December 27th, 2003.

Yeah, so some of the last entry was really on the night of the 27th – and the morning of the 27th – deal with it for the sake of continuity!

I can never tell if the sun is bright or sulking from this side of the house. But the filtered half-light is pretty appropriate as I work on a couple of covers.

Joni Mitchell’s song “River” has been important for so many years, and my voice is finally catching up with my desire to play it. It’s such a beautiful song, and of course, I don’t do it justice – but I’m trying hard.

It’s funny – it’s hard to practice it for long periods of time because my voice gets all nasal because I get all teary-eyed.

I’m also working on Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”. Why? Coming from someone who absolutely despises the city….. well, it’s just such a great song. What makes it great? Well, it falls into the vast category of Songs I Learned from the Muppet Show. I think Floyd Pepper taught me this tune… the chords from the internet were mere confirmation.


Walked to College Perk from Pho 88 – a couple of miles – felt good to walk that far. Encountered a grizzled and greying homeless (?) guy on the corner of the 495 exit. At first there was a weird sort of confrontation, with him wanting to know “what MY problem was” – and when we finally came to the understanding that I was just waiting for the light to change, he asked me if I had a place to stay the night…

Strange – though nice of him to offer… advice, if nothing else.

Listening to Bush – some number of Stones..

My parents' other cat, Rocket. I've taken pictures of everybody ELSE's cats - BETTER take pics of my parents'.
My parents’ other cat, Rocket. I’ve taken pictures of everybody ELSE’s cats – BETTER take pics of my parents’.

The College Perk is like the Jahva House reborn. I’ve wanted to say that about a lot of places, but this is the first place to genuinely recapture that spirit. I really Love it here.

Adam Day just finished a set. Truly, 18 year-olds shouldn’t BE that talented. You know, just for the sake of the rest of us not feeling bad about ourselves. I’m reminded of a song that Will Schaff wrote about Dan Blakeslee – singing “And you have the voice of an angel” – that’s what Adam has – the voice of an 18 year-old angel.

He really was responsible for the vast majority of the audience, I think – or at least thought. I was very surprised that a good number of new faces were just people we’d seen somewhere who had ALL somehow chosen THIS night to show up. A lot of young women…far too many, far too young.

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Carol, Noelle, and Marybeth - playing an incomprehensible card game. Carol isn't safe around the pool table.
Carol, Noelle, and Marybeth – playing an incomprehensible card game. Carol isn’t safe around the pool table. [I later became a big fan of Fluxx and hadn’t appreciated that it had actually been invented, designed and playtested here at College Perk – rob 12/18/17]
The owner, Chris, was pretty pleased with hs new-found full house. And again, I was amazed by how great of an audience there was. I wish I knew more names to connect to more faces. Above all – so much fantastic hair.

The other performer for the evening, Firedean. I'm still just stunned everytime I see him perform, though there was an air of... weariness? I don't know, some sort ofemotional numbness to parts of his second set, which made me worry. But his intensity, his lyrics, and his ingenuity are still all things that I really admire.
The other performer for the evening, Firedean. I’m still just stunned everytime I see him perform, though there was an air of… weariness? I don’t know, some sort ofemotional numbness to parts of his second set, which made me worry. But his intensity, his lyrics, and his ingenuity are still all things that I really admire.
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Oh, and his unique ability to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Badum ching.

I Love watching him move through an audience, relating and reacting. It’s strange, because I don’t have any sort of impression of his draw for gigs – they’ve always seemed tiny (both his shows and the audience) despite the cool newpaper articles about him, and the fact that he lands gigs at Tin Angel and Iota… But because I tend to see him as a struggling musician, I Love to bring him to my audiences, most of which are huge fans. I Love to set him down in a room full of people who are mouthing his lyrics and singing his songs with him – who are eager to watch and participate, and sort of gift-wrap the room and say “This is for you”. He’s someone I admire so greatly… he deserves masses of audience members and admirers and… well, maybe slaves, I’m not sure what.

Heather sitting on the couch, exactly the way you're not supposed to, at College Perk. This is one of the primary activities that I would be scolded for by MY parents. Heather just wasn't raised right. Sheesh. (knowing full well that her mom reads this ITS A JOKE ITS A JOKE!!!!)
Heather sitting on the couch, exactly the way you’re not supposed to, at College Perk. This is one of the primary activities that I would be scolded for by MY parents. Heather just wasn’t raised right. Sheesh. (knowing full well that her mom reads this ITS A JOKE ITS A JOKE!!!!)
My parents, and Grant Carrington's head. My father, unfortunately, sat in such a spot as to appear to have extremely unruly hair.
My parents, and Grant Carrington’s head. My father, unfortunately, sat in such a spot as to appear to have extremely unruly hair.

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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?

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 8th, 2004.

The sun is taking long, flaming limbs, and is stretching them through the cloud barrier of Chantilly, Virginia. It is largely unsuccessful.

I was a fool, a fool in socks, who began the run down the driveway before looking outside, before looking up at the sky, and realizing that, yes, plus or minus 70 degree temperatures a couple of days ago, the sky was spitting snow flakes at my head.

Firedean found solace in the arms of another woman. He was passionate, and she was nervous, but in the end, they both walked away just a bit less wanting. But... she didn't buy a CD and he doesn't know her name.... though I believe he referred to her as "A Mary Magedelene, which makes me Jesus." A troublesome image.
Firedean found solace in the arms of another woman. He was passionate, and she was nervous, but in the end, they both walked away just a bit less wanting. But… she didn’t buy a CD and he doesn’t know her name…. though I believe he referred to her as “A Mary Magedelene, which makes me Jesus.” A troublesome image.

I can handle snow.  I can handle snow in bare feet… but the night before we had spent lazing in sunbeams at Audrey’s house, playing with a small dog and playing music and trading stories and … well.. generally lots of WARM things.  Last night we played Jammin Java.  It was warm there.  We hung out with Damian, who was warm at us… and we slept in a huge bed… which was warm.

This morning was NOT warm.  Unkind, stabbing coldness. Grr.

I find myself thinking about politics.

A slug greeted us on Audrey's front door step, as we stumbled in, fatigued from a night playing fast and furious and lengthily at the Thai Gour Cafe.
A slug greeted us on Audrey’s front door step, as we stumbled in, fatigued from a night playing fast and furious and lengthily at the Thai Gour Cafe.

I guess I should count myself in the “apathetic American” corner of the world.  I spent last night feeling mildly berated, as Ember Swift – a Canadian activist singer/songwriter called for a change of leadership and eating habits – and I knew that the most I could promise was to keep doing what I was doing… and to swear off aerosol cheese (long story)…

Before I write any further, I want to stress that I admired her immensely.  Talk about a woman who knows how to play and write and sing and … she is everything a performer should be and more – she was fantastic.  Ember filled with me with feelings of grace and joy and occassional shame.  She did what we all try to do, which is to get people to sit up and take notice, to listen.  Take a person and make them strain in their skin to meet you.  I listened and watched and admired and wished the show would go on longer, which, for a person of MY attention-span, is a rare compliment indeed.

Rick and Audrey and their borrowed dog, Wally.
Rick and Audrey and their borrowed dog, Wally.

But I felt outside – Ember writes in HER Journal about how activist ideas can NOT be introduced to mass audiences without the right kind of packaging.  And she knows how to package it.  There are short speeches made, and amazing musical interludes, and moments of genuis as she draws between Goldilocks and urban dangers.

Packaging IS everything, though, isn’t it?

I mean, that often, once something is packaged well enough – yeah, there’s a message in there, but does anyone care anymore?  Does it make a difference to all those people saying “Wow, that was a great song” – it might catch people here and there – but I don’t know if I believe that there is a way of changing the mass-mind.  Just something for me to ponder, I suppose… unfortunately, I got my train of thought massively derailed… so… perhaps a better formed thought later…

Rick and Audrey and their borrowed dog, Wally.
Rick and Audrey and their borrowed dog, Wally.
A lawn gnome (for Shane) and a hedgehog (of doom).
A lawn gnome (for Shane) and a hedgehog (of doom).

November 10th, 2004.

Playing with the great Firedean today got my ego back in check. I was mortified to run across something that was SO hard, with rhythms and chords that I just wasn’t familiar with.

Heather and I retreated from Washington, DC, each in our own separate worlds, but with mine mostly focused on a feeling of failure.

Through most all of grade-school I was pretty close to being a straight-A student, and through high school, I maintained a GPA well over the 4.0 mark with the assistance of Advanced Placement and International Bacculaureate classes. Despite that I wasn’t working hard. I didn’t have to study much, and most things came pretty naturally to me. As such, I got into the habit of thinking that most things should come naturally, and, as cowardly as it may be, I’ve tended to let that guide my Life towards whatever downhill course, whatever easy path I might just fall into. When music turned out to come more naturally than art did, I turned that direction. I fall into things… I’m lucky.

The Trip (quitting my job, trying to make a “Living” as a musician, on my own) has been my first real effort to get away from that. It’s sort of shameful, but better late than never. I don’t know that most people EVER really take charge of their Life, and instead just sort of wander through whatever doors happen to open for them. Of course, whether it’s ACTUALLY more intelligent to just keep beating your head against a patch of wall that you want opened rather than going through any number of opened doors, who knows…

So what, you may ask, the fuck, you might say, is my point? Well – simply that playing with Firedean is making me WORK – and work HARD. It’s like Mr. Schlude.

For some reason, I didn’t have trouble with Algebra, or Trigonometry, or Calculus, but at some point I ran into Geometry, and my head would NOT wrap around it. I struggled to make Ds in Mr. Schlude’s class, as I remember, and for some reason, no matter how I tried, I just couldn’t make it make sense. It was like walking into French class and encountering Japanese instead.

By the end of two hours trying to learn the Songs of Fire, I could literally feel tears at the corners of my eyes… I was just damned embarassed. I get told far too often that I’m a great guitarist, and to be reminded that there is still SO much work to be done…

We decided to spend the night at College Perk, and walked in on the tail-end of the open mic – the tail-end of Pat Klink’s set, as a matter of fact (of We’re About 9). I was startled to find myself in the midst of far too many people, and retreated upstairs as swiftly as possible. After about half an hour with stew and “the Golden Compass”, I was ready to face the world, wandered the Perk, played guitar, flirted and fretted. I felt human again.

But I broke a nail on Mitzi. Sigh.


And Tyler replied to all of this with:
yo
for what it’s worth, I know two different guys who have spent at LEAST four years in college studying guitar, who now make a living teaching it, who couldn’t keep up with you. one actually saw you play one time and walked out cursing. just so you know.

Thanks. That will tide me over until practice tonight, and then I’ll have to read it again on the ride home.

In completely unrelated news, Heather and I went and saw the Star Wars III trailer. I was ok with the movie it was attached to, but the trailer made me very, very hopeful for the Revenge of the Sith.

Ok, so I’m a Star Wars fanboy. What of it.

I’m hopeful for Star Wars III. Bloody Phantom Menace was inexcusable, filled with flatulent humour and … that digitized monstrosity Jar Jar… dot dot dot = much cursing. II was pretty good but when you knock away the utter pointlessness that made Episode I so hideous, you finally suffered from the lack of chemistry between the actors. But I still contend that Hayden Christiansen does an okay job brooding and being an angry teenager, and that the whole Tusken Raider slaughter scene is one of the most chilling moments I’ve ever experienced.

Because I’m a geek. I know. Shut up.

Anywho, I’ve long feared that Lucas will shy away from the sheer darkness of Anakin’s fall to the Sith – and the trailer gave me hope. Not only did it seem to focus less on the carnival-ride feel of the previous two movies, but it contained some good shots of the rising Lord Vader, and the beautifully creepy overlay of the Christinsen/James Earl Jones’ voices… add to that some good ole bad ass Yoda poses, protoTIE fighters making howling that unique TIE howl, a shot of big warships coming close and loosing broadsides into one another and you’re missing only one thing to make ME happy.

Wookies.

Oh, and then they showed me wookies. Sooo many wookies. I might not MAKE it till May 19th. Sigh.

November 11th, 2004.

Watching the Matrix. Eating stuffing. Life’s good. Ooh, here’s the sexy bit.

Heather and I wondered around Georgetown in DC before Wednesday night's Firedean practice. We wandered the canals and window-shopped and searched for parking.
Heather and I wondered around Georgetown in DC before Wednesday night’s Firedean practice. We wandered the canals and window-shopped and searched for parking.
Heather peeking through some art (?) in Georgetown.
Heather peeking through some art (?) in Georgetown.
Georgetown canals.
Georgetown canals.

This was written to me a couple of nights ago:

“Was reading some of your journal. Interesting. but for argument.

Do ya think that maybe Bush won because of not budging a whole lot on what he believes. Regarding religion,war, freedom.

Why is “Gay” such a big deal?  Who cares. If major exceptions can be made say for gay people with regards to our laws, which are based in a moral belief most of the time, why not just make exceptions for  everybody with a little different sexual orientation? How about the people who like to sleep with little children? Hey, not all of us do it. But after all, they are people too. There are over ten of them in my neighborhood. I viewed one of them just as a “Person” until I found out. They were or maybe were born that way. Who knows?

Now, the only reason we view that as wrong is because the society we live in has said it is wrong. Our parents taught us that, but that really doesn’t make it wrong. So, we should try it?

This is how I ended up responding:

I actually DO respect Bush for not budging from his views. He’s stated a lot of things, and he’s stuck by them. That’s one of those things that I’ve always been impressed with, and it sucked voting for Kerry, who on that front especially, I have absolutely no respect for. It’s difficult for me, because I feel like I could even agree with a lot of things that Bush has done, but I feel that he’s really been disingenuous with the reasons behind his actions.

But – I think America was created with the idea that the government was going to place a couple of laws in place that say “don’t hurt anybody” and enforce that – things like traffic laws and safety requirements, and on a larger scale, child protection, education, and anti-trust laws. some more far-reaching than others.. But then after making sure the populace isn’t out there eating one another, the government is supposed to sort of stay out of the way. leaving more “opinion” based things to the states. It’s there to protect the United States of America , and through that, protect people – their Lives, their freedoms, their ideals.

Rowan and his special soup. I figured it would be good (and somewhat appropriate) to break the tension.
Rowan and his special soup. I figured it would be good (and somewhat appropriate) to break the tension.

I think that the gay marriage ban (and that’s what it is, it’s not fighting a guarantee of different rights for gay marriages, but a guarantee of equal rights under the law) is something that CAN’T be placed on the national level. Until you can find enough of a sociological study that proves that a male/male or female/female family unit creates a more harmful environment for any adopted offspring than so many of the “traditional” dysfunctional families out there, I don’t think you can prove that gay marriage is genuinely detrimental to American society (any more than the broken homes and broken families created by our 50% and climbing divorce rate). I feel that if you COULD prove that, you might have a leg to stand on, but even then, I’d feel that that falls more under adoption law – that a same-sex couple wouldn’t be able to adopt a child. but I still don’t see where this affects who should marry who.

Bush may be very strong in his sense of morality, but he’s seeking to push that sense of morality on to others, and indeed, with a 51% majority of the country, he’s just about capable of forcing that down everyone’s throat. The difference between his platform and the Democratic platform has ALWAYS been the difference between totalitarianism and democracy. Bush is seeking to place a “Father knows best” mentality over America – seeking to say “this is what I believe, and once I put it into law, this is what you ALL will Live by” where as the more democratic approach (little “d”) states that “this is what I believe, but what we ALL can agree on is what is put into law”. Bush can be as Christian as he likes, but in a country built on religious freedoms, he shouldn’t be allowed to force it on the rest of us.

Now, the problem I have with the gay marriage ban is that it seems to be totally based on religion. Ideally, that’s maybe all that SHOULD affect marriage and perhaps once upon a time marriage WAS about a religious binding of two individuals. Unfortunately, marriage is no longer simply about religion and Love – it’s about tax breaks, politics, retirement plans and inheritance. On that level, the religious side of it drops out, and if it’s no longer a religious institution, religious reasonings can no longer be used to regulate it.

In reality, most marriages now fail and people go into them knowing that they can back out, that they can get divorces or mistresses or money or all at the end of their trial period. There is very little care for “under the eyes of God” or “till death do we part”, but it IS a way of insuring that your money is inherited the way you want it to be, that FAMILIES receive tax-breaks rather than punishments for staying solid units. Marriage is a way of getting a form of legally recognized solidarity. Insurance for your partner, and also assurance that your partner is genuine. It’s a contract.

On a religious front, churches are where it should be banned – if a Catholic church feels that same-sex marriage is a sin in the eyes of God, than a Catholic church bloody well shouldn’t marry same-sex couples. Of course, if people were being true to their religion, and not just seeking a pretty place to get married, then Catholics wouldn’t have that problem, because no TRUE Catholic would ever contemplate getting married to a same-sex partner. “Same-sex unions”, if they truly gave the same rights, should certainly exist, but at the moment there is a stigma to getting partnered that way, and I feel that someone who gets partnered by a justice of the peace in a court of law should get the same rights and respect (and even pomp and ceremony) as someone who is married by a preacher in a stained-glass cathedral. I think Bush is even stating (though very quietly) that the law ought to set aside provisions for “unions”. but the key is the WORD “marriage”. There’s so much baggage with that term. If a church won’t marry a same-sex couple, fine. But Bush, as president of the United States, has no right to define American religious policy, and the law has no right to regulate based simply on the principle of religion.


As for comparing same-sex couples to having sex with children – the idea here is that you’ve got two consenting adults in one circumstance, and in the other – well, kids can consent to all sorts of things, but we’ve agreed somewhere along the line that the “age of consent” is 18. I don’t know that anyone argues with that except 13-17 year-olds. We’ve agreed that kids under the age of 18 don’t necessarily know what’s good for them, and that kids under the age of consent are almost effectively the property of their parents. So comparing same-sex marriage to pedophilia I don’t think is really right. It’s like saying. “well, people have sex when their MARRIED, so why can’t you just rape’m?” – they are two totally different things, with the key being CONSENT.

The comparison between homosexuality and pedophilia is something that is really highlighted in mass media, and is one of the more idiotic (and harmful) perpetuations of negative publicity on the homosexual Lifestyle. I don’t think the two should be compared at all. Sex with a same-sex consenting adult and sex with an underage partner is not at all synonymous, and whether or not this is being perpetrated by a same-sex or opposite sex criminal is immaterial. It’s still rap


Sitting at Amy’s, typing, setting up a little temporary studio-space for myself. Downstairs, Heather and Amy are practicing for Heather’s solo show at Caribou. The sounds that float up are delicious.

January 2nd, 2005.

So many non-entries for soo long.

DCF 1.0
In Strasburg at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, Bob gave me pretty in-depth education on how to run a locomotive. There's a whole lot of knob turning and lever pulling. Not much button pushing. A lot of shovelling. Seems a LOT more satisfying than most dayjobs.
In Strasburg at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum, Bob gave me pretty in-depth education on how to run a locomotive. There’s a whole lot of knob turning and lever pulling. Not much button pushing. A lot of shovelling. Seems a LOT more satisfying than most dayjobs.

Hell, it’s been Christmas. What a funny sentance that is.

Many adventures. Most of Christmas/Hannukah was spent with Heather’s family, extended and otherwise (sorry Mara, you’re Otherwise – though that would be kind of cool codename for you…. cause it also works as a threat… “You do what I say… Otherwise” – and then you come into the room and go all David on their ass… so maybe just David should be Otherwise… hrm… I’m going to get in trouble over this sentiment anywho). I met some fish and babies.

Hehe. Nowadays we go to Hell five times faster.
Hehe. Nowadays we go to Hell five times faster.

I forgot to drop my parents at the airport, but I did remember to pick them up, so that’s ok. There was cat-catching drama, and there were nights of mirth with Firedean. I got the Extended Lord of the Rings DVD trilogy for Christmas and am looking forward to spending about fifty hours straight watching ALL of it. I’ve watched a LOT of Friends. Tried to watch a lot of James Bond, but his mystique just isn’t what it was, and listened to the soundtrack instead.

We barely beat the snow back to Owings Mills. A LOT of snow. We missed some six inches of snow in Connecticut by about 24 hours. Thank goodness we skipped that open mic in Marion, PA.
We barely beat the snow back to Owings Mills. A LOT of snow. We missed some six inches of snow in Connecticut by about 24 hours. Thank goodness we skipped that open mic in Marion, PA.

We had an awesome Magic: the Gathering night last Thursday. Richard came over and made INCREDIBLE chicken parmesan – savoury, lucious, moist, dripping, curving, cunningly Lovely…. sinful… // ahem, and we combined that with the typically poor gamer fare of chips and salsa and chips and dips and chips and cheese and a bit of hummus. I won perhaps more than I lost, I think. But a couple of the losses were truly painful. I feel that I handed out more ass than I recieved, but it was a rough night, and I was sore by the time we went our separate ways.

Happy New Year's!
Happy Holidays!

It was a good burn. So good.

So, rather abruptly, this brings us to New Year’s Eve: Gwen threw a cocktail party, and Heather and I got all dressed up, shockingly clean and stunningly pretty, and took our finery out on the the town. Charm City stepped aside to admire our passage.

It was kind of fun to dress up, come downstairs, tell Mara to close her eyes – let her open them and, with Heather on my arm, use my Suave (pronounced “Swayvay”) voice to say “Yes, we’re ilyAIMY”. Gwen’s party was home to cool little presents, scorpions, a very odd gift exchange that began with an intense battle over “the Breakfast Club” and apparently ended with Heather recieving naked pictures of famous people. LJ made some announcements, but so as to not steal her thunder, I’ll not mention them here…

Heather and I cleaning up good for New Year's Eve.
Heather and I cleaning up good for New Year’s Eve.

And speaking of LJ – the first word of 2005 was “Fuck” and this immediately proceeded the launch of a champagne cork into the television, a ricochet, and ultimately a VERY nice catch by Brennan. I was impressed by his seemingly inhuman reflexes. I now believe he MIGHT be a mandroid. It wouldn’t be the first time that I’ve suspected this.

And that leads us less abruptly to What I Did Last Night…

PLOJ XXXI's spread. As usual, Mara's cookie cake stuff was a hit, as well as Brennan's caesar salad. Weirdly, my taboule went fast than his chicken, though.
PLOJ XXXI’s spread. As usual, Mara’s cookie cake stuff was a hit, as well as Brennan’s caesar salad. Weirdly, my taboule went fast than his chicken, though.
Chelsea and Beau didn't make it up, but Chelsea's parents did - we also had a clarinet player named Martin who found us through a write-up in the City Paper.
Chelsea and Beau didn’t make it up, but Chelsea’s parents did – we also had a clarinet player named Martin who found us through a write-up in the City Paper.

PLOJ XXXI – as always, I was freaking out pre-PLOJ. I am paranoid, and get really depressed, and my usual fear is that like… 20 new people will show up over the course of the night, but really spread out, and that NO REGULARS show up so that there’s nothing for the new people to see. I always have these nightmarish visions of empty rooms and disappointed, perhaps even disgusted faces.

A PLOJ first - Art brought a theramin!
A PLOJ first – Art brought a theramin!
An interesting side-effect of the night. As the evening wore on, our ages got a bit more homogenous until it was all just us 20-somethings. From there, there was nothing to pull us back from Gen-X 90's sing-alongs. Madonna, Tool, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Sublime, Four Non-Blondes. Never had THAT at a PLOJ before - I mean, one or two tunes, yes - but always someone would get fed up with it and bring it back. We went for HOURS like this.
An interesting side-effect of the night. As the evening wore on, our ages got a bit more homogenous until it was all just us 20-somethings. From there, there was nothing to pull us back from Gen-X 90’s sing-alongs. Madonna, Tool, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Sublime, Four Non-Blondes. Never had THAT at a PLOJ before – I mean, one or two tunes, yes – but always someone would get fed up with it and bring it back. We went for HOURS like this.

PLOJ XXXI was the 6th Year Anniversary of our Pot Luck Open Jams, and it goes down in PLOJ history as one of the best.

It was a rough start. I think Brennan and I have a slight disconnect on start time. I tell people that it starts at 6.30 or so – and Brennan tells people that things get rolling a little later. Now – Brennan’s theory is obviously that people shouldn’t be invited to get there until things are actually happening. My theory is that we’re inviting musicians, and that musicians are always late. Often REALLY late, and so I’ve brought my usual method of dealing with lateness to PLOJ and tell every one that it starts about two hours before I actually expect them.

And often, in fits of honesty, I ALSO mention that “things don’t actually get rolling till nine”.

Ah, foolish, foolish rob.

Wanda has come a long way. She seems not to have aged at all since I first met her back at Phantasmagoria with Strength in Hare. She's always almost viscerally struck me, but now she's really coming along with guitar. I remembered G chords and a sweet, quiet voice. However, she's picked up some vicious songs since then, and even led us in Soundgarden's "Spoonman". I was sorry that Jason missed THAT. He would've died. He might have even shot his friend in Pennsylvania.
Wanda has come a long way. She seems not to have aged at all since I first met her back at Phantasmagoria with Strength in Hare. She’s always almost viscerally struck me, but now she’s really coming along with guitar. I remembered G chords and a sweet, quiet voice. However, she’s picked up some vicious songs since then, and even led us in Soundgarden’s “Spoonman”. I was sorry that Jason missed THAT. He would’ve died. He might have even shot his friend in Pennsylvania.
I didn't catch his name - Chelsea's father, Chuck, brought him along - a guitarist from Mali!
I didn’t catch his name – Chelsea’s father, Chuck, brought him along – a guitarist from Mali!

This, of course, leads to a lot of lead time where me and a couple of other friends are sitting around, wondering if ANYONE is going to come. I mean, that gave me extra time to and help Tori with the cookies, and to sit outside and think about the error of my ways, and to flirt with people I didn’t know, but all in all – I stress myself over PLOJ far too much. And invariably, people show up, have a great time, and prove my fears foolish.

The night began with only a couple of musicians – Brennan and I and Tim and Rowan. I consider “critical mass” (start-point of PLOJ) to be when you’ve got four singer/songwriters there to go around. And Tim, though a consummate musician, isn’t really a solo performer, so I was REALLY nervous about starting, but … it was like 8pm or so, and something HAD to happen. And so I kicked off the night with “Rob’s Lament”, figuring there was no better way to start the night with a song about a car wreck that could turn into a train wreck since I didn’t know it very well. Slowly, things fired up – and PLOJ XXXI slowly grew into one of the best, and one of the most unique PLOJes ever, methinks.

One of the side-effects of the sing-along atmosphere of much of the night was that a lot of people who might have been merely audience members on most nights were encouraged to join in. I think this was Bunny's first time ever playing a drum... Dave Smith (above) has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of random songs and played just about anything anyone could think of. We narrowly avoided getting all the way through "Walk Like an Egyptian".
One of the side-effects of the sing-along atmosphere of much of the night was that a lot of people who might have been merely audience members on most nights were encouraged to join in. I think this was Bunny’s first time ever playing a drum… Dave Smith (above) has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of random songs and played just about anything anyone could think of. We narrowly avoided getting all the way through “Walk Like an Egyptian”.
DCF 1.0

The last couple of Pot Lucks have been ending by 1am, and I’ve sort of missed the real late-night Pot Lucks that just go on forever. It’s one of the things I truly miss about Living in Edgewater and having the PLOJs out there – not having to go home. Just playing until you’re exhausted and not giving a FUCK about what time it is. Last night was like that. And sure enough, I was shocked to look at the clock and see that it was 2.30am. It felt like 11 or something – and we went well past 3.

By the time we actually quit, I was exhausted, Brennan was sort of like the walking dead, and Heather just sort of collapsed.

The next morning (and by morning I mean noon) Tim popped by – he and Dave Smith had been absolute bad-asses the night before – Tim played on EVERYTHING, swapping between his Guild and the various basses that were floating around. I just stand amazed, watching him play. Somewhere he just exploded into being a guitar virtuoso – I guess he just hears the music in his head, and knows exactly how to put what’s in his head down on the fretboard. I could take lessons from him and be kind of blissfully happy – if I could keep up. Dave Smith was busy being pretty amazing too.

April 24th, 2005

Heather wearing her official Firedean sunglasses. I'm hoping that SOMEONE got a shot of Heather and I performing with Fire in the glasses. The actual performance was, perhaps, a bit rough.... but we were, how you say, "styling".
Heather wearing her official Firedean sunglasses. I’m hoping that SOMEONE got a shot of Heather and I performing with Fire in the glasses. The actual performance was, perhaps, a bit rough…. but we were, how you say, “styling”.
Firedean at the New Deal Cafe Crazy Quilt Music Festival.
Firedean at the New Deal Cafe Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

It’s a shame that one of the things that cameras simply can not capture is that gorgeous contrast of grey and green that you get on a day like today.

Rowan setting up at the New Deal Cafe for the Crazy Quilt Music Festival.
Rowan setting up at the New Deal Cafe for the Crazy Quilt Music Festival.

Luckily, we were early enough to play outside. Later in the night, Symbiont moved inside cause it was too cold. Pansies. Wilting pansies, man.
Luckily, we were early enough to play outside. Later in the night, Symbiont moved inside cause it was too cold. Pansies. Wilting pansies, man.

We departed under the omnipresent threat of rain, and continue between concrete barriers that stretch that grey down to the ground. An impatient New York blonde is busily flashing her lights at us from her trendy mini. Presumably she hasn’t noticed the cop behind us yet.

There’s a feeling of levitation, almost. Departing Maryland, and trying to depart all that it holds, if only for a little while. The images from my dreams last night, of medical slabs and cutting, had me lying sleepless till dawn. Through no fault of his own, I think my Father’s got some haunting to do, and it has nothing to do with the way that he Lived.

Pennsylvania is throwning squalls of rain and speeders at us. Heather’s got an Amy disc that’s perfect for the weather, and I’m looking forward to collapsing into the arms of Providence.


Yeah, Pennsylvania just ABOUT drowned us in construction and traffic… on to New Jersey, which Heather introduces with a hearty “welcome to the Land of Smell”! So far so good. The only thing really negative so far has been the God awful font they use on their signs. A little bit of sunshine… unfortunately, no really exciting radio like the stuff we had when we were through last time, returning from Sleepy Hollow.

Our brains are kind of revolting against the idea of how much time has passed since we were last here. It seems like it should’ve been just a couple of weeks ago (wasn’t it JUST January?!?), but we haven’t been along this particular route since December, racing to beat the snow home.

A spider bill found amongst our CD money.
A spider bill found amongst our CD money.

September 19th, 2005.

Ugh. Well, I knew it… I can only go without sleep for so long before a cold will step in and knock me down. I have so many fluids forming up inside of me…. everybody better just take a step back and let me watch the Incredible Hulk marathon.

I feel like crap. Runny, sticky crap.


It’s been quite a weekend. Friday night was very, very cool – the golden walls of Java Mamma’s reflected our noise nicely in on ourselves, and though a couple of people complained that we were a little loud, well… we know about that. We’re rock stars, we’re used to the complaint.

Saturday night found us at the New Deal Cafe and dealing with typical New Deal issues. I Love that place to death, but there’s always some issue or another – the sound system is in pieces and there are parts missing. Richard McMullin and Jeff were both there to help us out – slowly a sound system was materialized for us, and Jeff actually got the best sound we’ve ever had at the New Deal.

The New Deal Cafe is expanding. The windows of the expansion are papered over with posters of performers and photographs of musical instruments. I'm a little bit jealous that there are pictures of Rick and Audrey, and We're About 9, and even Chelsea and Beau - but no ilyAIMY. We've been there FOREVER!!!
The New Deal Cafe is expanding. The windows of the expansion are papered over with posters of performers and photographs of musical instruments. I’m a little bit jealous that there are pictures of Rick and Audrey, and We’re About 9, and even Chelsea and Beau – but no ilyAIMY. We’ve been there FOREVER!!!
Even after ten years I haven't learned my lesson about TELLING Richard what to write! Though still, it's always fun to see what he comes up with. This one reads: "ilyAIMY - the band of dangerous gypsies ravages the New Deal Cafe... Rob has captured two young boys from far off Pennsylvania who will be forced to perform odd and melodious tasks before the gathered throngs (please no thongs) Thus we will be exposed tothe opening duo: Transcendent Third". Well, they're from West Virginia, and I didn't force them to do nothin' that the wouldn't have willingly done on their own!
Even after ten years I haven’t learned my lesson about TELLING Richard what to write! Though still, it’s always fun to see what he comes up with. This one reads: “ilyAIMY – the band of dangerous gypsies ravages the New Deal Cafe… Rob has captured two young boys from far off Pennsylvania who will be forced to perform odd and melodious tasks before the gathered throngs (please no thongs) Thus we will be exposed tothe opening duo: Transcendent Third”. Well, they’re from West Virginia, and I didn’t force them to do nothin’ that the wouldn’t have willingly done on their own!

It’s always a sort of homecoming to return to Greenbelt and play the New Deal Cafe. It’s weird to realize that I’ve been playing there off and on for about a decade. First as a bass player for Audrey, and then as a solo performer, and then with different bands, various partners. It means that part of me has this warm fuzzy feeling for the New Deal, but there’s part of me that also maybe – is it a brand of failure that I end up back there time and time again? I guess not since you could chart a graph of the money we’ve made there and it continues to climb. We’ve expanded to other places, but still, it’s not like we even pack the New Deal… there are people standing in the back, but you can’t be sure that that’s not just the line to get food. I wonder what Richard thinks as I continue to return there… there was a time perhaps, when he thought I would go places, but as I return to the cafe year after year, and continue to think of the tips and sales there as a high point…

Man – whoever thought it was a good idea to continue using a talking baby to advertise for Quizno’s is on crack. Talking babies are fucking CREEPY. At this point I apologize… I’m still sick and there’s a substantial amount of Nyquil coursing through my system. It’s disrupting any sort of remaining thought process…

Transcendent Third working their special charm at the New Deal Cafe.
Transcendent Third working their special charm at the New Deal Cafe.
Audience at New deal.
Rowan and Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD.
Rowan and Heather and I performing at the New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, MD.

But I’m going to get through this…

Still, despite any weird personal hang-ups, the New Deal is always like coming home. Here are people that have supported and Loved me for almost ten years. I remember when it was a place without chairs and I had to invite people to bring their own cushions.

The show went great. I Love performing when I’m that comfortable with people. We were charming and high energy. Transcendent Third really was the perfect opening act for the night – they had the right sort of energy for that night.

My mom, tactless as ever, came over as we were packing up and asked me if it made me sad going home alone. I suppose I could’ve turned that back on her, but that would’ve assured me time in Hell.

My mother’s just coming to terms with Heather and I being broken up and, well… I guess she’s her son’s mother, isn’t she? And doesn’t know when to keep certain comments to herself.

The drive back to Rowan’s was mercilessly short, but filled with the hint of mists and almost autumn and the best music I’ve packed into my disc changer yet. I’m falling back in Love with my Saturn, and rediscovering a passion for driving fast at night, throwing my poor beaten car into turns that would’ve rolled my old Volkswagon, and that I’d be afraid to try with Heather’s modern little toy. Power steering makes me feel soft. I Love my car.

The DC Dance Collective getting their collective groove on at Nolan's in Adam's Morgan, Washington, DC. The guy in the foreground just made me think of Ryan Montbleau in a way that made me wish I was gay. Well... and that he was too, I guess.
The DC Dance Collective getting their collective groove on at Nolan’s in Adam’s Morgan, Washington, DC. The guy in the foreground just made me think of Ryan Montbleau in a way that made me wish I was gay. Well… and that he was too, I guess.
Firedean and the Torpedoes doing another dance special for Fire's video release party.
Firedean and the Torpedoes doing another dance special for Fire’s video release party.

Sunday was a different sort of day. I’ve been fighting a cold since California. It’s been creeping up on me, testing my defences. I think it belonged to Dave Pahanish, so at least it has a good lineage. I knew it was eventually going to catch up with me since I haven’t been sleeping. The last few days have blended into one long mass of hours rather than a convenient separation of night and day. When your Life is divided by gigs rather than by dreams, you know you’re going to eventually run into trouble.

As we set up at Nolan’s in DC, I could feel it creeping over me – at first I mistook it for the misgivings I had about the space, the sound and the gig in general, but eventually I recognized the distinct and different sensation of my throat growing itchy and uncomfortable.

Sharif, Heather and I performing at Nolan's in DC on Sunday night. Rowan had to duck out at the last minute, which was probably for the best - he has a good deal less patience for sound difficulties than the rest of us do, and he might well have walked out after the first couple doses of really hideous feedback. I may have fucked up both my ears AND my amp in one night. On the other hand, the cold-induced ear juices may well have saved me.
Sharif, Heather and I performing at Nolan’s in DC on Sunday night. Rowan had to duck out at the last minute, which was probably for the best – he has a good deal less patience for sound difficulties than the rest of us do, and he might well have walked out after the first couple doses of really hideous feedback. I may have fucked up both my ears AND my amp in one night. On the other hand, the cold-induced ear juices may well have saved me.
Firedean doing a little dance at Nolan's in Washington, DC.
Firedean doing a little dance at Nolan’s in Washington, DC.

In general, Nolan’s was pretty rough. We didn’t have good sound support (ended up playing through our own amps through a lack of sufficiant cables). The lights kept going out because we had to plug everything through one outlet… since we were playing through amps and not going through the PA at all, we didn’t have effective monitor support… it was really a disaster. We played well, but it was hard to coordinate with Firedean during his set – he was nervous and we couldn’t hear one another.

His fans Loved him, but I hated that semblance of non-professionalism that comes with insufficient set-up.

Tonight I’m sitting watching Friends, drinking tea, and floating above my body from the effects of the Nyquil. Heather and I went out and did a little book shopping so that I didn’t have to lie in sickness alone, and I think that my brain isn’t even going to support television and Journal writing for much longer. I’m going to have to retreat to children’s books and blankets.

One of the other good things about leaving late today was that we got our t-shirts in! This was just an experiment, but they turned out pretty nice. We've only got a couple....
One of the other good things about leaving late today was that we got our t-shirts in! This was just an experiment, but they turned out pretty nice. We’ve only got a couple….