Summertime

Last night, I re-watched the Pixar movie “Up.” I was inspired to write about Pixar movies, and how they’ve gone downhill since the acquisition by Disney. Before they just worked with them. There were a few movies that came out after, but all had been worked on before – Ratatouille, 2007, Wall-E, 2008, and Toy Story 3, 2010. Those weren’t the only three, but they were the last three I’d seen that still looked like Pixar, unmolested and pure. I watched Cars 2 and Brave – they felt empty and sad. Monsters University looked like little more than an attempt to give the money tree one more shake; at least that’s how it seemed from the previews. Won’t be seeing that one until they show it on the Disney channel. As for Planes, Pixar wouldn’t even put their name on it. Looked like Cars in the sky; according to one friend with younger kids, that’s pretty much what it was. A bit on the pathetic side.

Garden of the Gods - Kodak Easyshare CX7330
Kinda looks like radiator springs, right?

I’ve seen the Muppet movies since Disney took over, and they’ve lost something, too. The original three Muppet movies had a little something for all ages, much like the television show did. There was a lot for the kiddies, and a gag or two thrown in for the adults that the kids wouldn’t get for another decade or so. Not dirty, just more complex. Well, the show had a few that were a little smudged, let’s say.

Time was, Disney was the gold standard for entertainment. Now it’s just about gold. The Princess and the Frog, that was a good Disney movie. It wasn’t like Shrek, full of popular references that will mean nothing a couple decades from its release (Robin Williams’ Genie did that a few times when he was ad libbing), but a classic. Brave tried to be a classic, but Disney’s heart wasn’t in it. Proven by the fact that as soon as they could, they changed Merida from a pre-teen girl into a story prompt for Rule 34*.

Pixar was making classics, movies without pervasive contemporary references, movies that stand up to the test of time. If Disney were still that company, it would have been a match made in heaven. That is, if neither Jeffrey Katzenberg (now of DreamWorks) and Steve Jobs (now of the ether) were involved.

Instead, Pixar has been neutered, and Disney has become a cash register. I want the Pixar who gave us the Toy Story trilogy, who taught us how to love a hunk of scrap metal watching a videotape of Hello Dolly, who made us wonder if having a meal prepared by a rat – as long as it went through the dishwasher – would be so bad.

Trust me, that’s far more interesting than what I’d written before. It was boring me. Anyway, the past couple weeks have been more exciting than I’d like. In transition at work, going from supporting one region to another, from an emerging market to an established one. The difference between the two is night and day. At one end, the company is trying to make a name for itself in a seemingly saturated market. At the other, I don’t generally have to repeat the name of where I work to the third-party companies I deal with, because everyone’s heard of it. The switch between the two is a bit on the challenging side, but any change is.

Aside from that, though, I replaced two tires. I had a rear tire that had gone flat a few times. I’d used the flat fix, and that gave me a few more weeks, but it didn’t last. My front two tires have been bald for years. Amazing what you’ll put up with when you’re too broke to fix stuff. I’d planned to just replace the rear two tires, and put the oldest/newest one back on the car as a spare. It was a spare before. The manager thought it might be better to switch out the front two tires and repair the flat one. Once all that was done, I learned something – even on dry roads, tread makes a difference in drivability. The tech who did all the work came up with an 11th hour suggestion of using one of the old tires as a spare, since my spare was actually the blown tire I had gotten in Colorado, when that one kept going flat. The shop was already closed for the evening, and the tire was off the rim, so what I have is a tire in my back seat, and a blown spare on my car. Nice. Can probably find someone in the family to help take care of that.

Alms Sky_0175b
The clouds were retreating – Alms Park

Thursday morning I had another unpleasant surprise. I went out to start my car and got a sick-sounding beep, a few clicks, then nothing. There was a little pause and my radio tried to come on, but that was it. Tried again, listening to everything, hoping it wasn’t something expensive. Having grown up with used cars, older ones at that, I’ve grown attuned to the little clicks and pings of my car, and can usually pinpoint the source. Being female, it helps to be able to tell when a mechanic is selling you a bill of goods^.

Fortunately, it was the battery. Unfortunately, it meant I was going to be late to work. I called my sister, and she was able to come give me a jump, so I could get to work. When I turned the key once I’d parked, I felt it die. I knew that car wasn’t going to turn over again without help. I knew it was coming, that it was just a matter of time; I expected a little more warning though, y’know? Just the day before, I’d gone to work, stopped at home to pick up my camera, and headed out to a park to try and catch the tail-end of the weather. It had been raining all day, but whenever the sun came out, it was obnoxiously hot (which reminds me of another topic I’ve not been able to flesh out – the intensity of the sun in very humid air), so once I got back into my car, I had the AC on. Absolutely nothing in there hinting at a dying battery.

After work, I called my sister again. She sent my nephew to jump my car once more. I drove home. I cleaned the terminals as best I could and tried once more. Nothing but that sad beeping – a little stronger with the clean terminals, but still sad – and a delayed radio. I tried to take the battery out myself. I don’t have the right tools for that. Very frustrating. Called my brother-in-law, and we took a field trip to an auto store, battery in hand. Long story short, my car starts again.

Could have been worse – replacing my alternator was almost three times as much as I spent on both battery AND tires.

_________________________

*Just in case you’d rather not look that up, it’s just an internet rule that says if it exists, there’s porn of it somewhere. Be mindful, for instance, of the search terms used when you’re looking for My Little Pony.

^That’s right, I speak in 1950s from time to time.

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