Let's see, what happened this week?
We had bedroom furniture delivered on Wednesday, so yay, another step in the slow process of making this house look like adults live in it. I moved my stuff into the new dresser and night stand, a strangely enjoyable process (not to mention useful, as I purged a bunch of junk), and resolved to keep the tops of said furniture clear of all but ornamental stuff—we'll see how long that lasts.
Of note at work was a brief flurry of activity regarding an escaped mental health patient, and preparation for a deposition I'm taking this Thursday.
I finally got a haircut yesterday; it was about two months overdue. (I've been going to the same hairdresser back in Massachusetts for ages, but when I was last at my parents', in July, I deliberately did not make an appointment with her, to force myself to find someone out here.) I'm not sure yet whether I like it or not, but at least it's out of my way.
In dog search news, we were baffled to learn this week that a local shelter required things like proof of home ownership before they'd let us interact with any of the dogs. Do you really need to see our deed before we take a dog out of the kennel? Strange. We also went to another adoption clinic for that rescue group we've been dealing with. Nothing that really suited us, but in the small-world vein, the very helpful volunteer who was introducing us to dogs, turned out to be the clerk of a judge that I have a very occasional case in front of. Or perhaps it's just that Albany is a small town.
Food this week:
- Chalk up another win for the Good Eats cookbook: shrimp scampi done under the broiler is very good indeed.
- I made tortellini, prosciutto, and peas tonight, because I've really liked it in restaurants. This recipe works very well, though as usual, I replaced the roux + milk step with papersky's method of just cooking the flour, butter, and milk all together.
Entertainment this week:
- The Hot Rock, by Donald Westlake, is the first of
the Dortmunder series of comic caper novels. It's a deadpan
narration of how a group of crooks, in attempting to steal one
jewel, pull off something like five different capers. There's a
movie adaptation starring Robert Redford, of all people, and
adapted by William Goldman. I bought a bunch of caper movies on DVD
with birthday money, and threw this in.
As an adaptation, it doesn't suck. (There have been much, much worse, at least judging from the trailers. Two words: Martin Lawrence.) Redford is wildly miscast as the slumped, defeatist, and not at all good-looking Dortmunder, but some of the other characters aren't bad, and Zero Mostel (The Producers) as the sleazy lawyer is very enjoyable. Most of the absurdity of the various capers is preserved (though the train one is cut, either for space or because it would be just too absurd). It does end too soon, which I found annoying. Finally, the flavor of the narration is a large part of what I like so much about the Dortmunder books, and I suspect that it would be very hard to capture that on screen, no matter what the actors or plot.
As a movie, it's not bad. It's somewhat oddly paced; the worst example is a very long helicopter ride whose function appears to be, "Look, they got us a helicopter!" In the time-and-place category, there are several loving close-ups of the construction of the World Trade Center towers; enough time has passed for me that I am not as bothered by this as I once would have been, but since others will be in different positions, consider yourselves warned. Also, none of the capers are terribly complex by today's movie standards; clever, yes, but highly technological, no.
- More Jeeves and Wooster TV episodes on DVD. I've decided I don't like watching these, because I don't like Jeeves as a person, and when I have to watch him, this is very apparent. Others in the stories also like to manipulate other people's lives into what they think is best—and I don't like them, either. In the books I can mentally diminish the amount of attention I pay to Jeeves, but when he's right in front of me on the screen—well, this is why I need to like movie characters much more than book characters.
- The Pirates of the Caribbean. Chad finished the
built-in bookcases this morning (yay!), while I was wasting time
comment thread over at Making Light. The finishing step was a
coat of polyurethane, which stinks to high heaven, so we
decamped to the mall shortly thereafter. I wasn't planning on
seeing this, but I actually really enjoyed it; the low expectations
probably didn't hurt, mind, but all the same, it kept a smile on my
face for most of the time.
Random observations: Orlando Bloom is apparently attempting to avoid being stereotyped as "the gayest gay elf that ever nanced down the pike", by playing Will Turner as very straight and manly and dull—up until he says his place is between (character) and Jack Sparrow. Oops.
Johnny Deep, on the other hand, was clearly shooting for gayest gay pirate ever to walk the plank, and wins by a mile. I have no idea what he was smoking, but it must have been fun, because his Captain Jack Sparrow was a blast. (And, fandom has corrupted my brain, because you know what I was thinking at the island scene . . . )
(I muttered "nice hat" to Chad at the end, just before it was said on screen; did I call it, or did I see it referenced somewhere online? Will never know, most likely.)
Apropos Jack and Will—one of the things the DVD commentary of The Princess Bride emphasized is that Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin trained for months to do all their own swordwork for the duel on the top of the Cliffs of Despair. (The flips were stunt doubles, but that's all.) And if you look at the way the duel is shot, you can usually see their faces. In Pirates, the first sword fight is a lot of fun—but there's hardly a face to be seen. I'm guessing it was nearly all stunt doubles.
The explication of the curse was hardly as clear as it could have been, but I think I've managed to piece it all together now, with Chad's help. And the movie was too long, but I didn't really care. A very pleasant surprise.
- Trailer for Hidalgo, a "man and his horse" movie starring Viggo Mortensen. It was smart of him to pick a movie where he could be scruffy most of the time, but otherwise, enh.