Thursday, July 4, 2013

i am a stalker

So I was just trying to find this guy's email.

This guy I had recently met, and whom I vaguely knew through the tendrils of my west LA music connections.

I had run into him a couple of times out in the world-- had a few conversations with him about music and bands and playing out the role of professional musician in an increasingly tough industry environment.   We had connected as people- I had heard his band's music on line months before when someone else introduced me to them, and had dug it.

So, when we last ran into each other and he mentioned  for the second time that we should try to get together and play sometime...that his band was undergoing some changes- that he was up for jamming and playing with new people this summer, I was interested.  And I told him so.

"That would be great."  I said.  "I'm always really up for co-writing."  (which is true.)  "And I need to get out of the little hole that is my music room more often.  I need to be around more musicians more of the time- I get more creative that way." (also true.) "I'm sure I could fit something into my schedule.  I mean, I'm busy-- but I do have some flexibility."  (not exactly true.  I am mostly not all that busy and I usually have nothing BUT flexibility.)

But I didn't want to appear too eager- too desirous of this.  Because any good coupling, be it romantic or in this case, artistic, needs an equality of partnership.  Each person needs to need the other person equally in order for it to succeed.  And as I have ruefully discovered in times past, when I give out vibes of being too needy as writer- too desperate for work- just as in the world of dating, the pickins suddenly get real slim.  So, I played it cool.

"I'll email you,"  I get from him.

"Great.  Talk to you soon."  I wave goodbye.

And then, of course, also reminiscent of dating in LA in my twenties, days turn into weeks, weeks into going on two months, and I don't hear from him.

And suddenly what began as a perfectly normal conversation between two musicians, suddenly jumps tracks in my head, and I'm thinking way too often about when he's going to write me.   Checking my email every morning with the hopes that there'll be a brief, "Hey Hol- here's my number- give me a buzz.  Maybe you can stop by our studio some time this week and we can hang out.  Bring your guitar."

Now, this in part is due to the fact that my poor overworked producer is working two different gigs at once right now.  Tracking one artist, mixing another.  Starting late May, he became unavailable to press on with the current Holly Long rock band extraordinaire album which we are making like every other indie album ever made in the history of indie albums--- on the fly.  One recording session every few weeks.  One track painfully layered tiny bit by bit as weeks turn into months.  I'm not used to this way of creating a record, but I took the process on because I knew in my gut the finished product will be worth it, and I chalk up this tedious chapter to the continual education of myself as self-produced artist.

In the meantime, I'm hungry and bored for more musical stimulus.  More input.  More sounds and sights and ideas and words. There's nothing quite as impotent-making as the role of creator ready and wide open to the influence of what appears to be a blank-slate universe.   Where are my muses?  Where are the new experiences to pull from in order to think, to feel, and ultimately- to write?  The angsty teenage element that is my Creative Energy gloms onto anything that looks even remotely like a new avenue with some semblance of a pot o gold at its rainbow end.

So this guy.  This guy who is the only thing my universe has begrudgingly provided these past few weeks that seems to be a hint of a new road suddenly takes on greater significance than he should, and greater significance than I want him to.

But- not to be daunted by my own back-burner seething- I decide to do what any other normal, driven person with a goal would do without any information to begin with.  I start diving around online.  I start looking anywhere and everywhere I can think of to drudge up this person's contact info.  All I need is an email address.  That's all I need.

And this short trip also leaves me nowhere.  Unlike myself who is registered- signed, sealed and delivered up all over the online music world in service of allowing potential fans to connect with me and my music, this guy is pretty much nowhere to be found.  I'm starting to wonder if I've made him up.  But no- the band is there.  There's those couple of videos I can access via Youtube.  And a few more tracks on itunes.

Ok.  Ok.

So that's when it hits me that there are ways people have of finding people online.  People tracking websites-- methods I have never utilized before.  And I decide- ok- let's go ahead and check that out.  My stalk-o-meter is not yet going off because I tell myself- I'll just look at it, and if it's too expensive or creepy or in any way weirds me out, I won't do it.

I find myself on the first tracking website google provides me with.  Looks professional enough.  Mild mannered.  Well, except for-- "Looking for police records?  Past employment history?  You've come to the right place!"   God-  no- I think.  I'm merely looking for an email.  Just a little old email address.  That's all I want.  So I can craft what will hopefully turn out to be a short, concise missive stating Hi.  You guys. me. music. Let's get to work!

And one of my current dreams may come just a little closer to being realized.  For some time now, here smack in my forties,  I've decided I want to JOIN a band. An outfit that I don't have to be in charge of.  Something already in tact- with a small track record.  Somewhere I can just show up with my little bag o tricks and leave at the end of each rehearsal without having to lug all the gear, wrap up all the cords, pay the rehearsal studio, write all the songs, book all the gigs, send out all the promo emails...

See- I'm looking for the buzz without all the responsibility.  And this guy and his band seems like just the right soda flavor...

So then I scroll down to the price points on this website aimed at locating someone who doesn't know you're trying and maybe doesn't really want you to locate them.  Turns out the special trial offer is really cheap- something like $4.95- and they promise me name, address, phone number, and email.  Great !  I think.  That's way more than I need.

I click on this link.  And I type his name in the proper blanks.  And city of residence.  Because of course, that's really all I know about him.  And within a few minutes- I have a result!  I actually have four names the site says fits my search criteria!  Awesome- I think.  It was just that easy.  And I still don't really feel all that gross.  Just five bucks.  No biggie.

Turns out, of course, the FOUR names really only boil down to TWO.  There's only two names that are the SAME name I typed in, and actually only ONE of those entries has an address in the West side of Los Angeles.  Ok- I think- it's got to be him.  Great. So I click on his name and code....and...and....nothing else.  No number (which god knows, I'd never have called anyway) but most importantly- NO email.  Which was the whole reason I DID this thing in the first place.


That's when I look at the price list again (conveniently printed at the right side of every page on this website) and notice that for an additional $19.95 I can get more info on this particular entry.  I can get previous employer information, previous addresses, and EMAIL address, if there's one available.   Well, shit, I think.  I wish you woulda told me that at the beginning- then I would have gone straight for that tier.  I wouldn't have wasted no $4.95 on this useless search which basically just gives me an ADDRESS.

So, now like an idiot vacationing in Vegas who has just gambled away her last $20 at the roulette wheel, only to make a swift beeline for the ATM to withdraw another $400, I sort of blindly move ahead and pledge more money onto this people locator site to bring me deeper into this entry.  It's only twenty extra bucks, I think.  It's only an email address I need, I think.  This is important to me!  I think.  This is me morphing and changing into the new musician I am becoming in this decade of my life!  I think.  This is going to work!

And so of course- like anyone can tell you who's been betting on red all night, only to have the table come up black...and then to switch to black the moment before the ball lands on Red 4...this didn't work out for me at all.  My twenty dollars yielded me nothing more than a previous employer for the name of this westside dweller whose name matched my desired search name.  Still no phone.  More importantly- no email.  Just the name of a tech company in Simi Valley where the man I was searching had worked from 2004-2010.  Sigh.

Not the right guy.

My guy was never working for a tech company for seven years.  He and the band were on the road during at least three of those years.

And now I realize I've just spent $25 of my hard earned money finding out small bits of totally useless information about some techie guy who lives in southern Santa Monica.  Sigh.

And to boot.  I now get daily emails from this website I so blithely and stupidly joined.  Prompting me to run other searches on other random people.  "Now you can get the most up to date arrest information!"  Clearly this site is really only appropriate for HR departments, PIs,  and really really bored people.  And I am now a card-carrying member.

Well- if Snowden is indeed correct, someone in the NSA is right now adding that particular juicy bit of information to my ever- expanding file.  Not that they're actually reading it, mind you, just filing it away.  If in fact I do become some sort of a terrorist or a threat to society in any real way far off in the distant future.

Who knows- if my musician writer's block lasts much longer-- there's no telling WHAT I'll do....

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