Category Archives: boss or manager

Baldwin Wallace site: 2015 International Film Series

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You better believe I was excited to be asked by my sister in law,

Susan who is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace University to attend

two of the many diverse international films shown over this

past weekend. The series was held from February 6 – 14th.

The two movies were so disparate they don’t even seem to

belong in the same world we live in. One was more factual

and sad in its depiction of culture, class structure and society.

The other was one that left you feeling strong, independent

and yet vulnerable to feelings about relationships. Both had

a similar thread of how choosing the ‘right path in life’ can

make a difference in life’s outcomes.

 

The Chinese film was called, “Tian Zhu Ding,” which translates as

“A Touch of Sin.” There were four ‘acts’ with true stories embedded

within the plot. The news stories were results from tragic incidents.

The film ends by circling back to a few of the main characters. Each

individual portrayed a character who either committed violence or

were affected and changed by the actual happenings.

 

The countryside setting in the beginning of the movie displayed

beautiful snow-capped mountains and the outside of a coal mine.

There are many struggling people in this remote town. Someone

is offended, and ultimately angered, by the owner of the mine.

You do not find out until another section of the movie how far

this man will go as he takes out his revenge.

 

Part of this true story includes two men being shot and killed

going down the mountain on their motorcycles. It looks to the

observer to be a possible ‘hit job.’ I think this part of the first

story gives the viewer the sense of,  “Life is futile.” This random

act of violence against the two men just made this section of the

film feel more desolate.

 

The town tries valiantly to display a friendly and positive reception

for manager and his wife. A noisy, discordant band, cheerleader-like

people wearing costumes and one loud, angry and discontented man

await the arrival of the mining company boss, who is also part of the

royal family. The main problem making the miner seethe and stew

is that if the family can afford a plane which arrives on the runway

where the gathering is prepared to entertain them, then he feels the

manager should pay the workers better. The disparity between the

classes seem to be the root and meaning behind this part of the film.

 

Later after the film, there was a reception where one of Baldwin

Wallace University professors said they do have unions in China.

She speculated possibly not in the rural provinces, though.

 

The small town’s welcoming committee and reception is declared

over by the manager and the crowd disperses. There were a few

people who shook hands with the manager and tried to ingratiate

themselves with him. His wife doesn’t shake hands but smiles and

appeared aloof. The royal manager of the coal mine ends up beating

the upset man with only his wife and his pilot as witnesses. This

is due to his having embarrassed the royal manager by expressing

his disapproval of the way the mine was managed.  Being ‘called out’

by a subordinate on his wealthy habits in front of the group threw

him into a rage.

 

This poor soul is so badly injured he must go to a hospital.

 

The second story is one where the injured, malcontent man visits

a woman who he has loved since he was young. You can see from

their facial expressions how much they care about each other. She

has been married for some time. She stops preparing dinner and

leaves one of her sons in the kitchen doing his homework. The

film never shows the two in any of unfaithfulness. The viewer

assumes it is unrequited love.  It appears they have never followed

through with a physical affair. The woman won’t leave her husband

but does explain to the man she has known her whole life that she

has loved him since young. She would go with him, if only he would

change. She says he will never amount to anything, only in Chinese

translated into English subtitles.

 

There is a possible theme of redemption in the beginning of this

story. The audience may feel there could be hope for this man who

is distraught and not taken seriously in his coal mining job. It seems

like the man is thinking about changing his ways. He does have a

wife, it is revealed and she is going to have to live with the haunting

vengeful acts he chooses to commit.

 

Unfortunately, he is angered by this hardened  position of his

childhood sweetheart. He goes on to commit atrocities, killing

more than four people. The scene where he gets his rifle and goes

to the royal palace is almost unbelievable. It made me feel like I

was watching a Quentin Tarantino film. This true news story is

not given a date or time but the review and article about the film

describe this as an actual murderous series of events.

 

The married woman in this story will re-appear in the fourth story.

 

The third story is one with a couple of young people. The central

character in this ‘act’ is one young man who is trying to get out

of the coal mining town. He has a friend he contacts using his cell

phone, who affirms there are more jobs in the big city. The friend

upon his arrival calls a man who comes to pick him up in a fancy

car. He is taken to a place of entertainment where young people,

both men and women, are given costumes to wear.

 

They are paraded in front of potential ‘buyers’ of their ‘human wares.’

One strange element is a shortened version of an Army uniform with

the bellies of the young girls displayed and they do ‘march in’ and

the visitors sit on rows of couches ogling them.

 

The clients may buy ‘time’ with the youths or buy ‘acts’ performed,

(implied but not seen.) This becomes sad since the two attracted to

each other, spend time while they have a day off from work. They try

to act like a normal couple on a date. There are smiles and moments

where you have the belief, or hope this may be the first happy ending

of the three stories shown so far. They spend time looking at things at

a local market, see statues of Buddha the young woman is interested

and the ‘boy’ purchases one about a foot tall.  They go to a parking lot,

where they sit in someone else’s car, kissing while the Buddha is shown

left on the hood of the car as rain begins to fall upon the windshield.

There are symbolic meanings to several parts of each story.

 

The girl reluctantly tells the young man she has a three year old

daughter. She poignantly express when you work in the ‘sex trade’

you really don’t believe in love anymore. Her mother is raising the

little girl.

 

This ends the first half of the 3rd story. . .

 

There is another young woman who is working in a public sauna.

This place is where sexual favors can also be bought. She is ‘only a

receptionist’ she tries to explain her employment position three

times to a couple of men who are trying to persuade her to engage

in paid sexual favors.

 

Both these stories come to violence. In the first one, the young

man throws himself over a balcony many stories high in the city.

He had just gotten off the phone with his mother complaining he

had not sent money since he left the coal mine. You sense he had

hoped to find a good job and make enough money to send home

to support his mother. This compounded with the disenchantment

with the city, the reality and rejection of the young girl sends him

into making his final choice.

 

The second story in this section of the movie, has the accosted

young woman lashing out with a knife and attacking, defending

herself against the two male potential rapists. The word, “no” and

slamming the door three times against them did not stop their

attempts to change her mind.

 

Once the man is bloody with several stabs into his chest and arms,

the other man runs away. She leaves the establishment in bloody

clothing and is seen wandering out on the road leaving the city in

the dark.

 

The last story shows the woman from story number two having

left her husband to become a ‘preacher,’ in the form of a street

performer. She must have decided the violent rampage of her

childhood love was a turning point. There aren’t any explanations

for the film’s character’s actions.

 

Sometimes, there was silence in many scenes.

Conversation seemed more to move the pieces of each story

along rather than connect people together.

 

The performance play has a religious revival tone to it. The main

female entertainer is asking members of the audience to come

forward and ask for forgiveness. The message in this seems to be,

‘Your actions will help you to find your path in life.’

 

The wife of the disgruntled coal miner who killed the royal couple

(who also managed the coal mine) in their palace is present. Along

with the young woman from the sauna. She had just come from a

“Fortune 500”  company (displayed on the sign by the tables of

job interviewers). In this scene, the young girl has shorter hair,

wearing a simple outfit. This is not thread bare, but the attitude

of the female interviewer shows disdain towards her. She didn’t

have the necessary qualifications, both educational and experience,

to get the position. She walks dejectedly with her head looking at

the sidewalk out of the building and heads towards a park.

 

Following the sound of the play leads the unemployed woman to

come across a performance upon a small stage set up in the park.

 

There is a feeling of hope amongst the participants in the play.

Their exuberance is catchy and they seem to impart a purpose to

their presentation. Several aimless people have wandered upon

the colorful scene.

 

The city onlookers listen to the motivational messages given.

Those who have felt like life has become too daunting and

overwhelming. It ends with an open-ended optimistic sense

of well being.

 

I would say the fourth story’s theme is about redemption.

 

This Chinese film was every bit as violent as any of ones made

in the United States. I had a preconception that it would show

resolutions made and more detailed explanations given for the

intense situations in the four stories. The outline of the plot lets

the viewer know there will be “four shocking and true events.”

 

The way the stories are ‘strung together’ doesn’t make it easily

understood.  If you don’t play close attention, it might be hard

to determine each character as they are not always wearing any

distinguishing clothing.

 

If I had been at home watching this on a DVD, I would have

rewound it more than once.

 

If any movie is possible to remind you of this film to one of ours,

I would say, “Crash.” That film took several story lines where they

converge into situations. Characters were loosely drawn and then

acted and reacted to the events in each movie. This Chinese film,

“A Touch of Sin,” is reminiscent of the way lives unravel and

become disconnected.

 

The director named Jia Zhangke has written and directed two

other films that a reviewer considered, “Masterpieces.”  They are

called, “The World” and “Still Life.”

 

A movie reviewer for the magazine, “The New Yorker,” Richard

Brody says, “This is one of the best and most important directors

in the world.” In a brochure for the film festival, others label it as

“daring,” “poetic” and leading the country of China, after the real

life crimes, into a period of “self-examination.”

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese reception with various dishes of

noodles with vegetables, sushi rolls, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

There were some kind of custard wrapped desserts which some of

us wondered if this were a contribution of ‘cannolis’ representing the

Italian food.

 

Since the last movie we saw was from Italy.

 

I listened and was humbled by deep thoughts the Chinese movie

drew out of professors and visitors.

*I would not recommend watching this powerful movie due to its

feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Here are a series of thoughts I wrote down before I compiled

this into a ‘review’ on “A Touch of Sin:”

1.  A diabetic injects himself with insulin and proceeds to eat

noodles.

2.  The only two pieces of art work were a beautiful Tiger and

the Mother Mary holding Jesus. The costumes of the band

players and the different plays within the film were gorgeous.

3. Taking justice into his own hands, the one who was beaten

by the royal who managed the coal mines, was accompanied

by waving a wall hanging of a tiger over his rifle.

4. Discontent/Dissent/Inequality of the masses was a recurring

theme throughout the film.

5. A “Fortune 500” company is in the 4th section of the film

and it is titled, “Oasis of Opportunity.”

6. The three languages spoken in China are given as Mandarin,

Shanghai and English.

7. Everyone, at every level in the film, has a cell phone and

modern technology is apparent throughout despite poverty

in the mining village.

8. The scene with a man whipping his horse was upsetting.

9. Taking justice in their own hands seems to be the way

those who felt their lives were unfair was their only way

of equalizing their lives.

10. Smoking occurs in buses, trains, restaurants and hotel

rooms.

11. Men dress as women to entertain in the fourth story.

12. The movie left me feeling very dissatisfied and discontent.

*No violence was taken on my part.

 

 

“Viaggio Sola” is called, “A Five Star Life.” It actually is not the

same meaning as the Italian title would be, “Traveling Alone.”

This is a fun spirited Italian movie about a woman who is one

of those ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘customers’ to elegant and formal

hotels around the world. The time she is in an Asian country

watching on the veranda a lovely belly dancer while sipping wine

and looking across at a man also a guest at the hotel is an example

of escaping reality.

Her own apartment is sparingly decorated.  Her sister is married

and has two girls. Her brother-in-law plays for the Italian symphony.

She takes her nieces out to eat once in the movie, along with making

reservations of adjoining rooms for their accompanying her on a

special trip.

The girls like checking the mattress for bed bugs, counting towels

and the other parts of the reoccurring list the women orally goes

over as she types the answers into her laptop.

The girls ‘act up’ and use toilet paper in the bathtub which brings

out the character’s lack of understanding children’s impulses. She

yells briskly at the girls, which later one of them can’t go to sleep

and ‘wants to go home.’

The voice over narrator throughout this film is telling the elements

of a proper “5 star” place.

There are amusing times when the main character is disembarking

from a trip to greet a good guy friend at the airport,  where she offers

to ‘cook dinner,’ which he makes a disdainful expression which is

comical, like a, “You know you don’t know how to cook!” look.

While at his apartment, you notice he has candles and nice cooking

utensils as he prepares her a meal.

 

There are a few monkey wrenches thrown into the Italian film’s

plot line, which I won’t reveal because I do recommend this film.

 

It is beyond the simple story drawn here. It is not at all negatively

completed as the similar George Clooney film, “Up in the Air” was.

That movie ending was quite disconcerting, since I saw a future in the

romance being shown between George’s character and an airline

hostess.

 

In the Italian film, “A Five Star Life,” you will see gorgeous scenes of

the following international cities:  Paris, France, Gstaad, Morocco,

Berlin, Germany and China. Each has lavish hotels and delicious meals

displayed to wish you were the person hired to critique and be pampered.

 

 

 

Holograms and “Ghosts”

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Malfunctions in different work areas can annoy me, slow me down

and also, sometimes create ‘havoc!’ In the zone I was filling my

orders at the warehouse today,there was a ‘ghost!’

I would go to push a button out (they have a light and a Pick #

on them) and the light would ‘flicker’ and go out! Huh?!

Before I actually pressed it! I felt like I was going a little

crazy, since it would then light the next ‘pick’ and just as my

arm went to grab the parts, trying to ‘beat’ it from going out,

the ‘ghost’ would push me forward to the next pick.

I stopped my Filipino friend, Felda, who was in the next zone,

asking her to come and verify what was going on. Unfortunately,

for my sanity’s sake, she was not able to see it happening from

her side of the conveyor belt.

I hurried to the office, telling our order filling ‘clerk,’

Danielle, about my ‘ghost’…

She replied, “That happens when Don is over there! Log off

and try to re-start your picks and I will call Jeff, our

‘systems guy.'” (Well, at least Danielle didn’t think I

was ‘loony tunes!’)

I logged off, scanned my two labels and found the same

frustrating thing going on. I logged off, wrote the time

down and started to sweep, pick up trash and ‘kill’ time.

You never want to be caught doing ‘nothing’ at our

warehouse! (We hand in ‘records’ of our time used, called

time sheets, so what I was then doing was using ‘Indirect

Time.’

Shortly, Jeff arrived and watched the ‘ghost’ firsthand.

He validated my crazy moments with a big dose of reality.

It would take him almost 40 minutes to figure out how to get

the system to stop this ‘ghost!’

By the way, this is how serious ‘Indirect Time’ is, my boss’

boss, Mike, came running down my zone after about 15 minutes,

catching me bending over and getting dusty, fallen parts and

putting them back where they belonged. He told me to,

“Make sure you write this down under the heading, “Cleaning,”

for ‘Indirect Time.'” Apparently, we have Big Brother on the

other end of our system, and big warning, flashing lights

must go off when Robin may be “Dilly-dallying!”

As I was sweeping, I thought about Angela An, on CBS Channel

10 this morning. She said that she thought the part of the

Billboard Music Awards Show, where Michael Jackson danced

with others, as a hologram, was “Creepy.” That is the word

this female broadcaster used.

I reflected how it makes me feel very warm, fuzzy, and happy

when I watch my Dad’s VHS tape of him following my two young

children and me, while holding my six month old youngest at

the Lancaster, Ohio Rising Park. I love the way he is walking

while holding the camera, so it jiggles. I also laugh at his

little comments to the camera, as he is gazing at my children

on what we used to call the “Rock and Roll.” It was like a

big metal barrel, sideways, where about six children, using

their weight could rock the barrel back and forth. It would

make me dizzy, just watching it! It would make me dizzy,

watching it on this tape. (It had been transformed or

transferred to a DVD, thanks to my good friend’s husband.)

Anyway, I thought of Michael Jackson’s family, they must have

felt their chests fill with pride while watching this Awards

Show! I imagine that it made them smile, thinking a bit of

him was ‘still here on Earth.’

I feel blessed and lucky to watch the only tape my Dad took

of the kids at a park. There is another short segment (filmed

at a different time) of my youngest daughter while her older

brother (age 3) and older sister (age 5) were playing on the

Vermilion Showse Park’s gym set. She is looking inside an old

lunch box which has Raggedy Ann and Andy on it, taking out

some little kitchen items in and out, that my Mom had put in

there. The half and quarter cups and the metal measuring spoons

clattered and made noise when the ‘baby’ would close the

lunch box shut and shake it up.

My Dad is using a lilting, ‘baby talk’ voice while trying to

get her to look up. He is trying his best to capture this

precious moment in Time. Watching this, listening to his voice,

gets me teary-eyed. I love the way he is saying her name,

repeating it until my youngest looks up at him and grins.

She is concentrating so hard, on the ‘task at hand!’

Hearing my Dad’s voice floating across time and space gives me

a combination of comfort and brings me sadness, too. I wish

he could have seen my youngest graduate from college. Been here

to see how the others are today. Grown and having families.

This is exactly how I feel about Michael Jackson’s Hologram.

I feel wistful and happy, for his siblings, mother, father

and especially his children. That his music and his image is

captured in ‘videos’ (oh, I mean film!) and this Hologram shown

last night. I don’t imagine that is was at all “Creepy” to them!

The other famous people who have utilized Holograms, include

Natalie Cole singing with her deceased father, Nat King Cole,

to me, showed the transcendence of time. I think it is beautiful

to see father and daughter, transported to a place where they

can sing together.

I don’t consider that “Creepy,” either. I love the combination

of both their voices singing a duet, that without the taped

image of Nat King Cole and his fine voice, a daughter and her

father couldn’t have sung this special and sweet song:

“Unforgettable” is so lovely as a duet reproduced in 1992.

Just to remind you, Nat King Cole died in 1965. If they

had not been able to use technology, his daughter would

not have been singing, as an adult, with her father. I am

very amazed and marvel at this ability to combine both

their beautiful voices together. I enjoyed this when it

came out, then again today, listening to their harmonizing.

It would be like Elvis singing with his daughter, Lisa Marie.

I would embrace this duet, as I do Natalie’s and Nat’s.

Here is a list that my table of coworkers collaborated with me,

to make. It includes, images, faces and full body poses of

famous people who have been videotaped, filmed or otherwise

duplicated by using other amazing ‘tricks of the trade’ to

create commercials or print advertisements.

1. Marilyn Monroe, (for perfume or cologne)

2. Audrey Hepburn, (in magazines for jewelry, recently a lookalike

in a television advertisement.)

3. Elvis (and his lookalikes, too.)

4. “Singing in the Rain” trio, Gene, Debbie and Donald.

5. The Three Stooges.

6. Laurel and Hardy.

7. Superheroes for advertising. (Maybe this could be ‘Creepy?’)

Have you noticed any deceased famous people featured in commercials?

How do you feel about Michael Jackson’s Hologram?

Conundrums in Life

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I think having been raised mainly during our

country’s seventies period of civil disobedience,

fighting for civil and women’s rights, I tend to

question authority. Having spent some time in my

life, generally acting like a ‘hippie,’ I tend to

not do well under authoritative bosses.

Our boss, held a big meeting about safety last week.

We convened in the largest ‘conference’ room with

both heavy bulk and the bin order fillers together.

This is rare, since we all have divergent focuses

and different ‘dangers’ attached to our jobs. We

also, traditionally during the past five years of

my employment, been ‘at odds’ with one another.

My safety concerns are protecting my body from

lifting and pushing hampers on lines or pushing

a cart filled with hampers. I also am not too

crazy when they stock things far above my head

that are heavier than ten pounds. I am fine,

using my ‘lifting pose’ with my legs apart and

using their muscles to heave fifty pounds up

onto the rollers or onto a cart, from waist-high

shelving or lower.

As we entered the room, we had lined up, written our

names on lined sheets with complicated information

that I noticed some of the employees needed to check

their name tags for. Two forms of identification,

which include a four digit number, mine is easy to

remember: 2347 and then, a longer ‘code’ which is

367650. The second one, sometimes with six numbers

catches some of our simpler minded people or older

ones. That ‘job’ completed, we sat on metal folding

chairs with a pencil and a ditto. Some use their legs

to answer the questions before we even watch any type

of movie. I laughed and elbowed my friend, Tammy,

because as soon as the lights went out, one of the

older guys leaned back and fell promptly asleep!

His name is Vincent and I always call him, “Vince”

or his whole name, but there are some who call him

“Vinnie” which always makes me giggle, thinking of

Vinnie Barbarino. Yes, that tells you what kind

of silly stuff I used to watch; “Welcome Back,

Kotter.” (John Travolta was cute in those days!)

That made me ‘wax nostalgic,’ for a few moments.

Nothing like the lights going out, to get you

daydreaming!

Then, the different crises situations were played

out, like if someone would somehow pass the guards

and have a weapon, what we were supposed to do.

Then, if someone’s mood or attitude had recently

changed, we were told to mention this to our

supervisor, as this is “suspicious behavior.”

Anyway, you can imagine the variety of about 35

minutes of such situational choices and procedures

were shown in this safety movie to us.

When we were finished, there was time to fill out

and complete your questionnaire. Our boss asked us

if we had any concerns or safety issues.

Since practically everyone likes to take time away

from work, a deluge of inane comments and questions

began. I raised my hand, since one of the examples

given of “terrorism” was for an infiltrator, within

the work force, to get in an area where combustibles

were stored. Possibly then, due to anger or depression,

catch the explosive materials on fire.

I had a question,

“Why has there been a black garbage bag covering our

exit sign in the ‘bomb shelter?’

(This is the all concrete room, where pallet riders

pick up cases of aerosol paints and other flammable

car products below where I sometimes am placed. This

area above the riding equipment area is called the

‘Aerosol Room.’) I mentioned that Nick and Corey,

heavy bulk men, had also noticed this. It also has a

sign that says, “Do not use this exit” anymore.

“How, if there is a fire or an explosion will we

make it to the front, where the door is, or the back

of the building, where the docks are?”

The manager smiled and jotted this down, saying,

“We will check on this and thank you for bringing

this up.”

Another person raised their hand and asked,

“When are they going to move the carbuerators

and other heavy things from the top shelf in

the Mezzanine? That should be considered a

‘safety issue’ since they could fall on our

heads or strain our back and shoulders.”

The manager again smiled, nodded his head,

saying,

“This has been brought up before and I will

refer the question, in an email memo, to the

cycle count and stocking people. Are there any

more questions?”

I gave you the only two that were pertinent to

my life, that were not just plain ‘stupid.’

A conundrum, typically, has a puzzle or a twist.

It is sometimes a complicated problem. I have

something more to tell you.

I decided on last Friday, racing around on our

half day, trying to beat Melvin and Tammy in

our best “TGIF” attitude, to write down on a

piece of paper, any products that I had to

climb the attached ladder on my cart to the

top and grab a heavy or awkwardly sized item.

I turned in about twenty products in a neatly

printed list, with their location numbers to

my boss. He told me he was going to pass it

on to his boss’ boss, Ted.

Yesterday, Ted came up to me, telling me that

many of my locations did seem to have heavy

products but they were not going out too often.

This meant, he said, that their frequency of

outgoing products did not meet the demand of

moving them. I asked if they could be moved to

the floor or second shelf level instead of the

sixth shelf. I could not (honestly) understand

why it mattered how often they went out, if

they were too heavy to hold above your head,

while climbing back down the cart’s ladder.

He also followed me to an area that I told

him and gave him two more items, that were

dangerous. They were metal couplings with

‘nipples’ on each end, looked like little

mufflers. I said that the way they were

stocked they were dangerous, as you needed

to pull them forward in bin boxes, which

given a little extra tug, come crashing

on your head!

I got dramatic,

“They are like missiles, Ted! I can see

eyes gored out or head injuries.”

This morning, Thursday, Ted came to our

morning start-up meeting, where we get our

numbers for the day, how many hours we will

working and perform our warm-up exercises.

While we were doing exercises, Ted told us,

“You are NOT to give me any more lists of

items, that were not dangerous due to low

frequency of picking.”

Several of my tablemates rolled their eyes,

raised their eyebrows or otherwise indicated

they knew he was talking about me and worried

how I would react. I was quiet at lunch and I

was silent as I drove to the library and here

is my rant:

Why ask us for our opinions if you don’t want

to know the questions! And you don’t really

want to fix the problems!

Wonder whether that dummy took the black garbage

bag off the EXIT sign yet, if the door is fixed

and we have a proper exit in case of espionage?

Ha! Wouldn’t it serve him right if I called the

Fire Inspector?!