February 4th, 2005.

So – let me tell you a tale of three mammals.

There was Jessie, the bad, bad beagle; there was Abby, the good dog; and then there was Bella, the Canine Catholic.

Jessie was the (somehow) endearing embodiment of all that was smelly and fuzzy and gluttonous and self-serving. She would would eat unendingly, only pausing if someone was willing to scratch her ears, and then again only if she wanted to be scratched. She was smelly and sniffly and would eat almost anything, with only the foulest findings exempt. These she would roll in.

Abby, on the other hand, was tragic. She saw Jessie eating her food, the choicest morsels first… she saw Jessie jumping up on people’s beds and rolling her freshly soiled flesh all over freshly clean sheets. Abby stood with her regal ears pulled back, simply looking on and mourning Jessie’s lack of decorum. She stood with sad eyes as she watched her food vanish into the never-filling beagle, and would turn away and shake her head, knowing that at least, though thinner, she was a Good Dog.

And then there was Bella. Overwhelmed with guilt and frozen into immobility with the overwhelming pain of Life. The weight of the world was too much sometimes and she would just stop, causing pile-ups and human traffic jams behind her. Upon the departure of people from her sight she whimpered and whined, sure that they would never grace her with their presence again. And upon their inevitable reappearance, she would get underfoot. And apologize. And get underfoot. And apologize. And get underfoot…

At night the three mammals dream.

Jessie dreams wolf dreams it seems. She howls in the night at phantasm moons, filling 3am with startling half-realized cries and frantic scrabblings. She’s probably hunting people… and then rolling in them.

The bad dog. Almost as if to illustrate my point, Jessie waited fifteen minutes to make sure our host, Deanne, was gone this morning. At that point, she jumped off of Deanne's bed (which is legal territory for her) onto the floor (which is also legit) crossed the beds of Abby and Bella (she can be there when they're not) passed by Heather (who would've defended her bed's sovereignty vigourously) and leapt onto Scott's bed (where she is NOT allowed). Deanne generally comes home for lunch, and sure enough, Jessie hopped OUT of Scott's bed and returned to Deanne's some 15 minutes before Deanne's usual arrival. Which was good... cause she was EARLY!
The bad dog. Almost as if to illustrate my point, Jessie waited fifteen minutes to make sure our host, Deanne, was gone this morning. At that point, she jumped off of Deanne’s bed (which is legal territory for her) onto the floor (which is also legit) crossed the beds of Abby and Bella (she can be there when they’re not) passed by Heather (who would’ve defended her bed’s sovereignty vigourously) and leapt onto Scott’s bed (where she is NOT allowed). Deanne generally comes home for lunch, and sure enough, Jessie hopped OUT of Scott’s bed and returned to Deanne’s some 15 minutes before Deanne’s usual arrival. Which was good… cause she was EARLY!

Abby has silent dreams of private pain and it’s hard for an outsider to comprehend what goes on behind her crinkled brow. She whimpers occassionally, but usually her rest is merely disturbed by a great heaving sigh. No doubt she’s dreaming that she’s found a full food bowl, with both the kibbles AND the bits untouched by the ever-hungering beagle. She settles down for a meal and then realizes… it’s only a dream. (Sigh)

Bella doesn’t sleep at night. She sits up worrying. And worrying makes her thirsty. In the dead of night she bypasses Jessie’s thrashing, questing paws, and she sidesteps Abby’s slumber, and she makes her way on quivering legs to the water dish which she proceeds to empty in spectacular sloshing fashion. She knows it’s bad… she knows she’s sinning, but in the dead of night she hopes her doggy dieties can’t see her coveting heart and she eats and drinks her fill before she collapses into fitful slumber, dreaming perhaps of final canine judgement.

It’s 3am, post the Rusty Nail – and Jessie’s STILL hungry.

Missy and Mike. They were some of the only people to make it through the whole show, and then hang out as we cleaned up. Apparently they're just big original music fans and try to get out once a week to see something new and exciting. They were planning to leave at midnight. I was really flattered that they stuck WITH us till 2am.
Missy and Mike. They were some of the only people to make it through the whole show, and then hang out as we cleaned up. Apparently they’re just big original music fans and try to get out once a week to see something new and exciting. They were planning to leave at midnight. I was really flattered that they stuck WITH us till 2am.
Missy and Mike's Lovely rings. I'm kicking myself that I managed to shoot a fuzzy photo.
Missy and Mike’s Lovely rings. I’m kicking myself that I managed to shoot a fuzzy photo.

August 1st, 2004.

I’m sooo sleepy. Last night, our show with Annette was … wait… let me find a damned thesaurus. If I use the word “spectacular”, “fantastic”, or “amazing” again I may have my writing license revoked… you guys MUST get sick of hearing the same adjectives over and over and over again.

Synonyms MARVELOUS 1, amazing, astonishing, astounding, miraculous, prodigious, staggering, stupendous, wonderful, wondrous 
Related Word eye-popping, sensational, striking, thrilling; dramatic, histrionic, stagy, theatrical

Okay – what I meant was that last night’s show at the Rusty Nail was … uh…. theatrical? We were eye-popping? Sheesh – Miriam-Webster’s on-line thesauras sucks. It was really, really good. There are a couple of things I’d like to go on about, but this ONE time I’m going to be PC and refrain. We had a great audience, a friendly host, a waitress who called me ‘hon’ (just like home!) – and a great show. We’ve landed other bookings out of it, places to stay, and even a festival.

But, last night, we were still booked to stay at the campground. I would’ve gone ahead and forfeited the $20 or whatever, but the tent was already set up… we HAD to go back and sleep in it.

So, 3am finds me tossing and turning in a nightmarishly humid Cape Fear night with what felt like a boulder, or perhaps a small tree poking through the tent floor into my spine. Insects the size of small airplanes kept sonicly bombarding us with their favourite mating tunes, and occassional breezes were only ever enough to remind us that the tent should’ve REALLY been set on a sail-directed turn-table.

Sigh. Four hours later, a heavy rain woke us up… and then there were the sirens, and the horns… Death.

We’re playing tonight on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, and I’m alREADY exhausted.

The Rusty Nail in Wlimington NC
`The Rusty Nail in Wlimington NC
Though the quality of sleep for the night was kind of awful, the sky was incredible, with a full-moon and a star-studded half-cloudy sky. Very beautiful. The next morning we found a guardian toad, keeping us safe from mosquitoes and very tiny vampires.
Though the quality of sleep for the night was kind of awful, the sky was incredible, with a full-moon and a star-studded half-cloudy sky. Very beautiful. The next morning we found a guardian toad, keeping us safe from mosquitoes and very tiny vampires.
Aforementioned guardian toad.
Aforementioned guardian toad.
Heather admires the dry spot left by the tent overnight.
Heather admires the dry spot left by the tent overnight.

August 2nd, 2004.

Despite fatigue, Heather and I went a’wanderin yesterday. We looked at Battleships and beaches and snakes and lizards. We played the gig which wasn’t so hot, but we watched the moonlight off the ocean, which was.

So, we’re in Wilmington. I was sure that the reason Heather kept thinking the name was familiar was because of Wilmington, Deleware. Unfortunately, no. The name is familiar because whenever there’s a hurricane, Wilmington is the little prong that it hits first.

So, we’re laying up at a new friends’ house – Deanne has wondrous dogs that sneeze on command and a huge television which has been used exclusively to watch the Weather Channel since we’ve been here. We watch suspiciously as the attractive weather woman describes the swirling winds off the coast of South Carolina. She show’s the projected path of the storm, and there’s a big orange arrow obliterating Cape Fear on the map. Sigh. Alex is coming, and Alex is expected to be a hurricane within 24 hours.

Decamping in WIlmington in favour of Dee-Camping.
Decamping in WIlmington in favour of Dee-Camping.
Two signs that we're in the REAL South - we're just down far enough to have palm trees and Spanish moss. I'm so happy when we travel far enough that I can point to something and say "Heather! Look! We don't have those at home!"
Two signs that we’re in the REAL South – we’re just down far enough to have palm trees and Spanish moss. I’m so happy when we travel far enough that I can point to something and say “Heather! Look! We don’t have those at home!”

August 3rd, 2004.

Deanne made an incredible Thai dinner for us tonight. She even surprised us with an homemade lemon mirangue pie. The pie was… tempting… and I think Heather may be heading back to Maryland without me. Deanne is spoiling us rotten… unfortunately, she keeps trying to wash my jeans. I’m refusing mostly out of sheer contrariness – but she’ll probably win before too long. Today they went to the beach and got sanded on.

Tonight we watched the first two episodes of a BBC series called “Tipping the Velvet”. It was something I’d heard of before (though I don’t remember from where) – the Life of a lesbian in 19th century London – it’s been a bit hard to watch, but engrossing all the same.

Spanish MOSS!!!!

We discovered the Serpentarium in Wilmington - a private collection of deadly reptiles. On the left you have the BEAUTIFUL (but four skull deadly) green momba, and above, we have the green tree boa. Gosh, this Journal must be tricky to follow on occassion - from lesbians to snakes and back again... (monitor lizards first though)
We discovered the Serpentarium in Wilmington – a private collection of deadly reptiles. On the left you have the BEAUTIFUL (but four skull deadly) green momba, and above, we have the green tree boa. Gosh, this Journal must be tricky to follow on occassion – from lesbians to snakes and back again… (monitor lizards first though)
DCF 1.0
This was just the prettiest picture of the Monitor Lizard - but this guy was fucking HUGE.
This was just the prettiest picture of the Monitor Lizard – but this guy was fucking HUGE.

For some reason, though Heather’s gotten me hooked on both “Sex and the City” and “Friends” recently – the main character of “Tipping the Velvet” has got me far more … well, I’ve already used the word engrossed – but she’s got me completely drawn in. Her early explorations into relationships and survival in the Big City – her tales of betrayal and infatuation seem so much more genuine than those in other shows. It’s shown beautifully – in BBC fantasy cinematic style, and maybe that has something to do with it, with rich soundtrack and texture. Oh, and phrases like “You exquisite little tart!” – a very Amy phrase.

While we were camping we ran across a guy in the (as I write this, Deanne is IMing Annette using some AOL broadband bug character which keeps going “heeeeey!!!” and “heee hee hee hee” – and then Deanne joins in with her incredibly distinctive, incredibly infectious laugh – and concentration is ALL over)… ok… while we were camping we ran across a guy who’d been sleeping in his car, but with the recent Hellish weather, had bought a tent to come sleep at the KOA, solely for the use of the shower. We got into conversations over the television in the office of the KOA…. Heather and I happened to be in there when coverage of the Democratic Convention popped on, which of course reads as two young Dems focused on the excitement that is their party, riveted and watching.

 

Deanne is putting us up for the night, perhaps even the whole week - she's in the process of showing us that Jessie will sneeze on command.
Deanne is putting us up for the night, perhaps even the whole week – she’s in the process of showing us that Jessie will sneeze on command.
Carolina Beach at sunset. Storm rolling in.
Carolina Beach at sunset. Storm rolling in.

That of course, got us into a conversation about politics. Now, we knew from within a couple of sentances that we were going to disagree a lot (Gordon sort of opened by telling us that we may be Democrats now, but that we’d grow out of it) – but he said a couple of things that made me think – more on the topic of religion, and conservative vs liberal religious thinking than on politics – and I really appreciate that. Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that I returned the favour, but I always appreciate someone who gets my gears turning.

At first we avoided “hot-button” issues, but eventually we touched on gay marriage – I was surprised that he wasn’t just adamantly against the whole thing, and that he was willing to have a conversation about the topic at all. He agreed that tax breaks and things like that should be pretty equal – he felt that there should be a semantic difference (“marriage” vs “civil unions”) – but he also believed that there should be some laws and protections and rights in place specifically to promote stable and procreative families.

Now, on the one hand, I sort of agree with that, because that would certainly be what is “best for our society as a whole” – stable family units is precisely what we’re lacking in America, and I think that that’s at the root of a WHOLE lot of problems. However, I’ve never seen any proof that a family unit of two gays and a child is less stable or less nurturing than that of a more traditional make-up, and in following with the American doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty”, I DO feel that things should be regulated or restricted until they are proven harmful… and of course, bad news for the right-wings out there, I think that some big psychologists council just declared Gay Marriage a GOOD thing.

Anywho – the conversation got really fascinated with the idea of liberal vs conservative religion – I usually think of only conservative people BEING religious… my liberal leaning friends tend to be “spiritual”, perhaps, or Unitarian, but not traditionally religious. The people who are very liberal but still go to church every Sunday tend to pick and choose their religion, as if the Bible were a buffet table of doctrines – I’ve always felt that if you pick up one bit, you sort of have to pick up the rest – that the whole idea of most Christian theology is that there’s Someone up there who knows better than you, and that for you to go and undermine His teaching by saying “yeah, I agree with that, but (for example) that whole ‘no sex before marriage thing’, not so much” is the height of hipocrisy. To believe God is omnipresent and omniscient and omni all sorts of other stuff too, and then to cut pieces out and say… well, omni about everything but THAT…

I liked the way Gordon put it (I’m paraphrasing a bit) – “A conservative believes that he is the creation of God, and a liberal believes that he is the great work of God.” The idea that the Conservative [Christian] is grateful to be placed on the Earth, and realizes that they are totally extant on the grace of God, and that they are there to do His bidding – but that the liberal concept of religion comes more along the lines of being some great peice of art of God, they can do no wrong, God is all-forgiving, and they are here to experience Life to the fullest.

Perhaps… the Conservative is given the gift of existance, and like a kid is gifted Life by a parent, and theyshould be respectful to that parent, and try to follow the rules set forth by the parent – because the parent has been around longer, and generally has a lot more knowledge and wisdom about their environment than the kid does (something I would NOT have acknowledged a couple of years ago)…

vs

The Liberal concept that they have been gifted with Life as a kid is given a bicycle – and they have been given this gift to enjoy, and you best get the best use out of it that you can – because you’ll outgrow it sooner than later.

Now, have no fear – I’ll get back to my usual road commentary of funny animals and flatulance in a bit – but I just wanted to write this out while I was thinking about it. I barely EVERY write in my Little Black Books anymore, and so the Journal has VERY much become a diary of sorts.

I’m not sure which line I fall under, I think politically I have very traditionally conservative views (though that does NOT at ALL equate with modern Republican thinking) – and I think spiritually I probably count as more of a liberal – but more because I’m not religious. I believe I’ve been given a great gift in Life, but I’m not sure that I’m beholded to anyone for it, so I AM going to use it to the greatest extent possible – but because I’ve met people and empathize with the rest of humanity, I attempt not to do wrong by them…

Gordon asked about where my moral compass came from – and a lot of it was upbringing, but a LOT of it has been impacted by going out and meeting people. My parents brought me up VERY unbiased, very clear-headed about racism and prejudice – but there were some subjects (like homosexuality) that weren’t touched upon, and I remember at the very beginning of high school, sort of being horrified upon my discovery of it’s existance. But upon meeting a number of gay and bisexual people – I grew to better undertand that you befriend and Love PEOPLE rather than their sexuality, religion, colour – what have you. Communication is facilitated by exposure, and I’m a little worried about the fact that our travels bring us into contact with very little other than the white majority of the country (in PG County, I don’t think I believed in the concept of blacks being a minority – but MAN seeing the rest of the country has rearranged THAT thinking) – and I worry about how that effects my capacity for communication with other people and other races.

Hrm – my brain is just meandering now. I’m just praying I haven’t managed to alienate anyone. We have very much fallen in with Wilmington lesbian culture down here, and so this is all very forefront in my mind.

hehe – Heather just fed Jessi some curry. She’s now furiously lapping water out of her bowl in the kitchen.

hehehe.

Begging Jessi gets what she deserves - her desire of curry will be her downfall.
Begging Jessi gets what she deserves – her desire of curry will be her downfall.

August 4th, 2004.

Yesterday, Deanne took us out on her boat. I must admit, I’ve been horribly jealous of all of our out-of-state singer/songwriter friends – they come to Maryland and someone takes them out on a boat. We have had to travel 400 miles from home to get out on the water, but it’s well worth it.

People waving at us from the interior of Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn.
People waving at us from the interior of Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn.

Deanne is beautifully insane – she has a grin like a manic death’s head and a crazy laugh that echoes through the house, driving the dogs into a frenzy.

Yesterday morning, she gathered us up, put us in the back of her car, stopped for gas (North Carolina is VERY different – there was a sign on the pump “If we don’t know you pay first”) and launched us out in her little power boat. She took us on a proper tour of Cape Fear, up and down the rivers and out to the edge of the ocean.

Deanne drives her boat crouched low over the windshield with her teeth bared and an all too-eager hand on the throttle. She aims us into troughs and water valleys and I spent most of the time squatting in the front of the boat, balancing precariously and holding on for dear Life. Deanne looks like a dark-haired Cruella DeVille hunting for dalmations with a harpoon gun.

This doesn't capture the spirit of the ride at all. We rounded the harbour and up near Front Street (sort of historic downtown Wilmington area) to get a better look at the Battleship North Carolina. It was around here that Deanne started talking about the two alligators (read my lips - alleeegaytors), Charlie and Charlene. Like dogs, they come when called. We didn't call them. Later she talked about sharks. "This is where we saw that bull shark playing with that kid. That shark was just havin a good ole time!"
This doesn’t capture the spirit of the ride at all. We rounded the harbour and up near Front Street (sort of historic downtown Wilmington area) to get a better look at the Battleship North Carolina. It was around here that Deanne started talking about the two alligators (read my lips – alleeegaytors), Charlie and Charlene. Like dogs, they come when called. We didn’t call them. Later she talked about sharks. “This is where we saw that bull shark playing with that kid. That shark was just havin a good ole time!”
DCF 1.0

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m scared to death of most water – especially if I can’t see through it. My extremely visual imagination is all too good at people-ing it with toothy denizens and serpentine curls.

ALL too visual – I’m watching Heather cross the street, and it’s all too easy to imagine her getting hit by a car, the lurch and thud – God – horror. All too easy to imagine all too many things.

We saw pelicans by the dozen, diving suddenly for fish, divebombing the water, skimming low over the waves. I've maybe seen one or two before, but never anything like this. Also, an egret for my Dad.
We saw pelicans by the dozen, diving suddenly for fish, divebombing the water, skimming low over the waves. I’ve maybe seen one or two before, but never anything like this. Also, an egret for my Dad.
DCF 1.0

So, over the course of the day, I ended up having to face my fear. I have my suspicions as to how we ended up on a sandbar, but I’ll take Deanne’s word for it that she didn’t do it on purpose. I ended up only knee-deep in apparently bottomless water, helping to push the boat (Deanne pointing and yelling “I think it’s deeper that way!!!”). Trudging and sandy and wet and fighting off watery panic attacks, we eventually got the boat moving again. I felt all pansy-esque being all freaked out by the water, but I could feel the shivers clutching at my back – I kept thinking about alligators, sharks, fish, eels – and less corporeal creatures… I grew up believing in the Loch Ness Monster and sea serpents, and incidentally, that dragon flies could sew my lips shut. The trick is to keep my head from focusing on where I am and what I’m doing.

My lonesome shows on the beach. Boots and black shirts, desperately inappropriate.
My lonesome shows on the beach. Boots and black shirts, desperately inappropriate.

Scared the shit out of me.

But we were soon on our way again. She took us to an otherwise inaccessible beach filled with hermit crabs and these weird little molluscy things that just covered the sand. I sort of wish they were edible, though I might’ve felt bad, it would’ve been cool to sit on the beach on Cape Fear slorping the little guys out of their shells.

At first we thought those black specks were pebbles, or droppings - but they were each little moving mollusc thingies. We'd pick them up and let them squirm around in our hands.
At first we thought those black specks were pebbles, or droppings – but they were each little moving mollusc thingies. We’d pick them up and let them squirm around in our hands.
And there were packs of fiddler crabs! Heather saw the beach MOVING as we approached the shore - running this way and that. It's awesome chasing fiddler crabs because they run back and forth from side to side, dodging you. They run for the grass in a very PIXAR movie fashion.
And there were packs of fiddler crabs! Heather saw the beach MOVING as we approached the shore – running this way and that. It’s awesome chasing fiddler crabs because they run back and forth from side to side, dodging you. They run for the grass in a very PIXAR movie fashion.

Later that night we headed out to Annette’s open mic at Costello’s. Deanne had declared that Costello’s was her favourite little gay bar – dim light and lots of monkeys. It didn’t turn out to be much of an open mic, but the owner, George, enjoyed us, and booked us for Saturday night. Originally we aimed for a pretty low fee, but Annette scoffed at our price, and Deanne went back to the bar and explained to George calmly that we were worth about twice what we’d asked for.

So, we’ll be playing on Saturday at Costello’s and we’ll LIKE it. (Though George would like us to tone down our set a bit, and play some more covers, if we could, and perhaps dress a little nicer…)

Little molluscy things.
Little molluscy things.
They PINCH!!!
They PINCH!!!

August 4th, 2004.

DeeAnn, our hostess, has been prodding at rob and I to let her take us out on her boat this week. After Hurricane Alex passed quietly in the night, we figured we would go out today.

It’s been years since I have been on a boat that was not moored in a harbor. The last boat deck I stood on was the USS Constellation, when I was covering the story about the nuclear sub seamen coming to learn to tie rigging on a ship that predated their vessel by a century. It was so hot that day on the deck I had to politely find water in a hurry without losing my journalistic demeanor, ie: without letting them know I was about the pass out on their ship covering my second story. That boat was sitting still in the water.

My Lovely boat lady.
My Lovely boat lady.

I was on the Lady Maryland for a fifth-grade field trip where we did cute little science experiments and I was glad to find I did not suffer from sea sickness. I remember they let us help with the sails, and it was so much harder and heavier than it looked.

And I might have been in a canoe or a fishing boat a little later in my life, but I really don’t remember it. Nothing stellar.

DeeAnn has a little speedboat, and I watched with great interest as she backed her car into the public dock and lowered the trailer with the boat on it into the Cape Fear River. She had me hold the rope attached to it and guide the boat to the part of the dock that we could walk onto and get into it from above. It is always so amazing to me the way I could never move a boat like that on land, but with a tiny bit of rope in the water, I could pull it back and forth pretty easily. I felt like an astronaut pushing things in space.

We got in and she started taking us out into the water. It was amazing watching her navigate the wakes of passing boats, which would throw the boat around like a water rapids ride at an amusement park, or surf us right on the edge if she caught the wake just right. And she was so sure at the wheel that I was calm about it, even when the boat seemed to leap right out of the water.

And pelicans were diving for the fish in the water all around us, and egrets were hunting the shallows. And people were out fishing with their boats, or joyriding or what have you. And it was amazing and sunny and the water felt good and the air smelled strongly of salt.

And she pointed here and there and told us where she and her friends had seen the shark, and the moored battleship with it’s rusting bottom and how these two alligators lived there and would come out if you called them by name. And she showed us how some of the crab traps, marked by floating buoyees in the water, moved pretty fast because something underwater had probably gotten hold of it. And how there was this one layer of sediment that was all ballust (?) because ships coming from elsewhere to pick up cargo here would weigh themselves down for the trip here, but then needed to get rid of it for the trip back, and so an entire layer of the soil was this discarded weight.

She took us down the Cape Fear River to Carolina Beach and Wrightsville Beach, and we docked at a restaraunt, walked up to the deck and had a little something to eat. I delighted in this to no end, having never done something so cool as roll up in a boat to a restaurant. 🙂

I walked back down to the dock and watched the schools of little fish in the water, and saw that attached to the underside of the dock were the strangest sea creatures I’d ever seen. I figured they were some kind of plant or barnacle or something. They were these green tubular things all crowded together. If I was braver, I would have touched one with a finger, but I figured I would start with a stick. And when I touched one of the openings of the tubes, it shrunk back and closed up!

Apparently they are called sea squirts, because, as I thankfully found out by looking at one a ways from me, they spit water. Still don’t know whether this is flora or fauna. So strange. They look like something that would live on the walls of the labrynth.

We got back in the boat, and she took us all over, through all these small islands in the ocean, through inlets and harbors. She showed us where she used to rent a sea-side house and talked about how Walter Kronkite used to dock his boat there, and how she’d always see him, wearing his driving cap, and he would wave to her whenever she passed by.

Then she took us to this one quiet inlet and she got out to swim and dropped us off on a nearby island. Rob and I both were a little wary of swimming in water that we couldn’t see into. When we came up to the island, a crowd of fiddler crabs, before invisible, went running up the beach away from our approach. The beach was littered with these little black things that I assumed were some kind of bird or turtle droppings, so I never bothered to inspect them closer. But rob did, and it turned out that the beach, almost black with the things, was covered with snails in their black shells.

We stayed on the beach of fiddler crabs and snails for a long time chasing them around and picking them up. In moments like this, it’s so easy to put yourself there in that life forever. The idea of running away and becoming a fisherman (woman), spending your days (and of course all of them would be sunny and just like this one) on the water waving to the other fisherman. Working your body into tanness and leaness. Hunting for seashells. You imagine yourself the Prince(cess) of Tides, one of those river children who has grown up on water and knows everything about it. Or you’re a jaded northerner come to abandon everything and start over a hermit in the south. All these dumb romantic idealized notions seem possible when you stand on that beach in the sunlight, boat docked just ahead of you.

We ran aground once when the tide dropped off and DeeAnn got out to push the boat back into deeper water. She had to get one of us to come out and help her, and when I looked at rob’s panicked face, I knew it was going to be me. Rob is not good with open water, or water he can’t see into. He’s afraid of monsters. You think I’m kidding.

I wasn’t too thrilled about it either, but eventually rob had to get out and help, too, and we got the boat going before anyone got too upset.

And we joked about how the Cape Fear River was far too beautiful and placid to live up to it’s name.

And then we saw the storm.

We were 10 minutes down the river from the public dock and we saw the wall of rain coming for us out of nowhere. Patches of sun were still interspersed with it, and it didn’t look bad, but it was dark, and I’d certainly never been out in open water in a storm before. I had no idea what to expect, or whether I should be afraid. But DeeAnn didn’t seem to be.

The water hit us so cold, and the noise was so different from storms on land, because it was hitting the water all around us. It was cold. DeeAnn cut the engine and took out an umbrella. We waited out the worst of it, eventually picking up speed and shielding our eyes and faces from the raindrops, which stung from the velocity.

And we lived.

And I loved it. Hair tangled beyond recognition with sand and salt, a little red from the sun. It was wonderful.

A great adventure.

August 5th, 2004.

A spider in the bath!

So, Deanne has finally convinced me to give her my clothes for cleansing. And she has finally convinced Heather and I to shower. Yes… she truly has some power over us.

Just think – if you fed us, YOU could ALSO get us to shower!

However, my shower contained more drama than I had desired. As the warm water comes cascading down upon my slowly moistening body, I detect movement above me. A large green spider is skittering across the ceiling.

No concern, it’s heading away from me, heading towards the light, I get to lather my skull in relative peace. But then, it decides to explore back along it’s path, half-inch feelers searching ahead of it – probably hunting for my tasty, freshly cleansed flesh. It slowly rounds the ceiling, and indeed, it moves towards my HEAD. Finally, it comes full circle, and I’m left rinsing furiously, one stinging eye trying to crawl out of my face to follow this cursed creature. The bastard toys with me.

He comes around and hangs right over me, and I could swear I hear a little … “oh NO, look at THAT… I SLIPPED!!!” as a leg or two come free and dangle for a moment before it regains it’s grip. Then I heard it laugh.

There is nothing quite so chilling, quite so heartless, as a spider’s laugh.

The rinsing completed, I made a run for it. I held back my spider’s tale as my clothes were returned to me and I was sniffed for cleanliness.

Sigh.


In return for our token Guardian Toad, we pulled over in the midst of a massive thunderstorm to save a little squatting Buddha of a toad. We had to coax him into our hands and shuffle him off into the neighbouring park. Karma cleared, we moved on. He was Lovely. I miss having pet toads… sigh.

Later we managed to get over to Katy’s Bar and Grill for their open mic. We were in the midst of a truly spectacular thunderstorm, with some of the fiercest lightning I’ve ever seen. Bolts and sheets lighting up the sky in an intense sky-war. It was like driving under strobe lights.

Abby, Deanne’s german shepherd, was shaking and shivering when we got back. She’s quite frightened by storms. Jessie just seeks laps.

August 5th, 2004.

We just got back from the Soap Box Laundro Bar. A very cool place, I am smitten, though not with the venue. Great art on the walls, God awful sound system (I had to wire in my amplifier to get enough inputs for Heather and I), and fascinating stories. I must admit, after all of the hype, I was dissappointed that the open mic itself wasn’t more fleshed out with other performers, and that the audience wasn’t more attentive, but the people who WERE there for the music seemed to really like us.

I was really surprised by the calibre of the art, however. Some really amazing works, especially upstairs. I walked out to get the car, and while I was being waylaid in conversation with a Lovely artist in the Wilmington streets, Heather had befriended Mack, the night manager and maintenance guy. He unlocked the elevator and led us through the upper story. An amazing space, and what looks to be an amazing sound system. God, if and when we ever become big rockstars, I hope we can come back and play there. He showed us how they have a big arch window behind the bar, they can draw back the curtains and show the storms coming in off the water – amazing view.

We swapped stories for a while before making it out – it was funny… I ended up feeling dizzyish because we kept wandering in and out of the bar.

Very cool space – talking to the owner, Brent, he seemed to think it was perfectly normal to own an art gallery/music venue/laundromat/pool hall. And after having encountered this rare combination, I DO wish MORE people thought like him.

Ferocious rain. We didn't QUITE have to bail water out of the boat. BTW - her name is "Just One More". Like everything with Deanne, of COURSE there's a story behind that.
Ferocious rain. We didn’t QUITE have to bail water out of the boat. BTW – her name is “Just One More”. Like everything with Deanne, of COURSE there’s a story behind that.
On the way back, we encountered a pretty rough storm. It sucks when you realize your pilot and captain is steering you into the darkness ahead.
On the way back, we encountered a pretty rough storm. It sucks when you realize your pilot and captain is steering you into the darkness ahead.

Ah, after the open mic, I get to return to leftovers. I’ll have to devote ANOTHER entry to Deanne’s cooking. I want to stay and grow rotund.


Mornings here, though, are very Southern. Though I guess I have no right to complain, as when I say “morning”, I AM referring to a noon-ish time. But it reminds me of when Audrey and I were together, and for some reason her parents’ house would erupt into a festival of Alabaman accents at around 9am, and SO much laughter. There are definitely worse ways to wake up though – I need to patent the laughing alarm clock. It would wake you with sounds of lots of people having a REALLY good time in the next room. It would make you WANT to get up, just to see what’s going on.

August 6th, 2004.

It’s always strange being in someone else’s house alone – but in this case… Deanne’s been sick, heading towards surgery this whole week, so she’s been home from work. It’s alien for her house not to have her manically gleeful presence flitting through it. I think I heard her leave this morning (we’re on our usual 3am-11am sleep schedule) – but by the time I got up, the dogs were just staring at the front door.

A tiny bit of me would like her to get caught up there in Durham until Sunday, so that we can go see her and pet her and be a comfort in a strange place… but the rest of me just hopes she’ll be home as quickly as possible, even if that means missing her in transit.

After exploring the horrid world of hospitals with my Father, I only hope that this one’s nicer, and that her stay is as brief as possible.


It just goes to show, you never DO know what you’re getting into. We’re about to hit the stage at Port City Java, here in Wilmington. And I’ve got this fear that we’re going to play to a disinterested room with a front row of six-year-olds. God, we need to learn to play some kid’s songs. I’m worried about blenders, about food, about the fact that I’d really like to see a familiar face or three – but I know it’s all too easy to just say you’ll try and come, and much easier to just not bother. We’ll see… I don’t usually have pre-show jitters any more, but every once in a while, they catch up with me.

Tonight, I’m jittering.

And let’s not even discuss my testicles… I don’t think I CAN, after all – another stroller just came through the door. Blenders, cell phones, babies – my favourite combination, but not at all combined in my favourite way.

Before going and playing at Port City Java, I had to take a taste of the local flora.
Before going and playing at Port City Java, I had to take a taste of the local flora.

August 7th, 2004.

Well, at the end of all things, the gigs went off okay. My amp sounded pretty pristine (though Heather chose to hit it anyways – but just like anything, they don’t learn if you beat them while they’re being good) – and we gathered “pretty good numbers for a coffeehouse” apparently. I miss home though.

I’m somewhat frightened by the Wilmington night-Life. My impression of this city WAS that everyone in the city was gay. I know that that’s just the crowd we’re hanging around with, but much of the rest of the town seems suspiciously swishy… But Friday night, the nature of downtown shifts – everyone is suddenly straight, trashy, and drunk. Watching sorority-esque blondes weaving down Front Street, I’m driving half the speed limit to avoid people who might stagger in front of the car… cruising cars with whooping teenagers… sullen police officers and sullen guys bitching about how a club wouldn’t let them in because they were “too drunk”.

I’ve never seen anything like it – but that probably says more about how sheltered I am than anything else. I’ve never seen a street so crawling with guys that look identical to one another, all goggling at thin women with tan lines exposed by dresses slipping off their shoulders. How very GGW.

One of the hosts at Katy's, Steve plays the Hell out of the mandolin, with a huge Digitech pedal board, no less.
One of the hosts at Katy’s, Steve plays the Hell out of the mandolin, with a huge Digitech pedal board, no less.
Heather wanted to take Abby for a walk - Jessi, the mercenary dog, displays how much she feels we should take HER instead.
Heather wanted to take Abby for a walk – Jessi, the mercenary dog, displays how much she feels we should take HER instead.
Just a cool tattoo from someone in the audience at Port City Java.
Marshall at the Port City Java with his awwwesome Wild Things tattoo – it’s being finished on Tuesday.
Heather chatting at the Soap Box.
Heather chatting at the Soap Box.
Closing down the Soap Box.
Closing down the Soap Box.
Heather walks Abby...
Heather walks Abby…
However, feeling strongly that Abby was still the more deserving mammal, we absconded with her - but then she saw a squirrel.
However, feeling strongly that Abby was still the more deserving mammal, we absconded with her – but then she saw a squirrel.