I received an invite to an advance screening of Cinderella 2015, the new Disney version of the classic movie for yesterday evening.
Of course my invite included a “plus one”. So I figured this was a good time to have a father-daughter bonding evening. Add to the fun of father-daughter bonding time, it was fun to think this was my daughter’s first visit to a real movie theatre. I thought it was a kind of a neat opportunity.
Before I go any further I have to say that before being allowed in the theatre I had to agree to not do a “full review” of the movie itself. So this will not be an actual review of the movie and just my observations of the event. (I think that covers my legal bits).
Another interesting bit about attending the advance screening was that everyone who wanted to go into the theatre had to hand over their mobile device which was then placed in a paper bag and stapled shut. Apparently they wanted to be sure that nobody was taking pictures or recording the movie. Once you handed over your device another person went over your body with one of those airport wands to see if you were still “packing”.
About the movie, the fact is, this is the story of Cinderella. I don’t see how this can be a spoiler because well, the story of Cinderella 2015 hasn’t really changed since Cinderella was first written (as far as I know).
One kind of cool thing about this latest Disney version of Cinderella was that I was expecting it to be animated when in fact it was done with real actors. That was kind of cool.
Although I took my daughter who was totally accepting of the fact that fuzzy little rabbits sometimes get turned into food, I did have it in the front of my mind that she is a sensitive sort of person and the story may be somewhat upsetting so I made sure that we were sitting relatively close to an aisle.
Again I need to preface this with the fact that we basically NEVER read classic stories to our kids. Take the example of Hansel and Gretel – right…a wicked woman who convinces their father to take his two children into the forest and leave them there. Good times.
Think about any of the classic stories we read as kids; they make the Wile E Coyote and Road Runner story look like a love story.
For the first 45 minutes of the movie my daughter had tears streaming down her face. I did keep asking if she wanted to leave but she insisted on staying (I was wondering if I should exercise my parental veto and force her to leave, but I didn’t).
First the Ella’s mother collapses – “Papa why did she fall down?”
And then she is bedridden until she dies. “Papa why isn’t she getting out of bed?”
Then the very loving father remarries and ends up with a hideous woman with two miserable daughters – “Papa why are those girls so mean?”
And then the father goes away on business and dies while he is away!! A neighbour comes to tell Ella that her father will never be returning – “Papa, where is her father and why doesn’t he go home?”
But then there is redemption when Cinderella dances with the Prince and is the belle of the ball – then my daughter was smiling.
The weird thing is that there were many very young children in the theatre last night. In hindsight, I am not sure that Cinderella is a movie that any kid should see. It certainly made for an evening of difficult questions for me to answer.
I am very much looking forward to seeing John Voth in the Arts Club Theatre Company’s performance of their “top secret farce” The Foreigner at the Evergreen Cultural Centre next week!
The preview for the play says;
All Charlie wanted was a little peace and quiet. So when he arrives at a fishing lodge in Georgia, it seems harmless enough to masquerade as a foreigner who can’t speak English.
He soon realizes that people will say the most extraordinary things when they think no one can understand them!
The Foreigner has a limited run of performances at the Evergreen Cultural Centre – March 3-7th with all shows starting at 8pm (except the Saturday matinee that begins at 4pm).
If you want to join me at the Evergreen Cultural Centre you can buy tickets online or at the Evergreen box office.
I’m not sure how the retailers who sell new baby/toddler clothes and toys and stuff actually stay in business with the growth of Craigslist, thrift stores, and swap meets dedicated to kid related stuff. Having a kid (or two or three) is expensive and you are wise to find ways to economize and help recycle baby/kid stuff. So go to a swap meet!
If you live in or nearby Coquitlam, this coming weekend (February 22nd, 2015) there is a kid’s swap meet scheduled to be held at the Poirier Community Centre. The kid swapping runs from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
The meet is a great place to buy gently used kids’ clothes, books, toys and more. Admission to the event is free and you can drop by anytime between 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. to stock up on affordable kids’ items for the spring.
It is important to note that actually swapping kids with other parents is frowned upon and even strictly not allowed in some cases.
For more information about the event, please visit www.coquitlam.ca/poirier. Poirier Community Centre is located at 630 Poirier Street, Coquitlam.
At bedtime we are reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder type books about life on the prairies. Except it appears that life took a turn for the worse on the prairie and now Rose and her Ma and Pa have left to go live in Missouri.
Anyway it doesn’t matter where they are living, this evening in the story, Rose, the little girl in the story is jumping up and down on a pile of branches and she scares a rabbit out of the brush pile.
She chases the rabbit around the field, going up-and-down and back-and-forth and eventually the rabbit goes into a hollow log. She then plugs each end of the hollow log thus trapping the rabbit inside of that log.
Fast forward in the story and Rose and her mother and father are sitting down to a dinner of rabbit stew.
As I was reading my one daughter looked at me and asked me “where did the rabbit they are eating come from.” Her eyes were open as wide as I had ever seen. She looked quite horrified. She was more than a little shocked that they had killed and made food out of the little rabbit. She says that rabbits are incredibly soft and very nice and it’s not very nice that they were going to eat this rabbit.
Her sister said to her in the most matter of fact way that, “well you like chicken. Where do you think chicken comes from?”
She answered that she likes chicken meat but she doesn’t like chickens. And the fact was brought up again that rabbits are so soft and cuddly.
It was very interesting to see them make the connection between eating meat and killing animals. Especially animals that are cute and cuddly and would make a nice little pet.
This evenings story time reminds me of the time when I was in the leather shop a couple of years ago. I had my daughters with me and we were looking at rabbit skins, cowhides, deer hides, and calf hides. One of my daughters asked how they get the skin off the animals without hurting them. At the time I didn’t have the guts to tell her the reality of it. So I just told her they do it very carefully.
Just an interesting observation. That’s it.
After extensive research and consultation, I have come to the conclusion that Valentines Day is the worst quasi-holiday of all the Hallmark style holidays that there are.
Honestly, there is no win for Valentines Day. No matter what you do, it is likely that you’ve done it wrong.
Say for example you go out and pay the ransom that the overworked and under appreciated florists want for a dozen roses. What a complete waste of money. The receiver of your generosity (stupidity) will likely tell you that directly to your face – you are a fool for having paid that much for roses! The week after Valentines Day the roses will be reduced again to less than twenty bucks a dozen. However if you go out and buy 10 dozen roses for your sweetheart a week after Valentines Day you will forever be seen as a cheapskate and a loser to that woman.
Say you want to try a different approach and get chocolate? Good luck. The line-ups are out of sight and it is all overpriced and crappy chocolate. Unless you actually get the good stuff. Clothing as a gift? The stuff you want (you dirty bird!) will never get worn. I wish you well.
And then once you are a father it’s even worse. Your kid or kids have to make Valentines Day cards or gifts for every other individual in their class if not their entire school. You wouldn’t want to exclude any of the little twerps.
Some whack job parents even have their kids give chocolates to the other kids in their class. I can imagine those parents are at home laughing quite hysterically about the mayhem that is going on in the homes of the recipients of all those the chocolates and red-dye filled candies. Good luck being the parent who says “no, you can’t eat the little gift your best-friend for the day gave you.”
The only thing that has spared us any mercy in our battle with the Valentines Day style massacre of our wallets and self esteem is the growth of the dollar store.
The dollar store is the great big fat fuck you to the Hallmark Empire and their attempt to turn every point of life into a card giving opportunity. I kid you not, I saw a card with a happy circumcision message – “Here’s a card to say we’re happy the ritual of cutting the end of your kid’s dick went well!
Before the dollar store phenomenon swept across our nation you could expect to pay $4 or $5 or even $10 for a stupid Valentines Day card that will, without a doubt be thrown away the very next day. Now instead of blowing $5 or $10 on a card you can pop into any dollar store and get any card you want for one dollar. Of course before the Valentines Day card get thrown away you will probably be ridiculed for picking the wrong card. Fact is there is no right card.
The only good thing about Valentines Day is that the next Hallmark Day that follows is St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day is all about wearing stupid hats, green clothing and drinking green beer. At least you’re drinking beer and there’s no expectations of romance, flowers, cards or chocolate.
Yes, give me St. Patrick’s Day any day and keep your stinking Valentines Day for yourself.
This may come as a bit of a surprise, but for the first time ever, I was the supervising adult at an event for my kids – a play date.
This is a surprise because my kids are nearly 6 years old and I have avoided this situation until now. I have essentially lived in fear that at some point I was going to be the supervising adult at a play date with my kids and someone else’s progeny.
Well I can assure you that I faced my fear and I survived. Perhaps even more importantly, all of the children who were on the play date also survived.
It is ironic that the idea of a play date strikes such fear into my heart. As some of you may know, my day job is essentially supervising large, out of control play dates. Others call it being a secondary school teacher but really, school is just a glorified play date with some educational stuff thrown in to fill the quiet moments when the teenagers aren’t outside smoking or socializing with the other kids on the play date.
Anyway, being the supervising adult for my own kids and their friend on a play date was actually easier than I ever imagined it would be.
Although it ended up being easy, it did not start out that way. As soon as the visiting child arrived she proudly informed me that she was allergic to dogs, cats, peanuts, and anything that has come into contact with peanuts, sesame seeds and that she didn’t like cheese or yogurt.
Hmmmm. Thankfully we only have one dog and two cats. And the staple food item that my children live off are peanut butter and cheese sandwiches. Peanut butter and cheese actually taste pretty good. I know this because my kids typically eat one quarter of the sandwich and I then eat the other three quarters. The other thing my kids eat are those cheese string things or little containers of yogurt.
The kid asked me what we had to eat. I told her she could eat whatever she had in her little backpack. I was not going to take any chances with anything from our house going into her digestive system. So she pulled out a little Rubbermaid container with five crackers in it and an EpiPen.
I immediately had visions of the scene from Pulp Fiction where John Travolta is crouching over Uma Thurmann about to give her a massive injection to the chest to bring her back to life.
Thankfully after a couple hours the little girl’s mother showed up. Her child was still alive and walking and had no evidence of dog or cat related rashes. I have to add that she was probably pretty hungry after having eaten her five magical crackers basically as soon as she got in the door.
I’m not really sure I would want to host a play date again. The stress was almost too much.
This morning the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that in certain cases doctor assisted suicide should be allowed. My response; it is about time.
If you walked through or spent any time in the geriatric ward of any hospital you would be disgusted; there is no way on earth you would let a dog or cat live the way we force many of our seniors and elders to live.
In spite of the Supreme Court of Canada’s views on the topic, the Institute for Canadian Values, is “saddened by the Supreme Court of Canada’s action to strike down the ban on assisted suicide.”
ICV President Dr. Charles McVety says “life is too precious to allow a doctor to kill.” This is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath where doctors swear ‘I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.’ It is sad to think that people suffering will now have to contend with the pressure of making a decision on ending their life, instead of fighting to continue.”
I understand his point of view but I respectfully disagree with his opinion. Why is it that if you left a dog or cat or a horse to die a prolonged and painful death you would very likely be investigated for cruelty to an animal and yet it is acceptable to let our elder citizens endure a pain-filled existence?
Assisted suicide is clearly not a simple issue and there is no one-size-fits-all change that can take place. It will be interesting to see how the government addresses the findings of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Don’t be surprised if you hear Coquitlam residents running around singing the YMCA song in the coming days and weeks. Today we learned that Coquitlam is one step closer to a new community recreation facility with the signing of an Agreement in Principle by the City of Coquitlam and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver.
The new facility, projected to open in 2018, will be a social and recreation hub for the community. It will help thousands of children and families living in Burquitlam, and throughout the community, to reach their potential through a wide range of health, recreation and wellness programs.
The Agreement in Principle outlines key elements of the partnership between the YMCA and the City and is an important step towards a future facility.
The next step in the process is the selection of a site for the facility, which is planned to be located in the vicinity of the future Burquitlam Evergreen Line rapid transit station. Once a location is selected, information sessions will be held to inform the public on the facility location and planned amenities.
This partnership addresses the need for a community recreation facility in the rapidly expanding Burquitlam neighbourhood as identified in the City of Coquitlam’s strategic plan and Official Community Plan. It is projected that 50% of people using the facility will be youth under the age of 18.
While the community will be consulted about the design and vision for this facility, it is expected that it will be consistent with other recent YMCA family facilities and will provide the following amenities:
- 55-60,000 square feet of space, with underground parking
- Indoor pool to provide a range of teaching, fitness and rehabilitative programming (I personally hope that the pool they build in the Burquitlam facility is like the one in Vancouver that has an ozone water treatment system rather than chlorinated water)
- Change rooms that cater to all ages and abilities, including family change rooms
- Public spaces and common areas
- Gymnasium, studios and strength and conditioning zones
- Multi-purpose rooms to offer a broad range of child, youth and community programs
- Childminding to allow parents and caregivers time to work out
- Family Development Centre to help families raise great kids through programming, resources and support
“Our Burquitlam neighbourhood is a major focus for many of the City of Coquitlam’s initiatives. We know that a recreation facility is a priority for the community there and we look forward to bringing this to reality,” said Mayor Richard Stewart. “With the partnership of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, we can deliver even more than we would be able to do acting alone. This partnership speaks to the City’s reputation of finding innovative solutions to address community needs to everyone’s benefit.”
“We are excited about working with the City on a shared vision to provide Coquitlam residents with a community amenity that offers families support and opportunities to be active together and reach their potential,” says Stephen Butz, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. “The Y has offered some child care programming in the community for decades, but looks forward to improving the quality of life for thousands more residents of Burquitlam. We are privileged to have a partner of the City’s caliber and look forward to engaging the community to develop a safe, welcoming and family-friendly facility.”
Okay, so this is confession time – I have a great deal of difficulty dealing with the remote control for the television-PVR combo unit that sits in our living-room.
In my defence, I do not watch much television. I suppose that is partly because I cannot turn the tv on, but other than that fact, the only programs I enjoy and will actually sit down to watch are The Walking Dead and Coronation Street. Some may even say that the shows are more similar than not.
However, seeing as I cannot control the remote control and someone else in the house does, if I decide to sit in the living-room, I end up watching (while simultaneously surfing Instagram and Twitter … @srobinsmith) whatever the other one on the house decides to watch.
So, I am not ashamed to say that I have seen some of Farmer Chris, the Bachelor 2015 this season. And I am not impressed.
First, until last week there was a woman on the program who seemed to have mental health issues. It may have been somewhat amusing but the reality is, it was really actually quite sad. In my humble opinion, that woman needs help, and should not be made a spectacle of on network tv.
And then the whole thing about bringing the comedian Jimmy Kimmel on The Bachelor 2015. What was the purpose of that? Seriously.
The latest episode of the show started with a wide angle shot of the balloon festival in Santa Fe, New Mexico. And one of the women is heard saying, “This is so exciting, I have never before left the country!” Well, Honey, you aren’t leaving the country today either.
And then the musing about what lurks below the surface of the Rio Grande River before they go white water rafting – Megan is concerned there might be alligators and dead bodies floating just below the surface.
All I can say is good luck Farmer Chris. Some of these women may not be as helpful down on the farm as you think they will. Although they do go to bed ready to get up at 4:30am and ready to just jump out of bed ready to go.
Some thoughtful and kind person recently sent me a blog post about how it is important to slow down and let your children set the pace.
Yes, this was someone who witnessed the frenzy of screaming, cajoling, bribery and veiled threats as my sweetheart and I were trying to get our girls dressed in clothing, with coats, hats and boots and out the door to one of their classes.
See the thing is with kids classes most of them are 30 minutes long. If you show up 5, 10 or 15 minutes late for the class, that means that the half hour of quiet that you have paid for has now been reduced to approximately 10 minutes.
And anybody who knows what it’s like living with five-year-olds or any kids in that age bracket, basically anybody under 30, you cherish that time that you were buying – those fleeting quiet moments that you’re buying where you can sit in an uncomfortable and usually freezing room watching your kid behave like an angel for some total and random stranger.
Because really who gives a shit if the kids learn how to skate-ski-paint-dance-swim or whatever it is that you have registered them in? The reality is you were buying quiet time.
So “slowing down and letting the children set the pace” really is a bunch of bullshit. You are doing everything humanly possible to get them dressed, watered, drained, pooped, and into a car and out and into the lesson as fast as you possibly can. Because I’m telling you, an extra 10 minutes of quiet is golden time.
I also understand that this blog post will probably make me lose my nomination for parent of the year. That’s okay because I’m enjoying these minutes of quiet while my kid is in some class right now.