Saturday, November 18, 2006

An interesting week

Well, it was a very busy week, but not without good news. First and foremost, however, I must talk about a movie that we saw last monday (it was a holiday).

Everyone knows that movie reviewers are basically a miserable bunch that make their living off of saying mostly negative things about each and every film they see. They fancy themselves as "critics" but are little more than theater junkies fortunate enough to have someone pay them to watch every new film that hits the big screen. Really, they're no more qualified than anyone else in the world except that perhaps they know how to spin a phrase (with, "Yabba dabba don't bother" being my personal favorite of all time - in reference to the Flinstones movie).

Therefore, I take it with a grain of salt when I see the following comments about a movie:

"Pic insists on a depth of human emotion that isn't developed -- protags emerge as one-dimensional, despite the efforts of two of our best leading actors -- amid increasingly elaborate, uninvolving plot mechanizations."

[What's the matter, Variety can't spring for enough space for you to actually spell Picture or Protagonists? Jackass.]


"Audiences might enjoy this cinematic sleight of hand, but the key characters are such single-minded, calculating individuals that the real magic would be to find any heart in this tale."

[That's the whole point, dumbass. The characters are supposed to be calculating, cold individuals.]

Or, most egregiously, this utter fool who claims to have "figured out" the huge plot twist in the movie. Well, if that's really the case (which it clearly isn't) then you need to immediately quit your profession and get involved in financial prognostication, because with your vast powers, you could make a lot more money.

"What The Prestige and filmmaker Nolan seem to have forgotten about magic is the very important element of misdirection. Without misdirection, an audience is bound to discover the trick and not be impressed."

At any rate, the movie I'm referring to is called The Prestige and it is a fantastically dark and woven tale. Which is exactly the point. The complaints about this movie fall into two categories:

1. It's dark
2. There isn't enough magic

Both of those complaints fall into the range of imminent stupidity because:

2. Magic doesn't exist, jackasses.

For me (and Diana) we both loved the film. It was tense, full of twists and turns, superbly acted and directed and causes much consternation and conversation after you leave the theater. It's great.

Of course, if you don't like dark films, then this is probably not the film for you (cough, cough, movie reviewers). And it's definitely not a film for children. But there's no denying it's greatness. Anyone who pans the film is just noting for the record their own inability to develop anything remotely resembling artistic taste. For them, I say, "Off with your head!" or, more diplomatically, "Go watch some animated penguins or something."

So, in conclusion, my hearty recommendations go out to The Prestige, but not for all. If you don't like generally dark films that describe the human condition in its most raw and primordial base, then this isn't the film for you. Instead, take your rose colored glasses and have a peek at this film.

[As an aside, the previews for the new Bond film, Casino Royal, looked fantastic. By far better than anything that Brosnan ever did. Now, the plot looked pretty stupid, but there hasn't been a good Bond plot since Timothy Dalton went ape-sh*t on the Colombian cartel, so there's nothing new about a silly plot. However, the action sequences and the rougher than usual Bond look really grabbed my attention. I'm excited about the new turn in the franchise...for the first time in this millenium.]


Ok, the good news of the week was that I had a job interview at a company that does USAID work. The job is in the sustainable development area (Forestry) which is interesting. But, I have to say, this is pretty much all I know about "forestry":

Forests exist and they're pretty nice to go walking in when the weather is good.

That being said, I do not really need to know anything more than that because the position is an analytical position that evaluates and measures program performance, recommends improvements or changes, and presents those findings to the Big Dogs at USAID here in Bogota. So, it's a pretty damn good start on my burgeoning IR career, even though my ultimate goal/focus is in conflict resolution and responses to genocide or ethnic cleansing (I think I've made that decision as well).

The interview I had was one of the strangest I've ever seen. It started with a basic question which was essentially, "Why shouldn't we hire you?" Now, they didn't ask that, but what they were asking really was, "Are you some sort of freak, incompetent, loser, moron, etc?" Because, it was very apparent from the start, that this job was mine to lose. They were obviously enamored with my resume.

I ended up interviewing with three people all told. The others came a bit late, but that didn't inhibit the process. At the end, I believe they offered me the job, contingent on the verification of my salary history. This is a US government requirement (Office of Management and Budget) and will slot my salary accordingly. Of course, this is a problem since I'm living in Colombia and I need to contact people in both the US and London about this. As well as the fact that I never really had a set salary as I worked on a contract basis, but I have emailed my contacts and I'm trying to pin down an accurate number to put on the form.

At any rate, I feel pretty good about this job. I think that, while not in an area that I'm totally excited about, it's going to provide a good look at the internal USAID/contracting environment, develop my analytical skills in terms of measuring results, allow me to get experience presenting in front of high level officials, and generally get an insider view on development as a means to inhibit coca production (something I think it doomed to failure at current funding levels, but something I also have an open mind about).

So, I think that they offered me the job and I think that I accepted (hard to tell between the mix of Spanish and English). Now I'm eager to get the form turned back into them, but I'm waiting on hearing from my contacts. This is somewhat annoying as I absolutely must have an accurate salary history. To have anything incorrect could mean an immediate disqualification from consideration. Therefore, if I don't hear anything by Monday, I'm going to call my (hopefully) future boss and explain the situation to him and ask for guidance.

Oh yeah, the other thing is, I don't need to speak Spanish in this position. At least not for the substantive work. There will be situations where I will need to speak with other employees in Spanish, so that's good for my practice, but all of the people I would be working with speak English.

There is much rejoicing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Bet you'll know a lot about forests soon.

5:14 PM  

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