Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas Forever

I'm feverishly working on Goat Man again today, but I feel the need to take a short break and write this post.

I don't think I've ever written about the guy that lives across the hall from me. I don't see him very often - he's quite elusive and stays in his room a lot. He keeps weird hours and isn't always very social. He's thirty-something, has big black glasses, and spends his time writing Hollywood crime novels and drawing wonderfully twisted comics. He greets me enthusiastically whenever he sees me (elaborate hand gestures are usually involved). Sometimes when I'm have band practice in my room, he'll yell ridiculous praises down the hall (usually something along the lines of "YEAH! ROCK AND ROLLLLL!!!" or "YOU GUYS ARE F#$%ING OUTRAGEOUS!!!").

Anyway, for the past week and a half, he's been wishing everyone a Merry Christmas repeatedly. Sometimes, it will be in a weird, Tiny Tim-esque voice. Sometimes, it will be in a jolly, Santa-style fashion. Sometimes it will just be a "I can't get enough of Christmas! Merry Christmas! MERRY CHRISTMAS FOREVER!"

I think "Merry Christmas Forever" is my new favorite catch phrase.

In other news, I recorded some demo tracks for Goat Man today. It's been a weird day. I've been going back and forth between being totally excited and confident about the project to feeling overwhelmed and unsure about the darn thing. Also, the feeling that I'm just plain crazy has not subsided. I think it's gotten more intense.

Apparently, this insanity is noticeable. I was editing some audio tracks in the kitchen and The Poet handed me a folded up piece of paper. "Here, refer to this from time to time when you need to," he says, then leaves to go smoke. I unfold the paper. It looks like this:

Good to know, I guess.

Anyway, I should get back to work. Or sleep.

You know, I think I would feel less crazy if I had hot water and could take a hot shower whenever I wanted to. Argh. I'm so greasy right now! Ewwwww.

But I digress. Over and out, amigos. Or should I say - Merry Christmas Forever.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Insane In The Membrane (Insane In The Brain!)

So I wrote gobs of stuff yesterday. I stayed up the night before puking out sheet music. I slept for almost five hours, then got up and spent the day puking out more sheet music and writing more songs. I felt manic. I felt inspired. I felt a little bit like a crazed lunatic. I took a few breaks to graze on various things in my refrigerator. A friend knocked on my door and brought me Vietnamese food. I left the room a couple of times but mostly I just let myself get lost in the saga of Goat Man. It was really great.

Today hasn't been as great. I overslept and my plan to clean/rearrange my room so I can use it as a recording studio tomorrow turned into quite the complicated affair. I even ended up leaving my cave (and my project!) for several hours to see some old friends from college that were briefly in town. I'm glad I got to see them, but all of the conversations were about practical, adult-type things like grad school, finances, and interior decorating. I sat there in my new fur beret and felt like I was on a completely different planet.

Here in the commune, we refer to "normal, functioning members of society" (those with corporate jobs, practical life plans, spouses, houses, children, etc.) as "balloons in orbit." I have never really fit into that "balloon world," but now that I'm living in a community of artists and am pouring hours of my life into writing a rock opera about anthropomorphic goat men, I feel as thought I've fallen out of the orbit completely and am floating around in an entirely different galaxy.

That sounded a lot more cosmic than I intended it to. But you get the point.

In other news, as I was cleaning my room today, I discovered that I still had a pile of crap belonging to Tweaked Out Elvis Costello. We really only hung out for about a week and a half, but somehow that was enough time to acquire the following items:
- a broken amp
- a shorted guitar cable
- two bad microphones
- a stove top

For whatever reason, he stopped talking to me and I hardly ever see him. But I still had all of his junk. So I piled it outside of my room with his name on it and sent him a "COME PICK UP YOUR CRAP" text message. The pile disappeared sometime early this afternoon while I was in my room cleaning, so I can only assume he picked it up.

But the pile was there long enough for The Poet to see it and ask me about it when I was in the kitchen making tea. "Okay, kid, I get why you might have his amp, but...a stove??? What the hell was that all about???" he says, raising an eyebrow.

I am laughing so hard that it takes me forever to tell him about the time Tweaked Out Elvis Costello insisted on bringing his stove into my room to cook spaghetti.

"Lauren!" says The Poet, laughing so hard he can barely talk. "Next time there's a boy, NO STOVE TOPS AFTER A WEEK AND A HALF!"

That sounds like a really good rule to live by.

Aaaaand now I should get back to Goat Man. I think I'm ready to focus again. I think I feel another episode of the crazy brain thing coming on. Time to rock and roll.

Over and out, comrades.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who Can It Beeeee Now?

Knock knock
Me: Who is it?
TMBG Girl: Hey, wanna get dollar beers at the dive bar down the street and play pool?
Me: Nah, I'm writing my rock opera.


Knock knock
Me: Yeah?
Asian Girl: You're room is mess. Clean it and in one hour I come back and help you rearrange.
Me: I can't do that tonight, I'm writing...


Knock knock
Me: Come in...
The Poet: Cool room, kid!
Me: Yeah, it's messy...
The Poet: I brought you a CD.
Me: Oh? Which one?
The Poet: Here. It's "Tommy," of course. For inspiration. I wanted to feel helpful.
Me: Sweet, thanks. Do you want Leonard Cohen back? We can trade.
The Poet: But what if you need to cry? You better hold on to that for awhile longer.
Me: Haha, okay, thanks.


Later, in the kitchen:

The Poet: How's it goin, kid?
Me: I think I'm going insane.
The Poet: Ah, you're in the crazy brain place?
Me: Completely.
The Poet: Come on. You're a rock star.
Me: I think I forgot how to format a stageplay...


Fade Out

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's Official: Lauren Really Is Insane This Time

Lauren The Snowflake

So Christmas was wonderful.

It was a different sort of Christmas but a lovely one.  I was once again reminded of how lucky I am to have so many great, supportive people in my life (i.e: family, friends, hippy neighbors, blogger friends that live in my computer, etc.).

I've also committed myself to doing something insane.

Remember awhile ago when I was babbling on about the rock musical I've had rolling around in my brain for ages?  You know, the one entitled "Goat Man Is All Alone Tonight (And So Am I)"?  Well, I'm going to finish it.  I'm going write the whole darn thing, record demo tracks, compile a character list and synopsis, and ship it all to the east coast by the 10th of January.  There's a residency program of sorts that I'm going to go out on a limb and apply for.  Honestly, I doubt I'll get in since I feel like I barely know what I'm doing, but I'm putting my nose to the grindstone and trying anyway.  If I get it, I'll get to have my play produced this summer potentially.  And if I don't get it, I'll still have a mostly finished musical on my hands.  I think I'm a girl that needs a deadline for things, so it's a win-win scenario.

That being said, you may not see me in the blogosphere a lot for the next few days.  I'm descending into hermit mode.

Oh, and my hot water is gone and I've spent most of the day in my sweatpants.  This seems to be the cliche starving artist part of my life.

Sometimes I feel like I'm a completely different program than the rest of the world.  I felt like that today especially.  Though most people have reacted positively to my Goat Man idea, I am yet to find someone who really understands my vision for it.  I feel like I'm a little bit insane.

But I also feel like The Universe itself is yelling at me and telling me to hurry up and write this crazy Goat Man thing.  In the past three days, there have been so many little random moments and conversations that seem to be screaming "LAUREN, WRITE THAT GOAT MAN THING!"  

So here it goes.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Winter Solstice!

Tonight, I experienced my very first Winter Solstice celebration.  There are some things you just have to do when you live in a commune.  

We all wrote things down on little pieces of paper (things from this year we want to leave behind, things we want to happen in the next year, etc.).  We stapled them to our paper mache model of the sun and lit the whole affair on fire.  We played music.  We sang.  We laughed.  Some people cried.  Some people burned sentimental documents and paintings.  One man threw an old wooden spoon into the fire without explanation.  I torched some old letters I wrote but never sent.  It felt really good to watch something that once held so much angst disintegrate into ashes along with everyone else's burning baggage.

We left the fire pit feeling hopeful and renewed.  We sat around in the kitchen listening to Spaceheads and eating chocolate.

It was a wonderful night.

Next up on the menu:  Christmas.

And yes, I know, I still owe you guys a post entitled "Sausage Fest 2010 and My New Hipster 'Boyfriend.'"  I haven't forgotten.

But that's all I've got for tonight.  I shall spontaneously fall asleep at this time.

Peace out.  <3

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Dream Of The 90's Is Alive...

So as some of you already know, Lorne Michaels is making a TV show about my city. This video crossed my radar a couple of nights ago:

I'm not really sure if I find it funny or offensive.

I laughed when I watched the video, but it also made me slightly uncomfortable. It describes Portland - and my life - a little too well.

I mean, it was only last week that I updated my work information on Facebook to look like this:

And I've spent way too much over the past month making purses out of duct tape. Look, this one is definitely art because it has a bird on it:

I spent all morning listing these purses on my new Etsy store. This was the first morning in a long time that I did not sleep till 11.

And what's my occupation? I guess I don't have one. I'm a musician.

I could go on and on. Like I said, the video was a little too close to home.

Of course, I'm still going to have to watch the show when it comes out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Pipe Monster

Strange noises are coming from the attic tonight. It's been this way for the past few days. There will be a rattling, then a thump, then a strange knocking. They say it's the pipes. They say they'll fix it later ("they" being the management). The first night it happened, no one in the building could sleep and we were all in the kitchen freaking out. We didn't know what was going on. Were we going to explode? Was the place haunted after all? Was it another weird practical joke from a hipster guy downstairs? The answer to all of those questions is "no" - or so they say. It's a lot of noises for just being "trouble with the pipes." It's a little unsettling if you ask me.

Thump thump thump. There it goes again. Sounds like some drunken animal with hoofs is sporadically parading around up there. People have been calling it "The Pipe Monster."

In other news, I went to a Christmas party at a stranger's house tonight. TMBG Girl dragged me along so I could meet a guy I might play music with. I generally hate parties, but it wasn't bad. Well, we were awkwardly early and sat around drinking wine for an hour before anyone even showed up. Once people started showing up, naturally they were all people I didn't know. But it was a "Gingerbread House Party," so I occupied myself with gluing graham crackers together with frosting and piling gumdrops on top (just like third grade!). That made things less awkward.

About half of the people at the party got really stoned before they sat down to make gingerbread houses. So you can imagine that there were some good ones (please note intended sarcasm). TMBG Girl and I actually had two of the better ones.

Mine is the dumpy one on the left. TMBG Girl's is next door - she titled it "Martha Stewart's Crack House."

We won silly prizes and brought them back to share with people in the kitchen. We also brought back my gingerbread house (Martha Stewart's Crack House wasn't really in a state to be easily transported anywhere) and left it in front of The Poet's door. He was pretty stoked when he found it.

Thump thump. There goes that Pipe Monster again.

I should sleep.

I have a lot to report though. I actually have a rather long post in the works entitled "Sausage Fest 2010 and My New Hipster 'Boyfriend.'" I was hoping to get that up today, but it's taking me a long time to write it for some reason (I've been in a little bit of a slump lately I guess). So you're stuck reading this mundane little blurb for now. But that post will be up soon, so there's something to look forward to (or to dread...).

Anyway, that's all for now. Peace out, amigos.

And if The Pipe Monster eats me in my sleep...I love you all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Fiesta Time

I can now cross the following item off of my bucket list:

Salsa dance in the kitchen at three in the morning with a sweaty, shirtless boy wearing skin-tight leather leggings.

(That wasn't actually on my bucket list, but now it doesn't have to be...)

That is all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Karaoke Time, Kids!

As promised, I have something extra special planned for today. Brace yourselves, kids. This is going to be good.

Remember that karaoke blog ring I participated in last month? Well, it's happening this month too and I got sucked into it again.

The theme this time is show tunes. Epic, right?

I have the privilege of posting a video from Bianca over at Bianca and the B-sides.

Before I post the video, I should apologize to everyone who has visited my blog today in search of fun karaoke and found a post about Leonard Cohen instead. Sometimes I operate in my own time zone. It's an unfortunate trait.

But without further ado, I give you...the fabulous Bianca!

"Hey everyone, it's Bianca (or, should I say, "The Mistress of Murderer's Row!")!! YAY for karaoke!!

I won't carry on too much in this introduction, considering I babbled on for two minutes prior to my riveting performance. But trust me, the babbling is probably the high point of the video, given my incredible lack of vocal performance skills. The other disclaimer is that my webcam is a piece o' crap, and sometimes the words don't go with my mouth. But again, that may actually be an improvement. Ahem.

Much thanks to Lauren for being an awesome host!"

See? I told you this was going to be epic.

If you want to have nightmares forever, head over to Ash's blog to see my lovely contribution to the karaoke ring. I'm not particularly proud of it, but not all videos can be "Another Night Another Dream." I kinda left it to the last minute and ended up sneaking into the attic to have a candlelit poetry reading with my hippy friends last night instead of working on it. So that's my excuse. My video sucks because I blew it off to read Sylvia Plath aloud in a dark creepy attic.

I am baffled by my life sometimes.

But I digress. Many thanks to Rishita for organizing this madness. And thanks to everyone for tuning in (and for being patient with my lack of timeliness).

Over and out, comrades.

Melancholy? Leonard Cohen Can Help!

I was a zombie this morning. I did not sleep very well at all last night. I stumbled into the kitchen with a cup of coffee and was enthusiastically greeted by The Chef and The Poet.

"Good morning kid, how are ya?" says The Poet.

"I'm alright," I say. We talk for a little bit and they soon realize that "alright" means "totally melancholy." The Poet tells me I'm a rock star. The Chef prescribes listening to folk music. The Poet even brings the following CD by my room later (The Chef's orders, of course):

"Melancholy is easy to fix," he says, handing me Leonard Cohen's Greatest Hits. "Here, listen to this."

As you can imagine, listening to Leonard Cohen did not make the world much brighter. At least not at first. I had my moment with the song about trying to be free like a bird on a wire. I stared out the window into the rainy mess of the outside world and thought about how we're all just birds on wires and drunken midnights choirs. If I wasn't so determined not to be cliche and cry, I might have cried.

Then I couldn't take it anymore so I put on some David Guetta remixes and danced my way out of my momentary slump. Maybe I'll just start there next time.

Anyway, the night has gotten away from me once again so I will make this a short one. Tune in tomorrow for something extra special. ;)

Over and out.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holy Wardrobe Malfunction, Batman!

My dress almost fell off onstage Friday night.

It started with one shoulder of the dress slipping down my arm as I pounded on the keyboard. I tried to pass it off as a bad ass rock star thing, but then the other shoulder started slipping. I continued to belt out the song, unable to stop because it was during a solo set. The dress sunk lower, threatening to dip into dangerous territory. I began making my infamous Nervous Lauren face. I made eye contact with a few friends in the audience and could see that they were beginning to get nervous for me as well. I felt like I was living in that bad dream that I sometimes have - that dream where I'm onstage and my clothes fall off. Except this time, it wasn't a dream at all.

I stopped the song and comedically fixed my dress, then resumed the song where I left off and changed some of the lyrics to be about my near-wardrobe malfunction. So it turned out alright. And other than that, the show wasn't so bad.

Well, except for the part where I got up the nerve to do a song I had written two days prior and ended up mumbling half of the words because I forgot them.

Or the part where Magic Butter Guy opened for me and
1) started 45 minutes late because he had to change the tubes in his amp before his set.
2) came into the audience, stood right in front of where I was sitting, and serenaded me with a really long and very cosmic song about flowers.

But other than all of that, the show went fairly smoothly. Especially the trash rock bit. Ryan did a set with me after my slightly terrifying solo stuff (essentially, I opened for myself - how much more narcissistic can I be???). It was great fun. Turns out that the end of Original Sound Trash isn't really around the corner as I feared it might be, so that's good news.

I'll write a longer post tomorrow - it got be late and I am le tired.

Over and out, amigos.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Oh Hi, It's Just Me Again...

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

I ended my last post with a "To Be Continued" and then neglected the blogosphere for a week.

I think I was merely going to tell you a story about the day I kept getting unexpected visits from random people.

There's a college kid from the second floor who's a poetic genius. He had come to remind me to go to the writer's group that we're both part of. I wasn't really feeling awake enough to partake in any sort of intelligent writer's critique, but I pulled a hat over my messy hair, grabbed my laptop, and went down the hall to meet the group. I worked up the nerve to read a short script, listened to Lego Guy go on about how I'm "just not that funny," then went back to my room to take a shower.

Another knock on the door.

"Who is it?" I yell, emerging from the shower. There's a cartoonish noise from the other side of the door. I throw on some clothes and go to see who it is. I see that someone slipped a note under the door.


Except it said Tweaked Out Elvis Costello's real name, of course. He's not really aware of the fact that he has that cute nickname on the Internet...

Anyway, I opened the door to find him scuttling down the hall. He informs me that he's making waffles in the restaurant downstairs and that I should come eat one.

I'm not one to pass up waffles, so I wandered downstairs and promptly ran into the guy that owns the restaurant. He asked me to play a set this Friday. I said "yes." BAM. Got myself a gig.

A gig that is sneaking up on me. Tomorrow is Friday.

And yesterday, I found out that I'm no longer the opener...I'm one of the headliners. So that intensified my pre-show freak-out a bit.

I called Ryan and he's going to come do a few songs with me I think. We'll see how that goes.

Sometimes, I don't know why I insist on performing. The anxiety that happens in the 48 hour period before I get onstage is ridiculous. You better believe I'm a little ball of nerves right now.

Anyway, it's time to rock and roll, kids. Over and out.

(More coherent post to come later, I promise.)

And remember - you are not hardcore unless you live hardcore!