Thursday December 30 2010

DREAM: Wesley hands me a Christmas card. I open it up and there’s a personalized letter on the left side: “Dear Robert, 16…going on 18….going on 19…hehe lololol our friendship is great. Merry Christmas…” It’s only a paragraph long but goes on about how 16, 18, and 19 were pivotal ages in our relationship, like something significant happened within each of those years. He even produces a math equation for it: “668 = 866. 16 + 18 + 19 = 53. 53 x 13 = 689. See? 689. 16, 18, 19.”

Just after 4 p.m. I wake up.

Breakfast: Hot Oat Bran Cereal with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Blueberries, and Milk. Orange Mangosteen Juice. Zinc.


Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Starting Hounddog [2007].

About to run errands—just then I get called into work at China Wok for an hour and a half. Caitlin and Margot catch me heading into the restaurant.

Afterwards, we walk around Target together.

Boiling Caitlin some Perogies. She refuses to enjoy my Yogurt Dill Dip with them, except for a tiny taste.

Playing Apples to Apples (the To Go version) with Doug, Caitlin, Margot, Brittany Chappell, and James G.

Margot’s mad because Doug picked a noun card that wasn’t ironic and which happens to be mine. She exclaims, “Men like to make things that make sense.”

Looking at me as I curl my finger on my lip and smile with a closed mouth, Caitlin says to me, “♪ Mischievous face ♪” She almost sings it.

Practicing music at the storage unit.

Dinner: Salmon. Rice with Peppers and Onions. Broccoli.


Working the newspaper route with Drew. This time he wants me to focus on geography and directions because I’ll be doing it myself the next day. I watch him walk to the newspaper racks in his distinctive hobble sort of strut. He looks like he’s been working with newspapers his whole life. I imagine him as a little boy with the same flat cap he has on now, on the corner shouting “Extra! Extra!” and advertising the current headline.

Sipping on Coffee and eating Hello Kitty Biscuits with Chocolate Cream.

As we drive down a long stretch of narrow rural Chesapeake road, Drew explains to me that “this is the kind of road where Bigfoot crosses the street and nobody else is around and you’re the only one that sees it.”

Home. Eating Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Peanut Butter. Chocolate Milk.

Sleep 8 a.m.

Wednesday December 29 2010

DREAM: Baking some form of brown sugar cookies without chocolate chips—perfect tall clumps of cookie dough spread out inside the oven—no cookie sheet or baking pan or anything—scooping them up with a spatula one at a time. Earlier I put a pot of eggs and water in the oven as well, hoping it would boil. I accidently placed a few marshmallows in the pot and they start to expand and melt. Getting the attention of someone next to me, “Look! Look! Look at the marshmallows.”

Around 3:30 p.m. I wake up.

Breakfast: Hot Oat Bran Cereal with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Blueberries, and Milk. Orange Mangosteen Juice. Zinc, Vitamin D.

Business. Craigslist.

Band Rehearsal Scheduling VS Complicated Math Problem.

Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Finishing Cold Souls [2009]—a wonderfully realized exploration on the soul in a suspension-of-belief and often humorous way. Paul Giamatti is fantastic.

At the storage unit—playing drums—working on lyrics for a new song.

Eating a little bit of leftover Soup.

Margot and I go to AMC to see Black Swan [2010]—a superb film—ballet never seemed so psychological and scary. Natalie Portman is fantastic.

Eating Popcorn.

Louis Fisher is in the house! Him and Doug are in the kitchen.

Louis has on yellow rain boats—he keeps spouting out puns, “I’m a monster for puns.” I respond, “You’re a punster!”

Cooking Salmon and Broccoli.

Starting my new part-time job delivering newspapers to the vending machines for The Virginian Pilot. I tag alongside Drew, the boss man, as he shows me the ropes for the Chesapeake route I’ll be in charge of. “You don’t mind if I smoke do you?” He’s a chain-smoker. Asking questions and getting comfortable with the system.

Eating a Blueberry Muffin with a Coffee.

After about 4 hours of work, I return home.

As I’m walking in and out of the room quietly, Doug randomly springs up from his bed. It kind of startles me, “Whoa. Calm down.”

Sleep 8 a.m.

Tuesday December 28 2010

DREAM: In the process of a long trip—travelling home—sitting in the backseat of the tour van. Dave Elkins is in the driver’s seat. Mark Padgett is in the passenger seat. We’ve stopped at some venue to pick up music gear we left behind. Dave is reading out loud papers and documents I put on the dashboard—some of them are journal entries. One in particular was written on notebook paper and blue ink. He points out a mistake in it where I use a word twice in one sentence: “…only it has come to come this way only…” I realized that before he did. After he’s done, I explain to him and Mark that the entry is a dream Felix had predicting a really bad concert Mae was going to do a week later—a premonition. All of us regretting that show in a humorous way. They prepare to head into the venue. I ask, “Should I just wait here or come inside?” Dave gives a smart remark, “Of course, Robert. Of course.” ☼☼☼ Lying on a bed in a small but spacious room—queen size with lots of sheets—very comfy. The wall in front of me is missing and looks out into the public courtyard of a city in Honduras or Mexico. There’s a narrow manmade lake in the center of it that flows for miles east and west—Spanish-speaking citizens are walking around everywhere like it’s a marketplace. I watch a man carrying a huge bundle of bananas like a clown selling balloons. I call him over to me in Spanish. Buying four bananas. After some confusion he explains it only costs 1 dollar. Fumbling through my wad of cash containing a 100-dollar bill, a few 50-dollar bills, and single bills. There’s a little bit of shock on his face when the 100-dollar bill is in sight—afraid he might spread the word that I have money and then I could get robbed. I hand him two dollar bills (one for a tip). “Here you go. Gracias!” Just then, across the water, I see Tyler Strickland step outside of the venue where Mae had stopped to retrieve music gear left behind from the previous dream. I thought maybe he was calling for me to come inside now and help set up. Instead, he pulls out a thin obtuse-looking gun with a silencer attached to it and points it at me. He says something that I can’t understand in a loud manner that causes everybody in the courtyard to stop what they’re doing and watch what’s happening. He swings his arm down and, with his gun, creates a giant detailed image of what seems to be a newsfeed with a picture of me—it’s almost holographic. It’s a bounty out for my arrest, and whoever brings me in receives a cash reward. Oh no. Thanks Tyler. I look over and all the locals begin lining up by my bed. I have no choice but to be turned in now. My purple book bag was sitting on the ground half open. I zip it back up and yell out, “Nobody touches this! Understand?” Three somewhat attractive girls are at the front of the line. I guess they’re the ones taking me in. I walk with them across the water and into what I assume is the police station. The crowds of people continue to stay in line and follow closely behind. I whisper to one of the girls, “Help me get out…I’ll pay you in return.” Surprised I even mentioned this, she replies, “Somehow I don’t believe you.” Her face is very alluring. “Look, I don’t have a lot of money but I will pay you somehow. Trust me.”

Around 3 p.m. I wake up.

Breakfast: Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Peanut Butter. Orange Mangosteen Juice. Zinc.


Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Watching Disgrace [2008].


Eating an Orange and Banana.

Show at The Pinball House on Roselynn. Musicplayer was supposed to play but I can’t get in touch with my bass player. Providing the PA system. One guy gets up and plays the acoustic guitar—belching out all his choruses at the top of his lungs with such intense youthful angst. This is what I like to call Folk n Roll. “You’re a vigorous dude!”

The icy cold air outside keeps everyone inside the house—tight and cozy—not much room to breath. You Blew It, a band from Orlando, goes on—a good kind of emo pop rock. Ken Diamonds is wearing a handkerchief over his mouth like a Crips gang member and tossing and throwing himself around causing a mild mosh pit.

Eating a few slices of Pizza from Chanello’s.

Poker with the boys—a few new players: Roma, Art, Jon Reynolds, Wesley, James G., Doug, and myself.

Drinking a Hard Cider.

Wesley keeps repeating something about being misconstrued. “Maybe if you keep repeating it he’ll put it in his blog.” You’re right. I did.

I ask Emily to take over the baking of Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Art wins the game with Roma as runner-up.

Doug and Emily are asleep on the couches with Christmas Vacation on the tube. A classic scene.

Playing drums at the storage unit.

Eating Scrambled Eggs and Garlic Naan Bread with Chocolate Milk.

Watching Cold Souls [2009].

Sleep 7 a.m.

Monday December 27 2010

In the middle of the night, a soft touch and caress awakens me. I love that feeling…when her hand is there, stimulating the nervous system—an excitement instilled yet the comfort of the fluffy pillow and bed keep me immovable.

DREAM: Inside a big expensive house—darkness, lights off—carefully creeping down the stairwell. My motive is to steal something important. I notice Jacob Marshall looking over at me from inside a meeting room—he’s there with another person discussing business. All the lights flicker on. I no longer have the motive to steal.

Around 3 p.m. we wake up.

Fixing Cream of Wheat with Honey and Milk—eating an Orange.

The sun is shining and making the snowflakes sparkle.

I get called into China Wok again.

Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Stopping by Trader Joe’s. Then, discovering how cool Kroger is.

Kenneth. Kenneth. Kenneth. The persistent imposer.

Practicing music at the storage unit.

Dinner: Mixed Vegetable Soup with Beans. Garlic Naan Bread.

Watching Jimmy and Judy [2006].

Examining video footage from Florida.


A bowl of Raisin Bran cereal with Cinnamon Bunches.


Sleep. 6:45 a.m.

Sunday December 26 2010

Just after 3 p.m. I decide to get out of bed.

Feeling much better—ready for action.

Breakfast: Toast with Butter and Pumpkin Butter. Orange. Immune Defense Drink.

My boss at China Wok has been calling me non-stop.

Going into work to deliver Chinese food to all the snowed-in customers.

The snow has taken over Virginia Beach. Only able to drive at the fastest, 20 mph.

After delivering an order over in Piper’s Crescent, my van gets stuck in an untraversed area. After about 15 minutes of scraping away ice and snow underneath the tires and maneuvering, it seems hopeless. Belching out a defiant “Fuck!” God, please help me get out of this. Just then two guys discover my situation and help push me out. Saved.

Finally finishing the 5-hour shift—a fruitful night and well worth the stress.

Eating Vegetable Lo Mein.

1623’s Snow Cream Recipe: Fill up a bowl of fresh fallen untouched snow off a Russian’s car. Add your choice of flavored creamer and honey. Mix until tough and resembles fluffy ice cream. Grab a spoon. Enjoy.

Playing Rummy with Margot, Art, and Roma. The game becomes futile as Roma continuously gets sets of kings and aces.

Eating Boiled Peanuts, Garlic Naan Bread, and a little bit of a Tamale.

Art’s preparing scrambled eggs with chicken. In shock, I say, “Art! Are you serious? Chicken AND eggs? That’s so much protein.” I guess it’s his way of dealing with “the chicken or the egg” dilemma. Instead of eating the egg first, he eats both at the same time.

With her lying on the bed together—watching TiMER [2009] on my laptop. Still slightly aching, despite, it feels nice to be next to her warm body; she’s always emitting a reverberating heat, a never-ending hot heat. I’ve been missing that soft peanut butter skin, and her curvature, which always reminds me of a mermaid for some reason.

Margot: “Lovely love-making…with my lover.”

Eating Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Toast with Peanut Butter. Red Zinger Tea

Sleeping next to her…just after 7 a.m.

Saturday December 25 2010

DREAM: The other day, in waking life, Caitlin Pasko asked to borrow my keyboard for the show this Sunday. Attending the show—she’s performing. Trying to give the sound guy some advice on how to make her voice sound good—adding reverb and equalizing it. He’s this flamboyant black guy with a headset and he ignores me and keeps signaling to be quiet because it’s a radio show.

1:47 p.m. I open my eyes.

Breakfast: Orange. Toast with Honey and Butter. Hot Tea with Honey.

My nose is sick and I’m feeling achy.

Sipping on Tea all day long. Taking a Multi-Vitamin.

With Genesis. Playing with Google Translate—she’s teaching me some Spanish.

“Mi nariz está enfermo”

She’s a big fan of Linkin Park but doesn’t like Justin Bieber because he sounds like a girl.

She informs me that she is my cousin, well, half-cousin.

Introducing her to Mew, Vampire Weekend, and Surfer Blood.

Howling out the “Hound Dog” song on guitar and jamming on 12-bar blues—Dad is singing along and half-dancing in the kitchen.

All of us eating at the special dining room table: Tamales (made from scratch by Erika and Jorge), Lima Beans and Corn, Mashed Potatoes.

Dad’s reclining in the Lazy Boy. A news clip of a predominantly African American parade pops on the TV. “Look at all those monkeys,” he says. He’s not a racist in anyway but sometimes he says pretentious things like that.

I realize that he’s aging but I’m starting to notice senile old man qualities sprouting in his character—particular and critical. It won’t be long before he’s retired.

It was good to see him but I didn’t feel a deep connection this time around. I was kind of hoping to dig into life with him and just talk about things. The presence of Erika and her family probably deterred from it, even as pleasant as they are.

Finally heading home to Virginia Beach. As I’m driving the snow is falling fast creating this outer space vortex in front of my windshield.

Coincidentally, Doug and I sync our arrival times at the house. The 1623 residents are all here, even Kenneth. Welcome back home, Robert, I tell myself. Getting my mind back in the groove of this environment.

Eating a bowl of Cream of Wheat with Honey and Milk.

Doug got me a bowling pin for Christmas.

Josiah’s in town visiting. He’s been spending the night at the house. On the couches in the living room sharing and updating our lives and ideas. He tells me what Brooklyn’s been like, chockfull of stories. We spend a few hours in conversation as I pile up the snotty tissues next to me.

Eating Grilled Hearts of Palm in Olive Oil and Garlic (Mom gave me a few cans to try), Tomato Slices, Garlic Naan Bread, Hard Boiled Egg.

Photos from the trip:

Unpacking and organizing my things.

Sleep 6 a.m.

Friday December 24 2010

On the road in the cold dark night. Thinking about my mother standing there in the front yard waving the “MERRY CHRISTMAS ROBERT” sign at me as I was driving away from the house. It’s an incredibly sad feeling to leave her. She’s my blood and my nurturer. Her tenderness, her sweetness, her loving nature—I’m connected to her in such a deep way. I’ll never fully understand it.

Eating a Bagel with Peanut Butter and sipping on Coffee.

Speeding over the black asphalt—listening to music—searching for songs that take me into the nostalgic and poignant realm.

Around 7 a.m. Stopping somewhere in Georgia for a good night’s rest in the van.

DREAM: Sarah Serrano, an old friend from high school, got in touch with me and wants to catch up on things and hang out. Surprised by this. She invites me to her house. In her bedroom lying on the floor—she’s up on the bed. Another girl is there named Monica, but only in an abstract form, not a physical form. Awkwardly embracing Monica as I reach my arm around to touch Sarah. As soon as I make contact with her leg, she immediately rejects the whole situation and asks me to leave. ☼☼☼ Riding an abnormally tall bike down Laskin Road in Virginia Beach. The seat reaches as high as the power lines. Watching down below—having a hard time steering—trying to avoid hitting pedestrians and slamming into bumps. Eventually, I veer off into a parking lot covered in red brown dirt causing my bike and my body to skid across. I pass a group of teenagers who appear to be attempting their on bike tricks in the dirt. I apologize for getting in their way, but none of them seem to care. They give me a ride to the Oceanfront. Sitting in the backseat with a few girls and guys. The driver is being rambunctious and swerving around the corner to make a left hand turn. I warn him of the cop nearby whose patrolling the area. Just then, the cop trails us and puts on the blue/red lights. Disregarding the potential nuisance this could cause us, I start up a conversation with the girl next to me. She tells me her name is Monica. Something clicked in my mind and I connected information from the previous dream to this one. “Wait. You’re name is Monica?” She assures me it’s true and even shares her full name. I never had the chance to meet Monica in person. The rules of the dream only allowed me to talk with her over the phone before. Maybe this is her. Before I can even come to a conclusion, the car stops. We all get out in order to confuse the cop behind us. I look up and see the vehicle we were riding in was a yellow school bus resembling public transportation. People are getting off and on and crowding the streets. My mom is standing there to confront me—she thinks I was involved in something bad and wants to make sure I’m not guilty.

Waking up around 2 p.m.

Breakfast: Oranges.

Onward to NC.

Lunch: Hard Boiled Egg, McDonald’s French Fries. Blueberry Pomegranate Juice.

My butt hurts and my legs are cramped. The road takes on an identity of something eternal.

Finally arriving at my Dad’s house. Erika, Dad’s Honduras wife of at least 3 years, greets me at the garage door. Her English has progressed since I last saw her. She’s got her brother, Jorge, here from Honduras with his 10-year old daughter, Genesis.

Dad offers me a beer. In the kitchen Erika is on a mission preparing dinner and trying to be as hospitable as possible. I compliment Dad, “You’ve got a good house wife.”

Having Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Corn, Green Beans, and Broccoli on the big dining room table. I’ve come to the realization I only eat steak once a year—a tradition reserved only for Dad.

After dinner, Erika pulls out a bunch of photos to show me the rest of her daughters and family. She’s a handful and a talker, but a beautiful woman, and sweet. I’m happy for my Dad to have someone like her to take care of him and keep him company as he ages.

Lounging in the living room with everyone—attempting to play Christmas songs on the guitar and have a sing-a-long. Genesis taps her fingers on the remote like a drum—she has good rhythm.

Playing Monopoly, the never-ending board game, with Erika and Genesis. Dad is snoring in the Lazy Boy. The game must’ve lasted for about 2 hours, maybe more.

Eating leftover Apple Streusel Pie with Milk.

Sleep 4:45 a.m.

Thursday December 23 2010

DREAM: Wearing the thick brown OP jacket my Mom got me a few years ago. I’ve got my phone, keys, and camera. I’ve joined up with two people for what seems like a crime job with the actor Philip Baker Hall and another distinctive actor who looks like Mos Def. We’re chillin in the street when all of a sudden the Mos Def guy pulls a gun on me and steals a copy of my van key, my camera, and phone. Hall and I escape to the van. Hall is driving. I’m talking to him, “We’ve got to get to a safe place so we can think.” Going to his house doesn’t seem to be an option. I suggested somewhere more public. The city skyline appears out on the road. Something doesn’t feel right. Why are we going here? As we drive deeper into the maze of the city, we stop at a warehouse building and head inside. There’s a crowd of people, like a business party of some kind. The Mos Def guy is here! Hall steps over and hands Def the keys. I can’t believe it! Hall was in on this the whole time. Def walks over to meet me at a bar table. I grab the keys from him so I can keep the original copies of my house key, safe key, and van key, and letting him keep the copies. I realize he’s a part of a gang and I’m surrounded by gang members. Somebody hears through a transceiver that the cops are coming. He shouts some coded number. Def grabs me and we all make way to the door. The FBI and Police are waiting to crash this shin dig. It’s a confusing mess. Def yells something in attempt to incriminate me to the cops. My rebuttal, “I’m just a delivery boy. I was delivering a pizza and they kidnapped me!” Everybody splits and is let go. I don’t see Def and his boys anywhere so I scram. I open the driver’s side door of my van and notice an unusual pile of jackets on the floor on the passenger side. There’s small movement underneath it. Assuming one of his men is sitting there waiting to attack. I throw in the jacket, slam the door and start running down the street. I hear them not too far off trying to catch up with me. There’s a few lights on in a house off to the right. Climbing up the hill covered in soft brown moss, seems more like hay. After finishing the climb, a fairly young couple in their 30’s greets me at their door. Laying low on the porch, the man is holding me. I’m crying as I show them my passport papers. “I’ve been kidnapped. Please help me.” I feel like a lost dog.

12:20 p.m. I wake up.

Breakfast: Oranges. Aloe Vera Mango Juice.

Mom and I driving by Jimmy’s work. She’s on the phone with him. They’re cute. The romance and desire for each other has never diminished. “I just called to holler at you…okay…I love you…bye.”

Hanging out at Pat and Teresa’s place.

Eating a bowl of Homemade Chili with Cheese and Crackers. Fried Green Tomatoes. Cupcakes.

Mariah shows me some of the drawings she did at school. She gets a little offended because Robby and Josh claim she traced them instead of doing it from scratch. “I don’t do that anymore,” she exclaims.

Drawing a collaborative picture with Robby and Mariah.

Noodling on the guitar.

She writes a short letter made out to me:

“Ill miss you

when your gonn.



Snacking on a Pear.

Attending one last night of church with Mom and Jimmy.

Backing up the band on drums again—Teresa on bass, a woman named Joyce on piano. Pumping the 2-step and 6/8 rhythms.

After the music, Teresa’s spirit is on fire—voice shrilling through the speakers at top notch …“What would you do if Jesus walked in the room right now?”

Observing my Mom in the front row—nodding her head, genuinely engaging in the strong words penetrating the air—tapping into a power of a supernatural kind.

These are the kinds of churches I grew up with—loud, no apologies, alive with charisma and vigor—an old fashioned Pentecostal enthusiasm. This place is just getting off the ground. It’s good to see Mom back in her game and involved with something like this.

A lady spontaneously leaps out of her pew and begins a graceful monologue, repeating the phrase, “Let the trumpet sound! Let the trumpet sound! Praise your holy name!”

Paulina, a black Tanzanian woman with a thick Swahili accent gets on the mike to preach a sermon about forgiveness—long-winded and a personality that requires your full attention.

Salt n Vinegar Chips.

Talking with Mom on the way back to the house. It feels weird leaving and thinking about Virginia Beach again and everything that’s involved with my usual routine.

Life is different here. Florida is a strange place, but refreshing to visit.

Drinking Coffee with Honey and Milk.

Mom: “Don’t blog everything you hear. It’s almost annoying.”

Heading off to drive the 11-hour trek to visit my Dad in Goldsboro, NC. I’ll probably stop somewhere along the way and sleep.

Wednesday December 22 2010

DREAM: My van pulls up to a big house (it’s driving by itself) but it has no roof or windows as if somebody completely stripped the top off turning it into a tacky convertible. My Mom and I are standing there on the back porch. We hear a tapping on the wood—somebody knocking, making us aware somebody is watching or making sure I know the van is there and that it is mine. I’m getting angry because I know whoever it is, is nearby. Looking under the porch—going near the van—searching for this unknown person—yelling, “C’mon! I know somebody’s there!” This dream continues on in different forms—recurring and furthering the same story in other dreams. At some point, I discover the missing-top van is not my actual van. It’s a clone to stiff me of the original. Around the corner of the house I watch a stranger with a beard backing up the original van. He notices that I see him and hurries to reverse out of my sight. I point giving him a sign that I see what’s going on—curling my hands into circles and placing them over my eyes like binoculars then pointing at him. Then, I see the convertible van pull around the corner to replace what I had just seen. This is ridiculous. I’m not stupid. The driver of the clone van gets out. It’s a black man with a serious face—he’s declaring to be from some organization like the FBI, conducting a project to stop people from hiding and to reveal their true selves. He’s got a gun. Getting really peeved at this whole thing, “Go ahead! Just shoot me! It’s a dream anyway. It’ll just help me wake up.” So he persists to shoot at me repeatedly. It hurts. Throwing up my arms—feeling the bursting of blood on my hands and flesh wounds on my body. I can’t die—still breathing and alive. Switch to a scene in the big house. Elliott and Brent, an old friend from high school, are kicking a ball around in the living room. It’s understood that Elliott lives here. The wall is made of corkboard and some of Phil’s artwork drawn with markers is hung at the bottom. A small group of people gathering in the kitchen. Quiet talk. Whispering to a friend next to me about a good movie I saw recently. Zooey Deschanel is speaking as the head of the group mentioning a movie called Go Fish Go that she really liked. I interrupted her and felt I should show a sense of respect because of her fame. We come face to face—her big cute eyes, fluttering eyelashes, and long brunette hair. I pull a blue beanie cap off my head and ruff up my hair with my hands. Splitting into groups. Sitting down at a table with Zooey and two young boys. Preparing to play a board game involving little plastic circular symbols that resemble the sun with spike rays sticking out. You have to place them in slots on a white strip. Light conversation as we’re sitting there. Because of the occasion I thought, Why aren’t we filming this? I see Phil Gray standing over there with a black camera case strapped around his shoulder. Walking up to him—I give him a big hug and ask, “Phil, why aren’t you filming this?”

1 p.m. waking up.

Breakfast: Strawberries in Yogurt. Orange Peach Mango Juice.

Mom thinks she can get me out of bed by simply texting and calling me. Not. “You’ve got to be here and actually come into my room!”

Thrift Store Shopping.

Honey from The Honey Store.

Exploring shops in downtown Lake Wales. There’s a beautiful old hotel in the process of being renovated.

Lunch: Boiled Peanuts. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Oranges. Aloe Vera Mango Juice.

Back home.

Dinner: Whole Wheat Pizza from scratch with Peppers. Tea.

Me: “My life’s on pause here. I’ve got to get back in motion.”

Mom: “And what’s wrong with that?”

Lounging on the back porch (lanai) playing mountainous drop d melodies on the guitar while Mom decorates the Christmas tree.

Eating Apple Streusel Pie and drinking Coffee with Honey and Milk.

Continuing our Rummy game. Mom continues to stay safely ahead, always by at least 100 points.

Reading out loud from the How to Build a Better Vocabulary book I got just today. Taking the quizzes and deciphering the words with Mom while she bakes cupcakes—eating a few of them. Helping her organize and pack them—both of us configuring how the plastic wrap should go—which cupcakes to place the toothpicks in—what to write on the cupcakes—realizing our similarities in the need to make sure everything’s right, the details.

Eating Turnips with Milk.

Hearing muffled fart noises in Mom’s room where Jimmy is sleeping.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Tuesday December 21 2010

1:17 p.m. I wake up.

Breakfast: Toasted Bagel with Peanut Butter. Orange Peach Mango Juice.

Adventures and errands with Mom.

Stopping by a little market stand on the side of the road. A little old black lady named Ruby’s been living here for almost 25 years. She’s over 70 years old and used to be a slammin preacher of a church back in the day. Mom tells me, “Isn’t she a memorable person? There’s something so precious about her.”

Eating Boiled Peanuts and Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado. Sharing Aloe Vera Mango Juice.

Strolling through the historic district of Plant City—exploring some Antique stores—sifting through all the different pieces of history. We could be here all day. One of the ladies lets me grab a few battered books for free including some British mystery novels, and a 70’s self-help book called How to Read a Person Like a Book. An excerpt: “This book is a handbook of types of nonverbal communication that will give you insights into significance of gestures—factors of ordinary experiences that are all too often only vaguely understood, if not entirely ignored…Our function as human beings is to increase our expertise and to become so human that we see ourselves in all other people.”

Something Mom often hears Teresa say when she’s dismayed: “Oh my lands!”

Stopping by Teresa and Pat’s place. Mariah and her friend Kaylen grab Mom and I to show us their clubhouse made out of metal bar fencing fully equipped with a white picket gate for the entrance, a pile of sticks for a chimney, and a water trough for a toilet.

Kaylen tries to guess my age, “18 or 16?” Do I really look that young?

Stretching and doing aerobic moves. Mariah attaches her hand on my shoulder as we run back in the house—she continues to pester me for Katy Perry’s phone number, which yesterday I claimed to have. I don’t.

Jimmy, Mom, and I drive to Wal-Mart for some baking supplies and groceries. On the way I’ve got the video camera recording from the back seat. Mom is completely embarrassed. “Stop!” Laughter and giggling.

In the parking lot.

Mom: “Ain’t this the food side?”

Jimmy: “No this ain’t the food side! The food side’s on the other side.”

Dinner: Sun Dried Tomato Chicken. Mashed Potatoes. Green Beans. Rolls.

Baking an Apple Streusel Pie from scratch. Mom assures me she knows how to separate an egg without an egg separator.

After preparing and baking the pie, Mom says, “That’s quite an ordeal.”

Enjoying two slices of Apple Pie with Coffee and Milk while we play a game of Rummy.


Sleep 4 a.m.

Monday December 20 2010

DREAM: I’m in the sequel to a movie similar to The Cube where you have to climb down these completely narrow and thin tunnels, straight down about 100 feet. When you reach the bottom, you open up a pressurized hatch door into a room. Other people join this sadistic game of exploring the tunnels and rooms, knowing their life is on the line but the goal is to survive. I’m explaining this to somebody, “You open the door and then walk into the room, then you have to make sure the door is shut behind you.” According to the dream, in the previous film there was a character played out by Jean Claude Van Damme—he got stuck in one of the rooms and died. We find out later he became part of the construct down below and his spirit controls the walls of the rooms—he’s seeking revenge on the people that did this to him. I’m standing there in one of the rooms now. The walls are metallic and an onyx black. At first I’m just watching as one of his enemies enters. The walls start to create this glow and sound. His skin vibrates and his whole body becomes attached to the wall—he disappears instantly and only a splatter of blood is left. Soon after, the same thing happens to me. I feel the same vibration on my skin—it feels so real and uncomfortable. I’m gone instantly—a part of the walls, a part of the room, one with The Cube.

Waking up just after 12 p.m.

Breakfast: Toasted Bagel with Peanut Butter. Orange Peach Mango Juice.

Meeting Mom at Jimmy’s workplace, the parts department of a dealership.

Jimmy introduces me to all his co-workers—showing me around.

Mom and I go on an adventure around town.

In a field on the side of the road sits a tall rundown cement brick wall used for a drive-in theater back in the day. Getting photos.

Stopping by a garage thrift store—a big sign on the front door with a cowboy and “WELCOME PARDNER!” painted onto it—bargaining for a power inverter for my car, an amplified bible, and a kid’s book—all for 15 bucks.

One of the market places refuses to sell us a slice of Strawberry Pizza unless we get a whole pie because they wouldn’t be able to sell the rest of it. Mom is disappointed I didn’t get to try one.

Mom and I snacking on Salt n Vinegar Chips with Avocado.

Getting gas at a Circle K—a gang of chickens and a rooster chillin out in the parking lot.

Another market place. Checking out at the register—finding it hard to resist the smell coming from that huge pot of boiling peanuts. An old man with a potbelly and compression socks starts yelling out demands about taking the strawberry baskets out of the boxes and rearranging the oranges. His voice is obnoxious, raspy, and loud—it sounds like there’s a permanent gargle in his throat—the most comical southern slang I’ve ever heard. At first we thought he was just some senile customer but the clerk girl tells us he’s her father-in-law and one of the bosses. I give the best impression I can do. It seems to entertain the other clerk lady and the Mexican employees.

Mom and I chomping down on hot Boiled Peanuts and sharing an Aloe Vera Mango drink—observing the bossy old man commanding others to various things.

Then, the Goodwill.

All of us are at Teresa’s house—planning to see a movie later.

Hanging out with the kids—having a contest on how many push-ups and sit-ups we can do—jumping around and doing various aerobics—Robby and Mariah play-fighting on the porch—filming all the shenanigans—Mariah grabs the video camera and captures me doing an impression of the MTV show Cribs—Priscilla, the dog, is spastic and jostling around the room yapping her schnoz off.

The kids are watching all the YouTube hits on the computer.

I’m lounging on the couch reading Adbusters. Mariah sits down next to me, interested in what I’m looking at. She reads out loud a Thoreau excerpt. It’s a little advanced for her age but she does quite well. Afterwards she says, “I hate reading.” I reply, “You’ll change your mind about that when you get older.” I enjoy this. I’m kind of drawn to her in a big brother-like way. There’s a lot of energy and curiosity inside her—she’s intuitive. It feels good to have people look up to you and know that you have the power to direct their inspirations. And with the knowledge of her family story, it is definitely helpful in her case.

She draws a self-portrait of me.

Seeing the latest Narnia movie at the theater with everyone.

Snacking on Popcorn and Salt n Vinegar Chips.

Back home.

Mom makes the most exceptional Fried Green Tomatoes. Eating some with Ketchup and Lobster Bisque.

Referring to the house, Jimmy declares, “This house is tore out the frame!”

The lunar eclipse gave us a red moon tonight.

I go for a walk down the street to the Circle K. It’s a chilly night. Smoking a Sampoerna clove and feeling the rushing force of the semi trucks whiz by me, just 4 feet away. The lady working the graveyard shift I notice is mildly attractive, but in an older trailer park kind of way. It’s her first time seeing a lunar eclipse. She uses the term “Guaran-damn-tee it” which I’ve always found amusing.

Eating a bowl of Raisin Bran mixed with Cinnamon Bunches.


Sleep 5 a.m.

Sunday December 19 2010

DREAM: With my mom sitting at a table with a stranger. He’s explaining to us that it’s Uncle Gary’s birthday. But Uncle Gary passed away a few years ago. “I know. I remember,” my mom replies. They both start crying and weeping. It’s understood in my head that it’s an uncle named Charles and not Gary, yet it’s still Gary at the same time.

7:50 a.m. I wake up to the clanging sound of pots and pans being made by my mom in the kitchen.

Breakfast: Toasted Peanut Butter Sandwich. Hard Boiled Egg. Coffee with Cream and Sugar.

It’s strange being awake at such a morning bird hour.

Leaving the neighborhood to go to church. Jimmy and my mom wave at a neighbor who’s tending to his front yard. Jimmy informs me that the flowers in the yard are fake. They seem to be the rave around here—people reverting to it because of the crazy weather.

The church is a storefront next to a gas station.

My mom’s in charge of teaching Sunday School to the kids. She compares the filling of the Holy Spirit to inflated red balloons. It’s a small group. Observing the PK’s son attempting to hold hands with his respective girlfriend underneath the table, discreet smirks on their faces. Recalling the times in church when I was young and attracted to the pretty girls, nervous and secretly writing notes back and forth with whomever.

While listening to my mother speak I feel a tenderness and a familiar presence in my chest.

The service begins. Teresa leads everyone in praise and worship, bass guitar in hand, leading the band with vigor.

I watch my mother up at the front of the sanctuary swaying left and right with swinging arms, crying and singing out with all that’s in her. She has such zeal, such a passion—she touches people in a beautiful way.

“Hallelujah to the Lamb!”

“Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!”

She approaches me where I’m sitting, taps me on the knee, and says, “It’s gonna be through you.”

During the offering, the preacher asks that I get behind the drums. I persist in a two-step beat that really livens the mood—an old timey song—people dancing—there’s a joy permanently marked on faces.

Mariah, a little girl in a red dress, full of spunk and charm, wants me to teach her some piano. She only knew how to play the singular melody of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. Sitting down and showing her the C and G chord, and how to play with both hands. Surprised at how fast she picks it up. She gets on the drums and I’m able to show her a simple beat to back me up on piano. Music seems to come naturally for her. It feels good to know I may have some part in instilling inspiration to play music.

There’s a potluck Christmas dinner. Eating a plate of all kinds of things including Turkey, Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Rolls, etc.

Everybody keeps telling me: “We could use you here!”

“I have other work to do.”

We drive to Teresa’s house where her and her son live, along with a lady named Pat and her grandchildren Robby and Mariah. Lying on the couch there feeling incredibly tired. Showing Robby some tricks on guitar. Mariah shows me her music notebook she made out of glittery binder folders and notebook paper. Drawing a chord chart for her. Thinking what it will be like to have a daughter.

Napping for a few hours.

My mom’s on the phone talking with friends from church.

Eating some Mashed Potatoes and Turnips with Green Beans and Hot Tea with Milk.

Talking with her at the table about the latest Wikileaks news—how people get trapped in their own situation and can’t see the simplest solution so clearly—what changed her health around. She’s been eating much differently over the past year, and her weight has diminished dramatically. Diet is directly related to health, happiness, and energy.

“I have a supernatural energy.”

Eating a bowl of mixed cereal.

Watching American Teen [2008]. This is like The Breakfast Club docu-style.

Talking with Margot on the phone. A little flustered in the beginning but it got better. Missing.

Sleep 5:30 a.m.

Saturday December 18 2010

Anytime you see [!!!!!!!!!!!!!] it represents a censor, requested to protect the innocent.

DREAM: With a group of people in a misty and cool area of the woods. Someone spots a big ancient house just over the hill. As I walk over to get a better view I mimic the sound of a cheesy horror soundtrack, “DUN DUN DUN!” All of us are exploring the backyard—grass is wet. In the back of my mind I remember meeting the old lady that lives here for tea. She’s nice and quaint but tends to put off a strange new age vibe to others.

Around 1 p.m. I get up. I remember it raining all morning. It helped me sleep. I felt like I was in the middle of a rushing waterfall.

Breakfast: Powdered Donuts. Orange Peach Mango Juice.

Sitting down by a pirate ship water park while a deejay dressed like Santa Claus spins dance remixes of Christmas songs.

Stuck in a bumper-to-bumper traffic, following the pack to the Orlando Shopping Outlet to meet up with [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]. With Christmas just around the corner everyone is scrambling to take advantage of the once a year deals.

Lunch: Hard Boiled Egg. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

We meet up at Victoria’s Secret. [!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]—trapped in a wanderlust of endless buyer’s mayhem—families, teenagers, kids everywhere. Everything here is ten times cheaper than in [!!!!!!!!!!!!!] so I don’t blame them for indulging in America’s economic paradise.

Feeling out of place. This is not my scene.

“Sorry if we’re boring you to death,” she says.

“It’s okay. I’m just boring.” But I didn’t really think that.

“You just need to be more of a consumer,” she reassures me.

“If I had more money I would be.” Rethinking that, No I wouldn’t. I correct myself, “I consume what I need.”


Eating Beef and Bean Tacos with Avocado and Lettuce. Lime Bud Light.


Finally, arriving at my mom’s house an hour away in Bartow. The big handmade sign she made from last year is hanging on the garage “MERRY CHRISTMAS, ROBERT”.

She looks so much thinner and lighter since I last saw her, a drastic difference.

It’s a good feeling to get those long awaited mom hugs and see Moses, the cat that grew up with me during those golden years of high school and after.

Eating a bowl of Oat Bran with Cinnamon Bunches cereal.

Sleep 2:30 a.m.

Friday December 17 2010

DREAM: Hiding out in the bushes somewhere. It just rained and I’m stepping in a distinct grey mud—black rocks everywhere. Something calamitous just happened that has affected everyone. I’m trying to keep safe but am not opposed to exploring the area with caution. ☼☼☼ I just started living in a small wood shack in the middle of a field. There’s a clothes wire strung across the door where I’ve hung my green towel, a rag, and a hat. A car pulls up with the Dominos sign on the roof. He was just here an hour ago. He tells me the order is $70. Joking with him that it’s probably somebody else. Just then, Katie Ans, Michal Sterling, and an unknown guy from Master’s Commission walk up to pay for their separate orders. “Oh hey Katie!” I try to get their attention but none of them respond to me for some reason. It’s as if I’m a ghost or maybe they’re ignoring me.

Getting up at 3:30 p.m.

Sleeping in such a foreign environment like the back of my van compared to my room at home is an adjustment that caused me to wake up quite frequently, but, with the tent of blankets I created to give me privacy from potential passersby and the sun, I was able get adequate sleep.

Breakfast: Powdered Donut. Banana. Orange Peach Mango Juice.

Driving. Only about 3 more hours to Orlando.

Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Stuck in Orlando traffic trying to get to Downtown Disney.

After hunting down a spot in the maze that is Disney Parking. Meeting up with an old friend and her family in The Rainforest Café. They just finished their dinner.

Sipping on some Margarita that tastes like a Freeze Pop.

They invite me back to their hotel room, which is fully furbished with a running kitchen, washer, and dryer.

Sitting around the table drinking Tea and Milk.

Eating a double-layered Red Velvet Cake with Icing, to which I had almost three slices—thick and delicious.

Observing and engaging in light conversation with everyone. Everyone is in harmony—a vacation mindset.

Stretching and working the stair master in the fitness center while watching a stand up comedy act of Bill Maher on TV.

Sitting on a stool by the kitchen counter eating Dinner: Pad Thai Noodles. Milk.

Watching American Teen [2008], a documentary on seniors at a high school in a small Indiana town.

It’s so quiet in here. One of the friends that’s sleeping in the living room mentions how the light above the stove is bothering her, which is very dull, just enough to make out what’s in the room. Earlier, I asked her if the main kitchen light would be a bother and made sure it was off. And now I find out she needs total darkness to drift off. Now I feel like I’m being a bother—every move I make and key I type is like walking on eggshells.

I retreat to the men’s locker room by the main lobby—playing guitar—enjoying the bathroom acoustics.

Back in the van, lying down in my makeshift tent of blankets and pillows.

Sleep 5:15 a.m.

Thursday December 16 2010

5:30 p.m. I wake up.


A guy named Canada and his friend stop by the house. Canada will be an official roommate in January.

Breakfast: Toasted Bagel Plain with Butter and Blackberry Jam. Orange Juice. Zinc, Vitamin D.

Showing Kenneth how to do emails. He’s frustrated with what’s going on with his mother’s house and her will.

“Robert, I swear to God, I’m a magnet for disaster.”

Gathering my things for the trip.

Quick stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on Salt n Vinegar Chips.

On the road—through US 58—straight down I-95.

Stop at a gas station for Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

Listening to music—feeling a sense of lethargy and droning off.

Eating some of this Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Mix Margot gave me last night.

Thinking hard about recent events and the future. Hearing the songs I’ve been working on in my head—grinding my teeth to make a rhythm—discovering various beats and patterns that fit with them.

Now that I’ve engaged myself, it’s easier to endure the long drive.

Stop at a Marathon gas station near Fayetteville, NC for fuel. The weather here is perfect—a nice cool breeze—no more jacket.

Driving. Driving. Driving. Music. Music. Music.

Stop at a gas station. Eating a cup of Cinnamon Bunches with Milk and walking around—delighted to see Spanish moss on the trees.

More driving.

I take an exit somewhere near Brunswick, Georgia.

Two cats in front of the Super 8 Hotel. The orange tabby one continuously meows and walks back and forth rubbing his head on my leg. I walk into the lobby and notice there’s continental breakfast, so I grab a banana and donut for tomorrow.

Parking in the back of a KFC parking lot to sleep. 7:45 a.m.

Wednesday December 15 2010

Just before 6 p.m. I get out of bed.

Breakfast: Cinnamon Roll Toast. Orange Juice. Zinc, Vitamin E.


Packing and organizing for my trip to Florida.

Stretching. Crunches.

Watching The Proposition [2005].

'When?' said the moon to the stars in the sky
'Soon' said the wind that followed them all

'Who?' said the cloud that started to cry
'Me' said the rider as dry as a bone

'How?' said the sun that melted the ground
and 'Why?' said the river that refused to run

and 'Where?' said the thunder without a sound
'Here' said the rider and took up his gun

'No' said the stars to the moon in the sky
'No' said the trees that started to moan

'No' said the dust that blunted its eyes
'Yes' said the rider as white as a bone

'No' said the moon that rose from his sleep
'No' said the cry of the dying sun

'No' said the planet as it started to weep
'Yes' said the rider and laid down his gun

--“The Rider” by Nick Cave

Lunch: Grilled Cheese with Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Honey Green Tea.

I go over to Margot’s house.

She gives me a stocking full of little gifts—everything is wrapped even though it’s in the stocking. “You’re just like my mom. She would wrap everything she can.”

Drinking Coffee with Honey and Milk.

Making Christmas Cookies together.

She got me a copy of Inception [2010] too. Watching that together.

Eating her leftover Spaghetti.

Just good old fashion tenderness.

Back home. More organizing and packing.

Eating a bowl of Cherrios mixed with Cinnamon Bunches.

Playing guitar.

Sleep 8:20 a.m.