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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

9:51AM - 21+...sparks+

Last night I noticed there was a new Sparks out, so guess what I felt was my duty to do?
It's stronger (by 1%, a grand total of 7%, which beats out most beer anyway) and has a black cherry kinda taste,supposedly, which is less intense than the original. (Which can be a bit much when consummed in mass quanities)
It's called Sparks Plus, and has a black top instead of the normal orange.
As far as I know, it still has all the usual caffeine and such as the normal sparks... It is hard to read what the can says in a dark club.
Overall think it's pretty good if it is your thing.
I only had one, since I wanted to sleep last night. So I have no idea how well they pile up.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

1:03PM - tera thai review

This one is for the Richmond VA area folks.

Tera Thai, a realitively new Thai restruant located in the Short Pump mall, is amazing. :-p

First off, the décor is an interesting underwater theme, with cool green and blue ambient lighting and string lights shaped liked jellyfish lighting th place. There are various themed paintings and sculptures to add to the effect, as well as tables with sand sculptures encased within the top.

The staff, from what I could see, was totally ethnic to the Thai area, which is always a good sign when going to a place like that. Speaking of the staff, they seemed very energetic and and attentive.

I didn't go to the bar area, but from what I could see, they had a good selection, and what caught my attention was the massive wine racks lining the wall above the bar. A large tv was placed in center between a set of racks.

Above the bar was what I guessed was a VIP balcony for private gatherings, since no one was seated there.

And now to the food.

The plates they give are packed! There is no way you could leave that place hungry. I considered taking some home, but then when I figured it wouldn't be as good reheated, I just picked through what I had left for the good stuff, and left the rest. I had a a mildly spicy seafood dish, with lots of good seafood pieces. I also ordered a mixed drink, of of their specialties they called “Jade”. I forget what all was in it, but it was very good.

Now to the part you are wondering. Prices...

It actually was very good. Not a thing there was over 13.95, and the drink I got was under 6 dollars, which surprised me.

So it is great dining at an affordable price.

The one drawback is, being in the mall, it gets very crowded. This has been my first trip out of three attempts. The other times I tried there was always close to an hour's wait.

I don't know if they take reservations or not, but they do offer a carry out menu. But personally, I think the atmosphere is half the fun. OH, that reminds me. despite being a popular and often packed place, it never go too loud there, so conversation is manageable.

Over all it gets high marks all around. I deffinately recommend you giving it a shot if you like Thai food.


Wednesday, February 8, 2006

9:04PM - doleMITE!

Hell yeah. I usually get a can or 2 of fruit cocktail at the grocery store because I like to eat out of cans so as not to dirty a good clean plate. Also fruit cocktail is awesome, especially since they made the kind with more cherry halves :) But last time I got a different kind:

Dole Tropical Fruit Salad in passion fruit nectar.
It's got pineapples, red and yellow papaya, guava, passionfruit juice, and banana puree. And the best part - the fruit is in these massive chunks rather than little nibble size bits. The juice is way tastier than the "heavy syrup" (or whatever kind of syrup) in regular fruit cocktail. And if you eat the whole can in one sitting (which is totally possible) you can get damn near all your daily requirement for vitamin C. (1 serving is half a cup and it's a 15 oz can)
It almost tastes like one cabana boy should be feeding it to me while another one fans with a palm frond. I do heart papaya so very much ^____^ Quite tasty and highly suggested.

Current mood: content

Friday, February 3, 2006

12:07AM

on a scale of 1-10 (worst-best) i rate apartment fires - 309087345608327607efhgef54t4

:-p

(for those out of the know, i was recently displaced due to a fire in my apartment building about a week and a half ago. i am ok, and i didn't really lose anything, just massive smoke damage.. i need to take my computer to get cleaning cause the disc drives are not working though. i have since found a place to live and have moved in, and started the rebuilding of my room. i doubt the smoke smell will be gone for some time though.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

9:41PM - DVD: Ghost In The Shell 2: music videos

Anyone who has seen Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence knows the soundtrack is something worth looking into. Composer Kenji Kawai's works are as beautiful as they are haunting.. meshing the score amazingly with the film.
So one would think that this compilation of "music videos" would be on par with that.
One will be very dissapointed.
Being a fan of the Ghost in the Shell series, I really was exicited to hear about this, and to get to see it.
But the videos turned out to be nothing but the CG rendered backgrounds before they added the animation, for the most part. And though the backgrounds are stunning, it is not something one can really sit down and watch 42 minutes of.
I can see this as something used for background at a party or something, but to watch just for the sake of watching, you might as well just watch the movie instead.(Though I would imagine this to be mind blowing whilst one is in some sort of altered state)
The DVD a shameless marketing ploy, unfortunately.
Good thing for Netflix.




Here is something of interest I was brought attention to via hozay which relates to raevin 's great review of Dir en grey's "Withering to Death".
Dir en grey is to have a domestic release of WTD!!
For you non Jrock fans, doesn't seem like anything exciting, but when CDs from japan cost us around 30 bucks a pop, having a domestic relase means it will cost around half that.. like any other "normal" cd.
The US relase will have a dvd which contains several music videos as well as some older live stuff.
Check out the the press release here.
Thanks Ho. ~_^

Current mood: disappointed

Sunday, January 1, 2006

2:40PM

ARTIST Dir en grey
ALBUM Withering to Death
Release 03.09.2005
Tracks Total 14

Track 01: Merciless Cult: When I first heard this, I loved it. The reason being...music. Right away, it gave the impression that it's not a GAUZE v2.0. The lyrics themselves, are pleasant. By this, I mean it's rather different than every other song on the album. Kyo's vocals give it a pleasantly eerie atmosphere. Shinya does some basic drumming throughout most/all of it, but it's good...it's a simple song, and the instruments should be simple.

Overall: 8/10

Track 02: C: The easy shift between this and MC is easy on the ears. The music itself sounds like a lighter/poppier, and faster, version of MC, though. The bridge/chorus/whatever (jissai...) is nice too, on how Kyo doesn't scream it. Overall, this song isn't bad, nor good...just inbetween. Nice to follow, peaceful yet chaotic, interesting. I do love the lyrics, though, dealing with an unanswered question (personal preference, mysterious things are interesting to me). The English is nicely done too.

Overall: 7.5/10

Track 03: 朔-saku-: This song, starts the whole "Diru is to Western!!!" thing. Okay, so Kyo screams during the chorus...but, it adds to the rest of the song. It's not supposed to be a ballad, it's supposed to be an in-your-face-listen-to-me-damnit! song. People underestimate the meaning of the song by the way Kyo sings. The music isn't like the previous two tracks, it's more like how OBSCURE could've been. Personally, I like the song because of how it's structured, but...yeah. I can't really comment on the music or lyrics much, because Kyo's vocals take over most of the time.

Overall: 7.8/10

Track 04: kodoku ni shisu, yue ni kodoku.: I think they could've made the transition between saku and this a lil' more smoother. But, this song has what saku doesn't. Kyo's voice doesn't take over the song, and the music is both hard and soft. Really, Shinya did a great job with the drumming. If you listen closely to his playing, it's really soft...but at the same time, it makes you feel like he's playing "Kurenai" by X. The guitar part during the verses is rather...dull...it's the same thing, but...still not bad. Kaoru and Die are still great guitarists, and I'm not going to discredit them. Toshiya's bass playing is still awesome as well. Kyo's writing for the song really, nice. The message doesn't just suit people in Japan, but for everyone.

Overall: 8.3/10

Track 05: itoshisa wa fuhai ni tsuki: A nice, smooth switch between this and the previous track...I like. This is probably one of the better first-six songs on the album. There is no double-playing w/ music styles like #4, just straight forward softness. I think this is one song that will be great live. Kyo's voice is very soft, melodic, which makes it very enjoyable. The playing is nice, but there could've been a lil' bit of a different tone (sounds to similar to #4).

Overall: 8.3/10

Track 06: Jesus Christ R'n'R: The opening to this song, is, like Merciless Cult, great. Up to this point, this album has proven to not be like any of their previous albums...which is a big plus. Before hearing this song, I thought this song would be of an anti-Christian song...given the title. But, it was a big suprise to know it wasn't. The lyrics sound like they're the sister of "Marmalade Chainsaw", but it's not that bad...because everything really adds to the song. The background "wo wo wo wo wo" thing, I can't stop laughing at...only because it's like "Child Prey"'s "wooooooah oh"...just so damn catchy. The music is nicely done, and Kyo's vocals are still one of the greatests, given what he's done to it over the years. His English doesn't improve on this, over any previous albums though, but fxxk it.

overall: 9/10

Track 07: GARBAGE: Okay, I've read reviews saying this song was just that, garbage, well...forget you. Is it the greatest song, ever? Hell no it isn't...not by a long shot. But, this is how "-saku-" should've been with the music. Kyo doesn't flood out the music during his work, and the music doesn't blast your eyes like dynamite. Kyo's English? Sucks...but, it's not bad. His screaming is still not pleasing, but when is it supposed to be? Personally, this song is really worth a better listen. (Side-note: The live of this that came w/ the "Clever Sleazoid" single...is really nice...even if he doesn't actually do vocals for most of it.)

Overall: 8.9/10

Track 08: Machiavellism: This is the first song I listened to, from the album (when the single first came out). Really, if Die didn't write the music to this, I'll be suprised (I'm not sure who did). It sounds like his work, because he writes most of the more upbeat songs. This is one for the mosh pits. The hardcore-ness of the music, and Kyo's aggressive vocals brings out a nice feeling of anger. All I'll say for this.

Overall: 8.9/10

Track 09: dead tree: Okay, this is a nicely presented song. It's just like a ballad of "C" + "-saku-". The music is soft during the verses, and picks up during the chorus. Kyo's vocal work is very easy to listen to. I can't really say much else on this, since it's not my favorite.

Overall: 8.5/10

Track 10: The FINAL: The grand-daddy of them all. This is prossibly, if not positively, everyone's favorite song off the album. Rightfully so. This has some of Kyo's finest works of his voice on the album. The music is like a butterfly soldier...intimdiating, but truely not. Shinya does some great work here with his drums, and it's nice to know. Kaoru and Die still can really kick ass on their guitar work, and Toshiya brings forth the true intesity, but you don't realize it til the chorus. The lyrics are beautifully written...almost as if Kyo meant for this to be added to another poem book of his. His Japanese is melodic, even during the "Suicide is proof of life" part. Them, doing this song live on Code of Vulgar[ism]...was speechless. Their performance was really, beautiful. The last 30 or so seconds (w/ the "So I can't live" part), really gives the song any depth it might've been missing previously.

Overall: 9.5/10

Track 11: Beautiful Dirt: Another fan-hated song. Really, I'm not gonna comment on this, because it's just a re-worded version of GARBAGE.

Overall: 7/10 (for the repetitious feeling)

Track 12: Spilled Milk: Not that bad of a song. I can't really compliment it, but I don't really feel any negativity about it. The music doesn't really shift much, and Kyo's vocal work isn't migraine-causing. I personally feel this should've came before Beautiful Dirt. But, hey.

Overall: 8/10

Track 13: higeki wa mabuta wo kudaroshita yasashiki utsu: This song, is a real pleasure...truely. It's as if Kyo doesn't want you to even pay attention to him, but fall in love with the music. It's so soft, as if he's singing a lullibye [sp?]. The image it gives, is very saddening though. Anyways, with the music itself more...it's soft, and it should be with the song. It's like, one of those songs you have to appreciate, no matter what. The feelings this song can bring up, the sensation of feeling alone but loved at the same time, it's just amazing how Dir en grey pulled this off.

Overall: 9/10

Track 14: kodou: The beginning music sounds like it's going to be a song such as "Hotarubi"...but it's not. The work done, is really nice. Kyo's vocal work, especially for an ending song, hasn't been this good since ~"Macabre" era. It's sort of like a heavier #13, but totally different at the same time. Kyo's vocals aren't to much of a killer (it blends nicely with the music). I don't like the effects added to the bits of songs (intro mainly). It could've done without, but hey. Also, Shinya's drums take over all the other istruments, which is kind of sad. Overall, very nice. The lyrics are like a different view of "Merciless Cult".

Overall: 8.9/10

Total: 8.4/10 (B)

I know many people hate this album, but...really. If they stayed in the GAUZE era, you'd all be complaining about that. If you pay more attention to the the inside, instead of the outside, you might appreciate this album more.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

12:03AM

Artist: vellaDonna
Album: Chaos
Release: 1999
Label: Bandai Music Entertainment INC

vellaDonna is a VK (Visual Kei) group, who, from what I can tell from this album, mixes the elements of heavy metal styled music, being the thrashing guitars/bass, and thunderous drums, with older gothic styled vocals (very heavy on the reverb and under mixed from the music).
The four piece group consist of “Seek” on vocals, “TAKO” on guitars, “GOMA” on bass, and “NAOKI” on drums. They seem to be talented musicians, though nothing they do on this album is highly outstanding. Seek's vocals are rather bland and passive compared to what the rest of the guys are playing.
The 10 track album consists of two instrumentals, which are the more enjoyable tracks, in my opinion.
Not to say the others are bad, it's just not my usual thing to sit and listen too.
Though, the song “Blind Of Mine” seems to be more of what they ought to be doing. It is more mellow, and the vocals fit much better on this track.
Overall I think had they put a little more work into this, it could have been a really good album (the last song could have been something really neat had they pushed it; but they instead clock it in at just over a minute and a half), but as it is, its just ok.
Personally I doubt i will be playing it for much more than just background music.

On a side note:
My friends and I were rather surprised that they were signed to such a major label as Bandai.. which gave us a great boost of hope for our own musical endeavors. ^_^

Sunday, December 18, 2005

9:19PM - screw eggnog, time for chai

This is a post for those who enjoy fine beverages of the alcoholic type.
Recently I came across "Voyant", a liqueur with all the flavor and creaminess of a chai latte.
(website)

It is palatable enough tp drink on its own, and with a low alcohol volume (12.5%, or 25 proof), you don't have to worry much about sipping a warm glass of this by the fire on a Winter's night. :-p
I can't say I have done that, but I imagine it would go over well.
It is moderately priced, a 750 ml bottle will run around twenty dollars (maybe a little more, but not much). I haven't yet bought that sized bottle, but I have enjoyed the 50 ml sample bottles twice now.
I find it a pleasent and smooth beverage, and am surprised how tasty it is.
The bottle it'self is interesting, being completely painted in oranges and reds with white text. It is interesting to look at, but the drawback is that you cannot see how much is left.

Friday, December 9, 2005

4:47PM - Mexican Radio

When I was going to school in Staunton, and spending a lot of time in C'Ville, I listened to WNRN all the time... I love this station! It is very diverse, good music, not really any commercials... and it's not all corporate... It's NPR at it's finest... or something like that...
Anyway 2 thumbs up! with extra Thumby-ness!
It's now broadcasting on 103.1 in R.VA. so yeah... You should listen to it!!!
*edit per Gabe's request*
The website: www.wnrn.org
Stations out west: 91.9 in C'ville and almost to Staunton... and I think the other one is 88.1...

Friday, December 2, 2005

5:13PM - Food: Buddha's Hand

Those of you who know me, know I am rather eclectic, and will give most things a try. So when this oddly shaped fruit came around to a store I go to, I just had to try it.



The above is known as "Buddha's Hand".
A little research told me that this strange fruit is a unique citrus fruit from Asia.  I forget if it was Chinese or Japanese, both were mentioned using it.
It is rather odd in that, unlike most citrons, there is no fleshy pulp nor seeds. In fact, it is nothing but rind.

So for an average consumer, there is little to no use for it, unless you wish to use it as an expensive air freshener, as it is very fragrant.
It also ran for $10 for one.
Luckily as I work with a catering company/café, and that the main chef is as curious about new things as I, we got it on the company tab. :-p

Its main use is for flavoring. I read it is often used for flavoring liquors, especially vodkas.
And  it is very similar to lemon in taste, though far less sour.
Being all rind, it is useful when a recipe calls for zesting.
But over all, it seems rather useless for every day consuming, which we found rather disappointing.

Current mood: accomplished

Saturday, November 26, 2005

11:53PM - Stuff begins

Welcome to average_input , where you write your reviews about stuff! (cause we all like stuff)
Please read the "about" section on the info page for the run down of this community.
Thanks for checking us out, and if you stay, hope you have a good time! ^_^

Current mood: busy