Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line

Paul Thorn rock out marathon, hour 126 and counting...

I didn't notice until after I took this picture how similar Paul Thorn and Marshall Crenshaw are. By similar I mean they both wear hats. They're both modern analogs of Rock Icons (Elvis and Buddy Holly, respectively). And so far they've both failed to pierce the ear-wax and crushed-Pringle's crust of popular culture. So be it.

Rock lives.

Reason #31 to move back to Carrboro: Paul Thorn has played the Cat's Cradle each of the last two years, including last April, before I saw the light.

One of the cool things about programming is that I can listen to music while I do it. It keeps the distractable (touchy-feely, artsy, Dr. McCoy) side of my brain busy so the other (analytical, logical, Mr. Spock) side can get things done.

Back in the days when I actually played CDs, instead of ripping them to the computer and playing the file, I would measure time by how many I'd gone through while programming. I'd put a stack of a half-dozen or so at the left of my keyboard, pop the first one in the drive and start to work. When the stack was gone, it was time to eat. When I got back, I'd set up the stack again and when I'd played them all it was time to go home (or if we were in a crunch it was time to eat again, and after the third time through it was definately time to go home, because I was forgetting to deallocate my pointers.

I have very strong associations between certain times of my life and the albums I was listening to at the time. Waiting on the porch for the mail in Bluefield, listening to Havana Daydreaming, my first Jimmy Buffet album. Whenever I hear Barometer Soup I'm taken back to writing genetic algorithms for carpet layout software. Fingers Taylor's New Fingerprints always recalls my brief stint at the Village Companies. I could go on for another 30 or so records, but you get the idea...

Paul Thorn's Mission Temple Fireworks Stand is forever entwined in my mind with writing my first project for Roger, plumbing the mysteries of the gawd-awful DLL I have to use to communicate with the so-cool-it-makes-ice-cream check scanner, and counting off the days until we move back home.

Music and smells are powerful evokers of old times. Take a whiff of some newly opened Play Dough sometime, you'll know what I mean.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Downtown Babylon

Yes Virginia, music still lives. MTV didn't kill it. They just beat the crap out of it and hid it behind the bushes for 20 years. Then people like Paul Thorn picked it up, dusted it off, took it home and fed it lots of Wheaties.

You've gotta like a guy from Tupelo Mississippi (look it up kiddies) who lasted six rounds with Roberto Duran, talks like Forrest Gump, sings like a cross between Tom Waits and Kim Wilson, and dedicated a song to all the Moms who keep empty Cool Whip bowls in the cabinet for sending left over greens back home with their sons.

I'm not saying you'll like his music. People have different tastes. I'll just say this is the first time I've paid overnight shipping charges at amazon.com for something that was for me.

Paul Thorn's website

His home page has a link to a two part mp3 of a solo acoustic performance. Some songs deal with concepts and vocabulary that are Definately Not Kid-Friendly. Some are likely not Spouse-Friendly either, but I'll leave that to your descretion.

"Are you with me?" is a polished, studio album, not bad, but "Mission Temple Fire Works Stand" is less processed, and better for it. Actually, the solo mp3 with just PT and his guitar and a microphone is probably the best of the three, because there's less to get in the way of the music.

If anyone needs me, I'll be rocking out.