ThouShaltNot Summer 2003 Tour Journal

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Week One | Week Two | Week Three | Week Four

June, Friday the 13th, 2003 C.E. 5:03 P.M.

"Jeez! What the [naughty word] is wrong with the person in front of me! [naughty word]! [moderately unrespectable word]! Garrrrr. Hate! I hate you! You're a [very naughty word] Mazda! I hate you, traffic [naughty word]! [unmentionable phrase involving a cow]! I will [very naughty word] your head out!" is the introductory oration presented by the driver of the vehicle as we enter the Liberty Tunnel and exit Pittsburgh.

"Agggggghauh! Turn Signal! Please use your turn signal. [very naughty word] bear!" wails throughout the station wagon making it difficult to enjoy the final strains of the last song on our forthcoming album "The White Beyond" (available in stores everywhere on September 2) which is playing on the stereo.

About half an hour ago, we dropped our copy of the new album into the mailbox outside of an ice cream shop in town. Dancing Ferret shall receive it shortly for mastering. We're very pleased that the album is basically finished. We (Jeremy and Alexx) are currently headed to Aaron's place to pick him along with the rest of the gear and thenceforth to Salt Lake City.

We are quite excited and feel that the tour will go very well. Hopes are high. Our hearts are light. We grin like recently fed babies. Summer is in the air as we go into the promise of tomorrow, Saturday the fourteenth. Nothing could possibly go wrong, here, now, on this date, the day before Saturday the fourteenth.

Friday, June 13, 10:34 P.M.

We pulled into Foo's place (Columbus, OH) in a sudden torrential downpour, and were faced with the challenge of loading more bags and pieces of equipment into the station wagon than it is really capable of handling. It is a long walk from his front door to the car, and so now having finally packed approximately 823.7 cubic feet of food into coolers and reassembled Aaron's magical drum kit in the rain, we are soaked to the bone. Alexx's Cons are squishy and Jeremy, shirtless, glistens with the clouds' water like a Rainbow Trout.

It is late, and the thunder is louder and more bombastic than an early Neubauten record. With Foo taking the first shift out of Columbus, we are bracing ourselves for the long road ahead.

Saturday June 14, 8:01am.

Contrary to our earlier calculations, the sun would not in fact be enshrouded by eternal clouds of rain. Apparently the sun alway shines in Illinois (which I believe was a single by A-ha). Metallica's "One" marches forth from iTunes as Jeremy lies still in his passenger seat, face covered in cloth not unlike the paralyzed protagonist of the video for the aforementioned song. Speaking of paralysis, I've not moved my ankles since yesterday. Additionally, Alexx will now be known as Blue Tooth, Scourge of the Seven Streams.

Saturday June 14, 10:23 A.M.

We're somewhere between Peoria and Des Moines (or as Alexx insists on calling it, "Desmo") on Interstate 74. We'll upload these journal entries to the website at some point in the future when we have internet access. As for now, we're disconnected from the information superhighway. Some might say that this makes us a sort of freer individuals, kind of like the group of motorcyclists that is always suspiciously close to us.

Golly, they have a lot of corn here.

Our inability to Google away disagreements about song lyrics and world history trivia takes us back to a simpler time, a time full of pointless bickering. We've been listening to CD's during the entire trip, so that also precludes us from listening to news on the radio as well as the internet. We don't know what color the terror alert currently is, so we have no idea exactly how scarred we're supposed to be right now.

Saturday June 14, 11:14 A.M.

Oh, look. It's the World's Largest Truck Stop.

Saturday, June 14, 3:39 P.M.

We had just passed the point of no return when the fuel reserves in our one-engine machine began to gurgle and squelch without warning. Searching in vain for a place to replenish our petroleum supply in Western Iowa, we realized the situation was more dire than we thought, as not a soul was in sight to assist our crew in the case of an empty tank. It was then in an act of total desperation that we left the interstate at exit 54 with no promise of what lay beyond -- no gas signs, no visible town, and only the hopeless echo of a thousand cornfields that stretched nightmarishly into the endless endless horizon.

Coasting on fumes over a hilltop, our Buick's last gasp, we then saw stretched out before us innumerable Danish flags and a huge husk of what was presumably once an operable windmill. Like some Scandinavian El Dorado, this tiny town presented itself to us as if it had never been seen by outside eyes. "Velkommen to Elk Horn, home of the Danish Immigration Museum," was the burrough's first transmission to a larger America that had forgotten it.

As the car glided silently into Elk Horn's valley, we saw two gas pumps to the left side of the road, but the building before which they stood was boarded up and for sale. Our strange brew of amazement and automotive worry grew sour when for a half moment we granted the very real possibility of being stranded gasless amongst these ghostly streets in Iowa, an entire hamlet full of potentially insane Danish princes. But then just as our despair was suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, we saw an Amoco station to the right a block farther. Saved temporarily, we coasted into the lot. Aye, there's the pump.

(There were some motorcyclists at the station too. Are they the same ones who were following us earlier?)

We filled the car's tank and were wicked hungry, so we totally got down with some Doritos and veggies, and very nearly sat in dog poop when finding a place to eat. We found, when we strayed into the general store of Elk Horn, seven very old men sitting around a wooden table. They were discussing birdhouses and baseball in thin Danish accents. Things like:

"He couldn't even hold the feeder up anymore he was such a goll-darned pansy."

"And they said he's the greatest third baseman of all time! Hadn't these folk ever heard of Brooks Robinson?"

... Do you believe in the Illuminati? A secret worldwide conspiracy of arcane masterminds who control the tides of humanity, nature, and information? I ask because it occurred to me in this store that Elk Horn, Iowa is probably the last place anyone would suspect an all-powerful metaconspiracy of grimoire to call home, and hence, the most likely place for it actually to be. When old men talk about batting averages and bobwhite quail, no one thinks anything strange is going on, but of course the Seven Archpriests of the Illuminati would speak in such a code that their intentions and meaning would appear benign and lowly to all. It is entirely possible that "Brooks Robinson" actually meant "Bubonic Plague", and "Third Baseman" is their secret term for "Solution to that Pesky Canadian Problem."

Of course we dared not expose these mages for who they were. They'd have vanquished us in an instant with their Danish Witchcraft. Bye-bye ThouShaltNot. Furthermore, the girl working behind the counter at the store was pretty clearly in on the whole thing. She looked about twenty-three, but was probably more like seven-hundred twenty-three, and was almost certainly their vassal and bodyguard. Some things, as we agreed upon, were best left unsaid.

And the huge windmill over the town? It's clearly their satellite to broadcast the weighty decisions of world interchange to the Earth's unsuspecting minds. Yeah.

And as one final note: I'm writing this on the highway outside of Omaha now. Why is there Manhattan rush-hour traffic on a Saturday afternoon in Nebraska? These people know something we don't.

Saturday, June 14, 5:16 P.M.

The clouds here in Nebraska are decidedly of a shape and consistency not indigenous to Ohio and Pennsylvania. We all agree that the one ahead of us truly and genuinely looks exactly like a bunny. It has little bunbun ears and a fluffy cotton tail! Other clouds here, we notice, look like bunnies too. In fact, the more we look, the more we find. It's as if they're multiplying. The Nebraska sky is a veritable Australia of cumulus bunnies. We will start naming them now.

Sunday, June 15, 1:26 A.M.

Wyoming: the gerund form of Wyome. Wyome (v): to drive soporifically from point A to point B, both of which are at the moment hundreds of miles away, and therewhile to be terribly bored by the majestic landscapes and open skies because they are effectively identical to Nebraska's.

We are in the Fire Motor Tel in Cheyenne. I think the full name of this establishment is the Firebird Motor Hotel, but we can't tell that from the sign. Cheyenne is a metropolis rivaled in size only by Wilmington, Delaware, and in glitz by Las Vegas, circa 1814. There are several neon signs, some of which blink. Aside from that, there is a long road and a restaurant. We have been in town for less than an hour and have already witnessed two incidents of domestic abuse. Cheyenne, the land where they make sunshine. Mmmmmmm.

Sunday, June 15, 8:42 A.M.

O.K. Take back everything we said about Wyoming. It doesn't suck. They have gorgeous bluffs here which are currently anticipating the Rocky Mountains. We're listening to Morrissey and weeping softly to ourselves, trying to conceal it from one another. To our right is a gigantic nearly dried up lake.

The deer here are different from the deer on the east coast. They look more nubile, and lighter in shade. Places here have names like Wagonhound, Medicine Bow, and Happy Jack.

As we crest a hill, there is a field of about 1,500 windmills ahead. None are turning. Perhaps they too have been listening to Morrissey and just lost the will.

Monday, June 16, 12:55 P.M.

So much has happened since we last wrote that it's hard to know where even to begin. The typhoid outbreak? The shootout with Ed McMahon? The sudden and unintentional creation of a blood cult based on Jeremy's hot pink boots? That pregnancy scare? I guess we'll just go through it all in chronological order.

We pulled into Salt Lake City mid-afternoon yesterday and were enthusiastically greeted at the venue, Sanctuary, by our very good friend Kelly, who had lived in Pittsburgh until last winter. Kelly was one of the organizers of the SLC Dark Arts Festival of which ThouShaltNot yesterday was a part. The Dark Arts Festival this year featured David J. (of Bauhaus, Love and Rockets, and Tones on Tail), Claire Voyant, Bella Morte, Faith Assembly, Deviant, Hungry Lucy, us, and also a smattering of local artists.

We unloaded our gear into the club, a beautiful old converted church, and then stopped by at a cookout, where we met Madelyn, an oasis of pleasant humanity and intelligence in a desert of sunburn and corn. At her place were also our friends from Bella Morte. Having nourished ourselves, we then went out for a quick photo shoot with Jeff Carlisle, an artist in the local scene and Kelly's boyfriend.

We then returned to the club, and while preparing our gear backstage, we heard a local band, Redemption, who was quite good. When they finished, we spent a while soundchecking and tweaking our sound's details to the acoustics of the room. All seemed well, and we were expecting no problems. Little did we know...

Approximately halfway through our first song, "Inside of You, In Spite of You," the power in the room gave out, silencing the PA system. In the middle of the second verse, Jeremy and Alexx, faced with the sudden silence, continued to sing without missing a beat. Salt Lake City's crowd was absolutely amazing, remaining quiet but clapping to hold the beat while the a cappella harmony drew the song to its conclusion. We regained power a few moments later and launched into "Without Faith," but once again, the power gave out. Still we persevered, singing the chorus and getting the audience to join in. While the technical difficulties might have killed our energy and pissed us off, instead it drew us and the crowd closer and instilled some bizarre collective determination to defeat the technology that erroneously supposed our dependence upon it.

We then had the lights dimmed in the room so as to allot more electricity to our instruments, and the rest of the set went off without a hitch, and with the added bonus that we, after two days of driving, were just as determined to experience a great show as the fans who had paid $25 for the festival. At the end of our set, following a great version of "Trial By Fire" that bounced like a six year-old on Mountain Dew, we left the stage for a full two minutes before the incessant chants for an encore drew us back. Unprepared for such a response, we quickly decided to play "Glaciers," which we had given a rest for a few shows and had just updated a few days earlier. With the threat of yet a second encore we left the stage to much appreciated applause.

The rest of the evening was filled with excellent sets by Claire Voyant, Hungry Lucy, and the perpetually fascinating David J. We met lots of cool people that night, introduced many to our music, and scored some free pizza. Thanks to everyone who came out, enjoyed the set, and gave us a hand. Thanks also to Christopher for helping to tame the wild beast that is Foo's drum rig. After the show we headed over to the after party and got to chill with Claire Voyant and Belle Morte. A bonfire out back provided much warmth and mirth. Who knew that Utah got cold at night? Once again, our well-honed hunter gatherer skills provided us with pizza, conveniently located on a kitchen counter. With the skill of a paleo-indian forest scout, we acquired our prey and moved on to a piano from which many half-remembered goth and eighties hits would later emerge. As often happens when touring bands gather together, the talk quickly turned to music industry gossip. The party pushed toward dawn. Jeremy picked up the acoustic guitar of Corndawg (Bella Morte's roadie), Foo took up Byron's Doumbek (clay hand drum), and Alexx tickled the ivories to an impromptu jam session. Finally, with the valley sky growing gray, we piled into Jeff's car and headed back to Kelly's house. Once there we crashed almost immediately, as a plethora of playful kittens pranced and pounced about our still-warm boots.

Morning reminded us, as we walked out to the car to load it up, that one task remained for us to complete. Our left rear tire had gone flat in our final moments before parking at Kelly's the day before. Alexx and Foo swapped out the tire and we headed out to David Early's car shop to get three new white-walls and an oil change. While the car was under the knife of David's skilled automotive surgeons, we headed over to McDonald's for a snack, a rest, and some updates to the website. At Megan's request, we ordered Jeremy a Happy Meal so as to receive a Finding Nemo toy, at which point Diane (a cashier) noticed Foo's Sponge Bob T-Shirt. Diane later entertained us by stripping in the middle of the restaurant whilst humming snippets of Nelly. Weird. When the car was ready, we paid Greg (the cashier) a measly $150.00, a wicked-good price. As it turned out Greg was a DJ, and seemed interested in our music. From there it was back to Kelly's for the rest of our gear. After a bit of creative packing, we hugged goodbyes, scratched kitties' ears, and turned the car toward Portland.

Tuesday, June 17, 11:00 A.M.

We are now traveling west on Interstate 84, which closely follows the path of the original Oregon Trail...

We had to rest two days to let a sick ox recover, during which time we discovered twenty pounds of wild berries. We traded two sets of clothing to an Indian to have him caulk our wagon and float it across the Dalles river. Jeremy has cholera. We would have tended to him better, except that we are school teachers, and thus started in Independence Missouri with only two hundred dollars, in May of 1848. Had we chosen to be bankers at the start, we would have had eight hundred dollars. That'll buy a lot of wagon axles. The berries wouldn't last forever, so we had to go hunting. This was difficult, as we had only two arrows, a space bar and a return key. Eventually we hit a buffalo, but were only able to carry one hundred-fifty pounds back to the wagon. Hopefully Jeremy will recover, and not end up like one of the many gravestones we have seen along the Oregon Trail, but should he perish we will defiantly think up a really awesome epitaph for him.

Tuesday, June 17, 11:58 A.M.

Everything was going just fine in the state of Oregon, until we decided to get some gas. We pulled in to the gas station to find four long lines of cars waiting at the pumps. We then noticed 2 men in uniforms mulling about filling up every one's tanks. "Is this a full service station? I didn't see a sign for full service..."

After waiting in line for 8 minutes, it was finally our turn to have our gas tank filled for us. One of the uniformed men walks up to the window and asks for our order. He writes it down on a pad and hands us a receipt and then leaves.

Now 10 minutes have passed. Had we pumped our own gas, we would be done and on the road by now but as of now, there is no new gas in the tank.

Another uniformed man sulks by and pulls the pump and inserts it into the tank. Finally, it was nearly full, and the gas catch gave at $18.53. Alexx rolls down the window and asks if he can top it off, and the attendant nodded.. However, when Alexx does so, he was sternly affronted by another uniformed man who said, "While I agree with your New Hampshire license plate, 'Live Free Or Die,' you can't do that in Oregon."

Alexx smiled and apologized and handed the attendant the money for the gas. He was then informed that he must take his receipt inside the mini mart in order to pay.

So, lets get this all straight. It's against the law to pump your own gas in Oregon, even if you have three or more working appendages. You have to wait for an attendant to pump it for you, and you can't even top it off for yourself.

Where did our freedom go? Did we forget it at that rest stop in Idaho?

Tuesday, June 17, 7:20 P.M.

R.I.P. 1992-2003 My (Alexx's) E-MU Proteus MPS Keyboard

I got this keyboard in January of 1992, when I was in seventh grade. I'd had some cheesy little Yamaha Portasynth for a few years, and it was painfully obvious that I'd outgrown it. By this point, having written music since I was 7 or 8, the music I had in my mind was starting to require much more grandiose orchestrations, and so my father and I went together to Hanover Strings with my life savings and some help from him, and we picked out the Proteus along with an Alesis MMT-8 outboard sequencer.

Not only had this keyboard featured in every single ThouShaltNot concert since the Thou Flaming Minister days, but it was my instrument in the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade talent shows. I made every demo until The Holiness of Now on it. It can be heard on every song on the self-titled debut, and beyond that, on "Soren Grey," "A Trace," "In Hopes of Flight," and even two songs on The White Beyond. By this point, the middle "E" key no longer worked, and the power cable had to be duct taped to make sure it didn't fall out during a show.

I'm not crying or anything, but I am finding that my emotional attachment to a big heavy dinosaur of a synthesizer is stronger than I'd thought. I'm really supremely bummed about it. I could probably squeeze a bit more life out of it, but it simply is not working anymore, and because we're on tour, it's a real burden to carry around. My Proteus is big and cumbersome. We've not yet gotten rid of it, but it will have to happen sooner or later. I can't even think about what would be a proper way to do so. Bury it? Sell it? I'd rather not think about it. *sigh*

Wednesday, June 18, 12:18 A.M.

Hungry Lucy is currently onstage finishing their gorgeous "Her Song," and we are sitting behind our merch table having just come off a really high energy performance in Portland. Because the first band cancelled at the last minute, Derek, the promoter, asked us to play a slightly longer set than we usually do. Thus our set began with "Blackwater" and included "Embrace the Sun" and "We Could Have Flown Like Pollen," which we'd not originally counted on playing. Despite the opener's cancellation, the show has gone really well. If only there were a bigger crowd. If nothing else, they are enthusiastic here in their small numbers. We were especially pleased that a few people showed up who had seen us over three years ago when last we played Portland. It made us feel like the 2000 tour had not been for nothing.

As a side note, Hungry Lucy is now playing "In The Circle" and it is utterly beyond words in how fabulous they are. The stage lighting makes it look like everything is about to catch on fire. Now at the second chorus, Aaron has instinctively stopped, dropped, and rolled to ward off an imminent though entirely spurious death amidst flame.

The events leading up to our performance were a bit hectic. We had to replace Alexx's keyboard with a new MIDI controller, and after driving to four music stores, we finally found a 61-key controller for the right price. Alexx then bought a bunch of Velcro to attach his sound module to the bottom of the keyboard. We also picked up a bunch of other new gear as well as some deaf Latvian prostitutes to use as backup singers. They were shortly thereafter fired.

Anyhow, we went back to the venue and got everything set up except then Jeremy couldn't find his guitar effects processor anywhere. Neither could Aaron or Alexx, in the car, in our bags, or our pants. It had to have been lost in Salt Lake City. With an hour before stage time, Aaron and Jeremy, freaking out, bolted to one of the music stores we didn't go to earlier and spent a loaf of money on a new effects processor.

As soon as they returned, Alexx had, of course, found the old processor, presumed lost and dead. Beautiful irony.

Wednesday, June 18, 4:36 P.M.

Dude! We just dumpster-dove a cartop carrier! We stayed with a girl named Megan last night, and she took us out for lunch (with another fan, Nicole) and record shopping (bought Sol Invictus, Public Enemy, The Cure, REM, and Ikon), and when we came back to her house, she pointed us to an abandoned cartop carrier that was totally usable, if a bit grungy. Let it never be said that ThouShaltNot has forsaken all remnants of punk life. Scrounge all the clothespins and plaid pants you want. We totally scored a hundred dollar thing that looks like a huge Big Mac box.

Wednesday, June 18, 8:58 P.M.

The last time ThouShaltNot drove from Portland to Seattle, Alexx and Sarah were all but beating each other up willingly to stay awake after a marathon of insane sleep deprivation. This time, we are completely well rested, and we just passed the Space Needle. Seattle awaits us. Seattle has always been a totally barren wasteland of culture and the arts, especially music. I mean, can you name one single important music movement, much less band, to come out of Seattle? Certainly not in the last twelve years you can't. Yeah. Seattle has never fully been rocked, has never fully reached the musical nirvana that the members of ThouShaltNot know can exist. Tonight, we will change all of this. We will transform it from a sonic desert into a veritable sound garden. Our oyster of rock will carefully sculpt Seattle's desolate sandy marmalade of music into a fine and exquisite pearl jam. Seattle's cultural consistency of wet dirt will be spun by the myriad bees of ThouShaltNot's sound into a tasty mud honey, fit for consumption upon toast, or possibly in tea. We shall spin a Carollian Wonderland, our music opening up the rabbit's hole and dazzling Alice. In chains, Seattle will break free and finally, through our music, place itself on the national map.

Thursday, June 19, 2:16 A.M.

Just a quick note, lying in bed. Our friend Lily helped us figure out a hotel situation for the night and we somehow ended up with a very nice suite for a ridiculously low price. We ventured out into Seattle's night life for the weekly gothic coffee night, which was quaint and pleasant. Alexx and Jeremy played chess, and Alexx vanquished not only Jeremy, Seattle, and the Northwestern region of the continent, but also the very foundations of Truth, Integrity, Reality, and Honesty. While this happened, Aaron ate cheesecake and discussed pen and ink work with a local artist. We also spent some time sampling car doors slamming in large parking garages. All the digital effects in the world don't make up for real reverb. Since returning to the hotel, we've not done much, though we did see enough of VH-1's "100 Best Songs of the Last 25 Years" to have nightmares about Hanson and Gloria Gaynor for weeks. Jeremy astutely wondered if record labels pay VH-1 to have a quota of songs on such lists in hopes of deep catalog sales. Nothing would really surprise me anymore. Anyhow, it's late, and I'm really tired. Goodnight.

Thursday, June 19, 9:09 P.M.

The doors just opened for our show in Seattle with Emergence and Hungry Lucy, and aside from the mediocre synthpop crumbling out of the speakers here, it seems a quiet before the storm for the bands. We are cooking some ramen in our hotpot backstage, and relaxing after a day of shopping, song revisions, and taking advantage of Seattle's nearly ubiquitous wireless internet connection. We also stopped into Musicwerks, the record store which serves as a central base for ADSR, our first record label. Mike (from Noxious Emotion) hung out with us a bit and we were able to track down a few last copies of our first CD, which we'll hopefully be able to sell over the next show or two. As the candles at our merch table catch fire and Emergence takes the stage, there's little time to write. Here goes nothing.

Friday, June 20, 10:40 A.M.

No one else is up yet here at Mike's place as we were all so horribly tired last night. The show went well, and it was especially great to get a surprise visit from Severina, formerly of Diva Destruction and Fockewolf, with whom we'd not spoken in a few years. The crowd was smaller than one might wish, and I felt bad for Emergence. Their lead singer, Rob, was trying really hard to get people into their set, with some success most notably when he had an audience member sing on their cover Information Society's "What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy)."

It was a relief to see people dancing quite a bit during our set. We played a fairly short show, with the best moments being "Without Faith" and "Dying Boy." Alexx got to wear his blue military coat for the first time on tour, and Hungry Lucy, as always, was amazing, snagging an encore. We were also really pleased with the number of bands from Seattle who came out to the show. Members of Manufactura, Glis, Assemblage 23, Tau Factor, and Static Engine were all there, and it was neat to put some faces and names to the music, finally.

As a side note, when Alexx and Aaron first came to the College of Wooster in 1997, the welcome packet had some random toiletries in it, including one of those Biore pore cleansing strips you put on your nose. Do you know what I'm talking about? Those things were so cool.

Saturday, June 21, 12:41 A.M.

So when we left for tour, we loaded two coolers into the car. The "dry" cooler was intended to hold things like dried fruits, soup, crackers, and assorted pantry munchies. The "wet" cooler was to hold ice, so that we might have access to fresh vegetables, cold drinks, certain sandwich condiments, and things that otherwise might spoil, such as the head of Vladimir Nabokov, or the gallon of white whale ambergris that Alexx uses as mouthwash. Anyhow, somewhere along the way, the three members of ThouShaltNot, whose collective math SAT score is 2200, forgot the admittedly high-level postulate of physics that ice melts.

The resulting slurry of noxious odors in the wet cooler caused Alexx to make a very silly face and gag as he flung a bag of unidentifiable putrid fluid into a dumpster. We then scrubbed down the cooler with Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap. An ethereal blue, sparkly glow surrounded Jeremy's head as he became spiritually enlightened by reading the printed words on the bottle: "Absolute cleanliness is Godliness! Who else but God gave man Love than can spark mere dust to life! Poetry, uniting All-One! All brave! All life! Who else but God! Father Eternally One! As teach astronomers Abraham-Israel-Moses-Buddha-Hillel-Jesus-Spinoza-Paine-Sagan & Mohammed, inspired every 76 years, 6000 years by the Messenger of God's Law, the Messiah, Halley's Comet. WE'RE ALL ONE OR NONE!... LISTEN CHILDREN ETERNAL FATHER ETERNALLY ONE! Israel-Moses-Buddha-Jesus-Mohammed: ONE! ALL-ONE!"

With a newly cleaned out automobile, we ventured off to capitol hill for an interview with a local music writer, and then some shopping. There is a used book store in which we spent about 2 hours which has some unusual practices. A sign announced that all books by Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsburg and other beat authors are not to be found on the shelves, but behind the desk as to keep them safe. This store must be at or near the cosmic epicentre of poetic hipness.

We continued our tour of Seattle by returning to the internet cafe where Foo and Lily had their fortune told by a fortune condom that came out of a 25 cent vending machine. Apparently its time to try something new, and that we should not fear...

We're now getting ready for sleep in a motel, and are looking forward to a good night's rest as we'll be starting the long trek through California to Arizona first thing in the morning. We're in room 249. A friend of ours, Dan, while asleep, was once given a vision and a revelation of some incredibly vital and central truth to the universe. In the middle of the night, he quickly stumbled about until he found a pen and paper. There, in a half asleep stupor, he jotted down the information that would serve as the key to humanity's fears and uncertainties in a bleak world. Satisfied that the answer was now safe in hard copy on paper, he went back to sleep. When he awoke the next day, he looked at the paper and saw that he had only written "249." Since then that number has haunted him everywhere, and he, unable to recall its significance in the wake of his divine dream, has flailed blindly against the unknowing fetters of the cosmos.

Saturday, June 21, 11:48 A.M.

"Hello there. I am a camel."
"Hello Mr. Camel. I am an amorphous blob. Let us be friends. We'll have adventures in the jungle!"
"Oh no! A tiger"
"I am a tiger!Brraaagugguuuggghhh!!"

And so we eat Animal Crackers, playing with our food as we embark toward Phoenix. It's a really long drive ahead, and Aaron flew back to Columbus this morning so he could squeeze in an extra few days of work, thereby facilitating time off in the future that we might play East Coast shows. This means that our Phoenix concert will be the first ThouShaltNot show he's ever missed. Jeremy and Alexx will figure out a few special tweaks to our performance so that Phoenix can somehow be a special show. Maybe something acoustic?

Ever notice how the members of ThouShaltNot never really give away their individual authorial identities while writing journal entries? We're sneaky like that.

Saturday, June 21, 8:09 P.M.

Ducks have a certain limit to how close they'll come to you, even if you're feeding them bread crumbs. We just pulled over for some gas (where they filled us with the wrong grade gasoline... way to go, Oregon, where you can't pump your own) and then ate dinner at a park nearby. Sitting by the pond, we decided to feed the ducks, and within a few moments of tossing out the first bits of bread to two mallards, we had 30 ducks in a circle around us, awaiting our whole wheat bounty. It was vaguely Hitchcockian, but as mentioned earlier, they dared not venture near enough to us to have made us their main course instead of the crusts. One of the ducks totally looked like L. L. Cool J.

We noted that ducks are one of the few animals on Earth that are apparently of equal comfort in air, water, and on land. From an elemental standpoint, all they're missing of the basic four is fire. We contemplated playing Prometheus and being The Ones Who Gave Fire To The Ducks, but this was likely a better idea in theory than in practice. More than a few people (to say nothing of Zeus) would get upset at our act of pyroaviary hubris.

Sunday, June 22, 8:55 A.M.

Everybody in California has a tan. This is caused by the fact that in California the sun always shines.


We met two well tanned women at a rest stop. They were taking their late model van to the W.T.O. meeting in Sacramento to protest it. We also met a well tanned older man with significant visible tooth decay who informed us that the rest of California was indeed even hotter than the part in which we are currently. After passing along that vital information, he cackled. We're now in the car, and have just passed three well tanned people on motorcycles. Those motorcyclists in Iowa didn't have tans, but it would have only taken them a few hours in California to get one. Now we're nearly certain that we're being followed.

We saw the first palm trees about 50 well tanned miles ago. Hopefully we can escape the dermatological trap that is California with our pallid complexions unblemished.

There's a field of about one million bright yellow sunflowers to our right. Why do those foolish flowers attempt to imitate the sun with their shape and color? They're only encouraging it.

Sunday, June 22, 4:23 P.M.

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K. We pulled into a convenience store about 50 miles north of Los Angeles, and when Alexx went in to refill his water bottle, he was nearly arrested for attempting to enter a restroom that was evidently being cleaned. Apparently, it is illegal in California to use the faucet of a public bathroom if a custodian is present, because two policemen both stood up and the store owner belted, "YOU STAY OUT OF THERE!" when Alexx approached the door. Alexx, a bit caught off guard by this utterly senseless run-in with false law, went and refilled his water bottle at a Taco Bell instead. Some moments later, while observing the man parked in the car next to us snort cocaine, we wondered if the cops in question really had nothing better to be doing than keeping vigil over a bathroom door.

Sunday, June 22, 10:56 P.M.

Initially the plan was to stop in Los Angeles for some gas and possibly some food, but at the risk of crushing our hopes of a major-label record deal, we now all but refuse outright to venture near that accursed city again. Even when we bypassed most of the city on routes 10 and 210, the smog was so thick that we could not see the sky and horizon. When we were unfortunate enough to pass through a pocket of clarity, we could catch sight of the seemingly infinite and utterly identical tope colored houses that threaten Californians' independent identities as much as the air assaults their vascular health. Occasionally, the Orwellian landscape was broken up by a factory or a junkyard or some fire, which blazed unattended, the L.A. firemen and natives rightfully unconcerned with the future of their necropolis. Go Lakers!

Two hundred miles later, safely away from the abyss of Los Angeles, we find ourselves in the desert, which despite $2.40 gas prices, breathes a peaceful hush into us and those few who have likewise pulled over. It is late, and the last refractions of sunlight just vanished behind the coastal mountains, leaving a tintless black sky into which constellations now percolate. Jeremy is pointing out Scorpio, Cassiopeia, and the Pleadies, while Alexx, a novice astronomer at best is still trying to remember from years ago in Boy Scouts how to find Polaris. We have plenty of time to get to Phoenix, and so taking a few moments to absorb some starlight serves as a reminder of the scale of all that lies outside our immediacy, and more to the point, the Buick station wagon we temporarily call home.

Monday, June 23, 8:12 A.M.

"No Pets In This Area - Inhabited By Poisonous Snakes And Insects" read the sign at the rest stop. We spoke with the rest stop custodian, an older, tattooed and tanned desert gentleman who said that he himself had killed and eaten four rattlesnakes in this very rest stop just this week. He said that one rattlesnake had snuck into the ladies room and had caused much "ruckus and commotion."

We spotted a few chameleons (which the custodian called "champagne lizards") scuttling about the pavement.

Now on the road again, we just passed an exit curiously labeled "339th Ave." even though the only city service within sight or sound is baking hot asphalt of 339th avenue. We're surrounded by sand, dust, bushes with razor sharp leaves, an occasional tree with spikes all over it, gigantic twisted cacti, but mostly sand, and a about six billion metric tons of dust. Also, there is a long, tall series of electric power cables following along the road leading to the city.

The desert is a completely preposterous place. What does one do for fun in the desert? I know: hunt for water and run from scorpions.

Monday, June 23, 8:53 P.M.

Once again we are sitting at the merch table as the opening bands begin the night. Today ThouShaltNot continued our tradition of car troubles in Phoenix, as we have twice today needed to be be jump started. Tomorrow we may get a new battery before worse things happen. The difficutlies are probably with the heat as much as anything; it was over 100 degrees today, and by all accounts of the native Phoenicians, it was pretty bearable for summer.

Jeremy and Alexx arrived in the city around 9:30 A.M. and immediately headed for a laundromat and drycleaner. With an uncertain four day stretch ahead of us, it seemed wiser to replenish our clothing now rather than for Alexx to be forced to wear his stage kilt in true Scottish spirit. There followed a stroll through downtown Tempe where an internet cafe clerk, an accented man on a bicycle, and a cute girl who liked The Smiths all tried to take our money. We were fairly vigilant, but on tour, despite every attempt to remain under budget, creature comforts like good food and fresh vegetables become terribly tempting. Mmmm avocados. Mmmm tomatoes. Mmmmmmm Smiths fans.

The first band, an experimental electronic act whose name escapes us, is almost done. We look forward to the rest of the night.

Tuesday, June 24,12:49 P.M

The last day has been full of ups and downs.

Up: Phoenix is a friendly city, where people, even if they don't speak your language, seem ready to help. Our car needed attention while parked at a gas station, and immediately three spanish speaking men rushed over to the car and efficiently fixed the problem. They got us on our way in a quick and friendly manner and asked nothing in return.

Down: Our car's battery and/or alternator is threatening to die, and we are currently in the waiting room at the auto service center preparing ourselves for the worst.

Up: For the first time in more than three years, we got to see some old friends and fans from the area, like Lee, Dave from The Strand, and Violet.

Down: These three people represented approximately 11% of the total audience. Do the math.

Up: Despite playing a show without Aaron, Jeremy and Alexx had a scorchingly good time and put on, if we do say so ourselves, a fun and nearly flawless concert. We got to play the title track from the new album "The White Beyond" for the first time in public.

Down: We sold a really disappointingly small number of albums, which hardly padded our budget and really didn't expose our music to enough people.

Up: The other bands were fabulous. Galusha mixture of hard and soft edged music complemented our own, and the Swiss avant-pop of Xeno Volcano & Elektra Sturmschnell kept everyone on their toes, guessing what was next. They were also really friendly and everyone seemed into each other's music.

Down: There were some money issues with the show and we are still in the process of squaring away some details. Hopefully it won't take too much anguish to resolve the issue.

Up: The hotel in which we stayed was totally swank. We slept very well. Also, Dave from The Strand gave us some sandwiches and drinks for dinner, which was really cool of him. Hospitality-wise, we were well cared for last night.

So I guess that's more Ups than Downs, making the time here overall worthwhile. We look forward to heading out of town soon before the impending sense of doom we feel manifests itself in the form of some catastrophe involving an ape covered in blue lights. It's already bad enough that a $334 charge just now arrived for replacing the car's battery and alternator (yup, as it turns out they were _both_ blown), but there's not really much choice in the matter. It's not like we are going to drive through the desert to Las Vegas in a car with no electricity.

Tuesday, June 24 2:35 P.M.

Leaving Phoenix, we just drove past a corner building clearly labeled "Crack Corner". No Lie. No Joke. The sign which is permanently affixed to the building above the door says "Crack Corner". Just after that, we saw a shop with the following words in bold blue paint on its adobe facade: "Pawn Shop. Guns. Pornography." Who says the american public doesn't conflate sex and violence.

Now, don't let us give you the wrong idea. Not all of Phoenix is like this, only the really cool parts.

Holy Moly! As we were writing this, we pulled up to a stop light behind a brown Ford Taurus with a vanity plate which reads "ANUBIS". Phoenix is totally rad! We just passed the car on the left and it is being driven by a woman who can't be less than 60 years old. Taking into account her age and the license plate, this is no fad hopping teenager. This woman is for real. As a matter of fact, not only is she over 60, but she is quite possibly more than 4,000 years old. Perhaps she knows the old men in Elk Horn, Iowa.

Tuesday, June 24, 7:27 P.M.

"We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to work..."

On our way to Las Vegas, we've seen low priced gas, low priced hotel rooms, and low priced identical twins. While interesting, none of these things are quite as peculiar as the settlement of what must have been at least one thousand RV's, trailers, makeshift houses, and shanties all about a half mile from highway 93. There was no exit to this community, nor roads within it, and there was no sign proclaiming what it was. Furthermore, according to every map we own, this town does not exist. Could it be some colossal exodus across the desert to an unnamed Mecca? It reeks of secrecy and there hung a pall of isolationism about it. At the risk of turning this tour journal into a compendium of conspiracy theories, we will close in noting that this is indeed UFO country....

Wednesday, June 25, 12:32 P.M.

Yeah, so, Vegas.

We crossed over the Hoover Dam, which looked like the set of a Front Line Assembly video, and marveled at mankind's ability to thwart nature. We hope humans continue to do that a lot in the future. Shortly thereafter, we hit the outskirts of the city, and with little difficulty, found our way to the main strip and were able to park safely for free. Neither of us had ever been to the city before, but we were both still utterly unamazed by how amazing it is. That is to say, it is completely overwhelming and explosive, which is exactly what we'd expected. As a litmus test of the city's aura, once we parked the car, both of us changed our clothes, pants and all, in the middle of the sidewalk. Though we got one wink from an obviously married woman, we effectively demonstrated that guys in just combat boots and underwear are really no big deal here. This fact alone we felt was pretty awesome, but there was something bugging our postmodern sensibilities:

Everything in Las Vegas is an imitation of something else. There are casinos that, with their billion dollar budgets, imitate the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the rest of Paris and New York, Italy, and Greece. There are imitations of the Great Pyramid, Coca-Cola bottles, Jurassic Park. Slots machines imitate television shows, from Bewitched and The Price Is Right to Unsolved Mysteries. People on the street imitate what they perceive to be classy, and thus embodying a simulacrum of cultural status, comprise a Jungian collective that was clearly absent from school the day that "kitsch" was taught. Masses of people are unaware of how ridiculous they look. At least we knew exactly what people would think when they saw us, two black-clad Eurotrash post-punk pretentious fops.

The floors and rails in Las Vegas imitate marble and stone. The waiters and valets imitate decorum, posing as sophisticated high society, when in fact the depressed underbelly of the Casa Nostra is probably paying them minimum wage. The blackjack dealers pretend to be your confidant. The skeevy men on the sidewalk pretend to be your pal, giving out flyers for call-girls with the same compassion that a friend might give advice.

Everything is an imitation of sex here. We were followed by a prostitute who obviously thought we'd take her bait. When we silently declined her offer, she moved on to someone else, feigning attraction. There is a strip club or a seedy "Adult Superstore" every other block, it seems, where men go to watch girls imitate being attracted to them. Then they can pay for a lap dance, where the stripper, invariably a 20 year-old UNLV student who has long lost all notion of genuine sensuality in her work, imitates sex directly, but of course no one is allowed to touch anyone else the whole time. Men leave frustrated and girls make $2000 in a night.

And that's how it works with the gambling, too. We decided it was simply part of the Vegas experience to bet a few rounds of roulette or poker, and so we each brought $20 into a casino that fell price- and classwise between Caesar's Palace and Jerry's Nugget. Alexx was briefly up to $50, and then lost it all fairly quickly on a 16 in blackjack. Jeremy fared better, doubling his money, and with great willpower he decided to leave while still ahead.

"I beat the house, but I am completely unsatisfied. All I want to do now is go back and gamble more," he mentioned. There is no sense of a complete victory in a town where you can always win more than you already have. Above the first floors of the casinos are the real poker and highball games. Beyond that are the tables full of men who all look like Charles Bronson and who no longer bet money, but instead wager things like ranches, wives, the Ford Corporation, and France. It's no wonder that people keep betting money they don't have in the hopes of making up the thousands they've already lost. A few lucky guesses on a craps table can reap one hundredfold.

There are much lower altitudes in the gambling continuum as well. When we left town this morning at 5:45, there was a line of fifty men and women shifting nervously outside a blood bank, waiting for it to open so they could sell plasma for cash to gamble with. The first casino to start taking internal organs as legal tender will make a killing with these people. "I'll see your lung and raise you 50 cc's of marrow."

But no one is fooling anyone in Las Vegas. The odds are clearly posted at every table, and you know it's all a losing battle. The strippers never say they'll have sex with you, or that they even like you. In this way, in spite of all its imitation and fakeness, it's a very honest city. The town is hyperreal, aware of its own artifice and, in being so, is somehow genuine. It's all the tourists who are being dishonest with themselves, knowing full well that 70% of people lose money there, but clinging desperately to the chance that they might be in that lucky 30%. Hey, somewhere, at some point, a stripper went home with a client who'd won a half million dollars at the craps table. It just might happen to you tonight.

Anyone who knows us realizes that we're not terribly impulsive people. All the members of the band tend to be rational and fairly calculated in our decision making, and it became clear that we are just what Las Vegas detests. We carefully surveyed the whole strip before deciding what casinos were worth checking out, and we stopped when we'd each spent $20, no more. It was thrilling to hear the occasional yelp of victory from a card table, typically of a drunken 35 year old man, and it was a neat surprise to run into the crazy boys and girls from Emergence (from the Seattle show), not knowing they'd even be in Las Vegas. but most of our gambling and Vegas-related "fun" was tempered by our critical gaze to the bounty around us.

That's not quite right. Bounty would imply that Vegas is supplying the world with something. I think its chief export is despair.

We did, however, manage to have a lot of fun jumping into the ice cold water of the Colorado River this morning. It was 105 degrees outside, and we, in an almost entirely vain attempt to sleep in the car, had pulled up to a scenic point alongside the river. When it became clear that the heat would prevent us from functioning in any meaningful way, into the water went Jeremy's body and Alexx's head and feet. Between the two of us, we collectively had a pleasant swim.

As we head now past the Arizona border, somewhat refreshed and with a full tank of the cheapest gas in the last 1700 miles, we note that a lot of our friends would probably have hated the city with a passion. The short list of those with whom to travel is already made if we ever return to that soulless place. I doubt that this will happen soon, though. It's strange: for all the glitz and Disney, almost nobody was smiling.

Wednesday, June 25, 7:33 P.M.

Jeremy: Alexx, this canned tomato soup is cold. You totally failed to cook it.

Alexx: Don't think of it as ghetto so much as gazpacho!

Jeremy: This is NOT gazpacho.

Thursday, June 26th, 10:00 A.M.

Not much has happened since we last wrote; we stayed in Albuquerque for the night and have now moved on into the New Mexican desert. America is full of reminders that it is a very big and very odd place. At this time, we'd like to share a few of these reminders -- specifically in the form of billboards and roadsigns -- that we've seen along the way:

Friday, June 27, 12:25 P.M.

Our hosts in Dallas are entirely above and beyond so many promoters with whom we've worked. Tracy and Valerie, the night before our performance, volunteered us a place to stay here in town. They took us in, fed us, let us check our email, and while broadcasting their internet radio show from home, even interviewed us on the air! After so long locked in a car and eating our own hair to cling to precious life, their southern hospitality was welcome beyond words. We slept as well as we have all tour, and awoke a few moments ago to some sandwiches they made for us. Additionally, their huge cat, James, is completely endearing, purring and nuzzling when his tummy is pet, and generally radiating an aura of all that feline contentedness can be. In a few hours, we'll pick Aaron up from the airport, and once again our triumvirate collective will be allowed to glow in its total glory, kind of like the Voltron tigers or something.

Saturday, June 28, 8:59 A.M.

After picking up Aaron from his flight into Dallas yesterday evening, we headed to the venue of Club Ascension and were really impressed with it. The layout and architecture are stunning, with the main space being a big circular performance roon a la Lenny Kravitz's video for "Are You Gonna Go My Way?" though only one story high and not entirely full of neo-70;s funksters. The soundman was a little tense to work with, but the immense help of Tracy, the promoter, offset any frustrations. After both bands had soundchecked, Sam the DJ put on a CD by a local artist, Unitcode:Machine, and it was perhaps the best unsigned music we'd heard in a long time. Think Gridlock meets VNV without the overtly pop edge. Eric, the man behind Unitcode:Machine was there and we got to chat a bit about a possible remix or something.

Hungry Lucy opened for us and they went over very well. Our show was particularly kinetic, as Aaron was all over the room, even on the circular platform in the middle of the venue, quite thoroughly at the center of attention. We were all very warm by the set's end. In Texas and many other places as we've found, it's too hot for Jeremy to wear his El Generalissimo jacket. We've been trying to stay cool. By coincidence, when they came out of the dressing rooms, Alexx was wearing his Hungry Lucy t-shirt and Christa, from Hungry Lucy, was wearing her ThouShaltNot t-shirt. Cute.

At the night's end, when we discussed the drive to Kansas City with Hungry Lucy, there was some disparity of opinion as to whether the show was on the 28th or the 29th. Alexx, who had apparently been hitting the crack pipe a bit, was convinced it was the 28th, though all other parties were in fact correct in asserting it was Sunday. To resolve this issue for good, it took a trip to Hungry Lucy's hotel room, which still reeked of the indiscriminantly-urinating drug dealer who had previously inhabited it. There we logged onto the Weblike World Wide Internet of Cyberspace and indeed proved Alexx wrong.

And now we are speeding north on interstate 35 in a desperate attempt to leave Texas. It has some lovely people and good food, but holy Waldorf salad are its roads endless and poorly marked.

Saturday, June 28, 2:11 P.M.

Scanning the radio dial in Oklahoma for some news, we found three stations in a row all playing John Mellencamp. Someone is trying to tell us something. Our ears are deaf to any deep interpretations, however, as we are overcome with wonder at finally having left the desert after nearly a week. Instead of barren miserable flat brown land stretching into insanity, we are now relieved to be in barren miserable flat green land stretching into insanity.

Sunday, June 29, 1:34 P.M.

We arrived at the Kansas City house of Alexx's aunt Laula yesterday evening and were greeted with Boca burgers and much hospitality. It was the first time Alexx had been to this house since the 1980s, and amazingly, Laula still has the same cat as then, the 21-year old Callie. We ventured last night into downtown Kansas City (on the Missouri side) and were captivated by a somewhat fanatical street performer who sang acoustic folk rock in Hebrew. We also browsed bookstores and cowered before colossal Italian sculptures of Neptune. Evidently for those living in the deeply landlocked Kansas City, the ocean's trident-wielding deity is no more fictional than the ocean itself.

Breakfast this morning was French toast (Freedom toast?) and fruit, and we got to spend some time talking with Susan (Laula's partner) and Micaya (her daughter) about the college selection process, in which Micaya is now deeply entrenched. While it looks like Swarthmore is her first choice, the band's consensus was that if you are motivated and have a love of learning, it is possible to get a very good education anywhere. Obligatory silly college stories followed and hilarity ensued.

And for now, we are just touching up some issues with our equipment and running some errands before the show tonight. The performance is apparently happening at an outdoor venue, which should be interesting to say the least. I bet it rains and we all get electrocuted.

Sunday, June 29, 5:44 P.M.

I was right. It's raining. Oh good.

Load-in time for the show was 45 minutes ago, and we're still all outside waiting for someone with keys to the venue to show up. We got horribly lost while trying to find this place, and ended up in a place called Argentine, where the entire economy seemed to be based on hubcaps. This club is not in a pretty part of town. Other areas of Kansas City can be quite lovely, but between the surrounding burnt out muck, the tardiness, the ever-strengthening rain, and the impending pall of doom in the promoter's voice, as Han Solo said, "I've got a bad feeling about this..."

Monday, June 30, 3:58 A.M.

Sometimes when you're really excited about something, trivial matters such as chronology can go out the window. In light of this, we hope you'll forgive this journal entry's total lack of coverage of the actual concert in Kansas City. If you want to know about that, skip ahead one entry. What's important is what just happened now:

We got back from the club to Laula's house, and we all went inside to go to sleep. Aaron crashed pretty hard and fast, but Jeremy and Alexx stayed up reading for a bit. They got thirsty, and so Alexx decided to head upstairs from the basement to get a glass of water for each other them. In idly pondering his thirst, he suddenly remembered the pizza that the promoter had given them at the end of the night, and realized it was still in the car.

Car with closed windows + pizza + 92 degree heat and sweltering humidity + overnight aging = bad news

So, while upstairs, Alexx went out to the car to get the pizza in question. When he arrived to do so, it became immediately apparent that backseat-dwelling Italian pies were the least of ThouShaltNot's worries tonight. The top half of the cartop carrier (you know, the one we dumpster-dove in Portland) was not attached to the bottom half, nor to the car in any way. Nor was it in the driveway. Neither was it in the road by Laula's house. It was gone. Gone daddy gone. Gone like the wind. Going going gone. It was in the throes of gone-aria. If it were a basic geometric shape, one might say it was polygone.

And gone with it were Jeremy's two favorite jackets in the world: El Generalissimo, and his hot pink leopard print glam blazer. When Alexx reported the woeful news to Jeremy, downstairs and already drifting off to sleep, Jeremy's mood quickly turned to surprise, then sadness, then anger, then resolution, then outright determination, then fatigue, then very briefly to unbridled lust, then to anger again, and finally settling on an exhausted admission that we indeed had to go driving, retracing our tire treads in hopes of finding the carrier's top and his jackets.

And so began The Quest For The Holy Cartop Carrier Of The Enchanted And Mysterious Land Of Kansas.

Driving their cartop carrier-less Buick through an unforgivingly damp night, our two intrepid seekers, wide eyed, searched the midwestern roadsides for any clue, any hint, any hope of reclaiming what was rightfully theirs. Over hill and dale they looked. Under bridge and over brook they searched. Through treacherous ditches and across suburban front yards they sought. Being that this was indeed a holy quest, it was no coincidence that the initial leg of the crusade was on a street known to the locals as "Mission Road". Armed only with hope and a flashlight, they were prepared to trek all the way to I-35, and yea, even to the land from whence they came, the fabled Palladium.

Somewhere between yearning and justice, somewhere between Providence and grace, and somewhere between Miami St. and Roe Ave. our heroes were granted the opportunity to test their mettle, when the long lost cartop carrier was spotted in the oncoming lane.

Alexx immediately pulled his chariot in a u-turn bringing them that much closer to the reclamation of this most holy relic. Apparently the fates had deemed this long awaited moment to be not quite climatic enough, and so it was just then that the police car approaching from the darkness began to blaze a blue and red, unholy light and to snarl a terrible and startling siren.

Fully aware that by making a u-turn in the middle of this road they had violated the code of laws as handed down from on high, Jeremy and Alexx mustered their courage before the burning eyes of authority that radiated from the police car, and unashamed, claimed loudly that only they had right and cause to remove this from the road and to reattach it to their vehicle. With wisdom, honor, glory, and valor, they seized the cartop carrier, and in it, Jeremy's jackets. All this had lain untouched and unmoved from the road's center -- clearly a sign that in fact, Jeremy and Alexx were the only ones even capable of lifting it, no doubt empowered like Arthur by Excalibur.

When it became clear to all that this Fellowship of the Cartop Carrier was indeed rightfully deigned as true masters and keepers of the item, the police were sore afraid, and hushed the roar of their sirens and rested the gaze of their lights. When Jeremy and Alexx ascertained the safety of the jackets and reconnected the carrier to the car roof, trumpets blasted from the heavens, heralding an end to The Quest.

So yeah, we drove home and were wicked thankful we'd checked the car, and noted that it was pretty freaking unlikely that we found it on a road near enough that we didn't have to go to the interstate again. That would have sucked. I bet we'd have totally gotten lost. I'm sure being lost in Kansas City at 4 in the morning blows.

Monday, June 30, 12:22 P.M.

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore. We're in Missouri. No, maybe Iowa. Actually we're not sure.

Anyway, about the show last night. Through a misunderstanding, we arrived much earlier than the soundman, and so we started to rig our own makeshift sound system from the Cthulhoid mess of wires arranged in incomprehensible connection to the soundboard, resulting in no right or left channels, but instead some monaural crawling chaos. By the time Brian, the sound guy, finally arrived, the wiring's fubarometer was pretty much off the charts. Eventually, however, we did get a working sound system.

It's a shame not more people were there to appreciate the wondrous sound that was the fruit of our labor. In fact, this was the smallest audience to whom ThouShaltNot has played in 3, possibly 4 years. "I sure hope more people show up," one of us said, and with that, we realized that we've uttered that phrase at nearly every single show on this tour. Oh well. The Sex Pistols' first Manchester show had 24 people there. If that's any measure of success, then we'll be 4 times as famous as the Sex Pistols, having played to that audience size as many times.

Alexx's aunt and her family showed up to the concert, and given the small crowd, our merch actually sold pretty well. We played a pretty short set, and the first several songs, "Inside of You, In Spite of You," "Without Faith," and "Last Comfort" amazingly enough, got a lot of the crowd to shake their respective tails. The end of our set was what really made the night worthwhile and special. Because the crowd was so small and because this wsa apparently going to be the case from early in the evening, we and Hungry Lucy decided to try something new and use Kansas City's scene as guinea pigs. We, with very little rehearsal and amazingly hasty decision making, chose to team up onstage at the end of the night, and without backing tracks, but merely the five of us, cover Tori Amos's "China," with the three verses divided between Christa and Alexx. The final effect was stunning, with a fully live and very pretty ambient drone backing over Aaron's tribal drumming. To those few in attendance, it was a neat moment.

Afterwards, we spoke some with some of the other DJs in the KC area, and slowly loaded out. Alexavier, the promoter, hooked us up with some pizza, and we embarked on our journey. For the events that followed once we returned to Laula's house late last night, see the previous entry.

This morning, we left Laula and Susan's happy but weary, and they were kind enough to give us roughly eight thousand and twelve juice boxes that they for some reason had extra. A big thanks is owed to them for their help.

In the car at the moment, Jeremy and Alexx are in a high energy philosophical debate about what the self is, and whether it can be defined by empirical and objective terms. Aaron chimes in to call Jeremy on his use of "objective" and "universal," and Alexx is now attempting to argue that Jeremy, by taking up a position of nonagreement, occupies an argumentative space that lies in opposition to the initial hypothesis. He claims that the act of disagreeing with a notion without presenting an alternative is in itself taking a more firm position than a Socratic gadfly might perceive. Geez. Now they're getting into deconstructionism, the flaw of causality, and whether logic itself depends on logical systems to be a favored mode, thus making it a circular argument. And how does this all manifest culturally? Does it matter?

I think that most bands on the road talk about sex and drugs. We would drive many a traveling companion nuts with our pedantry. Their loss, I suppose.

Tonight we'll be at the house of Karen, Alexx's sister, with whom the band stayed previous in Iowa City. She and her cats are always lovely to us, so as we race down highway, we are at least confident that attention and good food wait in store for us tonight.

Tuesday, July 1, 1:38 P.M.

So it's been more than 24 hours since our last journal entry and some of you may have been wondering what happened to our three heroes. Were they killed? Kidnapped? Turned into swine by Circean witchcraft? The answer is D, all of the above. However, the details of these events are so horrific that we cannot relay them in this humble log, so instead we'll tell you about Iowa City and our time there.

We arrived at Karen's place with not much time before we had to head out to Gabe's, a dive where pissing in the sink is not only permitted, but is in fact the only option in the men's room. At what point in western history did men become so untrustworthy in their restroom use that clubs, if they have a proper toilet at all, stopped allowing toilet paper and stalls with doors? At any rate, we waited a long time with Hungry Lucy outside the club for any staff or promoters to show up, and eventually the soundman, Sam arrived. Karen helped us load in as we were treated to the unspeakably bizarre music of Daniel Johnston over the club's speakers.

Doug, the actual promoter of the show, was unable to be at the event, and so his friends Bill and Michelle showed up to help, and they were immensely friendly. In fact, pretty much everyone there made things go smoothly once we actually got loaded in. The soundchecks were short and sweet, and we and Karen and Hungry Lucy all went out for a quick and tasty Mexican dinner.

An hour or so later, the concert, which was opened by local musician James D. Stark, went surprisingly well. While there were not nearly enough people in the audience, we had a good sized crowd dancing throughout our entire set. In the middle of "Without Faith" when Alexx dropped to his knees, he winced to realize that he had just burst open a rather nasty scrape that had already been on his right knee. Though he kept singing the song without flinching, by the time he stood, a thick and ropy trail of blood was flowing into his boot. So we've bled for our shows, and we've certainly sweated, though I don't think we've fully put in blood, sweat, AND tears for any show, as we don't recall ever crying during a concert. I wonder if that time Aaron puked in Virginia counts.

Jeremy broke a guitar string during "The Sting," and the tuning on his guitar was fairly well blown for the show after that, and so he quickly took over keyboard duties from Alexx. Ah, the joys of being versatile. His piano work on "Dying Boy" was outstanding, and he no doubt won the hearts of all eleven ladies there. A chunk of the crowd were engineering friends of Karen's (an engineer herself), and so they naturally were chiefly impressed by Aaron's drum rig. Between building that wireless system and being foreman to our sound setup every night, he is quite the badass with cables and current.

We enjoyed the show but are now really looking forward to playing some better attended concerts at last. All indicators say that these last 5 shows will all be so. We left Karen's place this morning after goodbyes to her cats, Calvin and Bob, and now begin the trek to St. Louis.

Tuesday, July 1, 4:28 P.M.

Supplies low. Crew famished and disheartened. Had to eat Wallace and two of the sled dogs. Temperatures are colder with each day, and the end of this expedition seems farther away with the minute. We fear we shall perish all of us. Additionally, we are missing The Bold And The Beautiful. O death.

Wednesday, July 2, 5:55 P.M.

Wow. We've never had people headbang at one of our shows before. St. Louis is now one of our favorite cities to play, joining Cleveland and Pittsburgh. The cadre of teenagers off stage right totally rocked throughout the night with pounding feet, banging heads, and pumping fists. Sensing that the crowd was young and energetic, we made some last minute set changes. "Cardinal Directions" made a great opener, getting the crowd's attention from the start. We also brought out our cover of "Heart Shaped Box", much to the climactic glee of a few Nirvana fans. Overall the audience was fabulous, and we had a blast. We also got to meet some of our long time fans in the city with whom we'd mostly had contact only via email. It was a relief to be greeted with such manic energy after a bunch of mediocre turnouts. Hungry Lucy played a fab set too. After several shows with non-projection-screen friendly stages, they were finally able to set up their wicked-cool video. Sweet.

Among the best surprises of the night was the performance, presence, and professionalism of a cute-as-can-be trio called Envy. They opened the night with a solid set of drum machine driven electro rock, peppered with humor and flair. These kids are the future. Jeremy could not stop ranting about how amazing they were. This morning we had to restrain him from getting "ENVY" tattooed across his forehead. We definitely look forward to working and hanging out with them again.

After a great evening of music, we followed Joel (the event promoter), who guided us to the home of Rose Mortem, gothic designer and promoter extraordinaire and also just a fabulous person all around. She was immensely kind to have made dinner for us and chatted with us, reminding us of something all too easy to forget. When you travel from place to place every day, the people with whom you interact and who help you along are not just agents of extolling your own message or parts of some ego publicity machine. Seldom lately have we had the chance to relax for twenty minutes, much less three hours, and understand someone else not only within the context of the music scene or our concert, but in a greater sense. Having been in the car with each other for the last several weeks, we have come to crave and yet somehow to reject the chance to interact meaningfully with others. Last night after the show, therefore, was a much needed breath of air.

We stayed last night at a St. Louis house that Alexx's aunt Jan owns but does not use (long and strange story). Having the opportunity to sleep in was much appreciated, and a leisurely brunch of cajun food and fruit salad filled our tummies which were growing all too accustomed to handfulls of milkless cereal and unrefridgerated pudding cups purchased years ago in fear of the Y2K disaster.

And now we drive to Madison. The sun is low in the sky and for a moment, orange, typically my least favorite color, is rather beautiful. All the driving from here on out is in short stints, and it's easier to appreciate little things when they are not dwarfed by overbearing snowdrifts of hours and ennui.

Wednesday, July 2, 10:40 P.M.

We are about to arrive at the apartment of Jeff, a friend with whom Alexx and Aaron went to college. He was also a music major and they all played in various bands and ensembles together. Jeff once destroyed an effigy of the Titanic while onstage, in women's pajamas, spilling water all over. He's just that kind of guy.

On an unrelated topic, we are by now all terrified of touching the front side of the cartop carrier. Travelling at 70 mph through the heartland of America, one hits a lot of bugs. Pounds. The entire front end of the once-white shell is now charcoal grey with bug guts and splattered, Jackson Pollock style, in red with the blood of ten thousand mosquitos' humanoid lunches. It is really nasty.

Thursday, July 3, 3:05 A.M.

Hungry Lucy invited us to crash at their luxuriously decadent hotel suite tonight, and we were too tempted by the promise of real sleep to decline. After we hung out with Jeff some, we came here and debated with one another and with War-N and Christa the virtues of spicy food. It's kind of impressive that they brought a 12-ounce bottle of Tobasco sauce on tour with them. As we begin to get tired, most of us note that Days Of Thunder, which is on the TV, is not one of the more impressive movies ever made. Jeremy, however, is convinced that it is an allegory featuring Greek dramatic archetypes in both form and character. He is very excited every time he finds something about it to correlate to Aristotle's "Poetics." He really just won't stop ranting about Tom Cruise's pit crew and their similarities to faery character molds in traditional Greek theatre and in Shakespeare. Mostly, I think he's just really excited about Tom Cruise. That unbridled passion, that untamed hair, those eyes, that body... mmmm

Thursday, July 3, 9:13 P.M.

This morning at IHOP, Aaron had some very tasty eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise sauce atop them was just tart enough, and was in general superior to what one might expect from a chain restaurant. Alongside them, he had biscuits with just the right amount of butter and a light coat of strawberry jam, his favorite. Also, there was orange juice, very gently pulped. Aaron declared that it was the finest breakfast that his recollection could provide. Then he barfed it all up. On floors, walls, sinks. It was pretty hardcore.

So the rest of his day was spent trying to recover from whatever sudden sickness overtook him. Jeremy and Alexx met up with Rick, an old friend of Alexx's from high school. He and his wife showed Jeremy and Alexx around Madison and the University of Wisconsin campus, which was lovely.

And right now, the doors just opened at The Inferno, and the first of the crowd have come in. When looking for the club's phone number, we initially noted that it was listed below "Instant Death Services of Wisconsin," which was an utterly fascinating business name to us. We speculated for a while about what is entailed in instant death services, but as it turned out, we had merely misread, and in fact the word was not "instant" but "infant." That's a lot less funny. Whoops.

Er. Anyhow, Stochastic Theory, featuring Kelly and Ned from Stromkern, is just about to take the stage, and given their soundcheck, we should all be in for a fabulous set. Till later.

Friday, July 4, 4:54 P.M.

Well, the show last night was really excellent. We were all a bit tired going into it, but the absurd exuberance from a few fans in particular gave us the boost we needed. Furthermore, the efforts of Matt, our promoter, were really heartening. He brought in the biggest crowd of the tour since Salt Lake City. We got to play "We Could Have Flown Like Pollen" for the first time in a while, and "If I Only Were A Goth" went over smashingly as always. There were poles surrounding the stage from which the band members swung while playing, Aaron was all over the main floor, bringing the performance to the fans directly. At the night's end, we had been very well appreciated and cared for by fans, promoter, and venue workers alike. There are plenty of places that could take some tips from Madison's scene. After the show, we slept furiously at our hotel in the wake of a very hot and sweaty night.

Today we cruised the town a bit and did some laundry at a cyber-laundromat. It was nice to log on and check email, but just to let you know if you've emailed us, while we're certainly gotten your message at this point, replying will not be particularly easy until after tour, so sit tight. After that, we went to a classical and jazz record store, but with not much time in which to head to Chicago, our afternoon's schedule was not was lax as we might wish. Thus we write this from the car, speeding toward the Windy City. This is the shortest drive of the tour, and with just this weekend before the whole shebang is over, it is starting to feel like the home stretch.

Friday, July 4, 6:55 P.M.

There is a special place in the afterlife reserved for people who cut others off on the interstate without using their turn signals. I hope it's very uncomfortable. Perhaps this is simply what driving is like, "Chi-Town Style," which is the manner in which Aaron and Jeremy insist everything in Chiacgo is done. To die Chi-Town Style is to be suddenly hit by a plane while on Lakeshore Drive; to speak Chi-Town Style is to yell when there is no reason to, and incomprehensibly at that; to milk a cow Chi-Town Style no doubt results in egregious injury and more mooing than is conceivably healthy or natural within a ten-minute period. The specifics of Chi-Town Style are apparently arbitrary and not in any way based on fact or observation. Way to go, guys. You're weird.

At any rate, tonight we're playing this city for the third time. Nearly everything here is 21+, which means that the youthful energy and novelty sometimes harder to find, and given that Chicago was once the industrial music capital of the world, there can sometimes be a sense of frustration that the scene has changed so much. Whether or not these concerns are founded, we don't give up faith. We're hopeful and confident that tonight we and Chicago will get along just fine.

Saturday, July 5, 3:28 A.M.

First things first: the show was fine. Our performance was pretty decent, but as with every Chicago show, indeed, the crowd just sat in their seats. The audience cheered quite a bit and bought a lot of CDs, but someone must simply put barbituates in the water here. Oh well. Highlights were meeting up with some longtime fans - Pam and Mike (who had followed our music in Cleveland since 1999) and Su, who was one of five people ever to buy our Idolatry CD back in the day, Also there were Ursula and Kian, married friends of Alexx's from ten years ago who are discussing doing some video work with us. Trigger10d and Hungry Lucy were both fab, even though our "China" tonight was not our best. Eesh.

The real reason for our being up at 4:17 to write this entry is the horrific series of events that occurred after we left the show to go to our hotel rooms. Bill, who co-promoted the show with Carrie Monster, and who rocks utterly, had very kindly reserved for them us, and for that we are grateful. Now, before we go into the hotel details, let us draw attention to the fact that never once in ThouShaltNot's tour journal or anywhere on our website have we insulted, slammed, or otherwise dissed particular individuals. These happy days of youth, frivolity, and politeness are now over as we enter into the adulthood of this journal's discontent.

Let's begin with this advice: Never, ever stay at the Baymont Inn & Suites. Ever. We've seen a lot of stupidity in our time, but never this much pure uncut imbicilehood amalgamated in one place.

We pull up to the attractive looking building, and Alexx and Warren walk in to get the keys. The pockmarked man at the front desk looks up their confirmation number in the computer, stares up and says, "I'm sorry, your reservation expired at 2:30. It's now 2:45".

He was then asked, "You do have the payment for the rooms, right?"

"Yes, we have received the payment, but your reservation has expired fifteen minutes ago. You can make another reservation if you like."

"O.K. Let's do that."

"That will be $150."

"But we've already paid for the room."

"Yes sir."

"The rooms are available, correct?"

"Yes sir, the rooms are vacant."

"And they are paid for?"

"Yes sir."

"Then give us the key."

"I'm sorry sir, the reservation has automatically expired in the computer at 2:30."

"Then re-reserve the empty room and give us our keys."

"That will be $150 plus tax." The conversation continued along these lines for about 10 minutes. Following a few vacant stares from the clerk, Alexx and Warren left and explained the situation to the rest of the crew.

Have you ever seen Jeremy lose it? I mean totally lose it? Well, Jeremy lost it. After a month of driving across the country, eating cold cereal and ramen, sleeping in the Buick in the desert, and dealing with people nearly as mentally challenged as the hotel clerk, he was not prepared to go gentle into this good night. He marched into the hotel to attempt to work out the misunderstanding. The clerk refused to look him in the eye and threatened to call the police, as we were now loitering. Jeremy then stopped being nice.

Jeremy took the business card from the front desk containing the phone number of the General Manager of the Baymont Inn & Suites. He attempted to call General Manager, Colin J. Bailey, on the courtesy phone in the lobby at 847-635-8300 but there was no answer. He had no fax machine handy, so he was unable to fax General Manager of the Baymont Inn & Suites, Colin J. Bailey, at his fax number, 847-635-8166. As he had no access to a phone line, he was unable to use their website,, to resolve the situation, nor was he in the mood to write a letter, addressed to Baymont Inn & Suites, 1625 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL 60025.

Hey! Look what I found!

I hope that the Baymont Inn & Suites goes bankrupt tomorrow and that the front desk clerk's toenails all become ingrown. I wonder where we'll sleep tonight. This must be what its like to check into a hotel, Chi-Town Style.

P.S. Absolutely none of this is the fault of the excellent promoters, Bill and Carrie, who worked hard to make sure that the show was a success. The entirety of the blame lies with the hotel, which is a horrible, stupid, bad, inconsiderate, non-thinking, evil, sophomoric, and blindingly small minded institution. There is likely a dead prostitute underneath every mattress.

Sunday, July 6, 9:19 A.M.

Dude, we're totally in the Eastern time zone for the first time in forever.

So a quick update. After loading several trucks full of gasoline and puppies, lighting them, and letting them careen wantonly into Baymont Inn, we recalled that Alexx's sister, Karen, had given Alexx keys to the Chicago apartment into which she and her husband-to-be, Dennis, will be moving soon. We cruised the streets for a while, barely aglow with Chicago hope, and finally found said place, where we slept soundly and for longer than we ought to have.

Yesterday morning, we awoke groggily and eventually made our way out of the apartment and the city in what we thought was decent time. Aaron was sick still and chugging DayQuill like it was baby formula, but we felt we were finally in the home stretch of the tour. Somewhere along the way, we realized that by changing time zones whilst traveling East, we'd lose an hour, and so we were suddenly no longer in good standing time-wise.

The Guiness Book of World Records does not list a land speed record for Buick station wagons. This is a shame, as I'm sure whatever the previous record had been, we smoked it utterly on the way to Cleveland, arriving only a half hour late for load-in.

The doors soon opened, and the first band, Subliminal Self, started the night very well. Patrick and Greyson, the latter of whom attended college with Aaron and Alexx, put on a great show, and thereafter, it was ThouShaltNot's turn. Our performance was admittedly sloppy, somewhat embarassingly so, but you couldn't tell from the audience's response. Our old adage of "If You're Depressed, Play Cleveland!" proved true again, as the whole crowd danced throughout the set, even to the Cleveland all-piano debut of "The White Beyond" and the almost never-played "Falling Sky." We had a good, if slightly unfocused time, and we even got an encore at the night's end, for which we played "The Ocean Is Your Voice."

Lots of friends were at the show, including Kristy from The Azoic, and Than, our friend who bagpipes in the top ranked bagpipe band in the US and Canada. We've been faking terrible terrible Scottish accents all tour, and his authenticity made us a bit shy about screaming incomprehensibly in a faux brogue. Not too shy, though. Actually, we stayed at his place last night, and we just woke up here this morning. It is really hard to pry ourselves away and head to Indianapolis, as frankly, we're all kind of tired and don't really care about much right now. But one more show after eleven, and five more hours of driving after one hundred can't hurt that much. It's like getting shot in the foot after already having been hit by a train and violated by a pack of coyotes.

Sunday, July 6, 12: 14 P.M.

So we spent this morning hanging out with our friends Leslie (who had driven from Delaware for the Cleveland show) and Lily (of Seattle fame, and whom Leslie had picked up in PIttsburgh). We stopped at a Panera, where they were loudly blasting a Kenny G imitation over the speakers. What sort of pathetic world do we inhabit where we feel the need to derive ripoffs of something already without content? To call what we heard jazz is like pouring some imitation vanilla extract onto the glass of a brand-x copy machine, photocopying the puddle, giving the resultant sheet of paper to a ten year-old to copy with Wal-Mart crayons, and insisting that the final image would make an excellent ice cream flavor. Restaurants and stores are no longer places to go when you need food or stuff; they are carefully sculpted immersive environments designed to make you feel good about yourself and feel good about spending money there. The discrete manipulation, while initially a marvel of sociology, psychology, and civil engineering, has over time created a generation, or at least a demographic, who is thus suspicious of all forms of corporate-to-public communication. We simply do not trust big businesses anymore, and no public relations campaign can change that, as any attempt at honesty or genuine care on their part -- even if it's real -- will be read as further deception. The sepia-toned non-art that adorns Panera's walls tries to portray age, thereby quality, culture, and heritage. It does none of these things. It is schlock. And it's not even like Las Vegas, where there's a knowing wink of irony in everything. These companies actually think that people will perceive their "jazz" and "art" as some benchmark of intellectual and social hipness. Don't mind me while I join Aaron, who is still sick, in vomiting.

Sunday, July 6, 7:43 P.M.

We're here at last, the final show of the tour. We just soundchecked here in Indianapolis, and the doors are in a few minutes. The whole situation feels surreal, as though the tour is already over and we are now fueling its ghost. After last night's homecoming in Cleveland to so many familiar faces, tonight may merely go down as a punctuation mark of sorts. We'll see how the audience is, but given our knowledge of the Indianapolis scene, it may well be the case that the biggest show of the tour is behind us.

At the end of any journey is some inevitable search for meaning and purpose. Provided a turnout more akin to Iowa City than to Madison, maybe the purpose of this concert is to remind us that we are still specks in the arts' dust storm. Maybe the last four shows and their big crowds got us too cocky, and we are due for some humility. And perhaps if this show is poorly enough attended, it will make us think twice before doing something as totally crazy as going on tour like this again. Not that it wasn't absolutely the right choice -- touring has been fabulous overall, even if our account of it does not convey fully our joy, adventure, determination, fatigue, unshoweredness, nausea, injury, and paranoia. I just hope that we can reach a few new people tonight in some meaningful way before we wander six hours home to our own homes, having almost forgotten what it feels like to cook for one's self. or for a mattress to give beneath weight.

Monday, July 7, 6:07 P.M.

The last concert, while still fairly sparse in its attendance, was a good conclusion to the tour. People danced the whole time, particularly during our last song, "Trial By Fire," and so a high energy level, combined with a very very sweet onstage thanks from Hungry Lucy left us satisfied. By this point, we weren't too concerned about money and sales, as we just wanted to get home more than anything. We did, however, make a stop at DJ Alyda's after party, which was a lovely chance to be social with some people, simmer down a bit, and show our gratitude to Alyda, who booked the show and who had been quite generous us.

We finally headed out toward Columbus, which would ordinarily take a normal human being three hours to reach from Indianapolis. Somehow, between getting lost in the 465 beltway, our fatigue, and the torrential downpour that spat on us the whole way, it took about 5 hours to reach Aaron's place, where we stumbled in the door at 8 A.M. and collapsed to a blissfully stationary sleep.

And now we sit, wearily awake again, having eaten, showered, and settled up money. The 2000 national tour netted a whopping $24. I am pleased to say we did much better for ourselves this time around. A lot of bands talk about losing money on tour, but indeed as we have seen, if you are willing to make such small sacrifices as sleep, food, transportation, equipment, help, sleep, time, sanity, cleanliness, sleep, automotive maintenance, and sleep, there's really nothing to worry about. Take it from us. We are happy, healthy, and chipper.

And by "happy, healthy, and chipper," we mean "numb to emotion, sick (both Jeremy and Aaron are quite ill now), and despite having rested all day, about to faflall aseeelp on teh kkyeboardddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddfsa

Wednesday, July 9, 1:46 P.M.

What happened since then? Jeremy and Alexx drove home to Pittsburgh, hearing and seeing a few last wonders on the way: a song on the radio declared, "What makes the building stay? ANTI-BUILDING MAKES IT STAY," and a condom machine in a truck stop bathroom advertised the Screamer, its tagline reading, "If she's a moaner, it will make her a screamer; if she's a screamer, it will GET YOU ARRESTED!"

But our mirth and bemusement with such things was of course dwarfed by the relief we felt at arriving home at last. Jeremy's housemates came out to greet him and to introduce him to the house's new kitten. Alexx stumbled into his abode and had received 9 phone messages while away, 8 of which were from telemarketers. It's nice to know they care enough to stay in touch even when you're gone. Ugh.

So the tour is over.

And where does that leave us?

[Some impressive epilogue and insightful spinning of America, postmodernism, the death of gothic, and the triple-edged swords of nonfame, unrecognition, and antimusic will follow soon enough. Meaning is waiting to be found. Look around you.]

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