Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hot Water

This poem is an exaggerated telling of my thoughts when I use hot water. I realized that it was second-person halfway through, though. I don't know why that happened. Maybe to make the audience feel it more easily?

What is that feeling you get when you put your hand under a running tap?
You're not sure what the temperature is for a moment.
You're not sure you want to know.
In that split second, you will be scared you're getting scorched.
You want to pull away, but you can't.
You can't react quickly enough to avoid it.
You can feel the beads of water hitting your hand, but it means nothing until you can tell if it's soothing or destructive.
You relax into it and decide what's to be done is going to happen regardless.
The heat hits you and you snatch your hand back in surprise.
Why must every action you do be existential? 

Friday, May 30, 2008


I made this comic today. I originally made a rough draft for this in a friend's notebook about a month ago. I didn't think it was amazing, but she seemed to like it, so I made an improved version. You can find it at the title link.

And yes, the events the comic portrays happen all the time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Video Game Accessories

Is it just me, or are there too many video game accessories that are too expensive and take up too much room in our closet? There's Guitar Hero guitars ($40), Rock Band instruments ($130), the new Guitar Hero drums which you CAN'T replace with Rock Band drums (unpriced), Wii Balance Board ($40), and plenty others. Now these are the most expensive ones, but still, why am I paying more than $50 to play ONE game? But for some reason, I can't use a PS2 Guitar Hero controller for a PS3 Guitar Hero. Is it fair to the gamers to make them pay top-dollar to play a game? I didn't buy Rock Band, a game I had been anticipating for a while, because it was $180. And it's not just buy it and it's done. Guitar Hero needs TWO guitars to be able to play with a friend, and these accessories frequently break. And there's no replacement. I just have to hand over another $40 if I want to play again. I know that video games are made to make money, but maybe more people would buy the games if there weren't so many accessories you need to play. The only way I'm going to get my money's worth for each accessory is if they work with every console and game that can use it. And we all know that's not going to happen...

Robot Monkeys!

I'm not joking. Check out this youtube video on a monkey controlling robot arms with its mind.

Maybe someday all animals will have robot arms to eat marshmallows with.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I wrote this piece right here. Hooray for fresh material!

"I really don't want to be here..."
"Quiet, Luke!"
I sigh and shut my mouth. This is Kerry's grandma's funeral and I want to be anywhere but here. It's just...I like Kerry and all, but I don't know any of her relatives yet. We've actually only been dating each other for a few months. I introduced myself to her at a rock concert when I noticed that we both had the same tattoo of a burning skull. Small world. Anyway, from there on, I expected all of the things we would do to be hardcore. Now I'm at a funeral. I am bored out of my MIND. I look around to see all of the people. I amuse myself by making up imaginary lives for all of them. That woman crying is a housewife with five kids and secretly hates ketchup. That somber man is an over-worker who hopes to get a dollar raise in the toothpaste company he works for. That woman crying is... wait. They all look the same. I realize how boring this funeral is going to be. I crack my knuckles and Kerry holds my hand so I stop. She's never been this forceful before. What's wrong? I pull my hand away and try to focus on the procession. It moves at an annoyingly sluggish pace. I start humming "Stairway to Heaven" and tap my fingers to the rhythm. Kerry looks at me with a concentrated and frustrated face and says in a whisper, "Stop it." I try to fall asleep, but she elbows me. This is stupid. Why should we care so much about the dead? They're gone, so why have this big anti-party? Just forget about them. That's what I want. When I'm gone I want people to just get back to their lives. I'm just a passing guy. Who needs to honor me? I check the clock. An hour left to go. This is going to be a long funeral...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Delicate S-N

This is a comic I made a few months ago. I was just thinking of puns and decided that it would be more amusing if cartoon Toby created this one. I love the contrast of faces on panel three. You can find it at the title link.

Tina's Tea

This is the screenplay that I wrote for acting camp last year. It has no dialogue. It turned out really well on stage.

Tina folds grey overcoat and puts it in closet. She starts a kettle of water. She picks up a picture of her husband, and looks out window. She sighs, puts her fist on her chin and looks around. She goes around inspecting worthless knickknacks. The Tea Kettle Boils. She turns off the stove and takes out teacup. She puts on a stylish oven mitt and pours the hot water in the cup. She takes out a tea bag and slowly dips it in, as though she’s being forced to do it. She brings the tea into a room with a table and chair and sits down. She takes a spoon and puts it into a sugar bowl. She brings it out with sugar on it and brings it close to the tea, slowly and painfully. She drops the spoon and starts breathing heavily. She slows down the breathing, and then sheds a single tear into the cup of tea.

I know that this probably isn't as powerful when written down, but you can get the idea from it.

Monday, May 26, 2008


This was my second comic. I made it a week or two after the Bellybutton one. I don't think that the punch line is as good, but I think that the scene it creates is better. See it at the title link.

The Rubber Room

Has anyone else heard of "The Rubber Room"? It's basically a holding cell for teachers that I originally heard about on NPR. I think it's horrible and inhumane to keep teachers in a room doing nothing for seven hours a day. They can stay in that room for years, even if they didn't do anything wrong. They're getting their punishment before their trial. I'm scared for these people. I suggest that you spread the word about the ways that the Department of Education handles its problems.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

No Real Post Today

I'm sorry. There is no real post today. Most of today I was just being driven around. I went sailing with FRIGID water and the car show was pretty cool, but it got old pretty quickly. So really, not much happened to write about. I'll write something tomorrow when I have more time on the computer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

In Cooperstown

Right now I'm in Cooperstown; the most boring place on earth. Up here, the water is disgusting, everything is at least a few miles down the road, and nothing is interesting. Except I saw peanut butter pie on a white board at a diner. I've got to try that sometime... I also went to a pretty good dessert place with an authentic strawberry shortcake and at least a gallon of ice cream piled onto my cone. We all agreed that whatever radio station they were playing was horrible. Although it hasn't been the most amazing day, tomorrow we're going to an antique car show and going sailing on our Laser. I enjoy sailing, but it's a lot of work to set it up and put it away and the water is cold this time of year! I've also been thinking about driving recently. I've decided that when I need to get a car of my own, I'm going to get a Smart Car. Those things look awesome!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pork and Beans

This video pretty much sums up the internet. Weezer did a great job with this.

Pho Tu Do

I was on Serious Eats today and saw the forum post, "What is pho?" (pronounced 'fuh'). I checked it out and it intrigued me. It turns out that pho is a vietnamese beef soup with rice noodles. It has become very popular and there are whole restaurants devoted to the dish and its variations. I checked google and found some restaurants with pho, a few with strange names like, "What the Pho" and "Pho Shizzle" (I also found that What the Pho had broken several health violations). I then looked for some restaurants in Manhattan and found that the best reviewed one is "Pho Tu Do". I simply had to try it out, so when my mom came home, I somehow convinced her to go (the lamb in our fridge had to wait!). We met my dad in the city and found the restaurant.

If you see the restaurant from the outside, or even the inside for that matter, you would be skeptical why anybody would come from out of the city to eat there. It seems like any old asian restaurant and christmas ornaments hang from the ceiling like stalactites. We browse the menu and end up ordering a summer roll (shrimp wrapped in cellophane) and a "noodle" which is quite obviously not a noodle (it's like 4 large and greasy ravioli) for appetizers. I got a coconut for a drink, and I must say, it was delicious. I originally wanted the salty lemonade, but the waiter advised me not to. I couldn't understand why because he couldn't speak English well. I wasn't disappointed with the coconut, though. After I was done with the juice, I could mine out slivers of coconut meat from the inside and fish them through the opening in the top. I don't know why, but I enjoy slowly working at pieces of food to retrieve small rewards, like squeezing out the meat from lobster legs. The appetizers were pretty interesting, and I enjoyed the texture of the summer roll. Nothing amazing yet, though. Then we got pho (a 'special big bowl' as they put it on the menu), shrimp that we cooked ourselves on a small grill, and spicy shrimp soup with a coconut broth. The pho surprised all of us, having a deep and soul-warming flavor, slices of beef that pulled apart easily and gave an almost sensual taste, rice noodles that you slowly slurped into your mouth. It was as if it slapped us in the face and yelled at us for eating any other food. The shrimp was tender and delicious, but I was a bit disappointed that I had to shell them myself. When I had finally gotten to the spicy shrimp soup, I was so full, but I had to try the last dish. It had an immense curry flavor and changed in your mouth from mild to intense. It was also very spicy, but my coconut juice was out. I drank the rest of my water and reluctantly stopped eating the spicy soup. We asked for the check and I started spooning the remains of the pho into my mouth. We paid, then slowly rose, as Ken Kesey put it, like fat cats full of milk. We took our toothpicks, then strolled out of the restaurant like it was all a glorious dream. I wanted to visit the nearby "Double Crispy Bakery", but I was warned that Chinese dessert wasn't very good. Next time...

The food was amazing, the price was low, and the waiter seemed nice. My only complaints were he didn't speak English well and the atmosphere wasn't perfect. Other than that I can't see any reason NOT to go to this restaurant. If you live in New York State, make your next dinner one at Pho Tu Do.

Serious Eats

I previously linked to this site for the Grand Theft Auto IV food landmarks, but I also want to point out the great articles on food there. They range from bacon pizza, to mojito cake to a portable kitchen. I aspire to make my food posts as good as theirs someday. Check it out at the title link.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chinese Food

Another thing that I've noticed about Fuchsia Dunlop's new book is how much more complicated and rewarding Chinese food sounds. While Western food seems to just circulate around one or two ingredients and has a few seasonings to enhance the flavor, Chinese food seems hundreds of times more intricate. They have well seasoned dishes, focusing on the very idea of flavors, rather than just pretending that there is a limit to the dish. It's as if Western food just tells a sentence or a phrase, while Chinese food spins full tales about a culture or just nature itself. They also don't limit themselves to such few and boring ingredients. The Chinese use every edible thing they can use, making their food that much more complex. After reading most of the book, it seems foolish to me that we let pig's blood drain, or throw away organs. I want to try and taste everything and see just what kind of stories are made by chefs. I'm done with most of my fantasizing about European food. Asia's got my eye now.


Trouble finding the type of posts you like? I have just added labels to all relevant blog pots, so you can get to your favorite kinds immediately! Like my creative writing? Select "story". Like games? Select "video games. Like gastronomy? Select "food". Like the stage? Select "theater". Like the links that I recommend? Select "links". Just like to hear my miscellaneous going-ons? Select "rants". You can also type these keywords in the search bar in the upper left corner.

I hope that this will help everybody navigate through all of the unfavorable posts on my site.

The Coffee Incident

Two days ago,my friends and I were buying a friend, I'll call...uh...Steve, a bunch of iced coffees. You see, recently our school cafeteria has been making iced coffee for students for $1.50 a cup and each student was allowed only one cup a day. A couple of us went to go get coffee for him after he got his first because he was pretty much hooked on iced coffee recently. As more people went, the louder the cries were for Steve to drink faster. When I went to go, I asked for $2.00 for my cup. Steve said he had no money, so another one of the friends gave me two dollars and set it in front of Steve. He managed to drink 7 cups of iced coffee.

Yesterday, I found him drinking more iced coffee in the cafeteria. It turns out that he never fell asleep that night and they wanted to see how many he could drink before he crashed after the caffeine high. He seemed like he didn't want to drink more, so I asked him why he kept drinking more. He answered, "Because it's in front of me." A good reason if ever there was one. He got to 11 coffees when another friend came back after a while on the line with another cup. Steve started to sip it, then spit it back into the cup.
"How many sugars did you put in this?!?"
"I lost count after twelve."
He tried to drink the rest of it, but after half was done he spit some onto the floor and said he couldn't drink any more. The show was over.

This morning, I saw him in the halls and asked him if he was up all night again. He said, "No, I had a massive crash."

I know it was a bit cruel to just let him drink so much coffee, but he looked like he was really enjoying being so daring. Now we all have this great story to tell.

My Facebook Group

If you are on this blog, you probably came here through the Facebook group. For the small group of people who didn't come here through Facebook and own a Facebook themselves, please feel free to join it. You can find it at the title link.

Sichuan Crisp Calligraphy Brushes

I've been reading the new Fuchsia Dunlop book and I read that a master chef made a dish that looked like calligraphy brushes and a cup of ink. The brushes are actually a pastry filled with minced meat at the end of a bamboo stick and the ink is dipping sauce. I wish I could try it, but there are zero results on a google search. I could try and cook it at home and make a makeshift copy of it, but I don't know what the sauce is and I don't know how the meat inside is made. It sounds so good and so clever, but it seems that for the time being I can't get my hands on them. Maybe I'll someday go to China and seek out this chef/someone else who knows this recipe. Now to learn Mandarin...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Just in Case You Haven't Noticed...

I've been updating the list of the games that I've beaten. I've added LostWinds, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, and Jill of the Jungle. LostWinds I had beaten recently, and today I remembered that I beat the last two. You can find the post at the title link.

A great blog with flash movies/narratives I just found. Recently they've had acts of Hamlet condensed, so I highly suggest going there. The creator seems to like manga/anime and that's the style of drawing, so go there if you like that too!

Tetris Attack

Tetris Attack is one of my favorite games. You may also know it by its Japanese name, Panel de Pon. It's a puzzle game in which blocks rise slowly from the bottom of the screen, and you must switch pairs of blocks around to get 3 or more in a row, like Bejewled, but they don't go back to their original position if they don't immediately get used. It has a gravity aspect, so if a block is in midair, then it will fall until it hits another block. This can lead to many combos. The point of the game is to make the opponent's blocks hit the ceiling. You attack them by getting combos or four or more blocks in a row. This will make a large block fall on their board. This can get very competitive and addicting. Tetris Attack has a story line with Yoshi, while Panel de Pon has a different one that I haven't played. It is about freeing other characters from a spell by Bowser. It's not amazing, but it gives you a reason to fight a bunch of enemies, then use them yourself as continues. The puzzle mode is extremely hard and fun. It gives you a set number of turns and a board full of blocks. Your mission is to clear all of the blocks in the set number of turns. The first level is just connecting three blocks together, but as you progress, it gets to a point where you must try every different move you can think of, and then some. It gets frustrating, but it always gives you a reason to come back to the game. I have not beaten puzzle mode yet, and I never expect to.

Me and my dad used to play Tetris Attack every week when I was four. It was really the only game my dad enjoyed and I was happy because I was so good at it. We had tons fun together and this game is actually the first thing I can remember.

I can't give this game a score because I have so much sentimental value with it. I feel that it's better than Tetris, Dr. Mario, and Lumines combined. If you've never played this game, pick it up. It's a must-have.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


This is actually the first comic I drew. I made it a while ago, but it still makes me laugh. This is mostly based on a conversation I had with my parents. I think I was 12 at the time... You can find it at the title link.

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Hot Coals

I guess this is kind of a sappy story, but I couldn't figure out a better way to end it without it being morbid.

I close my eyes and take in slow, deep breaths. I can smell the smoldering charcoal. It smells like death. Not like a corpse. It smells like cremation. Like expelling all energy from a living being. Why would anyone be cremated? It would destroy everything human about the body. It would make you admit that we are no more significant than firewood. Nothing but elements and compounds, waiting to be oxidized. Does it free the soul from its earthly body? No. Then people wouldn't be buried. If there is a soul, then cremating the body would likely destroy it. I open my eyes. There's no turning back now. I unlace my shoes and slide them off. I slip off my socks, staying the shape of my foot as I throw it into the wind. That's what I'm basically doing to my feet anyway. They probably won't be usable for a while. I take one more deep breath, then step onto the hot coals. The pain is excruciating. But I can't run. I need to show that I'm tough. I take the other foot and gingerly place it down. I take another step. It is destroying my feet. Screw it. I sprint as fast as I can. Whoop! I slip on a coal and land on my back. My whole body feels like it's on fire. It basically is. I can't get up, but nobody is rushing to help me. The pain recedes. I feel nothing. Is this mind over matter? No. This is losing consciousness...

I wake up in a hospital bed. I can't move. I figure that I'm not going anywhere for a while. What was I thinking? How could I let people egg me on to do this? I'm an idiot.

The doctor tells me that I'll be okay and out fairly soon. I smile. I'm happy I walked on the coals. Now I can finally appreciate being alive.

How Come Nobody Comments?

I know that at least a FEW people read this blog (Probably just my friends and such). How come I've only gotten a few comments? That was a while ago, and I want to get a good idea of who actually cares about what I say. You don't need an account to comment on this blog. Go to comments, type your username in, then put a little comment. A longer one would be preferred, but a small one is better than none. Please comment on this post. Thank you.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Little Big Planet Trailer Impressions

Recently, I've been watching a lot of Little Big Planet trailers. I feel like it's the game to end all games. You can replicate any stage in a traditional platformer, and make it even better. I'd love to see somebody remake all the levels of the original Super Mario Bros. (Or Super Mario Bros. 3 if I'm lucky). Everything seems so lifelike and animated, in a vibrant way. I've spent hours just playing with simple physics engines, throwing balls or boards around. Imagine what it would be like to make ANYTHING. I thought I'd never get bored of Guitar Hero III. I did. I thought I'd never get bored of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. I did. But I can say for a fact that Little Big Planet will never grow old. Just think of the hundreds of songs people have made using Mario Paint's song maker. Think of how many elaborate levels people have made with Line Rider. Many have made custom Guitar Hero songs. People have even made a few levels in Super Mario World in which the levels complete themselves. These examples will be nothing compared to how amazing Little Big Planet is. It's thousands of times more flexible, can be shared online and are FULLY PLAYABLE. You can even edit it yourself! My overactive imagination will finally be of use and fun at the same time. I hope I can make my own sound effects. I could upload my voice onto the PS3 and make a story line to a level. If I could do that, I'd be able to die in peace. The only REAL logical next step to this series is to be able to put my consciousness into the game, then I could experience everything firsthand. I bet that technology will never exist, but if it does, that will be the ideal time to start working on a sequel. My only complaint is that I have to wait for this game. Soon, this ultimate tool of happiness will take the world by storm and I'll be content.

I Feel Better!

Better. Not great. I spent my whole weekend being sick. Why this doesn't happen on weekdays eludes me. Anyway, I can breathe and pay relative attention now, so I'll put up a story or something later. Now, to do that damn homework...

Incredibly Sick

I'm sorry. I'm not up to putting a real post in today. I've been feeling so horrible. I have a combination cold/allergy, and it got me hard, so I've been suffering. Maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Little Big Planet Gameplay

It's getting more and more tempting to hand over $400 and get that PS3. Little Big Planet has the greatest physics engine I have seen, and gives the player full control over it. Even the character can look like anything! The materials can be so lifelike... How much longer until the line between game and reality will be blurred? The videos are at the title link.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Country Girl

I seem to be all around the city these days. Tonight I went to see The Country Girl. It got a great review in the New Yorker, but a bad one in the Times, so we weren't completely sure what we were in for. I got my best white shirt, fairly ordinary black pants, snazzy brown shoes, and my finest top hat. I put on "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top while dressing. I felt ready for anything.

We got to the theater and settled into our seats. The lights dimmed and the curtains raised. There were three people smoking on stage and you could smell the smoke. I loved it. When Morgan Freeman (playing the alcoholic but one-of-a-kind actor) got on stage, everyone could sense he was going to do something great. He started off slow, reading lines, then saying that he has trouble with sight reading. When he got into the improv, he just became the greatest actor in the world. And I believed him too. Francis McDormand (playing the wife who pushes Morgan Freeman to be great) was at first about to leave Morgan Freeman, but her role slowly grew bigger and bigger as Morgan Freeman became more and more unstable. By the second act, she WAS the play. She both loved and hated Morgan Freeman, but the one thing that was for certain was that she was intent on getting him to pull through. The whole play felt so intensely real, that I nearly forgot after the play was over that these were actors playing as fictional characters.

We waited after it was over to see Francis McDormand because my parents know her (I have connections!). I expected to be star struck when I met her, but she was actually extremely easy to talk to. I asked her how she can cry on stage, and she said that you have to really get into the character. If you become the person, the tears will come naturally. I'll try to keep that in mind for any theater I do in the future, whether I have to cry or not, because I think that applies to all aspects of acting.

If you're in New York right now and can get your hands on some tickets, I suggest seeing this play right away. This and "Noises Off" are my favorite non-musical plays, and that says a lot.

Grand Theft Auto and Food

Who would've thought that Grand Theft Auto IV's restaurants had real life counterparts? I don't have the game, but if you do, I suggest checking out these hot spots in Liberty City. The article is at the title link.

Mirror's Edge

At times like these, I wish I had a PlayStation 3. Here's the first trailer to Mirror's Edge.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lock of Hair

This is a piece i wrote in Creative Writing Club. We had to write a piece without lifting the pencil. We were forced to write from pure instinct. I think mine came out pretty well.

The girl with the hair flipped in front of her face. Why won't she brush it away? It makes me so angry, but I keep staring at the little flip coming down on her nose. I hate it! No! I love it! I will not forgive her if she brushes it away! My lifeblood is that hazel lock of hair and I have lost myself so much in it, that my whole body and soul will disappear if she changes. Damn the rest of her! I love the little flip! No! She brushes it away.

It shows both my little OCD feelings and my love of imperfection clashing. I feel that my writing is truer if I don't over think it.

Jews and Power

Tonight I went to what I would have liked to be a fun comedy night at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater. I was unpleasantly surprised.

As I was puzzling over The Onion's weekly Sudoku, pressing it up against a brick wall, I was discreetly eavesdropping on the conversations around me. Every single conversation was unmistakably Jewish. I could hear it in the tone of voice, the subject matter, and most importantly, I was standing in a line for a comedy show called "Jews and Power". Soon after I was finished with the Sudoku, we were let inside the tiny theater. And I don't mean Schubert theater small. I mean fifty person max small. At this point I noticed that I was the youngest one there by at least thirty years. I hoped that the acts were tailored to this audience. After we got settled down, the show started with a man taking off his jumpsuit to reveal a Wonder Woman leotard as he performed an eccentric dance. An amusing scene to begin with, and he told great stand up comedy jokes after the dance. After this, there was a group called Good Jewish Girls Gone Bad, which was completely about sex jokes and unfunny songs. If they were anywhere near the right target audience, they still wouldn't have gotten any laughs. There was a Curb Your Enthusiasm spoof about Purim, and there were absolutely no good jokes. Purim was a common theme in this show. There were also two animated shorts about Isaac and Egyptian slavery. It reminded me of Home Movies from Adult Swim. It wasn't very funny. Around this time, a reporter who was writing about the show left the premises. It was a pretty good idea to leave. There was another Purim act that slightly dealt with politics, but not enough to really laugh at. After a few more "Eh" acts, the last stand up routine was pretty good. He had a bit of a prologue about Passover and it went pretty well. He then sang a song that somehow jumbled all of Judaism and Jesus into one holiday. It got great laughs and was a true success compared to everything else. We left this show and hoped to never go to such awkwardly bad theater again. At least we can tell the story.

Huzzah! A Food Article!

Tonight I ate at Grand Sichuan. I've eaten there before and had a great time, so why not try again? Me, my mom, and my dad drove out to the city for a Sichuan treat.

We ate the soup dumplings last time and loved them, so we ordered eight. They're very tender dumplings that you must put in large spoons. There's hot soup inside, so you have to poke holes in them to drain it. They also have pork in the middle, so it's kind of like a very small subgum wonton soup with a darker and heartier stock. It was delicious, and I had fourths as usual. We got to the main course; Aui Zhou Spicy Beef and Chicken with Mixed Vegetables and Lotus Root. My parents ordered the medium spicy kind much to my dismay. I wanted to test my pain threshold. I chopsticked the white and brown rice onto my plate and was spooned some Beef with some vegetables. I tried the beef and was amazed at its full, well seasoned, and, for lack of better words, beefy taste. The vegetables also complemented it well, having the same sauce on it, but nice and crisp. Wait, wasn't this supposed to be spicy? It didn't seem so, until I eyed the spicy peppers on the serving plate, slightly scorched, foreshadowing my near future. I grabbed the biggest one with my chopsticks, said, "Here I go." I put the whole pepper in my mouth. My thoughts are as follows. "Hmm... This isn't too spicy. Kinda bland, but OH GOD! MY MOUTH! IT'S ON FIRE! QUICK, SWALLOW IT BEFORE ANY PERMANENT DAMAGE! NO! THE PAIN WON'T GO AWAY! The water... IT ONLY HELPS FOR A SECOND! The chicken... IT ONLY MAKES IT MORE PAINFUL! I HAD NO IDEA THAT SOMETHING SPICY CAN MAKE YOUR TONGUE SO TENDER!" I went on like this for another ten or so minutes, tears in my eyes, trying to soothe my tongue with an ice cube. Once the pain was over, I retried the chicken. Pretty bland. The lotus root... Kind of starchy. Next time we won't get this dish. We finished our meal and got fortune cookies with strange fortunes coupled with oranges. A good way to wind down the most painful experience I've had for months. This was mostly delicious and memorable, but for two different reasons. I pause before passing through the door to think what would happen if we got the full spicy beef.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lost Winds: A Full Review

I'm going to just add on to my first look.

I recently downloaded one of the launch titles of WiiWare; LostWinds. It is a game is about an ancient spirit and a kid in an old civilization basically save the world. It's a pretty basic plot line, but here's where the good stuff comes in. You move around and pick stuff up with the nunchuck and use the wind with the Wiimote. It actually works very well and it's fun to blow random stuff on the screen around. You can even lift the kid into the air. This is basically how you do difficult jumps. This is a puzzle platformer, so the jump will become vital. The spirit gains more and more abilities over time, and becomes a Zelda/Metroidesque game, because it features a lot of running around to the next treasure and exploring. This is basically the whole game. There are also enemies that you must blow into a wall or the ground, but it's pretty easy and unimportant. The game has a beautiful cartoony look to it, but it's not childish, so it looks like it's able to appeal to any age group. The puzzles are pretty basic and spelled out for you, so don't expect to be challenged. The game has a calm atmosphere and makes you feel comfortable in its world. It's a game that I find really relaxes you. As I got closer to the end of the game, I kept thinking to myself, when is the hard part coming? When am I going to find a boss? And what do you know, there was a boss! A boss who I couldn't figure out how to beat. I admit that I needed to look up how to beat him, but once I found out, it was easy. I assure that a kid would not be able to figure it out, though. After I beat it, there was a cutscene. I thought, "Certainly it must not be over!" It was. They left on a huge cliffhanger and I hungered for more. I thought that the game was a bit short, so I checked the file. It was a 2 hour and 20 minute game. I often play a game for longer than that in a sitting! I hope that this game is episodic on a regular schedule because it feels very natural and flexible. I also hope that each installment brings up the difficulty. The monsters were pushovers and I sometimes lingered on a puzzle, hoping that it wasn't over just yet, that I could still use the extra boulder on some hidden wall. Alas, it was not so.

Visuals: 9/10
Gameplay: 8/10
Sound: 8/10
Replay Value: 6/10
Control: 10/10

Final Verdict: 8.2 (Buy this game. It's only $10, and though it may be short, it'll make you happier than most disc games.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Dream

I'm sorry. I was too busy today and too sleepy now to write anything amazing, so I'll just recount a dream I had a few days ago.

Me and my friend snuck out in the middle of the night to hang out at a wild west style theme park. We were talking near the old train tracks, when we heard a train. My dad was in the train and caught us. He sent my friend home and he drove me home. Apparently, my house in the dream was inside what seemed to be the human digestive tract. I guess it was in the esophagus. The End.

It didn't really make any sense to me, except for the fact that I've always wanted to do something adventurous like sneak out in the middle of the night just for the hell of it. I've never done anything without my parents' permission, so I don't have that risky a life. It's good in a way and bad in another. Maybe in college...

What can you make of the dream?

Where There is Smoke...

Yes, not only has there been a leaked screenshot, but there have also been gameplay footage and a trailer! Check it out!

Monday, May 12, 2008

A First Look at LostWinds

I recently downloaded one of the launch titles of WiiWare; LostWinds. It is a game is about an ancient spirit and a kid in an old civilization basically save the world. It's a pretty basic plot line, but here's where the good stuff comes in. You move around and pick stuff up with the nunchuck and use the wind with the Wiimote. It actually works very well and it's fun to blow random stuff on the screen around. You can even lift the kid into the air. This is basically how you do difficult jumps. This is a puzzle platformer, so the jump will become vital. The spirit gains more and more abilities over time, and becomes a Zelda/Metroidesque game, because it features a lot of running around to the next treasure and exploring. This is basically the whole game. There are also enemies that you must blow into a wall or the ground, but it's pretty easy and unimportant. The game has a beautiful cartoony look to it, but it's not childish, so it looks like it's able to appeal to any age group. The puzzles are pretty basic and spelled out for you, so don't expect to be challenged. The game has a calm atmosphere and makes you feel comfortable in its world. It's a game that I find really relaxes you. So far, I can't wait to keep playing. I want to know what the next ability is!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Speak of the Devil!

The one game I really care about has a LEAKED SCREENSHOT. Banjo Threeie looks like it's shaping up to be an amazing game. I love how everything seems real even though it's cartoony, like how they have wallpaper to make the wall look like it's made of stone. It's a very cool and slightly cynical look on the Banjo Kazooie world. I like it!

Isn't That What It's Really All About?

I made a comic (yes, I can sorta draw comics too!) about a church that I just realized was in a neighboring town. Unfortunately, it couldn't fit on the blog, so it's at this LINK.

Yes, there's really a church called the Immaculate Conception Church. Seriously, why would you name it that?

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Why I Haven't Written Too Much About Games

Yeah, I haven't been writing about food for while OR games. Now the reason for the games...

Recently the most important game thing that has happened is the Muse Guitar Hero pack. Now don't get me wrong, I love it, but it takes 15 minutes to play it. And the song Stockholm Syndrome? That's just plain crazy. It's like the slightly easier to play Dragonforce. Anyway, NOTHING REAL HAS HAPPENED. The closest event that I'm anticipating is Banjo Threeie in December. Super Smash Bros. is fun, but not as amazing as I anticipated, so i overplayed it. Also, online is no fun because the lag is so horrible that some matches can take ten times longer than they're supposed to. And I now cannot finish single-player in Mario Kart Wii for reasons I have mentioned in previous posts. I may start talking more about games when I get a new DS from Nintendo. Those cheapskates want even more money for a DS that was a replacement FROM Nintendo. I want to play Professor Layton. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the Spore character creator demo. I'm sure that even my parents will have fun with that. And that's all of the gaming stuff I can muster at the moment.

Friday, May 9, 2008

On the Ship

Me and my English teacher were thinking of a topic to write about and we came up with the idea of a small kid on a ship.

What's a prisom? Nobody wants to tell me. I was in the cabin bedroom on the bottom bunk reading a book, when I found a word I didn't know.
"Daddy, what's a prisom?"
"It's an object that has flat sides. Most of them are rectangles and..."
"Nope, you're wrong."
I ran out of the bedroom looking for an answer. Daddy was saying something else before I left, but I wasn't listening. When I was smaller, I had trouble running on the ship, but Daddy says I now have "Sea Legs". I got out to the deck of the ship and saw the sun setting. It was nice, but I didn't really care. Grownups like sunsets, but they get boring after a few seconds. Grownups seem to like boring things. I ran over to one of my friends who pulls the rope when we need to go. He was sitting on a barrel so I lifted myself onto another one near it.
"Mike, do you know what a prisom is?"
"Well...How should I put this? It's kind of a box, but it can have other shapes at..."
"No! That's what Daddy said!"
I thought these people were smart! I ran over to the kitchen and saw the cook chopping vegetables.
"Nora! What's wrong?"
"Nobody's telling me what a prisom is!"
I scrunched my face.
Pierre brought me a chair and we sat down.
"Where did you hear this word?"
"In my book. It said that the bad guy went to prisom."
"Oh! It's prison, not prisom."
"So what's prisom?"
"Well, it's a place that you have to be for a long time if you do something really bad."
"How long? Like all day?"
"It's more like years."
"Why would anyone need to stay in a place for so long?"
"Well, there are some bad things you can do, and people aren't very forgiving if you do something really bad."
"People aren't very nice then. How bad do you have to be to stay for years?"
"Well, stealing, hurting, and killing are the worst."
"What's killing?"
"Uhh...Well..." Pierre rubbed the back of his neck. "It's when one person makes another person die..."
"Umm...I need to go back to work."
And now I have another question...

Overheard Lines

An enjoyable blog about conversations that have been eavesdropped on. It's enjoyable to see a window of other's lives, especially when those people are idiotic. One can submit quotes there, too, so this is a very cool blog to add to your collection.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

To Eat or Not to Eat

This is a piece based on Hamlet's famous soliloquy that was put in the school literary magazine. You may want to compare it to the original by Shakespeare which can be found HERE.

To eat or not to eat, that is the question:
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous appetite
Or to take arms against a sea of food,
And by opposing end it.

To diet to starve
No more- and by starving to say we end
The heartburn and the thousand gasps
That a surplus of flesh is heir to.

Tis a consume nation
Devoutly to be wished. To diet, to starve;
To starve; perchance to look good. Aye, there’s the rub,
For in that starvation of dieting what beauty may come,
When we have shuffled off this double chin,
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of fat,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s
The pangs of disprized indulgences, the conscience’s delay,
The insolence of onlookers, and the spurns
That patient merit of the spouse takes,
When they themselves secretly make
An éclair, glistening?

Who would Weight Watchers bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary jog,
But that the dread something bad with weight,
The horrible state from whose bourn
No sane man returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus peer pressure does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied with the pale cast of cauliflower,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their lifestyle turn awry
And lose the name of happiness.

I was basically happy with it in the magazine, except that a couple lines were printed wrong and I felt that anyone could get into the magazine if they wanted to. I mean, a poem on the next page is called "Bacon Man". Oh yes, it's as bad as the title suggests.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Trapped in an Elevator

I walked into the elevator to join 3 other men. I've seen them all before, but never got the chance to strike up a conversation. We all had briefcases and looked very important. I bet none of them actually had an important place in the company, but they all looked like they wanted to. I couldn't say I was any better than them, though. I nodded my head to them and pressed the 3 button. We watched the light flicker from 1 to 2, then 2 to...wait. The light didn't change. We all looked at each other and gasped. I tried to quell their panicking.
"Don't worry. I'll just press the alarm button."
And then I saw. There was no alarm button. This was an old elevator, and the company neglected to make the elevators modern. At this point I slumped down to the floor and started hyperventilating. The others yelled for help. Nobody would come I knew deep down that we were doomed. At this point I opened my briefcase and started a log.

HOUR 1: They're banging on the walls a lot and I'm waiting for them to quiet down. It's useless. I feel thirst coming. I know it's just hysteria, but I've never felt this need for water before. My tongue is a wasteland in which no moisture is left. I try to think about something else. ANYTHING! I tell everyone to sit down. We say our names. I'm Jerry, the Clark Kent-looking guy is Harvey, the man with the receding hairline and funny nose is Mark, and the older gentleman with the thick mustache is James. We all seem to be cubicle workers except James has a small office. Nobody will miss us.

HOUR 3: After talking for a while, we all seem to hate each other. I've apparently been trying to get James' job, Harvey won't quit making bad puns, and Mark is just plain grumpy. We're not going anywhere, so why try to stir things up? Harvey's looking in my log, so I'm closing it now...

HOUR 6: I'm still damn thirsty, and Mark won't share his damn water bottle. He wants to save it for an "emergency". THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! I need it... I just want to get out of here and go home...

HOUR 9: We fought over the water bottle and to make a long story short, half of the contents spilled out. Harvey is currently licking the ground. I'm going to sleep now...

HOUR 12: I just woke up. I see that them three are lying on each other hugging and crying... I'm going back to sleep.

HOUR 14: I wake up to hear noises from outside the elevator. There's somebody there! The elevator opens up and we see the night crew. Log over.

I got up. I saw that the others were all hugging and exchanging numbers. I got the hell out of there.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Idea of Paradise Lost

I looked out of the large window of the café. It was raining hard; just the way I like it. I sighed deeply and pretended to listen to Suhayl. I was sleepy, but not so much that I needed to close my eyes. For the first time in my life, I felt content. The sun wasn't blaring down on me and I had nothing to do in the near future. I was free, but I couldn't go anywhere, so I didn't feel that I needed to get something done. Just a peaceful café and the soothing sound of rain.
"...and I never liked Bugs Bunny as a kid, but I felt pressured to like him by my friends. Now I think the cartoons are great, but what if that just means I've become what everyone is telling me to become?"
Oh yes, and Suhayl.
"Can we please talk about something else?"
"Sure...What do you wanna talk about?"
"I dunno..."
I drifted off into my own world, listening to the rain and wondering about when the chai was going to get here.
"Well, if you're not gonna come up with a subject, I will. You know what I hate? When things get too quiet. I get bored, and I tap my foot, and I start chattering my teeth to a tune I've been thinking about for a while. You know what I mean?"
How did I become his friend? He's my polar opposite! I want nothing but quiet, and a cool drink every so often. The chai came. I sipped it, expecting to get a cold and refreshing shot of chai.
"Ah god! I ordered a hot chai by accident."
My mouth was burned and my good mood had completely vanished.
"Too bad. You want some of my coffee?"
"No, I'll manage," I grumbled.
I HATE coffee. Even iced coffee. I wanted an iced chai right then, but I had no more money on me. I tried to make the best of the situation.
"Excuse me, can I have some ice cubes?"
I got a cup of ice cubes, and I dropped them into my chai. Drops of hot chai flew all over my shirt and I screamed in agony.
"You all right?"
"I'm going home to change my shirt. You can have my chai."
I walked out the door into the pouring rain. The once peaceful drops were now torturing me every step home. I sighed deeply, then I collapsed on the ground. I couldn't tell through the rain if I was crying or not. 

Monday, May 5, 2008

Why I Haven't Written Too Much About Food

A couple of days ago I started reading Fuchsia Dunlop's book, 'Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China'. I read the book for a while and I get lost in her description of the Sichuanese food. So deliciously tingly in your mouth, so delightful, even sometimes painfully spicy, but it's still amazing. Then I wake up to cruel reality. I live in Westchester, a gastronomic wasteland! Not a culinary wasteland, mind you. There are plenty of fresh and great ingredients at the farmer's market and supermarket, but all of the restaurants, except maybe the local sushi bar, have boring and often mediocre food. I want to get out into the rest of the world and try new foods, new flavors. I read of places where food is the most important part of daily life, but in Westchester, more than a few people dismiss mushrooms or don't even like a cool glass of milk! I feel like I'm trapped in a strange world that I need to get out of!
This is why I don't write much about food. It's not that I'm not passionate for it. It's just that I can't find anything worth writing about!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A "Catcher in the Rye" style piece

I wrote this piece with Catcher in the Rye in mind because we were reading it for school. The name for my english teacher will be changed to Mr. White, because I don't want to use real names and all.

I sat there with a glazed look.
"Hey Toby"
"Hey. How are you?
"How are you?"
I hated that. I asked, "How are you" as a question, but Monica took it as a greeting. I resumed doing nothing. When is Mr. White getting here?
"He's probably at a meeting."
Had she sensed my internal question or is it just a popular thought nowadays? I assumed the latter because of her in-adeptness at the greeting. She stood up from her desk.
"I'm getting a drink from the vending machine."
She left the room. I sighed as if a great weight had fallen from my shoulders. I looked at Monica's bag. In one of the outer pockets I could see a pack of Welsh's grape-flavored gummies. A snack and a drink. What was this, the movies? I pictured Titanic being shown on the Smartboard and I chuckled to myself. Monica opened the door and said, "We forgot. There's no school today!" Damn. Don't get me wrong, I hate school just like every other normally functioning human being. It just feels like a waste that I woke up at 7:30 and scooted all the way here. That's right, I'm a scooter man, and don't you make fun of it. I won a competition when I was 7 and I'm damn proud of it. Anyway, now I have to walk all the way back home since it's uphill. All because of my stupidity. I could be sleeping! I looked around at the classroom. It's pretty cosy here. My mom'll pick me up at 3:00. Why not? I lay my head down on the desk. I actually find desks more comfortable than beds. Go figure. I dozed off for a few hours. I don't know when I actually went to sleep though, because it takes me a while to lose consciousness. It probably took me half an hour. Good for my standards.

Yes, that's the end. I was in class and had to do work before the period was over, so I stopped writing. I tend to lose interest when I write the same piece over a period of time, so I never made a real ending. Sorry. Maybe I'll continue someday.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Mario Kart Wii- A Second Look

I've been playing Mario Kart Wii with the gamecube controller now, and let me say this; it's not as bad as I said. I can control it much better and I've learned that each kart and bike is good in its own way. I like the bikes. I've found that I can do tricks on the gamecube controller. It's actually fun to play. Now, on the other hand, a lot of the game is pure luck. As long as you can navigate the course and use items, you have a good chance of winning. I miss the snaking of Mario Kart DS. That took a lot of skill, and I could catch up without items. Wait. Maybe I'm reviewing this from too hardcore a standpoint. I played this my Dad tonight and he was doing horribly. He got in last place most of the time, but every time a race was over, he laughed. How could he laugh at how badly he did? He wasn't laughing at his failure. He was just having fun playing. He even liked the Wii Wheel. Why? He didn't care about how effective it was. He liked how it felt like he was driving. This is casual gaming. It's having fun, no matter if the screen says win or lose. I think that games have become too serious, and we are complaining about unfairness. But maybe it's that unfairness that makes the game accessible. This is a good game. Not for tournaments, or even single player. This game is good to play with your friends and family, so you can laugh at each other and yourselves; so you can bond.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Tomato Plant

Sorry I haven't posted for the last few days. I've been busy/sick. Here's another story.

I walked onto the barren farmland, no form of life except one tomato plant. A man came out from the nearby farmhouse with a feather duster. He then proceeded to brush the tomato plant's leaves.
"Excuse me, but what is it you're doing?" I asked
"Just dusting the crops." he said nonchalantly.
"Looks like you're dusting the crop."
"Well, even if there's just one, I need to clean it. plants get awfully dirty, you know."
"That may be because they live in dirt."
"Probably." He put the duster in his carrying pouch and took out a bottle of windex and a rag. He started to spray and wipe the tomatoes.
"Why must you windex the tomatoes?"
"Why must you ask so many questions? Shoo! I'm busy!" He put the rag back in the pouch and went back to the house.
"I wonder..." I walked to the plant and picked a tomato. I took a bite. It was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted.

I got the idea for this story from the comic HERE.