January 12th, 2004.

Sitting at Orbit’s, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Low-key and calm at the moment – “are you going away with no word of farewell? Didn’t mean to treat you unkind, you know that was the last thing on my mind.”

Perhaps six years ago I was brought here. The trains passing out the back window, old stone and wood. I remember travelling South from Baltimore to rescue Amy from her parents for a while with Bennigan’s and tallcakes. I think all three flavours were consumed. Frightening proportions of flesh to ice cream throughout that visit.

I remember Orbit’s as being a stereotypical burger-bar. Maybe with a ribs night and hubcaps hanging from the ceiling. But I’m sitting here and there are tofu subs and really spectacular vegetarian chilis and Christmas lights.

And frankly, I’ll fall for anyplace that’s lit by Christmas lights.

I fall for energy and passion and bright eyes, and I remember the Loves I had last time I was here. Tonight, our waitress, Kiki – sort of fits the bill. Very pretty and kind of … I don’t know… just bright. Certain people have a type of energy to them – you think they could light up any room they are given.

“Kiki” – Like Wikiki – NOT “Kinky”. Apparently a distinction she’s had to make in the past.

Anywho, the drive down here was grueling. It reminds me of how nice it was to drive the 60+ miles between Loveland and Boulder and never come down from 75 miles per hour. Here we travel the forty miles from DC down to Fredericksburg at about 15, occassionally coming to abrupt and jarring stops as the assholes ahead of us pucker and quiver over their break pedals. Perhaps a guardrail has startled them… or maybe the sky has freaked them out again, and all the commuters need to slow down andĀ take a closer look. I know how we fear the unknown, and those bizarre patches of blue sky amongst the clinging grey of winter’s embrace… well… I can see how that’d freak a guy out, you know?

Anywho, Kiki – if you ever read this, speaking of not freaking out, I’m aware you’re prolly about 18, have no fears, I’m just saying you seemed like a cool woman and I liked the fact that you served water with HUGE slices of lemon in them – unlike those other places with their fucking teeny SLIVERS… Bastards.

The open mic continues – and I think it’s important that I make the distinction that when I say “relaxed”, I do NOT mean “unprofessional”. Some people use relaxed as a metaphor for “no-one cared about anything and didn’t know how to run a musical performance”. That’s not what I mean at all – “shit” would perhaps be a metaphor for that.

But no, Orbits is simply “relaxed”, which depending on my mood I can really enjoy.

And my estimation of the whole night just went up as Ralph opens up with a Tom Waits tune. Hell yeah.

Over the course of the night, I’ve been really pleased, and am actually unhappy with the fact that we’ve got to leave early. Some really cool people – people I’d like to hang out with, invite them to PLOJ, that sort of thing.

Anywho, we’re staying with Amy’s parents tonight (well, parent, as one parent is back in Baltimore, staying with Amy) and we needed to be in earlier than later. It’s the sacrifice one makes for Living on another’s schedule…

It’s strange. The last time I was here, there were several cats and a huge labrador retriever named Buttercup. She was a great snuffly beast, a creature which allowed me to first make the association between Audrey (my girlfriend through much of college) and large, happy, clumsy puppies.

Tonight there is a great beast of a cat outside (is that Shakespeare? but I thought Shakespeare was dead? Is it a neighbour’s cat? He doesn’t seem to want to come in… he’s HUGE!!!) and a little black dog that really reminds me of my mother’s dog, Hey You. (yes, there’s a story behind that name – no, I’m not telling it right now)… she surprises us as Heather gives me tango lessons in the darkened Living room. A doggie yawn and reproachful eyes are the only acknowledgement of our presence – also reminding me of Hey You.

A picture of Orbit's. A good stage, great host, Thom. Very kind place.
A picture of Orbit’s. A good stage, great host, Thom. Very kind place.
Orbits is right alongside an old raised set of train tracks. It means you get the romance of the passing train without the rumble. A big CSX diesel went by while we were eating dinner and my water didn't even tremble.
Orbits is right alongside an old raised set of train tracks. It means you get the romance of the passing train without the rumble. A big CSX diesel went by while we were eating dinner and my water didn’t even tremble.

The house hasn’t really changed. It’s still immaculate, still beautiful, still one of the nicest kitchens I’ve ever known. There are clementines and bagels laid out for tomorrow’s breakfast, and Chris (Mr Amy’s Dad) pops down for a moment in flannel pajamas to make sure we’re ok, and know where everything is.

I Love all the homecomings that we receive – so many to homes we’ve never been before.

Anywho, so – Heather gets Natalie’s old room, and I get Amy’s. Which is strange. Most signs of her ownership have been erradicated, more from Amy’s complete takeover of her new space than from any effort on the part of parents, I feel… but there are still the tell-tale sculpted bugs and a music box. I didn’t feel like being so invasive as to wind up the box and hear the tune, but there was the feeling of something precious left behind. I like seeing Amy’s name engraved in gold. It’s the way it should be.

Anywho, I should be sleeping rather than typing, but I’m sort of hesitant to lay down my head. (IS THAT AN AMY HAIR ON THE LAMPSHADE?!!!? NOT likely but possible.. hee!) This is the first time in our travels that Heather and I have had separate sleeping arrangements, and neither of us sleep well sans the company of the other. It’s just been… the way things are… for the past 4 and a half months. I’m worried that I’ll have nightmares sans her soothing warmth.

It’s been a good night, and I’m not ready for it to end, but I think Heather’s very ready to close the door and take a break. So that is the way the night shall flow.

Oh – and a note the restrooms of Orbits… so, in the men’s room, right in front of the toilet, is a heat register, which at first is really nice, cause I’m sittin there thinking… ahhh! warm air!!! Up the pant legs, insinuating it’s way through my leg hairs… quite delightful… but then I got to thinking about all the guys standing up…. and maybe dribbling… and about how that gets down into the heat duct, and probably never really gets cleaned out…. and … gets heated… So I was a little weird about that. And I felt it neccessary to pass along. Otherwise, that’s just ONE more thing between me and sleep.

Music box o the Erstwhile Elsewhere Amy.
Music box o the Erstwhile Elsewhere Amy.

January 13th, 2004.

Heather was attacked at 5am this morning, the perpetrator is lying in a sunbeam behind me, caged like the animal she is.


Oh Maggie...
Oh Maggie…

All of the Amy’s Parents’ House animals drool. Maggie apparently came rushing into Heather’s room at about five in the morning, and tracked Heather in the pre-dawn light, and leapt. I slept through her cries of “not the face! Not the FACE!!!” and “NO STRANGER DESERVES THIS MUCH LOVE!!!!”

Now, Heather often sleeps in these tiny little tank tops, which means that a WHOLE lot of skin was available for Maggie’s frantic perusal. And I believe all of it was … used.

This morning, Heather smells of dog.

And then there’s Shadow. Shadow wouldn’t come in last night (not Shakespeare, my suspicions about Shakespeare were correct) but this morning will stop at nothing for Love. Apparently Amy’s mom (who’s been up visiting Amy) are their primary source of Love, and they have been starved for about 48 hours. Now, to a cat, with a brain the size of a walnut, this is a veritable eternity – and though perhaps fiercely loyal in the presence of their owner – after the first hour or so of absence, I find that most animals begin to seriously doubt that their Human will ever re-appear.

Hence, when we arrive… well, the mammals seem willing to take what they can get.

Anywho – the sun is intensely bright outside, Heather’s still snoozing in her doggie stench upstairs, and I’m in the kitchen, listening to the cats wish I was feeding them, and listening to the dog wish I was playing with her, and listening to the refrigerator dream its refrigerator dreams, which involve an occassional hissing clunk.

I have NO idea what THAT’s all about.

Ok, this cat definately wants SOMETHING. I'm sort of at an impasse as to what to do with myself. Heather really needs the rest, and noone else is home... and the cat is... whining. I'm sure if I spoke Cat, that I'd find some child has fallen into a well somewhere.
Ok, this cat definately wants SOMETHING. I’m sort of at an impasse as to what to do with myself. Heather really needs the rest, and noone else is home… and the cat is… whining. I’m sure if I spoke Cat, that I’d find some child has fallen into a well somewhere.

Sigh. I hope my parents don’t think it’s a major failing that I never really learned how to make a bed. I mean, I went to my grandparents’, and Grandma would INSIST – but even then, I think my brother and I sort of competed to see who could make the most “realistic” looking “made bed” without actually fully, completely making it.

So here I am, not quite sure what to do with all of the pillows, and “turning down” the bed… and… how to make it all even? You pull one side, and the other side gets too short… oh my GOD – but I’m in a house that’s TOO perfect not to make the attempt… and Heather finally pities me and takes over.

Sigh. And I’m back to the kitchen with Maggie. She’s back in her crate. While she was out she had interest in only three things. Licking Heather, licking my feet, and peeing.

Ah, to be a dog. Now my socks are all slippery. Yuck.

Spent a lot of the day wandering Fredericksburg – got some good musical advice from a really fantastic music shop – Picker’s Supply – a guy gave us lots of contact information for the area, and – again, I’m just amazed by the music in small towns like this. We wandered antique shops and admired the menus of local delis. I can’t believe the weather – and I can’t believe the sleet comes tomorrow night.

My friend, Sandy, who we were planning to stay with tonight… well, her plans have changed and she won’t be around, so we’re left kind of begging accomadations for the night – though frankly, with how the weather sounds for tomorrow, we’re thinking of just heading back up tonight.

In the meantime, for the moment we’re in the top ten at mp3.washingtonpost.com. I figure at the beginning of next week, we’ll upload some stuff that’ll go on to Myxomatosis Took Its Toll, advertise that, and give you a REAL treat. For the moment though, I’m just happy that everyone’s been so helpful. La.

So, anywho, we’re sitting a Starbuck’s coffee place, abusing the wireless T-mobile hotspot thingie. Not sure what I think about it yet – I’ve been spoiled by places where it’s free, and this is effectively like long-distance, at .10c a minute. It’s worth it for the moment, as we kill time before playing Potter’s Pub tonight… but… I don’t know. I wouldn’t have signed up except there was a 24 hours free promotional with it….

Also, can’t find my camera cable, so pictures will come later.

Quick notes before uploading?

Brambleberry Tea is kind of gross, but “Reincarnation Tea” is a good name…

Incredible lentil soup… incredible sandwich, from the Olde Towne Wine & Cheese Deli in Fredericksburg… oh GOD.

Beautiful day, beautiful woman. Heather bent me sideways for a kiss in the car, andĀ I have a renewed hatred of seatbelts.

We sooo rock. (Just you know, in general)

Later, we find ourself at Potter’s Pub, with the smell of fried foods and Cloves in the air. My head is beginning to hurt from the dim light and lengthy moments of … nothing. Sitting at an open mic, listening to tuning and the whine of cell phones that haven’t been shut off.

For a place that was completely dead at 9pm, at 11pm, we find a formidable audience forming, though since nothing’s been ordered but water and some nachos, I don’t know HOW this place makes money. Not really my concern, I suppose. I’m more worried about how WE’LL make money.

Got a nice email today from someone who saw us at Orbits last night. Someone who’d gone to the website, who’d been really inspired by what he saw there, and he sort of reminded me that perhaps we’re away from our original mission, stuggling just to survive for the moment.

The weather’s been colder, and my hands are clumsier. I have string cuts all overmy right hand, which reopen every time I further abuse the tools of my trade.

It’s got the potential for being a really, really long night.