Friday, August 12, 2005

Chew, Lucy! Now fluids, Lucy!

So I’ve been house- and pet-sitting for the past two and a half weeks. This is what house-sitting means: no Internet, no cable, and a very effective feline alarm clock that goes off before the sun is up. Fortunately it also means I have had a lot of time to read, write, watch BBC adaptations of classic novels, and play with many very adorable animals. I shall comment on each in turn.

I spent most of the first week reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I will forever love Michael Chabon for the speech he gave when he visited my school, in which he talked about how he was having trouble with a certain scene in one of his novels and came up with the solution when he passed a man on the street with a nosebleed. He said, “Either chance favors the prepared mind or God smacked that man on the nose.” In that case, Kavalier & Clay is 656 pages of God smiting people for the benefit of Michael Chabon. It’s every bit as great as Adam has been insisting for the past four years. Everyone should go buy it. Now.

Then I went through a phase of watching BBC adaptations of classic novels. Curiously enough, I have also met Andrew Davies, who does a lot of the BBC’s adaptations. Andrew Davies is the man responsible for the bathtub and wet-shirt scenes in Pride and Prejudice. For those of you who have never watched the miniseries, both of these scenes are completely superfluous to the plot and seem to be there solely to showcase Colin Firth’s considerable physical charm. In fact, Davies’s script originally did not include the shirt itself in the infamous wet-shirt scene, which is all the more reason to revere him. But really, Davies is a brilliant adaptor, and I can attest to this because he made Middlemarch absolutely absorbing, which not even George Elliot could do, and the fact that the combination of Jane Eyre and Timothy Dalton could not save the BBC’s production of that excellent novel only further proves that the BBC should never adapt anything without first consulting Andrew Davies. Also, they should have abstained in general from functioning in the 1980s, because the entire decade’s productions are casted horribly, acted lifelessly, and lit like a soap opera.

Then I actually did some writing, and no, I will not discuss it.

And all along I have been a dedicated animal wrangler, the most taxing part of which involves going running with Lucy every day. If I go up the road, there is absolutely no shade and both of us want to die when we get back. If I go the other way and turn left, there is a medium-sized vicious dog with whom Lucy does not appear to be friends. If I turn right, there is a bear-sized vicious dog, and if you thought this dog was behind and invisible fence, you’d be wrong about that. And whichever route I take, I come home and have to deal with the fact that the dog, who is always very hot and thirsty by this point, will not drink from her bowl unless I stand there and give her moral support.

Robin Williams has this routine about George W. Bush choking on the pretzel that nearly killed him a few years ago . . . let’s pause for a moment as we ponder that . . . So Robin Williams has this bit about how we’re spending all this money on national security and the President’s choking on snack food and he says, “What do we have to do? Does someone have to sit with him and go “Chew sir! . . . Now fluids, sir!” Well, this is roughly how I feel about Lucy since she started doing the same thing with food. The other day I had to go stand by her bowl while she ate because she’d stop if I left. I think she might be eating cat food on the sly, which would account for her being less hungry, but come on. Millions of years of evolution and the dog is such a slave to human company that she’d rather die of thirst and hunger than risk missing something.

Fortunately, those millions of years of evolution did make her irresistibly adorable. (Photo taken after second bath necessitated by dog rolling in own poo for second time.)


.Maeve said...

i beg to differ. Brideshead Revisited, 1981.
this andrew davies seems to have adapted House of Cards and its sequels -- three points in his favor. yet he also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation of Brideshead -- the one where they cut out the homosexuality and the catholocism. can we trust davies that far?

The Anonymous Hedgehog said...

Hmm, I've been meaning to see Brideshead Revisited. Did I ever mention I went to Castle Howard where it was filmed? There's a whole room filled with memoribilia. It's very camp. I was excited. It's the closest I've ever come to Jeremy Irons.

I should expect Davies to do a good job, but I do wonder... if there isn't any homosexuality or catholicism in the film adaptation, then what IS in it? I hope Aloysius makes the cut, but he is likely to be Catholic.

.Maeve said...

julia. bloody julia. (though how they can possibly have julia without having catholicism is beyond me. while, yes, you could theoretically tell the story with very very little reference to homosexuality (and consequently a lot less fun), catholicism is the foundation, the purpose, the overall guiding principle of BR. oy.)
and jude law, apparantly. years ago i heard that he and colin farrell were slated for sebastian and charles respectively, but imdb has no cast posted and its message boards now talk of paul bettany as charles, which would be infinitely more bearable.

once when i was sick and up at four in the morning i caught a movie starring paul newman, david niven, and sophia loren that was filmed at castle howard. it is on the basis of the unlikely combination of these four elements alone that i recommend the movie.
(i love me the camp.)

this comment is very long, but that is because you are not answering IM and your posts make me miss talking to you very much.

The Anonymous Hedgehog said...

Okay, Colin Farrell has no place in Brideshead Revisited, but Jude Law has, I think, the perfect magnetic obnoxiousness for Sebastian. Megan will be pleased about the combination of Evelyn Waugh and Paul Bettany.

It doesn't surprise me that the Howard family (I assume they are Howards) moved back in if the likes of Jeremy Irons and Paul Newman keep filming stuff there. I love me the camp too.

I promise to answer my IMs when I have recovered from the demanding job of caring for Lord Marjoriebanks. It is ever so draining.

.Maeve said...

the life of a gentleman's gentleman is never easy.

thinking further on the paul bettany question, i like the idea of charles ryder and stephen maturin being played by the same actor in the film adaptations of two (or, more correctly, twenty-two) of my favorite books.

Adam said...

I have to say that it pleases me to no end that you enjoyed Kavalier and Clay so much. Yes! Spread the word that all must read and enjoy this wonderful novel!