Saturday, March 31, 2012

Karaoke!

As most of you know, I love Rock Band. Being able to sing along with words on a screen and be judged in the privacy of your own home by a machine is fantastic. I like to sing, but I never liked to sing in front of people because I don't like my voice. Tonight I went with some friends to do karaoke and everything changed. I don't know whether it was the MC(?) hosting the event, the people well on their way to getting drunk singing before me, or the energy of the crowd, but it's amazing.
The Karaoke event was hosted by Michael's friend Brent, which is the whole reason we went in the first place. He was hosting it at the Blue Monkey, as Singa Karaoke. Michael and his friend Extra Juicey are veterans of the stage, and they convinced me to give it a shot. Now, before I go any further, I do want to say something. Whether someone is good at singing, or completely horrible and you hate it, you should be a good sport and not rip them apart or insult them to your friends while they're up on stage. If someone has the guts to get up there in front of everyone and sing, at the end, you should at least clap, no matter how awful it is, because it's terrifying being up there. Walking up to the mic seemed like it was taking forever, I was so nervous.
The way the event was set up was in rounds. You got little slips of paper to write your name and song choices on, and each round you were up to sing again if you chose to. This let the new people have a chance to sing, while the addicts also got to sing over and over without seeming greedy for the mic. (I know it's harsh, but that was the vibe I got from the explanation, so that's what I'm writing.)
Now, you all should also know by now I like to research things before doing them. I read a guide on karaoke etiquette and looked through the book for a proper song. I decided to go with Meatloaf's Rock and Roll Dreams come True as my first choice. Not a very high energy song I admit, but it's one I know by heart, inside and out, and also one with a positive message for me. I could just close my eyes and let the drummer tell my heart what to do. I made it through the song, and was energized by the applause I received at the end. It seemed like drugs to my ears, so I went up another 2 times. The second time I sang Poison's Nothin' but a Good Time, and then finished my first experience with karaoke with Mika's We Are Golden. I'll be the first to admit I tanked during the last song. As a favor to Quintega I had Michael use my phone to record me up there, but while trying to show him what to do, the song started and I was completely flustered which threw off my game. I know it's a poor excuse, but I'll bring my A-game next time, I promise!
So the summary of this post is that if you have the chance to go out and do karaoke, you should definitely go do it. Terrifying at first, but super special awesome later.
You should also like Singa Karaoke's FB page, and here's the website I was able to find.
Here's the link to Extra Juicey's blog, enjoy.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

SPOILERS!
Don't read any further if you don't want the show to be spoiled!



So I promised you guys I'd talk about this show. Frankly, I actually don't have much to say about it other than it's awesome and if you're into anime or sci-fi, you should definitely watch this. It really says a lot about a show when you have to watch it multiple times to really get it. It's not a show that gives you everything at once, it hints at some things in the beginning, than right near the end it goes in a completely different direction than what you thought was happening. On my second watching of the show it made so much more sense, a bit like Higurashi in that sense.
Now as I started the series, I knew that it was a "deconstructed magical girl show," and a few episodes in, I kind of cemented in my mind it was a twisted and dark Sailor Moon. Tayron argues with me on this one, but the first half of the series I was able to draw a lot of parallels with characters from both shows. Namely Kyubei/Luna coercing the young girls to become magical girls fighting evil by making a contract/taking henshin transformation stick to join in the fight. I'm only going to give one away though, you'll all have to watch and find the others. ^_~
The second half of the show seems more like Doctor Who to me, with them acting like Rose Tyler and the Doctor, but then we get to the last episode and it flips again, making it seem like Amy pond and the Doctor.
It's amazing how they can fit all of these things into a measly 12 episode season/run and have it be this awesome and cohesive, with no extra plots dangling, nothing missing at all and simply brilliant.



This is a really cute Kyubei hat from here for your enjoyment.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fun Times

Mini post today, still trying to figure out what to write about Puella Magi Madoka Magica that hasn't been written before by everyone else last year. So today I'll pimp out Tayron since he's awesome. He brought me Kid Icarus for the 3DS yesterday, which has completely distracted me from side secret projects that need to be done soon, and today an exercise ball so I can both work out, and have a fun chair to use at the computer. Or so I can be productive while wasting time....? Either way, anyone who reads my blog should also read Tay's stories on Elfwood. It's a work in progress but it's still awesome. New chapters are going to be added soon, he's almost done with them.
http://www.elfwood.com/~briansaul/Elryn-Chapter-1.3373659.html
Starting you all off with chapter one, go read and enjoy! Make sure to comment with your opinions, Tayron is a writer and has a fragile psyche which can only be helped with lots of constructive criticism.

Monday, March 19, 2012

21 Jump Street

A friend and I went to go see the new 21 Jump Street movie today. What follows is my opinion of the movie. I'm not a trained movie person and I only have vague memories of the show from when I was little. I am going to be watching the show in the next few weeks, so nobody rag on me for not talking about parallels. I know I could have watched it last week, but I honestly wanted to go into it with an open mind and make an opinion about it on its own before hastily judging it.
I honestly really liked this movie. It's one of the few I've actually laughed out loud in the theater for. Most of the time it's just one joke after another. Be warned though, most of it is lowbrow humor, a lot of dick jokes and gay references. But there are other jokes that definitely make up for it, like when Jonas Hill and Channing Tatum are first sent to go undercover at 21 Jump St., the chief makes a crack that they should shake them up over at that church since they keep doing old tricks and things from the past. Between tongue in cheek jokes like that, and the Johnny Depp cameo, I'm totally pre-ordering the Blu-ray when it comes out.
The movie opens up with a flashback to Tatum and Hill in high school circa 2005. Sets up the original relationship of the two and the dynamics of being a nerd and jock in school back then. Moving froward to police academy and the relationship changes, with each of them needing what the other has. Hill's character needs to do more athletic things, and Tatum's needs to learn more to pass tests to become an officer. Through helping each other succeed, they become good friends.
Once out on patrol, they mess up big time. Hill lets his perp get away, while Tatum arrests one, but going into the miranda rights, gets emotional and starts hurling expletives (and something I think halo players might recognize) at the guy, which lets the coke smuggler get off scott free. Seeing how they're so immature and young looking, the chief send them to the undercover unit. At the church, we see the leader of the unit is Ice Cube. He goes off on a rant on how they stereotype him into the angry yelling and cursing black character, (another moment I loved) but that it's okay to lean into the stereotypes to get what you want. Like how he sets it up so that Tatum is the jock/drama person at the school to get in with the cool kids, and Hill is the nerdy smart kid to get in the angle of the chem kids who might be manufacturing the drug they're being sent in to bust.
Through a funny bit of Tatum's character forgetting his undercover name, their roles are switched, and hilarity ensues as Hill gets in good with the popular kids, and Tatum is quickly accepted into the nerd crowd.
I can't say much more without spoiling the movie, and I don't want to do that since it is a great movie, and everyone should see it providing that they are old enough and don't mind potty humor. The shining jems of referential humor and tongue in cheek jokes are worth it, I promise!
So with all that said, I give this movie an 8 out of 10. Tatum was amazingly funny in it, but Jonah Hill is extremely typecast as usual. He is great in this movie, don't get me wrong, but it just seems like I've seen it before from him over and over with nothing much changing, and I know it is possible to be typecast and still turn out a new/different performance each time, just look at most of Seth Green's movies. ^_~

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Lorax

So the past few days I thought about writing this in rhyme,
but considering, and trying, just took too much time.
So here at long last, my opinion of The Lorax.
(spoilers if you haven't read the book.)
A word of warning, my one friend commented on the movie that it is a surprise musical. As in Surprise! Here's several musical numbers! In the advertising and trailers I'd seen, they never really said anything about the music, I didn't even know there was a cd out until I looked for it after seeing the movie. (FYI, there are 2 cds, one of the instrumental sequences and one of the actual songs and demo songs from the movie. make sure you know which one you're buying first.)
So the movie opens up with some words from the Lorax, voiced by Danny Devito. I loved him in My Little Pony: The Movie, and he's just as awesome here. He talks about the city the movie mostly takes place in, Thneedville, and bam! Musical number pops up. The song is hilarious and it gets the job done about describing the city, it's inhabitants and attitudes there a lot better then anything else they could have done. The song ends and we start following Ted, voiced by Zac Efron. Mostly good choice in the casting there, but he's one of the main characters in moving the story along even though the other characters drown him out. Like Betty White as his Grandmother, Ed Helms as the Once-ler, and Rob Riggle as Mr. Ohare, the bad guy in the film. Now I know the Once-ler is the bad guy in the book and he's repenting for his sins by telling the boy about everything, but in the movie he's awesome and just misguided by his family.
So Ted's main driving force in the story is Audrey, voiced by Taylor Swift. I think Hollywood might be typecasting her, since it seems Audrey was tailor made for her. (pun intended) The character is just a pretty face that likes trees, and thus Ted wants to know about trees. Now we get to the good part. Grandma tells Ted how to get to the Once-ler's house and how to bribe him to talking about the trees.
I'm going to gloss over the Once-lers backstory a bit since most of it is lifted directly from the books, some of it is a musical number or two, and another part are hilarious little side-jokes and humorous visual gags.
The Once-ler doesn't tell Ted the whole story at once, making him come back a few more nights to here the rest of it. This is most likely to give the secondary plot of O'Hare's a chance to continue and get fleshed out. I kind of like the breaks a bit, with a clear villain to hate, who knowingly does do bad things and threaten people, we sympathize more with Once-ler, since how bad could he possibly be? Yes, that is part of a song that takes him from his lowly roots as a budding entrepreneur, to the owner of a large corporation manufacturing Thneeds. Reminds me of people on Etsy. The song is awesome, not just for its catchy lyrics, but for the transformation in outfits.
Climax! Thrilling Chase scenes! Death defying tricks! Ending with a showdown at the park between O'Hare and Ted over planting the seed that the Once-ler gave him. Cue hilarious musical number that turns the crowd away from O'Hare, and towards planting the Truffala seed.
After several days of thinking about the movie, and seeing it again today, I still really like what they've done and believe it deserves full stars from any rating system out there.Some say they made the movie too preachy, and alluded to the Lorax as Truffala Jesus with the ascension into the heavens, and from the heavens later on, but those are the people who haven't ever read the book. Certain things like the rising of the Lorax and the preachy tone are taken directly from the source material. If anything, I think they made the movie less preachy then the book. At times the Lorax really gets out there with browbeating the Once-ler into changing his ways. Not so much of it in the movie.
I even got Tayron pried away from Mass Effect 3 long enough to go to the movie, and he thoroughly enjoyed it.
Some of you might be a little skeptical at seeing the Once-ler's full human form, I was a little wary myself, but I think executive producer Christopher Meledandri's quote, "The minute you make the Once-ler a monster, you allow the audience to interpret that the problem is caused by somebody who is different from me, and it ceases to be a story that is about all of us. Then it's a story about, 'Oh I see, the person who led us into the predicament is not a person. It's somebody very, very different.' And so it takes you off the hook." best explains the change and makes it a good decision and not a poor one.
It also opens the way for a very well done Once-ler design, I know I'm going to see at least a few Once-lers at the cons I'll be going to this year. (can you tell yet I like saying that word?)

The Truffala Tree design was also great, and here's a link to make your own Truffala Tree pencils, whether it's for a small child or a big one.