January 6th, 2004.

I’m sitting at the College Perk, worrying about little things and big things, and watching the cat sleep on a pretty woman’s knee. Stubby tailed and contrary, I don’t remember the beast’s name off the top of my head – but it’s something like “Poopsy” or something equally painful.

Anywho, chatting with Shane on IM, our friend from Philadelphia. He’s a spectacularly connected creature, and is working on getting us a local TV spot of some sort. I know not to get TOO excited about that sort of thing, as local TV generally doesn’t translate into TOO much publicity or anything, and really – the most I’ve gotten out of past TV spots are video cassettes that I have to hide from friends, years later.

Sigh.

Damned Dirty Black Diamonds.

DCF 1.0

Recently we’ve been working on the Trio format. More mobile and cheaper to feed than the full band – more punch and more versatility than Heather and I alone. I’m very happy with the balance. Heather goes back and forth between percussion and guitar and is surprisingly enough, having little if any trouble with the singing while drumming, and Sharif is swapping between keyboard and bass.

Only I get stuck still playing the same thing.

Sigh. Maybe I’LL get a tambourine? No.

Anywho, I Love this sound, and at the moment, I think it’s my favourite ilyAIMY format.

A lot of good musical stuff at the moment: I’m really looking forward to this Saturday at the Music Junction. We just dropped off the posters and I always enjoy seeing Simon – he’s just – a very friendly man, and I like watching his face as he talks. There’s also an Iota show coming up, and I’ve been talking to Firedean about playing with him… the Trio is wonderful, and STUFF – and of course, there was also…

PLOJ XXVIII!!!

The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
The beginning of PLOJ XXVIII was much like many other: me worrying that no-one would show up. These fears were quickly dashed.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Nikki Rouse here has three WAMMIE nominations for 2003. Huge congratulations go out to her.
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Percussion toys courtesy of Debbie (I think?)
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
Joe Isaacs and co-host, Brennan Kuhns. Joe has truly a spectacular capacity for projection, and warm songs about his budding family.
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
Sitting at College Perk at the moment - someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy... as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff - a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS... Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
Sitting at College Perk at the moment – someone just put Myxomatosis Failed in over the stereo. It ALSO makes me happy… as with most PLOJes, we had mostly guitars and whatnot, but above you can see some of the more exotic stuff – a mandolin, acoustic 5-string bass, a lute-lookin something and a banjo courtesy of the one and only Banjer Dan, as well as harmonicas and an upright bass. And above THIS… Heather and Firedean did a wonderful duet version of Caramel.
DCF 1.0
The finest instrumentalist known to me - JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he's up next - and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I'll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I've already got the flannel.
The finest instrumentalist known to me – JR Robusto. As I sit here at College Perk, I think he’s up next – and I always sit in awe, staring at what he can do, hoping that someday I’ll grow into that sort of skill. Hell, I’ve already got the flannel.
DCF 1.0
Prize for furthest travelled - Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Prize for furthest travelled – Evan of Sensei (we opened for them at the Cricket in Colorado!)
Caged at PLOJ.
Caged at PLOJ.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff... oh god - so much food... so much wonderful fooood.
The spread. We had potatoes au gratin (Amy), taboule (me), hamburger cassarole, fruit, fruit dip and some chicken thingies (Janna), KFC and pizza, lots of bread (Richard), some pies and some brownies (Justin), some chili and some tomato soup (Debbie?), some vegetables and lots and lots of other stuff… oh god – so much food… so much wonderful fooood.

Open mics are my absolute favourite way to pass the time. Like this wonderful buffet table of music. The PLOJes are even better, with so many changes so swiftly – never get bored. Pling. Tonight, the star of the show for me is Dan Zimmerman. Just a spectacular lyricist – tonight he’s got something that reminds me of an old poem of Heather’s… something about “underground snakes posing as trains consuming commuters” – How can you NOT Love a man who writes like THAT?

July 18th, 2004.

with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.  It doesn’t FEEL like July. It’s grey and the air conditioning lets us forget what kind of temperature might be lurking outdoors. Chelsea’s dad doesn’t sleep. I’m seeing morning for what feels like the first time in weeks. Months. And the grey weather is keeping my eyes from glistening with consciousness.

9.30am and Chuck and David are up and frolicking in their morningness – David’s making bacon, and Chuck is talking about amplifiers and guitars and African rhythms. I’m just not ready for it yet.

My thoughts are still whirling from that kiss. Damn you Jason. Damn you Slanga.

Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
Andy Zipf at the Vault. He ran his beats off an IBook and generally was okay.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That's really all I should have to say. Don't miss another.
For those of you who missed the Vault show last Friday. These women were dancing on the bar. That’s really all I should have to say. Don’t miss another.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.
Pookie and Heather having a moment at the College Perk. There are many pussy jokes that an uninhibited rob could make here, but luckily, he is reigning himself in.

 

 

Says it all really. I don’t even remember why it happened. But Jason kissed me. He needs to quit smoking before he gets any more sugar from me.

Yesterday was a long day. The yardsale, making food, preparing for the night. I had my first art opening in four years. It was an incredible night.

Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I've ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn't noticed those. Good lord.
Daniel Lee has possibly the most spectacular voice I’ve ever heard. And weird pants. Weird shoes. I hadn’t noticed those. Good lord.

The opening itself, at the 1448 Gallery, was a great success. Michael Vain and Kali were just – immensely wonderful to invite me to show with them, and then to have the opportunity to play as well… Audrey and I once had a show like that, at a Borders Books. Her watercolours covered half the space, and my scary scritch art covered the other half, and then we played a show at the end of the month, with her in front of her work, and me in front of mine. I remember it being a Lovely night. I did something similar in a gatehouse show back in the Commons at MICA, and then again at the Moon Cafe in Annapolis, but eventually the shows petered out because I was having too much work stolen.

Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.
Oh yeah, the ladies of Perk. Perky ladies.

So now I’m reinvigourated. The show went so well – not many familiar faces, but a decently filled room – and the faces that WERE familiar were old favourites. It was strange to think that Kali and Terri and Michael have known me from the Beginning. Back when I ONLY played shows at the Rabbit and the New Deal Cafe, they came to each of those shows, and encouraged me with accolades and cake. It’s strange to think that it’s been so long, back from the Audrey era.

Amy's face's guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
Amy’s face’s guardianship from the corner made the show complete.
DCF 1.0
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.
Performing next to a rusted out gate covered in my art. A very good feeling.

It was good to see Michael, usually so serious and unapproachable, really getting into Will – rocking out in the back of the room. It’s one thing when one can move the audience, but when one can move the artists around you – and KEEP moving them years after their first exposure – that made me feel really powerful. Like I was accomplishing something GREAT.

Terri watched from the back, like she always does. She’s an unobtrusive willowy creature of eye-contact and hair. My parents are the opposite – smack-dab in the middle of the room, my mother mouthing the words. Yeah, a room full of People from the Beginning. It felt like some sort of anniversary, or a birthday, or … I don’t know. Very much a celebration of accomplishment.

I'm holding one of Kali's pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.
I’m holding one of Kali’s pieces. It would be really cool if a guitar could be made up like that and still be playable, and not be godAWFUL heavy.

It was almost like a big thank you show to the people who’d REALLY supported me over the years. Longer than almost anyone else, with the exception of Amy. The room felt incomplete until I noticed that my portrait of Amy had been set unobtrusively against the wall, facing the stage. The beautiful Raven Jen even appeared from my past and wandered in near the end of the night.

A very good night.

And then we had to race to PLOJ.

Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
Chelsea and Beau up from Richmond, VA for PLOJ.
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!
The crowd at PLOJ XXIX. I think this was our first Pot Luck with two fiddles. Or perhaps the first one with two fiddlers. And three or four banjos. I think the guy right in the middle there is from Florida!

I don’t think I’ve ever been very late to PLOJ before. I usually aim to get there by 4, and I’ve frequently been later than THAT – but I don’t think I’ve ever arrived AFTER things had gotten started. Until last night.

It was bizarre walking into things Already In Progress. It was hard having to greet everyone all at the same time, rather than getting my greet on one by one as people straggle in. All in all, I’d say it was probably (as much as I hate to say it) my least favourite PLOJ. Very formless, meandering, drum heavy… and a pathetic spread. Almost no food at ALL! Thank God my tabouli rocked as hard as it always does. Thank God Dan’s chili was as scrumptious as it was… thank Richard and Kelly for THEIR chili. And of course, Mara’s chocolate chip cake. I guess, really when it comes down to it… that made everything okay.

With PLOJ XXIX ending at 2.30am or so, returning to the Lloydholme with the Kerwaths in tow (Chelsea and Beau and Chelsea’s WHOLE family!!) and being awakened by David making breakfast at 9am (no complaints mind you, some of the finest bacon I’ve ever had… but 9.30 am isn’t REALLY a time to me anymore) – today’s band practice was a threat on my personal horizon. I was eager for it, but going INTO practice exhausted isn’t a good start.

Because of random circumstances, Heather and I actually end up arriving at Sharif’s house for practice separately. I navigate my car into his little Bowie neighbourhood, pick my parking space with care, and avoid a tiny obstacle.

A tiny, grey, furry obstacle. Rumpled fur and a trail of viscera that stretches almost to the curb – there’s very little in the world that’s as sad as a roadkill kitten, and I was thankful that I’d gotten there ahead of Heather. I knew it would break her heart to see the tiny body, and I didn’t know WHAT to do. It was right in front of the house, and there was no way she was going to miss it when she arrived – Sharif didn’t have a shovel or anything, and I’m not of SUCH a strong constitution that I’m able to pick up a dead kitten and throw it in the trash, or even a bush.

I’m not sure if I did the right thing. When the neighbours weren’t looking I stole a big empty pot from the yard and overturned it over the kitten in the middle of the street. It’s not the right thing, really – but it meant that Heather wouldn’t see it, and no-one else was going to smear it further along the street.

The pot wasn’t QUITE large enough, and the emotions that roiled through me when I felt the giving squish as I set it down on the kitten’s tail are indescribable and unpleasant.

Band practice itself was fantastic. A great day spent with friends, jamming on music that you Love. That’s the way band practice is SUPPOSED to be, and I don’t think it’s BEEN that way for a long time. It’s made me all the more eager for Tuesday’s Funk Box show. I was fearful everytime that Heather stepped outside – I was afraid she’d move the pot, but I didn’t want to tell her, and I couldn’t just say “don’t mess with the pot” – I returned to the Lloydholme exhausted, elated, and relieved.

Heather selling dolls at her parents' yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day... there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it's not Heather.
Heather selling dolls at her parents’ yard sale. How could I have let THIS Lovely Heatherbeest see a dead kitten? I knew it would ruin the day… there is also an evil side of me that will be amused at whoever lifts the pot. As long as it’s not Heather.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Brennan and some new friends at the Royal Open Mic, back on last Thursday. It was awesome to see this table bobbing their heads and dropping their jaws when we ripped up the stage. Unfortunately, the owner was unimpressed.
Heather's working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles - she's got a couple of them by now, and soon she'll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I'm in Love with this key - I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don't.
Heather’s working on making found-object necklaces. This is the first product of her creative wiles – she’s got a couple of them by now, and soon she’ll be pooping these things out left and right, and hopefully selling them at shows. I’m in Love with this key – I think it was one of the random ones from inside my Saturn. Maybe my Dad knows what it was for, but I sure don’t.

November 14th, 2004.

PLOJ XXX was a success much greater than 29. Good musicians, really very good food. It ended a bit early, but no complaints there, as I truly was ready for a night OFF. We got started right at 6.30 (people were on time!!?) but ended pretty early.

Dan Zimmerman playing keyboard and Alex Colvin experimenting with his new resonator guitar.
Dan Zimmerman playing keyboard and Alex Colvin experimenting with his new resonator guitar.
Janet Griffin's partner Stuart watching awestruck as our friend Ali belts forth into PLOJ XXX. He WAS showing me his photography portfolio (lots of frogs!) but then pretty much all attention flipped to Ali.
Janet Griffin’s partner Stuart watching awestruck as our friend Ali belts forth into PLOJ XXX. He WAS showing me his photography portfolio (lots of frogs!) but then pretty much all attention flipped to Ali.

By 11pm, it was pretty much me, Sharif, Brennan and Alex Colvin. It sort of stuck that way for a couple of hours, but I finally retired at around 1.30am, but I heard Alex through the floor till around 3.

Amy, caught in the act. She just LOOKS guilty. Or cute. Not sure which. You can never be too sure with her.
Amy, caught in the act. She just LOOKS guilty. Or cute. Not sure which. You can never be too sure with her.
Amy singing with Dan Sheer.I think that this may have been in the midst of the 4-5 part harmony version of "Summertime".
Amy singing with Dan Sheer.I think that this may have been in the midst of the 4-5 part harmony version of “Summertime”.

Highlights of PLOJ XXX? Well, in keeping with the triple-X theme, some how there were three strings broken, and they were ALL G-strings. Heather and I showed off our new Firedean knowledge by playing “Tell the Truth”. I think we played it at about double speed, and there was a lot of “hrm hrm hrm”s where we couldn’t remember the words. Rowan and Sharif doing “Count the Bodies Like Sheep to the Rhythm of the Wardrums”, the amazing dumplings that I didn’t get any of (but heard SO much about), Mara’s chocolate chip cake… it was an awesome night.

All in all, I’m back and forth on whether or not I’m a huge fan of continuing PLOJ at College Perk. It was the first PLOJ with school in session, and I felt the massive pressure of having some forty people in the coffee house that really didn’t give a fuck that music was occuring, and perhaps even really wanted to know why it was going on and when it will stop. We caught a couple of people, but I think that generally the PLOJ is a little unstructured for your random passerby.

Heather singing with Antonio. He had a beautiful voice. He, another friend (Tori) and Heather all sang Boyz 2 Men songs.
Heather singing with Antonio. He had a beautiful voice. He, another friend (Tori) and Heather all sang Boyz 2 Men songs.
Heather singin at PLOJ XXX.
Heather singin at PLOJ XXX.
Phil the crazy grinning percussionist. I was very worried about the djembes, but when used by good percussionists (and Phil and Rowan are both REALLY good) - they don't drown out the rest of the world. I was very happy with our little percussion group. Alex Colvin also brought some bongos.
Phil the crazy grinning percussionist. I was very worried about the djembes, but when used by good percussionists (and Phil and Rowan are both REALLY good) – they don’t drown out the rest of the world. I was very happy with our little percussion group. Alex Colvin also brought some bongos.
Look at them go. Percussionist party. Again, so happy to have professionals in the room. In the past we've certainly had trouble with the whole boomy djembe not being played entirely on the beat problem.
Look at them go. Percussionist party. Again, so happy to have professionals in the room. In the past we’ve certainly had trouble with the whole boomy djembe not being played entirely on the beat problem.
Sarah, Sharif's cousin finally brought her violin out to a PLOJ. She added an awful lot to LooseN, Push, a bunch of other tunes. We'd been talking about playing together for quite some time, and it was cool to have her show up and add her beautiful two cents to the music.
Sarah, Sharif’s cousin finally brought her violin out to a PLOJ. She added an awful lot to LooseN, Push, a bunch of other tunes. We’d been talking about playing together for quite some time, and it was cool to have her show up and add her beautiful two cents to the music.
Taccara and Heather singing all sorts of good stuff to one another. I don't remember exactly what they were playing here, but I Love watching them lay eyes on one another, and lock their voices back together as if it were an everyday occurence. I know that Heather misses singing with fine, fine female voices. PLOJ must be a blast of fresh air for her.
Taccara and Heather singing all sorts of good stuff to one another. I don’t remember exactly what they were playing here, but I Love watching them lay eyes on one another, and lock their voices back together as if it were an everyday occurence. I know that Heather misses singing with fine, fine female voices. PLOJ must be a blast of fresh air for her.
By the end of the night, Ray, Sharif and Sarah and I were in the centre of the Perk, sort of cornered by the rest of the denizens. Brennan was talking about moving PLOJ again after XXXI. He's found a new place that he thinks is likely. Unfortunately, it's another venue, but not College Park, which... well, we'll see.
By the end of the night, Ray, Sharif and Sarah and I were in the centre of the Perk, sort of cornered by the rest of the denizens. Brennan was talking about moving PLOJ again after XXXI. He’s found a new place that he thinks is likely. Unfortunately, it’s another venue, but not College Park, which… well, we’ll see.

January 2nd, 2005.

So many non-entries for soo long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year's!
Happy Holidays!

It was a good burn. So good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ah, foolish, foolish rob.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 27th, 2005.

PLOJ XXXII went down last night. It was awesome. Sort of a Start of Spring Music Thing – there was an incredible energy there that hasn’t been around for a long time. A lot of people showed up that I hadn’t seen in a while, and …. well, also it was the first PLOJ in a long time – fucking fantastic night. Actually started a little earlier than usual, with people showing up and starting up at around 7, and we stayed up and playing later than usual. I went upstairs to bed at around 4am.

ilyAIMY at Puresound Studio in Odenton, MD. I’m not going to put much about that in here as that will be part of the new Studio Journal. Ignore the fact that Rowan is reorganizing Magic cards. He’s not a geek. Any other Magic players out there?

rob in the studio.
Heather in da boof.
[A lot of these photos were included in a separate “studio Journal” which I’m NOT transferring! – rob 2/4/18]

Sing into ROB.
Well, it gets hot in the studio….
This is Katie. She's 9, and apparently just a baby. We were told that she'll eventually weigh 11,000 pounds. My old VW bus weighed 1800lbs. That's unimaginable to me.
This is Katie. She’s 9, and apparently just a baby. We were told that she’ll eventually weigh 11,000 pounds. My old VW bus weighed 1800lbs. That’s unimaginable to me.
Last Wednesday, my Mom gave Heather and I tickets to go to the Barnum and Bailey Circus. We weren't quite sure what to make of the Greatest Show on Earth at first - but then as soon as Heather got her nose things relaxed.
Last Wednesday, my Mom gave Heather and I tickets to go to the Barnum and Bailey Circus. We weren’t quite sure what to make of the Greatest Show on Earth at first – but then as soon as Heather got her nose things relaxed.
At the circus. Very noisy kids behind us really took aversion to the singing of the National Anthem. I must admit I'm not terribly Nationally Anthemic myself, but still. It WAS one Hell of a show.
At the circus. Very noisy kids behind us really took aversion to the singing of the National Anthem. I must admit I’m not terribly Nationally Anthemic myself, but still. It WAS one Hell of a show.
The ringleader (Kevin Vernados) singing his little heart out at the circus. I was amazed by the show they put on. He had a very good voice, and sort of sang us through the entire night. Stilt-walkers, horses, ponies and sheepdog choruses. Motorcycle insanity and the fantastic Crazy ... Milton... or something. Wilson! Crazy Wilson. He sure was crraazy!
The ringleader (Kevin Vernados) singing his little heart out at the circus. I was amazed by the show they put on. He had a very good voice, and sort of sang us through the entire night. Stilt-walkers, horses, ponies and sheepdog choruses. Motorcycle insanity and the fantastic Crazy … Milton… or something. Wilson! Crazy Wilson. He sure was crraazy!

March 31st, 2005.

The time is slipping swiftly, and inevitably, as the days pass by, more and more of you complain about the lack of Journal entries. The ilyAIMY Journal seems to be a popular item to do for the Bored-At-Work crowd, and this… this I understand. Afterall, I would become truly frustrated with web comics that petered off – Sinfest? You know who you are. You got less funny. And I got tired. Sexy Losers? Oh your perversity has always been grand – to the point that I was somewhat afraid of viewing you at work… but then updates were only once a month, and then rarer and rarer – and eventually I stopped checking. Maybe I’ll check today.

In any case – let me upDate you, dear reader…
now, again – a lot of what’s been going on in my world has been family-oriented. I can’t really go on about it here. Those of you who know, already know, and for those of you who don’t, let’s just say me and my family are grateful for any positive energy you choose to send us. In any case, because I tend to just type whatever’s on my mind, and my family has been occupying my brain to my brainhilt recently, that’s why I’ve been bad about writing.

Heather in a pot…
We’ve spent a LOT of time at my parents’ recently, and Heather’s been bonding with Luka… Or at least she’s been grabbin’ him.
Preparing for PLOJ by cutting up ze peppers. And making sure my camera's working.
Preparing for PLOJ by cutting up ze peppers. And making sure my camera’s working.
PLOJ XXXII. Heather's insane. Also pictured - Kali of the Folk Art Studio, Allie - the best local voice around, Amy Law - her artwork. Heather's mom's a knittin in the foreground. No massive knitting circle this time around, which was a shame. It was kind of cool doing the PLOJ during Amy's art show - it made it even homier, doing all this music, seeing all these people while surrounded by her artwork. It lent something really incredible to the ambiance of the night.
PLOJ XXXII. Heather’s insane. Also pictured – Kali of the Folk Art Studio, Allie – the best local voice around, Amy Law – her artwork. Heather’s mom’s a knittin in the foreground. No massive knitting circle this time around, which was a shame. It was kind of cool doing the PLOJ during Amy’s art show – it made it even homier, doing all this music, seeing all these people while surrounded by her artwork. It lent something really incredible to the ambiance of the night.

Last Saturday was PLOJ XXXII. That means the next one gets to be three x’s and three I’s, and that’s appealing to me. Numbers have a lot of power in my head, and I’m always a bit overjoyed when they add up just right. The beauty of rounded figures in Life and arithmitic is something programmed into me at a visceral level. It explains a lot, really.

PLOJ XXXII was one of the best, I think. I’m afraid I might say that about ever PLOJ, but this one especially just fit my head well. There’s a wonder to things that happen at just the right time. This PLOJ brought together a lot of old friends, and a lot of people that I hadn’t seen in a long time – I was overjoyed to have a night so full of flirtation and music. It could have been perfected by old-school presences like Syl and Audrey and maybe even Little Michael, but it wasn’t destined to be.

Waverly Milor came over from an earlier gig with JR. Mark Sylvestor also showed up. A lot of surprise visitors. PLOJ XXXII really was one of the absolutely best PLOJes ever.
Waverly Milor came over from an earlier gig with JR. Mark Sylvestor also showed up. A lot of surprise visitors. PLOJ XXXII really was one of the absolutely best PLOJes ever.
Surprise visit from JR Robusto. He moved to Sedona, AZ a couple of months ago, and has really inspired me to figure out our way back into the desert. It was so awesome to see him again. He came out and tore my guitar apart, and reminded me that I have sooooo much to learn. I just sat there soaking it in. With my jaw hanging open.
Surprise visit from JR Robusto. He moved to Sedona, AZ a couple of months ago, and has really inspired me to figure out our way back into the desert. It was so awesome to see him again. He came out and tore my guitar apart, and reminded me that I have sooooo much to learn. I just sat there soaking it in. With my jaw hanging open.

In the process of setting up the Exclusive ilyANGEL stuff, I’ve been sorting through old, old recordings. Things made in dorm rooms, and even recordings made from the first rwo Pot Lucks. I worry about the NSA as I’ve been playing SOME of these songs for a long, long, looong time.

In any case, I’m truly amazed that Chuck (Chelsea’s Dad) came all the way up from Richmond. He’s made us a regular stop now – he doesn’t miss the PLOJes, and I think that that’s awesome. JR even stopped in – he’s visiting breifly, back from Sedona. Arizona has really agreed with him. He’s vibrant and frenetic and his fingers (if possible) are even FASTER. We played an awesome, jaw-dropping version of LooseN.

In any case, the PLOJ went on till around 3am, and then we hung out (actual friends!!! ACTUALLY hanging out!! – when did I get so old that things like THAT didn’t happen anymore?!!?). (that’s the wrong question, as I think it’s now that most of my friends have day jobs, and THEY can’t do it anymore…). It was a good feeling, collapsing on couches and wishing the mess away.

Nathaniel in the middle. Bill Mulroney playing guitar on the right there. I think it's guys like this who have a real repetoire of songs under their belts that often hold the Pot Lucks together. They have material that the rest of us can follow, and often even sing along with. Unfortunately, I'm also suspicious that one of them started American Pie. Ohhhh... SOMEONE's in trouble. On the left is Derrick. Really good player. I hadn't seen him before, was really pleased to meet him.
Nathaniel in the middle. Bill Mulroney playing guitar on the right there. I think it’s guys like this who have a real repetoire of songs under their belts that often hold the Pot Lucks together. They have material that the rest of us can follow, and often even sing along with. Unfortunately, I’m also suspicious that one of them started American Pie. Ohhhh… SOMEONE’s in trouble. On the left is Derrick. Really good player. I hadn’t seen him before, was really pleased to meet him.
In the foreground - Rob on fiddle. Behind him you've got Sarah also on fiddle. The two of them together were a really cool combination. There's Chuck on guitar (Chelsea Kerwath's father). I'm really flattered - he regularly drives up from Richmond to attend the PLOJes.
In the foreground – Rob on fiddle. Behind him you’ve got Sarah also on fiddle. The two of them together were a really cool combination. There’s Chuck on guitar (Chelsea Kerwath’s father). I’m really flattered – he regularly drives up from Richmond to attend the PLOJes.

In the far, dim, back of some of these pictures you can see Rachel. Oh Rachel of the fanciful dreadlocked hair… we met her in a bar in Fell’s Point, I think. She was there to see another band, and worked at a Starbucks. Now she tours the country further than we do, supporting another acoustic act. She Lives at a farm and radiates freedom and carefree – beyond that that I can even aspire too. I just get too uptight.

And yet she’s melancholy, sometimes. She watches from the back. Always so quiet. She’s a Lovely presence, and falls into the category of People That I Never Expect to See.

Upright bass player - Jamie, she came with Eldritch. She let me play.... shit... I don't remember the name of the bass! But she let me play her bass on a couple of tunes. I'm really out of practice and I've got a huuuge blister to show for my trouble. And in the background - another surprise visitor - Rachel just got back from touring with another band. She's radiant.
Upright bass player – Jamie, she came with Eldritch. She let me play…. shit… I don’t remember the name of the bass! But she let me play her bass on a couple of tunes. I’m really out of practice and I’ve got a huuuge blister to show for my trouble. And in the background – another surprise visitor – Rachel just got back from touring with another band. She’s radiant.
Sleepy Sharif. Janna taking advantage of a soft surface.
Sleepy Sharif. Janna taking advantage of a soft surface.
Sharif asleep. PLOJ ended at around 4am. He was all tuckered out.
Sharif asleep. PLOJ ended at around 4am. He was all tuckered out.

July 11th, 2005.

PLOJ XXXIII was a success, though – as always – very different from what I expected. We had gotten a huge article in the Washington Times which I had semi-hoped would result in a lot of new faces.

I did then get a bunch of emails about the article, but I don’t think any of those emails translated into exciting new, warm bodies.

But that’s all separate from the actual PLOJ. We DID have exciting new warm bodies – they just came from where they were SUPPOSED to come from – i.e. slowly spreading word of mouth!

Some fungus for Heather because I miss her.
Some fungus for Heather because I miss her.

It was the first PLOJ in forever that I actually taped – Brennan set up some mics and we just let the recorder run all night. I’m going through the recordings now. A lot of good stuff.

In any case, despite the new faces, kind of a small PLOJ, which was fine – a little more intimate. The only really negative side was that we had lots of PLAYERS but few writers, which means there was a lot more dead space, trying to sort of figure what was going to happen next, than usual.

We ended pretty early, tired and sleepy and a little moody, depressed, I cleared out of there by about 2 in the morning and went back to my mom’s house to collapse and slow

ly totally fail to actually fall asleep.

A couchfull of PLOJ newbies. Isleen on the left, Becca in the middle (she did a Lovely rendition of White Rabbit - and poses good for the camera) and Meredith who was responsible for bringing the new creatures... she played a bunch of tunes from PJ Harvey and the Dresden Dolls that I didn't recognize. It was really cool to hear her take charge of the room.
A couchfull of PLOJ newbies. Isleen on the left, Becca in the middle (she did a Lovely rendition of White Rabbit – and poses good for the camera) and Meredith who was responsible for bringing the new creatures… she played a bunch of tunes from PJ Harvey and the Dresden Dolls that I didn’t recognize. It was really cool to hear her take charge of the room.
Heather and Jill and Brennan lead us in renditions of Rocky Horror Picture Show covers at PLOJ XXXIII on July 9th, 2005. Not something I would've expected, actually - but Joe Isaacs appears to be singing along!
Heather and Jill and Brennan lead us in renditions of Rocky Horror Picture Show covers at PLOJ XXXIII on July 9th, 2005. Not something I would’ve expected, actually – but Joe Isaacs appears to be singing along!

A gorgeous trumpet solo in the midst of Io's rendition of Johnny Cash's version of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" at PLOJ XXXIII.
A gorgeous trumpet solo in the midst of Io’s rendition of Johnny Cash’s version of the Nine Inch Nails song “Hurt” at PLOJ XXXIII.

Jason and Heather dancing to “the Stray Cat Strut” at the College Perk at PLOJ XXXIII.

October 30th, 2005.

I’m full. I’m tired. I might die.

The last couple of days have been Lovely, but very full. I’ve been falling asleep at around 7am this past week, and then Saturday morning I had to wake up at 7.45am to go to a meeting for the Emergenza festivals. Saturday was also PLOJ so I knew I was going to be up late, late, late… after PLOJ I even went over to a friends’ house and hung out till dawn.

I’m very, very tired.

It’s Heather’s birthday weekend and so we’re also eating. A lot. Of everything. And it was PLOJ. And Joylene likes to make sure people are fed. Oh God.

This house is around the corner from my mom's house, and they always fill their yard with decorations for Christmas and for Halloween. It's something you've got to do every year, drop by and see what they've added.
This house is around the corner from my mom’s house, and they always fill their yard with decorations for Christmas and for Halloween. It’s something you’ve got to do every year, drop by and see what they’ve added.
It looks like they're trying to do some cross-over with the manger-ish stuff. Pop out the skeleton, pop in the Jesus. Happy days.
It looks like they’re trying to do some cross-over with the manger-ish stuff. Pop out the skeleton, pop in the Jesus. Happy days.

Friday night, Heather and I played with Dan Layman-Kennedy back at the Cup in Bel Air, MD. We played hard and fast and won over a lot of people. A woman remarked that I reminded her of Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars III. I’m not sure if I’m flattered by that or not (Episode I? Hell yeah!) but at least I’m not the cone-headed one or small and green.

Her response? When I start introducing music with “Play you this song I will” THEN I’ll be in trouble.

After the show I went over to Chris and Joylene’s to expose them to the Chicken. The Robot Chicken. Thank GOD they wore out after about 6 episodes. After that I find that my attention span becomes eroded for the next couple of days. As it was, Chris and I still sat around singing the theme song, voices dropping with fatigue.

Heather trying on some hair for our Halloween PLOJ.
Heather trying on some hair for our Halloween PLOJ.
Cat being all dressy for Halloween at the College Perk in College Park, MD. My mom is standing over my shoulder remarking how beautiful Cat looks in this picture... she's right... though then she says "Though I'm almost afraid to ask you about her top - sometimes you need to use DISGRESSION." Yes mom.
Cat being all dressy for Halloween at the College Perk in College Park, MD. My mom is standing over my shoulder remarking how beautiful Cat looks in this picture… she’s right… though then she says “Though I’m almost afraid to ask you about her top – sometimes you need to use DISGRESSION.” Yes mom.

The next day, this Emergenza thing, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.

On the one hand, I like the ideas behind it – Indie, I like how organized it is. On the other hand, I really hate all these competitions, and this is a little closer to a Battle of the Bands than any of these competitive folk festivals we’ve done over the course of this year.

Tim (of Might Could) brought a banjo and proceeded to shred on it. That's of course Rowan filling the foreground. This is the second shot like this - the first one, Rowan caught me and swivelled around just in time to fill the frame with forehead.
Tim (of Might Could) brought a banjo and proceeded to shred on it. That’s of course Rowan filling the foreground. This is the second shot like this – the first one, Rowan caught me and swivelled around just in time to fill the frame with forehead.
Meredith, Rob (big R) and Jon playing at PLOJ XXXIV at the College Perk in College Park, MD. I'm so flattered that Meredith drives (well, her whole FAMILY drives!) all the way up to College Park to play these things. I Love listening to her, too... and yes... look very closely and you'll see a Spine on Jon's guitar. Rob opened up with more than his fiddle this time around too and blew me away with a voice that none of us knew he had.
Meredith, Rob (big R) and Jon playing at PLOJ XXXIV at the College Perk in College Park, MD. I’m so flattered that Meredith drives (well, her whole FAMILY drives!) all the way up to College Park to play these things. I Love listening to her, too… and yes… look very closely and you’ll see a Spine on Jon’s guitar. Rob opened up with more than his fiddle this time around too and blew me away with a voice that none of us knew he had.

I don’t have high hopes of getting anywhere in it, but it could be really really cool – and even if we only get through the first stage, well, it’d be a huge coup to play some of these venues that perhaps we couldn’t get into on our own. Of course, then my own internal competitive side speaks up – the vicious side – that knows that if we DON’T make it through the first round I’ll internally compare us (unfavourably) to the accomplishments of the Dreamscapes Project. I hate it when I do that. I worry that somewhere in my subconscious, my brain is plotting harm to my friends’ bands.

Saturday night was PLOJ XXXIV. Ugh. We ended at around 1 in the morning, which is really, really early to end the PLOJ – there simply wasn’t any enthusiasm left. I’m beginning to think of moving the whole thing some place else, at least during the school year – I miss having the Pot Lucks at a private home, but simply have no friends that have a large enough space.

We just didn’t have the numbers of songwriters this time around to hit that critical mass where the jams shift and form and drop and there’s a lot of real variety. The last couple of PLOJes have been mostly glorified mass sing-alongs, more appropriate to camp fires than to what PLOJ has always been. That aspect is welcome, but when it becomes the focus… and the older writers I think just don’t appreciate the atmosphere of Perk.

I don’t know if that’s really true, but I’ve had a couple of people remark that they don’t plan to come to another PLOJ as long as it’s held there… but I don’t really know where to turn just yet…

Big sigh.

Zoe Mulford came to PLOJ XXXIV for a bit. She's the woman who beat me out at Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival this year. She deserves all her accolades. To the right is Greta Ehrig. Much to my regret she just came to be social and we didn't force her to play.
Zoe Mulford came to PLOJ XXXIV for a bit. She’s the woman who beat me out at Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival this year. She deserves all her accolades. To the right is Greta Ehrig. Much to my regret she just came to be social and we didn’t force her to play.
Dan Zimmerman playing the songs that I wish I'd written. Yes... his inmate number is pi.
Dan Zimmerman playing the songs that I wish I’d written. Yes… his inmate number is pi.