All I want to do right now is curl up with a warm blanket…
Monthly Archives: July 2011
Back on July 2nd, I ran in the Dallas Racing Club’s Independence Day 5K run.
Since it was my first race, I was thrilled just to be upright and lucid when I crossed the finish line. My time was 32:54, for a 10:37 mile pace, and I was in the middle of the pack (246/468 to be exact.)
Spencer Tracy plays the old man, a poor Cuban fisherman with a nearly three-month-long string of bad luck. He is loved and cared for by a young boy who maintains the faith. When the old man in his tiny boat snags a marlin beyond his imagination and is pulled out to sea, he engages in the struggle of a lifetime, a heroic quest to restore his lost virility, his honor, and his pride. But then, the sharks begin to follow the trail…
The movie is essentially a one-man monologue, difficult for any actor to work with, but Tracy plays the role with thoughtfulness and gravity. Every time I encounter this story I desperately root for the old man, hoping he’ll bring his catch back to port and re-gain the esteem of his friends. The story is one of struggle, triumph, failure, hope, and love–the human condition.
Saturday night was the evening that several Barnes & Noble employees I work with said farewell to Graham, a quiet young man who works in Receiving. (For reasons too complicated to explain without being very dull, I do not know Graham’s last name.) Graham is joining the U.S. Army and ships out for training in August.
Another co-worker, Kim, took it upon herself to throw a bon voyage party and to use the opportunity to teach Graham how to play poker. By her reasoning, Army folks play poker a lot, and since Graham didn’t know how to play, she wanted him to be better prepared. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sounds good. So the party consisted of lots of Five Card Stud and Graham learned the ropes. I played a few hands, and I may have even come out a few nickels ahead. After a couple of hours I joined another group playing non-gambling games like Spoons and B.S. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with friends, for no other reason because times like these are so rare. With my work schedule and family commitments, I so rarely get to have fun like this.
Good luck, Graham. Keep safe, keep your head down, and keep an eye out for your team. Thank you for your service to our country.
My wife and I saw the final installment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2:
First, the obligatory disclaimer. I’m not the family’s Harry Potter fan. That position belongs to my son, but he wanted to see it with a girl he’s dating. He has read the books several times and watched the movies countless times. My wife has seen the first movies over and over, simply by being in the room with Andrew when he’s watching them, but she’s not read a word of the books. I however have read the first four novels, skimmed the fifth one, and read the last chapter of the last novel (I know.) I’ve watched all the other movies at least once, with the exception of the second one, because I keep falling asleep during them.
So then, Cheryl and I arrive at an hour before showtime to find the theater filling up fast. We snagged a couple of seats, then watched family after family trail in, wander up and down the aisles, ask some teenagers behind us if those seats were available (three or four kids were keeping the entire row saved for their friends, who didn’t arrive until the lights were dimming.) Then the people would wander up and down the aisle and finally settle for seats on the front row along the aisles, so that you can watch the entire movie with a crick in your neck. At one point the theater’s manager came in with a clipboard to find out where, exactly, were the remaining seats, and to answer the complaints of people who don’t wanna sit on the front row. Seems to me that if people buy their tickets online, they don’t have to be there at any particular time, and if your friends have the sand to save a row for you, then more power to you. Buying a ticket gets you seat availability, not seat selection.
As for the movie, I have to remember this is the second part of a two-parter. Think of this as one movie with a really long intermission. With that in mind, I kind of wished I had re-watched Part one recently, because some characters and events were baffling to me. Who’s that guy? Why is Harry talking to him? What’s that thing that that guy is holding? Etc.
Still, the effects were glittery, there was a lot of action, and the evil Voldemort was vanquished, so YAY!. But my, there were some puzzling elements. (Some minor spoiler alerts ahead) Did Harry Potter really die, or was he faking? The poor kid’s always had a credibility issue in the past, in that no one will believe him when he claims that, say, Voldemort is back or that he’s not guilty of crimes. So when he staggers back from defeating the most evil guy in all evildom and no one saw it, everybody (A) believes him completely that Voldemort is dead, and (B) doesn’t seem to really care. Where are all the Death Eaters and the ghosty prison guards? This was supposed to be the equivalent of the death of Hitler, Stalin, and Osama bin Laden wrapped up in one hairless villain–so where are the ticker-tape parades, the throwing up Harry Potter on shoulders and leading him through the thronging masses? Instead, everyone is just sitting around sharing war stories.
Still, I know the end of a classic when I see one. Harry Potter will be much loved by at least another generation or two, and I cannot praise J. K. Rowling highly enough for getting kids to read and showing the world that kids love to read good stories. So well done, Rowling and company.
Nifty quote for your consideration:
No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet introspection.
From The Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss.