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2005-12-17 - 8:53 a.m.

Narnia and Dinner for One

J came by in the end, and we did indeed take a brisk walk to town in order to see The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It is a beautifully crafted film, and I was entranced with the landscapes and the costumes. The White Witch was both terrible and beautiful. As I have never read the books I cannot comment on authenticity, only that it was a beautiful movie to watch.

My only discomfort relates to the same problem I've had the last three times I've gone to a theater. Is there a reason the sound is set so freakin' loud??? Am I the only one who notices this? My ears tend to be very sensitive to loud noises (I am always asking that the volume be adjusted downward), but even J, a sound engineer, was questioning the quality of the mix of the film, and their choice of dynamic range. J says that the mix frequently is the last part of production and so it is common that the sound gets shortchanged on big productions like this one. But we both think it's probably the fault of the cinema.

Again, this is certainly not my first notice of this problem. Last year I started bringing earplugs to the old theaterhouse on Houston, and didn't make it through the Kinsey Report movie without them (not exactly a loud raucous film). Last night I didn't have them, and spent the whole evening with my hands over my ears. At one point during the promos, J and I tied our scarves over our heads, like movie-going babushkas, in an attempt to dampen the sound. It didn't really work.

I like seeing movies with J because he enjoys them so much, and watches and listens with the eyes of a media professional. We always stay in our seats until the very last credit rolls (in this case until the last union-breaking crew in the Czech Republic, Poland, and Guatamala crawled past...).

We walked home on a clear, moonlight night, to another strange time of noise pollution.. J's right shoe SQUEAKS everytime he takes a step. "squeak...squeak...squeak...squeak..."
It cracked me up the whole way home. Am now suspicious that he actually has a squeaky FOOT.

The silver moonlight was absolutely beautiful, and in spite of the hour I was completely full of life! J and I both spend so much of our lives alone - it was just comforting to be out walking with someone else. Plus, it has been so long since I've had a schedule that allowed me to stay awake on a Friday. I was ready spend another couple hours sitting in a cafe and talking. Alas, it was 1:30am - everything was closed.

Having failed with the coffee shops, we raided the quik-e-mart up the street for some snack food, and returned to my place to watch "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (the original, of course), and "Dinner for One." The Grinch is my favorite holiday classic.

I was introduced to "Dinner For One" while living in Germany. It is a 10-minute English television sketch filmed in the 1950s, that somehow has become a cult classic in Germany. My comedic friend Eric who spent the ENTIRE lunch hour explaining the plot, doing all the characters, voices, and farce - he was hysterical, both in his reinactment and in his obvious enthusiasm for this classic. It's not at all uncommon to hear a German utter the English phrase, "Same procedure as every year" or "I'll do my very best." I'm trying to think of an American cultural equivalent..Maybe the Grinch? I don't think so.

I finally saw "Dinner for One" for the first time while drinking a holiday beer and eating some type of questionable sausage in Wolfgang's cozy flat under the roof, early in 2000. I thought it was rather cute and enjoyed it, for the charm of the show. I suppose it isn't too surprising that I found that the cult repetition of lines and gags had become funnier than the skit itself...But it's one of those cozy mental images I have of being swallowed up by Wolfgang's gigantic sofa in his tiny tiny living room - it felt good to finally be "in" on the cult. This experience ensured a "Dinner for One" a space on my shelf of German memories, next to Sonnenallee, Schulze Gets the Blues, and CD's Das War Einmal and Max Raabe's classic Der Bewegte Man.

The end result is that J now wants a copy of Dinner for One. I think like me, he really enjoyed the oddness of watching some other country's cult. J and I always joke that he will be my butler one day - so it was also kind of amusing to watch Miss Sophie with James "butling" all around her...

We sat up until 3am or so before I crashed (rapidly) into a little heap, and he drove home. It was a fun night, and I hope we do it again soon.

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