April 2nd, 2006.

Last night was an amazing show. Alex, if you read this, I hope that this fact keeps you up at night, fretting about how you missed one of the best damned ilyAIMY shows there ever was.

Meredith brought her crue for her almost-birthday to the New Deal Cafe to watch us perform last night. Brian is on the left and bought a necklace from Heather. 

A hugely full house. Overflowing actually… even in the big room at the New Deal Cafe we were way over fire-code and out of seats. We opened the doors and people spilled out on to the sidewalks.

Some more of the crowd at the New Deal Cafe. Twee!

I wish I knew what the secret was. With that kind of massive crowd we couldn’t help but give our all in response. (new band motto “If you’re gotta bring it… Bring EVERYTHING!!!”) Not that we could keep doing that at the New Deal – quarters were far too tight and we can’t go to a venue PLANNING to get them in trouble with their legal capacity thingie… but I wish I could guarantee all those people would come to another show at another venue and translate that into a steady gig at a place slightly larger.

Scrap that. I just a slightly bigger New Deal. I got one. Filled it. Want a bigger one.

Watching Tinsmith was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I had a lot of running back and forth to do – I got to run sound, I got to talk to Richard about booking and contact and our future shows at the New Deal, I got to flirt (ah, my hard Life), I got to work the room – I didn’t get to just sit and watch Tinsmith (the fact that there were no chairs left to sit and do this IN is a moo point).

I think their set was probably the perfect length – just as people started to get antsy and started asking me when ilyAIMY was going on, I heard Rowan say “well, we’re going to play one more song”. Switch over, ilyAIMY takes the stage – ah, poetry in motion.

We played well. As always, there were bugs and problems – and I NEVER feel like we’re loud enough and Rowan always thinks we’re too loud. During “No Place is Home” I was so distracted by the sheer fantasticness of us that I forgot to sing. It happens. Generally I’ll be way into whatever Sharif is playing and I won’t be paying attention when the chorus comes around. During “Drown” I played the instrumental from the duo version that we play on the road while the rest of the band switched chords and swung on into the full-band version, leaving me shivering and alone… Aaand in “Speaking Louder Now”… the song was beautiful. Sharif was making Love to his piano, expressing my lost Love eloquently through his fingers. Heather’s harmonies were perfect… Rowan had JUST come in on the drums… and I broke a string. I tried to continue a capella. That was horrible. I tried to continue on bass. That was worse. Finally we had to end the song, which was very, very sad.

And yes. All the problems were MY fault.

Sigh.

BUT ITS MY BAND!!!


Morning after… shoulders are cramped, body hurts… photoshoot. Ploo. Today Heather and I gathered at the College Perk to meet our friend Rachael and throw her in the dirt and dress her in a little girl’s dress and sprawl her hair everywhere and twine her in flowers and chains.

It was very, very nice.

Yup. Heather in a skirt as we hunt for flowers and vines for our photoshoot. A little odd. Is the last time I saw this skirt at my Father’s funeral? Not sure.

This is all stuff for the album cover. Heather and I have been tossing ideas back and forth for quite a while, and at one point looked up from our lamenting our lack of long-haired, slim-figured, light-haired friends to look at Rachael. We proceeded to beg. Her roommate Alice wanted to know what the fuss was about and then SHE got to beggin as well. Though SHE felt that SHE would be a better candidate. She told me she could wear a wig… would get extensions… that… Hell… wouldn’t it be hotter if there were TWO young women in chains on the cover? Sigh. I told her that yes, it would be hotter, but that it wasn’t reeeeally what we were looking for.

In any case, I backed the Saturn into a tree to angle the headlights right, climbed up the outside stairs of the College Perk, balanced my tripod on two milkcrates and a railing to get the angle right, and we went at it.

It’s been a long time since I photographed anyone I didn’t really know very well – and the light cascading down on Rachael – well, I think I fell a little bit in Love with her. She’s angellic in these pictures. Absolutely beautiful. You can see a bit here… IF you’re an ilyANGEL… HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Testing the wrappy qualities of chain and ivy. We hunted all over the University of Maryland campus for good photo fodder.

This band was playing at the College Perk after our photoshoot. Though I was thoroughly exhausted (this is still just the day after the New Deal Cafe show) I get pretty drawn in by them and hang out for a while. I’m not positive that the name they were going under at the time was neccessarily “2nd Story“, but that’s what the card said – at first I was really taken in by Meagan’s Taylor bass – beautiful, beautiful instrument… and then I was taken in by Geoff’s immense pedal board. I stuck around for a while and just really enjoyed their smooooooth playing. It was the perfect end to a very long, long weekend. Eventually it was time to drive “home” and pack for Philadelphia.

 

April 3rd, 2006.

Tonight we looked for parking, mostly. We also sat at the World Cafe open mic in Philadelphia, PA. We eventually played. Then we sat some more. It turned into a 7 hour commitment which made me a little grumbly. We sold a CD and lost the contest and in general could’ve probably found better uses for our time. Showing up at 4.30pm for sign-up (yeah, we were half an hour early, but only because the rain sort of screwed up our plans of driving to Shane’s first and walking from there), we still only beat the second person by about five minutes.

The second guy to walk in turned out to be another Rob. We talk for a while – he’s from out of town as well, meeting up with an old friend who Heather and I think has a pretty large crush on him (her quote of the day is “I just feel so short when I look at my feet!). He’s got Rage Against the Machine stickers on his case, so he goes in the Cool Pile. Slowly, the anteroom of WPXN fills with other guys with guitars.

For as individualistic and artistic as we’d like to be, we’re a pretty homogenous breed. We’re all wearing jeans. Nobody goes for light colours… one guy wears a hat. Which is wise, I suppose. I don’t recognize him immediately, but I do recognize his hat.

The hatman would be Kyle Justin from Philadelphia, PA. I remember he’s the laid-back guy with the Daniel Lee voice.

Anywho, the music starts at around 7pm, and we’re watching performers go by over calamari and duck quesedillas when a big hairy man walks up to us. It takes me a couple of seconds to recognize our Shane – we haven’t seen him in a couple of months and he has apparently used that time to focus all his energy into growing facial hair. He and his roommate Ian have come to watch the performers go by with us.

It’s nice to have the company.

Stand-out performance by a guy running a didjeridoo through a Boss loop station. Very cool. Very trance – Mark disappoints us all by not having a CD or even a website with music on it. Hell of a didj player, though. You should go to his myspace page and harass him about that fact.

I HATE sitting at competition open mics, because though you’re trying to be friends with everyone, and hope to see other good musicians, you also secretly hope they’re not TOO good. It makes me feel kind of dirty.

In any case, by 11.30pm the winner is announced and we head out into the rain to hunt for parking nearer to Shane’s new apartment. We sit and play all the new material he hasn’t heard before – it’s good to see him still enjoying our sounds – he gets Heather’s train song and “Simile Blue” and “Speaking Louder Now” and “Common Song” and “Crazy as a Good Thing” and “We Can Work It Out” and “Allergy” and “Drift”. A little mini-concert of stuff he hasn’t heard.

We watch cat videos and bitch about money and eat huge stromboli and sleep on the floor. Life’s finally okay after a long, rainy day.

April 4th, 2006.

We drive hard to the north to make it to the Space in Hamden, CT for their open mic. We’ve heard lots of good things about this venue for years, and have just never had the occassion to stop in and see it.

As we pull up to its surrounding industrial park there are nearly 30 kids, probably high school, balancing on one leg in the parking lot, and as we park, the drumming starts, and we get treated to a half-hour step show. Heather pulls out her djembe and jams along – we don’t even notice that people are beginning to line up outside the Christmasesque lit Space.

We manage to get on the list despite our lack of attention and get a slot fourth on the list. Our host is feeling kind of poorly and so is his wife, so we’re going to make an effort to get out of there early…

Which is a shame because good lord we encounter some amazing people…

I’m not going to get into a LOT of details because I’m way behind in my Journal writing and I’m not in the mood to recount – but the first act was a woman from the area named Vange (?) who played the Hell out of her guitar in a way that few women can. The second act was a woman passing through from Arizona named Namoli Brennet who is breaking my heart as I listen to the music on her website. She played the most exquisite song about someone who played the lottery with her last dollar. Her voice and her playing were these simple, beautiful, strong strong things.

Before reaching Connecticut, we have to struggle our way through New York City. Not nearly as rough a trip as it has been in the past, I’m still struck by the pseudo-artistry of the repetition of their signs. So number by staring at the never-moving cars in front of you, I can understand how you might miss the edge of an overpass and just go sailing off into space….

We are greeted by a step-squad outside of the Space in Hamden, CT. Though I’m not overly impressed with their moves (and my prudish rob-self cringes at the over-sexualized motions of some of the moves being done by the early-teens) the DRUMMERS were AWESOME. I want a team of drummers like that to play on stage with us!

I was so proud that after our set, despite a broken string (in the first lines of LooseN! – I ended up playing on Vange’s Takoma) Vange and Namoli Loved us. There are some compliments that you take to heart, and others you brush off. You never completely ignore them, but you don’t have to file all of them, and especially from other artists, often its more politic than respect – Namoli went over the line into some really beautiful things that let me know that this was genuine mutual respect… or that she was REALLY REALLY good at playing the game. I prefer the more optimistic thought.

 

April 6th, 2006.

Ok – so logic told me (eventually) that we should’ve stayed back in Maryland and finished the damned CD. We were playing mostly to old fans and repeat customers, so coming up here before the new CD was finished was probably a tactical error. The main reason we’ve been aiming our sights on New England for this week was that I wanted to book some dates with our friends Matthew and Michael from Transcendent Third.

The interior of the Space in Hamden, CT. The open mic was semi-crowded, but the talent was immense. The host said that though things had been pretty good recently, this night was a fluke of amazingness what with a number of touring artists all crossing paths on the same night. Lots of kitsch, old video game signs, Sendak drawings covering the walls and a thrift store upstairs. Very, very cool place.

The twins have been booking short tours based around their school breaks and around the colleges they want to check out, and I just Love crossing paths with them, so when they told me THIER schedule, and we’d SORT of been planning a trip around the same time, I figured we could probably help one another out.

Last night at the Skellig was the first time for us to see them while up North, and we drove to the Skellig in Waltham, MA with a decent amount of optimism. Unfortuantely, when we arrived we discovered that the back room where we were booked to play had a party of about 20 bankers chucked in there throwing a birthday party. Tom (our host) was PISSED and we did some calming of him.

Passing through Connecticut on our way up to Boston, we run into an incredible snow storm and I’ve got to make a phone call to boast. About 3″ for me to play in at an abandoned picnic area. I like running and sliding in it. Tweee!

The excitement of discovering a cage in Whitney’s apartment and wondering what Lives inside!!! It turns out that Whitney caught a mouse in her apartment in February or so (a Valentine’s mouse, actually) and didn’t quite know what to do with it, as it would freeze to death if she just threw it outside. And so now she has a mouse (named Mouse Friend) Living on her refrigerator. Mouse Friend probably thinks he’s got it pretty good.

I hate seeing friends get angry – especially the people we don’t get to see very often. It ruins the moment a little, and lets us perhaps see a side that we don’t want to see. But on the other hand, I’m glad it was US that was there – other people might’ve been brought down too – Heather was right – an audience is better than no audience, even if it’s an audience of disinterested bankers, and the night was a miserable snap in what HAD been a beautiful week, so numbers were really, really low.

One of the twins from Transcendent Third (Michael, I think) asks for water from the bar, and the overwrought bartender just hands him the wand to fill his bottles with. At first Michael’s pretty dumbfounded – he’s all 18 n shit and just had never encountered such a thing before.

In any case, playing with Matthew and Michael’s always great. There’s some sort of optimism to them – something that I don’t like to acknowledge, in a way, because it points to how old I’ve gotten… Not that they write happy songs in any way, but just – the kind of freedom they have about falling in Love and falling out again is beautiful.

Logically, it would’ve been smarter to book a local act to share the night with, and there may have been a certain amount of self-throat-cutting involved in the night, but we had a good time.

After a bit of a rough night at the Skellig, it was kind of nice to wander back and hang out with Whitney. She flushed out the beast that we’d been so curious about. Meet Mouse Friend, the Valentine’s Day Mouse.

Tonight we ended up at an open mic in Jamaica Plain, MA at a place called Java Jo’s. Though we generally meet a lot of people we like when we come to the Boston area, we generally have pretty negative gig experiences. The open mics can be very cut-throat and the business side of the whole city can just be kind of cold. Java Jo’s was a really pleasant surprise, with Mike Delaney’s night simply feeling like the warmest thing we’ve experienced up there. I was glad Whitney got to come out with us that night, because she’s experienced so many BAD nights with us, it was good for us to see a night that was genuinely so much fun.

Departing to play the NewSong Art Space, Heather and I are passed by this junked Austin Healey and I reach to call my Dad before remembering. It’s almost been a year and I still have reflexes like that.

We saw some pretty good talent, and my first blind guitarist (I’ve seen two one-handed ones, but never a blind one!) but had too much mochaccino and sat up all night vibrating and text messaging back and forth with a friend.

6am and I finally find some sleep.

April 8th, 2006.

Friday was just a nightmare. Bad phone calls from home and a grey, grey day only amplify the feeling of trapped stagnation as we creep the twenty miles from Whitney’s place in Cambridge out to our gig. It takes us two and a half hours to cover the distance all the while with me hoping the Indian food we’d eaten earlier in the day doesn’t disagree with my often finicky belly.

We get into Danielson, CT and get to hang out with Mike and his drummer downstairs in their practice space, just jamming and making noise and generally having our energies restored by awesome people.

The gig itself is something of a nightmare, not at all what we’d been led to expect, and the ride to Danielson, CT passes in a silence verging on depression. It’s days like this that make me want to quit. But what would I do if I did? I don’t think I’d have a taste for anything else.

Heather sleeping with Kiwi at Mike and Ari’s in Danielson, CT.

Staying with Mike and Ari for the night is a God-send. I’d forgotten how Lovely they are, how Mike is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met and Ari’s just so very sweet. Together they make an amazing couple and make me feel very, very good. Hanging out is Lovely and refreshing, and really very much what my soul needed after such a nightmarish gig.

Tomorrow we’ll be hooking up with the twins again and playing in Putnam, so I’m thinking that this Godawful week is going to turn around and look up.

Ari showing off her mound of whipped cream at Victoria Station in Putnam, CT.

April 10th, 2006.

Staying with Will Schaff is always an incredible experience.

But I’m getting ahead of myself .

Heather’s got Matthew and Michael backing her at Victoria Station in Putnam, CT. We’d spent an hour or so practicing in the basement before the show, and the versions of Drown, Matador, Spiral and … oh, there was SOMETHING else!!! – were just some of the coolest we’ve ever played. Not that I’d ever swap out my band! But it was a lot of fun to try something totally different. Spiral with bass, violin and djembe was just awesome.

After getting to Mike and Ari’s, our next gig was in Putnam at the Victoria Station Café. Victoria Station wasn’t originally a staple gig. In Connecticut , that was the Centre Coffee Bar in Windsor , but unfortunately that closed down. Victoria Station however has really filled in the gap – originally we just stopped in because it seemed like a cool place. We made friends with the owner, Dave, and have been returning ever since, with every visit being a little more fun and more lucrative. What’s especially cool is that he credits our attention to the place, both in the Journal and also just generally playing there, as one of the things that’s putting him on the map as a good spot to see music. He’s getting good artists and is slowly building a good audience for those artists.

Transcendent Third playing at the Victoria Station Cafe in Putnam, CT.

Having a good time with my camera and it’s macro lens and the beautiful sunshine in Will’s house.

This visit was no exception, which was really welcome since we were bringing guests. Transcendent Third joined us again, and this time we had some spare time to practice with them. Heather and Michael and Matthew and I all buggered off to the basement for an hour before the show to put some joint songs together. It’s just cool to work with them – and it was cool to be able to actually hang out with them.

I think I can almost even tell them apart.

Maybe.

Which ilyAIMY eye is which? This ain’t hard, people…

Anywho, putting violin and bass into our music added a whole other level to our show, and I was even proud of my banter. I mean. I’m always clever. I’m just a clever guy. But I was particularly on.

Go on. Ask me about the ilyAIMY SWAT team. or the fantasies I have. or the dangers of desiring a cloned rob army. If you’re VERY lucky I’ll send you an mp3. Maybe.

After the gig, we all retired back to Mike and Ari’s to hang out and to sleep. A very full night indeed. Let’s see. there was Mike and Ari, their roommate and her sister, Heather and I, Matthew and Michael, and Ren and whatsisname. You know. that guy? We played some music trivia game and I helped Mike with some Photoshop work and then settled down to sleep. It was only at that point that it occurred to me it might be a little awkward. The twins have some weird skewed fear of my touchy-feeliness and insisted on some 6″ bubble or something. sheesh. and whichever one ended up closer to me on the shoved together air mattresses I think was a little frightened of falling asleep.

Heather working on jewelry in Will’s studio / house. There’s something Lovely about his space that always breeds creativity in her. It’s funny – for some reason I tend to write best at my mom’s house, but Heather draws and creates at Will’s place. He exudes an energetic, beautiful passion that she breathes in.

Fall asleep we did, but not until we’d completed several hours of giggling and silence and snortling and silence and breathing heavy and making weird noises and then some more strained silence. Somewhere around the church bells chiming 4am , Heather started playing the “guess which twin is talking” game which T3 didn’t find very amusing. One of the last things I remember from the night was one of the twins saying “This isn’t really funny” and Heather saying “MATTHEW!!!”

Heather playing guitar out in Will’s garden in Warren, RI. What can I say? I told you so.

Anywho, the next night, after an unmemorable open mic experience at Rick’s Billiards, Heather and I drive to Warren, RI to stay with my friend from college Will Schaff. You remember him. Original founder of the i love you And I Miss You concept back in college? Artist extraordinaire? I Love staying with him. His gruff demeanour melts under the presence of company and he settles in and makes falafel and whiskey for Heather and I drive to Warren, RI to stay with my friend from college Will Schaff. You remember him. Original founder of the i love you And I Miss You concept back in college? Artist extraordinaire? I Love staying with him. His gruff demeanour melts under the presence of company and he settles in and makes falafel and whiskey for

WestSide Arts in Providence, RI has found a new and beautiful home in this World War II era building. I THINK it was WWII. I somehow couldn’t maintain the attention span to get through the plaque. I was distracted!

dinner. Best damned falafel I’ve ever had. and I really liked the whiskey. Though I wish they’d pointed out the fact that I’d poured a bit much.

It turned out it really was.

A lot.

Dear lord. For a little while there I was about a Twin Bubble taller and was having a good deal of trouble with words over 4 syllables. I’m still going to claim that I’ve never been drunk, but that line’s getting pretty damned fuzzy. Less whiskey next time.

Transcendent Third playing at WestSide Arts in Providence, RI. I’m pretty sure of this now… on the LEFT is MICHAEL and on the RIGHT is Matthew… right? Sigh – it was a great show and their voices were dead on. I even recorded the night… and then deleted it by mistake! Damn damn damn damn damn.

Graffiti next to our car in Providence. Focus on the bunny. It’s like it was calling me.

April 11th, 2006.

Getting up at Will’s and spending the day in slowly shifting shafts of sun. We got to go to a late lunch with Will and Mary. Mary’s as Lovely as she always was, never-changing and beautiful. I always wonder how often they see one another and if there’s still any awkwardness there. I know it’s been a long time for them. It’s also none of my business.

We’re driving straight home tonight and I’m slightly apprehensive of that.

We join up with Transcendent Third for one last gig at WestSide Arts in Providence , RI . We’d hooked up with this arts collective through their open mic years ago and Love the people involved, though previous events have been a little lack-lustre. This one, however, the space is really cool, the people are really cool – they’re right down the street from RISD too so they’re getting a decent audience as well. All in all, a great night. Also, our long-lost Rob Spectre shows in spirit if not in form, and Rochelle shows up to tell us he misses us. It’s so very good to see her again too, and to get a brief moment on the phone with Rob.

We opened for this band, Divider at Ned Divine’s in Herndon, VA. They were quite theatrical and very, very loud. We retreated lest they melted our earballs. I know this means I’m too old. Fuck you. Trust me, I made exceptions… just not that night. That bar MADE me feel old.

It’s so funny – we meet so many people, and I let one or two of them get me down. My mind is filled with one in particular who I haven’t heard from in weeks. There was supposed to be something special there, and it was totally in my head – and I’m letting that tarnish these moments. It’s stupid – especially when I’m spending so much time around such spectacular people who Love us and treat us well.

Man, the difference in our CD sales between when WE’RE running back and forth and running our merch vs when we’ve got a couple of women back there selling our stuff – thanks Brandi!

Anywho. After WestSide, we say our goodbyes to the Twins and after a brief discussion over which path home crosses the fewest tolls, we head out, aiming to make Owings Mills before seven in the morning.

This is not my ideal method of travel. Call me a pansy, but I like four hour stints. And I like them at hours when I don’t think I’ve got to stave off exhaustion. And I DEFINITELY like them NOT to be after a gig. and yet here we were, pulling out of Providence , RI and heading south at 70 at around 10pm .

I got to go to Toys R Us. Scratch that. I HAD to go to Toys R Us. It was a calling. The new Legos are awesome. Series 3 of McFarlane’s Dragons are beautiful. The Sigma 6 Gi Joe shit rocks. It would be a good time to have money and a place to call home.

No matter, we’ll make it.

There’s a poetry to being the only thing moving on a road. Alone but for truckers and the last couple of gas stations. We would’ve beat dawn but for the traffic around 95 approaching Baltimore . Heather struggles to sleep in a pile of blankets and pillows as I push forward towards more familiar roads.

Oh, and did I mention $2.50 Pikachu? You’ve GOT to have a bunch of those...

Tired tired and of course unable to fall asleep. We run across her dad as he’s waking up.

Tired tired.

Tonight we also had a listening party to critique the album. We’re close indeed, and there’s a gratifying couple of songs that are deemed “perfect”. I’m so proud of what we’ve created.

A little chick for our almost Easter gig at the New Deal Cafe. I’m still not entirely sure where he came from.

We’re almost there.

April 13th, 2006.

My heart’s in a weird place today. Amplified by some of Namoli Brennet’s tunes I’m just feeling really, really sad. That skin tightening sadness that makes me think of the description of raising a shield in Dune. I feel it like a tightness on my face, like a tightness in my chest. It’s stress and it’s loneliness and it’s the edges of depression.

Dan Zimmerman and his WOMAN! Their parents also came to the show and got to sit at a picnic table eyeballing one another.

We finished the album last night. There’s tweaks, and there’s mastering – but we’ve scheduled the last of the time, and it’s finally all within reach, and that’s somehow got me a little down. It’s almost anticlimactic, coming out of the studio last night – I’m also at my mom’s house for a couple of days and this place always makes me uneasy – unsettled, and my mom, with my father’s death’s anniversary coming up fast, is particularly off-kilter.

Might Could performing at the New Deal Cafe’s Crazy Quilt Birthday Party in Greenbelt, MD.

God, have we really been working on this so long? I remember thinking that I wish we could get the album done for my Dad to hear, so we must’ve gone into the studio not long after I found out how sick he was.

I think there’s an additional fear there. After Myxomatosis Failed the old band didn’t take long to go their separate ways. It feels like the last episode of Friends and I’m sort of afraid of what happens next. We’ve put all this work into it – what if it’s not as good as we think it is? What if it doesn’t garner the attention we need? With the way gas prices are we can’t continue to work at this level forever. Projections of $4 a gallon are probably almost as much of an exageration this summer as they were last year, but we’ll get closer and we’ve got to do better…

ilyAIMY playing there too. We were the last act to play and somehow I’d been dragged into running sound. You’d THINK I’d have sussed out all the difficulties by then! God I miss Jeff!

April 18th, 2006.

There’s a particular tone of voice people use when someone’s died. Unwanted pregnancies have THEIR own voice. Car accidents where you don’t know how people are going to be have a tone too. Today’s tone, though was that monotone of brittle control that tells you someone’s died that wasn’t supposed to.

Puddle of dog. Shiner is beautiful and very happy to share his Love. This is unfortunately the best picture of him that I got. The other one makes him look like he’s from Hell.

It’s my Mom’s birthday and for the last couple of years that hasn’t really been something to celebrate. First with my Dad’s cancer, then my Dad’s death and now she has a co-worker close to the age of her kids die. And I called and wished her a happy birthday in the middle of her assigned task of going around and informing the office.

Death is inevitably inconvenient. For her it delays her trip to go to my brother’s wedding by a couple of days. She’s decided to go on a Journey rather than a mere trip and is excited about the prospect of driving alone to Texas. And as always, something interferes. Sigh.

April 24th, 2006.

An insane weekend of a lot of driving, a lot of music, a lot of flatulance out of Sharif, and just in general, a lot of fun.

Meredith gave me an egg for Easter, and a wrapped present that “begins with a C and ends with a D”. Just as I’d hoped, it’s a copy of her first recording efforts, and her songwriting is exquisitely revolutionary, saying some things that I wish I was better at stating.

The crash is perhaps unavoidable, but I’m delaying whatever negative moods are no doubt on the heels of this high.

Friday morning we set out in convoy towards California, PA – probably what is going to be our last visit there for quite some time, if only because there’s no reason to go there over the summer. The students all go home and visiting abandoned towns, beautiful or not, just isn’t lucrative.

Leftover photograph from when we were last in Philadelphia. The point of this picture being that floorspace was rather tight.

Getting there was a typical hurry-up-and-wait situation. Holly was running things in frenetic fashion which meant there were a LOT of people desparately trying not to get in her way. It’s a pretty good survival trait. Once things got rolling we all had an awesome time. A lot of the other bands were pretty good – I was particularly blown away by the Distorted Penguins – an awesome ska band that I’m really glad I stuck around for.

Hugh McGowan at the Waterstreet Hotel playing SNAFU in Baltimore, MD.

Our performance had been pretty exhausting, and we also had to leave for North Carolina at 8 the next morning, so we’d sort of been interested in making a run for it… but I ended up sticking through most of the night, meeting good people and sticking around for the headline, the Gym Class Heroes. Not half bad were they. Their frontman was a particularly awesome persona, full of Life and long-limbed frenzy.

Dave Morrealle hosting SNAFU in Fells Point – Baltimore, MD.

Over to Baeckel’s for a token appearance at the after-show party – then running off as the house became far too crowded for me to flail my elbows around. This was particularly disappointing because I’d just met someone who was particularly interesting, but there’s only so much conversation you can make under such conditions. I made a run for it and transformed myself into a prone rob by around 2am… by dawn I still hadn’t caught any bounding sleeps but I definately woke up with my alarm at 7.30am so some loss of consciousness MUST’VE occured at some point.

Wandering back to the Seminary in Forest Glen, Maryland. One of the coolest things ever built, it was very cool to get to wander around.

Quite admirably we were on the road and roaring by 9am and racing towards Cary, NC to surprise my friend Katy for her 21st birthday. We passed through farmland and mountain and thunderstorm and West Virginia, and generally had an awesome time.

I should point out that Rowan and Heather were in her Saturn, and Sharif and I were in the Sharif-mobile. This is the longest time I’ve ever spent in close-quarters with Sharif. Oh my god. He’s such a dirty boy. We got through the entire I Love Bees saga and then listened to all sorts of different music. By the end of the weekend, however, I was sort of thinking “your momma” was sort of equivalent to “period” and “wang” equalled “exclamation mark”. Erf.

Castles and pagodas and dutch windmills, the place was built in the late 1800’s as a retreat from the swamp odour of summertime DC.

We pulled into Cary after about 9 hours of driving, set up, sit in air conditioned comfort, play with the dog, play a gig, flirt and commune and generally take great pleasure in our company, and then fall the fuck to sleep.

Driving home the next was uneventful and exhausting. The whole weekend was whirlwind and wonderful – but I sort of worried that it was mostly fun for me. When it came down to it, I’m the one who’s close to Katy, I’m the one who really Loves all those people in California – Heather and Rowan and Sharif don’t rally know these people that well, and I was hoping they wouldn’t feel DRAGGED along through the whole ordeal. Rowan got to visit his family, and Sharif made most of his gas money back – all in all I thought it was an awesome full-band gallivant…. but we also lost money on the trip. Not a lot, but we don’t generally operate in the red like that.

My friend Amanda is introduced to bubble tea. Yes – those are tapioca pearls NOT strange growths!

My mom walking her cats.