September 25, 2003.

Last night was another of our disappointment moments. The Desert Rain, or wherever we were going last night… two addresses, one from openmikes.com and one from their website. Relatively close together, we couldn’t get a person on the phone, but went on the basis that their website was very very up to date. – Sigh. One address didn’t exist, and the other was some sort of burnt out steely bike shop. Add that to the list:

Rules of the Trip:
1) NO HOT DOGS.
2) NO BACON MUSHROOM CHEESEBURGERS
3) ALWAYS CARRY A CAMERA
4) ALWAYS CALL AHEAD, AND IF YOU DON’T GET AN ANSWER, DON’T GO!!!!

Oh, and this morning, rule five… I came up with it during possibly one of the best showers of my LIFE (Will’s water pressure is spectacular!) – but he’s got these little net things in the shower curtain sort of like shelves but they don’t hold everything up at a solid angle so they sort of splay everywhere, which really was the impetus for rule five…

5) ALWAYS ASCERTAIN THE LOCATION OF ALL BACKSCRUBBY STICKS, RANDOM POLE-THINGS, AND LOOFAH DEVICES BEFORE BENDING OVER IN A NEW SHOWER.

Sheesh. Nothing too bad, just… definately a wake-up call, and a bit more intimate of an experience than I was ready for.

Strange to be sitting in the next room – listening to Will listening to me. Will started i love you and I Miss You. In Baltimore, he was the one inspired by the stickers, I was just sort of contemptuous when I found out who it was. They caught my eye, but when I heard it was GREG… well…

Anywho, I was already smitten with some sort of level of fanboy sickness when Will approached me about i love you And I Miss You, and asked me to be a part of it, I just about died in a little wriggle of joy.

So, I come back to him every couple of years with my music on my back and place them on a little sacrificial altar to Will Schaff – the writer I Loved in college. And now I listen from the next room and wonder what he’s hearing, wonder what he’s thinking about what he’s hearing. I remember at one point he thought I was going in too “poppy” of a direction – and mortified though I was, I know I haven’t really turned around. I know my tastes are much more conventional than his… It’s funny how I criticize Heather for only ever taking into account one person’s opinion… and here I am, knowing that no matter how much really good feedback we’ve gotten on the album, if Will shoots it down – well, it’ll take my pride down a notch or two. It’s the danger of admiration, I suppose.

WHOA – now there’s something I NEVER thought I’d hear… Will’s playing accordian along to Deep in the AM. I’m just about ready to die… TWEE!! And dear lord, I think he’s going to do the whole album now. Sever’s just a little strange with that addition.

Anywho, between the dancing and the dogs, I’m trying to sort photographs… here’s the sleeping bags in the Saturn back from day One – we’ve since given up on carrying two of the damned things, and hence regained that whole rear-view mirror thing.

The second photo is the now packed interior of the College Perk in College Park – it’s amazing what the owner, Chris, has put together in the past couple of months.


Will goes to the park… with all of the dogs. The owners don’t know one another’s names, they just know one another by the dogs’ names (presumably cause that’s what everyone’s screaming all the time)

Will and Corinna (not named for the DAMN DYLAN TUNE!)

Providence, Rhode Island seems pretty idyllic in a lot of ways. Late-night sushi restaurants are always a sign of true city class, as are dog parks.

The dogs came as a surprise.

Back in Baltimore, I knew Will as the owner of many dead things. The one Live creature, Fallsway (the cat – also a superhero) was an anomoly. Here I find him surrounded with two dogs (Freddie and Corinna) and… I think it’s four cats. Lemme see – there’s Stryker (insane foot assassin), a big fluffy black one with a limp that I haven’t caught the name of, aaand… and there’s Little Cunt (L.C.) who apparently pees on things that smell of Will. Maybe there’s only three cats. Oh yeah, and there’s Joelle, but she’s human and owns the apartment.

Comfort levels? Well, Freddie now feels free to ask us to root around in his ear so he can lick his earwax off our fingers, Corinna just wants to lick us, Stryker wants to kill us, but is still pretending to want belly rubs to gain our trust. Mostly I think he wants to render us incapable of keeping him away from our bananas, which he seems to desire. Oh, the fluffy one just wants Love, and L.C… well, she’s lying in wait to pee. Ah, pee.

Will sits on the floor, inadvertantly gluing dog-hair tumbleweeds to his art. It is a difficult environment.

So, the dog park. A place of energy and freedom and occassional unexpected poo. Dog feces, though a rarity, shared its joy with us in mounds of many sizes.

A sunny day with Sonny – he’s also one of the original members of i love you And I Miss You, and has continued to release music under that moniker. Here he is being ravaged by Mischief. (he also has a Japanese name, I think, and only responds to commands in French).


Will and Jolene and Freddie and Corinna, off to the dog park.

September 29th, 2003.

We’re back in Philadelphia, visiting Shane, the ULTIMATE. We’ve landed on his doorstep and he’s hooked us up with everything from directions to the Grape Street Pub to a copy of Earthworm Jim. I’m not sure what demands I’ll make as a full-fledged rock-star someday, but I can’t imagine they’ll include much other than transport to the next show and a little EWJ.

Hell yeah.

Anywho, wireless at Drexel sucks, so the website is probably going to have to wait even LONGER before getting updated. Also – it’s becoming apparent that I’d rather write in this damned journal rather than do something productive, like deal with all of the song parts in my head. So, I think I’m prolly going to try and limit myself to 15 minutes in the morning, and 15 minutes at night. Otherwise I’ll just sit here all day, tapping aboot crap.

So, anywho, back at Drexel University. Full of flying dragons. I’m assuming, actually, that dragon guano is the reason for the wireless being so crappy (if you’ll pardon the wee pun…. oh, and that one too). There’s only so much flying drake fecal matter a network can take.

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Rob Spectre playing the HELL out of a djembe.
Rob Spectre playing the HELL out of a djembe.

Rhode Island’s response was nothing short of spectacular – we met so many fantastic people, and encountered so much music, I’m sort of prepared for Grape Street tonight to be sort of a let down… but actually getting back to Shane’s dorm – that was a lot of fun. We encountered Reptar (the new lizard – should I put that on the website? What if his RA becomes a fan?), who is currently cricketless, and therefor out of sorts… and Ian – the Brian McClimmensesque room-mate who helped me fix my stupid graphics card issues, and Ryan, who I believe Shane thrashed with a broom later in the evening.

Ryan’s another aspiring vocalist guitarist, great voice. But the broom treatment, I don’t know – it might be a bit rough.

I miss college a lot, really. I miss the camaraderie that comes with roommates, the wrestling and tussling and strange strange humour (funnily enough, the same stuff you grow out of in high school is the same stuff you rediscover in college) – so we did what I did in college, and sort of beat the shit out of each other till someone called from next-door and told us that if we didn’t keep it down he’d “hang us with our own intestines”. Heee… them’s was the good ole days.


Trying to get a wireless signal at Drexel.

October 14, 2003.

No real luck at Tobacco Road. Gig went well, good sound, and Dan as always, kicks ass. Unfortunately, Sharif got the flu and couldn’t make it. But Brennan came up with Dan, and that was excellent. We wandered Times square and got some excellent Thai food (unfortunately, it treated Heather poorly the next day).

Also, a bizarre parking contraption - actually a series of pulleys and elevator thingies and one of the most amazing parallel parking car maneuvering critters I've ever seen.
Also, a bizarre parking contraption – actually a series of pulleys and elevator thingies and one of the most amazing parallel parking car maneuvering critters I’ve ever seen.

We also got to hang out with my friend Zak for a couple of hours. His artwork has become spectacular – beautiful work. His floors are covered in clothes and discarded unidentifiable pieces of… stuff… there are photo lenses and art and stuffed animals duct taped to every flat surface. But his portfolio really is incredible, and he’s doing graphic novels… really cool stuff.

Heather keeps me going.
Heather keeps me going.

I need to start doing some really serious thinking on how to bring these artists together. Tomorrow I’ll prolly spend the day arting, and then maybe do some wandering of Providence (did I mention we’re in Providence? But I really need to find out what I do with all these things and people that I’m encountering. I feel like on top of everything else, I’d like to be DISTRIBUTING these things. Will’s little colouring books, Zak’s graphic novels, Shane’s wisdom, Sonny’s drawings… sigh. What to do, what to do?

Tonight finds us in Providence, RI – staying in the apartment of Sonny Roelle – one of my artist friends from college. The apartment is actually a small room on the upper floor of some sort of artist’s commune/co-op. It’s a really cool cafe/artist’s space/apartment building/gallery space/practice space/performance space/studio space. At the moment, there’s two different bands performing in different parts of the building. Filtering and bouncing off of brick walls. The only other noises are the tapping of our computers and the running water in the turtle tank. Yeah, it’s time for pictures, I guess.

Yup, gotta go photograph the turtles...
Yup, gotta go photograph the turtles…
Zak Smith - friend from high school - working on top secret art stuff that I can't talk about .... really. His tattoos are actually really cool too, though you can't tell in the picture. It sort of just looks like he's been dipped in paint. Admitably, when we caught up with one another at the Orange Bear in NYC, I licked a finger and tried to rub them off. But nope, they're all real. I mean, the one on his hand definately is, the rest - well, once he caught on to what was going on, he wouldn't let my moistened finger near his skin anymore.
Zak Smith – friend from high school – working on top secret art stuff that I can’t talk about …. really. His tattoos are actually really cool too, though you can’t tell in the picture. It sort of just looks like he’s been dipped in paint. Admitably, when we caught up with one another at the Orange Bear in NYC, I licked a finger and tried to rub them off. But nope, they’re all real. I mean, the one on his hand definitely is, the rest – well, once he caught on to what was going on, he wouldn’t let my moistened finger near his skin anymore.
Heather screaming at Jayson to get off our car. Everything you read about him is true: He IS crazy! Well, or at least - I don't know, he's sort of like a damned black leprachaun - however you spell that. He needs to dance around in a little clover ring w. a hat on and do really obnoxious things like sit on your car while you're trying to leave the state. We drive Heather crazy.
Heather screaming at Jayson to get off our car. Everything you read about him is true: He IS crazy! Well, or at least – I don’t know, he’s sort of like a damned black leprechaun – however you spell that. He needs to dance around in a little clover ring w. a hat on and do really obnoxious things like sit on your car while you’re trying to leave the state. We drive Heather crazy.
Heather demanded Muppet Toe Theatre. Oedipus was a flop. Here they were headbanding... MASTER! MASTER!!! MASTER OF MUPPETS IS PULLING MY STRINGS!!!!
Heather demanded Muppet Toe Theatre. Oedipus was a flop. Here they were headbanding… MASTER! MASTER!!! MASTER OF MUPPETS IS PULLING MY STRINGS!!!!
Sonny's room. At the moment, a cello filters up from the band downstairs. Stained glass and toys Star Wars toys. Many a Falcon. (The one on the right was mine till I sold it to Sonny to help him start up a toy store). And turtles..
Sonny’s room. At the moment, a cello filters up from the band downstairs. Stained glass and toys Star Wars toys. Many a Falcon. (The one on the right was mine till I sold it to Sonny to help him start up a toy store). And turtles..
DCF 1.0
DCF 1.0
Heather at Sonny's. She's finally posting stuff! So without further ado...
Heather at Sonny’s. She’s finally posting stuff! So without further ado…

October 21st, 2003.

I’m sitting in the dark. Nothing wrong with it. Just dark. I’ve been dreaming all night. Fever dreams churned out by sleeping on the floor to the tune of an uncontrolled radiator. I don’t remember much. There were three distinct worlds I inhabited last night.

The first, I don’t remember at all – I just remember that all too familiar post-dream thought of “I should remember this”. It was a hilarious thing… I don’t remember anything but laughter

The second was full of quiet tense waiting. I was hiding with friends, maybe even with family, in an abandoned city. I remember the Enemy coming – people filled out with fear, some of them coming to die, some of them coming to kill. We took two women in the middle of the night. They stumbled in to our adopted home, sending us blindly groping for guns. I remeember mine was like one of those cheap disposable cameras – paper and plastic, bright yellow like Kodak, a little counter on the top. I had used 6 of 8 shots.

The women woke us in the middle of the night – a mother who’s children were long dead, supporting her mother in turn, who was dying. Shawled and cold and tattered, they were looking for a warm place out of the wind. Someplace for the old woman to die in peace. Once we decided they were harmless, we allowed them into the dusty interior of the house.

The house itself seems to have once been a bar, or a pretty nice tavern of some sort. Big, wooden walls, dirt floors, small, glass paned windows.

Small windows, I remember that’s why we picked the place. When men with torches came still later in the night, there was the possibility that they hadn’t seen OUR lights, thanks to those small paned windows. Scrambling for lights, fumbling with tiny switches, grasping those damned tiny pegs on long-stemmed upright lamps – clumsy through gloves – we attracted attention and the dream dissolved into the confusion of combat. My cheap disposable pistol was used twice more and used up, feeling like a staple gun as it thudded slugs home into strangers in the doorway. I remember eyes…

And then there’s this third world. Whitney’s floor.

We arrived in Massachussetts sometime around 5pm yesterday. Beautiful sunshine – it’s rare that we’ve been gifted with anything less than crystalline skies during this whole Trip. Traffic was easy coming up 95 (from Providence) and we didn’t even get lost, despite the best attempts of the locals –

No signs in all of Massachussetts are simple. Even large highways find it neccessary to add in little flurishes and exciting curlyqueues… just to make Life interesting. It’s a land where even the highway engineers seem to deem themselves artists, taking liberties with the desired straight lines of our passage, and leaving signatures only visible from space.

Someday, all of New England will hold the occult signifigance of the Nazca Lines – mysterious etchings scrawled across the land with absolutely NO conceivable purpose.

In DC or Philadelphia, future scientists will discover what were clearly means of transportation – but in Massachussetts, they will be baffled, eventually passing it off to art – that wonderful catch-all for all misunderstood and ununderstood artifacts. Hell, if we didn’t have art, we’d have to understand EVERYTHING.

Back in Providence, Art was our medium. It was our surrounding atmosphere, and it was the profession of most everyone we met.

Staying with Sonny was a treat. AS220 is inexplicable – some sort of combination of all things artsy – from coffeehouse to bar, to cheap dorm-like housing to studio space – it has performance spaces and gallery spaces, showers and a stage. What else could anyone ask for? Some day, I hope to put together some sort of artist’s collective – but rather than the idealism of AS220’s unjuried galleries and stated mission of helping artists who can’t help themselves – I plan to state a different type of idealism.

I’d like to create something useful. I don’t believe that art is an end of it’s own. Those of us who’ve deemed ourselves artists have perhaps been lucky that it’s been thought of as a legitimate end in and of itself – but I think it’s a process – not a solution but a path.

Stop me if I get too preachy…

Oh yeah (ha!) you can’t!

There’s two types of art out there – just as there are two types of artists. There’s that stuff you buy with the dogs playing poker, the beautiful landscapes – the stuff that old men in flattened hats have churned out their entire Lives to make a Living. It’s like carpentry or masonry for them. A labour of Love, perhaps – but a creation of a known thing.

For the second type – it’s a solution to the shit inside of them. There’s some Shakespearian line about “the TRUTH MUST OUT!!” or something – Heather would correct me if I bothered to wake her – and it’s like that for a lot of the people I went to school with: things on the inside of our heads that we MUST contend with. However, perhaps lacking the people/talking/something skills that allow other people to be normal, social creatures – lacking what allows the normal human beast to talk about their troubles, sort out their troubles, and solve their troubles – they work it out visually, or musically… or through blood. Some people have even less socially acceptable ways of dealing with the things in their head. Painting and mass murder perhaps are not too different inside the “artist”s head – just one has become a little more accepted in social circles…

And luckily – many Artists’ work – whether it be the interior working of their heads or working through a visual problem while trying to sort out their own heads – that’s easily mistaken for another kind of art… the nice kind that we want to see hanging on our walls… I mean, certainly, it’s even cool to have the tortured, antagonistic kind hanging up here and there – but all of this has combined to make the artist believe that their psychosis produces a thing that is useful to society – in and of itself….

And I just don’t think that the art itself is enough. It’s a means to an end… and we were taught back at MICA (the Institute!!) that that “means” was enough.

So, make a collective of the people who understand that Art itself isn’t enough. You’ve got to do something with it. There are enough art school graduates pissing on crosses and painting red squares and making exciting blocks that generate interest into the plight of the modern woman on the Isle of Galapagos. Very few are accomplishing a damn thing. Some of them start arguements, most simply vanish into closets… if they’re lucky, they start conversations – but very few ever get in the last word.

Art is confined (in general) to the gallery space – the walls. “The art speaks for itself and the viewer takes away what they bring with them – only bent by the work” – that’s all fine and good, but if you want to change the world – there’s a lot more work to be done.

Starting the conversation is key. Most work doesn’t do that. If it’s accessible, it states an opinion – and often as not doesn’t back it up. Continuing the dialog is imperative. Most art is static, and can’t do that. And the artist is behind the walls somewhere, believing his work is done. The art then, after all of this – conversation carried or not – the viewer must walk away with the knowledge that they have communicated with someone/something outside of themselves. This is something that can almost ONLY be accomplished by the artist themselves – in PERSON.

I’m ranting. I’d like to create an artists’ collective that focuses on community, communication – the whole week I was at AS220, I only met three of the other artists Living there. There was nothing being done collectively – it was merely a shared Living space.

Anywho, enough about that. Whitney’s asking questions about the Journal, and my train of thought can only take so much interrogation. Heather has woken up and returned to her book, Whitney is diligent and returns to her physics.

And I’ll stick with this for a bit longer.

Where was I?

Providence, Rhode Island….

Constantly in out travels, we’ve re-encountered old friends of mine. Most expected, some not. All with huge, beautiful personalities. Will Schaff was our host on our last visit. The beautiful creator of beautiful things – but I often wonder where he’s heading. He seems to Live very much in the now, and Coca Cola and nicotine are driving his vibrant body into the ground. I come away from my brief visits with him smelling of smoke and worrying.

Not that that’s my place. We all make our decisions about what our task is here in Life and how much time we need to carry that task out. Every day I balance the needs of what I need to do vs what I have done vs how tired I am of everything. Fatigue of Life certainly drags at me, but people and the needs of people, and my need of people keeps me going. Exploration helps, and the Trip is the tool that puts it all together.

Providence, Rhode Island is beautiful. I see why so many MICAns were drawn to it.

Sonny remains quirky. He fills his Life with a security desk surragate job – parking cars at a local lot. 8+ hours a day, sitting in a box – he uses the time to bend wire into fantastic shapes. I don’t know what’s going on in his head – but he shreds his hands for

DCF 1.0

his art – He’s a toy collector, a Stuff collector (the letters of Vivian Gish? signatures of silent movie stars?) and a pretty successful artist. His works go for a thousand dollars a piece, and they are incredible.

But you have to wonder what’s going on inside. It’s neatly ordered… the time spent twisting wire into all those neatly ordered shapes reminds of the tiny, close packed lines of handwritten books in the movie Se7en. (nobody say ANYTHING!)

That's a close-up of one of his frames...
That’s a close-up of one of his frames…

–Time out – Whitney has taken a break from her physics studying to go and measure her arm with a tape measure – she seems displeased with the results, places the tape measure carefully back into its drawer, and returns to her work. No body ever talks about putting together a physicist commune, but sometimes, I think it might be better to keep them all in one place… And, as I show a greater detail of Sonny’s wire-work, Whitney offers to calculate my personal gravitational pull. I say no thanks.

“Dang!”

Poor Whitney.

Anywho - Here's the cat that stared at us at the Tinker's Nest in Warren, RI. Grr. This beast was very vocal - mewed at us a lot. Probably expressing it's displeasure at my flash, but I took a picture everytime it mewed, so I guess I won that one.
Anywho – Here’s the cat that stared at us at the Tinker’s Nest in Warren, RI. Grr. This beast was very vocal – mewed at us a lot. Probably expressing it’s displeasure at my flash, but I took a picture everytime it mewed, so I guess I won that one.

It’s pretty difficult to focus on Providence, RI, when Whitney’s trying to compact her cat into a sphere, so as better to ascertain the beast’s radius.

Whitney hasn’t really changed, it seems… and perhaps no-one does. She’s still radiantly beautiful, with perfect skin and long brown hair with gold curls all floating back and forth (I’ve always seen them as red). She was my first real girlfriend back in high school, and we dated for about a year and a half. Often blissfully, occassionally turbulently. The photographic evidence showed that we were disgustingly cute together.

But her deep voice is deepened still more by her cold at the moment, and we are given nightmares by the 3am emissions of her overactive radiator. Boston surrounds her like a cloak of mislaid streets, and she knows her city well, reciting small bits of history here and there. Dropping knowledge like leaves from her autumn toned head. It’s good to see her.

But this whole compressing the cat into a sphere thing has got me a little worried.

Providence, RI – A couple of truly fantastic nights – between the Gray Goose open mic (and really good people), and the night after that (the Custom House Tavern) – where we met incredible musicians and incredible storytellers… including one guy that we invited to come play with us for our Sunday night gig at Zog.

The CD sales are getting better – and we made a good amount of cash at the show at Cafe Zog. We saw a lot of familiar faces, and had the place pretty well filled with 32 people or so. Newbies clustered in to see what was going on, and a lot of people that we’d met on our Providence wanderings were there to make us feel welcome.

For the first hour, we were joined by Rob (Artoro Got the Shaft) who has definitely been one of the outstanding personalities in Providence. He’s an excellent percussionist and filled the first part of the gig with appropriated thunder that we would not have had on our own.

Rob is a creature from Kansas, and as such hasn’t quite caught up with the rest of the world yet – “Rad” and “Scope the scene” are frequent parts of his vocabulary, and Heather’s ever-chic sensibilities were shocked. I was very pleased, on the other hand, as these often sneak their way into MY everyday speach, and I was overjoyed to find someone who justified my words.

Of course, after he told the story of how he had to REALLY clean his bathroom because he’d been attacked by a daddy longlegs while excreting urine from … himself… and that he’d had nothing to attack the beast with (he was afraid of being bitten?!) he switched to “short, controlled bursts” – I wasn’t so sure that this was someone I wanted on my side.

I almost laughed pho through my nose.

On that note, I think it’s time to take a break from all this texting. I just need to keep up so that I don’t have to put all of this solid text time in… REMEMBER ROB!!! 15 minutes a DAY!!!

sigh.