October 15th, 2007

Abbie onna Table


The heat's come on in the house for the first time this year, which means a few rites of the season: first, all the dust you thought you removed from the radiators but didn't gets nice and toasty and gives a wonderful "is something burning?" smell for the first few days (one year in Marlboring there was a bunch of cat hair what got burnt up in an electric sideboard heater; the cats were very distressed at the smell of that and ran around meowing a lot, presumably hollering "Who's on fire? Who's on fire?!") and second, the non-insulated rooms are closed off to conserve heat. Heating two stories of a leaky old Philadelphia-style can get incredibly expensive, no matter what you do to your windows. So good old-fashioned Yankee frugality to the rescue.

We don't bother heating the kitchen because the stove heats the room up right nicely when cooking and even with weatherstripping, the "new" back staircase door is so inefficient it might as well be a screen door. The downstairs bathroom stays shut as well, though that can make for a rather chilly toilet seat. We often close the TV room off, too, though it's got the southern exposure and can warm up right nicely when someone's in there for an extended period of time.

The concept of "closing off" a room feels very mansion-y to me. It's amusing. "Yes, we've closed off the north wing for the season. Gas bills, you know." The real problem is figuring out how to turn off the radiator in the foyer next to the outside door, whose only purpose, it seems, is to heat the foyer and the outside door. Let's get rid of that energy drain.

This year however, Tracy hit upon a bit of a snag in the room-closing off. To hear him put it, he'd gone and shut the kitchen door and left it shut, and was happily going about his business downstairs when he noticed the cat was seriously giving him the evil eye. He wasn't demanding anything or playing Lassie ("What is it? Timmy in trouble? Litterbox full? You saw a bird? What?") but just acting generally grumpy.

Turns out, of course, the kitchen is where the cat dishes are, having been moved down there earlier this summer when I was worried about bugs in the eaves getting into his food. (Now his hidey hole just contains his litterbox, which is still all right by me.) But what with the kitchen door closed and all, well, Mr. The Cat considered that to be quite an affront to his culinary sensibilities. It's funny that he didn't just go up to the door and try to claw his way through it or otherwise; if I'd been the one hanging around downstairs, I'm sure he would've jumped up on the couch, nudged me mercilessly, and then attempted to dig under the door. (This morning he was actually jumping up to smack the bathroom doorknob while I was taking a shower. Bad cat! Wait your turn!) Maybe he just acts passive-aggressive around other people.

This means that with newspaper spread out or a nice plastic tray with raised edges to minimize the amount of mess he makes (when he takes a bite, he shakes his head for some reason and throws kibble around the room) Mr. The Cat will be taking his meals in the heated dining room from now on.

Just don't ask me to serve him food in a cut crystal goblet and tap it with a fork. ding ding ding!
Admit One

(no subject)

And in film news, it appears that the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer Sing-Along screenings have been lawyered to death. While Clinton McClung (formerly of the Coolidge in Brookline, who'd done a great deal of excellent midnight movie programming) had received permission from Criterion to use the episode at the Coolidge, he'd expanded on the idea and done screenings in New York and had ten more theaters set up. Fox lawyers got wind of that, said "Uh, no" and have served up the Cease & Desist on a silver platter. So if you wanna get together and do "Once More, With Feeling" live, best find a friend with a humongous television set and plenty of room.

I've never really cared much for the whole Buffy phenomenon, myself, and I didn't care to attend any of those screenings, but I know plenty of people who had fun with it, and it's sad to see one of the nicer theater gimmicks in recent memory go the way of the C&D -- especially when it really did amazingly well in the Coolidge midnight shows. I've heard the showings routinely sold out and when the Coolidge's main auditorium sells out, that's sure some box office boffo.

If Fox had any sense, it'd take a cue from the sing-along versions of MGM's Wizard of Oz sing-alongs or even The Sound of Music -- hell, that's a Fox property already!! -- and officially license the screenings, but industry execs and their pet sharks in Legal aren't always the paragon of common sense. Granted, an episode of a television show isn't on par, universal brand recognition-wise, with the Wizard of Oz, but in the right markets (and Clinton totally knew this) the Buffy sing-along event would rake in the money hand over fist.

So it goes.