Friday, March 18, 2011

I totally blow at blogging

Yeah. Seriously. I have so SO many Mr. E stories that I am overwhelmed by the task of documenting them all at this point. So here's a highlights reel for you:

Tiki Bob's was ... Thursday night and that was the second night of the That's F*cked Up so that means the next night was the night Mr E started at Baranof, two hours and a few jell-o shots later I still hadn't been called up to sing so I decided to wander across the street to Yen Wor.
That was the right move. I immediately found a couple of people that were excited to find out what this was all about, we shared some food, I thought maybe one of them could potentially be someone I'd actually like to hang out with when I wasn't Mr. E but that was cleared up within a few days. All in all, a fairly unremarkable night. Lowlight of the night? I was SUPER excited by the extensive collection of Fiona Apple songs available so I immediately signed up to sing "Never is a Promise". It's such a good song to belt out in the car. Why not karaoke? Why not? Because for some bizarre reason it was an 11 minute song! 11 minutes! Oh dear lord, it wasn't like they added verses, they just slowed it down to half time. Every sustained note required more than one lung full of air and it's so slow and such a downer that it was incredibly painful for all involved. I PROMISE to NEVER sing Never is a promise at karaoke again.

Saturday night I went to the Crescent Lounge, that was a rough night too. It was really really REALLY weird being a female with a gratuitously false mustache in a gay bar. They had a shitty song list and nobody had any love for Mr. E. I sang my two songs and headed home.
Sunday night I went to Hula Hula. That was a pretty decent time, I had the problem of coming with real friends again though... Mr. E likes to get into other people's business, make acquaintances, and generally stir up some shit. Having people that know me go out with Mr. E is generally a disaster and this was no exception. Drunk people were on stage singing with me, that was pretty fun. Otherwise, very little interaction with strangers.

Monday night was the Last Night of the first Mr. E karaoke tour and he went to the Royal Unicorn in Edmonds. Wow. What a night. It's this little chinese restaurant that has karaoke in the back. I wandered back to where I heard the music coming from and it was such a crazy mix of people. There were really old people, like two years younger than god old people. There were a handful of middle aged folks that sang very heartfelt songs to one another. Then there were the thugs and their ladies. I'm talking, 6'4, solid muscle, backwards baseball caps, tattoos up the back of their necks thugs. I wasn't sure how Mr. E was going to go over at this place. The KJ was super nice so I felt like at least I would have her on my side, right?

So I walk up to the bar and wait for the barmaid to notice me, as she's handing change to one of the thugs she looks over and laughs, which causes the thug to look over and then he shouts "How the fuck did you do that?"

What am I supposed to say to a question like that? "I put on a hat, a green trench coat, and bought a fake mustache at Archie McPhee's"? I decided it was best not to bait the thug so I just gave him the thumbs up and pointed at him with a grin. The barmaid bought my shirley temple. She said she didn't know what I was doing there but she was glad I was. Sometimes all you need is a little encouragement so I filled out my first song slip and handed it in. I went back to my little secluded table to peruse the song book some more but I didn't get a chance because the thug that was yelling at me earlier joined me at my table. So he sits down and says "Seriously. How did you do that?", I tell him I don't know what he's talking about, then he literally reaches across the table and yanks the mustache out of my nose.

I am positively stunned. How the hell do I react to that? I have an angry thug accusing me of doing something I know nothing about and now he's got my mustache. I'm wondering if it's time to go home. By the time I'm done over thinking it he sets the stache on the table and says "I just wanted to make sure you're a chick under there". So I put my mustache back on and he says "Come on. I know you did it. It's a good trick. How did you do it?" So I ask him what he thinks I did and he pulls a $5 bill out of his pocket. Abe Lincoln is sporting a very similar false mustache. Someone sharpied it on there or whatever. It's just funny because I didn't have anything to do with it and the barmaid had already pulled his change out before I got into the bar so it was another total fluke. That thug and I ended up singing The Joker together. It was interesting.

Since the end of Mr. E's karaoke tour he's been to:
Ozzie's- the frat house of karaoke bars. Mr. E danced with a hot chocolate salsa instructor.
Changes Tavern- The way better gay karaoke bar. Mr. E got hit on by the bartenders AND a KJ.
O'Houlie's Pub- In Mt Lake Terc and one of the least friendly crowds I've been around. This was an odd one because I was hanging out with my realtor and a handful of her friends. I mentioned that Mr. E was going to O'Houlie's after we wrapped up and all of the sudden Mr. E has a caravan of drunk women driving more drunk women to go see Mr. E perform... I explain to them that I can't really hang out with them if I'm going to do the Mr. E thing so they grab a table and I showed up a few minutes later. I went to the bar to order my shirley temple and she asks for my ID. I explain that I asked for a shirley temple and she explains that she asked to see my ID. I'm not sure why this surprised me so much... you really should ID the guy with the false mustache.

Unfortunately I only have my fake Mr. E license on me. I do not have my real ID on me and now I'm literally being kicked out of a bar. First Time Ever! My realtor and her friends were trying to smooth things over with the bar staff but it wans't worth it. I should have had my ID and it wasn't their fault I didn't. I was ready to go home anyway. Unfortunately the rest of the crew had other plans. So it boiled down to me driving home (15 minutes) and driving back again just to sing two songs to a bunch of drunk chicks, most of whom I do not know. Do I love my realtor? Yes. We fucking stole this house.

Alright, that brings us to Frances Farmer Organ Karaoke followed by what happened in Lynwood tonight. Those and more stories, waiting for you tomorrow (read 'three months from now') once I've had some sleep...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tiki Bob's Cantina

Tonight starts much the same way the night before began. It's Thursday and I'm in the International District hanging out with the cast and crew of the much acclaimed show "That's F*cked Up". So there's this funny little detail I forgot about last night- I thought I was going to be in a meeting until after the show was over but the meeting finished super early so I went to the theater anyway to see if I could just wangle my way in by name dropping. I decided that Mr. E might have a better shot at it than me so I was in the theater dressed like Mr. E for the remainder of the show.

Let's just say I have a big thing for the show's MC David Crellin (aka Armitage)- also known as the ringmaster for Circus Contraption. So Mr. E is taking the opportunity to flirt with Armitage and he is very graciously flirting back with Mr. E so I tell him I'll be back the following night and maybe I'd put on a little catholic school girl skirt for him. He said "Only if you keep the mustache" to which I replied "Obviously!"

Which is how you would have found Mr. E if you were at the ToJ that night- hat, sunglasses, mustache, trench coat, school girl skirt. Now that's f*cked up. There are substantially more people that I knew at this particular show and a lot of them didn't know about Mr. E so over all it's an entertaining night, not to mention the amazing show.

There was also this awesome artist, Teague, doing what he referred to as "Kinkatures" which I'm sure you can just deduce what that's going to end up being. He did an incredible job illustrating Mr. E and that's why this blog has such a cool background.


I hadn't fully learned my lesson yet about the drawbacks of having a gang of buddies out with Mr. E so I chose another karaoke night at a bar near the theater. I didn't know if anyone would want to go again since we had just gone together the night before but a few people decided to go check it out with the condition that if the place didn't serve food they were going to have to go somewhere else. All good stuff, we left for Tiki Bob's Cantina.

So we pull up in front of the place and the two folks that were in my car head in while I get Mr. E back on (I don't drive at night with the sunglasses and the mustache makes my nose itch). When I walk in I'm not sure where my friends have gone to. I kind of have a peek around and it is mostly empty, there are two other vaginae (seriously, vaginae? Effing Latin.) and they are paying their bill, the rest of the people in there are what you might imagine stereotypical footballer frat boys would turn out to be like in their 30s and 40s. They look scared of me.

The bartender tells me there's no food so I go to find everybody. We pow wow outside the place for a minute while I explain how douchebaggy it seems in there so they'll be glad they didn't stay, I'm just going to duck in for two songs and head home. Heidi is protesting me staying at the place on my own and I'm like "What are they going to do? Eat me?". I'm parked right outside the front door and the bartender seems pretty cool so I convince her to go get food and I'll be fine. With some coercion they are gone.

I take a deep breath and turn back around. I ask the bartender for a vodka gimlet, he asks to see some ID. Delightfully, my ID still has the fake fingerstache from the Rickshaw gaggle so I show him for a laugh, he makes my drink and I start scanning the room. I'm curious where the karaoke is actually happening, everyone is hanging out near the bar and I can't tell how far back the place goes because there is absolutely no lighting beyond it.

Turns out they have the karaoke stage about 35 feet back completely on it's own in a corner that you can't see from anywhere near the bar. Occasionally an extremely drunk man climbs up on the platform and tries a little country or a little rock and roll. Nobody pays any attention to him.

I look around to make sure I'm really the only woman in the whole place and that's when I see Him. He is 30something hipster guy and he looks like he might be about to leave. I immediately hurry over to him and exclaim "Thank fuck you're here. I was starting to worry that I was on my own in this place." To which he replies "Who are you?". When I tell him I'm Mr. E he argues that it is not me that is Mr. E but he. I am not having any of this so I demand to see some ID, his license says his last name is "Ee". "My dad is Mr. Ee, I'm Ralph" he says. "Ralph, I am your father" I announce. At which point a girl emerges from the ladies room looking curious about me. He introduces her and she smiles a little before holding her finger under her nose to reveal another fingerstache. What is it with those things? Fingerstache needs to go on Hipster Bingo.

It turns out, the only reason they are at Tiki Bob's is because she got a random text that said something to the effect of "Right on, okay, we'll see you at Tiki Bob's Cantina around 10." from someone she didn't know. I'm not sure how they ended up deciding to meet these random strangers but said strangers show up just as I'm getting up the courage to put in my first song. They all start getting to know one another and I'm thumbing through the book. I don't think I've ever seen a thicker book anywhere, and the print is teeny tiny and there are THREE COLUMNS of songs PER PAGE. It's insanity. This KJ must have every standard, classic, and modern karaoke favorite ever known.

His name is DJ Forrest Gump and I would link to his page if it didn't have a soundtrack that kicks "Tender Love" on as soon as you get there. I hate pages with soundtracks.

So I'm chatting up the bartender and I give him a selection of songs that I'm considering singing. I tell him to pick one and he goes easy on me with "Say it ain't so" by Weezer. I hand the slip to the KJ and he wants to know what my outfit is about. I evade and he says "Well, it's your turn so get up here, whoever you are." Which is like. What? I just handed you a slip and it's my turn? That is not how this usually goes. But fine, I get up on the platform and have a go at it. I'm kind of shaky and it's a little out of my range so I'm coming off all vulnerable and shy. I'm not sure what sort of first impression I made but I'm pretty sure nobody was paying attention apart from Mr. Ee and his random friends who clap and say I did a good job as I head back to the bar and my drink.

Tipsy 40something guy leaves his pod of friends and approaches. "What are YOU supposed to be? Don't you know halloween isn't until next month?" I'm a little irritated because he's not asking in a way that makes be confident that he's going to care about the answer. I think he's looking for trouble so I say "Look, I'm not supposed to be anything. If I came in here in high heels and a sexy outfit with my hair and makeup all done up you would make some assumption about what I am supposed to be and you wouldn't be right then either. What difference does it make what I look like?" To my surprise he agrees and toddles off. Maybe I'm the judgmental ass out of the two of us.

Apparently I'm not much fun anyway.

I decide I'm going to sing Shadowboxer and then head home. This isn't my kind of joint and the hipsters have moved off to a little booth by themselves. If I ever brought the karaoke crew out here to sing we'd practically overrun the regulars and we could each sing a bunch of songs and really enjoy the huge selection but this isn't the right place to stick out. The KJ convinces me to tell him a little bit about myself and I just tell him the truth which is basically that I started doing this because I was scared to sing in front of strangers but by now it's more a social experiment to see how people will react. After I sang my song he said I should really think about taking off the disguise and trying it out as myself.

I feel a little silly because I'm not really hung up about it anymore but it seems like a novel thing to do so I tell him to put on "My Own Worst Enemy" and I take off my hat, sunglasses, and mustache. He really seems like a cool guy that's open to whatever experience life puts in front of him. He also seems genuinely interested in me and that's always flattering. I am glad he was the KJ that night and I hope he got some satisfaction out of 'persuading' me to get up and sing without the disguise.

Nobody else noticed and nobody but the bartender said goodbye. That bartender was smoooooth but the crowd was not. If I can get a pack of friends down there on a Thursday night some time that would be great but I don't think Tiki Bob's is going to see Mr. E again any time soon.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bush Garden

Ah Bush Garden. If ever there was a 7 night a week karaoke institution in the ID it would have to be you.

I chose this venue to be my second stop on the week long Mr. E tour because after the relative safety of Mandarin Gate and the six other people that were in it on a Tuesday night I was hoping to drag some friends along to join in the fun of the Mr. E Karaoke experience. Since a large number of my karaoke posse was working on this incredible burlesque show called "That's F*cked Up!" in the International District I figured I could probably convince some of them to join me.

And join me they did. A whole load of them. We kind of took over the place a little. But something was amiss.

I didn't know it at the time but going out to sing karaoke as Mr. E with a big group of people I'm already friends with just doesn't work. It's like, showing up at a Halloween party and realizing you're the only one who wore a costume. Nobody came up to me and asked what the disguise was for, nobody called me Inspector Clouseau, nobody bought me a drink, nobody anything because I was clearly already having a lovely time with a bunch of people who, at the very least, did not seem fazed by my outfit.

Half way through the night Mr. E became Kat because it was just too freaking hot to wear that trench coat any longer and who was I fooling? There was no mystery here. Just a big group of friends complaining about the poor selection of songs, ordering stiff drinks, doing the Charleston while old men sing older songs, and occasionally getting up there and belting one out.

A fail? Not in the slightest. Mr. E got up on stage just moments after arriving and pulled out all the stops on "Oh Darling" and a little later he sang "Somebody to Love" so with the two song quota fulfilled I took of my coat, lent my mustache to a squirrel, and changed out of my sunglasses (you thought reading tiny karaoke song print in dimly lit bars was hard? Try it with sunglasses). I shared a duet or two, hooted and hollered, and then dragged my tired ass home. It was a great night, but I still had very little idea what I was doing or what I hoped to gain from it.

Another day, another karaoke bar.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mandarin Gate

So it's Tuesday night and my first opportunity to take Mr. E out since I decided to head down this path. There are two places that I have already done a lot of karaoke during my "Karaoke is a great thing to do with a huge group of friends as a security blanket" phase- Bush Garden and Mandarin Gate. Being my first night, I had done a little bit of research about who has karaoke when and I can now inform you that Tuesday is the night that Karaoke DJ's (or KJ's as I will refer to them from here on out) like to stay at home watching TV and drinking cocoa. Since I didn't want to head downtown or up capitol hill my options were severely limited. Mandarin Gate was the easy way out of this and since I still had the whole song book to pick from I knew this was going to be a very low impact entry to the tour.

There were five other people in the place when I came in. I grabbed a few request slips on my way to the bar, ordered a ginger ale, and surveyed the room to see what I was working with. As I was writing down my first selection (Eminem's "The Way I Am") the KJ gestured towards me and announced "Looks like tonight is about to get interesting!".

And so it was.

The next person up to sing was absolutely stunning. He was like a cross between BB King and Jimi Hendrix three-quarters of the way through the movie Cast Away and that was before he even opened up his mouth. He did a haunting version of House of the Rising Sun and later he treated us to 99 Problems but a Bitch Ain't One (Entertaining side note- I went to google that phrase to see if it was the actual song title and didn't realize our google page was on "image search" I was very surprised to find that the majority of the pictures that showed up were of OJ Simpson).

The barmaid asked if she knew me from somewhere. I asked her if she'd forget a face like this.

My name got called pretty quick so I put on my "Yeah, I'm a white girl in a fake mustache AND I can (sort of) rap" face and didn't do a half-ass job of it. I noticed some ladies had shown up one or two at a time and were sitting around perusing the books. Feeling a little girl-powery I decided to channel my friend Beth and sing "So What" by Pink. As I was handing my paper to the KJ he couldn't resist asking what I was up to. "Are you hiding from your ex or spying on them?" I didn't have a smart answer for that so I just said "I like to sing?". He wanted to know what the mustache was about so I told him it makes me sound better and headed back to the bar.

Nobody really talked to me at Mandarin Gate but a lot of people smiled and after I sang my second song I got a couple you-go-girls and a round of applause. I felt okay about how it had gone but I didn't really feel like I had done a show-stopper and the rotation was 15 minutes at most so I decided to go for an extra song and picked Sleep To Dream by Fiona Apple.

That was a show-stopper. Pretty much everyone stopped talking for a few minutes to let me have my moment. It was pretty special.

I wasn't expecting to have a wild and crazy night and I didn't but I had grabbed a wild and crazy idea and run with it. I had taken the first step and, in doing so, intentionally headed down a path that was distinctly out of my comfort zone and general realm of experience. There was a story on NPR today about why Habits are a Curse and I can totally relate. Doing things that are completely out of your norm is exhilarating.

I felt accomplished and ready for bed. As I walked out some people said goodnight, once I was out the door some guy having a smoke stopped me and asked me who the real me was. I said "Who's asking?". So he told me a little about himself, his name, where he worked, something funny that happened to him that day. I wasn't ready to take off the glasses and mustache but I did tell him my name was Kat and just said the disguise helped me feel more confident. He said he thought it was unfortunate that I didn't feel confident enough to just go up on stage as myself and sing. It wasn't like I was going to stand here and tell my life story to the drunk guy outside Mandarin Gate for 20 minutes so I shrugged and said "If I was we probably wouldn't be having this conversation." He asked if he could give me a hug and then asked if I was trying to get produced. Not really knowing what that was supposed to mean I just laughed and headed to my car.

Three songs in less than 90 minutes, a fairly decent song selection, and a really comfortable interior make the mandarin gate a great place to go sing karaoke if you're not looking for a big audience and like an eclectic mix of song choices.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How it all began, Part 2

So, I worked my way up to singing at real karaoke bars but still usually on slow nights and when the majority of patrons were already my friends. I got pretty comfortable singing in front of people we knew, one time I sang a song at a party at our house and it made every hair on my body stand on end. I felt like I gave birth to that song. Jon sent me an email saying it moved him. I was on cloud nine.

So the problem was I wasn't getting the same rush when I sang at a karaoke bar. Sometimes I'd glimpse it but it almost started to feel routine. I needed to up the ante. So one night I'm in a bar having dinner with some friends and the waitress randomly says "Are ya staying for the karaoke? We were voted best in Seattle." and I what I thought she said was "A news crew is coming Saturday." so I was kind of taunting myself with the idea of going back to sing in front of a camera. I reasoned that there would be tons of footage shot but only like 30 seconds used so what were the chances it would be me? Right? Yeah, but I still didn't want to run the risk of being recognized so I decided I would need to figure out some kind of disguise. The easiest and cheapest solution was to put on one of our full face snowboarding masks and be the karaoke terrorist. I thought this was an acceptable plan and announced it on Facebook. Luckily for me, someone pointed out that the night I was planning on being the karaoke terrorist happened to be September 11th.

I needed a new plan.

So I'm digging through our stuff and I have a hat with a generous brim, big dark sunglasses, my trench coat, a scarf... I was clearly missing a mustache. I almost bought a nice expensive human hair mustache that was designed to look realistic. I needed to attach it with spirit gum and everything! I am so lucky we are poor because the $1.50 totally completely impressively fake one that has a wire running through it so that I can form it into practically any shape is the most perfect accoutrement I could have asked for.

So, Mr E was born. I had been asking Craig to come with me to the Waterwheel Tavern for karaoke and this news crew. Thankfully he agreed to join me on this wild little ride because I can't imagine trying to walk into that place dressed as I was without some backup. We got there a little early, put in our song requests, ordered some drinks, and I periodically wiggled my mustache at anyone I saw whispering, pointing, or generally staring at me. Within five minutes at least 2 strangers complimented me on my mustache. By the time I was called up to sing I'm sure they were all certain that I was hiding behind this disguise because I was going to completely bomb. I decided I was going to put it all out there, sing like I was alone in my car, nobody would ever know except craig and somehow that felt safe enough so I picked a song I knew I could nail and I nailed it. All the sudden people are starting conversations with me, somebody takes my picture, people are curious and I am elusive and it is very very fun.

It is also very very crowded. Full of people who like to sing. The rotation was more than two hours PLUS, no news crew. =( So we decided to go after we'd had a song each. I dropped him back at his place but my itch hadn't been scratched so I decided I would stop at the Rickshaw to have another quick song. I was pretty sure they'd have the Fugee's version of Killing me Softly and that was what I really wanted to sing, it was my first big karaoke win and it's been my crutch ever since. So I pause in the parking lot and try to decide if I'm walking in there as me or Mr. E. I decide he is safer, put on my sunglasses and mustache and I'm on my way in the door.

The Rickshaw is a very random place, the kind of place that could be incredibly horrible but in an alluring kind of way- but they do karaoke 7 days a week and I knew it wouldn't take long to get one song in as a new singer so I jotted it down and as I was handing it to the DJ he says "Oh, we only have the Roberta Flack version." and I'm all "No deal." because I don't have any idea what that version sounds like and I'm not in the mood to make complete ass out of myself (says the person with a false mustache wearing sunglasses after midnight). He swears it's exactly the same without the rap beat backing and I ask him how sure he is and he says he's completely sure so I say fine and go order a drink.

While I'm waiting for my drink I am simultaneously asked if I am a transvestite and flirted with. The former by a drunk 50 something and the later by a drunk 30 something. When I had been jotting down my song the drunk 30 something came up and said he had veto power over my song so I should show it to him. I figured it was easier that reasoning with a drunk person so I showed him, lucky me- he approved.

All of the sudden there is a deafening shrieking and a bunch of ruckus halfway across the restaurant. I look over to see what's going on and there is a gaggle of early 20 something girls bouncing up and down and pointing at me. They are beckoning me to them. I am absolutely baffled. I pay for my drink and wander over. They all immediately stick their index fingers out and hold them underneath their noses like they have mustaches made of fingers and giggle. I Am Absolutely Baffled. Then sobergirl realizes I don't get what's going on and says, "Look, we have mustache tattoos on our fingers!" Holy crap, that is completely hysterical. It also made me absolutely certain I was in the right place. Someone even has one that's shaped exactly like mine. Many many pictures are taken. They put one of the tiny mustache tattoos on my driver's license to make my picture look like Mr. E.

My name is called. Twice.

I'm a little extra nervous because it seems like I've already interacted with more than half the patrons in the place. I don't feel anonymous. Still, it's only karaoke and I know this song like the back of my hand. But wait! What song is playing? The words I recognize are on the screen but the time I'm supposed to start isn't clear and I'm floundering a little but then it picks up... turns out the pace is a lot faster, there's an entire extra verse, and the ohhhhhaaaahhhhhhlalalalalala part is COMPLETELY weird. Maybe it sounds the same when Roberta sings it but karaoke versions being what they are, I did not feel it was my finest moment. Never the less most of the people in there chanted "Mr. E, Mr. E" as I finished and hooted and hollered like I was a rock star.

I walked straight out, high 5ing along the way, got into the car and enjoyed the little adrenalin rush I got out of not knowing the song before heading home.

It was such a unique experience and it made me wonder where it could go. I was hungry for more so I hatched a little challenge for myself. I would go as Mr. E to a different place for karaoke every night for one week. I had to sing at least two songs at each place. I couldn't sing the same song twice in the week unless it was an extra above and beyond the first two. I was excited to get started but we had plans for the following two nights. Mr E's karaoke tour would have to wait.

Mr E's Karaoke Blogging Begins

I will tell you one thing is for sure, I like being the life of the party. There is nothing quite like walking into a bar on karaoke night in a trench coat, sunglasses, a hat, and a gratuitously false mustache. On a Tuesday night I walk in an empty place and all of the sudden something is actually happening, and it's me. It's very interesting to me to watch how people react, they can't tell if I'm looking at them because of the sunglasses but if someone is clearly staring I'll give my mustache a little wiggle and see if that will get a smile out of them. Some nights nobody says a word to me, some nights I walk out knowing everyone in the place by name, most nights something interesting happens. A few times I've taken Mr. E out with a group of friends to karaoke and it just doesn't work, I guess he's loner. I'd rather go out with my friends as me and go out as Mr. E into a group of complete strangers. For those of you that haven't heard the story half a dozen times already, here's how Mr. E came to be.

First, some back-story. Saying that I used to be afraid of singing in front of people would be a gross understatement. To explain the depth of my fear I usually tell people that I hadn't sung (outside of a choir) in front of anyone (except maybe my mom in the car) until I was about 26. Some time in my mid-twenties we had a game called "Sing Star" for the playstation (2?) and I went through the entire career mode in the brief moments of time when I was home alone. If Jon (my husband) came home while I was in the middle of a song, it didn't matter if I had the highest score or had never gotten that far or ANYTHING- the machine got shut off. Right away. It's not like I thought he would be critical, he's just not that kind of guy, I was just terrified to be heard singing. I haven't figured out what's behind it. I think I believed that I was actually quite a good singer and I was willing to do anything to hold on to that belief, like make sure nobody else had an opinion about it.

Enter Rock Band. We had been playing guitar hero for years already and I was very comfortable with the reality that I was approaching 30 and really enjoying jumping around playing plastic instruments in my pajamas with my husband on a regular basis. The addition of drums was exciting for both of us, I'm not sure how Jon felt about the singing part but I was apprehensive. It didn't take long for me to realize that if there were four of us playing and nobody wanted to sing, I could sing really quietly and hope that everyone else was too busy trying to play their part to hear me or think about it. I don't know quite when it happened but all of the sudden the microphone was the thing everyone was after. People were getting bold, actually enjoying it, putting themselves out there. I was jealous. After a year or so I was able to hold my own singing on rockband... I enjoyed it enough to want to do it on my own when nobody else was playing but that ended up being pretty boring. One day I decided to try to sing and play guitar at the same time. I was totally rocking it, I found a way to wrap the mic around a laundry basket as a make-shift stand and I was howling bon jovi at the top of my lungs when one of my mates came walking down our path and looked in the window to see me strumming a plastic guitar and wearing a laundry basket. My instinct was to shut the whole thing off before he could get in the door and pretend that he was crazy! What laundry basket?

Instead I tried not to laugh too much while I finished my song in front of him, took off my laundry basket, and pretended to be completely unfazed. "What? We don't have a mic stand." Now we have two mic stands and even though I still feel a little foolish enjoying myself quite so much, Rockband 1, 2, lego, Beatles, (and soon to be released 3!) have eaten up a LOT of the last four years.

Enter Craig. Our friend Craig has got his very own Karaoke set up. Not some little consumer party machine, like the real deal. There's a big difference between Rock Band and Karaoke. Primarily, the fact that everyone is watching you and usually you don't already know and love every single person in the room. This was so cool because my first karaoke experience got to be at a Heidi Von Haught's birthday party where I knew at least half the people and I was pretty sure nobody would boo me AND said birthday girl had recently just completely WOWed me by singing Nina Simone's Feeling Good for her first time in front of a huge audience at her burlesque show AND she was going to sing with me so that I didn't feel so alone out there.

By the end I had no idea how it went, my head was pulsing, the adrenalin had hit, I was pretty drunk before we started too. It didn't matter, I already knew I was in trouble. I *heart* fear and adrenalin. I emailed Craig to forewarn him of my impending addiction, I also encouraged him to be an enabler. He rose to the challenge.

Story's gotta stop here for now, lovelies. I have other matters to attend to. To be continued...