It’s late Sunday afternoon (or is it evening – going back to eastern standard time has made me feel a bit out of sorts). Pantaliamon is at a housewarming party for a friend that’s inexplicably not being held at his new house, and the dog and I are alone. The television has been off all day, and I’ve been listening to most of Jets to Brazil’s brilliant new record “Perfecting Loneliness” on my old MP3 player over and over. And when I say “old” I mean it – it’s a beat up Rio300, the case is cracked in multiple places and the battery keeps falling out. I’ve had it since 1998 or 1999 – I can’t remember which. It’s served me well, though it sucks as much now as it did when I first got it. I really need to get a new one.

Pan and I have been together for nearly nine years now – and we have very rarely been apart, except for work. So when she goes out with friends – or when I do – the house seems strange. Empty. The dog senses it, he sleeps much more than he should, and sometimes I’ll notice him looking around. “Where is she?” he seems to ask.

I spent a few hours reading George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords – the third in his excellent series, A Song of Ice and Fire. I started re-reading the books in September, after I loaned an extra copy of the first volume to a friend. It’s as good as it was the last time I read it – two years ago or so. But it’s hard to read, so many terrible things happen in it. And knowing when they’re going to happen just makes me even more anxious. My mom – who taught me to love books when I was very young, much to the confusion and derision of my meat-and-potatoes blue collar dad – hates stories that don’t have happy endings. And although I give lip service to liking things more “realistic,” I know part of me still loves a happy ending. And that’s the part of me that gets worn down from reading Martin’s book – that says to me “enough is enough, let’s go do something else.” Something happier. My mother would be proud.

But for some reason I can’t think of anything happier to do. A few weeks ago, I might have played Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, or Battlefield: 1942, but I’ve reached my saturation point with computer games. I’m sick of them.

So I listen to records and make some rather pathetic attempts at doing chores while I wait for her to come home. Our apartment is a wreck, and I just don’t have the heart to clean it. Neither does Pantaliamon. The dog I suspect couldn’t care less about it.

Last night we went out to see Q and Not U play at the Black Cat with the Mercury Program and Ink. Ink used to be a band I loved in the mid-1990’s called Candy Machine, and it was great to see them. Peter Quinn, their singer, stands on stage looking uncomfortable being there – well, maybe “uncomfortable” isn’t the right word, “miserable” is more like it. He sings his lyrics from a beaten note pad, because they’re too complicated for him to remember, but I loved Candy Machine’s songs so much I knew most of them. Ink’s songs are different, though – I don’t know them. The Mercury Program were a boring Tortoise knock-off – at one point when the announced they had two songs left, I nearly heckled them (well, I did groan loudly – does that count?). There’s just something really tiresome about using rock instruments to make soft, classical-music inspired instrumentals. I’m sure it’s great in theory, but ten minute songs with repetitive riffs and xylophones just doesn’t make a very engaging live show experience.

We met fellow noder momomom, and she was very cool. She brought her fifteen year-old daughter and some of her daughter's friends along. If only my parents had been that cool. I didn’t go to my first show until I was in college, and my mom had been horrified to hear that some of my school friends had taken me into D.C. to a club. I hope momomom’s kids appreciate how great their mother is. I doubt many parents are interested in punk music, and respect the importance shows have on any devout music fan.

Well, back to cleaning up, I guess. And the dog is looking at me as if he wants to go out for a walk. I hope Pantaliamon comes home soon – it’s getting very lonely …