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!!

June 29th, 2004.

It’s only midnight, but I’m tired, and I NEED to go to the bathroom.

 

It’s strange – it’s so wonderful to be back in Maryland, surrounded by friends. Brennan worried that I no longer thought of here as “home”, and when I thought about it, I was almost surprised that I did…

I’m reminded of a story that I hate:
While I was working for Glovia, we would have mixer events. We would have inspirational speakers and team meetings and the crossing of many paths that would not normally meet.

We were out in El Segundo, California, and a woman was racing back and forth. Tiny woman, much speed. I was holding a conversation with a random programmer, and she bumped him the first time she passed, jostled him the second time, and the third time, they nearly became entangled in an artful display of sheer inconvenient bodily motions.

He said “Slow down, you ALWAYS walk so fast! Where are you rushing to?”

And she answered that she had a tall husband, and that she’d gotten into the habit of walking fast to keep up with his long strides.

And he answered, with horrible wisdom – “Well, you sleep 8 hours a day, you’re with us ten or so hours a day, you spend two hours in a car every day – that only leaves four hours at the MOST for him. You should adjust to where you’re at the MOST.”

I’m paraphrasing and quoting inaccurately, but you get the idea. For some reason, though it was just a joke to the two of them, this really horrified me. Marriage should have SOME sanctity… this is the person we want to spend our LIVES with, right? But this man had just described the reality of the 20/1st centuries – married to the job. But I doubt if anyone was given the vows… “in sickness and in health, through rich and poor (ha!) till death do you part” in their contract at their new place of employment… I doubt many people would sign up.

But divorce is almost easier to commit to than two weeks notice, and we spend our Lives not with the people that we Love, but with people who supposedly have compatable skill sets.

So, what does that have to do with home and with Maryland? I’m not really sure – just the concept that I don’t spend much time “at home”. I accepted the concept of being homeless – of Living out of a Saturn almost a year ago, now. But coming to Maryland still feels like coming “home”. I don’t know if I truly deserve to call it that, though.

And yet, somehow it doesn’t matter right now, since Patrick just left the bathroom.

My body is emptied, my teeth are clean.

Tonight I’m staying with Patrick and Dave and Brennan. Brennan who dreams of doing what I’m doing, Patrick and Dave who are one of the most Lovely couples I’ve ever met.

I think that before going out on the road, I could never have imagined anyone NOT wanting to do pretty much what I’m doing. Wandering and playing music, meeting people, seeing things, and basically, paring Life’s problems down to very basic problems of survival.

Not that we’ve gone ALL the way. We spent time in Indianapolis talking to a guy named John who had worked his way from coast to coast either on foot or on bicycle or by thumb. He shocked our percussionist friend Adam when they were talking about financial woes – Adam had lamented that he only made $200 over the course of a week – and John confided that he had made $200 over the course of the last year. Scavenging and salvaging. Dumpster diving isn’t the pretty way of putting it, but we Live in a very wasteful society, and just because a cafe says day-old bread is unacceptable, doesn’t mean it should go uneaten.

No, Heather and I haven’t gone ALL the way. We Live on cash and barter. But we don’t have electricity bills, we don’t have a toilet that explodes at 3 in the morning, we don’t have to contend with the neighbour’s angry dog for more than a night. We have eliminated many of the woes of a modern Life.

We have eliminated them at the price of security, however. Generally, we know where our next meal is coming from (though there are often surprises), but we often don’t know where we’re spending the night. We don’t have to worry about the vagueries of plumbing, but if our car dies, or our guitar dies, we’re dead in the water. That is the frightening thing, and I think that that uncertainty is what keeps most people from testing those oceans.

What’s the worst that can happen? We go home, struggle with Living off of our friends and parents for a couple of weeks while we find jobs, and work our ways back into the Real World.

I’m rambling.

The concept of home? I’m home. I don’t have a bed, and the LloydHolme doesn’t get me ALL the time that I’m in Maryland. I don’t have a kitchen and half the time other people are still feeding me. I guess home is what I’ve always known – it’s the people who’ve believed in me enough that I’ve been willing to take this leap – and these are the people who will help me if I falter.

So, yeah, Brennan – of COURSE I still see this as home. Here are all the people that have given me the confidence I needed… where even if I don’t know where I’m spending the night, I don’t have to worry about it. Here are the people that admire me and respect me, and who I respect and admire. I walk into this house, and I don’t have to prove anything. I just have to wait for the bathroom.

I’ve always been funny about bathrooms.

Tonight we played the Sly Fox Pub. I drank a gingerale, a couple of glasses of water… I’d had some of Mara’s crab soup, and a plate of sauteed mushrooms. By the end of our set, the bartender was handing us cards and buying us drinks.

So, by the time we were ready to leave, I was steeped in liquids, and prepared to make use of the facilities.

I face bar facilities with dread. At this point, there is contempt in the eyes of many. I am a MAN… Men fear no restroom. We stand. We belch as we stand, scratching and annointing the porcelain with our bodily fluids.

Well, sometimes we don’t stand. And sometimes, we want some seated time, especially after playing a gig in a venue that was far too hot. Sometimes we need time to seperate our saturated boxers from our sweaty skins.

And for this reason, I enjoy clean restrooms. I enjoy restrooms that perhaps haven’t been liberally sprinkled with another man’s juices, and I even enjoy a restroom that hasn’t apparently had feces laid on the walls with a trowel.

NOT – I must say – that this applied at all to the restroom at the Sly Fox Pub. The men’s room was clean, was only briefly occupied by another man, and held no hidden horrors. There was no grime, no grit, no slickness to the floors, no strange bloody remains in the sink. The toilet had not been flushed, but in the great universe of horrors that can befall a man in search of a pleasant excretory experience, this is nothing but a momentary inconvenience.

But the restroom did not lock.

I fiddled with the latch for five minutes, clamping myself, doing the Dance, silently cursing.

And in the end. I lost, and told myself that I could wait, and that it Wasn’t That Bad.

And it wasn’t. Brennan and I returned to the car, packed. We returned to his house, and unpacked. Brennan went to bed as I stayed up watching television with Patrick, telling him tales of the Midwest and of nudists, cabbages and kings. And all of this time, it wasn’t that bad.

Patrick climbed the stairs to bed, and with every creaking of the wooden stairs, I could feel a niggling complaint of a need that had gone unheeded for far too long. Freed of all other distractions, my body decided that my mind now had time to see to things that had not been seen to.

In short, I had to pee like I’ve rarely had to pee before, and that last creaking sound hadn’t been the stairs at all. It had been the bathroom door, as Patrick… (he of page 218)… Patrick who formerly I’d believed sprang from bed neatly coifed and beautiful, and… yes… Fabulous simply because of his Alternative Lifestyle…. Patrick who I later learned from Brennan only got that way because of the expanse of pre-bed primping that occured in THIS VERY BATHROOM… THAT Patrick had just entered the bathroom door and closed it behind him. The new creaking sound was the distinctive sound of organic cellwalls straining against moisture that they were never meant to contain.

Undistracted, that creaking went on unabated as I clutched my knees together on the couch, cursing my anal restroom desires, cursing the fact that I couldn’t think of a better wording for that. I sat cursing and creaking for what seemed like hours… while I wrote to you at length about Home and Marriage and ANYTHING but water. Yes, the Midwest is a friendly place when thinking about not-water.

Not having to worry about exploding bathrooms? Worth almost any price. Having a bathroom of your own? Priceless.


Nightmares of blonde, female gangsters and sleeping police. Of holding them the night through lest they kill me and then, just as I think things are going to work out, release and running. Running till morning.


The College Perk is sort of star-studded tonight. Lea walked in early, Steve Key phoned in his slot. Continuous Play is here. I’m feeling like miniscule apples of the Earth. (the French will get that).

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.