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Sunday, February 17, 2002

Some events in life are so meaningful that we divide our own personal timeline into "before" and "after." Every day has the potential to bring you one of those watershed moments, and you can't tell by the way the alarm clock sounds or the bitterness of the morning coffee whether this day is that day.

If you could prepare for one of these events, they wouldn't have the impact they do. But there's no way to formulate a response to the unthinkable. That's why death, deception or betrayal can be so devastating that they change the course of your life. What you do after says a lot about who you were before.

It's tempting to try to gauge your response to a crisis by some kind of calibrated scale. Tempting, but not realistic. You can't go by your own expectations if you're talking about something that couldn't have been expected. The harshest way to judge yourself is to look around, at the way others are handling a critical situation or a personal tragedy, and decide whether you're doing it better or worse.

That's a self-destructive way to measure the merit of your own conduct. A person feels what a person feels, and there are times when feelings overwhelm reason and dictate actions. If you validate or condemn one person based on the feelings and actions of another, it shows disrespect to the uniqueness of both.

You know, I can't say much more about the effect In the Bedroom had on me without giving away more than I should. I scribbled out three pages in a spiral notebook, but I won't use most of it. I'd feel bad if I spoiled the experience for anyone else, but I found the film powerful and true to what little I know of human nature. It's a movie about a marriage, and the tensions that tug at a relationship.

Guilt, blame, regret, communication, passion — it has all of the dynamics that color the bonds between people, and it's portrayed with incredible subtlety in the performances of Sissy Spacek and Tom Wilkinson. I had absolute chills through the entire last third of the movie, which stands in stark contrast to the pointed silences that punctuate the first part. Sometimes you can see and hear so much when nothing seems to be happening.

looking east

The blue sky tries to ease out the late afternoon clouds. It's a losing battle.

My favorite moment in the special gold medal ceremony tonight was when Anton leaned down and started singing the Russian anthem loudly in Elena's ear. It totally cracked her up, but she kept singing away.

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I got up to wash my face
When I come back to bed,
Someone's taken my place.