i already knew from late last night about the earthquake in chile. so today i was glued to the television, first to hear updates about what happened, then waiting for the potentially deadly tsunami to strike hawaii. i pictured everyone crammed on top of island summits, anticipating the swath of tidal destruction that never did come. it's been a very quakeful start to the new year: the one in haiti was preceded by one in eureka (california), and this chile earthquake came after some seismic activity near okinawa. it makes you wonder: are we in store for more?

i started playing okami today on the wii. the graphics are pretty cool, done in this asian calligraphy style. the object of the game is to control a mythical japanese wolf spirit and help her save feudal japan from demons. it's essentially a role-playing game (RPG) with action elements, which is what muramasa was (another japanese import, an RPG i tried to play again today, but i just can't defeat the 2nd boss, so it's essentially game over). a few things i don't like though: the annoying insect sidekick (comedic relief if lame jokes were somehow funny); excessive text dialog that can't be fast-forwarded; and the earth mother spirit is surprisingly sexualized, with heaving bosoms and assless kimino (even more disturbing since at times okami plays like a children's game; this is probably some japanese fan service).

after reading the rave review in entertainment weekly, i found an online screener of the french film a prophet (2009). nominated for a best foreign film oscar (this season), it's the story of a young french arab who rises through the ranks in prison, caught between the corsican mafia and the muslim inmates. i've seen my share of prison dramas (blood in blood out (1993), HBO's oz series, shawshank redemption), and thought this was an intriguing take seen through the prism of the french penal society. it also had this underdog rags-to-riches story. after seeing the movie, i hope it wins the academy award next weekend. (unfortunately, a prophet isn't playing in theatres unless you live in new york or montreal, nor is it on dvd yet, as far as i know).

i'm still working on my pasta salad! a part of me just wants to toss it all out, but another part of me doesn't like to see food go to waste, so i'm still eating it. at this point it's less about sustenance as it is more about contrition. i really think i'm a food masochist at times. after tonight, there's just one more serving left, but i really think i'm going to just throw it out. a cold day in hell is the next time i'll be making pasta salad.