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devil duck

So... shalmestere and I spent a week in the Midwest visiting friends and her family. It's a common theme in our culture to "not get along with the in-laws," but in fact we got along just fine.

The weather was sometimes treacherous: we got about a foot of snow the night before we were to drive two hours from her sister's place to the home of two old friends, so the two hours became about 3-1/2, and an hour's drive the next day to another old friend's home in intermittent whiteout conditions became over two. So we didn't have as much time visiting Old Friends (much less sightseeing) than we had hoped, but we got to exchange presents and silly stories, and jam for an hour or two on Glogauer Liederbuch and Agricola.
Between us, we drove about forty hours in the course of a week, so we were pretty fried by the time we got home Friday night.

On the first day of the trip, I noticed a swollen lymph gland in my neck, so I started taking lots of Vitamin C, echinacea and goldenseal, drinking lots of water, etc. and nothing more seemed to come of it... until the ride home, when my Eustachian tubes and sinuses started clogging up. By Saturday morning, I definitely had a cold, and (between this and driving-exhaustion) we decided it wouldn't be in anybody's best interest to go to Twelfth Night. So we stayed home, caught up on e-mail and bills, started unpacking, and picked up some packages that had arrived while we were away (including Ensemble La Rota's debut CD "Heu, Fortuna" -- they were wonderful in the two concerts we've seen, and the recording is just as beautiful).

After dinner we summoned the energy to go to the movies: Atonement, which was beautiful and really depressing.
I just read a semi-literate review on the Web (if you're going to act like a professional movie reviewer and sign your name to published reviews, either hire an editor or learn how to complete sentences and use apostrophes!) which completely missed the point(s) of the movie.


  • Yes, the "old-Briony" ending changes the meaning of everything that came before, and no, that wasn't telegraphed in the first scene as in Titanic; that would ruin the surprise.

  • Yes, the teenaged Lola is dressed up older than she is, because she wants to look and act older than she is (her line "I'll thank you not to talk about this in front of the children," referring to her brothers who are maybe four years younger, is one of the few laughs in the film)

  • Yes, the guy who rapes her is creepy. So is rape.

  • Yes, Lola grows up and marries her rapist, but she doesn't know he did it -- it was dark, and Briony has convinced her that Robbie did it, adding one more crime to Briony's docket -- and he's certainly a socioeconomic "catch" for a girl in uncertain circumstances.

  • Yes, the movie (and, I gather, the book) is full of sometimes-contradictory flashbacks. Human memory is like that, especially when one has been brooding about the events in question for decades.

  • Yes, the relationship between Cecelia and Robbie barely gets started. That's what "might-have-been"s are about, and what adult doesn't have some "might-have-been"s?




We came home and walked the Things, who spotted a raccoon behind the house. Yes, Thing Two, I have no doubt you "could have taken it," but I'm not in the mood to take you to the vet on Saturday night for a rabies shot.

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