Archives for October 2003
We are spiders, though only showing half of our limbs to the casual viewer. Yes, we have just four to walk stairs and climb ladders with, but there are others — for social ascent, occupational strides, and hanging on to love, maybe, though they could be for anything else.
We are spiders, and we trail a single string of us, our history and opinions and experiences, and as we turn in circle upon circle we leave behind a complex web of people and places that are bound to us.
We are spiders, and things get caught in our lives. Stuck in our web, they flail madly and desperately to escape, but wind up inexorably tied to all of our people and places as they thrash, leaving our once-perfect display of natural geometry in a tangle of bent angles and broken connections.
We are spiders, and our webs are not permanent structures. They can be elaborately expanded upon, or casually discarded, leaving us with just that single string of thread to create anew.
We are spiders, spending our whole lives weaving and catching and crawling and expanding, but sometimes the old web seems in such a state of disrepair that we should take our single thread and start again, keeping some elements but eschewing the rest, leaving our old structures to decay on the branches we hung them upon.
We are spiders, and I am arachnophobic.
I just got back a midterm marked: No complaints – a solid effort. The comment is nice enough, but it doesn’t seem to match up with a 48/50 grade. Maybe if he had used an exclamation point…
As i walked from class, preoccupied with mentally arguing over the .4 i had lost on an earlier question on Security Dilemma, i stopped for a moment to consider who i would say that to. Certainly not someone who did a nearly perfect job, that’s for sure. It’s the sort of thing i would say to an anonymous member of upper management who managed to make conversation about Drexel or the Eagles or my guitar or some other nonsense with me for an entire elevator ride up to my department on 35 … “No complaints, sir, that was a solid effort.” It’s the kind of thing i say about decent lasagna made by non-Italians, or about opening acts who i have no intention of hearing again. It usually does not accompany a 96% approval rating — more like a 88%, or maybe even a 79%. I would have been perfectly happy with “solid effort” and an 88%, or with my 96% and “Outstanding job – you should expand upon this topic in your paper.” But what i’ve got leaves me feeling … eh.
What the hell am i going to be a stark raving perfectionism about after i’m done with this nonsense in (checks watch) seven and a half months?
I see those forward-leaning boys and think of high school, of tiny boys with overfull backpacks trying desperately to counter the weight. The boys i pass here at Drexel are the same as those younger ones; though they may have left their bags behind, they have not left behind that forward slouch — now leaning into the wind of their academic challenges as if it is still tangibly forcing them backwards.
Scott Andrew’s new record Where I’ve Been just arrived in my admissions mailbox! It looks and sounds great — i am floored by the idea that i am on my way to achieving similar results on my own computer (if only i could learn the secrets of his fucking amazing drum tracks). Way to finally knock the Rufus disc out of my cd player, Scott.
Elliott Smith dead, of apparent suicide, at age thirty four. First read at Alison’s, then at Pitchfork, with additional information gleaned from a recent Under the Radar article, Sweet Adeline, Rolling Stone, and the AP obit.
I don’t remember buying XO, or why i bought XO, or the first time i listened to XO, all of which is highly out of character for me. I was oblivious, i’m sure, to the fact that Elliott had been nominated for an Academy Award. All i knew of him, i think, is that Anastasia liked him. The music that went with the name was instantly familiar, drawn straight from a McCartney-like obsession with simplicitly. It made me want to play guitar and sing, sing higher than i could sing, sing fragile and delicate and about to break just like Elliott.
Elliott Smith was one of the first men that i listened to whose music i could simultaneously covet and aspire to. I only ever bought one other album of his, because i couldn’t imagine a more simple, more perfect record than XO. It was a record that did not have a skippable song; a record my mother stole from my apartment; a record whose songs represented a kaleidoscopic promise of genius, and of more to come. And now it will live eternally as the penultimate record Smith’s life, followed by Figure 8 but never by the promised From A Basement On The Hill.
This morning i downloaded the newly released iTunes for Windows.
Now, we already know my feelings on MP3 exchanges, which can easy be extrapolated to P2P networks, but i’ve yet to form an opinion on iTunes, other than that nothing will ever truly render purchasing a physical album obsolete for me. I need to open the case, touch the liner notes, and remember how and when each scratch and crack on the disc and case were acquired. For me, consuming music is as much tactile as it is aural … i need to hear, but also to touch (which is probably why i like buying sheet music to my favorite albums so much; playing along is the ultimate tactile accompaniment to sound).
A service like iTunes does have its benefits, though (i’ll mention here that i’ve never even seen the Mac version; for a more comparative discussion, see Benjy). For example, tonight i was putting together a rehearsal disc for the Treblemakers and thought for a second that i hadn’t actually borrowed one of the source discs that included two that i don’t own. on it. I was about to tear apart my room apart looking for them when i realized that both songs would probably be on iTunes and, sure enough, both were available for just $.99.
iTunes will never be more than that to me — just a quick resource for making mix tapes. In a way, it is something i’ve dreamed of ever since i sat by the stereo, anxiously awaiting the chance to tape a new favorite song; it is a standing resource, a library of music that’s available at a moment’s notice. However, between my need for a tactile music experience, my uber-completist CD collecting behavior, and the fact that it currently has nary a song by Madonna or Ani DiFranco, i can’t say that i find it indispensable.
Maybe if it had streaming radio… (as if i don’t have enough things to listen to here already). On that note, TDavid has some praise for another new application, Rhapsody. If your a PC music fiend who doesn’t mind shelling out for the priveledge of listening, it seems worth looking into.