February 21st, 2006.

So, finding the bathroom in the dark is becoming a recurring theme. Heather and I got into Savannah last night after a hideous fight with I-95 traffic. I think I’ve griped about the non-charm of the entirety of Interstate 95 before, but it seems particularly prone to having stuff strewn across it by truckers as well, so not only is there nothing to look at, there’s also invariably some stretch of it that is impossibly impassible because (in this case) someone has run an 18-wheeler into a wall and spilled huge steel girders all across the road.

The sign for the Skylight Nightlight & Exchange in Chapel Hill, NC.
Our chance encounter with one of the cooler trios I’ve ever encountered in the used record and book and coffee smelling interior of the Skylight Exchange. Huge speakers, old books… does it get better? Well, yeah – we could’ve sold some damned CDs! Death.

So, we didn’t end up going to an open mic last night, because we wanted to play with Chris.

Going to GEORGIAAAAAAH!!! Sigh. Stuck in traffic for two hours while steadfastly failing to make any progress towards Georgia. We’re stuck behind a car whose license plate reads “wah hoo”. After a while the unrepentant and at the moment unjustified joy of this grates at my soul.
Heather doesn’t know how to deal with animals, and I think we’ve had other pictures similar to this in the past – rather than picking them up and MOVING them, or just shooing them places, Heather invariably uses my sock in an effort to TEMPT them. Artemis enjoys our warmth and our gentle strokings and believes that it’s her right as a cat to sit there and be Loved. Heather feels otherwise, but is having only marginal success at undermining Artemis’ belief structure. Unfortunately, this marginal success is being accomplished with the use of one of my favourite socks. Of course, rather than fighting, like any good documentor, I take the picture first, THEN fly into action.

Chris is an old roommate from college, and one of my favourite memories from MICA. I know he reads this, so perhaps I HAVE to say that, but I actually mean it. A quick sketch of him would involve angular features, a quick wit hidden by a calm voice, gaunt ribs, honey and bizarre cartoon figures. I associate him with indie rock and Johann Vasquez and the Nightmare Before Christmas.

An interesting observation – when I encounter friends of friends, you invariably see old photographs and then you meet them and they’ve changed their hair, their manner, their mode of dress. One thing that I’ve really Loved about reencountering most of my friends as we’ve travelled is that they’ve remained pretty… well… “stable” isn’t the right word… but “static” sans the arrested development type overtones to the term. Heather noted it and made the hypothesis that artists specifically are such visual people that they latch on to an image of themselves pretty early in their Lives and stick with it. Maybe. I don’t know. Maybe our exploration of self just focuses on what we do rather than who we are cause we’ve given up on that so early, simply giving ourselves up as freaks.

Heather vs Artemis. Heather doesn’t win.
Chris takes us to the beach. There are lots of signs up warning us to stay of the “jetties”, but none of us are sure what a “jetty” is. At first we thought it might be these rocks, or something, but climbing on them didn’t bring any official ire. We tried climbing on other things too, but none of them seemed particularly dangerous nor did they earn us reprimand. We think that perhaps a jetty is like a “herd” – a plural form of rocks. Caution was obviously necessary, but since it’s not mating season for boulders, we just had to be sure not to wake them.

There’s entirely too much thought going into that. Heather’s enjoyed meeting my friends, and likes the fact that she hasn’t really been caught by surprise by them. They look and act pretty much as I remember. I’m pleased that I sort of return the favour. Chris’ voice is a little deeper, I think, and he’s perhaps a little more serious, but he has cooler toys, and we spent an hour or so flying X-Wings and TIE Fighters into one another, trying to blow up one another’s capital ships. I’m still not quite sure how he managed to win. Shooting Ewoks in the head was also pretty satisfying, though not nearly so much as death-hugging a Wookie with a Wampa. It was a good night.

February 22nd, 2006.

Life’s okay. Chris took us to the beach yesterday, and the weather was simply perfect. Amy’s telling me that there’s snow back home (of COURSE!) but I can’t be made to care – I don’t usually like the beach, but the landscapes around Savannah are just exquisite.

Finally, grafitti that makes sense!
Chris and Heather walking on the beach on Tybee Island, GA.

February 24th, 2006.

Tuesday night we drove up to Blufton, South Carolina to play the Blufton Ale House.

I’m not sure what’s happening here. Unfortunately, though it LOOKS like some OCD human has wandered the beach and fed every crab chocolate sprinkles, this is probably the result of some sort of crab house cleaning where it decides that the tunnel is too filled with crab poop to go on. Very odd.
As the sun sets, you can get a real for the textures of Tybee Island, GA.

My natural inclination in all things is to get places early, and even though I’d talked to the actual HOST this time, who’d assured me that nothing occured till 10pm, we still ended up aiming for about 9.30pm. Of course, it makes things easier in that I don’t actually want to leave the house. Chris and Star Wars, Battlefront II, and the dog and the cats and Pamela all combine into a powerful “oh, I don’t REALLY have to work tonight, do I?” kind of force. We end up leaving later than I desire with a nagging feeling that we COULD really stay just FIVE more minutes… one more mission? Hunt one more Jawa? Kill Luke Skywalker ONE more time?

We sigh, pat Artemis, Zorro and Spooky on the head and then, having run out of excuses, leave.

And of course, with my individual temporal aesthetic, even though we miss the place and have to double back, even though we’re a little bit worried that we’ve become lost in the dark backroads of South East South Carolina, we still end up waiting for about 45 minutes before the music starts.

John O’Gorman is the host and part owner of the Blufton Ale House, and talks about how before settling down here he’d made a Living for 10 years just playing guitar – and the more I listen to him play, the more I’m inclined to believe it wasn’t the meagre Living we’re making now. This guy is a BEAST.

And the sun goes dooooowwwwwnnnnnn!

So, after watching him and the first guy on the list perform about an hour’s worth of covers, Heather and I approach the stage – and we know that either things can go poorly – because the audience has been rocking out to covers and only likes familiar things… or they can go well – because the audience has been rocking otu to good music, and likes all good music.

Things went well. Very well. I was really flattered to find out later that John had been in back asking Chris and Pamela about us. You don’t do that about people you don’t like. Probably the musical equivelent to asking someone to find out a little more about that GIRL you like… you KNOW the one… the one with the long dark hair? Is she REALLY crazy?

After our set, we took some time to work the room, sell CDs, etc., and then John asked us to sit in and jam with him for another half an hour plus, and we went through every Jimi Hendrix tune I know. John and I swapped leads, and an amazing bass player (coincidentally from Largo, MD) sat in as well, inspiring all sorts of good chaos. Of course, all of this happening while being handed tequilla shots. It was a good night.

On the drive home we encountered a frightening number of deer. Staring. Peering. Bounding out of the darkness and retreating into the fog. Beautiful beasts. We creep back into the house hounded by Spooky and collapse into bed.


Last night we played the Bay Street Blues open mic in Savannah, GA. Strangely enough, though we’ve been here for almost a week, this is our first time actually playing in Savannah. Playing music, anywho. We’ve played with the dog, and played with the cats, and played a lot of Battlefront… but music? Psh.

And of course THAT means Artemis has to check it out…
Spooky wants to come home with my cheetah case. Lovely mammal.

The open mic was pretty successful, and we met a lot of cool people, but the homecoming was somehow the fun part. Chris was wise and stayed home to get some sleep (though there’s something about these bars with real, if tiny, stages and a LOUD sound system that make us play our best), but there’s something simply very homey to coming back to a house, greeting the dog and trying to keep her quiet, and having a sleepy voice asking how the night went. You sit and talk for a bit, exhausted and still glowing warmly with the tequilla that you got at yet another bar. Then there’s a bit of work to wrap up, and then finally bed. Life’s pretty alright.

February 26th, 2006.

Sleepy rob. We’re in Wilmington, NC and Deanne’s new house is just beautiful. The dogs are welcoming and curious about the scents of Spooky, Artemis and Zorro. So much sunshine, but 40 degrees cooler than it was down in Savannah. Really good gig last night, and we’ve been shopping, running errands – but now I just want to relax on the couch and watch tv. It’s nice not to be driving.

Savannah was just such a good experience, and I’m eager to repeat it. Unfortunately, I’m looking at our calendar, and it seems like the earliest we can do it is in August. I’m a little frustrated by that. Not only is August just a brutal time in the year to be going that far south, but we’ve been doing this for two and a half years or so, and we still don’t have the kind of organization that I’d like to have. I’d like to be able to sit down and chart something out that makes sense, and put on the map all the points that I really, really just WANT to go to.

Looking at photographs of the past. Chris dug these out of an old box. Me looking crazy thin and comparing tongue colours with Rick, meeting a clown on the streets of Baltimore..
Joyous Spooky, the Thing What Speaks, Chewbacca… somethin… I forget her full name.

Even the Journal reflects that – where I’d like this, perhaps, to be more organized – a real showcase of writing, I’m perhaps lazy in allowing it to be a rambling thing. Certainly more personal, but compared to the writings and articles of Heather’s heroes (like Ernie Pyle), the Journal is comparatively incoherent. I’d like to one day see this put together into a book – I’d like this to be read by a LOT more people – Chris pointed out that there really isn’t anything else like this on the internet, and I would like to take advantage of that somehow. People Love to read about other people’s Lives – and maybe mine’s just not seedy enough… I need volunteers to make my Life a little more sordid.

March 1st, 2006.

I’m sitting in the Smelly Cat Coffeehouse in Charlotte, NC amidst old painted doors and desk lamps and hanging metal foil biplanes. It seems a very cool place though the strawberry banana smoothie is perhaps not as lush as I would’ve liked.

We went on a wandering with Chris and discovered candy stores down by the river in Savannah, GA. Scary gloves for making the brittle. We had something so spectacular… oh… oh… what WAS it called? As soon as I remember I’m going to write it here and then go salivate for a bit. This was amaaaazing!
African Claw Frogs that you can buy. They are NOT in the box, apparently. Very interesting conversation over all of that. I talked to the guy behind the cunter about that for a while – he’s an artist as well – check out Zack’s paintings at –

The last couple of days in Wilmington have been beautiful – the weather’s been nice, and we’re among lots of friends there, with the only angst coming from the fact that we don’t have enough time to share among all of them.

Santa dressing up as a Leprechaun makes for just a frightening visage stalking us on the streets of Savannah, GA. Chris tells me that they take Saint Patrick’s Day pretty damned seriously, which they must since it’s like… February. Personally, I think there need to be more Santa’s floating around in drag. A good Queen Claus would amuse me greatly.
Heather went and shot this man out and about down by the river in Savannah, painting a beautiful likeness of this building.

It’s places like Wilmington where I sort of realize how thin I’m spread. I think we’re finally to the point where we’re not really interested in spreading a whole week in one town – we’ve done a lot of “show up, play gig, play gig, leave town” sort of scheduling this time around, and though it makes us feel more accomplished, and perhaps it’s a bit more lucrative (not to mention all those different town names sure look better on the back of the postcards), but it means that we’re a little neglectful. I was really glad we got to go out to lunch with Bambi and all of her friends on Sunday afternoon – out to Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn – the only biker burrito place I’ve ever been to with an Elvis motif. Great food, in-house salsas… I’m very happy with the feasting right now. Not a REALLY good trait for someone who’s trying to lose some road-weight, but I’m a special brand of at-the-moment-abstinant hedonist.

Chris wants to take this yellow-shirted man home with him. I felt this was a challenge to my newfound home. In any case, these guys were doing an awesome, awesome version of Brown-Eyed Girl. Great voices, and he was a pretty good picker. What was funny is that when we crossed the street, the restaraunt on the corner had the same song coming through their house speakers. The original definitely suffered by comparison.
The sun sets behind one of the numerous squares in Savannah, GA.

Meaning – damn but that was a good burrito… and then we got Deanne’s cooking in the deal? More “damn”.

In any case, I’m wondering what we’re about to get into with the Evening Muse. The NoDa arts district seems strangely quiet and maybe even run-down for an area that I’ve heard SO much about. Despite a penchant for purple buildings, I have yet to build up much of an opinion of the area. The art galleries are closed, we were some of the only customers at Cabo Fish Taco (where Katie suggested we have linner) and we are the solitary souls inhabiting the entity that is the Smelly Cat.

I’m sure it must REALLY come alive at night.

Thursday, Pamela takes us on another tour of Savannah. We start off in one of the local cemetaries with old gravestones dating back from the 1700s. A lot of the stones are mounted on the surrounding wall, but I unfortunately didn’t find out the story behind that – I haven’t seen that done anywhere else.

From there we wandered into the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist. This has been recently renovated in 1999 with a price tag of $11,700,000. I was pretty overwhelmed by that amount of money. They have collection boxes all around the church. What blows my mind is that today, in 2006, they have repaid over $10 million. I wonder how the finances on something like that work. $10 million is 6 years? That’s a whole lot of dollars slipped into those little boxes.

During my spare time, I try to write or call people that I haven’t talked to in a while, with the idea that keeping connections with other people is a good thing, and with the concept behind THAT that renewing old friendships can be good too – if only for the educational value. Myspace has made that easier, makes it all too easy, perhaps. I’ve been startled by the sheer number of old high school friends are out there and floating around. Going through the high school searchy thing, a surprising number of my old classmates had at one point joined the circus. Odd. I guess we all craved departure. And like myself, most of them have never quite made the leap of actually Living outside our home state. I’m glad I’m not the only one making contact here and there. It sometimes makes me feel like a stalker.

March 3rd, 2006.

Nightmares about apocalypse. Heather claims I have a lot of them, but I think they’re just the most memorable, perhaps. All in all, this one was a lot less graphic (I’ve had a good number where I’ve woken up with a very intense memore of childrens slack-fleshed fingers rolling out from under my boots), but a little more stressful. People packed in a panic into some sort of shelter, and then realizing that some unspecified THEM has taken the opportunity to launch a nuclear megadeath at us. Watching the red lights trail across huge maps and action boards… realizing that we only have space for 30 or so people in the reinforced shelter below. Trying to figure out how to get 30 people from the hundreds without causing a panic…

Of course, looking at it all, I vote that it’s money well-spent. I’m always in awe of what we as a species have created for our myths and beliefs. In God’s name we truly have created our greatest works.
From the Cathedral we go to the Bonaventure Cemetary. Up north we can have graveyards, but I almost feel it’s a dishonour to bury our dead sans Spanish moss.
Pamela and I had a great time discovering these waxy fern things. Their texture is Lovely and they have these crazy fuzzy interiors that make you want to poke’m. Of course, they’re also weirdly cavernous on the insides, and you get the vague feeling that whatever you poke in there might just get bitten off.
I Love the sculptures of women attached to old grave sites – they are invariably beautiful in an ethereal way, and the tones in the stone have an elegance to them that just isn’t often captured in any other medium. Ignore the fact that that sepia tonality is probably mostly dirt. I feel sorry for the loss of her fingers and wonder where they are.

And Deanne had gone to see the New York Museum of natural history recently – the idea that we’ve only been around for 100,000 years and that the dinosaurs had existed fro hundreds of MILLIONS of years had a real effect on her, and her thoughts had been echoing in my head. Hell… we haven’t proved ourselfs, we could be just a fluke. Look what we’ve initiated… red lines crossing the Atlantic… why are we worth saving? Don’t bother, don’t cause the panic.

Wake up.

Moving from the older sections of the cemetary, past the marble eyes of women dead a century or more, and into the more modern areas – the graves are less flamboyant, but they are Living things here… still visited, mourned, marking Lives that are still celebrated – it got me to thinking about my own parents’ choice to not be buried, to leave no marker. We’ll soon be scattering my father’s ashes, and then there will be nothing left to visit. I hadn’t ever really examined my feelings on that. I think I’m fine with it, but there might be some hidden desire to have some marker to leave tokens and souvenirs at. Perhaps postcards from my travels, stones from tiny towns that he would’ve Loved but never got to see. Pictures of the girls that I’m sure he would’ve liked. It could be a comforting lie, but even such a neutrally shaped monument would probably become an uncomfortable cross to bear.

Last night we played at the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern. Just an open mic, but nearly as lucrative as most of our gigs. Had a lot of fun watching people jam and playing along and just enjoying the people we’ve been meeting. Someone bought me tequila again, and I think that I shall be taking that in smaller doses from now on.

Spooky gives me Love when I make strange noises. Spooky gives me a lot of Love.

And of course Chris has to show me how the wrassling is done. Artemis is NOT amused.

Heather and I got very, very lost on the way back to Katie’s house, and what should’ve been a 30 minute drive on the outside took well over an hour. Maybe even longer – I don’t remember when we left the bar.

Ugh, got back to the house at around 3am and then got wrapped up in my online world for about half an hour before just collapsing into the waiting arms of the couch, under the watchful empty eye-sockets of the skeleton in the corner.

Ugh.

Before leaving Georgia – we HAVE to have a genuine Georgian treat. Pamela bakes us peach pie made with fresh Georgia peaches. Peeling them is WEIRD and fleshy and I’m only too glad to retreat and document.

 

March 4th, 2006.

Sitting in Concord, NC. Dinner is slowly happening to a peice of pork in the kitchen, and Heather’s playing with the cat, and I’m realizing that I’ve truly been slacking in the whole Journal department. I’ve got to write tonnes and tonnes to catch up with the pictures, perhaps… I could just cut and paste some of those stupid myspace quizes, but then again, I think you all would hate me for it.

The wall at the Savannah College of Art and Design radio station. Definately a better radio station wall than I’ve seen anywhere else. We did a short interview with them before our Sentient Bean gig, and it’s always SO fucking frustrating when you show up and they’re like “we’re doing an interview today?” It makes ME feel like I’ve screwed up in some way, like I’ve not followed up in some fashion. We were okay, but perhaps not as sparkly as we could’ve been.
At the Sentient Bean in Savannah, GA, Heather and Ken and the Cowboy-Hatted-Guy-Who’s-Name-I-Don’t-Remember all discuss the lighting. The gig was sparsely populated, but the people who WERE there were intensely interested. I kind of like it when people come up to me just before we play and apologize because they’ll only be able to stay for the first couple of songs, and then when I look out 45 minutes later, they’re still sitting there being all fascinated n shit. My uncle and aunt from Saint Simon’s Island came out, ad well as a guy who ran across our website while looking for something to do tonight, and said that by the second download he was getting his coat to come out.

We’ve spent the last several days with my friend Katie, from college. That’s how you can know her, College Katie. The area’s been really kind to us, and Katie was a great host, providing us with a cat and cassarole.

Space Ghost showed up for our show in Wilmington. We’re still trying to figure out why there were a number of suited up superheroes roaming the street that night…

We got into town and played the Tosco House Party at the Evening Muse in the not-really-quite-an Arts District of North Davidson Street. I felt kind of bad being disappointed by it, but here we were, in town mostly to play a gallery crawl, and there were… well… a COUPLE of galleries there… but all in all I was expecting something… bigger.

Heather and I playing at Port City Java on Front Street in Wilmington, NC. We had an awesome, huge contingent of human flesh out there to represent for us (a huge thanks to Annette Warner for doing some dragging on our behalf). And thanks to Bambi for taking awesome photographs (like the one about) for us.

The “House Party” was a one-song open mic that kicks off with a big group sing / jam that made me miss PLOJ viscerally. Everyone we’ve met in and around Charlotte has just been so nice, they definitely reawakened my “I wish I could pack you all” urge.

I’d never pet a bulldog before, so meeting Max at a pet boutique in Wilmington, NC, was a very, very special experience. He was very… snoffly. And so very, very sweet.
At the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern in Concord, NC. Our friend Ben playing harmonica with Lucy. This turned into a great night, Ben is rapidly becoming a favourite person down here, though I felt kind of bad when the host of one of the open mics we’d gone to took away his title of being the most energetic player or something and gave it to me.

Thursday night, at our friend Ben’s suggestion, we headed out to the George Washington Bookstore and Tavern, which is not a bookstore. For some reason every time we talked to someone about it, that was the comment we got. “Where are y’all going tonight” (Yes, they really say “y’all”) “The George Washington Bookstore and Tavern”. “Oh, that place is great, you know it’s not a bookstore?”

Katie took us out to Freedom Park near where she grew up. One of her favourite places – we saw happy dogs and Avian Dissuaders.
Me and Katie’s cat, Cozy enjoying the sunshine. She makes that teeny teeny mew sound that Heather makes. It’s almost obscenely cute.

This is said almost conspiratorially. I nod knowingly and let the reaffirmation that it’s not a bookstore flow over me and wonder what we’re getting into.

The place was awesome – cool decor, decent sound system, and a lot of really cool players. I got to scream some good 80’s battlecries in response to a song with a tonne of Thundercats and Transformers references. Fucking phenomenal harmonica players. We ended up staying till around 1.30am (a lot of, “oh, we should stay for this one last person” kind of things) and then got really, really lost on the way home.

Let me give a shout out to Microsoft’s Pocket Streets on my phone! Hell yeah, you got me home, and though it’s the uber monopoly that will eventually implant chips in our heads to make our brains Windows compatable, they also got us back to Katie’s place by 3.30am, which is better than we would’ve done on our own.

Sigh.

Last night at the Evening Muse for the Gallery Crawl, we played hard, and we played really, really well. The synergy between musician and audience is, I think, maybe hard to describe to someone who’s never experienced it.

The Evening Muse is a really well-known folk venue. Possibly the premiere room of it’s type in North Carolina now that the Six String has closed. To be there for this event was a big honour. We were the first act, and somehow, the March weather that had been looking the other way for the past several weeks, leaving us with 70 degree weather, leading me to pack our coats in an inaccessible depth of the Saturn (left side bottom), March reasserted itself with a vengeance, taking its toll on the pedestrian crowds.

As we started the night, the room was only half-full, and a lot of the people were there for the artist who had hung his work in the room earlier in the day. Very loud group of people… by our second song the room was packed and you could’ve heard a pin drop. This is the way we should play every night – and the way an audience should be.

Just some bad ass instruments we saw in a shop on Union Street in Concord, NC.

They were enraptured, sitting lightly in the palm of my hand, we were funny, we were sexy, we were mysterious and friendly and intimate. By far one of our best shows, a lot of it owed to the fact that this audience drank us. I wish we had tape. “Speaking Louder Now” was exquisite, passionate and pained and dynamic. We ripped into them.

All of my arrogance is well, well-earned.