Tuesday, March 16, 2010

durham to chapel hill: comparative review of roadways

Rarely have I regularly commuted by a car. For the past weeks, I have been driving daily about an hour round trip from Durham to Chapel Hill.

15 501: this is the main highway that is very convenient to get to from my house. All is well with this one until you get to the part where there is eternal construction, and what I have known for years as The Longest Light Ever at the Garret Road intersection. You might think that is the worst that it gets, but wait until the section known as Fordham Blvd. The woman who owns the farm I'm working at describes this bit of road as Torturous. There's no way to avoid Fordham Blvd., but I find it somewhat more bearable if I avoid getting on 15 501 for as long as possible....

+ Fast in theory....though only if there isn't traffic which is basically never
+ Easier access to other roads like I40, the Freeway etc...
+ You don't really have to worry about deer
+ It's easier to just stay on this road rather than turn off, especially at rush hour on the way back from CH to Durham.
+ there is a conveniently located bojangles
- People are aggressive
- People drive really fast and try to run you off the road
- It's crowded and there are lights and there's always construction
- I'm pretty sure they took down the best billboards which said Walk to Duke/Bike to UNC
- I feel worse about humanity when I am on this road

Erwin Road:
This is a "secret" rural road that goes basically from my house to the start of horrible Fordham Blvd. essentially cutting the amount of time spent on 15 501 in half. I've always known it as Old Erwin, but apparently the street signs just say Erwin. This road is the best because it's scenic, but get this: the speed limit is the same as the majority of the bad part of 15 501. Also, this road has a lot of landmarks on it for me: my middle school, a lot of childhood friends lived off it, and the pool we used to go to in the summer. It is dark and wind-y...one house actually mounted a mirror on a tree across the road from their driveway which I have always thought suggested that tricky and/or dangerous situations have occurred there in the past.

+ so lovely in the sun dappled light of afternoon
+ lots of flowering trees this time of year
+ sights include: my middle school, a church with active wayside pulpit, a horse farm
- lots of deer a night, I'm always terrified of hitting them
- people blind you with their brights nonstop on this road
- I always get stuck behind slow people
- the round-about at the durham end of the road is always nonstop confusing
- it isn't really a secret so sometimes it can be busy

Verdict: why would anyone not take old erwin? my quality of life is so much better after taking that road.

this is as pretty as it gets on 15 501...

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

My friend Carlea has been watching all of AFI's top 100 films, and while I was searching for something vaguely productive to do while it was raining yesterday evening, I took a bit of inspiration from her, and decided that I'd try to watch at least a few of the most famous ones on the list. Particularly the ones that are available instantly on NetFlix.

So, we come to Guess Whos Coming to Dinner (#99), a film about an interracial couple who announce their wedding plans to their parents, none of whom are too terribly pleased to hear it. I'm not sure I can do a really complete review of this film, but I'd like to bulletpoint a few of my thoughts on it, and I hope you'll leave some comments with your thoughts on the film, also, so we can get something a little more cohesive together.

  • Katharine Hepburn is pretty much the most amazing woman on the planet. She's just so great. Her costumes in this are fantastic, and she has such a command over the film. Spencer Tracy is also charming.
  • Working for a newspaper and an art gallery used to be way more glamorous than it is now.
  • If these were my kids, I'd be much more concerned about their decision to get married after knowing each other for two weeks than the color of their skin. I definitely get the sense that they don't really know each other, and I think knowing someone is a pretty big qualification for getting married. Although, things seem to have been different in the late 60s and early 70s. My parents moved in together after only knowing each other for a week, and 30 years later, they're still together.
  • Sidney Poitier is almost as beautiful as Katharine Hepburn, and better at conveying emotion. He withholds something very powerful in this film and you can see it nearly brimming from him.
  • I was fascinated by the way racism is portrayed in this film as so completely obvious and so completely latent. However, I wonder if it doesn't perpetuate racism somehow by silencing two of the black characters who disapprove of the marriage, instead of allowing them a change-of-heart in the way that Joey's parents are allowed one. I'm not sure how far I can go with that, but I found it noteworthy.
  • I believe the film would have been vastly improved by cutting Joey's father's speech at the end by about 10 minutes. If he'd analyzed his own personal racism, and then given his approval, I think it would have been much more effective than giving a plot summary and then his approval.