Archive for the ‘Once A Rockstar…’ Category

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 2 – Issue. 3

3680 miles traveled – Crossing the 45th parallel

My war with auto flush toilets continues.

I freakin’ hate those things. I haven’t decided which is more abhorrent to me, the amount of water they waste, or the fact that they rob us of individual choice. I come from the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down” school of thought, and I don’t appreciate some soulless machine undoing my environmental do-gooding. My enemy, the largest producer of autoflush toilets, is Zurn Corporation.


Kinda sounds like Zurg, the evil overlord from Toy Story 2. Maybe it’s his little brother who decided to do his evil work through manipulation of the plumbing industry. Every time I use one of those stupid things I stick chewed-up toilet paper over the sensor.

Take that ZURN!

I want to print up stickers; I have them all laid out in my head. There will be three styles to fit the three different kinds of sensors. There’ll be a hole cut out for the flush button and a friendly arrow that says, “push button to flush!” And then in small print, maybe with parentheses around it, it will say, “autoflush toilets waste water, tell the people!”

For her part, J is still educating school food servers everywhere on why they shouldn’t be serving their food on Styrofoam. (If you’re wondering why they shouldn’t, it’s because it’s bad. Very bad.) We carry Tupperware around with us everywhere and it’s still a struggle to get some folks to put our food on it. Though it’s a lot easier than it was in Florida. We were actually eating in an Indian restaurant the other night and the server asked us if we wanted a box. J politely said no and pulled out our Tupperware. He looked confused, so I told that we just hate to waste resources. He said, “From now on I tell everyone, ‘bring your own’, otherwise five dollars per box!”

Anyway, like I said we’re in Idaho. I want to describe how pretty everything is here, but I’m having trouble coming up with images. “The landscape is like a big porcupine with fuzzy brown quills and lush greenish yellow skin, except then sometimes all the quills go away like they’ve been shaved by and even bigger razor…'' uh…''”

Anyway it’s pretty. We’ve driven through at least four different ecologies between Boise and Moscow. Oh, and Moscow. Moscow, Idaho is this cool college town up north. I thought it was a little sketchy at first, but it’s really very nice. A friend of ours used to live here, so we went around town a bit to see what it was like. It has a farmers market, TWO food co-ops, friendly people and a decent presence of politically minded folks. My favorite tee-shirt here reads, “Idaho? No, Udaho”

As we drive I notice the signs in Idaho are friendly, albeit a little wacky. The anti-litter signs say, “Idaho is too great to litter.” These are amazingly refreshing compared to the signs of Washington state, a mere 30 miles west, theirs say, “If you litter, you will pay! We’ll kill you! You’ll go down!”

Every two miles in Idaho is a sign that says, “Watch for Rock.” Is this one big rock, or plural rock, or is it just the concept of rock? I keep expecting Ronnie James Dio or Bon Jovi to jump out in front of the car.

Every four miles there is a sign that says, “Avoid Windshield Damage.” Hey, thanks! I wasn’t going to avoid windshield damage, but now I will…'' just as soon as I figure out how to avoid windshield damage. Actually as I write this, we just passed another sign that said, and I quote, “Trust in Jesus. Organic Produce. Bunnies.” The meaning here is so profound and obvious that I won’t sully it with an interpretation.

J has been complaining that I’m scaring her while I drive. It has something to do with my saying, “Oh shit” every twenty minutes while driving. On my end, I’m just remembering something I forgot to do earlier. For her, she’ll be asleep and wake up screaming, “What? What!?” We’ve made a new agreement, she’ll ignore everything I say, unless I scream, “Awake, and stare into the oncoming face of death!”

The word of the day is Knitting. J is crazy about knitting, I mean crazy. She’s knitting sweaters and hats and a nice cozy for the truck. [J note: What he fails to mention is the SEVEN balls of yarn he has also purchased. He is going for the most-scarves-knitted-in-one-month trophy. He has decided to knit a scarf for every member of his family, and mine, with backups in case they don’t like his design choices.] [I am not knitting a cozy for the truck. It is 16 ft long and 12 ft high. And I can’t decide which color would look best.]

She’s doing this in addition to writing a story every week. [J note: In addition to giving up on one story every week.]

[Actually, this morning I went for a walk in Moscow, and saw many fine and interesting things, the most interesting of this was a big firing range board complete with silhouette nailed to someone’s garage door with the word “kill” painted on it about a hundred times. I am not kidding.]

Did you know I’m writing a novel in November?

November is “National Novel Writing Month” Seriously; check out Every November hundreds of people trying write an entire 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I will be one of these people. (Yes, yes, applaud if you must.)

Now, I want to make a few things clear: I am NOT writing a novel because I am jealous of J, who is a genius writer, and who has finished TWO novels [J note: One and a third. First drafts.]. I am NOT writing a novel to avoid finishing my latest album, which is supposed to have (gasp) melodies and, (cringe) vocals. I am NOT writing a novel to reassure myself that I have accomplished something by the time I am 35 and am still a virile, capable, sexy guy, even though I have some grey hair.

Well hell, why am I writing a novel?

Why did that one blind guy climb mount-whatever-it-was? Why did Amelia Airheart fly over whatever she flew over. Why did…'' oh hell I don’t know. It just seemed like a good idea back when I started bragging to the whole world that I was going to writing a whole freaking novel in 30 freaking days. But I have figured out what the first line of my book will be;


“Oh shit! I’m trying to write a novel in a month. What was I thinking? What the hell am I doing!?”

Anyway, more later. Today is our day off and we’re going white water rafting.

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 2 – Issue. 2

1689 miles traveled

People have accents just like in the movie “Fargo”! People have accents just like in “Fargo”!!! It’s so adorable! I just want to hug everybody. [insert offensive inaccurate fargo accent here] “Oh, Comere yoo adorable leettle northerner you.”

I’m writing this from the student union at North Dakota State University. We just met a student we both have a huge crush on. Honestly, this is a pretty cool school. Friendly, laid back, and fairly diverse. Although, I’m reminded of one thing while here. I’m writing this next part as an open letter to all college students everywhere;

Alcohol is not a defining characteristic.

Wearing a tee shirt that proclaims your undying devotion to beer is not a statement. It doesn’t make you different. It doesn’t make you more adult. It’s so pervasive as to be the opposite of edgy, and it doesn’t
tell us anything about you.

Jeeze. Come on.

Oh, and sex. We know you like sex, you’re college students. Honestly, we get it. I love sex too; it’s in my list of top 3 favorite things ever.

But tee shirts that invite women to have sex with you…'' well,

A.) They’re not really all that funny
B.) They’re not clever, seriously, they’re not
C.) They don’t work.

As a matter of fact, I think they decrease your chances of getting laid by 67% (and frankly the chances
are already dangerously low, given your personality.)

Admit it. You’re really wearing that, “Got Lei’d in Hawaii” shirt to impress other guys, right? To prove your heterosexuality. Make sure no one thinks you’re, gasp! gay.

Come here, you need a big hug too. Yes, there there, you’re going to grow up to be a big strong man.

Sorry. Went on a bit of a rant there.

Anyway, after this we’re heading over to Jamestown, which means more driving. I don’t love driving, but
at least there’s stuff to look at out here. There’s really only one word to describe the landscape.


It’s the major reason we're doing this again. Although it’s hard to stay focused while driving. The major highway in North Dakota is arrow straight and flat flat flat. The road is a perfect line going endlessly into the horizon. Since the truck has cruise control. Since there is very little traffic. Since there are no curves, there really isn’t much effort to driving. Our job as we drive is to

A.) Stay awake.
B.) Keep the truck between the two white lines.
C.) Continue to stay awake.

It feels surreal, like we’re keeping the truck balanced on a fence for two hours. It’s our current form of meditation, while having the stressful excitement of having the potential to kill us.

Here are some typical exits we’ve passed in North Dakota (I swear I’m not lying):

Anaconda Opportunity
No Services
Bad Route Road
Buffalo Alice
No Services
Home on the Range
No Services

Driving along, we’ve learned that the state motto for North Dakota is “North Dakota: The Roughrider State”, which is all right I guess.

Trying to find places to get food and fuel, we’ve come up with a few better ones:

North Dakota: No Services.
North Dakota: Vega-what?
North Dakota: Organic food is for Commies!

As we drive J and I have taken to reading anything we see out loud in funny voices.

“Blinsky! Hello, I am a truck. My name is Blinsky!”

This is how we pass our time. We’ve decided that fighting over the speed of the truck was beneath us. So we’ve moved on to fighting about the temperature inside to truck.

Me: “Can we turn on the air conditioning?”
J: “I’m freezing!”
Me: “What are you talking about? It’s like a thousand degrees in here!”
J: “Negative one thousand maybe.”
Me: “How did you get so crazy?”
J: “Jerkface.”

[a note to our more sensitive viewers: In reality J and I have NEVER called each other “jerkface.”

I’m making up half of this stuff, and exaggerating the other half. Just pretend you’re reading about two fake

Still, J’s also having issue with my humor these days. I dunno. It’s got something to do with my use of the phrase, “your mother.”

J: “How far is it till Fargo.”
Me: “Your mother.”
J: “What? That doesn’t even make sense.”
Me: “Your mother doesn’t even make sense.”
J: “Ahhhhhhh!”

I think J just doesn’t have my refined sense of humor.

(note to J’s mom: This is not about you. I meant it as more of an archetypal “mother,” like “The Mother Of Us All”, or “The Great Earth Mother”)

(note to “The Great Earth Mother”: please do not smite me for the “your mother” jokes, I’m just being silly. No offense.)

When we’re not driving the truck, staging mock fights, or begging the locals for vegetarian food, J and I have been writing. I’ve been writing fiction lately (apparently I’m either trying to be like J, or I’m procrastinating from writing my next album.)

Of course for J writing is the easiest thing in the world. Each day she effortlessly spins off a novel or two of ghosts who cry rainbow tears, alien races who communicate through smell, and extra dimensional creatures who highest aspiration is to merge into an eternal uni-mind.

Meanwhile, I struggle just to make my prepositions talk to my participles, whatever they are.

I don’t know why I’m even trying to write, I can barely talk. I was reading a book on dialog, and I’ve
started to observe how I, and others, talk. I’ve noticed something extremely disturbing about how I speak. I have this weird habit of ending all of my sentences with a trailing conjunction.

For example:
“I getting pretty hungry, maybe we could stop to get some food and…''
“and what?”
“You said, ‘and’”
“and what?”

More later…

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 2 – Issue. 1

From the cab of a white moving truck – 699 miles traveled

The cab smells like cigarette smoke. We’ve sprinkled lavender leaves all over the cab. J and I are currently zipping through the forested mountains of the panhandle Idaho, in about 70 minutes we’ll be in Missoula, Montana buying hippie food. Then we go further east.

We both spent the last 4 days desperately trying to get ready for this trip. I kept myself busy primarily with packing and fretting. I like to get in a good fret or two before we hit the road. Part of the desperation was due to my long-standing policy of never preparing for any trip till the very absolute possible last minute. J ascribes to the same life philosophy. [ J note: This is a lie, plain and simple.] She has this clever technique. Every time she finishes an item on her to-do list, she adds two more items. [J note: This, however, is not a lie. It is, in fact, the cornerstone of our relationship.] These kinds of dysfunctions are the cornerstone of our relationship.

In my defense I also had to take care of lots of other stuff too. I had lots of Coop work to finish, two web clients and, oh yeah, I threw a dance party / concert out at Lost Valley Educational center.

The concert didn’t start the way I envisioned it at all. I was thinking that at the strike of 8 pm EVERY person I invited would appear at the lodge, cheering, and virtually begging for my music. I would dazzle them with my dazzling introduction, start the first track, and bask in the pulsing vibe of getting-downidness. Maybe occasionally pausing to give in to the demands of zealous groupies.

Instead, the strike of 8 pm was followed by the strike of 8:15 pm, and the deafening silence of 8:30 pm. Then my opening band started playing. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d have an opening band, but I did. It was a sort of improvisational group, which consisted of every child at lost valley. Most of their songs consisted of them beating arhythmically, as loud as they possibly could, on the drums lying around the lodge. Meanwhile one of them would run in circles screaming, “Stop playing! Stop! Stop!” It was all very edgy.

The only audience for this performance was the screaming children themselves, and of coarse, me. As delightful as this was, by 9 pm I told the kids that it was time to start my concert, the grown-up concert, the featured event, me. By 9:00 pm I was rocking the house, slamming my compositions of eclectic techno music into the audience of small screaming children.

Well, ok, eventually a bunch of adult type people did show up, the kids all went to bed, and I managed to keep the dance floor mostly full for the next 2 and a half hours. Wow, people dancing, to MY music, wow.

Anyway, back to now. Like I said, J an’ I are crossing Montana heading towards North Dakota. We bought some natural hippie enzyme stuff that is going to eat all the cigarette smell all bio-warfare style.

I think the truck is trying to kill us. J scolded it earlier in the trip, and it’s getting back at us by self adjusting its mirrors in un-useful ways. Within minutes of setting the side mirrors, I’ll look to see if a big semi is barreling down on us, only to see nothing but my own terrified face. Thanks truck. Yet even amongst all this stress and drama, J and I are managing to stay emotionally connected. Knock on plastic. We’ll have to see how we’re doing in a month and a half. I’m feeling confident because our communication has improved greatly since the last trip (Texas).

A typical interaction on the Texas tour (a dramatization),

J: “Ninety! You are going ninety miles per hour!”
Me: “I am not! I’m only, um, going like 88 tops.”
J: “You’re going to kill us!”
Me: “We’re in a desert! There’s nothing to even run into out here!”
J: [crying] “I should just drive for the rest of the tour”
Me: “Shut up, jerkface”

The new updated enlightened us,

J: “I am uncomfortable with the speed you are driving”
Me: “I hear you. I notice that we’re going 5 miles under the speed limit.”
J: “And yet, still I feel uncomfortable”
Me: “Ah ha! Well then let me remedy that situation with great haste.”
J: “Thank you”
Me: “You’re welcome…' …'jerkface.” [Jai note: This is the mildest dramatization you will ever read on these pages.]

We just stopped at a “Discount Food Store”. Maybe it should have been called the Ghetto Food Store. It had a bunch of beat up looking food that was at least a year old. It’s essentially like dumpster diving, except that you pay for it. I was mocking J because she said that she was “ravenous” and would “eat anything”, yet one bite into the ghetto cereal we bought, she turned up her nose and is now searching for food that is less than a year old. Wimp.

Anyway, we’re doing pretty well. That’s it for now. In two days we’ll be in Fargo North Dakota (yes, where the movie was made)

More later…'.

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 1 – Issue. 7

…yet again, from a moving truck.

We've traveled 7711 miles so far. The tour is over, we've packed J's parent's stuff in the truck, and we're driving west. By the time we get home our travel will top 10,000 miles…

In the past weeks i've tried to write these mostly with the goal of making you laugh. I'll probably think of something funny before i finish this journal, but i'm also aware that i feel kinda burnt out. I wish i was home right now, preferably in a big cuddle pile.

That said, we're currently in Kansas going west on Highway 70 towards Denver. The golden rolling hills are aflame under patches of sunlight poking through masses of fluffy clouds. From time to time we see shrubs, trees, and the occasional lazy gang of cows.

In short, it's pretty.

J's Dad gave me some computer speakers, so we're listening to MP3s offa my laptop. Most of you know i tend to lean towards electronic dance music, punk/metal, and bombastic classical music. But there's something about the landscape here, we're mostly listening to Paul Simon, Brett Dennen, and The Proclaimers.

I realize that i've been covering over some of my feelings in these journals. I see myself quashing some of my sadness and presenting it as cynical humor.

Yesterday i burst into tears, J and i sat in the cab of the truck crying for an hour.

I think i'd finally reached my limits of TV and billboards that said, “God Bless American, In God We Trust” “Abortion Stops A Beating Heart” or “Freedom Isn't Free. Support Our Troops” The worst of the entire tour was, “My America supports it's troops WHEREEVER they go. No aid or comfort to our enemies. No way!”

J once used the term “Heartsick” when she was describing to me how she sometimes felt about american culture. That's how i feel these days, heartsick. I want to go back to our bubble in Eugene where people touch each other, recycle their waste, and aren't caught in a cycle where they work themselves to death to buy shit they don't need. I felt so much better after i cried for a while.

J and i talked about this later on. What do we do with this? We can't just hide out in Eugene, but the longer we spent out here the unhealthier we feel. I just can't even imagine it anymore, living in this constant barrage of fear-news and advertising and stress.

Of coarse look at me. I'm tooling around to clubs and college campuses driving a gas burning vehicle 10,000 miles to get famous and sell college students shit they don't need. Sigh. So much for right livelihood.

The best we've been able to come with is that it's important for us to live somewhere healthy and it's important for us to get out here and interact with folks who live in this mess. I'm happy to have a little money to live off of, so i can spend my time doing volunteer work, activism, and music.

We've also been trying to live as best we can. We've brought tupperwear everywhere with us and have argued with innumerable hotel and university staff that we wont use their damn styrophom and just put the goddamn burrito in the tupperware.

And those automatic flush toilets, you know, the ones that flush like three times as you try to situate yourself in the stall. I hate those things. In the past 11 states i've been sticking tape over the sensors so people can use the button if they chose to flush. I should print up little stickers that say, “These things waste water” and put those over the sensors. Grrrrr…

Anyway, sorry for the preaching. I'm worn a little thin today.

We did see a few billboards that we thought were funny;

There was this billboard with a hip skater kid holding a bowl of rice and it said, “Rice. Awesome!”

On the same highway was one with this totally pimpin' looking guy, and it said, “I'd slow down if i were you.” He was even winking. Nice.

So anyway, our plan is to stop in Laramie, WY and then probably Twin Falls, ID. Then we'll maybe crash (no, not literally silly) in Portland, then finally Eugene.