Saturday, December 18, 2004

Movies, Movies


Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood is an old, cynical man. Don't expect this to be a happy movie. And if you walk in wanting this to be about the fighter, you'll likely be disappointed. Swank does a great job, but this is definately about the old guys and their issues.

The first 3/4 are pretty good, and it wins for the best line I've heard delivered by a priest this year: "There are no demigods, you fucking pagan!"

Swank wasn't bad, but she's no Michelle Rodreguiz. Maybe it was all that smiling she does. I don't know. She just wasn't scary in the ring. And even though they play her white trash, which is cool (I have a fondness for white trash characters, being not so far removed from white trash myself), I just didn't get that she wanted it bad enough. But then, in the end, the movie wasn't so much a happy underdog story, so...

And you know, any movie that ends up turning a strong fighting woman into a vegetable through marriage malaise/abusive relationship/or accident just isn't going to be something I want to pick up on DVD. Granted, I don't think I'd enjoy watching a male protagonist get turned into a vegetable either.

Leave at the beginning of the third round with the female prostitute. Trust me.

To be fair, it's a movie more about choosing how you live and how you die, and it had a bit to say about it, stuff I agree with. But that wasn't the movie I wanted to watch.

It shoved in some fun fights, though, before it all went to hell.

House of Flying Daggers

Beautiful people. Beautiful scenery. Beautiful clothes. Sweet-ass fantasy fight scenes, with lots of projectiles.

Zhang Ziyi of Crounching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fame, who's a dancer by training, gets to do some dancing in this one, which is cool. They're Tiger-like fight scenes, lots of flying shit, a brothel, enough turncoats & backstabbing for three movies, a number of scenes where people are rolling around in the grass half naked, and some really cooly dressed female guerilla fighters with neat hats.

Oh, and there's this great love triangle scene at the end, with lots of blood and snow.

In proper Chinese-romance-movie fashion, everyone dies at the end.

It's great.

Tiger is still better, though.

Movin' On Up

So, before the holiday party, Blaine took me aside in his office and closed the door, which I knew meant that we were going to talk about the restructuring of my role in the office.

"You've heard we're going to be getting a lot of work?" he said.

"Yea," I said. "Mosh already talked to me about it. He said I'll be better integrated with the Wireless team, so I'll be reporting to Piper."

Blaine went on to say how great I was, how much work we were going to get (double what we did last year), and said, "Anyway, I'll get right to the good news. Usually, at year end, if all goes well, we get 3% pay increases, but I did some haggling with corporate, and they're pushing your salary up 4.5%."

I suppose I was supposed to look really surprised and grateful. I was calculating what 4.5% of my base salary was. I'm not great at math, but I'm not totally incompetent, either. It wasn't a great raise, so far as I was concerned. It meant another couple hundred dollars a month, which makes the Glasgow trip in August more feasible, but it wasn't on par with what him and Mosh had been talking about regarding the sort of role I'm going to be playing in the company.

"Nobody knows how to do what you do," Blaine went on (he's very, very good at flattery, which is why everyone likes him and why he's been moved into Business Development. He's like a big happy puppydog. You just can't dislike him). "You're going to be asked to take on a *lot* more responsibility, and you'll need to learn how to replicate yourself."

"Mosh said he'd be interested in hiring on some temps I can supervise," I said, "because if we're doing twice what we did last year..." I was working nine or ten hour days and doing some weekend time and fielding work to the accountant and the secretary, and we still barely pulled it all off.

He intends to give me a shitload more responsibility, a staff, and a 4.5% raise that won't even allow me to be able to afford a car, let alone a cellphone? (the lack of staff with cellphones in our office is one of our biggest jokes).

"I tried to get Mosh and Piper to understand what a great resource they're getting," he said.

"Don't worry," I said. "I intend to sit down with Piper next week and impress upon him exactly what I can do. All they need to do is put something in front of me, and I can do it." I've been bitching to Blaine all year about what an under-utlized resource I am.

I think it was during his speech about how he was trying to convince Mosh & co. how great I was that I realized Mosh and Piper just don't get what I can do, hence the 4.5% raise. They think they're getting an admin, not a Project Support Manager with a Master's degree.

Ah. Of course.

4.5% my ass.

At meeting's end, Blaine still seemed troubled at my lack of enthusiasm. I wanted to stomp around and throw things. 4.5% raise my ass! I want to hop up a position pay scale. Lowly admin my ass! Freakin' fucktards!

But really, it wasn't so much worth it to bitch to Blaine. I was going to have to convince my new supervisors that I'm worth a 10K pay raise, not an extra $200 a month.

I'm going to have to really wow these fuckers.

And insist on proper compensation.

4.5% my ass.