Weekend Update and the letter to the band…

This week was mostly about filling out forms for this and that.  Man, I swear they try to drown you in forms so you’ll give up and not submit them.  My job with my old company officially ends end of this month and this Friday I found out there are a ton of forms I need to fill out if I want to keep my life insurance/medical leave payments.  Oy~  9 pages (3 for Dr. H and  the rest for me).  They want to know where you went to school, when, what your hobbies are, how many pounds you can lift frequently, occasionally, never, blah blah fkn blaaaaaaaaaah.

Ok, enough of that rant.  You must all be getting sick of hearing about it.  I’m getting sick of living in it that’s for sure (noyte to self; must remember mantra…Summer will come soon~).  On the creative front I was invited to cover the USA vs Chile game in LA last weekend.  I looove photography.  Once I get my body back I’m going to work on some self portraits and use it for capturing moments in the studio (though Osni will be there getting the pro shots) but, I can also use it for catching shots on stage.  It’s an easy one so I can hand it to my friends and they’ll be able to get the shots for us.  Us…yeah it’s still wishful thinking at this point but, I keep thinking about when Russell and I would play together during my lessons or when my old neighbor Daniel would come over and jam with me…I’ve been listening back to the recordings and feel we take the songs to an incredible level together as opposed to just me.  I know I’ve been hiding but, I’m getting ready to go back out there.  So, today while I’m at the long day of chemo all hooked up and lounging, I started writing a letter to my (future) band.   I told them about me, my dreams and how I know that with them we could make the music go from good to magic.  I explained how I operate, what I’ve overcome and what I’ve yet to.  What I’m willing to commit to and what I need them to commit to.  That I want each of them to have their share of the spotlight.  I don’t just want my voice up there but, for them to sing songs that are meaningful to them.  I talked about what I learned from Fitz and the Tantrums and how I’d (we’d) do it differently.  I spelled it all out over  a  full page (knowing that if they get through it all and still respond then they’ve proven their patient enough to work with (wordy) me).  Yeah, I did post a notice already on Craigslist but, it was pretty generic “singer/songwriter looking for lead acoustic guitar with vocals”.  Got a wide range of responses.  None that seemed to truly fit on first glance.  Many good.  One great but, he looked like 15 and I’d look like a mad cougar (which I am sooo NOT) on stage with him so…nope.  You hear these gurus saying if you’re gonna ask the universe for something you’d better be specific otherwise you might end up with not quite what you really wanted.  So, I thought it out, spelled it out and will refine it over the next few days instead of posting it on impulse and thinking after to add or delete something.

There was a free to enter contest through Reverbnation for songwriting so I submitted ‘By New Years Day’.  Something about L.A. music awards performance if you win.  I can’t remember details anymore.  I just know to submit the moment I see it or I’ll forget and miss out.  Am I disheatened that I’ve submitted to all these contests and never hear back/win?  Nah (ish).  Because I was reminded by the Black Eyed Peas that it takes time and tons of rejections before you make your way.  I believe them.  I’m glad they never gave up.   Imagine if we never heard the song “Where is the love?”.  And because when I look back at the video of Serg n Anne’s wedding and hear all those voices singing along “baaaby….baaaby” and the look on the faces of those hearing it for the first time…I know…I hit the mark and that song has great meaning to not just our little circle of friends who lived/witness it firsthand.

Oh and those monthly songwriter’s competitions at Humphrey’s started up again so my goal is to go to the March one and possibly drag Keen over to it.  I think he’s over them but, I think they’re good exposure and that’s where we met so it’s a nice bit of nostalgia (plus they have a really nice pinot griggio…goes down like buttah; and we can use my cam to take eachother pics~).  Even with the (future) band I’ll still do some solo stuff cuz it’s good for me and I’ve learned from the past not to be too dependant on anyone to get your music played.  I’ll get back into lessons in a couple weeks and will report on that awesome occasion.  Man, I miss the big lug and our creative moments together~

Another bit of inspiration came from our President’s State of the Union address last night.  What I mostly got from it was a sense of rising above the differences and focusing on what we can accomplish pointing out that a poor kid from Scranton PA can grow up to be Vice President and a kid who swept floors at his dad’s bar could grow up to be speaker of the house.  It is amazing how if the spirit is determined what one can accomplish.  He himself is a case in point of determination and belief bringing about success.  Voted for him or not, he’s an underdog who rose to a huge historical challenge and met it head on and won.  I’m not much about politics so that’s where my relation to it ends but, still…I was inspired and am more so as I write this.

I feel like lately I’ve hit a plateau and spend more time moping about my medical condition than my musical project.  I promise, it’s shifting and I’m going to crawl back out of my shell and get back on track here soon so don’t give up on me just yet~

February I’ll hit at least 2 open mics and send out the letter to the band and hopefully by the end of February book the studio/etc to record the 3 songs with Russell and ?…that might happen in March (it’s all about the tax return 😉 but, it’ll happen I swear on a stack of chocolate (the really good kind).  So, there are things to look forward to~

Till then, thanks for continuing to listen to whineyass me and following along.  New chapter coming in the story soon and I have a feeling it’s going to be the best one yet…

‘ali

PS: Bucked up and went to class last night.  Amos Lee…sensei of the day.  Great and unique voice that one.  Will blog about it Wednesday~

Weekend Update and the Cyber Save…

Yeah, as you might have figured I was down for the count.  The good news is I found out my insurance covers a much better booster shot.  Instead of 1 shot per day for 5-7 days…it’s one shot that lasts the whole week.  Wooohoooo~  A: because I hate needles.  B: because I only pay once for it instead of 5-7 times.   The downside that comes with something that powerful is the oh so powerful side effects.  Woke up Saturday swearing I had been either struck by a truck or caught the flu.  I’ll know better next week and take flu meds before hand.  That should do the trick.

I was scheduled to play open Mic at a cafe in Carrie’s new hood on Sunday night but, couldn’t pull it together.  Michele txtd me a reminder that she fully supported the notion I would stay home and accept my current limitations.  She knows me well.  I hate to admit it but, I also hate letting people down.  I think I went back forth a dozen times during the day up to the time I should have left.  Just couldn’t even get the martin in the case.    3 more months…Just 3 more months and then I get my body and my life back….boy oh boy I can hardly wait~

So, of course I needed to do something to make up for the goal I had for this week.  I remembered getting an email from Jango the other day announcing a song writer’s contest.  Seemed like a good thing so I entered today :-).  I was so psyched, I immediately went to the site to see my submission and after sifting through 4 pages of today’s (alone) submissions I gave up and decided to just believe that is in the works.  And then…I couldn’t stand it so I went back into it and found out I had one last button to click before it was submitted and now I’m there 🙂  So far on the first page of submission for probably the next 20 minutes.  Tons of songwriters out there.  I haven’t even listened to any of em yet but, I think I will.  It’s funny how after submitting it, I listened to the upload of “By New Year’s Day” and cringed at the vocal imperfections.  Ack.  I hate that my mind does that.  Maybe it’s a good thing and maybe next time I won’t insist on rushing the process so I can listen to every line and know when it’s up to my standards.  Still, when I read 1,000 bucks, a tons of airplay on jango and a round trip to L.A. and a day in their studio I thought WTF, why not?

http://www.indabamusic.com/opportunities/blue-microphones

Entries are closed on February 8th and then I think there’s a link I’ll get to the voting.  I’ll post it here and on Facebook when I get it.

I made a pact with Carrie not to try n make any plans the weekend just after chemo and just use it to rest up and work on the music online/at home.  It’s a good pact (I say reluctantly). 

So, today was my last session with cyberknife surgery.  A month from now I’ll have a CAT scan done to confirm it got it all and then i will ceeeeeeelebraaaaate~  Pink never was my favorite color but, I’m likin it now…big time.

So, since I didn’t get in an open mic, I thought I’d take a pic of me and my newest friend “Cyberknife”.   He’s a giant compared to me but, gentle as a lamb.  I’ve named him “Cybie”.

LOL.  Looking at it makes me think of those robots in the factories that plop out chocoate or candy or whatever onto the assembly line.  Only instead of chocolate it emits a (invisible to the eye) radioactive beem.  I learned today it’s the same kind of radiology they use for xrays only at a superpowered rate.  The silver striped vest is part of the whole package.  Good times…

me n cybie sittin in a tree...

Weekend Update and the Black eyed Lesson…

You know I’m a big believer in keeping your eyes peeled for signs because they’re everywhere and if  you don’t pay attention you’ll miss out on invites to all kinds of opportunities in life.  For example…I was wondering the other day what I’d write about.  I spend a lot of time lately hiding away and quietly struggling with the side effects and the toll it takes on my ever so bright outlook on life (I hate being publicly mopey.  I think it’s bs to subject innocent bystanders to it y’know?).  I should be out there playing open mics but, I can’t quite bring myself to do it until I feel (look) more like myself.  But, as I was talking with my best friend (Miche up in Seattle) she reminded me that in the midst of our busy work weeks over the years, how many times did/do we say “I wish I could  just even have a month off from work but, still get paid for it”.  And then we imagine all the many things we’d finally accomplish but, with our crazy schedules just can’t find enough hours in the day.  Well, here I am with all those hours to spend and most of them are spent curled up in front of the TV or in front of my laptop anywhere there’s shade (yeah it makes me photosentive and rash out big time if I get more than a few minutes of sun on my skin- whine whine) when I could/should be doing so much more.  As we were talking, I looked up at the giant post-its on my wall and the list of all things I set out to accomplish during my medical leave…Write a Screenplay…get a paying gig, win a competition, send songs into music supervisors, be a film extra for a day, learn to play well standing up, etc.  Most of the things on the list I can do even on a blech day and yet…I wake up, have breakfast and somehow time flies and it’s dark out and time to take my tylenol pm’s and off to get the recommended 8-10 hours rest.  I barely even soak in the gorgerous sunsets that are just outside my door every night.  It’s amazing how easily time can get away from you.  It takes a seriously focused mind to be able to harness it.  Or get a coach to help you.  

Anyway…so I’m flipping channels and came across the Black eyed Peas E.N.D. concert recorded in LA.   I’m not one for watching taped concerts.  I think nothing beats seeing a band live and even then my short attention span can’t handle being in a seat for 2 hours but, I’m a fan of the Black eye’ds and especially Fergie.  I’m inspired by her.  She seems very “real”.  She was doing a couple solo songs and the rest of the band wasn’t on stage so I was wondering if it was just her in concert…did she go solo?  I didn’t think so.  They all seem tight as tight can be.  She’s also one of the judges for the Avon voice contest so I decided to watch some and paid closer attention to what she sang, how she sang it and how she carried herself on stage.  She’s strong like me and isn’t all femie barbie type.  I think she could kick just about anyone’s ass if she had to.  Thanks to my brother Dennis (who decided he would be my personal defense coach when I was  younger), so could I.  When the song ended and the next one started, one by one the rest of their gang came out.  I didn’t know any of their names but here and there they opened up a part of themselves which made me take notice.  Will. i. am (I looked it up) is the alpha of the group and he explained that most of them were born in LA, that he grew up in the projects and mentioned some places in his hood he’d frequent back in the day and with each bit of info he divulged there was a surge of noise from fans that knew exactly what he was talking about and in an instant he took his connection with the audience to a whole new level.  It was extraordinary to witness.  He talked about each member and they all shared something.  They thanked their fans for elevating them from an obscure band to members of the international league.   He talked about how they’ve been together since 1995 and how they struggled to make a name for themselves.  How they’d constantly get rejected by the record labels saying their sound wasn’t what they were looking  for.  And how they wouldn’t give up.  They believed in themselves, in eachother,  in their group and as he said they refused to take NO for an answer.  Imagine if they’d believed these key givers and gave up.  Their lives would be so different.  And I love that he noted they weren’t there yet “But”, he says…”I’ve got a feeling…” and the crowd went nutz. He said they had farther to climb and asked them to stay with em while they worked toward it before they broke into the song.   A bold and open acknowledgement of a partnership between the band and their fans.   You can work your ass off, play/sing your heart out but, it’s the fans that will carry you to wherever you hope to go.   I get that.  Everytime I see a new comment, fan on facebook or on jango I get all verklempt (I know, when don’t I) and take it as another set of hands holding up my dream.   It’s stuff like that, that pushes me to break out of my shell (that I tend to fall back into like a favorite pair of shoes) and go out there.

Sandy (she’s the one who takes my vitals) is really supportive and often asks when I’ll be playing in North County so she can be there.  She was confrontive with me today and I took it as a sign.  I envisioned this pair of hands trying to hold my dream up and I’d been brushing them away.  Shame on me.  So, I told her in February I promise, no matter what, I’ll play a couple open mics at least in North County and I’ll give her plenty of notice.  And then I thought about a couple of the nurses who’d asked the same thing of me and I virtually punched myself for neglecting those signs.  See…I’m a daydreamer 90% of the time I’m standing in front of someone and nodding away but my brain is off somewhere else completeeetly.  And the other times I can hyper focus on something where you see a plaid fabric and I see the fibers of the threads and the areas where the lines don’t connect.  I like both sides when I can control them.  As you can imagine growing up my brain went wherever it wanted, whenever it wanted and sometimes didn’t return to where it started until years later.  And yeah…just imagine the face of that friend or co-worker as I precede to pick up a conversation we left off years ago.  Some are fascinated and some are a little freaked by it and some think its some neat trick.  I just is what I is…”Imperfection at it’s Best”.

Speaking of coaching (see what I mean?)…the whole blubber gain thing isn’t hopeless.  I’m just lazy and stubborn and short sighted at times (and a sometime walking/talking catch 22).  I got up the nerve (and the cash) and called the gym and made an appt with a personal trainer.  I went in on Monday and told her most of my sob story and she barely blinked an eye.  Then she walked me through a cycle of machines to go through that would work my “core” and then she insisted I attend one of her yoga/pilates classes and in turn she’d setup 30 minutes sessions weekly to make it affordable.  And then she waived the fee for that session and called it orientation.  I think she took pity on pathetic me.  I didn’t mind.  I was in the mood for some empathy and a good swift kick.  Got both.  When she mentioned the class I cringed.  I don’t know about you but, I can’t stand being in a “class”.  Worse, when you know you’ll be surrounded by people in their matchy matchy I’m so in outfits and more makeup than I’d wear on an evening out (I know…I’m sucha Tomgirl).  She caught on to this and said “don’t worry.  My classes aren’t frilly or Jane Fonda.  They’re down to earth and cool and they’ll do wonders for your core”.  So, how am I going to say no to that?  I’m not.  I can’t.  I’d already been called out and I asked for it so off I’ll go.  And to tie it in with the music project I take the tape recorder with me and listen to old lessons and recent attempts while I do whatever you call it on the eliptical machine.  That’s about 7-9 songs/lesson clips I get to go through.  Not bad.  Sometimes I listen when I’m driving but, the Trooper is pretty damn loud so you need both earplugs in which apparently is illegal…and will get your nasty stairs from the pooolice or worse a little flashy light, pull over, stern warning moment…who knew?

Oh, just got the call from the Cyberknife chica.  Next Wed/Thur/Fri I go in and go through the Star Wars meets Logan’s Run radio-laser surgery and by next weekend I’ll have me some pink (ish) or maybe better put, cancer free lungs.   No scars, no recovery, no pain.   Pretty Miraculous when you think of it. Dr. L (of my dr.alphabet) will perform it and we’ll have a blast I know.  She’s a euro-taz devil and I love em (you know that kind that thinks and speaks at the speed of light and can pack a week into a day) so we’ll be yapping and laughing throughout it.  That’s me.  That’s how I deal.  You gotta go through it, you might as well laugh your way through it :-).

Lessons…must get back to them.  Will get back to them.  Next month at the latest I’m going to book a 2 hour with Russell (who recently added himself as a fan…fan #99 to be exact 🙂 and work on the new song (Dorian Gray) and see if I can finally get from D to G (whatever that G is were its the bottom and top string that I flub up) and maybe work on a cover song.   I know maybe 4.  I know I should know more.  Oh and to let him know we’ll be going into the studio in the spring to record 3 singles (well 2 and the Sounders song.  Anyone’s guess if that one will be accepted or not…I’m noivous fo sho).

Now I know you’re wondering about that song mix I promised to get sent out last week.  I’ll make the excuse list short but, It’s been a comedy of errors to be sure.  It wasn’t in my new laptop’s iTunes so I searched for a CD then I remembered I gave the last copy (that I have at least.  There is someone out there who should really find a way to get the rest of mine back to me but, that would mean facing me and that won’t go well for them so no wonder they haven’t returned them).  Right, so, gave My last copy to Bonnie who I hadn’t seen in years so I’m glad I did.  I remembered I had a copy of the songs on my external hard drive.  I looked all over my tiny abode and could not find it to save my life.  WTF.  So, I let it go to avoid going mad and then yesterday vowed to get back on it.  Did a second search and low and behold there it was right there in the laptop bag pocket.  A pocket I check  at least twice.   I wasn’t meant to find it then, I decided.  I took the image and CD’s I’d burned the 8 songs onto CD’s and a jump drive with the image on it and headed off to Kinkos where the very nice guy (they’re always so nice there) and told me they can’t open that kind of file and do I have Illustrator to create it cuz that would be better…hrmmm…I have the software but, lost the key so no…so I bought CD labels from them that came with memorex (I used lower case but, they’re annoying me) software to create a quick and easy stamp.  Yeah…16 years in technology and I struggle creating a stupidly simple CD stamp.  So, I went home and remade using the M software and when I went to save it as a PDF it said no thanks…you can save it in our format however (which is defintely not one that Kinkos can open).  So, I set it all aside again and asked myself…why…with all the things musically that have come to me so easily the past couple years…why is this little task so f’n difficult?  So, this morning I txtd Meredith (graphic goddess extraordinaire) and she wrote back simply…”why don’t you go to print it then choose PDF?”.  Yes, why don’t I indeed…So, that’s what I just attempted and hrm…guess what…that nifty little feature is no longer available in Windows 7.  What is someone trying to tell me??  So, I researched it and found a workaround, made it happen and emailed (that Kinkos guy gave me) the image off to Kinkos.  So, by this time tomorrow it  should be done.  And as for why?  I looked and looked and found that I had missspelled something obvious on it.   If these music supervisors are anything like big companies who round file (toss out) ur resume if it doesn’t have a 4 year degree listed on it (which I admit, I did forge-ish once) they may toss out ones that the singer was lazy/careless and didn’t bother to spell things correctly.  I’ve decided that’s the cause for all these hurdles and Will see if it goes smoothly from here on.

No, that wasn’t the shortest of lists but, believe me I could’ve added more~   So, I leave you (and me) with this reminder.  Keep your eyes, your mind and your heart open or you’ll miss out on some great moments…that and Peter, what the hell is that fish you’re holding??  It looks like a giant flounder or halibut but, what do I know other than its nearly man sized and that seem so unbelievable?  It must be trick photography…or is it another example of what happens when you keep your eyes open?  I’ll bet there’s a good story behind it…

Till then, thanks for sticking around.  I’m sure there is more to come.  “I’ve got a feeling…”.  And wow, that song  just came on overhead…how cool is that~

and Nat says my eyes are intense...helloooo didn't I just meet my match...

Just look at em. Tired from the fight but, blind determination in their eyes. That and they're some badass fashionistas~

 

PS: Mission (finally) accomplished.  I just dropped my music compilation CD in the mail and off to Luke Hits in L.A….Fingers (and toes) crossed~

Weekend Update

Well, as you know New Year’s Eve was a bust.  I smartly stayed in flannels and indoors and comforted myself by watching a Dr. Who marathon.  Yes…I love Dr. Who and no…not the series back when.  My brothers Eddy n Mike did.  I just shrugged my shoulders at em.  Then David Tennant and Matt Smith came on the scene and helloooooo Dr. Who ;).  That, and the special effects rock.  I do love me some good SyFi.

And remember how I said I did some shopping therapy and bought a kitchen cart?  Well, it arrived and I put it together today all by myself which is a miracle because I rarely read instructions and when I do I tend to gloss over which generally ends in mayhem and Scooby Doo bandages.  Not this time…it stand there nice n sturdy and suddenly my kitchen feels like it should and I’m off chopping vegetables and cooking up a storm.   Music and cooking are very similar.  There’s a basic recipe to follow but, you add/tweak things based on your experience/taste that make it uniquely You flavored.  It’s pretty brilliant when you think of it.

This has been a hard week.  Normally I’m full of optimism but this last week I just felt off kilter.  The more I look in the mirror or see my reflection the less I recognize myself.  Even the way I walk and sit is different.  It’s like someone took my soul and stuffed it into a stranger’s body.   Kind of spooky yeah.  Temporary, I know.  They keep reminding me of that.  3 months into and I’m just hoping the next three don’t offer more of the same but that something shifts and in a good way.

Ok, enough of me whining.  The 16th marks my return to the Open mics.  Carrie is a great comfort at the open mics.  She really puts me at ease.  I’d say because she shares the same reluctancy to perform in front of others (she has a great voice.  She should be in the Country & Western band…I keep telling her) but, I’m not the only one with shadows.  We all have our own (often self-induced) and have to face em in our own way.

A while back Nat had emailed me a link to Avon’s song contest.  There are 2 categories.  One is for singing from a list of songs they’ve put together.  The next is to present your own song.  The second I will do.  It starts in the spring.  The first is happening now with a deadline of February something.  I forget but, I did mark it in my calendar to remind me on that last week in case i get the guts to do it.  You have to come up with a 30 second video of yourself singing a bit from one of their songs and then state why you chose that song in particular.  Besides the obvious I’m reluctant because you also have to be available to travel.  A: my passport is expired and I’m useless at figuring out how to renew it and B: what if Dr. H tells me I’m not allowed to travel during the competition dates?  Yeah…I think too much.  Will she or won’t she…it’s anyones guess.

The music compilation CD.  I have not done.  A million.1 excuses.  But, none tomorrow.  All I have to do is go in for the fkn icky booster shot (which I had today and hummed yellow submarine while and elderly woman passed by me and said “don’t think about it dear…just think of something nice”.  Yeah yeah.  So, tomorrow.  I will make and send the damn CD and then update this blog with an “I did it” to hold me to it. 

I’m gonna try my best to do another open mic either at the Fish Joint or Hensley’s before the end of the month.  Miche is doing her part by making me trade out Spaghetti for Celery and doing her best to convince me that celery is the greatest thing since sliced bread and also has magic healing powers to boot.  Gd I love my firends.  They are amazing people with amazing minds and hearts.  Who could dare to let them down?

Tomorrow.  Cd.  Create and Send…that’s my task…

Thanks as always for listening and prodding me on. Mmmm I smell chicken…must be nearly done 🙂

I made that 🙂