So I’m back…now what?

Seriously. If you ever want an exercise in humility, try sitting yourself down and trying to figure out exactly why anyone should be interested in reading your take on the universe at large.

However, here I am, improbably enough, and I’ve already made the big play for humility below so am pretty much permanently schnookered in that direction. (See, kids, this is why an addiction to self-pity is so
dangerous. I mean, as long as Apple’s still in business there will always be a need to weasel another iPod upgrade out of Mom and/or Dad, y’know? Learn to pace yourselves.)

…Ahem. So anyway, I’ll just add that there will be very, very few solutions to world angst proffered or pondered from here on in. I’m not even a particularly political animal – although given that my memories
of Conservative goverment involve things just getting crappier andcrappier until the e.Coli arrived, I confess to being rather glad at the slimness of their federal mandate).

My entire rep as a writer [and the crowd goes wild: Yay.] rests on an ability to – notice things, I suppose you’d call it, and point them out. That’s it…hope it’s enough.

I suppose I’d best begin with what I’ve been doing in the, er, entire year since I last posted. Not honing my razor-sharp communication skills, obviously.

–Fell right out of love with Canadian Idol. ‘Thud’, my love went, right onto the floor in front of the TV set where tattooed women, teenagers on the verge and obese men with faux-hawks weren’t even trying to justify taking up a nice healthy chunk of my personal summer. (Rereading that description, I’m even more amazed at how utterly they failed.) Didn’t even need the repeated cracks from Shoemom about’having to recap Tiny Talent Time‘ to realise that particular phase was so done, chez Shoe. The thrill is gone (or, as I like to think of it, the neon laces have faded), time to move on.

–Still planning to stick around and see what becomes of the CI2, though. Damn that kid Kalan anyway; I don’t know what it is he has that contrives to keep people interested  – well, yes, but the cute Idol contestant isn’t exactly a new phenomenon. Neither is the talent. And the personality…well, don’t get me wrong, he’s a great kid, charming and likeable as they come…but don’t hold your breath waiting for the Bartlett’s entry or anything.
Perhaps the fairy-tale prince good looks keep up the perpetual suggestion that there must be some real sparkle in there somewhere…and contrariwise, the scenery’s worth the trip however long it takes. Oh,
and the violin thing, that can never be ruled out. (Musician’s hands, mmmmmmm….) All I know for sure is, whomever figures out to bottle Essence de Porter is a guaranteed insta-Gates.

So he beats on, curly-headed Idol against the pop-culture current. Working on his sophomore CD, no clues yet as to sound other than’different’ and ‘surprising’ (read: “No, really, this one’s gonna be good!” ). Coming up on a Juno nomination for the first CD, possibly ones for best single and best new artist. In short, the stage of fandom where both he and I get to quit anticipating/rationalising/defending the potential and just kick back and enjoy the damn music already is starting to glimmer promisingly on the horizon.

–At any rate, we’re way out of the stage where I feel comfortable relying on him to fulfil my need for soft pettable comfort media.
Never mind that the Fat Albert DVD turned out to have Brown Hornet eps on it, my fond belief that my wallet-photogenic nephews were of course born without that nasty Fun With Fart Noises gene ihas been conclusively disprovedand there’s only so many times a hungry cat can bop you on the nose with a freshly-litter-scented paw before you start horselaughing at the Fancy Feast commercials.

Hence, my receptiveness to Pocoyo, the newest TreehouseTV treasure. This is a Spanish preschool series revolving around a blue-toqued three-year-old and his animal buddies, in a world that’s a perfect visualisation of a toddler imagination: primary-coloured, priority-driven (I particularly like the moments when one or the other trudges into shot bearing a bathtub) and always vaguely untidy. Somehow-or-another they’ve managed huggable computer animation; rather as though the characters are made out of that squooshy packing stuff.

The series was Bought for Commonweath distribution by the UK’s Granada TV, who installed head writer Andy Yerkes of  Bear in the Big Blue House and hired – I still can’t quite get over this one – Stephen Fry as
narrator. Stephen Fry, people! Also, cute English accents! A dancing pink elephant! A sarcastic control-freak duck with a beak clearly purchased from the Acme Co! Stephen-freaking-Fry!

I mean it, folks. Kick the snark-inclined out of the room and settle down to a good seven-minute giggle, as Pocoyo and the gang run around trying, toddler-like, to satisfy their every whim while Fry hovers around
Bear-fashion, trying to get them to stand still long enough to impart Life Lessons. (The official literature calls him ‘a gentle parental voice’, but in practice he calls to mind nothing so much as the well-meaning childless uncle who’s been roped into babysitting for the afternoon.)

Yerkes has imported the same understanding that made the Big Blue House so inviting for all ages: the only comedy more instantly accessible than real life is watching kids trying to cope with it. If you’ve ever been reduced to helpless giggles by a toddler in a tantrum, you know exactly what I mean. Hey, if the ep is focussed on the duck (I particularly recommend the one where he keeps getting blown tail over beak, Daffy-fashion, by the elephant’s sneezes) you can even let the snark-inclined back in.

–Another cool (if belated) discovery: Iron Chef (the real Japanese original, not the American spinoff; melodramatic cheeze comes way too naturally to them for comfort). I lurve the Iron Chef French to pieces; my sister – she of the three bodily-function-fascinated progeny; she watches the Food Network
broadcasts at midnight, by way of a little quiet adult conversation – is all about Chen the Chinese chef and his flaming wok o’fun.

For the maximum IC experience, however, I recommend watching it with Shoemom. Really, I’m thinking seriously of renting her out for theme parties. “Eleventy-belzillion dollars worth of food up there and they can’t even make sure it’s not going to run away?!“….

…for a small extra fee I’ll throw in a tape of Battle Squid, complete with loving close-ups of the ink turning the rice jet black. “That’s not real food! Real food is…, or something! And then you cook it!!”

Meanwhile, of course, I asked a young Japanese acquaintance about it all the other day, and got a mere quick shrug. Apparently us Westerners are gaga over a show that wrapped up there in like 1997 or something. I
hesitate to draw the obvious parallels between the domestic SUV-intensive auto industry and Mario Batali, but there you go.

–Other small but valuable discoveries this year: Butter chicken. Strawberry-mango body milk. Schoolhouse Rock on DVD, ie a chance to finally all the words to the Bill song that’s been kicking around in my head since third grade. The accessories department at H&M. A compilation of Consumer Reports’ Selling It column. A sequel to My Family and Other Animals. Mr.T, the animated series, as recapped at www.…

–Avoiding reality? Me? Hey, just because I’ve been known to stand in the middle of the office and yell “OK, you can turn the Matrix off any time now!!”….well, no, not really.

Persistent fantasies aside, about what it would be like to work for a truly rich multi-national corporation, just once…real [ie, not inherited from K-Mart] offices with plushy carpets…onsite gyms and cafeteria lattes..a funky-cool website…requests for overtime that involve the phrase ‘we’ll order in’…[sigh], what was I saying again?
Oh, yeah – I actually do kinda like my job. Hey, it’s Zellers, there’s always gonna be a worse option, buying-office-wise. As it stands here in Lingerie/Sleepwear, I get to work with the softest, most feminine of
fabrics and the prettiest of colour palettes. Also, mercifully just before I start thinking Tyra Banks might have a point, occasional Happy Bunny-themed tees.

So…there you go; and it’s only gonna get worse, trust me. I haven’t even referenced the Challenge of the Superfriends, yet. Actually, you’ve probably already gone…but if not, well, welcome aboard. 🙂


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. walnut_2
    Jan 25, 2006 @ 08:34:24

    “Eleventy-belzillion dollars worth of food up there and they can’t even make sure it’s not going to run away?!”….

    Oh, how I’ve missed Shoemom.

    I want to be a card carrying member of the Shoebox fan club. Actually, I want to buy shares.

  2. shing_
    Jan 25, 2006 @ 08:57:22

    Welcome back!

    Musician’s hands, mmmmmmm….

    So you are capable of some fangirling 😉

  3. rj_anderson
    Jan 25, 2006 @ 14:00:10

    Hurrah! You’re back!

    A present to mark the occasion, although you needn’t use it if it doesn’t take your fancy:

  4. lilyfields
    Jan 25, 2006 @ 14:45:21

    Great to see you posting again! …Now if only I could manage to do the same..*will speak sternly to self about this*

    “Somehow-or-another they’ve managed huggable computer animation; rather as though the characters are made out of that squooshy packing stuff”…. &……” A dancing pink elephant! A sarcastic control-freak duck with a beak clearly purchased from the Acme Co! Stephen-freaking-Fry! ”

    I have so got to check this show out!

  5. garagebanddream
    Jan 25, 2006 @ 16:05:56

    Wow, what a ride! I am ready for this, just let me grab a tea. 😉

  6. shoebox2
    Jan 27, 2006 @ 21:23:10

    Syn, thanks so much, that’s beautiful! I’ve tucked it securely away until I find just the right occasion…

  7. shoebox2
    Jan 27, 2006 @ 21:25:36

    …It’s sophisticated fangirling, I tell myself. 🙂

    Anyway, shing, looking forward to reading your recaps!

  8. shoebox2
    Jan 27, 2006 @ 21:27:49

    I’m an inspiration to boot how cool!

    …And yes, you do. Did I mention they have a little helicopter thingy that lets them travel into outer space?

  9. rj_anderson
    Jan 27, 2006 @ 22:02:52

    Well, you do have space for three icons, you know, even with an unpaid account…

  10. shoebox2
    Jan 27, 2006 @ 22:12:55

    I do? Oh…[runs off to experiment]…and hey, looky, it matches the colour scheme and everything!

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