January 14th, 2004.

So, it was a really, really long night. And there were some pretty painful moments. People, I mean – in case we need this reinforced out there… are really not at their finest when they’re drunk, and by the end of the night, just about everyone at this place was pretty smashed. It just wasn’t pretty – the first time I’ve been in such a stereotypical bar situation in a long time.

Random picture of a squirrel outside of Amy's Parents' House.
Random picture of a squirrel outside of Amy’s Parents’ House.

But there were shining moments. A couple of people came forward and were really, really helpful, full of information and advice – we ended up asking from the stage for a place to stay for the night, and though we got lots of offers, there was only one we felt comfortable following up on.

The host for the night, Chelsea, and her partner, Beau. They were beautiful. Beau looks like the kind of guy who was going to have a rough as razors, beaten, blown voice. But he opened his mouth and butterflies came out. Sweet and lilting, he has an incredible range, and I think both Heather and I fell for him immediately.

Chelsea is the younger of the two, nineteen and hauntingly beautiful in an art-school kind of way. She’s a nymph, or something, with a contagious smile and energetic voice. We go home with them, spend the night on their couches, learn new bathroom rules (can’t flush the toilet more than once every ten minutes), and get licked by their dog.

Oh sweet dog Love.
Oh sweet dog Love.

Heather’s gotten more dog-Love in the past 48 hours than she’s ever received in her Life.

Chelsea and Beau and Mariposa.
Chelsea and Beau and Mariposa.

Mariposa is playful, Loving, and Lovely. We sleep with all of our parts carefully tucked under blankets. Any exposed flesh is set upon and explored thoroughly, and we spend the night talking and swapping thoughts and thinkings and “tips for the road” – though… what wisdom we REALLY have to pass along, sometimes I wonder (especially after the nights where we sell NOTHING!!! sigh.)

But last night was really one of the nights where I was reminded what I really Love about what we’re doing. Beau and Chelsea were beautiful, and young, and kind, and happy. And they had a happy dog.

This morning was slow and sleepy and sunny, and everyone’s happy…

Happy until Mari got up and got into the trash.

The housemate, Nat (yes – Nat n Beau), gets up. Our only exposure to him the previous night was a couple of screams from the neighbouring bedroom – the death of his character in Zelda, apparently.

He’s checking for hints on the internet to beat whatever digital nemesis he’s facing (“SHIT! I’m going to have to roll the cup across the gap!!”), and wrestles with the dog, throwing her around, grabbing the tale, and mercilessly causing joy in her Life. Finally she steps away for a breather, only to find the rug she’s standing on being dragged back by her opponent, and she’s wrapped in his embrace again.

Kisses ensue… and then came the moment of horror:

“What you been eatin? What you been eatin?!? Spaghetti?!? Chicken parmesan?!? YEAH!! Gimme some of that!!” – Nat has detected the chicken parmesan on Mari’s tongues… and goes after it. s h u d d e r.


Anywho, we’re home now, and I’m feeling powerful. The cold is mostly done with me, and we played everything crazy fast last night, and we sort of jammed this morning before we left. I got clumsy because I was showing off, but I Love playing fast… yum. I think we’re going to sit back and shoot the shit with Justin, watch movies, and wait for the snow.

Heather won her first Scrabble game recently... check out such high points as "civilians" and "digital". Civilians was really where she won the game, using all her letters and using a myriad of small black tiles to ream me horribly.
Heather won her first Scrabble game recently… check out such high points as “civilians” and “digital”. Civilians was really where she won the game, using all her letters and using a myriad of small black tiles to ream me horribly.
Heather spends a lot of her morning time being accosted by animals other than me. I'm not sure how I feel about this.
Heather spends a lot of her morning time being accosted by animals other than me. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

January 20th, 2004.

Sunday started with an excellent practice session – despite ice and snow, ilyAIMY came together and worked out some hairy spots on LooseN, Choke Cherry, and a couple of other tunes – just jamming around for half the night as well. We spent the night at Alfred’s in preparation for our trip south the next day.

Alfred’s very particular about his space, and I don’t think he even knows how much he likes company until he gets it. But I spent a long time in the basement, pacing back and forth, reacquainting myself with my five-string, while watching Al work Photoshop – he’s a true painter with it, and it’s just a pleasure to watch him work the application. I know that probably sounds pretty nerdy – but there’s such beauty in watching someone do what they do best – and he makes mouse and keyboard commands sing with the elegance of glaze and paint.

Originally an airbrush artist – Airbrushing has a special mechanical finesse – all one finger on the nozzle, one on the trigger, rocking the controls back and forth – like playing a flute almost. It’s something I never mastered, but Al brought that grace to a PC. It’s beautiful to watch.

Monday was rough though – it started so beautiful, with Tristan sitting in a sunbeam, and my toes flirting back and forth with … cold tile in shade… warm tile in sun… cold tile… warm tile… cold tile…

Driving out into the cold sun, squinting South-bound and heading to Richmond – I felt we played so well at Riverdale’s Used Bookshop a couple of days back – I was filled with high spirits and optimism. But that sort of came tumbling down a little with a disappointing booking conversation and traffic.

Fortunately, the open mic went really well – but… oh yeah, we didn’t sell but one CD.

Chelsea and Beau at Rare Ole Times - good lord, note how Chelsea perches...
Chelsea and Beau at Rare Ole Times – good lord, note how Chelsea perches…
Chelsea using three capos all at once...
Chelsea using three capos all at once…

It was a rough Monday. The only thing that’s been keeping me going is the warm sunshine of Chelsea and Beau. They just radiate kindness and… stuff. Maybe it’s the hippie inside of them – Beau’s song “Unexpected Guests” totally explains their attitude towards us.

Part of it, I’m sure, is the fact that we are Living the Dream – we are where they want to be in a couple of months, travelling with guitars and songs and the kindness of strangers.

On Luck on Fumes on Spit on Love – it may be my lyric, but Heather really couldn’t have chosen a better title.

Today we went to lunch at a Western-themed restaraunt that I think Heather’s Dad would have really Loved. I had an amazing crab-cake sandwich, and admired the Christmas decor mixed with old wooden farm equipment and hanging six-shooters.

We came back and played music, half-practicing for tomorrow, half just sort of jamming around. Heather and Chelsea’s voices twined to make a bizarre Indigo Girls-esque version of “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N Roses.

For dinner we went over to Chelsea’s parents’ house and ate the best pizza I’ve ever had… and then played more music. Chelsea’s dad is a pretty talented guitar player, and we had a great time running through our own songs, some Chelsea and Beau tunes, and a couple of random covers. I got to play her Dad’s Paul Reed Smith, and his new acoustic bass. For as much as I dislike Tacoma guitars, their basses are wonderful creatures.

Through out the night, I’m wandering through the house, noting microscopes, tiny tiny anvils, miscellaneous tool benches and miniscule tools – and I’m trying to figure out what this man does for a Living – it turns out he’s a jeweller, and he showed me his photo portfolio, and dragged out a bunch of old pieces – incredible work. From modern rings to Celtic knots, all sorts of gold and silver and jewels. Beautiful things.

That’s when it was revealed that the harp in the next room was his new project. It’s a beautiful instrument – he’s thinking of moving on to guitars soon. I’ll be excited to come back and see how THAT goes.

Ok – enough typing out of me, I know that enough has happened and I’ve been slacking enough that I’m just sort of stating facts, and not putting the artistry into it that I should be. I feel bad when I type like that. I think I might just be interested in reading and going to bed.

January 21st, 2004.

It’s 1am, and I’m lactose intolerant.

I depend on Chelsea practicing guitar loudly, I depend on Nat playing Zelda loudly, I depend on Conan o’Brian’s audience screaming loudly. I’m sorry for my body, but the worst part of the Trip is … small houses and bathrooms that aren’t in any way separated from the rest of the Living space. I am worried that I may have vibrated the moulding. I’m just so sorry. And makes me worry about coming out of the bathroom – I worry about who might be sitting on the other side of the door – waiting – listening… fearing.

Perhaps they have to go to the bathroom too… perhaps… perhaps they have to go in there, and suffer the wrath of my ass. I’m just so sorry.

Heather’s going to kill me for typing this.

Hee hee hee.


There is night-time drama being played out in the Natty-Bo house. Mariposa, the dog, wants a warm place to sleep. It shouldn’t be TOO hard, as the heat is quite effective in this tiny house, and there is a couch, as well as our bed, which Heather tries to tempt her into… but Mari wants to sleep with Nat. Please Nat? The wet nose is pressed to the door. Nuzzlings and pushings avail nothing. And she returns to us, and Heather resumes a frantic patting, trying to attract the dog – but Mari then goes to Beau and Chelsea’s door. The head pokes in… half the body… everything but the wagging tail, which slows, and slowly droops, and then she backs out.

Heather again picks up with calling the dog, patting the bed, and the dance continues.

Heather’s reading Anne Rice, and I’m just… lying in bed, typing. I was really wired about an hour ago, and I can feel that in me, just lurking beneath the surface, but I know Heather would have no patience with it – and everyone else has gone to bed. Beau and Chelsea seemed a little unnerved when I started acting up. It’s rough when I run across energetic people – sometimes I end up playing the straight guy for a sec – and then as soon as I loosen up, they don’t quite know what to do with me.

hrm.


January 21st continues…
I woke up this morning in the clutches of a dream. I’ve been dreaming of a lot of bridges, recently – and I’m pretty sure there’s some supposed deep meaning to the whole bridge metaphor when it comes to dream interpretation – transitions, or something… but I’ve never been one who had strong beliefs in psychology. I’ve always felt that most psychology majors I’ve ever met are simply trying to work out their own issues, and they end up using their patients as their sketch-pads. I assume that going from a psych major to a practicing psychologist doesn’t change them much…

 

Yesterday, we went for a short walk in freezing freezing temperatures. Heather just finished her scarf and was very glad of it's existance. Mariposa was in dire need of toe-nail clipping, and so - we went on a MISSION.
Yesterday, we went for a short walk in freezing freezing temperatures. Heather just finished her scarf and was very glad of it’s existance. Mariposa was in dire need of toe-nail clipping, and so – we went on a MISSION.

Anywho, I’m rambling.

A couple of nights ago, it was a long, shining bridge crossing a river into Philadelphia. It was a pretty spectacular construct, and we’d missed a turn and realized that Philly was only a couple of minutes away. We were going to go visit Shane during our unexpected adventure, but we’d forgotten his phone number.

A lawn gnome for Shane.
A lawn gnome for Shane.

Last night, the dream was a little more ominous, and leaves me feeling tense. Another missed turn, but this time, it’s repetitious. We’re pretty close to home – I think it’s the 795 exit that we miss, and in the dream, that’s the last exit before this huge bridge – only it’s not a bridge – you pass this one booth and your car is transformed into – almost a canoe thing – suspended from wires like a ski-lift, and then that is what you ride across this HUGE body of water.

Beau and Chelsea showing us where the met - "I was playing HERE and he was standing about THERE." Excruciatingly sweet.
Beau and Chelsea showing us where the met – “I was playing HERE and he was standing about THERE.” Excruciatingly sweet.

Anywho, it’s the third time we’ve done this in a day, and every time we ride across, I get more nerve-wracked about crossing it. It’s kind of windy, and if you’re not just sitting still, it rocks back and forth horribly. I was so frightened – thinking that this was a really stupid way to risk our Lives.

The local pet supply store, Dogma. I'm amazed by how good Mariposa is about the whole ordeal. We're in and out before Heather and I are done playing with the stuffed hedgehogs. Of course, it can take us quite a while to be done playing with stuffed hedgehogs, but still, it was pretty quick.
The local pet supply store, Dogma. I’m amazed by how good Mariposa is about the whole ordeal. We’re in and out before Heather and I are done playing with the stuffed hedgehogs. Of course, it can take us quite a while to be done playing with stuffed hedgehogs, but still, it was pretty quick.

There was a balding fat guy in the thing ahead of us, and he’d gotten pretty bored, and was showing off – leaning way out to one side, or standing up and sort of surfing the canoe thing… I turned away once I saw what the commotion was about – I’d feel the wires jerk, and then I’d hear very distant cheering and applause from the neighbouring cars.

Eventually, I felt the wires REALLY jerk, almost throwing us out of OUR car, and a collective gasp. The man had fallen out, of course. But he didn’t scream the whole way down. It took forever for him to hit, but he was silent the whole way down.

Then I was woken up by a phone call.

Cravings, in Glen Burnie, would like to book us. On the one hand, I don’t really feel in any position to be turning down gigs – and yet on the OTHER hand – it’s right across the street from Thai Gour, and I… well, if I’m driving over there, I’d rather play Thai Gour. I doubt Cravings will compete with the Thai Gour perks – i.e. the food and the pay.

Well, I guess that’s something to discuss with Heather when she wakes up.

It’s a shower day today.


More optimistic day – we’ve gotten two emails about booking ilyAIMY (a booking agent from a club we were interested in will be coming to our gig tonight, and a guy contacted us about a singer/songwriter series in Baltimore called “A Night of Stars”) as well as that phone call from Cravings. Even if none of these items are probably HUGE deals, it’s enough to make me feel wanted.

The shower was nothing short of spectacular. I left steam wraiths in the window, twisting and whining their displeasure at the weather outside. Afterwards, I’m lying on the couch, realizing how long it had been since I had been the listener, sitting in the Living room, slowly falling asleep. Beau is picking out the melodies of half-remembered tunes, practicing finger-picking styles – I’ve forgotten whar it’s like to be the audience, curled in on myself with the dog, losing consciousness.

January 22nd, 2004.

Very quickly, we're home again, with Mari being forced to try on hats. Poor pup.
Very quickly, we’re home again, with Mari being forced to try on hats. Poor pup.

We played Chopstix last night with Chelsea and Beau – and had a spectacular time. Though the venue itself was kind of… unfortunate (they paid $80 to play there? the place wouldn’t let us into set up for a 10pm show till 9.30? They still charged me a dollar for a soda?!?) they gig itself was soo much fun. I’m going through recordings of the night now. A whole lot of tuning on Chelsea’s part.

Erf. I hate sorting the recordings.

Heather on drums. I got to play bass for the night, too. She just looks like such a bad ass.
Heather on drums. I got to play bass for the night, too. She just looks like such a bad ass.
Sandy. A Lovely creature. I've written at least three or four songs about her, and have always found her irresistable. She's in Virginia as a art-school graduate student. She made me a bunny.
Sandy. A Lovely creature. I’ve written at least three or four songs about her, and have always found her irresistable. She’s in Virginia as a art-school graduate student. She made me a bunny.
Chelsea and Beau at Chopstix. Entirely mirror encased stage with disco balls and all sorts of weird lights. I wish we'd had Cat there to like REALLY make it a show.
Chelsea and Beau at Chopstix. Entirely mirror encased stage with disco balls and all sorts of weird lights. I wish we’d had Cat there to like REALLY make it a show.
At the end of the night, we did a couple of covers and a couple of their tunes all together. I'm standing over in front of one of the speakers, playing bass.
At the end of the night, we did a couple of covers and a couple of their tunes all together. I’m standing over in front of one of the speakers, playing bass.

The night was really wonderful, and I think I fell in Love with ALL of their friends. Just really good people. AND Sandy showed up – Sandy of the long blonde hair and the beauty and the wonder and the oh my God she’s so wonderful. A really fantastic night. The only thing that marred it was a fantastically intense bout of stomach discomfort that struck midway through Matador. My capacity for playing guitar almost audibly just vanished. I started losing some notes, a whole verse in Spiral, and we clipped a song as I just started feeling too sick to play. Cursed microwave white-sauce lasagna.

Chelsea and Mariposa... HUNTING. I spent some time just lazily shooting with my camera set to "manual", getting a better feeling for what it can do and how I can control it. I Love shooting in bright, concentrated sunshine - and Chelsea's such a beautiful subject, even if we're just sort of hanging out doing nothing.
Chelsea and Mariposa… HUNTING. I spent some time just lazily shooting with my camera set to “manual”, getting a better feeling for what it can do and how I can control it. I Love shooting in bright, concentrated sunshine – and Chelsea’s such a beautiful subject, even if we’re just sort of hanging out doing nothing.

A good night, but a rough one. Oof.

Today, I’m feeling a lot better, but worrying about the time I’m wasting on the computer. The logistics of recording a night, taking photographs, organizing the recordings (both audio and visual), writing about it… setting it up in the web page… burning versions of it for the computer-bereft Chelsea n Beau… pleh.

We stayed up till 5am hanging out with one of their friends that had popped by after the gig, and then I’ve sort of wasted the whole day sitting here fooling with all this shit.

The Grate of Fear. This thing heats the house - quite effectively, but I can't get over how scary it is to be able to see the pilot light, glowing and glaring blue up through the floor. Mariposa has learned to leap over it, but if you forget yourself and stand on it for a little bit, it melts into your shoes.
The Grate of Fear. This thing heats the house – quite effectively, but I can’t get over how scary it is to be able to see the pilot light, glowing and glaring blue up through the floor. Mariposa has learned to leap over it, but if you forget yourself and stand on it for a little bit, it melts into your shoes.

Pleh.

But the recordings of C&B turned out half-decent, and… well, when we stay with anyone for any length of time, there’s always the question of how we can possibly return the favour. In this case, I’m feeling pretty good about myself, because they’ll probably be able to get a little make-shift CD out of the night’s recordings, and that might help them with making rent.

Heather’s on the verge of finishing a new song – a beautiful almost war song. Unfortunately, I’m probably going to end up calling it the Chupacabra song. The reason for this will become more apparent once she finishes it and we start playing it out.

listening to Led Zepplin – the BBC sessions

Boredom is threatening to take its toll. We’re watching Jeopardy. Sigh.

January 23rd, 2004.

Played Puddinghead’s last night before leaving for Home. Fantastic night, though perhaps best described in pictures…. an open mic that at first was slightly discouraging. A bit sparse in patronage upon first sight – the guys who were playing had been playing for a while, and KEPT playing for a while – and kept saying things like “you all don’t mind if we play one more, right? Look there’s 80 people out there asking us to play one more!” “How about one more?” “Oh, I don’t see the host, you all don’t mind if we play one more?” – which always rubs me the wrong way. But at least they were good musicians, a good bass player – fun to listen to.

We got one last session in with Beau and Chelsea. Well, Heather did - I got to step back and just be a fanboy for a couple of minutes.
We got one last session in with Beau and Chelsea. Well, Heather did – I got to step back and just be a fanboy for a couple of minutes.
Indian Steve... how do I explain? I was warned that he "sometimes plays his hat"
Indian Steve… how do I explain? I was warned that he “sometimes plays his hat”

No-one really told me what that MEANT!

When Indian Steve plays his hat – well there’s a metal hatband running around the bass of the hat that acts as a pickup, and he pulls down those hat strings and plays them like a washtub bass almost.

We started off the night playing Push – and had the audience right from the start. The sound was perfect, my voice was doing really well – it was just a great performance night.

And then – there’s this floppy bass sound – I look at Heather’s guitar, thinking she’d lost a string or something – and then realize the host, Steve, has come up and plugged in his HAT! He sort of stabilized after a while, and I even gave him a bass solo during Deep in the AM. During Locomotive Breath, he picked up his flute and experimented with playing along – but we play it with a capo on the first fret , and he couldn’t adapt…

So I scoot over and ask him he could play along sans the capos – he says yes, so Heather and I do a little break, and knock each other’s capos to the ground, and he breaks into this spectacular flute solo.

The audience goes wild.

Good CD sales that night. Very pleased. I wish HE could come to PLOJ. He and JR would make quite the pair.

Also at Puddinheads, there was a spectacular woman working the counter with a star on her back. I admired her for a while and then asked her about the star over banana bread – most people have a story about their tattoos, and I was pretty sure this one had to be a good one – as the tattoo was sooo simple, and so prominently displayed.

[She's a STAR - er... applied mathematics major, rather. I was too nervous to ask to photograph her from the front as she seemed to have a follower trying to do just that (she was wearing a low-cut front) and receiving a whole lot of angst for his trouble.]
[She’s a STAR – er… applied mathematics major, rather. I was too nervous to ask to photograph her from the front as she seemed to have a follower trying to do just that (she was wearing a low-cut front) and receiving a whole lot of angst for his trouble.]

I must admit, I’d been expecting some sort of simple response – a star because she’s GOING TO BE A STAR!!! Or, more likely, I was expecting something about Paganism and witchcraft (which I DID end up getting, but it was like second down on a list of reasons – and it wasn’t the expected “oh, it’s a pentagram because I’m a witch!)

When I asked about it, she went through a pretty lengthy “uhm and ah” phase, where she seemed to be sizing me up as to what she could tell me. I gave her the “pentacle” lead because I wasn’t sure if maybe she’d run into trouble explaining – maybe Richmond is conservative enough that some people would get pissed-off if there was any hint of DEVILWORSHIPPINWITCHCRAFTCOMMIETREE-
HUGGIN about.

But she explained that the five-pointed star was a representation of perfection, related to the Golden Mean, phi, and the natural proportions that crop up again and again in… er… nature…. there was a huge explaination that I’m not embarassed to say primarily went over my head. I left my fascination with numbers behind a couple of years ago, and though there are times that I miss it…

Anywho, I was semi-familiar with the concept through art school – that there are naturally “perfect” proportions that exist, that we find attractive. I’d never run across the five-point star as a representation of that, but it makes sense as a culmination of those concepts.

Another reason had to do with the representation of humanity being perfected through the joining of a man and a woman – I think going back to Pagan symbology. I was curious about what this implied about her beliefs – about what she thought about equality vs the popularized concept of feminism, etc etc – But you don’t get into that conversation with somone while they’re trying to bus tables.

It was good back-story – (no pun intended) for a woman who will eventually fade from my memory – being nothing but what I write down here and an image of a star. It’s strange to think that in another couple of years she’ll be nothing but a couple of paragraphs and a star and a memory of crystalline eyes.

It’s a shame – this Trip is about communication, you know? But I feel like we’re moving too fast to create any ties. Quantity over quality? I just don’t know.

With any luck, she’ll look over the Journal and say “IT JUST AINT TRUE” and email me a better description… and maybe even her name.

Sigh.

Gosh… am I creepy? I hope I’m not creepy.

I think I’m about to get a half-dozen emails from people saying “yep, you’re creepy.”

July 30th, 2004.

My head being eaten by Mariposa as I'm hung like meat within the Chelsea and Beau home.
My head being eaten by Mariposa as I’m hung like meat within the Chelsea and Beau home.
Yeah, spent some time hanging upside down for spinal purposes... I think it may have even done me some good - my lower back has been hurting a lot, especially after even moderately long drives. It hurt alot a gain the night after, but today (07.31) feels pretty good.
Yeah, spent some time hanging upside down for spinal purposes… I think it may have even done me some good – my lower back has been hurting a lot, especially after even moderately long drives. It hurt alot a gain the night after, but today (07.31) feels pretty good.
We spent a couple of hours on Friday just meandering around Carytown, an artsy district of Richmond, VA. The flora semi-reflected the course to the day, from beautiful spectacular flaming flowers to morbid decaying mushrooms.
We spent a couple of hours on Friday just meandering around Carytown, an artsy district of Richmond, VA. The flora semi-reflected the course to the day, from beautiful spectacular flaming flowers to morbid decaying mushrooms.
As for the giant beetle, we found him making his way down Cary Street eating poodles and drooling over young children. We wanted to catch him for Amy but felt that he might kill us in our sleep, nest in our brains, and try and take over the world. Also, we didn't have a plastic bag or anything.
As for the giant beetle, we found him making his way down Cary Street eating poodles and drooling over young children. We wanted to catch him for Amy but felt that he might kill us in our sleep, nest in our brains, and try and take over the world. Also, we didn’t have a plastic bag or anything.
DCF 1.0
A mirror out in front of a Carytown magic shop. Very circus atmosphere - lots of big, bright yellow flyers.
A mirror out in front of a Carytown magic shop. Very circus atmosphere – lots of big, bright yellow flyers.
We've got to go back to the Byrd theatre and see if they ALWAYS pair movies like this. They have movies for 1.99 and Saturday midnight flicks of excitingly disturbing flavour, with a wurlitzer player doing pre-cinema entertainment.
We’ve got to go back to the Byrd theatre and see if they ALWAYS pair movies like this. They have movies for 1.99 and Saturday midnight flicks of excitingly disturbing flavour, with a wurlitzer player doing pre-cinema entertainment.
Bookstore cats are one of Heather's favourite creatures. Spectacularly well-read, extremely knowledgable, and above all, displaying of a refined taste when it comes to napping places, we found a trio of bookstore cats Living in a small shop in Carytown. There were these two matching beasts in the front window, and a tiny kitten at the cash register.
Bookstore cats are one of Heather’s favourite creatures. Spectacularly well-read, extremely knowledgable, and above all, displaying of a refined taste when it comes to napping places, we found a trio of bookstore cats Living in a small shop in Carytown. There were these two matching beasts in the front window, and a tiny kitten at the cash register.
We also went antiquing, and found a beautiful shop called the Elephant's Toe that had tiny rooms packed with silver. It was like the Smithsonian or something. Glowing.  On the one hand, I sort of missed Chelsea and Beau - we only got to hang out with them for a couple of waking hours this time around, but on the other hand, Heather and I somehow very RARELY take the time to explore our locales, and it was nice to get a chance to wander. She makes the heat worthwhile. We found tonnes of miscellaneous metal and random washers, screws, beads, ceiling wax and kings for Heather's jewlery project. Even found a discarded zip disc. It seems like not so long ago when those 97 megabyte cartridges were the epitome of storage. And now they are nothing but dismantled plastic in Richmond alleys.
We also went antiquing, and found a beautiful shop called the Elephant’s Toe that had tiny rooms packed with silver. It was like the Smithsonian or something. Glowing.
On the one hand, I sort of missed Chelsea and Beau – we only got to hang out with them for a couple of waking hours this time around, but on the other hand, Heather and I somehow very RARELY take the time to explore our locales, and it was nice to get a chance to wander. She makes the heat worthwhile. We found tonnes of miscellaneous metal and random washers, screws, beads, ceiling wax and kings for Heather’s jewlery project. Even found a discarded zip disc. It seems like not so long ago when those 97 megabyte cartridges were the epitome of storage. And now they are nothing but dismantled plastic in Richmond alleys.
DCF 1.0
We stopped at the North Carolina welcome centre - and my first impression of North Carolina was that the state smells of pines, and that they have friendly moths. The moment I stepped out of the car, the air took on a turpentine twinge, and moments later, this little guy just fluttered on to my hand. It took bribery to get hom to depart.
We stopped at the North Carolina welcome centre – and my first impression of North Carolina was that the state smells of pines, and that they have friendly moths. The moment I stepped out of the car, the air took on a turpentine twinge, and moments later, this little guy just fluttered on to my hand. It took bribery to get hom to depart.

Oh my God. Richmond was beautiful – we wandered Carytown for a couple of hours, hunting beetles and relief from the heat. Today I discovered the wonder that is Minute Maid Limeade. We scrounged steel from the streets, and pawed through antique shops and found keys and wires and kittens. In good spirits, we packed up the car and headed to Hell.

The AC didn’t kick on. Maybe a bit of cool air for a moment, but it evaporated in the summer oven heat of the Saturn interior. Gasping for breath, we wrap Heather’s headscarf around the steering wheel so that it can be touched by human hands. Two blocks later the scarf has screwed so far into the steering column that Heather can barely park at the 7-Eleven. Shredding the fabric with my knife wrests control back from the scarf, but fifteen minutes out of Richmond, the car is over-heating. We balance the engine temperature by watching the guage and switching from AC to HEAT depending on what will drive the temperature down at any given moment… The venue that we plan to play in Raleigh doesn’t open until 9pm so we can’t get through to them on the phone to confirm anything. Upon arrival, we find that Pantana Bob’s is now a private club and doesn’t allow outsiders in. We search for food and get caught at every stop light in the city as the car creeps to redline….

I’m almost in tears as we eat a Lovely Quizno’s dinner, and then I realize that the place we’re crashing tonight isn’t in Raleigh after all, but in Durham.

Shit.

Though the car’s temperature remains semi-stable, we leave the AC off so as not to worry ourselves, discover that the exit we need to take has been closed, miss a turn during the detour, and pull in to Durham only to realize that we’ve left our gas cap in Nashville.

January 25th, 2005.

On the road again.

We’re in …. well, no, I don’t actually know WHERE we are. We played Richmond, Virginia tonight – a bar called Cafe Diem. Tonight we’re staying with Chelsea and Beau, and we’re turning in exhausted in the middle of nowhere, the woods and forests south of Petersburg, just short of the North Carolina border.

Back in Maryland, we have 7" of snow and filthy cars. It's somewhat embarassing to drive around in North Carolina... their cars don't even seem to KNOW of "road salt".
Back in Maryland, we have 7″ of snow and filthy cars. It’s somewhat embarassing to drive around in North Carolina… their cars don’t even seem to KNOW of “road salt”.

Today did not start as a good day. Between the bitter cold and an ice-caked driveway, even just loading the car was a bit more onerous than it should’ve been. Then there was an oil change that needed doing, and CDs that needed burning, and money that needed depositing and nails that needed purchasing. All in all, we left Owings Mills an hour and a half later than planned and managed to hit DC rush hour, Richmond rush hour, and a hideous clog of coagulated red brake lights the whole ride south on 95. It was a long, long drive.

And yet, look… o – ok… if Heather ever wants to describe the distraction that just took place, I’ll let her… but… what the HELL was I thinking about.

And yet, looking at the clock, the drive only took us about 3.5 hours – but there’s something about a drive that crosses the sunset barrier. We drive good at night. We drive good during the day. But cross the threshold into darkness (as we are wont to do) and it suddenly feels like we’ve added a full day to the drive.

Chelsea, Beau and Mariposa in the sun after the storm.Someday, we WON'T arive really late after a gig all exhausted and tired, and we WON'T have to leave early the next day to get to some other state. We miss them.
Chelsea, Beau and Mariposa in the sun after the storm.Someday, we WON’T arive really late after a gig all exhausted and tired, and we WON’T have to leave early the next day to get to some other state. We miss them.

Sketch for Cafe Diem:
My rememberance of Cafe Diem is a sign sitting on the sidewalk with a chalked reminder that “Monday is open mike night”. I noted that, remembered it months later, looked it up, and decided that we’d check it out the next time the proper planets aligned. I was under the impression that it was a coffee house.

We walked into dark decor, smoke-laden dimness, and impression of wood and glass. High, central, semi-crowded bar, no musicians in evidence – it wasn’t what I was expecting, and I was suddenly dreading the night. I was fearful of a night full of covers and loud conversations and grizzled old men coming on to Heather.

Our experiences in Richmond bars so far have NOT been positive.

We found that we were an hour and a half early for the open mic, and we sat down to think about our time, and what we had done. The bartender came over and gave us menus, and slowly my opinion turned. There was an aura… something in the quality of the cloth on the tables, or perhaps just the TYPES of food offered… not typical bar fare, but high-endish sounding sandwiches… something spoke to me. I felt that we could risk it… we asked about the soup… and then we ventured further. We asked about ginger ale and then about sandwiches and french fries and bread.

I won’t try to go into descriptions, mostly because the focused recollection would leave me puddling drool onto the surface of my laptop.

Go to Richmond. Go to Cafe Diem. Eat the gumbo. That’s all I have to say about that.

And then the guitars started filing in. I was surprised how the night filled out. Perhaps eating my last fry was some sort of signal – but like gamers converging on the lone female Klingon at a con – musicians came out of the woodwork and flooded in. Guitar after guitar, a keyboard, a cello, eventually a drumkit.

It turned into a really good night – we met a lot of people, reencountered some old friends from long ago Richmond trips. No hat-players this time around – but s’ok…

August 17th, 2005.

And so I was up till 8am.  Again.  I had to leave for the studio by 10.30am, so that sort of sucked the four foot dick, but this too we survive.  I picked up Heather from the Perk, downed a chocolate mocha (which no-one but Mitzi seems to be able to make right) and headed to Puresound, slowly beginning to vibrate.

I don’t know what they put in those things, but the time I was recording my guitar solos, I was playing a mile-a-minute….

Hrm.  Rowan’s here.  More later.


Hrm… so where was I… oh yeah.  Rowan cometh.  Which is in the past.  But it’s in the future of this post, so we shall not speak of it again, until the time cometh. And for all of you sickos (or perhaps just hopefuls) who want to make Rowan cometh jokes, well – I’ll get you some day and lay out some smackdown.

We worked on a LOT of stuff.

Just about finished Bulldozer.  Nailed the percussion on Counting.  The second guitar on March of the Rabbit kicks ass if I do say so myself.  Nailed the guitar solo for PINE (thanks to that mocha).  Mixed Pocketing (it’s got some more percussion work to go) punched some missed lyrics in Strain and in In the Water.  All in all a damned busy (and productive) day.

It was damned hot at the Carytown Watermelon Festival in Richmond, VA.
It was damned hot at the Carytown Watermelon Festival in Richmond, VA.

I Love having a percussionist for an engineer.  Jeremy just knows just knows his shit SO well… and I Love how he mics Heather’s voice.  She’s never sounded so velvet.

After the studio, Heather and I both headed over to Perk to play the open mic.

Had a good time there.  Relaxed a bunch, but felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone.  Most everyone’s sort of coupled off at the moment, but after a while I found myself someone sweet to go home with: Rowan and I went back to his place afterwards and sat with my collection of downloaded Robot Chicken.  We also fixed my Alienware with military issue duct tape.  It’s not pretty.

There were plenty of cooling stations set up for DOGS at the Watermelon Festival. It was mostly the humans who suffered.
There were plenty of cooling stations set up for DOGS at the Watermelon Festival. It was mostly the humans who suffered.
Chuck - Chelsea's Dad (Chelsea and Beau of Ominotago) playing percussion with Steppin' Stones at the Watermelon Festival in Richmond, VA.
Chuck – Chelsea’s Dad (Chelsea and Beau of Ominotago) playing percussion with Steppin’ Stones at the Watermelon Festival in Richmond, VA.

Sleepy.  Got a LOT of writing to do for the Journal, the Studio Journal, emails that I haven’t answered… AND I’ve only had 2 hours of sleep…. sigh.  The bed calls sooo very, very soon.