Thursday, August 20, 2009

Be My Guest, Brian Moote.

I am pleased to introduce you to Brian Moote. He is a stand up comedian and, not to mention, a stand up guy. We grew up together, a South Whidbey Island native like me. In fact, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brian for driving our crew around in his mom's minivan. Brian was always very patient as the twelve people crammed in his car would loudly decide what sounded more fun: tee-peeing the new freshman's house or burning a couch at the abandoned airstrip.
Brian is returning to his island roots, via WICA, on October 10th. There won't be any tee-peeing or couch burning, but there will be two show times; 7pm and 9pm. Tickets are 10$ for adults and 5$ for students. Email Brian or check him out at for more information.
Enjoy his blog, and try not to judge him for the bootlegging.

Booze-running into Jesus-apalooza
Written by Brian Moote, Guest Blogger
(Names and details have been changed to protect sinners and saints alike.)
Gunstock, New Hampshire – known for many things: great hiking, amazing skiing and hunting various endangered species. And then there are the summer festivals at the mountain resort, including “Rock ‘n’ Rib Fest” (revolves around ponytails, faded tattoos from the 70’s and grilling meat) and Godfest (revolves around the same things; just add a heaping serving of Jesus). Godfest is a 4-day Jesus Woodstock. 15,000 Christians camp out at the base of the Gunstock resort and take in Christian rock while immersing themselves in Jesus merchandise. Oh, they pray here and there too. Sounds like heaven right? Jean jacket bedazzled in the name of the Lord? We got plenty.
I have never heard of this thing, nor would I ever normally make a 2-hour pilgrimage to the “holy” resort from Boston. My little brother, Kilian, was presenting for his non-profit in a fundraising attempt to get a following from the God followers. His organization is not religiously affiliated, but their cause is one that Christians can get on board with, and since Christians, who can take a 4-day sabbatical in NH, are notorious for having a little money to burn, why not let them do it for a good cause (I’m keeping his organization’s name out of this story…Christians, according to the bible at least, have a knack for revenge)? As for my family, we grew up Catholic. This essentially means that we roam somewhere between atheist and drunk, depending on the holiday. But, I’ll save my Cath-bashing for my live show.
Back to the story. Kilian called me a said, “This Godfest thing is nuts, you have to come up. Lots of material for you.” Never one to shy away from getting religious material, I was immediately onboard. He ended the conversation by saying “Bring a bottle of Jameson.” I didn’t really plan on bringing the Jameson until I got an email from him with the address of the festivities, “No entry unless you have a bottle of Jameson... Seriously.” I started to pick up on the fact that this was indeed a serious situation. As usual, I did not google map my destination until I was in the car. This is when I found out it was nowhere near Manchester, NH (45 min from Boston)… as I had assumed for some reason. It was in fact an hour north of there… on back roads. Realizing my stairway to heaven has just doubled, I took a minute to silence whatever rage it is that comes before the road rage, loaded up my moonshine and embarked on the holy road to Godfest (I-93 North).
When I left Boston, there was not a cloud in the sky and I thought to myself, “What a nice day… to smuggle booze into a Christian event.” The difference between Christian Fest and Catholic Fest, is that at Catholic Fest, smuggling booze would be like bringing sand to the… you get the joke: we drink a lot. As I ventured North, the weather turned horrible, as only a New England summer can do. I couldn’t help but wonder if my devious intentions and the dark black cloud following me up the interstate were connected somehow. It wouldn’t be out of character for God to punish all New Englanders simply for the mistake of one person right? I think back to my past remembering this fact from Sunday school: Jesus died for my right to bring Jameson into a “dry event” and then say sorry afterwards right? Yeah, I think I have that interpretation correct.
It is hard to explain the amazement that I experienced when I took the turn into Godfest and saw a sea of campers and tents stretched in front of me. Hundreds, packed into the side of the mountain and in the woods. You couldn’t look anywhere without seeing a tent. An ocean of Kelty. I parked in the remote lot, stuffing The Bottle inside a sweatshirt. I stepped out of the car and the rain started. Not drizzle, but Hollywood-style ridiculous rain. The kind that instantly drenched me. I felt like I should be standing in front of some girl’s house in a teen movie, screaming for her to forgive me as drop to my knees, pounding my fist on the grass, seeing the front door open as the credits roll. I have to admit, at this point, I had the feeling that the rain and lightning (which was not in the forecast the night before when I looked), was related to my moonshine-smuggling activities. I was a little proud of my back-alley wizardry, like I was waving the bottle in the air, summoning the lightning the way Harry Potter might.
I watched my brother deliver his second presentation/pitch of the day. He framed his cause for the Christian folk beautifully. He reminded them that people who are less fortunate than themselves and that are subject to human trafficking are “still children of God too”. I saw a few folks look a little puzzled about that. Wait, what? Poor people from other countries are children of God too? Well, they need to pray harder then, maybe have a Godfest in Rwanda or something to fix the joint up. To get the religious folks to donate, you really have to pound on their guilt. This is mainly because religion trains us to only respond to others when we feel a little guilty about not doing anything. It is also hard to get donations because there are a lot of scams out there in the name of Jesus. Those who did donate asked some respectable non-profit questions like, “How much of your budget goes to administrative costs?” This question is essentially, “We aren’t paying for you to drive a Benz right? Because we had this pastor who told us he was gonna feed the children and, instead, he just bought a Benz.” The question is fair and in fact, I was happy they asked.
The irony is that the entire Godfest event itself is somewhat of a Jesus-based scam. Sure it is fun and it allows a lot of good people to meet and talk about faith. And I am sure some good comes out of it, but it also is laden with money-making schemes. I went backstage with my brother to eat lunch and avoid the thundershowers that I had smuggled in with me and the booze. It was behind the scenes that I got to experience the Jesus energy drink made by 1 to 3 Trinity. This energy drink is, “Energy fused with the fruit of the spirit,” and “made from the roots and vines of the Holy Lands”. And added bonus? Only ten calories. This is insane. “The fruit of the spirit?” That isn’t even a real thing, let alone something you can contain in a 12 oz. can. This is a perfect example of religious marketing. Energy drinks are popular, but religious folks don’t agree with what they stand for. Red Bull is evil, so let’s make an energy drink for those more pure of heart. How do we prove that our energy drink comes from a higher power? We don’t. We just write a bunch of religious stuff all over the can that is impossible to disprove, like “Holy Lands”. Genius! Good luck arguing that ginko biloba isn’t a vine from the holy land. We never specified what the “Holy Lands” were, so how can we be wrong? Our slogan will be “innovative… unique… 1in3TrinityEnergyDrink… spread the light…” What does that mean? It means we get rich! Technically, the slogan means “greatly exaggerated… aggressive marketing… SameOldScam… capitalism is Christianity…”. But, who is really paying attention anyway? (
After lunch (and my energy drink) I spoke to a few of the mainstage music acts. I found out that the headliners were being paid a staggering $80,000. Let me repeat that. $80,000. To sprinkle Jesus through the music that they play? $80,000, and people were sweating $27 a month to help fight sex slavery in India. This is where myself and my religion part ways in ethical decision-making. Maybe if Kilian and I wrote a catchy song about sex slavery and Jesus then we could get up on the mainstage and really make a difference, get some hands in the air instead of clutching their wallets. The total budget for the festival’s music each night was around $400,000. That equates to a rate of $33,000 per hour. That equals more than the total yearly operating budget of the outreach and development activity of the organization Kilian works for. More importantly, for me, it also equates to roughly 17,778 fifths of Jameson. I have to admit, after doing a little math on the Soulfest budget, I felt way less bad (not even bad at all, really) about the booze-smuggling violation. Actually, I regretted that I didn’t bring them a half gallon of Jameson instead of a fifth, and maybe a little Jaeger for their difficult 4-day battle. Maybe that rain cloud wasn’t because of me after all. Sadly though, I had grown kind of fond of thinking of myself as a back-alley booze wizard.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The tracks of my tears

Lips that taste of tears, they say,
are the best for kissing.
~Dorothy Parker

Not everyone cries. A friend of mine has not cried in over ten years or something crazy like that. Some people just don't show their emotions like that. Those "some people" are probably bottling it all up. I strongly suggest you steer clear of them on the day the rains come.

I cry. A lot. I have such a tough exterior, but those who know me, or those who have gotten close enough to hurt my feelings know the sad girl. As soon as my lower lip starts to tremble, I usually try to explain myself, blubbering, "I'm a cryer," my voice a bottomless crevasse. "Really. Don't take it personally, everything makes me weep."

It's cathartic. Vulnerable. The tears are a testament to how visceral the moment is. My body has no choice but to respond. It's me. With no control. My brain, for once, does not get a vote. To tell the truth, I almost kind of... like it. I even like how I look when I am crying. How do I know what I look like in moments of sadness? Well, there is the fact that my mom loves to take pictures of me crying, stating, "there will always be hundreds of pictures of you smiling. This? This is real life." If it isn't captured by my loving mom, it is when the perfect storm of low self-esteem and narcissism collide. I like to make sure the image being broadcasted to the world reflects what I think it should. I hide in the bathroom for a minute and make eye contact with the sad girl. And right before I tell her to snap the fuck out of it, I like to see what she sees and also see what everybody else sees. I detach. And, honestly, I don't look half-bad with bloodshot eyes and slimy nostrils. In a weird way, it works on me. Every now and then the crying gets ugly (Beaches or Steel Magnolias); my face blotchy, my mascara has become lip liner. But in times like that, I am usually already in decade-old sweats and well on my way to housing a large bag of peanut butter m&m's. At that point, I don't have the energy to care anymore.

I used to place the blame on any number of things: I am about to start my period. I missed my period. I miss my friends. I miss him. He broke my heart. I broke my favorite bowl. I am broke. And then there is the classic girl excuse for tears: I am just tired. No, really, I am fine. I am just tired.

I gave up on the excuses. I cry when I am sad and that is all there is to it. But there is another kind of tears I am not used to. Tears of joy. I have had them, but they are rare. Even when I am crying at a wedding, it's not because I am happy for the couple. It is because I am single at a wedding. Again. Looking around at the guest list, the prospects don't look good. I know that dull prospects are probably not going to stop me from drinking my feelings and going home (or just far enough away in the dark) with some douche bag. Any non-married girl in their twenties who tells you, at a wedding, that those are tears of happiness, is completely full of shit.

When the tears of joy do happen, it is a foreign occasion. I never know what to do. I am crying, so my instinct is to curl up in the fetal position with my favorite treat and a Lifetime movie. It happened to me today. I was overwhelmed, feeling ecstatically blessed and I started to spontaneously leak. My fingers flew to my cheek in wonder and my gut told me to call a friend and have them talk me off the ledge. But, wait. These are happy tears. I am happy. Elated, in fact. I am so happy that there is nothing left to do but... cry? It makes no sense. When things make no sense to me, then comes the laughter. So now I am crying and laughing and all mixed up. Maybe I should run to the mirror and see what the sad girl thinks. See what she would do. I tilt the rearview mirror, the green of the passing trees becomes the green of my eyes staring back. My crow's feet crinkle in unison, giggling at me. Oh, I get it. The sad girl isn't here anymore. I wonder if I will miss her. Maybe even shed a tear.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


No matter how dark the night, somehow the sun rises once again and all shadows are chased away."

-David Mathew

Some people are terrified of their boss. I am lucky. My boss is smarter and cooler than me. I am not kissing ass here. He really is. He is kind of nerdy and still way cooler than me. He asked me if I had heard so and so's music that was playing in the background. I had, but had no idea who it was. He found this "disconcerting". This reaction would worry me if I worked in the music industry. However, since we are in the entertainment industry, I silently promised to get some of my cooler friends to educate me musically. Until then, I fake it. "Oh, yeah. This album is epic. I listen to it when I drive," I say, standing over his shoulder as he plays me a new Blu-Ray release of what's-their-names. I listen closely, trying to memorize a verse so I can Google it later. "These speakers..." He yells. "Lossless sound!" Right. Lossless sound. Whatever that is. His disapproval of my iTunes does not scare me.

No, I am not terrified of my boss. Instead, I am terrified of the material we work on. Petrified. I have already told him that I plan on expensing a Costco container of Tylenol PM. Come to think of it, I am going to expense the wine I wash it down with. See, when I got this job I realized quickly that I was about to be thrown into the world I had avoided for most of my childhood and all of my adulthood.

When I was, I don't know, twelve or so I would get invited to slumber birthday parties. That was the cool thing to do. We would gather in a big tent, sit in a gab circle laden with wildly inappropriate pre-teen subject manner (like which of us had pubic hair), followed by Truth or Dare (usually having to prove our answer to the previous question) and finishing the night with a horror movie. After seeing Candyman, I spent a week sleeping in my parent's bedroom. I still can't talk about how Fire in the Sky affected me. I started calling in sick to slumber parties. Eventually, after my mom ran into some other moms, word got out why I wouldn't attend the parties. I guess my reason was less embarrassing than avoiding Truth or Dare. Pretty soon, there was a new house rule: no horror movies for Sarah. The rule still stands.

I tend to take things personally. Movies included. I am the movie goer who audibly gasps when the heroine dies. Jaime, my partner in crime for hundreds of movies, calls me an "11". She says, "as far as being emotionally affected by movies, on a scale of 1 to 10, you're an 11." I believe she said this after I insisted I could handle Ammityville Horror. I didn't care how scary it was; to see Ryan Reynolds chopping wood with his shirt off, I was willing to risk it. I ended the night with a Xanax and an extremely unrealistic dream about Mr. Reynolds and myself.

Besides sticking to romantic comedies, I also have to check my imagination at the door when I am sleeping somewhere new. Living in a haunted house when I was in college didn't help. I pick up the vibe of a house, or campground, the moment I arrive. Phoebe and Arwen like to have me come over upon moving into a new house. If I can take my usual afternoon cat nap on the couch, the house is clear of spirits. Camping is a little trickier. I am not going to pretend I haven't spent too many hours positive that the noise I am hearing is a blood thirsty monster lurking in the ponderosas directly behind my tent.

But the sun rises on the tent and the early morning dew sparkles. The smells of percolating coffee on the Coleman stove linger with crisp air, the promise of summer heat once the sun makes its climb. Everything is as it should be again. Everything has an answer.

Until now. Now, I get to read in-depth investigations about aliens and ghosts. The unknown. I am a control freak who also happens to be a Taurus. Not good characteristics when attempting to dive into the creepy paranormal. I like rational explanations for everything. From why my grocery checker chose that hair color to what exactly causes a wormhole. I would like it to be black and white. The answers, not her hair color.

Maybe it would be better to be terrified of my boss. Maybe if I was being belittled and intimidated, I would forget that I am scared to death reading about what happens when you give an alien an autopsy.

Since I will probably never have all the answers, I guess I will just keep the Tylenol PM close by.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

This could be you...

And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.
~Sylvia Plath

In addition to my unbelievably witty candor, this blog needs something else. You.

Here is the deal. Email me. Call me. Twitter me. Facebook me. Send a carrier pigeon. Tell one of my many family members when you run into them at the grocery store. Whatever. Just let me know that you want to be my guest. It will be kind of like you are coming to my place for dinner. Only, I am not cooking you dinner or sharing my wine with you. But you will get my opinion, and my attention, which is far better than my cooking (or my cheap wine). So get going and get writing. If you need ideas, I am full of them (and it). You can write about anything; relationship advice, how to mow a lawn, your last colonic. You can even make fun of me. If you have nothing to say, send images and some material on you and what you do or maybe what you have been up to. If you are a man with your shirt off you get bonus points. Send links to the websites that keep you clinging to your computer the way a fat kid clings to cake. Speaking of cake, why don't you send me your latest kitchen creation. If you still don't have anything, but you want to get involved, tell me what to write about. I can pretty much go on and on (and on) about anything, so have it.

I'm waiting...

Oh, I guess you need my email:

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Wife, I mean life, on the bluff...

I would be content being a housewife if I could find the kind of man who wouldn't treat me like one."
-Terry McMillan
My mornings here start early. There is is a lot to do and I get paid to make sure it gets done. This morning it is the contractor at 7am. This may be a “normal” time for some, but I am not really in early morning person. “Can you open the gate, the roofers are going to start early, with the heat and all.” No problem. I sleep walk down the long hallway to the phone, type in the code, turn the sprinklers on while I am upright, and then fall face first back into bed. In case you were wondering, roofing is extremely loud. I know I should just give up; make coffee, start the day. But I don’t want to. I am right in the middle of a dream and I don’t want to wake up. If there was anyone else here, in the 6000 square feet that surround me, I would whine and whimper. But, finally I give in, rising to the rhythm of steady hammering. Stories are being told in rapid Spanish above me. I can hear them talking about whether the girl who lives in the house is home. Yes, she is home, I think to myself. She is home and she hasn’t had coffee yet. She is home and has had enough travel, school and years in a restaurant to understand the dirty things being said about her. She is home and her mood, lack of coffee and early wake up has her tempted to yank on the rope, that I assume is attached to a roofer, that is dangling over the steep edge of the house.
I throw on my idea of "public pajamas": black yoga pants, one of those tank tops with a built-in bra, flip flops and a ponytail. Coffee made and I am out the front door. Steaming mug in hand, cordless phone tucked under my arm. First up is Stephan, dear friend and groundskeeper. We catch up, talk about what’s happening around the property and also a little bit about what’s happening around town. I wander down the sloping hill toward the guest house. Emma, the housekeeper stops me, asking if I know where she is supposed to be. Funny that someone would ask me where they should be. I have spent my entire life trying to figure where I am supposed to be.
The cats. The three cats, whose home is the apartment below the guest house. They get breakfast and dinner served on three china saucers. If the weather is nice, they dine al fresco. If it’s raining, I set up an umbrella for them (kidding). I walk through their apartment, making sure they didn’t throw a big party while I was sleeping in the other house. A dead mouse greets me in their bedroom. I look out the door for Emma. I have changed my mind; I know exactly where she is supposed to be. It’s too late and she is nowhere to be found. I wish cats knew exactly how shitty it is to clean up a mouse that is laying on the carpet, its entire insides sitting about three inches from its corpse.
As I am holding the dearly departed rodent, the phone rings. My boss. Calls every morning at 9ish to check in. In Seattle today, needs me to cancel London hotel reservations and figure out why they are still getting charged electric for the condo that was sold months ago. I listen carefully, trying to ignore the soft, furry lump in my left hand that is threatening to leak through the paper towel I have it wrapped in. I get off the phone, give the mouse a ceremonial throw over the bluff and begin my search for Purell. I have forgotten my coffee on the porch and turn around to see the cat drinking it.
Back at the house, emails are starting to come in and the phone is still ringing. The guy that takes care of the Ferraris hurt his back and is on pain meds. He is asking me, again, to talk slower. I resist the urge to ask him if he could spare a Vicodin.
My shower is quick, made quicker by a three-inch wolf spider hanging out next to my shampoo, threatening to kill me at any moment. I ask Matt, who is working in the yard, to take care of it, insisting that while normally I am not “that” girl, being naked in a confined space with this spider has made me vulnerable. The look on his face is begging me to spare him the details.
Beds made, laundry started and the phone still ringing. I need to pick my five year old niece up, get her to my mom's and drop off the recycling on the way. Bills need to be paid, groceries bought and there is a mile high stack of mail to be sorted. The dryer just buzzed to tell me that there are clothes waiting to be folded. Then the oven timer chimes in to tell me that if I don't get my ass in the kitchen, the scones will be burnt to a crisp.
Out the door again, my bag slung over one shoulder, cell phone pinned between my chin and my other shoulder as I try to listen to a friend discuss the bridesmaid dresses for her upcoming Napa nuptials. Two screenplays fall out of my bag (my other job) and onto the wet driveway. I peel the pages carefully from the pavement and as I stand up, still listening to the details of the mauve dresses, there is a dry waller staring at me, waiting for a time frame for the coming week.
At the end of the day I watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. Everything is quiet and everything is checked off my list. Well, almost everything. I forgot to return my library books. I crumple into the oversized couch with a glass of red wine and press play. As the opening music for Weeds begins, I take a deep breath of contentment. I am actually pretty good at this. And what is “this”, exactly?
I am a housewife. Without a husband.
I am a lonely housewife living in a big house on the bluff. It’s an unconventional job, being an estate manager/house-wife-in-training/cat feeder/fire putter outer. But this is the dress rehearsal, and with every night that goes by, alone in this house, I can’t wait for the real thing. Instead of days filled with meaningless chores (and wishing there was a pool boy), I will be running a household and sharing a home with a man who is my best friend and partner. Now I just have to find him.