No To Noah

We suffered some cabin fever today, so we decided to go see a movie. The pickings were slim, and our choice boiled down to Noah or The Grand Budapest Hotel. We chose Noah because it was at a theater that was close to our house. We chose wrong — which just goes to show that you shouldn’t let theater location influence your movie selection.

I’ll say this for Noah — it’s long. Really, really long. It’s as tedious as that part of the Old Testament that goes into mind-numbing, repetitive detail about so-and-so begatting such-and-such. Most of the additional length comes from a weird effort to spice up the story of Noah and the ark from the Book of Genesis with a bunch of odd and disturbing plot devices. Sure, Noah’s got a wife and three sons, and there’s a flood, and evil mankind gets wiped out, but the similarities really end there.

This Noah was assisted by rock-like fallen angels called the Watchers, who helped him build the ark, fought off the wicked who tried to get on board when the rains came, and then returned to their original form as creatures of light when the attackers stabbed them often enough in the right place. And there was an evil guy who stowed away on the ark, too, then fought Noah in a pitched battle after the ark hit land. And two of Noah’s sons didn’t have wives, which led to all kinds of tension and plot twists. And Noah lets an innocent girl whose leg gets caught in a trap that Noah planted get trampled to death by a mob. And Shem’s wife has twin girls, and Noah has to decide whether the stab them to death because he thinks “the Creator” wants all humans to die. (Fortunately, Noah decides to let them live.)

What can I say? I’m not a religious person, and I’m not wedded to the notion that every biblical epic needs to star Charlton Heston. But when you start adding computer-generated rock-like angels to the story of Noah and the ark — apparently because every movie these days needs some kind of computer animation — and turn Noah’s family life into a troubled nest of psycho-drama, I have to question the whole point.

Working From Home

Increasingly large numbers of Americans work all or part of the time from their homes. Estimates and data on the precise number of at-home workers vary, but somewhere between one in ten and one in five Americans regularly perform work remotely.

IMG_5989Over the past month, as I recuperated from my foot surgery, on certain days I joined the crew of periodic work-at-homers so that I could try to keep my foot elevated. I picked my spots, and for days where I did not need to be physically present at the office I brought home a lot of work-related reading, participated in meetings by phone, and used a computer and smartphone just as I would at the office. I worked full days, with a lunch break, and got a lot of work done without a problem. The work was the same; the only difference was the location where it was being done.

As the stories linked above indicate, employers debate the merits of at-home work. One of the concerns some employers have raised is whether remote workers face too many distractions and therefore won’t be as productive. People who are successful working from home would respond that the key attribute needed is discipline. You go to your home work place, and once you cross that boundary you are at work until the work day is done and the boundary is crossed again. During my intermittent work-at-home days, distractions were not a problem. (Of course, being hobbled by a bandaged foot and crutches that kept me from moving around undoubtedly helped.) In fact, in some ways working in a solitary, quiet, at-home office involves fewer distractions than working at a bustling office, where your co-workers might want to bend your ear. Whatever the venue might be, you still need to resolve to get your work done.

I can see the attraction of working from home. You cut the commute time out of your day, don’t have to pay for parking, and don’t have to worry about your attire. I found that I ultimately missed being at the office, however. I was glad when my recuperation progressed to the point that I could return to the office and rejoin my co-workers.