Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Potpourri No. 17

Wow, I actually have a moment to blog! I better jump at the chance—final papers are about to take over my life. I figure within the next few days, my already tight schedule will reach its apex and maintain a steady chokehold on me that will last through the first week of May. Then I’ll have a few weeks off before I begin teaching, an interim during which I’ll be seeing a handful of friends and family, which is quite exciting. But as for the last few weeks, here are some of the high and lowlights.

Holy Matrimony!
My sister is married! Living in Atlanta, I never see my sister anymore, so it surprised me that I felt such a sense of “loss” when she walked down the aisle. Not in a bad way, just that melancholy recognition that things are changing. It’s crazy. Congratulations, sis!

Problems Afoot
I seem to be fond of acquiring mystery leg ailments. Two years ago, I woke up to pain that ran all the way up my left leg and into my lower back (see here). It lasted (see also here). And lasted. And lasted. In fact, I still have it. It’s minimal nowadays, but I have to be particular about how I lay in bed at night and whatnot, which is annoying. Two different doctors told me I just need to be more active. I don’t quite buy into it. Being a student, I do a fair amount of walking. I think I’ve got nerves that are all tangled up and, after two years, I don’t think they’re too keen on unraveling themselves. Anyway, that’s beside the point. About a year and a half ago, I woke up with a swollen foot. As much as I knew, I hadn’t hurt it in the night or anything. I just woke up semi-crippled. And this also lasted longer than I would’ve expected. It was so bad, I literally couldn’t bear to put a shoe on my foot. Jump forward to 2007 and, as of a few days ago, I wake up with a sore right ankle. Swollen, painful. I have to limp around town. This one is actually clearing up fairly quickly, fortunately. It’s almost gone now, but it’s not been a very fun week. In fact, just the other day, I was in a class that meets on the 11th floor of an office building. The fire alarm went off, and they made us vacate the building—via the stairs. That was an uncomfortable descent. And, wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we got to the bottom, as we were walking out of the stairwell, they were telling us we could go back in. False alarm. I wasn’t amused.

Equal Opportunity Employer
The fun of living in a large city like Atlanta continues. Just yesterday, as I was hobbling to the train station after school, this crazy guy started yelling at these two girls that were walking a few feet ahead of me, asking if he could perform a certain sexual act on them for five bucks. When they ignored him, he started yelling at me. “Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir! Sir!” he repeated over and over. I kept ignoring him, figuring he’d ask for money or something. But, apparently, he just isn’t too picky about gender, as he finally gave up waiting for me to acknowledge him and went straight into a sexual proposition. Sometimes I really miss SLC.

Stupid Human Tricks
I recently had the opportunity to see both The Prestige and The Illusionist, two thrillers centering around magicians at the turn of the century (give or take a few decades—I don’t know exactly). Both films were widely released last fall, within a couple weeks of each other. Though I had heard quite good things about The Prestige, I was primarily interested in it because of Christopher Nolan, its director and co-writer. Nolan is one of my favorite contemporary filmmakers, also responsible for Batman Begins and the masterpiece Memento. He’s a genius when it comes to preserving a strong sense of realism in his films, a realism that is simultaneously restrained (you would never be tempted to slap him with the sensational platitude of being “gritty” or “brutally honest”) yet potent and tangible. Needless to say, I thought The Prestige was almost perfect in its execution. And, having gotten in the mood for turn-of-the-century magic tricks, Melanie and I decided to rent The Illusionist the very next day. Perhaps that was the first mistake. Perhaps if I had seen the two films months apart, I wouldn’t have been so insulted by the latter. But, to me, The Illusionist just seemed stupid. It had no emotional pull. The characters were two-dimensional and boring (save Rufus Sewell, who did a great job as Prince Leopold but couldn’t salvage the movie). And the “magic” was just a bunch of crap. They didn’t even try to make it seem realistic. Okay, once in a long while they pretended there could be some sort of explanation to it all, but it was just too phony to give a crap about or feel engrossed by. Even Edward Norton, whom I usually enjoy, should be embarrassed by his association with this film. Again, I might not feel so adamantly insulted and annoyed by the movie had I not watched it the day after The Prestige. But I don’t think it could have made much of a difference.

Chattin’ ‘Bout Chattanooga
Keeping with tradition, I failed to write about my mini-vacation to Chattanooga. But we had a good time. Eddie went on his first carousel ride, though he was more excited about the ceiling fans. And he had his first ice cream (shhh, don’t tell!). That was actually a disappointment, because we had heard about this ice cream parlor that had such funky flavors as “Animal Cracker,” “Maple Cinnamon,” and “Cape Cod Cantaloupe.” There were several flavors I was interested in trying, based on their website. But when we went there, they only had the most basic and familiar flavors you could think of—cookies n’ cream, pralines n’ cream, etc. So it didn’t end up tasting very special at all. Regardless, we had a fun little trip and got some good photos, more of which I probably won’t post at some future time. As for now, enjoy this cute one of Eddie, taking after his papa with a Mountain Dew in his hands…

That’s it!