Culture in Disney and Pixar’s Cars

March 30, 2008

The other day we were talking about Disney and Pixar’s animated film Cars. I love that the film is not just another cartoon but an expression and record of culture, the American car culture.In being a film expressing culture it is inspired by the car culture.In making it they could have easily chose to create generic cartoon cars but they chose to use real and historical cars.Here are a few of the inspirations for the film.

The mountain range making up the landscape surrounding Radiator City was clearly inspired by the the famous Cadillac Ranch located in Amarillo, Texas along the classic Route 66.  The creators buried 1949 to 1963 Cadillacs so their rear halves pointed out to the skys.  The point was to emphasize the beauty of the chrome and fins era in which the cars were made.

The Cozy Cone motel came from the wigwam motels also along Route 66 with the closest one in San Bernardino, CA.

The cars and characters were also inspired.  “The King” character was based on the famous NASCAR 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner driven by Richard Petty.  Petty himself even supplied the voice for “the King.”

Doc Hudson was characterized in resembliance to the Fabulous Hudson Hornet which is from the legendary winning car of the early years of NASCAR.  The voice was provided by Hollywood car guy Paul Newman.  Newman himself was also a race car driver.

It is also worth mention that the name of the main character Lightening McQueen.  Steve McQueen was also a Hollywood car guy and a skilled motorcycle racer.  McQueen starred in and did much of the stunt driving in Bullitt which contains one of the greatest car chases filmed.

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WordPress Update

March 29, 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, WordPress has just released a big update to their blogging application. We’ll get the paint, furnishings, and windows opened again on this house in a little bit. Thanks for waiting!


Favre Retires: Football will never be the same

March 7, 2008

The inevitable has happened; Brett Favre has retired.  We knew it would one day happen but could not dream of the day it would.  I remember at final game of last season watching Favre getting emotion on the sidelines as the commentators in the box speculated his retirement.  I have to admit I too believed it and was getting a bit emotional myself.  Then he returned for this 2007 season, and what a season!

            For me Favre is the epitome of everything that is good and true football.  He was a17 year veteran who played like a kid at a schoolyard.  I loved that when on the field he could do the seemingly impossible.  Classic Favre meant throwing off his back foot, throwing or shoveling while completely wrapped by defender and sending the ball into the tiniest of holes and the greatest of distances.  I loved to watch football because he loved to play it and he was made to play it

            He has also become a legend in his own time with John Madden singing his praises and stories of his feats spreading across the nation.  One of my favorites is when I heard that Favre’s strenght in throwing the football breaks the fingers of rookie wide-receivers at training camp.  I also like the one that goes: You know you’re in Green Bay when 95 percent of women and 78 percent of men

admit they would cheat on their spouse for Brett Favre.  What are your favorites? 

            I loved watching Favre play and it was perfect that he played for a good olde team like the Packers.  It had always been a dream and goal of mine to go the Green Bay and see Brett Favre and the Packers play at Lambeau Field in the winter.  Sadly, I have lost the chance to realize that dream, but I am grateful for what I did have.  What of Favre I did have the chance to experience.  I was always amazed when watching a game being played at Green Bay they would show live footage of the downtown at game time and there would not even be a stray dog.  My hope is that he remains in football as coach, commentator, something.

  Some of his records:

Most Associated Press MVP awards-3

Most seasons w/30+ touchdown passes-8

Most consecutive 3000yd passing seasons-16

Most consecutive playoff games w/ touchdown pass-18

Most career games w/ at least 3 touchdown passes-63

Most regular-season wins by starting quarterback-160

Most consecutive starts by quarterback-253

Most interceptions thrown-288

Most passing touchdowns-442

Most pass completions-5,377

Most pass attempts-8,758

Most career passing yards-61,655


Star Wars in Childhood

March 4, 2008

A revision of a post at http://nostalgicbmy.blogspot.com/

The enjoyment and appreciation of the Star Wars films has continued strong from one generation to the next to today 30 years later when each new generation has its own unique yet similar appreciation of the movies.  There are mainly two groups who have loved Star Wars those who were around at their creation and those who have always had Star Wars, since childhood.

            I am in the second group and experienced secondhand with everyone else in my generation.  We experienced Star Wars in childhood and it gave us something special.  For children who play, imagine and pretend Star Wars provided exciting and endless possibilities.  As children, the movies were new to us, and they held so much imagination within them: Wookies, Jawas, Ewoks, lightsabers, and spaceships. Our imaginations (I think especially the boys) stemmed off those ideas in play. I always wanted one of those speeders they used in Return of the Jedi.

            I also think it served as a good bridge moving from cartoons to movies.  They are pure fantasy and imagination like the cartoons children love but they appeared so real.  (I think this is why so many value the originals with the puppets and costumes over the new trilogy filled with CGI.)  Parents who love Star Wars seem to get a real kick out of sharing it with their children while there are at a young age.

            I am often surprised when I meet people who have not seen or dislike Star Wars. (Most whom I have encountered who do not like it have not seen it.)  I am beginning to believe that if you wait until adulthood to see the movies you are truly missing out.

            Check out this video of a three-year-old who has seen A New Hope just once.

 


Electricity

March 4, 2008

There are certain experiences that many of us have in common or at least have similar experiences to.  For example many of us have stories about when we were first learning to drive.  Another example is that many have experiences with electricity.  It is all around us and imbedded in our homes.  At some point we are going to come at odds with it.  For many of us this happened in childhood as it did with me.  This is my electricity story.

            When I was a kid (I don’t remember how old but think I was still shorter than the door knob) we had a rocking horse that was on a pole frame and springs (I think we still have the horse).  It was a light blue and it looked like a horse of a carousel.  Now being a kid I used to pretend a lot and that day I wanted to pretend I was at a supermarket.  In my play I pushed the horse up against the near an electrical outlet.  I got on pretending it was one of those mechanical rides in front of the grocery stores and put my penny in the slot to start the fun. 

            When I put the penny in (that’s all you get when you’re a kid) I got a shock and sparks flew and smoke floated.  This freaked me out at first but realizing I was okay and wondering what had happened I cooled down and went to tell my parents, “There’s a fire in my room.” 

            They rushed over to see what I meant and what I did.  The sparks and smoke burned the outlet and a little of the wall.  Thankfully the curtains of the window directly above the outlet were too short to catch.  That outlet in my room is still burnt and my dad still has the burnt and partially melted penny.

            What are some of your experiences with electricity? 


Unofficial Apprentice – Part II

March 2, 2008

After a few minutes of unbelievably awkward silence, a deep voice broke through. “Can you sit up?” It was a man’s voice. I began to get up, half anxious to see who this mysterious person was giving me a massage, and half frightened at the possibilities. This was not the doctor at all. The stout hispanic man in front of me was the front desk receptionist. “Okay, can I have you sit in this chair?” He said to me. I was in complete shock. Why on earth was he in here? Is this allowed? This is not what I signed up for.

So I did what he said. I sat in the chair, still shirtless. He showed me a neck stretching exercise. “It will loosen your neck muscles up” he said. My mind raced as the situation got more awkward. “He should not be in here” I thought to myself. “What is he doing?” He asked me to return to the table and continued to massage my back. “Surely,” I told myself, “I have this wrong.” While he wasn’t as good as the young masseuse, the man did give a halfway decent back massage. They must have sent him in to continue to work out my back. I began to convince myself that things were normal and I was not just being massaged by the stocky receptionist.

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Unofficial Apprentice – Part I

March 1, 2008

“Mr. Shaw, we’re ready for you.” The young blonde masseuse said with a smile. I rose from my chair in the chiropractor’s office, ready for my appointment. I was not only going to get a regular adjustment, but on this particular day, a massage as well. I had been looking very forward to it, as my back had been hurting some. I followed the young masseuse down the hall, leaving the reception area, the other people waiting, and the hispanic man at the desk. As we entered the dimly lit room, I prepared myself for what was to come.

Now, I tend to be a bit squemish when it comes to massages. Particularly in the neck area. But this was good for me, I told myself, my back always felt better after, and my back was being properly adjusted. The combination of someone I don’t know touching me in a way that most people don’t and me laying with my shirt off, facedown on a table was almost too much to bear. But I managed to get past it, convinced that the benefits were worth the discomfort.

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