giovedì, agosto 13, 2009

The Red Dragon is incapacitated

Ugh. Drunk too much crappy wine last night, headachey this morning, and going to Canada in a week, exactly. Awesome, but shit. I have to . . . do . . . stuff. I haven't even thought through what I fucking need to do yet . . . let people there know, I guess . . . and the F-word's dad gets here Monday, and I haven't met a boyf's parents since 2002, and I'm not quite sure - possibly I'm nervous.

The good news is that the F-word has found my camera cable and I can put pictures on this blog again. Since I'm in a touch of a panic - no, I'd say more a touch of an anxiety - by testament of feeling like having a headache this morning is throwing some massive wrench into the delicate process of getting me safely to Canada next Friday, let's put up something lovely and calm - the Michaelangelo that makes going to Bruges the way I do everytime anyone comes to visit (thank god, I'll have left for Canada before the F-word takes his dad there, because I think I've been there six fucking times in two fucking years) fairly worthwhile:

I could stare at her for ages, and have . . . it's my favourite representation of Mary, and while I've read commentaries saying it's compositionally remarkable for how sad Mary looks, how 'distant' from her son, and how Jeebus is about to rush out to his cruel but heroic destiny in the world, for me the remarkable thing about this statue (and the Pieta, bizarrely) is how infant-motherly Mary looks - that sort of pre-occupied, hasn't-slept-enough-for-months look, but at the same time, how tender, how protective, and still how nurturing - one arm steadying her kid, the other poised at the ready in case he tumbles, but letting him move around; you have to, and anyways, you can tell looking at the kid he'll be a whiner if he isn't allowed to.

I've seen this woman and her kid hundreds of times in waiting rooms. Which is what makes Christianity Christian, I suppose.

Say what to who, buddy?

This post is about work, so it will be brief, and vague.

With the past 12 months, a couple of dozen people have been sacked. Unimportant people. Single mums and all that. And then within the past week, half a dozen more have quit. Important dudes. All of a sudden. Together. If you know what I mean. Not completely important people, in fact the sector they were working on is not exactly our money-tree and I’ll be shocked if it is for them in the present economic climate. But there you are.

Now our CEO is sending us angry daily emails about how this doesn’t mean the company is going under. Fair enough. He has also sent an email to all of our clients, including the ones who are in no way involved with the non-money-tree that has just walked off the job, assuring them of the same thing.

I don’t know what the case is and I wasn’t thinking at all (or not much) about our company going under until he started sending daily emails about it. But what is pissing me off so badly now is that I’m SURE that very few of the clients purchasing my products would give a flying fuck about the non-money-tree on a different continent that has just walked off the job, and nonetheless they’ve got a strange message from our CEO in their inbox about how my company isn’t going under, when maybe they weren’t thinking about it at all.

So I’m not sure about some of what’s going on, and I’m pissed off about what I know is going on. This is what happens when you let men out of the battery farm and into the CEO seat, it’s like constrant pre-menstrual syndrome with a fucking megaphone.


Keeping this online as testament to my wrongness. I approached the CEO to ask him to clarify what exactly he'd done, and he explained he'd only sent the external letter to staff and the clients using this particular money-tree - not everybody, as I'd assumed when it showed up in my inbox without explanation. Obviously I still think he needs to calm down in terms of his staff emails but he's definitely not ready to be sent back to the battery farm yet. My abstract apologies for the abstract criticism he will never, ever read. One hopes.

martedì, agosto 11, 2009

Lusitanian English Television Bodice Ripping Craptacular

So a fun thing about Portugal is that almost everyone we bumped into, city and country, spoke at least a smattering - usually more - of French or English, so we weren't at a loss to communicate and indeed to have good fun. And as in Spain, in those situations where they didn't, an awkward but clear conversation could be had by speaking sloooooowly in Italian and listening to them respond sloooowly in Portuguese. But usually they were polyglots and while that has a lot to do with tonnes of them going off to France to work, I think at least on the English side (considering how much complaining I've heard about the Portuguese school system) that has a lot to do with their television being subtitled instead of dubbed (unlike France, Italy, and Spain, where people are absolutely crap at English in comparison).

And a fun thing about that is that we got to see television we'd never seen before. Not much of it because we were so excited about being somewhere it wasn't raining, and there were so many summer festivals, that we were outside most of the time. But a good bit. The upshot is that I saw three new shows I'd only heard of before, and liked one of them:

1. 30 Rock. This was the one I liked. It's no Arrested Development but worth the price of admission for revealing that Alec Baldwin, like Nick Cage, should never have ever pretended to be a dramatic actor, ever, and just concentrated on being funny. Good strong ensemble and Jane Krakowski used to much less annoying effect than in Ally McPuke; laughed out loud and made a conscious effort to watch it a second time (Portugal, like a sensible county, airs TV episodes on consecutive days rather than consecutive weeks so one doesn't stop caring in the interim) at which point I laughed out loud some more.

2. The Tudors. The worst thing in bodice-ripping historically tarty boring bullshit I have ever seen, and I've seen Elisa di Rivombroso. I can't think of a single excuse to watch this stinker except to marvel at how Jonathan Rhys-Myers' neck has ballooned out from the birdlike tininess of Velvet Goldmine, so that it looks like his head is sitting on top of an identically circumferenced tube. The kicker is - you know how I feel about Henry VIII. And I honestly believe there would be no better television than showing him for the monstrously fat, suppurating, revolting, ginger mess he was by the time Anne Boleyn started holding her nose and boffing him, and instead they've got the cute little brunet tart from Velvet Goldmine and inflated his neck. Snore. Snore. Snore.

3. Dexter. I had my doubts going in; it looked like a one-trick pony that had already collapsed in the saddle in the spate of copy-cat follow-ups to The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. It was far, far worse than I'd been expecting. The flat voice-over revealing everything going on in the protagonist's mind and the excessive use of flashbacks drained the events of the episode of any interest they might have had, and any incidental watchability went down the shitter through the excessively bad dialogue writing.

You know, I loved the first four seasons of The Sopranos, I loved the first season of Deadwood, I loved Oz flat-out, but those sorts of shows have a lot to answer for; after they took off as they did TV Land figured out that it didn't actually have to compete with that calibre of writing (indeed, the shows in question could rarely sustain it themselves); it could just show similar levels of titties and exceedingly macabre violence and filthy fucking language and neat camera angles, and people would still think it was cool. Okay. Scratch that. Those sorts of shows don't have a lot to answer for. Audiences have a lot to answer for. The Fucking Tudors, for fuck's sake. Just go download some fucking porn and see some actual penetration shots, and skip over the literary urination on the works of Shakespeare, Robert Bolt, and generations of engaging and competent historians. Fuck.

lunedì, agosto 10, 2009

Houses built on sand

Amie had her baby a few days ago, Lady (who was married a few weeks ago in Benin) has got one in the oven, and I remain a fallow money-making machine. After Lady told me she's incubating, I had a biological moment wherein I was convinced I was the only one of my girlfriends who remained unreproduced, which was bizarre because after my brains snatched the reins back from my cunt, I realized that's not true at all - most of my girlfriends, the vast majority in fact, haven't. But it was a dizzy five minutes. A dizzy five minutes wherein, if our birth control apparati had been in front of me, I would have felt morally justified sabotaging it. Yeesh. Gross.

We've got a timeframe in mind - we've got an amount of money we need first in mind - and the bastard of it all is that 80% of me is convinced that all the money flooding in to bolster up the pillars of our ubiquitous decadent economic temple will result in the thousands of euros I'm so painfully socking away devaluing completely by the time I want to spend them. I'll tell you one thing, though - I'm glad they're euros. When you're sharing your currency with economic shitteries like Italy and Spain there are some major worries attached, but I'm 70% reassured by the fact that fiscal stability is basically written into the genes of the EU . . . the only way the euro will go to shit any faster than all the various dollars I care about is if the EU itself goes to shit. Of course it's a possibility but the awesome thing about Europe is the governing structures are too scared of their citizens to bugger their money. I hope.

I remain a worried, fallow money-making machine.

On no longer being in Portugal

Portugal was so great I nearly cried when we got on the plane out of there. And then I cried on the plane when the engine started making funny noises. Panic Attack! I kept it quiet though. Thank god I've finally got my driver's license. My lifestyle will always involve areoplane rides, and probably many more than the vast majority of the world's population, environmental direness notwithstanding, because that's simply the nature of love and of oceans - but I would like them to involve less than they currently do, because flying continues to scare the living shit out of me.

Moving on. Whilst on trains, planes, lying on the beach, et cetera, I read The Mill on the Floss, which put me into quite a poopy mood briefly, though it was very good, and now I can't wait to get to Middlemarch. Floss was rather uncanny in its depiction of a child's mind via Maggie, but even more uncanny in its depiction of the inevitability of destructive sexual love from bored women who don't believe in themselves enough to do anything else with their stagnating brains.

Maggie was suffering through societal constraints the likes of which my generation can't imagine, but we can recognize bits and peices in our own situation - and constraints from the outside aside, during my years of spreading it around it was evident to me even at the time that there were hundreds of better things for me to be doing than nailing a bunch of guys whose names I don't remember anymore. And now, I don't regret the sex, some of which was definitely beyond worthwhile, but I regret the attention I paid to it. Floss reminded me of that regret, and put me in a poopy mood because enduring societal constraints notwithstanding, it looks like there was something wilful about my propensities to orient my life, to a certain degree, around a generalized notion of cock, when the whole world is just bristling with cocks anyways, and with many other things besides.

Also reading more Stephen Jay Gould and adoring it more than before, it that's possible. But more on that later.