Another film review


Tower Bridge, London © P J Croft 2008, 2014

As a change of pace, I must mention a film I watched a couple of nights ago.  Babel *

You probably know that I hate most American movies.  Too much US centrism, too little realism, too overblown, too much reliance on special effects, about as subtle as a road roller.  But this one is an exception, probably because it was made by a Mexican director and Mexican writer.  It stars Brad Pitt which is probably why I thought it was US made, but Cate Blanchett is his co-star, so that makes up for it.

Anyway, rarely have I seen a film which interweaves three story lines so skilfully.  It kept me intrigued as the links between them were slowly revealed.  A lot of it is foreign language (Arabic, Spanish, Japanese) with subtitles but you hardly need the dialogue to know what’s going on.  The dialogue is minimal a lot of the time, relying on the action.

Apart from Pitt and Blanchett (who doesn’t have a lot to do or say, but is superb anyway), all the actors are locals or unknowns, and it’s all the better for it.  Set in Morocco, Tokyo and Tijuana, it feels authentic and doesn’t rely on any effects or stupidities.

I read the reviews afterwards and it was made in 2005 and figured in a couple of awards, winning an Oscar for best original music score.  That surprises me, because I can’t remember any music in the film apart from the location sound.  I’ll have to look at it again.

That’s the point. Very rarely do I want to watch a film again, especially a US one, but this one I will, probably sooner rather than later.  I give it high marks.  Babel.

( * Tower Bridge, Tower of Babel, geddit?)


About six months ago I made a mistake and accidentally messed up the time line of my Japan slideshow.  I made the show in about 2004 and spent at least six months on it, then another two months in 2012 redoing the captions and other parts and changing the music.  (This was for a woman who’d lost her disc but wanted another copy for a friend who was going to Japan in about three months. After I’d done all the work and said I had the new version for her, she said her friend went a month before and she didn’t want it any more. No apology, not the slightest sign that she understood she’d got the dates wrong or understood how much effort I’d made. She just brushed me off.  Thanks a lot. I learnt a lesson from that.)

Recently I wanted to do some more on it, but in a thoughtless moment, saved a new bare show over the top of the original.  Aaaarrrgh.  I thought I’d lost it.

But yesterday I discovered I did have a good copy in my backup files.  Oh joy!  I had to move some files around to get it to load up again, but now I’ve got it all back again.  This time I’ll ensure I have a good backup stored externally.

Now for some more freshening up with better captions and another change of music to royalty free music, so that I can distribute it without fear of copyright infringement.

Dammit, this is a good show!  Each time I look at it I think how much work went into it and how good it looks.  The photos are from 1992, but you wouldn’t know.  Being Japan, it’s all timeless and of lasting beauty and interest.


I started fast acting insulin yesterday.  This is on top of the slow acting 24 hr insulin I’ve been on since February.  That was making a big improvement, but my BGLs were still spiking up too high after meals and not coming down fast enough.

This is a rapid acting version that you inject at mealtimes, just 4 units.  The other slow one has been reduced from 60 units to 50.  It’s easy to inject – no more than a mosquito bite, and I don’t feel anything else.  I’m graphing (spreadsheeting) all the readings and the graphs have been on a persistent downward slope, but with lots of upward spikes within a day.  Let’s hope those spikes smooth out.

I can’t help thinking how good is the process these days.  A small electronic meter with LCD readout, using disposable test strips to do blood glucose readings at any time.  Disposable pens with precisely calibrated markers for dosages. Disposable, single use needles only 6mm long, so fine you hardly feel a thing.  Long acting 24hr insulin, and faster acting stuff as well in pens.

Grandma Arnold was an insulin dependent diabetic in the 1950s and I always remember the smell of methylated spirits in her bedroom. She had to swab the injection site before using a steel and glass needle to inject herself.  She would never have known what her glucose readings were. There was no way of measuring except in a lab in a hospital, so it would have been hit and miss.  Technology has made it all so easy and precise now.  Thanks to electronics, mainly.


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