Thursday, April 05, 2007

You mind if I put on some music?...

Last night, we played a great show at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York. I know what you're thinking - "Isn't that the home of the National Soccer Hall of Fame?" You bet it is. Can I offer a reasonable explanation as to why a soccer hall of fame exists in the hills of upstate New York? Absolutely not. But Jason Prince, Micah's road manager, took the tour and found it to be awesome.

At any rate, we had a blast hanging out with the folks up there before going to bed and waking up in the snow. I assure you I did not pack for this. April in Athens is practically summer - it's hot and humid and basically covered yellow with pollen. It is most certainly not below freezing. Still, we drove over the flurries and through the hills to Loch Sheldrake, NY and Sullivan County Community College. I can tell you that I have to speak slowly and deliberately when I pronounce "Loch Sheldrake", and I can also tell you that on the Flavor Scale, this show tonight rated at 8.9.

Picture yours truly (a pasty white guy) sitting at table with my two dreadlocked traveling companions, eating our delicious cafeteria food at a school in the middle of nowhere. A very nice fellow walks in and says to us, "Do you mind if I put on some music?," to which we inevitably reply, "Sure, why not?" He then puts on some Hispanic reggae club music, cranks it to 11, and then promptly leaves. We do not see him again for at least half an hour. And in that half an hour, we quietly eat our food while being pummeled by the beat. And this was after walking by some folks heatedly battling each other with Magic: the Gathering cards. And also after someone in a Shakespearean costume dress came in with yellow roses.

Needless to say, it was one of my favorite stops on the trip. I'm pretty sure when I'm old, I won't remember exactly when or where or why this all happened, but I'm equally sure that I'll remember sitting in that room listening to that music and wondering what the heck this life is all about.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New York, Part 2

Last night, we had a great show at the College of Mt. St. Vincent in the Bronx, New York. Great sound, great folks, great coffee (it was Dunkin' Donuts, and we all know how I feel about that). Plus, their campus is apparently haunted, and for all I know, it could be. I mean, they have a building that looks like a castle.

Tonight, we drove up the road a couple of hours to Hartwick College. The state of New York really is pretty - lots of hills and trees and all that jazz. When I travel like this I always remember the joy I had when I was a kid when I saw something new. I can remember going to Washington, D.C. in the first grade and feeling blown away. Somewhere, somehow, I lost that feeling, and I've come to associate big cities with feelings of waste, excess, and pollution. Seeing all the lights on in a big skyline used to be something like Christmas; it became to me a beacon of burned resources. New York has wowed me, though, and brought back that same crazy enthusiasm I had as a child. I feel like such a tourist, but I don't really care - I've never seen a city quite like this. It really makes my heart burn to go to Europe. I hope to one day.

I've missed being excited about stuff. I've had people close to me tell me that I don't really get excited about things, and while I always feel a little surprised by that, I can see their point. I come from a line of worriers, and I guess I would say that I tend to temper any enthusiasm with "realism," which more accurately translates to "cynicism." I want to be excited again. I want to experience as much of this life with eyes wide open, not fearing what may happen, but looking forward to the unknown with a childlike joy. I can't help but wonder how my relationships would be if I saw the world like my daughter Molly sees it. I hope she never loses that feeling.

I hope I keep it around for me, too.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

On the Road Again...

How far is it to Waynesburg, PA from New York? All day, friend. All day. And it was a day well spent.

I'm currently out on the road for a week with my good friend Micah Dalton, a guy who you should know if you don't already. I've known Micah for a few years, but we've never really played many shows together. And I've liked him since I've known him, but after spending a day trapped in a small Xterra with him, it's confirmed - he is one of my favorite people in the world. It's no big secret that I'm bad a small talk; thankfully, Micah is one of those guys who likes to talk about deep things (whether we actually know what we're talking about or not).

Tonight we're back in New York - the Bronx, specifically - at the College of St. Vincent. Having never been to New York City before, it's been neat to see some of the city. With any luck, I'll go get to see all the cool people in Greenwich Village on Friday.

Normally, seven hour car rides bore me to tears (as I'm a wuss and can't read in the car for long without throwing up), but after the marathon that was these past two months, it's been nice to have a forced break. It's kind of weird that as people we don't stop working unless we are forced to; I'm pretty sure that's not what we were created to be. I've been doing a fair amount of graphic design work on the side - CD layouts for Ryan Horne and Altar White, posters for the Melting Point and most of the ads for Athena, a womens' magazine here in Athens, as well as designing the packaging for `my EP, the.broken.headphones. It's been fun, but I'm looking forward to a little break!

But perhaps my most exciting "busy-thing" has been Rebuilt Records' yearly fundraiser, Bowl-A-Rama!. Last Saturday, we had a blast with folks coming out, lots of crazy costumes, and about 1200 frames bowled. That's 12,000 pins that were knocked down. Okay, maybe only about 700 of those actually went down - we're not really that good. Matt Reiter was good, though - he posted the score of the day and walked away with a Nintendo Wii! Some folks even bowled 100 frames (or more) on their own - Anna is one of those people, and you can see some photos from the event at her Myspace page. All in all, we raised over $13,000 on the day which will go towards Jon Black's new EP that he'll record at the end of the month in Oxford, Mississippi, cover some overhead, and put some in the bank for some future projects. I was really encouraged by everyone who came out - hope to see you next year!

Breaks are good things - you should take one right now.

Be blessed -
- j