Steve Ball Diary
Monday October 13
Tuesday October 14
Wednesday October 15
Thursday October 16
Friday October 17
Saturday October 18
Sunday October 19
Read the archive
Monday October 20
Tuesday October 21
Wednesday October 22
Thursday October 23
Friday October 24
Saturday October 25
Sunday October 26
Recovering from weekend with my sis! Had a great time with her and her so-cute Schnauzer, Elwood.
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Went to 2nd Ave Pizza this evening to see TravisH and SaundrahH play in Tableland. What I heard sounded nice. 1st song was in 7, and being that 7 feels as 'normal' and natural as 3, 4, 5, or 6 to me, I was grooving along. Nice films/video to accompany their set as well. Also, great to see my old friend Sasha Parks and her bf-riend after a long-ish break too. Looking forward to hearing their new music project if and when it finally goes public.
Later: Letting go.
Reminded of an old saying my first calculus teacher said that stuck with me and is part of how I approach problem solving. "If a problem is too easy, you won't do it because it is too easy. If a problem is too hard, you won't do it because it is too hard."
If something is too easy or hard, it is probably the wrong problem.
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SGC rehearsal at Phinney.
One theme that has characterized my group work from the beginning: I would rather play with 'beginners' who know how to have fun any day than play with 'accomplished' musicians who can allegedly play, but who have no idea how to really 'play' with people.
These people know how to play. An encouraging evening.
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Plus: big day tomorrow at work as my team reviews our work of the past year or so with some big-wigs.
This is not bragging or self-hype. Just the facts 'mam: I am good at my job.
My old boss and now Windows UX Product Unit Manager, HillelC, thinks I owe him dinner at el Gaucho based upon a bet we made a few months ago. Now that was a crafty move on my part, eh?
My little pieces of Longhorn UX remain on track. And we passed a major milestone for our little audio/video User Experience team. With flying colors. Nice to get external validation (esp from some v. smart people, like Hillel, Piero, and Mike) that what you have spent the last two years doing has value.
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SGC rehearsal this evening at Phinney. GregM, SandraP, JoelP, LeeS, AndrewB, Warm up then a close look at the details of our repertoire for our show on Sunday evening. Have I mentioned how optimistic I feel about next year based upon my work with this 'new' team?
I mentioned this last week, but after this eclectic rehearsal, I'll say it again: One (perhaps) obvious suggestion for live shows (really for any situation where you, the guitarist, are being heard, observed, or otherwise playing in public.) Here is a simple recommendation:
When you play, make sure what you are playing SOUNDS GOOD.
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Mail today from Michael Peters in Germany commenting on my sad and stagnant pick history pages and ongoing lack of GC picks.
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Dinner with work pal, John Canning and Leslian Carbary. Great people, good food followed by a trip to see "Kill Bill" - a mildly-violent new Tarantino classic.
John recently bent over backwards to try to get ''Electric Gauchos" in the spotlight at the recent Windows Media Center Edition 2003 launch.
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The SGC set included one of the best live Group Loop performances I've heard to date. Each player came up with excellent complementary parts on the spot and we managed to circulate duos, modulate up and down, and deliver dynamics circulations all as part of one rockin' Group Loop.
The rest of the performance was spirited and honorably played. This is turning out to be a good group of players.
For me, hope returns for the SGC.
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Oh oh,... minor rant on the way:
When Guitar Craft (or the SGC, or any group) devolves into a formulaic series of rules, spewing lore based on historical precedents, blind rote flurries of dissonant and harshly attacked 16th notes played on plastic guitars, and riddled with bad-vibe-inducing restrictions that stifle the muse, I am out the door and ready to go work with absolute beginners again.
I'd rather work with an inspired beginner who can barely play a note and who know nothing about GC than a room full of hyper-critical, depressed and depressing, fripp-worshiping, fripp-fearing, neurotic, aphorism-droning, Crafty clones for whom nothing is ever good enough.
Wow, harsh. < apologies - please don't take any of this personally if you feel like I'm speaking to you. >
But for me, repeating the past is not an option. And developing (or playing with) a stable full of neurotic, floor-staring guitar drones is not on my agenda. <Anymore.>
Robert could get away with this in 1985-1991. It was new. It was his own. And most of all, it was innocent and pure.
Everyone, raise your right hand and repeat after me: "Guitar Craft is not a cult. Guitar Craft is not a cult. Guitar Craft is not a cult."
We do engage in some esoteric and somewhat elevated practices from time to time -- but in the end, it is very simple, practical stuff:
1. cultivation of presence
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Mail from TravisM today - he's heading back to the West Coast to visit a friend who has just received some bad news.
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The highlights for me, the piano/vocal piece by Ben Hogue, the two string quartet and flute pieces by Scott Selfon, and the delightfully rocking Earth Wind and Fire played by Steve Reich piece by Nathan Grigg.
The music was wonderful.
Afterwards, I had a chance to spend some time with some more old friends including Tim Root, Beth Grigg, Andrea Witgens at the post-show Secret Waffle Party at Ben's place. Some delightful and dangerous conversations with Tim, Andrea, and Beth about the power of online diaries, porn-esque band names, and post 11pm nutrition.
Apparently, Beth is still keeping her online diary up to date too.
The conversation was so earth-shattering that Beth's waffle found it's way to Ben's carpet. Hmmmm, speaking of porn-sounding poetic implications....
Great to catch up with Andrea and empathize with her "I can't not do this" genetically-programmed musicianship. Also nice to hear about her upcoming tour with another old pal, Carrie Clark along with Vince and part of the Sugartown band.
Email from BillB who is coming to Seattle for one day in a couple of weeks.
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Also, an old familiar voice speaks up again on an old familiar theme. Thanks to TravisH for forwarding:
And this just in:
In a class again all day. I'm surprised how great this class has been so far. V. practical.
Call from John Lapham late in the day looking for Charlie Hewitt's cell phone number, which, of course, I have at my fingertips. John mentions Getty stock closed abover $42.00 today. Nice to see him doing so well.
Email today from Pablo Mandel who is (finally) coming back to Seattle for a weekend in a couple of weeks. Many visitors coming in the next few weeks. Ferny coming too in about a week.
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Wow - a wonderful night out on the town. First, extremely stimulating conversation on Capitol Hill followed by a visit to an intimate performance venue/art gallery that may be a great host for future SGC/SBRS shows. Opportunity to play for an opening there in early November too.
Then, a trip to St. Clouds to see Sugartown and intense schmoozing with old friends Sue and Carrie, and the band. Received excellent coaching from Tobin's 'friend' Kim about body language, signaling, and lust-channeling.
I was reminded how easily I fall in love with raw talent this evening.
Swimming in satisfaction, hope, and smiles.
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Evening plans pleasantly interrupted by a phone call from Sacramento with news that Nick Gavalas would be showing up at the Seattle train station with no place to stay at 10pm. A minor adjustment to plans, and I'm off to pay back generous hospitality from 17 years ago. Nice to hear Debbie's voice on the machine and Erkie's voice on the phone.
Plan is to fill Nick with a morsel of food and put him to bed so he can be up and to the airport for his 7am flight. Then I'll be off to Calisthenics, sitting, Beginner's Circle and an SGC afternoon show.
Should be ready to pass out by late afternoon.
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Debut of new piece FiveSpot, on the day of it's birth
Another alleged day "off." Ha!
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