Monday, August 06, 2007

Summer Vacation: The Condensed Version

Some of my free time lately has been spent adding the titles of my books to my LibraryThing account, which I have finally paid for after having talked about it for nearly a year. At last count, I was up to something like 559. Maybe a couple of hundred remain to be added, counting the composition readers and rhetorics.

There are other ways to relax before the start of classes. I finally managed to see Pan’s Labyrinth over the weekend after renting the movie from Blockbuster. I haven’t yet decided whether I like the movie. It was certainly imaginative, but the graphic violence causes me to withhold my judgment at the moment. Ultimately, the young girl’s imaginative life becomes a premonition of death; the movie works on two levels—that is, the child’s view and the adult’s view. Considering the number of people who died a horrible death in 1944 and throughout the war years, beginning during the Spanish Civil War, the young girl’s vision of death was an attractive one and made death much less frightening.

I took my family to see a minor league baseball game on Saturday. The Kansas City T-Bones were playing a team from Winnipeg. It was the hottest day in this area since last October, with a high of 93 and a heat index of 100. For some reason, the wind moving the flags on the other side of the stadium didn’t make its way into the stands. We lasted for part of the game before my thirteen-year-old became restless and wanted to know how long we were staying. This game proved to be the longest nine-innings this season, three hours, fifty-three minutes. We left about midway when Kansas City was still losing to Canada and before they beat the Canadian team by one run. Maybe if the seats were closer to the field, I would have enjoyed the game more. I was hoping to give my kid a summer experience, something to tell his friends about when he returns to school. Even though I’m not much of a sports person, apart from Big XII basketball, it was sort of fun watching the game, but the number of people, the movement of people within the stands, the selling of cotton candy and snow cones and lemonade, the roaring loudspeakers above our heads when the T-Bones were up to bat, and the antics on the field between innings (such as throwing three steaks onto the grill or running around the bases carrying a pitcher of beer) proved to be sensory overload. I think baseball games would have been more relaxing thirty or forty years ago when the attention was on the game.

I have another movie rented from Blockbuster; it’s Downfall, an account of Hitler’s last days in the bunker. It has gotten almost as much attention from the critics as Pan’s Labyrinth.

The Leavenworth County Fair starts on Tuesday. My kid will be having his photographs judged on Tuesday morning. We’re hoping that he gets one or two purple ribbons so that he can show his photography at the State Fair in September. It’s going to be rough getting up early on Tuesday and again on Friday when his club works in the food booth. My wife and I report back to school this upcoming week, too. It was fun having a little bit of time off.