October 21st, 2003.

I’m sitting in the dark. Nothing wrong with it. Just dark. I’ve been dreaming all night. Fever dreams churned out by sleeping on the floor to the tune of an uncontrolled radiator. I don’t remember much. There were three distinct worlds I inhabited last night.

The first, I don’t remember at all – I just remember that all too familiar post-dream thought of “I should remember this”. It was a hilarious thing… I don’t remember anything but laughter

The second was full of quiet tense waiting. I was hiding with friends, maybe even with family, in an abandoned city. I remember the Enemy coming – people filled out with fear, some of them coming to die, some of them coming to kill. We took two women in the middle of the night. They stumbled in to our adopted home, sending us blindly groping for guns. I remeember mine was like one of those cheap disposable cameras – paper and plastic, bright yellow like Kodak, a little counter on the top. I had used 6 of 8 shots.

The women woke us in the middle of the night – a mother who’s children were long dead, supporting her mother in turn, who was dying. Shawled and cold and tattered, they were looking for a warm place out of the wind. Someplace for the old woman to die in peace. Once we decided they were harmless, we allowed them into the dusty interior of the house.

The house itself seems to have once been a bar, or a pretty nice tavern of some sort. Big, wooden walls, dirt floors, small, glass paned windows.

Small windows, I remember that’s why we picked the place. When men with torches came still later in the night, there was the possibility that they hadn’t seen OUR lights, thanks to those small paned windows. Scrambling for lights, fumbling with tiny switches, grasping those damned tiny pegs on long-stemmed upright lamps – clumsy through gloves – we attracted attention and the dream dissolved into the confusion of combat. My cheap disposable pistol was used twice more and used up, feeling like a staple gun as it thudded slugs home into strangers in the doorway. I remember eyes…

And then there’s this third world. Whitney’s floor.

We arrived in Massachussetts sometime around 5pm yesterday. Beautiful sunshine – it’s rare that we’ve been gifted with anything less than crystalline skies during this whole Trip. Traffic was easy coming up 95 (from Providence) and we didn’t even get lost, despite the best attempts of the locals –

No signs in all of Massachussetts are simple. Even large highways find it neccessary to add in little flurishes and exciting curlyqueues… just to make Life interesting. It’s a land where even the highway engineers seem to deem themselves artists, taking liberties with the desired straight lines of our passage, and leaving signatures only visible from space.

Someday, all of New England will hold the occult signifigance of the Nazca Lines – mysterious etchings scrawled across the land with absolutely NO conceivable purpose.

In DC or Philadelphia, future scientists will discover what were clearly means of transportation – but in Massachussetts, they will be baffled, eventually passing it off to art – that wonderful catch-all for all misunderstood and ununderstood artifacts. Hell, if we didn’t have art, we’d have to understand EVERYTHING.

Back in Providence, Art was our medium. It was our surrounding atmosphere, and it was the profession of most everyone we met.

Staying with Sonny was a treat. AS220 is inexplicable – some sort of combination of all things artsy – from coffeehouse to bar, to cheap dorm-like housing to studio space – it has performance spaces and gallery spaces, showers and a stage. What else could anyone ask for? Some day, I hope to put together some sort of artist’s collective – but rather than the idealism of AS220’s unjuried galleries and stated mission of helping artists who can’t help themselves – I plan to state a different type of idealism.

I’d like to create something useful. I don’t believe that art is an end of it’s own. Those of us who’ve deemed ourselves artists have perhaps been lucky that it’s been thought of as a legitimate end in and of itself – but I think it’s a process – not a solution but a path.

Stop me if I get too preachy…

Oh yeah (ha!) you can’t!

There’s two types of art out there – just as there are two types of artists. There’s that stuff you buy with the dogs playing poker, the beautiful landscapes – the stuff that old men in flattened hats have churned out their entire Lives to make a Living. It’s like carpentry or masonry for them. A labour of Love, perhaps – but a creation of a known thing.

For the second type – it’s a solution to the shit inside of them. There’s some Shakespearian line about “the TRUTH MUST OUT!!” or something – Heather would correct me if I bothered to wake her – and it’s like that for a lot of the people I went to school with: things on the inside of our heads that we MUST contend with. However, perhaps lacking the people/talking/something skills that allow other people to be normal, social creatures – lacking what allows the normal human beast to talk about their troubles, sort out their troubles, and solve their troubles – they work it out visually, or musically… or through blood. Some people have even less socially acceptable ways of dealing with the things in their head. Painting and mass murder perhaps are not too different inside the “artist”s head – just one has become a little more accepted in social circles…

And luckily – many Artists’ work – whether it be the interior working of their heads or working through a visual problem while trying to sort out their own heads – that’s easily mistaken for another kind of art… the nice kind that we want to see hanging on our walls… I mean, certainly, it’s even cool to have the tortured, antagonistic kind hanging up here and there – but all of this has combined to make the artist believe that their psychosis produces a thing that is useful to society – in and of itself….

And I just don’t think that the art itself is enough. It’s a means to an end… and we were taught back at MICA (the Institute!!) that that “means” was enough.

So, make a collective of the people who understand that Art itself isn’t enough. You’ve got to do something with it. There are enough art school graduates pissing on crosses and painting red squares and making exciting blocks that generate interest into the plight of the modern woman on the Isle of Galapagos. Very few are accomplishing a damn thing. Some of them start arguements, most simply vanish into closets… if they’re lucky, they start conversations – but very few ever get in the last word.

Art is confined (in general) to the gallery space – the walls. “The art speaks for itself and the viewer takes away what they bring with them – only bent by the work” – that’s all fine and good, but if you want to change the world – there’s a lot more work to be done.

Starting the conversation is key. Most work doesn’t do that. If it’s accessible, it states an opinion – and often as not doesn’t back it up. Continuing the dialog is imperative. Most art is static, and can’t do that. And the artist is behind the walls somewhere, believing his work is done. The art then, after all of this – conversation carried or not – the viewer must walk away with the knowledge that they have communicated with someone/something outside of themselves. This is something that can almost ONLY be accomplished by the artist themselves – in PERSON.

I’m ranting. I’d like to create an artists’ collective that focuses on community, communication – the whole week I was at AS220, I only met three of the other artists Living there. There was nothing being done collectively – it was merely a shared Living space.

Anywho, enough about that. Whitney’s asking questions about the Journal, and my train of thought can only take so much interrogation. Heather has woken up and returned to her book, Whitney is diligent and returns to her physics.

And I’ll stick with this for a bit longer.

Where was I?

Providence, Rhode Island….

Constantly in out travels, we’ve re-encountered old friends of mine. Most expected, some not. All with huge, beautiful personalities. Will Schaff was our host on our last visit. The beautiful creator of beautiful things – but I often wonder where he’s heading. He seems to Live very much in the now, and Coca Cola and nicotine are driving his vibrant body into the ground. I come away from my brief visits with him smelling of smoke and worrying.

Not that that’s my place. We all make our decisions about what our task is here in Life and how much time we need to carry that task out. Every day I balance the needs of what I need to do vs what I have done vs how tired I am of everything. Fatigue of Life certainly drags at me, but people and the needs of people, and my need of people keeps me going. Exploration helps, and the Trip is the tool that puts it all together.

Providence, Rhode Island is beautiful. I see why so many MICAns were drawn to it.

Sonny remains quirky. He fills his Life with a security desk surragate job – parking cars at a local lot. 8+ hours a day, sitting in a box – he uses the time to bend wire into fantastic shapes. I don’t know what’s going on in his head – but he shreds his hands for

DCF 1.0

his art – He’s a toy collector, a Stuff collector (the letters of Vivian Gish? signatures of silent movie stars?) and a pretty successful artist. His works go for a thousand dollars a piece, and they are incredible.

But you have to wonder what’s going on inside. It’s neatly ordered… the time spent twisting wire into all those neatly ordered shapes reminds of the tiny, close packed lines of handwritten books in the movie Se7en. (nobody say ANYTHING!)

That's a close-up of one of his frames...
That’s a close-up of one of his frames…

–Time out – Whitney has taken a break from her physics studying to go and measure her arm with a tape measure – she seems displeased with the results, places the tape measure carefully back into its drawer, and returns to her work. No body ever talks about putting together a physicist commune, but sometimes, I think it might be better to keep them all in one place… And, as I show a greater detail of Sonny’s wire-work, Whitney offers to calculate my personal gravitational pull. I say no thanks.

“Dang!”

Poor Whitney.

Anywho - Here's the cat that stared at us at the Tinker's Nest in Warren, RI. Grr. This beast was very vocal - mewed at us a lot. Probably expressing it's displeasure at my flash, but I took a picture everytime it mewed, so I guess I won that one.
Anywho – Here’s the cat that stared at us at the Tinker’s Nest in Warren, RI. Grr. This beast was very vocal – mewed at us a lot. Probably expressing it’s displeasure at my flash, but I took a picture everytime it mewed, so I guess I won that one.

It’s pretty difficult to focus on Providence, RI, when Whitney’s trying to compact her cat into a sphere, so as better to ascertain the beast’s radius.

Whitney hasn’t really changed, it seems… and perhaps no-one does. She’s still radiantly beautiful, with perfect skin and long brown hair with gold curls all floating back and forth (I’ve always seen them as red). She was my first real girlfriend back in high school, and we dated for about a year and a half. Often blissfully, occassionally turbulently. The photographic evidence showed that we were disgustingly cute together.

But her deep voice is deepened still more by her cold at the moment, and we are given nightmares by the 3am emissions of her overactive radiator. Boston surrounds her like a cloak of mislaid streets, and she knows her city well, reciting small bits of history here and there. Dropping knowledge like leaves from her autumn toned head. It’s good to see her.

But this whole compressing the cat into a sphere thing has got me a little worried.

Providence, RI – A couple of truly fantastic nights – between the Gray Goose open mic (and really good people), and the night after that (the Custom House Tavern) – where we met incredible musicians and incredible storytellers… including one guy that we invited to come play with us for our Sunday night gig at Zog.

The CD sales are getting better – and we made a good amount of cash at the show at Cafe Zog. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and had the place pretty well filled with 32 people or so. Newbies clustered in to see what was going on, and a lot of people that we’d met on our Providence wanderings were there to make us feel welcome.

For the first hour, we were joined by Rob (Artoro Got the Shaft) who has definitely been one of the outstanding personalities in Providence. He’s an excellent percussionist and filled the first part of the gig with appropriated thunder that we would not have had on our own.

Rob is a creature from Kansas, and as such hasn’t quite caught up with the rest of the world yet – “Rad” and “Scope the scene” are frequent parts of his vocabulary, and Heather’s ever-chic sensibilities were shocked. I was very pleased, on the other hand, as these often sneak their way into MY everyday speach, and I was overjoyed to find someone who justified my words.

Of course, after he told the story of how he had to REALLY clean his bathroom because he’d been attacked by a daddy longlegs while excreting urine from … himself… and that he’d had nothing to attack the beast with (he was afraid of being bitten?!) he switched to “short, controlled bursts” – I wasn’t so sure that this was someone I wanted on my side.

I almost laughed pho through my nose.

On that note, I think it’s time to take a break from all this texting. I just need to keep up so that I don’t have to put all of this solid text time in… REMEMBER ROB!!! 15 minutes a DAY!!!

sigh.

October 22, 2003.

Heather throwing leaves in Providence, RI.
Heather throwing leaves in Providence, RI.

Tonight was an excellent night – last night we’d played the Skellig in Waltham – and the host, Hugh McGowan, invited us to come play his OTHER open mic – the Burren? Or something, tonight – The host himself was fantastic. Amazing music, amazing guitarist, amazing player. An amazing person. Very kind. Tonight he even played percussion for us. He understood all of the little glances and quirks, got all the stops in Hands, the jaunts and quirks of Deep in the AM. I was amazed. Rob from Providence was right – songwriters make the absolute best percussionists.

Beautiful blondes, great gingerale with free refills (in a bar?!!?) and a couple of other musicians who just made my Life complete. We sold a good number of CDs (we’ve been at or above our quota for the last couple of days).

Mary's like a laid-back, Asian Fonz. I like the fact that of all the people I've described to Heather, I knew that Mary wouldn't look ANYTHING like what she expected. I am tricky.
Mary’s like a laid-back, Asian Fonz. I like the fact that of all the people I’ve described to Heather, I knew that Mary wouldn’t look ANYTHING like what she expected. I am tricky.

Returning home in gentle cold weather, New England fall looked like it was going to go after our throats with frost everywhich where and ice forming on the trees – but tonight it was gentle, cold and Lovely. Walking home with a gentle mist of rain – even the subway was easy. I think I’m very happy with Boston.

We relax back into Whitney’s apartment, the cat is affectionately appreciative of attention – the window is letting in the correct temperature of air, the light is gentle, and I’ve got organic Spaghettios (by Amy!)… Life’s good.

She and I spent many a late night playing Monopoly during grave shifts. I learned to appreciate her laid-back demeanour – she exerted calm on me – and it was good to get to Providence and realize that she hadn’t changed at all (I keep saying that, eventually I’ll track down someone who’s just inverted their personality somehow… people don’t change, they just sort of mellow).

The infamous Fallsway - Will sings of him in song and verse - Fallsway is a superhero.... or something. Really, he's just a big ass cat. He Lives with Mary at her place in Providence with 71, the vast fluffy black cat. Mary is a quiet goddess of silence and serenity, with beautifully intense art and bright orange walls. I was describing her to Heather before we arrived.

The infamous Fallsway – Will sings of him in song and verse – Fallsway is a superhero…. or something. Really, he’s just a big ass cat. He Lives with Mary at her place in Providence with 71, the vast fluffy black cat. Mary is a quiet goddess of silence and serenity, with beautifully intense art and bright orange walls. I was describing her to Heather before we arrived.

“Heey rahhb.”

Greg Decoteau built this guitar and played it at the Muse at the Grey Goose... Celtic symbols hand inlaid on the fret-board...
Greg Decoteau built this guitar and played it at the Muse at the Grey Goose… Celtic symbols hand inlaid on the fret-board…
When I get famous, I'm coming back with a huge wad of cash and getting Greg to make ME one.
When I get famous, I’m coming back with a huge wad of cash and getting Greg to make ME one.

I like the mornings at Whitney’s apartment. She’s a med student at Harvard, and tends to be up till 3am every morning computing vectors and gravitational pulls (I didn’t know you had to go through physics to study medicine… is that why they’re called “physicians”?). The apartment itself is in a small alcove on the side of her building, with ground level windows and much ado about ivy, so there’s very little sunlight that filters in.

Every “morning” (noonish), Whitney goes through a waking up ritual of cereal and shower. I enjoy tapping at my laptop as she checks the news. Heather tends to stay horizontal a little bit longer, and curls up against me as I type. I feel bad because my elbow sometimes hits her nose.

All in all, Boston has been beautifully calm.

Whitney herself – well, I’ve met a LOT of preachy vegetarians, a lot of Greenpeacers, a lot of save the world types. It was a common creature to inhabit the halls of art school.

I’m very impressed with Whitney, because she Lives it. I haven’t seen ANYTHING consumable in her apartment that isn’t recyclable (and she’s good about recycling) or organic (including the dishwashing soap) or Seventh Generation (Heather even noticed reuseable items of a more personal nature – very committed). I have never run across ANYONE who LIVES it before. Like I said, very impressed.

The preachier a vegan, the more likely he’s going to make a comment like “oh, but I’ve just ALWAYS worn leather shoes” – the more someone yells at you about recycling the more likely they forget to take out the bin and eventually just let it go out with the trash – and the more someone bitches about conservation, the more likely they own a really old, foul-smelling, oil-leaking, gaz guzzling lemon from the 70’s.

Not that I’m bitching, you understand. I’m just impressed with Whitney. She’s silent, and she leads by excellent example.

DCF 1.0\

From a letter I wrote to Hugh McGowan today:

The last two nights were really spectacular, and a huge part of that was in the meeting of you. I’m listening to your CD now, the beauty and elegance of chord changes and the sweep of a voice that I could dream of matching if I practiced every night for twenty years.
Out of arrogance, perhaps, I’m not usually terribly entranced by the people we encounter at the open mics, and it’s been a while since I was totally wrapped up in another performer – it was like the days in college when I was still fumbling over G chords and watching Dan Blakeslee wide-eyed in Baltimore city coffeehouses, learning… learning.
Anywho, thank you for that, as well as the percussion for the evening. Fantastic night. We came out of the Burren high and laughing. We got into the subway station just as our train pulled up, caught the convenience store just before it closed, and got in the door just before the rain started. It’s been a couple of days and a focused couple of hours of extremes and just caught chances. A beautiful balance.

Listening to his CD – “I’m all fucked up, but she’s making sense of it all”. Wow.

This is a picture of Hugh at the Burren in Boston, Massachusetts.
This is a picture of Hugh at the Burren in Boston, Massachusetts.
Someone else at the Burren. I was surprised by the whole selling of person to person, flesh, hitting on, et cetera that happened before this open mic. For such a friendly place, I felt like you had to really watch your back.
Someone else at the Burren. I was surprised by the whole selling of person to person, flesh, hitting on, et cetera that happened before this open mic. For such a friendly place, I felt like you had to really watch your back.
Heather's been experimenting with CD packaging - she just gives me photos to work on, I work'em up, and she makes these beautiful CD cases.
Heather’s been experimenting with CD packaging – she just gives me photos to work on, I work’em up, and she makes these beautiful CD cases.

October 24th, 2003.

We’re back at Shane’s for the weekend – we arrived in Philadelphia last night and went out to get about $125 worth of sushi – blowing our budget (but at least it was between five people!) but it was soo nice. I think the only thing I didn’t appreciate about the place was the absolute obscene cold of the bathroom. Oh yes, hard to aim with when shrivelege is not just a privilege, but a God damned fact of Life. Anywho – the morning has been filled with firedrills. It’s moments like these that separate the folk stars from the ROCK stars. I had ear-plugs with me. After the second or third one, I just slept on through.

Whitney's cat, Kelly. Inquisitive, furry, and compactable into a sphere.
Whitney’s cat, Kelly. Inquisitive, furry, and compactable into a sphere.
SNOW!!!!! Drove through flurries in Massachussetts.
SNOW!!!!! Drove through flurries in Massachussetts.

The offensive nature of the fire alarm was only slightly offput by the fact that Ray showed up on our… well, Shane’s doorstep. (Shane just got home!!! yay!) He crashed on the couch, we got the floor, Life was good.

Heather is not quite so happy with Ray's appearance on the scene.
Heather is not quite so happy with Ray’s appearance on the scene.

Ray brought two care-packages and a birthday present for Heather – I was amazed. The gestures of sweetness that exist in the world are possibly all overshadowed by Ray in one evening.

One of the care packages was actually from our friend Janna – including tea and soup and a mummy Pez dispenser that glows in the dark, as well as hot chocolate and stuff and other stuff…. it’s nicely decorated on the outside with the beauty of Crayola – allowing us a look at beautiful blue Maryland skies and blooming wild-flowers.

Ah, the lying glories of home – she’s just trying to tempt us back into the state so that she can get us to submit to her wanton and dark desires. We know our Janna all too well!

Ray brought us toilet paper and cookies, and a tonne of Cherry Coke for Heather – but on top of the box full of road supplies, he also handed Heather a CD booklet – it took him two shifts plus at his job at Kinkos, but he had made copies of about 40 CDs and given them to Heather to help her on her way in rebuilding her collection after the break-in in New York. The gramatically incorrect nature of my last sentance doesn’t come close to getting across how Heather glowed while she was showing this to me.

And finally, we have a copy of the Buffy Musical.

Ray has always been a God-send, and he’s just cementing himself as a neccessary part of our Lives. If we could get Brennan up here in the same weekend, we’d have all of the creatures that make ilyAIMY GO. Between Ray and Shane and Brennan we could run a successful tour, a record label, and possibly a small studio.

I was trying to decide which of their super-powers would be most useful if we had to pick one: we could have…

SHANE!!!
This mild-mannered college student has neatly cropped hair and flying, flashing, computer controlling fingers. His powers lie in his supernatural talent for knowing what to do when dropped in any situation – as a college student, he can make a home in any environment, can instantly learn the layout of any public transit system, as well as the arcane processes in making them go. He’s also well connected in the foetid underground of Indie music. Sidekick: Reptar “oh, he’s such a peaceful lizard of death”.

BRENNAN!!!
Wired and wirey, Brennan knows the tech side of music quite well. Give him a cord and he’ll untangle it, identify it, and plug it into what it bloody well ought to be plugged into. He changes strings and tunes guitars and knows chords that I don’t know yet. Also includes an encyclopedia of covers and their lyrics, and drives like a fucking maniac in the city – an ideal skill for anyone who attempts to navigate New York City in a motor vehicle. He has unnaturally superb reflexes and can fit his car through miniscule spaces, and has the nerve to compete with Big Apple Cabbies.

aaand…. RAY!!!
Well, what else to say about Ray? He’s very, very nice – (I’m sure that’s masking barely contained rage and insanity – but that makes him an even BETTER superhe- I mean… roadie) – is a seasoned traveller, and no matter what, takes the world in stride. I’m amazed by his consistant calm. He’s also willing to break people’s arms for us, which may be very useful if we ever plan to get into the REAL music industry. Also, a pretty damned good parallel parker, but I’m not sure who would win in the city driving department. I think Brennan would run over Ray’s Rio without pausing for breath… hrmm….

Really, a triumvirate is always a responsible configuration for a superhero force. I think the three should join forces and come up with a good name. Or maybe THEY are the ilyARMY. Gosh, I wish we were at that level where we could fund them on the road with us. Another Saturn, perhaps – jet black with red flames up the si- wait, I want the one with the flames, to match my boots…

and then we’d either have some weird command trailer (with satellite internet hookup and a potato gun turret). We’ll have to drop a V8 in the Saturn to keep our acceleration up with the ilyARMY command trailer (it’ll unfold into something insane a la MASK)… ew… gotta get Reptar off of Heather’s face…

We'd be able to use our potato turret to defend ourselves from hungry trucks.
We’d be able to use our potato turret to defend ourselves from hungry trucks.
Across the way: Heather and I went to see my old RA from college, Dan Blakeslee, who did a Halloween show in Boston. Red-eye was quite appropriate for the evening. He gave us candy. Ohhh.... sweet, sweet candy.
Across the way: Heather and I went to see my old RA from college, Dan Blakeslee, who did a Halloween show in Boston. Red-eye was quite appropriate for the evening. He gave us candy. Ohhh…. sweet, sweet candy.
No parking in snooty Cambridge
No parking in snooty Cambridge
No parking in Philadelphia. Sort of says it all, really.
No parking in Philadelphia. Sort of says it all, really.
Cool Irish pub in Cambridge. Apparently they also serve Norse food? Or something.
Cool Irish pub in Cambridge. Apparently they also serve Norse food? Or something.
The other pic (the one that's sort of unintelligible, unfortunately) is a really cool Halloween display in the front of a art supply store - sculpy zombies and weird tentacular things. The unidentifiable blob at the front of the pic is a decapitated owl splatting against the interior of the glass. Cool, hey?!?
The other pic (the one that’s sort of unintelligible, unfortunately) is a really cool Halloween display in the front of a art supply store – sculpy zombies and weird tentacular things. The unidentifiable blob at the front of the pic is a decapitated owl splatting against the interior of the glass. Cool, hey?!?

— Later that same day–
We’re travelling out of Philly back to Media, PA. We have a Ray and a Shane in tow, perhaps we’ll set tasks for them and test them here and there.

As I almost turn us a wrong direction, I get worried again, and frustrated with myself. Maps aren’t hard, laptop maps should be even easier, and yet I’ve made a consistant habit of making wrong turns at least once on every trip. Wests and Easts and rights and lefts, I’m worried that I keep making really stupid mistakes.

I can’t imagine how anyone does this solo. I can’t imagine trying to navigate and drive all at the same time, without a whole lot more preparation anywho. Thank God Heather’s relatively patient.

I broke two strings while playing Hands the other night with Hugh McGowan on djembe. Yup. I’m a badass.

December 14th, 2004.

The moment we leave Providence, the clouds start breaking up. Here in Somerville (effectively part of Boston) – well, we’re visiting with my old, old friend, Whitney – and her apartment is beautiful, and vast, with lots of skylights… and it’s like trying to sleep inside Towson Town Centre… or some other vast, white, sparkly well-lit mall.

Minus the billion people, plus a really fuzzy cat who wanted to Love us ALL night… so much sun. So much Love.

Entry to Boston. Dramatic skies and high winds and beautiful vistas. Unfortunately, shooting from a moving car, this is the only shot you get.
Entry to Boston. Dramatic skies and high winds and beautiful vistas. Unfortunately, shooting from a moving car, this is the only shot you get.

Last night, at JJ Barons’ suggestion, we checked out the Cantab Lounge in Central Square. We happened upon a packed night – their thirteenth anniversary of the open mic’s inception. An open mic starting its fourteenth year is almost unimaginable to me! I mean, we’ve played about two hundred of these things by now, and the closest I can think of is perhaps Cafe Florian in Camp Springs… but it’s seasonal and has changed hosts a number of times… this has been every week for thirteen years – most don’t make it past two years.

Adjusting his tie while nonchalantly holding a note on his air guitar, Jaime was invisibly rocking the house.
Adjusting his tie while nonchalantly holding a note on his air guitar, Jaime was invisibly rocking the house.

So, in celebration of not only that, but also the host’s birthday and one of the owners (?) bartenders (?) birthdays, there was cake, and singing, and such a full list that the first 12 people were down to one song apiece, and the remaining pile of names were merely “possibles”. It was actually pretty nerve-wracking. We played ok, but – like I said, I was nervous – there was much danger of rubbing unintentional elbows with myriads of people, and the night was extremely folky. The exceptions were the feature artist (PJ Shapiro) who played some neat drop D melancholiness, and Jaime, the insane air guitarist. That, I’d never quite seen before.

December 16th, 2004.

Happy birthday, high school crush. Aleithea, if we ever cross paths again, your’s is the ONLY birthday that has ever stuck in my head.

Boston is full of the brightness. I envy Heather’s capacity for sleeping on her stomach despite the beauty of the sun-filled scene. Yesterday was a day of Scrabble and fish – late into the night Heather and I wrangled tiny letter tiles on to the board. It was a rough game, a veritable war, that nearly ended indecisively.

A blurry rendition of one of the exceptions - Ian was the classic image of a New England singer/songwriter, and his voice, pure and clean, invoking very traditional, strong, folk imagery, was one of the things that got us through the night. Long, tall, mop-headed and floppy hatted, he was like an image out of the 60s. I wanted to see his dusty bootheels clocking down the highway with his guitar bag slung on his back. Thank you Arlo Guthrie, thank you Steven King. His friend -damn - neither of us can remember his name... something ended in "Christopher"? was also really, really good, and we both lamented the rest of the night as we walked together back to the T. Anywho, talk about your small worlds, they've just gotten back from playing the Mojo Lounge back in Baltimore.
A blurry rendition of one of the exceptions – Ian was the classic image of a New England singer/songwriter, and his voice, pure and clean, invoking very traditional, strong, folk imagery, was one of the things that got us through the night. Long, tall, mop-headed and floppy hatted, he was like an image out of the 60s. I wanted to see his dusty bootheels clocking down the highway with his guitar bag slung on his back. Thank you Arlo Guthrie, thank you Steven King. His friend -damn – neither of us can remember his name… something ended in “Christopher”? was also really, really good, and we both lamented the rest of the night as we walked together back to the T. Anywho, talk about your small worlds, they’ve just gotten back from playing the Mojo Lounge back in Baltimore.
Club Passim. What an amazing reputation this place has. And an amazing menu. The food is quite good. John, the doorguy, is quite nice, and I Loved his youthful voice and if he's never Santa Claus during the winter he's doing the world a vast disservice... but... it had a reputation as being an awesome open mic. Awesome both in population and talent. Where we were expecting 80, there was actually closer to 18 performers. Where we were expecting innovation and sparkle, we instead saw a horrid collection of generic artists, including a stand-up comic. There were few exceptions to this. Now, this of course leads me to my occassional dilemma. In my artists' resources pages I'm going to be writing a review of this place... I can't pan it to bad, simply because of the rep it has... it can't BE this bad all the time, right? I guess I'll split it into "what I saw" "what I heard" and "what I think".
Club Passim. What an amazing reputation this place has. And an amazing menu. The food is quite good. John, the doorguy, is quite nice, and I Loved his youthful voice and if he’s never Santa Claus during the winter he’s doing the world a vast disservice… but… it had a reputation as being an awesome open mic. Awesome both in population and talent. Where we were expecting 80, there was actually closer to 18 performers. Where we were expecting innovation and sparkle, we instead saw a horrid collection of generic artists, including a stand-up comic. There were few exceptions to this. Now, this of course leads me to my occassional dilemma. In my artists’ resources pages I’m going to be writing a review of this place… I can’t pan it to bad, simply because of the rep it has… it can’t BE this bad all the time, right? I guess I’ll split it into “what I saw” “what I heard” and “what I think”.

A couple of days ago, Heather beat me decisively, and yesterday, Whitney’s roommate Carl absolutely reamed me (he started the GAME – first turn – by using all his letters and spelling “spooled” – and then repeated himself shortly thereafter… aaand then with “square” on a triple word score with the “q” on a double letter score…). It’s been a rough couple of days for Scrabble. Last night, at around 3am, I regained my title by ONE POINT!

I’m sure that this is far more Scrabble than any of you could possibly be interested, but I thought you should know!

Anywho, yesterday was one of our coveted days “off”. We went to the New England Aquarium and wandered Boston. We had New England lobster bisque (“It’s like eating velvet” Heather said – and no, Deanne, not like THAT… though maybe…). All in all, minus the Scrabble, a very nice day.

The Porter T is apparently where all the gloves end up. Most are bronze, however. I was fooled more than once, they are scattered all over the station.
The Porter T is apparently where all the gloves end up. Most are bronze, however. I was fooled more than once, they are scattered all over the station.
At the New England Aquarium, they have a LOT of stuff that I've never seen before. Whereas the Baltimore Aquarium is definately larger, and therefore has a larger collection - the New England Aquarium definately filled in some gaps that I didn't even know were there. These guys are Sea Dragons. Look up "leafy sea dragon" on Google's image search, and you'll be just as amazed as I was that such creatures exist. I mistook them for chunks of kelp that had broken free and were bobbing around in the tank. Heather noticed first and exclaimed "They're CREATURES!!!"
At the New England Aquarium, they have a LOT of stuff that I’ve never seen before. Whereas the Baltimore Aquarium is definately larger, and therefore has a larger collection – the New England Aquarium definately filled in some gaps that I didn’t even know were there.
These guys are Sea Dragons. Look up “leafy sea dragon” on Google’s image search, and you’ll be just as amazed as I was that such creatures exist. I mistook them for chunks of kelp that had broken free and were bobbing around in the tank. Heather noticed first and exclaimed “They’re CREATURES!!!”

I can’t get over how beautiful the sky is here. After the constant grizzling grey of Providence, the sun (perhaps knowing that we sleep late and that there are LOTS of skylights here) is pure and clean and coastal, illuminating us with 24 hour ferocity (minus that whole night thing, of course). It really is showing us how beautiful things are here – and we haven’t even got lost yet, other than our obligatory “You’ve entered Boston” wrong turn.

Jellyfish! I was sooo pissed that I hadn't brought fresh batteries!
Jellyfish! I was sooo pissed that I hadn’t brought fresh batteries!
TURTLE!!! Yeah, big ass sea turtle. Predictably, it's name was Myrtle.
TURTLE!!! Yeah, big ass sea turtle. Predictably, it’s name was Myrtle.

Anywho, Whitney’s work is able to get us discount tickets to a couple of different things, and so we went to the New England Aquarium… it turned out that Heather had been there about five years ago, and was able to sort of show me around. Fortunately, even her steel-trap memory isn’t infallible, and we BOTH spent the next several hours simply being awestruck by what we saw. The Jellies exhibit (presumably the same one that travelled through Baltimore – the one that I lamented so much about missing) was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Much, much too small though. More focused on global warming than on the jellyfish themselves, and you are left with perhaps the feeling that ecocide isn’t such a bad thing if you get more of these beautiful things around.

Luckily, an Incident involving my Parts and a Jellyfish when I was very, very young keeps that kind of thinking in perspective. Still, absolutely beautiful, and whoever lit it was a genius.

This is the part that Heather remembered most strongly. Being able to pickup starfish. Unfortunately, these guys weren't nearly as fiesty as the ones in her memories, and sort of just hung out being all floppy. Very sluggish little asteroidea.
This is the part that Heather remembered most strongly. Being able to pickup starfish. Unfortunately, these guys weren’t nearly as fiesty as the ones in her memories, and sort of just hung out being all floppy. Very sluggish little asteroidea.

Hrm. That fierce light finds its way into the shower, as well. Fragmenting into hues through the rippling glass walls, forming multi-coloured shafts as it penetrates the warm, steaming haven of my cleansing… I looked down at one point and my heart just about stopped. I was VERY glad to find that my blue penis was merely a trick of the light.

In the shower, I was running numbers in my head. Revised figures for how much it takes to Live the way we do. They’re not low, let me assure you. Despite the elimination of rent and utilities, we still have health insurance and car insurance – and that’s the bulk of it. It’s sort of disturbing to mostly be making money to cover a…

Heather sharing a moment with a denizen of the deeps. My only lament was that the New England Aquarium often focused on spectacle more than information. It was somewhat difficult to tell what you were looking at sometimes, and the volunteers (with one exception) pushed through their shpiel like they were agonizing in their passing-the-time type job. I can't imagine NOT enjoying working there. I miss the Science Centre. Of course, if you worked at the Aquarium, you always had to wear khaki. Oh, my point being that I can't tell you the name of the fish she's kissing.
Heather sharing a moment with a denizen of the deeps. My only lament was that the New England Aquarium often focused on spectacle more than information. It was somewhat difficult to tell what you were looking at sometimes, and the volunteers (with one exception) pushed through their shpiel like they were agonizing in their passing-the-time type job. I can’t imagine NOT enjoying working there. I miss the Science Centre. Of course, if you worked at the Aquarium, you always had to wear khaki. Oh, my point being that I can’t tell you the name of the fish she’s kissing.

Well, it’s almost a bet, isn’t it? Someone’s betting that we WILL get into an accident, and playing the numbers and making sure that we’re paid up if we do. I have no problem with that – it’s the proportion that I find disturbing. Our bottom line is based around that legal requirement of insurance (and the comfort requirement of having health insurance).

Sunset in the heart of Boston. The light here is crystalline and fragile.
Sunset in the heart of Boston. The light here is crystalline and fragile.
Hee! Christmas at South Station! I wanted to get a picture of an Acela (I'd never seen one before) but my batteries wouldn't spark enough charge to get that one last frame.
Hee! Christmas at South Station! I wanted to get a picture of an Acela (I’d never seen one before) but my batteries wouldn’t spark enough charge to get that one last frame.

I doubt that “Living the dream” in most people’s minds include those two factors. Most other performers that we’ve encountered don’t bother with the health insurance, and some don’t even bother with car insurance… and beyond that I’d ideally take it one step further and insure our instruments and our computers and things as well. It would really be a lot more worry-free at that point.

But the estimates on that are just… painful.

So, we’re struggling to survive. The wonder of sunlight and aquariums and the beauty of travel are somewhat curtailed by the weight of survival. I’d certainly never dreamed it was going to be this hard. There aren’t really any unforeseen expenses, the numbers were all dead-on, but CD sales are slower than I’d hoped, and I’ve forgotten how to market myself as an artist. I worry, sometimes, that I’m too lazy for this job, and indeed – somedays I really, really wish that I could relax, collect a paycheck, and have someone, ANYONE just TELL ME WHAT TO DO!!! It’s the flailing around, unsure if anything will ever pay off that’s most exhausting.

And yet, I wouldn’t trade it. If someone stopped me and gave me the option – I wouldn’t want to go back. Not even to working my job at the Science Centre for twice the pay of my work at Glovia. (well, unless it was part-time). I really am in Love with the travel… it would be soo easy to just relax out of this. Slouch back home and rejoin friends and family. But – I don’t know – in this short year + time scale we’ve seen so many fantastic things, and met so many wonderful humans.

One of my principle laments back home was that, once I was out of school, I didn’t know how to go out and just MEET people. There are the same opportunities back home to do so, but out on the road, we’ve got the ideal ice-breaker, and we’re really forcing ourselves to meet other people.

I have a couple of personal goals – goals about production as an artist, goals about writing and practicing as a musician, goals about self-image changes and goals about personal interactions. None of them are close to being realized, but I think I would not even be making headway if I wasn’t doing THIS right now.

I’m already contemplating my New Year’s Resolutions. They will be Journal entry. I think that people may even be issued Official ilyAIMY Pain Sticks to help me Live up to them.