All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.
`Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on ``I am not too sure''.' -- H. L. Mencken.
梧桐相待老，鴛鴦會雙死。 貞婦貴殉夫，舍生亦如此。 波瀾誓不起，妾心井中水。
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Sat, 17 Apr 2004
I've been going to a weekly jam near work on and off for the past few years and recently pretty regularly—and lately it has been absolutely fantastic. I'm just have a ton of fun every time I go.
I've a friend who related to me a conversation he had with his teacher when he was just beginning to play. He complained that at all the jams he went to everyone was always so much more advanced than he was. His teacher said, "You're lucky. Enjoy it while it lasts, cause once you get good, it sucks to have to always play with people who aren't at your level."
Obviously that's a bit of an over-simplification, because being surrounded by people who are way over your head quickly becomes frustrating. You've got to find that perfect balance point between boredom and frustration. But it's true—being pushed up a little bit is a lot of fun, and being pulled down is a bit of a drag.
So I think a large part of the sudden fun factor at this particular jam is that it's the perfect level for me now. I struggle and have to work hard to keep up and not only figure out what the fuck is going on in terms of chords and melody, and also try to keep doing new or interesting things and not fall back on the same licks over and over, but I can still hold my shit together enough to occasionally sound good. If I do say so myself. I.e. I'm finally approaching the level where I'm feeling like I'm contributing a bit rather than strictly just trying to keep up. It's a fucking good feeling.
Anyways, the core of the group is a couple really talented and really musical guitar players with a huge repetoire (many of them have been playing for thirty or fourty years) of swing, old country, and (of course) bluegrass. And what's nice is that they're really appreciative of me—even though I'm just playing the same three Chubby Wise licks is various combinations they are always complimentary. (I think this is partly because the other fiddles there are much more old-timey-based, so the more bluesy stuff (which is what Chubby Wise essentially defined the bluegrass fiddle sound as doing) is a nice change.) So I'm happy because it seems like a year and a half of solid effort on ol' Petunia is starting to pay off.
So the whole point of this post was to relate an anecdote. Someone there asked me last night how I learned to play bluegrass, and I said that I basically listened to a lot of old Bill Monroe records, figured out what Chubby Wise was doing, and started trying to build breaks around his licks. And then they were like, "Oh, so you like Chubby Wise?" and I was like "Yes, even though he was not the most technically sophisticated fiddler to have ever played bluegrass (e.g. he only used three fingers of his left hand) he did define the bluegrass fiddle sound and also, he just sounded fucking great" and they were like,
The moral of the story is that bluegrass is great. You're never more than one or two people away from your heroes.Fri, 16 Apr 2004
Was driving down the same section of Mass Ave that I've driven down almost every day for the past few years when I happened to notice a stone tablet on the sidewalk by one of the stoplights. It read something like:
On this spot in April ??, 177? Four people were shot to death by British soldiers
Wow. Well, this is possibly the first moment in my life when I've felt any affinity for history. This was just some random section of Mass Ave, with laundromats and hardware stores and whatever else. It didn't have any kind of historic feel to it, like Beacon Hill or Quincy Market or whatever. It's just some pedestrian-unfriendly semi-strip-mall part of my drive to work. So hard to imagine it ever having a significance beyond that.Thu, 15 Apr 2004
And the days are not full enough And the nights are not full enough And life slips by like a field mouse Not shaking the grass.
— Ezra Pound
Well this is fucked up:
I hope the
I guess next time I'm running late for a flight, I'll just consult my friendly neighborhood oracular Pythians.
Found, oddly enough, via the LJ latest images page, which I'm completely and utterly addicted to.
Secret link to an HTML gateway script I hax0red up here, but treat it gently.Wed, 14 Apr 2004
Here's what would make me happy.
I think that's it.
Sometimes I like to imagine that I have a large, engaged, interested readership. I know there's really only about two of you out there, but it makes me feel like writing this craptrap is a little less of a waste of time.
But I feel like I should be writing a bit more, in general. I feel like I could write well, at least in some hypothetical, purple-skied, twin-sunned world, even though in practice I'm rarely happy with what I write. So I hope it's just a matter of practice, and I go ahead slog through one dumb blog entry after the next, because two readers is at least a little bit of motivation to write well.
But I'm clearly not destined for greatness in writing, because I don't spend enough time doing it. I'm not destined for greatness in any field, for the same reason—I'm spread too thin (by which I mean, I have more than one single area of interest). I might become a good writer, but probably not a great one. I might become a good fiddler, but definitely not a great one (I'm about 20 years of intensive practice behind on that one anyways). I might be a great programmer already (if you'll indulge me) but I doubt I'll be a famous one.
I think I'm ok with that, though. I have to be, because I'm really not really willing to pay the price for greatness. I'm far too epicurean, and lazy, and interested-in-shit-in-general, to ever be a workaholic. I ultimately would rather live an interesting but comfortable life than be a blazing single-minded genius.
Anyways, this is just some train of thought with a fairly regular schedule in my mind, so if it sounds familiar, my sweating mass of gentle readers, please forgive me.
Thus spake the prophet.
In other news, I am so completely, totally, and utterly over women. From now on, bitches can come to me and get rejected. I'm done making an effort. It's all 無心 (mushin) and 花見 (hanami) from here on out.
Despite what you may have learned in grammar school (ho ho!), let it be know that the following
Unless an utter miracle (along the lines of, say, a fairy princess gifting me with a real beating heart, or me suddenly making a lot of friends) happens in the next few months, I am considering moving away at the end of the summer. (In fact, the only reason I'm planning on sticking around for the extent of the summer is the possibility of a lot of fun music stuff happening—the new band is working out really well.)
Someone said that Boston summers are nothing more than dirty lies. I'm not sure why it's taken me three years to come to the realization that this place is so bad for my health, but now that the weather system is producing the occasional fitfully nice sunny day, I'm really understanding just how bad for my well-being it would be to spend another winter here. No matter how much cool and interesting activity a city has to offer, if the very act of leaving the house imposes a burden both extreme and consistent in severity, at the very level of base bodily discomfort, for eight of the thirteen months of the year, you're not going to be spending a lot of time getting to know the flip side of your urban inconvenience, shall we say.
The other factor, although this very recently has been very happily somewhat mitigated, is that I still don't feel like I know very many people I can hang out with on a casual and spontaneous basis, and as a continually lonely misanthrope prone to fits of energyless depression, this is (oh so ironically, oh so frustratingly, oh so self-loathingly) pretty important. Combine this with the fact that I still don't see any real opportunities for meeting new people, and my history of instantaneous dislike of nearly every person I meet who's actually from the New England area, and it spells William needs out, soon.
I am desperately trying to avoid scratching the extremely itchy, pulsing, tingling,
(Lest the arching of my hatred seem too over, let it be know that being in love with my immediate neighborhood and my job does make this a difficult near-decision to not-make.)
It looks like, thanks to Alishine's helpful pointer, I'll be involved over the next few weeks in a little bit of math tutoring in Cambridge. It's second-grade
A combination of them being desperate for volunteers and the coordinator being a big bluegrass fan (I mentioned fiddle somewhere in the application form) worked well in my favor.
I think I must've finally completely emerged from this last fit of depression, because I feel the urge to write here again.
Hold on tight.Fri, 09 Apr 2004
sigh.Thu, 08 Apr 2004
At CMU I did some math tutoring for elementary school students enrolled in an advanced math program. I'd really like to do something like that again. Does anyone know of math/science tutoring programs in Cbridge/Sville/Boston area for (what in my day was called) g/t students, or anything similar?
Tuesday, April 20th, at 8:30 pm.
"You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive." -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Study in Scarlet"