Monday, November 21, 2005

the Bedroom and Harry Potter

Bedroom Drama:
(Get your mind out of the gutter!)

I'm very proud of myself. The darned picture rail for the bedroom has been in the works since March. *sigh*. We painted the bedroom for three weekends in March and April. (It would have taken less time if I would have primed the wood trim. duh.) Sometime in April or May, I got the pieces of picture rail cut and in June I found the time (and good weather) to stain them.

Last Sunday, I started the process of putting the trim up. I got the flat trim on around the doorway to the "dressing room" and I started on the picture rail. But, it was Sunday evening, and I ran into a few snags. I found two pieces that didn't quite fit (too big) and I found that nailing pieces into the exterior wall was not easily workable. The layer of furring below the plaster is pretty thin, so it didn't take me long to get to masonry. And 6 penny nails don't easily go into masonry.

So yesterday, I got the smallest masonry drill bit at home depot, and a bit more motivation. I cut the long pieces, and got them in place. I successfully nailed the exterior wall pieces, with the help of my new drill bit. And in the end, I got all but one piece up on the wall, and all of the holes filled with wood putty. The final challenge was the "long" wall. The only wall long enough for an 8' piece and another shorter piece. If this wall was straight, I would have finished everything but the final staining last night...easily. But, the wall is wavy. (I could also mention that none of our corners are 90 degrees and I'm really not working with the right tools for that kind of situation...but I'm not really going to complain.) After realizing that nails were not sufficient to secure the trim to the wall, I broke out the drill and a 3" screw - thinking that having one in the middle to pull the trim in at the "worst point" would be sufficient, and nails would work for the rest of the length. But, after about 2 seconds, the screw pulled out of the wall, and I was back at square one. I fussed a bit more, but without more 3" screws and considering the way the plaster crumbles around the holes, there wasn't a whole lot I can do.

Tonight I will cut my 8' length of picture rail in half and hope that the shorter span will be able to accommodate the nasty curve in the wall better. I mean, honestly, it's not like all of the pieces that are up are super secure and perfect. We're dealing with plaster walls in a 90 year old house. There isn't a lot in those walls to really get secure into, I'm using a hammer and nails (not a nail gun) and none of the walls are really flat. I realized long ago that trying to use a stud finder in this house is just a fruitless effort...although it might be useful on the third floor or basement, so maybe I'll find a use for it someday.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire:
(No spoilers, but if you're planning to see the movie, I would wait to read anyone's comments until you've formed your own opinions...)

Overall, I enjoyed the movie a lot. There is a little part of me that wishes they would have made it into two movies - I missed Mrs. Weasley and it seems like there were a lot of characters that only got a scene or two (not enough Snape!), since there were SO many characters in this book. But I think they did a good job of focusing on the important plotlines from such a long book. And I had a good time and thought that the story climax was very well done.

I just have two critiques. I don't remember having a problem with Dumbledore in POA, so I don't know if it was a bad acting choice or bad direction...but I really got a sense that *someone* just doesn't understand what Dumbledore's manner is supposed to be about. He doesn't yell or shake Harry by the shoulders. He was just more *intense* and fast paced than the Dumbledore that is portrayed in the book. I'm really hoping that this was poor direction, and that this issue will be solved for Dumbledore's important parts at the end of book 5 and throughout book 6.

There also felt to me like there were pacing issues throughout the movie. And I don't actually think it was the whole movie, but there were definitely points where the pace from scene to scene felt very "jumpy" and a few non-action scenes that felt unnecessarily slow. And a few of the scenes in the great hall were shot in a way that made the hall seem smaller and more intimate than usual.

To make a few unfair comparisons, I feel like Chris Columbus did a great job of portraying EXACTLY what was in the books, which was great for the first one, and maybe a little overkill for the second...but I still enjoy watching them. I think Alfonso Cuaron did a wonderful job of "interpreting" the book as a movie. He did not present the book as literally as the first two, but he also didn't distort any of the characters or lose any important qualities from the books. It's a fine line, and I think he did the best job of walking it. I hope he directs another HP movie.

I guess in the end, GOF is still my favorite book and it is a better movie than the first two, but I think POA is still my favorite movie thus far.

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