Friday the 2nd I set out on a solo road trip. I was past Leesburg by 2:30 where it was already getting busy. I stopped again at that wonderful liquor store we found when we stayed near Frederick, then arrived at Hollywood Casino just in time for Extreme’s soundcheck. Or so I thought – it was nearly an hour before they let us in. It really gave us time to take in the casino and its cigarette smoke? Yep, still a thing. The band ran through “Kid Ego” before they let us in, then as we the group was coming in played “He-Man Woman Hater”. They chatted with us, teased “Suzi (Wants Her All Day What)”, then played “Li’l Jack Horny”. They switched to their acoustic setup, asked us what we wanted to hear, and played short versions of “More Than A Feeling”, “Over The Hills And Far Away”, and “The Song Remains The Same” before finishing up with a full version of “Tragic Comic” (one of my favorite Extreme songs). They let 8-10 people come up at a time to take pictures with the band, and I pissed off Nuno by saying they could take back the recently unemployed Mike Mangini if long time drummer Kevin Figg left. I should never forget Scalzi’s aphorism “the failure mode of clever is asshole“.


I had found that the casino had a food court, but after I knew about the smoking, that was right out. So off into downtown Charles Town I went (only 5 minutes away) and parked near Abolitionist Ale Works. I went in at the fellow at the door asked me if I was part of the wedding party. They had the restaurant, but thankfully there was still seating at the bar. I knew I wasn’t in DC when a pizza, 2 draft beers, and 4 beers to go was just $33. Back at Hollywood Casino, I had time for another drink before Living Colour took the stage. Too bad they had a short set, but they made the most of their time, and they’re still excellent. I’d seen they were doing a medley of rap songs during their set and assumed they were paying tribute to some of their influences. Nope, bassist played on “White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)”, “Apache”, and “The Message”, and that was a jawdropper for me (and a nod to the longevity and excellence of these musicians).

Living Colour

Extreme’s headlining set was a nice overview of their career. They played songs off every album, with a nice first album medley as well as a full “Play With Me”. Their new album Six has been critically acclaimed, and they had a nice amount of new tunes, all well received by the sold out crowd (as well as their classics).


Back home, Jill and Nina had Big Buns. Nina got to go over and hang out with friends on Sunday, and since she ate dinner with them, Jill and I dropped her off at her church class at 7 for a quick dinner at the bar at Joon. Delicious Persian cuisine. Monday I said this is a story you should read if you’re considering for any reason not vaccinating your kids. Tuesday Nina walked home with friends. Wednesday we had received an automatic litter box from LaLa Home, and I found out that Lillah weighed 5.3kg (or 11.7 lbs), because like every appliance these days, the litter box came with an app. Thursday Nina showed us a scratch on her legs because the between period rush is aggressive since the students only have 3 minutes between classes.

litter box

Saturday the 10th was super busy. First we drove to Ballston, where the Filling Station was hosting the annual Vienna School of Rock showcase. We saw the AC/DC band, which in addition to Nina’s friend Megan on vocals, also featured the daughter of my elementary school friends on bass.


We were hungry for lunch, and Hawkers next door looked good, so we went there. I had grilled shishito peppers, lamb skewers, and a flight of sake, just perfect. Next it was on to the Barnes and Noble in Clarendon where Dulcé Sloan was doing a signing for her new book – she was so nice. We had time for book shopping as well, then stopped at Crate and Barrel to pick up a couple kitchen tools. A lady was handing out ice cream samples, then gave us all coupons for a free scoop at Nicecream across the street, and we couldn’t pass that up.

Jill Dulcé Sloan Kerry

We need a rest after all that, but I had Jill take some photos of me for a cameo in the Good Omens graphic novel, then I made a small dinner and left for the Black Cat. Actor Michael Shannon had teamed up with musician Jason Narducy for a tour where they covered R.E.M.’s Murmur and other R.E.M. classics. It was significant enough that when they’d played Athens 2 nights previously, all of R.E.M. had shown up, sometimes playing along. With that buzz, of course it was sold out. I tried getting there around the time doors opened, but parking was terrible. Still, I got there before opener Dave Hill, a musical comedian who had some pretty funny bits (especially “Pickup Lines That Will Only Work In Washington, DC”). Michael Shannon & Jason Narducy and Friends were greeted warmly, and it was soon obvious while Michael Shannon looks nothing like Michael Stipe, they prowl the stage with similar intensity. Plus they managed to stretch a 45 minute album into a 2 hour plus show by also covering the Chronic Town EP, then wandering through R.E.M.’s catalog.

Michael Shannon

I didn’t really have a side during the Super Bowl Sunday, but it was nice that the Chiefs won just because it pissed off the right people. Best moment was during Usher’s halftime show when we discovered the only reason I knew “Confessions Part II” was because of Weird Al’s “Confessions Part III” and Jill had never heard it, so of course we head to pause the show to listen. Also, I think I’ve perfected Buffalo wings. I’d been using the air fryer and other hot sauces, but I’d never used real buttermilk in blue cheese dressing and it really makes a difference.


Monday my new favorite social network Bluesky was now open to the public to join. If you don’t know what makes it different, read this. Tuesday was Valentine’s Day, and we low key celebrated. Nina got to hang out with friends, and we all had takeout from Reston Kebab for dinner. I did my usual dozen roses, and Jill had asked for an orchid (I got beer). Friday I went to Jammin’ Java after dinner as Alexa Rose and Matt Pond PA had put out their Call and Response EP and were touring with it. I thought we’d get them both on stage trading off songs, but instead Alexa Rose did a solo set. I had missed Hillary James’s (from Matt Pond PA) opening set, but Matt Pond PA was great, and Alexa Rose came back for 3 songs during their set. I also found this lovely Dungeons & Dragons styled beer at Total Wine.

Dungeons & Dragons styled beer

Sunday the 18th we went to visit Dad and Patricia for a much belated holiday celebration. We had lunch at O’Loughlin’s Restaurant near where Patricia lives. I had to run to the market next door to get some unsalted butter for my crab legs. Monday was President’s Day, and we’d planned to all attend the DC premiere of Robbie Schaefer’s new movie, Burst The Silence. But Nina had a lot of schoolwork she was behind on, and Jill didn’t want to stay out late, so I went alone. I really enjoyed it, but we’d seen the musical he did it was based on, so I may be biased. I have to single out Marcy Harriell, she was really great.

Burst The Silence cast

Tuesday I saw that in a Florida school there was a measles outbreak where nearly 10% were not vaccinated from over 1,000 students. I predicted there would be more due to the anti-vax idiots. Thursday Langston Hughes Middle School hosted a multicultural festival called “See Me in Reston”. Nina’s chorus gave a short performance so I came to watch – unfortunately it was short notice and Jill had to work.


Friday the 23rd we got takeout from Tea Break. Saturday Jill and I worked hard collecting things for her church’s rummage sale, mostly books. Monday I groused I’ve had neighbors like this… Tuesday I said WTF at this. I was also a little WTF at Nina being too hard to wake up on Tuesday to go to school, until she did it the next week and I found out she had re-enabled Chrome on the phone we let her play music on at night and stayed up most of the night watching videos before hiding her tracks by disabling it again in the morning. At least I got a cute picture of her and the cat.

Lillah Nina