September 25, 2003.

Last night was another of our disappointment moments. The Desert Rain, or wherever we were going last night… two addresses, one from openmikes.com and one from their website. Relatively close together, we couldn’t get a person on the phone, but went on the basis that their website was very very up to date. – Sigh. One address didn’t exist, and the other was some sort of burnt out steely bike shop. Add that to the list:

Rules of the Trip:
1) NO HOT DOGS.
2) NO BACON MUSHROOM CHEESEBURGERS
3) ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA
4) ALWAYS CALL AHEAD, AND IF YOU DON’T GET AN ANSWER, DON’T GO!!!!

Oh, and this morning, rule five… I came up with it during possibly one of the best showers of my LIFE (Will’s water pressure is spectacular!) – but he’s got these little net things in the shower curtain sort of like shelves but they don’t hold everything up at a solid angle so they sort of splay everywhere, which really was the impetus for rule five…

5) ALWAYS ASCERTAIN THE LOCATION OF ALL BACKSCRUBBY STICKS, RANDOM POLE-THINGS, AND LOOFAH DEVICES BEFORE BENDING OVER IN A NEW SHOWER.

Sheesh. Nothing too bad, just… definately a wake-up call, and a bit more intimate of an experience than I was ready for.

Strange to be sitting in the next room – listening to Will listening to me. Will started i love you and I Miss You. In Baltimore, he was the one inspired by the stickers, I was just sort of contemptuous when I found out who it was. They caught my eye, but when I heard it was GREG… well…

Anywho, I was already smitten with some sort of level of fanboy sickness when Will approached me about i love you And I Miss You, and asked me to be a part of it, I just about died in a little wriggle of joy.

So, I come back to him every couple of years with my music on my back and place them on a little sacrificial altar to Will Schaff – the writer I Loved in college. And now I listen from the next room and wonder what he’s hearing, wonder what he’s thinking about what he’s hearing. I remember at one point he thought I was going in too “poppy” of a direction – and mortified though I was, I know I haven’t really turned around. I know my tastes are much more conventional than his… It’s funny how I criticize Heather for only ever taking into account one person’s opinion… and here I am, knowing that no matter how much really good feedback we’ve gotten on the album, if Will shoots it down – well, it’ll take my pride down a notch or two. It’s the danger of admiration, I suppose.

WHOA – now there’s something I NEVER thought I’d hear… Will’s playing accordian along to Deep in the AM. I’m just about ready to die… TWEE!! And dear lord, I think he’s going to do the whole album now. Sever’s just a little strange with that addition.

Anywho, between the dancing and the dogs, I’m trying to sort photographs… here’s the sleeping bags in the Saturn back from day One – we’ve since given up on carrying two of the damned things, and hence regained that whole rear-view mirror thing.

The second photo is the now packed interior of the College Perk in College Park – it’s amazing what the owner, Chris, has put together in the past couple of months.


Will goes to the park… with all of the dogs. The owners don’t know one another’s names, they just know one another by the dogs’ names (presumably cause that’s what everyone’s screaming all the time)

Will and Corinna (not named for the DAMN DYLAN TUNE!)

Providence, Rhode Island seems pretty idyllic in a lot of ways. Late-night sushi restaurants are always a sign of true city class, as are dog parks.

The dogs came as a surprise.

Back in Baltimore, I knew Will as the owner of many dead things. The one Live creature, Fallsway (the cat – also a superhero) was an anomoly. Here I find him surrounded with two dogs (Freddie and Corinna) and… I think it’s four cats. Lemme see – there’s Stryker (insane foot assassin), a big fluffy black one with a limp that I haven’t caught the name of, aaand… and there’s Little Cunt (L.C.) who apparently pees on things that smell of Will. Maybe there’s only three cats. Oh yeah, and there’s Joelle, but she’s human and owns the apartment.

Comfort levels? Well, Freddie now feels free to ask us to root around in his ear so he can lick his earwax off our fingers, Corinna just wants to lick us, Stryker wants to kill us, but is still pretending to want belly rubs to gain our trust. Mostly I think he wants to render us incapable of keeping him away from our bananas, which he seems to desire. Oh, the fluffy one just wants Love, and L.C… well, she’s lying in wait to pee. Ah, pee.

Will sits on the floor, inadvertantly gluing dog-hair tumbleweeds to his art. It is a difficult environment.

So, the dog park. A place of energy and freedom and occassional unexpected poo. Dog feces, though a rarity, shared its joy with us in mounds of many sizes.

A sunny day with Sonny – he’s also one of the original members of i love you And I Miss You, and has continued to release music under that moniker. Here he is being ravaged by Mischief. (he also has a Japanese name, I think, and only responds to commands in French).


Will and Jolene and Freddie and Corinna, off to the dog park.

January 6th, 2004.

I’m sitting at the College Perk, worrying about little things and big things, and watching the cat sleep on a pretty woman’s knee. Stubby tailed and contrary, I don’t remember the beast’s name off the top of my head – but it’s something like “Poopsy” or something equally painful.

Anywho, chatting with Shane on IM, our friend from Philadelphia. He’s a spectacularly connected creature, and is working on getting us a local TV spot of some sort. I know not to get TOO excited about that sort of thing, as local TV generally doesn’t translate into TOO much publicity or anything, and really – the most I’ve gotten out of past TV spots are video cassettes that I have to hide from friends, years later.

Sigh.

Damned Dirty Black Diamonds.

DCF 1.0

Recently we’ve been working on the Trio format. More mobile and cheaper to feed than the full band – more punch and more versatility than Heather and I alone. I’m very happy with the balance. Heather goes back and forth between percussion and guitar and is surprisingly enough, having little if any trouble with the singing while drumming, and Sharif is swapping between keyboard and bass.

Only I get stuck still playing the same thing.

Sigh. Maybe I’LL get a tambourine? No.

Anywho, I Love this sound, and at the moment, I think it’s my favourite ilyAIMY format.

A lot of good musical stuff at the moment: I’m really looking forward to this Saturday at the Music Junction. We just dropped off the posters and I always enjoy seeing Simon – he’s just – a very friendly man, and I like watching his face as he talks. There’s also an Iota show coming up, and I’ve been talking to Firedean about playing with him… the Trio is wonderful, and STUFF – and of course, there was also…

PLOJ XXVIII!!!

The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
Sitting at College Perk at the moment - someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy... as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff - a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS... Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
Sitting at College Perk at the moment – someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy… as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff – a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS… Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
DCF 1.0
The finest instrumentalist known to me - JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he's up next - and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I'll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I've already got the flannel.
The finest instrumentalist known to me – JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he’s up next – and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I’ll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I’ve already got the flannel.
DCF 1.0
Prize for furthest travelled - Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Prize for furthest travelled – Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Caged at PLOJ.
Caged at PLOJ.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff... oh god - so much food... so much wonderful fooood.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff… oh god – so much food… so much wonderful fooood.

Open mics are my absolute favourite way to pass the time. Like this wonderful buffet table of music. The PLOJes are even better, with so many changes so swiftly – never get bored. Pling. Tonight, the star of the show for me is Dan Zimmerman. Just a spectacular lyricist – tonight he’s got something that reminds me of an old poem of Heather’s… something about “underground snakes posing as trains consuming commuters” – How can you NOT Love a man who writes like THAT?

January 7th, 2004.

I hate the realities of Life. I worry about taxes, and I worry about an income, and survival. But – I also feel that I can take this. I don’t particularly want to, but the world has thrown all sorts of things at me, and I seem to be able to maintain a “this too shall pass” attitude.

I worry about my friends though.

I was out today with Gwen, wandering in search of Thai food, and I was talking to her about what my aspirations are, what I want to do – and I guess, why I want to do it. This all came out of a conversation about how a lot of my younger friends are graduating/have just graduated/are just about to graduate from college, and a lot of them are going through the pre-Real-Life crisis – realizing that they don’t quite know what to do with their Lives – and it doesn’t really do any good to tell them “I’ve just found my direction recently – worry about it if you haven’t found a purpose in Life in another ten years” – but… they’ve all just come out of a systemized indoctrination that tells them “four years ago you chose to be (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) – and for the past four years you have been preparin to be (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) and now you shall be a (insert one: journalist, sound engineer, teacher, telephone sanitizer) – and there truly is this HUGE stigma to changing your mind.

Universities make it worse – as you go through your schooling, they blur the lines – they try to fool you into thinking you’re already in the field! And sometimes people realize they don’t want to BE in that field – but at that point, perhaps it seems impossible to reverse.

So my friends feel trapped – hopeless. I was fortunate enough to have a job offer right at the end of college – and it seemed that teaching high school was as good as anything at that point. I’d graduated with a degree in illustration and a hatred for my chosen “profession” – but it doesn’t get much nobler than teaching… I had an easy option laid out for me.

I think the natural course of events is for a college student to graduate, flail around in a dead-end horror of a job long enough to get so frustrated that they QUIT – and then start making the first REAL decisions of their Lives.

Majors and minors and bullshit degrees – it’s all about that piece of paper that you receive at the end. And half the time it doesn’t matter if your paper and your Life match…. the paper is like this tree-composed skeleton key. Most people don’t bother looking at the label – they want to know that you had the work ethic and the wherewithal to actually make it through school. The useful stuff – the real job stuff – is never learned till you get on the field.

Anywho – what was I originally ranting about? Oh yeah – purpose.

I want to be a rock star. Not for the fluffers and filtered M&Ms. I want the freedom.

As I worked at Glovia, I was only making $50,000 a year – but to the average college student, or the kid waiting tables… or the intern tiger tamer, that’s a veritable fortune, and I spread that veritable fortune around liberally.

Perhaps I was stupid – it means that while Steve made rent, or Sandy got dinner purchased for her here and there so she could afford art-supplies – I was NOT saving up for my future. I have no stock portfolio like my business savvy cousins. I am not an entrepeneur. Possibly, I can’t even spell it.

But I took care of my friends. And in the spirit of karma, or reciprocity, or just the turning of the tables, today people are taking care of me. Gwen bought lunch today, and in turn, I can afford to buy gas, and we can make another gig. It’s this huge swinging table of scratching of the back.

Or something.

I feel Loved.

But I look at my friends, and I think “who here is going to make it big” – I mean really big…? Do I have a chance? I might. With the right drive, the right will – well – maybe I’ll just collapse inwards and have to get that damnable dayjob again. Or I’ll go back to freelancing. One day I hope to maybe get a Masters and go back to teaching – but… my friends… I want to take care of them.

I can figure out the connexions and the webs of legalities – I know I can – and I want to be in the position to say “Amy, I’m going to make sure you don’t have to worry about moving again – you make the art, we’ll find the buyer. I’ll take care of you” – and I want to tell Brennan – “you take care of my cables, make sure the sound keeps coming out of the little speakers. I’ll take care of you.” – The belief that people have an internal worth – it’s not really allowed for, is it? The idea that if you don’t work for a Living, you have no worth – it’s sort of outmoded. Our world is rapidly heading towards a society where there is less and less menial labour, and more and more administrative labour – and one day there will be a Microsoft application for $99.99 that organizes it all – and half the world will be out of work…

And what happens then?

What happens when there is a surplus of food, a surplus of produced goods – and it’s all being systemized in some sort of almost workerless factory? Do people starve because they don’t have a new way of fitting into a niche? I don’t know. It seems that there is a glut of kids getting jobs in shelving books and running computer networks – not because we need more books shelved or networks being debugged – but because the kids need those jobs.

It’s a waste.

I don’t know. There should be an inherent worth to people – they should be allowed to exist on the merit of their being. They shouldn’t have to waste Life to make a Living.

I REALLY wish I could tell Heather “I’m going to take care of you – relax lady” – but I’m worried that I can’t.

Pling.

Enough of that. I’m sitting at College Perk, listening in to conversations and flinching.

February 18th, 2004.

Erf – we played with Firedean tonight. I Love that man. A songwriter that I admire soo much from the performance point of view, and every other point of view as well. He’s just such a fantastic writer. I’m sure I’ve waxed poetic about him before, which is a good thing, because as it’s 2am in a College Park Living room, I’m not feeling terrifically poetic at the moment.

Instead, I’m sitting and listening to a collection of John Williams’ movie scores and being suspicious about a white four-door sedan that keeps hanging out across the street with its lights on. I haven’t lost ALL my Baltimore instincts!

Anywho, it’s always awesome to say that “yeah, we played Iota’s two weeks ago, and … why yes… we’re BACK!!!” It was a flattering invitation.

And what a show! Firedean had a Hell of an opening act – and it sucks, because now I can’t remember their name. Interstellar Velvet or something…? (I better ask Heather – it was InterNATIONAL Velvet) – a sitar and percussion act that caused something of an anomoly at Iota’s – the audience sat down! The whole front of the club was filled with people sitting and sort of… grooving.

The sitar spectacular International Velvet - with Rob Myers. They also had what looked to be a doumbek player and a ... er... box player. Big wooden box.
The sitar spectacular International Velvet – with Rob Myers. They also had what looked to be a doumbek player and a … er… box player. Big wooden box.
Sera and her partner. I was very fortunate to get such a good view - the crowd was just PUSHING to the stage.
Sera and her partner. I was very fortunate to get such a good view – the crowd was just PUSHING to the stage.

The sound was really cool, Rob Myers of Fort Knox Records, was something of a bad-ass sitarist, which I didn’t really know was possible. (I’m already preparing to get a barrage of emails about how “sitarist” isn’t the word…) He fingered it like a bass player or something, with complex double plucking and amazing leads. It was just a wonderful new landscape of droning melody.

Sera and the sword.
Sera and the sword.
Heather TRIED to give Firedean a dollah. I'm wondering if he ran into issues with that song, cause now he refuses everybody's money. Note the cellophane "pickguard" on his Guild there - he's looking to keep the guitar pristine so's he can sell it. A mistake in my opinion, that instrument is one of the best I've ever heard plugged through a sound system.
Heather TRIED to give Firedean a dollah. I’m wondering if he ran into issues with that song, cause now he refuses everybody’s money. Note the cellophane “pickguard” on his Guild there – he’s looking to keep the guitar pristine so’s he can sell it. A mistake in my opinion, that instrument is one of the best I’ve ever heard plugged through a sound system.

The second act was none other than Fire’s girlfriend, Sera – on stage and bellydancing. We’ve gotten to see her before, but usually only accompaning Fire on a tune or two. This was the first time I’ve seen Sera really go at it with the proper music and whatnot – sort of a club-driven, hybrid electronic Middle Eastern sound – she and her partner drove the crowd into a bit of a frenzy with gyrations and pulsings of their… parts.

The great and expressive Firedean.
The great and expressive Firedean.

It’s weird, I guess I’m just conservative enough to feel sort of bad watching the show, but – it must be quite an ego-booster for Firedean. Much like how when Heather and I play together, and I watch guys hit on her, or ask about her… and I’m like “yeah, she’s going home with ME!!!”

Well, I go home with HER, really, but s’ok.

Anywho, the night was awesome even BEFORE Firedean hit the stage. And then when we finally get to the star of the evening, well, I was a little disappointed with how a good deal of the crowd filtered out, but the remainder – I’ve never heard the club so quiet – so attentive. Fire was on rare form tonight – his voice was just beautiful. Firedean had an angel night. – hwah.

I swear that I’ll write more in the morning – and I’ll write from not quite such an exhausted stand-point. I’m dreading pulling this damned fold-out couch out – it’s a great, evil leviathan of couches, and I don’t want to move Heather… but it’s gonna have to be done.

Here goes … (SHOVE – CRRRRRRREEEEAK!!!! CLANK CLANK CLANK – “OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD NOOOOOO!!!!”)

Later that Same Day…
Awakening at the College Park home of WDAV – well, if there’s a LEAST  
convenient time to go to the bathroom, I shall find it. And possibly the LEAST convenient time to suddenly find that the 7-Eleven sub you ate the night before is failing to agree with you, while crashing at a friends’ house, is bloody 7.25am.

This is the time, where perhaps you lie awake for a bit, thinking “maybe I don’t have to go… maybe my sleep-starved body can collapse back in on unconsciousness… maybe it was just the sun that woke me up… maybe… maybe I’d really BETTER GET UP RIGHT NOW!!!”

And no-one else in the house is moving yet, simply your bowels. But you KNOW – at 7.25am, it’s only a matter of time. Anyone with a REAL job, if they’re not up and movin at 7.25am, it’s only because their alarm is set for 7.30am. And what’s the first thing you do when you get up? You head to the friggin bathroom, and the last thing you want to encounter while accomplishing the first thing of your day, is your late-night arrivin’ house-guest already occupying the throne.

Perhaps the benefactor won’t even believe it – I mean – it’s 7.30 in the morning – they got in at 2am or so, why the Hell would they be up and in the bathroom? Maybe the houseguest just left the door shut… it doesn’t lock, afterall – it doesn’t even latch… and at 7.30am, it’s Showertime and minutes are a precious, passing commodity.

Sigh.

This all went through my head, and passed out again quite quickly, as did everything else, so calamity was avoided. I got out of the bathroom, and Partick was up, and not hopping from toe to toe outside of the bathroom, not standing there with towel in hand, ready for his morning ablutions and watching his watch…

no…

and here’s another great mystery solved – the cleanliness of the gay male IS apparently just a very natural state. It’s a stereotype, I know – the gay male is supposedly always well-dressed and well-groomed. Always smelling slightly of something masculine with just an edge of feminine, and never, ever in disarray.

And it’s 7.25am, he hasn’t been in the bathroom at all, and I catch a glimpse of Patrick, apparently rising from bed – immaculate.

I think he’s just perfect 24/7. His face STAYS clean-shaven, his shirts stay wrinkle-free. Women of the world, unite and LAMENT the apparent maintenance-free nature of the immaculate gay male.

Have I offended everybody yet? You shouldn’t be. Remember, I’m just extrapolating on what I see of my friends – they’ll take it as it’s meant – all in good fun, and you bloody well should too.

Hrm, sitting at College Perk, watching Pookie (the cat) eat a plant.  I know she’s not supposed to be eating the plant.  I just don’t feel like doing anything about it.  The strange (Spanish?  Italian?) children’s music playing through the house speakers is rising in intensity, and the cat is eating more and more and MORE!!!

March 5th, 2004.

I think I want to try to make sure I photograph our audiences from now on… this way I can keep track who comes to which shows, and reward (or punish) you accordingly.

the Fantabulous College Perk audience.
the Fantabulous College Perk audience.

Anywho – last night I felt just… so close to the room.  There were a bunch of really, really good old friends, and then there were a HUGE number of new faces, too – a lot of people that had never seen us before.  Heather and I managed to engage our chemistry and everything – and a fantastic time was had by all… which, of course,
meant that I was afraid of having my charisma exhausted for tonight’s show.

A smiley, happy audience. This is during the headbanging part of Might Could's spectacular rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody". They also did a bunch of old Nintendo tunes, as well as a couple of original numbers. I admire their playing SO much - I hold them up to a status not unlike that of gods. Little 6 string playin GODS. Unfortunately for Might Could, though - Bohemian Rhapsody? I managed to grow up during that particular moment when the Wayne's World movie was assuring that that damned song was being played once an hour on EVERY fucking radio station in EVERY fucking city, and my BROTHER was a HUGE Wayne's World fan - and so I had to hear it even MORE from THAT front.... I hate hate HATE that song. Oh God... I loathe. Enough about me. Might Could made it all good again.
A smiley, happy audience. This is during the headbanging part of Might Could’s spectacular rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. They also did a bunch of old Nintendo tunes, as well as a couple of original numbers. I admire their playing SO much – I hold them up to a status not unlike that of gods. Little 6 string playin GODS.
Unfortunately for Might Could, though – Bohemian Rhapsody? I managed to grow up during that particular moment when the Wayne’s World movie was assuring that that damned song was being played once an hour on EVERY fucking radio station in EVERY fucking city, and my BROTHER was a HUGE Wayne’s World fan – and so I had to hear it even MORE from THAT front…. I hate hate HATE that song. Oh God… I loathe.
Enough about me. Might Could made it all good again.

Ok, enough – I’m off to bed.  In the morning I speak of great things – of ceiling wax and kings and the fantastic creation that is the blossoming Folk Art Cafe… I shall speak of Thai Gour and the Dean of Fire… of Shane the Visitor, and perhaps even Halo.

Though I’ve spent a lot of time dead recently, because of Halo, so maybe I’ll not mention it.

An unfortunate side-effect of having creative friends. This anatomically correct Scottsman and his wooly beau were spawned in the back of College Perk during one of Joe Isaac's sets. It was horrible to behold. Especially the moment when the sheep was initially ... cored.
An unfortunate side-effect of having creative friends. This anatomically correct Scottsman and his wooly beau were spawned in the back of College Perk during one of Joe Isaac’s sets. It was horrible to behold. Especially the moment when the sheep was initially … cored.

Who here remembers the Year of the Rabbit Coffee Pub in Bowie, Md?  A fantastic coffee shop that served gourmet coffees and spectacular soups – they had a pristine sound system, a house piano, and the owner – Francis – was one of the most supportive venue owners in the area.

It was Kerri's birthday - and she received much, much Love.
It was Kerri’s birthday – and she received much, much Love.
Might Could - well, the trio is actually called something different, I never remember what.
Might Could – well, the trio is actually called something different, I never remember what.

Well, Francis moved to Denver a couple of months back, and though he looked long and hard for a new owner that would take the same care and continue the Rabbit in the same spirit, we all despaired of his ever actually finding one.

Little did I know – Kathy and Callie from the Folk Art Studio and Gallery next door have decided to expand into the coffee shop business.  I stopped in just to say “hey” – and tracked down Kathy buying cookies down the way at the Cakery – and she let me have a sneak peek.

Oh my GOD.  Now, no offense to Francis – but this is truly what the Rabbit should have always been.  It has been reborn in the guise of … I don’t know, it’s like the yarn shop where Mara (Heather’s mom) works filled with old furniture, hiding the works of the Samantha juice cooler… then take a bunch of art calendars and run them through the Shrike and glue them to every table and every surface.  It is beautiful.  I mean – I was utterly speachless walking around.  It’s beautiful beyond words.

They are doing their grand re-opening on April 1st… and I don’t know what happens after that.  I think they’re going to get the hang of things for a bit before inviting music back in (the sound system is still there) – I was really flattered that ilyAIMY has an open invitation.

It looks to be about the most beautiful coffeehouse I’ve ever seen… but I can’t decide… the Susan Seddon Boulet table (too new agey…) or the Waterhouse table (mmmm…. too classical) or… ah yes…. the Edward Gorey table.

Yessssss.

Heehee - a worm on its way into Brian and Sharif's house. I've got video too.
Heehee – a worm on its way into Brian and Sharif’s house. I’ve got video too.
Today, we got the first emmissary of the spring rains. A storm swept over us in Bowie - pummeling me as I explored the beauty is the almost opening Folk Art Cafe.
Today, we got the first emmissary of the spring rains. A storm swept over us in Bowie – pummeling me as I explored the beauty is the almost opening Folk Art Cafe.
The Red Team. They spent a lot of time shooting me in the head. I'm not sure which of these guys is "sluttytofu", but that's for the best, because if I knew, I would've been waiting for him outside with the Saturn revving.
The Red Team. They spent a lot of time shooting me in the head. I’m not sure which of these guys is “sluttytofu”, but that’s for the best, because if I knew, I would’ve been waiting for him outside with the Saturn revving.
The Blue Team. Sharif is a monster at Halo... Along with Mr. "SluttyTofu", Shane (on the right) managed to off me once by running me over with a warthog. Sigh. Saturday was unkind.
The Blue Team. Sharif is a monster at Halo… Along with Mr. “SluttyTofu”, Shane (on the right) managed to off me once by running me over with a warthog. Sigh. Saturday was unkind.

March 7th, 2004.

The last week has been really encouraging.  There has been beautiful weather, and really good audiences, and even good CD sales.  There have been llamas and kisses and kindness and art.  All in all, a fantastic week.  A week that makes me think (hope) that pretty soon, maybe we won’t merely be surviving, but we’ll be REALLY “Living the Dream” – and maybe even getting to be that little extra bit of proactive in the world.  Who knows.

I drew on Heather while waiting for the open mic to start. I used to do this while waiting for everyone else to finish tests in school, and the teachers all worried that I'd die of ink poisoning. Then I would do it "for luck" before Tae-Kwon-Do tournaments, and my teachers there would all accuse me Satanism. Sigh.
I drew on Heather while waiting for the open mic to start. I used to do this while waiting for everyone else to finish tests in school, and the teachers all worried that I’d die of ink poisoning. Then I would do it “for luck” before Tae-Kwon-Do tournaments, and my teachers there would all accuse me of Satanism.
Sigh.

Friday night we played one of Joe Isaacs’ “Songs that Matter” showcases.  We shared the stage with Might Could and Joe Isaacs himself, and just generally made a nuisance of ourselves by having a fantastic time.

Last night, we played College Perk - and Amy Law got up on stage with us for a song. She's got a beautiful voice, and she and Mitzi used to sing with ilyAIMY back at the Jahva House alot - I'm glad to recapture some of that magic.
Last night, we played College Perk – and Amy Law got up on stage with us for a song. She’s got a beautiful voice, and she and Mitzi used to sing with ilyAIMY back at the Jahva House alot – I’m glad to recapture some of that magic.

We convinced Amy Law to join us on stage for “In the Water”, and Sharif managed to make it out to make it a true ilyAIMY trio experience.  We filled College Perk with all kinds of goodness, and I just felt so awesome about how the night went down.

Recently, I’ve felt that I’ve lost my grip on the audience.  There have been a whole lot of contributing factors to that – but it all centres around confidence.  And when you lose your confidence, you do poorly, and when you do poorly, you lose your confidence.  It’s pretty damned cyclical.

April 11th, 2004.

The morning after. We played College Perk last night, and I hadn’t looked forward to anything quite like I’d been looking forward to this gig in quite a while. We played with Dan Zimmerman – which is always fun, we played at the College Perk – which is always fun, we played some old tunes that we haven’t played in forever (bRIDGE and Spine among others) – which is always refreshing, and a new cover (Toxic by Britney Spears) – to keep out cultural awareness honed.

We also tried a bizarre set-up which, although I don’t regret it… and it was also a lot of fun and all… I don’t think I’d do it again.

The College Perk Coffeehouse. Last night was actually the first anniversary of Chris' purchase of the place, and it was kind of an honour to play. College Park has been begging to have a good coffeehouse music venue like the Perk open for years - ever since the Planet X closed. The pathetic excuses for coffeehouses (such as the Java Head) that have existed between now and then...well... let's just hope Chris keeps the Perk afloat.
The College Perk Coffeehouse. Last night was actually the first anniversary of Chris’ purchase of the place, and it was kind of an honour to play. College Park has been begging to have a good coffeehouse music venue like the Perk open for years – ever since the Planet X closed. The pathetic excuses for coffeehouses (such as the Java Head) that have existed between now and then…well… let’s just hope Chris keeps the Perk afloat.
Brian and Sharif, preparing to skin a Cat before the gig. Really, we were all just very happy to see her.
Brian and Sharif, preparing to skin a Cat before the gig. Really, we were all just very happy to see her.

So, I’m not quite sure who forwarded the idea… I think someone blamed it on Sharif, but I know I really encouraged it by mentioning that I’d tried it before at the Rabbit – but somewhere while waiting around for Dan and Heather to get to the Perk, Brennan and Sharif and I got it into our heads that it would be a good idea to set up in the round… but in reverse.

So we wired three PAs and a guitar amp together, grabbed a corner for each of us, put all the couches in the centre of the main room facing outwards, and set ourselves up surrounding the audience. Which meant that we were really mobile, and could face one another, which I really liked, but it meant that actual sound balance was sort of Hellish to control, and that Brennan, acting as soundSlave for the night, got a lot of excercise running from one corner of the room to the other. In extreme cases, we were leaping over people and climbing over couches to get from one corner of the room to the next. Yessss … chaos.

Throughout the night, we had a lot of sit-in musicians, including JR Robusto (seen here blessing my guitar with his talents)...
Throughout the night, we had a lot of sit-in musicians, including JR Robusto (seen here blessing my guitar with his talents)…
And Brennan Kuhns, the genius behind the strange wiring together of the soundsystem for the evening - also played bass for some of Dan Zimmerman's song.
And Brennan Kuhns, the genius behind the strange wiring together of the soundsystem for the evening – also played bass for some of Dan Zimmerman’s song.
So, in this picture, for example - we have me in one corner, Rowan playing bones in the next corner, and Heather singing and playing guitar and playing djembe in the next corner we had Sharif playing electric guitar, bass and piano. Of course, since Rowan is in Dan's corner, Dan went over and took Sharif's bass and sat in in HIS corner... and that just leads to no good. I think if we hadn't been staying with Sharif tonight, he would've gone home with Dan. You know... corners and stuff. And in the middle...? Bunnneeee!!
So, in this picture, for example – we have me in one corner, Rowan playing bones in the next corner, and Heather singing and playing guitar and playing djembe in the next corner we had Sharif playing electric guitar, bass and piano. Of course, since Rowan is in Dan’s corner, Dan went over and took Sharif’s bass and sat in in HIS corner… and that just leads to no good. I think if we hadn’t been staying with Sharif tonight, he would’ve gone home with Dan. You know… corners and stuff. And in the middle…? Bunnneeee!!

July 7th, 2004.

And the rain came tumbling down.

A map of Montclair, New Jersey. I’m not sure where the “You are HERE” marker happens to be.

It’s been quite a while since I was last able to write in my poor Journal. A second death of my “stupendous” Alienware computer has spelled slowness for the website. I’m sitting at College Perk, with Mara’s borrowed machine, listening to the thunder rolling around the glowering skies.

I’m feeling aesthetically starved at the moment. Wishing for nicer scenery, eye candy, whatever. A good storm could advance that cause considerably.

The bolts are getting closer, and I wish I had a cuddle-ee to sit on the porch with. Hrm, unfortunately – despite the length of my babbly absence, I’ve got little to say. I think, all in all, I wish there was a good spot for a nap before practice tonight. Perhaps that can be arranged.

(snooze)

July 13th, 2004.

Disaster comes in threes. Is that what I hear? After a fantastic show at the Vault last Friday, and perhaps too much joy, and too many attractive women dancing on the bar… after more fun than OUGHT to be had at a crab feast… and after the joy that was Damian’s party (Damian from Glovia, Damian made infamous by the Quotes Page)… after all of this, the blade fell.

The laptop is declared dead. Justin’s Imac died. The sink puddles and floods.

The Lloydholme air conditioner dies, the Lloyd grandmother’s chair dies, and Justin’s cell phone died.

The incredible Lea at College Perk.


Symbiont at the Thai Gour.


Heather at the Thai Gour.


Lauren running sound at the Thai Gour. She glared much after this pic.

A flying machine built by kittens.

And now I’m worried about launching into another three. The Funk Box show is beginning to worry me.

Last night, I IMed Josh of September Playground because I wanted to clear a couple of last minute contractual details with him. So, THIS is when it is revealed to me that September Playground has cancelled. He’d discussed that with the booking agent a week and a half ago, and had assumed that this would be passed along in a professional manner.


Amy and I found kittens – they were building a flying machine..

So here I am, seven days before the show – and the VENUE doesn’t even know that September Playground isn’t showing. There’s NO sign of the “headlining act” – some national tour de force that the Funk Box had theoretically insisted on booking – and suddenly we’re the only act on the docket. We don’t have ANYONE communicating with us about this, it’s all pretty damned frustrating. It’s got me really worried for the show.

Does anyone want kittens? I can direct you to these beautiful beasts.

Now, I must admit, I have NO problem with playing the show, and think we could have one Hell of a night even – we’d get to play a full length set and go home satisfied – but what if the venue suddenly decides to cancel (we have a contract guaranteeing us money, but since that amount is based on ticket sales, and we’d have to refund those ticket sales, that truly equates to nothing). If the AGENT chooses to cancel it, we get absolutely nothing nohow anyhow – I’m just… frightened.

And we are just “waiting for a response”. Did I do something bad to our karma recently?

Death.

Perhaps Jeff of Symbiont, or maybe Keith of the Dreamscapes Project… maybe one of THEM like, killed someone, or ran over a kitten… and the Karma Balancer Monks mistook one of them for me, and so I’m getting all of their karmic backwash through a cosmic case of mistaken identity. I wonder how I’d go about fixing that. It would probably involve some truly hideous paperwork.

The shy one.

July 18th, 2004.

with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.It doesn’t FEEL like July. It’s grey and the air conditioning lets us forget what kind of temperature might be lurking outdoors. Chelsea’s dad doesn’t sleep. I’m seeing morning for what feels like the first time in weeks. Months. And the grey weather is keeping my eyes from glistening with consciousness.

9.30am and Chuck and David are up and frolicking in their morningness – David’s making bacon, and Chuck is talking about amplifiers and guitars and African rhythms. I’m just not ready for it yet.

My thoughts are still whirling from that kiss. Damn you Jason. Damn you Slanga.

Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That's really all I should have to say. Don't miss another.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That’s really all I should have to say. Don’t miss another.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.

 

 

Says it all really. I don’t even remember why it happened. But Jason kissed me. He needs to quit smoking before he gets any more sugar from me.

Yesterday was a long day. The yardsale, making food, preparing for the night. I had my first art opening in four years. It was an incredible night.

Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I've ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn't noticed those. Good lord.
Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I’ve ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn’t noticed those. Good lord.

The opening itself, at the 1448 Gallery, was a great success. Michael Vain and Kali were just – immensely wonderful to invite me to show with them, and then to have the opportunity to play as well… Audrey and I once had a show like that, at a Borders Books. Her watercolours covered half the space, and my scary scritch art covered the other half, and then we played a show at the end of the month, with her in front of her work, and me in front of mine. I remember it being a Lovely night. I did something similar in a gatehouse show back in the Commons at MICA, and then again at the Moon Cafe in Annapolis, but eventually the shows petered out because I was having too much work stolen.

Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.
Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.

So now I’m reinvigourated. The show went so well – not many familiar faces, but a decently filled room – and the faces that WERE familiar were old favourites. It was strange to think that Kali and Terri and Michael have known me from the Beginning. Back when I ONLY played shows at the Rabbit and the New Deal Cafe, they came to each of those shows, and encouraged me with accolades and cake. It’s strange to think that it’s been so long, back from the Audrey era.

Amy's face's guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
Amy’s face’s guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
DCF 1.0
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.

It was good to see Michael, usually so serious and unapproachable, really getting into Will – rocking out in the back of the room. It’s one thing when one can move the audience, but when one can move the artists around you – and KEEP moving them years after their first exposure – that made me feel really powerful. Like I was accomplishing something GREAT.

Terri watched from the back, like she always does. She’s an unobtrusive willowy creature of eye-contact and hair. My parents are the opposite – smack-dab in the middle of the room, my mother mouthing the words. Yeah, a room full of People from the Beginning. It felt like some sort of anniversary, or a birthday, or … I don’t know. Very much a celebration of accomplishment.

I'm holding one of Kali's pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.
I’m holding one of Kali’s pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.

It was almost like a big thank you show to the people who’d REALLY supported me over the years. Longer than almost anyone else, with the exception of Amy. The room felt incomplete until I noticed that my portrait of Amy had been set unobtrusively against the wall, facing the stage. The beautiful Raven Jen even appeared from my past and wandered in near the end of the night.

A very good night.

And then we had to race to PLOJ.

Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!

I don’t think I’ve ever been very late to PLOJ before. I usually aim to get there by 4, and I’ve frequently been later than THAT – but I don’t think I’ve ever arrived AFTER things had gotten started. Until last night.

It was bizarre walking into things Already In Progress. It was hard having to greet everyone all at the same time, rather than getting my greet on one by one as people straggle in. All in all, I’d say it was probably (as much as I hate to say it) my least favourite PLOJ. Very formless, meandering, drum heavy… and a pathetic spread. Almost no food at ALL! Thank God my tabouli rocked as hard as it always does. Thank God Dan’s chili was as scrumptious as it was… thank Richard and Kelly for THEIR chili. And of course, Mara’s chocolate chip cake. I guess, really when it comes down to it… that made everything okay.

With PLOJ XXIX ending at 2.30am or so, returning to the Lloydholme with the Kerwaths in tow (Chelsea and Beau and Chelsea’s WHOLE family!!) and being awakened by David making breakfast at 9am (no complaints mind you, some of the finest bacon I’ve ever had… but 9.30 am isn’t REALLY a time to me anymore) – today’s band practice was a threat on my personal horizon. I was eager for it, but going INTO practice exhausted isn’t a good start.

Because of random circumstances, Heather and I actually end up arriving at Sharif’s house for practice separately. I navigate my car into his little Bowie neighbourhood, pick my parking space with care, and avoid a tiny obstacle.

A tiny, grey, furry obstacle. Rumpled fur and a trail of viscera that stretches almost to the curb – there’s very little in the world that’s as sad as a roadkill kitten, and I was thankful that I’d gotten there ahead of Heather. I knew it would break her heart to see the tiny body, and I didn’t know WHAT to do. It was right in front of the house, and there was no way she was going to miss it when she arrived – Sharif didn’t have a shovel or anything, and I’m not of SUCH a strong constitution that I’m able to pick up a dead kitten and throw it in the trash, or even a bush.

I’m not sure if I did the right thing. When the neighbours weren’t looking I stole a big empty pot from the yard and overturned it over the kitten in the middle of the street. It’s not the right thing, really – but it meant that Heather wouldn’t see it, and no-one else was going to smear it further along the street.

The pot wasn’t QUITE large enough, and the emotions that roiled through me when I felt the giving squish as I set it down on the kitten’s tail are indescribable and unpleasant.

Band practice itself was fantastic. A great day spent with friends, jamming on music that you Love. That’s the way band practice is SUPPOSED to be, and I don’t think it’s BEEN that way for a long time. It’s made me all the more eager for Tuesday’s Funk Box show. I was fearful everytime that Heather stepped outside – I was afraid she’d move the pot, but I didn’t want to tell her, and I couldn’t just say “don’t mess with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.

Heather selling dolls at her parents' yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day... there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it's not Heather.
Heather selling dolls at her parents’ yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day… there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it’s not Heather.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Heather's working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles - she's got a couple of them by now, and soon she'll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I'm in Love with this key - I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don't.
Heather’s working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles – she’s got a couple of them by now, and soon she’ll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I’m in Love with this key – I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don’t.