Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Okay, I'm back in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Long story... Both Iowa shows got cancelled as did one in Rochester, WI. I'm making the best of it, though; I'll explain more asaic (as soon as I can).

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

I can't wait to catch up. Right now I am in Winona, Minnesota about to go to a beer-b-q. Craziness and gaiety shall ensue, to be sure.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Chicago is gloomy today. Last night I made it to the town of Hobart, Indiana. I spent an hour meandering the backroads in search of a cheap hotel and finally found one for $30. The last few days I have been collecting t-shirts to bring home and silk-screen and this morning I found a great Salvation Army with .84 cent shirts. I bought twelve, and two days ago in Canton I acquired around twenty more. Lil' Joe is starting to get filled up again! My old Montana friend, Julie Baker, is outside smokin' a cig-- she hooked herself and me up with a pad for the night at her friend's, Natalie and Eric's, house. Julie lives in Buffalo, NY, but took a train here yesterday to see my show tonight and visit old friends. I've known her since 7th grade! Although I have to leave for the show soon, I'll begin recounting my last few days... starting with Indiana, PA. The town of Indiana is a mid-sized college town where my 1st-cousin-once-removed, Mary Eilleen Hastings, resides, with her husband, Howard, and kids, Karel (17) and Dori (21), and cats and dog (Eddie). to be continued.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Uh oh. I've reached the point in the tour where the snowball is pickin' up too much speed to keep track of it all. The partying is replacing the journaling for the time being, but stay tuned anyway, dammit ; ).

To sum up, though, I'm living the good life and making lots of friends. I leave Canton, Ohio today and play Chitown tomorrow. (By the way, I have 14 shows to play in the next 13 days.)

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Monday, May 05, 2003

This computer I'm using keeps crashing down (and the mouse is damaged or clogged); no worries, though. Today and yesterday were spent like a couple of 6th-graders might on any given weekend. Vance and I hiked around a pond and sculptured a life-sized sand woman, played frisbee, hiked and fell asleep under a shady fir next to a brook, went to the movies (Bend it Like Bekham), rented another (Pinero), played lots of pool, ate cereal, surfed the web, snacked on raisins and sunflower seeds, went downtown for pizza, and philosophized about nothing in particular. Yesterday a lot of Amish folks were out in their buggies; the younger ones rode bikes. At the pond a couple young Amish men swam, fully clothed, while the women ran, giggling, in a group through the trees in their home-made dresses and bonnets. It was Sunday and the weather was perfect.

It's nice to be with Vance. His mother recently, and unexpectedly, died and I've enjoyed looking at pictures of her throughout the years. Even last Mother's Day she radiated beauty and happiness and I regret never meeting her. Vance, for those of you who don't know, was my roommate in 1994 on 804 Adams St. Olympia. I met him through my first fiance, Marie Smith, in 1992 while they both went to college in Arizona. Jen Grady then went on to meet him independently in 1999 while working at a Boston hostel and it was discovered that they both knew me (although, at that point, Jen had never officially met me yet, I don't think). Anyway, that's Vance. He's a born healer, too, and has been teaching me about flower essences.

As for the days before I reached Lewisburg, Pennsylvania I will try to be brief. Last Sunday, at the East Hampton open mic, I met a woman named Plum who let me crash at her mom's house. The next day I washed clothes, sent off some press-kits, and schmoozed with the owner of a local record store. That night I hooked up with my Olympia buddy, Joe, and we went to a W.S. Merwin poetry reading at Smith College. I stayed at his cabin and drove to Binghamton, NY Wednesday afternoon just in time for my radio interview on WHRW.

Binghamton is a town straight out of a Bruce Springsteen song-- working class and broken down. The fellow I stayed with, Michael Yungman, is quite a character himself, and we became good friends off the bat. He's an engineering student whose hobbies include Bicycle motor-cross riding, bar-b-q's, homebrewing, making potato guns, and I can only assume weight-lifting as his biceps are probably four times the size of mine. Oh yeah, and radio dj-ing with his friend, Chris, who's also an engineering student. I played and talked for an hour-and-a-half which they recorded for me.

Michael's roommate, who reminded me of Vance, is named Travis, and he, too, is an engineering student. I taught them Texas Hold 'em poker and we played a few rounds. The next day was spent hangin' out and cruisin' around town on a BMX bike with Michael and Travis. Friday was spent preparing for a bar-b-q party (and the show). Around 5 pm, Michael's Persian-Slovakian childhood friend, Samrad, who who had to drive four hours, arrived. Samrad's another great character (and, you guessed it... engineering student) who started drinking immediately and didn't stop until he fell asleep at 6 in the morning and then started up again when we all awoke at 11 am. Alcohol does not seem to faze him, much though, as by night's end he appeared the most sober of us all (except for me, the designated driver).

Back to the show, though. We drove to Cheers Pub an hour early so's I could set up my merchandise and at 10:30 I began my hour-long set. Michael, Samrad, and Chris, who are all big dudes were in front and were all wearing "Sandman" shirts and cheering me on which made me feel indomitable. I felt like I could say anything, and did! They reminded me that they had my back as I tore into the current political shytstem and railed against our idiotic thug "leaders". They hustled my shirts and CDs afterwards and I ended up having a lucrative night. I've always wanted a posse, and I couldn't have chosen a better crew.

Before concluding this Binghamton chapter, I ought to record why I ended up going there in the first place: Somehow, about six years ago, Samrad met someone who had recently been in the Northwest and had bought my first CD, Roll Out, Cowboy. Samrad made a copy, I guess, and shared it with his friends who included Michael. This became one of his gang's favorite CDs and they memorized most of the songs and brought it out in the woods, and drank beers, and sang along, and always wondered who the hell I was. One of the group's members, a guy named Shane Saagas, surfed around on the web last year and tracked me down and bought all my CDs and a couple shirts which he then distributed to his old friends. Michael got a shirt and soon contacted me and told me I should let him know the next time I'm on the East Coast, which I did, and there you have it. Good times.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Alright, y'all. I am in beautiful Lewisburg, PA about to visit my old roommate/pal Vance Reynolds! I've been computerless for a few days and you know nothing of my adventures in Binghamton, NY... Tomorrow I will attempt to reveal these secrets.