New and Improved

Chaos in Print

I’ll never forget one of the lessons taught to me by my junior high Social Studies teacher. Somehow, he got off on a rant about “new.” “People are suckers for the words ‘new,’” he said. “If it’s got that word ‘new’ on it, people will go for it. The new car, the new clothes,” and then he glared at me and filled his voice with his trademark venom. “The new Star Trek movie.” What can I say? It was 1991 and the only thing I was talking about was the upcoming Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. But, at least to me, he made his point. What is it about “new” that gets people all swept up? Why are they so focused on making things newer? There are many examples of this. Trouble over in China recently made the comment that Chinese people think Canada is a much better country, because everything here is so “new,” compared to their classical buildings built 600 years ago. But let me present a case study much closer to home.

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The Old Apartment

Chaos in Print

When I first came home from Japan, one of the things that struck me as odd was the fact that nothing had changed about Entwistle. Everything was right where it was supposed to be, looking as old and dilapidated as ever. There’s just something unusual about revisiting a place that you haven’t been to in ages. Seeing what’s the same; what’s different. I already have a rough plan to go back to Kumagaya in 20 or 30 years, just so I can walk around in a shell-shocked state murmuring, “I had a life here.” I’m sure it would feel similar to my recent return to my original university, Augustana University College.

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Chaos in Print

I have this one classmate. Everyone marvels at how she freaks out over every little exam and assignment. One time I was privy to her thought process and why she gets so stressed over every little thing. We had just gotten our midterms back, and the instructor was listening to arguments as to how people were screwed out of marks. I just happened to be behind her in line, and overheard her lengthy, passionate defence of her incorrect answers. That’s when she finally let it slip. “But I need to get a perfect score!” she exclaimed. “When I graduate and I’m looking for a job, the guys doing the job interviews are going to order copies of my transcripts! If they see I only got 75% in this course, it could cost me a job!”

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An Episode Guide to Shadow Raiders

Chaos in Print

Almost two years ago now, I learned that one of the greatest cartoons ever made, Shadow Raiders, was on DVD. So, I resolved to get all 26 episodes on disc. I said that once I got every DVD, I’d have a marathon screening of every episode. Well, the final disc finally arrived just one week before I left for Japan, so I never got to do my marathon screening. I finally did my marathon screening four months ago, and while doing it, I wrote a complete episode guide to Shadow Raiders! But, this was during the one week I had my original laptop back, and wouldn’t you know it, it finally crashed for good just as I hit “save.” So, I’ve finally got around to re-typing the episode guide from memory.

Now, Shadow Raiders was one of the greatest cartoons ever made. It was produced by Canada’s own Mainframe Entertainment, the same folks behind ReBoot, Beast Wars: Transformers, and the new computer animated Spider-Man. Shadow Raiders was loosely based on the War Planets toys. Did you remember War Planets? Giant war machines the size of planets with all kinds of gizmos and weapons for destroying each other. Shadow Raiders told the tale of the people who lived on those planets and the lives that such an existence would lead to.

The series focused on a planetary system of four worlds: the planets of Fire, Bone, Rock, and Ice. For centuries, these four worlds have been locked in mortal combat as they raided each other for their natural resources. But then, one day, the lone survivor of Planet Tek arrives with a dire warning: the Beast Planet, devourer of worlds, is coming and will destroy the whole system! So now, it’s up to Graveheart, the lowly miner from Planet Rock, to unite the four worlds into a force to take a stand against the Beast. That was the plot for season 1. Season 2 entered into Battlestar Galactica territory, as the citizens of the four planets fled through space with the Beast hot on their trail.

And that, in a nutshell, was one of the greatest cartoons ever made. And since I have it all on DVD, here’s a complete episode guide!

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