My tae kwon do classes have been going well. I broke my first board last week (and couldn't help thinking "but I'm not being attacked by a tree..."). Apparently breaking boards is a requirement for advancing to the next belt. I have also been practicing something called a poomse (kata in Japanese) that consists of a punch and a block repeated in various combinations. I've been told this is also part of the belt test.
My first fan tale is about the fan in the furnace of my apartment. It was just installed in December, so it's brand new. A couple weeks ago, it started making a strange noise, which sounded like a motorboat or helicopter...or the sound you get when you hold a piece of paper up to the blades of a revolving fan. After being awakened in the middle of the night repeatedly by this rather loud noise, I told the building manager about it. He showed up one day to see what the problem might be. First I had to convince him there WAS a problem, because he wasn't able to hear the noise until I took him to one of the rooms where it echoes through the vent. After fiddling with the furnace for quite some time, he decided that the filter was loose. He didn't do anything about it that day.
Yesterday I came home after work to find that the noise had grown even louder. I opened up the furnace to see that the building manager had come in some time during the day and had attempted to hold the filter in place with duct tape. However, the tape had worked loose and was flapping around wildly. I wasn't about to sit through all that noise, so I ripped the tape out...and lo and behold, when I pulled out the piece of tape that had gotten one end sucked into the fan, that end had stuck itself to a piece of paper. Once the strip of paper came out, the sound vanished, and all was well.
The second fan tale is about mangaroo, who has recently become a fan of the animated series Avatar. She invited me over to her house on Saturday so we could watch a marathon of the first episodes. From what I've seen so far--which, I've been told, is not the best part of the series--it is a show with interesting characters in a world that displays evidence of both Japanese and Chinese influences, among others. The animation, although it has a few oddities here and there, is attractive to look at (thank goodness) with some well choreographed action sequences. I found it fascinating that, despite the Asian influences with the clothing, the fighting styles, the architecture, and the zoology (unagi? koi? flying bison that could be straight out of Totoro?), the facial expressions of the characters are done in a very American (Disneyish) style.
Of course, me being me, I couldn't help wondering about some of the logic behind various plot devices and twists. For example, why can earth benders use their powers on coal (an organic compound) but not metal (a mineral that comes from rock)? What would happen if an earth bender tried to bend a stone with, say, a vein of copper in it? Who has dominion over lava? Would it be a fire bender (because it's hot) or a rock bender (because it's merely rock in liquid form)? Why is an earth bender unable to use his powers when his arms are incapacitated, while a fire bender can shoot flames from his feet or mouth (or conceivably elsewhere)?
Why did the fire army make earth bending against the law, but not water bending?
And the really big question is, how come the flying bison can zip back and forth across continents in an east-west direction (as we saw illustrated on a map of their movements) in a matter of hours or days, and yet it will supposedly take WEEKS to get to the north pole for water bending training? ...Assuming they ever get around to heading that direction, which seems doubtful if things keep going as they are.
Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what becomes of the characters in future episodes.
Note: This would have been posted Tuesday evening, but my internet service went out.