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This morning I woke up from a long, complicated, Wizard of Oz-style "and you were there, and you were there, and you were there" kind of dream where I caught up with a lot of people, some of whom I hadn't thought of in a long time, and we talked, and some of us performed, or showed off art, or writing, or kids (who mostly showed off themselves), or other projects that have been not consuming us so much as transforming us and our recent and not so recent lives (and vice versa), to the point where maybe we haven't been in touch as much as we might like. Anyway. All of the people in this dream were very dear to me, so I wrote a mushy Open Letter about it, but I wanted to tell everyone the most important part of the letter, which goes like this:

Friends, it was good to see you. No matter how long it's been since we last saw each other, or spoke, or wrote, or exchanged stupid email or whatever little time sucks the Web just distracted us with, I've missed you. I hope this letter finds you well --- at least as well as you were in my dream last night, if not better (and we were all pretty great). I think you are both the best thing that has ever happened to me, and that our friendship is the best thing I do, and every time I edit this sentence it gets a little longer and clumsier when what I really mean is just: You're the best. Thank you.

There ya go. Everything else can wait.


P.S. I sorta lied about everything else waiting. Soundtrack for this morning and the writing of the mushy open letter and all: "Visit in my Dream" by Dan Bern (Breathe), "Willing to Fight" by Ani DiFranco (the Living in Clip version), and "My Friends" by Dar Williams. Yep, I'm a colossal mushball.

Holy crap!

Feb. 12th, 2006 01:28 pm
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Just when I think David Bowie can't get any cooler, it turns out he wrote the music to like half of Lust for Life, including the title track, which will now be stuck in my head for days. Oh and look, there's Iggy in the background vocals to Low. I know, I know, I should've been raised in a cave on Mars and then I would've figured it out sooner. But still, yay music! And now I will be going back to my semi-regularly scheduled breakfast (let me know if you figure that out; I'm still working on it myself).

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So help me, I cannot remember figuring out the concept of mathematical inverses (multiplicative and additive), let alone when they were first introduced to me. I guess at the time I didn't even think it was cool, probably because it was only explained to me in terms of how to solve simple algebra problems, and not in terms of "ok, so this is one of those basic recurring concepts that'll keep turning up to interconnect all the math you know". Which is a shame. I'm trying to explain to my pre-algebra student about addition and subtraction are kind of the same, only opposite, and multiplication and division are the same, only opposite, and I don't know if I'm getting through at all. I'm trying to put it in terms of turning math problems inside out so they look prettier and easier to solve, but I don't know if that's the right thing to do. Part of the problem, I think, is that he's still struggling with complicated multiplication and division. Part of me wants to stop and work on those, but mostly I want to give him a calculator for the arithmetic and work on the concepts, since they're ever so much cooler. What I remember most about pre-algebra is Mr. Gelfand, who taught it: I swear, the man had a different suit for every day of the month, but he seemed particularly fond of a burgundy-red number that he wore with a yellow shirt. Also he apparently had a really bad toupee, but I never noticed. I'm kind of unobservant about that kind of thing; hairpieces have to be really, blatantly fake (like a different color from the rest of the person's hair), or else on someone I know to be bald, for me to pick up on them. But I digress. I digress so much, in fact, that I just took time out to write one of the few people I knew in middle school who might remember Mr. Gelfand and/or even be able to tell me when we learned inverses. I'm dork-tacular.

In other news, I still need a haircut, and Mother Kali's Books is probably going out of business, which means it's time for me to buy a copy of all the Alix Olson CDs they have in stock, because ack! Nowhere else has them in stock! I might complete my Dar Williams collection and finally get me some Toshi Reagon, while I'm at it. Did I mention waaaah? I knew Mother Kali's hadn't been doing well for some time, and that they'd gone through a horrific traumatic reorganization last fall, but wah!

Um, what else? Contact improv tonight (yay hippie dance!) and I should probably go get myself some binders and stuff to better organize my tutoring course materials and suchforth (plus, any excuse to go play in office-supplies land! Woo!) Maybe a trip to the library as well. Also food. Yes. Food would be good.

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Johnny Cash is dead. The voices in my head have been singing "Folsom Prison Blues" ever since I heard the news at work (I've been singing along, from time to time). Now I'm listening to his collaboration with U2, because as far as I know it's the only recording of him we've got. It's more than time to correct that condition, I think.

I went out searching
Looking for one good man...
I went out walking
With a Bible and a gun.
The word of God lay heavy on my heart
I was sure I was the one.

Big goosebumps. He was only 71. I would've sworn he was at least a hundred, but more like older than God. I dunno. I want to say something about agelessness and immortality and suchforth, but I'm striking out. Also I want to say something about yay for defying easily-defined musical genres and artistic categorization in general. Woo. (That was a very solemn, thoughtful, almost reverent "Woo" --- could you tell?)

In other, but much more minor, news of the "Well, dang" persuasion, today at work I managed to give myself a huge nasty splinter --- with a toothpick. Go figure.

Update, 17:46: This just in! The New York Times obituary for Johnny Cash includes a link to a multimedia retrospective that includes a snippet of the man's cover of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. Holy shit. It's brilliant. I think I'm still processing just how cool it is.

Tough Love

Aug. 29th, 2003 03:31 pm
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So today I got a belated birthday present to myself in the mail: Hamell on Trial's newest album, Tough Love, and a free 9-track sampler from his previous album Ed's Not Dead (which I already have a copy of, but what the heck --- I'll take the pre-order freebie bonus, yes I will). I'm on my second listening, and so far I'm having a good time. The very first song, for instance, is straight out of The Onion's brilliant post-9/11 issue ("God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule"). The title song is some fucked-up shit, set to a catchy tune that's probably going to be stuck in my head pretty soon. Also I like "There is a God", in which all the assholes of the world do the honorable thing and shoot themselves or devote their lives to good works, and "First Date", which is kind of a "what not to do" manual. My one big complaint is that there's not nearly as much Hamell kicking all ass one-guy-and-one-guitar style as on his early albums, although of course there is some of that too, and I guess that's why they gave me the live CD.

Seriously, though, what this album makes me think of most is Dan Bern's 50 Eggs, which was sort of his second album and sort of his third but either way was a big collaboration with Ani DiFranco, for better or for worse. A lot of hardcore Dan Bern fans insist that it was a big mistake, that Ani influenced him too much, blah-de-blah, but whatever. Dude learned a lot, okay? It's easy to understand how he could've been blown away by working with Ani, but on the whole it worked out for the best. Hamell, on the other hand, has been making music and touring and generally being himself for way longer than Dan had when he first worked with Ani, so he holds his own, even though Tough Love was released on Righteous Babe (Ani's label). You can hear Ani (literally and figuratively) on some of the songs on Tough Love, but she's not as ubiquitous as she was on 50 Eggs. I'm probably going to go over the liner notes to the Bern album and compare it now, because I'm intriguing myself with this comparison. Yeah.


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