December 11th, 2017.

A bomb went off in NYC this morning. A fumbled terrorist pipe bomb, injuring few outside the bomber himself. Fox is having a field day showing people on the ground and SWAT forces on the streets, most other coverage is a little more reserved. Fox seems to be the only website that’s heard of the bomber’s ISIS connections as well. I mean, I wouldn’t be surprised, but everyone seems to have the guy’s name and country of origin, but of course it’s just Fox that’s stating “reportedly inspired by ISIS”… so it makes me curious about who is reporting it.

A Fox "News" Story
I mean really Fox, could you be any more alarmist about it? You sure you don’t want to use a REALLY FREAKING BIG RED FONT? Maybe with drippy blood letters?

Yeah, I look at these couple of screens and I don’t have any question as to why we’re a divided nation. If half the people out there are getting news from a website who’s front page is a bloody man on the ground and a cop with an assault rifle with the headline “Terror in Times Square: Suspect reportedly tied to ISIS sets off rush-hour bomb” sensationalizing the attack… bah, it’s all exhausting.

The NYTimes
At the same time this is how the New York Times, arguably reporting something right at home, is dealing with the same event. Of course, I had to scroll past the big ads THEY put on top, but which one seems less emotionally manipulative – i.e. more like a NEWS site?!

Heather’s been roaming around New England this weekend, playing a couple of shows in Massachusetts, heading back home today. I’m impressed by her ability to solo-drive, and as she pushes further and further on these sorts of tours, I wonder how long it will be before, if I’m serious about maintaining momentum in my own world, I’ll have to be doing similar. Still, being home I’ve gotten a lot down, including getting to play in our first snowfall of the season.

Tonight's featured artist : the Outskirts at Teavolve's Open Mic in Baltimore, MD.
Tonight’s featured artist : the Outskirts at Teavolve’s Open Mic in Baltimore, MD. Unfortunately, the original featured artist – Ara Casey and Juliette Bell – couldn’t appear because Ara had a family emergency. Fortunately, Juliette’s OTHER act was available!

Tonight I’ll be running my open mic – my featured artist’s mother had a medical emergency, and though said mom is coming home, the artist isn’t leaving her side. We’ve got another act, the other half of the feature’s other band, so talent adjacent – which I’m just as happy to have, but I felt like this past week I was finally back up to speed with my advertising cycle, only to have been advertising the wrong band this whole time.

I guess there were last-minute changes in plenty of peoples’ calendars when I raced home to be with my Dad.

Christmas is inbound with a swiftness and I feel less prepared than normal. I’m simply exhausted from the wedding still, and I hate thinking about anything other than booking at the moment. Isn’t my gift to the world my MUSIC?!?!? Ha. Yeah, you get away with that when you’re twelve – nowadays I’m horribly aware of being a horrible uncle and a guy who, even though we have DAZZLING photos of us, STILL hasn’t made Christmas cards! I think rabbit masks and Santa hats are the way to go… but I doubt Kristen will concur.

I ordered two dozen little Santa hats for my action figures back in 2013. They never arrived. I’m only reminded of this because Amazon reminded me as I checked out with the same item right now “you’ve ordered this before, do you want a subscription?” – well, too late bitch about the lost ones, and these are Prime insured, so presumably we’ll be okay… but can you imagine the evil I’d get up to with a regular supply of teeny Santa hats? Every fucking banana, action figure, microphone… cats are no-brainers, but romance would become more festive to boot. Yeah. No end of trouble.

Anywho – I’m babbling. It’s cold and I don’t want to go move cold wet laundry from place to place – but the step after THAT will involve fresh from the dryer laundry, so maybe I should get it done so I can wrap myself in BLISS in an hour or so…

 

December 12th, 2017.

Ugh – I hate having a grumpy night – and this was definitely that. I’m horribly aware that I spend a LOT of time crushing down my temper, but there are definitely a couple of regulars at my open mic that can get under my skin, but they’re generally actually good-hearted people – just… you know… not good at the whole social side of things.

I’m not angry at them. I know the guy who kept asking to play a drum during other peoples’ sets didn’t really grasp why using the drum that didn’t belong to him was wrong. Like, he really didn’t get it – and yet I really wanted to just go after him, beyond laying down the law. No harm was done, but I was furious.

But I wasn’t really angry at HIM. Not really. I’m angry at the world. And I just wish I had an outlet. Some nights music’s not enough – certainly not just the open mic set. Like, it would’ve been a really good night to go play Firestone’s. One of the bar gigs. Something where I get to really roar.

Hari Vasan is an artist who can really let fly. A spectacular voice and delivery - he's one of the high points of the night at Teavolve in Baltimore tonight.
Hari Vasan is an artist who can really let fly. A spectacular voice and delivery – he’s one of the high points of the night at Teavolve in Baltimore tonight.

We don’t have the physical outlet of just getting into a fight. Even if it WERE socially manageable, I’m just too fucking old and out of shape to do that (though part of me says that getting beaten could maybe be just as satisfying as giving a beating).

In any case, I’m tired. I’m pissed off. And I know I’m mostly pissed off at the world. And I hate letting it show, because if I’m letting it show, how am I supposed to encourage OTHER people to let it out with music and art and not with road rage and bombs and casual cruelty? You lead by example, and some nights, I’m just not a very good example.

Tonight's featured artist - the Outskirts. I DO think I was probably the only person in the room NOT having a good time!
Tonight’s featured artist – the Outskirts. I DO think I was probably the only person in the room NOT having a good time!
Not our cat being cute as Hell.Not our cat being cute as Hell.
Not our cat being cute as Hell.
We went out and got our Christmas tree today. Typical back and forth - Kristen wants a smaller one, I want a taller one. Though we came back and both agreed that we could've gotten something much bigger, it sure was easy to decorate - something we perpetrated with joy and fervour before heading out to play QueenEarth's GROUNDED open mic in Baltimore.
We went out and got our Christmas tree today. Typical back and forth – Kristen wants a smaller one, I want a taller one. Though we came back and both agreed that we could’ve gotten something much bigger, it sure was easy to decorate – something we perpetrated with joy and fervour before heading out to play QueenEarth’s GROUNDED open mic in Baltimore.
ilyAIMY playing at QueenEarth's Grounded open mic at Terra Cafe in Baltimore, MD. Fabulous night (despite sound issues). Heather's hurt her back pretty badly, but she managed to keep it together for a quick set on a cold night...
ilyAIMY playing at QueenEarth’s Grounded open mic at Terra Cafe in Baltimore, MD. Fabulous night (despite sound issues). Heather’s hurt her back pretty badly, but she managed to keep it together for a quick set on a cold night…

December 14th, 2017.

Christmas Christmas.

I amuse ME.

I guess this can count as our Christmas card this year! We always MEAN to make one and then never quite get around to it.

Kristen and I went to our traditional spot on Route 40, did the annual “how about this one” “it’s too BIG!!!” “how about this one” “it’s too SMALL” dance… I always want one that she thinks is too big, she always wants one that I think is too small… usually we manage to find something that’s JUST right – but this year I think she won the argument but I won the war. E.G. she got the tree she wanted, but it really IS too small!

Happy almost Christmas from your favourite Christmas-Loving atheist!

LALALA!!!!

December 16th, 2017.

I went to the memorial service of Richard Morris today. You won’t know who he was. A lot of people did though. I was surprised by how many. The parking lot was packed, every chair filled. They brought more chairs and filled another room and the latecomers still had to stand. I caught myself thinking like a musician and thought “I bet the venue’s happy, they’ll probably book him again”.

To me Richard Morris was a key part of my past – the father of the woman I dated through much of college. He was integral to introducing me to what family could and maybe should be. He was a force of joy and noise – usually at the same time. He was probably one of the first significant-other’s-fathers who I worked to win over in some way – and because I was a selfish late teen / early twenty-something, I never understood how much more he was.

The memorial service was beautiful. Awkward, difficult. I was asked to step in and help with sound problems, though I wasn’t able to help. The projector wouldn’t come on. The sound wouldn’t come on. It came on later when it wasn’t supposed to. People stumbled over words after declaring themselves very good public speakers. I enjoyed the use of the word “Gregorious” when I believe “gregarious” was meant and it was frankly too long. But it was an amazing showcase of things that he’d done with his Life.

As the boyfriend of the youngest daughter, I knew he sang heartily. I knew he wrote. I knew he did something to do with architecture and I knew he was into his church. I knew he went to Vietnam. I knew he’d come back. But I hadn’t seen the Fiddler on the Roof pictures, and I hadn’t heard his voice in a long, long time (though instantly recognizable). I didn’t know they’d fostered lots of kids beyond their one adoption. I hadn’t seen pictures of the homes he’d built nor had I know that that place we stayed on Deep Creek Lake was one of them. I hadn’t seen a picture with him standing in the jungle with a gun. I didn’t realize how much like him his older daughter looked.

Maybe there was hyperbole, but judging from how many people who’d come out to say their farewells and to support the family, I kind of doubt it. I sort of regret not knowing more of his Life before it was merely his legacy, but I was glad to be in the room. Huddled in the back with the singer/songwriters who stood when asked to stand… we were the atheists who don’t actually read music so we read along while the others sang. Audrey and Rick performed a couple of numbers and my heart ached to see Audrey grieving. Her adopted brother, Alex – who I’d never known to speak more than a sentence or three – opened up with one of the most beautifully written tales, memories of working on the car together, of family – it took him a long time to work up his courage, to calm his crying, and a friend who was a dead ringer for Luke Cage snuck to the front to lend him support. When he had finally steeled himself for speaking to his audience, it was the distillation of what everyone else had TRIED to say – even Audrey’s music didn’t capture this. I think Richard knew how much his kids Loved him, but I wish he could’ve seen that speech.

Lea and her bass player Will had snuck in at some point and did a couple of really beautiful tunes. It was good to hear her voice – but I snuck away during the goodbyes. I don’t think I had anything else to say. I saw a lot of old, old friends who didn’t see me. And I’m not sure that I regret that. For all that funerals and memorial services are usually good places for people to come back together, for old friends to reconnect, I just felt awkward and broken. Like… these were some of the people who saw me before I saw myself, and I don’t know that I want to think about that.

December 19th, 2017.

So – my big background project right now is the movement of the tour Journal from the hand-coded behemoth that it’s been for the past 14 years over to WordPress. I THINK it’s a good idea? It’s not as beautiful, but it’s a LOT more flexible, and means that as people’s screens get bigger and bigger the Journal won’t have to go through massive revisions every couple of years… it’s searchable this way, I can upload larger photographs… whatever. There’s any number of reasons why I hope it’s a good idea.

Weird little drawing from an original Little Black Book.
Weird little drawing from an original Little Black Book.

But it’s not a book anymore. It’s a blog. And part of me is sad about that. Of course, the “book” format is modeled after something I haven’t done in a long, long, long time. After a horrible incident where someone literally destroyed my previous 10 years of physical Journals, the actual Little Black Books on which the Journal had been based just lost all momentum. I look at the two I have left (the other dozen or so gone forever) and they’re such wonderful OBJECTS, and I do sort of wish I could go back to them, but all the stutter stop of writing in physical books just goes nowhere…

A last "Little Black Book". The majority of them were destroyed by an asshole.
A last “Little Black Book”. The majority of them were destroyed by an asshole.

And so the archetype, the reason for the tradition of the Journal is gone. The Journal itself has become physically unwieldy, and as it was coming up to the time for me to make another massive template change (because the fonts just aren’t lining up anymore, no, I don’t know why) I’m simply sick of relearning how to do this THING every couple of years… only to know the next changeup will only be a couple more years away.

And so I’ve embarked on transferring it. It’s over 4000 pages and who knows how many entries. I’ve committed myself to transferring at least five entries a day and I’ve reached December 28th, 2003 [some things that I don’t understand about WordPress… why for art thou a motherfucking SUBSCRIPT not SUPERSCRIPT? I’m not figuring out how to fix these right now… but what the Hell??!?!] (Today is Heather’s brother’s birthday!!!). I’m not really reading (though an editorial pass wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, adding keywords and stuff like that as well… but it’s just so MUCH) but the pictures are strong enough. Pictures in which everyone now is dead. Pictures of people that are gone and married or vanished or … who knows…  Celebrating Justin’s 17th birthday. It’s a slap in the face as the passage of time is pressed hard into me and combined with catching fragments of news, moments of time that step outside of my tiny little world that I was writing about (especially in the early years, there’s not much other than “we went here and met this person”) compared to the headlines of today… it all just makes me feel brutally old.

 

December 20th, 2017.

Last night Rowan and I got together to practice and then decided to head down to Gypsy Sally’s for their Tuesday night open mic. We’ve been a couple of times before and it’s generally been a good way to remind the staff and owner (the latter runs the open mic night) that we exist – and that this is what we look like. The last couple of times we’ve been there it’s been kind of sparse, but last night it was packed both with physical bodies and with talent. There were a number of performers that were downright intimidating – but we had a great time… once we got there.

Not our cat says farewell and have a good show!
Not our cat says farewell and have a good show!

Practicing with Rowan is a good exercise. I’m TERRIBLE at exercise. Definitely terrible at leading it. When ilyAIMY practices, I put together a list of songs IF they’re lucky, and then we kind of push our way through. Generally speaking, we play in so many different formats that for the rest of the band it’s mostly a matter of reminding them how everything goes, and for Heather and I it’s a matter of reminding ourselves of how things align with those particular bandmates – and countering for drift. The songs evolve as Heather and Kristen and I play them out on the road or over and over at the bar gigs that seem to define our Lives – and then when we gear up for the festival season where the larger band formats are appropriate, we’ve got to remember how the drums influence the rhythm, how the piano plays that ONE chord in “Illinois”, how Rowan’s drums interact with Joey’s drums and where it is that that overrides Heather’s cajon part…

Et fucking cetera.

Anywho – practicing with Rowan – he and I have been focused on doing more things together – a couple of reasons behind that, not least of which is that he’s underused right now and wants to get out and play his OWN stuff for a change. We’ve played at least one of these Gypsy Sally’s gigs, a couple of open mics, and a really wonderful (and finally much more equal) show a couple of weeks ago at Columbia’s Mad City Café.

Open Mic at Gypsy Sally's in Georgetown - Washington DC.
Open Mic at Gypsy Sally’s in Georgetown – Washington DC.

Well, now it’s time to buckle down and really polish things up – something I kind of suck at. Rowan’s really great at running one part of a song over and over again. And it’s a different kind of push than I’m used to. After a couple of hours, we had a quick dinner with his wife and kid, and then headed into DC to see how much we remembered.

It turned out that at least on the topic of “how to get to Gypsy Sally’s” “how much we remembered” was precisely “not much”. I think the first wrong turn was Rowan’s fault. The second wrong turn was me second-guessing Rowan and was at least partially the GPS’ fault for not updating fast enough. The THIRD missed turn was DEFINITELY the GPS’ fault as it froze as we were going around one of those fucking traffic circles… and then the fourth wrong turn was probably my fault, though at that point it was anyone’s game… but remember, whenever you’re faced with the decision of “taking the high road” or “going down” – when it comes to Gypsy Sally… you ALWAYS go down.

Rowan performing at the Gypsy Sally's Open Mic - I've just realized that I don't remember this song and decide to retune my baritone in prep for handing it to Rowan in pseudo-DADGAD. After taking a pic or two (and watching Rowan play) I
Rowan performing at the Gypsy Sally’s Open Mic – I’ve just realized that I don’t remember this song and decide to retune my pseduo-drop-D-tuned baritone in prep for handing it to Rowan in pseudo-DADGAD. After taking a pic or two (and watching Rowan play) I suddenly DO remember what to play and realize the problem is that I should be playing tuned to STANDARD! I hastily retune the low A back to B and jump back in, promptly forgetting I’ve also retuned the other B and the F#, which I shortly run afoul of. In all, I should’ve just kept taking pictures. Also… write stuff down.

Still, got a lot of quality time in the car – but that meant we were WAY later than we’d hoped, which meant we were WAY later on the list than we’d hoped and we played WAY later than we’d hoped, resulting in us staying waaaaaay later than I’d hoped.

For all that it was something of a comedy of errors GETTING there, it felt like we were maybe SUPPOSED to be there. Had a great chat with the owner, got recognized by a couple of other performers, and even had the percussionist of the night, Baptiste, text his friend about my guitar to someone who then promptly remembered me too! I felt famous. Open Mic famous.

Man am I glad my venue closes at 10pm. We were about to call it a night at 11pm shortly after we’d played, but then one thing led to another and it was suddenly 1 in the morning! T’was an exhausting night. But good. Gig tomorrow. We’ll see what we remember!

One of the crazy coincidences! So I'm editing Journal files from 2004 or so right now, and that's probably around the last time we saw this guy! Junior Bryce found his way to us courtesy of our mutual friend Alfred (our drummer in the early 2000s) and played with us at our bigger shows back then. He was sitting at the bar and I totally lost track of where I was in a song when we did that "holy crap! It's YOU!" thing... he jammed with a couple of the other players and was just as amazing as I remember (here he's playing with one of the last players of the night - I believe this to be Andy Carlson (?).
One of the crazy coincidences! So I’m editing Journal files from 2004 or so right now, and that’s probably around the last time we saw this guy! Junior Bryce found his way to us courtesy of our mutual friend Alfred (our drummer in the early 2000s) and played with us at our bigger shows back then. He was sitting at the bar and I totally lost track of where I was in a song when we did that “holy crap! It’s YOU!” thing… he jammed with a couple of the other players and was just as amazing as I remember (here he’s playing with one of the last players of the night – I believe this to be Andy Carlson (?).

December 21st, 2017.

Last night was a lot of fun despite the odds. Rowan and I have been working hard putting together a more equitable setlist and we got to play it last night at Gypsy Sally’s. Tuesday night we’d practiced our little hearts out and then headed down to play the open mic with kind of questionable results, and today we left really, really early to avoid rush hour traffic on our way down to the actual gig.

Kristen and Artem and Heather and I go to finalyl see Star Wars: The Last Jedi... that maaaay end up being a whole Journal entry on its own!
Wednesday night Kristen and Artem and Heather and I go to finally see Star Wars: The Last Jedi… that maaaay end up being a whole Journal entry on its own!

Not that avoiding DC rush hour traffic is actually a thing – you have to avoid DC as a whole in order to do that.

Yeah - Rowan's leaf piles are bigger than my car. I'm NOT jealous of this. And I'm NOT messin' it up.
Yeah – Rowan’s leaf piles are bigger than my car. I’m NOT jealous of this. And I’m NOT messin’ it up.

In any case, armed with Tuesday night’s knowledge we were really, really prepped to not miss ANY turns this time around – and were only mildly disappointed to have google route us to Georgetown along an entirely different path. No matter – the point is is that we GOT there! We parked, had enough time for coffee [Rowan showed off his beanerdery by taking me to a Blue Bottle and talking about… like… “figuring” and “profiles” with the guy behind the counter] and then nabbing dinner at Chipotle [I continue to fail to find anything at Chipotle that doesn’t make me sick though] and STILL have time to load-in early to the venue AND spend plenty of time in their bathroom thanks to item two above.

Rowan getting his coffee nerding on at Blue Bottle in Georgetown.
Rowan getting his coffee nerding on at Blue Bottle in Georgetown.

Sigh. You know you’re not one of those laissez-faire rockers when one of the major plusses for a venue is the fact that their rest rooms are always clean – but man oh man, I can’t say enough good stuff about the fact that Gypsy Sally’s bathrooms are always in good shape.

Decorate with spikes? Sure - why not!
Decorate with spikes? Sure – why not!

Anywho, loaded in, set up, warmed up playing along to the Red Hot Chili Peppers album being played over the PA, and proceeded to rock the Hell out.

Now, Gypsy Sally’s is one of the only “tips” gigs I’ll play nowadays. The “why” to this is probably not immediately obvious : it’s not easy to get to, paying for parking ain’t cheap… BUT a) you’re scheduled against the “big” shows going next door in an intelligent fashion so that you get a LOT of audience flooding in from that, b) the staff is really, really fantastic and appreciative and c) the crowd is also really, really appreciative –it’s definitely a music crowd, not your standard barmongers, d) as mentioned… great bathrooms e) we can play what EVER we want. Rowan and I really have a fantastic time. And it’s supportive enough that we DO actually make a profit, so… until the promised big gigs on the BIG side come along, we are surprisingly happy about playing these.

So happy, as a matter of fact, that some nights (like Thursday night) we forget to take a break. And so, after playing our hearts out and then realizing ANOTHER big batch of people are crowding in so we should play our hearts out a little longer – we remember that we’ve not taken a break and have forgotten to run back out and pay the meter.

Now, especially since at the open mic we felt like we’d had a close call with this – seeing the car next to us being ticketed half an hour after the meters were supposed to be OFF – we weren’t feeling like we were going to get away with this, but Rowan’s windshield remained remarkably free of citations! Huzzah!

A neat light installation of some sort in Georgetown.
A neat light installation of some sort in Georgetown.

Then we got pulled over on the way home.

For a taillight! Just given a work order! Huzzah!

Then I-695 was closed on the drive home.

But the cat was waiting for me when I got home at 1.30 in the morning. Huzzah!

Little victories. Tis what Life is made of.

December 26th, 2017.

Yesterday Kristen and I went up to Longwood Gardens to take advantage of the fact that they didn’t really see Christmas Day as one of their peak days – and celebrated Christmas with… A BILLION PEOPLE I MEAN LIKE HOLY CRAP IF THIS ISN’T A PEAK DAY I HAVE NO WISH TO EVER SEE WHAT IS HOLY CRAP ALL THE PEOPLE WERE HERE!!

Friday December 22nd saw Heather and I hitting up something we'd been eyeballing for quite some time - the Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, MD. I won't ruin it for you, but it's kind of amazing.
Friday December 22nd saw Heather and I hitting up something we’d been eyeballing for quite some time – the Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, MD. I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s kind of amazing.
Okay - ONE spoiler for the museum. That's the 9:30 Club... and Cool Disco Dan is NOT in the house. But Fugazi IS.
Okay – ONE spoiler for the museum. That’s the 9:30 Club… and Cool Disco Dan is NOT in the house. But Fugazi IS.
Roads and Rails... and FREAKIN LEGOS!!!
Okay – TWO spoilers for the museum. Roads and Rails… and FREAKIN LEGOS!!!
After visiting the Roads and Rails Museum, Heather and I wandered the Christmas-laden wonderland that is Frederick for a bit before heading over to our gig at Vini Culture. First time at a new venue and ... well... I think we'll be back!
After visiting the Roads and Rails Museum, Heather and I wandered the Christmas-laden wonderland that is Frederick for a bit before heading over to our gig at Vini Culture. First time at a new venue and … well… I think we’ll be back.

Still – we had an absolutely delicious Christmas wandering around and looking at the lights the plants and also the lights – however there NEEDS to be some social training on how to take a photograph in a crowd. Like… since people aren’t actively trampling others nor are people generally falling into pits filled with famished tigers, Darwin’s not going to take care of the obnoxious behaviour of people more interested in their phones than their surroundings – so it’s up to us. And I’m not quite sure what the socially-accepted method of saying to those around you “my experience is just as important as YOUR experience, so fucking move along” or “watch where you’re backing up to” or “no, I imagine navigating with the glaring white light of your phone pointed at your eyeballs in an otherwise mostly dark environment ISN’T easy but surely you must be at least partly at fault for our collision because I wasn’t the one ruining your night vision”… or other like phrases.

December 23rd found me doing some video work for Anthem Strings... and chasing super cat around the house. Don't judge.
December 23rd found me doing some video work for Anthem Strings… and chasing super cat around the house. Don’t judge.
Chelle and Kristen working out what we'll be doing for their video shoot.
Chelle and Kristen working out what we’ll be doing for their video shoot in Gaithersburg, MD.

Also – don’t pull on the plants. Don’t grab handfuls of fragrant herbs. Don’t squeeze the blossoms. Dude. Were you raised in a barn? I doubt you were raised in a barn. Because if you were raised in a barn you’d know that you CAN’T MILK PLANTS!!

Sigh.

I hate people.

But I Love Christmas. Happy first-married-Christmas Kristen Jones!

What else is there to do Christmas morning but to dress the neighbour's cat with leftover Christmas wrappings!
What else is there to do Christmas morning but to dress the neighbour’s cat with leftover Christmas wrappings!
Ha - ran across this book about a unicorn amongst narwhals while roaming Frederick on Thursday... thought about getting it for Joanna and Lex - and it turns out my instincts would've been right!
Ha – ran across this book about a unicorn amongst narwhals while roaming Frederick on Thursday… thought about getting it for Joanna and Lex – and it turns out my instincts would’ve been right!
Ha - not a peak day. So much so that all the parking lots were full and we were shuttled in from a whole other lot. Still - it meant we got to ride a school bus! I think it was my first time on one since high school!
Ha – not a peak day. So much so that all the parking lots were full and we were shuttled in from a whole other lot. Still – it meant we got to ride a school bus! I think it was my first time on one since high school!
Kristen and I at Longwood Gardens.
Kristen and I at Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.
Ha - something new for this year! Patterns made from gilded walnuts, apples and cranberries all floating in water.
Ha – something new for this year! Patterns made from gilded walnuts, apples and cranberries all floating in water.
A lot of the same cacti were used in Kristen's bouquet for our wedding.
A lot of the same cacti were used in Kristen’s bouquet for our wedding.
The sun's going down, the lights are coming up!
The sun’s going down, the lights are coming up!
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

More trains!

Kristen surprised me by demanding hot chocolate, tequila and Aliens, not necessarily in that order. Not Our Cat was down with it.
Kristen surprised me by demanding hot chocolate, tequila and Aliens, not necessarily in that order. Not Our Cat was down with it.

December 31st, 2017.

Well, tis the last day of the year and I don’t plan to add anything of incredible depth to the Journal on this day. Kristen’s making jambalaya, my friend Sue is coming to the realization that even 42 years in, there are a number of words that I simply seem unable to spell, and the Cat That Is Not Ours is assisting in the observation of the finest of ways to oust 2017 : the Game of Thrones Marathon.

Chuck has a very, very good habit of taking selfies with other artists. I'm proud to be nabbed for his camera.
Chuck has a very, very good habit of taking selfies with other artists. I’m proud to be nabbed for his camera.

I THINK HBO has timed it so that the year ends as the re-air of Season 7 ends, but I’m not interested enough to check. In about 4 and a half hours we’ll get to see whose clocks are fast and whose clocks are slow as explosions and whooping fill the Catonsville streets. We’re a relatively sleepy place though, so the noise will hit and pass relatively swiftly. We’ll probably see a couple of paranoid posts about “how can you tell fireworks from gunshots!?!?” and we’ll hear some sirens… and then 2018 will be here.

Chuck has long ago declared Kristen a "Foxy OX Chick".
Chuck has long ago declared Kristen a “Foxy OX Chick”.

Last night Kristen and I joined up with Dave Benham, Chuck the Madd Ox and QueenEarth to play one last show at Teavolve. Having Christmas fall on a Monday kind of sucks because that means New Year’s Day falls on a Monday which means we take two weeks off from the open mic. On the one hand it’s a well-deserved and very welcome break from running Monday nights – on the other hand, one of my favourite things is getting to watch my friends play and every once in a while getting to sit in with them – setting up last night so that I could jam with my friends while NOT being responsible for hosting an open mic night was really wonderful.

Hee!
Hee!

The music was great, but the audience was sparse – and that was really disappointing. I mean – it hammers home that what I’ve “built” is a bunch of people who will gather to play, but they won’t gather to support others.

I’m looking forward to checking out the recordings, seeing what was caught. Hoping to share…. but that’s the thing about today. “Sharing” is enough, isn’t it? No-one feels any sadness about missing a happening… cause they can have it spoon-fed to them on their own time.

Ahem. Sorry – that got a little bit bitter. I’m actually really enjoying my New Year’s Eve in Westeros, so I shouldn’t gripe too much. Especially cause Heather just got word that she’s a finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest! Huzzah!

Whelp... if the neighbour is wondering where her cat is, it's not like we're being too stealthy about it.
Whelp… if the neighbour is wondering where her cat is, it’s not like we’re being too stealthy about it.
Winter is here. Let us fend it off together.
Winter is here. Let us fend it off together.