Author: Sargent, Geoff

My Computer is Infected with an SFBOT

You’ve probably heard of botnets, networks of personal computers enslaved by malicious software viruses to do their evil bidding. Well my personal organic-computerhead, the one that sits on top of my shoulders and controls my every movement (even the words being typed right now), recently became infected by an extraordinary virus that created the infamous SFBOT net. There is no cure for this virus and the only way to leave the BOT net requires shutting down the organic-computerhead and doing a complete system rebuild, which unfortunately has a high morbidity and results in typically unsuccessful reboots. So be forewarned that reading this column might also infect your organic-computerhead and enslave you to the SFBOT net.

This BOT (Bluegrass Old Time) net is peculiar in that the compromised computerheads are often compelled to passively monitor output from groups of other SFBOT infected computerheads. More amazing is that small groups of SFBOT infected computerheads sometimes auto-organize and by a process involving artificial pseudo-intelligence learn how to collectively control the actions of other infected computerheads. If you understand what I just wrote then please let me know so I can figure it out too. Writing gibberish like this is just one symptom of SFBOT infection….the other symptoms are obsessing on themes involving jaded lovers, murdered lovers, lost lovers, footprints in the snow, cold empty cabins, and illegal distilleries.

You might have correctly guessed that I was at an SFBOT show Friday evening and while listening to the music my mind was churning around in the background wondering what I was going to write for today’s welcome. This was more than a little distracting but at the same time changed, perhaps for the better, my awareness of the show and the folks attending. To make things more interesting two of my band mates, Scott and TJ, went with me, actually it was their idea and kind of a boy’s night out to take in some music. Fortunately Scott and TJ have been SF-loBOTomized for a long time, even longer than me, so we fit right in with the other BOTs and their presence always makes for interesting conversation about the show, which usually reflects our musical preferences.

We went to the show at the Noe Valley Ministry….a nice, small venue, my first time there, for a show that promised a bit of old time and a bit of bluegrass. I was looking forward to seeing Crooked Jades, in part because Lisa Berman was playing, an excellent local dobro and claw hammer banjo player that I assisted last summer teaching at the CBA music camp. The show was kicked by the Black Crown String Band and closed by a group of hot pickers from Portland called Jackstraw. Woohooo what a show. The music took us up a hill and down again, there were dancers, even the dancing guy was there. In between sets, folks spent time greeting each other, talking to strangers and even engaging the musicians in conversation. In fact the crowd looked and acted a lot like crowds at events organized by other BOTnets, including the CBABOT virus….a particularly persistent virus that supports the IBMABOTnet.

Since Scott, TJ, and I are bandmates, we tend to study how other bands perform which provides the proverbial “bottomless pit” of topics for conversation. One thing that made a big impression and created conversation after the show was how the Jackstraw mandolin player broke strings twice on stage over about 30 minutes. This guy is obviously an aggressive mando picker….but you know that you are in the presence of other pickers when the real thing we were impressed with was how quickly he changed out his broken strings. He broke a string while singing lead and chopping, and while still singing, without missing a beat, he stripped the string off his mando and continued playing. Very cool.

I mentioned above that sometimes SFBOT infected computerheads auto-organize…….my bandmates and I are not immune from that and in fact have been completely overwhelmed by this pathology of the SFBOT virus which has some interesting consequences. For example, our bass player, Fred Cone, commuted from the CBA music camp in Petaluma to Concord to attend band practices for our gig last night at the Swedish American Hall…that is either dedication or obsession…..and probably a little of each.

I could go on and on about BOT nets, give more case studies, investigate the phenomenon ad nauseam but one thing is rapidly becoming apparent. These BOT nets are getting out of control. It is often said that the BOT nets proliferate most frequently in the summer months at BOT net festivals, but it seems obvious to me that the BOT nets are expanding outside their classical seasonal boundaries and will soon infiltrate every level of civilized society. The consequences are serious and will forever disrupt any hope of intelligent discourse between infected individuals. I predict that in the future, BOT infected individuals will form BORGs (Bluegrass and Oldtime Reproductive Groups) and life in the universe, as we know it, will be forever changed. Resistance is futile.
Posted:  2/21/2010

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