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Saturday, May 11, 2002

Knowing I wouldn't be able to upload an entry at the usual time tonight (thanks to some work being done by my web host), there was no pressure on me to write an entry. In fact, I'm not sure I didn't deliberately let the time elapse so that I'd have an excuse not to tell about my typically uneventful Saturday.

It's good that I waited, though, because it gave me a chance to watch a tidy little thriller from last year called The Deep End. And then I watched it again with the commentary by the two writer-directors. It has a lot going for it, including the fact that it was shot around (and in) Lake Tahoe, which is as beautiful a setting as a movie could have.

If you know who Tilda Swinton is, you might know how well acted this movie is. She has such an intense face, but with so many subtle variations, that she almost doesn't need dialogue. Add to that the fact that she's playing opposite Goran Visnjic, and you know you won't have any problem connecting with the characters, and appreciating the connections between them.

The story is in part about the lengths a mother will go to in order to protect her child. It's also about how a traumatic event can rip a family apart, and how the way they respond might be able to bring them back together. And it's about how seeing someone's life through their eyes can change how you think and feel about that person.

It's one of my favorite themes — how easy it is to empathize once you've dropped defenses and really looked at another person. There's a stunning scene in which Goran Visnjic walks through Tilda Swinton's empty house, and you can see on his face how he comes to know her better as he looks at family photographs, hears her daughter's voice on the answering machine, and even peeks inside her oven.

That's one of several scenes where a character is transformed by allowing himself to be receptive to the inner life of another person. It's a little (but only a little) like what you're doing when you read online journals. Even people you have nothing in common with become more vivid as you absorb the details of their lives.

The movie, by the way, also has some sex and violence, but only a little of each. Still, it's more than you'll ever read about here. There's a lot more of both beneath the surface than is ever shown. I'm talking about the movie again, not this journal. Anyway, that's part of what makes The Deep End such an effective thriller.


Feathers in the birdbath.

Earlier today I managed to spend some time in the yard. It had been hot and windy, but by the time I got outside it had cooled off and the wind had died down. That made it as pleasant as possible for me as I pulled up most of the weeds around the wisteria. Just that one small section filled the yard waste container about two-thirds to the top, but I used the hoe to tamp it down to about half. That was as much as I could handle for one day, so I came back inside to finish my sneezing and scratching. I was still pulling stuff out of my hair hours later. Yes, I'm a born gardener.

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Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Perfect Blend
"The hillsides are changing gradually from the lush green of April to the California golden brown of June."

Two years ago: Sliding Doors
"How many universes have slipped through my fingers, because I wasn't ready to grasp them?"

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I went into the fight like a lion, but I came out like a lamb.