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Monday June 05 
Tuesday June 06
Wednesday June 07  3
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Monday June 05

Met with newest BTV employee, Judy Nelson, at 8am at Starbucks downtown this morning.  A prosperous beginning.  Judy gave me a gift -- a tuning fork (A440, of course) -- designed to keep us in tune.    An excellent metaphor and reminder of where we are right now in  the expanding BTV process. 

I checked it out with Curt this evening at SGC rehearsal.  Curt and I are in tune.  Or at least our forks are.  Generally, my sense is that we are too.

* * *

SGC rehearsal was fairly low energy this evening, but there were some extremely fun and funny moments --  we are finally getting the hang of 'screaming purple hues' --  By the end of the evening, my ass was sore, probably from sitting on it all day in the conference room with GeorgeM, working on serious strategy.   Jaxie made me take my stool out to the car at the end of the evening, thinking it was Wednesday.   I also thought it was Wednesday.   Perhaps this is because Saturday and Sunday felt like Monday and Tuesday.

Note to self:  I need a vacation.

Rumor has it that I am due for a family reunion in Maui very soon.  Rumor also has it (from two of my aggressive VPs)  that I may not be able to get away for the whole week that I am scheduled to go due to a very important process in which we are currently engaged.  We shall see. 

But I do really need a vacation, none the less.

* * *

A nice email from an old friend, Tim Beasley, this evening. Tim and I grew up together in the mid-west.  Somewhere, there is a copy of a film we made while we were in high school, on a summer vacation.   The film was called "The Pool Shark."   Tim seems to be taking up the practice of playing open mics, full of three finger D chords.   Sounds like Tim has spent a bit too much time reading this web site.

Ah well.   Rock on, Tim.  D-chords and all.  

* * *

David Singleton arrives tomorrow for a three week stretch.  Just in the nick of time.  So much to do, here.

* * *

Tuesday June 06

JohnL and JudyN win the runway extension award of the week.   Made my day.   

* * *

Dinner with DavidS this evening -- rapid ramp-up on how and where we are after a long day of people pressures, pushing and pulling on precious priorities.  Today, I found myself, at least three times, placing my feet on the floor, relaxing my shoulders, and breathing while I listened to the sound of necessary venting.

* * *

Many many unanswered mails this evening.   Including this one:

----- Original Message ----- 

From: Richard KeslerWest
To: Steve Ball 
Sent: Monday, June 05, 00 11:08 PM
Subject: resume - Hildegard von Bingen

Dear Steve,

Reading your journal again. I usually like Stephen Jay Gould, but i guess i won't go to him for music criticism. You can't really compare musical innovation or quality with a measurable athletic feat. People go to see trapeze acts partly for the athleticism, and the vicarious risk-taking, but also to see a small troupe performing with grace, agility, and a sense of form or composition. In Olympic figure-skating, the requirements of doing certain routines, even in the 'free-style' competition, makes it a little tedious, as art. 

At first, i was tempted to agree with him, thinking of the gray mass of serial music and the theoretical adventures of Cage-inspired music. But there's a danger in taste - you can get too attached, to an era or an area. If your ideals in music are set while listening to 19th century European classical music, as modern music moves away from those ideals it may seem to you insipid or pointless (or pointillist, or whatever). And then when you get to hear some traditional Ewe drumming (remember the Music Craft workshop?), what do you do? Say that 'oh, Brahms already did that'?

Beware when someone does the stairstep dance down from classical, to jazz, to (god forbid!) rock. What's below rock? Bluegrass? Well, try listening to bluegrass with open ears. Remember the Food Law #3: Don't expect the taste, just taste. (None of this is meant to excuse Rick Wakeman). "Sophistication" is often a fancy word for plugging up one's ears or mind.

(I really like a lot of classical music.) 

I guess that the point of this little rant (other than trying to reward you both for your musical endeavors and for sleeping in occasionally (i get a little worried about you)) is that there is so much wonderful, challenging, beautiful music out there. It's as if there's music pouring out of the sky and crashing on our heads, and we hardly notice. And here's Steve Gould sounding like an aging baby-boomer who is dying for Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young to get back together (if they haven't already).

Note: when we lived in Lexington, we had a house with two cats in the yard. Marilyn thought it was a very, very, very fine house. Life got hard later. Okay, sometimes the cats were in the driveway, or the neighbor's yard, or the kitchen. But you get the idea.

Perhaps the difficulty is in forming a "novel style" within certain limits that have been mined for a couple of centuries, if not more. The people of "equal or greater potential" have moved on, to composing for the Kronos quartet, or jazz, or (God help us) rock. 

anyway, keep at it.


Richard KeslerWest 

Richard is a trusted old friend.  In a former life, many years ago, Richard and I were in a band together (Fish) back in the early eighties. 

I totally agree with his assessment of Stephen Jay Gould's narrow understanding of how 'novel' music is born.  On the other hand, Gould presents some compelling cases regarding measurable trends in human limits.   

He does not, however, take into account acts of grace.  Have we run out of miracles?  

Not by a long shot.

I really like the phrase, "(God help us) Rock."  Sounds like a new genre of music.  What might this sound like?

Been to an SGC show lately?  

* * *

Wednesday June 07

The tusks that clashed in mighty brawls 
Of mastodons, are billiard balls.
The sword of Charlemagne the Just
Is ferric oxide, known as rust.
the grizzly bear whose potent hug
Was feared by all, is now a rug.
Great Caesar's bust is on the shelf,
And I don't feel so well myself.

 -- Arthur Guiterman

* * *

Happy Birthday, Julie.

* * *

Thursday  June 08

A fruitful day.  I buried myself in my office this afternoon to make some much needed traction on a major initiative.  How's that for vague?  Stress level, generally high today.  But the intensity is necessary right now.  Tomorrow, the fruit of a week of intensity will be shared with the extended team.

* * *

Rehearsal with Brock, Curt, and Bob tonight.  Loud and electric, Brocksongs.  Preparation for our Sit and Spin shows in July.  Lots-o-fun.  By the end of the rehearsal, I had loosened up considerably, and the music filled me with a great sense of hope.  Pretty obvious: Bob and Curt and I make a great rhythm section for Brock's songs. We listen well, we learn quickly, and our years of working and playing together provide a solid frame for Brock (and his songs) to come to life. 

* * *

Message on my home machine from dear DebraK last night -- alas, I did not have a chance to call her back today.   She's on my list for the weekend.  Hope it's nothing urgent.

* * *

After rehearsal, circa 11pm, I went back to the office for a quick meeting with JohnL who was still there, slaving away on an important fax.   JohnL is rock solid.  I owe Mark Long a superb dinner at Cyclops for bringing GeorgeM and JohnL to the BTV table.   Dinner at Cyclops, and much, much more.  If Mark were Hall-Kinion, I would owe him about $75K.   

Luckily, he is simply a good friend.

After this late night meeting, I went over to pick up DavidS to drag his sorry-but-never-seemingly-jet-lagging arse out to see BillR and Peter Buck play with The Minus Five at the Crocodile.   BootlegTV were filming the show, and a small cast of BTV staff were there -- sometime around 12:45 we hit the road because we both have an 8am meeting.  One of the costs involved in living in that difficult space between Rock and high tech.

Before the show, Bill introduced Peter briefly to Frankie and I as we waited in line to get some putrid drinks.

* * *  

Later we sat down, and I asked Frankie what she wanted for her Birthday.   Then Frankie asked me what I wanted for mine.   I told them.   

We all agreed that this seemed unlikely.

After Bill went off to set up his drums, Frankie told me that she wanted Bill to get rid of his big clunky speakers that fill up their living room.   Bill has apparently been shopping for even bigger speakers.   

Seems like she's not going to get her Birthday wish either.  

* * *

Friday June 09

Wow.  What a week.  Just when you think it can't get any better or busier - it does.   There is renewed hope in the air.  

 It's Friday evening at 10:20pm.   Home early this evening by Pelota standards.  

All I can do is brush my teeth, stick some clothes in the washer, and head to bed.  

* * *

Saturday June 10

A day off?   I stayed in bed until around noon today -- the morning was peppered with a few phone calls and interruptions coming in, but overall, it was great to have no agenda, no action items, and no ambitions beyond simply sleeping in and resting.  

The bad thing about this: the rest of the day, I felt disoriented, sleepy, confused, and generally dull.  It is also during these times when I totally let my guard down, and slow down, that I tend to get sick.   So far, no sickness (beyond general mental dullness) on the horizon.  

The cure for this: exercise.

* * *

Spent the afternoon being anal puttering cleaning guy.  Errands, shopping, laundry, and generally wandering around quietly, without explanations, big decisions, debates;  no therapy, reorgs, or mission statements.  For some damn reason, this is my preferred method of relaxing.

* * *

An early acoustic 'show' with the SGC at the Northwest Actors Guild.   Is it just me, or do gigs like this cost us more than they are worth?   The highlight of this improv comedy show happened when a member of the audience was selected at random to get up on stage and talk for five minutes about what ever was on the her mind mind.   

A woman visiting from New Orleans got up and told two expository stories about flying to Alaska, and about an 'interview' she did with Brittany Spears.  It was the one moment of the evening where something only slightly less than contrived was going on onstage.  

My guess is that anyone who even pays to see an improv comedy show is already carrying a dominant exhibitionist gene.

I've already said too much, so aside from this, I'm not going to comment on the quality of the 'comedy' which sandwiched our nine minute acoustic 'show.'  

* * *

Post-show, I drove over to Dean and Patty's house where I was greeted by a host of surprise guests: Bill and Frankie, Frank and Ingrid, Tobin, DavidS, and the usual SGC suspects.   Ingrid and Patty put together an exquisite late-night meal which we ate while listening to Mike Keneally's new CD, Nonkertompf which has been in constant rotation in my car for the past three days.   Here comes some not-so-subliminal advertising: buy this CD

At one point just past midnight, everyone sang a heart-felt song with the following lyrics:

happy birthday to you
happy birthday to you
happy birthday dear old guy
happy birthday to you

Then a few gifts came out, most notably, Bob, Jax, and Isabel took great pains to fill up a large glossy yellow bag with anything and everything YELLOW  they could find down at K-Mart.  Even the "Red Hot Fireballs" turned yellow after a few minutes of sucking.  

It was very sweet. 

I did not get what I need for my birthday, but Tobin and Bill gave me directions. 

* * *

Sunday June 11

Old man, look at my life
I'm a lot like you were.

Feeling younger today.

* * *

More impossible yellow birthday objects entering my sunny life today thanks to JoyceT.   Also, a wonderfully musical call from Brock, Heather, and Clement this evening. 

And much joy entering my life as the BootlegTV office is transformed into a lean, clean, highly organized machine:  my hero in this department, JudyN.

* * *

Difficult trade off of the day:  I was sucked into a pivotal all evening meeting with GeorgeM, JohnL, and DavidS that kept me from rehearsing with Brock, Curt, and Bob.   Home at 1:19am to write this sleepy drivel.    Interesting to note that I sacrificed making music with three good friends tonight to make music business with three good friends.   

Hope the music at Western and Vine was as harmonious as the music in the new and ultra-organized BTV conference room.    

* * *

Meeting with Judy at 8am tomorrow to kick off another roller-coaster week.   Wheeeeeee.

Have I mentioned recently how much I am enjoying this ride?  Despite my apparent complaining about exhaustion and stressssss, I really am in the right place at the right time.    I spoke with TodorF this evening, and he reminded me of the day many months ago when we spoke about whether I should leave MS for BTV.   Looking back: I have no regrets whatsoever.  Right place, right time.

* * *

One of one thousand minor regrets: still have not phoned back dear DebraK in Sacramento from Friday.   Hang in Debbie...

* * *