Saturday, April 12, 2003

Joy of Search Engines

My blog just had a hit from someone searching for "Tboz naked." Initially, I was confused because I don't even remember saying that. Then I realized that Tboz was contained in an entry on weird subway people I put up a while ago.
Better Luck Tomorrow

Ever since I first heard about Better Luck Tomorrow from Kodawg, I've been looking forward to seeing this movie because I have never seen an American movie with an all-Asian American cast before. Besides, I thought it would be interesting to see the MILF kid in a serious movie. After some IM'ing with Josh, my honorary Asian causian friend -- the guy majored in Chinese, lived in Taiwan and is engaged to an Asian-American girl -- we decided to go see it at the AMC in Times Square on Friday.

The first thing I realized as I walked past a long line of people waiting for the movie is that I should have studied theatre or film studies (taking an Intro to Acting class does NOT count). Why? Because I have never seen such a huge crowd of Asian hotties anywhere. Man, what the fuck was I thinking when I majored in CS? Jesus Christ, there were some hot girls there. Well, I guess I'm still young so it's not too late. Watch out Hollywood, I will rock your world, after I get a camcorder, a bunch of talented, attractive actors, and a great script of course.

On to the film. First of all, since I don't like reading too much about the plot of a movie before I see it, I will try to not give out any spoilers. Overall, I think I got a lot more than I bargained for. Walking in, I only knew that it's about a group of upstanding Asian-American high school students who get into trouble. I vaguely remember reading something about a murder, but I never expected things to turn out the way they did. Josh and I walked out of the theatre shaking our heads because we were still trying to digest the movie. It started out like a light-hearted comedy, with some hilarious scenes that drew guffaws out of everyone. As the plot advanced, things just got more and more out of control as the characters get more and more reckless, until in the end everything came crashing down. This movie is definitely very intense.

Even though its ending kind of put a damper on my mood, I found BLT to be a very enjoyable movie. As an Asian American myself, I feel I have a lot in common with the characters in the movie, from my obsession with college admissions to my innate desire to break out of a state of boredom and normalcy. Each of the main characters also brings his or her own individuality to the table. Everyone in this movie is unique and worth watching, be it the manipulative Derrick, the straight-edge Ben, the clownish Virgil, or the moody Stephanie. What I find most satisfying as I watched the movie is that these people appeared so real. It's almost as if they could be kids that I know from high school (if only I knew that many Asian kids at my predominantly white school) and not some delivery boy or gangsters on Law and Order. They make no apologies for being Asian and they don't try to attribute every aspect of their personality and everything they do to being Asian, unlike the Joy Luck Club, a movie that's great for different reasons. Josh said that these characters could have been black or white, an opinion with which I have to agree. Even though this movie resonated strongly with me, I believe it should still appeal to everyone, not just Asian Americans.

(Ok, it's really nice outside so I'm going to keep the rest of the post short.) This movie also has a great soundtrack and did I mention that the acting is superb? Plus, it was oddly satisfying to see the only white character in the movie with adequate screen time is a hooker, after watching way too many Asian-American actors play geishas, clerks, poor immigrants that spoke broken English, parking valet and nightclub cleaner (both were actual parts played by John Cho, aka MILF boy). All in all, Better Luck Tomorrow was worth every penny and I highly recommend it.

UPDATE: I finally dug out this great quote from Justin Lin, the director of BLT: "As an Asian American filmmaker, I wanted to make a movie that was real and nonapologetic. I don't live my life always explaining why I need to exist, so I don't want my characters to have to." I also just saw a really cool commercial for the movie on MTV 2.
Oh Freedom

I was just watching CNN while eating lunch and saw a footage of US Marines trying to keep order while a group of Iraqis yelled at them. The Iraqis held a big banner that said something to the effect of we want security and we want a free Iraqi government ASAP. The confrontation then turned ugly with the Iraqis yelling, "Go back home! Go back home!" One of the US soldiers screamed back, "We are here for your fucking freedom!!"

Friday, April 11, 2003

Name Your Own Price on Everything!!

Is this the equivalent of the five-finger discount in the Information Age?
Anarchy is Fun

Ok, I am a horrible horrible person because the more I read this article, the more I laugh.
Some of this shit is hilarious:

Bands of looters also roaming the residential areas, casing homes to see if the residents were home. Journalists trying to talk to the looters were robbed of money and cameras.
Looters carted off bottles of wine and whiskey, guns and paintings of half-naked women from the luxury home of Odai Hussein, Saddam's playboy son. They also picked clean his yacht and made off with some of the white Arabian horses he kept.
Some people shot big grins at American soldiers and Marines or put down their prizes to offer a thumbs-up or a quick finger across the throat and a whispered word "Saddam" before grabbing their loot and vanishing.

Oh man, this article totally reminds me of State of Emergency, this PS2 game I used to play where you are dropped in the middle of a huge riot, in which hundreds of looters are running around smashing windows and carrying VCR's on their heads. And you can use a host of weapons like shotguns, swords, flamethrowers to decapitate, fry, electrocute bad guys. Of course, collateral damage is unavoidable and even entertaining at times.
Apple Buying Universal??

Wow, I just read from the LA Times that Apple is in talks to buy Universal Music Group for $5 billion to $6 billion (login/password: plastic). If this deal actually goes through, it may provide an incentive for the other record labels to really take online music sales seriously. I'm very intrigued by how Apple plans to leverage its ownership of the biggest record label in the world, assuming that this deal will actually go through of course.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Encounters with Old People

On the Subway: Old woman holding a Victoria's Secret bag. Post menopausal women and sexy lingerie just don't mix. Just the image of such mixing can serve as a potent contraceptive.

In the drugstore: Really old guy in line behind me started making weird sounds with his lips, as if he didn't have any teeth. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw two Gas-X boxes in his hands. I paid for my duct tape and got the hell out of there quickly.

Lil' Romeo

On the way to work today, all kind of ideas and memories were bouncing around in my mind as usual. Honestly, I think I had better luck with girls when I was 10 and didn't know how to speak English!! Or so it seems. I remember always being surrounded by these two really cute girls, Cara and Vanessa, who took great pleasure in helping me out with English and French, which was pretty tough to learn when I could barely speak English. They were always happy to see me, unlike most girls I meet nowadays. I remember clearly how Cara once took my English-Chinese dictionary and pointed out "vagina" to me while making what seemed like weird faces to me back then, which I can recognize now as flirting. Of course, I didn't know what a vagina was, even in Chinese. The look of horror on my parents' faces when I told them about this incident and asked them what a vagina was is forever etched into my mind. They weren't too thrilled to read in my letter to my best friend in China that Vanessa said she wanted to have his baby either. Man, I was a fucking pimp and I was surrounded by nympho white girls and I was so fucking money AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT!!

I think it all went downhill when I started wearing big ugly glasses in junior high after way too much Nintendo. Sigh, I can only reminisce the good old days now.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

I'm Spent

From playing WAY too much Max Payne last night!! That game is so, how shall I put it in the vernacular, dope? It is a 3rd person shooter that's implemented much better than many other games in the genre. Everything is top-notch in this game: supersmart camera angles, sensical button layout, realistic graphics, awesome sound effects that are sometimes downright creepy. A really cool feature of the game is Bullet Time, which once activated allows the player to slow everything down in the game and yet still be able to take aims at baddies in real time. I know I know, I didn't understand this feature when I first read about it either. You have to see it to appreciate how cool it is. The coolest part about using Bullet Time is that I got to be like Chow Yun-Fat, jumping sideways while blasting away at mofos IN SLOW MOTION!!

Max Payne is also a kick-ass game because it almost feels like an interactive movie. The script, with its vivid descriptions and witty dialogue, was definitely written by real professionals. At times the narrative was even poetic, none of that "all your base are belong to us" shit. The voice acting is definitely on a par with GTA, maybe even better, and brings the script to life.

I guess the only complaint I have about this game is that, like most of the new games on the market today, it requires me to use too many buttons!! There are buttons for shooting, bullet time, shoot dodge, switching weapons, taking pain killers, using items, reloading weapons, jump and a bunch of other functions. This game actually uses every single button on the PS2 controller!! Man, I miss the good old days when I could play Super Mario Brothers 3 with two buttons.
Email Usage

Oh man, I hope something like this never happens to me. And trust me, there are plenty of interesting comments that I could make about this one person on my floor that annoys the shit out of me.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Sick but True

I should read the Village Voice more often just for the comics.

That looks like a painful wound.
Sunday Sojourn

On Sunday I just had to get out of my apartment after watching bball and DVD's all day on Saturday. I'm glad I went to check out the Brooklyn Bridge because the weather was gorgeous and I finally got some much needed exercise. The pictures are here.

Monday, April 07, 2003

An Interesting Compilation of Online Ads

Some of these compiled ads are pretty scary. I can't believe this kind of women exist out there. What are they thinking?!?! Woe to the suckers that are willing to be used and abused.
Stupid Mug

Man, I hate my AOL/Netscape mug. I almost spilled water all over myself again when I was drinking. I swear the opening on that thing is too big for my mouth, so water always leaks onto my chin when I try to drink from it. Maybe that's Netscape's payback for all the time I spent surfing the net at work: they give me a shitty mug as a going-away present so every time I'm thirsty I potentially wet myself.

After a delightful stroll on the Brooklyn Bridge underneath a gorgeous azure sky and plenty of sunshine yesterday (pictures are coming), I awoke this morning to pleasant weather forecasts of a big blizzard that will dump 6 to 9 inches of snow here today. WTF?!?!! What is wrong with this place?? It's a week into April for God's sake!! If I were still in MN I wouldn't be surprised, but this is insane!! And of course many schools were listed as closed for the day. What a bunch of little wimps!! When I was going to school, we didn't get a snow day unless the temperature is 25 below with a wind chill of 60 below, there is zero visibility on the road, and the principal went into epileptic seizure. Ok, maybe that last part was a bit of an exaggeration but we were definitely tougher than these little New York pansies. And I thought New Yorkers are tough.

On an unrelated note, I'm still shocked and saddened by David Bloom's death. I used to watch NBC news a lot and always watched him reporting from the White House. At the time, I thought he was pretty funny because his mouth was always shooting nonstop in all directions when he talked. I'm going to miss him. Why did it have to be him and not some Fox News asshole?
Ok, this SARS thing is seriously getting out of control. Even though I'm thousands of miles away from its epicenter, I'm feeling the effects here. First there is Mom, who's been nagging me about this thing for the past 2 weeks. She faxed me 38 pages of Chinese articles on the disease last week!! And I thought her previous incessant nagging about avoiding terrorist attacks by staying away from crowded places and landmarks was bad! Now I get a healthy double dose of paranoia from dear old mom every time I talk to the parents.

Then there is my sister, who's also pretty concerned for me. Yesterday when I called her from the subway station, she told me to shut my mouth on the train to avoid breathing in potential droplets in the air from infected people. It's comforting to know that someone who works in a freaking hospital is so cool and calm about this whole epidemic.

Of course, all these warnings have had an effect on me too. I have avoided Chinatown for the past two weeks because I'm a bit weary of the chance that I may get it from someone who got infected while visiting relatives back home recently. I haven't bought any pastries or gotten a cheap haircut there all because of this damn disease!! This morning on the way to work, I felt a little nervous because a Chinese guy sitting next to me coughed once. The Asian girl sitting near me just had a coughing fit!!

I'm not really that afraid of dying from the disease since I'm young and healthy. It's the fact that I will be quarantined and not allowed to work or do anything fun that scares me. Nik, your suggestion that I may meet someone special while in quarantine is not exactly comforting!! Boy, think of the stories we will be able to tell our kids: "I met your dad while we were both drugged silly and breathing from ventilators..." I'm also pissed off that my family may cancel our trip to China this summer. I haven't been back in almost 13 years!! I need to go back to visit!!

On the other hand I find all this mass hysteria/paranoia from Chinese people (and I guess Asian people in general) pretty funny in a way. I guess the thousands of years of wars, famines, foreign invasions (damn those Mongols!!), natural disasters, and tyranny have weeded out those that weren't particularly cautious or alert or lucky, for that matter. The proverbial lazy grasshoppers have been purged from the gene pool. Now all that remains are a billion plus teeming risk-averse ants who always plan ahead and play it safe.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Kool Action Flick

I'm a little dazed after watching Shiri, aka Swiri, the first high-profile major action movie from South Korea. With a budget of only $5 million, it broke the all-time box office record set by Titanic, only in Korea of course. I first heard about this movie on Aint it Cool News. After reading all the enormous hype about Blair Witch Project on that site and being totally disappointed by that movie, I wasn't sure if I wanted to take a chance with this movie. I mean, those AICN idiots also raved like crazy about Shaolin Soccer for crying out loud, and that is hands-down the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I am glad that I gave Shiri a chance though.

Like all action movies, Shiri requires a certain amount of suspension of disbelief. However, it's definitely an entertaining and well-made big-budget movie (relatively speaking) that should appeal to anyone who enjoys fast-paced action. It even has a heavy dose of romance that may cause some girls to cry, that is if they manage to stomache all the violence and carnage in the first 90% of the movie. Its mixture of bloody action and touching romance reminded me somewhat of one of my favorite Hong Kong action movies of all time, The Killer.

I'm not going to go over the plot because I think everyone should check it out without knowing much about it beforehand. I will, however, note a few interesting things:

1.) The South Korean SWAT teams are all sponsored by Oakley, judging by the huge Oakley goggles they wear throughout the movie. I'm also pretty sure that I saw an Oakley logo emblazoned on a sniper rifle case.

2.) North Koreans are portrayed in a way that is reminiscent of the psychotic Soviet tough guys in old American movies. I mean, these guys train by actually killing people! One of the most ridiculous scenes showed two soldiers competiting to see who can load a gun the fastest, with the winner emptying her clip into the slow poke. Apparently that killer training also allows one man or woman to take on an entire squadron of elite commandos who are armed with assault rifles. With a pistol!!

3.) You can make a liquid that is odorless and colorless like water, but has the 10x the explosiveness of conventional bombs.

4.) This is from the "Making of Shiri": the director actually built an altar on the set and prayed that the filming would go smoothly.

5.) I laughed out loud in when the main actor's name came up during the opening credits: Han Suckyu. I know I know, I plead guilty to having a filthy mind. But I can't help it!!
Check this movie out. It's pretty cool.