Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Horse racing and other stuff

Ok, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now post time. God, I miss Fred Capacella. With the running of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, my mind is reliving the Saturday afternoons of my youth, when local thoroughbred racing was televised and my grandmother and I watched religiously. I was about 13 and unable to place any bets at a track, but I got pretty darned good at picking winners on the television. It got so I could analyze the field by track condition, jockey, past races and current weather and be right more often than I was wrong. I always felt the excitement mount when the track announcer, the aforementioned Mr. Capacella, would make that signature nasal announcement and the gates would fly open. I knew when a horse took the lead too early, or when a jockey made a move at the wrong time. Honestly, thoroughbred racing was and still is the only sport I have always enjoyed watching. It's not even the thought of winning, because I've never once placed a bet in my life; it's just the mental challenge of bringing so many disparate facts together into one final decision and then watching to see if that decision was the right one.

On another front, it's almost the end of another school year. It's about time-there's a very good reason that the school year only runs for 10 months, and despite the popular misconception that teachers "get summers off" what that really means is that I'm out of work and have no income for two months. So it's another summer of summer school, which will pay me roughly half of what I'd normally make per month, but it's better than nothing. My real issue is that I do need the break. Teaching is a very stressful profession-you try spending 45 minutes with 30 adolescents five times a day and see how you do. Then try making them do stuff they don't want to do and actually learning something from it (if they do it at all) and on top of all that, have your own life. Summers used to be a time for me to destress and plan my next year in peace and quiet. That doesn't happen as easily working summer school. Before Summer school (BSS) I used to be ready to start back by late August and would approach the classroom eagerly and with a sense of excitement. Now, I've been in the classroom till mid-August and that eager anticipation is no longer there. I truly can't wait for the economy to improve and for my salary to increase enough to be able to put money away for the summer so I can have time to be me again. It's coming!

Enough griping. It's early evening, the sun is still up and the weather's warm. I think I'll take a walk-get ready to open the gate; it is now post time.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Star Trek and its consequences.

Tim and I saw the new Star Trek movie today. I was excited, of course, but did head in with a little trepidation. When something achieves a somewhat iconic state, it's a little bit scary to think that someone will take it in a new direction that you might not have wanted to see. I needn't have worried. I don't think I've seen a film that had such a strong effect on me, mostly because one wouldn't expect a little sci-fi flick to be so moving. It was appropriately action packed, as I'd anticipated, and yes, it was fun to see the younger versions of the characters I'd grown to love over the past 40 years, but it was more. As the story progressed, and the beloved characters appeared on the screen, it was like being able to go back in time and see people you loved meeting for the first time on a road to becoming....well, the people you loved. It was comforting, nay, even heart-warming.

One of the phrases bandied about during the massive press juggernaut leading up to the release of the film billed it as "not your father's Star Trek." I humbly disagree. My father was a huge Star Trek fan, as well as a fan of Science Fiction films in general. He would have loved this film. I think he would have had the same excitement I felt when each character was introduced, and he would have been just as excited as a kid with a new toy. It made me a bit sad that he couldn't have lived long enough to see this movie, because it definitely would have been my father's Star Trek.

As the movie came to its end, my husband and I both reacted quite strangely-well, strangely to most other moviegoers, not to us. We were moved; choked up-teary-eyed. I'm not exactly sure why, but as I wiped the tears from my face, I realized that the trepidation I'd felt before the film was that it might not achieve exactly this effect; that somehow they'd make light of the characters we'd loved all those years ago and still loved to this day. All the hoopla about making it a new Star Trek or moving it in a new direction didn't diminish one bit of the humanity at the core of the story. They got it right, and I was more than just a little bit grateful.

And on that note, I believe I will boldly bed.