There was a place I loved to go in Madison, WI called Lazy Jane's. It was staffed by university-aged bohemians, and the exterior called to mind the hippification of 50's era neighborhood homes. But they always greeted you with sunny hellos, served up your coffee right away, while comforting Big Band and Jazz played across the two story house-converted restaurant. Despite my love-hate relationship for the snow, I yearn to go there during the winter for a hot bowl of tomato soup. Comfort.
Let me tell you about something that is the exact opposite. Gantz. For you non-anime lovers, or for those of you just not linked up who missed out on this 2004 26-episode tv series adaptation of the acclaimed manga--Gantz is essentially a survival-game story revolving around Kei Kurumono a 16-year-old, introverted, virgin, loner-type who quietly seethes at the naivete, callousness, and vacuousness of people around him. A chance encounter with an elementary-school friend of his at a train station, winds up pulling them both into a deadly survival game proctored by an ominous mechanized black orb called Gantz. In this kill or be killed environment painted with shades of Sartre-like existentialist themes Kei and his friends discover how crisis brings out their inner soul, but not without tragic and terrible consequences.
this video contains images of nudity, sexual intercourse, violence, bodily mutilation and hard hitting japanese techno-rap
I am about 2 episodes shy of finishing this, and am now tempted to read the manga. This is the type of show that initially turns me off (I've been sitting on watching this for a year or two now), but the kinetic energy of the plot kept me on my toes and curious for more. On a side note the ending theme Last Kiss by Bonnie Pink is the perfect musical match for the melancholy of the series, and quickly becoming a new favorite of mine. I (and you might) know Bonnie Pink for singing It's Gonna Rain for Rurouni Kenshin which also quickly grew on me. I'm generally not linked into the J-Pop happenings so if I sound like an old-fogey out of date, that's because I am.
This interview with Matt Groening caught my eye, only because I think Futurama's got some splendid writing and I enjoy watching a string of episodes from time to time. I also often feel satisfied to see a story draw to close. Futurama is the perfect show to close. Finishing the Simpsons would draw so much backlash from lifelong fans despite the current critical density of its tiny universe, it just won't ever happen. Let's face it, our great great great grandchildren will get new episodes of the Simpsons and hopefully they'll still be just as funny.
I recently reconnected with a friend I've known since junior highschool, but haven't seen in about 15 years. Reading his facebook accoutrements I realized that he is the same sensitive, painfully shy soul he was back then. Today the idea struck me over the head concerning guys who are still confused about what women want, or at least how to find a gal who wants you.
I put together this sliding scale of male-attractiveness for the guy who hasn't yet been claimed by a woman.
1. confidence: on one side is the painfully shy guy; he constantly apologizes, does his best to make others comfortable despite his internal discomfort; he feels awkward. he will naturally attract an assertive woman who finds his vulnerability adorable and/or a refreshing change from the arrogance and vulgarity of the alpha male; the downside of the shy guy is his inability to be direct or decisive; women will often reject him for what they see as wishy-washiness, a lack of a backbone, or excessive pouting, whining, or crying. on the other side is the extrovert who has a mastery of certain inflections of presence; he often makes good eye contact, he chooses his words and his conversations carefully and matches them to the appropriate company and situation. he speaks clearly, audibly, and with a playful understanding of language. he is decisive, and often seems spontaneous and/or resolved to do what he promises. he will attract a wide variety of women, but most especially a traditional feminine type who wants to be doted on, swept off her feet, and/or rescued. he can expect to face resistance from women who have had their hearts played with by playboy types or women for whom charm conflicts with their idea of a gentleman or good man--these women will go out of their way to find an introverted guy. Most of us are somewhere in the middle of this scale with trade-offs in any of the aspects. Some guys are very decisive but falter when they speak. Some guys are outwardly very comfortable in crowds, but are inwardly very awkward and this comes out to the fore with the women in their lives. Its really difficult to point out a perfect middle-ground between the two because confidence can show in so many different ways, and its essentially up to the lady to glean from us what she can. That's when it pays to be true to yourself.
2. physicality. on one extreme is the scrawny, non-athletic type. on the other is the pinnacle of rugged, angular manliness. this is another one of those multidimensional scales where a middle ground is tough to pick out. what's important to realize, though, is women will use extreme prejudice when matching themselves up with someone physically. Some women want a man who makes them feel small and demure, while some want a tender, gorgeous adonis. some want a guy with stubble on his chin and grit in his fingernails, some want a guy with supernatural hygiene. there's three important things about your physicality when it comes to a woman's opinion of you: how the sex is going to be, how you will reflect her in the midst of company, and how the sex is going to be.
3. smarts. on one side of the scale you've got your eccentric genius, on the other you've got the guy who can guzzle 6 beers and make his lady friend giggle all night as if he were a puppy that followed her home. some women, usually women in search of themselves, are drawn to virtuosos and eccentric intellectuals. just ask nikolas tesla. and somewhere a very different type of woman just doesn't want all the emotional baggage or gravity of being with someone like that. she just wants to laugh and fly by the seat of her pants with someone who lives in the moment with no regard for how we're going to pay tomorrow's rent. therein lies the problem with the not so smart guy. he's generally unreliable and just good for a few good times, so she either moves on to the next fun guy, or does a 180 toward the smart guys. on the other hand women can often feel invisible in the midst of the smart guy's passion for his smarts, which leads to her feeling unappreciated, untouched, and essentially not really in much of a relationship. this is pretty much when she finds someone to have sex with. somewhere in the middle we hope there is a guy smart enough to actually put the effort into pleasing his lady, and guessing her every move and emotion--which up until now we know so very little about. Maybe we'll start by remembering all important calendar dates, as well as significant things about her life that she's shared with us. Oh yeah, and listen even if it doesn't mean much to you at the moment.
4. finances. pretty self-explanatory scale. i once heard it put this way: when women ask about how much money you have, it's not because they want yours. they just don't want to have to lend you any. but then again, I do know a few girls who are more than happy to spend their life savings, inheritances, or trust funds on a guy who makes their heart go pitter-patter. i just don't know how long those setups usually last. trust me, money matters, just not in the way you might think. generally i don't see how having a negative credit score or being flat broke will help your luck with women. we're mostly talking about either being on a young bachelor budget, or having a princely surplus to buy nice things and trips with. and then there is also the difference between having earned it all the hard way, or having the silver spoon. in general women will pay attention to how you earn money, how you spend money, and how they fit into your budget. yes some women will date a pimp and drug lord if he'll fix their problems, while some just want to see that you know how to choose between saving up for a family vacation or a tricked out gadget.
5. family. loose cannon with no friends, or George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life. In my experience women have always chocked up my wide circle of friends and family to my charm. Parading them around on my arm in front of smiling, warm-welcoming crowds made them feel like royalty is my guess. But I have some friends whose constant presence of their family and friends perpetually puts nails in the coffin of their relationship. i believe women are always weighing out your personality, and one of the most important of the unspoken criteria, is how you get along with others. some women like their men stern and guarded, some want a guy who knows all his neighbors kids and their birthdays--it literally melts them to see a man with that much thoughtfullness and diplomacy. its a great comfort.
My update on Gantz: I should have seen it coming. Talk about unresolved endings. A little birdy told me the manga goes on to say and show more, but one glance tells me its just not the same little story the anime was setting it up to be. So now I'm stuck caring about characters whose fate remains unmitigated. Don't you hate that? These downer anime's are really rubbing me wrong. Maybe Full Metal Panic will get me in a lighter mood. I find myself reminiscing about watching Kimagure Orange Road for the first time. Seishun. The spring of my youth.
I think I'm going to get painting soon, I found myself wandering a few art supply stores yesterday. I borrowed from the library two books: a collected works of Norman Rockwell, and a collected works of Maxfield Parrish. I'm thinking some inspiration will hit me over the head. I only wish I had found an affordable lightweight easel, and picked out a nice spot to paint undisturbed. I'll also be bringing along Charles Burns' Blackhole, Zot Book 1, and Dan Hipp's Gyakushu!. Okay, time to hit the sun and enjoy Sunday. Hope you do the same :)