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Music Production: Circuits of Steel Tour 2003
07/25/2003 Circuits of Steel Tour 2003: Travel Day: Circuits of "Dude, where's my video projector?"

I got up somewhat later than I have been on the tour. We had some great quesadillas courtesy of our host Hymie, packed up...and at this point Kerry realized that the video projector was not in the house or the van. It was most likely left at the club, but our expectation was that it probably was long gone. We went over to the party house, where we...just hung out for an hour or so before we finally got rolling...to a record shop. Then another. And at that one, I found Steve Reich's Music for a Large Ensemble, which I'd been looking for for years--Patricia and I used to get it out of the library in our old, broke days, so this was a bright spot.

At this point, it was late afternoon, so we rolled north to Fat Cats, where--much to our amazement--we got the projector back. Manny had to apologize again for Girl Talk's Radio Shack comment, but it seemed as though things were squared away. Now we pointed north again, toward Texarkana. It was about 5:00, and we had a *long* way to go. Kerry pushed the van aggressively onward while I got down to work. Sadly, I had to reboot once due to a weird CD reader issue, which meant that I couldn't relaunch my time-limited demo of Flash MX. So I opted to do some work on the tour journal instead.

At one point we stopped for gas and found a Subway next door; a half-size veggie sub would be dinner. I happened to note a "High speed internet breakfast" sign on the Hampton Inn across the way, and found it mildly amusing. Then it was back on the road. Sometime after dark, we went through foul-smelling Texarkana and on into Arkansas. By this time, whenever we stopped for gas, mosquitos would enter the van and feed off our exotic Pennsylvania meat. Hunting them was one of the things that kept us all awake ("Ryan! It's above your head!"). From the front seat, Manny yelped. Greg asked, "What, is there a wolf up there with you, Manny?" No, merely a wolf-sized mosquito.

At one convenience store I picked up some energy drink which I didn't consume, and a Nutri-Grain thing that was packed with all kinds of hydrogenated polymers despite its pretense of healthiness. While Manny, Kerry, and I were in favor of stopping at a motel somewhere, Greg and Jason were all about making it to Memphis by the time the bars close, with the intent of picking up and staying with women who for whatever reason hadn't been picked up by anyone else. The trick would be to make sure they fed one and took one home, and then one would pretend to be drunk and pass out, thus earning a meal and a place to sleep without any quid pro quo. Happily, Kerry's position as driver meant that this was vetoed, and we went with the motel idea instead.

After midnight, we stopped at a Super-8 in West Memphis. We were still in Arkansas, but theoretically in the greater Memphis area. An elaborate plan was constructed, by which Kerry and Manny would go to the front desk, get a room, and then the rest of us would come up to the room in pairs at five-minute intervals. Manny betrayed some irritation that the room for just the two of them was $62; he'd been hoping for $30. Jason and Ryan took the keys to the van and headed across the road to a convenience store, while Greg and I waited for our five minutes. Mosquitos swarmed over the van, knowing that we'd come out eventually. We got our stuff out, closed the doors as quickly as possible, and still got bit. We made it to the room, which was serviceable, but had a few character-enhancing features, like a blood smear on the wall above the bathroom sink. I chose to assume that this was from a mosquito kill. (The motel actually had a sign warning about leaving doors closed due to the mosquitos.)

The night was strangely empty without a performance. There was nothing giving shape to our day, no real goal other than to drive as far as possible. Ryan and Jason came back, hung out, went back out to smoke, and Greg went across to the convenience store. I just hung out in the room with Manny and Kerry; eventually we collected everyone again, and they put a Bond flick on the TV. Manny and Xanopticon took one bed, while Greg and Kerry went for the floor. That meant I'd be sharing a bed with Jason. We scrupulously kept to the bed's outer edges, and I went to sleep.

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