Jen and I had an interesting discussion on problems. As in, “What do you think your problem is?” It’s not an easy question to answer, or to admit to another person. I figured I have a few. Jen figures I have a few more, which I don’t particularly consider problems. For instance, I like to have minor things in my home a certain way. Like, if there’s a light that is controlled by more than one switch, I’ll try to make sure both switches are pointing down when the light is off. If you’re having a hard time figuring out what I mean by this, ask me about it later. In any case, my point is that I don’t think it’s a personal problem that I like things this way, while Jen does think it’s a problem. The reason I don’t think it’s a problem is that it doesn’t adversely affect me mentally or physically. It doesn’t adversely affect anyone else mentally or physically. It’s just something I like.

So that brings me to my theory about problems. There are three kinds: the kind that affect you, the kind that affect others, and the kind that affect both you and others. It seems kind of clear cut, but it’s not really. For instance, I would consider smoking a problem that affects both you and others. However, someone might say that if you smoke only when alone, you’re not affecting others, and if you’ve accepted the fact that smoking can kill you and you’re alright with that, then it’s not a problem at all. Drug use is another one. Is it a problem if you’re perfectly satisfied with being a drug user? If you’re not hurting others (robbing convenience stores to get money for another fix), and you’re independently wealthy so you don’t need to worry about the effects of drugs on your career, then maybe drugs are just fine. What about being a loony right-wing fundamentalist president of the United States? You might not think it’s a problem if that’s who you are, but you’re causing all kinds of problems for other people. Anyway, it’s fun to think about.

I watched a couple of movies yesterday. The Machinist was truly freaky, and for the most part, quite depressing too. It was visually beautiful, in a dark and morose way. It reminded me a lot of Philip K. Dick’s book, A Scanner Darkly in that it dealt with the process of losing your mind and your grip on reality. The main character, Trevor Reznik, was fascinating as a man whose own mind had turned against him. The film had a surprisingly positive twist at the end.

I watched Stay too, which coincidentally dealt with similar subject-matter. It was pretty hard to watch two films dealing with the process of slipping into insanity. Stay was extremely complicated and confusing, but used a lot of fascinating camera techniques and edits. It brought me back to first year film class, particularly in the initial scenes, where the camera was crossing the 180 degree line like crazy. That technique worked really well as a foreshadowing element. The editing was really cool. Sometimes the fades would begin just outside a window behind a character, during dialogue, and then would take over the screen in a rush. The whole thing left me feeling a bit uneasy. Anyway, it’s worth a watch, but expect to say “WTF?” a lot.