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Juno+

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( photo by: [Zakkaliciousness])


This of course is the artistic mindset left by the music of one of the Wang's favorite movie of the year, Juno. The general gist of the movie is that 16 yr old, sarcastic high schooler, Juno finds out she's pregnant and goes on the movie length journey of understanding love and maturity. Director Jason Reitman of Thankyou For Smoking fame, brilliantly delivers this indie darling of a film with a witty script and slightly off-the-wall comedy.With Quotes like these gems:

Rollo (Rainn Wilson): That ain't no etch-a-sketch. That's one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet.

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Juno MacGuff: You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.

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This movie comes around the corner with its witty, brilliant acting from everyone; from Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, & even Jennifer Garner, in seemingly small role that turns a whisper of a character into a pretty nice side plot of the story, that seems to comment on the whole question of maturity and relationships. J.K. Simmons as the funny and understanding dad has got to be one of the best dad's in movie history. The Wang only wishes that his future father-in-law would have that kind of humor and open minded-ness. Of course seeing that the title character Juno is pretty much the witty equivalent of a wet dream center fold, plus indie guitar playing skills.




This leads us to the soul of our musing, the soundtrack. The sound track is mainly filled with the works of Kimya Dawson, in her many guises. She's either performing with her old claim-to-fame, The Moldy Peaches, or her solo stuff, or her recent co-lab with The Antsy Pants. Kimya Dawson is labeled as Anti-Folk. Which at first, the Wang was lost to the labeling and genre. Of course after an evening with the Moldy Peaches titular album, smack the concept home in its wordy, witty, & experimental sound. Though overall, the music used in Juno tend to be what the Wang originally felt as some sort of kiddie-folk or twee-folk. With lyrics about love, life, hamburgers and vampires all fueled by Kimya Dawson's childish voice. Her seemingly young and innocent voice is instantly shattered when one noticed the lyrics and topics that smartly flow off her folk-style guitar like verbal syrup.

Also included in the Juno soundtrack is a few songs the movie use to hammer home the character's love of music. Juno of course prefers the 1977 punk era, as her counter point, Jason Bateman defends the grunge era of 1993. Songs include "All the You Dudes" by Mott the Hoople and "Superstar" by Sonic Youth. Check out this great entry by Indiemuse.com which include a few tracks. (SPECIALLY check out Kimya Dawson's Loose Lips) Kimya Dawson really adds to the movie, from its title-opening track to the ending song which cements the movie, "Anyone Else But You" cover by Ellen Page and Michael Cera, originally a Moldy Peaches song by Adam Green and Kimya Dawson.

This leads us to the interview with Ellen Page by Pitchfork, where we learn that:

Ellen Page: [Juno director] Jason Reitman and I were meeting for maybe the second or third time and he simply said, "Well, what do you think Juno would listen to?" Immediately I said the Moldy Peaches, and he, I guess, wasn't familiar with their work, so I hopped on his computer and I played the Moldy Peaches for him. The next thing I knew he'd fallen in love-- rightfully so, they're awesome-- and he was in contact with Kimya Dawson, who is the female in the band, and he added the song at the end of the film, which is a Moldy Peaches song. That song's been in my life for years, actually; there's a lot of sentimental value there. And the next thing we know Kimya Dawson is doing the music for the film. It was really incredible how that all worked out because it just feels perfect.

So the Wang puts two paws up on Juno, and the soundtrack which is now available on iTunes, and in Jan. in hardcopy. Of course you can just get some Kimbya Dawson stuff to work you over till then.

The Moldy Peaches - Nothing Came Out (MP3) : Inspiration for the opening pic..
The Moldy Peaches - Anyone Else But You (MP3) : The song that sets the mood for Juno.

And just to catch up on the old days of WWW glory, a few recent things on the Wang's RSS reading list, paw style:

Tad Safran of the Times stirs the British Hen House with this Op-Ed on how American Women groom themselves better. Of course this lead to a nation-wide (British Nation) fervor and scorn by the ladies, which earned a second article.


Tabula Rasa may not be the best MMO around, nor may it be top dog, but the Wang donated some time, and gives it its just deserves. But what really hits the sweet spot is the fan base that took Richard Garetts new world to heart and created more fanfic and roleplaying than any Tauren cow cosplay will ever do. Here's an example from Massively on Remembrance Day. And from tabularasaroleplayers.com of their fan gathering on Dec. 21, Remeberence Day, basically a memorial honoring the day when Earth fell to the alien invaders, The Bane.


The year end round up video games and games of the year is too long to keep track of. But the Wang was sorely entranced by the Gaming Club on Slate.com.  The Gaming Club is a mimic of Steven Totilo of MTV's Multiplayer Blog and N'Gai Croal of Newsweek's  Level Up Blog 's usual vs Mode. Its normally a series of emails that would debate/discuss a specific game or video game related subject. This time for their big year end round up they included Seth Schiesel of NYT and Chris Suellentrop (most currently of Slate) into their mix. They brought forth an email roundtable that talks from everything from game design to the criticism of video games. Specially in the light of the recent events involving Jeff Gerstmann, which promoted the entire industry a new to critically comment on the field of Video Game Journalism. None the less, this was a great read about video games, industry, and and what it means to be critical.


Also related to video games, the MTV Multiplaer Blog's Tracey John also wrapped up last weeks great series of article of Women Working in Games. Tracey goes off and interviews Morgan Webb (X-Play/G4TV), Janet Pickard (Game Girl Advance), Elspeth Tory (Ubisoft), Brenda Brathwaite, and Tali Fischer (Sega). Of course hidden under the subtlety of the general interviews is the questions about the recent Jade Raymond incident. But overall it's a great set of interviews about the whole industry from journalists to developers to PR. Sure the topic is about women, but it gives a nice view of the field and the people in it. Personally, the Wang comes to the conclusion that the industry seems to be embracing the female influx, but the it's the webtard players that seems to be dumbing it up for the male populace by scaring off most of these women from forums and comments.


On that note, here's a nice review of Bioshock from the Mighty Pony Girl. Yes it has a female perspective. I give her credit for reading Fountainhead before playing the game, just to get the full experience.


And since the Wang hasent been blogging about everything that was cool of recent, here's a cool link to the semi-spoiler-best-ending-ever-for-a-video-game-credit-sequence of Portal: GlaDOS - Still Alive (Youtube link). Of course if you have not experienced it, please give it a try, Portal is one of the best games this past year. Plus its short, fun and well written. It comes in slightly around 3 hrs. (without the repeatable time trials) and packs a great subtle story telling all wrapped in witty dialog. Of course the entire Orange Box is pretty worth it, for it contains Portal, Half Life, HL: Episode 1 & 2 and Team Fortress 2. TF2 is the bastard child of The Incredibles and online multiplayer mindless fun. Plus if you have the time, you should check out the "Meet the ____" videos on YT. Some of them are hilarious.


THANKYOUs:
Level Up Blog, Massively, MTV's Multiplayer Blog, [Zakkaliciousness]

The E3 Wang

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All the Cool E3 stuff you can find from a Wang that’s not going… The Wang will be sitting comfortably at home/cube and surfing for E3 news. Since the removal of booth babes, E3 will be as fun as comdex, but with less swag. So instead, we’ll leave the coverage and the blogging to bigger more respected ppl like these:

Wii Part 1 (Nintendo Revolution Demo video) Part II

Halo 3 Trailer (is it me or is Kortana getting hawter in every halo?) Ok the Kotaku Youtube video is faster.

E3 Spore’s Video

Joystiq’s big big upcoming MMO list

Final Fantasy XIII teaser Trailer

Cool ads about environmental pollution from Singapore

With all this E3 stuff lets not forget other important conventions, like the International 2006 Build a Better Mouse Trap Contest. The Wangs favorite would have to be the Mouse Stargare

Sweet Raptor Jesus

Warner Brother has gone Bit Torrent Hmm this can be good news for the future world of P2P TV show sharing…

Well the Wang needs to rush off, so we leave u dangling for more. The Wang will promise to keep an eye out for interesting E3 stuff in the coming week! Peace out!

THANKYOUs:

Kotaku, electro^plankton, AFK Gamer, and Engadget

I hate you Japan, For getting FFXII!! One day we will have it too! Comon Chobo knights, Flying airship combat, wizards with city defense shields, hawt princess swing swords… this isn’t just fantasy, this is FINAL FANTASY! CRÈME! I say CRÈME!

Though, for those of us who cant get the game here r some preview videos to help u get ur FFXII fix:

Openning
Prologue
Gameplay
Youtube FFXII collection (Spoilers)

Also, FFXII is one of the few games that scored a perfect score from Famitsu. (Japanese Gaming magazine, old school)

The game looks great, Square seems to be owning the field on 3d game movies, not to mention great feature length movies like Advent Children. But the new combat systems seem interesting. The Wang haven’t read too much about it, but these gameplay videos are showing real time combat of some sort, and none of the much-hated enemy popup events. Think Square has definetly taken some lessons from FFXI’s MMO combat tactics, they even brought in the party “Chain" attack combo thing. Let’s hope the Wang doesn’t have to download another renkei chart.

On the pop theme song note, the Wang inst as impressed with the pop song of FFXII, Kiss me Goodbyw. Maybe it needs a water-light kiss scene akin to FFX’s Suteki da Ne to set the mood.

Which leads to the biggest problem, how hawt is the girl?

In FFX, one can almost say that Yuna’s character takes a pretty chunk of the story plot. Sure most of the story involves Tidus and his Father/son issues, But Yuna’s journey drives the whole “lets go linear" RPG story plot. Plus who can forget hawt ritual dancing? So in FFXII, we have Ashe. The games also its stories from the worlds populated by FF: Tactics and Vagrant Story. So Ashe is a Hume (FFXI I assume…) princess from the Kingdom of Dalmasca, the intro of FFXII basically shows her wedding. Who knows how much she will fall for the sky pirate Vaan. Ashe also runs a resistance against the occupation of her kingdom. So she fights a lot, uses magic and seems less whiny than Yuna, so far, she doing good on the Wang-Meter™.

Still damn u Japan for getting all the cool games first… I guess the Wang can return to the youthful days of playing FF with a translation book in Japanese… technically that’s how the Wang first experienced FFVI. The good news is that FXII will be released in US before thanksgiving seeing how FFX had a whole 6 month translation period before the early release, it might be time to dust of Wang’s PS2… which technically only ever played FFX before it was pimped out to friends.

Also… some other crappy rpg came out… obliv something? I mean who cares, have u seen this Prologue?!?


THANKYOUs:

Kotaku and Joystiq

Final fantasy XII

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When the Wang mentioned long ago that Advent Children was the completeion of some 10 yr long FF series, the Wang should of added that he is a geeky fan of the Final Fantasy world. Even though each series seems to have its own world and setting, but the FF feel is felt through out each of the series. Event that dress-em up barbi FFX-2 crap. Still when the Wang saw the trailer to Final Fantasy XII the Wang weeped like a 5 year old... Creme i say, creme!!!

The Wang will always have a soft spot for The FF series, and judging by these trailers and shots, the Wang is having high hopes. Though, it probably wont come out in the states for another... 8-12 month, seeing how it will only be release in japane this coming Spring... dman, should of master the japanese language, i think FFXI was hint that the Wang should speak Japanese fluently. Perhaps its not to late to find a japanese girl willing for some 1 on 1 wang education. Chinese male seeking japanese girl for bouncybouncy japanese class?

here are more TV spots from Gamesreport

the End of all things...

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An odd sense of sweet sorrow, when AC2 server shuts down for the final moment, this poster writes of the last min before the end. Terra Nova had this article awhile back about the reactions of its players. It brought an odd sense of end of existence as user avatars disappeared for the last time. The Wired article linked by TN also tells us of how players where traveling the world exploring things that they done in the past, taking sceenshots and noting their memories. The Wang wonders what is like to when we know our reality will end one day, what will we do…

The Wang has been in 2 big MMOs of late, Star Wars galaxies and Final fantasy XI. Both of which the Wang left due to crappy game development. So the Wang never really saw an end to these worlds. And The Wang admits, after 1yr+ time spent with my litle Human Doctor in Star Wars, the Wang was rather sad to leave that world. I logout at the same palced i first started, in the Moenia. The wang remembers first logging into the swampy city of Moenia and learninig how to play. Bu tthe game's devlopers took the game to a weird weird place. Goaless and meaningless with no content and just re hashing the same stuff over and over without a sense of creativity. Still though it was a personal and sad moment to watch my avatar logout for the last time.

This does bring an odd sense of a virtual ending, still those time invested, the sweat poured and heart and soul one used to create their avatars will die the same moment someone flips a server switch. Sometimes the Wang wonders when the divine IT dude up above one day will do the same… Like Earth the reality show cancelled one day due to poor ratings. Who knows. What will we all do, will we get a big server warning?

DeVotchka - How it Ends (live)

Joystiq article
Terra Nova article
Wired Article

Thankyous:
Joystiqs

Nintendo Revolution

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When the Nintendo DS came out, ever one was skeptical about the touch double screen design. But nintendo prooved that they can take it up a level with the Nintendo DS. Games using the touch pad was a great innovation to portable gaming, or to gaming in general. Now the Revolution comes out with its now single hand, remote control looking controller. Where will it go? The wang was also skeptcial about this, until i saw this Nintendo Controller teaser Trailer.

On the subject of the Revolution, here's a neat article on the niche that Nintendo needs to hold for its self and its new controller, via the Lost Garden.

All i can say is, Nintendo isnt dead yet, they are still pushing at the edges of the box. Will they be around for another generation of gaming?


THANKYOU:
IGN

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