Peace be with you

Commemorating the centennial anniversary of the Armistice ending the Great War, Auckland erected 18,277 crosses, representing the nearly 2% of the NZ population killed. Another 40,000+ wounded. Unspeakable… and yet obviously not unspeakable since we did it again just 21 years later. We went the night before to see the sad light show and solemn movie projected on the War Memorial building.

We attended the memorial service, in a drizzly rain (“our ancestors tears”), and it was beautiful and wrenching. The speech given by a high school student was truly remarkable… were we listening to a future Prime Minister? During the flag ceremony they played a bugle that had actually led charges at Gallipoli and Le Quesnoy.

And so many old soldiers, who are the same everywhere… these guys could just as easily have been in Albuquerque as Auckland. In watching them interact you could tell that the chain of command was still respected, even if they never actually served together.

We were sad for the historic airplanes, grounded due to weather… there will literally never be as significant a day for them to have done a flyby, ever.

After a solemn moment of silence, all of NZ was joined together in a “roaring chorus.” Church bells pealed, emergency sirens sounded, bands and choirs let loose, horns honked, and people just shouted and cheered. It’s hard for me to imagine how it must have felt to know the war was over.

Glad to have been able to join this event in remembrance and respect for all the current and former military members.

Director of Special Projects

On Friday night we attended our second TV taping in NZ. This time, it was a show called The Project, which we can’t stand.

We went because we hope that our willingness to endure an hour of smarmy earnestness will win us brownie points with Tania, the Audience Wrangler – best title ever – for Seven Days, which is awesome, as well as this mess, so we can go back to Seven Days, because we think it’s awesome.

The in-studio segment was a sheep shearer. In NZ, of course, putting a sheep shearer on TV is the most blatant kind of pandering to an older, rural audience. The shearers were perfect, smarter and funnier than you’d expect. The hostess who was drafted to try her hand (“I grew up on a farm but at shearing time my job was to bring scones to the menfolk”) was even more useless than I expected. The sheep had been through this before and knew that resistance was futile.

After the show, the hosts gamely pose for pictures with audience members. And this is where it crystallizes for me. We know Jeremy Corbett, on the left, from Seven Days. He’s witty, acerbic, and obviously smart, and as viewers we’ve decided that’s the “real” Jeremy. But he turns it all off for this show, and it just hurts… we feel betrayed. We’ve all done what we need to for a paycheck, but few of us do it so publicly as actors do. And of course we don’t know this man. Anthony Hopkins (probably) never ate fried brain with fava beans and a nice Chianti, and maybe Jeremy loves the pablum and goes home in tears after every week of Seven Days.

So, Tania, and everyone at The Project, thanks for the free tickets. We appreciate your willingness to put it all out there, although we’re unlikely to come back. We hope after this show gets cancelled you’ll get to work on a project we will want to see!

Book ‘em

This was the second time in recent weeks that I’ve seen a pile of books on this bus stop bench.

This time I stopped to investigate. The why remains a mystery, but I can report on the what: Some unremarkable editions of less-popular Dickens on the left (ah, Barnaby Rudge, has anyone actually ever read you?), and then some bad romance novels and two volumes of My Friend Flicka (it was a book?) on the right.

Well heeled

For a year we’ve had this shoe rack pointed the other way, toes out. The shoes would slide off at the slightest provocation. It was a pain. We tried a variety of things to make the rack less slippery, but nothing worked.

Then the maid put a couple pairs in “backwards” and hey presto we figured it out.

Why didn’t this occur to either of us? We are people who actually care about this kind of thing… if we are forced to store our shoes in the front hall, then we’d like them to be less untidy. But the simple solution just didn’t appear in our minds.

Lucky seven

The Brattleboro Adventure blog turned seven the other week. Over that time, it’s changed to be more pictures and fewer words, and gone from Tumblr to WordPress, and moved to the other side of the world. Facebook decided they can’t tell the difference between my musings and a Russian troll site, so they won’t allow me to syndicate any longer.

With all those changes, it’s still a pretty good record of what I’ve been up to, and at least a window into what I’m thinking. I’ve never been much of a social correspondent, no matter how close I feel to someone far away. So although I’m not really proud to say it, this is often the best way for people who are interested to see what’s been happening with me.

I have each year’s posts printed into a book… I’m now on the second company doing that. I liked the first guys better, but they seem to have given up after running into software problems they couldn’t solve.

Thanks for looking, enjoy the pictures, hopefully for another seven years!