"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Well There's Only So Many Ways You Can Give Your Loving To Me...

...But I'd give up my soul for just one of them now...

It's been a packed week down in the Bay. Wheeling and dealing, painting and sanding, whooping and shouting; the whole nine yards.

Went and saw The Avett Brothers on Friday night. They're pretty great showmen as expected, and I got me a t-shirt -- a much more effective way of supporting working musicians than paying for their music, btw -- but I felt the concert could have been more. Slims is not my favorite place to see a show, and the crowd vibe was a little off. That and I had great expectations, which is generally unfair and I try not to do for the sake of giving artists a chance, but c'est la vie. That's what you get for being real good.

They were touring on 2007's Emotionalism, which is a great album, the first one I heard -- coming via Pickathon and Chelsea late last summer -- and probably the most natural cultural fit for SF. But having been exposed to their entire catalog, I celebrate the mo' twangy stuff a bit more fully than that which leans indie. The crowd was on the other side of that leaning, didn't seem to know a lot of the other/older stuff, and just wasn't as lively as I'd hoped.

I suppose I was looking for something really wild and free, like when we saw The Devil Makes Three at the Starry Plough last month. That was hot and packed and foot-stomping scream-along-singing until you got light in the head and then another song would start up that was even better and more worth jumping around to; lather-rinse-repeat. By contrast, the crowd's energy at this gig made it tough to even break a sweat. I also felt the encore was a bit too scripted, and there wasn't sufficient demand in the room to draw out a spontaneous second round.

High expectations, see? Still, well worth it overall. They're touring forever and I'll bet next friday's Portland show will be a real winner. I'd be really curious to see what a home-town Carolina crowd is like:

I attended with LGD, the designated-driving Lande-man, and another sociologist friend of theirs, a pretty lady from Mexico headed to a Cambodian/Vietnamese border town this summer on a grant, getting the kids together via soccer. Pretty neat. They swung by the office to pick me up which is the first time I've been able to show it off to any of my friends, which I found myself kind of proud to do. We had Hardnox (soulfood) and then SparksPLUS (dangerbooze) out behind the loading dock before heading to the show; a pretty pitch-perfect evening in the dogpatch if you ask me.

After the concert, me and the boys retired to the Cornell Club, where Lande and Luke played guitar while I tried to stay lucid in the living room. I feel like I aught to learn to sing some songs. I'm not likely to pick up a very good instrument other than maybe the tambourine, but I want to participate in the whole music thing when my friends get into it. I'm no Sinatra, but I had enough training to front some folk tunes. Even if I'd known some, Friday night probably wasn't going to work out owing to the late hour, etc, but in general it's something that I could probably do a decent job at.

After staying up until around 4:30am with the guitar and shenanigans, Saturday's sun was a harsh wake-up call five hours later. I try to resist the narrative of aging, quarterlife crisis (will I live to 116?), or whatever you like to call it, but there's nothing that brings it down on you harder than realizing you're totally spent after only one night out on the town. You grows up and you grows up and you grows up, I suppose.

The Girth is gone at a wedding this weekend, so it's just me and LGD. We got it together for Yemeni coffee from our spot around the corner -- good stuff from bright eyed smiley guys with awesome beards -- talking about various strategies for meeting pretty ladies, etc. This is something I've lately been trying not to think about, seeing if the "watched pot never boils" adage might work in reverse. As an antidote to overthinking everything, I've been letting myself get carried away with work, tipping down the parabolic descent into what looks to be a very busy couple of months.

That's probably a poor tactic (as opposed to, say, hanging around the Berkeley campus more, which is what I suggested to my man) but my hope is that there's some kind of crucible to be had, that maybe I'll emerge on the other side with a new brand of mojo. I feel that a confident and loving perception of self is a vital component to any romantic success, and being into it with the job -- as opposed to grudging or beat-down -- is a step in the right direction, even if it does put me at the particularly American risk of conflating career with life.

In keeping with that, after Yemeni coffee, I rallied with the Zacker and we did some handyman work at the office. Our big goal was to patch a hole in our bathroom wall which was made when we tied into the water/drain lines to add a kitchen sink on the other side. It wasn't huge, but it was vaguely of peeping-tom-ish, which nobody really wants. Victory achieved: fiberglass tape and spackle are a powerful combination. We also cleaned up the network and the conference room. Ready to start adding more people now.

Upon returning to the East Bay it became readily apparent that Saturday night would be a mellow one, grand schemes for getting out on the scene notwithstanding. We watched Talladega Nights, which I thought was kind of amazing. Adam McKay and Will Farrel learned some lessons from Anchorman, it seems. The writing here is vastly less self-indulgent (if still fairly undisciplined) and aims much higher. At it's best it achieves a kind of highbrow/lowbrow synthesis that's rarely attempted and hard to pull off, but highly rewarding when achieved. I'm not sure how it was taken by racing fans, but the parody here seemed both respectful and deep, which is in keeping with the overall idea. I had relatively low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised. Compare and contrast, yaknow?

Anyway, that and an early bedtime was Saturday. Sunday is now, and the week begins again. I'll probably spend most of the day nerding-out, maybe watch some basketball, get set for the days to come.


I think Outlandish Josh's blog has now landed on the list of reputable sources for new music to download. :P