Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reading, Reading, Reading

While the accounts I have been reading include very heavy subject matter, I have delighted in my reading. The accounts have hardships and moments of humor in them, and above all else they show the human condition. Last night I especially enjoyed rereading the account about Mike Benge's time as a POW in Vietnam.

Mike Benge, a man we interviewed this summer, was "an AID technician captured in the South" as it is described in the book Strange Ground by Harry Maurer. He describes the night of the Tet offensive, and how he went out the check on things the next morning. He describes the moments when he got captured:

It was ironic: The squad I got captured by was a North Vietnamese propaganda squad. And their leader--you have to imagine a North Vietnamese who really didn't have command of English trying to say, "Surrender, we will give you humane and lenient treatment." This guy had a little Hitler mustache and his hair came down in his eyes about like Hitler. It was really weird, like out of a movie. Here's this little Hitlerite guy, telling me, "Sullendah, we give you humane and renient tleatment."

His story in this book is an intense one, and I recommend you pick up a copy to learn more. He is an excellent story teller, candid and humorous. I enjoy the details he includes in his stories, like drinking coffee royals with Dr. Hickey to celebrate at his Tet party:

The Chinese firecrackers were going off, the tracers were flying. About that time an 81mm mortar landed out in front of my house. I said, "Oh, shit, Gerry, I think this is the real thing."

We were there all night long, drinking coffee royals, keeping everybody awake. Between the adrenaline of thinking you're going to get overrun and the coffee royals, we were pretty goddamn high. Nobody knew what the hell was going on.

If you want to read more about Mike Benge, here are some things I found online:
Mike and I are set for a second interview in a few weeks and I'm really looking forward to it. I have been learning so much about our film's subject matter, and exploring the three key points we want to make. It is a learning process, through and through.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lunch Break Blogging: Recovering Again

Today will be my first full day back in the office, having had a cold since the middle of last week. I keep running into folks who ask, "Haven't you been sick for a while now?" I cannot tell you how absolutely exhausted I am with being sick and tired! I've been consuming mass amounts of orange juice in hopes of getting better quickly. Thankfully, today, I feel that I am heading in that direction.