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  Monday August 13 
Tuesday August 14 
Wednesday August 15 
Thursday August 16 
Friday August 17 
Saturday August 18 
Sunday August 19 
 
 
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Monday August 20 
Tuesday August 21 
Wednesday August 22 
Thursday August 23 
Friday August 24 
Saturday August 25 
Sunday August 26 
 

Monday August 13


SBRS BootlegTV  update: DavidLV now has both streamable and downloadable video highlights from the recent BitStar Cafe SBRS show:

http://www.stringcraft.com/~davidl/guitar/ 

* * *

A rough day on many fronts, and a good day in some new areas. Thank god for my close friends.  Bonds are building, growing stronger.  Even at a distance.  Working hard to provide space, even though my nature abhors a vacuum.

* * *

Heard from SanfordP for the first time in awhile.  He has a new biz idea -- need to get him and SteveE together to kick the tires. 

* * *

SGC rehearsal at Dean's: when I arrived I joined Chris and Curt on Curt's forboding seven exercise - quite a workout.  Dean and Derek soon joined us.  Then, more tightening and clean-up on Screaming Purple Hues, followed by homework on Cultivating the Beat, Vulcanization, and the solos over the middle section of Sigh and a Kiss.  No fireworks, but good to do simple, directed work.

* * *

Came home exhausted, but began work on a digital painting, a projected suggested by someone dear to me.

* * *


Tuesday August 14


Up early.  Another mostly sleepless night full of unsettling dreams.  

Much to do today.  In spite of how I feel, taking my own advice: turning on my light and getting started.

* * *

Morning inspiration: Kate Bush, Cloudbusting.

Every time it rains
you're here in my head
Like the sun coming out -
Ooh I just know that something good is going to happen
And I don't know when
But just saying it could even make it happen

* * *

Nice email from a wise friend (LanceH) today regarding the dangers of business as a contact sport and Bikram yoga.  Publicly relevant excerpts below:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "LanceH" 
To: SB 
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 3:14 PM 
Subject: hockey in suits

hey steve,

from your diary: "
Getting some perspective today, and counting my blessings. The total reset from BootlegTV has not yet run it's course. While there are excitingly vast possibilities both on the horizon and at my fingertips, the toll on my psyche has been and remains a challenge."

random thought: business is a full contact sport - like hockey in suits. when you're in the game, the adrenaline keeps you up and keeps you from fully feeling the pain of all the hits you take. once the game is over, however, all the bumps and bruises come back with a vengeance.

.L

* * *

More mailbag action:


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "TravisH" 
To: "TravisM"
Cc: "Steve Ball"
Sent: Monday, August 13, 2001 10:51 AM
Subject: FZ on bassists:

"I like a bass player that tells you a story by playing the roots every once in a while. A lot of those modernistic-type personages don't want to do that. They think it's beneath their dignity to play the bottom note of the chord. And that's not for me. I like somebody who tells me the key I'm in."

 

* * *

Good progress on mundane, border-line difficult, tasks so far today.  

Now, time to shift gears.  

Looking forward to a potentially exciting meeting over coffee this afternoon.  Taking a chance on something new and definitely unexpected.

* * *

In the meantime, in the background, a continuing theme builds:

eastern to mountain
third party call
the lines are down
the wise man built his words upon the rocks
but I'm not bound to follow suit

...

this choice isn't mine

* * *

Great meeting, and a confirmation that I'm on the right track in pursuing a new potential.  Optimism in the air again.  First time in a while.

Some healing beginning? 

* * *

Evening: SBRS rehearsal chez Travii.  More work on four new songs, one of which emerged and took a satisfying form this evening.  Excitements brewing...

* * *


Wednesday August 15


The non-evolving soundtrack to my life over the past few weeks has been a dizzying array of my favorite standard therapeutic bummer-songs:  

Shawn Colvin - everything on a few small repairs

Peter Gabriel-everything on US

Peter Gabriel, everything on OVO

Death Cab for Cutie, for what reason

REM - South Central Rain

the Story- everything on Angel in the House

Tori- Crucify  

This is passive music therapy in action.  Is this what people study in academic Music Therapy training programs?  

But the best therapy has come from the wonderful and warm human support I've received from my close friends over this past couple of weeks.  Thank you.  You know who you are.

I know the worst is over.  

Optimism has returned.

* * *

Back to back rehearsals this evening, but a very special event before those: we signed the lease on the new Seattle Circle facility today.  CurtG, TaylorS, TravisM, and I celebrated with Champagne circa 5:20pm this evening.  The space feels great.  Needs some cleaning, but in general, nice to know we have a place to work, practice, rehearse, play, and perform for the next 12 months.

* * *

SBRS rehearsal chez Travii.  We ran the new pieces: three complete killers in a row.  Then, Peter Kardas showed up to work on some background vocals.  Most of the music I write (and love) is designed for multiple vocal parts.  

Peter did well this evening on Sundress Happiness, and I am (not?) in Love.  TravisM is also getting stronger and more confident in his delivery and division of attention.  And, TravisH is not far behind...!  Sundress had a distinct CSN feel tonight in the chorus... yes. 

* * *

SGC rehearsal was strong, and a sort of reunion since our last show.  When I arrived, the tricky Eb-C sub-section of Bicycling to Afghanistan was already looping.   I tuned, composed myself, and joined in.  We then ran our first set for Saturday, took a short break, and ran our second set.  Examined a few details, and then Curt came up with the definitive arrangement for the 49 notes.  A satisfying rehearsal.  Hard work.  

I am tired.  Need a back rub. Alas. 

* * *


Thursday August 16


Up for a 7am conference call to the east coast.  Goal: re-focus the business plan to address current market conditions.  

This theme is pervasive and necessary in both both my economic and personal landscape. 

* * *

Morning music: Jonatha.  Surprise, Surprise!

Annie
Annie I hope things line up for you
all in a row, shiny and new
you canít keep living in one small room
when you never let anyone in
you never let anyone in

Annie you think the whole worldís been cruel
all the stars took advantage of you
your mother was cold, your daddyíd no love
so you stomped your feet til they noticed
stomped your feet til they put on the kid gloves

Now theyíre walking on eggshells, theyíre walking on glass
Sing you a lullaby each time you ask
Someday youíll pick yourself up off your ass and go

Annie you think the boys never played fair
tripping you up, sticking gum in your hair
But wherever you run, itís yourself you face there
and he might be gone when you need him
he might be long gone by the time you care 

Now heís walking on eggshells, heís walking on glass
Sings you a lullaby each time you ask
Someday youíll pick yourself up off your ass and go

But Annie I love you, thatís always been clear
itís the layers of history that wonít let us hear
the twisted compassion thatís burning our ears
the distance from there to here
the distance from there to here

Cuz Iím walking on eggshells, Iím walking on glass
Sing hallelujah each time that you pass
and Someday youíll pick yourself up off your ass and go
Cause youíre gambling again and the stakes are too high
your ante is fear, and my bet is desire
took you far from the truth, and into the fire again

But Annie I hope things line up for you
all in a row, shiny and new
You canít keep living in one small room
when you never let anyone in, you never let anyone in, 
never let anyone in

- - -

At the Still Point

Iíd settle for less but Iíd hold you accountable
Knock on your door but I wouldnít take "no" for a ride
A month in the country, a day by your side,
Two years in the forest, I canít see the trees if you hide

And if you forgot, could I make you remember
The piece of yourself that you gave long ago
Itís on the top current of loveís final breeze
There at the still point,
Thatís where Iíll be

We would find hindsight at the edge of the world,
Love at the end of indifference
Weíd be the lovers that time could forget,
Distance would forge us, make us stronger in the end

And if I forgot, could you make me remember
The piece of myself that I left winding by
Itís on the top current of loveís final breeze
There at the still point, 
Thatís where Iíll be

At the still point, at the still point,
At the still point of desire

Weíd be forever, a month in the country,
A day by your side, two years in the forest,
A decade of hopeful, a terrible leap,
When it all comes out in the wash
I will love you
I will love you

At the still point, at the still point,
At the still point of desire

- - -

Landmine
There never was a world I couldn't sing into place until now
there never was a love that I could not replace until now
Winter was hard, we came out 
with our hearts frozen through
Now we're holding our breath, 
and I'm trying to hold on to you 

What was it that you wanted that I didn't understand
the Boomerang of expectation's back to bite the hand 

I give my love to you
and you, you walk away too soon 

A landmine doesn't take much to trigger the blast
Feel along my faults and defenses at last
someday you'll dismantle the colored wires
yellow, green or red, is it love or desire 

You can face me now or you can shrug and act surprised
either way someday you'll see yourself reflected in my eyes 

I give my love to you
and you, so brave, sing "heroes" when you're all alone
you balk at what you should have known,
you've got nothing to lose, but me 

you lose me, love me, choose me 

-- Jonatha Brooke

* * *

A whirlwind day of meetings beginning mid-morning with NY sage, BillB kicking the tires of a budding venture.  Then, off to MDV for a check-in with an old pal re: same. Then, lunch on Capital Hill with CarmineM and DavidLV, filling the same tires with higher octane air.

A productive day.  And much work to do.

* * *

Late afternoon: an unexpected partial 'reunion' with mixed emotions and mixed results.  The good news: a healthy detachment is now possible. The spell is broken and my heart is on the mend.  The still point.   In the end, I turned down an invitation to spoil my feeling of detachment.  Time to take care of me.

Evening: studio work with Jonatha looping on the stereo.  Later: lyric-writing.  And a bold phone call. 

* * *


Friday August 17

Finally, my studio is workable!  Hence, homework on the new song this evening, following a late afternoon rendezvous.  Received a note that made my day. 

Inspiration is flowing. 

Still waiting for the words to show themselves and work their way out of the cracks.  The vowels are all there.  The consonants are still blurry.

* * *

More Jonatha-fest at home today:

The Choice

I don't know what you expected
I don't know what else you've heard
But I guess you think you got 
what's coming to you
and I got what I deserve 

I won't tell you a thing, you won't see me cry
I'll know what to do, I will not lie
I'll take the chance, I may be fine
But I may never be the same 

I didn't ask for your precious pity
I didn't ask for your pain
and I didn't ask for your opinion
in the name, of your saints 

I won't tell you a thing, you won't see me cry
I'll know what to do, I will not lie
either way I lose, either way we die,
either way I'm alone when it's time to decide 

I don't know what you expected
I don't know what else you've heard
maybe I'll take what's coming to me
cuz it might be what I deserve 

I won't tell you a thing, you won't see me cry
I'll know what to do, I will not lie
I may be crazy, I may be blind
But I might love you more than my life 

My choice, my chance, roulette, romance
I couldn't say no, now I still can't
God curse this moment God bless this dance
I will never be the same 

-- Jonatha Brooke

* * *


Saturday August 18


Sitting at Curt's, nine people; a good sitting for me. Grounding for my, otherwise, flying imagination. I almost sat right on top of Tobin, but common sense kicked in and, instead, I sat across the room.  

Then, back to my place with Curt where the SGC Performance Team had a work day today.  

We began with YBC7 (Curt's symmetrical warm up) and then addressed rough spots in Screaming Purple Hues, Vulcanization, MaryAn, Birds of Fire, and Cultivating the Beat.

More definition in arrangement subtleties.  We've moved from playing series of notes into focus on the syntax of our sentences: dynamics, phrasing, and the meaning behind and within the notes.  

Without necessarily acknowledging it, we have moved into a realm where we are able work on refining the group performance rather than simply working on repertoire.  

* * *

SGC at Mr. Spots in a few hours.  Nap time.

* * *

6:10pm - blew off Nap time to watch "The Story of Us" and cried my eyes out at this mostly sappy Rob Reiner film. 

* * *

10:50pm- just home briefly from SGC show.  A good performance.  The highlights were quite high, and the low points were not too low.  A good audience always helps with this.  

We are no longer just 'good' - we are better than that. Despite the apparent slow pace brought on my families, jobs, babies, we have made great strides in the past two years.  There is a maturity in who and how we are that was not there even a year ago.  Also, not to beat a dead horse: something real is happening with seven guitars that could never happen with five or six. 

DavidLV dropped in for the first set on his way (driving all night) to SF. 

Now, out on the town to shake my Story of Us funk.  Feeling hopeless regarding my own 'story of us.' 

* * *

12:36am Clearly, the story is over.

* * *


Sunday August 19

8:04am Up after a sleepless night.  Yoga class calls.

* * *

A full day.  Still processing the events including an SBRS practice recording session and an SGC Performance Team dinner chez DerekD.  

* * *

SBRS: recording can be like staring into a microscope. Sometimes, all we can see are the imperfections and rough edges of what, otherwise, pours out of our live performances, perhaps unnoticed. In the worst moments, paranoia sets in as the following sub-titles appear during playback:  

Do I really sound that harsh?  Is my tone really that thin and scratchy? Why do my notes sound like mono-dynamic machine gun fire on every song?  Is my time and timing really that bad?  What is that horrible sound and how can I make it go away?  

This can be useful.  Once we get over the ego-hit in realizing where and how we really are, this can lead to focused practice on what was previously unseen or unheard.

On a brighter note, it is important to remember that a recording can be much more than the sum of horrid-sounding individual parts.  Listen to Lindsey Buckingham's soloed plinky electric guitar sound on Gold Dust Woman, compared to the full mix.  Listen to any single Jimmy Page guitar sound compared to the full mix. Look at only the blue channel of a full color photo.  Isolating individual elements within a whole can be shocking.

* * *

SGC: Dinner was excellent, and the meeting that followed, although challenging in many respects, was a brave exploration of what is necessary for our next phase of work.  

The main challenges:

  • how to improve the quality of our sound and presentation (PA and rehearsal issues)
  • where to invest our limited time, energy and resources during this next phase

The 'good' news: we have learned strategies for dealing with our personalities and differences and we seem to generally bounce back quickly from disagreements.  

The 'bad' news: in this next phase, a clear 'level 4'-style commitment is required that involves an invisible sacrifice embedded within mundane, often thankless, hard work spread out over an extended period.

Level Four is where a commitment is made for an extended period of time. The standard Level Four course runs for one year, and often one undertakes a personal task for that period of time. Inevitably, our commitment is tested.

- from An Introduction to Guitar Craft

This same theme appears in our work with the Seattle Circle non-profit project, and for me, in both my personal and professional lives.   Now is the time for application, not experimentation.  Casual coasting is out -- taking on an active commitment to a particular task within a larger project for a well-defined period of time is necessary. 

For me, this may mean taking on one less-than-perfect full-time job.  It may mean accepting an outwardly undesirable shift in my relationship with my relationship(s.)  

As the spirit of the aphorism goes: with commitment, all the rules change.   Here come some changes.

* * *


home




Monday August 20


Woke up feeling refreshed, renewed, and optimistic again on many fronts.  Walking an adorable dog first thing in the morning helps with this in more ways than I can articulate.

* * *


Tuesday August 21


Business trip to Portland.  A trip worth making.  Met an industry legend.   Home just in time to catch the Java Users Group Meeting downtown where I ran into DanK.  Small world.

Too busy to fill in the details this week.

* * *


Wednesday August 22

Interviews: all day.  Conserving my energy for day two tomorrow.

* * *


Thursday August 23


Day two: another full day of intensities.  Going to have to make a big decision soon that will impact every aspect of my life for at least the next two years.  

* * *

SGC at Bob and Jaxie's.  Transmitted a new exercise from TonyG to the septet.  A good one.  All about dependence and independence between four fingers of the left hand. A useful theme on many levels.  Then we worked on our set for our festival show on Sunday. 

* * *

11:09pm home, tired, down.  Very alone this evening.  Fed an excellent dinner earlier tonight by a dear friend and shared  entertaining stories of love(s) lost with another dear friend who is in town from NYC.  

With friends like these, who needs spouses/girlfriends?  

One (primary) regret today: postponed SBRS rehearsal in lieu of sitting in traffic on 520.   

* * *

The Seattle Circle project, eight years since it's formal inception, has entered the realm of Level Four.  Level Four is where we make an extended commitment to a task, a project, (or perhaps even a person) that is not fueled by enthusiasm, caffeine, infatuation, or sugar.  These short-term fuels run out quickly and cannot sustain us through the inevitable difficulties, temptations, and challenges that come naturally with an extended commitment.

Seems the theme of making year-long commitments includes even some hovering nearby.

* * *


Friday August 24


6:13am Up and wide awake, although not particularly rested.  Much home-work to do today.  

Acknowledged or not, I am the CEO of my life.  Perhaps it is time for a round of layoffs, belt-tightening, and cost cutting measures?  Where am I investing my time and resources, and to what end?  Obvious question, for a CEO, eh?  

Or perhaps not.   

* * *

News: more interviews Monday morning with the head cheeses.

* * *

Stereo dinner-making-music: Shawn Colvin, Fat City.  

Evening: dinner with family including special guest, Batman Beyond.  Played PS2-SSX with same Batboy post-wonderful but-slightly-dry-chicken-dinner.  Wish I had taken his bat-picture while he was here flying around.   Then, Everyone Says I Love You full of sappy and cartoon-y Allen-esque observations about life and love.

* * *


Saturday August 25


7:23am - Up cleaning up from the night before. 

* * *

Sitting at Curt's.  A full house today. Then breakfast of champs at Vera's with BillR, TonyG, and DebraG.  Sharing stories comparing the various Jewels in our lives.

* * *

SBRS Afternoon rehearsal: a new song arrives, almost in full in about 24 minutes.  Testing it out with the Travii same day.  Something seems to be flowing again after a very dry period.

* * *



Sunday August 26


Another SBRS afternoon rehearsal, refining material for our many upcoming shows.  

Early evening: SGC at Sandel Park neighborhood festival.  A good show at the right volume: loud for us, just right for the audience.  Playing at this (high) volume reveals things about our group playing that are normally inaudible to us as performers: tone subtleties and differences, transient harshness, EQ imbalances, blending and timing issues.   

How to rehearse at this volume without playing a festival? Probably not possible, but a great opportunity.

By definition, a highly amplified mistake is exponentially worse that a gently amplified mistake.

But overall, no real mistakes today: good will all around.  Thanks to ElizabethP for making this happen.

* * *

Evening: home work and contentment.

* * *


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