Sunday, May 31, 2009

To my invisible followers

The 'Followers' widget does not show up on my blog, nor can I see you all when I click on the "# Followers" link on my Dashboard. That is what shows up, right up there.

I'm using Mozilla Firefox, and I've also tried to access this in Safari, but to no avail. What's going on?

It's becoming frustrating for me because my Dashboard says I'm gaining Followers, but I can't see them.

Does anybody else have this problem?

More importantly, if you follow this blog, please reply to this post with a comment identifying yourself. I sure would love to know who's reading up on me so I can perhaps return the favor ;)

Friday, May 29, 2009

I don't practice Santa Maria

I ain't got no crystal ball.

In my search for inspirations on web design, I came across the site of the graphic designer Jason Santa Maria.

Now, my computer art teacher is actually the one who showed me his site—she linked our class to one of his articles on website design, "What's Golden". When I started looking up web designs on my own, he cropped up all over the place, and now he's one of my favorite designers.

Let's start with his personal site:

It's nice and clean!
His header navigations point you toward his articles (I like that he calls them that instead of posts or entries), portfolio, oddities (random findings, like a tumblr), daily photo, and about page. Simple, clean, nice.

He also only displays one article entry per page.

Below each entry is another section (would it be right to call it a "footer"?) that is a preview to the content of the links displayed in the header: there's his about, recent projects (portfolio), bits of his oddities, and a few others like recommended reading and RSS feeds and such. You can see it.

He employed two things I said I'd never do with my own blog: display only one post per page and have a huge footer that partially serves as navigation.

And now that's exactly what I want!

Here's why:

Jason explained that his current site is experimental and partially based on print design aesthetics, where a page is designed around each article (there's that word again): the design contributes to the article, it's relevant, instead of being nudged into a set template. Just open up any magazine and you'll see it.

Each entry stands alone as a unique article, and without a sidebar, you're less likely to be distracted from the main article (which draws enough attention to itself through design anyway).

And once you're all done reading and you want more, the footer's right there to catch you with all sorts of links and goodies for you to follow.

It's great.
I love it, and I want it.

Although, in designer fashion, I started to wonder if such a design would appeal to my current audience, which consists mostly of family and friends, and even then, I don't think many of them bother to read most of my entries.

For one, you would need to click to get to each entry. This isn't good for people who want to skim, scroll and catch up quickly. Though, am I selling myself short here? In assuming that they'd do that, because my content isn't interesting enough? I'm not exactly featured in numerous blogs, I'm not Jason.

To reconcile, I could always
  • Put more than one post per page, but not too many... say, three
  • Place a "Recent Posts" section in the footer
I tend to make my entries REALLY LONG!
I also want the width of this main posting space to be larger, so it wouldn't appear as large.

Back to Jason
If you showed me Jason Santa Maria a few months ago I wouldn't have been impressed. It wasn't flashy or "Web 2.0." I feel like my design tastes have changed to fit more of what I appreciate in design, which is essentially self-containment: that every part of the design should support its essence, it should serve a purpose. Like a good plot, there shouldn't be any loose ends; like a good symphony, there shouldn't be any sour notes. I've always believed this, but I've only begun to put two and two together: design is more than how it looks, it's how it works.

And Jason's work is totally supportive of all that.

I admire that supremely, and although I don't feel like I have all the right tools and knowledge to implement that concept as well as he does, you can bet your sweet little face that I'm gonna do my homework and try. Needless to say, you'll find me a regular follower of Jason's work and updates. And if you're a fellow designer, I hope to find you there too.

Recommended JSM Articles:
Progress Report - On the experimental nature of his site and his continuation of it
Explain Yourself - On what it means to be a graphic designer, and all kinds of other designer labels.
Oh hell, just go through them all. That's what I'm doing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My first Flash website and others to come

First thing's first, SUMMER IS HERE.
Last week was final's week, and what a hellish week it was. I'm so glad it's all over. The final Flash project for my Computer Art class caused me the most trouble, but out of it came a newfound and unexpected desire to build websites.

Click the pic to visit the site. Yes, it is a Portal fansite XD

I thought I did a damn good job on my site, and others thought so too, save for a few snags (such as users not knowing that you click the section box to go back to Home). The interactivity and animated quality of the site really hit home for me, like, did I really do this? Yes, yes I did.

Right away I began designing more Flash sites, filling my sketchbook with ideas and colors and pulling bits of code from my professor's files. I had to find things to make Flash sites about!

I looked up more and more articles before I hit a slight snag: Flash isn't the only kind of website out there.

Before I could even open up a new Flash document I began to tread through various web design sites. I began to realize a few setbacks Flash has:
  • You can't use the Back button
  • Right-clicking only produces the Flash menu, with 'Play' and 'Zoom' and 'About Adobe Flash...' and all that
  • It requires a plug-in, limiting accessibility (granted, most current browsers come with the Flash plug-in, but still)
I was biting my nails.

Was there any way I could make a site behave like a Flash site, but still separate the sections into their own pages? I know that was one thing that bugged me about Flash sites—the main thing, actually. I could integrate it into HTML and CSS; I'd have to learn that. Alternately I could just make a static navigation, so you wouldn't even have to use the Back button. But the Back button is so fundamental to web browsing that it just slips from people's minds.

Wait, why do I care?

Because eventually I'd love to design a site that behaves like Flash in transitioning and interactivity, has different webpages for its sections to allow for easier linkage and browser-native navigation (Back and Forward buttons), and fills up the whole screen.

Upon doing more digging, I found some sites that actually operate this way.
Here's one of the most impressive I've seen:

Check it out, you'll see what I mean.

Thanks to MORE digging and bombarding my friend Frank with billions of questions, I found out that sites like this use a type of programming called AJAX, or Asynchronous Javascript and XML. Javascript performs the Flash-like transitioning, XML is a more advanced HTML language, and asynchronous implies that it does all this at the same time. The goal of AJAX is to make web sites perform like computer applications, limiting wait-time when going through pages and basically making the site as seamless as possible.

Incredible, right?

But also incredibly difficult, especially for someone of my experience.

After realizing how far I'd sped along this route, I started to pump the brakes and break things down into bite-sized portions.

I'd stick with Flash for now, and learn CSS coding and eventually learn how to merge the two. This will probably take a long time and I'll be sure to make many sites based on this. Hell, I might not even need to venture into AJAX. But for now, it remains that high mountain peak I long to someday reach.

Giving Sans Raison a Facelift

Going through articles on web design and dreaming up new and creative ways to build websites, I was bound to start thinking about this blog eventually. I'd been meaning to redesign this blog for a while. At one point I considered moving it to Wordpress because Wordpress has superior layouts and design—but I wouldn't have much control over getting my hands into the CSS of it all.

It wouldn't have been a problem before, considering how much I didn't really care about CSS.

But now that I do, I'll probably stick with Blogger. Also, is it bothering anyone else that the Followers thing isn't working? That really gets my goat.

Anyway, I'll probably put the blog redesign first before jumping into web design. This place is getting a facelift, ya'll. I'm talking branding, logos, headers, sections, it'll be my own personal home on the internets.


Because I can.

&Link out!
In the style of my good friend Justin, I'm going to place some relevant links down here for your perusal. Thought it might be better than just stickin'em right in the text (I find that when I do that, I can hardly finish the article I started out with).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A look inside

I watched a Swedish film called Let the Right One In. It's about a 12-year-old boy who is the victim of bullying at school, and he falls in love with the vampire-next-door. Not Twilight, I swear. The movie was good, I kind of liked it. And if it were anything like Twilight, it would not have deeply disturbed me.

When I was in first grade I was very smart and quick with my assignments. My teacher chose me, along with a few other students like me, to do an extra assignment—a report on any subject of our choosing. She had a big book full of subjects like zoology, botany, astronomy and such, and each subject's section contained a list of assignments to do on it.

I was rather well-read as a child, mostly because my older cousin had given me some of his books to read. As I flipped through the pages, I decided that I would do research on a topic I didn't already read about. I passed zoology, botany, astronomy, Leonardo da Vinci, geology, meterology, geography, until I came across something entirely unfamiliar to me: "Paranormal and the Supernatural." The illustration on the page was of a skull and some candles.

I picked it. My teacher asked me if I was sure, and I said yes. She photocopied the pages and highlighted the assignments she wanted me to do: I was to do research on vampires, write a poem about a poltergeist, read about aliens and abductions, among others.

So I set out on my research, reading as many books as I could on it all. I began to regret my choice of topic... the more I read and wrote, the more terrified I became. The worst were the constant dreams I had about vampires: I'd dream of them killing me, killing my family and friends, with me defenseless. Some aspects of the report fascinated me, such as aliens. I think I used to pray to be abducted at night (I knew all the abductees came back all weird).

I presented my report to the class by the assignment's due date and I was done, I got my credit. But my fascination with the occult didn't stop there: I delved deeper into the strangeness that was aliens, spirits, ouija boards, astral projection (or out-of-body experiences). In fourth grade I remember using a bit of free time to go on the classroom computer, and I looked up something like "how to give yourself an out-of-body experience." I was writing down the instructions before my teacher came by... I showed her the screen and smiled, hoping she'd be impressed that I was researching such an interesting topic on my own. She told me that I shouldn't be looking at that and ordered me back to my seat.

For a while, I would try to self-induce an out-of-body experience. Every night I did the instructions diligently, step by step, in hopes that I would, one night, rise up and look down at my own sleeping body, then as a spirit fly around the neighborhood. Maybe I could fly high enough to meet the aliens that never came to me.

Not weird. Not weird at all.

Along with the fascination, I also kept the fear. Vampires still scared the crap out of me, and I refused to read any book or watch any movie about vampires. I had watched one once when I was little, and it had lots of violins in the soundtrack. Whenever a song with lots of violins came on the radio or the tape player, I'd plug my ears as hard as I could, and if I could still hear it, I'd cry. Violins = vampires.

Over time the fear faded, as I stopped believing that they would actually come hunt me down to suck my blood. It didn't really resurface again until I was recommended the Twilight book by Stephenie Meyer. It was only a brief moment of "...crap," but I picked it up anyway and read it. I liked it all right, and I wasn't afraid of the vampires. Probably because they are about the most human and wimpy pretty-vampires I've ever read about, but yes XD So I thought Twilight helped me get over that fear.

When I saw Let the Right One In tonight, the fear resurfaced.
Don't get me wrong, the movie was good. REALLY good, I highly recommend it, actually. It's also really damn creepy. That's what got me.

I went upstairs after the movie feeling terrified for some reason. I wasn't seriously thinking anything serious like "Oh no, a little vampire girl is going to come snap my neck and drink my blood and leave my body to be found by my loved ones!" I just felt some fear, unease, and it made me a little queasy.

Not knowing who else to turn to, I called up Jose. He was out with his friends, so I felt good about not waking him up or anything. I told him about it, and he just said he'd call me when he got home. After that I felt incredibly stupid, why did I just call him for that? Stupid, stupid stupid. It's a wonder why he doesn't wonder why he's with me.

He called back and put me to ease.

I'm sleepy, now, so I'll get to bed.

After I finish fashioning this garlic necklace.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Last day of school! Last day of school!

I can almost remember sitting here typing the entry "First day of school! First day of school!"
It's been a really good school year, in my opinion. None of the classes had a heavy workload, at least not heavy in the sense that it was constant. Rather I had just a few big assignments: my studio art classes each had only about 4-5 projects to do throughout the semester, my astronautics class had a few homeworks spread out but the main focus was the paper, nonverbal had like two papers, art history had one (which I totally got an A- on, by the way). It was good, but it really tested my organizational abilities. This semester I got a whiteboard calendar in which I kept track of assignments and important dates in general.

Hahaha, it's so convenient having my mom's camera stuck in my room. I recently realized that I do enjoy taking pictures and videos. I should get my own camera.

Anyway, sometimes I slipped—the due date to a rough draft completely slipped my mind as I thought of some other project, I'd mix up projects in my head, etc. In the end I think I did all right. I HOPE I did all right.

Never did get to enter that NASA art contest from my Computer Arts class.

I do know how to (rather painstakingly) animate and create Flash-based websites now. Yay!
I have a notion of what "good typography" is. Don't be surprised if you start hearing, "Oooh, what font is that?" from me more often.
I sort of have a grip on astronautics. It's fun, but I unfortunately made sleeping through bits of the class a habit.
I know more about the mind-body connection via nonverbal communication.
I cultivated deeper love and appreciation for Renaissance art, and have determined my favorite artists of the time to be Michelangelo and Titian. Oh, Michelangelo.

Today I got smoothies at Robeks with Mika because we thought, we want smoothies, why not? Afterward we got Burger King, and I really wanted the collectible Star Trek glass (the Spock one) because I a) loved the Star Trek movie, and b) remembered when we used to have the same Disney collectible glasses, and I loved them to bits. Unfortunately we got no such glass (they were out), but as a consolation, they gave me the worst stomach ache I've had in years. Have you ever had a feeling like you were being stabbed and bombed from inside of your stomach as beads of cold sweat started to form all over your body? Yea, that's how I felt.

Hour in bathroom, two hours in bed.
Finished reading Ender's Shadow. Liked it, but I still like Ender's Game better. Ender is still much more fascinating and relatable to me than Bean is.

All I've got is finals week ahead of me!
Here's what it looks like:

  • Monday: Study for Nonverbal Comm final, Take Nonverbal Comm final, go home and study for Art History final, write Art History short paper
  • Tuesday: Go into Comp Arts room for help with Flash project (I'm gonna need it), Take Art History final and turn in short paper, go home and do Astronautics final and revise term paper
  • Wednesday: Work on Flash some more, work on term paper more if needed, turn in Astronautics paper, go home and work my ass off on Flash
  • Thursday: Turn in Flash project
  • Friday: Pick up final project for Typography
It kind of bothers me that I have like one thing every single day but whatever. I have time to do what I need to, and that's a good thing.

I say this every summer, but I'm going to try to get a job. My position at Summer Studios is a fine one, but my boss can't really afford to keep me in a regular paid position right now. I've always hesitated getting a summer job because I usually spend a lot of time taking trips (like to Texas again) and wouldn't think they'll take me if they knew I'd be out for like a month, or they wouldn't take me if I just jumped in the middle of the summer. Clearly I think way too damn much and am just going to jump into it and hope for the best. Money would sure be nice, seeing as I've got a painting class coming up next Fall semester... my wallet's going to take quite a beating.

Speaking of next semester, here are the classes I've got in the line up:
  • Intro to Painting
  • Graphic Design I (woooo finally!)
  • American Religious Diversity
  • Marketing (new minor! This is waitlisted though, hope I get in!)
  • Marine biology (needed this, hope it's good!)
Wooo schooly school. My classes look mighty fine. I'm way more excited for my art classes more than anything, though.

And while I'm making all these lists anyway, here's what I got planned for the Summer:
  • Shoe customizing (not giving up on you yet!)
  • Working (hopefully)
  • Design overhaul on this blog
  • Texaaaaasss!
  • Continue Story with Brent (I hope you are reading this!)
Really I could have just hit all the lists and that's it, but I wouldn't have gotten to my Horrible Burger King Experience. Whatever.

Anywho, I feel all right now. Stomach's still a little shaky, but I'm okay.
I'll have my Spock glass yet!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Little Kirk & Spock

(THIRD in a row whatheck!)
And no, I did not anticipate this.

I think littleKirk said something to piss off littleSpock. But only a little.
Coincidentally, my Heroes fanart also started out as silly little cartoons such as this...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Star Trek 2009: The Negative Reviews!

Second Star Trek related post in a row? Say it isn't so!
I was going to add this to my previous Star Trek post, but I figured it's too good not to have its own entry.

A friend of mine on Facebook recently called to my attention the fact that a lot of the really hardcore Trekkies hated the new movie. Having spoken to a few Trekkies myself and found out that they loved it, I was puzzled: what could have set them off, that didn't set off my friends?

He sent me a video from The Onion (now you know this post is good, it cites THE ONION), and I saw the light.

Trekkies Bash New Star Trek Film As 'Fun, Watchable'

Oh my God, I... it's true, guys.
The new Star Trek was just too action-packed, too much damn fun!
I mean, listen to the cries of the betrayed fans!

"It lacks the heavy-handed message of tolerance..."
"Where's the stiff acting?"
"I'm just really, really disappointed that the story made sense."


All right, to hop off the sarcasm for a bit, I'm more amused by this than anything else. When a franchise's most devoted fans only have the complaint of the newest movie being too "fun" and "entertaining," you know that, for the most part, Abrams did something right.

But I suppose I can see it from that negative point of view, which, by my observation, is in the minority (all the sources stating Trekkie outrage pull from the same video as above). They missed the charm the old Star Trek had, with its "stiff acting" and long-winded political dialogue. It's just like watching the news, except it's not real. Jose also informed me that they were supposed to be a "peace keeping" mission, and that the Star Trek series were often loaded with a lot of philosophical writing and speculation. That helps me understand some fans' disappointment more; it was pretty much the same with Watchmen—a lot more fun, a lot more action, but not as much commentary, with which it was loaded. It feels like that's the sacrifice, although I wonder if they can inject that into future Star Trek movies while still keeping the action. That would be, pardon my French, quite bitchin'.

And the issue of the action itself was actually addressed by my Trekkie friends—the ones who loved the new movie—they said that it felt removed from the franchise by being so action-packed, but they didn't have any problem with it.

One point of the movie was to update it, to keep it current and attract newcomers to the franchise and fandom. In that respect, it succeeded, because I've been asking around for old Star Trek DVDs fully intending to get into it. Yes, I've been warned that it's not at all action-packed, but I'm sure I can appreciate it on other levels, like the science behind it, and probably the philosophy too. I know that's something I dig.

In the meantime, I'm crossing my fingers for more new Star Trek movies.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek 2009: A Review.

About an hour ago, I got back from watching the new Star Trek movie with Jose, Mika, my mom, and Kevin. I won't waste another moment; It was incredible.

It's been a long time since I've been blown away by a sci-fi movie, as big a sci-fi fan as I am. Parts of it made me recall the old Star Wars trilogy, but only based on the feeling of a true epic. I know the word "epic" has seen enough spotlight in recent years, but I feel that this movie truly deserves to be described with every sense of the word: epic.
I wasn't even this moved by Watchmen, which I was a huge fan of before the movie. Actually, maybe that makes a difference hahaha, but yea basically I thought this was better than the Watchmen movie.

I'm going to try to get all my feelings out in a good review, something I hardly ever do for movies. Be warned: It does contain spoilers, so click at your own discretion. Also, don't expect some fancy-schmancy review, I'm basically doing thought-vomite here, hahaha.

If you want to read it, click the link (the cut) below twice. I don't know why it does that, but it just does. Just do it, lol.

Let me first begin by saying, I was never a fan of Star Trek.

It's not that I didn't like it: I never saw it, and I never made the effort to see it. I guess I didn't want to put up with having to trudge through a lot of old seasons to be able to "get it," so I just never bothered. When I heard about this movie, I was rather wary: although I didn't know Star Trek, I knew Star Trek fans, and JJ Abrams had a lot to answer to in creating a modern iteration of a hefty franchise.

Let me now interrupt by saying, I was never a fan of Star Trek.
But I loved this movie.

I don't really know how to go about describing all my feelings in some cohesive way in which all my arguments flow into one another (I'm SO done with essays after this week), so I'll just categorize it all.

The Plot
What is a good movie without a good plot? Because if Star Trek didn't have it, then no amount of good character development or special effects or hype could have saved it. Everything was really tight knit, from the beginning to the end. I found no loose ends: admittedly, I started to get a little apprehensive when future-Spock made his appearance, wondering how that could be explained tastefully, since so many plots that involve time-travel get it just so wrong. But the whole backstory of him and the Romulans, the black hole, made sense—it wasn't some huge AH-HA!, but it just simply made sense, and that's the mark of a good stitch in the plot: one that doesn't stick out too much.

The continuity was really sound, too. One thing I kind of scoffed at was that sci-fi is so easy to spin off of since you can throw in something like time-travelling black holes and it'll immediately be ALTERNATE REALITY TIME! Now it doesn't have to stay in line with the rest of the canon! Now, I can't personally speak for how much fits in with the canon since I haven't seen a bit of it, but repeat my sentiments about future-Spock's backstory: it makes sense, and it didn't snag, and that's all that mattered.

The pacing was excellent as well. It reminded me a lot of Star Wars, and according to this WIRED article, the Abrams and crew actually pulled some inspiration from Star Wars in order to make this Star Trek what it was. It worked in a way that made me go, "I haven't seen a space movie this epic since (the original) Star Wars!" rather than "This is a Star Wars rip-off!" which it was not. Bravo, Abrams, bravo!

I also loved that this appealed well to so much more than just original Star Trek fans. Abrams professed himself more of a Star Wars fan than a Star Trek fan—say it isn't so!—but I do believe that the absence of a fanatic obsession enabled him to make a movie that catered to both fans and non-fans alike. There were fanatic Trekkies working on the movie, though; if there weren't, how would they get all the nitty-gritty continuity things in? I believe that in that sense, Star Trek was way more successful than Watchmen, which, while an excellent adaption, left a lot of non-fans in the dark for not having read the book.

The Science
As some of you may know, I'm a HUGE science nerd, and my particular cup of tea is, without a doubt, theoretical physics. Ever since the 12th grade I've read volumes upon volumes of books on theoretical physics, fascinating myself with it, and I was very pleased to know that, if it didn't have any immediately practical application, then at least I could understand the science behind Star Trek XD And I was pleased! I understood it, and without a doubt everybody in the theatre should have understood it because the movie stated it all in such basic terms, particularly the explanation of the black-hole/worm-hole idea. As I was talking to Jose about it after the movie, he said that Star Trek is definitely in the category of "hard science fiction," meaning that a lot of its scientific bases are sound, if only theoretically or speculatively—after all, it's still science fiction. Some parts were not explained, such as the red matter used to form black holes, or how warp speed works or whatever, but in my opinion they were handled so well that they didn't need to be explained, just accepted as a part of the canon.

On a side note, lately physicist Michio Kaku has been promoting his book, Physics of the Impossible, and it feels like it came just in time for the Star Trek movie. It explains some ideas presented in science fiction such as warp speed, wormholes and laser guns, and measures it up against present human technological capacity and current scientific knowledge. It's really cool, you should check it out!

Oh, there is one thing that wasn't accurate: when matter goes through a black hole, it goes through a breaking-down process called spaghettification, in which—you guessed it—it stretches out like spaghetti and totally breaks down. Oh, and it kind of spins into it, too, not just enter it as the Romulan ship had. If the black hole were to also be a wormhole, who knows if that matter would reassemble itself the same way on the other side? And I mean, there was some spinning-spaghettification going on when the black hole took Vulcan, but not as the space ship entered and exited it. But you know what, whatever—details details—I'll let that one go. ;P

The Characters
My, were they ever awesome. I loved the initial rebellion in Kirk, and while I was a little weirded out by how quickly the Enterprise ended up accepting him after he snuck on board (both times), I quickly got over it, leaving it to the fact that they were all smart and had bigger things to worry about anyway.

Oh God, Spock. I could not get over how uncanny the resemblence is between Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy. Their facial structures are similar, their nosese! THEIR NOSES! Almost exactly the same! They have the same build! I almost coudn't take it. Many, many kudos to Quinto for also making me see him as more "Spock" than "Sylar" as the movie progressed. This is a big thing, seeing as I've only known Zachary Quinto through his role as Sylar on Heroes.

The rest of the characters, while not taking the spotlight from Kirk and Spock, add their good dashes of awesome. I love that Russian kid Chekov, "Wulcan!" Scotty was awesome, and I loved McCoy, "Dammit, Jim!"

The Action/Dialogue/Humor

It was INTENSE. I felt like there was enough action throughout, and the parts without it had good enough dialogue to not make the scene boring or anything. One effect I absolutely love in space-based sci-fi is when, in the midst of explosions, you have a well-timed moment where the explosion in space is shown making no sound. Because there's no sound in space! It's like, right before the booms and the whooshing, there's total silence, and you just take in the visual impact of the explosion. Breathtaking. The hand-to-hand fight scenes were equally intense: when Spock was tearing Kirk a new one on the ship, I could totally feel it. There's something about the way punches, kicks, and other bodily impacts are fx'd these days that make it seem so much more impactful. And you know what the best part of that scene was? As Spock was choking Kirk and making that mean you-little-sonuvabitch face, thought, Damn Spock, damn! instead of Wow, he looks like Sylar. I applaud you, Quinto.

I didn't feel like the dialogue was corny, either. It was simple, made sense, and didn't fall into corniness—not like the Wolverine movie, which was kind of wading in it, hahaha. The use of humor helped it roll along without action as well, such as that big Star Fleet guy calling Kirk a "cupcake" upon capturing him, repeating what Kirk called him back at the bar. That was cute, but not overdone. Same with

Kirk: Her name is Nyota?
Spock: I have no comment on the matter.

That was just plain giggle-worthy. I think what made the humor good was that it wasn't overdone or dwelled on. Never in the movie did I see humor try to stick out for its own sake, rather, it was a fine supplement to the dialogue that made sense with what was going on. You could say the timing was great.

The Music/Special Effects
Good Lord, that was some epic shit. Pardon my French, but I am beyond blown away by the orchestral majesty of the soundtrack. It really made certain scenes memorable, such as their hair-raisingly narrow escape from the black hole. I actually found myself grinning.
I just read that the composer for the Star Trek soundtrack was Michael Giacchino, who also composed the music for two of my favorite movies, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, whose soundtracks I own and love. Seriously, this man is a king among composers.

Need I mention the special effects? It was flawless. The scene that takes the cake in that area, for me, is the destruction of the Vulcan planet. That was just such a powerful image, that slow caving in. That part got the theory of the black hole right: matter spins into the singularity, and occasionally emits bursts of radiation as a result of the friction from the matter being swallowed so quickly. Simply astounding.

So yea, that's about it.
As a non-Trekkie, I loved it.
From a Trekkie point of view? Well, my mom is a veteran Trekkie (she owns a "Everything I know in life, I learned from Star Trek" shirt"), and gives the opinion that I've heard echoed across other Trekkies of the internet: this movie is a lot more action-packed than any of the other Star Treks, which really separates itself from the franchise. However, she thinks that it's better that way, since it attracts the younger audience and makes full use of the actors' abilities and special effects. She approved :)

Me: You should have worn your Star Trek shirt!
Mommy: Hahaha, the old generation? You must be joking.

I love her :D

Also, my friend Lauren put her thoughts about the new movie this way:
"Well, I think that part of the reason I love star trek so much is because I grew up with it, and as a kid, the cheese, the "bad graphics", all of that jazz, was cool... but I think if I introduced myself to it today, I wouldn't like it as much. The original movies weren't extremely action packed, and would be deemed boring now a days. So, in order to make the movie successful (and in effect ressurrect/keep the Star Trek legacy alive) it had to market itself as an action packed movie to reach out to not only the Trekkies, but the non trekkies as well... the original star treks had a lot of action for THEIR time."

Well said, friend :)

Conclusion: Star Trek 2009 is a must-see for old, new, and non fans all the same.

Liked my review? Want to read a review from an actual Trekkie?
Then head over to my friend Lauren's blog for her review: To Boldly Go Where Others Have Gone Before!
As always, SPOILERS!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

After a mad dash to finish essays

I can finally relax.

I turned in two essays today and it feels good. Now I can stop watching the clock, wondering how much more time I can afford to stay awake. Procrastinating sucks, friends.

This blog most likely won't be meaningful to a lot of people... they're just thoughts and musings I wanted to get out.

Last week I experienced the slightest tremor, enough to rattle the shelves and cupboards in my room. It hardly lasted a few seconds, and I don't even think it was listen on that website that tracks down California earthquakes. But ever since then I've been imagining tremors in my room. Now, I live in a three-story townhouse in a gated community. Apparently in the event of an earthquake, the buildings were designed to sway with the motion, as trees do, which is supposed to lessen the probability of falling over. But still, being in my room on the third story during any kind of earthquake is freaking scary and now my mind is making up tremors. Guh.

I was talking to Jose yesterday about how I feel my creativity has been drained since high school. I thought he might have felt the same way, since he doesn't blog or write at length as much as he used to, but he attributes that to lack of time (that's not spent doing school, bboying, watching Hulu, or playing Team Fortress 2) rather than lack of creativity. Maybe I should take a math class again. I really never thought I'd see myself admit it, but I kind of miss math. I miss calculus jokes with Brent. Calculus jokes, people, do you realize the gravity of my nerdiness?

I don't know why people like to run. I don't mean it in any kind of metaphorical way, I mean, physically running for pleasure. I do not get pleasure from running. In fact, running would be at the very bottom of my list of Favorite Exercises. One time I nearly fell forward from sprinting. That feels weird. Running also hurts my knees. Maybe I'm running wrong, but I just don't like that. I much prefer bicycling or swimming, which I actually don't know how to do. Doggy paddle ftw? Back when I used to work out at the YMCA gym, I spent a lot of time on the ellipticals. I love those things. I love moving my legs in circular motions.

Which probably explains why I'm horrid at muy thai kicks.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

There are too many things I wish to do

all at the same time.

How did da Vinci do it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Just slap your troubles away!

I can't get over how hilarious and catchy this is.

I've been looking back at some of my old blogs, mostly because Brent told me that he recently read through EVERY SINGLE ENTRY on BOTH of them. So firstly, he gets a billion brownie points and his position as "best friend" is guaranteed security for the next three years.

Anyway, Brent commended me on my ability to keep up with blogging for so many years. Because of it, I've effectively chronicled my life at different stages, or at least Brent sees it that way, and he also thinks that my "blogging style" has changed a lot over the years. I basically went from treating blogs as personal journals (much like my paper journals) to really thinking about what I post, trying to relate personal thoughts and experiences to things more abstract that I feel others can relate to or take away from.

I started to think about how odd it was for me to "grow out of" the blogs that I did, like my Xanga. I don't know why, but I just grew out of it, got tired of it (not to mention my handle is kind of embarrassing now). Same with the Vox. Am I going to grow out of this blogger? I really like my handle "theJollity," and it feels like I've cemented my internet persona under that name. Hell, I've got friends in real life calling me "Jolls" and using the word "jollity" only in reference to me. At the same time, I want something a little more. I know I can post virtually anything here, be it writings, photos, videos or the like, but I'd love to make it my own portfolio website, with a gallery and everything.

I've toyed with the idea of creating a lifestream, an amalgamation of all my internet activity displayed on one neat page. But doesn't Facebook do that? I can post photos, videos, notes, links, statuses, AND I can network... there goes the need for flickr, youtube, blogs, digg, twitter and other social networking sites. It's really hard to argue against the functionality of Facebook.

But I still want something to call my own, and I think I'll start doing it over the summer.
I'll create a lifestream, but it will probably only consist of three things:
  • this blog
  • my tegaki-e site (which I'll start up again, for sketches)
  • my stumbleupon account (social bookmarking ftw!)
I don't want to overcrowd.
As for an online portfolio, I'm going to use the server space my school provides to create a Flash-based online portfolio and resume. I'm learning how to do action-scripting in Flash in my computer art class, so I'm off to a good start. I think I sought to originally create this blog as a sort of quasi-"professional" place in which to display my artwork, but with my history of blogging, it didn't happen, and it ain't gonna happen now.

What's most likely going to happen with this blog is I'll fix it up nice n'pretty to make it into a sort of lifestream. I'll probably give it a Wordpress-ish layout. I nearly moved to Wordpress for their layouts, but that was before I found out I can skin blogger to act just like it. Really I just want some tabs, lol.

So there, summer projects for me!
On top of shoe-customizing and money-making, however that's gonna happen.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wolverine, Boxing, Art = This Weekend

Quite a weekend it's been! Yes, I did see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and I actually liked it. Mind you, I am not a veteran X-Men fan... did not read the comics, did not watch the show, hardly saw the movies, although I think I'm gonna have to pick it up since it seems interesting, and I can see why Heroes was being compared to it a lot when it started.

Hugh Jackman is ridiculously hot.

I kept having the urge to lean over and whisper about how hot he is...
then I remembered I was watching with Jose XD

Anyway, that was Friday!
On Saturday Mika had her SATs. Poor thing's been worrying about it forever, and now that she's done with it, she's... well, she's still worrying about it. There's not much to do once it's done but wait for the results, but I suppose waiting carries its own weight. After she got back we went to the new Open-Air Market at the mall by our house to see how it is. The verdict? Not as good as the Farmer's Market by the park, but it's decent, and to be expected of one that's just starting out. $7.50 mango crates! My old high school's jazz band played there, too. I think they're doing it again. This market is going to happen every Saturday for six months to see how people like it.

Oh yea, we also got some smoothies there... I got orange/vanilla, because something possessed me to believe such a thing could taste good. WRONG. It made my taste buds weep bitterly.

My mom and sister were going to see Wolverine with my aunts at the Fox Lot for free... seeing it again was tempting for me, but I decided to stay home and work on my essay for astronautics. I also cancelled movie night plans with Brendel for that, but that's gonna happen sometime later, probably next weekend. I did go out that night though; when my mom and sister came back we went to Kyle's house to catch the Pacquiao vs. Hatton fight.

12 rounds, a 3rd round knockout prediction, with the win giong to Manny Pacquiao.
Pacquiao won by TKO in round 2.
Pacman is a frigging BEAST!
Hatton's strategy against Pacman was apparently to outpunch him and overpower him. WRONG. He didn't stand a chance. Kyle said it was a waste of money to pay to watch, only for it to be over so soon XD The official time is 2 minuts and 59 seconds. That's ridiculous.

To keep up with the boxing talk, I'll segue into Sunday (today), in which Jose, G and I continued our weekly workout (the first happened last Sunday). We started (as we did last time) by running a lap, then doing a few stretches and exercises, before Jose started to teach us more boxing. He began doing that last week and just continued today. Really the workout was for G and I, Jose hardly got any since he was the one teaching us!

It's a lot of fun having Jose teach us. He used to train/work at this place called IMB (International Martial Arts and Boxing) Academy, so we know everything he shows us is legit. He only taught us basic punches, parries and weaves last week, so this week he picked up by teaching us slips and combos. He also taught me how to stomp a la muy thai, which, if done properly, can dislocate knee caps! He tried teaching me how to do muy thai kicks, but it was so hard for me! I couldn't grasp it at all. My legs are so used to the circular kicks I did in capoeira, so it was really hard to snap my leg and treat my kick "like a punch," as Jose said. I got really frustrated.

On the bright side, Jose complimented me on my punching, saying I was the best student he's ever taught. Eeeeeeeeee! You know what this means, right? It means I know how to punch a lot of different ways, and that you should not try to mess with me. If you do and I fail, then I'll just sic Jose on you. :)

After our workout we all went home for a few hours. A little after 4 I left with my mom, sister, and Jose to Long Beach because it was the opening reception night for the Foundation Art Show at my school, where my work was going to be displayed! Yay! I didn't expect much of my work to be displayed because my teacher only had a limited amount of space and so many students to choose from, but to my surprised, she displayed almost all of them! It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least. I ran into her at the show and thanked her. I'm so happy. I'm gonna get my work back after it's all taken down from the show.