Thursday, April 30, 2009


Technically speaking, I don’t need a real reason to justify my trip to the movies today. (Well, I write ‘today,’ but by the time you read this, it’ll be ‘yesterday,’ actually.) I was watching “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and I liked it.

I could justify why it had to be “Wolverine.” I could mention the action sequences – which were great – or the special effects – which were also great – or the story – which was good, too, although a little foreseeable every now and then. But, being a woman, I basically could stop at two words: Hugh Jackman. And I like him a lot as Wolverine.

I’m not a specialist on “X-Men” (basically the ‘I’ve just seen the movies and maybe read one or two comics’ person), but the movie cleared up a few things for me. It tells about Wolverine’s past (starting at the point when he uses his powers for the first time) and shows how he became that ‘I’ve got a skeleton made from the hardest metal known to mankind’ guy. I have to admit I did not know he’s been born somewhat around 1835 or so (‘cause the movie starts in 1845 and I’d say he was about ten at that time – and I mean 1845, not 1945). It also presents Striker for the first time (you know, that military guy from the second movie who wants all mutants eradicated or at least imprisoned) and explains their connection. We get a glimpse of Cyclops before he becomes Cyclops and we see Professor Xavier actually walking. In addition, the end of the movie explains why Wolverine/Logan can’t remember his past in the first “X-Men” movie. And we learn why he chose to be known as Wolverine in the first place.

So, was the movie worth the ticket price? Definitely. I enjoyed it, although I’m not that much of an action fan, mostly. But the fights and action sequences in the movie are done quite well, the characters are believable in their actions (and I like Gambit’s fighting style, that guy knows how to use a cane to make an impression). I did not miss the stars the movie was supposed to be missing for some critics. But then, I don’t go and see a movie just because someone’s in it (except perhaps Hugh Jackman or Johnny Depp…).

There’s also quite a bit of story behind it. Some parts are quite foreseeable. Other parts are not. The story heavily relies on the dynamics between Logan and his brother, both as a team and as adversaries. It also relies on the fact that Logan is far older than he looks and thus has seen far more of life than an average person (and doesn’t like flying…).

And the action? Well, the movie displayed some quite novel ways to use those claws Wolverine is famous for. There’s explosions, there’s fights, there’s big buildings being destroyed. But the movie does not rely on them. That’s something I still find quite remarkable about the movie (it was remarkable about “The Dark Knight,” too). It’s a good sign if a story is good enough to make you remember the quieter moments instead of the loud and blazing action.

If you like action, fights and a good story – or Hugh Jackman (or all of the above) –, the movie is definitely something you should consider. It’s not very ‘comic’ – there’s no superheroes in strange costumes. It’s definitely not a normal story, either – not with people surviving falls from great highs or unsheathing claws from the backs of their hands. But it’s not something you need a whole canon of comic knowledge for. Just get in, sit down and enjoy. (If you’re a woman, get in, sit down and enjoy a completely wet and naked Hugh Jackman escaping a high security military instalment and jumping down a deep waterfall…)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekend Update

Yes, even though I didn’t write one post this week (I wrote a lot, as it were, but no posts), I have found the time to write this weekend update.

  • DVDs to watch: “Lost Boys: The Tribe”, “St. Trinian’s” and “L’Auberge Rouge” (a French movie)
  • Books to read: “Senk ju vor träwelling” part 2 and a book about mind reading
  • Game to play: no real plan, probably “The Sims 2” or “Overlord” or some casual game

And, in addition, I will work on my story (nearing, as it were, page 100) and spent another week writing and relaxing.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Weekend Update

Surprise, surprise, there we are again with a weekend update! I’m getting my life back under control - or so it seems - and that means, getting this blog back on course again, too.

So, what am I going to do this weekend?

  • DVD to watch: second season of “Psych”
  • book to read: no real plan, but I’m browsing through “Telling lies for fun & profit” again
  • game to play: “Overlord”, if I get to it ... I love being the bad guy

Mainly I’ll be writing, though. I’m on to a story and it’s good.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Life is full of surprises, apparently. There’s the nice ‘expensive jewellery in your cupcake’ kind of surprise and the bad ‘poisonous spider in your shoe’ kind of surprise. (Also known as the ‘surprise visit by Count Olaf’ kind of surprise - sorry, I’ve been playing a “A Series of Unfortunate Events” custom game this weekend.)

I received a ‘poisonous spider’ surprise on Thursday - as I’ve already written. (I also received one of those on Sunday before Eastern, when my PC broke down.) Today I received the other kind, the ‘cupcake’ variety.

I basically went to work to tell my boss ‘I quit.’ Not that I don’t like my job - or my colleagues or my boss, they’re all okay. But I’m finished. I’m steps from a burnout syndrome, if I’m not already there. I thought that was the only way I could at least save some of my health.

My boss didn’t like it one bit, of course. He didn’t want to lose me - as I’m a good and reliant employee, it seems. Still, I was set on going through with it. Then I went over to the office in order to tell my colleagues goodbye. They didn’t want to let me go, either. And one of them had a good idea. They talked it over with me, then we talked it over with my boss and now it seems things will take a different course.

I stay at home this week, just as planned. Of course, it would have been better not to have had the stress I had with my decision this weekend. I’m probably going to stay home during the next few weeks, too - mostly on unpaid leave. I will recuperate, I’ll gather new energy and afterwards I will take it slower at the office for a while, go back to 30 hours a week, maybe 25. My boss will help me with this, as long as I stay.

This is a whole new experience for me. I’ve never worked in a company where I was appreciated like that. I was a call-center agent before. The bosses there basically give you the feeling that you should be honoured to work for ‘the coming thing’ - and probably bring money to work instead of expecting it on your pay check at the end of the month. It was a good feeling to see various people try their best so I could and would stay. And, of course, a great ego-boost, too...

The pest of temporal employment

We’re in the middle of a crisis and nobody wants to lose his or her job. That much is for sure. If that means drifting into temporal employment, then it has to be done. Really?

Even though I can’t say anything bad about my own temporal employment agency, I’ve had experiences enough. Usually, working for such an agency means lower pay than people who work directly for a company get. It also means being seen as someone lower up the ladder of the hierarchy. And it means, of course, that you never know how long you’ll be working somewhere.

All in all, working for a temporal employment agency is a rather uncertain affair. And it is something which more and more people in Germany get subjected to. In fact, there’s quite some companies which found their own agencies in order to put their workers into those agencies and then rent them back. That seems quite illogical, but it seems to work from a financial point of view.

At a time when the government wants more children, it makes the decision for people whether to become parents even harder. And politicians even claim that there is no other way...

Isn’t there? The global market just goes that far. There are jobs that can’t be taken to another, cheaper country. A lot of production has left Germany anyway. And some of them come back, because they realize that less pay might also mean less quality.

And there’s something we call the law. The government can make certain dealings of the companies illegal, if they decide it harms society. That’s why you create laws against something, because it harms society on the whole.

The German government could render any wages below the tariff contracts in Germany illegal. Then it would be punishable (by prison or a very hefty fine) to pay your employees less than the wages the unions and the representatives of the employers have agreed on. The government could render this ‘we found our own temporal employment agency and then rent our workers back for lower pay’-business illegal, too.

Admittedly, the employees could do more to fight for their rights, too. In France, our neighbouring country, trains will stand completely still if the employees of the transport company decided to go on strike. It’s not just a ‘this train station today, this train station tomorrow’-affair like they did it in Germany. We do not have a history for going on strike without any reservations - and the employers in Germany know that. Even that slightly half-hearted strike of the employees of the Germany train company was seen as a very strong threat against the employers - and the all-mighty employers broke down. (Because transport is indeed something you can’t outsource to China or Eastern Europe.) Imagine what would happen if employees in Germany acquired a reputation for going on real no-nonsense strikes to strengthen their position towards the employers.

But back to temporal employment. It an uncertain form of employment that harms - or at least threatens to harm - society. There are specific areas of employment where the temporal form has its use. As a replacement for someone on vacation - or a sudden sickness. As a boost during a very busy time. As a short-lived need for another employee. Or maybe, if it really needs to be, in order to preselect the applicants for a new job. But today, if you get a job via temporal employment, you’re going to stay in temporal employment. It’s not just the principle ‘we’ll find someone over temporal employment and after a while we’ll hire him or her for real.’ It’s the principle ‘we hire on temporal employment, pay the higher costs for it and will therefore be able to fire people at will - and it’s fashionable, too.’

This makes me so sick, I want to puke. Temporal employment the way it’s used these days is a pest, a disease that should be fought, not supported. But the government ignores it.