July 5th, 2005

little review

Poem for Tuesday

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We had a family-focused Fourth of July, with everyone managing to sleep late (again) as we are not completely used to East Coast time, so that by the time we had brunch (eggs, pancakes, turkey sausage, etc.) it was really lunchtime and my parents were itching to come up with some group bonding activity, as we had nixed going downtown in the late afternoon for the fireworks upon learning that DC was planning to test its emergency evacuation routes after the show which we were certain would lead to chaos worse than the usual exodus. Instead we went to Batman Begins with my mother, though my father bailed at the last minute as he had someone coming out to try to fix his cable which had been down for a week since a short during a thunderstorm. I give it two thumbs way up on the acting -- even Katie Holmes wasn't bad -- and I liked the storyline, particularly the details on Bruce Wayne's childhood and all the added ninja training. But the action sequences near the end all dragged on a bit long for my taste, which is a criticism I have had of pretty much every major film I have seen this summer.

I know there is a myth that audiences must have explosions, flashing lights, new camera angles, stop-motion swordfights and car chases every three minutes or they become bored, but I hit a point where I no longer can tell or care who's who and what's happening -- we all know the hero is going to survive and the bad guy is going to fall, one way or another, whether it's Star Wars or Batman or Kingdom of Heaven or Cinderella Man. Last night I was up till all hours folding laundry and put on Close My Eyes, the Alan Rickman sibling incest movie (he is not one of the people committing incest unfortunately), which like so many non-mainstream movies has a choppy beginning, no pat resolution and no clear moralizing in the interim -- it wasn't even entirely clear that we were supposed to like any of the characters, nor dislike any of them, no matter what they said or did -- and it was so damn refreshing! It is also possible that I was distracted by a garrulous, self-absorbed Rickman and a fully frontally naked, very young Clive Owen, but Batman Begins had just as many attractive men (Christian Bale Liam Neeson Gary Oldman Rutger Hauer <3) and I managed to be bored during parts anyway.

Anyway, my father came out to meet us after the movie and we walked around the lake to the new restaurant with the fire pit and the wood grill. I was originally going to get seafood, but the smoke smelled so good that I ended up having wood-fired rotisserie chicken which was very good -- in fact everyone liked everything they got, from my son's salmon caesar salad to my husband's crab cakes to my father's burger. After dinner we needed to stretch our legs, so we went out to watch the geese -- the adolescents of a few weeks ago now have the full markings of adult Canadian geese, while among my favorite gaggle of eight, half are looking distinctly like Canadian geese as well while the other half are losing their yellow down and growing the white feathers of the very small group of domestic geese that lives in the lake. There were people paddle-boating and the fountains were on so it was a lovely walk.

Fireworks are not the same on television, but the advantage of watching them there was that we could switch from the pretty good DC show to the absolutely spectacular New York show just by turning from PBS to NBC -- this is a time when my father's plasma screen, great stereo and HDTV really made a difference. So we watched fireworks together, just not live ones! I wish I had been feeling more patriotic...every time I started to, they cut to a shot of the White House and there went that. The DC show had some good music from the National Symphony (though I could have done without the big Gloria Estefan celebration, but hey, Jimmy Smits -- hopefully our next president, at least on television, introduced her). The New York show felt more all-American for all its not trying so hard and despite the presence of Donald Trump.

Tomorrow apaulled goes back to work, older son's best friend returns from Canada and I must catch up on a hundred things. In that spirit, here are some photos of delays we encountered besides those having to do with United Airlines, most of which amused us at the time!

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