Friday Five: Vice Squad

1. What is your history with cigarettes? When I was little, we went to the beach with Uncle Clark. He smoked a lot and still does. All the smoke made me sick by the end of the week. Come my late teens, I wanted to try it, and I did. I enjoyed it but never got hooked and was mainly a social smoker. I think I bought my own pack once, and once I finished it, I never bought another one. In fact, I don’t even think I finished the pack off. I think I took it to a party and left it to the vultures. Friday night, a medium told me addictions don’t follow me.

2. What is your history with alcoholic drink? I’d had tastes of beer and wine coolers when I was young–preteen, I’d say. Around 15, I decided I was gonna be straight edge, which I still do think is an admirable concept–until you’re surrounded by curious peers. I decided to give up the edge and experience things for myself at 18, which is also admirable, but I suspect I would’ve kept edge had it not been for friends. I wouldn’t say I was peer pressured, but I would say I was with some people who just did not respect my desires at that time–and that’s one more solid reason to add to the list of why I’m not friends with them anymore (funny how hindsight makes you realize tons more shitty things than you first did). Turns out I really like the sauce. I had a point where I thought I liked it too much and was worried I was too often drinking out of a desire to forget problems, but that didn’t last long. Sometimes I get drunk, I feel great, and I have awesome genes that prevent me from getting hungover, but I don’t get out of control or use it as a crutch. I loosen up but behave.

3. What was the worst trouble you got into at school? The nuns made me cry a lot, but that had more to do with procrastination and just not being science-and-math-minded. I’m a writer. Nuns forcing me to do things I couldn’t do well was a problem. I do remember getting in trouble for talking to Meri too much, and there was one occasion where I was involved in some sort of trouble regarding one of the super important nuns. At the time, it was soul-crushing, but now I don’t even remember what happened. And that, I think, is a great life lesson.

4. What’s something you got away with in school but shouldn’t have? I cheated on a high-school pre-calculus test, and I’m fairly certain the teacher knew. Cheating may not be a huge deal, but I was a pretty good kid and a pretty good student–as I said, I just didn’t get math, and my brain had crapped out by that point in the textbook. If he did know, he never said anything, and I am really grateful for that. Maybe I would’ve gotten off easy, but I convinced myself it would ruin my dreams.

5. Who’s your partner in crime? Terra. We come up with the most ridiculous shenanigans. We have all sorts of jokes and schemes and code names for people and inboxes full of angsty messages. I’m pretty sure Paul is a little bit afraid of the power we harness together.

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Top 5 on Friday: 2008

Top 5 songs from 5 years ago that you still love. (Songs from 2008)

My freshman year of college. Damn.
1. “Leeds United” by Amanda Palmer “Oasis” almost won this one, but I think I kind of wore it out. “Leeds United,” however, I have not. Even for piano rock, or punk cabaret, it’s quite abrasive but still has a great hook and melody.
2. “Spiralling” by Keane I was gonna list three Keane songs as a tie for this, but then I thought, “Fuck it. I’ll have a hard time finding more songs, especially when Perfect Symmetry was one of the best albums of the year anyway.” Because…it was. Sorry, dudes–as gorgeous as Keane is on the pianos, the synthed-up stylings on this album showcases some of the band’s best songwriting ever. It’s so good!
3. “The Lovers Are Losing” by Keane It’s quite epic, really.
4. “Perfect Symmetry” by Keane Again, epic. It’s almost a piano ballad with plenty of emotion, but it’s almost too peppy for that at the same time.
5. “Breaking” by Anberlin Overall, New Surrender wasn’t an impressive album, but “Breaking” was one of the stand-out songs. And when the mood takes you, it’s a good angst song: “You make breaking hearts look so easy.”

Friday Five: Wallflower

Dudes, am I actually legit getting a Friday Five done on Friday?

  1. What do you remember about high-school dances? I remember having a lot of fun. I wasn’t really chasing down boys to dance with, despite a few short crushes and one really long one, so I mostly danced with my friends and just hung out. And I went to a Catholic school, so you know those were the skankiest dance moves you’ve ever seen. Around my junior or senior year, Marion and I started the tradition of requesting “Bohemian Rhapsody” at every dance. It caught on to the point that we weren’t always the ones requesting it, and it was super popular–everyone would get in a circle, put their arms around each other, and sing at the top of their lungs. This was ruined at senior prom by a large group not knowing the correct order of the verses. Similarly, someone made “Sandstorm” really popular, so we did lots of “raving.”
  2. At whose house would you and your friends usually gather after school-related activities? It seems like I was at Meri and Nolan’s a lot, but I think that was mostly weekends and random hangouts (in college, parties). After dances and such, we would go to Leah’s a lot. Leah comes from a large Italian family, and her parents would pack a dining-room table completely full of food. Leah’s house was also perfectly set up for sleepovers and things with a nice, big living room we could shut ourselves in. It was also perfect for pictures because her family owns a funeral home, and the funeral home has a very pretty staircase. This is why we had “a prom to die for.”
  3. Who in your school had a memorable nickname? Mr. Orlando, the geometry/trig/calc teacher, had a reputation for giving everyone bizarre nicknames that he just made up. Mine might actually be the most memorable because it was so very random and caught on so much with my classmates–Shmee, plus the variations Shmee Shmee and Shmeezer. Another notable one was Nathan, whose nickname was Dale, although I’m not sure if that’s a Mr. O name or not. To this day I call him Dale, just like some high-school friends still call me Shmee.
  4. What was your high-school cafeteria like? Probably small by comparison. It was really just a typical cafeteria with long tables. Yep.
  5. Your parents aren’t reading this, so what were some of the crazy (or just memorable) things you or your friends did while driving? We were good for taking lots of pictures, including at night with blinding flashes. We also used to like to throw random objects in the yards of people we knew. Occasionally, in college, Nolan would drive drunk and as much as I disagree with that, he was admittedly good at it. The best, though, and my personal favorite, was taking the seats out of Marion’s van, replacing them with air mattresses, blankets, and pillows and just riding around like that and going to the drive-in–not even doing anything naughty like you’d expect kids with an air mattress in the back of a van to do.

On How I Treat Homosexuals

First of all, I’m actually getting tired of bitching about my own fucked-up friendships. This is good news. By getting tired of it, I am moving on! But there are still some important things to address.

Now, the basic gist lately has been some epic shit happened, I got totally fed up, and was accused of being passive-aggressive, among lots of other things. One of these things was treating my non-heterosexual friends like they don’t have feelings or like they’re “props.”

I’ve already briefly touched on some of the points associated with this, mainly the hypocrisy of it right after I was accused of “playing the victim.” The other big one was numerous misinterpretations about who I am and attacks on my character, and I’ll talk more about that later because obviously I still do have a lot to say, but also at some point, identity crisis came a little into play here–basically, part of the problem was the role I was playing in my social group and feeling like I couldn’t be myself.

I had multiple moments over this conversation and since then where I felt as though the very essence of who I am has been misunderstood. They’re basically “Oh, shit,” moments.

I’m not sure where this idea of me being intentionally shitty to my non-heterosexual friends because of their sexuality came from. Really, the accusation implies that I’ve done all these things intentionally, when I’ve established numerous times that’s not the case, so that’s the first problem. As far as the accusation that these things were done because the people are involved aren’t heterosexual, I really don’t know what to say, except…that’s absurd.

It’s baseless, too. I happened to accidentally hurt people with statements completely unrelated to sexuality at all, for one thing, and that I didn’t even think were hurtful to begin with. Otherwise, you know, I wouldn’t have said them (the one exception is a statement I don’t believe I actually made and perhaps some fleeting, silly statements that were blown way out of proportion and led to accusations of making a conversation all about me). I think someone realized the people mad at me aren’t heterosexual, which turned into a reason for all of this.

That reason ignores a lot, the most obvious being a friend in a homosexual relationship who actually is not upset with me and thought this was all blow out of proportion and handled poorly. Now, if I treat my non-heterosexual friends like “props” and like they don’t have feelings, how is it that this person doesn’t feel that way? While in the beginning of the relationship many aspects were concerning, things have since improved to the point that I’m encouraging her to bring her girlfriend to Stephanie’s wedding next weekend (girlfriend is unfortunately refusing, and I suspect the Craigs are maybe part of the reason). Why am I the only one that stayed at her 4th of July party? Why do I sleep in the same bed/couch as her every time we spend the night somewhere? Why do we remain pretty good friends? Why, when I flat out asked her if she’d been secretly mad at me for months, as well, did she tell me no?

The phrase “gay best friend” was specifically used against me, which was interesting because I had recently used it in a direct @ mention on Twitter to someone else I’m pretty sure he doesn’t follow, meaning he’d have to be going directly to my Twitter feed to see it. Meaning he for some reason wants to see everything I have to say (I suspect this desire is also why Twitter was never cited as one of my original offenses–if someone doesn’t know you’re watching, they’ll keep talking and you can keep watching without them censoring themselves…and you can keep using it all against them).

First, some backstory: I was referring to dear friend Bobby, who was one of my best friends and happened to be gay. His sexuality is never relevant–except when speaking of when I took him to my senior prom. Even then, it’s only relevant because all the other couples were fighting with their dates, while I took a friend I knew I’d have fun with who caused no drama and practiced what he learned in massage-therapy classes on my back all night long (to this day, Bobby gives better back massages then anyone else–obviously).

Other than trying to concisely tell the story of prom in 140 characters, I don’t refer to Bobby as “my gay best friend” pretty much ever. Would it have made much of a difference if I’d just said “gay friend” either way? Doubtful.

Finally, Bobby also has a lot to do with my “Oh, shit,” moment.

The person accusing me of treating non-heterosexual friends like “props” hasn’t even known me for two years yet and certainly hasn’t heard my life story. Beyond that, it’s clear he’s completely misunderstood me, though I suspect a lot of that has to do with just being pissed off. He may just be looking for a reason or another place to put blame. There’s no blame to place. Shit happens. I made a simple mistake. That’s all there is to it.

Much like the other non-heterosexual in the equation, my friendship with Bobby isn’t damaged. We’ve slightly fallen out of touch, but we’re both busy adults now living an hour plus apart from each other. He’s had his issues and we’ve been through some intense shit together, some of which may have been done for attention, but in the end, he’s still one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

We’ve had a lot of great times, and we’ve had a lot of hard ones, including spats of depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm. I’ve cried with him. I’ve cried for him. I’ve chased him down the street. I’ve talked him down. I’ve lost sleep and missed class worrying about him. We’ve held each other. We’ve watched movies in his bed after a really hard day. We’ve fallen asleep spooning on a couch after a really hard night.

Some of this was witnessed by two of the three non-heterosexuals involved in this kerfuffle. They did nothing but watch, complain the next day, and ignore his apologies.

So to anyone who has ever thought I treat my non-heterosexual friends as “props” or like they don’t have feelings–fuck you. Don’t fucking tell me that. You don’t know what I’ve been through, how much I’ve cared, and what I’ve done. On the flipside, you also don’t know how much these people have done for me, too. They’ve been there for me. You haven’t. So fuck right off.

Top 5 on Friday: Overplayed

Top 5 current songs that are overplayed 

Man, can’t I just answer 99% of what’s on the radio?

1. “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)” by Pink That said, I do quite like the song. It’s not that I’m sick of it, it’s just that it’s everywhere. I really, really like her, by the way. She’s got her shit together, and she seems so cool.

2. “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson Let’s be honest–in terms of silly, fluff pop songs, this song is brilliant. But it’s everywhere, and that makes it a bit annoying. And EVERYBODY knows it.

3. “Some Nights” by Fun. They’re in the same boat as Pink–the song is good. “Some Nights” is actually excellent, I think. It has fantastic attitude and such an epic opening. But it’s everywhere. Fun. managed to break out as an indie band when pop is, once again, reigning (and in recent years, when rock and indie have ruled or even broken out, they’ve sounded incredibly generic). So props and congratulations to them, but we don’t want them to explode and die out.

4. “We Are Young” by Fun. Same deal. It really is a great song, and I think it exploded because it was the summer and teenagers and 20-somethings latched onto a song that proclaimed, “Tonight/We are young/So let’s set the world on fire/We can burn brighter/Than the sun.” I mean, how could we not? You want a summer anthem, that’s it right there. Nothing else screams “party” or “late nights” quite the same way this year.

 5. “212” by Azealia Banks Okay, “212” hasn’t gotten significant play since early to mid summer, but I had friends who were obsessed with it. It’s a good song for sure, but at a certain point, I got tired of it. The good news is it may be acceptable to play it rotation–albeit a limited one.

 

Friday Five: Specific Favorites

  1. Where is your favorite tree? The house I grew up in. It’s some huge behemoth in the middle of the yard that literally shades the whole thing.
  2. Where is your favorite chair? I don’t think I really have one, although the one in my living room is really comfy. I just usually spend more time on the couch because I like to lie flat. I have the worst back for a 23-year-old ever.
  3. Who has your favorite hair? Emily has great a great pink color. In terms of cut and style, I’m into short, edgy, even pixie cuts right now. So Emma Watson.
  4. What’s your favorite mug (or other drinking vessel) like? At the moment, a Tinkerbell cup I bought in Disney in high school. And a coconut mug from Delaware.
  5. Where’s your favorite parking spot (not at home)? Right by the door at work. Oh yeah.

And as always, these are from http://f.riday5.com.

On Acting Childish and Immature

Ah, the quintessential statement of “I’m such-and-such years younger than you, and you’re acting more immature.”

That would be an accurate statement on the surface if I’d really been mad about “not getting a present or being invited to a party,” which, as I’ve stated endlessly, isn’t so. In fact, to say I’m mad about not getting a present or being invited to a party is missing the point–in fact, multiple points–entirely. The true display of immaturity is being unable to see past the surface issues.

I was always aware that my frustration could be misinterpreted. The material level is unimportant–what is important is the fact that I have been disregarded. My accomplishments have been ignored and in fact, my whole career choice and some of those accomplishments have been made into just jokes. When everyone around you is praised–even when it’s deserved–and you’re an overlooked punchline, it hurts. When your own cousin decides to deal with a problem with you by not dealing with it and instead being passive-aggressive, dishonest, and inconsiderate, that hurts, too–and it’s immature.

Most importantly, though, throughout all of this, I’ve learned some important lessons–some about myself and the extent to which I am responsible, but many about the people I had, until now, chosen to spend my time with. Mainly, I deserve better and good, caring people wouldn’t do that to anyone, even if they did deserve it. I deserve to matter and I deserve people that agree.

A few days after all of this, I watched an episode of Oprah at work that dealt with toxic relationships–people that exhaust you, make you feel bad, bring you down, and generally are bad for you. Sometimes, I think that’s God’s way of giving me what I need when I need it. For me, that show was a confirmation that I made the right decision in removing myself from close friends, some of whom were long-term–a decision, I think, actually shows great maturity.

To me, immaturity would’ve been groveling and begging for forgiveness, ignoring my own hurt to hold on to friendships that weren’t worth holding on to.

From the start, I thought, “I’m 22 years old. I may be young, but I’m too old for this shit. This is how children address problems–by not addressing them at all.” I think I have a right to be angry, and I’d hardly call that anger immature.

Even if it was, it’s quite the case of the pot calling the kettle black–especially considering just a day or so ago he told one of the Real Housewives on Twitter he “proved the doctors wrong” by making it to 21 so she’d retweet him or wish him a happy birthday.

Playing the Victim

I don’t know where to start with this. I really don’t.

Basically, I was told that by expressing hurt, I was playing the victim. Maybe that’s technically true by definition, but no matter what, I think I have a right to be upset about being treated like shit, leading up to being completely shut out and practically lied to.

I’ve fucked up. I don’t remember most of these fuck-ups, but they happened and people got hurt and I have to deal with that one way or another, even though I’ve decided to cut out some of the people involved. But I fucked up accidentally. In fact, best-case scenario I knew I fucked up a few weeks later. In the worst case, it was over a year later. I never meant to. I never tried to. I never even realized I was saying problematic things.

I think the implication in me “playing the victim” is that I deserved everything said and done to me since–that my transgressions, no matter how great or small, no matter how aware or unaware I was, no matter how they were handled by either party, are justification for hurting me. That I should recognize that they did what they had to do and deal with it. I don’t have a right to be upset because they got hurt first, and saying, “Hey, this is all very shitty of you and I don’t think it was appropriate friendship troubleshooting” is making this all about me and playing the victim. After all, the intent of not inviting me to a party, not even telling me about, and then being dishonest about the reasons why wasn’t to hurt me. Hurting me was just an unfortunate byproduct. Oh, sure, they may have been aware that I would get hurt and went along with everything anyway, but they weren’t trying to hurt me.

Obviously, this thing has blown up and gotten really, really ugly. Meri was right in predicting that. But in its blow-up, I have received confirmation that I might the right decision for myself by discontinuing friendships.

Remember–this incident was a last-straw deal. I’d been made fun of and put down on a somewhat regular basis, felt like I didn’t matter, tons of other lovely negative emotions brought on by words and actions, and then all this. I’ll come back to this on a post about my so-called immaturity in all this, but I want to stress that this is not about me being mad that I wasn’t invited to a party. This is about some of my “friends” regularly disregarding me completely. I mean, I reached a point where I didn’t even feel like I had a support system, and as things really degenerated, I knew I was being talked about and made fun of behind my back–the same way other friends had been. So not only was I getting hurt, but I was being complicit in other friends being treated like shit, too, and a lack of action makes me just as guilty. I don’t want to be that kind of person.

But again, they weren’t trying to hurt me. They knew I would get hurt, but that wasn’t their intent. But I can’t seem to get it across that there’s a very, very fine line between intent and disregard. As I said, I did things totally accidentally and annoyingly. I didn’t say things intending to hurt someone, but I also wasn’t even aware that I was saying hurtful or damaging things. If I had been aware I was about to say something hurtful and sad it anyway, is that really that much different than saying something specifically with the intent of hurting someone? No matter the reason, if you really don’t want to hurt someone, you don’t do something you know will hurt them.

And that’s how I’ve come full circle to saying, “Shit, this is not the kind of person I want to play a major role in my life.” I’ve had more than one of those moments from May until now.

One of them was when I was actually told that I treat my non-heterosexual friends like they don’t have feelings or like “props.” First of all, that’s a very bold accusation coming from someone who at this point had only known me about a year and a half and spent most of that time holding a grudge I was unaware of. That led to an “Oh, my God, you have completely misjudged me” epiphany that we will discuss later. But most importantly, it implied that I’ve done and said all these terrible things because he’s gay.

But I’m the one playing the victim?

(Note: This is the same dude who got a celebrity to wish him a happy birthday on Twitter by saying he proved the doctors wrong when they said he wouldn’t make it past 21–needless to say, that’s not true.)

Top 5 on Friday: Rediscovery

Top 5 songs you’ve rediscovered recently

 1. “Disease Tobacco Free” by Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s I was on a big Margot kick when this album first came out, and this song was one of my favorites. I love the rhythm and grittiness. I was/am in the habit of streaming new music on Spotify, so when new albums pushed it off the “What’s New” page, I lost track–until it coincidentally popped up today.
2. “Thrash Unreal” by Against Me! Okay, so, I never really listened to Against Me! until lead Laura Jane Grace announced plans to live as a woman. My punk-listening friends were all talking about it (including some real insensitivity from, most unfortunately, a member of Pittsburgh favorite Punchline). Some of it was shit like, “How selfish!” Super short version of my thoughts on that: selfish is asking someone to live in a way they do not wish to because that’ll sell records or won’t upset the people around them. Selfish is not doing something that you genuinely need to do for yourself. Anyway, a lot of people kept talking about and wondering if this would impact Grace’s voice, so I was like, “Okay, I have to hear this voice that’s so iconic.” And then I did and lost track of it. I like too much music (or not enough). Laura Jane Grace is beautiful, by the way.
3. “Let the Drummer Kick That” by Citizen Cope Thank you, shuffle, for reminding me that this song has a great beat and is one of Citizen Cope’s best.
4. “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens Again, thank you, shuffle.
5. “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey That’s right, bitches. I remember this song was a big deal at some point in my childhood, and then The Essential Mariah Carey was released and I went on a binge on all those ’90s jams I’d been missing. By that I mean this and, like, “Heartbreaker.” Never did like much Mariah Carey.

Top 5 on Friday: Fall Albums

Top 5 albums you can’t wait to buy this fall

Note: because I’m broke because of, you know, bills and being a real adult now and stuff, I want a lot of albums that have been out for a while. Possibly longer than I’ve been alive.

1. Keane – Strangeland Okay, I’ve actually listened to this whole thing already. I like it but I’m not incredibly impressed, leading to the my Keane every-other-album theory–the first was fantastic, second was good but not great, third was fantastic (in fact, I think Perfect Symmetry is their best. It does things to me), new one is good but not great. What about the Night Train EP? Aha! It’s an EP! The theory only applies to full studio albums.

2. Yann Tiersen – Skyline I’ved loved Yann since the Amelie soundtrack, and Skyline is full of those same neat sounds and I must own it.

3. Anberlin – Vital This one legit comes out in the fall and I think I heard one song from it once because I’m bad at keeping up with so many musicians’ new projects.

4. Blaqk Audio – Bright Blaqk Heaven This one just came out, and it’s a masterpiece.

5. The Killers – Battle Born I only got to listen to this a little bit. I did like it and I’ll take any new Killers (or Brandon Flowers–I still need his solo album), but I have a similar theory with them as I do Keane concerning sound/genre more than quality. Killers albums alternate between synthy/new-wavey and more rock-oriented. Luckily, they do both very well. Hot Fuss? Synthy and new wavey. Sam’s Town? More rock. Days & Age? Synths! Battle Born? Rock! Fortunately, each has spawned amazing songs.