Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Post Office, The Phantom, & Hemingway

Small towns usually have reputations for being provincial little locations where residents, often finding themselves bored, tend to gossip more than the average person. Unfortunately, Odessa tends to fall into this small-town category, even though technically it's a good-sized city (around 90,000+ population). I briefly mentioned previously about a weird encounter with the mail lady -- actually, that wasn't the first time she'd given me the creeps. When I first moved here, I had a problem with my mail forwarding properly, so I called the post office and ended up speaking with my family's mail carrier. "Oh, yeah, she's the one who went to Baylor and now she's back home, right?" When I realized she thought she was talking to my mom, I said, "This IS the girl who's back home..." And how the heck do you know all this?? I thought. (She has almost no real contact with my family.) Anyway, she's a nice lady, but it was still too weird for me... I was at the post office yesterday mailing some packages, and after I declared what was in them, the clerk behind the counter asked if I was eBaying. I replied yes. Then our conversation progressed to where I disclosed more of my plans to sell stuff online, etc., etc. Anyways, after I walked away, I thought, Great, now she's going to tell our mail lady... Hopefully I'm just overly paranoid about this. At any rate, my desire to move to a bigger city (Dallas and Ft. Worth readily come to mind) seems to increase with each passing day... Oops, I better be careful about what I write. The mail lady might find out.

* * *

A couple of weekends ago, I had the privilege of watching the new The Phantom of the Opera movie. Excellent film! I grew up with the music as a kid, but I had never seen the Broadway musical performed. All I had to go on was the Highlights soundtrack and several glimpses at a nifty book at the mall. And I read the original novel by Gaston Leroux, but it was in high school and I barely remember it. (Come to think of it, I also saw that movie from the '40s. Then that awful horror version from 1989, but it was sacrilegious as far as Phantom is concerned...)

The Phantom currently showing at theaters was absolutely breathtaking with the special effects, but overall the rest of it was pretty natural and sort of laid-back in some places. For instance, the Broadway soundtrack from the '80s seems to have a LOT of overacting, compared to the new movie. And the new movie's actors who play Christine and the Phantom sing with a much more pleasant vibrato than the original Broadway cast. (My voice teacher from college used to cringe at Sarah Brightman's vibrato, and I always thought Michael Crawford sounded like he was singing through his nose.)

Overall, it was totally da bomb! Awesome new flick! If nothing else, you've at LEAST got to go see Minnie Driver all spiffed up in an opera costume -- talk about comic relief!

This is all my opinion only. My brother-in-law didn't care for the movie. (But I think maybe he would have preferred the horror version...)

* * *

Recently I started reading Hemingway again. I've been told that what makes him stand out as a Modern American novelist is his writing style. Since he was a journalist, he tends to write in short, concise sentences.


But I was rather shocked as I read through the first chapter of A Farewell to Arms -- Hemingway begins most of his sentences with the letter T. If I had done that, my writing teachers would have flunked me for sure!!

But he did end that first chapter with a bang. I think Hemingway ought to be remembered for the way he disguised his deep, biting commentaries with supposedly objective journalistic prose. What a genius!

So there.

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