1/29/2009 12:34:00 pm

The Wrestler

Posted by Tom French |

I went to see The Wrestler with David on Tuesday night. It was pretty excellent.

David informed us in the afternoon that it was Mickey Rourke's comeback film. Too which a few of us nodded knowingly, till none of us could remember what Mickey is coming back from. His past achievements totally evaded our memories (except for John who told us that Mickey was in 9 1/2 Weeks, but none of us had seen it). It turns out that Mickey really hasn't done a whole lot of remarkable stuff. At least not that I can tell. Except for the The Wrestler which was totally remarkable. He was amazing.

The film is about an old wrestler, long past his heyday. His life sucks and the only thing which makes him feel whole wrestling.

The movie is full of good performances. The script is wonderful, and the directing is special.

Bruce Springsteen does the closing song which is wonderful. It should have been nominated for Best Song.

To appreciate the film you don't really have to love wrestling. But it does get rather brutal for at least one chunk of the film. Lots of pain and blood.

This film should really have been nominated for Best Picture. I liked it more than Slumdog (even though that was great), I'm trying to decide if it's better than Frost/Nixon. I haven't seen The Reader (though I don't think it should win) or Milk (I have the feeling it'll be pretty good), it was definitely better than Benjamin Button.

Anyway, go see The Wrestler, it's top quality cinema.

1/29/2009 12:31:00 pm

Done and Dusted

Posted by Tom French |

Just did some research and it turns out the 8 year gamble is probably going to pay off. If all goes according to plan I can finish all my subjects at college this year and graduate with may B.Th of Power. It's gonna be awesome.

1/28/2009 05:38:00 pm

Nothing Day

Posted by Tom French |

Today was the first day where I woke up with nothing planned.

I had a few options so I've endeavoured to fill my time productively. I feel pretty good about it so far.

I've done some job hunting. My options seem to be call centre work, funeral assistant, soldier. I'm not completely sure about the soldier bit, but the army always seems to want people so I'm keeping that in mind. It's pretty hard to find jobs for people with no experience willing to do anything.

I've painted my chest of drawers. Only two coats left. Maybe three. Or four.

I've visited the travel agent to get a quote on going to Guatemala to see the wedding of the year. Turns out Flight Centre is less helpful than the internet. Who would have thought?

And I've watched A Fistful of Dollars which was pretty cool. Clint Eastwood spends the whole time squinting, talking through his teach with a cigar in his mouth and shooting people. I had a good time.

Right now I'm working on my resume. It turns out I have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to manage a team. I'm tempted to tell people I have excellent hand to hand combat skills too, but they might see through that one.

If any potential employers Google me and find this blog "G'day. I'm pretty awesome." That should get me any job.

1/26/2009 11:53:00 pm

Redacted

Posted by Tom French |

Howie and I just watched Redacted directed by the rarely good but sometimes brilliant Brian De Palma.

This was one of those moments where he wasn't any good. It's a film about a unit of soldiers in Iraq who rape and kill a 15 year old girl. It's told through a few documentaries and home movies about the unit.

The film had potential to be devastating. But it was just horrible. Horrible story, horrible acting, horrible script. It's rare that I watch a movie and wish I had that 90 minutes back but this was one of those experiences.

1/25/2009 06:41:00 am

24 24 24 - 5

Posted by Tom French |

It is finished. That was tough. I don't know why we do such stupidity.

I'm off to Canberra soon.

Good work Jack Bauer.

Killing Score Card
Hour 24
Good Guys - 60
Bad Guys - 116

Energy Drink Count - 11

1/24/2009 10:25:00 pm

24 24 24 - 4

Posted by Tom French |

We're a bit behind time now.

Jack just blew up a gas distribution centre thing. It was cool. His girlfriend got tortured but it served her right for sleeping with another man when she thought Jack was dead.

Killing Score Card
Hour 15

Good Guys - 31
Bad Guys - 100

Energy Drink Count - 9

1/24/2009 06:59:00 pm

24 24 24 - 3

Posted by Tom French |

We had a sleep for a bit just then. I slept in the hallway. Last night's heat seems to have caused everyone to come into this thing sleep deprived. Tonight's going to be tough. But we believe in Jack.

We're about to order thai for dinner!

The Russian President's motorcade got attacked. A guy with a flame thrower got blown up, it was pretty awesome. Jack shot an old lady in the leg in an attempt to get her husband to talk. He didn't talk so Jack called an ambulance. He's caring like that.

The Russian terrorists attacked CTU with nerve gas, a lot of extras died but the sad music only started when our beloved, fat, dopey Edgar got disorientated and started foaming at the mouth. It was almost like Old Yella. We were all sad.


Killing Score Card
Hour 12

Good Guys - 27
Bad Guys - 37 (plus nerve gas attack on CTU)

Energy Drink Count - 7

1/24/2009 02:22:00 pm

24 24 24 - 2

Posted by Tom French |

The terrorists are starting to use the nerve gas, but Jack managed to keep the casualties to between 10 and 20. He did this by, surprise surprise, disobeying a direct order from the President.

We're all looking perky. 3:30itus seems to be coming on for me. There's about 10 of us here now. We started with four.

Killing Score Card
Hour 8

Good Guys - 20
Bad Guys - 23-33

Energy Drink Count - 7

1/24/2009 11:58:00 am

24 24 24 - 1

Posted by Tom French |

So we're back doing the 24 24 again. I only got about 3 hours sleep last night so I'm struggling. I got to have a bit of a snooze between 10 and 11 when we'd built up a spare hour.

Russian terrorists have stolen some nerve gas and are going to use it to get on people's nerves. The ex-President has been shot in the throat. Jack almost tortured someone, but we all missed out when the guy confessed after seeing Jack's angry face. Though Jack did stab someone in the juggular with some scissors so that was impressive.

Oh and Jack blew up a terrorist by remote control using just his mobile phone. Mobiles can do anything these days.

Things are going well, but the kill count is way down on last time. Jack needs to pick up his game. At least the good guys are winning at the moment.

Killing Score Card
Hour 5

Good Guys - 16
Bad Guys - 10

Energy Drink Count - 7

1/24/2009 12:43:00 am

Weekend of Mammoth

Posted by Tom French |

So it's shaping up to be a big one.

Today was West Wing in Newtown, Funeral in Pennant Hills, Party at Freshwater.

Tomorrow is the 24 24 24 (that is, 24 hours of 24 on the 24th).

Sunday is Canberra.

Monday is Jo's thing.

It's all looking intense. Trying to negotiate all this without owning a car has been work. But I can do it.

I should sleep, cause I'll be getting precious little tomorrow.

1/22/2009 11:56:00 pm

Benefits

Posted by Tom French |

Today I played Aqua Golf and got stung by a wasp. Being unemployed totally rocks!

1/22/2009 11:05:00 pm

Wide Awake

Posted by Tom French |

I'm happy to be living in an Obama world.

I watched the inauguration live. It was hot and sticky at 3:30am, so I didn't wear a shirt. I felt the contrast between Sydney and Washington.

I had to make sure I sat up straight or I was going to fall asleep.

1/20/2009 11:25:00 pm

Obama is On His Way

Posted by Tom French |

I'm so excited for the Obama inauguration. The question is, do I stay up waiting, or do I sleep and wake myself up? Too many questions.

Today I had lunch with Rach, mowed the lawn, shaved, got a hair cut, and went to Community Dinner. My Mum says I look very conservative. That's the plan. From now on all I'll be is conservative.

Being unemployed isn't too hard at the moment.

1/19/2009 02:33:00 pm

Nordic Success

Posted by Tom French |

So the holiday at Nords Wharf is now over.

It was good. No beach. Much mooching. Fun.

We may have not fixed a door because we're scared of cleaners and over-estimated their job parameters. But hopefully all will be well.

Happy to be home.

1/19/2009 02:11:00 am

3333

Posted by Tom French |

It's 2:12am and I'm still awake flitting about on the interweb. I can do this because tomorrow, well, I'm on holidays. Yes!

By the way this is post 3,333 for my blog. That's kinda cool.

1/18/2009 07:27:00 pm

Easy

Posted by Tom French |

Today was the first real day I haven't worked. It's been relaxation nation.

We went to church this morning, a random church we found in the Yellow Pages. I had a good time. The preacher implied in her sermon that the world would be a better place if gay people were locked up. This didn't really please my church going friends. It's a rather offensive thing to say. David almost stormed out, but he managed to hold himself together.

Following church David, Lesley, Tracy and I hung out at home while everyone else went to the beach. I slept and read. We eventually wandered down to the local store and had hamburgers and chips. Nice.

Since then I've blogged, drunk beer, talked and read. It really has been lovely.

1/18/2009 07:14:00 pm

It's All About Me

Posted by Tom French |

So Sunday the 11th was the day the Harbour Bridge went cashless and I quit my job (which funnily enough will also involve me going cashless).

I was pretty sure the day was going to be a little unpleasant. Partly because I was leaving my job, partly because I was going to be the centre of attention all day, and finally because I was going to a party and I was the "host". I am really only happy at parties when I'm with comfortable people and hiding. When everyone is there to farewell you hiding isn't as much of an option.

I started the day by catching the train to Chatswood early in the morning to collect three samurai swords I had bought the day before. They were to be part of my handing over ceremony to Courtney the new Youth Minister. I had left the swords at Grandpa and Valentina's place because I didn't think transporting three real swords on a train would be a good look in today's paranoid world. Who would have thought?

Happily enough Forest Coach Lines was totally uninterested in the guy with the swords on their bus. I could have slaughtered a passenger or two and nobody would have batted an eyelid.

I arrived at work early to clean my office as I still had a bit of dusting to do. Rach wandered in got hay fever so she left again.

The 10am church service was uneventful. I thought there might be some sort of prayer or something, but there was only an announcement to come to the barbie afterwards. It was the last time I wasn't going to be in the limelight all day.

After Church I found they'd decked out the playground and Kindy area for a party. They had a table covered in cans of Coke with a tower of Coke many stories high. There was a big cake which said "Seeya Tom" on it. And there were my t-shirts hanging from the roof. It was pretty cool. I felt loved.

We had a barbie and I ate a sausage. I was pretty hungry because I didn't have breakfast, but I didn't get to eat much. I was too busy farewelling myself. I realised I should probably be hanging out with people and talking them and all that. So I popped over to a group of parents to say "G'day" but just as I got there they started the official part where people say nice things about me so I had to stop. I'm not a very good host. I have lots of lovely friends at my church and they said lots of lovely things. My favourite comment was from one girl who said she knew that I'd "touched" everyone in her family. The sentiment made me pleased and the wording made me smirk.

It's kinda awkward having to sit there and accept everyone's thanks and praise. You don't really know where to look or how to respond. I'm so glad I'm not a head of state or a celebrity or someone who gets nice things said publicly about them all the time. That'd be tough.

I got a chance to respond and I muddled my way through some thanks and encouragements. It felt pretty dumb trying to sum up 6 years of gratitude in 5 minutes. Really there is such a depth of thankfulness in me for my time at the church and all the wonderful people I have worked with and served that I don't think I could ever find an adequate way of getting it out, so I just fluffed on for a while.

After that I was given my presents. Rev Michael had been paying attention in my sermon the week before. I had done an illustration about my love for Coke so he rung a friend at Coke and got a bunch of merchandise delivered for me, along with 96 cans of Coke. It was pretty cool. I was going to be pretty happy with that. But in the bag of Coke goodies there was a large wad of cash to go towards my desired MacBook Pro. I was pretty chuffed. People were amazingly generous. I'm so loved.

I went back to my office after that to finish work in preparation for the impending camp. It's kinda silly to go straight from work to camp, but I think in the end it worked out for the best.

Church that night was a little surreal. I had the old fan club there. The Commy crew, Ma and Pa plus some randoms who came to farewell me though I'm not sure who they were. That was all on top of the usual church crew.

The worship was good, though I was a little distracted. I was told by someone they thought it was the best worship we'd had in years. That's pretty good I reckon. I got to do the announcements for the last time. They were, as usual, silly. I'm not sure anyone I did the announcements for would have actually appreciated my input, but I was leaving, so I could be a silly as I wanted. There were probably a bunch of new people sitting there saying "I'm so glad this guy is leaving."

I was prayed for in the magic spot. Almost the whole church got up to lay hands on me. I thought I might get emotional during this bit. But as it turns out I just struggled to stay standing. The weight of all those hands is much greater than you would expect. Lucky I work out.

After I got prayed for I had the chance to do a hand over ceremony for Courtney. I gave her a big long ninja sword. I gave it to her explaining that it was an ancient sword from a group of ninja Japanese Youth Ministers. She was to pass the sword on to whoever comes after her. I did it mainly because it'd be cool if there was a sword that the Youth Ministers in the church pass down from generation to generation from now on. People saw symbolism in there for the Word of God and what not. Certainly not symbolism that I discouraged, but also not nearly as important to me as just having something cool.

I then got to lead the prayer for Courtney which was nice. I know that often people don't get to do much of a hand over to their successor so I was very happy to endorse and bless the woman who is coming after me. She'll do good.

I preached. The sermon was all about people knowing Jesus. I figured I didn't have much I really wanted to say, except, "know Jesus". He's pretty much the summation of everything the matters, why should there be anything else worth talking about?

After the service I spent a bunch of time saying good bye to people. It's pretty odd saying good bye. I felt like it wasn't significant because I can't understand that I won't see a lot of people for a while, and I certainly won't see most of them regularly ever again. It's totally sad, but I can't really get my head around it.

I ended up being the last to leave. I left my office by handing over the keys to Courtney, turning off the lights and locking the door.

Helen was kind enough to give me a lift to camp. That seemed right. She was the one that I started the youth group with (in it's current state) she was the one I ended it with too.

And that, was my leaving. I didn't cry. I got a voice wobble. But none of it seems real. I'll cry one day when I break a cup or something and it'll all come tumbling out. Till then though I'll just live with the unresolved pain and take it out on all those I'm close to. Sounds great!

1/17/2009 04:20:00 pm

Officially Unemployed

Posted by Tom French |

I'm now officially unemployed.

I left my job last Sunday, went on camp on Sunday night and now I'm up at Nord's Wharf for the Commy Holiday. I'm now ready to to relax for the rest of my life.

I think perhaps last Sunday was significant enough to deserve more than just a cursory blog post.

There are about 15 of us up here at on the holiday. We're renting a house with a big TV, a Playstation 3 and many rooms. We're playing MotorStorm at the moment. It's a racing game, which I'm really only interested in it because when you crash it plays the results in slow motion. The crash, the bones snapping, the vehicle shredding itself. I think it's pretty cool but the other guys seem more intent on winning that crashing. It's about the destination, not the journey for them. They're such men.

Camp was fun. I think it was useful to get my mind off leaving work and all the wonderful things that entails.

I was pretty happy to be there. Having a room to myself, and most people around being busy most of the time meant that I could introvert myself and read and sleep and read and sleep. Plus there was the usually camp silliness to attend to, the retro nights, the messy games, the theological discussions. I think my crowning achievement was running a hula hoop competition. You know you're awesome when you can entertain 700 teenagers with the joys of hula hoops. They were totally enthralled!

On Thursday night we had the night where people give their testimony and look reflectively into the flames of a fire (or candle in this case). We had one guy who told us his story about how he'd been in and out of juvenile justice for all his teenage life. He went 27 times in one year. Then he became a Christian, got a 26cm brain tumour, was operated on, died 12 times in 3 hours in the process, and they still didn't manage to get the tumour. then came to work on camp. On camp he met a woman who prayed for him and his tumour shrunk by 4cm. It was a pretty cool story. And he was a pretty great guy. I think most of the campers were pretty affected. There were a lot of tears and praying afterwards. It was a good night.

Probably the most exciting thing was that 40% of the people who came on camp became Christians or made a recommitment. I totally didn't expect that, oh me of little faith.

So camp was good. Holidays are special and I think it's time I go settle down with my book.

1/09/2009 02:29:00 pm

I once was deaf but now I hear

Posted by Tom French |

I woke up this morning with a blocked ear. I couldn't hear properly out of my right ear. I figured it was full of wax. I stuck my shower in my ear but only succeeded in getting water stuck in my ear.

So I went to the doctor. The bulk billing Doctor near the station. I think it caters to people from the Orient. It makes me wish I could speak Cantonese. Then we'd all get on like a house on fire.

The Doctor told me I had wax in my ear. He told the nurse to flush it out. She tried, but couldn't do it, so the Doctor came back and gave it a go. Eventually a big chunk, probably two cubic centimetres of gunky wax popped out. It was pretty cool.

Now I hear really well. Better than I did yesterday. I think the wax must have been building up for a while. Everything is crystal clear. It's listening to a CD, after hearing the whole world on tape.

I'm sure there's a sermon illustration in there some where.

1/08/2009 08:13:00 pm

Haven't Left Yet

Posted by Tom French |

I'm at work. I've been cleaning my office most of the day. I had so much useless stuff in my office. Bags of rubbish. Boxes of paper. I've been getting rid of things from the youth minister before me that I never used. I've found about 30 pairs of dirty socks from various youth camps. I even have a giant novelty cheque which I plan on not dealing with. But the office is getting pretty empty now, I can see daylight.

I'm also working on my talks for camp next week. I don't know why I thought it'd be easy to go straight from leaving a job to camp. It's not really. I'm going straight from my farewell service to camp, which means I have to have five talks ready to go the moment I leave church.

Happily I'm only going to be adapting five old talks, rather than writing five new ones. But doing that on top of writing my farewell sermon of whimsical anecdotes and rousing inspiration is making for a week as full as any other I've had in this job. And I thought I could slack off...

1/06/2009 11:02:00 pm

Can

Posted by Tom French |

So as I mentioned, I'm in Canberra. I'm here with Mother, Father, Sister and Victer. Victor has always had a dream to come to Canberra I think, so the family took him here as a bit of a Starlight foundation loving.

I like Canberra more and more every time I come. I think I like the fact that the whole city is designed with one purpose in mind. It's only job is to be our capital city. Everything here is significant or serves significance. I like that. Plus there are Australian flags everywhere, but it feels right to have them here. Better than being tattooed on some angry white person's back.

We went to the War Memorial today. The war memorial is full of guns and tanks and planes, so I was pretty happy. I think war is bad, but at least they get cool things to go to war with. It's a silver lining.

We also went to Parliament House. I think we have the best Parliament House in the world. It's full of good symbolism and interesting architecture. I'm proud to be an Australian when we have such a lovely city with lovely buildings designed by Americans.

1/05/2009 10:34:00 pm

Berra

Posted by Tom French |

I'm in Canberra with the family. This is a special city.

1/02/2009 12:00:00 am

Movies 08

Posted by Tom French |

I've managed to go to this cinema 58 times this year. I think that might be a record for me. I love the cinema. I decided to make a top ten or two this year. It hasn't been a year with any stand out amazing, block buster films. But certainly some quality, and some turkeys. Let's go with the turkeys.

Here is my bottom 10:

These are the films that have distinguished themselves for their badness and/or disappointment value. You'll notice that there is no Fool's Gold or Don't Mess with the Zohan and while they were not as "good" as some of the films in this list, they weren't aiming for quality and I was entertained so they get to stay off the list.

10. Jumper

It had a good idea, but it was totally squandered. The action was boring, the plot was silly and I was bored.

9. What Happens in Vegas

I can't really remember this movie except that it wasn't that funny. Who would have thought, Ashton and Cameron are usually such cinematic powerhouses.

8. Australia

Ok so it wasn't the worst film ever (it's at number 8 for 2008). It had some good stuff in it. But it makes it to the list because of it's inability to tell just one story, it's inability to resist using the word "Crikey" and for it's complete condesencion of Indigenous Australia.

7. The Happening

People kill themselves. Mark Walhberg looks worried. The Trees are out to get us. Movie over.

The Ents were cooler.

6. Hancock

This movie wasn't bad till the second half and then it lost the plot. This certainly wasn't the worst movie of the year. But squandered so much potential. It could have been one of the best, most self-aware superhero movies ever. But it got lost in Charlize and Will having a lovers biff. It was like domestic violence on a divine scale. Australia says "No".

5. Hellboy 2

Argh. I didn't like the first one. I wondered why they were making a second. Del Toro could have made it cool, but he didn't. It was just silly. Big dumb army.

4. 10,000BC

Dumb.

3. Wanted

There was some stuff which was way cool in this film. Like the exploding rats. But its total moral bankruptcy puts it at number three. I love action. But action movies need to at least have some mildly defensible message or none at all. But certainly not "Kill because it's better than being an accountant."

2. Twilght

Ahh. The book was crap. This was crapper. So much funniness. Edward Cullen may be hot, but in this he looks like a cancer patient with big hair.

1. The Day the Earth Stood Still

Is there any role Keanu can't play?

This was one bad film. No soul, no fun, dumb alien, dumb message, no tension. Boring.


Here are my faves from 2008:


10. Happy-Go-Lucky

So happy. Poppy, the main character of the film, is probably one of the most delightful characters in film ever. I don't really like using the word delightful but she is it. It maks you happy this movie.

9. U2-3D

It's U2. It's a concert. It's in 3D. What's not to love?

8. Tropic Thunder

This was totally silly, and very cool. Lots of famous people making fun of them selves. And it had action. Even if the action was silly. I loved this film.

7. Rambo

Rambo may not be the best written film. In fact bits of it were terrible. But this film has some of the best, hard core, non-flashy, action in ages. It's not trying to be slick, it's just trying to punch you in the face. Stallone is awesome.

6. No Country For Old Men

This was the first movie I watched this year, and it was a goody. Patient, brutal, unpredictable, and everyone acted well.

5. Iron Man

Oh gosh. This movie was way cool. It was funny, slick and full of explody goodness. And who doesn't want one of those metal suits of American might and righteousness?

4. WALL·E

Pixar never disappoint. Wall-E was cute. The film was funny. I think it may even have had a message. Plus fat people are funny.

3. The Dark Knight

While I still don't think it was as good as Batman Begins there was much awesomeness in this. Heath should get the Oscar. The action as spectacular. And it was dark. Oh how we love dark movies about men in masks.

2. Taken

This was the surprise of the year. I went in expecting your average, run of the mill, 2nd class action movie. But instead we got Liam Neeson kicking more ass than Qui-Gon. He just beat people up with such efficiency. And it was all for the love of his daughter. It was touching.

I want to become a special ops guy for the sake of my children.

1. Frost/Nixon

This was excellent. There wasn't much fighting but darn, this was great. The acting, script, tension. It was so simple, yet so rich. The meeting of a giant and and entertainer, and to watch them battle it out. Out-charm, out-wit, out-manoeuvre. It was like The West Wing's slowed down and evil cousin. Brilliant.


And they are my tens.

1/01/2009 11:30:00 pm

New Year Cheer

Posted by Tom French |

So my New Year's Eve was less exciting than perhaps I would have hoped. I stayed home. Some people will say that say that my staying home indicates my oldness. But I have discovered it has highlighted my youngness. I don't think I want to stay home again for a long time. Not because of the people I shared it with but, well, it wasn't the most exciting event of my year. I stayed home because I was feeling like something quiet and I couldn't be bothered making a decision about what I was going to do.

Here's what happened. I was there. The Gowies were there. The Noobs were there. We played a board game. We watched a movie. At 11ish the Noobs went home. Howie threatened to go to bed. I told him he had to stay up. Jenny was feeding the Oscar.

I played games on my phone and listened to my iPod till midnight then watched the fireworks on TV. Howie went to bed. Jenny kept feeding. I did the washing up and put out the bins. Then I sat on the couch.

Happy New Year


(While sitting on the couch I got a phone call from my sister telling me she'd just gotten engaged to Victor. That made the night a little more exciting.)

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