Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Roger Ebert reviews Oldboy

As much as I like to think of myself of having abundant artistic sense and talent, I am constantly forced humble by never ending stream of amazing art pieces. This time, a great review of one of my favorite movie of all time, Oldboy, left me in awe.

After listening to one of my coworker praising Oldboy, I looked up a review by one of the famed and respected movie critic of our time, Roger Ebert (linked above). And boy, am I not surprised by his ability to perceive things from the movie?

As Oldboy and director Park Chan-Wook's fan, I enjoyed watching the movie several times over, and was able to grasp a sense of great depth in the film, ingrained into each shot, each asset, and each word in each dialogue. But my limited comprehensive ability in cinema kept my tongue tied as to how to describe, no, as to know what it is that I am sensing.

And here is Roger Ebert, expertly understanding and describing what he sees. Reasons behind some scenes that I could not see, he explains. Why the movie seems to have great depth, meaning, and importance in today's world, he writes about.

So, to those who think this movie is overly-violent--which it is. There's no denying of its masochistic tendancy here--for no reason, to those who say this movie is just overly-hyped, to those who say this work of art is just another trashy foreign movie, may I inquire you to make the jump and read up what Ebert has to say about this moive?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Healthy Diet, Korean Diet.

Why Korean Women Don't Get Fat - By Cecilia H. Lee

Too bad no children in my family, including me, knows how to make real Korean food.

To think about it, I guess it is true that most Korean dinner table has no major meat on it. I do remember eating hell of vegetables and no meat, but fish on majority of dinner tables when I was still under my parents' roof.

Now? It's fast food (albeit "good" ones like Panera and Chipotle) all the way, baby!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Mid-Saturday's Thought on Economy, Energy, and Global Sustainment

I don't know how this came to be, but recently, the new color of trend has been "green." Yes, green, as in environment-friendly, recycling, and ..stuff. I remeber reading articles in magazines just about a year ago or so, that inserts the word "green" into one of the lines as something that's lame, weak, or cheesy, as if it's something luxury to think about. And look around now. Being green is looked as being a pioneer. It's like being so cool.

Anyways, while people are talking about finding other more abundant and greener energy source for the future, I can't stop thinking about a bigger picture; global sustainment.

Let's think about human population. It has been, and still is, exploding exponentially for awhile now, and with that, humans have been draining resources at an increasing rate. No, let's think past this--With super-advanced recycling technology that probably will be developed later, we may find a way to reuse resources that is put into daily uses, even those in currently, fastly growing economies like China and India. This is all good and merry, but will this be a solution?

What I'm asking here is, even if we really reuse almost everything we use, will that put a complete stop in our using of natural resources? Of course not. With growing economy, we'll have to bring in more and more freshly digged out resources from Mother Earth to create more pies for newly born people.

There's one more thing we have to think about here: humans. What are humans, really? Besides them being a "sentient beings, capable of coming up with grandiose and flashy ambitions," they are, in the most simpliest, resource-oriented view, natural resources. Where do our flesh and energy come from? It may pass various paths to get to your body, but ultimately they're from nature!

The point I'm trying to make here is that one more person added to our population is that much less resource from Earth. I know it's inhumane to think of people in this way, but it still is true that no matter how well we resue resources, as long as population grows, nature will become more and more barren.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we stop multiplying and stop having babies. That's against human, and all living being's innate nature. This will bring human race to extinction when we finally get invaded by aliens. What I'm suggesting is that we start looking into getting more resources, without hurting this poor planet.

Yes. I am talking about space, and expanding into outer haven. Even if there is no E.T. out there, there must be endless supply of resources we can use out there! And here we are sitting on our hands.

Oh, please. Let the space race continue.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Microsoft And Art. ...yeeeeaaah. But Sony And Art? Yes.

Seems like all the good things happen after I leave, or make a different choice.

First, only after my graduation at Virginia Tech did they found game media lab and started a experimental game development course. Second, only after two weeks of my leap from last generation PS2 to current-gen Xbox360 do I find clips like this:

This is a clip of self-claimed "interactive art" work that is developed by a small group of part-time enthusiasts, funded by Sony Computer Entertainment, and thus, will only be distributed on PlayStation Network.

Interactive art. Interactive storytelling. Interactive fiction. These are all the things I am really into, more than today's most popular form of interactive media, games.

I feel fooled by the fact that Xbox360's console design was inspired by a famous contemporary art piece, Constantin Brancusi's famous "Bird in Space", because knowing this, I thought the software giant Microsoft has some sense and future outlook into interactive art and literatures...

PixelJunk Eden, flOw, flOwer... and now Linger in Shadow. It almost seems like a hardware manufacturer has more artistic sense than a software company.

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Robot with Acne"

Japanmanship - Bar for Entry

Normally, I pride myself for being able to control Armored Core's super-overly complex control. Normally, I feel such an accomplishment from performing 10-hit combo using Paul or Hwarang in Tekken.

But now, I am beginning to remorse the controllers with 12+ buttons with two analog sticks and a D-pad. How many keys are needed to enjoy a game? Although the general trend of gaming is going towards more simple and accessible games, currently, it's not enough.

I wouldn't have even cared about controls had I not looked at the button layout of the lastest game I purchased, Splinter Cell: Double Agent.

The game is actually really fun, sneaking around and stuff (I haven't gotton far at all to where I am actually a double agent, yet), but having completely different diagram for each different "modes"--normal mode, underwater mode, scope mode, aiming mode... all with different meaning to each buttons... all of which you have to remember--is ridiculous.

I may be enjoying this game right now, but I can clearly see myself in 5~10 years hating all these different buttons and layouts, having to pull up the control layout every 5 to 10 minutes. I, after 5 or 10 years, will have so many other things I'll have to care for, much less key layouts for games.

Penny Arcade did a great sketch on this. Gotta love 'em Penny Arcade...

PS. The title is from the Japanmanship blog article.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Late Late Show + GTA VI = Win

Late Late Show Rants Rationally On GTA IV

Okay, I've shared this video through news feeds on the right side, but I had to put this up again; it's something you, a gamer, shouldn't miss. Fast forward the video to 3:30 mark.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Xbox360 Get!!

Microsoft: Xbox 360 First To Reach 10 Million Sold In U.S.

Aside from Microsoft declaring themselves as the winner of the so-called "next-gen console war," I just want to say that I am one of those 10 million MS-huggers who've invested their hard-earned dollars in its product.

Yes- I have finally got myself a Xbox360 system! You probably have noticed already with the new addition of so called "gamertag" on the rightside of this blog. It's sort of like a online profile card of my Xbox LIVE account. With it, you can track my played games. Neat, isn't it?

Anyways, I currently have only two titles for Xbox360: Call of Duty 4 and Chromehounds. Both games are awesome; I don't need to explain COD4, but Chromehounds is a mech-game (from From Software, the ones behind Armored Core series) that focuses on an on-line, persistant war where players can get involved in the war effort and help one of the three countries locked in conflict gain their might. Although I've played only a few game so far, it's a great game, especially the part where team-work is a must. Because of that, I really appreciate Xbox LIVE service (even if it collects subscribtion fee) that makes this kind of feature possible, considering that Chromehounds didn't receive much marketing.

Anyways, this is one reason for not updating much lately... but I'll try to get back to regular blogging soon.

PS. If you have Xbox360 and play on LIVE, add me! Send me a invite to "nekonari". It's after my new cat, Nari. :D

Friday, May 9, 2008

ROK's President's Real Job Description: National Scapegoat

I know I'm harsh on Koreans most of the time (because I love them). But you know what? I think they deserve harsh treatment.

Today, I actually made myself read up on some news articles on Korean politics--I generally don't have much interest in politics, and have my hands full with following that of America. And what do I see in the article, or rather, the replies to articles on anything politics? The new president, after only 2 months of seizing the office, is already the scapegoat. Yes, scapegoat. Koreans are already too busy blaming any problem on the new president's inability. Too friendly with Japan? Traitor. Too harsh on North Korea? Idiot who'll bring end to the country. And the issue with imported American beef? Impeachment!!

I know it's within citizens' right to pass judgement on their government officials, but after only 2 friggin' months? What the f*ck? How can anybody do anything if no one gives them any chance to do anything? Even if JFK was Korean president, I bet he couldn't have ever stood a chance to do anything good with people like them.

Jesus, people. Stop whining and give the president you chose a chance.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Know This: You Are a Bot.

Blizzard attempt to kill WoW bot bad news for copyright law

I link the above article, which reports Blizzard trying to shut down a MMO bot maker by claiming that un-authorized copying of the game from one's hard drive to same computer's RAM is a copyright infringement--Yes, you heard that right!--not because such claim is down right ridiculous and preposterous, but because I want to point out something about popular game genre that is MMORPG.

MMORPG, in case you don't know, stands for "Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game," which entitles thousands of players to live in a world, be a resident of the fantasy world, and interact and form a community among other players.

Sounds cool, eh?

Well, you really shouldn't be impressed. Instead of bringing you living and breathing world where you truly live in, it gives you a static world that only rare patches and updates change certain part of the world. It doesn't let you change the world, not in a meaningful way, anyways.

The game itself is pretty simple: you do quest-grinding for money, experience points, in the name of netting the ultimate items. You may do stuff like chatting, forming clans, creating items based on static formula of other items--this isn't really creating anything--and on and on with mundane and simple grind-work.

Is this fun? I mean, I know there are tens of millions of people playing one or the other MMO games these days, but are they really having fun? I doubt it. I bet most of the MMORPG players are more or less like the potato-chip-eating character who kills off every dang players in the virtual world from a special World of Warcraft episode of South Park; they're being desk-chair-potato, playing games for hours, with frozen and expressionless face.

They are addicted to the game, not loving the game. And I think something's wrong in this picture.

The fact that there are bots that can do what players do is saying something.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

An Amazing Edge

Some time ago, I was introduced to a new game from DICE, creator of EA"s Battlefield series, titled Mirror's Edge by a good friend's blog. Reading the description of the game by the developer, I could see that they are headed at the right direction; focusing more on the character instead of guns, and emulating the real-world relationship of player and the environment. In short, the game will have the player run around in a futuristic urban setting in parkour style, with simulated momentum of player's movement. And of course, in first-person.

The few--and far too little--screenshots they showed was so beautiful. It was bright, detailed, and had this inviting feeling that makes you want to jump in and around. What they were missing, is a video footage. Until now.

Check it out, and be amazed:

The feel of the momentum, Faith's feet hitting the ground, subtle movements of fingers, only average-looking, and so more realistic and personable character, and the amazing and refreshing music... Now, this is the next-gen game!

Consider me sold. I am getting this the day it comes out.

Friday, May 2, 2008

US Govt Says: "I Got a Surprise For You!"

I logged into my bank account to check if my rent has been withdrawn. Well, it did, but not without another entry from US Treasury. It was a surprise; a pleasant one, that is, because the amount indicated was not under "Debit," but under "Credit."

Yes, the money US government released to help stimulate economy just got deposited! *dance* And it's double the amount I expected, totaling $600!! *cheer*

Now this justifies the money I poured into buying Xbox360 this morning! :D

For the first time, I feel grateful towards President Bush. Well, besides that time when he smokes pot with a Korean and an Indian.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Oh, Google, You Sweet Son of a...

Google NY Tour

Google Jobs|Benefits ... way beyond basics

I knew Google was a great place to work. I mean, who doesn't? They're like the number one revered company ever. When the company's young representative visited Virginia Tech, I wasn't really interested in them (that doesn't mean I didn't go to their information session for free food and nice shirt... I just didn't interview with them). I mean, they're cool search engine company with two big, flat-panel monitors to work with, and they get the whole Friday (or was it just the afternoon?) to spend time in whatever their curiosity leads to. But I could care less because they weren't in any area that awed me or inspired me.

But when I started reading the Google NY Tour post by Snowcat, I saw something weird; he(she?) mentions the cafeteria food as being famous for the taste, and it's free as expected. And I thought it was a strange way of putting that someone bought a lunch.

And what do you know? On Google Job's benefits page, it lists oh-so-many benefits that includes not only child-care, on-site doctor, but also... free food!! And they're not talking just free soda like this other company (*wink* at Microsoft); Google means the whole package, from lunch, snack, to even dinner! Considering food is one of the highest expense on everyone's list, free lunch and dinner is a tremendous envy generator. For someone who always has beef for bad cafeteria food and its un-deserving high pricetag, this is like salt on wound and pouring lemon juice over it. *cry*

Now I wanna work at Google!

Google added new themes for its iGoogle page. Snowcat's one of them!