Monday, August 30, 2004
When it comes to food, I'm a little picky. Selection isn't really the problem, I can eat a range of foods, wider than many Americans because of my early exposure to certain anatomical or marine combinations peculiar to Asian cuisine. Nor is quality that great a concern. I can subsist on a thin ration of ramen, potato chips, and vanilla coke almost indefinetly. However, I am extremely sensative to proper culinary organization. Like the drill seargent in Toys, I like my different dishes to remain seperate, and I tend to eat my food in sequence, completing all I desire from one before moving onto the other.
If invited, I'll probably end up going just for the hell of it. I'd never even heard of a Chicken and Waffle place, but it was discussed as though they were common. Disgusting as the prospect of this unholy breakfast is, I think it's something I'd have to see, if I got the chance.
Sunday, August 29, 2004
And yes, I've read the whole thing.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Is the next way to draw new mischief on.
What cannot be preserved when fortune takes
Patience her injury a mockery makes.
Othello, Act I, Scene III
I am surrounded, it seems, by an inordinate number of hot heads. These are people for whom the word trivial never precedes conflict. They make mountains of mole hills, then claim the credit for mastering so marvelous a summit. Failure only enlarges an obstacle to the point where even the smallest of obstructions can threaten to derail critical endeavors. Pride becomes an end in of itself, an all-consuming concern made all the more implaccable with its divorce from reason.
I myself am, of course, not free from such sentiments, but I take it as a tenant of proper living that they lead only to ruin. Annoyance I find rises within me easily, but it departs just as freely. I am rarely moved to true anger, and to my credit I find the feeling difficult to abide. In the end, I just don't feel there's much worth getting so worked up over.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
There is a maxim in life that the majority of people are stupid. Unfortunately, the ratio of blithering idiots to smart people is barely more favorable in law school than found in the general public. To be sure, it is somewhat better, and to the extent that it is not, there is at least the thin veneer of education, but overall the average student here is a moron. Most of the questions reveal either the inability to read the casebook, or at least the inability to understand it. Classes like Con Law, lectures that simply follow and describe the readings, are a waste of time, hence the blogging.
Now there are classes that do not fit the Con Law mold. I have Evidence later, and that is an interactive and engaging class, where you actually have to go so far as to apply the readings. Even Evidence, however, is not really so much difficult as involved, and proper preperation is all that is really required. Many people believe that law school must be very hard. It is not. Boring, costly, and filled to a surprising degree with scut work, but not particularly difficult. Law school is no more, or less, than the most expensive trade school in the world.
Monday, August 23, 2004
Sunday, August 22, 2004
Despite my proud membership in the Most Maligned Order of the Nerd, I have yet to read any of Asimov's books. However, the recent release of the movie I, Robot, despite the fact that it apparently has nothing to do with any of his works, spurred me on to jump him to the top of my reading list. I'll be reading the Foundation Series, a back story that has always sounded fairly interesting, yet still something I had yet read. I'll post what I think about them as I progress through the books.
Friday, August 20, 2004
Aliens v. Predator is the worst conjunction of cinematic cliches I've seen all year. The amassed group of scientists and security personnel resemble nothing so much as a particularly disorganized elementary school field trip. Character development was so perfunctory as to have been merely obligatory, the only benefit of which was the fact that it limited my exposure to thespiatic (if that's a word) incompetence. Everything, from the pseudo-science to the painful dialogue was one unremitting stream of disappointment. But possibly the greatest failure of the movie came from the fight scenes.
I imagine that, in the late seventies, the first appearence of the alien monster must have been quite terrifying. Indeed, I myself was subjected to the movie Aliens at a very young age, and harbored a fear toward the creature which seems somewhat silly in retrospect. Now, however, the sleek black rubber suit is a familiar icon, one that in AVP illicits nothing save a desire to be watching one of its better performances instead. The Predator too, sadly, is nothing new, and should prove interesting only long enough for viewers to remember how crappy its first movies were.
Of the effects nothing can really be said except that they are perhaps the best part of AVP, rising above the sewage of script, directing, and characters to an exaulted peak of mediocrity. Unfortunately, because we come to such a movie expecting great effects, mere mediocrity amounts to the most profound disappointment to be found in this dismal offering.
Thursday, August 19, 2004
Civil Procedure in the State and Federal Courts
The Legal Profession
These are all at SCU. I'm contemplating taking Piano at a local junior college. I've always wanted to learn how to play the Piano, but for one reason or another I've never gotten around to it. I regret I don't have the time to take more personal interest classes at the JC. I wouldn't mind taking Japanese, especially because proficiency would significantly enlarge the number of dramas I could watch (or at least understand). Languages are tough though, because they require constant effort, and I am more of a short term kind of guy. I get interested in something, I try it out for a while, and once I think I've got a grasp on the basics I move on. A subject has to be really important or really interesting to capture my interest in the long term, and I have encountered few examples thus far.
Film and Theatre are two subjects I have always wanted to explore in greater detail. I've taken academic film examination classes at UCSC, but I am not as interested in the analytical side as the artistic. I don't want to dissect films, I want to help make them. Directing, I've always thought, would be an engrossing study, though I can't really say I understand much of what it truly entails. Nor would I be adversely disposed to giving acting a shot. Years of role-playing games have given me the satisfaction of playing literally hundreds of personalities, and though I'm sure that is only a primitive reflection of the art, it was enough to whet my appetite.
I don't have any pretentions at making my living by Film or Theatre, but they are two fields that have always interested me. I should like someday to be part of an amature project or volunteer troupe, to present a story to an audience, to set out from ourselves a world of our own making. That's the great allure to me, no matter what part I might ultimately play. Even should I never get a better opportunity than that of the humblest curtain puller, I would take pride in my part of a wonderous creation.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004
To become a Jedi you have to master eight random professions. The identities of these professions are kept hidden, so you just have to guess. There are a total of thirty-three, so you have to complete just under a quarter of them. Each profession varies, but the average one can be completed in about forty-eight to sixty hours of game play. I've been in SWG for a year now, and I've completed fifteen, or just under half, and I am still not a Jedi. This doesn't really bother me, as I don't mind taking it slow. Unfortunately, there is a problem on the horizon.
SOE, the company that owns SWG, is going to change the way people become Jedi because the current system of grinding professions is dumb. I support the change in theory, but I know that the new system will be even more difficult than the old one. If I want a Jedi any time soon, I know I'll have to step up the grinding and get really lucky, neither of which seems very likely.
Tuesday, August 17, 2004
The days immediately preceding Dispersal Day, however, are some of the leanest experienced in the first world. Separated from their previous aid award by a year, students everywhere are reduced to consuming the last of their remaining ramen, hot dog, or Mac 'n Cheese stores. And that's merely the fate of the fortunate. For the spendthrift the weeks before Dispersal Day are miserable exercises of self-denial and endurance, mitigated only to the extent that you may prevail upon the pity of friends and associates.
Fortunately, all hardships are quickly forgotten come deliverance. An orgy of expenditure occurs, as students across the country binge on fast food, upgrade computers, and obtain for themselves personal luxuries. Freed from the shackles of fiduciary restrait, young people pursue their long forestalled materialistic aspirations with an all consuming ardor.
For SCU Law students, Dispersal Day came on Monday. When I went to the Bursar's Office, I was told I was among the unfortunate block of students whose checks were not to be printed until the next day (today). I now look forward to class with an enthusiasm that rarely applies, as I will make a stop at the Financial Aid office afterwards. From there, who knows? Maybe I'll get a nice steak. I'm kinda sick of ramen...
Happy Financial Aid Dispersal Day!
Monday, August 16, 2004
I have yet to find a place to live in Santa Clara, though my stalled search may prove serendipitous. Although I had already completed all the required paper work before the beginning of the term, the financial aid office has displayed a frustrating degree of incompetence. Thus, while I await the disbursal of my aid package, I am thoroughly and regrettably broke.
The first day of class went easy enough, boiling down to the same resuscitation of administrative minutiae and introductions delivered with varying degrees of friendliness at the start of every year. I am starting out the new term already behind, as the aforementioned fiduciary difficulties have precluded the purchase of textbooks and other materials, but as I have been promised my aid tomorrow, I have high hopes that the condition is temporary.
Though it has been gone for only one day, I already find myself missing the causal laziness of summer. I make no pretentions at any great aspirations beyond the preservation of my free time, which I treasure above any worldly possession. I have viewed the return of scholastic responsibility with a regret. I await my inevitable entry into the professional world with the same kind of dread, but magnified as it is by the fact that it will be a prison from which there are only three escapes. Death and old age, in decreasing order of preference, each hold their own problems, and the lottery is a statistical improbability to the extent where reliance upon it borders on delusion.
The only thing I fear more than school is work, and it is a matter of unspeakable personal tragedy that I will be able to escape neither.
Sunday, August 15, 2004
On TV, the weather is always right. Meteorological conditions resulting not from jet streams or cold fronts, but instead from emotional imperatives. A glorious sun in triumph, darkness born of fear, rains for romance. Sound too follows the same dictates, conspiring to present along with visual effects and Hollywood's other discrete talents a world which runs on certainty rather than a chance. A place where the exigencies of even one person can rise to the sole concern of the entire universe. It is a place of manufactured perfection, one we know to be false, and yet all the more enjoyable because we can still think of it as ours.
I remember the first time I saw a photograph of Greta Garbo. That woman was long dead, a fate Greta herself would follow in time, but still the picture seemed to hold all the promise of life. We have become so talented in the sculpture of illusion, a craft where are molded those qualities we think the finest examples of humanity. A beautiful woman can look right through the glass, offer in her dulcet tones a confession of her love, and even though you know it isn't true, still you can feel the pull. In the movies, everything is important. All triumphs are magnificent and all defeats crushing, whether the scale balances all mankind or the difficulties of a single individual. It is such exquisite escapism, but it is more than simple fantasy. These displays, through those things in us they appeal to, become the promise of better things. It could be you.
There is a cruelty to the illusion, a bittersweet revelation around which the layers of fantasy entwine. We live our lives in our world, the real world insofar as we understand it, a place where we are only who we are. Now, that isn't necessarily such a bad thing. We can still have a good run as we drift through our lives, small triumphs all things considered, but all the more precious for being ours. It isn't my intention to sound decidedly pessimistic. I enjoy my life very much, that of it as has passed thus far, and there is some justification to expect even better in the future.
I enjoy those things produced for our entertainment very much. It is not my intention to decry the release offered by television. It's just that I know there are many things I'll never get to do. My life will probably be very good, but I'll never be President of the United States. I'll never negotiate peace with aliens, slay a dragon, or win the affection of a famous actress. It may even be the case that, if I could, I still may not want to do any of those things, but that I will likely never get the chance is disappointing.
Saturday, August 14, 2004
It was easy to secure their cooperation, what with them being just photographs, but even so I appreciate the help. I hope anyone who stumbles across this page enjoys the images, and perhaps it will entice a person or two into downloading a few dramas to watch.
I actually wasn't sure if I wanted to go through with this week-long project. Lovely though they may be, it wasn't my intent to improve the aesthetics of my blog (that just happens to be a nice ancillary). I will admit to being as much of a man as any other. Custom, culture, and biology have all conspired to create, at least in some ways, a creature of base instincts and a somewhat insufficient means of resisting them.
Even though I sneer at those brazenly consumed by no other concerns than physical attraction and carnal consumption, they are admittedly aspects of my own psyche as much as anyone else. I take care to remain reserved, indeed the unabashed appraisal of a feminine specimen fills me with equal parts discomfort and disgust, but even though I may not talk about sex, I sure do think about it. Still, the objectification of women for my own personal amusement was not my intent.
Celebrity, and indeed celebrities, have never held much appeal to me. Some people spend time and money in persistant obsession, pursuing their particular star far past the point of harmless infatuation. Even leaving aside the mentally unbalanced, I still think that celebrities are overrated. I don't really care what an actor or singer thinks about a particular political position.
It doesn't matter to me one wit whether some ditzy singer is a virgin, how many times some director has been divorced, or the newest Hollywood roadmap for middle east peace; in short, I've never found much interest in celebrities outside of their work. So, I just want it clear that I didn't spend this last week laboring towards the creation of some eerie shrine to five Japanese women.
So, why did I? To be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure. Maybe I was kinda bored. It made updating the blog easy, and sometimes I go a week without something worth writing about. I got to look through lots and lots of pictures, spending a few hours with some of the most beautiful women on the small screen isn't exactly a chore. In the end, I guess I just felt like it.
That isn't really very interesting, and indeed this entire entry has been just one long, rambling, oddity. Still, there is a point to all of this. I noticed something while looking at picture after picture, something I always knew, I think, but had become so familiar with that I no longer really thought about it. Since I've had enough of writing for one day, I'll put it off 'till next time to explain.
Friday, August 13, 2004
Five days later and I've come to the end of my little slide show. Friday goes to Hirosue Ryoko, another member of Japan's seemingly inexhaustible class of adorable twenty-something actresses. I first saw her featured in Summer Snow, and it's fair to say I've been hooked ever since. She is equally capable in dramatic or comedic settings, and though for my own part I find myself indifferent to her music, she is also a popular singer.
Even a cursory glance at her photographs should reveal abundant justification for the idle infatuation. Ryoko is a comfortable indulgence, beautiful not in the impossible perfection of a Hollywood goddess, but simple and warm like a favored sweater or a worn blanket.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Shibasaki Kou is an up and coming star in Japanese dramas. I've seen her show Good Luck!!, and parts of her newer one, Orange Days (both JTV projects; check them out) and she is suitably distracting in both. However, her most compelling performance is in the dystopian slaughterfest otherwise known as Battle Royale, where we learn just another good reason why school girls should stay hands off. I know that, for most men, fear is not the first thing that comes up on the subject of young women and short skirts. Well, those of us who've seen BR know better.
Kou's Battle Royale character is one of the more attractive knife wielding psychopaths portrayed on film, and through her we even get to see the softer side of dissociative killers. Though few of her other roles involve random violence, she brings to many of her characters the same endearing fierceness. She's strong and tough as nails, but with just the most discrete suggestion of vulnerability. There's something appealing in a rough woman, and Kou's got that uneasy combination of self-reliance and dependance, colored by stubborn animosity. She's cute, but she'd kick your ass for saying so.
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Day number three is dedicated to the talented Tokiwa Takako. At thirty-two she is the senior member of the countdown, an accomplished actress who has only improved with age. Though her early performances were occasionally somewhat stiff and uninspired, Takako would eventually come to display a depth and emotion almost unique among Japanses dramas. Her hurt, lonely Eri in Refrain is entitled to a place among the most memorable dorama performances.
Takako has managed to portray a wide range of characters, demonstrating a versatility increasingly rare in an industry built upon foundations of the cliche. From these disparate personalities comes an appreciation for her that surpasses simple desire. Her appeal is one of grace and elegance, an exposition of classical beauty, and a call to those gentle qualities that form the best of what we are.
Tuesday, August 10, 2004
Tuesday's Uchiyama Rina (before you cringe at the name, remember that the Asian custom is family name first; I think "Rina" is pretty cute) should be a familiar sight for dorama fans, but no less welcome at that. I first saw her in Strawberry on the Shortcake, though she's been in other things since.
Rina's got the "girl next door" thing going on, even for those of us who live quite a few doors down the block from Japan. Insufferably cute, tantalizingly innocent, and yet convienently street legal, Rina's all the "jail bait / buddy's attractive sister" taste with none of the calories.
Monday, August 09, 2004
Cute huh? Her name is Konishi Manami. Aside from starring in Orange Days, a new series presented for download by Japan-TV, she is also the first in my week-long tribute to attractive Japanese women. I know, it's a rough gig, but someone has to do it.
As far as I can tell, Manami is new to the dorama scene. Orange Days is the first thing I've seen her in, though JDorama lists her in nine shows. Gives a whole new reason to expand one's horizons.
She has a very slender face, and her slight features conspire to present almost an elfin beauty. Manami's eyes are her most persuasive attriubutes, luminous pools of polished onyx which offer, even if only through the magic of photography, an allure that is both mysterious and deceptively accessable.
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Personally, I have no problem in people reinforcing their relationships with the notion that they were fated to be together. It seems a little quaint, and I think fatalism is a questionable quality whatever the outcome, but as far as emotional crutches go, this one is pretty harmless.
By the light of reason this idea seems rather silly. There are now more than six billion people on the Earth. How fate works to designate whom should be paired with whom remains, for reasons I'm sure are readily apparent, somewhat unclear. If the distribution is purely random then you end up with some rather bizarre results. Not only is it unlikely that you'll ever even see your predestined partner, but language, culture, age, and other concerns can make the prospect of such a meeting uncertain to say the least.
Practicality may force the concession that our amorous statistics naturally engineer it so that our fated lovers are geographically and chronologically compatible, but lacking any evidence of such manipulation it is an offering as strained as any to be found in pseudo-science.
I'm not really sure what the point of all this is though. I certainly don't begrudge people their innocent delusions, though I think the thought process their support entails is questionable. I guess ultimately I don't feel love is any better a subject to leave to fate than anything else.
Wednesday, August 04, 2004
First, allow me to say in my defense, that I write quite easily. The words flow freely, and I find the process simple almost to the point of the automatic. Starting can be a pain, but once I've typed out a few words the rest follow of their own volition. When an unusual word is found, it has appeared almost always of its own accord. Even so I know I write with an unusual hand, one to be found, if the critic is favorable, on that of a nineteenth century jurist. Though equally valid would be the characterization that my writing resembles that of a particularly bombastic and ostentatious bureaucrat. To be sure, I stand behind everything I write with a certain degree of pride, and I certainly refuse to cater to others and intentionally "dumb down" expression that comes naturally. Even so, there are times when I read over what I have wrote and part of me cringes at the tone.
The funny thing is, I am not an extraordinarily formal person. Polite perhaps, but if that is to an unusual extent, then it is so only because common courtesy has become an uncommon offering. But for some reason, in text, I always come across as, well, as the kind of person you'd expect to find at Lord Witherspoon's.
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Aside from drudging up some guilt, recent events have brought death to the focus of my consideration. As an atheist I cannot find the same refuge in it as might a religious man. Indeed, it is a reluctance to accept such an easy way out which fuels, in part, my rejection of modern spiritual options. The release of a suffering person from their burdens is a matter of some appeal, but even then I think that death is, at best, a marginal solution.
People like to speak of death as though it were some sort of celestial pit stop, someplace where a driver shakes off mortal coils to finish the rest of the race. It is a primitive defensive response, one that I do not begrudge them, but even so I can find no solace in it. To me, it seems reasonable to view death as an end. Like the credits following a movie, it's a finale with no more or less to it than what those whose names appear can make of it. For my own part, I find death a distasteful eventuality. Though I have seen yet only a small part of its charms, life has been an entertaining diversion. More unsettling than the simple fact that I will, at some point, vanish from the Earth is the thought of all the things I won't get to see.
I was born into an incredible time. This is an era of such boundless potential, uncertain struggles, and miraculous complexity that I think its like has never before emerged. To those who come after, though much of what we are and what we do will no doubt seem quaint, it will nevertheless remain a compelling time. It is an age of wonders, and it has been my good fortune to have been born into a time and place of such opportunity. Even so, I know that my life has begun, and will end, in what is only the dawn of a new day.
Who can say what marvels might be found in the future? Technology, modest for all her allure, has only revealed the barest flashes of possibility. In my life, the Internet has risen from a convocation of the nerd to the most powerful information exchange ever seen. In my life, great literature, music, and film have been converted to ethereal combinations of data. In my life doctors have implanted electronics to overcome disabilities, scientists have mapped the human genome, and NASA has sent robots to Mars. I am only twenty-four and yet all these things I have seen. In the long expanse that, should I be of such fortune, will span this time and that of my death, I expect to witness even greater spectacles. How much better, then, will those of the far future seem?
That is what bothers me most about the prospect of death. I think about my late grandfather, and how marvelous he thought these new developments to be. At the twilight of his life, he was able to see a new dawn, and it was a bittersweet revelation. Someday that will be me, should I flatter myself to think I shall do so well, looking eagerly at what's to come, even as my time runs out.
I'm not really sure what I'm trying to say in this post. I guess, when it comes down to it, I am left with a conclusion as inevitable and undeniable as the premise.
Monday, August 02, 2004
Future note to self: If Alfred is in the hand, consider folding.