Monday, December 14, 2009

On a clear day... can see forever.

Click for full size.

It rained all week and cleared up on Sunday, so the old man and I walked up to Signal Hill to check out the view of our city all clean and shiny after the storm. Long Beach por vida. I love this fucking town.

Monday, November 9, 2009

How heavy this axe.

On Friday night I drove up to L.A. to attend the opening of the INTRO show at the Harvey's Seatbeltbags boutique on Melrose (my friend Nancy is a finalist). Nancy's artwork looked really great and the woman who owns Harvey's was clearly a huge fan of hers -- hopefully she wins the competition! (You can vote for her here if you're so inclined.) We drank free cocktails and ate free hot dogs and my best friend Jennie had a five dollar psychic reading on the street that was about twenty-five percent accurate (which seems to be about the norm).

Me and Nancy.

Nancy, Jenny, and my BFF Jennie. Click photos for full size.

Saturday I kept it pretty mellow. It was my man-bestie Josh's 30th birthday so we rolled over to Bart's Pub in Garden Grove for his throwdown. Ghestapo Khazi played with Josh's band, Big Takeover, and Josh DJ'd. Pretty chill.

On Sunday Jennie and I went over to kick it with Josh on the low-key tip. Both Josh and Jennie are huge Pee-Wee's Playhouse fans, and Josh made us jealous with his latest Cypress Swapmeet score, a Billy Baloney puppet:

Josh and Billy Baloney. Click for full size.

All in all pretty solid. Spent the rest of the day kicking around with my dude at his place, reading magazines and watching TV. How was your weekend?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Metal moments

When it comes to my interests, fashion is clearly a biggie, but even clothes take a back seat to the number one love in my life: heavy metal. It's my fucking favorite thing. I'm a fan of most of its subgenres from stoner to sludge to doom to speed to thrash to black to death, but I'm especially partial to the big hitters of the late '70s and the eighties, with a very special place in my heart for hair metal -- if it crawled the Sunset Strip from '81 to '89, chances are good that I know it and I love it.

Certain metal songs hold personal relevance for me and remind me of very specific moments in time, whether it was the first time I heard a jam or if something significant happened while I was listening to one or if something just reminds me of one, and I thought I'd compile a short list of moments from my heavy metal life.

The Number Of The Beast - Iron Maiden

I was 15 years old and trying to find where I fit in and I had this friend named Randy that I thought was such hot shit. He was two years older than me and got me into hardcore music, which was blowing up in Orange County at the time, and he had a car and lots of cool punk friends who didn't go to our high school. Plus he was straight edge and really polite, which meant my mom loved him and let me go with him to shows and stay out past 10:00 PM.

I remember it was a Sunday evening during a fairly cold month and Randy called me and asked me if I wanted to go get dinner with him and some of his friends at Taco Loco, which is a hole-in-the-wall joint in Laguna Beach popular with vegans for its tofu mushroom burgers. (Of course all these kids were vegan, one thing with which I never got on board.) After some begging my mom finally agreed to let me go, and before I knew it I was in the back of an old beater van with Randy and three kids I'd never met -- two dudes and a girl. They were all two or three years older than me and I thought they looked so cool and old and tough with their denim jackets over faded hoodies covered in band patches, Converse and super-pegged jeans and they all had huge plugs in their ears and piercings in their faces and the girl's hair had big chunks of white and red in it and I felt totally uncool and intimidated, but they seemed to think I was all right. I don't remember anything about the drive to Laguna or our dinner at Taco Loco or our conversation in the van -- all I remember is as we were hurtling north on PCH back towards Costa Mesa, the girl, who was driving, stuck a casette in the tape deck and suddenly the speakers were blasting "The Number Of The Beast."

I had never heard Iron Maiden before then and I was instantly hooked. Randy and his friends knew every word and sang along, making claws with their fingers and raising them above their heads, out the window, shouting at passing cars: "SIX! SIX SIX! THE NUM! BER OF! THE BEAST!" I felt then for the first time, maybe since I had moved to California four years earlier, that I was becoming a part of something, something that I really liked.

Slayer - Raining Blood

Randy introduced me to Slayer, too. After that night at Taco Loco he and I started kicking it with those same kids fairly regularly after school. After school got out Randy and I would walk together to his car parked down by the junior high school, and he'd blast Charles Bronson and Spazz on his jacked-up speakers as we drove past all the 7th graders walking home, then we'd jump on the 405 and tear down the freeway to Fountain Valley, where Randy's friends lived, just a couple of exits away from where we lived in Newport Beach, though it seemed really far away at the time.

We'd get to Fountain Valley and pick up one of the guys, I think his name was Bill, and then drive over and park outside of the other guy, Gregg's, apartment complex. Weirdly, I don't remember ever actually setting foot inside his apartment. The four of us would sit outside in Randy's little Honda and play CDs and talk about music.

One afternoon we were playing Cattle Decapitation -- I remember that really clearly -- and I said something about the sick blastbeats and that got Gregg on the subject of Slayer. When I admitted I'd never heard "Raining Blood" he leapt out of the car, ran inside his house, and emerged a moment later clutching a disc in his hand. "Crank it as loud as it'll go," he told Randy, and then that infamous opening thunder rolled through the car. It was the most metal thing I'd ever heard.

Randy switched schools the following year and I never saw him again. I think about him often, wonder what happened to him. I've tried to find him on Facebook but to no avail. I hope that one day I get to thank him for everything he introduced me to.

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar On Me

Completely cheesy, but I totally love this song and it'll always be close to my heart because it was playing the first time I met my best friend in the fucking world. I was 18 years old and had a new boyfriend (who later turned out to be a real creep, but that's beside the point) with this very tight-knit circle of friends whom I was keen to impress. I had met and made impressions of varying strength on most of them, but everyone kept mentioning someone named Jennie who was apparently visiting her family in Detroit and would be returning any day now, at which point -- I assumed -- the party would truly start.

I worked as a retail drone at Blockbuster Video then and usually closed the store, which meant that I didn't get out of work until around 1:00 AM, which was actually ideal at the time because one o' clock was when everyone was really kicking into high gear. After work I went over to the boyfriend's apartment and, as I was parking, heard the familiar strains of "Pour Some Sugar On Me" blasting from inside. When I walked into the apartment, the prettiest girl I'd ever seen was rolling around on the carpet, laughing this seriously infectious laugh and imploring everyone in her slightly Midwestern accent to pour sugar on her in the name of love.

It was Jennie. Instantly I knew we were destined to be best friends. Six years later we still are, and every time I'm with her and this song comes on I remind her of how we met and how no one could find any white sugar so she had brown sugar sprinkled on her in the name of love instead.

Mötley Crüe - Merry-Go-Round

This is a pretty stupid memory but I'll never forget it and I'll never be able to hear "Merry-Go-Round" again without thinking about it.

I was 21 and my relationship with the aforementioned boyfriend was at a total standstill and I decided to get away and clear my head by flying across the country to visit Ashley, whom I had known through LiveJournal for a few years but whom I'd never met in person, in Macon, Georgia. At the time she was the only person I knew whose love for hair metal matched up to mine, and when I arrived I met the guy she'd been dating at the time, this little 19-year-old who looked like he'd stepped right off the Strip in 1989, who worshiped at the altar of Tracii Guns. I'd never seen anyone like him in Los Angeles, much less in Macon.

While I was visiting, the three of us were pretty much a running crew, and I remember one morning we were sitting around the kitchen figuring out what to do that day and eating breakfast and listening to Too Fast For Love on Ashley's little boombox. "Take Me To The Top" had faded out and "Merry-Go-Round" was starting and Ashley was like, "Ugh, this song is so stupid," and skipped forward to "Piece Of Your Action."

The guy she was dating jumped out of his seat and cried, "It's not stupid!"

Ashley was like, "Yeah it is. It's a stupid song." She did a little deep-voiced impression of Vince Neil: "Merry-go-round and round...merry-go-round and round..."

Her boyfriend got really incensed and said "It's the Crüe! It can't be stupid!"

She was like, "Dude, I love Crüe just as much as you do if not more, but that doesn't mean 'Merry-Go-Round' isn't a lame song. It's a lame song."

It escalated from there to the point where her boyfriend stormed out of the apartment. We kind of looked at each other and laughed and went about our business and about 45 minutes later she called me over to the living room window and pointed down at the street. Her boyfriend had been sitting there in his car the entire time, seething. "He's probably listening to 'Merry-Go-Round' on repeat," I said.

Mötley Crüe - Dr. Feelgood

On that same trip, Ashley and I decided to drive down to Jacksonville, Florida, to visit our friend Prego. Once we'd arrived in Jax, we promptly got lost and found ourselves caught in the middle of the most terrifying lightning storm to which I've ever bore witness (and I grew up in monsoon-riddled Arizona, so it's not like I'm some kind of pussy about lightning or anything). We took refuge at a Kangaroo Express gas station, and when we went inside to ask the guy behind the counter for directions, I spotted a tray of cheap plastic lighters, each one adorned with the album art from Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood -- the caduceus with the snake and the wings and the creepy voodoo skull. I didn't even smoke, so I had no use for a lighter, but we were both like "Score!" and snatched them up.

I smuggled the damn thing back to Long Beach with me on the plane and carried it in my handbag everywhere with me and whenever anyone asked me for a light I worked out this routine where I would sing "He's the one they call Dr..." and the person who wanted the light would have to sing "Feelgood," and then I would go "He's the one that makes ya feel" and they would have to go "all right" before I would let them use the lighter. It was pretty great for meeting dudes. Eventually I accidentally ran the Dr. Feelgood lighter through the washing machine, peeling off the label and rendering it useless, but I think of it often and fondly.

AC/DC - Highway To Hell

AC/DC's been my favorite band since I was about 17 years old, but shortly after I turned 21 and dropped the dead weight that was the aforementioned creep boyfriend, the band started to play a supporting role in my life, and not through any machinations of my own. After I dropped the dead weight I went on a bit of a tear, out at the bar nearly every night with my best friend Jennie, meeting a lot of questionable dudes and basically acting like a 21-year-old who just broke up with her long-term boyfriend.

During that time in my life I was really living up to my nickname -- Sara Rowdy -- and it wasn't long before Jennie and I noticed that it seemed like AC/DC, and specifically the album Highway To Hell (AKA the best album ever recorded in the history of music, but let's not go off on a tangent), was following me everywhere. I'd walk into the bar and "Girls Got Rhythm" would immediately start playing on the jukebox. I'd get in the car and "Highway To Hell" would be on the radio. It was kind of uncanny. Jennie decided that I was the wild-child reincarnation of Bon Scott, and for about six months I lived like I was.

I've settled down considerably since then, but Bon is still my total kindred spirit. I plan to get the eagle tattoo he had on his arm on my right arm.

This took longer to write than I thought. I have more metal moments, but I'll save them for another day. A KISS moment, a Priest moment, an Anthrax moment, maybe another Maiden moment or two...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This year Halloween fell on a weekend...

I love Halloween -- I love seeing everyone in costume and all the parties and how wasted everyone gets. I was stoked that it came on a Saturday this year so we got in a full weekend of partying!

On Friday night my friends Hillary and Reid hosted a party at their apartment. My roommate and I were Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World," and I must say for putting it together out of pretty much nothing (the only thing I bought for my outfit was the blonde wig), my costume turned out pretty excellent.

Click for full size.

Hillary and Reid were Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell from "Overboard." Our friend Colin was a giant baby, and Kristin and Jeremy were cat burglars. There were a lot more people there, but these were the only photos I got.

Click for full size.

Unfortunately after I took these photos I drunkenly dropped my camera on the hardwood floor and broke it! So I don't have any pictures of the rest of the night, or of Saturday night, which is too bad because we rolled to the Prospector for their Halloween show. Every year they have local bands dress up and play covers and it's always really good -- this year Ghestapo Khazi played as the Dead Kennedys, the Commotions played as the B-52's, and the Valley Arena played as the Misfits. I snagged a few pictures from my friend Brittany's Facebook page:

Ghestapo Khazi as the Dead Kennedys.

My adorable friends Jeff and Tammy!

The Commotions as the B-52's and the Valley Arena as the Misfits. Click for full size.

I had an awesome time and at the end of the night Farron and I were surprised to hear "And the runner's up for best costume goes to...Wayne and Garth!" Pretty excellent! We were shocked, but at the same time I have to say that people were super stoked on our costumes. Everywhere we went people were shouting "Party on!" and while we were dancing to the Commotions this wasted girl was trying to surreptitiously take photos of us. Wish I could get my paws on those pictures.

How was your Halloween? I'm bummed I broke my camera, but I had a sweet time!

Monday, October 26, 2009

And the winners are...

I have a short attention span and I get really excited about things. When these two personality traits work in tandem (and they often do), I end up getting super stoked on stuff for a few days or a week at a time. So here on WR2BAM:LIFE I'm going to start periodically posting lists of my current winners -- whatever it might be that I'm stoked on at whatever time. Blogs, records, products, events, whatever. Here are this week's winners:

Best Living Thing That I Can Pretty Much Completely Neglect: Air Plants

I just learned about air plants, which gather their nutrients through their leaves instead of through their roots, which means that they don't need soil to grow. I like having plants around but I'm also lazy and have a proclivity towards accidentally neglecting things, so these low-maintenance plants appeal to me. They look cool and I don't have to worry about them. (You can order them for under five a pop at

Best Record That Is Just As Good As It Was The First Time I Got Obsessed With It When I Was 17: Shock Troops by Cock Sparrer

You know how you'll be going through your record collection and you'll come across an album that you used to play ad nauseam like five or six years ago, and you go "Holy shit, I loved this record," and you start listening to it and it still sounds so fucking good after all these years that you kind of feel like an ass for ever letting yourself forget about it in the first place? That how I feel about the British oi band Cock Sparrer and especially their great '83 album Shock Troops, which I played to death when I first got it back when I was a teenager and which I've had on repeat on my iPod for the last three weeks for reasons I will not yet divulge for fear of jinxing myself. Seriously, this album is total and complete working class London perfection -- it makes you want to put on Doc Martens and down a few Newcastles and get in a fight, and it's still somehow it's one of the most upbeat, positive records I can think of. Listen to "Where Are They Now" and then go buy this album.

Best Blog That I Would Totally Be Ripping Off If I Didn't Already Have My Hands Full With WR2BAM: 30 Is The New 13

Embarrassing confession: I was a huge, huge Baby-Sitters Club fan as a kid. Even more embarrassing confession: In recent months I've discovered the rather massive BSC fandom on the internet, and I spend a couple of nostalgic hours a week reading the snarky recaps of BSC and other YA books on blogs like BSC Revisited, Sheep Are In, and Dibby Fresh. Through these blogs I discovered 30 Is The New 13, a blog run by a hilarious and apparently totally un-self-conscious woman named Sada. As a preteen Sada made countless attempts at writing her own YA fiction, heavily influenced (and sometimes completely ripped off) by the popular kids' novels of the '80s, from Judy Blume to Sweet Valley and, of course, the BSC, and on 30 Is The New 13 she posts these opuses in their entirey -- complete with felt-tipped illustrations! -- for our amusement.

I can't really describe or explain this blog except to say that it's incredibly heartwarming and funny for me to read as I, like Sada, fancied myself quite the authoress as a pre-teen (I was constantly at work on my own YA "series" that featured, naturally, a set of identical twins always finding themselves in the midst of completely unbelievable, or, on the flip, laughably mundane adventures). I grew up on the same books that she did, writing strikingly similar stories, and reading her laborious preadolescent works of fiction makes me feel incredibly nostalgic in the best way possible. I'd wager that women born between 1979 and 1987 will probably be the only ones who truly "get" this incredibly sweet, funny blog, but if you should happen to fall into that category -- and especially if you ever had a penchant for The Unicorn Club or Barthe DeClements novels -- please, read and enjoy this blog.

Best Health Program That Gives Me Hope For The Future: College Bound Sisters

I read about this program a couple of weeks ago and I've been thinking about it a lot ever since. College Bound Sisters is a program that was set up at the University of North Carolina Greensboro for the younger sisters of pregnant teenagers. The young girls (aged 12-18) attend weekly meetings with adult leaders where they can discuss adolescent issues, go on field trips, listen to guest speakers, and so on. For every week that each girl stays in school and doesn't get pregnant, $7.00 is deposited into a college fund for her. Upon her eventual enrollment in college, each girl will receive the money she's earned. I can't help but feel that this kind of incentive program is exactly what young women need to protect themselves and to stay in school. I'd love to see something like this adopted nationwide.

Best 40-Year-Old Skater Dude: My Boyfriend Rusty

Click for full size.

No big deal, just Rusty shredding the gnar at the Volcom skate park in Costa Mesa, CA. We've been together for three years so sometimes I forget that he's not just my boyfriend, he's a super cute skater dude. Rad.

Best TV Show That Simultaneously Makes Me LOL And Feel Like I'm Not A Horrible Person: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia

My core group of buddies and I are legit obsessed with Always Sunny. Every Friday morning you can count on most of my friends' Facebook statuses being quotes from the previous night's episode. We like it because we are a big group of assholes, and "the gang" on the show makes us look like total angels. We also like that Charlie and the Waitress are married in real life.

Best Hot Pastrami Sandwich In All Of Long Beach (That I Know Of): The Koufax from MVP's

Oh, people not from Long Beach, I pity you. I pity you for reasons myriad and ridiculous, but right now I pity you most of all because you don't have MVP's Grill & Patio and therefore you don't have the Koufax. The Koufax is a hot pastrami sandwich on sourdough with Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. If you think that sounds gross, I don't care, because hot pastrami is basically my Holy Grail of sandwiches, and you'd be surprised how tough a good one is to find here in Southern California. MVP's is at 3701 4th Street and it's cash only. Call in fifteen minutes ahead of time, order two Koufaxes, and then walk two blocks down the street and bring me one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I really want to redecorate my bedroom (I have a roommate, so the rest of the apartment isn't exactly fair game). I don't have that much space, but I also don't have that much stuff. What I do have:
Everything else is pretty much expendable. I've been perusing The Selby for inspiration. Here are some of the photos that are giving me the redecorating jones hardcore:

Top, from the NYC home of Josh Conner and Lyz Olko.
Bottom, from the Sydney home of Natalie Wood. Click for full size.

I'm really into the idea of treating jewelry and clothes as something to be displayed rather than tucked away in drawers and closets -- personally, I spend more money on clothes and accessories than I do on anything else, so I think there's something to be said about letting them be a focal point. I think it looks sick when there's a ton of necklaces hanging off a wall, like above, or when clothes and shoes are presented almost like art, like below:

Left, from the Sydney home of Aimee Bayliss, Nathan Smith, and Anne Ryan.
Right, from the NYC home of Sally Singer. Click for full size.

I already keep my favorite pieces on a clothes rail dead-center in my room, and I'm all about the idea of using a basic, tall IKEA bookshelf to house my shoe collection for a look similar to Sally Singer's above.

More general inspiration:

From the London home of Gary Card and Henderson McCue. Click for full size.

The idea of organized disarray (i.e. books and shoes on nearly every surface) is appealing to me, because I'm a huge slob.

Top, from the London home of Rosa Connell and Bella Howard.
Bottom, from the NYC home of Josh Conner and Lyz Olko. Click for full size.

I'm also finding that I like the look of a bunch of stuff just stuck on the wall, no frames, no rhyme or reason -- reminds me of when I was in high school and papered my bedroom with show fliers and pages torn from the local throwaway rags. When you consider what a hassle it is to frame everything and have it all hung straight and perfect, it's so much easier, plus it looks cool and undone alongside a few bigger pieces.

Top, from the Sydney home of Harold David and Dave Bonney.
Bottom, from the London home of Rosa Connell and Bella Howard. Click for full size.

Just great aesthetics all around. I really want to spray paint a cow skull fluorescent red now, and I love clear Lucite furniture. I'd really like a Lucite chair.

Top, from the London home of Sylvia Farago and Christopher Simmonds.
Bottom, from the Sydney home of Aimee Bayliss, Nathan Smith, and Anne Ryan. Click for full size.

More visual candy. I love jewelry stands and having all your shit out on the surfaces of things.

From the London home of Sylvia Farago and Christopher Simmonds. Click for full size.

I love a room with hundreds of books on display. Looks so good...especially with the shoes under the shelves.

So, this is a list of things I'm desperate for (more for my own reference than anything else):
I'm on my way...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

You're the one I've waited for.

Woof, I really let this aspect of my shit drop off for a minute there! I've been a LiveJournal user since high school so it's been hard for me to get used to making the switch, but I want to start keeping the WR2BAM:LIFE blog on the up and up and kind of shuffle my personal blogging over here. So I thought I'd start it up again with a little bit of an introduction post, because even though I've been running WR2BAM on the regular for almost two years, there's only so much that a fashion blog can tell you about a person, right?

In a nutshell.

So, I'm Sara M. I'm 24 years old and I've been holding it down in Long Beach since I was 19. I was raised in Flagstaff, Arizona and spent my teen years in Orange County. For the last four years I've worked at an architecture and interiors firm in Newport Beach and I also do freelance writing work, mainly screenwriting and script editing for a small L.A.-based production company. My ultimate goal is to be a writer (besides WR2BAM and my freelance work, I'm also working on a novel).

I have a pretty awesome boyfriend, Rusty, with whom I've been for coming up on three years:


I run with a pretty bitchin' pack of ladies, most importantly my longtime BFF Jennie, who is an incredible illustrator as well as being an all-around amazing human being:

At her brother's bachelor party in Detroit, July 2008.

And my roommate and pretty much constant partner in crime, Farron:

Doing what we do in Big Sur, August 2009.

So, let's keep this simple. Besides fashion, I'm into heavy metal (but you already knew that), road trips, geodesic domes and the theories of Buckminster Fuller in general, writing, reading, super-trashy reality TV, punk and oi, architecture (particularly midcentury modern and prefab both midcentury and contemporary), shooting guns, feminism, alt comics, skateboard culture even though I can't skate a lick, motorcycle culture even though I've only ever ridden on the back of a hog, vintage Airstream trailers, traditional country and western music (I'm huge into Loretta Lynn), karaoke, getting tattooed, and partying hardy.

That's the general background. I'm going to try to keep this thing afloat.

Gossip Girl Sara M.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Rock of Drunk Bus

While I'm updating I might as well throw up these photos from my friend Mike's 30th birthday party a couple weekends ago. He rented a double decker bus that took us to a few local bars, and then my friends' metal band, Sumerian Axe, played. On the bus. It was sick.

Click for full size.