14 February 2011

212s & Heartbeats

Listening to: Theophilus London, "Why Even Try." This track features Sara of Tegan and Sara fame. We're watching Theophilus in concert tonight, after he tapes an appearance on Letterman. I didn't really know anything about him before agreeing to go to the concert; except that his first name is impossible to remember.

From what I can tell, that may soon not be a problem for him because he's got Pharrell/Kanye-lite potential. Apparently London used to be a music journalist, released a mixtape in 2009, and is "the most-connected man in alt-pop." His EP just came out last week, it's called Lovers Holiday.

After the concert, assuming it goes amazing, I could maybe say that I'm finally ahead of the curve on a music act. I mean, Mr. London doesn't even have a Wikipedia yet. I'm gonna be so in the know!

Update: We missed everything but the encore due to bad timing. From what I could tell, Theophilus is better through speakers than live. His Letterman performance confirmed it. Also Theo's dance is a double shuffle with one arm pointed out. You can't call that "my dance", it's just basic aerobics. I still have his tracks on repeat though.

I have the birthdate of an ex-girlfriend tattooed on my left arm. People shake their heads when I tell them what the numbers mean. The cardinal rule of getting tattoos is to never get a significant other's name, etc. embedded on your body. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the wisest move, as that girlfriend and I broke up about a year later. Was I so deep into the relationship that I thought this would last forever when I got it? Not really. We had been only dating for six months or so. But it felt right and I've never regretted it.

When I decided to get the tattoo, I didn't exactly consult her. I basically said, "Hey, I'm getting a tattoo of your birthday." She asked once if I was sure before I announced that I was doing it pretty much either way. In theory it could have been seen as a gesture. A sign that we were clearly going places because of my willingness to etch something in permanent ink. But because I gave her no say, discounting her potential positive or negative opinion, it probably wasn't a gesture on any level. Especially a romantic one.

I called her about an hour before I went into the shop and she arrived as I was paying and thanking my artist. The whole thing took about twenty minutes from smooth start to itchy finish. A few days later, the wound started oozing little droplets from infection.

Having now been in New York for three months -- right around the time when I usually get antsy -- I'm still digging it. The weather has curtailed a few activities but for the most part I'm just as enamored with the city as before. I don't see an end in sight, which is a good thing. I'm still exploring and excited about everything.

A few weeks ago I met a guy who's been more transient than I am. He's been traveling the country, and a bit of the world, with just a rucksack and a guitar. We traded notes on packing light, the constant ebb and flow of friendly faces, and what internal signs usually mark the beginning of our exits. One conversation we didn't have is what we're looking for in a particular place. I think it's because we both understand that you don't find what you're looking for in a physical location. After all, situations change, places change, and people definitely change. What's that axiom? You can't return whence you came?

Actually I butchered that. Google tells me James Baldwin said, "Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go." That's fitting since I'm headed back to where I came, just for a little bit. Then I'll be back. So let's end with another Baldwin quote: "Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within."

No, I have no idea what that means either.

Starting tonight, Watson, a super computer, will be facing off with past Jeopardy champions in a much hyped battle. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a ridiculous ratings grab. Of course Watson would win with its unbeatable reflexes and limitless electronic brain. Where's the suspense? Then I read this article, "Why IBM's Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important," about how the programming challenge was to make the computer figure out what it was looking for amid Jeopardy's "nuance, puns, double entrendres and complex language designed to mislead human contestants." Great point. So I guess the lesson here is that it doesn't matter how intelligent you are if you don't know what you're looking for.

Here is a fan maintained database that has been archiving Jeopardy questions for quite some time. Take a look because it's insanely comprehensive. Can somebody please make this an app already?