Monday, January 30, 2012

Weekend Redux: BA-HORING

Ba-Horing is how Hayden says boring. With the roll of the eyes and the body language of a fifteen year old.
Our weekend wasn't really boring it was very laid back but to his five-year-old-going-on-fifteen attention span, it was uneventful . Friday evening we went and visited my dad and stepmom Debbie. Then spent the rest of the evening playing video games.
Saturday we went out to dinner with our guitar player Rob at one of our favorites restaurants Yardhouse, then spent the rest of the evening playing video games.
Sunday we barbequed some elk burgers and had friends over. We watched Xmen First Class which was awesome.
Another awesome thing is that my dad and Debbie are letting me borrow a truck of theirs (which might be permanent). Its extremely cool!  I will miss riding with my boys in the mornings and afternoons but this took a HUGE amount of stress off us.THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Costs of being in a band

A fellow musician on my facebook posted this article about the costs of "wanting to be a rockstar." I read it and instantly sympathized with these guys and their financial plight.
They have a manager, one is in college and they worked with Grammy nominated producers. This is rare in metal. This is even more rare in unsigned metal. I'm ten years older than them and I've never really sat down and calculated the costs over the past 10 years of being in a band.
Here's a breakdown

1. Instruments: My PA equipment includes a $2985 set up of speakers, stands and an amp. I also have a $175 microphone, a $100 microphone and a digital eight track recorder that I got for $240 off ebay. - Total of $3,500 for just me. Brian has a drum set that cost him $600 and over $5000 in cymbals. Drumsticks are about $6 a pair. He goes through at least 12 pair every other month which runs about $432 a year. Our cost as a couple for 10 years is about $13,420

2.Rehearsal space: We rent a rehearsal space monthly. Luckily we're able to share with other bands/musicians to utilize the space on nights we're not using and alleviate the costs. Back in Sacramento our cost was higher but I'll average it out to about $200 a month for the last 10 years. Total of  $24,000

3. Recording : We have recorded six times in 10 years. Rounding out to about $7,350

4. CDs and Artwork: With six albums comes lots of cd burning and art printing if we package them ourselves. If we order printed, professionally packaged discs its much more expensive. We've packaged five of the six albums ourselves on top of separating and burning singles to give out as well. We also have had to pay for shipping of press packs and setup costs of digital distribution. So the average cost that I calculated for this over 6 albums in ten years to be about $7,500

5. Merch: Stickers, T-shirts, Hats and all other merchandise we sell at shows used to cost us a lot. We're lucky now to have a screen printer and two graphic designers in the band now so it doesn't cost us as much. In my first band Shovelfist I used to make all our shirts with iron on transfers. Then once we started to make a little money we started investing in screen printing and embroidery. I would guesstimate that over 10 years the cost would be about $6,000

6. Promotionals: Flyers, Banners, Photos, Filming, Internet and Print ads, and the occasional Pay To Play type show can all be categorized as Promotional necessities. Again being lucky to have two graphic designers and a screen printer in the band has reduced this cost for us on most these things. We've also been lucky over the years to have good photographer friends willing to shoot us for free or cheap. However, the advertising and the pay to play shows that we've done have cost us at least $8,000 over the last 10 years.

7. Gas and other incidentals: We lug our own equipment to shows. When we play out of town we either have to rent a trailer or borrow a work van. Over the last 3 years in Vegas this cost has been reduced since we don't travel more than twice a year usually. When we lived in Sacramento the cost was much more since we tried to travel more often. Another incidental for me is a babysitter. Occasionally we have friends or family that can watch Hayden but more often we have to pay per hour.  I can't exactly calculate the cost  of gas and babysitting but a strong estimate is about $10,000 in the last 10 years.

8. Clothes. All of us need to have decent clothes to wear on stage. We're not a gimmick band with costumes, but being the female in the band I do have to consciously pick out specific "show" outfits. Even the guys in the band worry about what they wear. I can't speak for anyone else but I guess that Brian and I have spent at least  $50 a month on show specific clothing, accessories, shoes, etc. That totals $6,000 for 10 years.

So far that's about $82,270 over 10 years. I guess in comparison to the articles $109,000 calculation we've done ok. A couple of costs we don't have are "Living in New York City" and "Lost Wages." We live in Las Vegas and we didn't move here to "make it" we also haven't given up our jobs to be musicians.
We've been able to do a lot ourselves or with the help of friends. We have careers that have helped the band more than hurt it, in turn saved us thousands in extra costs. I'm also a bargain shopper and try my hardest to go with the most affordable-for-great-quality option in everything we do.
The four of us currently in the band are not under the impression we're going to be signed by a major label or get paid to play music. We're having fun doing what we love and we make money here and there off merch or shows that help the band pay for itself at times.

As Billy Joel once said  

“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The road ahead

In the midst of reading articles about celebrity divorces, relationship advice, and trial separations, hearing friends complain about their spouses or getting divorced all I can think is that I'm very glad to have my husband.
Over the last five months we worked out issues that had caused the last two years to be the hardest two years of our almost thirteen together.
We were both at fault for our troubles and it took both of us giving one hundred percent to fixing "us" for the problems to be dissolved. For me one of the main issues I needed to fix for myself was learning how to self-contain my reactions instead of atomic bombing the world around me when I was in pain.
We made it through. And just like most people who make it through problems together, we are stronger now.
We appreciate each other and lately we've fallen in love all over again.
Sharing one vehicle at a time when we have to drive all over town for work, daycare, school, appointments, etc means we're in the truck together a lot. We have some of our best conversations with him behind the wheel and me looking out the windshield onto the road ahead, with his hand on my leg and my hand on his.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Show Fashion or Lack Thereof

I had an idea for an outfit I was going to wear on stage Saturday. Once I put it on it just didn't work the way I wanted it to. I was able to go shopping and look around for something better but I always have the hardest time finding stuff I can afford. I like Hot Topic a lot more now then I did in high school and I shop there quite often. The outlet store here is pretty well equipped with deals. I originally walked in there to buy shoes but instead I found this.
Tripp Black Chiffon Skull Tank Top

I rocked it with some ripped up leggings and my checkered Vans.
Here's a video!

I really liked this tank top. It was comfortable and airy so I didn't feel gross and sweaty after our set like usual.
I had a bunch of issues with my wardrobe the last two weeks like finding rips in three pairs of pants in the same spot. I was able to buy some new pants on sale but I really need a wardrobe overhaul.  I've been building up my wishlists :)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Redux

We had a pretty eventful weekend. Saturday night we got to play an awesome show with some great local bands and one of Brian's favorite national bands American Head Charge.
The show had a great turn-out. We made some new friends and sold a shit-ton of shirts and cds.
It's always a good time when we play the Cheyenne Saloon. Our last 5 shows were all really great and we're hoping to stay on this roll for 2012.

Sunday we hung out at the house watching football with our friends then headed down to the House of Blues and saw Anthrax and Testament thanks to Dave S. It was a great show but my back was killing me the whole time from my stage performance the night before.
We got home and crashed hard. It was pretty difficult to wake up this morning we were all soooo tired.
It's a beautiful rainy day though so I'm looking forward to cuddling under a cozy blanket and playing video games after work.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Inspiration: Etta James

I read the sad news this morning that one of my earlier vocal inspirations Ms. Etta James passed away. When I was in high school I enjoyed singing jazz and blues much more than opera and pop. Etta was one of my favorites with many songs I loved to imitate.
Her voice was deep and full of so much soul that I wish I could capture it like honey in a jar and drink it down so my voice would echo just a third of the feeling hers did.
According to her obituary she was drawn to the grittiness of Rythym and Blues much like I was drawn to the passion and aggression in Metal.
She's inspired generations and fortunately was able to give us 73 years.

Rest Beautifully Etta.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This morning I went downtown to the Las Vegas Regional Justice Department to take care of a ticket I got a few months go. The ticket was for expired registration on a car I was waiting to be picked up by the repo man for a voluntary repo.
The officer assured me that if I proved the car was taken I wouldn't have to pay a fine.
I waited in a long line outside the building full of people all shuffling to get through the metal detector.  Right before getting in through the doors three people cut in front of two ladies in front of me and myself. Now, had I been anywhere else in the world but at the Regional Justice Department where people are going to court, fighting tickets, getting divorced and will most likely have a "background" much more colorful than mine I would have thrown some attitude.
After that line I had to take a number to see a clerk to find out how to get the ticket excused. I sat for about a half hour watching lawyers and people talk to nice clerks. When my number came up I went to the window and kindly greeted my clerk hello with a smile. I handed her my paperwork and explained that I didn't renew my registration since I no longer had the vehicle. She rolled her eyes, did NOT look at my paperwork printed out a paper and said I had to pay $145 since I didn't renew the registration. "Ma'm I didn't renew the registration, cause this paper right here states that I voluntarily repo'd the vehicle back to the bank."
The rude, short tempered clerk stated that she didn't "care" and I could pay the $145 or see a judge.
I opted to see a judge. She shoved the paper through her little window cubby and I headed to the court room assigned to give my paperwork to the Marshall. The Marshall told me to come back at 10. So I figured I would go back to work for a bit and return at 10.
I walked about six blocks to where I had to park (the cheapest I could find thanks to all the city buildings downtown) and tried to pay the $2 for my parking but the damn machine would not take cash, and honestly I have only $7 in cash to my name until tomorrow. I had to beg and plead with the parking attendant to let me out the wrong way since their machine was broken. Thank goodness she was much kinder than my previous encounter.

I returned to work and drank my coffee. Right before 10 my kind coworker/friend Kelly drove me down to the courthouse again. This time there was no line to get through the doors. I rushed downstairs to get to the court and hand the marshall my paperwork for him to say, "No we're full. Come back at 1."
At this point I had missed a few hours of work already and figured I would take my chances just talking to another clerk, maybe one of the many nice ladies I had seen, to get another date or find a way to just pay it off. This time I waited for an hour in the clerks office. With no cell reception or network connection to even play Words With Friends. I people watched and thought of all the things I would rather be doing. I heard a young lawyer discussing a warrant for his client. A young hispanic girl played peek-a-boo with me until we both noticed another little girl around the same age walking around in bright pink high heel boots. Seriously like stripper esque boots on a 4 or 5 year old.
When my number came up I got a much nicer clerk and she informed me I had 10 days to pay or see the judge. Information my previously rude clerk did not share with me.
I've been trying REALLY hard to be positive about the little problems I've been dealing with lately. Not having a vehicle, trying to pay off bills etc. These things are little problems in perspective of what problems I could have.
When Kelly picked me up I explained to her the drama of my morning she told me "Honey you know this is the world's way of seeing if you deserve it!"

Yes it was, and I made it out of that without losing my cool. Well I might have lost a little cool while on the phone with Brian, but he was supportive as always.

Monday, January 16, 2012

WEEKEND REDUX: Cold January Weekend

We played lots of video games. Hayden and I finished Little Big Planet 2 on Saturday. We watched the UFC fights at our friend Dean and Ashley's house. Yesterday Brian made us some yummy omelets and spent the day watching football and movies. Hayden never stops the goofiness.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sensitive Sick Day

Yesterday morning Hayden came into our room like he does every weekday morning and laid on our bed with us. I groggily opened my eyes and hugged him but when I focused on his face I noticed it was covered in dried snot. He said he wasn't felling well and wanted to stay home from school.
Because we're really broke right now and barley able to afford gas to get to work I didn't fight him. So we stayed home together. After medicating him and cleaning out his nose we watched movies, played robots, legos, and video games.
I checked my email with my laptop as he read one of his lego books. Neither of us were watching the tv when a movie came on after we watched The Cat in the Hat with Mike Meyers (which had way more adult comedy references than I remember).
The movie was Charlie St Cloud. I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it but the beginning involves a very emotional event. Hayden asked me "What happened mommy?" and I looked up from my laptop to see this

He was crying. I explained what happened and asked him "Are you crying?" He looked over at me with wet eyes and said "AREN'T YOU?!?! That was sad!"
I went and hugged him and we had to have a serious conversation about ghosts and death. When the movie got a little lighter in topic I changed the channel and we ate mac and cheese.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


We watched the entire DVD from our Sacramento show this weekend and I really have mixed emotions about it. I think our overall performance was great and the crowd seemed to enjoy our show but I'm super critical of myself.
MYSELF. The self that chose to wear THAT shirt with THAT skirt and should have opted for boots instead of heels and wow when I bend like that it looks like I have a horrible beer gut. Yeah, these are the thoughts that run through my head when I watch the videos of myself on stage.
Unfortunately I'm not petite, I'm not thin. I've battled with my weight since high school and being on stage or on the ever judgemental internet makes it that much harder.
It's especially harder on my esteem when I compare myself to other female musicians in videos, photos, etc. Most women in bands range from 5'2" to 5'4" (I researched it here.) There are some on that list that are my height of 5'8" or taller like the amazingly hot Corey Park's who's 6'3" but overall these women are way smaller than me and probably have stylists and more time to work out than I do.
 After having Hayden I made a huge effort for the first time to lose weight. I ended up losing about 25 pounds which brought me to the thinnest I had been since eighth grade but it's been 5 years now and I still need some work.
I need a trainer, a stylist and more time but my first step was cutting down the amount of beer I drank and since the beginning of December already loss about 8 pounds. My next step is to work out more. I bought an elliptical off Craigslist last year and need to step up to at least 3 days a week.
 I've had to learn more about self-love this last year as well which has helped a little on my esteem. I take tidbits from the net like 100 ways to start loving yourself right now from Gala Darling and Natural ways to treat anxiety and depression from Evolution You. I have also been diving into many self help, inspirational books like Feel Good Naked: 10 No-Diet Secrets to a Fabulous Body and The Love Response.
My self image is a really personal issue that I have battled with since high school and hope this year to make a big change towards the positive. If you have any advice, tips, recommendations please share

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Redux: My First Laptop

I found a deal on Ebay a couple weeks ago I couldn't deny myself. I got a iBook G4 for less than I had paid for my desktop g4 years ago. It has a faster processor and updated specs than my desktop that just died. The power supply in my g4 went kaput and instead of spending $80 on the replacement I was able to get my laptop for only $20 more. I got it in the mail on Saturday and spent most my weekend upgrading what I could on it and battling with my new internet which is way slower than it should be.

I still need to get the software I want but I'm super stoked to have my first laptop. I could have spent over a thousand dollars on a loaded super-fancy laptop, but my priority first is getting a vehicle and this cute outdated ibook is good enough for me to do what I need.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

.bipolar. Pigs Dec. 3, 2011

Here's a video from that awesome Sacramento show I mentioned.
I usually don't have effects on my voice like that which at first was kind of weird to hear but it grew on me.


The day of New Year's Eve I drank two gigantic mugs of coffee with my favorite chocolate and caramel creamer, took a deep breath and headed into my mess of an office/storage room/black hole with a door knob. My mission was to drastically reduce the clutter. One of my goals for 2012 is to get (more) shit done and I can't do that with a pile of clothes and papers covering my home work space.
Brian and Hayden helped me the holiday decorations down and we packed them away in their totes for another year.
I shredded some old papers, organized my bookshelves, and started making piles to donate to charity. I found two boxes full of VHS tapes or as Hayden likes to call them BOX MOVIES. In them I found a tape from when Brian and I first moved into our apartment in Sacramento in February of 2000. I also found a tape from our first band in 2001 Shovelfist.

I spent a good hour and a half watching these videos and reminiscing. I made Brian join me after a while and we reveled in our past and how far we've gotten since then.
We've accomplished a lot and physically we both look and feel better than we did 11 years ago.

Later that evening we toasted to 2012 with pink champagne, wonderful kisses and a promise that 2012 will be our best year yet!