Monday, July 30

well i don't feel better when i'm fuckin' around

There were a lot of uncommonly brilliant musicians at Rockygrass this past
weekend. Which almost goes without saying. In bluegrass, the baseline price of
entry - not even to popular awareness, but to participation much beyond the
first tier of circle-sitting - seems to be a formidable competence,1 and
scales up from there. At the higher levels of bluegrass, there's a good chance
the bass player is John Paul Jones.2 Manifestations of the Planet Bluegrass
empire like Rockygrass seem to pull in people who define the solid center and
major edges of the form. You wind up with a lot of scary individuals walking
around.

Among the people you should check out, if you haven't, are

Then there's Nickel Creek.

They announced they were breaking up3 a while ago - and after a show I caught
in Denver last year, it wasn't that surprising. You could see the tension then
if you were looking. This time around it was something like watching a married
couple dance with knives held behind their backs. Except not really, given that
the divorce is just about finalized and it's a lousy, hackneyed metaphor to
begin with. Anyway, you get the sense that Chris Thile and Sean Watkins may not
exactly hate one another, but they are sure as shit annoyed.

I guess this is what happens. At any rate, I'm sure I don't know anything
beyond an impression conveyed by a set of smart people who have been on stage
since they were children, and I hate this kind of fannish speculation. The main
thing is that, despite the fact that there is no longer a sense of joy
emitting from the enterprise of Nickel Creek itself into the public sphere,
they are still so fucking amazingly good that it hurts.

1 As nearly as I can tell, this emerges from a culture of participation. How
many people make rock music, despite the theoretically lower technical
threshold, as vs. fans of acoustic music who pick or sing? Subjectively, it
almost feels like the fan:participation ratios of basketball/baseball/football
as compared to Ultimate.

It probably also emerges from working within a remarkably specific and
conventional form.

But what do I know? I can't pick a goddamned note.

2 Somewhat literally,
although I wrote this sentence in a figurative frame of mind. Of course, no one
is John Paul Jones, excepting possibly himself. But you know what I mean.

3 Hiatus. Inevitable reunion tours. The template is set, but when does it not
dictate a fundamental end-point?

Thursday, July 26

Have scored Rockygrass tickets. May not be eating until next paycheck.

Wednesday, July 25

The Winfield tickets came in the mail recently. My friend Shawn called up not
long after and said unjustifiably kind things about my writing. I haven't
written anything in what feels like months and may be longer. T reports that
he's been serving Chris Thile coffee in Lyons, and I suddenly realize that I
might not be able to live with myself if I skip the festival this weekend in
order to sit around the house sweating in the dead still air and skimming
craigslist for tolerable jobs in the physically / morally / mentally /
intellectually corrupt bullshit scam artist bureaucracy-enablement industry
that is software. (The new boss is the same boss but behind a keyboard we the
latest iteration of an ineffectual technocratic elite are allowed to pretend
that this privilege is a sign of change. Jesus wept.) And meanwhile Elizabeth
proceeds, through all the petty torment imposed by her parasitic and almost
unbearably successful employers towards an advanced degree and a suburban
basement preschool.

Sunday, July 22

Anybody know of a decent place for rent in or about Boulder, CO, for less than 1200 bucks?

Saturday, July 14

I've been skimming MJD's
Higher-Order Perl this past week. It's
a very clever book. If you enjoy hacking Perl at all, it's almost certain to
be worth your time.

For some reason, HOP has got me thinking again about producing a
book-length work - and feels, somehow, like the sort of book I would like to
produce. This is an odd thing to be thinking, possibly because "very clever"
is not in my bag of tricks. Certainly because I don't have much to say
about code.

Perhaps there is, in that collection of books that I would like to have
written, some unifying theme or orientation. Then again, maybe not. It's always
possible to construct some grand theory to unify the lies you've told yourself
about art, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Sunday, July 1

recent observations

  • I wasn't sure about Sky Blue Sky until I watched the DVD that came with.
    I'm more inclined to like it now, though I still think "What Light" is the
    best track.
  • The teriyaki quesadilla may not actually be the worst culinary idea on earth,
    but it's going to need some refinement.
  • PHP sucks donkey balls.
  • I have an affinity for tools and methods which trigger knee-jerk dismissal
    by highly-paid professionals.
  • Everything that's wrong with the institutional culture of the Boulder Public
    Library is neatly expressed by the number of unused library-catalog-only PCs at
    the end of the row of public web access machines, which are always in use and
    usually have people waiting in line.