Saturday, 2/10/01

I should have known better. I was already in a rather bad mood, and I went ahead and did it anyway. I tried to draw a picture in Microsoft Word.

I figured that since I was in a bad mood and didn't feel like doing anything at all, I might as well get some work done and draw some of the figures for my paper. Couldn't hurt, right? Drawing figures is a fairly brainless activity. No eloquence or elegance required. Just plop down some boxes and arrows and labels.

Like a blind man unwittingly strolling down a pier, I proceeded to open up the Microsoft Word picture editor. The plopping went fairly smoothly. And then I tried to line up what I had plopped. Tried to make the little arrows point to the little boxes, with the little labels right above them.

Words cannot express how I felt after an hour of wrangling with the Grid From Hell. So I took to expressing myself with various profane guttural noises, culminating with a very impressive howl of rage and despair. I didn't even know I was capable of such an inhuman, unearthly sound. Microsoft Word truly brings out the beast within.

The picture editor seems to have been intentionally designed to frustrate the user. I can't even imagine how a drawing program could be harder to use. Well, that's not true. You could select the line tool, and it would format your hard drive and then make the computer monitor fall on you.

Anyway. Yesterday, Michele got into another car accident. I wish she would stop doing that. Keyboard repair guy came, muttered something about ordering parts, asked for a lot of money, and left. Ate dinner in San Francisco with some friends and friends of friends, and got to watch Shumway put on his "impress the cute chick by completely dominating the conversation" act, which was sort of amusing in an irritating kind of way.

Today was another band practice. I'm getting better at playing with others, which is a good skill to have. And I guess I had fun. But after every practice, I have this sort of unhappy, sick feeling. I don't think it's entirely because it's not my music. I think it's a lack of trust. I would be happy to play songs that Andy made up, because I respect Andy's musical abilities. When Andy puts down a chord, he knows what he's doing. The songwriter for this band, on the other hand, can't read music. He doesn't know the names of the chords. He apparently came up with his set of songs entirely through years of trial and error. The songs are catchy and fun to listen to, but they are not very interesting from a musical perspective. I feel good playing them, but I don't feel good about playing them.

Many computer science students at Caltech were enticed into doing web design, a job that uses almost none of their skills and isn't at all intellectually stimulating, but pays a lot more than most legitimate computer science work. The term for this was "web whoring". I think that's sort of how I feel about playing for the band.

I'm going to stick with it, but I've really got to get my own thing into high gear. Right now, I've got four full-length songs (two with words, two without) floating around in my head, in various stages of half-writtenness. Not to mention a hundred or so one-line doodles in my sketchbooks. I don't want to end up ten years from now with a stack of sketchbooks and no completed works. That would be pathetic.