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.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The world is ANYTHING but a cigarette.

It appears that I'm going to have to start putting strict limitations on my computer use frequency--its effect is all too similar to amphetamines, I'm finding. Last night, I didn't even lay down to go to sleep until 7 am, and at that point, my brain was so spazzy from playing Victorian characters on an interactive chat room with my friend Jessieca that I was restless and wide awake until I finally just got back up around noon-ish. That sounds real nerdy I'm sure, but it's not my fault--Roger made me go to the website the other night, and he's the nerd, not me! I just figure if you're going to chat online--which I have been heavily reliant upon on this trip--then you might as well be a fat guy in a fancy suit holding two clocks, or a bird man, or Josephine Baker, instead of boring old being-yourself chat.

So I arose at noon, but only because my birth certificate arrived in the mail today and I needed to get an expedited passport ASAP. This is the SECOND time I've lost my passport, folks. I need to get a microchip installed into the material of the cover so that I can find it by satellite next time! We had to drive out to north Austin or somewhere and have this halitosis-victim click around on a computer keyboard for a little while so that I could pay him $75 (on top of the $160 a regular expedited passport cost). We'll see if its worth it, I guess. Getting banned from countries used to seem so hard, but I'm a fast learner. At this rate, we'll be cancelling tours and having streets all over the world plastered with posters of my face with a line through it! Dang it.

My very favorite part of the day--I saved it for last-- was when we arrived at our friend Chazz' recording studio to set up some equipment for tomorrow's session. We're re-recording our song 'The World is a Cigarette' because it didn't come out right when we recorded in L.A. His friend Jim--a very kind fellow, I should add--is to be co-pilot this operation and apparently works at the same music store that employs Chazz.

Upon arriving, we saw Chazz' figure in the driveway with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. We parked to unload, and as he helped lift some of the heavier stuff, he endeavored to explain in advance a few things about Jim to us.

"The main thing to keep in mind, really, is to avoid using the word, 'cigarette' whenever possible. I mean, I know it sounds really weird, but he has this phobia of cigarettes and can't handle hearing the word EVER or he gets extremely nauseous and sometimes even throws up."

Since Chazz is a jokey kind of guy with a silly sense of humor, my first reaction was of course to laugh. So I did. But in return, all I got was a healthy dose of reassurance that he was completely serious and that the word 'cigarette' was no laughing matter around these parts.

" But Chazz. 'Cigarette' is a lyric in the the fucking song that we're recording today, so how the hell do you expect us to avoid that???" I inquired.

Apparently, Jim has offered to leave the room whenever the beginning of the song occurs so that the offensive lyrics do not putrefy his clean, smoke-free thoughts. I can't imagine how he's going to be of much use to our engineer/producer under these profoundly ridiculous circumstances, but I'm very much looking forward to finding out how this will all unfold.

Stay tuned!

Oh, and here's that interactive chat site I mentioned earlier:

http://www.ff0000.com/ (Thanks a LOT, Roger!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wizard's Energy Drink Season

There's something so magical and disturbing about non-stop lightning storms--on impossibly hot days!

We're raised as kids to learn and to recognize the characteristics of the quintessential weather pattern: Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring, and then it all starts back at the beginning. Apparently, nobody told Texas about the way this schedule ought to operate, and they've got it all fucked up. I woke up drenched in sweat (and with a bright red hair dye stain on my pillowcase!) after a night of suffering beneath the weight of merciless heat trapped in my small room. Despite multiple cold showers, I couldn't get my blood to hum at its usual pitch.

So, I spent another crippling day on road trip mode, even with solid ground beneath my feet.

What's this, you ask?

Well, it's not too distant a relative of nocturnal mode because it involves low physical activity levels during daylight hours, and nocturnal mode is already one of my specialties. However, it varies in that it relies heavily on daydreaming, list-making and completing minor tasks that don't actually need to be done, while nocturnal mode involves much more daytime sleeping. Both modes have similar side-effects: an almost manic, ecstatic hunger for creative output as soon as the sun goes down. If left to my own devices with no company and no pressing appointments the next day, I can easily spend an entire night frantically working on one small project, and I get so high from it that I wish there was a way I could sell it to other people! But so long as the sun's up and especially if it's unreasonably warm, I am like a lizard in a tundra.

I've learned to make the best of times like these, of course, and sometimes even look forward to them. Since I'm useless behind the wheel on road trips/tours, my time is usually divided into equal parts reading, sleeping and thinking deeply. Reading is always fun, but you can only take so much in a moving vehicle. Sleeping has grown increasingly difficult on the road for some reason, but I still fit it into my schedule.

Deep thinking and dreaming awake is a horse of a different color--what a wonderful treat this is! I enjoy and look forward to the times I am permitted to do this without offensive interruptions by music I don't care to listen to, or conversations I'm not invested in. In fact, I secretly get very frustrated sometimes because car mates will try to discuss something with me or blast cheesy radio hits and foil my sweet reveries! Allowing your mind to wander, to solve invented problems, or to simply invent period, is the keystone and salvation of a child's world. It is a survival skill when we are young because our early years go by sooo slowly and involve lots of waiting around and doing things that are boring. As it evolves into a superfluous indulgence instead of a necessity, we allow it to happen less and less and stop thinking of it as a tool, and I think this is a great pity. Everyone should make time to think and dream without interruption! You can have ideas outside of the shower, you know!


As I was saying earlier, I haven't been doing shit. At least, during the day. I have, on the other hand, had plenty of time to think, and I've realized that my mind is on a new plain lately. It's hard to say what is causing my adjusted perspective and sensory-tweakings, but I'm sure its no thanks to starting this blog and challenging myself to write every day, even if I don't want to.

Also, the aforementioned lightning storms. It might sound superstitious or just plain uneducated, but I feel like all the un-channeled electricity running through this town with its head cut off is vibrating my brain and charging my blood with weird, magical powers. My veins are pulsating and brimming with some kind of a wizard's energy drink, and I don't mind at all. Turn up the heat, zap it a few times, and maybe it will be ready soon!

This is a new kind of season! YAY!

You know, when I first started this blog, I thought to myself: "Yeah, I can do this! Maybe after a year I can sift through all the content and put a flimsy paperback together!'' But after that last paragraph, I really doubt that any of these entries will ever be worth printing! It doesn't matter, though. I feel myself inside of me more than in a long time, and its probably because I have evidence that thoughts and processes really ARE going on sometimes, and that is reassuring. Even when its cheesy or incriminating, its proof, and I needed that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cheapskates and Dreamers

No one seems to know what's best for themselves, including me. Most people tend to want things that have been made to seem glamorous by stereotypes and media, and the under-achievers just do as least as they possibly can, for as long as they can.

When I think back to when Lauren and I first started Agent Ribbons, I recall long nights of crafts on the living room floor, listening to music and indulging in voicing our wildest dreams. We certainly didn't think they were wild dreams at the time--in fact, we openly discussed lofty and expensive plans for the future without even a salt-shake of embarrassment, going so far as to setting tentative dates by which we might be able to afford a second apartment in San Francisco or have the means to purchase this or that for our parents and friends. The tentative dates were no more than one or two years away at the time, and we had JUST started the band!

Naivete is a real gas...

It's been exactly three and a half years since we began this project. That's not bad. We've accomplished a lot in that amount of time for having no help from record labels or booking agents or publicists. I'm very proud of what I have learned and had the privilege to experience, all thanks to being a touring musician, but I have to admit that I thought I would be adequately surviving by now! Struggle makes a person consider what they really want and what they really have a chance at achieving. I've gotten my most frivolous aspirations out of the way by now, but I'm having a hard time visualizing what it is that I actually want or expect from all of this.

Do I desire wealth?

We're not really the kind of band that can make that much money, not only because of our genre and aesthetic, but because we're not fickle with musical presentation (meaning we don't ever practice!) and I will never care enough to tamper much in these departments.

Do I expect to make a living at this?

I think that in the short term, the answer is definitely 'yes.' But when was the last time you heard about a small indie band having a retirement plan? I'm not sure of the longevity of this scenario.

Is this at all about money?

My heart wants to call out, 'absolutely not!' But on the same token, what will become of me if we don't ever make any money?

Wait, don't tell me! I've heard this one before: I will have to do SOMETHING ELSE!

Therein lies my dilemma. One of my favorite pieces of advice to give to serious aspiring artists is 'do not acquire any useful skills and you will be successful.' Now that I'm on flatter land and can see further ahead, I'm wondering if I should shut the fuck up with those kinds of suggestions. What do I know? I'm not successful enough to give advice! I'm not even old enough to rent a car, for god's sake! Come to think of it, I don't even have a driver's license (sorry, other members of my band)...

I'm always complaining that I don't have enough time to pursue my myriad of other interests, but I'm scared to death of having plenty of time to do exactly that. It's hard to imagine switching gears completely, and even though everything has been rewarding and worth while, it leaves an aftertaste of wasted time and energy.

To get back to my original theme for today's writings, though, I feel like there has never been a point where I actually wanted what was good for me. Being in a touring band is not really in my best interest, but it's what I have wanted for so long. I wish I was smart like Aaron Ross, who has an adorable family and solid employment and lives in the beautiful mountains and still makes music that wrecks me when he finds a bit of spare time. He doesn't seem to worry about what his music will achieve and just lets it flow out into the world on its own merits, unsolicited. I don't know if his setup is credited to smarts or just cosmic wisdom, but whatever it is, I ain't got it!

Maybe we all become more practical with the passage of time. I hear that's the idea, but other than discovering cooking, The Velvet Underground and quilting, not all that much has rearranged in me since the turn of the century, seems like. I am more practical with money, even though I don't have any. Maybe that's the first step towards getting some! I've learned to be as generous as I can afford with what I have since my life is possible due to the kindness of others, but to be conservative and resourceful when necessity absolutely requires.

Another important lesson (and I'm making this a separate paragraph to draw your eye here because this is the good stuff!): There's a big difference between spending as least money as possible and being cheap. A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Constantly buying inexpensive things because they are the cheapest is not intelligent. Sometimes, cheap stuff is the best way to go because there is no money to spend in the first place. However, going with something that costs a little more can often save you money later, and that's just as good as saving money now because you're probably not going to have money next week!

This is even sometimes true for going out for a meal. When I'm on the road, if I eat crappy stuff on a couple of occasions in a row because it costs less than something a few dollars more, I will pay in other ways. Usually, this will effect how good my body feels, how good of a mood I am in, and soon I will be hungry again. This is just one example. Cheapery annoys me more and more these days...

So there! I guess I know what's good for me at least once in a while. I think I'll stop while I'm ahead so that you can mull over this sage advice and not think I'm a total mess!


If you give a man a fish...

As a quasi-vegetarian, pescatarian, or whatever other nonsensical label you might prefer, I find it very difficult and exhausting to discuss diets with people. I don't really fit into any particular category, and that's against the rules. I do have reasons for my choices, but not strict beliefs--and I try to be as subtle as possible about my preferences due to the fact that simply HAVING preferences is like having a sign on your back that says 'kick me.'

I'm not sure if anyone has noticed, but It's so fucking difficult to know what is good to eat these days!

When I stopped eating most meats about four years ago, I thought that I was Jesus. There's something about exercising your willpower against your instinct (especially when you're young) that causes a euphoric sense of being the very first at something even if you know you aren't, and self-congratulation is not uncommon. It's a real laugh to think about how great I thought I was for becoming a 'conscious eater', especially considering that so much of what I was consuming was total crap marketed to appear as though it was 'healthy' or in any way more responsible.

In the olden days, my freezer was brimming with weird space food like fake meat stuffs and pre-prepared crap that was more expensive because it didn't include chicken. You could bet your money on the likelihood that any manifestation of protein that I devoured was processed more times than your mom. Although, in all fairness, it must be considered that half of my problem was simply due to my thorough lack of cooking experience.

Growing up, my parents were always slaving away in the kitchen and took pride in being gourmet-savvy. Their tasteful resourcefulness on a shoestring budget contributed generously to my food appreciation later in life, but looking back, it doesn't seem like anyone was holding their breath in hopes of seeing me perform even the most modest feats in cuisine. All four of us kids were not permitted to be slouching around the kitchen when the players were in action because it was a small house and we were good at getting in the way.

But, to take a break from ruthlessly criticizing my younger, inferior self, I will say that despite my first misguided efforts in being a responsible world citizen and free-thinking individual (no matter how trendy), changing my diet was the gateway into a necessity for preparing my own meals more often and thinking about where things come from. Initially, I started out by just thinking on a molecular level.

Like, there's this huge warehouse crammed with a horrifying number of living creatures that are essentially tolerating life-long torture. They can't move, and all they know of life is darkness, metal, tasteless food and never-ending noise and filth. They poop out these round things at an unnatural rate until they die a miserable, isolated death. Then, a big oil-burning truck picks up the round things, takes them to a hyper-refrigerated environment and distributes them to people like me, who put them INSIDE themselves so that they can be mushed up, absorbed, and become molecules of the human body.

AHHHHHHHHH!!!! I'd rather watch '28 Days Later'...

Ponderings such as these were only the the beginning. Later, as I continued to educate myself and also be ferociously confronted by other people of all eating persuasions, I took things even further as I realized that the main objective was simplicity in gathering the raw materials and basic ingredients. Processed food is the enemy no matter how organic or free-range it is, in my humble opinion. Especially when its created and distributed by a corporation, because corporations are fucking the world up more than anything else, period. As my boyfriend generously pointed out to me years ago in a heated argument, it actually is better for the world to eat a cow that lives down the lane than to eat Boca Burgers that are nutritionally lacking, processed, made by a company that makes meat products anyway, and on top of all this they are shipped a gazillion miles to get to you, therefore polluting the environment to boot!

Not to say that I NEVER eat Boca Burgers, but I prefer not to. It's best to not be too righteous about the information you possess, especially if you are dirt poor like me. Chances are, you'll find yourself compromising what you consider the ideal diet every now and then if you've got a hole in your pocket. Or, maybe not--I have immense respect for people who take the extra time out of their lives to be shrewd and thorough about their convictions. I personally have a finite time allotment for that stuff, but try to do what is best as much as seems sensible to me.

Yesterday I was really inspired by a conversation that I had with my mom. Apparently she's been getting into canning fruits and vegetables herself lately, which I think is so awesome. Small acts of craft and creation are what really develop a person's sense of purpose and self-worth, at least for me. Tasks that require some skill and offer no instant gratification...that is the real secret to happiness! She's also looking into 'urban chickens' which is cute to me, and I have to admit that I'm pretty jealous because I've always wanted chickens myself.

There's going to be chickens at Chateau Crone, that's for sure! And they're going to have a castle-shaped coop with a mote and a draw bridge to keep out the coyotes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ain't got shit on Alexander Graham Bell

There are all sorts of ways to break big news to the important people in your life--the classiest and most reliable method being the face-to-face variety. However, since I'm never home for so much as a happy hour, I rely solely on modern technology to keep me in touch with the rest of the world.

There's one little setback to this scenario, however:

Ever since that night that Lauren's parents went out of town and we decided to treat ourselves to a little jacuzzi fake-cation, I haven't had the dough to replace my cell phone.

Of course, that was two years ago. And, of course, the phone didn't actually get dropped into the jacuzzi... by some inadvertent feat of amazing unintended aim, it delicately plunked itself down into the fluted throat of a vessel containing a beverage known as the 'White Russian' as I was removing myself from the hot tub.

The rest is history.

So, phone-less, I have soldiered on into a long-distance relationship with a very tormented but devoted fellow that sometimes sees an entire workweek pass without so much as a text message, let alone any indication of what city I'm in ( It seems even worse written down!) We originally fell in love by seducing one another via myspace messaging (after having met of course--I'm at least THAT respectable!), so you'd think we'd be champion letter-writers, but I guess we used up all of our best material in that first year and need some time to restock.

Anyway, today I emailed Jonathan about my decision to move to Austin, and he was anxious to get a hold of me since it was the first he'd heard about it. I am always eager to hear his raspy squeal whenever I can, but the craggy tumor of built-up anxiety inside my head had been turned over so many times, it was as slick as a river stone. Both of the girls in addition to Christopher recieved a mass text promising fifty dollars to whomever would let me call Jonathan right away. No one accepted the money, but for two hours I paced in the alley outside of a club while they drank Lone Star.

Having to explain to someone you love deeply that you have made a concious decision that will completely jeapordize your relationship is pretty much the shittiest position one can be in. Despite all of my relative confidence that I am on the right path and doing what I need to do with my life, I faltered in a big way when I heard the hurt in his voice. It didn't take much time for the hurt to take a sharp turn, and within twenty minutes, tipsy passers-by were looking past their shoulders to see where that sound of screeching metal was coming from.

Things were still heated when my friends came wandering out of the bar, so we agreed to adjourn our emotions until I could get home to a computer. The car ride was quiet, except for a light side-hug from Christopher. When we got home, I went straight into my sleeping quarters and logged on to find that Jonathan had already emailed me, so we commenced 'Project Gmail Chat.'

An hour later, after trying every stupid chat service available, I just signed up for AIM and set it up to text messsaging because his browser is worthless. Eventually, everything boiled down to a fiery text-fight, which, for the record, is the BEST way to have an argument ever because every single thing that is said is documented right there before your eyes for reference. You can quote your opponent verbatem and be Johnny-on-the-spot with evidence to support your claims!

Now that the sun is coming up, I will conclude by simply saying that if love can traverse 500 miles, then god damn it, why not 1500?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rome wasn't built in a day.

It's a Monday; around six o' clock in Austin, Texas. Someone that lives here put on a Simon and Garfunkel record, and the little window in the room I've been sleeping in has a view of golden weeds blowing softly in the hundred-degree breeze. Everyone is going to the spring for swimming today, but after a long, sleepless night of sentimental tearshed and paranoid thoughts, I can't bear the idea of stepping out into the world right now.

I actually like it here as far as I can tell, but could I be happy here?

This is some sort of a weird, new-fangled mid-midlife crisis or something and I think that dating older people has given me the warped illusion that I'm actually in my 30's. What a bummer when those moments of realization hit and my lack of life experience and accomplishments are boldly underlined! I'm only turning 25 this year and it's not a big deal, but I'd at least like to have a place where I feel that I belong and can call my own, and my poor little museum of momentos back in Sacramento--my shrine to my own past--is regularly pimped out in my absense. There is nothing I can do except wake up in other people's beds every morning and pretend that I'm looking at my own ceiling through the eyecrust of the first two minutes of each day. Then, it's back to the rigormarole of coffee shops, other people's agendas, and the aimless passing of time until the next show, which is the saving grace of my lifestyle.

There is a great and shining hope within me that I am eager to suffer punishments for, if necessary. I'm an optimist and bonified lover of life, but everyone collapses beneath the weight of the unkown at some point or another, and what better time to start a blog?

I've known for a while that 2009 would be a profoundly pivotal year in my life, and my intuition has served me well already. The best I can do is to take it in bites I can chew, keep my eye on the prize and document as much as possible for my own betterment.