Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The best movie of all time

When I think back about what I might personally call the best movie of all time, there are a lot of diverse candidates. The Matrix, for example. American Beauty, yes. Titanic, why not.

But when I add a little context, the answer changes. How about this question: "If I was alone on a space station a million years from now, and I had one last movie to watch to remind me what all of humanity was about before dying, what would it be?"

My answer would have to be the one I just watched now: About Time.

Where was this movie in 2013 in South Africa, when it was launched? Where was I? I completely can't recall it, and it might have passed out of my life forever if my wife hadn't just suggested we watch it because we were bored and I felt like watching a comedy.

I can't over-stress how completely amazing this movie is. I wouldn't change a single little iota of it, which isn't something I can say about many movies.

It is just so completely human ... filled with wry humour, surprising discoveries, endless failure, hope for something better, and real god's honest empathy.

So yes, Spock, let's devote the last of our space station's energy to powering this screen and this DVD player and dust off this relic from 2013.

It explains how pitifully vulnerable we all are, in the most beautiful, touching way I could never think of because I'm not a scriptwriter. But I AM a human, and it speaks a forgotten language in cinema: truth.

Thanks to Richard Curtis, Domhnall Gleeson, Rachel McAdams and the rest of the pitch-perfect cast (mad props to Lydia Wilson) for this absolute gem.

Watch it now. If you're uninspired, lonely, bored, or even happy, confident and tremendously busy ... just watch it. If you want your two hours back after watching it, I'll go back in time and get that for you.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A bit of late-night philosophy

Lack confidence and you'll be fearful. Be over-confident and you'll be arrogant. Be perfectly balanced between the two poles, and you'll be boring.

The thing about most blogs is that they're where people share their knowledge or discoveries. They're from people positioning themselves as experts in a certain subject matter, and then sharing (a fraction of) their expertise.

But in reality, nobody knows anything, and we all know that. Nobody knows where we go when we die; exactly what happened at the beginning of the world; or how to open a wormhole to travel to far away galaxies.

In fact, what we DO know (or is that 'can' know?) pales in comparison, and is extremely prone to date rapidly. Sure, you can memorise all the biographies of your favourite sports team, but in a few years that whole team will be different.

We recognise we shouldn't be fearful, and we recognise that we shouldn't be arrogant, and that's what makes striving to be confident so admirable: it's admitting that you've got no reason to be (given the vast number of unknowns in the Universe), but quietly stating that you have faith in yourself and then applying that faith through action.

Action for what purpose?

Filling a blank slate.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Romania's going to the cats

I've written before about some Romanian companies' scant regard for the English language, but a recent news story makes me think that I might have been barking up the wrong tree altogether (no pun intended).

For the love of all beautiful things, read this story now: http://www.romania-insider.com/catbox-cat-manager/150265/

TLDR version: A Romanian company has hired a cat for its Communications Manager, apparently after an exhaustive recruitment process. Details of its salary are hilarious (and not dissimilar to previous salaries I've received).

So I take it all back ... some Romanian companies don't just butcher English on their websites. I suspect the rot may run far deeper than that. The cats have seen to it.

It does make me wonder how the other 'over 700' applicants feel about this. Should one feel sad about losing out to a cat, or relieved at not working for a company that picks a cat for its Communications Manager?

What other harebrained (or is that hair-balled?) ideas might this company come up with?

[Did I warn you at the start that there will be a lot of puns? No? There will be a lot of puns.]

Where does this end? Does the cat also have to undergo regular performance review audits? Does it get extra kibble as a Christmas bonus? Is there a separate little kitty bathroom somewhere in this office, or does the cat suffer the indignity of using a litter tray in full view of the co-workers?

The part of that story that REALLY blows my mind is this quote:  "The first cat-manager ... will have to stamp all the gift boxes the company sells."

Are you getting the same image in your heads when you read that line that I do? An assembly line of bored-looking cats, trying to grip rubber stamps between their paws, as they feverishly stamp all the outgoing boxes?

On the plus side, this DOES explain the condition of some of the mail-order parcels I've received from smaller ... err ... 'independent' suppliers.

And there you thought that Romania (Bucharest anyway) had an issue with stray dogs. No longer. The cats are now in management.