Sunday, September 8, 2013

Here's How I Played Music in the Azores

Blog, I know you might be wondering how I was able to get two gigs playing Dirty Curls songs on an Azorian island in the middle of the ocean. Well, just like everything that requires you to make an ass of yourself in front of strangers, it's all about who you know. And I happen to know this guy:

Don't worry. He's big in Portugal.
Sergio runs Praia Rock Café, which I actually wrote about here after my first trip to Terceira back in May of 2012. Turns out Sergio came across that article a few months later and befriended me on Facebook since he remembered me from my visit. Ever since, I've been invited to copious beer pong events that I have no interest or ability in attending.

But when I was standing in line to check my bag at Logan International in Boston at the very beginning of my trip, the couple in front of me asked about my guitar*. We were all on our way to the same place, so they were wondering where I would be playing. I hadn't actually planned on playing a show while I was on the island, but was open to the idea. I mentioned I knew Sergio at Praia Rock and they knew exactly what I was talking about, because this world isn't that big after all. And maybe because Terceira could easily fit in the 494-694 loop (for you Minneapolites' reference) and has a population of 50,000 and everyone knows everyone else. Seriously. That bag check line was like a big Portuguese family reunion. So was the plane. And customs.

Anyway, long story short, I contacted Sergio about playing and he agreed and got me set up. Dirty comedy music that is sung explicitly in English may seem like a weird choice for a bar in Portugal, but like my first article mentioned, the bar is located right outside of the front gate of the base. It's swarming with Americans. So much so, there's American shit all over the walls:

American shit = money and license plates.
And so I got to play dirty songs about threesomes and Joe Biden for Americans who were able to appreciate all the naughty humor that goes with something like lusting after the vice president. The first of my two nights on stage lead me to be invited to sing for the main act, Tommy and the Time Machine. However, while I can hold my own singing erotic bluegrass with my guitar, it turns out I have a tough time incorporating my voice into a classic rock cover band because I get distracted by things like Pedro's electric bass prowess that is second to none.

But that other girl from North Dakota knew exactly what she was doing.
Despite my ironic stage fright, I still had a great time at Praia Rock. I have to say I teared up when the airport shuttle passed by it on our way to the plane. Sometimes it's only when you leave a place that you realize just how familiar it's become to you.

So thanks Sergio and Tommy and the Time Machine, and everyone else who came out to see me play in such a far off land. If I ever manage to reproduce humans who in turn reproduce more humans, I'll tell them about it as they're getting me ready for my sponge bath, or Sunday outing, or whatever it is that I won't be able to do for myself by then because I'm old.

*Fact: When you travel with an instrument, everyone automatically thinks you're cool and probably a little famous. So next time you travel, pack your shit in an instrument case (or just bring an instrument) and let the questions and awe rain down.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I'm Feeling Landlocked, but I Think I'll Be Ok

Wow Blog. Yesterday was hard. I think it had to do with a combination of my island adventure ending and The Artist's Way. Julia said it was going to get hard by week 4, and I thought "yeah, hard like 'oh I don't feel like doing this anymore' hard", but no. It's hard, Blog. Emotionally difficult. I've never gone through therapy before, but I imagine it would be something like what I'm going through right now. And all I'm really doing is morning pages. It's crazy what half an hour of stream-of-consciousness writing every day can do to you after a month. But don't worry about me. It's all for the better.

Being back has been hard, Artist's Way or no, though. I miss my friends on the island and I strangely miss the ocean that I also fear. It's like it's this character in my life that is both strong and dependable, but also crazy and dangerous. Carly and I at one point compared it to one of those friends that you have an amazing time with, but who are so crazy and intense that you tend to keep them at a distance for safety reasons. Like, "Oh ocean! You're so crazy and fun! I have such a good time swimming in you and jumping in you. But sometimes you're unpredictable and a little too spontaneous for my liking and knock me off a rock and I scrape my knee and almost drown." You know, Blog. One of those friends.

But I've never felt landlocked before, and today for a split second I got an idea of what that feeling is like. I for a moment had the realization that land was beyond me for thousands of miles in all directions. The ocean; my crazy but wonderful friend was thousands of miles away from me. Last week I could literally sit up in my bed and see it out the window. Now it's just trees and buildings and roads and people everywhere.

But hey, Target is here and that's something we can all appreciate. I bought a storage bin yesterday for 6 dollars, Blog. 6 dollars.

I walked around Uptown this afternoon to run some errands and by the time I made it to Calhoun Square I was feeling pretty good. This is my city after all. If I'm going to live in this country, then I'm going to live here. Minneapolis has been good to me, and I appreciate that. I have autonomy here. I know my way around and where I can go for sunglasses or groceries or bike repair (because I stupidly over-filled my back tire yesterday and consequently popped it). Courtney McLean herself stopped by this evening and we dished on the roof for a bit about boys and shows and travels. Yes, it does feel good to be home after all.

Greenway you're no ocean, but you're just as fun and dangerous.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Azores Day 22: Bye

Well, I cried multiple times today Blog. There are pictures on cameras thousands of miles away that I will post once I receive them. Until then, I've decided that I hate airports. They are places where people who mean lots to each other have to say goodbye and that's just the worst.

It's even worse than the worst.
My last days on the island were kind of scattered. I played more Dirty Curls songs at Praia Rock on Saturday night and it was a success. Characters who I'd gotten to know on the island came out just to see me play. There was the German guy who wore his shirts half unbuttoned so the chain around his neck mingled with his chest hair (I know, right?!). It was so European I couldn't even stand it but it was so European there was nothing to do but accept it. There was Baby Shaw and the Sutherlands and a certain Senior Airman who has taken a particular liking to me. There was Sergio and James the African and Roberts. There was a vet who writes poetry and a couple from base. And of course Carly and Casey. Alabama Dannon bought obscene amounts of beer for everyone. Dale sipped on a straw that wasn't even in a drink. There was a four year old Portuguese girl who danced to Joe Biden like it's been her jam years. Courtney, your songs are a hit with the kids.

Earlier on Saturday Carly and I spent the afternoon at Quatro Ribieras where we were hit on by 13 year olds who whistled repeatedly at us and said random things like "I like boobs". Then they threw themselves off the cliff into the water so we would be impressed. As per usual we were horrified.

We even bought ice cream from the mysterious blue-eyed surfer man at the snack stand where they have my favorite novelty: the oddly-named Choco Clack.

One Choco Clack please.
Sunday entailed more Quatro Ribieras with Carly and the certain SrA who has taken an interest in me. We invited him to dinner. With Megan. He said yes, and we were once again horrified.

This was not the worst thing she did to him.
The man is a fucking champ.

And then there was today where I cried. I cried because I have really, really, really great friends who I love and are like family to me and they live far away from me all the time. The worst part is, I don't know when I'll see them again. I don't even know where I'll see them again. It could be here in the States, it could be in Europe. It could be in the winter or the summer. It could be me seeing them or them seeing me. I don't know anything other than the fact that one will more than likely need to fly on a plane to get to the other. People are always saying goodbye to each other and crying about it and it's always happening at airports. They're the worst.

Then again, my sister in law was reunited with her family yesterday and it involved an airport and tears--the happy kind.

Mom? Is it really you?
(Thanks to Justine Conover for the photo!)
I'm not in the military, but sometimes I feel like it with all the saying good bye I have to do. How did I end up with so many military things in my life, Blog? On one hand it's cool to have access to places like England and Italy and little Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, but on the other hand those places are all far away and are where my friends live. Lame.

So now I'm here at Logan International in Boston awaiting my flight back to Minneapolis. I keep thinking people are either Portuguese or in the Air Force when they are clearly neither. I'm annoyed with the conversations I overhear because I can understand them. I looked out the window at the street for a full 30 seconds and was overwhelmed by the advertising I saw. Welcome to America.

Home is home though, and it'll be nice to focus on my life in Minneapolis. I don't know what I'm doing there Blog, but I should probably stop avoiding whatever it is by hanging out at beautiful swimming holes and drinking caipirinhas with my friends from college. Time to be a responsible grown up. I think I see a bar over yonder that serves wine. Here's to reality!

Hey Blog! Stay tuned for some highlights of my trip (because why would I ever want to read 20 entries of detail when I'm looking back on this part of my life?) including a shout out to Praia Rock Café and the United States Air Force and more pictures that I've already forgotten about since I've taken them.

Azores Days 20 and 21: I'm Falling Behind Because It's All Coming to an End

Blog! I missed blogging yesterday because I'm the absolute worst! Just like this dog:

The worst.
More Dirty Curls songs were played at Praia Rock and I realized that Terceira has no comedy scene whatsoever for the Americans who are stationed here. People came out, Blog. People came out just to hear some Dirty Curls tunes. How fun is that? Pretty fun. This German guy who said I was "aw-way-some" last week was back this time and bought me a drink while I was on stage. Couples came out to spend their Saturday night with some erotic bluegrass. Courtney, there is an untapped market here. Islands need comedy too I guess.

Tonight is my last night on the island. I'm going to miss this place so much it hurts. I feel like I have a life here instead of in Minneapolis, despite my love for the city I call home. I know once I get back, I'll fall back into the rhythm of work and friends and shows and whatever else comes my way. I'm terrified of checking my voicemail though. I haven't talked on a phone in three weeks.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Azores Day 19: The Fernando Island Tour

Blog, tonight was the "Fernando Island Tour". Basically, I rode in a Suburban with quote: "Portugal's only redneck". That would be Fernando:

This is Fernando.
It is 4:30 in the morning here. An ungodly hour that is begging me to sleep, so I will give you this short rundown of the Fernando Island Tour.

Fernando has this Suburban that he got when he was living in the States, but brought back with him to the Azores. So now he'll pile his American Air Force friends into it and drive them around the island to little dive bars that you'd never think to go to otherwise all while blasting stand up by Larry the Cable Guy. I wish I were kidding about the choice of comedian there, but it's true. Thick southern redneck humor blared out the windows as we maneuvered our way to Angra for dinner. I drank Azorian honey flavored moonshine and ate a fish that still had its eyes attached to it. All in all, it's been a good night. One of those where you stop and ask yourself how you got into this particular situation.

For instance, why are we fake-eating bad taxidermy in a fluorescent-lit bar?