Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seriously Slacking and Disgustingly Goofy

Okay, let's do a brief recap of the last two months, shall we?

Late November consisted of Thanksgiving here in L.A. with the roommates and a couple of friends. I made dressing and red velvet cake, which resulted in my winning the hearts of many who aren't so liberal with the butter/fat in their own cooking. The day after Thanksgiving consisted of breaking up with guy who refused to tell me "happy birthday" or offer to get me a drink on my birthday. Um, no thanks. Life's too short. Said breakup also led to a mini-revelation that I am forevermore banning midwest boys from my dating repertoire. I haven't run into a normal one yet.

December consisted of a wonderful trip home, Christmas with family and friends and quite a few sad goodbyes (do they get easier, I wonder? My guess is not anytime soon). I got to spend time with my awesome little cousins and exist in a world where people don't eat tofu or dye their hair green. Okay, so I like it when I see people with green hair. But it was nice to be in the rural South for a while. It was relaxing and lazy and rejuvenating.

So, now that you're completely filled in on my life over the holidays, let's get back on track with New Year's Eve? Yes? Excellent. I spent NYE in downtown L.A. at a good friend's loft with a select few friends. It turned out to be the perfect evening. Loud music, multiple and riveting games of Jenga because apparently we're all 85 at heart, then off to the neighbor's to watch Dick Clark count down to 2009. We had our champagne and our dancing, but without all the annoying drunks and female drama. Well, until we saw that party in the next building that looked like WAY more fun. We proceeded to crash it promptly.

Things are moving along quite nicely out here. The last few days have brought 85 degrees and plentiful sunshine. I'm actually planning a beach day for Friday. Eat your heart out, Mississippi! That's exactly why I live here.

And I guess it's worth here mentioning that I had a date last night with a guy who was on Full House and Who's The Boss? as a child. Not kidding even a little bit. The best part? He's awesome and I'm seeing him again Saturday. That's more of a glimpse into my dating life than I normally offer up freely, but hey. Sometimes you just can't keep these things locked up inside. I also refuse to keep to myself the fact that he is beautiful. It's true. I've been smiling like a goofy moron (and looking at his pics on various social networking sites, mind you) all the livelong day. It's disgusting. I can't seem to stop. I would worry that I've developed some kind of problem, but he's having the same issues so I don't feel quite so bad. Apparently, California boys dig Southern girls. I'm not complaining.

What else? I've started doing a country music project with a couple of guys down in South Bay. I never in a million thought I'd be doing country stuff, but I figured I have nothing to lose by checking it out. We're not gigging yet. I'll let you know when that happens. If that happens. Well, that's the long and short of it. The skinny. The 411. The scoop. I know it's not funny or witty or even amusing, for that matter, but I just couldn't bear to leave you hanging for any longer. Guaranteed I'll get back on my game and have you rolling with laughter come the next posting. Until then...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

And Now The Girl's 27

A little over 24 hours ago, at 11:33 a.m. on November 14 (to be exact), I meandered slowly into the oft-dreaded age bracket commonly known as the "late 20s." The exact moment at which I made the transition wasn't eventful. Hell, I didn't even realize the shift had occurred until half an hour later. But there it was, in all its glory, staring me directly in the face, mocking me silently and making me contemplate birthdays to come.

I learned a few things on my birthday this year. Things that I hadn't previously realized, or maybe admitted, about myself. I like to feel special on my birthday. Yes, it's a small thing, and yes, it makes me sound girly - something I try vehemently to avoid if at all possible - but it's the truth. I want to be told "happy birthday" by the people I care about. I want to be taken care of and treated. I want, if only for one day, to have someone else make all the plans. There's no way to express these feeling without coming across as selfish, but those of you who know me know better, and those of you who know some of my past birthday experiences have all the more reason to back me up on this little revelation.

And now we're done with that.

So last night was great fun. My roommates gave me bourbon and cupcakes. What's not to love in that situation? I also got a bottle of bubbly and an incredibly tasty cake, the remainder of which will likely sustain me for the next week considering my lack of funds and lack of food. We ate amazing Cuban food, complete with a birthday serenade and a single serving of flan. Let it be forever noted that Jules does not like flan. We went bowling, drank a few beers and retired fairly early. I'll admit that it was hard not being with the people closest to my heart on my birthday, but I can't complain.

I turned 27 in California. I'm sorry, but that's pretty freakin' cool if you ask me. A native Angeleno recently told me that people new to L.A. are on a three-phase schedule. Year one is called "Clueless." Year two is called "She's Out of Control." Year three is called "Over It" (which must be said in a very overtly homosexual sort of way).

So I guess what I'm saying is we're just getting things started out here. Stay tuned for 28. It's bound to be blog-worthy.

P.S. Many, many glorious thanks to everyone who sent birthday wishes my way. They were appreciated more than you'll ever understand.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Mix CD and a Lonely Halloween

I'm sitting here listening to the best mix CD I've ever heard in my life. A friend from Starkville planned to make me a "Going to California" album before I left, but things happen and priorities get shifted and I'm just now getting the thing. Doesn't matter. When I put it in and started listening, I was overcome with all the same feelings I had the day I drove out of that place. Those same mixed emotions of elation and sadness, eagerness and feeling like something was over. The CD is almost a narrative, with songs about small towns, getting away, finding dreams, riding shotgun and saying goodbye. I'll get emotional every time I listen to it, I have no doubts. And I can remember a point when I would never openly admit that, but I'm not afraid to say it now.

Here's the track listing, for those of you who care:
1. Smallsville - Gladhands
2. Free to Go - The Folk Implosion
3. I Ran (So Far Away) - Flock of Seagulls
4. Rental Car - Beck
5. Quality of Armor - Guided By Voices
6. Destination Unknown - Missing Persons
7. Rockin' Down the Highway - The Doobie Brothers
8. Freeways - Bachman-Turner Overdrive
9. In A Big Country - Big Country
10. Red Carpet Ride - Tiara
11. Moving - Supergrass
12. Passenger Side - Wilco
13. Ride With Me - The Lemonheads
14. Under the Milky Way - The Church
15. Across the Universe - The Beatles
16. Going to California - Led Zeppelin
17. Ventura Highway - America
18. Lemme Take You to the Beach - Frank Zappa
19. Losing California - Sloan
20. Bye Bye Goodbye - Brak

Good stuff, I tell ya. Kudos to Mike Yeager. He wins the award for best mix CD craftsmanship. It really is quite genius.

In other news, it's a strange night on South Bentley. Halloween will pass me by this year, and I won't have pretended to be anyone else. This is new for me. I love transforming. Becoming, if only for a night, something I'm not. It's exhilarating. And it gives me an excuse to wear fishnets and too much eyeliner...which now that I think about it, I don't really need an excuse for in California. I guess that frame of mind harkens back to life in Mississippi.

Oh, and I finally got a job! I say that as such an afterthought, when in reality, unemployment has become the bane of my existence these last few months. It's a huge deal that I finally have something. It's only a part-time gig for now, but it's in my field and will look great on my resume. I am quite thrilled about the situation. I'll finally start feeling like I'm planting my feet firmly here. It's a good thing.

So I'm gonna keep listening to this wonderful CD. A tear might fall. Because it's nights like these when I long desperately for a roomful of familiar faces. And who am I kidding? Music affects me like little else. The saddest movie in the world won't make me flinch, but put on a good song and you just might need a flotation device.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Wonders Never Cease

After my last posting, I have become more and more aware that a mere five-point list of why L.A. is so amusing to me just simply won't cut it. How could it? Even in the last week or so I've experienced a few things that simply must be passed along to you, dear reader. I learned via Facebook status that a friend of mine stood in line behind Drew Barrymore at CVS today. This amuses me. I don't know why. Maybe because I haven't had a star sighting yet. I'm still waiting to run into and fall madly in love with Charlie Hunnam before marrying him and having half British, have Southern babies. Hey, if you can get caught in the drugstore line behind Drew Barrymore, anything can happen. Fingers crossed!

Last weekend marked my second voyage to the incredibly jubilant and raucous Oktoberfest in Alpine Village. Okay, so it's not exactly in L.A. But every year people come out en masse to swizzle copious amounts of beer, eat bratwurst, yell "Prost!" and, of course, do the chicken dance. Many bring their own steins. Some buy gigantic glass boots from which to guzzle their brew. Some of us go low key with the paper cups. But very few of us left the tent with steady legs beneath us. I'm glad I didn't run into Charlie Hunnam that night. Methinks it would have been a poor showing on my part.

And finally. The revelation I've been waiting for. The sentence that, if I'm being honest, is the only reason I actually wrote this post in the first place...

The girl who cuts my hair used to be a yellow power ranger. Need I say more?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How Do I Love L.A.? Let Me Count the Ways

1. I'm surrounded by characters. I don't mean characters from TV and film, thought it's true those people are prevalent in this place. I'm talking about average people who have somehow become caricatures of themselves. Cartoon-like creatures wandering the streets of L.A. Like the 65-year-old, gray-haired man on the street corner in Venice, resplendent in his leopard print leggings and white running shoes. Or the young man in Hollywood (and I use the word "man" loosely here) sporting a silver tank top sparkly enough to put every Southern pageant queen since the '80s to total shame. There are heads of hair in every color of the spectrum. There are people on stilts. There are people whose sex cannot be determined by mere observation. There are beauties and junkies and class-acts and freaks. And they make this place what it is. A place where no one is out of place. Except, of course, for the tourist families wearing fanny packs...and let's face it. Those people don't fit in anywhere.

2. There's history on every corner. Wherever I go I always wonder who has walked that path before me. For years people have flocked to this place, be it in search of stardom or just the desire to live somewhere beautiful. The kings and queens of Tinseltown wandered these streets. Some of this world's most influential musicians have played here. And you can feel that in the air. It's impossible to ignore. At least for me, anyway. My first visit to The Roxy was moving, not because the show was great, but because I know that John Lennon used to hang out in that very place. My feet possibly touched the same ground his feet once touched. For most people I'm sure that sounds silly, but for me, it's electrifying.

3. It's damn near impossible to get bored. There is always something happening in this town. A never ending string of fun festivals, live music every night of the week, comedy shows, beautiful beaches, mountains, theater, sporting events, farmer's markets, and a plethora of gentlemen's clubs offering the best live nude entertainment this country has to offer. You name it, you can do it here. Hey, they don't call it LaLa Land for nothing, people.

4. Food. Any kind of food you can imagine, and some that you'd never want to. Whatever taste you need to please your palate is certain to be no more than a few minutes away, if not right next door. I haven't been able to tickle my culinary fancy just yet, considering my lack of funds at the moment, but just knowing that it's there waiting to be devoured is enough for me. Some favorites to date... Brazilian cuisine just a couple of blocks from my apartment, a hole-in-the-wall seafood dive in Santa Monica and brunch at Overland Cafe, including $5 all-you-can-drink champagne. Those people know how to make this girl happy. Give me bubbly and I'll be forever loyal.

5. The "come as you are, que sera, sera" attitude. I'm growing quite fond of the laid back atmosphere of Southern California. Doesn't matter what you wear, when you arrive or why you came. Just do what you please. No one will mind. Or even notice, for that matter. Some people say it can be a lonely place since people don't really go out of their way to interject themselves into your life or your personal business. I revel in the fact that no one's in my business, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to those of you who know me well. What should come as a surprise is how drastically my anal retentiveness has slacked off (you know what I'm talking about - the cleaning, the bed making, the organizing, etc.) There are currently dirty dishes in the sink and the trash needs taking out. I haven't made my bed in quite some time and I have unpacked boxes upon which I have piled books, magazines and other unsightly items. And it's not bothering me a bit. Maybe it's just a visual testament to what I knew the first night I slept on Bentley Avenue as a resident of Los Angeles... I'm happy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Didn't Tell You I'm In a Band Now?!

One would think that my seemingly endless hours of doing nothing would lend themselves to incessant blogging on my part. One would think incorrectly. You see, I have to be in a very particular frame of mind to put my thoughts into written form, and I just haven't found myself in that place too often lately. Maybe it's the stress of still being unemployed. Maybe it's the thrill of meeting new people (one person in particular...) Or maybe it's the excitement of being in a new band! Okay, so that was a lame way to get to the whole "I'm in a new band" revelation, but there it is.

I'm in a new band! It was quite simple how it all worked out. I was perusing Craigslist, an activity that has become something of an addiction for me these days, when I ran across an ad looking for a soulful, bluesy singer. I replied, sent a link to some stuff I recorded back home and waited. Within 20 minutes, I got a reply from the guitar player saying he loved my voice and wanted me to come in and audition (I'm not tooting my own horn here, just relaying information). A week or so later, I found myself driving up to the Valley to meet and sing for a group of total strangers. It was scary and exhilarating and nerve-wracking and fun. I can tell you that I wasn't on my A-game. It wasn't my best performance. But they seemed to dig it anyway, and within a couple of days, I got a call saying they wanted me.

As it turns out, I'll be fronting this band with a guy named JT. He's a Louisiana native, so we'll have that Southern thread in common at least. And I can't tell you how excited I am to get to do the male/female vocal thing. I love that melding of masculine and feminine voices. It creates a very unique energy that can be so powerful and moving. I know I'm rambling, but singing is my soul and I'm so thrilled to have an outlet for it now. Finally!

Our first practice is tonight. I'll be singing some Grace Potter, Susan Tedeschi and Arc Angels this evening, and doing a couple of duets of Clapton tunes. I'm ready. I've never been more ready.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's Good To Be Home

Finally, I have arrived. I'm at home on South Bentley Avenue in west L.A., happy as a pig in the sunshine, looking forward to the life that's just starting. I moved in on Friday, joining a couple of stellar roommates for what I'm certain will be one of the greatest years of my life. I know it's bold to assume such a thing, but the fact remains that I believe this is the point at which everything truly begins for me. That's not to say that the previous years haven't been good. They have. Some have been great. But there's something bigger waiting and I have no doubts that I'll find whatever that may be here in my new home.

I finally got a bed. It's heavenly. I finally have nothing in the trunk of my car (although I still have plenty of junk in my trunk, if you know what I'm sayin'...I have GOT to get back on the workout routine soon). I finally have my own private bathroom, my own closet, my own private haven. Not to mention, there's a great patio upstairs that allows me to sunbathe privately. You know, until the trunk is sans junk.

We had a barbecue on Sunday. A lovely Labor Day weekend for sure. But it's hard to go wrong with burgers, chili cheese dip and many spirited rounds of beer pong. I'm meeting new people. Making connections. Making friends. Finding inspiration. Today, I was doing a little pickin' and grinnin' in my room. When I stopped between songs, a voice from across the alley said, "Sounds good! Do you play anywhere around here?" Then she proceeded to introduce herself and tell me that she had turned off her music to listen to me sing. If that's not a sign from above, I don't know what is.