a little something extra

Sunday, October 29, 2006

a weekend

After last weekend's total eclipse by a combination of opening night, rehearsals and music performance, this weekend was doubly welcome. It started with a quiet night at home on Friday. Thanks to Netflix, I watched Woody Allen's The Purple Rose of Cairo. I'm not generally much of a Woody Allen fan, but this was one among his oeuvre that I enjoyed.

I had the chance to sleep in on Saturday, then did a bunch of household work on a warm sunny day. This turned out to be the last full day of that unseasonable weather pattern. By this evening the prevailing wind direction had swung back from the east (where it had been pulling hot dry air from the desert) to the west (where it is now pulling cool moist air from the ocean). If you've been following the saga of the firefighters laboring in great danger out in Riverside County, this weather shift will help them.

Saturday evening I drove up to see Shannon in Santa Monica. She was in town on business; isn't it nice that her employer sent her to my neck of the woods? As I drove up Santa Monica Boulevard on my way to her hotel, I saw the famous hillside Hollywood sign for the first time. I've been here for over a year, so it's sort of surprising that it took me this long!

Shannon and I had dinner at a Thai restaurant that was all Halloweened up to within an inch of its life. Not only was the waitstaff all in costume, but so were some of the patrons. There was a table of superheroes next to us. Superman and Batman sat across from each other. Superman's date was some variation on a milkmaid (you could tell she wasn't Bo Peep -- no crook), while Batman's date was not in costume. Or... was that just her everyday alter ego?

Sunday dawned cool and gray as the weather pattern changed. I attended services at a church up here in Long Beach. It participates in the same denomination as the Church of What's Happenin' Now, which after my move north is too far away for me to justify the drive every week.

Now, you know how some churches are all about the fashion? That was true at the Church of What's Happenin', Long Beach division. Today all the children in the congregation got to wear their Halloween costumes to church. A few of the adult members of the congregation also wore theirs. The kids paraded through the sanctuary for all to admire. Their walk was accompanied by organ music -- and later, the organist would don a costume of his own before performing Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor for the occasion.

But wait, there's more, and it's still about the clothes. Today was also the euphoniously named Undie Sunday. Members of the congregation were urged to bring new underwear and donate it to the drop-in day center that the church runs for the homeless population in downtown Long Beach.

In the afternoon, it was back to work. Recently my colleague-cum-supervisor John and I did a presentation for the Board of Directors. It went very well -- so well that it inspired a Board member to put on an event for major donors this afternoon, and present a return performance of the John & Megan Show. That too went very well. With luck, it will bring more support from existing donors and recruit new donors to the cause. Then we'll all be able to do the Money Comin' In Dance.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

St. Crispin's Day

October 25 is the feast of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, folks. And the battleground pep talk that King Henry V gave to his troops at Agincourt actually did take place on Oct. 25, 1415. That inspired Shakespeare almost two centuries later, and the result was this...

If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian:'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispin's day.'
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember'd;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

-- Henry V, Act 4, scene 3

Let it be publicly stated, and bring on the black helicopters if you must: I am fundamentally opposed to the wars the United States is waging. They bear thinking about today, in the light of this speech.

But Shakespeare doesn't give us 48 lines of nonstop, unadulterated warmongering. Sprinkled throughout the speech, there are nuggets of things I do believe in. King Henry cuts across all class borders when he notes that any man that fights that day is his brother, "be he ne'er so vile" (meaning lowborn, poor, landless, etc.) Conscientious objectors are respected, with the clear opportunity to decline to fight, safe passage to leave, and funding for their journeys home. And old men are held up as heroes, not dismissed as worthless once they're past their physical prime.

Stuff to think about. I have to go work.

Monday, October 16, 2006

a quick link

Cristopher, who became my friend in Austin, is now serving an Episcopalian parish near San Antonio -- but he got there by way of a sojourn in northern California. Our friendship has also survived my peripetations from Austin to Minneapolis, from Minneapolis to Atlanta, from Atlanta to southern California... oy vey.

Anyway, Cristopher blogged today about a saint/person whose story I found interesting and moving. Go check it out.

Happy Schereschewsky Day, y'all!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

OK, let's see if this works...

Drew, sleeping.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nephew 2.0!

Hello, little Andrew Joseph W*!

My second nephew was born this morning. He was a few days ahead of schedule, but only a few, and is very healthy. I'm told his mother and father are both doing well.

The stats:
7 lb 2 oz.
19 1/2 inches long (string bean baby!)
has his father's nose
Libra sun
Aquarius moon
Scorpio rising

I have no pictures yet, but when I do, perhaps I'll figure out how to post one or two.