June seemed to go by in a flash. I guess that is what happens when you can actually leave your home and do things? We actually hung out with friends a couple of times during the month. Once intentionally and once by running into a friend at our local wine bar.
One highlight from the month was the Philadelphia Film Society’s Spring Fest. The Film Society resumed showing movies in their theater so I assumed that the Spring Fest was only being shown there. Although Holly and I have been getting a little more adventurous about going out post-vaccines, we’re not quite ready to sit in a crowded theater for a couple of hours so I wasn’t paying much attention to the Spring Fest.
As it turned out, the Spring Fest was also available streaming, so we watched 3 really great movies at home:
Their annual film festival back in the fall was available streaming and at their drive-in theater. I was glad that there still were streaming options for the Spring Fest and hope the upcoming annual festival will likewise have streaming options. I would like to think that we’ll be OK with going to a movie theater by October, but, even so, having streaming options would be great. Their theater is a bit of a walk for us so it’s not always convenient if the weather is lousy.
Holly and I both had a couple of personal days to use up before the end of our University’s fiscal year so we took a long, 4-day weekend at the end of the month.
We kicked off our long weekend on Thursday night with a delightful dinner at Le Virtù. We have gone there twice for brunch post-vaccination, but this was our first time back for dinner. We had a rough day at work so we really needed a treat, and Le Virtù hit the spot. The weather was perfect for sitting outside on their patio.
The Friday of the weekend was warm but bearable, but the weather got increasingly hot over the course of the four days. That Friday, we took a rather enjoyable walk around FDR Park. We had been there only once before which is a shame since it’s pretty easy for us to get there. We ventured onto the subway for the first time post-vaccine. It was late morning on a Friday so it wasn’t crowded which was a good way to reintroduce ourselves.
After our trip to the park, we relaxed at American Sardine Bar. As I mentioned in my Spring 2021 Staycation post, we had gone there on a Friday afternoon hoping for a leisurely late lunch but got rained on. We had better luck this time. It was starting to get warm, but we had nice seats in the shade and got the do-over we were hoping for.
Our only other outing for the weekend was brunch late Saturday morning. We went to The Sidecar Bar and Grille which we have been to often. We had also gotten takeout from them a handful of times during the pandemic.
I guess the other notable thing from June is we actually bought plane tickets to see Holly’s family in California in October. We haven’t flown since our trip to Carmel-by-the Sea in 2019 so we’re excited to travel again.
Before the weather started getting too hot, I was able to get out for a few photo walks. I finished the rolls in my Minolta XE and Hi-Matic mentioned above. I’m waiting for them to get developed and scanned and will likely post about those.
At the end of May, I finished a roll in my Minolta Autopak 450Ex. For the other rolls I had shot with that, I had mailed them off to get developed but getting them scanned was prohibitively expensive. I ended up scanning them myself. Now that my local lab has re-opened, I dropped off the roll I finished in May in hopes that they would be able to both develop and scan it. Alas, they were only able to develop it so I had to scan them again myself.
Shooting with the Autopak has been fun, and the results have an interesting retro look, but the photos aren’t all that satisfying. I still have 2 rolls of 110 film so I intended to use them at some point, but for the near term, I’ll be setting the Autopak aside so I can spend more time with the cameras I really enjoy shooting with.
June was another good month for reading short stories as I enjoyed 4 of the stories in June’s New Yorker issues:
- Before the Valley by Rachel Heng
- Foster by Bryan Washington
- The Coast of New Zealand by Cynthia Ozick
- Offside Constantly by Camille Bordas
I’m pretty sure that was the first story I ever read by Cynthia Ozick. I’m a little surprised I hadn’t come across one of her stories before since she’s been been a published writer my entire life.
I also read the 2 Franz Kafka stories in The Story and Its Writer: The Metamorphosis and A Hunger Artist. I had read both before but as with most of the stories in that collection, the ones I have read, I last read many years ago. The collection also includes an interesting graphic interpretation by R. Crumb and David Zane Mairowitz.
Short Stories Read in 2021
So far in 2021, I’ve read 27 stories that I enjoyed.
- The Rivals, Andrea Lee
- A Challenge You Have Overcome, Allegra Goodman
- The Wind, Lauren Groff
- Casting Shadows, Jhumpa Lahiri
- Good-Looking, Souvankham Thammavongsa
- The Case For and Against Love Potions, Imbolo Mbue
- Future Selves, Ayşegül Savaş
- The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- The Open Boat, Stephen Crane
- Paul’s Case, Willa Cather
- Hands, Sherwood Anderson
- Araby, James Joyce
- The Dead, James Joyce
- God Mother Tea, Selena Anderson
- The Apartment, T.C. Boyle
- A Faithful But Melancholy Account of Several Barbarities Lately Committed, Jason Brown
- Sibling Rivalry, Michael Byers
- The Nanny, Emma Cline
- Balloons, Thomas McGuane
- Children of the Good Book, J.M. Holmes
- A,S,D,F, Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
- Before the Valley, Rachel Heng
- Foster, Bryan Washington
- The Coast of New Zealand, Cynthia Ozick
- The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
- A Hunger Artist, Franz Kafka
- Offside Constantly, Camille Bordas
Last month, I read Chuck Wendig’s first Aftermath novel. I enjoyed it enough that I read the next 2 books in the trilogy: Life Debt and Empires’ End. I found all 3 books equally enjoyable. I liked the balance of new characters and the classic characters from the movies. I only dabble in some of the Star Wars books and graphic novels and found this series to be among the betters ones I have read.
I also read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. I really enjoyed the first half but found the second half to be disappointing. I had been curious about Ishiguro for a while so Klara and the Sun was a bit of a let down.
Books Read in 2021
So far in 2021, I have read 25 books:
- A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
- Spritz: Italy’s Most Iconic Aperitivo Cocktail, with Recipes, Talia Baiocchi and Leslie Pariseau
- To Be a Man, Nicole Krauss
- Richard II, William Shakespeare
- Henry IV, Part 1, William Shakespeare
- Henry IV, Part 2, William Shakespeare
- Henry V, William Shakespeare
- A Promised Land, Barack Obama
- The Shadow Box, Luanne Rice (Kindle)
- The Ardent Swarm, Yamen Manai (Kindle)
- The Trouble with Being Born, E.M. Cioran
- In Other Words, Jhumpa Lahiri (Kindle)
- Soutine / de Kooning: Conversations in Paint, Simonetta Fraquelli and Claire Bernardi, eds.
- Minimal To Conceptual Art: Works From The Dorothy And Herbert Vogel Collection, John T. Paoletti
- This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Kindle)
- Against the Day, Thomas Pynchon
- The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
- A Farewell to Arms, Ernest Hemingway
- Whereabouts, Jhumps Lahiri
- Where to Land, Hal Hartley
- Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf
- Aftermath, Chuck Wendig
- Aftermath: Life Debt, Chuck Wendig
- Aftermath: Empire’s End, Chuck Wendig
- Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
This Creative Midlife Posts in 2021
- December 2020 Update
- Canon AE-1 with Kodak Tri-X
- Minolta XE with Arista EDU Ultra
- New Photo Light Box
- Favorite Photos from the 2nd Half of 2020
- January 2021 Update
- Snow, the West, and Old Digital Cameras
- Testing My New Replacement Cameras
- Another Wine Label Tracing Project in Procreate
- One More Roll from 2020
- February 2021 Update
- Reaching One Year of Self-Isolation
- Two Cameras One Kind of Film
- Minolta X-700 with Kodak Pro Image 100
- Spring Walk with My Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
- March 2021 Update
- Canon Rebel 2000 with Kodak Color Plus
- New to Me Olympus XA
- Spring Walk with Olympus TG-5
- April 2021 Update
- Testing My Pentacon Six
- Canon AE-1 with Lomography Berlin
- A Few Firsts
- Olympus Pen EE-3 with Lomography Color Negative
- Two Delaware River Walks
- Semeli Wine Label Drawing
- Staycation Visit to Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
- Spring 2021 Staycation
- Camden Waterfront with Canon EOS Rebel 2000
- May 2021 Update
- Olympus OM-1 with Lomography Potsdam
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