A Few Too Many Jobs

Post for the sake of posty posting...

I got another editing gig with the textbook people I've been working for, on and off, now and again, for the last nine months or so. The money is great, so I can't really justify turning the jobs down when the come up.

But...three jobs at once is a lot. History 101 starts up again tomorrow, with the big introduction / talk about the syllabus / I recite everything that happens from hominid evolution to the early middle ages to an incredulous band of community college students. I'm pushing hard at the software company, trying my damndest to make myself invaluable so they'll hire me full-time and I can more actively dream of things like home ownership. Now I've got 400 questions on American history to edit by Friday.*

And then there's Plan C. 11 months old in two days, adorable and hilarious as ever, but so lazy. She still can't crawl, although she walks if you hold her up while she does it. Her mode of locomotion is to point at where she wants to go and then shout at us. It can be pretty exhausting. Oh, and now she is officially teething, too.

* I do not know anything about American history, but I do know how to read a textbook and edit things written in English.

P.S. I realize that it's poor form for a part-time editor to start paragraphs with "but" AND "and," but the internet is a place where grammar is but an occasional dinner guest.


Devo 2011

We Ain't Gettin' Any Younger

I saw Devo two nights ago. It was amazing. The show was too F'ing expensive and it was at the worst venue in Portland, but it was easily one of the best concerts of my life. A few quick observations:

Devo started as more of a performance art group than a "band" in so many words, and that has always given them an incredible sense of theatricality that translates brilliantly to live performance. They had a huge video screen, multiple costume changes, and overall fantastic stagecraft.

I am a lifelong hardcore Devo fan, but I never thought of them as being "rocking," really...it was more like a great intellectual exercise to listen to Devo for me. No longer. Devo rocked harder than Motorhead did last month, really. The energy level was intense.

They are amazing musicians. They didn't miss a fucking note. Mark Mothersbaugh, the lead singer, was particularly incredible.

The thing about Devo is that they are truly inimitable. They have had an incalculable impact on music but no one ever has or ever will sound "like" them.



Records are more fun to listen to than mp3s are. It's true! Here's why, I think:

A record is a tactile experience that takes a small but meaningful investment of time and care (i.e. so that you don't drop the needle and screw it up or scratch the record.) Listening to records involves listening to the whole album since skipping songs is impractical. The album art is infinitely better. The sound is warmer, and there's something satisfyingly arcane about the little pops and jumps. All in all, listening to records shifts music back to being an activity, not a passive background.

I finally managed to make it in to the local old-school electronics joint two weeks ago and got the stylus replaced and everything adjusted and balanced on the 1970s-era Technics turntable I inherited from my dad. Then, in an incredible stroke of good fortune and generosity, my home girl C gave me her entire record collection, consisting of a crate of 90s / early 2000's Pac Northwest indie rock and punk. She and I are exactly the same age and grew up in the same place, listening to a lot of the same kinds of music, so there I am with a pile of Crackerbash and Pond and Oswald 50s LPS and 7 inches and remembering when I used to see them all play and/or covet their albums at House of Records on 13th. Her thing is just that she doesn't have a turntable and didn't see herself investing the time in either setting up a record-listening situation or selling them, so she gave 'em to me (free to good home.)

My plan is to rip the really good records to mp3 so that she can at least have the music "back" in that sense. There are also at least two 7" that might be worth real money, so if I sell those I'm giving her the proceeds. (But, following B's advice, I will probably just keep 'em and listen to them instead.)

Anyway, the point is that records are great and I am having fun being 32 years old.


A Few Things Worthy of Hatred

  1. When people fall asleep against you on the bus.
  2. The shoddiness of umbrellas.
  3. Pseudophedrine being unavailable as an over-the-counter medication in Oregon (thanks for screwing that up for the rest of us, tweakers...)
  4. One's nose and upper lip turning red from all the kleenex.
  5. Inconsiderate neighbors.
  6. Cleaning the bathtub.
  7. Grown men and women who either a. do not cover their mouths when coughing/sneezing or b. don't wash their hands after using the bathroom. Or neither.
  8. The human condition.


Unsolicited Kiddo Update

A recent pic of Plan C, courtesy of B, who actually knows how to take pictures.

In completely non-exercise related news...

Plan C is now just over 10 months old. She's been in the midst of a hellacious growth spurt for the last two weeks or so. She still doesn't have any teeth. She eats lots of organic veggie purees, along with oatmeal, hard-boiled egg yolks, and avocado (and breast milk, of course.) She can crawl backwards but has had zero luck learning how to go forwards. She can stand by herself as long as she has something to hold on to. She signs "milk," "rain," "light," and "fan" (she loves ceiling fans) and understands various little phrases we say to her. She babbles constantly and does a little sing-song thing sometimes, especially when we're in the car. She sleeps through the night most nights now, as long as we have the heat in her room cranked to almost 70. She loves our friends. She thinks we're okay, too.


Futher Observations

  1. As far as I can tell, none of the buskers (that is a person who plays music on the street for money) near the food carts in downtown Portland ever make any money. Maybe it's because they suck so badly.
  2. If there's something better than Pad Khee Mao from a Thai cart for five bucks, I don't care: I'm still getting Pad Khee Mao from a Thai cart for five bucks.
  3. (Technical note): In software development there's a thing called source control, in which you automatically keep copies of your source code in a central repository, so you can always revert back to a working version if you accidentally break something. There is nothing like that for doing systems stuff (i.e. servers and networking.) When you fuck up, things just stop working.
  4. You know what really sucked? Nu-metal.
  5. Also, back in the early 90s, there were a lot of guys who wore shorts with long-johns underneath tucked into combat boots. Those same guys would smoke some weed and then go see Primus.
  6. My daughter is cuter than a pile of kittens. I'm sorry, but it's true.
  7. I am sporting skinny jeans. I took the plunge. Levi's 511s. They've already revolutionized my lifestyle.
  8. I do so many crunches and push-ups, but I always look the same. Oh well.
  9. My homie Ransom and I are going to start playing music again this Saturday! Our band name: The Nervous.