May 2006

So I went to GNG’s Tetsuya Mizuguchi Special last night and… it was pretty disappointing.

Right up front I just want to say that the folks behind the GNG should be commended for wanting to do something special like wanting to bring people together to celebrate the work of Mizuguchi. In many of their past events, no matter what the featured game might be, they’ve always have Rez on-hand, and I think that’s awesome. Also, I like the idea of the Gamers Nite Groove, I really do. I love the idea of a regular scheduled gathering for both diehard and casual gamers to come together and get a taste of what else is out there. But that being said, last night’s event was again plagued with numerous problems that have somewhat become typical in the past.

First off, I know that the timing was somewhat poor for some folks that I know would have liked to go but couldn’t. Though I personally did not mind, and one of the main reasons is that they’ve always been on a Friday or Saturday, and I’m generally too busy then (well that and since I sorta know what to expect, I’m never too keen on breaking weekend plans… I’d be more than happy to go on a Friday night, provided it would be totally worthwhile).

And once again, the venue chosen was quite nice; MonkeyTown, a swank loung/restaurant with a very nice and stylish decor (though given the neighborhood, that’s to be expected I suppose), plus the food served looked quite good (someone was dining on a pulled pork sandwich that looked, and smelled, quite delicious, almost enough to make me want to brave the cultural wasteland that is Willamsburg for it). But as nice as the place was… and this is also a reoccurring thing… it just didn’t make a good place to have a large gathering of folks, at least for the purpose of gaming. Then again, that wasn’t much of an issue since the turnout was, in my estimation, pretty abysmal. I think 20 people showed up for it? I have to wonder then, exactly how do they advertise these things? They send out emails, but in the past, I’ve gotten them a day or two AFTER the event; I usually only know about them in advance if Jeremiah tells me, provided he’s playing at the event. The fact that this latest notice was actually timely is somewhat of a small miracle.

Things were supposed to start at 7:00, but I showed up around 7:30 and they still weren’t ready, so I simply waited in the front, main room which has a bar and a dining area filled with tables and couches. Each table had either a DS or PSP, so I played a few games of Lumines till things were ready. Once they were, I made it to the back, which was the “Rez Room”, where the game running off a PS2 was projected on huge 30+ feet plus screens, one on each side of the walls. Plus the sound was booming, so needless to say, it was all quite nice.

When I arrived, one of the guys from GNG was just finishing up Area 2 and I asked to take over for a bit. They were using some Hori wireless pad, and I swear to God, its the worst fucking thing EVER. Seriously. The analogue sticks, besides being far too small, were way too loose. And the digital pad was not better; it too was loose, and the reticule kept on veering up. So I didn’t do as well as I normally do, but I did okay (but not 100% across the board, which is my usual, especially for Area 3, which is my favorite and personal best).

As I played, a few more folks began to trickle in. After finishing the level, I passed the controller to some guy who had never played and didn’t fare too well. Then it was taken by the first guy, the GNG rep, and I’m guessing it was his shoddy controller, because he could at least play well with it (very well actually). The highlight of the entire evening was easily witnessing the Area 4′s “Running Man” totally in your face, 30 feet tall. Unfortunately he made a few missteps near the very end of the boss battle and died, though the tension near the end made it a joy to watch. The guy then asked the room who wanted to play next, and then all of a sudden folks started to bitch and one guy hollered “Change the game!” repeatedly. The GNG guy then informed the crowd that it was the Rez room and they could play other things elsewhere, so many of them simply left.

Also in the middle of this, some scruffy looking guy went around passing around pamphlets for those interested in play-testing cell phone games.

I stuck around for a small bit, then hit the bathroom, which I really can’t describe properly other than its perhaps the coolest bathroom I’ve ever been. Just imagine that scene in 2001 where the guy chases after the monolith… as a bathroom.

I then went back to the front where the wise-asses from before were all huddles over the PSPs and Ds. Some hipsters were playing Sega Rally and Rez, which had replaced Space Channel 5. No one seemed willing to pass the controller to others. Plus, due to the layout, it was impossible to walk around and simply check out what people were playing. There was this big dinner party right next to the DCs, so going near them was awkward to say the least.

The woman who runs the GNG, Taeko Baba was there, and I wanted to ask her some questions, such as if the video preview of Ninety-Nine Nights was on-hand, as well as that surprise which they had been promising (and to see if it was indeed Lumines Mobile as Simon and I was guessing it might be) but the whole time she was being interviewed by a pair of blogger. I waiting and waited… for almost an hour. I even ended up chatting with the manager of the restaurant, who turned out to be pretty cool. But eventually, I simply left, both frustrated and deflated.

Here’s the thing: so much effort is put in getting things together, so I don’t understand why in the end, how they can just drop games into a nice fancy room and just do nothing. And for something special as celebrating Mizuguchi, you’d think there would at least be some sort of info sheet explaining who the hell he is and what his games are all about. The whole point of GNG is reaching out to both gamers and those in the NYC area to help celebrate the form, but as is, that intent is totally lost. I’m well aware of the fact that there’s just a few people behind the scenes, and its a massive undertaking and all, but why do through such trouble for such results. Again, I want to see something like the GNG flourish, but unless it address some very basic issues, its going to forever feel as its just spinning its wheels.

Either that, or maybe New York City really isn’t such a hot place to be if you’re into video games. And last night really reminds me that I have to get off my ass and finish my “To Live And Game In NY” piece for GameSetWatch.

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05/30/2006

Nazi Porn: Bad… Midget King-Fu: Good!

by Matthew Hawkins

I guess its been both a fairly laid-back, yet somewhat eventful past couple of days…

- Thursday night was shitty movie night with MK, Robin, and Matt Singer. First was some burritos at St. Marks, then we went right across the street to Kim’s Videos to find out feature for the night. After an exhaustive search through their massive collection (it easily the biggest assortment of insanely bizarre and stupidly bad films one will ever find), we decided upon, and rather easily with, For Your Height Only, a 007 knock-off from the Philippines starring a midget. We also picked up Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler (also known as Last Orgy of the Third Reich according to the internet) since it looked like it could be fun (at least to me).

First up was For Your Height Only, which again stars a midget, as Weng Weng, Agent 00. Its just like any James Bond flick, meaning there’s plenty of action, though for the most part its just Weng Weng punching people in the crotch, sliding around on linoleum floors to get in some cheap shot (most to the back… guess honors a bit different in the Philippines), and getting tossed around when pulling out the kung-fu (here’s a short clip that should give you a good idea of the action). Plus when he does actual spy-work, he runs around bent over, as not to be seen, but considering he’s three feet… you know. Also like Bond, he loves the ladies, and the ladies love him. Given that Weng Weng acts throughout the entire film like an abducted 7 year old that’s on ludes, it was hardly surprising that his interaction with women was also awkward, but it was surprising that despite his tiny stature that he has one thing that’s as big as any normal sized man. His nipples. Plus, like Bond, he has his toys, like a jetpack (a teeny-tiny one, of course) and assorted bad men with goofy names, including The Big Guy, who’s a huge fat guy dressed all in red, and Weng Weng’s archenemies, Mr. Giant who (surprise!) is also a midget, though a slightly taller one.

Next was Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler which started out with a ten minute sequence of shots featuring rolling hills from inside a car, which made everyone afraid that it was going to be Manos the Hands of Fate II. Later we transported back in time to an all female concentration camp where a bunch of naked Hilter Youth are given a room full of Jewish girls (all of which has blonde hair curiously enough) to ravage and then turns into a huge orgy. I would imagine that the filmmakers went to some small Austrian village, one that’s poor and had tons of able-bodied young women to make this movie, and in the process scared everyone for life. Anyway, and needless to say, this ended up bumming everyone out, so we turned it off after thirty minutes (which I guess was a good move, since I’ve since discovered that A. the whole movie is three hours plus and B. its apparently not very good). To save the evening, we decided to watch Challenge of the Tiger, which was the second film on the double feature disc that For Your Height Only was on. And you’d think that any kung-fu shlock would have an impossible time following up on a king-fu/spy midget epic. But as it would turn out…

Challenge of the Tiger stars Bruce Le, not Lee but Le, one of the many “no one’s gonna notice that its not the same guy and the different spelled last name… all Orientals looks alike, and they all know karate anyways” actors that popped up in Hong Kong cinema in the early 80′s, and Richard Harrison as the token cool white ass-kicking ladies man in Hong Kong. All that really needs to be said is that in the first ten or so minutes, we catch Richard at his palatial estate where he has a whole gaggle of white women playing tennis totally topless. But it gets better! Though I can’t explain why, due to mind-dumbing amounts of fight scenes; the very best one featured a a slide in the foreground which we all watched with bated breathe, waiting for some poor shmuck to slide down to his death. Plus you had the same five generic henchmen getting shot over and over again, and film’s femme fatale looked like a sickly cancer patient (you can always tell a film’s budget by how “hot” the hot chick is supposed to be). Basically, it was awesome.

- And on Saturday MK & I case X-Men 3. I went in expecting pure shit, mostly due to all the warning signs, as pointed out by the movie night crew, and my own general feelings with Bryan Singer not being involved, and I left pleasantly surprised. It was actually pretty decent! Not X-Men 2 good, but on par with the first flick to a certain degree. It’s far from perfect, such as how one of the coolest parts (which I’m not going to spoil, even though everyone I personally know saw it already; even though I hate seeing films on opening weekends, I simply had to for this one, since I knew everyone would be talking about it) simply sheds light on a major flaw the series has had since the first movie. But at the very least, there were some genuine surprises, and once again, it was neat seeing characters pop-up here and there, even if there’s not much fanfare. The film definitely could have used more Multiple Man. And Vinny Jones as well (naturally). Once again, the film could have been totall shit, much like the previous two flicks, if not for some of the actors. Though I still say Iman should have been Storm and not Halle Berry since day one, especially after this movie.

- Afterwards we met with Robin whom I accidentally punched in the face. I’ll skip the explanation and simply state that I felt pretty bad. Anyway, we had dinner at Dojo’s and went out to Brooklyn for Liz Baillie‘s book release/Joe Flood‘s birthday/chilie party. The chili, which was hyped up by Robin beforehand, more than lived up to it, and equally delicious was the ice cream cake. Most folks there were comic books geeks of the super hero variety, so perhaps it was no surprise than that virtually everyone there either has or is currently working at Forbidden Planet, including Liz’s husband Zane. Everyone once in a while I’ll get in these kicks that makes me want to get back into super hero comics, and naturally, given the crowd and after seeing X3 earlier in the day, my interest was again piqued. I have always been a Marvel guy, but I’ve always paid attention to the DC Universe and has been thinking of using the latest summer event (Infinity Crisis) to finally make the plunge. But always in the end, I loose interest, though this time I have to attribute it to Zane’s thoughts on the whole thing: “Dude, Superboy punches a hole through the galaxy. Lame.”

- As for earlier in the day, MK finally got the chance to look through all my photo albums, which are mostly pics taken during college and a few years afterwards. She couldn’t stop laughing at all the pics of all my various friends and their previous wacky hairstyles (mostly ponytails), nor all the ones of me and my fluctuating weight. Anyone who’s known me for a while is well aware of my obsession with my weight, which is admittedly sorta gay (though perhaps not as much as my fussiness in regards to my hair), and my burning desire to get at thin as possible. But MK, like a few other women I’ve known for a while, also thought I looked pretty stupid (and unhealthy) when at my skinniest. I guess that stereotype that girls don’t mind a little belly is not bullshit after-all.

MK also thoroughly enjoyed seeing pictures of all the girls I obsessed over in college. And boy, there sure were a lot.

- Earlier in the week Millennium seasons 2 & 3 arrived so on Friday night I showed her both the Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense episode, as well as the one with the four demons having coffee and donuts and shooting the shit one as well. And yesterday, before getting back to work, I watched the two part closer to the second season, to see if it was indeed as good as I remember, and it certainly was (though I had totally forgotten about the Patty Smith “music video” part).

- Also got to finally play the pair of Gamefly games that’s been collecting dust all week. First was Shox, a little known game that came out in either 2002 or 2003 from EA. I’d always been curious about it back when the game was readily available at Game Express for $20 and I always sorta regretted not picking it up after the store closed its doors. Basically, its an arcade rally racer that’s fun to play, and quite a few things going for it that unfortunately gets undermined by just a few, but rather glaring negatives. On the plus side, the graphics are pretty top-notch, especially for a PS2 title back then, and the music is decent, especially for an EA game. The overall atmosphere is quite nice; every-thing’s energetic and fast-paced, almost like the nucleus of something that is later seen in the EA Burnout games. The game is set up like any other racing game: you have three laps to beat out five other cars for first place. You win money based on performance which is used towards buying new cars (you can also loose money for slamming up your car, but its never something ridiculous, just a few dollars here and there). Once interesting element is the ability to place bets on a car; win a race and you get the car, but loose and you also forfeit a good chunk of your money. Another nice small touch are “Shox Zones”; there are three sections of road in each track that once entered starts a timer and then you have a small amount of time to reach the end. Do it in the best time possible gets you a gold, fare okay you get silver, or average gets bronze. This mini race within a race is nice touch and really adds to the tension.

But controls are where things start to fall apart; the game uses either the right analogue stick for gas and break/reversal, which I’m never too fond off in any racing game, but its far better than using the face buttons since their pressure sensitive. Nothing feels worse than wondering why you’re not going fast enough till you realize that you have to press down on the X button really hard, till your right arm is about to fall off. As I said, it almost feels like Burnout, in the sense that Shox almost feels like a test bed for ideas later down the road, and one is the use of dramatic angles when pulling off a dramatic jump. At first its really nice to see and hear everything slow down as your car gets some crazy air-time… that is till you land, because 50% of the time your car wobbles out of control, sometimes turning onto its side or roof, and all of a sudden, you go from first to last. Another annoying thing is the sometimes inconsistent and often always rubber-band A.I. The first heat is six races, and you need get an average of first place to advance. I got first place in the fourth and fifth race my first time, but after literally twelve attempts, I still can’t get anything above fifth place in the second race, all because of the last big hill that guarantees a wipeout each and every-time. Also, Shox is the very first rally racer, hell any racer, in which you don’t get a map of the track.

Put some more time in Blood Will Tell and finally hit a wall, mainly the ultra-shitty camera. At one point I couldn’t use the map on the upper right hand corner of the screen due to the color of the environment of a particular level. Lame. And the combo portion of the combat, which has an almost DDR feel is something I just can’t get used to (and since its pretty much useless, there’s real no incentive to work at it). Plus, it makes no sense that certain enemies take about seven sword slashes to kill as the bionic samurai and just one or two scrawny punches from the kid (still can’t figure out if its a boy or girl) to take down. Still the story is awesome… I have to check if the manga is available anywhere.

- Didn’t get too much web surfing in over the weekend (I just things its sorta dumb surfing gaming message boards when the weather’s so nice outside), though I did come across some interesting tidbits…

… Apparently, gay guys love Link.

… So Sega at one point had a remote control-like interface for their Dreamcast. Note: yes, I’m well aware that everyone has come up with something similar at one point.

… Thanks to ShaperMC, I’ve come to discover that Schadenfreude Interactive, the makers of Accordion Hero, apparently has a whole slew of games. Their Grand Theft Automan simply looks hot.

… A quick glance through the NeoGAF turned up these two interesting topics: here someone asks about a rhythm-based stock market game that Konami game was developing a whiles back, and Sony it would seem is taking their “Sony Style” notion a bit too far.

Here’s an interview with one of the mind’s behind the Bob Ross game coming out for the Wii.

… Do you have a Power Glove and are you sick and tired of trying to play NES games with it? Well have you tried hacking it?

… I can’t wait to try out Dot Fighters:

- As for tonight, another GNG (Gamer’s Nite Groove) is taking place and I’ll be checking it out. I used to go to them all the time, but to an ever increasing schedule, I’ve had to miss the last couple. Truth be told, I really shouldn’t be going out tonight, plus its in Willamsburg, a slice of Brooklyn I’m not entirely fond of. But tonight’s is billed as the Tetsuya Mizuguchi Game Special, so I sorta have to be there.

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A couple of things…

- So with so much going on, I’m still pretty out of the loop video game-wise. I’m still not up on all the E3 relate news, at least in regards to the under the radar type stuff that I mostly care about. But I guess that’s the case with everyone, since only now are some really interesting things come to light, like how Kenji Eno is apparently going back to designing video games!!!

I’ve been a super huge fan of the guy for years, and he was doing things differently (with games such as D, Enemy Zero, and Real Sound) before it became sorta hip; people often site Hideo Kojima or Tomonobu Itagaki as “rock star” game designers, but in my mind, Kenji Eno will always be the very first, and perhaps the very best. Like how he threw a PlayStation console onto the floor at a press conference to show his disdain for the company.

I’ve also heard that Chulip (the kissing RPG) is, once again, coming to the US, courtesy of Atlus (or course). So obviously, there’s still some news left to sift through…

- Needless to say, the PS3 is still making headlines. The latest brew-ha-ha was due to some report that states Sony is trying to eliminate the second-hand game market by making it illegal to sell used systems and games, and even make it so that games are connected to a system. So let’s say you bought a game and wanted to play it on you’re friend’s PS3. Well, this would put a stop to that, but Sony was quick to call it all b. s.

But its still something that’s highly probable. Most people don’t realize this, but the second-hand game market, specifically places like EBs and GameStops that buy, sell, and trade used games, really are hurting the industry. First they sell a game for $50 to some kid, with much of it going back to the game’s publisher, then he goes back to sell the game for $25, and next they sell the game once again, but as used and at $40, but this time all of the money goes to the store, none to the people responsible for the game. Hence why many publisher hate the major game stores, but since they hold so much power, they have to deal with the devil. Though as much as I’d like to see EB & GameStops just go away, this isn’t the way to do so. I suppose all this will be taken care of, as well as make the whole Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD debate moot, plus any other future deliverable media debates, when things shift towards content being primarily downloadable. Though again, most people want to have a hard copy of whatever they buy, but now I’m starting to veer off topic…

Something else I’ve seen pop up are more and more articles in which people state that folks are going to buy the PS3 no matter what. And the more I think about, the more I have to reluctantly agree. It seems as if Sony is intent on copying Microsoft, at least all the things that helped to create all the buzz and excitement over their system last winter. Apparently there’s only going to be 2 million systems available world-wide at launch, which means there’s going to be tons of stories from the mainstream press, once again, about people going ape-shit over a video game console, such as committing crimes to get their hands on it, or some parent that spent over three times the retail price, almost $3000 for an empty box on eBay. Nevermind the outrageous price, people see all of this and at first question why people are going insane over the PS3, and then it will make them want one then (cuz “Well, it must be something special!”).

- Back to real life: Tuesday night was “game night” at Mike Rovin’s. It’s been a while since we played against each other (back in college, we would go against each other till 3 in the morning on a weeknight via Tekken 3 or Bushido Blade 1), and the game of the night was Virtua Fighter 4 Evolution. And like before, it’s always fun beating Mike since he gets so loud and pissed, plus he tries to get me all relied up and engage in shit-talking, while I prefer to be nice and calm and almost zen like. I’ve discovered that nothing gets under the skin of a competitive game player than being highly complimentary, regardless if one is winning or losing, though with Mike, we’ve been doing our little shtick for so long that it was mostly for show for Mike Simses (at least for me).

Afterwards Mike (Rovin) played some clips from assorted flicks, just like his dad, which were all his favorite sword-fighting scenes of his. Saw the final showdowns from Mark of Zero (its his fave fight scene of all time, and it’s pretty damn up their in my book as well), Scaramouche (which felt pretty limp after seeing the fast paced and intense Zorro fight, but the camera work was pretty incredible), El Cid, Troy (which to me highlights a major problem with all fight scenes in the past couple of years: they’ve all become way too Jackie Chan/Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-like), and of course, Conan the Barbarian and Destoryer. I also insisted on seeing the final lightsaber duel in Revenge of the Sith, which I recalled being cool, but as Mike said immediately beforehand, its just two guys swinging their swords left, right, left, right, wildly and stupidly.

The next night, last night, was movie night at Jeff’s. Started off with some movie trailers on the HD channel. Among them was the Pixar film, Cars, and the reaction it got from everyone seems to be consistent from everyone else’s. At this point, I seem to be the only one that’s genuinely excited for it; most seem to go “Hey… they’re cars alright.” I don’t know, but I have a strong feeling it might be my favorite film from them yet, perhaps even topping the Incredibles; sorry, but I’m just a sucker for cartoony cars, or at least talking ones (I was a big Knight Rider fan back in the days). Perhaps it due to my love for arcade racers, though oddly enough, I’ve never played Stunt Race FX. And I also think it’ll the first to get a “eehhh” reaction from all my normally Pixar-lovin’ friends. Next was the Christmas episode of Millennium, then another Action. The feature was The Man Who Would Be King starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine, which was pretty amazing (for the past few weeks, I’ve been able to get reacquainted with films I saw as a kid, but without the horrible cut-off and poorly placed commercial breaks thanks to A&E). Afterwards was another episode of Bullshit with Penn & Teller, with the theme being people’s obsession with hair. The ass-hair waxing scene was so hard to watch that at least one person had to leave the room. And all I can say is… thank God I have no problems in that area.

Later on, MK, who was still quite pleased for snagging the last copy of Scott Pilgrim Volume 3 at Cosmic Comics earlier in the day, showed me an interview with Bryan Lee O’Malley that was quite good (I have to admit, my fave part was when he sorta dissed the whole American manga scene). MK was going to read the book last night while I slept, but was afraid that her giggling would wake me up, so instead she spent the night playing Lost in Blue…

- … and this morning on Insert Credit, someone passed along yet another review of the game that claims its sexist. It’s funny because as long as MK’s been playing it, for many weeks now, not once has she ever complained that its sexist, nor anyone else I know who’ve played it, which curiously enough, are mostly the girlfriends of guy and whom don’t play video games that much. Perhaps it should be noted that the author of the article is a guy, and that for the most part, its almost always men that are complaining about sexism about games. Then again, there are more men playing games, so its perhaps natural that men’s voice will be the most vocal. And I’d like to think that there’s nothing wrong with men being annoyed by women being portrayed negatively in video games. But maybe there’s something as caring too much; as I mentioned previously, when talking about the subject of women in games at ICON, most of the women in the room wasn’t that upset with how girls are portrayed. Some had the sentiment of “its just a video game” while others basically said “there’s sexism everyone, so why should games be any different?”. And thankfully, once also pointed out that even though every girl in a fighting games is quite nubile, all the dudes (at least for the most part) aren’t exactly realistic either.

So perhaps this guy is over-reacting… and maybe I did too with the whole Melissa/GameLife controversy? Ummm…. no. I’ve already stated my reasons many times already, but once again, I also know for a fact that real women are actually upset by it all.

Oh, and the new GameLife came out yesterday or something, their special E3 edition, and people are either saying that it has officially jumped the shark or that does a far better job of cover the event on the show floor than any of the major gaming news sites and their video podcasts ever did. I also hear that one definite highlight is Melissa’s interview with some guy at Rare since it obvious that he wants to have sex with her, but its on GameVideos.com, which runs worse that 1UP.com on Mac, if that can be believed (plus I hear it sucks as on PCs as well).

- Also last night, I showed MK the site of some chick who messaged me on MySpace to ask if I could make a video game starring her.

As for today, I stumbled across this. Anyone know what the fuck this is about? Anyway, it’s aweomse. Also, talked to Job for a bit and he suggested once again that I re-consider doing a podcast. I’m still not totally sold on the idea, though I haven’t crossed it out of my mind either…

And as for tonight, it’s shitty movie night with MK, Robin, and Matt Singer. Should be fun.

- Hey, time for some pictures! First up, remember my trip to the Korean grocery store over week ago? Well it garnered me some awesome Japanese candies, including…

Some quite little biscuits featuring various vehicles…

Here’s some featuring sealife. I haven’t tried them yet, so I really hope they’re not fish-flavored snacks (since they are pretty popular among Koreans)…

I had these before, but in chocolate…

Asians love to embrace nature, even in their processes candies, and this isn’t the first mushroom themed chocolate cookies I’ve had…

Sticking with nature, here’s some chocolate covered tree stumps. I got this one just for the flying squirrel on the box…

Here’s a bag of corn snacks featuring an ass-kicking garlic…

I totally love the packaging on these soft drinks turned into hard candies…

And I don’t think I really have to explain why I got these…

Here’s some chocolate filled mini-puffs which used to be favorites of mine when I lived in Korea. Which means I haven’t had these in over 22 years…

The same goes for this…

It may not look much, but when I saw them, I went totally bonkers. Its a favorite drink for little kids in Korea; back in the day, old women used to deliver them by the caseload every morning, sorta like milkmen circa the 50′s. Again, I haven’t had these for more than two decades, so I didn’t hesitate to get a few cases. And they’re still just as good.

And I didn’t just get candy; the place had a huge selection of ramen. I got mostly kimchee flavored ramen, but I could resist the particular brand of chicken flavored noodles…

And here’s a blurry pic of the masked Mexican wrestler that June got for my birthday, which I believe Joe says she got from some trendy clothing boutique or something…

As I mentioned, I got a flew of fresh shirts for my birthday. I guess the theme this year was astronauts. Here’s one from Dave…

And here’s one from Farel…

Plus, here’s a nice tee that MK got for me at APE…

And finally, remember me mentioning those trading cards featuring stand-up comics from the early 90′s by Pauline Poulette? Well here they are in all their glory…

I showed this pic to a coworker of mine, so about five years younger, and aside from Bobcat Goldthwait, he didn’t know who the others were! Definitely another “Man I feel old!” moment.

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