Month: March 2015

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: Too Nice for a Job

920x920The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is currently undergoing an expansion, which subcontracted to RFJ Meiswinkel Company.  The construction site has been suffering some turmoil of late due to an infestation of raccoons.  Management hired a pest removal company to handle to situation (through capture, removal and termination).  So it came to be that on the morning of February 27 the crew, including Todd Sutton, arrived on site to find a rather adorable raccoon caught in a trap.  Todd, feeling sympathy for the little critter (which he took a picture of, seen above) scooped up the occupied trap, put it in his pickup truck, and took the raccoon to nearby Embarcadero to release it.

He was subsequently terminated from his position with RFJ Meiswinkel, with the explanation that he’d stolen property from the company.  I’m not entirely sure to what they refer as the trap would really belong to the subcontracted pest removal company–which they got back.  So presumably their belief is that upon capturing the raccoon it became the company’s property?  Do they run a petting zoo on the side?

No good deed goes unpunished, especially when it comes to the attention of heartless corporations.

It’s not all cloudy skies and pink slips, however, as Todd has already at another job and says he wouldn’t have changed anything he did.  Good for him!

Somebody buy this man a six pack!

Source: SFGate

Goodbye Nonexistant World

Goodbye Nonexistant World

I recently made a marathon watching of the anime series Steins;Gate.  It had been in my backlog of the (few) anime series in my too-watch list for quite a while now.  It’s a time travel series, after all, and there’s nothing that will pique my interest more than time travel (although even the allure of that wasn’t enough to get to me to watch Project Almanac, which by most accounts was a brain dead attempt at such heady material.)  I learned that I apparently have considerably less tolerance for the more anime-aspects of most anime.  For instance I was pretty convinced that the “loveable” character was, in fact, mentally handicapped.  However her more idiotic aspects were probably just endearing to the average Japanese audience member.  Similarly, I found the characters to not be believable for their ages.  At 19, one of them had gone to college (or failed out?) and another was some neuroscience (and also physics?) genius delivering lectures at 19 (maybe even 18.)  I don’t know, I would have been able to buy into these characters were they a little older. Although if they were older, some of their eccentricities would be even less tolerable.

Also, the idea of every girl in the lineup of characters (and the majority of the characters are girls) jonesing for the protagonist was also painfully anime.  It all made sense when I learned the series was based on a visual novel focused on romancing the girls.

I just came for the time travel!  Also the blending of the fictional scenario with the “reality” of the John Titor urban legend, which I thought was a very cool idea. Although this leads to the show’s more jarring aspects, shifting from cartoon zaniness to grimdark end of the world horror without a moment’s notice.

However, it reminded me of a trope that I’ve really grown to find deeply Romantic in time travel fiction: the last members of a lost timeline.

Throughout the series, the main character of Okabe keeps altering the past (sometimes recent, sometimes not) and occasionally gets caught in loops of a day or so.  During these, he gets to know his friends in different ways.  However each time he’s forced to reset things, only he can remember the bonds he’s formed.  He really mourns the loss of some of the timelines he’s forced to abandon and it’s his burden to be the only one who will remember they existed.

In Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus by Orson Scott Card there’s a great moment where the trio of characters who have gone back in time to alter the interactions between Columbus and the natives of the New World meet with each other briefly.  They drink a toast the doomed world they came from and which they’re trying to prevent by altering history.

Finally, in Replay by Ken Grimwood a man and woman are reliving their lives (multiple times, always ending with a horrific heart attack at certain age.)  After a couple of replays they meet and enjoy a lifetime together.  However they learn that each time they relive their lives, it’s for fewer years each time. As they approach the end of their times together, the woman lives the rest of a lifetime as an artist. One of her pieces is an installation consisting of video footage of places she and the man had been to in previous lives.  To anyone else in the that timeline, they were just random images, but to him it was a montage of their times together that never existed.

It’s a unique storytelling trick that can really only occur in time travel stories, one that’s beautifully poignant.  Although I supposed episodes of Star Trek such as The Next Generation’s The Inner Light or Deep Space Nine’s Hard Time are similar concepts, where the characters are deeply affected by implanted (false) memories. The distinction exists of theirs being personal realities verses the objectively real ones in the fictional time travel stories.

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: Rocket Raccoon Gets the Shaft

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Animated-Series-Full-PosterThere’s a Guardians of the Galaxy animated series set to premiere on Disney 😄, which I think is Disney‘s channel geared more towards tweens.  The first that was seen of this show was months ago when the series was announced–along with an animation test which featured Rocket Raccoon–at the New York Comic Convention. More recently it’s been announced that voice actor Trevor Devall will voice Rocket in this upcoming series.  He also did Rocket Raccoon’s voice acting during the character’s appearances in the Avenger’s Assemble series (which had such a painfully cheesy theme song.)  However, I have one major problem with this news: it’s announcement video (see below.)

Did you hear that at the end?  He said he’s happy to be voice of the most “lovable and heavily armed rodent in all of the Marvel universe.”

Rodent?

Rodent?!

I will have you know, sir, that raccoons are members of the order Carnivora, which includes canines, felines and bears.  Rodents are a different order of mammals altogether.  While Rocket Raccoon is referred to as “rodent” in the movie, it’s by characters who are ignorant of his place in the animal kingdom or are being insulting to him.

If I were a lesser person, I would demand his head on a pike for this outrage.  Instead, I merely ask that he be stripped be fired from this job and made to walk the streets for a little while, holding a sign that says “Raccoons are not rodents.”

As if that weren’t enough, however, comes the news that the Rocket Raccoon solo comic book series is being “temporarily” cancelled and replaced by a Groot series while the crossover event Secret Wars (what year is this?) at Marvel.

It’s a tough day to be a Rocket Raccoon fan.

Source: Bleeding Cool