Thursday, August 9, 2018

Senior Year and Beyond: 20 Years Later

I've reminisced about 1998 and my time at Roosevelt you can still find here and here via LiveJournal. Now here we are again, celebrating '98 with the 20th anniversary of graduation and a nice visit back at the school, part of reunion day.

Simply put, high school was mostly pretty well for me and Senior Year was the cumulation of it all . I can't say much for Freshmen Year, just that it started out slow not really knowing anyone, except for rejoining Ting (who was a year ahead of me), after 7th grade at Eckstein. I had a Home Ec class I never did much work in and I was probably pretty happy to quickly get out of P.E. entirely (which I did have 6th - 8th grade).

Sophomore Year I joined the school store (Teddy's Corner) which moved to a bigger space (after basically being the space of broom closet) and we started selling balloons. Ting and I had a ceramics class and all I did were small bowls (which I still have!) The teacher had a radio and Real McCoy's "Another Night" would often come on, which I'd say pretty much introduced me to the entire genre of dance music. We also had a radio on sometimes in 5th period and at some point I got introduced to C89.5 FM "Seattle's Hottest Music" (now "Seattle Home For Dance"). I then did a work training program over the summer of 1997, helping out the custodians at Nathan Hale High School (where C89 is located). Right around my last day, I got a quick tour of the old second floor studios. I still have fond memories of listening to the station during my walk home from Nathan Hale, as well as a keepsake binder covered in C89 stickers I found one day in the recycling room, in addition to the photos from my visit.

Junior Year pretty much continued the Ting and I duo, helping out with Teddy's Corner and then having 5th & 6th periods at Nathan Hale's Print Shop, as part of the VOTIS program. Ms. Fernandez (who was in charge of the store), was a very nice lady who took a group of us on a field trip to the Space Needle for lunch one day. Senior Year I didn't continue with the store and Ting had graduated. Though it was fun having one school year with my sister Sarah, who I'd occasionally see with friends in the hall. Also I liked getting to sleep a bit later having no first period, but it took awhile to figure out a second period for me. And once we did I ended up not even liking it because it was just too advanced (It was Advanced Drawing & Painting after all). To this day, I still remember successfully getting one of the art projects done and then watching the teacher roll her eyes as I handed it in. Of course, Senior Projects were the big thing, which I've talked about. In some awful timing, I was late for school the day we needed to turn in the big presentation boards. The night before, as I was getting all set for the morning, the police forced a neighborhood evacuation due to a standoff involving someone with a gun up the driveway from us. I remember pretty much just sleeping in the car with Sarah, mom and dad at the top of the street until probably 2 or 3 am. Also, I was still in the VOTIS program (again taking up the last two periods), with one more semester at the Print Shop and then working at the downtown A&S Center second semester.

Finally, the end of high school came and I made sure to get a bunch of photos and as many yearbook signatures as I could, great to look back on today. And as I've talked about, a fitting end with a wonderful Senior Spree. Not real sure where I'd be the following year, I then enjoyed a very long, lazy summer, often up, chatting on AOL and listening to C89 until 3 or 4 am, consistently starting the day in the afternoon. A lot of time to watch MTV and a lot was on... The original Real World Seattle, Road Rules All-Stars - the very beginning of what would become The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, plus the debut of Total Request in a new primetime block, which soon became the TRL afternoon countdown. Earlier in the year, Road Rules Northern Trail did a Seattle episode featuring Third Eye Blind which I thought was the coolest thing. The TV landscape was of course very different, unlike today with Netflix Originals, reboots and The CW's Superhero TV. Besides MTV, my favorite show was definitely Buffy the Vampire Slayer and I immediately loved That '70s Show when it premiered in August. This was also when I really started to catch up on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers afternoon reruns, while the current season (Power Rangers in Space) would end the first six years with a truly morphinominal finale in November.

Meanwhile, October 4 was my first day in a work program at Seattle Central Community College, mostly doing recycling, mail delivery and some shipping/receiving, lasting until winter break mid-December. I also had meetings with a job coach there who helped get me a job at a printing place, which I started at mid-January. I'd go on to spend 4 years at MasterPress, which ultimately suffered from the economy and major staff cuts but is still open to this day. And besides my first real job, it was my first real experience having friends at a workplace, long before Whole Foods and QFC.

Unlike a lot of my classmate friends who I'd say moved on after graduation and never really looked back (not interested in any reunions either if this year is any indication), I wasn't quite ready to say goodbye to Roosevelt so fast. In June, I went with mom & dad to see the '99 spring musical ("Oklahoma!") and once in awhile, I'd see someone I knew while I'd be on the bus or about to catch one. Went to a Roosevelt football game in October and the following June, went back once more to see the '00 musical ("Brigadoon.") Also, Ms. Shintaffer & her husband had a boat and would take a small group of her students out sailing. We went once every June between '97 - '00. I enjoyed getting the chance to see the '99, '00 and '01 yearbooks as well whenever Sarah or one of her friends had left one around. She used to host parties, and July 26, 1999 was the biggest one of them all with what felt like almost the entire Roosevelt student body at the house, along with some graduates and other friends of Sarah's friends. It also became a sort of after party for a bunch of girls who had attended the Britney Spears show downtown and was finally broken up late in the night when the police arrived. These are the moments I can't ever forget.

So here's to Roosevelt High School, my 4 years and all the celeb alumni who have walked the halls. 96 years (with a major facelift) has never looked so good.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Looking Back: Power Rangers Mystic Force

I like watching these Disney era seasons again several years later (In this case it had been a bit over 11 years since Mystic Force aired). I remembered it as being not that good, a common theme I'd say from around mid-SPD through late in Jungle Fury. Back then, it was fun to pick on the shows flaws (and listen to Rangercast do so), which led me to start blogging about every episode, which you can find here. But that was then. Now I appreciate Mystic Force a lot more.

The magic theme and Underworld really worked for me and the backstory of the great war that took place was fun to see again, which I now highly regard as the best structured story of the Kalish seasons (To this day, the only magic based season of Power Rangers). We had some good episodes adapting Magiranger footage which I loved (most notably "THE GATEKEEPER," "HEIR APPARENT" and "LIGHT SOURCE" two-parters). The humor was handled good too with Phineas and Clare doing most of it (Oh how I miss that today). Looking back, I kind of think of it as a precursor to Super Megaforce using Gokaiger. This season also gave us one of my favorite Green Rangers (Xander) and a fun guy in Chip (Yellow). I liked having John Tui back right after SPD as Daggeron, and Barnie Duncan playing Toby (and doing a brief Piggy cameo from SPD) was awesome.

Mystic Force still had some glaring problems... Nick, one of the worst Red Rangers of the shows history helped contribute to a bit of a downturn in the second half as he really got a lot of the focus, as well as how they kind of rushed through The Ten Terrors. Vida (Pink) was also pretty bad (especially early on), while Madison (Blue) just never got much focus. This season also infamously dropped the ball by making what many thought was a different show than what the premiere trailer looked like. After the premiere, the forest creatures weren't seen again until the finale, which had a laughable final battle with the seasons big bad getting overstuffed on magic to defeat him. They went a little too far with all the revivals as well, I thought.

The flaws are only part of an otherwise good story and while there are several seasons better, we've seen a lot worse over the years since. In 21 seasons (season 1 - Ninja Steel) I'd rank Mystic Force right in the middle.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

PRNS Wrap-up: Ninja Epic Fail

Ninja Steel first-half concluded with the final six episodes, a fitting end to a season that at times was so offensively bad, even worse than all of the Bruce Kalish years. First up, decent 3/5 for "MONKEY BUSINESS" - one of those wacky-monster episodes that had Phonepanzee recording the Rangers voices. I liked the idea of recreating scenes with Redbot being the hero but the book deal plot was pretty lame, giving his episode a 2/5. "ABRAKADANGER" was also not executed that well, leading to a slightly better 3/5. That was an awfully thick book for having only ten spells and this makes me wish Mahou Sentai Abrakaranger would be a real thing someday. Nice focus on Haley with the tennis match.

We then got my favorite Sarah episode of the season. I liked how involved her mom tried to be and the hoverboard is still my favorite thing. Even though Victor & Monty really blew it at the end and Mick didn't bother to check outside what was going on, I'll stick with a 4/5. But Mick acknowledging they were almost out of the ninja steel after it was ALSO MENTIONED a few episodes prior, was another example of the idiotic writing this show has... which leads to the finale.

I gotta say it didn't start out too bad. Galvanax has the Power Stars, then Brody gets away as the others are taken to the ship. Making Mick a Red Ranger was one of the few things this season got right though it was pretty half-assed how they did it with his and Dane's stars magically coming out of the prism from Brody's shattered star. I would've liked it a lot more if Dane had been possessing the prism this entire time. What lame excuse will he have to not be around for most of Super Ninja Steel? Plus I liked how it was the season finale of Galaxy Warriors.

As if Victor & Monty escaping from making the villains suffer bad gas wasn't bad enough, the Rangers defeating Galvanax by using a group Ninja Star Morph was also terrible, not to mention the asteroid coming in just in time to knockout the ship. Also it was just odd having the Samurai instrumental playing even though they weren't even doing a zord fight. I almost thought Princess Viera would show up with the Lion Fortress and I got the impression the ship went a LONG way... maaaybe the Dino Charge dimension where Sledge is alive? It's sounding like he'll be a short cameo, but I do look forward to what happens there. Glad to see Cosmo Royale survives the wreckage. The amount of closure just so everything can be remade with the asteroids ninja steel was absolutely ridiculous, worse than the Dino Charge team assuming all the villains were gone. And as much as I like seeing John Sumner (Fresno Bob) return as Santa and having the Christmas episode after the finale, it wasn't that good. Those were some very questionable times Sarah time-traveled to, to get the individual Power Stars, when she simply could've gotten them all at once. Any why must be school ALWAYS be used as the hangout? 3/5 for both episodes.

For now, I'll rank Ninja Steel 19 out of 21 seasons, between Overdrive and Megaforce. The biggest problem to me? Worst episode plots ever. Even Overdrive had Marchand/Tellegen backing it and at times they scored with the episode plot. Not the case now, being stuck with the worst writing team ever. I can't help but wonder how a Ninninger rip would've compared, rather than doing so much of their own stuff , including twice reusing (Thanks to Julian Do, we know they've consistently shot 82-84% original footage the past three years). Hopefully we'll see cameos outside of the teamup as it's gonna take a lot to make this anniversary season better than the previous.