Monday, September 24, 2012

"Apparently, he was my very best friend. We spent wild summer days wishin' they would never end."

About a month ago I started working weekends at The House Cafe, an awesome cafe/venue I've mentioned numerous times in previous posts.  I've never worked in food service before, and the whole experience leaves me drained by the time my shift is over.  Despite that, I'm having a great time working there - serving coffee, food, and beer while I get to hear free music, poetry, and stand-up comedy.  Hellz yeah.

When I was working last Saturday night, I found out that one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Ted Leo, is going to be playing there on November 18th.  I'm so excited to hear him play and get the opportunity to meet him.  Ted Leo's song "Timorous Me" was on the first mix CD I ever received, and although that was 11 years ago, I still listen to that mix on a regular basis.  Aside from being the first mix CD I was ever gifted, it was also the best.  The two-disc set was entitled "160 Minutes of Good Shit" and the guy who gave it to me told me that single disc mixes were "for pussies."

The credit for that amazing mix (and the vulgar quote, which was funny only because we both new he was capable of phrasing things in far more eloquent terms) goes to MisterFlak.  He was the first person I met who was as obsessed with music as I was.  We both loved listening to music, and used it as a way to communicate a sincerity that our pleasantly loud social personae rarely afforded us.  Over the next 10 years we spent countless hours creating, writing, and laughing together.  As the story goes, life and love and the cowardliness they breed got in the way, and things are not the same as they used to be.  But it's okay, and so are we.

"There was an awkward pause, and something that should’ve began just passed us by."

Friday, September 14, 2012

Kids' Stuff

When I was 8 years old, these were my lifelong goals: have a "greatest hits" album and be a famous artist. At the time, I was listening to a lot of Frankie Valli (received from Santa, as requested) and Mary Cassatt was my favorite artist. I dreamed of living in France and Whitney Houston was teaching me to sing via her self-titled album.  I wrote my first song, "Baby Blue," and recorded it over and over again, labeling each tape "Nikki Rice's Greatest Hits."

A few years later, I discovered Dr. Demento and decided being a radio host wouldn't be so bad, nor would being an author. I was still into the fame game, but maturing, and I was already beginning to understand the difference between high art and low art. The low was much more appealing to me. I understood the concept of sex far too well, and I read a lot of Judy Blume. I recorded obscene radio shows with my closest friends and wondered why all the boys were calling them and not me. I was in love with writing on my typewriter, which I found to be much more sincere than writing on my computer.

From there I got into making radio shows, watching Beavis & Butthead, and cracking obscene jokes in the company of my closest friends... jokes no one but me fully understood.  I loved watching game shows and playing Gin with my grandma.  I discovered Alanis Morissette and Pearl Jam, but listened to Weird Al just as much.  When I was slightly older, I became obsessed with showing all of my friends my two favorite movies - it was like a rite of passage I inflicted upon all of them - Teen Witch and Welcome to the Dollhouse. If you got those movies, you got me.

And then I found Erykah Badu, and she changed my life. I started singing soul and wearing ankhs. I believed that if I was nice to others, good things would come to me. I asked for a Bible and a cross necklace for Christmas and I got them both. I wore the cross (made of real gold and diamonds) only once or twice, but read my Bible every night. I ended up skimming over a lot, and it just didn't make sense to me as anything more than a moral tale that was 100's of pages too long.

I wanted to live in Vegas. It was my favorite place in the whole world and I talked about it with anyone who would listen. I knew Fremont Street before it was an "experience" and I was so familiar with the city that my parents let me take a cab around town, unaccompanied, starting at the age of 12. I felt like that town "got me," and when I came home I was pompous and self-absorbed and insecure as fuuuuck. I was the last person I knew to get their first kiss, and I stopped competing for top grades because I knew I could never be the best (therefore, why be anything?). I tried out for a choir solo and got it. It was the greatest accomplishment of my life, up until that point in time.

Then I became depressed, went to therapy, went on medication, and met a boy. The rest is history.

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