Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I am so sick of kitchen knives. I want them out of my life.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"You're only as good as your last concert."

Becca and I went to see B.B. King last night.

He was awesome.

A couple of things struck me. One was the quote above. I've heard that sentiment many times. B.B. King said it in a question and answer session after the show. For some reason it really inspired me that an 81 year-old blues musician is still holding himself to that standard.

I think that ideas like that keep us humble while at the same time forcing us to constantly improve what we do.

It really struck me because I'm going through a bit of a crisis about my work as of late. When I started grad school a year and a half ago, I really threw myself into it. I kicked ass and failed in equal measure. I had some stupendously embarrasing moments, but I also had some moments that made me smile for days on end.

Lately I feel like I haven't been taking the risks that I did then. I've become pretty complacent doing things that don't fail rather than things that could really be great. I haven't been swinging for the fences quite as often. And I miss it.

Part of it is self defense. I got really involved in my work last year, and there were some casualties in my personal life that resulted from it. Some I've been able to fix, some I haven't.

But I know a lot more now than I did back then. I've learned a lot about people and about myself. And it's time to start swinging for the fences again.

Because you really are only as good as your last concert.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

"In hindsight, you're gonna wish you were here..."

I'm sure that there are going to be plenty of albums that I listen to after the fact and want to go back and put on my list of the best albums of 2006. This is the first, and it's a big one. Maybe even worthy of the top ten.
The Long Winters sound like a lot of people. Lots of people say Death Cab for Cutie. Nah. They're not whiny enough. I thought The Hold Steady when I first heard them. Nah. John Roderick actually sings, not just half-talks. He actually sings in such a way that I think he wants to be singing to each and every person who will listen to the record. There's an immediacy and intimacy to his voice that makes it intensely personal. The album is a great winter album, full of melancholy and hope in equal measure. The band never gets bogged down in itself, though, and the melodies here are sunny when you want to hear them that way.
The best thing about Putting the Days to Bed, though, is Roderick's lyrics. They're beautiful in an overtly poetic way but never seem like they should be living on a page rather than in a song. Some of my favorite couplets:

"I know that crime doesn't pay, but I don't know any other way."
"Did you say what you wanted to said, and now you're just putting the days to bed?"
"Tall orders from such small shoulders, and invitations on blue paper."
"Let the crowd press on the stage, and let the lights wash out their eyes, sixteen years ago I was completely mesmerized."

It's all I've been listening to lately, which probably means that I'm going to ruin the album for myself by running it into the ground. But hey, that's what I do.