The balmy warm days of last week have given way to true winter as the Canadian cold front has snaked down to us at last. Snowy and cold, so we've been making lots of fires. Yesterday, Skip opened the paper and saw a terrible picture of a house completely destroyed by a woodstove flue fire. He blanched ( hard to do since he's a bit pale these days) and went to the hardware store to buy a creosote log-- and we spent the evening "cleaning" the flue while watching Raoul Ruiz's strange 4 hour epic Mysteries of Lisbon-- the only film adaptation I've seen that actually feels like a 19th century novel. Amazing long shots through portals-- and shots that open up from pictures and puppet theatres into actual live-action scenes. These coupled with a camera trick that makes everyone look as though they're puppets on strings gives a strange claustrophobic feeling even in the panoramic scenes. Very effective.
Skip's been re-reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, and I sadly took most of my leisure reading back to the library. I'm teaching again and, like the students, have a full load of required texts. I did keep a volume of Philip K. Dick stories, which we're both reading at bedtime. Started with "The Adjustment Bureau". We watched the film, starring Matt Damon, a few weeks ago, and I was curious about the original story, since the film seemed so un-Dick-like in so many ways. More romantic than Dick and not nearly sly enough. (For people who don't know the story, the premise is that the world is kept on track-- and things happen as they do-- because of the corporate machinations of an adjustment team. Usually we don't see the men-in-black because all runs smoothely. But occasionally there's a glitch. We're in the wrong place at the wrong time; we meet someone we're not supposed to meet. And then they have t go into high gear and erase our memory banks). I'm about half way through the story now and so far it's much funnier than the film. It's a dog's failure to sound the alarm that starts all the bizarre adjustment glitches in the story-- and the scene in which the "clerk" in black confers with Fido is super, deadpan mordant humor.