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Friday, October 17, 2003

If I'm recalling correctly my misspent (or more properly "unspent") youth, Friday night is a time when things happen. After a full week locked away in offices and factories and schools and other places with walls that are thicker than necessary, Friday night comes as a release. That's when people go out and find other people. They unwind, they let it all hang out, they get their groove on, they boogie down. That's what's special about Friday night.

It wasn't true of me then, and it definitely isn't now. And I'm not even locked in any kind of prison all week. I work in the comfort and convenience of my own home. Sometimes I even take naps in the middle of the day, or give myself half an hour to watch the quail tripping through the yard. I'm not closed in, exactly, but I'm not free either.

You'd think I'd want to blow the carbon out on Friday night. I don't know what that means, exactly, but my dad used to say it. I think he just used it as an excuse to drive fast. Anyway, somewhere in my mind lurks the idea that I should take advantage of the weekend, which starts as soon as I can shake off the shackles of responsibility. Six o'clock Friday afternoon, at the very latest.

It's just a thought, though, because that's not what I do to unwind. What I do to unwind is dissolve into the recliner and cease all avoidable activity. I don't jump up when the phone rings or the fax stirs to life, the way I've been doing all week. I don't even think. I just breathe in and out and let the rest of the world take care of itself. (How's it doing, by the way? Still spinning on its axis, or not?)

And so that's how I came to watch not one but two DVDs from Netflix tonight. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days is a fine romantic comedy, and Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey are wonderful, and I really liked it a lot. Moonlight Mile is one of the most achingly beautiful films I've watched in a long time. It's also funny when it's supposed to be, with a strikingly original story and a stunningly interesting cast.

Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Jake Gyllenhaal create a dynamic that drew me in right away, before I even knew the complex relationship of their characters. There isn't a wasted acting moment in the entire two hours, and by the end you believe in these people. It's why I love movies, and especially movies like this, where people you'd like to know go through experiences that are familiar and yet surprising, realistic but unexpected.

Moonlight Mile is set in the early 1970s, and the music score is so unlike other seventies movies that it might be easy to overlook, especially if you weren't around then. The songs we now associate most closely with that era are the ones we hear over and over on the oldies radio stations.

This movie remembers the real soundtrack of the period, with evocative and lesser known songs by Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and the Rolling Stones. Instead of the usual "Rocket Man" or "Daniel," Elton John is represented by the haunting "Razor Face." And the musical underscore is entirely in keeping with the feeling of these songs. I might have to buy the soundtrack album, along with the DVD. Some day, when I'm buying stuff again.

17 October 2003

Clouds, above the rooftop and beyond the treetops.

Yes, I had a lot of time on my hands this Friday night. It was the first night without baseball for a while, and I can only watch yesterday's postgame interviews so many times before I start shouting back at the Yankees and their annoying joy.

We are all now Marlins fans in this household, even though they took our Giants out of the playoffs and were pretty much overlooked during the regular season. Anyone who doesn't think they have a shot to beat the Yankees, check with Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Those superstars watching the World Series on TV with you and me, while the likes of Juan Pierre and Luis Castillo are already sliding into second base ahead of the throw from Jorge Posada.

Sorry. Got carried away there for a second.

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No, the check I was waiting for didn't arrive today, and since the company phone rings on my home line, I might have to start screening my calls soon, even on the weekend. I hate giving people bad news, especially when it's about money. They tend not to take it very well.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Etched
"There was to be a game on this date, October 17, 1989, but instead the earth rocked and rolled and swallowed up cars and bridges and people."

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I got silence on my radio
Let the air waves flow