Grass beneath my feet…

good friend by my side,  wine in hand and Damion ahead of me.  That’s how my Saturday was and it was really cool.

I met up with Carrie at a place called the Bernardo Winery (which made me laugh when I pulled up because I remember studying Spanish to impress a Peruvian guy I was seeing and the book had the line “Bernardo no es muy inteligent”.  That always cracked me up for some reason.  We RSVP’d to see another up and coming band.  I’d heard enough to know I should see them and c’mon…they’re playing at a winery…like I need anymore reason to go there??

I was late (as usual) and Carrie was once again stuck with saving a good spot (Sorry and Thanks Carrie~).  I did apologize to her and told her I’m working on it (which I have been for most of my adult life so hope no one’s expecting any miracles in that department).  Being late has always been the norm for me.  Not trying to be rude.  As a matter of fact I get all stressed and flustered knowing someone is waiting on me.  I have a plan of action but, my mind wanders in the middle of it all and before I know it, the hand of time has jumped skipped and I’m late.  That’s why I rarely make plans that involve me being anywhere at a specific time.  Hate the stress of it.

Anyway…I got a txt from a friend who lives in San Luis Obispo (where the band is from) saying to tell him they said “Hi”.  I like this friend.  He’s one of the most positive people I’ve ever met.  He and his wife just emit this great energy that makes you want to kick back and stay for a good long while.  He also txted “They’re really good” so I perked up even more because my friend is also a musician and isn’t easily impressed.  We shared our picnic table with 2 little girls that were daughters of one of the gals that works for the radio station and was checking in RSVP’s at the nearby booth.  They were charming and loved to twirl in cirlces until they got dizzy and when Carrie handed her camera to one to take our pic the other was so calling “unfair” that I pulled out my camera and they both stood back and played master photographers.  It was so f’n charming I tell you.  I wanted to take their pic for the blog but, Carrie reminded me that some parents don’t like having their kids pics on the internet.   Wow…ick but, I get it.  So just imagine two latin-skinned girls about 5 and 7 years old with raven hair and big eyes and slim jim from all the twirling they do, wearing these oversized bright blue tee shirts promoting the radio station and summery shorts.  Those were our table mates and it was nice until…yup…I saw these two dressed to perfection walking our way…deliberately not making eye contact and then seating themselves down without a word between us and our mates.  Fine.  But, I looked at Carrie and said “it’s you” meaning…they’re gonna be talkers and guess what…each of those concerts that I went off about the yappy ones behind us…each time…I was with Carrie~  Ahaaaa~  Lightbulb!  Poor Carrie.  Something about her gives off the vibe of “go ahead, I don’t mind…I didn’t need that anyway”.  We’re going to investigate and fix that.  Because not more than a few moments later and those two were yapping away about everything under the sun.  Granted they weren’t loud and obnoxious like some in the past but, they were definitely distracting.  I could tell Carrie was really bummed so I screwed up the nerve and leaned into them “I don’t mean to be rude but, we can’t quite hear the music over you”.  To which they both stiffened up like a couple a school girls caught passing notes in class and said in stereo “SORRY”.  I smiled and nodded a “it’s all good” and went back to the show.   Five minutes later they were back yapping away.  I offered Carrie to move over onto the grass but, she wanted to stand her ground.   I wanted to turn to them and say “since you’re talking anyway I’m wondering…is it because you don’t find the musicians engaging enough (I read somewhere that’s very important to engage your audience) or is it just an auto response for you two whenever you get into a public place where there’s noise around to muffle the intimate details of what you two need to tell eachother?”.  I really was curious but, I decided not to for fear of having repeat of the boat incident (where the drunk obnoxious woman kept blaringly stating “oh whatever you do…don’t talk cuz she’ll get maaaaaad”).  No, I don’t know how to handle these people.  We made a pact that the next time we’ll stop before they sit and say “wait…before you sit next to us…you’re not the kind that talks throughout the show are you???”.  See…we’re not just bitchin…we’re actually looking for ways to solve… I read once that David Gray actually stopped singing and ask a woman to kindly shut the fk up.  Whether that actually happend I don’t know but, I’d like to think it did…

The band is made up of 5 players; the lead – Damion, a drummer, a keyboard, bass and a sax.  Damion reminded me of a cross between Marc Anthony (J-Lo’s hubby) and John Meyer (who Michele swears is a total…and I quote “douchebag” which I was never sure what that equated to in my book so I looked it up on the Urban Dictionary and here it is: “Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and asshole, however not yet reached fucker or motherfucker”).  I’m sure Damion is far nicer than that.  We’re merely comparing looks and vocals.   At one point Damion even sang a bit of “your body is a wonderland” and I closed my eyes to hear how similar they were when Carrie leaned in and said “yeah, he sounds better though”.  I agreed.  Their sound was a bit pop a bit funk and they were really tight, like they’d been playing together forever.  His look and style was very smooth and he seemed quite comfortable with the stage and all which means I hated him (of course).  I hate all that have that comfort level that eludes me.   I liked their music.  I loved being at a winery, out doors and enjoying music probably more than in a dark theatre.  But, I know a dark theatre is better place to connect with an audience.  And then I thought about the yappers and if they were in the old theatre and these guys were on stage, would they listen?  What if  I was on stage?  I shrugged my shoulders and thought probably not and hoped no one like them comes to my show.

During the show he told a funny story about his cousin and I think that was the first time I heard nothing but, his voice.  Aha…Note to self: people like a good story.  Another reminder popped into my head of advice John Shipe gave me…”Be yourself.  People can smell insincerity and you’ll lose em in a heartbeat”.

After the show I headed for the area where the band had gathered to sell n sign CD’s.  Damion was surrounded by girls and the rest of the band was mulling around the CD table.  Carrie reminded me to pass on the “Hi” message but, I took one look at that crowd and thought as much as I love my friend…I’m not going to be in line with those chicas.  So, I went up to the bass and said “I have to run but, can you pass on a message to that one?”  to which he said “who…you mean Damion?”  and I shook my head as if to get the name out (I literally forgot it in that moment) and said “oh right yes, that one”.  To which the he gave me a wry, satisfying grin.  I smiled genuinely, passed on the message then, patted him on the shoulder and headed off to catch up to Carrie.  A performer is only as good as the band behind them I think.  This I know and respectfully observe and acknowlege whenever given the chance.  I think he has a great band who are disarmingly endearing with their lack of “smoothness”. 

What else did I learn?  Well the irony is just the day before I had my lesson with Moppet (Russ’ new nickname) and he was struggling to get me to play with a swing in the chord.  Odd because I could do that with my voice but, I played like a rythm-less dweeb.  I laughed at one point and told him I was nervous.  “Don’t be nervous” he says in that oh so Bing Crosby soothing way.  “I hate being not good at something”.  To which he again said something soothing that made it ok to not be good at off the bat.   I barely played Friday night and instead listened to the tapes from our recent lessons.  Between that and listening to the Damion Castillo band it slowly clicked in my brain.  So, while I was in the shop Saturday after the Concert/class/lesson (Russ offered to re-string and fine tune Martin for Monday) I grabbed a couple different guitars and sat in the back area and practiced while he worked his magic on Martin.  When he brought Martin to me he plugged him into an amp so I could hear the sound difference and then I impressed him with the swing in my chords as I played the new rendition of “If He Were Mine”.  I love my lessons.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  A: I am a lucky, lucky human being and B: that luck keeps bringing me  just the right teachers to guide to where I want/need to go.

Life…<big fullfilling sigh>.

Thanks for listening and oh – tomorrow night…the big open mic at Hensley’s…pics n story to follow~ .

In the meantime, here’s a pic of The Damion Catillo band (video clip on the facebook music page).

They got da funk

Pizza, Wine and Jam…

Not the kind you put on toast but, the kind where several musical instruments and mics and amps are involved.  in this case, A bass guitar, 2 acoustic guitars, harmonica and drums.  Yes…last night I got to jam with Keen and his band.  It was soooooo coool and I think my first jam session~  Well, I’ve played with friends but, not like this where we have mics, are in a studio and all that.

Was way cool.  I played some of mine.  They played some of theirs.  Dan (their drummer) was the only one that didn’t know my story so I told him and that I was leaning toward recording at the end of August (sooner if money and the music is sorted) and doing the CD release event in October.  Told him about having it in an old theatre and though I didn’t have much money there’d be pizza and beer at the recordings and at the show all the artists will have a space in the lobby to sell their CD’s etc.   I got the approving nod for that and the notable good timing as they’re about to release a CD (see image below) and then we played.  They kept asking how I wanted it to sound and I just wanted to hear what they felt like playing.  It was really interesting the different vibe different songs took on.  Especially ones I’ve already played with others.  I like music that can morph like that.

They even offered their studio for me to record it all in but, I’m all set on this one and the holiday songs (right Bort~) but, just offering was so cool.  We played for a couple hours or so.  Time flew because before I new it, it was after 9pm.  We left it at; I’ll home tape the songs that I’ve yet to collaborate with someone on and put them on youtube for them to puruse so the next time we get together they can tell me what they’d like to play and we can focus on those.  To me, it’s really important that whatever song they play of mine, it’s one they feel or it’ll lose its meaning, y’know?

So, the evening ended and I made it down the winding road to the trooper (oh wait…yeah…so I was so impressed with myself that I found their neighborhood without a hitch and then saw a parking space where I thought was close and where I live…if you see a spot, nab it because there aren’t many to go around).  Turns out it was quite a ways from the house so I schlepped Martin under one arm and a big fat mthr f’n heavy pizza that grew heavier by the minute to the point where I txt Keen “oh lord, come and get this pizza”.  I kid you not, my left arm is actually sore today~  Oh yeah…you can call it lazy but, I say heavy heavy pizza).  Anyway…where were we…then down the winding road and a scenic tour in the dark of the La Mesa area (what I could see was nice) and on home to report to Michele about what a great evening I had.  Only to realize I’d forgotten her birthday is this week (I’m horrible remembering anything…especially birthdays) and that probably isn’t a cool thing like forgetting you had lunch plans or to return a book and to make it worse…oh yes…I told her just the other day I am planning to go have Chinese that day/evening with some friends (before she reminded me it was her bday of course but, she didn’t say anything when I told her I was going to) which pretty much makes me a crap friend.  This morning I was thinking …hrm…what could I do to make up for it…I know a guy she has a crush on (yup, grown women have crushes)…maybe I could finagle a date between them.  “Happy Birthday – I got you a date with So n So”.  hrmmm.   Odd but, effective.  I even checked.  He’s out of town <sigh>.  I will have to come up with something because in a real friendship you are of course allowed faux paux  but, you  gotta follow up with something to make up for it.  It’s just how it works.   Well, wish me luck on that one.

This week:  I haven’t heard back from the guy who owns the theatre so I’ll call and set up a day for a walk through and talking about cost.  I’m pretty anxious to not get my hopes up before finding out what it is.  But, then again.  If it’s meant to happen there it will and if not, then it’s meant to happen somewhere else…

I’m learning~

Ok, back to work I go.  More to come and till then thanks for listening~


"I might" is my favorite of his songs so far. Already asked him to play that one at the CD Release 🙂

Weekend update, an Ode to Pop…

It’s Father’s day (here) and so of course he’s in the forefront of my mind.  I love my Pop.  He’s a really good man.  He has his flaws just like everyone else but, whenever we’re together, I get to be 12 and adored and he gets to be perfect.  It’s a great deal.

This morning I rode my bike to the coffee shop, cursing myself that I’d forgotten to stop by an auto store and get a cup holder (the brilliant idea that I’d bungee cord it to my basket so my coffee doesn’t spill all over the place when I go over a bump in the road…and I’m left with half a sip of a soy latte by the time I reach my destination<sigh>.  I opened the cupboard and saw a big plastic beer cup…yes…that might work nicely I thought…then my eyes veered to one of those thermal coffee mugs but, I thought that wouldn’t be smart to bungee it to my basket.  It’s a really  nice one and someone might steal it while I’m in getting my coffee and it was a gift so it has sentimental value as well.  So, I went with the ‘bungee the big plastic cup’ idea.

It worked pretty well too.  I packed extra napkins for the inevitable spillage but, in the end I only lost about 1/4 of a cup which I counted as a victory for sure.  Was even kind of smug about it as some biker passing by commented on the cleverness of it all.   Later of course it came to me…as I was tossing out the sticky plastic cup that that sentimental travel coffee mug had a spill proof lid and I wouldn’t be leaving it in my basket…I’d be taking it in and having them fill that with coffee instead of one of their paper cups thus saving a leaf on a tree as well as my precious caffeine.  Yes people…this is how my brain works on or off drugs <again with a sigh>.

Anyway…in honors of Father’s Day, I did something healthy and rode my bike down by Mission Bay.  At first I was thinking ‘hey…someone told me this path goes all around the bay so I could come full circle and wouldn’t that be a cool thing to tell them…”I rode my bike all around the bay” and post a map to show how impressive that feat was.  I was soooo full of energy~  Then  I turned a corner and saw there was a whole nother side to the bay that went on for miles n miles n miles n miles and so I pulled over, grabbed my coffee and called my Pop.  Other than pretty much everyone’s struggle to make ends meet he was in great form.  For a guy that’s about to turn 81 he seriously…sounds 60.  Some of us in the family are like that.  We just don’t fit the typical age progression.

He asked about the music and I went on (told him about Kean and Russ and Dan all volunteering to work on the CD) and on ( I told him about the old theatre and the tentative date in October) and on (the sushi open mic and the upcoming one at Hensley’s) and on….woops.  This was his day and I just running off the mouth about “memememememememememememe me’.  I told him there was a little something cool coming in the mail in the next few days (ordered 4 gallons of Wisconsin Ice Cream which is supposed to be to die for)…a little something I know he loooooooves.  Did I ever post the pic from my last visit??  I opened the freezer and there were 8…count em 8 gallon containers of ice cream.  I was like wtf Pop?   But at 80-ish.  Let him eat cake n ice cream every f’n day if he wants, I say.   The gang is suprising him and taking him to a comedy show.  One I know he’ll really dig.  My sister in law came up with idea.  She’s brilliant.  She doesn’t say too much but, when she does she is soooo on the money~  I am soooo psyched for him 🙂  As I type this they are preparing him to get on the road and off to the theatre.  He has no idea.  Won’t until they get there.  We love doing surprisey things like that (he hates it. but, he’ll tolerate it because he knows its coming from a good place).

So, I thought about what else I could do today that would be an homage to my dad.  Something that would make him proud.  Something that would take me to the next level of this project.  I told you before about Seagull being too big for me to play and it hurting my shoulder and I would one day need to face it.  So, Saturday I was up north and near where I bought it so I brought it in to see if I could do some kind of trade in for a smaller one (the one I hemmed and hawed about getting instead of the one I did but, the guy was no help…too busy puttering around).  The owner was there and as soon as he heard me say what was up to the putterer…he be-lined for the back door and off he drove.   Sales guy pretends he’s useless and can’t make decisions unless the boss is there.  I saw where this was going…he took a look at Seagull after it was clear I wasn’t going to buy the old “they’re the same size” about the one I really wanted he spouted out something like “Won’t get much for this”  blah blah fk’n blah.  Then…he put his hands up and said “oh no….this is a deal breaker right here…can’t help you now” and he pointed out a crack in the back of the guitar.  I was heartbroken to see it and offended at his insinuating tone that I was already aware and maybe trying to pull a fast one.  “Dude” I’m thinking…”I intentionally bought from you last time even though my friend BG said you were not to be trusted but,  because you’re a small business and times are tough and I wanted to do my part in support local business”.  He kept going on about deal breaker…can’t help you…all the while puttering about the place and looking too busy to discuss.  Well…I had a good long think on it after Carrie (who I dragged there with me because this time I was determined to get a second opinion before buying) said as we were leaving “you’re awfully calm about Seagull being cracked”.  I cried last night just before I fell asleep.  What a crap owner I am that I allowed that to happen.  I left that guitar out so many times without even thinking that it could be knocked around to a damaging degree.   Then, when I woke up I said “He’s good enough to play just not to sell so, he stays” and the next string of events ends with this proclamation “Hey…A-hole who didn’t take time to ask me what I really wanted or if there was any way within his power he could help me get I did really want…I am now the proud owner of a guitar that I bought at your Mega competition for about the same I would’ve spent on the guitar I really wanted from you (yes dummas…you coulda made a sale despite the lack of trade-in option) so, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…BG is right 99.99 percent of the time~

Oh and let me just add that for a warehousey – supposedly canned environment…there were two guys doting on me and swapping guitar after guitar and then testing amps in a closed door space so I could sing with them and then checking in every ten minutes just to see if I needed anything and offering all kinds of advice to help me make a decision I wouldn’t regret.  That, A-hole is what being a small business is supposed to have the edge over those guys. 

Ok, enough with the ranting, I swear (but, I’m sooo scraping their bumper sticker off my car tomorrow and then done, promise).

So, ladies n gents…let me introduce you to the guy that is going to be on the CD and performing with me on stage from here on…my new b/f (guitar)…


He's acoustic, he's electric, he has a built in tuner and silk strings I strung em myself the moment I got home~

Up close n personal

After I re-strung him (thank you Andrew for getting me off on the right string~) we played.  We played for 2 hours straight.  Because he’s a 3/4 my arm can reach around easily and the chords are easier to hit as well.  Can I just say it?  From the time I started this I just knew a Martin was in my future.  And what I like best about it is it reminds me of a man named Martin who totally put me at ease when I first started singing again.  That combination of memory and right fit brought out some sounds today that kind of astounded me.  And with that, 2 of the 3 songs for big open mic were locked in:  ‘Anyway” and ‘Boomerang’.  Not sure what the third is yet.   Our dear Kevin (who resides in Ireland) rsvp’d as a maybe to the open mic (oh Michele and I could only wish) but, I liked thinking it was a possibility…he’s a big part of why I pushed myself to clear away the crap n distractions and get serious about all of this.
Ok, dinner then a bit more time with Martin before I get ready for the inevitable (pls could I just win part of a lottery….like 1/16th or something) monday morning, 8 to 5…
Thanks as always for listening.  For those that are, Happy Father’s Day and for those that aren’t (to the best of their knowledge) high fives all around cuz life is good (if we let it).

Sushi n Singing…

Okay.  I officially loooove living in southern California~

I will always be an apple lovin Washingtonian but, I loooove living in SoCal.  I hate wearing shoes and I don’t have to but, a few days a year here.  I love that we can sit outside mostly year round and breathe in the star jasmine and drink in the ocean breeze and wow…I’m getting korny now.  I’m in such a good mood~

Had the coffee shop gig tonite and just really like those people.  This time the owner came in with his little daughter and (can I say this?) I honestly don’t know who I found more endearing.  It’s a tie. 
Ok, enough of that…

I’m supposed to tell you about Sushi n open Mic from last night.

6 of my Peeps showed: Bren, Michele, Nat, Carrie, Diane and Bort.  I was a bit nervous…setting seagull inside the door of the sushi place.   One of my favorite’s was behind the counter and I knew he’d never heard me play so I was psyched to see him there but, nervous as hell.  There was a guy by the door that was offering guidance on where to go and who to sign up with (later, I think I discovered he owned the cafe next door.  Nice guy.  Gotta work on the learning of names thing.  He could see how nervous I was so he offered to walk me over there and I followed him like a timid duck…wtf.   I cringed when the guy said my name aloud “just write it down” I thought.  Then he did and I scurried back into the restaurant to wait my turn, hang with the girls, dine and suck down some liquid courage aka hot sake.  I kept telling myself the mango roll (Monty makes it perrrrfectly) was my reward for going through with it.  That, and a nice glass of chilled sake ;). 

There were only a few artists in the beginning so I went on early.  I’d say about a half hour after it started they were ready but, I wanted to wait for Nat.  She was stuck at a meeting and I just really appreciated all of em taking the time to come so I wanted to wait.  Finally, it was come up or forget it so I tuned up Seagull and made my way up.  Jeff (who I told you about that runs it) wasn’t there that night so I took a pic for proof.  The people in the table in front of me were like right there…eeek so I think I said something like “I’m shy and you’re like…RIGHT there…helloo” (yes, we’ve well established I’m a dork).  I don’t remember what I played.  Only that after 3, Ray encouraged me to keep playing and the woman at the table above and to the right gave me an encouraging “it really sounds good, keep going”.  Once I did, the nervousness started to melt and I started hearing my voice and this is new…liking it.  It’s taking on a different sound now.  Like way back before I smoked and was singing jazz.  More open sound….resonant?  Made me feel a bit less edgy about the weight gain and more focused on the positives that are coming from kicking the cigs to the curb (it really is like breaking out of an abusive relationship…seriously).

I tried to encouraged them to sing along to the chorus of Baby but, the girls were having none of it.  Bort however, has no fear and just sang right along.  LOL.  He’s reading this now and smiling.  He knows he’s a cool cat 🙂

I totally forgot the majority of the songs I know so I stopped at 5 and thanked everyone.  Instead of racing to get off the chair, I stopped and waited for Ray to unplug and to soak in the view of all the appreciative faces and what Russ said to me that day really echoed in my mind….”they’re not there waiting for you to finish the song…they’re there to hear your story”.  For such a young one he’s really f’n smart.  I think that thought changed the whole tone of this performance because afterward two different people I’d never met looked me straight in the eye and made it clear what I did was unique and meaningful to them.  That’s it.  I can die happy now (though I have no intention of doing so anytime soon I assure you so back off Mac trucks).

There was one guy in particular…I noticed him when I first arrived.  Very put together…suit, sun glasses…mr busy on the cell phone…you know the type.  I noticed out of the corner of my eye that after the first song he moved from his back to me to getting up, going around his table and sitting to face me.   Then, when I went up to talk to Bort after and Bort said something like “no, that was really good” I saw him out of the corner so I turned to look at him and glasses off…the expression on his face was…fk, how do I describe this…he looked like a completely different person.  Very genuine expression and soft demeaner with emotion in his eyes.   That’s the best I can do to describe but, it really struck me for some reason.  I don’t think I’ll forget it anytime soon.  The other was when I was heading back into the restaurant and one of the guys from the cafe stopped me to say he thought it was unique too.  He said something that I don’t want to repeat.  Not because it wasn’t nice or well meant but, because frankly, I don’t want to jinx it.  So, file it way and if it comes true then I’ll tell you what he said. 

The last bit was my favorite guy at the restaurant (I like to call him Monty when he isn’t looking) noting his genuine “really” liking of it all and that he didn’t know I even played guitar which made me laugh because he has the biggest ears on the planet (well, you do) and for the amount of times that we’ve been in there right by him and blah blah blahed about it all I’m shocked he didn’t catch on.  But, again.  This is the social retard here.  Some people tend to block me out because they think I’m odd.  I know…what a world.  It take two.  i.e “I didn’t even know you played”  No?, well I do”  “I really liked it” “Yeah?  well, maybe I’ll come back then”  “Yeah?  well, maybe you should”  “All right, maybe I will then”.

Michele was laughing her ass off inside and then out when we said goodbye at the car.  I really was just put on this planet for her entertainment.  The other Michelle, you ask?  My Seattle BFF Michelle?  She’s at home desperately trying induce labor.  She’s big as a house (baby wise only) and soooo ready to pop that cork.   Owen is late (taking after him mom). She sent me a hilarious txt while we were dining and the girls wanted to hear how she was but, part way into the second sentence I realized it was not wording that should be experessed openly in a restaurant while others are dining (poor dear is slightly frustrated).  I asked her what was up and she said “he gets free rent and fed daily – he’s not coming out anytime soon”.  Am looking forward to meeting Owen.  If he’s anything like his 2 older brothers (whom I adooooooore) he’ll be yet another favorite person in my world.

Ok…long overdue dinner waiting and up early tomorrow.  Follow up with the doc to make sure my kidney lungs n liver are all getting along (think we found a nice balance and all is good now) and time to go blonder.   I think its so funny that natural blonde me dies my hair dark as sin and then the blonde just kept peaking through.  Who knew blonde was a dominant color?  But, it’s time.  The brunette was a statement that I was feeling foreboding and serious.  Those days have come and gone and now my hair is ready and eager to match the new (and hopefully long lasting) levity.

Will blog about tonite et all sometime on Sunday in the Weekend update.

Till then, take care and thanks as always for listening~

Some of my lovely peeps 🙂


If I could rotate between this and steak for the rest of my days...

My night in Venice…

Two bands with the same members and two compleeetely different vibes.

I like em both and can’t decide which I well…no.  I was going to say the cover band because of the all the energy and the singing along at the top of your lungs and jumping out of your seat to dance.  But, the originals band is very heartfelt and had a Euro vibe to it.

Anyway…my route there was on roads I’d never been (avoiding the highway) which took a million twists and turns (felt like I was in Italy) and then somehow led me to the parking lot of the San Diego “Birch” Aquarium.  Carrie was there holding a place for us in line.  Neither of us knowing what was waiting for us on the other side I think we were both really pleasantly surprised.  It’s really beautiful there and the view is killer.  I mean killer~  During the show you could wander around and look at the fishes.  Got some great shots (I posted some on the facebook page).  I didn’t realize it but, there was a sound problem that was causing a crackling sound.  Finally, Kipp called out to us and asked if we wanted to continue with the acoustic set or allow their sounds guys 10 minutes to power down the sound to which he made a funny comment to the two drummers thanking them for coming and get your gift bag on the way out.  I was irritated, I’ll admit until he started speaking and I would’ve agreed to just about anything.  They played longer to make up for the time lost and mingled with the crowd during the down time.  The bass player came by n said hi to us.  Amiable one.   The ladies up and behind us were pretty chatty.  At first I was annoyed but, realized they didn’t know their sound would carry down like that so I turned around and (learning my lesson from the boat show with Need to Breathe) I responded to something they were saying about Venice’s cover band.  By the end of the night (and after some awesome bubbly) we were all friends and hugging and swearing we’d see eachother at their next show.

Their opening act?  Damn…I was hoping to avoid that one.  Carrie liked him.  I didn’t but, I didn’t like the last one and openly admitted I was jealous so honestly, I don’t know if its born of frustration “if only I could get over my wicked stage fright I would’ve blown him out of the water” or more likely “even if I was comfortable on stage I was never going to play as well as him”.


So…what did I learn from this experience…

1.  Keep singing from the heart.  I am not a performer.  Trying to be one would just fail.

2. Sht happens that can screw with the flow.  It’s all about how you deal when it does.

3.  I like this radio station that’s been setting up all these shows (KPRI) has become my University campus and BellyUp is one of my favorite buildings

I find this last statement profound…the other night when Dan (new neighbor) asked me if I went to college and I said yes (many times) but, I dropped out.  I think that will always sting a bit with me.  That I couldn’t quite fit into that world but, these are classes I can’t wait to attend and it feels really good to be back in school :).

Tonite…is sushi and open mic (no, for real this time~).  Can hardly wait.  4 of my girls are going to be there 🙂  This is the one that the performer Jeff Diamond runs.  He’s way cool.  Been avoiding going because I’m afraid I’ll fk up but, oh…Russ said something really cool today.  I want to write it here so I don’t forget.  I have a habit of rushing through my songs (nerves).  He said “remember…people aren’t waiting for you to finish a song, they’re there to hear your song (story)”.

Ok, time to wrap things up, get home n practice a few before heading north…

Thanks for listening and will post tomorrow how tonite went~


Yeah...I was that close...

Monday’s Music…

First of all…I did it~

I posted the events on facebook so I wouldn’t back out.

This Thursday I’ll be playing at the sushi/open mic in Oceanside.

This Friday, I’ll be playing my coffee house gig in San Diego.

and Monday, the 28th I’ll be playing the big open Mic at Hensleys in Carlsbad.  All my north county peeps are invited to that one and I’m sooo psyched to see them all 🙂

So, Sunday…after my detox treatment (trying to make it sound necessary that I went to a spa to cure the I miss smoking and I’m tired of being fat blues) I was just pulling up home on my bike (I love  being able to ride my bike around the area.  It’s soooo cooool) and ran into my new neighbor 🙂  I haven’t seen him since he moved in and we talked guitars.  So, we exchanged numbers and made a plan to play music together the next day (Monday).  After a long and frustrating day at work, I went for a bike ride first…then grabbed some steaks (payment for the lesson I was about to receive) and while they were prepping I was being drilled on scales and jazz chords.  He’s a tough one but, it was fun and we both laughed every time I attempted a bar chord.  I think he had a hard time believing I couldn’t.  He would pry my fingers into position on the fret and they’d slowly slide off into their own direction.  If you missed the earlier blogs on this one, I was in a car accident when I was 15 that shattered my left hand.  It was re-set but, a bit wonky so they don’t quite bend like most hands would.  I think its funny.  At least night I did.  I can’t believe how hard I/we laughed. 

Anyway, he asked about the frames on the TV so I told him they were copyrights…”from where”…”the library of congress”…”for..”  “for songs I’ve written….” .  I always get apprehensive explaining this stuff so I told him I’d tell the story while I cooked, and I did.  It was amazing to me how easily the story came and I wondered if it was the pills or the person that put me so much at ease.  He asked if I’d sing one of em and I told him about how nervous I get playing in front of others and that more alcohol would have to be involved.  So, after a great meal (if I do say so myself) and a great talk about music and life and everything in between we sat for a bit more music.  He held Seagull (who was thrilled) and I held Sunnie (who was equally thrilled).  I started to play “Piece of Cake’ and he started playing melodically within it.  The sound really clicked so, I started to sing…I avoided eye contact until halfway through and then I was sure we were on track.  The song took on a slightly different feel based on our previous conversation and the persona he injected into it but, I liked it and even cooler he liked it.  Enough to say so and to offer to play it with me on stage whenever I wanted.  So, last night before I went to bed…I opened my laptop and went to my menu of songs for the CD and wrote his name under Piece of Cake and had a great night’s sleep.

He’s gone for the week but, looking forward to another session next week.  In the meantime I got a stern warning to practice those scales so I will, I will, I will~

Gotta get back to work but this week’s lesson is Wednesday.  Going to see Venice play and I mean see as in we’ll be just a few short rows from the front~  Will tell you all about it Thursday~

Till then and thanks for listening~


Weekend Update and the Drowning Men at a Beauty Bar…

Friday night…I usually just chill but Michele was bent on going to some place to see a band I’ve seen a couple times and true…they are f’n unique and very cool and should be mega stars in my book.  She promised it would only be for a couple hours and she’d drive so I had no reason not too (besides I really really like their sound and they don’t play often).

We got there and as usual a spot right in front opened up just as we got there.  This place was cool.  I think its an old beauty salon (very 60’s)…oh yeah…just looked it up for you guys…check out the photo gallery.  That way you can totally picture where we were:  Pretty cool, huh.  It so reminded me of Seattle while it so reminded Michele of New York and that sparked a momentary locking of horns.  “NY” “Seattle”.  We are both so stubborn at times.  Of course when we got there we found there are 2 bands going before them and I’m already half asleep so I bellied up to the bar and ordered a tall vodka, club soda with lemon (very refreshing) but, they had no lemons so I went with fav #2…Grapefruit (love love love grapefruit) n Vodka aka the ole “Greyhound” (I have no idea why they call it that but its delish). We wandered around (btw I was sooo glad I came.  I miss having evenings like this in random cool places) and came across an old Photobooth which I totally can’t resist.  I couldn’t believe she’d never been in one before and she dragged her feet and I was like “what’s up…you don’t like these?”.  Turns out she’d always wanted to but, was hoping her first time would be on a date.  Told her she was S.O.L on that one cuz she’s got me instead and we’re getting our damn pics done.  I totally forgot how it worked and laughed my ass off as we fumbled through the 4 shots.  Not quite sure they’re postable.  We look distorted like fun house mirror but, it was fun.  More places should have them~

Anyway…Drowning Men.  That’s the name of the band.  So sounds like a Seattle band to me but, turns out they’re Californians.  Such a unique sound.  Michele knows Nato, the lead singer so when I came back from the bathroom he was sitting there and we all chatted about music about home towns etc.  Was really cool.  And then (with greyhound fueled bravery)…I decided to tell him about our photobooth situation and I know…how bout Heeee go into the booth with her to which he gladly agreed.  I smiled proudly the whole time as I saw the bright light flash behind the curtain.  I am the best wing girl ever, ever~

BTW:  Thank you Nato for the drink tickets which I thought you said “train tickets” and went on and on with my whitty reparte about train and already here and you were so nice when on the inside you were prob thinking who is this nutter.  Yes…not just pills have their side effects.  And we were so giddy at that point that we totally forgot to even use them.  doh~  But, they make for nice souveniers of great night out.

Remember what I said to you on Tuesday about lessons and who I need to learn from?  Yup.  That night I received a great lesson from Nato.  I can’t quote him verbatim but, its more his demeanor and that he’s matter of fact about the Music.  It all seems to come so naturally to him.  I told Michele I really really wanted to collaborate with him on a song for CD II.  She said maybe.  That was good enough for me that this morning I started working on a chart.  A circle for each song and in that circle the names of the artists I will or want to have play on it.  It’s so cool.  Once I get them squared I’ll post for you guyz to see.  Otherwise I just look like a delusional y’know.  “Hey Jed, did you hear Ali’s posted that you’re working with her on this song for her CD?”  “I am?”  yeah.

Anyway…FYI on the Doc’s visit.  It looks like the pills I take to quit smoking are the culprits.  Going back next Saturday and we’ll know then for sure.  Bummer.  Already stressing about stressing again but, maybe like I said…maybe there’ll be some physical memory of it that will retain.  We’ll see…

Next open mic…well, that one’s tough.  For some reason I keep bagging out on the one that Jeff runs.  Am so afraid of sucking at it.   There’s one tonite at the old Gibs but, that’s way up there and it starts at 9ish and I have to work early in the morning (and be smart about it) and then there’s the one next Thursday and it starts at 7.  I’ll decide in a bit and post it on facebook so I can’t back out.

Saturday was brunch with girls (highly underrated that stuff – so rejeuvenating) and walking about my old hood in Carlsbad (I will move back there one day).  Then, that night we got to see Ana perform with her new band members.  I’ve told you about her.  Great presence, great voice.  She’s definitely on the chart.  Oh and played an interesting txting game with Red.  He sends me a noun or a verb.  I have to come back with a sentence i.e. he sent “screaming”  I sent back “Bob’s new pants were screaming polyester is back and better than ever~”.  Try it.  It’s oddly hilarious.

Ok, I’m off to do the things we do on Sundays so we’re ready for the 8-5 work week ahead (Lottery).

Thanks for always listening and oh, right…Drowning Men (and check em out on facebook too…cooool pics)


Forgot a I took a pic of the two of em coming out of the photo booth~

sittin in a tree.... 😉

Pre Weekend update…

I wrote this Friday and somehow forgot to click Publish so, here goes:

Had a dentist appt Thursday and used that as an excuse not to go to the Sushi/Open mic (It also means my teeth are now 99.99% free of all tobacco stains~).

Mostly because I was up there last night (I always worry bout the wear and tear on poor ole trooper) and it was an emotional time for me so last night I wanted to chill.   I finally found my recorder…had put it in a jacket (that I hardly ever wear) pocket.  Took it out, listened to playbacks of previous lessons and got to practicing.  I was getting lazy and playing Plus One the simple way and forgetting all the Russ (I like to call him Moppy…not mopey as in sad but, Moppy as in “wow…that’s some bigass moppy hair you got there man”) had taught me on it.  So, I made that the focus of the lesson today and got past a couple of hurdles.

I don’t think he has a clue just how much he helps me.  I think it all seems second nature to him but, it isn’t to me.  When he plays the chords the melody just come rolling right out of me.  It’s just the coolest thing.  If I could afford it, I’d take lessons every other day, I would~

I’m sure he thinks I’m a dork too because I get so giddy when I get something right or if he presents a chord I was struggling to find.  Today I caught myself several times trying to hold back and across the face grin.  Sucha crime these days to be giddy.  Oy.

I also decided on a date for the big Hensleys Open Mic and posted it on Facebook so I wouldn’t back out…Monday, June 28th.  Yup…knees already shaking but, it’s time.  Just keep swimming…just keep swimming…

Tuesday – class canceled

Right, since I told you this week’s schedule I thought I’d better comment when it changes.

After further research (thanks to youtube) I found this performer to be a complete goodie two shoes dweeb and that’s not who I’m trying to learn from.  Don’t get me wrong…I was  a huuuuuge Bobby Sherman fan back in the day and Davey Jones so I’m not knockin the GTS’s…I’m just trying to move in a “hey, you’re so not in your 20’s anymore but, still way cool” direction.

I want to hear, see and learn from performers who are raw, unique and unedited.

would rather stay home and practice and try try try to remember the chords for the song I started writing.  I saw Bren last night (and fessed about writing that comment about her being an Irish Martha Stewart on the December blog).  She laughed but, I saw the gleen.  There will be payback I’m sure.  More so I told her that this song kept running through my head and she told me once “damn ali…I keep getting her songs stuck in my head” I was like…I can’t get this one (with a crowbar even) out so look out~

Tomorrow night is about everyone pulling together and being there for a friend.  I don’t know what to say about it all (some things aren’t blog-able) except death sucks.  I know he feels strongly that death makes us value life all the more and I call him Plato (though he’s far too humble to accept).  Tomorrow…is about  hugging Plato and reminding him that while one or more doors have closed, there are several more open and waiting…

2 days…no coffee…I’m falling asleep at my desk.

Am off to walk n wake up and listen to the tape again hoping this time the chords will come to me.  If they don’t I’ll either drag the guys from the shop into help me or knock on my new neighbor’s door~

Thanks for listening and I’ll let you know Friday how Thursday went~


PS and let me riddle you this “How to” for social awkwards…when you have to walk right by a neighbor’s large front window to get to your apt are you supposed to look in when the curtains are wide open and lights are on or pretend it’s not there?  Seriously~  Both seem really awkward to me.  Like maybe they just need some sunlight but, don’t want people staring in at them or maybe they know you have to pass by and they want to you to look in so they can smile and wave and say “beer?”.  I dunno.  I can’t find it anywhere in the pages of my manual…  You?

Weekend update and the new edition to the family…

Back at the laundro again.  Not as anxious as in the past.  The super lucky total aversion pills they gave me to cure me of my love for cigs has a nice little side effect (I know, who’da thought), they totally curb my anxiety.   I start to feel a wave of panic and then something just gently guides the wave back down to calm waters.  I kind of feel like ‘Charlie’ in “the Flowers of Algernon”…you know that one?  Cliff Robertson plays this man who’s mentally retarded and through the help of some doctors and an experimental drug he becomes a genius.  mentally retarded – socially retarded…experimental drug – aren’t all drugs experimental…genius – idiot savant…

Unfortunately, it also has a possibly not so cool side effect.  I know I’ve gained some.  Far more than I expected but, when I woke up yesterday to find the area around my ankles decided to rise up and meet them to make the infamous “cankle” and my hands looked like bratwurst, I drove straight up to my doc’s office.  Sure enough, my kidneys apparently were thinking “how come the lungs get all the attention all of the sudden?”  threw a jealous fit and decided to start doing  the bare minimum…a half assed job for half assed appreciation.  Who knew?  So, tomorrow morning first thing is blood work (labs aren’t open past noon on Saturdays and definitely not on Sunday’s here, phlebotomists need their surf time too) to determine if that’s the case or (dun dun duuuunnn) the dreaded “something else”.  Who me, worried?  Nah.  Even if the doc said “you’ve got six months to live”  That’s plenty of time to get the CD and CD release event done.   The worst part right now (and I’m serious) is that I can’t have coffee or soy milk until they know what’s what.  Seriously??  That’s like 3 times a day for me.  Seriously??  So, I can do tequila shots til the cows come home but, no coffee or soy milk…seriously??  Oh, ok Fiiiiiiiiiine.  The second worst part (and this is the clincher)…If I have to stop them, will I go back to being a social nimrod with anxiety to spare or will my brain/body have enough physical memory of how it feels to squash the swell before it rises too high…this is what I wonder…

Just so you know, I’ve been a lucky person all my life.  I’m not saying bad stuff hasn’t happened more like with Homer, it happens but, I somehow keep turning out ok.  I’m good at “bouncing back”.   I think that’s the whole premise of the Boomerang song and why I was so determined to make that the title song for the CD.

For a sec there, I thought I was drifting off into a “Beer Theory” moment but, am back and hey…I don’t see the basket of tennis balls.  Not that I ever used em but, that was a cool thing about this place.  Still, it has Internet and that’s way cool in my books.  Even though the anxiety is curbed, the restlessness remains.

This morning I got up at a decent hour, mapped out directions to the lab for fkn 7:30 am tomorrow and then I drank cool tea (Trader Joe’s chilled green tea with mint-seriously they should pay me for all the shout outs I give them but, I do it with love) with cranberry in it, took all my vitamins n pills n such and then I hopped on my bike and I rode around the beach area for like an hour.  I used to love running but, I think I’ve always liked biking best.  The whole breeze across your body as you glide down the path.  Love it.  And I love how music just swirls around in my head as I glide along.  There’s a series of notes right now that are either meaning a ballad or something with a bit more forceful beat not sure yet but, I like playing it on the new guitar Sunnie.  That’s his name.  All my guitars are male.  I think it provides a nice balance.  My right shoulder loves Sunnie.  I looked over at Seagull who was hanging on the wall across from us lookin on as we worked way and I swear he said (oh I know guitars can’t talk but, if they could…) “that’s cool…you can practice with that one but, I’m the one who takes the stage”.  Wow.   Always with the pretty ones their heads get so big.  I just smiled and laughed and kept playing until it was obvious my fingers needed a break and my laundry was through with being ignored.  I’ll take a pic of the two together later and post here.

Tue is class (learning live from other performers who’ve made it)

Wednesday is maybe jamming with other musicians

Thursday is sushi/open mic (this one I’m realllly looking forward to)

and the rest who knows but, I’ll keep you posted as I go~

Thanks as always for listening~


PS: traded out the old door mat…too many squares, was feeling boxed in.  Now, a brighter, sunnier greeting and it’s really thick so you feel like you’re stepping up – into the studio.   It’s the little things…