Monday, June 05, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend In Michigan

We were able to get to Christy's folk's place in Michigan over the Memorial Day Holiday weekend. The trip up went well, only, from Grand Rapids north, I felt like the kid who forgot to bring his toy for show-and-tell. It seemed that we were the only car on the road that didn't have either a camper, trailer, flatbed, or some other transporter of recreational devices; inflatable rafts, kayaks, canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, sailboats, Waverunners, fishing boats, speedboats, yachts, and because, contrary to the rumors, there is some dry land in Northern Michigan, just about everybody who didn't have some kind of watercraft had a few bicycles. We had nothing behind nor strapped onto our car and I could just about hear the laughter as we passed them. It was the first time that Hannah was awake for the entire trip, but she did really well. We did hit some stand-still traffic around Big Rapids, but were finally able to bypass it.

Hannah enjoyed swimming two of the days that we were there. Despite air temperatures in the 80s, the water was still cold from the long winter, painfully cold to me, at least, though it didn't seem to bother her a bit. We were in Michigan last September for the Labor Day weekend and Lake Michigan was still quite chilly even after the entire summer to heat it. Crazy kid. It did give me a new respect for my Dad, though, who notoriously waded into Lake Michigan near Chicago one winter. Why? I don't know, but there are pictures to prove it.

Jim McGrath introduces the Eastern HognoseOne evening when we were there, we all went to an exhibit that the Michigan DNR was putting on about frogs. It was pretty interesting. The guy doing the presentation, Jim McGrath, had personally been all over Michigan for several years (I think he said eight years) collecting audio recordings of the various species of frogs and toads native to Michigan. He had live specimens of most of them and passed them around (in jars) to see. The highlight, though, was when he fed one of the frogs to an Eastern Hognose Snake! Very Cool!

Hannah near snakeClick links below for more pictures of snake vs. frog (not posted directly for the benefit of those with weak constitutions, or who'd just rather not see them).
[Sizing up the situation] ; [The Strike] ; [Say 'Chubby Bunny!'] ; [Frog Legs, anyone?] ; [Almost down] ; [Done!]

Hannah got bored during the frog lecture, so Christy took her outside to play, but she did come back near the end and I was shocked how close she got to the snake! It's a good thing that the snake had already eaten by then!

We got to relax some, including naps both Saturday and Sunday (Woo-hoo!!)! Christy's Dad introduced me to Sudoku puzzles and I managed to work out a couple of the easy ones. I went one time with Christy's Brother, Paul, to take his Golden Retriever, Amber, for a walk out in the woods. Altogether, it was a pleasant weekend. If there was a low point, it would have to be the tragic discovery that the 'House of Flavors' ice cream parlor/restaurant in Manistee, had gone out of business. Fortunately, there was an A&W nearby to cheer us all up!

One of the highlights for me was getting to see the sunset over Lake Michigan on the anniversary of the day on which I was born. I think everyone should take in as many sunsets as they possibly can, but especially on their "birthdays." It helps one put things into perspective. I also think that sunrises are overrated. :-)

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me -- just kidding!

Manistee Lighthouse at sunsetLake Michigan at sunset, Manistee, MILake Michigan at sunset, Manistee, MILake Michigan at sunset, Manistee, MI

Films Recently Watched:

Eraserhead (1977) dir. by David Lynch
Quite possibly the most disturbing piece of cinema these eyes have ever seen. Wow. I don't even know what to say. Have any of you ever seen this? Feel free to e-mail me if you're unwilling to comment here publicly. :-)

Pride & Prejudice (2005) dir. by Joe Wright
I was pleasantly surprised by this. Lovely locations and visuals. A succinct telling of the story, which was fine by me. I got bogged down in the 5-hour A&E miniseries from '95, though I understand that it is considered by many to be the definitive telling of the story in the motion picture medium. To be fair, I am not a casual reader of Jane Austen, much less a passionate one, and I am certain that it is lovers of Austen who would prefer the miniseries over this. I wasn't blown away by either of the leads, Keira Knightley or Matthew Macfadyen, though both were decent. I was blown away by the performance here by Donald Sutherland. It's a small role, but he tears it up.

Bill Cosby: Himself (1984) dir. by Bill Cosby
I put this in for one gag that I wanted to see and ended up watching the entire thing. Classic!

Blade Runner (1982) dir. by Ridley Scott
I'll never be able to post in another Sci-fi messageboard again, but this isn't my favorite of Ridley Scott's work. There are several versions of the film, though. Perhaps another would be more to my liking? There have been rumors for years about a special edition DVD coming out. Maybe if those actually come true, I'll give it another shot.

Vertigo (1958) dir. by Alfred Hitchcock

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