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.

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.

April 27th, 2005.

A quick note before bed. I Love my friends.

We arrived well after midnight in the clutches of an old, old friend from high school, Whitney. We sat in her Cambridge apartment retelling our adventures of the past two days and beyond, and I’m coming to the realization of just how very kind the people are that we’ve met. I’m really looking forward to meeting old friends again, ro re-encountering those we’ve been out of touch with. But I sort of wanted to send myself off to bed with the knowledge that I have a fierce, visceral Love for many of these people.

Providence RI
We went with Will and Joelle to see a 3-D Imax movie about sharks! One of the coolest things I've ever seen - jellyfish lookin like they was gonna touch my face! Have no problem with George wanting to do this to the Star Wars films. At first I was like "do something NEW slacker!" and now I'm like "WANNITNOW!!!" On the opposite side, just a nice shot of Providence from the mall (best way to get a good shot of Providence, actually - exclude the big ass-mall in the middle).
We went with Will and Joelle to see a 3-D Imax movie about sharks! One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen – jellyfish lookin like they was gonna touch my face! Have no problem with George wanting to do this to the Star Wars films. At first I was like “do something NEW slacker!” and now I’m like “WANNITNOW!!!” On the opposite side, just a nice shot of Providence from the mall (best way to get a good shot of Providence, actually – exclude the big ass-mall in the middle).

Not the storybook “I’d die for you” kind of passionate Love, but a depth of respect, admiration… an appreciation for their beauty. Will and his artwork, his strangely out-of-place kindness, Whitney with the smooth, porcelain skin that will never change and the quiet demeanour, waiting to insert some insight into whatever she sees… people who I’ve know for years, but even the new ones, the people at the Centre Coffee Bar tonight, or back in Wilmington, or California, or Richmond, or Omaha, or Belleville, or long ago Loveland… I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve the creatures I’ve managed to surround myself, and it’s sheer arrogance thinking it’s me… I’m sure they’d befriend any wanderer – the friends at home – this all may seem trite, but it wouldn’t be if you knew them.

Will and I exploring his toys.
Will and I exploring his toys.

Even my cynicism melts on some days.

April 27th, 2005.

It’s the other one. Yes, I know it’s been a while since I’ve written, but with the being at home and the caring for personal business, I didn’t feel like I had much to say here. But with travel comes material.

The Centre Coffee Bar in Windsor, CT welcomed us back with vast enthusiasm. One of the better open mics I've ever been to... so good.
The Centre Coffee Bar in Windsor, CT welcomed us back with vast enthusiasm. One of the better open mics I’ve ever been to… so good.
Jason Winnie playing and singing and just generally being rad.
Jason Winnie playing and singing and just generally being rad.

Providence makes me really happy. Something about the place puts me in a good mood right when we arrive. It’s a very artistic town, made moreso by the people that rob knows and who we hang out with while we’re here. It’s an inspiring place. Will has been playing us all sorts of new music and showing us new artwork of his as well as Sonny’s new music. Will’s artwork is amazing, full of emotion and grotesque deformity. A stark contrast to Sonny’s fun songs, with their child-like cadences, which some people we met the other night even call brilliant.

I wonder sometimes if a lot of musicians are like visual artists who know how to paint perfect, photo-accurate portraits, but make a stylistic choice to do childishly simple or wildly abstract representations of their art … OR are they actually just people with very limited musical skill doing simple music because it’s all they can do? Is the piece any less brilliant then if it wasn’t made so with directed effort?

Jason Winnie also tools leather-work into guitars. I was startled with the blinding beauty of it!
Jason Winnie also tools leather-work into guitars. I was startled with the blinding beauty of it!

People who we know to be talented have a little extra leeway for experimentation. Will’s rendering skills are incredible, and can manifest whether he is cutting fine designs into paper, embroidering, sketching or painting. However, he makes a conscious choice to do much more simplified figures because it is the better expression of his vision and emotions, and I don’t think there are many people who would view Will’s work as in any way juvenile or unskilled.

This is slightly out of order, but since it's page 666, I figured I'd turn the page over to the unholy unions of the day. Heather found Bob and decided to give him some of her strange Love. Above, Will gave me a Dana Sterling and a Cylon Centurion, and they found one another at the Centre Coffee Bar and danced the night away DESPITE one being a half-breed ace fighter-pilot of mixed human and Zentraedi descent and the other being a near-mindless automaton bent on the destruction of all humanoid Life. Love conquers all, man.
This is slightly out of order, but since it’s page 666, I figured I’d turn the page over to the unholy unions of the day. Heather found Bob and decided to give him some of her strange Love. Above, Will gave me a Dana Sterling and a Cylon Centurion, and they found one another at the Centre Coffee Bar and danced the night away DESPITE one being a half-breed ace fighter-pilot of mixed human and Zentraedi descent and the other being a near-mindless automaton bent on the destruction of all humanoid Life. Love conquers all, man.

Fire Dean was recently talking about the City Paper’s trashing of Ian Svenonius, a once-DC-music-maverick whose recent efforts include a track called, “redfuchsiatamborine&gravel,” a spoken pudding recipe set to flamenco strumming. This guy once had a reputation for brilliance and innovation, and is actually credited with originating the visual styles co-opted by currently popular bands like The Hives. Has he gone downhill, or is this pudding recipe track a different kind of brilliant? Is “bad” music made so intentionally tantamount to brilliance and vision while “bad” music just made is mediocre at best and talentless at worst?

Whitney left chocolates and keys on our bed for our arrival in Cambridge.
Whitney left chocolates and keys on our bed for our arrival in Cambridge.

If anyone but Leonard Cohen tried to put out the kind of music he does, would it seem absolutely ridiculous? If Rothko (who I’ve never gotten into) had painted those blocks of color because it was all he could paint, would people find them as amazing as they do with the companion knowledge that this is an artistic statement? Someone once brought up to me the potential significance of my keys wrapped in wire … something with the power to open, but in bondage. Interesting. I like it. But I wonder if they would have liked the pieces as much if they knew I was just a semi-creative person who could not sculpt or metalwork, so I just had to find existing 3-dimensional pieces to build from. Does that added information make them less beautiful because they are less intentional, less thought out?

I wasn’t sure if I was the butterfly or the bone (the little charms on the keys) but I knew I was hazelnut, and not caramel.

I think what I’m really wondering is how often we go around assigning brilliance and directed effort to songs and visual art actually done with all the skill and intellectual development of a four year old … or if that matters at all? We like what we like. We attach to what we attach to. We find meaning where we want to find meaning, even if it is not the one the artist intended. And it’s totally a matter of personal perogative, and maybe that’s even what a lot of people would say art is about.

I have no absolutely no idea.

April 28th, 2005.

Late night. Played a good gig with Hugh McGowan at the Burren last night. He played some percussion… well… he played drum through the latter-half of our first set, and all the way through our second set. Hands with both Heather and Hugh beating the Hell out of djembe’s is pretty monstrous.

Whitney, our host in Cambridge, brought a couple of friends out (who were all relieved to find themselves NOT being subjected to a Dread Ribbon Dance) and our friend Jeff from back home (the soundguy from the New Deal Cafe, actually) sent us a bunch of his old friends as well. An example you should ALL emulate.

After the show, we stepped out onto the rainy streets of Davis Square and admired Christmas lights and late-night wanderers. Heather and I got back to the house and were kept up by Katie, the woe-begone cat, till around 5am when I decided it was time to close the door andput in some earplugs.

Ploo.

Ok, it might not show really well in this picture, but the water on the right half of this waterfall on the Quinebog River looks normal, and the stuff on the left half is vividly yellow. It must've been a trick of the light though, cause we I went and asked a woman in shop about the "yellow water in the river" she looked at me like I was crazy.
Ok, it might not show really well in this picture, but the water on the right half of this waterfall on the Quinebog River looks normal, and the stuff on the left half is vividly yellow. It must’ve been a trick of the light though, cause we I went and asked a woman in shop about the “yellow water in the river” she looked at me like I was crazy.

[Dana Sterling and a Cylon make it weird. I included a couple of extra photos of Putnam, CT because - though we didn't know it at the time (discovering it as we killed time betwixt Providence and Boston?) this town would become very important to us in coming years! - rob 2/6/18]
[Dana Sterling and a Cylon make it weird. I included a couple of extra photos of Putnam, CT because – though we didn’t know it at the time (discovering it as we killed time betwixt Providence and Boston?) this town would become very important to us in coming years! – rob 2/6/18]

Stopping to look at the river and weird at the locals allowed us to check out the Cargill Falls Mill in Putnam, CT. It's like as if someone took the Seminary in Kensington and turned it's vacated falling-down sprawl into a crowded antiques mall. Unfortunately, it was closed. Sigh. So we peered through the windows and wept at our misfortune.
Stopping to look at the river and weird at the locals allowed us to check out the Cargill Falls Mill in Putnam, CT. It’s like as if someone took the Seminary in Kensington and turned it’s vacated falling-down sprawl into a crowded antiques mall. Unfortunately, it was closed. Sigh. So we peered through the windows and wept at our misfortune.