February 5th, 2004.

Last night, the world had conspired against us. Last minute things were lost, Magic games were lost, so I had to play again, and devillishly slippery ice had encroached upon the surface of the world…

“Heather – watch out for the ice at the bottom of the drive- oh.”

And so I was discouraged and disheartened and made a half-assed effort to tell Heather we should wait another day. Rather than race all the way to Philadelphia and probably miss sign-up for the open mic we wanted to hit, the slacker in me whispered that we should wait around Maryland for another night.

Thank God Heather slapped me down on that one.

the Dawson Street Pub - touted "the best kept secret in Philly" - I agree.
the Dawson Street Pub – touted “the best kept secret in Philly” – I agree.

It’s what I need in a partner – when the going gets tough, I often get a little timid and whimpery, and I need the partner who’s going to say “nope – we’re DOING it”… just as I do for Heather on her bad days. So far it’s worked, and we’ve steadily been one another’s inspiration.

Anywho – on to Philadelphia. T’was an easy drive. We were waylaid by traffic just out of Baltimore, and again by a truckfire somewhere in Delaware, but we made it into Manayunk at 10.01pm for a 10pm sign-up, and we got a decent slot.

You can't really tell from the photographs, but I'm missing the bar to my left, which is packed, and the table or two behind me, which were overflowing, and the room beyond this one, with the pool table, which was packed - and the room beyond that one, which was a vibrantly painted lounge (reminded us of the good ole days of Palomas) which was merely crowded.
You can’t really tell from the photographs, but I’m missing the bar to my left, which is packed, and the table or two behind me, which were overflowing, and the room beyond this one, with the pool table, which was packed – and the room beyond that one, which was a vibrantly painted lounge (reminded us of the good ole days of Palomas) which was merely crowded.

The Dawson Street Pub – from the moment I saw it, I Loved it. Just from the fact that there were beautiful cars parked around it – with tribal painted hoods and exotic makes. Still decorated for Christmas, it was incredibly inviting, and the interior was packed.

The Dawson Pub caused Manayunk to climb an extra rung on my “places I’d like to Live” ladder.

the bathroom walls were exuberantly infested with decoration.
the bathroom walls were exuberantly infested with decoration.

The music was really great, and – once a particularly noisy table finally left (much to the relief of the regulars) the crowd was a real listening crowd. I was amazed that such a packed room was so attentive. The place definately shot to the top of my list of “coolest venues”, and we pestered the host, “My Cousin Todd” about playing a night there. If we made a couple of friends in the area, we might even do ok.

We ran across one of the local "real rockstars" - Philly artist Ben Arnold. Now, when he first started talking to me, I was a little iffy, as he told me of his 16 keyboards and this and that and the other. He continued talking about gigs at the Birchmere, Iota's, and the Ram's Head - and when he took the stage - his voice and songwriting were pure, beautiful and emotive. He deserves everything he's worked for. He left the room breathless, and left me thinking that I wish I could capture his voice in a bedside bottle.
We ran across one of the local “real rockstars” – Philly artist Ben Arnold. Now, when he first started talking to me, I was a little iffy, as he told me of his 16 keyboards and this and that and the other. He continued talking about gigs at the Birchmere, Iota’s, and the Ram’s Head – and when he took the stage – his voice and songwriting were pure, beautiful and emotive. He deserves everything he’s worked for. He left the room breathless, and left me thinking that I wish I could capture his voice in a bedside bottle.

A fantastic night. I wish we’re gotten to Philadelphia early enough that we could have gone and picked up our benefactor, Shane, and brought him there. It was truly a spectacular night – and Shane would’ve Loved it – but unfortunately, it, like so many other places, is 21+.

A shame that Shane be so youthful.

We need to get him some sort of government pass that allows him into all nooks and crannies of the music world. Something, preferably, which also allows him to bring along a couple of college-aged friends.

We met a couple of really cool people, including Leigh – who played the house piano so’s you didn’t notice the 10 dead keys and the couple that were out of tune – and the host Todd – and a fantastic bass player who I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head but who did a fantastic version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” on bass – all tapping and harmonics.

Despite the joy of the evening, we soon had to retire to Shane’s place, our home in Philadelphia. Parking was Hell, as usual, and 20 minutes of circling only landed us a spot 6 blocks away in an alley, which inspired us to call Shane and gather Ryan to help us get EVERYTHING of value out of the Saturn.

The government pass should also give Shane the power to freely and immediately have cars towed – he’d use his powers wisely, I’m sure…

And we collapsed into the waiting arms of Drexel hospitality. We shot the shit about shit for a couple of hours, before finally retiring at 3am (hey – rockstars have to be responsible, and put their friends to bed – Shane had work in the morning, Ryan had a MIDTERM at 8 this morning, and Ian – well… I’m not actually sure that Ian goes to class – I think he may be lurking around here now…).

I worry, because I think Heather is willing, now, after last night’s conversation, to grab me to come see any monumentally fantastic stool she may happen to produce.

I’m really not sure how down with that I am. I mean – if we start taking photographs, then they’ll end up in the Journal – so … well I guess it’s really the say of the readers… that’s probably a BIT TOO personal for you guys. Yeah?

Please say yes.


I went and looked on a map. Actually it’s NINE blocks. Sheesh, I hate parking in Philly.


Went out and played Donavan’s open mic tonight. It was alright. Not many performers, but a good night. We came back to Shane’s and did our parking space hunt. Found one pretty close to the dorms, but Heather had the hiccups and there was a cop giving a guy a parking ticket across the street. It was awesome. Heather was nervous and rocking the car back and forth and there was a whole lot of ice… and it’s like – shift shift shift (HICCUP) shift shift shift (HICCUP) FUCK!! shift shift…

I laughed – and Heather hit me.

Now we’re watching worms mate on television.

Erf.

February 16th, 2004.

Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.

After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown - but this ceiling fan at Donavan's the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.
After the Dawson Street Pub, just about anything else was going to be a bit of a letdown – but this ceiling fan at Donavan’s the next night WAS pretty damned cool. I guess the whole bar had a kind of reef, tropical kind of motif going on.

I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred  last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.

Rick and Dave, respectively.
Rick and Dave, respectively.

Bastard.

The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.
The next night, we went to play with Soul Plane, and got stuck behind a trolley.

So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?

Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I've seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.
Soul Plane, one of the coolest bands I’ve seen in a long time. A wonderful, high energy, intense act out of Philadelphia.

Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.

Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson - playing bass like a ... well... precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a versionof John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender - Rowan Atkinson... Bean? What Bean? Oh - THAT Bean - oh God no!
Their bass player specifically, is like a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson – playing bass like a … well… precisely UNLIKE a little dancing version of Rowan Atkinson. More like a version of John Paul Jones who happens to look a little like a manically grinning, probably completely deranged, youthful and slender – Rowan Atkinson… Bean? What Bean? Oh – THAT Bean – oh God no!
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there - nothing else needs to be said.
And their guitarist is God. Nothing else to say there – nothing else needs to be said.

It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).

We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.

The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.

Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…

“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.

We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.

And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”

We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.

DCF 1.0
But I got the coolest toy that ever existed for my birthday.

A Matrix Sentinal.

Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.

DCF 1.0

DCF 1.0

It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.

I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.

Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.

ilyAIMY at the Vault for my birthday.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here's a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia's head. She smelled sooooo good.
For my birthday, we played the Vault. Here’s a random shot of Jason getting his groove on with a ferocity which was to be admired. Oh and Bia’s head. She smelled sooooo good.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
And the Lloyds, in addition to their coup with the Sentinal, brought me bunny cake. Unfortunately, I only got a half a piece out of the whole thing, cause I was so busy running around and being a good birthday boy.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred's kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.
Alfred’s kit at the Vault in Baltimore, MD.