Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Octonauts TV show in Germany and Japan

The Octonauts search for fun around the globe. So, it is fitting that the TV adaptation continues to reach new fans in more continents.

Yesterday, the animated series launched as "Die Oktonauten" on the channel Super RTL in Germany. A few weeks earlier it had debuted in Deutschland on Disney Junior. The brave teammates are still the same but sport new handles such as Käpt'n Barnius and Professor Tintling. Hopefully something is found in translation :)

Fortunately for all the mädchen and jungen, the original Octonauts book stories are on their way, translated into German for their reading pleasure!

On the other side of the earth the crew recently docked in Japan on Disney Junior as well. There in Nippon, known as オクトノーツ to the locals, the eight pals will feel at home.

Their kawaii designs fit right in. I think a character's sure sign of acceptance is when they inspire the consumable contents of bento boxes.

Come to think of it, Captain Barnacles is ideal for sticky rice. Is that Peso Penguin on the starboard bow? That's very deft folding of the seaweed and a nice daikon beak!

After decades of a one-sided trade imbalance, we can now export bona fide cuteness back into the land of Hello Kitty and Pokemon. The Vegimals' have realized their dreams of bring smiles to little tummies for lunch.

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's just a chair... but it's a Shelby Williams Gazelle.

Normally I don't blog about home decor (as opposed to creating entertaining characters and publishing multimedia), but I've got to tell you I did have something akin to lust for a particular piece of seating.

In fact, this did happen once, not too long ago, when I happened upon a Herman Miller Equa chair at Costco. I plopped myself on the aisle sample, still zip-tied to the pallet. Surprisingly I felt the closest thing to pleasure possible that I could ever have imagined while tethered to a computer keyboard.

I rationalized my need for this object this by considering the facts. Finding a good seat is important nowadays. Especially when a slew of scientific studies point out how homo sapiens didn't evolve to be 9 to 5 desk jockeys. Sitting is now equated to being a couch potato, but you now have the added bonus of eye-strain, carpal tunnel, and multi-tasking attention deficit disorder. So, now I ride an "Equa B" everyday (affordably obtained BTW).

But back to the anecdote at hand. The criteria for a dining room chair is different from an office chair. There is more a premium on appearance. Size matters (in this case smaller!). Nevertheless, the chair still has to be cozy enough to allow you to nosh forever. It shouldn't eject you from enjoying a meal because your posterior gets too sore.

So on with the story...

A few months ago, while on vacation I visited my sister who treated us to a small diner in Pasadena for lunch. I took a seat by the main "farm-style" table with my family to consider the menu. It slowly dawned on me that I was sitting in a very, no make that extremely, comfortable chair. I stood up and looked at it. Then I sat down again.

The cushion was soft but firm.

The design was modern but retro.

The chair was compact but durable.

It afforded a range of motion but provided support.

The diner's chair was a clean white vinyl, but clearly had to take a licking but keep on ticking.

Then (mind you, normally I don't do this either) I surreptitiously bent down to see if the manufacturer's name was written on the bottom. After eating my sandwich, I looked under the chair again to make sure. I walked to the counter, grabbed a the restaurant's business card and pen and wrote it down.

It was a Shelby Williams.

Later when I got home, I emailed the restaurant. I couldn't wait for a reply, so I called them. Not to ask about their recipes, but about their chairs. I hinted to my sister that she could follow up and walk over there during her lunch break if she wasn't busy. One lead led to another, and I discovered that this particular piece of furniture was old and not made any more at all. The company still existed but their website no longer produced this model.

I searched the web and finally identified the item. Mid Century Modern. Akin to Danish Erik Buck and Eames. A Gazelle, aka Antelope or Impala.

A fitting name. Connoting fluid motion. Sleek lines. A burst of energy from a position of rest.

In the back of my reptilian brain, I knew this could be the start of a fruitless search. But indulgently I allowed the seed to germinate, and then watered it with a daily trickle of web browsing. This yielded a predictable paucity of results, most of which led to dead ends. The links that did stand up were on the other end of the spectrum - listings fitted to shoppers where price was not an object.

However, I'm glad to report a happy ending. Miraculously, I found a super nice person who was selling 3 chairs. I immediately hopped in the car to make her acquaintance and came home with my very own trio of orange Gazelles (affordably obtained BTW).

My kids crawled atop them without a second thought.

More importantly my wife was pleased too.

My search has ended for now.

For another smitten aficionado's take, visit www.finedivingchicago.com/?p=4536.