Recently, the nut broke on my Strat. This is the guitar I’ve had the longest. It was made in 1984 and I bought it new sometime in 1986. That nut was original, and after having it replaced by the gurus at Specimen, they thoughtfully returned the old, broken one in a baggie inside the case. It wasn’t fractured this dramatically when I brought it in. They must have broken it in the middle while removing it. You can see the original damage on the far left, where the outermost piece that kept the low E string in place is gone. Now, as I behold these odd, yellowed pieces of plastic, I think of the countless hours of music that were made on them. I’m not even sure what the right order of magnitude is, but given that I’ve had this guitar for almost 40 years and it’s been my primary instrument for all of that time, the number has to be in the mid-tens of thousands of hours. For so many shows, recordings, rehearsals, and practice sessions…that hunk of ash has been an extension of me since I was a teenager. And of course the nut is so vital to the whole of it, structurally and tonally. It’s a different instrument now, subtly but surely. What should I do with this artifact? It feels wrong to throw it out with the trash. Or maybe it’s better to think of it being returned to the Earth.1
If you visit the website here (as opposed to reading the emails), you may notice a new look and feel. I upgraded the theme to the latest version after being lazy about it for a long time.2 I fixed a couple of other bugs while I was under the hood, and found a few more that I’ll get to over time. Take a look around, see what you think. The most salient feature is that it can toggle between dark and light modes. Click the icon on the top right that looks like the sun or moon (depending) to switch. Your browser should remember what you chose for your next visit. Hopefully that little bit of saved state doesn’t mean I have to put a stupid GDPR banner up.
I went to a bar with some friends this week and we competed in a trivia contest. The degradation of my faculties was on full display. I botched basic questions in my music and science wheelhouses which, just a couple of years ago, I’d have answered correctly before he finished asking them. And the topics where I’m historically weak, well. 0-fer. I once thought I could compete on Jeopardy, but on Thursday I got my ass handed to me in a bar by the airport. Did COVID literally ruin my mind, or did it do so indirectly via two+ years of isolation? Or is this just the level of decay to expect in any 55.8-year-old brain?
The Twitter thing, man. Have you ever seen a trainwreck quite like this? Here’s a pretty good thread (read it while you can) about the sort of things that can go wrong at a big social media site. It’s bad! How’s the supergenius™ going to handle any of this now that he’s chased away 75% of the staff? It’s a shame we’re losing this asset with so much potential (that, admittedly, it didn’t usually live up to), but seeing this gibbering moron exposed for the complete fraud he is takes most of the sting out.
We’d all be so much better off if he’d bought Ticketmaster and destroyed them instead. Although now that they’ve awoken the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, their time in the barrel is imminent. And, honestly, if I were them, I’d be a lot more scared of Taylor and the Swifties than I am of the DOJ. If they can’t figure out how to indict a private citizen caught red-handed with a stack of stolen top secret government documents in the basement of his roach-infested resort, I’m not sure what those boobs actually can do.