just got back from a discussion between the writer steven johnson and a head of epidemiology at ucla. they were discussing stevens book, 'the ghost map', which is about 19th century london and its struggle with cholera and which i am currently in the middle of reading. really interesting night. made me envious of those who live in nyc. that city is always full of interesting evenings like this one. alternatives to the usual club/bar/movie/tv menu that i have found generally uninteresting since i was 20. stevens book, like many of his books, is really interesting in its approach. he is a multi-disciplinary thinker. on the surface, it is a narrative story about an outbreak of cholera and the eventual discovery of its cause and cure. just the story aspect of it and the setting (london 1845) have a dickens sort of feel. this alone i would enjoy, being a bit of an anglophile (married a half-british girl after all). but the book is full of insights and sub- topics that are fascinating and disparate involving urban theory, self-organizing systems, microbiology, post traumatic stress in post- 9/11 nyc to artificial selection pressures producing our ability to drink liquor with relatively little alcoholism.
wow im rambling again. big time. will stop here. if any of this sounds in any way familiar or interesting, read stevens book. its a great read and easy read.
inspire yourself though. you cant rely on anyone else to find it for you.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
not that im really impressed with the democrats but i do hope they win something back. only because i am tired of the republicans having so much power that they are able to frame every argument. there has been no dialogue for years now because the republicans have been able to set up all these false choices in front of the american people. you are for the administrations policies or you are for the terrorists. you are against gay marriage or you hate the family. you are for the republicans or you are unconcerned about the threat of terror. you have white christian religious values or you have no values. these are false choices. this is political checkers. it shuts down the actual dialogue because real topics get discussed. with all the difficult and arguably unprecedented problems this country faces we need a real exchange of ideas. this means we need both sides of the conversation. as corrupt and silly as our system is, and show me one that isnt, at its best it can produce a broad spectrum of approaches to most problems. and right now we need all the variety we can muster in our problem solving. variety breeds creativity and creativity is what we need. a distributed system is a better decision maker than any one man. especially when the one man is as limited in scope as george w. bush.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
just bought a giclee of an artist named ray caesar. he does very cool stuff. digital surrealist. he has a nice blend of obvious skill and technique (digital), with an eye toward the intangible. the intangible part is the what gives his work legs and makes it something that breathes well day after day. alot of his creative peers, some of whom i quite like, seem to lack that eye to the long view. they make works that are a quick charm with little lasting effect. not ray though. some of this might simply be age. ray is older. either way, rays stuff has a dark charm that lingers.
Monday, October 16, 2006
i finished mixing my record on friday. finished. friday the thirteen even. i know metaphors like this are over used but it really feels like a re-emergence from being underground. and that being said, as i come back up, my head clears and my eyes adjust, the landscape looks really unfamiliar. unfamiliar is, generally speaking, a good word in my opinion. especially in this case because the unfamiliar landscape im referring to here is the music business. i remember years ago, when people first started complaining about the illegal/legal downloading and all that it was doing to the music industry, i was not convinced that it was all a bad thing. i thought then, and i still think now, that the music business needed a shakeup. things had to change. with change there are inevitably pains and victims. granted. life is always like that isnt it? things needed changing. things have been changed. things are still dramatically changing. i find it interesting. the change that i have always thought is the most important is that an artist no longer needs to convince a man in a suit that people who dont wear suits will be interested in hearing the artists work. that was one of the biggest walls in the old system. now i understand that these days getting your work to those that care is a little like writing a poem on a piece of paper, folding it into a paper airplane and sending it out over a demilitarized zone. but when that does land in the right persons hand, they then share it with others and a special relationship has been created. this might not apply to the mega stars, who can only complain about diminished cd sales. but for the rest of us, especially those like me in the musical middle class, this is much more attractive than hoping to be one of a handful of bands chosen by a handful of corporations. so i begin to take and make phone calls and meetings to figure out how best to navigate these new waters, stay interested in what i do, and get my delinquent work into the hands of those it might mean something to. bell rings. bout begins.