Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Another Day in the Life!

I can't believe it! Finally a day off in our rigorous tour schedule. A diamond in the rough! I've noticed that it takes approximately two weeks or so of constant travel for my mental health to start waning, and here I am, exactly two weeks in.

At noon, I woke up on the floor of my friend Antoine's apartment. He lives right on Wicker Park, which is one of my favorite neighborhoods in this city...a bit hipster for my usual taste, but rife with interesting stores and wander-able streets. I just bought a book at an amazing zine/mag/book story called 'Quimby's' and have been sitting in the same spot at Gallery Cafe for hours, biting at my sparkle nail polish and planning my future. I'm much better at planning the long-term future than the short-term, seeing as how I still haven't left for that museum I keep promising myself. One more hour and I swear I'll get out of here!

Anyway, the long AND short of it is, I'm ready to go home. I don't know what that means anymore, but I'm ready to be on my own schedule again--keep late hours without walking on eggshells, wander without having to be somewhere, enjoy the sound of silence--the under-rated freedoms I usually take for granted when not on tour. My band is about to take our first one month + break in three and a half years, and it's going to feel good to be a quasi-regular person for a few weeks. I'll be moving out of my apartment and half-way across the country, but I think it will feel good, and I couldn't be more ready.

One of my first priorities when I get home will be updating this thing more regularly and challenging myself a little bit more. This coffee shop moment is very rare for me these days, especially in combination with internet access. Most of my hours are spent in the backseat of a van with little to do but try and read books with words that are jiggling across their pages.

So, for now, another entry that's rather nutrient-poor and wonder-breadish. Maybe more tomorrow before packing!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Holes in Mental Pockets.

Whenever I sit down to write and I'm not feeling inspired, it always reminds me of my teenhood and the days when I lived at home with my folks. We'd have family dinners pretty frequently, and if I recall correctly, I would be expected to be able to discuss the day's local newspaper at length over our rosemary baked chicken or margharita pizza or something. This is a smart way to make kids pay attention to what's going on in the world, I realize now...but at the time, I found it incredibly stressful and even a little bit mean. I didn't hate reading the paper; In fact, I'm pretty sure I enjoyed it at least more than half of the time. The problem had more to do with the fact that it didn't matter if I skimmed the front page and embellished, or if I poured over each and every trivial paragraph of each section: my brain simply would not retain much information--especially under pressure--and I was prolifically embarrassed by the vast majority of my parents' dinner-inquisitions.

The frustrating reaction that I have to any impromptu necessity for providing specific details has plagued me my entire life. I become agitated, but also eager to prove myself as a reliable knowledge-vessel (to no avail). My mind goes blank, but not all at once--very slowly and gracefully, like water being wicked by a paper towel, in reverse. The fingertips of memory grope in vain at the dangling threads of answers as they slither under the dull rocks in the shadows of my self-concious paralysis! Boo hoo.

But perhaps I'm giving myself too much credit in describing it this way. It suggests that the only problem is access. Speed bumps are hardly a concern if there is no road beyond them, and this can be the case for me just as often as not. My lack of ability to keep facts and dates and specific information organized and accessible has severly discouraged my curiosity in those departments. I mean, what's the point of looking things up if I won't remember them? This is classic lazy-person's rationale, but at the same time, it's really the way it is! I have no doubt that this one thing about myself has completely shaped which areas of study I was most interested in growing up and also how I aim to spend the rest of my days. Sure, I can flash card my way through life, but it is incredibly finite and incredibly time consuming for such a deflating payoff!

Ugh. Reading through this is already making me feel guilty. The only reason I started rambling on about this is because I didn't know what to write but WANTED to write, desperately. My adult focus was derailed, and there I was at the dining room table again, like a guilty spy under a bright light.

"Hmmm, a month has gone by without so much as a word--what do you have to say for yourself? Didn't ANYTHING worth noting happen? In all your travels, you can't come up with one key event or perhaps a valuable life reflection? I don't know how you expect me to believe that you actually lived last month at all!"

Sorry, Dad!

In my defense, all I have to say is that I do feel that gaining as much information as one possibly can is a worthy and inspiring plight. There are all sorts of interesting things in this world and it is impossible to get your fill, really. I just wish I had deeper mental pockets with fewer holes...but I guess that shouldn't stop me from being curious and I should probably get over myself.

P.S. I still read the newspaper!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Eyes for poetry, dialated and weeping!

Perched on my bed, surrounded by the dolls and busts and trinkets that make up this sentimental shrine to my short life, I am finally here, nuzzling the most wonderful cat this world has ever known and basking in the vibrations of a magical and loving place that will always be 'home' to me! Sweet sweet Sacramento, you are an unknown cave of wonders to this world! Beneath the solemn hum of kingdoms rising and falling and, in your way, a place not entirely privy to the ritual of days and years that we like to count, I am once again cradled in the warm glow of your womb...the stalactites are still wet and dripping with golden love and the soft echo of voices rises to meet me, even when I haven't spoken first...

Home! Home home home... if you say it over and over, it loses its meaning, but you can still feel it...

In my town, there is a little bit of everything that is wonderful in the whole world. It is a fractal of all of the things that exist in the whole universe, and no matter where I go, I will find the same things, though they might seem different. One is not better than the other, but this one is mine, and I will love it rawer than I love any place else because of that.

I woke up in the exact coordinates on earth that my body has occupied a thousand times before, after being mercilessly smeared and smudged across the globe. Its an incredible sensation! My heart is a fist clutching to one stationary patch of space with a grateful, white-knuckled 'hallelujah!' There is something that goes missing when you live life at the speed of light, and though I knew it was growing elsewhere, I was famished. But now, I am a bouquet thick with with the blooming brilliance of all that was not there before!

Its been a while since I've taken notes on my life, primarily because I don't have a computer right now, and its hard to know where to start when Now and Then are two separate continents and the water between is full of untold secrets!

We toured Spain, Portugal and France for exactly one month, and now it is all but a dream. It wasn't a time in my life, but more so a whole separate life that I lived in a snow globe equilibrium of love and adventure. It has changed me forever, like everything else does, except it felt deeper and stronger. When I close my eyes and think of it, I find that the smallest details left the weightiest impressions on me, and its so exciting to know that I am, indeed, growing and evolving and am not doomed to stagnate and crust and wither into an emotional cripple that isn't pained and thrilled by all that is around me!!!

I'm still rather jet-lagged, so all I've been able to do is get out of bed every other hour to do practical things like laundry and neighborhood strolling, but my eyes are truly full of stars and it is impossible for me to have a conversation with anyone today because I'm so awe-stricken by the loveliness of life... I'm not afraid at all for the first time in so long, but so very happy to be sad! For times like these, there are no words, and so I have no doubt that my symbolic and vain pursuits to share it translate into a trite, self-indulgent exercise in futility...but I suppose I'm the kind of person that always says too much for fear of saying too little.

I have seen a thousand new things that I must accomplish in my lifetime. I have suffered from the usual debilitating self-hatred that sets in when I'm on tour, but also exulted in the belief that I have chosen the best life possible. I have fallen in and out of love one hundred times or more, with all sorts of things and all sorts of people! In fact, I have considered love very deeply this month and have learned a great deal just by listening to my heart.

For instance, I think that we (or maybe just me...I'm not sure) fall in love not with a person, but with moments and pieces of people that resonate with us or show us our mortality in the most beautiful light. When you find someone extraordinary, it is because there are so many moments like that to be had and it gives you the sense that you must have all of them to yourself and that life will be second-rate if you can't experience as much of that stuff as possible. I do not get nearly enough moments from my most precious source, mainly due to geography...but I see now that the reason I cannot let go of it is because there is still so many more to come that I cannot live without, or live knowing that I am missing them! And my devoted obsession with the person I have the most extraordinary moments with doesn't hinder my ability to love moments with other people, and love them very deeply in instances that sometimes seem to stop time...

Something important has changed in me forever. I feel like a tree that has just lost its first leaf. There it is on the ground, so meager and only one out of so many...but the beauty and horror of it is that I feel as though this is the beginning of me watching myself die, somehow. I always knew that I was going to die, but I wasn't dying yet, and now the clock with my name on it is making funny noises...it changed modes when I wasn't looking, and now my time is more precious and more severe and more slippery than ever before... something that was always a part of me--always there--is now right in front of my face, and it will be there for the rest of my days... For the first time, I don't need a mirror to see it! But it has changed the colors of my world like a planet orbiting a dying star, and everything is orange and pink and red, and I am feeling things more than ever...

I hope that I can find the inspiration to write about my tour in more explicit detail this week, but it is hard to do things justice with language. I'm just hoping to rest and think and and pretend that there is nothing to do. There is a cd I've been listening to on repeat by a fellow named Matt Eliott...I think its been making me especially emotional. When I woke up, I started listening to it on headphones in bed, and as I watched all the dust in the room sparkle and rise slowly in a beam of sunlight from the window, I imagined that each speck had a soul, and they were all going to heaven.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The wavering sword of a good guess (fall where it may)

It seems like a really bad idea to blog about this, let alone START my blog off with the mere mention of my unspeakable deed, but when I sat down to write, it was the most glaring, prominent thought in my brain and it seems there is nowhere else I could possibly begin. Apologies in advance to every wanting and twitterpated individual I owe money to and haven't paid...and an especially apologetic shout out to my landlord, Ernesto Ruiz!

I'm very ashamed of what I've done: Today, I went to a vintage clothing store, tried numorous items on, and then spent money I absolutely DO NOT have on not one, but TWO dresses!

The GALL! The INSULT! The ODACITY!!! I truly do not know what overcame me!

Oh wait, yes I do:


I was really against sharing this offensive news at first, but I realized that unless my guilty deeds are made public, I will never be encouraged to improve my will power! Not only that, but the entire point of this whole blogging ritual is to be able to reference the events in my life, good or bad. Now, if in a few months or a few years I totally have my shit together and I'm tempted to wag my tongue at some innocent that's traipsing through the wonder-jungle of trial and error, I might think twice before I point at anybody! What a mess I can be...and it would only be rationalizing if I tried to refer back to my lecture about being cheap!

It's not about the two dresses. They are of very fine quality, they are what trendy fashion magazines trying to sell you stuff during the recession would call 'investment pieces,' and they are exquisitely tailored to my form. BUT,I don't need them--I need to pay my bills. I've been behaving rather sensibly lately and have actually been making bold, intelligent decisions for myself! A slip-up of this variety at a time like this is a cold shower, and I'm feeling wet behind the ears all over again! What is this, Sex and the City? I HATE that fucking show!

I've always wanted to be the kind of lady that doesn't waste things, but is whimsical and unafraid to be free with money. I want to be unhindered by financial matters and not always consider logistics, like Auntie Lisa! She is open and generous and always willing to dive right in, sometimes even if the bills haven't been paid. But there's a difference between Auntie Lisa and I: She has some money, I have zero.

Now is not the time for me to go running through fields of wild flowers throwing around money like its bird seed!

So, in order to reverse (as much as possible) the damage of my errant behavior (in my own mind, at least), I'm going to commit myself to ammending a matter far too long neglected; I will tie a belated bow on an irksome loose end by getting myself a cell phone upon my return from Europe!

(That's right, Jonathan! Here it is, quilled in blood and etched in stone!)

After two years of being free from the lasso of confirmations, collectors, engagements, reminders,accountability and other unpleasantries; after two years of being a slave to stress, other people's moods, the fear of not knowing, and my own guilt...after two whole years of living by the wavering sword of a good guess (fall where it may), I present to you my new imminent future!

(Cell phone number TBA)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Life in a Trashcan

Boy, is my sleep schedule totally fucked! Like, rape-fucked. I was awake most of the night despite taking a sleeping pill, which just made me feel all wiggly-swervy like Dr. Katz. Then, after finally dozing off, the alarm sounded a half hour later for us to wake up at five thirty and dress ourselves for our television performance on Good Morning Austin. Disgusting, the things people will do for attention!

There was promise of free coffee, but of course they only had powered creamer. Watching the weather man do his thing every ten minutes was almost scary because those people are so well-trained to speak loudly and with hyper-animated expressions, that it has sort of become their inherent nature to be that way. I wonder how he knows what to point at on that green screen...
I should have asked when I had the chance.

When you're in a sleepless state of mind, it can put you in a bizarre mood, permitting you to entertain the thought of doing things you wouldn't normally even consider. The nagging temptation to blurt out a profanity or feign a seizure right in the middle of my interview with the host was so distracting that I had to take great care not to let my thoughts escape through my lips! Isn't it funny how modern, sterile and super-controlled environments do that to us? Immaculate, spacious office buildings full of people doing calculated tasks both inspires me and also makes me want to pull down my pants and expose myself with a big, shit-eating grin on my face...peeing and giggling at the same time.

Is that weird?

The fake-ness of modernity (er, post-post modernity? Help!) is inspiring because one cannot help but admire the profanely-bombastic arrogance of an environment that is a complete farce in the face of nature. Inefficiency masquerading as a supreme form of order and civilization! Seemingly-eternal monochromatic intimidating captivity...immaculate and air-conditioned, a world that slips further away from tangible realness and further down through the Disneyland butter finger-grasp of Life, and Being, and Now! It's high art; it's terrifying. When something very great hushes you, respect and intimidation come alongside the instinct to rebel!

But of course, real efficiency and longevity can be found where things die and rot and get eaten and pooped out and re-integrated into the equilibrium. Life in our gilded trashcan has many novel perks with funny little inventions and curious oddities to hang upon your wall, but its nice to peak out of the trashcan once in a while and look at all of the impressive clockwork!

Anyway, so I slept all day to recover from the aforementioned hazards of the biz. My only excursion outside of the house was to go see a mariachi band at a Mexican restaurant. This was one of the best decisions I've made all week, besides going to Barton Springs (more on that later). When you go to listen to a live Mariachi band, you have to be somewhere in the middle of all of the instruments to get the full, heavenly effect. Every member of the band had a really divine voice that made my heart swell, and the rhythms of their instruments are so strange and interesting! I haven't memorized the names of those instruments yet...many are variations on the guitar...but the big, robust Bass-like guitar with the bowed spine has such a fulfilling sound that it really makes you want to get up and move and sing-cry! The violin player is dating Naomi's mom, so we were granted many table-front performances.

One of the best things about Austin (and that's a tough competition) is Barton Springs. The spring trickles down au naturale, of course, but there is this giant, pool-like basin carved in the ground that has been built and dammed so that from the side, it does appear to be a giant man made swimming pool; but once you're in, the ground is all stones covered in algae and full of fishes. AMAZING!

Past the dam, there is a large stream that runs freely down into the giant river, and this stream is brimming with biodiversity. So many lovely underwater plants and trees, and giant blue fishes, and SO many turtles looking free and happy. We kayaked down this stream and moseyed around the river a bit just as dusk was setting in, and it was perfect. Something about the beauty of this turtle world existing so happily without knowing about the human world was the catalyst for me to recall my old childhood longings for adventure. I was so consumed by dreams of other dimensions, underwater peoples, weird existences in nature. One of the Chronicles of Narnia--'Voyage of the Dawn Treader'--actually invoked this desire better than most things I can think of...

The newness and scariness of life lately has opened the floodgates for many of my childhood characteristics, I feel. Maybe it just comes with life experience and I'm exiting the dark ages of my jaded early 20s, but my curiosity is stirring more than ever, and I'm finding glory in art and small details again. There's lots of little things I could bring up as examples, but one very recent inspiration is the band The Raincoats. It seems like most people (and their moms) have known about this band since they rolled out of the womb, but of course I haven't heard of anything yet, so this very fresh meat for me to sink my teeth into!

I haven't been able to afford to buy any of their albums yet, but I really want to get their self-titled debut album that was just re-released on KRS. Recently, I had a brief correspondence with a member of the Raincoats, Ana De Silva. She said she wanted to come and see us the next time we're in the UK. Of course, we're banned for ten years, so she won't get to see us until our reunion tour...

But check out this little snippet of an interview/video with The Raincoats during Gina Birch's premiere for a documentary she's been making on the band. She's the singer, so it must be tricky to create a film about your own band! I hope I'll have the chance to see it:


Don't they just seem like the raddest people? Look up their music videos on youtube for actual songs. Their cover of The Kinks' 'Lola' is awesome, and so is 'Don't Be Mean.'

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dear St. Joan of Arc

It's weird how I feel as though I haven't been home in truly a dog's age, and I still have almost two more weeks before I'll see my sweet little street again. I wonder if the leaves will have begun to creak out of their sockets and descend to their resting piles yet. Instead of a red carpet, I shall have a crackly ocean leading the way to my door from the curb, and I will openly take sentimental joy in sounding like a rain stick as I make my way to my estranged Victorian shanty!

I'm so glad that I will be home for Christmas this year. First thing is first: I must acquire a sewing machine in some mysterious way so that I can make stockings for everyone while I have the chance! I intended to do that last year, but every spare moment I had was consumed with laboring over the most inefficiently-crafted quilt this world has ever seen (but it least I finished it). I dream of a future time in my life where I can spend an entire month doing nothing but waking up late, having breakfast for lunch, and setting to work on handmade Christmas gifts of all kinds! I'll listen to songs on repeat and shamelessly zone out into my daydreams while my hands are at work on soap, or a candle, or a tea cozy...

The other day, I started a new book called 'West With the Night.' It's been flapping around in the van for quite some time now...some autobiography of a female pilot in the 1930s in Africa that Lauren's little brother gave her a while back. It wasn't being read, so I took it up. So far, I have really enjoyed the way that the author describes things. Her little phrases and poetic observations inspire me enough to stop reading for a couple minutes at a time, look out the window, and repeat her words over and over under my breath until I feel that I've sufficiently soaked up some kind of benefit from that particular bit. Not that this is necessarily an example of something that would stop me in my tracks, but here's a cute little sentence worth repeating:

"She was a little like the eccentric genius who, after being asked by his host why he had rubbed the broccoli in his hair at dinner, apologized with a bow from the waist and said he had thought it was spinach."

It's just a fun and adventurous world to run off to during long drives, and I definitely recommend it!

The drive to New Orleans was about nine hours, but less than half actually went into my book. I can only read as fast as I can speak, so I'm about 100 pages into it. New Orleans was really a strange experience, and to be honest, I both loved and hated it. That place is haunted and magical and deeply unnerving in many ways. The night of our show was a David Lynch-directed music video, basically, but rife with coincidence to the highest degree. At least they had a giant bird cage for Christopher to dance in.

We went to the minor basilica in the french quarter, which, despite being the oldest cathedral in the country, reminds me a lot of the cathedral in downtown Sacramento on K street. I bought a small St. Joan of Arc pendant that I'm wearing upon my neck this very minute. Having it has made me behave rather superstitiously the last couple of days. The only other time I can recall feeling the urge to have some semblance of small daily ritual was when I was 13 and combining behaviors such as sprinkling grave yard dust over spell candles, then attending catholic mass with black fingernails and rosaries. Would you believe me if I told you that I wasn't goth?

Anyway, the pendant reminded me of my old, purely symbolic fascination with Joan of Arc from three or four years ago. I had just read Anais Nin's first diary (she has 13 or so!) and was intensely inspired by a chapter where she gushed at length on how she only wished that she could be like Joan of Arc and save France. Shortly thereafter, I put myself on this weird schedule of exercising and reading adamantly, trying to get myself into adequate physical and mental shape so that I could be a hero. I vigorously jumped on my bed for an hour a day at least, listening to Stereolab with super-hero sugarplums dancing in my head...

As it turns out, I'm no super hero, and actually, I could use some exercise more than ever right now! But my pendant is modestly empowering and has already served as a reminder to pursue my dreams and accomplish that what I feel must be done.

For all who read this blog that might be in need of a saint to look after them right now, if not a super hero, here is a small prayer to St. Joan of Arc:

Glorious St. Joan of Arc,
filled with compassion for those who invoke you,
with love for those who suffer,
heavily laden with the weight of my troubles,
I kneel at your feet and humbly beg you
to take my present need under your special protection...

(mention here)

O most powerful Saint Joan,
Do not let me lost my soul, but obtain for me
the grace of winning my ways to heaven
forever and ever.

Monday, September 7, 2009

What a K-hole!

About a month or so ago--maybe longer--the annual carnival-themed party on 21st and I street was goin' down on a saturday night, and, highly anticipating it, I arrived in splendid attire and giddy glee. I bought a small bottle of whiskey on the way, slugging it down alongside diet coke as quickly as I could so that I'd be in the proper state of mind upon arrival. I was a little bit disappointed that there was no jumpy-house this time around, but considering that poor Debbie lost her false teeth last year thanks (but no thanks) to the lure of the not-so-inflated castle-spectacular, I should be grateful that it wasn't around for me to get trampled to death in. Knowing what came to pass later, that's probably what would have happened.

Everyone in the whole world makes stupid decisions. It's good to avoid it whenever possible, but it's worse to avoid it too much. At the ripened age of 24, I'd say I've made more than my fair share of questionable choices, but I have usually walked away knowing what not to do, and so long as this is the result, regret can be kept to a minimum. For some reason, though, the carnival party this year provided a petree-like controlled environment for a rare strain of personal disaster and temporary derangement that I hope never to reformulate for the rest of my life-long experiment! I would have trotted home to my nest at the end of the night with a song on my lips and a beat in my heart had I not spoilt the pleasantry with a grave mistake...

Falling down a 'K hole' is so beyond the realms of description that anything I could write on the subject would only be the tip of the iceberg. I gave up hard drugs years ago and found that they didn't have anything productive or enrapturing to bring to the table one you'd been around the block a couple times, so why I voluntarily put that crap up my nose is utterly mystifying to me! But at some point in the night, I was casually offered a drug I knew nothing about, and I very casually accepted it.

All that came after that, as I said before, is impossible to describe, but I'll try. After what seemed like an eternity of hearing, smelling, feeling and moving in pulsating waves with intermissions of silent blackness, I arrived at what seemed to be the front porch of death itself and promptly made myself right at home. Every iota in my flimsy vessel was so convinced that I was dying and deserved to die that I felt eager for it to take me sooner rather than later; thank heavens it never did! Between bouts of projectile vomiting, I tried to explain to whatever blurry forms surrounded me the grim truths about my soul and my inability to endure the world. I remember being scared and wanting to die, but other than that, these are all reiterations from witnesses.

My favorite moment recounted from that night came from Chenelle: Apparently, at one point, I removed my face from the soiled trashcan it had been immersed in for hours in order to get a close squint at the palms of my hands, and then exclaimed in a hoarse whisper, 'My hands! Oh, my hands...they are tarnished! Nooooo!'

I swear I feel really fucking bad about all that I put my friends through that night and am embarrassed that any of this took place (though not too embarrassed to write about it on the Internet!), but that line amuses me SO much because I can't imagine me saying that with a serious look on my face.

I'm telling you all of this because my brain is fried from tonight's show at the Mohawk and I don't want to write about my days in New Orleans right now, nor to I want to get into the new friends I've made this evening, or the great show we had, or the fact that Naomi's been teaching me how to drive. I especially don't have the energy to peck out my meandering platitudes on my quarter-life crisis and the developments regarding my tentative move halfway across the country.

No, sir-ee. Not tonight.