Monday, May 28, 2007

Hello and Welcome

I'm totally cheating.

This is my first blog post, legitimately. The following three are old posts from another blog I kept. It's bad, I know, but I think they're funny and still topical. Anyway, if you're reading this, then you've visited my website. Let me tell you a few things about it.

First of all, it was created by my wonderful and talented wife. Visit her site at She does this for a living. Second, I know that everyone blogs these days and I think ownership of a blog, much less a website, may seem egotistical. Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a few words on the topic recently (I'd link that here, but I don't know how -- go to, search for Mark Morford, and find "I'm Drunk and Naked on MySpace!" from April 6th). Anyway, the point is that I have no illusions about the culture who thinks everyone in cyberspace is interested in what they have to say. It is liberating, I suppose, but my purposes are simple: I like to write, and this is good practice. It keeps me on task. So enjoy it or not, I'm going to keep writing. Also, I'm moving to London this fall for 4 months, so I will blog from there for my friends and family.

But the main purpose of this site is the music. So, listen and enjoy. More music to come in the future.


Beck is Boring

Hello, folks.

So, my wife and I went to a Beck show at UC Davis last night. It was her birthday gift from me, and she was thrilled. I, too, was excited as I'd seen Beck once before dance his ass off at an odd Sunday afternoon show in Berkeley several years ago. But last night, I noticed several things about the Beck-man.

First, he's boring. Maybe he wasn't feeling it last night, but I found myself at points during the show staring at the ceiling, checking my watch, or listening to the overwhelming amount of crowd chatter for such a prestigious act. My boredom was quelled, at points, by the marionette show at the back of the stage. Beck and his crew designed marionette duplicates of the band to perform each song while the actual band performed each song. Brilliant ... for about one song. Then, it became schtick.

Also falling into the "brilliant ... for one song" category was the percussionist in the band who, song after song, danced wildly around the stage, performing such classic moves as the "robot" and some break dancing. Dressed in a short-sleeve, white button-up shirt with a black tie, he looked like a Morman in the throes of an amphetimine seizure. But I digress...

The main point is this: Beck's songs are rather dull, and many lack song quality at all. Like my guru said, many of Beck's tunes are repetitive riffs with some mumbled lyrics. And, like Jack Johnson, the rhythm of many of Beck's lyrics remain unchanged from song to song, like some rock-rap mantra. While the crowd clearly enjoyed the upbeat dance tunes, Beck has the burden, I think, of pleasing everyone in the audience, which in turn makes the pacing of his show tedious. His hits like "Loser," "Devil's Haircut," and "Where It's At" are played consecutively, peaking the crowd's penchant to groove. But he follows those with numbers from "Sea Changes" or "Mutations," creating palapable lulls in the audience's interest. I looked around during these songs and witnessed people simply looking around as if lost or ... bored. I prefer the latter, at least on the recordings, but last night I found even those tunes monotonous and dull.

Of course, this boredom may occur at every show, not just Beck's shows. I don't recall being the bored before, but I'm sure others out there would argue that a Wilco show (one of my favorite bands) is as exciting as watching two snails fornicate.

Maybe it's just me. My wife was happy, and that's all I care about anyway.

Ah, Spring

Ah, finals. How I love finals. I don't even take finals anymore, but grading them is actually far more difficult. If my students don't get it by now, what do I say? I can't help but feel responsible -- not for teaching poorly, but for not creating higher, and more clear, expectations. Alas, I grade and wonder how to make the entire process better. And this is how a typical semester plays out: I begin with vigor, begin cataloging necessary changes throughout the semester, and by semester's end, I'm restructuring my entire syllabus, which I generally need to complete in short time for the upcoming semester.

But I think I'm getting better.

In the meantime, we're moving, and moving is always fun. It's great to see just how much stuff you actually own and wonder how the hell it all came into your possession. And how do you pack little things, like pencils and votive candles? I generally use the "swipe" method:

1. Find a bag, either plastic or paper
2. Place bag at end of surface where packables sit
3. Extend right arm
4. Swipe packables into bag
5. Repeat as necessary

Of course, this makes unpacking a chore, but I generally find that I'm more anxious about actually moving the stuff than packing or unpacking.

And I realize, once again, that I own far too many books. I cannot, however, bring myself to part with any of them. After all, I'm a college teacher. Who knows when I may need these books for reference? So far, I've packed five large boxes full of books and I'm not quite finished. Some of these books are dusty; my cat sneezes from the dust as she watches me pack the books. Then she investigates the empty bookshelves, rolls in the dust, sneezes some more.

And then there's everything else...

I Return

So I neglect my blog. So what? It's not like a pet. My blog isn't floating belly up. I neglect and no one seems to care. Almost no one (hello Valerie). So here I am again to bore you with my day-to-day life.

Today I helped some friends paint their new home. In between painting, I played basketball with their 10-year old son, Charlie. (I actually give Charlie guitar lessons, the primary reason I know these people). So, a little one-on-one. No big deal. Except that 10-year old Charlie is quick, and he beat me three games in a row. I wasn't playing my hardest, obviously, but the kid had moves like a Harlem Globetrotter. Charlie, 3. Jason's ego, 0.

Currently I'm watching the stroke-fest that is the NFL draft. Why am I watching, you ask? Because - that's right - I'm supposed to be grading essays. Suddenly, the apartment is a mess, the 54th pick in the NFL draft has soul-wrenching meaning, and my cat needs brushing. At least I haven't had a beer yet. After that, grading essays is pointless.

What else? My wife and I watched a film last night, "The Squid and the Whale." If anyone out there has seen it, kindly tell me what the hell it was about. I've read matchbooks with better content. My wife fell asleep for the last 20 minutes. When I woke her, she asked what happened in the movie. I said, "nothing." She said, "no, really, I want to know." And I said, "I'm serious. Not a damned thing happened." It was like watching snails chase each other.

Tomorrow, I work on my car, which I've also neglected (it's amazing the thing still runs), and await another round of torture which is the Sacramento Kings vs. the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are like mold: they come out of nowhere, they're pesky, and they're difficult to get rid of. Even my cat dislikes the Spurs (and mold). If they're ahead, she turns her back to the TV. Or maybe she just doesn't like TV.

Anyway, there you have it. Until next time...