September 21st, 2003


Housecleaning again

I mentioned that Erin cleaned my apartment on Friday. Just want to call that out again and say that she did a fucking excellent job. So if you have the money and you are lazy, hire her.



Following marqueeI've been sitting on my Netflix DVDs for about 3 weeks. I've been watching Following in fits and starts. Finally finished it today. Christopher Nolan directed. He also directed Memento. That was a good movie, but I never bought in to the hype that he was doing anything amazing. To quote Orson Card, Memento was brilliantly performed, but proved once again that of course you can mess with people's minds by telling the story out of order and withholding key information, but it still doesn't work to tell a story that way.

Following is an earlier film. It employs some of the same techniques as Memento. Memento was all about the reverse-storytelling, but Following simply employs the technique to keep from telling everything to the viewer and thus ruining the story. It's basically a caper story, and it's decently done. It's a little noirish, and I like that it's done in black and white with only a few actors having actual lines. Still, it left me somewhat uninterested in the sad-sack character Bill at the heart of the story. Making a character such as that the heart of a story has it's risks to the filmmakers. In real life, people don't like and don't identify with losers. Putting one at the heart of a story is difficult. The writers have to make us believe that he is noble at heart in order to get past our antipathy to such people. Nolan failed to do that in this movie. So as Bill gets drawn deeper and deeper into into a burglary crime wave, I don't much care for whether or not he gets caught. Nor do the bruises that mysteriously appear on his face in some of the out of order scenes move me. By the time the movie gets around to revealing who did it, it's so anti-climactic that, combined with my disinterest to Bill, there's not much left to draw me in to his plight.

Still, the movie is interesting in other respects. I really liked Cobb, the burglar who draws Bill in to the scheme. He's suave and charming, and pulls off his heists with aplomb, not to mention that he chews up the screen as an actor. Loved him. Wish Nolan had made him the focus of the story (although he's in a lot of it).


Dawn Princess

Dawn PrincessMonday through Wednesday I will be out of town. Out of any town. I am the development manager for the cruise group at Expedia. Yet I've never taken a cruise. Not really my cup of tea. I don't like canned experiences. For instance, Vegas is a canned experience to me. Vegas is fun once in a while for the spectacle, and the canned experience there is its own brand of of experience. I view a cruise as something similar. Get on a large floating hotel for a definite period of time and don't leave, except in very controlled circumstances. Some people like cruises for the ability hit up a few different ports. Some people like the controlled aspect. Some people like being pampered. Hell, I like being pampered, but not quite in that manner.

Still, since I work in the industry, it's probably a good idea for me to actually go on a cruise. The company follows that reasoning as well, so they are sending the entire group on a short cruise on the company dime to get us the experience. Tomorrow morning, I will be bussed to Vancouver to board the Dawn Princess for a cruise to San Francisco. We arrive Wednesday and I fly back around 5 o'clock.

Of course, this is a September voyage to San Francisco. Basically, it's a repositioning cruise. The cruise lines don't run Alaska cruises in the winter. So they head off to the Caribbean or Europe. But they try to fill up the ship as much as possible all the time. Their expenses don't go down at all with fewer people. About the only part they could skimp on with fewer people is food and alcohol, but those are minuscule parts of the expenses. So even when they are just moving the ships to somewhere else, they try to get bodies on the ships. That's what this is. I believe the Dawn Princess will be plying the Caribbean this winter. So it's heading there, and we'll be on board for a bit. I suspect Princess is actually footing the bill for us to be on the ship, as part of relationship building with Expedia, which will be one of the largest sellers of cruises in a year or two.

Still, they won't lose money on it even in the short term. Alcohol isn't included, and I know some of my co-workers are planning on using the 2 days away from work and spouses to get rip-roaring drunk.

Me, I plan on bringing 4 or 5 books and secreting myself into a corner and getting some reading done in peace and quiet. Since I can't really get out and see the town, and I have no traveling companions with whom I need to spend time, I can get in some serious relaxation and reading time. I do have a balcony room, so I am not sure if I will just hang out on my balcony or head up to a public deck for this. With food and everything else taken care of, this could be ideal.

I need to get someone to check in and feed my cat on Tuesday.