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I'm back from FSG. I'll be posting excerpts from my journal (as in, the real paper kind) in the next few days. I've got a lot of processing to do. To say that the last few days blew my mind would be a gross understatement. I feel like my insides have been ripped out. Most of it good. All of it hard. I will say that Kim and I had a great time and we will be attending next year. It's weird having to wear shoes again.

Hitting the ground running, A Grin and a Grenade had practice today. We have four original songs and we're covering "Poker Face" by Lady Gaga. It's ridiculous and awesome. Another couple of songs and I'll start booking shows.

Recording for Wake will resume once I get all of my guts back in.

I'm thinking about leaving Central and just attending State.

This is so not the life I thought I would have. But it's a good thing.

I don't know why, but I can't log into my e-mail. I know I owe people e-mails and hopefully it'll fix itself soon.

Goin' to the Bama

I'm in Alabama visiting my parents until next Tuesday. So far it's been great. The hardest thing is the food. If anything about Roger has rubbed off on me, it's definitely this: I have food standards now. Wonder Bread and Miracle Whip isn't food. Pretty much anything that can sit on a shelf for years on end without going bad isn't food. It's hard being away for a week - a week of not working out like I'm used to and not being able to get the food that I'm used to. Yeah, it's not even that it's just my parents and their preferences. Supermarkets in Huntsville have names like "Piggly Wiggly" and "Winn-Dixie" and they don't have organic sections. Everything is packaged, processed, and irradiated. And people just write off bad health like its part of Southern culture or something. "Southerners just love to eat!" But it's not about loving to eat, or even fat vs. skinny. Loving to eat is great, eating a lot is great. But eat real food. I'm surrounded by farmland but it's impossible to find fruits and vegetables that haven't been imported from South America. Produce is bruised, nutrient-deficient, and coated in wax and pesticides. All that local farmland is being used to produce food for cows and pigs - animals that are lawfully mistreated and tortured just to provide people with yet another food source that isn't good for them. This isn't Southern culture, it's idiocy.


In other news, I just got an e-mail from a couple of old high school friends who recently moved into my neighborhood in Cameron Village. It's so weird! Jonathan and Jessie were in my clique in high school and we ended up going to college together, too. Jessie and I were even housemates briefly and we played in a band together in high school. We were good friends in high school, but less so in college. I haven't spoken to either of them (or anyone from college, actually) since graduation. And now we live in the same neighborhood. It's kind of exciting, though. Maybe we can be friends again.

Wake will be recording a demo with Roger this summer. By the end of August, recording will be done and I'll be figuring out things like packaging. I'm very excited. It's been a long time coming.

I need to either get more students or get a "real" job. Summers are hard. Maybe things will be better in the fall. I hate the idea of having to work twenty hours a week to make barley enough to pay my utilities bills and health insurance. Forget rent, food, and tuition. In the meantime, I'm selling stuff on ebay and craigslist.,


I cured my yellow teeth!

Life is actually kind of awesome right now. I don't remember the last time I got to write that.

I'm out of school (Best. Thing. Ever.) and the hardest thing I have to do all day is get out of bed before nine. I'm spending the days playing guitar, hanging out with Roger, and talking to my cat. I'm reading a lot and writing a lot. I've written two new songs for Wake in the last week and a half - both of which might actually be viable (a really rough demo of "This City Burning" is up on the myspace page). The second song, which I finished about three hours ago, is tentatively titled "Down" and I'm planning on trying it out at an open mic tonight.

I'm going to Taekwondo almost every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. I'm testing for senior red belt the first week of June (it's soooo weird being a color belt again). I'm walking a whole lot and spending time in the garden.

This summer I'm going to play a lot of music. Roger and I are going to try to hit two open mics a week. He's playing a lot and doing some recording with The Jackets (myspace.com/thejacketsusa) and generally kicking a lot of ass. I'm planning on recording a demo for Wake with Roger and Erin this summer. Also, I'm in the process of getting a new band up and running. Right now we're calling ourselves A Grin and a Grenade. I hesitate to call it pop punk, because we're cooler than that. Let's just go with rock. We've only got a couple of songs, but Dave (drums) and Kim (bass) are both on tour right now with another band and I plan to have more material by the time they get back. The plan is to play out this summer, write a ton of material, record as soon as we can, and be able to tour in the winter.

I'm am now enrolled at two universities. I'm still studying jazz at Central, but now I'm also studying religion at State. Yeah, I know. My advisor thinks I'm nuts. I'm taking a class on the Old Testament in the fall (which I'm really excited about) and it's spurned me to undertake reading the entire Old Testament this summer. I've read big chunks of it because I've studied the Bible on other classes, but I'm going to go straight through. Right now I'm in Exodus. God is still a pretty big jerk, but I hear he gets nicer later on. Stay tuned.

I'm becoming delinquent in Blue Star. I'm circling, but alone. Trips up to Norfolk are getting harder and harder, but hopefully things will be easier this summer. I'm still journaling and plodding through homework, I just never manage to send it off.

Additionally, my trusty pirated internet connection has disappeared. I haven't been able to get online at home in three days. So my internet presence, limited as it already is, is about to be more so.

Windowsill Greenhouse

Only four weeks of school left. SO GLAD. I feel burned out.

I'm still waiting to hear from State. My application is still "under review" but I have no idea when to expect to hear from them. Seeing as how I haven't told any of you what I'm doing, here's what I'm doing:

I've submitted an application to NCSU to study religion as an undergrad. I'm not quitting Central, but I will only be attending part time. The plan is to attend part time at both universities, studying jazz and religion. When Cherry Hill starts (finally) accepting applicants for their new Pagan Studies program, I'll submit my application there (I finished it mere hours after they announced the program). In a perfect world, State will accept all of the credits I have from my previous degree and not require me to do anything but finish the required "minimum 60 credits from us" I need to get a degree. They'll also accept the 12 religion credits I have from William & Mary as elective credits and only require me to take the core religion classes that I don't have. Leaving me with a degree in religion to go with my degree in jazz studies in less than two years. Cherry Hill will supplement this (and hopefully be fully accredited by then). Then I can qualify for a grad program and study Paganism formally, hopefully getting am advanced degree in something I'd do anyway.

In the meantime, I'm finishing up this term at Central and beginning to teach guitar privately.

I left the AC/DC band due to time constraints and an excess of cheese.

I have registered for FSG (eeeee!).

Roger, always amazing, has built raised beds for vegetables and herbs outside in my tiny back yard. Photos will follow.



I've decided to try to go to Free Spirit this year. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE someone come with me or let me know you're going too so I can know at least one person.

Music for Sight Singing

Not dead.

1) In the midst of spring term. Trying to decide if I should stay in school. Or, at least, considering making some changes to my program. I still want a formal music degree, but I'm rethinking Jazz Studies.

2) My house RULES. I'll post pictures in a few days. I spent Imbolc cleaning and now I'm getting ready for planting. Whoever decided it would be a good idea to plant English ivy in the back yard needs a good beating.

3) I found a stray Rottweiler and named her April. After a week of spending my life in the internet trying to fine her a home, she's finally got new owners. Yay! In the same week, I also picked up a stray Siberian husky. Thankfully, after only a couple of days, I was able to find his original, if irresponsible, owners.

4) Spay and neuter your pets, people. For seriously. People who breed dogs need to be beaten.

5) My AC/DC band, which you can check out at myspace.com/backseatconfidentialrocks, is totally awesome. Soon we'll have some recordings up, but in the meantime we're playing open mics and getting ready to start booking shows. Yay!

6) Uh...I can't think of anything else.

Pagans Agree: Your God Works Too

I totally forgot to write about the BarlowGirl show in Alabama, but I will share something that I found very funny:

If you've never been to a Christian rock concert, you should know that at some point, the lead singer (or whoever is closest to a microphone at the time) will do some variation of an altar call. There may not be an actual altar, but you'll be invited to give your heart to Jesus/repent of something or other/recommit to Christ/etcetera.

Usually, the singer (or whoever) will claim to have some sort of message from God about a person in the audience. This works very much the same way that newspaper horoscopes work. Example: "God is telling me that there is a young person in this room who is in a lot of pain. You're struggling with death - maybe someone in your family has died. Or maybe you're thinking about suicide. Or maybe it's the death of a relationship, or a job, or some kind of ending in your life..." Until she's described everyone in the audience.

So Alyssa Barlow goes up to the mic and says, "God's telling me that there's someone here who isn't a Christian. Someone who practices witchcraft. God wants you to know that he's the only real power in the world..." etc.

And my mom nudges me and starts laughing. And then I start laughing. I wonder if she gives the witchcraft speech at every show or if I'm just lucky.

Otherwise, the show was really great.


This is me posting about nothing so I can use my new BarlowGirl icon.

Music for the Wake

I made a MySpace music page. This is purely for the sake of being able to say, "Sure, here's the address!" whenever people ask me if I have a web page. Maybe someday I'll be able to say, "Sure, it's only ten dollars!" whenever people ask me if I have a CD.

I will not be hanging out on MySpace.

The address is: www.myspace.com/musicforthewake

Four on Six

Still alive.

Zoloft is awesome. And to quote Erin, "Just make sure you're good about refills and taking it every day because when you forget and don't have medication for a while you go even crazier than before." And we had a good laugh.

I was in a wreck last week. Some guy ran through a stop sign and hit Jetta head on. Both airbags deployed and my car is all smashed up, but I got a call from the insurance company yesterday and they want to fix her. So yay! I think most people would be excited about having insurance pay for a new car (well, a new used car), but I was thrilled to learn I'd get to have my girl back. The last time I saw her she was at a junkyard and I was there to collect my tags. I cried. Yeah. But she'll be home soon.

School is going well. I get to register for classes soon. I've decided to double major in music industry, which means I'll start taking recording and production classes. Woot! I've got As in everything, too, which is nice.

I'm also selling a bunch of stuff on Craigslist. It's time to scale down the gear collection. Maybe invest in a nice hollowbody, since it looks like I'll be doing this for a while. On the list of things to go are two Daisy Rock guitars and a Marshall half stack. Sorry to see the Marshall go, but it must be done.

Oh, and Winter Jam? The giant Christian rock show? Awesome. BarlowGirl rocked, as did Skillet. People were freakishly nice. I thought it would be totally scary being there by myself, but it wasn't. While I've still got major issues with their theology and politics, I've decided that the Evangelicals aren't totally crazy and I think I understand them a lot better.