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August 14, 2009 I never only speak in lies/the sky is turning ovoid (lakes to Milwaukee)

A stiff, constricted night’s sleep in the Saturn prefaced my journey alongside Lake Michigan. My new best friend is my GPS, whom I’ve named Anthro (Ant for short). She has been helping me find libraries, rest stops, and free breakfasts lately.

That evening’s show was in the small hamlet of Lake Villa, IL, a land of privatized and bacteria-filled lakes where fish like myself are prohibited from swimming…anywhere (trust me- I tried a good few times before I gave up and headed to the venue).

Swing State is a combo hookah lounge/coffee shop/all ages venue. Initially, the vibes were awkward. The bill ended up as varied as a bill could be in the middle of nowhere- myself, followed by two Christian hardcore bands, a singer/songwriter, and a comedic, personablecabaret singer from Ohio. Hookahs, metal, positivity…! The difference in faiths and lifestyles was pretty apparent, but we all got along, though it was admittedly hilarious to see some of the Christians checking out my t-shirt (a somewhat blasphemous image of Jesus in pink)- which prompted them to return to our conversations thereafter with a little more hesitancy. If only they had read my lyrics too, we could’ve had some good discussions! Camped out behind the venue in the heat.

I can’t seem to escape the rain. Also, the time zone thing has confused me, since southeastern Indiana, unless like the rest of the state, is not in CST. According to a Terre Haute resident, “it’s cos all of thos’ Republicans!”

Detour to the wonderful (though construction-heavy) city of Madison, WI to find John Muir’s black locust tree. At one point I recharged my phone on the side of a church, and I thought, Jesus is powering my cell phone. Then to Chicago, where I snuck into cemeteries and wandered in Millennium Park and smiled incessantly at the activity. Swimming downtown is a strange, satisfying feeling (and they won’t let you get in over your chest).

Darkroom was a great venue, but the sound was off and I played a lackluster set. Pree is always a good show. TV Set was the oddity of the night, with such lyrical head-scratchers as “you can walk your dog- or eat him” and charming banter such as “Tasmanian devils are extinct, just like me!” What?

Headed to Milwaukee the next night, a city that immediately revealed itself to me as a host of many different odors- fried food, hops (?), corn, pastries…a wild assortment of options for your olfactory, however you split it. Monkey Bar had surprisingly good sound and managed to sell a good amount of CDs, although a majority of the crowd was more involved with beer pong in the other room (I guess people really liked high school- they seem to never leave it).

Learned how to tune a gu-zheng (Chinese zither) with my Couchsurfing hosts.

It is good to be in the North again, with people who are familiar with blizzards and genuine (not manmade) lakes. The clouds here seem to hang higher in the sky, like glaciers. I feel more protected by them in these latitudes, and on my drive to Minneapolis I began to spin the illusion that the middle of the sky was turning ovoid the further West I went.

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