Weekend Roundup Double Feature (10-20-2011 to 10-30-2011)

Who the fuck is gonna mess with this guy, eh? NOBODY!!!

Jeezus fucking christ, where the fuck do I begin?

Fuck!!  Well anyways, it’s been a crazy fucking two weeks, filled with experiments, Halloween stuff, singing in a gay bar, City Hunter, drinking lots of booze and, oh wait, experiments.

Hol-leeeee SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!!!

On Thursday, October 20th, I took a trip to Busch Gardens, courtesy of Val and company, to check out their special Howl-o-Scream event, and that was fun, but more or less a complete clusterfuck since it was discount nite and all these asshole kids (i.e. teenagers and other young adults who don’t know how to shut the hell up) were overflowing like the plague.  I was convinced by Will and Jie to ride the crazy Sheikra and I apparently got a photo snapped on it as well (see above).

On Friday, October 21st, Val’s plan was to check out the Chelsea Night Club in Downtown Tampa, a gay bar that apparently had plenty of Karaoke on Friday nights.  It was quite a chill place to be, and yes, I wasn’t manhandled either (schucks).  The worst part of it was that I was designated driver, so I couldn’t have a lick of alcohol, which made me feel a bit third wheeled at first, but once Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” came on, I was back in business.  The night ended with Jie’s suggestion that we watch some good ol’ City Hunter, and that ended it for me.

Sunday was a Thank You Dinner from Val and the rest of the gang for helping her move into her new apartment, which consisted primarily of Venezuelan cuisine, including rice, beans and lots of shredded beef, along with Jie’s handy chicken wings that were cooked for three hours in a soy sauce with Coca Cola added on for sweetness.  Yes, I got fat as shit that nite too.

But the following week devolved into two mountains of butthurt that would rival Manchester United’s ass-whupping to City tenfold.  Almost everyday was an experiment, and three out of those five days consisted of me staying in the lab helping my Post-Doc up until 6-7:50pm.  Val was already planning a Halloween Party for Saturday, and Friday’s plans for another round of singing Karaoke at the Chelsea, costume style, went up in flames for me (I was too tired to go), so much of my energy was focused on surviving for Saturday’s big bash.

Halloween was crazy thanks to these three!

After the war that was THAT week, it was Saturday, October 29th.  Arsenal had triumphed over Chelsea in spectacular fashion, so I was already in a good mood.  At my arrival, we painted bloody t-shirts, swigged booze, drew sexy demons, and I was reintroduced to the allure of smoking by watching a friend dabble into it (no, I didn’t smoke).  Our costumes were on, and we drank and partied like mad.  By the end of the night, I was filled with a mixture of happiness, sadness, and confusion at what was a party that I may not forget for awhile.  Much of what I said has obviously not been elaborated, but I will talk about that in another time.

On Jie’s forceful suggestion, I stayed over, and by morning, we cleaned up the house like mad slaves and had fish congee for breakfast with yumcha.  It was a wonderful morning after, and we decided to watch City Hunter well into the afternoon.  But by then, I had to say my goodbyes, and I returned home.  It was Sunday, October 30th, and after I shopped for a birthday gift for me mum, I began to wonder where the week had gone.

So tonight is Halloween, and earlier today, we all took a photo with the bloody shirts we made at the party as a kind of lab activity, and it was amazing to be with lab people that wanted to cut loose every once in awhile.  Overall, this weekend was fun all around, but some part of me still feels sad and melancholic.  Maybe it’s the booze, or the futility of good times, or even my old suspicions of being third wheeled from time to time, but I knew that this would not last, and the majority of it was a distraction from the bigger things that challenge us day to day.  But that’s what partying is for, and with good friends all around, I guess I can’t complain much.

Until next time folks, have a Happy Halloween, and a wonderful week!!

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All Quiet in the Blogging Front

Yes folks, I’ve been quite silent for the past week or so. Much going on at work and at play (especially at play), so hopefully I’ll have another Weekend Roundup and my feature on Sammo Hung’s “Wheels on Meals” up in a week or so. Arsenal are gonna tangle with Chelski this weekend while it’s more or less Halloween here in the States, so there’s much to do and talk about this weekend. To the three of you that continue to read the blog, once again, thanks for the support. Hope to write more soon. Until then…

Weekend Roundup (10-15-2011 to 10-16-2011)

RVP demanding the blood of his enemies after scoring with an unbelievable free kick against Sunderland for Arsenal.

After a long week of experiments at the lab, I was able to take a chill pill after work on Friday at Mr. Dunderbak’s with my Post-doc Kelley and her pal Kate.  German beer and some potato pancakes were the name of the game, and they were fabulous.  After a round of that, some lab chat, and some laughs, it was time to head on back home to check out a movie that I’ve been meaning to watch for the LONGEST time, and that film was Little Big Soldier starring none other than Jackie Chan.

Wang Leehom (Top) is Jackie Chan's captive in the humorous Warring States Road Trip that is "Little Big Soldier" (2010).

Some might argue that Jackie is past his prime to do all the things that he’s done before, but the film does well in illustrating the fact that, yes, he IS past his prime by allowing him to take on the role of an old soldier who’s simply trying to earn a reward from his home army by turning in an enemy general.  However, in true road trip fashion, the two encounter all sorts of obstacles, most of which offer handfuls of laughs, while learning a little bit more about each other.  Our virtuous enemy general (played by Taiwanese actor /musician Wang Leehom) is young, righteous, and always ready to fight for king and country, while Jackie’s “Old Soldier” plays dead during big battles, runs away, throws rocks, is pessimistic about war and is more or less the polar opposite of his captive.  The editing and transition work was not to my taste in the beginning half of the movie, but things eventually progressed well and the amount of humanity displayed by all of the characters in the film was wonderful to see.  If you’re a JC fan like me that’s looking for a chance to see your old hero in a new light, then watch Little Big Soldier as soon as possible (Thank you Netflix!!).

Godzilla and his son are trollin' like vatos in Humboldt Park in "Destroy All Monsters" (1968).

Saturday was quite the day since Tampa Bay Anime was celebrating Halloween early with the Horror / Kaiju Night at the usual venue at Perkins.  Much of that night was devoted to watching some High School of the Dead, Hellsing Ultimate and the main event, Destroy All Monsters.  The film featured a plethora of kaiju from the Godzilla universe, including the main man himself, Rodan, Ghidorah, Mothra and more.  With 13 people attending the event, it was a laugh riot to say the least.  Much of our loud laughing was not just simply due to the fact that we were watching a horrendously dubbed monster movie from 1968 that had its WTF moments, but the fact that King Ghidorah was given a gangland-style beating was enough to make us wonder if Godzilla was a vato from South Central or Humboldt Park.  All in all, with plenty of zombies, vampires and giant monsters, it was a good night indeed!!

RVP's game-winner against Sunderland. Brilliant stuff goddammit!!!

Lastly, Sunday started off well with a wonderful win for Arsenal against Sunderland which I hope will be some welcome relief to the fans after what happened against Spurs.  I missed the first thirty minutes, but Gervinho’s assist to RVP was dynamic, where the Dutchman scored low on his right foot on the 28th second of the match, putting the Gunners ahead quite early.  Larsson of Sunderland scored from a free kick to put them level by the end of the first half, but the second half showed a different Arsenal.  Rosciky had a brilliant game where he lost no balls and did his best to outdribble Sunderland’s midfield while Jenkinson showed some pacy moves and some fancy crosses at the right back position.  Arshavin soon came on to sub Gervinho as Santos came in to replace an ailing Gibbs, and already, the pace of Arsenal’s attack had changed.  Arshavin in particular made a great effort in the box by dribbling past 3 to 4 defenders before shooting wide on the field, which is by far his best performance yet for this season.  However, the scene-stealer was RVP’s free kick goal.  It was an unbelievable event for me, but my father, who was watching the game with me, was confident that it would go in.  I was screaming when the ball hit the back of the net, I won’t lie.  Arsenal would go on to win the game, 2-1.  An astounding victory indeed.

Arino-san meets the most giggly fan ever in L.A.'s Japan Arcade on Game Center CX's "Kacho in U.S.A." episode (2011).

And finally, a good weekend wouldn’t be one without a viewing of Game Center CX.  Thanks to the Something Awful forums, Zanz was able to get the recent 2 hour special of Kacho Arino’s visit to the U.S.A.  Much of his visit hinged on checking out places such as San Francisco’s Musee Mechanique, In-N-Out Burger, a crab shack in Fisherman’s Wharf, a retro game store outside of SF, an American laudromat, and finally L.A., to meet fans of the show.  In addition, in true Game Center fashion, Arino played Data East’s Robocop for the Famicom, with the goal of finishing all 6 stages.  It was quite an “American” episode for sure, but it all ended well when Arino finally met his fans in the U.S., where he was greeted to thunderous cheers and applause.  150 fans showed up to the event and he actually took the time to shake each one’s hand and take a photo with them, and moreover, the show was actually nice enough to interview some of the fans.  I’m sure this show would not do well amidst the hustle and bustle of traditional American syndication, but that’s why the internet rules.  It can circumvent all of that bullshit and give the goods to those who really give a damn about material like this.  All in all, Game Center C.X.’s U.S.A. episode was a win in all fronts!

Well, that wraps up the weekend folks.  Hope to see you all again on the next post.  Until then, rock on!

Oh, to be a Gooner…

After Arsenal’s thrilling defeat against those fucking Spurs on October the 2nd, I went into a relative depression.  I was at work for 10 hours that day, and watching text updates of your team being beaten via the BBC (Biased British Cocksuckers) was not the way to go if you asked me, but the shit-storm didn’t start until the day after, and man oh man did it stink.  Lee Dixon predicted that we would not even finish in the Top 8, Phil McNulty sucked down hard upon the throbbing foreskin of a certain Scott Parker and the Arsenal blogosphere was in a state of utter frustration.  By the middle of Monday, the atmosphere that hovered over this storied derby was already reminiscent of a Balkan war crime and guess what?  I hadn’t even watched the fucking game yet.

With a Monday full of experiments and me being a relative asshole, I awoke from my rut (thanks to Jie) as a true Gooner to watch what I would’ve thought to be the equivalent of a horse kick to the bollocks but, to my surprise, it was a tight game mixed with, well, mixed reactions.

Well I guess this derby made our day, didn't it fellas?

First off, I’ll deal with the negatives.  Like the rest of the Arsenal blogosphere pointed out, we were poor under the knife when Spurs came up.  I really wished Sagna covered better against Hand der Vaart, but y’know, hand of God and all, he bested the best right back in the league.  Parker ran rampart when going toe-to-toe against Ramsey, and I mean RAMPANT!  That cheeky fuck basically ran a godamned circle around that Welsh twit and made a fool out of him.  And speaking of Ramsey, he had an AWFUL fucking game.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many times he’s given the damn ball away.  Yes his goal was nice (and you can thank Song for that), but otherwise, his performance was appalling.  We wasted some obvious chances with Gervinho and etc. and Arshavin as a sub was just awful.  Chamakh would’ve made more use than him dammit.  And the Walker shot?  That was just the most terrible way to end the game for an otherwise awesome performance by SZCZ.  The worst of it all was the Assou-Ekotto collision which basically volleyed Sagna into a sign and broke his right fibula.  Now that’s a blow that will hurt the team more than anything.  Our most dependable player is out for four fucking months guys.  Can you believe that shit!?  It’s as if the Football gods were taking a direct shit at our heads and are not only laughing at us for walking around with it, but will laugh even more once we decide to do the sensible thing and clean the crud off of our skulls.  FUCK!!!!

Oh, and that tasteless chanting?  For any Arsenal fan that commits to that load of horse-shit, I hope you get a swift kick in the ass for it.  I might expect that from some Spuds, but not from a Gooner.  Participating in such mockery will only build more negative energy towards the club, and we’ve got plenty of it hovering above us already.

Now for the positives.  If I were to follow the line of thinking that most pundits followed, then I would begin by starting the majority of my sentences with adjectives illustrating the most negative, boring and unscrupulous football imaginable, then inserting something like “oh, and Song made a well-earned drive to the left to help the Welshman score” and yada yada yada.  However, I won’t do that and I will state what I found noteworthy as straightforward as possible.  Song and SZCZ were by far great, and it appeared that we defended well against set-pieces, but everyone will question the communication problems, which are apparent.  We still look great going forward, especially if it’s something from the sides.  Arteta continues to do well as a “last minute doomsday” signing, but I would argue that he might be a better attacking MF than Ramsey will ever be, while Coquelin continues to impress with a great deal of ass-kickery.  If only there was a greater amount of cohesiveness and bite amongst the players, than we could’ve seen something different in the last fifteen minutes.

This weekend will mark the end of our international break, where the Gunners must do battle with the Black Cats of Sunderland.  Yes, Bendtner is there and he’s kicking major ass for Denmark, but we have to shine.  If not on Sunday, then when?

Oh, to be a Gooner…

Naika Reviews “CITY HUNTER: Million Dollar Conspiracy”

Emily O'Hara stirs her pot of stew to Ryo Saeba's "smoking" personals ad long before the advent of Craigslist. Image courtesy of blog.naver.com

For those of you who have watched my material from the YouTube channel, it is no surprise that I am a huge fan of “City Hunter.”  With its heart set firmly in the 80s and early 90s, CH is that seminal show that offers little in the realm of thought, but makes up for that through slick character designs, awesome animation, a sex-crazed sharpshooter as the protagonist and an overall atmosphere that continues to revel in the urban glory of pre-bubble-burst Japan.  In this day and age however, it’s harder than your ex-girlfriend’s nipples in a midwestern winter for the majority of young anime fans to take a man in a sports jacket seriously, but once the magnum is whipped out and the bullets are flying, even the haters will learn that the last thing you’d want to be is a corpse under the gun of the City Hunter.

In City Hunter, Tokyo is Japan’s thriving epicenter, filled with neon lights, busy streets, towering skyscrapers and beautiful people.  However, beneath all of this is a seedy underworld where anything is up for grabs.  Our hero Ryo Saeba is a man who makes it his living to aid ANY female hottie who gets herself caught up between these two worlds, mainly because he’s a sweeper that operates amidst the fringes of both crime and the law.  When Ryo’s not chasing tail or going to titty bars, he runs the Saeba Firm, where those who are seeking a bodyguard or gumshoe need only to write the letters “XYZ” on the blackboard of Shinjuku station to summon him.  That was always the usual beat to which City Hunter stroked its proverbial guitar to, but for this OVA, we’re introduced to a bonerriffic blonde by the name of Emily O’Hara.

Emily O'Hara is just begging for some Butter on Cream action in "City Hunter: Million Dollar Conspiracy" (1990)

Released in the summer of 1990 after City Hunter 3, Million Dollar Conspiracy (let’s abbreviate to CH:MDC shall we?) starts off when Emily O’Hara leaves the confines of Los Angeles to find Mr. Saeba in Japan.  With the unusual story of her needing a bodyguard to defend her from the mafia, Emily tempts both Kaori (Ryo’s business partner / tormentor) and Ryo to the job with the offer of a million bucks.  Although Kaori’s mind is solely interested in the moolah, Ryo is obviously interested in something else (i.e. pumping Emily’s american oil fields with a good dose of Japanese steel).  Kaori is obviously incensed, but the thought of a million dollars is too good to pass up, and thus the team compromises and decides to get to work.  Although the gist of the job seems simple, things get a tad bit complicated when we find out that someone came to Japan from L.A. to snuff out Ryo.  Kaori has some suspicions that it could be Emily, but when a steady stream of remote controlled cars and tanks armed with explosives tries to rattle Saeba’s chains (yeah, I know it sounds hokey, but don’t be such an uppity anime fan, please?), the stage soon becomes set for an explosive showdown with booby traps and gunsmoke galore.

By many accounts, CH:MDC seems to fit all the categories for standard OVA fare, but what really sets the bar for this one is the animation.  Once again, Sunrise overachieves with this one, where the colors, movement and art direction shine throughout the entire 45 minutes.  With smooth, classy character designs, great direction from Kenji Kodama and a slew of detailed backgrounds, it’s really hard to top the looks here unless somebody slipped a mickey in my Kool-Aid.  All in all, CH:MDC is one gorgeous piece of work.

If there’s anything to trip this beauty up, then its got to be the obvious: story and plot.  Like many other OVA offshoots that appear after the end of a season, CH:MDC is kinda like a big big episode that’s meant to garner interest in the series after a small absence on the tube, which usually means that the story isn’t exactly written to win a fucking Pulitzer (although I am told by most otaku that Evangelion has won 900 and counting).  The story is standard stuff, including some of the plot twists that you’ll find later in your viewing, but what annoys me about CH:MDC are the usual things that annoy me when I’m watching an episode of CH, and that’s the melodrama.  Emily’s motivations throughout the OVA are rooted in exacting revenge on the would-be killer of her brother Daniel, a former CIA operative who apparently found out a dangerous secret about his superior.  She gets angry, throws fits of despair, and has some melodramatic flashbacks of her bro that is somehow coupled with her not being able to fire a fucking gun properly.  At least Ryo sets her ass straight and teaches her a thing or two when it comes time for her to step up to the plate (cue melodramatic piano solo).  It’s not earth-shatteringly bad, but is in fact common in CH’s animated universe.  You would think that given the fact that it was an OVA, there might be more room for freedom away from the show’s prior conventions, but then again, if you didn’t have the average melodrama, it wouldn’t be CH either.

The first time I watched CH:MDC was between 2000 and 2001 while I was hanging out in GrumpyGrad’s place during high school.  He started getting into anime and was soon interested in the coolness that was CH.  I knew about CH during my ventures into Thailand with my folks in the late 80s and early 90s, but sitting down to see this OVA with him more or less made me into a fan again.  After finally getting my grubby hands on this DVD after a decade or so later, I can truly say that watching it now is just as good as watching it then with GrumpyGrad.  CH:MDC isn’t gonna win any awards or get any fist bumps from the Anime News Network, but it doesn’t need to.  With outstanding animation, slick direction and an eye for everything cool, CH:MDC is another loving look back at a bygone era of animation when Japan was king of the world, sports jackets were hip and our mongoloid protagonist was more than willing to risk his hide to bury his dong knee deep in some good ol’ American vag.  Cheers otakus!

Nigella Lawson Appears to Have A Delicious Set of Buttery, Fluffy Muffins

Look at those muffins goddammit!!

The world of culinary television is packed with a plethora of individuals and personalities, but none quite so English as Nigella Lawson, which is not a bad thing to say the least.  Jaime Oliver is certainly not included because, well, because he sucks.  In an age where the majority of American television chefs ooze out over-hyped comfort food coupled with a sweet kitchen set-up and the visible air of eau-de-smartass wafting between takes (like that corn mongler named Bobby Flay), it’s a helluva sight to see somebody so….,I dunno, ENGLISH as Nigella.  However, none of that matters to most of us male viewers because frankly, whatever she’s dishing up on the stove probably doesn’t taste as good as what she’s packing under that navy turtleneck she procured from Harrod’s..

You read right goddammit.  Don’t pretend you were actually paying attention to whatever the fuck she was cooking.  She could be feeding hungry children in Africa and no one would give two shits about it because she’s apparently packed enough dairy to put the milkman out of business.

To be fair, Nigella Lawson seems to be a woman whose first and foremost passion is food and the relative pleasantries that accompany it.  Whether its concocting something fanciful as lamb with honey mustard sauce or doing something dessert-like such as…well, “Chocopots” (whatever the hell that is), she seems to inject the sort of vocabulary in her explanations that may at first sound rather learned, but in reality, reek of dry elegance and the careless whispers that a British Debbie Lafave would probably say before she pounces wantonly on her hapless, innocent students.  There’s really no reason for her to sound like that when she’s explaining something as simple as draining the water from a can of chickpeas but my God did you see those mammaries?  I mean look, LOOK!!!

Jeezus Christ mates. Wouldn't you love to get a Sundae topped with nuts, chocolate and her English funbags?

Much of Nigella’s show consists of her doing things that incidentally lead her to the next recipe, which is a nice setup on a viewer standpoint since it allows you to have a glance of urban life in England.  In turn however, these segments force her to wear something worthless like a “coat,” or a “jean jacket” that obscures ones view of her insatiable breasts.  Were it something more fitting like a cheap transparent raincoat or a paper bag from Cub Foods, then I would have no cause for concern, but her wardrobe assistants and producers should’ve considered those angles before letting her sweaty heavy-chestedness out of the fucking woodwork.  Bare in mind that she is a television chef and her priority is to illustrate the makings of a dish or two in one segment, but the fact that her oblong melons tend to droop downwards over her cutting board provide ample watching before she pulls out another set of meat from the fridge for her to jiggle a sweat over.

Nigella eating lustfully before she beckons me to her bed chamber. Oh, and she's wearing that fucking jean jacket too. Wardrobe should be sacked.

On another note, one of the most delectable features that Nigella possesses among her television counterparts aside from hobbling around with two heaping scoops of English teat are the mannerisms she displays while tasting her food.  Bobby Flay probably shits corn on a daily basis, so I won’t even consider him here while Mario Batalli looks to be the kind of person that doesn’t taste his food, but inhales it.  Rachel Ray would only “sample” whatever she whips up in 30 minutes, and for good reason too since it probably tastes like unfortified ass, but Mrs. Lawson bares her teeth, takes a heaping or two and sneers under her breath as if to say, “Fuck, I made a good meal.  Come to my bedroom Naika and let me have a helping of some homemade Thai curry,” or something to that effect (okay, I made that up, but who cares right?).

Despite her position as a chef and television personality, it is this blogger’s humble opinion that Nigella Lawson is, in fact, an English sexpot who just happens to look good while cooking stuff.  Although I am basing this opinion upon a few episodes that were viewed on YouTube, it is clear that Mrs. Lawson’s greatest recipe stems from the fluffy, buttery English muffins that rise from her chest.  To fathom the enormity of such cleavage would befuddle any employee of Victoria’s Secret wondering if anything frilly could be sold for someone holding such massive upper body….urm, mass.  These qualities should also benefit the individuals tasting her food after a shoot, whereupon they should be thankful that Nigella was hanging her heavy bushels of fun over those dishes during preparation, or else it would probably taste like what most English dishes taste like: shit.  Nigella’s classy attitude, urban chic, glowing smile and elegant vernacular would probably win her a great deal of female plaudits who would lavish a lifestyle such as hers, but if they have a chest to match the Welsh Watermelons that Mrs. Lawson has, then I hope to God they e-mail me their numbers and possibly a photo in the comments section below.  Lord knows that with Arsenal struggling to murder the critics in this season of the Premier League, I could use an ample handful of British Chestbread.  In conclusion, the fairer sex seems to fair exquisitely in the world of culinary television with the looks, sensibilities, styles and personalities that standout tenfold from their purist and ever-so-strict male counterparts.  Despite all of this, it is unfortunate that none of these women can ever top the musky smell of two warm and heaping handfuls of fluffy, buttery English muffins right out of Nigella’s tasteful sweater,…err, oven.  (Crud, I did it again)