SWLLC vs. The World
LLC 1 ; World 0

And let’s fucking hope this holds, yes? Two nights ago, I was pursued by one of Maine’s finest and, my apologies to any family members who wind up reading this, was able to duck down a back alley, kill the lights, slink real low in my seat, and wait until they roared by in a glittering blaze of red and blue after some other speeder and pursue unmolested for the next 35 miles down route 302.

Last night, as Misha mentioned, we were pulled over again by the border patrol. Similar situation: late night, little bit of fog, some small town squad car pulls out of its speed trap and starts following me. I have technology on my side – I set the cruise control for one mile over the speed limit and divide my time between monitoring road signs and checking the status of Officer Friendly in my rearview. We finally get pulled over, but I’ve got that weird confidence you get from not having done anything wrong, and we go from there.

Miraculously, we are allowed to go on our way, despite having a van with tinted windows, California plates, one brown-skinned naturalized Briton, one vaguely “ethnic-looking” Israeli, one Irish guy with tattoos and a knife, and a bleary-eyed Jew with a bad haircut behind the wheel.

Tonight, my daily beatdown from the world of men came in the form of a broken power adapter for my one and only effects pedal. It’s not the kind of thing I’d brandish on the pages of Guitar Player magazine, but it’s an iron horse of a multi-FX processor that has gotten me through more tours of duty than I know how to count, and its power cord died somewhere between Boston and New York. Since it’s an effects pedal, it (of course) has some weird combination of voltages and impedences that means you have to go to Guitar Center and throw down $30+ for a replacement when it inevitably starts acting skittish, but here I was, in Potsdam NY, and I wasn’t about to make some side trip to the nearest major city just to replace my damned power cord. We’d been staying with our best friends in Potsdam, the inimitable Mark Zagarelli and Eric Arzberger, who possessed, among other things, the entire first season of “McGuyver” on DVD. This inspired me to rip an embedded staple from the wall of the Cheel Center, bend in painstakingly into a 180mm ox-bow, then jam it into the power supply as a means of bridging the severed wire in the power supply.

My father went to MIT back in the 60’s, and I feel like he would have been proud. He taught me at an early age that it was really fun to take electrical things apart, and then at a later age that, statistically, the things that you’ve taken apart probably won’t work as well once you put them back together as they did just before you took them apart, both of which were pretty valuable lessons. Because on the one hand, taking electronic shit apart, when you know what you’re doing, is an incredibly worthwhile experience. On the other hand, though, there comes a point in your life when you have to say to yourself, “You know, it isn’t 1964 anymore. Your hi-fi system wasn’t hand-assmebled from some mail-order Damark kit – you bought it from Sony, and if something goes weird with it, God help you if you don’t go into an authorized service center and get it taken care of by a paid professional.”

My new best friend in all of Philadelphia, Matt @ the World Cafe Live, helped me take apart my guitar amp and reassemble it for fun and profit, and it was a legitimately pleasant experience: two well-meaning people assembling a piece of precision crafted Japanese machinery, talking shop and presumably filling superficial voids in each other’s lives with words like “quarterphone” and “transducer,” securing power sources with Phillips heads and becoming closer as men.

I wrote a great end-piece to this, but the laptop I was using lashed out and erased it. I don’t know if this is a sign of things to come or merely a fluke of technology. The bottom line is, we’re happy to be here, we consistently get fucked with by machinery, and we’re ultimately children of the 21st century who are able to either triumph or pretend like we’re triumphing in light of these circumstances, especially when we’ve been drinking, which is presently the case, so goodnight.


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