Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whispers

About 9 months ago, I saw Hayao Miyazaki's Whisper of the Heart. I wrote all about the plot and how much I liked the story in this post. Today I felt like seeing it again, so I did. I looked for the movie online, but the only version I could find was in Japanese. It had subtitles, so I watched it anyway.

It's always fun when I see a movie in a foreign language. It was nice seeing this movie in Japanese, since that's how it was originally meant to be shown. The voices are really good for the characters. The story was just as good as I remember it. ^_^

Just some blog news

Since yesterday (June 24th), I've been going back through all my old posts (yes, every single one) and cleaning house a little. Adding paragraphs so the post is a bit more readable, reorganizing the pictures a little, putting in pictures where the space is now blank (you know, when the picture is no longer available online?), giving the posts labels for my own organizational purposes... Don't worry, I'm not touching any of the main content of the posts. I may be cleaning them up, making them look prettier, but I am not rewriting my past.


It may seem a little pointless, but I still feel good about it. It's so cool just to look back and see what I used to write about. You know, I've been a blogger for over a year and a half? It's simply amazing. ^_^

I also wanted to mention that I've made a new friend on Blogger. He followed me, so now I'm following him. He's only starting out, but I think his blog, Uber Nerd, looks pretty cool. ^_~

Friday, June 25, 2010

Gone too soon

It's hard to believe, but it's true. A year ago today, June 25 2009, Michael Jackson died. ~,~ We lost the world's greatest entertainer that day. Since then, I've made him one of my biggest heroes. There is now almost nothing I would rather do than sing and dance to a favorite Michael Jackson tune. I wish I'd learned to like him when he was still around and kicking. He was an incredible person, a talented artist, and an inspiration to millions.

It's been a year since I became an M. J. fan, and it's been one of the best years of my life. This is for you, Michael. ~_~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Like a comet blazing 'cross the evening sky... Gone too soon

Like a rainbow fading in the twinkling of an eye... Gone too soon

Shiny and sparkly and splendidly bright!
Here one day... gone one night

Like the loss of sunlight on a cloudy afternoon... Gone too soon

Like a castle built upon a sandy beach... Gone too soon

Like a perfect flower that is just beyond your reach... Gone too soon

Born to amuse, to inspire, to delight!
Here one day... gone one night

Like a sunset dying with the rising of the moon... Gone too soon
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I think I cried when I heard this song for the first time. ~,~

I'll always miss and love Michael Jackson. I don't care what anyone says about him, he was never crazy. People just didn't understand him. Heck, I know I'll never truly understand him, since he's dead, and I only cared about him and his music after that fact. But inside, I believe he was always a good man.

Aren't we all good people? No one understands us, not really. How can they? It's impossible.

So... just give love. Alright? That's all there is to it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Halfway done!

I haven't written a lot about Toastmasters, but today is really exciting. I gave my 5th speech ever! In order to complete my manual, I need to give 10 speeches, so I'm halfway through. ^_^ That's pretty exciting for me.

The project of Speech #5 is to focus on your body language. I got inspired for my topic from a really funny story I heard while witnessing the final hours of the record-breaking speech-a-thon. I hope you will enjoy this video of me giving the speech. I won the trophy for best speaker... by a landslide! The audience must've been pretty entertained. ^_^ Hopefully you will be too.

video

Do you want to know what that sound was???
Sorry, I can't tell you, because... NONE OF YOU ARE MONKS!!! Ha ha! ^_~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Yeah, the movie isn't complete because it ran out of battery just at the wrong moment. *facepalm* But maybe it's better this way. (For one thing, it forces you to watch the movie. Otherwise, the punchline would make absolutely no sense at all!)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thanks, Dad!

You're a good Dad, a cool Dad,
You're nobodies' fool, Dad.
You know about music, computers and money,
You know when to be serious and when to be funny.

You're a fun Dad, a great Dad,
A give it to me straight Dad.
You teach me oh so many things,
You give me roots, you give me wings.

You're a clever Dad, a smart Dad,
Love you with all my heart, Dad.
On this beautiful Father's Day,
Here's a few things I'd like to say:
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
Thanks for all the pizza, Thanks for all the sweets,
Thanks for all the restaurants and all your other treats.

Thanks for all your patience, Thanks for all your time,
Thanks for always teaching me that mistakes aren't a crime.

Thanks for all the loving, Thanks for all the care,
Thanks for being the kind of Dad I know will always be there.

Thanks for all the laughter, Thanks for all the fun,
Of all the Dads there's ever been, I say you're #1! ^_^
Happy Father's Day!
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~
What do you think? Is this Hallmark worthy or what?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Toy Story 3 rocks harder!!!

Dragons may be cool, but toys are awesome! Especially these toys right here. Why, you may ask? Because they've been around since I was a kid, that's why! ^_^

This movie was really exciting for my siblings and me. We were looking forward to seeing it for weeks and weeks, seeing sneak previews on YouTube. Finally we were able to see it yesterday, just the day after it came out. (Adam my brother wanted to catch it ON the day, but we knew there would be a long line for it, so we waited.)

First off, the previews were pretty awesome. We saw one for the new Narnia movie, Dawn Treader (looks like it'll be a good one), Mega-Mind ( reminds me of Monsters vs Aliens too much, I think), Despicable Me (might be funny. Might) and Tangled, the new Disney movie about Rapunzel (now that looks like a movie to see. The prince is really handsome, like a 3-D Aladdin. ^_^ And that girl's loooooong hair is wild!)

Pixar always begins with a cute short-film before the main movie, and I believe that this short had the greatest story, the greatest characters, the greatest music, the greatest effects, the greatest message, and was simply the best ever!!! And this is all before Toy Story 3! I know this is a lot to say for one short, but trust me, it was that good! It was called Day & Night, and it was really funny, clever, simple, sweet, and moving. It's just 2 characters interacting with each other, neither saying anything, just making funny sound effects. It's so weird. The characters may look 2-D, but inside them, the scenery is classic Pixar. I loved it.

Alright, now I would love to rant and rave about how awesome the 3rd Toy Story was, but I have no idea who's seen it or who hasn't yet, and I'm afraid that I'll reveal too many spoilers with my rantings. That means I'll have to control myself... But who can control themselves after seeing such an awesome, hilarious, epic, tear-jerking, hang-on-the-edge-of-your-theater-seat-til-the-very-end movie, I ask???

So many favorite parts, I can't even begin to list them! (And I won't, because I might spoil something.) So many new and colorful characters, in addition to our favorite heroes. Isn't it amazing, how Pixar seems to have planned it all out? Andy is all grown up (he actually looks cute 0,o), off to college at 17, and all the kids who saw the original Toy Story in 1995 are all grown up too! Think about it, this was the first ever computer animated feature-length film! It had a great story and memorable, lovable characters. The sequel was just as good, if not better, than the first. And now, more than a decade later, they prove that this story is still incredibly awesome!!!

I knew I would love Toy Story 3, but I had no idea just how much! Honestly, by the credits, all three of us, Adam, my twin Annette and I, WERE IN TEARS! There is something so powerful and sentimental about the ending that just gets you *sniff* right here --> ♥. ~,~ Because it comes completely full circle. And... and it's just so happy and sad at the same time! >,< *sobs*

You have got to see this movie!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dragons rock!

Finally I saw the movie "How to Train Your Dragon." We've been putting it off for a couple weeks, but at long last I drove to the theater with my sis and bro and saw Dreamworks' new hit.

This is now my all-time favorite Dreamworks animated movie. ^_^ Better than Kung-fu Panda, and Over the Hedge, even better than Shrek! What a story, what characters, what a completely awesome movie experience. And I didn't even see it in 3D! (I normally don't see movies in 3D, which is totally fine with me. I hate wearing the dumb glasses for it anyway.)

I've read a lot of the books in Cressida Cowell's Dragon series, and I've gotta say that this movie, even though a lot of things were different than the book, had to be 120% better than any of the novels. Hiccup is funny, and his big bad black dragon Toothless is so much cooler than his book counterpart. My favorite parts were the montages of Hiccup slowly bonding with Toothless and learning things about dragons, meanwhile applying what he learns in dragon training and seeing everyone's jaws drop. ^_^

If you haven't seen this movie yet, please do! Or if you have seen it, perhaps you can drop a comment and say whether you agree with me on this?

Monday, June 14, 2010

A new contest

I promised a friend of mine that the next time he holds a contest on his blog, I will link to him from my blog and try to get other people to participate in it. Well, now I'm keeping that promise.

The object is to give my guy, Graham, a random, outrageous prompt for a short story. Give him a funny situation, weird characters, an unlikely setting, anything that doesn't make any sense, and post it in a comment. He'll make a short story out of the winner's prompt and give a prize!

You can either write a comment for this post and I'll tell Graham your ideas, or you can click this link for the actual details and comment there (not that it's important for the contest, but it would be cool if you mentioned that I sent you to him).

That is all.

Records are meant to be broken

Last night, my family and I saw history being made. After a full day at the beach, we swung by the Embassy Suite hotel where a Guiness World Record event was taking place. Unbelievable, right?

The event was a Speech-a-thon, and District 47 of Toastmasters was attempting to break the record for longest speech event, trying to go past 80 hours. (Can you imagine? 3 straight days of speeches, day and night!)

The rules: at least 10 people had to be part of the audience (people could come and go from the room, but there had to be 10 conscious people to watch the speakers), each speech had to be a minimum of 5 minutes, and the speeches couldn't be more than 30 seconds apart from each other.

My family and I didn't give any speeches, but we were part of the audience for a good couple hours, just as it was drawing to a close. We heard probably a dozen speeches in that time, though I heard that throughout the entire event, over 300 speeches were given. Annette and I were around for the longest time, I think, because my parents and Adam wanted to watch the Celtics vs Lakers game and there was a TV in the lobby/ restaurant, but we were all there for the end.

It was really fun being there. A lot of the speeches were funny and quite educational. I laughed and learned a lot. When the clock finally ticked past 80 hours, everyone was so happy and all "Yay! Now I can sleep!" Yeah, because some people hadn't slept much for 3 straight days. 0,o We all got some group photos of the speakers, the record officials and the last audience members. So who knows? I might be in a photo that gets into the Guiness World Record book! ^_^

Friday, June 11, 2010

Long live home movies!

Since coming home from Israel, Annette and I have been engaged in a really fun project: Converting our old VCR tapes of the Levy's past into DVDs! From analog to digital. From frames on film to 1s and 0s, bits and bytes. ^_^

It's a lot of hard work, because sometimes the sound is slightly out of sync with the action, so we have to carefully and meticulously edit and fix it so that it all looks great. But then, anyone who owns home movies knows that the end result is well worth the effort.

It's so interesting, delving into the past! I'm seeing my twin baby self, my 5 year-old self, my preteen self... It's so hard to believe that I was once all these younger mes! ^_^ I am adorable.

Of course, there's also my sister Annette (with me every step of the way in these videos), my younger brother Adam (oh my god, what a cute baby he was!!!), my parents (they look so cool in the past! [Don't worry, Mom and Dad. You are still cool in the present. You know what I mean. ^_~]), and a bunch of my extended family.

We still have a long way to go before we've turned all our memories digital, but I'm not complaining. I'm just going to enjoy the journey down Memory Lane. ^_^

Revamped Design!!!

I'm so excited! Blogger has unleashed all-new design features TODAY, and in case you've failed to notice, (unlikely) I just improved the look and layout of my blog so that it looks 10 times better than before! See?


I even updated my Book Club blog, so that it's got a brand spanking new look and feel to it.
Please check it out!

Seriously, this Template Designer tool is awesome! It's easy to use, and it gives you soooooo many options and possibilities. It really brings out the artist in you.

I wonder how many of my blog friends out there will start changing their blog layouts... and how fabulous they will look! ^_^

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fun in the rain

About a week after coming home from our Israel trip (I'd like to talk about that sometime soon), the days are slowly becoming routine and normal again.

Today was pretty special, though. It's been very stormy today, with pelting rain and some lightening. When it started out, Annette and I had the idea of taking our cockatiels, Sasha and Sammy, out for a little birdy shower on our porch.

They loved it and had SO much fun, as you can see from these pictures. Sasha (bird on the right) especially went wild for being wet.

















The day we brought our birds home from our friend Mikita's, (May 28) they both tried something they'd never done before: take a bird bath. We gave them a big bowl so they had more space to splash, but they seemed to prefer their water dish.


This is also the first time we replaced the regular audio in the video with music. ^_^ Below are the two videos we took of them today, with mood music added.



Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Bro was in a Show!


Yesterday Adam rocked the house in this years' Memorial Day play. This was one of the reasons Annette and I wanted to get back from Israel as soon as possible. ^_^ Isn't he just dashing?