29 April 2007


So I returned the other night from Merlefest, tired but content and happy to have seen my friends after such a long time.

Arriving home, I immediately got to work on preparing for TepFest--making T-shirts and packing cars and the like. Yesterday morning I spent hours ironing t-shirts and putting the finishing touches on our festival arrangements.

The day started off ominously, as dark clouds rolled across the skies and raindrops intermittently fell. The temperature was unseasonably cold as well, and I fretted, worrying about all of our carefully laid plans. Thankfully, Mother Nature cooperated, and the skies cleared and the temperature rose. We happily set about to start grilling and drinking beer, waiting for people to arrive.

Jen, the host of the festival (along with us) had set the place up beautifully. Colorful signs and Tiki torches were scattered around the property, bearing such useful information as the whereabouts of the bathroom and the location of the parking. Two firepits and a "burn barrel" dotted the field and brightly shimmering metal stars hung above the stage that we constructed last week.

People slowly trickled in to the festival, and continued to do so all night. The music began later than expected, as the "crowds" were basically non-existent at the planned start time of 8 p.m. And so, from 9 pm until around 1 a.m., music graced the fields of West Asheville. Many technical difficulties (blown amp, dead guitar pickup batteries) forced Sirius.B to perform acoustically around the campfire, which while not part of the plan, was a nice, intimate way to play.

Burgers and fresh Alaskan salmon (brought to us by our Alaskan fisherman friend) were cooked all night long, and the beer ran with reckless abandon. The music, after the official lineup, lasted until very late. The final tunes began to fade out around 5 a.m.

Unfortunately, the turnout never quite "turned out" as we had figured. Competition was great, as a number of other festivals (Merlefest, Idfest, and others) had been planned for the same weekend. So, though TepFest was by nearly all measures a great success, it was not an economic success. Imhotep, who we planned to benefit with this TepFest benefit show, ended up walking away with two gallons of beer and little else.

We were all happy with the show though, and considering this is our first attempt at festival planning, we consider it a great success.

27 April 2007

The T-Shirt Factory and the Tattoo

The t-shirts have been made, and only a bit of work (three hours or so of ironing) remains to complete them. See pictures below of the factory.

On another note, I'm finally attaching a picture of my new tattoo--the hand of Fatima. I still haven't returned to the parlor to have the banner filled in. This is not, however, such a bad thing, as I can change the banner daily. In this case, I have paid homage to my friend Tommy Gun.


26 April 2007

Merle/Tep FEST

As I sit here and type at this computer, my students frantically rush to finish their exam. I am calm, relaxed, and ready to get the hell out of town.

I leave in a few hours for Wilkesboro, NC, for Merlefest, a bluegrass festival created in tribute to the late bluegrass player Merle Watson.

This trip is a bit of a recognized, yet not wholly consecrated, tradition for me, as four years ago (for the first time) I attended the festival with the some of the same friends that join me this year. On both occasions, we have gone long periods of time without seeing eachother.

Unfortunately, this year's visit to the festival will be short, as the preparations for my own festival and the festival itself necessitate my early return. I will return from Wilkesboro tomorrow night. This is bittersweet.

In other news, I have succeeded in learning how to silkscreen, and I have created the now official line of Sirius.B T-shirts. The design is similar (though not identical) to the stencil featured in a previous post, which can be seen below.

The process was actually rather simple, and it is truly amazing how a bit of work at home can result in a t-shirt that looks genuinely professional. T-shirts will be on sale on a website soon for $10, though anyone interested in purchasing one sooner can write to siriusb07@gmail.com.

Finally, I leave you all with a video of the song "Start Wearing Purple," by Gogol Bordello. This Ukrainian gypsy-punk band is fantastic, and the video is supposedly quite indicative of an actual Gogol Bordello show. (Note: the singer is the main Ukrainian actor from the movie, "Everything is Illuminated".)

Have a great day.

21 April 2007


Here's a video of the kittens. They're getting bigger by the day, and have now even begun to take shits.

Today they are five weeks old.

Soon they will be leaving, heading off to foster homes before their mother turns on them and begins to try and eat them.

20 April 2007

another TepFest update

TepFest 2007 continues to grow, surpassing all previous estimations of size. I am becoming a bit frightened.

As of a few days ago, TepFest was to be a two band show. It has now grown to a four band festival, and logistics are becoming somehwat more difficult to handle. It is now even a consideration that we rent Port-A-Jons.


Still, it is all quite exciting, and I'm sure that it will be great fun.
Check out the new and improved official TepFest Poster.

16 April 2007

TepFest 2007

The dates of TepFest have once again been changed. Due to circumstances beyond my control (namely, that Imhotep, the drummer for whom TepFest was named and will be staged, suddenly realized that April 21st was not a good date for him), the show will now be held on April 28th.

All are welcome to attend.

15 April 2007

Asheville, NC

It is snowing in Asheville.

14 April 2007

Yard Sale Naughty Business

I was up early this morning, proud of myself and filled with visions of impressive productivity. Ellen and I ate a healthy breakfast of cereal and coffee and headed into the brightening day to check out some of the local yard sales and rummage collections.

We immediately happened upon a great sale taking place in an empty local storefront. Most of the products were baby-related--there were strollers, baby carriers, and the like, but there were also some great non-baby related items. I found a huge framed Paul Klee print and Ellen found some bowls, pans, and the like.

One great find was a (cheesey yet wonderful) picnic bag. This thing looks like a backpack, but is filled with wine glasses, utensils, salt/pepper shakers, and holding straps and loops for these items. On the side of the pack is a tall pocket meant for a wine bottle. This thing is great--the pic-a-nic basket for the 21st Century--a means by which to easily transport all the ingredients for a picnic, without looking like total dufus. Beautiful.

Returning home, Ellen inspected the bag more thoroughly with her roommate, showing off the new purchase. We soon discovered that the previous owner of the bag (which bore a sticker that read "Never Used!") had a very interesting idea of the proper ingredients for a picnic.

See for yourself below:

11 April 2007


Why I'm not crossing from Morocco across Algeria and over to Tunisia, as mentioned in a previous post.

NY Times Article

10 April 2007

TepFEST 2007

So, Sirius.B has another show coming up (as mentioned earlier today)....


A local friend, Jennifer (aka TallGirl) has asked Sirius.B to perform at her house, at a party to be held on April 21st. The glory of this arrangement is that Jennifer lives on a 50 acre plot of land in West Asheville. Oddly, Xavi and I had just been discussing plans to arrange TepFest, a benefit concert for our drummer Imhotep.

Benefit Imhotep? Why?

Because Imhotep lost his license (unfairly) and can't afford to pay a lawyer or go through the necessary rigamarole to get his license back. And so, at this party, a bucket will be passed around to benefit the Tep Fund (and to help pay for the keg that we plan to buy).

Xavi and I went out to Jennifer's place today to check it out. Amazing.

Minutes away from a main road and huge stores, hotels, and businesses, this chunk of land lies quiet and still. There are streams running through the plot, and fire pits all over the place. They are even building a sweat lodge (Hippies), and there is a beautiful tree house on the property. We'll be playing near to her house, but the rest of the property will be open for camping and all sorts of other activities.

Our very first festival....It warms the cockles of my heart.

The dates of this "festival" are April 21st through the morning of April 22nd. All are invited to attend. All should attend. Anyone interested should go to www.myspace.com/siriusb07 for more information, or contact me through this page.

I hope that all are well and swell.

Some Photos

All is well is Asheville, though the cold front still has not left us in peace and warmth. The clock is ticking and my days here are numbered (at least until I return in August). I leave town on May 7th for New York, from where I will grab a flight to Spain on May 15th.

From Spain, the plans are still fuzzy. I need to be in Granada by early July, and Morocco is in the plans, as too might be Italy. Very unfortunate is the impossibility of making a line across North Africa and entering Italy via Sicily, from where I could head north and eventually back in to Spain, making a nice loop. Unfortunately, the Algerian government is crazy, the borders with Morocco and Tunisia are closed, and there is some group of loonies in Algeria that threaten (and often carry threats through) to kill on sight any foreigner within their borders.

So, needless to say, if I do go to Italy, it will not be through the fashionable, ultra-cool, North African route.

Before I leave, Sirius.B will be playing some shows. We've been invited to play a new friend's party, which is great, since she lives on a nearby 50-acre artist/hippie colony (only six inhabitants), complete with fire pits, a sweat lodge (under construction) and tons of area for people to play music. And best of all, there are no nearby neighbors, so the music will be loud and the crowd will be rowdy. We're also trying to set up some more shows at some local bars around town.

I've got some pictures below for all to enjoy. One is a super-convincing fake candid shot of PJ, Xavi and Bruce. I'm also including a picture of me with my head inside a large toy of sorts (the kind of thing that you can find at some cheesy store that sells toys to make kids smarter) and a photo of the fruits of my recent attempt to become a stencil artist.


07 April 2007


So a few days ago, I was white-water rafting on the French Broad River, gleefully swimming in the temperate North Carolina waters.

This morning, I have woken up to find snow on the ground and the air frigid and crisp. Record lows have been reported here in Asheville--last night it went into the low 20's, and tonight should be around 15 degrees--and I can unscientifically report that we received more snow last night than we did all winter long.

This is certainly quite a surprise for all of us here. Sadly, this also means that my recently planted garden is now a recently dead garden. Work will recommence soon, as hopefully the weather will warm up for good over the next week or so.


On another note, I have received some pictures of Sirius.B's Root Bar performance, which I'd like to share with you all. You can see more, and check out our music at OurSpace.


That's all for today! Be well.

04 April 2007

River Rafting

My brother PJ is in town here, visiting from New Jersey. His visit has been great, albeit a bit short. Still, a few days with family is better than none.

Yesterday we headed out to go white water rafting on the French Broad River. Our friend Sandy is a veteran kayaker and rafter, and so owns all of the necessary equipment for this type of adventure. She and Xavi treated themselves to their kayaks, and the rest of us (a group of six) hopped into the raft.

Now, a few things regarding white water rafting in class 3 rapids:

1. I was apparently ignorant of the fact that this "extreme sport" is apparently a leisure activity. As such, the consumption of beer (in reasonable amounts) was not only permitted, but in fact encouraged by Sandy, our boat's owner and resident expert.

2. Rafting with strangers (the four others that joined my brother and me--friends of Sandy) can be stressful, especially when one begins to strongly doubt the commands that come from the vessel's chosen guide. For instance, when the guide yells, "Forward Right" (meaning only the right side paddles) and one (or in this case two--PJ and I) disagrees with their command (ie It is obvious that we need to go RIGHT, and so paddling on the right side is a really dumb idea), it is difficult to keep one's mouth shut. Mutiny is all too great of a possibility at all times.

At one point, PJ got thrown from the boat, which although not a wholly uncommon experience, was rather nervewracking for me. As he fell from the craft, I reached out for him, catching only his foot. Unfortunately, this left him in a rather strange and more dangerous position, and so I was forced to let him go.

I watched him bob up for air, course beneath the raft, and come up eventually, laughing, trying to hoist himself up onto the boat. I grabbed him by his PFD (life jacket) and swung him up, happy to see him alive, well, and laughing.

Over the course of the ride, which lasted a couple of hours, things got better. Our "guide" improved a bit (at least she learned her right from her left), though PJ and I never quite stopped doubting most of her commands. The ride was fun, and at time exciting, as we popped over rapids, through water chutes, and over rocks. It was never easy, however, and I'm sure never will be, to be in a boat over which you have little to no control. Especially for a person like me, who finds it difficult to ride shotgun in a slow-moving car, kayaking seems like the better option.


In completely separate news: For anyone that knows me or has followed this blog, it is obvious that graduate school applications and plans have played a great part of my life over this past year. Well, guess what?

I ain't going.

After careful deliberation, I've decided that I'm just not up to it--Not that I can't handle a challenge, but this particular challenge, which no longer seems to entice me, allure me, fascinate me, just doesn't seem quite worth it.

Which is all good and nice. Now I've got an open horizon, empty and ready to be filled with half-baked schemes and hatching plans.


More completely separate news: My brother PJ, over the course of his visit, turned me on to some of the most hilarious commercials that I have ever seen in my life. Their weirdness and sheer surreality are amazing. In fact, the mere memory of some of these advertisements nearly caused me to lose my balance and fall off the raft yesterday. Hopefully you'll enjoy just as much. This geek from Slate/NPR doesn't quite agree with me about the Skittles commercials.

03 April 2007

Upcoming Show

Tomorrow Night (Wednesday, April 4th) -- Sirius.B at Bobo Gallery (Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC) --

David Earl Tomlinson (of the Ploughshares and Tarantella) will be opening (in some form or another) at 10 PM. Sirius.B will perform at 11 pm until late.

Check out the improved MySpace Page at www.myspace.com/siriusb07. Add yourself as a friend if you haven't done so already. I'd love to hear your comments and to have you hear the music.

Have a great day.

01 April 2007


Well, I return, fresh as a daisy and ready to post some photographs and videos from the last few months. I have finally purchased the necessary equipment to connect my camera to the computer.

Last night was the first show that Sirius.B played in public. It was a great success, and the crowd at the Root Bar was supportive and enthusiastic. It looks like we will be returning soon as well. Wednesday is our next show, at The Bobo Gallery here in Asheville, so The Root Bar was also a great warm up for this next event.

First UP: A video of me riding and then falling off of a mechanical bull in Key West, Florida. Although you can't really tell in this video, the clapping for me was minimal. The clapping for the fat guy that fell hard before me (after only half the time on the bull) was thunderous. Fair? I don't think so.

Below, images of the cabin that Ellen and I stayed in Hot Springs, the potato we ended up cooking that looked like it had a face, and the cat that Ellen ended up adopting:

And to continue.....Ellen with the cat, the cat (now named Filthy Chicken Sanchez) with the kittens she gave birth to 12 hours after her adoption. The kittens now have names too -- they are Lordhouse (the largest, fattest, and strongest kitten), Liz Taylor, and Sailor (the only boy):

And Finally, the beauty of Patriotism, Xenophobia, and Gas Station Condom Dispensers:

Have a nice day. More soon. I promise.