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July 2004

On a poorly planned trip to New Jersey with a list of venues and a stack of fliers for the upcoming show July 30th at the Minstrel Coffeehouse. I stop on the way at The Point in Philadelphia to play the open mic, but they're hosting a special event not listed on their website, so I head on north to The Corner Tavern in New Brunswick, for Spook Handy's 952nd consecutive open mic. Besides Spook and myself there are but two other performers, and we all take long sets and get up to play again. Interesting, but still plenty of fliers left.

The next day brings some of the worst weather I've driven through, heading to Stanhope to play the Stanhope House open mic. Endless traffic, guided by a mapquest printout that may be accurate on some other astral plane, but is fairly useless in this one. I call for better directions and listen to a vacation announcement, owners will be back in three days.

A wise man told me once there are three things you need to do to be successful in the music business. 1. Get an agent. 2. Get an agent. 3.Get an agent.

But I don't need no stinkin agent. I stop and buy a New Jersey map, figuring it to have better detail than my Atlas. I open it to find it is the same useless map, only larger. So now I can still be lost, but I won't have to squint.

I check my mapquest for The Dancing Goat in South Orange. I run the course on my map. I call the venue to make sure they're open and that there's an open mic tonight. As I head in, there's a few reference points that jump at me.

The restaurants that sell goat meat. The billboards that say, "Use a Gun, You're Done", and "Don't abandon your Baby".

The Dancing Goat turns out to be a venue for jazz and hip-hop, and I stare at the posters in the window, imagining my flier there, and just walk back to the car.

I look at my lists, and see Krough's Restaurant in Sparta, about 15 miles in the direction I just came from. I run through my options. I could stay and do hip-hop versions of Dave Carter songs.

"I will climb the rise at daybreak when they open up the Fina,
And bellow like the thunderdrum for Funky Cold Medina."

I could go to Kroughs and check them out. But I'm done. This whole trip has been a poor plan, executed flawlessly. It is time to stop the bleeding. Back on the Jersey Turnpike South, back to DC.