Also, do not shake or drop

These are pictures of a stroller.

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If you need to be told… perhaps you should consider sterilization.

More frightening still, though, than how wretched you’d need to be to need to be thus warned, is that the label is there because a stroller company thinks it will save them hassle in the long run.

Wrong Trousers

C’mon, dude. This is *not* what they meant when they said your clothes should speak for themselves.

Update: I’ve reconsidered a little. I think they look ridiculous, but whatever. T-Shirts have stuff written on them, I suppose fashion is as fashion does.

Paprika

A few weekends ago when I was in Montreal I saw a movie called “Paprika”. It’s definitely one of the finest flicks I’ve seen. Weeks after seeing it, some of the imagery still haunts me. It feels a little like The Wall meets A Scanner Darkly

The plot essentially concerns a device that allows people to enter other people’s dreams. It was invented as tool to help therapists, but one of them is stolen and is used for nefarious purposes, haunting people, driving them mad, and destroying their minds. The scientists working on the team that pioneered the device must find it and get it back before too much damage is done. Our protagonist is the therapist Dr. Chiba Atsuko, and her dreamside alter ego, Paprika — an expert “dream detective”.

It’s not an “easy watch.” The movie is awash in vivid dreamscape imagery, some of it playful, some of it solemn, some of it downright spooky. The viewer is sometimes challenged to discern the difference between dream and reality, while the narrative expertly substitutes one for the other. Throughout this tangle, one may at times be tempted to give up on grasping the threads of the plot, overwhelmed by an increasingly tempestuous swirl of fantasy; fortunately, giving in and allowing yourself to be swept away by the tide of imagery is not boring, it’s enthralling. Nor is it just en exercise in impressionism. Part of the brilliance of Paprika is that these challenges to the viewer are a proxy for understanding the experiences of the characters in the story; by the time the major plot elements have unfolded, they have experienced similar challenges.

Paprika has a few major visual themes, many of them based on the psychological issues of the characters. These are enhanced with a superb soundtrack that magnifies their emotional impact. The fantastic parade motif is both festive and somehow ominous, as if lurking amongst all the marching kitchen appliances, dolls, trumpet-playing frogs, geese, and ticker-tape is an unpleasant secret. Paprika’s theme is fluid, ethereal, and triumphant, an electronica melody playing over a powerful fundament of choir and odaiko (the giant Japanese drum). Other tracks are tension-enhancers, super-creepy and insidious.

A few days after I saw the movie I bought the Paprika Soundtrack. Susumu Hirasawa - Paprika (From the Motion Picture)

Sadly, Paprika was never in wide release, and at this point is playing almost nowhere. I am at this point looking forward to its release on DVD.

Watch the to get a taste for this amazing movie. Also visit the official movie site.

Pink is the new “get over yourselves”

UPDATE: David and Travis have set up a site dedicated to combatting bullying.

UPDATE: the link to the original article in the Nova Scotia Herald no longer works, but I’ve updated it to a conveniant Google search.

Huge kudos for David Shepherd and Travis Price, high school seniors in Cambridge, Nova Scotia. Witnessing a 9th grader being picked on by a group of bullying 10th graders for wearing a pink shirt, they organized a pink-wearing day, and provided pink tank tops to all who would wear them. They managed to rally roughly half of the school’s students.

That, my friends, is courage. There were many ways to deal with the bullies, ranging from a beat-down to contacting their parents, but the course David and Travis took amounted to much more than just addressing the symptom — the bullying — they addressed an underlying problem, the silly notion that wearing a color is taboo because of your gender. Not only that, but they did it by involving the community of students, sending a far more powerful message than invoking the authority of the school supervisors.

To be sure there are other, deeper problems for the bullies than thinking that boys shouldn’t wear pink. They didn’t just think that, they acted on it in an unacceptable fashion. Their behavior is at least to some extent the product of their upbringing, etc., but the good thing is that when hundreds of students rally to say “that’s not ok”, it has a better chance than many other methods of getting across a message, and influencing the bullies behavior in the future.