Sunday, April 28, 2013

Journal Entry: May 31, 2011

This entry was written in the journal I took on the European tour the brass band took in 2011. My parents are leaving this week for a European vacation, and I delved into my writings to see if I'd written about my experience at the American Cemetery. They're headed there in a few weeks.

It was written in two parts. The first on the ferry as we waiting for disembarkation, the second after our performance at the American Cemetery. The concert was one of the highlights of my career as a musician and one of the great memories of my life. This entry is a paltry reflection of that written on a moving coach, headed to Paris.

May 31, 2011
[Time not marked]--------

Riding the ferry from Portsmouth to Caen today. Boarded at 10:45pm, [arriving] this morning in about 15 minutes. This morning, I awoke to a 4:15am shower. Returning to the bunk in the darkness, listening to the thrum of the engine[,] the absence of other sounds. It harkens [sic] the mind back to the landing here.  Crossing the Channel under darkness, I had the luxery [sic] of a cramped shower and only 2 men to a 4 bunk room.

My grandfather didn't storm the beach in the first wave, but at some point he crossed over the water.  Landing and crossing over the previous week's battlefields, just to get to the place where some would die.

Today we have a concert at the American Cemetery with patriotic music. At 8:30am, I'm not sure how many are expected as an audience.  Whether one or one thousand, I feel it will be a moving experience.  So many memories -- but not my memories.

11:22am -----------

It was all that I thought it would be.  The clock chimes struck in tune with "Hymn to the Fallen." The sea creates the background noise, while the murmurs of conversation ebb and flow from the small groups gathered around the gravesites [sic].  A blue and cloudy sky, with a wind that blows cautiously -- chill in the shadows, but comfort in the sun.

And everywhere the crosses of the dead, known and unknown.  It can be overwhelming to be in a place of such peace, which was once the site of so much violence.

Photo: Me

Self-portrait, 27 April 2013
I took this black and white self-portrait yesterday morning. I had been out late the night before for a friend's birthday party, but woke early because that's how the body plays tricks on you. Everything in my immediate vicinity smelled like I'd been french kissing a smoker (we were never allowed to claim our party room because the previous party didn't leave, so we moved to the smoking porch). Before I'd even taken a shower, I threw on a different shirt and took the picture.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Writing Elsewhere

I know this is closing the barn door subsequent to an escape, but the lack of updates is because I'm hunkered down working on finishing the stuff for my doctorate. I'm hustling to finish things in time to turn in this Friday (last Friday in April). That may or may not happen, but at least I have a goal date and will have completed most of the work (if not all).

Regular updates will continue soon (hopefully by starting off with a "whew, I'm done" post).

Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Roger Ebert, dead at age 70 from cancer

Roger Ebert died today.

I'll have other thoughts about this, but I wanted to put up the best testimony about his death. It comes from an article written by Roger for Salon in 2011:

I am 69, have had cancer, will die sooner than most of those reading this. That is in the nature of things. In my plans for life after death, I say, again with Whitman:
 I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
And with Will, the brother in Saul Bellow’s “Herzog,” I say, “Look for me in the weather reports.”
"I do not fear death" September 15, 2011

Monday, April 01, 2013

2013's April Fools

The above article highlights some ignorant people who got confused over Google using it's homescreen-replacement "doodle" on March 31 to highlight the birthday of Cesar Chavez.  Many people got it confused with Hugo Chavez, recently deceased Venezuelan dictator, even though the Doodle tells you who it is and presents you with Google results of their lives.  Oh, and their names and lives are different.

A few people got incensed after thinking about it for only the amount of time necessary to compose an angry tweet.  A few acknowledged their error, but others doubled down. No doubt they reiterated because of the social shame we all feel if we go overboard on an opinion nowadays and then discover that we were wholly or partially wrong. In order to avoid embarrassment, many people .  Opinions were voiced that all left-leaning Hispanic people must be the same, or that it was a greater affront that Google didn't do something with colored eggs or Jesus (who fits the brown-skinned left-winger trope well).

I get a lot of schadenfreude out of these, but I suspect that's only because I'm very uncomfortable with the idea that I might be wrong in public. I hope that I'd have enough sense to say, "Man, I was wrong." But I have a suspicion that I'd probably get uncomfortable enough to try and B.S. an answer out of nothing. That's certainly happened before -- I'm writing this partially to try and remind myself that isn't a good way to handle anything.