Showing posts from February, 2021

Day 347, February 25, 2021

That Sheen Tonight's soundtrack: The Jim Hall Trio, Budapest, 2010 The other day while Zooming with my parents, we started talking about some of the neighbors I grew up with. My friend Matthew came from, what I imagined to be a quintessential American family. He was kinder than all the other neighbors, and was one of those children that just seemed to have a gentle and ethical soul. I have no idea how things turned out for him, or what he became, but as a kid, he was a nice respite from the bullies and meanies. The snow is melting! Matthew's family was large, with enough kids that they expanded beyond my frame of reference in my pre-teen years. There were at least two older siblings, perhaps more. Matthew's father was a bigwig for Raytheon. I had no idea what Raytheon made at the time, but what it did mean was that Matthew's house had the first microwave in the neighborhood. It was a giant industrial looking thing, large enough to fit a turkey in, it seemed, but we alwa

Day 346, February 24, 2021

Soul in the Machine Tonight's soundtrack: The Pat Metheny Group, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Marcus Miller, Live Under the Sky, 1992  Japan (with Japanese commercials!) The pandemic has changed my relationship to technology in interesting and surprising ways. I have always prided myself in being an early(-ish) adopter of technology, beginning I suppose when my father brought back a Sony Walkman from his tour in Japan, one of the first hand held cassette players I had ever seen. He then bought me a Timex Sinclair, one of the very first home computers, that incidentally saved programs onto a cassette recorder. I eventually managed to convince my father to buy me an Apple IIc when they came out, and I went to college with one of the early Macintoshes with a monochrome screen and the hard drive that it sat on.  Franklin looks like Bambi here. In adulthood, I stayed mostly in the Apple ecosystem while also flirting with the early Palm Pilot provided by the college. I was a Palm P

Day 345, February 23, 2021

All About That Bass Tonight's soundtrack: Marcus Miller, Jazz à la Villette, 2019 I've been feeling like my blogging energy is flagging these past few entries. It is the kind of sensation that makes me feel like something is wrong, out of balance, like when my stomach is acting up and I try to run through all the things I've eaten recently to try and figure out what is triggering the problem. If I am honest, it is not just the blog, my energy has been a little low.  Now, more than ever, I have to be wary about letting that lethargy spread like a puddle of spilled milk over everything. Until now, my efforts to ward off depression or anxiety has been to keep myself busy with projects, writing, work, music. But, sometimes those things fail me and what is needed is a little break, a chance to reset. Sometimes, the laptop acts up and it seems as if every program is lagging and buggy. Sometimes the only solution is to shut everything down and wait a little bit for all the electro

Day 344, February 22, 2021

Radical Empathy  Tonight's soundtrack: George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, NY, 1999 How do we define radical empathy? One of my tasks is to Google the term and see if it has been used before. If empathy is: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or the present without having the feelings, throughs, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner... or the capacity for this. Or, and I like this one, the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it. Thanks, Merriam-Webster .  The dictionary makes empathy seem somehow faulty or not sincere. But I think there is the capacity for empathy to be more than just the appearance of a thing. Rather, empathy can be a thing that is cultivated and made more powerful in the way that it can inspire us to become better human beings. What I

Day 340, February 18, 2021

The Diaphanous Road Tonight's soundtrack: Dr. John with The Meters, Professor Longhair, and Earl King, 1974 How do you make a difference in education? How do you help shape a person's identity? How do you infuse critical thinking and a sense of agency? In my own history, I think about my rebelliousness, and a stubborn determination to do things independently. But I don't think that is an easy thing to endure or inspire. With my own kids, I've tried to inspire those things, but through love and encouragement. Sometimes I have been more successful, and other times less so. As a parent, I have always been the one to try to distract them from their sorrows, to try to fix the problem, or to get them engaged in something else to get them to move on. In hindsight, I guess that seems like a very male role, like the dad who takes the frustrated kid out to play basketball until they are both hot and sweaty and then they have a special moment... except that I am terrible at basket

Day 339, February 17, 2021

Dancing for My Dinner Tonight's soundtrack: Return to Forever, Molde Jazz Festival, 1972 I met with a group of students today and one of the topics was self care in the pandemic. One student talked about how important it was for her to create transitions between activities. When she explained what she meant, I discovered that I also treasure those rituals of transition.  At a certain time of the day Franklin comes and finds the  patch of sunlight on my floor to take a nap. At the end of my work day, I will take off my button down shirt (my work costume) and cardigan, and trade it for a sweatshirt. I'll then build a fire in the wood stove and return to my office space to write. It is more of a symbolic transition than a functional one, though once the fire picks up it makes the living room nice and toasty for later in the evening. We don't burn the stove all day because our office rooms are far from the stove and it would stay cold in our office spaces (also known as kid bed