2/25/2009 11:40:00 am

Excellent Phone Manner - Part 2

Posted by Tom French |

So the phone calls from the unknown caller have kept coming. I was sure it was just someone out to prank me.

Then I got another one this morning. Expecting the usual "Hello?" "Beep. Beep. Beep." I picked it up and said a jolly, slightly sarcastic "Hello". And there was someone on the other end.

It was a person from the Government, wanting to interview me for a position I applied for. If I get it I get to work with trains. Yes! She gave me a phone interview, and I was nervous and not expecting to be interviewed and did a bad job. But they want me to come in for further information and training in a week and a half at 7:30am on a Sunday morning. It's exciting. But I'm wondering why I need to be given information at 7:30am on a Sunday morning. I'm pretty sure they're giving us a taste of what working for the railways will be like. Doesn't bother me though. I'm up at 7:30am all the time. At least I've done it once this year.

Anyway, it seems that Howie's previous lack of decorum on my behalf didn't destroy my chances of getting at least an interview. That's good.

2/24/2009 11:59:00 pm

Hero

Posted by Tom French |

I woke up this morning after having a dream that I saved someone's life. It was a real self-esteem booster. I woke up feeling like a pretty good person.

You should try it sometime.

2/24/2009 11:11:00 am

No Line on the Horizon

Posted by Tom French |

For those of you who want to hear U2s new album legally, they've stuck the whole thing up on their MySpace page.

Go listen, it's good.

2/24/2009 12:06:00 am

Dinner

Posted by Tom French |

Florentine.jpg

2/23/2009 12:16:00 am

Oscar Joy

Posted by Tom French |

So the Oscars are in twelve hours. I'm excited because I love the Oscars, even if they are dumb.

Anyway, I think it's time I make my predictions on who's going to win what. I'll probably be wrong, I haven't even seen all the movies, but why should that stop me.

My picks are in bold.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Iron Man

Iron Man had good visual effects, but it didn't, in my view, break any new ground, it just did old stuff well. But I could be wrong, I don't really know how they made it. Dark Knight did most of their stuff in camera. Which is amazing. But I think this one is going to Benjamin Button. And I think it should get it too. The work they did on Cate and Brad, it was fantastic. I had trouble picking when they were at their real age and when they were being manipulated. At least in the middle of the film.

BEST SOUND MIXING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Truthfully, I have no idea. I don't generally notice if a mix is good or bad. I'm gonna say WALL-E because I at least noticed that there was a lot of sound in the film.

BEST SOUND EDITING
The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Slumdog Millionaire
WALL-E
Wanted

Iron Man needs to win for something. And this film did sound good. The effects were top notch.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
''Down to Earth,'' WALL-E
''Jai Ho,'' Slumdog Millionaire
''O Saya,'' Slumdog Millionaire

There are some good songs missing from here. Most notably "The Wrestler" by Springsteen. That's a fantastic song. Anyway, I'm going with WALL-E because I don't know which songs the other two were, I just remember Slumdog had songs.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Alexandre Desplat
Defiance, James Newton Howard
Milk, Danny Elfman
Slumdog Millionaire, A.R. Rahman
WALL-E, Thomas Newman

Slumdog did have a good score. At least I enjoyed it. Thomas Newman, in my view, is a little too same, same. I don't remember Button's and I haven't seen the other two.

BEST MAKEUP
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Hellboy II: The Golden Army

This is a tough category, but Button is the darling of these Oscars, so I'm going with that. I wouldn't be upset with any of the three winning.

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT
Auf der Strecke (On the Line)
Manon on the Asphalt
New Boy
The Pig
Spielzeugland (Toyland)

I have no idea. The Pig sounds the most fun.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
The Class (France)
Departures (Japan)
Revanche (Austria)
Waltz with Bashir (Israel)

Again, I have no idea. Although The Class has buzz, so I'm going with that. Usually as far as foreign language films go there is only going to be one winner because there is only one film everyone's heard off. At least that's how I see it.

BEST EDITING
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
Frost/Nixon
Milk
Slumdog Millionaire

As much as I love editing, I rarely notice editing. Every now and then I'll notice bad editing. Rarely will I notice really good editing. So I'm going with Frost/Nixon because I noticed that editing.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
The Conscience of Nhem En
The Final Inch
Smile Pinki
The Witness — From the Balcony of Room 306

No idea. I like the name.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)
Encounters at the End of the World
The Garden
Man on Wire
Trouble the Water

I haven't seen any of them, but I've only heard good things about Man on Wire. I really want to see it.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
Australia
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Duchess
Milk
Revolutionary Road

This category usually goes to a period piece. Judging by the time frames of each of the films it should go to The Duchess, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say Revolutionary Road. It did have good costumes. I was impressed.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

Go The Dark Knight! That was a well shot film.

BEST ART DIRECTION
Changeling
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Dark Knight
The Duchess
Revolutionary Road

I'm going The Dark Knight again. They do really good work with Batman.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT
La Maison en Petits Cubes
Lavatory — Lovestory
Oktapodi
Presto
This Way Up

How can a film about a Toilet Lovestory fail to win over the the hearts and minds of the Academy?

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Bolt
Kung Fu Panda
WALL-E

WALL-E has to win. Bolt was ok. Kung Fu Panda was fun. But WALL-E was something special.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy

I haven't actually seen it, but it's got the feel of an Oscar winner, people shouting and all that. Frost/Nixon should win.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Frozen River, Courtney Hunt
Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh
Milk, Dustin Lance Black
WALL-E, Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter

If Milk doesn't win I'd be very surprised. I haven't seen Frozen River, but any of the other three could win and I'd be fine with that. In fact, I think I'll be cheering for In Bruges.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Taraji P. Henson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler

I'm going for Taraji. She'll make a good acceptance speech.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, Milk
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Michael Shannon, Revolutionary Road

If Heath Ledger wasn't running in this, I would be cheering for Robert Downey Jr. Comedy actors never win. But Ledger was amazing. He can't not win this one.

BEST ACTRESS
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Melissa Leo, Frozen River
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kate Winslet, The Reader

I actually haven't seen any of these but Kate is in the Holocaust flick.

BEST ACTOR
Richard Jenkins, The Visitor
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

This is tough. I'm going to go for Mickey Rourke. Langella was brillant. Sean Penn is great but I haven't seen Milk. I haven't seen The Visitor. Brad Pitt was good as Benjamin but not Oscar worthy, in my eyes. Rourke however did wonderfully, and I reckon Hollywood wants to give him a pat on the back.

BEST DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Gus Van Sant, Milk

I think it's Danny Boyle's year.

BEST PICTURE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Frost/Nixon
Milk
The Reader
Slumdog Millionaire

The toss up is between aging, politics, homosexuality and politics, the Holocaust and poverty. I think it's poverties year. It's the biggest issue at the moment. Obama has won. The holocaust was a while ago. Aging is boring except when Brad Pitt does it backwards and homosexuality is so last decade. Poverty is where it's at and it'll make the academy feel good about itself. Me, I'm going for Frost/Nixon.

Now all I'm regretting is that I didn't see Milk, The Reader or Doubt. I was too busy watching things like Hellboy 2.

2/22/2009 11:22:00 pm

Theology

Posted by Tom French |

"God is not dead but alive and well and working on a much less ambitious project." - Anonymous

2/20/2009 03:36:00 pm

Excellent Phone Manner

Posted by Tom French |

I've been getting calls on my phone for the past three days from some mystery person or machine. My phone rings and on my screen it says "Call". This is a little odd because usually it has the number or it says "Private Number". It never says just "Call". Except at the moment.

Usually what happens is I get the call I say "Hello", I hear silence, and then I get disconnected. I don't know if it's someone hanging up or a phone call not working. I never hear any noise in the back ground so I'm more tempted to think it's a call not working.

I'd been telling today Howie so when the next call came in I gave it to him to answer so he could hear the weirdness. He picked it up and said "Hello"

He proceeded to swear at the phone, but in a most jovial manner, then he passed the phone to me saying "I'll just put him on." The call was still going. For the first time ever the call hadn't disconnected. I picked it up and said "Hello" and then got disconnected.

It made me wonder if maybe there is someone on the other end trying to get through. It also made me wonder if Howie had just sworn at someone real who can hear, they just can't speak. It also made me wonder if the person might be offering me a job.

Whatever it was, I don't think the bad manners deterred them. They've called back twice since then.

2/19/2009 10:15:00 pm

Good Thinking

Posted by Tom French |

On the train home tonight there was a girl talking quite loudly on her phone. Some ticket inspectors came through the carriage asking us for tickets. Judging by the girls manner on the phone I thought to myself a) she probably doesn't have a ticket and b) she'll probably argue with the ticket people and try and get out of it.

When the ticket guys got to her she very calmly told them she didn't have a ticket. They took her name and address and she was very polite any time the inspectors talked to her. The ticket guys then rang up some central place to verify her check the details.

When they had verified the name, address and date of birth, they said they'd post her fine out to her. She very politely said "Ok. Thank you." And the inspectors moved on.

I gave myself a little bit of a telling off for making assumptions about her character based on her phone manner. She didn't have a ticket but she was very good about it all.

Then I heard her tell whoever was on the other end of the phone that she'd given her sister's details so it's her sister who's going to get the fine. Good work girl, I was impressed.

2/18/2009 10:05:00 pm

Pay it Forward

Posted by Tom French |

So Jenny got a new camera. And out of kindness for a poor unemployed fellow, she passed her old one on to me.

This may mean we can go back to the days of stupid photos!

To celebrate I took this one of myself.

New Camera Pose.jpg

Thanks Jenny.

2/18/2009 04:45:00 pm

Unforgiven

Posted by Tom French |

There may be a spoiler or two in this post.

It's a hell of a thing to kill a man. - Will Munny

I watched Unforgiven again yesterday with John and Martin. What an awesome movie! I may be going through a bit of a Clint Eastwood crush at the moment, but he's so cool.

The film is the like the ultimate Western, except that it's kind of an anti-Western. Clint's decent from upright citizen, back to drunken killer is something special. The whole time you're thinking "Don't be bad, don't be bad, don't be bad!" and then he goes bad you're thinking "Yeah! Kick ass!"

I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you done to Ned. - Will Munny

It's terrible and totally cool at the same time.

I think Unforgiven is probably the best Western I've ever seen and I reckon it's close to if not in my top 10 of all time.

2/16/2009 10:13:00 pm

High Five

Posted by Tom French |

This is pretty awesome. High five action!

This is also awesome, but differently awesome. (However if you don't like bad words, you shouldn't go.)

2/15/2009 12:55:00 am

Die Laughing

Posted by Tom French |

At dinner tonight I was telling Howie that he's not funny and that I never laugh at his jokes. Later we were having an inappropriate conversation, with much laughter. Howie made one particularly bad joke just as I put a forkful of beef stir-fry into my mouth. I breathed in to laugh and managed to breath in the food as well. As I tried to swallow and breath in at the same time everything got mixed up and I could feel it all bubbling around in the back of my throat near all the important pipes.

I thought there was a good chance it was all about to come back out again so I ran to the sink just in case, but nothing came out. Worse, air stopped getting in. I had to work really hard to breath in any air at all. As I sucked the air in and it squeezed it's way past the dug in beef strip the air made the sound you might expect from a distressed, dying duck. I tried breathing again, same inner duck. Howie came running over with my glass of water looking worried. My first aid training flashed before my eyes but I couldn't figure out how to whack my self in the middle of the back. I tried to vomit, which brought up nothing but may have dislodged the beef a little. I coughed, chocked, and quacked my way to a more normal state of breathing. Then I drank some water.

A little bit later a noodle came out of my nose through my mouth.

Serves me right for saying I don't laugh at Howie's jokes.

2/13/2009 05:49:00 pm

Every Day is the Same (except today)

Posted by Tom French |

I'm still really enjoying the bumming around gig. I seem to spend a lot of time watching DVDs, doing nothing on the internet and applying for jobs.

I keep thinking about that bit in 2 Thessalonians 3 which says: In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us... We gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."

Which may explain why no one is hanging out with me any more. But I am still eating. Quite well actually.

Today, however, has not been the same as the others. No DVDs for me. Matt and I went to Gold Class and watched He's Just Not That Into You. It was a little embarrassing going on a man date to Gold Class to a date movie. But I had vouchers and it was the only thing on we both were willing to watch. It was ok. Nothing special.

We had some popcorn which came in a mixing bowl which was as large as a reasonably sized satellite dish. We managed to eat the heap of pop-corn off the top, so that the popcorn we level with the rim of the dish. Had we managed to finish the popcorn I would have liked to have used the bowl to communicate with astronauts and L. Ron Hubbard.

Then we went and had beer and steak. It was good.

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day. I expect it will be spectacular.

2/10/2009 01:50:00 pm

Revoutionaries

Posted by Tom French |

I went to see Revolutionary Road today. I have realised from a long history of Tuesdays that the best breakfast in the world is popcorn and Coke when eaten in a darkened cinema.

The film was very good. Not quite as devastating as I expected. Not, say, on the level of Requiem for a Dream, but that's ok. I'm happy not to have my heart ripped out and stomped on by every film I see at the cinema.

Still it was rather unpleasant. Mainly it was just two people being totally horrible to each other. Sometimes when I watch movies about couples treating each other badly it really makes me want to be in a relationship so I can do it better. This one didn't inspire me that way, it just made me happy to be single.

The film has a lot about buying into the middle class lifestyle. It's about people who live unhappy lives after selling out for comfort.

It made me think about my friends and there are many who have chosen a lifestyle where comfort isn't their highest priority. I know so many people who are living lives that are quietly revolutionary. Not because they change the world, they just refuse to settle into what looks easy. The revolution in their lives is because of their commitment to Jesus.

I don't mean that in "being a Christian is where true happiness is found" kinda way. I talking about the way they follow Jesus' radical call to love. They are willing to follow Jesus to love those in need, to give up the nice house, the good car, the quiet suburb and go in search of Jesus' good works that he's planned out for them to do.

I'm happy I don't have a bunch of friends suffocating in their suburban bliss. I have bunch of people looking for life from the one who gives it. I want to be part of their revolution.

2/09/2009 04:50:00 pm

Greek Again

Posted by Tom French |

I'm about to head off to College to begin my second attempt at Greek. I admitted to myself that I don't really have the neccisary brain skills for learning a language. Nor the neccisary self-discipline. So I'm doing Greek-lite and hoping I can cope with that. I just want to get this degree done and Greek is one of the biggest things standing in the way.

Should be fun.

2/08/2009 01:09:00 pm

Jobbing

Posted by Tom French |

Now that the resume is done (I'm so quick) the job hunting has begun. I have the feeling this is going to get tedious. I've spent the past few hours on some job websites. There isn't really much out there for a guy like me. I'm feeling tempted by a job ad I saw for cereal packing I saw in the Advocate a few days ago. I'm pretty sure you don't need experience for that.

2/07/2009 10:50:00 am

La La La

Posted by Tom French |

I'm pretty sure I'm going to buying a ticket to LA and back today. Yippah.

2/07/2009 12:31:00 am

Space

Posted by Tom French |

"Sometimes Nigel would go out to look at the rocket-ship in his backyard. He'd imagine climbing in and strapping himself to the chair, igniting the engines. He knew he couldn't fly it, he didn't have the training. He'd probably blow himself up and incinerate his neighbours. He had no idea what it was doing in his yard. He didn't know who built it or how it got there but he liked having it anyway. He liked knowing that if ever he needed to take a trip into space he might just be able to make it." - C.K. Knight

2/06/2009 03:17:00 pm

La Premiere

Posted by Tom French |

Nathan and I went to La Premiere. I think he took me on a man date because he wouldn't let me pay for a thing. He's a kind man.

For those who are wondering, it's the fancy pants thing at Hoyts where you pay extra (though we didn't, we had vouchers) and you get to got to an exclusive lounge before your movie where there's a bar and free pop corn and Coke. Then you get shown to your seat at the back of the cinema in a special fenced off, raised area with extra cooshy seats. You watch your movie and waiters bring you your food at pre arranged times.

It's quite the ritzy experience. Nathan and I managed to lower the decorum a little by filling our popcorn cups with Coke as they were bigger, but if the Coke is free, make the most of it.

We watched Valkyrie which I quite enjoyed. Tom Cruise isn't as bad as everyone says he is. At least not in my opinion. I know he's a bit crazy off screen, but on screen he's fine. The film was good, kinda inevitable like Titanic except with less water, romance and Celine Dion and more shooting. It was good to see Germans fighting Nazis.

The cool thing was that we had a bad print of the film. The print included too much at the top so there was boom in shot in probably 10% of the film. And at one point the film even had the reel number on the top of it. This kinda removed some of the magic from the film but it was kinda like you got to watch the behind the scenes of the film as you watched it. I liked that.

It was a fun experience. The whole thing is kinda elitist. I don't like being separated from the plebs below. But I guess the whole point is that it's elite. So I can't really complain.

I like free popcorn and Coke.

2/06/2009 03:12:00 pm

Community Recycling Cooperative

Posted by Tom French |

What I love about our community is that kerbside clean-ups have got us all into the habit of assuming that anything on the side of the road is free to be taken no matter what time of year it is. While every now and again some vague family put their furniture on the side of the road during the moving process and it all gets taken, but generally the system works quite well.

Yesterday I put my old chest of drawers on the side of the road. The kerbside clean-up isn't till May, I was hoping they wouldn't have to sit there till then. When I got home last night, they were gone. Someone now has a new, free, second (or eighth) hand chest of drawers, and I don't have unwanted furniture sitting around. I love community.

2/04/2009 02:37:00 pm

Nordic Memory

Posted by Tom French |

That last post reminded me of a moment had on the Nord's Wharf holiday.

A few of us had gone out to get coffee after church. Everyone ordered coffee and banana bread. I ordered a ginger beer. As I was paying "You make me feel like a Natural Woman" was playing and I was singing. I looked up as I got to the chorus and the girl at the register was singing too, so we accidentally serenaded each other about the others ability to make us feel naturally feminine. I think, me and her, we had a moment. I'm just not sure what type of moment.

On leaving the girl brought out the coffees and everyone's banana bread. She asked me "Don't you wish you ordered the banana bread like your friends?"

I replied by saying "I have banana bread that they know nothing about."

I'm not sure she got the reference, but I had a good time.

I give this information to you know because I think it'll be a useful little titbit for my biography in years to come.

2/04/2009 02:30:00 pm

$30

Posted by Tom French |

I have $30 in my account.

I have no job.

I'm having a wonderful time.

I eat Thai, read books, paint furniture, watch DVDs, see friends, walk around Hornsby, listen to my iPod, sleep, mooch about on the internet.

You should all quit your job. It's great.


For all those of you who are worrying, I'm not actually $30 away from starvation, that's just my bank balance. Plus I should be getting more money soon from the old employer. They are notorious for being slow with money coming through, which is great because the longer I don't have it, the longer I am not spending it. Plus I am doing the job hunt, and have an interview next week. So don't you fret, and you don't need to turn up at my door with your left-overs and second hand food. I'm very happy right now.

2/01/2009 07:58:00 pm

Church

Posted by Tom French |

I went to visit a new church tonight. It's really close to home. It was nice walking three minutes and arriving at church.

I met some people. I got welcomed. There was a guy with an eye patch. I'm seriously considering making it my home church because who doesn't want to go to church with a guy with an eye patch?

Chances are, if I do stay, someone will read this and report back to the guy with the eye patch and he'll come and stick me with his cutlass or something. Not that I'm implying that all people with eye patches are pirates. Some of them are Evil Geniuses. Others were doing an eye test at the Optometrist and forgot to take the patch off, and now they're wondering why their depth perception is all out. But whatever the reason there's a good chance they've all got a sneeky cutlass hidden away ready to use at the slightest hint of trouble.

Anyway, I had a good time at church. I got welcomed nicely. There was a guy there who was in my youth group 7 years ago. That was nice to see. People invited me to Bible Study tomorrow night. I said I probably wouldn't go and I didn't give a reason. I feel like it's rushing into things you know? I don't believe in kissing on the first date. I don't believe in Bible Study in the first week. But then again, I may be brave and confident and turn up at a random person's house to do Bible Study with a bunch of people I've never met from a Church I've been to once. I may be that guy.

Anyway, that's my church report. Oh and I didn't have paint on my hands, I washed it off with turps. So I'm just boring, old, unhandy me.

2/01/2009 12:44:00 am

First Impressions

Posted by Tom French |

This day is Sunday (though I'm really still awake from Saturday) and I will go to church in the evening. It will be my first sojourn into the local church scene. I currently have paint in my hands and arms from painting my chest of drawers. I'm planning on doing another coat this afternoon. This means more paint on my person.

When I arrive at church in the evening people will see my painted hands and think "That guy is a handy man. That guy does stuff like paint and fix cupboards and cars and stuff." They'll be wrong, but I won't try and disabuse them of their assumptions. It'll be a long time before any one thinks I'm handy again, so I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

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