Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas 2006

The new banner photo shows my propensity for fixating on food, captured in a set of holiday gifts from my wife. You can see a small sample of other photos in this photo set. Another favorite of mine is this selection of stocking stuffers, which also accurately reflects my character.

I know my daughter is growing up, when so many of her gifts are items of jewelry and fashion accessories. Anyway, it was a fun holiday. Since I bought Jean a copy of Brain Age, I haven't really played either of my DS games. Seems she's always using it whenever I'm in the mood.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mo' Music

The mash-ups and obscure 60s Japanese Surf Guitar have been kind of fallow of late, so I gave in and bought a couple of albums that have been in the queue:

Bring Me the Workhorse - My Brightest Diamond

Waking the Mystics - Sophe Lux

The latter are actually a Portland band!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Near Dark

I got Near Dark from the library after reading that it was an original take on vampire tales. It takes place in modern-day Oklahoma and surroundings, and relates the story of Caleb Colton, a young farm boy who falls for a young woman who turns out to be a vampire, and is abducted by her 'family' after she inadvertantly turns him.

Trailer trash vampires? Yeah, it got more than a little silly here and there, but it was a fun movie. Cale was played by Adrian Pasdar, who is now, some nineteen years later, playing budding politician Nathan Petrelli in the television series Heroes. I knew I'd seen him somewhere the whole time I was watching the movie, and about midway through figured it out. Funny.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Xmas Party 2006

Tom held a Christmas party at his house this weekend. The usual gang was there, and it was a lot of fun.

I'd been talking about how Renee wanted to put together a costume for the next Kumoricon, and Valeska offered an old Singer sewing machine she no longer uses for Renee and I to noodle on. I picked it up at the party, receiving a brief tutorial on loading thread, the bobbin and stitch patterns. I'm really grateful to Valeska and her husband for parting with it.

I think the food choice was Lisa's idea. We had fondue. Three actually. There was a cheese fondue for dipping vegetables and various breads in. Then we had a hot oil fondue for cooking bits of shrimp, pork and tiny sausages. Finally, there was a chocolate fondue with banana slices, marshmallows and apple slices. I sampled a bit of everything, too much, really. It was all quite good. I ate a lot of raw veggies, as they were good. I brought some raw veggies and a bottle of wine to go with the cheese.

Tom's idea of the gift pool worked out great. Great for me, anyway. I'm afraid my gift idea was a dud. My enthusiasm for a book I'd been reading lately, Mind Performance Hacks, was not shared by the gang. John Jackson got it, and though he is normally laconic, I think he was a bit more somber than usual. "I don't know what it is."

The way the gift pile worked was that we all piled our gifts in one area, then we drew lots to determine the order of drawing gifts. If you saw a gift that someone had already unwrapped that you knew you liked, you could 'steal' it from them, and give them your number. Well, I was second or third, and got the DVD box set for season one of Robot Chicken. I'd have been quite satisfied with that, but Alan 'stole' it and gave me his number. When I drew again, I got an art book for Disney's Fantasia. Can't remember who stole that, but I was back in play.

In the end, I got the last package, and it turned out to be a perfect fit: Akiba Biyori, a collection of cosplay photos interspersed with photos of Akihabara, by photographer Yoshimitsu Takano. This is a lovely little paperback book, and a perfect collection of ideas for Renee as she ponders costumes for Kumoricon.

As if that was not enough, I retrieved a book that John had brought for me the previous month at Tom's. I'd forgotten it, even though it was really cool, a gift from him after his trip to Anime Expo 2006. The book, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne - A Tanemura Arina Illustration Collection. The artist illustrates one of the characters Renee and I have followed in the past, and has a very beautiful style.

After the gift unveiling, we went downstairs and Alan demonstrated his new game, Viva PiƱata. He more or less accurately described it as the Xbox 360 version of Animal Crossing. He guessed that Renee would like it, and given the number of hours she's logged on Animal Crossing, I figured he was right. But she assures me that she has no interest. Go figure.

All told, it was a very nice evening, and I'm happy to have such cool friends.

[caught in the time trap... posting this a week late]

The Flute Recital

Thursday evening was Renee's flute recital at Hazelbrook Middle School. She's been taking lessons since this Summer, and now she's had a chance to strut her stuff. The young woman she's playing a duet with in the image above is named Ashley, and they appeared to get along famously, unlike some other famous duets.

I didn't want to use my SB-600 flash in such a setting, so I was constrained to ambient lighting, and of course only own fairly slow glass. So apologies that the image is not crystal clear. Maybe next time, I'll just use the flash and irritate all the other parents...

Monday, December 4, 2006

Onmyoji II

Onmyoji II is, as the title suggests, a sequel. I watched the original several months ago, and only now got around to the second title. I think I liked this one better than the last one. It's a bit darker, and while it still has the borderline Power Rangers monsters, I am sufficiently 'child-like' to go with the flow and enjoy the story.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Ugly Mug

I decided to try out the Photo Booth application the new iMac comes with. It's a gimmick, no doubt, but I suppose it would be nice if I wanted a webcam. Anyway, feast your eyes.