Archive for the ‘Once A Rockstar…’ Category

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 1 – Issue. 6

…hanging at a high school

I hope you're sitting down.

We've decided to do some more gigs for another week.

Yeah yeah, i know, we're stupid. Oh wait, let me rephrase that in heart-of-now NVC speak. I feel in my heart that i have the idea that we're really stupid… and i feel sad because my need for intelligence isn't being met.

Speaking of intelligence;

We are, and this will come as a shock to you, in another unusual place. Today we're doing a show in a high school, the Illinois Math and Science Academy. The school is a weird mix of… well, pretty normal students, and really freaky staff.

The staff at IMSA are, and i mean this in the strictest Non-Violent Communication sense… fucking crazy.

And paranoid, man are they paranoid.

This morning we walked into the school through a gymnasium entrance. I didn't notice that the doors were locked until a student who happened
to walk up to the door at the same time as us waved his name tag at a sensor. The door unlocked with a loud click. J and i looked at each
other, shrugged, and walked in glibly behind him. [J's note: There's nothing odd about walking into a high school, right? Wrong.] We wandered for a while until we found the front desk. I didn't recognize it at first because it was enclosed in a movable iron cage.

J went up to the woman behind the counter and said, through the bars, can you tell us where to find [our contact for the show]?”

“Are you new students?”
“No, we're doing a show today.”
“But wait, how did you get in the building?”
“We walked into the building through the gym, with a student.”
“Oh my God! A student let you in?”

(as you might imagine, we were a little put off by this point)

“He should have escorted you here.”
“Perhaps he thought we were students.”
“He should have known better!”

(and here J said something that made my heart sing), “You didn't.”

At this point she called in another assistant who explained that we must wear name tags at all times, “and keep them visible at all times.” We must not leave the area of the show without permission, and that we would be escorted to the loading dock. There were signs everywhere, and every one of them used the word 'must'.

The woman behind the iron cage finally started to seem embarrassed by their behavior and started to apologize, over and over. I mean like
every other word was 'sorry', she eventually told me that they were just trying to be “safety conscious”, and here her voice came down to a
whisper, “you know, since 911.”

You would have been proud of me, i didn't shout, “WHAT THE FUCK?”…

…well, in my head i did. I didn't ask her why they thought freedom-hating terrorists would want to blow up a high school in rural Illinois. I didn't even point out that with all of their crazy overblown security, we were able to waltz into their school without even trying very hard. OK, fine, i didn't practice radical honesty or give her reflection either, i just forced a smile and backed away slowly.

The students are pretty chill, basic high school students, maybe a little smarter, maybe a little nerdier. J used to compete against
this school in math tournaments when she was a nerdy brainy high school student. We spent most of the show chatting up the students about Dance Dance Revolution, Anime, and asking subversive questions about why their school needed to be more secure than the pentagon.

Anyway, like i said, we agreed to do another week of this madness. We have another college show in St. Louis on Monday and Tuesday, and one last one on Thursday down in Arkansas. Then we drive BACK to St. Louis and start the long drive back to Oregon.

Why'd we decide to do another week? Hell, i don't know. Mainly it was so we could fill the truck with some of J's parents junk and drive it to Oregon for them. Also we'll make a little more money.

Stupid stupid stupid…

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 1 – Issue. 5

Feb 3rd 05 – 4:30pm; From the show

Rainy day today. We're in South East Missouri State after a whirlwind run from Abilene Texas, up to St. Louis, and now down here. Tonight
we'll be driving to St. Louis. The charm of this trip has worn off, and i'm starting to get sick. I hate music, schools, our fans, and
especially big yellow trucks.

Oh, and i hate loading docks, food courts, and most especially hotels. In short, i'm sick of this. The good news is that we have one week left
and then we'll be heading home.

I do love Wifi though. This school has a wireless network so i can actually send this to y'all right after i write it. Oh and i love J, even after all of these stresses together, we haven't killed each other. And you, i love you, but i hate everything else.

On the way into town we saw a house, which from this point forward i will call 'The Valentine House'. This person really loves valentines day. I mean REALLY loves it. Every inch of their front lawn was covered in hearts, cupids, teddy bears, and red ribbon. The entire HOUSE was covered in red hearts. A sign above the front door screamed, “BE MINE!”

Now i'm not a big proponent of valentines day. I try to show my loved ones that i love them more than once a year. I don't like the whole
capitalistic aspect of Valentine's day, and i bristle at the idea of a mandated heterosexual monogamous couple day. Something like that. Or
maybe i'm just worried that since i'm poly, if i honored valentines day i'd have to write a hundred valentines cards every year (i'm kidding.)

The thing is, let's say you're into valentines day, and let's set aside my deep social-political analysis of the holiday. If i understand it
correctly, you might celebrate Valentine's day by writing “be mine!” onto a heart shaped piece of paper and hand it to the person you're
attracted to (i'm also going to set aside my creeped-outedness at the whole possessive nature of that endeavor, “be mine”, ugh).

Setting all of that aside, what the hell does it mean when you put a giant fucking sign above your door proclaiming to the entire world, “BE
MINE!” I mean is this some sort of request for the largest harem ever? Or is just an offer to the first person who is walking by and thinks to
themselves, “Oh what the heck, why not?”

Maybe i'm just a big scrooge. Bah Humbug.

Feb 4th 05 – 11:30pm – At J's parent's house

Ok i'm in a better mood now. We're relaxing in St. Louis. Yesterday confirmed the cold symptoms that had been building in me, but a good nine hours of sleep has helped some. J and i celebrated Imbolc in our hotel room near the school. We burned candles and had a nice ritual.

Actually i shouldn't say that so casually. We were in a non-smoking room, there was a big sign in our room that said, “This is a non-smoking room, if housekeeping detects any smoking in this room, you will be fined $50.00.” We did it anyway. We nervously snuck candles into the hotel, only to find that we didn't have any matches. J left me there and searched half of the town for flame-making implements. She finally ended up in a bar, which inexplicably didn't have any matches either. But the bartender went around asking customers for some until someone gave J their lighter. It's nice to see the whole community supporting us pagans.

The tour is officially almost over. We have only four more shows left, starting on Monday. Then we have to do a fair amount of traveling around. But then we'll be heading home.

More later…

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 1 – Issue. 4

…from a moving truck.

Fort Worth is hell.

I thought all of Texas would be hell, but people here have been pretty chill for the most part. We still see anti-bush bumper stickers mixed
in with the “with us or against us” stuff, and those are mostly on gas guzzling trucks. The people here have turned out to be, well, people.

But Fort Worth, damn, this place is awful! Yeah yeah yeah, i know, your Mom/Brother/Best Friend/Hamster come from Fort Worth and they said it
was the friendliest place on earth, best food, good people, yadda yadda yadda. I love you, your Mom, and your hamster. But Jeeze…

I was sick of finding us nice places to stay, so we decided to stay in the first place we found closest to the gig. I mean we were only staying there 2 nights, how bad could it be?

Where do i start? I need to pause here to collect the proper adjectives and inflammatory rhetoric. The motel was in, as far as i can tell, the
worst part of Fort Worth, and therefore, Texas, and therefore, the U.S. (except maybe Florida… again no offense to your Mom/Brother/Best

Imagine a horrible room with cinder block walls, pealing grey paint and the same picture on two different walls. Check that out, why have two of the same picture in the room? why not just have one picture? Do two of the same picture cost less than two different pictures? The utter nastiness of the bathroom made the rest of the room seem actually quite cheerful by comparison. We went to bed thinking it couldn't get any worse. This silly myth was popped like a soap bubble by the drunk man pounding on our door at 2am asking us for money [J note: well, actually it was more like 11pm, but that didn't make it that much more pleasant]. We moved out the next morning.

The rest of Fort Worth seemed, well, ignored. It looked desolate and forgotten. Our first night there we desperately tried to acquire food,
only to find an utter lack of grocery stores and every restaurant closed, even the ones that had hours posted as open. We would've been
creeped out if we weren't so brain addled by starvation. We ended up eating in the only place open for miles. It was (i am not exaggerating
here) an Italian restaurant, run by a Slovak family, with an entirely Hispanic clientèle. They had a TV playing Hungarian movies, and a small
storefront selling nothing but Cyrillic magazines and bad east European chocolate. I think i confused our waitress with the word “vegetarian.”
[J note: We actually really liked that restaurant, and we found out what the Czech phrase 'krasny den' means, which has been bugging us,
except the food was pretty awful. I just ate garlic bread.]

The university was pretty normal, and our new hotel was better. Although i would describe our room decor as, “an ode to hunting dogs.” Once the show was done, we got the hell out of Fort Worth.

Some things we've seen while traveling through Texas;

1.) Variegated hills – as far as i can tell the hundreds of thousands of cows that walk the land don't like to walk up or down hills, so they
graze walking around the hills in a sort of spiral pattern, making every hill into a sort of huge topo map. Creepy but kinda neat.

2.) Austin botanical garden – Amazing constructed Japanese streams and waterfalls running through the whole park

3.) Bumper sticker, “We're making enemies faster than we can kill them.”

4.) A truck on the side of the highway engulfed in flames. [J note: This time, G's not exaggerating.]

Tour Journal – 2005 – Vol. 1 – Issue. 3

21 miles from San Marcos Texas.

Once again i sit here in the cab of our trusty yellow truck, blank page before me, and another mundanely pleasant week behind us. I'm sorry to
report that this road journal contains no totaled trucks, tornadoes, police chases, or marauding zombie hordes. Well, we are a little lost
right now, and we did get pulled over by a cop.

Actually that part was weird. We we're going too fast, a police car pulled up behind us, we pulled over, he used his bullhorn to ask us to
pull over somewhere safer, we drove up the road a bit…

…and then he was gone! We waited for a bit, but he had vanished into the proverbial thin air. Speaking of cops, you remember how our truck
had been totaled in San Fran? Well, when we were in Dallas J called her house mate and found out that on the night of the accident the
Eugene police had showed up at her house [J note: like, showed up at 4am]. Turns out that they had somehow gotten the idea that our truck
was 24 days overdue. We're fugitives!

We had to spend a bit of time clearing it up, but i think we're no longer material for a TV movie.

Going back a little; The drive from Stanford to Dallas was frankly kinda stressful and long. We saw a few cool things like the 'Brisbane Cow
Palace', I spent a half an hour yelling, in a British announcers voice, “Welcome to the Brisbane Cow Palace!” until J got sick of it.

We also passed the 'Casa de Frutas' Parkway, J has decided that is her new nickname for me, hopefully she wont use it in bed.

After the second day of driving we made it to Amarillo Texas.

I'm going to cut to the chase, the whole town smelled like manure. The parking lot, the lobby, our room, everything. I imagine after living here for awhile you probably don't even notice it, or you kill yourself. From Amarillo we made it to Dallas, which thankfully did not smell like manure.

Not much to say about the show. Our contact at the venue was an extremely friendly southern gentleman with a handlebar mustache. We again sold very little merchandise, met some nice folks, and more or less hung out a lot.

I spent much of my time obsessing about food. Here are the dietary habits of the migratory J and G:

I'm gonna level with you, on the last tour in Florida, J and i ate a lot, A LOT, of taco bell. We felt like crap most of the time, and felt perpetually guilty about giving money to a multinational corporation. This time around, convinced that i'm fat, and determined to eat well on this tour, i've pretty much gone raw foods vegan. I've been subsisting on salads, fruit, and those weird burritos you can make by wrapping a leaf of some shit around some other shit. J's been eating pretty good too.

Anyway, we've left Dallas. We stopped in Houston for a few days to visit one of J's oldest and bestest friends. Dave. He's wonderful, i
consider him a friend of mine now too. He and his partner Erika and J and i had dinner a few times and went to Quaker meeting on Sunday. Oh!
And we went to this amazing place. Called the 'ArtCar' museum. You gotta see it!

Anyway anyway, we're near San Marcos Texas, about a half an hour south of Austin. More reports later.

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

from a hotel room in Mountain View California.

I'm going to be honest with you. I was pretty terrified until our truck was destroyed…

but i'm getting ahead of myself…

Stanford has been pleasant. Amazingly pleasant. In fact it's been so undramatically pleasant that i haven't been able to think of any
engaging stories to tell you about our time here. The shows have been terrible; we barely sold any CDs or anything, but whatever.

We've been hanging out and chatting (sometimes flirting) with the ethnically diverse (and for the most part extremely attractive) student body. J would occasionally sneak away into the bookstore to flip through sci-fi books, and i would dig through their physics and music books.

So, as i said, everything was very nice, but not all that newsworthy.

This morning we let ourselves sleep in, slowly packing and getting ready to go. Our plan was to drive into San Francisco to stop by Good
Vibrations to pick up some lube (Good Vibrations is a worker owned cooperative sex shop), and then start off on the 29-hour drive to Dallas. I was thinking how i wouldn't have anything interesting to report to y'all when the phone rang (cue low swell of dramatic music.) J picked it up, i wasn't paying much attention until she said, “We didn't get into a car accident.”

Long story short; While we were sleeping, a drunk driver nailed our truck hard enough to knock it out into the street. By some miracle he
wasn't killed, but the back of our truck looks like bad student art. The cops towed the wreckage of the truck away but didn't wake us up to
tell us, so we didn't find out till our insurance company called us to ask us what happened. I'm actually glad they called when they did. In another 10 minutes we would have been out on the curb scratching our heads and wondering who would want to steal our truck.

We spent most of today arranging for a new truck and transferring our undestroyed posters and stuff from our old truck to our new truck. Oh, one cool thing, we couldn't get the back of the truck open (even with a sledgehammer), so some dude had to come up with a forklift and pry the
thing open. I was chanting, “Jaws of life, jaws of life!” It really had a sort of party atmosphere.

So now we're leaving tomorrow morning (unless someone hits our new truck tonight.) J and i agreed that it was good that we hadn't named our old truck, since we lost him so early in our relationship. The trip to Dallas might be a bit tricky since there are apparently wind, snow and
rainstorm warnings to the south of us (i didn't think you could have all three of those at the same time.) Wish us luck.