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Ciel [userpic]

moving journals

June 22nd, 2008 (07:14 pm)

Hey! It's been a while, ahahah......

I'm moving eljay journals. For reasons too complex and selfish to really get into, but the basics are simply because I want to slowly sever ties with the name 'elsiey'. *shrugs* The new journal is horsduciel and while it's quite empty right now, I promise there will be plenty of fics and reviews and rabbles there later. XD

As for my Socrpius/Rose fic, I'm rewriting 'Crossroads' and it'll be uploaded on my new journal. I promise an update on that by this Saturday. There, it's in writing. Now I can't skirt away from my duty. XD;;;; Any other fics are basically abandoned.

So yes, the new journal is horsduciel~ Feel free to add me there, etc etc.

Ciel [userpic]

*.* Gift Fic? For me?

June 8th, 2008 (11:18 pm)

So I avoided my f-list for the past week 'cause my workload was gonna crush me into millions of pieces if I didn't get my act together, and I come back to the eljay world to find GIFT FIC!!

*.* You guys... Best. Present. EVER!!!

Ciel [userpic]

Boycott Tokyopop and its Manga Pilot contract from HELL!!

May 28th, 2008 (03:51 pm)
pissed off

current mood: pissed off

Oh lord, I cannot believe my eyes. Bryan Lee O'Malley describes it all

*chucks all Tokyopop manga/manhwa I own* I don't care how much I love that series/creator. I can support them by other means WITHOUT pooling any money towards that satanic corporation of death.

Ciel [userpic]

Manwha Review: Peppermint by Eun-Jin Seo

May 18th, 2008 (06:37 pm)

I've seen the manwha lying around before, but I never went into it 'cause I read the summary (which goes something along the lines of--fangirl is like, totally in love with this idol who goes to her school!! but likes, this other dude, keeps coming into my life and interfering with my moments with said idol crush!! love triangle of the century, bitches!! *insert bad grammar along with this summary, etc) and usually avoid it like a plague.

However, I quickly changed my mind when I saw the $4.99 sticker slapped on it, and eyed it with more curiousity. My curiousity reached its peak when there was an EXTRA 30% off on the $4.99.

Never let it be said that I'm not a shameless cheapskate. Those who say so clearly don't know me at all.

Okay, but I'm not so desperate to buy myself crappy comics, no matter how incredibly cheap it was. (Note: This is a NEW copy, from like, a well-establish, mainstream bookstore. Therefore, it ain't a second-hand copy with pages falling apart. It is actually a brand new hardcopy with no blemishes whatsoever.) So I decided to give the first chapter a chance and if it wasn't too repulsive, I could consider. (I could totally resist the price tag if it was going to be a crappy manhwa!! No matter how cheap Threads of Time gets, I'll never buy it. And that had the exact same $4.99 deal as well, so I'm not all talk.)

You guys, I didn't realize my true love came in the form of a short elementary grade-schooler cruisin' around in a skateboard, honest to a fault and always ends up insulting others without so much as noticing or caring, completely insensitive to other people's thoughts and feelings, a total selfish brat who sees people for who they are and loves one girl forever and ever, like a dog with a bone that just won't let go, until I read this manwha. I really, really didn't. I was charmed despite his small stature, his immature ways, his complete lack of understanding of a girl's feelings, his rude yet honest way of speaking, etc etc. 'cause he's just so sweet and innocent in a bratty kind of way, and the way he is so totally all over Hey and tries his best to be the best guy for her, even though he may not get things right all the time, and say the wrong most of the time, and he's such a good guy in the end that I can't help but love him. Call me a cradle robber, I don't give a damn. Eo is the sweetest thing ever and it was out of my love for him (and the beautiful price tag on this manwha) that made me buy it.

Having said that, I'm not saying that this manwha is perfect or anything. First of all, the artwork was mediocre, and the panelling was really awkward in all sorts of places. The whole Hey-being bullied-'cause-she-managed-to-get-the-attention-of-both-Eo-and-Idol-Dude was borderlining on ridiculous, and the fact that Eo breaks out into hives whenever he touches a girl was also fantastical to a fault, but that all just fell away next to my love for Eo and his ways. I like the fact that the Idol *doesn't* become interested in Hey beyound 'oh, she's a nice girl who helps me out in my script once in a while', and how Hey isn't perfect in the slightest. There were clearly many girls who were much prettier than her, and she's totally high-strung and naive, and Eo sees all this but loves her all the same!! I love the romance between Eo and Hey, how they totally misunderstand each other and everything, but the manwhaga tells the story in such a way that you believe that the two are actually in love with each other, and not like Eo-likes-Hey-because-he-doesn't-break-out-into-hives-near-her (I hate romance stories like that, where dude falls in love with girl 'cause she was immune to blah blah crap, or whatever. 'side, Eo WAS having allergic reactions around her too at first, but it gradually faded away as they hanged out more often and Eo started to care about her) or Hey-uses-Eo-as-Idol's-replacement (you can feel her falling in love with him as she watches him do things for her, in a natural kind of way, and her thinking about Ez, the idol, less and less). You get this story where two very flawed people who didn't like each other at first slowly falling for each other, with the guy falling in love first, and the girl later, and it turns out to be this sweet story of first true love and yeah.

So, in short, what drove this story was the amazing coolness of Eo, and how the Eo/Hey ship sorted itself out. Of course, the relationship could have done with a lot less drama from the competing 'love interests', but I'm not going to complain when the story is told in such a way that it managed to convince me that they were actually like, in love in love with one another. It wasn't the best manwha I've ever read, but it was worth buying the first volume for the price it was given, and I like Eun-Jin Seo's way of charecterization and storytelling (like, honestly, she managed to tell a storyline that I usually hate and make it into something that I actually got fond of. That takes skill), and I got a glimpse of her new work Fantamir. Seo-nim improved her art quite a bit and the panelling isn't so awkward anymore, plus, Mir is an awesome female lead, what with her fighting skills and headstrong ways, but naive enough to be taken advantage of fairly easily, so she's not too badass-like, AND, it has fantasy and school setting mixed together and I love this genre so I'm putting Eun-Jin Seo on my to-look-out-for radar list and have high expectations of Fantamir

Ciel [userpic]

Movies of April 18: Forbidden Kindgom, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc.

April 27th, 2008 (09:41 pm)

So, I've been movie watching this month. I remember the weekend of April 18, where I briefly struggled between choosing Forbidden Kingdom or Forgetting Sarah Marshall as the movie to watch on the opening weekend. In the end, Forbidden Kingdom won out, because Jackie Chan + Jet Li = Epic, and the friend I was going with that particular weekend to watch movies just ain't a fan of romantic comedy. However, since I'm a devoted Veronica Mars fan, I just had to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so I watched it on the second weekend instead. Now, I shall give my thoughts on the two movies

Forbidden Kingdom - Alright, this movie gets zero points for plot creativity. I mean, New York white guy gets sucked into the magical world of Ancient China, finds out he's boy of prophecy and has to return magical object to so-and-so, blah blah blah, we've seen it already, big deal. And I give it negative a million for the romance. Too forced, too fake, and the ending made me watch to dash my brains out. And, why is it always the white guy that gets the girl? Seriously? Whatever, I try to tell myself it could have been worse, but it still doesn't make me feel much better.

What saved this movie? The thing that drew me into this movie in the first place: Jackie Chan and Jet Li FIGHT SCENES!! Anyone who grew up watching Hong Kong Kung Fu movies would have probably killed for this day to happen. Also, Jackie Chan rocked as the drunken master. All the times I ever laughed in this movie, was all because of him. Jackie Chan (especially) and Jet Li made this otherwise mediocre movie into a B rated movie. And, a cameo appearance of the White Haird Demoness. She rox my sox.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall - Friggin' brilliant. Hilarious, raunchy and all around, good time fun. The romance was sweet without being melodramatic, and I even found all the sexual jokes hilarious. Tasteless in many ways, but damn, they were funny. And the Dracula rock puppet opera? PWNS MY SOUL!!! One thing that I really liked about this show was that the ex wasn't like, evil, and the dumped wasn't perfect either. Both contributed to the fallout, and all four characters in the love square were fully developed and cool in their own way. My favourite is actually Aldous Snow. Sex maniac and quite pretentious, but actually pretty decent to others and outrageously funny. I came out of the movie fully convinced that Aldous/Sarah could have totally worked post-movie. But then again, I might have been the rare, weird ones who thought this. ^^;; Brilliant movie, deserving a smacking A+++ and should have definitely gotten #1 in the box office,, but ah well.

And, I wish I could watch Pathology (WHY, for the Love of God, is it not airing in Canada?! WHY?!) and want to watch Then She Found Me, 'cause it has Colin Firth aka Mr. Darcy from the BBC 1995 version.

Ciel [userpic]

Review of Jason Long's Offensive Fouls

April 10th, 2008 (05:20 pm)

So, last Thursday, my class was invited to see a play performed at our school called Offensive Fouls. I was tempted to skip because I had assignments that were unfinished that I had to hand in two periods later, and watching these plays always seemed like a waste of time, because they were usually dull and preachy, and I couldn't recall a single moment in my life when I watched a play performed in school that I actually liked. (Well, there was this one time when in the play, the girls had a huge catfight where the girl pulled out the other girl's fake hair and the other girl turned out to be bold... Sadly, I remember nothing else about it.)

I would have skipped that class if I could, but unfortunately I was lured into the classroom before I realized that they were putting on a play and by the time I noticed, the teachers bared the doors, convincing me that they were the spawns of the devil and loved to watch us students suffer.

However! I am actually glad I stayed. The play was excellent.

So, basically, it was about a guy with some Irish heritage and a Chinese girl who were teenagers in love. It was their anniversary, and as the story unfolds, we learn of the boy's action last night towards a Chinese immigrant and when the girl confronts him about that night, issues about both families, their cultural values, and the little relationship things that bothered the two teens finally blew up, and they were forced to face each other's differences and the truth.

What I liked about this play was that it wasn't preachy in the slightest. It took on the questioning approach, throwing questions that didn't have a defined right or wrong answer to them at the audience, and witholding the answers so that the audience can come up with their own thoughts. And I'm glad that Long made it so that it wasn't like, the Irish boy was completely in the wrong, and the Chinese gal was placed up there in the altar. They both have their share of faults and fears, and we can see that. Playing the story this was stops us from placing judgement on the characters, and simply allows us to see them as real teenagers with real teenager relatioinship problems. I loved the ending. It was quiet, a large contrast to the huge explosive fight the couple had going on, and the silence of questions unanswered could be heard. I was charmed.

The play was staged in an interesting format that I believe is called all-around stage? ^^; Well, whatever it is, it allows the audience to sit at any angle around the stage and still see what is going on. I liked it, and it was placed in such a way that it felt like we were in the same room as this couple having their fight, with them all the way.

I love the chemistry between the two leads too. Through this confrontation, we can see how cute they are together, their love for one another, how stupidly in love the guy is around her, trying to be all big to impress the girl and in the end, just making a fool of himself. How the girl tries to get mad at him, but has that soft look on her face when she watches him trying so hard to impress him, how sweet he is. It's cute, and sweet, and coloured with a taste of bitterness, and I really want the two back together after this huge mess. There was a discussion about this after the play was over, and, well, I know things are messy right now and of course they're broken up after this fight. I can't see them coming back together the next day or whatever. But, you know, I want them to be able to go beyond these barriers, become stronger and show everyone that their love for one another can leap through those racial and family disapproval that greets them. I'm an idealist, I know, but, I'm fond of happy endings. XD;;

Ciel [userpic]

First Impressions of Gonzo's Tower of Druaga and BLASSREITER

April 6th, 2008 (11:36 am)

So, for those who are out of the loop in the anime business world, Gonzo, a Japanese animation company, has decided to release two of their new anime titles Tower of Druaga and BLASSREITER on the worldwide web with subtitles for international viewing! Of course, that basically means that I have to watch these two anime titles now, just to relish the feeling of being able to watch these shows online, and it'll be totally legal! I put aside all my qualms over watching an anime based off some game (I usually never watch those types of anime shows, 'cause they always seem to be bad) or an anime that takes about fusing with motorcycles and no plot revelation in their synopsis, in favour of Gonzo's beautiful gesture towards their international audience.

However, that doesn't mean I walk into these shows with high expectations. I simply decided to sit through both of the first episodes, albeit with very low expectations since these types of shows aren't exactly my cup of tea, and give them all a shot.

I was actually plesantly surprised, especially with Tower of Druaga. ToD proved to be a wild card. First, you think that it's gonna be one of those anime shows that takes itself really seriously, adapting faithfully from the game. Then cue in the OP, which gave the impression that the show would be more of a .hack// flavour, boucing between gamers playing and their real life situations. Then jump to the actual episode, which was a hilarious parody of like, basically EVERYTHING, from Star Wars, to character death to Gurren Lagaan. The episode left me highly amused, and I look forward to the next episode. From the first episode, it proved to be a show that doesn't quite follow conventions, and I'm all for that. The direction this anime will take is completely up in the air, and I shall be optimistic about the next few episodes, which will either break or make this series. XD

As for BLASSREITER, it wasn't exactly ground-breaking or anything. Basically, we meet this guy we hardly know, and he is an ex-racer who lost a leg, and it's just in general about his fall from fame, and etc. Emo ensues. He wants his legs, his life back, etc etc. Then, cue in mysterious lady with huge boobs giving him a pill and told him that basically with this, he'll get his legs back but with various side effect, and does he want it? (I was reminded of Matrix and the whole "rabbit hole" deal.) Of course he takes it, and he kinda morphs into this monster like thing... Well, to be perfectly honest, I have a soft spot for the whole deal-with-the-devil type of stories, and there is the possible potential of the story becoming really interesting, how this monster drug will effect his life, preferably in one of those very awful ways with horrible consequences. I'm less enthused about BLASSREITER than compare to TOD, but I'm still willing to sit through another episode or two to determine whether or not it's worth following.

I'm crossing my fingers here and hoping that I will come to truly like one of these shows. I'm so so happy that Gonzo is doing this, and I really want to support them by liking one of these shows they're releasing so I can happily by their DVDs and, if it all goes well, cause a Domino effect in other Japanese companies to follow suit. XD

Ciel [userpic]

Novels of 2008

March 24th, 2008 (12:46 pm)

Just to keep track of what I've read this year. Record-keeping, you might say.

1. Storm Thief by Chris Wooding
2. Midnight at the Dragon Cafe by Judy Fong Bates
3. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
4. Replay by Ken Grimwood
5. Green Grass, Running Water by Thomas King
6. She's So Money by Cherry Cheva
7. Carpe Diem by Autumn Cornwell
8. Mister Monday by Garth Nix
9. Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
10. Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison
11. The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence
12. Three Day Road by Joseph Boyeden
13. What We All Long For by Dionne Brand
14. Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix
15. Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix
16. Spadework by Timothy Findley
17. Verdigris Deep by Frances Hardinge
18. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
19. Persuasion by Jane Austen
20. Mortal Instruments: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
21. The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray by Chris Wooding
22. Un Lun Dun by China Miéville
23. Passage by Connie Willis
24. Valiant by Holly Black
25. The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
26. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
27. Havemercy by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
28. Black Book of Secrets by F. E. Higgins
29. Pilgarlic the Death by Bernard Epps
30. Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling by D. M. Cornish
31. Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
32. Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
33. Spiderwick Chronciles: Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
34. Spiderwick Chronicles: The Ironwood Tree by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
35. Spiderwick Chronicles: The Wrath of Mulgarath by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi
35. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
37. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
38. Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi
39. Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
40. Dust by Elizabeth Bear
41. Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage by Alma Alexander
42. Airman by Eoin Colfer
43. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
44. Atonement by Ian McEwan
45. Savvy by Ingrid Law
46. A Companion to Wolves by Sarah Monette & Elizabeth Bear
47. Carnival by Elizabeth Bear
48. Death Note Another Note: The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases by Nisio Isin
49. King Rat by China Mieville
50. Winter Birth by Brian Ruckley
51. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradoz by Eoin Colfer

Ciel [userpic]

In which I ramble about 21, and the Greatness of Card Counting

March 12th, 2008 (08:19 pm)

current mood: excited

Okay, I’ve basically been really hyped about the 21 movie since I saw the trailer a couple months ago while watching the previews for Cloverfield, and knowing that it’s coming out this month, in less than twenty days, I couldn’t bear it any more and ransacked YouTube.Com to see if there was any more extra features for 21.

Unfortunately, I found no more extras on the film 21. But! I have found a documentary called MIT’s Breaking Vegas, which is based off another book by the guy who wrote Bringing Down the House (the book 21 is based on) and devoured it like nothing else.

*.* Card Counting. Is. So. Cool!

Okay, basically what Card Counting is… A surefire way of winning Blackjack, without cheating. Argh, I can’t talk about Card Counting without blabbering like an idiot. (I –think- about Card Counting with actually capital letters in my head, you gusy.) I just. The whole concept is so amazing! That the smart math guy, if he trains hard enough, can own the casino. You don’t need to bribe, trick anyone, anything. You just need to be math smart! I was completely enthralled with the idea.

It has Smart People Taking Down Las Vegas, heavy partay-ing, and good, wholesome fun. And it has Aaron Yoo, whom I think is verrrrrry hot, but, ahem, minor point. Ahahah. And it’s coming out March 28th! (Yes, I will be watching this opening day, and dragging all the friends I can grab my hands on before they run away from me after seeing the maniacal gleam in my eyes.) Watch the trailer. Watch MIT’s Breaking Vegas. Most importantly, WATCH THE MOVIE!! WATCH IT ON OPENING DAY, WEEKEND, WHATEVER!!

You’ll never think of Blackjack the same way again.

Ciel [userpic]

Book Review: Midnight at Dragon Café by Judy Fong Bates

March 10th, 2008 (12:16 pm)
current mood: accomplished

Yeah, so I'm a little late on my book review promise. But hey, the review is extra long this time so... Hopefully it makes up for it. XD

So, I’m now giving my first review of what is considered to be and marketed as an ‘adult’ ‘literary’ novel, from the eyes of a girl in her late teens with some Chinese heritage in the background. As all my reviews, it’ll be largely informal and splashed with random thoughts I had about this book as I read it. You’ve all been forewarned.

The book: Midnight at the Dragon Café, by Judy Fong Bates. I remember coming across it while I was browsing the bargain shelves in a nearby bookstore, just hanging around because I didn’t feel like hitting home early that day and my craving for booksbooksbooks was too compelling for me to resist. It was obvious from the cover, with a box that was intricately drawn with typical Ancient China art style designs and the telltale dragon poking in from the top right corner of the cover that it was yet again, one of those books where Chinese culture was key. And from the word ‘Café’, I had a hunch it was probably another story about Chinese immigrants working to death in some restaurant in some part of Northern American and usually in the eyes of a teenager or child that has to deal with the culture clash between their Chinese parents and their Non-Chinese peers. Now, there’s nothing wrong with this type of scenario. I’ve read books that deal with this culture clash beautifully (Child of the Owl by Laurence Yep is classic and genius. Never disagree with me on this point.) but it’s been done so many times throughout the ages that the concept wears thin. I’m sick of seeing the rebellious Asian teenager fighting against their parents to let go of some of their strong Asian cultural values, usually about the parents insisting they get into Harvard and study study study while said teen wants to become an artist or something. Oh! And the whole going out with a non-Chinese guy/girl and trying to hide that fact from your parents. Point is, I’ve seen about every bit of this kind of story in all its forms, and unless your name is Laurence Yep my childhood hero whom I’ll read each and every single book that ever comes out by him regardless of clichés etc, there better be something More. (I liken my feelings to those who are deeply entrenched in the Fantasy/Supernatural/etc genre and seeing yet another Vampire story. It’s. Been. Done. )

I was tempted to just bypass the book. But, as I’m a glutton for punishment and my eyes caught the price tag that sang to me about books that only cost $5.99 I picked it up and decided to read the cover flap, telling myself to be optimistic. The summary wasn’t very striking. Girl moves to Canada at a very young age with Mom to be reunited with Dad, tries to balance life between her family in the restaurant and school, yaddya. Mom’s discontent and wants to move back to Hong Kong, Dad’s just working like a dog to get by, Half-Brother feels smoldered by his Duties, and Narrator is just trying to find her own way. Nothing remarkable there. But there was a promise of secrets (I quote from cover flap “the story of a young girl whose life is changed over the course of one summer when she learns the burden of secrets and, ultimately, something of forgiveness.”) and tragedy was mentioned towards the end of the novel, and the combination of the two, along with the fact that it takes place in a small Canadian town (which I moved to recently) and the lull of $5.99, made me pick up the book and tell myself, “Well, I’ll just read the first page and if I’m not impressed, I’ll just drop it, $5.99 or not.”

And, you guys, Bates’ language is pretty. Simple, artfully done. The book opens with a description of books. “The first is a coil-bound sketch pad with a cover made of heavy cardboard, a muted olive grenn.” I was lured. I was drawn. And there was another book, one that predicts the narrator’s future, a tiny book a fortune teller from Hong Kong wrote for her that details her life story, a story that makes her mom frown with worry and warn her against water without ever letting her daughter read it with her own eyes. It was an unconventional enough of a beginning, a description of the setting to start things off. And for the life of me, I couldn’t predict what was in the book by the fortune teller. The story has the façade of the typical formula I see all the time, yet there’s always a hint of something hidden, something veiled and just out of my reach. It taunted me and I knew I had to read the book to unravel its secrets. And, let me tell you, this is a nice feeling. It’s been a long time since I came across a book dealing with Chinese Culture Clash when I couldn’t completely predict the story from beginning to end and I suppose that I’ve been unconsciously looking for a book like this all this time.

At the end, I had my reservations about this book, but for those moments when she describes, with no sentimentality whatsoever, the feelings of the girl floating between two worlds, the childlike observations of the world around her, how she interacted with other people, how real she was, for all that, it was worth the read, and worth the money too.

Well, in the end, despite my scruples with the family secret and etc, I have to say I love the emotions and interactions the narrator experiences and observes. It’s understated, unsentimental and rings of Truth. Midnight at the Dragon Café is definitely worth the read, even for the most sated of us on the subject of Asian Culture Clash.

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