Friday Five: Tired Car Metaphors

  1. What area of your life has lately (and pleasantly) been on cruise control? Work. Now, my job is more complicated than it sounds, but I’m accustomed to it that I just fall right into patterns and have noticed I even sometimes space out at work but still do a good job, which is weird. I work in closed captioning, and sometimes–although rarely–I’ll find that I’ve stopped paying attention while transcribing but still have a nearly flawless transcription, or I’ll do the same while timing and placing captions or reviewing the show but find my mind still catches my mistakes.
  2. Where in your life should you probably hit the brakes? I should probably take a weekend to just stay home and do nothing. I’m always doing something, usually working, magazine business, or spending time with Paul. I mean, even he wants me to take a day to myself.
  3. Where do you go when you just need a little tune-up? I guess it depends. Almost always, I’m better by myself at home–I’ll blog, legit write, watch a movie, listen to music, and I’m kind of fixed. At the same time, unless Paul is the problem (and even then sometimes when he is), he can fix just about anything. That whole graduation debacle unfolded while I was in State College with him, but the shit really hit the fan the day I got back. It hit the fan so hard that I drove back out there a few days later–I believe I got home and the shit hit on Monday, I left again Saturday–just because I didn’t want to be anywhere else, not even home. He was pretty much powerless and could only listen and sympathize, but I just wanted to be with him. In fact, without him (and Terra!) I would’ve crashed and burned in the past few months, I’m sure.
  4. How much junk have you got in the trunk? In my literal car trunk, a lot but less than I used to. I have removed the box of treasures I won at a calendar party and dropped off the recycling, but I still have a mixer and lampshades. And maybe one of the lamps. Figuratively, I have a big ass. Fortunately, it usually receives praise and admiration.
  5. Where is the needle on your fuel gauge pointing today? A little bit above empty. I’m tired, but I still have 2 1/2 hours before bedtime, meaning lots of potential to get things done I need to get done.

But really? No lube metaphor?

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Makin' a Break for the Coast

So, in August I took a nice, little break from work for almost but not quite a week to run off to Paul’s graduation, like I said, and then a brief beach getaway.

My love of the beach (and him…daww) outweighed my apprehension about traveling with his family for a few hours at a time in one car. Previous vacation experiences have taught me I’m about sick of most of my companions by the end, and long car rides are dangerous. And after all, one of my favorite Hemingway quotes is “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” It’s great advice.

Generally, I get along really well with his family, despite immense ideological differences (if someone tries to get me to eat meat or insinuates they’ll make me a Republican one more time…). Sometimes, though, when you’re the oldest of two and haven’t been around a child in several years, a family of eight where the youngest child is 10 can be a lot to take in. When we first started dating, his parents joked that I got the whole family with him. That’s well and good until busy schedules and his lack of employment mean zero time alone as a couple for several weeks.

Usually, I clash the most with his mom, albeit silently. We haven’t butted heads directly, but if he doesn’t call her off soon, we will. In fact, at this very moment, I’m waiting for a text from him regarding whether or not he has. The super short version to be extended on later: he’s 22 but stuck at home for now, she’s overbearing, and she needs to stop. I’m not dating a child, I’m not dating her, I feel like I have to fight her for his time, and unless all of these things change, Paul and I will be taking a break until he moves out.

Hence being afraid of the three-hour drive to State College. I figured Delaware would be more manageable because he’d be there, but on the way to State College, I’d be holding my own.

I did well, and no questionable things were really said (on their part–I truly have no idea when I’ll accidentally say something harmless that his mom will take offense to, which is yet another problem right now).

Traveling itself, though, was tiring and difficult. Actually, as much as State College grew on me, that was one tedious trip for me to make on my own by the time graduation rolled around, but at least I could truck on and get it done fast. Paul’s family is very much more stop-and-go. I don’t remember too many pit stops on the way to State College–just food and gas–but they certainly do take their time getting to places. By the time we got in, it was pretty much time to go to bed. So much for actually spending time with my boyfriend.

I slept in a room with his sisters, who are prone to the giggles but made it super fun, and he did come down and stay in there with us, so not all was lost.

On Graduations

As much as recaps of every little shitstorm are totally relevant and good for me, I have managed to make myself tired of them. This was sort of my goal–I knew that I’d either get everything out of my system or get exhausted and bored, perhaps all of the above, and then I could fully move on. After all, my love of writing spawned from diaries and coping mechanisms. It just makes me feel better, probably because it gets everything out of my head and into…somewhere else.

So, a lot of shitty things were said. We should probably talk about my little epiphany at some point, if only because it’s kind of a big deal to realize that someone you’d considered a friend, even for a short while, had you pegged completely wrong. I don’t even mean misunderstanding you–I’m talking hurling insults and criticisms at you that are so off-base, you wonder if some evil robot version of you is taking your place at social functions. We also need to talk about how Lana Del Rey apparently was the final straw. I’m serious.

For now, recap: I graduated from college last April. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t have a party. I could’ve, but I didn’t really want to. Not that I hadn’t accomplished something or didn’t want to celebrate, but I was just over it by that point. As far as my friends were concerned, though, it was like nothing happened. I was cool with this until other friends started graduating and got recognition from the group as well as expensive presents. I was bummed and felt overlooked (which at this point was happening a lot, so I suspect I probably still wouldn’t have cared much if I wasn’t being made fun of for, oh, everything). I bitched a little, and I mean a little–I mentioned it to Sarah, who understood, and composed one silly tweet. That tweet got me not just excluded from a graduation party, but the entire thing was kept a total secret from me and I was essentially lied to about why. And then more or less told I brought it on myself.

This is relevant because ironically, right before Paul’s graduation–like, as I was packing to go–this all came up again and I got yelled at for all kinds of things that are either dumb or were assumed.

Assumed is the huge one here, and it ties into being misunderstood. I did feel overlooked and I did say so, perhaps even forcefully (as much as one can do on Twitter), but I never said this meant I wasn’t happy for my other graduating friends. In fact, up until the very moment I found out I was intentionally excluded and everyone knew why but me, I had every intention of helping to pay for the expensive graduation gifts. With the exception of either forgetting to reply to one group message or not having anything to add, my statements both before and after my angsty tweet made it clear that I approved of the chosen gift, price, and would be paying. Obviously, I later felt that I shouldn’t have to put in for a gift when I was excluded from all festivities entirely. People can ask you for money but don’t want you to come celebrate.

I was told my presence at the party would’ve “tainted” it because–I think this is a quote but it might not be, and I don’t really want to bring up the messages to double-check–I couldn’t be happy for the graduate. Because, you know, I’ve always been so melodramatic that I would’ve pouted the whole time, and, you know, I’m a robot who is incapable of feeling more than one emotion at once. A person can be both frustrated and happy. I can be–and I was–both upset at being overlooked but happy for my cousin’s accomplishments. I can and did put my frustration aside almost entirely to go ahead with a celebration. That’s what I was doing when I agreed without complaint to chip in for gifts. I would’ve done it again at the party.

Part of the problem was obviously not what I had actually said but what was assumed. Grudges come into play, too. This made it much easier to walk away. You’re really going to exclude and criticize me for things I never actually said, never even implied, and then tell me I’m the one who fucked up and demand an apology? Really? I’m better off without you, dude.

So, I went to Paul’s graduation. I hate graduation ceremonies. That’s part of why I didn’t go to my own. I was hoping Paul wouldn’t go to his, either, but his mom wanted him to. When he said I didn’t, she jokingly called me a bad influence–but as with many of her jokes, I don’t think she was really joking. I missed my five-year high school reunion (how weird is that?) for it. I don’t remember any of what was said. It was long. I did get bored. But I was proud of him and happy for him, especially knowing how happy he was to be done.

We took pictures at Penn State’s lion shrine. And as I posted them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., I couldn’t help but think, “They’re gonna be so pissed.” Because there I was, successfully celebrating someone else’s graduation–granted, someone who actually doesn’t make me feel like shit–without tainting it.

Top 5 on Friday: Black

Top 5 songs with “Black” in the title

I bet it’ll be the same list from the Friday Five, but meh. Maybe I’ve found more since then.
1. “Vegemite (The Black Death)” by Amanda Palmer Truth be told, this has been on my computer for ages and I’ve never really listened to it (YOU GUYS, I HAVE LIKE 10,000 SONGS. THAT IS NOT HYPERBOLE) until I did a search for “black” for obvious reasons. It’s pretty yet so very ridiculous and so very funny. This is Amanda showcasing how funny she can really be. I mean, you get lots of snark, sarcasm, and satire throughout her songs, but this is the only one (at least that I can think of offhand) where it’s just pure humor, complete with a killer twist after a very sweet, loving first verse. Title aside, who honestly expects it to be about Vegemite destroying a relationship?
2. “Bleed Black” by AFI I don’t love it as much as I used to, but it’s still solid.
3. “Black or White” by Michael Jackson As proof that I was born with taste this awesome, I used to LOVE this video as a child. Also, Adam Lambert’s cover is awesome. He can SING.
4. “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse It’s kind of a sexy song, you know?
5. “Black and White” by Three Dog Night As proof that my awesome taste needed time to cultivate, I used to hate this song. It grew on me. Also, I probably didn’t get the point as a child, let alone care.

Top 5 on Friday: Wish List

Top 5 albums on your wish list right now

 Paul just asked me what I want for Christmas. I should just send him a link to this post. Note: good chance this will be very similar to the top 5 albums I’d buy right now if I could.
1. Robyn – Body Talk Fuck it. I really do want all that Robyn. I’m a rocker at heart, but no one can get me to get down to dance music like Robyn.
2. Keane – Strangeland I may not be as impressed with it as their previous work (by that I mostly mean Perfect Symmetry SERIOUSLY), but I still want it & I still love them.
3. Yann Tiersen – basically anything I fell in love with Yann thanks to the Amelie soundtrack, and the more I hear of his music, the more I love it. Experimental sounds aren’t always really my thing, but Yann’s just so good at them.
4. The Killers – Runaways I jumped on The Killers fan bus immediately. I can’t stop now. Give me this album (and Brandon Flowers dressed all pretty).
5. Regina Spektor – Soviet Kitsch I just love her, and “Us” is one of the best songs ever. I need to own it.

Top 5 on Friday: Instant Gratification

Top 5 albums you’d buy right now if you could

 

 1. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die: Paradise Edition Okay, I’m kind of torn on this one. As much as I’ve criticized Lana (and more of that’s coming, believe me), I do enjoy her music. I’m just very skeptical–and unfortunately, that means I’m on the edge with this and if you ask me in a week, I may have changed my mind and may not think it’s worth my money anymore. Plus I HATE when artists release a “new album” that’s really an old one–especially very shortly after its original release–with some bonus songs. Just throw the bonus songs together on a damn EP or B-sides collection. I love the B-sides collections I have. People like them. Quit milking the same album.
2. Robyn – Body Talk I only have one of the Body Talk releases. I need the rest. Robyn is so good, I can’t handle it.
3. Coconut Records – Nighttiming Really, I need all Coconut Records releases, but I enjoyed Nighttiming most.
4. Amanda Palmer – Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under As much as I’ve been talking up Amanda Fucking Palmer lately, you’d think I own everything she’s put out. Not so! The only solo album of hers I own is her most recent, Theater Is Evil–fortunately the Kickstarter backer version, which was worth even more than what it cost. It’s gorgeous. Anyway, as with a lot of my favorite artists, I don’t love every single Amanda Palmer song, but I really, really love the ones I do. Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under contains some of my most favorite AFP songs and can probably be credited with kickstarting (see what I did there?) my AFP love now.
5. Buddy Holly – literally everything he ever did ever I’m completely serious. With some icon artists, I decided I want the full catalogue and not just the greatest hits because they’re THAT good. And everyone knows some of a musician’s best songs never get released as singles and therefore never make anthology releases (I’m lookin’ at you, Queen’s “Year of ’39”). I love Buddy Holly so fucking much. The world was robbed of a musical genius who, in my opinion, was better than Elvis but just never got the time to really develop. Seriously. Look at Holly’s catalogue in the short time he was active and consider what might’ve happened had he not died so young. Buddy Holly would be king instead of Elvis. So imagine the gems hidden from the best-ofs.
I’ll give you a bonus in the somewhat likely event I decide Lana Del Rey isn’t worth spending money on.
Rave On, Buddy Holly It’s a Buddy Holly tribute. Now, normally, I’d say Buddy Holly covers are blasphemous (I feel this way about a few artists). But when I saw who was appearing on it, I was cautiously optimistic. I think the result is great. Most of the artists nail it and even help enhance Holly’s skills. It’s nice to hear modern musicians throw back to that early rock sound. I actually started listing my favorites until I realized it was literally most of the album. Great success on this, dudes.

Friday Five: Black

STOP THE PRESSES. I’M DOING A FRIDAY FIVE ON ACTUAL FRIDAY. Then again, I was off yesterday and work tomorrow, so my brain’s all fucked up.

  1. What’s your favorite black article of clothing? Just one!? I honestly don’t know. Not to get too saucy, but I do quite like the black lace panties I recently bought. I also have a black-and-white plaid dress I got on clearance at Hot Topic, and almost every pair of black tights I have is a winner–lots of patterns and lace and fishnet.
  2. What’s the best black food? I don’t know if it actually, technically is black, but I’m gonna go with sushi. I haven’t had Nguyen’s cucumber rolls in close to a month or so. Withdrawal.
  3. How did you pass the time during your most recent extended blackout (power outage)? The last one I remember was Snowmageddon. I was a fool and came home from college for the weekend, and of course we lost power Friday night. I was writing for Pop Damage at the time and remember using what was left of my laptop battery for writing, then I used the last of the portable-TV battery to watch Conan. Brandon and I built a blanket fort. I thought it would be fun to do a dramatic reading of “The Raven,” but my Poe anthology was tragically THE ONE BOOK I didn’t bring home. So I recited the first few lines from memory, and the kerosene heater went out right then and scared Brandon. I cuddled with the dogs. We took silly pictures. Brandon and I dug out our GameBoys we both still had and fought over the only copy of Pokemon we could find. In the daylight Saturday and Sunday before it was safe to leave, I read Into Thin Air, which is either the best or worst book to read during a blizzard. Sunday, my dad got breakfast at Bob Evans but was super cranky due to no coffee, and then we trekked back to my dorm, where they had power and hot showers. So my mom and Brandon charged all their electronics while everyone showered, left me there with power, and returned to their lack of power, which lasted until that Monday or Tuesday.
  4. When did you last play blackjack? It’s easily been years.
  5. What are some songs in your iTunes (or other media player) whose titles contain the word blackI’ll give you the highlights. Mind you, a lot of my music is still on my old laptop waiting to be transferred, so I’m missing some classics. “Black or White,” Adam Lambert’s version. “Bleed Black” by AFI. “Paint It Black,” Vanessa Carlton version. “Supermassive Black Hole” by Muse.