Posts by BenWilson

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  • Hard News: Holiday Musings,

    Damn, Ben. You seemed conspicuously absent here over last week or so, and then you wander back in and go Bam! Still soooo much to learn about all this.

    Couldn't think of anything sensible to say for a week. I'm experimenting with keeping quiet during those times. I'm not so sure I like it, but I need to give it a good go to be sure.

    Might crack open my gift bottle of West Indies Mount Gay Rum (my daughter sniggers every time she spots it)

    I'm still sniggering. Hope it went down with a yo ho ho!

    Some very bad bits, some thoroughly shitty moments but on reflection

    You don't tend to get the really good bits without risking the shitty. My first experience of childbirth was traumatic, but I wouldn't have got the joy of child rearing without it.

    Wow Ben - look forward to hearing about the next decade.

    I don't think what I did in the noughties was remarkable. Most people who are trying to live good lives will do all that and more. But it can be tempting to try to summarize the whole thing down to some keywords, where in actuality, a lot happened and if you reflect on the good things, it can be encouraging.

    Being the start of a new decade, do we make New Decade's Resolutions?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Holiday Musings,

    Simon, Craig, Phil ... having spent most of the year wittering on about the marvelousness of social media, I just quite enjoyed getting the contrary case.

    Of course it was just humor. Some grains of truth. There's a lot of crap on the net. There's also a hell of a lot of crap off the net. I try to find the good things on and off it, and I think there's more of those than there ever was.

    The fact remains that finding the good stuff requires work. Any beliefs to the contrary are insanely optimistic. And beliefs that things are just getting more sucky are insanely pessimistic.

    Without the internet I'd never have heard of any of you, never known what you think, you'd never have known what I think. And no one else who enjoys just reading what we think would have been able to either.

    Without the internet I would not have the job I do, working almost entirely for people in other countries, on a fantastically flexible timetable, with good pay. Admittedly, my job is blocking spam, one of the annoying things the internet has brought, but does anyone really feel bowed down by the weight of the spam? Or are you just enjoying the fruits of the labor of people like me who are blocking 99% of it, without really knowing, or needing to know, or caring?

    Without the internet, there would be no Wikipedia.

    Definitely there are big challenges involved in what the internet has brought us, the amount of information is daunting. The selection of what to enjoy seems to have become more important, precisely because there is so much to select from. In many ways it is depressing - life is so much simpler when there are no choices. But is/was it better? I don't think so.

    I find very little to rail against in the noughties myself. I was married and had 2 beautiful children. I bought a house. I met a lot of great people, firstly offline, then online. I learned 2 martial arts. I enjoyed 4 MR2s, 3 of which had forced induction, and did my first 0-100 in under 5 seconds. I saw Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Noumea, Barcelona, Amsterdam, The Hague, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Frankfurt, Mainz, Hanover, Berlin, Dresden, Munich, Rarotonga. I purchased my first electric vehicle (and my second and third). I skied, sailed, fished, hiked, snowboarded, kayaked, rowed, swam, cycled, motorbiked, windsurfed, skateboarded, water-skied. I learned to garden. I wrote 2573 posts on Public Address, and probably a comparable number in other places. I composed music and wrote the first 10,000 words of my novel. I read hundreds of books, watched hundreds of movies, hundreds of video clips, listened to thousands of music tracks, read thousands of news articles and tens of thousands of commentary posts. I mastered 2 computer games. I learned 5 programming languages, 3 new operating systems, wrote about 50,000 lines of code, invented one completely new technology, blocked billions of spams, smoked 4 CPUs and 3 hard drives. I gained about 3 square metres of usable screen, and my data storage increased tenfold. I took a lot of new recreational drugs. I drank about 6000 cups of coffee. I fixed my long standing back problem by learning the Alexander Technique. I learned a lot about occupational therapy for children. I was schooled hundreds of times for uninformed comment, took it on board, changed my style and moved to a lot more ups. I helped secure a lifetime ACC claim for my son. I lost 10kg, whilst ironically learning how to barbecue. I shook the hand of Russell Brown and 3410 and over a dozen other brilliant commentators, and lovely people too.

    It was not a wasted decade at all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: You're all fabulous,

    Merry Christmas All.

    Haven't been able to think of anything better to say for a few days, and I doubt the next few weeks will be any better.
    -Stay upbeat
    -Drive safe


    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    Did you find anything in the films that didn't look just like you thought in your head that it would look when you were reading the books?

    Pretty much everything didn't look how I imagined. In most cases it looked a hell of a lot better. It massively enriched my imagination of the story. There were substantial plot diversions, most of which were justified with the aim of making an exciting movie out of a long book.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    When has it ever been any different, seriously?

    Never, never, ever, I'd say. I can imagine even in the stone age, there would have been adult and children stories. And the most popular and lasting stories are still the kidult ones, because adults had to relay them to children.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    Well, I liked WALL-E, but on that count I'd put it in the kidult section. There were a whole lot jokes I don't think young children would get, like the humans talking to each other via their screens despite the fact that they're sitting side by side, or WALL-E's bizarre collection of nostalgia, or even the uber-context, that relying on too many servants/servos can make you atrophy to physical and mental weakness.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    Still doesn't explain why the film for the actual kids are so much more intelligent, experimental, nuanced and complex.

    Might need some examples of that. If they are, then I'd expect they are kidult films pitching at the adults who have to sit through the films, and then discuss them with the kids after. But as Geoff says, there's still a superabundance of the highly purile.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    But, say X-Men, or LOTR, or the Star Wars prequels, aren't marketed for children. They are supposed to be for a general audience.

    Yes, and a general audience includes children and teenagers. If you want to make a movie that appeals at those levels it has to be spectactular. Some subtle comedy of manners, the understanding of which relies heavily upon having seen 100 years of cinema and read widely, is just not appealing to kids, and a lot of adults too. It's no surprise that the kidult genre has aced the box office.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    I'd enthusiastically agree, if other things were equal. But seeing as this was the decade of superhero movies and prequels (and prequels of superhero movies) it's hard not to see a direct relationship between the increase in spectacle and the infantilisation of taste.

    Yes adults will put up with a lot less spectacle. But I think that the contrary is the case, that rather than tastes infantilizing, I think children's movies have simply got a lot better. Which of course puts them into the big money mainstream because it means adults will put up with them. In my day, there weren't movies like this, except in a blue moon. There were superhero movies, and they were definitely waaay more juvenile than the current lot.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

  • Random Play: Welcome to this world,

    Maybe I am turning into one of those film bods I used to-not-greatly-admire.

    Don't sweat it. You like what you like, and I'm sure what you do like is mostly good.

    More spectacular doesn't mean better, however.

    Other things being equal, I disagree. If the other aspects suffered because of the spectacle, then maybe. But something being spectacular isn't really a negative. I like spectacles, anyway.

    It's not always snobbery when you don't like the look or in fact the idea of something.

    No indeed. It's only snobbery if you insist other people are in some way lacking because they do like it.

    Performance capture just gives me the creeps.

    They gets the creeps does they, Precious? We wonders, are they crunchable, are they sweet?

    I do sort of agree though to an extent. One of the many things that I don't think is cool recently is martial arts scenes that don't actually involve any martial arts talent whatsoever. At least in the old days, guys like Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and yes, even Chuck Norris were actually superb athletes, even if they're shockingly hammy actors. Seeing Uma Thurman being played 90% by Zoe Bell did feel quite off. But I still liked that movie, it was, again, a visual treat.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8827 posts Report Reply

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