Thursday April 29 2010


DREAM: In a town house. There’s a white cat. For some reason I think it’s a good idea to decapitate his head with a kitchen knife. The cat struggles a little bit. I notice a little blood come out. It’s alarming to me so I stop cutting even though there is only a sliver left to do. Later, I come back to the cat and his head is back in place but it doesn’t look stable. Mickey Rourke, from the movie The Wrestler (2008) walks through the door. He picks up the cat and starts petting him harshly. He’s a big muscular man so I’m unsettled by this. I warn him not to rub too hard. The cat seems to be okay.

3:30 p.m. I get up. I regret not getting up earlier when I had the chance. Too much sleep.

Breakfast: Egg and Cheese Burrito. Toast with Blackcurrant Jam. Orange Mango Juice. Zinc and Alfalfa.

I ride my bike to Big Lots, Kmart, Target, and Trader Joe’s.

Waiting in line at Kmart, I observe a Jamaican family in front of me. The woman, who is huskier and bigger than the man, carries the groceries, as the kids play around the bottom level of the magazine rack. The man sifts through the magazines. He stops and stares at a beautiful half naked Caucasian girl on the cover of a tattoo issue. He holds his gaze for quite a while as the kids continue playing and the wife still waiting in line. He doesn’t seem ashamed in the least bit or concerned with anyone around him. He studies her pose then snaps out of it and scolds one of the kids, “Put that back now. We’re not getting that.” The line moves. The clerk checks out all the items. It’s his turn as he swipes the credit card.

People are watching footage in the living room that Phil filmed on his camera.

Lunch: Toasted Tuna Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Baked Salt N Vinegar Chips. Banana. Green Tea.

Practice at the storage unit with Chad and Chris. We work out a punchy new song.

Dinner: Baked Cream of Mushroom Chicken with Onions. Fried Zucchini and Squash. Coke.

I share the Fried Zucchini and Squash with Margot, Art, Brianna, and Ryan.

Margot and I watch New York, I Love You (2009).

Yogurt with Peaches and Honey.

How good it feels to relieve that sexual itch.

I go to the storage unit again to practice.

Saltine Crackers.

Sleep around 7 a.m.

[i] Michał Karcz.

Wednesday April 28 2010


DREAM: I’m cruising down the street in a Kmart shopping cart – hanging onto the back pushing with one leg like a skateboard. I’ve got my purple book bag, a grey beanbag, and few other small things inside it. I am able to go quite fast zooming through a neighborhood that looks similar to the kind of place I would deliver Chinese food to in waking life. I finally reach a court. There’s a big dumping area with a bunch of really cool furniture people have thrown out. I see a lot of abnormally large fish tanks, hamster tanks and birdcages. I find a green jogger jacket on the sidewalk with an iPhone in the side pocket. I pick it up and James Graves steps out of his apartment. He claims he’s missing his jacket. I realize I have it and give it to him. A few black kids with their parents and uncles sit outside their front door. I had left my shopping cart near them. As I’m getting all my stuff together I see a few garbage bags. I feel responsible to throw them away. One of the black boys is sitting right next to it on the greasy curb. I touch him slightly on the shoulder to warn him of the leaky bag, “Watch out.” He doesn’t seem to care. I saddle up on my shopping cart – put on these blue 80’s style sunglasses and dart off. I do a wheelie and lift myself up over one of the grass medians within the court. I can hear the black family making comments about how odd I look with the shopping cart. Down the road, I stroll into a house – some kind of church gathering – strangers. I’ve ditched the shopping cart and I’m making my way through the crowd. I’m getting strange looks from everyone. One beautiful girl, slightly taller than me, approaches me. Or maybe I approach her. We make small talk. I tell her I need to use the bathroom. She shows me this room near the entrance built with a white wall that goes about as high as your neck – so sitting on the toilet would be quite visible to everyone. I ask her if there is another bathroom because that would make me uncomfortable. Another girl that is with her seems annoyed and expresses to me that this is the only restroom for me. “Hold on. I think there is something else. Follow me.” I follow the beautiful girl back further in the house to another potential bathroom.

Around 2:30 p.m. I wake up.

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


TED Talks about a woman who rowed the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

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

Writing at the storage unit.

Stretching and exercising. Apocalypse Now (1979).

Dinner: Sinigang Rice Dish with Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms, and Shrimp. String Beans. Garlic Bread. Chocolate.

Phil, Carlton, and his friend Leo are at the house creating things on paper with markers and ribbons and magazine clippings.

Phil adds some raw kidney beans to his dish thinking they were cooked. He gets paranoid about it. We try to reassure him he won’t die but probably have diarrhea.

Leo tells us about a few of his former roommates from Richmond who got on Judge Judy and staged a cat-killing case. They got free plane trips and hotel accommodations for two days in L.A. And they got paid $700 to be on the show.

Foosball with Art.

I go through my collection of stickers over the years and decorate my electric guitar.

I watch a documentary on Hasil Adkins, King of Psychobilly.

On the phone with Margot.

A bowl of Raisin Bran Cereal with Granola.

Learning Russian on Rosetta Stone.

Shower then sleep around 5:30 a.m.


Shopping carts: We have a few shopping carts here in my yard. I'm planning on making a bike trailer with one of them.

The furniture and other things near the dumpster area: I usually keep an eye out for discarded things like that while I'm driving around delivering Chinese food.

Picking up the trash bags: I sometimes feel obligated to clean up and pick up around the house because I feel like it won't get done otherwise.

iPhone in the jacket: 80% of the people I know own iPhones.

Comments and strange looks from people: Sometimes I feel self-conscience.

Bathroom situation: I value privacy. And also I needed to pee when I woke up.

[i] The Cart Bike.

Tuesday April 27 2010


DREAM: A man walks into a bedroom with a gun pointing at a guy with thick black glasses and full brown hair who’s sitting at a computer. I’m observing all this from a distance. I’m supposed to be the guy at the computer. All of sudden, my perspective is the point of view of the man with the gun. He turns to the left and then to the right where the guy with glasses is sitting with a girl on the other side of the room. I start to imagine what it would feel like to get shot with a gun – the pain of being shot in the chest. I have to make a choice to volunteer to get shot instead of the girl. Flashbacks to a scene on a bus with a lot of people – the same guy walks in wanting to shoot someone. I’m hiding in the back. I have to make a decision whether to get shot or cower down and let somebody else get shot.

2:20 p.m. I get out of bed.

Breakfast: Egg and Cheese Burrito. Apple Butter Toast. Orange Mango Juice. Zinc and Alfalfa.

I sell a chair to a veteran local that does professional photography. He has photos in a few different travel magazines. He tells Josiah, Rocky, and I about his 9/11 experience on a roof. He shows us a photo he took before the second plane hit. He also tells us about a band he used to be a part of in Virginia Beach called Krocadile Tears. He comments on 1623 and tells us of a similar pad he used to live in on 24th street when he was younger that turned into a squatting house and eventually into apartment or condo housing.

I go to Big Lots, CHKD Thrift Store, and Target.

Lunch: Toasted Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly. Baked Lay’s. Blueberries and Yogurt. Green Tea.

As I’m cleaning the dishes, Phil parades through the door announcing something about The Spanish Inquisition. He had been gone for a little more than a week and now the prodigal son returns home.

Travel talk.

Some thoughts from Phil: The left brain is artificing itself into machines – We now have more opportunity to use our right brain – Our individual vocabulary is growing smaller because of our dependency on machines doing our communication for us – A battle between left and right.

Phil: “Well I just got out of the shower and I’ve come to some conclusions on things.”

I catch up with my Mom on the phone.

“i read a lot, and imitate as practice. But as the Tropicalists would say, we are all cultural cannibals. we eat up the works of others, digest, and in the consummation we end up with something completely new -- painted by what we know, but not the same as our influences (Oswald de Andrade "Manifesto Antropofago").”

- taken from Renee’s formspring.

Stretching. Exercising. Apocalypse Now (1979).

Dinner: Sinigang Rice Dish with Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms, and Shrimp. String Beans. Garlic Bread.

Iced Coffee with Tapioca Pearls and Soymilk.

A few hours at the storage unit writing, playing, and having a good time with music.


Sleep around 6 a.m.

[i] Metamorphosis of Narcissus. Salvador Dalí.

Monday April 26 2010


Around 10:30 a.m. EST Josiah comes into my room waking me up.
“How were your shows?”
I’m still trying to open my eyes and become conscience as he pushes right into a conversation. He needs a ride to work. Back to sleep.

I get up again at 11:40 a.m. and take Josiah to work to Mahi Mah’s. Back to sleep.

Waking up again around 2:30 p.m.

DREAM: Josiah and I are sitting on the van seat in a storage unit. He warns me he’s thinking about not doing music anymore – giving me all these reasons including something about people not listening or not enough support. I try to encourage him, “But music is such a personal thing whether there is people there or not.” We continue to talk…☼☼☼☼☼ My high school reunion in a big room. Richard comes up to me and tells me in a joking way how he hasn’t seen me in years. I’m supposed to perform on stage, backing up this singer songwriter on electric guitar. It takes me a while to set up my amps. I have a hard time finding the power cord to the amp head. Finally, I get everything set up. I start plucking the strings and testing out the tone. I tell the singer I’m ready to start.

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

I drive to the Farmer’s Market off Princess Anne and Dam Neck. I get Alfalfa Grain pills, VA Honey, Ginger Chews, Chocolate, and some produce. I ask the lady at the register for advice on planting an aloe vera plant. “They love neglect,” she says.

Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato, Salt N Vinegar Chips, and Jasmine Green Tea.

Brianna: “I want to start doing all the dishes.”
Me: “Okay. Why?”
Brianna: “Cause I want to be a house wife.”
Me: “But you’re not a wife.”

I transfer the Japanese aloe vera plant Kenneth gave me a few weeks ago into a pot.

Tennis with Art.
The rain starts to fall lightly. We continue to play. Steam rises from the hot cement caused from the cool water hitting it. Then, the storm begins and the rain pours and pours and pours.

TED Talks.

Dinner: Leftover Cabbage and Potato Skillet. Carrots and Cucumbers with Ranch. Garlic Naan Bread. Natural Cranberry and Grapefruit Soda.

I do some writing at the storage unit.

I eat a bowl of Granola and Raisin Bran Cereal.
In the attic – conversation with Will – civil unions and marriages – the concept of free will – I explain how we are no longer in the post-modern era but a new era, maybe alter-modern or post-post-modern – the story of The Tower of Babel – I theorize how humanity is drawing closer and closer to complete globalization and unity. Generally, our desire as a human race is to be one with everyone. In a state of total oneness and unity where nothing is impossible.
Genesis 11:1 “And the whole earth was of one language and of one accent and mode of expression.”
Genesis 11:6 “And the Lord said, Behold, they are one people and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do, and now nothing they have imagined they can do will be impossible for them.”

I start reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss.

Sleep around 5 a.m.

[i] Rage over Babylon by Ziv Qual.

Sunday April 25 2010


9:20 a.m. CST I wake up to my cell phone alarm.

Breakfast: Coffee with Cream and Sugar. Banana. Milk.

We catch the 10:55am flight to Minneapolis. Reading and napping. Deep Fargo accents. The violinist from Could Cult joins one of the seats next to us.

Lunch: A Fancy Grilled Cheese with Red Peppers and Tomatoes. Salad Greens. Honest Ade Orange Mango with Mangosteen.

Flight to New York.

I do that thing where you go to sleep and your body jolts yourself awake. Then you feel embarrassed because you think everybody saw you. I pretend to be still sleeping and slurp up the slight drool coming off my lips.

I eat the complimentary cookie.

Flight to Norfolk.

I eat Baked Lay’s, Dried Edamame, and Chocolate Chip Cookies with Cranberry Juice.

Our flight attendant resembles my Mom when she was younger. Same face, hair, eyes, eyebrows, and similar smile. Sometimes I imagine going back in time - before I was born – before my mother became a mother. I could see her in a different light – when she was young and innocent – watch her live and dream. Maybe I would try to meet her. Would she recognize her future son? Would she see her blood in me?

Becca picks me up from the airport.

We take a walk around her neighborhood – the night air is fresh, breezy, and warm.

People’s windows and curtains are open.

One home had no grass in their lawn but instead, cactus, tall weeds, and other exotic plants.

I explain to her the story of Pandorum and the theory of an earth-like planet existing somewhere in deep space.

In the kitchen, her Dad has the Discovery Channel on TV. It’s a show where Stephen Hawking is discussing the possibilities of time travel and life on extra solar planets – coincidental.

I eat a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal.

Another TV show – on TLC called Hoarding: Buried Alive – involves therapists coming into the homes of pack rats/hoarders and helping them with their obsessive compulsiveness to save everything. The people on this show are an extreme representation of America’s consumption problem and how we fill our voids with the affection for material things.

I eat an Egg and a Banana.

Two pieces of Toast.

Sleep around 4 a.m. EST.

[i] Image by me.

Saturday April 24 2010


I wake up at 4:40am CST – my head throbbing like an oversized heart pumping and pulsing. We have to catch a 5:55am flight to Memphis.

The Jamies, who are actually Jamie and James (they drove 7 hours to see yesterday’s show), brought us all Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Coffee. I eat three and drink half a cup. As much as I don’t want caffeine, the warm liquid is comforting.

Sporadic airplane sleep. Lightening causes a plane delay on the ground.

Waiting to get on the next plane to Minneapolis, the line is slow to move...

“Good job, Dylan!” – a mother congratulating her little boy on placing his fruit tray on top of the handle bars in perfect balance with the wall. I observe Dylan – fascinated by the yellow and black caution strip on the edge of the walkway. He places his little feet side by side then lifts his legs one by one striding along the strip until his face almost hits the end of the handle bar.

ooooooooooooohe sings out loud along with the constant hum of the airplane, some notes hitting in unison with the ambient noise.

“Dylan, where’s your ticket? We’re almost there.”

A mother and a child – always a good source of mild entertainment at an airport or anywhere.

I attempt reading then doze in and out of conscience. I’m just about to get my complimentary beverage when major turbulence begins.

“Flight attendants, please return to your seats.”

Thoughts of recent news feeds from airplane accidents run through my mind. I feel calm for the time being.

During the descent I start to get nauseated. It feels like a shit storm ready to explode out of me, but it can’t decide which exit to take: the front or the rear. I force it to cease with my mind – taking deep breaths. I’ll relieve myself later.

The plane lands and we rush to get to our last flight of the day. Destination: Fargo. We arrive at the gate just in time to see the hatch shut. They re-book us for the 3:05pm flight. I finally get the chance to drink something – Immune Defense.

I re-watch some scenes from Pandorum (2009) to get a better understanding of the story and the details. I realize how much I love deep space movies.

I organize some music.

I eat an Egg, Spinach, Tomato, and Provolone Cheese Bagel with Salt N Vinegar Chips.

One more flight to go.

We arrive at Concordia College. It’s an outside event with a cold breeze blowing. Cloud Cult, a sunshiny version of Arcade Fire, is playing already. They have two artists painting on canvas during their set. We go on after them.

Apple, then an hour nap in the hotel room.

I take a wonderful hot shower.

I walk over to The Village Inn across the hotel’s parking lot and treat myself to a nice dinner: Fish N Chips with Texas Toast, Steamed Broccoli, Cherry Pie, and Strawberry Lemonade.

I overhear a conversation at the table next to me…

“You start talking after I start talking, of course I’m gonna interrupt you. Now what were you saying?”

I finally finish reading Notebooks of a Naked Youth by Billy Childish.

I listen to music and continue organizing.

According to my blog, I have posted 111 entries since I started.

I watch more of Pandorum (2009). Then sleep around 2am CST.

[i] Pandorum image.

Friday April 23 2010


DREAM: On tour. It’s the night of the show, the one we’re supposed to play tonight. A girl in her late 20’s with dark purple hair and deep colored clothes is showing me this photo album on a laptop. I’m scrolling through them a few times in a row. One photo strikes me familiar – a picture of an apartment complex in Virginia Beach. Apparently, these are photos of where she lives. It hits me.

“I just delivered an order of Chinese food in that same building! I live right down the street from you.”

Pogge and I and a few others are hanging out in a hotel room. She plops herself down on the bed. I walk over near the door and my first girlfriend, Tiffany, is standing there. It’s been years since I’ve seen her. She looks exactly like I remember. She’s wearing green and I can see all the beautiful details of her face and hair. The scene switches to the concert hall. There’s a tower staircase made of green monkey bars. I walk into the first level. A guy follows me in. His associate, who is some kind of king pin, yells from across the room,

“See if he’ll take the drugs!”

He tries to shove a wad of money in my hand.

“I don’t want that.”

He’s persistent and keeps trying to hand me the money. I quickly climb up to the top as he follows behind swapping at my feet. I finally jump off the side and slide down the pole. I run past the king pin pushing him aside. After awhile, I return and punch him in the face.

I wake up at 1:30pm having had at least 2 ½ dreams. Pogge warns me we have to be “in the lobby in five”.

Some volunteer students drive us to Texas Tech campus.

I eat an old Clementine and a Banana.

They take us to our “green room”.

I go downstairs to the food court and scarf down a Chic-fil-A Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato, Waffle Fries, and a Ginger Honey drink.

Listening to some nice music.

We watch these ridiculous Youtube videos of the ginger kid.

Sound check amidst the mighty dust winds of West Texas.

I eat some Veggies and Ranch. Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

My body is beat and I have a headache.

The show – performing songs we haven’t even played in 6 months – laid back and fun.

We were able to convince a few kids to jump in the water fountain in return to play a song of their choice.

I snack on Dry Roasted Edamame and a Fruit Cup.

Sitting in the hotel room – listening to classical.

Zach sends me a text: “Robert, room 301. Come hang!

I have hardly any energy. My body clock is already screwed up.

Reading a short story Renee emailed to me.[ii] I sense a small connection with the main character. I feel my muse has been lost. However, I find it in small doses from others in and out of my life. Stability is difficult to have in the kind of lifestyle I pursue.

I need a movie. Pandorum (2009) – a newly released sci-fi thriller about human’s attempt at re-location on another planet – a perfect choice.

Sleep around 2:45am Central Standard Time.

[i] Image by me.


“A Moment with a Writer and His Muse”

I never write when I'm drunk. Why should one need aids? The Muse is a high-spirited girl who doesn't like to be brutally or coarsely wooed. And she doesn't like slavish devotion — then she lies. – W. H. Auden

By R.E. Shuman

p.s. this is an allegory

Saturday night, late. Lying on my bed, Marjorie was drunk; the smell of whiskey was a dense perfume. It didn’t work, quite -- my plan. She was supposed to succumb to my charming powers, like usual. My ears were instead filled with the buzz of her life-stories. All of them. Or at least two hours worth of them. She stared at me with sullen eyes, lips pouty, and fell quite suddenly asleep mid-sentence. I should have known. I knocked back the last of my oddly carbonated wine and curled up next to her.

The curtains drawn in the morning, I blinked my eyes open. There was blinding morning light coming from the window. There was a girl-shaped hole missing from my bed. Panic lifted through me like a bird lifting into the air. I sat straight up. Looking around, I pulled away sleep from my eyes with the back of my hand. Everything existed in streaks of color, fuzzed out like a television screen on the fritz. I latched my eyes tightly closed, exploded out a sigh and snaked my hands around in my bed. I pulled my black framed glasses out, flipped them right-side-up, and placed them jangling in plastic on my face. I looked around the room. Oh god, I thought. I slid my legs out from under my sheets. It was too hot for sheets, even. The whole room felt sticky. The light coming into the room was slowly becoming more favorable, fading from the bright white-blue of first opening my eyes to a subtle rose-yellow.

“Good day, dear,” said Marjorie, walking into the bedroom. She was pulling on a cream colored over-shirt knitted loosely in cotton and full of spaces for air. She smelled like daffodils poking up out of their brown paper. So, like earthy spring time when it yawns into wakefulness. She had strange blonde hair that refused to settle down despite how short it was, tightly cut around her face. “Are you hungry? You must be. I’m famished. There’s no more bread, by the way, and I used the last of the cream for coffee.” She shuffled through some papers in her sling-pocket book. “Do you have 5 bucks? I’m going to grab some milk or something while I’m out. What… You look dreadful! Here,” She rushed out of the room. She rushed back in with a hot, wet towel in her hand. She threw it at my face. “Here, put this on your face for a minute. It’ll soothe ya.” She stood at the end of the bed. I peeled the limp cloth away from my glasses. It was surly hot, and I was already uncomfortably warm from the room as it was. When the cloth hit my face I felt a sudden pang of remembering my mother. She used to slip a hot cloth onto me when I wouldn’t wake up for school. It was most inconvenient at the time.

“5 bucks?” Marjorie said, losing her patience. The air in her voice made everything in the room seem impermanent. I have an unnatural attraction to anything that reminds me of this fact. But I hate being turned on by women. Well, she wasn’t really a woman so much as she was a really feminine sort of creature, with all of the classic looks and characteristics of a woman. In fact, there was nothing masculine in her. It’s probably why she dressed so simply, I think. She never wore skirts or dresses or anything of the sort. A sort of balancing mechanism, perhaps. The button ups with bishops collars and the airy over-shirts, the slacks, the loafers: they were all just part of this balancing act, this game of being as real as possible lest she blow out and away to the dust of the road, as I imagine she would. (Sometimes you love something so much, that you begin to believe that at any moment that thing will perhaps burst into a million bits of star dust and get eaten up by the world, or blow away like birds in a storm, bursting into those tiny birds and getting caught up in too strong of a wind. I was always imagining these things happening to Marjorie. Partly because it was dramatic, and I was keen on any drama I didn’t have to work too hard to create. Partly because I wasn’t really sure what to do with all of the buzzing love inside of me that wanted to get out.)

When your muse is all-woman, it can make you feel sort of crazy. I only ever bought her slacks. It helped me feel more sane.

“I have 10. Just take the 10 and, yeah, it’s under the pillow there at the end.”

“No, it’s not. I used that 10 to get muffins this morning.”

“What?” I squinted. I hadn’t the energy for a more elaborate question.

“Yes, I found it on the floor this morning and, well, it felt like a muffin morning so I went and got some over at Dan’s Place.”

“You used all 10 dollars to get muffins?”

“No. Yes, oh, wait. I remember! I bought muffins and some coffee. Just the ground stuff, black stuff. It smells lovely, can’t you smell it?” She lifted her nose up a slight bit, and tossed her eyes up to the ceiling, searching for the scent.

“I -- oh. Yes. I smell it. Oh, yeah it’s lovely. Thanks.” I closed my eyes, and lifted an eyebrow. I was never sure how to respond to people taking my money to do things I would have forgotten to do.

“So –“

“Yeah, there’s 5 dollars in one of my shoes somewhere. I think.” I stood up and stretched, yawning, “The boots, the boots.” Marjorie whipped out of the room and dotted down the stairs. I could hear her little feet scampering and sliding across the floor, her hand muddling around in my boots. Her far-off GOT IT! sounded through the house. The door opened, and closed. The screen door sang rustily as it swung thickly out, then pinched closed and latched with a cuck.

I pulled my arms behind my head, looked up at my ceiling. I was wearing the gray t-shirt with a horizontal, lime-green stripe across the chest, the one Robert had lent me and I had inadvertently stolen. He bought it in Indonesia while touring as a pianist over there. It always made me feel exotic when I wore it, the lime green just visible to me out of my peripheral. I stood there, in my skivvies and the stolen t-shirt, and I tried to remember when I had last showered. Or when I had last been without Marjorie. Or what I was even doing.

Coffee’s good. Good Coffee, I thought, ignoring the piles of papers and old book ideas scattered about my room, and walking down the stairs. The halls were dark with no windows. The foyer and into the kitchen, however, were smiling with light. It had occurred to me, as I walked over the cold gray kitchen tile, that only my room was incomprehensibly hot. The rest of the house was incomprehensibly cold. I walked over to one of the wood-framed kitchen windows, and jammed my hand under the frame. I pushed up. My elbow hit two of the miniature glass bottles Marjorie had placed along the sill. They tinkled together and tipped down onto the counter, chinking dull and spilling their sprigs of rosemary and what looked like just a pretty piece of long-grass over the edge. Dust puffed up off of them.

I looked down at them, took my hands away from the window frame, and gracelessly removed from the sill two green glass bottles filled with sand, a brown pot with no plant inside, a rudimentary clay jar glazed with “cookies” on its front but too small to even hold a portion of good jam, and a card that read “To Ugly Michael on his big, fat birthday” and had a crayon drawing of me smiling and at least 200 pounds bigger than I actually am. I smiled a bit, smelled the card (crayons smell like love), and put it on the counter. I put my hands back on the frame, pushed it up with a grimace, and felt a burst of soft spring air breathe into the room. I put my head in front of the window and felt the delicious, fresh breeze blow over cheeks and eyelids and mouth. Springtime is so sweet.

I walked over to the coffee machine, grabbed a metallic-blue glazed cup, and poured myself a black mug-full.

I met Marjorie when I was 18, in a bookshop. She was flipping through greetings cards and frowning down at the “humor” section. I put down the “Asian-inspired” journal I had been turning over in my hands, and walked up next to her. I poked at a card with Cher’s face on it and said, “2 bucks that the inside of this is a pun on her name.” She looked at me briefly, her face young and bare of makeup. Her mouth curled up into a smile and she nodded at me. She picked up the card, opened it, and shook her head. She held out her hand.

I choked back an adolescent no way! --swallowed it, actually – and said, full of woe, “I’m usually spot on in the puns department.” I stood there, feet square, looking her in the eye. I was just looking at her: blue eyes, messy hair, long white sweater. Her hand was still out. “Oh! Oh, 2 dollars. Right, our bet.” I scrunched my eyebrows together in consternation, trying to get a good look at the inside of the card (which turned out to be blank) and shuffled around in my jeans’ pockets for a second. Pulling out four grimy quarters and a pale leaf of a dollar bill, I went to place it in her palm. I dropped a quarter on the ground. I went to pick it up, and, on the way down, I grabbed her hand and, to my own shock, I kissed it.

There was a deathly, stomach-dropping moment where I wanted to A) run, get the hell out of there, book it, make like a tree and… well, a series of other similarly worded ways of saying “flee, you idiot, flee!” or B) walk up to her and kiss the hell out of her, right on the mouth – hell, I’d already broken that fourth wall bubble that exists between strangers, why not go all out? And who cares if she socks me? It couldn’t hurt that badly.

But she didn’t draw away. She smiled at me like she had somehow predicted the event, a big, stomach-laugh smile without the stomach-laugh. She wiggled her fingers in my hand. I hadn’t let her go afterwards. Then, to my surprise, she grabbed my pinky in her soft little fingers. She shuffled her blonde bangs into her eyes and looked over at the bottom level of the card stand. I heard myself say, almost breathlessly, “You look like a Goddam angel.” It was like it was coming from someone else’s mouth. She let go of my pinky, this creature so unabashed and unafraid:

“Not quite. I’m M.”

I threw back the dregs of my coffee, which was just brown, crunchy bits of sugar at the end, and leaned against the counter. I smelled the sugar-air of raspberries and chocolate to my right, the white paper-bag of muffins curling its finger at me and seducing me into its depths. I reached a hand in without so much as a whisp of emotion on my face. (I didn’t want the muffins to know how excited I was to see them. Can’t give them too much attention, or the whole batch will want to party.)

Still in my skivvies, I munched on a brown muffin with a bag-muddled flavor – banana, chocolate, raspberry, and perhaps cinnamon perhaps almond. I shuffled out of the kitchen after a full-mouthed yawn, and headed along towards the stairs again.

A little white note was peeking out of my boot, near the door. It said “UGLY” upside down as far as I could see. I walked over, and pulled out the scrap bit of paper that Marjorie had failingly folded in half, the sides uneven and not even overlapping properly.

“TO: UGLY” the front read. I opened it. She had scratched, “Love you. Need some time. Be back whenever. Vague Vague Vague…” I felt my chest getting tight. I flipped the note over to see if there was anything else. There wasn’t.

I checked the boot. A bigger piece of paper had been failingly folded at the sole. It was written in a different ink.

“My UGLY:” the front read. The inside:

“Why why why must you always need to keep me? I AM LIKE THE WIND MICHAEL and I can’t be held dooooown. Can’t-stay-must-go-love-you.


xx – M”

I could feel my face getting hot, my whole body getting hot. I felt that twinging in my eyes, like they wanted to cry. I held them back by hitting the foyer wall with a blunt fist and yelling, “FUCK,” but my voice cracking only alerted me to how silly I looked, standing in my skivvies in the foyer, mouth half-full of muffin and hair sticking up in 4 to 5 cowlicks.



I loved that she introduced herself to people as “M.” One of the best things about the girl is her ability to cultivate mystery – about herself, her work, the world. Her worst quality? How she would disappear for weeks at a time.

They’re not in a relationship. They ARE but they’re not. He wants to keep it uncommitted, it makes him less afraid. It’ll change things if he does make it into a commitment. He wants things to stay as they are. If they make it official it’s more likely she’ll leave, blow away.

Thursday April 22 2010


Around 1pm I wake up feeling anxious and stressed.

DREAM: I walk into the house. Emily is back home and she brought with her a brown boxer dog, a squirrel, and a black cat. I get angry because she didn’t tell me about this.

Me: “This is ridiculous! They’re not staying in the house.”

I open the door to free them and they all run out. The boxer dog is sitting at the end of the driveway. There’s a rusted cream-colored chain leash attached to him. He’s anxious to run. I struggle undoing the leash. Finally, it’s loose and he scrambles off. I run back into the house. One of the kitchen cabinets is open with small white appliances dangling over the edge. I knew it was from Emily. I look around the house. Things are misplaced and purposely dropped on the floor.

Me: “Why did you do this?! I know you’re upset but that doesn’t mean you can just mess up everything.”

We argue back and forth – trying to reason with each other.

Me: “I can’t live like this. If you continue to do this, you’re out of here in three days!”

Breakfast: Banana. Immune Defense.

Mae rehearsal in Chesapeake with Zach, Jacob, and Pogge.

Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Salt N Vinegar Chips. Jasmine Green Tea (aka Geriatric Juice according to Pogge).

I sell a purple futon to a lady.

I shower. Cutting my toenails is an unpleasant experience.

Practice at the storage unit with Chris and Chad.

Dinner: Leftover Cabbage and Potato Skillet. Garlic Naan Bread.

3 Ninjas (1992).

She takes me to Wal-Mart.

A silent car ride with music as distraction.

She walks ahead of me on purpose.

“What are we doing?” I ask.

“Here…getting this.”

She buys me Avatar (2009) on DVD as a gift.

We sit in the car in front of the house.

She cries.

I discover my inability to make her feel better.

Words. Words. Words. Words. Words. Words.

She tells me to get out as she makes her way around the front of the car – collecting me in a warm embrace - “This helps me…okay?”


Sex - “This won’t help you…though.”

I eat a bowl of Raisin Bran Cereal.

I meet up with Becca and Alex at Waffle House. Biscuit with Strawberry Jam.

Talking to strangers can make you happier.

A happy employee sings along to the song, “I’m proud to be an American” when it comes on.

Helen Keller may not have existed.

“Love and Happiness” by Al Green chimes on with that warm introductory organ tone. That same employee starts singing his soul out.

I’m in a wonderful mood.

Becca and Alex drop me off at the airport. My body switches to tour/airport mode. On the plane – a mother and her toddler – “So what do you want to watch? Finding Nemo? Monsters Inc.? How bout that bug movie? – See. That man has his bag underneath the seat,” referring to my book bag. I look out the window. The sun enlightens us with its fresh oranges as we wait to take off. It’s about 6:20am. I would normally be just getting to sleep right now. Airplane sleep is it’s own kind of sleep – neck, back, and leg cramps – never comfortable. I entertain the idea of staying awake in hopes of interacting with the African beauty that is our flight attendant. I grab my long pink pillow and position it the best I can. Looking out the window, I’ve forgotten how toy-like everything seems from above.

I wake up. We switch planes. Another attempt at sleep. Arrive in Lubbock, Texas – hello Buddy Holly.

12:30pm. Sleep at the hotel for a couple hours before we head to Texas Tech campus.

[i] Apple of a Man's Eye by Phil Gray.

Wednesday April 21 2010


12:40 p.m. I get out of bed.

DREAM: Driving around a dim lit neighborhood at night. No streetlights. The only light around is coming from the headlights of my car. A few friends of mine are playing a strange game with bikes that involves them riding on the streets in the dark and playing chicken. The road connects like a big circle. As I’m driving around, the headlights shine on a few of my friends on their bikes as if I’m filming with night shot lighting.

Breakfast: Hot Oat Bran Cereal with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Blueberries, and Milk. Immune Defense. Loratadine (allergy medicine).

Mae rehearsal in Chesapeake with Zach, Jacob, and Pogge.

Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich with Lettuce and Tomato. Salt n Vinegar Chips. Jasmine Green Tea.

Stretching. Exercising. Snowden and Sigur Rós.

Strawberries and a Banana.

Tennis with Chad, Elliott, and Art.

Dinner: Leftover Cabbage and Potato Skillet. Garlic Naan Bread. Natural Cranberry and Grapefruit Soda.

Chad and I work out some songs at the storage unit.

It’s midnight. I’m beat and tired. It’s still early.

Coffee and Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I realize I’m a sort of collector. I’ve been scanning my favorite images and articles from Adbusters Magazine and some artwork Phil made from the other week.

Somebody in the house just turned the heat on and put it up to 75 degrees. Unnecessary. Too hot. Basic rules: When the AC is on, never below 70. When the heat is on, never above 70.

Becca describes to me her pleasurable experience eating the best banana she’s ever had in her life. Also, we decide that it is better to end a phone conversation with “Enjoy” rather than “Goodbye”.

Some thoughts:

Modern civilization has given us unlimited options. Choice, in many ways, has become the catalyst to all our problems. Customize – Personalize – Stylize. It’s eating away at our valuable and precious time. You spend all of your energy scanning the many fish in the sea - catching, analyzing, tasting, eating, feeling, and kissing each one. You would think with more choice there should be more freedom, when just the opposite has happened. We’ve become slaves to vanity and we know it. But we continue on living like the self-interested creatures we are. Narcissism has taken his course with us and he continues to deteriorate our ability to love. Grow up! And replace your “Love I” religion with an “I Love” mentality.

I wash my clothes, clean my teeth, and sleep around 5:30am.

[i] Back of Adbusters Magazine.

Tuesday April 20 2010


3:40 p.m. I wake up.

DREAM: A haunted Halloween walk through. Down the hallway, a guy with a knife in hand. He is nervous and scared. He sees me. He swings his knife almost cutting my neck. I twist and turn then grab and take control of his arms and move him into a room nearby. I whisper harshly into his ear, “I’m on your side. I’m on your side. It’s okay.” I still can’t let him go because I know he’ll swipe at me anyway. Another man, tall and wearing a gypsy-like costume is around the corner searching for him. I see his shadow in the doorway as he stands there facing the opposite direction. Because of the commotion the knife guy and I are making, he turns his face slightly towards us. Still holding on, I move the knife guy closer to the gypsy man in hopes they will duel it out while I can make my escape. I flee the scene.

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

I run to the JCOC thrift store and upgrade my room with a comfortable blue office chair.

Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich with Tomato and Lettuce. Salt N Vinegar Chips. Banana. Jasmine Green Tea.

Work at China Wok.

I’m good at imitation, and imitation convinces myself that I can take part in new and original ideas.

Yoga. Stretching. Exercising. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. TED Talks.

Dinner: Vegetarian Cabbage and Potato Skillet with Indian Spices. Garlic Naan Bread. Natural Cranberry and Grapefruit Soda.

Everybody around me is getting high because of 420.

Throughout the evening I experience this psychological discomfort on the tops of my feet, mostly my left foot. No actual physical pain but just discomfort. Earlier today, I crossed my legs with the right foot over the left foot in a weird way. Ever since then, my awareness has been focused in this area. I imagine worse case scenarios - something heavy dropping on them or a knife cutting right on that spot. It’s hard to avoid. I can put my hands on the tops of my feet and feel better because it feels like something is protecting them.

I go to JoAnna’s place.

We bake Chocolate Chip Cookies, to which I eat 5 along with some Milk.

Internet junk entertainment. TROLOLOLOLOLO

I bring three clementines with me. I attempt to learn juggling with them until they begin to splat on the floor. I grab three tennis balls from my van and use those instead. I am able to achieve 12 catches.

I go to the storage unit and continue to practice juggling. 17 catches is my high score.

I brush up on some Mae songs for the shows this weekend.


I clean my teeth and sleep around 6:30 a.m.

[i] Juggle poster. Bison.

Monday April 19 2010


Around 3 p.m. I wake up.

DREAM: Sound checking on stage in an auditorium. I have all my keyboards set up and my laptop is mounted on a stand. Pastor Rick is at the soundboard. Out of nowhere, he gets angry and frustrated. He gives all of us onstage a spiel about being prepared. I start to walk off. “Don’t forget to turn your laptop off, Robert.” I go back and turn it off.

Breakfast: Egg and Cheese Burrito made at home. Fresh Mango. Orange Juice. Zinc.

I go to Alpha for a kick pedal and stop at the JCOC thrift store.

Lunch: Tuna Salad Sandwich with Tomato and Lettuce. Salt N Vinegar Chips. Strawberry Yogurt, Jasmine Green Tea.

Chris and I practice at the storage unit. We work on a few new ideas. Chad had an emergency come up and couldn’t join.

I meet Becca at her house.

We were not able to meet last Monday for reasons I forget.

When I arrive, she is talking to her friend Krista on the phone, who is pregnant and recently had some problems that have made her bedridden. Over the speaker we listen to Krista describe a realistic dream she had last night: a tall big man with a blurry face enters her bedroom, sits down next to her covering his hand over her whole stomach where she was having cramps. She tells us it didn’t feel like a dream at all but more like it really happened. Her cramps went away the next day.

I eat some of Phil’s leftover Indian Dish with Dried Edamame and Blackberries.

Becca tells me about her trip to Minnesota and describes her family members in a cell phone photo.

We look through Sky Mall Magazine that she retrieved from the plane and humor ourselves over the expensive and ridiculous single-functional products.

We share a Caramel Apple with Frosting and Sprinkles Becca bought from the Chicago airport.

She tells me about a health conscience 5-year-old losing weight.

Becca: “I’m very interested in digestion.”

Me: “I think my greatest fear is to be misunderstood. To be understood is the ultimate and most satisfying goal.”

Blackberry art on a napkin.

We discover a Youtube channel run by a guy who documents what he calls his “mentally-challenged family”. Probably the most entertaining reality stuff I’ve seen on Youtube.

I eat Crackers with Cream Cheese and Gouda Cheese.

I read an interesting article on Sky Mall Culture:

I shower, clean my teeth, sleep around 6:30 a.m.

[i] Blackberry. Image by me.