Month: August 2005

What do you think?

Got tired of the old look, wanted to try a new template. Unfortunately, it lost all my tweaks, so the photo and other little details are gone. In time I’ll update that. Is this better/easier to read than my old one?

Hee larious

Funny thing is, I’ve actually been thinking lately about discovering the men who do all voiceovers for movie trailers. Sounds like the same guys over and over. It is. And here they are. (unfortunately the sound quality isn’t great on the file, but you get the idea)

Tanuki = raccoon + inflatable scrotum

I just watched another great Studio Ghibli film, Pom Poko. Although always interested in Myazaki films (such as Spirited Away), I first heard about this one on cinematical. The article was mostly interested in it’s rating, since the raccoons’ balls are clearly visible:

“I thought the reviewer might be a little fixated when he dwelled on every instance of this problem, claiming that in one scene, the raccoon genitalia swelled to unrealistic sizes and were even used as weapons. After I looked around the Web and found stills from Pom Poko like the one on the right, I decided he might not be exaggerating. My goodness, what would Wal-Mart think? I think it’s hilarious, and immediately added the movie to my Netflix queue, but I don’t have any children.”

Gasp! Is this a movie about tanuki? Ben confirmed (he had learned about this children’s film in his Japanese film class) that Pom Poko is about tanuki folk stories.

My first experience with tanuki’s was during Super Mario 3. In addition to the usual mushroom and flower power-ups they added a leaf, which gave you a raccoon tail so you could fly. Hmmm. That never made sense to me as a kid, but hey, how does a flower let you shoot fireballs? Later in the game you can get a full-body raccoon suit and can turn into a statue. Waaaaaa? Fast forward several years to Animal Crossing, another Nintendo game I became enamored with. There’s a store in the game run by a raccoon named “Nook.” All the items he sold were represented by single green leaves. Hey Ben, I said, does tanuki mean raccoon in Japanese? With a little research we learned the full history.

Traditional Japanese folklore includes the belief that raccoons and foxes can changes forms. Raccoons, called tanuki, will put a leaf on their heads to transform. Statues of tanuki are often put in doorways as good luck symbols. They are jolly creatures, who inflate their scrotums and play them like drums as they celebrate. Ah, just one of the myriad of reasons I’m fascinated by this island. Do a google image search, I swear I’m not making this up.

Getting back to Pom Poko, not only is this a jolly movie, ballsacks and all, but it’s good. I think I like these kind of Ghibli films better than their epic, more dramatic films like Mononoke, Nausicaa, and Spirited Away (haven’t seen Howl’s yet). They’re more fun, and the animation is looser, more spirited. Pom Poko has a narrator, a clever format I haven’t seen in any other animated film. I liked the three levels of realistic raccoon images they used to represent the different moods.

Rocky Mountain Camping

It’s been a long time since I went camping, and I don’t think I’ve ever backpacked to a campsite. This trip on Friday was a big accomplishment. Ben has wanted to camp with me since I’ve known him. What better anniversary present for Ben than to suck up my discomfort and head to the mountains?

A long car drive up highway 40, past Winter Park, past Fraser, and we arrived at the trailhead. We’d been hiking for just 10 minutes in the above photos. Ben bought himself a hatchet for the trip. He liked it a lot. He carried most of the gear, I just had some clothes, a mat, and water.

This dog met us at the trailhead and followed us. There’s a spot of private property about an hour in, where we ran into his owner. It was really fun having a dog on the hike. We named him Cody, even though he has four legs.

Hey, where’s the bridge? My hero carried me across.

About two hours into the hike, above.

We were on “Strawberry Trail.” At our campsite I helped myself to a snack and I’m not sick yet!

Our lovely campsite. There’s a creek right behind the camera. We actually hiked about a 1/2 mile beyond this campsite before deciding to turn around and settle. It was flat, had a fire pit, and some lovely log chairs. Ben set up tent quickly and we settled in for the night.

Hey, we built a fire! High five!

Hmm, dinner.

Lovely sunset.

After a rough night trying to sleep (I just can’t sleep outside. It’s uncomfortable and scary) we packed up and hit the trail home by 10 am. These pictures are about halfway back to the trailhead. Boy, were we stiff that morning. We’re still feeling achey a couple days later. But it was worth it. No rain, no injuries, few bugbites, and good memories.

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