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Monday, February 21, 2005

I'm told that there's been some trouble loading (or just scrolling down in) this blog lately, possibly a result of adding the counter code, and possibly only in IE. I've tried to do something about it, but if anyone having trouble would take a sec and tell me (email link at right)?

Better, mood-wise, but only somewhat. Overextended -- already, again. I don't think I truly suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder. It isn't the short days that get me, but the grey, the rain*, the sense that the sky is a low ceiling. Still, some full-spectrum bulbs couldn't hurt.

*And the shitty L.A. driving it causes.

Enjoyed the shows this weekend; playing in both Pedro (ocean smell, standard-issue boho coffeehouse on old-downtown Gallery Row, nearby mariscos joint*) and Sierra Madre (another smallish downtown, Arcadia-adjacent, always get there after everything except the bar is closed so I can't tell you much about what goes on) feel very different (better) than playing in Los Angeles proper. Rob's readings were engaging, esp. the scene about a conspiracy theorist's plan to sell dehydrated meat; his Hacks are much-improved by a new drummer (Ron Sloan from long-ago Long Beach band Don't Mean Maybe). I finally realized that the songs were reminding me of The Silos, was very surprised when Rob hadn't heard of them. Bassist Gayle Fornataro turns out to be a Buffalo critical theory Ph.D. who did her diss. on Iragaray -- Bernstein and Federman were on her committee. Really didn't expect to be having a conversation about Cavell this particular evening.

The Urinals are dead solid, and in their current incarnation have an amazing knack for seemingly simple songs that aren't so simple on examination. What Is Real and What Is Not? is easily in the same weight class as ONoffON, and there are three good new songs in the set written since then. In S.M., they closed with a translation of "I'm A Bug" into Mandarin; don't know why, but it worked. Folks were nice about my sets, and Kyle sounded good, but I can tell I'm rusty.

Spoke to a fellow in his late forties who described his experiences in a corporate band. Apparently he and a partner worked for a firm that made dialysis equipment; they would give professional presentations at medical conventions during the day, and play Jackson Browne and Jimmy Buffet covers at the evening mixer. "200 nurses -- if you can't get something going at that gig, forget it."

*And marquee going of at the old Warner Grand Theater for the premiere of We Jam Econo, a new Minutemen documentary. Sadly, it's this coming Friday, and I'm fairly committed to seeing the Hold Steady.

Speaking of neurochemistry: Halfway through Alice Flaherty's The Midnight Disease, on hypergraphia, writer's block, and like matters. Poppish sciency-artsy books are not my bag, because they're usually reactionary; I loathed Jourdain's Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy, and any New Formalist who uses the term "hard-wired" deserves to be slapped. This isn't quite like that, perhaps b/c it's not really about the explanation or evaluation of what makes valuable writing valuable in some sort of positivistic terms, but a review of a set of possibly incompatible perspectives on process (Jakobson and Christopher Dewdney are both invoked). Many interesting factual tidbits, e.g. aphasia became easier to study after the Franco-Prussian War b/c rifle bullets produced smaller brain lesions than musket balls. Modestly recommended, if you have the time.

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