What's coming down the line in 2009?

Last year I didn't choose a theme and I know that disappointed some of you. The truth is, I really needed less focus and by spreading my interests out last year, I got a lot done. I can't tell you how happy I am that The Heated's tea towels are taking off. In my estimation, about 50 people received one for Christmas or Hanukah. Do they do gifts for Kwanza? Anyway, I learned how to screenprint in spite of feeling like I had no time to learn how. 

In fact, I also took a woodworking class and a computer class, all while feeling I had no time to do so. Turns out, I had time for both. I loved both of them too and it's led me to believe that there are a lot of things I tell myself I don't have time to do (though I have other excuses I use too) but that I have been lying to myself. So this year, I am going to pursue the things I want to without bullshitting myself into thinking I can't. Here's what's on my list:

  1. See more nature. I want to go on hikes and see pretty things. I don't always want to leave town but luckily, I am surrounded by ocean. That counts as nature. I went to college in the middle of a forest and found myself so homesick for it the other day, I could barely breathe. Must remember to see trees.
  2. Work out again. Believe it or not, I've developed the cutest little gut this year. I call it my rind. It's precious but it can't stay. Plus, my physical therapist said I need to work my shoulders out again. Back to push-ups and pilates. Also, I enjoy going on walks. That counts as exercise. Having that injury really slowed me down this year, which hadn't happened to me before. It's been weird and I miss working out. 
  3. Calm the hell down. I have anxiety issues, that's no secret. I will continue my quest for peace of mind through embarassing self-help books that I buy off Amazon because my anxiety prevents me from buying them in stores. This is my resolution every year. I gain ground slowly. 
  4. Get a creative community together. Call it The Heated. I found out the other night that a friend of mine plays the violin and has never mentioned it! My sister-in-law plays the guitar and banjo. I have another friend who I think I could talk into playing some more guitar and possibly bass on some recordings. It was never my intention to do this alone and while my brief foray into band-dom earlier this year ended in heartbreak, I'm going to get back up on that horse. I've got this ambitious vision of what I want The Heated to become and this year, I will pursue it more than ever before. 

That being said, I want you to understand that I think people go about their New Year's resolutions all wrong. People write lists and then start on January 1st. By January 21st, they've already overwhelmed themselves and quit. Here is the key to New Year's resolutions, the idea that you must hold central in order to prevail: you have all year! Don't take everything on at once but take everything on. In fact, that's what I'm going to theme this year: Take Everything On. 


Dear Cristina, Suck it. Love, Santa

I woke up to find this email in my inbox from Santa. I was checking my email before going to work, that's right, work on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas to all.



Too bad the elephant didn't win, huh? "Elephat" was a typo but I think it works.


I'll just pick one

How about a tangerine? Ok then, contest decided. Thanks to all my voters. I like you for participating.

Soon, I wish to talk about my New Year's resolutions but not until after Christmas. I'm taking four days off. I am almost there.


Three Way?

Today is the last day to vote for which new tea towel design The Heated will produce. Right now, it's a three-way tie??? That is not going to work for me. Please continue voting.


Ain't it always the way?

Not to brag or anything but check out who is on the Etsy House Warming Gift Guide. It's The Heated, that's who. As I type, I have a screen drying in preparation for more owls. I feel excited and overwhelmed. Would I be happier if all this attention were for my music rather than my merchandise? Aw, who gives a crap. This is awesome!

I would like to mention that my wife with her great ideas and excellent taste, is who I'd really like to thank. These towels were all her idea, of course.


Creative Block

I need to come up with a new tea towel design as suddenly, the merchandise division of The Heated has become profitable! It's no doubt due to the efforts of my merchandise manager (a.k.a. wifey) who takes care of my Etsy shop. Plus, I hear there's this holiday coming up that involves buying gifts for people... oh, and Jesus. Anyway, the towels are selling and I feel I must introduce a fresh design. If you'd care to weigh in on the matter, vote. The quiz is to your right (on my blogger page for those who are reading this elsewhere) and will be up for a week. Granted, by the time you vote, I draw, then burn the screen, then print the towels, Christmas might be over. But the satisfaction of making new things never expires so I say, let the design contest continue. I call it a contest because I'll give you a chance to win a new design once it's done. Stay tuned, suckas.


Last FM

I put The Pre-Teens albums up on Last.FM yesterday cuz why not? For those of you who are not aware, I used to play bass and write songs with them and sing... and over-sing (damn it, I did, ok?). I don't think my old band mates would mind and we have more plays than The Heated, I'll tell you that. I tried to lure listeners over promising them that The Heated is very similar to The Pre-Teens but Last.FM never does what I want it to do and so, there is no cross-promotion. I'm not ashamed to cross promote and we had good songs. Some are not but overall, we were pretty solid.

(I just went on a twenty minute journey into LastFm when I had only intended to pop over quickly and grab the hyper-link to The Pre-Teens and then found that we are also known as simply Pre-Teens. That's even more people that need to hear that I exist.)

I just realized that Last.FM never actually uploaded the tracks I spent an hour putting up yesterday. Please someone tell me what it wrong with them? Why are they so evil?
11/25/08 Update: ok, now most of the songs are up. I guess they just had to process and I'm impatient.


Ok, we can talk about it now

I'm upset about Prop. 8 passing and at the amount of time and money spent by people to ensure it did pass. I'm upset that voting statistics are being used as a wedge between gays and minorities. I spent a few days looking around distrustfully until I realized this is an opportunity to see which communities we are not reaching, rather than as an excuse for further division. Plus, it's those religious types we really need to hate. I kid. I kid.

I marched in the protest, slowly making my way up Market Street to the Castro, stopping cars in their path. Even though I'm uncomfortable with group chanting, I managed to join in on a few. Not those "hey, hey, ho, ho," chants though. That's just too much. But this vote has hurt me. It's hurt a lot of people and I'd hate to see that hurt turn to anger. The whole thing has me thinking that I need to be more involved in the gay community, especially the gay rights movement. My disappointment is gone and my anger has turned into a kind of resolution to try harder, to do more than talk. We are clearly being misunderstood and rather than continue on as we have with our demanding, perhaps we need to focus on common ground and take it from there. Agreed? My people? Can I get a "yes we can"?


Those classes are really paying off

I've been working on some things in my intro to computers class. For your consideration:

That the color of my new website matches the color of this page is no mistake.


Big country

This song has been stuck in my head for days. It is so good. The lyrics kill me. Please consider how heartbreaking:

I've never seen you look like this without a reason,
Another promise fallen through, another season passes by you.
I never took the smile away from anybody's face,
And that's a desperate way to look for someone who is still a child.

And in a big country, dreams stay with you,
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
Stay alive..

(I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here when every single hope you had shattered)

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..

So take that look out of here, it doesn't fit you.
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded.
Pull up your head off the floor, come up screaming.
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted.
I thought that pain and truth were things that really mattered
But you can't stay here when every single hope you had shattered.

I'm not expecting to grow flowers in the desert,
But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime..


Election night plus show review: Adobe Book

The show at Adobe Books was the lowest key show I have ever played. It felt like playing in my living room except with more books. Olen played like a champ and to those of you willing to play percussion, I salute you even if the only time you played was in lieu of clapping. Notable exception to my wife, who, by virtue of living with me, knows the songs more than most, even if she doesn't listen to the words. It's never a bad idea to play guitar for the ladies.

So the best part about the show being acoustic was that afterward, all I had with me was a guitar in a case. The election must have been called right at we were exiting the bookstore around 8:00 pm. A dive bar next door was standing-room-only packed with all televisions blaring and all patrons cheering loudly. My wife, my pal Regina and I went to a restaurant across the street (fancy pub with a beer list about ten times longer than the menu, if you must know).

We tucked into the back booth, guitar case easily fitting underneath and right before we ordered, McCain came on the television, perched in the pub's front corner, to give his concession speech. Yes, it was gracious even if the crowd was not. I don't like angry crowds, which I know, is a really strange thing to have an aversion to. The pub was cheering wildly as the speech began and even continued to agree with some of McCain's points, politely clapping because we can be gracious winners too.

Now, I have my deeply cynical moments but I was solidly on board during Obama's speech and resolved to do more in the community (yeah, we'll see how that goes. Don't count me out yet). I totally teared up and had an overwhelming urge to call eveyone I knew (which I ignored). There was such electricity in the air combined with relief. Like we had all just had one little orgasm together.

This was all before I found out about Prop. 8, and equally un-American measures passing in other states. I have more to say about this but not just yet.


So nice, I did it twice.

Remember when I told you about how the power of laziness caused me to both record demos and videos at the same time? Well, what you didn't know is that I recorded more than one song. This song has been stuck in my head recently, mostly because it's called Ohio and with the elections coming up, there's been a lot of talk about Ohio. I actually wouldn't be surprised if I wrote the first part of this song near an election. Maybe eight years ago? It took me that long to finish this song.

The first draft of this song had a lot more city names, like I was trying to fit in everywhere that I've been because I have been many places. But I think you get the idea. It's less about where I've been and more about where I ended up.

If you watch carefully, you can see that I almost fall over at one point but keep going like a champ. Also, I like how the room is in total disarray because we had just painted it. Maybe next time, a little more attention to detail will be paid. I'm not wearing shoes either. That's unusual.


My people

I sent this letter out to almost everyone I know so why not you too?

Hello friends and family,
As much as I keep joking that I'm going to vote yes on Prop 8 so that I don't have to pay the government another $98 for a marriage license when I've already got a domestic partnership license (what, I should have to pay twice?), I'm writing today to ask you to consider voting no on Prop 8. I'm asking you to consider this for several reasons:

#1) I think some people might be confused as to which way they should vote in order to keep gay marriage legal. The way to do that is to vote no on Prop 8. I'm not saying you're dumb. Just lazy.

#2) Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with gays marrying each other, I think we can certainly agree that a bill intended to take away the rights of any group, which is what this bill does, is downright un-American. Even if you don't morally agree with gay marriage, imagine if there were ever a bill proposed that specifically targeted your ethnicity, religion, beliefs, etc to say that since some people do not agree with you on a moral level, your legal rights should be removed. That would be weird and insulting, right? It kind of goes against everything that America was founded upon.

#3) If you vote no on Prop 8, a lot of gay people in California will get married. This will bring much needed money to the California economy. On top of that, you might even be personally invited to one of these weddings and everyone knows that the gay people, as a whole, know how to throw a good party. A no vote on Prop 8 increases your chances of attending a kick-ass, gay party.

Most of you that I'm writing to are already planning on voting no on Prop 8. But what about your family or friends that live in California and are kind of on the fence about it or don't really follow politics? That lazy cousin in Fontana? The confused aunt in Paso Robles? Maybe drop them a line.

I thought about giving money to the "no on Prop 8" people but decided that this email would be more effective. If I get even one of you to change your mind and vote no, then I just saved myself twenty bucks. And if you pass it on and get one more person to vote no, then you owe me twenty bucks, or at least a beer the next time I see you.



This is for rich people

I love articles that have these awesome tips for one to use in order to save energy.

The easiest (and most obvious) thing you can do is get up right now and unplug whatever you're not using. Candidates include:

* Your hand-held vacuum in its charging station
* Power drills
* Automatic coffee makers
* The VCR you haven't used in nearly a decade
* The TV that's collecting dust in the guest room
* The empty refrigerator in the garage

I have put the things that I do not have in bold. It's fine if you have these things. Maybe I even want some of these things (I don't). My apartment is such that the television does not stay plugged in. It has a cord that we stretch into the living room when we watch a DVD (or VHS tape). I like my coffee from a French Press and I know just how much water to boil (count to six... have I mentioned the obsessiveness?). You're damn right I have a drill but leaving it plugged in all the time is not a good idea. Batteries develop memories of how long they lasted from the time before to the time they get plugged in again. The poor really are the best environmentalists. It's not just a line, people. But never underestimate the obsessive people either.

The damp: When I went to the acupuncturist last time, we were discussing my allergies and I said it seemed like when it got gray out is when my sinus problems really kicked into overdrive. She said that in Chinese medicine there's a theory that some people have a dampness inside of them and so it when it gets damp out, it gets exacerbated. Ever since then, I've enjoyed affecting the accent of a grandpa, possibly from the south, then saying the following: "they say I've got the damp in me."



Believe it or not, I went back to acupuncture today, despite "the incident". I didn't mention it to the woman who stuck me with needles this time because it was a different woman than last time. However, I became very nervous when she looked me over for needles with the exact same look on her face that Jane had when she did the same scan. I asked again, "You got them all, right?" She said, "I hope so. We charge extra for the ones you take home." Yes, ha ha. I love a sense of humor.

This Thursday, October 23rd at Thee Parkside: The Heated has their first paying gig! That's right, get your five dollars ready and make your way to the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco with Whitey On The Moon (oh, I'm going to ask them about that band name, you can be damn sure of that) and B And Not B. The 22 line stops directly in front of the club. It will be way past my bedtime but I promise to rock regardless. I will rock as if it was my job, which it is, because you will have paid good money. I will be playing a solo show without Gee on Monday at Blondie's too, if you're in that area, which is 16th and Valencia... It will most likely be a shortish set but may whet your appetite for Thursday's show.

This was not my dream:
but my wife told me today that she had a dream that we had a three-way with Jan from the television program The Office. But apparently, Jan is really high maintenance and brought along three alarm clocks to make sure she woke up in the morning.

"She spent the night?" I asked my wife. It would seem that after that kind of thing, one should put their clothes back on and leave as quickly as possible. Apparently, it wasn't that great either and so we plotted to wake up early and have a make-up session, sans Jan. So, I'm not the only one with weird dreams.
I had really lame stress dreams that I woke up crying from. Twice. Damn it. I might need more than acupuncture.


...get it?

Tonight, I came across my notes from mixing The Heated EP. This post may only be for super-fans but if you click the photos, you can read the notes. Some are pretty informative.


Show review: The Red Vic last Friday

It's already been well over a week since the Red Vic cafe show but I'm just getting to the review now. Sorry about that. Things have been a whirlwind lately. Honestly, that show was a bit of a rough night for me. I was having anxiety over there not being parking and having to double park and unload all the gear and how was I going to eat dinner and just basically freaking out over nothing but freaking out nonetheless.

So, my wife and I drove up there and found parking pretty close, somewhat easily. Gee was meeting us later so we had her drums with us. We unloaded and took store of the cafe itself. Honestly, it reminded me of this weird art gallery that I used to play in Santa Cruz back when I wrote brutal, acoustic guitar songs and went by my first name only. Cristina. Awesome. Anyway, this art gallery was the type of place where bad spoken word took place alongside bad interpretive dance. To top it all of, it was called "What Is Art?". You should never name your business a question you don't want answered. Because the answer is: not that.

The Red Vic really reminded me of "What Is Art?" both in looks and smell (old coffee, pine-scented cleanser and mildew) and also there was weird "art" that consisted of paper cut-outs pasted to foam-core in the shape of peace signs that sold for hundreds of dollars. Really? My anxiety kicked into overdrive and I started contacting everyone I know to make sure they were coming because it's best to overcome these situations in a group. I wanted to give the Red Vic a chance because I've heard really good things about how supportive the audience is there. Except, here's the problem, nobody else brought an audience. Six groups played that night. Not to brag, but I brought fifteen people. The other performers brought literally zero people with them. Ouch. Was it just an off night? If you know the answer, please contact me.

It was great playing for my friends though. Some old co-workers came out (thanks Lauren and Sara) and I had some surprise visitors up from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara so that was good stuff. Plus the show was early enough that we had a chance to meet up afterward and get a drink or two elsewhere so in the end, it was a great night. Rumor has it that recordings might exist of the set that night but I haven't heard any yet. I will try to track it down because one big plus of the Red Vic cafe was that it sounded great.

What was nice about that night too was that as we were leaving the bar later that night, it finally started raining. I'm not sure how long it's been since it rained but several months, at least. Too long. It had been threatening to rain all night and the sky had been dark but it hadn't opened up and let it go. Something about the weather juxtaposed with how stressed I'd been feeling earlier... I don't know, it just felt like this release, like it meant something. What it meant, I don't know but don't you ever feel like the world is trying to show you something?

p.s. Did anyone take pictures at the show? Would someone please take pictures? Wifey can never remember to do so and I need to keep this blog visual. I know I can only hold your attention spans for so long.



I wrote to Nancy Pelosi not once but twice asking her to vote against the bailout because I think it is complete and total bull feces. She is actually my representative since I live in San Francisco. I didn't bother to tell her that I will never, never, ever vote for her again, even if the only other choice is a nut-job (which will undoubtedly be the case, since I live in San Francisco).

My father sent this to me. He's a registered Republican and it's nice for us to agree on something political.


No pain, perhaps gain.

Yesterday afternoon, I went to acupuncture to treat my shoulders (and if my allergies happen to be cured at the same time, so be it). I know that I've mentioned that my shoulders hurt but haven't really gone into detail. Here are the details. I work as an administrative assistant, which means that I move a lot of data from databases to Excel, then make sense of that information. (Wait, isn't that called a data analyst? I'm being ripped off! Oh right, I only have a bachelor's degree. Nevermind). The point isn't what my work is. The point is that it involves me sitting at a computer for long periods of time, using a mouse.

About four months ago, my shoulders decided they couldn't take it anymore and seized up in pain. I've been going to physical therapy for about two months. She pushes my back ribs into place. It hurts. While the pain has gotten a lot better, the muscles are still stiff and sore by the end of each day.

So, the physical therapy has been working but I decided to go to acupuncture too for the muscle pain. When I went in yesterday, the acupuncturist (let's call her Jane) knew just where my pain lived, without me having to tell her. I told her what I did for a living and she knew what was up. It made me feel relieved.

This is a community acupuncture clinic, which means that you get your acupuncture in central room where other clients are as well as opposed to a private room. It's cheaper but you're a bit on display. So I was down to my wifebeater (a.k.a. butch bra) so that Jane could put needles in around my clavicles. The needles went in. She asked if I was cold but I wasn't.

"Ok, well if you get cold, catch my eye and I'll get you a blanket," Jane said. I said that wouldn't be a problem and then I got to relaxing. Or, at least, I tried to relax.

My body felt relaxed but my mind is such an asshole. While I'm reclining, I'm thinking things like, "If there is an earthquake, who will take out my needles?" or "is there any truth to the urban legend about a needle being left in and it traveling to your heart?". I mean, I want to relax but it just might not be who I am.

Then, I started to get cold. It felt like Jane would be coming around soon to take the needles out so I didn't call out for her to bring me a blanket. Plus, and I don't mean to be crude, but they're just nipples, ok? Everyone has them and when you get cold, they get hard. It's just science, people.

So I was a little self-conscious, even though there was only one other client in the room with me and they were a little distracted by being filled with needles too. "Breathe," I told myself, "listen to the bonging chimes. Nobody cares about your hard nipples. Jennifer Aniston smuggled gumballs in front of millions of viewers each week and she didn't care."

At one point, I could have sworn that I felt one of the needles near my clavicle fall out but I decided to just hold still and wait it out. Finally, Jane came and removed the needles. Before I got up, I smiled and said, "You got them all, right?" She was kind enough to smile and ignore me.

I walked home, as the clinic is really close to my house. I really did feel relaxed and my shoulders felt better, despite the fact that two spots really stung near my clavicle from where the needles were. So I got home and decided to check out the two spots and THE NEEDLES WERE STILL IN! My nipple-erections must have pulled my wifebeater up over the two of them, hiding them from Jane's view. Stupid, scientific nipples. I'm not going to tell you which clinic it was, because I don't want you to think it wasn't awesome, because it was. What's a few needles between friends, right?


My new favorite website

I'm just sayin'.
You will laugh and maybe vomit a little sometimes.

Show review: El Rio last Tuesday

Allow me to tell you how the first show with The Heated's new drummer Gee went. First off, we showed up around 7:15 pm to unload and there were literally two people in the whole place: the bartender and the opening act (Julie Schurr, she has such a pretty voice). No big deal. It was still early. We got our stuff unloaded and invited Julie out for burritos. Gee and Julie didn't eat much while I plowed through two tacos. A little boy in the taqueria showed me how high he could jump. It was really high.

We got back to El Rio and there were maybe seven people there. Everyone I had invited was taking their sweet time to arrive. It took so much time that I was starting to worry that no one would show up at all. I started to send panicked text messages. Gee's friends were all there and ready to go by 8:00 pm. They're very prompt, that group. My friends? Not so much. But finally, slowly, they trickled in and by the time Gee and I hit the stage, I would estimate there were a good thirty people there (including these four hot German lesbians who kind of looked like they might all get it on with each other. You go, ladies).

As soon as we started playing, it was on, as they say. It was as if we had been playing together for way longer than we actually have been. I would easily attribute this to the fact that Gee has clearly been practicing her ass off, which is appreciated. I've been less on the practicing lately what with my shoulders and the energy I've been expending in the marketing department, plus how I have a full time job and am taking two classes but I've had a bit longer to memorize the songs so I was ok. I will say though that of the two slight flubs, I was accountable for both. Thanks Gee.
My friends are excited and are saying things like, "new beginning", "exciting", "Gee's awesome", and "it's just what you needed". So, you know, that's good.


This might sound familiar

Did my brilliant press release make it to the masses? Hell to the yeah. Many thanks to The Deli Mag for their remarkably sound decision to post it on their home page.


Press Release

For Immediate Release:

Cristina Espinosa placed an ad for a drummer for her previously solo-project The Heated on a whim. The ad read as follows:

Low-key drummer sought. Must be ridiculously good looking.

There were actually two replies but when the first respondent realized there was no money involved, only Gee Fortycoats remained as a contender. The Heated’s self-titled, debut EP was released this past April and already included far more instruments than Espinosa could hope to include in a live performance as a solo artist. So when it became clear that this new drummer also plays guitar, mandolin, various percussion instruments and banjo, Fortycoats was asked to stay on. Thus it is with great pleasure that The Heated announces this new line-up will debut on September 16th at El Rio. The show begins at 8:00 pm and admittance is free.


Concentrated concentration

My shoulders are still messed up and though the pain has gone from a pinched nerve feeling to merely the sorest, sore muscles I've ever had. My physical therapist has been pushing my back ribs into place and marveling at just how tight my muscles are. She also warned me to fix my posture, which I've been doing. It kills.

As a result, I've been staying away from the cursed computer which gave me the shoulder problems in the first place. At first it was difficult but luckily school started up around the same time so I've had less time to be checking my email/myspace/facebook/news obsessively. Truly, I've realized that I'm getting far more done as a result. It's forced me to really focus and get what I need done on the computer then step away. I've gotten my homework done, put together radio promo packages, written a press release (about the surprise I'm announcing this week) and contacted some clubs about shows (success at the Red Vic). That's all in the last three days. It's good. I think I need to continue on accordingly. Less internet, more working.


Fresh for the internetz

Hey folks. I've been recording demos so that myspace can have some fresh material. I decided to record vocals and guitar at the same time, mostly so that I don't have to use a metronome. That's how I use laziness for innovation. But wait, I took it one step further and decided to also record a video at the same time so I wouldn't have to do that later and the sound would match up perfectly. My laziness is your reward. Please check out the new (and by new I mean to say that I wrote it years ago and am just introducing it now) song, For The Greater Good.

(I'm such a Mac commercial, aren't I? Recording songs to Garage Band, downloading video, splicing it together in iMovie, uploading it to YouTube. )

Also, if you are newer to The Heated, you may not be aware of my video for The Current Or The Undertow? You can find this song on my self-released e.p. The owl stays on my desk. I like keeping him around and asking him questions like, "Owlie, do you think I'm so, so pretty?" and he nods and nods.


Watch this

If you stopped paying attention after two minutes, that's the internet's fault. Enjoy, suckas.


Hand's what's for dinner

My dream journal is still kicking. I thought I'd share one I had a few weeks ago.

Here is the dream:
My right hand has been cloned and I am eating it for dinner. It has been served up on a plate and I am amused by it. I smack this fake hand across my thigh. I am wearing jeans. My wife also has her hand on a plate (the left one as she is left handed) but doesn't seem amused or interested. We were not given knives, only forks so the only part I'm able to eat is the palm. Finally, I am provided with a knife but by that point, I'm over the whole thing and am only able to eat the top joint of my pinkie before I become thoroughly un-appetized.

What does that mean?

Also, my guitar has been fixed and The Heated is about to make a big, happy announcement. Soon. Not today. Curious?


Bribed By Blackberries

We climbed to the top. We watched the sunset.

Do you know Nevada City? It's on the way to Reno. I spend a bit of time there due to some in-law family members and friends residing in this pleasant town. Last time I was there was New Year's Eve at Cooper's bar. There was the most convincing Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band that has ever existed. Hands down the best cover band I've seen in Nevada City (out of the five I've seen). It was freezing cold and no one cared for my fake moustache. Sigh.

This time, I was talked into going by the prospect of going blackberry picking. Now, I'm almost a through and through city girl but I've spent a bit of time on a farm due to the Environmental Studies major and three years of my childhood spent in Ojai on a few acres of avocado trees.

Pickin's were slim this season as it hasn't rained pretty much all year. We finally hit a good patch and Gail and I employed a two-woman system where I would go in deep, braving the brambles and push the branches towards her with my stick. Ingenious. And it's only my second time berry picking. Blackberry crumble was made from the fruits of our labor and it was so good, I had it for breakfast and then for lunch-dessert the next day.

This is off topic but: last night before I fell asleep I was thinking about Pearl Jam's Even Flow video. You know, the one where it's a live performance in a theatre and Mr. Vedder scales the balcony, gets that intensly weird look on his face then drops like a dead man to the waiting arms of the crowd below. Then when I got into my car today to move it for street cleaning, guess which song was on. Is that weird? These things happen to me all the time. A useless intuition, to be sure, but intuition nonetheless.

Show review: El Rio last Tuesday

Ah Tuesday night. Not as worthy as Monday for a drink. Not as close to the weekend as you'd hope. Still, I was in good spirits. I was feeling positive. I went out to Spork for dinner before the show. Spork is so named because the spot used to be a KFC. I can kind of remember when it was still a KFC but it's hard to know seeing as how I have not been in KFC for at least a decade. In fact, there is one less than a block away from the apartment I have lived in for eight years that I have never been inside. Yeah, my money still does the talking.

Anyway, I was a little nervous all throughout dinner but not so nervous that I didn't eat every damn bite of delicious food that came my way. Everything I ate at Spork was tasty. Recomended. But it took a little longer than I'd hoped and in the end I had to throw money down and run. I don't like being tardy.

I needn't have worried. There were some minor sound problems going on so I had extra time to pee every ten minutes, as I do when I'm nervous. I swear, I was there half an hour and peed three times. Finally I was up and I must say, it was one of my better shows. It all just kind of came together and that's nice when that happens. It was a bit of a rough night as most everyone I knew either flaked or was attending Dolly Parton. This hurt, coming from Dolly. If I wasn't at El Rio I definitely would have been at Ms. Parton's show. Now that's a performer. Anyway, I brought four fans, three of whom were engaged in an all night gossip session. I'm not judging, I'm just saying. I maybe made some new fans because, well, that's kind of the point of playing now isn't it?

Truth be told, I need an outgoing, loud friend to get some people paying attention to the fact that yes, you can sign up on an email list and become informed for the future. I know it sounds a little pushy but marketing must be done. I'm not standing up there with a guitar in my hands for my health, unless you mean mental health in which case, that's exactly why I'm standing up there... anyway, what I'm saying is that I got business to attend to and I need an associate. Where are my loud friends at? You know who you are. I'll buy you drinks. Be my bitch.

Anyway, after I played there were two more performers, both of whom had such pretty voices. If you see that they're playing again, don't say no. Say yes, yes, yes to Chantelle Tibbs and Jo Boyer. Whoa, ok, you don't have to be that into it. Geez. Whore.



I've strained my shoulder.
I shouldn't be on a computer.
So, I'll just post these instead.
They don't have to do with anything, really.


My precious time

My music buying streak is back on. Someone gave me a gift certificate which I managed to spend in about three minutes. I did purchase one song a few days before the gift certificate appeared. It's really a guilty pleasure that I don't talk about often but I have a thing for R&B ballads (think Mariah Carey's We Belong Together) and so I bought Leona Lewis, Bleeding Love. Man, that ending when she holds that note out... sigh. The art of heartbreak.

Other singles I purchased:
Lesley Gore. You Don't Own Me*
The Shirelle's, Will You Love Me Tomorrow?

I bought a few albums too. Let's start with The Finches, Human Like A House. Sometimes other people's music fills me with jealousy and thoughts of "why don't I write songs like that?". This is one of those albums. Hopefully I'll learn a thing or two from repeated obsessive listening. I also picked up Bob Dylan's, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Mostly I got this album so I could listen to Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. Sometimes the harmonica gets on my damn nerves but every musician should have some Dylan in there.

Next up is The Dodos with Visiter. This album is weird. I think it's going to take a few listens for me to settle in with it. It's got a bit of a psychedelic folk thing going (are we calling it freak folk?) and I'm not generally into that kind of thing but I find myself drawn to their music nonetheless. It was recorded brilliantly. To round everything out, I got The Killers, Sam's Town. So far, I'm really impressed actually. I mean, there's this ridiculous bravado and please get off Springsteen's jock but I'm also really drawn to their weird bombast and Springsteen is awesome so...

*fun fact: Lesley Gore is my people (lesbian, not Mexican). She also sang It's My Party so you know, maybe it was more about Judy than Johnny.


Show review: Blondie's on Monday... again

So how was the show on Monday? First off, let me tell you I was tired. I'd been working on a little headache all day. One of those headaches that isn't so much painful as persistent and seven hours later, you're tired of the space behind your temple gently throbbing. I ate breakfast. I drank water. I ate lunch and still... I took ibuprofen and worked it out.

By the time the show came around, I was ready to go but when I got onstage, I second guessed the set list and started with Hot Bastard! instead of my originally planned number. Sometimes it's hard to stand up there and realize that most people didn't show up to see you and you need to win them over within the first ten minutes or else. Did I win them over? Well, maybe. It's hard to tell. It wasn't packed but at the same time I sold more merch and albums than ever before. So, it's a tough call but I like selling things so overall I'm going to call it a success. I meant to have someone take pictures. Next time.

There are a few people who come to damn near every show and it helps me tremendously to know that if all else fails, if everyone is too tired or comes down with a case of the Mondays I can count on this core group to come out and drink enough to make the bartender want me back. You know who you are. You know I love ya.

Despite the sparse population of this show, I felt good up there. I dug deep into the Cristina catalog, debuting a song that I wrote when I was 20 (its public debut though my living room has heard it for years) up to the song I wrote a few weeks ago. I even pulled out what was undoubtedly the hit of the show: my hastily cobbled together Billy Idol cover of Dancin' With Myself. Please note that I did not cover the part where Billy let's everyone know how he's all wet and he sweats and he sweats and sweats, sweats, sweats, sweats, sweats. Gross.

Speaking of sweating, I've been working my marketing muscles on the upcoming El Rio show. Literally, I took an exercise walk there tonight to drop off fliers for the August 5th show. Check it out below. I'm into skeletons lately.



I've had a hard time falling asleep this week, which is unusual. Normally if I'm going to have insomnia, it will be the type where I wake up in the middle of the night and have anxious thoughts until I fall back asleep. But this week it's been all about lying awake for hours until my body finally gives up. The reason why may be the dorkiest reason ever. I've finally done something that I've been telling myself (and everyone else around me) I should do for a long time. I created a dream journal and I've been excited to get new material.

There's been an element of self-mocking whenever I speak of this dream journal but the embarrassing truth is that this isn't even my first one. I'm a big writer but I wouldn't call them journals. I would call them disjointed thoughts written down for possible song use. But years ago, I used to keep a dream journal. I'm far better at recording events than making sense of them and dreams kind of make sense of events for you so when I read back through this journal, more than any other, I have a sense of who I was at that age and what I was going through.

Recently my wife brought home a small blank journal that she received as a free gift from a vendor. She'd had a choice between a journal and a tote bag. She choose wisely as we have twenty tote bags. I already have a regular journal going but it's hard to not write in a fresh one when it's just sitting there, the blank pages giving me that look like, "come be all crazy here." I realized that if I made this my dream journal I could start writing in it right away so I slapped a cover on it last Sunday, when I was dorking out with many creative projects (such as a wooden moustache) and decided to start recording what my brain thinks about when I sleep.

When I wake up in the middle of the night it is not because of anxiety. Sure, I have anxious thoughts but I have them every waking second so that's not noteworthy. I think the reason I wake up is because of Vina, the rottweiler. You see, Vina used to wake up randomly and bark her thunderous bark for no reason at about three or four in the morning. Eight years of waking up every night kind of made it a habit. She also used to wake me up with her disgusting, obsessive bed licking. Since she was deaf, it wasn't like I could just yell at her to stop. Instead I'd smack her with my pillow then make rude hand gestures. But she didn't sleep on my side of the bed so I'd have to lean over my wife and do this sweeping, pillow smack so that everyone in the room could be awake. I like sharing.


My people

I came across this short film the other day and found it really endearing. Plus a lot of it was shot near the area of the park my crew bunkers down in for The Dyke March. So, you know, represent.

I may have mentioned this already but I've discovered that the key to Pride is never having to use the bathroom, which can be difficult when you've had a few cans of Modelo. The reason that peeing at the Dyke March is such a hassle is that since there are no corporate sponsors, there's not enough money for the rows and rows of Portas that say, the Castro or Civic Center event can afford. This equals the longest wait of your life for a chance to hover your ass over a stinky, wet hole, praying that there are a few squares of toilet paper left when you're done. But you know I'm all about taking it back from corporations. The key is bringing your own toilet paper. I passed this tip on to the filmmaker, Shae. Shae posted this advice on her blog and well, that just made me want to put her film up here all the more. Plus it's nice to come across people in your city who are doing cool stuff. Go get 'em.

Also, this whole exchange between Shae and myself reminded me of this ecard I ran across recently. I'm so easily amused.


Latchkey blog

I know, I'm posting twice in one day because I feel badly about how I've been neglecting you lately. It's hard when you work and are really popular too. Last night, I was double booked for drinks with a friend and then a trip to the circus. I managed to do both. The show I went to was a fundraiser for Circus Bella and the reason I went it because the founder and trapeeze artist of Circus Bella is my old housemate and current friend, Abby.

Abby and I have known each other for years but somehow, criminally, I had never seen her trapeze act before. I mean, I've long admired her arm muscles but I'd never seen them in action. Trapeze is intense, especially when done about five feet away from you in a club. There was also a slack rope act, some juggling, a giant gay blue bunny and a tight little group of musicians. It was packed in Amnesia. I laughed. I yelled "woo" liberally. I had more fun than I should have and got home way past my bedtime. Yet, I blog on for you.

I didn't ask permission but this photo is from High Flying Abigail's website.

Doesn't photograph well

Pasted below is a new weapon in my marketing arsenal: press photos. The magnificent paintings behind me (I've been calling them Good and Squirrel vs. Blue Jay) are by an artist named Grant Olsen, who I believe lives in Boise. I tried to stalk Grant in order to find some type of website for him but all I found was an article in which he said he would use some grant money he was awarded for his art to visit the dentist so clearly, he's a man after my own heart.

It's taken forever to get a press photo that I actually like because I don't photograph well. I'm way hotter in real life or at least, that's what my wife tells me and by "tells me" I mean she nods her head when I say it. Seriously though, put me in front of a camera and I'm all gums, double chins and acne scars. Apparently the key is not smiling. I'm ugly when I smile is the lesson I've learned. Anyway, now I've got to print these suckers up and get them in an envelope. The press must know about The Heated.


My nerdly pursuits

It was when I began learning quantum physics that my faith in hard science faltered for the first time. At some point I realized that everything was just a guess on where particles might possibly be. I lost a bit of faith and decided to stay away from physics and veer more towards biology. My thought at the time was that I couldn't base my life on what might possibly be true but could also be not true. If it can't be proven, why should I care? I've always been like this, very black and white, but lately I've had to admit that quantum theory is a metaphor for life. You go in with your expectations and best guesses and sometimes they're right and sometimes you need to travel in a big circle and try again. I'm trying to be ok with this idea.

I've got a few new songs that mostly seem concerned with the usual subjects that I love but I've been feeling this undercurrent of other thoughts in there, more universal thoughts about what draws one person to another and what pushes them away. Not just romantically but the big picture, all of your relationships. Because it's kind of like everyone is a magnet but depending on circumstance, you're either pulling someone in or repelling them. I've had this attractive force on my mind. It's made me want to read up on electromagnetic theory and see if I can pull some correlations together.

After I wrote one of my recent songs that ends with a phone call placed to a number that has been disconnected I went out for a walk. I like to take walks when I've got songs in my brain or big thoughts to work out. A lot of my songs are probably the same tempo as my gait. Anyway, in the song, the phone being disconnected stands for the larger disconnect that can happen between people. Out on my walk, I was thinking these "connection/disconnection" thoughts and I passed a weirdo talking to himself. As I passed, he said "those signals, they won't go through anymore. Once they're gone, they're gone. It doesn't come back". It reminded me of the other gentleman who told me about the stars talking to him. I think of these weirdos as antennas, relaying their messages when I draw near. Do these types of things happen to you?

Besides electromagnetic theory, I've also had a desire to learn more about quantum theory. Don't you ever think about what they taught us about atoms and how they're mostly empty space and wonder how we all hold together? Maybe it's just me. I've been thinking about all these things and keep coming across news articles that correspond with my complicated theories about the nature of the universe. Here are some of the articles I've come across:

The Stroke: a woman loses her ability to be too "left brain".
Important quote: ... being unable to tell where the atoms and molecules that comprised her arm stopped and the atoms and molecules that comprised the rest of the world began.

The Experiment: will a giant atom smasher create a black hole?

Important quote: David Francis, a physicist on the collider's huge ATLAS particle detector, smiled when asked whether he worried about black holes and hypothetical killer particles known as strangelets.

The Noise: the earth itself makes noise that we can't hear

Important quote: The sound is awful.

I've been printing these articles out and highlighting the "important" parts. I fear these may be the first, small steps towards becoming a bona fide weirdo myself. But anyway, that's where I am creatively right now. I have hopes to put up some demos of these songs soon.



I first saw this on Your Daily Lesbian Moment, which you should probably visit if you enjoy giggling. Anyway, just thought I'd share because it's been at least a few weeks since it was first posted and I'm still laughing. Thanks, Kentucky.


Even when I was 17

I made this little number up to give to members of my street team ("Little Helpers"). By street team, I mean my friends... they could be a team. It covers three months worth of shows cuz I like to plan ahead.


It's called living

So I'm trying to stay away from the internet since I'm on vacation but my partner in crime has a new laptop and too much free time. So, if you want to know what I've been up to through the eyes of someone much more aesthetic-oriented than me, please click here.


Good Gay Citizen

Living in San Francisco spoils us gay people. Sometimes we forget about how a lot of people feel about us, with the fear and hatred and all. I went down to City Hall Monday to get in on the marriage action... not to actually get married but to see other married gay people. We'll see what happens in November. These could all be empty promises.

Here's what went down: First off, it was cold and foggy with a bitter wind on Monday. I wore a hat and gloves. We got down to City Hall around 6:00 and it seemed as though most of the action had already taken place.

Our City Hall is pretty, yes? I tried to get the American flag in there. A little symbolism for you.

The freshly married people came out the front here and every time they did, the gay band would play. How can you hate our people? We brought a band! I'm honestly not sure if the sign about "Homo Sex" being a threat to national security is real or ironic. I will say that one gentleman was wearing a leather jacket that advertised how gay people would burn in hell and he had the most bad-ass flames illustrating his point. I tried, I tried, I tried to get a picture. This gentleman has a website called truthtrucks.com although as far as I could tell from the pictures on the site it's more like "Truth Truck", singular. We were calling it "The Hate Truck" or "The Crappy Toyota?". I mean, if you love America so much, buy American.

I also can't help but notice this truck features a very large picture of two men kissing. Sure, it has a slash through it but still. Also, that whole "not Adam and Steve" thing always makes me giggle. Everyone knows that it would really be "Steven" too. All Stevens are gay.

But really, is this what this guy does with his life? Does he call his friends over to say, "Aw man, wait 'till you see the Truth Truck. I've got this giant picture of two dudes kissing. Then it's got a slash through it. Man, when the American people see this, it will really make them think."?
On the walk back home, we walked by Citizen Cake and saw the first-San Francisco-married lesbian couple inside and everyone was raising their glasses in a toast and well, tears did come to my eyes. Sometimes it freaks me out that the country I live in considers me a second-class citizen not worthy of the tax breaks that straight people get. San Francisco Pride is right around the corner. It's going to be a good one this year.


Show review: Blondie's on Monday

Allow me to tell you about the good times I had at Blondie's this past Monday. First off, the opening band, Solis, was awesome. Not that I'm terribly suprised but when you're playing for free on a Monday, sometimes the acts can be a little dodgy. This was not the case, largely owing to Amber's voice. But the music was nothing to sneeze at either. What I'm saying is, go see them at the Red Vic on July 19th. I don't know why I'm pimping them. I should be pimping myself but there's plenty of pimp juice to go around.
No there isn't.

That's gross.

Pretend I didn't say that.

That reminds me:
The other day, I drank a beer before going out on an exercise walk and I kept referring to it as "exercise juice". I'm sure it wasn't annoying at all.

Anyway, back to the show. The crowd for my set was amongst the most receptive ever. I loved those guys. After one of my new songs, one of the dudes gave an emphatic, "yeah." People were air drumming. I dug it. Yes, I did. So, you know, it was good. I'm doing it again soon. You'll hear about it here.

After that Kiyoshi went on and killed it. What a performer, that guy. Belting out the good times. Good show, good show. One of my friends showed up about five minutes after I finished. She had been out with a friend who couldn't remember where she had parked and they'd had to walk around for a while before they found it.

This picture has nothing to do with anything I wrote above. It's me at the laundromat. It's just nice to have pictures.


I made this

That there is my amp. Most amp covers are held on with velcro. I discovered that the day that Rueben dropped my amp on its face and it came up without a cover (but otherwise undamaged). It gave me ideas, as some accidents do.
Blondie's is a few blocks from my house. Far enough to consider calling a cab but close enough to feel guilty about it so most times I roll this sucker there. I've tried riding it down 16th street but it doesn't work too well. If you see me rolling by...

Then I also wanted to show you the printer stand that I made in furniture class. The class is actually out for the summer but I've been finishing this project up for a few weeks now. It's a printer stand. The printer goes in there and when you need to put paper in the back, just lift that lid right up. I'm kind of a genius.
The paint I used is called Milk Paint and it's non-toxic to the point where some say you could drink it. Who the first moron was to tip that cup back? I don't know. Working with the paint took a little getting used to but the clean-up was a snap and the finish is pretty cool. It's chalky. Two coats.


Kapok. Canton, China.

Something bad happened this weekend. You see that piece of broken stuff on the desk? Yeah, that's not good. This guitar is on my list of what I would grab if there was a fire. I am confident it can get fixed after the brakes on my car are adjusted so as to stop the grinding.

This other scarring is ok. That's just surface but in order to play guitar, there must be tension. Without the crumbled plastic piece, there is no tension.


Life is a mystery. Everyone must stand alone.

This is the second installment on albums that changed my life. For your consideration:

I recently told my friend that I'm needy
. I'm surprised I had to tell her this as I have actually said the phrase "pay attention to me" out loud, many times, to her. Anyway, it got me thinking about needing and how sometimes needing is the same as taking and if I'm taking, am I giving too?

These are big thoughts, I know so I've given it a whole day and I've decided that I do give. I know enough to understand when someone is saying something important. When that time comes, I am an excellent listener who tries not to interrupt with my own stories. Also, I have a plethora of sayings that are sure to cheer you up. But when all else fails, when someone is inconsolable, I have a secret weapon: I dance. If I am dancing, it's usually to keep someone else from crying. I dance magnificently.

All of these thoughts reminded me of a time, almost a decade ago now, when I was really low. It was after a bad breakup. Not just "eat a carton of ice cream" bad but like "someone should call the cops" bad. Anyway, after the break up, she got to keep almost all the friends by moving in with them. My best friend moved to France around the same time and I was kind of dating, but in a seriously disastrous way that broke my heart worse than the break up with the girlfriend. Basically, with the exception of Regina, who is my life-long friend as a result of sticking by me in that time, I was alone. Not "clear my head" alone but like "drink a six-pack by myself every night" alone. "Alone" alone.

After the break-up/move-out, I had to pick up a weekend job to keep up with higher rent, which meant I was working seven days a week. Of course, I caught a cold and kept it for months. I would come home from work, drink while watching t.v. and fall asleep on the couch until 5:30 am the next morning, when I would start again. Sometimes I didn't have money to eat but there was always money for beer. I did this for six months.

My biggest comfort and my biggest enemy at the time was the puppy the ex-girlfriend had given me for my birthday the previous summer. We named her Vina, though I had wanted to name her Lucy. Vina ate my apartment. Every day I would come home to what had previously been a chair, a couch cushion or a stairwell landing to find it strewn about in a million pieces. I sprayed every piece of furniture with watered-down Tabasco sauce but nothing stopped her. After a while, I stopped cleaning and left it like that, layer upon destroyed layer. Like most things when you're depressed, it wasn't a priority.

Truly, it wasn't Vina's fault. I was a bad dog-mom for obvious reasons. But at night, she would curl up with me while I sniffled in my cold, damp bedroom and that was nice to have. It's nice when someone loves you like that, without all the judging and telling you to stop drinking. Still, I knew I was in trouble. Things were headed down a dangerous path and there was some concern on my part as to how I was going to get up.

One night, Regina left her cds at my house. Vina of course chewed at the vinyl book but was unable to get to those cds (way to buy brand-name, quality merchandise Regina). After wrestling the book away from Vina, I took a look at the cds inside. I wasn't sure what I was looking for but when I saw Madonna's Immaculate Collection, I put it on. I got up off the couch. I danced. It reminded me of when I was a kid and I was desperate to be reminded of something else.

My routine changed from then on. I would still drink and sleep but instead of watching t.v., I danced to Madonna. Every single night. Vina never much cared for dancing and she would stare at me vacantly as I jumped off couches, threw myself on my knees, pulled out my best moves to Holiday. I strutted to Papa Don't Preach. I'd wrap my arms around myself to Crazy For You, like you'd do when you were a kid pretending that someone else was dancing with you. To this day, I know not only the words to every song, but every inflection, every sigh, every "oh, baby".

My health got better slowly. Eventually, I borrowed a shop vacuum and sucked up the mess, foam chunks flying up the hose and into the chamber with a satisfying thunk. I learned how to lay carpet, stain woodwork, and sew, basically re-assembling that apartment in time to move out. I got our damn deposit back too. The whole thing. When the landlord called me about his suspicions, I had a story for every one. The carpet looked fresh because someone had spilled wine and we had steam cleaned it too well, not because the dog had dug a hole and the carpet was brand new. No dog lived at that house. Somebody had tried to move in with a dog but we kicked them out a month later. Lies flew out of my mouth without even having to think about it. It scared me, these new skills. But I embraced them, packed them up and put them in a box to use later.

Did Madonna save my life? It's hard to say. The thing about Madonna is that she's not the best singer and she knows it. But she's smart enough to realize that it's not about talent, it's about determination and the understanding when all else fails, you can always dance. It's all I have to give. Touch me once and you'll know it's true.