Redefining “Awesome”

Niamh Ann Purdie
Then… (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

Many words get “redefined” these days. Picked up and used in ways which, historically, make no sense. Some are niche, others become more common.

For instance, remember when something being “bad” meant it was good? And that a skateboard trick being “sick” doesn’t mean it need to see a doctor?

Then there’s the word “awesome” which I am guilty of (over-)using. Specifically, it’s got quite a narrow range of meaning. The Oxford Dictionaries define it as:

extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring awe:
the awesome power of the atomic bomb

In the last couple of years, they’ve added:

informal extremely good; excellent:
the band is truly awesome!

Why do I bring this up? Well, today is my youngest daughter’s first birthday. A whole year surviving in our household is no mean feat, especially as you get older and start annoying the adults more and more…

But what I want to get over is that¬†she is awesome. And I don’t mean she’s simply extremely good, or excellent. Alestorm are extremely good, or excellent. Niamh inspires awe. She is utterly, wonderfully, jaw-droppingly amazing.

How on earth I managed to have something to do with the creation of something so mind-bendingly incredible is beyond me. That is awesome.

...and now.
…and now.

How she grew from something the size of a pin-head to a huge lump of flesh and bone which can now toddle, smile cheekily, dance to Airbourne, open toilet lids and feed the dog from his own bowl (the bits that she doesn’t steal for herself)… that is awesome.

And we have two others – one voted the top pupil in her year by her peers recently; the other getting a perfect incident-free report from nursery for two years, who’s become addicted to libraries and about to move to “proper” school. They’re awesome, too. Not just excellent – they inspire awe.

So if you have kids, I really hope that every day you spare a little thought for how ridiculously, incredibly, incalculably unlikely it is that two cells each became those things you spend half your time wishing would just shut the hell up.

And if that’s not something to inspire awe, I don’t know what is.

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Despicable Me 2

120px-Film-stripIt’s the holidays which means we have to find things for the kids to do. So, with the sun blazing outside we headed for a darkened room to watch a fat man and some small yellow creatures.

Despicable Me 2

“Goodbye, Mister Sheepbutt.”

Plot-in-a-nutshell: Villain turns hero as Gru is drafted by an anti-bad-guy organisation

See if it you like: kids’ films with cute backing characters

It’s a fairly unimaginative name for a sequel – there’s not even a subtitle – but they’ve tried their best to put a new spin on the characters and storyline. Gru (Steve Carrell) is this time a good guy after turning over a new leaf at the end of the original. He’s partnered with Agent Lucy (Kristen Wiig) to find out who’s stolen a secret formula which turns simple, innocent creatures into vicious, invulnerable monsters.

Guess which creatures the formula will be used on?

As ever, the story is ably backed up by the cast of millions of minions (due to star in their own sequel in 2014). In fact, they’re still the real stars of the film. Proof? Have you seen any Gru merchandise? Or the three orphan kids? Nope.

There are a couple of pop culture references, some great slapstick sequences but – for some reason – the film left me feeling a bit flat. Despite some genuinely funny moments, I just found it a bit samey. Different from the first film, but too similar to many others.

It’s still good. The kids loved it (though Little Mister claimed that the purple monsters were too scary and wanted to leave – he settled for firing imaginary arrows at them instead), and the audience were laughing out loud at a handful of scenes.

I’d still recommend it even though I wasn’t too keen on it as it’s more likely down to me being pooched. I was up at 5am to give a friend a lift to work, so was struggling to stay awake at points. No reflection on the animation, though!

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