May 14th, 2004.

There are too many remotes in this house. Last night’s show undid all of my shoulder healing, I fear, and all I want to do is lie on the couch with my laptop and see what’s on the Scifi channel… but I’ve found five remotes so far, and none of them will turn the television on.

Shortly after the accident, we did get a visit from our favourite creature - Sheila pulled up with Caramia, the Lovin cat. It's amazing how much she's grown - before we left on the Trip, she could fit in the palm of my hand. Now she's a full-grown cat, but she stalks our hand and needs our affection, without any of the haughty contempt so freely available from other felines... Cara LIKES people - even the ones who don't feed her.
Shortly after the accident, we did get a visit from our favourite creature – Sheila pulled up with Caramia, the Lovin cat. It’s amazing how much she’s grown – before we left on the Trip, she could fit in the palm of my hand. Now she’s a full-grown cat, but she stalks our hand and needs our affection, without any of the haughty contempt so freely available from other felines… Cara LIKES people – even the ones who don’t feed her.

Oh my God. This is excruciating. Why can’t I have rockstar problems? You know – a lot of women trying to follow me home, too much fanmail to read, the roadies got the wrong colour of M&Ms into the dressing rooms… instead, my shoulder hurts too much to move, and my dandruff is kicking up.

Death.

And I have the hiccups. Nothing hurts more than hiccups. Unless I sneeze. I’m sure I have a razor blade around here somewhere… just in case I feel like I’m going to sneeze.

Razor blade… but no damn remote.

Ok, now, lest thee pass judgement on my choices – I want to make it clear, that from 10-4 on most weekdays, the Scifi channel frequently has some sort of marathon on. On good days it’s classic Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica is a particular favourite, and what I’m hoping for – what I’ve had a craving for – is Buck Rogers.

However, on bad days it’s Crossing Over, the Incredible Hulk, or in extreme cases… like today… Sliders.

Damn. FX? Crap. Toon? Crap. TNT? Crap. AMC? Crap. TCM? Crap. OnDemand? Crap.

Crap.

Guess I’ll just type away then.

So, it’s amazing to me that it’s been a week since the accident now. My chest feels a lot better, my knee feels a lot better, elbow – better, foot – better, back – could be better, but my left shoulder is soo much worse that I can’t bend enough to check it out. I pretty much slept through most of last weekend, with the exception of a gig, so that sort of explains the lost time, but – I guess I measure our time by how much we play – and if I want to find a reasonable clock to measure the last week, it would have to be doctor visits and pills.

Sunday, after Saturday’s show, Mara finally talked us in to going to the ER to get our aching bodies checked out. We were poked and prodded and tested for breakage. We squoze and were squozen, and in general, left feeling worse than we had when we went in. We were prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants, and diagnosed with strains and sprains and (in my case) “cervical strain” which turns out to be whiplash under a weird name.

Mara went out to get the mail on Saturday - and spotted a note on MY car. Fearing the worst, she was relieved to discover this care package left by Ray. Cookies and tiger balm. The former we ate, the latter I could really use right now... but I can't... quite... reach.
Mara went out to get the mail on Saturday – and spotted a note on MY car. Fearing the worst, she was relieved to discover this care package left by Ray. Cookies and tiger balm. The former we ate, the latter I could really use right now… but I can’t… quite… reach.
Audience creatures gather around Sharif and Heather at the Frederick Coffee Company. Sarah we haven't seen in two years (she left us for Panama... psh!) and then we've got a couple of newbies too - the guy on the right has the coolest stance in the world, and I think Heather and I might have to argue a bit and try and remember if he had an accent. At times he did, and at times I don't think he did... but he's the kind of guy who really, really needs one.
Audience creatures gather around Sharif and Heather at the Frederick Coffee Company. Sarah we haven’t seen in two years (she left us for Panama… psh!) and then we’ve got a couple of newbies too – the guy on the right has the coolest stance in the world, and I think Heather and I might have to argue a bit and try and remember if he had an accent. At times he did, and at times I don’t think he did… but he’s the kind of guy who really, really needs one.

Later, we went to another doctor, in the hopes that he could give a little more detailed info on what we should and shouldn’t be doing – the hospital had been somewhat reassuring, but truthfully, we’d had the opportunity to talk to a doctor for about 5 minutes total, and now I was getting some really frightening numbness in my left arm…

So, more prodding, more poking – and new prescriptions for strong painkillers and stronger muscle relaxants – and a new prescription for physical therapy. I’m assured that the numbness should go away as my shoulder heals.

I’ve always, always been afraid of something happening to my left hand. In tae kwon do I favoured my right arm to the point that you can now literally see a difference in the musculature… I can lift whatever I damn well please with my right arm – but my left hand is where alll the drawing and guitar and… well, my right hand is good for throwing frisbees and scratching backs.

And there’s something to be said for that – but it was really good to hear a doctor telling me that that sometimes happened, and that it’s the muscle in my shoulder pinching around nerves, and that the physical therapy especially should really help.

Now listening to the Bangles, “Following”. If you don’t know this song, you really should. It’s not anything like their “Manic Monday” or “Walk Like an Egyptian” anthems. This is truly one of the best songs ever recorded.

Well, when we missed a turn while searching for the salvage yard that held the Saturn, we finally made it to Darlington - our destination last Friday.
Well, when we missed a turn while searching for the salvage yard that held the Saturn, we finally made it to Darlington – our destination last Friday.
This is me trying to salvage our CD changer. We eventually had to rip it apart to get the CDs back out - afterall, it had one of Amy's mixes held hostage inside. Unacceptable.
This is me trying to salvage our CD changer. We eventually had to rip it apart to get the CDs back out – afterall, it had one of Amy’s mixes held hostage inside. Unacceptable.

If you can’t find it, get it from me – The Bangles – Different Light album was one of my very first cassettes. I got it and Boston’s Third Stage for Christmas from my parents one year. It was my first foray into the world of owning my own music, and I played this cassette almost to death.

Up until recently, I’d run across the tape once every couple of years, and be struck by the last song on the second side. I’d know a little more about guitar every time I rediscovered the song – and could appreciate a bit more of the hammer-ons and the harmonics – but all in all, it truly is one of the most haunting songs that I’ve ever heard.

Heather has stumbled downstairs, and now we’re filling the Living room with little grunts and moans… and not in a good way.

We tried to get a sponsorship from Saturn cause it had served us well. They were unimpressed.
We tried to get a sponsorship from Saturn cause it had served us well. They were unimpressed.
The Mojo Room and Lounge... there's that gorgeous spiral staircase in the background.
The Mojo Room and Lounge… there’s that gorgeous spiral staircase in the background.

Last night’s show at the Mojo Room was made worth it by the other acts. Here, finally – a REAL night of spectacular performers – and we played to an audience of 13 people, including one another, the bartender, and the booking agent.

Now THAT’s just not right. Austin Stahl / Private Eleanor’s CD, Deciduous remains one of my favourite overall albums. From it’s handcrafted exterior, to the low-fi four-track recordings that make up it’s sadly short playlist – it’s just a heartbreakingly passionate thing. And the Mojo Room is the first place where I’ve seen him that had a soundsystem capable of supporting his whispering vocals.

The Chris and Jolene show, other Baltimore natives and Jahva House compatriots – ended the night, playing to a slowly emptying room just after midnight. I felt so guilty exiting that room, but the pain was settling in from our set, and we NEEDED to go…

But thank goodness (or thank Erica, as the case may be) that we played that night, if only to see Porterdavis – a fantastic duo out of Texas. Their mp3s don’t do them justice – and their vocal harmonies and spectacular percussion are well worth seeing. Shame they just left the country.

Heather bought their latest EP, and I just hope hope hope that it sounds like what we heard last night.

Folk musicians all have too much time on their hands, and screw up their albums with useless and distracting extras.

So sad.

Listening to Ani Difranco – Sorry I Am”. Remembering old girlfriends.

Making a mix to remember lost Love.

Austin Stahl as Private Eleanor - the opening act of last night's gig.
Austin Stahl as Private Eleanor – the opening act of last night’s gig.
Porterdavis, of Austin, Texas. It took them half of one song to hook us.
Porterdavis, of Austin, Texas. It took them half of one song to hook us.

September 18th, 2004.

We’re making our way through rain and weather and wind, returning from “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”. I haven’t been this satisfied with a movie since the last Harry Potter flick. Add in a decent open mic full of familiar faces (though just enough new ones to sell some CDs) and a group of friends to see the move with, and the only thing I could ask for would be a pleasantly full belly, as opposed to the clamouring, cavernous one that I now contain.

   Re re-encounter the ilyBaby at the Spirit Gallery in Frederick. Heather's amazed by his rapid growth. I, however, am merely made uneasy.

Re re-encounter the ilyBaby at the Spirit Gallery in Frederick. Heather’s amazed by his rapid growth. I, however, am merely made uneasy.

Anywho, the day’s been grey, with rain showers striking frequently, stabbing from the sky rather randomly. Grey and ominous, everything is hanging low, and driving in air conditioned comfort (thanks Jeff!) allows me to imagine that Fall has us a little more firmly in it’s grip than is actually the case. As the wind picks up, there’s one leaf in particular the spirals down as we navigate the wooded roads of Olney, and it catches itself on the windshield before deciding upon it’s future home.

There is an industrious and monstrous spider that keeps rebuilding his web outside of Heather's parents' house. Just last night it's probably gotten too cold. I like teasing Heather about where she thinks he plans to move now that it's getting sooo frigid. I'm thinking he'll LIKE it inside.
There is an industrious and monstrous spider that keeps rebuilding his web outside of Heather’s parents’ house. Just last night it’s probably gotten too cold. I like teasing Heather about where she thinks he plans to move now that it’s getting sooo frigid. I’m thinking he’ll LIKE it inside.
DCF 1.0

Unfortunately, far from bundling in flannels and seeing our breath, when we stepped out of the car the atmosphere crowds in on us oppressively, and we’re reminded that the rain is driven by tropical storms and the moist, swamp-like breath of Ivan is what we’re facing.

Sheri Lynn at the Spirit Gallery in Frederick. A fantastic vocalist - and even better than I remember her being. It's been beautiful to see her again, watching her play, watching her energy - she's like I don't know, too many cliches launch into my head - butterflies and sunshine n shit... I'll have to think of something a LOT better to do HER justice.
Sheri Lynn at the Spirit Gallery in Frederick. A fantastic vocalist – and even better than I remember her being. It’s been beautiful to see her again, watching her play, watching her energy – she’s like I don’t know, too many cliches launch into my head – butterflies and sunshine n shit… I’ll have to think of something a LOT better to do HER justice.

Michelle Murray’s new SAW open mic at Caribou Coffee was really nice – she was lucky, I think, at the mix of people that came out for the debut. I like to think that that first impression will build on itself. Despite the occassional (and unavoidable) annoyance of coffee grinders and espresso machines, there were moments of magic hidden in that coffeehouse. Andre, especially – Andre Cutair is a rare creature on the local music scene… seldom seen at all. I was surprised to encounter him all the way out in Olney, and he gave a beautiful performance with his fragile voice. A night of Songs:Ohia, Mountain Goats, and Neutral Milk Hotel had put me in the perfect receptive mood.

ilyAIMY at the Spirit Gallery.
ilyAIMY at the Spirit Gallery.

It shocks me to realize I’ve known him for perhaps ten years.

The movie was a somewhat spur of the moment decision. I’d known that Jason Cox had planned to gather and gander, but I was sort of envisioning just Heather and I in the darkened theatre. Events conspired against us, and we ended up being in a darkened theatre with a couple of my really old friends, and a lot of people I didn’t know… but they were a VERY good movie crew… I think I’m going to ask Jason to orchestrate such gatherings more frequently.

Well… as frequently as the sorry state of modern Hollywood will allow.

November 24th, 2004.

So, don’t I know the rule by now? If you wake up from a bad dream, you never, ever go back to sleep – because the next dream will be worse. By all means, attempt to return to slumber in the case of interrupted dreams of phantasm Lovers, or hit snooze to avoid your mundane employer – but if your dreams are nightmares of horror and distress, don’t let the pillow capture your skull again.

Last night was decent enough – Hell, we played the Funk Box – and that’s always awesome. I didn’t bother to bring my effects pedal because I Love the way my guitar sounds through their sound system. I’m still not sure if it’s the sound guy’s aesthetic or just the way the system’s set up, but some one Loves bass, and I Love it too, and my guitar – and for that matter – my whole band just sounds so MASSIVE and full there. And the audience Loved us. It sounded so large! Imagine my horror when I finally went and looked at the numbers for the night and realized we’d only had a draw of 18! Ouch.

I can tell myself that that’s not too bad for a Tuesday night before Thanksgiving on a week’s notice. But on the otherhand…

A lot of friends in Frederick on Monday night - here's Jeff Gerlach and Karyn Oliver of Symbiont playing with a background of Christmas lights. Hehe... <body bg="xmasLights">
A lot of friends in Frederick on Monday night – here’s Jeff Gerlach and Karyn Oliver of Symbiont playing with a background of Christmas lights. Hehe…
My first real hint of Christmas decorations for the year - other than that stupid frat house in College Park - We played Frederick Coffee Company Monday night, and the place looked like the coffee house personification of Christmas! (my favourite season!)
My first real hint of Christmas decorations for the year – other than that stupid frat house in College Park – We played Frederick Coffee Company Monday night, and the place looked like the coffee house personification of Christmas! (my favourite season!)

But we did well. I’ve really got to thank Liz – she went around pushing the mailing list, and the returns on that were massive. So, thank you thank you Liz, I hope you’ll be willing to do that again. And not that she’ll ever read this, but I also DO have to thank our sometimes agent, Diana of Moore Music, who landed us our Funk Box gigs. I feel bad disappointing her, perhaps. I don’t know how hard she works on getting us gigs – I think we actually tend to be much more of a last-minute choice, it seems. But someday I hope to turn that around.

Andre Cutair at the Frederick Coffee Company - it was cool to have so many friends there that night - Andre I've known since 95 or so - I think I met him through Will Schaff in college, perhaps just around the same time I picked up guitar. His beautiful voice and delicate chords rang through the Frederick night... I was really flattered by how blown-away HE was by our performance. I've always felt that my oldest fans/friends are my most important critics. They are the ones that I've got to keep impressing - "your set was like a sucker punch and this morning i feel moved and humbled. fuck: you guys blew shit up." Sucker punches are ALWAYS good. (don't get any ideas, Heather)
Andre Cutair at the Frederick Coffee Company – it was cool to have so many friends there that night – Andre I’ve known since 95 or so – I think I met him through Will Schaff in college, perhaps just around the same time I picked up guitar. His beautiful voice and delicate chords rang through the Frederick night… I was really flattered by how blown-away HE was by our performance. I’ve always felt that my oldest fans/friends are my most important critics. They are the ones that I’ve got to keep impressing – “your set was like a sucker punch and this morning i feel moved and humbled. fuck: you guys blew shit up.” Sucker punches are ALWAYS good. (don’t get any ideas, Heather)
Lea was the featured performer of Steve Key's Frederick Coffee Company Singer/Songwriter Showcase. I think she'll also be recording one of Steve's songs - I'm not sure of the title - the one that goes "We're just here for the runnin... that's all" - great song. Anywho, she sang it with him Monday night.
Lea was the featured performer of Steve Key’s Frederick Coffee Company Singer/Songwriter Showcase. I think she’ll also be recording one of Steve’s songs – I’m not sure of the title – the one that goes “We’re just here for the runnin… that’s all” – great song. Anywho, she sang it with him Monday night.

And of course, huge thanks to everyone who came out. There’s pictures later on – thanks to my parents for coming out to a smokey bar (I hope you had a good time despite that) and thanks to Heather’s parents for coming out (and Mara for taking pictures… more of those later on).

Lea also counts as an old, old friend. She came to play at MICA perhaps a little before I met Andre, somewhere in my... well, must've been my junior year or so? I later bought my first Takamine because she'd been playing a Takamine Jasmine and I Loved the way she played. An amazing player, she's all beating her poor guitar and slapping it around. Jazzy bassy. Heather's having her "solo" show with Sharif and Amy and asked me if I could have the same sort of set-up who I'd choose... After much thought, and after she told me I couldn't have Eddie Van Halen - I figured I'd want Lea on bass and vocals and Brooke Parkhurst (from Tinsmith) playing banjo and guitar and whistle and her beautiful, beautiful voice.
Lea also counts as an old, old friend. She came to play at MICA perhaps a little before I met Andre, somewhere in my… well, must’ve been my junior year or so? I later bought my first Takamine because she’d been playing a Takamine Jasmine and I Loved the way she played. An amazing player, she’s all beating her poor guitar and slapping it around. Jazzy bassy. Heather’s having her “solo” show with Sharif and Amy and asked me if I could have the same sort of set-up who I’d choose… After much thought, and after she told me I couldn’t have Eddie Van Halen – I figured I’d want Lea on bass and vocals and Brooke Parkhurst (from Tinsmith) playing banjo and guitar and whistle and her beautiful, beautiful voice.

So, a good night on that front. Had an early load-in, which meant an early (and easy) sound check – I like dealing with professionals. i.e. – the other band was on time (despite being from New York!), the venue opened it’s doors to us on time, the sound guy was there on time, we were there on time – professional! Even as the opening band, we got a thorough sound check – everything was smooooth like baby ass. We had time left over to run and get sushi, and that was good too.

Sushi, Funk Box – lots of friends AT the Funk Box… parking ticket. Fucking Hell. Second fucking parking ticket in a week.

But, that won’t get me down.

Because everything was professional, and everything started on time, we got out on time, and I LOVE getting out of a venue at 11pm on a weekday. We got home, I ate lasagna, and eventually turned in. Sleep was long in coming, so I took it out on Heather in the form of a giggling pillow fight. Quite nice. Rambled about quarks and the brush strokes of God to lull her back into complacency, but then fell asleep before I could take advantage of that complacency with another darkness-stealthed night attack.

I woke up this morning at 9.30am. That’s a rarity. Almost an obscenity. I no longer believe in the AM as morning – it’s the second half of night. Rain and mist had filtered the morning light into a grey murk that did nothing to dispel the cobwebs of dreaming. In my head there were still air-raid sirens and destruction.

A (perhaps surprisingly) a-typical dream of science fiction monstrosities had stalked through my head, rampaging over the Earth, destroying cities. I remember that Heather and I were hidden in ruins, watching things disintegrate. Trying to survive a nuclear winter while still justifying the guitars strapped to the top of the car. Moving inland away from where the extra-terrestrial wrought terror lies. Packing friends into the car, rearranging the gig baggage so we can fit four people in the mighty post-Apocolyptic Saturn. (Don’t know why we couldn’t get rid of the gig baggage).

And I woke up out of that to hear the reassuring sound of traffic outside. Muffled by the damp, but amplified in it’s way by the car-tire swishing that I still somehow associate with my Grandmother’s old yellow house on it’s hill in Pennsylvania.

Lulled into a sense of security, I failed to resist the warmth temptation of the bed, rolled over, and dreamt Holocaust dreams.

Living so frequently in a Jewish household, having just been to the Spy Museum where so many exhibits were devoted to the fight against Hitler, having just seen a stage version of Anne Frank’s diary…. maybe these things somehow all coagulated in my head this morning.

Hiding Heather for what seemed like months, and people accusing me of “smelling like a Jew”. I tried to at least walk the streets with Rowan in this modern day version of World War II – but we got thrown out of a pizza joint, the owner yelling that Rowan was “darkening his doorstep” – the police were called and we were running through slush that dragged at our footsteps.

Dressed in rags, there wasn’t much any place to go. Everyone knew. I remember the house being ripped apart, chains and whips. Heather being beaten down in the street and my usually monochromatic dreams took great advantage of the melodramatic red blood on snow imagery.

I finally woke up out of that – everything warm and quiet and serene. Grey outside, still drizzling murk. This time I knew it was time to get the fuck up.

While loading for the Funk Box, I watched this van lose control, swing up on the curb, and ram a fire hydrant. Contrary to the Lethal Weapon movies, water did NOT come shooting out like a geyser, and much to my disappointment, merely gushed and pooled. I haven't called 911 since I worked security at school, I think.
While loading for the Funk Box, I watched this van lose control, swing up on the curb, and ram a fire hydrant. Contrary to the Lethal Weapon movies, water did NOT come shooting out like a geyser, and much to my disappointment, merely gushed and pooled. I haven’t called 911 since I worked security at school, I think.
THIS IS NOT OUR SATURN - merely a photograph taken in sympathy for another Saturn. And then we saw another on route 95 heading towards the Funk Box. SO sad. Saturn should have a recall, replace those corner windows with big steel slabs.
THIS IS NOT OUR SATURN – merely a photograph taken in sympathy for another Saturn. And then we saw another on route 95 heading towards the Funk Box. SO sad. Saturn should have a recall, replace those corner windows with big steel slabs.

August 22nd, 2005.

What an interesting week. My brain’s been through a lot of highs and lows and ups and downs. I ended up staying over at Rowan’s for much of the week, which was really, really good. We had our differences when we Lived together, but they were few and far between, and I’d like to think none too major. Who’d’ve thunk we’d have stuck together so well after a simple offer of pie.

Wednesday night was band practice. Ups and downs aside, band practices are always fun. When it comes down to it, it’s hanging out with three of my favourite people in the whole world, and doing what we do best. We were mostly prepping for this tv show we did on Saturday, so our band practice was broken up by conversations of who’s doing what and where the camera should be focused. (Not just our own arrogance!!! They asked us to do this!)

After band practice we relaxed into an impromtu movie night. Rowan and I had run out to Borders while Heather took a phone call earlier in the day, and I’d had a moment of splurge where I picked up Sin City and Steamboy in a fit of spending that really CAN’T be repeated any time soon. That DVD desire resulted in such pocketbook sin so lowly that I haven’t eaten more than one meal a day since (with the exception of any Lloydholme time).

Heather wailin’ in the studio.

In any case, we stocked up on Twizzlers, chocolate chip cookies, popcorn and root beer and settled in to see what Steamboy was all about. Ladies and gentlemen, dear readers – my review would go something like “Yeah, it had this slow start, and hearing Captain Picard as an eccentric but buff grandfather was a little weird, but MAN the explosions were COOL.”

Ah, Heather... you would make some woman so very, very sad. I have another pic of my deep throating Sharif's... uh... Twizzler, but thought I might be crossing a line by posting it.
Ah, Heather… you would make some woman so very, very sad. I have another pic of my deep throating Sharif’s… uh… Twizzler, but thought I might be crossing a line by posting it.

That night, Heather and Rowan went their separate ways, leaving Sharif and I to crash at Rowan’s apartment.

Out of all of ilyAIMY, Sharif is definately the guy I get to spend the least quality time with, which is a shame. We stayed up late talking about virtual reality and computers and the effect of the gaming industry on the rest of the computer world. He’s on a real-world schedule, so I didn’t keep him up TOO late – but when next morning dawned….

I wake slowly at Rowan’s place. The hum of fans and the fading patches of sunlight on my face. Always a very gentle bringer of consciousness… but this morning, something else drifted to my slow awakening….

The sounds of battle.

I crept slowly through the kitchen and peer around the corner to find Sharif deeply engrossed in war with small skittering creatures. They’re leaping and climbing on walls and generally making his Life difficult. Sharif is backing slowly through dimly lit corridors with a shotgun and a crowbar, shooting some in the air and giving a good thwacking to the crab-like attackers scuttling on the ground.

I figured I wouldn’t get another chance like THAT in a hurry. I sneak up behind him and do my best garthrim noise right in his ear as a let a hand skitter Alien-facehugger-style up his arm. In twenty other universes a Sharif lay dead of heart-attack, twitching at my feet. In my universe, I think he hit me with the mouse after screaming like a little girl. It was pretty satisfying.

Better than movies – I don’t play them myself, but I DO Love watching other people play video games. Watching the story unfold, rooting for my own team… I imagine it’s what football is to other people, except with, you know… like… a plot and a point? Half-Life 2 provided several hours of entertainment before we decided it was time for breakfast.

Over chicken noodle soup we talked strategies and objectives in military fashion – but of ilyAIMY. Trying to get a street-team that DOES something, and perhaps looking at breaking into DC. It was good to hear Sharif brainstorming on all this stuff – it’s good to know that he’s really invested in it. I often feel weird about asking Rowan and Sharif to become more involved than they are, since it’s Heather and I who generally are at the receiving end of most of the gigs. I mean, the end-goal is certainly to be in a position where I can pay everyone enough so that we can ALL travel and ALL gig, but that seems so far down the road, such an impossible promise… it was good to know that Sharif is dreaming too.

Cleaning up after our appearance with host Joanna on Frederick Cable's "Backstage Pass".
Cleaning up after our appearance with host Joanna on Frederick Cable’s “Backstage Pass”.

Friday morning was weird. I’d had strange dreams… Heather, my brother and I, and … for some reason… Ginny from Harry Potter were exploring a… I can only describe it as an Alligator Adventure with a voodoo focus. The place reminded me of a house in Ellicott City, in Maryland, where the hills are so extreme that multi-story houses are built out of them rather than on them. Floors are wooden and outer walls are brick, but inner walls are unfinished rockface.

Stone stretched a little further into this three-storey building, and everything was dank and dark and stank of old water. Moisture stains and rust and warped wood. Heather had gone in for adventure and we’d all followed her in, slowly and cautiously, but we eventually got separated… there were alligators draped over every surface, and at one point, one reared up and went for my brother’s head. George backed up and the monster grazed across his shoulder, ribboning his shirt and leaving deep cuts down his chest.

We stuck closer together at that point, but we couldn’t find Ginny. Somehow, I think she was Heather’s younger sister in the dream, or something – had been the one telling us we shouldn’t go in… but Heather was fascinated by something, some old story about a Queen or something. We made our way past shrunken heads, alligators either sleeping or stuffed, and more dripping… I found Ginny half wrapped in a shower curtain in an old, stained, claw-foot bathtub, torn torso from legs and still bleeding out. I could smell her over the chemical and reptile and stone.

I was wrapping her in the plastic of the shower curtain and pulling her out, looking into blue eyes/past red hair when I woke up. It put me in a bad mood all day. Jumpy.

Saturday was interesting. I picked up Rowan from the train station and then we ran out to Frederick.

I-70 is a lengthy road… I’ve taken it all the way out to Colorado and back, and I Love it a LOT. There’s a lot of mystery and adventure tied up in my head with Interstate 70. It seems a shame to waste time on it just to get to Frederick… or any other point in Maryland, really.

I remember years ago, dating Nicole, driving my Volkswagon Bus out to her place in Ellicott City… I used to take I-70 alot, and that was when I first started romancing that

highway. I remember looking at a map… and then unfolding it, and then unfolding it again… getting another map… I wanted to know where the damn road ENDED! Ever since, every time I get on that Interstate, my eyes go to the gas guage and think about…. just going. Heh. Not till ten years later did I just go.

Mangled sentence, I know.

Before heading out to Frederick on Sunday, I meandered over to my friend Meg's house and met her dog. Zeke. I have this vague suspicion that he and my brother's dog, Pica, should get together. They have similar souls. Sort of... diggy.
Before heading out to Frederick on Sunday, I meandered over to my friend Meg’s house and met her dog. Zeke. I have this vague suspicion that he and my brother’s dog, Pica, should get together. They have similar souls. Sort of… diggy.

In any case. En route, we hooked up with Sharif. He came up behind us, pulled around us. We good-naturedly either gave one another horns or finger and then proceeded in convoy to the TV station.

It was really nice, though a bit intimidating, to deal with something so apparently professional. Darkened studio, multiple cameras. Our cable television experiences so far have mostly consisted of a guy with a camcorder at one of our shows (which reminds me I have some contracts to sign) trying to keep up with us.

We’d actually been persued by this particular show (Frederick’s Backstage Pass) for several years, ever since their host first spotted us at a coffeehouse show hosted by Steve Key.

We're About 6 playing in Frederick, MD at the Westside Cafe for one of Steve Key's Singer/Songwriter showcases.
We’re About 6 playing in Frederick, MD at the Westside Cafe for one of Steve Key’s Singer/Songwriter showcases.

The moon over Frederick. I’ve been really moody recently, and driving back alone from Frederick gave me too much time to think. However, it also means I get lost every once in a while. A wrong turn brought me face to face with this spectacular beauty, and I was in the right place to appreciate it.

Schedules failed to lock up, snow was uncooperative… all sorts of things went wrong, but I’m so glad that we never just stood back and said “fuck it, not worth the effort”… It was a lot of fun and I think it’ll be a good portfolio piece for us. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of it, though I don’t think it airs until November 15th or so.

Next time, though, I’m going to ask where we should be LOOKING, since I fear I spent a lot of time staring out into space.

Last night was one of Steve Key’s Acoustic Singer/Songwriter Showcases. Our first time visiting the Westside Cafe (which is also owned by a friend). I’m not sure that we would’ve accepted, cause the shows are generally playing to other musicians, and though a lot of fun, not terribly lucrative – with gas the way it is, we’re having to be a little more careful, making sure every show at LEAST pays for itself (for example, with Heather’s parents’ house as a starting point, taking one car and going BACK to Owings Mills, we now have to make $15 to cover the cost of gasoline used). But We’re About 9 was the featured act, and we Love playing with them. It’s rare that we get to see them twice in as many weeks, and it’s nice to be able to reform some kind of bond with them.

For our set, I broke a string and didn’t really give the best showing of myself, but Brian and Katie were their usual charming selves, and also as usual, Brian played something that dropped my jaw to my chest. He’s just … the best writer. Period. Unless Firedean is. Oh shit.

I left the gig early, hoping to make it to Amy’s house before they all turned in for the night – that’s when I saw the moooon. So glad I chose to leave when I did. Even as I was adjusting exposures to get my moon shot it had risen and shrunk, and by the time I was following it home, east-bound on I-70, it was white and pale and normal again.

 

September 1st, 2005.

Today, gasoline in Atlanta apparently hit $5 per gallon. We’re struggling so hard as it is, this is what’s going to end the Tour. If it costs of $55 to fill the tank of the Saturn, well, I don’t think that venues are suddenly going to start paying more.

I’ve been thinking about the End of Days, Armageddon, whatever. Lots of melodrama. A lot of really bad things have been happening recently, on all sorts of fronts. 2005 is going to always be a very, very black year for me.

But on a larger scale, how high can gas prices go before our gasoline-based economy simply collapses. I mean, eventually, people simply won’t be able to afford to go to work anymore, and then everything breaks down. I know that’s a real worst-case scenario, but – what happens then? There are these spectacularly stupid politicians that get up on the podium and state that raising the price of gas will enforce conservation – but we haven’t built our world to WORK around the concept of conservation. If the system breaks down, what then?

When the day is shit, finding a fuzzy caterpillar can really make Life a little bit better.
When the day is shit, finding a fuzzy caterpillar can really make Life a little bit better.

It doesn’t help at all that I’m reading a book about the brink of nuclear war. And of course, being a sci-fi geek, I pretty much think about the end of the world every day… but it makes me wonder about my practical post-apocalypse skill base. Will I still try and travel with my guitar even after I’ve welded armoured plating to my Saturn? And will I get a CHANCE to learn how to shoot before I’m cut down by highway gangs seeking my gasoline and water?

I guess I’m kind of taking this personally. The year’s been rough, this week has been stupid, and now I feel like Katrina and OPEC and George Bush have all banded together to assault my personal goals and dreams. I just don’t know what to do.

On Wednesday, we got to take the whole band out to Frederick, MD and play at the Harry Grove Stadium for a Keys game. It was our first stadium gig, and it was unfortunately pretty woefully attended. We were off to the side in a courtyard that mostly only garnered the attention of staff members passing by... and coyotes, too, of course. In the background you can JUST make out Lacey being a GODDESS and helping sell merch and get names on our email list.
On Wednesday, we got to take the whole band out to Frederick, MD and play at the Harry Grove Stadium for a Keys game. It was our first stadium gig, and it was unfortunately pretty woefully attended. We were off to the side in a courtyard that mostly only garnered the attention of staff members passing by… and coyotes, too, of course. In the background you can JUST make out Lacey being a GODDESS and helping sell merch and get names on our email list.
Sarah and Lacey were the only two people to actually come out and see us play on Wednesday afternoon, but Lacey working as our merch queen really turned the day around. She went and snagged people that maybe would've JUST watched from a distance - and dragged them in to purchase CDs, to talk to us, to sign the mailing list and to just listen a little more closely. She was Lovely.
Sarah and Lacey were the only two people to actually come out and see us play on Wednesday afternoon, but Lacey working as our merch queen really turned the day around. She went and snagged people that maybe would’ve JUST watched from a distance – and dragged them in to purchase CDs, to talk to us, to sign the mailing list and to just listen a little more closely. She was Lovely.

September 5th, 2005.

I’m at Rowan’s again. I’m not quite sure how I keep ending up here. I really need to go visit my mom, hang out there for a little while, but I keep ending up at Rowan’s place.

v
John Grimes ran sound for us at the Harry Grove Stadium in Frederick, MD. It may look like I’m giving him a stern dressing down, but I think the conversation was REALLY going more along the lines of “and that’s the BEST damn sound we’ve had Live with the full band EVER!!!” It WAS really good.
Thursday night found me back in Frederick, driving Rowan up to a Tinsmith show at the WestSide Cafe. It was really great to see them play, and it was a lot of fun to see Brooke's kids. I miss her Living in Greenbelt... now she's off in some far off and oft-lost corner of Virginia or something. Pretty unacceptable, really.
Thursday night found me back in Frederick, driving Rowan up to a Tinsmith show at the WestSide Cafe. It was really great to see them play, and it was a lot of fun to see Brooke’s kids. I miss her Living in Greenbelt… now she’s off in some far off and oft-lost corner of Virginia or something. Pretty unacceptable, really.

This last week it was kind of understandable. I had to do a little bit of driving Rowan around – back and forth to Frederick, and in our current environment, staying at his place so that I’m not using gallons and gallons and gallons of gas is really a neccessity. Wednesday night I drove back from our First Stadium Gig (!) (not as big of a deal as it should’ve been, but still fun to say) with Rowan, peeling down I-270 and making good my getaway and listening to Tom Bianchi all the way home. But Thursday afternoon found us turning around and driving right back up again… Tinsmith had a show in Frederick at the WestSide Cafe, and on a whim, they’d asked me to open for them. Anything to occupy my brain right now is pretty much a good thing, and besides, maybe I’d sell some CDs, and I was gonna be up there ANYWAYS…

Brooke's kids, Mereid and Nigel, crashing in a far corner of the WestSide Cafe in Frederick, MD. I can't imagine growing up like the two of them... kids of musicians, travelling constantly. They're amazingly well-adjusted. It was fun watching them mouth the words to every song until they sort of fell asleep. Well... SORT of fell asleep - Nigel woke up with the flash and came over to see the picture, then went back and insisted that he could be "asleep" BETTER, and made me shoot it again, but now you can see him smiling a little bit...
Brooke’s kids, Mereid and Nigel, crashing in a far corner of the WestSide Cafe in Frederick, MD. I can’t imagine growing up like the two of them… kids of musicians, travelling constantly. They’re amazingly well-adjusted. It was fun watching them mouth the words to every song until they sort of fell asleep. Well… SORT of fell asleep – Nigel woke up with the flash and came over to see the picture, then went back and insisted that he could be “asleep” BETTER, and made me shoot it again, but now you can see him smiling a little bit…

Frederick has its moments and its beauties. It’s odd, because it really projects itself as a small town, but I think it’s actually supposed to be the second-largest city in Maryland. I like winding through its streets, almost lost but pretty much knowing where I’m going – direction-wise if not literally turn-wise, and we got up to Rod Deacey’s club just in time to meet up with Brooke and set up for a sound-check.

Tiny audience, but a couple of ilyAIMY fans were there. Our friend John remarked that it was the first time he had ever seen playing out alone. I think I worked extra hard knowing that I didn’t have Heather to back me up, and I played a pretty hard set. The audience seemed pretty into it, and the owner, Rod, seemed very pleased too. I’m using the word “seemed” cause there’s a follow-up story that might not be exactly Journal material.

In any case, just as I was finishing my last four chords of LooseN… you know the one’s… the E minorish one, and then the C and F# and the G? But you know… with the capo on third, of course… right right… those… this gorgeous woman came in.

It had already been a night for eye-candy. When Rowan and I came to the door, laden with guitars and stands and merch, a woman opened the door for us with green eyes that literally caught Rowan and I up short, standing on the porch, I think we both took a step back and a gasp. The woman who works the bar, slinging coffee, also spectacular eyes…

But the woman who walked in was a goddess of piled hair and curls. I cursed the timing of my set, walked off the stage, and as I passed her table, I heard it…

She was the pterodactyl to my raptor!

We got to talking and I eventually ended up out on the front porch playing to her and her friend. They stroked my ego pretty effectively, but I was going to be smitten with anyone who did a good pterasaur call. She was a teacher, a painter… and I didn’t get her number. Just handed her a postcard and asked her to come to a show, like a dumb-ass, treating her like any other listener.

Sigh.

Friday night, Heather and I played at the Pourhouse in Westminster, MD. That was our two year anniversary for the Trip. I can’t believe we’ve been Living like this for two years. On the one hand, I barely remember another Life, but on the other hand, having survived this long has been a huge accomplishment. I have a couple of friends out there who have done it for longer, the record I think is ten years or so, homeless and wandering…. but most of my friends who’ve even ATTEMPTED to do anything like what Heather and I have done have given up at the two or three year mark.

I've been thinking of learning how to play dobro, so I bought a conversion kit and jacked up the strings on a guitar that Heather has from Janna. I'm all sorts-a-country star now.
I’ve been thinking of learning how to play dobro, so I bought a conversion kit and jacked up the strings on a guitar that Heather has from Janna. I’m all sorts-a-country star now.
At the Pourhouse in Westminster, MD with about a BILLION drummers.
At the Pourhouse in Westminster, MD with about a BILLION drummers.

Though, I guess by THAT definition, I hope to be “giving up” by the third year or so too – I don’t really want to go TOO much longer without a place to call my own… but I don’t see the finances coming together to support that any time soon. Maybe a friend will strike it rich and let me have a tiny room in their new mansion that I can call my own… a place to hang my toys and my strings and to close the door and close the world off and I won’t be beholden to ANYONE…

That’s beside the point.

Friday night looked to be a failure. Heather and I had planned a camping outing for a bunch of friends, a gathering sleep over thingie. Lots of things came down in the way of making that happen, unfortunately, not least of which being that no-one who was invited was interested. Add to that that absolutely no-one that we knew other than Heather’s family came out to the Pourhouse Friday night, and we were fearful that our two year anniversary was going to be a pretty sad affair.

Five minutes into the gig, the big noisy table o’ teenagers walked out in the middle of our first song, leaving a table of Lloyds and a table in the back avoiding our eyes… no sign of my pteradactyl, all sorts of negatives.

Thankfully, the Pourhouse gets a lot of foot traffic, and they were also having a drum circle later in the evening, so eventually the place filled back up again, and with a lot of rhythm oriented people who wanted to make some noise. We ended the night with Counting with about 15 additional people playing percussion, all of which managed to stop at exactly the right time!

Saturday night had no such silver lining. We played to the girl who worked there and a couple of friends of hers that came in to visit her, and again, a table of Lloyds. That was a really hard night because we’d invited the whole band out to Westminster, MD to play to about 4 people, one of which was being paid to be there.

Ugh – eyes unfocusing. I’m going to have to type some more later. Rowan introduced me to Half-Life 2 tonight… 6 hours ago… and I’m JUST writing this, and my eyes are

drooping… of course, I’d probably STILL be playing that damned game if that helicopter hadn’t dropped a fucking BUILDING on me. I swear, whoever the bad guys are, they sure have a LOT of resources to focus on little old me. Rockets and depth charges and men parachuting from the sky… I don’t like this fan-boat stuff, scares the Hell out of me… I keep fearing that the same thing’s going to happen as did in Alice – that some giant fish is going to rocket out of the water and eat me… I’ll scream like a girl, pull the plug on the computer and not be able to sleep for days.

Just like last time.

I’m not proud.

G’night.’

Sunday night we had a Gathering. Yup. Magic night. Liz and Cat also got decidedly violent. I had to smack’em down.

February 20th, 2006.

We’re back out and travelling and my mind is settling easily into the routine of eating Cheerios found in the driver’s seat and watching the miles fly by.

Angelique sound checks at the Ramshead. She’s heard of us, I was embarassed not to really be able to return the favour.
Russ Anonymous sound checks at the Ramshead Live in Baltimore, MD. Now THAT’s what I call a REAL soundboard!

Heather and I are taking my car for a change, and I even got to pack this time around – she and I have very different approaches to this most important of Trip activities:  She’s a Tetris player, and the spawn of a Boy Scout family – and I think in general, she’s probably capable of fitting more actual crap into the car.  However, I’m the spawn of a NASA engineer, and I think I approach things from a usability point of view.  I’m all about making sure the stuff we’ll need is “on the surface” and the stuff we use rarely is harder to get to.

In any case – fyi (and because you care… I’m telling you you CARE) – the car is organized along the long axis, and the right half of the car is the stuff that comes in and out with us at almost every stop.  The left half of the car is organized into two layers, with the surface being sound equipment that we MIGHT need at any given place as well as clothes and stuff that we need whenever we find a place to crash – and then the inner layer being the nitty gritty crap we don’t use very often (scanner, recording gear, jumper cables, extension cords) as well as stuff that we need to assemble (like press materials).

That’s just so you know.

In any case, for the first time in about 6 months we departed Maryland sans the threat

and imminent assault of rain, snow, thunder, cats, dogs, and / or the immediate menace of meteorological abuse and drove through Virginia (saying hi to Chelsea and Beau in our heads since they haven’t answered their phone) and onward into North Carolina.

Man. I’m introduced to him over and over again and every time he’s with a different act – but he’s always got that beautiful cheetah case. I’m sure that is what draws us to one another. Strange, non?
Mercy Creek at the Rams Head Live in Baltimore, MD. It’s been a long time since I was just utterly blown away by another act. These guys shook me.

First stop – Chapel Hill, where they will paint anything that stands still.  Heather and I got into town about two hours before the open mic at the Nightlight (at the Skylight Exchange) started, and we wandered around town till we found a decent restaurant that we shouldn’t have eaten at but we really wanted to so we did.

I’ve been craving Mexican food ever since I got back from the Belly Button of the Mooooon, and when we spotted this cool little converted house we figured it was time to satisfy at least one of my burning desires.

Let’s not even discuss the hole in her guitar.
Somehow duct tape and playing with paint brushes, as well as sticking a bass drum kick pedal next to a laid out djembe creates the most bad-ass kit ever. More points for Mercy Creek.

Unfortunately, I was immediately reminded that this just isn’t the same stuff.  I think that in Mexico I was often eating more traditional Aztec and Mayan derived dishes, with lots of lime and cilantro and fish and HUMAN FLESH and … things… that… make …  meeee… .drooooooool.  And THIS Mexican food is… well… more… Tex-Mex?  I don’t know.  It was good, but I was saddened.  I should’ve just demanded cilantro and lime and a bunch of rice.  I’d have been happier, thinking of that pretty woman from the black beaches of Cuyutlan.

Zop.

In the audience at the Mudd Puddle was a friend from college – Connie was a quiet creature as I remember her back in school, and it took me a couple of seconds to integrate my memory of her with this vivacious and outgoing creature that approached me in a coffeehouse that I’d never been in before.
Ryan Van Orsdell at the Mudd Puddle in Frederick, MD. I had no idea what to expect – here was a guy who contacted me out of the blue and at first had asked if I wanted to be part of an acoustic tour centred around a particular record label. Of course you say yes to that! But I’ve also heard that line a couple of times, so I wasn’t particularly suprised when it turned out to be just Ryan asking to trade gigs and using that as a way to get himself listened to. So – we ralked and eventually he offered us this opening slot sans strings (I’d explained that I wasn’t willing to guarantee a gig without having even heard him) – I was really, really pleased when I got to hear him. Not only had he introduced us to a very, very cool coffeehouse (and the owner) but his band was really awesome. Good lilts and power, twists and turns like a gentler A Perfect Circle. I was duly impressed.

The open mic itself – the room was very very cool – huge speakers and immense volume.  I can approve of that coming out of a coffeehouse.  Mostly a book and music shop with a big stage and benches scattered about like runaway school buses.

This is Jessie and Sarah who made room for us on their couch and dragged us down to sit with them (speaking of outgoing and vivacious). Shame about that whole probably-in-high-school thing, but no matter. I liked talking to them and making friends is always fun. My experience was a little more cramped, however, as Heather got there AFTER they’d frightened a couple of other people off the couch. My experience was much more like hipbone is to knife as getting on to that couch was to opening oysters.
Ode to Independent Coffeehouse – a moment of genius discovered at the Mudd Puddle.
This is my last goodbye to my trusty Saturn. She served me faithfully for almost 180,000 miles, and I sort of wanted to see her through to 200k, but I’m lame and lazy and perhaps even unfaithful. I’ve run off with a younger model, but the new Saturn will never be as sleek, rambunctious and careless with my heart as this one. She’s been given to charity and will hopefully be doing someone some good.

The talent was back and forth, and I was pretty much ready to leave until a very cool trio came up – guitar and a snare drum and an upright bass, all of them singing with an abandon and joy that reminded me of a happy version of the Violent Femmes.  I was pretty taken with them and Heather and I even paused our vicious game of Egyptian Rat Screw to see if they’d come open for us at the Open Eye Cafe in a couple of weeks.

I wish I’d gotten a better photograph of this. We passed this minivan. Strapped to the top are three alligators and a horse. Someone is probably very, very happy about this.
Heather holds a sour apple non-Twizzler to the setting sun as we travel to Cary, NC. The same gas station which produced for us this beautiful sugar vision also sold these tiny little pies. I got a lemon one, Heather got sweet potato. Oh God Oh GOD oh GOD sooooo gooooooood!!! Why we didn’t write the exit number down? Cause we are FOOLS! FOOLS I say!!!!

They said they’d check their calendar.

Hrmph.

We returned to enthusiastically screwing the Egyptian rat until I hammered Heather into the ground.  It was on.  (yes, even the baby Mexican with the little plastic toy knew).  And then, sadly for Heather at least, it was off.

Now we’ve retreated to our friend Jamie’s in Cary, NC.  It’s early in the night, but wandering takes its toll, and I’m sort of sleepy… contemplating the fuzzy, fluffy blankets.  Heather has been dead to the world for half an hour already, and I’m just hoping I can find my way to the bathroom in the dark.

Here’s to not cursing TOOO loud.  *clink*

 

May 14th, 2006.

Wow, exemplify my mood swings please. I spent yesterday with my friend Amy – just hanging out and working on projects and spending time in one another’s space. This morning I’m reminded that I’m allergic to the world, but yesterday was quite, quite good.

So, when I first met Rowan, for some reason the black squirrels of DC came up in conversation – I don’t remember the context at all – but he thought I was making some sort of racial comment. Let it be known with the picture above that YES there are BLACK squirrels and I’ve never seen them anywhere else than in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area!

And then evening struck. Amy, Meg and I went out to see Heather’s boyfriend’s band, Even So, in Baltimore. We get there and I feel for them – the nightmare of a gig gone wrong. All the other bands have cancelled the night, and no-one told them, so they’re suddenly responsible for the whole night. Sam (their drummer) asks if, since we’re here, Heather and I wouldn’t mind filling some time… I slowly agree to it even though we haven’t brought any instruments… he says “that’s okay, you can use ours”.

Among the many activities we towed Bambi around on was a quick tour of the University of Maryland’s College Park Campus, and of course, the statue to Jim Henson erected there.

Finally, ilyAIMY electric. Oh God. I have plenty of time to rethink this decision, if not actually change my mind.

Anywho, while we’re waiting outside, Meg, Amy, Ira and I get to have a little close encounter with some of the Baltimore native homeless in the form of a guy that comes jogging over to grab Ira around the shoulders (friend-like) and begin talking ALMOST incoherently. He wants to talk about how he slept really, really good last night on the steam grate over yonder but woke up really hard and had to do a lot of push ups and look at my knuckles! They’re all scraped up so I probably won’t be doing push-ups again till next week but man anyone gotta a quarter?

Last Monday we got to play at Steve Key’s showcase at the Westside Cafe in Frederick, MD. We were teamed up with a bunch of other people that I really Love, including Uncle John Sawbriar (above playing his new 12 string Rainsong). This was actually the show that Bambi was up to see – since both us and Alex Voegele were playing that night.

Eventually the door guy of the bar we were in front of came and chased him off. Sigh. At that moment, with sirens going by and the smell of the Harbour drifting up, I remember all the things that made me hate Living in Baltimore.

And then Thursday night John was hosting his last open mic at the Cup. We figured we should wander over there and see him off, as well as advertise for our show there on the 19th. To the left is Dan Layman-Kennedy, who will be taking over the Cup’s Thursday night open mic.

Throughout the course of the night, my mood slips further and further until I’m busily sulking in a corner through much of Even So’s set. They power through and the nice thing about tiny tiny bars is that they make tiny tiny crowds seem a decent size. I like the noise but wish I could hear Ira’s lyrics because he’s a spectacular writer.

Friday afternoon at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival, Heather comes up with the above bit of engineering genius. Yes, that’s a mic stand.

For no particular reason my mood caps out at around 11.30 or so and starts swinging back the other direction. I’m pretty joyous a couple of minutes later, and not even an absolutely hideous time on stage fighting with Ira’s guitar and Tyler’s bass and finally feeling at home on Brennan’s guitar could drag me back down again. I know we’d made absolute fools of ourselves, but it was mostly people we knew, so I suppose that was alright.

We head out shortly after with Meg kind of drunk but being oh-so-cute and I get to drive and we’ve got the windows down and the music up…. it was AWESOME and I look at the orange sky and we know we shouldn’t but we Love it and moving through Baltimore I’m reminded of all the things I miss about it.

Heather and I performing at the singer/songwriter contest at the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival. Heather was a finalist this year, and though we didn’t place, I really felt the room was moved by her performance. There are moments where you just feel like an audience is holding it’s breath.

We wander a bit, looking at the Harbour, then wanting to hit Clipper Mill Road (which, unfortunately, is still closed) and ending up at a Dunkin Donuts where the guy offers to put chocolate frosting on anything I want… so full of chocolate donuts and with bathroom catastrophes averted, it’s time to race home. I Love driving other people’s cars.

And the best part? I parallel parked an SUV!

Twrr.

December 26th, 2017.

Yesterday Kristen and I went up to Longwood Gardens to take advantage of the fact that they didn’t really see Christmas Day as one of their peak days – and celebrated Christmas with… A BILLION PEOPLE I MEAN LIKE HOLY CRAP IF THIS ISN’T A PEAK DAY I HAVE NO WISH TO EVER SEE WHAT IS HOLY CRAP ALL THE PEOPLE WERE HERE!!

Friday December 22nd saw Heather and I hitting up something we'd been eyeballing for quite some time - the Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, MD. I won't ruin it for you, but it's kind of amazing.
Friday December 22nd saw Heather and I hitting up something we’d been eyeballing for quite some time – the Roads and Rails Museum in Frederick, MD. I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s kind of amazing.
Okay - ONE spoiler for the museum. That's the 9:30 Club... and Cool Disco Dan is NOT in the house. But Fugazi IS.
Okay – ONE spoiler for the museum. That’s the 9:30 Club… and Cool Disco Dan is NOT in the house. But Fugazi IS.
Roads and Rails... and FREAKIN LEGOS!!!
Okay – TWO spoilers for the museum. Roads and Rails… and FREAKIN LEGOS!!!
After visiting the Roads and Rails Museum, Heather and I wandered the Christmas-laden wonderland that is Frederick for a bit before heading over to our gig at Vini Culture. First time at a new venue and ... well... I think we'll be back!
After visiting the Roads and Rails Museum, Heather and I wandered the Christmas-laden wonderland that is Frederick for a bit before heading over to our gig at Vini Culture. First time at a new venue and … well… I think we’ll be back.

Still – we had an absolutely delicious Christmas wandering around and looking at the lights the plants and also the lights – however there NEEDS to be some social training on how to take a photograph in a crowd. Like… since people aren’t actively trampling others nor are people generally falling into pits filled with famished tigers, Darwin’s not going to take care of the obnoxious behaviour of people more interested in their phones than their surroundings – so it’s up to us. And I’m not quite sure what the socially-accepted method of saying to those around you “my experience is just as important as YOUR experience, so fucking move along” or “watch where you’re backing up to” or “no, I imagine navigating with the glaring white light of your phone pointed at your eyeballs in an otherwise mostly dark environment ISN’T easy but surely you must be at least partly at fault for our collision because I wasn’t the one ruining your night vision”… or other like phrases.

December 23rd found me doing some video work for Anthem Strings... and chasing super cat around the house. Don't judge.
December 23rd found me doing some video work for Anthem Strings… and chasing super cat around the house. Don’t judge.
Chelle and Kristen working out what we'll be doing for their video shoot.
Chelle and Kristen working out what we’ll be doing for their video shoot in Gaithersburg, MD.

Also – don’t pull on the plants. Don’t grab handfuls of fragrant herbs. Don’t squeeze the blossoms. Dude. Were you raised in a barn? I doubt you were raised in a barn. Because if you were raised in a barn you’d know that you CAN’T MILK PLANTS!!

Sigh.

I hate people.

But I Love Christmas. Happy first-married-Christmas Kristen Jones!

What else is there to do Christmas morning but to dress the neighbour's cat with leftover Christmas wrappings!
What else is there to do Christmas morning but to dress the neighbour’s cat with leftover Christmas wrappings!
Ha - ran across this book about a unicorn amongst narwhals while roaming Frederick on Thursday... thought about getting it for Joanna and Lex - and it turns out my instincts would've been right!
Ha – ran across this book about a unicorn amongst narwhals while roaming Frederick on Thursday… thought about getting it for Joanna and Lex – and it turns out my instincts would’ve been right!
Ha - not a peak day. So much so that all the parking lots were full and we were shuttled in from a whole other lot. Still - it meant we got to ride a school bus! I think it was my first time on one since high school!
Ha – not a peak day. So much so that all the parking lots were full and we were shuttled in from a whole other lot. Still – it meant we got to ride a school bus! I think it was my first time on one since high school!
Kristen and I at Longwood Gardens.
Kristen and I at Longwood Gardens.
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.
Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA.
Ha - something new for this year! Patterns made from gilded walnuts, apples and cranberries all floating in water.
Ha – something new for this year! Patterns made from gilded walnuts, apples and cranberries all floating in water.
A lot of the same cacti were used in Kristen's bouquet for our wedding.
A lot of the same cacti were used in Kristen’s bouquet for our wedding.
The sun's going down, the lights are coming up!
The sun’s going down, the lights are coming up!
Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

More trains!

Kristen surprised me by demanding hot chocolate, tequila and Aliens, not necessarily in that order. Not Our Cat was down with it.
Kristen surprised me by demanding hot chocolate, tequila and Aliens, not necessarily in that order. Not Our Cat was down with it.