Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011


This can't be a long post, but I did something today that is worth blogging about:

I met Mike Mills from R.E.M.

And I gave him one of my home-made demo CDs. 

It was quite the ballsy move.  I spent about an hour afterwards replaying the conversation in my head and thinking "Holy crap, did that really just happen?" 

Another holy crap moment - as I'm typing this Mike Mills just walked in and out of the room I'm in. 

I think it's appropriate to get off of the computer at this time.

I Found Internet At The Hotel...Huzzah!

I'm in San Diego!

The plane ride here was special.  It was only two hours long, but it was long enough to throw up three times and get stuck next to a Jehovah's Witness who was attempting to evangelize.  There was also a large gyspy woman covering her armpits in smelly perfume and an entire high school soft ball team near my seat.  Not to mention another girl named Lauren who was also puking a lot. 

So that all made for a fun plane ride.  But I made it to California in one piece and have been having a blast.

Not to mention I got to sit right up front while Augustana did their set.  I met them afterwards and took some blurry photographs while hugging the cute bass player.  I then proceeded to go into awkward fan girl mode at the garden party that proceeded.  "Hi, you're that Augustana boy!  I think I was totally a dork when I met you earlier...hi, I'm Lauren!  You rock!" 

I'm ridiculous.

Last night I also had the priveledge of hearing a band called Black Dub.  I didn't expect to like them very much but they blew me away.  They might just be my new favorite.

There was also a band called Frentik that made me grin like a little kid.  The lead singer was this bad ass redhead chick in a sparkly dress.  She jumped around and sang about how stupid boys are.  It was a performance that inspired me. 

Anyway, I think it's almost lunch time.  I better go see what's on the buffet table.  There's a lot of good music lined up for today.  I recently discovered that R.E.M.'s Mike Mills is here.  Holy crap.  It's not like I listened to "Automatic For The People" everyday when I was 16 or anything.

(Please note the intended sarcasm - I totally listened to "Automatic For The People" everyday when I was 16.)

That's all for now!  Staaaay tuned. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

San Diego, Here I Come!

So right now I'm at my parents' house doing a ton of laundry and packing clothes into a suitcase. My mom won tickets to The Sunset Sessions in California and is taking me. It was one of those big radio station contests that nobody ever wins. Somehow, she won. Now I'm packing a bag for San Diego and preparing for a weekend of music. I'm stoked. I'm not entirely sure what to expect but I think it's going to be awesome. There will be a lot of up-and-coming artists there as well as some well-known acts. It also sounds like we get to go to a couple of exclusive garden/pool parties and hang out with music industry people.

Naturally, I've spent all day freaking out about what I'm going to wear. Also, I plan on having a purse full of demo CDs. Just in case I find myself in an elevator with somebody big.

You'd think I'm going away for a month the way I'm packing. I'm seriously taking five pairs of shoes. It's a three-day trip. Hey, a girl has got to look good! Don't judge.

I realized today that I've never really left the commune for more than a night. My friends there are super excited for me, but they are all acting like I'm going to be gone forever. It's actually kind of endearing.

The Fonz knocked on my door today to wish me a safe flight and a good trip. I then ran into him about five times before I took off towards my parents' house. Every time I saw him, he would awkwardly say something like, "I already said 'goodbye' to you! I'm not supposed to see you until Sunday!"

I've been instructed to text The Poet when my plane lands so that he can tell the whole crew that I safely made it to San Diego. I tried to assure everyone that I was not going to die on a two-hour plane ride, but they are a paranoid bunch.

Speaking of paranoia, I just remembered I hate airplanes. On top of just getting really anxious, I'm infamous for being that person that vomits everywhere during a flight. I'm nervous just thinking about it.

Okay, I should finish packing. And then sleep. Maybe I'll blog from my phone tomorrow to keep you guys updated.

Look at me - "I'll blog from my phone." A year ago I would have made fun of myself for that. Actually, I think I still kinda want to make fun of myself for that. Haha.

I'm going to end this while I'm still slightly making sense. Goodnight, amigos.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fonz Strikes Again

I was washing some dishes in the kitchen when I ran into The Fonz.

"I have a Valentine's Day present for you!" he exclaimed. "I'll be right back!"

I put my dishes away and braced myself for an awkward moment.

The Fonz returned with something behind his back. "This is not romantic," he announced. I was relieved. He then presented me with a day planner.

"They were giving these out for free at the college when I took my swim class today," he said. "I thought they were really cool so I grabbed some for all of my favorite people here. Happy Valentine's Day!"

I gave him the over-sized, coffee-stained print of The Delaware Water Gap that I've been meaning to pass off to him and wished him a happy Valentine's Day in return. He then went on a mission to find The Poet so he could give him a planner.

I have the quirkiest friends these days but I wouldn't have it any other way. Though the day planner moment was quite comical, I totally appreciated The Fonz's gesture. I think that a lot of people (myself included) get so focused on the aspect of l-o-v-e that they forget to acknowledge friendships on Valentine's Day.

And now I can organize my schedule like a functional member of society. Huzzah!

Anyway, that's all I've got for tonight. Perhaps my next post will be slightly more intelligent.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Boys, Wolves, And Free Music For YOU

Well boys and girls, it's Valentine's Day. It's really not my favorite holiday, but I can't completely ignore it. This day has a history of making me really cynical and I'm sure this year will be no exception. It is very possible that I will spend the evening eating Chinese food take-out while watching the "Kill Bill" movies, but I am totally okay with that.

I guess Valentine's Day hasn't always been a Hallmark card mush-fest. Apparently it originates from an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. The Romans used to dress like wolves and run around. A friend and I attempted to throw a Lupercalia party last night, but it was surprisingly unpopular. Most of the party was just my friend and I drinking wine and blasting Duran Duran while wearing homemade wolf costumes.

Just when we were beginning to think the party was totally a dud, the boy I may or may not have a crush on showed up with a couple of his friends. Okay, the party was still a dud, but at least now there was a cute boy there. I had a lot of fun dancing with him. Afterward, we collapsed on the couch and spoke to each other in fake Italian accents, discussing our favorite eurodance songs and French New Wave films. Turns out we both love the movie "Breathless" and we both know all of the words to "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" (the 90s remix).

So I've established that he's brilliant. But there are some things I don't know...

a) I don't know if he's interested in me.
b) I don't know if he's interested in women.

I was hoping to at least figure out the sexual orientation bit last night, but it remains a mystery.

Ah well. I guess crushing on boys with ambiguous sexual preferences is all part of the hipster experience.

I've been thinking that maybe I should do something nice for someone on Valentine's Day this year instead of just eating Chinese food with myself. It doesn't even necessarily have to be something romantic. I mean, I could give that boy I mentioned earlier a Valentine that looks like this:

But I don't really feel like that's necessary.

Instead, I would like to show my love and appreciation to all of my blog friends by putting up some free downloads!

I don't know if any of you guys will even want this, but I thought I would throw it out there anyway. Here is an exclusive live album by my band, Original Sound Trash. It's from the show last Wednesday, so it's still hot off the press and all of that. In attempts to spread joy and music around the blogosphere, it is available right here for your listening and downloading pleasure.

Original Sound Trash Live At The Hawthorne

1. Ride On. This track features the keytar. Huzzah!

Download it here.

2. Mesozoic Age. I love how it sounds like we're playing to a full venue when in reality there were about 20 people there.

Download it here.

3. Two O'Clock In The Morning. We wrote this one at two o'clock in the morning.

Download it here.

4. The Greatest Thing Since Yesterday. We've been playing this song since the dawn of time it seems.

Download it here.

5. Mannequin. My personal favorite. Not our best recording of it, but we had a ton of fun with it.

Download it here.

6. Mein Herr. Just having a Broadway moment. Sing/clap/stomp along if you like.

Download it here.

7. Emily. Ryan wrote this one. It's about Emily Dickenson. I think.

Download it here.

8. Giardia. I can't sing this with a straight face.

Download it here.

9. We Don't Know How It's Ending. The end of the world is our favorite topic.

Download it here.

10. Join The Army. The encore song about zombies. My favorite part about this track is the guy in the crowd at the very end.

Download it here.

Anyway, there are some songs you can munch on if you're interested. Enjoy! Thank you for being fabulous blog friends and readers. I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, whether you're happily in love, cynically single, or somewhere in between.

I feel like the only way to properly end this post involves a cheesy text heart...


Friday, February 11, 2011

You're Not Hardcore Unless You Live Hardcore

So Ryan and I conquered the show at The Hawthorne Theater.

We rocked hard and sang our hearts out for an enthusiastic crowd consisting mostly of people from my commune. When everything was over, we both kinda felt like superstars. But in the hours leading up to the show, it seemed like the entire universe was against us and our crazy trash rock.

I was freaking out because I had a terrible headache and sore throat the day of the show. Fortunately, I got those things under control in time to get all glammed up. But then I discovered I was without hot water yet again. I quickly took a cold shower and tried to pretend I wasn't grumpy when Ryan came over to load up equipment.

We took separate cars because we can't fit all of our stuff in one vehicle. I was still working on my rock and roll make-up, so I sent Ryan over to the venue and told him I would be right behind him. I spent a few moments debating over whether or not I should wear the sparkly strapless dress I've been dying to wear onstage. As I mentioned in my last post, strapless dresses terrify me, but I decided to overcome my fear and wear it. I threw my high heels and a hair brush into a bag, covered up my strapless ensemble with a coat, nervously glanced in the mirror one last time, and went out the door.

I was running low on gas in my little truck, so my first stop was the gas station around the corner. Buying gas went alright (it usually does), but my car died when I attempted to pull out of the gas station.

So there I am, on the way to a rock show, stuck at a gas station in a sequined strapless mini-dress. Not to mention I'm on 82nd Avenue, which is a street that's infamous for hookers. The gas station attendants are laughing at me and Ryan is at the venue wondering what the hell happened to me.

Luckily, I was only a few blocks away from where I live. So I made a quick phone call and declared that I was in a state of rock and roll emergency. It wasn't long before The Poet came to my rescue.

He had a bit of smirk on his face as he dinked around under the hood of my car. "Okay kid, this is such a rock and roll moment. You better remember this story when you get on 'Ellen,'" he said, poking something with a screw driver.

It wasn't long before he fixed the car and had it running. The Poet saves the day yet again! He left the screwdriver with me and gave me instructions on what to do in case I had another problem. I drove him back to the commune and set off towards the venue. This time, I actually made it there.

Since we were the last band of the night, we had a couple of hours to kill after we set up our equipment. We walked to the grocery store across the street and bought trail mix to munch on. Yes, I was still in the dress.

When we got back to the venue, my friends Purple Hair and Mr. Syracuse were at the bar. I hung out with them for a bit, trying hard not to think about how nervous I was. The song "Missed Me" by The Dresden Dolls randomly came on in the bar and it gave me a strange boost of confidence. That is not really a song I hear being played from sources other than my stereo and it seemed like an omen of sorts.

Anyway, the bands that played before us didn't draw much of a crowd. The first act was a DJ and a trumpet making weird trip-hop. The second act was a lesbian punk band. There were about two people in the audience for both of these bands. "No one comes to shows on Wednesday" was the common excuse for the empty room.

But all of my friends are currently unemployed and have no problem staying out all night. So at 9:45, three jam-packed carloads of my hippy/hipster friends showed up ready to cheer. The once-empty room now had about 25 people in it (including all the favorites such as The Poet, The Fonz, The Chef, Mr. Merry Christmas Forever, etc.). We took the stage and delivered an imperfect yet incredibly fun set.

I always have a hard time remembering what happens onstage during shows. I think it's because I sort of turn into a different person. But I do remember that people were dancing right in front of the stage. People were clapping and yelling in between songs. Some people knew the words and sang along. Honestly, it was one of the best audiences I have ever played for.

And then there was the part where Ryan cut his finger on a guitar string halfway through the set and spent several songs bleeding all over everything. That was so rock and roll.

But I think it's time to stop rambling and bust out some more pictures.

We're into the music

I have a hard time believing that's me. It is.


Ryan's finger after the battle. So hardcore.

Despite all of the chaos, it turned out to be a good night. I felt so on-top. The other night, people in my kitchen were telling me I'm built to do this sort of thing. I think they're right.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. I wound up with some audio recordings from the show, perhaps I'll post them tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Trash Rock and Twinkies.

Ryan and I have a show tomorrow night.

Naturally, I'm already nervous.

It's ridiculous. It's getting to the point where people laugh when I mention being nervous. "Lauren, haven't you done this a million times?" they say.

Yes, I've done the performing thing a few times and usually everything feels natural and under control when I'm on stage. But there's always that weird 48 hour period beforehand where I don't know what to do with myself. I freak out about my outfit for a couple of hours. I worry about the set list. I'm even infamous for coming down with a terrible sore throat before shows. It must be psychosomatic because it happens almost every time.

We've done a lot of practicing in the past few days. We know the songs inside and out. We're ready. And I am fairly confident that we will rock it. But there is still this freaky cloud of nervousness lurking around my brain. What if our music goes horribly wrong somehow?

Then there's my own little wardrobe issue. I'm going out on a limb and wearing a strapless dress. It's the kind of dress I tried on for fun and knew immediately that it was made for me. I'm really excited about it, but I don't typically wear strapless dresses and am paranoid about having some sort of wardrobe malfunction onstage.

I'm so paranoid that I've been practicing in the dress. That's probably not the type of thing you should admit on a public blog, but it's true. I've been putting on my dress and heels before band practice these days. I've also spent way too much time practicing my keytar stance in front of my mirror when I'm alone. Don't judge.

But aside from being awkwardly nervous, I'm just plain excited. It's been way too long since Ryan and I have done a show at a decent venue. I know we're going to have a blast.

I also know that the crowd will be full of my friends and neighbors from the commune. The Poet is organizing a massive field trip. Nobody here drives, so it sounds like there's going to be twenty people taking a Trimet bus across town to cheer me on as I pretend to be a rock star.

I know I've probably said it before, but I'll say it again: The people I live with are absolutely wonderful.

Sometimes I feel like we're the brats that have refused to grow up and that's why we all get along so well. If you don't believe me, check out these pictures from Sunday night's art installation:

Yes, those are Twinkies. Yes, they are wearing loin cloths/thongs and hanging from the ceiling.

It all started on the kitchen whiteboard with a weird cartoon war between The Fonz and The Chef. It escalated to The Poet buying two boxes of Twinkies at the store and handing them to The Fonz, Purple Hair, and myself to decorate. We hung them all from the ceiling in the middle of the night. It was glorious.

I think we all missed the memo that we aren't in college anymore. But right now, that's okay. I'm having more fun than I ever did in college anyway. I'm definitely making a lot more music, which is what I need to be doing.

And with that, I'm off to go make more tea. I've got to make this stupid sore throat go away by tomorrow night, even if it is just psychosomatic.

Peace out, amigos.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Things I Do To Avoid Getting A Normal Job...

I'm a little amazed right now.

We had our monthly Friday night open house and I made $50.

I made $20 by selling a duct tape purse with a Bob Dylan-themed collage on the front.

I made $30 by putting the following signs in front of my door:

I then opened my door, set up my keyboard, and sang songs to my microwave until someone walked by.

I thought I would have a few takers, but I didn't expect the tip jar to look like this at the end of the night:

I lost track of how many songs I spontaneously wrote for random people tonight, but I know it had to be at least 15. Naturally, I am completely drained right now. I just spent a good three hours pretending to be far more extroverted than I really am. But it was a lot of fun and it seemed like my silly little songs brought joy to a lot of people.

At first, I was frustrated because no one was coming to my end of the hallway. The Chef took his insanity to a whole new level and decided to display his new "sound sculpture" down the hall from me. This fine piece of work is nothing more than an air mattress with a few toy horns attached to it. When inflated, it makes the loudest, most obnoxious wheezing noise imaginable. So that was in the middle of the hallway, honking away.

As if that wasn't bad enough, The Chef decided that it was time to debut his recording of a song entitled "The Hamster Wheel Of Bullshit." This song is basically just those five words repeated in various rhythms. He blasted it from an amp along with some loud, industrial sounds.

I love The Chef, but I couldn't even hear my own voice over his cacophony festival. Not to mention people were afraid to come near the third floor.

The Poet came in and shut the door, a worried look on his face. "Okay, I think The Chef has really lost it. Seriously, what the f@#$? I tried to confront him and the noise just got louder."

I decided to go down the hall and talk to him. I just nicely asked him to turn it down so I could play music in my room. Surprisingly, he turned it down and turned it off soon afterward. But he kept the sound sculpture going. In fact, he shoved it in a nearby utility closet that locked accidentally. None of us have the key, so that thing was in there screaming forever. Apparently it got so bad that people were trying to pick the lock.

So that all threw off my groove a little bit. But after a few people came in and out of my room and requested songs, I was able to slip into performer mode.

It was strange how many people took me up on my offer for profound life advice. I mean, who am I and why am I even qualified to give people advice? I'm just some artsy chick with a keyboard and a tip jar. But all sorts of people wanted to hear what I would come up with.

I wrote the weirdest assortment of songs. I sang about how to get a girlfriend. I sang about how to choose a major in college. I sang about unicorns and how they relate to the human condition. I sang about birds. I sang about existentialism and Twinkies. I sang about how to get away with farting in public. I gave a couple some advice on time management. I wrote theme songs for people. I played my accordion and encouraged people to sing along (they did).

The weirdest part for me was that though I felt like my advice was often vague and flippant, people really reacted to it. I had multiple people say "That was really what I wanted to hear right now." I think one guy almost cried.

This guy is actually a musician that lives downstairs. I don't know him that well, but I know from talking to The Poet that he's been really discouraged and has been thinking of giving up on music. So when he came in and asked for a song, I gave him a song about how he shouldn't stop making music. He thanked me for it several times throughout the night.

And then there was the end the night, when I got trapped with the old drunk guy that would not leave. Fortunately, The Poet walked by and I was able to get his attention by urgently say "Hey!" He say what was going on right away and came to the rescue. Except the drunk guy wouldn't leave without getting a song first. I was really ready to be done with songs and had no advice to give to this man other than "Please get out of my room," so it ended up being mainly instrumental.

Anyway, that's the story of how I wound up with $30 in my tip jar. It was a really slow night and I was one of the few people that made any money. I was pretty stoked. Not only did I make a little bit of cash, but I had a fun time and made people smile. Mission accomplished.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thank You Very Mucho (Mr. Roboto)

So I was washing out a mug in the kitchen after band practice. The Chef was in a corner making little human heads out of clay. The Poet was reading a book and drinking a pot of coffee. The Fonz was drawing his infamous cartoon entitled “Twinkie In A Thong” on the community whiteboard for all to see.

In other words, it was just another normal, fairly mundane night in the life of Lauren.

I chatted with the kitchen crew for a little bit, then went back to my room and checked my email.

I was astonished to discover that I am the monthly Featured Blogger on 20 Something Bloggers.

I knew that Allison had nominated me and that people were voting for me, but it blows my mind that I won and am now featured on the homepage. I mean, it still amazes me that people other than my mother willingly read all of my weird, often rambling posts. Seventy-one people have even clicked the "follow" button. You have no idea how baffling that is.

Anyway, I am definitely feeling rather loved by the blogosphere tonight. When I got into blogging, I don't think I expected people to actually read the stuff I wrote. I am thankful for all the readers who have jumped onto this crazy "lauren vs. reality" bandwagon. Thank you for being awesome. Thanks for putting up with my late night word vomit, for leaving me encouraging comments, for becoming my friends. This blog definitely wouldn't be the same without you guys, so...thanks for the love. You guys freaking rock.

I'm probably starting to sound like a Hallmark card, so I will wrap this up.

I think it's my bed time anyway.

And so I shall say this: Peace out, my amigos. Keep on rockin in the free world.

(More interesting post to come, as usual.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

So, That Was Hilarious/Horrifying...

I think I just spent the past two hours cleaning my room. 

Okay, allow me to rephrase that:

I think I just spent the past two hours cleaning my room with The Fonz.

Apparently that man gets a rush out of sorting other peoples' recycling.  Who knew?

I didn't really ask him to come over and clean my room, it was just something weird that happened after a long conversation in the kitchen about HGTV.

And when he followed me back to my room, I really thought he was just going to help me move my couch.  I didn't expect him to go into home improvement mode and spend the rest of the night feverishly organizing my messy apartment (while grooving to 80's music).  Frankly, it was a little intense.  I was grateful for his help and now I have functioning shelves, but the whole experience was a little bizarre.  I've never seen anyone get so excited about cleaning things. 

He threatened to come back tomorrow to help me clean out my closet.  "We'll go through your clothes and get rid of the things you don't wear anymore!" he exclaimed.  I had to remind him that we weren't really on HGTV. 

Hi, my life is a sitcom.

More interesting stuff later.  I need to go to bed.