Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


The Horror of Corporate Life

Filed under: Art,Fun,Movies — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Literally, horror rooted in corporate life.

On a bad day or week, the endless, repetitive drudgery of corporate life can seem like an endless horror story. I mean, we’ve all felt that from time to time, right? And, for those of us who seem to work harder and harder for less and less return, it can sometimes feel like there’s some hidden class of people, a separate breed in a way, that get ahead regardless of their work ethic. When we’re faced with the occasionally terrifying idea that the eldritch horror of our jobs may be something that no one else understands, well, it’s easy to think the corporate world may be some kind of cthonian conspiracy.
At least, this short film Corporate Monster seems to agree. And, it’s a fantastic way to celebrate both Halloween and your corporate servitude.

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words!


Review: Daybreakers

Filed under: Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:44 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw Daybreakers on Friday.

I’ve been looking forward to this one since I heard about it for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a vampire movie, but for adults, not romance-starved, middle-aged women and their daughters. Secondly, because it seemed to deal with a problem I thought would have come up if vampirism actually existed, namely, an overabundance of blood-suckers and not enough blood to go around.

So, right, on the first thing, here’s the deal. Vampires are monsters, right? Not walking sexual fantasies. They should be monsters, not the homo-erotic metro-sexuals that Anne Rice made them into. And, in this movie, they are, in fact, monsters. Really, in a way, they maybe more monstrous because they’ve become the mainstream. They’ve become the giant corporation literally bleeding people dry to make a profit! And, because of the rating, we see the blood. No sparkly chests here, just blood-suckers. In fact, since so many humans have turned and become vampires, they’re starving themselves to death, as a society. And, as vampires starve, they become even more horrible. In their hunger, they even turn on their own kind.

And, that’s the second part…
So, being a vampire is pretty attractive, right? I mean, virtually eternal life, strong, disease free and the ultimate predator. Pretty cool. Sure, there are some drawbacks, like bursting into flames in direct sunlight and having to drink human blood, but, still, pretty awesome. With all that going on, I always figured most people would want to be turned. So does this movie.
The problem is, in less than ten years, since the vampirism “disease” first showed up, almost all the humans have turned, and that means there’s not enough blood to go around.
Enter, Ethan Hawke’s character. He’s a hemotologist working for the company who farms the existing humans out for vampire food. And, he’s working on an artificial blood “substitute” so that vampires won’t have to feed on humans any more. He thinks he’s looking for a cure, but his boss, played by Sam Neil, figures he’s just looking for a product to sell to the poorer vampires who are starving.

Well, through a car accident, he meets some “free range” humans, who have been hiding from the vampire army out to find them and farm them. Because, he’s a reluctant vampire, he helps them hide from the vampire police. They get away, but come back to his house in a few days and try to get him to help them find a cure. When he agrees, he meets Wilem Defoe’s character who is a vampire that somehow, spontaneously cheats death by sunlight to become human again.
They work together and find a cure, of sorts, which allows Hawke’s character to revert to being human. Then, they go about changing the world.
But, to tell you more would ruin the film,so I’ll stop giving away any plot here.

Mostly, this was a good film.
It was a kind of ironic action film with a horror flavor to it, but not over-the-top gory. Yes, there were the exploding vampires, and, yes, it does start with what seems to be a teen-aged girl vampire committing suicide in the sun, but, really, for all that, it wasn’t all that gory. It was pretty non-stop, though, for at least the first two thirds of the movie. It picks up again near the end, but it ends really, really poorly.
Actually, if not for the incredibly weak-ass ending, I’d have given this a fantastic review, but, well, as it is, the ending damn near ruins the film. Unless you’re a huge fan of vampire movies, or someone in the film, I’d recommend waiting until this one was on DVD before seeing it. Really.

It was a clever premise and a pretty cool cast, but the ending was so weak that I just can’t suggest that you all see this movie in the theaters. It’s good, but, honestly, it’s only worth, maybe, seeing at a matinee. That really is how weak and disappointing the ending was for me. It’s sad, really, because until the ending, it really was a pretty clever little film.


Review: Julie And Julia

Filed under: Art,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Movies,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:40 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous


Originally uploaded by Network Geek

I saw Julie and Julia Friday with my usual movie-viewing pal.

I love movies and see as many as I can in any given year, a fact that regular readers know quite well. And, yes, I tend to enjoy more than the usual action thrillers you might suspect a guy like me would favor. Really, romantic comedies are mostly my favorite. Now, I wouldn’t quite classify Julie and Julia as a rom-com, but that’s closer than almost anything else.

It was a cute film, but a good one. The movie is really two parallel stories, one following Julia Child as she discovers French cooking and becomes the famous chef and teacher we all know, and the other following Julie, who blogs about a year of cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s famous book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. The two stories work surprisingly well together for a number of reasons. For one thing, both women are trying to “find themselves”, each in their own way. They’re both trying to “fix” their lives and they both try to do it through cooking.

Of course, the stories are vastly different in many ways; location, time, people. None of those are the same. But, the universal problem of defining, or redefining, who we are as human beings is what drove both women to seek a way to become someone new. And, each in their own way, that’s just what they did.

Julia was married to a man who worked for the U.S. government, though, they had met during World War 2 when they both worked for the O.S.S. Yes, that’s right, Julia Child was a spy. Oh, they joke about her being a file clerk, but she was quite a bit more than that. Incidentally, that’s something to keep in mind when seeing the movie as it will open up a couple small, inside jokes for you. But, at the time, the 1950’s, diplomat’s wives were expected to be little more than busy and social, which, as you might imagine didn’t sit well with Julia. So, she tried a number of things, before finally finding cooking in Paris, where she and her husband were stationed. The rest of her story follows the history of how she came to co-author Mastering the Art of French Cooking and, well, and become famous.

Julie’s story is a little different.
She’s about turn thirty and feels like all her friends are far more successful than she. She’s a writer, who seems to have a hard time getting published. It’s a character and situation to which I can deeply relate. She toils away in a cubicle feeling under-appreciated and unfulfilled. So, to fight her way back to a bit of control over some aspect of her life, and with the encouragement of her husband, she decides to cook her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking in a single year and keep a blog of her adventures along the way.
The effort changes her life in more ways than she could have ever expected. And, that, to me is the aspect of both stories that tie them together and made the movie good.

Both women discovered that life is an adventure. An adventure that happens in small increments on a daily basis. Those small moments that we meet with no fanfare or crowd which change us in some small way, over and over again, are what make life both interesting and worth living. But only if we pay attention to them and look for them.
To me, that was the message of the movie and why I recommend that you see it. If you’ve missed it in the theater, rent it. It’s a nice, little movie and I think you’ll enjoy it.

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