Archive for December, 2014

Disney Pixar's animated short Lava

December 31st, 2014

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook. L - R: Anderson Le (HIFF Director of Programming), Kuana Torres Kahele (musician/voice actor), Napua Greig (musician/voice actor) Andrea Warren (producer), James Ford Murphy (director).

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook. L - R: Anderson Le (HIFF Director of Programming), Kuana Torres Kahele (musician/voice actor), Napua Greig (musician/voice actor) Andrea Warren (producer), James Ford Murphy (director).

From the creative minds of the Disney-Pixar studios comes another animated film, this one a short, seven-minute movie called Lava. Released this year, it is a musical directed by James Ford Mur­phy and pro­duced by Andrea War­ren.

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook.

LAVA sneak peek, with live music performance, at the Ward Village Courtyard, part of 34th Hawaii International Film Festival. Photo credit: Christian Cook.

While the film premiered at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in June, it also screened for Hawaii audiences in November. Nationwide, it will be theatrically released with Pixar's Inside Out on June 19, 2015.

The short is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. It's taken this team two and a half years to make.

Murphy wrote the song and plays the ukulele, while Hawaii musician Kuana Torres Kahele sings as well as stars as Uku, the lonely volcano searching for his true love. Musician Napua Greig voices Lele, another volcano and Uku's love interest.


Me with Warren and Murphy

Me with Warren and Murphy

I had a chance to meet Murphy and Warren while they were in the Islands for the screening, and asked Murphy what inspired him to write this. He told me he's always liked Hawaii since he first set foot here 25 years ago for his honeymoon, and has always had a goal for himself to write stories about what he loves.

Murphy performing his song.

Murphy performing his song.

Murphy comes over about once a year and enjoys "the beauty and culture of the Islands. I love learning about the Islands," he said, and explains that it all feds into his research for this film.

Twelve years ago, he heard Israel Kamakawiwoo`le's rendition of Over the Rainbow and was inspired to include that in a film. Three years ago, he bought a ukulele in Hilo while vacationing on Hawaii Island and learned to play it just so he could play the film's soundtrack. "It wasn't so hard. I've played guitar my whole life," he said.

I had the pleasure of hearing him play and sing the theme song; he has a wonderful voice!

"I love playing my ukulele. It is intoxicating. It makes me happy," he continued, weaving in a reference to ukulele star Jake Shimabukuro's comment that if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a happier place.

When we met, the Hawaii Island lava flow was creeping into Pahoa, threatening homes and making international headlines. Would he and Murphy like to try to see the lava, since it's the namesake for their film? They laughed and said there wasn't enough time on this trip, but they have enjoyed seeing the volcano before, and would like to again someday.

Lava, as Murphy describes it, as a story about "the power and patience of love."

Would they ever expand it past seven minutes? "No, I think it's a perfect gem just the way it is. A little love story with charm and beauty that will leave you with an emotional impact."

Look for it in theaters next June. You'll lava it.

Leading the witness

December 29th, 2014

Kids manipulate the parents into doing things, but it can go both ways. I ended up being very tired on Halloween night and didn't want to brave the rain to trick or treat. Mind you, I've done this every year for the past six years, and I remind myself that to feel less guilty for sitting this year out.

Trick or treating occurs at my bedtime. I get tired around 5:30 and I go to sleep at 6:30 p.m. 6:30 is when Olivia and our friends begin haunting the streets.

I had hopeful intentions of going along, but as the twilight neared, I told her I had to beg off and let Daddy just handle this. "No!" she pouted, and stomped her foot. "I want Mommy to go, too!"

Nice Daddy.

Nice Daddy.

"Well, if I go, it'll be a quick spin around one block and then we have to go because I'm tired. Or if Daddy takes you, it'll be the full neighborhood and playing with Amanda afterwards," I said. In the past years we've stayed out until 9:30 p.m. because everyone knows after you pillage the streets for candy, you and your friends have to admire the loot spread out across the living room floor.

"I want Daddy to take me," came the quick reply.

The Look.

The Look.

Claus shot me a look for leaving him high and dry - or sopping wet, as the weather called for. "No fair. That's like asking, 'Do you want a little bit of candy or a lot of candy?'" Oh, my husband. He is such a good man.

I've done this before. I wanted her to want to take a vacation in Australia so I showed her a picture of a kangaroo as a representation of the entire continent. That sealed that deal.

Yes, I'm guilty of leading this witness!


December 26th, 2014

(This is a continuation of a previous blog. Click here to read it.)

After my Santa debacle (and yes, another flaw in my logic was that I shouldn't have put the present out before the 25th) I redeemed myself.

The Santa gifts

The Santa gifts

We bought Olivia a scooter and a Frozen backpack with lights. I wrapped the gifts and used my LEFT hand to write the "From Santa" gift tag. I hid the boxes in my closet where she did not find them.

On Christmas morning, Olivia woke up before me. I panicked and when she was dressing, I ran like Usain Bolt to grab the Santa gifts and put them under the tree. Claus was already up and cooking breakfast (oh, yes, I married well) and laughed at me.


When Olivia came near the tree to unwrap her gifts, she immediately noticed the new boxes. Kids are so funny. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the gift pile.

I myself never would have noticed if there was a new present under the tree. To me, it all looks like a fairy threw up - one big lump of glitter and shine.

I could care less about what I'm getting for Christmas. That's because I'm old and I have a zillion other tasks, concerns, and worries taking up my headspace (IE, my great aunt was taken off life support on Christmas Eve.) Wow, being an adult is a whole lot of fun.

So back to the joy of Christmas for children. Olivia excitedly opened the two boxes Santa gave her. She was thrilled to get the gifts she asked for (two of the items listed on her THREE PAGE LIST.)

Then she questioned, "How did he know? I never mailed my list to Santa."

I looked at Claus. OMG I cannot win!

This is probably the best use of my newscasting ad lib skills ever, because I paused and then said (I hope smoothly), "I think Santa knows the minute you write it. He doesn't need you to mail it to him because his elves read it and reported back to him."

She absorbed that for a minute and then accepted that explanation. That was the longest minute I spent all day.

How many times in one Christmas season could I possibly nearly ruin the Santa myth? Would I need to keep tap dancing and coming up with stupid excuses to explain the holes in Santa's actions?

I think next year I need to make my own list and check it twice... on how to properly conduct the Santa gift delivery.

1) Actually mail the wish list to Santa

2) Write the gift tag with left hand

3) Do not put the present under tree until after midnight 12/24

A gift from Santa...or not

December 24th, 2014

Wow, I really messed this one up.

I wrapped a gift for Olivia from Santa and put it under the tree. She found the gift and looked at it skeptically.


"What? This isn't from Santa. This is from you," she stated.

"What?! No, it's not!" I lied poorly. Claus stopped what he was doing to watch this little drama.

"This is your handwriting," she pronounced.

Caught! But I went on with the lie. "It's not my handwriting. I think Mrs. Claus wrote this since it's a little girly."

"Mommy. I recognize your handwriting," Olivia insisted.


OMG, I thought I was pretty sneaky because I used my big bubble handwriting like I did when I was in the fifth grade. Now, my penmanship looks all scribbly like a doctor (or a rushed mother, or a reporter on deadline.)

I muttered some lame excuse about how I'm sure Santa had his wife write it and we went to the same school for penmanship. When she continued to look at me with disbelief I resorted to the old mommy default position of just barking a command to distract. "Hey. Just put that back under the tree and go eat ice cream."

Claus was rolling on the ground behind her, dying of silent laughter. He could barely contain himself. He practically exploded when she left the room.

The kid is seven. Really? Is innocence gone that fast? This kid is too smart.

And for me, lesson learned. Next year I will have to have the neighbor write the note!

... Merry Christmas, everyone! Hope your holiday is wonderful!

Shopping with Husband

December 22nd, 2014

Why do I bother taking my husband shopping with me? He's probably asking why he bothers to come with me.

We're even.

We were at a department store to buy Olivia's Christmas gift (a scooter she requested) and I got sidetracked right away by the gift wrap section with already-marked-down rolls of paper. It's not even Christmas Eve yet.

I'm one of those ladies who LOVES a sale so I made us stop to look at the cute choices. "Do you like this or this?" I asked him repeatedly. It was clear he could care less because he first started answering, "Yes."

I finally said, "You're not even listening to me."

He said, "I am."

I said, "Then which one: The reindeer or the skating polar bears?"

"The polar bears," he answered a little too quickly.

"I can tell you're just saying that to shut me up," I accused. "Do you really like it?"

This is the point at which the man is painted into the proverbial corner because he said cautiously, "What is the right answer?"

"Just tell me which one you really like the best," I said.

Then he (probably made up) a little narrative about how the bears are super cute because nothing is cuter than skating polar bears and who wouldn't like a gift wrapped in that adorableness? I know this whole time he was thinking, "Shoot, she said we were just going to pick up a scooter. What just happened?"

I accepted the answer and put the skating bears in the cart. As we continued to the toy aisle, I saw already-discounted fake trees.

I've always bought a real tree, but since Olivia mentioned offhandedly she didn't care if our tree was fake or real, I thought, "This would be so convenient to pull down from the attic next year and not have to worry about watering it or sweeping up pine needles."

The real tree we have this year cost a heck of a lot as well, and then there's the whole deal about driving to a tree lot, picking one out, setting one up, all that jazz - which is a ceremony some might like, but I don't.

I went through the whole deliberation with Claus about the size (six feet? seven feet? ten feet?) and lit vs. unlit. And you know the whole conversation was:

Seven feet? Is that too big?

No, it's fine.

What about six feet?


Or maybe the ten footer since we have high ceilings?


Let's look at these display models. In real life, does the six footer look tall enough?


But is the seven footer too big?


Do we have enough ornaments for it?



You probably deduced the one-word answers were my husband's.

In his words:

"You asked the same question every time. Six foot? Lit or unlit? Seven foot? Lit or unit? Ten foot? Lit or unlit? Repeat. I was thinking, 'For God's sake, we have a tree in the cart. Can't we just move on?'"

I retorted, "Don't you understand careful deliberation is needed to ensure we have the product we like best for our home?"

He said, "Which took us one second. You were extremely decisive, until you wanted to question your decision. One hundred times. Until you got distracted by a lamp shade. Which we bought and now you want to return."

One hundred something dollars later and we hadn't even gotten to the scooter aisle.

This Christmas buying season is over and next year he's resolved NOT to come with me, even if it starts out as a simple in-n-out excursion to get one thing that we already know we want. Because now he knows it's always a bait-and-switch.

It only took him 14 years to figure that out.

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