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7.23.2002 by , every Wednesday.
Recipie for a disturbing evening:
-Start off by pondering your way into an existential crisis / bout of acute depression / state of mild delirium
-Drink some beer in an attempt to remedy this
-Drink yet more beer, while watching Vanilla Sky.
-Spend the rest of the night muttering "Whoa. Dude."
This is how I spent last Saturday night, and it was mucho cool. Uh, kind of. I love movies that mess with your head, and Vanilla Sky certainly fits that description, although it's probably the kind of movie people either love or hate (and yes, I know it's a remake, so don't get all indie-snob on me). Notorious chest-waxing suspect Tom Cruise does a good job of playing the main character - a vain, shallow, but still quite human daddy's-boy whose life fades into a dream that becomes a nightmare. And just when you think it couldn't get any weirder, you mutter "Whoa. Dude." once again. You also get to see Penelope Cruz' jugs. Granted, the what's-real-what's-not-what's-the-difference-and-does-it-matter theme has been kind of a fad ever since The Matrix; but it's still quite fun. As a side note, Vanilla Sky has quite a nice soundtrack - Director Cameron Crowe once wrote for Rolling Stone. Ooh, I've set myself up for a musical-taste-lambasting from Sean now, haven't I?
The "work week"
What makes 40 hours (37.5 for guvvies) the magic number for work weeks? In Japan, I've heard of 60-hour weeks - in France, 35. You might think that it would make more sense to just pay a person a certain amount of money for a certain job, a certain project or amount of responsibity. The culprit, I would imagine, is convention. HR people tend to think of a job as being 40 hours, end of story. If these people were a little more creative and flexible, all sorts of benefits could be realised - for example, in France after the introduction of the 35-hour work week, people realised that they could accomplish just as much in 35 hours as in 40; they simply wasted less time stretching out their work till closing time (believe me, as a civil servant, I have become an expert at that). As well, what about the people in high-paying jobs? You hear about all sorts of people who make 150g a year, but kill themselves to do it. These people could make 80g and enjoy life if HR people were more open-minded.
"Dude! That's, like, the music my parents listen to!" Well, for once, your parents can be right. Well, this and the whole "don't take the brown acid" bit. For some reason I've gotten addicted to Salvatore Adamo lately, probably because it's very easy. His 60's folk-pop with touches of flamenco and a helping of Big Band also features lyrics that are witty, cheerful and smartassed. And despite being old, it still manages to sound refreshing - ideal music to tap your toes to while sipping on a Pernod at a sidewalk café. You can also learn some French from it as an added bonus (although you might miss out on some of the humour if yours isn't too good). It's kind of like if the Beatles were smarter, more creative, funnier, and French. Or perhaps if The Doors took uppers instead of downers.
I always thought vigilanteism was kind of cool - you know, the Batman-esque heroism of individuals taking the law and the concept of justice into their own hands when the powers-that-be just couldn't or wouldn't do the job. Luckily, last week this guy reminded me as to why we frown upon such things. Picture this. You're sitting in your backyard on a sunny summer's afternoon. A helicopter flies low overhead. You first response, naturally, is to assume that they are terrorists bent on destroying the American Way by suicide-crashing their two-seater into your bungalow. Of course. So you take out your AR-15 assault rifle that all good suburb-dwellers keep in their house for just such an occasion, and start shooting the hell out of the offending aircraft. Of course it might turn out to simply be a random innocent guy trying to land his helicopter, but why take any risks when you're dealing with potential America-despising camel-jockeys?