I had planned on ending the Third Wave Series with The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill but ran into all kinds of complications when researching the backstory, especially regarding credit as to who was responsible for what. There was a rather nasty lawsuit about production and contribution credits, and though it was settled in court, I’m still not confident I can say with certainty “Lauryn did this” or “New Ark did that.” Mis-crediting artists is a sin I’d rather avoid—I’ve done it a couple of times and thankfully my always-attentive readers pointed out my mistake without beating the hell out of me. Anyway, Lauryn will have to wait for another day when I have more time and energy to devote to unraveling the mysteries.

I will admit that my time-and-energy dynamic is out-of-kilter because I’ve been cooped up in my house for what, three months? four months?—it seems like forever. Now that the government has loosened some of the travel restrictions and there actually safe places to go, I’ve decided to take a long-overdue vacation.

Yes, I’m taking my partner, whom I still love very much even after spending all that time together while under house arrest.

Even with the loosening of restrictions, there remain so many variables in play that our vacation is filled with if-then scenarios. As I don’t trust the airlines or the trains quite yet, we’ll be driving our little Peugeot 108 with all available space crammed with girl clothes and sex apparel. Our first stop will be Biarritz, where we’ll spend a few days and hope that the Spanish authorities haven’t re-closed the borders due to a spike. We’d love to spend some time poking around in Basque Country (depending on how safe we feel there) before heading over to Oporto in Portugal (Portugal’s supposed to be the safest place on the continent). Again, depending on how things go with the virus, we’ll then drive to Madrid so my partner can bond with family.

I have no idea how long I’ll be gone, which sounds fucking wonderful. As I’m leaving my laptop behind, the only digital technology I’ll have with me is my iPhone, so there will likely be a delay in responding to comments.

Rester en sécurité et en bonne santé—à bientôt!

4 responses

  1. I could easily live in both Bilbao and Porto. Try a day trip to Gaztelugatxe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Matheus Bezerra de Lima | Reply

    Have a good vacation!

    In an unrelated note, I would love to mention the fantastic lessons about art from the film Ratatouille!

    I love the evolution of Ego. He is a bitter and extremely demanding culinary critic who accepts nothing but the extraordinary. In his own words: “I don’t like food, I love it and what I don’t love, I don’t smallow!”. He takes the art and technical craft of culinary extremely seriously and critically and that’s why he disdains of Gusteau’s motto “anyone can cook”. He is also such a respected critic that his reviews can single-handedly make or break a restaurant’s reputation. He is easily the most feared critic by all chiefs in France.

    What we should learn from this film’s fantastic ending is, above all, to never forget the primal feeling of bliss, delight and pleasure in art in my opinion. Rémy serves Ego ratatouille, a peasant’s dish. Ego probably received so many crazy and fancy dishes from restaurants desperately trying to impress him. Ego tastes the ratatouille and it immediately evokes happy memories of his mother’s cooking. Ego loves the ratatouille and proceeds to eat it with a big smile on his face and ends up disregarding his pencil and notes’ block that he was previously ready to write in and probably make all sorts of extreme scrutiny of every small detail of the food. Ego had a point before in demanding utmost excellence, but he mistook that for threatening the artist and allowed himself to become too cynical and bitter. But from this moment on, that changed and exactly because of how much he values excellence and is passionate about it. A “villain” redeemed by his sincere love for food. Ultimately, there is a embrace of the subjectivity and passion in art above mere cold and technical analysis.

    So, here is Ratatouille’s full ending. Let’s learn from that. Surely one the best film endings ever! Of course, it becomes even more impactful after watching the whole film, Ratatouille is a film that has total sincerity and heart from start to end. And really thoughtful. In a somewhat unrelated note, I think that this is the only instance of a great climax and ending in a Pixar film without some sort of action and chase scene, which became a trite and uninspired cliché in many Pixar films. They seem to have trouble in making different kinds of climaxes.

    Also, this wonderful video essay about Ratatouille’s lessons about art and art critique. It’s in portuguese, but I think that the automatic subtitles translated to english seem to be serviceable.

    Also, I love the scene from the film in which Gusteau says that anyone can cook, but only the fearless can reach greatness, the people who don’t let others tell their limits based on their origin. Your own soul is the only limit.

    This is Anton Ego’s review in the ending and I freaking love it.

    Anton Ego: In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations. The new needs friends. Last night, I experienced something new: an extraordinary meal from a singularly unexpected source. To say that both the meal and its maker have challenged my preconceptions about fine cooking is a gross understatement. They have rocked me to my core. In the past, I have made no secret of my disdain for Chef Gusteau’s famous motto, “Anyone can cook.” But I realize, only now do I truly understand what he meant. Not everyone can become a great artist; but a great artist can come from anywhere. It is difficult to imagine more humble origins than those of the genius now cooking at Gusteau’s, who is, in this critic’s opinion, nothing less than the finest chef in France. I will be returning to Gusteau’s soon, hungry for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoy yourself and stay safe! I have nearly commented (but then run out of steam/time or whatever else delayed me long enough to feel like things had moved on) on a number of reviews. So you have one more reader than your comments generally indicate. Go have a nice break!

    And PS I noticed that you have kind things to say about Sonny Landreth’s Live at Grant Street album. That quite tickles me, as I live near there. Though Grant Street Dancehall has kinda petered out, unfortunately, and I don’t see Sonny perform near as often as I used to. But he’s always amazing to see. Glad to see a local artist mentioned here. I may go back and comment on your review at some point.


    1. Sorry for the delayed response, but it was one complicated vacation. More on that soon.

      I guess dancehalls everywhere have petered out, with COVID-19 supplying the coup de grace—and what I miss more than anything else is live music. Seeing Sonny in Tacoma years ago is a cherished memory; I love it when musicians command attention solely based on the music rather than lights, bells and whistles. A true virtuoso.



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