What’s it about? The Bar Mitzvah and the Beast is about an SF Bay Area family that bikes across the country. Why? Well, the father is Jewish and his turning-13-year-old son is an atheist. The father (Matt, also the author) wants to mark his son’s passage into his teenage years; the son tries to go to Hebrew school and have a Bar Mitzvah, but just can’t. So a cross-country bike ride is their compromise. They spend a summer riding from San Francisco to Washington DC. The whole family goes – Matt, his wife, Yonah (the son), and his little brother. (The Beast is an old tandem bike that they buy for Matt & the little brother to ride across the country.)
Why should you read it? I am not religious (to my mind, you can’t prove either the existence or non-existence of god and I don’t worry about it that much), so I sympathized with Yonah. But I did like the idea of commemorating your child’s passage into their teenage years. My daughter is eleven and as she moves from her childhood to being a teenager, she is changing. Acknowledging that somehow, formally or informally, seems worthwhile. I’d never really thought about that before reading The Bar Mitzvah and the Beast.
The book was strongest when it was talking about Yonah’s rite of passage. It also wanted to be about overcoming your prejudices and drawing awareness to global warming. The marriage of the three themes wasn’t successful to my mind. But it’s still worthwhile.
I can’t let today be the first weekday in more than a month without a post. I even got all my vacation posts scheduled ahead of time! Alas, I have post-vacation ickiness. There were uncountable mugs of tea today. Tomorrow, I will be prepared for more. For the rest of today though, there will be tea and rest.
The Grand Canyon is awe-inspiring. The canyon itself is mind-bogglingly big. And attempting to capture that through photos of the thing is impossible. It’s an in-person thing.
Not to mention that trying to illustrate how awesome it is in one of those overview shots is a little bit like taking a photo of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower and expecting it to show how great the city is. It doesn’t work that way.
So here are a handful of photos. Know that none of them truly show how impressive the place is. You really need to go yourself.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a lovely place, and I was glad to get some camera practice time there. It’s more interesting to go now that my daughter’s older and interested in the exhibits more. When she was little all she wanted to do was run around from one to the other, like “ok I’ve glimpsed this one, off to the next!” We never got a chance to explore ourselves. It’s one of the nice things about her growing up.
I’ve never been good at taking photos of trails or paths, so I decided to focus on them last week. The proportions always end up weird. I think these are better than my usual, though. Or maybe I’m just getting better at editing.