Monday 16 September 2002

rainy days and mondays

Today is a day to stay in bed, curled up with a cup of tea and a good book. Where am I? Sitting in an office with a cup of tea that's gone cold, reading through functional specs. Hooooooooweeeeeeeeeeeee.

Chez Gerard was good fun on Saturday night. The food was nice, but the service was dire. First they lost/screwed up our booking, then we ended up with a waiter who thought he was being hilarious (no really, please stop talking to us) who was only on his second night with no support from other staff. He neglected to take our drink order until we had been there an hour, forgot one starter and one main dish, and to cap it all, 10% was automatically added to our bill whether we liked the service or not. Fortunately, the meal was quite nice (asparagus and parmesan salad to start, with grilled salmon and pesto mashed potatoes for my main dish) and we had a fun night chatting to people. Chris was giddy and armed with a digital camera (bday pressie from Melanie), so I'm expecting some rather unflattering shots to arrive in my email later tonight.

We went to see "Signs" yesterday, which was generally a very good film. I'm still debating about whether or not the distractingly cheesy alien costume was deliberate (a guy in a green rubber suit, I kid you not) and considering the director could undoubtedly afford something a little more intricate, it makes me wonder if it was done on purpose. Joaquin Phoenix's character says that things are "just like 'War of the Worlds'", so is this low budget alien costume an homage to the B films of that era? There are a lot of comedic elements in this film (with affably odd characters who are distant cousins of the cast of "Fargo"), so it's plausible that the alien effects were meant to be cheesy in a tongue in cheek way. The rather unsubtle subtext about the loss of and restoration of faith is enjoyable enough, and the idea that some things are not simply coincidental (without getting into a heavy-handed message about religious faith) was worked into the plot nicely. Definitely enjoyed this film more than "Unbreakable", which turned Samuel L. Jackson into a pantomime villan by the end of the film. One of the best lines I read about "Signs" was in the Guardian's review: "But Rory Culkin, playing sibling Morgan, styles his own performance not on his real brother Macaulay, but very much on Haley Joel Osment, who became world famous under the tutelage of Shyamalan. He has the same precocious stillness and self-possession and most importantly he has Osment-trademarked Tiny Little Voice that indicates a childlike connection to spiritual realities unavailable to adults."

I love that - "Tiny Little Voice". The film's tension is more effective when you can't see the aliens; very Hitchcockian in its "what you can't see is scarier than what you can" direction. Once the aliens are visible, you have to laugh - which may be the reaction Shyamalan is looking for.

Work related news (I keep forgetting to do this): Matt has just returned from Montreal, and what did he bring in for us to enjoy today? Maple cookies. I mean, honestly. Someone's been leaving notes on our whiteboard that look like they were written by a 15 year old who uses text messaging a lot (e.g. the use of "2" for the word "to" and "4" for "for"). We figure it's one of the cleaners, but doesn't this violate some sort of child labour law? Oddly, our bins aren't being emptied again - so maybe it isn't a cleaner after all. Maybe publications has a teenage groupie? Cooool.

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