February 5th, 2018.

Justin Moyar performing at Teavolve as my featured artist on February 5th, 2018 - a very fun looping artist who's unafraid of adding an element of chaos (I've never seen anyone else loop the squeak of their shoes).
Justin Moyar performing at Teavolve as my featured artist on February 5th, 2018 – a very fun looping artist who’s unafraid of adding an element of chaos (I’ve never seen anyone else loop the squeak of their shoes).

Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending… no other way to be. Kermit had that right at least. You just sort of have to keep plugging along.

I moved the portion of the Journal today that dealt with my father’s death. Well… “dealt with”. “Mentioned” really. I feel sort of bad that I didn’t give him proper time and memorial back in 2005, but I was in the midst of it. Parsing. As I’ve been moving things over I could see the context of what I was writing back then. Talking about “what people are asking for under the influence of x, y or z” I was very much talking about how my father was asking for water that I couldn’t give him, death that I couldn’t give him… things that I couldn’t give him. It was a horrible stretch of time, and at the time it couldn’t go by fast enough and in hindsight I’m slightly horrified by how swiftly we were back on the road.

[note to all, I’m not proofreading this any further because I can’t afford to re-read it – I’m hosting Teavolve in a couple of hours and need to get out of this mindspace!]

Of course, that’s the thing about cancer. You get lots of warning. By the time it’s over, you’ve had a LOT of warning. You just want it to be over. It’s perhaps one of the guiltiest familial deaths… not because you think there’s something you could’ve done, but because by the time death finally comes around everyone is waiting for it, eager for it.

I hate myself for saying it, but I don’t think I’m ashamed of saying it now… over the years plenty of friends and families and articles have told me that all of the above is normal, par for the course… including the self-hatred.

I think about my father an awful lot. There are certain combinations of clothing (t-shirt and briefs) that give me flashbacks to him. There’s three specific t-shirts (one is his old Dune shirt, the other two are yellow shirts LIKE the Dune shirt that make me think I’ve picked up the Dune shirt)… photographs, moments, noises, places… certain cars. Whenever something is just COOL in the tech world I wish I could pick up the phone and tell him about it.

Hell, the number of times I’ve done something mundane on my cellphone and thought “my Dad would’ve thought that was amazing” is at LEAST once or twice a day every day of my Life since April of 2005. I’ve got an app that lets me know when the ISS goes overhead. It happens several times a day. That makes me think of him.

I just had some food that I don’t think he would’ve liked with a woman that I think he would’ve enjoyed. I’m married to a woman he never met who I think he would’ve really Loved and I saw a horrible photograph of a bottomed-out Austin Healey that he would’ve hated.

My father was complicated. I mean – we’re all complicated – and that’s complicated even further by our relationships – but there were so many weird depths to my dad that I never really got until later. The guy who showed up at his wake to say “oh yeah, we took these crazy road trips across the country, didn’t you know about those?” The photographs of him meeting random Slavic people while hunting through old churches for relatives… the obsession with that bizarre safari hat…. I don’t think I’d ever appreciated how much he was like Rowan. They are both very detail-oriented, very interested in minutiae. As Rowan has grown into himself, I’m sorry that he and my Dad hadn’t had more time to discuss esoterica about lasers and logic.

I’m sad my Dad never got to meet my brother’s kids. He would’ve found them loud and frustrating, but he’d have gotten to see his grandkids.

He probably would NOT have let me sell my banjo. He probably would’ve pushed me to diversify my stocks which would be unfortunate at the moment. He would’ve been horrified by politics, but he already was.

For those of you who don’t know, he was an optical physicist at NASA. He went to Penn State. He was intensely moral and intensely displeased with a world that didn’t reflect that – and was pretty unhappy when his KIDS didn’t reflect it. I don’t think he knew what to make of art, but he really liked music and he was an uncomfortable combination of blue state country boy that I’m only now beginning to really come to terms with. He liked well water and spring water but not tap water and though we never talked much about women, it turns out we probably could’ve because as weird as it is to say, apparently our tastes were pretty similar.

He was a stabilizer – and I never knew about the weird spin-away parts of him. He was a good balance of parent vs friend, which was probably the best thing he could’ve been to me growing up. Kids don’t need more friends most of the time. They need really, really good parents. And he was that. We could’ve been good friends today.

But yeah, he wouldn’t have liked what we had for lunch.

February 6th, 2018.

Hrm. This rob is not focusing. I’ve written a bunch of emails, but there’s other emails I probably really ought to write. I’ve frankly got all my deadlines redlined and there’s probably not much else I can do on those fronts, but it always feels like I should be doing more. Heather and I are going to go hit an open mic tonight to try to be better about meeting other people in the Baltimore scene that don’t cross circles with ours, but we’re not leaving for another hour, and so I must occupy myself for that time – and it would be best if I was useful during that time.

But my brain is disinterested in what would be best during this time.

My brain is doing this :




Fucking BRAIN.

Grayson Moon at the McFaul's Iron Horse open mic in Parkville, MD.
Grayson Moon at the McFaul’s Iron Horse open mic in Parkville, MD.
Ernie Fowler hosting the McFaul’s Iron Horse open mic – he has a remarkably purse voice, hitting notes dead on without a trace of vibrato. It’s incredibly distinctive.
Grayson Moon – don’t know what he’s giggling about here, I think he was just expressing general joy or something… singing along with Ernie or something… Grayson is a rare beast, incredibly beautiful manvoice + genuinely nice guy. He’s good people.
Hee! Just a fun Heather smile.

February 13th, 2018.

Let the Takoma Park Folk Festival angst begin. The applications are up, which means shit’s about to go down. Last year was the first year I’d been promoted to the Chair of the Program committee and as such was the first year that I didn’t get to SELECT artists, I just go to tell people who WASN’T selected, organize the whole affair, do battle with various other elements of the board… you know… all of the angst and not nearly as much of the fun.

But the day of the festival – everything was clearly worth it. All of my griping, all of my rage – the day of music was spectacular and so I’ve signed up for another year of it DETERMINED to remember that moment when it became clear that it was all worth the roadblocks thrown in my way…

And now the sarcastic emails start coming in. Last year I got hate mail for selecting “not folk” artists over “folk” artists. A couple of messages that angrily point out how amazing the sender was and how obviously we weren’t looking for serious musicians. Plenty of grumpy posts about how artists that were selected didn’t realize that the “we don’t pay anyone” thing applied to THEM… my Takoma Park email address was spammed, added to mailing lists, added to porn accounts… it was all that Gamergate Trollism writ small (“small” because there was only ONE person who was actively threatening) and perhaps all the more insulting because it was so petty.

I’m trying to let it go, remember my mom’s words about ducks and letting it roll off my back. I just wish that I could dish out real consequences. When a “professional” is UNprofessional there’s not much I can do about it other than be unprofessional right on back – other than insist they’re not booked through TPFF now or in the future – I mean, in theory I can also block them from four local institutions and several venues… and don’t forget that bookers TALK to one another…

But going on about that is ALSO unprofessional. I tend to just roll with it and not engage as opposed to writing back “Thank you for taking the time to dump your feelings on a volunteer. I’ve made your comments available to the following local festivals, venues and booking organizations – so you’ll probably not need to waste your time contacting any of them in the future – thanks!”

And that would be unprofessional too.