april  "Mittens Part 1"
Sunday, March 24 - Tuesday April 2, 2002 - Sarasota, FL
Wednesday April 3 - Ramen Noodles in Detroit Airport
Thursday, April 4 -Champaign Mandala
Friday April 5 - Indianapolis, IN
Saturday April 6 - Kalamazoo, MI
Sunday April 7 - home again
Sunday March 24 - Tuesday April 2, 2002 - Sarasota, FL
I am on the beach.
I have been in Sarasota with my family and my two sisters and my 1-year old nephew for 10 lovely days of sitting on my ass near a pool and then sitting on my ass near the Gulf of Mexico. I could do this forever. I used to have a problem just sitting around, and now I absolutely do not. I could sit on my ass until the world ends.
(There is an Egret who comes to visit us if we cook meat outside our condo in Florida)
Wednesday April 3 - Ramen Noodles in Detroit Airport
I sat in the Detroit Airport for 5 hours this afternoon. I spent an entire hour trying to politely down a $10 bowl of Ramen Noodle Soup with a plastic spoon and a pair of chopsticks while an old Japanese woman stared intently at me, from a foot away, across the table. The entire cafeteria was PACKED with people and the only frigging place I could find to sit was directly across from this little old Asian lady, with my poseur Ramen Noodles. With each spoonful I was disgusted with myself, certain that I was eating it incorrectly, using the chopsticks wrong or using a spoon incorrectly, and I was sure this woman was going to finally either scream at me for eating wrong, or get insulted that some stupid white girl from the Chicago suburbs thought she was good enough to eat Ramen Noodles with chopsticks. I wished I had asked Doyle, my Japanese Aesthetics Professor back home how to eat Ramen Noodles properly in an airport so I would not have to make a fool out of myself in front of this lady. But nothing happened. I ate like this, disgusted with myself for an entire hour with my chopsticks and slurped out of my bowl and the woman stared at me for the entire hour, saying nothing. Then I finished my soup, the woman's husband appeared next to her and bowed to me, and they both left.
Thursday April 4, 2002 - beach, sand, monks, mandala, van, music, programming, plane-landing, math, art projects, tae kwon do.
I am not on the beach.
I fast-backward through images in my head, sitting in the van today, like my
mind is a digital camera. Palm trees. White sand. 80 degrees, the sun shining,
my littlest sister sun-roasting herself on a pool chair. My dad force-feeding
my tiny 1-year old nephew yogurt. My mom happy, for the first time in 10 years?
My other sister smiling under her pool coverup, watching her baby.
Then, sitting in the Detroit Layover Airport, watching planes land for 5 hours, lazily watching small children play in an art-installation fountain. Riding the Detroit Airport monorail back and forth through the terminal, just because I have time to kill and damn it's fun to ride on an indoor monorail! Drinking ramen noodle soup in the terminal.
Then, coming home to a grey, 30 degrees freezing Champaign. Walking out the front door and expecting to see the palm trees and lit-up pool and beach that I've seen each time I've opened my door to the outside world for the past 10 days, but only seeing a grey freezing crap-scape of dead trees and our run-down neighborhood.
Then, racing to University of Illinois' Krannert Art Museum to see the 2 Tibetan Monks who are on tour right now finishing up the sand mandala they have created in the middle of the museum. Dark red flowing robes and a kaleidoscope of colors of sand poured from tiny metal funnels. Slow, even, soft, mindful motions of the monks as they move around their mosaic of sand. Old, pale midwestern ladies staring intently at them as they chant.
Back to my computer in the basement of the Architecture building, listening to Shelley pitch some sort of wild landscape-architecture CD-ROM ideas. Trying to be here for the University.
Back to the Dojang, attempting to remember Tae Kwon Do to teach my students on Thursday. Somewhere between the monks, the sand, the beach, the van, the music, the programming, the plane landing, the math required for my art projects, there are 20 Tae Kwon Do dances that I need to have accessible within a moments notice for my students.
How does anyone keep their mind intact in a world like this?
(I just re-read this and laughed and though that maybe I answered my own question. It's like I created my own mandala in the writing.)
(Tibetan Monks at Krannert Art Museum, April 2002)
Friday, April 5, 2002 - Indianapolis, IN
We keep hearing that Radio Radio is such a great club. I can already tell it's got a great name, so perhaps yes, it will be a great club. Playing in Indianapolis always stumps me. I keep thinking we had some bad shows there, but the last time we played there, it was fantastic. I know we did a Lollapalooza there too, so maybe some people might show up.
So we get to the club and it's gorgeous. Beautiful wood floors, a nice stage with a sort of 'leopard skin' motif everywhere. Beautifully lit-up bar. We are told in hushed voices that the club belongs to The Guy from Toxic Reasons - he owns it and you can tell it's a club owned by a guy who was in a rock band because it's got all the amenities and the bathrooms are clean.
Matt the Promoter welcomes us and we load into the stage and he gives us ALL that is on our rider - including the TOWELS - and then hands us a gift, a little magnetic rocker figurine! It is the nicest welcome we've received in a long time! Then he mentions something jokingly about how he really wants to 'make it into our tour diary' this time! You realize, Matt, that the rest of the band has suggested that for each sentence I write now, I should reference it back to you, and put a link into your picture in every tour report I write from now on!!
The thing that's so strange about the Indianapolis audiences is that they look really normal, like totally normal people you'd see hanging out at a mall. Some girls even wear makeup and perfume. I thought I was the only one who noticed these things, but Matt the Drummer noticed too, so I don't feel like such a loser. I don't know why it happens here in Indianapolis, but it does, it's just different. It's like playing in Florida or something. Most other places, people dress a bit punk, or look a bit more 'indie', but Indianapolis people just look very normal. I hope I'm not offending anyone.
This crowd especially seems to be here as much for the atmosphere of the club as for the Poster Children show, which is really wonderful. Many people come up to me and ask me about the band, who's in it, what we sound like, and lots of people buy stuff before we even play, which is also different; most towns, people will make their purchases after the show.
Matt Promoter explains that he really likes our booking agent, Ellen, and says that she has really taken good care of him. He tells us that he did his first 'contract' show with us and Ellen, that is, when we book shows, Ellen sends a contract out, and it's scary for promoters who are just starting out, but Ellen sort of talks them through it. She's really got her shit together. All promoters love her; we've been with her forever, and she's just got such a wonderful reputation, it makes me proud. And the fact that she helps out promoters who are just starting out makes me very happy, too. Matt Promoter shows us how much he's grown in the past 2 years since that first show with us, and I'm really happy for him. Now Ellen is sending him her bigger bands! There is growth all around.
On the stage tonight I am exhausted. I hope the new people like us. I hope the old people like the new songs! I especially hope the Guy from Toxic Reasons likes us, because he's a Real Rock Star! Matt is full of energy, like usual. I love the format of our band now. I don't know why but I feel like Matt's been in our family forever, like a long-lost brother or something, and now he's playing on the stage with us. It's weird how much harmony there seems to be among all of us. Or maybe not weird at all. Maybe we're all just nice people, or maybe we're all just so experienced in band travel.
Saturday, April 6, 2002 - Kalamazoo, MI
Wake up in Anderson, Indiana. Last night we watched a very skinny woman drive up behind us in a mini-van as we checked into the Motel 6, walk halfway up to the check-in counter, then go back to the van, then pull behind us and park in the lot. It was 3am. She got out of her minivan and slunk out to a ground-floor motel room, and we watched as the door opened mysteriously into a pitch black room and she vanished into the darkness. Matt had remarked a couple of minutes earlier that the woman was "Hot." Now we were discussing what types of drugs she was buying and whether or not she was going to have sex this evening with the people in that dark room. But most of all, marvelling over how the door opened so mysteriously like that, and how the guy in the room never even turned on the light when she entered.
We past billboards with advertisements for places like "Kilroy's Kar Kavern" and I am SO certain that three "K"s appearing in a billboard is a special Ku Klux Klan notice for people, this is a Whites Only Friendly Establishment. I guess I'm paranoid, right? But at least I have something to do as we drive north along I-69 through Indiana.
Fireworks Pitstop #1
Then we stop at an exit near the intersection of I-80 and I-69 and there is the most amazing fireworks store there. It is pretty early in the season to start the customary Poster Children Fireworks Pit-Stopping but Jim stops anyway for us. This store is amazing. It contains not only a half-acre of tables filled with fireworks, but also Newly Shipped Fiber Optice Figurines. I stood staring at a pastel, glittery fiber-optic angel with feathery wings covered in multicolored fiber optics for so long that the store owner came out to tell me excitedly that they were having a 20% off sale on all the fiber-optic angels. He was sure he was going to unload one of those on me. I actually would have purchased one but I have no idea where the HELL I would place something like this in my home. My home is too filled with shit right now as it is; I am trying to get RID of stuff that I bought that is like this. Matt found a glass-topped table held up by three ceramic dogs' heads. They had pinball machines, electronic games, plug-in waterfall signs, and tons of white-trash stuff for sale here. This exit also contains a Go-Kart Track, behind the Shell Station. Jim wouldn't stop there.
We played at a place called The Space tonight - TOTAL Punk-rock - it was GREAT, and ALL-AGES as well! Odd though, in between songs, the audience was so quiet that you could hear a pin-drop. Great bands Trocar and Berwer opened up for us; we've played with them before. I really liked their music; loud, noisy rock. The weird thing about the night though, was that when we finished, the audience obediently filed out the door, no clapping and no encore. It was like playing in Germany. Everyone seemed to love the show, but no one knew that they could clap and ask for more. Some people were begging to hear Black Dog, and I really wanted to play it, but there is no cool way to go up onstage after you've finished if no one is clapping. Sorry, guys! Maybe next time!
The Space is a really terrific place though. It is a coffee-shop with books all around and a stage at one end. In between bands they played a guy's short film which would have been awesome if I could see it better. The place was jammed with kids so you could really see much. I think the guys from Trocar own this place and they have really worked hard on it, so if you are ever in Kalamazoo you should really go look up The Space. Nice place to hang out. It reminds me of the Independent Media Center in Champaign.
Sunday, April 7, 2002 - home again
We have a short discussion in the van about how Rick wants to make sure I am not being a hypocrite by practicing Buddhism but making fun of "other" religions. To me, I don't practice Buddhism as a religion, I practice it as a philosophy. Rick says there is no difference. I don't know exactly what started this stupid, but I felt pretty bad by the end of it. I have been questioning this practice ever since I've started it, it's really been bugging me, but no one has actually stuck their finger in the wound until now. Although Rick proves to me that he has absolutely no understanding of what it means (at least to me) when you practice meditation. He thinks that you repeat stuff over and over again, or you believe you can change things with your mind and thoughts. That's not how I understand what I'm doing. All I'm doing is making inquiries into how my own mind is working, and trying to figure myself out. Or, just attempting to keep my mind clear for 15-30 minutes a day. That's all. How the FUCK does that equal a religion?
I am trying to clean out my house and get rid of all the crap I've been storing up that I never look at and never use. It's a really hard task.
Tonight Rick and I rented "Donnie Darko." It was depressing but fantastic. It reminded me of Heart of Glass, Fight Club, and about a million other movies.