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?

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.

Friday Five: I'm Trying to Preposition You

  1. What’s something that’s better on the rocks? Numerous beverages, such as pop, iced tea, and mixed drinks.
  2. Whose behavior has been beyond belief? Brett’s. In addition to being blocked from his Twitter, I discovered (it only took me, what, a month?) I’ve been blocked from his Tumblr, too, and the occasional visits to both accounts out of curiosity only reaffirm my decision to be done with him. He’s bitter, passive aggressive, and shallow.
  3. In what way do you color outside the lines? I dyed my hair a shade of red I’m pretty sure doesn’t exist in nature. I used to have a cartilage piercing in my ear. I dress however I feel, which is usually some bizarre combination of hipster, hippie, punk, or goth. I listen to obscure and sometimes controversial musicians. I read books some would consider naughty. I don’t go to church. I’m trying to encourage my boyfriend to tell his mom to butt out of basically everything. I’m a raging liberal. And a raging feminist. I haven’t shaved my armpits in at least two weeks, judging by the length of the hair. I’m not afraid to take about personal issues, either emotionally or physically. I told my dad I did vote for Obama because I do want things–mainly the right to make my own decisions about my own vagina. I’m a writer. I don’t care about money beyond what I need to live. I think Israel is in the wrong, not Palestine. I think CEOs tend to be greedy bastards, and I think Hostess’ failed, greedy CEOs are to blame for their bankruptcy, not unions.
  4. When were you recently relieved to be in the clear? My period started yesterday. It was three weeks late. I was fairly certain I wasn’t pregnant, but that blood was a somewhat welcome sight regardless.
  5. What seems to have disappeared without a trace? Common sense and compassion.

Friday 5: TV Sitcoms

From Friday Five.

  1. When was someone or something recently Too Close for ComfortThis dude behind me in line to vote Tuesday. People in lines tend to be close to each other anyway, but he was, like, uninvited touching levels of close.
  2. Besides yourself, who’s recently been in Double TroubleProbably my dad. Brett would be if I wasn’t so convinced he’s intentionally being a dick so I do say something to him. I think a confrontation or some sort of attention or acknowledgment from me is exactly what he wants, so I’m not giving it to him. The most recent short version: after criticizing me for allegedly being passive-agressive towards him & Nolan, he’s made a series of passive-agressive tweets about me, mostly after I criticized Lana Del Rey. He used the term/phrase “gullible crusties” and said the criticism was “bullying” in an attempt to promote my own “self-image.”
  3. What’s HappeningLots of things! In terms of actual life, it’s the same old stuff, but I went out for Sarah’s birthday, saw The Who, am seeing Suavity’s Mouthpiece tomorrow, Neil Gaiman Wednesday, am celebrating my brother’s 21st birthday Saturday, and am seeing a Beatles tribut at the Pittsburgh Symphony on Sunday.
  4. Who’s the BossThis bitch right here.
  5. What are you most likely to be up to from 9 to 5 tomorrow? Work. With any luck, I’ll be at work from 7-3 and will leave on time, leaving 3-5 for my commute, dinner, Tumblr, blogging, etc. Or commuting to the funeral home for Terra’s uncle’s viewing.

Top 5 on Friday: Thankful

Top 5 songs you are thankful to have discovered this year 

1. “Criminal” by Fiona Apple I was too young to appreciate Fiona Apple when this song actually came out. I don’t actually remember it. But I love using Spotify just to check out what other people are listening to and to get some (minuscule) revenue for the artists I listen to (and they’re usually up on new releases). This popped up under the list of songs popular among my friends. I was curious since I’ve never listened to her before. My curiosity paid off.

2. “Automatic System Habit” by Garbage I wasn’t totally floored by Garbage’s new album (and I was too young to appreciate them in their heyday, too, but have always admired/lusted after Shirley Manson), but it did have a few standout songs. This is one of them. So many hooks. Damn them!

3. “Madness” by Muse Here’s a band I always have appreciated. They captured my interest from the start and didn’t sound like anybody else, especially when I was just first starting to really get into solid alternative music. Muse kind of brought Paul and I together–or rather, it brought him to me. One day, he messaged me at random and awkwardly started a conversation with, “Hey, you like Muse, right?” Me: “Yeah.” Him: “Yeah, they’re really good.” And that’s how I knew he totally wanted my bod. Speaking of wanting bods, “Madness” is just a fantastic and sort of sensual song. In fact, I think my quality of life was much higher when I was streaming The Second Law every morning as I got ready for work…and now that I think about it, I probably started my love affair with Muse in part by listening to them on MTVU when I got ready for high school. Oh, God, I’m an adult.

4. “Origin of Love” by Mika Originally, I was kind of hoping this was gonna be a cover of the Hedwig and the Angry Inch song, but it’s such a minimalistic yet perfect pop love song that I don’t even care that it’s not. Those harmonies! The piano! The lyrics! It’s such an adorable and catchy love song with such a hopeful, whimsical mood that you can’t help but think of the person who is your own origin of love when you hear it. It’s so pretty that it distracts me and takes my breath away. It may be my darling Mika’s best song yet.

5. “Guardian” by Alanis Morissette Seriously, despite subdued verses and hints of piano, this is straight-up ass-kicking rock, just the way we like it from Alanis. Bitches Who Rock, bow to your queen.