Archive for July, 2005

Amores perros

July 27th, 2005

Very cool stuff! I've been meaning to see it for a long time but never really felt like it. Erik assured me it's not a movie about love. Given the title, "Lost love", I was a tad skeptical but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, I don't speak a word of Spanish (actually that expression isn't a good one, I speak about 20 words of Spanish, maybe even 50), so without subtitless I was really concentrating to understand as much as I could of the dialogue.

With every movie like this which is any good (hear that Tarantino? ), it's the story that carries it. Otherwise a portrayal of human unhappiness, stupidity, desperation, lack of judgement and plain disregard. There are three stories linked together, but as good as independent of each other.

There is Octavio (only name I managed to pick up) living with his mother and some girl he's in love with, who's married to the guy with the shaved head who robs pharmacies and supermarkets for a living. She's a mother of one. Octavio and his buddy need cash so they find a dog and enter it into a dog fight. Since the dog is a beast, it continues to make them money as it wins every fight. Octavio gives most of his share of the money to that girl. He also pays the guy who sets up these dog fights to send a couple of his thugs and f up shaved head guy for beating his wife. One day, this other guy gets sick of seeing his dog lose and pay Octavio money so he just shoots the damn dog in the middle of the fight. That doesn't sit well with Octavio, who stabs him in the gut. A getaway ensues, which ends in a spectacular car crash, which also happens to be the opening scene. Shaved head guy tries to rob a bank and gets killed by the cops.

Then there is the model, who moves into a new apartment with her boyfriend, practically void of furniture so you get a good look at the parquet floor. On the wall of the building across the street is a bigass poster of the model in one of her photo shoots. Here's where the magic begins. Driving to work the next day, her car is the one hit by Octavio in the getaway. She is badly injured and from then on rolls around the spanking new apartment in a wheelchair with her leg in a cast and a neck brace. Sadly, this is where the realism goes off the rails. If you've ever hurt your neck you will know that it hurts like hell to move it. Yet in every movie we see them, people just carry on like normal. At one point she also dismounts the wheelchair to look for the ugly ass dog which is somewhere underneath the parquet. Not long after that, she has a big fight with the boyfriend, locks herself up in her room and presumably takes some pills or at least passes out. Next thing you know, her leg is amputated, so modelling career not so much anymore. To round off the story, the poster across the street (a perfume commercials I think) is taken down. Meanwhile the boyfriend/husband starts going at the parquet with a hammer in the hope of finding the dog. Eventually he does and it's been bitten all over by rats.

The third story is about a bum (gotta love this guy) who is a contracted killer. He used to have a family but walked out on them or something and starts off by killing the guy his ex-wife married. He gets another contract to kill some kind of a businessman but he takes his time with that one. His house is a total hell hole but he has about 5 dogs. When the car crash happens, he's nearby tracking his target so he goes up to the wrecked car looks around the scene. A passerby asks him for help to open the car door and get the two guys out of the car, instead the bum robs the guy in the car who may just be dead already (Octavio). That shit warms the heart. The dog in the back seat (the one that was shot) is tossed out in the street and the bum takes it with him, tries to nurse it back to health. In pure poetic justice, once the dog does get healthy, it kills all the other dogs because it's so used to killing dogs at those dog fights. The bum freaks out. He then kidnaps the target instead of killing him, collects the other half for the hit and sells the guy's Mercedes. The guy is still alive though and when his business partner or some such comes to pay the bum for the hit, he's invited inside and meets with the guy he paid to have killed. Very cool scene! The bum gives him the gun and tells him to kill the guy himself. The guy is a chicken, of course, so he doesn't do it. The bum beats him up. He then takes a shower (must be a first one for years) and grooms himself, doesn't look like a bum anymore. He throws on a suit, breaks into the house of the family of the guy he killed (his old family), stashes some cash under the pillow in the bedroom and replaces a family picture of the parents and daughter with one where he plays the role of the dad. He's clearly deranged.

What I really like about the story is the next thread picks up where the previous one ended, so you're going ahead in time all the while. A lot of stories like this simply start a few threads at the same point and give a common ending, but here you're moving along the whole time and that's much better cause you're still curious about the different stories and the movies shows quick flashes of them all every few minutes even though it's really following one thread.

Horale!

uneasy

July 26th, 2005

I've never felt like this before when I'm about to leave for a vacation. I always have some kind of specific expectation about what I'm getting myself into. And this time it's fairly straightforward, I know whom I will be seeing, what I'll be doing. But I feel puzzled about the whole thing. Worried about work once I get back, worried about the next few months which by and large are yet unknown, about things I've told myself I would do and still not started, about things I planned to do but never felt like doing, asking myself why that is and why I really look forward to something at a time when I can't do it and then lose that passion when the moment comes. Whether I should stop planning anything at all, so that at least I won't be going through a list in my head of stuff that never got done. Impulse decisions, when successful, are the ones which give the highest rate of satisfaction afterall. But that means I have nothing on my plate, nothing to think about and that isn't good at all. Because then I just end up wasting time.

The last two weeks were so much like many many summers before. Home alone, with a lot of projects on my mind, few if any I ever started, none completed. Without direction, without passion. Summer is supposed to be fun, right? At least work has a purpose and that's good to have, but then a bunch of plans I should be excited about and I just feel indifferent. Why is that?

change (monetary)

July 25th, 2005

Isn't it annoying??? Credit/debit cards have made life so much more convenient, I hate going back to using hard currency to pay for something. But most of all, I hate change. Because it never goes away. Change is impossible to spend, nothing costs 47.34.. So you end up having it, and collecting it, unless you're an obsessive change spender. One of those people who spends the last day or two of the vacation to make sure all change is spent in one way or another. The easiest thing is just throw it out. Or give it to someone. But nobody wants it. Who would want change?

I was looking through a bunch of old drawers today and I found change again. Lots of change. From years back. Change accumulated, which was planned to spend but never actually remembered. So it just lies there forever and the only time you remember it is when you go into that drawer by mistake looking for something completely different. Like my passport, which I still haven't found. I decided to see exactly how much change I had accumulated. Close to €100. Half in Polish currency, the rest in Euros and Swedish kroner. I'm taking the Polish money with me, I'm sure I can get rid of some of it. The rest I have to dump somewhere unless I want to bring it back with me. Once you start it never stops. The only way not to have change is not to have money. Because when you do, you end up spending it. And you get change. And you'll never get rid of it. Gah..

Citizen X

July 23rd, 2005

Really interesting movie. Viktor Burakov, a doctor of forensic medicine gets dropped into a murder case, chasing a serial killer. The story is genuine, based on events which took place in Rostov, southern USSR in 1982-1990. What's fascinating about this story is not the case of the murder case itself, rather the surrounding social/political landscape in which Lt. Burakov works. He reports at regular intervals to some sort of regional council of military/political superiors, who practically dictate his every move. Given that he has never worked as a detective before and has no experience, more importantly, no position, every request he makes for more men, computers, publicity, councel with the FBI is consistently rejected. More important than anything is to preserve the good name of the party and the country, that supersedes everything. When he does eventually arrest the killer (but without evidence), he is forced to let him go because the man is a member of the party.. over the course of 8 years, he kills 52 children, finally when the political climate changes, Burakov gets the resources to do his job without heavy restrictions.

Thanks for the heads up, Erik!

fat people don't sink

July 19th, 2005

believe, I tried. After 250m I was out of breath and I took a breather. After 500m I started worrying about getting muscle cramps so I went back to the changing room and drank water. When I came back, I felt this great resistance swimming, like suddenly the viscocity had taken a leap. After a while it felt normal again, I thought let's do at least 1km today but after another 10 laps I started feeling this new and heretofore unknown pain in my right shoulder. Tried to just keep going but it wouldn't stop. I was defiant, I did 20 laps in all, 1500m. I was so exhausted I had trouble getting out of the pool and the minute I stepped out, I got a cramp in my foot. Not a bad cramp, just some small muscle so it didn't really hurt. I lumbered into the pool opposite the walk way, the hot one. A Spanish "cruise ship" was parked outside. But I still felt cold in my shoulders, the hot water wasn't doing it. So I went to the sauna, the steamy one. Leaned up against the wall, ah that's better. Sat there for minutes, didn't feel an inch rested. Finally I looked down at the bench, looked comfy. So I lay down on the bench. Never done that before. It must have been 10 minutes. Finally I thought that's enough.

Don't really know how long the break lasted but it was time to get back in there. After 30 laps, the least I could do was 10 more. The thing is I didn't feel like stopping. Not long ago I was exhausted, now I wanted back in. Water was so cold. Well let's go 10 laps then. Although since I've done 30 already, how about 20 and I'll get to 2500m? Let's just play it by year, no point in setting the bar too high (too far away rather). The 10 were a breeze, I decide to go for 2500m and set a new personal record. Although once I started I was thinking hey what if.. I'm doing well today, why not try 3km. Play it by year. After another 10 laps I was really tired but I had just a little left. Oh the last 10 were a struggle. Swimming really isn't that tiresome but if you go long enough, hunger will kill your spirit. And boredom. I left work at 3.30, came straight here, may have been 4 before I got in. By the time I was done it was 6.05. Oh now I really feel like shit. Pain all over, hungry. I'm gonna hate myself tomorrow.

2005 total: 3.5km
since 2004: 24km