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Thu, Jan. 12th, 2006, 03:13 pm
Mr Wombat reviews 13 and some shoes.

I saw this movie in the IFI last night. Its one of those movies which, despite the horrible subject matter (to describe it is to spoil it [1] but suffice it to say it is not a movie for the sensitive or squeamish) manages to be ten times more powerful than anything hollywood has ever churned out. When an entire room of people simultaneously draw a deep breath and exhale with a "shiiiiiit" at the mid way point twist I take it as a sign I'm not exaggerating either. I'm fairly jaded regarding tension or personal horror in films but this one was *intense* without being explicit or gratuitous or gory.

Its black and white, has a simple plot and does a great job of making you realise what a hollow claim it is when a hollywood movie claims to be gritty, dark or evocative. The fact that its a french movie, featuring people you have never seen before makes it all the more tense since you can't be certain of the usual movie conventions regarding what happens to which character.

All that said, its a horrible movie - somewhat traumatic to watch in fact and it still freaks me out to think about it so I can't actually reccomend that anyone see it in good conscience.

Before going to the movie I bought some new shoes. Fair Trade in templebar are selling the "No Sweat" line of trainers and I decided to get a pair on the basis that they look like the red converse trainers I've been looking for for a while. They're comfy, if light and at 50 quid, a damned sight cheaper. Granted, they're technically knock-offs of a popular brand but since they're guaranteed made with unionised indonesian labour as opposed to the stuff thats made from babies, by babies in microwaves I'm pretty much okay with that. The soles are a bit thin and lacking arch support but thats nothing a 10 quid insole won't fix.

[1] I will say this though, it doesn't involve violence against women or children and no nudity is ever involved.
(Deleted comment)

Thu, Jan. 12th, 2006 04:40 pm (UTC)


The other reason I got them, that I forgot to mention is that this year I am going to try and shop ethically as much as I can - fair trade where possible, decently sourced vegetables from local groceries instead of going to tescos and I'll be consulting the good shopper's guide before buying anything other.

Obviously I'll continue to buy gaming crap and comics from the third place, fourth dimension and Sub City instead of forbidden planet (not really a sacrifice considering the price differences). I'm not going to buy any CCGs this year other than singles either - the waste produced by commons is frightening, something I only realised when I started stacking up the cards I want to sell and saw how many were commons I've never used and never would.

Thu, Jan. 12th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)

I'm not sure how supporting Sub City makes the world a better place, but if you haven't seen www.myfootprint.org it's a quick thingie that may reinforce your newfound righteousness by showing you what a bad person you are. I had to do it for Environmental Biology homework yesterday.

Thu, Jan. 12th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)

Well, less sub city and more Third Place and Fourth Dimension since their prices are 25% lower on average. By supporting smaller shops over large multinationals you have more say in where your cash goes and while I'm sure Amazon doesn't go about murdering babies on a daily basis I feel that individuals who have taken the risk to provide me with what I want at a very reasonable price deserve my money a *damned* sight more than a bunch of massively rich suits who don't need any more money.
I seem to be becoming more socialist as I get older, which I'm sure isn't the way its meant to work. I'm not about to go out to form a worker's collective but I'm done with rampant capitalism and the constant rat race to have more money than the other guy.

That website seems to think I'm quite good compared to the national average, though I'm not entirely sure what size house I have but it would seem to work out around 3.0 ish. Still, no harm in lowering it through eating no processed food and continuing with my stance that owning a car in dublin city is pointless and egotistical.

Thu, Jan. 12th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)

i think imma try to cut back on the processed/chemically-loaded stuff, myself... i think i'm sick of the amazing amounts of crap that's put into stuff and passed off as "food" these days. I eat an awful lot of pure crap food. Being too lazy to take my dinner to work, then vending machine shopping, doesn't help, that's for sure.. they stock those things with pure unadulturated Death Packets. It's disgusting. And yet, I keep doing it... Bleah.

More whole foods for everyone!

though i don't wanna become a creepy nut like the lady i work with who's all organo-naturo-aliens-tinfoil-government-conspiracy-like. organic food seems to go hand in hand with that sort for some reason...

Fri, Jan. 13th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)

Its a pain but the difference it makes to your wallet, stomach and arse is astounding when you cook your own food and the further back down the process you start (ie, making your own sauces instead of getting some ready mix crap) the better it is.
Better to be the healthy crazy than the poor colon cancer suffering sod who believed Tescos when they said their food was healthy *

* Please be ignoring the additives, salt, MSG bleaches and cement powder behind the curtain.

Fri, Jan. 13th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)

But shouldn't you first be enquiring of whether the small shop in question purchases all of their stock from one domineering international distributor? Or perhaps you should choose carefully of the wares in that shop to ensure that the originator of the product does not use its size to dominate and sideline smaller producers? Or perhaps delve even deeper to find out if even the smaller manufacturers are subcontracting work out to huge producers who are able to offer their services at a lower cost because they dominate their sector and force smaller producers out of business?

It's nice to be ethical but it isn't always easy.

Fri, Jan. 13th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)

I did a bit of checking into this a few years back and without going into too much depth (since its boring) *what* you buy wouldn't seem to be a problem, there are no [1] real instances of abuse of market dominance by anyone along the line. The "ethical" part of it comes into play in deciding who to buy from - do you want to give your money to a faceless multinational who may or may not have links to other companies who are decidedly unethical or do you want to give it to the local trader who is charging a very reasonable price and is almost certainly not linked in any way to arms dealing in cambodia [2].

That said, some products are more ethically sound than others, I don't know what Games Workshop's record on the environment is and how bad their moulding/casting process is overall and I'm meaning to check on WotC's use of recycling. I'm beginning to think there might be an article in this.

[1] Games Workshop had some possibly dodgy practices a few years back but they were never proven and could be explained away by embittered shop owners and/or a crappy distribution network. I'm not even certain its an abuse of your position to want to be the only one to sell your own products anyway.
[2] Please note, I am not claiming Amazon does any of this, I just use the example for illustrative purposes.

Fri, Jan. 13th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)

Thankfully we probably don't need to worry too much about little Indonesian sweat shops with rows and rows of 9 year olds feverishly writing Cthulhu scenarios for $1 a month.

My biggest bug-bear regarding the larger multinationals is their propensity to indulge in what result in anti-competitive practices (I phrase it like this because from their perspective they are just doing things that make good business sense, but these often result in smaller players being priced out of the market or, more often, being put into a position where they can't even enter the market in the first place).

All of the games retailers are buying from one (maybe two...not counting GW) major distributor, and as a result they're all buying at pretty much the same price. So the price to the end user is determined by (a) the overheads the retailer has to cover and (b) how little money he's willing to get away with making.

The retailer is then competing based on margin, which may often be "kinda" out of his control (location, rent, staff costs, overheads etc).

There is competition at the retail level but there is very little at the distribution level which I find concerning. But really the discussion is more about shoes and clothes than the games biz so there ya go...