a giant movie

Steven Spielberg lost me a while ago. After a certain point i lost the „Spielberg made another movie!“ brand of excitement and it got replaced by a „why didn’t he direct Transformers?“ feeling of disapointment. Anyway, we went to see his latest directorial work, The BFG.
Anybody else thought he made a Doom movie[1] before we read The Big Friendly Giant beneath the shortened version? Ive seen the trailer before The Force Awakens, and was looking forward to seeing it. It felt like classic material for a Spielberg classic, a large story in a small enviroment, in this case a kid in a large enviroment. And for the first twenty minutes it really works the magic. We get introduced to a timeless[2], hyperreal version of london through which a giant wanders at night. Sophie, an orphan with insomnia spots him during one of his exploits and promptly gets abducted. And that sequence alone is worth the price of admission. The handling of scale, the creativity, tenderness and playfulness with which we see BFG naviagte unseen throught the city and finally shakes off all restraints once he’s reached the outskirts where he puts his physique to use. The uplifting feeling this sequence telegraphes only gets repeated once, when we learn the purpose of BFG’s nighty exploits and he takes Sophie along for preparation.
The rest of the movie feels like….they could have easily rework the script, perhaps give us more background on the giantfolk, instead it follows a certain predetermined path no matter the consequences. And that is sad because it leads to an end that glorifies the benevolence of monarchy towards its subjects, which surely was apporpriate when the book the movie was based in has been published, but could have been handled more gracefully than „send in the troops“.
Dreams are a plot point of this movie, and it does feel like a dream narrative, which i’m sure younger audiences will dig. It just felt a bit to dictated by a third party for me. I guess i was hoping to get this „Spielberg made another movie!“ excitement back.

[1] there is a gun in the videogame Doom that is called BFG 9000, short for Big Fucking Gun
[2] well, not entierly timeless, when the president of the USA gets adressed as „Ronnie“ we could place it between 1981 and 1989

such attention for a few inches

Let’s talk about sexualtiy. It’s a topic i’m not comfortable with and perhaps it would be good to challenge oneself once in a while.

I choose the topic because we watched a thing about the human penis and how it evolved over time. In the show, a guy with a Phd in something who likes to compare the sexual behaviour of primates and humans presented an artifact from way back when that resembled a penis. When asked what how our ancestors might have used it he said, that i could have been a piece of paraphernalia used in ritual, a kind of calling card for a group of people or a weapon. And, but he wasn’t to sure of that, it could have been used by the female members of the groupe as, well, a member.
That made me think about how we deal with sex in our culture. We might perceive ourselves as sexually educated beings that practise the art of intercourse not only to prolong the existence of the human race but also as an alternate form of communication, an activity, a crime. It is a part of our very being, something that gives but also takes power away from us. And then someone with a degree wants to tell us, that humans who had the tools to fashion a penis out of stone did so to use it as a weapon. Because a short, blunt rod made from stone[1] is preferable to say a spear or a hammer when one has the choice. Of course it was a „cult“ item like the venus of willendorf but nobody can tell me that humans didn’t use the thing for self pleasurement.
Afterwards there was a discussion about the female sexualty. And while i so far was never able to have the female experience on the topic, it felt like they ticked of a checklist out of a livestyle magazine. Bringing a woman to the point where she agrees to get intimate with one feels like a task the partner has to prepare months beforehand. That sounded insane and i was glad that sexual therapist, a woman, who was part of the discussion said that most female patients are frustrated because they want to Get It On while their partners want to be left alone. Of course it’s different strokes for different folks, but i don’t think that we’re generally that different in sexual behaviour, which is a long way to say: i assume it starts in the head for both.

[1] which is not fair, because two or three of the items the guy has in his inventory could be used to bludgeon another human being to dead

against the winter blues

Death In Paradise is a british (BBC?) show about an english Detective Inspector being transferred to the fictional caribbean Island of Saint Marie where he and the other members of the local police force solve a murder every episode (i’m aware that you are all aware of how a police procedural show works, but for completions sake, i explained it).
The show features one or more known face from british television every episode and is a delight to watch. Not that it is overly complicated, but the first two season feature Ben Miller as the main protagonist, and his portrayal of the bulletin board stiff upper lip british gentleman, who refuses to don an airy attire despite the new climate he now works in is a part of my spirit guide.
He gets killed and replaced by a new DI played by Kris Marshall, who’s chief officer goes into the direction of a brilliant but chaotic cop.
The best thing about the show is that it not only crushes it’s enemies[1], but features tropical landscapes which is relaxing somehow and it doesn’t matter wether one starts watching an episode from the beginning, every few minutes there is a summarization that brings the viewer up to speed.
Man, it’s a great program to watch in winter.

[1] a Conan reference, from the first movie not the books. just in case.

A few years ago i was confused with a known shoplifter and was introduced into the world behind supermarkets, specifically the facilities that house the store detectives.
I got reminded of that incident when i realized how many cameras are mounted in a supermarket we visit during our lunch breaks.
J, a colleague, asked if i had seen a photo of the actual perpetrator, and if he was my mirror universe counterpart. I have not seen a photo, and i had shoulder long hair back then and was shaven clean, so he must have been bald with a beard.
Our train of thought took us to my evil counterpart trapping me in his dimension while he took over my life in our world. We started world building. Let’s say i try and purchase something in the mirror universe, i would get arrested for not shoplifting and then thrown into a nice place in the suburbs for a few months because in the mirror universe, where everyone is evil, jail is the standard accommodation. We started to think about an economy that is based around stealing, lying and cheating. My counterpart would get mad because he misses his cell while earnest living condemns me to a life of luxury in the evil realm. Soon the rest of our world finds out about the evil realm and we go to war for it.
We did not get further than that.

reckless

A colleague and i worked in large distribution boxes this week. The copper rails in them handle up to 600volts/400amperes, so 312 kiloampere total. Although we had the power turned off, the whole thing is on an earth leakage circuitry and we short-circuited it if someone ignores the yellow warning sign telling the world that „this site is being worked on!“ and turns on the power operated circuit-breaker.
As someone who spent four years of his life on being educated in working with electricity, i should have less of a problem with working under such circumstances. Truth is, i don’t. We have tamed electricity, but only to a certain point. And i know the times when people thought electricity is a tiger with pulled teeth, but worked with main-switches that were not insulated but a copper skeleton with a ceramic grip that would glide into a copper clamp[1]. And i knew people who would turn them on under full load, their clothes being set on fire and their sight impaired for a few days by the electric arc.
At the beginning one is very careful. And then comes the moment where one is in the groove and either a washer falls out of his hands right onto one of the uninsulated rails and he tries to catch it, brushing the rails in the process.
A drop of pee escaped.
I guess what i’m trying to say, and to tie it together with some of the events that kept the newscycle alive over the last couple of days is, even if we are in the year 2016 and came a long way from trying to figure out if there is a way to make a sabertooth tiger poop taste good[2], we should not think of the world or the things we built as tamed or safe.

[1] Those things remind me of ribcages.
[2] I’m aware that at this point in time humanity was aware of a large number of nutritious and well tasting alternatives to poop, but it was the first animal from ye old times that came to mind.