The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Thursday, March 16, 2000

My Dinner With Chuck

Chuck's weekly meeting was today. There are four of us working on a small web-based project that could be worth quite a bit and over the past few weeks we've been meeting on Thursdays to talk business over dinner.

Only this week, two of our four member team couldn't make it, so Chuck and I ended up going to dinner with Chuck's brother Jeff. Over dinner we talked about various topics at Lucile's, the local BBQ place with the killer hot sauces.

I was actually surprised when he said he's read R. Buckminster Fuller's Grunch of Giants, a non-political satire (as it's called and if there is such a thing) about large corporations. Once my copy from the Buckminster Fuller Institute arrives and I finish reading it, we'll have to have to have a talk about it.

We also touched briefly on the whole RIAA and MP3 fiasco. Chuck is thrilled with the developments the Internet has made possible over music distribution and absolutely loves MP3s. It doesn't hurt that he's a musician and is currently building a home studio. Although he has no idea how a musician will make money in the new market.

“There is the Street Performer's Protocol,” I said. “Musicians give away their recordings and make money by performing live and other merchandising,” I said.

“That's great if you can perform live,” Chuck said. “I've practiced as much as I can and I just can't jam. I'm more of a lyracist. I have much respect for John.”

“Guess it does screw the studio musician like you,” I said. There are no easy answers for this, other than perhaps sponsorship (which wasn't discussed but I bring up here now).

Afterwards, back at Chuck's house, I stuck around to watch Chuck get blown away in Half Life.

Gratefully Dead, and loving it.

Leaving Chuck's house I proceeded to Fisherman's Wharf to listen to my friend John, the Paper Millionaire, play in his Grateful Dead cover band. I arrived to find Mark and John's wife Lynae sitting outside listening to the band. Not as many people this week as last week but I'm guessing that might have something to do with it being St. Patrick's Day and people generally hanging out in pubs drinking.

I'm not really a Grateful Dead fan. I mean, their music is okay, I can listen to it, unlike Country or Western. But friends of mine (like Chuck) have claimed to have attended dozens, if not hundreds, of Grateful Dead concerts. I never understood the attraction that would keep people attending concert after concert, day after day, year after year.

But after hearing John's band play for the past few weeks, I think I understand the phenomenon better. They're an incredible band that jam more than play, each song lasting ten, fifteen, twenty minutes at a stretch, often blending into the next song with no clear break between them.

They'll start a song, sing a few verses, then jam out for ten minutes, resume singing a few verses (oh, they're still playing that song I think), jam a few more minutes, sing the last verse, then start the next song.

Just incredible.

But more incredible are the people. A large crowd, dancing on stage, spinning, whirling, stomping and otherwise just having a great time being abosrbed into the music, letting it take them where ever. It's effetious.

Like I said, I'm beginning to get a grasp on this whole Dead thang.

The Whirling Dervish and the Souless Man

While sitting at Fisherman's Wharf listening to the Grateful Dead coverband Crazy Fingers I was watching attractive girls dance to the music. There was one I found compelling, her dance coreographed perfectly to the music, a real joy to watch.

Unfortunately she seemed to be there with a significant other, one who didn't look like he was enjoying it there at all. Large, well muscled with the short crop hair of a Marine, sitting in an uptight position. Other than being physically large and well muscled, I couldn't see what she saw in him, but I would probably say that of any guy she was with that I didn't know.

Why him and not me?

The eternal geek question, that one.

“I'm with the band.”

It's odd doing stage work again after years of not doing it. Each Thursday, if I get to the Fisherman's Wharf early enough, and most times afterwards, I help John setup and tear down his equipment. Even though I'm not getting paid, I am getting compensated in other ways. It's not often anyone gets to say, “I'm with the band.”

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