Monday, March 06, 2006

My inner clock is on Tokyo time.

Sleep is a funny thing.

I'm pretty sure that most of us take it to simply be the body's way of giving its sensory duties a break- much like applicances are turned off to prevent overheating. But now we have a bunch of scientists who keep studying it, convinced that there's something more to the whole thing and we have yet to fully understand it. I can't necessarily say they're wrong since I have no means to do so, but this is something that I've always found a bit extreme. What are they trying to understand that they don't already know?

The reason I'm posting about sleep is because it is 2:20 AM as I type this sentence, and I still have at least another hour on my clock before fatigue sets in. And on Saturday night, for no real reason at all, I developed a sudden case of tiredness and fell asleep for 2 hours from 9 to 11 PM, got up, and could not fall back asleep until it was 6 AM and sunlight was starting to show.

Stuff like this is the only thing related to sleep that I can imagine scientists studying, but it's still not that complicated: I've turned myself into a nocturnal creature through too many late nights spent on the TV and computer. Voila.

The Oscars were a disaster presentation-wise. I can't remember Jon Stewart dishing out such unfunny material; it would be horrifying to learn if he himself wrote it. Other aspects confounded me, such as doing a pointless bunch of clips from the most obvious films to be considered classics (With the possible exception of The Fifth Element). On the subject of cartoons, the cringeworthy Chicken Little appearance made me realize that I can't recall a time where animated characters have given out an Oscar and been funny. This needs to change. The good part? Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Rabbit, an old-school slapstick film fine-tuned in every way, deservedly took the Best Animated Film Oscar. It's nice that this category finally exists (Though at the same time saddening that it nullifies the chance of an animated film ever getting Best Picture).

I have recently gotten a copy of Dragon Quest 8 for the PS2 to see what all the hubbub was about, and I'm having an enjoyable time. Granted, there's nothing about this game so far that puts it in the hall of fame, but it is a solid game that takes the better established conventions of the RPG genre and uses them. An earlier title, on the other hand, felt less deserving of its hype to me- Tales of Symphonia had a battle system that, while in real-time, ultimately felt clunky and confusing to me, and the presentation was horrid; instead of, say, trying to make character models that emoted, they stuck to ugly-looking semi-deformed ones that relied on emoticons to express themselves. EMOTICONS. (Luckily, the character design in this game wasn't the best to begin with.)

That's Dragon Quest on the left and Tales on the right. Would it shock you to know that no less than four of the Tales characters shown here are male? Yep.

Finally, on the topic of animated features, one I am nervously anticipating this month is the sequel to Blue Sky/Fox's Ice Age. I say nervously because, while the original Ice Age was one of the better non-Pixar CG films, Robots (from the same studio) let its fantastic design and potential get hampered by many juvenile and/or unfunny jokes. I guess I'm also apprehensive about all the new characters being added to this sequel- the distinct personalities of just the three guys in the original was great already. I'll be sure to post opinions when I see it.

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