Jun 5, 2010

What's great for a snack and fits on your back?

Today I was up pretty early after Saori left for work, so I ended up getting some laundry done at the community coin operated laundry room downstairs. It's not killing me so much right now, but once school starts, having our own laundry machine will be fantastic and free up so much time. Bumming through the Netflix instant streaming listings, I found the original season of Ren & Stimpy, a cartoon we 80's kids grew up with. I'm sure its a generational thing, but there was a lot of really surreal programming for kids then. Ren & Stimpy, Rocco's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete. It seems like what followed was much more direct and less esoteric. The legacy of the oddness and boundary pushing Ren&Stimpy show was just gross out stupid humor, although some of the same animators and staffers would go on to work on Dexter's Lab and Spongebob Squarepants. Ok, we're not talking Masterpeice Theater, but the early seasons of these works have endured and I would really hold them up to anything being currently aired on Nickelodeon.

And while I'm on the topic, why did so many American animators suddenly decide to imitate the look of  anime? Samurai Jack was the first example I saw, and really that took more inspiration from brush paintings and the whole thing was so stylized, it was really a style unto itself. But look at what they did to Batman Beyond, Teen Titans, Ben-10, etc. People just assume that the movie The Last Airbender is an Asian import- in fact, its based on Nickelodeon cartoon series created to look like a Chinese anime series. It's probably cheaper to animate this way, and studios unwilling to take a risk on originality stick with the look of the hot imports.

I submit these two clips: the first is of the "American" version of the animated Batman series. The second is of the new "fake Anime" versions. Which is better?





Anyway, after folding laundry, I fixed a small frame displaying a gilded carved Chinese wooden panel, and hung it above our headboard. Afterwards, I drove to mom's house and she took me out to the park and ride to learn how to drive stick.

I've never touched anything other than an automatic transmission before, and my feeling is that most of the cars I will be driving in the future will also feature an automatic transmission. However, it's always kind of bugged me that I don't know how to drive stick. I feel like people look at me and are surprised that I don't know how to drive stick, and it's always been something that's intimidated me. What if there's an emergency and I really need to drive someone else's car? I'm sure the rest of the developing world drives stick shift cars, so what my guide/driver gets shot while we're in Somalia? As the pirates and militants close in, I turn confidently to the other terrified passengers and say, "sorry, I don't know how to drive stick." Ok. An absurd example, but it still seems like a skill set I'd like to develop. 

I sort of got the hang of starting the car and taking it into first gear and from first to second. Only killed the car a few times. I'm taking it pretty slow since I have the time to learn- if I really wanted to learn quickly, the best way to do it would be to drive from mom's house to some other destination that puts me in very uncomfortable situations. We did that for about an hour, and called it good.

It was about lunchtime so we grabbed a bite to eat at a relatively new BBQ place off the Warner-Elliot loop called Hawg n Dawg. Got a platter that included pulled pork and chopped smoked links and they were both pretty tasty. Fed the two of us with decent appetites for less than $10. 

Back at mom's house, I pulled down the terrible drapes over the entry door and installed wooden blinds for her. She says I'm getting to be an expert at blinds installation. It's not quite rocket science, as the custom blinds she orders are pretty much idiot proof and pretty forgiving in terms of overall tolerances. The entry/foyer does look a lot better.

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