January 1st, 2004.

Great battles for New Years. Cartoon channel vs Dick Clark vs MTV. The Feebles vs the Muppets. Janna’s hot and sour soup vs Justin’s Patapsco stew. It was a good night.

Those are my socks poking out from underneath Ray, Cat and Jayson Blair (down from New York!)
Those are my socks poking out from underneath Ray, Cat and Jayson Blair (down from New York!)
We washed our hands carefully to make baklava. Thanks to Damian and Nien for their limey baklava recipe. Verr nice.
We washed our hands carefully to make baklava. Thanks to Damian and Nien for their limey baklava recipe. Verr nice.
We washed our hands carefully to make baklava. Thanks to Damian and Nien for their limey baklava recipe. Verr nice.
We washed our hands carefully to make baklava. Thanks to Damian and Nien for their limey baklava recipe. Verr nice.
DCF 1.0
We set up a movie screen and tonnes of food and watched the Muppets.
We set up a movie screen and tonnes of food and watched the Muppets.

January 6th, 2004.

I’m sitting at the College Perk, worrying about little things and big things, and watching the cat sleep on a pretty woman’s knee. Stubby tailed and contrary, I don’t remember the beast’s name off the top of my head – but it’s something like “Poopsy” or something equally painful.

Anywho, chatting with Shane on IM, our friend from Philadelphia. He’s a spectacularly connected creature, and is working on getting us a local TV spot of some sort. I know not to get TOO excited about that sort of thing, as local TV generally doesn’t translate into TOO much publicity or anything, and really – the most I’ve gotten out of past TV spots are video cassettes that I have to hide from friends, years later.

Sigh.

Damned Dirty Black Diamonds.

DCF 1.0

Recently we’ve been working on the Trio format. More mobile and cheaper to feed than the full band – more punch and more versatility than Heather and I alone. I’m very happy with the balance. Heather goes back and forth between percussion and guitar and is surprisingly enough, having little if any trouble with the singing while drumming, and Sharif is swapping between keyboard and bass.

Only I get stuck still playing the same thing.

Sigh. Maybe I’LL get a tambourine? No.

Anywho, I Love this sound, and at the moment, I think it’s my favourite ilyAIMY format.

A lot of good musical stuff at the moment: I’m really looking forward to this Saturday at the Music Junction. We just dropped off the posters and I always enjoy seeing Simon – he’s just – a very friendly man, and I like watching his face as he talks. There’s also an Iota show coming up, and I’ve been talking to Firedean about playing with him… the Trio is wonderful, and STUFF – and of course, there was also…

PLOJ XXVIII!!!

The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
Sitting at College Perk at the moment - someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy... as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff - a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS... Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
Sitting at College Perk at the moment – someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy… as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff – a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS… Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
DCF 1.0
The finest instrumentalist known to me - JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he's up next - and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I'll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I've already got the flannel.
The finest instrumentalist known to me – JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he’s up next – and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I’ll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I’ve already got the flannel.
DCF 1.0
Prize for furthest travelled - Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Prize for furthest travelled – Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Caged at PLOJ.
Caged at PLOJ.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff... oh god - so much food... so much wonderful fooood.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff… oh god – so much food… so much wonderful fooood.

Open mics are my absolute favourite way to pass the time. Like this wonderful buffet table of music. The PLOJes are even better, with so many changes so swiftly – never get bored. Pling. Tonight, the star of the show for me is Dan Zimmerman. Just a spectacular lyricist – tonight he’s got something that reminds me of an old poem of Heather’s… something about “underground snakes posing as trains consuming commuters” – How can you NOT Love a man who writes like THAT?

January 7th, 2004.

I hate the realities of Life. I worry about taxes, and I worry about an income, and survival. But – I also feel that I can take this. I don’t particularly want to, but the world has thrown all sorts of things at me, and I seem to be able to maintain a “this too shall pass” attitude.

I worry about my friends though.

I was out today with Gwen, wandering in search of Thai food, and I was talking to her about what my aspirations are, what I want to do – and I guess, why I want to do it. This all came out of a conversation about how a lot of my younger friends are graduating/have just graduated/are just about to graduate from college, and a lot of them are going through the pre-Real-Life crisis – realizing that they don’t quite know what to do with their Lives – and it doesn’t really do any good to tell them “I’ve just found my direction recently – worry about it if you haven’t found a purpose in Life in another ten years” – but… they’ve all just come out of a systemized indoctrination that tells them “four years ago you chose to be (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) – and for the past four years you have been preparin to be (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) and now you shall be a (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) – and there truly is this HUGE stigma to changing your mind.

Universities make it worse – as you go through your schooling, they blur the lines – they try to fool you into thinking you’re already in the field! And sometimes people realize they don’t want to BE in that field – but at that point, perhaps it seems impossible to reverse.

So my friends feel trapped – hopeless. I was fortunate enough to have a job offer right at the end of college – and it seemed that teaching high school was as good as anything at that point. I’d graduated with a degree in illustration and a hatred for my chosen “profession” – but it doesn’t get much nobler than teaching… I had an easy option laid out for me.

I think the natural course of events is for a college student to graduate, flail around in a dead-end horror of a job long enough to get so frustrated that they QUIT – and then start making the first REAL decisions of their Lives.

Majors and minors and bullshit degrees – it’s all about that piece of paper that you receive at the end. And half the time it doesn’t matter if your paper and your Life match…. the paper is like this tree-composed skeleton key. Most people don’t bother looking at the label – they want to know that you had the work ethic and the wherewithal to actually make it through school. The useful stuff – the real job stuff – is never learned till you get on the field.

Anywho – what was I originally ranting about? Oh yeah – purpose.

I want to be a rock star. Not for the fluffers and filtered M&Ms. I want the freedom.

As I worked at Glovia, I was only making $50,000 a year – but to the average college student, or the kid waiting tables… or the intern tiger tamer, that’s a veritable fortune, and I spread that veritable fortune around liberally.

Perhaps I was stupid – it means that while Steve made rent, or Sandy got dinner purchased for her here and there so she could afford art-supplies – I was NOT saving up for my future. I have no stock portfolio like my business savvy cousins. I am not an entrepeneur. Possibly, I can’t even spell it.

But I took care of my friends. And in the spirit of karma, or reciprocity, or just the turning of the tables, today people are taking care of me. Gwen bought lunch today, and in turn, I can afford to buy gas, and we can make another gig. It’s this huge swinging table of scratching of the back.

Or something.

I feel Loved.

But I look at my friends, and I think “who here is going to make it big” – I mean really big…? Do I have a chance? I might. With the right drive, the right will – well – maybe I’ll just collapse inwards and have to get that damnable dayjob again. Or I’ll go back to freelancing. One day I hope to maybe get a Masters and go back to teaching – but… my friends… I want to take care of them.

I can figure out the connexions and the webs of legalities – I know I can – and I want to be in the position to say “Amy, I’m going to make sure you don’t have to worry about moving again – you make the art, we’ll find the buyer. I’ll take care of you” – and I want to tell Brennan – “you take care of my cables, make sure the sound keeps coming out of the little speakers. I’ll take care of you.” – The belief that people have an internal worth – it’s not really allowed for, is it? The idea that if you don’t work for a Living, you have no worth – it’s sort of outmoded. Our world is rapidly heading towards a society where there is less and less menial labour, and more and more administrative labour – and one day there will be a Microsoft application for $99.99 that organizes it all – and half the world will be out of work…

And what happens then?

What happens when there is a surplus of food, a surplus of produced goods – and it’s all being systemized in some sort of almost workerless factory? Do people starve because they don’t have a new way of fitting into a niche? I don’t know. It seems that there is a glut of kids getting jobs in shelving books and running computer networks – not because we need more books shelved or networks being debugged – but because the kids need those jobs.

It’s a waste.

I don’t know. There should be an inherent worth to people – they should be allowed to exist on the merit of their being. They shouldn’t have to waste Life to make a Living.

I REALLY wish I could tell Heather “I’m going to take care of you – relax lady” – but I’m worried that I can’t.

Pling.

Enough of that. I’m sitting at College Perk, listening in to conversations and flinching.

January 8th, 2004.

Have arrived at my parents’ house, returning from the most… un… un something. One of the most uncomfortable open mic experiences I’ve ever had.

The Harambe Cafe in Adam’s Morgan, Washington DC – Ethiopian food catches me off guard with it’s excitement and spongey bread and clenchy finger action.

This isn’t here for any particular reason. Just a picture of my Grandfather’s train from his basement from Christmas. One of my favourite memories is of the toy train that Grandpa would put up every year. My brother and I would sit fascinated for hours. It’s just been too many pages of straight text.

But the open mic catches me further off guard. It’s “hip” and it has a house band that sort of grooves between performers, and it has an MC named “Empress” – and “rob and Heather” and “Dan Zimmerman” felt out of place among the “Mastah Cs” and whatnots and suchnots. I felt badly out of place.

Did I feel too white? Or too old? I’m not sure – but between accents and massive doses of ambient noise, I felt like a parent desperately trying to relate to my child, who’s decided the only way to be cool is to speak nothing but Swahili.

I understood nothing.

“Hi, my name’s rob!”
“Yo – s’up. Ah’m Tabdoh!”
“Whut?”

Oh God – I just… as much as I hate to say it, I feel comfortable at the open mics where Joe comes up and says “Hi, I’m Joe” and Joe has a band called “Joe and the ___________” … or… “the Joe Band”. I’m all about that.

Of course, I have a band called ilyAIMY – but what of it. I just felt like I could never be accepted to this place, no matter how often I came there. It was a different culture.

And the food was sooooo good.

And the band was sooo good.

And I soo couldn’t pronounce either their name or anything on the menu.

I’m a failed multi-culturist.

And as I thought of my failure, navigating the DC city streets, homeward bound, the highway slowly becomes familiar, and I remember high school field-trips, and gunshots, and the willow tree that used to sit along Good Luck Road.

And I pull onto Wellington Street, and slow the car around the curve, and pull up in front of my parents’ house, it’s denuded trees scratching slowly into the 20 degree weather.

The steps are solid and familiar, but the door still doesn’t seem normal to me yet, though it was replaced… I don’t know HOW many years ago… opening the door

though – I’m greeted by the familiar and almost forgotten scent of my mom’s hamburger soup.

Well, I grew up knowing it as chili. I don’t remember when it gleaned the “hamburger soup” moniker. But it is a familiar smell of hot water and pan-fried hamburger, beans and tomatoes and onions. I’d asked for my mom’s hamburger soup before, but the last time, she made it with turkey – or something. Something was bizarrely different. But this… I scooped a ladel-full into the old white bowls that were my microwave altar from high-school… this was familiar, and beautiful. And I knew there would be more tomorrow, and it would keep and keep and keep. And I could eat and eat and eat.

There’s something about the way the kidney beans squish between my front teeth.

Yum.

But there’s difficulty at home, too. My father will be going into surgery on Monday, and I think he’s very frightened. Perhaps I haven’t had enough experience with the medical machinary of America, but I think of there being little that can’t be solved with advance notice and money.

And so there is cancer to fight. But we’ve known this, and there are drastic if not desparate measures to be taken now. And I understand that he’s frightened, but… it’s time to stop toying with it and be done with it and get something approaching a normal Life again.

And I’m worried that the attitude towards treatment and recovery is at least as important as the treatment itself… if not more so. I don’t know – my familiarity with the computer industry makes me fear that most of our modern world is a conglomeration of runaway black arts that no-one really understands anymore… but that doesn’t mean that they don’t work, and it makes faith all the more important, and I worry that my father’s faith in the Medical Establishment has been through a pretty horrific grinding process. He’s been treated poorly.

I listen to Christian radio when I’m frustrated with my world – mostly because it gives me something else to be angry about, and it distracts me from my own problems. I find myself driving the highway yelling at bigoted preachers.

But the most recent “teaching” was on the book of Job, and the importance of Faith in the face of … in the face of God spitting on you. I don’t really have Faith in a religious sense, but… faith in oneself, and faith… faith that a Decision has been Made and that that Decision, right or wrong, will lead you to… well… to whatever’s coming next.

If you don’t have something like that in your head, how can you make any decision? And how can you not end up simply caught up in a loop of “what-ifs”.

You need faith of SOME sort to Live.

So, anywho – keep good thoughts coming.  Monday, and the following months will probably be pretty difficult, but it’s the end-phase of a three + year game, and I have high hopes for the outcome.

Oh – and the lesson learned?

If something hurts, and a doctor says “well I can’t find a problem” – that’s different from him saying “oh, that’s normal… that’s nothing”… “I can’t find a problem” means it’s time to shop around for another doctor, and not wait for doctor fucking A to get his head out of his ass and take notice of the problem on the next fucking visit.

When you take a car into the shop, you don’t let the mechanic stop until he Makes the Problem Go Away… do you? Why the Hell my father got a lesser treatment than a Ford truck… I don’t understand. Jayson Blaire is busily trying to do something about the Journalistic profession… I wish someone would do it for the bloated and frightened and overworked medical profession.

God, it’s been a rough start to 2004. A lot of people are having a lot of problems. But it can only get better from here….

right?

RIGHT?!?


The house is full of cats. They don’t trust me. Heather’s been trying to catch Rocket all night. Will she give Luka a complex because it’s evident she doesn’t feel that Luka’s as pretty as Rocket?

I WISH my camera was charged. After landing full square in the midst of all of Heather’s IM sessions with all four paws, Luka escapes up a vertical wall of boxes to menace a mammoth.

Twee!


Practice leaves me feeling exhausted. It’s becoming clear that on top of everything else Heather’s cold hasn’t missed me. It just waited for a while, and now my throat itches and my nose runs and I just feel hot and tired.

Route 3 leads to 97 leads to 695 leads to home, and the drive is far, far too long for my feelings. I’m not looking forward to a night full of difficult swallows and the squishy squishy squishy sound of my trying to scratch the back of my throat with my tongue. I feel sorry for Heather tonight. She’s finally looking forward to a decent night’s sleep sans her own drippy discomfort, and now she’s going to have to deal with MY drippy discomfort. My poor, poor girl.

January 10th, 2004.

Played the Riverdale Bookshop tonight. Awesome show, despite the hideous nastiness of this bastard cold that’s busily kicking my ass around the neighbourhood.

All of the photo credits from the Riverdale Bookshop, btw - go to Justin, Heather's brother. Though, some of the pictures came out really weird, cause the faces on the album covers hanging behind us end up the same size as my head. That ends up feeling kind of weird, like I've got some very famous people staring at my ass.
All of the photo credits from the Riverdale Bookshop, btw – go to Justin, Heather’s brother. Though, some of the pictures came out really weird, cause the faces on the album covers hanging behind us end up the same size as my head. That ends up feeling kind of weird, like I’ve got some very famous people staring at my ass.
I'm not sure exactly what I said, but Sharif's response is telling me that I may have made a poor choice in... probably a metaphor or something. I thought I'd been on pretty good behaviour last night, but apparently not.
I’m not sure exactly what I said, but Sharif’s response is telling me that I may have made a poor choice in… probably a metaphor or something. I thought I’d been on pretty good behaviour last night, but apparently not.
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I felt very “on” – I felt funny, and that made me happy. I also just Love the Bookshop. It’s a great little cafe. Good sound system (despite the lack of monitors). I Love playing for Simon, I Love playing for the regulars there. We made a lot of new fans tonight.

Heather on drums. Oh HELL yeah.
Heather on drums. Oh HELL yeah.

Gosh – I’m so tired I just can’t type right now. It’s actually January 11th, 2004. and sick people shouldn’t still be up.

I feel kind of weird having two pictures of me on a spread, here... but they fit. Rarely do I like shots of me singing, but Justin really captured some really good stuff. Though I've still got that bizarre forehead lump. But that's ok. I AM sort of worried about what this gesture could be referencing. I'm sure it's a testicle reference, but I don't remember referencing any testicles last night., and I'm hesitant to ask. I'd have to give some context, and I really don't feel like it. I've blown like - the set for Ghostbusters II (with the river of slime?) out of my skull, and I just don't feel like talking very much. I mean, I even cancelled band practice so's I could work on feeling human again.
I feel kind of weird having two pictures of me on a spread, here… but they fit. Rarely do I like shots of me singing, but Justin really captured some really good stuff. Though I’ve still got that bizarre forehead lump. But that’s ok. I AM sort of worried about what this gesture could be referencing. I’m sure it’s a testicle reference, but I don’t remember referencing any testicles last night., and I’m hesitant to ask. I’d have to give some context, and I really don’t feel like it. I’ve blown like – the set for Ghostbusters II (with the river of slime?) out of my skull, and I just don’t feel like talking very much. I mean, I even cancelled band practice so’s I could work on feeling human again.
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Last night was just a lot of fun. A train rolls by and you break into Locomotive Breath on a whim. I like that kind of relaxation. It’s something I feel I’ve not had with the whole band – I mean, a five + piece is pretty hard to redirect on a moment’s notice.

It’s strange, I’m typing this as Heather… well… no… as WE watch VH1’s hottest of the hot programme. We just passed some Victoria’s Secret Model at like, 87 or something, and now we’re on Alyssa Milano. I don’t like her too much, but for some reason they HAVE chosen one of my favourite Bon Jovi songs for the background music.

It’s weird, we’re sitting here and the Lloyds are all talking about some doctor who was really interested in Heather, and was going to cancel all his plans to come see her… and Heather turns to me and is like “doctor!!”… psh – I AM A ROCKSTAR!!!

Sigh.

It is strange to be watching this and have Heather’s dad rating the men. And he does it in the same way that he approaches most discussions – with a very – lawyer like – going down the pros and cons on a list or something. It’s like an attack –

which is all fine and good when he’s going on about business points, or about what the government should be doing or something – but to see this amount of passion over why whatsisname – the guy from the Foo Fighters is deemed hot… well, it’s good to know that he can feel that passionate about the masculine sex-appeal of the modern man. It’s just a little weird.

In any case, other than the gig and our general rockstar work, it’s felt like a non-productive couple of days. I know a lot of that has been because I’ve been so under the weather, but it seems to have a pretty vicious effect on my mood… my feeling of ability.

The East Coast is pretty rough, really. The midwest, I don’t know if they were starved for new sounds, or just friendlier and more willing to give you a chance… but… well, it tends to be that anyone who actually listens to us is excited to book us, but it’s so hard to even get that over here. Loppadee.

I was talking to Keith of the Dreamscapes Project at the show last night (he was soo excited to actually make one of our shows!). He’s working on his CD and hopes to figure out how to get into the 9.30 Club for its release.

If anyone that I know can get into the 9.30 Club, it’s Keith. He’s – well, in my opinion he’s a marketing genius. He’s just one of the most charismatic guys I’ve ever met, and for better or for worse, that counts a lot more than any other talents, it seems (not that I’m downplaying the musical or songwriting talents of the DsP – both are formidable).

I’d be satisfied to just be making a Living off of music – but I sometimes fear that because of that I’ll still be playing tiny coffeeshops and Living off of tips long after Keith has taken his amazing Dreamscapes through the national festival circuit and beyond.

But I have no clue how to crack that.

Not a clue.

Just keep plugging away, I suppose.

By the way – Sex in the City was really good tonight. There’s only like, 6 episodes left, and like Alfred with Buffy, I think we’re going to have to rearrange the next couple of band practices so’s we can see how things work out… I mean, I AM kind of worried abotu Melinda sprinting into marriage like that, cause I REALLY always related to Steve and she’s kind of a bitch. I just hope they’ve REALLY got things worked out this time, cause I’m sick of her straight-laced non-fun shit. I mean, really – what is Steve really thinking? Saying yes to her? Just because the proposal was really off-the-cuff and spontaneous, does he really think she’s going to have become like that? What does he see in her?!?

And I was a little teary-eyed over Samantha’s breast cancer, though probably mostly because of my mom, more than anything else…

So, yeah – in case I need to forget the drama in my OWN Life… sigh.

January 12th, 2004.

Sitting at Orbit’s, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Low-key and calm at the moment – “are you going away with no word of farewell? Didn’t mean to treat you unkind, you know that was the last thing on my mind.”

Perhaps six years ago I was brought here. The trains passing out the back window, old stone and wood. I remember travelling South from Baltimore to rescue Amy from her parents for a while with Bennigan’s and tallcakes. I think all three flavours were consumed. Frightening proportions of flesh to ice cream throughout that visit.

I remember Orbit’s as being a stereotypical burger-bar. Maybe with a ribs night and hubcaps hanging from the ceiling. But I’m sitting here and there are tofu subs and really spectacular vegetarian chilis and Christmas lights.

And frankly, I’ll fall for anyplace that’s lit by Christmas lights.

I fall for energy and passion and bright eyes, and I remember the Loves I had last time I was here. Tonight, our waitress, Kiki – sort of fits the bill. Very pretty and kind of … I don’t know… just bright. Certain people have a type of energy to them – you think they could light up any room they are given.

“Kiki” – Like Wikiki – NOT “Kinky”. Apparently a distinction she’s had to make in the past.

Anywho, the drive down here was grueling. It reminds me of how nice it was to drive the 60+ miles between Loveland and Boulder and never come down from 75 miles per hour. Here we travel the forty miles from DC down to Fredericksburg at about 15, occassionally coming to abrupt and jarring stops as the assholes ahead of us pucker and quiver over their break pedals. Perhaps a guardrail has startled them… or maybe the sky has freaked them out again, and all the commuters need to slow down and take a closer look. I know how we fear the unknown, and those bizarre patches of blue sky amongst the clinging grey of winter’s embrace… well… I can see how that’d freak a guy out, you know?

Anywho, Kiki – if you ever read this, speaking of not freaking out, I’m aware you’re prolly about 18, have no fears, I’m just saying you seemed like a cool woman and I liked the fact that you served water with HUGE slices of lemon in them – unlike those other places with their fucking teeny SLIVERS… Bastards.

The open mic continues – and I think it’s important that I make the distinction that when I say “relaxed”, I do NOT mean “unprofessional”. Some people use relaxed as a metaphor for “no-one cared about anything and didn’t know how to run a musical performance”. That’s not what I mean at all – “shit” would perhaps be a metaphor for that.

But no, Orbits is simply “relaxed”, which depending on my mood I can really enjoy.

And my estimation of the whole night just went up as Ralph opens up with a Tom Waits tune. Hell yeah.


Over the course of the night, I’ve been really pleased, and am actually unhappy with the fact that we’ve got to leave early. Some really cool people – people I’d like to hang out with, invite them to PLOJ, that sort of thing.

Anywho, we’re staying with Amy’s parents tonight (well, parent, as one parent is back in Baltimore, staying with Amy) and we needed to be in earlier than later. It’s the sacrifice one makes for Living on another’s schedule…

It’s strange. The last time I was here, there were several cats and a huge labrador retriever named Buttercup. She was a great snuffly beast, a creature which allowed me to first make the association between Audrey (my girlfriend through much of college) and large, happy, clumsy puppies.

Tonight there is a great beast of a cat outside (is that Shakespeare? but I thought Shakespeare was dead? Is it a neighbour’s cat? He doesn’t seem to want to come in… he’s HUGE!!!) and a little black dog that really reminds me of my mother’s dog, Hey You. (yes, there’s a story behind that name – no, I’m not telling it right now)… she surprises us as Heather gives me tango lessons in the darkened Living room. A doggie yawn and reproachful eyes are the only acknowledgement of our presence – also reminding me of Hey You.

A picture of Orbit's. A good stage, great host, Thom. Very kind place.
A picture of Orbit’s. A good stage, great host, Thom. Very kind place.
Orbits is right alongside an old raised set of train tracks. It means you get the romance of the passing train without the rumble. A big CSX diesel went by while we were eating dinner and my water didn't even tremble.
Orbits is right alongside an old raised set of train tracks. It means you get the romance of the passing train without the rumble. A big CSX diesel went by while we were eating dinner and my water didn’t even tremble.

The house hasn’t really changed. It’s still immaculate, still beautiful, still one of the nicest kitchens I’ve ever known. There are clementines and bagels laid out for tomorrow’s breakfast, and Chris (Mr Amy’s Dad) pops down for a moment in flannel pajamas to make sure we’re ok, and know where everything is.

I Love all the homecomings that we receive – so many to homes we’ve never been before.

Anywho, so – Heather gets Natalie’s old room, and I get Amy’s. Which is strange. Most signs of her ownership have been erradicated, more from Amy’s complete takeover of her new space than from any effort on the part of parents, I feel… but there are still the tell-tale sculpted bugs and a music box. I didn’t feel like being so invasive as to wind up the box and hear the tune, but there was the feeling of something precious left behind. I like seeing Amy’s name engraved in gold. It’s the way it should be.

Anywho, I should be sleeping rather than typing, but I’m sort of hesitant to lay down my head. (IS THAT AN AMY HAIR ON THE LAMPSHADE?!!!? NOT likely but possible.. hee!) This is the first time in our travels that Heather and I have had separate sleeping arrangements, and neither of us sleep well sans the company of the other. It’s just been… the way things are… for the past 4 and a half months. I’m worried that I’ll have nightmares sans her soothing warmth.

It’s been a good night, and I’m not ready for it to end, but I think Heather’s very ready to close the door and take a break. So that is the way the night shall flow.


Oh – and a note the restrooms of Orbits… so, in the men’s room, right in front of the toilet, is a heat register, which at first is really nice, cause I’m sittin there thinking… ahhh! warm air!!! Up the pant legs, insinuating it’s way through my leg hairs… quite delightful… but then I got to thinking about all the guys standing up…. and maybe dribbling… and about how that gets down into the heat duct, and probably never really gets cleaned out…. and … gets heated… So I was a little weird about that. And I felt it neccessary to pass along. Otherwise, that’s just ONE more thing between me and sleep.

Music box o the Erstwhile Elsewhere Amy.
Music box o the Erstwhile Elsewhere Amy.

January 13th, 2004.

Heather was attacked at 5am this morning, the perpetrator is lying in a sunbeam behind me, caged like the animal she is.

Maggie…

Oh Maggie...
Oh Maggie…

All of the Amy’s Parents’ House animals drool. Maggie apparently came rushing into Heather’s room at about five in the morning, and tracked Heather in the pre-dawn light, and leapt. I slept through her cries of “not the face! Not the FACE!!!” and “NO STRANGER DESERVES THIS MUCH LOVE!!!!”

Now, Heather often sleeps in these tiny little tank tops, which means that a WHOLE lot of skin was available for Maggie’s frantic perusal. And I believe all of it was … used.

This morning, Heather smells of dog.

And then there’s Shadow. Shadow wouldn’t come in last night (not Shakespeare, my suspicions about Shakespeare were correct) but this morning will stop at nothing for Love. Apparently Amy’s mom (who’s been up visiting Amy) are their primary source of Love, and they have been starved for about 48 hours. Now, to a cat, with a brain the size of a walnut, this is a veritable eternity – and though perhaps fiercely loyal in the presence of their owner – after the first hour or so of absence, I find that most animals begin to seriously doubt that their Human will ever re-appear.

Hence, when we arrive… well, the mammals seem willing to take what they can get.

Anywho – the sun is intensely bright outside, Heather’s still snoozing in her doggie stench upstairs, and I’m in the kitchen, listening to the cats wish I was feeding them, and listening to the dog wish I was playing with her, and listening to the refrigerator dream its refrigerator dreams, which involve an occassional hissing clunk.

I have NO idea what THAT’s all about.

Ok, this cat definately wants SOMETHING. I'm sort of at an impasse as to what to do with myself. Heather really needs the rest, and noone else is home... and the cat is... whining. I'm sure if I spoke Cat, that I'd find some child has fallen into a well somewhere.
Ok, this cat definately wants SOMETHING. I’m sort of at an impasse as to what to do with myself. Heather really needs the rest, and noone else is home… and the cat is… whining. I’m sure if I spoke Cat, that I’d find some child has fallen into a well somewhere.

Sigh. I hope my parents don’t think it’s a major failing that I never really learned how to make a bed. I mean, I went to my grandparents’, and Grandma would INSIST – but even then, I think my brother and I sort of competed to see who could make the most “realistic” looking “made bed” without actually fully, completely making it.

So here I am, not quite sure what to do with all of the pillows, and “turning down” the bed… and… how to make it all even? You pull one side, and the other side gets too short… oh my GOD – but I’m in a house that’s TOO perfect not to make the attempt… and Heather finally pities me and takes over.

Sigh. And I’m back to the kitchen with Maggie. She’s back in her crate. While she was out she had interest in only three things. Licking Heather, licking my feet, and peeing.

Ah, to be a dog. Now my socks are all slippery. Yuck.


Spent a lot of the day wandering Fredericksburg – got some good musical advice from a really fantastic music shop – Picker’s Supply – a guy gave us lots of contact information for the area, and – again, I’m just amazed by the music in small towns like this. We wandered antique shops and admired the menus of local delis. I can’t believe the weather – and I can’t believe the sleet comes tomorrow night.

My friend, Sandy, who we were planning to stay with tonight… well, her plans have changed and she won’t be around, so we’re left kind of begging accomadations for the night – though frankly, with how the weather sounds for tomorrow, we’re thinking of just heading back up tonight.

In the meantime, for the moment we’re in the top ten at mp3.washingtonpost.com. I figure at the beginning of next week, we’ll upload some stuff that’ll go on to Myxomatosis Took Its Toll, advertise that, and give you a REAL treat. For the moment though, I’m just happy that everyone’s been so helpful. La.

So, anywho, we’re sitting a Starbuck’s coffee place, abusing the wireless T-mobile hotspot thingie. Not sure what I think about it yet – I’ve been spoiled by places where it’s free, and this is effectively like long-distance, at .10c a minute. It’s worth it for the moment, as we kill time before playing Potter’s Pub tonight… but… I don’t know. I wouldn’t have signed up except there was a 24 hours free promotional with it….

Also, can’t find my camera cable, so pictures will come later.

Quick notes before uploading?

Brambleberry Tea is kind of gross, but “Reincarnation Tea” is a good name…

Incredible lentil soup… incredible sandwich, from the Olde Towne Wine & Cheese Deli in Fredericksburg… oh GOD.

Beautiful day, beautiful woman. Heather bent me sideways for a kiss in the car, and I have a renewed hatred of seatbelts.

We sooo rock. (Just you know, in general)


Later, we find ourself at Potter’s Pub, with the smell of fried foods and Cloves in the air. My head is beginning to hurt from the dim light and lengthy moments of … nothing. Sitting at an open mic, listening to tuning and the whine of cell phones that haven’t been shut off.

For a place that was completely dead at 9pm, at 11pm, we find a formidable audience forming, though since nothing’s been ordered but water and some nachos, I don’t know HOW this place makes money. Not really my concern, I suppose. I’m more worried about how WE’LL make money.

Got a nice email today from someone who saw us at Orbits last night. Someone who’d gone to the website, who’d been really inspired by what he saw there, and he sort of reminded me that perhaps we’re away from our original mission, stuggling just to survive for the moment.

The weather’s been colder, and my hands are clumsier. I have string cuts all overmy right hand, which reopen every time I further abuse the tools of my trade.

It’s got the potential for being a really, really long night.

January 14th, 2004.

So, it was a really, really long night. And there were some pretty painful moments. People, I mean – in case we need this reinforced out there… are really not at their finest when they’re drunk, and by the end of the night, just about everyone at this place was pretty smashed. It just wasn’t pretty – the first time I’ve been in such a stereotypical bar situation in a long time.

Random picture of a squirrel outside of Amy's Parents' House.
Random picture of a squirrel outside of Amy’s Parents’ House.

But there were shining moments. A couple of people came forward and were really, really helpful, full of information and advice – we ended up asking from the stage for a place to stay for the night, and though we got lots of offers, there was only one we felt comfortable following up on.

The host for the night, Chelsea, and her partner, Beau. They were beautiful. Beau looks like the kind of guy who was going to have a rough as razors, beaten, blown voice. But he opened his mouth and butterflies came out. Sweet and lilting, he has an incredible range, and I think both Heather and I fell for him immediately.

Chelsea is the younger of the two, nineteen and hauntingly beautiful in an art-school kind of way. She’s a nymph, or something, with a contagious smile and energetic voice. We go home with them, spend the night on their couches, learn new bathroom rules (can’t flush the toilet more than once every ten minutes), and get licked by their dog.

Oh sweet dog Love.
Oh sweet dog Love.

Heather’s gotten more dog-Love in the past 48 hours than she’s ever received in her Life.

Chelsea and Beau and Mariposa.
Chelsea and Beau and Mariposa.

Mariposa is playful, Loving, and Lovely. We sleep with all of our parts carefully tucked under blankets. Any exposed flesh is set upon and explored thoroughly, and we spend the night talking and swapping thoughts and thinkings and “tips for the road” – though… what wisdom we REALLY have to pass along, sometimes I wonder (especially after the nights where we sell NOTHING!!! sigh.)

But last night was really one of the nights where I was reminded what I really Love about what we’re doing. Beau and Chelsea were beautiful, and young, and kind, and happy. And they had a happy dog.

This morning was slow and sleepy and sunny, and everyone’s happy…

Happy until Mari got up and got into the trash.

The housemate, Nat (yes – Nat n Beau), gets up. Our only exposure to him the previous night was a couple of screams from the neighbouring bedroom – the death of his character in Zelda, apparently.

He’s checking for hints on the internet to beat whatever digital nemesis he’s facing (“SHIT! I’m going to have to roll the cup across the gap!!”), and wrestles with the dog, throwing her around, grabbing the tale, and mercilessly causing joy in her Life. Finally she steps away for a breather, only to find the rug she’s standing on being dragged back by her opponent, and she’s wrapped in his embrace again.

Kisses ensue… and then came the moment of horror:

“What you been eatin? What you been eatin?!? Spaghetti?!? Chicken parmesan?!? YEAH!! Gimme some of that!!” – Nat has detected the chicken parmesan on Mari’s tongues… and goes after it. s h u d d e r.


Anywho, we’re home now, and I’m feeling powerful. The cold is mostly done with me, and we played everything crazy fast last night, and we sort of jammed this morning before we left. I got clumsy because I was showing off, but I Love playing fast… yum. I think we’re going to sit back and shoot the shit with Justin, watch movies, and wait for the snow.

Heather won her first Scrabble game recently... check out such high points as "civilians" and "digital". Civilians was really where she won the game, using all her letters and using a myriad of small black tiles to ream me horribly.
Heather won her first Scrabble game recently… check out such high points as “civilians” and “digital”. Civilians was really where she won the game, using all her letters and using a myriad of small black tiles to ream me horribly.
Heather spends a lot of her morning time being accosted by animals other than me. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Heather spends a lot of her morning time being accosted by animals other than me. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

January 15th, 2004.

Sitting comfortably in the Living room, thinking about my fine, fine, fine Heather.

Played an insane Magic game last night with Janna and Justin. It got to be quite a mess and lasted for too long. I eventually did 113 points of damage to Justin in one turn, by attacking him with about 30 creatures (half of which I'd taken control of from him) and all my land (which I'd transformed into 2/2 critters with first-strike), and then ran Janna out of cards. Not that I'm a geek. Geeks have wanna-be gothy girlfrie- oh.
Played an insane Magic game last night with Janna and Justin. It got to be quite a mess and lasted for too long. I eventually did 113 points of damage to Justin in one turn, by attacking him with about 30 creatures (half of which I’d taken control of from him) and all my land (which I’d transformed into 2/2 critters with first-strike), and then ran Janna out of cards. Not that I’m a geek. Geeks have wanna-be gothy girlfrie- oh.

We spent the evening dressing her up for a little Goth gathering, going to Nation. I got to watch her put all the make-up on, and then sort of select clothes of all sorts. Unfortunately, my opinion actually counts for very little with her choices – but man… the way she turned out! Oh GOD I sort of wish I Loved dancing and going to Goth clubs.

Heather checking herself out in the mirror. Make-up festivities. Always the big question - "Big eyes, or big lips... oooorrrr.... big eyes AND big lips."
Heather checking herself out in the mirror. Make-up festivities. Always the big question – “Big eyes, or big lips… oooorrrr…. big eyes AND big lips.”
Trying on the red dress her mom made her.
Trying on the red dress her mom made her.
With make-up complete.
With make-up complete.
Heather ends up as a military cheerleader gothic. Like you do. I'm worried about her because ir's like... 4 outside. 4 shouldn't be a legitimate temperature.
Heather ends up as a military cheerleader gothic. Like you do. I’m worried about her because it’s like… 4 outside. 4 shouldn’t be a legitimate temperature.

I’ve never had a really, really girlie girlfriend before. It’s a little silly, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. I enjoy the whole dress-up act, and Heather never feels like she gets the chance to get out and play with her pretty clothes.


Watched AI tonight. Amazing movie, but so incredibly sad. I hate depressing movies, but I Love this one. Deaths and Love and loss – it always makes me worry about my own family and friends. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to Heather…. death isn’t something I’m particularly unfamiliar with. I’d been to 32 funerals by the time I’d graduated college, and swore somewhere along the way that I’d never go to funeral 33. That oath was broken when I went to a girlfriend’s grandfather’s funeral a couple of years ago. But I haven’t lost anyone I was particularly close to for a long time. I really don’t plan to, either.

January 16th, 2004.

Watching too many movies, not getting enough done. It’s like we’ve fallen into a patch of slack. Starting Sunday, that will change again, but I always feel guilty for sitting still.

Today, Heather’s started “Sleepers” on the On-Demand somethin somethin. It’s already covered man’s inhumanity to man when man doesn’t see a man as another man – and now it looks like we’re going to head into child abuse.

Movies like this leave a bad taste in my mouth. Rape and abuse scenes as a whole make me feel ill. There’s enough of that in the real world, and enough of that has happened in MY world that I don’t really have a need to see it in cushy movie seats with M&Ms and soda.

It’s such a massively self-propogating problem. Abused children grow into children who can’t control themselves, and maybe have kids themselves at age 13. And from there there is nothing but a cycle of destruction. It’s nothing more than a disease, with the individual viruses spreading and spreading. Exponentially, with only one or two children escaping here and there out of thousands and thousands of… angry animals who were never equipped to deal with the world.

And with that going on in the world – why the desire to have it… beautified or glorified? If these movies sent profits to … to help the problem or something… instead, I don’t think it leaves any impression half the time – people watch this, are amused by it, and might even cringe, but leave as unaffected as the children doing time in this movie.

We should take joy, and take amusement out of the good things. Like kittens. Cats are usually afraid of water. But Caramia – Caramia saw a toilet for the first time a couple of days ago – and joyously went for a swim. She was so happy

But in the meantime I watch prison guards beating children with mud and sticks. And don’t forget the blow jobs and anal rape.

I guess, especially since it seems to be a period movie, it’s so easy for people to think – this is all past tense. “How good it is that this doesn’t happen any more”.

Ah – well that’s ok then. With the abuse, the children grow up hard and mean, and capable of killing the guard. Which they do… that makes everything even out, right? And makes for a happy (enough) ending.