Thursday, February 18, 2010

Anime Reviews: Ghost Hunt

Ghost hunt is about teenage Mai, who joins with a professional Ghost Hunter, Naru (for "Narcissist." It makes more sense in Japanese) after she injures his assistant. Forced to work off her debt she's thrown into a world of ghosts and spirits, and scooby doo antics.

Okay, so maybe that last bit was unfair. But that's what the first three episodes came across as. We only watched the first six, so I can't really say much about how good the series is. But it's good enough for me to want to go back for more. I haven't had a genuinely creepy series in a while, and though I was laughing most of the time, it did get really creepy.

So I'll be keeping an eye on this one. You can watch the entire series on the funimation website.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Karate Master: Part 7

My legs still ache. I think they won't stop aching for as long as I'm practicing karate. No worries though.

On a slightly more positive note, the instructor told me that the instructor on Saturday said I was making good progress/I did well. Good to hear. I like being told I'm doing something well.

This training session was focused completely on kicks. Practicing getting our knees up fast enough (equivalent of drawing one's weapon) to be able to kick properly. We worked with pads, with the person holding the pad remaining stationary, and then moving forward. The guy I was holding the pad for at one point missed just a little bit...

They always miss.

His foot grazed my elbow, and apparently his toenail nicked it, because after he looked back up from checking to see if his foot was alright (elbow>foot), he told me I was bleeding. I looked at it and saw that I was in fact bleeding. It didn't hurt, so I decided to just ignore it and continue practice. It was around the time that I realized that I was dripping blood all over the floor. That's when we decided to take a quick break so I could clean up my elbow, while he got some paper towels to clean up the floor.

Other than that, there wasn't really much to say. I quite enjoyed this training session, since I was slowly getting the hang of kicks. I think it goes without saying that I really love martial arts, and hearing that I'm actually pretty good at it, is quite encouraging. Perhaps it's because I'm older now, and stronger? I don't know. But it's still good to hear, and have something I'm good at. Also, I think that I'm enjoying the training more because I'm older. Before, even though I enjoyed karate, I didn't like the training sessions. Now, I look forward to them.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Karate Master: Part 6

Friday night I went to be before midnight, quite the accomplishment for me if I do say so myself. Because of this I was finally able to wake up at seven thirty without feeling like dirt. I still hate early mornings, but at least I wasn't dead tired.

I was a little late, and right from the beginning we started off with a little bit of training in the horse stance (still don't know the proper names). Well, in all fairness we did a kata first (nope, no names), but after that it went right into the stance training.

I thought my legs were on fire in previous training sessions. Nope. This was without a doubt the most painful training session I've ever had, as far as my legs are concerned. I thought my legs were on fire before, it wasn't till today that I finally learned the meaning of the phrase. There was fire in my legs, literally. And for the rest of the day there was a frantic twitching in my legs.

Besides being incapable of holding my upper body loose while doing this, I've learned that my footwork is an abomination that needs some serious work. I'm practically incapable of backing away from punches. I'm seriously considering just decking anyone that tries to hit me instead of trying to block. Sure I'd probably get hit, but I'd get them too.

Actually...that doesn't sound like such a bad idea.

Anyway, I need to get a move on with further entries. Especially reviews. I'm lagging behind, way behind. I also need to look up some other adservices, since Chitika is being difficult.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

LTUE Day 3 Review

Well, here we are at the end of the three day convention. I know my reports haven't been that great. Well, too bad. So much has been going on that I've been mentally drained for the duration of the Con.

I didn't go till later in the day, the Con started at nine, I was halfway through karate training at that point. I went home, took a bath, had some food, and around twelve-ish I was back on campus and in the convention.

I started off with a presentation on Family Friendly Anime. Got some new ideas for shows worth watching, especially ones for kids. But a lot of what was presented I already knew about.

Overall, the panels were enjoyable, but nothing really mind blowing. However, I did have fun during the Writing Excuses Podcast recording session. After that I attended the readings of James Dashner and Dan Wells. Some good books there. I look forward to getting my copy of I am not a Serial Killer, and reading The Maze Runner, of which I already own a copy.

There was a panel that I attended that was actually kind of useful, it was about Writing a Good Blog, something I really need to learn how to do. I learned that book blogs can get advance review copies of books if they ask publishers for them. How very interesting...

Let me figure out how to do this, and who knows? I like free things. Wonder if Viz does something similar with manga? Couldn't hurt to try, since I plan to be reviewing individual manga volumes anyway. But if I can get advance copies of their releases, that would be perfect.

Humm...I've found where to contact them. Now let's see if contacting and asking does any good.

I'll keep you updated.

LTUE Day 2 Review

Well, this is coming a little late, while I'm in Day 3 for that matter. But anyway. Yesterday was an interesting day. If nothing else I couldn't keep awake during my last class of the day, Japanese. When I got home I decided to crash for a little bit before I had to leave for the panel I really wanted to attend, Writing in Webcomics.

Since I didn't have German class I was able to attend an extra workshop, Pacing and Structure with Dan Wells. I listen to his podcast, so I came inside while he was talking and couldn't help but think, 'Hey, I know that voice.'

Great workshop, a lot of stuff that I already knew about, but from a different perspective. Reminded me I need to start writing my endings first when I'm plotting a book.

Killer Openings was a good panel. Nice to learn that even professional writers have started their books terribly.

Military on Military Sci-Fi was great. People often don't think about how to properly write military characters. It's really different from writing civilian characters. Got some good notes from this one, not that I intend to write Military SF anytime soon, but I think they're still important to keep in mind.

How to Build Aliens and Monsters was so so. Basically it's all about what the aliens or monsters symbolize. But overall it's always best to write characters for the sake of characters.

After that I went to class, went home, slept for a little, and went to watch Writing Comics and Webcomics. This one interested me, since I'm interested in writing webcomics. Good info here. I was able to get some more enthusiasm for my projects.

Final post coming later today.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

LTUE Day 1 Review

Well, I really can't say much. I only got to go to four sessions of the Con, because of work and classes. However, the few that I went to were very useful. Since LTUE is a Con centered around writing, so it's more for writers than fandom, I got a lot of useful tips, I've also thought of some better ideas for my own stories.

Sorry, but my mind isn't working right. I'm just too tired right now.

Fairy Tail OST Review

Well, I finally finished my review of the Fairy Tail Soundtrack for Anime Instrumentality. Makes me feel all professional and everything. Without the money part...please buy things from the amazon links I post?

Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing this review, mainly because it involved me listening to the Fairy Tail Soundtrack over and over, which, granted I don't need an excuse for, but it was fun writing down my thoughts of what I was listening to. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

I know I haven't posted much here, but that has to do with the fact that I've been working on this for the past few days. I also have adopted writing several drafts of my reviews first. Sure it will take a little longer for them to come out, but I think they'll be much better written this way.

Can't think of much more to say. Other than, buy stuff! I need money! If you want to read more from me, and you do, don't you? Then click one some links, and buy some stuff. (While you're at it, tell Adsense to unblock me. I learned my lesson alright!?)

Oh yeah, please follow this link for the actual review:

Fairy Tail Original Soundtrack Volume 1 Review

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Writing Update

I know that I said I'd be doing this every Sunday, and despite having said that some time ago, I now find myself doing this, several weeks late. Oh well.

As of recently I've been trying ways of monetizing my blog. I don't expect much, though I wish for it, but for now I'm trying out the amazon associated marketing. So, if you like my review and feel like purchasing the products I reviewed, please do so through the links I provide.

Yeah, yeah, I'm a sellout, but I would like to have a tiny bit of income through this. And frankly, when I review something that I enjoy, I hope to help support the creators by referring people to where they can buy their products.

Anyway, recently I've been working on the same book, a YA/Middlegrade novel, that's mostly for practice, but I'll be sending it to publishers anyway. I got quite a few more pages written, still way off from my target word count, but it's getting there. And once I finish it I'll be able to move on to some other projects.

Speaking of other projects, recently I've been able to figure out the overarching plot lines for the two other series that I intend to write. For the next project I intend to write I finally fixed the problem. Aka/ I didn't have a main antagonist. I had a vague, overall evil force, that wasn't really a character. Kinda like Sauron. The problem is, I'm not a genius like Tolkien was, so I can't exactly pull that kind of antagonist off yet.

But, I've been practicing, and hopefully the world building I did today will help my next series.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Karate Master: Part 5

Back when I was learning about medieval European fencing style we learned an important technical fact. Which was, never to block with the edge of the sword. It dulled the edge, and could lead to cracking in the blade, ultimately destroying your weapon. We had a drill that was meant to teach us how to work footwork into our combat. The arm, from the elbow to the fingertips would act as our sword, and we had to use our footwork to gain an advantage. This was also meant to emphasize proper blocking technique, as blocking with the "edge" of our arm (where the bone is closest to the surface) would soon teach us not to do so.

Because it hurts.

Let me tell you what also hurts. Improper blocking in karate. Mostly this includes blocking with your forearm, rather than your fist. Towards the end of this morning's training session I was really feeling my mistakes, as I'd been blocking almost exclusively with my forearm. Not only that, but I wasn't even really blocking, so much as striking at my sparring partner's arm. I quickly, probably not quickly enough, learned that I needed to pay special close attention, and focus my blocking on my hand, not my arm.

Pain is a great teacher. Which is what I think one of my sparring partners was trying to get at. He'd come at me, not full force, but with enough to show me he meant business. If I messed up, chances were I'd get a fist in my gut. At first this annoyed me, but then I realized it was the best way to speed up my progression, especially if I wanted to be worthy of the green belt I was wearing (my other belts got lost again).

I realized that I needed to spend some more time outside of training internalizing what I was being taught. One of the new techniques we were taught is "passing," which is basically exactly what it sounds like, a way of passing right past your opponent's fist. I think I need to spend some more time getting the leg work and upper body movement right for that one.

Anyway, I'm still a little tired, even though I came home and took a nap when we were done. Right now I'm just finishing off some lunch. I'm still not sure what I want the format of these to be, whether I want them to just be a beat by beat description of what I did at training, or if I want to add in a few jokes. Guess it just depends on my mood.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This last Wednesday I, along with my geek club, watched an interesting Japanese animated movie, called (read the title of the blog post).

One thing I like about movies like this is how they blend mundane with fantasy, while not letting one overpower the other. This was true for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (never ones for the concise titles the Japanese, eh?). Apparently it's a pseudo-sequel to a book I've never read, and it deviated in some parts, so really, the movie can be enjoyed on its own very easily.

For those of you expecting an action heavy anime title, for which the "genre" is famous for, such as DBZ, Naruto and Bleach (wait...aren't most of those just extended scenes of people standing around? Never mind, this is right up your alley). Nah, not really.

There's plenty of laughs, but more than anything else, strong, strong character development. While not the most likable at first, the main character is a teenage girl, with all the quirks of teenage girls. When she discovers that she can jump back in time (yeah, I know, big surprise there), she uses it to have all the fun she can.

Things get more serious as she realizes the effect her actions have on others, her friends, and herself. There are some heart-wrenching moments (well, for people with hearts, I've been methodically killing off my heart in regards to drama), and you will truly care about the characters (not an easy thing for a writer to do to me).

The ending is, like so many Japanese movie endings, ambiguous at best, and somewhat confusing. But, like many other Japanese movie endings, it leaves you feeling fulfilled, if not completely satisfied.

Just don't watch it in a room full of geeks, the discussions about time paradoxes would have gone on for hours if we didn't have a club president to mediate.

Brandon Sanderson Mistborn Movie Interview

A few weeks back I posted about the Mistborn movie deal being announced. Since I'm in the creative writing class that the author, Brandon Sanderson, teaches, I decided to talk to him after class a little, and find out what I could about the new movie deal. Keep in mind, that the movie is still in the early stages, so details about the production are still forthcoming.

Maybe I'll bug him later when I hear more.

Derek Bown: Okay, I think my most important question is; what do you have in your books that you know will have to be cut? So, in other words, what's your Tom Bombadil?

Brandon Sanderson: Great question. What's my Tom Bombadil? I think there's a lot of things that I kinda like. I think that to streamline into a movie you generally have to take some time away from side characters and focus on main characters. That's generally whatt happens in film, and I think that the Mistborn books would have that happen in film, by necessity. I think that by necessity allomancy isgoing to feel very different. We can't do some of the conceptual things, it's going to turn into a more visual type of combat. It's going to look more like Kung Fu, and less like wacky, screwy magic system. I think that's a necessary change. We'll see what they do. I mean, there are definitely some things that will need to be cut, I don't even know right now from the Mistborn books specifically what would have to be cut. What else you got?

DB: Does the contract cover the whole trilogy, or just the first book?

BS: The contract covers the entire trilogy.

DB: Who would your ideal director be for the movies?

BS: Who would my ideal director be? I've long thought that I would absolutely love to get Brian Singer. I think that he would be my choice, mainly because I've liked - across various different genres he's done - his ability to blend action with characterization. I love his ability to do that, and I was one of the people who loved the Superman Returns movie, and I've liked his X-Men a lot. Something about the feel of how he uses his action sequences works very well for me.

DB: Who would you like to compose the soundtrack?

BS: It's going to depend on the feel of the movie, I mean, every composer has their own concept. I've really liked Harry Gregson Williams recently, and he's one of my favorites. But, you know, there's also the perennial favorites. I'm not as much a John Williams fan as everyone else seems to be for some reason. I prefer James Horner more. I prefer...umm...what's his name? The one who did all the soundtracks for all of Shyamalan's movies? Newton something? No.

DB: Newton...Howard?

BS: Newton Howard? Maybe. James Newton Howard, that's it. I like his soundtracks a lot. However, I don't know if they'd mix with Mistborn that well.

DB: Do you have any favorite actors you would like to see in the lead roles?

BS: You know, the girl from Juno, I think would be a great Vin. If they did the right sort of things. I've never been able to cast Kelsier in my head, but the girl from Juno - Ellen Page - I think she would be great for Vin.

DB: Is there any talk of your non-Mistborn books being adapted into movies?

BS: Besides Alcatraz? Alcatraz has been sold to Dreamworks animation. I've only had occasional little pings about Elantris, but nothing substantial. And that only leaves Warbreaker, and we haven't had any substantial movie offers. I mean, I do occasionally make my way to Hollywood, and I do get to talk to people and pitch ideas and things.

DB: What's the limit to the number of changes that you feel should be made? For example, what are your feelings about the changes made in the Prince Caspian movie versus the book?

BS: I think that a Director must be given complete artistic freedom to adapt as they feel necessary. I feel that generally more changes are better. For instance, my feeling is that the first two Harry Potter movies didn't change enough, whereas the third and fourth ones did. I didn't agree with all the decisions he made, but I liked Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. He had to adapt. That is why I feel that the Golden Compass is a great example of not adapting. They filmed scene by scene, and it made for a boring movie. A great book turned into a boring movie, and I feel that any book taken and filmed scene by scene would be boring. So, I'm a believer in adaptation, and I wouldn't put any requirements on a director.

DB: Are there any movies that you think have the closest feel to Mistborn?

BS: I mentioned Brian Singer. I think his X-Men 2 does a great job of melding action and character, that's one of the ones that I like. So, you know, there are a lot of movies out there're putting me on the spot...that blend fantasy... The first Lord of the Rings is my favorite. It's a great blend, but it's not a good match for these types of movies. I think something like X2, or some of the other Superhero movies are a better beat by beat feel for how a Mistborn movie would go.

DB: How long do you expect the movies to be?

BS: I have no idea. I would anticipate that the screenplays will be standard film screenplays. So, Alcatraz would be 90 minutes - about 90 pages - and Mistborn would be 120. But who knows what the director will do once they actually start making a shooting script.

DB: Are there any release dates yet?

BS: Nope, nothing. Alcatraz is being considered for 2013. Mistborn doesn't even have a consideration yet. Is that all?

DB: That's all, thank you very much.

BS: Thank you.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blood for Manga

Well, I finally decided that something that until this point has just been an idle thought, has become reality. Seeing as I don't have a job right now, I need to find any way to get my hands on money. PS: If you help me out by following the links once I get those up, that'd really help me out.

But, until then, I've decided that I'll sell plasma. Down here we can make about $160 a month selling plasma. It's nothing amazing, but much better than what I'm making right now.

So until I start doing this, I need to practice by donating blood. Problem is, I'm getting queasy just thinking about blood and needles.

I'm noticing a flaw in my plan here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just a Thought

I don't know why, but for some reason I have a thing against romantic interests who are introduced more than halfway through a series. And even more so I can't stand when that romantic interest gets so much of a fan following (especially when I know that said romantic interest is a goner anyway). I don't know why, but it just bugs me. I guess it's because by that point I'm already invested in another pairing, usually with a character that has been around for much longer.

Well, not much I can do about that, it's just how I feel. But for anyone reading this that is thinking of writing a series of any kind, please don't make the mistake of introducing any permanent, or final love interest when your story is already well under way. If you're going to have a character like that, introduce her (or him, I'm looking at you Yabuki, and you Oh-Great!) at the start of the series. Otherwise fans will get attached to other characters, and dislike the actual romantic interest.

Then again, I could be wrong, seeing how much fan support characters like Luciolla and Boa Hancock seem to get (ship jumping traitors!!!). So it might just be me. So consider this a way to please me in your writing. But in all honesty I think this is a pretty decent rule that it can't hurt to follow.

Karate Master: Part 4


You miss three training sessions and this is what happens? I'm going to be feeling this in my legs tomorrow. Scratch that, I'll be feeling it mid-day and for the rest of the week. I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself unable to move for a while.

Other than that, training was great. We worked on stance? I really need to learn the actual names of these stances. I'll get onto that soon.

Most of our training was focused on keeping stability. We paired off and tried to knock each other over/make our partner loose his balance. Actually quite enjoyable.

For the record, the girl that was there last time I was, wasn't there. However, there were two new guys at training. It's enjoyable seeing new people at training.

After that we practiced a new block (old for me, but new for our training schedule), the Gedan Barai (I think, again, I need to memorize these names). I've been noticing that every move, every attack, every block, has to have an element of rotation. Moves that I used to do without the rotation, in other words: wrong, are now improved by a slight twist of the wrist adding the rotation and power to my attacks and blocks, and overall just feeling better.

I've slowly been getting better at closing the distance to attack. Mostly it involves tricking my opponent with false steps and closing in when they're off guard. Some would think this cheating, I think of it as strategic thinking. Still need to work on back away from an attack though.

We haven't learned any new kicks, but I still need to work on the basic one, and wouldn't mind doing some more training with the pads.

For the record, I'm still abysmal at memorizing kata. Then again, the one we did today is normally reserved for brown and black belts in shotokan karate. In shotokai we use it for red belts (one level above white belts). Interesting concept, starting beginners into one of the harder kata. It definitely illustrates the "bird dropping her chicks out of the nest to teach them flying" principle. And that quote was longer than it should be.

Anyway, I'll be back with you next saturday, as long as I manage to get out of bed early enough.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Well, it looks like I'll be writing a review, possibly more, for Anime Instrumentality. My first one will be about the Fairy Tail OST. Look forward to it, and check out their blog.