Saturday, January 5, 2013

Playing Catch-Up

I hope my readership was not too disheartened during my hiatus, but after a few weeks off, I am back to blogging. Allow me to catch you up.

After the semester ended, I spent the next week here in the Bay Area. I worked at the deli a bit more than usual, as the demand for sliced meats and cheeses and Italian delicacies was at its zenith in the week before Christmas. The owner bought Santa hats for us to wear, we played Christmas music, and the store took on a rather festive atmosphere. 

In my spare time, I read Jacques Maritain's An Introduction to Philosophy, which proved to be a good re-cap of many things I'd learned last semester and a preview of some things I'll encounter in this upcoming semester. As a friend noted recently, introductory texts are best read after you've already been introduced to the material; that way you have some context for these concepts, or in other words (as I put it), you have a skeleton to hang the flesh on.

I then spent a little over a week back home in Verboort. It was a rejuvenating time: I got to see my family, including extended family, including my cousins' newborn baby daughter; I got to catch up with a few friends; and I got to stuff myself with holiday goodies. What more could a fella ask for on a trip home?

During that time I saw The Hobbit, which I found visually stunning and quite entertaining. Yes, it departs from the original novel somewhat. That's bound to happen when converting a book to a movie. But, judged on its own merits, I thought it was a very good film. Yeah, I thought Radagast's portrayal was unnecessarily goofy, and at times the movie felt like one long chase scene. But you can't have everything. I especially enjoyed the performances by Martin Freeman as Bilbo and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. The music accompanied and expressed the action of the film quite well. And Cate Blanchett always does good work when she's on screen, even if it's only for a few minutes. Do see it.

I returned to the Bay on New Year's Day. I've worked a few days this week, and done a little socializing, too: drinks with a buddy on evening; dinner with a classmate's family followed by Les Miserables. Anne Hathaway should win the Oscar just for that one-take performance of "I Dreamed a Dream," and if Hugh Jackman isn't at least nominated for playing Jean Valjean, I'll consider it a crime. I had no idea Russell Crowe could sing, but he did a serviceable job of it, and overall fit the bill quite well for Javert. It's a moving story of conversion and redemption, and it was very well executed by this group. Do see it.

Oh, and lest I forget: Go Irish! Beat Bama!

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