Measured Extravagance

28 October 2002 - 1:00 a.m.

Grrrrrrrrrr. Just watched the last third of Chocolat with the BYM. I feel like someone just fed me cut-rate ice milk instead of Haagen-Dazs dulce de leche.

I'm not opposed to books being transformed into film: I've liked the Austen and Dickens adaptations I've seen, The English Patient was well done, FOTR, etc. and so forth. And there is so much narrative internal to the characters of the book Chocolat that I knew there would have be major structural changes to make the story come alive off-page. I would have been okay with that.

But the dialogue is so dumbed-down and the acting is so wooden (Alfred Molina's 11 o'clock scene a key exception, and is that perhaps because there's no speech required during that stretch?) and the Vianne of the movie is not the Vianne of the book, period. The Vianne of the book is more confident and more attuned and more worldly than the Vianne of the film. Juliette Binoche is the usual pleasure to look at but that didn't stop me from wanting to shriek, "Stop QUIVERING. The character doesn't QUIVER, dammit!" And Armande Voizin is not a frump, and Caroline in the movie - bah! It's one thing to change a story so that it remains full-bodied in its translation to another medium. It's another to dilute and sweeten it so that it's palatable for mass consumption, and that's what happened with Chocolat. Grr!

Shifting from metaphor to the material world, I've got a glass of amontillado by the keyboard and fed myself tonight with a pork chop and yellow squash sauteed in butter, accompanying it with pasta and pesto. Simple and good. Yesterday I made an attempt at lamb pot pie but mixed too much baking powder (or not enough flour, or something) into the biscuit-crust: as the BYM gently observed, it tasted like Play-Doh, so we put a couple knobs of it into the dog's bowl, pitched the rest of it, and called what was left in the pan creamed lamb.

It feels like it's been a home-centric weekend - although, what with one thing and another, I was at church for five hours this morning, and yesterday was dress-up day at Jazzercise: the instructor clenched a rose in her teeth and struggled to stay in the red lace dress she'd donned; the woman next to me did a borkerfic approximation of the Swedish Chef (complete with bushy eyebrows and rubber chickens); Little Miss Muffet kept flapping the skirt of her smock because she found it overly warm trying to dance in it. Me, I just squooshed blue and green sparkle-gel through my hair. I'm not sure anyone at class even noticed, but the BYM's been kvetching about glitter being shed all over the house ever since. Hee.

In any case, there's been the schlepping of several loads of laundry, the washing of several loads of dishes, the moving of furniture, the jerry-rigging of a toilet fix (let's hear it for wire dress hangers!), a bit of crocheting and a lot of filing, shredding and book-weeding. Do I feel lighter? A bit. Some of it's physical - I've got that quasi-ooky off-balance feeling that makes me suspect I'm warding off a cold. Some of it's just a matter of finishing almost-done projects. Some of it's saying "no" to everything that would get in the way of those existing projects and commitments, no matter how attractively demented (pace NaNoWriMo) or karmically profitable (otherwise known as, "it's not that I don't want to, but no, I won't attend x event or join y committee or help out with z at this time"). Mostly I just need to finish this glass of sherry and go to bed now, the better to steer clear of that not-quite-pleasant feeling-drunk-with-drowsiness sensation of waking up from a necessity nap. As with so many other things, the naps snatched because one must are nowhere near as satisfying as the naps indulged in because one can.

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