Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Last night, driving home from work, I passed a gas station selling gas for $2.87/gallon. I stopped at that very same gas station not four hours later, after rehearsal, and the price was $2.99/gallon.

I know Katrina kind of messed up oil production in the south, so they're anticipating gas prices will go up a lot in the next couple of weeks. I think there are bigger things to worry about in relation to Katrina than the price of gasoline, like the fact that previously dry areas are now waist deep in water and millions of people are without power or food or a way to get out of there to a place that has food. And there are a lot of people for whom power and food are no longer an issue, and to the families of those who lost their lives, I am so sorry. My heart is with you.

But here's the thing: I thought this whole skirmish in Iraq was so that we could get cheaper oil. Isn't that why we went into Iraq instead of Afghanistan? Okay, not "instead of," but "in much greater numbers for a much longer period of time with much more fervor and bloodshed." And yet gas prices still rise. And our administration is just sitting there watching it all happen. They're watching the American public get screwed. They're watching thousands of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians die. And they don't seem to be doing a whole hell of a lot about it. So the one bullshit reason we had for going over there and devastating a country and killing thousands of people, the selfish, pseudo-light at the end of the tunnel, isn't working either?

I know, I know. I don't know the whole story. I don't dedicate every spare hour to reading the newspapers. But it seems to me, from what I have heard, that the Iraqis are not happy with the situation over there, we've gotten ourselves into a situation there is no good way to get out of, and more and more Americans are not happy with the situation over there. What the hell are we doing over there?

And then there is Cindy Sheenan. A woman who lost her son in Iraq, asking that very same question -- what the hell are we doing over there? What is this amazing mission that cost me my son? And President Bush won't talk to her. I heard a sound bite on the radio wherein he said, "I've talked to lots of parents of soldiers. She [meaning Cindy] isn't of the same opinion as they are." So it's okay to talk to parents who happily surrendered their children to your bogus cause that isn't working, but you won't sell your line of crap to a woman mourning her son because she doesn't understand? Hell, talk to her and make her understand. Explain it to her. Imagine the public opinion boost if you can turn Cindy Sheenan into a supporter of your cause. Or, at the very least, show some compassion towards a human being in pain. Why won't you talk to her?

And what ever happened with the whole Karl Rove exposing the CIA agent thing? Seriously, what happened there? It just got buried and then forgotten? What?

Sorry. I'm listening to politically charged music right now, and it's getting me fired up. I hate that I care about this shit. I hate that there is so much to get riled up about here. I hate that the cheapest gas in the Chicagoland area is three dollars per gallon. Yes, I am a spoiled American brat. Happy? Doesn't change the fact that the Guy in Charge is doing one hell of a lousy job. I hope history remembers him as the worst President in the history of the United States.

I'm stopping now. Again, I'm sorry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Oh! And just so you know, I did notice, and I do thank you.

Thank you.
I pulled into the parking garage this morning, next to a totally pimped out black Cadillac with gold trim. The owner was still sitting in the car, listening to music at a volume that was probably disturbing the people performing surgery in the hospital across the street. He was an African American gentleman, wearing some sports jersey (I couldn't really see who) and a lot of gold rings on the one hand I could see. And the music he was listening to?


I broke down and got myself some new cords yesterday. Well, new to me. They cost seventy-five cents at the thrift store. They are grey and really soft and the pockets could be a little more flattering, but they are men's pants, so at the very least, I was happy to find cords without pleats in the front. I actually found two pairs -- the other is dark blue -- but I think I like the grey ones a little better. And boy, did it feel good to wear big pants again. Not that my curvalicious jeans aren't cute, it's just nice to wear pants that you don't have to worry about. Pants that you know nobody is checking you out in because they are SO not girly. I tried; really I did. I made it almost nine months without huge pants. I'm not saying they are going to replace my cute jeans entirely, it's just nice to once again have the option of total comfort, you know? Unselfconscious, unabashed comfort.

I also found this really tacky smiley face lamp at the thrift store that was only ninety cents, so I bought it. It's so cheesy and I love it. I think his name is Mr. George. Not just George, mind you, but Mister George. Mr. George the Smiley Face Lamp. Tee hee.

Monday, August 29, 2005

So there's this street light just outside my apartment window. It's on the other side of the street, but seeing as I'm up on the third floor, it is right at the same height as my living room window. And for the last couple of weeks, it has been blinking on and off about every minute. It's not flickering; it goes on at full blast for about a minute, and then off completely for a minute, then on again. It's really odd. I keep thinking that if it was a more scattered pattern, it would be the Universe sending me a message in Morse Code or something, but I can't make out discernable dots and dashes. As it is, I guess it just a power saver light. Or a movement sensitive light? Though I would think it an incredible waste of energy to go on and off a million times in an evening. Meh. What do I know? I'm not a street light.
I hope everyone in Katrina's path stays safe and relatively dry. Hang in there, kids. Storms don't last forever.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Another mindless day at the office, another day with no product in my hair. I feel like I'm getting boring. I feel like I should be reworking my rehearsal schedule, but that's the kind of thing I just can't (or don't want to try to) focus on at work. And to top it off, there is nobody here today except me and my boss and I think he's leaving momentarily. If he does, I'm going to take off soon, too. I could be doing much better things at home, like sleeping. And reworking my rehearsal schedule. Crap, I don't have any more black ink in my printer. I guess they'll all be getting blue schedules tomorrow. I guess that will help them know which ones are the most current...

I played my guitar in a movie theater lobby last night. I don't think (or at least I hope) I will ever play another venue so not acoustically suited to a guitar and vocalist in my life. It's like playing on an airplane, with that fake, pressurized air. My friend sitting three feet away could barely hear me sing, even though I was belting out as best I could. Oh, did I mention there was no PA system? Yeah. Had there been, it might not have been so bad. But it was rough. I was supposed to play for two hours, but after an hour and a half of disinterested patrons requesting Tyler Hilton songs, unable to hear me while I played the cover songs I do know, I told the guy who booked me that my voice was getting ready to go. Which it was. And my fingers hurt. And that really wasn't my crowd anyway. I played three of my own tunes and the rest cover songs that nobody wanted to hear anyway. That's not true; the magician who was there enjoyed my covers of "Wonderwall" and "Porcelain."

So I'm sorry to the guy who booked me for leaving early. I'm sorry to my friend for dragging him all the way out there to not-quite-hear me play. I thank the guy who booked me for the opportunity. In a really weird way, it was fun to just kind of wander around a movie theater playing my guitar. I think it could make for a really fun music video. Or social experiment. Just take my guitar out places and play randomly. Not for money (thereby hopefully negating the need for a street performer license), just to be out playing music and for the strange looks and sideways smiles people give a girl randomly playing her guitar in public places. And I thank my friend for going with me. I probably would have lost it and bailed a lot earlier if you weren't there, so thank you.

I feel bad for leaving a gig early. I feel bad for wanting to leave because I had no audience, or because the audience that was there was unresponsive. But the sound was dreadful, too, and I did give it a good effort -- an hour and a half is nothing to sneeze at. The Liz Phair show I saw on Wednesday night was an hour and a half long and she gets paid big bucks to do that. I paid out my nose to see that. But just so you know, I do feel bad about it. I'm not the kind of musician who sneezes at a gig because it is beneath her. I am starting to get a feel, though, for what are and aren't my gigs, and I'm okay with not playing gigs that aren't mine. I'm sure if I put in the time and effort to learn all of the pop songs on the radio now, I'd get booked in more bars and the girls who wanted to hear Tyler Hilton would have been thrilled. But I'd rather play music that I like playing. Music that I can feel good about. Songs I think people should be listening to. I like exposing people to new music, or stuff they haven't heard before. Movie theater lobbies aren't necessarily the best place to do that.

Oh well.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

You know me, always on the lookout for new, interesting artists I can geek out about, yes? Well, check this one out. He's not exactly new to the music scene, but I liked his music back in the day, and I like his new stuff now, too, and his new video is really cute. Plus, he has an interesting online journal that I can read to pass the time. If you are so inclined, go back to August of 2004 (Or was it September?) and read about his travels in Ethiopia. Very interesting.
Thoughts of the day:

There is no product in my hair today.

What if none of the venues I talk to on the east coast want to book me?

I have to rework my rehearsal schedule and find spaces.

I can't wait for Liz Phair's new album.

I really just want to make music.

I need a new purse.

I'm not going to sleep for the next three days and I'm kind of nervous about that.

I'm thinking I'm stuck in this job for a while longer as I'm not hearing back from the places I submitted resumes to. And they're probably not calling because I end sentences with prepositions and start them with "and," "but," and "so."

No really, I just want to make music.

Good thing I get to play tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I'm experimenting with bangs today.

Honestly, I'm so tired of my hair that the thought of shaving it all off again is becoming more and more appealing. It's not that is isn't pretty hair -- I really do have gorgeous hair and lots of it -- it's just that I have so much friggin' hair that has so much friggin' volume and body that I can't do anything with it but watch it stick straight up in the air. Now, as cool as that might sound to some of you, I am not the mohawk type. Nor the afro type. I like my hair to lie down neatly. If I could have hair like Brad Pitt in Interview With The Vampire, I would be a very happy lady. As it is, it is three and a half inches long and totally has a mind of its own.

I think I'll feel better after I go to my stylist next week. Maybe he can give it some layers or thin it out or something. Give it some shape, so it's not just this random mass of hair sticking out in all directions. This is the part of the growing out process that I was not looking forward to, and I'm really not enjoying it. Some people will argue that I look really cute with short hair. To those people, thank you. But I'm a long hair person. And by long hair, I don't necessarily mean down to my waist long, just long enough that I can put it in a ponytail when it starts driving me crazy. Is that really too much to ask?

So yeah, I'm experimenting with bangs today. I also pulled out my blow dryer for the first time in months in order to make the bangs happen. I guess the one good thing about my hair is that I can always change it. A little water, a little hairspray, maybe a barrette and poof! Entirely different style. But it has been six months since I last shaved my head. In another six, my hair will be twice as long as it is now, making it about chin length? A little shorter? It will be like it was when I went to Europe, and like it was in the picture I use as the cover of The Hamburg Demos. That was kind of cute. I could play with that. Six more months. Just six more months...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

I just treated myself to some good music, and it turned out to be less expensive than I thought. See, I had a few bucks sitting in my PayPal account, so I used those to buy this lovely good music that I've been wanting for a long time. So I am fantastically happy now and will be waiting not-so-patiently by my mailbox for said good music to show up.

If you find yourself lacking in the good music department, let me know. I'll send you some suggestions and/or give you a good, swift kick in the pants to get off your bum and find some music that you really connect with. There really is little in life that is better than some really good music.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Ooo! Ooo! Ooo! Ya wanna talk about vegetables for a minute?

I went grocery shopping this weekend for the first time in about a month. I've been really busy, for one thing, and it's been too hot to cook, for another, and I've been poor for a third, and somehow, even when you're poor, it's easier to justify $5 for Thai food than it is to justify going to the grocery store and spending $50 on food that will last you all week. Anyway. Point being, I'd not grocery shopped in a long time and truth be told, I'd been feeling fat and lazy recently. Which is really funny because one of my friends last night asked me how much weight I've lost. She seems to think I keep getting smaller, when I felt like I was blowing up like a balloon. Anyway. It's probably one of those things that only I noticed.

So as part of my grocery shopping, I went to my favorite produce store and kind of went nuts. I bought enough veggies to make a giant salad, I bought fruit, I bought all kinds of good stuff, most of it organic. And I came home and made said giant salad and ate some of it for lunch yesterday and instantly felt like I had lost about 30 pounds. Something about pumping that much good stuff into my body, as opposed to the junk I had been eating on the run. Food not overloaded with salt. Food not infused with preservatives. Just good, old fashioned organic produce -- lettuces, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery, daikon radish. Good stuff. It felt like it cleared up my skin and flushed out all kinds of fat and toxins that had been building up. So bizarre. And I realize that it probably really did none of those things -- the fat and toxins I was feeling were imagined. But it was just a nice reminder that I function a lot better and feel a lot better when I eat fresh, organic produce every day. Yay veggies!
You know how when you eat a candy cane and then breathe in, the air is so cold it kind of stings, but in a good way? That's what my head feels like today. On the outside. My absolute favorite shampoo ever was discontinued a while ago, and I stocked up as best I could at that point, but I'm down to my last bottle of shampoo and my last bottle of conditioner, so I thought I would save them for a little while and see what else I could find in the meantime. So in the meantime (Sunday), I found this shampoo with sage, geranium, and mint in it and decided I'd give it a shot. I'm already using the body wash by the same people, so why not, right? My hair and skin will all smell the same. I can't really tell about the soft quotient of my hair 'cuz there is hairspray in it, but it seems to work just fine. And, I think it is because of the mint, but my scalp was sting-y-cold this morning when I got out of the shower. Kind of a cool sensation.

Wow. I'm fascinating, aren't I? Shampoo and the effects of mint on your scalp. w00t. Fabulous Monday morning reading. I should be talking about how amazing the first rehearsal of my show went this weekend, or that the show I'm performing in right now won three awards from Gay Chicago Magazine, including Outstanding Performance, meaning they think we were the best show to hit any Chicago stage in the 2004-2005 season. But instead, I talk about shampoo and the effects of mint on your scalp. I need to get out more.

Friday, August 19, 2005

So you know how if you talk about things, they tend to happen. At least moreso than if you don't talk about them at all. Well, here's my latest scheme...

I was planning on going to New York in December, to visit friends and see a couple of concerts. Now I'm thinking, what if I took a week or two, drove out there, stopping in various cities along the way, and turned it into a mini East Coast tour? I could play somewhere in Indiana, maybe Philly, probably near DC (if not in DC), Boston, New York, maybe even Rhode Island. Just for the sake of getting my music heard, you know? Even if only five people come out to each show, I'll be able to put in my press kit that I played in all these different states at all these different venues, you know? How cool would that be?

So in addition to my goal of finding other musicians and a studio and a producer for my EP and then doing an EP in March, I'm going to see if I can put together a mini tour of the East Coast for December. It'll cost a boatload in gas money, but it will be good exposure, and good experience.

So if anyone out there knows of venues between Chicago and New York, and/or up and down the East Coast that I should try to hit, let me know. As if I didn't already have enough going on in my life...but I'm happiest when I'm crazy busy, right? Right.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Every day, at least once a day, I have to let a fly out of my office. I don't know where all of these flies are coming from, or why they all end up in my office, slamming into my window repeatedly, as flies are wont to do, but it is actually starting to get kind of funny. Let one fly out, wait twenty minutes, and there's another one in his place, slamming into the window. Were I more concerned, I'd start searching my office for rotting, maggot infested meat or something, from whence the flies might be coming. But I honestly don't mind standing up and opening my window once a day to let a fly out. Even twice a day. Much better that they be outside where there is actual food for them to eat as opposed to being trapped in my office with naught but paper.
Ah, clean house.

My Bostonian guy friend and his girlfriend are coming to town and crashing at my place for the weekend (or most of it, anyway). I'm excited to see him and nervous to meet her and I hope my apartment has been de-catted enough that his allergies don't drive him crazy. I really cleaned. I mean, really cleaned. Moved all of my furniture and vacuumed underneath it kind of cleaned. Mopped floors. Twice. Scrubbed stuff. Dusted. Did laundry. Not that he cares if my clothes are clean or not, but I washed blankets and things, too, to try to get some of the cat hair off of them. I hope they are comfortable in my new place. I am getting moreso every day. I think it helped make it feel like home to clean it yesterday. I mean, really clean it. There is something about moving into a place and cleaning it for the first time - you're getting rid of the person who used to live there. But the next time you really clean the place, you're cleaning yourself up. You actually live there now. I've cleaned bits and pieces of the apartment since I moved in -- bathroom, straightening up clutter, kitchen, etc. -- but this was one big two or three hour cleaning session, covering all of the rooms, all of the surfaces. And it felt really good. And strange as it sounds, it feels good to walk on carpet that doesn't have cat hair all over it. You wouldn't think it would make that much of a difference, but it does. I'm going to have to invest in a good vacuum cleaner one of these days. Yes, I can borrow one from a friend, but it would be good to just have one. You know, so I can vacuum anytime the cat hair gets to be too much.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I would like to take a moment to wish a very happy birthday to my honorary sister. It was so nice to chat with you last week. I miss you very much and hope you are well. Kiss the kids for me, and have a very happy birthday! *smooch*
As I watch gas prices climb to three dollars per gallon (for the cheap stuff), I can't help but think that our current Commander in Chief is really doing wonderful things to decrease our dependence on foreign oil. That all of the men and women currently fighting in the Middle East are over there for a good reason, and that the work they are doing is making a difference, and that the lives lost have not been in vain. And that if you can't hear the dripping sarcasm in my voice as I post this entry, you should smack yourself in the head with a 2x4.

I'm sorry. I shouldn't be talking politics, as I don't know the whole story. I only know what I hear in little snippets on the radio as I drive in to work in the morning, and what I see going on around me (like ever-climbing gas prices). I know there are poeple who think that climbing gas prices are a good thing because then people will stop driving so much, and aren't we lucky that gas over here is cheaper than the petrol in Europe, so who are we to be complaining anyway? You know what? We're pretty close to what Europe pays now. Honestly, I'm seeing more and more gas stations charging over three dollars a gallon for the mid-grade and premium stuff, and then this morning, I saw one station charging $2.999 for regular. One tenth of one cent shy of being three dollars a gallon for regular unleaded gasoline. At the same time, I heard that two more soldiers died in Iraq in the last day or so. Granted, not as bad as when we lost thirty-some in one day, but still. That's two more soliders who won't come home to their families. Two more mothers to hang out in Texas, wanting to talk for just five minutes to the man responsible for the death of their children, but being denied the opportunity for god only knows what reason. I'm sorry; I don't want to be political. I wanted very much to remove myself from the whole thing after the last election because it's just too much. But he continues to not do a good job. He continues to ignore the people he is supposed to represent in the name of pushing forward his own agenda, which is doing nothing but getting people killed. Maybe there is some greater purpose on the horizon way down the line, but I don't see it. If it's there, please tell me what it is so I can try to understand him. Because right now, I just don't.

And whatever happened with the whole Karl Rove leaking the CIA agent's name thing? Didn't Bush say that anyone who was even involved in her exposure would be fired? And wasn't it proven that Karl Rove was involved, even though whether or not he spoke her actual name is still up for debate? He was involved. Why was he not fired? An entire nation was convinced not to vote for a man who could have done a better job in the White House than the man currently taking a vacation from it because the other guy was too wishy-washy. And now, Mr. I-Stick-To-My-Guns-No-Matter-What wavers on punishing one of his top advisors who is guilty of a federal offense. Pardon my French, but what the fuck?

Okay, I'm stopping now. I know that for the most part, I am uninformed. I'll admit that. I don't spend my free time scanning CNN or the BBC to try to get the real story from both sides. I just don't have that kind of time. All I know is what I hear on the news, and maybe my news does come from more liberal sources. I do think it was convenient, though, that as soon as the whole Karl Rove thing came out, another big scandal kind of overtook it, and his job security (or lack therof) was pushed out of the spotlight to the point where people don't care anymore. It's not on their radar. And I do want to ask, if the fighting in Iraq is for such a noble cause, why won't he talk to a bereaved mother about it?

Okay, for real this time. I'm stopping now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My hair is almost long enough to tuck behind my ears now. Which means it's time for a trim.

I'm sorry. That's all I really have to say that isn't related to my play and no, I did not intend for that to rhyme. I got most of the actors I wanted. I'm still waiting to hear back from a couple of people, and I'm reading one more woman tonight in case one of those women says no. I should probably check my messages at home and see if either of them called.

But my boss isn't in today -- he's playing catch-up from home for all of the stuff he missed while he was on vacation -- and it's probably a good thing because my brain is just not functioning in "office mode." It's stuck on "creative." I'm going to need to learn how to turn it on and off a little better so I can function here while I'm in rehearsals.

What am I talking about? This job doesn't require brain power. Silly me thinking I make a difference here.

So yeah, it's almost long enough. I miss my hair, I really do. I miss being able to put it in a ponytail. I miss being able to wake up in the morning, run my fingers through it, and have it look acceptable. I miss the days when I didn't have to put product in it to make it presentable. I guess I could start blow-drying it again, but considering the volume my hair has naturally, I'd probably end up with a 'fro. I was thinking the other day that the last time I got my hair cut really short like this, it took about a year to get it back to shoulder-length. So August of next year, I'll be able to put my hair in a ponytail again.

I started taking vitamins again. August is a long time away...

Monday, August 15, 2005

To everyone I have ever auditioned for in the past, particularly those for whom I auditioned at the beginning of my career:

I'm sorry. I'm sorry I made you sit through shaky-voiced monologues that were so quiet you couldn't hear me, even though you were in the front row. I'm sorry I made you sit through scared, warbly songs that I thought might be passable. I'm sorry I took up your time with pregnant pauses long enough for an elephant to get pregnant and give birth that I thought were dramatic. I'm so sorry I made you sit through all of that. I know now that you all wanted me to be good. You wanted me to succeed. You wanted me to walk in there, belt out a monologue and a song that would just knock you on your ass. You wanted me to walk in there, take charge, and own the stage. That even if I screwed up royally, if I did it with class and confidence, you'd be impressed. You wanted me to push my own limits and show you something you'd never seen before, maybe because I'd never done it before. And I am so sorry to have taken up your time with my fears, my self-consciousness, my general crappiness. I'm so sorry.

I honestly get it now. Having sat behind the table watching other people come in to audition. I know that I don't mind sitting through the bad ones. I'm a new director, but I like trying to get new people involved in theater. I like trying to give people a chance. But by the same token, I want to put on a good show. I want actors who aren't afraid to push the envelope and take chances. So to those of you who were not called back for my show, I want to say thank you for coming in. Thank you for putting yourself out there, for giving it a shot. I was where you are once, too, and I know it's scary. It does get easier, I promise. Thank you for coming somewhere like my theater to start dipping your feet in the pool, somewhere safe to be nervous and jittery. Please don't give up. Please come back again. And next time, blow us away. Let us hear your voice in the back of the house -- it's a really nice voice. Shout out your monologue with the same fire and passion you yelled at your husband with this morning before you left the house because he left the toilet seat up again. Move your body -- that's what it is there for.

So yeah, I learned a lot from this audition process. A lot about being an actor and a lot about being a director. I learned that when a director says at callbacks, "I wish I could cast all of you," he means it, because I do. I learned that when they say a director knows within the first ten seconds of your monologue whether he/she wants to call you back, it's true -- anything longer than that is a waste of everyone's time. I learned that if you don't hit that first note of the song, you better wow them with the second. And you don't have to sing the whole song, just the exciting part. And I learned that the director wants you to be amazing, just as badly as you want to be amazing. Yes, it seems that the director has the power and control in the room, but without good actors, the director is nothing. He or she will go home after the auditions, really excited about a couple of performers, and at that point, the power is back in the hands of the actor. The actor can choose to not come back to the callbacks, or to not take the job, in which case, the director has to go with a second or third choice, who they might not be excited about at all. In other words, the director is just as excited when an actor takes a job as the actor is when the director calls.

I think I'll have some good people in my show. I'm really excited about the men who came in to audition, and the woman I want as my lead female. I still need to find a couple of women (how bizarre is that, that I couldn't find enough amazing women, but I was inundated with great men?), but even if I cast from only the callbacks I had yesterday, I think there is enough potential there to make for a really good show. Some really excellent voices. Some really excellent dancers. Some really fun actors. I hope they say yes. I'm so ready to start working with them.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Two of my very dear friends are marrying each other today. I don't think they ever check my blog thingy here, but I just want to tell them that I love them and wish them all of the happiness in the world. They are one of those couples that you know will last, because you can see the love and respect that they have for one another, and the connection that they share. They are just beautiful people, individually and together.

I love you guys. I so wish I could be at your wedding, even though it is in Atlanta in August, but since I can't be, I just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you and shedding tears of joy on your behalf. You are amazing. I am so happy for you! *smooch* Now go party your asses off!
I like rain. I really do. Even if it delays Cubs games. I still like rain. I also very much enjoy watching the Cubs pound the division leaders 11-4 to break an eight game losing streak. I'm at the point where I'm pretty sure the Cubs are or will be mathematically eliminated from post-season hopes momentarily, but it still feels good to beat the guys who are leading the division. Shows that nobody is indestructable, you know?

Anyway. I like rain.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

It is really weird to look at seemingly endless pictures of oneself. My Texas friend took a boatload of pictures of me this weekend because her husband is going to do my website and we needed some material for him to work with, specifically stuff that isn't six years old. And stuff that makes me look like a rockstar. So we took pictures outside and in my apartment and at an open mic and yadda yadda yadda and it is really bizarre for me to look at that many pictures of myself and try to determine which ones I'm okay with having the whole world look at. Granted, I am about a million times more critical of every shot than anyone else is, but wow. Out of the billion pictures she took, there are about three or four that I like the way they are, and maybe another ten that I could deal with if they were cropped or altered in some way. I don't want to be one of those rockstars who has to have every photo altered because her butt is too big or whatever; I still want to look like me in these shots. But if there is a shot of me wherein my guitar masks my giant hips, versus one wherein my hips are about to overthrow several small countries, I'd rather go for the first one. Yes, I do have that piece of vanity in me. I am that shallow that until such time as I can devote my life to exercising away the small planet that is masquerading as my rear end, I'd rather not post pictures of it all over the net, you know? Is that wrong?

I am excited to see what he is going to do with my site. And once it is up and running, I can have a website launch concert somewhere and give out buttons or something. Because when you have a concert for a reason, people are much more likely to show up. Until you are famous, anyway. When you're famous, they'll show up because you're playing. But until then, incentives are a good thing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

So auditions are this weekend and then my life is no longer mine. Not until November. I never wanted to direct. Honestly. I never wanted to be the one in charge of anything like that. I'm a performer, not a director. See, this is what is known as the denial phase. I'll get through it and then will come acceptance and then excitement. But today, I'm petrified. I feel so unprepared, despite all of my best efforts to prepare over the summer. Well, not totally. I have crew on board. The music is almost done, I think. I have lots of ideas, but I also know that everything I already had planned is going to go straight out the window when I get actors in there with their own ideas and then we have to adjust blocking because that's not where the light hits the stage and so on and so forth. And really all I want are giant dancing vegetables on stage. Is that too much to ask for? Why the hell did I ever say I'd do this? For the experience. And because nobody else was stepping up. I really do like my script, though. I'm not so married to it that I couldn't kind of rip it up and write different lines last night to give each character a more distinct voice, so that's a good thing. But I really do like it. I like the story. I like some of the bits I put in there. Last night, I added a mini Homestar Runner tribute that people will only really get if they're paying rapt attention and love Homestar as much as I do.

But yeah, I'm kind of scared about that whole thing. And I'm tired of not having hair. I do have hair; it's over three inches long now, but it's not hair that I can do a whole hell of a lot with. Or at the very least, I can't put it in a ponytail. Today, I'm trying the "structured messy" look and I don't think it's working all that well. But hey, it's just something different. I'm getting tired of the slicked down boy cut look. I really should go to my stylist and have him clean me up. I really should start taking those prenatal vitamins again to make my hair grow faster.

And I feel like I need to write a new song, but it's just not coming. I have this chord progression that I love, but the lyrics just aren't happening, or they're feeling really trite and contrived. I know I should just sit back and let them happen like I usually do, but I'm getting antsy for a new song to happen, you know?

And it rained last night. I love the sound of a thunderstorm while you're trying to sleep. Honestly, I do. There is something very comforting about thunder. And what was really nice about the storm is that it cooled off the outside air enough that Owen came into my room and slept on my bed with me, instead of on the tile floor in the bathroom where it's cooler. If you ever find yourself frustrated that you can't sleep, just wake up in the dark to a sleeping cat and you'll be so peaceful that even if you don't fall back asleep for a couple of hours, it won't matter.

I haven't heard back about that one job yet and it's kind of making me think they found someone else. I'm crossing my fingers for the music conservatory job, anyway. Maybe I should start by crossing my fingers that I get an interview there.

I got another rejection today. I think the worst part about these online rejections is that I can't remove them from my submission box, so they sit there for months after the fact with a large red "Not Selected" next to them, so I can keep track of exactly how many festivals don't want me anywhere near the stage. If I could clean that out so it only showed the "In Review" and "Standby" messages, I think I'd feel a lot better about myself. I'm also thinking more and more that it will make a marked difference in my career to have a clean, sweet smelling EP as opposed to my cute little demos. It'll sound prettier to the festival people and maybe they'll then have me come play.

And now it's time for more tea. And to take care of the last two projects my boss left for me before he went on vacation.

How about a win today, my dear, sweet Cubs? I'm glad Patterson is back in the majors and we were looking so good until the 8th yesterday. Today is the day to snap the losing streak. Time to start a winning streak, boys! Let's get it in gear!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Ode(s) to Tea

Green tea, my green tea
Sunshine on a dark morning
When will I wake up?

Hick poem
Green tea, green tea
Oh you are so loverly
You do so mean the world to me
Oh my lovely, sweet green tea

Frank Sinatra tune
T is for the way you taste to me
E is for each morning I drink thee
A is astounding, awesome, and amazing even
Tea is hotter than that guy last summer, name was Steven
Green is one variety that I like
White is better than a brand new bike
Rooibos is spicy, Black is good, but sometimes dicey
Tea has made my day anew

There once was a girl who loved tea
"It just tastes so darn good to me"
She drank mug after mug
She brewed some in a jug
And every twelve minutes had to pee

Beat poem
A capital T starts the day
And it ends with a
lower-case a
on the
Hit the bloodstream
Pop the brain
Heart racing, fingers flying
Don't re-brew!
Just one more cup, man
Just one more cup...
In my brief tenure on this planet, I've been to many states and I have to say that for the most part, I have enjoyed them. Some moreso than others, but I don't think I've found any that I really detested. Even Ohio (contrary to popular belief) has a few good things to offer, like the fact that I met Moby there. But I do have to say that probably my least favorite state right now is Awake. I get this feeling that I'd be much happier if I wasn't in Awake so much of the time. I wouldn't have to deal with drunk sound guys putting feedback into the middle of my set or making it sound like I have only three strings on my guitar. I wouldn't have to sit in an office full of paper, staring it down in the hopes that it will, one day, file itself. I wouldn't have to deal with sunburned eyeballs. Granted, I go a lot of very strange places and see a lot of really wacky stuff when I am not in Awake, but none of it is real, so no matter how scary it gets, it can't really hurt me.

Or maybe I should just stop going to open mics that go until two o'clock in the morning on school nights...

Monday, August 08, 2005

I'm sunburnt and I hate my job.

That's all I got time for right now. Hopefully I'll be back later.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Another rejection. Hooray.

Not a whole lot else to say about that. It was a very strange experience today; a woman I know who teaches music and voice and whatnot was asking me for career advice. How to make a website, how to get gigs, where to go for a good demo, etc. And then I come home to another festival rejection. It's just weird.

I also did this photo shoot whereat I was background material, and one of the foreground guys had an ego the size of an elephant's ass. And it was so tempting to say, "Yeah? I'm in a Jeff Recommended show." But I didn't. That would have been petty.

And all of this after having my picture taken left and right for my website. Is it all worth it? I dunno. It's just been a really strange weekend for my career and my ego. Good, bad, weird, long, hot, sticky. Sounds like a list of ex-boyfriends, too.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

I'm wearing a dress today. Okay, so it's not THAT strange for me to be wearing a dress to work, but this is a dress I've never worn to work. It's a dress I made several years ago to go swing dancing in.

It is red.

Bright red.

With white flowers on it.

And a full skirt.

I can't decide if it makes me feel pretty or tarty or cute, but whatever it is, I kind of like it. For a very long time, I've been feeling disconnected from women who wear dresses and skirts for no particular reason. I am very much a long pants person (or trousers, for our British friends, as pants means something totally different over there). But last night, I ironed this dress so that I could wear it to work, and then tried it on to make sure it still fits (which it basically does, though not quite like a glove), and I turned out the lights in my apartment and played my guitar while wearing my dress. It felt really good. Like I reconnected with my femininity or something. I know, crazy, huh? Just from wearing a dress for no particular reason. When I was a little girl, I used to only wear dresses. I was such a little girl! Pink and frills and the more the skirt would twirl, the better. I actually really liked wearing dresses out swing dancing, too, again with really twirly skirts. Dresses just seem to have become more of a chore as of late. I wear them to work or fancy occasions where I feel out of place anyway, and I think I've started to blame that on the dresses, as in "I can't be comfortable in a dress." But this cute little red dress of mine is making me remember that I can be comfortable in a dress. Very comfortable. And pretty, too. Quite a contrast to Leroy, huh? They're thinking about extending the show again, this time through the beginning of November, at which point we would either have to let it die because the space isn't available anymore, or we would have to find a different space. I'm so torn. In a lot of ways, I'm done with this show. I'm tired of being dirty every Friday night. I'm ready to move on from Leroy. But it's not like it's a huge time commitment. And, selfish as it sounds, he's my part and I don't know that I want to give him up to somebody else. I know I got him because the woman who was originally going to play the part couldn't, and I've felt through the whole run that I have to prove that I'm just as good as she would have been. If I don't do the extension, she probably will, and I'm afraid of hearing things like, "Phew! We finally got the Leroy we wanted." I don't think that would be the case -- as near as I can tell, both directors are extremely proud of and pleased with the work I've done. But there is that little voice in the back of my head. And I know it's not fair of me to keep her role just so that she can't have it. But technically, it is my role. And this is all sounding really distasteful and mean, isn't it? Not at all "pretty girl in a red dress," is it? I'll have to think a little bit more about the extension before I decide to do it or not. I did feel on Friday like I was hitting my stride in the new space. Maybe it will get better from here on out and I'll want to stay with it longer. Who knows? Anyway.

I'm wearing a dress today.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Okay, so he tested positive for steroids and got a 10 game suspension. I think that's fair. What confuses me is his reasoning: he didn't know he was taking steroids. Why did he not know? I'm not doubting he didn't know; that's not what I'm saying. I am perfectly happy to believe the fact that he didn't know what was in those cute little pills his trainer or the guy in the alley or whoever was giving him. My question is, why did he not ask what was in those pills? See, if some random person offered me pills, the conversation would probably go like this:

Me: Man, I'm sore.
Other Person: Here, take a couple of these.
Me: What are they?
OP: They'll make you feel better.
Me: It is Tylenol? Advil? What is it?
OP: Trust me.
Me: Um, no, thanks. I'll be fine if I just stretch out a bit.

Not to be a goodie two shoes, but I don't like to put drugs into my body if I don't know what they are and what they'll do. And even when I do know what they are, I only put them in there if I absolutely have to (like monthly when the little critters wearing spiked shoes do the merengue in my uterus making it impossible for me to stand up). Especially if I was in a profession where I was either tested regularly for drug usage or there was the likelihood that someone might be giving me steroids without my knowledge (i.e. professional baseball player becoming only the fourth person ever to have 3,000 hits and 500 home runs), I'd make doubly sure I knew what was in every pill I put in my body.

But honestly, I know several people like that. For whom the conversation goes something like this:

Person: Man, I'm sore.
Other Person: Here, take this.
Person: Okay. *gulp* Whoa, dude! I feel great!

I don't understand that. Not to climb up onto a high horse or anything, but I don't get it. There are plenty of people out there doctoring drugs so that they can be lethal with one dosage, i.e. a bad hit of ecstasy. I know addiction is a powerful thing, but if you take one bad hit of something, you won't be around to enjoy your addiction anymore. I also know a bunch of people who just don't care; they want to try everything. As much as I would like to live my life to the fullest, there are certain things I just don't feel a need to try. Like chopping off my own arm. And taking some mystery pills offered to me by some random guy/girl who refuses to tell me what is in them.

I don't mean to cast dispersions on people who take recreational drugs. Whatever you want to do to your body is fine with me, as long as you are safe about it (though even that isn't really my call to make. You're allowed to do whatever you want with your body. And I'm allowed to worry about you if you make what I consider to be dangerous choices. I won't stop you from making those choices, but I will worry about you). And taking mystery drugs falls into the category of "not safe," so I'm going to worry about you if you take them.

So yeah, let this be a lesson to all professional athletes out there -- always ask your trainer what the pills are that you are taking. If he/she doesn't know or won't tell you or says something you don't understand, don't take the pills. Sitting out a game to heal a bruise or whatever is preferable to a multi-game suspension because they found something in your pee that wasn't supposed to be there. Just be careful, is all I'm sayin'.

Okay, I'm done now.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Rabbit, rabbit.

Wow, it's August already. When did that happen?

This means my friends get married in less than a month. My other set of friends who are getting married will be married in two weeks.

I get to hang out with my Texas friend in two days. It will also be really fun to have a friend in the audience on Friday night. They say you've made it when you are no longer performing for your friends and family, but there is something to be said for getting support from those around you, too.

Auditions for my play are in two weeks.

I should get a bunch more rejection notices from festivals to which I submitted my music this month.

It means the baseball season is winding down. Congratulations to Ryne Sandberg, by the way, for his Hall of Fame induction over the weekend.

I could be getting a check this month from my old property managment company as I went on Friday to file suit against them. About which I feel kind of icky -- I never thought I would be the sort to file a lawsuit -- but the more I see how my current property managment company handles things, the more I see how badly the old company did stuff. Failure to notify tenants when the water would be shut off for repairs/whatnot. Failure to notify tenants when they moved. Entering my apartment without my permission, with the excuse that they "accidentally showed my unit when it was another unit for rent" and then locking me out because they never gave me one of the keys to my place. That kind of thing. My new property managment company doesn't do that. They over-notified us all when they moved. They posted a sign a week before they were going to shut off the water so they could repair the pipes. They gave me keys to all of the locks associated with my apartment. That kind of thing. So as icky as I feel about filing suit against the old company because I wish it didn't have to come to that, they really were crappy landlords and maybe just need a wake up call that they should read up on what their responsibilities are as landlords. And this is without bringing into it the debacle that was my moving out. Anyway...

I think I get to see an old high school friend tonight, too, which should be fun. If for no other reason then because he gives really good hugs.

I've started dreaming about another musical artist who I really enjoy. Let me rephrase: I like this guy's music and think he is an intelligent person. It's an artistic crush, not a romantic one. And in my dream, I got to see him play live and he gave me his sweater. Yes, I am a dork.

I could have a new job within the month, a prospect that both excites me and scares the crap out of me.

It's been kind of nice to have a quiet-ish kind of month. But it looks like things are really going to be picking up soon and I'm going to get insanely busy. Hooray! Wish me luck that it all turns out. I'm excited to get cracking on my play. I think it's going to turn out really well. Speaking of which, I should go post the audition announcement again so it doesn't disappear completely.