maybe I should get a nicer guitar.

I packed my guitar down to the weekly ceili in Los Altos tonight. Lots of fun: I haven't performed with a guitar in maybe eight years, and even when I did it was in classical ensembles. Here, I was just part of the rhythm section for the whistle players, and the really critical thing is that the music remain danceable rather than that all the notes be correct/present/in tune. It worked out especially well because (a) I've never played Irish music before, (b) Irish music is a little tricky to learn when you're already rusty, and (c) the primary guitarist is performance-quality, knows all the songs, and plays one of the loudest acoustic guitars ever built (a Taylor Dreadnought; mine, an economical Washburn at maybe 1/8 or 1/10 the price, is pretty easily overwhelmed by such a beast). It's a different mindset for me, coming from a cappella music where every wrong note sticks out like a sore thumb, but as long as I play the wrong notes on the right beat so the dancers can keep going, we're fine. Vocal music is unforgiving in its need for precision, but the guitar by nature is not an entirely precise instrument: playing a single note generates multiple harmonics just on the plucked string, and even more harmonics and overtones and sympathetic resonance in the unplucked strings (if you don't mute them with your hand), all echoing back and forth with the soundboard.

The ceili has girls. Including one or two who may have been flirting with me, and one who makes me a little nervous, which makes me want to talk to her more. Scary, mysterious creatures, these females.

Enh, who am I kidding? No one has any fun if I pretend I'm meek, shy, or modest.

A bit more mellow at work now, especially with a few people on vacation for the week. My tasks often take the form of a data structure we call a stack, which is exactly like a spring-loaded stack of dishes in a cafeteria, where you can only access the top of the stack, either to put things on or take them off. I'll be working on project A, then project B comes along that's more important, so A gets pushed down the stack; then project C interrupts B. Eventually I get stuff done, and the stack unwinds. Temporally it can take up to a month for me to return to something I was working on before; I have fun trying to come back and remember what problems I was trying to solve and how I was trying to solve them. It's nice to be back to solving problems.