Aches and pains -- 04/23/05

I took a vacation day yesterday so that Nancy and I could work on our front yard. (This was spring break week for our local schools so Nancy has had the week off.)

Naturally, today my muscles are complaining about having been worked so hard yesterday.

We did get a lot accomplished, moving some plants around, laying down weedblocking fabric, covering it with a new layer of mulch -- cedar mulch by the front of the house and pine bark mulch in that big area we cut out of the front lawn about three years ago (and, yes, time certainly does fly!) -- and clearing out an area underneath the oaks at the right-front corner of our yard. That was mostly what I did: remove the layers of dead oak leaves, cut down some small oak saplings, pull up some bushes and seemly endless vines (many of them the nasty kind with sharp thorns and stickers) and turn over the dirt (some of which was good quality soil from many years of composted leaves) and add a few wheelbarrow loads of more dirt and mix it and rake it and level it (and, this being New England, remove a lot of rocks). I also assisted Nancy's gardening efforts by digging up a couple of large plants she wanted moved and digging their new holes.

Oh, yeah, and two trips to Agway to buy mulch. Eight bags (3 cubic feet each) of pine bark chips in the morning and then a late afternoon trip to pick up nine similar sized bags of cedar mulch.

Watched a DVD of Paycheck last night... Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman... This was a rather strange movie... After a day of physical work I just wanted some eye candy, a popcorn flick, without much in the way of intellectual or emotional involvement, but with enough action to keep me awake. Hmmm, I guess that describes Paycheck fairly well. The plot isn't so much tangled and confusing as simply so full of logical holes that it's not even worthwhile worrying about them. Just sit back and enjoy some chase scenes. Thurman's role is that of general purpose girlfriend/love interest... and (unless my television set decided to play games while we were watching, something about the cinematography or the color balance kept Thurman from looking attractive ( very much unlike, say, the Kill Bill movies). There were a couple of interesting supporting roles -- Paul Giamatti (American Splendor, Sideways, etc.) as Affleck's friend (and physical trainer and memory-wiping techncian) and Michael C. Hall (David Fisher of Six Feet Under) as an FBI agent. Oh, yeah, Affleck so doesn't work as the lead in this film.... Fun for the actions scenes, something to watch while munching popcorn and relaxing, and it's probably (slightly) better than watching television.

It's rather ironic to note that this brings the number of feature films based on Philp K. Dick stories to half a dozen -- and two more are in production! (The first one, of course, was Blade Runner -- and then Total Recall... and Screamers, Imposter, and Minority Report.) These films came after his death (actually, I think he died just before Blade Runner was released) and I read somewhere that his estate received two million dollars for the rights to the short story for which he had been paid two hundred dollars when it was first published.

Tomorrow Jill and I are driving up to Dedham, Massachusetts for the James Joyce Ramble. The weather forecast is for rain. Groan. I hate running in the rain. In fact, the weather forecast for Dedham shows a higher chance of rain than our does for here. It calls for a greater than 90% chance of showers overnight and all morning... until race time (11 a.m.) when there is about a two-thirds chance of showers through most of the rest of the day. (I'm also thinking of the half mile walk from the parking area to the race start and finish, standing around waiting for the start, etc.) Ah, well.

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