Look Where You’re Going

Whether it makes all the difference or none, the path you’ve chosen is better than the path passively followed.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Constitution Article 1 §2.3, Part Two

Lately I’ve been hyper-aware of the importance of civic engagement. To better understand this political system we have inherited, I’m making a careful study of the Constitution. I’m sharing here in case others similarly engaged might want to discuss it. At the very least, it helps me stick with it. After all, in a functioning democracy we would all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

Spice of Life

At my first Eistnaflug (2014) REYKJAVÍKURDÆTUR was a stand-out act for me. They were one of the only bands I interviewed (unfortunately I never found an outlet for that interview – I should probably post it here one of these days). I probably would have been taken with the band regardless of the circumstances of discovery, because they are doing something quite new and original. But I think their feminist hip-hop, rapped in Icelandic, stood out all the more for being surrounded by the testosterone-laden atmosphere of a metal and punk festival.

I’ve noticed that my favorite shows at festivals are often the ones that don’t conform to the format. I like the rock bands at folksy Doe Bay Fest, the metal bands at Bumbershoot. Maybe the other acts blend together in the memory while the misfits stand out.

I once interviewed Gudny, the woman who booked Eistnaflug for many years, and she commented on how important it was to add stylistic variety to the line-up, even for a festival with as specific a focus as Eistnaflug. She said the oddball acts serve as a palate cleanser. Like smelling coffee beans when sampling perfume, or sorbet at a tasting menu, electronica between metal bands or metal between pop sets clear the head. “No matter how you love it,” she said, “You can’t just listen to one thing for three solid days.”

Seattle Opera Confronts the Ugly Side of Madame Butterfly

Seattle Opera Panelists
“Asian Leaders Respond to Madame Butterfly”

I was excited to hear that Seattle Opera was performing Madame Butterfly because I love Puccini’s music and Butterfly is one of the most famous operas ever written. I didn’t know the opera was controversial for its racist depiction of the Japanese – especially its promulgation of the stereotype that Japanese women are suicidal, subservient sex puppets – until I heard about Seattle Opera’s free community panel discussion “Asian Arts Leaders Respond to Madame Butterfly,” moderated by Frank Abe, co-founder of Seattle’s Asian American Journalists Association. Continue reading

Constitution Article 1 §2.3, Part One

Recent events have alerted me to the importance of civic engagement. To better understand this political system we have inherited, I’m making a careful study of the Constitution. I’m sharing here in case others similarly engaged might want to discuss it. At the very least, making my study public holds me accountable to stick with it. After all, in a functioning democracy we should all be Constitutional scholars. Continue reading

You Never Know

 

{I actually took this picture while camping at Cama Beach several years ago, because I wasn’t carrying a camera on the day of this story.}

One of the reasons I insisted on buying a tiny house in the city instead of a big one in the ‘burbs is that I don’t want to spend my life in a car. I’d rather experience life up close, at a walking pace, and living in the city put’s most things within range of my own two feet – at least theoretically. Last winter an endless sinus infection paired with record-low temperatures led to some bad car-centric habits.

After months of driving my daughter to her school 1/4 mile from our house, I shook off my winter lethargy one sunny spring afternoon and walked to pick her up. A block from my house I saw two people standing on the corner, staring at the sky. A trio of eagles was circling over the neighborhood. One of the ladies standing on the corner commented how unusual it was that there were three of them, since they usually hang out in pairs. I believed her because was obviously a serious birder. She had binoculars – she said she never leaves the house without them because you never know what you’ll see.

I would not have seen the eagles that day if I drove. You never know what you’ll see, but you do have to be looking.

Previously, on the internet

photo by Gratisography

I recently wrapped up a government contract writing PMPs (project management plans – yes, I speak some PMBOK) and legislative packages. Based on conversations with my government coworkers, I think they imagine my non-office life to look something like the photo to the left. And while the fashion sense may not be much better, real life is a whole lot busier.

Continue reading