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A Wondrous Evening With the Wonder Girls.

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The Wonder Girls

On Friday (7/2/2010) I went to see The Wonder Girls, a Korean pop group, at The House of Blues. It would be my first non rock concert and having watched some youtube videos of their performances I didn't know what to expect. However, at the end of the evening I had a better time than I thought I would. The Wonder Girls put on a magical evening and captured me under their spell.

The opening act was a boy band, 2AM. They only sang a couple of songs but all the young girls at the show seemed to be way into them. They look like this so you would probably be into them too. However, I wasn't that into them, but they weren't there that long so it was alright.

A couple of minutes later a veil dropped from the ceiling and covered the stage. A light flashed and a silhouette of each of the members could be seen through the veil along with their name above each member. I haven't seen anything like that at a live show so I enjoyed it.

When I watched the youtube videos of their performance they seemed very low key and lacked some dynamics. Their singing was alright, and their dancing OK. Because of this I was iffy on going to the show, but this night was different. They came out with a lot of energy. They could sing, they could dance, and they were very likeable. They were also a lot better looking in person. Standing ten feet away from the stage I was their slave for an hour.

They played several songs for a while alternating singing and taking turns on the stage and dancing. It all seemed very seamless, and well done. They did a great job of getting the crowd into the show. At various times things were thrown on stage, someone threw a jacket on stage and one of the singers strutted around the stage with it on her shoulder. Another guy from the top balcony threw down a sunflower for one of the girls and she took it. The guy was pretty stoked.

Around the middle of the show all the members came out solo performing a popular American song. Single Ladies, Boom Boom Pow, Paparazzi, Don't Cha were all in the mix, and then they all came back together and performed Survivor (by Destiny's Child) dancing provocatively in petticoats.

They stripped off the petticoats and were in another costume instantly. This part of the show was a sing along session for Tell Me where Yenny rallied the crowd to start singing the chorus, "Tell me, tell me, te te te tell me." When they actually sang the song they didn't sing that part, the crowd had to sing it, and they did a good job.

After that all the members expressed their appreciation for the crowd and performed Saying I Love You to say they loved us. Yenny sat down and played the piano while the rest sang. Some sort of foam or soap suds began to fall from the ceiling. It was like we were in a fake snow storm. It was all very surreal. A very immersive experience. After that they left the stage for another costume change.

They put a music video up on the screen of 2 Different Tears (Bobby Lee was in the video!) and then they came back out and performed the same exact song. It was nice, but odd. They left the stage, but there was an encore. The crowd wasn't that big but they were loud enough to warrant an encore. They performed Nobody. They did this earlier in the evening but it was kind of a ballad version. The second version was the regular version. When that was over they thanked everyone and took a bow and said we were great and headed off to Las Vegas.

I thought the show was good. Personally I would have like to have seen more Korean songs performed or more of their own material rather than covers, but the covers were well done and I was entertained so that didn't matter much. What really stood out to me was the dancing, I was really sucked into it, and the singing. For a pop group if that's what you do, and you do it well you'll have a good show, and the Wonder Girls put on a good show.

Bach, Beatles, and Beyond... ****

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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to go see the Miracosta College Jazz Ensemble. All in all it was a great show, led by the impressive bass playing of fifteen year old Gabriella Seki, I was impressed. So this week I went to go see another show, Bach Beatles and Beyond. I thought I would have the same pleasure seeing this show as I did the Jazz show. I was wrong. The show was a mix of the Miracosta guitar ensemble and the UCSD guitar ensemble along with a special guest.

The show began with an introduction by the conductor telling us the first song was Beatles soup and asked if we could recognize any of the songs. I tried to recognize songs but the only thing I ended up recognizing was their crappy guitar skills. I looked at the stage and the musicians were a mix of young and old and I wondered to myself, "Are the young musicians too young to remember what the Beatles sound like and are the old people there old enough to have never liked them." I wondered this because the music was horribly out of tune. There is harmony and dissonance but it seemed their goal that evening was to only use dissonance to make their music. I didn't know what to think, I was perplexed, it just sounded like they were doing a sound check and didn't really know how to play the songs. The transitions were sloppy filled with pauses instead of a seamless transition.

I thought maybe the first song was a fluke, maybe they had gotten it together now and were going to blow me away with the second song. I was wrong yet again as this song was worse. It was a Bach song and it was even more out of tune than the Beatles song. In fact it sounded so bad it sounded funny, so funny that I almost burst out laughing. I somehow held the laughter in, I was just glad no one was looking at me because that would have probably made me laugh more. The director introduced the third song and this song was to use electric guitars. He also mentioned something about the guitars needing tuning because some were tuned other ways from the other guitars. I don't think he meant that about the previous song just the upcoming song.

The director introduced us to the two soloists that MCC is proud to have. I figured after seeing Carmen Grillo in the Jazz Ensemble that these student soloists would be pretty good. Well I was wrong. The first soloist was doing his guitar work but it just sounded sloppy and out of tune with the rest of the music. The guitarist didn't seem to mind, it appeared as if he was in his own little worry and just thought he was awesome when in reality he was anything but. The other guitarist didn't even have his amp turned on, or some technical difficulty like that. I don't think you could hear it and in the middle of the song some guy came on stage to fix it.

After this song the orchestra cleared the stage and a student jazz quartet took the stage. I figured with less instruments that this could sound better. Well it didn't really. It sounded more melodic but it was just as sloppy. The same guitarist from the other song was up there, still not sounding too great. There was also a bass player up there who I also was not impressed with especially after seeing Gabriella Seki. The guy made a lot of mistakes and didn't sound very good. He was nodding his head around like he was blowing us all away but that was far from the case. Finally there was the drummer who sounded off time and the cymbals, which were most of his drumming, sounded off. He also had some weak fills and overall unimpressive drum work. The fourth guy was that other guitarist you couldn't hear, and still couldn't for the most part, or maybe I just shut him out of my mind. These songs didn't have the same problems as the other songs but whole new problems. Mainly sloppy playing and weird stutter start transitions that didn't sound good. Luckily they only did three songs before they left the stage. When one of the members came off the stage he got a kiss from what I could only imagine was his girlfriend. If I knew I could suck as much as these guys and pick up chicks I would have done it years ago.

The director introduced the next guy as some Folk singer whom he had met at a party. I thought to myself how sad is your show when you have to pull some dude from a party to play in a concert. Luckily this guy delivered. He played a lot of folk songs they weren't spectacular but they were well composed, melodic, and sounded good. He was definitely the highlight of the evening, even throwing out tips to pick up chicks and whatnot. Unfortunately, like all good things he had to come to an end. An intermission followed.

When they came back the director was sitting on stage with two girls. He said they were his daughter and her friend and that he was going to play Blackbird while they sang it. It wasn't very good. The guy played his guitar and sang it in a very feminine fashion almost as if he was teaching the girls the lyrics who then sang after him. They didn't sound like they knew the lyrics unless he sang it first. However, after the first two acts this performance wasn't that bad, or maybe I'm being nice because they were cute. Regardless, they only played one song and then it was on to the UCSD guitar ensemble.

The UCSD guitar ensemble were OK they played a bit tighter than the MCC ensemble but still sounded a little off. After one song some guitarists came off the stage and some stayed on. There were maybe 4 guys up there and they sounded great. Leave it to an Asian to be an awesome guitar player. I wish it was this way for the rest of the show but more guys came back up, and I thought it brought the music quality down. The crappy bass player and drummer came back on for one last huzzah, but I forgot everything from that point on pretty much because I was more interested in the director's daughter and friend standing next to me.

All in all this was a pretty disappointing show. The level was raised from nothing by the Jazz ensemble and the guitar ensemble did not deliver. The show was so random and convoluted it was as if I was watching the movie Dumpster Baby in musical form. Some of the people had been with the band for 20 years, I think they need another 20 to tighten up their playing. Perhaps next year they'll just have the folk singer on stage with the director's daughter and daughter's friend dancing to the music. Now that would be a spectacular show.

If you've ever wanted to participate in bukakke but were afraid of semen...

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Then Jell-o rice pudding is the food for you. I thought it would be a delcious treat to eat for lunch but upon opening it I was shocked. Instead of a delicious looking food, I found a white, lumpy semi liquid reminiscent of everyone's favorite manly treat. Every spoonful was chunky and awkward and instead of thinking about how good it tasted (which it really didn't taste amazing, but not bad) I kept thinking about bukakke, and eventually this post.

I don't know what really else to say, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, if you're feeling a little adventurous then pick up a six pack of this pudding, you'll be amazed.

DOA - Doesn't mean Dead or Alive (more like Dead on Arrival)

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I didn't have high expectations going into this movie and after seeing it, it's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it wasn't good either. What DOA amounts to is going through a fast paced buzzsaw full of over the top flair and flash. As a video game movie they pretty much mess up a lot of things about the DOA universe but even if it weren't related to a video game this film would still be pretty lackluster.

The movie begins by introducing Kasumi played by Devon Aoki. We quickly find why she didn't say anything when she played Miho in Sin City. Her acting is laughably bad. To top off this awkward introduction she leaps out of a castle and deploys a mini hang glider in a very WTF moment. She then receives a DOA invite and it recaps who she is. This trend continues for Tina, and Christie to the point it becomes monotonous So after all is said and done they take a plane to an island which they need to parachute into to participate in the DOA tournament to win ten million dollars. But all is not what it seems as a conspiracy unravels. The story is pretty sub par, and the action is over the top, not to mention there's probably a fight every two seconds.

However, I will say that the film did become slightly interesting in the second half. The story, shifts focus from a DOA tournament to a rescue mission, though it might as well have been the same because they're just fighting like they always do. Mainly the characters actions and relationships that form make the film more interesting towards the end than it was at the beginning.

Since this is a movie based on a video game I thought I'd compare how some of the characters in the movie compare to the game. The characters in the movie are adequately likable, but my favorite characters from the game weren't my favorite in this movie and my least favorite characters from the game became likable in the movie. I thought Kasumi wasn't anything to write home about, and even though she seemingly seems to be the main character there isn't a lot of her incorporated into the movie. Tina is ok, she's neither here nor there. Holly Valance doesn't seem right as Christie (she doesn't look good as a blonde or whatever they did with her hair) but she seems to be the main focus of the movie.

Leon looks more like Bryan Fury from the Tekken series more than he does Leon from DOA. Bayman acts like a total idiot. Characters like Lei-Fang (my favorite) have a minimal role in the movie (which is ok because the actress they chose for her looks like Tengu). Also Gen-Fu and Brad Wong are in the movie for a flash second and although the credits say Hitomi is in the movie I don't recall seeing her. Hayabusa seems to fear women, but is somewhat likable. Hayate is a master of acupuncture but I never liked him in the game anyway. Bass I had no beef with but had to be in it I suppose. The film also needed to create roles for characters who aren't actually in the game like Max (lame), Weatherby (kind of liked him), and Donovan (the ultimate badass villain).

I'm not a big fan of Zack in the game but he is kind of cool in this movie. He is a little humorous plus I thought he had some cool hair. The character who stole the show for me was Helena. I was never a fan of her character in the games but though she was the best in this movie. They did screw up her character by not making her French but she has enough good looks and charisma to make the film watchable. The accuracy of how the characters related to their game counterparts wasn't an issue for me. I didn't anticipate they would get something like it correct so I let the film makers have a pass on that issue.

Another thing that caught my eye is the way the movie looked. The environments and sets were interesting and beautiful. The camera work and shots selection was pretty interesting. The movie is shot pretty well even if everything else in the movie is sub par It has Ultraviolet syndrome, but DOA is more enjoyable than that film. If the cinematography wasn't interesting this film would probably be a complete loss.

All in all DOA is pretty ridiculous, it's not the best movie, its not the worst movie, but it is watchable... somewhat. If you're curious, don't expect much and you might be pleasantly surprised.

Magna Carta: Tears of Blood (Combat Outline)

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     Since I decided to get Magna Carta: Tears of Blood I've decided to outline some aspects of the game. This time I felt it was important to outline the battle system. I feel the battle system in Magna Carta is very unique and challenging. It requires a small degree of skill and I think without this battle system I probably wouldn't enjoy this game as much as I do.
 When moving around the world you will notice an orange circle around you. This circle represents your field of vision. There are two modes of moment, one is dash mode and the other is detect mode. In dash mode your field of vision is small but you can run. This mode leaves you vulnerable to surprise attacks by the enemy. To avoid encountering these inconvenient encounters you can press 1 ad go into detect mode. In detect mode you can only walk, but your field of vision is considerable larger than it is in Dash mode. You can also choose to attack enemies if you choose, this will grant you the ability to gain a surprise attack on the enemy giving you the chance to attack the enemy first. I think this is an interesting way to go about things and it eliminates random battles (which is a good thing in my book).
    After a battle is initiated you go into the battle mode. In the battle mode there is a large field of play. You battle with 3 allies and can move freely around the field of play. You can switch which character you're using by pressing R1 or L1. When you want to attack one of the enemies on the screen you will run up to it. There is a circle around your character, this represents the character's attack range. Generally characters with melee weapons like swords have a small attack range, magic users will have a bigger circle. If your range touches the enemy you can attack them. You can't attack anytime you want though. There is a system in place that tells you when and when you cannot attack. This system is maintained by the leadership meter. The leadership meter must fill to a certain mark in order for you to attack. The distance on the meter that mark will lay depends on the amount of charisma the enemies and the allies have. So if you can defeat some enemies quickly the mark will lower and you can attack more frequently. When you can attack something pops up called the trinity circle. The trinity circle will display what buttons you need to press in smaller circles around this circle, when you input the first command the circle will quickly turn and you must push the next button when it reaches the top circle. This sounds easy but the circle turns very fast so you mush have quick reflexes or you will fail your attack. If your timing is perfect the result will say "great" but if it is a little off it will say "good" and if the timing is of it will say "miss."
 Getting a "great" rating on your trinity circle button presses has it's advantages. By getting three "great" presses in a row you can perceive a new skill. Your new skill will deal more damage than your old skill, but you will always need to use the lowest skill first before you can use the next highest skill. Getting a "great" on the trinity circle will also power up something that is called the Trinity Drive. Everytime you get a "great" 3 times in a row your Trinity Drive will go up 5%. When it reaches 30% you can use it. Press square and follow the button presses and it will increase the damage done to the enemy you are fighting.
 In addition to everything already mentioned there are 3 different attack modes, standard, combo, and counter. Standard mode is the safest way to fight. The trinity circle is pretty easy to use the only disadvantage is it won't deal as much damage as it could. Combo mode will deal a lot of damage, but the risk is high. You can't guard and the trinity circle rotates faster and there are a lot more than 3 button presses. However if you can pull off this attack the payoff is great. Counterattack mode requires an enemy to attack you. The trinity circle pops up and instead of buttons they are replaced by question marks. If you can guess the enemies' button presses you will perform a counter attack.
      Finally, there is something called chi. Chi is the elemental power of nature. There are eight types of chi: Celestial, wind, water, ice, mountain, earth, and fire. Each of these chi have a chi that will compliment it and a chi that will contradict it. Wind chi is complimentary to celestial, but is contradictory to mountain and earth. In the world chi will increase your power, and the powers of the enemies, depending on what chi is being used. Chi associated with your skills decrease during battle and when you run out of chi for that skill it can't be used. On the world map you may encounter chi lamps which if you put a talisman in you can change the chi in that area. Changing the chi can increase your power and decrease the enemies power.
     There is more than meets the eye to this game and the system is very deep. This may be intimidating to read but if you think this sounds interesting you will probably enjoy the game. The more I play the more I may elaborate on these aspects and outline others. I've only played for three hours but I'm having a good time.

Blooming!

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It's been a long time since the landscapers have been back. Yes in case you didn't know or read or whatever these bastards weedwacked my flowers. I had to fence it off to give them the hint, “hey don't put a weedwacker in here.” They knocked over a flower pot and that was the last straw. They were gone. And since they've been gone I've started anew on the flower growing process. I germinated the seeds, put them in some pots. They were small but I cared for them over weeks. Those seeds have now grown into full fledged flowers. Now I had grown these flowers before but only one and this time they are enormous. I find it amazing that something the size of your fingernail can grow 3 feet high. My old flowers didn't grow that tall, but these ones did. Week after week I paid attention to them, I watered them, I maintained them. After months my work has paid off as I have lots and lots of flowers. Glorious flowers!

Why some people shouldn't wear sandals.

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So there I am sitting on the bus, everything is normal... normal except a particular woman's toes. I had happened to turn my head downwards and what did I see? I saw the most freakishly abnormal big toe I've ever seen in my life. This thing was bent 5 different ways, I'm not joking, I was actually counting. The woman was draped across three seats, one leg extended across the seats, that one was normal but the one that was on the ground, resting in her Corona sandals was FUBAR. Please people, if you have toes like that keep them covered.

Harmony Joy Bus Ride

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After taking the bus for several years I've been thinking, why don't more people do this? I think that a lot of people think that the bus is full of freaks or for losers. Well who's the loser paying three dollars a gallon for gas, instead of taking the bus for a month for 30 dollars? I would also say that while there are freaks, they don't hurt you, they are friendly, and depending on the freakiness that makes the bus ride that much more entertaining. I thought about this today because I see a lot of new people from my school taking the bus. Back in the day it used to be me and one other person maybe, but now three or four people at a time are going. I think it is pretty cool.

A noble spirt embiggens the smallest man.

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I've noticed it's been a while since I've updated. Lately I've been playing a lot of ESPN college hoops, and since I like those players in that game (mainly Lucas Whelless or as others know him, guy who looks like Travis) I decided to pick up ESPN NBA 2K5 today. I haven't started anything yet though, I want the patch and the roster update, but I've started 24/7 and thats fun. The graphics are also great. Videos and screenshots don't do the game justice. I've also been playing some Mercanaries which is fun, and Metal Gear Solid 3 which is great. I really enjoy it a lot. :D

The Incredibles, and other acts of greatness.

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So I went to see the Incredibles today. It was amazing, and very excitng. I haven't really seen a pixar movie since Toy Story but I really enjoyed this film. Its the best of the year. In fact I forgot what other movies I have seen this year. :p The incredibles is a perfect movie, there are no flaws whatsoever.

Also, I haven't been playing the sims 2 lately. I have been playing a lot of Bloodrayne 2 though. It is an awesome game.
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