I am currently reading Grisham's "The Appeal." Although Grisham is no great literary figure, his style of writing legal thrillers captivates me. The setting is usually "normal" people up against a large, crooked legal firm, with a Mafia-type organization backing. A young, new law school graduate then comes in and saves the day. It's a formula that has worked for Grisham. It's also a formula that has worked for me – reading Grisham is one of my guilty pleasures. He is a masterful story teller. I always have a hard time putting a Grisham book down. The Grisham novels do not translate well into movies. My favorite Grisham book is "A Time to Kill.” This is Grisham first novel, but did not make it big until the success of “The Firm.” The first Grisham book I read was "The Firm." I actually purchased the book at the airport in Atlanta in the early 1990's, and before my plane arrived in Ontario, CA airport, I already finished the book. I eagerly awaited the film adaptation. When the movie finally came out, it was a disappointment. When you read a book, you picture in your mind what you are reading. You are essentially playing the movie in your mind as you read the book. You get disappointed when the actual movie does not come close to your own interpretation.
I just completed "Love in the Time of Cholera" by Gabriel Marquez Garcia. This is the first book I have read by a Latin American writer. It was a good choice. The language is so rich. I imagine that this novel would be even more eloquent in its native Spanish form. In reading the book which is set in Colombia in the late 1800 thru early 1900's, I noticed some of the older Spanish colonial social customs that reminds of similar customs in earlier times in the Philippines. I will have to expand my selection of Latin American writers and read more of their stories. A new film adaptation of "Love in the Time of Cholera" was recently released. In reading some of the reviews, the movie did not fare well. I can understand how such a novel or film would not fare well today. I reference the old Spanish colonial customs earlier – these customs are neither currently acceptable nor politically correct. Also, a novel such as this would be difficult to adapt to film because story is not laid out in chronological sequence. Tthe beginning of the novel happens near the end of the story. Then it continues with events that led to the opening of the story. There have been films that relate the story in this manner with success; for example Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
In reading Seattle Times’ Sunday edition a couple of weeks ago, I noticed a story about the filming of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road," a novel I completed reading earlier this year. I was elated to read about the story being turned into a movie. It is definitely one of the best "reads" I've ever had. It ranks up there to my first reading of Hemingway's "A Farewell to Arms," Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” and Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men." I hope the film adaptation of “The Road” goes well. I can not wait until the movie arrives. McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" translated well into film. I hope "The Road" has the same success.
I hope my copy of the book is being passed around to be read in Seattle. There is a certain person, I won't mention any names, but the person had the first opportunity to read the book, and then should have passed it on. OK it's "j to the a to the n to the i to the c to the e." It has been at least four months. So girl – finish the damn book already and pass it on, will ya!!!
The following are few pictures from this summer:
This was taken inside my tent late at night, in total darkness and during a heavy rainstorm, at a campsite outside of Amsterdam. I just pointed my camera upwards and shot the picture. The light source is all from the flash. Anyway, I managed to stay dry throughout the night.
The campground is different than US campsites in that there are open spaces to set up tents and a separate, nearby area to park cars. The tent area has that communal feel. I felt like I needed a tie-dye t-shirt and a well-worn bell bottom denim jeans to fit in.
Actually, the campground users were a mixed lot. Although many were young, free-spirit types, there are also many older folks and family groups. There were also areas to park trailers and RV’s. I joined a friend from work, with the truck and truckbed tent shown on the next photo, and another friend from work and his family, with the camper, to camp just outside of Amsterdam. My tent is set up behind the truck for the first night. The second day, I was relegated to the communal tent area by order of the camp “police.” I was told that it was forbidden to place my tent on the area where my tent was originally located -- something about “protecting” the turf. This is where the RV’s and campers park, for christsake. These large vehicles do more damage to the grassy area than my piddly tent. I moved my tent to the “tent” area for my second night at the campground, but it was not really in the big open, hippie area. My neighboring tents were all occupied by family groups. I am not sure if any of them were bothered by my snoring.
Rembrandtplein (Rembrandt Square), in Amsterdam, has changed since the last time I saw it in 2004. It is now dotted with life-sized statues which represent Rembrandt more famous painting, Night Watch, in front of the Rembrandt statue.
A picture of me with a wooden statue of a traveling clock salesman, in Freiburg, Germany during the 4th of July weekend.
During the 4th of July weekend, a friend and I visited the Alsace region of France. The photo is from the Unterlinden Museum in Colmar. The museum has a large collection of religious art, by local artists, from medieval and early Renaissance periods.
A common sight in Alsatian houses: a brightly painted home with wooden shutters on each side of every windows and window boxes brimming with colorful blooms. This photo was taken in Ribeauville.
Haut Koenigsbourg Castle is nestled on a high hill overlooking the Alsatian valley.
On a Friday in mid July, a couple of friends and I took off from work early in the afternoon to go to a smaller beer festival in Mainz, across the river from Wiesbaden. We arrived there before the festival opened; also the weather was overcast and cool. So the crowd size was a bit sparse. I’m sure the crowd picked up during the weekend because the weather improved tremendously for the remainder of the weekend.
During my visit to Seattle this past June, I spent plenty of time with Payton and Cameron, who are currently staying at my house while their new home is being built; Gavin and Jeremy, who were also staying at my house and being babysat by their grandma (my sister), while their parents were away; and Jeremiah, who was at my house almost daily and being babysat by his grandma (my older sister) visiting from the Philippines. Among the six of us, we went through several bags of popsicles. During the duration of my stay in Seattle, my tongue and lips were always red, orange, blue, or purple. At least my face remained clean, unlike the kids’ faces. Some were so tired after a full day of playing that they fell sleep right on the floor, still with the popsicle smudges on their faces.
The following video is a gem. Cameron must not have known that my digital camera can also function as a video camera. She was singing and I was able to record without her noticing. Cameron is such a social butterfly, very talkative and inquisitive. I don’t know who she gets it from. Both of her parents are usually quiet and reserved.
And lastly, birthday greetings to Agnes and Rena. Both have birthdays in September.