Monday, July 06, 2009

The Holiday Weekend

I hope everyone who had a holiday weekend enjoyed theirs. I ended up giving myself the holiday because I was suddenly very tired, but that just means I really have to work today.

I did most of my celebrating the night of the 3rd. We went to the big festival/fireworks display that night. The cool thing about that event is that the park where the festival is held is across the street from the municipal airport, so part of the event always includes fly-bys of vintage aircraft. This year, they also had a barnstormer, a stunt pilot who did some amazing things in both a biplane and another single-engine plane. He did all kinds of spirals and loops, and he did a lot of fake crashes, where he'd climb straight up, let the plane stall out, then do a steep dive of the "I'm hit!" variety, sometimes even with smoke and flames coming from the plane. I'd hold my breath every time, thinking this really would be the time he crashed, but he always came back. There was also a wingwalker -- though it was more of a wing stander as he was thoroughly strapped in place, which was probably good because the pilot was doing loops while the guy was standing on top of the biplane's wing. Then after dark the stunt pilot went at it again, with streams of sparks trailing from the wings, which created patterns with all the loops and spirals. He also dropped "bombs" that were fireworks. I would have said that the fireworks were almost anticlimactic after that, but they set off something like 2,000 shells in half an hour, so the fireworks were good, too. I like being fairly close when fireworks are going off because the noise creates much of the visceral impact. I like to feel the fireworks and get that sense that they're coming right at me.

Meanwhile, there was a Civil War re-enactment fife and drum corps wandering the park, some classic rock cover bands playing, a military band, some tempting food (I only gave in on the Italian ice), a big-screen outdoor showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark while the traffic cleared out, and all in all a good time.

Some TV watching over the weekend included catching up on Merlin OnDemand, and I must say that in all the variations on Merlin I've read (and I read a lot before I wrote my own version), I never pictured him as being too stupid to live, so silly that his friends keep landing in the dungeon thanks to his misguided attempts to help them. If this were a real series that was likely to be long-term, I wouldn't bother, but since it's a short-term British import, it's kind of like watching a train wreck. Poor Tony Head, stuck playing an absolute idiot strawman of a character (when your hero is that stupid, the antagonist has to have just barely enough brain function to sustain life). I saw a couple of episodes of Royal Pains, and I think the main character is okay when he's not busy bleating about how terrible it is to have to be paid lots of money to provide medical care to (shudder) rich people, but I really like the physician assistant chick because I love characters who are prepared for everything while also being cool and snarky. Then I finally saw the first movie with the newest Bond, and I'm not really impressed. If they wanted to make movies about a tough-guy action hero, then yay, but don't call him James Bond. Those movies only work when they're pretty much campy comic books with all the gadgets and improbably named characters and villains the likes of which no real MI-6 agent would ever see. Trying to be too realistic about it just exposes the weaknesses of the premise and makes Bond into a womanizing, cradle-robbing thug.

I think there was something else I watched, but I can't remember what it was, so it must have been really good. Meanwhile, I also managed to move a couple of books off the To-Be-Read shelf. I didn't exactly read them, but when my eyes were rolling out of their sockets by chapter three, I figured it would be okay to throw them into the "donate or sell" box.

Now, though, I want to take advantage of a rare relatively cool July day (I have to keep reminding my body that it is not fall yet and we shouldn't get too excited) by taking a walk, and then it's back to serious work.

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