Saturday, September 22, 2007

The tally

This is the total from my customer tally today:

Rude: 11

Indifferent: 10

Nice/Polite: 8

Asked me (a photo associate)an electronic or connection center question: 13

My manager saw my tally (when it was in its beginning stages) and laughed... for about ten minutes. Her cheeks turned all red and she started to choke. She made me put it away (until she left) so it wouldn't happen again.

On a happier note, these are pics from painting this morning:

*This post has been edited to reflect the desires of my roomie*

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm closing on the house today in an hour and a half. I'm pretty sure that, in the meantime, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown.

Monday, September 17, 2007

"If At First You Don't Succeed - QUIT"

A rather dumpy, unattractive young man came into Wal-Mart the other day, his too-tight t-shirt accentuating each every unsightly lump on his body, and the motto, "If At First You Don't Succeed - QUIT" brandished across it.

To be perfectly honest, the very concept, as well as related concepts, makes me ill. What kind of a culture do we live in when this concept is not only popular, and typical, but brandished across people's chests? Where would we be if this idea were abided by?

Popular variations of "If at first you don't succeed, quit" include: If at first you don't succeed... destroy all evidence that you tried, failure may be your style, redefine success, quit; don't be a nut about success... etc. Don't be a nut about success. I think that's the one that really riles me.

We all know the story of the light bulb. If Edison had given up after his first try, or even his first ten tries, or his first hundred tries, would anyone else have picked up where he left off? We wouldn't have had electricity nearly as soon... would we even have it now?

What about the telephone? That wasn't a one-try event. In fact, it took a span of more than 30 years to get from proving that the metal could vibrate and produce electric impulses to transmitting one sentence. More recently, it took multiple attempts to get cell phones to go from one carrier to another, particularly when the first was more advanced than the second - which is probably why most carriers sell "family plans."

The vacuum, that was no easy feat. Researchers and scientists world-wide spent years trying to create a usable suction. It took even longer to get that suction to work with the same magnitude that it does today. And even longer than that for it to be a small, compatible size.

What's with the defeatist attitude? What happened to "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again?" Don't you want to do something with your life? Don't you want to make something of yourself? Or do you just want to sit in front of the television, mindlessly letting life pass you by?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It's That Time Again

Love Actually: Focus on Jamie

First time we meet this guy, played by Colin Firth (love that man), he's saying good bye to his girlfriend, who's sick. He's on his way to a wedding, and she's too sick to come.
Something I've noticed about this movie every time I saw it is, he tells her he loves her, but she doesn't return the "I love you." She saws, "I know... Now get out. Loser." And it's said in a teasing tone, of course, but the lack of, "Love you, too," or whatever strikes me every time.
In a Sunday School Class several years ago, way back when I was just starting college and we didn't have an official sunday school so they lumped us with the old people (oh wait, that never changed...), one of the lessons was about marital relations, and how important it is that the couple says, "I love you," to one another, and in response, "I love you, too," or "Love you, too," instead of "You, too." I don't remember much else about that, just the importance of those three little words...

Jamie comes into the house in-between the wedding and reception to see his brother there. He's excited to see him, and they make plans for their mother's birthday - dinner, I believe. He confirms that he's just back to check in on his "lady" and then hears her voice, calling his brother, "I want you at least twice before Jamie comes home." His own brother.

The next time you see Jamie, he's in France, somewhere down south, by the look of things, writing, and we meet his nosy landlady, who is completely unsurprised by the lack of girlfriend. She has a cleaning girl with her, a cute little Portuguese girl who reminds me of my roommate. He fails miserably at speaking to her, but tries really hard. It's cute. He keeps pointing to things and trying to say random things. But meanwhile, he makes fun of himself and she is crazy confused, and laughs at him. It's great.

The next several interactions show Jamie and Aurelia, him saying something in English, and her saying the equivalent - or sometimes the opposite - in Portuguese. And you can tell, just by watching the way they interact with one another - stealing glances when they think the other isn't looking, the cute way their eyes meet, etc - that they're interested in one another. Even though they can't actually speak to one another.

I think, though, the hardest part of the film for him is as he's going home for Christmas. He's clearly upset about Aurelia leaving, doesn't know when - or if - he'll see her again, and then, he doesn't quite have the guts to kiss her. So he learns Portuguese for her, always in the hope of seeing her again.

Then, with his family, you can just see his brother's face for a split second as he pokes his head in the door. The question is: is his ex-girlfriend there? How much does it hurt to see his brother? Has he forgiven him? Will he ever forgive him?

My favorite part, though, is when Jamie goes to Portugal to ask Aurelia to marry him. Her older sister is spreading rumors that her father is going to sell Aurelia to the Englishman, and the whole town follows, curious. Or, rather more accurate: suspicious. Euridice explained to me one night that the Portuguese in general are very suspicious people, and they just don't trust others. "You always sleep with your door locked. I don't care where you live."

But this part reminds me of telephone, because by the time they arrive at the restaurant, people are saying, "Apparently, he's going to kill Aurelia."

In stumbling Portuguese, he asks her to marry him, even though they haven't known one another long, and he knows that she'll probably say no. And, in stumbling English, she says yes.

I realized for the first time today that Jamie's part in this movie isn't all that large. But he's my favorite character - and not just because he's played by Firth. He has a good sense of humor, and his pain is real, and instead of just living with it, like other characters, he works to change it. He pursues the girl he loves, even though he doubts anything will come of it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

"Lisey's Story"

Though there's no doubt in my mind, or anyone else's for that matter, that Stephen King is an amazing writer, the fact is that his writing disturbs me, has always disturbed me. He plays with... darkness? With mutilation and violence and brutality in a way that makes reading his work painful.

Currently, I'm reading "Lisey's Story." I picked it up because I haven't read King in a long time, and it sounded interesting. "Every marriage has two hearts, one light and one dark..."

Lisey is a widow, whose husband has passed away 2 years before. Scott Landon was a famous writer, and even know, two years later, she's still receiving the condolences of his fans. She's also receiving antagonism on behalf of various Universities who want to publish his unpublished works. Two years, and Lisey has yet to go through his study, to see what he has left behind.

The moment she begins, some of her husband's insanity overcomes her, and she begins a harrowing journey down memory lane, Scott's memory lane. Coupled with her memories of her journey with her husband, are two other things: her less-than-sane sister has entered a catatonic state, and it seems that Lisey's dead husband is trying to help, through a "bool," a game of sorts that he left for his wife.

And someone has taken into his own hands the responsibility of acquiring all her husband's papers. This man claims that Lisey can get his "business partner" to call him off, but it's already been tried, to no avail.

And this is where King gets me every time. The sick, bad taste that's left in my mouth upon reading parts of his stories. I didn't read "It," thank goodness, because my imagination, when left to its own devices is much more graphic than any movie could be. This book, and the other King novels I've read have been quite enough for me. Of course, it is a King Novel, so I'm not really sure what I was expecting. A happy ending? And that's really the kicker, because it might be a "happy ending' but it will never be satisfying.

And that's even worse, because there are psychos out there, and they do... bad things, or things at least. And though things may work out, that doesn't mean the ending is happy, now does it? And this ending, well it's not looking like it'll shape out to be "happy." It's looking like it'll shape out to be realistic.

Monday, September 3, 2007

"Death Sentence"

So, I thought it was time I update, and a movie seems like a good thing to update about. Saturday, Mike and I saw two movies. This might have been a bad idea on our part seeing as how I had to work and go to church in the morning. However, what's done is done. We saw "Death Sentence" and "Superbad."

Superbad, was well, super-bad. That's not true. It had a cute idea behind it, and I liked parts of it, but there was just too much stuff that I disliked about it to really say more than that. At that point, though, I was tired. (I put my head on his arm and left it there for the whole movie. He seemed okay with that. The theater security guard, though, stood behind us, like he thought we were going to get all hot and heavy in the movie theater. Puh-lease, we're not 13.)

Death Sentence, which we saw first, was amazing. It has an interesting style, going back and forth between a clear, standard movie type of filming, very crisp and perfunctory, and then a hazy, film. Parts of it made me think, "Documentary" though it was clearly an action film.

What is this movie about, you ask? A man (Nick Hume, played by Kevin Bacon), who works for risk assessment has 2 sons (Brendan and Lucas), and a beautiful wife. The oldest son (Brendan) is kinda the Star, y'know the type: the light in Dad's eye, can do no wrong... and he's a hockey player, talking about going to college in Canada to play. Now, I'd seen previews for this movie, so I already knew that Brendan died. (Sorry, but I'm really not spoiling anything there.) What got me is this, on they way home from a Hockey game where Brendan started, they're getting gas and Nick calls his wife. Get this: he leaves a message basically saying that Brendan has decided to go to Canada to play college hockey, and since they were already on the road, they decided to just take him to the airport and drop him off. "So, we'll probably never see our son again. You're okay with that, right?"

Seconds later, a bunch of kids enter the gas station where the son is buying a slurpee and they rob the gas station and kill Brendan. Though Nick takes Brendan to the to the hospital, by then it's too late.

The kid who killed him gets hit by car and then picked up by the police. Nick is told that by convicting the kid, they can guarantee that he'll be in prison five years. That's it. This is also where he learns that basically his son was killed as part of a gang initiation. He lets the kid go, then kills him. The cops tell him about it, but they let it go down as a gang war.

Mike leaned over to me at this point and tells me that it's true: the cops wouldn't pursue the case. I thought that was interesting.

The thing is, Nick's action strikes a gang war, they retaliate, he retaliates. The end question is basically: how far would you go? What would you do for revenge? Would you leave it to the police? Or would you take it into your own hands?