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Monday, February 26, 2001

I finally saw Billy Elliot yesterday. Suzanne was free, because John went to the XFL game at Pacific Bell Park. I was free because, well, I'm always free. So we went to the Rialto, where the film has been playing since it opened.

All the ads and trailers have made it seem like a dance movie, and it is that. The dancing, most of it by the young star Jamie Bell, is breathtaking. He brings such exuberance to the sheer physicality of the dance that you can't help being swept along by his enthusiasm.

But it's more than a stock story about a boy with a dream. It's also a period piece, set in the mid eighties in the north of England during a miners' strike (with appropriate music, by T Rex and the Clash). It's a family saga, portraying the emotions of a child coming to grips with the death of his mother, the rejection of his father and the animosity of his brother.

And it's a gentle tale of acceptance. Numerous characters, vivid in their diversity, are brought to life on the screen, and the audience is continually treated to surprising epiphanies, as we see how people can relate to one another in unexpected ways. The film features standout performances all around, but Bell and the Oscar-nominated Julie Walters as his dance teacher are magnificent.

All in all, definitely better than Gladiator.

Last night I got around to voting for the diarist.net awards. On the last day, as always. I've been reviewing the entry finalists over the last week, so I knew which way I was going with most of my votes. Most of the choices were difficult, but I had the hardest time in the Outstanding Entry category. All of the nominees are exceptional.

So today's recommendations at the bottom of this page will be all three nominees (at least one of which I have linked to here before). All are worth reading, for very different reasons.


The Boss's girlfriend is in Texas for a few days, and I miss her. I've met her only once in person, several years ago, but what I miss is her influence on the Boss. When she's around, he doesn't concentrate so much on work. Especially my work.

When she goes away, the Boss works all weekend. I can tell by the faxes he sends me every time he gets an idea. He's created a set of rules in his head. They make sense to no one but him, but they say that it's all right to bother me on a weekend as long as he doesn't use the phone. So I get notes, night and day, about whatever is on his mind.

When he doesn't have anyone in the same room to talk to (bully, berate, belittle), he'll pick up the phone and call me more often during the work day. He knows I won't tolerate being treated the way he treats Julie, though, and I can't explain why she lets him get away with it.

But he does have a lot to say. Every thought he has must be expressed.

It doesn't work the other way. He doesn't want to know what I'm thinking. He told me when he hired me that if there's a problem, he doesn't even want to know about it. He just wants it handled. It's hard to work that way, because he doesn't know half of what I do to keep him from being bugged by trivia.

He's the kind of person who's distracted by petty problems and loses sight of the bigger picture. He can't concentrate on getting us new work if a questionable phone bill is on his mind. He can't do any estimating if he comes across a credit card statement and doesn't remember every charge he's made. He forgets all his engineering skills as soon as he finds an hour's discrepancy on someone's time card.

So I do my best to keep him fully informed and out of the loop at the same time. I try to make every piece of paper he reviews as clear as possible, even if that means leaving out some information. That way he can glance at it, toss it away, and get on with business. It's tedious work, but it keeps me from having to do it over and over until he's finally satisfied.

It's a bizarre relationship we have. I almost never see him. He's hundreds of miles away, and even when he travels into the area he doesn't want to take the time to meet with me.

He trusts me completely, and yet he insists on seeing copies of every check I write. Even checks for bills he's approved must be copied and mailed to him. I also make raw lists of check numbers, so that he can cross off the checks he's seen. When he forgets to cross off a number, he'll send me a note asking about that check, and I have to look it up and report back to him.

He says I create the best cost reports he's ever seen. And yet, when he sees the same checks he's already crossed off his list appearing as costs on a report, he has second thoughts, or lapses of memory, and wants another accounting of the bills paid on a particular job. So I have to look up those old invoices and make copies for his review.

I'll be glad when Julie gets back. When he doesn't have a keeper, or at least a distraction, his micromanaging gets even more intense than usual. He exhausts me, but at least this makes me fully appreciate the distance between us. If it weren't for that, I'd never get any work done. Either that, or I'd have strangled him years ago.

Come to think of it, maybe that's why Julie lit out for Texas for a few days.

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Latest recommendations:

Jenna, Internity, Faith

Robyn, Bitchypoo, I Will

Saundra, Headspace, Straight Dope from a Bi Chick

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I sit down with tigers, I sit down with lambs,
None of them know who exactly I am.