifetime stress for a greater good, deserved much more than what JKR dished out. I'm definitely not the only one who feels this way -- there's an excellent essay about this travesty of justice here.

It could be said that there was a certain romance to Snape's end. Maybe I'm a different kind of romantic, but if that is what was intended, it lacked fundamental pieces that make such things bittersweet and thus romantic. Boo, I say -- I just didn't get it.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Twenty-four hours.

8:00 pm, Thursday: Rasputina at the Great American Music Hall. Cellos like electric guitars crossed with Ye Olde World, and 'Barracuda' t'boot. Fantastic.

11:30 pm: Fully invested in my favorite macaroni and cheese and spinach salad at Sparky's with my sweetie-pie in the Castro.

Post-macaroni and cheese 'til 2 am: Eleven miles to sweet Oakland becomes a highway from hell because of the Bay Bridge earthquake retrofit. Read: five lanes smooshed into one. I sulk in the passenger seat and hate everyone, especially the Seismic Safety Project.

4:30 am: I wake up to rumbling and my bed jerking violently. It's a 4.2 earthquake in Oakland. Point taken.

11:30 am: Roll out of bed for haircut at noon. Eat dirt crack, a handful of perfect California blueberries, and a succulent backyard peach to make me happy.

12 noon: Haircut. Attempt to talk Korean politics with hairdresser. Smacked down with talk of the perils of getting coffee in South Korea instead.

1:00 pm: I drink coffee for the second time in 4 years.

5:00 pm: Eat Vietnamese pork goodness. Get sleepy. Try to sleep on couch while hubby rebags hundreds of comic books we finally took out of storage. Fail.

7:00 to 8:00 pm: Take a walk. Peaches and Cream. Lemon. Vanilla. Noyaux. Better.

And now: I suppose it's all well and good now that Bernard has made them a joke, but one still has to say WTF?! No way.

Twenty-Four Hours.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

I read an excellent article today in local and seasonal focus, free foodie mag Edible East Bay about one of my favorite foods, the sea vegetable.

Growing up with a Japanese mother, I was introduced early on to the tastiness of seaweed. I’ve also been privy to its use as a component in tissue engineering, thanks to my college friend Tim who would routinely begin the evening with an entire flask of Taaka, his confidence unshaken that someday he’d get a new liver that would be grown in a vat.

But I was unaware of the huge sea vegetable industry in California and Ireland, and seaweed's almost unreal health benefits. I think everyone should try to integrate just a bit of this superfood into your diet; to encourage folks the mag included a luscious recipe in the article, which I will use here to therefore encourage you, ma peeps.

Cooking savant, instigator of creative pantry-clean-out suppers, and nutrition nut that I am, I love recipes that seem loony and jacked up for most people but are good for you and taste divine. Plus, for all my dirt-twirler peeps, this one’s vegan, and cheap! Trust me, this one’s a goodun…

Sea Palm Fettuccine with Pumpkin Seed Pesto


1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 bunch cilantro
2 tbsp olive or flax oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste

Puff pumpkin seeds on stove over heat for 1-2 minutes. Combine all pesto ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.


2 oz sea palm fronds
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2 tbsp ghee or olive oil
2 1/2 cups water
2 red bell peppers, chopped
2 small zucchini, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts
Sea salt and lemon to taste
Cilantro for garnish

Freshen the sea palm by soaking them in a large bowl of water for 20 minutes. Toast the pine nuts for 3-4 minutes. Drain the sea palm. Heat olive oil or ghee in a saucepan, add garlic, and then sea palm; sauté for 3 minutes. Add water and simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.

Sauté peppers and zucchini. When sea palm is tender, drain and add to vegetables. Stir in toasted pine nuts. Add lemon juice and salt to taste. Distribute between 4 plates, top with a dollop of pesto, and garnish with cilantro. Serves 4.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Aww yeah, this is the best thing I’ve seen all day.

Sigh. If only. Coupled with my love for nacho cheese I'd be that much closer to becoming Human Bender.

In keeping with the theme, I read that someone in Japan is leaving 10,000 yen notes (about $80 US) in public restrooms across the country. The only caveat? “One per person.”

Only in Japan. I bet it’s happening too. People are just so rule-abiding and trusting there that often Japanese just don't bother with the checks and balances that are de rigeur in the West. I was once admitted to an exclusive fan club meet and greet/soundcheck for a band without ever having to show the special ticket required for access, even when entering the barricaded waiting area. Meanwhile, hundreds of rabid regular old ticket holding fans (some crying!) waited, ever honest, outside the barricade. Wild.

For the curious, I did have a golden ticket, honest. It was just in transit, and I swear I thought I would be stopped so I could explain and maybe get in later when the ticket actually arrived.

Anyway, to wrap up all this talk of dirty business -- while I love both Joy Division and collecting vinyl as much as the next nutjob, the spending of over $1500 US for a Joy Division 7" must regrettably be filed under something else you find in a lavatory.

NP: The collaboration between American metal band Sunn O))) and Japanese noise band Boris, Altar. Currently, Sinking Belle.

Trevor picked this up on limited edition vinyl whilst we were holidaying in Santa Cruz. Not what I expected. Dreamy yet also solid and earthy -- tactile even -- and beautifully textured. This is metal I could get used to.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Walking near Piedmont and Glen Avenues in Oakland today, Trevor and I bumped into a really fantastic new shop. Just one month old, Issues is a newsstand full of magazines and papers from just about everywhere, as well as carefully selected CDs and vinyl, art, books, and objects "with a focus on sound art, noise, outsider music, surrealism, psychedelia, and the darker side of the new age." Talking with the owner today we found out that much of the art and music paraphernalia he is carrying is from his own collection!

Today we picked up Theme magazine, which contains an interview with Natsuo Kirino, author of the excellent Grotesque. Hubby also picked up a really cool Joy Division shirt I had never seen before.

The shop is really fun and full of surprises. Been a long time coming for a proper newsstand near our neighborhood, and to have one open with such unique character is even better. Even though we get a discount on magazines and such at the hubby's workplace, we will definitely be making Issues a regular haunt.

Best of all, the owners are really really nice folks. Be their friend on MySpace.

So...what do you get when you cross two vegetable-obsessives with 5 days away on holiday starting tomorrow and a need for supper? Super-special, refrigerator clean-out casserole! Amazing what one can do with leftover tofu and pasta, 2 eggs, a bag of spinach, two eggplants, an onion, every rind and bit of cheese in the fridge, 4 small squash, a pint of somewhat dodgy-looking cherry tomatoes, and 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Not half bad, says I, and freezable t'boot. Score.

Additionally, I think I must have eaten my weight in choy sum sauteed with olive oil, and cucumbers drizzled with Japanese vinegar, in my lunch of rice and natto (and berries and plums and carrots...) today. What can I say -- with one parent who grew up during the Great Depression and one who grew up in Occupied Japan, I can't bear to throw anything away. :)


Sunday, July 08, 2007

My auspicious birthday weekend is almost at its end, with more merriment to begin Wednesday when my honey and I hit Santa Cruz for Boardwalk and beach, and then the hometown for BBQ and buggy-bashing. But before I forget, I want to tell y'all about the terrific play my sweetie and I took in on Friday during pre-birthday festivities.

For two weeks only, the Brothers Grimm tale, The Robber Bridegroom will be reimagined by the Stars and Garters Theatre Company as a Southern Gothic tale of star-crossed lovers. We saw it on a sold-out opening night, which is traditionally a bad night to see a play, but it was really enchanting and well-done.

Brimming with charming puppetry, song and dance, excellent live musical accompaniment, clever set design, and a trapeze artist as the moon, it was whimsical yet dark, and very cabaret-esque. Jenny Jo Kristan, the writer and director, did well to have the actors speak in sometimes fantastical rhyming couplets, as it gave the show a more period air and pulled the audience deeper into the eerie phantasmagoria. Well worth the $12-$20 sliding scale to come out to Mama Calizo's Voice Factory to support this live troupe and their top-notch work.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

I think I actually squeed out loud when I read this bit of serendipity today. Old habits die hard.

For the uninitiated who don't know why I squee, a little more info from Wikipedia:

In 1995, Jack Wagner, known for his role as Frisco Jones on General Hospital, arrived [on Melrose Place] as the charismatic and corrupt Dr. Peter Burns. Peter tormented Amanda [Woodward, played by Heather Locklear], nearly killing her on the operating table before he was arrested. But for all his crimes, Peter was the first man to be the equal of ice queen Amanda. Sensing the chemistry, producers quickly made Wagner a contract player, and Amanda/Peter would remain a popular on-again, off-again couple for the remainder of the series.

It's all just too sweet.

And good lawd, I must still have it bad for MP -- just watching this intro is satisfying. Oy, and who can forget the catfights? They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Now if Marcia Cross would just hook up with Thomas Calabro, all will be right in the world. ;)


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Hell in an infernal handbasket. For real, yo.

HOWEVER...if the killer robots can successfully battle anything we DNA scramble or create from scratch that might try to Deep Blue Sea our asses -- wow, what a blessing in disguise! Even Steven.

BUT...if that scenario just doesn't quite work out (but really, T, what could happen?), there are a few current events one may take comfort in before our imminent self-destruct at the hands of mad scientists.

1) Yummy and brilliant Edward Norton will be The Hulk. Tim "the English Edward Norton" Roth will be the Abomination.

2) Hellboy, Darkness Calls. This 6-parter drawn by Duncan Fegredo and penned by Mr. Mignola is rocking my world. Just finished numero tres. The undead army panels, Baba Yaga/Perun, and Hellboy finally getting to spill his cwazy adventures to a sympathetic Russian house spirit are just some of the delights that await you.

3) Rescue Dawn, this month! Not only is this film one of the few non-documentaries that Werner Herzog has directed in the new millenium, but hello, Christian Bale. And Herzog on location, in the jungle once again. Sweet. He can push his actors to the limit because it is not only he who requires it, but the environment. That can only mean one thing: quality.

4) My birthday is coming up! I see a massage and pedicure, caramel apples and saltwater taffy, a deserted weekday beach and arcade, and numerous rides on the Giant Dipper in my future.

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