wanna go HOME now...

  Victory Through Defeat

23 July 2001

6:18 PM: Well this is one way to not be getting into work really late: don't go at all. Plus - no shoes required. The only problem came a little while ago when they cut me off the VPN network, because either me or another fellow was opening the internal network up to this dang CodeRed virus (you know, "Hi, how are you?", sometimes in Spanish). But that's all straightened out now.

And frankly, I feel a lot better about working Today as a result. Of being at home, I mean. Not about the virus. Like I'm concentrating on what matters instead of what I'm doing wrong. We'll see, I guess.

Weekend Media Report: Was going to go see A.I. Saturday with Lana, but she found herself stuck in San Jose. My deepest sympathies. I dunno, I don't have any great excitement about seeing it, but do feel like I ought to, since it's not only the last vestige of Kubrick's work, but is also an actual no-bones science fiction film that involves no spaceships going "WHOOOOOOOSH!" through vacuum.

Picked up How To Be Good, newest Nick Hornby novel, and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx - latter on Sean's strong recommendation. The Hornby looks pretty good but so far not startlingly so. Think I'll save that for my Bar Book like the others.

Mostly sleeping this weekend. Spent Sunday afternoon hand-addressing envelopes, which was ... well, not fun, but amusing. Especially so if you weren't me trying to do it, I imagine. Certainly it was proof that all those handwriting classes and whacks of the ruler back in Catholic grade school were pointless. After about 50, it was like, "OK, a capital D. How do I make a D again? Oh, right. Straight line down, then curved - oh damn, curved the other way. Well, I'll just pretend it's serif..."

Then I went down to the Hotel Utah to meet Veronica and see her friend play with some band. I had no idea who it would be before going, or even what kind of music particularly. But her friend plays violin, and given the venue it was unlikely to be chamber music, so I figured it had to at least be interesting.

And what I found myself hearing was sheer beauty. Wonderful, entrancing, and very definitely interesting music. Began with two women singing, one playing a xylophone, the other at a keyboard. They called themselves "Happy Sandwich", I think. Very low-key accompaniment, just a setting for their voices. And they sang like, oh I can't even say. Very pure tones, a wide range, from I guess alto? I don't know, I don't have the words. Damn but I'm going to have to take a music class of some kind if this keeps up. The sound sliding up and around itself. And the words were interesting and fit well, and though the emotions were real, they would start laughing at times too. I think most of the people there knew somebody who was playing; very friendly crowd.

After a couple of songs, they stopped and the "real" group set up. I think their name is Jezebelle, which is almost certainly NOT the English girlpop band you find under that name on allmusic.com. One of the first singers stayed, another woman got up to sing with her, and then varying other musicians came up to join them at times on different instruments. My favorite combination was the two singers, a fellow playing a clarinet (???? - a straight woodwind, don't ask me for more certainty; not an oboe I'm pretty sure, that's all), and Ms. V's friend on violin. What did I say about it not being chamber music? Well, in the sense of not being classical music, I suppose that was true. But in a more true way that's exactly what it did remind me of: the combinations and interactions of four distinct voices. Gorgeous. There was also a fellow playing the xylophone - getting this weird ghostly sound from using fuzzy hammers, which I now realize I've heard before but had never seen, it was quite cool - and drumming sometimes, a guitarist, and a guy playing keyboards.

I love this kind of music, I love running into it so randomly. Makes me feel like I live in a city worth staying in.

We ended up back at the dive bar, where it should be noted for historical purposes that not only did I attempt to play pool, but that I actually got several of the balls into the pockets before knocking the white one in and losing. A personal best. Sitting around talking and ripping the labels off my bottles of Anchor Steam, and then it got to be near closing, and the slightly-older-than-me, vaguely motorbike-ish looking fellow who was running the place locked the doors, then brought out his amp and guitar to show Veronica's friend some music he'd been working on. He started to play, just casually, quietly. And it was so nice. Like a half-remembered melody, that stuck in your mind because you heard it in a time when something good was happening to you. But then you realize, no, this is new, and that time is right now.

It was a good day. I am a big sap, too.

6:57 PM: Oh, and yes, the women singing were cute. In case some of you thought I was ill or something.

Willfully blind self-indulgent nebbish or amusingly quirky old coot? And how bout that local sports team? Discuss among yourselves.

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