Mad Props need to go out to the DC crew for the first show of the tour. I was intimidated by the boots and spikes and general darkness of the vibe at Nation, but somehow people found a way to get into our weirdness. Big ups to Colleen for letting us stay at her place and to Sue for showing us around a soggy DC. Seeing the nation's monuments and government offices with three punk rock europeans in the post-September 11th world is definitely interesting. Everything is colored by a weird kind of shame at the way our country often behaves, but over coffee we all agreed that every place has its faults and that in the end, the US is a pretty damn decent place to live. I'm not one to just find faults for the sake of it, but it's healthy to question what is handed to you--healthy to be somewhat skeptical of the power structures. When I saw DC as a kid, it was much more care-free and I saw it through the eyes of someone very proud of everything--in awe of the bigness of all of it. Now, 15 years later, it's good to return with a new perspective. The change can probably best be summed up by our experience at the Lincoln Monument--walking up the steps I couldn't help but crack a joke about the end of the remake of Planet of the Apes but once inside, it was still a place for respectful reflection. As we left, we couldn't help but shake our heads at the POW/MIA booths that had "Iraq's Most Wanted" posters up, turning the hunting down of humans in war into a pop-cultural gag... but then then we walked over to the Vietnam War Memorial and had a sobering look at sacrifice. The world's just a more complicated place than they show you in the brochures.