Monday, February 01, 2010

My America's Got Talent Adventure Part III

A few years went by. I received more emails from AGT but I blew them off. I was barely surviving and fighting depression, diabetes, anxiety, and poverty. I survived temping, worked loser jobs, lived on unemployment. Did what I have to to make it through life.
I started working a paper route in Port Aransas on 121707. I lived in North Beach and worked in Port Aransas. I drove at least 60 miles per day. In May of 2008, I moved to Port A. The summer season of 2008 was my first living on the Island. I barely made it. The Winter Texans were gone and partying teenagers don't buy newspapers. My newspaper earnings dropped seriously. I got by on gigs at restaurants. Doing the route overnight and doing gigs during the day was killing me. My diabetes ridden body couldn't handle the physical requirements or the need for strength I needed to do both. Then my car broke and it was something expensive I couldn't afford to fix. I lost my paper route. I took cabs to my gigs that I was surviving on.

I was living in what I call the Roach Motel. A way too small ugly shack on Oleander which couldn't hold all my belongings. When Ike was heading straight for Port A, I discarded 60% of my stuff. I borrowed my brother in law's car and put in what I could not live without in it (gear, pets, some clothes, paperwork, computers, and other stuff). I threw away all that I could that stood in my way of packing the car. I left behind what I had to packed in randomness in Rubbermaid plastic tubs. I duct taped them shut as best I could and evacuated to my sister's in CC.

As I drove on roads almost over-run by the sea, they played Blue October's "I Want to Swim Away". North Beach was almost all already underwater as I drove by on Hwy 181.

When I returned from evac-ing, I was surprised to see how much stuff was still in the Roach Motel. Everything was in terrible disarray from my panicked packing. It didn't even rain here. Not that I'm complaining, but I couldn't saved myself so much anguish.

There were too many big problems living in the Roach Motel to go into here. It was clear to me, I had to move. So, I found my current home and have been here since Jan 2009.

I still have too much stuff for where I live, but I have taken more time in clearing the useless belongings. I am almost to the point where I feel comfortable with what I have decided to keep. I have too many clothes. But, I need a lot of clothes. I need office clothes, stage clothes, run-around clothes, work in restaurant clothes, and clothes that fit. I lost 60 lbs and my weight has vacillated to where I am having trouble determining what goes and what stays. But, that's my problem to deal with.

Anyway, I got another AGT email inviting me to compete in 2009. Luis and I had been working off and on as a result of circumstances surrounding him and his band, Triggerfish. Those band details are not mine to discuss so I will let those be. But we decided to get our music taped and to enter AGT. Both of us were struggling with money at the time, so we decided to fore-go the trip to Dallas to audition and rather to enter online. Edith Bujnoch, Joanne's mom, a retired home-ec teacher was kind enough to offer to film us with her digi-cam. Of all the musicians we know, of all our friends, she came through for us. We had a gig at Beach and Station St Grill on a Sunday morning and she came and patiently, generously, kindly taped 4 songs for us. We taped Love the One You're With, In the Summertime, Baby I Love Your Way, and Baker Street. It was fun and relaxed. By myself, I taped Cry Me a River.

It was an impossibly sunny, hot, windy day. You can hear the sea-birds and hear the wind. People would walk by. People were talking. Buck walked in front of the camera with his surfboard. I kind of rather like that he did that. It was cute and spontaneous and unexpected. I was happy for having done it. Finally, there was something to post on YouTube.

We Fed Ex-ed the paperwork to AGT. We uploaded the vids to YouTube. We uploaded the vids to the AGT website. I wasn't on Facebook yet so didn't mess with that. We linked to YouTube where we could. I sent an email letting everybody I knew that we were on YouTube. I asked for a critique. I got what I expected even tho I explained that we did it all ourselves and none of us were professional videographers. The sound was not great. It was too windy. We didn't sound check the video before taping. We taped in front of an obnoxiously yellow painted wall. I hated that color but didn't have a choice in that matter. There were all sorts of things we learned after doing the video, but I am proud that we did it despite our limitations. We just made it happen. We owe Edith Bujnoch so much for helping us.

So, it was out and we were entered in AGT. People actually looked at it. AGT became my YouTube friend.

Luis and I worked at the same Condos. He worked the shift before mine. When we changed shifts, we'd check out stats on YouTube and Google ourselves. We'd giggle that the video was watched in the Phillipines, England, Mexico, Turkey, and we were mentioned as contenders on AGT on Beyonce's website. It was all too cool.

For a person who had scoffed (that's you Luis) that he had been a professional musician all his life and been with a successful working band for 14 years, and now he had been reduced to doing a talent show, he was having fun with this. For me, it's all about enjoying what you do and having fun with it. We never got called. We never made the show, but we had fun and got just a tad experience with the whole YouTube thing. We saw what it could do.

On the negative side, I learned you can't tell everybody about these AGT type things. Some people just over reacted. One of the Managers angrily told people who were reacting positively to our stuff to not encourage us. People who I thought were friends made faces to mock the fact that we could do this. People just way over-reacted. Some hurt my feelings. Some made me angry. Some disappointed me. And I learned to keep my mouth shut.

I was happy about the vid. We did it without professional equipment. There are people who don't understand that. Maybe they don't want to. I just don't care.

Anyway, I was grateful to AGT for providing the impetus to get us to do something. Anything. I was excited again after some serious depression and anxiety. I started to get treated for diabetes again. I was still throwing stuff away that I didn't need. I started discarding people who were hurtful and toxic. Overall, slowly, there was a glimpse of hope for the future.

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