Several weeks ago, a dear friend reminded me of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs on June 12, 2005, at Stanford University. The entire speech heaves with wisdom, hope, and love, and I tend to come back to it every now and then, just as I do Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grassfor comfort, compassion, direction, perspective. I meant to write something about it then, but things got in the way.
Here’s a pertinent excerpt:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everythingall external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failurethese things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
I don't enjoy feeling like an ignoranus, but that's exactly how I feel after spending a day at the Convention Center during CES. The word "hate" keeps coming to mind. As in: "I hate it." But I don't think I really hate it. As I told JI, during one of my many pouts, I'm sure the experience is good for something. I just don't know what it's good for.
It started as a joke. I told my uncle, also a huge Mets fan, that if the Mets didn't make it to the playoffs, I'd get rid of my television. What would I need a television for anyway? All I ever watch are Mets games, and I can get my news from the internet or the radio. The idea became more attractive as I thought of how much easier it would be to swap audio components without an enormous, old 27" Sharp television set getting in the way. I might even be able to hock the television for a sweet pair of bongos, or something similarly musical and pretty. They've got some nice rhythm sticks over there at Jemma Loan on Newark Avenue. A trumpet? A few harmonicas? Who knows? Plus, without the easy distraction of television, I'd inevitably read and write more, listen to more music, maybe even exercise a bit. All good things.
I never cared much for Santana. (The band, not Johan. Johan, I love.) You know, there was always "Evil Ways" and "Oye Como Va"fine songs for a stretch of highway when there's nothing else on the radio, but, eh: So what? I shrug my shoulders.
Because John is visiting manufacturers in Montreal, he missed this morning's rock awakening. We're gathered in my office, huddled round the sound, listening. "I'm glad John isn't here," says Elizabeth. "I need to break this in slowly."
I received a very kind note from Owen McCafferty, who, along with Ben Meadors, hopes to travel to Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, Cleveland, and New York City, meeting vinyl collectors, record store owners, and other vinyl enthusiasts, to discuss why vinyl is important. The duo will document their journey and publish a book detailing their experiences.
1. My system, with the Moscode in it, seems to achieve greater soundstage width. In Ryan Adams' "Mockingbird," a tambourine rattles away far in the righthand corner of my room. It startles and impresses me every time.
I’m so much more impressed by good, affordable systems than I am by those costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. I find it difficult to concentrate on music when I’m overwhelmed by the high prices of the gear delivering it. Price should never be the most impressive aspect of hi-fi.