Friday, August 27, 2010

Good Flicks

I've made no secret to anyone who's asked that I think one of the best films I've seen this year is City Island. I'm a little late to the party, but the writer/director has been writing articles in about the process. His final one, to coordinate with the DVD release, can be found here.

It's a breezy story about careers in Hollywood, the film, and the future. You should check out the article, and the film.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Space Bugs

This may be the most interesting science news I've seen in a while. Apparently, there are microbes that create oxygen that can survive in space. Read the BBC article here.

Interestingly enough, no one seems to question the prudence of putting something in the vacuum of space for over a year, discovering it can survive, then brining it back to earth. Doesn't it occur to someone that those microbes might be pissed off?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How I spent My Summer Vacation

The word "summer" conjures up so many images: tire swings over cool lakes, endless afternoons reading for pleasure, fireflies at dusk. What amazes me most is the long list of items I have planned in May that I think I'll accomplish over the course of the summer months.

The list, of course, is doomed to failure, simply because, for the most part, my kids are around all the time and given the chance, I'd rather spend time with them than scratch items off that summer list, especially when it contains such things as "clean the basement." Someday, my kids will be moving out and I'm pretty sure that crap in the basement will still be waiting. That rationale doesn't always help my stress levels, though, since I'm the kind of guy who, when he makes a list, expects to actually complete it. So, I have fun with my kids, but that damn list is going to be taunting me when they go back to school.

My summer list includes all kinds of unrealistic projects from domestic life and work life, most of which were patently ridiculous. There wasn't really much chance I was gonna get time to install new kitchen cabinets, was there? What was I thinking? For one thing, I wasn't thinking we were going to be living through the hottest summer on record. I don't mind sweat, as long as it comes with exercise or honest physical labor, but sweating as a matter of course just sucks. It saps my will to set one foot out of my air-conditioned bedroom.

So, how have I spent my summer? Hanging out with my kids at museums, movie theaters, book stores, coffee shops and other air-conditioned venues. We camped out in the back yard. We spent afternoons at the pool. There were swim team events and tennis lessons. Visits to grandparents and dinners with friends. Cocktails on the front porch, and lots of baseball on TV. We grilled, we ate take-out, we skipped meals and then snacked at inappropriate hours. There were fireworks and water-gun fights. Board games and summer reading projects. Chores and piano lessons. And yes, there were lazy hours spent reading, followed by fireflies at dusk. The tire swing over the lake will have to wait for next year.