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Amparo Bertram

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08:20 am: A tale of two fans
Certain people have been reminding me that it's about time I posted an update. First, my training in passenger baggage is nearing its end. Starting this week, rather than requiring a trainer to tell all the trainees what to do, we have been written into the daily assignment schedule so that we are expected to show our initiative in keeping ourselves busy. Once we've done that for two weeks, we will be finished with our baggage training and can be put on the regular work schedule. The main benefit of this is that we will be able to work overtime, which we currently aren't allowed to do. The drawback is that we aren't guaranteed weekends off. In fact, for the first couple weeks in March, I will have Thursday/Friday off and work on the weekends.

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.



[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2009 02:56 am (UTC)
In the opening credits for the first episode, we learn that men of Katara's tribe left two years ago to join the Earth Kingdom to fight the Fire Nation. And remember that Katara is the last waterbender in the South Pole.
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
In the opening credits for the first episode, we learn that men of Katara's tribe left two years ago to join the Earth Kingdom to fight the Fire Nation.

But they're not benders, though. I'm talking about using their powers in combination. (Besides, why did they wait 98 years? I can't imagine it took them THAT long to see the threat...)

It's like in the Nice Dragon series...the people who have strength in multiple elements seem at first to be less powerful, but the way they combine multiple elements actually makes them stronger than those who excel at only one thing.

That's what the Avatar is, after all, isn't he? Someone who can combine multiple elements. Sure, he has the advantage of being very powerful, but at the core what makes him special is the ability to mix the elements. A partnership of benders should be able to approximate that, by making up for each other's weaknesses with their synergy.

And remember that Katara is the last waterbender in the South Pole.

Sure, she is NOW. But there used to be others. And there are still the northern ones. (Or so we're told.) If they had ever bothered to help the earthbenders, then the earthbenders would be more informed about the sorry state their numbers are in.

Speaking of which, those guys at the south pole need to worry about some serious inbreeding in their very near future. What happens when members of different nations intermarry? Could their children potentially become benders of either element? Can non-benders have children who are benders?
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2009 06:29 am (UTC)
Hey, Aoshima can't shake his finger at me! I've been the non-spoileriest person in this thread! I've even not answered things when we were in the same room 'cause the answers came from season 2 and beyond. (See you Sunday, when I will continue to bite my tongue.)

For shippy reasons, I would love to know what happens with mixed bending genetics. And, yes, non-benders can have children with bending ability.
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2009 01:09 pm (UTC)
Sure, she is NOW. But there used to be others.

I'm not sure it was ever made clear how long ago the other waterbenders were killed off, but I think it's been a while. Remember, at the beginning of the series Katara has no clue what to do with her powers, and Sokka barely even believes bending exists.

Edited at 2009-02-13 01:09 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 13th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
It was around 60 years ago that the last waterbenders in the south disappeared. And there are reasons that the North doesn't help out, though they're more implied later on than said outright. But I'll wait to say more, at least until you finish S1.
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