Saturday, March 29, 2008


I am a huge Joe Hisaishi film score fan. I love his work on Miyasaki and Kitano films. My Mononoke Hime album is definitely in my top five favorite film scores. So imagine my disappointment some months ago to find that most the albums in my collection were bootlegs. You can not imagine the lengths some people go to make it look like the CD you are buying is legitimate. If not for the missing serial number on the back of the disc and several sites devoted to the subject, I would never have known. Thankfully, there are reputable sellers out there and after some contemplation, I decided to replace them with the real deals. Using a Japanese site which exports to the states, I now have honor in my beloved collection.


By far, my favorite season is winter. I love the cold and the snow. And there is no comparison to fall in the northeast with its colorful leaves. I always enjoyed spring, too, in North Carolina with the wildflowers that bloomed among the highways. Well, there is no winter in Texas and fall is just a immeasurable time between summer and the cooler climates. Spring, though, is definitely growing on me. The weather is still slightly cool and the humidity not quite reaching summer highs. The winds pick up and I can open my windows to catch the breeze though I think I am finally developing those 'Texas allergies'. Add to that the bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. Their seeds were spread along the highways of Texas by Ladybird Johnson in the mid 1960's and have since returned every spring. They start as little bits of violet in the grass and then become a blanket of blue. Here is one picture along the drive I make to work everyday.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Inheritance ... cycle?

I enjoyed Eragon. Paolini's world was full and fun with lots of action and meaningful characters. Eldest was not as good. The story slowed and had too much drama. Only in the end did I feel any kinship with the first novel. Now Paolini decides to break his trilogy into four books because he felt some morality portion needed more exposition. This does not bode well for my taste. Brisingr is set for a 20 September 2008 release in the states. If you go onto the amazon site you can find a statement by the author defending his decision. I will read Brisingr and hope I am pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

once, the movie

Of late, my Netflix choices have been bitter disappointments. So I moved a few of the higher rated ones to the top and was pleasantly surprised by this amazingly beautiful and simple film. A musical, technically and in the truest sense, it revolves around an Irish street musician who meets, writes, plays, and records with a Czech immigrant street urchin. The songs were written by the actors who had collaborated briefly before the film. The scenes are long and shot without cuts and the one song where she (the characters are unnamed) just walks home singing her lyrics to his music was beyond perfect. There is nothing more brilliant that being surprised by a movie. because it happens so little these days. I have since bought both the DVD and the soundtrack. Make sure it is added to your list.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

avatar's end title music

Whenever I catch "Avatar: The Last Airbender" on television, I watch all the way until the end. Nickelodeon is good at playing the credits without voice overlay and you can hear the end title music in all its glory. I got tired of waiting for them to show the latest episodes so after downloading I was ecstatic to hear that very music in the newest Avatar episode. Aang learns about firebending and that theme plays a major role in the episode. This show just gets better and better. Hurry up already with the new episodes!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

en français

I am starting the fifth Harry Potter book in French this week. What a joy to read these in a different language, especially one that takes great care and pride in translation. I am reading it with my professor who is a long time fan of the books and a new reader. It is like reading them for the first time all over again. First, because the names are structured from the meaning of the English original and I have to learn so much vocabulary just to get through a page. Second, because the new reader does not know nor want to know anything. It is so difficult for me to keep my mouth shut but so fun to think of all the clues we pick up on as we read. It is amazing that these books still give me so much pleasure.

The final book was just released in French and I have yet to buy it because of the expense. I can only imagine waiting that long to read it in your own language.

more anime

I wanted a few more words about some anime I caught recently. By the way, I updated my anime list link to my public link on anime news network. It is easier to keep up to date.

Naruto (post Sasuke's traitorous exit but prior to Shippūden)
After episode 135 (wow that's a lot of episodes), the Naruto anime moves into filler episodes which are created separately from the manga. They still follow the search for Sasuke but team up different members of the Leaf Village in that search. They are less than steller, animation and plot wise relying on silly jokes and leaving little action that is not new or different. I watch them because I do not get enough from my limited Shippūden exposure. I do enjoy seeing characters, though, that you would normally not see.

I took advantage of netflix's 'instant watching' to take an anime off my want to see list. Air was beautiful and extremely funny. The story of a boy and a girl, one searching for an angel, the other slowly fading into that girl. A terribly melancholy story but between the drama is exciting writing, flowing music, and again beautiful animation. It is something that I would watch again because it was short and concise. I have the movie version on my list and I hope it lives up.

I just started this anime but do not look forward to watching it. A Romeo and Juliet story filled with death. Still the ninja and sword fighting pull me like no other. It deserves a chance.

Chevalier D'Eon
This is on Anime Network on my Time Warner Cutting Edge on demand channel. Another really beautiful anime set in the period of the French Revolution. It is loosely based on the real D'Eon de Beaumont with a fantasy flair. The action leaves little to be desired and I am actually not a fan of any of the characters or the plot. But I watch it still to find out how it ends.

I love a good dimension travel story. This one is a fabulous run on SciFi channel's Animonday. It is fabulous because they are not afraid to kill characters and still retain dignified grief. I love the main guy, very powerful and the guardian of Haruka, the only one able to see the other dimensions. I am about halfway through and only get annoyed at the fact that the children can wonder around so freely. I enjoy everything else about it and will continue to watch enamored.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Oh, Ichigo

"Bleach" is back and my favorite episode aired on adult swim last Saturday. Ichigo appears in all his glory to save Rukia only to have the one of the best face offs in any anime with the ever stoic Byakuya Kuchiki. Oh, and they play the song. Ichigo is so bad ass in these next few episodes having attained bankai , his unforeseen cape bilowing and weilding his zanpakutō over head like a toy. I am eager to watch them again with English dub to revel in the beautiful animation and fantastic twists.

While "Bleach" was off screen, I caught two other animes on adult swim. "Blood+ "has almost finished its run. I was intrigued by the buffy-like premise, a girl using her blood sword to kill these monsters. But the action is few and far between replaced by drawn out family drama. I do enjoy the characters, when they are not whining, and the various groups surrounding the monsters' creation. The best part of this anime is the music, composed by Mark Mancina released on two albums. The second anime was "Death Note." This horror and psychological anime has excellent animation. I am only half way through but not enjoying a teenage boy using a notebook to kill people just because he can. Still, I can not stop without knowing the end so I will continue to watch.

Friday, March 14, 2008

here comes the sun

Well it happened. Summer has hit Texas. Today reached 95 degrees and I managed to resist turning on the AC. I am making note of the date so come October I can tell you how long summer really was.