This’ll probably require some annotation on Wednesday!
G-Force Mango & Pineapple
Wait, wasn’t this a kids’ film about super-guinea pigs? Oh well.
Brought to you by the hydration specialists behind Pepsi, V and, er, Dilmah, it has to fight hard to distinguish itself in the sports drink market, and I’m not sure it succeeds. It has 5.2% real fruit juice, 23% of your daily carbohydrate needs and 14% of your energy needs… and a generous 79% of your sugar needs in a 650ml bottle.
To its credit, the packaging doesn’t claim to be anything it isn’t. It’s a carefully-phrased “fruit drink with added vitamins”, a “supplemented food” with a rather neat flip-cap and unfortunate metallic aftertaste. The only extraneous copy is a bit that says:
Want to know why this delicious mango and pineapple fruit drink is green? We wondered about that too.
*Banned in 11 countries.
**Banned in Norway. Enough said.
I was in Newtown briefly with my parents yesterday, and the thing that struck me about being in Wellington again (apart from the lovely warm wind) was the terrible traffic around the Basin Reserve.
The trenching of Buckle St seems to be going well, with minimal diversion through an area which I remember being a wasteland for the past 15 years, but a traffic system which is clogged at three in the afternoon is clearly one that isn’t working.
The solution in the ’90s was to carve out the bypass extension through some of the most historic parts of Te Aro in a noble attempt to shave seconds off travel time through the city. It now stands as an example of how to do a half-assed job at maximum expense and damage.
Traffic volume has been increasing for years, despite high petrol prices. There’s no incentive to carpool, because we are all proud Randian individuals, and environmental awareness is for communists and homosexuals who want to destroy our economy. Or is that the American reasoning?
Anyway, the attitude for decades has been that we must invest in bigger and sleeker roads through Wellington to move more traffic faster. Wellington is surrounded by hills and water, and earthquake-prone, so it’s not just a matter of building a ring-road or a flyover system. We can’t just bulldoze the churches to widen the main streets (like Stalin did in Moscow), and we sensibly ripped up all our tram tracks decades ago.
What’s the solution? Depends on the problem, doesn’t it? Traffic’s too slow, so we need more roads. Well… it could also be because there’s too many bloody cars, couldn’t it? Building a flyover around the Basin Reserve (again, why does it always have to be through the historic areas?) will increase traffic volume at a massive cost, and in five years we’ll be back where we started.
Any time you use public transport in Wellington, your ticket is already subsidised by 50%. It would be an interesting experiment to try free public transport, and see if the cost to ratepayers could be offset by more advertising on buses (like the existing bus shelter scheme), more shoppers visiting the city and taking their time without fear of parking fees, increased productivity from reduced traveling time, and the social benefits of quieter streets and improved air quality.
The figures wouldn’t add up, of course, but it might look more attractive once the oil runs out.
This interesting concept appears in an otherwise horrifying NZ Listener article called The Art of the Pitch which is about selling your ass wholesale, but not in a way that disappoints your parents. It’s quoted by workplace guru Dan Pink, who sounds like an equally fascinating and terrifying person to be stuck in a lift with.
If you Google “Pixar pitch” it comes up with videos of eager young things convinced they have the next Finding Nemo swilling around in their bright sugar-crazed noggins. And maybe they do! (They don’t). Luckily it was one of those viral things from June to September last year (as ever, I’m late to the party) and originated with Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats as part of her Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling (presented as a nice poster here).
All of the rules are useful for writers, but the Pitch is #4, a kind of Mad Libs framework to describe a film storyline, with blanks for the details:
Once upon a time [__________].
Every day, [__________].
One day [__________].
Because of that, [__________].
Because of that, [__________].
Until finally [__________].
Neat, isn’t it? If you’re writing any story, from a screenplay to a comic script, and if you can summarize it in six sentences, you’re doing well.
(EDIT: The New Yorker is even later to the party and strongly begs to differ.)
I’ve just discovered (after they’ve been up for a year or so) that Salient has an incomplete set of issue covers on their Facebook page, including the eleven issues I designed in 2007.
It’s interesting looking at them again after so long. I think they stand up well, considering the circumstances under which they were produced. I was far too ill to be angry at the time, and I never wanted to blame other people for my problems, especially because I’d seen firsthand what happens when someone is victimized, but unable to move beyond their identity as a victim, relieving them of the responsibility of ever acting to improve their own life.
Of course, I didn’t know that the consequences of those intense five months in the Salient office would still blight my every waking moment six years later.
So yes, today for the first time in awhile, I’m a little angry.