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Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January '06 - What You May Have Missed

I decided that at the end of every month I will write a few paragraphs about things that happened during the month that I either didn't feel like writing about then, didn't have enough to write about then, or just didn't know about until later.

Oscar Nominations - Okay, I can't say I missed writing about this because it only happened this morning, but I wasn't going to write a whole lot about it anyway. The only nominated films I saw were Pride and Prejudice and Memoirs of A Geisha. The Academy must be crazy to have nominated Keira Knightley, because I didn't think she was that great in her role in Pride and Prejudice, unless you think that she "accurately" portrayed a pouty twig in the 19th century. I think Memoirs of a Geisha, on the other hand, should win a few awards, because the film looked gorgeous.

Full Moon Anime Licensed - Others were licensed for US release too this month, but this is the only one I've seen. It was only a matter of time after the manga (which I'll be reviewing soon) was released in English and syndicated in Shojo Beat magazine before the anime would come out in English too. It's about a 12 year old girl with throat cancer who, through divine intervention, becomes a 16 year old healthy and famous singer. I'm not a big fan of its music, except the first ending theme "New Future", but it's worth seeing.

"Ride A White Horse" - Not only is Goldfrapp's new single a great song, but the video is great too. It's bizarre, confusing, and at times disgusting, but at the same time it's amazing and fabulous. It makes me think. It's too bad Supernature isn't out in the U.S. yet because I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Dance Dance Revolution Supernova - It's ironic that the week Orange Lounge Radio Live stops being all-Bemani-and-sex that a new arcade DDR is announced. Not much is known about it yet, but already I hope that an arcade near me will get it.

American Idol Season 5 - Some people think that the best part of this show is the bad auditions, but not me (I never like audition shows). I like to watch the actual competition, and to track the progress (and failures) of 12 contestants rather than see 100 screw-ups once.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Pink's "Stupid Girls"

Sometime this week, the video for singer Pink's song "Stupid Girls" was leaked to the internet. While it is a very funny video because it makes fun of the popular set of young female celebrities, the ending is a little troubling to me.

Thoughout the video, a little girl in a football jersey is watching all the events happen and at the end makes a decision whether to keep the doll in her hands or play with a different toy (preferrably one that won't make her a "stupid girl").

See the items on the table? They include several educational toys, a keyboard, and a football. Guess which one the girl picks?

Yeah, the football. Probably because the girl is wearing a football jersey to begin with, and Pink wants to send a message that you should be true to yourself and your own interests. Unfortunately, the message that I get is that stupid girls play with dolls and smart girls are tomboys who play sports. I am not very athletic. I would much rather pick the doll, because there is a much lesser chance I will get hit in the head. The only alternative presented to being a "stupid girl" is to be tough and athletic. Pink may be tough and athletic, but some of us would rather stay to ourselves and read.

But because she does fantastic impressions of Mary-Kate, Lindsay, Jessica, Paris, and the others, I will forgive her.

On a much less angry-sounding note,

Pink talks about the dream of a woman president. That scene reminded me of this:

The video of "Ladies Night" by J-pop star Ayumi Hamasaki also has a similar scene where she's acting as a dictator leading an army of bald women. I do not know if Ayumi is a "stupid girl" but her video is also very cool (though also very weird).

Sorry, Holly

I am a

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Four Words: Zulema Uses Color, Gets Aufed

I'm back! Thank you, dear readers (all two of you) for being patient while I studied/took exams/played We <3 Katamari, in order from least to most time spent.

Last night's Project Runway had the theme of "inspiration." The designers had to take pictures around New York and select one to inspire a garment. This only further depresses me, because I still do not have a digital camera. Jay from Season 1 is a guest judge.

Daniel won, and although I am very happy because he is my favorite, I didn't really like the blouse - it's that weird high puffy neck that fashion types like but normal people like me don't get. I thought Andrae should have won - the source of inspiration was unique, and the dress looked expensive as the judges said. I'm beginning to like him a lot. He's certainly improved since the Clothes Off Your Back and Barbie challenges. Also, he has hilarious facial expressions. Example:

I'm also happy Zulema was aufed, although I think Kara's was much more boring and should have gone. I think Zulema deserved some credit for ACTUALLY USING COLOR, but the finished product was poorly constructed.

And now for a new feature of my Project-Runway related posts,
Top 5 Quotes of the episode:
5. "I'm a full Dan fan." - Michael Kors
4. "She's like an elongated marshmallow." - Tim
3. Yeah, for a minute I wanted to cut her. - Nick
2. "It's a motherf***ing walkoff!" - Daniel
1. "I wrote four words on my card: did you watch last season?" - Jay

Sunday, January 22, 2006

SubLAMBinal Messages

One day last May I tried to find subliminal messages in Gwen Stefani's songs off Love Angel Music Baby played backwards, then interpreted them based on little bits of gossip/blind items/speculation/trying to turn gibberish into words, and finally rated them on a scale of 1-10. Since I'm kind of busy with midterm exams right now and don'have time to write anything new until Thursday at the earliest, I'm putting this up.

DISCLAIMER: I am not implying any of these are true, because as far as I know they're not. Unless you're from a tabloid or gossip blog, in which case you can change them up a bit to make them sound true and then put them in your magazine or website.

1) "What You Waiting For" - Oh, we’d ambush, we’d ambush (chorus)
Here Gwen suggests her combat strategies. Unfortunately, they're kind of vague and thus no real use to anyone. Still, a good rallying cry the concerned parents can pick apart. 7/10

2) "Rich Girl" f/Eve - Whatever he owed got lost, it all turned out cool, whatever he had, went and sued, wonderful, word of the law over him (eve rap)
Well now we certaintly know how she got to be a rich girl, huh. 8/10

3) "Hollaback Girl" - We’ve been known to fake the belief, even in suffering (second verse)
This means Gwen isn't really being honest, especially when she's not doing great. It could imply that she puts on a psycho-happy exterior when inside she's all emo. 6/10

4) "Cool" - Fake you and I may be wearing out (last chorus)
A relationship played up for publicity purposes is failing. 5/10
same song - The perfect plan had made me waste down (first verse)
She is on some strict diet that made her skinny. If we got details I'd give it a higher grade. 5/10

5) "Bubble Pop Electric" f/Andre 3000 - What is happening, Hollywood? We make talent, man! (bridge)
Comment on how untalented actors get in movies while talented ones are stuck in roles below them. Gwen herself has only been in one role, so she must be speaking for other people. 3/10

6) "Luxurious" - Happiness, so happy, I'm so happy when I think you won again (final chorus)
Either she proud of her husband's accomplishments, or is submissive and is happy when overpowered. The latter is so strange that it sounds interesting. 8/10

7) "Harajuku Girls" - Perhaps he didn’t bring on a pregnant bishounen, oh heck yes! (fade out)
This is the one I heard most clearly. It is also the strangest one. I don't know what it means, I don't want to know what it means. Please don't tell me. 10/10
same song - He is so weird, name is Edmond. (last verse)
The song with the weirdest lyrics also has the weirdest backwards messages. While the other ones might have hints into her personal life, this is crazy. Proclaiming poor Edmond to be weird is, well, weird, but it's not pregnant bishounen. 7/10

8) "Crash" - Hey ugly, hey ugly, bully, bully (forwards: “Back it up, back it up, you got it, you got it”)
Perhaps she is imitating an insult towards her, then calling the insulter a bully for being mean to her. The normal phrase is a compliment, but backwards it is an insult, maybe suggesting that Gwen does not always say what she wants to say and might be a hypocrite (see Hollaback Girl message). 6/10

9)"The Real Thing" - In harmony we miss our outdoor party (bridge)
"Outdoor party" must be something symbolic because I don't get it. Maybe it could mean a wedding, since some people have outdoors weddings, and tells of both parties agreeing to cancel the wedding? Alot of this subliminal stuff must have been written before she got married. 4/10

10)"Serious" - Sending us no money, must make me look at you bad, it’s who knowing crazy, more for us, take no one at lamb, or leave heaven (second verse)
I'm not sure what this means, but my best guess is "Buy LAMB!" Subliminal marketing messages always score high, but since this one is so weird, plus the fact that there are many plugs for her line in the normal song lyrics of many songs, gives this one a lower than expected score. 6/10

11)"Danger Zone" - Hurry in, the loss we claim, passing in an accident (pre-chorus)
This one and "Rich Girl" are the only ones whose secret messages have something in common with the title (unless you think "Harajuku Girls" has something to do with pregnant bishounen). She is calling someone to come to the danger zone and view the loss. Apparently someone died in an accident. Could be a relationship metaphor. 7/10

12)"Long Way To Go" f/Andre 3000 - But they’re more likely Muslims (chorus)
This song is anti-racism, so I'm not sure why they're talking about religion. But I'm tired, so I couldn't come up with anything better. 7/10

Friday, January 20, 2006

Getting Better: Dragon Voice Vol. 4

Back when I reviewed Volume 1, I hoped that the story of Dragon Voice would get better. By Volume 4, it does. It really does. First of all, the Beatmen actually create something. Sure, creating dance routines and costumes doesn't seem to impact their goal of moving people with their voices, but it's a start.

By Volume 4, the Beatmen are starring in an action show called the Voice Rangers. It's exactly what you'd expect: people defeating evil, not with violence, but with voices. So lots of that "music is important and powerful" stuff. The day before the final episode airs live, Rin (who plays the villain) loses his voice due to acid reflux straining his voice. While searching for a famous voice doctor, he meets the mysterious girl who keeps popping up and may be one half of that "romance" that's listed as a genre on the back of the book. Rin and Sara (the girl) start dancing in the street, and this is the moment that I start liking Rin as a character - he and she sort of make a nice couple. As soon as they finish, the doctor shows up. His name is Dr. Daniel and he has an amazing head of hair (but not that amazing) and a cigarette in his hand. Wait - a voice doctor who smokes. I don't get it. He sticks various instruments down Rin's throat and prescribes an injection to fix it. The show ends with a bang, and the Beatmen return to the world of pop music.

The second half of this volume deals with the Beatmen trying to choreograph steps for their new single, "Break The Spell." This song was introduced in Volume 2 and the lyrics are truly awful. It's supposed to be motivational, but it's too sappy for words (and was obviously not written by a native English speaker). The funniest, in my opinion, scene of the volume occurs during the first rehearsal. Rin wears some hilarious feminine 80s workout gear that even Shuichi of Gravitation wouldn't touch. Each member of the Beatmen wants to do a different style of dance. One wants to do ballet, another wants to do jazz, and another wants to pop-and-lock. Not kidding. Goh, the bass voice, wants to breakdance (get it? "Break" the spell?). During a performance, Goh's father crashes and chides Goh for doing Western dances. It is discovered that Goh comes from a famous kabuki family, and didn't want to continue the tradition. After yelling at Goh's dad, Rin decides to choreograph a dance with kabuki influences. You may think that wouldn't go with a pop song, and you'd be right: it doesn't look right. Rin emphasizes the meaning in kabuki moves, but really, do thousands of screaming girls care about meaning? No, they care about flashy smiles and bare chests. Why won't you listen to me, Dragon Voice? The target audience for boy bands don't care much about substance.

And so, everything works out in the end for the Beatmen, until the next volume where something inexorably goes wrong. Again.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Update from the dark ages

There was a lot of wind yesterday in my area and a lot of lines (and trees) got knocked down. I have power, but the cable and internet are still down. I don't know how I survived - especially on a night with a new episode of Project Runway! To make up for the lack of television I read Dragon Voice Volume 4, and I take back half of what I said last post. The story actually gets interesting, and there's actually some of that romance that the back cover promises. And it makes up for ProRun's hilarious skating outfits with the ridiculous performance/practice outfits that Rin and co. (but mostly Rin) sport. I'm going to have to review this whenever the Cablevision gods decide to fix the lines.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Not Creating Much: Dragon Voice Vol. 1

I am a big fan of the manga Gravitation. A while back, I wondered if I was a fan of Gravitation because it was about the music industry, or because it had good-looking guys having buttsex. After thinking about it I've concluded it's a mixture of both, but I still checked out some other manga about pop music. One of them is Full Moon wo Sagashite, which is sitting unread on myself until a later date. The other is a series called Dragon Voice.

Dragon Voice is a shounen manga about boy bands, and where Gravitation's boys are more Pet Shop, Dragon Voice's are Backstreet.* In this manga, harmonizing and perfecting dance routines are taken as seriously as life and death. It's unintentionally hilarious in that way, even though it's a comedy to begin with. The main character, Rin, has a presumably bad low voice, yet somehow manages to join a boy band, the Beatmen, in a dance-off with member Shino. He asks Rin, "Do you have some sort of dream? What will you create?" (pgs 26-27). This seems to be a recurring theme. Never mind that the Beatmen were put together by a talent agency, their first single is a cover of the song "State of Shock" by the Jackson 5 and Mick Jagger (but with the words changed poorly), and their creative control is limited at best and nonexistant at worst: they really say that "create" line a lot.

The Beatmen themselves are a bunch of stock boy band characters. Most of the Beatmen bear similarities to members from other boy bands. Rin, however, has a deep gruff voice which the other characters liken to a bullfrog or an old man. Although his voice really has no place in a boy band, they let him in because he may be the legendary titular "Dragon Voice." Throughout the first volume, the Beatmen keep reminding Rin that his voice is weak (and do so by harmonizing a whole lot). They're that type of group who would reject the label "boy band" and demand to be called a "male vocal group" instead. At the very end of the volume a rival group, Privee, is introduced. They look...really feminine for a shounen, and they have really bad hair (but pretty much everyone does in this manga). It's an interesting story, but it's somehow lacking something.

It's impossible for me to analyze Dragon Voice without comparing it to Gravitation, and although they're in different genres and have different plots, they're both have main characters in pop bands striving for success. The characters in Gravitation are musicians, so their struggles to create are valid. The characters of Dragon Voice, on the other hand, say they are creating something but are just vessels for others' creations. Not that credibility really matters to me, because I listen to enough pop music for it not to, but if the Beatmen just wanted to be a packaged bunch of cute boys whose only goal was to sell millions of CDs and capture millions of girls' hearts, I would prefer it over the false "what will you create" mentality. So in conclusion, I hope that in future volumes they quit with the "create" B.S. and really get into the fun and fake face of pop.

*=If preferred, replace with Erasure and NSYNC, respectively.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

5 Things That Could Make Project Runway Better (Now That Diana Is Gone)

I'm less bummed than I should be about Diana getting eliminated because I was preparing myself for it. I am bummed though, that their (her and Marla) dress wasn't strange or hideously ugly, just less pretty than the other ones.
Now that everyone's favorite nerdy girl is gone, here are the top five things that I think would make up for that (only some of which might actually happen).

5. More color

It seems like some people are afraid of color (especially Zulema) and I'm sick of seeing the same old black and white, and it all came to a point in last night's black-white-and-silver-only. At least last season people weren't afraid to make things, you know, colorful.

4. Nick saying more funny stuff

Even though Nick is not my favorite (see #2 for that), he is this season's Jay, in that he has the best quotes. Stuff like "“She’s got some wickety-wack trim on it. She’s gonna take off her jacket, and there’s gonna be ‘Wickety-wack. Look at my wickety-wack trim.’" and "I felt like a little Mexican boy saying 'please lady, buy my gum, buy my chicle'" is just priceless.

3. Tommy February6 background music

I don't really notice much background in this show, but if they were to add more, a good place to start is with synthy 80's style J-pop. It's one of the best things about Paradise Kiss, and I'm sure it could work in this show too. (If that doesn't work, Franz Ferdinand is a suitable replacement)

2.Daniel V continuing to be hot

There are so many reasons to love him, which I won't say here because I might do another post about that, but there is just something about him that makes him awesome.

1. Santino not winning

It seems people I know are in two camps: they love him or they hate him. I'm in the "hate" camp. I know he's going to make it to the final 3 because, hey, it makes for good TV. But if he wins I will lose all hope in humanity's taste in clothing.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

1000 Wiggidy Wacks

Remember when I said I could do an entire post on comparisons of Diana's designs in Project Runway? Well, I can't. But here's something thought provoking:

Two of Diana's outfits combined look like the songstress dress from Final Fantasy X-2 (why yes, I do love that game, how did you know?). And she's both young enough and nerdy enough to have actually gotten inspiration from the game's designs, instead of just having weird coincidences like everyone else. Now all she needs to do this week is add some of that "wiggidy wack" trim (quote of the season!) and a lacey skirt to complete it. And since she is working with Marla, who already has some experience with that, this should be a piece of cake. Too bad I'm bracing myself for their inevitable aufing tomorrow.

Hey! A boob on basic cable!

Apparently on WWE Raw last night there was a sex scene between Edge and Lita. I don't have a problem with that, seeing most soap operas have them, and it'd only be time until there was one on WWE, but the big commotion is that the camera got a sight of Lita's boob for a couple of seconds.

Now, I haven't watched WWE in years, but I like Edge because he is not that bad looking and has long blonde hair *sigh*. And I like Lita because you're supposed to like the girl with the dyed red hair and the big tattoo. I even have a shirt that she autographed. So I like both of them, but Lita should have kept her shirt on; it's basic cable.

I didn't even watch this because the WWE is no longer my soap opera of choice (it's Passions now, although more about that later).

Monday, January 09, 2006

Peach Girl: Better than the OC?

I really have nothing better to write about, so I'll review some books that I have. And since the manga is the first thing in my bookshelf, I'll review some of that.

I'm going to review Peach Girl: Change of Heart Vol. 1I bought this one last year at AnimeNEXT thinking I was buying the real Peach Girl manga, but I was wrong. This is the sequel. So, after watching the anime (which I think covers all 8 volumes of Peach Girl) I am ready to review this one.

It's high school drama. You can have your O.C., I'll take Peach Girl. Mainly because I'm already familiar with the characters and I don't like looking at Mischa Barton. I suppose it's timely that I'm reading it now, since most of the book Momo is on her period, just like Mischa Barton.

As for the sexual content (which is the only reason people spend money on anything), there is a nice kissing scene between Momo and Kiley in the rain. Momo also does a lot of knitting. There is some cursing, mostly the word "bitch", which is to be expected in a story when girls are fighting over boys. And the most possibly offensive thing is Kiley's t-shirt at the end of the volume, which appears to have a "stars and bars" design. Otherwise it's less offensive than anything on Fox.

The story's all about rumors and mean girls and relationship drama, yet it's not bad, and Momo is actually a likeable character. Even though she's blonde and tan. At least she's not Mischa Barton.

Project Cosplay

If you know me, you will know that I am obsessed with the show Project Runway. You will also know that I am a big geek. Because of my inherent geekiness, sometimes I notice the designers create designs that seem a little...familiar to me. Here are some side-by-side comparisons from Season 1:

This is Austin's Sarah Hudson outfit side by side with something Mana from the band Malice Mizer is wearing. Beside it being in the usual Mana colors (white and blue), this dress is very EGL. And speaking of:

His Sarah Hudson dress and wedding dress combined look like the fashion show dress from the anime Paradise Kiss (which is about fashion students).

Jay's swimsuit and Paine from the videogame Final Fantasy X-2.

Kara's futuristic outfit and Auron from the videogame Final Fantasy X.

Kevin's fururistic outfit and Shion from the videogame Xenosaga Episode 1.

An oufit from Jay's final collection and Leblanc from Final Fantasy X-2.

That's all that I could think of off the top of my head (at least for Season 1 - as for Season 2, Diana's outfits alone could fill up an entire post).

Hey everyone!

Hello nonexistant readers!
My name is Susan, although I usually go by Goggle on the intarweb.
This will be my awesome little pop-culture commentary blog. Though I try to have my own original ideas, I'm sure I'm going to rip off many people, including Holly here. Whatever. Someday I'll grow up to be a real blogger, just you wait and see!