All That Skate LA: Finally, a skating show that delivers!

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Michelle Kwan, Winter Song
Anyone who knows me, knows that I used to love figure skating. There was a period in my life, from the 1988 Olympics up to 2004 that I absolutely adored figure skating. From the 1988 Olympics, there were the classics, “THE era” of figure skating that dominated the airwaves with the likes of Katarina Witt, Kurt Browning, Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Kristi Yamaguchi, Gordeeva and Grinkov, and so many other wonderfully and classically trained skaters. One skater that stood out for me was the now legendary Michelle Kwan. In the past four years, skating has been dry and uninspiring to me, with the new COP judging system and what seemed to be all the same old routines over and over again. At one point, I would tape skating every time it was on. Now, I have no idea when it is on, nor could I care less. The shows that stations broadcast now a days are focused primarily on the singers or celebrities and don’t emphasis what skating might have to offer.

The weekend of October 2-3, about two weekends ago, marked Michelle Kwan’s return to the ice on home soil. It has been a little more than 4 years since Michelle last skated for her friends and family, and her return was in the form of Yuna Kim’s ice show “All that Skate”. I didn’t have many expectations going in, as I had sort of seen what the shows were set up to be like when they were done in Korea. I just cared that Michelle was skating, and I paid money to see her. To my surprise, and to those of my friends, “All that Skate LA” went beyond what we had expected. It was a classy production, with pyrotechnics – lighting, fire, fireworks, and with three Olympic gold medalists and first rate skating by some of my favorites. (Ice dancers Virtue and Moir, pairs Shen and Zhao, Yuna Kim, Patrick Chan, Stephane Lambiel, S&S – of which I would butcher their name if I attempted to spell it, Belbin & Agosto, Johnny Weir, and US National Bronze Medalist Ashley Wagner.) The group numbers were hip, with popular catchy (but not really trashy) music. What was most evident was that the skaters themselves looked truly happy to be there and looked to be having a lot of fun. Michelle for instance, looked as though she was simply oozing happiness with a consistent grin plastered on her face. It’s hard not to smile when it’s obvious that the skater you’re watching is having the time of their life enjoying what they’re doing. Surprise favorite for me was Stephane Lambiel. This Swedish guy was definitely something to watch. NBC unfortunately did not broadcast his William Tell program, but it had the crowd going for the last 15 seconds of his program.

NBC broadcast-ed it this past weekend, and though about half of the performances (except for Michelle and Yuna’s – both were included) were cut, it included great camera work. I still think that the classiness of the show was not fully projected well on the screen, and as with most things, a lot better live, but in comparison to the previous shows we have seen in the past, NBC did a good job with its editing. I give this show a thumbs up, and recommend people to attend this show when it comes back to Los Angeles next year. It’s too bad it already aired, but you can catch a few of the best performances on youtube : )

Here are a few of my favorites:
All that Skate LA, NBC Broadcast, Opening “Get the Party Started”

All that Skate LA, NBC Broadcast, Michelle Kwan’s “Winter Song”

All that Skate LA, NBC Broadcast, Stephane Lambiel’s “Let the Good Times Roll”

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San Diego Botanical Gardens

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Yesterday, my friend and I went to the San Diego Botanical Gardens to take a peek at what they offered there. It used to be the Quail Gardens, but was renamed (not sure why). It can often be confused with the Balboa Park Botanical Gardens. However, whereas the gardens there are more enclosed, the San Diego Botanical Gardens is a large open area, east of the five in Encinitas, CA. I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that I had a good many things about it from people who had gone there. Both my friend have an interest in photography and went with the intention of taking a lot of photos, but I admit I was enjoying the peacefulness of the area that I didn’t take as many photos as I thought I would have.

For any plant lover or fruit lover, the San Diego Botanical Gardens is well worth the $12 admission fee. I was fascinated to see they had bananas that were supposedly tasted like vanilla flavored pudding. Fruits such as “pink lemonade lime” was tempting. The gardens are split into regions of the world, and much of the tropical area was filled with delicious fruits.


Not sure what plant this was, but I loved the vibrant yellow


These Chinese roses were everywhere. Pretty unique looking no?

Jujube Tree

Jujubes plants. I sure like eating them, so I decided to snap a photo – they’re so small here, and of course, not fully grown!

Froggie hiding

Peekaboo – do you see the froggie? It was very close to the side, hiding near the sand


There are a few gorgeous ponds within the garden, and this was one of them


Love these fiery purple colors. Was inclined to take a picture of it because of the colors. The picture isn’t anything special however.


Have you ever seen cork oak? Well, neither have I, until this moment. It looks like bugs ate all throughout it, but that’s just how it looks! Neat eh?

Check out the web site for the San Diego Botanical Garden. I’ll probably visit again when it’s spring next year, as most things will be in bloom then! A pretty lazy Sunday, but managed to take the camera out and spend time with friends.


Countdown to 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC

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My posts tend to be filled with movie reviews these days, so much so that I’ve been thinking of moving them to a dedicated domain. It’s come to the point where I’m tentative to write anything else but movie/entertainment related topics! If any of you guys have any good catchy domain names — let me know, case as I think most are probably taken.

The Winter Olympics are coming up, starting February 12, for those who may not know (especially if you haven’t been buried by NBC’s commercials for the event.)

I’m preparing to get ready for my Vancouver travels. There’s a lot to do, to write down, in preparation for my trip to Vancouver. Luckily it’s going to be the second week of the Olympics, so I will have some time to do my research to see what to do during the Olympics.

I am kind of disappointed by the constant negative news surrounding the Olympics, and it makes me disappointed in Vancouver in general. There are the arguments over the clothing/marketing line from VANOC and Roots/Lululemon, as well as the arguments with First Nation, the growing costs the Olympics have imposed on the city, and the latest article I’ve just read regarding how the Canadian Pavilion is one ugly building and is shameful to the city. Wow, that sure bodes well. Reading the countless of Canadian news on the Olympics, all I’ve read are complaints from those who live in Vancouver.

Regardless, as I see the dressings going up for Vancouver, and look at all the gear that people have gotten, including friends, I’m starting to become excited to get to Vancouver. I’ve been enjoying a few Vancouver 2010 travel blogs such as We Are All MukMuks and Journey to Vancouver 2010 – Diary of a Fan, both that have been absolutely fun to read.

I’m about to get ready to get geared up dressed in Canadian colors and Canadian gear. Living in California means that Vancouver, though the warmest in Canada, will still be way too cold for this now adjusted for warmth Canadian-American. Just received my boots today, and am now waffling on the rest of my wardrobe, to make sure I am dressed for warmth. But I’ve now realized I need to get some straight or skinny jeans otherwise I will be walking the streets of Canada looking like a dork. H&M, Aeropostale, American Eagle, here I come. The last few things to complete my wardrobe is Roots gear.

Too many things, not enough time! I’ve just started researching now…and Valentine’s Days, birthdays are coming up. So I’m getting a bit batty! More updates later! Hopefully I won’t be as disoriented as I am now.

So Vancouver, I’m not yet ready, but hopefully, by the time the Olympics roll around, before I even leave, I’ll be all packed and ready to go!

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My experience with Google Wave: First Impressions

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Having had the opportunity to use Google Wave for about two weeks, thanks to one of my co-workers, I’ve found Google Wave to be very useful on many levels, and I definitely see a future for this technology. However, given that invitees via the 100,000 core invites (or what seems to be more now with the recent news that Google Wave has been releasing more invites) don’t have the ability to give out invites, it’s not really useful to me until I have the ability to invite people I would work with or use the features.

– As of right now, the ‘Trash’ button is not functioning. I cannot move a wave into my Trash bin, and it remains in my Inbox, which I find frustrating. Updated after I wrote this: The trash is now fixed.
– When I press ‘space’, it is supposed to take me to the first unread message in a wave, but if there are any applications / bots in any of the messages, Wave has difficulty moving past this message.
– I’ve gotten ‘script unresponsive’ errors a few times now in Chrome in viewing waves that are huge, so I end up just exiting and reloading Google Wave.
– My inbox tells me I have an unread wave, but when I return to it, I see nothing has changed. There are a few embedded videos, that perhaps mess this up.

Features I’d like to see be added to the wave:
– Backwards compatibility with e-mail (if the goal is to take over Facebook, E-Mail, IM), then I feel as though I should be able to give out my googlewave e-mail address in place of another e-mail. If it remains a static wave because the sending party does not support googlewave, that certainly would be acceptable. I imagine that this would be very difficult to accomplish, but I could potentially see even more people jumping the boat to googlewave if this were implemented.
– Give an option to sort waves by “newest first”, “oldest first”, etc.
– Not easy to “unmute” a wave. Only way seems to be moving it into the inbox. Odd.

Improvements to be made:

– Speed. I think it would be hard pressed to find anyone who does not disagree with this. And this especially applies to embedded javascript applications, or videos, etc, though any long waves with just text can take forever to read and scroll properly.
– I’m not sure how they are going to handle public waves, but waves seemingly never end, meaning each wave has a possibility of having an infinite number of blips. I’m not sure if it could ever be fully supported. People can add bots, images, java applications, and have it bog down on the entire system. Until Google can figure out a way to control this, I think speed will always be an issue. Updated after I wrote this: Someone said that one of the waves reached its limit after 650 blips, and they were asked to start a new wave.
– The scroll bar. It’s an annoying drag scroll bar that does not always act as you would think. Sometimes I click, then drag, and nothing happens. Sometimes it does. I’d like for the bar to be bigger, easier to be selected, and actually function as one would expect a scroll bar to function.
– If I read a public wave, it does not make any sense for me to be automatically included into the wave. If I contribute to a wave, that would make more sense. If the purpose of being automatically added to the wave is to never lose track of it, then a user can just click “inbox” to send it to their inbox.

– Very useful collaboration tool. I like the ability to edit each other’s waves, and I see that HTML 5.0 and this technology could be a very powerful platform for document editing, and for corporations, if restricted.
– The speed of uploading pictures are pretty fast, and I like that the other users in your wave can see the thumbnails of the pictures you are uploading while you are uploading.
– Being able to minimize the various windows (Navigation, Contacts, Inbox) and focusing on just the wave.
– Using the keyboard control commands are useful, I will just have to memorize them all to make it more useful.
– I hate and like the real time typing. I type fairly fast, but it might be frustrating for those who type slow. Also, it’s hard to keep up with the conversation if you’re a slow typer. I’ll be happy when the “Draft” box can finally be selected.
– When public waves are functioning without too much lag, I see how they could be incredibly useful. You could take part on many subjects of your interest without ever leaving Google Wave, or start new waves if subjects of your interest have not been mentioned. Security however, may be compromised if people decide to add bots, or applications that may not be safe. But in the naive sense, it’s a great communication tool.

– The “online” green dot that was once again re-added to Wave to indicate whether or not someone was online. I’d like the option of turning it off. Just like in chat, or Facebook, I tend to have other things to do and would like to have more control over this. Right now, it doesn’t matter since all of my contacts don’t use Wave all that much, and there are only five of them, but as I invite friends/they start to appear that I think would use Wave, I’d like other options, such as “turn the green dot off”.
– When do the waves in my “Trash” go away?

I’ve just touched the very tip of Wave, and I haven’t tried many bots or all the buttons in Google Wave, but I will eventually learn all that Google Wave has to offer, and I will hopefully document it here as I learn more about Google Wave.

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The New Fall 2009 Season to Begin Soon!

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Cast of V


After what seems like a very dry and long spell this summer in terms of television entertainment, next week will be the return of the new Fall season, the first season not affected by the writer’s strike. In previous years, pilots have usually been leaked onto the internet for a sneak peek, but this year nothing but ‘The Cleveland Show’ has been revealed.

Luckily, I was able to attend Comic-con this year, so while I was unable to attend most of the pilot screenings, I was able to catch the entire ‘V’ pilot, as well as glimpses of the new shows “Vampire Diaries”, “Eastwick” and “Flash Forward”. At the end of last year’s season, both season premieres of “Caprica” and “Glee” were shown.

I do feel that it’s a mistake that networks do not have any leaked pilots this year. Having seen the entire pilot of “V, I’ve been telling everyone that they need to see it. However, not knowing much about other shows, I haven’t really told anyone that they needed to try and watch anything else, which I have done every year. However, I have read and heard from various sources about which shows are worthy to watch.

For a fairly complete season premiere calendar:
TV Squad’s complete schedule or Clique Clack’s schedule (You can even add it into your Google Calendar!)

NEW SHOWS … that I am looking forward to this season:
V, a re-boot on ABC – I’m a sucker for alien invasions, and judging by the pilot, looks to be well done and very entertaining.
Community, NBC – I have heard nothing but good things about this show, and with Chevy Chase leading the pack, it certainly sounds promising.
Durham County, ION – This show, imported from Canada which in addition to being a hit and having won many awards in Canada, has Hugh Dillon (Flashpoint) being the leading actor in the series playing a cop who is involved in trying to solve several murders in the small town of Durham County.
Flash Forward, ABC – The premise sounds interesting, but I’ve heard fairly mixed reviews about this show. I’m a huge fan of John Cho (Harold and Kumar) and unfortunately I’ve heard that he’s pretty stiff in delivery, which is disappointing, but I’m still looking forward to the show and will give it a chance.

RETURNING SHOWS … that I am looking forward to:
Medium, CBS – Note the new network on CBS. I was disappointed to hear at the end of last season that Medium was being cancelled by NBC, then overjoyed that CBS had picked it up. However, the show will be put on Fridays.
Amazing Race, CBS – Until I had watched this show, I was never into reality shows. I found them destructive and a really rather sad show displaying the sorry state of humans. To a certain extent, there is still some bickering involved, but I enjoy watching the teammates attempt challenges while travelling all around the world, experiencing different cultures. At the same time, I also like to wonder in the back of my mind, how I would fair doing the challenges and putting up with the language barrier.
Criminal Minds, CBS – I think by now, people should be able to determine that I’m a bit of a CBS fan. I’m a big fan of crime, and since CBS is the big crime network station, often I am glued to the station. The season finale was a cliff hanger, and though I’m sure they’re not going to kill off any characters, I’m still curious as how the story is going to progress.
Fringe, FOX – Last season’s finale blew me away. All the actors, even Joshua Jackson (of Dawson’s Creek fame) has thoroughly impressed me. My only disappointment is that Mark Valley was not able to stay, even though he has his own show now. I cannot wait to see how they deliver this season.

This is just a quick round-up of a few of the shows I plan to watch or am excited to return this Fall. I tend to follow TV news via Zap2It, one of my favorite sources for television news.

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The Adventures of the “Personal Computer”

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About a year ago, my speakers started doing something strange. They started crackling. It was a great annoyance to me, as I watch a lot of video and listen to a lot of music on my PC, so most of the time it was difficult to hear. I had thought at the time that it was my speakers that had gone bad. But then, the crackling subsided due to what it seemed like to me at least at the time, cold weather. Not sure how that worked, but I was happy with the temporary quiet that my speakers served me, only to find that as the season changed back into summer, the problem returned. However, this time I determined it was not my speakers, it was my soundcard. (I had attached a pair of headphones into the soundcard’s headphone jack and lo and behold, crackling!)

That told me that I needed to get a new sound card, but I was not happy with this prospect either ( though much cheaper, given that I have a nice 5.1 setup). The computer that I have is a Dell 8400 P4 3.2GHz. It has served me well for almost 5 years, and I had loved it for most of those years, but it seemed to get slower and slower to me in the past six months, even after a reformat. Problem is, I use many applications all at once – Photoshop, Lightroom, 20 browser tabs open, sometimes multiple browsers (Firefox, Chrome, and Opera), in addition to watching a movie in the background. It got to be all too much for my poor computer. Plus, .mkv video files have started being so popular that I found that I couldn’t watch those files without turning off every single application.

With my growing frustration, I started researching what kind of computer I wanted. I knew that in the past five years, dual core and quad core processors started being popular, but that was about it. I felt pretty much in the dark, given how quickly technology moves. I started off looking at Dell computers, since my past two or three computers have all been Dell. They’ve treated me very well. One thing that was mandatory though for me, was a requirement of being expandable and supporting four hard drives. No can do.  I was not willing to turn to Hewlett Packard, or other companies, so I decided to build my own computer.

Besides having built a couple PCs back at my first job, my experience in building a computer was next to nothing. However, I knew that I wanted a fast processor that would last me many years, a case that was expandable, and a new hard drive. I do know that if I can do it, anyone can, as long as you research.

Once I had gotten all my parts, it took me a good couple of evenings + half a day during the weekend to put my computer together. Here in Southern California, we were going through a heat wave, and with the lack of air conditioning, I was sweating all the while figuring out which cable needed to go where on my motherboard, so my head was half functioning.

Once all my core components were put together, I plugged in the power cable into the power supply, flipped the power switch on the back of the power supply, and voila! Nothing.

Yes, nothing. At this point, I started to panic. What possibly could go wrong? Nothing was lighting up. Was my power supply bad? All these thoughts started running through my head. I called my boyfriend, the expert PC builder. “Is your power switch on?” “Of course it’s on! I turned it on and nothing happened.” “Is your other power switch in front of the computer on?” “…………….Oh, huh, let me get back to you on that, I’ll call you back later!”

Yes, I forgot that all computers had a power switch on the front of the computer to turn it on, as you know, computers are not usually on 24 hours a day, with no other method of turning off the computer except turning the power switch off from the power supply. So, once I turned the power switch on, my computer whirred happily and I saw my motherboard start-up screen display. All was well with the world.

The moral of the story: Even self proclaimed nerds have moments of idiocy.

Since then, I’ve had a few bumps here and there, with a high pitched noise being emited with the motherboard, with Windows acting up (due to some application I had installed), which was fixed with a quick re-install, and an issue with one of my old hard drives.

Have any of you done similar “smack-your-head-duh” moment before? I’d love to hear your stories!

Note: It may be a challenge for someone who is not computer literate, but I will hopefully, in laymen terms, describe how one goes about building a computer in a future post.

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Behind on updates

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When I redid my previous site, I said I would be better at writing reviews and having them up. Well, I have gotten better at writing the reviews, but I have been pretty bad about posting them on my web site. I store them on my computer, but then I have a tendency to want to reedit them to death, and then the post becomes irrelevant (or old and stale). I am hoping to post some of those old reviews in the upcoming weeks, and I’m hoping that I become less nit picky about my posts, with the hope that I will improve my writing with time. Please bear with me!

JDrama Review: Kamisama mou sukoshi dake (God please give me more time, 1998)

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Takeshi Kaneshiro,  Kyoko Fukada

Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kyoko Fukada

Director: Takeuchi Hideki, Iwamoto Hitoshi
Cast: Kyoko Fukada, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Kato Haruhiko, Nakama Yukie
Screenplay: Asano Taeko
Broadcasted: July 7, 1998 – September 22, 1998

Let me try this again. I had written an entirely comprehensive review without saving when the power cable of the computer I was using to write the review was loose and therefore turned off. So, I will attempt to rewrite this again, though the second time never seems to be good and as fresh as the first try.

Masaki (played by Kyoko Fukada) is a bored, listless and purposeless girl who hangs out with a group of friends who are part of an escort service and whom occasionally prostitute themselves for money, but she has never done it. She has managed to get tickets for her and her best friend Asami to a concert put on by her favorite composer Ishikawa Keigo (played by Takeshi Kaneshiro) and singer Kaoru (played by Nakama Yukie). Unfortunately, she misplaces the tickets. Due to some misfortune and unfortunate circumstances, in order to get the money to repurchase the tickets Masaki ends up prostituting herself for 50,000 yen.

After the concert, while Masaki and Asami sit in a taxi rethinking their experience at the concert, they find themselves next to Keigo’s van. Masaki decides to leap out of the taxi, running along side, getting soaked in the rain, runs up over the bridge and displays “I love Keigo” banner for Keigo to see. Keigo decides to take her back to his apartment, subsequently spending the night together. However, Masaki at this time, has already contracted the HIV virus from her night of prostitution.

It is then, when Masaki discovers she is HIV positive where her struggles begin. She must find a purpose and meaning to life and find what it means to live with HIV/AIDS. Keigo, living more like the dead than the living, having experienced death in his past, discovers what it means to be alive, realizing slowly it is not only that Masaki needs him, but that he needs her.

* Possible major spoilers ahead *



Before going into the positive aspects of this drama, I will first address what I feel are the failing points of this tearjerker. First and foremost is the lack of addressing the use of protection in preventing the spread of disease. Instead, I felt that the drama focused too much instead on the aspect of “do not prostitute”. Though I agree of course with this view and do recognize that it is a problem within the Japanese society, I felt that it was a mistake having never mentioned by no one in the entire drama that if she had used condoms, she might not have gotten sick at all. And not only that, she wouldn’t have needed to worry about passing it to someone else.

However it isn’t only that. I thought of course what Masaki had done was unbelievably irresponsible and self-deprecating, but it isn’t until towards the end, when the scriptwriters had Keigo do something that was just plain stupid and mouth dropping that I could only shake my head. It is a disservice to the subject of HIV and AIDs. For a drama of its time, the subject of AIDS and HIV is definitely to be commended to have taken the risk, but I felt that the drama really dropped the ball on not mentioning protection, which for me, detracted from what would have heightened it from a great drama to an excellent quality drama.

At first, the implausibility of a famous composer falling in love with a fan girl bothered me, but then I realized it was more of the fan girl falling in love with the composer that I had a problem with, since I didn’t know whether or not it was infatuation or truly love. I also felt the Keigo when he first meets Masaki is a different one after she confronts him on whether or not he has the HIV virus. He seemed open to the idea of seeing her, liking someone, and then when she arrived at his door, crying, he became different, which didn’t fully makes sense to me.

And then later on, it seemed as though Keigo went from cold to hot with just a flip switch. Though I did appreciate that you could see how he thought about her when he was alone, was tormented by thoughts of her and the amount of running he did to find her, help her and save her in this drama (which i thought was quite funny… but I’m not complaining…)

However, negatives aside, the strength of the drama is clearly the two actors. Kyoko Fukada was 17 when she took on this serious role, the same age as the main character. She portrayed the naive, happy Masaki and the transformation she made to find purpose and happiness in her life (despite all the tears) very well. Takeshi’s Keigo – brooding, subdued, sometimes cold manner balanced Kyoko’s Masaki so she wasn’t too overpowering. I’ve read many complaints about Masaki’s crying. But honestly, given her situation, and being still in high school, I really can’t fault her. She puts herself in a horrible situation, is shunned and picked on by her friends due to her illness, her family life isn’t good, her mom is having an affair, and she feels she can rely on no one when she needs people the most. People decieve her and she is the cause of Keigo losing her job, her friend and brother getting picked on, I’d say if I were in a position I’d be crying a lot too. Out of all the roles I have seen her take on, she does an excellent job here.

As for the role of Kaoru, I have never hated a character more than I did when she was at the airport and bold faced lied to Masaki. I don’t know how someone could be so completely selfish when it is clear that this man who has been suffering a long time due to the death of her sister has finally found happiness. And it’s even more cruel in that every day, every moment might be the last. She took away three years of their life together, and not only took away time, but shortened the life of Masaki, due to her weakened and sad state affecting her immune system. I would have been quite content had the series ended with Masaki and Keigo going off to the US.

Instead, the writers torture us even more, writing this segment of three lost years. Then in addition, losing another six more months because Keigo has to go back to the US to finish his tour. If one were to tally it up, they weren’t even together for a year.

I’ve read some reviews saying that the ending left them content, but for me, it left me nothing but. It left me empty and distressed. Perhaps I’m handling it worse than Masaki did, but throughout the series, I really didn’t see where they really had the time to fully enjoy each other except in the six months after their daughter was born. They have Keigo encourage Masaki and ask her whether or not she wants to see Sachi grow up to walk, to talk, to have even more of a desire to live longer. Sadly however, the story reaches the end by having Masaki die in the subsequent scenes. I don’t know, but that leaves me empty. However I will say I do appreciate they had her die in the manner she did “dying in his arms”, and without it being in a hospital bed (which is typical of AIDS victims). Masaki dying in Keigo’s arms struck a chord with me because this is what he said to her on the bridge. That if she was going to die, that she should die with him holding her in his arms.

The soundtrack simply adds to the etheral, melancholy theme of the drama, and it successfully blends the scenes and the ups and downs of all the characters’ emotions together. Luna Sea’s I For You particularly sticks out, and its lyrics work perfectly as the theme song.

If there’s any indication as to whether or not a drama is good, I’ve always thought that if the show/movie/drama can cause me to have emotion and feel for the main characters, then it must be at least good. So what do I say about a drama that got completely under my skin? I’d have to say it was excellent. It’s by no means a perfect drama, but I was to the point where I was completely affected and bothered by what was happening to Masaki and Keigo and the people around them that it left me thinking about it for several days after.

I know this was a drama where the message was to never take your life granted, and to live life to the fullest, regardless of how much life you have to live whether you know it or not, but it got to the point where I thought Masaki never got cut a break and it just became too depressing. I think I hate and love this drama at the same time. I hate how it got under my skin, how depressing it is, but it’s so good that I love it. I think its heart wrenching, despite all the problems I have with it, and I kept on hoping and wishing for more time for this wonderful couple. After all, when it comes down to it, it’s really just a love story.

I think the viewers know what the ending will be, due to the cloud that looms over the entire drama; that there is a clock slowly ticking away. I think it would have been great even without the ending, and it sure would have saved me that horribly empty feeling I had after watching it. It just made me feel hopeless knowing that she died so soon after Keigo found life again and had to leave the daughter she so wanted to have. I didn’t tear up very much while watching it, but instead, felt something deeper – a depression if you will, as though you are carrying something heavy within your heart.

The one nice feeling that I walked away with was realizing just how much I appreciate Takeshi Kaneshiro’s acting. I’ve seen much of it in the past, but being able to see him develop a character for 12 episodes really shines a light as to how expressive Takeshi is, simply by using his eyes. (mind you, I do think he smokes too much =P) He delivers one of the best lines at the start of the drama. I don’t know if it’s after or before Masaki, but I really like how it starts the drama. Before I began watching, I had always assumed it was Masaki who speaks the title line, but for some reason, it hurts a lot more when I realize that it’s Keigo.

Some people have hated this drama, but most people have loved it. I highly recommend it. Only you can decide for yourself if it will pull your heart out and squash it like it did mine. It’s one definitely for the ages, one where I’ll be able to watch over and over again…

You can watch it at mysoju: or at crunchyroll:
best pills for ed
My rating: 4.8/5

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Collections: An Addiction

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Do you collect something? This may or may not be something people know about me, but I enjoy collecting things.

That's a piano eraser that I collected when I was young. There are much cooler erasers now!

That’s a piano eraser!

When I was small, I used to collect all sorts of things – here is a list of such things, quite typical and not really special:
– Stamps
– Coins
– Erasers
– Stickers
– Pens
– Postcards

I would say I did quite a bit of collecting when I was a kid and it never really translated to anything valuable in real life where I had a collection worth anything than my own personal satisfaction. Out of the items I collected when I was young, I would say I still collect coins, but not that seriously. I just collect foreign coins when people go abroad, or currently, the state coins. This is a collection many people strive for, which makes me no different. I have been eyeing that Vancouver 2010 silver mint dollar, but I will refrain.

Sticker collecting was rabid when I was about 6-9 years old. Trading would occur on a regular basis during recess and lunch time. Each of us brought our sticker albums and would look at each of the “categories”. The fuzzy ones, the smelly ones, the shiny ones, the puffy ones. The list would go on.

I collect postcards in the sense that it’s my one thing I buy when I go somewhere as my way of saying that I’d “been there”, but in more recent years, due to the invention of the digital camera, I place less importance on the postcard.

I still enjoy stamps but find that they require more attention. However, I think stamps and coins are the only real interests of mine where there would be some value acquired from growing my collection, and not my one and only remaining addiction: pens.

Yes, I have an addiction to pens. I’ve had a love affair with pens ever since I was young. I don’t know what it is about a nice pen, but there is something about how it feels while writing and the smoothness and ease with which the ink leaves the pen and touches paper that is addictive. For as long as I can remember, not only have I had an affair with pens, but I’ve had an affair with Japanese pens. I’m not sure when I discovered the Pilot Hi-Tec C pens, but it was many years ago when somehow, my dad came back from Taiwan with a few pens for me. Up to that point, I had no idea pens < 0.7mm even existed and I was beyond enthusiastic. I’m a sucker for needlepoint pens – gel or ballpoint. When I discovered JetPens, I was elated and annoyed at the same time. Elated because I found I could purchase my pens without flying to Taiwan or scrounging around for stores that sell them; annoyed because I asked myself why I hadn’t thought about it doing a similar business. All the while I was wondering “how to get more from Asia”. I’ll blame the fact that I was still in school at the time and the business pondering ideas did not even enter my mind until the last year of college. (Read: I still don’t have my own business as I have no ideas!) Anyway, long story short, that’s how much I love pens – it’s a passion of mine that I would have loved to have started something like “JetPens”. But, I’ve grown to love Jetpens, with their huge selection and great service. Still waiting for Korean pens to be added, but no complaints from me.

To “help” my addiction, I subscribe to Pen Addiction, and now believe that is probably a very bad idea as I am always lusting after some new pen after reading a stellar review. I’m always trying to control my spending habits, but just yesterday, I caved. I bought more pens to experiment and play with at my favorite place, JetPens.

Latest order:
1 x Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 3 Color Multi Pen – Pen Body – Clear
1 x Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen – Black
1 x Zebra Mini T3 Ballpoint Pen – Silver Body – Blue Ink
1 x Pentel Slicci Gel Ink Pen – 0.25 mm – Purple Ink
1 x Zebra Sarasa 3+S 3 Color Gel Ink Multi Pen + Pencil – Blue Body
1 x Zebra Techno Line Ballpoint Pen – 0.4 mm – Light Green Body
1 x Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen Ink Cartridge – 0.3 mm – Aqua Blue
1 x Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen Ink Cartridge – 0.4 mm – Apricot Orange
1 x Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen Ink Cartridge – 0.4 mm – Apple Green
1 x Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen Ink Cartridge – 0.3 mm – Violet

I think I’m good for the rest of the year, what do you think? One thing to note, after discovering all the wondrous other pen addicts via Flickr, I also found the lovely notebook that is “Moleskine”, via awesome pictures such as these ones.

I’ll probably devote more entries to this wonderful addiction, but I’ll keep a better lid on my spending thank you very much! : )
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Site Re-Tooling

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I haven’t touched this blog in many months, almost a year. I’ve moved it from Blogspot and now use WordPress. There are so many options for blogging software I could easily get buried in it, but in the end, I went with WordPress.

Looking over at the past posts, I realized I disliked the topics I chose, the writing style I wrote, and the seemingly disjointed entries I wrote. I made it far too personal. I’ve started another blog where a coworker and I discuss the daily trials we go through in striving to simplify our lives, and as I did, I realized my own personal blog could be handled much better. It’s an advantage that I get about 0 readers, including friends, that I’m able to start over a bit from scratch. This will still be more personal than my other attempted web sites, but hopefully it will offer some actual content than in previous years. I’ve enjoyed writing, and I’m hoping in doing so, I can improve my vocabulary and my writing.

Please be patient as I get this blog visually up to speed 🙂