Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gutting Fish

A computerly-knowledgable friend of mine once told me the following in response to my declaration of the desire to learn HTML and sail into the world of wise and talented web developers: "Learning HTML is like learning to gut fish. Someone has to do it... html is a pit. A basic knowledge won't kill you. But man, that stuff sucks."

Point taken, but what really stuck was the comparison. Possibly my favorite of aught-six. I try to use it as much as possible. So it was that comparison which I couldn't purge from my thoughts while practicing earlier today. See, for all the hopes of creative surges and consistent productivity, January was pretty much a wash. I chose entropy. It's shinier. The only surges to be found had to do with either my record collection, my liver's overtime activity, or Republican wordsmithery. I haven't really played a whole lot of horn lately, so my chops feel like a couch potato running a 10K. How do I get it back? Gutting fish. Long tones, scales, repetitive strength-building exercises. Putting in the time. Every day. It's both fantastic and maddening. Fantastic in the sense that it can be incredibly meditative, playing the same notes over and over, looking out the window, focusing all the energy on the task at hand; maddening in the obvious senses of suffering through the feeling of being out of shape and repeating something which provides very little in the way of intellectual stimulation. But I guess that's why I've always had a problem practicing...

It's finally cold. Like, really cold — although I say this knowing full well that Chicago has us beat by at least 10 degrees. Any way you cut it, though, 13 degrees and windy is not what any normal, below-the-45th-parallel-dwelling individual would consider to be "comfortable;" still, I like it, if only because it helps to affirm that this is truly winter, and not some cheaply-krafted imitation.

Fortunately, fish-gutting exercises seem especially fit for cold weather. Time passes, and one remains warm. Browsing for records fits appropriately into the same category, so on Saturday, I took my first journey to a record store in about 10 days. I bought my first Rush record, Moving Picture. Yeah, so it probably wouldn't win a race of taste, but one must admit, it's pretty bad-ass. Like anything which wears achievement so prominently, you may not love it, or even like it, but the effort alone deserves an amount of respect. Other musical examples could include, but are not limited to:
prog rock in general, Al DiMeola when he's really foaming at the mouth, most groups that perform at Smalls, many tunes written by drummers.

In addition to Picture, Saturday's jaunt also yielded the following LPs: Donald Fagen, The Nightfly; Keith Jarrett, The Köln Concert; Isaac Hayes, Black Moses; Led Zeppelin, II; and the Clockwork Orange soundtrack (Walter Carlos).* Although I try to avoid the "Oh my god, I'm soooo eclectic" brand of attention pleas, I must admit, I do get a kick out of watching a record store geek raise his eyebrows a bit as he bags such a selection.

Sunday afternoon featured another trip, unintentional as it was, but the take is much less story-worthy. Some jazz, some soul, some funk, blah blah blah. But the double-LP reading of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy In America might be pretty fun...

So what tomorrow? Probably more fish-gutting. We leave for the next round of Meaty Madness in just over a week. Gott in Himmel! Sure sneaks up on ya quick-like. Much preparation necessary beforehand, both musical and practical. But it couldn't come soon enough; I'm gettin' the itch...

* Sadly, I passed on Everything You've Always Wanted To Hear On The Moog... But Were Afraid To Ask For. With good reason.

2 Comments:

Blogger Elizabeth said...

A double-LP reading of Democracy in America? Please say you jest. Please?! I mean, firstly, once I read that and I'm pretty sure it's longer than two LP's-worth of oration and secondly: WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER BUY THAT?

12:56 AM  
Blogger David said...

Jest? Me!?

No, the real question is, why would someone buy it for $8?!?

12:58 AM  

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