1.015 coffee, deskwork, movie

Tuesday, 12/17/2019

Met with Harriet at the PA Cafe to chat, mostly to hear about her trip in the Hurtigruten up the coast of Norway to Tromso to see Northern Lights.

Back home I tackled a stack of stuff on my desk. Paid a couple of bills. Called the bill-pay outfit to ask about Anthem (see 1.012). That service rep had no clue, “Call Anthem”. The Anthem rep couldn’t say what Bill Pay might be expecting, but said she uses a like service to pay her insurance, and notes that there is an option to simply define the name and address of the payee. She was right, and I recalled doing that at one time. So I did that, defined Anthem’s payment address to Bill Pay and ordered it to pay this payment of $20 right away. Hopefully it will go through.

Cleaned up several other minor paperwork items as well. After lunch, I actually did some writing on the novel. Not adding a lot, but expanding one key conversation to set up a plot point. Well, not nothing.

I had a ticket for Peter Jackson’s They Shall Not Grow Old, in 3D at the Century in San Mateo. Figured I would have supper somewhere near the theater, and so should leave about 5. When will I ever learn? Of course it took an hour to go the 10 miles from Palo Alto up 101 to San Mateo, so by the time I was at the theater it was 6:15 and no time for a restaurant meal. Fortunately the theater actually had fresh Pizza Hut pizzas, so that’s what I ate, sitting in the fine reclining lounge seat. As this was a “special event” there were no previews to watch, either. Not that I missed them.

I respected the movie for the fine technical work that went into it, converting shaky old 1915-era film to watchable, color, 3D images. And if you didn’t know a lot about the Great War, it would have provided a good historical intro, with a lot of realism of life in the muddy trenches, surrounded by corpses and rats. They had a voice-over script of the actual voices of veterans, describing their experiences, and selected the images to illustrate what the men were saying.

For my taste, it was a shallow introduction, mostly because I’ve been steeped in the week-by-week review of all fronts of the war in the Great War YouTube series. The movie was limited strictly to the British experience — reasonable, since the source material was all from the British War Museum — in France. Also, for narrative structure, they talked about joining up, then training, then life in the trenches, then one long sequence describing a typical battle, then the end of the war and going home.

What was lost compared to the video series was the understanding that the war was fought on multiple fronts, east, west, and south, by soldiers from a dozen nations; and that the British (and every other country’s men) didn’t fight just one great battle, but multiple battles large and small, back and forth over the same terrain over the span of the four years. Well. Not sure what they could have actually shown, and stayed in a two-hour film.

One silly little thing that stood out in all the lingering close-ups of the British soldiers? My gosh but the common Brit of that era had awful teeth! It was so noticeable that their teeth were in really bad shape, showed in every smile and grin.


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