Sunday, July 09, 2006

I’m taking a day to chill out. We do a fair amount of going. Yesterday we helped Jes’ mom improve her Feng Shui by picking up these green tinted Foo Dogs at a Chinese statuary import out by the airport.

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We also moved a marble bench for the new Zen garden in the backyard. It took a fork lift to get the three pieces of the bench into the truck and some creative fulcrum work to get it out – we used Jes as a counter balance and slid the heaviest piece out via a press board tilt onto a waiting plush pad. I didn’t get a picture of the bench yet, but here are the dogs. They look like they’ve always been where we put them; I think that’s a good sign.

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Later on Saturday we went to a BBQ at our friend Robyn’s house. She’s had the place for a year now and she, her husband, and son George are still getting settled in. They have a great view of the Mississippi (understatement) as the property sits on a slope above it.

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Robyn’s husband Michael aptly compares the view to the Hudson River School landscapes. In some ways it seems like a bit of a shame that we are moving so soon after the GAS conference as we’ve made lots of new friends locally in the run up to the event.

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It turns out Robyn’s sister is in real estate near where we are moving, so hopefully she’ll have some leads for us on rental property.

I’ve been trying to get my music a little more organized today. I used to take a great deal of pleasure from music and I’ve been missing that. I have a bunch of CDs that people have burned for me (or just left here after parties) that have no labels on them. I’m using my Real Player software to download the album info for the one’s I’m unclear on. I am listening to Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Fairytales right now and wondering who burned it for me. Did you? My first guess would be Vanessa, followed by Ann K. at my old job, followed by Diane P. (also from the H.A.C.). It could be Erica’s I suppose; I still have her Mazzy Star around here someplace. Jack Johnson’s music is generally not bad singer song writer guitar drift. He references The Allegory of The Cave in the first track, so there’s a pleasant intelligence quotient behind his three-cord lyricism. He does fit into the Dave Mathews mold in a way that disappoints a bit. It makes me long for the stylistic experimentation of Simon and Garfunkel.

I’m feeling a little put off by most music for the masses. Friday we got in free to this Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows concert so that we could pass out flyers and take donations for Kat’s/ Jes’ workplace. I (we) had exactly zero interest in staying for the show. Their music is fine, it just doesn’t really excite or interest me in the way that really great music should. The bands did the usual insipid banter with the crowd, “hey dudes, it’s Friday, nobody has to work tomorrow, ain’t it great, let’s party”. I sat on the lawn feeling like I was watching a police reenactment – all the details with none of the passion. It was a controlled echo of the “event” concerts of sixties and seventies; pleasantly dull in the way that all habituated and corporatized behavior is. We left before the headliner came on and we went for pizza at Blackthorn.

My sister-in-law Grace is an organist and has her Master’s degree in Organ performance. We were chatting last weekend about changes in church music and she commented that the narrow musical range of most rock music has limited what people are willing and able to sing in many churches. The winnowing of hymns is a canary in the coal mine of taste. I am reminded that Nietzsche warned us that democracy could lead to the celebration of the lowest common denominator. While I am by no means an elitist, I do share his concern about the celebration of mediocrity. The music industry has yet to learn that music that appeals to everyone will ultimately satisfy no one.

I guess I need to be honest with myself and admit that my tastes have turned almost exclusively to Jazz. I crave the complexity and the improvisation. My current favorite is Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker (Diz’N Bird) at Carnegie Hall. In the same way that discovering fresh vegetables woke me up to new worlds of food, cool Jazz has moved me beyond the willingness to tolerate the canned and frozen.

We’re looking for a DJ for the wedding and we are both tempted to book Jeanne Trevor instead. Maybe we should all go see her this Thursday night at Brandt’s. Ah well, speaking of canned and frozen, I have papers to grade.


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