Tuesday, October 24, 2006

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.

7 comments:

Chris (C. Brian) said...

The Ghost Map:
http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Map-Steven-Johnson/dp/1594489254

Sounds like a fascinating read and an insightful discussion.

I think your "ramblings" are interesting, EA - - the paralells between London at that time and the 21st century . . .

Anything to do with systems theory and PTSD (having suffered from and with this malady) is of interest to me. Although I could be wrong, I think we will hear more about the aftershock of 9/11 and witnessing that horror.

Chris (C. Brian) said...

Off topic I know, and I'll risk: EA, do you practice bass with a drum machine? If so, which make and model? Have you ever heard of or used QuickBeats?:

http://www.quickbeat.com/

Also, did you ever take bass lessons, or are you primarily self-taught? Any words of wisdom for aspiring players? Excuse the deluge!

mcv said...

nice to finally see a re-emergence eric, it's been too long. Do you personally ever plan on writing a book? bio? Cant wait for the new tunes.

ps. "whores" was the first book i ever read cover to cover without falling prey to A.D.D lol.

Tanya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Puckman said...

nyc is the sht. I have lived here now for five years, and stuff like this makes it such a great experience. i saw orson scot card talk about his books a few months ago, awesome...

-ea. said...

chris- i think that all playing is good; jamming, writing, doing scales in fron tof the tv. especially if you are a real beginner. that said, i havent done much 'practicing' in my time and i dont do any really anymore. on bass anyway. the 'better' i got on bass, the busier i tended to play. which is not the best way to use a bass imho. if you want to play like flea, you have to practice like a motherfucker. he has crazy chops. but to play like me, which is to say play like yourself, there is nothing better than playing original songs with other people in a room. that way your own voice will start to emerge from the get go. my friend andrew clark (campfire girls, monsters are waiting) is a great example of this. he wasnt sure he was good enough when he started playing with campfire girls but he immediately started to develop his own bass voice and taste, i knew the chops would come. he has always had great style and taste in choosing what he plays. he has been a great bassist for a while now. i am a great believer in 'learn by doing'. oh yeah, yes i am self-taught. i took one lesson once when i was fifteen. it didnt go so well so i stopped.

Chris (C. Brian) said...

Eric A,

Thanks so much for your sagacious tips, and I'll be sure to listen to some of Andrew Clark's work. It will be new for me. I'll definitely have to squeeze in some finger strength and scale exercises in front of the tube, too! I still consider myself a neophyte, even though I've owned a bass on and off for years. I know major, minor, blues, pentatonic scales in 2 octaves; major and minor arpeggios . . . and, well, that's it! I don't think I'll ever have the technical dexterity and power of a Flea or a Claypool. I'm more interested in "foundational" riff/grooves a la Peter Hook (Joy Division/New Order). Again, thanks for your time. I first saw you play bass, by the way, at a football stadium in Santa Barbara, California (UCSB, to be specific). You had green hair back then. Since then I have been hooked on your musical style. I actually have an old VHS copy of that show, which I found at Wild Planet, a record store on Main Street in Ventura, CA. Lately, I have been listening to Polar Bear as well as Deconstruction. Enjoyed, by the way, this article from Bass Player:

http://www.bassplayer.com/story.asp?sectioncode=21&storycode=11052