Archive for September, 2009

Persona non blogger

Monday, September 28th, 2009

[IMAGE] Friday Harbor airport

[IMAGE] San Juan Islands

[IMAGE] Friday Harbor airport

…click to listen:

…about the music

A busy and sometimes abyss-mal schedule.

Ok, in the four years of this bloglet’s humble history, I don’t think I’ve ever gone quite this long without offering a new post. But then again, in the years of my business travel, rarely have I been gone from home for 12 days. Sandwiched between daunting deadlines that included finishing a double quintet for an imminent delivery, writing a speech, filling several publishing orders from distributors here and in Europe, responding to online students, preparing materials for an upcoming workshop I’m doing, and scooping kitty litter (there’s always a deadline on that one, lemme tell ya), I was amazed to actually get out the door and fling myself to the east coast once again. And, back, at least for two weeks until I leave for Philadelphia. Details of this past jaunt abound on my website, for the curious. Teaser: one of the highlights was testifying on an FCC panel hearing in Washington, D.C. No, I did not use a dirty word in one of my choral works…

I’m lucky that the two airports I spend a lot of time at on the west coast are really quite terrific (I cannot say the same for the particular terminal I usually end up in at JFK, which looks like the inhuman, dilapidated set from an outtake of Blade Runner). SeaTac, with its glass-intensive terminal, offers some good food and drink and a human scale on which to enjoy it. And adorable Friday Harbor airport is a delight, as one hops out of one’s car and hops right into the flying version of one: a waiting puddle jumper. I always have a camera in my hand on those flights over the islands, never knowing what fascinating vision I’ll capture. But this last departure surprised me with a photographic fluke: as we lifted into the air above the tarmac, I pointed my iPhone out the window (didn’t bring my real camera on this particular trip), and just randomly… snapped. One photo. When I downloaded the pic later, I was amazed: it was perfectly level (even though I was not) and, perfectly, symmetrically cropped. I did absolutely nothing to manipulate or edit the top photo you see here. Freaky! In a good way. Like life itself, much of the time.

Spreading the word

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

[IMAGE] harbor view

…click to listen:

…about the music

Find out…

This is the view of Friday Harbor from the top deck of a favorite outdoor restaurant. Clue: they serve a lot of crab, shellfish, and other incredibly fresh critters that used to swim freely in the sea until extremely recently. As summer starts to wind down and the last gasp of friendly tourists comes to visit us friendly natives, I realize that pretty soon it’ll be a little brisk to sit here in my T-shirt and shades, sucking down a San Juan Island Ice Tea (aka, Wrong Island Ice Tea) and munching on sea protein. I haven’t eaten meat or birds for almost twenty, count ’em, twenty years. My motto is that if it can look me in the eye and walk away on all fours, it’s safe.

Fish can’t walk. Yet.

I admit to being a full-fledged pescaterian: I enjoy fish. A lot of it. I live in the right place, that’s for sure. We get our fish, quite literally, off the dock. My body and feeble little brain just need that kind of protein. And I hear that high doses of mercury are just great for beating wrinkles.

I can go on and on about my views on vegetarianism, and I won’t bore you with them all here. Ok, maybe a few of them. Suffice it to say that like many of you reading this, I’m highly opposed to obscene-scale factory farming, to the drugs and awful things that are given to cows and chickens to eat to grow conveniently fat, to the manner in which these creatures are treated, and to the damage done to the land and the earth in the pursuit of the trillionth quarter-pounder. I have, however, no objection to raising and killing the food for a family or small community to consume. Humans are carnivores. We have these teeth for a reason. It’s not a sin to eat meat. It’s a sin to abuse the land and the animals the way we’ve come to.

Mega-scale commercial fishing is no better, believe me, I am well aware. This is my sin, supporting that industry through some (not all) of my fish purchases. This is my hypocrisy. But some action is better than no action, and even for those who choose to eat meat, the important thing is sharing information that could bring about change. We must divulge the truths that have become the ugliness of a once-acceptable business. Whether you or I purchase an eerily shrink-wrapped chunk of hormone-laden, unidentifiable flesh in our local grocery store on a Thursday afternoon is not going to do much to turn the tide of the farming industry. I’ve noticed that it seems to be doing just fine without my contributions. But what is significant is educating people about where that animal product came from and how it came to be. I did interviews last year for both the Vegetarian Times and the VegNews, and in both I made it clear to the writers that I eat like a native Pacific Northwesterner/Native American, but that the message of awareness and responsibility is what I want to spread.

Uh, along with the crab dip ;-).