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Miscellaneous



Last week, I saw the recent movie version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. Like many angsty artsy adolescents in the early- to mid-90s, I loved Phantom, I could sing it all the way through, and I identified with the Phantom, a misunderstood outcast. I expected to love the movie, if it was done well. The movie was indeed done well, but all I could see was the crazy. I'm not sure if that's due to the interpretation of this set of actors and director, or to the changes in me. Of course I always recognized that the Phantom was obsessive, but it never struck me quite so much as Creepy Obsessive Murdering Psychopath as it did here. I certainly never saw Christine as Off Her Rocker With Hallucinations and Stockholm Syndrome.

Obsession and delusion was a persistent theme of Lloyd Webber's works for a while. The worst offender, to my mind, is Sunset Boulevard. I saw that one at perhaps the worst possible time, when too much of it resonated too clearly. I'm sure it's supposed to be a tragic drama, but I still think of it as a horror story.

On a brighter note, I also started watching The West Wing. Unlike Firefly, which I didn't find out about until it was released on DVD, I was aware of The West Wing even before it started airing. I knew that it was very likely that I would love it and want to see it regularly. At the time, not only I did not own a TV, I didn't have reliable access to one, so I very carefully avoided seeing the show at all. Later, I didn't want to get into it at the middle, so I waited until I could start at the beginning, although I have watched a couple episodes here and there (mostly out of the sixth season, as far as I can tell).

2/3 of the way through the first season, I'm just as hooked as I expected to be. I had to dive into spoilers to make sure a particular character I like continued to recur. I also was amused to see from the spoilers that apparently I had already correctly predicted the course of two relationships over the entire run of the show. I'm very excited. This is going to be a fun ride.

I went to the store last night to buy a sympathy card. I picked up half a dozen things that I knew I needed, even though I didn't have a list. When I got home, I realized that I forgot to buy a sympathy card. I'll be going back tonight. I should buy several, so I can get them out in a timely fashion in the future.

Gas prices have been dropping over the last couple of weeks. Having seen a fair amount about trends and knowing the political situation, I anticipate that the prices will go back up again, higher than their previous level. In the mean time, it's kind of like gambling or playing the stock market. If I fill up now, will the price drop tomorrow? (Usually.) If I wait, will the price go up instead? (Usually.) Should I just wait until I would need to fill up anyway? (Yes.)

The other day, I added something to my Amazon wishlists, and went through them all to make sure they are current, as I periodically do. I was considerably surprised to discover that something had been purchased, and a rather unlikely something at that, as my brother is the only person who regularly buys from my wishlist. Now, I wait to see if it was really purchased for me, or if someone bought it for himself from my list, as has happened before.

I am happy to discover that I don't have to drive to Pennsylvania when I want Saladworks. [For the humor-impaired: the preceding was a joke.] For some reason, I mistakenly thought the closest one was in the Livingston Mall. It's really over in Chatham Township, in the complex at Shunpike and Southern. It wasn't as good as the ones I've been to in PA, but it will do.

I still can't get an answer at the new apartment complex. The voicemail is full, so perhaps the super is on vacation. I've come to accept that I'm not going to get a lease before I have to give my landlords notice (this Friday), but at this point I'm getting nervous just because I can't even get through to a person.

Why is it much easier to swat houseflies when they are sitting on the blinds?