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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel


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Southland Tales

Southland Tales was premiered at Cannes last night... and unfortunately the critics generally weren't impressed, although the exact level of awfulness seems to vary with what review you read. It's not the first film to have been critically mauled though that's then gone on to great things (although there's still the odd positive critique), but equally there are some films that receive a mauling and go nowhere. There's a clip from the film (that I wasn't too impressed by), some footage from the entrance to the cinema at Cannes, and the press conference at this link.

I guess only time will tell whether this is going to be a slow burning success like Donnie Darko, a more immediate success (it is or was struggling to find a US distributor, although it's been picked up for several other countries) or not much of a success. It's going to take some time to gather momentum with this odd release schedule, and several critics suggested a serious re-edit before theatrical release. I remember Moby, who wrote some of the soundtrack, saying that it would polarise people to love or hate it, a little like Donnie Darko did.

The Happiness Factor

Watched what I think was part 1 of the BBC's new series on happiness. Happiness is always a topic that fascinates me, as I'm a kinda zen hedonist (the pursuit of happiness/enlightenment?). Aren't we all though... well, most of us. I think I was fascinated ever since the topic was introduced in H2G2

The programme talked about the massive increase in wealth, and how there's been no increase in general happiness in the Western world (something I linked to before in a BBC article IIRC). It was also looking at how regardless of how much money we have we're always looking for something more, and the happiness gained from "stuff" is mostly fleeting. They gave an amusing example of buying a new car, and how when your neighbour drives up in a bigger new car you feel unhappy. Backed up by a further simple experiment.

There was also an interview with one of the biggest lottery winners in the UK. They also said that the happiness they obtained was relatively short, and then they just have to get on with life, albeit with a lot more money.

They interviewed an ex-banker from London, who had been earning megabucks. One day he just asked himself what it was all about, and how he wasn't getting any enjoyment from this life or job. So he moved with his family to a Scottish island and bought a farm. Now he earns about £20 a week, but is happier than he's ever been.

I watched the series with a critical eye though. I think people do get more from "stuff" than they used to, at least some. For sure there are some people who just get their high through purchasing, and not through using. But there are those who get long-lasting enjoyment from what they've bought. I think the key here is for people to try and move their focus away from "keeping up with the Jones's", and enjoying what they have and buy, or more importantly buying to enjoy. Also the lottery winners surely must have had the facility to do more now that they had the money, or maybe they just weren't deriving any enjoyment from what they did. If they weren't they need to look at how they're spending the money and their attitudes.

Anyway, I have another episode or two from UKNova. So I'm looking forward to watching those.

Torrents

For some reason Doctor Who Ep 6 hasn't appeared on UKNova, although the same provider has added other programmes since. So I've searched elsewhere and found it.

Work

I finally decided to post a new article series on the expat site, that is me trying to write semi-amusing events that happen to me in Brazil, in the form of a blog. It's unusual to get feedback from readers of the site, but I was glad to see a "Very funny blog entry on the feira. Keep them coming!" email today :-) I tried very hard to make it tongue in cheek and amusing, so at least it hit home with someone! I'm planning to write my next one on the fishing trip, and then perhaps another on my visit to shopping Patio Higienopolis.


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I liked the comment by JK Rowling regarding her recent riches, which was something along the lines of 'the biggest luxury they have provided her with is an absence of worry about bills'

Ah yes, I remember hearing that also. Perhaps money just removes those life worries, more than actually giving happiness? After all, there's always something to buy :-)

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