April 22nd, 2003


Lilo and Stitch review

There are times when I wish that you couldn’t tell what film review you were about to read. It’s impossible to start reading a review of Lilo & Stitch without expectations of Disneyfied shmaltz, songs and sundry other nonsense.

Lilo & Stitch isn’t like that. Well, not much like that, anyway.

Skipping briefly over the prologue, let’s take a look at our introduction to Lilo – the Hawiian girl who the film largely centers around. We first meet Lilo as she dashes towards dance rehearsals, dripping wet from the sea. She’s obviously quirky from the first moment we see her (when she photographs a fat, pasty tourist with all the relish of a fashion photographer stumbling over a supermodel) and we can tell that she has problems fitting in almost immediately. She’s unceremoniously removed from rehearsals for biting another girl (who clearly thinks that Lilo is mad) and rebuffed when she asks to play with the other girls later on.

The scene is heartbreaking – she asks them if they are going to play with their (perfect, Barbie-like) dollies. They reply that she doesn’t have a dolly, at which point she pulls out a monstrosity that she clearly stitched together herself. When they recoil, she calmly explains that the reason that the head is too big for the erst of the body is because a bug laid eggs in it and the dolly only has a week to live. When she looks back up, the other girls have vanished. Desolate, she wanders homewards.

Cut to – her older sister Nani rushing home to meet her. She arrives to find Lilo has nailed the door shut and is lying under the couch lip-synching to depressing Elvis songs. At which point the social-worker turns up (played by Ving “Marcellus Wallace” Rhames as the scariest social worker in the world). Nani breaks in, attempts to salvage the situation and is told by the social worker that she has three days to convince him that she’s not a terrible guardian. He leaves – at which point Lilo and Nani have the most realistic family argument I’ve seen since Mike Leigh.

At this point in the film my girlfriend, Erin, was almost in tears and I wasn’t far off. Thankfully, things then took a turn for the worse. Stitch arrives – an escaped psychotic alien bioweapon designed only for destruction – followed by two agents of the Galactic Federation sent to bring him back. Stitch hides by pretending to be a dog, Lilo falls in love with him (he is pretty cute, when he’s not drooling or tearing things into shreds) and he turns their life into hell.

Of course, it all turns out all right in the end – Lilo gets a new family, Stitch learns that destruction isn’t always the answer and the scary social worker turns out to have a mysterious past that solves everyone’s problems in the end. Along the way there’s some huge explosions Stitch uses both a car and a chainsaw as weapons and a small replica of Los Angeles is destroyed. It’s amazingly good fun.

The cast is uniformly excellent: Lilo is played by Daveigh Chase who was also in AI, The Ring and Donnie Darko; Nani is voiced by Tia Carrere; David Ogden Stiers (Mash) and Kevin MacDonald (Kids in the Hall) are the two Federation agents and Jason Scott Lee turns up in a bit part.

Highly recommended for children of all ages.

Score: 9/10


Stitch: This is my family. I found it, all on my own. It's little, and broken, but still good.
Lilo: [creating voodoo dolls of her playmates] My friends need to be punished.
Lilo: Elvis Presley was a model citizen. I've compiled a list of his traits for you to practice. Number one...is dancing!

Stupid Bloody Users

When I was an IT Manager one of the constant problems we bumped into was idiots giving out their passwords, writing them down and sharing them around.

I wasn't at all surprised therefore to read that:
Nine in ten (90 per cent) of office workers at London's Waterloo Station gave away their computer password for a cheap pen, compared with 65 per cent last year.

Men were slightly more likely to reveal their password with 95 per cent of blokes, compared to 85 per cent of women quizzed, prepared to hand over their password on request.

One interviewee said, "I am the CEO, I will not give you my password it could compromise my company's information".

A good start, but then the company boss blew it. He later said that his password was his daughter's name.

What is your daughters name the interviewer cheekily asked.

He replied without thinking: "Tasmin".

The Silence of the Carbs

I love sugar.
No, I don't think you understand, I loooooove sugar. It's one of the most fantastic things in the whole world. Well that and chocolate.

Ex-flatmate Saint introduced me to the world's most fantastic drink once. You take a mug, fill it with 1/6 hot chocolate, 1/6 sugar, 1/6 Archers (peach schnapps) and then top up with boiling water. It will dissolve (just about) and then blow the top of your head off when you drink it.

I've eaten a _lot_ of sugar over the years. I've crunched sugar cubes, sucked sugar crystals, downed packets of skittles, attacked vast piles of doughnuts (Apple Doughnuts are God's gift to mankind) and generally consumed enough sweetness to make me into a Care Bear.

Did you know that there's a vast increase in the number of people with type II diabetes (adult onset type) due entirely to the fact that they overload their body with sugar and kill the natural insulin response to sugar.

A few years back I went on a diet. I cut out chocolate and sugar and suchlike and lost some weight. Of course, I'd occasionally treat myself, but it became more and more obvious that I couldn't treat myself with chocolate. Eating chocolate gave me chocolate cravings for the next 3-4 days. I literally wandered about _needing_ chocolate.

You know the way that cigarette smokers crave cigarettes. They jitter back and forth, unable to think of anything else and eventually pounce on them like they were oxygen to a drowning man? That's me craving chocolate. A good chunk of my theories about the relationship between the conscious and the subconscious come from observing the way that I reacted to chocolate and then seeing that same pattern with other people and cigarettes/heroin/love. The subconscious mind provides the urges and all the conscious mind can do is jerk it back and try to distract it.

So I stayed mostly off of chocolate, but occasionally fell for sugar. But I cut down periodically, and I eventually realised that I got the cravings for sugar too, but that they were more easily satiated by food in general. Whenever I went into diet mode, the first thing I'd do would be to quit sugar. I'd cure my sugar cravings by eating anything non-sugary whenever I felt the urge for sugar. After a week or so (generally a tetchy one), the sugar cravings would go away and I could start cutting down fatty foods (much easier in comparison).

At some point after I got this pattern straight in my head, I started going out with Erin. Erin has PCOS - a fairly unpleasant syndrome with such symptoms as:

  • absent periods (amenorrhea)

  • obesity

  • ovarian cysts

  • hirsutism (excess facial and/or body hair)

  • infertility

  • amongst others. Until recently it wasn't a very well understood syndrome, but it's now pretty much confirmed as the result of Insulin Resistance.

    The main solution to insulin resistance is to not eat sugary food. More than that - as those of you who remember high-school biology will remember starch is a complex chain of glucose. i.e. whenever you eat anything that's a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down into sugar. Bread, potato, pasta and anything that's wheat based all break down into sugar, some more slowly than others. Refined products (white bread, for instance) breaks down a lot more quickly than unrefined products (wholemeal bread), but they all break down sooner or later.

    It was around the time that Erin was educating me about her problems that I encountered the Atkins Diet, which basically recommends cutting out carbohydrates from your diet and letting a small amount back in when you've lost sufficient weight. The Atkins diet started out at the fringe of dietary understanding, but has gained a lot of ground and is now pretty much accepted. I as finally completely converted by this Scientific American article which looked at the history of the food pyramid and pointed out the large bundles of inaccuracy and downright political gamesplaying that had gone into producing it.

    So, after months of saying "But how will I have lunches without potatoes/rice/bread???" and "but without toast, what will I have for breakfast?" I just stopped eating carbohydrate-heavy foods.

    As of lunchtime yesterday I skipped the potato portion and added salads instead. My meal last night was chicken and vegetables in a garlic sauce - no rice. Breakfast was some scotch eggs from the local delhi (I feel bad about the breadcrumbs, but I checked and the carb levels were still very low) and lunch was soup and salad.

    Obviously, so far there hasn't been any kind of massive physiological change; nor would I expect one. But one thing has changed - I've been having 'cravings' for as long as I can remember. Even when I felt 'full' my body would still be demanding something. It was like having a high-pitched whine in the back of my head, a voice screaming "sugarsugarsugarsugar sugarsugarsugarsugarsugarsugarsugar sugarsugarsugarsugarsugarsugar" so fast that it become nothing but a blur. I'd have to spend a fair amount of my will-power thinking "right, no food until 3:30." "Now, nothing more until 7pm."

    That voice has gone. It literally cut out, leaving me feeling better than I have in a very long time. I don't feel hungry and I don't crave anything. Which is more than I could possibly have hoped for in under two days.

    Now, next time someone sees me eating bread or crisps or staring at a bag of chips, I'd like them to smack me upside the head and ask if I really want to go back to how I was before. Because I really don't think I want to.


Take a stage.

Put a huge white sheet across the whole width and to a height of 30 feet.

Behind the stage, place an accordianist, a guitarist, a violinist,a pianist and a singer (Spanish).

Behind them put two people armed with boths beats and samples.

Project huge images, both still and moving, both tango related and not.

Have the musicians play music that varies between tango and abstract jazz, while the technologists over and underlay it with found sound and breakbeats.

That's Gotan Project.

I told Erin that if she didn't give it five stars she was dumped.

She told me not to be so silly; Of course it's getting five stars.

Playing the UK this month and next. Playing the US/Canada in July. See them if you get the chance.

Found words

From my delightful friend Autodidactic

Reality, being the three-dimensional solid-hologram state of being that it is, not one of us has the exact same experiences as the others. We're all worlds overlapping.

The first way we learn to deal with this (as primates inhabiting a planet called Earth) is to become unerringly selfish. We want the titty and the stuff inside the titty. We want nappies changed because our universe has shrinkwrapped all around us and there's nothing here but the soiled nappy and our chafed skin and oh it hurts and then the big hands of MomDadSmellGod come and make it better by changing you, or make it worse by slapping you for making noise. So, unspoken and unheralded, we make up stories in our pre-language head about the nature of God, and what the world is like, and what's a good thing and what's a bad thing, and what love is.

And then we spend the next hundred years or less chasing after it. We're like fucking salmon swimming upstream, but without enough braincells to really know why.
  • Current Music
    Gotan Project - El Capitalismo Foraneo