Wednesday, March 08, 2000 – off the road

I finished Kerouac’s On The Road on my way to work on the bus. WOW! I guess it was an appropriate way to end the book . . . while rolling along the endless pavement that is America. What a journey! So now, as per Lazy Bear’s request I have to pick up Dharma Bums and see what that has to offer. LB put a lot of energy into making me promise to read that book immediately after On The Road. We’ll have to see when and where I can get it.

Oh was I ever foggy this morning. I kept thinking the headache and sick feeling would kick in any moment. But several hours and quarts of water later, I feel fine.

I was walking over to the grocery store for lunch and out on the street, near the building where I work was a car parked with a middle-aged gentleman with a headset on. Seemed like he was listening in on something. Kind of odd. He was still there when I came back by twenty minutes later. I wonder who was being watched? I seriously doubt it was anything relating to where I work, there just isn’t enough of a stake in it. Nonetheless, it’s rather unsettling to see such things. I’m probably just jumping to conclusions. Or?

Wednesday means it’s Cork N Bottle night at Steve’s Bar. I guess I had better get going.

OK, it’s definitely Spring. Met up with Jacob, and his wonderful friends Cindy and Steve. Oh-so-wonderful conversation about black and white photography with Cindy as well as Montana and the ‘yee-haw’ being a way of signifying a bluegrass musician of your respect for them. It was just GREAT hearing her ‘yee-haw’!

I’m beginning to see Steve’s Bar as a place that is not so much spatial as it is a consciousness. It’s weird because it’s so unlike the typical bar scene. People are so nice and mellow and respectful.

As sort of a gesture to bring a few more smiles to the locale, I brought some chocolate chip cookies. Beer and chocolate!!! People get a little weirded out at first when you give away edibles. I guess I can’t blame them. I wore one of my screen printed Bucky Badger shirts which drew some compliments. It’s fun when one of your creations gets noticed on some level. Cinnamon asked me right off if I had brought in that picture I took of her, Kay, and Linda a couple weeks ago. As it turns out she’s in the school of nursing and is heading towards mid-wifery, which I think is excellent. Makes so much sense to give the birthing process back to the mother. Wellness is one of my favorite topics.

Elle, Ben, Brian, and Andy were there. Haven’t seen them at Steve’s forever. Elle told me she’s normally at T’ai-Chi, which is true. It was good to hear she was still attending classes.

Had a string of minor debates with Shaggy about whether Mardis Gras is misogynistic. My arguement being that (conscious) women are actually in power in such situations. I think it is time people stop thinking women are weak and victims by nature. I think that mentality is ultimately misogynistic because it degrades women into people who have no ability to look after themselves. I think it’s the remnants of a paternalistic paradigm which keep this notion alive. Or have I been misinterpreting Camille Paglia all these years?

I sort of mentioned this to Jennie and Tara. Sort of to get it off my chest that I felt Mardis Gras was at least no more misogynistic than Bluegrass. I mean, do I have to reach very far to find Bluegrass lyrics that could be interpreted as degrading of women? For example:

“Pretty flowers were made for bloomin’.
Pretty stars were made to shine.
Pretty girls were made for lovin’.
Lil Maggie was meant to be mine.”

Personally I think it’s always a matter of context.

All in all Cork N Bottle played a terrific gig. I noticed a lot of songs I haven’t heard in a while.

Took off for home shortly after the music ended. Liz had called to see if I was going to see John Chimes Band. I felt like sticking around home, saving up on energy and cash.

Post Modern allegorical writing,
I make the words,
You enjoy the lighting.

Tuesday, March 07, 2000 – fat tuesday

Oooh La La! F A T Tuesday!!!

Awake. Warm winter weather. I can hear birds throughout the neighborhood singing their “I’m OK, are you OK? I’m OK, are you OK?” song. I peek my head out on the balcony and it is actually warmer outside than it is inside. Shorts and sandals today for sure!

Biking it! Wahoo!!! It’s so warm I don’t even need a sweater. I cruise up East Dayton Street, the morning traffic is just a bit hectic as usual. Ideas come to mind about all the things I need to do . . . get the web templates ready for the catalog site, get my resume in order, start scheming on how I’m going to fund my summer. Little blurblets come to mind for the writing project. And as usual at least 50% of what I dream up along the way never comes to be.

There’s this crazy crossing I have to make when I ride bike to work. It’s when I cross Packers Avenue. Cars are coming from four directions at once. It’s not your typical cross-junction, it’s more of a merge. And of course the cars are going FAST. As would be the case with an edge-of-town street, there are no sidewalks. Madison is bike-friendly, in comparison to the rest of this country, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. People are raving about the price of gas going up tens of cents but no one complains about bus fares going up. I propose gas be allowed to go up in price and we stop the corporate welfare. Maybe people will wise up to the fact that the price of an automobile society is more than just expensive gas. Europeans deal with prices around $4 a gallon. Their public transportation is way better than ours. Bike paths are the norm there.

Home for lunch. Making veggie burgers. Halo and I are sitting out on the balcony soaking in some of the rays and this chick was pulling her bike out of her trunk and managed to knock it into a truck parked behind her. Seemed innocuous, but it was quite the loud crash and I could see the squirrely look on her face as she looked around hoping the owner of the truck didn’t notice. It was everything I could do to keep from bursting out in laughter. People can be so hilarious at times.

Work was work. I admit I’m getting a bit stressed out over it. I need a vacation really bad. At the same time, once this project is up, it will be a good showcase of what I do.

Had a nice ICQ chat with my sister Lisa’s roomate about Madison as well as how a person can tell when they’re in love. My idea being that when you’re in love, you know it. It takes on many forms but it will be something you cannot deny. She’s off to Ireland for Spring break coming up. Everyone is going away.

Liz calls around 7pm to let me know the plan for Fat Tuesday. For some reason I draw pleasure answering the phone in weird voices and characters when people I know call (thanks caller ID). Hopefully it’s taken as humor and not a multiple personality issue. OK, we’re going to meet up with Andy, Ben, Brian, and some other folks at the Dew Drop Inn and then cross over into the Bier Haus for the John Chimes Band.

Monday, March 06, 2000

Rode bike to work. WOW! The sun and fresh air on my face in the mildly cool march morning. I can’t believe how warm this season has been. Of course we all wait for it to get worse. Perhaps I should resolve to just enjoy the good weather when it’s here and not worry about the way it’s ‘supposed to be.’

Attachment and expectation lead to stagnation.

Arrive to work and soon Jasmine drops by with her computer for me to tweak. Halo helped out immensely. He pretty much installed all the software and RAM himself. So we brought the machine over the her place afterwards and I stuck around to configure it for her and Frannie’s email addresses.

After a tasty dinner made by Frannie, we hung out a few more minutes and talked. Mostly about Anne. As therapeutic as it is for me to talk about her with them, it still made me miss her a lot again. No doubt this is just part of the process.

Rode my bike home through the long dark streets. The air was still warm and the streets were calm. What a night!

Liz calls around midnight to let me know her landlord is showing her place again and so she needs to bring the cat over. Liz and Miles arrive and I’m lounging about with the Jesus and Mary Chain blaring. Liz leaves, cat stays, I stay up until 4am reading Kerouac’s On The Road. I would have went to sleep earlier but the book really captivated my attention, I believe it was the part where they dove down across the border, past the chaos and disorder into Mexico. The scenes describing that land around 1950 are just spectacular.

Late to bed and early to rise makes me tired, unhealthy, but wise.

Sunday, March 05, 2000

Not much today. I did manage to get my bicycle fixed, catch up with the various stories (a la Sparky and Shaggy) about the Cork N Bottle gig at the student Union on Saturday night, and even cruise over to Sparky’s place to hang out for a few hours.

Most of the subjects that came up revolved around us trying to get some start-up going. Most likely a web e-commerce project.

Sparky’s roomate Tom came in and he brought out some Yerba Maté. This time rather than it being served in a gourd, it was brewed in a coffee maker. Good stuff! We had an animated discussion about the wonders of Yerba Maté as well as Tom’s web site where he’s not only reselling Maté and accessories, but also collecting information about all things relating to it. For instance, since Yerba Maté has a type of caffeine that binds with the body differently, it doesn’t tense your musculature up the way coffee and cola do. In fact it relaxes your blood vessels. So you get the mental alterness without that strung-out wired feeling other forms of caffeine impart.

But I’ll let Tom do the selling of Maté.

Rode back home and went to sleep shortly thereafter. Yawn.

Saturday, March 04, 2000 – sun thunder

Past = Law/System 11
Present = Mother of Water
Future = Thunder / 9

Another slack Saturday. Whew!

Awoke to a call from one irate Halo letting me know his wife had found a note written by Lynn with her name, phone number, and email address. It had obviously been dropped there by me (we go to lunch every day and I’m sure it fell out of my pocket when I took out my checkbook). His wife thought it was his, so that created quite a stir. Seemed like all was well when we hung up though.

I went back to sleep. Got up and called over to Liz’s place to see if she wanted to go grab something to eat. Hope was due in town pretty soon so she said she’d call when she got there. Back to sleep.

The phone rings and it’s Liz two hours later. Hope just arrived. So I printed up a picture taken at the Ani DiFranco show last October with Hope, Liz, and Anne at the Rave in Milwaukee. A wonderful photo! It was well received when they arrived here en route to State Street.

Fresh warm sunny air lulled me into shorts and sandals. Out into the daylight and everyone is outside. Smiles abound. Flesh! Everywhere you look there are people. State Street was hopping. From the Capitol end it seemed like there was a parade or march headed our way. But it was just buzzing with all the people milling about. Perhaps a sports tournament of sorts . . . you can tell because there are hordes of people who gawk and stare at the little things that make this town what it is: guitars and drums, trinket selling hoodlums, punks, drunks, hotties and hunks. They’re all there on a day like today.

Liz, Hope, and I saunter into the Saz and order up falafel and fries . . . the staple of any alterna-sumer. The place is inhabited by a table of beautifully dressed African women who are having an animated discussion in a language that sounds half French and half Arabic. We grab a window seat and of course our time there is spent mostly looking out the window at the people passing by.

We begin plotting the escape from Madison. Will it be just a vacation? Or a tour? Or a mass exodus? The notion of a tour seems popular and so for the next several hours we brainstorm our way through alternative financial realities, high occupational hazards (from taking so much time off), automotive quantum mechanics, tour guidance. Seems like making Heaven’s Stars (a very old Indian trinket with cleverly connected half-loops and beads which allow the holder to transform it into several different shapes) is rather well accepted. We’re convinced we’ll be able to sell as many as we can make.

We drive over to the Corner Bar on Willy Street and pickup tickets for the show tonight. The Weavils and John Brown’s Body will be packing them into that oh-so-pathetically-tiny venue. It’s funny since that place has always attracted a lot of great acts and huge crowds but there is absolutely no room for any of it. Nonetheless we drop down our $10 for tickets and sit and have a drink.

I rib Liz for being up all night with Jess. Also I got to sort of recap with Hope one of the first times her and I met: we were at a Dark Star Orchestra show at the Evermore Theater on Atwood and Anne was with us. In fact that was very soon after I first met Anne and had this ridiculous over-the-top crush on her (which later settled into ‘just’ eternal love). So Hope and I got a few giggles out of that. Funny how time flies and what is in the present later becomes a memory you share with others.

We duck out of there amidst the whiskey shooters and the liquor lookers and head back downtown to get some rest and relax before the show.

I lay down at home and try to rest but there’s just too much energy in the air. So I get up and call over to see if Jasmine and Frannie can make it to the show tonight. They have plans already for a dance party. I pick up the guitar and try to fill some time playing along to Mazzy Star songs. The phone rings, it’s Becca calling to see whether I was headed down to the Union for tonight’s Cork N Bottle gig. Sort of sad that so much is happening in one evening. But since I already have a ticket for the Corner Bar show, I let her know I’m already booked.

I scurry about getting ready for this evening’s festivities:

Looking where I’ve already looked
bread for the head
food for the soul
and of course the last course has already been eaten

(we meant beaten)

The Corner was just HOPPING! The Weavils were playing when we got there. The crazy thing was there was hardly anyone dancing. So Liz, Hope, and I boogied up front for most of the rest of their set.

Nikki walked in soon thereafter and there seemed to be a cool distance. Jeez, I’m not exactly sure why. I guess that’s what happens when people introduce you to someone and are a little over-the-top with regards to you hooking up. So if ANY of you are reading this: in the future, if you are playing match-maker, be subtle. Definitely make introductions, but then leave it to the folks to decide where it goes. Expectations are the fastest way to weigh the situation down.

Ben (another guy who works with Elle), Andy, and his lady Laura were there. That couple was having an excellent evening.

Friday, March 03, 2000

Awake in the March morning light. Of course last night still on my breath and being held down by the urge to just sleep in and forget about the world for just a few more hours. At some point I gather enough resolve to get up and rush through the shower, pull on some clothes (today it’s going to have to be loose and comfortable).

Into the sun, there’s still a nip to the air, but it’s a cheerful one. You can see it on everyone’s faces. At the bus stop is a guy wrapped in headphones and body ornamentation. I think all that is fine, but this is obviously his ‘look.’ Maybe I mention this because along comes this frail little old lady with a wheeled shopping basket. He greets her in the brisk morning shadow and she beams up at him with the most delightful smile and they proceed talking for ten minutes as if they were the best of friends. Could it be the sacred Generation Gap(R) which has fueled teen angst, driven whole movements, and is the saving grace of 90% of the fashion industry, is beginning to crumble?

They got on the first bus. I got on the next.

At the transfer point I see the little old lady get off MY bus. I walked a few steps and then I begin to wonder how she pulled that off.

So I shake my worries out and try to ignore that feeling in my stomach that comes from copious amounts of gin the night before. There’s this feeling of intensity and happiness that inhabits me today. Despite the body load, there’s still a buzz to the air. Friday has arrived!

The day races past and pretty soon I’m in Halo’s car on my way to Jasmine’s for tea. We went past the bank first and while waiting in line I ask whether he’s ever experienced that “Television Tarot” or “Televisionary Tarot” where you’re channel-surfing and it all sort of makes a strange but definite connection in your mind. Sort of like an associative cultural pastische. He drops me off and Jasmine and I hang out for a few hours of wonderful conversation. Essentially we spoke of the understanding of our universe we get through physics (the relationship between electron and proton, the dense particles which are in black holes, etc). I think this was rooted in how religions and most knowledge systems seem to point in the same basic direction. Zen was a card we brought out. Jasmine is one of the most inquisitive minds I know.

We took the bus into town since Jasmine was going to meet up with some friends at the bar for some pool and I wanted to head home and get some much needed rest.

There’s a message from Elle which I return. What a sweetie! She had a gift for me and wanted to know if I was going to be home so she could bring it by. A few minutes later she drops by and has a vase of white flowers. She then tells me about a dream she had where she would be looking at something and blood would start oozing out of it. It was everywhere. The Dream Dictionary had this to say:

Blood It is the life-giving, vital part of our physiology and it may symbolize our strengths and weaknesses and our physical and mental health. If you are currently experiencing a very difficult time in your life, you may have dreams with bloody and frightening images. Don’t worry, you may be venting your fears! Some believe that when you see blood in your dream, the distressing situation in your life which is at the root of the dream has come to an end, and the worst is over. Consider the details and the relationships between of all the symbols in your dream before making an interpretation.

Elle took off and a minute later Frannie called to see if I was up for cribbage or board games and having been not getting enough rest as of late, I declined. Good night!

Thursday, March 02, 2000

OK, Shaggy and I get into a discussion over sketchiness and intention when it comes to females. We pretty much agree on all points but I just felt it necessary to drive home the idea that pure intention originates in the heart and women pick up on it. It’s nice to get any misunderstanding out of the way. I realize it’s a necessity to ground yourself every now and then with those around you. It gets you on the same sheet of music. The best part was being able to disagree and still come away even better friends.

Earlier in the day Sal and Sophie ICQed me and we exchanged some ideas about some of the same things. As well there was a lot of excitement coming from that end since they’re moving down to the village. Once the dust settles there and perhaps after the weather has made up its mind, I will definitely make the trek out there and see what sort of trouble we can get into (or out of).

At the tail end of a beer Shaggy drops by to pick me up. We’re off to the Gridiron for yet some more bluegrass. I guess there’s no such thing as moderation around here, even with bluegrass. I wonder when the day will come that I can go see a world music performance one night, going raving another, bluegrass following, a granola jam band after that, some crazed jazz (minus the haut kultur poseurs that tend to populate such venues), and topped off by a caffeine conversation with friends at the end of the week. All this without having to jump the state line in regards to social circles.

Whoa boy. So I should mention I had a stake in showing up tonight anyway since I’m doing the web site for the Gridiron Bluegrass scene. Wanted to make sure Jennie saw the site and draw her feedback.

The bands were great. The place was hoppin’. Somewhere along the way Wesley and Thomas came in avec femmes. I was introduced to one Margaret who was friendly and seemed into my writing project. Tom and Wes later were spotted near the bar bringing the rest of the establishment into a quiet giggle with their voice-overs.

Lynn and Glenn were sitting over by the dartboard with their friend Phil from Phoenix. Actually, he’s from Wisconsin but moved down there. He had just missed his plane back down there so was hanging out into the weekend until he feels like getting on a plane bound for the land of the sun. Jennie later told me Phil was hilarious. Not exactly sure why, I guess it was just the vibe he gave off.

Lynn and I had a terrific conversation that took a winding course through so many topics and times and experiences it would be a job in itself just rehashing it here. Let’s just say it was the highlight of the evening. Besides social engineering (both within the social circle as well as society in general), it was nice to hear from someone who is consciously opting out of the system that seems to be strangling us all as individuals.

Rolled into home around 2:15am and there was a call from Elizabeth asking if I could watch Miles again. “No problem.” She brings him by, we hung out and caught up on our lives and gossip. I was happy to hear her and Jess are still spending time together and getting close, but consciously. Honesty is so important and I think those two sound like honesty and respect are main ingredients.

OK, Liz leaves probably around 3am and I hit the sack. Yeah yeah, I should stay up and sober up just a bit more. Ahhh but Sapphire gin won’t leave too much of a legacy.

Thursday, February 24, 2000

Typical day involved in a typical daydream. Do I even want to write about work? Like I always say, I don’t get paid enough to even think about work after hours.

Towards the end of the day a friend of mine messaged me and let me know her and her boyfriend of a year are having some serious issues. Molly said he’s basically said he needed space to figure out what he wants. Now doesn’t this sound familiar in my own life? Hmmm, life throws you into so many different roles until you’ve seen things from all perspectives.

So Molly, I wish you well and whatever happens, do it with compassion and patience. Time will bring clarity and I suppose the crazy part is just enduring the now until you feel whole again.

So we messaged back and forth until I went out to the Gridiron for Thursday night bluegrass. I hitched a ride with Sven in his high maintenance Subaru. The evening was so warm and foggy outside, it was like riding through a fishbowl.

We stroll in and Jennie and Tara are behind the bar. Looked like Kay (who is ALWAYS on the scene wherever in this town bluegrass is present) was training in at the bar. Wiley stopped by fresh from winning an image scanner for his music-sensing light-fountain entry in an engineering contest on campus.

Seemed like everyone arrived within minutes of each other. I was in back playing pool with Sven, Wiley, and Shaggy when Chrysanthemum came in. It’s so nice to see her! After a warm greetings we spoke of Samosas on Sunday for the potluck late in the afternoon at my place (oh shit! I need to send out the email invites!). Sounds like coffee on Saturday is in the works as well.

Frannie and Jasmine dropped in. After accosting Jasmine about her cartoon tie-dye pants, which were actually a nice addition to the rather dark tones of the Gridiron, I wound up gabbing at their table and tossing around notions of a better world and a not-so-distant past when our beloved Anne was still inhabiting our lives on a regular basis.

Wesley Thomas and Thomas Staghorn are a couple regulars in the bluegrass scene and also happen to be friends of Frannie, Sparky, and many other folks I know. Running story-lines past them over one-more-beer, brought the evening to a close and off into the warm-ish Winter night I go, back to the hinterlands of the near-east. Back alone in my grotto, I wander into a quiet sleep. Tomorrow is fast on the heels of today.

Wednesday, February 23, 2000 – mayo on the side

At lunch Jerry was talking about how he was hanging out with Chelsea and her boyfriend and the subject of nylons being worn on her face at night to keep the skin (maxillo epidermis) intact came up. Chelsea’s boyfriend Jeff smiled and told Jerry that not only does Chelsea wear nylons on her face at night, but she also occasionally wears mayo on her ass (! I’m not making this up) to keep the skin soft. Of course this was the hot topic at the bar.

Some guy was over in the corner racking up the pay line in a video poker machine. It’s amazing how annoying the sounds coming from those machines can be. Nearby were two televisions side-by-side. One playing a rodeo and the volume cranked and the other tuned to soap operas.

All gather Wednesday for what sometimes borders on the religious at Steve’s. People just getting down to some real fun music and atmosphere. Funny how such a scene could thrive without the press pouncing on it. A good thing!

Thanks go out Sparky, Shaggy, and Herb for their drink salvation. As fun as it is to hang out at Steve’s and NOT drink, it’s even more fun to drink. 8)

Jennie lent me her Mazzy Star album. Listening to it right now. Amazing! I love it! How did I miss out on this? I used to be THE Jesus and Mary Chain fan, so where did I not catch a link to this?

Ryan was particularly animated after the show. His soundboard feats are second to none. The miracle has to be witnessed by standing center stage about a table’s length back from the stage. It is THERE. Get THERE! You have to feel it.

Jennie and Skeeter were there. Of course Skeeter was there! He’s one of the best bluegrass guitarists I’ve heard live. Was talking to Jen about doing a web site for Thursday nights at the bar she tends which has a bluegrass night every week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2000 – earlier

Shaggy knew he changed his name this evening as did Melanie and Bob and everyone else. Quite a night hanging out at Steve’s Bar. Funny how hopping it was. Plenty of beer and mixed drink folk. Yes, it was quite nice. People actually talking and sipping and just being people. Quite the relaxed scene. Jennie was her kind Germanic self as usual. Full of good and pure spirit, always a pleasure to draw a smile from, easy on the I’s. Tara was a cutie! Indeed, both of them are such a pair, always around with the same grounded earthly energy. Not monotonous, stable.

Elle came by and dropped off Elizabeth’s feline furball earlier this evening before I went out. Her man Phil came along with her. We need more words Phil!!! Miles is quite the guest. Miles likes to place himself into your line of attention. Currently he’s in a battle with my keyboard to see who can get the most attention.

OK, yes, there’s the case of Melanie and her sidelong glances. Seems like some plan is about to be hatched with her. I guess she’s back in school. OK, then there’s Saul who was having a terrific night and even cooked some food up and brought it to share with everyone. His ex-girlfriend Adrienne was there and introduced me to Stephan. Quite the scene this evening. So many more people there than usual. Seems to make Steve’s seem a lot larger.

Bob was telling me about Jim who may be headed out West to meet members of the Grateful Dead family. Seems to be something good in the works.

Had a talk about my first Grateful Dead show with one of the the other regulars. He was quite animated when I brought up the thunderstorm lightning strike on Solider Field in June of 1993 (my first show). He was there as well. Fun how it’s so easy to connect with Deadheads. I guess similar experiences and such elemental experiences were abound at shows.

Shaggy gave me a ride back home and along the way we ranted comedic principles of what the ‘game’ had evolved into and poked fun at the finer aspects of ‘the hunt.’ Seemed like there’s a realization by everyone involved that it’s not so much the destination, but the journey. These days I’m fine with just sitting back and letting everyone else play. It’s just not in the stars right now. Time to focus on other creative endeavors.

People watching is just plain funny sometimes. It seems when the weather is nice you always get more than you bargain for. And that’s nice in these winter months. People have been hibernating too long and it’s nice to see folks interacting again. I think most people feel winter is over. I would buy that. I wouldn’t bet on it. But I would buy that.

Sometimes history repeats itself in interesting ways.

Hell yeah!