Terra’s Second Wedding

One day, Scott decided to join the Navy, in part for money and health benefits, especially for Terra, whose insurance blows and is a walking example of why we need things like the Affordable Care Act. I believe that in the past four years, she’s been dropped without warning or for no reason twice. They’ve refused to pay for numerous medications and procedures because they say she doesn’t need them, despite her doctors saying otherwise. Because that makes a lot of sense. Lets not listen to the doctors seeing her and treating her–lets allow people trying to make a profit off of illness overrule them. These things they said she didn’t need? An EpiPen, which could basically save her life in case of a terrible allergic reaction; an MRI needed to diagnose a potentially serious medical problem; and most recently, medication to clear up a sinus infection gone terribly awry. So the benefits–once she works out how to actually use them–will actually be quite beneficial to her.

But she still wasn’t totally okay with–and I don’t blame her at all–was him enlisting at all. She didn’t want him to go, even though the Navy is one of the safer and nicer branches (“He’ll eat like a king,” my dad says). She begged, she pleaded, she even cried in front of him–and Terra and I both hate crying in front of people, even our “boy toys,” as she calls them, to the point that you should be honored to witness either of us doing so–but he was persistent and she gave in.

Now, at one point in college, Scott called off their original engagement, dumped her, had some fun with a few other ladies (for the record, we’re able to laugh about this–hard), Terra dated Shawn, then Scott admitted he really just got scared, messed up, and wanted her back. Of course she was all for that. She didn’t just give in to him immediately and easily, but she technically dumped Shawn to get back with him. Naturally, being her roommate and one of her best friends, this meant I got to do lots of consoling for Shawn, which culminated in an interesting night in which he didn’t actually know for sure Terra and Scott were back together and said, “She’s probably talking to him right now” while he was in the damn dorm a few feet away from me. I told Terra she had to tell him ASAP. Awkward. Thanks, guys.

So, at some point after they’d been getting back into things and had given it some time, Scott proposed again. Obviously, shipping off to boot camp puts a damper on big wedding plans, so they went ahead and made it legal in a shotgun wedding with their families.

Apparently, if you’re legally married and your priest is an asshole, he can remove you from teaching Sunday school until you get married in the church. Down to just a few months before Scott had to go for his training, they were scrambling to get married in the church, too. And when the priest found out Scott wasn’t actually Catholic, he stopped communicating with Terra about marriage prep and the wedding. He didn’t say he wouldn’t or couldn’t do it–he outright stopped responding to her numerous e-mails. Cue Fr. Bob, the Punk Priest, who’s awesome and accessible and a good guy to turn to in times of crisis (in fact, I nearly approached him for some guidance of my own, but I’m shy and he was busy and so I just let Mr. Mac’s sweet e-mail make me cry instead). He met with them, told them what needed to be done, and helped them do it.

They squeezed their second shotgun church wedding in just days before Scott left–the wedding was Saturday, he left the following Wednesday. It was small, just like the first shotgun legal wedding, but I could actually go to this one, so Paul and I went. Her friend Gemma, her boyfriend, old high-school friend Rachael, Terra’s mom, and a friend of Scott’s were all there, too. It was so quick and so small that extended family knew but wasn’t really expected to show up or formally invited, but they apparently all forgot that and were pretty terrible to Terra in the days after the wedding, saying things like, “Thanks for inviting us. Have a nice life” and some other comment about “those people” in her pictures. We’re just her best friends who were able to go, guys. Thanks. Way to treat a newlywed, by the way. Not even her own brother went because he couldn’t get off work. She’s hoping to have a big, fun wedding when Scott’s home, or as she puts it, “When the Navy says I can.”

It was a nice, short ceremony that got right to the point. I like those. If I had my way, my wedding ceremony would be like 15 minutes with a party lasting as long as everyone can physically party, but if I marry Paul, ain’t no way that’s happening. Basically, the priest did some prayers, they exchanged some vows, we took some pretty pictures and enjoyed the unusually warm weather, and then we went to Bud’s for pizza and drinks. That’s how low-key a wedding this was–we celebrated by squeezing into a booth at a sports bar.

Afterward, Paul and I took advantage of the aforementioned unusually warm weather by going up to the mountains–except the mountain was not at all unusually warm and was actually still mostly snow-covered. But we walked around anyway, I in a light, flowered dress and canvas ballet flats and he dressed up but not quite as cold. A photographer spotted us and took our picture, noting my terribly inappropriate attire. We explained we’d just come from a wedding off the mountain, where it’s warm, and didn’t even think it might still look blizzard-like up there. I still need to track her and those pictures down. I have got to look especially ridiculous.

Friday Five: Lasts

  1. At a gathering of your usual social group, who’s almost certain to show up last? No matter the group, me. Sometimes Terra beats me and Paul is also late for everything all the time. In fact, if we get married, I guarantee we’ll both be late. But yeah, it’s usually me.
  2. Of chores that must be done this weekend, which will you probably complete last, and why? Cleaning of any kind or the dishes. I work full-time then come home and juggle downtime and editing business, so cleaning the apartment is dead last on my to-do list. It pretty much only gets cleaned the night before or very day I’m expecting company. Sure, I’ll pick up a little here and there, but nothing noticeable will happen until next weekend, hands down.
  3. Some TV remote controls have a “last” button. If you were to turn your TV on now and hit the “last” button on the remote, which channel would you be taken to? I don’t have cable, but if I did or if I were at my parents’, probably TLC or ID.
  4. Your task is to try one scoop of ice cream per day until every one of thirty-one flavors is consumed. Which do you save for last? Probably whatever sounds the most appealing as as to sort of reward myself.
  5. When did you last have an awful meal in a restaurant? Honestly, I can’t ever remembering having a meal in a restaurant that was awful. I know I don’t like certain places and find them mediocre–like Denny’s and Golden Corral–but I can’t think of something that I thought was actually awful.

Music Memoirs: Hype

From Music Memoirs.

Top 5 albums that didn’t live up to the hype

 1. Green Day – Uno The songs are good and classic pop-punk Green Day, but Uno–and also Dos and Tres–was a letdown because of that, in a way. Looking back on American Idiot and 20th Century Breakdown, they’re both a hell of a lot better than we give them credit for. I think they tend to be overlooked despite awesome beasts like “21 Guns” and “Jesus of Suburbia,” which I do happen to think is one of their greatest songs. Basically, Uno is boring and lacking those same juggernauts.
2. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die This is kind of similar to Uno in that it’s a little boring. The songs are good, Lana’s voice is pretty, but “Video Games” is so stellar that few songs on the album match its quality. As a result, the album is easy to wear out–there’s not enough variety or nuance in songs to keep it on its pedestal, even though it’s not actually a bad album. Bonus points for the Paradise Edition since it only threw in a few new songs that don’t really help the mundane factor. And it really doesn’t help that rereleasing an album within a few years of its original release is one of my biggest music-industry pet peeves. It’s a stupid, greedy gimmick to sell more copies. If you want fans to have the songs that bad, release an EP or horde them for a B-sides release. Adding a couple unreleased songs to a relatively recent release, slapping new artwork on it, and giving it a fancy name is lazy pandering.
3. Keane – Strangeland I’m positive I’ve complained about this before, but seriously, Strangeland didn’t live up to the hype, especially after Perfect Symmetry and the Night Train EP. Strangeland is a kind of nice return to the almost stripped-down sound of Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea–which, by the way, I find gets better with time and listens–but “nice” is about the extent of it. It doesn’t really have any stand-out songs like the other albums did. I certainly don’t think as far as cohesive albums go that Hopes and Fears and Under the Iron Sea are the band’s best–that would be Perfect Symmetry–but some the good songs are so good that it doesn’t even matter: “Everybody’s Changing,” “Bedshaped,” “Is It Any Wonder,” “A Bad Dream,” “Bend and Break.” Strangeland falls, once again, into boring territory.
4. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange I know this is extremely unpopular opinion, but I just couldn’t get into Channel Orange, and I really did try. The good news, Frank Ocean fans, is that I really like some songs, like “Forrest Gump.” Most of the rest of the album, though, I didn’t think was the epic behemoth most hear it as.
5. Punchline – Delightfully Pleased This is yet another album that I liked and is actually quite good but just didn’t live up to the hype, especially considering the band’s past material. Punchline fans have been gunning for a new Action for years–the closest we came was probably Just Say Yes in terms of sheer fantastic songwriting all in one album rather than pop-punk ass-kicking–and we haven’t gotten it. That’s okay for all sorts of reasons pertaining to band growth and not needing to top themselves, but Delightfully Pleased almost felt like a step backwards in some ways, mostly in lyrical content. Despite some epic standouts and the fact that a song about Lost is good by default, it just didn’t feel like it had the punch (bad pun intended) of previous albums.

Movie Review: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Last week or so, my brother and I were discussing our shared Netflix queue. Next on our list was We Need to Talk About Kevin, a movie I added probably as long as two years ago. I probably read the description and found it interesting. But my brother thought it was a recent addition–after all, he heard about the film after a segment on an evening entertainment show called it the movie that “predicted” the Sandy Hook shooting.

That’s not entirely accurate. The similarities are obviously there, notable from the Netflix plot summary: “Eva’s relationship with her son, Kevin, has been difficult from the beginning. When the 15-year-old boy’s cruel streak erupts into violence, Eva wonders how much blame she deserves for his actions.” But the similarities aren’t so intense that they’re particularly eery, plus the story of an individual, possibly with mental illness, committing a mass act of violence isn’t new. Like I’ve said before, that’s one of the major tragedies of these things. They’re almost normal.

The film’s focus, though, is more on Eva than Kevin. From Kevin’s birth, he was a difficult child–though mostly only with Eva. His interactions with his father, Franklin, tend to be much more “normal” to the point that Franklin brushes off Eva’s concerns that something is wrong with Kevin, that he’s responsible for certain violent, cruel acts that take place over the course of his childhood and teenage years. I won’t spoil it, but some of the scenes, though they don’t actually depict violence or aren’t particularly graphic, are quite chilling in the way they build tension. And as we get to know Kevin throughout the film, we’re not surprised, though we are horrified.

The beginning is a little confusing, but you quickly figure out that the story is being told in flashbacks, starting with Eva and Franklin meeting all the way up to about two years after the shooting. It’s surprisingly effective storytelling, as we see Eva struggling with Kevin as a child juxtaposed with her struggling with the aftermath of his crimes, most notably reaction from the community, who blame her for Kevin–her house is doused with red paint, she’s harassed physically and verbally, etc.

Therefore, it manages to challenge the notion that a parent is to blame for his/her child’s actions, especially when one of Kevin’s surviving victims cheerfully approaches her in the street and makes nice yet sincere smalltalk with her, showing that he doesn’t blame her. Can Eva be blamed? Probably not, which has useful real-life applications. We see Eva make mistakes with Kevin, but we also see her trying really, really hard, to the point that by the time Kevin does start his violence–even in little things toward his younger sister–it’s pretty clear that Kevin is at fault. In fact, in many ways, Eva is one of his victims, too.

The cast is outstanding. First of all, the kids playing Kevin as a child at different ages are fantastic. But really, the whole movie hinges on Eva, played by Tilda Swinton, who is wonderful. John C. Reilly plays Franklin, and as much as I love him when he’s being ridiculous and as hilarious as I think he is, it’s refreshing to see him in a dramatic role again. It’s a role that’s very well-suited for him, too. For the most part, he’s a sweet, charming husband and father, but he’s wonderful in the serious scenes as things get darker, especially as–predictably–Kevin’s behavior causes tension in Eva and Franklin’s marriage.

We Need to Talk About Kevin is definitely an interesting drama, especially for somewhat unconventional storytelling and perspectives of children’s mental health, parenting, violence, and blame. I definitely recommend it.

New Year’s Resolutions

Back when I first started blogging, I used to make a list of resolutions and then revisit it the following New Year’s. Thing is, I had less time last year so I don’t actually remember doing that. So I’ll have to start fresh, which is fine.

The thing with my resolutions is in a weird way, I think I approach them differently than most people do. I don’t really see them as these concrete things I must accomplish in the coming year–more like a set of guidelines, things I’d like to try or do more or improve upon. Some of these things happen naturally, some will require time, but all will work toward bettering myself and I hope the world around me, too. Hell, some of these things aren’t 100% even in my control. Some of them spawn from things I discussed intensively in 2012, some from things I mentioned in passing, and others I have yet to discuss at all. But here there are. See ya in 2014 to see how I did.

  • Write more, as in more than blogs but get back into more journalistic writing, possibly including freelancing, as well as personal essays/memoir
  • Submit such writings for publication
  • Get something published
  • Play guitar
  • Make something!
  • Resume scrapbooking
  • Cook more
  • Eat healthier
  • Save money
  • Also manage to spoil myself on cool, fun stuff but not go broke doing it
  • Make a new friend
  • Weed out any other potential old bad friends
  • Strengthen existing relationships
  • Be an awesome friend and girlfriend
  • Be an awesome human
  • Give money to buskers and others asking for it
  • Pay for music when I can, especially if it’s independent and amazing
  • Donate to charities
  • Get rid of all the junk in my apartment I don’t need/want/use
  • Be a better editor
  • Be a better employee
  • Tweak my resume
  • Look into other jobs, apply if and only if an enticing offer arises
  • Stand up for the bullied
  • Call people out on shitty behavior
  • Stand up for myself and others
  • Be good and do good

New Year’s

For New Year’s, Paul and I headed over to Sarah’s. From the sounds of it, other friends were supposed to go but never showed, but I had a good time!

It was a typical New Year’s at Sarah’s. It was my second consecutive one there and I think the third ever, but it was the usual booze, karaoke, and good times. Emma was adorable as always, babbling in hilarious baby language that mostly only she understood. She also climbed everywhere and pulled all the books off of one of the shelves.

Once again, it did include moonshine, and once again, I loved it, though I didn’t drink much because Paul and I were heading to my parents’ rather than staying at Sarah’s all night, I believe mostly because my whole family was going gambling for New Year’s Day.

We ended up trapped at Sarah’s for a while because my car was blocked in, so we hung out and met her sort of male suitor, Garrett. Sarah and Nicole broke up somewhere around Thanksgiving after changed feelings and she met Garrett at a Shed party. He was nice yet rude–he was funny and we generally liked him, but he sent some foul texts to Nicole. Since then, he’s also been very confusing. I don’t think anybody knows what’s going on except for him.

When we did get to my parents’, Brandon’s girlfriend, her sister, and a friend were over but getting ready to leave. Brandon and Paul ended up playing Magic the Gathering for God knows how long–I picked my drinking back up while I watched Kathy Griffin stand-up specials, and when my glass was empty and I was too tired to keep drinking, I fell asleep on the couch. Brandon and Paul woke me up sometime around 4:00 in the morning or something to let me know they were done and going to sleep, so I shuffled off, took my contacts out, makeup off, changed, shuffled back to the sunroom, and fell asleep again.

We got up the next morning. Paul’s dad picked him up while the rest of us got ready to gamble.

Now, in my half-asleep, possibly half-drunk stupor and with dry contacts at that, I managed to rip one of the lenses when I took it out and realized that when I went to put them in the next morning. Normally, this isn’t a problem–I carry a little green pouch with my overnight bag that has spares lenses and/or glasses (plus my makeup and such). Except this was the one time I managed to forget it. I had no spare anything on me, and I needed to drive home after we went to the casino, and I can’t drive without any sort of visual aid. Not if you don’t want me to be a hazard.

Half the point of going to the casino early in the morning was the breakfast buffet. We were already running late and my dad was already annoyed, even though the buffet lasted until early afternoon. But we had to alter our plans because me spending an entire day not being able to see too far in front of me just couldn’t happen. So my parents set off for the casino and I had Brandon drive my car to my apartment so we could get my contacts. It worked out well–my apartment isn’t so far from either my parents’ or the casino that it drastically delayed us, and my parents just gambled until we got there and could all eat together.

The buffet was amazing. It was a New Year’s champagne brunch, which I hit hard. I loaded my plate up with everything from real breakfast foods to desserts to sushi, and damn did I love that champagne for breakfast, too.

The actual gambling part was a lot of fun. At first, I was just bleeding money, but later on, I built it back up and technically left with less money than I started with, but my mom gave us our gambling money and let us keep whatever we get, so I left with money anyway–and I needed it desperately, even if it was only 40 bucks. That’s a tank of gas.

I spent most of the day, not surprisingly, at a Wizard of Oz slot machine. It was the most fun for me, being my favorite movie and all, plus I was actually doing really well on it for a really long time. I loved it so much that I went back for a second round on it after I took a break when it started bleeding my dry.

I’d just like to go back, please!

Top 5 on Friday: Loved

Top 5 songs you wished everyone loved as much as you

 1. “Closer” by Tegan and Sara Seriously, this song is so good! It’s got a nice ’80s feel to it, it’s a beautiful ear worm, it’s danceable, and it’s equal parts sexual and sweet. I love it.
2. “Annie Waits” by Ben Folds I suspect Ben Folds fans hold this in very high regard–especially since a packed club of people clapping along is one of the coolest/most chill-inducing things I’ve ever experienced at a concert–but it goes unappreciated by the rest of the world. The pianos are gorgeous, as Mr. Folds’ pianos always are, and it’s a cute little song that’s very well-written and a fun sing-along with a killer hook. Seriously, though, one of the most beautiful piano parts ever.
3. “Some Nights” by Fun. Most people I know hate Fun., and I honestly can’t figure out why. My theory is that most aren’t aware they’re just an indie band that got lucky and instead lump them in with pop boy bands, which still doesn’t make sense because they actually sound completely different from said pop boy bands. They also sound a little different from the more low-key, acoustic indie that’s broken through to radio lately, and they don’t have the generic, almost corporate-rock sound you get from the likes of Imagine Dragons. “Some Nights” is an excellent example of how good their songs really are. You have that sweeping, intense vocal introduction and then launch into awesome beats, end with some pretty epic guitar work, and can feel raw emotion through the whole song. It has an anthemic quality to it and shows how skilled the band is as musicians.
4. “Call Your Girlfriend” by Robyn Okay, most people who love Robyn love this song, but seriously, guys, everyone on earth should love this song because it’s catchy as hell. I love it so much, I have no words to describe how much I love it
5. “Americano/Dance Again” from Glee I haven’t actually watched Glee since, like Kurt and Blaine went to prom together–which was an excellent episode–but I do intend to get caught up (though I think its popularity has killed its plot/writing quality) and I do listen to the soundtracks when they come up on Spotify’s new releases. I tend to love their mashups–except for the Hair one–and these two songs just meld together perfectly into a killer pop/dance track that Kate Hudson sings the hell out of.