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Today In CA

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Szkandelous.archive.may05_june08

6/8 Career Opportunities

Well, I’ve finally started working again. The day I was supposed to train was busy so instead of training I just made coffee. Since I have over a year of experience as a coffee beverage engineer (no matter how embarrassed I am of that fact) I was OK despite not even being trained in their espresso making habits. Still, I have to say that the style of managing is a little disconcerting. I mean, if I hadn’t worked in a coffee shop before I would have been screwed, right?

For the time being, since I’m only working there for the next two months I think I’ll survive. What I think I dislike the most, though, is that it feels like I’ve retrogressed to my high school self; I’m living with my parents and working nearly exactly the same job. I am not down with that.

“If they wanna get me makin’ toys, if they wanna get me well I’ve got no choice. Career opportunities the one’s that never knock, every job they offer you’s to keep you off the docks. Career opportunities the one’s that never knock.” - The Clash

6/5 Szkandelous Super-Duper Special Busy Edition

What is up, I have been crazy-busy lately. On top of that, I’ve been preparing for these jobs that have been appearing out of thin air...like bubbles in a stream (bad classical Japanese reference).

The most significant event being that I have been assigned to a position in the Board of Education of Matsunoyama-machi, Niigata Prefecture. I’m quite relieved that I’ve finally found a job in Japan but as a life-long city slicker I’m a little nervous about living away from the city. I SUCK at snowboarding, so they are probably going to laugh at me.

However, I’m quite good with hot springs, so, on the other hand, I am looking forward to my foray into rural Japan. Come on everybody, let’s kokusai kouryu!

I still have two months before I leave for Japan so most of my time lately has been spent looking for a job to last until August. I even tried applying to the company my mother works at but it turned out the job they were offering was only part time (and actually, they were shooting for someone more akin to a high school student) so I didn’t take it.

Ultimately, I decided to work at a café near my house. The American offices of Hitachi Co. are across the street so my boss says I may even get a chance to practice my Japanese.

Aside from job stuff, I’ve actually had a little bit of fun the last few days. June 2 was my mother’s birthday so we took a family trip to Monterey and the surrounding areas. Very fun.

Then, a couple of days ago I went with a friend of mine to see Lagwagon. My friend’s a little bit of a star in that he DJs at a local college station so we got in for free and even had backstage access. I could have watched him interview them too, but it was a little embarrassing (“who’s that guy?”) so I fled to the main hall.

We didn’t know that we would be getting backstage/all access beforehand so I didn’t bring my camera even though it turns out I could have. What’s even worse is that I ended up spending the majority of the concert on top of a chair close to the stage so had I brought my camera I would have been able to take wonderfully clear, lawful photos of the concert. To all of the Szkandelous readers out there, I am sorry.

m( _ _ )m

Entirely unrelated but, I am told that the car chase scene of Matrix 2 was filmed on a freeway nearby.

5/21 Ataku not Otaku

Like an angel without a sense of mercy, anime has commenced a full-scale attack on the senses of my friends and myself. Our current bout started a couple of weeks ago as a naïve enough desire on the part of my friend (coincidentally also named Dan) to find out what Neon Genesis Evangelion was all about. After nearly 15 hours of constant anime bombardment I can safely say that it’s not about happiness.

Feeling incomplete after Evangelion, we’ve decided to watch Cowboy Bebop.

Also, last Friday I saw “The Matrix: Reloaded”. Before I say what I thought of it, I’d like to clear up my opinions on the first movie. Matrix 1 was an excellent movie; it invented a whole new world for special effects, presented a reasonably unpredictable story, and brought some philosophy into the whole idea. Now, that being said, Matrix 1 is philosophical without really being deep, the plot is interesting without really being innovative and the action was innovative only in its special effects and reliance on now-classic Asian-style action. The Matrix is interesting and non-threatening, you can think about it but you can just as easily forget it. In short, it’s fun.

It’s not surprising that fans compare “The Matrix” to “Star Wars”; the two movies have essentially the same distinguishing characteristics.

So, “Matrix: Reloaded”…the movie rocked in exactly the way I had hoped it would. It kept up the same pseudo-intellectual mythology as the original, kept an equally just-interesting-enough plot, and kicked up the action a huge notch. I really enjoyed the car chase scene, and fans of Dynasty Warriors for the Playstation 2 will find the battle between Neo and Agent Smith (x50) to be quite familiar.

That being said, “The Matrix” is still “The Matrix” so don’t look for superb acting, cutting-edge philosophy or an earth-shattering plot. However, if you want to enjoy yourself, please see “The Matrix: Reloaded”.

5/11 5:11 PM Lately

First off, I’d just like state that it’s still Mother’s Day here in California so happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. As for my family, we went to this nice Italian restaurant and ate a jolly amount of food at their buffet.

The restaurant was family-owned, and tuxedoed men brought our drinks to the table. In between chews you had to fight back the notion that the place was run by the mob.

Well then, I would like to apologize for not having written lately. Many reasons are at the heart of the problem, not the least of which is my own lethargy due to my ongoing battle with the flu.

Anyway, I have moved the old front page into the archives. You can access it directly from the archives page or through the “previous entry” button at the bottom of this page.

5/5 Films

With the weather in it’s current state one would never imagine that last Friday I was standing in the pouring rain with only my “A Bathing Ape” sweatshirt to save me. And though most people are likely assuming I was waiting in line to see the new “Lizzie McGuire Movie”, I was, in fact, in the cold waiting to see the different yet equally dorky “X2: X-Men United”.

Having not seen Lizzie McGuire, I merely conjecture that “X-Men 2” is the better movie.

“X-Men 2” is a good movie. This time we learn more about Wolverine’s back-story and are introduced to Nightcrawler (and a gaggle of sub-X-Men). If compared to the first movie, I would say that “X-Men 2” has a more involving story and, of course, way better effects.

Compared to the “Matrix 2: Reloaded” trailer, “X-Men 2” is a sad, silly movie. Really, I think that’s all I need to say. “X-Men 2” is a good movie, but when they show the “Matrix 2” trailer before right before the most technically impressive scene in “X-men” you can’t help but pity “X-Men”. “Matrix 2” is going to be amazing, just you wait.

Anyway, I’ve been watching all sorts of things lately. Saturday my friend Dan and I rented “Gonin” with Beat Takeshi and Takenaka Naoto. It’s not directed by Takeshi-san but the subject matter is what you’d expect; Yakuza, violence, gay wind-up toys. The movie is beautifully shot, which makes up for the near lack of dialog in the movie.

Sunday I was fooled into watching an advertisement for the Japanese health drink “Aojiru”. I turned on the TV to kill some time and there was this Japanese documentary about a woman who overcame her poor health to run her own restaurant and hot air balloon. I should have realized that it was still too early in the evening for Japanese TV to be on but the show was too remarkable a facsimile of a regular Japanese TV show for me to realize my error until I had grabbed in by the thorny nails of human interest.

It WAS interesting too, but I kept noticing that the cameraman would focus abnormally long the glass of pond-scum-like liquid next to the main character. And the announcer kept mentioning how all the good things of her life couldn’t have been done “if she weren’t in good health” or how “good health was the most important thing in life”. Later on they began to ask her questions about her affinity to Aojiru at an uncomfortable pace.

The main character did have a really neat hot air balloon though.

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