5.30 am at a Kinkos. It reminds me of college. Getting sleepy and slowly beginning to make errors that daylight will catch instantly. Heather turned in hours ago. Banners and posters and signs, oh my.
Great battles for New Years. Cartoon channel vs Dick Clark vs MTV. The Feebles vs the Muppets. Janna’s hot and sour soup vs Justin’s Patapsco stew. It was a good night.
Sitting comfortably in the Living room, thinking about my fine, fine, fine Heather.
We spent the evening dressing her up for a little Goth gathering, going to Nation. I got to watch her put all the make-up on, and then sort of select clothes of all sorts. Unfortunately, my opinion actually counts for very little with her choices – but man… the way she turned out! Oh GOD I sort of wish I Loved dancing and going to Goth clubs.
I’ve never had a really, really girlie girlfriend before. It’s a little silly, but it’s also a whole lot of fun. I enjoy the whole dress-up act, and Heather never feels like she gets the chance to get out and play with her pretty clothes.
Watched AI tonight. Amazing movie, but so incredibly sad. I hate depressing movies, but I Love this one. Deaths and Love and loss – it always makes me worry about my own family and friends. I don’t know what I would do if anything happened to Heather…. death isn’t something I’m particularly unfamiliar with. I’d been to 32 funerals by the time I’d graduated college, and swore somewhere along the way that I’d never go to funeral 33. That oath was broken when I went to a girlfriend’s grandfather’s funeral a couple of years ago. But I haven’t lost anyone I was particularly close to for a long time. I really don’t plan to, either.
We’re sitting in a gas station parking lot – we’re going to Iota’s… any second now. A lot of my Life is taken up by waiting, and by not using that time adequately. I sleep too much, watch too much television, listen to Heather practice guitar. But there’s the feeling that I still don’t get enough done.
I had something that MIGHT equate to a panic attack in high school once. Probably brought on by my college applications and money and signing my draft papers just as Desert Storm got rolling. Scary stuff.
Now I feel that weight on my chest again. Nothing crippling like that one time… and Heather’s described REAL panic from back when she worked at the Sun. But – this is weight. This morning, I was exhausted, and my eyes weren’t really too interested in opening, but the weight on my chest was suffocating, making my shoulders ache, making me feel futile and stupid and slow and scared.
Tomorrow night will be one of the “BIG NIGHTS” for the band – playing at Iota’s is a big deal. But there are all sorts of tension points, even just about that. I don’t know – gigs at this point should be routine things. We get a time, show up, set up, play the gig, get paid, go home. But there are so many conflicting egos and conflicting schedules, that even getting the whole band there on time is just a pain.
I’m glad I only wear boots. That my feet don’t feel weird about slipping into something for the weather. My hands are clumsy in their knit gloves (damn, I totally left my gloves AND our ice scraper back at the house) and I let my hair freeze over – but my feet are happy in their native leather environment… flaming.
Mara’s socks help too.
On top of it’s aesthetic qualities, the snow is a blessing for a couple of other reasons too. Like I said, I’ve felt like we just haven’t got enough done recently, and that’s been weighing on my shoulders almost like I’ve been trying to lift our snow-laden Saturn – there are applications and pleading and phone calls and records to keep and record.
On top of that, the MVA has recently decided to tell me that they’d revoked my registration back in 2001 and “oh, didn’t you know?” – and the insurance bill is coming around – and I’m working on Jayson Blair’s website (the deadline’s coming up, and I’ve been procrastinating, like ya do) and ON TOP OF EVERYTHING ELSE my Father’s Monday morning surgery has again been postponed.
So – the snow stops the world from spinning for a few days. We’re not getting our mail out, but that’s ok, cause we can’t get out to the post office – I’m not taking care of my car, but that’s okay, because we can’t get to the MVA – we’re not out selling CDs, but that’s okay, because we can’t make it out to the venues.
Thank God that Thursday is a clear night. The one reprieve of the week, and Iota’s will be open, and we’ll be able to get there, and all shall be good.
So it is spoken, so it shall be.
Traffic on the beltway is tense and tight. Too many people who’ve ALSO been caged are now racing to be ANYWHERE but HERE and NONE of them seem to have cleaneed the snow off the tops of their vehicular contrivances. It’s like the the approach to Alderan in A New Hope. Bumpy with unseen particles.
Let’s hope that I-95 and the OTHER Beltway are better.
But ignore all that for a moment. If I can just relax enough, clear away the condensation on the window, and look… the tress are beatiful, etched and outlined in outlandish shapes. Snow finishes the drooping shape to the ground and 18-wheelers pass us, lit up likc rocket powered Christmas trees. Heather drives and I just let the scenery roll by. It’s a beautiful night.
(listening to the Lowboys – a band we met down in Fredericksburg, VA.,)
Long time, no mention – nothing really to mention today, either. I think I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures and narrate a bit to make up for it. We’ve begun to get responses from the summer festivals, and we’re beginning to plan around such things as Pagan festivals in Ohio, and Singer/Songwriter barcrawls in Illinois.
I’ve been really sick for the past couple of days, caught something from Alfred last Tuesday. I helped him carry his drums into the gig that night, and he had something really nasty, and he shared.
So, I brought it home to Mara. And I think we shared it with Janna. The world’s been sick. Mitzi’s had food poisoning, Tyler’s been feeling poorly, Sharif threw up and Jon’s been depressed. Didn’t want to write about THAT… see?
Anywho, many things, including my 29th birthday, which was a whole lot of fun, one of my best ever. A WHOLE lot of Magic – almost nothing better to do when you’re feeling really poorly. Nothing to do but play Diablo and Magic… which, of course, is how Janna probably caught it. Sigh… Pestilence alll over. I sit here writing – Heather’s dad is running around with many a household chore – cleaning and replacing batteries, to the accompaniment of the Beatles. He keeps trying to give me fuzzy hats and camel hair coats – I try to explain…. it’s just not flannel. Sigh.
It turned out the open mic we were playing was actually run by a guy we knew from before – we’d met Rick at the Coffee Club (in Media? I think).
We sold a couple of CDs, and met some cool people – specifically – Dave – the Johnny Cash impersonator. Great Man in Black Covers. Very pleased.
The sound here was gorgeous, but other than that, I was kind of distracted by all the hockey.
Philadelphia didn’t treat us as well this time around, but I think a lot of that was attitude. We, of course, Loved hanging around with Shane, and he hooked me up with a new copy of Diablo II, which made my Life pretty complete, but – we hung around in Maryland because of my father’s cancer surgery, and that was kind of difficult. I’m just so glad that that’s over with. All that’s left is recovery…
“All that’s left” – I know it’s not that simple, but I have to think of it that way lest I just go crazy.
We didn’t get much out of the night – the crowd just couldn’t be distracted from their sporting events, but Soul Plane made up for everything. They were spectacular.
And JUST as both Heather and I were thinking “they could do awwwesome Led Zepplin covers” – they did. Not many bands can pull that off. They’re guitarist, specifically, would be capable of making Jimmy Page look up from his diabolist dabblings and say “whut?”
We came home for my birthday, the night after the gig with Soul Plane… I gloss over the whole me getting the address of the gig wrong, so we advertised the wrong address the whole week we were in Philly – and ended up at the wrong place ourselves… and God – it was a disaster.
A Matrix Sentinal.
Now, the coolest gift EVER was what my Father gave me – successful cancer surgery while at the same time paying off the last of my school debt. It’s taken me 7 years, but it’s finally gone, and it’s an incredible feeling – but it’s harder to photograph.
It has been such a weird month. Back to the Dad in the hospital rambling – I went and visited while he was there, I was lucky enough to have Audrey come with me – and the hospital was dismal.
I don’t expect hospital patients to be cheerful and leaping and throwing back their sheets and jumping from bed to bed or anything – but I expect the damned hospital to be clean, and to be able to really understand the English of the nurses, and for the faucets to work, and for them to clean the spilled Jell-o off the floor. GW Hospital was just a multi-tiered lump of dinge. I was pretty disappointed with its existence in its entirety. Pretty fucking disgusted, to be truthful.
Later that night, we went back to Amy’s house and watched zombie movies and ate ravioli. It was probably my best birthday ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Listening to Ani Difranco – Sorry I Am”. Remembering old girlfriends.
Making a mix to remember lost Love.
Sitting through movies while the body knits. Well, Mara knits – rob and Heather heal. In the past few days we’ve watched Troy – Brennan and Tori came by and picked us up and dragged us out and it was vastly appreciated. Unfortunately, the movie was crap.
Then last night, we sat and watched Catch Me If You Can – which was awesome and I suggest everyone run out and watch it RIGHT NOW!!! if only for the opening sequence…
And today, Justin and David and Heather and I all went out to see Van Helsing. That one’s awwwesome.
Oof – having a nasuea morning. My stomach is dispairing at the mere fact of it’s own existance. It’s grey outside, and I don’t feel too disimilar on the inside. Grey and roiling.
I’m also realizing I’m just going to HAVE to learn about networking on this computer, as in the process of fixing my wireless connection (which has now died), we’ve screwed up my simple and theoretically immutable right to simply connect through cables.
I’m left bereft in an isolated box.
This morning’s shower reminded me of old childhood fears – provided exacting imagery.
It’s difficult being a visual person, sometimes. Graphic thoughts can flood your head, I’ve always visualized things better than is perhaps healthy for me, and visuals get stuck in my head and haunt me for years.
With a lead-in like that, perhaps you’re wondering – was it murder that I witness that haunts me in the shower to this day? Perhaps some childhood mauling by a large fish?
Nope – the Greatest American Hero. Remember him? Believe it or not, he’s walking on air, believe it or not, it’s just him. There was an episode about a sea monster. People disappearing off the decks of boats with naught bust seaweed remaining on the deck as evidence. I think over the course of the episode, most of the disappearances are traced back to a human element, perhaps using some sort of monster mannekin.
And just when you think it’s safe to go back in the water – just before the credits roll, the cheesiest looking sea-monster head comes popping up out of the water, filling the screen with it’s silver eyes and greenish scales. It’s pathetic, it scared the shit out of me, and even now, searching for the episode, I’m wary of what comes up – cautiously peeking over the edge of another window to see what the loading page reveals.
There’s one particular image of the chupacabra that does the same thing to me. It’s uncomfortable to look at, and then sticks with me for days.
Anywho, so Life can be going great for months, and then for some reason this image of this HEAD rising up behind me (reading – I learn it’s name was “Carrie” and was supposed to be responsible for the disappearances of ships in the Bermuda Triangle) in the shower… and from there to the end of my greatly accelerated ablutions I can’t close my eyes, and end up feverishly looking over my shoulder.
Not nearly as bad as it used to be… but still… kind of pathetic. Sigh.
I wake up at Ray’s. I wake up on his couch, under his cat, and to the flying saucer sound of cicadas. I wake up at the obscene hour of 7am, and listen. Ray’s gone to work an hour ago or so, and the cat remains curled in the blanket as I contemplate the day.
My shoulder hurts from yesterday’s less-than-tender ministrations – and as a matter of fact, my whole arm aches – and though I’m looking forward to the bands today, I am absolutely not looking forward to a day in the sun, in the crowds, in the noise. I wish that I could have personal viewings, or perhaps box seats.
I’m going to the HFStival today – something I didn’t think I’d ever do again – but the line-up includes the Offspring, and Cypress Hill, and the Violent Femmes, and Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, and Jah Works, and even the Cure – and there just doesn’t seem to be another occassion where there will be such a rob collection of exciting eccentricity.
Can’t say no.
I’m watching the shadows of cicadas on the blinds as the air conditioner flicks off and on, desperately trying to regulate the rising temperature. The cat is whining for the return of Ray, and I’m remembering the last arrival of the Brood – and how they seemed so much bigger. I guess I was that much smaller – and how I’m not sure if I’m regretting the fact that I’m not spending more time near them. By the time we get back from Illinois, they won’t be around, I don’t think. Just a bunch of rapidly decaying bug bodies covering the streets.
Hrm, the cat has given up on Ray and has decided that my chest is the place to be. He thinks she Loves him.
Anywho – once every seventeen years? I guess I’ll have to go out and have some sort of cicada (tail up my NOSE) party.
This morning started with a jumo. I’m not quite sure how it happened visually – reflections and blurs and half-remembered dreams conspired to rearrange my view of the side of Heather’s head into Brennan staring wide-eyed at me from across the pillow.
I jerked away and things resolved into Heather’s earings. Not quite sure what happened there. Very disturbing.
So much happened yesterday. Unbelievable amounts of stuff. There are SO many pictures. Today I’m sitting happily in my orange pants, half-heartedly watching some Cameron Diaz movie and organizing photographs.
Last night, after watching Aoutar, we went back to my parents’ house to crash. Then we ventured forth into the world, slowly – the bright lights of the shining sun certainly somewhat discouraging ME from emergence. But my mom made me scrambled eggs the way she used to (with cream cheese), and that was reason enough to regain consciousness.
So, my mom went out to weed the garden, my dad lamented about his computer, Heather slept, and I played games until about 1 when my dad tried to get us to go out to the woods for a walk. He had the right idea – the weather really was perfect yesterday… perfect for frog hunting!
And THAT, my friends, is where our story begins.
We’re sitting on the Lloydholme back porch. Heather’s writing poetry, and I’m writing letters and Journal entries. Worrying that yesterday has produced ten pages of pictures. I’m reading emails from new fans – newcomers to the ilyAIMYite fold. The listeners of the Folk Art Cafe are more vocal than most… and I have a tonne of what can only be described as “fan mail” floating through my inbox.
I feel exhausted, and happy, and good. The theramin thrum of the cicada song continues unabated, and I’m hoping for a thunderstorm before the evening’s out.
Last night’s Folk Art Cafe gig was a success. Sort of a success. I’m not being a good independent musician, and we forgot to put out a tip jar and advertise it’s presence.
I thought about it once, and then didn’t think about it again. My fault entirely. But it’s not something that I can do again. Gas prices are beginning to legitimately scare me, and I don’t think people are taking it seriously. I mean – we’ve all grown up groaning about fluxes in the price of gas. Ten cents here, twenty cents there – but I’ve been reading newspaper articles about the reality of $3.00 a gallon gas.
Now, I’m sure our two European fans are reading that and scoffing – but for us that’s about a 200% increase, and that’s a huge number. I’ve been budgeting for gas for a while – and overbudgeting, to make sure we don’t fall short. You know, it’s always a nice surprise when you realize you have more money than you thought. But here we’ve gone from $1.80/gallon being a “high” estimate of the cost of gas to $2.05/gallon being woefully inadequate. With the majority of our expenses being car-related, I’m worried that we’re about to see our expenses effectively double without any possibility of something similar happening with our income. That’s really frightening. How to we like the idea of small independent artists effectively being eliminated by something as stupid as the rising price of gasoline?
And so we come to the hope of finding alternatives… but what are they? There are conversion kits – good for converting your DIESEL vehicle to run on vegetable oil. Heather’s looking at getting a hybrid, if the settlement for the accident ever comes through – but the chances of THAT kind of money falling into our laps, I think, is slim to zero.
The way our world works… it makes sense to me in one way, but… it’s so spectacularly short-sighted. The Baltimore Sun writes something to the effect that it’s not that the price of gas is getting excessively high, but that the price of gas HAD been too low. This front-page article goes on to assert that this is actually a good, thing – that there is always the possibility that the thinning supply of oil is actually a percursor of a shortage – not caused by supply and demand or those pesky brown-skinned AY RABS that we’re all supposed to hate… but caused by the very real fact that the planet may be drained of this not-very-renewable resource.
And so, the Sun asserts – running out is a good thing, as this will teach us the value of conservation.
That’s excellent ladies and gentlemen – but while we’re learning that lesson, how are we getting to work? How are we making our plastics and latex and rubbers? Hehe – we’re all stuck at home with nothing to do and no condoms. THAT will teach us our lesson, won’t it? I’m not a doom-sayer – but I also wonder how much warning there would be… or if the pumps would just go dry one day, and since the government of the United States (and as far as I know, just about every other government as well) hasn’t exactly placed a high-priority on alternative fuel sources, and in most cases, has actively discouraged it’s exploration… well, what happens?
I don’t know, it’s an awful lot like a man taking his sixty foot ladder, chucking it down a dark hole, and hopping down after it. Plus or minus surviving the fall, it’s hit or miss whether or not that ladder’s going to get him back into the light again.
And so… here we are… I can worry about it – and it would certainly be impolitic to purchase a Humvee at this moment in time. Perhaps you place solar panels on your house, but they haven’t been good for much other than heating water up till now. You could vote for the politician that is interested in green sources of energy… but when it comes down to it, we’ve built a system where money talks, and little else has any sort of voice whatsoever.
So we nabbed two and made a run for it.
Buy the hybrids? There are like… four on the market. There will be another four next year perhaps… but there isn’t much to choose from, and the current nine month waiting period (shouldn’t that be signal enough that these are in demand and that supply should follow? or is that waiting list why car companies feel so confident charging $10k+ for a two door compact car?) is reason enough for most consumers to turn their eyeballs elsewhere.
Perhaps you purchase the diesel vehicle and buy the conversion kit. That sounds very viable, and the more reading I do, the more it seems smart. Am I ready to start asking at the back of restaraunts for their left over cooking oil? Not, I think, until I’ve met someone who runs one of these cars and they show me their modus operandi. My ideal world, right now – would be to get a diesel VW Westfalia, perhaps – get the conversion kit, and have at the world…. but at the moment, this is all just dreamin.
Random note – Heather just caugnt me a ligntning bug. She demands that it LIGHT UP NOW!! Hrm – she just brought me a chocolate covered banana. She’s dangerously close to being sweet, and I’m naturally suspicious.