With its surreal moments, life can become quite cinematic at times, and depending on which side of the bed you wake up on and which happenstance you find yourself in as the day goes on, you could draw a parallel between your reality and an animated cartoon. Not that I experience a 2-D world often (well, not until I put my contact lenses in, anyway). But maybe it would actually be a lot more fun than you’d expected if you got to live in a cartoon sometimes, and this was an idea that became suddenly so appealing to me when I saw Alessi’s OrienTales collection (no permalink; click on “Spring/Summer 2008”). The Italian household goods company recruited design superman Stefano Giovannoni to combine heads with the National Palace Museum of Taiwan last year, and this playful set of goods is the new second series to come out of the coupling. Referencing Asian 18th-century ceramic containers, the products in the line are practical for the kitchen, from the Paradise Birds salt and pepper shakers to the Banana Boy sugar bowl, and each is partly hand-painted and made in bone china and bakelite. A book, Orientales: Eastern Stories Through Western Eyes, was released to delve into the details of this particular collection. If you didn’t look at them close enough, you could be convinced the OrienTales characters were taken straight out of a “Pukka” cartoon, all the more warranting of the need to make sure your 20/20 vision’s alright in the morning when you’re setting up breakfast.