This morning, I never would've suspected I would have ended my day slightly buzzed and singing that great INXS song Never Tear Us Apart in front of dozens of people who couldn't care less about me singing a great INXS song, but that's exactly how I ended my day.
It was a long day. Lots of writing. Lots of driving. Lots of talking.
Jessica (my writing partner and frequent muse) (who called me "baby" tonight, after mistaking me for her husband) and I were supposed to have a pitch today (which woulda been awesome), but the pitch got moved (which was a bummer) to next week (which is cool because we can still wow 'em next week) so our afternoon wasn't as packed as it was supposed to be (coolio), but we still had a dinner meeting (I had a spicy pasta dish), which went very well (the meeting, not the spicy pasta dish) (the spicy pasta dish was actually TOO spicy) (as if there's such a thing) (but OH YES there is such a thing) (this spicy pasta dish literally made me sweat) (and it made me kinda gassy too) (sorry if that was TMI) (TMI = Too Much Info) (I don't know why I felt the need to clarify the whole "TMI" thing) (but I was, like, "what if they don't know what that meant?") (and then I was like "OF COURSE they know what it meant") (and then, again, I was like, "but maybe, just in case, I should spell it out") (because I figured my mom wouldn't know what it meant, at the very least) (so then I just went ahead and defined the damn acronym) (I suppose if you didn't know what TMI meant and you REALLY wanted to know, you could have looked it up yourself) (but would you have looked it up?) (I mean, you say you would have, but would you REALLY have cracked open your Dictionary of Acronyms?) (I'm just asking) (I accidentally just wrote Dictionary of "Anachronyms" and I think I just accidentally invented a word, unless it's already a word, but if it's not already a word, then this is a new word that I love. I mean, hello: anacronyms? I suppose an anachromym would roughly be defined as an old, outdated acronym) (like, for example, PYSH might be an anacronym that means Park Your Spear Here) (wow, I'm really tired and after all of these asides I completely forget what I was talking about) (now I feel like I went from TMI to TNEI) (which means "Totally Not Enough Info") (I definitely felt like I had to clarify that acronym because I made that one up) (when I was typing "that one up" just now, I accidentally typed "that won up") (what a weird typo) (I mean, I guess it makes sense that if you're tired and typing the word "one" your brain might get lazy and type an equivalent sounding word like "won") (but sometimes I think I had a small, tiny little stroke a few years ago that makes me do stupid things) (it was not a big stroke, just a little one) (and it was such a minor stroke that it doesn't manifest itself often, but when it DOES manifest itself, it does so in weird wordy ways) (like making my brain type "won" instead of "one" or making me say "that'll it" to the nice woman at McDonald's instead of "that'll be it" or making me mistake character actors for people I used to date) (whenever I do something like that, I just blame it on the stroke) (do you remember that song "Blame It On The Rain" by Milli Vanilli?) (I used to LOVE that song) (I played the clarinet from third grade through ninth grade. i gave up the clarinet when I finally decided that playing the clarinet was not cool and I wanted to be cool, not realizing that, years later, as an adult, I would realize that playing the clarinet is actually supremely cool) (why am I still typing parenthetical thoughts?) (sorry, I'm sure this is annoying by now) (but it's four a.m. and I should be asleep) (I should not be blogging) (I'm tired) (which means I'm gonna go ahead and continue typing up all of these rambling parentheticl thoughts) (ha! parentheticl!) (maybe I'll come back and rearrange the words into more of a paragraphical post later) (focus, Erik, focus: you were talking about Milli Vanilli) (I used to be able to play "Blame It On The Rain" on my clarinet) (how fricking cool is that?) (it makes me sad that everyone totally shunned Milli Vanilli after it was revealed that they were big fat lip synchers. I mean, we all loved the music before we found out they were lip synchers and SOMEBODY SANG THE DAMN SONGS. What, as soon as we found out that the singers were actually two random non-brothers without dreads who couldn't dance, then suddenly we thought the songs were terrible? We're horrible people for abandoning Milli Vanilli's music like that. Milli killed himself because of us! I think we should all get over the James Frey thing too. He lied. Big whoop. If you got something out of his book before when you thought it was hardcore truth, don't you think you could still get something out of the book now that it's less hardcore?) (Matt Price read a great essay the other night at Show and Tell about how at least James Frey's lies haven't killed anyone, unlike GWB's lies) (Back to Frey's book, imagine it's a parable--we've been learning from parables for thousands of years) (I seriously forget what I started out talking about) (holy crap, okay, so) and then after our dinner meeting (which went late) we knew that our friend Larra was nearby and we met up with her for a drink at Dimples (because it was nearby).
Dimples is, according to lore, "the oldest karaoke establishment in Southern California." Now, it may very well be the oldest, but it certainly ain't the best. No, "the best karaoke establishment in Southern California" has got to be my friends' Todd and David's living room. I've blogged about Todd and David's karaoke parties before, here. The thing that's great about their parties is that everyone wants to karaoke and everyone wants to sing songs they love and everyone wants to hear everyone sing songs that they love. It's a lovefest and it's all about the singing.
At Dimples, the karaoke is undoubtedly all about the booze.
I have ordering-a-drink-aphobia. It's an honest-to-goodness condition that I have. It means, wuite literally, that I'm afraid to order drinks at bars. My fear isn't really of ordering, per se, it's more a fear of forgetting what drink I want to order. And then, because I'm afraid I'm gonna forget what drink to order, it's self-fulfilling prophecy, and when I go up to a bar to order a drink, my mind just empties and I can never think of a single thing. So, usually, I pick a drink that I know I like and I stick with it so that every time I find myself in a situation where I need to order a drink I can always fall back on the one that I got last time. You know how people have "safe words" in S&M relationships? Well, this is like my "safe drink."
For the last 6 months or so, my "safe drink" has been an Amaretto Sour, and before that it was a Black Russian, and before that it was a White Russian. If you can't tell from that list of alcoholic beverages, I like my liquor sweet. Anyway, I'm kinda over the Amaretto Sour thing, and last night that an Amaretto Sour really did not sound like the drink to do, so I was starting to get all I-gotta-order-a-drink-aphobic, and I talked to our cocktail waitress about it, and I told her I had no idea what I should order, and then we talked about how I like sweet alcoholic beverages, and then we made up our own drink.
Now, I'm sure that where alcohol is concerned, there is no such thing as virgin territory, I am sure that every possible concoction has been whipped up in some bar or another and every concoction already has a name, but we didn't know what to call this drink last night, so we called it a "Gina," after my cocktail waitress, but if you know a lot about cocktail drinks and you know that this drink already has a name, would you be so kind as to let me know what the name of this drink is? In the meantime, we'll continue calling it a "Gina."
The "Gina" is a very simple drink. It's a Shirley Temple (Sprite and Grenadine) with Raspberry Stoli in it. Jessica decided it should be called the "vaGina" because it was such a girly drink, but I'm going to continue to call it the "Gina" in honor of its namesake. Oh, also, the "Gina" is really bad. I mean, it's a terrible drink. It's awful. The Raspberry Stoli mixed with the Grenadine totally sucks. So I don't have any illusions of grandeur about this drink catching on and being the new craze. But still, if it is a new drink, then I suppose it's a New Thing, and even if it's not a New Drink To The World, I suppose it's still a New Drink To Me, and so it can still count as one of my New Things. Chalk it up as New Thing #30.
So, after I had two "Ginas," I decided I wanted to do some karaoke. Because I love karaoke. I just didn't realize how hostile the crowd at Dimples was going to be. Like I said before, the crowd at Dimples was all about the alcohol, not about the singing. I think Jessica put it best when she said: "Karaoke is not about putting on a hat and a wig and being a doofus. It's about delivering. It's about loving the song you're singing--and because you love it, your audience will love it too." But the people at Dimples? They didn't get the memo, and the karaoke portion of our evening kind of sucked.
The first song I sang was Under Pressure, by David Bowie and Queen, excelt the karaoke version they had in the machine was only by David Bowie. Meaning it was missing all of the Queen portions of the song. Meaning the song sounded completely unlike the song you and I know and love. Meaning it was impossible to sing. Meaning I was standing up there like a total idiot who didn't know the song he had decided to sing. Which is so lame because I love Under Pressure. It's a great song. One of my favorite songs. And it's a song I definitely know. However, you wouldn't know I knew it if you heard me singing it at Dimples.
Then Larra sang Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac, and while she was singing, the woman who was hosting the karaoke (her name was Angelle) got up on stage with Larra to pose for a picture. Apparently this is what they do at Dimples. They just get up on stage with you to pose for a picture so they can have you on their wall. But they don't only get up on stage with you in the middle of your song--which, if you're trying to have a moment, if you're trying to feel the song, is incredibly distracting, and, I'm gonna go ahead and say it, it's rude as well--but they also make you wear a hat during the picture. They just grab a hat and they put it on your head.
Well, unlike most of the people at Dimples, Larra wasn't up on that stage to be a doofus. She really wanted to lay it all on the line for us, and tell us, in song, about how we could "go our own way." She wasn't up there for no minstrel wig-and-hat-wearing show. But Angelle didn't care that Larra was feeling the moment; no, Angelle just got up on stage with her and grabbed and hat and started to put it on Larra's head. And then--this was my favorite moment of the evening--Larra stopped singing and said, with so much edge, "if you put that hat on my head, I'm walking out of here." And Angelle looked at her like, are you serious? And Larra continued singing, but with even greater purpose now, and she gave Angelle a look that could kill and that said you damn better believe I'm serious. And then Larra kept singing:
"You can go your own way...
Go your own way!"
And then the guy with the camera started cursing at her--true story--he was horrified that Larra refused to put on the dumb hat, and then he walked away in disgust, refusing to take the picture. And Larra kept on singing:
"You an call it...
Another lonely day...
You can go your own way!"
And then Angelle threw the hat on the ground and rolled her eyes at Larra--she literally rolled her eyes--they have video cameras that project what's going on on-stage on a big monitor so you could see her rolling her eyes on widescreen--and then she walked off the stage, also disgusted with Larra. That ain't how we do it here at Dimples, you could practically hear her thinking.
And Larra kept on singing:
"Go your own way!"
It was like an anthem for all of us true karaoke purists in the house--for Larra and Jessica and me, and, well, it was just for the three of us. Larra was urging us not to succumb to the folly that was Dimples. To sing for ourselves, and not for the drunk fascist hat-lovin' freakazoids out there.
I was right there with her. I heard her. I felt her. Her plight was mine.
a few minutes later,
when it was my turn to sing again,
I had had several Ginas by then,
as much as I felt the anger
and the passion
and the fury
in Larra's awesome rendition of Go Your Own Way,
I was also kind of drunk,
if not drunk,
then definitely buzzed,
Angelle came up on stage in the middle of my rendition of Never Tear Us Apart by INXS.
She grabbed a hat.
And I let her put that dumb hat on my head. I let them take the dumb picture.
(which I was going to post here, but I'm having trouble uploading it, so the picture is on its way) (I know, I know, anti-climactic, I'm sorry)
(okay, here it is)