Thursday, January 29, 2009

home improvements

So, while "renovations" are considered more Needs, I suppose that "improvements" are more along the Wants. Really, really, really wants.
  1. DOG!!! (this list is in no particular order, but I wanted to be clear that this is high on the list of priorities) :)
  2. King Size Bed
  3. Bed Frame
  4. Refrigerator (stainless steel, double door...)
  5. Porch Swing
  6. Entertainment Center
  7. 42" Plasma LCD Flat Screen HD TV
  8. new MAC for photo editing
  9. new laptop for downstairs
  10. new doorknob for the front door (Uncle Brian?)
  11. Console table for behind the couch
  12. Wingback chair & ottoman for Dining Room
  13. Bookcase for Guest Room
  14. Bedside tables for bedroom
  15. Mirror for bedroom
  16. New rug for Master Bedroom
  17. Rug for Dining Room
  18. Rug for Guest Room
  19. Rug for Office
  20. Frames for Gallery Wall
  21. Frames for Un-Calendar
  22. (2) more air conditioner window units
  23. New Washer/Dryer combo

home renovations

After several attempts at keeping this list in our heads, Josh finally made me sit down and start writing it out. This list, the "renovations" are deemed: Needs, or "things-that-really-should-get-done-in-the-house-to-make-it-livable"
  1. Kitchen/Pantry - FINISH!!!
    1. Drywall
    2. Spackle
    3. Paint
    4. Sand
    5. Trim
    6. Appliances
    7. Cabinets
    8. Counters
    9. Paint again
  2. Hallway/Stairway
    1. Tape
    2. Spackle
    3. Paint
  3. Office - Paint
  4. Guest Room - Paint/fix up
  5. Bathroom - Paint / replace or fix medicine cabinet, sink, etc...
  6. Hardwood Floors - refinish upstairs
  7. Attic: clean out and insulate/drywall
  8. Basement: cleaned and insulated
  9. Wine Cellar in basement
  10. Front Porch: replace columns and porch with recycled wood
  11. Front Yard: Landscape for "curb appeal"
  12. Side of house: clean up and make functional
  13. Backyard: landscape
  14. Back Deck: have one. Preferably out of recycled wood, with stone patio at base leading to shed
  15. Shed: remodel to create photo-studio and/or outdoor entertaining area
  16. Have paint/doors tested for lead content
  17. Replace Doors:
    1. Front
    2. Back
    3. Basement
  18. Replace fence in back yard
  19. Replace ceiling fans:
    1. Master bedroom
    2. Guest Room
    3. Kitchen
  20. Get mailbox
  21. replace lightswitches throughout house

The Reader

The Reader

First: Do not read this if you have not yet seen this movie and plan to see it. I think it is important to go into the film without knowing much about the story.

Second: I don't have an answer to the obvious question whether I liked the movie. I might by the end of the post, but at the moment, I'm conflicted. I'll explain.

The story presents an interesting point of view on two completely different, troubling situations. There is a decided juxtaposition of the uncomfortable illicit affair between a 15 year old boy and a much older woman and the uncomfortable subject of the murder of millions of people in the Holocaust. Both topics are difficult to discuss and present in a story for different reasons.

I would think that many people are put off by the thought of an adolescent boy and an older woman having sex, somewhat graphically, only to have that uneasy feeling crushingly diminished by the confrontation head on of a recounting of an Auschwitz Death March during a Nazi SS war crime trial.

I did not like the movie for the first 45 minutes or so. I did not enjoy the affair; I felt there were to many unanswered questions and holes that were skipped over. It is obvious that the affair was a defining moment in both main characters' lives and yet it felt rushed and painful.

It is not until the trial that the movie becomes interesting. Of course, Michael is a law student and of course his former lover is at the center of the war crime trial. Of course, Michael will have information that could change the outcome of the trial. But how does he, a law student, still young, admit to an affair with a woman 20 years his age? He can't, not when it would bring so much attention to himself and bring the wrath and hatred of a nation, of a world, on him. How could he defend this Nazi? He can't and it haunts him until the day she dies in prison and beyond.

The end, when he goes to New York to give the young survivor of the Death March Hannah's money, draws attention to the reparations that Germany made to survivors of the Holocaust. The home of the survivor is full of expensive fine art and the wealth is evident. In the end, when she takes only the tea tin that the money was kept in, perhaps is when the intended storyline comes to light.

The film highlights the humanity in everyone, from the Nazi to the confused young boy to the Holocaust survivor. Everyone has the capacity to feel empathy and to show kindness, to make reparations and find the humility to ask forgiveness for the unforgivable, to admit being closed off and open up their heart to another.

My overall feeling is that I did not enjoy the movie, though it is difficult to say one can enjoy a movie with such uncomfortable and troubling subjects at the center of the story. Still, I disliked the first half and felt the second half carried the film to its Oscar nomination.

The Reader at Rotten Tomatoes.