Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mad at MuggleCast, MC Hotline off the hook?, facing the music about the webcam, French in Action, my "karaoke performances"

I am rather mad at the MuggleCast hosts. On their April 1 show (which I finally listened to the rest of today, having started to listen to it last night), the main host (Andrew Sims) said that he had managed to obtain a copy of the Deathly Hallows manuscript from Scholastic and had photocopied it and sent it to all the other hosts. They then proceeded to talk about the plot (issuing a spoiler warning beforehand, which I ignored cause I was suspicious that the whole thing was a joke). Things mentioned included that Snape and McGonagall make out, Harry defeats Voldemort by putting some inflatable heart over his head to suffocate him (and the heart is thrown to him from the other side of the Veil by none other than Ginny, his supposedly fated love -- despite what people say about the lack of evidence for Harry x Hermione, I still support them, and apparently some other people do can read an excellent article on their relationship here), Harry uses FaceBook to find the Horcruxes, and that when it all ends, Harry loses his magic and becomes a basketball coach.

As funny and utterly outrageous as these things (and the others I didn't mention) all sounded, the hosts acted as if they were being totally serious. Me, I was waiting and waiting for them to announce that it was an April Fools' Day joke, but they did not. I was pretty mad, so mad that I decided to call their U.S. hotline (1-218-20-MAGIC) to tell them I thought the whole thing was baloney. I tried calling and got a busy signal. Later, I was listening to episode 85 (this week's episode and the first regular episode after the episode with this incident -- they did a special mid-week episode in between), and they started off the show reading a couple e-mails from people who were as furious as I was about their little spoiler-filled book 7 (pseudo-)discussion. Then Laura (one of my fave hosts) said, "You know, a lot of people thought it was an April Fools' Day joke" and somebody (I think Andrew) said, "But I'm sorry to say it's not," or something like that (I was having lunch at Popeye's so it was kinda hard to hear the podcast on my mp3 player). I was SOOO mad. Not only did they spring the worst April Fools' Day joke I've ever seen or heard on the net (except for the infamous "Sailor Stars dub" April Fools' Day joke, which I actually believed, sadly, until I found out it was a joke) but then they refuse to admit that it is a joke. Seriously, people are starting to not listen to MuggleCast anymore because of this! Just admit already that it was a joke!!!

I think I am going to check the episodes for PotterCast for the same timeframe and see if they have any mention of this stuff. If MuggleCast is the only podcast mentioning these ridiculous things, then I'll know more or less that it's a hoax. (I will know for sure if they come out and confess, but it doesn't look like that might happen any time soon).

Just checked PotterCast's website, only to find out two things: I'm way behind on listening to it (more than I am on MuggleCast), and there is no mention of these supposed Deathly Hallows revelations (now, granted, they likely did not get a copy of this "manuscript," but since PotterCast's trio of hosts -- Sue, Melissa, and John -- are good friends with and friendly rivals of the MuggleCast crew, I'm sure they listen to MuggleCast and would've said something if the info was true. Plus, the news would've covered it, as the mother of this 8-year-old from Glasglow, whose e-mail on the subject was one of the two featured at the beginning of episode 85, said).

Anyway, I tried to call MuggleCast's US hotline four or five times throughout the afternoon and evening today, only to get a busy signal every time. So either the line (which is probably at Laura's house in Georgia, since she handles voicemails...the message has Andrew's voice though, which I know cause I've called the line before, even though none of my voicemails have appeared on air yet) was off the hook or something, or it was flooded with people voicemailing their angry complaints about this book 7 thing along with the usual people who call in with DH theories and what-not. This second option seems more likely -- I've gotten busy signals on the American Idol voting phone lines sometimes, especially right after the show ends when most people vote.

As for my webcam, I felt sooo bad about it, particularly after I opened the box at the encouragement of my friend Gilbert, who thought it was dumb that I was letting my mom dictate whether or not I could have one or not. So last Sunday (as in 2 days ago), I told my mom straight up that I'd bought it. She said she was thankful that I'd told her and that she was serious about not wanting me to have one. So the next day I took it back (fortunately I still had the receipt, since I'd bought a DVD on the same trip that I wanted to return also). I don't regret it. I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to use it for anyway, except for a stupid comedy thing involving a plush Sailor Mercury doll I bought a few years ago for $10 at ComicCon and a youma represented by the large geisha doll I have that was my grandma's till she died, when it came to me. A later version I'd come up with for this had Strawberry Shortcake come and save the day, along with PGSM Sailor Jupiter (who was to be played by me, since I physically resemble Jupiter more than any of the other senshi). Un-transformed Mercury was to be represented by my "Monaco doll" (another doll that used to belong to my grandma). I even bought a Strawberry Shortcake doll for the express purpose of using it in this comedy. (I couldn't decide between Strawberry Shortcake and Blueberry Muffin for a while...I think they had a doll there of Crepes Suzette also). Now that I look back at the thing, which was to be called "Mercury and Jupiter vs. Super Geisha," it seems dumb. (I'm keeping the Strawberry Shortcake doll looks cute, and plus I'm not sure if I still have the receipt for that purchase...since I don't usually buy things I think I'll end up returning, I don't usually save receipts; the one exception is of course with clothes -- sometimes I don't try things on cause I tried on a thing but it was the wrong size, so I just exchange it for the right size without trying it on).

I was just thinking about "French in Action" for some reason. This is a video series I started watching on a while back (having learned about from my Human Development teacher, who pointed us to the "Seasons in Life" series) that is an immersion-style French course. I also borrowed some of the episodes on VHS from my school's library. I haven't watched it in a while. I may watch it again soon...I've missed Robert, Mireille, and Marie-Laure (Mireille's little sister).

To end this post, since there's nothing to really talk about besides that (my life is basically the same as it was), I'd like to present some "karaoke performances" I recorded tonight in Audacity using the lovely headset mike I bought a little while back. They are really just two songs, but there are three versions of one of them.

  • W.I.T.C.H. U.S. Theme Karaoke Performance -- using a instrumental version of the U.S. "W.I.T.C.H." theme from the forums, I sing the song from memory. Go here to download:
  • Mezase Pokemon Master: This is the theme to the first season of "Pocket Monsters," the original Japanese version of "Pokémon." I got the music from a site called the Pocket Monsters Repository. It's the officially released "karaoke" (instrumental) version of the song from the "Mezase Pokemon Master" single. I found lyrics in both Japanese and English on and just sang from those. There are three versions:
    • Dual Audio: This version has me singing in English and Japanese at the same time. This was accomplished by mixing the English audio track and the Japanese audio track, along with the music, in Audacity. It may sound a bit confusing (a lot of the time the English version overpowers the Japanese version...I had the mike a little farther away from my mouth when doing the Japanese version so as to prevent it from being really loud and also to avoid having my breath from getting picked up in an obvious fashion -- I have a habit of breathing through my mouth, so I have big breathiness issues when recording stuff). Download here:
    • English Version: Just single audio this time, and in English. If you have translated lyrics for this song and they sound different from the ones I sing here (which are from Naoko of, don't freak -- different people translate things differently (for instance, I noticed that the subtitles for the songs in Kirari Super Live seemed to be worded differently than the translated lyrics I'd seen on You'll notice if you compare the English and Japanese versions that I make less pacing mistakes with the lines in the English the Japanese version the first line of the first verse I mess up on cause it's supposed to be sung really fast. Download here:
    • Japanese Version: Single audio like the English version, but this time it's in Japanese. My pacing with the lines is a little off here and there in this version cause for some reason I can't sing at quite the same speed that Rica Matsumoto sings this song. Download here:

Hope you enjoy these files! I'm gonna go now cause I have to get up early tomorrow to get to work at 11am.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Transferred, Gina's gone (no!!!!), Keepsake, Deathly Hallows cover, and other updates

Lots has happened since my last post, so much that I am still processing the biggest of the things.

First of all, I found out last Saturday that I was being transferred to another Stater Bros., this one in Encinitas. It is not the greatest situation for me transportation-wise. I've gone within a few days from a workplace I could walk to to one that it takes me 1 1/2 hours by bus to get to. Erika (the store manager at the store I was at) had told me last Wednesday she'd have me working at the Encinitas store the following week, but I did not realize that this would be permanent. I thought maybe they were just having me help out over there (they have people help out at other stores sometimes for a few days). No such luck. No reason given, no asking me if I wanted to transfer, a brushoff statement of "it's a reasonable distance" when I expressed concern about it being a long way for me to go.

My mom was saying I should look for another job since this transfer isn't very good transportation-wise, and so I'm going to look, keeping my current job for now. I hate to just quit now, even if there was another job opening, because it seems humiliating, after a little less than 3 months, to give up. Maybe it's just my pride or something, but I am the kind of person who will stick it through in tough classes and work environments even if they grate on me. I try to make things work until I can't do so anymore or I get through it.

I told Gilbert about it on IM not long after learning of the permanent nature of the situation, and he was saying the transfer was unfair and that I should just quit. I agreed that it was an unfair situation but was reluctant to just quit, for the reasons I already said.

I started at Encinitas yesterday, after a day off and the next day spent at another Stater Bros. for the General Merchandise Clerk class, which I must admit was ridiculously boring, filled with information I pretty much knew anyway from job experience, training videos from Wendy's that talked about food prep, and the county Food Handler's class I took, and 3 absurdly simple true/false tests, which you could ace no problem if you paid attention to the info being presented, since it gave you all the answers. I missed 2 on the first test cause I was tricked by the wording and put "false" when they were true, but the other two I perfect scores on. I had to be at work at FIVE A.M. Ouch. Not fun, especially since I'd gotten up the previous day at 4 a.m. to take the bus to the training, spent a whole hour getting ready, and then found out my dad was going to take me anyway, which left me with a couple hours to spare and no point in going back to sleep. Fortunately, getting in early means you get out early too, so I got off at 2:00. The strange thing was going to "lunch break" at around 9:30 AM, when pretty much no place that serves lunch and that is not a fast food place (or the almost-always-open Starbucks) is open.

Today was a slightly later day; I was scheduled to be in at 11 a.m. Unfortunately, I was 20 minutes late cause I missed one of my bus connections and thus had to wait half an hour for the next bus. So I asked the deli manager (that's where I am at Encinitas, btw...back in the service deli, after being in the bakery for about a month in the other store) if she wanted me to stay late to make up the time, and she said it was up to me whether to do so or not. I did stay the extra 20 minutes to make up the time, but I had to clock out right on time to avoid going overtime, which meant I had to hand off my task of putting fried chicken in the hotcase to Michelle, who I met today. The thing was though I was all hurrying over to the timeclock cause the clock in the deli said I had a minute before I was supposed to clock out, and I got there and the timeclock said 8:17 PM, which meant I had to now kill 3 minutes I could've spent doing something more productive than staring at the timeclock or looking at cigarettes (the timeclock's right by the cigarette/cigar/chewing tobacco case). This has happened at least once in the last two days -- the clock in the deli must be fast compared to the timeclock -- there's at least a 2-minute difference at all times, it seems.

The people in the deli are really nice. So far I have met only a small fraction of the half-page-worth-of-the-schedule amount of people who work in the service deli at this store. There are two guys I have met: Daniel, who usually opens (meaning he comes at 3am) and who is loud and obnoxious, and the more gentlemanly Alex, a CSR (Customer Service Representative; at the store I was at they act as checkers, but in a few stores like Encinitas, Alex told me, they are trying out having at least one CSR in each department). The rest of the deli crew are girls, as far as I have seen. Nely is the deli manager and doesn't look that much older than me, although I have often misjudged the ages of people I've worked with since I started at Stater Bros. (Michelle, the newest person in the bakery at my now old store, is around 40 but looks like she's 20). Since I am used to working for managers who were more obviously older than me, this is a new experience for me. Then there are Myrisha (not sure if I spelled that right...she's a talkative woman with a foreign-sounding accent), Clara (who transferred from the same store as me at the same time I did), Alicia (who doesn't understand much English), Diana (who is talkative and fun), the aforesaid Michelle, Celia (a nice lady who is very helpful), and a quiet but sweet Cambodian girl named Lang. There may be others that I forgot, but it's tough to remember them all.

Gina Glocksen As the title says, Gina Glocksen, my favorite girl in this season of American Idol, is gone. She, the "resident rocker" of this season's American Idol, was voted off last night, after landing in the bottom 3 with Phil Stacey and Haley Scarnato, both of whom could've been eliminated a whole lot easier this week if people actually paid attention to the contestants' singing rather than more shallow things -- Phil wasn't so hot this week with the song "Night and Day," and Haley is the model beauty pageant contestant but she honestly cannot sing at all and she shouldn't have even made it this far. Gina, on the other hand, sang a song called "Smile" that was written by Charlie Chaplin for his 1936 movie Modern Times (famous for being the last film to feature Chaplin's "Tramp" character and being the first Chaplin movie with sound, although it was not an official "talkie"), and she did it very well. She received good comments from the judges also. But even this did not help Gina when she was in the bottom 2 with Haley, who has somehow managed to get this far although her singing's not that great (Mum thinks it's cause she wears short skirts and such all the time, which I assume means Haley attracts a lot of votes from men who care about that stuff). And once again, surprise surprise, Sanjaya was safe. That kid is just weird, and his singing's not really that great, plus he picks very strange outfits (and hairdos, like his slicked-back hair this week and the faux mohawk last week). This week he wore a white suit, which looked sooooo wrong on him (his outfit last week was ok but the faux mohawk threw everyone off, including the judges -- Simon said "There must not have been a mirror in your dressing room"). It's a shame cause he sang a great song ("Cheek to Cheek") but that suit kept bothering me. But anyway, he is so darn popular that he keeps surviving on the show, even though he doesn't deserve it.

It's getting late, so I'll be quick on the other stuff.

  • Keepsake: Keepsake is a computer game I bought a few weeks ago which I have finally started playing recently. It's an action-adventure sort of game with lots of exploring, though the story is more fantasy RPG.
  • Deathly Hallows cover: Yes, ladies and gents, it's here -- the covers for the U.S. and UK versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows were revealed last week. You can see the U.S. front cover below, and more cover art here.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

  • I got a webcam the weekend my parents were gone. I finally opened it at Gilbert's encouragement, but I don't know what I'll use it for yet.
  • I've got a big list of videos to do, which I hope to make soon.
That's all. Good night!