I DON'T THINK I GOT THE PRETEND JOB...
Eh, so I was at a job interview skills workshop this week, and I had a mock job interview on Thursday, but I wasn't that satisfied with my performance. Even when it's a fake job interview, I get embarassed by my lack of actual formal job experience. I was told to fudge it over by talking about the things you can offer when you're asked "tell me a little about yourself", where the employer really wants you to talk about things relevant to the job you're applying for and not your biography, but things like "I'm a good team player and can also work well by myself" and "I'm a good listener who will always put the customer first" seem like things nearly everyone can say. Not that the workshop didn't give me a good idea as to things I've said in interviews before that I should not say, such as not highlighting my lack of experience, but I can still use a lot more confidence going into interviews. I'm going to try applying for Ontario Works programme
, though just to get some job experience, not for welfare. I don't know if our family has too much in the way of assets to be eligible
. (Probably depends on what they'd call an "asset"; for example, would they consider a 300+ DVD collection largely bought when we had a lot more money for such things an "asset"?)
Going from complaining about having no money to talking about things I bought with money (is that a paradox?), after buying The Life Aquatic
, I could not resist the temptation to wander along to the Chapters on Rideau Street. I was only going to buy one thing, and only if they had it in stock. But they did have it in stock, so there was no way in hell I wasn't going to buy it.
Volume 8 of Mihona Fujii's GALS! manga
, this time with a cover with a fruity theme. Some people
find Mihona Fujii's "florid" covers ( and "florid"
is such a perfect word to describe them) a bit garish, and I admit that it took me a while to warm to them myself, but I think Mihona colours them so that the characters do kind of blend into the background as I think the composition of the image as a whole is supposed to be reminiscent of the sorts of floral print patterns Japanese kogals love.
Anyway, for those of you who find a lot of the resolutions to the crises of the month/week in Gals!
to be a bit too "facile"
, with Ran, or her younger sister Sayo (motto: "I'm a lot more than just the Chibi-Usa version of Ran Kotobuki, datchu!") showing up and giving a speech to the single-appearance classmate, making everything alright, this entire volume is focused on the Kotobuki siblings' and friends' attempts to help this one distraught girl whose problems are a bit more fleshed out than usual, and, while there is at least one situation very reminiscent of a certain episode of Degrassi
, her actions are only a symptom of the larger whole.
Not that this volume is devoid of humour... I'd doubt I'd read it if it were. Ran Kotobuki is forced to humilate herself by acting like a "girly girl" in order to make more money. And there's this one scene that I predict many people who are reading DC Comic/CMX's English language translation will bitch about when CMX gets around to translating volume 8 a year or so from now (assuming CMX is still around and publishing
) thinking that CMX added a now very dated pop culture reference, thinking that it's not in the original work. Surprisingly, the <Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
reference *IS* in the original Japanese version, right down to Ran's father, Kaizo Kotobuki, in the Chris Tarrant/Regis Philbin/Meredith Vieira role as host, asking Ran "Is that your final answer?" ("C'est ton dernier mot?" in the French version.) There is indeed a Japanese version, Kuizu $ Mirionea
) hosted by Mino Monta
, and produced by Fuji TV. (Because of Japanese rules regarding game shows, the top prize is ¥10,000,000, which translates to only about $100,000 U.S.)
The only downside to this volume is that, after this, I believe there are only two volumes left to go.
Also on Tuesday, I revisited the Rideau Street McDonald's
and am pleased to report that, not only do they have trays, the ketchup dispensers were full! Checking my Site Meter, I did get a couple of Google hits for "Rideau Street McDonald's" a few weeks back, so maybe that's what inspired them to make sure they have a good supply of ketchup readily available and to have trays for those of us eating in the restaurant, though I suspect they always have trays in the daytime, they just hide them away at night when there are likely to be drunks (though I doubt one of those flimsy plastic trays could do much damage).
Anyway, I'm going to take a shower and then take the bus over to the anime club at University of Ottawa. I was happy to find out that the club is indeed showing Aa! Megami-sama!
, but they're showing the 1993 OVA series first, which I already own twice over (on DVD and Laserdisc) before getting to the TV series in the fail.
I wasn't going to buy it right away due to general lack of funds, but I forgot that my parents would be giving me a little money for mowing and I thought I'd walk over to the Sparks Street HMV just to see what the price was and it was just below $30 Canadian (pre-tax), so I bought it after all.
It's not Rushmore
or The Royal Tenenbaums
, but, considering those two Wes Anderson films are both on my all-time top eight greatest live-action films list, "not quite as good" is still a fairly high compliment. I only got to see it once in theatres, and I haven't really re-watched the film itself yet. I remember being somewhat split on whether or not it can be considered an "interesting failure", which I don't really consider an insult. I have plenty of films on DVD which I consider to be interesting failures, like Tobe Hooper's Lifeforce
, Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire
, and Squaresoft's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within
where I will concede that the films fell short of their ambition, but they're also films that are wildly imaginitive and visually inventive and there are plenty of things about the films I can recommend. Just they feel incomplete somehow. But I'm reluctant to call The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
an "interesting failure" because I'm not sure that Wes Anderson really wants us to dive too far below the surface of a simple adventure story about a group of men, who are really just overgrown children emotionally, who have difficulty functioning in the normal adult world, so they find solace and camaraderie on the ocean waves, where they don't have to deal with the pressures of normal adult life. Anyway, I could go on, but I'll write a proper review some other time, after several more viewings with and without the commentary track.
I watched some of the second disk, and it definitely lives up to the Criterion Collection reputation. The disk two of this set is a lot more "packed" than the relatively-light selection of extras on the disk two of The Royal Tenenbaums
, which, while fairly generous, seemed skimpier than the extras they were able to fit in, somehow, on the single disk Criterion Rushmore
release in 2000 (including an entire episode of Charlie Rose
and a 20-minute or so behind the scenes documentary from Eric Chase Anderson, among other things). This time we get two behind-the-scene docs, the 50-minute This is an Adventure
, from Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, and Matthew Prinzing, and the shorter Intern Video diary, shot by Matthew Gray Gubler, who played one of the interns in the film and who was Wes Anderson's real-life intern for a while. Both documentaries are the kind of behind-the-scenes documentaries I far prefer: raw "point the camera and shoot" footage of what really goes on behind-the-scenes on a movie set with minimal commentary, no mastubatory gushing about the film (yes, I already know it's a good film, that's why I bought the DVD, dumbass), and especially none of those goddamned junket shots in the hotel room with the flowers and the movie poster and the fake wall with the bored actors saying the exact same prerehearsed soundbyte comments they just gave individually to 300 local entertainment reporters from across America who are more interested in the free booze they get during their studio-funded stay at a decent Los Angeles area hotel than they are in deviating from the really softball questions on the interview script. Sometimes directors give actual insight into the creative process in the behind-the-scenes docs, but I think Wes Anderson realizes that he's better served giving that sort of information in the director's commentary, which is way better than the one for The Royal Tenenbaums
as he and co-writer Noah Baumbach did it from a table at Bar Pitti
, the Italian restaurant in New York's Greenwich Village where the film was conceived, so you get a lot of ambient noise of mild chatter and utensils clanging (which may or may not be "real"). There is a short "interview" with Anderson and Baumbach from the "Italian talk show" Mondo Monda
, hosted by Antonio Monda
(who is really an associate professor of film at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University). FOr those of you that enjoyed the ineptness of The Peter Murray Show
in The Royal Tenenbaums
set, it's more or less the same joke here, with the talk show looking like it was filmed on VHS circa 1982, with a horrible prange shag carpet and yellow sheet background cpmbination that looks especially terrible in saturated, fuzzy videotape colour. Also, Monda asks really weird questions that have no relevance to the film being discussed, like when did the films go from being Marxist to Social Democrat.
I'm surprised it was so cold in Italy when they were filming, as everyone seems to be wearing thick parkas when they're not on camera. Also, am I the only person who thinks Wes Anderson
, when he was shooting this film, looks remarkably like Jon Heder
when Heder does not have his Napoleon Dynamite perm?
There are 10 full versions of Portuguese language versions of David Bowie songs performed by Brazilian pop singer Seu Jorge (Pelé dos Santos) at various places around the Bellafonte
set, though the only Bowie song of those included which I can sort of hum is "Changes". No "Major Tom". EDIT:
Sorry I didn't realize until I watched all of them that the official title of "Major Tom" is "Space Oddity", so it is there after all. Look, I'm only 30, the peak of David Bowie's career is a couple of years before my time, so pardon me if I didn't know that.
Some people in the Rotten Tomatoes forum were complaining that there's relatively less artwork by Eric Chase Anderson this time around, "only" the front and back covers, the disk artwork, the menus on the screen, and one insert. I think the reason you got an overabundance of Eric's art in the Royal Tenenbaums
set was that much of it was production art, since Eric was very much involved in the design of the interiors of the Tenenbaum house, but, this time around, Eric wasn't nearly as involved in the design process, so there was less existing art to include. Plus Eric was working on his book
, Chuck Dugan Is Awol: A Novel With Maps
. I don't think the criticism that Eric didn't do enough is fair.
I'm already very satisfied with this generous and well-presented double disk set, and I've yet to watch more than a few minutes of the film itself on DVD.
That's as much as I'll write for now. I have to get to a mock job interview.
MOW BETTER BLUES...
Back in my late teens and early twenties, back at the old house in Pincourt, my main source of allowance was mowing my parents' lawn. I wore out a variety of different mowers, and, when the Black and Decker Lawnforcer literally burned out (there was a small fire in the motor that just killed it) at some point around 1998 or 1999 (my mother claims it was a year or two earlier), instead of getting a new mower, my parents, who had a fair amount of money back then, just paid to get landscapers to do the mowing instead. (No, they didn't call themselves "The Lawn Wranglers"
.) They continued paying to get our lawn mown up through the end of the summer of 2003. In 2004, they couldn't afford it anymore, so they got an old-fashioned "push n' pull" mechanical mower, like you'd see in old Goofy
cartoons, to mow the lawn with, though my mother did all the mowing for exercise.
Anyway, when we moved to this house in December, it cam complete with a lot of appliances and equipment owned by the landlord, including a lawnmower, a gasoline-powered Honda mower. While most of the mowers I have ever used have been electric, for a brief time in the mid-1990s in between mowers, I used a gasoline-powered mower that belonged to a friend of my mother from church. So, while I've had minimal experience with gas mowers, it's been almost a full decade since I've used one, and the prospect of using the mower in the garage was, I admit, a bit intimidating. For all of April, I was able to put off mowing as the month was uncharacteristically cool and dry. It's not that the grass wasn't growing at all, it was just growing at a much slower rate than it would do in a normal April. But, now that it's May, it had grown enough that it was starting to look fairly shaggy, and I couldn't really procrastinate anymore, especially since the neighbours on both sides had already had the inaugural mow of the 2005 mowing season.
Saturday, I went into the garage, had one look at the mower and... decided I needed to read the manual first. My father thought for a minute that I was just making excuses, but I don't want to get myself injured, and I don't want to break the thing or have it explode or choke me to death with carbon monoxide.
Sunday afternoon... I procrastinated a bit. But, at around 4 p.m., I went to the garage, rolled the mower onto the driveway, turned the fuel valve to the ON position, put the throttle into "CHOKE", pulled the flywheel brake lever towards the handle, and pulled the recoil starter grip cord a couple of times and... nothing. Was it broken? Can you guess what was wrong? That's right, Marigold
, gasoline-powered lawnmowers have a tendency to work better when there's gasoline inside them. That's something I probably should have put in before starting. Remind me never to pilot any transatlantic airliners.
Once I turned the engine over, it was sluggish for a minute or two, but that's just because it was the first time that it was used in over half a year, and, once it got going, it was smooth mowing for me. The mower controls were actually a lot more simpler than I had anticipated; the manuals is one of those manuals that is meant for several different models, and most of the illustrations were of the top-of-the-line model which has forward drive and several grass disposal functions the mower I was using didn't have, but I actually prefer using the simpler model as I don't have to worry about the drive clutch or the gear shift lever.
And the mow was... pretty uneventful. I did the front yard, went inside for half an hour for a Pepsi and Internet break, and did the back yard. The only halfway eventful things that happened were that I had to sweep grass clippings off of my neighbour's driveway out of courtesy, and I had to avoid dog crap in my backyard. I don't know why I got myself so nervous about mowing. I guess I was just out of practice. It's an easy enough chore, I get some actual exercise, and I get a few bucks for my troubles.
So, in honour of my Honda lawnmower, here's my three favourite Hondas: the Honda Today
, Mami Honda
, and, of cours, E. Honda
After I mowed, I had to get changed because my parents and I were going over to pick up my sister who was buying us Mother's Day dinner at the Broadway Bar and Grill
in Stittsville. We went there thinking that we might be having dinner with her fiancé too, but he was very busy working overtime on some project his company is preparing for the end of the month, so it was a family-only meal. We skipped the appetizers and went for the straight course; I wasn't in a steak mood, so I just ordered a swiss cheese and mushroom burger, which I thought wouldn't be too too filling, but I forgot about the plate of fries, so, yeah, I stuffed myself. Two people in our party of four opted to split a dessert, but I wasn't one of them. The problem with dessert at these sorts of casual eateries isn't that the confections aren't anything I want to put in my mouth (yeah, I know they're fattening and I'd be relatively better off having a Big Mac for dessert, calorie-wise, but once or twice a year is fine), it's just that they always seem to give you so many fries that there's no room for anything else after the meal. I watched the San Antonio Spurs rout the Seattle SuperSonics 103-81 in the NBA Western Conference semifinals
. Not that I'm that much of a basketball fan, but it's what was on the televisions in the restaurant. It made my friend Meliz
in San Antonio happy.
I taped the Sunday night Fox schedule, but only got to watch King of the Hill
(expect a full episode review at some point this week) and Family Guy
(You Can't Do That on Television
For whatever reason, possibly just because of the lovely euphoric theme song
("Inori no Asa"), I feel like rewatching the anime Shamanic Princess
this week, which is a beautifully drawn and animated anime that would probably be deserving of a lot more attention than it actually receives if it weren't for one key detail: the plot's so damn convoluted
, and not presented in chronological order, that it's really, really friggind difficult to make heads or tails of what precisely is going on. It's some sort of mystical fantasy shoujo story set only a couple of decades in the past where two rival girls and their assistants go to a generic European city where they pose as schoolgirls in order to find some sort of throne, which is disguised as a painting which has some ghost girl trapped inside. And both girls can turn into alternate forms, to make everything so much more confusing. And that's only the parts of the plot I can understand. But all 6 episodes are on one low-priced DVD, so I think it's a great deal for those of you who want to see an anime with almost no buzz and which you likely would have to watch a bunch of times through just to "get". And, if Tiara and Lina are rivals, why is there so much lovey-dovey lesbian innuendo in the opening credits sequence?