Saturday 12 September 2009

super duper monsters!

We had the pleasure of receiving a copy of the film "Monsters Inc" on fancypants Blu-ray to review. We had an older copy already that had been watched a zillion times and was well-loved, so Jack was incredibly excited to see a new edition arrive in the post. However, the excitement turned to disappointment when he realised that it wasn't actually a new "Monsters Inc" film. "It's the same movie," he said sadly. 4-year-olds simply don't appreciate the technological thrill of Blu-ray, I tell you.

Despite the sadness, we all enjoyed the film for the zillionth and one time. I was very much looking forward to comparing the quality of the animation to the original, and it really was wonderful. Sully's fur was one of the earliest successful renditions of hair in CGI (hair is notoriously difficult to animate realistically, along with fabric and light), and it looked even more vibrant and lustrous in Blu-ray. There is an amazing depth to Blu-ray films, and the difference is obvious for this particular film. It's almost like watching it in 3D. Very impressive and worth getting a new copy on Blu-ray. My complaint about a lot of these Disney Blu-ray re-releases is that many of them just don't benefit from the new format. This one does, in spades.

The film itself has always been one of my favourites. In fact, I first saw it in the cinema with friends long before I had kids. We all laughed out loud and I'm a little ashamed to admit that even back then the last few scenes made me teary. It's everything you expect in a good Pixar film: witty dialogue, an imaginative storyline, and something to keep both children and adults entertained.

Here's the "official" blurb from the Disney folks themselves (therefore, any spelling/grammatical errors are theirs entirely, I must hasten to add):

The Disney Blu-ray disc is known as ‘magic in high definition’ – the picture quality is far superior to that of a DVD and the capacity for interactive extras is greater (basically you get more to play around with). Blu-ray Players also have what’s known as ‘backwards capability’ which means you can watch your old DVD’s on them too – so if you do decide you’re ready to upgrade from your DVD player you won’t have stacks of unwanted DVD’s lying around!

And some excerpts to enjoy:

Tuesday 8 September 2009


Oooh and I forgot to mention an important milestone - Mia's toilet training! She started the bank holiday weekend (nice weather/lots of time spent outdoors + in-laws here to lend a hand = good time to ditch the nappies) and has been doing really well. After two days of lots of accidents, she seemed to get the hang of it. Now she can stay dry the whole day, as long as we don't leave it too long between toilet visits - especially when we're out and about. But remarkably, she now tells us she needs the toilet and even takes herself and gets started on her own. That kid will do anything for stickers, I tell you. I'm very proud of my big girl!


Two months old! TWO MONTHS old! I'll blink and she'll be driving my car next! Amazing. Isla is a lovely, happy little baby and (please please please don't let me jinx this) she's been sleeping really well at night. Generally she has a feed at around 11pm, then wakes anywhere from 5-6am. A nice block of sleep keeps mummy sane. She's smiley and chit-chatty, cuddly, and sweet. I still stare at her sometimes and marvel that she's ours. Look what we made! Aren't genes neat?

My first baby, my big boy, started school last Friday. I cried, just a little - and waited to do so until after he was safely out of sight in his classroom to avoid embarrassing him (yet.) He loves school, and I'm so glad. He's only on short days for this week, but he comes home totally exhausted from using his brain much more than usual. His daily report on what he did at school that day usually involves who got in trouble and what they did, minute detail about what was consumed for lunch, and the fact that he received no time outs. I love that his day now has some sort of structure and that he's in very capable hands. He's made new friends already, and greets me at the end of the day with a huge running-start hug and a smile to match. His teacher is lovely; in fact, everyone we've met at the school so far has been lovely. Even the other mums chitchat to me. Really! Friendly small talk! After all these years of being snubbed by various mothers in various settings, I'm now being approached and spoken to! Oh, I'm all agog.

We're still working out the routine, sorting out how to get three children (and myself) ready for the day. School means having to be somewhere at a precise time, so I need to get my butt in gear every day. But having said this, I absolutely love doing the school run. Jack, Isla, and I walk to school together, having a nice chat during some very rare "alone" (I realise Isla's there with us, but she's not really contributing much to the conversation, bless her) time. I love our conversations; they're hilarious and sometimes surreal. Jack found a tile spacer (it's plastic and cross-shaped) on the pavement on the way home. Holding it so it looked like a plus sign, he said, "If you hold it this way, it's Jesus' cross." Turning it slightly on an angle, he said, "If you hold it this way, it's where you find treasure." Funny 'cos it's true. Incidentally, I'm wondering when the nice Church of England school people will discover that we're not at all religious. We'll just lay low for now. Shhhh.

It's good to have something to force me to be up and ready for the day by a certain time, and it's wonderful to have a morning stroll each day. Blows away the cobwebs, as they say.

I've got a million and one (some of them non-mummy) blog posts whirring around in my foggy-brained head, that I will get around to typing out at some point. Maybe next week when Jack's on full days. I definitely need to do a Blu-ray review soon, so expect that in the next day or so!