Wednesday, August 22, 2012

: Good Thing #37: Adventure Time

As an impending dad I'm getting new perspectives on things. It used to be I'd just watch a show and like it or not. Now there's new categories. There's "I'll have to wait until my daughter is asleep to watch this," and "I hope my daughter is never into this," and "I can't wait until my daughter is old enough to watch this."

Falling firmly into that last category is Adventure Time. Adventure Time is into it's 4th season on the Cartoon Network. It follows the adventures of Jake the Dog, who can stretch any part of his body into any shape he needs it to be, and his adopted brother Finn the Human, who is apparently the last human on earth. Humanity was wiped out long ago during the Mushroom Wars. Since then magic has come into the world, and there are many anthropomorphic beings ruled (mostly) by princesses. There's the Bubblegum Princess, who rules the Candy Kingdom who's citizens are living candy. There's the Lumpy Space Princess, who comes from Lumpy Space, an alternate universe where everyone is lumpy and talks like valley girls. Abraham Lincoln is alive and is the ruler of Mars. These are just a few notes of the elaborate mythology of the show. But a wonderful thing about the show is it doesn't get bogged down in its mythology. Like the best cartoons, it works for both adults and kids simultaneously. The fact that it's set in a post-apocalyptic world is there for the grownups to pick up on if they're paying attention, but kids probably won't even notice. They're going to be enjoying the wonderful and strange adventures that Finn and Jake are having.

It doesn't stop at being just a show that kids and grownups can watch. There's another whole level of encoded messages within the adult content that only certain people will pick up on. There are themes from Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun, Jack Kirby's Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, and the movie A Boy and his Dog, and even Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. But it's all so deftly handled that if you don't get it, you're not left out and it doesn't distract from the story. It's all there as a special treat if you get the reference, but it's still fun if you don't.

It's currently my favorite thing on TV, and I'm looking forward to introducing my daughter to it, when she's old enough. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Good Thing #36: Farmer's Markets

There's something about being able to look the person who grew the food you're going to put into your body in the eye when you buy it. Eating is one of the most important things we do. What we ingest fuels and builds our bodies and the better it is the healthier and happier we are. And yet we put our trust into long chains of strangers, elaborate systems for manufacturing and transporting food that may start on factory farms that may be half a world away. On the other hand, when you shop at the farmer's market, you're buying food that was grown just a few miles away buy someone you can actually talk to, who most likely drove it to market themselves. Most fruits and vegetable start losing flavor and nutritional value as soon as they're harvested, so what you're getting at the farmer's market is the best it can be unless you grow it yourself. At the same time, at least around here, the goods at the farmer's market are actually cheaper than what's at the supermarket. It's a win all around!

Good Thing #35: Everything in its right place

I've moved way too many times this past decade or two. Some people who live like this are smart, and they get rid of everything except what they can carry in their car. Sadly, I'm not one of them. I've always intended to stop moving, put down roots and stay put for a while. It just took a whole lot longer than I thought. So I wound up with way more stuff than an apartment dweller should have. The other unfortunate byproduct is I've also wound up with a lot more stuff that's useless. Speaker wires get put in one box, RCA cables get put in another, and you need them both to make the stereo work, for example. Or the video game console is in one place and the controllers in another, and until all the boxes are unpacked you wind up with objects that are just taking up space. And when you know you're about to move again anyway, you don't really make the effort.

Finally, however, I've got a home I plan to stay in for a long time, and all the boxes are getting unpacked and all the stuff is getting organized and reorganized and what were once just dead objects taking up space are coming to life as useful, enjoyable things. I hadn't realized just how much energy I was wasting always trying to find things I knew were somewhere.