Monday, April 19, 2010
Of course, the day after I post a blog bragging about how nice my skin looks now, I wake up with the biggest zit I've had this decade.

And since this is 2010, that means I have the biggest zit of the millinium.

I had one about a year ago that was so bad I started carrying concealer in my purse (I'm basically a dude with boobs, so this is a big thing.)

This one is worse.

Basically, I woke up with this on my chin;
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I promise I will eventually write a blog about how much fun tour is. It actually is a blast living in a van with three guys. A stinky, flatulent, perpetually hungry and thirsty, stupidity laced blast.

This blog is not about how much fun it is.

Sorry.

We left South Dakota and headed for Northwood, Iowa. A tiny little town on the Minnesota/Iowa border. Boyfriend and I were trying to nap in the back, since we had to leave right after the show and do a good portion of the driving to Missouri. Of course, being in close proximity and generally lacking privacy, we did more High School necking and less sleeping than we should have.

The guys all agreed that it was the tiniest town they'd ever played. It was white picket fences and a downtown that seemed to have been built between 1910 and 1950. And then everything had stayed that way. The police station was on the corner, and the plaque on the side of the building proudly proclaimed that it was an historical building, built in 1909.

The bar they were about to play in had a similar plaque, this one displaying the year 1912. The year before my parents' house was built. Needless to say, it wasn't as well taken care of. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Perhaps I should let the pictures do the talking.

Northtinywood, Iowa. It looked like a model train layout. (That hairy fellow, by the way, is my special friend.)



When we parked behind the club/bar, the boys headed in while I stayed outside in the Ogre and put on my shoes. I was also secretly trimming my toenails while they weren't looking. Every few cities I sneak away or let them go in somewhere without me, and I stay in the van and do something girly, just to remind myself that it's not all about poop jokes and making fun of inferior musicians. Sometimes I'll tweeze my eyebrows, or put on makeup. Just as I was exiting the van from my personal girly time, the guys were coming out the back door.

G was the first to address me, "Ready for the scariest load in ever?"

This flimsy, rickety, visibly crooked beast was how the club wanted the guys to load their equipment in.



This scary ass staircase was metal, but not anchored to the adjacent brick wall, except at the foot and top of it. So as you were walking up, it swayed away from the wall. There were two posts underneath the upper landing, each with places for four bolts. Each support only had two. The entire thing was also slatted.

So not only did you feel the space between the slats under your shoes, you could see exactly how far you were about to fall.



Looking back on these pictures, it seems that the photos didn't quite capture the sheer terror of being on this red monster. Not only did it wobble left and right while you were walking up it, some of the steps were squishy. I don't know what physics regulated the universe that this Scarecase was built in, but in my universe, metal is not fucking squishy.


I know this is just holding the padding, but at first it totally looks like part of the staircase from hell is being held together with duct tape.



I took this video for two reasons 1.)When/If the Scarecase collapsed, the guys would want to laugh at it later on youtube and 2.)I would want proof for the lawsuit so we could win money. Pizza and hotel rooms every night on tour. Definitely worth the broken bones, right?

video

As you can see, no such unfortunate event transpired. Nevertheless, the night was still full of building quirks that made me and Boyfriend raise our eyebrows. I think it's best to let the pictures do the talking, here.

Did I forget to mention that the Stairway of Doom had electric wires hanging over the landing?



Yes, that is a board nailed to the floor. It's covering the hole that goes down into the first story.



I'm pretty sure the women's upstairs restroom doubled as a storage closet. Also of note; urine on the floor. How does a girl miss the toilet by that much?



Is that the baby changing table?




The greasy, dirty kitchen towels that cover the window in the "ladie's" room. The door knob was also not attached, just kind of sitting in the hole...




The "locking" door on the downstairs bathroom.



The building felt like it was going to collapse around us at any moment, but then there were the people...

I'd like to take a moment and say to my readers (however few your numbers) that I mean no offense if you're from Iowa. Maybe not all of Iowa is like this. In fact, later that night we stopped at a Village Inn and had one of the coolest waitresses ever. But this tiny little town seemed perfectly worthy of my ridicule.

The men varied from redneck to mediocre looking frat-boy wannabe. The women, however, are what made my night. I was easily taller than most everyone, but I towered over the women. I'm 5'11", which is kinda tall, but I was in flats, and I'm pretty sure I was slouching at the beginning of the evening. I stood up straighter, however, when I realized that I was also the prettiest and the thinnest woman in the bar.

Those of you that know me in person know why this is a triumphant, happy moment, and not a pretentious or mean spirited one. I've recently become a size 14 after spending most of the last ten years as an 18 or 20 (thanks, living in a van!), and my skin's relatively cleaned up (even though I live in a van), and my hair's been looking rather awesome since I got it done right before I left Tulsa. In summary, I feel pretty. But looking at the short, round women in Iowa with their non-descript or pug faces made me feel like a supermodel. Granted, there were only four other women in there at the time. There were about twenty guys, though, and when I walked downstairs they all turned and looked at me. It was glorious. Like a scene out of a romantic comedy. Three of the women looked me over, but then decided quickly to ignore me. The one that looked like a middle aged poodle with wire rimmed glasses was the only one that had the nerve to shoot me the stink eye for a while. I think they realized faster than the local men that I was there with one of the long haired musicians, and therefore off the market.

But I was floating for the rest of the evening.

The band, however, was not so lucky. The sound guy had no idea what he was doing, and the crowd stayed mostly downstairs. Not much merch was sold, and some drunken idiot tripped and spilled their rum and coke (at least that's what it smelled like) in the merch box and soaked most of the CDs. The club paid them less than a hundred dollars, which wasn't terrible for a small town, but it didn't help the mood. Needless to say, we split as quickly as possible and started the seven hour trek to Jefferson City, MO, stopping along the way to pick up a 30-pack for the boys and for some pancakes after the beer worked its magic.

It was a waste of a night for the band, but it sure did make me feel better.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I've been working on this one for a few days. You may need to schedule bathroom breaks for this one, folks.

Touring is a strange thing. Personally, I love it. But I realize that there's a risk involved. Some of the social situations encountered on tour can turn out awesome, or terrible, with no middle ground. I knew this going into everything, based on all of the zany stories I'd heard from Boyfriend about tours past. There were people scattered all over the country that I'd heard Boyfriend, G and D talk about; people they were hoping would come to the show, bands they were looking forward to playing with, new friends they were anxious to hang out with. I've also heard the horror stories about people that they crossed paths with, or worse, accidentally gone home with. I don't mean that in a sexual way at all. (Those are entirely different stories, which I won't be posting. Ever.) When you live in a van, if you meet someone cool at a bar, and they offer to let you sleep on their floor or use their shower, you almost always say 'Yes!' So far, we've only declined one offer of hospitality because we had too far to drive for the next show and had to get started immediately after the we left that night.

I guess it is a lot like going home with someone in a sexual way. I've never had a one night stand, but imagine it might be a lot like this. Usually, we go home with someone, sleep over, and leave the next morning. We thank them profusely, and if things were swell, we exchange contact info. If things were super swell, we exchange contact info and stay with them again on the next tour. So far we've had a few repeated sleepovers, and met a few really cool people that we hope we can stay with again on the next tour.

But this blog is not about them. Those cool people have drafts of blogs being written about them. No, this entry is about my first encounter with a crazy person. The kind of one night stand that turns terribly, terribly sour. The kind that wakes you up in the morning talking about what your kids will look like and wondering when you'll move your things in. The kind that has a disturbing collection in their closet, like severed kitten heads or jars full of their fingernail clippings.

The show in Indianapolis was not a great one. It was the first show after spending three days down time with friends in Columbus. We were all excited to get back on the road and out of the Cigarette Depot (as Boyfriend and I nicknamed it.) The show, however, didn't really pay off. It was another example of the economy really beating the crap out of the South and Midwest. People just aren't coming out to shows as much as they used to. We did meet a few awesome people, however. Unfortunately, none of them offered us their floor as sleeping space.

There was one guy there who did offer, however. Earlier in the evening, when everyone was sober, he had interviewed G for the magazine he runs. Seems cool, right? Later in the evening, after everything was packed up, and the guys had milked the bartender for all the free beer and whiskey shots they could, this guy was one of the few left in the bar with us. He asked us where we were sleeping that night, and when we replied that we would sleep in the van, probably in a rest area, he offered to let us stay with him. He said he lived within walking distance of the club. He bought a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of vodka, and promised the guys and me sleeping space and food in the morning. I offered to cook breakfast and do the dishes. I figure if someone is providing room and board, literally the very least I can do is the work involved.

So Band Nanny went to work. I gathered up the boys, made sure everyone had their cell phone and wallet, and we clambered into the van, with the Creeper sitting up front so he could give us directions. In the bar he had given me a strange vibe, but I just chalked it up to the fact that he seemed like a pretentious music snob and was inebriated. Still, when G agreed to stay over at his place, I was a bit disappointed. Which should have been a red flag for me. That I would rather sleep in the van in a rest stop, than stay on this guy's floor. Only a minute or two into the drive, however, I knew something was way off. He and the three drunk bandmates began discussing hip hop. The guys like it ironically. They like it because it gives them an opportunity to make fun of rappers. This guy likes likes it. He loves it. In fact, he's a promoter, and deals mostly with hip hop and rap acts. Let me clarify; the fact that a middle aged white guy likes rap is not what set off my creepy vibe. It's the fact that when any of my three guys said they liked it, he would counter with something that sounded like he'd taken offense to whatever they'd just said, but was actually agreeing with them. He would repeat what they had said to him, but in such a way that it was both contradictory and condescending.

Before we'd even gotten out of the van, he was already reminding us what a favor he was doing for us. We would all thank him profusely, and reassure him that we knew he was under no obligation. This he seemed to not acknowledge at all.

His apartment was in a super nice gated community. As we were walking in, he turned to Boyfriend and I and said, "I've gathered that the two of you are a couple, right?" We confirmed it, and he said, "Well, I never sleep in my bed. I only sleep there when I have a lady, so I don't like sleeping there when I don't have a lady over." We thanked him, but grabbed our sleeping bags anyway, and said that he didn't have to give us his bed.

When we got into the apartment, G set up my sleeping bag (since the Creeper kept insisting that Boyfriend and I sleep in his bed, since he never did anyway) and plugged in his cell phone. He announced that he was going out for one more cigarette, but then said as an aside that he hated being alone outside while he smoked. So I left Boyfriend and D inside with the Creeper and went outside with G while he smoked his cigarette. (Although, half the reason I accompanied him was because he fell down while we were just standing at the door, waiting for the Creeper to get the it unlocked, and I didn't want G to pass out in the bushes. He looks dainty compared to Boyfriend and D, but he's still taller than me.) We talked again about the things he's worried about in his life. He confides in me whenever he's drunk. It's kind of endearing. He's all badass, tattoo boy while he's sober, but when he drinks he worries about things and wants to talk them over.

We went back inside after he finished smoking. He climbed into the sleeping bag and I went into the kitchen to find Boyfriend, D and the Creeper discussing music. All drinking whiskey and coke. They were all swaying already and their speech was slurred. Boyfriend's least of all, it seemed. After D finished his drink, he went in and collapsed on the Creeper's bed (the bedroom was right next to the kitchen.) I looked in and saw him, face down in his classic D-is-drunk-and-it's-time-for-sleep-now pose. I also noticed that the bed didn't look like a bed that was rarely slept in. It looked like it was slept in every night. Yeah, there was also a pillow and blanket on the couch. Honestly, it looked like a normal Bachelor's apartment. Sometimes he fell asleep on the couch in front of the TV, and kept a blanket there for when that happened. This raised a few more red flags for me. Nevertheless, the promise of bed sleep (I'd spent two of the last three nights sleeping on a cement floor in a basement in Ohio) overtook the alarms going off in my head, so I announced to the Creeper and Boyfriend that D had fallen into the bed, doing my best to make it sound like an 'Aw, shucks/Oh, well' kind of thing. This is one of the few girly ploys I use to get what I want. Usually I'm straight forward, I swear. This had the desired result of making them go move D from the bed. I set up the other sleeping bag for him but he stumbled into the living room before I could get it completely set up, and so he collapsed on the couch, where I presumed the Creeper would sleep.

The three of us still awake (of course, Boyfriend and I are always the last ones up, always have been) went back into the kitchen. The boys made themselves another drink, and made one for me as well, which finished off the small bottle of Jim Beam. We stood around in the kitchen talking, and whenever Boyfriend would mention something that the Creeper knew anything about, he would do that contradictory/condescending but agreeing thing. It was getting super annoying, but I stayed polite. Those of you that know me in real life, know how painfully nice I am. In fact, while I worked at the restaurant, one of my coworkers grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me dead in the face and said, "Stop being so fucking nice all the time." Boyfriend, however, was drunk. Not fall down drunk, but to the stage where he's completely over his natural shyness, and feels comfortable using his inebriation as an excuse to say what he normally wouldn't because he can blame it on alcohol. He doesn't really get belligerent or mean, but he loses his painful politeness. It's a trait the two of us really should work on overcoming. We're far too nice to people, and it usually only bites us in the ass.

We left the kitchen and sat down in the living room, D on the couch and G in the sleeping bag. The Creeper showed us a bunch of music on youtube that we hadn't seen before. It was all actually really good stuff. However, the drunker he got the more he mentioned his ex-wife, and how badly she had treated him. He also tried to rap along with the hip hop videos he showed us, but didn't know the words as well as he thought he did. He was also to the slurring stage of drunk, so it was funny.

But as we watched more videos, the creep factor just got dialed up higher and higher. He started being snarky towards me. Whenever I would say something, he would reply with biting sarcasm. Not the funny kind. The kind of sarcasm a High School bully uses. The kind that's completely uncalled for and disdainful. He also kept insisting that Boyfriend and I take his bed. About once every ten minutes. Every other time he urged us to sleep in there, he alluded to us having sex.

They finished their drinks, and the Creeper said they should drink more, but he'd had trouble sitting down in the first place (he'd tried to sit on something, but kept falling off so just sat on the floor instead.) I offered to mix their drinks for them, since I was sober and they were wobbly. They both thanked me. This is a bit mean of me, but I decided to mix the Creeper's drink stronger than I mixed Boyfriend's, because I wanted him to fall asleep already. Needless to say, it didn't work. We stayed up for an extra two and half hours watching youtube videos. Finally, after he made fun of me for yawning periodically, he suggested we go to bed. We asked him again if he was sure about letting us sleep in his bed.

"Yeah, I'll crash in my chair over there," and pointed to an easy chair by the window.

"Really though, we're happy to just have a floor to sleep on. We don't need to take your bed," Boyfriend said.

"No! No! No! Take the bed. And fuck." He then turned his drunken gaze on us. "Seriously. Enjoy the bed. Fuck. I know you want to." Then he jabbed a drunken thumb in my direction, "I know she wants to."

As often as he was degrading and assumptive, you wouldn't think I would have learned to let his crazy bounce off of me. But it didn't. I was offended pretty much every time he said something to me or towards me. It was always mean spirited, and it was always an incorrect assumption. With the one exception being the fact that he guessed I was Irish. That was the only time he was right, and not offensive. Otherwise, he assumed things about my life and personality that he hadn't bothered to actually guess at. Maybe he saw big tits and blonde hair, and the company I keep, and assumed that I was a drug munching whore. That's sure how he treated me, or at least what he inferred. I'd blame it on living in the van with guys (cause I sure am used to people assuming things about me based off the tits and hair), but the Creeper was the first person to do such. Everyone I met in Tennessee correctly assessed my awesomeness. But not Indiacrapolis guy. He didn't bother to observe what I did or said throughout the course of the evening. And the drunker he got, the stranger he was towards me. With Boyfriend he was condescending, but it was plain to see that he liked him the best of the three. He even gave Boyfriend a backhanded compliment, when explaining why their band was not yet successful. 'D is old, and G is arrogant.' He never finished that thought, but I can only guess that by not including Boyfriend in this tiny tirade, that he meant he liked him.

We finally made our escape to the bedroom, and Boyfriend mumbled apologies for being so drunk and keeping me up so late. He took off his boots near the bed, then took his gun from his waistband and put it in one of his boots. I was massively relieved to see it. I readied for bed as well. The door had no lock, so I put an empty cardboard box in front of it. It wasn't big enough to prevent the door from opening, but it was small enough that it would make one hell of a racket should the Creeper open the door. It was almost six already, and I wanted to get some sleep, though I had a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't.

I snuggled up next to Boyfriend and listened as he quickly fell asleep. I also heard our Creepy Host moving around in his living room and kitchen, and still watching videos online. I heard him talking periodically, but I never heard D or G respond to him.

My paranoid brain, soaked in horror movies as a pre-teen, began to imagine the worst. I moved Boyfriend's boots so that I could reach the gun stuffed one just by sitting up and reaching over the side of the bed. Excessive, maybe, but it put my sleep-deprivation induced anxiety slightly at ease.

About an hour later, I heard the Creeper banging around clumsily in the kitchen. I hadn't slept a wink yet, though I had stayed comfortable and warm near Boyfriend's side. A moment later, the Creeper burst through the bedroom door, flinging the little box across the room and into a wall. He slammed his hand against the wall, somehow managing to turn on the light in the process. He looked surprised to see Boyfriend and I in his bed (he looked so drunk he probably would have been surprised to see any of us in his apartment.) I waved at him, partially amused, somewhat frightened, but mostly pissed the fuck off. This guy was so rude, so untrustworthy, so damn creepy that it was starting to piss me off. I'm sure the not sleeping part helped.

With his free hand, he made a dismissive wave gesture back, turned off the light, and slammed the door shut. In his other hand? I kid you not - the pictures of his children he had shown off to us earlier, a Costco box of mini eclairs, and a bottle of BBQ sauce.

Did I mention yet that this guy has been to prison at least twice? Once for dealing cocaine, and the other might have been for robbing a Walgreens. I didn't ask for clarification.



I was wide awake now, and listened to him bang around out in the kitchen again. Five minutes later, he came stumbling into the room again, taking off his shoes as he made his way towards the bed. I realized that he was about to get into the bed next to me, so rolled over, nearly onto Boyfriend. The Creeper demanded, "Move over," but I already had. Boyfriend had slept through the box flinging incident earlier, but this woke him. As the Creeper pulled the blanket I had been using off of me and over him he mumbled, "Mmm, toasty."

He was talking to himself the whole time, most of it word salad and completely unintelligible. I wanted to leave right then, but knew I would have a hard time rousing three drunk boys and getting them out of the apartment. Instead, I knew I needed to get Boyfriend out of that bed. The Creeper kept talking to me, and when I sat up to move and tried to wake Boyfriend to a basic stage of coherency, the Creeper looked over and asked me, "Who's over there?" He wasn't surprised at all to see me in his bed, but was confused about a member of the band he'd invited home being there.

He mumbled things at me, and I could tell he intended whatever he said for me, but I couldn't make sense of any of it. Except for when he rolled over and looked at me and said, "You should quit being so bitchy." I wasn't sure if he was talking to me or himself, so I simply said, "Me?" I was surprised. I've never been called a bitch before. I thought taking care of the guys, offering to cook breakfast in the morning, mixing drinks for him when he wanted more but couldn't stand up, complimenting him on his taste in music while he forced us to watch videos, and thanking him profusely for his generosity were the actions of someone that was quite the opposite.

"Yes, you. You were a bitch tonight," he said, rolling back over.

"I'm sorry," I said, doing my best to sound sincere and not let on how ridiculously angry and offended I was.

Once I'd started to move off the bed, he asked me, "Where are you going?"

"We're gonna go sleep in the living room," I said, handing Boyfriend his shirt, while I grabbed the gun stuffed boot first.

"Oh, how very kind of you," he sneered. Actually sneered. Like he wanted to be freaking Lucius Malfoy in the worst way. It pissed me off so much I was shaking. He had been the one that insisted we take his bed, and now he was mad that we were in it. Why couldn't he have been like every other blackout drunk and just fallen asleep on the floor in the living room? As we left the room, he mumbled something about Sarajevo.

As I guided a mostly asleep Boyfriend into the living room, I considered how much effort it would be to get all three of the guys out to the van, and come back in for all of our stuff. It was about 7:30, and there would be enough light outside for me to see. I knew however, that the Creeper was a music promoter, made a living doing so, and might be able to help us. He'd also interviewed G for his magazine, and had all of the guys' info. He'd even facebook friend requested Boyfriend while they were watching youtube videos. I didn't want him to wake and find us gone and A.)Sabotage the guys musically in some way or B.)Get pissed off and fictionalize an account of the guys vandalising or stealing something. Looking back they may have both seemed a bit strange to worry about, but I had also been awake for about twenty hours on only three hours sleep.

Instead of sneaking the guys out, I let Boyfriend sleep with his head on my lap, and I grabbed a book from the coffee table. I didn't hear any more movement from the Creeper's bedroom, so I figured we'd be all right. I kept the special boot nearby, however. Just in case.

At 10:30, G got up and started morning bathroom things, so I decided to grab a little bit of shut eye. About fifteen minutes of it. Suddenly the Creeper was up and in the living room, trying to hustle us all into alertness, so I could cook them breakfast and he could get to work. (Remember, he works from home.)

He seemed sober now, but I knew there was no way he was. Three hours of sleep would not get rid of the entire bottle of vodka I'd discovered he'd drunk after Boyfriend and I went into the bedroom. His condescension resumed, and everything he said to me seemed designed me make me feel stupid. He asked if there was anything he could do to help cook breakfast, and when I replied, "You can start the bacon, if you want." He turned to me with a raised eyebrow and a voice full of indignation, "Oh, I can?"

I've come to conclude that he has a lot of issues with his ex-wife, and either I remind him of her looks wise, which is why all of his reactions towards me were completely mismatched, or that any well spoken, seemingly intelligent woman with a knack for caretaking reminds him of her. Either way, I'm sure he was spewing all of his ex-wife issues all over me, in addition to just being a shitty human being. I keep using the word 'condescending' to describe him, but there's not a more fitting word in existence to use. He very obviously considered himself, his taste in music, his 'career' in music superior to the guys in every respect. It may have been true in some ways, but everyone else I've met in the industry, musician or not, is eager to network, eager to flatter and hopeful that everyone will somehow help them get a leg up. Not this guy. He looked down his nose at the guys, while simultaneously telling them they were amazing musicians and put on a great, captivating live show. Me, however, he consistantly treated like shit. There was nothing I said that he didn't try to turn around on me and either make me feel stupid, or feel like I'd just insulted him. For example, while I cooked breakfast, he insisted on replaying this music video. It was a good video, and I liked, but when he played again it he said to me, "You've had mornings like that. Don't pretend you haven't," in a thoroughly accusing tone.

And the answer is a firm, "No. I haven't. And also; Fuck You."

For those of you that didn't click the link, it's a song and video about a girl that wakes up hungover from a wild night, implying heavy drinking, drug abuse and promiscuous sex. And not just this one night. Common behavior. I was so insulted that he had assumed this about me, that I seriously considered breaking something in his kitchen and blaming it on my clumsiness.

For the record, while I am a drinker, I have only ever blacked out twice in my life, both in strange circumstances but around good friends that I trust. I never have, and never will, allow myself too much to drink when I am not in a safe, trusted environment. I am more often the designated driver than the drunkard. I have never done, and never plan to do, any sort of illegal drug. As I stated earlier, I have never had a one night stand. I remember all of the names of the people I've kissed, let alone those I've fooled around with. I used to think that people assuming I was stupid was the most insulting thing they could do to me, but I've now discovered that assuming I'm an irresponsible, drug munching whore is even more infuriating.

I fed my guys and the Creeper as quickly as I could, so we could get out of there. Even then, he followed us to the van, and asked for a CD and a shirt ($15 worth of merch = food for a week or 1/4 tank of gas) in a way that made it plain he had no intention of being denied. At least he didn't remind us again of how hospitable he had been when he had no obligation to be. He was however, true to form and managed to be condescending as he took the last small shirt, "I'll give his to one of my girlfriends. You want attractive women wearing your shirts. More people will take notice of them."

GAH! At least writing this has gotten it out of my system. I still feel like I need a shower for my brain though. Any suggestions are welcome.

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Lori
Seattle, United States
During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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