Friday, August 28, 2009

Adventures in the Arts

1. Whenever EFU is over, she invites me into her room to sit on the bed which used to be mine but is now hers but will soon be mine again to watch episodes of The Office with her. She has seen them all before, but I haven't. We're about a third of the way through season 4 right now. She always wants me to watch multiple episodes, and sometimes I can handle two, but mostly I want to kermit* after one episode. It's brilliant, of course, and very funny, but even though my current office is nothing like Dunder Mifflin (we're all too busy, for one thing; for another, we're not idiots), I have in the past worked in places where the behavior of Michael Scott and company would have been only slightly out of the ordinary.

It bothers me that the show bothers me so much, but I'm going to assume that it's my sensitivity to the suffering of the mass of men leading lives of quiet desperation rather than any similarity to my own life that causes the visceral discomfort. I am glad that EFU wants to spend time with me, and I'm hopeful that her great admiration of The Office means that she'll never work in one, but we'll just have to wait and see.

2. When we were in Montreal, the girls wanted to see Julie and Julia because, hey, why spend time soaking in a foreign culture when you can see a movie that you could see just as easily at home. Actually, they were responding more to the heat/humidity/rainstorms, but there may be something to the idea that kids these days (get off my lawn!) have shorter attention spans. We tried twice to see it, but the first theater we stopped at was showing the film dubbed into French, so a couple of days later I looked online for an English showing (there are American films that are probably greatly improved by being dubbed into French, but this didn't seem likely to be one of them), and we went to a gigantic multiplex on the west side of Rue Ste. Catherine. All of the signs, and some of the pre-show, were in French, so I was worried for a bit, but we were in a show with Meryl Streep's actual Julia Child voice speaking English.

Interestingly (or not), at about the same we were watching the film in Montreal, b&c and his daughter were watching the film in Denver. B&c's daughter was the only one of all of us who didn't love the film. She's also the only one who had read the book, so draw your own conclusions.

I don't have much to add to what you've probably already heard about the film. I thought it was terrific, but it would probably be just as good on DVD. I reckon I'll buy the DVD when it comes out, so I'll know for sure then. Of course, if you don't like Julia Child, you probably won't like the film.

I know you're saying, "Mais, comment? Who are zees people who do not like Madame Sheeeld?" Trust me, they exist. My alter ego wrote an entry about two of them some time ago.

3. I don't understand color. The house purchase is sailing unobstructed towards settlement, and I have no idea how to pick appropriate colors for the walls. I have an idea that I would like to paint the living room in three colors: a sort of French/Greek/Mediterranean matte blue along the bottom third or so to mimic wainscoting; a band of semi-gloss bright(ish) white above that to mimic a chair rail; and the remainder in perhaps a nice off white, or something similar. But I have no idea whether the idea makes any sense or how to go about choosing the particular shades. There must be technology to help with this, but hours of reading and watching HGTV have not helped.

And then there are all the other rooms. YFU gets to pick the color for her own room (subject to my veto), but that still leaves -- at the very least -- my bedroom to be done before the furniture comes in. Am I supposed to go camp out at a paint store and wait for some of the colors to speak to me?

I am really not used to caring this much about my surroundings, but this is my chance to have my own place reflect who I am. (Or a better version of who I am. If it was just going to reflect me, I'd just leave the walls their current white and everything else wherever the movers put it.) I spend minutes almost every day worrying about this.

4. Some NYC-based arts organization has invited our church choir to sing as part of a massed choir at a Lincoln Center (Avery Fisher Hall) performance of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man in mid-January. It's part of a program that also includes his Requiem, which I haven't heard. Our choir did The Armed Man in June, and we did a pretty good job of it, and there aren't that many choirs who have done it, and I guess it would be cool to perform at Lincoln Center, but they want $590 from each of us, just to show up, rehearse, and sing. Travel, food, and lodging not included, naturally. Our choir director says that the group running this is a legitimate (for-profit) enterprise, and almost everyone else in the choir is really excited about it, but I can't help thinking that paying to sing at Lincoln Center is so, well, Florence Foster Jenkins.

Anyway, I have to decide pretty soon whether I'm in or out. I reckon it would cost about $1,500 all together. I have the money, but I can't help wondering whether it wouldn't be better spent on something else (b&c asked whether I'd like to go to Spain next April or May: there are some really good fares available). I also can't help remembering how much work it was to raise a couple of thousand dollars to mount the production at church, but now the members of the choir are eager to pony up a collective 30 grand or so because it's an honor to be asked. On the other hand, I did like singing the piece, and I'd have three or four days in New York with a relatively light rehearsal schedule. Decisions, feh.

*I am pretty sure I have said this before, but for anyone who missed it, "to kermit" means to run screaming from a room, with one's arms flailing above one's head. The etymology is obscure.


  1. Chair rail is a more of a feature of the dining room than the living room.

  2. The dining room is a subset of the living room in this house, I'm afraid. So maybe I should leave that out.

    But I will likely change my mind several times between now and when I would have to go and buy paint.

  3. I saw the Julia movie and spent the hours laughing. The reviews hadn't liked the Julie sequences much, but I liked them, and her story was interesting too.
    In terms of paint colors, why not just use wood for your chair rail and paint it white? A coat of paint wouldn't be too effective at protecting paint from chair tops anyway.

  4. We got round trip tix to Madrid for $800 in March 2010 - the same price we paid in 1983. I'm not kidding.