Moshi Monsters Part Two: The Quest for Lady Goo Goo

Lady Goo Goo.

A short while ago I blogged about Moshi Monsters, which is a sensation among kids in the UK. I am kind of nerding out on it.  I have always collected toys and such, and dug kids shows, having kids… but after fellow DJ and aging hipster Thriftshop XL turned me on to this trend, I went a little nuts. I found piles of awesome Moshi Monster toys, neglected, unknown by the ignorant local philistines and blissfully priced to sell at Walmart and Target. Freaking pre-holiday SCORE! (dance move)

About Moshi Monsters. It’s a character-driven combination of music, video, toys, and online community. As with most stuff, kids’ cartoons are pretty much twice as cool in the UK. Stylish, international and funky, Hip-Hop, pop, Bollywood, house, metal- the surreal, hyper-intense and surprisingly musical Moshi Monsters do it all. (Did I just hear Jack Black? Dan Akroyd?) My kids LOVE the music, and the characters. We’re not as into the community stuff, but my daughter keeps asking about it. Maybe when she’s a little older.

Blingo The Fox fan art by Momogirl.

Yesterday they released a new track, and music video by a character called Blingo The Fox. He’s a blinged out rapper. He’s cool. With DJ Quack on the Ducks! (ie “on the decks,” ie DJing. Would American kids have been trusted to get that?)

Cool. So of course, his $2 Moshling figure is also going for like $20 online. It’s ultra rare, it seems. Stella, left watching a Moshi music video online, soon clicked on a related video link and ended up watching this nerd-tastic unboxing video.

As you can tell, the ‘good’ figures (often those based on pop stars or places/landmarks) are in blind boxes and get snatched up by vendors and collectors, and resold at inflated prices. They aren’t even available in regular shops in the states, it seems. At least not around here. In England, a kid stands a fighting chance of scoring Lady Goo Goo, Dustbin Beaver, or Blingo. Observe.

For some reason these are the first unboxing videos I have ever seen that I actually enjoyed. This one is my favorite one I think. It has special effects and it features a Lady Goo Goo figure, lent by the video’s producer, as a guest star.

That’s right- these Lady Goo Goo figures are so rare, they make appearances. They get opened and resold, and they sell out in a flash.  Goo is a baby version of Lady Gaga who had a hit single with the Moshi Dance. In a rare lapse of coolness, Lady Gaga sued Brain Candy over this. Can’t we all get along?

Stella wants a Goo, badly. There are also plushies available I hear. The quest continues. We WILL find Lady Goo Goo!

SOLD OUT!

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Reaction To The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

Some parents taped their kids’ over-the-top reaction to this new Disney film. (SPOILER ALERT!)

It’s SAD!

Does posting something like this online contitute a poor parenting choice? The parents obviously love their kids, and think it’s sweet that they are so emotional. And they probably didn’t think this would be seen by many people. But maybe it will be traumatic for the kids. What do you think? Post thoughts in the comments.

Personally, I find this pretty funny, and I don’t think it’s such a big deal. But then again, I didn’t grow up in the internet age. People had to tease me in person.

Also, thank god I didn’t take my 4-y-o daughter to see this. She got emotional when she saw Jennifer Love Hewitt sadly plugging UNICEF over footage of starving African children from 1996.

Here’s the trailer for the film:

Here’s the reaction:

Moshi Moshi Moshi Monster Monster


Fellow dad Thriftshop XL clued me in to Moshi Monsters this morning.

I’m actually looking after a houseful of em right now and they’re jumping up and down in the living watching a video compilation of Moshi Monster videos on the media player. My 4yo daughter was introduced to this phenomena when my friends stayed over with their 8yo daughter. Mine was hooked and, after checking it out, we let her play it. You can pay to be a member or just sign up for the free stuff (I ain’t payin’) There’s plenty to do in there. It’s really child-friendly and great to sit down with your kids and solve puzzles, do up your house, collect pets, etc. Be warned though, there is a social element to it and you can contact (or be contacted by) other folks who can look at your profile (I like cookies, fave colour: Red, etc) other than that it’s a very appealing place. We let her play, supervised, 2 to 3 times a week for up to an hour. When I have time, I log in and do some of the games to earn ‘money’ so’s she can buy new stuff for her house. The stores here are FULL of Moshi Monster merch, from Jigsaws to backbacks and figures, right through to sticker albums, paperback books and annuals. There is a very catchy album called Music Rox from which some of the videos you have seen are taken. Moshi Monsters is the Brainchild of a British Tech startup called Mind Candy and has been running in the UK for a few years. Unlike a lot of these types of things for kids, they have had no negative publicity regarding online safety and seem pretty clued-up as to what makes a safe, fun environment for kids (and their keepers) to play.

Apparently half the kids in England are playing this game. Brits are hip. So it’s an online game, but there are also a bunch of these surreal children’s videos on youtube, along with a bunch of requisite Youtube trend obsession videos. I like the videos, but they are pretty intense.

While the vids seem specifically designed to shorten children’s attention spans,  Moshi Monsters creators do claim the game and site are educational. I didn’t play the actual games themselves, but they are supposedly “a series of fun puzzles that test everything from vocabulary and arithmetic to logic and spatial skills.” That said, I can’t imagine what exactly the videos are supposed to be teaching. Kind of fun and cool though! Woot woot! (pumps fist) There’s also a social networking component, which is supposed to be safe and monitored, but yeah- not yet, thanks.

Just when I thought I knew what was going on, they started making fun of Justin Bieber.

And paying tribute to Lady Gaga.

And then, while I personally find the one below amusing, I have to wonder what my 4-year old would take away from it. I prefer the funky un-ironic cuteness to the Happy tree Friends-esque cynical attempt to appeal to cranky pre-teens.

Perhaps I’m getting old. I need to stop now; my head hurts.

Nutshell Kids Part 1: Pierre

Pierre full-sized library edition (left) and Nutshell Library edition (right).

I just checked Maurice Sendak’s little book Pierre out of the library yesterday, in order to write this book/music/video review of it. This morning I found out that Mr. Sendak died. The obit praises him more effectively than I ever could- it’s worth reading. For example, like his parents, I had no idea he was gay. And he felt he never learned how to draw feet properly. I still regret missing his talk at UConn in 1993. I was probably off listening to Jimi Hendrix somewhere.

Maurice Sendak, 1928-2012

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Home Movie Tips 2: Carousel Films

Part two in this series of “how to” videos by a person who really doesn’t much know what they are doing. The result is something EASY for you to do, too! Woo hoo! And it actually does work…

…or it doesn’t.

Here are two of my own attempts to make a cute Carousel-themed home movie. One of them succeeds pretty well, and the other is terrible.

Look, Father! A Carousel!

Grab the Popped-Corn!

There are a few easy tricks and techniques you can use to suggest silent films of the 1930’s style. Bullet points, anyone?

  • A cherubic child, doing cute, olde timey stuff. Favorite subjects include Carousels, ice cream at the seaside, 4th of July Parades, petting puppy dogs, playing stick-and-hoop, voting for Taft, stuff like that. Avoid Justin Beiber concerts for this style of video. Though we will be muting the sound, so…
  • If you are going on a carousel,you may have to shoot it WHILE YOU HOLD THE KID. Be prepared. It’s not easy. Or you can get a second adult on, but you will need to pay for them. Shooting carousel footage from the sidelines results in a pretty terrible movie, as you will see in our second example.
  • Black and white or sepia tone on all shots and titles. I usually prefer B&W, but try both.
  • Film grain or age effect. These come prepackaged in your computer’s video editing software, probably. Experiment with different ones until you get something convincing. NOTE: I should have used the grain and effect on the dialogue text and the frame well, for consistency.
  • Sound. Mute the sound from the video, and then use something old time-y and cute or dramatic. Here we have incidental music from The Little Rascals short, played by The Beau Hunks. Solo piano works well too, as it mimics the cinema players of the time.
  • Get a bunch of shots, even if they are short ones. Telling a story is key, however basic (We arrive, we look at stuff, we leave.) Try and get shots of your arrival, establishing shots of a location when you get there, and shots of you leaving. A napping child, happily exhausted, is a classic final shot. Shoot each image for longer than you think you need, to make it easier to edit later.
  • You’ll need a silent movie frame for your dialogue. Here’s one I found on a message board, it’s the one I used in the video below. Click the photo below to link to the full-sized version. Basically you put it in your movie as you would a photo, and then put your dialogue on top of the photo as a centered subtitle, in a vintage font. Dialogue should be corny as all get out, of course.

USE ME!

  • No fades or effects on the edits. Use all quick cuts, and make some of them jarring!
  • End credits are useful to tag your film with the people’s names, the date, the place. Who know how long your film will survive? If your grandchildren are able to watch it, they will appreciate having that information.
  • And, of course, my #1 tip- keep it to the length of one short song, if at all possible.

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Home Movie Tips: Olde Cape Cod

When I edit together a home video, I strive for something charming and watchable. A classic format of home movies- the super-8 looking, Wonder Years-esque style of the previous generation or two- is a fun and appealing choice. Creating a video like this will allow you to consolidate a bunch of little clips into something watchable which you can easily share with friends and relatives and save for your kids to watch as they get older. It’s also a great gift for your spouse (or the grandparents) which is affordable, personal and special.

Here are a few easily executed characteristics you can use to give your short film a bit of personality.

  • Good vintage music to fit the mood, and a mute on the original sound. A single, short song also limits you to a digestible and easily watchable length film. Luckily, older songs tend to clock in at shorter lengths
  • A super-8/ film grain effect, and film defect effects if you can manage them.
  • Cute, appealing, classic shots. Get people to wave at the camera, if you can. It adds a real smile factor. Once you edit one together, you will have a sense of what kinds of shots you need for your next home movie project.

In the example below, I allowed some priceless footage of Nana reading a story to kick things off. I thought it worth keeping for the kids. By the time we are 20 seconds in, we are in super 8 mode.