Sunday, October 31, 2010

Review: Where Men Win Glory

Where Men Win Glory, the biography of NFL player turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman who was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, is classic Jon Krakauer. Misunderstood subject with grand ideals? Check. Painstakingly documented journey? Check. Grisly and tragic ending? Check.

The book is a character study of Tillman, who Krakauer paints as super masculine yet soft hearted through research and interviews with family, friends, and fellow soldiers. Those around him said Tillman was a man who lived to challenge himself. He was a hard-driving if undersized safety for the Arizona Cardinals. After 9/11 he suspended his NFL career, giving up millions of dollars and a comfortable life with his wife Marie to fight in Afghanistan, where he would meet a horrible end.

Tillman doesn't come across as a saint (check out how much he curses), but he does seem like the rare person who was motivated primarily by principle rather than by money, power or fame. In the last chapter Krakauer compares Tillman to Friedrich Nietzsche's Ubermensch, "an exemplary, transcendent figure." In the end Tillman does seem like a sort of superman, a real-life hero of legend.

Besides chronicling Tillman's life, the author offers the clearest description of the lead-up to the war in Afghanistan I've read. Krakauer tackles the cover-up of the true cause of Tillman's death with ferocity, and it's truly stunning to learn about the details. It makes me wish all journalism could be like this, cutting straight through all the B.S. with a laser light. As with Krakauer's previous books, it's heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, but it's the truth.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Ahh, a day off. I was starting to forget what one of those feels like.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coffee shop show

Sunday night. I'm sitting at a coffee shop determined to inject some culture into my life. My sister V. and I find seats near the window on the corner of wooden table. On the other side of the shop a band is setting up to play.

While V. gets coffee for her and soda for me I examine three pieces of art, pages of newspaper with the Virgin Mary painted over them. Through the paint a headline is visible: "3 slain in Juárez." In one frame the section title of the page, "Borderland," has been modified with paint so it is now "Murderland." Art from a newspaper, hmm...

The bands start to play. We listen and don't actually see the bands since we don't want to surrender our seats. The first is high energy and pleasant, the second is totally forgettable. We actually get out of our seats for the third. The band is arty with jangling guitars that put me in a trance and lyrics that I can't really make out but seem esoteric. The lead singer looks about 20 and has red hair. After the set he mingles with the crowd. He points out to me and my sister that we have the same shoes (they're not the same, but both pairs are black flats).

This place is hipster central. Skinny jeans and carefully sloppy hair. I'd say average age is 21. It seems like a lot of people here know each other. Everyone's drinking beers in short rounded brown bottles.

The last band starts up. The band is called Women and when I first saw the show advertised I thought it was an all-female band. That would have been cool, but no, it's four guys from Canada. Like the band before they also start with the jangling guitars but every once in a while they whip out some amazing Beach Boys-style harmonies. Ooh, nice. I don't know crap about music but V. later points out that they sound a lot like My Morning Jacket.

It's late and my sister and I get going only partway through the set. She's heard enough and I've put in a full day at work and am really tired. We flee Hipsterville and drive home in Mom's car. Do I feel more cultured? Slightly. A few more of these and I might know something about it.
The secrets of Mad Men Season 4 finale revealed. Don never picks the smart one. Finale was good but I gotta say I didn't like this season quite as much as the previous ones.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So...I really need to update this thing. Friday, my second day back at work and I'm already tired. I guess that's what happens when you wake up shortly after 5 a.m. It was so dark I had to turn on all the lights while I was getting ready, and I even put my car heater on for the ride to work. I hate to admit it but it really does feel like October now :-(.

I'm up and I'm down and I'm both excited about life and cynical about its sameness.

I wonder how God would judge my life. If I'm wondering about it you know I can't be optimistic.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

At the corn maze

Me trying to figure the way out of the Mesilla Valley Corn maze.

A pumpkin patch! Haven't seen one of those before.
Oh, Regina Spektor, she gets it every time *sighs*:
this is how it works
you're young until you're not
you love until you don't
you try until you can't
you laugh until you cry
you cry until you laugh
and everyone must breathe
until their dying breath

this is how it works
you peer inside yourself
you take the things you like
and try to love the things you took
and then you take that love you made
and stick it into some--
someone else's heart
pumping someone else's blood

and walking arm in arm
you hope it don't get harmed
but even if it does
you'll just do it all again
on the radio
you hear november rain
that solo's awful long
but it's a nice refrain
you listen to it twice
cause the dj is asleep
on the radio...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Does this thing still work? Finally, on my day off, an hour when I don't feel so overwhelmed. And all I can think is that a nap would be really nice right now.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

26 views of the site this week. I think it's a record low. Hello, anybody out there?