Last night, Daisy, Michael Michael, Alyssa, and I went to our favorite "comfortably trashy" bar for a night of karaoke. There was a $100 grand prize for the winner,
and after losing big in Vegas, I've been looking for a way to supplement my nonexistent income.

Regular karaoke-goers are hysterical. They take their craft seriously and are possessive of their song choices. With $100 on the line, however, I can appreciate their intenseness. After a while, my name was called, and I do a rather successful rendition of my standard "Suspicious Minds." The crowd got into it. Unfortunately, I forgot how many times Elvis repeats "I'm caught in a trap" at the end, and I think my boredom showed. Just after me, Alyssa nailed it with Janice Joplin's "Piece of Your Heart," and I kissed my $100 away. We sat around waiting for Alyssa to claim her prize, but then we learned that the contest had not even started, so we would have to sing something else for our money. I poured through the song book. I wanted "The Freshman" by The Verve Pipe because I think it suits my range the best (shut up!), but settled for The Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris."

When my turn came, I did the best I could with the song, but was not prepared to hit some of the notes I forgot existed in that song. As I've learned from American Idol, when you lack talent, belt. I screamed the shit out of that song; in spite of a couple sour notes, the crowd seemed to appreciate it. A bit later, Alyssa killed us softly in the best way possible, even though her track had the worst, most distracting vocal accompaniment I have heard for a karaoke song. Some of our competitors were actually quite good, but most notably was the woman who butchered "Smooth Operator." I love Sade; her voice turns me on, but this individual treated this sensual ballad like a flat spoken word poem.

At the end of the night, I wasn't expecting to win, but I did cross my fingers for a miracle $100. The names were called, and I was amongst the top four contestants along with Alyssa. I hate applause-o-meters, because it's all about how many people you bring to the bar (though I understand that system is in the bar's best interest), and wish there was a better way. After the screams are informally measured, I am deemed the second-runner-up, with Alyssa claiming second place. The winner was this poophead who asked that the "Rockin' Robin" karaoke track be turned off mid-song so he could do it accapella. He should have been disqualified for that, not given $100. Boo!

At least we received consolation prizes. A coupon for $500 off a new mattress, which I don't need. The better news, however, is that both Alyssa and I placed high enough to qualify to come back the last week of the month for the $500 (cash) grand prize. The date is likely to be the night before the first day I teach school. I can call in hungover sick on my first day, right? If a school district wants to pay me $500 to sing a song, maybe I'll reconsider priorities. Anyway, if you're in SoCal, please come out to support and hoot and holler on the 28th to make me some money. If I win, I'll share, even. In the meantime, I'm going to be practicing every day. I feel that if I can master those crazy high notes in the Darkness's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," I'm guaranteed to win, but so far I'm finding that my voice won't cooperate with that choice. I pity my housemates for the next couple of weeks. I'm going to have to share the money with them, too.

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