Monday, December 31, 2007

Bye, 2007!

I'm going to pause and reflect on 2007 only because it is ending on a pretty high note (that was a Wesley joke). High- and lowlights of the year:

-First couple weeks of 2007 spent in Japan
-Acquisition of the Wii
-Spontaneous pneumothorax
-Awesome boss, good times at JRL 170
-Spontaneously started up piano
-Upgraded materialistic living conditions
-OMG graduate school
-Zelda, Mario Galaxy, Animal Crossing, Phoenix Wright, Guitar Hero, Rock Band
-Lost my signing-in-public virginity to the Rock Band vocal part of the Killer's "When You Were Young"

And now I'll be stocking that Belgian raspberry beer at Trader Joe's for whatever might be in store for tonight.

Monday, December 17, 2007

LOL this cat.

I've been using Photo Booth to take pictures with the cats. Emu responds well to the screen, but Morgan is too fussy. I like the one above where Emu is stting the way Scottish Folds often sit, but that's just because I caught him in a weird position while he was licking himself. He looks like he's busy researching how to express deliver sardines and scoffing at all of the inferior cats on the LOL cat sites.

Here's another good one where he's looking curious. He's quite handsome.

It rained on and off today on Strong Island, so there weren't many opportunities to take pictures. Tomorrow it is supposed to be colder, but sunny, and we are supposed to go into the city for a field trip. Perhaps some outdoor pictures to come.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


On Strong Island, there lives an Emperor. His name is Emu. Once a year, Memu pays homage. And lying next to His Holiness is Carlos, who looks like a miniature combination of Emu and Sponge Bob. The Emperor likes milk and cream cheese.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Recent Acquisition

I bought a piano recently, and it was delivered today. It is a 1977 Baldwin with light action, but a nice sound.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I still hate Nintendo

But, meanwhile...

Did you know Carleton listens to music? Did you know he sings? His vibrato is pretty impressive.

Coming soon: the contents of my bag on any given day.

Nintendo Algorithms vs. My Heart

It's 3AM, and as custom goes, I play Animal Crossing before going to bed. I get a letter, sans present, from Cube. He left. GONE.

Today in my discussion sections, I talked about atheism and morality. There was a short Nietzsche reading, the famous passage where the madman runs around saying "God is dead! We killed him!" and so on. This is obviously a rejection of theistic morality, where moral right and wrong are defined by a monotheistic god's approval or disapproval. To an extent, this means that we are free to come up with our own value systems. Morality isn't universal, we should appreciate this material life, and so on.

This freedom entails both awful and awesome consequences. One might think, Oh no, God doesn't exist? Everything I know ceases to have meaning. I'm scared. Or, one might think, Oh really? God doesn't exist? each his own! I'm going to create new meaning. How exciting!

In some sense, I have really lost meaning in my Animal Crossing life. At the moment, I really hate Nintendo. They have created algorithms that seriously fuck with my heart. It cannot be totally random. I even tried to time travel (Ultimate Sin), but the game knows. Yet in another sense, Cube was not everything in Animal Crossing, so it'd be stupid to reject the entire game for this one travesty. I could rationalize Cube's departure and move on with my Animal Crossing life. I could make Mordecai try to get Cube in his neglected town; he'd have more incentive to play, with an almighty Cube + Static combo. I certainly almost cried.

What do I do?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Zelda: Twilight Princess Spoilers

I finally beat Zelda: Twilight Princess the other day. I gave up about 45-50 hours of my time over the course of 8 months to play the whole thing. I will not deny that I used a walkthrough--in fact, I used two, one with images and one just text. A lot of the game was scary as hell; I was screaming and sweating (I don't sweat that much) at some points with scary enemies and bosses (i.e. I was swinging the remote and nunchuck around like mad). The feeling of finishing Zelda was sort of like finishing Phoenix Wright--I feel a sense of great accomplishment, but also subsequent emptiness. Now what?

So here's Ganondorf, the main villain. I liked him a lot because of his face--he's basically a Japanese mythical ogre (oni) with some samurai-looking armor and a bigass, fancy sword. I wasn't too crazy about his name, because it sounds like a ripoff of a famous fictitious name, "Gandalf." But other than that, he was pretty cool--used Zelda as a puppet (I thought I was gonna have to fight Midna), turned into a boar with a weak belly scar, rode around on a horse with red eyes, and then decided to battle simple and old-school, man to man, with swords, so I could FINISH HIM. And then the rest of the ending was a blur--Midna turned into some tall lady with a lot of makeup and an exposed midriff, wandered back into her realm, and then busted the shit out the twilight mirror.

Next up on my list of things to distract me from productivity: Super Mario Galaxy. I've only played a little bit so far, but it is looking pretty sweet. I'm not sure if I'm ready to embark on another epic Zelda adventure (I gave up on Link to the Past because I couldn't find where I was in the walkthrough guide), Phantom Hourglass for the DS. I was interested in Pokemon, but then Jamie made fun of me. Still, those monsters look awesome. Winter break is coming up soon though...hmm.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Boyz II Men!

They're back (again)! They have a Motown cover album, including a new rendition of "End of the Road." I only heard about this album as a result of downloading a Japanese music show, Music Fair, last week. I thought I'd provide some screen caps, because no one does musical performance sets like the Japanese. (Maybe it's just Americans who don't have shows like this, and therefore sets like this.)

They performed a snippet of "Just My Imagination," where Wanya got the line "Every night, on my knees I pray..." Here he is on his knees, while Nathan and Shawn console and provide backup coos.

They translated the lyrics at the bottom of the screen. Here is Wanya singing "But in reality, she doesn't even know me..." I had to get a close up of his buttery head and neck. I was instantly reminded of when Cedric the Entertainer sings and dances on stage in Spike Lee's "Kings of Comedy" (or "Kangs," as one might say).

Here they're performing "Reach Out I'll Be There" originally by the Four Tops. I hear this song a lot on peripheral, adult-oriented radio stations like 100.3 Love FM or 106.3 and 102.7, who play a lot of old school stuff. All their vocals and dance moves are on point, so much that I wished they released a DVD instead of a CD. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be touring in Chicago anytime soon :(

Unfortunately, Nathan forgot to keep his legs apart at the end. It's okay, Boss! They also performed "I'll Make Love to You" with AI but I'll save everyone the horror of having to look at her face (it's all in the bangs). She was alright, but clearly nervous and awkward singing about making love in the presence candles, wine, and clothes thrown on the floor. Instead I have bonus footage of lame-o Exile, who looked and sounded especially pathetic next to the Almighty Boyz II Men:

Mordecai asked, "Did that guy get brain surgery or something?" of the right singer. That man needs to take those damn sunglasses off, grow his hair back and wipe that soy sauce off his upper lip.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Understanding McDonaldsese

This morning, Mordecai and I went to McDonald's. I love love love McDonald's breakfast. I know people (i.e. Joe) find their Minute Maid orange juice offensive, but I love it with my sausage egg McMuffin.

Anyway we were looking at the receipt's claim that there are "WINNER$ EVERY WEEK!" and Mordecai noticed something interesting in the fine print. It reads:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Sweepstakes consists of individual weekly Entry Periods. Open only to legal residents of the US and Canada (other than the Province of Quebec), 15 years of age and older. In order to win, a Canadian resident must correctly answer a skill testing question. See Official Rules at Void where prohibited. Limit one entry per person per Entry Period. (Emphasis mine)
One odd thing is that the Quebecois are excluded, but I'm not shedding any tears or anything. What we thought was strange is this emphasized line. What is this "skill testing" question? How are Americans automatically skilled; are we skilled in virtue of being American? But then I also realized that this sentence is poorly structured. I think it wants to say, "In order for a non-Quebecois Canadian to win, he or she must correctly answer a skill testing question." But as it is, the sentence reads, "For anyone to win, some Canadian resident must correctly answer some skill testing question [as selected by McDonald's]." Could a Canadian refuse to answer this skill-testing question on the grounds that the sentence is ambiguous, and still win $1000 "or other weekly prizes"?

Forgotten Houndstooth Item

When writing about how Animal Crossing got me to notice houndstooth, I forgot to mention that I also bought these shoes for their houndstooth-ness (not quite visible in the picture below; trust me).

I neglected to mention them because I've worn them once since buying them in September on a random/impulse trip to Meijer (after dinner at Culver's) with Mordecai and Joe. They damn near destroyed my feet, and I've been scared to try them again.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Carleton's new hat

I'm not so obsessed with acorns anymore, but under the only oak tree I know of in the neighborhood on Sacramento and Schubert, I found an acorn hat. My guess is that the squirrels get all the acorns. Further, they probably get to them before they can fall. I can't climb trees, but maybe I could if I weren't a biped.

So now Carleton has a new hat. He doesn't get out much, but at least he's always stylish at home.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'd like to point out to the world that I have the same boots as Michelle Tanner:

I really don't know which Olsen twin that is, but who cares! We have the same boots!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chicago (Glencoe) Botanic Garden

There's an oak tree in the neighborhood, but no acorns. Surely the Chicago Botanic Garden must have some oak trees that actually yield acorns, I thought. So we went there this past weekend with Mordecai's mom, and happened to park next to an oak tree with plenty of acorns below it. Some had lost their "hats" or whatever those caps are. They were generally all brown, dusty, and round, very much unlike the ones in this picture I posted earlier, and unlike the ones that the Totoros collect. I might have to ask my grandma to send some from Japan, as environmentally questionable as that might be.

There were no acorns inside the gardens, but there were some other things to note.

Though I'm not a big fan, I think Kant likes these. I'm not sure he'd like this yellow and pink one. It reminded me of strawberry-banana flavored things, like yogurt and smoothies, a classic fruit combo in my book.

Mordecai crossed the railings and searched for acorns, but only retrieved some sorry caps. He also rolled around in some weird patch of low-growing plants, only to crush the leaves and to come up smelling like urine.

Chipmunks are everywhere in the gardens. They are jittery and fast, as if they're on speed. Maybe all the humans make them nervous, though you'd expect that they'd get used to us by now.

Some people got really into the Japanese zen gardens.

Someone left these sunglasses behind. They were kinda greasy and well-used. I like how I could safely assume that an elderly person left them behind; in any other situation, I'd probably have to assume that they belonged to some awful mustached male hipster or his female counterpart.

Unless I become obsessed with acorns again in the coming autumns, and the oak trees in Logan Square don't produce them, I think I've satisfied my every-ten-years-quota for making a trip to the Botanic Gardens. Enjoying those gardens is a sign of growing up or aging!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Animal Crossing Influences: Fashion edition

I thought I'd share some more recent Animal-Crossing inspirations, specifically related to fashion.

Ever since I started taking Gracie the fashion-police-giraffe's surveys and receiving "Fashionista Badges," I've become quite obsessed with the houndstooth pattern. One of the first questions she asked me was what print I considered to be classic--I think plaid and some other unmemorable things were on this list. The only thing I didn't recognize was houndstooth, and since I didn't like the other options, I selected it. Her immediate response was somewhat positive, so I thought, hmm, I better check this out. It turned out that I had seen houndstooth before, but just assumed it would fall under the umbrella of tweed, which at the time I took to be a generic term for multiple wool prints. Now, houndstooth haunts me left and right. I'm not sure if it is indeed classic as Gracie seemed to have indicated, or if I'm just noticing it all of a sudden now (especially in the fall).


At the end of this past summer, I bought a winter coat on sale at Bloomingdale's. It wasn't just any coat--it was the last one on the floor; it fit me perfectly; I got the salespeople to help me scheme to get it at a reduced price (apply for their credit card, come back in a week to readjust the price during a card-holder exclusive sales event); and above all, it was HOUNDSTOOTH. All factors read as DESTINY to me.

[I like to think Nodame would wear a similar coat]

And just the other day at Target, I was wondering what color tights I should get. I've been seeing opaque colors on many women now, and since I wear a lot of black, I thought that might work. But then I looked beyond the opaque color selection, and noticed a black and dark gray houndstooth-y print. DESTINY!

[Knobby knees]

I also bought some leftover houndstooth fabric a while back, but my sewing projects have been put on indefinite hiatus for now. Eventually, I'll make something...a DS case? An acorn-collecting pouch?

The other Animal Crossing character who has inspired me to seek certain prints is Blathers, museum-curator-owl. I always meant to further investigate the acquisition of argyle clothing, like a sweater, but who wants to wear argyle or a sweater in the spring and summer? Finally, this fall, J. Crew answered my calls with a multitude of argyle sweaters. Unfortunately, some were cashmere (=expensive), but I found some merino wool cardigans in a different section. DESTINY!

[Maybe I should've become a museum curator...]

Much like last fall and winter, my wardrobe consists of black, gray, and white. This could be the influence of Mordecai, but these are also the easiest colors to work with. Now, if only I could make and save money in my normal life the way I do in Animal Crossing life, I could fund more houndstooth and argyle investments...and so much more...

To be continued.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Acorn Festival

I feel lame blogging from a tea cafe, but at least I had a relatively productive day. Plato and I are buddies--I know he don't hate on women.

Across a plethora of DS consoles world-wide this week, many Animal Crossing players are celebrating the Acorn Festival. I've been looking forward to this for a long time because I like festivals, and for this one, you have access to special "mush" items (so you can make a "mush-room" in your house--GET IT?!). Tortimer, dressed as "Cornimer," gives you the items for gathering a certain number of the acorns. There are a variety of acorns, who knew? Round, small, large, normal, and rotten. If you give him a rotten one, he gets mad.

[Some Japanese acorns from some Japanese blog]

[Rotten acorn!]

Tipper, my big-headed cow neighbor, pointed out that there aren't any oak trees in our town, so where do the acorns come from? Turns out that huge head isn't for nothing. In any case, now I want to find and collect real acorns.

[I could make Totoro acorns]

In the Japanese classic "Totoro," Mei collects acorns that the mini-Totoros have left behind. Where can I get acorns in Chicago?! Could there be Chicagoan Totoros?!

[From the "Republic of Acorns"]

The arrival of the Acorn Festival means that my anniversary with Animal Crossing is approaching. Joe started playing before me, around this time now. He then told me that Animal Crossing was the shit, and I decided to give it a second try after giving up half a year before. I'm not sure whe the exact day was that I started playing again, but since that date X, I've never gone a day without playing for at least a few minutes. The vicissitudes of life in Humania are sometimes just as extreme and harsh as "real life," but holy crap, this is the greatest game ever.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Britney Spears "Gimme More"

It's Britney, bitch! She takes her batshittery to a new level. In her music video for "Gimme More," she has more funny phrases sung in her inimitable nasal style, forced color and filter effects to aestheticize/minimize the mess she's creating for film, random moments where she appears to have actually stripped, and then there's a good 1 or 2 seconds of her butt jiggling in fishnet hosiery. She even smiles here and there, which is sort of creepy, given the context of her out-of-control life.

TMZ claimed that her performance on the VMA show was "career-ending," but I find that ironic since they basically fuel the non-musical aspect of her career. Indeed, this video would be "career-ending" for any other artist, but this is Britney Spears, and nothing from her shocks us anymore. Unless she ends her life, I don't think anything can stop the masses from paying attention to her. So assuming she doesn't die, I think that there is a lot of hope for America's Paradigmatic Pop Princess. If Mimi can do it, so can Brit-Brit!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A rainy day in Humania

Yesterday it rained hard in my Animal Crossing town, Humania. There was thunder, ephemeral flashes of lightening, and pouring rain. When I went inside a building or a house, I could still hear the rain beating on the rooftop; I like this attention to detail Nintendo bothered to consider. I was hoping to catch another coelacanth, since they're supposedly only catchable when it's raining or snowing, but all I got were stupid sea bass.

I'm still pretty peeved about Lucky's sudden move. I wrote him a letter, I begged him to stay. What more did the mummified dog want!? I also can't believe he had the Zelda sword in his house, and that I was unable to acquire it through the monthly flea market. I suspect he hid it, or the game made such a rare and valuable item "disappear."

I wanted to take a picture of me talking to Cube--you can see his cute figure, sad eyes, umbrella, and a closeup of my special crown (1 million bells, bitches!), and a side view of my umbrella, which is in the shape of a leaf. But then I noticed that the umbrella is out in the view; normally, when you talk to your neighbors, you put whatever you have in your hands back into your pockets. I didn't realize the anomaly until I was reviewing the pictures. Maybe Cube had called my attention, I approached him, and didn't have to put my umbrella away. Hmm.

Bonus footage: I've been playing Phoenix Wright 3: Trials and Tribulations. I'm sad to say that not much in my life, past and present, amounts to the drama, awesomeness, and purpose that are encapsulated in this series. And I can't believe Detective Dick Gumshoe has stuck around so long, and finally, he's coming through--he just saved my ass from getting schooled by the fake, scary Phoenix Wright! He likes weenies.

Monday, September 24, 2007

On Scottish Folds

In an effort to invite structure and responsibility into my life, I considered acquiring a dog or cat. But too many factors made me reconsider: Yuki would sense my divided loyalty; I'm allergic to most cats; my dad is allergic to cats; and given my current habits, the apartment would become uninhabitable. Maybe I'm just allergic to adulthood--I can barely take care of myself, even with help, so how can I take care of any other being?

Nevertheless, I check these Scottish Fold blogs on a daily basis: Fami (above) and Katamari. I prefer Fami, largely because she looks more like a cat than a doll, but also because she is often photographed with a Nintendo DS in her lap. (Her name also has origins in Nintendo.) They both remind me of my childhood hero, Doraemon (right), whose ears are not folded but outright missing (devoured by mice). Naturally, I wanted one, but Mordecai insisted that there were (cheaper) kittens to be had at animal shelters. True, I said. But that doesn't mean Scottish Fold X Destined to be Kei's doesn't deserve my love, I argued. And what about the Scottish Folds whose ears aren't folded? They're cheaper, because they're not as desired. They deserve human affection and care, too. Coming from a family that shelled out more than shelter fees to acquire Yuki (guaranteed show-quality and best Akita ever) and with family who have not one, but two dachshunds (in Japan, where pure-breds are insanely priced), it doesn't strike me as outlandish to pay for an animal companion, regardless of the purity of breed.

But then, through Wikipedia, I came across this piece of information:

The following breeds of cat are not recognised by the GCCF (Governing Council of the Cat Fancy, the "feline equivalent of the Kennel Club"):

Scottish Fold: There is no intention to recognise this breed because the gene which produces the folded ears also causes skeletal abnormalities, producing stiffness of the limbs and tail which increases with age. This is especially true when two fold-eared cats are bred together but it has been shown that cats with only one gene for folded ears also suffer from abnormal stiffness. Under these circumstances it has never been recognised and we strongly advise members of the public not to try to acquire cats of this breed.

I can't say that I'd want one just because it's got folded ears--a physical feature caused by the same genes that fuse its legs, knees, and hips as it gets older. I guess I could be a hypocrite, since there are probably issues inherent to Akitas (but also probably to big dogs/breeds in general, and not directly linked to some defining physical feature, like the fluffy, curly tail). I will continue to support Fami and Katamari and other peoples' Scottish Folds anyway, but, ignoring my fickle allergies, I can't say I see my future self actively looking for a Scottish Fold. I'll also justify this by saying that the whole point of Doraemon is that he's a work of fictional art. I can't have a miniature, skinny Doraemon, sans the 4-dimensional-pocket, walking around my apartment, meowing, peeing, and barfing on the new bed. That would be the antithesis of Doraemon.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Some things don't change

And I hope they never will. In the future, will I still rely on Animal Crossing (or will I still have something like it) to help me sleep? Will I always have days and weeks (months?) where all I want to do is eat, nap, and play my DS?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Yippie Yi Yo

I just found out that R. Kelly started the group Public Announcement. They, sans Mr. Show Biz, were responsible for the 1998 hit "Body Bumpin' (Yippie Yi Yo)." I remember having bought the CD single, partly for its cover, where every member had a funny metallic blue body suit, complete with something akin to matching ski goggles.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Haircut photo

There has been a request for haircut pictures.

[photo by Kirsten]


Normally, I don't cut people out of pictures, but Kira and Alex were all "DELETE! UNTAG!" that entire night, so I cropped them (but not my love for them) out. That's Kira's little prince, the friendly and pocketable Ramses, a Chihuahua + Italian Greyhound mix. But in this picture, he looks, as Joe said, sinister. And there's me, tending to him, with my new haircut. Which Joe apparently doesn't like. Is it the bangs? Oh well, I look youthful! And my life, as well as this blog, is all about preserving my youth.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Every morning, on my way to the train station, I stop at my house. My mom makes me lunch!

Sometimes she makes rice-based lunches, sometimes bread-based. Today was a turkey-herb sandwich with popcorn, and a banana that is not pictured. She makes lunches for Mordecai, too, but he gets a Spiderman container.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Haircut inspirations

On Sunday morning, I got my haircut. It matches my piano lessons, also inspired by Nodame.

I had been looking forward to a haircut for a long time; I debated between looking like Franziska von Karma (too much like Victoria Beckham) and my second favorite Seventeen model, Oishi Mitsuki (already did that last winter in Japan). But I wanted to extend my Nodame-mania to my appearance, and somewhat unexpectedly, Suri Cruise pushed me towards this direction.

The younger I look, the happier I am, because life back on the north side in the new apartment is forcing me to behave more adult-like than ever.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In the near future, I will become a graduate student. In that same future, I will be a TA. So I decided to try to minimize my presence on the Interwebs, and simultaneously renew things on my blog. Here are some new colors, and hopefully some new posts.