Curiouser & Curiouser

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All Good Things… May 18, 2009

BinkysMovingVan_edited1Question: If a moving van leaves Columbus, Ohio at 8am on May 31st, and the moving couple departs from the same location at 9:45am (running late due to animals, long goodbyes and several “final” sweeps of the house), how long will it take said couple to question whether or not they’re making the right decision?

Answer: Approx. -17 days.

That’s right, it really hit us last Friday – the questioning of our sanity, that is. J and I were sitting on the front porch at a friend’s house, celebrating someone’s birthday with a cookout and good conversation on a beautiful spring evening. A warm breeze tousled our hair; we ate strawberries and cream and sipped gin and tonic and laughed. A lot.

I looked at J.

J looked at me.

And the look said something like:

“Dude. Wtf?”

It was the pained expression of how-can-we-leave-all-this-behind? I mean, what were we thinking when we decided to chuck the city we’ve both come to love and defend?? (Actually, I think we were thinking how much we loathe only getting to have real lives 6 months out of the year due to Ohio’s atrocious winters. And we’d just been to Miami in March, which will make anyone want to go beach bum). So, okay – we had our reasons. But that doesn’t make it any easier, now that the Dark Ages of winter have subsided, to let go of some of the more positive relationships we’ve established here.

It’s the few negative ones I’ve established, however, that are helping to ease that blow.

Like the guy at UDF who insists on being weird about my ice cream order every bloody time I go in there? Him I can do without. (If he’s not giving me 12 scoops of ice cream, he’s doubling my Deep Freeze into a melty tower of ice cream doom). And the parking lot attendant I walk past every day who finally put his head out the car window and screamed, “Hey pretty girl, what’s your name?” perhaps not thinking that if I took this poorly (which I did), we’d have to have a nice, awkward moment EVERY MORNING that I have to walk by his car.

And then there’s the literal relationships: the ex I won’t have to run into because we’ll no longer live down the street from each other. I cannot WAIT to live in a place where I don’t have to hear all about his g.d. band and to not have to tell people that, no, I do not in fact enjoy his music and, no, I would not like to go see him play at the local bar, and, yes, he DOES sound like a blatant rip off of Bob Dylan and/or Bruce Springsteen (depending on the song), and, yes, I have noticed that every song sounds like the last and, oh yes, he does really seem to like himself. (These conversations are admittedly somewhat enjoyable as they round the corner and become full-on Haterade toasts)

Finally, there are a few that I can’t even mention due to the expanding readership of this blog. You just never know, and I’m not in the clear yet. Lame People I Can Do Without – you probably know who you are, anyway.

Despite all of these, for the first time since I’ve started serial relocating, the mass of “Things I will Miss” is formidable. So much so that when J gave me that look, and I returned it, I really did have to think hard about what we’re on the verge of doing.

And yet….

I came out on the other end of all that contemplation still ready to pack my bags. Because this time, we’re doing it together. And this time, we’re going to do things the way we want to: create friendships that can be our own and not remnants of previous relationships; control our house (i.e. without the t.v.-as-background noise philosophy and as though Mr. Clean was our bald-headed third roomie – which could make a really awesome sitcom, come to think if it); fill our bedroom with playpen balls because we’re grown-ups now and it’s our turn to decide what that means!!! (Thank you, xkcd).

I’ve done one helluva job as a loner for the majority of my life, and I can’t speak for J (actually, I can; he’s lived with girlfriends before and is admittedly terrified of ruining everything…), but I’m hell bent on learning to live with someone else. I want a partner this time around. I’ve done Independence! and I’m tired of doing it all alone. Now that I know I’m capable of surviving without anyone, I want to do more than just survive.

And I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather take that ride with.

~a

In the event you have no idea to what I was referring...

In the event you have no idea to what I was referring...

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The Grand Finale February 16, 2009

Saturday evening marked what would be the final GIRLS!GIRLS!GIRLS! performance – at least in its current incarnation. For those of you unfamiliar with this strange phenomenon that I inadvertently started a little more than a year ago, it can be breifly summarized as this: four female musicians from various (and varying) bands come together a few times a year to perform an ecelctic mix of both original music and old standards – frequently in four-part harmony, eliciting both Vaudeville and Andrews Sisters comparisons.

Valentine’s Day was our fifth and final show together, and what a way to quit while we were on top. With our biggest turnout to date, we packed The Thirsty Ear wall to wall for most of the evening. The crowd was rambunctious and game for what we were dishing, and by the time we wrapped the set with a fiery little rendition of “Fever,” even the air in that room was on fire.

But let me rewind – to approximately 6 hours before the show. To where I’m just waking up (for the second time that day) and having trouble doing so. Hanging on my closet door is a red dress. It was once floor-length with a little rhinestone pin attached at the waste, but is now stripped of any ornamentation and cut jaggedly to nearly half its former length. You see, about a week before, I’d had grandiose ideas about revamping my dress from Christmas into a saucy little number for Valentine’s Day. But here we were, day of the show, with an unwearable garment hanging limply before me and little hope.

Procrastination becomes me. What can I say?

Anyway – at this point, my roommate and fellow GIRL! shows up in the form of salvation. She was a former costume design major in college, and although she didn’t complete the program, she did pick up a trick or two, and we now had about an hour and a half to put said tricks to use. I did what little I could, evening out the cut we’d made and pinning up a rough hem, the she took over, and something miraculous occurred: a little sewing machine action and a few darts later, we had an LRD that was not just wearable but quite the stunner. I threw a short, black petticoat underneath, pinned on a black rose where the rhinestones had been, pulled on some black tights and 4-inch ankle boots and…. voila! Out the door with time to spare, AND that dress got more compliments than anything else I’ve ever worn to ANY show. In short: my roommate is amazing, and may have a place on the next Project Runway.

But I’ll quit boring you tales of small fashion miracles.

What I’m really getting at is that these shows have been so fun, so challenging, so musically educational, and have given me the best excuse to work with three women I would’nt otherwise have much opportunity to and to sing songs I would have no other reason to sing. It started out one thing, and became something so completely novel and endearing, and the audiences at these have been some of the most moving I’ve ever had the pleasure of performing for. I’ll write rock forever, but it’s priceless to know the other possibilities and to have tasted them.

Now – a brief photo-essay of my experience as one of the GIRLS!:

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Mission Improbable November 19, 2008

fall1

What do I want, more than anything, after this weekend? To strap my current city of residence into a colossal harness and lift it on the world’s largest crane, swing it across the U.S., dangling precariously from the long, metal arm and, at the proper moment, send it plunging back down to Earth, right on top of Raleigh, North Carolina.

This formerly developmentally challenged city finally seems to be working out its growing pains and working its way toward healthy urbanization. But not fast enough. It’s climate is impeccable, it’s location (between a rock and beach place) ideal. But Raleigh itself is missing, as of yet, some of the things I’ve grown to love about where I currently live. (A word to anyone who bashes our mid-size, Midwestern ville – just try relocating and tell me how many better offerings you find.)

Anyway, because the feasibility of this is akin to that of President Bush learning the proper pronunciation of nu-cle-ar, I will have to, instead, consider the possibility of an eventual relocation with the hope that Raleigh will grow up quickly and properly.

But the purpose of this visit was not to explore a future place to call home. No – we had another mission. Several, actually:

1) Visit (one of) J’s hometown. A beautiful little college town – and we got to have lunch at the Restaurant X, where J used to wait tables. The couple who own it are from the UK (one British, one Irish), and were ridiculously friendly. The food was to die for, and I’m not exaggerating (but maybe I was starving).

2) Meet up with K: J’s first “girlfriend” and LONGtime friend. She’s a musician and philosopher, so you can imagine having a beer with this girl was pretty interesting. That, and the two of us share some frighteningly similar man issues, so J may have actually felt left out at this point. After an hour or so, we suddenly realize it’s getting late. K has a concert to go to down the street, and my Evil Twin is up for dinner across the street. We go to pay our tabs, and I’m standing there, swear-to-god minding my own business when a bar brawl breaks out and some guy turns around and smashes a beer bottle over my head. Or that’s the first thing I imagine anyway, when I simultaneously hear and feel a blow directly to the top of my head. Sadly, what really happened is not nearly as cool. Some old lady leaning on the bar nudged a pool cue out of the rack with her elbow, and it tipped over and landed directly on top of me. Still hurt like a mother f@#$er though. Anyway, off to….

3) Meet Evil Twin and Bro-in-law: at the restaurant where J’s cousin works. I’m blaming the blow to the head on my behavior over dinner. I’d had maybe a drink and a half when my sister rolled up, but I was feeling (and acting) bottle-of-wine loopy. A great dinner, but I think we all agreed the “small plates” left us unsatisfied, so we….

4) Meet Back Up With K at Beer Garden-Type Place: Here we pack in another couple rounds as the rain really starts to come down. I order a hard cider and am pleasantly surprised to be handed an entire liter bottle of the stuff with a couple glasses. So everyone has cider and whatever else, we drink and are generally merry. ‘Nough said. No pool cues and/or bar brawls.

5) See Amanda Palmer play solo: After spending Saturday relaxing and exploring Raleigh a little, it’s time to head downtown to the Lincoln Theater. When we arrive, a line has formed down the street made up of every kid that ever got made fun of (or is currently sill getting made fun of) in school, every over-dramatic theater geek (in costume, although what this costume is no one really knows), and many a Doll Wannabe with out-of-contol, colored hair and striped stockings. And there’s us: jeans, cotton shirts, sweaters, jackets. Dude – we love the Dolls, too, but even Amanda Palmer doesn’t dress like Amanda Palmer when she’s not performing. There are two openers. The first is a couple of Canadian girls called Vermillion Lies who are, admittedly, too precious for my taste and trying a little too hard to drop jaws. The next band, Butchers and Builders, are musically much more interesting, but I can’t help wishing to hear more of the band and less of the singer. Personal preference. He can’t carry the power of the musicians behind him. Finally, Amanda takes the stage in a long, drawn-out theatrical intro with the voice of Neil Gaiman (NEIL!) narrating, strangely enough. This is indicative of the entire show, as Amanda has hired a troupe of bizarre and not entirely attractive mimes to act out many of the songs. (This proves counterproductive, in that they make us laugh where we are supposed to be crying) The one song in which their presence was effective (and fun) was the finale, in which Amanda rises from the dead and lip-syncs to Rihanna’s “Umbrella.” Otherwise, I generally ached for the dolls more focused integrity. I longed for the tension they bring to the stage and release incrementally and oh-so-satisfyingly for the audience. Sigh. We left during the encore (Butchers came back onstage to perform Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer” with Amanda, and with that we were out the back door).

We head up the street after the show for one more drink, and it’s at my urging that we leave it at one. I’m exhausted and not feeling so hot (I’d gotten carsick earlier and still having trouble shaking it). Grudgingly, everyone agrees and we pile in the car to head home. And, by god, there is a MASSIVE 4-way checkpoint set up on the highway home. We pass through with flying colors, but see plenty who aren’t so lucky, and thank our stars (and my weeniness) that we called it a night when we did.

6) Force ourselves to go home: This may have been the most difficult mission of all. North Carolina, after a minor cold front, is crisp and sunny, and we’ve been informed that it is frigid and snowing back home. We do a damn fine job procrastinating, stop in for lunch around 3pm at a place called Mellow Mushroom (you can imagine the drug references on this menu), and finally, FINALLY, have admit defeat and get back on the road. We don’t arrive home until 2am. Getting up for work is, as expected, painful. We immediately begin researching the possibility of relocation.

On that note – I should mention my two year limit. And the fact that I have just surpassed it. I have an extremely hard time staying put for more than two years. At some point, I must change apartments, jobs, cities, something, ANYTHING. And while I did just start a new job, I’ve been in Columbus for two years and two months. And it physically hurts me. This must stop eventually, I know. Bu tI blame it entirely on my military brat upbringing. Not only am I accustomed to moves I NEED them to feel right. Again, sigh.

In the meantime, the weekend trips help satiate this desire and help me bide my time until a more permanent trip.

J and I also used the 8-hour drive home to come up with and/or elaborate upon at least five different ventures, including, but not limited to, producing a Broadway musical, making a movie, writing the next great American novel and opening a restaurant or coffee shop. The winter ahead may be long and incapacitating, but being forced indoors for extended periods of time might be good for us. We have a lot of work to do;)

~a

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Adendum to “Plight….” October 29, 2008

Filed under: bands,humor,love,music,thoughts — curiouserx2 @ 1:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yes, regarding the below lamentation about the difficulties of bringing the rock whilst being smitten: I believe the following t-shirt found at TopatoCo.com gives a tactful, but firm “Suck on this!” to those who might imply that the two cannot coexist. Problem solved:)

Cheers,

~a

Bring in the noise, bring in the love...

Bring in the noise, bring in the love...

 

With the Band October 20, 2008

Filed under: bands,life,music,polls — curiouserx2 @ 2:03 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Good. Morning.

One helluva a weekend, and I promise to fill everyone in shortly. I’m waiting on some images from the first annual Bobtoberfest (which went off without a hitch, and was, I even think, a more polished-looking event ((granted – as polished as something called Bobtoberfest would want to be)) than I’d expected), and then I’ll be sure to describe this bizarre pastoral phenomenon to you in full. Somewhere in these two days we also fit in J’s college homecoming (which deserves an entire entry unto itself) and a pumpkin carving party at my house to round it all out. So, you can take this as a preview of this week’s writings-to-come.

But, the first issue of business this morning – the results of last week’s poll (the nature of which I promise never to post here again because I felt stupid posting it, so I KNOW you felt stupid answering it. Forgive me?). It ended in a tie between Music (the band) and New Artwork (and I use that term loosely).  So – to satisfy everyone who was gracious enough to play along, I present you all with an illustrated bit on the band.

I never intended to divulge many of the details about the band here. It is a major part of my life, so its presence was inevitable. Talking in specifics about it was not. But, people keep asking, so here’s just a sentence or two (or 20) of context for you….

Marchioness was not always Marchioness. We had our first show just before New Year’s 2008, in a tiny little indie club. We played in a low-ceilinged room with no discernible stage, but with an oak tree most definitely growing its center. Since that night, we’ve lost a bassist, added a viola player and named ourselves.

Because of the infamously fine nature of the line between clever and stupid, the band-naming process tends to be an uncomfortable one. A member brings to the table names they deem to be the former, and the other two members try not to laugh too hard when these prove to be more the latter. (There is only one guy I know who can spit out profound and timeless band names on call. These names, sadly, are better suited to a different kind of rock band, but are genius nonetheless, and appear to require no great thought at all on his part. I mean, Leaky Donkey?? Think about it…. now just try to NOT say it. And then try to forget it. Good luck).

Eventually, it came to the point where it was clear we’d have to leap:  Pick one name. Stick with it. I mean, how many bands can we think of that took (let’s be honest) pretty questionable names and made them household names, creative word combinations we typically don’t think twice about. Smashing Pumpkins is an obvious one. Presidents of the United States? The Toadies?

Granted, I can think of a few bands undone by their names (Toad the Wet Sprocket? Butthole Surfers? They didn’t stand a chance). And others who’s names are far more innovative than the band itself (I won’t go there so’s not to offend, but you know who you are….)

Anyway, at the moment we came to this point-of-return, I happened to be reading The Annotated Alice. I came along a passage where they discuss that The Queen of Hearts holds another position of royalty: Marchioness of Mock Turtles. The word Marchioness rolled off the tongue and stayed with me long enough that I thought I’d throw in into the hat (I’m a fan of the simple, one-word moniker). The response was if-y at best, but we looked it up on Wikipedia, and it turns out The Marchioness was also a leisure boat that hosted a birthday party for a wealthy, young heir in the late 80’s. Brimful with privileged, artsy types, it was plowed over by a much larger vessel, killing a good third of the revelers. Tragedy ensued. The incident became known as The Marchioness Disaster, and while that seemed like a mouthful, it would’ve made a great name. We decided, with it’s newly found intrigue, to stick with the shortened Marchioness.

So, there you have it.

Much to divulge about my experiences this weekend, but that will have to wait.

Until then,

~a