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(I’m trying to get no further than a week behind schedule with these posts. Maybe these two days off here near Indianapolis will finally get me caught up.)

So, last week, on Tuesday, April 9th, Eric & I spent most of the day hanging out with Scott. He’d recently bought a bunch of new board games and had only ever played half of Settlers of Catan, so we actually ended up playing two games in a row together. (My 2nd and 3rd good games of Settlers, ever. I first learned how to play in college, by a very demanding and un-fun-to-be-around guy. I then experienced a string of bad Settlers games: extremely jet-lagged, trying to impress new friends, fumbling through while everyone else sped by. It was miserable. I hated the game, and worked hard at avoiding it while all my best friends would play for hours. It wasn’t until this past President’s Day Weekend, 6 years after my first game, that I finally played with a group of very compassionate friends who really helped me understand the game, that I finally grasped the concept and enjoyed it for the first time. Now: Great game. I love it. But I think the part of my brain that processes how board games work is just slightly slower than most.)

Our Pocket Vinyl show that evening was a late one, bringing us east back to Milwaukee for our second time around at Bremen’s Cafe. We’d played there back in the fall of 2011 and the owner had commissioned me to do a small mural on the side of the bar by the stage. You can check out photos from that mural, including the in-process work, here.

The stage use to be directly in front of the bar and my mural, but when we showed up this time around we discovered that they’d built a larger stage in the back room and had torn down the front one. Also this time around we were the only band playing, and it looked like it was going to be an awfully quiet Tuesday night. The bartender was sympathetic, and suggested we wait around until 10:30 to see if anyone would come by for the show. Even though the counter was full of people, the bartender told us that they were all regulars and he doubted any of them would filter into the back room to watch us.

Eric & I settled at a table and watched half of Predator 2 with subtitles playing above the bar as the minutes ticked by. The bartender was nice enough to give us some free local Wisconsin beers while we waited. After a while I grabbed a copy of the Onion and, flipping to the AV Club section, again found a little blurb about our show for that night! Seriously, someone at the Onion likes us.

Close to 10:30 Eric went to check out the back room again and found a guy sitting there. He’d seen the blurb in the Onion and had come out specifically for the show! We had a reason to play! So we went and got our stuff and set up. A small handful of other guys trickled in and, even though there were less than 10 people in the room, everyone enthusiastically paid attention and responded well.

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I painted a flamingo-headed woman, and afterwards decided that this would be my last animal-headed woman. At least for now.

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As we were packing up our gear in the rain a guy stopped Eric. On our most recent recordings, the Pocket Vinyl MP1 7″ of 11 one-minute songs, there is a song titled The Miscarriage. Before playing the song live Eric will often give a bit of background story, letting the audience know that the inspiration behind the song talks about the fact that his parents only wanted 3 children and after Eric’s two older brothers were born his mom had a miscarriage. After that Eric was born. But if it hadn’t been for that miscarriage, for a death of a child, Eric never would have been. It’s a sombre song of contemplation.

The guy who stopped Eric as we were packing up had walked out during that song, and he came to apologize. He told us that a miscarriage had happened within his own family, years ago, but that he’d never processed or dealt with the event. Eric’s song had overwhelmed him, and brought up all these buried emotions.

I guess this is why we play. I hope he’s alright.

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