Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jury duty, feeling relaxed, Diamond & Pearl catchup, psyched for the new Fantastic 4 movie, and so on...

Today I had my one day off this week cause I was scheduled to do jury duty and had requested the day off. The drag was that I had to get up at 5:30 to be ready to leave and be at court at 8. Papa gave me a ride, dropping me off at the nearby Food for Less cause it was only around 7am. I bought a soda and some batteries, then went across the street, sat in Starbucks for a few minutes (initially I was going to use my computer there but then remembered that you have to pay to use the wi-fi there), and then walked to the court.

I was prepared to be there all day. I had brought my laptop, my DS, a couple DVD's (the R.O.D. OAV and the movie One Night With the King), a couple books (The Golden Ball and Other Stories by Agatha Christie and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling), and my recently-purchased newest manga, the fourth and final volume of Read or Dream, which I've been waiting to get.

It turned out they only had three cases to call, and one of them settled without going to trial, and I didn't get called for the other two, so after that they said those of us who were still left could leave. This was around 11 a.m. All I'd done was work on a video (my Kawabe Chieco tribute), played Code Lyoko on my DS (using my finger and my house key for the touch screen, since I somehow lost my stylus in the confusion of getting on the Coaster last Wednesday; I'm just going to play Code Lyoko till I get a new stylus, cause Pokemon Ranger involves drawing circles with the stylus, and I'm afraid of scratching up the screen with my key), and listened to a MuggleCast for a little bit.

So I got some lunch to go at El Pollo Loco and took the bus home.

I went to bed early last night cause I was tired and had one of my annoying temples-headaches, and I feel much more relaxed. It's great.

I got fed up with how slow my computer was being, so I went downstairs to watch some of the stuff I'd DVR'd so I could delete it (which makes it easier to make sure other stuff gets recorded, both for me and for other members of the family). I watched an episode of On the Lot (a reality show I'm getting into) and several eps of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, which I have on "record series" so I don't miss a minute. (I would do that with the new season of Code Lyoko too, but Tech Links has plans to have rips of the episodes the same day they air, so I can just download the eps and watch them that way -- plus they do re-runs of the episodes at 11pm so I can watch them after work).

Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is just as fun as one would expect Pokémon to be. I didn't like the English theme song when I first saw the English opening on YouTube, but it's starting to grow on me. I also like the new female lead Dawn, because she is human. She has struggles. She's a coordinator like May from the Advanced seasons (who also had struggles with her Pokémon early on, I think). She also wears rather extravagant outfits for her contests.

In this season, Ash has a new rival once again. Since Gary rarely appeared in his first season (season 1) and didn't appear much after that (his latest one was at the end of Battle Frontier, when he told Ash about Sinnoh), I was kind of hoping he would get a new rival. His new rival is a guy named Paul who is a big jerk. He has a big attitude, and he has a way bigger disregard for being friends with Pokemon than Gary did. In fact, he scans Pokéballs after he captures Pokemon to find out how strong a Pokemon is, and if he feels it's not up to par, he just RELEASES IT! Yeah. He doesn't even keep it and train it to make it get stronger. So far he just has his starter Chimchar, a fire-type monkey-like Pokemon, as well as Elekid and Ursaring, and (according to the opening) a Murkrow.

I saw another preview for the new Fantastic Four movie Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer, which comes out this weekend. I really want to see it, as well as Nancy Drew, which also comes out this weekend (but my mom wants to see that with me so I'm going to hold on it). It looks pretty cool. I saw in a little article on it in Disney Adventures magazine that interviewed the guy who plays The Human Torch where he was asked if the Silver Surfer is a good guy or a bad guy. He said he couldn't say, which means it must be a key to the plot.

I'm tired so I'm going to go now. 'Night.

Edit 6/14/07 at 9:36 am: I forgot to mention this last night -- Team Rocket has a new motto this season. Of course, it was only a matter of time till this happened. They have gone through two mottoes before this: the Kanto/Johto one and the Hoenn one. (I know there are only two cause there's only two variations on the "Team Rocket Theme" BGM so far, and the theme usually changes when the motto changes)

I wrote down the new motto so I could post it somewhere (probably on Silvanmare when I revamp it). This is where being able to rewind and pause live TV comes in really handy. Here it is:

Jessie: Listen! Is that a voice I hear?
James: It's speaking to me loud and clear
Jessie: On the wind... [Wikipedia says "Floating on the wind"...just checked...I'll double-check that with the show]
James: Past the stars...
Meowth: In your ear!
Jessie: Bringing chaos at a breakneck pace
James: Dashing hope, putting fear in its place
Jessie: A rose by any other name's just as sweet!
James: When everything's worse, our work is complete
Jessie: Jessie!
James: James!
Meowth: Meowth! That's a name!
Jessie: Putting the do-gooders in their place!
James: Team Rocket!
Meowth: In your face!

Then of course, Jessie's Wobbuffet and James's Mime Jr. chime in at the end. Oh btw James has a new Pokemon again (Jessie still has Seviper from the Hoenn seasons), a grass-type called Carnivine (a combo of "carnivore" and "vine") that resembles a Venus Fly-Trap. Like Victreebel, Chimecho, and Cacnea before it, Carnivine has a fun little habit of showing extreme but painful affection towards James when being called out to battle (in the form of chomping on his head).

The motto is cute; they have the "make everything worse" spiel again from the Hoenn motto, which is a nice, subtle reference, and the motto overall has the more poetic quality that the Japanese mottoes have. The first time Team Rocket did this new motto, Jessie actually had a rose like the one James always has when she said "A rose by any other name's just as sweet" (held in her teeth no less) but sadly this rose has failed to reappear.

For once Team Rocket managed to tick off Ash's rival too (this may have happened with Gary too, I don't remember), since in one ep they interrupted a battle between Paul and Ash. They even called him "the new twerp," grouping him with Ash's group.

Oh and there's a new guy who's bound to be a recurring character: Nando, a minstrel guy with a harp and a suave, foreign-sounding voice and a bud-like Pokemon named Badew or something like that. Turns out it's the new first-stage Pokemon for Roselia, a Pokemon we saw often in the Hoenn seasons cause May's rival Drew had one. He has decided to go for both gym badges AND contest ribbons, proving for the first time you can be both a Pokemon trainer AND a Pokemon coordinator at once. So even if we don't see him at the gyms, he'll probably appear at the contests.

Ok gotta go and get dressed...I have to leave for work in an hour and a half, and I'm not dressed...ack.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Paying up, getting lost going to ITT, bro's graduation, Harry Potter theme park, first SeraMyu, and other updates

While on just now looking for pics, I took the Hogwarts Professors Quiz and scored 90 out of 100. Not bad. Here is my little badge:

On Tuesday of the last week of May (last week I guess), I went down to the union to pay what I owed (going to the bank first so I was sure I'd have enough money to pay my debts in full on the spot). I got a little lost after getting off the bus and finally managed to get there just before they closed for the lunch hour (noon-1pm). I filled out paperwork, and the guy and I discussed what I owed. Apparently I owed a little more than I thought, since the system had tacked dues for June onto me after I received the letter. The guy said I could just skip June and then I'd just have to play catchup with the dues that would normally have come out of my June paychecks. I said that was fine and paid the $368 that I owed according to the letter ($200 initation, $168 for back dues for February, March, April, and May).

Wednesday of this last week, since I was off, I decided to go visit ITT Tech, since I talked to a guy from there that same day I went to the union and he had suggested that I visit the campus. (I had planned to go on Monday, when I was also off, but by the time I'd figured out how to get there, it was too late to leave and be back in time to take the bus home). I got up early so I could leave early. I had looked up the buses to get there, but thought taking the Coaster and the trolley would be faster in terms of getting to San Diego. I was wrong. It took me almost all day, instead of the 3 hours the bus trip planner had said, to get to ITT Tech, and after the visit, I ended up stranded cause it was around 5pm, and I was a good ways from home, so I had to call my dad and have him pick me up (since he works not too far away). So anyway, I took the FAST bus to the station and then took an express to another station to catch the Coaster, a small commuter train that runs in the area where I live. I rode this to the last stop, in downtown San Diego. From there I had planned to take the trolley and then walk a little.

That's where my trouble started. It turned out that to get to where I wanted to go, I needed to take the Green Line trolley, which could only be caught at Old Town, the stop before the downtown station. Fortunately, I could catch the Blue Line trolley back to Old Town and go from there. But I missed the first one cause I got confused with the signs (the Blue Line goes to Old Town going one way and to San Ysidro/Tijuana going the other way) and had to wait 15 minutes for the next one. Then from Old Town I had to sit on the Green Line trolley with a bunch of really loud schoolkids.

I got off at Qualcomm Stadium (home of the San Diego Chargers and the SDSU Aztecs, former home of the San Diego Padres), which I believed to be the closest stop. I got out to the street after walking through the deserted parking lot and started walking from there. I walked about a block and then asked for directions. No one was able to help me, so I ended up having to call ITT and explain the situation (fortunately, I didn't have an appointment with them or anything). The lady told me to go back to Qualcomm, catch the trolley going back the way I'd come, and get off at Fashion Valley Transit Center, where I could catch a bus to go the rest of the way.

Long story short, I finally arrived at ITT, albeit hot and sweaty (cause Mum made me wear this nice shirt) and more than a little embarassed. I ended up talking with a guy named Jay (not the guy that originally contacted me -- that guy was with someone else), who explained stuff and took me on a tour of the campus.

The programs there are intense, involving 15 quarters of classes for a bachelor's, if you're full-time. If you figure each school year has probably three quarters, that's quite a lot. The guy said you can finish it in 3 years and 9 months. Since 15 quarters would normally be 5 years, and they're doing it in 3 years and 9 months, it must be intensive and fast-paced.

My brother graduated high school on June 7. I somehow managed to get the whole day off when all I'd tried to do was get an earlier shift (since I found out really short notice when the graduation would be I knew I couldn't get the day off). It worked out ok cause I hadn't gotten a present yet, so I called the FAST bus and went to Wal-Mart to look for stuff. I ended up, between Wal-Mart, Target, and Office Depot, spending about $20 and getting together a "College Survival Kit" for my bro, including things I thought he might need, based on my college experience so far.

The graduation itself took place at the football field. There were 370+ kids in the class, so the part where the kids filed through for their diplomas got rather boring after a while. (In comparison, there were 48 people in my senior class, including me, at the private Christian school that I went to -- and that my brother went to through 7th grade -- and we were the largest senior class the school had ever graduated at that point).

Afterwards we went out to dinner -- my parents, my bro, me, and my dad's dad, my one surviving grandparent, who had managed to be able to make it. My brother liked his present very much. I think he may have liked my parents' present better -- they paid off the remaining debt he had with them on his truck (a '94 4Runner). Plus they got him a nice leather Bible in The Message version (which I know, from my work at a Christian bookstore, is a good version, especially for young people). They also gave him a check for the $1000 our deceased grandpa (died last summer) had allocated for him for education or a car (I have $1000 allocated to me too; I was planning to use it for college, but since I still need a car and am terrible at saving money, I am starting to think that having that money as a start for a car would be nice, since I want to pay cash for my first car so I don't have car payments).

I first saw it on the news box on my Yahoo page, and the Harry Potter podcasts I listen to have confirmed it: they are creating a HARRY POTTER THEME PARK. It will be called the "Wizarding World of Harry Potter" and will be located in the Islands of Adventure at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. Though I'm not as hardcore of a Harry Potter fan as the hosts of the podcasts I listen to are, I still think I'd like to visit the park when it opens in late 2009 or early 2010 (which is what the official sources are projecting as the opening date), mainly cause I have never been to Orlando in my life and would like to go there sometime to visit the other theme parks, like Walt Disney World. Yes, believe it or not, I have never, ever in my 22-year-old life been to Walt Disney World. I have been to its West Coast cousin, Disneyland, several times though (including for Grad Nite). I haven't gone to California Adventure yet, however. I have heard it's ok.

As far as Orlando theme parks go, I want to visit Walt Disney World to say I've been there, but probably not a bunch of times. I do really want to go to Epcot though. That sounds fun. I want to see the World Pavilion and (if it's still there) that Innoventions thing I saw an ad for on a Bill Nye: The Science Guy video we have. I also am interested in Disney's Animal Kingdom, which I heard some about from a special on Disney World that they did on the Travel Channel, although it could just turn out to be just a bigger version of the San Diego Wild Animal Park. They are building that Everest ride over there which looks kinda fun and yet a bit scary too.

As for Universal Studios, I haven't even been to the Universal park out here in California, so I don't know if I'd go to the one in Florida, though I would certainly go to go to the Harry Potter theme park.

What we do know about the park is that it will feature a Hogwarts castle you can walk through and some replication of Hogsmeade (the only all-wizarding community in Britain and the second and final stop for the Hogwarts Express). I kinda hope they do some replication of Diagon Alley as well. It would be fun to see Ollivander's (the wand store), Flourish and Blotts (the bookstore), and Weasley's Wizard Wheezes (the Weasley twins' shop). I know the hosts of PotterCast are hoping they'll put The Leaky Cauldron pub in there (since their sponsoring fansite is called The Leaky Cauldron). I would definitely go to Flourish and Blotts. If they sold anything, I would buy something, even something small, just to get a bag or something that says "Flourish and Blotts." That would be awesome.

I thought of something as I listened to MuggleCasters Andrew, Laura, and Micah hash out the theme park thing for a good half an hour on MuggleCast 93: What will they do as far as money? If they wanted to make it really authentic, they'd have some place where you can change your "Muggle money" for wizard money (you can in Gringotts in the books, as shown in, I think, Chamber of Secrets, where Hermione's Muggle parents go to Gringotts to exchange money). That would be kinda fun.

Last Sunday, I had a bad day at work. Shelley chewed me out, and I hate that, and a bunch of other stuff happened that I don't remember. I came home and just needed something to get my mind off of the day. So I decided to watch the video file I had of one of the Sailor Moon live musicals (or SeraMyu as they are also known), called Last Dracul Saishuu Shou:
Chou Wakusei Death Vulcan no Fuuin
["The Final Chapter of Last Dracul: The Seal of Death Vulcan the Super Planet"]. (I had downloaded it for my Kawabe Chieco tribute video, since Kawabe Chieco played Sailor Mercury in SeraMyu for a short time; she also plays Osaka Naru, Usagi/Sailor Moon's best friend aside from the other senshi, in PGSM). It was pretty cool. Ono Hikari, the actress who plays semi-bad guy Blood Dracul Vampiru, reminds me of Michelle Yeoh. Chieco-san was pretty good too.

The musical was followed (in the same file) by the "Super Revue Show," a sort of mini-concert. This featured the special songs for each Inner Senshi ("Drive Me The Mercury" for Mercury, "Honoo no Messenger" for Mars, "Zigzag Slash" for Jupiter, and "Traditional The Grace ~Ai no Arashi~" for Venus), among other songs. Ono Hikari even had a couple songs in this revue, since she's acted in other SeraMyus. She had "Chasin' After You" as Taiki/Sailor Star Maker and "Onna Kaizoku no Sakusen" as Roof Mellow from the Kaguya musical. (She's also been Hawk's Eye and Prince Diamond).

All in all it was pretty good.

Crud. I stayed up super late again...and I have to work 12-9 tomorrow, which means an early wake-up time cause of the stupid commute. Good night.