Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Shadow of the Past

That last post got me thinking about the person I was six years ago, and how some things have changed since then, and how some things haven't. But something else got me thinking about this time of year over the previous three years: namely, yesterday's release of the four-disc DVD version of The Return of the King.

The four-disc versions of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers were released earlier in the year back in 2002 and 2003, respectively. Late December was reserved for the theatrical release of each installment of the trilogy. So yesterday's release brought on memories of going to see all three movies.

Back in December 2001, the world - well, America, anyway - was still reeling from the September 11th attacks. A friend of mine from work and I arranged to go to see The Fellowship of the Ring on its opening night. (She and I eventually saw the movie together two more times, and I saw it a fourth time with another friend.) Burger King was running a promotion involving LOTR figurines that could be arranged together to form a complete circle around a figurine of the One Ring itself. Several of us drove ourselves nuts - and ate ourselves sick - trying to complete the set multiple times. Even now, an incomplete figurine set still adorns one of our offices, and we try to parcel out the remaining battery life sparingly - only allowing ourselves to make Legolas say "The Ring must be destroyed!" once a month or so.

December 2001 was a time of hope - hope for the potential of a budding relationship (which ultimately never came to fruition) and hope for the possibility that great work would yield great rewards - but it was also a time of pain. Namely, the pain of getting the top of my head stapled together after the friend I had seen the movie with and I were rear-ended while sitting in her car at a stop light by a hit-and-run driver two nights later. (This was also the night of The Bar Brawl, in which I was Very Brave. But that is a story for another time.)

The Two Towers I saw twice in December 2002, once with some friends who were living in Arlington, Virginia at the time, and once with another friend from work. There were no Burger King promotions this time, and I was slightly annoyed at the increasing number of liberties Peter Jackson was taking with the story. (There was only one elf at Helm's Deep, dammit, and his name was Legolas. And Wargs are giant wolves, not giant guinea pigs.) The movie was summed up at the Virginia theater by a man sitting near us who, at the end of the movie, stood up and declared "Man, that was one f__ked-up movie!"

December 2002 was a time of great effort at work, as we were pulling up stakes and relocating our DVD Compression/Encoding/Authoring business from our isolated building located in rustic downtown Olyphant, PA to a space tucked away inside our enormous CD/DVD production facility. There was a tremendous amount of hard work to be done in a very short time, and we did it all. Shortly thereafter, we were once again reminded that deferred rewards frequently fail to materialize at all, and that most of the time no good deed goes unpunished.

The Return of the King opened in December 2003. I saw it only once, with a group of friends. Two of them have since married each other, and two of them have divorced. Life goes on. The sound was atrocious due to a faulty speaker system, much to the annoyance of all of us but particularly to the Audio Engineer in our group. We sat through the movie, but at the end he went off to speak to the Manager, who nodded politely and proceeded to ignore his complaints.

December 2003 was setting the tone at work for the year that was to follow. "Planning" and "Scheduling" became dirty words, and our lives became a desperate attempt to fulfill arbitrary promises being made by people who had no hand in actually keeping them. More hard work, more great sacrifices, and by the end of the next month, through no fault of their own, 1/3 of our staff was gone.

I wonder how I will remember December 2004?


Anonymous said...

so what you're trying to say is life is depressing like lord of the rings? i think the christmas with the kranks trilogy will be better anyway.

Lisa said...

Funny how quick life goes by, I'm sitting here nodding as I read your blog, saying "I remember that" I remember you telling me about hitting your head was it on the dashboard? I can't believe we've 'known' each other that long.

D.B. Echo said...

Actually, I wasn't sure at first what had cut my scalp open. It was a neat slice at the top left and slightly to the back of my head. I thought maybe I clipped the rearview mirror after I jacknifed upon impact and I was being yanked back by the seatbelt (or, more precisely, the rest of the car was catching up with the point in space I was now occupying.) But when we looked at the car a week or two later, that scenario didn't fit. I recreated the physical notions of the accident and realized that what had cut me was a seam in the plastic fabric of the headrest. My body came back with such force (the seat pushed against me with such force - it's all frames of reference, you know) that I bent the seat backwards. The skin of my scalp probably forced itself into the fabric seam and got cut. Yow. Thank goodness for seatbelts, or I would have been right through the windshield.

To the first commenter: Naah, I'm just giving snapshots of the decay of things at work that coincide with the release dates of the three LOTR movies. I have a special sort of memory that allows me to remember events exactly one year later with a great deal of detail, so these things are at the forefront of my mind right now.

Anonymous said...

christmas with the kranks can cause head injury too