On Hold

Earlier today I was talking to a customer representative on the phone (this call will be monitored for quality control) and at one point was placed on hold for 9 minutes, although it seemed much longer. The music was really awful. Not just vapid but also with musical notes that made me cringe. (there is a good cringe, which can turn into a delighted appreciation and there is a bad cringe, which has little redeeming value) The whole thing was about three minutes long and on a loop.

I wanted to know what it was I was being subjected to and consulted Shazam. Shazam displayed this message:

This is not a song!
Try again!

Bravo, I muttered, that’s it exactly. You understand!

Heroes and Heroics

“We have to let go of the heroes and replace them with heroics.”

That’s the sentence by Woody Holton that will stay with me. It comes from this podcast: The Story of America’s Founding You Weren’t Taught in School.

In fact, that podcast should be required listening in every school!

Hero worship is what children do – adults should be able to differentiate between a person’s heroic deeds and their failures. There was Picasso the amazing painter and there was the man who said “For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats.” Having said that should in no way dim the importance of the artwork. We make mistakes, we say stupid things, but we can also create wonderful and deep words of wisdom – think of Jefferson who had 600 slaves and freed none, but wrote the preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

I imagine Buddha or Jesus made some awful statements in their youth – it’s just that social media wasn’t there to preserve it forever.

Admiring heroics instead of worshipping heroes is important. Equally important is, perhaps, pointing out someone’s mistakes rather than calling the person a failure. Discard hero but retain heroics, use it as a verb, an action, not a noun. A movement, not a pedestal. Doing so allows a person to be so much fuller, and adds texture and angles. Think diamond rather than glass shard.

“We have to let go of the heroes and replace them with heroics.”


Today’s podcast recommendation:
The Ezra Klein Show with guest Nick Offerman – find it on the NYT Website or at the Apple Podcast page

I hadn’t watched Parks and Recreations nor had I heard of Nick Offerman but I read the name Wendell Berry in the show description and decided to give this episode a listen. The conversation covers a lot of subjects that I am interested in and I enjoyed learning something about Nick Offerman.

On Leaving

I wondered when you wrote “Monday I would fly home from Albuquerque” how you felt about leaving New Mexico to fly to your new home after living in Santa Fe for so many years?

That’s a fair question and one I asked myself before I left. I didn’t leave Santa Fe because I don’t like it. I left because I wanted to discover something else. That experience might be pleasant…. or not. Consequently I didn’t feel strange or sad when I got on a plane to fly out of Albuquerque. I also know that I will be back in Santa Fe every year. There will be rehearsals before some of the tours, there will be visits to friends, and I will go to Upaya.

I know Santa Fe well. After all, most of my life was spent there. I arrived in 1986 when I was 27 years old and I stayed until I was 62. I can look at the sky in the morning and usually know more about the day’s weather than any app can tell me. I know where to obtain any supplies I might need. I know where to eat. I know how to bake sourdough bread at an altitude of 7,500 feet. I know that water boils at a temperature of 198º (92ºC) – instead of the 212º that are required at sea level. I know a lot of the trees along the paths I walked most every morning. I said hello to the same murder of crows who greeted me noisily. Familiarity creates intimacy. That’s all lovely and good and I appreciate it.

Still, I wanted to experience more places. I imagined that having to relate to a new location, finding my way around strange neighborhoods, getting to know a different landscape, perhaps having to learn a new language, would keep me fresh – literally. Perhaps I feel that exactly because I am getting older I need to challenge myself in this way. It would be too easy to walk 100 feet to my studio and sit in the same spot I sat in since 1996 – the location of the chair marked with white gaff tape on the black rug – and simply continue until, eventually, it all comes to a hard stop.

One night, a few months ago, during the process of selling my house and studio, I woke up with a start at 0130 in the morning. When the house is sold, where will I record? My studio is literally perfect and can’t be replaced! As I laid awake I had an idea. What about building a traveling recording rig and using studios in foreign countries, in places that might inspire me? I could find a studio in Saigon, for example, and bring my guitar, a microphone, perhaps a mic pre-amp, and a laptop. I would literally only need a quiet room, some wiring, and a control room where I could set up the computer. After I promised myself that in the morning I would search for studios in foreign cities I was able to fall asleep. The next day I did search for studios and not surprisingly found that there are lots of studio that can be rented in many far away places.

After my house sold I bought a camera. Actually it’s not A camera, really, for me it’s THE camera, a camera I had wanted for many years. Now that I actually bought this camera I want to, no, I need to feed the lens new sights, new everything. An adventure to be continued.

Monday Morning

After driving to Santa Fe from Denver on Saturday I stayed in a Ramada on Yale close to the airport in Albuquerque. When I made arrangements for this trip all hotels for this weekend were surprisingly expensive, especially in Santa Fe. Later, Jon figured out that this was due to the Balloon Festival, which happens on the first weekend in October. I had picked one of the cheaper hotels by the airport and planned on driving back to Santa Fe on Sunday for some business I had to attend to. Monday I would fly home from Albuquerque.

On Monday morning I woke up around 0515 and read People of the Book until a few minutes past 0600. Then I walked 0.9 miles to the Starbucks on Gibson. It was still dark, about 45′ before sunrise. Encountered three people, one of whom was talking to themselves. Arrived at Starbucks only to discover that the doors were all locked. There was a sign on the door saying that for security reasons the cafe was closed until sunrise. The Starbucks app, however, claimed that the place would open at 0500. I stood by the front entrance observing dozens of cars order coffee in the drive-through. Considered walking through the drive-through lane and ordering coffee. Then one of the five or six employees opened the door and asked whether I was there to pick up a mobile order. I said no, I wasn’t, but I could make a mobile order, if that’s what it took. I told him I had walked for twenty minutes to get there. He seemed incredulous (((what? people walk? in the dark??))) but let me into the store and locked the door behind me. Perhaps really not the safest neighborhood?!

I ordered a large coffee and a pair of kale egg bites. After I received the food I walked back to the hotel. The person talking to themselves had turned to arguing, but not quite screaming, with a post, as I hurried by. I gave another person coming towards me a wide berth by walking through a parking lot. I was relieved when I reached my hotel.

Reading on my laptop and sipping the coffee – the egg bites had already been consumed – I noticed this object on the wall, near the ceiling. It looks like a smoke detector that was wrapped in cling wrap to prevent smoke from getting into it? Room #345 of the Ramada hotel. If you worry about smoke inhalation you best avoid that room.
Smoke Detector
I think it is good to stay in questionable hotels from time to time, if only to properly appreciate the nice ones… :-)

PS: the books is really good! It describes the journey of a rare illuminated manuscript through centuries of exile and war.

Less flash and more substance than The Da Vinci Code . . . The stories of the Sarajevo Haggadah, both factual and fictional, are stirring testaments to the people of many faiths who risked all to save this priceless work.

– USA Today