Sunday, September 30, 2007

The filming of Roll Out, Cowboy, continues to be a surreal experience. Elizabeth and Rachel are enjoying their time in Olympia; they may be having even more fun than I am. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm having bureaucratic issues with the Washington Department of Licensing. And now my little Subaru, Pearl Drop, is broke down and stranded on a side street. Last night, while driving up the 5th Avenue hill to see a Moustache show, we heard clunk-clunk-grrrrind, and that was it for going forward.

As helpful as this documentary and the Roll Out, Cowboy website could be for giving my music more exposure, it also promises to shine light on some unflattering character traits and my sometimes embarrassing past. Oh, well. If a good, artful, and inspired film is created, I will be pleased.

Thus I respectfully say to filmmakers Vine & Lawrence, "God speed, young madams. I, Sir Sandman, vow to remain in your service with artistic integrity and anguished, undying honesty. All I ask in return is this: do not spill iced coffee in my car's console anymore, nor flatten my black cowboy hat with your suitcases."

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sweet September Saturday in my sleeping bag. Granted, I did arise early to take my Department of Licensing CDL General Knowledge test. Alas, I couldn't take it because I can't prove that I've lived in Washington over the last six months. I missed that requirement, and, honestly, I'm worried. If I can't prove my case, then I can't get my Washington driver's license . . . which means I'll need to return to North Dakota and find another trucking school as soon as possible.

Hopefully things will work themselves out, and I'll take my D.O.L. tests before Tuesday or Wednesday. Otherwise, I'm a jackass.

In other news: I'm staying in my friend Tiffany's spacious basement, joined by Ladies Vine & Lawrence. We have access to a sauna, wireless internet, and other luxurious amenities. We're very grateful to Tiffany, her house mates Blas, Heather, and Ariel, and her dog Ivy.

Last night we three drove to Anacortes for a show at the Back Porch Cafe. The Roll Out Cowboy blog has more on this. I'll make one correction to Rachel's kind assessment, though: I did not put on a good show. Anacortes always shows me love, however, and I made a lot of dinero.

Highlights from the show include:

1. The Spoonshine Duo sat in with me for half the set, Jacob on guitar and Bill on stand-up bass. These guys are two of the best musicians I've ever played with. Amazing! (On top of that, they gave me their share of the door money. Saints, I tell ya.)

2. The after-show Casio Rapman dance party. Anacortes consistently cranks out some of the coolest kids on planet Earth.

3. Merch sales! I sold at least 10 leather belts, 5 jacket/hat combos, 3 antique hotel soap bars, 2 snap-up flannel shirts, and 1 white lacy thong.

4. Performing "Persian Den of Sin" with beat-box extraordinaire/barista, Anna Starr.

5. Seeing Bret, Denise, and Louisa Lunsford. I love this family.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 4 of trucking school and all's swell. I'm beating back my cold with vitamin C, naps, and saunas. This week has been intense, and it's not over. I thought my time here in the NW might be a vacation, but it's not. True vacation will be when I start working for Shawn Goodall next month.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Friday night I have a show on one of my favorite islands--Anacortes!!

Sept. 28th, 7 PM @ Backporch Cafe w/ Spoonshine! $4.

Anacortes, WA
1717 Commercial Ave.

(All ages with Beer & Wine)
Tomorrow I'll be cutting out early from my trucking school classes to perform on a Seattle radio station.

For details visit:

You'll be able to listen to it as a podcast.

Above: Andras Jones, host and creator of The Radio8Ball Show.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm hangin' in there . . . barely. This cold is kickin' my butt and making it hard to be in class. Sniffle, cough. Yuck.

Don't forget to check out:

Elizabeth & Rachel write more than I do. They make me look like more of a rock star than I really am, but it's fun to pretend.

Ok, off to my dorm cell in Lakewood.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The first day of trucking school went fine, but I'm a little under the weather. I have a cold. I am staying tonight in a dorm room the size of a large cardboard box. Ladies Lawrence & Vine are in Olympia staying with my friends Candice & Lucinda.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hallo from gorgeous Livingston, MT. The Rocky Mountains are snow-capped, the sky is crisp and blue. We stayed with Earl & Susan last night. I soaked in their outdoor bathtub, this morning, and got interviewed in the buff, by Ladies Lawrence & Vine. The dames and I are now off to Basin, MT, for another hot springs soak, supper with Aunt Bryher, and a show at a haunted brothel. Hopefully I'll sell some merchandise, so that we'll have more real estate in "Pearl Drop," (my new Subaru). We three are currently crammed like canned oysters.

It's a circus, I tell ya. I feel like a monkey on stilts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I'm so tired that I can barely write these words. Nevertheless, we head to Montana tomorrow morning, and I have a lot to do tonight to get ready. Then again, I think I'll sleep instead, and worry about it in the morning. I'm useless, toothless, I make music with toothpicks . . .

Until then.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Usually I have to go on tour to collect so many interesting adventures. It's been a nice change of pace to have the adventures find me this week. You can follow these adventures here, courtesy of Ladies Lawrence & Vine.

Jonah & Alice left for Montana this morning. It was great to have 'em. Yesterday, up on the mountain, I threw a dehydrated gelding turd, about the size and weight of a hollow goose egg, lightly at Jonah's gut for him to catch. Somehow it caught the wind just right and swerved down into the tender spot of his left testicle. This caused him to drop onto the prairie grass, in fetus position, and puke up some cereal. It was cinematic gold, but we didn't get it on camera. No pun intended, but getting the choicest film imagery is a crap shoot.

On a related note: A biologist was recently hiking just north of our mountain property and spotted a rare black wolf and snapped a picture or two.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The video cameras are rollin', and I can say with authority that being documented takes concentration. It's challenging to act like oneself for so many hours in a row. As Buck Owens sang,
"They're gonna put me in the movies
They're gonna make a big star out of me
. . . And all I got to do is act naturally"
Fortunately, Elizabeth & Rachel are professional and groovy to hang out with. I'd better pace myself, though. Their Canon HDV XHA1 will be my extroverted robo-pal for the next four weeks. Think Luke Skywalker + R2D2 on Planet Ayahuasca.

Also visiting this week are my awesome friends Jonah & Alice from Seattle. We five stirred up much Dunn County mischief today and will continue tomorrow. Don't forget to check out Rachel & Elizabeth's daily blog.

Jonah & Alice. (Photo by Vine).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A cold Canadian airmass has moved in and there's a freeze warning in effect for tonight. This will sweeten the buffalo berries for Saturday's harvest.

The brrrr factor has been tempered by the arrival of "two sassy film broads" from Manhattan. Their names are Elizabeth & Rachel, and they've created a website, with a very active blog, of their journey. They named it after my first CD, Roll Out, Cowboy. It's (Note: as of Friday morning, it appears to be down for maintenance . . . check back.)

They have this as their mission statement: to hog-tie that elusive cowboy known as The Sandman and dish the dirt on his rappin' western ways. As the duo track their prey, they'll hit up hot springs and hotter nights, kicking up dust along the trail and leaving nary a saloon standing. Yee-haw!

My mission statement: stay sober.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Curious. I live 45 minutes from the small city of Dickinson, but I've never explored the south side of town. Until last night. My friend Dale and I were looking for a place to eat and, since we weren't too hungry yet, decided to cross the tracks and search for historic houses. (Dale's the Director of Preservation North Dakota and is a building geek.) I'm guessing that the south side of Dickinson is where the Ukrainians and Bohemians live. The houses reminded me of those in Pittsburgh or some working class corner of Chicago. My favorite store was Rosie's, an old convenience store that had an area in back for foosball, Pac Man, and Asteroids. They sell fishing bait and tons of Polka cassette tapes. You have to see the music racks to believe it.

Also on the south side of Dickinson is undoubtedly North Dakota's most amazing Thai food restaurant. It's small--about the size of my bedroom--and is called Upin. It's been open three weeks. The woman who runs it is originally from Chang Mai, Thailand, and makes everything from scratch--pickled eggs, curry, pad thai, egg rolls. She even grows her own chili plants, and they double as decoration. Oddly, she has decorated the walls with big pizza posters (or more likely has not yet taken them down from the venue's previous incarnation).

Whoever thinks that Dickinson is boring needs to drive south across the train tracks.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I just lost my Baseball Fantasy League playoff game, and with it the dream of a $450 jackpot. It was a cruel defeat, as it came down to my opponent's good fortune in his last player's final at-bat. C'est la guerre. It's better this way.

Weekend Report: Rode horses with Gramps and Dad today for an hour; found a nice flint hide-scraper and knife along a dirt path; canned 12 jars of wild plum & chokecherry syrup with Mom; my sweet Aunt Christi & Uncle Ken, from Colorado, visited; attended the outdoor western wedding, yesterday, of my childhood friend Todd Bang and his wife Talia; found a box full of antique soaps; wrote a new song. Plus, it rained a good 3/10ths of an inch yesterday. The hills have greened considerably. The ticks are long gone. Feels like autumn.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Last week, on the side of a Killdeer backroad, I saw the granddaddy snapping turtle of them all. I wanted to herd him across the road and into Spring Creek, but he hissed and charged as I approached, so I let him be. He was at least 40 lbs. and prehistoric looking as a triceratops.

For an interesting article on North Dakota snapping turtles, click here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

"Lord, protect our fish." That's the new official road prayer.

I just returned from a 36-hour drive with Mr. Goodall. We filled up with young tilapia in Phillip, SD, and then drove to Renville, MN, where we dropped the load and picked up a school of full-grown floppers for Calgary.

Lots is happening in Sandland. A documentary is in the works. I don't want to reveal too much, but . . . two New York filmmakers will be here in one week to start shooting. They will follow me working on my house, hanging out with friends and relatives, hiking in the badlands, and silk-screening pillow cases. After a week of North Dakota shenanigans, we'll pile into my new 1997 Subaru and head to Montana for a few shows, hot spring expeditions, thrift store raids, and more visits with friends and relatives. Then we'll continue west to Olympia, WA.

I will then begin a four-week truck driving course in Lakewood, WA (30-minutes north of Oly). After each day of study, and on weekends, I will record songs with various producer friends. Or not. I think spontaneity should play a key factor in this documentary production. On a lark, we all might climb Mt. Rainier, take in a Seattle Mariner baseball game, or watch whales.

Lord, protect our fish.