Steve Ball Diary  







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Wednesday May 23 
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Friday May 25 
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Monday May 28 
Tuesday May 29 
Wednesday May 30 
Thursday May 31 
Friday June 01 
Saturday June 02 
Sunday June 03 

Monday May 21

A day of communication, ordering, and inventory. Putting things in place.  Spent a good portion of the early morning responding to a pile of important mail.  

Spent a larger portion of the morning on hold with Network Solutions who hold web domains hostage and torture webmasters with inefficient, inaccurate, and unintelligently circular auto-responders.  Finally, after two+ hours on the phone, a minor break-through, perhaps?  

Tomorrow, we shall see. 

* * *

In other wasted-time news, early this evening, just before SGC rehearsal, Logic crashed at the end of a three-hour session, and somehow I lost everything even though I had been saving the file every few minutes.  Happened apparently while I was on the phone.  Curses.  

I did manage to print out one copy of the score of Scaling the Whales that I had been working on for the previous three hours.  This is mostly useless.

This reminds me again (in a very painful way) of how great OS X looked on DL's new Titanium powerbook last week.  

* * *

Employment news bytes:

  • Gave an excellent 25-minute job reference for an ex-BTV employee this afternoon.  
  • TravisH had his first day of his new job today.
  • TobinB told me his new job begins a week from today.  

Hope lurks in the spaces between these words.

* * *

It was a beautiful day in Seattle. 

* * *

11:15pm, just home from Septet rehearsal at Bob and Jaxie's. Some primary pulse division work, followed by a review of and detail work on King for a Day, followed by an exactly-five-minute break, followed by metronome work on Cultivating the Beat, followed by metronome and orchestration work on Birds of Fire.

Lots of funny and moderately semi-funny commentary flowing freely this evening.  

* * *

Awfully quiet at home tonight.

* * *

Tuesday May 22


de新pair (di-sp漷?) verb, intransitive
de新paired, de新pair搏ng, de新pairs

1. To lose all hope: despaired of reaching shore safely. 
2. To be overcome by a sense of futility or defeat. 


1. Complete loss of hope. 
2. One despaired of or causing despair: unmotivated students that are the despair of their teachers. 

Synonyms: despair, hopelessness, desperation, despondency, discouragement. These nouns denote loss of hope. Despair and hopelessness stress the utter absence of hope and often imply a sense of powerlessness or resignation: When the bank repossessed the house, their depression turned to despair. A spirit of hopelessness pervaded the refugee camp. Desperation is despair that drives a person to take risky, often reckless action: The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation (Henry David Thoreau). Despondency emphasizes depression of spirit resulting from cessation of hope and a belief that continued efforts will fail: Her despondency arises from her inability to find employment. Discouragement denotes loss of confidence or courage in the face of obstacles but is the weakest of these terms: The farmer experienced moments of discouragement over the failure of his crops.

Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition Copyright 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. 

* * *

This just in from my mailbox (sent by a woman, BTW):

* * *

What have I done?  Between the definition of despair and this image, the mailstorm should begin momentarily.

* * *

Lookie -- responses pouring in already...  this one is a doosie:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: TobinB 
To: SB
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 5:36 PM
Subject: diary

<< TobinB told me his new job begins a week from today >>

I lied. It begins two weeks from yesterday: June 4.


"girls are evil" - step 4 calls upon a commonly used false premise, which likely calls what follows into question. To whit: money is NOT the root of all evil - LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil (see St. Paul, some epistle or other). This could lead the theorem to postulate: 

1.) you can love EITHER your money OR your girl. 

2a.) applying the commutative principle: your girl may love you or your money, not both.

2b.) acknowledging the inherent uncertainty involved when applying rational operations on certain kinds of irrational numbers: your girl may love you only for your money, yet may or may not be evil as a result. 

3.) And finally: Love only girls with money.


and one more on this subject:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: CG 
To: SB
Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 10:53 PM
Subject: biblical issues

Not to turn you diary into a biblical forum, but Tobin is right. Moreover, in the Moffatt translation of 1 Timotheus Chapter 6 Verse 10, the word is rendered "mischief". Hence: 

For love of money is the root of all mischief; it is by aspiring to be rich that certain individuals have gone astray from the faith and found themselves pierced with many a pang of remorse. Shun that, O man of God, aim at integrity, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, modesty; fight in the good fight of faith, secure that life eternal to which you were called when you voiced the good confession in presence of many witnesses. 

According to CS Lewis, Moffatt went to the original texts and so his translations are not encumbered by quite so many layers of political revisions. On the other hand, they do seem to lack the poetry of King James. 

In any case, with this in mind and allowing a certain latitude for the simple joy of cleverness, I think your friend's argument proves that "women are trouble." 


* * *

Wednesday May 23

Up very early this morning; homework for an 8am meeting in Freemont.  I love meeting in Freemont, especially on sunny days.   Even at 8am.  

Or 8:15, as the case may be. 

This morning, the core facility team put their money where their mouths were.  We are now on our way to forming a NFP corporation and finding a facility.

* * *

At noon, saw a potential facility with CG and TM on Capital Hill.  Probably not the right place for SC work, but a good potential band rehearsal space:

built in stage

larger than most Seattle club stages

side stage view

large space across from stage

ping pong and ugly couches

iso booth

There was also a small, sonically isolated sound booth just off the stage, and a small room and bathroom behind.  Allegedly, this was a former rehearsal space of Candlebox. Might be good for Trey and BillR?  

* * *

Early afternoon: gave another job reference for an ex-bootleg employee.  A complete pleasure speaking with this recruiter.  

* * *

Some wild stuff flying in the mailbag today, most of it un-publishable (spell check alternative for "unpublishable" is "unpalatable".)   

Some of it irresistible, including:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: TH
To: SB
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2001 2:12 PM
Subject: RE: The always enigmatic SB

If I spent thirty seconds pondering every time someone wronged me or thought I was worthless piece of crap, I'd have no time to live up to the accusations...

Amazing, the heat and power our opinions hold within us.

* * *

11:07 just home from SGC rehearsal which followed two hours with Travii doing more song homework for what may become a very busy summer.  A good evening, all around.  (Missed Dean who was unavailable this evening.)  Four hours of rehearsals which followed a couple of hours of re-analysis and score preparation for presentation of Scaling the Whales.  I've been listening to, learning, and notating the three interlocking 'lead' parts by listening to "Get Crafty."  Good homework for my ears.

* * *

More input on the great debate:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TaylorS"
To: "Steve Ball" 
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2001 12:48 AM
Subject: Girls = Evil

This is older, so you might have seen it

Given axioms:

knowledge = power
time = money


power = work / time

substituting, we get

knowledge = work / money

solving for money:

money = work / knowledge

So, you can work harder for money, but it is
probably easier to just decrease your knowledge instead. As knowledge nears zero, money has no limit. . .


P.S. reflecting, I notice that it is not specified
exactly whose money, work, or knowledge is placed in the equation. This opens up many possibilities. . .


* * *

Thursday May 24

In spring hibernation.   Taking some of Curt's advice of a month ago.

* * *

One bit of excellent news: JohnL has a new job!

* * *

Friday May25

More hibernation, relaxation, and formulation.   Feeling steady, getting ready for next steps.  No idea what will come next, but I'm preparing an opening so that when it shows up, I will be ready.

Theme for the week: home work.

* * *

Saturday May 26

Saw David Gray at the Moore Theater with Lisa, Kevin & Kara. Amazing performance. Very inspiring. Simple and direct. No frills, just great songs.

If you want it
Come and get it
Crying out loud
The love that I was
Giving you was
Never in doubt
Let go your heart
Let go your head
And feel it now

- Babylon, DG, White Ladder

Kevin, Kara, SB & LH: Getty Holiday Party, Jan 01

* * *

Afternoon recording session at BillR's. A gentle reminder of how much work there is to do with circulations where time and tempo are concerned.

* * *

Sunday May 27

Woke up seeing red, but wasn't angry. Under the weather all day. Cancelled all plans to take it easy.

* * *

Worked through three distinct 4-hour computer problems over the past few days. The fact that my diary is up is a testament that I fixed them. Need to spend less time fixing, more time doing. Next week is all about doing.

* * *

Finally posted pictures from Katie's graduation.

* * *

Missed a performance this evening at John Henning's and an SBRS rehearsal in favor of taking a break. Good decision.

* * * 


Monday May 28

Memorial day.  Remembering many things today.

* * *

Some mocumentation from the Saturday afternoon BR/HZ recording experiments:

"Hmmmm... it's not making any sound...?"

"Maybe we should get someone to play it...?"

"Oh ok,... I'll play it."

"Great - you play it; I'll read about it later."

Actually - Bill's session was a great opportunity, difficult, but fun.  I have not heard the sound of eleven out-of-tune guitars in the same room for at least few years.  

I remember an exercise that TonyG presented at Red Lion House in 1988 where a small group would work to play a series of individual notes on each beat of a measure in succession, one at a time.  The goal of this exercise was to develop a relationship with each individual beat and sub-beat of the measure so that we would have freedom to easily place (even single) notes anywhere within the field of the measure as it flies by. 

This idea became the seed of what was presented nine years later as "Pulse Division" in the first Seattle circulation project a few years ago. 

In its raw form, group Pulse Division exercises involve muting all but one single note within the measure, and sharing a group pulse of muted notes so that there is a common audible pulse within the large group.  This audible pulse becomes our common, organic metronome.  Then, the individual un-muted notes circulate across the shared pulse, so that each person plays one un-muted note on a different beat in the measure.  Gradually, as we develop a relationship with the group pulse and with the placement of our individual un-muted note, the muted notes are dropped and a single circulation emerges, played in time with an established group pulse. 

This is very difficult, even with even numbers of players in the circle.  Even at slow tempos.  But this is a stepping stone to fast circulations, played in time.

Last Saturday, we attempted an extremely rapid circulation (cold) with eleven guitarists.  

A wonderful aspiration. Perhaps a vehicle for an act of grace.

* * *

Tuesday May 29

A day of networking and meetings with good people. 

Then, a wonderful home cooked meal with close friends of LH from work. Some great conversations and observations about bootlegging.  Before dinner, the Travii came over for some pre-dinner outdoor busking.  

* * *

Wednesday May 30

Met LJ and GP for lemonade and local labor landscape analysis. GP is a complete dynamo - happy to have her helping in my job search.  Another day of networking and logistics followed by four hours of rehearsals in the evening.   

SGC rehearsal began with some three-note interval ear training (in not-so-subtle preparation for the three note "whales" section of the middle of Scaling the Whales.)  Then, we moved into a re-visitation and run-through of the first third of the piece.  Dean had to re-learn the dreaded Hidi part, but Dean is a pro and picked it up without batting an eye.  

There was never a score for this piece, so I had to learn and notate the score from the recording on Show of Hands.  A good piece of work for my ears. 

Then, we did a slow run-through of Cultivating the Beat, followed by a faster run-through at tempo, 84.  I thought I heard Bob mention that the original intended tempo was 112.  Yikes.  Could this be possible?  Finally, a quick look at Twilight. This piece sounds great with a large group.

* * *

Thursday May 31

A beautiful sunny Seattle morning.   Working to, as the clich goes, remain in hell, without despair.  

* * *

I have a meeting with CM later this morning; He is an inspiration.  He sent me a mail over the weekend reminding me of where we had been:

-----Original Message-----
From: CM
Sent: Saturday, May 26, 2001 8:36 PM
To: SB (Bootleg)
Subject: Hey Steve

It was great to talk with you last week. PO came by and is very excited about RR, you have to come by and see the latest version.

Do you have time to get together next week to talk about D and RR? Maybe we can turn this into a real venture. The more I interact with former members of bootleg, the more I realize that we had something very special. The team was unbelievable. I hope I can meet 
that perfection in the future!

Let me know when you are free..


Often we do not realize what we have until it is gone.

* * *

Friday June 01

12:02am.  SBRS at Kismet last night (a few hours ago...)   A full house.  And a good show.

WalterH and LisaH were heroes.  Curt even showed up for roadie duty at the end.   A nice evening, all around.  

Set List from the show:

circulation, Dm
Sundress Happiness
3 v 4 
I am (not?) in love


Needle and Thread
Love Song 
Time Stands Still

* * *

Monthly SGC dinner this evening at Chris's place.  Excellent food followed by some useful dialog regarding next steps for this group.  

* * *

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "DLV"
To: "SB"
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2001 3:00 PM
Subject: end the blue period

I'm in an orange period. Glad to see your image go from dour blue to white.
Try orange.

* * *

Saturday June 02

Some reading from a recent Stranger (local Seattle arts/culture weekly):

edited by Bret Fetzer

Only a fool would do theater for the money. The very qualities that make theater a unique art form--its immediacy, its ephemerality, its social nature--make it impossible to package and sell in a global marketplace. While it would be lovely to think this makes theater more "pure" or less corruptible by market forces, what it really does is turn making a living into a pain in the ass for its practitioners. 

Fortunately, most people start doing theater because they have emotional needs that can only be met by mass adulation (there must be exceptions, but I don't think I've ever met an actor whose parents weren't either divorced or alcoholics). No one would haul garbage or manage an office for years in the hopes of someday hitting it big, particularly not if they had to take another job to pay their rent. In the hopes of achieving their goals, theater people will endure financial deprivation unheard of in any other field. 

How do they do it? Through a mixture of overextending themselves and cannily putting their skills to use in related fields, or taking on administrative roles to supplement their artistic endeavors. Read on to get a more intimate look at this economic juggling act.

Also, this is interesting (forwarded by TravisH):

The Rock-Star Challenge
by Jeff DeRoche

...Being the opening band on a Wednesday or Thursday night in a hometown club can be both fun and soul-destroying. You're almost guaranteed a small audience and no media coverage. And musicians who hope for bigger shows and decent financial compensation for their craft must be willing to play their guts out to lots of scant, random audiences before even the most meager bone is thrown at them. 

So we've decided to throw our own little bone, in the form of this new Stranger column, One-Night Stand. Each week (on Wednesday or Thursday, writer's pick) we're going to draw the name of a club from a hat and go watch the opening act--be it genius, horseshit, or anything between. It can be a band, a DJ, or a laptop-polka prodigy, whatever--but it has to be local. We'll stay for the entire set, and then write a brief, heartfelt review. 

We're going to do this in the hopes that a few local people will benefit from some of their first media exposure, and that, occasionally, fate will prove serendipitous enough that it affords us a new Stranger "favorite" or two (for which we're so often accused of having). Fun, yes?"

* * *

Consolidated Works is an art gallery/performance space that is (was) located next to the old BTV office on Terry Avenue.  Rumor is that they will be moving soon into the space now occupied by "Ducky's Furniture."    Apparently, ten NFP arts organizations are planning to share the huge lime green space (on Mercer, just down the street from their current location.)

Need to call Matt Richter and see if there is appropriate space in the new building for another new Not-For-Loss arts group.  

* * *

More interesting reading regarding the history of BTV:

The music revolution will not be digitized
The dust is clearing from the online entertainment wars. Who won? The record labels. Who lost? Consumers.

By Janelle Brown

"...Even those start-ups that did manage to evade lawsuits haven't done well. Launching revolutions turns out not to be all that cheap. After the venture capital is gone and the stock price is under water, many impoverished music start-ups had to shut down or sell out. Sold to Universal. Sonicnet? Bought by MTV, and subsequently dismantled by layoffs. IUMA? Bought by Emusic, and eventually shut down (although its remains are being revived by Vitaminic). Musicbank? Closed before it even opened. Purchased by Bertelsmann, where it joins CDNow and Napster. And those companies that can still boast of independence, such as ArtistDirect or Launch or, are bleeding staffers and pinching pennies and on the verge of being delisted from NASDAQ. 

What does it all mean? It'll cost you, big, to have a new idea in the entertainment distribution business. 

"There is right now a climate of oppression among inventors, who are unable to market, fund or even freely distribute their work," complains Johnny Deep, the founder of Aimster. "As [RIAA head] Hilary Rosen has said, quoted by Larry Lessig, 'unless we approve, your idea will not be permitted. It will not be allowed.'" 

Without recording industry support and music licenses, distribution platforms like or Napster or Launch have no major artists to (legally) distribute and therefore, no mainstream customers. The record labels have been notoriously stingy with those licenses; and even when they do grant the rights to their music -- for example, in the case of the LaunchCast radio station -- the labels are quick to employ the industry-friendly Digital Millennium Copyright Act to micromanage exactly how the music is listened to. 

There is no place for a small company to pull off a monster vision in digital music," says Robertson. "If you're making a tiny widget that's a bolt-on feature for listening to music, fine -- that can be a small company. But if you want to be the grand vision, the place where everyone stores their music and listens to it wherever they go, that's a very big undertaking and a small company simply cannot do that. What you're witnessing on the digital music front is that all the small to medium companies are going away. The window of opportunity is over."

* * *

Sunday June 03

Home work.

* * *

----- Original Message ----- 
From: SB
To: TH
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 12:10:05
Subject: Gigs

<Re: David Gray> 

Yep. Saw him at the Moore last weekend - show was too long, but his songs, melodies, and arrangements are addictive. Dave Matthews owns his indie label. DM grossed $69M last year without releasing a CD. 

What are we doing wrong here?


----- Original Message ----- 
From: TH
To: SB
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2001 12:32 PM
Subject: Re: Gigs

Spending eight hours a day doing something other that playing, writing and rehearsing music. At this point in our lives we would have to ask ourselves "What would I give up in my life to be a full-time musician?"

The first would have to financial security. The second would be a nice place to live. Or, anywhere to live. The third, although it's rarely recognized beforehand, would probably be our relationships. The fourth might be a good part of our health, physical and mental. The fifth might be the approval and support of our family and friends, even the other musicians, who can simultaneously admire, envy and resent us for reminding them that there is an alternative to their lives.

Young musicians have much less to lose--they have no money, they're not married, they have no long-term relationships, the specter of illness or destitution carries little threat. Their whole life is before them! And there's always that little voice whispering in their ear--"You're better than everyone else..."

Age and experience bring the knowledge that simply being better than everyone else isn't enough. And, that you're not better than everyone else anyway. And that your whole life is before you, and you might be closer to
the end than the beginning.

At this point do we really want to live the first five years of Dave Matthews career (the five before he achieved national attention)? If the answer is yes, we can come up with a plan. I didn't get this far in life by acting responsibly.


* * *