Saturday, December 26 2009
At some point this week Gretchen had the idea of having the people from last night's party come over to our house this afternoon for another, smaller party. So today I went around cleaning up and vacuuming. It wasn't quite a full-on cleaning jihad, but it was enough to make the house presentable (no small thing with a house this big). But after awhile it gradually became clear that our party was fizzling out. The people at last night's party had all eaten pot brownies and were in no mood to drag their asses out to a car, let alone drive one. But I kept cleaning anyway. This might have been the first time on record that I cleaned the house without anything to justify the cleaning actually taking place.
At some point Gretchen and I watched a DVD of Public Enemies, the John Dillinger biopic starring Johnny Depp (one of Gretchen's favorite actors). But the movie turned out to be underlit mess of gunfire and hypermasculine tough talk. At times it was too dark to make out what exactly was happening to whom, not that we really cared. I'd just finished watching the Godfather some days ago, and the memory of such a movie done right was too fresh in my brain.
At some point tonight I watched The Shining, which I'd never seen but which Gretchen had billed as perhaps the scariest movie ever. I'm not all that into horror movies, as their emotional range seems to fluctuate between unintentionally funny and infuriatingly dull (with an emphasis on the latter). In this genre, The Shining stood out for its minimization of dullness (there wasn't much in the way of slow opening of doors to reveal nothing at all) and for the wonderful transformation of Jack Nicholson from schlubby husband to psychokiller ques que sei. There was even a scene I found absolutely chilling, the one where we learn what Nicholson's character has been typing on his typewrite all movie long. Still, as a movie generally I found The Shining a bit underwhelming. This is probably rooted in my annoyance with all things paranormal and supernatural. The thing I hate about forces that lie outside reality is that they are seldom given an internally cohesive logic, and so they can go off anywhere they choose. In such a universe anything can happen, but what inevitably ends up happening is an especially dull, unimaginative subset thereof.
The day had been fairly warm by late December standards (with temperatures rising into the low 40s). By this evening a strong rain was falling and there was even a lightning strike followed by thunder, an incredibly rare event for wintertime.
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