Not-So-Random-thoughts for January 14th, 2007

Wow – two weeks into the new year, and I’m back to being more bitter and depressed than I was during layoffs! Might as well get down to things…

Apple Dropped the Ball Again: I was going to write about how cool the new AppleTV and iPhone are, until the news of what they can and can’t do came out. As I stated back in September, when the Apple TV was the iTV (they should have kept the name), The AppleTV is a waste of money and Apple’s time. The iPhone, on the other hand, sounded very promising, until the news came out about the things it won’t have: an external keyboard, syncing for anything other than iTunes, no iChat or instant messenger, and most importantly, no way to develop for it. The iPhone is a closed platform, like the iPod, and as such no one can create software for it – total BS, since it has so much it could potentially do.

Combined with no announcements in the software or hardware front, the lack of a certain name from the iTunes Store, and no news on when Leopard will leap to store shelves, this was a complete waste of my time this week. Glad I couldn’t afford to go, or I’d be more disappointed.

Children of Men: First off, if you’re an older Teen or an adult of any kind, go see this film – even if you don’t like it, there should be enough from the film to keep you thinking and talking for a while.

For those who don’t know jack about this film, Clive Owens stars as a former protester-turned-business man who is hunted down by another protester and former lover, played by Julian Moore. His task: to deliver the first pregnant woman in 18 years – females in this movie became infertile after a flu pandemic in 2008, with the last person to be born having his death announced on the news at the opening of the movie – to the Human Project, a group the audience has to assume is trying to save humanity. The interesting thing is that the world is basically going to hell, with england being the last civil country, rioters and protesters causing trouble in the rest. Owen’s Character is spurned onto this by the death of Moore’s Character, as well as the deaths of his parents, his dad being played by Michael Caine.

For those who love 60’s and 70’s music, there are a lot of songs from that era used in the soundtrack, and in some scenes, references to albums and covers. (There’s one scene, in which Owen’s character is looking out the window talking to his cousin, that the what he is looking at is very reminiscent of a few Pink Floyd Albums – you’ll know it when you see the floating pig.)

For those with kids, if they’re old enough to understand war, humanity’s cruelty to each other, pregnancy and pot, among many other things, it’ll be ok for them. If not, wait until it hits video or leave them at home – there are a lot of gruesome and violent scenes, and while you’ll see worse on the TV news, a kid may not understand why it’s there and either think it’s cool to do, or be terrified enough to have nightmares. Not cool either way.

In spite of the scenes I just described, this is a thinking man’s film, not an action movie. Many of the topics that revolve around Clive Owen’s Character involve what humans do to each other, both in love and hate, and even more talk about the value of human life, which – I think, without spoiling the ending too much, is the real purpose and theme behind the story: The character he is transporting does give birth during the film.

Strike, who also made the Dawn of the Dead Remake, did an awesome job with it, and Alex Cuaron helmed a topic starter, more or less. The only complaint I can make – which isn’t much of a complaint, considering how well it is used in the film – is the way it was shot, in the docu-drama, blair-witch style of shooting. There were a few times where it was difficult for me to watch that had nothing to do with anything more than how the camera was controlled – it throws me off. It fits perfectly well into the film, however, making you feel like you are experiencing everything going on around you, making some of the more heart-wrenching scenes even more difficult than they were before and enhancing what few good times the main characters really have.

I think thing that disturbs me most is not how real and gritty it feels or how well done it was made but the fact that this is one of those films I could see happening today. I Can’t believe much of what happens in fiction could happen in the real world, but this is an extreme exception: Only the moving billboards on the busses are the only things I find hard to believe in this film. We’ve seen how panic can spread in extreme situations, and we’ve seen war zones. We’ve even seen disease ravage and change our world. The combination makes for a very scary scenario, and one we should all take into consideration.

I came back for this? You know, it’s bad enough when problems at home caused by a broken elevator make me wish I could have waited, but I seemed to have hit the ground running on my desire to return to lay-off status. First was the decision to stick with the broken program we used last year, in spite of the fact that they’re happy with it. (Sorry, but you’d have all of the bugs in it gone already if you’d have never laid me off.)

Then there’s this Biggest Loser challenge at work, in which each contestant pays each week to weigh in with a shot at getting the pot of money made by everyone’s participation – I’ve heard a few rumors that people are trying to pack on weight before this Wednesday’s weigh-in so they have more to lose. The thing that bugs me most is how coincidental it is to be around the time I return, especially when i told a few people at work about it previously. Hmm…

Not to mention names, but I am glad a certain person on my friends list is not returning this year. I am hoping, however, that it’s because he found something better and not because he’s pissed off at the place, because I’ll be pissed off at him if that’s the case. Hearing about a former lead dancing a jig because he’s ecstatic that my friend ain’t returning is not my idea of a good time, no matter what I feel about said friend. (Thankfully, I’ve yet to see said former lead.)

I think the thing that’s most aggravating – and I sincerely hope Minneapolis sees this – is the negative talk that is the result of certain actions against certain workers this year. It’s not that I don’t sympathize (two and a half years and I STILL get laid off?) with these workers, but ever since they started this Six-Sigma, Leaner-and-Meaner Manufacturing initiative, the attitudes have gone significantly down, people (both good and bad) are quitting at an alarming rate, and – at least from my perspective – more problems have been introduced than solved. We can’t work on improving stuff because we aren’t focusing on the broken pieces that need to be fixed.

The initial response – that I agree with – is that I should ignore it and continue to do the best that I can. My problem – always has been, since I was a child – is that I can’t ignore the people around me. I’ll admit that I’m a stubborn SOB, and that even when I do bite my tongue I think many things are wrong, but ignoring things, for me, is difficult – I can’t slip on an iPod, pull out a book or magazine, and drown people out while I am working, in spite of the fact that I work on a Mac all day and that I do programming work that justifies having a book. Nor would I justify such things just to do that, or tell my friends and coworkers to shut up, because I feel they have the right to vent and voice their opinion. The optimal thing won’t happen either: The company has to see this thing through, either in failure or success, before it can change things, as it feels the changes it has made is for the best of the company.

So what can I do? I can try – and fail, since I’ve already started do it – to not bitch about it, ignore the bitching that is going on, and deal with it that way. Since I already admitted to failure there, I’m just going to do my last resort: Unless either I need the job badly, or things change t work, this will most likely be my last season. It’s not that I can’t deal with it, it’s that I won’t.

Apartment Hunt: If any of you live in the Loves Park/Machesney Park area, in an apartment near a bus line, drop me a line on info for a one-bedroom at your place – It’s going on the third week without an elevator, and as a result, I have no food at home, my laundry is STILL dirty, and I can’t clean the apartment until I move some of the big things out of the way. My biggest problem, though, involves work and how close/far away I am from it, and it is the biggest reason for the need to move. (For those who don’t know where I work, it’s a little yearbook place on Forest Hills Court. And yes, dropping hints is total BS, but because I am not in upper management, I can not list that. Can you say middle finger? I can…)

Random Thought: It’s too bad we can’t turn this snow into Ice Cream.

More Later – look out for my weekly weight update tomorrow.

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