Ha Ha Ha Comedy.

  1. I decided to link my blog to my Twitter again so just LOOK OUT! You finally will get to find things out about me! My apologies if this saddens your eyeballs.
  2. Actually, I’ve been working on a kind of lampoony, passing-the-buck, disclaimer song. It’s pretty droll. I like that word, ‘droll.’ Why does it feel like Christmas?
  3. Maybe Santa Claus is droll? Or his elves? Maybe I should move on.
  4. No news on Nur Ein. (I’m DJ RangerDen)–I am neither DJ, nor Ranger. It takes too long to explain. No news is fruit juice, right?
  5. Except aaaaaaaaaack. I actually have already written a poem that is exactly the instructions for the next song title and challenge. Weird. I don’t think it would have made it through, not for a second–it’s way way too oblique. But it satisfies it for me so I will maybe set it to music if I am booted out of here. It’d be my first Nur Ein shadow, at any rate.
My gorgeous handwriting, hello kitty notes, and favorite tiny game on a mug. I work real hard, kids. Go team go.
  1. I am not going to get too into doing more song contests because I have to set up in other ways. Already behind on other projects and am panicking-but need to find a deadline-centered work ethic which feels different from “Be here at this place now at this time” which is calendar-like and something I understand. I understand gigs better than projects.
  2. Grow up, self.
  3. I am writing comedy right now and I am noticing the key to doing this is thinking of it like music, with rests and breathing and dynamics.
  4. I am way behind because I have actually been writing music. But this is actually because I was doing standup so one thing being good for the other is a success story.
  5. I am blogging again too so this is also a success.
  6. I decided to stop blogging and go back to writing comedy. Because of work ethics and all. Later, I will be giving dating advice to friends–which I am in no way qualified to do for so very, very many reasons.

This Is Fine

I wrote a song yesterday (last day/night) which I have not done in ages.

some scratch-lyrics I did in prep that week. Before recording started.

It was written in a very brief amount of time. I don’t know how close I am to making it something I feel songfully about. I don’t know if I got this blog entry about it right. I don’t typically write “song bios.” I was thinking about starting to make videos about my process. Before I didn’t. It seemed self indulgent. But maybe I ought to get over this, and get out here. I ought to admit that I am interested in myself, because people are interesting and I am actually not a cynical person.

I wrote this blog entry last night in the dead of night and hit publish quickly–much like I rushed to get my song entry into the Song Fight people last minute. This time, I am going to say I got my point across through mood and content rather than through production and flash. Now I don’t believe that mixing properly is bad, not at all, I just think that in my case the pursuit of perfection holds me back from the actual composition of the thing.

I was going for a feeling of detached concern and a deeply passionate but distanced advocacy. Sort of surfing the breakers of white guilt.

White guilt is a fraught, bullshit topic and there is really no pretty way to be frank about it. Its awkward how atrocious my presence is in this conversation, no matter what I would say, even if it is helpful. This is not about me in the least. I wanted to try to explain this last night, because if you don’t say anything you are just wearing your fuzzy blanket, really.

I have wanted to explain it before. But wanting to explain a horrible thing and NEEDING to explain a horrible thing and having a responsibility either to DO or to JUST SHUT UP or to Show Up quietly is sometimes a thing that it is on just each Individual to navigate. Thusly, this is a song TO me, and for my sake and feelings. There’s a “you know why” line that’s an elephant in the room. And it’s addressing people like me because we know why all of those things in the song and we’re “sure that…” Ellipsis. Because what can one add to the conversation?

In the song I talk about being at the end of a life but paradoxically knowing you’re “not going to die.” This basically means that there’s a likelihood of a long life and statistics are kind if you are privileged in society. I used a lot of words like ‘lies’ and ‘smile’ and ‘sneak’ and ‘teeth.’ Words that make my voice sound tinny and cause hastily applied last minute effects to jar a bit. I wanted some more little treasures I may add later and help with proper mixing and of course a real master. I had a metallic piano and some scrapes. I’d recorded some dripping water from my kitchen and a steam sound and I have an immersion microphone in the mail coming to me; and I was going to do some things with that. The song is worthwhile, so sauce will be added later. I have a few songs like this so maybe they can make an entire recording. You never know…

The more I listened to it, the more I liked the presentation. I like the pauses. My recording itself is cleaner and my ears are improved, I think. I didn’t worry that it needed a bridge and rush to clutter the song with more and more changes. It feels songwriterly… again. My other recent material does not. It feels like part of shows, which is different.

I almost didn’t need to blog about it, but you come to a realization that it is your blog, at a certain point. So I have to stand for something and report my whereabouts even if I am vague and quiet about it. And to say that I do not support the wanton carelessness of one group of humans toward another–let alone the violence–that’s necessary. But if every effort I make to even feel towards a thing is lost in a sea of pleasant couch cushions, this is also an issue. It’s problematic if we are silenced by the huge reality of our own insultingly mundane unimportance in the scheme of things. We are raised to feel exceptional. We are not, and we are not necessary. And it’s dangerous … to feel -unUnique. For ANYBODY.

It’s a hypothetical that isn’t so hypothetical. It’s about a shade of gray that is actually quite black and white in this case. It might mean different things to different people, but this is what it means to me. In any case, it would be about personally showing up morally unprepared and trying to put a cartoon bandaid over a gaping hole and showing up to a funeral in your stupid party dress. So making excuses.

It’s hard to explain my emotions. The recording was like this. I was in half a new room setup. I was setting up a new machine and the last times Ive tried to do a round of one of these on a brand new machine I’ve taken collaborators down with me because the sound’s been off. At the end, I had to swap machines to get a vocal down because my newer machine didn’t want to talk to my legacy interface and was having assignment and routing problems. These things make me feel like a dork, particularly after getting quick at routing and problem solves–but at I’m a little better at slapping apology demo FX on things now. She says this after sending a mildly distorted track 🙂

After some self-flagellation on the forums which I did not need to do, I regretted saying anything because I think now this track has sort of grown on me. I like the chords I chose and the ebb and flow of intensity like it’s also a musical option to just opt out. I feel like I ought to give myself more credit for making good musical choices and having the intent there in the beginnings of things. It’s important I respect this songwriter thing in myself or I’m going to get into a bad habit of abandoning my work again at the first sign that someone thinks a negative thing about it. Maybe they are right about me, I will think, although I ought to know better by now that the opinions of others do not really matter and this is a head game. Making songs for other people will always leave your work sounding contrived and fake-ish (at least for me). Even if you have a commission or an assignment of some kind or a fan base to please–they have requested YOU, and so you must show up with your whole mind and body.

This is a highly edited entry, as I said before, and I probably should try a little harder with song bios next time. This is probably true of songs as well. All I know is that my sleep is off and I have comedy to write-write for a class I am taking; and also.must cook and bake and get back to normal. There’s bread, I hopped on that train. And who knows if I’ll be back in here to change more of the record. Or not. Maybe I’ll just make a list-ier one later about other random stuff (no one believes).

To close (finally! :D) I honestly don’t expect much or to get through to be top 25 of 41 people with my rushed little offering, no matter that it was earnestly performed. But you never know because sometimes the weirdest things of mine get liked the most. I made second place with an educational “bad rap” about a piranha track I did in less than 2 hours. I think people were surprised. No one will be surprised about exposed vocal and sparsely emotional piano. Either way, this could be me making personal history fizzling out of Nur Ein in a Round 0 or even just skating thru to an ultimate and unlikely stupid win (HA!)…so we’ll just have to see.

Secrets and Songs

Hi it’s me.

(this is not the song the post is about)

I wrote a song once years ago for that song contest I have historically done (Song Fight!) called Colorblind. So not recently. Recently-now I am thinking to finish a song called ‘This is Fine.’ At the moment, I don’t know that they’d have a title like “colorblind or Only I think it is meant to be spelled in the overseas sort of way with what I think of as ‘vacation vowels’—so with the ‘U.’ Like in the improv game Be More British.

Anyway, I did this long ago. Because it was the given title and we were told to. This had to have been sometimes between 2009-2011. I think I was supposed to not have a chorus and sort of meander along or maybe tell a story or I don’t remember. Typically for me at that time, I wrote it about a super secret almost-relationship I had had which was frustrating to me. I wanted to write about this thing that had happened so briefly that nobody in the entire universe even knew about so much so that I often forget it was there. Now, this is decades ago and I was so different.

In songwriting, not even five-ish years ago, I used to be vague but also forthcoming. I wrote in metaphors. But always, I look for signs. Maybe I’ll do this #songcontest I used to do again and maybe I will not. It seems to be a deadline my songwriter clock respects for some reason. The only other way I hustle is for an opening day or money.

I found these old lyrics, looking for paper. These were not the ones I used. These were full of flowery metaphors and obfuscations about what I was going through then. And my songwriter muscles are a bit out of whack after the switching gears into improvising and not sitting and crafting scenes and moods and a musical agenda. But there has to be a balance, right?

What Happens in Portland…

1. I’m back from a trip I took about a week and a half ago to Portland for this thing called SongFight! Live. I did my own tiny set for a mildly smily-but-challenging crowd. They were a bit more chatty than I’m used to, requiring me to bring out the emotional pyrotechnics and stage pizzaz. I’d give my performance a solid 6 out of 10.

2. Videos were made of this performance  and I put a couple of them on G+. You can find them then if you’re just DYING to see them. Otherwise, maybe I’ll post myself singing and playing music some other day.

3. I also sat in with someone and played Mysterious Organ, was in three-ish other bands on various instruments. and participated in the live fight wearing a green mask. There were glow sticks.


4. However, I probably caught Airline Hospitality Flu on the way up there. I did not know it at the time, and mistook the illness for a hellish evening of food poisoning that kicked off violent night shakes and sweating fever-chills with weird cold-y fatigue symptoms during the day. I felt gut wrenching guilt over other people’s (probably) unrelated colds, and obsession over germs I figured I’d certainly sprinkled willy-nilly over each shared meal. And I accidentally left a charming parasol behind in my hotel; although it had Random Chinese Characters on it. So in retrospect, perhaps I dodged a cultural insensitivity bullet.

5. All-in-all, it was a little hotelzo-hectic, and there were a few other really emo things that went down that are more diary-than-blog worthy. And they CERTAINLY, *CERTAINLY* aren’t social media worthy in my opinion. But there’s really no reason I should still be a wreck because there was lots of Nice. Yet I am still somehow moody and fragile and there’s also probably no Vitamin B left in my body–add to this the lunar landing modules are being trashed again by the Travelling Minstrels in Space and we all KNOW what THAT means …….

6. I’m going to BlogathonATX in September but I still need a ticket. I need to get geared up for this. I am also rather vigorously working on incidental and accompaniment music for a friend’s musical, and on my own Next Steps.

7. Anyway, this is my demeanor during and now after the trip. And I’m NOT in good driving mode anymore … off my game, so fellow Austinites are now trying to pick me off in this Automotive Darwinism thing we have going. Portland driving is very cerebral, motorists take the time to exchange meaningful eyerolls and fraught glances that could mean anything at all. And I wish I was used to the blind inconsiderate-ness of the driving back home yet, but I’m really angry still (I’ll tell my Highway Story later).

8. I don’t know how to act on social media anymore, that’s been utterly destroyed. I told a story on Twitter about a Thing that happened to me in Portland. EPIC saga of a man yelling at his companion … who then cleverly stole his keys while his back was turned! So I ended up being the person from out of town talking about people I don’t know behind their backs on the Internet. But I think I was just trying this ‘People of Wal-Mart’ style of “journalism” on to see if it worked. Why? Who cares? Does this have anything meaningful to do with my Portland experience? Maybe I am being too hard on myself and it was mildly clever entertainment. But did it do ANYTHING to edify or change my narrative? Should I have talked about what was REALLY going on?

What DID really happen in Portland and … in the last few years even, and why can’t I just DEAL? Why is this trip the mental situation, a Vest Factory come to a head? I played some music there. I had some interactions. I took a few photos. But, life is not a Wes Anderson film, and my head is not a pashmina to be wrapped around an elephant in the tastefully lit room.



9. I think it’s just going to take me a while to sort out my feelings.



But ultimately I can change and learn and adapt if I feel safe and can breathe. This is what I figured out.

10.   So I thought a lot in Portland and it turns out I’m not nearly as adept at subtlety or subtext as I thought I was. Nutshell–I know I didn’t fit in, but damn I over-tried. But it was Song Fight, so I ALWAYS try just a smidge too hard anyhow. And I’m usually overthinking what maybe probably isn’t an epic fail? Unless it was. Except it really wasn’t..? You know, or not. Hell, I don’t know. 



scary-pants gnomes

Here is a post I wrote in the middle of the night upon my phone and I guess I thought ‘I should not upload this because I am asleep.’ I am glad that Sleepy Denise has some discretion. This is a Good Sign. I shall upload it now because Awake Me thinks differently and is amused. Also, here is a photo because my blog looks like mashed potatoes lately. It’s another frickkin gnome, I realize … a gnome in the snow from long ago … but I’m thinking that perhaps it might help me think of a Scary Song if I finish all my chores. I have not written a song at all in MANY MOONS since BatP finished L’Occitaine and so Fruuuuugh.

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1. am up in middle of night. Can form basic cave person sentences. Me apple, you bacon. We llama, you garden hose. Don’t order the artisan grits. Meow.
2. that didn’t mean anything.
3. I had a dream earlier tonight about 2 of my old friends arguing with me in a speedboat about the Internet and music and writing. I think it’s a sign. These were people from long ago, or from more pivotal times of ME when different decisions should have been made. And I know that the me I am now, inside, is a different me than the one people might assume they are dealing with.
4. I know that this is about me, getting my work done. I know I need to protect my own flow. I’ll work on this.

I have no idea what I was talking about.
Signed,
the Me of Today

ps. scandalous Cherry Pi did participotato with Dr. Lindyke in the first round. I’m not claiming much responsibility for this.

news-y news news

1. I feel a little better. I found out some online stations are playing the Psychotics track I sent in for the Texas Honeys thing. So Song Fight strikes again. 🙂 Not too shabby. Maybe we should actually do the freakin’ album one day. I’m not even sure if BatP has a trading card!

2. There is a ‘DJ Ranger Dentrading card at SongFight.

djrdCard
You can get it (if you take a chance and order a partial pack) here.

3. I just bought a festive spring frock online. I don’t know why I felt it was necessary to tell you this. Probably because I haven’t been very Present online, and I feel that cuteness might make this Forgiveable or something. This dress is pretty damn twee. I’m thinking I’ll wear knee socks with it and pretend I’m six. #am40.

4. We’re having hamburgers tonight and it’s a bad idea.

5. We’ve started a new show called Continuum. It’s taking over my life.

6. Part of me thinks I should just quit trying to be a productive human and become a professional Netflix Consumer. Do they make those?

7. I don’t know why I can’t blog consistently like a normal human Bean every day or so. I wait fifty years and then do a billion-blogs-in-one-day. Sigh.

pink

If you look to the side of my blog (if you are on my blog and not reading this on some other sort of thing), you can see that I have Fetching Pink Hair. This makes me Happy. 🙂

I am having some snickky health problems that are making me Un-Happy. Ever since my concerning health problems of 2008, and then again the ones that I had over the last 2-3 years, I have assumed that every time I get a Weird Body Twinge – this time it is The Cancer. I am certain I will only dodge the bullet for so long and that soon my number will be up despite a fortune teller assuring me that I will be an old woman and also I am superstitious.

Photo on 2013-05-31 at 15.52

It has turned out to NOT be a huge problem it is a combination of Stress and Aging. I think that perhaps I am not really aging gracefully but am being dragged into my 40s kicking and screaming like a 6-year-old. This is not very seemly or dignified and I am going to try to do better and not holler and Carry On Cranky in the restaurant of life about not liking the Adult Menu of Destiny and that I would rather have the mac and cheese and Menu Crayons and also I don’t have to do what you say, Mr. Poopy Pants! So There, Underwear!

So when I get all wound up in this way I get all shrill and impossible to live with and I slurk around getting nothing done but worrying and obsession. This is unfortunate, because I just cowrote a cool song about a bounty hunter that is up at songfight by Billy and the Psychotics and you should go listen to the fight and vote for it and other good ones if you feel so inclined-plane. Even now, I am trying to review it today but I have gotten only halfway through them because when I write reviews of anything my documents are encyclopedias of aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa……

I have the relatively new iPhone (pictured) but have not turned on SIRI because I feel that she is creepy. Also, I have a sandwich that would like to be eaten. I know. It told me. Sandwiches are smart.

snakehands

1. it is fine to fall asleep upon your couch, if you are a snake.
2. when a snake purchases a couch, s/he must get delivery. Also they require assssssisssssstanccccce with their wallet.
3. Another song will come out today. Well, probably many will, but I mean another Psychotics song. For now, it’s going to be the only way that I participate in the contests unless the song faeries scream at me. It’s time for other things to happen; time to finish things from before that have been left undone. I feel okay about this, because I tend to feel odd if I’m not actively involved in a Thing making new material. Like I’m killing a practice routine.
3b. I came back in here because one of the things I’m doing is that I’ve changed two of my old contest songs I dislike and made them into one song that I like more. Right now, it plays well live. Soon, I’ll do a decent demo. It may go on part of The Project. Teaser: I’m calling it ‘If I Had One more Time To Panic.’
4. I’ve been stuck in troubling practice cycles before. Practicing is good, but I once gave myself tendinitis. I was never as good. When you hurt a part from working it too hard, those muscles and other moving parts don’t trust as much again.
Sometimes when I practice, I can hear my body thinking “yeah, right…” and I feel myself tense up.
5. I’d be a looser and less tense performer if I were a snake. But this would be irrelevant. Snakes don’t have hands.

The Long Awaited…Jim of Seattle

I’d like to talk to you today about a friend of mine whose CD I’m just getting to know. I spacebooked and tweeted about it about a week ago (or more), and I shall probably mention it again (for sure). In addition to this, my pal Tom Giarrosso passed it along on HIS spacebook so that’s a good example of how passing the love along is meant to work. Let that be a lesson to us all, gremlins.

Now … This particular project is the first, brand new release from a musician I know from Song Fight! called Jim of Seattle. You should go look into this, because Jim is an exceptional musician who has created an amazing piece of Art. He is not the only “Jim” in Seattle, but as far as I am concerned after just an inital perusal of this material so I could get started enough to write a bit to you so you could go quickly and get this recording – he might as well be!

Jim is not new to the music industry, as you will no doubt figure out. This is the caliber of work I’d like to feel under my wings when I make a release and finally say “BOOM! Look at this! I have made sticky sound that will last for generations!” So not only is this thing just plain charming and important – Jim is a musician’s musician.

For Jim this has been a real journey. You’ll grok that if you read the interview between Jim of Seattle and Green Monkey Records President Tom Dyer (you can also see a fun photo there of Jim with a bike and a pigeon, and other nifty photos of Jim doing cool stuff. I rather enjoyed these because I like seeing pictures of people that I know from the internet even though I know they do not look like their avatars! Also if you read my blog you know that I am creepy and will fully and curiously photo stalk to see who I’m talking to :)).

Anyway, yes, there’s a special kind of energy hearing a recording from someone who has taken the time to reveal their vision to the world with such deliberate intent after a lifelong trip through many other musical avenues. So this recording IS pretty intense. And it HAS been a long time coming.

You can preview the recording at CD Baby (linked up there too, by that iTunes link); and there is a small sample of it on the Green Monkey Records website where you can hear three tracks in entirety –

{EDIT/1-19-2012: You can hear more than THREE tracks, actually. I went back and checked after my original posting of this blog and saw it! On the player there is a small dragbar to the far right of those first three tracks (like one on a browser). Scroll down with it. Voila! There are several more songs and you can actually hear them all!} –

-one of which is the track that is also featured in the video ‘Laboratory Rat.’

The video is creepy and slightly horrifying (in a compelling and thought-provoking fashion), but … it’s … CUTE …somehow… Because there are drawings of all these “oooOOOOOooo” things (he made the video with Bill Lieren). Icky scary creepy CUTE drawings. And that’s all I’m going to say. No more spoilers. 🙂

From what I can tell in initial passes through Jim’s work – there’s a presence of intriguing juxtapositions. Little sonic ironies and pointed statements amidst moments of endearing delight. Really, I would say the listener is very musically well taken care of – Jim does know how to make you a spectator in a performance space. He has the background for this. But you have to hear it for yourself to really FEEL the Whole Thing, because he is just not Like anyone else, even if they are skilled at arranging pop songs into lush arrangements. He is different because HE is different. This doesn’t sound like orchestral showboating, this sounds like a lot of FUN.

I think this is why I like Jim, and why I was so pleased to encounter him at Song Fight in the first place and so happy every time he showed approval of anything I did in MY work. It’s because I GET that feeling of having a broad range of styles and of having just a LOT to say. Really, this should be appealing to most people as creators OR listeners or both … because at your CD collections they are just that – collections. Why would there not be a range of style and feel within one artist? The best sound-stories have an Album’s Entirety in mind, even if they are conceptual and able to be interpreted by the listener. I still feel I need more time alone with this recording from start to uninterrupted finish (mainly because I still do need to finish and hear All of The Bits). But I bet it stacks up through both skimming and deeper sonic inquiry.

Hearing developing cohesive complexity in someone’s work like this gives me hope that perhaps a thing like this is an accomplish-able goal! It’s exciting. It makes me realize that I can grow A Representative sound myself, over time, even if it is Range-y. There need to be more recordings like this, and I think this every time I hear something Quirky and Fun, and Beautiful.

On a personal note, there’s some titles here that I am happy to have heard before while participating in the Song Fight! contest – and I am inspired to see them more fully developed. This makes me want to hear more realized recordings of SF titles from others. But this recording is pretty special and I’ve been waiting for it 🙂

DEFINITELY check this out for yourself. Also, the first 100 copies will be signed. Order now! 🙂

********************

(this is a first in a series of Promontion-ary “Reviews-that-are-Gushy.” most of them horribly late. i am fortunate to have a few Talented Friends whose work I have really enjoyed, so it has been a time of Great Creativity.)

Slippage-B-Gone

1. this morning I am wearing Charming Pyjammas (A word I refuse to argue with the Spelling Faeries over). I took a photo, for your perusal.
2. my brainstormy list of things to do is disorganized and frightening and it’s really no wonder I sit around drooling a lot.
3. New hair tomorrow! No idea what color I will be… 🙂
4. It is time for Autocorrect and me to have a STERN set of HARSH WORDS about It PREEMPTING everything I say-dammit. I clearly look Silly and Incomp-a-toad. And I donut like this. Not one tiny bait.
5. My friend that does my hair thinks my music is great but that I’m a Writer, really. It’s a good time for a hair appointment…
6. Billy and the Psychotics got reviewed at Song Fight by Jim of Seattle. If you don’t know what this means I shall just tell you that it was really cool and told me a lot, some of which I already knew. I got some ideas on how to solve The Problem (Me vs. Consistently Writing a Melody/Hook). Solving the problem is HARD. I did better this week (we’re active at songfight.org); also managing to pull off not sounding like the Mucinex Faerie.
7. My piano is tuned!!! YAY!!! I had something bloggy to say about Mr. Nick Litterski, whose name is Difficult to Spell; and I think it had something to do with his fixing of the sustain pedal and all the hilarious innuendo one can gather when you are using exciting and inventive techniques to make sure one does not suffer from continued pin slippage which affects the sustain pedal’s ability to perform. The proffered solution indeed rose to the occasion; my pedal is working smoothly thus far, and I am acting like a real tool right now in this blog. I think I even said “that’s what she said” before “I am totally blogging this!” Anyway, back in six months to check for the tightness of tuning pegs. I’m totally in the wrong field. Or maybe not, as I am both a lyricist, and a cad. 🙂

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