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Nothing says "I wish I was a secret agent" like a pair of dark aviators.

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Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
For the moment, believe it or not, I have returned. The one, the only, the MoDS.
Music to Wear Aviators To...
If a pair of mirrored aviators could play music, it would sound something like this...
My Review of The Dark Knight
Tuesday. 8.12.08 9:46 pm
“OMG THE DARK KNIGHT IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER”
. -Friend’s Facebook status

I haven’t actually seen The Dark Knight yet, but I already know it’s awesome. I know this because all of my friends have told me so, and I know I can trust my friends on this because about half of them are artsy film-buffs who share a deep-seated sense of distrust for big-budget Hollywood productions. They tend to follow up praise for mainstream films with counter-comments such as “I liked it, but the cinematography was lackluster,” (The Bourne Ultimatum) or “It was good, but the ending was drawn-out,” (Munich) or “It was hilarious, but not intentionally” (Star Wars Episode III). For them, admitting to thoroughly enjoying a Hollywood picture is roughly tantamount to Al Gore admitting that he loves the smell of fresh greenhouse gasses in the morning.

So, when my friends inform me that Heath Ledger deserves every award from the Golden Globe to the Congressional Medal of Honor for his performance as the Joker, I know it must be some seriously good stuff.

Thus, I hereby grant The Dark Knight a temporary rating of two-thumbs-up. This temporary rating shall stand until I actually see the movie for myself. That is unlikely to happen for a while, however, as every IMAX showing in the state of New York seems to have been sold-out into 2012.

Quick Robin, to Fandango.com!

Thank you, that is all.

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Emerging from the Jungle in 1972
Saturday. 8.2.08 2:51 pm
In MoDS head...

The air hangs heavy around South Street Seaport. This place was once a popular tourist attraction in New York City, a good place to grab some overpriced dinner along the waterfront. Yet the piers that once smelled of fresh fish and visiting foreigners now smell of combat … a faint musk of human sweat and blood mixed with the scent of burning cordite. I stand guard outside the entrance of a parking lot, smoking a cigarette and cradling my rifle, keeping an eye out for any Charlies who might have the gumption to stray into our home territory in the night. Suddenly… footsteps! I throw down my cigarette and snub it out with a combat boot. My hand tightens around the trigger of my rifle as the unknown figure approaches…

In MoDS reality...

Night has fallen in South Street Seaport, and I’m patrolling a parking lot with my friend David. We’re keeping an eye out for anyone with a piece of yellow CAUTION tape tied around their head who might be trying to sneak into our red territory. We are participating in an elaborately massive game of capture the flag, in which the “field” spans ten crowded city blocks and the flags are cleverly hidden among them. The red “DANGER” tape tied around our heads indicates our allegiance to the red team. Suddenly, someone approaches… I crouch down ready to give chase at the first sign of yellow caution tape. But no, this is a friendly, and he’s brought a message.

“We found their flag!” He announces. “It’s at the intersection of Water St. and Dover St. Spread the word.”
I sigh and turn to my friend. “Too bad we’re on defense.”
“Come on, it’s not like anyone is coming back here, our flag is further forward. Let’s just go for it.” He says.
“Nah, it would take too long and the chances of getting captured are too high.” I respond. “It’s not like we can just take a cab there.”
Suddenly me and my friend stop walking, and turn to each other. “David,” I tell him, “I’ve just had the most wonderful idea.”

Ten Minutes Later...


The taxi pulls up to Water and Dover street. We peer out at the enemy flag, undetected behind the safety of the cab windows and the cover of the night. There are four of us in the cab, and ten men guarding the flag.

“What the hell!” says one of my brothers in arms. “We’ve only got two guys on our flag, this is bullshit! No way we can capture it with that many people around.”
“We’ll just have to make camp here then.” I respond.

We pay the cab driver, who appears bewildered by the fact that four strange men wearing red DANGER tape bandannas have just wasted four dollars on a 3-block cab ride and are now walking/crouching/giggling their way out of his taxi to hide behind some nearby parked cars.

As we leave the cab, we split up. My friend and the 2 other guys go to the left side of the street, while I go alone to the right… or so I thought. As I plunk down behind a car, I’m greeted by a whispered demand of “Where the hell did you come from!?” I whirl around to find that I am now sharing my foxhole with three of my red teammates… three teammates who got here the hard way. “Long story,” I tell him. “What’s going on?”

“We’re stuck here, there’s too many of them.” He says, pointing to the well-guarded enemy flag just ahead. It is easily visible from our position. In the eerie glow of the Seaport streetlights, they appear as some sort of yellowish breed of zombies, standing lifeless yet vigilant against the fiery passion of our redness. “We’ve been trying to call our team captain, but he’s not picking up his cell. We don’t know what to do.”

“I brought three other guys with me, between the seven of us, we might have enough to take them down,” I tell him.

Another teammate, crouching behind the next car, fancying himself some sort of sacrificial James Bond, pipes in. “All right, I’ll be a distraction, I’ll run past and draw them out… then you guys rush the flag.”

“That might be just crazy enough to work!” I declare, and pick up my cell phone to call my friend on the opposite side of the street. We spend the next few minutes bickering over whether to go for the flag now or wait for word from our team captain. Finally, after five minutes of heatedly whispered controversy, we decide to go forward with the plan.

I turn to Private Pyle (the name I have chosen for the sacrificial James-Bond-type who has volunteered to be our distraction) and tell him that we’re ready. He nods gravely, and begins to frog-walk from car to car, slowly advancing on the flag. I watch him with apprehension, as I map out the fastest route from my position to the flag… Private Pyle has almost reached the flag now… I glance over to the yellow team’s position to check that he hasn’t been spotted… all clear… Private Pyle reaches the last car and darts out… Suddenly the kid behind me receives a call, “It’s the captain!”… Too late now, Private Pyle is already barreling down on the enemy… I begin to stand up… the guy behind me hurriedly answers the captain’s call… And then suddenly…

...

…nothing. The yellow team just stands there, looking at Pyle with utter indifference. The guy behind me puts down his phone and looks up at me with a look that says it all…
“The game is over,” he says. “They called it a draw.”

D'oh!

Now I know what Shoichi Yokoi must have felt like back in 1972.

Thank you, that is all.

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Like Arnold in Terminator 2, I'm back!
Sunday. 7.27.08 10:31 pm


Thank you, that is all.

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New York Bagels. Japanese Style
Sunday. 9.2.07 4:17 pm
Its late afternoon outside Okayama Station, where our small squadron of Americans is congregating by an elegant fountain and discussing American stuff. Sex, money, and of course food. Delicious as Japanese home-style cooking may be, I have come to long for the simple New York days of pizza, burgers and other fast food. And so, when one of the girls in our group mentions that she saw a bagel shop just inside the station that morning, I suddenly leap to attention.

I immediately launch into a thorough interrogation of the girl. Where was this legendary shop? What had it looked like? And most importantly, how could I find it.

Five minutes later, I stood before its wonderful storefront. It was even better than I had anticipated. Not only had I discovered a bagel place, but it was actually named "New York Style Bagels". I begin to look over the menu... And then look up at the cashier in bewilderment.

"Hello," I say, "I am from New York."

"Oh, really?" She says with a smile.

"Yes." I respond. Then, doing my best to communicate an attitude of friendly confusion, I point to what appears to be a "shrimp and tofu" bagel on their menu and say (in the most coherent Japanese that I can muster) "We do not have this in New York."

"Oh, I see." She responds with a little chuckle.

With a resigned smile, I sigh and order myself a cream cheese bagel.

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Tales of Japan: What Have they Done to the Colonel!?
Friday. 7.27.07 7:38 am
Outside a KFC in Kyoto...



I'm surprised they didn't give him the traditional two samurai swords. After all, he is a colonel.

On a less enjoyable note, I am now stateside once again, working at a summer camp for the remainder of the summer. Nonetheless, I am hardly done recounting all of my wondrous tales from the mysterious east... stay tuned.

Thank you, that is all.

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How Do You Say 'Kill Bill' in Japanese?
Wednesday. 7.18.07 5:26 am
[At Tamano High School in Okayama, Japan]

*I approach a group of two Americans speaking with two Japanese high school girls*

* 'Do you know the movie Kill Bill?' asks an American.*

*Students look puzzled.*

* 'Kill Bill' the American repeats*

*Students talk amongst themselves in beffudled beffudlement.*

*American begins to wave her arm as if she were holding a sword.*

* 'You know, Kill Bill, with Uma Thurman... swordfights, blood...' says the American*

*Students look even more beffuddled*

*I clear my throat*

* 'Kirr Birr?' I ask tentatively*

*Faces of students light up in recognition.*

* 'Reehhh! Kirr Birr! Hai hai hai! Shiteru!' says students*

[30 seconds later]

* 'Do you know Jet Li?' asks another American.*

*Students look puzzled.*

*I clear my throat*

* `Jeto Ri?` I ask tentatively*

*Faces of students light up in recognition.*

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