Inspector Gadget, apparently Canadian

As a child, among my after-school diet of television shows was included a generous helping of Inspector Gadget. Since Netflix released a new version of the show this year and since I have a toddler, I felt it incumbent of me to watch. My child in the room while watching–not mandatory.

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I learned a few things about the show that I never realized–IT’S CANADIAN. Who knew? It’s like all those HGTV shows I watch–CANADIAN. It’s not that I have anything but respect for Canada, but just like the good, egocentric American I am, I assume that everything on TV is American and uses Australian actors with better US accents than my own.

Another fact I had no idea about was that when I watched the original Inspector Gadget as a child, it was in syndication. The original created in 1983, two years before my first birthday. I thought that me and my peers had this epic, they-don’t-make-kid’s-shows-like-they-used-to cartoon, but really, it was about ten years after the first episode aired that I jumped in the Gadgetmobile.

Among other secrets uncovered, in the process of binge-watching the new series, my husband and I began pondering the origins of the Inspector, and we found this crazy theory about his origin:

“Inspector Gadget is a cyborg detective with a seemingly endless supply of gadgets. Inspector Gadget hasn’t always been a cyborg, he had to be Human at one point, right?Wouldn’t it be ridiculous if the guy who became a cyborg actually has the last name, Gadget? If this person did have a name before becoming a cyborg, we don’t know and it likely wasn’t “Gadget”. Whoever he was, he was a regular human who likely worked for the cops. This theory states that something happened to him. Some terrible accident. Some explosion or collapse that left him completely destroyed. Once the cops found this, the chief decided to do something never before attempted. They used the newest and most secret technology to recreate this man with super human powers. They programmed this robot version of the inspector to look and sound just like him, even to think like him. He was programmed with the very best AI and all.

“He continued working for the company, even watched over his niece and dog, just like the real human version did. The only problem with all of this was that he didn’t die in the accident. No, the real human version survived, only he was changed. The accident deformed him, warped his brain, and made him see things differently. Once he discovered that they had replaced him with a robot doppelganger, he swore to destroy it no matter what it took. They had taken his life away and replaced it with a robot, that they now call Inspector Gadget. The human version decided to use everything he had and knew to fight against this robot version, and to do evil to the company that had ruined his life. He also changed his name. Now he is known as Dr. Claw. You never see his face because it is the face of Inspector Gadget, only deformed from the accident.”

Mind blown.

Back to the Netflix series–I find it vastly entertaining. I realize Inspector Gadget purists might be far too nostalgic to appreciate the re-creation, but I feel the creators did a good job adapting a more modern take with a different animation style. A few new characters and the old favorites. It didn’t feel like it was trying to relive the 1980s glory days but still honor them while reaching out to the 21st Century audience.

Mad Cat looks strangely like my cat...

Mad Cat looks strangely like my cat…

My favorite thing about the new show is Mad Cat. The clever animated nuances of that fat cat are just, as the kids say these days, adorbs. I very badly want a massive plush Mad Cat for my desk, not to assist in foiling any Canadian Intelligence plans, but just because I’m a ten-year-old stuck in a thirty-year-old body and I need that reminder in my 9-5 work day.

Speaking of work, “Go Go Gadget get back to work and stop reminiscing about childhood television shows!”

But I always win the arguments…

So now that my boyfriend and I went from serious to SERIOUS, I’ve had to come to terms with something: I can’t always be right (even if I am).

This was made evident to me last night when my loving beau called me on the phone to discuss something as trivial as plates as an investment. Not just any plates, special occasion plates.

My first reaction, who is this man and what has he done with my boyfriend? Second, and I mean no offense, is my boyfriend closeted? In my life, I have never heard of a man caring about nice chinaware and certainly not fighting for it as an emotional investment.

downloadThe boyfriend wasn’t just thinking about a nice set of plates from Target or even Bed, Bath, and Beyond. He actually brought up the name Lenox. Not only did he want pretty plates and teacups, he wanted expensive plates and tea cups with a reputation. Who the hell was this guy? Half the time he stands up to eat his dinner!

When he told me how much a set was, I was like, “So how many is in a set?” He said ONE of everything. I realize I’m not opposed to owning frivolous items, but one plate, one teacup, one saucer (who even uses these outside of the UK?), and maybe another mid-sized plate for $140 to $200? Plus, they’re breakable and it’s me! They will break.

I countered that I’d rather have a nice camera to take pictures of our new baby and to maybe jumpstart a hobby for the price of the stupid china. I’d prefer saving that money for something more practical, like a contribution for a down payment on a house. Why we would want plates that are that expensive and we will use maybe, maybe, once a year?

He further explained that he wanted me to choose a set, that he wanted to choose a set, and that he wanted our baby boy (as yet unborn and clearly unable to hold a teacup for at least a few months before he tosses it to the ground in amusement) to have a set. Now we have nice, expensive china that doesn’t even match and of which there isn’t enough to entertain at our special dinners when President Obama visits with Michelle. Plus, he wants our infant BOY son to have his own set when all he will do for the first few years of life is eat, poop, puke, and cry?

The boyfriend and I don’t argue so much, or at least I should say, he doesn’t usually argue back.

It took some talking, but finally, I realized that this was important to him, he actually wanted this. No matter what my thoughts were on the matter, this was something that did hold meaning to him and I know if it was me pushing for something superfluous, he probably wouldn’t even offer resistance because he already understands me and my heart, or at least understands he doesn’t understand.

So I accepted defeat.

He plans on beginning a tradition of bringing out our mismatched, very elegant dining wear for special events, like an anniversary, a birthday, a holiday, and he wants to give our to-be-born son his set one day, when he will appreciate it. I guess if we ever have more children (one at a time, people) we’ll continue the tradition of a set of chinaware for every member of our wacky little family.

After I came around to the idea and understood that it’s really not even that much of a sacrifice, I realized that it’s not just my needs that need satisfied, it’s that guy I’m involved with and the other one still cooking inside. I’m so used to being in charge of my life, making my own decisions, and manipulating things to go my way (and I sure liked it!). Now, I have to compromise and prioritize. It’s like I’ve become an adult or something. Gross.

Even though I anticipate winning most arguments when they arise because I have active tear ducts, I’m learning to let my pride fall and my selfishness give way.

I raise my teacup, “Here’s to expensive plates and a softer side of my other half!”

Boys are scary

So recently I found out that I’m going to have a little person that screams 25 of the 24 hours in a day, poops for recreation, and is in constant need of love an affection, chiefly in the form of food.

I can confirm now that I am 22 weeks and 4 days with a December 5 due date. It’s not the pregnancy or the birthing process that is freaking me out at the moment, it’s the fact that I’m going to have a baby boy and I haven’t a notion of what to do with it.

See, I don’t know if I totally get boys. Girls are easy. They like pink and tutus and pretty braids in their hair. All of this I excel at.

Boys like trains, video games, and touching themselves, this I don’t know what to do with.

The scariest part of becoming a parent, and which is why I hesitated in ever becoming one (too late for that one) is that I’m afraid not for when they are young and cute, but when they are older and impressionable. I know my kid will think the world of me until he’s about 11, and then, well, he’ll do everything he can to run the other way.

I don’t want my son to become some horn-dog, disrespectful, brat. I don’t expect him to be perfect, that would be no fun for him and I sure don’t have a perfect past, but I hope that he doesn’t spend all his teenage to young adult years years surfing the web for naked chicks, lighting his farts on fire, and doing keg stands whenever the opportunity extends itself.

I hope I am able to raise him in a balanced way, in which he respects ladies (or boys, if this happens to be his preference), in which he can hold himself accountable in school and work, where he knows manners, but can also find time to be a boy and to live his life. I know I can’t protect him from bad people, bad influences, or bad decisions all the time, but I do hope most of the time.

My boyfriend and I plan on naming our kid Gabriel, after a character in a Thomas Hardy book, Far From the Madding Crowd. A week and a half before I knew I was knocked up I had turned to my boyfriend and said, “If we ever have a little boy, can we name him Gabriel because I want my son to be exactly like that!” My boyfriend agreed, and how fortuitous it was!

I’m completely wigging out, not about the baby, but about the man this baby will become…and the person I will become too.

Life happens while you are busy making other plans.

 

It won’t work out, a non-ballerina’s tale

It’s no secret that I have a slight obsession with ballet. It’s also no secret that I am a mediocre, beginner ballerina at best. If you put me next to the average 4-year-old dancer, we will be equals. But that punk kid can’t drink or drive, and certainly not drink and drive (no one should), so I win.

I’m 28, and I started taking my dance career seriously at 27 1/2. The retirement age for a ballerina is 29.

To the far right, you will see me...if that was me.

To the far right, you will see me…if that was me.

Look, I don’t need to be…um…Ok, I don’t know any super famous ballerinas but I don’t need to be {insert name}, I realize that I must live with my situation and make the most of it—performing for my cat. Still, I get dismayed when I look like Frankenballerina because I can’t unclench my arms to elegantly pose in second position, or that my turnout is more parallel than 180 degrees. My teacher instructs the class to do a simple combination, and all I hear is stupid French and see a lot of angles my body doesn’t want to contort to.

Days when I get discouraged, it’s not that I don’t like dance, but I kinda don’t like me. I don’t like that I made a decision to play basketball in high school rather than tip toe across a stage. I hate that my body isn’t the quintessential mold of a dancer, long neck and legs (giraffe?), no bum, 95 pounds. I’m sad that I don’t have money to pay for private lessons and bedazzled tutus. I’m despondent that I don’t progress as quickly as I would like and that the damn pirouette isn’t turning my body like its supposed to.

After 6 months of dancing, I can’t understand why I’m still in the beginner classes, why I’m not en pointe, why it’s so hard to twirl without getting dizzy. I don’t understand why I can’t stretch my foot to my head while in relevé and why I have no balance standing still let alone going to posse without the assistance of a barre. (Too many dance terms? I’m just showing off…)

I feel silly and ashamed walking into class knowing that the only thing that can come of dancing is fulfilling a dream to maybe become a little good—for me. My teachers, who studied ballet for 50 years or who danced in the Bolshoi, must look at me and think, “she is an embarrassment to the art of dance.”

One day...

One day…

If ever I don’t feel quite up to dance, it rarely has to do with laziness or lack of motivation, it’s fear to fail. That fear feels like a security blanket, a justification that if I don’t get better, I know I did it to myself. Whereas, if I try, try, try, and make no progress, I am truly a talentless, two-left footed toad.

Yet, it’s not like that. I’ve developed great relationships with my teachers, I’ve made friends at ballet who are just as cooky as me about dance, and the little improvements I make feel like I’m a living legend.

Patience is the true hurdle I need to leap across.

Last week I had an amazing moment at my ballet class. I asked my teacher a legitimate question about being able to try pointe. He responded with, “Why would you want to do that?” Apparently, it’s quite painful. But before class started, he looked at me and said, “You’re something special.”

Ok, I know he didn’t mean that I am the next principal dancer, but I knew he saw the little prima ballerina that swirls around inside me. That might be just be good enough for me to be good enough. That’s more than good enough.

Taking a page from the “Silver Linings Playbook”

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I want my own dance studio, and maybe my own Bradley Cooper…

A lot can be said about the film Silver Linings Playbook, especially in regard to mental health, life, love, blah blah blah. The film was great but the best thing about it, in my opinion, was not the message or the acting, it was that the character of Tiffany had her own dance studio.

Oscar winner (go girl) Jennifer Lawrence plays a quirky, manic, Tiffany, who dances as a form of therapy. In addition to the psychological benefits she reaps from dancing, she has a passion for the art and owns it as far as her skills can take her. Her interest in dance seemingly didn’t manifest itself into action until adulthood.  Naturally, I felt like she was me, or I was like her, but in a less hyperbolic mental sense and really only relating to dance (maybe, also, occasional bouts of mania).

The first floor of her home serves as a studio, barre included, mirrors lining the walls, and oak floors for optimum capitalization of “breaking-it-down.” My new dream.

I wouldn’t be able to do anything but twirl around in a tutu all the day, and tutus would be the required dress for that particular room—for everyone (house rules).