Sunday, April 29, 2007

House concerts rule

Jae and I try like hell to have date night every Saturday night. We go through phases where we are creative about what we do on date night, and we also get in a rut, usually the dinner-and-a-movie rut. This week Jae told me she was taking care of date night, I just needed to be ready to leave work a half hour early. She was obviously excited. Since it was a surprise, I assumed it was something I was going to like, so I was excited, also.

She picked me up with a car full of the smell of Rudy's barbecue. Rudy's is good stuff. We drove to what seemed a random spot in a residential part of downtown Albuquerque, and she pulled to the curb, got a cooler of beer out of the trunk, and said, "Let's eat." So we had this picnic, on the curb, odd. I was still in the dark. I remained in the dark until Jae looked and the street and said, "Ah, well ...."

I followed her gaze, and down the block several people were unloading instruments from a car. I looked at her.

"House concert?" I asked.

Yep, it was a house concert. My understanding is that house concerts range from 20 people or so in a living room and the band playing with no amplification, up to something more like we attended. It was an old house, about the age of ours, definitely built before WWII. The kitchen and 2 bathrooms and a little dining room off the kitchen were intact, but the living room and bedrooms had been gutted to create one large room. Hardwood floors, exposed brick walls.

Including people on the front porch, in the back yard, and in the room, I guess there were somewhere between 60 and 80 people at the peak. It was relaxed, it was cozy, it was a ball. There were a few snacks for sale in the kitchen, but folks brought their own libations of choice. We had the beer Jae brought, lots of people were passing bottles of wine. Folks wondered in and out of the back yard to smoke or chat. Fun, fun.

The music was good, too. They weren't the most incredible musicians I've seen, but they did their thing fine, and in that setting just about anything would have been good. Local folks. The opening band was a pretty new group, and they were green. But they could play, they had an acoustic base, and the singer had a sweet voice. She was bashful, which was charming. I believe they were the Minnie Gonzales band. Supposedly you can find them on Myspace, but I haven't had any luck.

The main attraction was Cole Mitchell. Jae had heard a sample of his music before she decided to take me, and she thought it sounded like my kind of thing. It was, though, though its not her style. She much preferred Minnie. Anyway, you could call him roots music, or, or something. Done this kind of thing a lot, was comfortably up there and obviously enjoying himself.

There was a guest star appearance. Though I admit I had only heard his name a few times and never his music, Eric McFadden was a big deal for the folks there who knew. Another New Mexican, he's apparently made a little name for himself in the world. He dropped by the show for a bit and got asked to play. He played guitar on one of Cole's songs, and he sure enough could play.

I had a goofy grin on my face all night, and Jae and I were like infatuated kids. She did this for me, and it was excellent. She's the best.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Light in the darkness

It was in an English class at NU that I read my favorite metaphor for life. We read some Old English poetry. I can't remember the name of this poem. I think the attribution was simply traditional. I can't find it again. I'll describe it, but its a shame I can't share the real thing.

A bird flies alone through complete darkness. Suddenly ahead is a square of blazing light. The bird flies through the square and into a dining hall where a banquet is in full roar. Light, heat, music, laughter, as the bird soars over the festivities, and out through the window at the other end of the hall, returning to the long night.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Daniel Abraham Interview

Daniel is a friend of ours. He is a writer, with one novel on the shelves and another out this summer. This is a good interview of him.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

That's why its funny*

From Britannica Online:


In mathematics, a line or curve that acts as the limit of another line or curve.

For example, a descending curve that approaches but does not reach the horizontal axis is said to be asymptotic to that axis, which is the asymptote of the curve.

You've seen those curves graphed. Often they have a gradual slope until they get close to their limit, their asymptote, and then the slope of the curve gets dramatic. I've always seen it as a metaphor for so much in life. The closer you get to perfection, the more effort it takes to make smaller and smaller increments of progress. The better things get, the harder and harder it is for them to get better. That's why its funny.

*Also a reference to the pilot episode of Arrested Development.

I'm gonna cover you in oil*

I once heard a venerable old rocker described as the idiot savant of rock music. I'm not sure it applied to him, but I thought it was a fun description and it stayed with me. Yesterday and today I've been listening to AC/DC, and the phrase surfaced in my mind again.

*AC/DC lyric

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