Friday September 7 2012


☼ ○ ▬

There’s a congregation of basketball enthusiasts in a gym, a familiar gym that resembles the one I used to play in when I was a kid at London Bridge Baptist Church. Everybody’s shooting around. Some of the balls I find aren’t genuine basketballs but inflatable bouncy balls or soccer balls, most of them lacking air. Earlier there was a basketball game that took place involving three all-star NBA players: Spud Webb, Mookie Blaylock, and Anfernee Hardaway. They’re in the process of collecting players for another game. I see two agents standing in the middle of the court and inquire about being a part of the game. One of them is prohibited from talking with any local amateurs but the other can speak with me.

Me: “So is there another game about to happen?”

The agent looks me up and down with a questionable look, “Yeah.”

Me: “I wanna be involved.”

I then explain that I’ve been playing since I was little and that I would be a strong player. He’s confused as to why I’m wearing purple shoes but accepts me into the game. I wait for my name to be called.

“Robert Smith?”

Here we go. I have to sign my name at a foldout table and pay exactly $38.40 to play, I guess because I’m playing with pro-players. I notice the other names in the list are paying lower fees. Why not? I’ll give it a shot. It feels promising and as if I’m making the right decision.

▬ ○ ☼

Waking up around 2 p.m.

Figs. Instant Blueberry Oatmeal. Orange Juice. Zinc (50 mg). Biotin (1,000 mcg).

Tinkering with some new songs on guitar.

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

Watching Sea of Love (1989).

More guitar playing.

Learning Russian.

Going for a run around the neighborhood.

Meeting up with James Graves at Rick’s Café – having a long overdue one-on-one best friend time.

Fried Flounder with Cocktail Sauce. Fried Okra. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy. Hush Puppies.

I brought along a collection of old magazines to cut out select images for a collage project I’m going to do. I tape up an example on the wall of our booth while James and I discuss our personal current events. 


Describing the feelings between Aysena and I, “It’s definitely a...relationship. Like, I’m really in it. She’s full of romance...more than I thought when I first met her...and a sexual fire.”

James: “Oo. I love that.”


Megan, our waitress, comes around to check on us, “How you guys doing?”

James thought of something to respond with earlier so I use it, “Consider our puppies hushed.”


He’s really stoked on his plans to leave town and bike across America for a few months.

James: “...Just like, leaving work and leaving everybody behind and not kind of knowing where I’m gonna end up.”

Me: “It’s a scary feeling. Everybody’s gotta do that at least once in their life.”

James: “The time is nigh.”


Recounting a tour story when I was driving through Utah and hit an already dead deer.

Me: “It was in the middle of the road in the middle of the night. I didn’t see it.”

James: “A dead deer’s way stealthier than a live one.”


Me: “I guess so.”

James: “They lie waiting.”


James: “I think I need to simplify my life.”

Me: “I know what you mean.”

James: “That’s gonna be a big part of this trip.”

Me: “Yeah. You need to not lower your expectations, just minimize your expectations. Don’t have so many. Just be open to what’s gonna happen next.”

James: “I’m tired of working at GEICO.”

Me: “Yeah you can’t work there all your life. It’s just a job.”

James: “If money is the root of all evil then we’re all working for evil.”

I repeat, “If money is the root of all evil then we’re all working for evil.”

James: “Actually the love of money is the root of all evil.”

Me: “Exactly. So you can’t say that.”

James: “I know.”



In relation to working with other people on music projects I find myself spread thin, “I’m putting energy into someone else’s vision. I have my own visions that I want to fulfill.”

James: “If you say yes to everybody then you spread yourself thin.”

Me: “That is James Robert Smith’s ultimate struggle.

James: “A lot of people want a lot from you cause you have a lot to offer...but you’re only one man.”


We stay for at least two hours – him eating chocolate ice cream and I sipping on Coffee.

Returning to the house. I put on some music and set up the magazines to continue clipping out select images at the card table.


The cavalry arrives home from a mediocre night at Mermaids. Darren, high on alcohol, but mostly high on his dooming thoughts begins a rant about America’s fate if Mitt Romney is elected...

“Did you know? Did you know? Did you know that there was no debt when George Bush got elected? Not only was there no debt but other people owed the United States money. When Bill Clinton was president there was a surplus. And twelve years after George Bush we owe more money than any other nation in history!”

It’s getting late. Most of the patrons leave. But Anthony sits down and confronts me as an inquiring mind looking for consolation over his shift into adulthood. I’m kind of looked up to considering we’re years apart. He sees me as a runner further up than he in this race of life.

Anthony: “When that transition happened did you feel it happening?”

Me: “Yeah.”

Anthony: “Did it happen over years or literally you went to bed one night and...”

Me: “It happened when Felix said, I want to start a family. And I was like, Wow we’re getting older and this band isn’t going anywhere...what am I doing?

Anthony: “That’s when you started the house [1623, 1435]!”

Me: “That’s when I started the house. That’s when I started the blog. That’s when I started Musicplayer. I gotta do something else. My friends don’t want to be young anymore. I kept myself ambitious...with dreams developing. I’m a project man. The project man may never stop. The blog had to do with...immortalizing memory. I felt like at that point I didn’t really accomplish everything I wanted to. I realized I could document it all. But I was always fascinated with journaling.”


We discuss everyone’s Halloween plans to go to New York; he keeps bugging me about confirming my presence with them. And of course I’m vague and not sure about it.

Anthony: “Ays is not gonna be here. You’re not gonna be playing a show. You’re not working China Wok.”

Me: “You’re more carefree than I am. You don’t know what goes on in the mind of James Robert Smith!”


Anthony: “I’ve got a couple decisions coming up that I could make or run away from and continue on this path for a while.”

Me: “You have to be willing to lose something to gain something. In regards to your lifestyle and becoming adult, you can take that step-by-step but you’re still gonna lose something.”

He sneakily snags a plastic bag of dried cranberries from my fruit basket that’s been sitting there for a long time. I take notice but insist he can have them.

Me: “I trust you’ll make the right decisions.” 

He darts off down the stairs tossing cranberries into his mouth, “Thanks Pops!”

Me: “No problem.”

James texts me after he leaves, “Thanks again for tonight. Felt like old times.”

Me: “yeah it did.”

Glass of Milk.

Sleep 4 a.m.

[i] Rick’s Café Collage by me.

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