Blog entry

here i am...on the road again... here i am....up on stage.....there i go....playin' the star again...

song of the day: little red corvette / prince
word of the day: volitive / of or pertaining to the will

Rockford - Iowa City - Des Moines - Chicago x 2

thursday night i went to bed about 2am, fell asleep about 4am. got up at 6am, rolled out of bed after several promptings from my wife and daughter ("honey, seriously, you have to get out of bed, you're going to miss your flight" and then my daughter "da-da! da da!") which made me flash back to high school and how every goddamn morning in high school was such a grueling chore to get out of bed, as all my life i've been a night owl, i just can't fall asleep before 2am, and left to ymy own devices i flip-flop my waking / sleeping hours completely. back when i was single i would go to bed at about 6 or 7am, sleep till late afternoon, and have lunch at dinner. it's natural. i've heard of studies that put people in isolated environments for months (caves, space, whatever) and found that the human clock will actually switch to a 25 hour cycle if left to its own devices, free from the patters of sun / moon and societal constructs. if it's true it certainly makes my life more sensical. anyway, i finally got out of bed, my wife had a coffee ready for me, and then i climbed into my sweet, lovable honda, which i had wisely pre-packed the night before. packed two guitars and one ruck sack type back pack with 75 CDs, a video camera, one change of clothes, guitar cables, distortion petals, microphones, merchandise equipment, lap top computer, chords, cell phone, and various bathroom items. it is so fucking heavy i can't believe. very, very heavy. the two guitars are manageable, but combined with the back pack it's murder. it really sinks in as i make the long trek from the long term parking spot at the airport to the terminal. it's cold and rainy, which i love and go crazy for, but the slightly inclement weather combined with my gear makes me seem more like half bard half shirpa. by the time i get to the ticket counter i'm eager to get rid of the guitars. on the plane to chicago i read dr phil's book on relationship rescue, which my wife has assigned me. not that our relationship needs rescue at all, in fact reading the book both of us are stunned at how awesome our relationship is. we score in the top 1% of all the tests in the book, and so i tell her we should be teaching this shit, not studying it. she says read it anyway, it's fun to learn and discover about it each other. i agree, and it is fun to fill out the quizzes and hear what my wife put down compared to mine. they're almost always identical. we have one or two spots we can work on in our relationship, and they're her faults. no, i'm kidding i have problems. i have problems with her faults. HA!! kidding...

i arrive in chicago, wait for my guitars for a while at the over-sized baggage claim. the conveyer belt is jammed. a lady throws a temper tantrum, she's freaking out bitching out the staff, being mean, and lying out right to them, she was on my flight, and i hear her repeatedly tell them she's been waiting over 45 minutes for her bags, when i know full well it's been 15 minutes at most, and so do the staff, of course, but it doesn't matter, she's acting like she's four years old. i get so embarrassed sometimes by the way i see people acting and treating airport staff. it's easy to see why americans get a bad rap as tourists sometimes, we really take "the customer is always right" as some kind of entitlement, like the world should mold like putty around our narcissism and impulsive quirks. it's more like "the customer is always right in your face". anyway, i do some tonglen meditation on this woman, but she's still a bitch. so it goes.

get my rental car and tell them what i always do: anything but a pontiac. i cannot drive a pontiac. i HATE pontiacs. ugh. has there EVER been an uglier, bigger of shit? i get a nissan. why doesn't anyone rent Hondas? i always miss my honda when i'm on the road. they really make the most kick ass cars, and no one rents them. makes no sense, when you consider that they last longer than anything else. i take the car and head for rockford. it's about 2pm at this point, i've been in transit for 8 hours or so. my first performance is a wedding ceremony in rockford illinois at 4pm for my friends tamara and benny. i haven't played a wedding in like ten years at least, but they are very special people and i can't resist cuz they want to have me play nothing in between, invincible, and glass as their wedding songs. actually it's not a wedding,it's a restatement of vows kinda thing. they've been married 20 years. it takes me 2 1/2 hours to find the park, it's raining, and it's an outdoor ceremony. luckily they have a pavillion thingie, so we go through with it, and it's really cool. cool, wet, rainy fall day, they restate their vows overlooking a grey, hazy lake lined with colored leaves. absolutely my favorite weather. although, the down side is that the water every where makes my microphone a conductor, and i get electrically shocked every time i sing. i use it. mountain.

after the ceremony i check into my hotel and flop on the bed, exhausted. i have a few hours before the (club) gig at Kryptonite. coolest club in rockford, for sure. i have loved the design of the club since i first saw it, and the staff and owner are real snuggle buttons. bruce hecht, a dear friend who i've known for ten years now, and who also gave me both of my as gifts (they are Larivees, if you're wondering) opens the show, and kicks butt. he even plays the song Dream Usher. i get up on stage about 10:30 or so. there's about 80 people in the club maybe, and they are pretty much split in half, half are drunk and the other half are talking and smoking. i'm kidding. about half are drunk, talking, and smoking. it's pretty weird, since i haven't played in a club in a long long time that is the bar kinda atmosphere. i feel great, my voice is in great condition, i have lots of energy and enthusiasm, but the crowd (except the people up front) are pretty much checked out and just drinking, etc. which is fine. it's simply one of those situations where it doesn't matter what i do, say, or how i play, sound like, etc, most people are just there to get drunk and socialize, and the music is back ground to them. i could take this personally, but it isn't personal. and i know very much that i am in "the zone" on this evening, so i just play, and do meditation while singing, again a very simple pseudo-tonglen practice where i exchange my breath with their suffering and pain. this is one you can do fairly easily without distracting yourself from the music tasks at hand. of course meditating while performing requires using the meditation forms that won't distract you from the gig. this is one that's been downloaded and operates pretty seemlessly- invisibly at any time, and can be conducted while talking, driving, playing songs, etc. between my sets, mark, the dude who booked me, comes over and says "i can't book you here anymore, these people fucking suck." i totally get what he's saying, i understand he's bummed out they're not paying attention, and i sort of agree that it would be a better use of everyone's energy if we moved it to a listening venue next time, but it's not the clubs fault at all, and certainly not mark's fault. everyone at kryptonite has always busted their ass to make the shows go well and be cool. i used to play at a place called the white box, and that was very much a listening room. that place closed, and there's really no where else to play in rockford that's that kind of vibe. maybe the New American Theater? i don't know. rockford's a bit of a rough town in that regard. the crowd's tend toward alcohol, cigarettes, and such, and always have. after the gig, i go back to my hotel and crash flat like i'm in a coma. i wake up at 12 noon the next day with the front desk calling me over and over till finally i pick up the phone and moan "yah, mm checkin out...".

kayla and i spent the morning (well, early afternoon) going over the alphabet for my constructed language IS, which she is working on in Fontographer (a gift from Iowa punk monks, thanks!) program, this will allow me to write in IS on my computer, and will rapidly accelerate the speed with which i can finish the dictionary, work books, etc. can't wait. thanks kayla.

after that, i drive to iowa city, check into another hotel room, and then go sound check for the next show. the audience tonight is the opposite of rockford. it's a packed house, but they are totally attentive, tuned-in, and sober. iowa city audiences are kick ass, always have been. this show is my idea of a perfect night, the vibe in the room is right on, i feel great, sound is wonderful, it's all dialed in, and there are many "magic moments". for me, i particularly feel the room do a mind-body-drop on the songs Drown, Nothing In Between, Glass, and Bell. each of those songs i experience the room go into a very dynamic stillness. not just physically, of course. it's just the simultaneous vibe of "there's NOTHING here" and "whao, a PRESENCE in the room", and they are identical. the show is also a ton of fun, plenty of joking, the crowd has a killer sense of humor,as always i cannot remember what i joked about at all, what i said, i'll have to review the video tapes to recollect. and i will be going through the video tapes, because my next stu cam episode is about the election and who are people voting for?

in iowa city, i talk to many people one to one, and also poll the audience from the stage, and no shit, out of 206 people at the show, 205 of them are voting for kerry. this stuns me. i mean, i figured my audience would lean left, but holy shit, 205 out of 206? well, we interview them in more depth in between sets, and the information is telling. most of the people voting Kerry are doing so out of an aversion for Bush, not from an alignment with Kerry. although i'd say they definitely democrats, so there's an alignment with the party certainly, but they seem much more motivated by their passionate revulsion to Bush. by far the most salient feature in the feedback from the audience is a visceral revulsion to Bush.

on this evening, i do not go into my own political views at all, i just gather the data, and try to be the objective journalist in the room, curiously delving the hearts and minds of voters in the midwest. my own view, as i've detailed in earlier blog entries, is that BOTH left and right political perspectives have much to offer, and bring crucial pieces to the table in their healthy forms. however, both have pathologies, and we're in a particularly low dip in the political drama. i don't think we can move forward, move into an age that is beyond (but includes) both left and right perspectives, without an integral embrace of the importance of each, and also a thorough reworking of both.

right now though, the single most important thing that we can do is get the Bush administration out of office. he lost the popular election last time around, has plunged us into an incredibly bloody, brutal war under FALSE pretenses, and has literally turned back the clock decades on our standing with dozens of pivotal countries around the world. it is plainly evident that Bush is the single most brazen, developmentally retarded, short-sighted president to ever hold the office in our nation's history. it is a tragedy of staggering proportions this sinister moron has held the office at all, much less four years, and unimaginable to me he would hold it another four. however, it is understandable. he lost the popular vote, entered office in dubious circumstances, then 9/11 hit (not his fault, and i totally thought invading afghanistan was justified), then used the collective regression of our population (people regress in times of trauma, they revert to earlier stages, and go back to establishing basic needs of security, safety, and so an Orange will go Blue- in terms of memes) as an opportunity to strip civil liberties, engineer rouse about Saddam's regime (Saddam was evil? yes. Saddam had ties to terrorism? no. weapons of mass destruction? no.) and multiplied the deceits at a time when he knew the american public and politic was AFRAID to say no to what the government claimed to be doing for the sake of protecting its people. there are fucking horrible, despotic leaders all over the world, we don't go hopping around and invading them like imperialistic empires...oh wait, we do. and we have for a long, long time. but we don't usually do it in such an unbelievably grotesque, suicidal way. we have fucked ourselves and others for a long time to come.

but, beside all that, bush is just an unbearable dolt. a complete fucking dunce. i find it stupefying that the official in the highest office of this land is scarcely fit to operate a coffee grinder, much less a military. but why should i worry? he's NOT running the government. he's a puppet, a figurehead, a pawn, and the Cheneys and Rumsfelds of the World have it bundled up nicely.

but you know, i could be wrong. sincerely, i could actually be wrong about much of this. we cannot trust our senses, feelings, and opinions too deeply. we have to remain open to the possibility there is more to the story than we know, that we don't have all the answers, that we need to learn every bit as much as we need to exert what we know. i'll give you an example. my friend Tripp pointed out to me, that in terms of memes, the war in Iraq could be the greatest thing to happen in the World. since much of Arabia is basically a Red (for a discussion of memes, see Wilber's book A Theory Of Everything) hornet's nest, and since the Blue invasion is established, this may actually pop Arabia up from Red and into Blue. and it's a great, important point. there is simply no fucking way around the fact that Arabia (Iraq included and especially) has got to up to Blue, has to move through it. no one skips stages. if we could just get a healthy Blue established in Iraq it would be great. my sense is that there's a lot of Orange in there too, but go only knows what the fuck that's like now after all the years of war, a lunatic at the helm, etc. but before Iraq can come out of its red storm, it's going to need blue order, and then possibly it can become a healthy orange democracy. who knows. but tripp brought up a great point.

and we have our own memetic struggles here. it's natural and normal we reverted to blue so wildly after 9/11. it was trauma, and our blue roots run deep. the problem is we have a wickedly pathological blue, and it is seized like a mother fucker. to get us planted solidly back in orange/ orange-green, we're going to have to murder all the christians. KIDDING! i'm kidding. we're just going to have to put them all in jail.

anyway, for all this blah-blah, what i think will actually is that Bush is going to be elected again, and things will continue to go down the fucking shit canal as they have been, and the Christian Mythic Empire of Dogmatic Monocular Emperialism can continue to simultaneously PREACH about salvation while preparing a perfect World for Satan to assume.

so, after the show in Iowa City, off to Des Moines. same thing in Des Moines, people are voting Kerry Kerry Kerry. but i know for a fact that Iowa is a closely contested state, so it's clear that i had very much miscalculated my own audience. whereas i though it would be 90% democrats at my show, it turns out to be 99.99% democrats at my show. literally only one Bush voter on the whole tour.

Des Moines show is a curious combination of humor and dark songs. i played a lot things like Markers, Ani I Adore (which i haven't done at a show in years at this point), Drown, Dive, Greys, and i'm feeling a lot of them as dedications to john mack. not ani, of course, but all the water songs, greys, universe communion. i'm also doing What without a distortion pedal on this tour, and people say the prefer it. this annoys me, cuz i really prefer it with the distortion pedal, but the pedal behaves so differently in each venue that it's almost unusable unless its sound-checked just-so. the feedback always starts going crazy in the monitors, and then i can't play the outro part of the song for shit, and so on and so on. i finally just started doing the song without distortion, people came up and said "i like it better that way" and i'm like "no! you don't!". what can you do?

after des moines i talk with matt, cori, and kevin for a long time. kevin speaks 14 languages and generally knows about every think in the world. it's very fun for us to talk cuz there's loads and loads of over-lap in our perspectives (except he's a genius for real, and i'm more of a...wastrel), except his emphasis tends toward right hand quadrants, mine toward left. you know my feeling is you only need one quadrant for a good time (upper left). woo - hoo! tonight after the show we go back and forth on mysticism and science, and what constitutes a verifiable, repeatable "experiment". i go into the whole spiel on how authentic esoteric spirituality has an injunction, a praxis (experiment) that's conducted, and data that is gathered through direct experience, which is verified or falsified by a community of qualified peers who have completed the same experiment. in this manner the tradition moves forward. he pretty much jives with all of that, but says even though the experiments are repeatable and can be duplicated, the findings are not quantifiable. i say that depends on how you define "quanta". at this point the parking lot attendant looks at both of us like "what the fuck are you two, robots?"

monday i spend most of the afternoon on a con-call with Ken Wilber, and the staff of integral institute. all kinds of stuff brewing. very cool. my little cell phone is amazing, and just keeps on pumping the signal hour after hour. monday night after the meeting and a five or six hour drive from des moines, i pull into chicago area to visit my brother and family. we have clam chowder soup and i get to hang out with my two nieces and one nephew for the night. they've been working on their house too, and we trade "oh yeah, well we did THIS to our house" back and forth. i've never been so active in the right quadrants. the right quadrants suck. my brother's house is really kicking though, he totally remodeled his bathroom. my nieces and nephews are totally awesome. my nephew calls me Uhn-Kuhl-LA-too. he speaks it super slow and careful.

after they go to bed i read Ender's Game, on the recommendation of several of my friend's this
week who say it's the greatest book ever ever ever. i'm 120 pages into it, and it's....ok. that's about it. now, to be fair, i have never read a science fiction book. i just don't like science fiction. it ain't my thing. but they were all like "this isn't anything like science fiction, it's totally incidental that it's even in that genre" and i thought "ok". now i'm like "this is science fiction". but i guess i'll keep reading it. one disappointment is knowing that since the lead character is 7 years old, there's probably not any explicit sex in store for me, the reader in the near future. unless its some pedophile alien dude, and although i'm into alien sex as much as anyone, pedophilia ain't my thing. i keep hoping there will be a flash forward, and the kid will have grown to a man, but not yet 'fully' a man, if you know what i mean, and then he's injured in battle, and in the hospital, his nurse finds out he's a virgin, and she's like "you're a virgin?" and he's like "uh..." and she's like "i'm a virgin too!" and he's like "uh..." and she's like "i mean, i'm an ANAL virgin" and then she climbs right up on that hospital bunk and straddles his granite-stiffened member, and lowers hers poop shoot all around it, and one, two- three magic pumps into it a vesuvian geyser of milky protein enima changes them both forever. nine months later she gives shit-birth to a baby robot, the world is redeemed by the first EVER hybrid child-robot conceived through anal sex. shortly thereafter gay male couples are having robot-babies like hot cakes. i wonder does that happen in this novel? that would get me into science fiction.

today it's tuesday, i'm off to my two shows tonight at Uncommon Ground, can't wait. one at 7pm, one at 9pm. i'm going to fly like an eagle...

arrive at uncommon ground, just in time to get strings on my guitars and do a quick sound check. 7pm audience is great, sense of humor ha ha ha they laugh easy. i start the show by saying, "you know, this the early show, and i don't really give a shit about the early show. it's just a warm up to me, what's really gonna count tonight is the 9pm show, so i'm not gonna blow my load on you people, i gotta save it up for the big event". they all think that's really funny. the first show goes super fast, when they tell me i have to wrap it up, i'm like "i just got started!". i sell some CDs between shows, and continue my polling of the fans on who they're voting for.

tonight there are actually two more people who are voting for Bush, which puts the tally so far this week in my highly scientific research at 451 for Kerry, and 3 for Bush. i have no idea what will happen in november, but Kerry should move to iowa or illinois. iowa city for sure.

the second show (9pm) is has more people, but they are more mellow and subdued. they don't laugh quite as easily, but they are perhaps a bit more contemplative? don't know. i love them both. why choose? when 10:15 rolls around and they want me to wrap up the show, again i'm totally caught off guard and i don't feel it's fair, it's too early, the night's just begun. yagh!

when it's done, i've finished my five shows in five days, and we spend some time signing CDs and such, then it's off to hannah and matthew dallman's house to talk about movies and music. matthew is a composer, hannah is a film maker, and they play us music and show us films. you guessed it, it's all pornography....until you add a dissonant piano, then it's film noire'... or something. kidding. it's really cool to see and hear their work, and what a talented couple. gee whiz. artists in love...(sigh)...

we stay till 3am, then rollie (my friend pal chum from Canada who also works with integral institute) and i go back to the holiday inn in chicago, and Colin's there too (i-i dude). we crash, wake up early and go to visit our dear friend brother wayne teasdale.

colin and rollie have actually flown into chicago expressly to visit brother wayne, and i've arranged my flights to stay in chicago an extra day so i can do the same. brother wayne (author of Mystic Heart) is a benedictine monk and also ordained as an indian monk (sannyasa), he's been going through rounds of treatment for cancer now for sometime, and had just gone through a major surgery last time i visited him in May. this time he has just finished a major round of treatment in an experimental drug from the university of chicago. we spend the afternoon with him, i tell him all about my daughter, wife, the tour i recently did with Vidyuddeva, other news of music and spiritual practice, he shows us his forthcoming book titled "Mystic Hours" (looks really kick ass). you can see his dialogues with ken wilber on integral naked. it's bittersweet spending time with bro wayne, one of the most beautiful souls i've ever known, and powerful force of positive change on our planet, i always feel a great presence of love in my time with him, but it's hard to see him struggling with the effects of his treatment program, and to be in such pain from what his body is going through. he always faces everything with such warmth and brilliance, but i know he's really having a tough time of it, and this round of treatments seems to have been particularly rough. he says he's healing, and when he's ready (maybe november) he's moving to austin, texas- just in time for winter. i tell him i look forward to visiting him there, give him loads of love from my wife, the whole integral family in colorado, especially ken, and we say goodbye. this goodbye is one where we don't really know for certain if we'll see each other again or not. and of course, none of us ever know that. we just forget all the time that we are an instant from death, and no amount or quality of life is fore-granted. back when i had "memento mori" tattooed on my wrist, it was to always serve as a reminder of death. first, that we all die, and we do not know when or how. instead of having a watch on my wrist, i put that phrase there to remind me of our impermanence and the impermanence of all states and existences. second, it's a reminder of the death of the separate self, reminding me to surrender, to submit my will to the Mystery. third, and most important, is the reminder that i am always, already dead. this was made clear to me after the first time my body dissolved. there was still awareness, but i was gone. i was dead, and i realized that i had always been already dead. i am dead right now, in the sense that the part of me which is awareness was there before birth, is here during embodied experience, and will remain after the decay of the body, and after any sense of something called "stuart" is gone. just that awareness, that's death, not a good thing, not a bad thing, and not any "thing". just awareness, and it's already 100% present right now. that was the startling revelation. and it is not personal, it isn't the personality. it isn't an idea. has no location. isn't in time. just the nothing that everything arises in. simple. so unbelievably simple i miss it all the time. i missed it my whole life until everything just disappeared once when i was meditating. dissolved and i freaked out and had the panic attack of panic attacks, like from the soul. then boom just nothing.

today i'm getting on a plane again to fly back to denver. it just so happens that my wife and daughter are going to be on the same flight, they have been in pittsburgh visiting family while i've been on tour, and by sheer coincidence they happen to be on my flight going back home, and so are rollie and colin, so the five of us are going to be one big happy family on the way home, hope we can get all our seats close together. it's been a kick ass tour, but now i've got to get ready for my big tour of holland.

i bought some dutch language CDs and a book on how to speak dutch. i have one week to become fluent and learn all the customs. wooden shoes, check. windmill, check. hash pipe, check.

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