Saturday, January 24, 2004

i never quite appreciated the proverb "silence is golden" until recently.

Help Us Crown the "Sexiest Vegetarian Alive"!

why wasn't i informed of this?! it's a conspiracy, i tell you! perhaps they knew i would have won in a cake walk - uh, i mean a vegan carob cake walk...

Friday, January 23, 2004

then, of course, there's my other musical theory: that i'd rather hear a really transcendentally horrible song, say, "seasons in the sun", than a blandly mediocre one, say, anything by kenny g.

guess i value personality and individuality, no matter how ill-advised.

this along with "how good music may be better than great music" will be part of mike's manifesto: the musical™ coming this summer to a theater near you.

can good be better than great?

i picked up the new record from larry carlton - sapphire blue - for a paltry $7.92 from the one place that windows and mac users alone love: iTunes. since it was less than a regular cd - i d-loaded a few non-album tracks from norah jones including a song she does with outkast (!?) - from the record that the whole world loves - and her new single - so i am a happy boy...

the lc record, i've been listening to nearly constantly for the past few days. carlton is a great guitar player who has played with everyone: steely dan, joni mitchell - etc... as well as making his own records. his solo on kid charlamagne, from the royal scam was described by rolling stone magazine as one of the three best guitar solos in rock history. for once, this is not hyperbole and might even be an understatement - i'm still trying to figure out what the other two this good are...

anyhow, sapphire blue is a good record, but not great - solid - perfect for playing in the car - where it has been virtually welded in place, perfect for working to, hanging out, etc... this record reminded me of an observation i made long ago about my own listening habits - namely, i listen to more music i would consider "good" than music i consider "great".

i mean, i will look you straight in the eye and tell you miles davis' - kind of blue - is the finest piece of recorded music i have ever heard. right next to that would be, say, john coltrane's - a love supreme - or ornette coleman's - the shape of jazz to come - or even joni mitchell's - hejira - (featuring, ahem, larry carlton, iirc) or marvin gaye's - what's going on. however, ask me the last time i've listened to these records, ones that , mind you, I and not just music critics, consider classics - and i will cough, stammer, look at my feet and admit it's been ages. some of these - i venture to say - it's been over a year.

yet, carlton's records - or say records by dido, i listen far more frequently. i've often wondered why? am i just a poseur, ashamed to admit to myself and others i like dido or larry carlton more? am i just weird? do i just have too much time on my hands even to worry about this?

perhaps all of the above are true. yet, in his book songbook, nick hornby writes:
your old music cannot sustain you through a life, not if you're someone who listens to music every day, at every opportunity. You need input, because pop music is about freshness, about Nelly Furtado and the maddeningly memorable fourth track on a first album by a band you saw on a late-night TV show. And no, that fourth track is not as good as anything on Pet Sounds or Blonde on Blonde or What's Going On?, but when was the last time you played Pet Sounds?

perhaps using nick hornby as a reality check isn't a good idea as he may be the one person more obsessive about his listening habits than i - but it was interesting and reassuring to hear someone - who perhaps doesn't feel exactly the same way about it (to be sure, he has mostly different "guilty pleasures) than i - but at least i feel we're kind of on the same page here.

to be sure, hornby's point about discovering new music and the appeal of novelty is part of it. however, for me, i think it goes beyong that. great music, is often very emotionally intense - and frankly, i don't want an intense emotional experience everytime i go for a drive. what's more, great music commands your attention - i would not be able to listen to a love supreme while working.. wouldn't do the music or my work justice. good music, though - well - great for driving, great for working, great for chilling... i often listen to dido's - no angel - while i fall asleep. detractors might say that is a sign how dull the record is - but i don't mean that at all. music i find that relaxing, is for me, as valuable as any great artistic statements. pretty much the same thing can be said for any of the other "good" as opposed to "great" music to which i listen.

other jazz guitarists are undoubtedly "greater" than larry carlton - say charlie christian, wes montgomery, joe pass (i'm guessing even carlton would acknowledge that) - but i rarely or never listen to them. why? well part of it is the difference between appreciating something as great and really loving it on a personal level. chances are your friends may not necessarily the smartest, wittiest, best looking, nicest people you know - but they're your friends. why? cause they are your friends - maybe you don't even know why - for whatever reason, you connect with them. in addition, there are other guitarists which superficially resemble his playing that i can't stand. but carlton is one of MY guitar players - don't ask me why - he is.

if coltrane, coleman, davis, et al are great artists, carlton, dido, nelly furtado are great craftsmen. if that sounds like damning them with faint praise, it isn't. they both serve very valuable roles.

johm mclaughlin once said something about, for him, music is the face of god. perhaps that's true for great music, but perhaps good music is like chatting with friends. it is not essential or even desirable to have earthshattering musical experiences every day. to be sure, good music may not have the depth of great music, but perhaps it more breadth.

if you made it this far, you must be very patient. i really still don't know if anyone can relate to this. what are your thoughts?

the friday five

At this moment, what is your favorite...

1. ...song?
don't know the titles, but there are a few tasty ones on larry carlton's new record - sapphire blue - with which i've been groovin' lately. in fact, i may post about the record later (i know how y'all be waiting for that...)

2. ...food?
a tofu/noodley thing my wife whips up in various forms...

3. ...tv show?
alias (duh, haven't you been paying attention?)

4. ...scent?
coffeee - mmmmmm, coffee... 1

5. ...quote?
"outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend; inside a dog, it's too dark to read." - g. marx

1perhaps my choice here is slanted because i am answering this first thing in the morning...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

CNN.com - The importance of being Gollum - Jan. 21, 2004

gollum was, for me, clearly the best thing about lord of the rings. i am not sure what it says that the best "acting" in the movie came from a combination live actor and cgi. technically it was brilliant and better still, it was great in the context of the movie - not just special effects for their own sake....truly his scenes were, for me, the most interesting, most intense, most moving, most human part of the movie - his final scene in return of the king is as memorable as it gets. i'm interested in checking this book out.

questions from ash

1. Why yoga? What made you decide to start taking yoga?
i came from a religious/spiritual family. over time though, the religious tradition of my family did not work for me. i spent years with no spiritual focus. i also have, for most of my life, regardless of spiritual practice or lack, have dealt with anxiety and depression issues. not as bad as some, not debilitating, but not that much fun either. i tried some yoga and meditation years ago - can't even put my finger on when - but very sporadically with minimal dedication or results. randomly browsing in a bookstore, i stumbled across the dalai lama's biography, i picked it up cause i had no idea who he was. i read the book and it moved me on so many levels. i have been interested in eastern philosphy and what suprised me most is that to most westerners, it seems something do exotic and esoteric. truth be known - at least for me - much of buddhism, the yoga philosophy, etc, is perfectly logical - something i can accept with my heart and my head. i became an avid reader and went to a yoga studio for meditation classes. this proved better as i became more consistent in my practice. if i missed a class, i could take a make-up yoga class - which i did - and was intrigued, though i liked it less than the sitting meditation. well, we had kids, and the studio was a bit of a drive, so i kind of phased out that class. in fall of 1999, i was really in a rut - getting depressive - these things just go in cycles. my wife suggested i take a yoga class. took to it like a fish to water. instantly found a great connection with the teacher - who remains my teacher until now...the fact that there was a physical component made it work for me. i had always thought of yoga as kind of watered down meditation - i know now that view is totally wrong. the physical aspect gives people a good focal point. perhaps more evolved meditators can handle seated meditation, but us weak minded folks benefit from it. plus there is a more holistic feeling about it as it integrates the body. by christmas of 1999 i was hooked. my practice has had peaks and valleys since then - just coming out of a valley, or should i say, headed towards a peak

2. What are the 3 most important things everyone should know about you?
a. i love my wife and kids (and rest of family) more than anything.
b. for the first time in my life, i love my work - as opposed to liking or tolerating it. after close to 20 years as a software developer, i teach at a community college.
c. the single principle by which i try to lead my life is "balance".

3. I THINK you are a vegetarian from what I have read on your site so far. If you are, why? Is it a health thing or a belief thing?
i became a vegetarian in fall 2000. i had toyed with the thought of becoming a vegetarian for a while, but never did. a lot of things influenced me, people i knew, things i read, and eventually, while eating chicken wings, i had a revelatory experience - uh - these are REALLY wings of chickens...i guess the deep awareness of what i was doing disgusted me. i had a strong visceral reaction - and became a vegetarian cold-turkey (couldn't resist). about a week into it, since i really didn't know what i was doing and felt weak, i ate some chicken and pepperoni pizza, but after that, i made sure i had appropriate vegetarian food and haven't intentionally eaten meat since. since then, it's really a blend of reasons: ethical (both in the sense of non-violence towards animals and a more efficient use of ecological resources), health and the old yuck factor associated with flesh eating (i love how macabre that sounds)

4. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
whew - good question. near as i can recall, i had a sinus infection a few years back and the pain was most intense as well as worrisome. i went to the emergency room - which wasn't paid for because sinus infections aren't emergencies. well, given i am not an md, i didn't KNOW that is was a sinus infection and given i did not want to wait a few days in what i am now characterizing as the most pain i've ever been in, it sure seemed like an emergency to me. runners up: knee surgery, wisdom tooth extraction, migraines.

5. How did you come up with the name "Spacemonk"?
back in prehistoric online days, i had an account with an online serivce (pre-internet aol) and needed a screen name. i tried a few things and they were taken. i decided i wanted to be "spacemonkey" in tribute to the little primates they shot off into space. i remember as a kid seeing them in the space capsules. the limit, though was 10 characters - after trying a few things to abbreviate, i hit upon "spacemonk" - liked it because it combined many things of which i am interested - science, spirituality, thelonious monk. so when it was time to name my blog i dusted it off. i have seen there is a band named that - which doesn't suprised me, cause there is a band named everything... i like it because it's a bit mysterious and evocative without being particularly meaningful.

1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.

2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.

3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions,and your five answers.

4 - You'll include this explanation.

5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Ananova - Yoga teacher meditates with snakes in mouth

cross posted to yogablog

hmmm - i don't think i'm quite, um, advanced enough for this...

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

the 10 records that influenced my musical aesthetic the most.

these aren't necessarily my 10 favorite records, but these are the records, when i originally heard them, changed my view of music, influenced my listening habits the most, in general, made the biggest impact when i heard them. in roughly chronological order - but based on when i heard them vs. when they came out (most relevant w/the stone roses...). feel free to try this yourself. nostalgia, my former enemy, can be fun, at times.

1. rubber soul - the beatles
2. a night at the opera - queen
3. quadrophenia - the who
4. black market - weather report
5. aja - steely dan
6. remain in light - talking heads
7. dancing in your head - ornette coleman
8. rhythms - badi assad
9. the stone roses
10. footprints - wayne shorter

of course, this is subject to change...upon my mood or whatever revisionist theory is in effect

Dean Tones Down 'Red Meat' Rhetoric After Iowa Loss

shouldn't one speak about what one believes as opposed to speaking what one perceives the crowd wants to hear?

Monday, January 19, 2004

happy martin luther king day...
keep the dream alive...

new link: herb

experimenting in the bedroom

me and my wife spent a good part of the afternoon experimenting in the bedroom. the kids were home, but occupied so they left us alone. it's good to switch things around every now and then or you can get in a rut. we have talked about doing it for a while, but finally decided this weekend to try it. my wife finished a bit earlier than me, so she cleaned up and we chatted while i finished.

the rest is kinda personal - oh, what the heck, i'm among friends...

what i am talking about, of course, is that we repainted the walls. (what were you pervs thinking?!) we've been in out house nearly four years - and spent a lot of our time working on the yard. the house still has the 'aura" of it's former owner and we are working on making it "ours". this fall we started in on the inside - redid the family room first. we decided to repaint our bedroom this weekend and we are trying to be creative - one contrasting wall and one wall with vertical stripes. it looks great, so far, if i must say so ourselves...

i blame all the home remodeling shows - i've never had an interest in this, but now i do - so we're trying to make cheap, but significant small projects - and periodically tackle some bigger projects...

Sunday, January 18, 2004

didja ever notice... that often the folks that nominate people for makeover shows are, imho, far more needing a makeover than the person nominated?

just a question - hey, i ain't perfect either - then again you don't see me nominating anyone for a makeover show...

from yogablog
i can think of no better indication of everything wrong with yoga in the usa than the fact that the term, "YogaButt™", has been trademarked.

hey, i'm not above a bit of self-promotion...

album cover du jour

image of sonny clark album - cool struttin'

i hate textured walls.

question for all you amateur linguists out there:
when did the expression "i'm liking it." replace the more straightforward and semantically equivalent "i like it."?

on EGG: THE ARTS SHOW there was a great segment about the folks at ®™ark - kind of corporate saboturs, conceptal artists...
my favorite "piece" so far...the barbie liberation organization

my wife said one of the worst things you can say to me, a semi-hypochondriac, this morning: "gee, you look a little pale."

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