Monday, March 06, 2006

WALLACE AND GROMIT

Among many other exciting things on last nice Oscar Show (George Clooney being more handsome then ever), the Whitakers were very happy to see Wallace and Gromit take home a statue. We went to go see this movie when it was in the theatre and the kids really loved it. The film has such a lovely, British feel to it. I just love the idea of these hero's protecting gardens.

I was worried the kids might not like it as much because its not snazzy looking 3d modern looking animation like Shrek and the story is not AS action packed. But, neither of these things seemed to bother the children at all.

My son LOVED the inventions that are scattered throughout. In particular, the bed that shoots you down to the table and the puts your pants on for you had him rolling on the ground with laughter. He kept asking his dad if they could build a bed like that. Wouldn't that be an interesting father son project!

I think what appealed to me the most was the plot and message of the film. I found the plot to be more complex and thought provoking than your average animated film. There are twists and turns and good guys make mistakes, and do wrongs, and are not violently slaughtered for mistakes. Instead, the focus is on dealing with situations and accepting mistakes WITHOUT VIOLENCE, a refreshing message. Furthermore, the humor is not dirty. Overall, very refreshing entertainment.

I was just reading on line that Aardaman's entire warehouse of characters burned to the ground the day that the film premiered. I was so saddened to read that. I don't know too much about animation or claymation but I do know it takes them a heck of a long time to do the models. On behalf of the entire

Thursday, March 02, 2006

American Happiness

It doesn't come from money! According to to Robin Lloyd's story onLiveScience.com it looks like there is some hope for us yet! Despite all the extra bucks in our pocket we are no happier than we were in 1950. The Gross Domestic Happiness has had little growth over the last fifty years.

Yet, I found this article refreshing and inspiring. There is something that can be done. Happiness requires effort and daily choices.

Gregg Easterbrook points to traffic and commutes as an issue in happiness. As a resident of the infamous Los Angeles I heartily agree, Mr. Easterbrook. As I sit at a traffic light at seven thirty in the morning, trying to figure out how I could intravenously inject my coffee to save myself the effort of drinking it, I look to my left and then my right and notice all the lonely and miserable people. They are everywhere and they rub off on you. Seeing these people depresses me! You don't even have to see them. Close your eyes and you can hear their vengeful horns honking, projecting their unhappiness onto any ears in a mile radius. I get overwhelmed with a desire to lean out my window and yell to the sour looking woman in her sport utility, "take your hand off that horn and just smile!"

The reality is that commuting and traffic are not going anywhere fast. So what can we all do about this? The "route to more happiness is called "flow," an engrossing state that comes during creative or playful activity". Okay so I don't think its necessarily the best idea for every grumpy, frustrated driver sitting in LA rush hour traffic to abandon their cars for a picture painting session with their equally unhappy children strapped in the backseat. Although that paints an entertaining picture!

BUT I bet a lot of people would be surprised how much you can improve your drive if you throw all caution to the wind and start belting out your favorite Motown hit. Your kids might give you a funny look for a second or two, but I betcha they will join in and you will all laugh. Boom. You're happy.

How about books on tape? I got the Harry Potter books on tape and we listened to them every day on the way into school. Bailey and Robert loved it. In fact, I actually had to drag Robert (my son who won't sit still for a minute) from the car the other day because he was so into the book on tape. It gets that creative part of their mind working and TADA! Happy Kids! Happy Mom.

To read the story yourself check out... http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060228/sc_space/thekeystohappinessandwhywedontusethem

Gum on Art!


Oh man, do I feel bad for that poor little boy who stuck his wad of gum on a $1.5 million Helen Frankenthaler's painting "The Bay" at the DIA. I laughed out loud when I read the story and then I thanked god that it wasn't my kid! Actually I read the article to Bailey and Robert and made a joke of it. But, I think there is a good lesson there for kids. Don't put sticky pieces of candy on expensive art or you'll cause a big old raucous amongst all the adults. I agree that the boy didn't probably understand how expensive and valuable the paintings is, but does he go around sticking his gum on everything? Well he won't now I guess. Hopefully mine won't either!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Arranging memories

I was listening to a Margaret Atwood interview today and she said something that "I think every individual is his or her own novelist in a way...you arrange in incident in your mind and it will be arranged in one way when you are twenty or thirty and even differently when you are older." But I want to apply this backwards to my kids who are forming their first memories.

I am really working hard to get my kids involved with reading and art, because I think they are both great ways to help them learn about themselves and form memories. They also allow kids to explore different ways of looking at the world. The difficult lies in keeping their attention long enough! This weekend I am dragging them to the Getty... I hope it sparks the curosity!