Time Is Not a Linear Construct

Our class is primarily studying the Renaissance, which took place from roughly 1450-1600 (or at least that’s how we consider it in music). The 1400s, for us, are 700 years ago. Ridiculous, right? Well, today we visited the ancient Roman ruins at Fiesole, just outside Florence, and our teachers told us that for people in the midst of the Renaissance, Ancient Rome was as far away for them as the Renaissance is for us.

Now when we study history, at least for me, all the centuries seem to run together and just form a giant ball of time called “the past”. Yes, obviously there is a difference between Babylon and wartime Britain, but when it comes to trying to remember which civilization came when, and what battle led to what, it just turns into a giant mush. I can barely even remember what I eat for lunch most days, so how should I remember that Cosimo the Elder was born at least 100 years before Cosimo I?!

This just goes to show that time is definitively non-linear. To us, Ancient Rome and Renaissance Florence are just a couple weeks apart in a World History 1 class. But to those Florentines, Ancient Rome was hundreds of years away, but yet more immediate because those structures and stories were much closer to the surface of cultural memory than they are today.

If this is how we think of those two cultures now, can you imagine what people will think of and remember 700 years from now?

Palace or Palazzo?

I’m supposed to focus on one particular part of Florence today, so I shall! I will, however, eventually post about our entire day, because it was fantastic and fairly hilarious.

But now for the focussing.

We went to the Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, which was once the palace of the Medici before the Riccardi family bought/took it from them; and it now is part museum and part city offices. Part of the museum was the chapel where the Medici would have mass. In the chapel, over the entirety of the walls, is a fresco called “The Procession of the Magi.” We’d read about it and seen pictures in our textbook, but I was completely unprepared for the sheer size and colorfulness of the real thing. There was also a part of the painting that is not in any print or photograph: on either side of the altar there were paintings of angels, looking at the Madonna & Jesus above the altar. As beautiful as the rest of the fresco is, and it truly is amazing, the angels were my favourite part. They were all in different poses with different facial expressions and looking in different directions. Their clothes were all various pastel clothes, some of which had Latin words on them, and several of them had musical instruments. The rest of the fresco was magnificent and very cool and interesting and I really did love seeing it in person, but something about the angels just struck me in a very personal way.

So yeah that’s my bit on our first full day in Florence!! I swear it’s been at least three days already…

Ciao!!

Go to All the Airports!!!!!

I’ve decided to try something new, and so I took a picture (okay, lots of pictures) of the runways at every airport at take-off and landing! There are probably going to be a couple of other pictures inbetween, but mainly it’s the cool airport runways…

First, Atlanta!

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Next, Chicago…

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(I should also mention that there was a coffin of a U.S. soldier on board; thus lots of pictures of people standing outside in the cold at attention.)

(Also I forgot to take pictures of the takeoff for our seven-hour flight from Chicago to Amsterdam…)

But here are the pictures from Amsterdam!!

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(It was a bit dark when we landed; seeing as how it has 6:30 am their time…)

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And finally: Florence!!!!

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And there’s our hotel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ll post more when we do more!!!!! 😀

So 11 People Go To Florence…

I’m back!!! I’m at a new school now, CSU, and I’m on a study abroad trip to Florence, Italy!! I’ll be keeping a blog while I’m there, so you can read about all my exciting adventures overseas.

I’ll begin with our flights.
As I’m writing this I’m flying from Chicago-O’Hare to Amsterdam, but I have no idea when (or where!) I’ll be able to actually post this. There may be an edit at the end if in fact I post this after we’ve arrived in Florence.

Nearly all of us – 7 of the 9 students and both teachers – took a shuttle to the Atlanta airport, where we met the remaining two members of our party. We entered through TSA pre-check, which is a nifty system allowing you to go through security without removing jacket, shoes, or liquids. Once through, most of us bought snacks (strawberry banana smoothie: yum) before settling down to wait for our boarding groups.

The Atlanta to Chicago flight was fairly uneventful, except that there was a “fallen U.S. soldier” on board; rather ignominiously placed in the cargo hold. When we got to Chicago we had to wait slightly longer than usual to allow the military escort to unload and escort the coffin with due ceremony. I believe the former military person (I have no idea of their gender or rank) was Air Force, as the entirety of the escort present were members of the Air Force. Either that or, since we were on an airplane, it might make more sense to send Air Force personnel as escorts.

After landing in Chicago we made our way through another round of security (this time without the helpful pre-check) and to our gate in the international terminal. We had a surprisingly short wait time at the gate, but that was more than made up for by the time we had to wait on the airplane before taking off. Speaking of the airplane, it’s a 747-400, which means it has two decks and 10 seats in each row (on the bottom deck, at least). There are also two aisles on the bottom row, making the seat configuration 3-4-3. Then, even after we’d pulled out of the gate, the O’Hare airport is so huge it took us several minutes just to get to the actual runway! We did, however, take off safely. Eventually.

And that brings us to now! I’m seated in the center four-seat section at the very back of the aircraft, and I’m about to settle in to try and sleep for the remainder of our 7-hour flight. See you on the other side of the Atlantic!!

Edit: The dinner on the plane was amazing. There was pasta, and several types of chicken, with a brownie served on every tray. Breakfast was yoghurt and a muffin. I’m not entirely sure whether I slept or not, but I do know that it was about a seven-hour flight and I managed a movie and two TV episodes during that time.
Also the airport in Amsterdam is my new favourite place in the entire world. It’s huge, spacious, gorgeous, has massive shops, cool architecture, lots of tulip bulb stands… I could go on and on!!! But we are now about to board our final flight before we actually make it to Florence!! I CANT WAIT!!

Whoa…

Well hello there!

It has been entirely too long.

Heavens above and below: it’s been nearly 3 months. Yikes. I’m bloody terrible at this, aren’t I? XD

I can’t even begin to describe how my summer’s been. Insane would be a good word to start with. Brilliant would be another one. I’ve been too busy reading to write, and too busy performing to read. And travelling. And moving. And seeing lots and lots of human beings.

But I hope I can be better, and post more often. That’s sadly unlikely, considering that I’m taking 18 credit hours worth of classes in the fall. Maybe I’ll just write a ton of posts now and set them to post during the semester so it looks like I’m actually writing something. At any rate, when I’m not doing homework or practicing or in classes or practicing or attempting to have a social life or practicing or reading, I’m hoping I’ll write some here instead of trawling through the various social media sites I’ve become addicted to over the summer. If not… Well. Feel free to hit me upside the head. XD But don’t actually because then I might fail a class. Or three.

But I digress. This was supposed to be a really short post as an apology to whoever is probably not reading this blog, and a promise to make a miserable failure of trying to write more this fall. I almost wish I had another English class that would force me to write here, just so that there wouldn’t be these huge empty spaces on the site. I hope to keep this as a personal opinion/review blog of music & books (and TV shows because I can’t help myself) but there are almost definitely going to be personal posts, much as I intend to try to not write them. If there are any posts at all.

So at any rate I should stop rambling now and enjoy the rest of my summer before the insanity of homework consumes my life and whatever miniscule amount of sanity may be remaining. Adieu, hasta luego, bis balt, and however you say “see you later” in French & Arabic since I’m too lazy to look them up!!

Read on, dears!!

30: “It’s the End of the Year As We Know It…”

I really hope you got that reference… XD As my final project for Honors English II was all about music, I figured it would be appropriate to reference a song as my title. Besides, it is nearly the end of the semester (at least for me) and I CANNOT WAIT! XD Although really, my semester hasn’t been that bad. I liked all of my classes and nearly all my teachers, I like AUM, I actually enjoy taking tests (although the stress is a little annoying), and my saying “yeah the semester’s almost over woot woot I can’t wait for summer” is just me being my normal complaining self and also succumbing to the stereotype of the college student who can’t wait for school to be over. XD I can find something happy about basically everything that happens to me. For instance, school was wonderful. Finals are wonderful (mostly because they’ll be over soon). I have a concert on Thursday, and while I do need to work for it and I don’t particularly enjoy practicing, it’ll be a lot of fun, especially since I love the space I’m going to be playing in, people I know will hopefully be there, I’m getting paid, and it will mark the end of my first year of college. Then starting that afternoon, we start packing to move, which hasn’t happened in 4 and a half years: the longest time that any member of my family (that is: me, my brother, and my mom) has been in the same house. We’re all getting a little restless… I really love moving, and while obviously that’ll be a whole ‘nother kind of stressful, it’s also going to be fun to move to a new house, a new city, and a new school. But I digress. Back to my main point: I’M NEARLY DONE!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ve finished my final project, which will be up and edited by tomorrow morning (well actually it’s up now, just in the ‘pending’ stage until I edit it), and after I finish this blog post I only have a half-page summary about my final project to write, and then I’m completely done with writing for the year!!! There’s obviously my English final tomorrow morning, but that’s just examining everyone else’s projects, explaining my own, and eating some lovely breakfast in our classroom. Not bad, all things considered. XD So to wrap up quickly before my head explodes and I go even further off topic, this is the last post I’ll write that’s an assignment for my Honors English Composition sequence at Auburn University Montgomery (*sniff* *sniff*), please check out my Final Project page under the “Honors Comp II” tab once I get it up there, be sure to look at my Padlet page for my final at padlet.com/wall/bluewaterbookworm, and enjoy whatever it is you’ll be doing this week!!

I’ll talk to you again in the near future!!!

Read on!! <3

28: More Hank Williams

So, here, as promised, is the follow-up to my last post on Hank Williams! This will be my attempted recollections of what happened when I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery on April the 18th, 2013. 😀

The first thing that happened at the Museum was that we had to make sure that it was actually open. It’s really hard to tell with this particular museum, as there aren’t really any lights in the “lobby”, and there’s no obnoxiously flashing “OPEN” sign to let you know which one it is. So we peeked in the extraordinarily low windows, and as there was a person sitting (or rather standing) at the front desk, we figured that it was probably safe to go in.
It costs $10 per person age 15 and above, and $3 for anyone 14 or below. Because of this pricing scheme, only I and my two teenage twin friends went in to the museum proper, while their mom waited in the lobby.

(And do please pardon me all my “if I’m not mistaken”s and my “I do believe”s: if I had been permitted to take photographs of the interior of the museum it would be considerably easier to recall, but as it is, my long-term memory is not the best, especially 10 days later when I’ve had to memorise other things in the meantime and I’ve almost definitely forgotten things about the museum. My sincerest apologies. [If you want to either double-check my memories or see what I’m describing for yourself, please, by all means, visit the museum on your own: I will be in no way offended.])

As I may have mentioned in my previous post, it was slightly confusing in terms of where to start, but the ladies at the desk pointed us at the entrance and so, obligingly, we entered. There was a speaker just as you entered the museum which was playing Hank Williams songs (no really! I never would’ve guessed!) and as you passed by it, you also saw a desk that he would write songs at, as well as some hand-written sheet music and certificates for various things – mostly prizes, if I’m not mistaken. After the first little entrance part made of wooden dividers directing you the first 4 feet or so, it was a basically a do-it-yourself tour: go where you will, see what you want. The wall that extended from the first little directional area had a few posters for Hank Williams concerts, at least one of which was surrounded by flashing lights.

The main museum space was mostly taken up by the car in which Hank Williams died, presumably from heart failure, at the age of 29. The car is a baby blue Cadillac (don’t ask me the model; I have absolutely no idea as cars don’t particularly interest me) and seemed fairly massive, although that could be related to the fact that the museum was small and so anything larger than probably 20 feet long would seem massive in that space. The car was surrounded by ropes and signs reading “DO NOT TOUCH” which seemed fairly obvious to me, as it would be a tiny bit morbid to sit in the same seat as someone who had died… 0_o But nevertheless, those signs were there. There was a plaque/paper-taped-to-a-pedestal with a snippet of information about the car and Hank’s death, but to be honest, I have no recollection of what it said. Most likely, because I wasn’t really reading to remember…

Near the front of the car, but far enough away that they could both have fences/railings and still have a fairly wide thoroughfare betwixt them, there was a couch that had something to do with Hank: most likely it was the couch that was owned by his family that he had grown up playing on that had been donated to the museum. There was a handmade blanket thrown over the back, but I don’t remember whether someone had knitted it for Hank’s family when he was a baby or if it had been knitted specifically for the museum.
Next to the car, but still inside the ropes, was a bronze bust of Hank that had been cast/sculpted/whatever-you-do-with-bronze for a city that was closely related to Hank for a memorial service after he died. Perched on the bust’s head was one of Hank’s hats, which looked exactly like it had been made specifically as part of the statue, but what was in reality a hat that Hank had actually worn to performances and things that had then been coated in bronze to preserve it for as long as the bronze lasted. {And I do actually remember that, because I thought it was really cool. XD}

There were two or three little rooms jutting off the big room with the car, and those, one would think, would have the most interesting stuff. One of them sort of did, but the other (I believe there were) two rooms were actually quite…I guess I’ll say it…They were boring. One of the rooms – about all I can remember of it is that there was some sort of documentary up on a TV, or perhaps it was just a collection of bits of black-and-white film of performances in which Hank sang. I think there were also a few paintings or something up on the walls, but for the most part, the TV was the extent of that room.
The other room I remember was a bunch of tall display cases, filled with records, photographs, hats, boots, and sheet music. There may have even been a suit jacket or two, and a couple of instruments. The sheet music and the photographs were mildly interesting, I will readily admit. Something I found a bit confusing is that in some of the photographs they referred to Hank Williams and in some they referred to Hank Williams Jr. and in some they referred to both, and it wasn’t until we’d gone through practically the entire museum before I realised that Hank Williams Jr. was a completely different person to Hank Williams: his son, to be exact. Also, in the 29 years that Hank Williams was alive, it appeared (based on the facts in the museum that I shall double-check at the end of this post) that Hank married two women, had two children with one of them, and then had another child with another woman that he may or may not have been married to. He got around in those few years, didn’t he? XD 😛
The last thing I remember about the offshoot rooms was either in another room filled partially with display cases or in a room of its own, but either way, it was a quilt hanging on the wall with a stand next to it holding a piece of paper. The paper said something to the point of “This quilt was made by (blank) of (blank) Alabama for Hank Williams and the Hank Williams Museum. Please research this person at (web address) and help support the arts in Alabama.” Or something similar enough to that that it made me question whether that person hadn’t just donated a quilt as a promotional item… In that same room, and I do believe it was actually a third room, there were several other items that had only a small connection if any to Hank, and so I really don’t feel that that room was necessary, or if it was, perhaps it would’ve been better as part of the lobby, and not as part of the museum proper, such that it was.

The last part I wish to mention about the actual exhibits in the Hank Williams museum will hopefully be more concise than the rest of this post, since as of this word there are 1285 words already in this post. *coughs and faints with astonishment* *revives* Goodness me, I’ll definitely try to go faster!
The remainder of the body of the museum (in the same general space as the aforementioned couch, car, and bust) was filled with display cases and another fenced-off area, containing a kitchen set. The display cases housed Hank’s suits, hats, and boots, as well as more photographs and memorabilia. One of the cases not placed against the wall contained the piano that Hank had played on; either when he was taking lessons as a boy, or when he was composing and teaching his children how to play the piano, I don’t remember which. It was a surprisingly tiny upright piano, which both puzzled and pleased me, as I play piano, like piano very much, and live in a house with two pianos.
The kitchen set – i.e. table, chairs, rug, fake counters and cabinets, pictures, and bit of framed hand-painted wallpaper – was that of Hank’s wife Audrey’s kitchen when they were both alive (his wife may still be alive for all I know, but obviously Hank isn’t) and living with their two children. It was very pretty, but seemed rather incongruous, and also as if it shouldn’t really be there.

And that concludes my account of my trip to the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Of course we did actually exit the museum proper afterwards and rejoined my friends’ mom in the lobby where I/we proceeded to take the pictures I posted two blog posts ago and stare at the large carving of an Indian that prompted one of Hank’s most popular songs, then politely said goodbye to the lady at the front desk and proceeded to exchange words of pointlessness once outside the building, but as that isn’t nearly as interesting as the actual museum itself, and as it doesn’t take very long to write, I needn’t bore you with the details of our departure, and suffice it to say that we left thereafter.
I am glad that I visited the Hank Williams Museum at least once before I move away. I wouldn’t necessarily want to go there again, but at least now I can say that I went, and that I now know more about Hank Williams than I did before. I hope you enjoyed my retelling as much as I enjoyed my visit *cough*, and I also hope that if you’re interested in seeing the museum without my excess of qualifiers that you’ll see the museum for yourself. Until then!

Read on!!

 

 

 

:EDIT: Hank’s wife was named Audrey, not Minnie. He had only two children, not three. Hank Williams, Jr. was with his first wife, Audrey Sheppard. His daughter, Jett, was conceived with another woman named Bobbie Jett while he was getting a divorce from Audrey. He divorced Audrey in May of 1952. He married his second wife, Billie Jean Jones, in October of 1952. Hank Williams died in January, 1953.

29: Holocaust Education Program

I went to the AUM Holocaust Education Program this morning at the AUM Physical Education Complex, and not only was it wonderfully informative and very powerful and moving, but I got credit for three separate classes (out of the five I’m taking this semester). I’m not sure which one I’m more interested in… XD

Here are some pictures that I took at the Program. I apologise for the terrible quality of the photos: I was on the balcony, attempting to zoom in on the main floor with my rather terrible iPod Touch camera. I’ll give you a description of each picture, and hopefully you can figure out which part of the picture I’m talking about. ^_^

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This is a picture of the projector board at the Education Program: it says (or should say…) “Auburn University Montgomery Holocaust Education Program April 24, 2013” or something very similar to that… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 043

This is a picture of some of the posterboards set up around the gym and also the candles that were lit for the Candle-Lighting Remembrance Ceremony (no really… XP).K iTouch Pics 04242013 044

Aaaaaand a random photographer guy taking pictures of the posterboards I was taking pictures of…K iTouch Pics 04242013 045

This is actually a rather good picture… Sorry random person whose head is in the frame. XD This is the candle-lighting ceremony that I mentioned in the previous picture: a reverend from Alabama State University and a rabbi from Montgomery are lighting the candles, while another rabbi from Montgomery is standing at the podium. (I know one of the rabbis is from Montgomery because I’ve sung at Temple Beth Or where he preaches [if that’s the word], but I don’t really know where the other one’s from.)K iTouch Pics 04242013 046

A close up of the same candle-lighting ceremony… K iTouch Pics 04242013 048

This is the director of the History Department at the podium, and a Holocaust survivor and the daughter of a Holocaust survivor sitting at the table. I’m fairly sure that their names are Max Helzer and Denise Roberts.K iTouch Pics 04242013 049

And a close-up…K iTouch Pics 04242013 050

Umm… I think this is someone else on the faculty of AUM at the podium and the two speakers still at the table, but I could be wrong. Sadly, I don’t remember what it actually is… XDK iTouch Pics 04242013 051

This is the dean of the School of Sciences at AUM at the podium, and again the two speakers at the table. This was very near the end of the program.

What I didn’t take pictures of was the part of the Frontline documentary, called “Memory of the Camps”, which is a documentary made out of film taken by film crews who travelled with the American & British liberation troops who went to the Nazi concentration camps. We only were shown the bits on Bergen-Belsen, which was probably sufficient, but very informative and fascinating, though probably because of the sheer number of images from the camp. I am very interested in seeing the rest of it, if I can find it, and I would very highly recommend at least the parts of it that I saw to anyone interested in the Holocaust. Of course, there is a warning for disturbing images, but as this is the Holocaust we’re talking about, it shouldn’t be really a surprise. (I’m sorry, that was rude. … But it is true. XD)

I am very glad that I was able to go to AUM’s Holocaust Education Program, and I’m very grateful that Dr. Woodworth allowed us to go to this Program if we wanted instead of class. (Of course, because she has bronchitis there wouldn’t have been class anyway, but she’d promised to let us go even before she came down with bronchitis. Get better soon Dr. Woodworth!!) I immensely enjoyed every minute of it, which is true, but also sounds like I’m a horrible person because the Holocaust isn’t really something you’d use the word “enjoy” to describe. But the words “interested”, “fascinated”, and “moved by” don’t quite seem like the words to describe my feelings properly. “Enjoyed” isn’t quite it either, but it’ll have to do for now. And with that, I leave you. I fully intend to learn as much about the Holocaust through future programs and memorials as I possibly can, and I hope you will too, as the Holocaust is an event that needs to be remembered.

Remember on.

27: Hank Williams

As part of the research for my final project for my second semester of Honors English Composition, I visited the Hank Williams Museum in downtown Montgomery. Now, I’ve seen and passed by this museum for the past eight years that I’ve lived in Montgomery. I know that Hank Williams was born in Montgomery. I’ve driven (when I say ‘driven’…) on the highway that was named for him. While visiting my stepdad’s family plot in a cemetery downtown, we drove by his grave and I got to see it. But somehow, in all this time, I’d never actually been in the museum. Quite astonishing, really. XD

If you are 15 years old or older, the museum costs $10 apiece (an outrageous price, really). It’s $3 for those between the ages of 2 and 14, and free for those under two.
The museum itself is a tiny low storefront next to a hotel, and it always looks closed, even though it’s apparently usually open. It’s very inconspicuous, and so probably no wonder that I’d never actually been in there.
You can’t take pictures of the inside of the museum, but you are allowed to take pictures of the lobby, such that it is. Or rather, isn’t. So the pictures that I’m about to post in this post and the pictures that I’ll post on my project page and on my Padlet poster are from the lobby of the museum and from online; none from when I was actually allowed into the museum with two of my friends.

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I should’ve taken a picture of the gigantic Indian statue that was in the middle of the “lobby”, which was apparently for his song “Kowaniga” (I think that’s what it’s called), and which had the signatures of a bunch of people on it, but I didn’t think it was that important. Perhaps I’ll find a picture online somewhere.

So that’s my short little picture post about the Hank Williams Museum. Perhaps soon I’ll actually write about what I saw in the museum itself, as some of it was fairly cool… *shrugs* Okay, one of his suits was pretty awesome. But the rest of it was just okay. XD

Laterz!!

Read on!! <3

26: Alabama Music

I am in the half of my English class that was unable to go to New York for four days (this Wednesday til tomorrow). It was not for lack of effort: I had a perfect GPA last semester, and I have more than enough service. No, I started college before the age of 18, and so by law I cannot go anywhere on a trip with AUM until I turn 18. D’Arvit. But, just because I’m not going to New York, that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do a final project. While the seven kids who did go to New York will be writing about memorials and things in New York, the six of us who were left behind in Montgomery will be writing about a particular subject in Montgomery and Alabama. In my case, since I’m ‘officially’ a professional musician now, I’m going to be writing about music in Alabama– well, I’m going to be writing about famous musicians from Alabama and famous music scenes/studios in Alabama. XD

So here we are! This is my quick update that I’ve been assigned to do about what I’ve found for my project. I’ve been studying for tests, cleaning my house, and releasing my first CD, so I haven’t had a whole lot of time, but I did find this Wikipedia page that should prove to be immensely helpful in giving me people, places, and things to research. Mwahaha. 😀

So that’s my quick update! You’ll probably be hearing more updates from me in the next couple weeks, and hopefully I’ll have more time to research, blog about my research, and possibly even blog about other things. Imagine that!

Read on, dearies!!

And if you want to see some of the things the lucky people in New York have been doing, look up #aumhonorsnyc on Twitter. A couple of cool pictures and funny stories, and, I’ll admit, a bit of jealousy on my part. XD Onwards ho!