Friday, January 28, 2011

Just A Letter. Just A Reaction To Current Events. Just A Late Night Exploration Of Thoughts.

Barefoot in Cairo

We weren't together for very long but I loved every minute I spent with you.  I experienced so many new and wonderful things during our short love affair.  You took me on adventures.  You showed me how beautiful the world is.  You made me change the way I think about lots of things.  I miss you all of the time.  I've thought about learning your language and going back to you for longer than just three short weeks. 

I don't normally keep up with the news, but last night I read the reports about you.  I nervously clicked "play" on a news clip and I recognized you immediately. 

You were so angry and violent.  That is not how I remember you.  That is not how I want you to be. 

And tonight, you've disappeared from cyberspace completely.  This scares me for you.  I want the best for you.  You are beautiful and I hate watching all of this, especially since I am unable to do much of anything. 

Egypt, I am thinking about you tonight.  I'm thinking of the people I met and the friends I made while I was there and I am wondering where they are right now. 

I fear it's all going to get worse before it gets better.  But I guess all we can do is see what happens tomorrow.

The sun setting over The Nile

That's all I've got for tonight.  I'll go back to being funny soon, I promise.  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Cat In The Drive-Through And The Man-Goat That Haunts Me

When I was in the first grade, I wrote a story entitled "The Cat." As you probably guessed, this story was about a cat. A talking cat that joined the circus, to be specific. It was pretty cute.

Well, it had the potential to be pretty cute. I had the setting, characters, and plot firmly established when I decided to make the feline protagonist leave the circus and abandon the main story arch. Instead of writing a interesting conclusion that made sense, I sent the talking cat on a mission to get some french fries. As a result, he spent an entire page (which turned out to be one third of the story) at a drive-through window. I think he sang his order to the tune of "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" and ended up getting a moldy cheeseburger. I'm not really sure.

I made some illustrations to go along with the story and took the whole works to school. I got some help making copies and sold one to one of my classmates for fifty cents. I was proud of myself.

Then I was forced to give the money back and make free copies of the story for everybody in class. I never really got over being bitter about that.

But I digress. The point is that I have had the same problem all my life: I come up with a good concept and then completely ruin it by running away on some weird tangent and losing sight of the original vision. I call this phenomenon "sending the cat through the drive-through." I guess it's my own personal version of "jumping the shark."

I've been overwhelmed with my "Goat Man" project lately. I've allowed myself to get stuck in the mud and become wrapped up in the idea that I have writer's block. I think the real problem is that I've allowed the project to mutate into something larger, weirder, and more daunting. In other words, there are cats going through the drive-through all over the script.

I was feeling reclusive yesterday when I got home from band practice and was beating myself up over having writer's block when there was a knock on my door. Not knowing who it was, I was reluctant to answer it. Though I absolutely love all of my neighbors here, I wasn't exactly in the mood for one of Lego Guy's philosophical rants or The Fonz playing the tambourine. I answered the door anyway and was glad I did. It was The Poet. He hadn't seen me at all that day and was just checking in on me.

This made me realize that I was spending too much time being stuck in my own head yet again, so I ventured into the kitchen to make tea. I discussed "Goat Man" with The Poet and came to the conclusion that I was letting the whole thing turn into something it wasn't intended to be. I've been getting too caught up in character dialogue, side gags, and the mechanics of writing for the stage that I've lost sight of my original intentions.

What was my original intention? Well, I wanted to write a rock opera about an individual that was half man, half goat. "An existential rock opera in the key of despair," to be exact. That was the original working subtitle. I got rid of it for awhile after one of my commune friends lectured me about my apparent misuse of the word "existential."

"Unless you've done shrooms and have spent five hours trying to figure out what is real and what isn't, you shouldn't use that word," he said. The title was a little too long anyway, so I dropped it. But I think I am going to reinstate the subtitle because I like the way it sounds. It also helps me return to my original vision for "Goat Man."

"Goat Man" is a comedy and a tragedy rolled into one. It's full of quirky characters and possibly thought-provoking situations. But mostly, "Goat Man" is about the music. "Goat Man" is something I want to see onstage, but it's also something I want to make an album out of. I've gradually lost sight of the fact that the music is the most important part in all of this.

So what am I going to do? Back up the car up, get the freaking cat out of the drive-through, close all of my Celtx documents, get out my notebook and a pen, and get all of the songs on the page. I'd like to believe that once all of the songs are in place, the rest will come.

After all, I'm in the best possible environment right now to create something like this. Everyday, I am reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by such encouraging and wonderful creative people. They are people that understand my insanity and believe in my crazy ideas more than I do sometimes.

I think my new favorite subplot is the strange friendship I have with the guy across the hall. You know, Mr. Merry Christmas Forever who stays up writing about mystical Omniverses all night and lives with a woman that never, ever talks. Anyway, he helped me carry my music equipment up the stairs after band practice last week and ever since then we've become email buddies. Yes, email. Yes, we live across the hall from each other. Yes, sometimes these email exchanges happen when we are both in our rooms.

And these emails aren't cute little one paragraph messages either. There's one in my inbox from him that I've been jokingly referring to as a 750 word essay. I was explaining this phenomenon to The Poet during one of our late night tea parties and he was baffled. "What on earth does he email you about?" he asked.

The answer? Music. Life in the commune. The story he's writing. Terrorism in the 1970s. Goat Man. Omniverses. Poetry. Aliens.

The Poet offered me fifty cents to be able to read the emails. But last time I fell into a trap like that, I had to return the money and make copies for everyone. So I refused the offer.

The other night I was washing my dishes at two in the morning and I ran into Mr. Merry Christmas Forever. "I have a disc for you!" he exclaimed. "I have a disc for you, too!" I replied. Our recent email conversation about music had resulted in burning music for each other. I handed him a mix of Amanda Palmer and he gave me a whole smorgasbord of Luke Haines. We then went into our separate rooms. A half an hour later, I get an email from him saying that the music I gave him was exactly the inspiration he needed for the scene he was writing.

I loaded the CD he gave me onto my laptop and it wasn't long until I was completely lost in the sounds of Baader Meinhoff and Black Box Recorder. I feel like I'm probably late to the party on knowing and loving this music, but it's been the only thing on my iPod for the past three days and I can't get enough of it. Weirdly enough, there are a few songs by Black Box Recorder that completely embody one of the characters I've been struggling with in "Goat Man," so it's been an inspirational listening experience.

Anyway, I am officially rambling here. I don't know if anyone will make it this far into this relatively mundane post. Congratulations if you have indeed made it this far. Gold star for you.

I'm off to the land of goats. I will close with a quote from one of Mr. Merry Christmas Forever's emails:

"...goats will be men and alien Empresses will be teenage hyperviruses and all will be right with the world... Call upon the strength of the man-goat that haunts you. Funny how even the dicier problems are easier to solve when you're admiring their complex, catastrophic beauty as you fix them."

That's all I've got for now. Hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

P.S: Here is one of my favorite Black Box Recorder tracks if anyone is interested. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Year Of The Fonz

A long time ago I mentioned that there's a guy on my floor who initially reminded me of my old piano teacher. He's in his early thirties and is from Chicago. He works as a park ranger during the summer and is fairly neurotic. He didn't really come out of his room a lot the first couple of months we all lived here but that's beginning to change. Shortly after New Year's Day, he hung out in the kitchen with the late night kitchen crew (i.e: The Poet, The Fallen Nun, Mr. Syracuse, Purple Hair, and myself) and announced that he was tired of not being cool.

"I want to be like Fonzie," he said. "Fonzie did whatever the hell he wanted and was always cool."

The whole kitchen crew had the same response: "Fonzie? That guy from 'Happy Days' that was in high school forever and ever?"

"F@#$ yeah! The Fonz was so cool!" he replied.

The conversation continued and by the end of the night, our friend the nervous park ranger decided to reinvent himself with Fonzie as his model.

"This is The Year Of The Fonz!" he exclaimed. "Ask me how old I am?"

"Okay. How old are you?"

"I'm gonna be turning 29 later this year."

And thus The Year Of The Fonz began. From here on out, I will refer to this individual as The Fonz.

Though the concept of aspiring to be a television character is insanely comical, it's actually quite inspiring to watch someone make such a conscious effort to improve their life. The crazy part is that it actually seems to be working. Not only has this guy seemed more confident and outgoing in the past couple of weeks, but multiple women have expressed their interest in him. I am not making this crap up.

Anyway, in my last post I mentioned a fun new collaborative project I'm working on. I think I failed to mention that my collaborative partner is The Fonz. We have the same bizarre sense of humor and like a lot of the same music (not to mention we both gave a report using puppets sometime in elementary school and were both forced to do it multiple times because the teacher loved that's not a connection you make with somebody everyday...). So we figured we would give the collaboration thing a shot. We've gotten together a couple times and have slipped various ideas and sketches under each others doors. It's still a "top secret embryo" of an idea, but if/when it comes together it will be entertaining at the very least.

Last night, I had just gotten off the phone with my dad when there was a deep voice calling my name from right outside my door. I opened the door and it was The Fonz (wearing jeans and a white t-shirt, of course).

Me: Um, did you knock or were you just lurking around saying my name?
The Fonz: I was just saying your name. Is that not cool?
Me: Yeah...that was creepy...I don't think The Fonz would do that...
The Fonz: That was creepy? Oh my god, I'm sorry. I don't want to be creepy.
Me: It's alright, you've just gotta work on your entrance.

He left and came back. This time he knocked and said, "Hey hey! Yo Lauren, it's me!"

Fonzie (the real one) would have approved of this entrance.

What happened next was supposed to be a top secret jam session/brainstorming party for our project entitled "The Mushroom Heads." But we got way too into it and we were so loud and obnoxious that the whole building heard us and our imaginary cartoon British rock band. Apparently there was even a small crowd of people listening outside the door at one point. Everyone had the same questions:

- What the heck was going on in that room?
- Who was the British guy?
- Who was playing the tambourine?

When they realized that the British guy playing the tambourine was really just The Fonz with a fake accent, curiosity shot through the roof.

Meanwhile, the two of us were oblivious that we had an audience and were busy writing and belting out a song about germs. I can't remember the last time I had that much fun being that obnoxious.

Maybe we're jumping the shark with this cartoon band idea, but maybe we're onto something. Either way, it's a fun side project.

After our noisy, pseudo-British jam session, we discovered that my new teenage neighbor was having girl problems. So we joined forces with The Poet (and his guitar) to cheer the poor guy up with a hearty Nirvana sing-along. We also composed a new song entitled "Get Over Her, You Can Do Better." The Fonz played guitar and I accompanied him on the tambourine. The kid seemed significantly cheerier when our song was done.

I'd like to think that the real, fictional Fonzie would have been proud of all of us.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Couple Of Exciting Things...

I met The Decemberists today.

There was an album signing at a local record store in honor of their new release, "The King Is Dead." I've spent two years being sad over the fact that I missed the album signing for "Hazards of Love." So I was determined to go. I showed up to the record store awkwardly early. I bought the album and got the limited edition poster that came free with the purchase. Then I spent approximately two hours waiting in line with my little brother, TMBG Girl, and an old friend from college that I randomly ran into while I was in line to buy the CD. It was a rather bizarre combination of people but it worked. We were really close to the front of the line so we were some of the first people to get signatures.

I think I had a lot of intelligent things to say planned out in my head. But when my time came to meet them, the only thing that would come out of my mouth was something like "Your music is wonderful. I love you."

Call me a cliche Portlander, but it's true - their music is wonderful. I've spent several years loving them, but now that I've briefly met them and know that they are genuinely nice people, I love them even more.

Colin Meloy even took the time to make a remark about how my brother and I must be related because we look alike. Usually, this type of comment is a little bit annoying. But in this situation, it was proof that he was paying attention to us instead of just mechanically signing his name to our merchandise.

I did alright talking to most of them, but froze up a little bit when it came time to get Jenny Conlee's signature. It probably has something to do with the fact that she's towards the top of my list entitled "Kick Ass Female Musicians That I Want To Be Like When I Grow Up" (note to self: make that list). I wanted to tell her how inspiring she is to me, but instead all I could do was mumble something about how her music is wonderful.

The entire process of getting signatures and meeting The Decemberists didn't take longer than five minutes, but it was worth the two hour wait.

And now this poster is proudly displayed on my wall:

The whole thing definitely put me in a good mood and set the stage for what turned out to be a fairly productive night. I have been struggling with Goat Man for a few days so have agreed to let him go on a short vacation. Meanwhile, I've got another goofy side project in the works.

I probably don't need another goofy side project, but I think it's good to be involved in multiple creative enterprises at once. I'm not going to say a lot about this one yet, but I will tell you the following facts:

- It's a collaborative project with a friend that lives down the hall and around the corner.
- It began as a joke when we were less than sober in the kitchen.
- The working title is "The Mushroom Heads."
- It involves music.
- It involves fake British accents.
- It will be available online for everyone to investigate.

That's all I will say for now. I'm really excited about this project and will tell you more about it when it developes further.

I think that's all I have to report for now.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Memo To Human Resources

Note To Self:

- Next time I start to feel crazy for writing a rock opera about an existential goat man, I am going to just ask the writer across the hall to tell me about his latest comic book involving "clones living in vast Tantric omniverses."

- I should never write a love song for anything other than inanimate objects and fictional characters. Or, if I do ever write an actual love song, I should retire it when it is no longer relevant, regardless of how catchy it is. Otherwise, practicing it will just make me really sad.

- I should get my gaydar retuned. Seriously. I think I just spent a couple of months having a little bit of a crush on a gay guy. Of course, he has to be one of the nicest, smartest boys I've met in awhile. And he can dance. Crap crap crap.

- Vegan butter is not the same as real butter. It should be avoided when making cookies.

- Perhaps blogging should be an activity that can only happen before midnight. Maybe deleting this post in the morning will be a good idea.

That is all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Bad Night To Be A Hipster

Last spring, I had the privilege of seeing Kimya Dawson in concert.  If her name doesn't ring a bell, you might know her as the quirky hippy lady that does the music for "Juno."  Anyway, I might be romanticizing things, but that concert was a catalyst for all sorts of life changes.  Meaning I returned my business suit, started a blog called "TRASH ROCK TOUR" (which would later be known as "lauren vs. reality"), and decided to pursue my dreams.

That's a very simplified explanation, of course.  I can't blame Kimya for my entire journey down this bohemian rabbit hole, but she definitely played a part in my detachment from "balloon world."  So when I found out she was going to be in town playing at Backspace again last night, I called Ryan (a.k.a: Kimya's #1 Fanboy) and we bought tickets.  Anticipating another magical evening of inspiring folk music, we jumped on a MAX train after band practice.

The trip downtown took a little longer than we anticipated and the MAX was full of awkward characters (i.e:  a wannabe gangsta with a speech impediment, a woman who was going to pop out of her itty bitty tank top at any second, etc.).  When we finally got to Backspace, it was almost time for the show to start and there was a line of Kimya fans stretched out down the sidewalk.

Reluctantly, we got in line.  There were more boys in line than there were last time.  There were also more heterosexual couples.  Last spring, it was a bit of a lesbian festival. 

Anyway, as we got closer to the door, we noticed a few things:
1)  A sign that said completely different information than what was on the site we bought tickets from, including the start time of the show and the fact that Kimya Dawson was the opening act for a folk punk band.
2)  Kimya was already onstage playing "The Beer" (one of her best songs and we missed it!)
3)  We had missed half of Kimya's set!

I think it was at this point that I said something melodramatic along the lines of, "Ryan, if we don't get inside in time and miss all of Kimya's set, I might just cry!  I might just cry right here on the sidewalk!"

Fortunately, we made it inside before there was any crying on the sidewalk.  But the room was packed and there wasn't really a good place for us to sit/stand.  We settled on a spot near the bar.  People kept pushing to get past us and I could see the top of Kimya's poofy hair at best.

But the music was still wonderful, despite all of the disappointments.  "Loose Lips" still made me grin and "Walk Like Thunder" still gave me goosebumps.  I love how raw and honest her songs are.  I think I've said this before, but it's the kind of music that reminds me why I insist on playing the piano instead of getting a "real" job.

Her set was over way too soon.  I went to go order a drink to cope with my post-Kimya depression.  I quickly discovered that they were out of PBR.

It was a bad night to be a hipster.

On top of that, I kept losing Ryan because he took off in the direction of Kimya whenever he spotted her poofy hair.  The number of times he attempted to ambush her like an awkward fanboy was downright comical.  

Ryan in fanboy mode while I'm busy being an angry hipster

The punk-ish band took the stage and they weren't bad.  They were called "Defiance Ohio" and reminded me of Flogging Molly (but less edgy and not quite as wonderful...yes, I went through that celtic punk phase in high school along with the rest of the universe...don't judge...).  The music was fun to dance to but I probably won't run out and buy all of their albums.

Just watch, Defiance Ohio will become the next big thing and then this blog post will be right up there with the journal entry from the summer of 2004 in which I describe skipping band camp to go see They Might Be Giants at a music festival with my dad.  And I quote, "A band from Seattle called 'Death Cab For Cute' played before them.  We hung around for some of that so we could get prime spots for TMBG.  The place was packed so we didn't actually get to see Death Cab, but they sounded pretty good.  Finally, they ended and all these pierced punk rockers came pouring out.  All the nerdy, intellectual TMBG fans piled in!"  I then go on to describe how "beautiful" and "freak'n awesome" the TMBG show was.  Oh Teenage Lauren, you are so funny without even trying.  I think if I could relive that moment in time, I would put more effort into watching Death Cab.  I would also put more effort into removing the word "freak'n" from my vocabulary.

But I digress.  Back to things that are relevant.

I left to go to the bathroom in the middle of Defiance Ohio's set.  There are only two bathrooms at Backspace and they are both oners, so I found myself waiting in line for awhile.  The line was right by the Internet cafe part of Backspace.  It was also by an arcade-style game called "House Of The Dead 4."  Some guy in tight pants and a band t-shirt got in line behind me.  He wasn't completely gorgeous or anything, but he wasn't bad looking.  He starts talking to me and the conversation goes like this:

Guy:  I can't believe that people are back here on computers when there is a punk show going on!  What's up with that?
Me:  I know!  They really should be out there dancing.
Guy:  Yeah, for real!
*awkward silence*
Me:  Though are you sure you wouldn't rather be back here playing House Of The Dead 4?
Guy:  *laughs*  It's tempting, but I'm more of a House Of The Dead 2 type of person.
Me:  Personally I'm all about House Of The Dead 3.
Guy:  Rock on.
Me:  Yeah, House Of The Dead 3 is where it's at.
*awkward silence*
Me:  I'm kidding.
Guy:  What?
Me:  I'm kidding about House Of The Dead 3.  I'm not actually into it.
Guy:  Haha, yeah, you totally fooled me.
Me:  Yeah, I know.  Oh look, the bathroom is open!
*end of conversation*

Ugh.  When will I learn that trying to charm strangers with my neverending wit is usually a bad idea? 

The concert ended and we were able to successfully hunt down Kimya (I don't think Ryan was going to leave the venue until he was able to meet her).  We told her how much we loved her and snagged this wonderfully awkward photograph:

This is a happy picture.

I thought about taking a picture with her as well, but she didn't seem that into it and I didn't want to be too annoying.

So we left Backspace and ventured into the rain.  The trip home took longer than it should have because we lost track of where we were and we rode the wrong MAX to the wrong stop.

But that didn't stop us from dancing all the way home.

So last night ended on a high note.  I have always wanted to dance in an empty train car and now I can cross that off of my bucket list.

And that's all I've got for today.  Hope everyone is having a great Sunday!  Peace.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Specialize In Hanging Out With Fictional Characters

The other day, I was hiding in my favorite coffee shop in attempts to get some solid work done on the "Goat Man" script.  I was just getting into a groove when my cell phone rang. 

I sighed.  The whole day had been like that.  In fact, the reason I was in a coffee shop was because my place was way too distracting.  I had intended to spend the afternoon writing and ended up giving people relationship advice in the kitchen instead.  I probably should have left my phone behind when I went to the coffee shop. 

But I saw that it was my bandmate calling me, so I answered the phone.  The conversation went like this:

Bandmate:  Hey, can we practice today?
Me:  Um, okay...but I'm kinda busy right now...
Bandmate:  What's up?
Me: (glancing down at the cartoon of Goat Man sitting on the table) I'm at a coffee date.
Bandmate:  Oooh, alright, well don't let me bother you.
Me:  Um, don't get too excited for me, it's a coffee date with Goat Man.
Bandmate:  What?
Me:  Practice at 8?

It's official:  I'm one of *those* people.  Ugh. 

But the project itself is coming along nicely, I think.  I sent the demos and synopsis off somewhere and got a surprisingly positive response (more on that when I know more).  My goal is to finish the first draft by the end of the month.  I have 17 days.  Yikes. 

I'm hoping to be able to see "Goat Man" come alive on stage this summer.  I don't know exactly when, where, or how that's going to happen yet, but I can figure that out after I finish writing the darn thing.  It could happen on the other side of the world or it could happen in the venue downstairs from my apartment.  I just have to see who's interested in it when it's all done.  If you guys have any ideas for where "Goat Man" should be performed, I'd love to hear them!

Though I'm probably getting ahead of myself.  Counting my chickens before they hatch, or something like that.  Okay, that's not quite the right saying, but you know what I mean. 

On that note, I should probably get to work on the script.  Expect a more interesting update sometime in the near future.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pay It Forward!

I'm always a little hesitant to jump on the blog meme bandwagon, but Allison had this up on her fabulous blog and I decided to be brave and play along. Here it goes:

Pay it Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment. They must in turn post this and send something they made to the first 5 people who comment. The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011. (What a great way to start 2011!!)

There you have it. If you leave me a comment and are number uno, dos, tres, cuatro, or stinko, I will collect your real life address and mail you something handmade by yours truly. I can't promise you it will be anything useful or spectacular, but I will put thought into it and I will have fun with it. Meaning you can expect to receive any of the following if you sign up:

- Badly drawn cartoons!
- A collage that makes no sense!
- A horrific recording of a song that I will get drunk and write just for you!
- Art made out of tin foil!
- A replica of a dead rat! (you think I'm kidding but I live down the hall from a guy who sometimes sets up a "make your own artistic dead rat" station in the kitchen)
- Something equally bizarre that I am yet to think of!

So what are you waiting for? Leave me your email address so I can solicit you for your mailing address and we can get this game started!

Of course, there is a catch: you have to post this on your blog too (hence the reason it's called "Pay It Forward"). I will know if you don't and I will send my fake dead rats after you. So you better play along if you play!

That's all for now. Hope everyone is having a lovely Wednesday!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Things Are Getting Steamy Over Here...

Note: You are about to read an incredibly embarrassing account of something that happened today. Enter at your own risk.

Today it was announced that the hot water problem in my building has been fixed. Well, it's almost fixed. The hot water works now, but you have to let it run for at least ten minutes first. Naturally, I was skeptical. But I had spent the morning planting trees in the mud with my environmental activist friends and was in the mood for a hot shower. So I turned on the water, felt how cold it was, and let it run while I replied to a couple of emails. Then I went into the bathroom, shut the door, and got ready to take a shower.

The water was indeed HOT. It felt like Christmas! That shower hadn't been hot since the 22nd of December! I was so excited that I washed my hair twice. I stayed in the shower for a very long time and finally emerged feeling totally happy and refreshed. I dried off with a towel and went to open the bathroom door.

The bathroom door would not open.

Sometimes the door sticks a little bit, so I yanked on it like I normally do. But this was no ordinary case of sticky door syndrome. This door had managed to steam itself shut.

I spent several minutes pulling on the door handle. This was unsuccessful. I realized that the wood had expanded because of the steam (this is probably why so many people have bathroom fans...). Fortunately, my closet is in the bathroom, so I got dressed and tried to think things through strategically.

Being the slob that I am, I keep various dirty dishes on the window sill. Among these dishes was a knife I used to spread cream cheese on a bagel last week. I grabbed it, rinsed it off, and attempted to pry open the door with a butter knife. The door was so swollen that the knife wouldn't even fit in the crack.

I tried a few other odd utensils and eventually reverted back to just pulling on the door handle. No luck. It dawned on me that I should open the window to let some of the steam out, so I did that.

It was at this point that I realized that there was nothing else I could do. So I sat down and tried not to think about how powerless I currently felt. I painted my toe nails. I put on make-up. I even thought about cleaning a little bit, but then decided to check the door again.

The door was still stuck. I had been trapped in there for about a half an hour and was starting to get a little bit paranoid. What if the door never opened for me? What then? Sure, my neighbors love me, but if they don't see me in the kitchen they're just going to assume I'm locked away in my room on purpose, maybe frantically working on Goat Man and eating microwavable chicken pot pies. No one's going to come looking. How was I going to get out?

I started looking out the window, thinking that if I saw the right person taking a smoke break I would yell at them. The only person out there was Merry Christmas Forever Guy. I like him and I know he'd probably help me, but I don't know him well enough to yell at him from the third story window and tell him I'm stuck in my bathroom.

And even if I had been able to yell at him and get his attention, it wouldn't have done any good because the door to my apartment was locked. Someone would have had to pick the lock or call the building manager and then it would have been a big, embarrassing ordeal.

So I tried to wait it out. After I had been in there for a good 45 minutes, I vowed to break free once and for all. I yanked on the door like a crazy person for several minutes yet again.

Finally, the door flew opened and I was free after spending nearly an hour locked in my own damn bathroom. I felt like I had just lived through the ultimate neurotic single person's nightmare.

All I can say is this - I don't think I'm ever going to close that door again.

Aaaaaand that's all I've got for tonight. Peace.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

He's Half A Goat, Half A Man...

Tonight was interesting.  I'll be back tomorrow to tell you a story that involves cocktail weenies, dancing in the mail room, and sending an unintentionally suggestive text message.  But for now...

Here is the main theme from "Goat Man."

Please forgive the cheesey fake guitar solo at the beginning.  It's a demo. 

Anyway, that's all for tonight.  Thanks for listening.  Love you all! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I Am Not A Sexy Super Villain

So Goat Man is far from complete, but I do have a demo ready that will be shipped off tomorrow. Okay, so it's not quite ready yet, but it will be ready by the time the post office is open.

I am ridiculous.

Noteworthy things that happened tonight:

- I attempted to record a demo of the song that the seductive bad girl sings. I was going to have a friend help me out on it, but I ran out of time. The song is a duet between the bad girl and Goat Man. It's the song where she tries to seduce him and he rejects her. I am the voice of Goat Man too. So ultimately, the track is three minutes of me trying to seduce myself.'s sitting on the cutting room floor right now...

- I learned that writing awkward and neurotic songs about cell phones, psychiatrists, and existentialism comes much more naturally to me than writing seductive bad girl songs. I'm the female Woody Allen. I am not a sexy super villain. I'm just not.

- The Poet and The Fallen Nun talked me into showing them my student film from college. It's been a really long time since I had seen it and it was like looking at a portal into a distant world.

- I've decided that not having hot water on command is bad for my general mental health. I've developed a cold shower strategy and routine, which is not really something I enjoy, neither is it something I've ever wanted to do. I don't mean to keep bitching about it, but I'm ready to join this century again.

- Time is becoming elusive and irrelevant. The night owl schedule isn't helping things.

That's all I have to report at this time.

More coherent post coming soon.

Also, snippets from Goat Man will be up here at some point for you listening pleasure! I figured if I'm going to constantly ramble on about it I might as well let you guys hear a little bit of it. And you guys are just plain fabulous, so I'll share a little bit of my rock opera madness with you. But first I have to figure out how to upload it, which may take me awhile. Haha.

I think that's really all I have to say.

*waves goodnight*

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unorganized Brain Nuggets (Now With Even More Cholesterol!)

Hot water is still out of commission.  It's been almost two weeks now.  Today I caught myself microwaving a water in a bowl so that I could wash my hair.  What is my life coming to?

In other news, Original Sound Trash has a show on the calendar.  And here I thought the band was slowly dying.  Apparently we're not.  Cool.  

The show is over a month away, but I think I just spent a good half an hour discussing wardrobe options with my neighbors in the kitchen.  I guess that means I'm really comfortable here - usually I just save that whole "what-do-I-WEAR???" conversation for my mother.  But it's a legitimate thing to think about.  I don't want to bore you guys, but there are really a lot of roads I could go down as far as rock show attire is concerned.  

Okay, so maybe there are only three main roads to take:
a) sequins
b) fur
c) black leather

Combinations of any or all of the above are also acceptable but may be considered over the top.  I'm leaning towards leather, but if anyone has any profound input I would love to hear it.

I feel like this is one of those posts that probably doesn't need to exist but I will hit "PUBLISH" anyway.    I mean, look at me - I'm talking about clothing and hair and my mundane plumbing problems.  Snore.

Been working on "Goat Man" a lot but I never seem to get as much work done as I think I should be doing.  Lately, Goat Man has been sticking his little hooves into the ground and refusing to move forward.  He's a stubborn little guy.

I did manage to write a new song.  And record it.  As a duet with myself, because I couldn't find a singer.  I edited the pitch on my voice to sound like a dude.  Then I took it down way too low and I sounded like Darth Vadar.  I think it was at that point I got frustrated and put that song on the back burner.  But not after sharing the Darth Vadar track with a couple of friends down the hall, of course.  

Maybe someday, a documentarian will refer to this phase of my life as "the early years leading up to Lauren's big debut as a writer/rock star/freelance hippy."  But right now, I feel a little more insane all the time.

Did I mention that it's the best kind of insanity?

On that note, I should probably sleep or something.  

Goodnight, comrades.  

Monday, January 3, 2011

But Where Am I Supposed To Keep My Sticks???

For those of you who are just now tuning in, I live in a building that used to be a retirement home.

One of the building's many quirks is The Bathtub Room.  This room is exactly like what it sounds: a small room with nothing but a creepy-looking bathtub in it.

Recently, Management placed the following sign above said bathtub:

I really enjoy the fact that this sign needs to exist.

That is all.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Year Of The Goat

I typically hate New Year's. I like the idea of New Year's, but I often get stressed out over plans that don't quite come together like I want them to. I go into New Year's Eve with high hopes and am disappointed the next day because it's never as fun as I think it should be.

This was not the case this year. I'm still replaying the video tapes in my brain, but I think I actually had a good night.

Last year, I bent over backwards a little bit to keep people around me happy on New Year's. As a result, I was standing in the rain with my ex-boyfriend's roommate when the clock turned midnight (I was also completely sober). It set the tone for a year of trying to please the world around me while neglecting the things that are important to me.

It should be noted that 2010 was a fairly bizarre year. It was a year of transition. I'm not sure if it was really a good year or a bad year, it was just a year where lots of things happened. I graduated from college. I got a keytar. I had a post-graduation crisis that lasted an entire summer. I took a road trip by myself for the first time. I learned to pump my own gas. I got out of a serious relationship that wasn't enhancing my life. I learned a lot about people, about friends, and about boys. I moved into an artist's community. I surrounded myself with creative people and have made some really wonderful new friends. I did a solo show for the first time ever. I discovered that, contrary to popular belief, there is nothing spiritually enlightening about not having hot water and taking cold showers. I've gotten more serious about my writing. I think I'm living the starving artist dream that I've fantasized about since childhood. I think I'm actually...happy.

It seems that my motto for the year 2010 was "That seemed like a good idea at the time." Even the last few hours of the year were worthy of that catchphrase. Determined not to be disappointed by New Year's this time, I was careful not to make any plans. I had no expectations whatsoever for the evening. In fact, I was content to drink coffee and work on Goat Man in my apartment. I took a break to try on the new leather shorts I got for Christmas. I was in the process of testing out different shoe options and posing in front of my mirror when there was a knock on the door.

It was my friend The Fallen Nun. As I've mentioned before, she is not really a fallen nun, nor is she even Catholic, but it's a nickname we've given her based on the way she plays the ukulele. Anyway, she's one of my better friends around here, and she knocked on the door to tell me about some party she didn't want to go to alone.

Who's party was this? Here's the connection: There's a girl who recently moved into one of the rooms in the creepy stairwell. Dancing is her thing so we'll call her The Dancer. I don't know her very well but we're friendly. She was hanging out in the kitchen with her flamboyantly gay and fairly obnoxious best friend. He reminded me a little bit of Jack from "Will and Grace," but less fabulous and more immature. So we'll call him Jack. Anyway, The Dancer and Jack were going to a party a few blocks away at Jack's friend's house. It was advertised to us as "lots of people and lots of dancing." Though I generally hate parties, I can never pass up dancing. I wouldn't have gone if I didn't have a buddy, but I knew The Fallen Nun wasn't going to abandon me at some strange party and I figured if it wasn't that fun we'd at least have a good story to tell the next day. So I took off my leather shorts, put on something a little more seasonally appropriate, and set out into the night.

Time: 10:20pm

Buses run free on New Year's, it's 20 degrees outside, and the party turns out to be a little farther than "a few blocks away." So the four of us tromp over to the bus stomp - The Fallen Nun and I bundled up in giant coats, Jack smoking a million cigarettes and singing that awful Willow Smith song, The Dancer wearing a bow in her hair and finishing off a two-liter bottle of Sprite (we later found out there was an entire fifth of rum mixed into that bottle). The bus takes forever to get there. The Fallen Nun and I realize that we are not only significantly older than Jack and The Dancer, but we are the only ones who are not wasted. We probably shouldn't have gotten on the bus with them, but we did.

Time: 10:40pm

We get off the bus and Jack drags us into a neighborhood. He keeps assuring us that he knows where the party is but it feels like we are just aimlessly walking around a random neighborhood. Somebody comments that it's "just like high school!" And it does feel a lot like high school. Except I skipped that entire scene in high school.

Time: 10:50pm

We find the party. It turns out that "lots of people and lots of dancing" was a lie - the "party" was literally five stoned hipsters playing Uno. Jack apologizes for dragging us to a lame party but announces that is has to stay because the hostess is his "main girl." The Dancer is upset for a variety of reasons including the following:
1) The party is too small.
2) The boy she wants to kiss at midnight is not there.
3) She wants to go to a bar.
4) She hates Uno.

Time: 11:05pm

We go back into the night, leaving Jack at the party. We walk down the street to find a bar that one of the stoned hipsters recommended to us. We look in the window and are horrified to see that the bar is full of middle-aged women singing karaoke. We decide it's not our scene.

Time: 11:20pm

The Dancer finally gets ahold of the boy she wants to kiss and has an extremely loud phone conversation with him. She announces that we're going to another party. The Fallen Nun and I have a brief pow wow and decide that we want to go back to the commune. Meanwhile, The Dancer is attempting to hail a cab on the wrong side of the street. She then repeatedly tells me to use my phone to call her a cab because her phone is almost dead. I end up just pulling up Google Maps on my iPhone and showing her that her party is an easy ten minute walk away. So she sets off into the night with a dying cell phone, the bow still in her hair. The Fallen Nun and I watch her cross the street and wonder if we should do something. We decide there's nothing we can do and decide to just get on the next bus - a bus that won't come for nearly 15 minutes. We decide to walk/jog to another bus stop to keep warm.

Time: 11:35pm

We finally get on a bus. We are the only people on it.

Time: 11:45pm

We get home in time for midnight. We run into Purple Hair on our way inside (though her hair isn't purple anymore, so the name is a little irrelevant now). "Oh man, where have you guys been?!" she says. "This place is crazy tonight! Merry Christmas Forever Guy locked me in the storage closet and told me I was going to Narnia! It was great!"

Time: 11:50pm

There is a hipster New Year's Party happening in somebody's apartment and it seems that the entire community is in there. I go down the hall to ditch my coat and run into one of my elusive across-the-hall neighbors that I rarely see. I'm not really sure how old this woman is. I know she's not my age. I'm not sure if she's quite my mother's age, but she could be. She helped me record a demo for Goat Man and was awesome, but before that I never really talked to her much. Anyway, she's floating down the hall in a fancy black dress paired with a white fur stole. She gives me a hug and beckons me into her apartment which is all set up for a party. She asks where I have been. She says the party has moved down the hall. She encourages me to eat some of her hor dourves. I eat a piece of chocolate that was obviously store-bought, being careful to avoid any of the homemade baked goods on the table. She pours me a glass of champagne and tells me to meet her at the big party down the hall.

Time: 11:57pm

I arrive at the hipster party. The entire universe seems to be there. We count down to the New Year.

Time: 12:00am

Everyone is hugging and cheering and taking bad pictures of each other while drinking cheap champagne. It's a pretty happy New Year. People are dancing. The creepy kid from my writing group that raps about pirates and sometimes dresses like a pirate (we'll call him Pirate Guy) is dancing way too close to The Fallen Nun and it's making her uncomfortable. Fur Stole Lady is kissing everyone. The space is a little too small for all of us and someone asks if I can rig up some dance music in the kitchen.

Time: 12:15am

There's a small crowd of people dancing in the kitchen, one disco ball, one strobe light, two fairly crappy speakers, and a Tesla Boy track later. Naturally, I am the DJ. So much for spending New Year's working on my rock opera.

Time: 12:25am

I am still wearing extra layers from when I was trekking around in the cold, so I let the music be on auto-pilot and slip back to my room to change into something more appropriate for dancing. I am gone no more than ten minutes. I hear screaming and I return to discover Fur Stole Lady threatening to take off her clothes in the middle of the "dance floor." I quickly learn that I had just narrowly missed Pirate Guy doing a strip tease that resulted in full frontal nudity. Apparently I know the right time to leave the room.

Dancing continues for a couple of hours without anything too noteworthy happening. There was a lot of ridiculous 90s eurodance music at one point, courtesy of yours truly (and the drunk friend of Purple Hair who kept sneaking over to my laptop while I was dancing and playing "What Is Love" repeatedly).

Time: 2:30 am-ish

Fur Stole Lady continues to dance even though the party has faded out. The Poet, The Fallen Nun, and I were trying to drop subtle hints that we wanted to clean up but she wasn't getting it. Two guys we'd never seen before showed up and sat awkwardly in the corner. Fur Stole Lady put on the song "Lazy Eye" by The Silver Sun Pickups and shamelessly danced to it in the center of the room. One of the random dudes joined her. Then The Fallen Nun joined them. I got up and danced with them as well. The other random dude started dancing. We got lost in the song for four minutes. "I've been waiting for this moment all my life, but it's not quite right," sang The Silver Sun Pickups. It's a song I've heard many times before - I've even heard it live - but it felt like I was hearing it again for the first time. And I don't think I had been waiting for that particular moment all my life, but right then, everything in the universe actually did seem right.

I'm pretty excited about 2011. I have no idea what it's going to bring, but that's alright. I'm just going to continue to do what I love to do and see what happens.

On that note, I should probably go tend to Goat Man. I've left him alone for several hours now and he's not very happy when he gets ignored like that.

Peace out, my friends. Hope everyone had a great New Year.

Or, in the words of the guy that lives across the hall from me:


Also, here's "Lazy Eye," just in case you don't know it: