Monday, June 02, 2003

This coming Tuesday (that'll be tomorrow!) I’ll be leaving the cozy confines of Berkeley to enjoy a three week sojourn to the Midwest with stops in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Chicago. Initially, this was a hard decision to make given that I am and have been unemployed for far longer than I ever imagined (though, I must admit, I did manage to gain a t-spoon of solace from a recent article in the Economist which pointed out that, currently, the average length of unemployment in the U.S. is 20 months) and that by leaving the Bay area job market for so long I would potentially miss the miracle of doors long closed suddenly opening and beckoning. Of course, that’s not going to happen. The job market here in the Bay reminds me of Sisyphus, toiling to roll that rock up to the top of the hill only to have it roll back down again. Case in point- about a month ago I made it through a few rounds of interviews with a San Francisco based lefty magazine and felt that the interviews had gone quite well. But then the call came that a “very difficult decision” had been made (at least they were nice about pushing the rock back down the hill) and so-forth and so-on and so it goes. I try to keep Albert Camus’s famous essay on Sisyphus in mind by choosing to see not discouragement in trudging back down the hill to meet the burden of the rock once again (though, admittedly, there are times when the thought of writing another cover letter or of receiving another rejection letter is more disheartening than a vat of lima beans), but rather the idea that I am stronger than that particular rock. “The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart,” Camus wrote, which I’ve always interpreted as being akin to the aphorism, “It’s not the arrival that matters but the journey.” I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple years. I’ve learned a lot about that freakin’ rock! I look forward to these next few weeks as an opportunity to leave my rock idle for a while. It’ll be there when I get back. Some doors might even open and I’ll roll in right on in.

There are a couple things I absolutely must have when going on a vacation. Music and books. There’s something about traveling that seems to infuse whatever music or books I bring with an additional veneer of anticipation. I think it’s that I expect to be even more curious, more attentive and more eager when traveling and that the books I read and the music I’ll listen to will be the fortuitous recipients of this heightening. Here are the books I’m bringing-

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle- Haruki Murakami (I’ve been on a big fiction kick of late and the buzz about Murakami seems to be that he’s the Western reader’s favorite Japanese novelist- which inevitably leads me to wonder just who the West’s favorite writer from Uzbekistan might be?)

The Iraq War Reader: History, Documents, Opinions- Edited by Micah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf (It seems so vital to me, as a citizen of the U.S., to have as complete an understanding as possible of the various machinations and malfeasances that were perpetuated by this administration in order to bring the U.S. into a war that was fought, not in our best interest, but rather, as becomes increasingly clear, the interests of a small but frighteningly powerful set of neo-conservatives with chips on their shoulders. That being said, and thus betraying my own bias, this collection looks remarkably balanced- you’ve got your lefties, your neo-con’s and your moderates all stomping grapes in their respective vats.)

Here’s the music (of which I always bring way too I may trim the fat off this in the next couple days)

Tosca: Dehli9
Tim Hecker: Haunt me, Haunt Me, Do It Again
Nils Okland: Staum
Supersilent: 6
Barbara Morgenstern: Nichts Muss
Prefuse 73: One Word Extinguisher
Johann Johannson: Englaborn
Four Tet: Rounds
Bert Jansch: Dazzling Stranger
Orchestra Super Mazembe: Giants of East Africa
Information: Biomekano
The Delgados: Hate
Ibrahim Ferrer: Buenos Hermanos
Bill Evans Trio: Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Sigur Ros: ( )
The Minus 5: Down With Wilco
Yo La Tengo: Summer Sun
A Band of Bees: Sunshine Hit Me
Pernice Brothers: Your, Mine and Ours
Autechre: Draft 7.30
Impact!: Rare and Unreleased Reggae, Funk and Soul...
The Soft Pink Truth: Do You Party?
Miles Davis: Seven Steps to Heaven
M. Ward: End of Amnesia
Neil Young: Tonight’s the Night
Daniel Lanois: Shine
Beth Orton: Trailer Park
Lexoleum: Lex Records Compilation
2 Many Dj’s: As Heard on Radio Soulwax Pt. 2
Miami Sound: Rare Funk and Soul from Miami, Florida 1967-1974
Neko Case and Her Boyfriends: Furnace Room Lullaby
America: America
The Cars: The Cars
The New Pornographers: Electric Version
Before Night Falls: Before Night Falls Soundtrack
The Roots: Things Fall Apart
A Tribe Called Quest: Midnight Marauders
OMD: Architecture and Morality

It’s a (wonderful) sickness...I know.