josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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27 Dec '01 06:10:56 AM

This project is now entering its third year.

The longer I go on the more difficult it is to come up with some perspective on the thing. For much of 2001 I was unhappy with what I was writing, and thought that I did much better in 2000. Now I'm not so sure - when I look back there's plenty I'm happy with in both years.

Last year at this time I attempted to go back over what I'd written, and over the mail I received from readers, in order to take a stab at writing about what my point is here. I think plenty of readers are aware of what it is, but I just wanted to do it anyway (it's the philosopher in me).

I didn't get very far. I've thought even less about it this year, but that's OK, because that kind of thinking is a long-term part of my project here. I do have this to offer, though; I've thought of it before but this way of putting it is due to a conversation I had recently with Kelly. I'll put it in the form of a slogan, although as a slogan it's too clumsy.

josh blog: making the natural complexity of subjectivity perspicuous.

Thanks for being with me for another year.

26 Dec '01 07:05:33 AM

A tiny bit late, but here's a Christmas present: a fulltext search of Josh Blog, with some caveats. I'll be working in the coming month and extended future at indexing some more stuff (including, hopefully, pre-August 2001 entries) and developing more frills.

Please let me know what you think, or if it breaks or something like that.

24 Dec '01 07:06:21 AM

I am "home" in Iowa for the week. In between nu-metal videos on MTV2 I saw the "video" for Rush's "Limelight." It was bad. Very bad.

21 Dec '01 06:41:05 AM

The songs on the best-of from Outkast's first album (the one I don't have) are really thick-sounding for mid-90s p-funk-inspired rap; some of them, like "Ain't No Thang," is just unbelievably thick. The guitars have this great way of just filling up the soundstage and reverberating between the channels.

21 Dec '01 12:05:56 AM

Two songs from Oui have started now with me being confused as to whether they were Sea and Cake songs or Stereolab songs. (Things become clearer once the bass comes in.)

21 Dec '01 12:00:59 AM

Hmmm, it's been a while since I listened to this S-K record. Its kinship with its predecessor, The Hot Rock, is a lot more obvious now.

21 Dec '01 12:00:13 AM

Listening to the Outkast best-of, I have the reverse of my more common experience of learning songs by hearing a band's best-of or some other kind of comp, then finding myself disoriented upon hearing the same songs on their 'proper' albums and not hearing the songs I expect afterward. With Outkast, I know most of the songs on the comp already, so I have that weird experience after, well, most of them.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me "Ain't No Thang" was so great?

I think there's something very valuable and under-appreciated about this experience, of having a song's successor float into your hear just as the one song is ending. More connections are made - it's probably part of why songs on albums we love seem like they have to go together, even if really there's not much musical connection in some technical sense. This doesn't make it less important.

20 Dec '01 11:52:52 PM

Shuffling some more CDs... Stereolab, Sound-Dust, The Sea and Cake, Oui, Sleater-Kinney, All Hands on the Bad One, Outkast, Big Boi & Dre Present... and Fugazi, The Argument. I did have disc 2 of Miles' Sileny Way box, the new Beta Band, and Mingus' The Clown in instead of The Sea and Cake, S-K, and Outkast, but the two jazz discs' songs are too long for the amount of variety I want now and I just listened twice to the Beta Band today and it made the songs sound too familiar compared to the other ones.

I also listened to Fugazi three times today but strangely did not experience a similar effect.

19 Dec '01 08:05:46 PM

In contrast "Ellen and Ben" is musically steady and comfortable, with the repeated outburts from Travis in the chorus, "whyyyyyyy". Lyrically it's still ambivalent and confused, but trying to confront that confusion more stably by just laying out the facts and trying to relate them to the narrator's life (the model planes bit). That doesn't mean any more answers are found than in "Other Side".

And I guess musically though it's more steady, there's still the appropriate measure of ambivalence about the future, as the song just keeps going, more or less, until it's time to end: the confusion and ambivalence are reflected in the way that the song continues on steadily just like we do when we aren't sure what else to do.