(PHOTO GALLERY AT BOTTOM)
9.22 (Chico & Pleasant Hill, CA)
As with almost every tour that I’ve ever been on, the day before the first show is always a little hectic. This is probably due to my procrastinating nature and that I always want to do way too much. But somehow, I always get everything (I need to) done.
Today I was in Chico, picking up the tour shirts, consolidating boxes in the car and putting things in my storage unit. I also had to print the shirts for the ReRip event in San Diego. Fortunately my new intern Ashley Engstrom showed up to help organize the shirts and my head!
While I was in Chico, Roger (Dandelion Snow) had landed in the Bay area and met up with his friends in Oakland. At about 10PM, I finally took off from Chico for a near 3 hour trip to the Bay Area. But before I left Chico for a while, I was sure to drop off one of the Tour T-Shirts with Mike Rosen-Molina, the artist who designed it.
9.23 (Pleasant Hill, Berkeley, & Oakland, CA)
Roger and I met up around 10am or so to get the SV Unitymobile packed and take care of some (I mean a lot) of last minute things. One of the more fun tasks was Roger creating our ReUse All Access Passes for the tour, made from a couple of passes that I had from past tours. Pretty awesome.
I definitely knew today that I was really smart for planning the first show at Cinnaholic, where I know the owners. Roger and I definitely had our first day jitters due to a lack of sleep and the normal “first day of a new tour” situation. It was a longer than normal set up time as Roger and I had to work out the kinks with our display and also deal with a super small location. I hope the next Cinnaholic store is bigger. Oh yes, I said next!
Fortunately to make the day much less stressful, Ashley came down with a friend and helped out a ton, making a lot of the signs for the merch display, since both Roger and I admit to not having good handwriting. HA! Finally, after the display was near complete, Roger and I sold our first ReUse & Schmooze T-Shirt, enabling us to relax and celebrate with a cinnamon roll and coffee. For both of us, this was the first ever shirt sold with our faces on it!
Speaking of firsts, this was the first ever Dandelion Snow set on a sidewalk, as Cinnaholic is not very wide and our merch display took up a bunch of room. HA! Roger felt a bit out of place at first, with people continually walking by and talking in their obnoxious cell phone voice, but the crowd that gathered, including our new super positive friend Erika (hope you’re reading this!) made it all worth it.
Today was also the Limited Edition Cinnamon Roll T-Shirt release party. They came out amazing! If you like it, there’s still a few left, but sorry, mine was the only orange one printed!
I have a feeling this will only be the first time the ReUse & Schmooze Tour stops at Cinnaholic. I’ve been addicted for a while and Roger can’t get anything like them in Pittsburgh. But next time, I definitely want them to offer my special roll, The “Rainbow Roll”: cherry, lemon, lime, and orange frosting with Skittles on top. Who’d eat one? I would!
After the show, we headed to my friend Jasmine’s in Oakland, for our first place to crash on the tour. We brought a whole slew of cinnamon rolls which we were able to barter for some amazing vegan spaghetti and meatballs. The “Jasmine Hotel” was actually pretty packed that night, as my longtime friend Lisa stayed over too. I’m so glad she did, because she hooked Roger and I up with a ton of great (not healthy, but great!) snacks for the road.
9.24 (Oakland, Montebello, & La Habra, CA)
I got up early as I had to fill all of the Cinnaholic T-Shirt preorders. Oh doing mailorder out of a vehicle. Good times! In addition to a healthier oatmeal breakfast, I enjoyed some more cinnamon rolls with Roger. Normally he’d never eat anything like those he said, but he knew he wouldn’t be back for a while and Pittsburgh doesn’t have vegan treats like those, that’s for sure. I wonder if they have cinnamon flavored pierogis there?
After filling the orders and packing up, we headed out on our first long drive down to the Orange County area. Very early on, Roger and I decided to split all of the driving as evenly as possible and whoever was driving picked the music. So when I got behind the wheel, I played some 311 songs for Roger, but I guess some people just don’t get it. Oh well….
I’m not sure how many of you have driven in the Los Angeles area, but traffic is insane. There are so many cars and lanes, it’s crazy. But somehow towards the end of the drive, we coincidentally pulled up behind my friend Gage who was also heading down to the show. That was just weird.
Oh here’s a good story for those of you who love our reuse shipping methods! Upon arriving at The Daily Brew Coffee House, I asked where the local post office was so I could ship all of the mailorder out. Roger stuck around, while Gage and I headed down the street. When I put all of the packages on the counter, I knew there was a problem by the look I got. The woman at this post office was the first person I’ve met in numerous years who told me that I wasn’t supposed to ship in food packaging. I was dumbfounded that after years of shipping at so many post offices across the country, the Montebello, CA post office knew a rule the others didn’t (sarcasm). After going back and forth with the postmaster, they “agreed” to send the packages, but couldn’t guarantee they’d arrive. I just couldn’t even believe it.
After a frustrating experience at the post office, it was all made better back at the coffee shop when the owner, Veronica Diaz, not only provided Roger and I with some amazing Hawaiian Hazelnut coffee, but some custom made vegan sandwiches too.
While Roger and I tried to relax (not always easy on tour), Gage’s fiancé, Samantha, helped us create a pretty unique tip jar sign (PICTURE). It was also a little easier to relax with friends around. My friend Matt Frawley also showed up at the show, which was great because he’s got a part in the STAY VOCAL story, as he recommended me for the 311 merch job back in 2001.
And as hoped for and expected on this tour, Roger and I made some new friends, including Mae from Vaya zine. She makes a lot of really cool unique items out of cereal boxes. Sound similar? Possible collaboration soon? Hmmmmm.
After the show was over, we headed towards La Habra where we’d be staying with Matt. On the way to his house, Roger and I stopped at a Matt-recommended burrito place. Southern California Mexican food is just soooo good. And so inexpensive!
Arriving in Matt’s house, the first thing I noticed (and was taken aback by) was the huge plaque on the wall for No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom record. Matt was the band’s merch guy from early on in their career until the late 90’s. After seeing me gawk at that, Matt told me to go up the stairs and check out the framed posters on the wall. When I turned around, there was a giant poster of Weezer. It turns out Matt also did merch for them too.
After a while of hanging and geeking out about bands Matt has toured with, he brought me to the garage where he has tons of boxes of T-Shirts, hoodies, etc. All I’m going to say is, get ready for some amazing STAY VOCAL shirts in the future! At that point, I was so overwhelmed and tired that I headed off to sleep.
9.25 (La Habra & San Diego, CA & Phoenix, AZ)
I woke up early and tried to get some work done before we headed out to San Diego. It’s tough when you’re used to having so much computer time and then being stuck in a car for hours. A portable modem might just be in my future!
As we drove out of La Habra, we passed what had to have been a Dunkin’ Donuts back in the day. The building and sign were exactly the same, not to mention it was now called, “Boston Donuts.” UPDATE! I just checked the Boston Donuts Yelp page and this was DEFINITELY a Dunkin’ back in the day. If you’ve ever been inside one, you’ll see some very familiar things.
Our show in San Diego was actually at a bigger event called The Future of Surfing, put on by ReRip.org. This day long festival incorporates numerous aspects of surf sustainability, including a focus on the reuse of surfboards for art, riding, or other projects. This is STAY VOCAL’s second year sponsoring the event and surely not the last!
While I was setting up before the event started, there was a guy walking around wondering what was going on. I told him about the event and talked a bit further and pretty soon it came up that he was from Massachusetts as well. Matt Veseskis (now I know) had started a T-Shirt company with his friend Steve called, “Silly Not To” and after I told him to talk to the people in charge, he ended up setting up a table for his shirts at the event. What made this guy super RAD was that he brought Roger and I a pound of coffee grinds from his house to take on the tour. Matt and I exchanged info and talked about some possible collaborations, because you know, it’d be silly not to.
Today was a great day, seeing old friends and meeting a lot of new ones. I always enjoy seeing my friends Lisa and Meghan at ReRip of course and meeting a lot of their crew. They’re huge supporters of STAY VOCAL and loved the custom STAY VOCAL ReUse T-Shirts that I made for them. It’s nice when people just “get it” and are super positive about it.
Also in attendance was my friend Heather Zartolas from my days at Northeastern. I haven’t seen her since my San Diego stop on the 2006 Warped Tour, so that was great. Heather is actually the one who helped me get the Sprint Treo phone that I’ve had for 4 ½ years. Her boyfriend works for Sprint too and they were quite impressed at the longevity of my Treo; giant crack on the screen and all.
After the event was over, Roger and I headed to the North Park area of San Diego where I used to live and went to what is easily my favorite Mexican Restaurant, Rancho’s. Oh man, I forgot how amazing the food was: unlimited chips and salsa and soooooo many vegan options.
After filling ourselves, it was early evening and we headed out on our long journey to Phoenix. Along the way we stopped at a gas station and saw so many snacks from Mexico that I’ve never seen before. For me, it was a toss up between the sweet and sour flavored plums and the Japanese peanuts. I settled for the peanuts, which were similar to Peanut M&Ms, but much better and without crazy food coloring! And speaking of things we’ve never seen before, we went through not one, but two border patrol stops. It was a very, very uncomfortable feeling, especially when Roger so obviously took a picture with his phone. HAHA
We finally arrived in Phoenix at about 11:30pm and met up with my friends Lori and Lauren. I haven’t seen Lori in about five years and Lauren in maybe seven? Crazy. Speaking of crazy, I forgot about Lori’s amazing license plate: “311CRZY.” Yep, she’s a fan too. Unfortunately, Lori didn’t have much time to spare, so we all sat at a diner and talked for a bit. Then we headed back to Lauren’s house where Roger and I had pretty awesome accommodations. I even had my own room and day bed. Sweet!
9.26 (Phoenix & Prescott, AZ)
Trying to deal with the new routine still, I woke up early in the morning to get some computer work done. Later on, Lauren woke up and we showed Roger my part in the 311 DVD which he had never seen before. As a trade for letting us stay, I gave Lauren some of our huge stock of snacks, as well as a live 311 video that I already had. She also took one of the HUGE font STAY VOCAL T-Shirts, in trade for the amazing ALF T-Shirt that she gave me a couple of months ago.
Today was the only day on the tour when we had two shows, the first being at Conspire Coffee in Phoenix. This coffee shop reminded me of a concert venue complex that I had been to many times in Wien, Austria, but on a much smaller scale. It was an old house reused as a coffee shop/store and everything around it was painted with art and there was even a small stage in the backyard. Fortunately, our show was not outside as 1PM in Phoenix is not chilly, to say the least. I’m pretty sure it was about 105 degrees at least.
As we had to make it to the second show, the Phoenix show was a bit shorter than normal, but it was good as we met some cool couples; one from Long Beach, traveling around and exploring art and a couple moving to Seattle to run a green movie business. After packing up (and sweating), it was off to Prescott, AZ for show number two.
We actually made great time and arrived in the city early, so we decided to walk around a bit, as just by looking at the buildings, there was obviously some history to it. The first spot we ended up in was a trading post. It certainly wasn’t really my kind of store (taxidermy all over the place), but we met a couple of great people working there who informed us about a lot of the Prescott history, including an infamous saloon in town called The Palace. It was built in 1877 and was the only place on “Whiskey Row” that survived a massive fire in the early 1900’s. So, of course we had to go.
Yep, The Palace was definitely a saloon, swinging doors and all. Like two traveling salesmen on a wagon, Roger and I sat at the bar and the bartender gave us some more history. But it was the two “professional historians for hire” (see picture to the left) who had more things to say about Prescott than I ever could have imagined. The saloon was actually also a mini-museum and had tons of intriguing things to look at. I wish we had more time to spend there, but that just means I’ll probably go back.
We headed over to the Catalyst Info Shop and almost instantly knew it was going to be a great show. Roger and I were greeted on the porch of this house-turned-bookstore with smiles and waves. And when we walked into the shop, we were offered food and drink. It was instantly a great situation.
After meeting everyone there, Roger and I unloaded into the garage where the show was. It was decorated in show posters, Christmas lights, etc. Once we had set everything up, we went back and relaxed in the kitchen for a little bit and made some coffee. Our new friend Ian gave me some sugar for our coffee, but it turned out that the reuse sugar container was similar to the salt one. Unfortunately, it was Roger who had to take one for the team. A new batch was quickly made and the show began.
The crowd that gathered in the intimate garage setting was certainly into the Dandelion Snow performance and they even requested a George Clinton cover, but no luck; Roger didn’t know any. And after the set, we had an amazingly long and informative group talk. It started with me talking about STAY VOCAL and what I do, but then led into how everybody reuses in their daily lives. This somehow led into a long discussion about food and diets. One realization for both Roger and I that it’s too bad that doing something like the vegan diet can be so wasteful, if all you do is eat packaged foods. That’s why when not on tour I try to buy as much fresh produce as possible. No waste.
With all the food talk, we moved into the kitchen area, where we continued to talk but ate some food as well. Later, some of the group went off downtown, but I was pretty beat and I was excited to watch the first episode of the new season of The Office. Not too much of what TV has offered in the past 15 years has caught my eye, but man, that show was almost instantly a favorite for me. If anybody reading this has an in, I’ve always wanted to get a STAY VOCAL shirt into an episode!
9.27 (Prescott, AZ & Albuquerque, NM)
Roger and I got up early because we really wanted to take in more of what Prescott had to offer. After filling some mailorder, we headed to the D.A.V. Trift Store. Nope, that’s not a typo. The word on the street is that one of the signs was misprinted and then they just went with it. Hey, I commend them for not wasting materials at least! This place was a multi level possible goldmine, but we only gave it a quick walk through. In that time, though, Roger acquired an 80’s esque skier outfit and I picked up a vintage children’s Snoopy T-Shirt. Keep an eye out on the Why Buy New? REUSE! eBay store for that one.
After the Trift Store (I can’t stop writing that or laughing about it), we went downtown to the Laughing Buddha Coffee Shop, where I caught up on a couple hours worth of work. This place was the first time I’ve ever seen dipped fortune cookies. Unfortunately, it was milk chocolate, so I didn’t eat one. Time to make some vegan ones when I get back though!
At about 11, we hit the road for Albuquerque, which turned out to not be early enough. I guess we sort of forgot about the time zone change or just loved Prescott too much, because we showed up at the venue right around the start time. Woops! But the people at Winning Coffee were totally fine with it.
In addition to my friends Kyle and Celestyna (Green By Design) showing up, this was also the first show where I met one of my online customers, Dyllan Griffin. He goes way back to the President T-Shirt days. Who remembers that one?
After the show, a group of us headed down the street to Brickyard Pizza, where we all shared an amazing vegan pizza with mushrooms and Green Chiles, something I had been hearing all about in New Mexico. Not only did we get a sweet discount because Kyle worked there, but they actually gave us an “oops” pizza (made with the wrong ingredients) for free. Unfortunately for me, it had olives all over it. (Side note: I wish I was allergic to olives. They’re so gross. And yes, I’ve tried numerous types of olives.)
After filling our stomachs beyond comprehension, Roger and I headed back to Celestyna’s apartment; our accommodations for the night. Her new apartment was surprisingly so much better than her last place in Oakland, which was the backdrop of many of the Daily ReUse Shirts by the way. As Celestyna is a big fan of eco friendly decorating as well, this apartment allowed her to have a bit more fun, including her ironing board-turned-plant holder.
9.28 (Albuquerque, NM & Boulder & Denver, CO)
With a long drive ahead and to beat the rush hour fun, we left Albuquerque at 7:30AM and headed towards Boulder. After a couple of hours, we stopped at the first gas station / hotel that I’ve ever been to. That’s right, the sign read, “Food, Hotel Rooms, Groceries,” Why I didn’t take a picture? I don’t know.
We rolled into Boulder around 3:30, a bit before the show was scheduled to start and were pleasantly surprised by Folsom St. Coffee. The employees who were working were more than happy to see us and had put flyers up all over the shop which was great. They also let Roger and I set up super early and I was able to sit by the display and catch up on some work.
While I was working, the display certainly caught the attention of people there, like our new friend Chesterfield. I ended up having a long talk with him about what we were doing and my plans, etc. Chesterfield also turned out to be a good friend for Roger too, as he gave him some herbal Chinese tea to help with some throat issues.
So, as someone who drinks a lot of coffee, one of the bonuses of doing a tour mostly in coffee shops was getting free coffee drinks. On this occasion, I opted for one of their specialty drinks: the Soy Vanilla latte. I am definitely getting hooked on them.
When Dandelion Snow’s performance started, we knew it was going to be a bit different. Roger got a great response from the crowd, but everybody was busy studying with their back turned; at least they liked the music and clapped, so that was good. Because almost everyone in there was studying, I decided to keep my speech short, but I didn’t come all that way to not have people hear what I had to say, so I was a bit louder and more direct than normal. And let me say, this tactic worked. Immediately after I was done talking, numerous people came up to talk to me and learn more, including Kent McBride from Doing Great By Doing Good. He had actually heard about the tour online and came to interview me for his book. After the interview, he left with one of the tour shirts in my favorite color: orange.
After packing up, Roger and I went back to my friend Eric’s house in Denver to drop our bags off and head right out to eat. We went to another great Mexican place called Illegal Pete’s and I got “The Big Potato” burrito, smothered in green chiles. Oh man, it was soooo good; so good that I started falling asleep on the drive back to Eric’s place. The food on this tour has just been so good.
9.29 (Denver, CO & Kansas City, MO)
With the longest drive of the tour (9 hours to the next show) in front of us, I got up really early to take care of some online work in hopes that I could sleep for some of the drive. Fortunately, I was able to rest for some of Roger’s drive.
About halfway through the trip, Roger and I stopped at a Chinese Buffet Restaurant somewhere in Kansas. I was shocked to have seen a Taco Bell that was now a liquor store. I wonder if they use the drive thru for anything? Weird.
After nearly 10 hours in the car, we finally arrived in Kansas City (the Missouri Kansas City) and pulled up to the infamous Club Mustache. Fortunately, we didn’t have to jump out and set right up. It was a bit more relaxed of a show. In fact, my friends Jeff, Josh, and William who run the club even had some amazing vegan enchiladas waiting for us. Yep. Roger and I like Mexican food for sure!
After relaxing for a little bit and devouring some enchiladas, Roger and I set up shop in the downstairs venue. My friends also had surprised us by making some special edition STAY VOCAL bottles to serve drinks in. They reused beer bottles and had found some old SV stickers for labels. Genius! I would have used one, but they unfortunately couldn’t hold my hot coffee safely.
While I have visited Club Mustache before, this is the first time I’ve actually seen a show there and it was awesome. The local KC scene gave both myself and Roger a great response. Now, as this is my friend’s in Bent Left’s club, I couldn’t let them end the night without playing, so I made a special request for them to play my favorite song, “Application For Federal Assistance.” They actually had to go wake up the bass player who works early in the morning for work, but they played it, and two more songs, William in his pajamas and all. Great times!
The show turned into a bit of an after party, which was fine with me as I got to see my friend Krista for the first time in a while. She used to do street promotions for me way back in the day. I also got to meet long time SV customer-turned friend, Emily Catherine and her roommate James “Chico” Buehler, who had numerous entries in the Cinnamon roll T-Shirt design contest.
After the set, I talked with people and schmoozed for a bit, but I was exhausted from the mega drive that we had earlier in the day, so I called it an early night and fell asleep trying to finish the episode of The Office (still), while Roger and some of the Bent Left crew went out for a bit.
9.30 (Kansas City, MO)
I slept a little longer than normal as we didn’t have to drive to another city, which was a great feeling. I decided to take my friend Jeff’s advice and go down the street to the Filling Station, which was a perfect place for someone into reusing and coffee to go. The coffee shop was a former gas station, hence the name and by the long line, obviously it was popular too. Fortunately I was able to find a seat at the end of the bar, where I parked for about four hours, enjoying my light breakfast, multiple coffees, and getting a lot of work done.
While I was there, I overheard some people at a table talking about some towns near where I grew up in Mass. I apologized for interrupting and told them where I was from and they were shocked and wondered what someone from Norwell was doing in Kansas City. I told them about the tour and even went back later and told them all the details, but they never showed up. Bummer.
The show at Javanaut had two other singer/songwriters on the bill: Mati Mat and Mark Shipley, son of Tom Shipley of the infamous guitar duo Brewer and Shipley. I felt bad as I had never heard of them, but that was a bit before I was born. As most of the venues on the tour have been, this coffee shop was another great reuse: an old colonial style house with many different rooms. Roger and I had our choice of where to put on the show, so we opted for the patio which was a nice big place for it.
At this show, I met some great people doing great things in Kansas City, like Amanda from Motuv.org and Mindy from Reusable Coffee Sleeves. The new collaboration possibilities are just building and building. My friends Emily and Chico showed up again, but unfortunately after the show had ended. But there’s always food! So we decided to head to the Tower Tavern by the house for some pinball and snacks. It was here that I was introduced to “pickle shots,” which is a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. Now, I’m not a drinker, but I do love pickles! So, I did a shot of pickle “spear” juice followed by a shot of pickle “chip” juice. Oh yes, there’s a difference!
I don’t know if it was the pickle juice or the dark lights or just overall exhaustion, but I started nodding off at the bar, so I headed back to the house early and fell asleep almost immediately.
10.1 (Kansas City, MO & Chicago, IL)
At around 8:15 or so, Roger and I headed out on our 8 hour trek towards Chicago. When we stopped for gas, I bought my one scratch ticket for Missouri (I’ve been buying 1 in each state) and ended up winning $30. Hooray for me!
Speaking of vices, another one of mine when traveling across the country is Waffle House and today was the day when Roger approved us stopping there. I was so excited, but by the time I had located some, we had driven too far. I guess I’ll have to go on my drive back to California.
Because Roger had to get back to Pittsburgh for an early meeting the next day, this turned out to be the fastest trip through Chicago I’ve ever had. We loaded into Café Ballou around 7:15 and the owner of the coffee shop, Khosro, was awesome and made us feel more than welcome. He let us set up how we wanted to, gave us lots of coffee, made us some great vegan sandwiches, saved us a parking spot, and even bought a couple of T-Shirts. Some people are just RAD and Khosro is one of them.
Speaking of RAD people, my friend Rachael and her husband, Nick came all the way from Racine, WI for the show. I’ve know Rachael for years and beyond her company, I can always expect something homemade and amazing. This time, she not only made vegan chili for Roger and I, but brought these awesome reusable containers for them and even made some great vegan oatmeal cookies. Nick also brought us a new natural energy drink called XB-Fit that he is working for. I definitely have some amazing friends.
Speaking of friends and amazing, hahaha…. Rachael’s friend Jean also came out to the show with her young daughter. For the first time ever, Dandelion Snow’s set was interrupted by a young girl trying to buy a CD and then a second time, when she wanted his autograph. HAHAHA.
After the DS set was over, I spoke, but kept my speech really short, as there was going to be a small film premiere at the other end of the coffee shop. But that definitely worked in our favor again, as I spoke with a bunch of them after the film and sold some shirts to them as well.
At about 10:15 (yep, just 3 hours in and out), Roger and I hot loaded the car and took off for Pittsburgh. I drove the first shift, while Roger slept, but only made it until about 230. Even with a lot of caffeine, gum and sunflower seeds (my staying awake tricks), I couldn’t do any more. At that point, Roger took over and I passed out on my ALF pillow in the passenger seat.
10.2 (Pittsburgh, PA)
At about 8am or so, we arrived at Roger’s house in Pittsburgh. I was a bit groggy waking up, but I think eating the last of Rachael’s cookies (those didn’t last long!) helped me get clear headed enough to get directions and drive to my friend Katie’s apartment across the city. When I got there, she woke up long enough to let me in and show me the couch where I promptly passed out until about noon.
When I woke up, I instinctively headed to my computer to work for a bit, but I decided that I needed to take the day off to relax and spend some time with friends I hadn’t seen in quite a while and go to places I haven’t been in a while.
First, Katie and I headed to the local Eat n park, a Pittsburgh based restaurant chain. I certainly don’t have that many options there anymore, but it’s a Pittsburgh thing and I needed to go for sure.
After eating, we headed to a great reuse based store called The Exchange. They do sell new items, but the big thing is they buy used music, movies and video games. The one that we went to is the newest location near the University of Pittsburgh. I so wanted to go on a shopping spree for my eBay store, but there’s just no room in the car. Another visit is on the checklist.
Later in the day, Katie and I met up with my longtime friend Stefann. Her real name is Stephanie Ann, but I thought Stefann would work better and it has for the five years I’ve known her. After playing some Green Day Rock Band for a while (wow my voice is nothing like Billie Joe Armstrong’s), we headed to D’s for dinner. It’s been a while since I had a great hot dog and the “Chicago” style one I had was super good.
To top the night off, we headed to one of my top three spots in Pittsburgh: the Carmike Maxi Saver Dollar Theater. It’s now only 99-cents for the movies there. Even better! We went to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. I normally like Michael Cera’s work, but this movie just confused me. I will say though, part of the problem may have been my falling asleep in the theater. HA! On the way home, I was nodding off too, so when I got back to Katie’s I passed right out on the couch.
10.3 (Pittsburgh, PA)
Back-to-work day for m, so I decided to head over to a coffee shop that I had never gone to in Pittsburgh (well, Bellvue more specifically) called Affogato. I definitely want to go back when I don’t have to work to not only enjoy the sweet coffee bar that they have, but also make use of the plethora of board games that they have.
At around 4, Katie and I drove over to Commonwealth Press, where the show was today, but it was a bit early and nobody was there yet. So we headed down the street to one of my more frequented coffee shops in Pittsburgh, Beehive, where my friends Jeff and Heather had said they would be. And when we walked in the door, I saw even more familiar faces: the two Dans (Rugh and Rock) from Commonwealth Press.
After talking with them for a bit and ordering yet another soy vanilla latte, I went over to the study room where Jeff and Heather were. We only talked briefly, as the Dans were headed back to the shop and I needed to get there to set up.
Roger arrived soon after I got back to Commonwealth and we did surely the slowest set up of the tour. It was tough because I was seeing a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while, as was Roger. This show was heavy on the schmoozing! It was during this schmoozing, that my latte unfortunately got spilled over and being the most expensive one of the tour, it was a bit of a bummer. C’est la vie. (French lesson – “That’s life.”)
As mentioned, a lot of good friends showed up at the Pittsburgh show, which was awesome. It was sort of a mini Pittsburgh reunion for me; lots of people from my days with A-F Records and Anti-Flag. This was a great chance for my friends to see the shirts in person, which some of them have been really wanting to do for a while.
I also got to meet Dustin Gustafson in person. Dustin was the winner of the World of Good T-Shirt design contest. He and his girlfriend Taylor even wore their WOG shirts to the event which was great.
I’m really glad that Dan from Commonwealth suggested that we hold the show in his shop. Not only was it awesome to finally see it in person, but it definitely gave me some ideas for a STAY VOCAL store down the road.
After the show was over, Roger and I went our separate ways again and I headed out to dinner with some friends. Fortunately, right down the street there were 2 restaurants with vegan options, both of which I had never been too. The first one wasn’t serving food anymore, but the second (and possibly better) was open. It was called OTB Bicycle Café and it was a great bike themed restaurant. Of course I loved their reusing of bicycle parts for decorations, especially the bike mount turned into a toilet paper holder in the bathroom! And the food was awesome too: seitan wings and a huge salad with seitan strips on it.
10.4 (Pittsburgh & Philadelphia, PA)
I met up with Roger at his house and hung out there for a bit while he finished getting ready. I even saw where the Dandelion Snow Magic happens; songwriting typewriter and all. When he was all set, we headed on an uneventful, rain heavy drive to Philadelphia. We didn’t even have to get fuel on this trip.
The show today was in the Germantown section of Philadelphia in a cool coffee shop called Infusion. Not only were there a ton of great coffee drink options, but a lot of vegan food options as well. I had to hold myself back though, as I already had plans to meet up with friends for dinner later.
While most people at the coffee shop were there to study or meet up with friends, they were able to give us some attention for a while. Even one of the employees of the coffee shop bought one of the Tour T-Shirts. It’s still weird handing over a shirt with my face on it. But I guess I should get used to it?
Towards the end of the show, Roger’s friend Mica showed up and it wasn’t until we were packing the car that I noticed the drive to the city would be a fun one. Mica had taken the train in, so he and Roger had to fit into the front seat. This might have been OK, except Mica is 6 foot 7. Oh man, it was tight. Not to mention, it was pouring rain out, but at least I had an extra set of eyes, right?
After realizing how close Mica lived to where my friends Eric and Carol lived, it was easy for them to pick out a place to meet and eat: the Royal Tavern. When we walked in, it seemed to be just an ordinary bar with dark lighting and I figured it’d make me fall asleep. But then I read the menu and woke up in excitement at the option of a Tempeh club sandwich or Vegan Sloppy Joe. I opted for the club, which just means I have to come back for the Sloppy Joe.
After gorging the club and starting on some late night coffee, my friend Theresa joined us at the Tavern. Big T and I are close friends, but never get to see each other with her being in Maryland and me on the west coast somewhere usually, so she made the trek down to hang out for the night. Why Big T? Well, she’s 7 foot 9. No, it’s just actually just a random nickname, but her name does start with a big T.
Upon leaving the restaurant, Theresa and I went back to Eric & Carol’s apartment, which was literally right down the street. Theresa is a huge fan of hot peppers and since Eric grows his own habaneros, she had to indulge! This was actually like a mini Boston reunion, as all of us had lived in the Boston area at the same time at one point, but didn’t know each other. HA.
10.5 (Philadelphia, PA & New Haven & Bethany, CT)
I met up with Roger at his favorite coffee shop in Philadelphia, B2, and I definitely can see why. Not only was the toasted peanut butter and jelly bagel great, but also they gave me a sweet $1.00 discount for using my own mug! I can’t see why anyone would use a disposable cup at this place. After finishing at the coffee shop, we headed out on a much needed short trip to New Haven, CT.
My brother Andrew has lived in or around New Haven for about 15 years and I’ve visited countless times, but I’ve surprisingly never been to where today’s show was, Koffee on Audubon, before. Roger and I went in and talked with the employees for a bit, but having not eaten lunch, we were more than starving and ran across the street to Moe’s, the only fast(er) food chain that offers tofu as a “meat.” I also love how they name some of the menu items after Seinfeld references.
Getting back to the coffee shop, the employees were more than willing to let us set up where we wanted to, which always makes everything a lot easier. As the coffee shop is right down the street from Yale University, there were numerous people in there studying in a separate study room. But as I’ve mentioned, I can’t travel to all of these places and not tell people why. So, I gave a small speech to them a couple of times so they knew what was going on with the event and some definitely paid attention to the show.
Also in attendance were my brother and my niece, Heather, as well as my long time friend Laura from way back in my street promotions days. I have to say that now knowing about this great coffee shop and that there’s a Moe’s across the street, I’ll be visiting my brother again soon!
After the show, Roger and I packed the car and headed about 15 minutes down the road to Bethany, CT, where we were staying with my brother for the night. I was excited to show Roger the room we’d be in because some of my brother’s amazing reuse comic art was in there.
10.6 (Bethany, CT & Arlington, MA)
As today was the last day of voting for the Green Business of the Year award, I got up early to do some last minute promotional tactics for it. Fortunately, some influential people really came through for me! While I was working, I had to take my brother’s two dogs outside a couple of times to use the outdoor facilities. One of these dogs reminds me so much of Fizzgig from the Dark Crystal.
After Roger and I did some reorganizing of the car while we had it in a garage for a change, we went to the post office to ship out some mailorder. As Bethany is a pretty small town, the local post office is inside an ice cream shop. First time I’ve seen that! Since one of my orders was going overseas, I had a customs form filled out, but when I put it on the counter, the woman asked, “What the heck are those?” In a somewhat confused/humorous tone, I replied with, “Customs forms. This is a post office right?” She explained they didn’t do overseas there, so needless to say, we ended up going to another post office a bit later to ship that package.
The show at Jam’n Java in Arlington (my first time there besides the subway stop) was scheduled for 7pm, but we were nice and early, so we sat down for a sandwich and relaxed a bit after the trip. Speaking of early, my friend Brian Gould showed up really early himself, but I guess he just wanted first dibs on the ReUse & Schmooze Tour shirt selection which he had preordered. And I quickly became so glad he did show up early, as he schmoozed with some women there while Roger and I were setting up. Before the show even began, they had bought some shirts and a hat. Brian: you’re hired.
I was certainly expecting some friends to show up for today’s show and it turned out to be an awesomely random assortment of people from my past, present and future, including my first meeting in person with Nancy Gallant from Time Well Spent. For over a year, we’ve been communicating and supporting each other’s projects online and even though she is from the Boston area too, we’ve never been able to link up, until tonight!
Roger and I parted ways again tonight, as he went to stay with some friends in Allston, while I headed back to the South Shore to drop some stuff off and stay with Mailorder Mom.
10.7 (Hingham & Bridgewater, MA)
I picked up Roger early this afternoon at the East Weymouth Commuter Rail station, which didn’t even exist a few years ago. It’s a bummer that when I start spending more of my time on the west coast, the South Shore starts getting a lot better public transportation.
For the first time on the tour, I got to cook a meal for Roger and I, which was a very refreshing change. It was only some pasta and sauce, but it wasn’t rushed and we didn’t have to leave a tip. And that felt pretty good!
After lunch, Roger and I headed to KRaSe, my sister Rebecca’s hair salon in Norwell, as Roger wanted a professional to fix what he had started. From personal experience, I know how hard it can be to cut the back of your hair! To give us a warm welcome, Rebecca was wearing her STAY VOCAL Cereal T-Shirt. Sweet!
Our next stop was STAY VOCAL Headquarters (AKA the house that I grew up in), as I had to pick up some more one of a kind shirts to fill the empty spaces on the rack. After giving Roger the grand tour of the house and seeing him overwhelmed with the history of it all, we headed over to the Rockin K to refocus and get an early start.
My friend Diane Kunkel who runs the shop made today a perfect way to end the tour. Not only did we have pretty much free reign to set up how we waned, but she made us homemade sushi and miso soup too. And when she told me about her “all you can eat sushi night,” I knew I’d be coming back to the “K” on this trip.
Tonight’s show started a bit on the slow side and I’m starting to think it’s a South Shore thing to show up “fashionably late.” HAHA. Because of that, there were actually two Dandelion Snow sets. The second set was way more packed, when a whole slew of family and friends showed up. I think Roger got an overload of my family that night and it was pretty surreal seeing so many of them in attendance. I guess that’s what happens when my 4 siblings start marrying and spawning.
While most everyone at the show tonight knows exactly what I do, I did speak a bit, but it was more of a thank you to Roger and a thank you to Diane for making the last night so great. I also shared a few of the stories from the tour, but nothing like this novel!
After the show, I did something that I’ve never done at any of the STAY VOCAL events at the Rockin’ K before: stick around Bridgewater and hang out with some friends. Roger and I went out with my friend Candace from Bridgewater Art & Custom Framing and boyfriend Zach. While it was just going out for Chinese food, it was an amazingly relaxing way to decompress after a long day and a long tour.
10.8 (Hingham, MA
Today the Fall Tour officially ended when I took Roger to the Braintree Logan express and off he went in a bus to the airport in Boston. But really, does a reuse & schmooze tour ever end? Stay tuned folks….