Monday, September 13 2021

Why do I do things like this?

Was enjoying a leisurely dinner outside when a bee flew close to my body. Me, being an idiot who doesn't know any better, sort of flailed at it because my default reaction to bugs flying near me is to instinctively flail because I grew up in Hawaii and you can flail at mosquitoes and moths and whatnot. Somehow the bee got caught in between my flipflop and the sole of my foot and then it stung me right under my pinky toe. Having never been stung before, I started to panic, worried that I was going to be one of those rare folk who are allergic to bee stings, go into anaphylactic shock, and then have to be rushed to the hospital. Well naturally, I always expect the worst, which doesn't come, so I'm always relieved afterwards. That's how I live my life and I'm sticking to that. Anyway, it hurt, a lot, a throbbing pain I'd never experienced before. But Jeff got the stinger out and gave me an ice pack to keep the swelling down, and it seemed to have worked. That, and also since I'm on my feet all day for my job, I believe the soles of my feet to be pretty calloused and thick, so I think that helped as well.

I will joke, however, that I took a bee sting so that our dog wouldn't have to suffer. So please, be proud of me.

I'm also kind of embarassed for unleashing a torrent of f-bombs outside when I think the neighbors were outside and able to hear me. Oops...

Friday, September 10 2021

I don't care, I love it

Finished up this Arbalest model and I'm pretty proud of myself. I chose this model kit because it's a variant version of the design that's usually in the Full Metal Panic anime, and it also has the booster/glider thing which I thought was kind of neat. The kit came with a nifty display base so now I can pose it all cool and stuff. 

And here's all three of the models I've done so far. I've also got an Eva-01 on pre-order, so that's coming later this month. I guess I'm a true anime mecha nerd now!

Sunday, September 5 2021

New Obsessions

Weirdest nerdy obsession I've had in quite awhile is anime robot model kits. I'd always been kind of interested in them (mostly in a woah, the box art looks so cool! kind of way because, hello, anime nerd) but I'd never imagined actually doing one, until the actor Rahul Kohli started posting about them. I then got to remembering that, hey, I liked them, and sure, I like the Gundam series in passing anyway. So when I spotted a kit at Target (for $8!) I swooped it up and finished it in a few hours. The instructions were simple to follow and the resulting figure had enough points of articulation to make it a useable action figure.

Hey that was kinda fun, I thought. And I tweeted about it, tagging Rahul Kohli in the process. And then he wrote back!

 

I mean, it wasn't a lot or anything but it was enough vindication for me!

I'd sat on getting another kit for a while and then I decided to just go for it (after seeing Rahul posting about another kit lol). I decided on getting something from Gundam WIng, which was the first Gundam series I'd watched back in the day when Toonami aired it. What I really wanted was the Shen Long or Sandrock (my two favorites) but Wing Zero was the cheapest ($17.99 at Barnes and Noble of all places). So I ordered it online, received it, and then finished it up in about 6 hours.

 

The first kit I did was considered entry grade, a good introduction to how it's all done. Wing Zero is HG, or high grade, considered an intermediate grade so I thought that this would be good enough for me. This kit is much more intricate than the entry grade one, with more detailing and more runners (the plastic frames you cut the pieces from). What flustered me the most were the decals, tiny stickers some no larger than a pinhead. Jeff gave me a tip to use a toothpick or a needle to apply the decals to the model, and that helped a lot. Unfortunately, nothing helped my inept noobness when I screwed up and forgot to put a decal on before snapping the shield together. When I tried to pry the pieces apart again, I tore another decal that was meant to be the trim on the shield so...oh well, casualties. Live and learn. I just won't display the shield. Unfortunately the shield is needed for when Wing Zero transforms into "bird" mode, but I won't be doing that, I think. It still turned out great, and I'm considering getting display bases so I can put these guys on my anime figure shelf in actiony poses. 

Suffice to say, I think I'm hooked. I ended up getting another model, not a Gundam this time, but the Arbalest from Full Metal Panic. One of my other favorite mecha series. I'm probably not going to do this one right away. Going to take my time. I bought some specific hobby nippers to clip the pieces off of the plastic runners. I'd noticed while doing the Wing Zero that my fingers and some nail clippers really wasn't the best combo. So I'm going to try and do this one properly. I also want to learn a bit about displaying them properly. And maybe learn about painting and weathering. Safe to say this is my hobby obsession for the moment so I figure I have a few more weeks before I get tired of it like I did with sewing, crocheting, and knitting lol.

Saturday, September 4 2021

Good Morning. Good Night. Thank You. Goodbye.

Goodbye, Evangelion.

I finished watching the final Evangelion movie: Evangelion 3.0+1.0 Thrice Upon a Time last night, and I'm still in the middle of processing my reaction to it. Neon Genesis Evangelion was one of the first true "anime" series I remember watching. I spent late summers in the '90s in California, and one summer the local PBS station KTEH began airing this show. I'd only watched a few episodes of it, but dammit I was hooked. The weirdness. The giant robot battles. The angst. I loved it. When I returned to Hawaii, I decided that I should watch the entire thing. And thanks to a very geeky video rental service run by a local comic book shop, I eventually finished the anime.

The story, on the surface about a last ditch effort to protect the Earth from rampaging giant monsters called Angels, but actually about very real, very human trauma, rang true with me. I saw bits of myself in every character. All of them strugging to prove themselves worthy of life. Shinji, the reluctant pilot who only "gets in the robot" because he wants his father's approval. Rei, the mysterious soft-spoken girl who's questioning her entire existence. Asuka, a forceful personality hiding a fragile heart. Misato, wanting to prove humanity is still worth protecting. And so on and so on and so on. The series is widely known as the work of one man, Hideaki Anno, who decided to use the show as therapy for his own struggles with depression and self-worth. It's a deeply personal work that resonates with so many people, including me. 

So what do I think of the new Rebuild movies and the Ultimate ending? Let's keep going. Spoilers abound.

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Overall I'm glad the story ended how it did. There's a timeskip, we see all the kids as adults, and they seem to exist in a world with no Evas or no Angels. They've earned it after all the shit they've gone through. Shinji seems to have broken the loop of suffering. I wonder if this is because Mari, the only Eva pilot who seems to have no hang-ups about piloting them, exists in this world. Or because this is the only iteration of the story where Shinji's father finally opens up about his feelings for his dead wife and the true reasons behind the Human Instrumentality Project. Transforming humans into an all-knowing entity and breaking down the painful barriers that keep us separated would mean that Gendo could reunite with Yui. It turns out that Gendo isn't that different from his son after all. Surprise surprise, breakthrough. 

I'm also fascinated with how the final movie portrayed Asuka. She's much more confident in this version, less hung up about her past and her own trauma. She seems to have gotten over her mother's suicide. But I have to wonder about some of Asuka's final moments, where a slew of Asuka "series" pictures is shown on a wall. Also when Asuka comes in contact with someone who calls herself her "mother", she looks exactly like her. Is Asuka here a clone of the original? Just like Rei? It would mean that both these girls are clones in search of identity. The Asuka of NGE hated Rei because she saw in her the perfect girl that she could never be.

And speaking of Rei, how great is her ending? The clone who finds purpose and learns emotions like love and joy and regret. I'm quite satisfied with her growth and in her "death", Shinji starts to realize that letting go is okay. His father also learns that learning to let go is okay. One doesn't need to suffer if you lose someone. One has to move on.

I loved that the final movie ends hopefully, versus the terrifyingly lonely world that Shinji found himself in during the ENd of Evangelion movie. Yes relationships hurt, but so does being alone, and the relationships are definitely worth the pain. That is human and I think that is the final message of Evangelion. 

Still not sure what was up with Mari though. She doesn't seem to have any backstory other than what we see in the movies. Was she neccessary? In a way, she was. Her presence meant the story could go in a new direction because she's an unknown quanitity. The fly in the ointment. Otherwise, she's just a cute girl with glasses and a pink plug suit and pink Evangelion and that's...different. I guess.

Friday, September 3 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Saw this movie today and it was fantastic. A modern-day wuxia with Marvel trappings, tapping into the tropes of kung-fu cinema while taking full advantage of that sweet Disney cash. I'd already known Simu Liu from Kim's Convenience, so much so that it was difficult to shake off the idea that Jung was trying to reconcile with his Appa. But all second generation Asian-Americans deal with this in some capacity or another, the balance between upholding your family's legacy and following one's own choices. And holy crap, Tony Leung is a revelation. He's already Hong Kong cinema royalty. Why did it take *this* long for Hollywood to cast him in anything? I don't want to mention much else for fear of spoilers but I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was great to watch Michelle Yeoh keep up with Simu Liu in the sparring scene, I want Akwafina as my bestie, and Meng'er Zhang is wonderfully badass and I look forward to her future in the MCU the most. 

Thursday, August 26 2021

Stay healthy, kids

I realize I haven't spoken (written?) about my adventure for the past week so this is just to chronicle that bit of madness. I'd started to feel a little "odd" about Tuesday of last week. A little tired. A little achy. A slight headache. I thought that this was just the back end of getting through my period (sometimes that whammies me more than usual) so I sort of shrugged it off. I went to work as usual on Wednesday, but by the time of the end of my shift, the headache had gotten way worse. I was trying to pound out some pizza dough and every single time my hands hit the counter, a wave of pain just shot up to my head. I was grateful to get home, get in the shower, and then get to bed.

Then, Thursday morning, I woke up and couldn't get my eyes open for the pain. My head felt like it was wedged in a vise, a very tight affair where every single movement of my head resulted in waves of new, awful pain. I get migraines. I understand the pain of an awful, awful headache. But this was different. This was happening all throughout my head. Veins were popping out the side of my head, almost comically. Almost like the manga/anime trope of a vein popping at the side of the character's head when they're vexed. And I was vexed. I'd also noticed a tightness in my chest (uh-oh) and shortness of breath and the need to go to the bathroom much more often (to shake off the nausea and whatever was roiling in my stomach). I had convinced myself that I had COVID. 

Called in sick that afternoon.

Then came the attempt in finding a test so I could figure out whether or not I actually had COVID. So...as easy as it is to get a vaccine now, it's still very hard to get a timely COVID test. Luckily, I was able to book one at an urgent care clinic for Tuesday. So I had to quarantine myself at home until then. I spent the next few days in the throes of pain, nausea, tiredness, and sleep. Sometimes it hurt too much to sleep. Sometimes I'd be awake at ungodly hours in the morning because the headache had subsided and I was deathly afraid that if I went to bed, the headache would creep back in while I slept. It was a wild time.

It wasn't COVID.

But with the EVERYTHING that's going on now, I worried that I might catch it, even fully vaccinated. But, I'm grateful that it's not COVID. I'm just angry at this flu/head cold/whatever this was that robbed me of a week of living. 

Wednesday, August 25 2021

A g-g-g-ghost!

In my weakened state, I'd decided to forgo finishing up my playthrough of Yakuza 7 (I'd grown a little bored of farming XP to level up for the final dungeon). So instead, I went ahead and bought the Director's Cut of Ghost of Tsushima, a game I'd thoroughly enjoyed and platinumed about a year ago. So now I'm in the middle of another playthrough of this game on my PS5. It's utterly gorgeous and I'm getting engrossed in the story once again. I might choose another path for my Jin this time. In my previous playthrough, I'd had him kill his uncle rather than spare him, but now I think I'm going to allow him to live. Showing mercy rather than giving him an honorable death. 

I still think this is one of the best adventure games I've ever played. 

Let me innnnnnnn

Today is the first day of Disney Parks' new annual passholder program, Magic Key. I, like an idiot who's just had a health scare and somehow has taken this to mean that I wish to do something kinda rando and dumb in order to affirm my life, decided that I should try to get them. I know that I won't possibly be able to use them for more than once or twice a year, but perhaps I could make those visits worth it? I'm not sure.

The screencap was taken about 10 minutes ago, and I've basically been on the same page for 6 hours at this point. Fun times. Will I even actually get to purchase these passes once I reach the front of the queue? Who even knows. I've always enjoyed the thrill of these sorts of endeavors. SDCC passes. Concert tickets, Stage passes. What have you. I'm...a little addicted to it. We'll see if this translates into me becoming a Disney annual passholder? 

EDIT: Well I decided not to get it after all. The price for 2 passes was just...too much...

Tuesday, August 24 2021

Moriarty the Patriot

Reached the part in this anime series where Irene Adler

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dies and takes on a new identity as "James Bonde". I'm in the middle of either thinking this is genius or eye-rollingly bad. I mean, in a show where every character is a bishonen version of a classic British character, I can't really complain but it's odd. Fun, though. I'm not mad that Irene is now a man, but...James Bond? Seriously?

Still will keep watching but I can't promise I won't side-eye this thing from time to time because of the ridiculousness. 

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