I'm wrapping things up here in Verona, and getting ready to head down to Illinois tomorrow, where I'll be in the technological black hole of my Dad's place, who is somehow incapable of dealing with any tech past 1980. No internet. No email. At least, not until I go to the cell phone/Blackberry tech that I've simply resisted so that I'm not a slave to anyone who wants to get me whenever they want. Sterling -- my Dad's home town -- is pretty close to my home town of Oregon, so I might try to see one of my best friends from high school, and/or my undergraduate mentor Professor Marvin A. Powell, who has coincidentally retired to a farmlet in the area. The last time I stayed there, he made me plant a vineyard, so perhaps it's better if I just sneak up on him unannounced.
The time's gone a lot faster than I can make sense of. It's break. Time is dedicated to the evil god of Distraction. I'm into Part II of The Wreath, the first volume of Kristin Lavransdatter. It's good reading thus far, although I think I'm still seeing more of the elements of a plot coming together than anything else at this point. No opinions thus far, other than I'm glad that it's historically generous in not being bigoted toward anything not modern.
In Critics on Trial: An Introduction to the Catholic Modernist Crisis , I've gotten to the Baron von Hugel chapter, the man described as the personality that held the "movement" of the Catholic Modernists together. I heard O'Connell speak on these characters at Notre Dame, and he has a gift for description. I'm weaker on this stuff than I ought to be, but that's the facts for our entire generation: this 19th Century stuff determined so much of our world, but other than the in-club of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, not a whole lot of attention is paid to the entire century, philosophically and theologically (with, I suppose, the ideological uses of Darwin thrown in in an "honourary" way by the ideologically-atheist). The ways in which the people and events of the time still determine a lot of our agenda are not really recognized, even by academia, and so I'm doing a bit to try to fill in that gap.
I've also been re-reading Day of Vengeance as part of the road to Infinite Crisis. The Spectre on a genocidal rampage against the magic-using population. 'Nuf said.
Movies playing over the top of the book, compounding the distractedness. I caught a bit of 10 Things I Hate About You, which was on earlier. Something about this one stands out to me over and above the rest of the "high school movie" set. It does have one of the great "grand gesture" scenes. Something about Julia Stiles in it always teases at my memory, though: she reminds me of someone and I cannot place my finger on exactly who. Then there was Runaway Bride, which I'd never seen before. Not much to say there: it had a decently reverse-romantic line on how love in marriage is hard, but at least the film kept your figurative "eye on the ball" in its idea that real love is actually revealed in a life-commitment. [Edit: These were later both overshadowed by the under-rated gem of an idea -- the assassin returning to his hometown for his 10th high school reunion -- that was John Cusack's Grosse Point Blank, thus completing the Night of Ultimate Distraction.]