Steve Ball Diary
Monday September 29
Tuesday September 30
Wednesday October 01
Thursday October 02
Friday October 03
Saturday October 04
Sunday October 05
Read the archive
Monday October 06
Tuesday October 07
Wednesday October 08
Thursday October 09
Friday October 10
Saturday October 11
Sunday October 12
Day: running around debugging a metadata problem with the Electric Gauchos CD -- seems AMG has the wrong GUID (Globally Unique IDentifier) for this CD? Ug.
Good news, soon this will be fixed. Special thanks to JCanning and Bill Manion for championing use of EG for the upcoming Windows MCE launch event.
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Later: another inspiring dinner with PatR at Wasabi Bistro. Among other excitements: brainstorming many ideas for SBBS marketing and distribution.
Q: Texas - how do I
All day visit to HP on the former Compaq habitrail campus.
Evening: driving to Austin for day two tomorrow with Dell.
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Also, good news: Morale mission accomplished.
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Introduced "Word Circulation" game and was v. surprised by the coherent result from the 3 volunteers who were brave enough to take this on.
Circulations are a direct measure of group integration and 'intelligence.'
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Evening: a boyz night out on the town with MS work pals, MitchR and NoelC. A long-over due night out sans agenda other than have some fun. And fun was had. Some interesting if not surreal sights in the parking lot of the Hurricane at 4am. Geeze. Humans are strange animals.
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Hmmm... wonder if I should look into voice capture sw again for dictation? Would this save me some time in, say, writing this diary?
I've stopped publishing this in real time so that sufficient time can pass before I post potentially dangerous, controversial, or emotionally charged entries here that could get me into more trouble than I'm already in from this 4+ year subjective snapshot of an allegedly creative life in action.
I can type failrly quickly, however, my mind still moves at about 20 times what my fingers are able to capture. Could state of the art dictation engine help this ascii capture app keep up with my hypermind?
Note to self: check with JackU, RalphL, and DMowatt on state of the art in dictation apps.
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Windows boys have fun flying south and exchanging stories of our recent and misspent youth in and outside of MS.
Good people, great stories.
All day at HP in Cupertino.
More meetings and exchange on current and future plans. Feel blessed to be surrounded by so many super smart people for the majority of my waking hours. Intelligence Immersion is the best school in the world - no classroom could replace the experience of being surrounded by intense critical thinkers 24/7.
Evening: flying home.
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Volunteered to put a team together to deliver a Seattle Guitar Circle show on Oct 19th for Lucius Gabriel Meredith's Ngente at Town Hall. I love the Town Hall venue soooo much - regardless of what happens with the musical part of the show, because this is such an incredible space, this process will be a joy.
In leaving the former Seattle Circle house, this sense of working in a space that is, in itself, inspiring was one of the primary motivators for me that made it very easy for me to say goodbye to a completely uninspiring house in Ballard.
When the musicians lose their enthusiasm (which is inevitable in any process, usually on the edge of the 3rd week of a process, or 2nd year in a longer process), falling back on the beauty, power, and acoustics built-in to a sacred space can carry the group or process forward in ways that the fallible, flakey humans alone cannot.
Q: when the musician does not feel like practicing, what do do?
A: Find an inspiring work space and let just being in the space draw you into your practice.
Sometimes, the little details, acoustics, and/or beauty of a space can provide that extra spark of inspiration to get up and out of bed and hit the hallway to get the fingers (and spirit) moving on a regular basis.
Work with division of attention this morning. Beginning with the new "D-Warm-Up' which has three simple instructions:
To an an audience hearing the 'D-Warm-Up' "piece", what is being played should be indistinguishable from (a pre-composed, well-rehearsed piece of) music.
I'll even go out on a limb to say that my mission in 2004 is to open every SGC rehearsal, show, group presentation with this kind of "Key-Warm-Up" (where Key = one selected note, not implying major, minor, or any scale - that unfolds from whatever the musicians tap into) work to both tune the musicians and audience with a flexible, never-played-the-same-way twice musical soundscape designed to alter the state of everyone in the room and 'clean the slate' before the show/rehearsal begins.
This could not be done with a 'fixed' piece of repertoire or fixed sequence of notes that is spewed forward on auto-pilot. This "Key-Warm-Up" opens the door for an unconditioned act of grace to descend from the first note played and fill the individuals, group, and audience with a listening-based soundscape that is guaranteed to be unique each time it is played. Since there are no preconceived notions of tempo, notes, sequence, length or form, by design, it cannot be played without (intentional listening from the first note to the last) by the players.
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Another 'beat a dead horse' theme that musicians and students working with me next year will likely hear again and again:
One would think that this would be an innate quality that is built into the practice and behavior of most musicians, especially those alleged trained in 'quality' practices like those Guitar Craft groups allegedly manifest and transmit.
But I am constantly surprised by the harsh, dissonant, and horrid sounds and sequences of notes that somehow continue to pour from the plastic guitars around me during sound-checks, warm ups and even during performances.
Along these lines, one of the primary tasks for the SGC performance team next year will be to establish our 'sound check' repertoire.
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More on the SGC Beginner's Circle today:
Birth of a new piece, "FiveSpot" that grew out a a right hand picking primary in five (same right hand pattern as the Lark's section of "Lark's Thrak", btw) combined with a left-hand primary in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd inversion triads combined with a bass-line study in aeolian, dorian, and phrygian tetrachords.
Put these all together with a song form, and simple dynamics instructions, and you have "FiveSpot" - so named because. like the resturaunt at the top of Queen Anne, it is a good tasting, friendly place that guitarists of every level can come for simultaneous, multi-level nourishment in division of attention, right+left hand workout in a way that sounds good to those waiting in line for their seat.
Brunch with my sister and TravisH at the Library Cafe. Both spent time in Austin Texas in former lives. Great to hang with TravisH again. Look forward to playing with him again later this year.
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Dinner at I Heart Sushi with my sister, Bob and Jax.
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Speaking of hearts:
Stumbled onto this on the web today:
We have not done much work in Guitar Craft (or in any school that I know of) studying the 'discipline of the heart.'
Q: (for Crafties) What are the primaries here?
This may be a bit of a stretch, but when Trey introduced the idea of 'ear training' in Guitar Craft (actually all the way back at Red Lion House when he and RandyC were listening to the David L. Burge tapes), we may have begun to stumble onto one aspect of how musicians work with 'feelings.'
Intervals, melodies, and our ability to select intervals that affect our emotions is a core primitive skill that is difficult to transmit, not to mention describe or articulate.
And yet we all have had the experience of hearing a distinctive melody that draws our hearts into a heightened state of engagement: the solo in "Hammond Song." "Heroes," -- or that Bill Frisell solo on an old standard that you thought you had heard done in every conceiveable way, but Bill Frisell chooses a sequence of notes that somehow tugs on your heart in a way that makes it fresh again.
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