May 29th, 2004.

Hehe – just something worth mentioning – went to see Aoutar, which I may or may not be spelling correctly, at the College Perk. Decent enough show – they need a bass player desperately, methinks. A very cool, middle-eastern type sound.

ilyAIMY performing at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA
ilyAIMY performing at Jammin Java in Vienna, VA

Anywho – I stepped outside to call my parents, and on the way back in, two guys were standing in the doorway. I nodded to one of them, paused, said “Excuse me” at which point they apologized and stepped out of the way.

Just a favourite picture of Heather.
Just a favourite picture of Heather.
Heather and I performing at the Year of the Rabbit in Bowie, MD.
Heather and I performing at the Year of the Rabbit in Bowie, MD.
Sharif and I performing at the Year of the Rabbit in Bowie, MD.
Sharif and I performing at the Year of the Rabbit in Bowie, MD.

And on my way into the crowded room, I heard something that made me grin:

“Dude, you know who that IS?”
“Uh, no?”
“That’s the lead singer from ilyAIMY!!!”
“Oh shit. Really? I feel so stupid!”

Hee.

In other randomness – my Father has this inventor friend named, unpretentiously, John Smith. I don’t know precisely what he does, but I’ve always gotten the impression that he’s paid to sit around and think… to fiddle and tinker… to create. I’ve mostly known his work to deal with stereoscopic images, and every once in a while my Dad gets a phone call. I haven’t heard it in years, but I’d recognize John’s thin, wispy voice in an instant.

So today’s random phone call could’ve included a dirty joke, or he could be calling my Dad’s attention to some article in some obscure magazine – but today he’s asking if anyone knows what that page is called at the beginning of a book, where there sits nothing but a quote, or perhaps a piece of poetry… not a dedication – but some sort of artistic introductory summing up…

No idea – John goes on to tell my dad about how he’s linked up two computer monitors, showing and running the same application, but with a slight offset to create a stereo (3D) image… and that’s not enough, so he’s hooked up ANOTHER keyboard so someone else can manipulate the same thing. He can now view 3D images, and even DRAW in three dimensions.

The world’s just so damned COOL.

May 30th, 2004.

This morning started with a jumo. I’m not quite sure how it happened visually – reflections and blurs and half-remembered dreams conspired to rearrange my view of the side of Heather’s head into Brennan staring wide-eyed at me from across the pillow.

Before heading out to the woods, there was a momentary flirtation with the idea of taking the cat for a walk. I'm not sure what we were thinking.
Before heading out to the woods, there was a momentary flirtation with the idea of taking the cat for a walk. I’m not sure what we were thinking.
My Mom came and retrieved Luka after he decided to use Martin Luther King's passive resistance techniques on us. My mom came out to find that "walking the cat" had turned into "dragging limp cat across the lawn". Oh, and don't worry - the cat's on a harness, not a collar - so it's not like we were choking him. But if you ask him, he'll probably say we were - just for sympathy's sake. Bastard.
My Mom came and retrieved Luka after he decided to use Martin Luther King’s passive resistance techniques on us. My mom came out to find that “walking the cat” had turned into “dragging limp cat across the lawn”. Oh, and don’t worry – the cat’s on a harness, not a collar – so it’s not like we were choking him. But if you ask him, he’ll probably say we were – just for sympathy’s sake. Bastard.

I jerked away and things resolved into Heather’s earings. Not quite sure what happened there. Very disturbing.

So much happened yesterday. Unbelievable amounts of stuff. There are SO many pictures. Today I’m sitting happily in my orange pants, half-heartedly watching some Cameron Diaz movie and organizing photographs.

Last night, after watching Aoutar, we went back to my parents’ house to crash. Then we ventured forth into the world, slowly – the bright lights of the shining sun certainly somewhat discouraging ME from emergence. But my mom made me scrambled eggs the way she used to (with cream cheese), and that was reason enough to regain consciousness.

So, my mom went out to weed the garden, my dad lamented about his computer, Heather slept, and I played games until about 1 when my dad tried to get us to go out to the woods for a walk. He had the right idea – the weather really was perfect yesterday… perfect for frog hunting!

And THAT, my friends, is where our story begins.

We’re sitting on the Lloydholme back porch. Heather’s writing poetry, and I’m writing letters and Journal entries. Worrying that yesterday has produced ten pages of pictures. I’m reading emails from new fans – newcomers to the ilyAIMYite fold. The listeners of the Folk Art Cafe are more vocal than most… and I have a tonne of what can only be described as “fan mail” floating through my inbox.

I feel exhausted, and happy, and good. The theramin thrum of the cicada song continues unabated, and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm before the evening’s out.

Last night’s Folk Art Cafe gig was a success. Sort of a success. I’m not being a good independent musician, and we forgot to put out a tip jar and advertise it’s presence.

My Dad took us a wanderin' through the woods and to the lakes. I feel sort of bad describing Maryland as a place of asphalt the other day... but...not TOO bad.
My Dad took us a wanderin’ through the woods and to the lakes. I feel sort of bad describing Maryland as a place of asphalt the other day… but…not TOO bad.

I thought about it once, and then didn’t think about it again. My fault entirely. But it’s not something that I can do again. Gas prices are beginning to legitimately scare me, and I don’t think people are taking it seriously. I mean – we’ve all grown up groaning about fluxes in the price of gas. Ten cents here, twenty cents there – but I’ve been reading newspaper articles about the reality of $3.00 a gallon gas.

And sometimes they never get a chance to become their full-fledged cicada selves. Sometimes alien beast-spiders come and slorp them out of their skins.
And sometimes they never get a chance to become their full-fledged cicada selves. Sometimes alien beast-spiders come and slorp them out of their skins.

Now, I’m sure our two European fans are reading that and scoffing – but for us that’s about a 200% increase, and that’s a huge number. I’ve been budgeting for gas for a while – and overbudgeting, to make sure we don’t fall short. You know, it’s always a nice surprise when you realize you have more money than you thought. But here we’ve gone from $1.80/gallon being a “high” estimate of the cost of gas to $2.05/gallon being woefully inadequate. With the majority of our expenses being car-related, I’m worried that we’re about to see our expenses effectively double without any possibility of something similar happening with our income. That’s really frightening. How to we like the idea of small independent artists effectively being eliminated by something as stupid as the rising price of gasoline?

And the cicada shells cover the underside of all the leaves.
And the cicada shells cover the underside of all the leaves.
For people from far, far away - this gives you an idea of what like the cicadas have been like this year. The world looks like someone's been walking around emptying a 12 guage into it. It's insane when you think about it... x million cicadas coming out of the Earth per square acre. Someone told me that currently the number of cicadas in the state of Maryland outnumbers the number of people on the planet, which I find unbelievable. Man - what a resource though, there must be SOMETHING that we can do with the cicada layer!
For people from far, far away – this gives you an idea of what like the cicadas have been like this year. The world looks like someone’s been walking around emptying a 12 guage into it. It’s insane when you think about it… x million cicadas coming out of the Earth per square acre. Someone told me that currently the number of cicadas in the state of Maryland outnumbers the number of people on the planet, which I find unbelievable. Man – what a resource though, there must be SOMETHING that we can do with the cicada layer!

And so we come to the hope of finding alternatives… but what are they? There are conversion kits – good for converting your DIESEL vehicle to run on vegetable oil. Heather’s looking at getting a hybrid, if the settlement for the accident ever comes through – but the chances of THAT kind of money falling into our laps, I think, is slim to zero.

Heather goes frog hunting.
Heather goes frog hunting.
And catches one. You have to squish the head a little or they run off.
And catches one. You have to squish the head a little or they run off.
We found two snakes. This is the one that didn't make me jump out of my skin. You EXPECT to find them out and sunning themselves. The other one was under a log that I'd lifted up... I saw something interesting and glisteny, so... naturally... I poked it. You know, like you do. And it was really unhappy.
We found two snakes. This is the one that didn’t make me jump out of my skin. You EXPECT to find them out and sunning themselves. The other one was under a log that I’d lifted up… I saw something interesting and glisteny, so… naturally… I poked it. You know, like you do. And it was really unhappy.

The way our world works… it makes sense to me in one way, but… it’s so spectacularly short-sighted. The Baltimore Sun writes something to the effect that it’s not that the price of gas is getting excessively high, but that the price of gas HAD been too low. This front-page article goes on to assert that this is actually a good, thing – that there is always the possibility that the thinning supply of oil is actually a percursor of a shortage – not caused by supply and demand or those pesky brown-skinned AY RABS that we’re all supposed to hate… but caused by the very real fact that the planet may be drained of this not-very-renewable resource.

And so, the Sun asserts – running out is a good thing, as this will teach us the value of conservation.

SO many frogs.
SO many frogs.

That’s excellent ladies and gentlemen – but while we’re learning that lesson, how are we getting to work? How are we making our plastics and latex and rubbers? Hehe – we’re all stuck at home with nothing to do and no condoms. THAT will teach us our lesson, won’t it? I’m not a doom-sayer – but I also wonder how much warning there would be… or if the pumps would just go dry one day, and since the government of the United States (and as far as I know, just about every other government as well) hasn’t exactly placed a high-priority on alternative fuel sources, and in most cases, has actively discouraged it’s exploration… well, what happens?

I don’t know, it’s an awful lot like a man taking his sixty foot ladder, chucking it down a dark hole, and hopping down after it. Plus or minus surviving the fall, it’s hit or miss whether or not that ladder’s going to get him back into the light again.

hen we started finding really tiny ones.
Then we started finding really tiny ones.

And so… here we are… I can worry about it – and it would certainly be impolitic to purchase a Humvee at this moment in time. Perhaps you place solar panels on your house, but they haven’t been good for much other than heating water up till now. You could vote for the politician that is interested in green sources of energy… but when it comes down to it, we’ve built a system where money talks, and little else has any sort of voice whatsoever.

So we nabbed two and made a run for it.

Buy the hybrids? There are like… four on the market. There will be another four next year perhaps… but there isn’t much to choose from, and the current nine month waiting period (shouldn’t that be signal enough that these are in demand and that supply should follow? or is that waiting list why car companies feel so confident charging $10k+ for a two door compact car?) is reason enough for most consumers to turn their eyeballs elsewhere.

This moth was huge, maybe 6"-7" across, and very disinterested in leaving the path where we found it. The body was big and fat and juicy, like a tarantule with wings - and the "eye patches" on it's wings weren't black at all, but completely transparent. I pet it for a little while (which I know you're not supposed to do, but I only used the BACK of my finger) and Heather poked it with a stick.
This moth was huge, maybe 6″-7″ across, and very disinterested in leaving the path where we found it. The body was big and fat and juicy, like a tarantule with wings – and the “eye patches” on it’s wings weren’t black at all, but completely transparent. I pet it for a little while (which I know you’re not supposed to do, but I only used the BACK of my finger) and Heather poked it with a stick.

Perhaps you purchase the diesel vehicle and buy the conversion kit. That sounds very viable, and the more reading I do, the more it seems smart. Am I ready to start asking at the back of restaraunts for their left over cooking oil? Not, I think, until I’ve met someone who runs one of these cars and they show me their modus operandi. My ideal world, right now – would be to get a diesel VW Westfalia, perhaps – get the conversion kit, and have at the world…. but at the moment, this is all just dreamin.

Hehe - many distractions while running off. This is what I REALLY wanted. When I was younger, every year we'd catch a toad in the drainpipe in the backyard, and we'd keep him for the whole summer, taking delight in catching him bugs and petting him and washing our hands. We'd let him go at the end of the summer so he could hop off and hibernate - but I really miss having a little amphibious friend.
Hehe – many distractions while running off. This is what I REALLY wanted. When I was younger, every year we’d catch a toad in the drainpipe in the backyard, and we’d keep him for the whole summer, taking delight in catching him bugs and petting him and washing our hands. We’d let him go at the end of the summer so he could hop off and hibernate – but I really miss having a little amphibious friend.
And then after such a fantastic and satisfying day, rushing back to the car so's not to be late for the Folk Art Cafe gig - and then my Dad's tire was flat! Erf. Ha - speaking of oil shortages, that wipes out tires, too, doesn't it?
And then after such a fantastic and satisfying day, rushing back to the car so’s not to be late for the Folk Art Cafe gig – and then my Dad’s tire was flat! Erf. Ha – speaking of oil shortages, that wipes out tires, too, doesn’t it?
The fantastic Folk Art Cafe.The show itself was excellent - pretty low-stress because Brennan is wooing us with his manager/roadie skills and took care of much of the set-up (and break-down too).... and then the gig itself was just a whole lot of fun. I had all my favourite people to croon to right up front, and the audience was packed full of newbies as well. Very pleased. We had some technical difficulties, and some rough spots on the set-list, but all in all, the night went down beautifully, and I've gotten more emails about this one gig than I've gotten correspondance about ANYTHING we've done in a long, long time.
The fantastic Folk Art Cafe.The show itself was excellent – pretty low-stress because Brennan is wooing us with his manager/roadie skills and took care of much of the set-up (and break-down too)…. and then the gig itself was just a whole lot of fun. I had all my favourite people to croon to right up front, and the audience was packed full of newbies as well. Very pleased. We had some technical difficulties, and some rough spots on the set-list, but all in all, the night went down beautifully, and I’ve gotten more emails about this one gig than I’ve gotten correspondance about ANYTHING we’ve done in a long, long time.

Random note – Heather just caugnt me a ligntning bug. She demands that it LIGHT UP NOW!! Hrm – she just brought me a chocolate covered banana. She’s dangerously close to being sweet, and I’m naturally suspicious.

The fantastic Folk Art Cafe.The show itself was excellent - pretty low-stress because Brennan is wooing us with his manager/roadie skills and took care of much of the set-up (and break-down too).... and then the gig itself was just a whole lot of fun. I had all my favourite people to croon to right up front, and the audience was packed full of newbies as well. Very pleased. We had some technical difficulties, and some rough spots on the set-list, but all in all, the night went down beautifully, and I've gotten more emails about this one gig than I've gotten correspondance about ANYTHING we've done in a long, long time.
The fantastic Folk Art Cafe.The show itself was excellent – pretty low-stress because Brennan is wooing us with his manager/roadie skills and took care of much of the set-up (and break-down too)…. and then the gig itself was just a whole lot of fun. I had all my favourite people to croon to right up front, and the audience was packed full of newbies as well. Very pleased. We had some technical difficulties, and some rough spots on the set-list, but all in all, the night went down beautifully, and I’ve gotten more emails about this one gig than I’ve gotten correspondance about ANYTHING we’ve done in a long, long time.

June 1st, 2004.

Cursed June. Yesterday I had allergies, band practice, and an open mic, and I’ve learned some important lessons.

A weird side-effect of playing with your back to an open door - lots of ass shots from the Folk Art Cafe.
A weird side-effect of playing with your back to an open door – lots of ass shots from the Folk Art Cafe.

1) Band practice is very important, but I’m really having so much fun with the threesome right now, that all I can think ALL through band practice is “mmmm…. threesome”… which isn’t something that should slip out into the microphone, because everyone gets all weird and thinks I’m talking about sex.

2) Don’t take drugs from the drummer. I was under the influence of something vicious last night, in the form of an antihistimine. I was still sort of high when we got back to the house. I’m not sure if I played really, really fast, or if I was percieving the world as running very, verrry, slooooow.

3) A lesson that I really should’ve learned by now – never judge an open mic until you actually play it. Alfred had asked us to come out and play the Sly Fox Pub last night – normally this thing takes place outside on their massive deck, but last night it was drizzly and dribbly with occasional damp, so the whole thing was moved into this very tiny, very Annapolitan space underground, where it was hot, and muggy, and nasty, and moist.

There was us, the host, and two other performers, and Alfred had wandered off, and we were up next (old friend Leigh, from the Year of the Rabbit was one of the other actually play it. Alfred had asked us to come out and play the Sly Fox Pub last night – normally this thing takes place outside on their massive deck, but last night it was drizzly and dribbly with occassional damp, so the whole thing was moved into this very tiny, very Annapolitan space underground, where it was hot, and muggy, and nasty, and moist.

This morning, we felt kind of bad keeping our catch, so we went and found a little idyllic spot to have a frog release party.
This morning, we felt kind of bad keeping our catch, so we went and found a little idyllic spot to have a frog release party.
King of the Stick was the first to be extracted from the bottle - and he immediately, in keeping with his name, found a stick and climbed it.
King of the Stick was the first to be extracted from the bottle – and he immediately, in keeping with his name, found a stick and climbed it.
Puddle, on the other hand... immediately went for cover. I declare him the wiser of the two.
Puddle, on the other hand… immediately went for cover. I declare him the wiser of the two.
Their new home.
Their new home.

There was us, the host, and two other performers, and Alfred had wandered off, and we were up next (old friend Leigh, from the Year of the Rabbit was one of the other performers) and these two hippie-ish looking creatures have wandered it and are looking all around for someone – and they just looked too much like Alfredians to NOT be – so I started talking to them… one was this very cute percussionist, and the other started getting into the metaphysics of creativity. I apologized for my total inability to follow, and blamed it on Alfred’s antihistimines. We played fast and sweated profusely, and blew the room away, and the owner asked what we did with our Saturdays. Score for us.

Heather's badge of triumph. Scrapes from letting herself down into the FrogZone. I have a shot of the actual moment when she slipped and gained her stripes, but I'd probably be screwing myself if I posted that. So to speak.
Heather’s badge of triumph. Scrapes from letting herself down into the FrogZone. I have a shot of the actual moment when she slipped and gained her stripes, but I’d probably be screwing myself if I posted that. So to speak.

September 20th, 2004.

An ilyPile.
An ilyPile.

Last night was just… unimaginably wonderful. Dan Blakeslee was Audrey’s RA in our freshman year of college, and I spent so much time over there, he might as well have been my RA too. He was a beautiful, crooning voice ricocheting off the Commons walls, a spectacular fixture of the stairwells, inspiring us to open our windows and open our ears. I was still fresh to acoustic music – Whitney had stopped off after the Indigo Girls and Simon and Garfunkle. Audrey was working me over with folk recordings, but Dan was on the landing outside sparkling and generating light.

ilyAIMY at Folk Art Cafe.
ilyAIMY at Folk Art Cafe.
Audrey in the back parking lot of the Folk Art Cafe.
Audrey in the back parking lot of the Folk Art Cafe.
ilyAIMY in the back parking lot of the Folk Art Cafe.
ilyAIMY in the back parking lot of the Folk Art Cafe.
A good night for skirts at the Folk Art - Heather McClung and Rick 'Dahl. Rick's not wearing a skirt, of course. But Jason was.
A good night for skirts at the Folk Art – Heather McClung and Rick ‘Dahl. Rick’s not wearing a skirt, of course. But Jason was.
Daaaan Blakeslee!
Daaaan Blakeslee!

Maybe two weeks ago, Dan called me out of the blue to tell me that he was dropping in for a bit – so we set him up a show at the only place I know that will give me the time I want at the last minute – the Folk Art Cafe.

Above: Heather and Sharif huddle for warmth – once we were ousted from the Folk Art Cafe, we continued the show in the parking lot.
ilyAIMY mothers, knitting fiercely to the music.
ilyAIMY mothers, knitting fiercely to the music.
Dan Blakeslee.
Dan Blakeslee.
ilyAIMY at Folk Art Cafe.
ilyAIMY at Folk Art Cafe.
 The first really autumnal night, cold, crisp air, and all of my musical roots, entwined. I wish we could've found Andy Lattrell, maybe Jonny (but he's dead now, isn't he), and Will Schaff, and Sunrise Kennedy...maybe even drag Little Michael out.
The first really autumnal night, cold, crisp air, and all of my musical roots, entwined. I wish we could’ve found Andy Lattrell, maybe Jonny (but he’s dead now, isn’t he), and Will Schaff, and Sunrise Kennedy…maybe even drag Little Michael out.
Rick and Audrey, Heather and I, and Dan Blakeslee all did a round robin through the night at the Folk Art Cafe - it's so good to be able to invite Audrey some place with a real piano. A Lovely night, I was disappointed that we didn't have more of an audience - it was just SUCH a beautiful night.
Rick and Audrey, Heather and I, and Dan Blakeslee all did a round robin through the night at the Folk Art Cafe – it’s so good to be able to invite Audrey some place with a real piano. A Lovely night, I was disappointed that we didn’t have more of an audience – it was just SUCH a beautiful night.
An ilyPile.
An ilyPile.

Great show. Dan was exhausted from working on bike ramps all day, and spent the whole set-up hour + passed out on the couch. It was cute. Having got fed up with the sound system, we ended up just playing acoustic, which worked out pretty well, +/- the whole piano volume issue.

Jason wearing one of Heather’s keys, and enjoying it profusely, apparently.

I don’t know that I can really effectively describe what it was like. Dan was my idol in college, one of my original inspirations. I know I have a bad habit of getting mushy on stage, so I avoided talking too much about it. But knowing that Ali sort of views us that way, I had to talk to her about it – I wanted to pass some of that feeling along. Let her know that I was burning right then.

May 14th, 2005.

I had a dream the other night with the full awareness that my Father had died. Previous dreams involved just having him in the background, like he always was… then progressed to dreams where the cancer was some sort of mistake, and he was going to be fine, and then dreams where he was still alive, but sick again, and the whole process was just about to begin again, but this time we knew the hopelessness, the helplessness, and the inevitable outcome..

The Mug of Destiny. I think that this well-meaning yet ill-conceived birthday present from my parents, given years ago (most likely for my 18th birthday) probably did a major job of reshaping my Life. Titled "This Being a Grown-Up isn't all it's cracked up to be", it's filled with the nightmares of adult Life. Well, no, generally it's filled with hot chocolate. It's covered in the nightmares of "the real world", and I spent a lot of time being absolutely horrified at what I was supposed to have to look forward to. It's exactly the stuff I'm trying to avoid. Though... from what I can see above... well, we still pay health insurance. And our car still has troubles here and there... we get backaches from our jobs... at least we don't have mortgage and we always get to eat other people's butter, hey?  Sigh, there's butter in the house where we're staying now, but no bread. Well - getting closer everyday. If we ever get our million-dollar record deal, I'm going to have all the BEST breads. My friend Chris says they way he'll know he's "made it" is that he'll be able to eat as much as he wants and not worry about it. He'll know he's made it when his scrawny frame can become so fat he can't fit through his front door - and when he doesn't worry about it either.
The Mug of Destiny. I think that this well-meaning yet ill-conceived birthday present from my parents, given years ago (most likely for my 18th birthday) probably did a major job of reshaping my Life. Titled “This Being a Grown-Up isn’t all it’s cracked up to be”, it’s filled with the nightmares of adult Life. Well, no, generally it’s filled with hot chocolate. It’s covered in the nightmares of “the real world”, and I spent a lot of time being absolutely horrified at what I was supposed to have to look forward to. It’s exactly the stuff I’m trying to avoid. Though… from what I can see above… well, we still pay health insurance. And our car still has troubles here and there… we get backaches from our jobs… at least we don’t have mortgage and we always get to eat other people’s butter, hey?
Sigh, there’s butter in the house where we’re staying now, but no bread. Well – getting closer everyday. If we ever get our million-dollar record deal, I’m going to have all the BEST breads. My friend Chris says they way he’ll know he’s “made it” is that he’ll be able to eat as much as he wants and not worry about it. He’ll know he’s made it when his scrawny frame can become so fat he can’t fit through his front door – and when he doesn’t worry about it either.

The other night in Disputanta, VA, staying with Chelsea and Beau, I dreamt that I was standing in the hallway at my mom’s house, and that I glimpsed my dad sitting in a chair in the Living room (a chair, bright yellow and long since disposed of in the real world). He was almost solid, and though he motioned me closer, I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I don’t remember being shocked in the dream, and I remember telling other people about the vision, and them telling me that it was a good thing. I think my brother could see him too. I woke up confused and feeling comforted that this was confirmation of the existance of some sort of afterlife, a promise of continuation – until I remembered that we’d thrown at the chair and realized that it was a dream. That sort of threw me. I’ve been feeling a little off ever since, I suppose.

Audrey 'Dahl singing melancholy songs at my Father's non-service at the Folk Art Cafe. We had decided not to have a real "funeral", but rather a party of sorts - we had some music and a LOT of food (mostly supplied by Audrey). And the Folk Art Cafe was kind enough to open on a Monday and let us use their space. We really wanted to have something at a place that he'd enjoyed while he was alive, and though I fear I looked at my mom like she was crazy when she first floated the idea, I quickly came to like it. In hindsight, it really was one of the best ideas possible.
Audrey ‘Dahl singing melancholy songs at my Father’s non-service at the Folk Art Cafe. We had decided not to have a real “funeral”, but rather a party of sorts – we had some music and a LOT of food (mostly supplied by Audrey). And the Folk Art Cafe was kind enough to open on a Monday and let us use their space. We really wanted to have something at a place that he’d enjoyed while he was alive, and though I fear I looked at my mom like she was crazy when she first floated the idea, I quickly came to like it. In hindsight, it really was one of the best ideas possible.
Rick 'Dahl listening intently. (My Aunt Laurie and Uncle Greg, in from Georgia, are in the background). One of the things that I have always appreciated about death, and funerals (if this has been a "funeral" per se, it would've been number 34 for me, I think) - is the way they bring people together. Aunts and Uncles, so much family, people I can't keep track of. So many of my mother's friends, and more friends than I knew my Father had. The bitter half of me, of course asks why they weren't around while he was still alive, but I still enjoyed the stories. I met my Dad's college room mate from Arizon State who told me about how they'd run off in my Dad's Jaguar and taken a roadtrip from Arizona to the Newport Folk Festival to go see Janis Joplin - about how my Dad had talked his way into one of the local diners and got them the "local" prices on everything from sandwiches to clam chowder.
Rick ‘Dahl listening intently. (My Aunt Laurie and Uncle Greg, in from Georgia, are in the background). One of the things that I have always appreciated about death, and funerals (if this has been a “funeral” per se, it would’ve been number 34 for me, I think) – is the way they bring people together. Aunts and Uncles, so much family, people I can’t keep track of. So many of my mother’s friends, and more friends than I knew my Father had. The bitter half of me, of course asks why they weren’t around while he was still alive, but I still enjoyed the stories. I met my Dad’s college room mate from Arizon State who told me about how they’d run off in my Dad’s Jaguar and taken a roadtrip from Arizona to the Newport Folk Festival to go see Janis Joplin – about how my Dad had talked his way into one of the local diners and got them the “local” prices on everything from sandwiches to clam chowder.

Friday morning we got up and drove from Disputanta to Carrboro, North Carolina where they were in the midst of an Art Walk. Open shops and open doors. Carrboro is a strange little college town with poorly defined boundaries and murals on every available flat surface. Heather, of course, had nothing to worry about, but I had the fear that if i stood still for any length of time, someone would come out of the woodwork and art me up.

We discovered a happy lizard living about the shutters at my Mom's house. I think one of my uncles pointed him out... and then talked me into shaking the shutter a bit in the hopes of coaxing him out a little bit. Not too much luck with that. He seemed happy with where he was.
We discovered a happy lizard living about the shutters at my Mom’s house. I think one of my uncles pointed him out… and then talked me into shaking the shutter a bit in the hopes of coaxing him out a little bit. Not too much luck with that. He seemed happy with where he was.
Heather with balloons at my Dad's non-service. Dressed in bright colours. Who'd've thunk? That's my Grandpa in the foreground.
Heather with balloons at my Dad’s non-service. Dressed in bright colours. Who’d’ve thunk? That’s my Grandpa in the foreground.

All of our Northern North Carolina friends came out and represented at the Open Eye (Cafe of the Dark Lord), and in honour of Sauron (the logo for the Open Eye looks very much like the Eye), I even sang a special version of “the Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton”. Hail Sauron. A special thank you to Russ and his wife (the nail queen!) for coming out, and on top of everything else, mentioning us in a drum circle to a local duo, Alison and Darren. On Russ’ advice, they looked me up, and Darren is slowly working his way through learning Deep in the AM. He seemed thrilled to actually watch us play – their enthusiasm just lit up the room.

Then our host for the night, Jamie, also brought out a bunch of friends. All in all, we had a pretty decent crowd. Jonathan Byrd (who’d we met at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival a couple days previous) even walked in. Go fig. Oh he of the beautiful CD designs.

vNear Chelsea and Beau's place, where we crashed on Thursday night. I took a photograph of this "abandoned" falling down house. Going back and looking at the picture and realizing it had satellite TV was kind of funny.
Near Chelsea and Beau’s place, where we crashed on Thursday night. I took a photograph of this “abandoned” falling down house. Going back and looking at the picture and realizing it had satellite TV was kind of funny.
n Carborro, NC and it's surrounding environs, everything is arted up. Here's a bug that would crush ALL of Amy's intricate minions. I mean, not to underestimate her creatures, but really - little wiry critters vs massive feet of wood? Of course, this guy doesn't look too bright. If Amy's minions are clever enough to construct traps and then maybe, I don't know, light him on fire or something... well, I don't want to pontificate on the subject TOO much - it wouldn't be a fair fight if I gave anyone ideas, now would it?
n Carborro, NC and it’s surrounding environs, everything is arted up. Here’s a bug that would crush ALL of Amy’s intricate minions. I mean, not to underestimate her creatures, but really – little wiry critters vs massive feet of wood? Of course, this guy doesn’t look too bright. If Amy’s minions are clever enough to construct traps and then maybe, I don’t know, light him on fire or something… well, I don’t want to pontificate on the subject TOO much – it wouldn’t be a fair fight if I gave anyone ideas, now would it?

After the gig, we went back to Jamie’s and just shot the shit with her and her friends till about 3am. I like the feeling that we restore a little youth to everyone we visit – allowing them to relive the college days of late night roommate conversations. It’s something that we all seem to miss, that sense of comeraderie. Apparently, having roommates just isn’t adult anymore, but it’s something we all regret losing, to some extent at least. I think the ideal marriage would have a lot of roommatish traits… 2am hour-long conversations held sitting in a doorjam because you’ve passed on the way to the bathroom.

Hehe – we just passed “The Lost Sock” laundromat…. and a “waterfowl impoundment area”. Don’t know about all that.

We’re travelling slowly down route 1 near the southern edge of North Carolina. Construction and detours have us lead astray, but not for long. We found my father along the road along the way.

Paintings and murals everywhere! When we go back through I'll make a more concerted effort to capture them, but I was all moody and not good about pulling my camera out.
Paintings and murals everywhere! When we go back through I’ll make a more concerted effort to capture them, but I was all moody and not good about pulling my camera out.
Heather playing to Alison at the Open Eye Cafe. She and her partner, Darren are in a band called Optic, and were turned on to us by our friend Russ at a drum circle. Darren eventually contacted me in an effort to learn Deep in the AM which involved a WHOLE lot of back and forth emails and IMs and even videos.
Heather playing to Alison at the Open Eye Cafe. She and her partner, Darren are in a band called Optic, and were turned on to us by our friend Russ at a drum circle. Darren eventually contacted me in an effort to learn Deep in the AM which involved a WHOLE lot of back and forth emails and IMs and even videos.

January 14th, 2018.

We've been focusing on making sure we highlight Rowan as a frontman more frequently. It seems to be working out well!
We’ve been focusing on making sure we highlight Rowan as a frontman more frequently. It seems to be working out well!

We returned to the Old Bowie Town Grille last night and though onstage I was happy with myself, offstage I was displeased. I was funny and charming and played guitar like a motherfuckin’ FIRE (or does he say riot? I’ve never looked it up) – off stage I was VERY aware of having just screwed up a bunch of lyrics (like my old self) and even lost my place in a couple of songs (once cause I was misdirected, twice cause I lost count and thrice cause I WAS RIGHT but everyone else did something else!) and was bitter and tired and potentially snappish.

ilyAIMY returns to the Old Bowie Town Grille after a three year absence! I was pleasantly surprised to find that we still knew some of the servers!
ilyAIMY returns to the Old Bowie Town Grille after a three year absence! I was pleasantly surprised to find that we still knew some of the servers!

I hope I wasn’t snappish.

We were filming, and there’s a WHOLE additional level of angst when you’re trying to not only make your hands go and your mouth go and breathe appropriately and run sound and think “what’s next?” and not trip over anything and then ADD looking cool and make sure you’re emotive and how’s my hair?!?!

Artem Bank did a great job of getting some solid video of the night - now hopefully our performance will bear up to such close inspection!
Artem Bank did a great job of getting some solid video of the night – now hopefully our performance will bear up to such close inspection!

Yeah, it’s a lot. And for many, many years I’ve generally thought I’m a fun stage performer, but when you’ve got to actually THINK about it? Good lord – it can ALL go to Hell.

No, really… go to HELL!

Sigh.

I think that though it probably wasn’t a great show, we PUT ON a great show – which is a weird distinction, perhaps – but what I mean by that is that I think the audience had a great time, and we did very well financially – and the venue was very happy and wants us back as soon as we’re able – but I don’t know how much of the video’s going to be a great application piece and I was heartily aware of every missed lyric, sloppy chord and missed note.

And of course the sad part about having put a lot of energy into filming it – that means you can’t help but heartily critique. THAT’S going to be interesting.

So – in any case, I’ve got a couple of other things that I kind of want to gripe about, but I shouldn’t because I’m genuinely trying to project less negativity.

So what I REALLY should say is I had a funny interaction at Safeway with a sidling woman who commiserated with me about our collective lack of interest in the Sports Ball and our distress over how it seems to impair the faculties of those around us.

Band practice is a good party (January 7th, 2018 at the rob and Kristen pad…)
Friday… it’s been 20 degrees at most for weeks, and it’s supposed to be 19 tomorrow. But today it’s 60 and so foggy you can’t see the end of the block.
Band practice? Okay - not MY band practice - Chuck the Madd Ox, Dave Benham and Kristen jamming together prepping for their featured artist slot on Monday. It's been a good weekend to be our Living room!
Band practice? Okay – not MY band practice – Chuck the Madd Ox, Dave Benham and Kristen jamming together prepping for their featured artist slot on Monday. It’s been a good weekend to be our Living room!
The weasel done got a weasel wrap from Heather's parents! Christmas CONTINUES!!!
The weasel done got a weasel wrap from Heather’s parents! Christmas CONTINUES!!!