Monday, April 09, 2007

Another Texas Chainsaw Massacre

It's chainsaw day at the Swendson Villa -- not that I've gone psycho killer (yet!), but the city crews are cutting down the trees along the side of the road behind my house. It's not one big cut and then "timber!" Instead, they seem to be cutting in two-inch increments. Actually, what's happening is that a guy is standing in the tree with a chainsaw, cutting down the branches bit-by-bit, and then they seem to be cutting the trunks from there. I have very mixed feelings about this. Although the trees are on the other side of the wall from my yard, they were my view. They blocked my house from the road, and they went a gorgeous dark crimson color in the fall, while the spring blooms made it look like it was snowing. However, I know this kind of tree is prone to disease and doesn't have a long, healthy lifespan. These trees were also popular nesting sites for grackles, which are noisy and smelly, and those gorgeous leaves usually ended up on my patio when they fell. Today's main annoyance, however, is the noise, with a couple of chainsaws and a woodchipper going constantly, not far outside my office window. I may resort to earplugs. I also keep getting very nervous watching these guys climbing around trees with chainsaws. They're a lot braver about that than I would be.

I had an extremely lazy weekend -- so lazy that I can barely remember what I did. I know a lot of tea was consumed and I seldom left the comfort of the electric blanket on the sofa. On Saturday afternoon I found a fun little movie on one of the HBO channels called A Little Romance, about a 13-year-old American girl in Paris who meets a French boy and runs off to Venice, with the help of an old con man. It made me feel kind of old because I was only a few years younger than the kids in the movie when the movie came out (and was taking place), and I didn't live too far from Paris at the time, so the Paris they showed is what I remember. But the girl was played by Diane Lane, who is now the Hollywood go-to for 40-something divorced woman starting her life over again roles. And that means that if I were a Hollywood actress, I would probably now be playing the woman whose husband leaves her, and then she runs off to Italy to mend her broken heart. Or something like that. Eeek.

That night I watched Mrs. Winterbourne on TBS OnDemand. There are some structural problems with that movie (it feels like major scenes are missing because it skips from point A to point D too many times), but it made me fall madly in love with Brendan Fraser. I'd really like to see him in a good romantic comedy because he's the perfect leading man for that sort of thing. He can be simultaneously dashing, romantic and goofy. There's this scene in the movie in which he does an impromptu tango through the kitchen that manages to be very hot, swooningly romantic and absolutely hilarious, all at the same time. Stay tuned later in the week for a discussion of a particular romantic comedy plot type that watching this movie inspired.

Sunday afternoon I mostly ignored the Merlin miniseries on Sci Fi while I worked my crossword puzzles. I love Sam Neill, but that vision of Merlin is so far from mine that the whole thing became kind of silly to me in a bizarre way (I kept trying to picture him in a suit in New York, and that made me giggle). In the evening, I dragged out an old tape and watched Gosford Park, because I was in the mood for that sort of thing. I'm not sure I'd want to live that way, in some big manor with an army of staff (for one thing, there would be a lot of waking up screaming from people coming in the room to light fires and do stuff while I was asleep), but that kind of thing might be fun for a weekend party -- dressing up for dinner, having a pot of cocoa brought to me at bedtime, having breakfast in bed. Now I just need to meet someone who has a huge manor house who can invite me to come for the weekend.

I had a moment of panic when I went to rewatch last weekend's episode of Robin Hood, and it wasn't posted at BBCAmerica OnDemand. I thought they'd just put up the first few episodes to hook us, and then were going to cut us off. But this weekend's episode is already up. They just managed to skip the one episode I was able to actually watch on BBCAmerica as it aired. If I'm not careful, I may start to think that it really is all about me.

Finally, I keep finding confirmation that it wouldn't be that hard to hide magic from normal people because it's so easy to tune out the world. This incident happened in Washington, D.C., instead of New York, but it's still a good example of urban blinders. For those who don't want to click over and read (I don't blame you because, to be honest, I seldom do unless I'm really procrastinating), as part of an experiment, classical violinist Joshua Bell set up in a D.C. Metro station as though he was a street musician, with his violin case open at his feet and a few dollars inside, and he played classical music on his Stradivarius -- and almost no one noticed that one of the world's greatest musicians was playing in the subway station. I like to think that I would have stopped to listen. Heck, I stop and listen to the lady who plays the musical saw at the Union Square station in New York. Hmm, according to the article, he's 39, straight and single, and the fact that he was willing to do this makes him rather crushworthy. Like I need another celebrity crush. I need more crushes on people I might actually meet.

And now I need to go get my earplugs before I start fantasizing about using a chainsaw on somebody.

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