Friday, September 30, 2011

This Is Not A Dress Rehearsal

It's been a weird week. Forgive me if this post is more sentimental than most. A year ago, I moved into this wacky artist's community along with a whole hoard of eclectic strangers. Now, leases are ending and people are moving.

Ten. Ten people are moving from my floor. It feels as though the rapture came and left me behind.

The Poet is left behind too, along with The Fonz and The Dancer. Also, The Mad Scientist is still in his laboratory becoming the next Edgar Allen Poe. But the mass exodus of neighbors was dramatic and a bit depressing.

This week seems like a series of scenes from a film:

The Chef making dinner for us one last time and announcing that life is not a dress rehearsal.

A party/impromptu recital in the basement, where bottles of wine were passed around in circles and a boy played the piano while The Chef yelled "THIS IS NOT A DRESS REHEARSAL."

Sticking my head out the window and waving farewell to a hipster gnome who is moving to New York City. My next door neighbor stuck her head out the window too and I felt like we needed to start singing about how we weren't going to pay last year's rent.

Eating donuts with The Chef and The Poet outside on the picnic table late at night, listening as The Chef told us we needed to get out of town, make art that represented our personal truths, and live our lives as if we might die tomorrow.

Finding a six-page typed manifesto under my door (courtesy of one of my writer friends), recapping the year and encouraging everyone in their various artistic endeavors.

Going out to a bar with a big mess of people and laughing about all the things we've experienced together over the past year.

Waking up early to give The Chef a big hug before he bumbled off to Finland. This was the cherry on top of a very bittersweet week and the catalyst for the inevitable water works display that was destined to happen at some point. He even left a note addressed to the community, saying that he was leaving behind his beloved "sound sculpture" (yes, that would be the air mattress with train whistles and pan flutes shoved in it...) as a gift to the community.

Raiding the workshop after The Chef left and rescuing some of the paintings he left behind:

It's strange how The Chef hasn't even been gone for twelve hours and the place already seems strange and lifeless.  His room is empty and all that's left behind is an obnoxious air mattress and some bad paintings of Elvis.  A lot of cool people left this week, but I'm going to miss The Chef the most.  He was a great encouragement to me from the very beginning, not to mention my daily comic relief for an entire year.  I know he's the sort of person that can't stand to live in the same place/city/state/country for more than a year, but it's still sad seeing him disappear into the sunset like that.

"Peace and love," he said as he turned to walk down the hall for the last time.  "Good luck, rock on, love you guys, peace out."  I stood there next to The Poet and tried not to cry.  

I felt like the season finale of this sitcom had come to an end and the credits were rolling somewhere on some cosmic screen.  I guess all I can do is take all my memories and move on to next season's episodes.

This is not a dress rehearsal.  

Friday, September 23, 2011

My New Concept Album

I'm working on a concept album entitled "Seen And Heard On 82nd Avenue." Naturally, it's based on things I've seen and heard while both sitting on my front stoop and looking out my window.

Tracks include:

• "Is That Guy In The Park Sleeping Or Dead?"

• "Imma Shoot You!"

• "No I Don't Have A Cigarette And I Know That's Not What You Really Mean"

• "I Don't Care How Hot It Is Out Here - When You Look Like THAT, You Shouldn't Wear THAT!"

• "Wait Up, You B@#$% A$$ M@#$&% F@#$&%!"

• "Heyyy, Do You Folks Have Gaaanja?"

• "Somebody Get That Girl Off Of That Bicycle And Into Rehab"

• "Man With Turrets Waiting For The Bus"

• "Sorry, I Don't Have A Lighter"

• "Seriously Guys, I Do Brain Imaging For The Government!"

• "The Bus Stop Is NOT A Urinal!"

• "Here Come The Cops!"

• "Imma Cut You!"

"We Are Not Being Abducted By Aliens" (this track is simply the sound of the bus stop being power-washed at 2am)

This album will surely come with a panoramic photo of the scenic 82nd Avenue. It will also come with a parental advisory warning.

You will LOVE it.

P.S: This is all a joke, in case you couldn't tell...

P.P.S: My neighborhood isn't really as bad as I just made it sound... I mean, I wouldn't recommend it to tourists, but I've never been beaten up or mugged.

P.P.P.S: I think I'm probably a city person, but I might be needing a break from the city soon. Can you tell? :P

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Reflections And Stuff...

Oh man. I'm currently at Peets Coffee inhaling a pumpkin spice latte and it's the best coffee-related drink I've had in ages. It officially feels like Fall now. It's weird to think that just last week there was a major heat wave. The air has shifted since then and that distinctive Fall smell has returned. The infamous Portland rain has made a few cameos in the weather report and I've even felt the need to wear sweaters a couple of times.

Personally, I'm glad it's fall again. I'm a true Oregonian in that I secretly hate sunshine and live for a good gloomy overcast day. And I would always rather be too cold than too hot (because really, you can always put on more clothes to warm up when it's cold but can you only take off so many clothes to cool down when it's hot), so breaking out my long sleeved shirts again was sort of exciting.

Also, Fall is by far my favorite of all the seasons. Winter is too depressing, Spring is too optimistic, and Summer is just too darn hot and frankly overrated. But Fall contains a sort of delicate beauty that makes me want to drink too many lattes and write bad poetry about leaves or something.

Fall does bring a certain element of nostalgia along. Maybe it's one of the things that is packaged in that crisp autumn air. It's undoubtedly a season of change, but it's also a season with a distinct set of memories.

This year seems especially nostalgic. A year ago, I was getting ready to move to the city and live with a bunch of wacky artists. I was meeting everyone for the first time. I was building friendships, making alliances, learning who to watch out for, and feeling completely accepted and supported as a creative individual.

A year later, I'm still here, existing in this big bohemian mad house made of brick. And it's been quite the year - I think I have enough material for one thousand sitcom episodes and a few feature films. But the times are changing. People are changing. People are leaving. I keep saying I want to leave too but I don't know where I want to go.

We had The First Of The Last Suppers last night in the courtyard. It started at dusk and we lit everything with candlelit. It was a good night but slightly strange. A handful of my favorite people are sticking around until they develop better plans, but many people are fleeing on October 1st.

The Chef is moving to Finland. He was my first friend here and is one of the most unique people I've ever met. I think I'm in denial over the fact that he's leaving. I'll still have The Fonz, The Poet, and The Mad Scientist (who's been coming out of his room more often and gracing us with his lovably odd personality), but none of them are going to stick train whistles in an air mattress or organize community Solstice celebrations.

And, of course, no one else is going to get drunk and sing "One Night In Bangkok" while spontaneously yanking on The Poet's nipples. Yes, that is a moment that happened last night and yes, i am still laughing about it.

But I digress. A bunch of other people on the third floor are moving too. It's a mass exodus, I guess. Feels like the end of summer camp, actually. You know, it's emotional and seems unfair and you don't want to move on from the fun you had in the woods, but you know deep down that you need to join the real world again and you look forward to bathrooms with running water.

I'll be honest and say that I don't always like change. But I guess that's just something that often comes with Fall.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wake Me Up When September Ends

I'd like to open this post with a couple of relatively trivial news yet fun items:

1) I have finally hopped onto the Twitter bandwagon. Does that make me a Twit? Anyway, I currently have one follower and it's the guy that lives across the hall from me. Also, I don't know who to follow aside from random celebrities that I adore. So I would love for you guys to seek out my friendship in the Twitter Universe and show me how it's all done. My page is over here.

2) I'm signed up to do a live musical broadcast on at 4pm today (that's Pacific Standard time - if you live on the East Coast it's going to be at 7pm). It's a really cool site, I'm excited about it. You start with a minute and if people "like" what you're doing you get more time. So, if you're in the mood to pop over there in a couple of hours and cheer me on, I would totally love that.

In other news, my CD project is in limbo because the guy that's mixing it dropped off the face of the Earth one day and woke up in Kansas. I think I nearly cried when I got the text message with that news in it. I feel as if that one five-track disc is the missing piece in my whole rock and roll scheme. And until it's done, I'm destined to be stuck in limbo. Did you know that last week I actually wore PANTY HOSE because I was attempting to get a job as a church pianist? It felt downright unnatural. The worst part is that they didn't even hire me because they need someone who can play the organ too. But I'm over it. I've started putting up ads all over Craigslist advertising my fine skills as a funeral musician. I figure that people are always dying and in need of piano accompaniment. Sadly, I'm yet to get a response.

But enough about jobs! I love what The Poet always says to me: "Lauren, you have a job - you're a rock star. The pay just sucks right now." I try to maintain that mentality, though sometimes it's difficult.

I was talking to an old friend yesterday and we decided that September is always the worst month because everyone goes back to school except you and it forces you to become nostalgic and re-evaluate the current direction of your life. My friend just got hired as a full-time personal trainer though, so I don't really know if he understood what I was talking about. He excitedly talked about how he was going to make so much money at his new job and asked me all about my job prospects, suggesting that maybe I should just go back to school.

I really have no desire to go back to school, but I've noticed that a lot of people are doing it, probably just as a thing to do.

(from Scott Pilgrim vol. 5... yes, my love for these comics is shameless)
Anyway, I'm slipping into rambling-mode here.  I've spent a little too much time in my head lately, can you tell? 

Last night was good, though.  It's been awhile since the whole crew has gone out because Purple Hair moved closer to the river and The Fonz has been living in the woods.  But we all came together last night for pizza at Sizzle Pie and drinks at the B Side (gah... I feel like such hipster scum when I drop names of places like that).  It was really good to get out of my neighborhood and even better to get out of my brain. 

Somehow, I ended up as designated driver, which is usually a blessing in disguise.  Honestly, I have never woken up in the morning and thought to myself "Gee, I'm so glad I had all of that alcohol last night!  I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to be so obnoxious and now I feel all happy and peppy and wonderful!"  But I digress.  The end of the night was particularly spectacular, with The Mad Scientist babbling incoherently to himself in my truck and The Poet shoved between us trying hard not to laugh. 

"People gotta do what people gotta do!  I saaaaaid people gotta do what people gotta do!"

These are the words that The Mad Scientist said the whole way home.  He's my friend, but duuuude... Next time, he's taking a bus.

I did get a nice "Sorry for my drunken behavior" email from him this morning.  I'm starting to get whole collection of those.  Usually they leave his computer at about 6am and are addressed to whoever was present on the scene of his drunken strangeness.  My personal favorites include an apology for publicly groping someone and a clarification assuring us that he does not really think he's Kanye West. 

I really don't think about how strange my life is until I start typing things out like this... 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Day I Wore Fred's Glasses

First off, I want to apologize for not blogging a lot lately. Apparently I can't be prolific all of the time.

Also, I couldn't help but notice that I have over 100 followers! This is totally exciting news, not to mention a little mind-blowing. If you're new here, welcome to the club. Thanks for following and I look forward to getting to know you a little bit.

Now that all of that is out of the way, I want to show you guys a picture...

Yes, that is Fred Armisen. And yes, we are wearing each other's glasses. As a side note, his prescription is kind of intense.

Also, it should be noted that my glasses have gotten much, much cooler because THEY HAVE BEEN ON FRED ARMISEN'S FACE.

Fan girl moment aside, it was really cool to meet Fred again. I felt like he possibly remembered me from last time. I sort of feel like I've been stalking to him, but I promise I haven't been.

Okay, there was that time last week when I saw him drinking a Sprite on a street corner and watched him for a good twenty minutes. But let's not talk about that.

Anyway, today turned out to be awesome. I knew where they were filming "Portlandia" today and thought I would go check out the set. I guess I was in the right place at the right time, because they needed more extras and next thing I knew I was wearing a Portland Timbers' scarf and cheering in the bleachers for a soccer game sketch.

And when it was all over, I had a glasses-related bonding moment with Fred himself.

I've been getting caught in a slump lately, mentally repeating phrases like "NOTHING IS GOING LIKE I PLANNED" over and over until all I can do is eat ice cream and fall asleep. But after today, I am optimistic.

After all, I now have a cool photograph of myself with one of the funniest men in the business. And when you have multiple Fred Armisen encounters in one summer, you have to believe that you're doing something right.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

This Is Just Me Being All Neurotic (And Shooting Lasers From My Eyes)

I haven't felt very good for the past couple of days. It's probably just a combination of stress (cue lively chorus of "How are we gonna pay-ay-ay thiiiiiiis yeeeeear's reeeeeent?"), a fairly bad diet (cheese, bread, and coffee, anyone?), and living in a glorified ghetto full of lead/mold/asbestos/people that don't bathe (no one ever said Bohemianism would be glamorous). Also, when you share a kitchen with about 30 people (some of which choose not to bathe), everything becomes a germ factory from time to time (or, all the time). I'm staying off of WebMD and attempting to cure myself by taking ibuprofen, opening my windows to air out my apartment (but not wide enough for people to leap through), and eating only fruit (and pizza...and cookies...and cake...). I have no doubt that I will be totally fine.

Except that I remember being bit by an extraordinarily large mosquito one night last week when I was out on the stoop with The Poet and The Mad Scientist. It's no coincidence that I started feeling under the weather a few days later. I think we all know what that means: I HAVE THE WEST NILE VIRUS!

NOTE: I hope you know I'm being melodramatic for comedic purposes. I don't really think I have The West Nile Virus. But then again, I'm not allowing myself to look at WebMD right now, so I haven't checked the symptoms.

In other news, I did eat a tuna fish sandwich last week. And we all know that tuna fish has a recent history of being radioactive because of the disasters in Japan. That being said, I'm half expecting to wake up after several days of feeling crummy and suddenly have the ability to move stuff with my mind and maybe shoot laser beams out of my eyes.

I think it will be pretty cool once I get used to it...

I was about to say something stupid like, "It will be just like Spiderman!"  But then I remembered two things:

1)  Spiderman is kinda lame and has a dumb outfit!  Though who doesn't love those tight pants... 
2)  Spiderman was bit by a radioactive spider and therefore has spider-like qualities.  According to this logic, eating radioactive tuna would give me, um, tuna-like qualities.

"Yo, I'm the chicken of the sea!"

This whole tuna fish-induced radioactive super powers thing is slowly going from being a live action version of the paintings The Chef graciously hung in the kitchen....

Brilliant!  Simply brilliant!  What will that man paint next?
... to becoming reminiscent of an absurd little cartoon character I created in college.

Don't ask me how my brain works.  I don't know.  I just don't know.  
Now that I took this whole thing to the weird land of talking fish sticks, I don't really remember what this post was supposed to be about.

I think I'm going to go gorge myself on leftover pizza delicately eat a piece of fruit.

Peace out, amigos.  More interesting and relevant thoughts later, I promise.