Monday, December 30. 2013
Why Am I Dissing Pixar?
Well, see, I like movies. Not as much as people I know who take weeks off to sit in film festivals every year, but quite a lot. Next to reading, it’s the main art form I enjoy. And as a parent, I like to share my interests and hobbies with my kids.
So far, so good.
One of my experiences as a dad has been re-evaluating a lot of those books and movies, though. Because when I’ve gone back to look at a lot of those movies the main thing I’ve noticed has been rarely kids’ movies even feature girls or women at all, or, when they do, how rarely they’re anything more than a sidekick. Which is a bit awkward, because I’d like my girls to have some art that puts characters they can readily identify with front-and-centre.
That’s not so hard with books. It’s proven surprisingly difficult with film. And Pixar are one of the worst offenders. Worse than Disney, in fact.
Continue reading "Inducing Nerd Rage: Dissing Pixar"
Sunday, November 24. 2013
Patriotism has been responsible for many bad things; during my life I’ve been fortunate enough to escape many of the worst excesses on a personal level - New Zealand has not been in any great wars justified by it, for example. The New Zealand psyche is, on the whole, mistrustful of hanging flags or having children salute through a pledge in class. But there have been some areas where patriotism has been problematic: my pocket has been depleted over the years to subsidise rich pricks racing yachts (in the worst years, subsidising tax-dodgers who’ve gotten rich flogging off our national assets, even).
That’s a minor irritant, though; governments will always waste some amount of money on things I don’t give a shit about, which are enjoyed by people I despise. They’ll also spend money the money of people who despise me on things I like, which is, I believe, something called the “social contract”, although I could be wrong. The real pain patriotism has caused me over the years is in a different arena: food.
The red wine was bad enough. New Zealand has enjoyed an international reputation for making some very nice white wines. I’m not much of a white drinker myself, so this usually meant my wine of choice tends towards imports, particularly the generally reasonably priced and very good Aussie reds. But this started changing: New Zealanders started making what were, frankly, generally mediocre or awful reds. And people started insisting that because they are KIWI reds, I should be drinking them. Never mind that the stronger reds - your syrah/shiraz for example - are shit, while the lighter ones are mediocre. Even as some nice pinot noir emerged, a rational person could not help but notice that if was usually twice the price of an equivalent qulity import red BECAUSE IT’S NEW ZEALAND WINE MAAATE. This delusion that somehow because New Zealand is good at whites, all New Zealand wines are unimpeachable is the kind of thing scoundrels sell to the gullible under the flag of patriotism.
Bad, and annoying, enough. But the real food crime has been olive oil.
When people decided to start marketing New Zealand olive oils in earnest, it was accompanied by a lot of blurb in local foodie rags that insisted that New Zealand olive oil would attack stuffy old conceptions of what olive oil was, and that the world would come around to our way of thinking. Plucky little Kiwis would take on those tedious Greeks, Israelis, Palestinians, Italians, and Spaniards, apparently. The new taste would revolutionise the world.
I can obtain the taste of New Zealand’s decade-old olive orchards very easily. Want to know how? Squeeze some grass clippings. That’s New Zealand olive oil. Run a mower around the back paddock, squueze, mix in with a neutral oil, see who can tell the difference. No amount of “Kiwi battler” verbiage is going to suddenly make my taste buds think this tastes like anything but shit. Which is a shame, because I’d quite like to enjoy a local product, just as I’d like to enjoy a good local red. Bud when the shelves of the stores I’d like to buy oil from are overrun with lawnmower detritus I can only conclude that patriotism is, well, shit.
Monday, July 8. 2013
Aujourd’hui j’ai sauve un petit oiseau. Je rentra à chez-moi après en emportai ma fille à s’école. Quand j’ai marche, j’ai écoute le petit oiseau a claque; il a tombe dans un drain des eaux pluviales. J’ai souleve la grille en ai leve l’oiseau.
Comme il a été plus fatigue c’est restera sur ma main et alors il a vole!
Monday, February 18. 2013
A dimanche j’ai fait le course de le «Around the Bays». C’a été un grand success: j’ai complet le course en 33 minutes, 3 minutes plus vite que l’année denier. Je suis très satisfait des mon progrès.
Friday, January 25. 2013
There’s a theory that shark bites are caused, not by the desire of sharks to eat delicious human, but rather by sharks’ combination of an inquisitive nature and a lack of hands or facsimilies thereof. The theory goes that the reason so many shark bites involve the shark biting a chunk out of a swimmer and then trundling off into the distance is that the shark has only one part of their body, the mouth, which can has the sensitivity and control to find out what something is.
Watching the emergence of Investigating Finger puts my strongly in mind of this theory.
Rosa has hit a point in her development that I’d semi-forgotten from Ada’s: Investigating Finger Investigates. Suddenly she’s gained enough control over her hands and her index finger to be able to carefully and deliberately poke at and manipulate, well, everything. Peering intently, a little crooked finger will work over any intriguing object untl it’s been investigated to her satisfaction.
The interesting thing is that this has correlated with a sudden drop in the urge to cram everything into her mouth: hence, I conclude that like sharks, urge to taste the world is driven as much by the mouth being the only part of the body thet have much control over
Thursday, November 22. 2012
Monday, November 19. 2012
Ada, Lias, et moi sommes allez à «Southwards Car Museum». Les enfants ont fscine par la voiture de le ganster, la grande Rolls Royce, et la Cadillac de Marlenne Dietrich. Ada a pensé cést unjust que le chauffer s’asseoit dans un petit place, mais les passages s’asseoissent dans le grands places.
Wednesday, October 31. 2012
On the one hand, I am suitably amused by the observations this de facto makes Leia a Disney Princesses.
On the other hand, the people sperging over the idea of putting Lassiter and Bird in charge of future Star Wars movies? Just fuck off. Per my daughter’s observation, Star Wars is already badenough on gender balance, and putting Pixar in charge of it will only make it even more of a boyzone. And an 80s goofy buddy-movie boyzone at that.
Sunday, October 14. 2012
Ada continued her record of leaving me perplexed as to what scares her in movies; Mulan was declared “too scary” after 20 minutes, with a request to switch to Star Wars. Because the tale of a girl who becomes a soldier to save her father and will ultimately lead the armies of China to victory over the invading Huns is scarier than one with torture, genocide, and the killing of all the parental figures.
Still, it warmed my heart on two accounts; afterwards Ada spent some time perfecting her C3PO arm-wave so she could be “Ada Robot” for the rest of the afternoon, which gave me a certain amount of geek pride. More importantly, though, she sat down and explained seriously to me that she was disappointed that there was only one girl character in Star Wars, that this seemed unfair to her, and that she didn’t care how cool Leia is, she thought it should be half each girl and boy characters. This made me especially happy because she appears to think it normal that she should she a decent range of female characters in her movies; it’s a great natural assumption for her to have, and it’s on the back of a considerable effort, in the face of the overwhelming norms of kids’ movies (and let me offer a hearty fuck you very much to Pixar, and your fanboys who assert you’re the finest film studio in the world, on that particular front), to present her with enough female-lead films that she’s got a counter to the boy-with-maybe-a-token-girl-on-the-side norm.
Friday, September 7. 2012
Ada’s school assembly ended with a bit of a surprise today: a visit from former All Black Josh Kronfeld and boxer Shane Cameron as part of the “Choppers for Child Cancer” initiative; it’s a group of riders who have been touring parts of the country raising funds for the Child Cancer Foundation. The group spoke at the assembly, outlining what the CCF does and warning parents they’d be hit up for donations on the way out; in the school playground, the bikes were parked up and the kids allowed to roam over them. Kronfeld and Cameron signed arms, papers, clothes, and various other bits and pieces thrust at them.
When they entered they were greeted with a waiata; Josh missed some of it because apparently he’s a complete sucker for a toddler pulling faces at him to get his attention. Cameron, on the other hand, was rapt with it, and made mention of how impressed he was with the display when it was his turn to speak. Kronfeld noted that one of the things the CCF does is make bead necklaces for kids undergoing cancer therapy: every treatment is a new bead, and during his trip he’d met kids with over 2000 beads. Two thousand. For a child. It was something that had made a pretty obvious impression on him.
Josh Kronfeld speaking at Roseneath
I lined Ada up for his impressive orange and bronze bike; he’s great with kids, helped her onto the bike and up to reach the handlebars. She enjoyed it mightily, although she was a lot more interested in the bike than one of the great All Blacks, and she was bemused by the autograph-seeking. All the guys—there were 5 all up—were very patient with the kids and happy for them to clamber over their inordinately expensive bikes.
One other thing that struck me during the visit was how Kronfeld is. I’m not small myself, but he’s bigger, and still has big, solid arms on him. Seeing someone on TV in the company of other similarly-sized sportsmen leads one to rather underestimate how large and solid they really are.
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