October 10th, 2004.

Oh my God – we’re in Greenville, NC, and cigarettes are cheaper than gas. We’re driving, and we’re passing pumpkin patches. Last night we player the … let me get this right… North Carolina Women’s JamFest and met Someone’s Sister. You know – just Someone’s Sister? Everyone’s sister.

We ended up crashing with Chris and Georgia and Kat, talking long into the night as we all slowly became less coherent over gig afterglow and gyros. I’m in Love with Kat’s humour, and with Chris for her shining friendliness, and with Georgia’s fervour for… for what? There are self-affirmations scattered throughout the house – a sense of someone who’s really conflicted in Life, in a lot of ways, and is well on the way to finding a solution to Life that works for her.

Now, normally – a person that seems on their way to sorting out their place in the universe sort of exudes a level of Zen calm that, frankly, kind of bores me. Georgia, on the other hand, has perhaps not so much found her PLACE in the universe, I suppose, as she’s found her mission. And she persues that with all the zeal and fervour that most people reserve for … I don’t know, what do most people have zeal for? Getting their morning coffee, possibly. She had fallen into a Life that she didn’t like, and she forcibly redirected it. Sort of like me, except she kept money and a house in her Life.

As if to reinforce this – well, as usual, I’m afraid that this entry is shortly going to turn to talk of the bathroom: I don’t have any idea what time it might have been, just as the sun was rising in Greenville, NC on October 10th, I was hanging out in the bathroom,reading the numerous bits of sage advice taped up on the bathroom wall. There was a beautiful moment of peace as I was reading about listening to birds sing “the whole song” and the first morning bird woke up and provided me with the chance to do just that.

Mara caught us a caterpillar. He feared us and stayed very curly until we unleashed him on the porch, at which he proceeded to rampage fuzzily into the world.
Mara caught us a caterpillar. He feared us and stayed very curly until we unleashed him on the porch, at which he proceeded to rampage fuzzily into the world.
Gus.
Gus is nocturnal and therefore had absolutey no RIGHT being this disgruntled.
Audrey and her pet hedgehog, Gus.
Audrey and her pet hedgehog, Gus.

Anywho, driving driving, passing through Goldsboro, North Carolina, encountering cotton for the first time… (hehe – the Airforce Base we’re coming up on is “Seymour Johnson”… hehe … get it?… sigh) it’s beautiful out – I’d kiss Heather out of sheer exuberance and Love of Life, but she’s just popped bubble gum all over her face. Good thing it’s a STRAIGHT road.


So, this isn’t an answer to a question – to my question, to any problem. But I read the news, and then I read BEYOND the front page, and wonder why the FUCK certain headlines aren’t… well, more headliney? Today I read this article – which I’ve saved to our website for the moment, as articles like this never seem to stick around for very long. My understanding is that a portion of the recent report on WoMDEs seems to me to be a huge deal, and for some reason, hasn’t really been emphasized.

So, we all know that the recent CIA report stated unequivocally that Saddam’s WMD programs were halted back in 1991, and that he was in no position to restart them, or even think about restarting them, as of our invasion last year (and by “our”, I certainly mean “his” – though more on THAT thought later). It states that no weapons were found, were there, could have been there, or could be there anytime soon.

October 9th saw us in Nashville, NC for the North Carolina Women's JamFest - a decent-sized gathering. We were really flattered to have been invited to play there by one of the principle organizers, Annette Warner.
October 9th saw us in Nashville, NC for the North Carolina Women’s JamFest – a decent-sized gathering. We were really flattered to have been invited to play there by one of the principle organizers, Annette Warner.

The part that really bothers me, however is the “section of the 960-page report [that] says the risk of a ‘devastating’ attack with unconventional weapons has grown since the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq last year.” And that all of these insurgent groups that have popped up since our invasion are who is spearheading this effort. Unaligned with Hussein, and for that matter, entirely non-existant until Saddam was deposed, THESE groups are the ones that are getting dangerously close. Closer in the past seven months than Saddam had come over the past 13 years.

And why is that buried? Why isn’t that front-page news? Why wasn’t THAT mentioned in the debates? It only comes out as a under-the-radar news story a couple of days later? And how do I make it change. Can one ask all you friends to click that little “email this story” button, so it moves up on the “most emailed stories” list, drawing attention to it? That probably doesn’t even matter. The least I can do is write about it in my own little forum here… what else do I do? Heather doesn’t want to Live in this America – it’s frightening. I don’t touch politics much here, but – we’ve all got to move to Florida and register to vote THERE very, very quickly.

Heather and Reina, the delightful dog, showing her colours. As you travel through North Carolina, you see bigger and bigger pro-Bush posters - this festival seemed one of the only bastions of massed democracy once we'd passed South of Richmond.
Heather and Reina, the delightful dog, showing her colours. As you travel through North Carolina, you see bigger and bigger pro-Bush posters – this festival seemed one of the only bastions of massed democracy once we’d passed South of Richmond.

Oh – and about who’s war this is – certainly it is also owned by everyone who is not going to vote for Kerry on November 2nd. I’m appalled that Nader is taking up his 2% in this time of crisis, and I’ve heard he’s on the ballot mostly through Republican donations (though don’t quote me on that since I don’t remember where I read it – and that’s why I’m SAVING news articles now) This war is owned by everyone who… who doesn’t get it. It seems that every news source in the world is denouncing every reason Bush gave America for entering this war, and yet the polls are still neck and neck. My only explanation for that is that most people don’t pay attention to most any news source in the world. They listen to whatever financial institution they buy into, whether it’s the NRA or the “Gay Rights Agenda”. When did special interests groups become our news and information portals? “Portal” is an internet-age term for a one stop information access point – and the internet gives us access to all the information we could possibly want, all the portals we want – it’s potentially, through a bit of filtering and intelligent weighing of information – a portal to probably truth.

I share a special moment with a horse who particularly enjoys the baritone guitar.
I share a special moment with a horse who particularly enjoys the baritone guitar.

I know there are so many people that are still “unplugged” – are they the source of this tie? Or are people really that lazy that they can’t see past abortion and the fear of a man holding hands with another man that they aren’t horrified by the entire American military machine being brought to bear at the random whim of a Christian conservative Allahphobe?

Heather pets stuff!
Heather pets stuff!
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
Heather MAKES stuff!
Heather MAKES stuff!
The biggest spider we've seen on our travels, I think. Heather will probably remind me of some other 8-legged monstrosity that we've encountered... but this one was pretty scary: about the size of my hand.I'm sorry Amy, but there wasn't a chance in Hell of us capturing this for you. No way.
The biggest spider we’ve seen on our travels, I think. Heather will probably remind me of some other 8-legged monstrosity that we’ve encountered… but this one was pretty scary: about the size of my hand.I’m sorry Amy, but there wasn’t a chance in Hell of us capturing this for you. No way.
DCF 1.0
Heather MAKES stuff!
Heather MAKES stuff!
Heather MAKES stuff!
Heather MAKES stuff!
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
You know, despite all the goodness of this festival, our actual set didn't go so hot. We broke two strings on two different guitars (one of which was Annette Warner's). As we struggled between reworking our music to be played on the baritone and remembering drum songs, another random thing went horribly wrong and we filled the field with a massive feedback buzzing noise. On top of everything else, I found a toad and he peed on me.
You know, despite all the goodness of this festival, our actual set didn’t go so hot. We broke two strings on two different guitars (one of which was Annette Warner’s). As we struggled between reworking our music to be played on the baritone and remembering drum songs, another random thing went horribly wrong and we filled the field with a massive feedback buzzing noise. On top of everything else, I found a toad and he peed on me.
DCF 1.0
Vaughn Penn was the headlining act of the Women's JamFest.
Vaughn Penn was the headlining act of the Women’s JamFest.

We’re back to Deanne’s in Wilmington – and as dinner coalesces (real lemon meringue!) she tells us stories from her day job, which involves the rehabilatation of people who are in danger of slipping through humanity’s cracks. Recently, that’s included some returning soldiers, fresh from the fields of Iraq.

Even if I didn’t fully disagree with the reasons for going to war, I could agree that taking Saddam out of power was a good thing – that though it was poorly planned, and the struggle that we’re facing now could have been avoided, that eliminating Hussein’s government… I could be convinced that that’s a good deed. But seeing how some of the soldiers are treated upon their return, who they are rewarded – Deanne’s working with a man who has just returned from three tours of duty. He narrowly avoided being burned alive with the rest of his (squad? group?) friends in a Humvee targeted by a hand grenade. Though he was thrown clear, he got back in time to see the rest die…. here he is back in America, having seen and done horrible things – and he can’t pay the taxes on his car, and can’t pay off a speeding ticket that he recieved, because of the penalites assigned for missing the court date…. the court date which he missed because he was deployed over in Iraq.

That’s absurd.

I’m done. Back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Wild grasshopper Love on the verdant fields of Nashville, North Carolina.

October 18th, 2004.

Arriving back in the clutches of Georgia and Kat – being welcomed into a house full of scintillating candle light and flickering fire and something really nice that I can’t QUITE place coming through the stereo. Georgia is swiffering. She says there’s no better music for swiffering, and she sweeps by with swiffer and socks, gliding across the polished (and swiftly swiffered) hardwood floors. Sushi and talk and a cat and a Kat. It’s a good night of not playing music for the moment.

Late that night – I’m done by 3am, the code has taken up my head all night, working hard, solving problems and thinking things through. I haven’t done this in a long time, and it’s Lovely – like staying up late before a crit, getting all the work done, knowing the review is in the morning, the test is in the morning. I Love late nights with a purpose.

October 19th, 2004.

This morning there was an evil duck dominatrix in the shower. She may not have looked it on the surface, but every moment I turned away from the faucet, this bastard tweaked the temperature. Either too hot or too cold, if I looked the wrong way, the temperature was sent rocketing in the wrong direction, either scalding or freezing. It was that bastard duck.

Somewhere in North Carolina – I Love it when synchronicity brings just the right mood and flavour and music and landscape together. Driving is almost the only way it ever comes about. We’ve just left Georgia and Kat back in Greenville, NC, and are on our way over to the Lovely 6 String Cafe in Cary. The Eels are working magic in the stereo, wending their way through my head – and the cotton in the fields looks almost like a light dusting of snow. There’s a grey overcast sky, and a 70 mile-an-hour speed limit, and it all comes together to remind me that we’re hurtling headlong into winter. The air conditioning even puts a little bit of bite into the air.

The evil duck. Hehe... Heather does a good evil duck impression.
The evil duck. Hehe… Heather does a good evil duck impression.
Heather at Georgia's house
Heather at Georgia’s house.

 


 

 

 


 

October 20th, 2004.

It’s interesting – Georgia and Kat wanted to know what “our plan” was. Georgia has a very specific game plan involving a CD release, a book, a sampler CD, another Someone’s Sister CD – all working together towards a common goal, raising money for the prevention of child abuse. Our goals, and our plans to accomplish those goals – a little more broad and a little less defined. Perhaps I should say “my plans” – I think Heather’s are a little different from mine.

We went to see a graveyard that Deanne had been telling us to check out before leaving Wilmington. Oakdale Cemetary was chartered in 1852. You can't tell in this photograph, but the grave on the left says "the Maid is not dead, merely sleeping."... weird.
We went to see a graveyard that Deanne had been telling us to check out before leaving Wilmington. Oakdale Cemetary was chartered in 1852. You can’t tell in this photograph, but the grave on the left says “the Maid is not dead, merely sleeping.”… weird.

What do I want to do? I want to meet as many people as I can, form a connexion with as many people as I can – I want to make a Living playing MY music, I want to have a good time. I want to connect people with one another through music, or art, or failing that, in any way possible. I want to form a community – it’s back to a lot of the stuff that I was talking out before the Trip, and at the beginning of the Trip – the stuff that I’ve found it so hard to cling to in the face of survival. I want to prove that there’s another way to Live, and that you really CAN sort of scrounge through Life on art and music, without major backing, without being a parasite… Our Lives are so caught up in the complexity of credit card bills and home equity. I’d like to avoid that a little while longer.

So, there’s a lot of different people focused on community building when it comes to art and music, and I think alot of it is done… incorrectly, possibly even stupidly – and with a lot of misconceptions, misdeeds, and often downright dishonesty. I think a LOT of artists are under the false concept that the world owes them something – that just by being a creative individual that the world somehow owes them a Living. That the creation of their art, their song, their Lifestyle, is somehow inherently worth something.

Heather checkin out the dead. The inscription reads "Short pain, short grief dear babe was thine. Now joys eternal and devine." All the epitaphs for children remark on it being God's Will or that the kid was lucky that their pain on Earth was so brief.
Heather checkin out the dead. The inscription reads “Short pain, short grief dear babe was thine. Now joys eternal and devine.” All the epitaphs for children remark on it being God’s Will or that the kid was lucky that their pain on Earth was so brief.

Now, perhaps I’m merely a product of my capitalist environment, but I think I’m a natural product of evolution. And what’s more, I think I can look at the process and the progress – and see what advances the species and what doesn’t, what helps us survive, and what doesn’t. Frankly – humans are social creature. We’ve reached a point where we have the option of seeing and breeding out of and away from certain traits. We’re on the edge of being able to control that process without the messiness of actual breeding – soon we will probably be able to go beyond merely selecting the sex of our children, but perhaps we will be able to eliminate Down’s Syndrome and Alzheimer’s and the traits that lead to the birth of mass murderers. But what choices do we need to make? We need to decide what things don’t just benefit US as individuals, but US as a race. It’s the same thing on a simpler, smaller scale – as musicians and artists, we need to see what doesn’t just benefit us, but as a community. People have cued into that…

Check out their website. Helena Kuuskoski has been making trolls since 1952, and her son has grown up doing the same, and now also makes and sells trolls. Originally a home made commodity in Finland, somehow they've moved to a little tiny house in Wilmington, NC.
Check out their website. Helena Kuuskoski has been making trolls since 1952, and her son has grown up doing the same, and now also makes and sells trolls. Originally a home made commodity in Finland, somehow they’ve moved to a little tiny house in Wilmington, NC.
The Troll lady.
The Troll lady.

So, there are a LOT of artists out there saying they are “building communities” when in reality, what they are doing is “building fanbases”. I’m not sure that I’m not guilty of the same thing… But I think that PART of the community building is supporting that community. Buying into one another’s services, either monetarily, or through barter, is an important part of this. Especially within a community of musicians, free shows doesn’t cut it, there’s got to be tangible support. Going out and helping one another make numbers (I’m guilty of not doing that, really guilty), making websites, making this, that, the other – and replying in kind. A good cause is no longer enough, it seems. Community building is all fine and good, but te community of peers – artists and musicians, perhaps has to come first. Survival of our own, sort of thing.

Georgia painting in the kitchen.
Georgia painting in the kitchen.
Open mic at the Six String Cafe in Cary, North Carolina. Hehe - poor sound guy, Joe, had to mic tablas. Ha!
Open mic at the Six String Cafe in Cary, North Carolina. Hehe – poor sound guy, Joe, had to mic tablas. Ha!

January 29th, 2005.

The dreary light continues as Heather works the phlegm out of her system. In theory we’re supposed to be singing again tomorrow, but I’m not really sure if she’ll be up for it. I’d like her to give it a rest until she’s better…

There’s an ice storm advancing up the coast, and I get conflicting reports from different weather sites – some say it’s rain, some say sleet – I’m hoping it’s through by tomorrow afternoon, but if it’s not, we might not have any say in whether or not we’re performing tomorrow. It’s just stupid to risk your Lives and Livelihood and car and guitars over a couple of songs.

Maybe that makes me less of an Artist – but… I’ll pick up my guitar and play a bit for the precipitation and see what comes of it. Besides, we like Georgia’s cat, KC – she plays Scrabble with us.

January 31st, 2005.

I don’t know that we’ve ever had an open mic turn around so dramatically on us… and I mean that in a good way.

We arrived at Ham’s Restaurant and Brewery at around 9pm in the hopes of signing up early with Someone’s Sister and heading back for an early night. Heather’s still working her way through the tail-end of her cold, and we’d just as soon keep taking it easy. Unfortunately, we arrive to find the list mostly full, and we land ourselves a position that will get us on stage around 12.30am.

I try to remain optimistic, but in the face of the first act… This guy comes up to me and asks if I’m wearing a Motley Crue t-shirt. I respond “not Motley Crue… Muppets”. I don’t know that this guy would’ve known a Muppet if it bit him in the ass (as they are wont to do) but he continued on his quest for knowledge and asked the dreaded question “what kind of music do you play?” I tried to explain, handed him a postcard and he responded with “Oh, so you’re gonna play all in key an shit?” He’d met his compatriot in sound earlier in the week and this was going to be their first experiment together as “Just a Test”.

And so the night began. I didn’t have much faith in my environment – and though Just a Test was pretty cool (what with their grungry rock cover of Brittney Spears’ ‘Toxic’) they were also pretty loud and through that gleaned the great displeasure of the host, Travis.

And so the night wore on. Crappy food, loud audience – I went back to Georgia’s house (of Someone’s Sister – where we were staying) and snagged her Scrabble game, and Heather and I played three games over the course of the next several hours. High points included a particular woman’s tanktop and another guy named Rob (he and the host performed a couple of really nice covers including “New York State of Mind” and some Crowded House on piano and guitar) and a really strong vocalist who reminded me of some creature out of a vampire novel with ripped jeans and suit jacket and waistcoat. He performed a flawless rendition of Shinedown’s (?) cover of “Simple Kind of Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The red, dim interior of HELL? NO not at all! Ham's! Curse the world. I really need a camera that deals with low light a little bit better. That blur on the left is the guy with the amazing voice who did "Simple Man", and the blur on the right is the confined fleshy prisons of Travis and Rob.
The red, dim interior of HELL? NO not at all! Ham’s! Curse the world. I really need a camera that deals with low light a little bit better. That blur on the left is the guy with the amazing voice who did “Simple Man”, and the blur on the right is the confined fleshy prisons of Travis and Rob.

God, I’m losing all my cred because I don’t think I’m spelling Lynyrd Skynyrd right.

Is it okay that I mention tank tops? I’m not a lech… I just like nice visuals, and up till then one of the only high points had been me opening a game with “Barf”. An inauspicious opening move that nonetheless gleaned me 18 points. I didn’t feel right about that for the rest of the night.

Anywho – original music was sorely lacking through out the night, and I was of the fear that we would be too different for anyone’s tastes, and Heather was of the faith that since we were different we’d blow their minds.

KC the Scrabble cat, from whom our high-scoring games of mental prowess were helpless
KC the Scrabble cat, from whom our high-scoring games of mental prowess were helpless

Heather won that one. We had an awesome night, with people shouting for more tunes by the time we were done. We made a lot of connections and all in all probably were right to spend that extra night in Greenville.

Oh – and probably one of the more important aspects of the night, Rob and Travis both were “professional musicians” with Rob supporting himself (and hoping to do better) and Travis making 6 digits and driving a big shiny red truck that even Heather’s father would respect.

There’s hope.

Heh… if we learn covers. Sigh.

Got back, tired and smelling of smoke, tossed and turned my way in to a dreamless sleep – which was fortunate (see the Quotes Page)…

Ok – back to updating the Musician Resources Pages.

February 1st, 2005.

MC Chris (Hesch from Sealab 2021? MC Pee Pants from Aqua Teen Hunger Force?) played the Ottobar back home in Baltimore last night. Damn the distance.

We never got the promised ice and frigid deluge, but we have been faced with a grey couple of days. The drive from Greenville to Wilmington was a vast redemptive fire of blue sky and searing sun - and a rainbow glimpsed between trees...
We never got the promised ice and frigid deluge, but we have been faced with a grey couple of days. The drive from Greenville to Wilmington was a vast redemptive fire of blue sky and searing sun – and a rainbow glimpsed between trees…

Interesting conversations tonight of physics and quantum theory. I get to look smart because I know how stars work. There’s something inside of me that says there must be truth buried inside the vast concepts of how fusion functions. There must be something greater in being able to see the edge of the universe, its beginnings and its end… It’s always been horrifying to me that I can’t see it. I know it’s there, but I can’t grasp it. It’s like seeing the Washington Monument in DC. You know it’s GOT to be important. It’s too big, too otherwise functionless NOT to be important. But I don’t have a plaque, and my brain’s just not big enough to comprehend what’s behind the special powers of hydrogen and the fact that water doesn’t compress and the fact everything works in JUST THAT way.

Good advice from a gas station on the side of the road between Greenville and Wilmington. Good advice for this Trip, actually.
Good advice from a gas station on the side of the road between Greenville and Wilmington. Good advice for this Trip, actually.
Other randomness include Hell hounds that we spotted standing on a ROOF. We went back to take photographs of them but they came galloping at us to kill us and rip our car apart. We threw it in reverse and raced the HELL out of there.
Other randomness include Hell hounds that we spotted standing on a ROOF. We went back to take photographs of them but they came galloping at us to kill us and rip our car apart. We threw it in reverse and raced the HELL out of there.
Oh. And mostly meat. That's scary. Not Hell Hound scary... but spam scary.
Oh. And mostly meat. That’s scary. Not Hell Hound scary… but spam scary.

And of course, if it DIDN’T work in JUST that way, I wouldn’t be here contemplating it, so there’s nothing really that coincidental or world shattering about it, is there?

My head hurts.

The coolest, coolest... looking... antique store. It was closed. More accurately, they closed the door as we pulled up. The Red Oak Show and Sell looks to be an old church, but we'll never know until they let us in.
The coolest, coolest… looking… antique store. It was closed. More accurately, they closed the door as we pulled up. The Red Oak Show and Sell looks to be an old church, but we’ll never know until they let us in.

March 11th, 2006.

I normally like cats.  I have no problem with either their arrogance, their aloofness, or their hedonism.  I feel that I sort of relate to these traits…

Heather meets a mammal on the streets of Greenville, NC.

However, I definitely feel that naming a cat after a god is trouble.  An already insolent creature, to give them ideas so far above their station (in this case, naming her after a bloody god of death and reincarnation) is pure folly.  Quetzcoatl was very cute the first night we stayed in Cary.  We came home from a show in Raleigh at the Southend Brewery very, very hungry.  We scrounged for omelette materials and really enjoyed this little grey and white beast who wanted to speak to us, and be friends with us, and Love us.  Heather communicated with her in her own tongue and Quetzy discovered my fingernails and I became her favourite.

Our Lovely audience at Mudslingers in Greenville, NC. Thanks again to Someone’s Sister for doing some advertisement for us. We had DANCERS!

No real mishaps the first night except the discovery that this is a digging cat.  She finds the blankets at toe level and burrows up.  I find this unacceptable because she likes to poke at any exposed flesh on the way up with any little claws she has free at the time… In the bathroom the next day I looked like I’d been climbed.

Thursday night we played out in Greenville, NC.  I’ve got to thank Someone’s Sister for hooking us up with this gig, and also for sending us some of their friends.  It was a good room, but it would’ve been a pretty empty room without them – though it led to some discomfort –

After a large number of women enter and very clearly seat themselves up front to watch the show, you know they’re here to see you… but are they there because of an article in the paper?  Are the regulars?  Or are they all fans of a particular female band with a strong lesbian following?  It really looks like the latter, but it’s always awkward to ask… The show went really, really well.  We sold a lot of CDs and had a good time, and though the majority of the audience didn’t make it through the break (mass dinner plans), the couple of people who DID stick all the way through were very, very cool.

But then I came home to our little god of death.

She demanded sacrifice in the form of affection and Love, and we demanded rest.  After winding down with “the Producers”, I collapsed onto my little couch and found myself a little too wound-up to sleep.  I visualized website changes and the new album cover and lots of visual things.  I ran my head over the gig and what went wrong and why I was so nervous.  I – I was broken from my vague attempt at falling asleep by the most hideous yowling I’ve heard in my Life.

On the way home from Mudslingers we stop at a Denny’s and Heather tries to win me a rabbit, but they all fear THE CLAW!
God of Death.

Quetz had found the ENEMY outside the doors and was warning it off.  Another cat.  Quetz got a pillow assault for her trouble, but it was the beginning of the end for sleep for me.  The beast returned time and time again, and I was still awake at 8.30am the next morning cursing and full of a LOT of venom for this creature.  It was pretty much the beginning of the end of my Love affair with the little mammal.

She’s trying to climb on me now.

It is unacceptable.

She receives Love on MY schedule.  Learn little cat, learn.

Last night we played the Pheasant Creek Coffeehouse in Apex, NC…. more on that later…

My friend Katy took this picture of me looking like I’m reading my lyrics on the far wall of the Open Eye Cafe in Carborro, NC.