Monday, December 28, 2009

Nearing the end of a decade...

Almost there!
I've been lucky enough to experience the 1990sas a child, even though amost of my memories of the American culture of the time was just before the turn of the century and is skewed by memories of terrible Britney Spears and NSYNC music.
Alas, I am lucky enough to have experienced two roman decades and am glad to see this one pass with Bang, in my life anyway.
I mean, honestly what a way to end not only the year but the decade! I've figured out what I want to do with my life (kinda), I'm about to finish my Highschool Education, I have an amazing Girlfriend, I have the greatest group of friends ever and all is good on the home front.

I also saw some really good movies this year! In fact Saturday I met Emma at the theatre to see Joel Silver & Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes.
On a side note, props to Alec by the way, more on that later.
Anyway, onto the film!
When I heard about him making a Sherlock Holmes movie I got pretty excited. That was last year.
It was done beautifully; from the CGI and all the other work that created turn of the century London to the creation of the young Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and their comical brother-like relationship.
First off, I've always pictured Sherlock Holmes and Watson as younger men than normally portrayed since I first read a Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes is described as a young and very brilliant inventor who was ignorant of common knowledge and extremely irrational; however, a walking library of unique wisdom and logic. John Watson describes himself as a veteran shaken by the war in India, clearly tough, strong, a far shorter fuse than his friend Holmes. What I'm trying to say is that Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law were simple perfect for the rolls and Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler was funny. Just funny.
Secondly, the C.G.I. was magnificent, from the unfinished Westminster Bridge and other scenery and atmosphere to every explosion and close detail shot requiring that extra digital detail.
The movie was a fair mix of action, mystery, suspense and humor, so, yes. I liked the movie and so did Emma; win-win.
Alas, there were aspects of the film that I think lacked detail or were too forward on the "hint-hint" side of things, while other aspects of the film, like comedy, could have been taken down just a notch and the suspense could have been a bit more epic.
Then again, I just saw Avatar, as well, so....
As a final note, the end of the film pretty much sold tickets to it's sequel if the Producers have signed a contract; so, while I'm not waiting for it, I will be expecting another Sherlock Holmes movie in the next two years.

On a side note, one of the producer of Holmes was Joel Silver, a man who I am personally a fan of for his masterpiece that was the Matrix Series. He's done all the Matrix related stuff, V for Vendetta, Speedracer, Ninja Assassin and... Predator and Predator 2.
I just saw Avatar, the latest work of James Cameron who did Titanic, the Terminator series, and directed Aliens. Aliens was a part of a series based from a 1976 film called Alien created by Gordon Carroll, David Giler and Walter Hill.
Alien and Predator were combined by Walter Hill, David Giler and Gordon Carrol, and also by John Davis who worked on the Predator Series.
Beware the Slime: it's a lot worse than you would expect.

So, I haven't talk about music in a while and given my taste changes on a monthly basis I think it's time to recap on the seasons.
Since moving to Missouri almost a year ago, my hatred of Country Pop and Country Rock has been enforced by the majority of Country Music stations coming down from the bluff and out of Cape. Don't get me wrong! I like bluegrass, I like Johnny Cash, I like older versions of modern country, but I can not stand to hear another song about "knockin' boots", pick-up trucks, Chevys or beer & whiskey!
I've also become a huge fan of a man named David Vandervelde who I discovered through the Nooma videos (produced by Flannel) and woman named Brie Stoner. A very mellow yet lively kind of indie rock I really enjoy. I've gotten into the Album Leaf and that's also rekindled my taste in Mogwai and Tristeza.
On the classical, or traditional, side of the field I've gained a love over the year of Bear McCreary, a score composer who did the work for Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles and other shows. His unique and very near-eastern influence music is very beautiful and really pulled me into the world of Galactica, as cheesy as that sounds. Definitely check him out, search him on Youtube, try a couple songs.
Thanks to my friends Kyle and Larry, I've also gotten into Metal again with Vanna, Underoath, Otherwise, Demon Hunter and some other bands. That has also pushed me into Christian Rock recently as well! I've been listening to a lot of Flyleaf, Disciple, Skillet, Thousand Foot Crutch, Third Day, Falling Up, Plumb, Kutless, Newsboys, Toby Mac. All have a really good sound.
In the last month I've been listening to a bit of the combined of the above with more 80s music, Japanese rock music (L'Arc~en~Ciel, Asian Kung Fu Generation, Dir en Grey), Alternative Rock out of the U.K. (Franz Ferdinand, Gorillaz[well, kinda]), and a bunch of Placebo (as always).

So, if you don't know me in person and you don't pay attention then you may not have realized that I am an Otaku (Japanese for nerd, essentially; thus a nerd who like Manga, Anime, anything associated with Japan) who loves Manga.
Also, I've always considered myself a Artist since I was, like, ... seven. I've always enjoyed drawing, painting and creating stories.
Even at one point in time, I wanted to be a mangaka or a cartoonist, which was a rather long living dream that still has some shadows in my goals today; I continue to write a three year going project that I call my novel and I want to begin making art again.
So, today I'm going to talk about a mangaka I'm great fan of:
I've begun reading a manga called Bakuman with art by one of my favourite mangaka named Obata Takeshi (小畑 健) with his long time partner Tsugumi Ohba; and, ironically enough, Bakuman is a Manga about two boys who dream of being Mangaka.
I've been a fan of Obata Takeshi since I started reading Manga. In fact, the first manga I ever read was Hikaru-no-Go which had the artwork of Obata and story by Yumi Hotta. Hikaru was a coming of age story about a boy named Hikaru who would become a Professional Go player. Needless to say that story inspired me to learn the game of Go, which has since been my favourite strategy board game older than just a few centuries (Milleniums actually). I even made my own board.
Before Bakuman, Ohba and Obata created Deathnote, a VERY popular (and "wordy") manga and the reference of many jokes about everything from psychos to emos to sugar loving ... L-like-people....
Takeshi Obata has also been the mentor of other Mangaka who's work I'm rather fond of; like Kentaro Yabuki, creator of another favourite manga of mine called Black Cat, and Nobuhiro Watsuki, who created Rurouni Kenshin and Busou Renkin.
Black Cat is about an unusual sweeper (bounty hunter) who has ties with the syndicate and gets pulled into a deep, dark adventure by shadows of his past.
Kenshin is samurai themed story about a former killer from the Bakumatsu whos become a wanderer bent of helping people.
Busou Renkin is about a guy named Kazuki Muto who gets himself mixed up in a world of Alchemy and Homunculi! FUN!
So yes, I am a fan of Obata Takeshi.
A bit random but I wanted to share some of my Otaku knowledge.

So anyway with the random shout of:
ihsaratiM oknA
ikustaniM ayaS

So, to cap off this blog, I think I'll say again that 2009 has been a big year. My life, philosophy, politics and faith as evolved a lot in the time since I've moved.
I've met a lot of interesting people and made some of the greatest friends a guy could ever ask for, even if they don't live in Missouri (you know who you are).
It's clear to see my music taste has change and so has my writing, and even if that sounds silly to most, that's pretty important to me.
My outlook on faith, how ever unstable it was last year, has drastically changed and become stronger and more Christ-like, I think, and that's what matters in some sense.
After all, I came here not knowing what I would do or how I would gain new company; now, I know what I'm supposed to do and it would allow me to pursue my other dreams as well; and I have wonderful friends, the type you can trust, and this month has been so unusual and yet so amazing.
I look to the new year.

So with that I bid you you, good bye!
Remember to do good work and may God bless you.

Shalom & Raya,
Brent Matthew Lillard

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