californiaaaaaa, californiaaaaaa, here i come...!

so i will be taking a much needed and deserved three week vacation this friday. my friend and i will be heading down the coastline to the deepest south of california, possibly crossing over into mexico. we'll see. it's a road trip that i've been looking forward to all year. and it couldn't have come at a better time, as this is about the halfway point of the year, and a good a time as any to switch gears. with most of the past year behind me, there's only the future to look forward to.

at any rate, i won't be documenting the trip as thoroughly as i initially wanted to (didn't bother to purchase a camcorder), but i should have some good pictures that i will post on my panoramic blog when i return. i am leaving at an awkward time for my writing, however, considering how much of a roll i'd been on as of late, but hopefully the ideas will come fast and furious during the trip; they usually do.

as is my tradition with road trips, i will be taking along some steinbeck. this time, it will be his east of eden. i've always had a pretty deep connection to his books while traveling, so this time should be no exception.

it's been about a good fifteen or sixteen years since i'd been to california. just what do i plan on doing while i'm there? well, i basically intend on playing in the super mario 3 playoffs and schooling fred savage's retarded brother with the power glove. because i love the powerglove. it's so bad. first person to guess what movie that reference is from, gets a coke. long days, sunny beaches and roadside diners, here i come!



i really didn't think i'd get a breakthrough on this novel. but it just sort of happened. at 1:45 am exactly as i was listening to some brandi carlile (what an amazing voice. but i digress...) I've been up until now writing, or trying to write, and basically not thinking too hard about anything. then it just came to me. i finally know what the book is about. it's about searching. which, ironically, is what i'd been doing this whole time for the past year, trying to search for the meaning of the book.

i've grown quite fond of writing for these characters. they're far more fleshed out and three dimensional than in previous incarnations. it helps now that i've been pasting together bits and pieces of various personalities and personal experiences, which makes for some messed up blurring of reality and memory, but it's all good.

although i haven't written tonnes, i've been on a bit of a roll. i'm just wondering what will happen once i leave for california this friday. basically, i figure it will totally block me up, or i'll write most of the book in my mind during the trip and then when i get back, write nonstop for weeks on end and finish a first draft. not bloody likely, but a guy can wish.

anyway, here's a little snippet i wrote before my breakthrough. sons and their fathers. at worst, hatred, at best, indifference. although sometimes quite positive. note the musical references. you can usually tell when i've been listening to way too much music. it usually ends up creeping into my writing.

- I saw my father this morning.
- You did not.
- Oh I did.
- Billy, your father is on the dark side of the moon. Figure of speech, of course.
- No, I saw him, Elton. I woke up this morning and I looked in to the mirror, and there he was. His nose, his eyebrows, his chin.
- Ah. So you had one of those, "I can't believe I look like that prick" moments, did you? Well, don't sweat it; it happens to everyone. When's the last time you spoke to him anyway?
- A couple months ago. He called. We talked. I mean, we didn't talk. We exchanged words. I figure it's a success if we can go for a full minute without one of us just resorting to audible grunts. It doesn't matter. That's all scar tissue anyway.
- Well, my dad's a cocksucker. So we're both better off.


entourage: medellian

entourage is now five episodes deep into its forth season, and it's been a pretty good ride so far. vince has just wrapped his dream project, medellin, with walsh (queens boulevard) as director, and it appears that the producers of entourage are having some fun with medellin. they have created a website, www.medellinthefilm.com, which now actually has a trailer for the fake film that you can go and watch.

i have to admit, i get a kick out of extra stuff like this outside of the show, particularly because i have no life and i surf the net constantly. i was pretty unimpressed with most of the second half of season three, but i am pleased to say that season four is back on track. here are some photos from medellian:



yeah, i know it's emo. i don't want to hear one word about it.


just a few things: i've been playing around with my new macbook and i have to say, it's pretty awesome. it's whisper quiet, looks amazing, and runs smoother than a nun on a slip and slide. gotta give it up to apple on this one.

okay, so this is messed up: i just realized that i cannot install the sony program on my mac so i can upload the songs to my sony mp3 player. hmm. interesting. sony, one of the biggest names in the industry, won't make their program compatible with macs. you can't see it, but there's a huge vein in my forehead that's throbbing right now.

options? a) do the unnatural and get windows running on the mac. b) continue with the freezer notebook. c) buy an ipod or alternative mp3 player that will ACTUALLY LET YOU UPLOAD ON A MAC!

wow, i never had a problem with sony up until now, even though they've done some pretty bs stuff before. i've always liked their products, their warranty is top notch and you can get their stuff serviced anywhere. yes, the sony sonicstage software is horrible, but i always got around its quirks. i also really do love their mp3 players, especially the new video mp3 player, but this is just too much. i had been planning on buying their new mp3 player once my 20g died, but it looks like i'll have to hold off on it.

for now though, i've shoved my notebook back in the freezer so i can upload some iron and wine. i want to kill someone right now. perhaps i can use this defense: you're honor, i had no choice. sony's proprietary bull shit made me do it.


freezer notebook

gather around and i'll tell you a tale... monday night, i came home and turned on my laptop. it had been dying a very slow, grueling death for about six months now, and i suppose monday night was the end of it. i knew there was a massive problem with the fan and possibly the hard drive, but was in denial about it the way you pretend not to notice your hair is falling out, so i never backed up my work. stupid, stupid move.

so anyway, the computer would turn on for thirty seconds, the fan would go apeshit, sounding more like a turbine engine than a computer fan, then it would die. now, normally i don't really have anything too important, but my writing was on there, as were my personal photos for my photo blog. with regards to the writing, nothing of it was important, except one file, which was the novel i was working on. i had written some good stuff and i didn't want to lose it. well, i couldn't get the information off, because it would die before i could even upload anything onto an external hard drive or even onto gmail as storage. so i decided to leave it overnight. yesterday morning, i tried to turn it on, but again, it wouldn't. then something snapped inside my head. i swear to you, i thou
ght i heard something actually break in my skull. i punched the computer several times. a chunk of plastic flew off it. i still don't know what it is for. this of course didn't make the computer work any better.

so i bit the bullet and walked down to the local best buy and purchased a macbook. nothing too crazy, just the middle of the road one since i don't really have tonnes of money right now. it's a good thing i got refunded on my financial course by work, which helped pay for part of the computer. i was just sick of having to fix my computer all the time and i just wanted something stable, even if apple refuses to go green, and even though steve jobs needs a good curb stomping.

i am definitely no big apple fan; i hate the ipod, their commercials irritate me, i despise their warranty support (as a former warranty coordinator for an electronics company, i realized they had the worst support ever, for both business and customer support, which is why i went with the best buy warranty instead - seriously, what kind of company gives you a limit on technical support over the phone?) and apple always seemed too smug for my tastes. always a little too high and mighty. however... i have always been a fan of their macbooks, which is why i ended up buying one. i'm not above giving props when they're due, and while the ipod may be an over hyped scam and the iphone is even more of one, they make a good laptop.

so, back to my computer: i had to figure out how to get the info off my hard drive without paying a large sum of money for some technician to do it for me. i was also too lazy to do it myself. my friend chris told me i should put the computer in the fridge, as a means of keeping it cool long enough to get the info off the hard drive. so i went one step further and shoved it in the freezer. as we speak, my precious info is being downloaded onto an external hard drive, which is about two minutes away from being free. hey, as ludicrous as that sounds, you can't argue against results.

as they say: a picture is worth a thousand words...

are you superbad?

anything with george michaels in it, i definitely have to see.


make it brief

it's funny how the writing process works. a while ago, i lost my first draft of giants. i was pretty close to finishing it, and then i saved over it on my computer. whether it was by mistake or on purpose (subconsciously), it doesn't really matter now because it's gone. after that, i started going through some of my old writing and came across zero sum, my failed work on misogyny. i basically decided to re-write it, with a tentative new title, hideous. well, after digging a little further, and going through my old files, i found some sporadic bits and pieces of giants. these were early drafts of the story. i found that my early ideas for it involved some pretty malicious things, psychologically of course, no real physical violence with any characters. upon reading this material, i found that i had let the story get away from me, involving political intrigue and vampires of all things. the heart of the story, was basically about two guys trying to make something of themselves, of trying to become bigger than the average person, of trying to do something truly grandiose.

i have decided to go back to the original draft of giants and rework it from the ground up. gone are the subplots with vampires and politics. what i have now, i think, is a very bare bones versions of my original story. as complicated as things have been lately, i find that it's better to go simple. go small. so that's what i'm doing. as a method of going smaller, my writing has also become brief. gone are the masses and masses of paragraphs of artsy descriptions. i find that i can basically condense a paragraph of descriptions by just writing one line or even one word, so long as it's the right word. dialogue has taken forefront in this book for sure. not just simple conversations, but also long drawn out soliloquies. yes, that's right, i'm bringing back the soliloquy. it's been out of vogue for some time now, but i think it's time for a come back. the book will also be very screenplay-esque, meaning some chapters will be nothing but dialogue and very little description.

so what is the story about? i'm not too sure right now, probably a mix of giants and hideous. we'll see. i'm trying not to think too hard about it and to just write. the basic crux of it will still be about two guys trying to make something big of their lives. i've always been really focused and interested in what makes men tick, the male psyche, so i may delve along those lines again with this book. i'll
probably focus on male insecurities and male vanity.

i've written about five pages so far. nothing special, just a meandering intro as i try to feel my way back into the writing process. it's been six months since i've seriously thought about writing, but now that my financial course is done, i can move on and get creative. this means also reading some new books. i'm also going to try some new writing methods, or rather, return to old writing methods. usually i sequester myself in my apartment and hammer out a book, but this time i think i'll go public. when i was travelling a few years ago in europe, i wrote most of desert sessions down on a pad of paper. whenever i got ideas i wrote it down in the pad and when i got back from europe, i had most of the book written down either on the pad of paper or in my head, so all i had to do was type it down. i have a two week california road trip ahead of me at the end of this month, so i think i will try the same method again. it was successful one time, why not twice? i've already started taking a pad of paper with me everywhere i go, and i've been doing some interesting writing at the beach and even at work.

the following is an excerpt of one of many pages of nothing but dialogue. it may seem disembodied and out of context but it's not. i think you get enough of an idea of where the conversation is taking place without spelling it out.

- How big do you think a man can get?
- Genetics. Heredity. Roids.
- No, I don't mean like that.
- What... like when a man gets a gun? That inflated sense of self worth?
- No, I mean big, as in bigger than what's in front of you. What's in the mirror.
- What did that waitress put in your drink? He leans over and peers into Billy's glass.
- Knock it off, Elton. I'm talking about being bigger than the physical self.
- Like bigger than Jesus.
- Exactly.
- Why do you have to do this? He leans back in his seat, arms outstretched. You're always thinking, Billy. Always thinking.
- I can't help it.
- So what's it like? Having all that static in your head like that? Gotta figure it's like surfing on radio waves.
- It's tough sometimes. You know, weeding out the miscellaneous thoughts. But I get by.
- Barely.
- I get by.
- So Get Smart: where are you now?
- I guess I didn't tell you; I met a girl.
- A girl? Elton laughs.
- And how is that not plausible?
- I'm not laughing at you. Believe me. Who is she?
- A waitress.
- Here?
- No, downtown.
- She hot?
- I think so.
- See why do you say that? If I ask you if she's hot, just say she's hot. What does it matter whether I think she's hot or not?
- That's not what I said.
- That's what you were implying. Why else say "I think so?" Either she's hot or not, it's that simple. So how'd you meet her?
- I don't know. I woke up and she was there, in my bed.
- You've fallen in love with a one night stand? I suppose if anybody can do that it's you.
- She wasn't a one night stand. At least, I don't think so. I honestly don't remember. She was just there.
- So now girls are miraculously appearing in your bed. You really are working this Jesus angle, aren't you?
- Jesus never got no pussy.
- Neither have you.
- Fuck you.
- Fuck me? Fuck you, buddy. Elton leans over the restaurant table and punches Billy in the shoulder. I know I haven't seen you in three years, but holy shit man, you haven't changed. Not one single annoying molecule.
- I liked you better when this friendship was long distance.
- Whatever. China was overrated. Seriously man, don't believe the hype: the Chinese don't know shit about king-fu if you get what I mean.
- No. I don't.
- So when do I get to meet her? He runs his fingers through his short cropped brown hair.
- As if I'm going to introduce her to you. I gotta get in her head first before allowing your grubby hands on her.
- Like I want your girl. I have my own girl so you don't have to worry about that.
- You've been back for two days.
- What can I say? I work fast. Elton looks out the window of the diner. The rain pelts against the window. Dense and flooding the empty streets. Drowning the city of levy. This goddamned rain, he sighs.


c'est moi

so i was perusing various blogs and my friend posted a picture of what he would look like if he were a character on the simpsons. well, it looked like too much fun so i went and created my own avatar. say hello to loring 2.0. hot stuff. and yes, i am that asian in real life. ha!
want to be a part of sprinfield? go here.



i bought a car. turned out to be an alien robot. who knew? - sam, transformers.

i just saw the first showing of transformers, and i say this without any hyperbole: this is the best, silly, summer flick of the last few years. this is what summer movies are supposed to be about: fun. i had the advantage of seeing the movie with some die-hard transformers fans, children of the '80's who grew up with autobots and decepticons. for some of these people, optimus prime was more of a father to them then their actual biological fathers. for the two and a half years he graced the small screen, i too spent more time with optimus than my actual father. optimus prime instilled loyalty and honour and fighting for what was right. so needless to say, i had high hopes for this film.

i just want to start my review by acknowledging michael bay. many people were angry at all the changes done to the transformers (re: flames on optimus prime) and bay didn't help douse any of those flames with his screw-you-i'm-the-director-attitude. if michael bay were still in highschool, he'd be the guy kicking sand in your face and walking off with your girlfriend. perhaps that's why geeks hate him so much. that being said, bay has directed some ultimate cheeseball summer flicks in the past (armageddon, the rock, pearl harbor). some were more successful than others, but there is one thing for certain: no one directs action the way he does. he is quite possibly one of the best action directors in the world, so much so that he even has his own film genre dedicated to him: the michael bay genre, which is light on character development, heavy on the cheese, using style over substance and gimmicky camera techniques that are all overwhelmed by huge action set pieces.

i was not one of the people who reacted negatively to michael bay directing the film, primarily because when it came down to a transformers movie, all i wanted was giant fucking robots, and that's what bay gave me, and more. i knew he would deliver a great action movie: what i didn't know was that he would also deliver a movie with so much heart, which is what the original transformers had in spades. bay even pokes fun of himself, showing a great sense of humour. (remember the 360 degree rotating gun shoot out in bad boys 2? well, he does the same thing here except with decepticons. very funny). i had very few expectations, but some really high hopes, the highest of which was to be able to relive my childhood, which i was able to do.

there really is no better way to do this review except by breaking it down into parts. i will leave this as spoiler-free as possible.

1) the plot: the basic plot starts off with a boy and his first car. sam gets his first car, a vintage camero, who just happens to be the transformer bumblebee. sam is in love with mikaela, who's the resident hottie. what happens is a chain of events that unfolds a bigger plot wherein a cube called the allspark is the target of everyone's desires. the allspark is a cube that can give life to machinery and rebuild whole planets. on cybertron, the home planet of the autobots (the good guys) and the decepticons (the bad guys), a war raged over the allspark, as megatron, leader of the decepticons, desired to use the allspark to take over the universe. the allspark was lost during the war, and it was said to have landed on earth, where megatron, back in the 1800's, crash landed in the arctic searching for it. and there he lay frozen beneath the earth until an exploder, sam's decendent, stumbled upon his frozen body which was then kept a secret to the rest of the world by the united states military. the autobots come down to earth to find the allspark, and protect it from megatron and his decepticons.

2) the characters: i was very surprised with the human element of the story. in fact, the humans provided for most of the laughs. there is an incredibly funny sequence where bumblebee, unknowing to everyone else, tries to help sam get together with mikaela. the scene is filled with 80's music and just gives us a tonne of laughs. shia lebeouf is just amazing in the movie. he shows great comic timing, and really delivers on the film. it would be easy to be overshadowed by all the big robots, but his character is really well written. megan fox, as mikaela, is all sorts of sweaty and pouty lips. she is adequate, and her chemistry with shia, while it may not be the best, works for this picture. even sam's parents, while totally cheesy, were hilarious. there is a scene where his parents are discussing sam's masturbation habits which is quite a riot.

3) the transformers: the robots are amazing. they are a work of art. they actually look more real in the daylight than in the night scenes, which is the opposite of how cgi usually works. usually with cgi, shadows and darkness are the two best elements, because you can hide the flaws. the special fx team of industrial light and magic really outdid themselves this time. the robots, particularly the autobots, were quite personable. some of them didn't have as much screen time as the others, but they all were able to show off their individual personalities. even bumblebee, who cannot speak through the whole movie because of a damaged voice box, shows just as much personality as the rest of the humans through the way the fx people animated him. i was worried that this wouldn't feel like a transformers movie, but rather just a big alien robot invasion movie. well, my fears were unfounded. it is a transformers movie. the robots may not look exactly like how i remembered them, but their essence is essentially the same. the movie captured the heart of the original show the way the lord of the rings movies captured the truth of the tolkien novels.

4) the military: it is clear that michael bay has a great relationship with the military. the film is basically one big recruiting video, as much as it is a gm car commercial. for once, the military is used properly in a large scale invasion movie like this. unlike independence day, where the military's weaponry was ineffective against the alien invasion, here, the military gets to show off a bit, as they turn out to be quite effective against the alien robots. i have to say, that the one thing i do have faith in the human race for, is the ability to kill. no species can kill as well as we can. it's not a trait to be proud of, but if history has shown us anything, it's this: when push comes to shove, humans can fight, and they know how to blow stuff up real good. if there ever is a real alien invasion movie, i'd put money on the humans to kill them dead any time. never underestimate the power of fear, paranoia, and human genius.

5) the action: my god, there is so much action. but i wanted more. more more more. seriously, i could have done with another whole hour tacked on with nothing but pure action. michael bay proves that he was basically born to do transformers. all the cheese in the world is squeezed into this film. usually, i roll my eyes when bay does his typical tricks, but in this film, it just all worked. all the drawn out slow motion shots, all the needless 360 camera angles, all the pretty girls with wind blowing in their hair... it's all good. it's cheese, but i loved it. and for a pg-13 movie, there was plenty of human deaths and robot mutilations to make the film push the limit of the pg-13 designation.

6) the cars: a huge complaint was all the product placement in the film. not only of all the gm cars, but of little things like mountain dew, or panasonic memory cards. what people have to realize is that product placement is part of the game now, and it's a means of keeping costs down. what transformers producer would have turned down an offer by gm to not only give them a bunch of free cars to destroy, but also prototypes like the new camero? also, the original transformers was just a way to sell the toys. it was one big marketing campaign. hasbro even made the transformers cartoon movie as a means to get rid of the old transformers, and introduce a whole new line of toys. so fan boys just need to shut up already about the product placement. your beloved franchise was nothing but a giant commercial to begin with, so deal with it.

7) gripes: there are some minor ones here, such as the simplistic nature of the plot, but hey, i was never expecting shakespeare. the action was a little too fast at times. there was either the really quick mtv-style rapid fire cut of action, or there was the slow motion extended take, and pretty much nothing in between. the decepticons were sometimes hard to tell apart in the final battle sequence, mostly due to the fact that they all sort of show up in the last forty minutes without much of an intro to the individual characters, but then again, in the original cartoon, the only ones that really had any personality were probably megatron and starscream. the decepticons were mostly a bland greyish colour, which made it hard to tell them apart sometimes when you include the frenzied action sequences. it would have helped if they had some bright colours to them, like the autobots, whose distinctive patterns and colour design really made them pop and stand out from all the meyhem.

overall, i was totally satisfied with the film. it has been a long, long time since i've seen a film that has kept me engrossed throughout from the very first frame to the very last one. i was totally red in the face and flushed after seeing the movie, as if i had my very own geekgasm. michael bay has had a lot of criticism hurled his way before anyone had ever seen a single frame of the movie, the biggest insults resembling something like, "damn you michael bay, you ruined my childhood." well, if those same people went to see the film, i think they'll be pleasantly surprised that their childhood is not only kept in tact, but nourished and celebrated even. this film has everything any geek would ever want. basically, everything that i hoped would happen, actually happened. it was awesome.

i have to say, this was the best movie going experience i've ever had. sitting in with that die-hard crowd and cheering through the movie was great. just feeling the energy of people cheering when bumblebee gets into that first car chase, or when optimus prime transforms for the first time, or even when the hasbro logo comes on screen... it was amazing. this is definitely what the movie going experience is about. it doesn't get much more pure than this.

the following is hbo's special on transformers: