But there have been a few brighter spots in my time since returning from the retreat. I spent Saturday evening with Terri, who was back from leading her summer school session in Rome, and from a bit of travel here in the States after she had returned. Along with being our resident New Testament scholar, she's an admitted sci-fi enthusiast, too, so we took in The Rise of the Planet of the Apes at her suggestion. I was completely unaware of the film until she mentioned it, having not heard anything about it, other than a vague recollection of another Apes film in the works, but which I assumed to be a sequel to the Mark Wahlberg reboot from a few years back. I don't know if I just haven't been frequenting the right theatres, but I was kind of amused at the food options at the multiplex we went out to: I ordered a full pizza for dinner and Terri had a daiquiri. Have they been serving alcohol in movie theatres for a while, or is this a New Orleans/Southern thang? We heckled the adverts mercilessly and I ended up rather enjoying the film. Walking out afterward, we certainly found a ton of jumping-off points from the story for talk about medical and social ethics broadly considered, much less specific bioethics and technological ethics questions. Terri hadn't eaten, so, since she was intrigued by my description of Cafe Abyssinia, she wanted to try that, and we headed over there, still talking ethics and nieces and nephews and the like.
An earlier option that she'd thrown out as an alternative to the movie was to maybe have gotten together later on to drive out of the city and try to catch some of the Perseid meteor shower, which was peaking that night, but as the sky was hazy, that was kind of a wash. I found out her enthusiasm for such things, though, when she told me an amazing story of having been out watching the skies during a meteor shower about twenty years ago, I think in Oklahoma, with another sister in her order, and being in a field where a meteor landed in plain sight! There were other impacts in the area, with a sheriff coming up on them a little later and stopping to check on them, and reporting that a car had been hit some ways up the road. When she described the green glow of the meteor impact she saw, the sci-fi geek in me couldn't but help but imagining this as some branch of the legendary Smallville Meteor Shower of 1989.... She also wants to introduce me to some of the swamp people she's met, and get me out on one of their flat-bottom boat tours: she's taken Mari out on something like this already, and it's definitely an aspect of Louisiana life I've not encountered in the heart of the city.
Riding around Audubon Park toward sunset still is a joy. I captured this image with my iPhone on a ride last week, down along the Fly, the part of the Park that runs along the Mississippi River, south/southwest of the Zoo. I was particularly enjoying how this boy in the picture was sort of taken in by the wonder of the river and remembering that same feeling when I was a kid. Or maybe not entirely when I was a kid, because I'm still riding my bike down by the river, aren't I? And some of those waters going by me here in New Orleans were the waters of the Rock River down by where we would ride our bikes as kids, near the train tracks.
I moved to a new office this past week, having moved up the chain just far enough to get a window office, which overlooks the Peace Quad, which is probably the most central and lively outdoor area in the campus. I'll get all the bands, natural light, but not direct sun, so that's all good. I've got more convenient seating for visitors, too, than I did in my interior office, so that pleases me, and I'm hoping that having the window will keep it from being the constant 66 degrees that the other one is all summer, which is just too chilly to be comfortable in shorts and t-shirt. I also picked up the keys from the guy who was sub-letting Mari's place, checked that he hadn't visibly trashed the place (it was, in fact, very neat), and got out of that space as quickly as I could. I remembered that she'd talked about it being tough in not being air-conditioned, but I couldn't believe how hot it was in there. Granted, the windows were all closed now, but still.... Counting the blessings of the inexpensive air-conditioning I have in my place.