miscellaneous commentary

Midsummer Roundup

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Halfway through the summer. The past few weeks have been spent working overtime during the day, practicing digital sabbaticals on the weekends and slowly plodding along with my twin archival and purging projects.

With a few exceptions, temperatures have been consistently in the nineties and the air stiflingly humid. Suffice to say, bicycling has taken a back seat to running and weightlifting at the gym.

A few good books read over the past few weeks:

-The Company of the Dead, an alternate history of the 20th century where the Titanic didn’t sink, the US loses WWII and the Nazis and Japanese control the US coastlines. In the new 2012 there’s a Kennedy working for the Confederate intelligent agency out of Texas, who kidnaps the current captain of the Titanic, flies him out of New York City in a German zeppelin, fights with samurai in a hotel in Tennessee and rallies Native Americans to fight a tank war in the Nevada desert while powering up a time machine recovered from Roswell in the hope of… well, I don’t want to give it away.

-It’s All About the Bike, half a history of the development of the bicycle and its various components, and half biography of author Robert Penn, traveling the world and spending an ungodly sum of money (as in over $5,000) to procure the best parts for his dream bike.

The Moviegoer, the tale of a man turning 30 living in New Orleans in/around 1960, during the week of Mardi Gras, who doesn’t seem to engaged in his job or his family or his meager circle of friends but is willing to flee with his cousin (I think that was their relationship) to Chicago, and somewhere in those 240 pages he goes to the movies too. That last one was so-so… the aunt had some good lines towards the end of the book.

A cold began working on me last Wednesday and unleashed its fury last Friday night. I was waylaid all weekend, downing 7-Up and cranberry juice and engorging on seasons 2 and 3 of The West Wing on DVD (I did manage to join Sam and Sharina for dinner and a roller derby double header at Young Arena Saturday night, but my finicky sinuses kept me from enjoying myself). Coming off a weekend of general lethargy and ill health, I’m trying to play catchup.

The A/C has been working more overtime than I have these past few weeks. I’ve turned it off for the rest of the night but it knows as well as I do it’s going back to the front lines tomorrow morning. Good thing my utilities are included in the rent.

Movies seen over the past couple months: “The Happening”, “Whip It”, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (dumb fun), “Magic Mike” (believe it or not, there’s a story, but it takes second place to Soderbergh’s “Haywire” from earlier this year), “Ted” (funny but it’s a rental), “Tomboy” (interesting French film about an androgynous 10-year old girl), “John Carter” (not nearly as bad as the bad press led me to believe, but still… not good), “Margaret” (a movie written in 2003, filmed in 2005 and stuck in production and legal limbo until this year’s DVD release; a captivating original story with very good performances) and several DVDs I own (“JFK”, “Paris Texas”, “The Social Network”, “The Squid and the Whale”, “The Darjeeling Limited” and “Gimme Shelter”).

…and “Prometheus” — saw it twice, once in 3D; currently my favorite film of the year, so good and creepy, a modern prequel to “Alien”, a bit faster-paced with a few glaring plot loopholes but still a very solid piece of entertainment. Jim Emerson wrote extensively about this movie and its relationship to “Alien” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”. It’s a very good essay and worth reading, even for those who didn’t see “Prometheus”. Seriously, read it. Now.


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