Hoooo boy, hypochondriac dreams leaking into my waking thoughts this morning. Although it's very hard in these early-morning hours to think as reasonably as I can normally during the day. The nightmare menu includes (again) intestinal worms and this time dreaming a doctor's visit in which the doctor tells me the (actually very real) persistent but mild pain in my left foot I've (I repeat, actually) had for the last few months is (this is not actual, but the dreamed part) some sort of cancer and I have six months to live.
Maybe I should get this foot checked out, though. I kind of assumed it was due to my shoes being a little too small. My left foot is a little bigger than my right, and the pain started I think a while after I bought my current pair of shoes last summer/fall, and I knew they seems just a bit too small but the shoe store didn't have the next half-size up. But, you know, it's not really going away, though it's not getting much worse, either. It's just been coming and going for a while now.
Oh, wow, was the musical get-together I was all excited about tremendously mediocre and unexciting. I'm not too bothered, though. I take this as a sign that at least one of my long-term, er, maturity-simulation projects is working, in that I'm successfully training myself to accept that it's quite all right even if an overwhelming proportion of relationship leads (be they social, romantic, musical, or anything else) don't pan out, and just move on after each --- I don't even mean to say "failure" as much as "absence of absurdly instant success" --- and keep looking for more opportunities.
I think what I'd be looking for if I wanted to play with a vocalist is more Janis Joplin than Natalie Cole, more bawling, screaming blues than sugary jazz. I like listening to the latter a lot, but it's a very, very different thing trying to play it and having adapt to another musician and not being able to totally run off on my own stylistic tangent.
Apart from that what this has taught me is that I don't think I have quite the accompanying skillz yet to handle the just piano-and-voice thing. With a bass and maybe drums enough space would be filled, but the piano styles I can muster are either full-on soloing or very sparse comping.
Kleinberg class today was extra good today. It was a great explanation of spectral clustering --- what I sort of understood from Bar-Joseph and Moore's machine learning class I know understand much better. Much like the whole topic of generating functions, it's attractive partly because it's so mysteriously effective. It's the kind of mystery that suggests there may be some very nice theorems left to be proven.
You know, I say I hate winter, but on nights like these --- cold but clear and not too windy, when I hike up Devon until it dead-ends into a private street at the top of a hill, and look through the leafless trees to find a fantastic view of, I imagine, a good chunk of northeast pittsburgh, and climb around the wooded side of the hill south of Fifth Ave, and slip and fall on my ass in the snow and laugh a couple times, and grab for trunks to steady myself, and find new paths and little stone stairways between houses, and hop down an embankment and find myself in the back of an apartment's parking lot with a richer sense of the local geography, the way a kid knows the woods behind his house --- I secretly don't mind it too much.